New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 28th October 1964
As we said the other day, we are going to talk about fear. To go into that question fully and completely, one must have a great deal of energy - energy to penetrate into the illusions that one has created round oneself and all the ideas an the innumerable problems that one has built round oneself. Unless one understands these things rightly and deeply for oneself, one will never be able to be free of fear consciously or unconsciously. We are going to take a journey together into this question - I mean together. You and I together are going to penetrate into this whole question and therefore you and I are going to share together. You are not just sitting there listening to the speaker, agreeing or disagreeing; but we are together at the same level, at the same speed, with the same intensity - together. You and I will have to be in communion with one another - and this needs a great deal of communion, not only verbally but also with our whole being, intellectually, sensitively, with all the capacity inside and the drive that is necessary to go into this question.
But before we go into it, we must understand also what it is to learn and what it is to acquire knowledge. The two things are completely separate. Learning is one thing and acquiring knowledge is another. Learning is a continuous process, not a process of addition, not a process which you gather and then from there act. Most of us gather knowledge as memory, as idea, store it up as experience, and from there act. That is, we act from knowledge, technological knowledge, knowledge as experience, knowledge as tradition, knowledge that one has derived through one's particular idiosyncratic tendencies; with that background, with that accumulation as knowledge, as experience, as tradition, we act. In that process there is no learning. Learning is never accumulative: it is a constant movement. I do not know if you have ever gone into this question at all: what is learning and what is the acquisition of knowledge? This is very important to understand - not at some future date, but now - because we are going into a very complex problem presently. Therefore, one has to understand what it is to learn. Learning is never accumulative. You cannot store up learning and then from that storehouse act. You learn as you are going along. Therefore, there is never a moment of retrogression or deterioration or decline.
The two things - that is, acquiring knowledge and learning - must be very clear in one's mind, because what we are going to do together, this evening, is to learn - not to acquire knowledge. We are going to learn together about something which we think we know but we do not know. That is, we are going to learn together about the quality of energy which is not derived from conflict. All life is energy. And the only energy that we know has a motive; it is the outcome of friction or conflict or a drive towards a particular end; it is the energy derived from something - like eating food and deriving energy; or hating somebody and deriving energy from that hate; or thinking that you love somebody and deriving energy from that. But that energy which is derived from a motive has always in it the seed of conflict, as pleasure and pain.
Please, you are not listening in order to accept an idea, or a formula. We are taking a journey together in enquiring into what this energy is which alone can dissipate all our problems, our conflicts and our diseases of the mind. We are going to learn together - which means we are going to find out for ourselves what this energy is which is without motive and therefore which is not the outcome of any conflict or of any environment. That energy is by itself and therefore tremendously vital and creative, and has the potency of dissipating every form of illusion, sorrow and confusion. And to learn about it one has to understand. I mean by that word "understand" not verbally or intellectually. One has to understand, to feel one's way into the question of learning, without idea. If you do not know about something which you are given, you have to study it, you have to learn about it, you have to handle it, to put your mind into it and then discover as you go along. We think we know and therefore we have ceased to learn; whereas, learning not being an additive process, one has to approach this learning quite differently. I do not know you, and you do not know me. You have ideas about me, and I have ideas probably about you; but this way I am not learning about you, nor are you learning about me; for me to learn about you and for you to learn about me, we must have a fresh mind, an inquisitive mind, a critical mind, a mind that does not accept or reject.
We are learning; and therefore there is never a judgment, there is no evaluation. When you are learning, your mind is always attentive and never accumulating - therefore there is no accumulation from which you judge, you evaluate, you condemn and compare. I hope I am making myself clear on this point. Because a mind that is learning is always a fresh mind; it is always an enquiring mind, never a comparative mind, never accepting authority and evaluating action from that authority. Such a mind is young; and such a mind is innocent, fresh, because it is always learning. Now, this evening, the speaker and you are going to learn. Therefore do not judge, evaluate, accept, or deny, or create a pattern of ideas from which to act or to learn.
