London 1st Public Talk 30th March 1953
It seems to me that one of our greatest problems in this rather confused world is `what to do?' There is starvation in Asia; and there is the threatening of war. There is extraordinary progress in science; and though we may want to keep up with this so-called progress morally, we are behind. And the difficulty in this confusion is to find out - intellectually even - how to behave, how to act, and what to think. Because, though we look to leaders, intellectual philosophers, or scientists, it seems to me that the difficulty is that we no longer have confidence in philosophers, in the teachers, in the scientists. The more we observe, the greater we see the confusion to be. Though we may have a welfare State, inwardly, psychologically we are extraordinarily poor. We may have all the outward things - shelter, food, clothing - that go to create comfort; but inwardly we are poor, insufficient, utterly miserable, confused, not knowing what to do, where to find either happiness salvation, or that sense of reality which is not dependent on any particular religion, on any philosophy.
Seeing all this, surely we must begin to find out what we mean by a moral life. Is morality consistent with progress? And, can morality be consciously, deliberately planned out and cultivated, so as to meet this extraordinary progress that man is making in other directions? Is inward progress ever possible? And can man be happy, without this deliberate, conscious effort at morality? is morality cultivable? And when morality is developed, does it lead to happiness, to creativity, to freedom? Or, is morality something which is not to be cultivated, but a revolution, an unconscious revolution?
We may cultivate virtue, compassion, love; but, will intellectual cultivation, the deliberate process of becoming something, becoming noble, and so on, will such a deliberate act bring about that unconscious freedom from the restraints that modern society and our own limitations place upon each one of us? Surely, is it not important to find out whether this constant struggle towards greater and greater intellectual development will solve any of our problems, or whether there is a totally different approach? Because, if I consciously follow a particular course of action, plan out my life, intellectually think it out, analyze it, and set a course, naturally I will achieve certain results. But will that bring about a sense of freedom, that creativity which is the reality of actual experience? Or, does that creativity, that freedom, come about entirely differently, through a different process?
Perhaps we can go into this and find out whether, through a deliberate process, through a cultivation of the mind, through various disciplines and compulsions, the mind can go beyond itself. Because, intellectually we are very far advanced, intellectually we know a great many things; but inwardly we are insufficient, there is no richness. We depend on others for our psychological well-being; there is fear, there is frustration, there is anxiety, a sense of being bound. And, is it possible to break through this intellectuality by the cultivation of any particular virtue or virtues? Will intellect free us from our own bondage, will intellect free us from fear, will intellect cultivate that feeling of compassion? And yet, that is what we are trying to do, are we not?
Though we may have a welfare state, where everything is planned for us, we are aware that there is an insufficiency of affection, love; and there is fear. And we intellectually set about cultivating various forms of resistance to fear - denying anxiety, or analyzing it, going into it very, very carefully, all through the intellect, through the mind. And can the mind resolve the problems which it has created? We cultivate virtue, morality, to keep up with the progress we are making; but will that cultivation of morality by the intellect bring about the well-being of man?
So, that is one of our major problems, is it not? Scientifically we are making extraordinary advances in the world; and so we say to ourselves `morally also we must progress'. But the more we cultivate virtue, the stronger the resistance, which we call the `me', the `I', the ego. Is that not so? When I am consciously, deliberately, cultivating humility, or fearlessness am I being humble, free from fear? When I am deliberately trying to be non-violent, am I so? Or, is virtue something that cannot be cultivated at all? The person who is conscious of his morality surely is not moral, is he? And yet, there must be morality; there must be an unconscious moral well-being which is not the result of the intellectual cultivation of any particular virtue.
I do not know if I am making myself clear? Because, it seems to me that this is one of our greatest problems. Because, to meet this progress, obviously there must be a freedom from the ego consciousness; otherwise, we are going to make more misery for ourselves, more sorrow. And, is the freedom from this ego consciousness the result of the cultivation of any particular virtue? Because, all religions deliberately set about to cultivate particular qualities in the follower. This conscious cultivation is surely the development of the intellect and not of virtue. The more I am conscious that I am virtuous, the less I am virtuous. And yet, every activity of a religious person, every activity of a person who is trying to meet this world problem, the world crisis, is the deliberate cultivation, conscious effort, towards some particular form of virtue, of morality, of well-being. It is a conscious, deliberate effort. And I wonder if such an effort does bring about morality, the well-being of man, so as to meet the progress that the world is making?
