London 3rd Public Talk 1st April 1953
If we can find out what are the factors of deterioration, then perhaps we shall be able to set aside mediocrity, and come to a realization or to a feeling of what it is to be creative. Is not one of our problems, perhaps the major one, that we are constantly living in the shadow of death, in the shadow of deterioration, decay? The circumstances, the various compulsions of life about us, make us mediocre, closed in, ineffective, and there is soon deterioration, not only physical but the much more important, psychological deterioration. Perhaps if we can find out what it is that we are seeking, what it is that we are searching after, that we want, then we may be able to solve this problem of mediocrity and decay. Why is it that most of us are so utterly, inwardly empty, miserable, always seeking, running after things, trying to find out, longing for something which we never seem able to get? Is that not one of our problems? If we can really try to find out what it is that we are seeking, perhaps we shall be able to answer or to go beyond this psychological decay, the mediocrity of the mind.
We can see, most of us, that at one level we are seeking comfort, physical well-being - to be comfortable, to have money, to have love, to have things, to enjoy things, to travel, to be able to do certain things. All these we want, at the superficial level. And if we go a little bit deeper, at another level, we want happiness, we want freedom, we want to have the capacity to do things grandly, greatly, magnificently. And if we go still deeper, we want to find out what there is beyond death, and what is love, to work for an ideal, for a perfect State. And if we go deeper still, there is the desire to find out what is reality, what is God, what is this thing that is so creative, that is always new. And we are caught between these many layers, are we not? We would like to have all of them. We want to live in perfect relationship, we want to work collectively, to have the right vocation, and so on. We are constantly seeking something, even though we may not be fully aware of it. Perhaps we have never inquired into the matter. We just drift along, pushed by circumstances, till death comes, and there is the end of things, or, perhaps the beginning of a new torture.
So, we have never really sat down and looked into ourselves to find out what it is that we are searching after. I think if we can find that out, not merely at the superficial level, but fundamentally deeply what it is we want, then I think we shall be able to solve this question of mediocrity and decay. Because, most of us are mediocre. We have nothing alive, nothing new, nothing creative in us. Anything that we create is so empty, so tawdry, with such little significance. So, should we not find out what it is that we want?
If we really examine it, go into it, we find we want something permanent, don't we?, permanent love, a state of permanent peace, a joy that can never vanish, that can never fade the realization of some beauty, a perfection. We want, do we not?, a state in which there is joy and permanency. That is what most of us are searching for, to find a permanent state, something that cannot be destroyed by the mind, by any circumstances, by any physical disease, something that is beyond the mind, a joy that does not depend on the body, a creativeness that is independent of the withering effect of the mind. Surely that is what most of us want, do we not? Perhaps not when we are young; but as we grow old, more thoughtful, more mature, we want something permanent. That is what most of us are seeking, are we not? Put it in any other words you like, but that is the direction of our striving.
Now, is there anything permanent? Though I want it, though in my longing, in my search, in my struggle I am constantly seeking that state which can never be destroyed, a state which is beyond the mind, is there really anything permanent, which the mind can have? Most of us want a permanent relationship of love, a permanent experience which is timeless, a thing that can never be destroyed. That is what most of us want, if we go beyond the superficial, immediate demands. But is not this demand for the permanency of experience, of knowledge, for the continuity of a certain state, is that not one of the main factors of deterioration? Because, is there anything permanent? Yet the mind is forever pursuing and seeking out a state which will be forever the same. If I have an experience which gives me joy, I want that state to continue for ever; I do not want to be disturbed from it. So the mind clings to that experience.
So, if I want to find out, must I not inquire if there is anything permanent at all? Surely, to find out if there is something which is beyond the mind, must I not put aside in myself any demand for the continued state? Because, after all, to find creativity - not the mere writing of a poem or the painting of a picture, but creativity which is of no time, which is not the invention of the mind, not a mere capacity or gift, but that creativity which is ever renewing itself - must not the mind be capable of being enthusiastic and persistent in its inquiry? Most of us, as we grow older, lose our enthusiasm which is not the superficial enthusiasm of certain actions; which is not the enthusiasm that one has when one is searching with an end in view, when one is going to be rewarded; but which is that enthusiasm which is not dependent on the body, that enthusiasm which is constantly probing, inquiring, searching out, never satisfied.
Now, to be free to inquire, must there not be virtue? Because, the virtue that gives freedom is not the virtue that is pursued, caught, and cultivated, for that only creates respectability, which is the sign of mediocrity. But without the cultivation of virtue, to be virtuous is essential, is it not?, if one would find out what is true, without any illusion. So I want to find out if there is something beyond the mind, something which is permanent. And to find out, there must be freedom to inquire, that extraordinary vitality of the mind which is not dependent on the physical state. To inquire, there must be freedom; and virtue gives freedom, but not the virtue that one cultivates, which is merely a bondage.
