Jiddu Krishnamurti on The 9 To 5 Routine

The speaker has said that going to an office everyday from nine to five is an intolerable imprisonment. But in any society all kinds of jobs have to be done. Is K’s teaching therefore only for the few?

You have understood? Shall I read it again? The speaker has said that human society is so constructed throughout the world that most people are occupied with jobs, pleasant or unpleasant, from nine to five everyday of their life. And he said also that it is an intolerable imprisonment. I don’t know how you feel about it. Probably you like being in prison, probably you like your jobs from nine o’clock to five o’clock, rushing, rushing back and all the rest of it. What shall we do? To the speaker he wouldn’t tolerate it for a single minute – for the speaker. I would rather do something which would be pleasant, helpful and necessary to earn enough money and so on. But most of us accept this prison, this routine – right? We accept it. So what shall we do? Nobody, as far as one is capable of sufficient observation, nobody has questioned this. We say it is normal, it is the way of society, it is the way of our life, it is the way we must live. But if we all see together that such an imprisonment, which it is actually, that we all feel it is intolerable, not just verbally but actually do something about it we will create a new society – right? We will if all of us say we will not tolerate for a single day this routine, this monstrous activity of nine to five, however necessary, however good and pleasant, then we will bring about not only psychological revolution but also outwardly. Right? We may agree about this but will we do it? You might say, “No, I can’t do it because I have responsibility, I have children, I have a house and mortgage, insurance” – thank god I haven’t got any of those! And so you might say, “It is easy for you to talk about all this.” But it is easy for the speaker to talk about it because he refuses to go in that pattern. From boyhood he refused it.

Now if we all consider that such a psychological as well as physical revolution of this kind is necessary, not bloody and all the rest of it, then we will create the society – won’t we? You want others to create the society and you can then slip into it. That is what we are all waiting for. A few struggle, work, create, and refuse to enter into this rat race and the others say, “Yes, after you have constructed what you think is right society, then we all join you” – but we don’t do it together. That is the whole problem. Right? If we all had this, not idea but the fact, that to spend our life from nine o’clock to five o’clock probably before that, every day of our life for sixty years and more, we would do something about it. As if you refuse to have wars – you understand – wars, killing other people in the name of your country, your god, whatever the ideal is, if you all refused to kill another there would be no wars – right? But we have constructed a society, built a society, based on violence, armaments, each nation protecting itself against other nations, and so we are perpetuating wars, killing your sons, your daughters, everything. And we support it. In the same way we support, maintain this imprisonment. It may be pleasant for those who have an agreeable job but those who refuse to enter this game they will act, they will do something.

So the problem is, do we see the importance, or the necessity of this change? After all the human mind is not merely occupied with a particular job, pleasant or unpleasant. The human mind has the quality of other things which we disregard. We are concerned with the whole of life, not just a career, nine to five, how we live, what we do, what our thinking is, whether there is affection, care, love, compassion. All that is part of life. But we are so conditioned to this idea that we must work and create a structure of a society that demands that you work from morning until night. The speaker refuses to pay into that rat race. It isn’t that he has got certain gifts or that somebody will look after him, but he refuses to enter that. I wouldn’t go for a single day from nine to five for anybody, for anything. I might die but I wouldn’t do that. In the same way I wouldn’t kill another human being whatever the circumstances. I know what you are going to say – ‘What if your sister is attacked?’ – you know all that game. Because violence produces more violence. You are seeing that in Ireland. But we are all so timid, we are all so nervous, frightened, anxious, we want security which we think we have, which we haven’t got.

So will you go into this and find out if you can free yourself from that rat race and to find out one must exercise capacity, intelligence, not say, “I won’t do it”. You don’t do it because you are intelligent, not because you are told, or you have read in some book, or some philosopher. I think it is very clear.

And also the questioner asks: are K’s teachings therefore only for the few? This is one of the questions that is asked over and over again. What do you think? If it is for the few it is not worth it. Wait a minute, just go slowly. The speaker says it is for everyone. But everyone is not serious, has not got the energy because he is dissipating it in various ways. And so gradually there are very few – you follow? So observing it, say it is only for the few. Whereas actually if you apply, go into it seriously with the spirit of investigation and wanting to live a different kind of life, it is for everyone. There is nothing secret about it. But there is great mystery if you go beyond the limitation of thought. But we don’t do any of these things, we don’t test it out, we don’t apply, we don’t eat the food that is put before us. And the few that eat it say, “We are the elite”. They actually are not the elite, they are only the serious people that have applied, thought about it, gone into it, seeing that it affects their daily life. It is only then one can create a different kind of society.

Post Author: Chad

A child of the universe. A student of life and death.