Is not true revolution not of the mind but at quite a different level? Because, planned revolution - economic, social, or of any other kind - is still on the intellectual level; and the intellect cannot possibly bring about a revolution. Intellect can only bring about a continued change; but that change is not a revolution. An economic change, thought out, planned out by the mind, is not a revolution for the total well-being of man, it is only a revolution at a particular narrow level. And if we are concerned with the total revolution of man - not the development of one particular quality at one particular level - must we not be concerned, not only with the revolution at the superficial, conscious level, but at the deeper levels of our being also?
And is the mind, the conscious mind, capable of digging into or analyzing the unconscious, and thereby bringing about a revolution? Because, it is obvious that we need a fundamental, radical transformation in ourselves, which cannot be brought about by the mind. The mind cannot produce that revolution. That revolution can only come about when there is a direct experience of reality, or God, or what you will. But the intellect cannot experience that; it cannot, through any of its efforts, realize that truth. Any cultivation of morality, any belief, any doctrine, is still on the intellectual level, on the superficial level. And yet with that mind, that intellect, we are trying to grasp, trying to experience, something which is beyond the mind.
Is God, truth, or what you will, to be discovered by the mind, by the intellect? Or, is it to be experienced when the totality of the mind - not only the conscious but also the unconscious - when the whole mind is utterly still, not struggling to achieve a result, not struggling to find something, not trying to go beyond itself? It seems to me this is very important to understand. All our effort so far is at the level of the intellect, because that is all we have that is what we have cultivated for generations. And with that mind we are trying to find a reality, a truth, a God, which will give us happiness, give us virtue, bring about the inward well-being of each one of us. Is that really to be found through the mind? Yet without that reality, do what we will, whatever progress we make will always bring about more confusion, more sorrow, more wars, more divisions; and without finding that reality, progress has no meaning.
So how is one to find that new state? How is one to awaken to that reality, to that creativeness which is not merely a verbal expression, or a myth, or a fantasy? It is to be found. But it cannot be found by the mind. The mind is only the result of time, memory, reactions - a storehouse of knowledge of the past. The mind is the past. In its very nature it is put together, through time, through the ages. And we are trying to find something which is beyond time, which cannot be named, which cannot be put into words, which no description can ever cover. Without the discovery of that, life has very little significance, life becomes one series of struggles - sorrow, pain, suffering, constant anxiety. So, how is one to find that?
Is it not to be found - or rather, does it not come into being - when the whole of my being is very still? Because in that state I am not asking for anything; I am neither virtuous nor not virtuous; I am not thinking of myself as progressing, advancing, growing, attaining a result; there is no longer the drive of ambition, of wanting to put the world in order. The world can be put in order only when I have found that reality. That reality will bring about order, without my making an effort to do something. So, is it not important for me to understand myself, the ways of my own mind? For that understanding brings about that state of stillness in which there is an unconscious revolution - the revolution in which the `me' is no longer important. And so when I see all this, the mind becomes very quiet, no longer seeking, no longer demanding, no longer struggling to be something; and in that quietness, in that stillness, reality comes into being. It is not a fancy, it is not some oriental mysticism. Without that reality do what you will, there will be more wars, more destruction; man will be ever against man.
That reality cannot come into being, I feel, without self-knowledge - self-knowledge which is discovered from moment to moment in the mirror of relationship, so that all illusion is stripped away, so that the mind does not build fantasies, escapes. When the mind is no longer caught in beliefs, it begins to understand `what is' - `what is' in relationship. So, through the constant awareness in action of the self, of the `me', one discovers the ways of one's mind. It is a book that cannot be read all at once. The man who says `I must read it at once, and understand it totally', will never understand the mind. It is to be read constantly and what one reads is not to be accumulated as knowledge. Because, knowledge prevents reality; knowledge is accumulated memory; knowledge is of time, is of so-called progress. But reality is not of time; it cannot be stored up and used; it comes only when the mind is utterly quiet. And that quietness comes into being, not through any discipline, but through the understanding of the ways of the ego, the `me', the mind, through awareness of all relationships.
