To Have No Ideals

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE NETWORK OF THOUGHT

After millions of yearS we have not solved our problems: we are cutting each other’s throats, we are competing with each other, we hate each other, we want to be successful, the whole pattern is repeated from the time man began and we are still at it. Do what you will along this pattern and no human problem will be solved, whether it be political, religious or economic, because it is thought that is operating.

Now, is there another form of learning; learning, not in the context of knowledge, but a different form, a non-accumulative perception-action? To find out we have to enquire whether it is possible to observe the content of consciousness and to observe the world without a single prejudice. Is that possible? Do not say it is not possible, just ask the question. See whether, when you have a prejudice, you can observe clearly. You cannot, obviously. If you have a certain conclusion, a certain set of beliefs, concepts, ideals, and you want to see clearly what the world is, all those conclusions, ideals, prejudices and so on will actually prevent it. It is not a question of how to get rid of your prejudices but of seeing clearly, intelligently, that any form of prejudice, however noble or ignoble will actually prevent perception. When you see that, prejudices go. What is important is not the prejudice but the demand to see clearly.

If I want to be a good surgeon I cannot do so with ideals or prejudices about surgeons; I must actually perform surgery. Can you see that a new form of action, a new form of non-accumulative knowledge, is possible which will break the pattern, break the programme, so that you are acting totally differently?

The way we have lived, over millions of years, has been the repetition of the same process of acquiring knowledge and acting from that knowledge. That knowledge and action is limited. That limitation creates problems and the brain has become accustomed to solving the problems which knowledge has repeatedly created. The brain is caught in that pattern and we are saying that that pattern will never, in any circumstance, solve our human problems. Obviously we have not solved them up till now. There must be a different, a totally different, movement, which is a non-accumulative perception-action. To have non-accumulative perception is to have no prejudice. It is to have absolutely no ideals, no concepts, no faith – because all those have destroyed man, they have not solved his problems.

So: have you a prejudice? Have you a prejudice which has something in common with an ideal? Of course. Ideals are to be accomplished in the future, and knowledge becomes tremendously important in the realizing of ideals. So, can you observe without accumulation, without the destructive nature of prejudice, ideals, faith, belief and your own conclusions and experiences? There is group consciousness, national consciousness, linguistic consciousness, professional consciousness, racial consciousness, and there is fear, anxiety, sorrow, loneliness, the pursuit of pleasure, love and finally death. If you keep acting in that circle, you maintain the human consciousness of the world. just see the truth of this. You are part of that consciousness and you sustain it by saying, ‘I am an individual. My prejudices are important. My ideals are essential’ – repeating the same thing over and over again. Now the maintenance, the sustenance and the nourishment, of that consciousness takes place when you are repeating that pattern. But when you break away from that consciousness, you are introducing a totally new factor in the whole of that consciousness.

Now, if we understand the nature of our own consciousness, if we see how it is operating in this endless cycle of knowledge, action and division – a consciousness which has been sustained for millennia – if we see the truth that all this is a form of prejudice and break away from it, we introduce a new factor into the old. It means that you, as a human being who is of the consciousness of the rest of mankind, can move away from the old pattern of obedience and acceptance. That is the real turning point in your life. Man cannot go on repeating the old pattern, it has lost its meaning, – in the psychological world it has totally lost its meaning. If you fulfil yourself, who cares? If you become a saint, what does it matter?

Whereas, if you totally move away from that you affect the whole consciousness of mankind.