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Questioner: I find myself in a great deal of conflict with everything about me; and also everything within me is in conflict. People have spoken of divine order; nature is harmonious; it seems that man is the only animal who violates this order, making so much misery for others and for himself. When I wake up in the morning I see from my window little birds fighting with each other, but they soon separate and fly away, whereas I carry this war with myself and with others inside me all the time; there is no escaping it. I wonder if I can ever be at peace with myself. I must say I should like to find myself in complete harmony with everything about me and with myself. As one sees from this window the quiet sea and the light on the water, one has a feeling deep within oneself that there must be a way of living without these endless quarrels with oneself and with the world. Is there any harmony at all, anywhere? Or is there only everlasting disorder? If there is harmony, at what level can it exist? Or does it only exist on the top of some mountain which the burning valleys can never know?
Krishnamurti: Can one go from one to the other? Can one change that which is to that which is not? Can disharmony be transformed into harmony?
Questioner: Is conflict necessary then? It may perhaps, after all, be the natural order of things.
Krishnamurti: If one accepted that, one would have to accept everything society stands for: wars, ambitious competition, an aggressive way of life – all the brutal violence of men, inside and outside of his so-called holy places. Is this natural? Will this bring about any unity? Wouldn’t it be better for us to consider these two facts – the fact of conflict with all its complicated struggles, and the fact of the mind demanding order, harmony, peace, beauty, love?
Questioner: I know nothing about harmony. I see it in the heavens, in the seasons, in the mathematical order of the universe. But that doesn’t give me order in my own heart and mind; the absolute order of mathematics is not my order. I have no order, I am in deep disorder. I know there are different theories of gradual evolution towards the so-called perfection of political utopias and religious heavens, but this leaves me where I actually am. The world may perhaps be perfect in ten thousand years from now, but in the meantime I’m having hell.
Krishnamurti: We see the disorder in ourselves and in society. Both are very complex. There are really no answers. One can examine all this very carefully, analyse it closely, look for causes of disorder in oneself and in society, expose them to the light and perhaps believe that one will free the mind from them. This analytical process is what most people are doing, intelligently or unintelligently, and it doesn’t get anybody very far. Man has analysed himself for thousands of years, and produced no result but literature! The many saints have paralysed themselves in concepts and ideological prisons; they too are in conflict. The cause of our conflict is this everlasting duality of desire: the endless corridor of the opposites creating envy greed ambition aggression, fear, and all the rest of it. Now I wonder if there isn’t an altogether different approach to this problem? The acceptance of this struggle and all our efforts to get out of it have become traditional. The whole approach is traditional. In this traditional approach the mind operates but, as we see, the traditional approach of the mind creates more disorder. So the problem is not how to end disorder, but rather whether the mind can look at it freed from tradition. And then perhaps there may be no problem at all.
Questioner: I don’t follow you at all.
Krishnamurti: There is this fact of disorder. There is no doubt about it: it is an actual fact. The traditional approach to this fact is to analyse it, to try to discover the cause of it and overcome the cause, or else to invent its opposite and battle towards that. This is the traditional approach with its disciplines, drills, controls, suppressions, sublimations. Man has done this for thousands upon thousands of years; it has led nowhere. Can we abandon this approach completely and look at the problem entirely differently – that is, not try to go beyond it, or to resolve it, or to overcome it, or to escape from it? Can the mind do this.
Krishnamurti: Don’t answer so quickly! This is a tremendous thing I am asking you. From the beginning of time man has tried to deal with all his problems, either by going beyond them, resolving them, overcoming them or escaping from them. Please do not think you can push all that aside so lightly, simply with a verbal agreement. It makes up the very structure of everybody’s mind. Can the mind now, understanding all this non-verbally, actually free itself from the tradition? This traditional way of dealing with the conflict never solves it, but only adds more conflict: being violent, which is conflict, I add the additional conflict of trying to become non-violent. All social morality and all religious prescriptions are that. Are we together?
Krishnamurti: Then do you see how far we have come? Having, through understanding, repudiated all these traditional approaches, what is the actual state of the mind now? Because the state of the mind is far more important than the conflict itself.
Questioner: I really don’t know.
Krishnamurti: Why don’t you know? Why aren’t you aware, if you have really abandoned the traditional approach, of the state of your mind? Why don’t you know? Either you have abandoned it or you haven’t. If you have, you would know it. If you have, then your mind is made innocent to look at the problem. You can look at the problem as though for the first time. And if you do this, is there a problem of conflict at all? Because you look at the problem with the old eyes it is not only strengthened but also moves in its well-worn path. So what is important is how you look at the problem – whether you look at it with new eyes or old eyes. The new eyes are freed from the conditioned responses to the problem. Even to name the problem through recognition is to approach it in the traditional way. Justification, condemnation, or translation of the problem in terms of pleasure and pain, are all involved in this habitual traditional approach of doing something about it. This is generally called positive action with regard to the problem. But when the mind brushes all that aside as being ineffectual, unintelligent, then it has become highly sensitive, highly ordered, and free.
Questioner: You’re asking too much of me, I can’t do it. I’m incapable of it. You’re asking me to be superhuman !
Krishnamurti: You’re making difficulties for yourself, blocking yourself, when you say you must become superhuman. It’s nothing of the kind. You keep on looking at things with eyes that want to interfere, that want to do something about what they see. Stop doing anything about it, for whatever you do belongs to the traditional approach. That’s all. Be simple. This is the miracle of perception – to perceive with a heart and mind that are completely cleansed of the past. Negation is the most positive action.