The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Group Discussion 18th April, 1948
We have been discussing the importance of and the need for the inner transformation of the individual; when the individual transforms himself, there is a possibility of a revolution in the world to which he is in immediate relationship. Contradiction impedes the individual's thinking as it is a negation of thinking; contradiction is not only the superficial contradiction in every-day-existence but also the contradictions of the deeper layers of consciousness. Unless the individual unearths all these contradictions and eradicates them through awareness, there is no possibility of transformation. We also saw the possibility of the thought-process leading to the solution of a human problem. Every such problem is created by the thinker, and thought also is a product of the thinker. Therefore, thought-process cannot solve the problem. Transformation must be only in the Now and any postponement is not conducive to transformation, as such postponement is really avoidance of action
What then will bring about the immediate transformation of the individual? What is it that is going to bring about an inner revolution, an immediate change in values and direc- tions? Will emotion, feeling, bring about this transformation?
What do you mean by emotion? Is emotion love; is sentiment, feeling, related to love? What is the necessary impetus to bring about a revolution leading to individual action? Ideas breed ideas and may bring about superficial revolution; but, they do not lead to inner revolution. Yet the world is engaged in building up ideas, patterns of action, etc. Since ideas cannot bring about that inward regeneration, what is it that would bring it about? Does emotion or feeling, however vital, bring about this revolution?
Is there a difference between thought and emotion? Is not emotion the same as thought? You can't think about love, but you can think about emotions or about the object of love, desire, sensation and feeling. Is that feeling love? This is important because through a process of understanding you will come to that which will lead to immediate transformation. Since thought is not the medium of transformation, will strong emotions bring about the same?
Question: (1) Is not emotion a feeling of pleasure and pain in
experiencing, as a response to a challenge? Is not emotion a sense of fervour? If there is no fervour, there is no possibility of alteration.
Krishnamurti: How do you get fervour? Through ideation?
Question: (2) I want to know if fervour is emotion.
Krishnamurti: What is emotion?
Audience: Emotions are the projections of one's perceptions in the mind, which quicken the sense from within.
Question: (3) When I am angry, is it not emotion?
Krishnamurti: Let us discover it together by going into it slowly and deeply. When do you have emotions?
Question: From the mind, from external stimulants. Do we get this instantaneously?
Krishnamurti: When do you feel emotions? Question: When you know that some person causes you pleasure or pain?
Krishnamurti: When you see a glorious sunset, is there an emotion? You are only in a state of experiencing. It is only after that state when you record or when you communicate that experience to yourself or to another, you verbalise it. Look at a tree. When you come upon it afresh, what takes place? When do you say "I am feeling, I have strong sentiment"? Is not one part of it due to communication?
Question: When you see a beggar, you may or may not feel an emotion.
Krishnamurti: If that person is dull, he will not feel. When do you feel an emotion?
Question: When you see a cobra and have a feeling of fear, there is no communication.
Krishnamurti: Communication is one part of emotion. When I tell you I love you, I have an emotion. In communicating, that emotion becomes strengthened. When is it that we feel emotion?
Question: When you see a cobra, the mind comes into action and also the process of memory. Then there is emotion of fear.
Krishnamurti: I want to discover it. I should not make a definite statement.
Question: Can you ever predict when you are having emotions?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever had any emotions?
Question: Yes, when I have disturbance of some sort or other.
Krishnamurti: Are emotions the instruments of transformation? When do you feel emotion? You said, that, through external or inward stimulants, you get a feeling and by terming it you give it a permanency and strengthen it. By not terming it you diminish it. That emotion or feeling cannot bring about revolution. Will stimuli provide the neces- sary impetus? Will intensity of emotion transform? You say that great grief can transform an individual, or an ecstasy can. Can they bring about a sustained revolution of values? Can sorrow be the instrument of transformation? Can sorrow beget intelligence? We know that the shock of sorrow cannot bring about intelligence.
Question: Intense feeling is not conducive to intelligence.
Krishnamurti: You have not said what you mean by emotion.
Question: Emotion is unreason, instinctive impulse.
