Madras 3rd Public Talk 29th November 1961
We were talking the other day about mutation. If I may, I would like to talk, more about it, go much deeper into the problem. All change, however thoughtful, however premeditated, however desired, must still be within the limitation of time and condition. So we need a real revolution - not a mere superficial coating of colour which may be called a change. We do need a deep, radical revolution in our thinking, feeling, behaviour, in the way of our life. I think the more one watches oneself and the world, the more obvious that is. Superficial reformation, however necessary, is not the problem, is not the solution to our difficulties, because reformation is still a conditional reaction and is not total action. By total action, I mean, an action out of time - not within the limits of time. So, there is only one possibility and that is a complete revolution, a complete mutation.
Is it possible for an individual to bring about this mutation? Obviously, the mutation is not in the physical, not in the superficial, not in the exterior - that is impossible - but it is a mutation in consciousness. I wonder what consciousness means to each one of you. Sirs, if I may most respectfully suggest do not just accept words and live on words. We have done that - or at least you have done that - for centuries, and look where you are! But could you examine each word that has a connotation, like `consciousness', and find out yourself what it means, not translate it in terms of what some teacher has said? You have to feel it out, to examine and to discover for yourself the borders of consciousness, the borders of your thinking, the borders of your feeling, how far and how deeply tradition goes and how far experience shapes your conduct. The whole of this framework of conduct, of thought, of feeling, of tradition, of memories, of racial inheritance,of the innumerable experiences that one has or a family has, the tradition of the family, the tradition of the race - all that is consciousness.
Is it possible to break this and bring about a mutation? That is the real question, which should be urgent and important to most of us, because the world is in an awful mess - not only the world but also our own lives. If one is satisfied with mere reformation, then that is alright; but if one wants to go more deeply, one must enquire into the question of change and of mutation, and see that change by thought, by persuasion, by compulsion, by a process of gradual adjustment, or by the influence of propaganda, surely, is no change at all. Therefore, unless there is action without motive, mutation without motive, it is not change at all, I think we should be very clear on this point. And perhaps, it might be worthwhile to discuss the question: whether any other change is possible than the change by persuasion, the change brought about through expansion of knowledge, the change through fear, the change through example. Unless one has understood the nature of change psychologically, inwardly, to agree or to disagree seems quite futile. But having examined it, a change by persuasion seems to be no change at all. And yet it has been taught in your books and by your gurus, that the business of culture and civilization is to bring about a change through gradual influence, through gradual pressure, imitation or example. If you accept it consciously, not traditionally without much thought, if you accept that actually, then you have to examine the fact of this acceptance, and why you accept it; and I would like, if I may, to go into that.
Why should not jealousy, ambition etc. be immediately brushed aside? Why should there be this postponement, the gradual change, the acceptance of idealistic authority? I hope, Sirs, you are thinking it out with me and not merely listening to me. We accept this gradual process of change because it is more easy, and postponement is more pleasurable. The immediate gives you a great deal of excitement, and to see its value is much more difficult and requires much greater attention and energy. I do not know if you have realized that in facing a fact there is a release of energy, and it is this facing the fact, from which energy is derived, which has the quality that brings about mutation. And we cannot face the fact if we are convinced that change through a gradual process, through influence, through fear, through compulsion, is the only way. In the very act of facing it, you will find there is release of energy, psychologically.
Most of our lives are wasted through conflict. We do not face facts but run away from them, seeking various forms of escape. This is dissipated energy and the result of that dissipation is confusion If one does not escape, if one does not translate the fact in terms of one's own pleasure and pain, but merely observes, then that act of pure seeing in which there is no resistance is the releasing of energy.
