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One can see very clearly in one's daily life how contradictory, how confused it is; one's life as it is lived now, is absolutely meaningless. One may invent a meaning; the intellectuals do invent a meaning and people follow that meaning - which may be a very clever philosophy, but is produced out of nothing. Whereas if one is only concerned with 'what is', without inventing some significance, or escape, or indulging in theories or ideologies, if one is tremendously aware, then one's mind is capable of facing 'what is'. Theories and beliefs do not change one's life - man has had them for thousands of years and he has not changed; they have, perhaps, given him a superficial polish; he is, perhaps, less savage, but he is still brutal, violent, capricious, incapable of sustaining seriousness. We live a life of great sorrow from the moment we are born till we die. That is a fact. No amount of speculative theories about that fact will affect it. What does affect 'what is' is the capacity, the energy, the intensity, the passion with which one looks at that fact. And one cannot have passion and intensity, if one's mind is running after some delusion, some speculative ideology.
Beyond Violence| Santa Monica, California | 3rd Public Talk, 7th March 1970 Read full text