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Saanen 1963

Saanen 3rd Public Talk 11th July 1963

For many people religion is probably a hobby. The old turn to religion, and so do people who are somewhat neurotic. I am using that word `religion' to mean not only the organized churches, with all the inward security they offer, but also the various and most extraordinary forms of belief, dogma and ritual to which so many adhere. Religion, to most people, is not a very serious matter. The government is now allowing organized religion in Russia, because politically it is not very important; it does not contain the seed of revolt, it is not a centre of revolution, so they let it go on.

And I wonder what part religion plays in the life of those of us who are here? By religion I now mean something entirely different, something that is as important, if not very much more important, than earning a livelihood. To me, religion is something to which you give your whole heart and mind and body, everything that you have. It is not something to turn to as a hobby, or to take up when you are old with one foot in the grave, because you have nothing else to do, but something that becomes devastatingly important, something intensely necessary as a whole way of living from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep, so that every thought, every act, every movement of your feeling is observed, considered, weighed. To me, religion encompasses the whole of life. It is not reserved for the specialists, for the rich or the poor, for the elite or the intellectual. It is like bread, something that you must have. And I wonder how many of us take it as seriously as that - which does not mean being cantankerous, bigoted, exclusive, sectarian, or somebody very special. Religion demands, not knowledge or belief, but an extraordinary intelligence, and for the religious man there must be freedom, complete freedom.

Though we talk of freedom, most of us do not want to be free at all. I do not know if you have observed this fact. In the modern world - where society is so highly organized, where there is more and more progress, where the production of things is so vast and so easy - , one becomes a slave to possessions, to things, and in them one finds security. And security is all that most of us want - physical and emotional security - , therefore we really do not want to be free. By freedom I mean total freedom, not freedom along one particular line; and I think we ought to demand it of ourselves, insist upon it.

Freedom is different from revolt. Revolt is against something: you revolt against something and are for something. Revolt is a reaction, but freedom is not. In the state of freedom, you are not free from something. The moment you are free from something, you are really in revolt against that something; therefore you are not free. Freedom is not `from something', but in itself the mind is free. That is an extraordinary feeling - for the mind to be free in itself, to know freedom for its own sake.

Now, unless one is free I do not see how one can be creative. I am not using that word `creative' in the narrow sense of a man who paints a picture, writes a poem, or invents a machine. To me, such people are not creative at all. They may be inspired for the time being; but creation is entirely different. Creation can be only when there is total freedom. In that state of freedom there is a fullness, and then writing a poem, painting a picture, or carving a stone, has a different meaning altogether. It is then not mere self-expression, it is not the result of frustration, it is no longer seeking a market: it is something entirely different. It seems to me that we should demand to know this complete freedom, not only in ourselves but outwardly; and I shall go into it a little bit this morning.

First, I think we should differentiate between freedom on the one hand, and revolt or revolution on the other. Revolt and revolution are essentially a reaction. There is the revolt of the extreme left against capitalism, and the revolt against the dominance of the church. There is also the revolt against the police State, against the power of organized tyranny - but nowadays that doesn't pay, because they very quietly liquidate you, put you away.

To me, freedom is something entirely different. Freedom is not a reaction, but rather the state of mind which comes into being when we understand reaction. Reaction is the response to challenge, it is pleasure, anger, fear, psychological pain; and in understanding this very complex structure of response, we shall come upon freedom. Then you will find that freedom is not freedom from anger, from authority, and so on. It is a state per se, to be experienced for itself, and not because you are against something.

Most of us are concerned with our own security. We want a companion and hope to find happiness in a particular relationship; we want to be famous, we want to create, we want to express, expand, fulfil ourselves; we want to have power, position, prestige. In one degree or another, that is really what most of us are concerned with; and freedom, God, truth, love, become something to be looked for after that. So, as I said, our religion is a superficial thing, a kind of hobby which does not play a very important part in our life. We are satisfied with trivialities, and therefore there is not the alertness, the perception that is required to understand this complex process which we call living. Our existence is a constant struggle, a fatuous, endless effort-and for what? It is a cage in which we are caught, a cage that we have built out of our own reactions, out of our fears, despairs, anxieties. All our thinking is a reaction - and you will remember that we went into this matter the other day when the question was asked, "What is the right function of thought?" We went into it very carefully, and we discovered that all our thinking is a reaction, the response of memory. The whole structure of our consciousness, of our thought, is the residue, the reservoir of our reactions. Obviously, thought can never bring about freedom, because freedom is not the result of a reaction. Freedom is not the rejection of the things that give us pain, nor is it detachment from the things that give us pleasure and to which we have become slaves.

Please, as I said the other day, do not accept anything that the speaker is saying. Look at it neither accepting nor rejecting, but trying to see the fact for yourself by observing yourself.

