Conflict, like war, creates confusion

Renunciation to gain an end is barter; in it there is no giving up, but only exchange. Self-sacrifice is an extension of the self.

Published: 20th December 2016 10:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st December 2016 05:50 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Renunciation to gain an end is barter; in it there is no giving up, but only exchange. Self-sacrifice is an extension of the self. The sacrifice of the self is a refinement of the self, and however subtle the self may make itself, it is still enclosed, petty, limited. Renunciation for a cause, however great, however extensive and significant, is substitution of the cause for the self; the cause or the idea becomes the self, the “me” and the “mine.” Conscious sacrifice is the expansion of the self, giving up in order to gather again; conscious sacrifice is negative assertion of the self. To give up is another form of acquisition. You renounce this in order to gain that. This is put at a lower level, that at a higher level; and to gain the higher, you “give up” the lower. In this process, there is no giving up, but only a gaining of greater satisfaction; and the search for greater satisfaction has no element of sacrifice. Why use a righteoussounding word for a gratifying activity in which all indulge?

It seems to me that it is important to understand that conflict of any kind does not produce creative thinking. Until we understand conflict and the nature of conflict, and what it is that one is in conflict with, merely to struggle with a problem, or with a particular background or environment, is utterly useless. Just as all wars create deterioration and inevitably produce further wars, further misery, so to struggle with conflict leads to further confusion.

So, conflict within oneself, projected outwardly, creates confusion in the world. It is therefore necessary, is it not?, to understand conflict and to see that conflict of any kind is not productive of creative thinking, of sane human beings. And yet all our life is spent in struggle, and we think that struggle is a necessary part of existence. There is conflict within oneself and with the environment, environment being society, which in turn is our relationship with people, with things, and with ideas. This struggle is considered as inevitable, and we think that struggle is essential for the process of existence.

Now, is that so? Is there any way of living which excludes struggle, in which there is a possibility of understanding without the usual conflict? I do not know whether you have noticed that the more you struggle with a psychological problem, the more confused and entangled you get; and that it is only when there is cessation of struggle, of all thought process, that understanding comes. So, we will have to enquire if conflict is essential, and if conflict is productive.

The fullest development of every individual creates a society of equals. The present social struggle to bring about equality on the economic or some spiritual level has no meaning at all. Social-reforms aimed at establishing equality, breed other forms of antisocial activity; but with right education, there is no need to seek equality through social and other reforms, because envy with its comparison of capacities ceases. We must differentiate here between function and status.

Status, with all its emotional and hierarchical prestige, arises only through the comparison of functions as the high and the low. When each individual is flowering to his fullest capacity, there is then no comparison of functions; there is only the expression of capacity as a teacher, or a prime minister, or a gardener, and so status loses its sting of envy.


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