7. Know Thyself
(Reposting from my LinkedIn account)
Another month is starting. It is already September, and soon it will be Christmas, and after that, another year: 2015. That is how R. relates to time. For him, when comes September, this means already the end of the year. And likewise, for me, so goes the cycle of Life.
In Switzerland, it is now the time for harvesting the vineyards. People are preparing to go the “Fête des Vendanges” organized all over Switzerland to promote their wine production of the year. It is also the time of encounters and exchanges during these fairs, of which the most popular is the Comptoir Suisse with over 300’000 visitors and other lesser known but very popular such as the Herbst Messe in Basel, or the Foire de Martigny in the Wallis.
But the Fête des Vendanges in Neuchâtel which takes place every year, during the last weekend of September left me a very strong impression, may be because it was my first experience of a Swiss event, when I first landed in Neuchâtel some 30 years ago.
Coming from a war-torn country like Vietnam, when any gathering is politics-oriented, with slogans, red flags, long waiting hours for the unending political speeches, I watched with a new eye all the peaceful demonstrations of love and pride for a nation rich with local traditions, a nation where there have been no war for the past 700 years, and where many nationalities and ethnics can co-habit in peace.
Years have passed, and I have been to many more events since then, all over Switzerland – and also the rest of Europe and the Far East. I have even been an active contributor to some of them, one as folkloric as another. Everywhere, I felt the same peaceful atmosphere as if time is eternal, at least to my eye.
I wonder what helps the spirit of Peace reign over this small country, and how the leaders of different interest groups manage to maintain a dialogue of Peace, away from the turmoil of their European neighbors and the rest of the world?
The developments about misdeeds and conflicts leading to the Global crisis of today, spread through the medium of internet, sound very alarming, and of course, as everybody else, I am greatly affected by the avalanche of all contradictory messages that came across my path.
Like anybody else, I also ask myself, why so much evil in this world? What happened to other countries in Africa, or Middle-East, or Asia, may happen to EU countries. And what happened to the man or woman on the TV screen may also happen to me in real life. So how to deal with this problem?
In his book “The First and Last Freedom”, I found some food for thought with Krishnamurti’s explanation on “Self-Knowledge, the World and ME”, in these lines:
“THE PROBLEMS OF the world are so colossal, so very complex, that to understand and so to resolve them one must approach them in a very simple and direct manner; and simplicity, directness, do not depend on outward circumstances nor on our particular prejudices and moods. As I was pointing out, the solution is not to be found through conferences, blueprints, or through the substitution of new leaders for old, and so on.
The solution obviously lies in the creator of that problem, in the creator of the mischief, of the hate and of the enormous misunderstanding that exists between human beings, The creator of this mischief, the creator of these problems, is the individual, you and I, not the world as we think of it. The world is your relationship with another. The world is not something separate from you and me; the world, society, is the relationship that we establish or seek to establish between each other.
So you and I are the problem, and not the world, because the world is the projection of ourselves and to understand the world we must understand ourselves. That world is not separate from us; we are the world, and our problems are the world’s problems. This cannot be repeated too often, because we are so sluggish in our mentality that we think the world’s problems are not our business, that they have to be resolved by the United Nations or by substituting new leaders for the old. It is a very dull mentality to think like that, because we are responsible for this frightful misery and confusion in the world, this ever-impending war.
To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right.
It is important to understand that this is our responsibility, yours and mine; because, however small may be the world we live in, if we can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large, the extended relationship with others…”
For Krisnamurti, the process of understanding ourselves is not an isolated process, because we are the world and our problems are the world’s problems. Could it be a good start to address the problem of self-knowledge in order to understand the problems of the World, and by solve our own problem, each of us can help to hold the World’s problems under control?
If you wish to explore further on this topic or others, visit my blog http://yourvietbooks.com or follow the link http://www.yourvietbooks.com/2011/08/krishnamurti-one-definition-day-self.html.
Happy Start of the Month,