When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
We need tremendous energy to bring about a psychological change in ourselves as human beings, because we have lived far too long in a world of make-belief, in a world of brutality, violence, despair, anxiety. To live humanly, sanely, one has to change. To bring about a change within oneself and therefore within society, one needs this radical energy, for the individual is not different from society — the society is the individual and the individual is the society. And to bring about a necessary radical, essential change in the structure of society — which is corrupt, which is immoral — there must be change in the human heart and mind. To bring about that change you need great energy and that energy is denied or perverted, or twisted, when you act according to a concept; which is what we do in our daily life. The concept is based on past history, or on some conclusion, so it is not action at all, it is an approximation to a formula. So, one asks if there is an action which is not based on an idea, on a conclusion formed by dead things which have been.
I think it was somewhere in my early twenties that I for the first time red something of/about Jiddu Krishnamurti. I think I got to him through my interest, back then, in Annie Besant, she’s quite a character, though she has some strange religious ideas. Krishnamurti is for me someone that represents both an eastern and western approach to philosophy. I often recommend people that are interested in life’s question and/or struggling with these questions to read some Buddhist texts. When you read them superficially, they can often uplift you and help you to relativize your problems. If they like reading these Buddhist texts I will make sure that they hop over to Krishnamurti before they go to deep into Buddhism, because at the end Buddhism is not much more than a doctrinal religion like Christendom or Islam, a “do this, than that will happen” religion.
Krishnamurti is a critical thinker with a deep and personal history with eastern philosophy, religion and mysticism. I see him as a good bridge to western philosophy when your interest is mainly eastern philosophy. A lot of western, mainly young people, gravitate to eastern ideas because western ideas seem to them “dirty” and the cause of…I don’t really understand this, as if there are no “problems” in the east, but a bigger problem is that these people that are looking for a solution…are looking for a solution. They look for some kind of overarching system that would solve their problems, as if you are not responsible for that yourself. This is in short, the philosophy of Krishnamurti and a good gateway to western philosophy, a philosophy that is more rooted in critical thinking, questioning why and not telling how.
“You know, if we understand one question rightly, all questions are answered. But we don’t know how to ask the right question. To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn’t find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn’t answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no savior. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.