“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
Of course, it had many likes. For me, this is what went on in my head:
-listen to bands you’ve never heard of
-secretly love getting the attention of being a hipster while outwardly acting to the contrary
-wear plaid and other shabby clothing
-drink funky herbal teas
-for God’s sake don’t call a hipster a hipster.
-(Oh and if you call yourself a hipster, there’s no way on earth you’re a hipster)
So yeah, even those who don’t identify with something, still end up identifying with something.
Then I realized it’s us moderns’ dream quote because it’s a seemingly spiritualized way of asserting western skepticism. It’s the most amazing combination of eastern pantheism (God is in everything, as everything, therefore accept everything and reject nothing) and western skepticism (reject everything, accept nothing). It’s our checkmate against any claim or assertion of Truth. Just forget about it, we’re being violent if we even attempt to discover a truth that is universal. We don’t want to be violent right? Violence is a bad thing. But here’s the problem we run into:
Basically it comes down to this, skepticism is boring. Very boring. Not to mention intellectually suicidal. If you truly are skeptical, then you eventually have to doubt everything, even your doubt, and I highly doubt that your doubt will satisfy you beyond a doubt.
So what is exciting? Being able to say “yes” and to say “no.” Being able to say what’s right and what’s wrong. When we take a positive stance (not like happy thoughts but positing that there is some concrete goal we are meant to achieve) rather than automatically negating everything so as to avoid danger, our lives become exciting, thrilling even. None of our stories would be worth telling nor our lives worth living if there was no danger involved, because danger comes with adventure, and adventure comes with a journey, and journey comes from mission, and mission comes from the existence of an end goal. We can’t self-create mission or journey or a goal. They’re given to us. They mold us and shape us to make the judgments we make and act the way we do. The victorious hero is the one who says “yes” to what is good and “no” to what is evil, both in great things and in small things.
Gandalf said to Frodo, “you must take the ring of power into Mordor and cast it into the fires of Mount Doom, otherwise Sauron will enslave the entire world!”
Frodo replied, “I don’t want to separate myself from the rest of middle earth by trying to destroy the ring, Gandalf. Sorry, I won’t carry it.”
Then orcs invaded the Shire and darkness covered all the lands, and every elf, dwarf, man, and hobbit was made slave to Sauron.
The story goes much better when Frodo says “yes” to the mission.
That is why Krishnamurti’s philosophy ultimately disappoints. It tells us there should be no mission, because a mission makes you realize that there are “others” out there. He says that’s violent. Without an “other,” though, I can’t love, that would simply be narcissism, and that is very boring. I am not growing; I am not journeying; I have no goal to reach; and so I conquer no evil.
Saying “yes” is a scary thing. It means something is required of me. It’s means difficulty. It means thinking well always. It means discipline. It means endurance. It means self-denial. It means sacrifice. It means unreserved, perfect love. To do Good for the other as other. This is the Catholic way of life. One. Big. Yes.
And for those who need the encouragement to continue the journey