I am a collector of quotations.
I love them. They are inspiring and palatable. They are little pearls of wisdom when I don’t have the time or energy to read the whole chapter.
But, I’ll be honest. Relying on quotes the way that I do is probably a little bit lazy. A little bit too easy. A little bit of a mindless habit.
Of the thousands upon thousands of awesome, thought-provoking, poetic and beautiful quotes out there, do any actually guide our daily lives and actions?
Maybe, maybe not.
I read the following passage by J. Krishnamurti years ago and its essence has stuck with me ever since. But up until last week, I could never find the actual quote to share. Then, lo and behold, there is was right at the beginning of his essay, “The First and Last Freedom.”
This is, literally, the quote to end all quotes:
“There is suffering—political, social, religious; our whole psychological being is confused, and all the leaders, political and religious, have failed us…
You yourself, who are the repeater of those words, are confused and uncertain, and mere repetition of the words conveys nothing. Therefore, the words and the books have lost their value; that is, if you quote the Bible or Marx, or the Bhagavad Gita, as you who quote it are yourself uncertain, confused, you repetition becomes a lie; because what is written there becomes mere propaganda and propaganda is not truth.
So, when you repeat, you have ceased to understand your own state of being. You are merely covering with words of authority your own confusion.
But what we are trying to do is understand this confusion and not cover it up with quotations; so what is your response to it?
How do you respond to this extraordinary chaos, this confusion, this uncertainty of existence?
Be aware of it, as I discuss it. Follow not my words but the thought which is active in you. Most of us are accustomed to being spectators and not to partake in the game. We read books but we never write books. It has become our tradition, our national and universal habit to be spectators, to look on at a football games, to watch the public politicians and orators.
We are merely the outsiders, looking on, and we have lost the creative capacity. Therefore, we want to absorb and partake.” ~ J. Krishnamurti
Here’s to writing more of our own quotes and relying less on the sayings of others, however wise they may be.
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock