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J. Krishnamurti Discourse: War Acts as a Release to Criminal Instincts

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/6/09

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Questioner: What do you advise us to do when war breaks out?

Jiddu Krishnamurti: Instead of seeking advice, may I suggest that we examine the problem together? To follow the advice of another in moments of crisis leads to our own destruction; whereas, if we were able to understand the whole implication of war, then we would be able to act truly for ourselves. We would not act according to our conditioning, and that conditioning is strengthened through propaganda and by various other means to impress upon us the necessity of going to war. As we are now conditioned by the so-called love of the country, by economic frontiers, by ideologies - religious or political - we will inevitably jump to arms. To such people, there is no problem; their action is definite and clear-cut; it is called duty and responsibility, and they become the cannon fodder.

You have a problem only when you begin to question the causes of war, which are not merely economic, as some would like to make out, but much more psychological. War is only a bloody and a spectacular projection of your daily life. War comes into being only when you, in your relationship with another, breed conflict, which is the result of your inward strife and misery. This is projected outwardly as antisocial action, and causes disaster and misery. Through greed, acquisitiveness, and envy you are killing, destroying, and maiming thousands.

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So, when you begin to inquire into the causes of war, you are beginning to understand your relationship with another, you are questioning your whole way of living. According to this inquiry, intelligent or superficial, you will respond when war comes. A man who is nonviolent - who is not the idealist who is striving to become nonviolent - to him war is a great disaster and not productive of peace. So, he will not enter it naturally; he may be shot or he may be imprisoned. He will naturally disregard the consequences.

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The idealist, as I have previously explained, is incapable of being free from violence. As your life is based on conflict and violence, if you do not understand that way of life now, how can you act tomorrow with understanding when there is a calamity? How can you, who have been conditioned by nationalism, by class security, by envy, be free of your conditioning at the moment of war? You have to free yourself from these causes of disaster before war comes into being.

War breeds its irresponsibility, and many like this freedom from responsibility. The government will feed you and your family and so on. War gives you an escape from the boring routine of your daily life. It is an ugly business, killing, but at least it is exciting. Also, war acts as a release to criminal instincts. We are criminals in our daily life - in the world of business, in our relationships - but it is all very carefully hidden, covered over with a righteous blanket and legalized. War gives a release from this hypocrisy, and at last we can be openly violent. So, it depends upon your conditioning, how you will act when you are called to arms. But those of us who are earnest, if we can understand how we are violent in our daily life and understand it by actually facing it, if we can be aware of violence in our speech, in our thoughts, in our feelings, and in our actions, we will see that when war comes, we shall be able to act truly.

It is only by being aware of what is and not trying to transform it, trying to make it into something else, that understanding comes. A man who is pursuing an ideal will act falsely because his response will be based on frustration. If you are aware of your daily thoughts and actions without choice and condemnation or justification, then you will be free from those causes that bring about war.


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