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Can one live totally honestly? by Krishnamurti

Mar 21, 2021

Yesterday I've watched this lovely talk of J. Krishnamurti about honesty. It was so good that today I had to re-watch it.

Then I was lucky to find that the first comment had the transcript of this talk so I want to publish here for future reference. I ended up highlighting some great gems of wisdom that made most sense to me.

Here's the transcript:

We have been handed over many, many questions and some of them we are going to answer this morning. But before we go into that how can one live in this world, in the modern world, which is becoming more and more complex and dangerous, how can one live totally honestly? What is honesty? Not honesty as some preconception, to some ideological concept, or to some fanciful imaginative, romantic, sentimental perception, but rather not to have any illusions. No illusions whatsoever. The word 'illusion' - we looked it up carefully in the dictionary - comes from the word, root word ludere, to play. We play with illusions, which have nothing whatsoever to do with our daily life. Perhaps the more imaginative one is, the more romantic and so on, and cannot possibly face this modern world, which is fairly corrupt, and if one can use the word, immoral, where money and power play an immense part, how can one live now, every day, with total honesty?

One wonders if each one of us has asked this question: to live totally an honest true life. To go into that a little bit - there are many questions before you can - what is integrity? Integrity is related to honesty. Integrity is the quality of a brain or one's existence which is whole, holistic, not fragmented. Our lives are fragmented. Integrity, not something that one has conceived to be true, conceived, thought out to be true and live according to that. That is a form of a way of living which is fragmented because thought has invented a concept, an ideal, something according to which one lives, which then brings about fragmentation. One conceives something to be true, logical, sane, conceives the idea, and tries to live up to that - right? That naturally brings fragmentation, a break. You have conceived something to be true, imagined, experienced, and one tries to live according to that, which has nothing to do with actual fact. And so there is always this fragment, fragmentation going on in our lives. And that partly brings about dishonesty. The idealist is really quite a dishonest man. Forgive me for saying this. Because he is living according to a preconceived way of life. "I must live according to that pattern" - which is nothing to do with daily life and so there is conflict. That breeds hypocrisy. So is it possible to live in this world with total honesty, integrity, a sense of doing the right inwardly, not externally but first inwardly, to see that one's behaviour, one's conduct, one's way of thinking is completely free of illusions, not dependent on some fanciful concept or on persons and so on. That requires tremendous integrity. So that one never says anything that is not true to yourself. What is true to oneself is rather difficult too because one may say, "It is my opinion and that is true." And if one lives according to one's opinions and therefore come into conflict with other people who have also strong opinions, there is a battle going on - right? These are all daily facts. And is it possible to have such clarity, to see things exactly as they are, not according to one's wishes and desires and all the rest of that business, but to have such a clear, logical sane, brain, that is not persuaded by personal desires, motives and dependence?

And it demands we should also go into very briefly, which we talked about the other day, time. May we go into it a little bit? We are friends now after ten days, no, three weeks, we are friends now so we can talk together quite easily, casually and with great sense of humour and a sense of friendship, so that we can both of us look at things together. As we were saying the other day time is the past, all the memories that one has accumulated, all the experiences and so on, which is the background. That background is operating now, as you sit there. We are sitting there here, and when you listen to the words you translate those words into a certain meaning, and that meaning depends on your past knowledge and so on. So the present contains the past. There is no question about that. That is sane. And also the future, the tomorrow, is contained in the now. Which is the future is part of the past - right? Together? Are we together? The past, modified in the present, proceeds tomorrow, which is the future. So tomorrow is now. I am - one is angry for whatever reasons, if that anger is not understood, put an end to, I will be angry tomorrow again. Or perhaps not tomorrow, next week. So the future contains in the now - right? Is this clear? So the now contains all time. Right? Are we together in this a little bit? The future, the past and the present is now. And the now is both time and thought - right? Thought, which is memory stored up as knowledge and so on, which is the past, knowledge is always the past, and that past passes through the present, incidents, pressures, modifies itself and goes on. So the past is the future and the future is now - right? And can one understand this whole process, this movement? It is a movement, isn't it? From the past, through the present to the future is a constant movement, a cycle. And that cycle is our life. And can one remain - please we were thinking about it early this morning, looking at it - can one remain in the now, which is all time, without any movement? You understand? Movement is time - right? To go from here, there, or to learn a language, it requires time. Any movement in any direction, horizontal, vertical and so on, or symmetrical, is time, any movement. And to have this sense of living totally in the now, without any movement, either of thought or of action - you understand all this? To see that time, thought is contained in the now, and that any movement away from it is caught again in time and thought. I don't know if you follow all this.

So integrity, honesty, and a sense of wholeness is a quality of brain in which there is no movement except the brain has its own rhythm This is all Greek probably. This is very serious this because we are always acting, going round and round and round in circles. We never break the circle. And this constantly going round and round not only makes the brain quite dull but also it breeds a mechanical way of life. And a mechanical way of life is not honest, it is repetitive. So to find out what is the deep abiding, unshakable honesty, which is integrity, a wholeness, is to discover a state of brain in which there is no movement at all. This, of course, is part of meditation, which we have talked about, which we won't go into this morning.

And that non-movement has its own action in life, because to us action is doing something, achieving something, fulfilling something, in something, which is a movement from the centre to the periphery. I don't know if you follow all this. And that is what we are used to. And where there is no movement there is a wholeness, and from that wholeness there is action which can never bring about conflict. Right? I don't know if you understand all this. I wish you would. Not that I am helping you, which would be terrible but if we could work together, see this thing, it will radically bring about fundamental change. For the brain has become so conditioned, so small, it has lost its infinite capacity because the brain has infinite capacity. Look what the technological world are doing, what extraordinary capacity has gone into it - computers, submarines, aeroplanes, you know, extraordinary things they are dong. And as the brain has that tremendous capacity in one direction, the brain is not exercising itself in another direction, which is inwardly. You understand? And when both externally and inwardly, both of them operating together there is something tremendous.

Saanen, Switzerland in 1984

J. Krishnamurti

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