So, no discipline, no cultivation of virtue, will bring reality - into being. The cultivation of virtue merely becomes an impediment to reality without which the various problems that life creates will ever continue. It is only when I begin to understand myself that the mind becomes quiet; only in that quietness, in that stillness of the mind, that creative reality comes into being.
Some questions have been sent in, and I will try to answer them. But before I do so, I think one or two things must be made clear. If you are looking for an answer, I am afraid you will be disappointed. Because, the problem is more important than the answer; how one approaches the problem is more significant than seeking a solution. If one knows how to approach a problem, then the answer is in the problem, not away from it. But we are so eager to find an answer, a remedy, to be told what to do, that we never study the problem itself.
And I think, also, that it is very important to know how to listen. Because, we rarely listen; we are so full of our own ideas, our own objections, our own prejudices; or we have read a great deal, we know so much. Our own experience, our knowledge, and other people's knowledge, prevent us from listening, not only to the speaker, but to everything in life. The more we listen, the greater the understanding. But it is very difficult to listen. To listen, one must be extraordinarily quiet - not concentrated, because concentration is merely an exclusive process. But when one listens to find out, one discovers, because then one is open, there is no barrier, one's own projections have stopped and psychologically one is not demanding.
So, it is very important, is it not?, to know how to listen, not only to me - that is not so important - but to everything - to your neighbour, to your wife, to your children, to the politicians - so that in the very process of listening there is that confidence which is not of the `me'. Because, most of us lack confidence; and so we seek to cultivate it, which merely becomes the egocentric certainty of the `me', the confidence that is self-enclosing. But if I know how to listen, not only to everything about me but also to all my inner compulsions, urges, demands, to listen without interpreting, without translating, then I begin to understand the fact of what is.
And so with that, perhaps I can answer some of these questions.
Question: What need has one who belongs to the Welfare State, to come to meetings like this?
Krishnamurti: Sir, you may have all the physical necessities supplied to you by the State. And then what? Is it not important to find out why man is pursuing physical Utopia? We want salvation on the physical level. We want a well-ordered society. We want the perfect man, the perfect State. And we are getting lost in planning the perfect State. We think we can make progress along that line, forgetting the total process of man. Man is not just this outward physical entity. There are all the psychological processes, the extraordinary resistances, fears, anxieties, frustrations. Dealing only with one part of man, without understanding the whole total process, surely does not bring about the well-being, the happiness of man. Is it not important also to find out the other parts, the hidden, the different levels, and not merely concentrate on physical well-being?
This does not mean that we must neglect physical well-being, go off into some monastery, into isolation. But, should we not deal with the total process of man? If you are emphasizing only the progress towards a perfect Utopia leaving out the enormous depths, the difficulties, the resistances, fears of man, surely you have not solved the problem! I do not think you will have a Utopia without understanding the total man, Surely religion - not belief, not organized ritual and so on, but true religion - is the discovery of man's total process, and so to go beyond the mind. Because the mind will not solve our problems, we need a different quality. And that quality can only come about with inward revolution.
Perhaps you have come to this meeting to find out for yourself if it is possible, as an individual, to go beyond the limitations of the mind, beyond its conditioning influences: to find out for yourself. Because, I feel without experiencing that reality, mere economic planning, trying to bring about a perfect State, will lead us nowhere. I think we are beginning at the wrong end. If we begin at the right end - that is, the discovery of reality - then the other is possible; then the other, the perfect State, the perfect society, has significance. But to begin with the perfect society and deny the other will only lead us to further confusion, to concentration camps, to the liquidation of those people with whom we do not agree; and so, we will be everlastingly against each other.
Through understanding this process of conditioning, through understanding how the mind is conditioned - whatever its activities, whatever its projections, the mind will always be conditioned - through realizing that, perhaps it is possible to go beyond. And perhaps that is the reason some of you are here.
Question: I watch my thoughts and feelings, but it does not seem to lead me any further, because I continually slip back into the old routine of casual escape and thought; so, what am I to do?