Our consciousness is the whole area of our thought, the whole field of idea and ideation. Organized thought becomes the idea from which action takes place; and consciousness is made up of the many layers of thought, both hidden and open, the conscious as well as the unconscious. It is the field of the known, of tradition, the memory of what has been. It is what we have learnt, the past in relation to the present. The past which we have inherited through centuries, the past of the race, of the nation, of the community, of the family; the symbols, the words, the experiences, the clashing of contradictory desires; the innumerable struggles, the pleasures and pains; the things that we have learnt from our forefathers, and the modern technologies which have been added - all that is consciousness, it is the field of thought, the field of the known, and we live on the surface of it. We are trained from childhood to acquire knowledge, to compete; we learn a technique, we specialize in a particular direction in order to have a job and earn a livelihood. This is our whole education, so we continue to live on the surface; and below the surface there is this enormous past, time untold. All of that is the known. Even though we are not aware of the unconscious, it is still within the field of the known.

Please follow all this, observing yourself, watching your own consciousness. The more sensitive, the more watchful you are, the more aware you will be of the conflict between the conscious and the unconscious. When this conflict demands action, if you do not find a way to act, you become neurotic, or end up in an asylum; and so you have innumerable psychologists, analysts, trying to bridge over this gulf and resolve the conflict. The unconscious, although that word conveys the idea of something hidden that you are not aware of, is still part of the known; it is the past. You may not know the whole content of the unconscious, you may not have examined it, looked at it, but you have probably had dreams, intimations of that vast underground region of the mind. It is there, and it is the known, because it is the past. In it there is nothing new; and we must understand for ourselves what is involved in that state which is not new, because innocency is freedom from the known.

This is one of the major problems of modern life, because we are trained, educated, conditioned to remain within the field of the known, and within that field there is endless anxiety, despair, misery, confusion, sorrow. It is only the innocent who can be creative, who can create something new and not just mechanically turn out a picture, a poem, or whatever it may be. The unconscious is part of the known, and most of us remain on the surface of the known, because that is our way of life. We go to the office every day, with its routine, its boredom, we are afraid of losing our job, we are subject to the demands, the pressures, the strains of modern living, we are torn by sexual and other appetites - and on that level we live. From that level we try to find something much deeper, because we are not satisfied with that level, so we turn to music, to painting, to art, to gods, to innumerable religions. When they fail, we worship the State as the most marvellous thing, or practise community living - you know all the tricks we indulge in, all the gadgets we invent, including rockets for going to the moon. And when we are dissatisfied with all that, we turn inward; or, if we are very intellectual, we analyze, tear everything to pieces, but we have our own secret Jesus, our own secret Christ. And that is our life.

Now, the only real freedom is freedom from the known. Please follow this a little bit. It is freedom from the past. The known has its place, obviously. I must know certain things in order to function in everyday life. If I did not know where I lived, I would be lost. And there is the accumulated knowledge of science, of medicine, and the many technologies, to which more and more is being added. All of that is within the field of the known, and it has its place. But the known is always mechanical. Every experience that you have had, whether in the distant past or only yesterday, is within the field of the known, and from that background you recognize all further experience. In the field of the known there is attachment, with its fears, its despairs, and the mind that is held within this field, however extensive, however wide, is not free. It may write very clever books, it may know how to go to the moon, it may invent the most complicated and extraordinary machines - if you have seen some of them you will know how really extraordinary they are - , but it is still held within the field of the known.

Consciousness is of time; thought is built on time, and what thought produces is still within the bondage of time. So a man who would be free of sorrow has to be free of the known - which means that one has to understand this whole structure of consciousness. And can one understand through analysis, which is again a thought process? What does it mean to understand something? What is the state of the mind that understands? I am talking about understanding, not about what is understood. Do you follow what I mean? I am inquiring into the state of the mind that says, "I understand". Is understanding the result of thought and deduction? Do you examine a thing critically, reasonably, sanely, logically, and then say, "I understand it"? Or is understanding something entirely different ?

The day before yesterday, when that gentleman asked, "What is the right function of thought?", you will remember that we talked about the mind's response to challenge. When the question is familiar, an immediate response takes place. When the question is a little more complicated, abstruse, the response takes time, and in that lag of time you are thinking, that is, looking into memory and then responding, like the computers, through association. A still more complicated question requires a greater interval. Now, these three responses, which the other day we called (a), (b) and (c), are all part of the process of thought, within the field of the known. Within that field you can produce, you can invent, you can paint pictures, you can do the most extraordinary things, including going to the moon; but that is not creation. This everlasting search for achievement and self-expression is utterly juvenile, at least for me.

