Have you ever considered why we are disciplined, or why we discipline ourselves? Political parties all over the world insist that the party discipline be followed. Your parents, your teachers, the society around you – they all tell you that you must be disciplined, controlled. Why? And is there really any necessity for discipline at all? I know we are accustomed to think that discipline is necessary – the discipline imposed either by society, or by a religious teacher, or by a particular moral code, or by our own experience. The ambitious man who wants to achieve, who wants to make a lot of money, who wants to be a great politician – his very ambition becomes the means of his own discipline. So everyone around you says that discipline is necessary: you must go to bed and get up at a certain hour, you must study, pass examinations, obey your father and mother, and so on.
Now, why should you be disciplined at all? What does discipline mean? It means adjusting yourself to something, does it not? To adjust your thinking to what other people say, to resist some forms of desire and accept others, to comply with this practice and not with that, to conform, to suppress, to follow, not only on the surface of the mind, but also deep down – all this is implied in discipline. And for centuries, age after age, we have been told by teachers, gurus, priests, politicians, kings, lawyers, by the society in which we live, that there must be discipline.
So, I am asking myself – and I hope you too are asking yourself – whether discipline is necessary at all, and whether there is not an entirely different approach to this problem? I think there is a different approach, and this is the real issue which is confronting not only the schools but the whole world. You see, it is generally accepted that, in order to be efficient, you must be disciplined, either by a moral code, a political creed, or by being trained to work like a machine in a factory; but this very process of discipline is making the mind dull through conformity.
Now, does discipline set you free, or does it make you conform to an ideological pattern, whether it be the utopian pattern of communism, or some kind of moral or religious pattern? Can discipline ever set you free? Having bound you, made you a prisoner, as all forms of discipline do, can it then let you go? How can it? Or is there a different approach altogether – which is to awaken a really deep insight into the whole problem of discipline? That is, can you, the individual, have only one desire and not two or many conflicting desires? Do you understand what I mean? The moment you have two, three, or ten desires, you have the problem of discipline, have you not? You want to be rich, to have cars, houses, and at the same time you want to renounce these things because you think that to possess little or nothing is moral, ethical, religious. And is it possible to be educated in the right way so that one’s whole being is integrated, without contradiction, and therefore without the need of discipline? To be integrated implies a sense of freedom, and when this integration is taking place there is surely no need for discipline. Integration means being one thing totally on all levels at the same time.
You see, if we could have right education from the very tenderest age, it would bring about a state in which there is no contradiction at all, either within or without; and then there would be no need for discipline or compulsion because you would be doing something completely, freely, with your whole being. Discipline arises only when there is a contradiction. The politicians, the governments, the organized religions want you to have only one way of thinking, because if they can make you a complete communist, a complete Catholic, or whatever it is, then you are not a problem, you simply believe and work like a machine; then there is no contradiction because you just follow. But all following is destructive because it is mechanical, it is mere conformity in which there is no creative release.
Now, can we bring about, from the tenderest age, a sense of complete security, a feeling of being at home, so that in you there is no struggle to be this and not to be that? Because the moment there is an inward struggle there is conflict, and to overcome that conflict there must be discipline. Whereas, if you are rightly educated, then everything that you do is an integrated action; there is no contradiction and hence no compulsive action. As long as there is no integration there must be discipline, but discipline is destructive because it does not lead to freedom.
To be integrated does not demand any form of discipline. That is, if I am doing what is good, what is intrinsically true, what is really beautiful, doing it with my whole being, then there is no contradiction in me and I am not merely conforming to something. If what I am doing is totally good, right in itself – not right according to some Hindu tradition or communist theory, but timelessly right under all circumstances – then I am an integrated human being and have no need for discipline. And is it not the function of a school to bring about in you this sense of integrated confidence so that what you are doing is not merely what you wish to do, but that which is fundamentally right and good, everlastingly true? you love there is no need for discipline, is there? Love brings its own creative understanding, therefore there is no resistance, no conflict; but to love with such complete integration is possible only when you feel deeply secure, completely at home, especially while you are young. This means, really, that the educator and the student must have abounding confidence in each other, otherwise we shall create a society which will be as ugly and destructive as the present one. If we can understand the significance of completely integrated action in which there is no contradiction, and therefore no need for discipline, then I think we shall bring about a totally different kind of culture, a new civilization. But if we merely resist, suppress, then what is suppressed will inevitably rebound in other directions and set going various mischievous activities and destructive events.
So it is very important to understand this whole question of discipline. To me, discipline is something altogether ugly; it is not creative, it is destructive. But merely to stop there, with a statement of that kind, may seem to imply that you can do whatever you like. On the contrary, a man who loves does not do whatever he likes. It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will.
Questioner: Why do we hate the poor?
