Conditioning vs Questioning everything

Questioner: Is it possible to raise children without conditioning them, and if so,
how? If not, is there such a thing as good and bad conditioning? Please answer
this question unconditionally. [Laughter]

Krishnamurti: “Is it possible to raise children without conditioning them?” Is it?
I don’t think so. Please listen, let’s go into this together. But first of all, let’s
dispose of this latter question, whether there is good conditioning and bad
conditioning. Surely, there is only conditioning, not good and bad. You may call
it a good conditioning to believe that there is God, but in communist Russia they
will say, “What nonsense, that is an evil conditioning.” What you call good
conditioning, somebody else may call bad, which is obvious, so we can dispose
of that question very quickly.

The question is, then, can children be brought up without conditioning,
without influencing them? Surely, everything about them is influencing them.
Climate, food, words, gestures, conversation, the unconscious responses, other
children, society, schools, churches, books, magazines, cinemas—all that is
influencing the child. And can you stop that influence? It is not possible, is it?
You may not want to influence, to condition your child, but unconsciously you
are influencing him, are you not? You have your beliefs, your dogmas, your
fears, your moralities, your intentions, your ideas of what is good and what is
bad, so consciously or unconsciously you are shaping the child. And if you don’t,
the school does with its history books that say what marvelous heroes you have
and the other fellows haven’t, and so on. Everything is influencing the child, so
let us first recognize that, which is an obvious fact.

Now, the problem is: Can you help the child to grow up to question all these
influences intelligently? Do you understand? Knowing that the child is being
influenced all around, at home as well as at school, can you help him to question
every influence and not be caught in any particular influence? If it is really your
intention to help your child to investigate all influences, then that is extremely
arduous, is it not? Because it means questioning, not only your authority, but the
whole problem of authority, of nationalism, of belief, of war, of the army—you know,
investigating the whole thing, which is to cultivate intelligence. And when there is
that intelligence so that the mind no longer merely accepts authority or conforms
through fear, then every influence is examined and put aside; therefore, such
a mind is not conditioned. Surely, that can be done, can it not? And is it not the
function of education to cultivate that intelligence which is capable of examining
objectively every influence, of investigating the background, the immediate as well
as the deep background, so that the mind is not caught in any conditioning?

After all, you are conditioned by your background; you are this background,
which is made up of your Christian inheritance, of the extraordinary vitality,
energy, progress of America, of innumerable influences—climatic, social,
religious, dietetic, and so on. And can you not look at all that intelligently, bring
it out, put it on the table and examine it, without going through the absurd
process of keeping what you think is good and throwing out what you think is
bad? Surely, one has to look objectively at all of this so-called culture. Cultures
create religions but not the religious man. The religious man comes into being
only when the mind rejects culture, which is the background, and is therefore free
to find out what is true. But that demands an extraordinary alertness of mind,
does it not? Such a person is not an American, an Englishman, or a Hindu but a
human being; he does not belong to any particular group, race, or culture and is
therefore free to find out what is true, what is God. No culture helps man to find
out what is true. Cultures only create organizations which bind man. Therefore, it
is important to investigate all this, not only the conscious conditioning, but much
more the unconscious conditioning of the mind. And the unconscious
conditioning cannot be examined superficially by the conscious mind. It is only
when the conscious mind is completely quiet that the unconscious conditioning
comes out, not at any given moment, but all the time—when you are on a walk,
riding in a bus, or talking to somebody. When the intention is to find out, then
you will see that the unconscious conditioning comes pouring out, so the doors
are open to discovery.

(Excerpt from the book, As One Is : To free the mind from all conditioning. by  J. Krishnamurti.)

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