Krishnamurti: Can't you find out when you have an emotion and then start from there?
Question: Emotion comes into being when you are empty.
Krishnamurti: Is that so? My son dies. I have a strong emotion. Will that sorrow of loneliness, breaking of habit, bring about a revolution of values? Emotions, feelings of pleasure or pain, are first nervous responses, and then psychological responses - that is, responses of memory. Will grief modify your character? Will the shock of my son's death change my character?
Question: Has not grief a chastening effect on the soul?
Krishnamurti: Is grief a means of betterment of character, of the soul, of your being?
Question: (2) Great grief can make a man a scoundrel also.
Krishnamurti: Grief has no effect on character; but, the thought about grief has. My son dies and I think about it. It is my attitude towards that grief that makes a change in me. I go to a temple, I give up some old habits and seek an escape. This is not a real change or revolution. So, you must become aware that you are escaping; then only you will be in direct relationship and you will discover your state of being. Facing the actual state without seeking any escape from it leads to inner revolution. Devotion, various forms of emotion, sentimentality may modify the superficial structure of one's being but they cannot bring about transformation which is a complete alteration in direction. Why is it then that there is no transformation?
Question: The desire to escape, which is an impediment.
Krishnamurti: Yes, it is one factor. Dishonesty is another factor. Thought as a means to transformation is another. The idea of 'becoming', evolution, the giving of the time-interval is another. Transformation is a complete rebirth. It is not as a result of calculation. Have you not felt it when you have given up something? Why are we not creative? You have to discover for yourself what stands in the way of transformation. Thought-process is not conducive to transformation.
Emotions, devotion, ecstasy, sentiment may bring about some change, but that change is not transformation.
Is love emotion or sentiment? Can you think about love? You can think about emotions and therefore emotions are in the field of thought, such as, good and bad, worthy and unworthy emotions. Emotions are feelings, are names given by thought. I can think about objects of love but I cannot think about the state which I call love. I can think about the emotions. We may call these emotions love, though incorrectly. Emotions may be good or evil and they are only a different aspect of thought.
Question: Love is not born of thought-process.
Krishnamurti: You are right.
Question: Thought is a weighing or re-arrangement. Are not emotions similar?
Krishnamurti: I see you and I say "I am glad". The naming of the feeling comes when I want to communicate with you or to establish within myself what I felt. When there is a feeling, the naming of that feeling is the thought-process. Thought arises also from stimuli. Thought is a response of memory and memory is a record in which the names, terms, incomplete experiences, the result of stimuli, exist. Feeling is also the result of stimuli. So, what is the difference between thought and feeling? Question: Verbalised response of memory is thinking and feeling is the state before verbalising, before giving it a name; it is also a response.
Krishnamurti: What is the difference between feeling and thinking? Is it not a device of the mind to separate these two so that it may deal with them? The feeling-process is perception, contact, sensation, desire and naming. We have already seen that there is no thinker without thought, there is no feeling without the feeler. Is there any difference between feeling and thinking?
Question: Emotions exist when there is lack of understanding.
Question: If somebody hits me, I understand it and I am angry with the hitter.
Krishnamurti: We want to find out if thought is not emotion.
Question: Is there not a difference between feeling and sensation? We touch a watch. The sensation is not feeling.
Krishnamurti: When you think about a person, you have a sensation which is another form of feeling. You lay so much emphasis on devotion. Is not devotion the same as the thought-process?
Question: Whenever we are either attracted or repulsed, there is thought and sensation.
Krishnamurti: Yes. Similarly in emotion, there is attraction and repulsion.
Question: Devotion has transformed some people.
Krishnamurti: We cannot discuss third persons. There might be other persons or he may have only changed and not transformed. Let us discuss ourselves. You have devotion for your guru, for your ideal. Has it transformed you?
Question: (1) Such a devotion is an impediment.
Krishnamurti: Obviously. So also emotions or devotion are impediments. Question: Devotion is a response to memory.
Krishnamurti: It is still within the field of memory. If thought- process is an impediment, then sentimentality (to feel soft, to have a sense of warmth) - called noble devotion, etc., - is also an impediment because it is all in the field of thought. If you see the truth of this, there is freedom from this; and that freedom itself is enough. You will not use emotions, devotion, as a means of transformation.
