Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Questioner: You decry war and yet are you not supporting it?

Krishnamurti: Are we not all of us maintaining this terrible mass murder? We are responsible, each one, for war; war is an end result of our daily life; it is brought into being through our daily thought-feeling-action. What we are in our occupational, social, religious relationships, that we project; what we are the world is.

Unless we understand the primary and secondary issues involved in the responsibility for war, we shall be confused and unable to extricate ourselves from its disaster. We must know where to lay the emphasis and then only shall we understand the problem. The inevitable end of this society is war; it is geared to war, its industrialization leads to war; its values promote war. Whatever we do within its borders contributes to war. When we buy something, the tax goes towards war; the postage stamps help to support war. We cannot escape from war go where we will, especially now, as society is organized for total war. The most simple and harmless work contributes to war in one way or another. Whether we like it or not, by our very existence we are helping to maintain war. So what are we to do? We cannot withdraw to an island or to a primitive community, for the present culture is everywhere. So what can we do? Shall we refuse to support war by not paying taxes, not buying stamps? Is that the primary issue? If it is not, and if it is only the secondary, then do not let us be distracted by it.

Is not the primary issue much deeper, that of the cause of war itself? If we can understand the cause of war then the secondary issue can be approached from a different point of view altogether; if we do not understand, then we shall be lost in it. If we can free ourselves from the causes of war then perhaps the secondary problem may not arise at all.

So emphasis must be laid upon the discovery within oneself of the cause of war; this discovery must be made by each one and not by an organized group, for group activities tend to make for thoughtlessness, mere propaganda and slogan, which only breed further intolerance and strife. The cause must be self-discovered and thus each one through direct experience liberates himself from it.

If we consider deeply we are well aware of the causes of war: passion, ill will and ignorance; sensuality, worldliness and the craving for personal fame and continuity; greed, envy and ambition; nationalism with its separate sovereignties, economic frontiers, social divisions, racial prejudices and organized religion. Cannot each one be aware of his greed, ill will, ignorance, and so free himself from them? We hold to nationalism for it is an outlet to our cruel, criminal instincts; in the name of our country or ideology we can murder or liquidate with impunity, become heroes, and the more we kill our fellowmen the more honor we receive from our country.

Now is not liberation from the cause of conflict and sorrow the primary issue? If we do not lay emphasis upon this how will the solution of the secondary problems stop war? If we do not root out the causes of war in ourselves, of what value is it to tinker with the outward results of our inner state? We must, each one, dig deeply and clear away lust, ill will and ignorance; we must utterly abandon nationalism, racialism and those causes that breed enmity. We must concern ourselves wholly with that which is of primary importance and not be confused with secondary issues.

Ojai, California
4th Public Talk 1945