Now, freedom from all that, is freedom from the known; it is the state of a mind which says, "I do not know", and which is not looking for an answer. Such a mind is completely not seeking not expecting; and it is only in this state that you can say, "I understand". It is the only state in which the mind is free, and from that state you can look at the things that are known - but not the other way round. From the known you cannot possibly see the unknown; but when once you have understood the state of a mind that is free - which is the mind that says, "I don't know" and remains unknowing, and is therefore innocent - , from that state you can function, you can be a citizen, you can be married, or what you will. Then what you do has relevance, significance in life. But we remain in the field of the known, with all its conflicts, striving, disputes, agonies, and from that field we try to find that which is unknown; therefore we are not really seeking freedom. What we want is the continuation, the extension of the same old thing: the known.

So, to me, what is important is to understand for oneself this state in which the mind is free from the known, because it is only such a mind that can discover for itself whether or not there is an Immensity. Merely to function within the field of the known - whether that functioning is on the left, on the right, or in the centre - , is gross materialism, or whatever you may like to call it. It has no answer to anything, for in it there is misery, strife, endless competition, the search for a security that you will never find. That is what most young people are concerned with, is it not? They first want security for themselves, for their family, security in their job, and later on, perhaps, if they have the time and inclination, they will look for something else. When the crisis becomes too intense, you look for a happy, convenient answer, and with that you are satisfied. I am not talking of that search at all. I am talking of something entirely different. I am talking of a mind that has completely understood the whole function of the known; and it cannot possibly understand that enormously complex field without understanding itself, its whole consciousness.

Now, you cannot understand yourself through self-examination, through introspection, through analysis - that much is fairly clear. I do not have to go into it, do I? The mind cannot possibly understand itself through analysis, because in analysis there is a division between the analyzer and the analyzed, and therefore increased and sustained conflict. Any analysis, any striving to probe, to question, to inquire, starts from the centre that is already conditioned, burdened with the accumulations of time, which is the known. However much the analyzer tries to penetrate into the unconscious, he is still part of the known. Once you have grasped the truth of that, then - in spite if all the analysts and psychologists - you can see the whole content of the unconscious and understand it at one swift glance. Understanding only takes place in a flash, not in the course of time, through the accumulation of knowledge from books, and so on. You see something immediately, or not at all. Dreams may indicate, symbolize, hint at something, but that is still part of the known; and the mind must totally empty itself of the known. The mind must be free of this process which we call thinking.

If you are now hearing for the first time this statement that you must be free of thought, you may say, "Poor chap, he is crazy". But if you have really listened, not only this time but for the many years during which some of you have perhaps read all about it, you will know that what is being said has an extraordinary vitality, a penetrating truth. Only the mind that has emptied itself of the known, is creative. That is creation. What it creates has nothing to do with it. Freedom from the known is the state of a mind that is in creation. How can a mind that is in creation be concerned with itself? Therefore, to understand that state of mind, you have to know yourself, you have to observe the process of your own thinking - observe it, not to alter, not to change it, but just observe it as you see yourself in a mirror. When there is freedom, then you can use knowledge and it will not destroy humanity. But when there is no freedom and you make use of knowledge, you create misery for everybody, whether you are in Russia, in America, in China, or anywhere else. I call that mind serious which is aware of the conflict of the known and is not caught in it, not trying to modify, to improve the known; for on that path there is no end to sorrow and misery.

Shall we discuss?

Questioner: Would you mind going into the problem of the unconscious? How can one be conscious of the unconscious? How can one examine it, uncover it, roll it out?

Krishnamurti: Do you all see the problem? You do not know the unconscious, you are not aware of it, so how are you going to uncover it? How am I - who am so caught up in the daily activities and routine of the conscious mind - to look into the unconscious?

Now, see what you have already done by putting this question. You have created a contradiction. Do you follow? I will explain what I mean. What is the instrument with which you are going to look at the unconscious? The only instrument you have is the conscious mind, the daily, operative mind that goes to the office, that has sexual and other appetites, fears; and with that conscious mind you are going to look into the unconscious. But it is not possible to do that; and when you have found out that it is not possible, what happens? During so-called sleep, when the conscious brain is somewhat quiet, the unconscious intimates certain things through dreams, through symbols, and then the conscious mind on waking says, "I have dreamt, and I must interpret my dreams". Because it is so occupied during the day, the conscious mind can discover the content of the unconscious only through dreams. Therefore the analyst gives tremendous importance to dreams. But just see the complications involved. Dreams need right interpretation, and to give the right interpretation the analyst must know the background of your consciousness, the whole of it, otherwise his interpretation will be wrong. It may be Freudian, or Jungian, or reflect the opinions of some other authority, but it will not be right - and that is what generally happens, because the analyst does not know your whole background, and he cannot know it. And if you yourself begin to analyze the unconscious, if you write down every dream and interpret it, then your interpretation will have to be extraordinarily free of the unconscious. So you see the difficulty. I am going into the problem negatively, you understand?

