Seattle 4th Public Talk 6th August 1950
Most of us seek some kind of result, and we never think of action without result. We do not have the sense of moving, acting, unless there is an end in view. As long as we seek a result, the result is psychologically much more important to us than the means; and the corruption of the means is inevitable when we give a greater significance to the result. Action then is guided by the desire for a result, rather than by consideration of the means and action is thereby stultified. That is, as long as there is the psychological seeking of a result from action, we stultify that action, because we are chiefly concerned with the result, and only incidentally with the action. There fore, as we see throughout the world I at the present time, action breeds further confusion, further misery. This outward conflict and suffering can be brought to an end only when we see how the mind is constantly seeking a result in action, that is, security for itself, and is therefore not concerned with the means of action. The means and the end are not two different states, they are a unitary process. The means is the end; and if we understand the means, the right end is inevitable. But as I said, most of us are not concerned with the means. We are mostly concerned with the end; and hoping for a right end, we use wrong methods. But the method produces the result, and if we want peace, we must use peaceful means. Therefore, the means is much more important than the end.
Now, the understanding of the means without searching for an end, is a fundamental and necessary revolution in our whole approach to life. Because, thought invariably seeks a reward, in each one of us there is a psychological demand for gratification; and the result is that all action, whether political, economic, or social, leads to endless controversy and ultimately to violence. There is no clarity of perception because fundamentally we are not concerned with the means, but only with the result, with the goal, with the end; and we do not see that the end and the means are not separate, that they are one. The end is in the means, and if psychologically we seek a result independent of the means, physical action must inevitably produce confusion. That is, when we use the result as a means of inward or psychological security, our working for that result has a conditioning effect on the mind; and this process can be understood fully only when we see the significance of action.
At present, we know action only in terms of achieving a result, a goal. We work towards a goal, in the psychological as well as the physical sense. To us, action is a process of achieving something, not of understanding action itself - which alone will produce the right means, and hence the right end, without the search for a result; and the understanding of action is surely the understanding of the whole process of our thinking. That is why it is so essential to have complete understanding of the total process of one's consciousness - the ways of one's own thought, feeling and action. Without understanding oneself, merely to achieve a result will only lead to further confusion, misery, and frustration.
To understand the whole process of oneself requires constant alertness, awareness in the action of relationship. There must be a constant watching of every incident, without choice, without condemnation or acceptance, with a certain sense of dispassion, so that the truth of every incident is revealed. But this self - knowledge is not a result, an end. There is no end to self-knowledge; it is a constant process of understanding which comes about only when one begins objectively and goes deeper and deeper into the whole problem of daily living, which is the `you' and the `me' in relationship.
I have several questions, and in considering them, do not let us seek an answer; because, merely to find an answer is to put an end to further discovery and understanding. But if we can follow the problem as it is revealed step by step, then perhaps we shall be able to see the truth of it; and it is the truth of the problem that will free us from the problem itself.
Question: Though you tell us it is necessary for the mind to become still if we are to experience reality, yet you do everything in your power to stimulate us to think.
Krishnamurti: Am I stimulating you to think? If it is mere stimulation, then weariness will come out of it; because, every form of stimulation soon comes to an end, leaving the mind dull, unrealistic, and weary. If these talks and discussions have become merely a means of stimulation, then I am afraid you will find, when they are over, that you will fall back into your dreary ruts, your old beliefs, your insensitive attitudes and ways of thinking. But if, instead of being a stimulation, they are a process in which you and I examine facts and see them exactly as they are - which is the beginning of the perception of what is true - , then these talks and discussions will obviously have been worth while. Surely, it is edifying to see things as they are - for, then it will bring about a fundamental transformation. Therefore, we are not seeking stimulation, but are exploring together all our human problems. Stimulation makes you think along a particular line, it is a process of substitution, which conditions you in a new direction; whereas, only when we are trying to see things as they are, very clearly, without bias, without distortion, is it possible for the mind to be quiet. The mind cannot be quiet, cannot be calm or still, when there is any distortion, when it is capable of creating illusion. And as the mind is infinitely capable of creating illusion, to be aware of the power to create illusion, which is to be aware of desire, is surely not stimulation. On the contrary, there is freedom from stimulation only when there is awareness of how the mind works, how it manipulates, connives, distorts; and that freedom alone can bring about tranquillity of mind.