Krishnamurti: A small mind, a petty mind, watching its own thought and feeling, still remains within its own limitations, does it not? If my mind is petty, shallow, small, I can watch my thought everlastingly, and naturally it will lead me nowhere. Because, my small mind wants certain results, and so, it is observing, watching for the results. My mind being petty, small, whatever I think is also small; my Gods, my beliefs, my activities, my objections, controls, disciplines, are still petty, small, bound by my own limitations. That is the real problem: `not how to watch the mind, but is it possible for the mind which is small, narrow, petty, to go beyond itself?'
Merely watching your thoughts and feelings will not help a petty mind, will it? After all, I watch my thoughts in order to bring about a change, I watch my feelings in order to transform them. But the entity that is watching, the entity that is trying to change the thought and the feeling, is itself the result of feelings and of thoughts. The entity is not different from the thought and the feeling. Without that feeling and that thought there is no entity. I am made up of my thoughts, feelings, experiences, conditioning, and so on; I am all that. And one part of me says, `I will watch the various thoughts, various feelings, and try to change them, try to bring about a transformation'. But the `I' that is trying to do something about these thoughts is still within the field of thought. So, the mind, separating itself as the superior, and trying to control, to change thought or feeling, is still part of that feeling, is still part of that thought.
Do please think it out with me. I am not different from my thoughts and feelings, am I? I am made up of thoughts and feelings - the fears, the anxieties, the frustrations, the longings, the innumerable desires - I am all that, all of that. And one part of me watching and trying to control thought and feeling will obviously not produce any result. I can change them; but the entity that changes is still petty, small. So what am I to do? Because, I see the necessity of bringing about a fundamental change in my thinking - I want to put aside ambition, various forms of fear, and so on; I see the fundamental necessity of it. Then, what am I to do? The `I' which is made up of this ambition, made up of fear, frustration, that `I' which is itself part of frustration, when it tries to go beyond or to fulfil, will only create further frustration.
If I see the truth, that whatever I do with regard to frustration - trying to become happy, trying to fulfil, or trying to put aside any desire for fulfilment - will only lead me to further frustration, if I see the truth of that, is there any necessity to struggle against frustration? Then I do not have to watch my thought and feeling. I only watch my thought and feeling in order to change them, in order to control them, in order to discipline them to fit into a particular pattern of thought or action. But the `I' is not different from those thoughts and feelings. The `I' cannot change those thoughts. It can modify them, change the pattern; but it cannot bring about a revolution in thinking. Revolution can only come about when the `I' is not conscious of making an effort to change.
Please see this. When you desire to change a particular thought or feeling, you make a deliberate, conscious effort to change; but that consciousness is itself the result of struggle, of pain, of frustration, of wanting a certain result. So it is a planned action of the mind, of the `me', of the `I', of a particular thought process. That is not a revolution. That is only a modified continuity of a particular thought. And so one sees, does one not?, the importance of a fundamental revolution, a revolution in the unconscious, which must come about without one's making a conscious effort. Such a change, such a revolution, is only possible when I understand the total process of my thinking. Therefore, I deliberately do not do a thing. I realize that any conscious action on my part will only hinder that unconscious revolution.
Fundamental revolution in oneself comes about without any act of will. As long as I will to act in a particular direction, I am only cultivating, strengthening the `me' which is always anxious to achieve a result, to bring about a change. Please, think about this; and you will see that so long as you desire to bring about a particular change in habit, in thought, to alter a particular relationship to free yourself from fear, so long as you deliberately set about consciously to change fear, you will never succeed. But, if you can be aware of the total process of fear and leave it alone, then you will find that there is an unconscious transformation, a fundamental change in which there is no longer any fear.
But the difficulty with most of us is that we want to act, we want to alter, whereas the mind cannot bring about a radical change. The mind can modify; but it cannot bring about fundamental freedom from fear, because the mind itself is made up of fear. So, if you can understand this total process, if as you listen to this you understand it, then you will see that in spite of your conscious efforts there is a transformation going on which will free the conscious mind from fear.
The conscious mind cannot free itself from anything. It can modify, it can alter; but in the background of it there is still fear. To be radically free from fear is to be aware of fear and to leave it alone, without any judgment, without trying to do anything about it. Just to know that there is fear, and to be quiet, brings about, a fundamental revolution in which fear has no longer any place.
March 30, 1953.
London 1st Public Talk 30th March 1953
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