This thing that you call the unconscious is unknown - unknown in the sense that you are not acquainted with it, you do not know the content of it. So far, you do not know what it is. You have been trying to understand it with a mind that is trained to accumulate knowledge, and with that knowledge to look. But now you have discovered that this is not the way to fathom the unconscious, that is, through analysis. And when you say, "Analysis is not the way", what has happened to your mind? Do you follow? I wonder if this is clear.

When you say about anything, "This is not the way", what is the state of your mind? Surely, it is in a state of negation. Now, can you remain in that state? It is only in the state of negation that you can observe; so what is important is to approach negatively something which you do not know. That is how inventions come about, is it not? That is how the big rockets have been developed. But it is much more difficult to approach negatively a psychological problem, because we are in torture, we are caught in our own emotional jangles, and we want to find a way out.

So, to uncover the unconscious, one must first see very clearly for oneself the truth that one can really look at something which one does not know only with a mind that is empty. You have been told to analyze, but analysis has led you nowhere except to more and more of nothing at all; so you see for yourself that analysis is not the way. Having realized the futility of analysis, do not immediately try to find out what the unconscious is, but rather inquire to find out what is the state in which the mind says, "That is not the way". Surely, it is a state of negation; and in that state the mind can observe, because it is not translating, interpreting, judging, but only watching. That you can do anywhere: sitting in a bus, in your office, when the boss speaks to you, when you talk to your wife, to your children, to your neighbour, when you read the newspaper. With such a mind, every reaction of the unconscious can be observed; and if you do that with intensity - not just casually, one day doing it and forgetting it the next - , if you keep tremendously alive, then you will find that you do not dream at all. What need is there for symbolic dreams when every minute of the day the unconscious is showing you its responses, giving up its conditioning, its memories, its anxieties - when everything is being revealed as you are watching? Then the mind is like an empty canvas on which the unconscious is throwing its picture from moment to moment; so when you go to sleep the mind, the brain rests. And it needs rest, because it has been working furiously all day, not only doing its job, but also watching. The brain thus becomes highly sensitive - much more so than through analysis and introspection. A mind, a brain that is completely at rest during sleep, renews itself. It has the energy to go further - but I won't go into that now.

We have answered the question, have we not, sir? The uncovering of the unconscious takes place when the mind is in a state of negation, a state of emptiness; that is, it is watching without interpreting. Questioner: Do intuitions spring from the unknown?

Krishnamurti: Obviously not. We have intuitions about everything, don't we? Do you really want me to answer this question? I had better, because I see that lots of you are saying `Yes'.

Why do you want intuitions, or inspirations? When you are intensely watching yourself, observing every movement of the unconscious without choice, do you want to be inspired, to have intuitions? Intuitions about what? It is only when you are caught in self-contradiction, when there is a strain, a denial, a struggle, that you want some release, some hope, a promise of something different. Oh, that is all so juvenile - sweep it all away!

Questioner: You use the word `mind' in so many different ways. What do you mean by the mind?

Krishnamurti; That is a good old time-honoured question. Surely there is a difference between the brain and the mind. We must go into it very hesitantly, tentatively.

The mind is everything, and it is also nothing. The mind encompasses everything, and at the same time it is empty. Please, you don't know what I am talking about, so don't agree. The mind has no frontiers, and therefore it is not a slave to time. The mind has no horizon towards which it is going, and therefore it is completely empty. But there is the brain, which is the result of time; it has grown from the single cell to this complex entity which is the human being. The brain is the result of time, but the mind is not. The brain is the result of a thousand experiences with their scars, with their memories, conscious and unconscious. The brain is the result of association, of the experiences that you remember - the recent experiences, and also the marvellous ones you had when you were a child. The brain is the future, invented by itself in its passage from the past through the present towards that future. All of that is part of the brain. And - because we have so tortured it, misused it, compelled, disciplined, forced, drilled it - the brain has become dull, a dead, mechanical thing. That is what the brain is for most of us - just mechanical. It is not highly sensitive, sharp, eager, alive; and with this mechanical brain we try to understand the mind. All our literature, all our talking and writing about the mind is from the recollections of the brain.

So, if you go into it for yourself, you will find that what is required is a highly sensitive brain capable of sound reasoning, a brain that is healthy and not neurotic, not based on the beliefs and assumptions of the theologians, the communists, or anyone else, for these things only make the brain mechanical, dull, stupid, however cunning it may be. If you go into it you will find that the brain can be extraordinarily alive, every part of it. But it can be so alive only when there is no conflict, when it has no problem, when it is not in despair, not thinking in terms of the future, when it is free of anxieties, of sorrow. Then the brain can be highly sensitive, alive in the real sense of the word; and only such a brain can find the mind which has no horizon, the mind which is completely empty and functions from that emptiness.

July 11, 1963


Saanen 1963

Saanen 3rd Public Talk 11th July 1963

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