Now, the mind can enclose itself in a particular belief or illusion, and thereby think it is tranquil; but such a mind is obviously not tranquil - it is dead, un-pliable, insensitive. The mind is tranquil only when it is infinitely pliable, capable of adjusting, of seeing things as they are; and it is only when the mind is capable of seeing things as they are that there is a freedom from that which it has seen. Surely, we must go through all this process of uncovering, exploring, before the mind can be still. Without tranquillity of the mind, obviously there can be no true perception; and to discover what are the distorting factors, the distractions which the mind has cultivated, is not a stimulation. If it is a stimulation, the mind will never be tranquil, because it will go from one stimulation to another; and a mind that seeks stimulation is a dull, an insufficient mind, incapable of perceiving anything but its own sensations.
So, what is important is not to depend on any stimulation, either of a ritual, of an idea, or of drink. All stimulations are on the same level, for stimulation of any kind makes the mind dull and weary; but to see the fact that the mind depends upon stimulation, is to be free of that fact. Perceiving things without distortion brings about the tranquillity of mind which is so essential for reality to be.
Question: I worry a great deal. Can you tell me how I can be free from worry?
Krishnamurti: Why do you want to be free from worry? You mean you want to be free from a particular worry, from a certain kind of disturbance; but you do not want to be free from all worry, do you? Most of us want to be occupied, and we only know we exist because we are occupied. We say that occupation is necessary for the mind - whether it is occupation with God, with self-fulfilment, with a car, with a family, with success, with virtue, or what you will. Surely, the mind demands to be occupied, otherwise we would be lost; and this very occupation is worry, is it not? What would happen if you did not worry, if the mind were not occupied with something? Would you not feel utterly lost? If you have no occupation, you will find one. If you do not worry about society, you will worry about God, and be occupied with that; or you will worry about the war, about the newspapers, the radio, about what people say or do not say. The mind is constantly occupied, its very existence depends on its occupation. So, for most of us, occupation, which is a form of worry, is essential. If we did not worry, if we were not occupied, we would feel utterly at a loss, we would say there is nothing to do, that life is vain, empty; so, the mind occupies itself and keeps worrying.
For most of us, occupation is an escape from our own essential insufficiency. Being insufficient, we worry over something as a means of escape from that which is. So, the question is not how to be free from a particular worry, but to understand the whole problem of occupation - which involves right means of livelihood in one direction, and the psychological occupation of the mind in another. Most of us find that the mind cannot be without thought, without occupation, without worry. Most of us are afraid to be what we are - beautiful or ugly, intelligent or stupid, or whatever it may be - and proceed from there. The mind is afraid to be what it is, and so it seeks an escape, the higher-sounding, the better. This escape from what is may be called reality or God, but it is merely a self-enclosing isolation; and the more isolated one is, the more one worries, the more one must be occupied.
Surely, then, freedom from worry is not the problem. The problem is to find out why the mind demands occupation; and if we go into it rather carefully, we will discover that the mind is afraid of being as nothing. Surely, a cup is useful only when it is empty; and the mind is creative only when it is capable of emptying itself, being purged of its whole content. It is only when the mind is empty, silent, that it is creative. But to come to that point, one must understand the total process of the mind, how it is constantly occupied, worrying about a virtue, about death, about success. At however high a level, worry is still worry; and a worrying, agitated mind can never understand any problem. It can only go around in circles, hoping to find a way out - and that is what it does. A mind that is constantly occupied is seeking a result, an end, a goal; and to such a mind, the means is not important at all.
So, the important thing is not how to free oneself from worry, but to find out why the mind is so occupied, so desirous of holding on to and identifying itself with a particular idea, belief, or concept. Surely, it does this because of its own insufficiency. Without understanding its own insufficiency, without going into it deeply, the mind tries to run away from it through occupation; and the more you run, the more you worry. The only way out of this process is to come back and look at insufficiency.
Question: I love my son. He may be killed in the war. What am I to do?
Krishnamurti: I wonder if you do love your son? If you really loved your son, would there be war? Would you not prevent war in any form if you really loved your son? Would you not bring about right education - an education which would not be identified with either the Orient or the Occident? If you really loved your son, would you not see to it that no belief divided human beings, that no national frontier stood between man and man?
