Jiddu Krishnamurti talked about ignoring gurus and seeing your own truth for yourself. But most people lack either the insight or self-confidence to become their own light. This self-ignition requires K’s awakening of spiritual intelligence, which is just an extended form of critical thinking. In other words, what is the salesman really selling under the guise of flowery words?
Jiddu Krishnamurti had a severe critic who is also revered by some as a sage, a guru namely U.G. Krishnamurti.
What follows is a quote. I want you to read it and then critically evaluate it. What is he really saying? What he says may sound good, but if you dig below the surface, you’ll see that what he says is just plain bull.
“It [thought] is a mechanical thing and can solve only mechanical problems. But you want to use it to understand something living; that is the problem. It is not intended for that. Human problems are something living. You cannot use thinking to solve those problems.”
Let us look at UG’s assumptions to see if the above paragraph has any meaning or value whatsoever:
Assumption One: thought is a mechanical thing.
What on earth does this mean? What does it mean to say that thought is mechanical? Does he mean it’s like a machine with physical cogs and gears? Does he mean it’s physical? Does he mean thoughts can follow logical rules and construct logical arguments, but not necessarily? I really don’t know what he means by this phrase without explaining it better.
Assumption Two: and it can only solve mechanical problems.
What on earth does this mean? Thought can only be used to fix Fords and Volvos? It can only be used to create light bulbs? It can only be used to create, distribute, market and sell televisions, cameras, clothes and food? It can only be used to figure out how to build better houses and grow larger crops? It can only be used to invent and build nation-wide electric power grids and the industries electricity supports? It can only be used by businesses to calculate supply and demand for their products and profitability, including the number of additional employees to hire the coming year?
You see, to me many of the so-called “mechanical problems” are directly relevant to solving “human problems” like hunger, shelter, clean water, indoor plumbing and death by disease and accident.
Assumption Three: But you want to use it to understand something living; that is the problem. Human problems are something living.
This is not just an assumption, it is a definition, stating that “human problems” whatever those are, are different from “mechanical problems” and never the twain shall meet. But without explaining what kind of human problems he’s talking about, this assumption and definition just do not make sense.
Mechanical problems, logical problems, mathematical problems, can help a farmer produced three times as much grain brother produce, let automakers make a profit and produce enough cars for the economy to bear, can create jobs, can build a hospital, staff a hospital, and cure thousands of people of hundreds and thousands of maladies, can help researchers invent cures for cancer, polio, the plague, flu, heart disease and diabetes.
Thus it seems the so-called mechanical problems embrace and solve many of what we would call human problems.
But looking even more deeply, his so-called living human problems if they are stated in words, they are thoughts, which are mechanical. If he can articulate his so-called “living problems” with words and concepts, just the postulation and articulation of the problem will automatically result in many different mechanical solutions created by mind.
Of course this narrow quote does not show us the context. Within that larger context many of the assumptions may be spelled out better, and his argument may make sense. From my own teaching position, I know that the mind has to be overthrown, and one operates “kinesthetically,” with feeling, with the mind serving a supportive function, and not being used as the primary tool to interact with the world.
But if we use the same critical thinking to investigate teachings or writings of any guru, politician, or teacher of any sort, we have gone a long way towards developing an awakened spiritual intelligence.
One of my own pet peeves is another online spiritual teacher named Jeff Brown, a feel-good poet who romanticizes a humanistic spirituality. Jeff defines his “real” spirituality as a kind of human striving, even while artfully understating the severity of suffering by giving it a new and flowery names. He then combines these sanitized sufferings with poetic soaring, such that it appears he is saying whatever is happening is a glorious expansion of both his reader’s lives, but also of the human spirit as a whole. There is very little existentialist angst or exploration of pain in Jeff’s writings, only constant, extremely positive thinking, which totally destroys the possibility of an awakening of intelligence. One lives in a spiritual rose garden with no thorns in Jeff’s world.
Such should be the case of my words too. Look at them, see through them, develop your own spiritual intelligence. Once you can see through my bull, you can see through it all and awaken.