Book Review – The First and Last Freedom by J. Krishnamurti


In this book, one of the world’s greatest thinkers examines our search for truth and whether it will actually set us free or not.

Being a philosophy student and quite a thoughtful person I’ve often wondered about the nature of reality and the meaning of life etc. This book lays out Krishnamurti’s thoughts, and then has transcriptions of answers he gave in a lecture to questions he was asked.

The simple summation of his work is that truth comes from looking inwards rather than being told by gurus or religions, and in this I wholeheartedly agree. He claims the the search is a passive one, and much of our unhappiness comes when we are in conflict with what we are and what we want to be. It seems natural and simple when pointed out. Much of the work I agreed with. He talked about religion and the dogmatic principles that are actually in conflict with the aims of the religions. For example, many religions say they want brotherhood and unity but that search leads them into conflict with other religions, for they do not want true unity but unity only within their own belief system.

The topics range from war, to love, to sex, to loneliness, to boredom, and it provides some good food for thought. Krishnamurti is quick to say that no-one should take his word for gospel, but if they listen to him then they should listen to themselves, and seek truth that way, for following someone else’s instruction and wisdom is only mere repetition.

I feel, however, that he does go to an extreme. I think many people would lack the self-awareness to find the truth within themselves, and I’ve always thought that knowledge is the way to wisdom. Perhaps it is a fine line between contemplating a new idea and being influenced by it, but I don’t think one should turn away from the words of others, one should just be able to take them and understand the truth in them, because after all we are social creatures.

I enjoyed the book and I think it is one that would be ripe for a book club as there are many discussion points. Whether you think he’s right or not, I do think that people could benefit from thinking more and looking inwards for answers rather than always relying on other people.


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