Bombay 2nd Public Talk 25th February 1962
We were saying the last time that we met here, how important it is that, out of this chaotic society, the individual should emerge. It is only the individual that can find reality; and he must find it, he must discover it for himself. And to find it, to uncover the reality, demands that we should understand the structure of society and be free of society; for the essence of individuality is freedom. Freedom is not for one to do what one wants to do. One is not to be compelled to conform, to adjust, to obey. But one has to understand the whole structure of society; and in the very process of understanding the whole structure of society, from that understanding, emerges the individual. If we do not so emerge, our lives will be very shallow, empty, dull, as the lives of most people are. You may have plenty, you may belong to any type of absurd political group; you may belong to any kind of organized religion, do puja every day, follow a guru. But unless you understand and are free from the psychological structure of society, there is no hope for you, for man, because the world is denying individuality; the world through its education, through propaganda, through its government, through organized religions, through the family, is denying individuality. And if there is to be a new mind, a new way of life, a new generation, the individual must emerge; and he can only emerge in total freedom from the psychological structure of society. That is what we were talking about, the last time that we met here. I would like, if I may, this evening, to talk about the need psychologically to break down the structure of society which has not only moulded our conduct and our ways of thinking, but has imposed on the mind a series of `musts' and `must-nots', a series of assertive dogmas, conclusions, ideas. And an individual who will emerge from this psychological structure of society must be totally uncertain. There is no certainty in anything - neither in your senses, nor in your ideas, nor in your family, nor in the nation, nor in the books. There is only a continuity of ideas in thought, thought in relationship with words; and ideas create a continuity which is time, and that continuity has been established through the centuries, through psychological processes. And the individual who will emerge must be free, and therefore he must not accept any psychological form of society.
Please, I would like to point out that we are not discussing ideas, theories, we are stating facts. and about facts you can neither agree nor disagree, you have only to look at them. And you can refuse to look at them - that is perfectly right - but to deny the fact, to obstruct the fact, to force yourself to see or not to see, prevents clarity. What we are concerned with is clarity, understanding; and there can only be understanding when there is perception of the fact and that understanding is denied when you agree or disagree.
So, it is important to think the problem together and not think that the problem is of one person who is imposing the problem on you. We are not doing propaganda, we are not trying to convince you of anything, because a mind that is convinced, that has come to a conclusion, is a dead mind. But the fact is there is nothing that you can trust; and that is a terrible fact, whether you like it or not. Psychologically there is nothing in the world, that you can put your faith, your trust, or your belief in. Neither your gods, nor your science can save you, can bring you psychological certainty; and you have to accept that you can trust in absolutely nothing. That is a scientific fact, as well as a psychological fact. Because, your leaders - religious and political - and your books - sacred and profane - have all failed, and you are still confused, in misery, in conflict. So, that is an absolute, undeniable fact.
We are going to examine one of the major psychological aspects of the social structure which is `authority', and if there is time, we are going to find out for ourselves what it is to love.
Possessiveness in any form breeds authority - authority of the family, authority of the books, authority of the belief, authority of the law. So we must be able to discern for ourselves psychological authority. The authority of law is fairly clear - the policeman, the taxes, the government. You cannot disobey the authority of law. You may want to disobey it, you may not want to pay taxes; and probably many rich people - those who are corrupt are generally rich people - may dodge taxes. We have to discern intelligently, freely, this question of obedience to law and psychological authority. Obedience to law is necessary; but psychological obedience to anything - to the family, to the father, to the mother, to the parents, to society - is evil, as power is evil in any form, whether it is the power of a politician, of a dictator, or of a guru.
So, obedience to a family, the psychological acceptance of authority, is evil. I will explain why. You don't have to accept my word. Only I would beg of you to listen. You may be terribly attached to your family; but attachment is not love. You may be terribly anxious to see that your son and daughter are well educated, are married safely. But that attachment to the son and daughter is indicative of evil, for it breeds authority, it indicates possessiveness. Because, as I said in my previous talk, to find out what is truth, we are going to tear down every structure that the human mind has built through the centuries. We are going to question without a motive; for motive only leads to reaction and not to action. We are going to question without a motive this whole structure of authority and obedience. You may not want to listen; but since you are here to listen and you have taken the trouble to come, do please listen.
I mean by listening not accepting, not denying, but listening to find out, to explore, to uncover, to investigate. For centuries we have had authority; every saint, every guru, every dictator, the father, the mother - they have shaped your mind psychologically. And we are going to question, tear down to find out what is truth, so that when you discover for yourself what is truth, out of that discovery there is freedom. And from that freedom, in that freedom, emerges the individual. In that freedom, there is a discipline without control. And it is only the individual that can find out the Eternal - if there is an Eternal. I do not say there is no Eternal - the Eternal may be; for the speaker there is, but not for you. You have to find out, you have to search your mind and heart, you have to break down all the walls that you have built, every stone must be upturned psychologically, so that out of that you emerge with a clean, healthy, fearless mind, not with an obedient mind.
