Maturity is not a matter of time. If you see very clearly, without any distortion, the psychological structure of the society in which you are born, brought up, educated, then the instant you see, you are out of it. Therefore there is maturity on the instant, not in time. You cannot mature gradually; maturity is not like the fruit on the tree. The fruit on the tree needs time, darkness, fresh air, sunlight, rain, and in that process it ripens, ready to fall. But maturity cannot ripen; maturity is on the instant - either you are mature or you are not mature. That is why it is very important psychologically to see how your mind is caught in the structure of the society in which you are being brought up - the society that has made you respectable, the society that has made you conform, that has driven you in the pattern of its activities.
I think one can see totally, immediately, the poisonous nature of society as one sees a bottle marked ''Poison.'' When you see it that way, you will never touch it; you know it is dangerous. But you don't know that society is a danger, that it is the deadliest thing for a man who is mature. Because, maturity is that state of mind which is alone, whereas this psychological social structure never leaves you alone, but is always shaping you, consciously or unconsciously. A mature mind is a mind which is completely alone because it has understood, it is free. And this freedom is on the instant. You cannot work for it, you cannot seek it, you cannot discipline yourself in order to get it - and that is the beauty of freedom. Freedom is not the result of thought; thought is never free, can never be free.
Sixth Public Talk, March 7, 1962