Question: Is greed the product of environment or of human nature?
Krishnamurti: What is human nature? Isn't it itself the product of environment? Why divide them? Is there such a thing as human nature apart from environment? Some believe that the distinction between human nature and environment is artificial, for by altering the environment they say that human nature can be changed and moulded. After all, greed is merely the result of false environment, therefore of human nature itself.
When the individual tries to understand his environment, the conditions in which he lives, then because there is intelligence there can be no greed. Then greed would not be a vice or a sin to be overcome. You do not understand and alter the environment which produces greed, but you fear the result and call it sin. But the mere search for perfect environment, therefore perfect human nature, cannot produce intelligence; but where there is intelligence there is the understanding of the environment, therefore freedom from its reactions. Now environment or society forces you, urges you to be self-protective. But if you begin to understand the environment which produces greed, then in seeing the significance of environment, greed vanishes altogether, and you do not then replace it by its opposite.
6th Public Talk 23rd June, 1934