Ojai, California | 2nd Public Talk 17th June, 1934
Question: You say that the "I" is the product of environment. Do you mean that a perfect environment could be created which would not develop the "I" consciousness? If so, the perfect freedom of which you speak is a matter of creating the right environment. Is this correct?
Voices from audience: "No."
Krishnamurti: Wait a minute. Can there ever be right environment, perfect environment? There cannot. Those people who answered"no" haven't thought it out fully, so let us reason together, go into it fully.
What is environment? Environment is created, this whole human structure has been created, by human fears, longings, hopes, desires, attainments. Now, you cannot make a perfect environment because each man is creating, according to his fancies and desires, new sets of conditions; but having an intelligent mind, you can pierce through all these false environments and therefore be free of that "I" consciousness. Please, the "I" consciousness, the sense of "mine", is the result of environment; isn't it? I don't think we need discuss it because it is pretty obvious.
If the state gave you your house and everything you required, there would be no need of "my" house - there might be some other sense of "mine", but we are discussing the particular. As that has not been the case with you, there is the sense of"mine', possessiveness. That is the result of environment, that "I" is but the false reaction to environment. Whereas if the mind begins to question the environment itself, there is no longer a reaction to environment. Therefore we are not concerned with the possibility of there ever being a perfect environment.
After all, what is perfect environment? Each man will tell you what to him is a perfect environment. The artist will say one thing, the financier another, the cinema actress another; each man asks for a perfect environment which satisfies him, in other words, which does not create conflict in him. Therefore there cannot be a perfect environment. But if there is intelligence, then environment has no value, no significance, because intelligence is then freed from circumstance, it is functioning fully.
The question is not whether we can create a perfect environment, but rather how to awaken that intelligence which shall be free of environment, imperfect or perfect. I say you can awaken that intelligence by questioning the full value of any environment in which your mind is caught up. Then you will see that you are free of any particular environment, because then you are functioning intelligently, not being twisted, perverted, shaped by environment.