Years back I heard of a student of color got life prisonment at the age of 18. It is the son of somone I know from work. The room mate was killed. Even though it was never proven, the student was assumed to be the killer and sentenced for life in prison. He is still there and spent now more than 25 years in prison. This happened in Pennsylvania. - What is my role in this ? Why should I bother ? There is much injustice in this world ? But I am a citizen, I belong to society and I act. What is this action ? First of all it bothers me. It stays with me. So I have to deal with it. Why does it disturbe me? There are several things wrong here.
Have you contacted this person in prison to let him know of your concern?
This is an important question! If one is sensitive, then of course one should be concerned about injustices or somebody else’s suffering.
But if that concern disturbs my mind, then there is something wrong because a disturbed mind cannot think properly.
Can a mind be sensitive to the suffering of mankind without being disturbed?
Today’s quote of the day from this website speaks to the issue of social injustice from K’s perspective.
As Krishnamurti had said, we need to hold still and watch our impulses and refrain from contributing to the disorder. Inaction is real action, he said.
With our own disorder. Yes. Adding fuel to the fire.
This is an important topic. We all are sensitive to injustice and one of the major concerns of all social reformers is about how to bring justice in this world. I often feel shocked reding about some injustice and it’s a feeling that disturbs us greatly. What would be K.’s approach to this problem?
I remember a Q.&A meeting where K. discussed just this problem of injustice. I cannot remember his words now but the essence of his answer was: “There is no justice in this world”. It’s a fact and once you see the fact the problem is over.” Hard to swallow eh? Life is full on unjust things; we struggle all our lives to improve things but our efforts are ineffective. Of course there are things we can do at a personal level, if we behaved wrongly with someone we can try to put it right but we have not the power to solve things like the one you reported. I guess K. would say that the only way to solve the problem of injustice is to wipe away the cause of it: our ego.
I would say this, to me, is the central topic to the Krishnamurti teaching. And you put it correctly - our sense of justice is the cause of injustice. (Ego is a loaded word to me. I don’t believe in psychology.)
This is a topic which would be interesting to explore in a separate discussion. Would you like it?
If you have issues to explore, why not?
Ah! Yes, that is the point. K. gave once an astonishing answer, only once I think. If my memory is not wrong he said: “To me nothing is important”. When something is important to us, for good or for bad, it disturbs us. So we can be sentitive to a problem without allowing to the problem to put us out of balance, and to me that can only mean not to give importance to it (in the way we usually do).
I think I know what you mean by “not giving importance to it”. It depends on the nature of our response to that which disturbs us. At the personal level, we have to respond to the disturbance be it a health or financial matter. Whether that response is appropriate is another matter. At the fundamental level, however, all personal responses to perceived “suffering of mankind” are inappropriate and to be deemed as not only unimportant but as mischief-making.
If I see a child being abused, and I interfere, is my response to that , as you seem to be saying, “inappropriate and to be deemed as not only unimportant but as mischief-making”? Are you saying that?
No, not at all. Protect the child even if you get hurt or killed, if that is your impulse. There is no right or wrong under those circumstances. Another person’s response could be different: one of non-interference.
It depends on your definition of “disturbed”. This word has a bad connotation. To be sensitive, in the Krishnamurti sense, is to be aware. The suffering of mankind is a state of disorder: murder, violence, abandoned children, homelessness, and everything else that bothered the Buddha who was disturbed by it all.
Talking about something on the mind is me the thinker. It could be psychological, emotional, neurological, or my conditioning. It could be about a friend, family, a partner, my job, etc. But can I see clearly it is me, the thinker, and leave aside all the stuff I would think about as a matter of my conditioning? The thinker is thought. The brain is always dealing with it. To see this brain activity clearly for oneself, it is all bothersome, and it is me, distracted and inattentive.
Can you expand on that, Voyager?
What is to be sensitive in your sense, Sree?
Well, I don’t think there is much room to expand it… ( I’m not Krishamurti and I cannot interpret what he meant exactly. I think sree gave some hints.
My impression, if I can write it down here, is that he meant that when something disturbs us to a certain extent, clearly there is something wrong with it, -as you yourself have said. We have the tendency to think that something or someone is important per sé but we are not aware that it’s us who are giving importance to it, and that means there is some kind of dependence, both in positive or negative sense. If something scares us that means we are giving importance to it exactly like when something or someone attracts us. And therefore we are bond to it. We feel life is not worth unless we get that thing or at the opposite that life is too bad because of something. In both cases we loose our freedom and the serenity to live in the present. Have you ever observed your mind when something is very important to you? (For instance when you are in love with someone). You are no more objective and loose the capacity to think clearly. K. was very passionate both in relationship and in everything he did, and said often that to live fully there must be passion, and yet he said “To me nothing is important”. I think this is quite interesting, isn’t it?
I would say the rule is this, taking the path of observation, understanding and awareness, we will never be encountered with situations where we are asked to function without having sufficient power to deal with it.