The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
6th Public Talk 2nd August, 1936
Question: What, according to you, are the basic principles on which to bring up and educate children? Should we always be justified in assuming that children are capable of knowing what is good and what is right for them, and that the less interference and guidance from adults, the better?
Krishnamurti: The many problems concerning the education of children can only be solved comprehensively, integrally. Humanity is being educated and regimented according to certain industrial philosophy and religious ideas. If man is nothing but the result of environment and heredity, if he is merely a social entity, then surely the more there is of regimentation, guidance, imposition and compulsion, the better. If this be so, then from a very tender age, the child must be controlled, and its innermost reactions to life must be corrected and disciplined according to industrial necessity and biological morality.
Opposed to this conception stands faith, which maintains that there is only one transcendental, universal force, which is God, and everything is part of it, and nothing is unknown to it. Then man is not free and his destiny is predetermined. In faith also there is regimentation of thought through belief and ideal. What we call religious education is merely the forcing of the individual to adapt himself to certain ideas, moralities and conclusions laid down by religious organizations.
If you examine both these opposites, the assertions of faith and of science, you will see that though they are in opposition, they both shape man, grossly or subtly, each according to its own pattern.
Before we can know how to bring up children, or ourselves, we must comprehend the significance of these opposites. We have created through faith, fear, and compulsion a system of thought and conduct which we call religion and to which we are constantly adjusting ourselves; or, by continual assertion that man is merely a social entity, a product of environment and heredity, we have created a superficial morality which is hollow and barren. So before we can educate children or ourselves, we have to comprehend what man is.
Our thought and action spring sometimes from faith and at other times from the reactions of biological or industrial necessity. When there is burning anxiety, fear, uncertainty, we turn to God, we assert that there is a transcendental force which is guiding us, and with the morality of faith we try to live in a world of opportunism, hatred and cruelties. So inevitably there is conflict between the system of faith and the system of egotistic morality. Through either of these systems which are opposed to each other, what man is cannot be discerned.
How, then, are we going to discover what man is? We must first become aware of our thought and action, and free them from faith, fear and compulsion. We must disentangle them from the reaction and conflict of opposites in which they are at present held. By being alert and constantly aware, we shall discover for ourselves the true process of consciousness. I have tried to explain this process in my various talks.
Instead of belonging to either of the opposite systems of thought - faith and science - we must go above and beyond them, and then only shall we discern that which is true. Then we shall see that there are many energies whose processes are unique, and that there is not one, universal force which puts into motion these separate energies. Man is this unique, self-active energy which has no beginning. In its self-active development there is consciousness, from which arises individuality. This process is self-sustaining through its own activities of ignorance, prejudice, want, fear. So long as the process of ignorance and want exists there must be fear with its many illusions and escapes; from this process arise conflict and suffering.
If we truly discern this self-sustaining process of ignorance, then we shall have a wholly different attitude towards man and his education. Then there will not be the compulsion of faith or of superficial morality, but the awakening of intelligence which will adjust itself to all the provocations of life. Until we really understand the significance of all this, mere search for another system of education is utterly futile. To awaken creative intelligence so that each human being is capable of spontaneous adjustment to life, there must be the deep discernment of the process of oneself. No philosophical system can aid one to understand oneself. Comprehension comes only through the discernment of the "I" process with its ignorance, tendencies and fears. Where there is deep and creative intelligence, there will be right education, right action, and right relationship with environment.
Question: Does not experience lead to the fullness of life?
Krishnamurti: We see many people going through experience after experience, multiplying sensation, living in past memories with future anticipation. Do such people live a life of plenitude? Do accumulative memories bring about the fullness of life? Or is there the plenitude of life only when the mind is open, vulnerable, utterly denuded of all self-protective memories?
When there is integral action without the division of many wants, there is fullness, intelligence, the depth of reality. Mere accumulation of experience, or living in the sensation of experience, is but a superficial enrichment of memory, which gives an artificial sensation of fullness, through stimulation. Mere enrichment of memory is not fullness of life; it only builds further self-protective walls against the movement of life, against suffering. Self-protective walls of memory prevent the spontaneity of life and increase resistance and thereby intensify sorrow and conflict. Accumulative memories of experience do not bring about comprehension or the strength of deep pliability.
Memory guides us through experiences. We approach each new experience with a conditioned mind, a mind that is already burdened with self-protective memories of fears, prejudices, tendencies. Memory is ever conditioning the mind and creating for it an environment of values in which it becomes a prisoner. As long as self-protective memories exist and give continuity to the "I" process, there cannot be the plenitude of life.
So we must understand the process of experience and perceive how the mind is ever gathering lessons out of experience, which become its guide. These lessons, these ideals and guides, which are but self-protective memories, constantly help the mind to escape from actuality. Though the mind seeks to escape from suffering, aided by these memories, it thereby only accentuates fear, illusion and conflict. Plenitude of life is possible only when the mind-heart is wholly vulnerable to the movement of life, without any self-created and artificial hindrances. Richness of life comes when want, with its illusions and values, has ceased.
