QUESTION 33 'ON SUPERFICIALITY'
Question: How is one who is superficial to become serious?
Krishnamurti: First of all, we must be aware that we are superficial, must we not? What does it mean to be superficial? Essentially, to be dependent, does it not? To depend on stimulation, to depend on challenge, to depend on another, to depend psychologically on certain values, certain experiences, certain memories - does not all that make for superficiality? When I depend on going to church every morning or every week in order to be uplifted, in order to be helped, does that not make me superficial? If I have to perform certain rituals to maintain my sense of integrity or to regain a feeling which I may once have had, does that not make me superficial? Does it not make me superficial when I give myself over to a country, to a plan or to a particular political group? Surely this whole process of dependence is an evasion of myself; this identification with the greater is the denial of what I am. But I cannot deny what I am; I must understand what I am and not try to identify myself with the universe, with God, with a particular political party or what you will. All this leads to shallow thinking and from shallow thinking there is activity which is everlastingly mischievous, whether on a worldwide scale, or on the individual scale.
First of all, do we recognize that we are doing these things? We do not; we justify them. We say, "What shall I do if I don't do these things? I'll be worse off; my mind will go to pieces. Now, at least, I am struggling towards something better." The more we struggle the more superficial we are. I have to see that first, have I not? That is one of the most difficult things; to see what I am, to acknowledge that I am stupid, that I am shallow, that I am narrow, that I am jealous. If I see what I am, if I recognize it, then with that I can start. Surely, a shallow mind is a mind that escapes from what is; not to escape requires arduous investigation, the denial of inertia. The moment I know I am shallow, there is already a process of deepening - if I don't do anything about the shallowness. If the mind says, "I am petty, and I am going to go into it, I am going to understand the whole of this pettiness, this narrowing influence", then there is a possibility of transformation; but a petty mind, acknowledging that it is petty and trying to be non-petty by reading, by meeting people, by travelling, by being incessantly active like a monkey, is still a petty mind.
Again, you see, there is a real revolution only if we approach this problem rightly. The right approach to the problem gives an extraordinary confidence which I assure you moves mountains - the mountains of one's own prejudices, conditionings. Being aware of a shallow mind, do not try to become deep. A shallow mind can never know great depths. It can have plenty of knowledge, information, it can repeat words - you know the whole paraphernalia of a superficial mind that is active. But if you know that you are superficial, shallow, if you are aware of the shallowness and observe all its activities without judging, without condemnation, then you will soon see that the shallow thing has disappeared entirely, without your action upon it. That requires patience, watchfulness, not an eager desire for a result, for achievement. It is only a shallow mind that wants an achievement, a result.
The more you are aware of this whole process, the more you will discover the activities of the mind but you must observe them without trying to put an end to them, because the moment you seek an end, you are again caught in the duality of the 'me' and the 'not-me' - which continues the problem.