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The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 30th December, 1947

To love one another is one of the most difficult things, because there is in it always the shadow of pleasure and pain. In it there is always the sensual memory with its incessant gnawing either of yesterday's picture or of tomorrow's delight. There is always a sense of frustration, a sense of unpleasant existence; there is never a moment of complete love, of complete communion with another. Have you ever felt this sense of an extraordinary physical resistance as well as psychological impediment in loving another, when there is really no openness between two people? Surely, there can be only love when there is this sense of complete communion with another.

There is no way to love. You cannot buy it, nor can you barter it away for something else; love must be really felt and lived, and it comes into being when this pleasure and pain, when this sense of frustration, when this sense of demanding fulfilment in another, when this sense of the "me" and "my pleasures" ceases; and that is one of the most difficult and arduous things. We can be sentimental over love; but that is not love. In loving one, you will love the whole of humanity. The idea of loving everybody has very little meaning if you don't know how to love one, your child, your husband, your wife, your neighbour. After all, the one is the whole.

The idea of cosmic love and loving mankind is really a rationalisation of the lack of love in one's heart for another. It is an easy escape of the reformer, of the humanist, of the moralist and of the righteous. Our trouble is that we really do not know how to love one another.

We know when we love somebody with all our being. It is surely a shattering experience because it implies a letting down of all barriers.

It is worthwhile discussing the problem of duality, in which is implied pleasure and pain, resistance and non-resistance, merit and demerit, the desire for fulfilment, the desire to have an example or an ideal, the desire to imitate, the problem of resistance, meditation etc. Is there the opposite? Are we aware of the opposites and when?

When you crave for something, there is always resistance. In gaining it, you must resist other encroachments and other influences. You must build around you a wall in order to gain what you want. Others also may want the same thing: and so, you must resist them. So, in craving for something, there must be resistance.

You desire power. In setting out to achieve power, you desire to acquire position, prestige and all the implications of power. In this craving for achievement, there is inherently the state of 'not-achieving' and fear of 'not achieving'; this means resistance. Thus, every craving for something creates its own opposite, its own resistance.

Let us take attachment and detachment. Being attached, you find pain and strife in attachment; and in order to overcome that pain and strife, you say 'I must be detached.' It is really the pain that comes out of attachment that you want to get rid of; only, you call it detachment. But you never question why you are attached. If you understood what attachment is, then you would not proceed to detachment. Attachment may be the outcome of frustration. You are attached to your house, name, wife. Inwardly, you are frustrated, you are not fulfilling, you are not complete. Therefore, the house, the family and the name become all important, to which you become attached; and when they cause you pain, you wish to 'develop detachment'. But still, the inward frustration, emptiness, poverty, continues. We treat detachment and attachment as opposites, because we do not really understand the process of detachment.

You have to understand what is implied in being held to something. In the very desire to achieve anything, there is the seed of its own opposite. In the process of 'becoming', achieving, gaining, there is always the 'conflict of the opposites', because the very desire to 'become something' creates its own opposite.

In 'becoming' there is always the dual; in 'being' there is no duality. When you are angry, there is no duality at the moment of anger, i.e. you are in the state of 'being angry'. But that 'being angry' creates a disturbance and you don't want to be angry; so you want to 'become peaceful'; this 'becoming' implies the dual. There is no duality in that particular moment when the feeling arises; duality is only found after that feeling has been termed; there is the time-factor involved in it. If there is no 'becoming', there is no duality with all its conflict, the time-factor, the whole sense of frustration and all the rest of it.

For example, you are angry; you find anger painful, you think there will be pleasure in 'non-anger'; thus you have immediately created duality; you refuse to understand the full significance of anger, but you pursue its opposite; you want to transform 'anger' into 'non-anger'. Thus, 'becoming' implies a refusal to acknowledge 'what is' and a desire to transform 'what is' into other than 'what is'.

The pursuit of an ideal also implies the 'conflict of opposites'. The ideal is something which you are not. You are this and you want to 'become' that which is your ideal. To understand the implications of what you actually are now, your mind must be free and concentrated; but if your mind is thinking in terms of the ideal, then it is distracted by the ideal. What are the implications of 'becoming the ideal'? The ideal is the example to be followed, and 'becoming' the ideal means imitation. Supposing you are arrogant, your ideal is humility. The ideal is created by your not understanding 'arrogance' which is the 'what is'. Humility is the example which you are going to become. The example means imitation. So, in becoming, in achieving the ideal, there is coping which means only imitation and no thinking. when you have an ideal there cannot be thinking; there is merely the achievement of 'becoming that ideal'. In your daily life, you are full of ideals; which means you are not thinking but merely imitating. In 'becoming', there is imitation, copying and therefore the cessation of thinking, feeling, living; and therefore, the idealists are the most thoughtless, brutal and ruthless people; and to them systems are more important than man. Hitler was said to be a great idealist. In yourself, you can see the truth of this when you pursue an ideal. You have the ideal of Brahmacharya; then you just leave you wife and go. When you have an ideal of a perfect state, the proletariat or the right, you see how ruthless you are bound to be in achieving that ideal. The ideal, for example, is the authority, whether it is imposed by another or by yourself inwardly, therefore, there is cessation of thinking and there is fear.

