Bombay 7th Public Talk 1st March 1953
One of our problems, it seems to me, is this question of mediocrity. I am not using this word in any derogatory sense, but the obvious fact is that the vast majority of us are mediocre. Will any technique, religious or mechanical, release us from that mediocrity? Or must there not be a revolt against the whole idea of technique? Because it seems to me that the more and more one observes there are less and less people who are creative. I am not using that word, `creative', in the sense of the man who paints, who writes poems or who produces inventions, a genius. We shall find out as we go along what it is to be creative.
But should we not enquire before we find out what it is to be creative; why is it that most of us are so easily influenced? Why do so many of us allow interference in our lives? Why do we want to interfere, and why are we so efficient in judging others? And perhaps we shall find out when we enquire into this, that in the things that we have so carefully cultivated - judgment, the capacity to develop a technique, mechanical or so-called spiritual - there may be the very root of mediocrity, and that, as long as there is no revolt against technique, there will be imitation, authority, the development of capacity, the following of certain ideas, a mind that is constantly consistent - which all indicate the structure of a mind that is mediocre.
Please listen, don't take notes. This is not a class. I am not a professor speaking to you, so that you can take notes which you can think over afterwards. Let us think out together as we go along. I am only saying what is very obvious or fairly obvious; and if you do not listen, you may not experience immediately that state of creativeness which perhaps we can discover together by understanding - that is, by hearing directly what it is that makes for mediocrity.
Creativeness is a state of aloneness. When the mind is not completely alone there is no creativeness. It is only when the mind is capable of shedding all influences, all interferences, of being completely alone, without dependence, without a companion, without any moulding influence and judgment, that in that state of aloneness there is creativeness. But that state of aloneness is not understood by the mediocre mind, by the mind that is cultivating a practice, the `know-how', the way to something.
In the world, more and more technique is being developed - the tech- nique of how to influence people through propaganda, through compulsion, through imitation, through examples, through idolatry, through the worship of the hero. There are innumerable books written on how to do a thing, how to think efficiently, how to build a house, how to put machinery together; so gradually we are losing initiative, the initiative to think out something original for ourselves. In our education, in our relationship with Government, through various means we are being influenced to conform, to imitate. And when we allow one influence to persuade us to a particular attitude or action, naturally we create resistance to other influences. In that very process of creating a resistance to another influence, are we not succumbing to it, negatively?
Are we not the result of innumerable influences? Is not our mind, our structure, our being, a network of influences - economic, climatic, social, cultural, religious? It is a mind that is put together, and with such a mind we want to find out what we want to create. But such a mind can only imitate; it can only put other things together; that is why the world is developing more and more technologically. A man who is technologically trained can never be a creative human being. He may produce a marvellous house, put an aeroplane together; but he is not a creative entity. Because his mind is put together, his mind is not a whole mind, it is not an integrated mind.
How can there be an integrated mind when we are segments of various forms of influences? Our mind is the result of these influences; our mind is conditioned by all these influences, as a Hindu, as a Mussulman, as a Christian. And being conditioned, being subjected to various kinds of influences, we say, `I will choose a particular influence, a guru, the good, the noble; and I will cultivate through various practices, various methods, that nobility.' But our mind is still a mind influenced, controlled, shaped, pursuing a deliberate end; and such a mind can never be in revolt, can it? Because the moment such a mind is in revolt, it is in a state of chaos. So a mediocre mind can never be in revolt, it can only move from one conditioned state to another, from one influence to another.
Should not the mind always be in revolt so as to understand the influences that are always impinging, interfering, controlling, shaping? Is it not one of the factors of the mediocre mind that it is always fearful and, being in a state of confusion it wants order, it wants consistency, it wants a form, a shape by which it can be guided, controlled; and yet these forms, these various influences create contradictions in the individual, create confusion in the individual. You are conditioned as a Hindu or a Mussulman; and there is another who is conditioned in being noble, or who is conditioned by certain ideas, economic or religious. Any choice between influences is surely still a state of mediocrity. A mind that chooses between two influences and lives according to that particular influence is still a mediocre mind, is it not? Because, it is never in a state of revolt, and revolt is essential to find out anything.