So to inquire, to find out, must there not be that innocence which is not contaminated by experience? Because if experience is used as a guide to inquiry, then experience conditions thought, does it not? Whatever experience I have conditions all further experience. All knowledge conditions further knowledge, does it not?, because my experience interprets every reaction. All experiences are translated by past experience. So, experience is never liberating; it is always conditioning. So can the mind be innocent, free of knowledge, free of memory, free of experience? Because, after all, that is innocence, is it not? The mind that is burdened with knowledge, with experience, with memory, such a mind is not an innocent mind.
So, in order to find out if there is a permanent state must there not be that virtue, that enthusiasm, that innocence? Then only, it seems to me, can we go beyond the demands of the mind. Because, the mind, when it inquires, can never find that which is true. The mind can only project from its past experiences; and what it finds will be the effects of its own conditioning, its own knowledge, its own experience.
So, can one find out what is creativity, or God, or whatever name you like to give to it? Because that is the one factor that makes all things new. Though I may be living with death, when there is that creativity death has quite a different significance.
That creativity frees the mind from all mediocrity, from all deterioration. And if that is the thing which I am seeking, I have to be very clear, have I not?, so as not to create any illusion, so as to free the mind to really discover - which means, surely, that the mind must be utterly still to find out. Because, creativity cannot be invited; it has to come to you, to the mind. God cannot be invited; it has to come. And it cannot come when the mind is not free. And freedom is not the outcome of a discipline.
So, our problem is really very complex. Unconsciously we are pur- suing, we are demanding, we are longing for some permanent quality permanent state. And this desire for permanency, for security, brings about mediocrity, deterioration. Because that is what we want, do we not?, psychological security. And by devious means and ways we try to capture it. But if once we really understand that there is no such thing as psychological security, then there is no decay, is there?, because then there is no resting place. There is decay only when there is something permanent, something continuous. But when there is a constant ending, constant dying, then there is a constant renewal which is not continuous.
Please, this is not something mystical. If you really listen to what I am saying, then you will experience something directly, which frees the mind from all this horror of trying to be secure in some corner. It is only when the mind is really free, that it is able to receive that which is creative.
Question: What, precisely, do you want to do, and are you really doing it? Do you just want to talk?
Krishnamurti: I am not turning the tables on you. But precisely, why are you here? Why do you listen? Why do you attend these meetings? I may perhaps answer why I talk; but it is much more important for you to find out, is it not?, why you are here. Because, if you are here merely to listen to another talk, to another lecture, to capture some mysterious something or other, surely that would be utterly a waste of time, would it not? But if you are here to find out, to actually discover for yourself, to actually experience, then it is very important to find out the relationship between you and me. If our relationship is of one who instructs you, and you who listen and follow, then you will never discover: you are merely followers. Then there is no creativity; in yourself there is no renewal. And if you are merely listening to find out a state, a feeling, which you can take home and keep, then obviously our relationship is not mutual.
But if in listening you are discovering yourself how your mind thinks, operates, functions - which is the whole problem of existence - then as you discover it, understand it, your being here has value, has it not? If in listening there is an awakening, a revolution in the right sense of the word if there is a deep, inward, psychological revolution which brings about a wider, more significant understanding, then your being here has significance, has value.
And what is it that I am trying to do? Talking is only a means of communication, is it not? I want to tell you something, perhaps the way to find out what is reality - not the way as a system, but how to set about it. And if you can find this for yourself there will not be one speaker, there will be all of us talking, all of us expressing that reality in our lives wherever we are. That is what is important is it not? Because, one solitary voice has very little significance in a world of confusion, in a world of so much noise. But if each one of us is discovering reality, then there will be the more of us. Then perhaps we may be able to bring about a totally different world. That is why I am talking, and I hope that is why you are listening, so that each one of us is alive to himself, so that each one of us is creative, free to discover what truth is, what reality, what God is, not ultimately, but from moment to moment, without any sense of accumulation.
Truth cannot be accumulated. What is accumulated is always being destroyed; it withers away. Truth can never wither, because it can only be found from moment to moment, in every thought, in every relationship, in every word, in every gesture, in a smile, in tears. And if you and I can find that, and live it - the very living is the finding of it - then we shall not become propagandists, we shall be creative human beings - not perfect human beings, but creative human beings, which is vastly different. And that I think is why I am talking; and perhaps that is why you are here listening.
Question: How can I free myself from my conditioning? Krishnamurti: As this is rather an important and complex question, let us patiently go into it. Because, perhaps by very careful delving into the problem we shall be able to free the mind from its conditioning, immediately.