Question: Please speak to us about the beauty and ecstasy of freedom. Is it possible to attain that happy state without the use of meditation or other methods suitable to our stage?
Krishnamurti: Why do you want me to speak to you about the beauty and ecstasy of freedom? Is it in order to have a new sensation, a new imaginative picture, a new ideal, or is it because you hope to create in yourself through my description an assurance, a certainty? You desire to be stimulated. As when you read a poem you are carried away by the momentary vision of the poet's fancy, so you want the stimulation of my description. When you look at a beautiful painting you are transported for a while, by its loveliness, from your daily conflict, misery and fear. You escape, but soon you return to your sorrow. Of what avail is my describing to you the indescribable? No words can measure it. So let us not ask what is truth, what is freedom.
You will know what is freedom when you are deeply conscious of the walls of your prison, for that very awareness dissolves the self-created limitations. When you ask what is truth, what is the ecstasy of freedom, you are only demanding a new escape from the weary burden of everyday struggle, passion, hatred. Occasionally we are aware of the loveliness of the indescribable, but these moments are so rare that we cling to them in memory and try to live in the past, with actuality ever present. This but creates and perpetuates conflict and illusion. Do not let us live through imagination in an anticipated future, but let us be conscious of our everyday struggles and fears.
There are the few who, comprehending the self-sustaining process of ignorance, have brought it voluntarily to an end. And there are the many who have almost escaped from the actual; they cannot discern the real, the everbecoming. No system, philosophical or scientific, can lead them to the ecstasy of truth. No system of meditation can free them from self-engendered, self-active illusions, conflicts and miseries, which are so insistent that they help to create those conditions which prevent the fruition of intelligence. You mean by meditation a set of rules, a discipline, which, if followed, you hope will help you to awaken intelligence. Can compulsion, either of reward or of punishment, bring about creative intuition of reality? Must you not be conscious, deeply aware of the process of ignorance, want, which is creating further want and so ever engendering fear and illusion? When you really begin to be aware of this process, that very awareness is meditation, not the artificial meditation for a few minutes of the day in which you withdraw from life to contemplate life. We think that by withdrawing from life, even for a minute, we shall understand life. To understand life we must be in the flow of life, in the movement of life. We must be cognizant of the process of ignorance, want and fear, for we are that very process itself.
I am afraid that many of you who hear me often but do not experiment with what I say, will merely acquire a new terminology, without that fundamental change of will which alone can free the mind-heart from conflict and sorrow. Instead of asking for a method of meditation, which is but an indication of wanting an escape from actuality, discern for yourself the process of ignorance and fear. This deep discernment is meditation. Question: You say that discipline is futile, whether external or self-imposed. Nevertheless, when one takes life seriously, one submits oneself inevitably to a kind of voluntary self-discipline. Is there anything wrong in this?
Krishnamurti: I have tried to explain that conduct born of compulsion, whether it be the compulsion of reward or of punishment, of fear or of love, is not right conduct. It is merely an imitation, a forcing and training of the mind according to certain ideas, in order to avoid conflict. This kind of discipline, imposed or voluntary, does not lead to right conduct. Right conduct is possible only when we understand the full significance of the self-active process of ignorance and the reforming of limitation through the action of want. In deeply discerning the process of fear there is the awakening of that intelligence which brings about right conduct. Can intelligence be awakened through discipline, imposed or voluntary? Is it a question of training thought according to a particular pattern? Is intelligence awakened through fear which makes you subjugate yourself to a standard of morality? Compulsion of any kind, whether externally or voluntarily imposed, cannot awaken intelligence, for imposition is the outcome of fear. Where there is fear there cannot be intelligence. Where intelligence is functioning there is spontaneous adjustment without the process of discipline. So the question is not whether discipline is right or wrong, or whether it is necessary, but how the mind can be free from self-created fear. For when there is freedom from fear there is not the sense of discipline, but only the plenitude of life.
What is the cause of fear? How is fear engendered? What is its process and expression? There must be fear so long as there is the "I" process, the consciousness of want, which limits action. All action born of the limitation of want only creates further limitation. This constant change of want, with its many activities, does not free the mind from fear; it but gives to the "I" process an identity and a continuity. Action springing from want must ever create fear and thereby hinder intelligence and the spontaneous adjustment to life.
Instead of asking me if it is right or wrong to discipline yourself, be conscious of your own want, and then you will see how fear comes into being and perpetuates itself. Instead of wanting to get rid of fear, be deeply conscious of want, without compulsion of any kind. Then there will be the cessation of fear, the awakening of intelligence and the deep plenitude of life.
The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
6th Public Talk 2nd August, 1936
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.