As we were saying the other day, all our life is conflict. Everything that we do either becomes a routine, a mechanical action, or a repeated pleasure, a resistance, a suppression or so-called sublimation. All our action is based on that; and therefore it is always engendering conflict, breeding conflict. And we have accepted conflict - this friction in life, friction in relationship, friction in the movement of existence - and we say, "That is inevitable, and let us make the best of it". Now, if you do not accept it, if you deny conflict in all relationship, at any level, then you can learn about conflict; when you do not say that one must have or must not have conflict, then only can you learn. You cannot learn about conflict if you are judging conflict from that which you have already experienced, known - knowledge. Therefore a mind that is learning is never in a state of experiencing. The moment you experience, you are already in the state of evaluating. Therefore a mind that is learning has no experience, because it is moving, acting, driving, going through. So a mind that is actively learning every minute, learning not only about itself but about everything in life, is like a child that looks, asks, demands and is never satisfied. That learning requires extraordinary energy. And a mind has no energy, if it is burdened with knowledge and the demand for further experience.
Now, learning implies discipline - not your discipline which is suppression, control, conformity, the brutality involved in it. The accepting of an ideal as a pattern and trying to conform to it, forcing your mind, your being, your body, everything to conform - that is what you generally call discipline. Like a soldier who is drilled night and day, drilled so hard that he is nothing but a mechanical entity with a straight spine and no head at all. Don't laugh, please. Most of us are that way; only we do not know that we are that way. Society, environment, education - our everyday existence is forcing us to conform to a pattern, to a religious, social or economic pattern. That discipline to conform is the most destructive form of discipline. The word "discipline", the root of that word means to learn - not to conform, not to suppress, not to brutalize yourself, but to learn. And learning demands an astonishing discipline - not the discipline of acceptance, not the discipline of authority. Therefore, a mind that is learning has not only to be aware of the environmental influences as much as possible, not to conform, not to resist but to be aware of its own tendencies, of its own qualities, of its own experiences and not fall into the trap of any of these; and that demands attention.
You know, a boy at school, in a class, wants to look out of the window. A bird is flying by, there is a lovely flower on the tree, or someone goes by. His attention is taken away from the book, and the teacher tells him to look at the book, to concentrate on the book. That is how most of our life is. We want to look, but society, economy, religious doctrines force us to conform; and therefore we lose all spontaneity, all freshness. So, the discipline of learning is something entirely different from the discipline of acquiring knowledge. You need to have a certain discipline when you are acquiring technological knowledge or any other knowledge. You have to pay attention, give your mind to something particular, to specialize in a subject; and that entails a certain discipline of conformity, of suppression, and all the things that are happening in the world through discipline. Now, the discipline which we are talking about, has nothing whatsoever to do with the discipline of conformity to a pattern. Please understand all this, because we are going into something very very fundamental; and without understanding this, you will not be able to comprehend that thing which we shall talk of presently.
So we are learning, and that learning is never conformity to a pattern - how can it be? Whether the pattern has been laid down by the Buddha, by Christ, by Sankara, or by your own pet guru, learning has nothing whatever to do with it. Because in that conformity all learning ceases, and therefore there is never originality. And we are discovering through learning, with originality. I do not know whether you see the beauty of what we are talking about. Watching, looking, seeing, listening are all parts of learning. If you do not know how to listen, you cannot learn. If you do not know how to see a flower, you cannot learn about the beauty of that flower. And to listen, to see, to learn implies in itself a discipline which is not conformity. If that is very clear, we are going to go into something now, which demands this act of learning; we are going to learn about ourselves.
You are going to learn about yourself. You cannot learn about yourself if you assert that you are God. You cannot learn about yourself, if you say you are the higher Atman, or if you say you are the result of environment only. You are following what I am talking about? If you say you are the result of environment only - as many do, the communists and so on - then you have stopped learning; if you say that in you there is the Atman, the higher self, you are merely repeating something which you do not know at all - at least you are repeating something which you have been told, and it is a very comfortable theory - and so you have stopped learning; and if you say, "I am this, I am something, "then also you have stopped learning. To find about yourself, you must learn about yourself; and therefore you need the highest freedom, intelligence and critical awareness. Without that, you cannot possibly find about yourself or understand yourself. And without understanding yourself, you have no basis for the structure of your being. You might have lots of thoughts, conflicts, pain, pleasure and all the rest of it; but there is no foundation.
You must know about yourself - not according to Sankara, the Buddha, the Christ, or Freud, or Jung, or anybody, including the speaker. You have to know yourself and therefore to learn about yourself. To learn about yourself, all previous knowledge about yourself must come to an end - which is very difficult; because when you say, "I am ugly", that very word "ugly" has the connotation of tradition, and therefore you are judging and therefore you are not learning. I hope you see this thing: it is very simple. Once you see it, then you can fly with learning; then there is no end, no limit; and that learning is beyond time. A mind that is continually moving from the unknown to the unknown, learning, learning, learning - such a mind is the most extraordinarily sensitive mind and therefore a free mind.
