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Judgment, condemnation, depreciation, approval, accept, appreciation – all the same thing

The question is: why human beings always judge, or condemn, or approve, or accept, why is there this constant movement of appreciation or depreciation – why is there this state? That is the question. Why do you think you judge? It is our tradition, partly, isn’t it? You are brought up from childhood to judge, to evaluate. Right? This is good, this is bad, this is right, this is wrong, this should be, this should not be, I am not good, I am bad, all the rest of it, this constant repetition of judgement.

Is that an avoidance of facing oneself? You understand my question? I project judgement over everything – politics, economics, religion, god, no god, about everything – and projecting that I hide myself from myself. It is like a smoke screen I throw out and behind that I refuse to look. Is that one of the factors? And is it another factor that it is much easier to judge? Judgement being opinion, prejudice, or previous knowledge, and that reaction to previous knowledge is almost instantaneous, and so it is much easier to judge than to withhold judgement, and observe, which becomes much more difficult.

So is it an avoidance, and an escape from looking exactly at ‘what is’? And judgement in religious matters is tremendously potent because all religions judge. When you die there is an entity who is going to judge you. You know the Greek idea. All this is a form of judgement about you. When you go to appear at the gate of St. Peter then he is going to judge you, and so on and on and on. Is that part of our great tradition – religious, social, and also partly avoiding to observe what is actually going on?

If some of these are the facts, and perhaps more, is it possible not to judge at all but to observe? I like that red shirt, or I don’t like that red shirt. But without that reaction, just to observe. Then I learn much more, I see that colour totally differently. I don’t know if you have noticed this.

So in behaviour – that gentleman asked the question, what is behaviour – what place has judgement in behaviour? You understand? One judges behaviour according to a traditional pattern – I get up when the ladies come in, open the door for the ladies, this or that, various forms of behaviour. Now what relationship is judgement to behaviour? You understand what I’m saying? You understand my question? And what is behaviour – to behave. To act really, isn’t it? To act in my relationship with another, or with my friend, so on, so on. In relationship to act. Now to act rightly, correctly, accurately, which is not judgement, is it? I wonder if you see that. We say behaviour is action. Right? Of course. Is that action based on judgement? Or is it accurate, correct, right? I am using those three words which have the same meaning. So when we use the word ‘accurate’, is that accuracy based on previous memories, previous activities, previous patterns, and then judge my action – right or wrong, good or bad? Or in correct action there is no judgement. I am finding something.

What is correct action?

Can I say previously, before the act takes place, ‘This is correct action, this is the wrong action’? You understand my question? Are we meeting each other? I want to find out, as a human being living in this world, what is correct action – politically, religiously, you know, in every way, in all directions, completely. Now how am I to find out what is correct action? First I must enquire if it is based on judgement – judgement of others, or a judgement which I am going to impose on my action according to the pattern which I have developed. So is correct action based on a judgement of others, or on my own judgement based on experience, knowledge, and all the rest of it? You understand? Are we meeting? Yes? Am I acting because of environment correctly? Or am I acting correctly because I have previous patterns of behavior? Or is action independent of both? Action means the doing now. Right?

The doing now, active present, isn’t it? The verb, to act. And acting is the moment of action. If that action is based on the future – ideals, hope, judgement – then it is not acting. Right? Or if that action is based on my previous conclusion, it is not acting. Right? If I act according to the past it is not action. Or if I act according to the future it is not action. Action being the active present of that verb to act. Right?

Action is only in the present.

So where does judgement take place? You understand my question? If I am acting without the pattern of the future or the past, then it is complete action. You may say, that is wrong action, or another may say it is right, but it is action. I wonder if I am making this clear.

So behavior is not based on the past pattern, or a future ideal. It is acting now, whatever that action be, in the present.

And please see the importance of this. If there is no pattern of the future, according to which I am acting, or a pattern of the past according to which I am acting, then I am acting without motive, without the idea of a reward or punishment. So acting is now.

So where action is in the present, free from the past and the future, it is right action. I wonder if you have got it – have you understood it, sir? Have I conveyed something?

Jiddu Krishnamurti: Public Discussion 3 Saanen, Switzerland – 30 July 1976

Art: Robin Wethe Altman

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