When the mind is never alone, can it be creative? When you examine your mind, you will find how fearful it is of going wrong, of making a mistake. The mind is constantly seeking security, certainty, safety in a particular consistent pattern of thought; and can such a mind which is never alone, be creative? By alone, I do not mean that loneliness in which there is despair; I mean that aloneness in which there is no dependence of any kind on anything - on tradition, on a custom, on a companion. And must not the mind be in such a state in which there is no fear of any kind? Because, the moment I depend, there is the birth of fear; and all initiative, all originality - not eccentricity but the capa- city to think out - is lost. Must not the mind have the capacity to fathom - not to imitate, not to be shaped - and to be without fear? Should not such a mind be alone and therefore creative? That creativeness is not yours or mine, it is anonymous.
Please listen to all this, because most of us are mediocre. Is there a possibility of complete and immediate transformation into this creativeness? Because, that is what is needed at the present time in the world - not reformers, not ideologists, not great philosophers but you and me who, realizing our mediocrity, immediately bring about that state of aloneness in which there is no dependence, no fear; which is completely alone, uninfluenced; which cannot be interfered with, which is not imitative, not following. Can you and I produce together immediately such a state of mind? Because, without such a mind, do what you will, your reforms will produce more misery and more chaos.
Is it possible for a mind that has been mediocre, that has been interfered with, put together, shaped, controlled, that is dependent, immediately to realize that aloneness? Do not say, `It may be possible, but I cannot do it; someone else can do it', but just listen, not to the words but to the meaning of words. Can a mind that has been interfered with, that is the result of interference, that is the result of time, of influence, can such a mind put away everything and be alone? For, in that aloneness there is creativity. It does not matter what words you use. That creativity is not of time, it is not yours or mine, it is completely anonymous. And as long as you are cultivating a technique, there is no anonymity, because most of our minds are occupied with how to do this, how to stop being influenced how to break away from our conditioning. When one says,`I will practise this and I will get it', `I will discipline myself and then I shall not be influenced', or `I shall build a wall around myself against all influences', it indicates that the mind is enquiring the way, the technique. Is such a mind capable of ever being free, ever being in revolt? And is not such a mind mediocre? Therefore such a mind can never be alone.
If you have to create a new world, a new civilization, a new art, everything new, not contaminated by tradition, by fear, by ambitions, if you have to create something anonymous which is yours and mine, a new society, together, in which there is not you and me but an ourness, must there not be a mind which is completely anonymous, therefore alone? This implies, does it not?, that there must be a revolt against conformity, a revolt against respectability, because the respectable man is the mediocre man, because he wants something, he is dependent on influence for his happiness, on what his neighbour thinks, on what his guru thinks, on what the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanishads or the Bible or the Christ says. His mind is never alone. He never walks alone but he always walks with a companion, the companion of his ideas.
Is it not important to find out, to see, the whole significance of interference, of influence the establishment of the `me', which is the contradiction of the anonymous? Seeing the whole of that, does not the question inevitably arise: Is it possible immediately to bring about that state of mind which is not influenced, which cannot be influenced by its own experience or by the experience of others, a mind which is incorruptible, which is alone? Then only is there a possibility of bringing about a different world, a different culture, a different society in which happiness is possible.
Question: I am a cripple since I was 40 days old. You talk of securities, but I have none - no home, no friends, no job. How am I to face my life? Krishnamurti: How do we face life, whether we are healthy or unhealthy? Actually how do we face it?
If you are secure financially, if you have a gift, if you have capacities, if you have a backing or influence, you can face it fairly well, can't you? But the vast majority of people have no security, no influence with the big ones; they are crippled, mentally, physically; and how are they to face life? Surely as best as they can. That is what is actually taking place.
But those who are capable of thinking anew of this whole problem, who are not crippled, who want to find out a different way of existence - that is, you and I, we who are not mentally crippled - can those find a different process of action, a different way of thinking? Surely you and I are responsible to create a new world because you have leisure, you have the capacity to think, you are fairly secure, economically. It is your responsibility, is it not?, to help those who are not capable of thinking, who are crippled physically, mentally, intellectually, who have to face life with dread, with fear? It is our responsibility, is it not? And if you do not do it, who is going to do it?
Is there any other way for this questioner to find a job? Most of us are not able to give him a job. If we do, we are always critical, bossy, we are incapable of giving a little of the little we have; we have lost our generosity; we have not, if we ever had it. So we keep the weak always weak, and we always look up to the strong and so keep ourselves weak.
