Questioner: Do you have a special message for youth?
Jiddu Krishnamurti : Sirs, is there a very great difference between the young and the old? Youth, the young people, if they are at all alive, are full of revolutionary ideas, full of discontent, are they not? They must be; otherwise, they are already old. Please, this is very serious, so don't agree or disagree. We are discussing life - I am not making a speech from the platform to please you or to please myself.
As I was saying, if the young have not that revolutionary discontent, they are already old, and the old are those who were once discontented but have settled back. They want security, they want permanency, either in their jobs or in their souls. They want certainty in ideas, in relationship, or in property. If in you, who are young, there is a spirit of inquiry which makes you want the truth of anything, of any political action whether of the left or of the right, and if you are not bound by tradition, then you will be the regenerators of the world, the creators of a new civilization, a new culture.
But, like the rest of us, like the past generation, young people also want security, certainty. They want jobs, they want food, clothing, and shelter; they don't want to disagree with their parents because it means going against society. Therefore, they fall in line, they accept the authority of older people. So, what happens? The discontent which is the very flame of inquiry, of search, of understanding - that discontent is made mediocre, it becomes merely a desire for a better job, or a rich marriage, or a degree.
So, their discontent is destroyed, it merely becomes the desire for more security. Surely, what is essential for the old and for the young is to live fully, completely. But you see, there are very few people in the world who want to live completely. To live fully and completely, there must be freedom, not an acceptance of authority, and there can be freedom only when there is virtue.
Virtue is not imitation; virtue is creative living. That is, creativeness comes through the freedom which virtue brings, and virtue is not to be cultivated, it does not come through practice or at the end of your life. Either you are virtuous and free now, or you are not. And to find out why you are not free, you must have discontent, you must have the intention, the drive, the energy to inquire, but you dissipate that energy sexually or through shouting political slogans, waving flags, or merely imitating, passing examinations for a better job.
So, the world is in such misery because there is not that creativeness. To live creatively there cannot be mere imitation, following either Marx, the Bible, or the Bhagavad-Gita. Creativeness comes through freedom, and there can be freedom only when there is virtue, and virtue is not the result of the process of time. Virtue comes when you begin to understand what is in your everyday existence.
Therefore, to me the division between the old and the young is rather absurd. Sirs, maturity is not a matter of age. Although most of us are older, we are infantile, we are afraid of what society thinks, we are afraid of the past. Those who are old seek permanency, comforting assurances, and the young also want security.
So, there is no essential difference between the old and the young. As I said, maturity does not lie in age. Maturity comes with understanding, and there is no understanding as long as we escape from conflict, from suffering; and we escape from suffering when we seek comfort, when we seek an ideal.
But it is when we are young that we can really, ardently, purposefully inquire. As we grow older, life is too much for us, and we become more and more dull. We waste our energies so uselessly. To conserve that energy for purposes of inquiry, to discover reality, requires a great deal of education - not mere conformity to a pattern, which is not education. Merely passing examinations is not education. A fool can pass examinations, it only requires a certain type of mind.
But to inquire deeply and find out what life is, to understand the whole basis of existence requires a very alert and keen mind, a mind that is pliable. But the mind is made unpliable when it is forced to conform, and the whole structure of our society is based on compulsion. However subtle compulsion may be, through compulsion there cannot be understanding.
Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti talks in Bangalore, India, 1948