Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Krishnamurti

Any discussion of the absurd is of course incomplete without reference to Krishnamurti. (For those unfamiliar with his work we cannot recommend it highly enough - start with Total Freedom.) Krishnamurti often said his one role in life was to "set men free" from the self-imposed shackles of existence, and his teachings are invaluable for those interested in what is.

So much of K (as we have come to call him) is incredibly powerful, yet the underlying message is almost unbelievably simple. In short, that which holds us back is our blind reliance on the past to shape our "identity," when by simply taking things as they come we can eliminate all worry and regret. Consider the following exchange between K and a student:

Krishnamurti: Yes. But what do you mean by that word `security'?

Questioner: Alone I am weak.

Krishnamurti: Is it because you cannot stand alone?

Questioner: It is because you are afraid to stand alone.

Krishnamurti: You are frightened of being alone, so therefore you identify?

Questioner: Not always.

Krishnamurti: But it is the core, the root of it. Why do I want to identify myself? Because then I feel safe.

What delicious irony! Our desperate, all-consuming search for security leads us to identify with groups of others (those with similar religious beliefs, similar ethnic backgrounds, similar whatever), and yet it is exactly this identification that causes conflict! Wars, to choose the most obvious example, are fought by groups who each have something in common (religion, geography, etc.), and yet individuals fighting on one side could just as easily have ended up on the other had they simply been born in a different place.

For many (most?) people, this simple truth is too much to bear. They have spent their entire lives identifying themselves as "French," or "Catholic," or "an economist," and simply cannot imagine who they would be without such identity. But as K says, this is "the core, the root of it." We are terrified to be alone, despite the fact that we all are, have always been, and will always be alone. But the irony is that to embrace this fact is to free yourself from the tyranny of identity. Only by acknowledging the (seemingly terrifying) fact that we are each alone in an incomprehensibly vast, cold, uncaring universe, can we gain the ultimate security and freedom that comes with this knowledge--the freedom to live as we wish.

7 comments:

  1. It doesn't! Individual's own blinding belief is the limiting factor! Once beyond, is an expansive infinite awareness of just is.

    Better to BE than limited by little individual self

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  2. Can you please tell me from which book of K you are posting these? I want to use it in my research paper.

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  3. We took this from Total Freedom - The Essential Krishnamurti.

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  4. How does "acknowledging the (seemingly terrifying) fact that we are each alone in an incomprehensibly vast, cold, uncaring universe, can we gain the ultimate security and freedom that comes with this knowledge--the freedom to live as we wish." this comment cause security.
    To be honest I am still terrified that I am alone.

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  5. This is totally perfect I agree with that way to think because I consider that the best tendency is to make people free, I've fight against those things but sometimes it's difficult to get it, I'd like to get those ideas to change the world.

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  6. aloneness is NOT isolation. isolation implies division and separation. aloneness has none. aloneness is All is One. do you see the fact of this?

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