Paris 6th Public Talk 17th September 1961
I want to talk over something which seems to me important: it is the question of mutation and change. What do we mean by change? And at what level, to what depth do we change? Obviously change is necessary; not only must the individual change but the collective must change. I do not believe there is any collective mind, except the inherited racial instincts and knowledge stored up in the unconscious; but obviously collective action is necessary. But to make that collective action complete, not discordant, the individual must change in his relationship to the collective. In the very action of the individual changing, surely, the collective will also change.
They are not two separate things opposed to each other, the individual and the collective, though certain political groups try to separate the two and to force the individual to conform to the so-called collective.
If we could unravel together the whole problem of change, how to bring about a change in the individual and what that change implies, then perhaps, in the very act of listening, participating in the enquiry, there might come about a change which is without your volition. For me, a deliberate change, a change which is compulsory, disciplinary, conformative, is no change at all. Force, influence, some new invention, propaganda, a fear, a motive compels you to change, - that is no change at all. And though intellectually you may agree very easily with this, I assure you that to fathom the actual nature of change without a motive is quite extraordinary.
Most of us have such ingrained, deep-rooted habits of thought, of ideas, of physical addictions that it seems almost impossible to give them up. We have established certain ways of eating, certain kind of food we insist on, various habits of dress, physical habits, emotional habits and habits of thought and so on; and to bring about a deep, radical change without some compulsive threat is really quite difficult. The change we know of is always very superficial. A word, a gesture, an idea, an invention can cause one to break a habit and adjust oneself to a new pattern, and one thinks one has changed. To leave one church and join another, to stop calling oneself a Frenchman and to call oneself a European or an internationalist, that sort of change is very superficial; it is merely a matter of commerce, of exchange. A change in the way of living, going on a trip round the world, changing one's ideas, one's attitudes, one's values - all this process seems to me very superficial,because it is the result of some compulsive force, outwardly or inwardly.
So, we can see very clearly that to change because of any outside influence, through fear, or because of the desire to achieve a result, is not a radical change. And we do need a complete change, a tremendous revolution. What we need is not a change of ideas, of patterns, but the breaking up, the total destruction of all patterns. We can see, historically, that every revolution, however promising, however violent at the beginning, invariably ends in the old pattern repeated; and that every change brought about by the compulsion of fear or reward, profit, is only another adaptation. And there must be a change because you cannot continue to live with these petty, narrow, limited attitudes, beliefs and dogmas. They must be shattered, they must be broken down. And how are they to be broken down? What are the processes which will totally break the formation of habits? Is it possible not to have patterns at all: not to be leaving one habit and establishing another?
If the whole question is understood up to now then we can proceed to find out if it is possible to bring about a quality of the mind or brain which is always fresh, always young, new, never creating a habit of thought, nor clinging to a dogma or belief. So it seems to me that one has to enquire into the whole framework of consciousness in which we function. The whole of our consciousness, or the hidden and the superficial, functions within a framework, a border; and to break down the border is the issue with which we are confronted. It is not merely a matter of a change in the way of thinking; because you can think in a new way, as the latest Communist, or adopt a new belief; but it is still within the framework of consciousness, of thought; and thought is always limited. So a change in the pattern of thought is not the breaking down of the limitations of consciousness.
Most of us are quite satisfied with a superficial adjustment and we think it is an improvement to learn a new technique, acquire a new language, get a new job, find another way to make money, or form a new relationship when the old one becomes irksome. For most of us life is at that level: adjustment, compulsion, the breaking of old patterns and being caught in new ones. But that is not change at all, and the present human issues demand a complete revolution, a total mutation. So, one has to go much deeper into consciousness to find out whether it is possible to bring about a radical change so that the limitations of thought are broken down and consciousness set free.
Perhaps superficially, consciously, you can do some wiping away of what is on the top of the slate; but to cleanse the deep recesses of one's own heart and mind, the hidden, the unconscious, seems almost impossible, does it not?, because you do not know what is there; the superficial mind cannot penetrate into the dark storehouse of memory. But it has to be done.
I hope you are not merely following all this verbally, intellectually, because that is a stupid game to play; it is like playing with ashes. But if you are following experimentally, factually - not, following the speaker but following the experiment which you yourself are making - then I think it will have great value. So how can one go into the unconscious, into the hidden recesses of one's own heart, mind and brain? The psychologists and the analysts try to take you back into infancy, and all the rest of it; but that does not solve the fundamental problem at all, because there is the interpreter, the evaluator, and you are merely adjusting yourself to a pattern again. We are talking of completely destroying the pattern, because the pattern is merely the experiences of thousands of years forced on to the brain, which is fantastically sensitive and adaptable, by repetition.
