The Mirror of Relationship
2nd Talk in the Oak Grove 12th April, 1936
Most thoughtful people have the desire to help the world. They think of themselves as apart from the mass. They see so much exploitation, so much misery; they see scientific and technical achievements far in advance of human conduct, comprehension and intelligence. Seeing all this about them and desiring to change the conditions, they consider that the mass must first be awakened.
Often this question is put to me: Why do you emphasize the individual and not consider the mass? From my point of view, there can be no such division as the mass and the individual. Though there is mass psychology, mass intention, action or purpose, there is no such entity as the mass, apart from the individual. When you analyze the term, the mass, what is it? You will see that it is composed of many separate units, that is, ourselves, with extraordinary beliefs, ideals, illusions, superstitions, hatreds, prejudices, ambitions and pursuits. These perversions and pursuits compose that nebulous and uncertain phenomenon which we call the mass.
So the mass is ourselves. You are the mass and I am the mass, and in each one of us there is the one and the many, the one being the conscious, and the many the unconscious. The conscious can be said to be the individual. So in each one of us we have the one and the many.
The many, the unconscious, is composed of unquestioned values, values that are false to facts, values which through time and usage have become pleasant and acceptable; it is composed of ideals which give us security and comfort, without deep significance; of standards of conformity, which are preventing clear perception and action; of thoughts and emotions which have their origin in fear and primitive reactions. This I call the unconscious, the mass, of which each one of us is a part, whether we know it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not.
If there is to be a clear reflection, the mirror must not be distorted, its surface must be even and clean. So must the mind-heart, which is an integrated whole, not two distinct and separate parts, be free from its self-created perversions before there can be discernment, comprehension, balance or intelligence. To live completely, experience must continually be brought into the conscious.
Most of us are unconscious of the background, of the perversions, the twists that prevent discernment, making us incapable of adjusting ourselves to the movement of life. Some of you may say: All this is quite obvious; we know this, and there is nothing new in it. I fear that if you merely dismiss what I say, without deep thought, you will not awaken your creative intelligence.
If we are to understand life wholly, completely, we must bring the unconscious, through experience, through experiment, into the conscious. Then there will be balance and deep intelligence. Only then can there be true search. So long as the mind-heart is bound by beliefs, ideals, or vain and illusory pursuits, what we call the search for truth or reality will inevitably lead to escapes. No psychologist or teacher can free the mind; its freedom can come only through its own inherent necessity.
The search for truth or God - the very naming of it helps to create a barrier - can truly begin only when there is this harmonious intelligence. As the mind-heart is perverted, limited by the reactions of ignorance, it is incapable of discerning that which is. How can one understand what is true if one`s mind-heart is prejudiced? These prejudices are so deep-rooted and stretch so far into the past that one cannot discover their beginning. With a mind so prejudiced, how can we truly discern, how can there be happiness or intelligence? The mind-heart must become aware of its own process of creating illusions and limitations. No teacher can free it from this process. Until the mind-heart is deeply, profoundly conscious of its own process, its own power to create illusions, there cannot be discernment. To bring about this harmonious intelligence, there must be a fundamental change in our habits of thought-emotion, and this requires patient perseverance, persistent thoughtfulness.
Until now it has been said that there is God, that there is truth, that there is something absolute, final, eternal, and on that assertion we have built our thought and emotion, our life, our morality. It has been said: Act in this manner, follow that, do not do this. Most people consider such teachings to be positive. If you examine these teachings, which are called positive instructions, you will discover that they are destructive of intelligence; for they become the frame within which the mind limits itself, to imitate and copy, thus making itself incapable of adjustment to the movement of life, twisting life to the pattern of an ideal, which only creates further sorrow and confusion.
To understand and awaken this harmonious intelligence, one must begin, not with assumptions and authoritative assertions, but negatively. When the mind is free of these ignorant responses, there is then the deep harmony born of intelligence. Then begins the joy of penetration into reality. No one can tell you of reality, and any description of it must ever be false.
To understand truth, there must be silent observation, and description of it but confuses and limits it. To comprehend the infinite process of life, we must begin negatively, without assertions and assumptions, and from that build the structure of our thought-emotion, our action and conduct. If this is not deeply understood, what I say will merely become mechanical beliefs and ideals, and create new absurdities based on faith and authority. We shall unconsciously revert to primitive attitudes and reactions born of fear, with its many delusions, though these may be clothed in new words.
When you are really able to think without any craving, without any desire to choose - for choice implies opposites - there is discernment.
What makes up this background? It is the result of a process without a beginning. It is composed of many layers, and a few words cannot describe them. You can take one or two layers and examine them - not objectively, for the mind itself is their creator and is part of them - and in analyzing and experimenting with them, the mind itself begins to perceive its own make-up, and the process of creating its own prison. This deep understanding not only brings into consciousness the many layers, but also brings about the cessation of creating further limitations and barriers.