Most of us are conditioned, are we not? We may be unaware of it, but we are conditioned: as Christians, as the English, as the French, as the Germans, as the Communists, as the Hindus, and so on; we are all conditioned. That is, I have certain beliefs, certain experiences, knowledge which is imposed upon me from childhood through education, through various forms of compulsion; and also my own experiences have conditioned me. Religiously you and I are conditioned; and also - politically, economically, in various ways, consciously or unconsciously, we are conditioned. Perhaps we are not aware of it. And when we do become aware of it, then what happens? I am aware that I have been conditioned as a Hindu, with certain beliefs. And being dissatisfied with those beliefs I turn to other forms of belief: I become a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a communist. So, my movement is always from what I am to something which I think is better. That is what is happening constantly, is it not? I am moving from what I am, hoping to break what I am, the conditioned state in which I live, by moving away from it to something better, to another conditioning. That is always so, is it not?
Please, this is not a question of argument, to be discussed and torn to pieces; but this is actually what is happening in our daily life. We are moving from one conditioned state to another conditioned state which we think is better, wider, more significant, of greater value, more helpful, and so on. And when the questioner says `Can I be free from conditioning?', does he mean entirely, totally free, or, is he inquiring for a better conditioning? Do I, as a Hindu, want to completely break down my conditioning totally, or, do I want to go to a better conditioning?
Please ask yourself this question. Because, on that depends the answer, the right answer, the truth of the matter. If I am aware of the conditioning, do I want to break down totally my conditioning, or, do I merely want to go to another, better, superior conditioning? If I merely want to go towards a better conditioning, then the problem is entirely different. There may be a better conditioning, or there may not be. It may be merely another illusion in which the mind is caught. But if I want to find out, break down the total conditioning, then my problem is entirely different. Because then, I am not concerned with moving towards something else. Then I am concerned with being aware of the total process of conditioning.
Now, if I am so aware, what is the thing that is conditioning me? What is it that conditions the mind? I am a Hindu. What is a Hindu? Certain traditions, beliefs, customs, and so on, which are all ideas, thoughts, are they not? You as a Christian are conditioned by certain other ideas, by certain other beliefs. So, one is conditioned by idea. As long as there is idea, there must be conditioning. As long as I believe as a Hindu, that belief conditions me. As long as you believe in certain forms of salvation, that idea conditions you. So conditioning takes place when there is idea.
And when you say `I want to be free from conditioning', what is your immediate response? Do you understand? That is, I say `I must be free from conditioning'. The immediate response to that question is, `How am I going to be free?', is it not? The `how' becomes very important; the `how' is the immediate reaction, is it not? If I am aware of my conditioning, and I see the importance of breaking it down, the immediate reaction after that is to ask myself `How am I going to break it down?' So, the `how' is again the idea. is it not? I am again caught in the idea of how to break it down. So the `how' becomes the pattern of action, which conditions my mind So as long as I am looking at my conditioning with the idea of how to break it down, the `how' creates another pattern in which the mind is caught.
So, how do I look at my conditioning? With an idea? Or, am I breaking it down? I do not know if I am making it clear. Because, I think it is really important to find out whether we are dealing with idea or with actuality. Because after all, when I call myself a communist I have certain ideas; and if I want to break down those ideas, I do so by introducing another series of ideas, do I not? So I am always dealing with ideas. And ideas obviously are the conditioning factor.
So, as long as I am dealing with ideas, conditioning will go on. Because, my conditioned state is merely a set of ideas. And I can only break down that conditioning, not through further ideas, but by being free from the idea altogether. I believe, as a Christian, in a Saviour, that is an idea. And to be free from that conditioning, I cannot introduce another idea. Yet that is what the mind is always doing. I can only be free when the idea is not. So, the conditioned mind can never be free through ideas; because the ideas themselves, thought and belief, condition the mind. It is only when the mind is free from the creation of ideas, that there is immediate freedom from conditioning.
Question: In the past I have done harm. How can I now achieve peace of mind.
Krishnamurti: We all make mistakes, do we not? We all hurt people; we make grave mistakes. And it has left a mark, regret, repentance. And, how is one to be free from the mistake that one has made? Will repentance dissolve the mistake? It is done. My repenting over it, will repentance dissolve the mistake? It is done. My repenting over it, will that wipe it away? My calling it a sin, will that wipe it away? Or, confessing it to you, will that wipe it away? What will free my mind, my being, my consciousness, from the error, from a grave mistake that I have made?
Surely this is our problem, is it not? Because, the moment we say `we must never make a mistake', then we are working for an ideal - the perfect man - which is again an idea which will condition the mind. We do make mistakes; that is a fact. So, how are we to deal with a mistake that we have made, a grave error?
