freedom from the known

Review From User :

What is "freedom" When I have the right to do things as I wish them to, is that called freedom Or when I can think and speak about issues on my mind, is that freedom Are we ever actually free What we do, the things we do, either according to the acceptable notions of society, according to societal idea of virtue, fame or success, or according to our own notions of pleasure, can we say we do it by being entirely free Can we Isn't a free mind also free from the burden of accumulated thoughts of all these years of human existence Can we put aside the long fed ideals from our psyche and look at everything afresh Can we If we can do that, only then can we be free from the known.

This is the crux of J. Krishnamurti's Freedom from the Known. He asks you to be free from whatever has been known to you in this world through the assistance of religion/society/ideologies and be constantly aware of yourself, of your own thoughts and actions, observing things as they appear to you, not seeing them from a prejudiced mind or under the influence of what is already known to you.

This is a tough book to review. Not because it is difficult to understand but because you do stand the chance of comparing it with other works/authors and also with that which has already been known to you, your own experiences, something which may altogether defy that which Krishnamurti proposes through this work.

He speaks on the topics of faith, truth, fear, conditioning, pleasure, pain, love, meditation and asks you to look within, observe yourself as you really are, not as what you think you are or want to be. What he proposes is something entirely (and refreshingly) different from the ideals of Hindu philosophy pertaining to religion, dharma, atman and God.

Time is the interval between the observer and the observed. That is, the observer, you, is afraid to meet this thing called death. You don't know what it means; you have all kinds of hopes and theories about it; you believe in reincarnation or resurrection, or in something called the soul, the atman, a spiritual entity which is timeless and which you call by different names. Now have you found out for yourself whether there is a soul Or is it an idea that has been handed down to you Is there something permanent, continuous, which is beyond thought If thought can think about it, it is within the field of thought and therefore it cannot be permanent because there is nothing permanent within the field of thought. To discover that nothing is permanent is of tremendous importance for only then is the mind free, then you can look, and in that there is great joy.

He reminded me of Joyce here:

So if you understand that where there is a search for pleasure there must be pain, live that way if you want to, but don't just slip into it. If you want to end pleasure, though, which is to end pain, you must be totally attentive to the whole structure of pleasure - not cut it out as monks and sannyasis do, never looking at a woman because they think it is a sin and thereby destroying the vitality of their understanding - but seeing the whole meaning and significance of pleasure. Then you will have tremendous joy in life. You cannot think about joy. Joy is an immediate thing and by thinking about it, you turn it into pleasure. Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty and the great delight in it without seeking pleasure from it.

And of Camus here:

When you are alone, totally alone, not belonging to any family, any nation, any culture, any particular continent, there is that sense of being an outsider. The man who is completely alone in this way is innocent and it is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.

By asking us to be free from the already known, he is proposing to bring about a revolution in this world in order to make it a better place to live in.

We have reduced the world to its present state of chaos by our self-centered activity, by our prejudices, our hatreds, our nationalism, and when we say we cannot do anything about it, we are accepting disorder in ourselves as inevitable. We have splintered the world into fragments and if we ourselves are broken, fragmented, our relationship with the world will also be broken. But if, when we act, we act totally, then our relationship with the world undergoes a tremendous revolution.

But what he says, though is very appealing, it nonetheless seems to be unattainable. Not because he asks you to be free from the shackles of known and look for yourself but because by the very act of suggesting that, he is proposing a thought, a principle to follow, by making us aware of it, which is contradictory to his 'ideal' (view spoiler)[[ He asks us to be free from all ideologies ] (hide spoiler)] of the unknown. Now the question which arises is - Can there be anything which is not known Haven't we, at some times, found ourselves thinking in contradiction to what has been exposed to us in this world Haven't philosophers or even common people, have thought and expressed it( perhaps in different ways) And though this question did arise but I cannot deny that the work did really influence me tremendously. For he also says:

If I were foolish enough to give you a system and if you were foolish enough to follow it, you would merely be copying, imitating, conforming, accepting, and when you do that you have set up in yourself the authority of another and hence there is conflict between you and that authority. You feel you must do such and such a thing because you have been told to do it and yet you are incapable of doing it. You have your own particular inclinations, tendencies and pressures which conflict with the system you think you ought to follow and therefore there is a contradiction. So you will lead a double life between the ideology of the system and the actuality of your daily existence. In trying to conform to the ideology, you suppress yourself - whereas what is actually true is not the ideology but what you are. If you try to study yourself according to another you will always remain a secondhand human being.

Very intriguing. I cannot say I understand him completely but I do look forward to reading more of him.

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