Question: That is, you have to get rid of the attitude.
Krishnamurti: Yes, for instance, in thinking that you do something in the service of mankind. Instead of saying in the service of mankind, please do what you want, simply. Can you ever live without emotions?
Question: I see the possibility of it.
Krishnamurti: I recognize that understanding comes only when thought- process ceases. Similarly, emotion is another form of thought-process. Do you agree? The difficulty lies in your thinking that they are different. You say there is self-surrender in your devotion to God. Is there self-surrender? You say that is your aim and that you will surrender to God at a future date; and you call this desire devotion.
Question: Devotion is only the means to self-surrender.
Krishnamurti: You say that you cannot surrender wholly now but that you will begin now, and that devotion is the process of your surrendering, giving yourself over, gradually to God.
Question: We would like to be transformed but we know nothing about transformation. Nothing that we know, leads to transformation. My capacity to renounce is less than my conception of it. Therefore, that which I can effortlessly renounce is called devotion. It is a tribute of incapacity to a possibility.
Krishnamurti: The main point is whether devotion is a transforming factor, not eventually, but now. It is silly to think of giving oneself over to God eventually. You would like it but you do not do it. You say you are incapable. Why incapable? You give yourself over to something if you are vitally interested in it.
Question: At its very best, devotion is a recognition of blindness.
Krishnamurti: It is a movement in the direction of self-denial. By action, by gesture, you will find out.
Question: (1) When there is devotion, you postulate another entity called God.
Krishnamurti: If you have devotion, why do you not surrender completely now?
Question: Because we are not honest.
Krishnamurti: Why are you not honest? You must find out the whole substance of this. If you realize that it is only now there can be transformation and that transformation is essential for happiness and for a new structure in society, you have to find out why there is no immediate transformation, what the impediments are. If thought prevents understanding, then emotion will also prevent it, devotion, ecstasy, joy. We must go outside the field of all this.
Question: I am a lover of music, and I derive joy from it. Is that emotion?
Krishnamurti: If music becomes an addiction, it is an impediment. You hear music and you have joy. Then you name that joy and want a repetition of it. Then that joy is emotion and is brought into the field of thought. It therefore ceases to be joy but only memory. Therefore, it is an impediment. When music is an escape from daily routine, it is not a joy but a night-mare. There is joy when there is constant freshness and not when you take joy into memory and bring it into the field of thought. An emotion untermed is not the same as when it is termed, brought into the field of thought and used as a means for one's continuing or for something else. So long as you think about a feeling, it is thought. Devotion as a means for self-abandonment is a thought-process. There is no devotion without thought-process, and therefore they are both impediments to transformation. A feeling, an emotion, when thought about, ceases to be feeling. Is there a state of being which is not within the field of thought-process? Anything within the field of thought is the known. To know the unknown I must
completely abandon the known. Therefore, devotion, feeling, emotion - all of which lie in the field of thought, the known - are impediments to transformation.
At the moment of experiencing there is neither the experiencer nor the experience. At the moment of experiencing there is no recording. The recorder then says that he had an experience and names it.
Is there a state which is not in the field of thought, something beyond the thought-process? I can only find this out when the thought- process ceases. We see now the importance of the ceasing of the thought-process, of feeling. You have experienced that it is possible to have a complete cessation of thought, no matter even if it was for a split second, when you are not thinking; but your mind is alert and passive; your mind is not active because it has understood that thought is an impediment. When the thought-process is not functioning, you and I are completely open to each other and there is no barrier. It is only when we love each other that there can be complete openness between us.
Why is this not your experience? We see the possibility of being completely open and this state of openness is only when there is love. Therefore, love is not emotion. It is a state when the mind is extraordinarily alert; but you cannot capture it, you cannot think about it. You should perceive the activities of thought. When you are aware of the thought-process, the thought-process will cease to function and the mind will be completely quiet and open and then it will able to discover what is beyond the thought-process.
The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Group Discussion 18th 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.