All your social structure, all you education, and all your relationship are based on imitation. Your judgement and your thought is based on avoiding 'what is'. Look at what is happening in society. corruption, degradation and so on. Why do you not tackle all this directly, instead of saying that through an ideal you must become marvellous?

It is the thoughtless man who is asleep and who is imitative, that wants an ideal, because he has to whip himself up to become something. But the man who is learning, watching and feeling things, does not require an ideal; he is active where he is. So, in 'becoming' there is the denial of 'what is', the denial of what you are, i.e. your 'being arrogant'. And in 'becoming humble', which is the ideal, you must find out how to become that. "How" is the imitative process. You go to a Guru for help, in which there is implied authority and fear. So, 'becoming' implies imitation and therefore no creativeness at all. Look at the society, look at us, how thoughtless as are! We are marvellous in passing examinations and nothing else. A man who is 'becoming' can never find Reality because he is not understanding 'what is', but wants to transform 'what is'. Why should any man 'become the ideal' when he is what he is? By understanding 'what is', perhaps a new thing will come into being.

So, an ideal is really an impediment; the example is a horror to a creative man. When you want to write a poem and when you are imitating Keats, you cease to be a poet. But when you are really creative and you really want to write a poem, you don't care two pins about Keats as the ideal. That is why you need revolution of a fundamental, deep and psychological nature to free you from imitation, from the ideal; because it is only when you are free, you can be creative. When you are aware of the implications of 'becoming' which creates the ideal and which creates the example, it drops away. This means facing 'what is' and living very dangerously, sailing in uncharted seas and being very alert and awake all the time.

You say that others will exploit you. If you are intelligent, you are not exploited by others, nor do you want to exploit others. You cannot be exploited by another unless you both belong to the same club.

There is, at present, chaos in most of the countries and a revolution is taking place - economic, social as well as religious. This revolution is thoughtless and mostly chaotic. Why not acknowledge this? At least those people who are intelligent can really think it all out and deliberately bring about the necessary revolution and thus lay the foundations for a new culture. A house that is crumbling must be pulled down before you build; in the process of pulling down, it looks rather chaotic and people who look at it from outside may say that it is chaotic; but, the man who is pulling it down is not affected by it, because he knows what he is going to build.

If you are concerned with the ideal that humanity must be fed and therefore a system must be found to feed them, the common man will go hungry, and that is the case with the idealists, whether the extreme Leftist or the Rightist, because the system becomes very important. So, there is the obvious creation through false thinking, through ignorance, through wrong thinking, that the opposite, the 'becoming', is going to alter 'what is' and, on that, so many philosophies are founded. You are not concerned in becoming humble; it is futile, it is only one of the tricks of the mind. After all arrogance is the fact. You are arrogant, what is the cause? First of all, why do you name it? Why do you term as arrogance the feeling which you have?

You give a name to a feeling that arises in you in response to a challenge, in order to bring it within the frame of reference which is memory. The feeling is new and you absorb that into the old; by giving it a name, you strengthen the old. But if you do not absorb it into the framework of references and do not give it a name, the feeling withers away. Further, the feeling is always the new, though it is out of an old conditioning; if you treat it as new, then you will understand the old.

When you are arrogant, arrogance is the effect, and not the cause; it may be the cause a little later. You feel superior and call yourself a name, because you feel a sense of inferiority and you want to become superior. The superiority is the ideal which you want to become and therefore you create the framework of imitation and therefore thoughtlessness and deny 'what is' which is your being inferior. You feel inferior in relationship to something. You want to be something because the whole society in which you live is based on 'becoming' something. And as long as you are 'becoming' you must be inferior. There is always the 'you', a little bigger that 'what is'. If you think you are nobody and if you accept that, you may not strive to 'become' somebody, because that is too silly. So, you don't "become"; you accept that you are nothing. Do you know what it means? When you accept that you are nothing, it is really wonderful. Then, you know what it means to love; then, you are willing to cry with somebody.

The man who is something and who wants to 'become the ideal' of loving, and does not know 'what is', is merely thinking in terms of 'becoming' something. He has the ideal, the authority, the fear, the example; and he gets lost in that.

The fact is that you are nobody. Why not start from there and face facts directly without trying to become 'somebody'? To face your nothingness means to be humble and to love; it means, you have no resistance to anyone, no barrier between you and the person whom you despise and who has no ideal.