To listen to what is being said you need attention; and attention is not possible when there is distraction. I do not mean by `distraction' the cawing of the crows, or the movement of the palm tree in the breeze, or the man next to you who is scratching his arm or his head; those are not distractions, they are part of this extraordinary total awareness. What I mean by distraction is that which prevents you from listening. When you have opinions, conclusions, comparisons, these prevent you from listening. When you have an idea, when you judge what is being said, when you approach with an opinion that which is being said, those are distractions. When you are comparing what you hear with what you already know, with what you have read, that is distraction. So, to listen attentively such distractions must come to an end. You must listen totally. And if you so listen attentively you will see what is really a miracle; in that act of listening, you will find there is freedom, because what is truth liberates without effort. But unfortunately, we are not capable of seeing, we are not capable of attending, because all our life is a distraction. To be able to see, to listen, to observe, is to have a mind which has no distraction but which only observes the fact in solitude.
As I have said, where there is possession, there, there is the desire to be secure psychologically and there comes into being authority. The rich man seeks the authority of the policeman, because he wants to be secure with his money; he maintains the status quo of a particular society; he does not want a revolution; he does not want a change; he wants to continue in the traditional psychological state which society has built for him; and so he insists on authority - the authority of the father, the authority of the family, the authority of the family-possession over the individual person, the daughter, the son - and he educates his son to obey, to conform, to imitate. And in that conformity to the pattern there is security; but for a mind that is seeking security, there is always sorrow. Only a mind that is free, has no sorrow. And such a mind that is free from sorrow, has to understand this whole immense structure of authority. When we seek security in any form, physiological or psychological, inward or outward, there must be fear which breeds authority, obedience. Most of us want security and we find that security in possession, in possessing knowledge, technique, a family, money, power, position, prestige. Even that prestige, power, family may endure for a few years; in that, we seek security. And our whole marriage system is based on this security which is to possess the wife, the husband; and that possession is called love. Please listen. I am not attacking your system. Life is breaking it down anyhow. Only an intelligent man looks at it, understands it, educates his son and his daughters differently and therefore brings into being a new state, a new world, a new human being, a new mind.
Every form of possessiveness, attachment, indicates the urge to dominate. That is what the family is - domination over the wife or husband, and that is called love; domination over your children and getting them married off to richer persons; and that is all you are concerned with, to find security for; yourself and for your children; and that you call love.
So the process and the structure of authority begin with the family, and the family is the basis of this desire for security. There is nothing secure in the world - not your ideas, not your books, not your gods, not your puja; there is nothing that you can trust, not even your family, not your money that you put away in your bank; because communism may come, socialism may come, there may be a revolution, there may be an earthquake, anything might happen, and it is going to happen. If a man who is aware of all this, would realize that reality is not for the rich man or the poor man, he must understand the structure of authority which is based on security, which is established in the family. And a man who is seeking reality has to break down the family psychologically. Do think about it. That is why the sannyasis and the monks leave the family; but they do not leave the psychological structure; they leave a family, a name, but they take on a new name, and they are still psychologically conditioned; they still obey, they still follow a particular pattern of thought, which is the result of society, the culture in which they have been brought up. the Christian monks and the Hindu sannyasis are not free human beings; they have left the so-called outer world and changed their clothes; that is all. Changing clothes does not give you freedom, nor does having one meal or a loincloth. What brings freedom is the understanding of authority.
There is also the freedom from knowledge. For most of us there is security in knowledge. Knowledge has become the security now - not the gods, not the books, perhaps not the family either; but knowledge, technique. What is knowledge, and why does the mind give such extraordinary importance to knowledge - which you do? You consider your books - the so-called sacred books, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Bible and all the rest of it - enormously important, because they are full of wisdom. Words do not make wisdom, books don't carry wisdom. A mind must be free to be wise. The essence of wisdom is the denial of experience, and the denial of experience is the denial of knowledge, because experience has become our authority. Technologically knowledge is right; the more knowledge you have how to run a motor, an office, a rocket, the computer, the more capable you are. That you must have; but the psychological experience which accumulates knowledge - that is what we are questioning.
Please understand this a little bit. This may be rather difficult, because we are going to question experience. A mind that is seeking an experience - mechanical, technological - is still an immature mind; it can add, it can take off; but as a human being, it is not a mature, full, rich human being - technological knowledge does not give that, nor does experience give that. What is experience based on? What is experience? Experience is the response to a challenge - however little, however great. When you see those crows flying, that is an experience. When the world is in a crisis and you respond to that crisis, that response is experience. When you quarrel with your wife or husband, that is an experience. When you see a palm tree, that is an experience. Everything is an experience, and we question that experience. I say a mind that merely experiences and accumulates, is an immature mind; and the mind that is beyond and above experience, is the free mind, is the new mind, is the young mind.