So, that is our life - confusion, mediocrity, pain, insufficiency inwardly; and outwardly, the burning with innumerable desires which we suppress - and we cannot really create a different world unless there is a complete revolt from all this - a revolt not to join some society, not a revolt from this group to join a Communist group or a Socialist group. I am talking of a total revolt, because then only is there that strength which comes when the mind is alone, when it is no longer capable of being influenced - which does not mean obstinacy, which does not mean the strength derived through experience, through knowledge; that is not being alone; there is dependency when there is knowledge and experience. This aloneness is totally devoid of all the crutches of the mind. It is in revolt not only towards something, but in revolt as a total process. Then only can there be a different world, then only can the questioner find a right answer to his problem.
Question: Will you please explain the interval of which you speak, between a thought and a thought? Most of our thinking is trivial and of no significance. Is it necessary to pursue such trifling thoughts?
Krishnamurti: Sir, have you noticed in your thinking that there is a gap between two thoughts? However trivial, however stupid the thoughts be, there is an interval, is there not? It is not one continuous thinking. If you observe, if you are aware, you will see that there is a gap, an interval. Merely to pursue, analyse, be aware of any particular thought is utterly useless, if we have not understood or observed the interval between two thoughts. Because, after all, when I think out a particular thought, however small, the mind that thinks it out is still a trivial mind, a small mind, a mediocre mind, a mind which is judging, comparing, condemning; and such a mind when pursuing a thought cannot understand. And to say, `I must not judge, I must not compare', still binds thought all the more, it limits thinking, because the moment I say I must not judge, I have already limited thought, I have already put a resistance against judgment, and so conditioned the mind more. But if I observe that there is an interval between thoughts, if my mind is con- cerned with that interval, watching being aware of it, then I will see that the trivial thoughts will fade away without judging, without comparing without disciplining, without compelling. Because in that interval there is no thought functioning. There is an interval, it may be a second; but the moment you want that second to become ten seconds, you have set mediocrity into action.
Please follow this; you will see it clearly if you are rightly listening. That is, if you observe an interval between two thoughts, and being aware of that interval the mind wants to continue in that interval, to lengthen that interval, and when you so desire, have you not set into motion a particular influence which you want, and thereby crippled the mind to a particular influence, to a particular experience, and thereby reduced the mind to mediocrity, to a state of pettiness, smallness, narrowness? When the mind desires to experience a particular experience and to maintain that experience, does it not indicate consistency? And is not a mind that is consistent a mediocre mind, a mind that is frightened; Therefore, however much such a mind may pursue or analyse a particular thought, the analyser is still the entity which is caught in mediocrity.
So being aware of that interval is sufficient if there is no pursuing, no trying to establish that, no lengthening that interval - which means really, infinite self-knowledge, does it not? Because you cannot maintain that interval, in that interval, a new and different feeling can come into being; but the moment you pursue that interval and try to lengthen that interval, the mind is interfering with it; and a mind that interferes, influences, conditions. So the more you are aware of the process of thought and of the interval, the greater is the self-knowledge - self-knowledge not from a book, not according to any pattern of thought, but the understanding of yourself as you are from moment to moment, from day to day, from month to month. This is an extraordinarily arduous process. Without that knowledge, the conditioning influence cannot be understood, and so the mind submits to every form of influence and interference; and therefore the mind is in a perpetual state of imitation, dependency and fear.
Please listen to this. If you really understand this, you have not to do a thing consciously. You do not have to do a thing because all conscious interference is conditioning. That is why it is important to listen so that there is unconscious deep revolution, not the revolution brought about by the mind, by the upper level of the mind, because the upper levels of the mind are the result of influence, of interference, of conditioning. Such interference by the mind cannot produce something new, something totally different. So, is it not important to know oneself without judgment, to know oneself as one is, not according to judgment?
We only know ourselves when we compare. At least we think we do. But comparison prevents the understanding of the thing as it is. I am ugly, I am greedy, I am envious. The moment I compare myself with somebody who is envious, have I not used my energy, dissipated my energy, distorted it? And must I not be completely concerned with `what is? Because, when I compare, I want to change `what is' into something that it is not. And is not the desire to change `what is' into something which is not, an utter waste of energy and time, and is it not an escape? Can I, without comparison, see "what is'? Is it possible to look at `what I am' without comparative knowledge? Please follow this. When I say I am greedy, is that not itself comparative? I only know greed because I am comparing the feeling - the feeling of the more, the wanting more power, more position, more security, more experience, more knowledge. The `more' is the comparative. Can I look at my thought without comparison, when my mind is comparative? So the mo- ment I find my mind is capable of thinking, looking, observing, without comparison, will greed exist? Please follow all this.
