Most of you will agree: our society is far from perfect.
We’ve made undeniable progress. Yet we still struggle with the same problems that have plagued humanity for centuries.
The powerful continue to exploit the powerless. And our planet continues to pay the price for our progress.
You have to admit: society is failing its most vulnerable members.
The result is a conflicted species that is unwittingly driving itself and everything else into extinction.
The only way out of this mess is to continue questioning the essence of our existence.
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
Here are 7 brutal truths from Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti that will change the way you’ll see society and yourself.
1. “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
Can we blame all of our problems to society alone? Of course not, but we are responsible for not actively creating necessary changes for its betterment.
This is perhaps Krishnamurti’s most well-known quote. However, we continue to misinterpret it.
What this quote really means, is our human desire for comfort and security, and our open refusal to let it go despite the cost to ourselves and our world.
Krishnamurti believes that there are 4 signs of a sick society:
- It pollutes the air it needs to breathe.
- It pollutes the water it needs to drink.
- It pollutes the food it needs to eat.
- creates unhealthy individuals it needs to evolve with.
His 6-decade old philosophy applies to our society now more than ever.
2. “The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement; you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.”
Powerful words with gut-wrenching meaning.
Just when you’ve discovered more about yourself, you’re faced with even more questions about your discovery.
We all believe that we’ll find happiness or contentment once we’ve achieved self-knowledge. But the truth is, self-knowledge is not something you achieve in an end game. Because there is no end game.
There will always be more to learn, more to discover about ourselves. There is no perfection to achieve, just infinite possibilities.
3. “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”
Much of the problems our society face is due to our failure to step back, evaluate, and think without judgement.
We can never achieve an understanding of each other, if we fail to do so.
Aristotle has said the same thing, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Racism, terrorism, immigration laws, and every other social “diseases” we have will never be cured unless we embrace this philosophy.
4. “Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
Traditions have served us well. It has given us a blanket of security that diminishes all the anxiety we feel as humans.
However, it is a virus against progress. It is our traditional thinking that inhibits us to understand each other’s differences – even to grow as a species.
We need to break traditions and free ourselves from things that stop us from growing.
In shaman Rudá Iandé words:
“The dynamic of life is pushing us to move, to work, to evolve. And when we start realizing that, we can start shifting our minds to see our goals, the places where you want to go, and what we want to achieve.”
(We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.)
5. “Die to everything of yesterday so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigor and passion.”
Krishnamurti may have been born decades too early, but his teachings are as relevant, even more so now.
Even in a society overcome by astounding technological advancements, we are still clinging to our past. Our traditions, history, and archaic beliefs of ourselves have lulled us into a sense of false security.
We are so proud of our achievements, that pride has stopped us from becoming explorers, conquerors, learners of the unknown.
We need to remember our roots, but remain passionate about what is still out there waiting to be discovered.
6. “Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something – and it is only such love that can know freedom.”
Is our concept of modern love inherently sick?
Krishnamurti believed so. Love is not something to trade. It is not something we use to manipulate something for our advantage.
It should be given freely, without expectations.
His concept of love is aligned to Buddhist teachings. In Buddhism, love is about kindness, compassion, communication, and lack of judgement.
True love, platonic or romantic, is about loving without complexity. It is an act of giving.
7. “If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.”
We live in a society that promotes the $10-billion industry of “self-improvement.”
We are constantly told what to eat, how to look, talk, act, and be.
But these assumptions do us more harm than good.
Krishnamurti believed that transformation can only be achieved when we come to a deep understanding of ourselves, without trying to change it.
We are ambitious by nature, but it is our ambition that gives us frustration, which inevitably leads to “sorrow.”
In his own words:
“The whole world is worshiping success. You hear stories of how the poor boy studied at night and eventually became a judge, or how he began by selling newspapers and ended up a multimillionaire.
“You are fed on the glorification of success. With the achievement of great success there is also great sorrow; but most of us are caught up in the desire to achieve, and success is much more important to us than the understanding and dissolution of sorrow.”
Krishnamurti’s powerful words for humanity
With the social construct we’ve created, wouldn’t you think Krishnamurti’s desires are hard to achieve?
He didn’t think so.
It is never too late to put into action a significant change.
“It is only when you don’t totally feel the truth of something that you say it is difficult to put it into action. You don’t love it. That which you love you do with ardour, there is joy in it, and then what society or what your parents may say does not matter. But if you are not deeply convinced, if you do not feel free and happy in doing what you think is right, surely your interest in it is false, unreal; therefore it becomes mountainous and you say it is difficult to put it into action.
In doing what you love to do there will of course be difficulties, but that won’t matter to you, it is part of life. You see, we have made a philosophy of difficulty, we consider it a virtue to make effort, to struggle, to oppose.”
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