So, how is one to set about breaking down the pattern? First, we must be sure that the analytical process done by the psychologist, the analyst or yourself has no value when we are concerned with complete transformation, complete mutation. It may have some value in making a person who is mentally ill able to fit in more with the present unhealthy society; but we are not talking about that. Before one can proceed further, one must be completely sure that analysis cannot bring about a total revolution in consciousness. What is implied in analysis? Whether it is done by an outsider or yourself, there is always the observer and the observed, is there not? There is the observer, watching, criticizing, censoring; and he is interpreting what he observes according to a set of values which he already has. So there is a division between the observer and the observed, a conflict; and if the observer is not observing accurately, there is misrepresentation, and that misrepresentation is carried forward indefinitely causing deeper misunderstanding. So there is no end to miscalculation in analysis. Of that you must be absolutely sure; sure in the sense that you can see that that is not the right way to free consciousness.
So if, not knowing what the right approach is, one can nevertheless deny the wrong approach, then the mind is in a state of negation, is it not? I wonder if you have ever tried negative thinking? Most of our thinking is positive thinking which also includes a certain form of negation. Our thinking at present is based on fear, on profit, on reward, on authority; we think according to a formula; and that is positive thinking with its own negations. But we are talking about the negation of the false without knowing what is the true. Can one say to oneself, `I know analysis is false, it will not break down the limitations of consciousness or bring about a mutation; so I will not indulge in it'. Or `I know nationalism is poison, whether it is the nationalism of France, Russia or India, so I deny it. Not knowing what else there may be, I can see that nationalism is wrong'. And to see that the gods, the saviours, the ceremonies man has invented, whether they are of ten thousand years, two thousand years, or the latest of forty years, to see that they have no validity, and deny them completely - that demands a mind and a brain that is very clear, that has no fear in its denial. Then, by denying what is false you are already beginning to see what is true, are you not? To see what is true there must first be the denial, the negation of what is false. I wonder if you are following all this
To find out what is beauty you must deny all the beauty which man has created. To experience the essence of beauty there must first be the destruction of everything that has been created so far; because the expression, however marvellous it is, is not beauty. To find out what virtue is, which is an extraordinary thing, there must be a complete tearing down of the social morality of respectability with all its silly taboos of what you must do and what you must not do. When you see and deny what is false, without knowing in advance what is true, then there is the real state of negation. It is only the mind and brain which is empty of what is false that can discover what is true.
So if the analytical process does not break up the framework within which consciousness functions, if you have denied that process, then one must ask oneself what are the other false things which must be denied. I hope you are following all this.
Surely the next thing to deny is the demand for a change. Why does one demand a change? You never demand a change if the present conditions suit you, satisfy you. You do not want a revolution if you have a million dollars. You do not want a revolution if you are comfortable, bourgeois, settled in society , with your wife, your husband, your children. Then you say, `For God's sake, leave everything alone'. You want a change only when you are disturbed, discontented, when you want more money, a better house. So if you go into it very deeply, our demand for change is the demand for a more comfortable, more profitable life. It is based on a motive, to acquire a new pattern of comfort, security. Now, if you see that process as false, as you must, if you would find out what is true, then is there a seeking for a change? Is there a search at all?
After all you are all here, are you not?, wanting to find out. What are you seeking, and why are you seeking? If you go into it deeply, you will find that you are dissatisfied with things as they are, and are wanting something new. And the new must always be gratifying, comfortable, assuring, secure. The so-called religious people are seeking God. At least they say so. But search surely implies something which you have lost, or something which you have known, and want to get back. How can you seek God? You do not know anything about God except what you have been told - which is propaganda. The Church goes in for propaganda and the Communists also. But you do not know anything about God; and to find out you must first totally deny, put aside all forms of propaganda, all the tricks that the Churches and others have played.
So for the complete mutation in consciousness to take place you must deny analysis and search, and no longer be under any influence - which is immensely difficult. The mind, seeing what is false, has put the false aside completely, not knowing what is true. If you already know what is true, then you are merely exchanging what you consider is false for what you imagine is true. There is no renunciation if you know what you are going to get in return. There is only renunciation when you drop something not knowing what is going to happen. That state of negation is completely necessary. Please follow this carefully, because if you have gone so far you will see that in that state of negation you discover what is true; because, negation is the emptying of consciousness of the known.
After all, consciousness is based on knowledge, on experience, on racial inheritance, on memory, on the things one has experienced. Experiences are always of the past, operating on the present, being modified by the present and continuing into the future. All that is consciousness, the vast storehouse of centuries. It has its usefulness in mechanical living only. It would be absurd to deny all the scientific knowledge acquired through the long past. But to bring about a mutation in consciousness, a revolution in this whole structure, there must be complete emptiness. And that emptiness is possible only when there is the discovery, the actual seeing of what is false. Then you will see, if you have gone so far, that emptiness itself brings about a complete revolution in consciousness: it has taken place.
