Can the mind put away all its conditioning so that it is actually, not verbally or theoretically or ideologically, but actually free, completely? That is the only challenge, that is the only issue, now or ever. If you also see the importance of that, then we can go into this question as to whether the mind can uncondition itself. Can we proceed from there? Is it possible? In this question several things are involved. First of all who is the entity who is going to uncondition the conditioned mind? You understand? I want to uncondition myself, being born as a Hindu or brought up in a particular part of the world, with all the impressions, cultures, books, magazines, what people have said and what they have not, such constant pressure has shaped my mind. And I see it must be totally free. Now, how is it to be free? Is there an entity which is going to make it free? Man has said, there is an entity; they call it the Atman in India, the soul or the grace of God in the Occident, or this or that, which, given an opportunity, will bring about this freedom. It is suggested that if I live rightly, if I do certain things, if I follow certain formulas, certain systems, certain beliefs, then I will be free. So, firstly it is posited that there is a superior outer form or agency, that will help me to be free, that will make the mind free if I do these things right? But ‘If you do these things’ is a system, which is going to condition you and that is what has happened. The theologians and the theoreticians and the various religious people have said, ‘do these things, practice, meditate, control, force, suppress, follow, obey’ then at the end, that outer agency will come and bring a certain miracle and you will be free; see how false that is, yet every religion believes in it in a different way. So, if you see the truth of that, that there is no outer agency, God what you will that is going to free the conditioned mind, then the whole organized religious structure, of priests with their rituals, with their mutterings of meaningless words, words, have no meaning any more. Then secondly, if you have actually discarded all that, how is it possible for this conditioning to be dissolved; who is the entity that is going to do it; you have discarded this outer agency, the sacred, the divine, all that, then there must be somebody who is going to dissolve it? Then who is that? The observer? The ‘I’, the ‘me’, which is the observer? Let us stick to that word, ‘observer’; that is good enough. Is it the observer that is going to dissolve it? The observer says; ‘I must be free, therefore I must get rid of all this conditioning’. You have discarded the outer, divine agency, but you have created another agency which is the observer. Now, is the observer different from the thing which he observes? Please do follow this. You understand? We looked to an outer agency to free us God, Saviours, Masters and so on, the gurus if you discard that then you will see that you must also discard the observer, who is another form of an agency. The observer is the result of experience, of knowledge, of the desire to free himself from his own conditioning; he says, ‘I must be free’. The ‘I’ is the observer. The ‘I’ says, ‘I must be free’. But is the ‘I’ different from the thing it observes? It says, ‘I am conditioned, I am a nationalist, I am a Catholic, I am this, I am that’. Is the ‘I’ really different from the thing which he says is separate from him, which he says is his conditioning?
— Jiddu Krishnamurti – Talks and Dialogues in Saanen 1968
(image source: krishnamurti.dk)