Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), photographed in 1929. Picture source, see end of post

Many people are in a state of shock following a series of electoral surprises that have rocked the political ‘liberal establishment’ on both sides of the Atlantic. Racist attacks are on the increase and long-respected ‘experts’ are frequently mocked. We are in danger of throwing away many of the principles of established civilisation. It’s easy to feel that these uncertain times contain the seeds of extreme violence.

Politics works on the basis that large populations are capable of collective and constructive behaviour. But, there are other perspectives that speak, philosophically, of the effect that a relatively small group of people may have on an era, outside of politics, entirely.

Two figures in this latter mould are G. I. Gurdjieff and Jiddu Krishnamurti. In this series of posts, we look at the radical approach that Krishnamurti took to human freedom, which he said belonged only to the individual who was capable of observing himself/herself to such a level that a process of self-change could be initiated at the levels of mind, emotion and instinct.

Part of this process was to be prepared to completely cast off the conventional ways of thinking about things. Leaving behind beliefs, temperament and conditioning is no simple matter. This was particularly true of the subject of violence, which Krishnamurti viewed as the scourge of modern society, and endemic in our capacity for self-destruction.

Krishnamurti saw violence everywhere around us: outwardly and in our relationships with each other. He saw it in both politics and religion, and may well, had he lived, have seen it in the modern use of technology. All of this, he wrote, produces sorrow, which saps the creativity and coherence of life in society.

How are we to react to violence, which, in this era is even more threatening than in Krishnamurti’s time? Can we look to the experts, the politicians, the priests? His view was that all such respected ‘authorities’ have failed, leaving the individual to find their own answers.

Krishnamurti argued that we are, as human citizens, as fragmented as the societies in which we live, and that there was an unseen and potent relationship in this. He maintained that we were not, individually, in a position to affect society in a religious or political sense, but we did have great potential to turn ourselves into a true individual, in which case there would occur a binding between the actions we subsequently undertook and our effect on the violence we previously abhorred.

In part two, we will look at how the individual may approach violence in themselves, taking apart the pieces so that they can be held up to the inner light of objective consciousness.

Picture source.


This is the second in a series of postings related to topical issues in mysticism. They will all carry the hashtag #Silenti. Please feel free to reply or join in, using this hashtag.

©Copyright Stephen Tanham, 2016.

10 Comments on “#Silenti – A Rose Beyond Violence, part one

  1. Pingback: #Silenti – A Rose Beyond Violence, part two – Sun in Gemini

  2. Fascinating – a thinker with profound implications to the structure of society, which must surely begin with the individual coming to terms with factions inside the self. It is so interesting to contemplate the next stage of human evolution. People often confuse that with physical evolution – already superceded by moral and intellectual evolution in humanity. I doubt as animal we can evolve any further. For all animals that become specialists the only future is extinction. However the intelligence that allows self-awareness and perception of the spiritual may hold the key to the true next step and species survival.

    Nietzsche believed his superman were not simply able to run faster than a speeding bullet- but those who transcended the current conception of morality. A strong argument can be put forward that historically morality is merely a type of fashion. As John Lennon so elegantly put it … Imagine there’s no heaven…

    Unfortunately as a child of his time Nietzsche chose Darwinism as his model and applied it to the limited view his own society espoused. In effect his was not a renunciation of it’s social methodology but a glorification of the dominant ideas – survival of the fittest and nature red in tooth and claw. As did those who followed, most infamously the Aryan supremists. However these dark muddy waters do not invalidate his basic premise of transcending the constraints society uses to keep up earthbound.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I would be really interested to hear what you have to say about Gurdjieff

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, Paul. The idea that real evolution can only come from the self-aware human is central to the core ideas of both men. Thank you for commenting!


  3. Pingback: #Silenti – A Rose Beyond Violence, part three – Sun in Gemini

  4. Pingback: #Silenti – A Rose Beyond Violence, part four – Sun in Gemini

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