“The source or origin of disorder is the self-centred, egotistic attitude towards the world - me first and you second, our colossal selfishness.” Public Talk 1 in New York, 20 April 1974
We know enough about being self-centered, egocentric, to know we need to change radically from this slavish condition to freedom, even though we can’t imagine what it is to have no center, no “I, me, mine” mentality. We feel the urgent need for this transformation, and if we only knew how to begin doing what it takes to bring it about, we’d be ardently doing it. But Krishnamurti warns that there is no technique or method or path we can turn to that is not self-hypnosis, deepening our delusion and strengthening our sense of self. On the one hand he asserts, “Do it!”, and on the other hand, says not to make a move toward that end because to do so is only the continuation of the illusion of self.
So what is one to do? Are we hopelessly blind to what we’re doing, or is it possible to see ourselves cultivating and maintaining our illusion of self? We can’t assume it’s impossible just because we haven’t done it, and we can’t assume we can do it because that would be the self’s new guise. We are too identified with our self to do anything that is not furthering it, so there is nothing we can do…which means one must do nothing.
The self is created by thought. It’s a product of a mind that must be somebody, a character, a protagonist in a narrative that continues for a lifetime, or until the mind is incapable of sustaining it. This fictional character may undergo many changes in its lifetime, but its illusory existence persists. Civilization as we know it is characterized by the survival of this illusion.
The irony is that as we acknowledge the urgent need for the charade of self to cease and desist, we are propagating and sustaining it. We are profoundly conflicted. All the evidence and rational thought make it clear that egocentricity must end. But thousands of years of conditioning and cultivated self-interest make it impossible, it seems. Anything we do to bring about the end of the self is just the latest modification of the self. Unless we can do nothing, there is nothing we can do.