Secondhand Human Beings
I read quite a bit of Krishnamurti, probably my favorite philosopher and spiritual teacher. He is forcing me to ask the important questions. I care for a community of people. I am aware that people, especially those who desire to develop their spirituality in community, are incredibly open to abuse, manipulation, oppression, and judgment. They are also very inclined to depend on the discoveries, experiences, beliefs, teachings, methods and advice of others, especially their leaders. Krishnamurti concludes that this is why we have all become "secondhand human beings". We resist discovering for ourselves. In my observations, we resist this for the fear of independent questioning as well as the fear of reprisal from our fellow spiritual seekers. But I'm convinced that if we want to know the truth that will set us free, we have to come to it ourselves. Krishnamurti writes:
The mind that has read all the sacred books is not a religious mind. A mind that is crowded with the authority of others' experience is not a religious mind. A mind that is filled with the knowledge of what others have said is not a religious mind. A mind that believes, that has dogmas, conclusions, that plays with rituals, is not a religious mind... It is only a very still, quiet, untortured mind that sees the truth.
So, even though I often fail, I try to discourage the herd-mentality, status-quo-ness, conformity, propriety, majority thinking and controlled behavior. And I try to encourage a fierce independent spirit in people. I encourage uniqueness. I love diversity. I delight in non-comformism. Because I truly think people need to discover for themselves. This isn't an easy way to be a community, but I can see no other way that's worthwhile.
The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen, and is from his Fundy Sculptures series.