Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom


Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. Self-knowledge is cultivated
through the individual’s search of himself. I am not putting the
individual in opposition to the mass. They are not antithetical. You,
the individual, are the mass, the result of the mass. In us, as you will
discover if you go into it deeply, are both the many and the
particular. It is as a stream that is constantly flowing, leaving little
eddies and these eddies we call individuality but they are the result
of this constant flow of water. Your thoughts-feelings, those
mental-emotional activities, are they not the result of the past, of
what we call the many? Have you not similar thoughts-feelings as your
neighbour? So when I talk of the individual I am not putting him in
opposition to the mass. On the contrary, I want to remove this
antagonism This opposing antagonism between the mass and the you, the
individual, creates confusion and conflict, ruthlessness and misery. But
if we can understand how the individual, the you, is part of the whole,
not only mystically but actually, then we shall free ourselves happily
and spontaneously from the greater part of the desire to compete, to
succeed, to deceive, to oppress, to be ruthless, or to become a follower
or a leader. Then we will regard the problem of existence quite
differently. And it is important to understand this deeply. As long as
we regard ourselves as individuals apart from the whole, competing,
obstructing, opposing, sacrificing the many for the particular or the
particular for the many, all those problems that arise out of this
conflicting antagonism will have no happy and enduring solution; for
they are the result of wrong thinking-feeling.

– Jiddu Krishnamurti – 
Collected Works, Volume 3, Ojai 1st Public Talk 14th May, 1944