Wisdom is not something that has to be discovered by each one, and it is not the result of knowledge. Knowledge and wisdom do not go together. Wisdom comes when there is the maturity of self-knowing. Without knowing oneself, order is not possible, and therefore there is no virtue.
Learning is always the active present; it has no past. When you say that you have "learned", you are burdening yourself with previous knowledge, with your previous experience, or with a mind that is conditioned, for then you are merely interpreting, translating, looking with an eye that is already clouded by the past.
We generally learn through study, through books, through being instructed. Those are the usual ways of learning. We commit to memory what to do and what not to do, what to think and what not to think, how to feel, how to react. Through experience, through study and analysis we store up knowledge as memory; and memory then responds to further challenges and demands, from which there is more and more learning. That is why it is important to understand the nature of Authority.
Authority prevents learning- learning that is not the accumulation of knowledge as memory. Memory always responds in patterns; there is no freedom. A man who is burdened with knowledge, with instructions, who is weighed down by the things he has learned, is never free.
To be free, you have to examine authority, the whole skeleton of authority, tearing to pieces the whole dirty thing. And that requires energy, actual physical and psychological energy to understand the whole process of energy. Then you can proceed tearing down the house that you have built throughout the centuries that have no meaning at all.
You know, to destroy it to create. We must destroy, not the buildings, but the psychological, the unconscious and the conscious defenses, securities that one has built up rationally, individually, deeply and superficially. Then there is no authority of learning, knowledge, capacity and no authority that functions and assumes and which becomes status. To understand all authority - of the gurus, of the Masters, and others - requires a very sharp mind and clear brain. Not a muddy brain, not a dull mind.
Can the mind be free from authority, which means free from fear, so that it is no longer capable of following? If so, this outs an end to imitation, which becomes mechanical. After all, virtue, ethics, is not a reputation of what is good. The moment it becomes mechanical, it ceases to be virtue. Virtue is something that must be from moment to moment, like humility. Humility cannot be cultivated, and a mind that has no humility is incapable of learning.
Virtue is something that transcends mortality. Without virtue there is no order, and order is not according to a pattern, according to a formula. A mind that follows a formula through disciplining itself to achieve virtue creates itself the problems of immortality.
The problem then is: Is it possible for a mind that has been so conditioned - brought up in innumerable sects, religions, and all the superstitions, fears - to break away from itself and thereby bring about a new mind? The old mind is essentially the mind that is bound by authority; that of tradition, knowledge, experience. . .as means of finding security and remaining in that security, outwardly and inwardly, because after all that is what the mind is always seeking - a place to be secure, undisturbed.
If we can understand the compulsion behind our desire to dominate or to be dominated, then perhaps we can be free from the crippling effects of authority. We crave to be certain, to be right, to be successful, to know; and this desire for certainty, for permanence, builds up within ourselves the authority of personal experience, while outwardly it creates the authority of society, of the family, of religion, and so on.
If we are to be aware of the whole process of authority, if we are to see the inwardness of it, if we are to understand and transcend the desire for certainty, then we must have extensive awareness and insight, we must be free, not at the end, but at the beginning.
We listen with hope and fear; we seek the light of another but are not alertly passive to be able to understand. If the liberated seems to fulfill our desires we accept him; what most of us desire is gratification at different levels. What is important is not how to recognize one who is liberated but how to understand yourself. No authority here or hereafter can give you knowledge of yourself; without self-knowledge there in no liberation from ignorance, from sorrow.
Why do we accept, why do we follow? We follow another's authority, another's experience and then doubt it; this search for authority and its sequel, disillusionment, is a painful process for most of us. We blame or criticize the once accepted authority, the leader, the teacher, but we do not examine our own craving for an authority who can direct our conduct. Once we understand this craving we shall comprehend the significance of doubt.
Self-awareness is arduous, and since most of us prefer an easy, illusory way, we bring into being the authority that gives shape and pattern to our life. It is your own life, this seemingly endless conflict, that is significant, and not the pattern or the leader. The authority of the Master and the priest takes you away from the central issue, which is the conflict within yourself.