A person who is arrogant can never find humility however hard he may try to 'become' humble. A person who does not recognise his nothingness but pursues ideals is like a man who, without ever knowing how to sow, ploughs and ploughs and never sows. Behind all your knowledge, all your degrees, titles and possessions, there is nothing. When you really acknowledge that you are nothing, you are everything because you know what love is. You ask me if there is free choice in the opposite. How can there be free choice? You choose only by comparison, when you have two things; and your choice is based on either pleasure or pain. It means memory which is the accumulation of experience. So, you really are not choosing. There are two things, memory and response; and there is no choice. You may say that you have listened to the dictates of memory.

You want to know, 'how to love'. If love is the opposite of hate, ill-will, it is no longer love; love is the ideal which implies imitation; and the man who imitates, cannot know love. Man who is seeking how to love, does not know love. He may seek methods as he has the ideal of love; but he is not loving. He does not want to acknowledge his lack of love, and he says that he has the ideal to become loving, thus deceiving himself and cheating others. "How to love" implies duality, and in the very 'becoming' there is a conflict of the opposites. If he understands the whole significance of the 'becoming' it drops away, and he is faced with 'what is'. 'What is' is the most marvellous thing; it is the only true thing: everything else is not. When he faces 'what is' - i.e. he is lacking in love - and goes deeper and deeper into it, he finds that he is nothing though he has a mask, though he is talking about God and that behind all verbal things intellectually produced there is absolutely nothing. The feeling of nothingness is not the end; it is only the beginning of liberation; your activity will be immediate and very clarifying.

You ask me how you can feel as 'nothing' when you are constantly reminded by others that you are something. You are known to be something, as a house-agent, as a black marketeer, or as a religious man worshipping God. Psychologically, you are reminded by others that you are something. You, by yourself, feel and acknowledge that you are nothing; but, society and your friends say that you are something. Either you should be 'nobody' or somebody'. If you acknowledge that you are nothing, no amount of your friends telling you that you are a great man is going to make you believe you are a great man. But when you play with them in the same market, then they will have to remind you, then you will accept them. That is, if you think that you are somewhat great, then their telling you that you are a great man means a lot to you. You want to know what will happen if you feel you are 'nothing' but you are married and have relationships. There is your responsibility to the family; it means immediate communion because you are nothing and she want to be something. Because you are open completely and your wife is not, there is a friction between you and her, not on your part but on her part, because she is something and you are not. You love and you don't ask anything. You really love your wife or your neighbour, or your husband, because you are open. They may be closed and they may create trouble. You become more and more silent, and more and more loving. They may get more and more irritated; but you are not irritated. In other words, relationship becomes extremely difficult. The moment you are very earnest in acknowledging your nothingness, you are going to have difficulties between you and another, between you and society.

Your problem is to be that which you are. If you are stupid, cunning, black-marketing, be that. Be aware of it. That is all that matters. If you are a liar be aware that you are a liar; then you will cease to lie. To acknowledge and to live with 'what is' is the most difficult thing. Out of that, comes real Love, because that sweeps away all hypocrisy. Try it in your daily life; be what you are, whatever it is; and be aware of that. You will see an extraordinary transformation taking place immediately. And from that, there is freedom because, when you are nothing, you do not demand anything. That is liberation. Because you are nothing and you are free, there is real opening and no barrier between you and another. Though you are married and though you love one, there is no enclosure. If you love one completely, you love the whole because one is the whole.

You want to know what will happen when you feel that you are 'the whole'. Feeling as 'the whole' comes perhaps later. But first, you are nothing and you are not concerned with what comes after. If you are concerned with what is beyond the nothingness, it means you are frightened of being nothing. 'Be nothing'. Life then becomes extraordinarily simple and beautiful. Being nothing, i.e. acknowledging 'what is', is one of the most difficult tasks because mind does not like it, because it is afraid of being nothing, i.e. of having no security. But the moment you 'are nothing', you love; till then, you do not know what it means to love; till then, you have the resistance of responsibility, of duty and marrying off. If you love you wife really, you will love your children. Then you would see how they are to be taught and by whom they are to be taught. Because you love them, you want to see that they are the best human beings, not that you would compel them to any ideal. You do not realise what a revolution this will produce.

You want to know if this revolution would be reciprocated. You are not concerned with others at all. If you recognise 'what is' and live with it, you will see a revolution produced in you and therefore in the family and in the world. Surely that is the most practical way of living. Out of that comes creativeness, because when you accept 'what is' - i.e. in accepting what you are - you are free. Then you begin to create. Then there is Reality, God or what you like to call it. All ideals are foolery and without much significance for a thoughtful man. When you set all ideals aside and face 'what is' then you will find a beautiful and really indescribable love that is not yours and mine but a thing that is self-created and which is its own eternity.

The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 30th December, 1947

Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.


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