The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Group Discussion 16th April, 1948
We were discussing why it is not possible to bring about immediate transformation. In discussing it, the importance of the individual to society was clear enough. The modern tendency in the world's affairs is to neglect the individual and to think of the mass. If you examine the matter closely without any system or prejudice, you will find that the individual is the only entity and not the mass. The mass as such is a myth, though there is mass psychology. There is no honesty of thought where there is contradiction. Contradiction is a negation. Where there is negation there is no thought at all. When a man is in contradiction, though he thinks in a series of positive actions, his action is merely a negation. To bring about immediate transformation, there must be honesty of thought. Honesty of thought is not possible, if there is contradiction.
Also, awareness is not concentration. Where there is concentration, there is no understanding but only exclusion.
What is it that brings about a fundamental transformation?
Transformation is not in the net of time. It is in the immediate and not in postponement. What is it that brings about a revolution of thought, not of ideas or opinions? Ideas and opinions create further ideas and opinions and therefore conflict. Do ideas bring about transformation? They may bring about a change or a modification of continuity. Do they bring about a fundamental revolution in man? If our minds are clouded, not clear, with regard to the means, the instruments of transformation, we cannot come to those things which really bring about transformation.
Will ideas bring about an inward revolution? Mere outward change, however, social or utilitarian, is of little use. It is always the inner which overcomes the outer; the psychological motives, etc., alter the outward. What do we mean by ideas? Can the process of thought bring about transformation? Thought produces the idea. Can thought bring about transformation? You should see the importance of transformation. Transformation is necessary now because the whole structure of society is going to pieces. As it is essential to transform and as it is possible to transform immediately, what is it that will make us transform? Essentially, there must be honesty of thought; one must be honest to oneself. One knows clearly when one is off the beam of honesty. To know directly for oneself what one is thinking, this honesty is necessary.
Question: Could we get clear ideas as to what thinking is? By thinking, do you mean reaching a conclusion? Is there any moment when the mind which is not leading to a conclusion, can be said to be thinking? Thought is a state in which one is transformed as clear thinking is possible only when we are not in contradiction.
Krishnamurti: Where there is contradiction, there is no thought. What is the process of thinking?
Audience: (1) Sifting of an evidence to reach a conclusion.
Audience: (2) Not necessarily.
Audience: (3) Thinking implies setting in motion the contents of the mind, preconceived notions etc.
Audience: (4) Process of correlation is thinking.
Krishnamurti: You say that thinking is a movement of various conclusions and memories, this putting in motion being due to a new challenge. Response is the movement of the mind in response to a challenge.
Question: Thinking is response to challenge. This is a vague
statement. If somebody misbehaves towards me, I slap him. This is my response; but this is not thinking.
Krishnamurti: Process of discovering and experiencing as in Science- experiments, is it thinking? There is thinking only when there is a desire for a conclusion, for a solution, a remedy, an overcoming, a discipline. If there is experiencing and discovery, is it thinking?
Question: In experiencing, this kind of correlated thinking stops.
Krishnamurti: We investigate to find a solution for a cause, analysing, dissecting, examining, probing, thinking out logically from different sides etc., till we find a solution; this, we call thinking. Does this come into being when we are experiencing? Experience may be termed, recorded and kept in the memory.
Thinking exists when there is investigation, enquiry and reaching a conclusion, - that is a way of finding a solution and answer. I think about something, I recollect. This is a process of association, investigation and finding out. Thinking out is always trying to find an answer. In that process of thinking I rely on my memory, factual as well as psychological. The response of memory in the process of enquiry, I call thinking. I have a problem. How do I think about it? I think about it in terms of memory or conclusion. Thinking starts with a response of memory towards a conclusion, an answer, searching out an issue.
Factual memory is the memory of technique, of facts. Psychological memory is the memory of self-expansive continuity - me, mine, my house, my family - the accumulating factor, gathering, sustaining itself. We discussed this previously. The me, the I, the whole inward existence is memory. Without memory there would be no continuity to 'the me' from day to day.
Thinking is the outcome of a series of conclusions, memories which we have stored up. When I think about a person, the thought is a conclusion or a picture of that person. Therefore, thinking is a series of responses of memory; it is always in the field of the conditioning. Thus, you have the three things: thinking, experiencing and discovery. Thinking we know now.
Question: Thinking is response of memory. Cannot a conclusion be new?
Krishnamurti: I am not sure it is. Thought is the product of
Question: Darwin's thinking led to the discovery of the theory of evolution.
Krishnamurti: How does a new theory come into being? Is it the result of thought, which is a conclusion of previous thoughts? Question: In Science, you can only arrive at truth of things by thinking.
Krishnamurti: Do you? Do you not think up to a certain point and then you suddenly jump? Does that jumping-state come because of the thinking? What we are discussing is practical. Is thought essential to that state, when the new is perceived? Is a process of conclusions and their responses necessary before there is a jump into the new? Is the old the spring-board to the new?
Question: Unless the mind has moved through the labyrinth of the old, we cannot see the new.
Krishnamurti: When do you see a new clarity, a new meaning? Is it after serious thinking and as a result of such thinking? When does the new take place? I have thought about a problem within the field of conclusions, and I cannot solve it. Suddenly the flash comes when the mind ceases to worry. Would it not come if I had not worried?
Question: If I have a conclusion not in the field of the known, the shifting to a different field is automatic. Is it ever possible to leave alone thought, till we are sure that there is nothing to be found?
