"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Krishnamurti: On a World Crisis of Consciousness

In 1966, Jiddu Krishnamurti, either a man before his time or, perhaps, a timeless man, observed: "The crisis . . . in the world is a crisis in consciousness, a crisis that cannot anymore accept the old norms, the old patterns, the ancient traditions, a particular way of life - whether it is the American way, or the European way, or the Asiatic way."

"And, considering what the world is now, with all the misery, conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, tremendous advances in technology and so on . . . though man has cultivated the external world and has more or less mastered it, inwardly he is still as he was. The great deal of animal still in him is still brutal, violent, aggressive, acquisitive (and) competitive. And he has built a society along these lines."

Listening to this enlightened teacher almost fifty years later, one has to ask: 'Have we changed, or have we just become more so?'

"Question:   Of what significance is hope and faith to living?"

Jiddu Krishnamurti
"Krishnamurti:   I hope you won't think me harsh if I say there is no significance at all. We have had hope. We have had faith - faith in church, faith in politics, faith in leaders, faith in gurus - because we have wanted to achieve a state of bliss, of happiness and so on, and hope has managed this faith. And, when one observes through history - through our life - all that faith and hope has no meaning at all because what is important is what we are. What we actually are, not what we think we are, or what we think we should be, but actually what is. If we know how to look at what is, that would bring about a tremendous transformation."

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

"We are the product of the society in which we live," Krishnamurti observes, "(of) the experience, the knowledge and all the rest of it. And there is nothing original. We repeat, repeat, repeat. To find out anything new requires tremendous inquiry and meditation."

"You don't just get it by just coming to a meeting for an hour and thinking about meaning," Krishnamurti warns, "one has to work tremendously hard."

"This requires much more alert, much more careful examination," he notes. "And one does not have the energy, the patience or the interest, because this is non-profitable. It does not bring you profit, financially or any other way."

"When you are really faced with a problem of war, of famine, of death, of poverty and so on," says Krishnamurti, "you can't argumentatively discuss about it. One has to deal with it. One has to put one's teeth into it. And you cannot artificially (and) intellectually have teeth to put to problems that are vital."
. . . . . . . . . . . . .

A half century after Krishnamurti's talk, and in a world evermore rife with existential problems - global warming, climate change, species extinction, over-population, hunger, intolerance, war, pollution and poverty - are we, or are the  leaders we allow to govern us, any more willing to put "teeth into" the problems that so manifestly cry out for our attention?

It seems not. Therefore, more so than ever it is apparent that we still face a crisis -  a crisis of both consciousness and conscience.

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