July 4th, 2010

S.C. Hickman

What is Freedom?

     Freedom comes into being only when we understand, not intellectually but actually, our every day life, our activity, our way of thought, the fact of our brutality, our callousness and indifference; it is to be actually in contact with our colossal selfishness.
       - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Can the mind that is small, petty, be transformed into something which is not bound by its own limitations?"  Krishnamurti taught a simple truth over and over: that humanity is conditioned by thousands of years of involvement on this planet, that our minds are educated into prisons of ideology, and that the only path to freedom lay in the deconditioning of the mind from these ideological prisons that have enslaved us in apathy and disillusionment, fear and anger. He taught that 'Truth is a pathless land' -

"Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, nor through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation, and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a sense of security - religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these dominates man's thinking, relationships and his daily life. These are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man in every relationship."

This need for safety and security leads us from freedom to authoritarian forms of religious and political tyranny. William Blake once said: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create." Krishnamurti said this on Creativity: "If the mind is extraordinarily clear without a shadow of conflict, then it is really in a state of creation; it needs no expression, no fulfillment, no publicity and such nonsense." Noam Chomsky centers his theory of language on the concept of Creativity in that "Creativity is predicated on a system of rules and forms, in part determined by intrinsic human capacities..." Speaking of social transformation Chomsky in his book on Democracy and Education, stated, “a movement of the left has no chance of success, and deserves none, unless it can develop an understanding of contemporary society and a vision of a future social order that is persuasive to a large majority of the population. Its goals and organizational forms must take shape through their active participation in popular struggle and social reconstruction. A genuine radical culture can be created only through the spiritual transformation of great masses of people, the essential feature of any social revolution that is to extend the possibilities for human creativity and freedom.”

Interesting that Chomsky, an Atheist, still uses religious terminology to speak of social transformation. Chomsky describes for us the conditioning process of education and culture: "The whole intellectual culture has a filtering system, starts as a child in school. You’re expected to accept certain beliefs, styles, behavioral patterns and so on. If you don’t accept them, you are called maybe a behavioral problem, or something, and you’re weeded out. Something like that goes on all the way through universities and graduate schools. There is an implicit system of filtering, which has the, it creates a strong tendency to impose conformism." - read more 

It's this type of conditioning that Krishnamurti taught us to abhor and struggle against: "Perhaps this may help us to understand it: total negation is that freedom. To negate everything we consider to be positive, to negate the total social morality, to negate all inward acceptance of authority, to negate everything one has said or concluded about reality, to negate all tradition, all teaching, all knowledge except technological knowledge, to negate all experience, to negate all the drives which stem from remembered or forgotten pleasures, to negate all fulfillment, to negate all commitments to act in a particular way, to negate all ideas, all principles, all theories. Such negation is the most positive action, therefore it is freedom."

It is in emptiness that creativity and freedom are possible: "You know, it is only when there is emptiness in oneself, not the emptiness of a shallow mind but the emptiness that comes with the total negation of everything one has been and should be and will be - it is only in this emptiness that there is creation; it is only in this emptiness that something new can take place."

"Freedom is the absolute good and its action is the beauty of everyday life. In this freedom alone there is living, and without it how can there be love? Everything exists and has its being in this freedom. It is everywhere and nowhere. It has no frontiers."