Question: (2) Is the process of thought essential for discovery? Would you say that a conclusion is not a discovery? Is it possible to reach a new conclusion without thinking?
Krishnamurti: I have a problem and I search for the solution in the field of the known. I investigate into the field of the known and then when my minds is exhausted, I drop it. You say that it is necessary to exhaust the known before the new is perceived.
Question: There can be application only of known facts in Science.
Krishnamurti: The Scientist is dealing with the known and not the unknown. If there is a problem which cannot be dealt with in the field of conclusions, what do you do? Must we go to the field of formulas, conclusions and then get exhausted before we see the new? We understand a problem within the field of conclusions. It is simple. When the mind exhausts itself in the field of conclusions, it has dropped the problem; and then, the new comes in suddenly. You say that the new cannot come in without the previous state of investigation. Actually, you worry and worry; and suddenly you may get the new solution. You say that there must be previous investigation and examination of all the relevant facts before the new comes in.
Question: A haphazard mind can never get anything new.
Question: (2) What is a new conclusion?
Krishnamurti: It is not really new but only a new view of the old. Do you not suddenly see something which is not a new arrangement or a new view of the old, but something entirely new?
Which is true? A genius may learn a technique. All great artists and geniuses have a vision. They may learn a technique or develop their own technique. Does technique lead to genius?
Question: Does effort lead to spontaneity?
Krishnamurti: Effort can never lead to spontaneity. I have a problem which cannot be answered by merely readjusting an old answer, but which requires a completely new answer. We see that a mind that is seeking a conclusion for a problem gets a conclusion and goes on creating further problems. A mind which is still and is therefore open to the new does not need to go through these stages. We are caught either in conclusion or in readjustment of old values, and therefore we are unobservant of the new.
The mind is still when it does not want a conclusion, when it is not seeking an answer. Does that stillness come into being through cultivation?
Question: Supposing a man has no factual memory. Can he discover?
Krishnamurti: If a man has no factual memory at all, he is not there. Is cultivation, processes of thinking, necessary for stillness? Can thought-process - investigating, re- sponses of conclusions, - give place to stillness? Stillness comes only when the thought-process comes to an end. The new is seen only when the mind is still.
Question: Absence of thought-process is not necessary for stillness. There can be intelligent activity of mind which is not thinking - for instance, enquiring.
Krishnamurti: Stillness is not the stillness of death. It is passive alertness.
Question: When we are discussing, are we not thinking?
Krishnamurti: In discussing, we have discarded conclusions and adjustment of values. We went through removing the old misconceptions. The process of thinking comes in verbalization.
Question: The process of enquiry, discarding of ideas, is not this a hindrance to stillness?
Krishnamurti: The stillness gives a new answer. For this, thinking is not necessary. We never thought about anything when we discovered that stillness is necessary. Actually, there is no process, we just see it. When once we see the necessity of stillness, we need not go through the thought-process.
Question: Is not having a problem a process of thinking?
Krishnamurti: Silence is when the thinker, the creator of the problem, ceases to think. We do not see things as they are, if we think in the field of the known. I discover and therefore experience. Where thought-process exists, there, there cannot be experiencing, discovery. Discovery takes place only when the thought-process ceases. When I see the necessity of silence, I do not need to cultivate silence. The moment we see that silence is essential, we are silent.
Question: Intention to find the truth and the discovery of the truth can come only when there is silence. Do these not form a process?
Krishnamurti: Intention is to discover. There is only a verbal process. I see the importance of silence. Is it a verbal process or an inward process? Question: Is not the thinking process a verbal process?
Krishnamurti: Please investigate your own minds. What were you doing? Were you looking, investigating etc., or were you merely waiting? You did not start with a conclusion, nor were you seeking any conclusion.
Question: Is not a discussion necessary for silence?
Krishnamurti: I put a question to you. Are you thinking it out?
Question: Discussion is a movement of the mind, positive or negative.
Krishnamurti: Whether positive or negative, mind is thinking. Are we merely rationalizing? Seeing things directly, is it not different from thought-process. You saw the importance of silence and then you talk or verbalize about it. Through verbalizing you do not see. Thought- process begins only in communications with another, or in recording, or in experiencing. Thought-process is not necessary for experiencing. Experiencing is not a state of thinking.
Question: You tell us something. We are experiencing it in the light of our memories and then we accept it. Is it not thinking?
Krishnamurti: Does thinking lead you to discovery? The state of creative being does not come through technique. Thought-process does not produce transformation. You can jump into discovery.
Question: Is not thought-process a hindrance to transformation?
Krishnamurti: Certainly. If thought-process is not the catalyst what else is it? I can say this only when I know this for myself.
Question: Learning and studying, is it thinking process or something different?
Krishnamurti: Is there any thinking process in looking at facts? Thinking is in relating, modifying memory. Is learning necessary for this silence? Obviously not. When one is really seeking, there is no thought-process. For instance, we have not thought, but we have only communicated. Thought did not discover. The thought ceased and we discovered. The mind is the most extraordinary instrument we have; for instance, it deals with supersonic waves, curvature-space, etc., but, we do not know how to use this wonderful instrument.
If you look at a problem properly, you can discover the new always. To discover the new, thought-process is not necessary at all; on the other hand, thought-process is a positive hindrance to discovery.
The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Group Discussion 16th April, 1948
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.