Sunday, December 26, 2010
My Criticism of Jiddu Krishnamurti
Jiddu Krishamurti was definitely a significant spiritual force that had quite an impact on my own development. Despite its own character flaws and errors in reasoning, he provided one of the first bodies of philosophical knowledge that I could use to reflect upon my own experience. What I respect about his body of work is his ability to speak plainly, with language that can be understood by anyone. Many of the European philosophers were guilty of making their language overly complicated, which I had a difficult time understanding at that time period in my life. Whereas Jiddu Krishnamurti spoke slowly, used plain words, and repeated himself constantly. Perhaps it was his simplicity and lack of an overly complicated intellect that I was attracted to. It was something that hit home hard and quick, despite how thick my mind probably was at that time period. When he said something like, “Attachment is when you prefer something pleasurable, and feel fear in its absence of even the thought of its absence.” This was language I understood. Krishnamurti’s writings reminded me a lot of the Buddha, and he did possess a certain degree of rationality, discipline and spirit that I admire. However, he had some serious flaws in his character and thinking that led me astray and confused me for some time. First of all, from time to time, Krishnamurti described peak experiences which he interpreted as being connected with the source or god, and then he became overly sentimental about the experiences, and also concluded that he was immortal. This is dangerous thinking for anyone, but for a 21 year insecure male, all that sort of thinking could do is cause a lot of confusion, envy, yearnings for power, and hero worship. The other problem I had with him is that he became overly sentimental and emotional over the beauty in nature. His poetry was a sort of drama, a form of theatre or entertainment, and his presentation caused me to become quite confused with how an enlightenment person ought to perceive nature. I ended up feeling inadequate when I observed a mountain and didn’t feel the same intensity to which Krishnamurti did. I thought that I must not be enlightened yet because I didn’t feel the same intensity of emotion for nature’s beauty. The other major flaw in Krishnamurti’s reasoning is that he often concluded that thought or cognition was the problem for man, and that man needed to transcend thought altogether, and achieve some sort of hypersensitive attention not distorted by thought. It was a confusing idea that is not correct. One doesn’t abandon thought altogether, just delusional thinking, or thinking that is not logical.
Krishnamurti also expressed a continuous contempt for science and empirical thinking, which I think actually complements spirituality. Actually much of the behavior of the self can be discovered, described and summed up in the field of psychology. He also constantly downplayed the importance of science while in discussion with David Bohm, a physicist who dedicated most of his entire life to science. It is difficult to determine whether he did this merely to influence Bohm to let go to many of his theories that he was clinging to, and became mentally snarled to, or if Krishnamurti was a tad dismissive of any work done in the scientific field because it wasn’t what he was good at, or what he was doing. The truth is probably a mixture of both. Apparently, Krishnamurti tried for much of his friendship with Bohm to get him to let go of some of the empirical theories that he felt could transform man, but he wouldn’t. And their friendship eventually broke off when Krishnamurti publicly announced that Bohm hadn’t gone through any sort of spiritual transformation at all. Bohm went into a deep depression, and their friendship never recovered, despite the years of intense dialogue.