One of the layers or sections of this background is ignorance. Ignorance is not to be confounded with the mere lack of information. Ignorance is the lack of comprehension of oneself. The "oneself" is not of a given period, and no words can cover the whole process of individuality. Ignorance will exist so long as the mind does not uncover the process of creating its own limitations, and also the process of self-induced action. To do this, there must be great perseverance, experimentation, and comprehension.
The deep understanding of oneself, the "oneself" without a beginning, is prevented through accumulative processes. I call accumulative processes the craving for identification with truth, the imitation of an ideal, the desire for conformity, all of which creates authority and engenders fear, leading to many delusions. The accumulative process continues while thought is caught up in and pursues the opposites, good and bad, positive and negative, love and hate, virtue and sin. The accumulative process gives to the mind-heart comfort and shelter against the movement of life. If the mind-heart perceives itself in action, then it will observe that it is creating those accumulative illusions for its own limited continuance and security. This process brings about pain, misery and conflict.
How can the mind disentangle itself from its own fears, ignorant reactions and the many delusions? All influences which force the mind to free itself from these limitations will only create further escapes and illusions. When the mind relies on outer circumstances to bring about these fundamental changes, it is not acting as a whole, it is separating and dividing itself as the past and the present, the outer and the inner. If such a division exists, the mind-heart must create for itself further illusions and sorrow.
Please try to understand all this carefully.
If the mind tries to free itself from these limitations because of compulsion, reward or punishment, or because it is sorrow-laden and so seeks happiness, or for any superficial reason, its attempt must inevitably lead to frustration and confusion. It is important to understand this, for there is freedom from these limitations only when the mind itself comprehends the utter necessity for it. This necessity cannot be self-induced or self-imposed.
Question: How may we help the hopelessly insane?
Krishnamurti: Now, insanity is a problem of subtle varieties, for one may think that one is sane, and yet appear completely insane to others. There is the insanity which is brought about through organic, physical defect, and there is the lack of balance induced through the mind-heart being incapable of adjustment to life. Of course there is no such clear division and distinction between the purely physical and the purely mental causes leading to the many disturbances and maladjustments in life. I should think in most cases this lack of cohesion and balance begins when the individual, brought up and trained in ignorant, narrow and egotistic responses, is incapable of adjusting himself to the ever changing movement of life.
Most of us are not balanced, as most of us are unconscious of the many layers of limited values which bind the mind-heart. These limited values cripple thought and prevent us from understanding the infinite values which alone can bring about sanity and intelligence. We accept certain attitudes and actions as being in accord with human values. Take, for example, competition and war. If we examine competition, with its many implications, we see that it springs from the ignorant reaction of strife against another, whereas in fulfilment there cannot be this competitive spirit. We have accepted this competitive spirit as being a part of human nature, from which arises not only individual combativeness but also racial and national strife, thus contributing one of the many causes of war. A mind caught up in this primitive reaction must be considered incapable of deep adjustment to the realities of life. A man whose thought-emotion is based on faith, and so on belief, must of necessity be unbalanced, for his belief is merely a wish-fulfilment. When people say that they believe in reincarnation, in immortality, in God, these are but emotional cravings which to them become objectified concepts and facts. They can discover actuality only when they have understood and dissolved the process of ignorance. When one says, "I believe", one limits thought, and turns belief into a pattern according to which one guides and conducts one's life, thus allowing the mind-heart to become narrow, crystallized, and incapable of adjustment to life and reality. With most people, belief becomes merely an escape from the conflict and confusion of life.
Belief must not be confused with intuition, and intuition is not wishfulfilment. Belief, as I have tried to point out, is based on escape, on frustration, on limitation, and this very belief prevents the mind-heart from dissolving its own self-created ignorance.
So each one has the capacity, the power, to be either sane, balanced, or otherwise. To discover whether one is balanced, one must start negatively, not with assertions, dogmas and beliefs. If one can think profoundly, then one will become aware of the extraordinary beauty of intelligent completeness.
Question: You said last Sunday that most people are not self-conscious. It seems to me that quite the contrary is true, and that most people are very self-conscious. What do you mean by self-conscious?
Krishnamurti: This is a difficult and subtle question to answer in a few words, but I will try to explain it as well as I can, and please remember that words do not convey all the subtle implications involved in the answer.
Every living thing is force, energy, unique to itself. This force or energy creates its own materials which can be called the body, sensation, thought or consciousness. This force or energy in its self-acting development becomes consciousness. From this there arises the "I" process, the "I" movement. Then begins the round of creating its own ignorance. The "I" process begins and continues in identification with its own self-created limitations. The "I" is not a separate entity, as most of us think; it is both the form of energy and energy itself. But that force, in its development, creates its own material, and consciousness is a part of it; and through the senses, consciousness becomes known as the individual. This "I" process is not of the moment, it is without a beginning. But through constant awareness and comprehension, this "I" process can be ended.
The Mirror of Relationship
2nd Talk in the Oak Grove 12th April, 1936
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.