some words from j. krishnamurti

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When it comes to philosophy and spirituality, I am an anti-ideologue. I like to sift through it all and take only the pieces that fit into my own puzzle. However, from what I have read of his work, J. Krishnamurti is one of the few thinkers that comes into the closest alignment with my outlook on life. Perhaps it was his own volatile distaste for organized religion and organization in general that endears him to me. Having been co-opted at an early age by prominent Theosophists to serve as the predicted leader of a new organization called The Order of the Star in the East, Krishnamurti renounced this role while still a young man, dissolved the Order, and returned all the money that had been donated for its work. He then went around the world talking to people for the rest of his life.

Much of what is considered New Age thinking has its roots in Krishnamurti’s ideas (which in turn were perhaps somewhat informed by the Buddha’s). Ironically, many New Age teachers who were inspired by him seem to have glossed over some of his key points opposing organization, formalizing and branding their own cobbled-together philosophies in order to capitalize (both monetarily and ego-massagingly [note: not an actual word]) on the spiritual seeking behavior so endemic to human beings.

Enough of my words, though, here are some of Krishnamurti’s:

“As I was saying, if we do not understand the nature of effort, all action is limiting. Effort creates its own frontiers, its own objectives, its own limitations. Effort has the time-binding quality. You say, ‘I must meditate, I must make an effort to control my mind’. That very effort to control puts a limit on your mind. Do watch this, do think it out with me. To live with effort is evil; to me it is an abomination, if I may use a strong word. And if you observe, you will realize that from childhood on we are conditioned to make an effort. In our so-called education, in all the work we do, we struggle to improve ourselves, to become something. Everything we undertake is based on effort; and the more effort we make, the duller the mind becomes. Where there is effort, there is an objective; where there is effort, there is a limitation on attention and on action. To do good in the wrong direction is to do evil. Do you understand? For centuries we have done ‘good’ in the wrong direction by assuming that we must be this, we must not be that, and so on, which only creates further conflict.” – Collected Works, Vol. XI,229,Action

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  1. Three in a row – Camus, Baudelaire and now Jiddu –
    How great it is to give oneself permission to just be, and if we so wish to observe ourselves in the process. Yesterday I listened to a long talk given by John Taylor Gatto, about all the ways in which we are compelled to strain and limit and dumb down ourselves by what we consider to be education. Like so many of us I am given to the habit of compulsive thinking, and in the occasional instances when I am released from it, I feel an undeniable happiness.

    • A good friend of mine works at a Montessori school so I hear interesting tales from her related to alternative education. While Montessori is still a type of formal education, I have to admit their methods are far superior to what I endured in school. That said, despite its encouragement of individuality and independence, I also think Montessori follows a general template of formal centralized authority (with the teacher acting more as guide than pedant) and as such, it still makes me suspicious. I prefer the concept of unschooling. As much as I try to avoid dwelling on “what if” scenarios, I sometimes wonder how I would’ve turned out had I been unschooled and allowed to discover the world wholly on my own terms and at my own pace. I wonder how it would affect the world in general if we all grew up this way.

      • In general terms that seems to be the question John Taylor Gatto addressed in the interview I listened to at gnosticmedia. It was fascinating stuff.



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