QUESTION 25 'ON ACTION WITHOUT IDEA'
Question: For Truth to come, you advocate action without idea. Is it possible to act at all times without idea, that is, without a purpose in view?
Krishnamurti: What is our action at present? What do we mean by action? Our action - what we want to do or to be - is based on idea, is it not? That is all we know; we have ideas, ideals, promises, various formulas as to what we are and what we are not. The basis of our action is reward in the future or fear of punishment. We know that, don't we? Such activity is isolating, self-enclosing. You have an idea of virtue and according to that idea you live, you act, in relationship. To you, relationship, collective or individual, is action which is towards the ideal, towards virtue, towards achievement and so on.
When my action is based on an ideal which is an idea - such as "I must be brave", "I must follow the example", "I must he charitable", "I must be socially conscious" and so on - that idea shapes my action, guides my action. We all say, "There is an example of virtue which I must follow; which means, "I must live according to that". So action is based on that idea. Between action and idea, there is a gulf, a division, there is a time process. That is so, is it not? In other words, I am not charitable, I am not loving, there is no forgiveness in my heart but I feel I must be charitable. So there is a gap, between what I am and what I should be; we are all the time trying to bridge that gap. That is our activity, is it not?
Now what would happen if the idea did not exist? At one stroke, you would have removed the gap, would you not? You would be what you are. You say "I am ugly, I must become beautiful; what am I to do?" - which is action based on idea. You say "I am not compassionate, I must become compassionate". So you introduce idea separate from action. Therefore there is never true action of what you are but always action based on the ideal of what you will he. The stupid man always says he is going to become clever. He sits working, struggling to become; he never stops, he never says "I am stupid". So his action, which is based on idea, is not action at all.
Action means doing, moving. But when you have idea, it is merely ideation going on, thought process going on in relation to action. If there is no idea, what would happen? You are what you are. You are uncharitable, you are unforgiving, you are cruel, stupid, thoughtless. Can you remain with that? If you do, then see what happens. When I recognize I am uncharitable, stupid, what happens when I am aware it is so? Is there not charity, is there not intelligence? When I recognize uncharitableness completely, not verbally, not artificially, when I realize I am uncharitable and unloving, in that very seeing of what is is there not love? Don't I immediately become charitable? If I see the necessity of being clean, it is very simple; I go and wash, But if it is an ideal that I should be clean, then what happens? Cleanliness is then postponed or is superficial.
Action based on idea is very superficial, is not true action at all, is only ideation, which is merely the thought process going on.
Action which transforms us as human beings, which brings regeneration, redemption, transformation - call it what you will - such action is not based on idea. It is action irrespective of the sequence of reward or punishment. Such action is timeless, because mind, which is the time process, the calculating process, the dividing, isolating process, does not enter into it.
This question is not so easily solved. Most of you put questions and expect an answer "yes" or "no". It is easy to ask questions like "What do you mean?" and then sit back and let me explain but it is much more arduous to find out the answer for yourselves, go into the problem so profoundly, so clearly and without any corruption that the problem ceases to be. That can only happen when the mind is really silent in the face of the problem. The problem, if you love it, is as beautiful as the sunset. If you are antagonistic to the problem, you will never understand. Most of us are antagonistic because we are frightened of the result, of what may happen if we proceed, so we lose the significance and the purview of the problem.