The symbol is never the actual

by Michael Colantoni

One of the fundamental questions consists in man’s relationship to reality. That reality has been expressed in different ways: in the East in one way and in the West in another. If we do not discover for ourselves what that relationship is, independently of the theoreticians and the theologians and the priests, we are incapable of discovering what relationship with reality is. That reality may be named as God, and the name is really of very little importance,because the name, the word, the symbol, is never the actual, and to be caught in symbols and words seems utterly foolish -and yet we are so caught, Christians in one way, Hindus, Muslims and others in other ways -and words and symbols have become extraordinarily significant. But the symbol, the word, is never the actual, the real thing. So in asking the question, as to what is the true relationship of man to reality, one must be free of the word with all its associations, with all its prejudices and conditions. If we do not find that relationship, then life has really very little meaning; then our confusion, our misery is bound to grow, and life will become more and more intolerable, superficial, meaningless. One must be extraordinarily serious to find out if there is such a reality, or if there is not, and what is man’s relationship to it.

J. Krishnamurti – Talks in Europe 1968,48,Social Responsibility

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