Self-knowledge, being an absolute, denies other
values by fulfilling them. They must perish within
it, as a seed in the good earth, to yield fruit.
The total of human experience which the old values
have . so far interpreted, defined and guided,
must be resolved within the new in a creative
act of self-revelation.
What is called the march of humanity towards a future based on the past becomes, with Krishnamurti, projected beyond the necessity of experience, into the negation of time. It is the very idea of becoming which is thus condemned by this new human consciousness, the various layers of which, pierced suddenly by the swift perception of their nature, disappear from their own sight. The so-called ways of knowledge are towards an end, an imitation, a discipline, a superiority, and are therefore matters to be set down and described. But the immediate and direct perception of 'what is' is not a way, is nothing that can be described. Such knowledge is therefore difficult to explain. The difficulty is not in what it is, but in all the obstacles and hindrances which we set up against it as a barrier. Hence Krishnamurti's negative way of thought by which false values are seen to operate against themselves.
It is like burning of weeds to dear the soil for a new life, although it may well appear to the ego as an invitation to its psychological death. And self. A believer, profoundly identified with his faith, considers that it would be like committing suicide if he were suddenly forced not to believe. He regards with horror such destruction of his entity. But when there is comprehension, there is simultaneously death and resurrection, and one arises invulnerable to the degree to which one has made oneself vulnerable. It is useless to attempt a death 'with a view' to resurrection. Death of some sort is awaiting us in any case and we do not see why it should be kept waiting so long, unless we hope to cheat it or to make it into passage through which the past, which is dead, would lead us into some future life which would obviously be its projection. All that one can think of belongs to the past and becomes the past as soon as one begins to think of it. This repetition of. concepts, of representations, of beliefs, of disiplines, of meditations, is the measure of our flight before the inevitable. Why then, if it is so, do we flee?
Why not die, time and again, in perpetual resurrection? If the spirit is to be fresh and new, is it not natural that each experience that passes should be made to die. Are we so uncertain, so doubtful, whether we shall respond to the world of tomorrow, that we store away the experiences of yesterday and build with them a structure of habits, an illusory protection against the unknown?
There is no difference between opening oneself to death and opening oneself to life. And, similarly, to refuse to die is to refuse to live. Death and life are the twin sides of the timeless unknown which has neither past nor future. Those who believe in matter or in spirit teach us that fruStration in the present prepares for us a better life on this earth, or in the Beyond. For the former salvation will be collective for others -- individual. According to our tastes, pleasure, education, inclinations and general conditioning, we shall attach real value to systems promising the salvation of the body or of the soul, as if these had any objective existence apart of our belief in them I The state of confusion in which specialists in this sphere find themselves is more complicated than that of politicians and businessmen, and the reasons we have for allowing ourselves to be exploited by them are deeper and more secret. He who lacks bread imagines a future paradise, on earth or in the after-life, where there will be bread in abundance. Thus everyone invents a picture of well-being for himself which is but the opposite of his life of misery. This negation of what is, of deprivation in the present, is real as a negation, not as a world. The negation is the fact, not the paradise. The negation is in the present. Paradise is put off till later. So what is organised by the economic system or by faith is escape, not the paradise, for that which does not exist cannot be organised. But our willingness to believe that common welfare is a matter of organisation lends itself to any exploitation Those suffering under a dictatorship want to establish their own. Those who refuse to allow their own minds to be fashioned in some particular way seek to impose on others a way of thinking which is just a photographic negative of the first. The sum total of these pursuits after imaginary aims, which we call duty, is driving us towards the destruction of humanity. By what trickeries, by virtue of what sacrosanct system of taboos, are we persuaded to confide the key of these illusory heavens to authorities?
It is a mistake to study their systems and their theologies, their demonstrations and their revelations, for it is obvious that they contradict each other, all of them, and that the only person to be convinced by any one of them will be he who allows himself to be convinced. We should study to much greater advantage the reasons which make us adopt some particular system or embrace some peculiar faith. They would reveal to us the conditioning of our thoughts and feelings. Philosophers and theologians construct representative pictures of man and of the universe and then allow themselves to be fashioned by these systems, as though in the first place these systems had not been built by themselves. Thought is capable of every form of abstraction. It creates concepts it calls Being, Absolute, Eternity, and so on, and the thinker then imagines that these inverted projections, thrown up by his ignorance, are Reality. The truth of the matter is that the thinker prefers to stay in ignorance and uncertainty rather than explore the secret desires and unconfessed motives which make him to. believe in his system. His belief, his certainty, his faith, are not knowledge. The latter, being the self-revelation of the total process of our consciousness, contains neither concepts nor dogmas, nor any formulation of the world, Thus all philosophy is a hindrance to knowledge.