I am afraid we do not love our children. "I love my son" is merely the accepted phrase. If we loved our sons, there would be a fundamental revolution in education, would there not? Because, at the present time, we are merely cultivating technique, efficiency; and the higher the efficiency, the greater the ruthlessness. The more nationalistic and separative we are, the faster society disintegrates. We are torn apart by our beliefs, by our ideologies, by our religions and dogmas; and inevi- tably there is conflict, not only between different societies, but between groups in the same society.
So, although we may say that we love our children, we are obviously not deeply concerned about them as long as we are nationalistic, as long as we cling to our property, as long as we are bound, conditioned by our religious beliefs. These are the disintegrating factors in society, leading inevitably to war and utter misery; and if we are really desirous of saving the children, it is for us as individuals to bring about a fundamental transformation in ourselves. This means, does it not?, that we have to revalue the whole structure of society. That is a very complex and arduous business, and so we leave it to the experts, religious, economic, and political. But the expert cannot understand that which is beyond his particular specialization. The specialist is never an integrated person; and integration is the only solution to our problem. There must be a total integration of ourselves as individuals, and only then can we educate the child to be an integrated human being; and there obviously cannot be integration as long as there are racial, national, political, and religious prejudices. Until we alter all that in ourselves fundamentally, we are bound to have war - and whatever you may say about loving your son is not going to stop it. What will stop war is the profound realization that one must oneself be free of those disintegrating factors which create war. It is only then that we will put an end to war. But unfortunately, most of us are not interested in all this. We want an immediate result, an immediate answer.
War, after all, is the spectacular and bloody projection of our daily lives; and without altering the fundamental structure of our own existence, we hope that by some miracle, wars will come to an end. Or, we blame some other society, we say some other national group is responsible for wars. It is our responsibility, not that of someone else; and those who are really serious about this thing, who are not seeking an easy explanation, will know how to act, taking into consideration this whole structure of the causation of war.
So, if we do love our children, then the structure of society will be fundamentally altered; and the more we love, the deeper will be our influence on society. Therefore, it is important to understand the whole process of one self; and no expert, no general, no teacher, can give us the key to that understanding. Self-knowledge is the outcome of our own intensity, our own clarity, our own awareness in relationship; and relationship is not only with people, but also with property and with ideas.
Question: How am I to overcome loneliness?
Krishnamurti: Can you overcome loneliness? Whatever you conquer has to be conquered again and again, does it not? What you understand comes to an end, but that which you conquer can never come to an end. The battling process only feeds and strengthens that with which you fight.
Now, what is this loneliness of which most of us are aware? We know it, and we run away from it, do we not? We take flight from it into every form of activity. We are empty, lonely, and we are afraid of it, so, we try to cover it up by some means or other - meditation, the search for God, social activity, the radio, drink, or what you will - we would do anything else rather than face it, be with it, understand it. Running away is the same, whether we do it through the idea of God, or through drink. As long as one is escaping from loneliness, there is no essential differ- ence between the worship of God and addiction to alcohol. Socially there may be a difference; but psychologically, the man who runs away from himself, from his own emptiness, whose escape is his search for God, is on the same level with the drunkard.
What is important, then, is not to overcome loneliness, but to understand it; and we cannot understand it if we do not face it, if we do not look at it directly, if we are continually running away from it. And our whole life is a process of running away from loneliness, is it not? In relationship, we use others to cover up loneliness; our pursuit of knowledge, our gathering of experience, everything we do, is a distraction, an escape from that emptiness. So, these distractions and escapes must obviously come to an end. If we are to understand something, we must give our full attention to it, must we not? And how can we give full attention to loneliness if we are afraid of it, if we are running away from it through some distraction? So, when we really want to understand loneliness, when our intention is to go fully, completely into it, because we see that there can be no creativeness as long as we do not understand that inward insufficiency which is the fundamental cause of fear - when we come to that point, then every form of distraction ends, does it not? Many people laugh at loneliness and say, `Oh, that is only for the bourgeois; for God's sake, be occupied with something and forget it'. But emptiness cannot be forgotten, it cannot be put aside.
