This is excerpted from the third chapter of The First and Last Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti.
"What you are, the world is. So your problem is the world's problem. Surely, this is a simple and basic fact, is it not? In our relationship with the one or the many we seem somehow to overlook this point all the time. We want to bring about alteration through a system or through a revolution in ideas or values based on a system, forgetting that it is you and I who create society, who bring about confusion or order by the way in which we live. So we must begin near, that is we must concern ourselves with our daily existence, with our daily thoughts and feelings and actions which are revealed in the manner of earning our livelihood and in our relationship with ideas or beliefs. This is our daily existence, is it not? We are concerned with livelihood, getting jobs, earning money; we are concerned with the relationship with our family or with our neighbors, and we are concerned with ideas and with beliefs. Now, if you examine our occupation, it is based fundamentally on envy, it is not just a means of earning a livelihood. Society is so constructed that it is a process of constant conflict, constant becoming; it is based on greed, on envy, envy of your superior: the clerk wanting to become the manager, which shows that he is not just concerned with earning a livelihood, a means of subsistence, but with acquiring position and prestige. This attitude naturally creates havoc in society, in relationship, but if you and I were only concerned with livelihood we should find out the right means of earning it, a means not based on envy. Envy is one of the most destructive factors in relationship because envy indicates the desire for power, for position, and it ultimately leads to politics; both are closely related. The clerk, when he seeks to become a manager, becomes a factor in the creation of power-politics which produce war; so he is directly responsible for war.
What is our relationship based on? The relationship between yourself and myself, between yourself and another - which is society - what is it based on? Surely not on love, because if there were love there would be order, there would be peace, happiness between you and me. But in that relationship between you and me there is a great deal of ill will which assumes the form of respect. If we were both equal in thought, in feeling, there would be no respect, there would be no ill will, because we would be two individuals meeting, not as disciple and teacher, nor as the husband dominating the wife, nor as the wife dominating the husband. When there is ill will there is a desire to dominate which arouses jealousy, anger, passion, all of which in our relationship creates conflict which we try to escape, and this produces further chaos, further misery.
Now as regards ideas which are part of our daily existence, beliefs and formulations, are they not distorting our minds? For what is stupidity? Stupidity is the giving of wrong values to those things which the mind creates, or to those things which the hands produce. Most of our thoughts spring from the self-protective instinct, do they not? Our ideas, oh, so many of them, do they not receive the wrong significance, one which they have not in themselves? Therefore when we believe in any form, whether religious, economic or social, when we believe ... in ideas, in a social system which separates man from man, in nationalism and so on, surely we are giving wrong significance to belief which indicates stupidity, for belief divides people, doesn't unite people. So we see that by the way we live we can produce order or chaos, peace or conflict, happiness or misery."
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