The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Reflection on Change in Society: J. Krishnamurti

A call for radical objectivity:

“ One asks why the world has become this way, so utterly bourgeois... Why does this narrow, limited, petty mind override and seem to conquer all other minds and feelings and activities in the world?... So it would be rather interesting to find out what it means to be a bourgeois. Obviously it is a person to whom property, money and self-interest are dominant, although he may not own property, or have a lot of money... There are many such people in the world. In the religious field and the world of artists and intellectuals self-interest also persists. So it may be that a bourgeois mind is this factor of self-interest... This limited adaptability and elasticity of the mind does not offer freedom. How can a man who has invested in a particular belief or ideology have a mind and a heart that are infinitely pliable... If there is any of this destructive self-interest, there is the stamp of mediocrity that gives such great importance to property, position, money and power. This petty little mind cannot go beyond the wall, the barriers that man has built around himself... As long as the mind is tethered or bound to any point, to any experience, to any knowledge, it cannot go very far... The emptying of consciousness of its content is to have total movement in perception and action....

Routine and habit are our everyday life. Some are aware of their habits, others are not... What is important in all this is to understand, not intellectually, the mechanism of habit-forming which gradually destroys or blunts all feeling. This machinery is the enormous lethargy which is part of our heritage, as tradition is. We don’t want to be disturbed , and it is this lethargy which builds routine. Once having learnt, we function according to what we already know, adding to or modifying what we already know... The fear of change strengthens habit, not only physically but also in the very brain cells themselves....

So this is the way of life we have accepted... To go beyond these borders... the whole point is to see-- actually, non-verbally-- what is really taking place. To see non-verbally means to see without the observer, for the observer is the essence of habit and contradiction, which is memory. So seeing is never habitual because the seeing is non-accumulative... So the act of seeing is the only natural thing; seeing the natural inheritance of the animal in us, which is violent, aggressive and competitive. If we could understand this one thing, which is really of primary importance -- the act of seeing -- then there is no accumulation as the me and the mine, then there is no habit-forming at all, with the routine and the boredom of it all. So to see what is, is to love....

Are we really actually concerned about the transformation of society -- society which is corrupt, which is immoral, which is based on competition, ruthlessness?... That is the society in which we are living... Corruption exists in the very high places and on the very doorstep. To be tied is corruption, any form of attachment leads to it, whether it be to a belief, faith, ideal, experience, or any conclusion....

There civilization began, the incredible vulgarity, the brutal haste and the immodesty of humans, everyone asserting his presence, and the rich showing their power and will... And humanity puts its faith in politicians and governments....

We have to inquire into what is society... It is human relationship that is society. That human relationship with its complexities, its conditions, with its hates, can you alter all that relationship? We can. We can stop being cruel and all that goes with it. What your relationship is, your environment is. If your relationship is possessive and self-centered, you are creating a thing around you which will be equally destructive. So the individual is you and you are the rest of mankind. I don’t know if we realize it.

We need to be re-educated, not through school, college, university-- which also condition the brain-- nor through work in the office or the factory. We need to re-educate ourselves by being aware, seeing how we are caught in words. Can we do this? If we cannot do it we are going to have perpetual wars, perpetual weeping, always in conflict, misery and all that is entailed... When you live with the facts as they are, ... observing them, watching your own activity, your own egotistic pursuits, then out of that grows marvelous freedom with all its great beauty and strength.”

( From Krishnamurti, J. Meeting Life. San Francisco: Harper, 1991)

Thursday, April 03, 2008