To know, in the ever-renewed flow of life, is to be aware at every moment of what is. It means therefore following all changes, all the most subtle modifications, of our consciousness. This is why air preconceived opinions or ideas are harmful. Every pre-established item in our consciousness prevents it from moving. A consciousness rich in capacities, but free from points of reference, perceives the crystallisations of memory which tend to hamper it. Perception of an obstacle renders it fluid, and it is in the instantaneous disentanglement, in the rush of vital force which was held in bondage, that the bliss of knowledge resides. Knowledge is this happiness, this liberation. There is nothing in it resembling an encyclopedia or a doctrine. All that is knowable must be the object of observation, so that life, unknown to itself and unforeseen in its next move, can be lived. To seek to know the unknowable, as we are invited to do by theologians, is absurd. The timeless state of spontaneous creation has neither past nor future. But do we allow that freedom to happen when we shut ourselves up in our psychological fortresses? We deny that the knowable can be known and start off on the search for the unknowable. Thus the unknowing in us, which is our abyss of ignorance, claims to commune with the unknown of creative life! Ignorance consists in not knowing causes, and these are knowable. As soon as they are perceived, ignorance is no more and the unknowable can come into being. Truly, one brings it into, existence, one creates it, through the destruction of ignorance.
Ignorance is synonymous with continuity in time. To waken up to this fact is a piece of adult behaviour. From childhood to this great maturity, we go through all stages of develop ment in human consciousness. On awakening, each of us recognised that we constitute the last stage in the development of the total duration of the world. Thus our consciousness is itself an abyss, since it is caught in a process of becoming to which it can attribute neither a beginning nor a non-beginning. Nevertheless, we identify ourselves with this duration for all the years of our existence, from birth to death. Ail the enormous, undefined chain of time, wholly sunk in darkness, is there, and we gather up the few miserable links of our years and build them into selfhoods which we imagine are the only permanent threads in our chain. of days. We are, willing to agree that this I possesses the faculty of changing itself, even of transforming itself. Childhood, adolescence, maturity, old age, accumulate experiences which are happy or unhappy. Life strikes us at a thousand points. We modify our opinions, our points of view. We may go as far as being converted or feeling different to what we were, but we always have the inner certainty that it is the same being which is there, like a traveller who has Had many adventures. Now this duration, this illusion of continuity, is the personification of ignorance itself, because it cannot but be an insignificant link between the mysterious abysses of the past and of the future, These two mysteries are absurd, since no solution for them is thinkable; neither the beginning nor the end, nor the non-beginning nor the non-end of time, Thus, the I is the impersonation of something which is unthinkable; in other words, it is false. If it wants to attribute to itself Reality, Being, there is nothing left for it to do but to cheat. Taking refuge in abstractions it persuades itself that Eternity is infinite continuity which, strictly speaking, has no meaning at all.
The truth is that the I, uncertain and worried ignorant of its origin, its nature and its purpose, I seeks appeasement in the form of distraction or security. Deep down inside, the emptiness, which is its essence, is betrayed as a cruel and contradictory compound of greed and fear. If this emptiness is relatively easy to discover, where it takes on appearances which hurt us it nevertheless knows how to disguise itself for our gratification so as to draw upon it our love and devotion It seizes on the greatest words and the most exalted ideals, unperturbed by the fact that our . enemies demolish our values, as we. do theirs. Any virtue, which conceives of itself as opposing an evil, bases itself of necessity on an image, an ethic, a judgment, that is to say on a certainty, the establishment of which constitutes psychological security, even for the hero who is going to his death. Abnegation, renunciation, sacrifice, are some of the stratagems used by the 'I' to assert itself. If it were to recognise itself for. what it is, would it have to sacrifice? Does one sacrifice ignorance?
But without going too deeply into examination of the most exalted values, and since the world is led neither by heroes nor by saints, it might perhaps be more profitable to introduce some knowledge of oneself, by examining the security which our spiritual (and temporal) advisers pursue to our detriment. Should we not ask ourselves whether we are not victims of this mirage, while it is still distant from us, and whether we do not ourselves create these leaders in the image of our terror.
The pursuit of psychological security, 'anti' this or that, leads us to a state of psychosis which destroys the only reasonable and relative security to which we can aspire: that of the material life of the human species. The masses, dulled by propaganda, are reduced to a state of non-thinking. The enormous psychological dough, which they are, is kneaded by the grossest lies and smothered in the lights and sounds of our large cities. These masses have acquired an unlimited faculty for absorbing psychological trash, which is nothing but the projection of frustrated physical urges, so that so-called spiritual values are merely transformed sensory needs. No wonder that the general attitude is of cynicism.
Amid this chaos, it is necessary and urgent that each of us should take his bearings and estimate the value of his behaviour. If, in fact, psychological security does not exist, if it is only an image in reverse of reality, if life is insecurity, how and on what psychological basis do we really live? The reply given to this question by our everyday life, understood and felt as it is actually, is the perception of our life's purpose, which is that of all individual existence. In taking our bearings, we also take the bearings of the human being in general, in his relation to life. If man is an end, the goal is within him. If he is not, understanding of the goal is within him. In the one case as in the other, the justifications he finds for 'becoming,' , instead of 'being' are within his powers of scrutiny. From insect to man, all individual existence has one unconscious aim, and a succession of conscious aims If we construct partial aims, they are obviously not the sum-total of our reasons for existing, and have their place in the process of becoming.