To Deny All Morality Is To Be Moral

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE ONLY REVOLUTION

Imagination and thought have no place in meditation. They lead to bondage. And meditation brings freedom. The good and the pleasurable are two different things; the one brings freedom and the other leads to the bondage of time. Meditation is the freedom from time. Time is the observer, the experiencer, the thinker, and time is thought; meditation is the going beyond and above the activities of time. Imagination is always in the field of time, and however concealed and secretive it may be, it will act. This action of thought will inevitably lead to conflict and to the bondage of time. To meditate is to be innocent of time. You could see the lake from many miles away. You got to it through winding roads that wandered through fields of grain and the pine forests. It was a very tidy country. The roads were very clean and the farms with their cattle, horses, chickens and pigs were well-ordered. You went through the rolling hills down to the lake, and on every side were mountains covered with snow. It was very clear, and the snow was sparkling in the early morning. There had been no wars in this country for many centuries, and one felt the great security, the undisturbed routine of everyday life, bringing with it the dullness and indifference of the established society of a good government. It was a smooth well-kept road, wide enough for cars to pass each other easily; and now, as you came over the hill, you were among orchards. A little further on there was a great patch of tobacco. As you came near it you could smell the strong smell of ripening tobacco flowers. That morning, coming down from an altitude, it was beginning to get warm and the air was rather heavy. The peace of the land entered your heart, and you became part of the earth. It was an early spring day. There was a cool breeze from the north, and the sun was already beginning to make sharp shadows. The tall, heavy eucalyptus was gently swaying against the house, and a single blackbird was singing; you could see it from where you sat. It must have felt rather lonely, for there were very few birds that morning. The sparrows were lined up on the wall overlooking the garden. The garden was rather ill-kept; the lawn needed mowing. The children would come out and play in the afternoon and you could hear their shouts and laughter. They would chase each other among the trees, playing hide-and-seek, and high laughter would fill the air. There were about eight people around the table at lunch. One was a film director, another a pianist, and there was also a young student from some university. They were talking about politics and the riots in America, and the war that seemed to be going on and on. There was an easy flow of conversation about nothing. The director said, suddenly: “We of the older generation-have no place in the coming modern world. A well-known author spoke the other day at the university – and the students tore him to pieces and he was left flat. What he was saying had no relation to what the students wanted, or thought about, or demanded. He was asserting his views, his importance, his way of life, and the students would have none of it. As I know him, I know what he felt. He was really lost, but would not admit it. He wanted to be accepted by the younger generation and they would not have his respectable, traditional way of life – though in his books he wrote about a formalized change… ‘I, personally,’ went on the director, ‘see that I have no relation or contact with anyone of the younger generation. I feel that we are hypocrites.’ This was said by a man who had many well-known avant-garde films to his name. He was not bitter about it. He was just stating a fact, with a smile and a shrug of his shoulders. What was especially nice about him was his frankness, with that touch of humility which often goes with it. The pianist was quite young. He had given up his promising career because he thought the whole world of impresarios, concerts, and the publicity and money involved in it, was a glorified racket. He himself wanted to live a different kind of life, a religious life. He said: ;It is the same all the world over. I have just come from India. There the gap between the old and the new is perhaps even wider. There the tradition and the vitality of the old are tremendously strong, and probably the younger generation will be sucked into it. But at least there will be a few, I hope, who will resist and start a different movement. ‘And I have noticed, for I have travelled quite a bit, that the younger people (and I am old compared with the young) are breaking away more and more from the establishment. Perhaps they get lost in the world of drugs and oriental mysticism, but they have a promise, a new vitality. They reject the church, the fat priest, the sophisticated hierarchy of the religious world. They don’t want to have anything to do with politics or wars. Perhaps out of them will come a germ of the new.’ The university student had been silent all this time, eating his spaghetti and looking out of the window; but he was taking in the conversation, as were the others. He was rather shy, and though he disliked study he went to the university and listened to the professor – who couldn’t teach him properly. He read a great deal; he liked English literature as well as that of his own country, and had talked about it at other meals and at other times. He said: ‘Though I am only twenty I am already old compared with the fifteen-year-olds. Their brains work faster, they are keener, they see things more clearly, they get to the point before I do. They seem to know much more, and I feel old compared with them. But I entirely agree with what you said. You feel you are hypocrites, say one thing and do another. This you can understand in the politicians and in the priests, but what puzzles me is – why should others join this world of hypocrisy? Your morality stinks; you want wars. ‘As for us, we don’t hate the black or the brown man, or any other colour. We feel at home with all of them. I know this because I have moved about with them. But you, the older generation, have created this world of racial distinction and war – and we don’t want any of it. So we revolt. But again, this revolt is made fashionable and exploited by the different politicians, and so we lose our original revulsion against all this. Perhaps we, too, will become respectable, moral citizens. But now we hate your morality and have no morality at all.’ There was a minute or two of silence; and the eucalyptus was still, almost listening to the words going on around the table. The blackbird had gone, and so had the sparrows. We said: Bravo, you are perfectly right. To deny all morality is to be moral, for the accepted morality is the morality of respectability, and I’m afraid we all crave to be respected – which is to be recognised as good citizens in a rotten society. Respectability is very profitable and ensures you a good job and a steady income. The accepted morality of greed, envy and hate is the way of the establishment. When you totally deny all this, not with your lips but with your heart, then you are really moral. For this morality springs out of love and not out of any motive of profit, of achievement, of place in the hierarchy. There cannot be this love if you belong to a society in which you want to find fame, recognition, a position. Since there is no love in this, its morality is immorality. When you deny all this from the very bottom of your heart, then there is a virtue that is encompassed by love.