Question: You have often said, "Perceive and understand the full significance of environment." Does this necessarily mean action coming into conflict with environment? Or is it mere perception, without any dynamic expression in action?
Krishnamurti: How can one truly discern if there is not action? There cannot be an intellectual discernment. There is either deep understanding or the creation of mere theory. If you desire to understand environment, not only the objective but the subjective which is so infinitely subtle, then you must individually come into conflict with it. It is only in conflict, in suffering, that you, the individual, begin to discern the true significance of values; and as most people are afraid to come into contact with suffering, they would rather intellectually perceive their significance. So they leave the responsibility of action to the mass, that vague and unreal entity, which they hope will miraculously alter their environment. and so bring happiness to them.
To understand deeply the subtle significance of environment, you, the individual, must become conscious and break away from those limiting conditions, whether they are social, religious or traditional. Truth, the beauty of reality, can be discerned only when the mind is fearless; not with the fearlessness of intellectuality, but of utter insecurity. You can know, of this only through action.
2nd Public Talk 7th September, 1935