Tuesday, March 29, 2011

JK answering some pointed questions

Q: Why dont you face the economic and social evils instead of escaping into some dark, mystical affair?

K: I have been trying to point out that only by giving importance to those things that are primary can the secondary issues be understood and solved. Economic and social evils are not to be adjusted without understanding what causes them. To understand them and so bring about a fundamental change, we have first to comprehend ourselves who are the cause of these evils. We have individualls and so as a group, created social and economic strife and confusion. We are responsible for them and thus we, individually and so perhaps collectively, can bring order and clarity. To act collectively we must begin individually; to act as a group each one must understand and change radically those causes within himself which produce the outer conflict and misery. Through legislation you may gain certian beneficial results, but without altering the inner, fundamental causes of conflict and antagonism they will be overturned and confusion will rise again; outer reforms will ever need further reform, and this way leads to oppression and violence. Lasting outer order and creative peace can come about only if each one brings order and peace within himself.

The Collected Works, Vol 3, page 226
Ojai, California, June 25, 1944

Q: Why do you waste your time preaching instead of helping the world in a practical way?

K: Now, what do you mean by 'practical'? You mean bringing about a change in the world, a better economic adjustment, a better distribution of wealth, a better relationship - or, to put it more brutally, helping you find a better job. You want to see a change in the world - every intelligent man does - and you want a method to bring about that change, and therefore you ask me why I waste my time preaching instead of doing something about it...

To act, we must discover the impediments that prevent action. But, most of us dont want to act - that is our difficulty. We prefer to discuss, we prefer to substitute our ideology for another, and so we escape from action through ideology. Surely that is very simple, is it not? The world at present time is facing many problems: overpopulation, starvation, division of people into nationalities and classes, and so on. Why isnt there a group of people sitting together trying to solve the problems of nationalism? But if we try to become international while clinging to our nationality, we create another problem and that is what most of us do. So you see the ideals are really preventing action. A statesman, an eminent authority, has said the world can be organized and all the people fed. Then why is it not done? Because of conflicting ideas, beliefs and nationalisms. Therefore ideas are actually preventing the feeding of people, and most of us play with ideas and think we are tremendous revolutionaries, hypnotizing ourselves with such words as practical. What is important is to free uorselves from ideas, from nationalisms, from all religious beliefs and dogmas, so that we can act, not according to a pattern or an ideology, but as needs demand; and, surely, to point out the hindrances and impediments that prevent such action is not a waste of time, is not a lot of hot air.... So, there can be right action and therefore radical, lasting transformation, only when the mind is free of ideas, not superficially, but fundamentally, and freedom from ideas can take place only through self-awareness and self-knowledge.

The Collected Works, Vol 6, pages 54-55
Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan 1, 1950

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