The First and Last Freedom (1954) Jiddu Krishnamurti

“What Is”

To be self-aware, to have awareness, and to understand is that which will reveal the love in human nature and tear away all that is predatory and invidious, practiced en masse. To truly know the self is to separate the idea of the “me” and it will dissolve. It is not a process which can be desired, or known; it only happens when one is truly aware. To desire the outcome is to continue the practice of creating the self, the me. Only through the dissolution of the self can we begin to discover what is true. When we listen, when we see, we can begin to understand. If we allow the self to interpret, to throw up walls, we are not understanding, and we cannot begin to be creative to solve problems; listening through a screen. Striving, the wanting to become of something, some state, is a state of struggle, conflict, contradiction; I “want to be good,” but then the self continues to exist, and the self-existing creates conflict with what the self is (the self is not good), and in that state, we cannot be truly creative. When the self is not worried about the self, then creative destruction can occur. We must acknowledge ruthlessly and without judgment what we are; only then can we work on fixing the problem. We must know we are bad. When we are aware of what we are, when we understand it, it can be changed, for we do not want badness. We can only know through the process of experience and through negation; we know what we are not. People cling to belief and ideology because they are unsure of themselves, they are unsure what life is, and they want to feel secure. Education, religion, social structure are based on imitation, fitting into a particular formula; in so becoming, one ceases to be a real individual; one is a “repetitive machine.” Copying is really just the worship of authority. God, “Heavenly Father,” looks down upon us, and makes us feel secure, and that we have meaning and purpose in his plan. We must know what is; “what is, is.” Only through awareness and understanding can we know love, can we then apply collective intelligence, and cooperate. People clinging to belief, to ideology, to whatever above, are willing to kill people in the name of ideology, for the “Greater good,” but how can that be good? We know ourselves in relationship to others; without others, there is no self, no consciousness, no language. We do not like to do; we like to be spectators, and we lose creative capacity; people turn to leaders, ideas, whatever it is, to escape what is going on in the World. Belief divides believers and makes the possibility for love impossible, it creates groups. “The left, after all, is the continuation of the right in a modified form. If the right is based on sensual values, the left is but a continuance of the same sensual values, different only in degree or expression.” Reiterates Philip Slater’s idea, “a system cannot transform man; man always transforms the system.” We must first fix ourselves, our values, before we can change the institutions (so says author). Can we make incremental progress through institutional evolution? People are impatient they want to reach ends and have instant gratification, and do not allow time to study, to reflect, to observe; people need to earn livelihoods, rear children, and take on other responsibilities. Ideologies are ideas, not truth; facts are truth, facts cannot be denied, opinions about facts can be; if we can discover the truth of a matter, we can move independently of opinions. Constant becomingness is not about earning livelihood, it is about envy, greed, position, prestige. “Stupidity is the giving of wrong values to those things which the mind creates, or to those things which the hands produce” (material things and beliefs). We must look to ourselves for change, “it is we, you and I, who have to be the architects. You and I have to rediscover the values and build on a more fundamental, lasting foundation;… [if we look] to the political and religious [leaders], we shall be precisely in the same position as before.” A real revolution is driven not by ideology but by a shift in values from those perceived by the senses to those which are not. People are unhappy, and want to flick a switch, and be able to be happy. People do not want to self-understand; they want to follow authority, of systems, ideologies, of a person, to give us security. Authority prevents full self-awareness, and in so doing, destroys freedom, which is the source of creativeness. “Most of us are not creative; we are repetitive machines, mere gramophone records playing over and over again certain songs of experience, certain conclusions and memories, either our own or those of another. Such repetition is not creative being — but it is what we want. Because we want to be inwardly secure, wanting to run away, not wanting to be alone inwardly, we are constantly seeking methods and means for this security, and thereby we create authority, the worship of another, which destroys comprehension, that spontaneous tranquility of mind in which alone there can be a state of creativeness.” “We are all afraid to be nothing, because we all want to be something… This is the incessant activity of the mind. Such a mind cannot be quiet” “A mind that is filled with beliefs, with dogmas… is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.” “So long as there is the desire to achieve a result… there is a contradiction.” Losing beliefs causes psychological pain; fear is non acceptance of “what is.” We are extremely prone to distraction so that we can continue to escape awareness.

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