On Enquiry

J. Krishnamurti

I think there is a process of learning which is not related to wanting to be taught. Being confused, most of us want to find someone who will help us not to be confused, and therefore we are merely learning or acquiring knowledge in order to conform to a particular pattern; and it seems to me that all such forms of learning must invariably lead not only to further confusion but also to deterioration of the mind. I think there is a different kind of learning, a learning which is an inquiry into ourselves and in which there is no teacher and no taught, neither the disciple nor the guru. When you begin to inquire into the operation of your own mind, when you observe your own thinking, your daily activities and feelings, you cannot be taught because there is no one to teach you. You cannot base your inquiry on any authority, on any assumption, on any previous knowledge. If you do, then you are merely conforming to the pattern of what you already know, and therefore you are no longer learning about yourself.

I think it is very important to learn about oneself because it is only then that the mind can be emptied of the old, and unless the mind is emptied of the old, there can be no new impulse. It is this new, creative impulse that is essential if the individual is to bring about a different world, a different relationship, a different structure of morality. And it is only through totally emptying the mind of the old that the new impulse can come into being, give it whatever name you like—the impulse of reality, the grace of God, the feeling of something completely new, unpremeditated, something which has never been thought of, which has not been put together by the mind. Without that extraordinarily creative impulse of reality, do what you will to clear up the confusion and bring order in the social structure, it can only lead to further misery. I think this is fairly obvious when one observes the political and social events that are taking place in the world.

J Krishnamurti, excerpt from the Fourth Talk in Bombay, India

20th February 1957

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