Because my mind is comparative, when the mind says `I must not be greedy', which is the condemning, that very condemnation creates a comparative state. It strengthens the comparative state. Is it possible for me to look at greed which is the product of the `more', which is the result of the `more', which is the desire for the `more', without comparison? And is that not the only way to free the mind from all greed?
So, self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. And this wisdom cannot be bought. No guru, no book, no experience will give it; because experience is of time, experience is accumulative; it implies the `more', the cultivation of technique through experience. It is the revolt against experience, against technique, against the `more' that will bring about the liberation of the mind so that it is completely alone.
Question: What is forgiveness? Are forgiveness and compassion identical? To forgive another may be possible, but is it not necessary to forgive oneself?
Krishnamurti: What is forgiveness? And when do you forgive? And is forgiveness ever necessary? I have hurt you, you store that hurt. Either time heals it or you deliberately set about cultivating forgiveness. First you store the hurt, you accumulate it, you guard it; and later on you forgive. But if there was no storing, there would be no necessity for forgiveness.
Is not forgiveness different from compassion? Can a man who is hurt and is forgiving - can he ever know compassion? Surely love is a state in which there is no hurt. Hurt exists only, does it not?, when the `me' is dominant in that love, when I am expecting something in that love. When I want to be loved, in that love I am still the dominant factor. When the `me' or the `I' is wanting - I want to be loved', `I want to be looked after', `I miss the person' - I am still the centre, and that centre gets hurt or pleased; and when it gets hurt. it stores it up; and later on, it forgives, according to pressure, interference, influences, fears. Is compassion a state in which the `me' - the centre, the ego, the self - is ever conscious of itself, to be compassionate? In compassion, is consciousness of the `me' necessary?
When you know that you are compassionate, when you are conscious that you are compassionate, is that compassion? When you know you are forgiving, is that forgiveness? And the moment I am conscious of virtue, is that virtue? So, does not the conscious act of forgiveness, of being hurt, the conscious act, does it not strengthen the entity, the `me', that is always gathering, always accumulating, comparing, judging, weighing? And can such an entity ever be free, ever know what it is to love, what it is to be compassionate? Please find out for yourself, don't listen to my words.
What is it to be compassionate? Please find out for yourself, feel it out, whether a mind that is hurt, that can be hurt, can ever forgive. Can a mind that is capable of being hurt, ever forgive? And can such a mind which is capable of being hurt, which is cultivating virtue, which is conscious of generosity, can such a mind be compassionate? Compassion, as love, is something which is not of the mind. The mind is not conscious of itself as being compassionate, as loving. But the moment you forgive consciously, the mind is strengthening its own centre in its own hurt. So the mind which consciously forgives can never forgive; it does not know forgiveness; it forgives in order not to be further hurt.
So it is very important to find out why the mind actually remembers, stores away. Because, the mind is everlastingly seeking to aggrandize itself, to become big, to be something When the mind is willing not to be anything, to be nothing, completely nothing, then in that state there is compassion. In that state there is neither forgiveness nor the state of hurt; but to understand that, one has to understand the conscious development of the `me', the `me' that is growing, becoming big, virtuous, respectable, the `me' that is ultimately going to find God. That is, one has to understand the emphasis on the self, the cultivation of the self, the ego, whether one places that ego on the higher level or on lower level.
So, as long as there is the conscious cultivation of any particular influence, any particular virtue, there can be no love, there can be no compassion; because, love and compassion are not the result of conscious effort.
Question: How can I be free from the past?
Krishnamurti: Perhaps if I can understand what my mind is occupied with then I shall perhaps see how to free the mind from the past.
What is your mind occupied with? Is it not occupied with something of the past, with what you should have done, what you should have thought, with what your experiences are, how sorrowful you are, how you want to be happy, how you have been hurt, how you would like to fulfil? Your mind, your consciousness is the past, is it not? The `what you should be' is the outcome of what you have not done. The future is the projection of the past, is it not? So our minds are occupied with the past. Our mind is the past, and you ask, `How am I to be free from the past'? But I who ask that question am still the past, the I is not different from the mind which is the past. That is my mind which says, `I want to be free from the past'. That I is part of the mind - is it not? It is part of thought, is it not? And that thought is the result of the past.
