CHENNAI: If you think it is important to know about yourself only because I or someone else has told you it is important, then I am afraid all communication between us comes to an end. But if we agree that it is vital that we understand ourselves completely, then you and I have quite a different relationship, then we can explore together with a happy, careful and intelligent enquiry.
All authority of any kind is the most destructive, evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything man has accepted as valuable, as necessary. If you do not follow somebody you feel lonely. Be lonely then. Why are you frightened of being alone? Because you are faced with yourself as you are and you find that you are empty, dull, stupid, ugly, guilty and anxious — a petty, shoddy, second-hand entity. Face the fact; look at it, do not run away from it. The moment you run away fear begins. In enquiring into ourselves we are not isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. It is not an unhealthy process.
Man is caught up in the same daily problems as ourselves, so in enquiring into ourselves we are not being in the least neurotic because there is no difference between the individual and the collective. Now where do we begin to understand ourselves? Here am I, and how am I to study myself, observe myself and see what is actually taking place in me? I can observe myself only in relationship because all life is relationship. I exist only in relationship to people, things and ideas, and in studying my relationship to outward things and people, as well as to inward things, I begin to understand myself. Every other form of understanding is merely an abstraction and I cannot study myself in abstraction; I am not an abstract entity; therefore I have to study myself in actuality — as I am, not as I wish to be.