Krishnamurti: Do you really hate the poor? I am not condemning you; I am just asking, do you really hate the poor? And if you do, why? Is it because you also may be poor one day, and imagining your own plight then, you reject it? Or is it that you dislike the sordid, dirty, unkempt existence of the poor? Disliking untidiness, disorder, squalor, filth, you say, “I don’t want to have anything to do with the poor.” Is that it? But who has created poverty, squalor and disorder in the world? You, your parents, your government – our whole society has created them; because, you see, we have no love in our hearts. We love neither our children nor our neighbours, neither the living nor the dead. We have no love for anything at all. The politicians are not going to eradicate all this misery and ugliness in the world, any more than the religions and the reformers will, because they are only concerned with a little patchwork here and there; but if there were love, then all these ugly things would disappear tomorrow.
Do you love anything? Do you know what it is to love? You know, when you love something completely, with your whole being, that love is not sentimental, it is not duty, it is not divided as physical or divine. Do you love anyone or anything with your whole being – your parents, a friend, your dog, a tree? Do you? I am afraid you don’t. That is why you have vast spaces in your being in which there is ugliness, hate, envy. You see, the man who loves has no room for anything else. We should really spend our time discussing all this and finding out how to remove the things that are so cluttering our minds that we cannot love; for it is only when we love that we can be free and happy. It is only people who are loving, vital, happy, that can create a new world – not the politicians, not the reformers or the few ideological saints.
Questioner: You talk about truth goodness and integration, which implies that on the other side there is untruth, evil and disintegration. So how can one be true, good and integrated without discipline?
Krishnamurti: In other words, being envious, how can one be free of envy without discipline? I think it is very important to understand the question itself; because the answer is in the question, it is not apart from the question.
Do you know what envy means? You are nice looking, you are finely dressed, or wear a beautiful turban or sari, and I also want to dress like that; but I cannot, so I am envious. I am envious because I want what you have; I want to be different from what I am.
I am envious because I want to be as beautiful as you are; I want to have the fine clothes, the elegant house, the high position that you have. Being dissatisfied with what I am, I want to be like you; but, if I understood my dissatisfaction and its cause, then I would not want to be like you or long for the things that you have. In other words, if once I begin to understand what I am, then I shall never compare myself with another or be envious of anyone. Envy arises because I want to change myself and become like somebody else. But if I say, “Whatever I am, that I want to understand”, then envy is gone; then there is no need of discipline, and out of the understanding of what I am comes integration.
Our education, our environment, our whole culture insists that we must become something. Our philosophies, our religions and sacred books all say the same thing. But now I see that the very process of becoming something implies envy, which means that I am not satisfied with being what I am; and I want to understand what I am, I want to find out why I am always comparing myself with another, trying to become something; and in understanding what I am there is no need for discipline. In the process of that understanding, integration comes into being. The contradiction in me yields to the understanding of myself, and this in turn brings an action which is integral, whole.
Questioner: What is power?
Krishnamurti: There is mechanical power, the power produced by the internal combustion engine, by steam, or by electricity. There is the power that dwells in a tree, that causes the sap to flow, that creates the leaf. There is the power to think very clearly, the power to love, the power to hate, the power of a dictator, the power to exploit people in the name of God, in the name of the Masters, in the name of a country. These are all forms of power.
Now, power as electricity or light, atomic power, and so on – all such forms of power are good in themselves, are they not? But the power of the mind that uses them for the purposes of aggression and tyranny, to gain something for itself – such power is evil under all circumstances. The head of any society, church or religious group who has power over other people is an evil person, because he is controlling, shaping, guiding others without knowing where he himself is going. This is true not only of the big organizations, but of the little societies all over the world. The moment a person is clear, unconfused, he ceases to be a leader and therefore he has no power.
So it is very important to understand why the human mind demands to have power over others. The parents have power over their children, the wife over the husband, or the husband over the wife. Beginning in the small family, the evil extends until it becomes the tyranny of governments, of political leaders and religious interpreters. And can one live without this hunger for power, without wanting to influence or exploit people, without wanting power for oneself, or for a group or a nation, or for a Master or a saint? All such forms of power are destructive, they bring misery to man. Whereas, to be really kind, to be considerate, to love – this is a strange thing, it has its own timeless effect. Love is its own eternity, and where there is love there is no evil power.
Questioner: Why do we seek fame?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever thought about it? We want to be famous as a writer, as a poet, as a painter, as a politician, as a singer, or what you will. Why? Because we really don’t love what we are doing. If you loved to sing, or to paint, or to write poems – if you really loved it – you would not be concerned with whether you are famous or not. To want to be famous is tawdry, trivial, stupid, it has no meaning; but, because we don’t love what we are doing, we want to enrich ourselves with fame. Our present education is rotten because it teaches us to love success and not what we are doing. The result has become more important than the action.
You know, it is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a name. That does not make you famous, it does not cause your photograph to appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door. You are just a creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great beauty.