You know, so many of us are afraid, scared to be alone. We always want a hand to hold, an idea to cling to, a god to worship. We are never alone. In our room, in a bus, we have the companionship of our thoughts, our occupations; and when with other people we adjust ourselves to the group, to the company. We are actually never alone, and for most people the very thought of it is frightening. But it is only the mind, the brain that is completely alone, empty of every demand, every form of adjustment, every influence, completely emptied, only such a mind discovers that that very emptiness is mutation.
I assure you that everything is born out of emptiness; everything new comes out of this vast, immeasurable, unfathomable sense of emptiness. This is not romanticism, it is not an idea, it is not an image, it is not an illusion. When you deny the false completely, not knowing what is true, then there is a mutation in consciousness,a revolution, a total transformation. Perhaps then there is no longer consciousness as we know it, but something entirely different; that consciousness, that state can live in this world, because we are not denying mechanical knowledge. So, if you have gone into it, there it is.
But most of us want a change which is only a modified continuity. In that there is nothing new. In that there is no fresh, young mind. And it is only the fresh, innocent, young mind that can discover what is true; and it is only to such a mind which is free of the known that the Unnameable, the Unknowable can come.
Question: If one visually sees the false as the false and drops it, is that denial, or is there something more to it?
Krishnamurti: I think there is something more to denial than that. What makes you deny, what is the reason, the motive? What urges you to deny something is either fear or profit. If you no longer find comfort in your Church, you join another or some other stupid sect. But if you deny every form of Church, every form of clinging to something that will give you comfort, not knowing where it is going to lead you in that state of uncertainty, in that state of danger, then that is denial. It requires a very clear perception that any religious organization is detrimental, is something ugly, that holds man in bondage; and when you deny that, you deny all spiritual organizations. And that means you will have to stand alone, does it not? Whereas you all want to belong to something or other, to call yourselves Frenchmen, Englishmen, Germans, Catholics, Protestants and all the other things. To be a complete outsider to all this is denial.
Question: When one comes to this sense of emptiness, how can one live in this world practically?
Krishnamurti: First of all, do you come to it? And then, we have not denied mechanical knowledge, have we? You must have mechanical knowledge to live in this world, to go to your office, to function as an engineer, an electrician, a violinist or what you will. We are talking of a revolution in consciousness, in the psyche, in the entire being. The superficial technical knowledge, the mechanical machinery of the daily operational job, that you must have. But if the mind that uses this technical knowledge is not completely free, is not in a state of mutation, then the superficial mechanism becomes destructive, harmful, ugly, brutal; and that is what is happening in the world.
Question: Can you tell us again why analysis is wrong? I didn't quite get it.
Krishnamurti: Let us look at it differently. What are dreams? Why do we dream? I am not diverging from the question. You dream because during the day your brain is so occupied that it has no quietness in which, and with which, it can go deeply. And you know how it is occupied - with the job, with competing; a thousand things. So while you are asleep there are hints, intimations from the unconscious, which become symbols, dreams; and upon waking you remember them and try to interpret them or to get them interpreted. You know this whole process. Now why do you dream at all? Why should you dream? Is not dreaming, if I may use the word,wrong? Because if you are observant,if you are aware of everything that is happening around you and inside you all the waking hours, then in that watching you uncover everything as you go along; all the unconscious motives, desires, impulses come out into the conscious mind and are understood. Then when you sleep dreaming is not possible. Then sleeping has quite a different significance. It is the same with analysis. If you can perceive the total process of analysis with one look - and you can - , then you see very well that so long as there is an observer, a censor interpreting, the analysis must always be wrong. Because the condemnation or approval of the censor is based on his conditioning.
Question: You spoke of freedom from all influence; but are not these meetings influencing us?
Krishnamurti: If you are being influenced by the speaker, then you might just as well go to the cinema, to the church, or to `mass'. If you are being influenced by the speaker then you are creating authority; and any form of authority prevents you from understanding what is real, what is true. And if you are influenced by the speaker, you have not understood what he has been saying for the last hour, the last thirty years. To be free of all influence - the books you read, the newspapers, the cinema, the education you have had, the society to which you belong, the influence of the Church - , to be aware of all influences and not to be caught in any of them is intelligence. That requires alertness, watchfulness, awareness of everything that is going on within, every response - which means not to let a single thought go by without knowing the content, the background, the motive of that thought.
September 17, 1961
Paris 6th Public Talk 17th September 1961
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