Please listen. If I may point out, this is quite important to understand. The man who is ambitious, wants to succeed and climb the hill; he wants success and fame. In that there is dissipation of energy, there is frustration, there is conflict, there is misery. He may succeed in achieving; but it is always followed by a shadow of fear, which we all know. But one has to observe the total fact of ambition - what is involved in it, its cruelty, its ruthlessness - and also the fact that when one acts in the name of the country, in the name of the family, in the name of the nation and goodness and all the rest of it, one is primarily concerned to achieve, to fulfil. In that are involved several psychological factors such as brutality, ruthlessness, and these psychological factors take away one's energy. In that there is always contradiction. Where there is a contradiction there is energy, as in the case of a man who is mentally ill. The man who is mentally ill is not in conflict,and he has tremendous energy. I do not know if you know some people who are somewhat unbalanced, not healthy mentally. They identify themselves with certain ideas, and this total identification gives them an extraordinary sense of energy, because there is no resistance at all. But the mind that is ill cannot see things as they are.
When one observes the fact without any resistance, neither accepting nor denying nor judging it, neither condemning nor identifying oneself with the thing that one observes, in that pure act of observation, pure act of seeing, there is no resistance, there is no contradiction at all. Therefore that seeing of the fact releases total energy; and quite unlike the mentally ill person who also has got an extraordinary sense of energy, the mind that is clear, not ill, sees things actually as they are. A mere change will not bring about this energy which is released by the act of pure seeing - because change implies postponement, implies resistance, implies dissipation, contradiction, control; and so there is an increasing contradiction between what is and what should be. I do not know whether you are following this. As I said, we are concerned with immediate mutation and not with gradual change. It seems to me it is very important to understand what is involved in change before we can understand what is meant by mutation.
What is implied in change when you say, "I must change"? What is involved in this process of change? Exercising the will - which is, after all, resistance. The more you exercise the will, the greater the contradiction, the greater the control, and thereby the greater is the dissipation of energy through friction, through contradiction. If you see this fact very clearly, that all process of change involves dissipation of energy because any change means resistance, then you must obviously deny it, you no longer think in terms of change in time.
Then there is the question of sensitivity, being sensitive. Being sensitive means love. Without sensitivity - being sensitive to nature, to people, to ideas - there is no affection. Our mind is not sensitive at all, it may talk about love, it may talk of affection,but it does not know how to love. Is it possible to be instantly sensitive and not build up sensitivity? You see the difference? I am not at all sure that I am conveying what I mean by sensitivity. You know, to appreciate beauty - the beauty of a person or of nature or of a tree or of a lovely river - your senses must be alert and fully alive. But you have been taught for centuries that you must not be a slave to the senses, and so the monks, the sannyasis deny beauty. When you deny beauty, where is love? Sensitivity is to be sensitively aware of your children, of the tree, of the family, of a lovely face and of the beauty of sensitivity. To be sensitively aware of all that is to be affectionate. If you deny that, you have no affection, though you may talk about it, though you may indulge in good works.
Now you have to see that fact. I mean, by `seeing', not explaining, not saying "I must have sensitivity" or "It is good to have sensitivity". The process of accumulation of sensitivity is absurd. Through accumulation, probably you will become superficially clever, but you will still remain dull. If one is capable of seeing what is implied by sensitivity, then the very act of being makes the mind astonishingly sensitive. In the same manner, one has to be aware, sensitively, of what is implied in change. It is like changing your dress, but you remain the same inside. If you see it as you see the speaker sitting on this chair, then that very act of seeing puts an end to the change, and you are directly facing the fact.
You are so used to ideals - I am not. I have no ideals. You are so used to worshipping the ideal, like non-violence; but it does not mean anything either to. me or to you, really. There is the actual fact; and the ideal of non-violence is merely the postponement of the fact, the covering up of the fact; and the pursuit of the ideal is the dissipation of the energy which we need to tackle the fact. And a mind that is being brought up in ideals, in postponement, says, "Eventually, I will be non-violent". In the meanwhile, it is violent. To such a mind, the idea of facing the fact immediately becomes impossible. To say, "I am angry" and remain with that fact, without trying to change, without trying to explain it away is very difficult. I do not know if you have noticed that to live with an ugly thing, without its corrupting you, is very difficult. To live with an ugly picture. and not let it pervert your sensitivity is very difficult, because to live with an ugly thing releases a tremendous amount of energy, just as living with a beautiful thing does. You see a lovely tree in your garden and you are proud of it, or you are used to it. Or, you see a filthy road and you get used to it. To live with it and not let that dirty road corrupt you, or to live with something very beautiful without getting used to it, you need a great deal of energy, you need a great deal of sensitive awareness, don't you? Otherwise you get used to both, you become dull to beauty and to. ugliness. So a mind that has become accustomed to ideals, has become dull; it accepts postponing, and postponement is a facile habit. If you deny ideas, if you deny ideals, then you are free to face the fact. We have to understand all this.
