I discovered the works of Jiddu Krishnamurti more than 13 years ago, at a book exhibition in Jodhpur, a small city in India. I just walked near a stall and a person pushed this book towards me, written by him. I resisted the push, but the book was ridiculously cheap, so I thought why not.
I ignored it a few years, then at another stage in life, got to reading it quite seriously. I read multiple books by him, which influenced how I interpreted the world around me. After a few years, I sort of dropped reading them, except for moments of exceptional distress.
Later I found that Krishnamurti has influenced some Silicon Valley gurus like Naval Ravikant, which was a pleasant surprise – like knowing that a friend you admire, is actually famous in some other domain.
So, as I am back at home in year-end vacation time, I picked up his book ‘This matter of culture’, which was later changed to ‘Think on These Things‘ (full book text: here), and I started flipping through it.
Though he talks mostly about education, I found some views on materialism. Now you would expect a guru, and Indian guru to advocate against materialism, luxury and worldly things. But not this guy:
So it is your so-called education that is destroying you, not the luxury which the modern world provides. Why should you not have cars and good roads?
And then, I found this simple articulation,
Modern education has become the cultivation of gadgets, the mechanical devices or machines which help you to cook, to clean, to iron, to calculate and do various other essential things, so that you don’t have to think about them all the time. And you should have these gadgets, not to get lost in gadgetry, but to free your mind to do something totally different.
For some reason, I find these lines very elegant, “you should have these gadgets, not to get lost in gadgetry, but to free your mind to do something totally different.”
And if you create tools for productivity, this can be a guiding philosophy. Not just ‘make something people want‘, but ‘make something which frees people’s minds to do something different.’ I think this is also what Apple tries to do.