It Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Carol A. Hand

You may call me an idealist
You may see me as a fool
But I’ll just never understand
Why some folks seem to need to be cruel

“We’re just following orders”
You often hear them say
Or “it’s not in my job description”
So just get out of my way

“Everybody’s doing it”
“We’ve always done it this way”
So many lame excuses
For making some else’s life difficult today

What would Krishnamurti say?

Dancer (2)

Drawing: Carol A. Hand

“… Society is always trying to control, to shape, to mould the thinking of the young. From the moment you are born and begin to receive impressions, your father and mother are constantly telling you what to do and what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe; you are told that there is God, or that there is no God but the State and that some dictator is its prophet. From childhood these things are poured into you, which means your mind – which is very young, impressionable, inquisitive, curious to know, wanting to find out – is gradually being encased, conditioned, shaped so that you will fit into the pattern of a particular society and not be a revolutionary. Since the habit of patterned thinking has already been established in you, even if you do “revolt” it is within the pattern. It is like prisoners revolting in order to have better food, more conveniences – but always within the prison….

“You see, all reformers – it does not matter who they are – are merely concerned with bettering the conditions within the prison. They never tell you not to conform, they never say, “Break through the walls of tradition and authority, shake off the conditioning that holds the mind.” And that is real education: not merely to require you to pass examinations for which you have crammed up, or write out something you have learnt by heart, but to help you see the walls of this prison in which the mind is held….

“Freedom lies outside the walls, outside the pattern of society; but to be free of the pattern you have to understand the whole content of it, which is to understand your mind. It is the mind that has created the present civilization, this tradition-bound culture or society and, without understanding your own mind, merely to revolt as a communist, a socialist, this or that, has very little meaning. That is why it is very important to have self-knowledge, to be aware of all your activities, your thoughts and feelings; and this is education, is it not? Because when you are fully aware of yourself your mind becomes sensitive, very alert.” (Krishnamurti, 1964, pp. 84-85)

These are just some reflections about people who appear to enjoy enforcing arbitrary socially-constructed policies that make others’ lives less pleasant, or even place them in harm’s way. This post was inspired by a visit to a friend in the elders’ apartment building across the street. During our visit, she shared an important concern. The management is unwilling to address elevator doors that don’t stay open long enough for elders with walkers or canes to enter and exit safely. Instead, they issued the following new policy:


No matter how many times elders press the button for a new elevator, the doors will still make exit and entry unsafe!

How do we escape the “walls of programming” that imprison us all?

Work Cited:

Krishnamurti (1964). Think on these things. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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20 Responses to It Just Doesn’t Make Sense

  1. So sad that we go along and follow some rules or policies that make no sense! Thanks for this wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hsampson says:

    Wow, no words Carol!! this is very deep, Thank you very much indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe incivility inherent to our human condition. It is however, that some are better adapted to resist its urge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may be right, Peter. One needs only to look at history and our current times to find confirmation of great cruelty, yet there are also examples of great kindness that are not mentioned as often in history texts or by media. It’s troubling that we live in a world that celebrates profit rather than compassion.


  4. sojourner says:


    Anarchy: not chaos. but anarchy, or true individual freedom from the elite, insane systems of government/monetary/economic/religious systems, which most people have been conditioned to believe humanity cannot live without.

    As Krishnamurti points out, attempting to change the system from within is to remain in this prison. We need to crash through the walls of this age old system of mind control, this illusion/matrix, and find our individual selves for the first time, and then I believe we will be capable of becoming a functioning whole, a functioning humanity.

    Could I have your permission to reblog this?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sojourner says:

    Thank you! This is important for people to read and comprehend!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for your insightful article, Carol.

    “How do we escape the “walls of programming” that imprison us all?”
    ~ We must first of all acknowledge that they do exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In my experience, most cruelty stems from childhood trauma. In contemporary society, the numbers of children who are physically and/or sexually abused is increasing, rather decreasing – owing to the systematic increase in state violence. Most of this violence is invisible (and accepted as normal), namely the systematic deprivation of the poor (who now constitute the majority in the US) of the basic necessities of life.

    I honestly don’t feel this violence can end without dismantling the capitalist political-economic system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure it’s individual trauma, Stuart, but the structural societal violence you mention that fosters and perpetuates the indifference to suffering, or even the sense of pleasure some seem to gain from inflicting pain. Certainly putting profit before all else sanctions and encourages cruelty. Somehow, your comments brought Le Guin’s work to mind: I’m not sure dismantling capitalism is enough. Unless each person is willing to live in a way that honors all life, wouldn’t some type of collective system of governance be necessary? By it’s very existence, couldn’t any imposed system be seen as oppressive, even, as in Le Guin’s Omelas, only one suffers for the comfort of all others?


  8. sojourner says:

    Reblogged this on An Outsider's Sojourn II and commented:
    “…Freedom lies outside the walls, outside the pattern of society; but to be free of the pattern you have to understand the whole content of it, which is to understand your mind. It is the mind that has created the present civilization, this tradition-bound culture or society and, without understanding your own mind, merely to revolt as a communist, a socialist, this or that, has very little meaning…”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aquileana says:

    Hi Carol.
    Krishnamurti´s excerpt alongside your accurate words stand out…
    I am quite astonished by the so called “walls of programming” … you are quite right when you brought it out as a anlaogy of the walls of our own society… Great post.
    Sending love and best wishes. Aquileana – 🎇☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense — Voices from the Margins – meera14

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