We have to understand also the question of time - time, that is tomorrow or many tomorrows. Will time bring about change? Will time bring about a radical change or merely an adjustment? You have been Hindus for ten thousand or five thousand years now; the pressure of western civilization is changing your habits or your way of life. Is that a radical change or merely an adjustment to circumstances and therefore being a slave to circumstances? You see, you may call yourself a `Communist' because that is the latest thing today; it pays you more, and so you adjust yourself to a system that is tyrannical, and you call that `revolution'. But is it a revolution? Is adjustment to pressure, to the system, to an idea - is this adjustment a real, radical, mutation?
Do you see yourself as you are? Have you ever been self-critically aware of yourself? Have you known what you are - angry, jealous, envious, ambitious, hating and all the rest of it? Now, what will make you change? Let us start with it. How do you change? What makes you change? Do you change because it helps you? Do you change because it is pleasurable? Do you change because fear is involved? Or because you think that, by changing, you will be a better man? Or because if you conform, you will get more money, you will be more respectable and so on? Is that the way you change, if you have changed at all? And have you changed in anything? Do ask these questions, please. Don't let me put these questions to you: you are asking the questions yourself. Have you changed in anything? And if you have, what made you change?
What is the reason, the motive, the force, the compulsion, the urge, that made you change? Is it the external urge or social morality, or an inward compulsion based on your own fears and all the rest of it, that made you change? Have you of it, that made you change? Have you noticed, have you observed, that you have changed? What has made you change? If you say that disgust has made you change, is the change brought about in yourself by disgust a change? It is a mere reaction. If you pursue a thought to the very end, not stopping half-way, then you will see that the pursuit of that thought leads to the ending of that thought. You must give that thought full freedom to flower.
We are now allowing freedom for the flowering of disgust. What is implied in it is: I am envious; I am disgusted with it and I say "I must not be envious". That `must' is the reaction, isn't it? You say you are disgusted because it is a very simple psychological phenomenon, isn't it? You are disgusted because society has told you that envy is wrong. Also, you have found out for yourself that it is painful, that it does not pay, it is not profitable; and so these reasons have made you say that you are disgusted with `what is'. If you don't mind, please don't use the word `disgust'. If you say that one change is similar to all changes, and all change is empty, then you are left with a mind that does not accept change.
You do not want to change when change means danger, lest you loose your job or your wife. You may ask, "What is the need for change"? If you do not change, you are dead, obviously. Life means moving and not stagnation. If you deny life you are dead. Life and change are synonymous. You are changing, your body is changing, you are getting older, your senses are changing. And inwardly you do not want to change because you have found a belief, an idea, some superstition, a conclusion and an experience; from that you do not want to move, because it is pleasurable, profitable. If it is painful, you want to change it, you put it away.
Question: Does change come from `within' or `without'? Krishnamurti: What do we mean by `without' or `within'? Is it so clearly defined? Is not `without' the same as `within' and `within' the same as `without'? It is like a tide going out and coming in. You do not say that is `out' and this is `in'. It is a movement, but we separate it. It is one movement and that is the beauty of it. By understanding the outward movement you begin to understand the inward movement. Then you see that the two are not separate. But if you separate the outer as not the real and the inner as the real, there is terrible confusion. But if you see that there is no division between the outer and the inner, then in the understanding of the outer - society, the morality of society, the whole pressure of the outer - you begin to understand also how the inner is the same thing as the outer. What we are talking about is the need to bring about a mutation in this process.
Most of us psychologically resist every form of change. We have found some form of security, some form of permanence; that gives us tremendous satisfaction, and we build a wall round that satisfaction and remain. The pressure outside is merely a casual and necessary acceptance - going to office and all the rest of it. When one sees that mutation can take place, not only inwardly but also outwardly, and that mutation is not change, then one will have to enquire very very deeply and question every step of what we call change.