So, experience is the translation of every challenge and response, and that translation of the challenge and response is based on your conditioning, on your previous knowledge, on the past, on tradition. You don't experience something new, you can't. You are always translating something new in terms of something old, in terms of your tradition, in terms of what you already know, of what you have gathered, of what you have accumulated, of what you have stored up in the past. The past dictates, shapes the responses. I insult you or I flatter you; that you remember; and when you meet me the next time, you respond according to that insult or flattery. That is an experience that is based on knowledge; and that knowledge, that past becomes the authority; and according to that experience, according to that knowledge, you shape your life, your thought, your conduct. And when you question that experience, that authority based on experience, then you have nothing left. When you question every experience of a religious man - whether he is a Christian saint, or a Hindu monk, or any other religious man - you will find that what he says, his visions, his ideas, are the result of his culture, of his past; that they are worthless, they have no meaning; that they are merely the projection from the past of what he has learnt; and you will also see how his mind has been shaped by society.
So, knowledge - except technological knowledge, knowledge of how to read and write, and knowledge of that kind - is a hindrance to freedom. There is psychological knowledge; and every form of psychological knowledge prevents freedom, and therefore there is no individuality; there is a continuity of what has been and it may be modified, but it is still the structure of what has been - which is society. Please follow all this: you can't trust what you see, what you experience, what you know psychologically. So, obedience has lost its meaning, authority has no longer any significance, except the authority of law - which is denied by the politicians when it suits them, they go to war when it suits them, they obey that law when it suits them, one moment they are pacifists, the next moment they are warmongers. So you can't rely on, you can't trust, authority.
And in the very process of investigating authority, as we are doing now, you don't revolt against the authority of the father, or mother, or the psychological structure. By the very process of investigating, through that very enquiry, your mind begins to be disciplined, because to enquire, to investigate, you need a very sharp mind, a fearless mind. When the mind is no longer afraid, no longer anxious, no longer seeking security, then out of that comes an extraordinary discipline - not the discipline imposed by authority; nor the discipline imposed by society, by your guru, by your teachers; not the discipline which you have imposed upon yourself thinking that you are free, which is really the continuity of the psychological enforcement by society.
Please follow all this. When you say, `I will discipline myself according to a pattern not set by anybody but by my own experience', please see that your own experience is the result of your past, your conditioning. You can't trust your discipline, because that discipline narrows the mind, destroys the mind, makes the mind, the brain, inadequate, dull, insensitive. So by questioning, enquiring, out of that, comes an extraordinary discipline in which there is no enforcement, in which there is no imitation, no conformity, because there is no pattern to conform to, because there is no security.
When you see this, when you understand this, then out of this understanding there is love, because authority and love can never go together, nor can attachment and love abide together. But you are attached, aren't you? to your families, to your ideas, to your gurus, to your visions, to your pujas, to money; ten different things you are attached to. And yet you talk of love! For you love is security. And how can a mind that is enforcing obedience, that is educating the whole world to conform, that is merely concerned with the acquisition of outward technological knowledge - how can such a mind love? All that you want is security for yourself and for your children. That is all you are interested in, and to see that they conform. Now, love is not attachment. Love has no motive; and it is very arduous, it requires enormous work, psychological work, not sitting under a tree, or doing puja, or disciplining yourself; that is not work, that is immature childishness. But deeply to enquire into yourself, you have to go to the very end of that enquiry. Then out of that freedom there is love. But, you see, most of us are satisfied with loving superficially; most of us are satisfied with earning a livelihood, if we can get a little job and rot; most of us are satisfied with our bank account if we are rich; and we prattle about God, puja, and all the rest of it. But our hearts are empty, made empty by a dull, stupid mind which only thinks in terms of authority and obedience. So the breaking down of the psychological structure of society, which is your brain, which is you - that is absolutely necessary for a man who is really bent on finding out the immeasurable, if there is such a thing as the immeasurable.
So, authority which breeds power is evil. The man in power, in position, with prestige, is as evil as the snake, as deadly poisonous. A religious mind has nothing to do with such people. No rich man can come to know what love is, if his God is still his money. And unfortunately, in this country, the people in power and the rich people are shaping the mind. There is nobody who breaks through all this structure. They are all conformists, `yes-sayers; not one says, `No'. And saying `no' is not a revolt but the psychological understanding of this whole structure which has built the present society.
So, a man who would be free, who would understand what is real, must break through the psychological structure of society; that is the first thing to do - not the pujas, not going to the temples, to the churches and all the rest of it - they have lost their value completely, you can't put your trust in any one of them. You must stand completely alone. There is beauty in that aloneness, for that aloneness is love. And only in that aloneness is there the possibility of uncovering that which is not nameable, that which is not measurable.
February 25, 1962
Bombay 2nd Public Talk 25th February 1962
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