Inquiring into what beauty is

Questioner: All right. So one observes, one becomes very sensitive, very watchful, and then what? Is that all there is, just marvelling forever at perfectly commonplace things? I am sure that everybody does this all the time, at least when they are young, and there is nothing earth-shaking about it. What then? Isn’t there some further step than just this observation that you talk about?

Krishnamurti: You started this conversation by asking about beauty, by saying that you do not feel it. You also said that in your life there is no beauty and so we are inquiring into this question of what beauty is, not only verbally or intellectually but feeling the very throb of it.

Questioner: Yes, that is so, but

Krishnamurti: Of course there is, but unless one has the sensitivity of observation, seeing what is infinitely greater cannot come about.

Questioner: So many people do see with heightened sensitivity. Poets look with intense feeling, yet in all this there doesn’t seem to be any breakthrough to that infinitely greater, infinitely more beautiful something which people call the divine. Because I feel that whether one is very sensitive or rather dull, as I am, unless there is a breakthrough to some quite different dimension what we perceive is simply varying shades of grey. In all this sensitivity which you say comes about through observation it seems to me there is just a quantitative difference, just a small improvement, not something vastly different. Frankly I am not interested in just a little more of the same thing.

Krishnamurti: So what are you asking now? Are you asking how to break through the dull grey monotony of life to some quite different dimension?

Questioner: Yes. Real beauty must be something other than the beauty of the poet, the artist, the young, alert mind, though I am not in any way belittling that beauty.

Krishnamurti: Is this really what you are seeking? Is it really what you want? If you do, there must be the total revolution of your being. Is this what you want? Do you want a revolution that shatters all your concepts, your values, your morality, your respectability, your knowledge – shatters you so that you are reduced to absolute nothingness, so that you no longer have any character, so that you no longer are the seeker, the man who judges, who is aggressive or perhaps non-aggressive, so that you are completely empty of everything that is you? This emptiness is beauty with its extreme austerity in which there is not a spark of harshness or aggressive assertion. That is what breakthrough means and is that what you are after? There must be astonishing intelligence, not information or learning. This intelligence operates all the time, whether you are asleep or awake. That is why we said there must be the observation of the inner and the outer which sharpens the brain. And this very sharpness of the brain makes it quiet. And it is this sensitivity and intelligence that make thought operate only when it has to; the rest of the time the brain is not dormant but watchfully quiet. And so the brain with its reactions doesn’t bring about conflict. It functions without struggle and therefore without distortion. Then the doing and the acting are immediate, as when you are in danger. Therefore there is always a freedom from conceptual accumulations. It is this conceptual accumulation which is the observer, the ego, the "me" which divides, resists and builds barriers. When the "me" is not, the breakthrough is not, then there is no breakthrough; then the whole of life is in the beauty of living, the beauty of relationship, without substituting one image for another. Then only the infinitely greater is possible.

Meeting Life Early Works, circa 1930

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