Do please enquire. Can you put away all thoughts of change? You have to put away change, not verbally but emotionally, which is much more important than the verbal. When you put away all thoughts of change, what is taking place in the mind? What is the state of the mind that has finished with change? Let me put it this way. What is the state of mind that denies? How do you deny? There is Catholicism or Hinduism and you deny it. What is the state of the mind? Do you deny it because you are going to join something else? Or do you deny all propagandist, organized religions? The denial of one because you are joining the other is not denial at all. I understand the whole implication of organized religion and I deny it. But I do not know what is beyond the organized religion. I deny it totally. I do not join anything. Therefore my mind is totally insecure, uncertain. When I see the futility of change, I deny it; then the fact remains, and I do not think in terms of changing it or changing myself in relation to it. When the mind is free of this conflict of change, it has become sensitive in its awareness, and it realizes that it is dull.
When I say my mind is dull, do I know that dullness because I have been told, or because I have compared myself with somebody who is cleverer? How do I recognise the dullness? This involves a process of recognition. This involves the question of knowing. There are two ways of knowing - one is knowing because you have learnt it, because somebody has told you; the other is knowing because you yourself have discovered. How do you discover? Do you discover through comparison? When you have put all these questions and have seen the futility of change, then is there dullness? Then how do you look at the thing? Do you look at it verbally?
As I said before, the word is not the thing, and to separate the look from the word is extraordinarily difficult. You understand? We are looking at the fact without seeing the word, and the word `dullness' has conveyed its meaning. Now to look at something without the word is to look at it direct without the interpretation through the word, through the symbol. What happens to the fact - anger, jealousy, whatever it is - without the word? Do not answer me, Sir. This requires immense penetration. It means that the mind itself must be free from the word, and to be free from the slavery of words, you must have gone into it. To look at the fact, you have to understand the futility of change, and also the mind must not be a slave to words. You see what is involved. You live on words. You are a Hindu, or you are a Christian, or you are a Buddhist, or you are a Communist - all words. Indian Nationality - a word. The Gita is a word, and the word has become tremendously important. So, it is extraordinarily difficult for the mind to be free from the word, the word being a symbol. Now if you are free of the word, what is the fact? Is the fact a word? Do not answer me. Look at it. But I have used the word to denote the fact. When you remove the word, when the word is no longer influencing your look, then that observation is a pure act, isn't it? Can you look at the Gita, your favourite book, without the word `Gita'? You can't. Because the whole world of tradition, the whole world of respectability, authority, the recognition by society that it is a sacred book - all this holds you, and you are a slave to words. But to look at the fact requires an enormous enquiry into `change' and not the word. Then, you have understood `change' and you are free from the word.
A man who resists change is a dead man - he may live, he may go to office, he may have children; but he is a dead man, he is not alive. And most of us are dead, because we resist change, we remain what we have been from the beginning and die as we are. Life - not Indian life nor American life, but living - demands that you shatter through every form of change. And when you begin to enquire into `change', you are bound to find out the emptiness of it, the meaninglessness of it. And, therefore there is no meaning in having ideals. When you have got cancer, you cannot think about ideals - the disease is eating you out. So in enquiring into change, you put away all ideals, therefore all example, therefore all patterns,therefore all authority.
Do you enquire with words? We have to use words to communicate, to do, to act. But also there must be a look without the word. You must look at the flower without the botanical knowledge - which is a very complex process of looking. When you look in that way, you require immense, great penetration and meditation. Just listen to me while I am talking; you have to go into it, penetrate into it, in order to know. Then, if you have emotionally gone into the fact - not with words nor symbols, nor a conclusion - then you will find for yourself that the fact has undergone a change, because you have allowed it full freedom to flower. The flowering of the fact is important, not the word. It must flower, and in the flowering there is immense significance. But that significance cannot be understood or gone into, if the mind is not highly sensitive; and there is no sensitivity if there is resistance to change.
November 29, 1961
Madras 3rd Public Talk 29th November 1961
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