by Jiddu Krishnamurti, “Commentaries on Living”
One has to learn about life from early childhood on, not at the last moment; when one is all but grown up, it is almost too late. Do you know what life is? It extends from the moment you are born to the moment you die, and perhaps beyond. Life is a vast, complex whole; it’s like a house in which everything is happening at once.
You love and you hate; you are greedy, envious, and at the same time you feel you shouldn’t be. You are ambitious, and there is either frustration or success, following in the wake of anxiety, fear and ruthlessness; and sooner or later there comes a feeling of the futility of it all. Then there are the horrors and brutality of war, and peace through terror; there is nationalism, sovereignty, which supports war; there is death at the end of life’s road, or anywhere along it. There is the search for God, with its conflicting beliefs and the quarrels between organized religions.
There is the struggle to get and keep a job; there are marriage, children, illness, and the dominance of society and the State. Life is all this, and much more; and you are thrown into this mess. Generally you sink into it, miserable and lost; and if you survive by climbing to the top of the heap, you are still part of the mess. This is what we call life: everlasting struggle and sorrow, with a little joy occasionally thrown in.
Who is going to teach you about all this? Or rather, how are you going to learn about it? Even if you have capacity and talent, you are hounded by ambition, by the desire for fame, with its frustrations and sorrows. All this is life, isn’t it? And to go beyond all this is also life.