Sunday, January 15, 2006

On Violence

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King day.

And as we come into the eve of my favorite holiday,

another one of my favorites comes to mind.

It was early in my life when I first came across "Flight of the Eagle".

And, it was my first introduction to the teachings of Krishnamurti.

Here are some of his thoughts on non-violence.

You see, we realize that we must change. Let us take as an example violence and brutality - those are facts. Human beings are brutal and violent; they have built a society which is violent in spite of all that the religions have said about loving your neighbour and loving God.

All these things are just ideas, they have no value whatsoever, because man remains brutal, violent and selfish. And being violent, he invents the opposite, which is nonviolence. Please go into this with me. Man is trying all the time to become nonviolent. So there is conflict between what is, which is violence, and what should be, which is nonviolence. There is conflict between the two.

That is the very essence of wastage of energy.

As long as there is duality between what is and what should be - man trying to become something else, making an effort to achieve what `should be' - that conflict is waste of energy.

As long as there is conflict between the opposites, man has not enough energy to change. Why should I have the opposite at all, as nonviolence, as the ideal? The ideal is not real, it has no meaning, it only leads to various forms of hypocrisy; being violent and pretending not to be violent.

Or if you say you are an idealist and will eventually become peaceful, that is a great pretense, an excuse, because it will take many years for you to be without violence - indeed it may never happen. In the meantime you are a hypocrite and still violent.

So if we can, not in abstraction but actually, put aside completely all ideals and only deal with the fact - which is violence - then there is no wastage of energy. This is really very important to understand, it isn't a particular theory of the speaker.

As long as man lives in the corridor of opposites he must waste energy and therefore he can never change. So with one breath you could wipe away all ideologies, all opposites. Please go into it and understand this; it is really quite extraordinary what takes place.

If a man who is angry pretends or tries not to be angry, in that there is conflict. But if he says, `I will observe what anger is, not try to escape or rationalize it,' then there is energy to understand and put an end to anger.

If we merely develop an idea that the mind must be free from conditioning, there will remain a duality between the fact and what `should be.' Therefore it is a waste of energy. Whereas if you say, `I will find out in what manner the mind is conditioned,' it is like going to the surgeon when one has cancer. The surgeon is concerned with operating and removing the disease. But if the patient is thinking about what a marvellous time he is going to have afterward, or is frightened about the operation, that is waste of energy.

The Flight of the Eagle Chapter 4 1st Public Talk Amsterdam 1969

Now, is that state of no-conflict the result of time, of a duration? Obviously not. Because, while you are achieving a state of nonviolence, you are still being violent and are therefore still in conflict.

So, our problem is, can a conflict, a disturbance, be overcome in a period of time, whether it be days, years, or lives? What happens when you say, "I am going to practice nonviolence during a certain period of time"? The very practice indicates that you are in conflict, does it not? You would not practise if you were not resisting conflict; and you say the resistance to conflict is necessary in order to overcome conflict and for that resistance you must have time.

But the very resistance to conflict is itself a form of conflict. You are spending your energy in resisting conflict in the form of what you call greed, envy, or violence, but your mind is still in conflict. So, it is important to see the falseness of the process of depending on time as a means of overcoming violence, and thereby be free of that process. Then you are able to be what you are: a psychological disturbance which is violence itself.

1948 6th Public Talk, Bangalore, India

My whole life, from when I was educated till now, has been a form of violence. The society in which I live is a form of violence. Society tells me to conform, accept, do this, not do that, and I follow it. That is a form of violence. And when I revolt against society, that also is a form of violence (revolt in the sense that I don't accept the values which society has laid down). I revolt against it and then create my own values, which become the pattern; and that pattern is imposed on others or on myself, which becomes another form of violence.

I live that kind of life. That is: I am violent. Now what shall I do?

The Flight of the Eagle Chapter 9 1st Public Dialogue Saanen 1969

A man who is pursuing an ideal can never know a new mind, and that is the curse on this land. We are all idealists wanting to conform to nonviolence, to this, or to that. We are all imitators. That is why we have never a fresh mind, a mind which is completely, totally new, which is yours, not Sankara's, not of Marx, not of somebody else.

That total newness, that complete state of mind, can only come into being when there is no experiencer and no experience; that state is there only when you can die totally to each day, to everything that you have gathered psychologically.

Then only is there a possibility of a complete regeneration.

Just be quiet, be still.

Look at the trees,

the birds, the sky,

the beauty,

the rich qualities of human existence.

Just watch silently and be aware.

Into that silence comes that something

which is not measurable,

which is not of time.

1954 1st Public Talk, Bombay

There is precious little said these days from our media sources,

on the efficacy of non-violence.

We are too busy managing the cognitive dissonance,

between the depraved bombings of innocence villagers,

and the principles we hold dear,

to deeply consider how wrong and misguided we have become.

Perhaps tomorrow, as we listen to the speeches

of one of the greatest orators of the last century,

we might give his message a small opening

and allow it to find a home,

in the ocean of our goodness,

and in the silence

that cannot be measured.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice as usual OZ. MS

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is this sculpture?

9:39 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

at the UN plaza.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of a thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final world in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger that evil triumphant.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not long after 9-11, a friend quoted that to me from memory.

12:29 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

nice comment r.i.t.h.. That is a new quote for me.

6:54 AM  

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