Now, what does the mind do with regard to that error? How does the mind respond? I know I have made a mistake; I have hurt somebody. What am I to do? I can go and apologize, but the fact remains: I have done harm. Now, how does the mind respond to that? What is its next action? It wants to put it right, does it not? It has already put it right in the sense that it goes to the person and apologizes for whatever it has done, and so on; that is the ordinary thing to do. But the mistake, the hurt, is still there. So, is it not important for me to find out how my mind reacts to that mistake which I have made? Is it not occupied with that mistake, building it up, enlarging it, being concerned with it everlastingly, dreaming about it, condemning itself? That is what most of us do, do we not? So, the very occupation of the mind with a mistake that has already been made, becomes another mistake. From that there arises the idea of forgiveness, repentance, and so on - the continual occupation of the mind with an error. It is done; you have tried to correct it; but the occupation of the mind with the mistake is another form of the mind trying to correct it, without any effect. So, as long as I am concerned with the mistake, with the error, with the hurt, and my mind is occupied with it, it becomes a fixation, does it not?, it becomes another barrier. The fact is: I have made a mistake; all that I am now concerned with is to see why the mind not only occupies itself with the mistake, with the error, but why the mind is frightened of ever making a mistake. Because, as long as I live and you live, we are hurting each other in some way or other. Though I don't want to hurt you and you don't want to hurt me, we are hurting each other in most subtle ways. And, what am I to do? Am I to withdraw completely into isolation? The very existence of me, the very breath of me, destroys; I am exploiting somebody and somebody else is exploiting me. So, realizing that, shall I withdraw into isolation, and never move?
Whereas, if I know how to meet the errors, the mistakes, that I have made, then there is a freedom, is there not? Then I will know what to do. So I do not say to myself that the perfect entity will never make a mistake. But, after making the mistake, can I not acknowledge it and then let it go by, and not be occupied with it? Because, that gives a freedom to the mind, to be conscious that one has made a mistake and to acknowledge it, to do what has to be done about it, and then to let it go by, and not be occupied with it.
That requires a great deal of understanding, a great deal of subtle freedom. To know that one is capable of making a mistake, and not have a standard according to which one is living, that way the mind is set free, to make perhaps more mistakes. But, to know how to deal with the mistake is what is so very important. The important thing is to acknowledge it and leave it alone, not to worry, not to be occupied with it.
Question: Is there any possibility of the individual becoming perfect and so creating a perfect world?
Krishnamurti: Can the individual, you and I, become perfect, and so create a perfect world? Again, we are dealing with ideas, are we not? The perfect man is the ideal man, the man which the mind has conceived as being perfect. Mind has conceived and projected that pattern, and I live according to that. The mind projects the idea of the perfect state, and tries to bring this perfect state about. That is, we are concerned only with the mind when we say `Can man be perfect?' And when you say `We want to create a perfect State', it is still again within the field of the mind.
So, when perfection, reform, is within the field of the mind, then, to produce the perfect State, there is cruelty; then there is liquidation, concentration camps, tyranny; you know the whole business of it. So long as we consider that man can be made perfect, then brutality is endless. The mind then is only dealing with ideas; and idea has no relationship with reality.
But, can the mind discover what is real, not the idea of what is real? Can the mind allow reality to come into being? If it does, then the relationship of man to man, of man to society, is entirely different. After all, if I want to create a perfect State, then I not only compel myself to live according to a certain pattern of thought, but I also compel others to live according to that ideal pattern. The perfect man is never a free man. It is the most materialistic form of achievement, it is not spiritual at all - the idea that man should become perfect.
But, man can find what is true, what is the real, what is God. And then, reality can operate. Then that reality will produce quite a different state from the perfect state which the mind can think of. So, we must first seek reality, not how to make ourselves perfect or to make society perfect.
So, can the mind which is conditioned, which is perpetually seeking perfection as a security, can such a mind free itself from the idea of perfection, and seek reality? Because, we do not know what reality is. Mind can only deal with ideas; it cannot deal with a fact. It can translate the fact, it can interpret the fact, but the mind is not the fact. So, as long as I am seeking perfection I am not seeking God, truth. And if I am seeking a perfect State, then I inevitably create a society in which compulsion, every form of coercion, discipline, tyranny, becomes essential. But if I am seeking reality, seeking the unknown, the unknowable, then there is a possibility of creating a different world.
But to find the unknown, mind must be extraordinarily quiet; it cannot be projecting ideas. Because, the very idea controls the mind, conditions the mind. A conditioned mind is free from idea that there is a possibility for it to receive that which is creative.
April 1, 1953
London 3rd Public Talk 1st April 1953
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.