So, if one would really understand this fundamental thing which we call loneliness, all escape must cease; but escape does not cease through worry, through seeking a result, or through any action of desire. One must see that, without understanding loneliness, every form of action is a distraction, an escape, a process of self-isolation, which only creates more conflict, more misery. To see that fact, is essential, for only then can one face loneliness.
Then, if we go still more deeply into it, the problem arises of whether that which we call loneliness is an actuality, or merely a word. Is loneness an actuality, or merely a word which covers something that may not be what we think it is? Is not loneliness a thought, the result of thinking? That is, thinking is verbalization based on memory; and do we not, with that verbalization, with that thought, with that memory, look at the state which we call lonely'? So, the very giving of a name to that state may be the cause of the fear which prevents us from looking at it more closely; and if we do not give it a name, which is fabricated by the mind, then is that state lonely?
Surely, there is a difference between loneliness and being alone. Loneliness is the ultimate in the process of self-isolation. The more you are conscious of yourself, the more isolated you are; and self-consciousness is the process of isolation. But aloneness is not isolation. There is aloneness only when loneliness has come to an end. Aloneness is a state in which all influence has completely ceased, both the influence from outside, and the inner influence of memory; and only when the mind is in that state of aloneness can it know the incorruptible. But to come to that, we must understand loneliness, this process of isolation, which is the self and its activity. So, the understanding of the self is the beginning of the cessation of isolation, and therefore of loneliness.
Question: Is there continuity after death?
Krishnamurti: In this question several things are implied. There is the idea of immortality, which we think is continuity, the question of what we mean by death, and whether there is a spiritual essence in each one of us that will continue in spite of death. So, let us examine this question, however briefly.
You ask if there is continuity after death. Now, what do we mean by `continuity'? Continuity obviously implies cause and effect: a series of incidents or causes, which are remembered, and which continue. Please, if I may suggest, let us listen very carefully and think it out together, and perhaps we shall see something much greater than the mere desire to continue after death.
Most of us want to continue. To us, life is a series of incidents tied together by memory, We have experiences which are continually accumulating, as the memories of childhood, of pleasant things; and the unpleasant memories are also there, although hidden. This whole process of cause and effect gives a sense of continuity which is the `me'. The `me', the self, is a chain of remembered incidents - whether they are pleasant or unpleasant is not important. My house, my family, my experience, my cultivation of virtue, and so on - all that is the `me; and you want to know if that `me' continues after death.
Now, it is obvious that some kind of thought-continuity must exist; but we are not satisfied with that, are we? We want immortality, and we say that this process of continuity will eventually lead us to immortality. But will continuity ever lead us to immortality? What is it that continues? It is memory, is it not? It is a bundle of memories moving from the past through the present to the future. And can that which continues ever be free from the net of time?
Surely, only that which comes to an end, can renew - not that which has continuity. That which has continuity can only continue in its own state; it can be modified, altered, but it is essentially the same all along. Only for that which comes to an end is there a possibility of fundamental transformation. So, immortality is not continuity. Immortality is that state in which time, as continuity of the me', has ceased.
Is there a spiritual essence in each one of us that will continue? What is spiritual essence? If there is a spiritual essence, it must obviously be beyond the field of time, beyond causation; and if the mind can think about it, or if it has already conceived it, it is obviously the product of thought, and so within the field of time; and therefore it is not a spiritual essence. We like to think that there is a spiritual essence, but it is merely an idea, the product of thought, of our conditioning. When the mind clings to the idea of a spiritual essence, it indicates, does it not?, that we are seeking security, certainty; and it is the perpetuation of comfort, of security, that we call immortality. As long as the mind continues in the sense of moving from the known to the known, there is always the fear of death.
Now, surely, there is another way of living, which is to die each day to the things of yesterday, and not to carry over to tomorrow the things of today. If in living we can die to the things the mind clings to, then in that very dying we shall find that there is a life which is not of memory, which is not of time. To die in that sense is to understand this whole process of accumulation, which creates the fear of losing, which is the cause of the desire to immortalize the `me' through family, through property, or through continuity in the hereafter. If we can be aware of how the mind is constantly seeking certainty, a state in which there can never be freedom; if we can cease to accumulate inwardly and not be psychologically concerned about the morrow, which means coming to an end each day - if we can do this, then there is immortality, that state in which is time is not.
August 6, 1950
Seattle 4th Public Talk 6th August 1950
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