Our Relationship with the World (Part II) :Relationship to Society
by Prof. P. Krishna
Rector, Rajghat Education Centre, Krishnamurti Foundation India, Varanasi221001, India
( Second talk delivered on this topic at the Krishnamurti Gathering held in Saanen, Switzerland on31 July, 1995. )
We said last time that if we do not identify ourselves with anything in particular,like either the body or the brain, or the nation, or a particular religion, or aparticular family, then we are not separate entities and in that sense, we are theworld. But when we do separate ourselves through identification, which may beeither by choice or simply through inertia, through habit, something which wehave never questioned, then that affects our whole relationship with everything inthis world. It makes us possessive, it makes us exploit relationships for this meand everything then is directly or indirectly used to further this sense of the me.So the brain starts functioning like a lawyer, defending and protecting that whichit has identified with, and the very thought process gets coloured; it can no longerinvestigate or explore freely, which may be the right function of thought. Insteadit goes in the direction of justifying, defending, feeling superior, saying, "What Iam saying is right, what is mine is better than what is yours", leading to a sense of competition and rivalry. The source of the whole thing, lies in the identificationwith the me and the mine. Having done that, we feel we are separate individuals,but that may not be a fact. It may have become a fact for us, becausepsychologically we let all this happen.If we are one with the world, then it means also that one is responsible for thewhole world--not just for me, my school, my nation, my religion, my family, butfor the whole world. What does it mean to be responsible for the whole world?Does it seem like it makes sense ? Also, if we are the world, then it means that theworld must be terribly affected by the way we are which is the other way around:not only you are the world, but the world is you. Can we examine it in that way ?Is the world really affected by the way we are ? If it isn't, then I am not the world,and the world is not me ! Then I am something separate from the world. Theconnection is not very apparent, so can we investigate it ? Let us take a specificexample. We are all aware of what is happening in what was Yugoslavia, inBosnia. Are we responsible for what is happening there or only those people areresponsible who are directly involved in it ? You could take any other example :what is happening in Ireland, what is happening in Kashmir, what is being done tonature. Are the pollution, the nuclear catastrophes only the work of theindustrialists, the scientists, and we are not responsible for them ? Are thescientist, the politician, the leaders in Bosnia, separate from us and therefore weare not responsible for what is happening there ? It appears that way, doesn't it ?We often blame the people of that particular location for behaving in that way.We either pity them, or we condemn them. But we don't observe them and, fromthat, learn what our responsibility is. Because we don't see the connection, wedon't feel responsible. I think it's important to question that. Because it may be avery convenient thing that our mind has invented, to separate itself out from otherpeople, and feel" I am not responsible for that". It may be an escape. I am notsaying it is but we need to investigate that. A religious mind questions everything.So one is asking: "Are those human beings separate from me ? Or are we reallyessentially the same, a part of this world, and therefore whatever we are affectsthe whole world ?" Krishnamurti has pointed out that society is an abstraction.There is no such thing as society, separate from us. It is our relationship with eachother, which is vitally affected by what we are, which creates that society andwhat happens in that society. Is that true ? Let's look at it. After all, society is acollection of what we call individuals. They may not be individuals, but that'swhat we call them for the time being, because that is how we refer to people.Now, if there is a collection of a million or billion individuals, each one of whomfeels he is a separate individual, a separate entity, each one of whom isself-centred, aggressive, violent, in competition with others, struggling, in conflict,
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