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In our search for knowledge, in our acquisitive desires, we are losing love, we are blunting the feeling for beauty, the sensitivity to cruelty; we are becoming more and more specialized and less and less integrated. Wisdom cannot be replaced by knowledge, and no amount of explanation, no accumulation of facts, will free man from suffering. Knowledge is necessary, science has its place; but if the mind and heart are suffocated by knowledge, and if the cause of suffering is explained away, life becomes vain and meaningless...

Information, the knowledge of facts, though ever increasing, is by its very nature limited. Wisdom is infinite, it includes knowledge and the way of action; but we take hold of a branch and think it is the whole tree. Through the knowledge of the part, we can never realize the joy of the whole. Intellect can never lead to the whole, for it is only a segment, a part.

We have separated intellect from feeling, and have developed intellect at the expense of feeling. We are like a three-legged object with one leg much longer than the others, and we have no balance. We are trained to be intellectual; our education cultivates the intellect to be sharp, cunning, acquisitive, and so it plays the most important role in our life. Intelligence is much greater than intellect, for it is the integration of reason and love; but there can be intelligence only when there is self-knowledge, the deep understanding of the total process of oneself.

Awareness is that state of mind which observes something without any condemnation or acceptance, which merely faces the thing as it is. When you look at a flower non-botanically, then you see the totality of the flower; but if your mind is completely taken up with the botanical knowledge of what the flower is, you are not totally looking at the flower. Though you may have knowledge of the flower, if that knowledge takes the whole ground of your mind, the whole field of your mind, then you are not looking totally at the flower.

So, to look at a fact is to be aware. In that awareness, there is no choice, no condemnation, no like or dislike. But most of us are incapable of doing this because traditionally, occupationally, in every way, we are not capable of facing the fact without the background. We have to be aware of the background. We have to be aware of our conditioning, and that conditioning shows itself when we observe a fact; and as you are concerned with the observation of the fact and not with the background, the background is pushed aside. When the main interest is to understand the fact only, and when you see that the background prevents you from understanding the fact, then the vital interest in the fact wipes away the background.

Jiddu Krishnamurti


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