“The way you perceive is what you are. Righteousness is in purely looking, which is attention without the distortion of measure and idea.”
My Comment: Krishnamurti often states that in reality the observer IS the observed. Our own observation will confirm to us that the way in which we look at the world determines how we see the world, and ourselves. In this passage K goes into this “observer effect” in detail.
Krishnamurti: So though you deny the ideal, the belief, the directive, you are very subtly and deviously asking the same thing which everybody asks: this is the conflict between the “what is” and the “what should be”.
Questioner: Even without the “what should be”, I see that the “what is” is hideous. To deceive myself into not seeing it would be much worse still.
Krishnamurti: If you see “what is” then you see the universe, and denying “what is” is the origin of conflict. The beauty of the universe is in the “what is”; and to live with “what is” without effort is virtue.
Questioner: The “what is” also includes confusion, violence, every form of human aberration. To live with that is what you call virtue. But isn’t it callousness and insanity? Perfection doesn’t consist simply in dropping all ideals! Life itself demands that I live it beautifully, like the eagle in the sky: to live the miracle of life with anything less than total beauty is unacceptable.
Krishnamurti: Then live it!
Questioner: I can’t, and I don’t.
Krishnamurti: If you can’t, then live in confusion; don’t battle with it. Knowing the whole misery of it, live with it: that is “what is”. And to live with it without conflict frees us from it.
Questioner: Are you saying that our only fault is to be self-critical?
Krishnamurti: Not at all. You are not sufficiently critical. You go only so far in your self-criticism. The very entity that criticizes must be criticized, must be examined. If the examination is comparative, examination by yardstick, then that yardstick is the ideal. If there is no yardstick at all – in other words, if there is no mind that is always comparing and measuring – you can observe the “what is”, and then the “what is” is no longer the same.
Questioner: I observe myself without a yardstick, and I’m still ugly.
Krishnamurti: All examination means there is a yardstick. But is it possible to observe so that there is only observation, seeing, and nothing else – so that there is only perception without a perceiver?
Questioner: What do you mean?
Krishnamurti: There is looking. The assessment of the looking is interference, distortion in the looking: that is not looking; instead it is evaluation of looking – the two are as different as chalk and cheese. Is there a perception of yourself without distortion, only an absolute perception of yourself as you are?
Krishnamurti: In that perception is there ugliness?
Questioner: There is no ugliness in the perception, only in what is perceived.
Krishnamurti: The way you perceive is what you are. Righteousness is in purely looking, which is attention without the distortion of measure and idea. You came to enquire how to live beautifully, with love. To look without distortion is love, and the action of that perception is the action of virtue. That clarity of perception will act all the time in living. That is living like the eagle in the sky; that is living beauty and living love.
(source: Krishnamurti, The Urgency of Change. pp. 63 – 65)
My Comment: “Purely looking is attention without the distortion of measure and idea.” This is looking in which the center as the “me” or the “I” is absent. When K says that “the entity that criticizes must be criticized, must be examined”, he is pointing to the “me”, the psychological subject as the “I” that we think we are. When our inquiry focuses on this “entity”, where does it operate from, what is its basis in our psychology, what is its inception point? then we are able to enter into that ‘attention without distortion of measure and idea’, which is judgment and separation. Then our world is in a different dimension than the movement of the past.