When the mind says, `I must be free from the past', is it not separating itself from the past? And is not the desire to free itself from the past a total process, a unitary process, not the I separate from the past? Is there not only one state, the past, which projects into the future? So when the mind, the consciousness, is occupied with the past, how can such a mind ever free itself? Please follow this: How can my mind which is the result of the past, which is the result of time, how can such a mind be free from the past? When you examine what the mind is, you see that the mind is memory, the mind is experience, the mind is the growing in time - which is the past.
So the mind is time, is the past; and when the mind asks, `Can I free myself from the past' is that valid? And when you see this whole total process, what happens to the question which you have put: `Can I be free'? If I say you can be free, it has no validity; it is not your experience, it is not a fact. All that you will then do is to make an attempt to be free, to free the mind from all the occupations of the past. But if you understand the whole structure of the past, then you will never put that question. And by not putting the question, you will find the right answer; because, the mind which is the sum total of experience, of influences, and which is put together, can never see the eternal, can never see that which is not made up; because the mind can never experience or understand or comprehend what is the eternal. The eternal is something entirely apart from the mind, because it is not of time. The mind is of time. If the mind realizes that it is time, that it is the product of time, the product of memory, the product of experiences, of influences, of interferences, when the mind completely realizes that, then there is a revolution in itself, a revolution which is not created by the mind. As long as the mind is seeking the eternal through experience, it will never find it. That is why you put the question: Can the mind be free from the past? It can be, when it understands the total process of itself, when it is aware that it has put that question and thereby is aware of its structure. You will find that any movement from that structure is still the outcome of the past. When the mind realizes this, there is no movement at all; therefore, there is complete stillness of the mind. Any movement from the past is of time, and such a mind cannot understand, cannot be in a state to receive the eternal.
Question: God is not something so easily denied. You are attacking the very concept of God. What then have you to offer to this world? Without belief in God, life is sterile, vicious and can only lead to darkness.
Krishnamurti: Whether you believe or do not believe, whether I brush aside or destroy the concept of God, Reality exists. That Reality cannot be found through any belief, for belief is the outcome of the desire to be secure. The mind that is fearful, anxious, wanting something to depend on, seeing the transiency of the world, creates an idea, but the idea of God is not God. God is not something projected by the mind; so, the mind cannot possibly at any time comprehend God.
Your belief in God surely has separated man, has put man against man; because, to you, God is not important, but belief is. And do you not make the world darker by your belief? Look at the innumerable beliefs that you have! In the name of God you kill, do you not? The man who throws an atomic bomb, he believes in God, destroying thousands in a few seconds. And the man who does not believe in God, the Communist, he also destroys in order to produce a better world. So you are not very much different, are you? Those who believe and those who do not believe both bring destruction and misery to man. The Christian believes and the Hindu believes; they are poles apart, fighting, wrangling, ambitious, destroying, liquidating, believing; and yet, they all profess to believe in God. And is God to be denied? And is God the projection of our minds?
Surely Reality, or whatever name you call it, is something beyond the mind. But you cannot find that Reality if the mind does not understand itself. If the mind is not still, quiet, it cannot know what that Reality, that extraordinary thing, is.
But belief is not what makes the mind quiet. On the contrary, belief cripples the mind, belief conditions the mind, belief shatters the mind. The mind that is fearful, seeking security, something to hold on to - such a mind has no value. Then belief acts as a personal security. Belief becomes then not anonymous, but something upon which you can depend. Belief divides people, it destroys people. And can such a mind ever find Reality? Seeing all this, must not the mind be alert, free itself from all beliefs - which means, be free of fear? Then only the mind becomes very quiet, still, without any projection, without any desire, without any book, without any hope. A mind in despair can never find Reality. When the mind is in despair it seeks hope, and hope then becomes the Reality projected by a despairing mind.
So, seeing all this, the mind is very quiet. It is only then that Reality comes. You cannot invite it. You cannot bribe it. There is no sacrifice that you can make in order to get it. There is no virtue that will reward you with that Reality. It is only when the mind is completely still - not expecting, not hoping - that Reality can come to that mind which is still.
March 1, 1953
Bombay 7th Public Talk 1st March 1953
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