So, we are going to learn about ourselves. And to learn, as we said, there must be no evaluation - naturally. When you evaluate, you judge from that which you have already acquired as knowledge; and when you see yourself, you either condemn or approve or reject, and therefore you are not learning about yourself. Now, if you are learning about yourself, you are learning about the body, the nerves, the responses of the nerves, the memories, the various qualities, the tendencies, the hopes, the fears, the despairs, the agonies, the anger, the lust, the sexual demands, the hope to find something eternal and all that - you are all those, which are ideas. Are they not? You have ideas about yourself, that you are a good man, that you are the big shot in the town, that you are a Sikh, that you are a Hindu, that you are this and that. You have ideas; and those ideas are the result of your environmental influence, of your knowledge. Therefore when ideas predominate about yourself, you have ceased to learn about yourself. Please, this is very important, very simple. When once you grasp this, you are alive; then tradition, Sankaras, can all be thrown aside; and you become a human being, free to find out, free to enquire, free to learn. So, to learn about yourself is absolutely essential; otherwise, you might create an illusion and live in that illusion.
To learn about himself is the first intelligent action of the human being. it is not that he learns about himself in order to save himself. You are the result of two million years of man with all his experiences, his calamities, his despairs, his sorrows and his confusion; you are all that. And if you would completely bring about a revolution in yourself, you have to know yourself - not know yourself, but learn about yourself - to understand yourself. You have to learn about yourself. Any fool can say, "I know about myself". But to learn about yourself is extremely difficult, because you must look at yourself choicelessly, without any bias, without any criticism, without any condemnation - you must just look. I do not know if you have ever looked at a flower, just looked at it - without idea, without thought. If you have so looked at a tree, at a flower, or at any human being, that, in looking, the idea does not predominate, then there is a communication between you and the flower - not that you become the flower, or you identify yourself with the flower or with the tree or with the family. But when you look at a flower without the word - if you have ever looked that way, which demands attention - then you will see that the space between you and the flower disappears. You are not that flower; there is only that flower and not you who are looking at it. Please understand this simple thing, because we are going into it still, and if you do not understand all these things, you will not go into it very vitally, dynamically, creatively. So, we have never looked at a flower, actually. We say it is a rose; and by calling it a rose, we have already gone away from looking. To look at that flower, there must be no verbalization; you just look. Look at a cloud of an evening, without a word. There is a vast space between you and that cloud, limitless space. That cloud is full of life and beauty and shape and glory; and you look at it with a narrow mind enclosed by everyday problems, misery and confusion and strife. You never really look, and our life becomes a shadow, a shallow, shoddy thing. So, to learn, we must look.
To learn about myself, I must look - please listen to this - I must look at myself. I can only look at myself when there is no authority of any kind, when I do not say I am the higher self or the lower self, when I do not have any knowledge about myself; I must come to it each day afresh, anew. Now, when I look at myself, there is the looker - the observer, the experiencer - and the thought - the experience, the thing at which I am looking. That is what, with most of us, takes place. Does it not? When I say I look at myself, the observer is different from the thing that is observed. This is simple. I am not going into supermetaphysical and complicated philosophy; that is all too silly - for me, anyhow. There is just the obvious fact: the observer, the I who says, "I am looking" and the thing that is looked at. So, there is the division between the observer and the thing observed. That is, when I say I am angry, the "I" is different from that which I call anger. That is what takes place with most of us. Right? With most people, this is a simple fact: that the thinker is different from thought. And this division is the origin of conflict, because the thinker is always trying to change his thought, modify it, control it, shape it, force it, suppress it, sublimate it, or do something about it all the time. If I am to learn about this division, I must question the thinker himself, the observer himself. Right? I must question whether this division is actual, or invented by the mind in order to escape from the actual. I hope this is not too complicated; but if it is, I am sorry.
The speaker sees that to live in conflict at any time, at any level, is destructive. The speaker understands that very clearly - not from experience, but from the actual fact of daily living - how it destroys relationship; how it destroys, corrupts the mind; how it makes the mind mechanical, insensitive, dull, stupid. So, the speaker says that as long as one is in conflict, there can be no sensitivity, and therefore there can be no act of learning. So, for him, conflict is the central factor of distraction, friction. So, he says to himself, now, "Is it possible to live without conflict in life - environment, family, earning a living, the insults, the indignity upon man and all the rest of it?" He does not say it is possible or it is not possible - which again would be too stupid. He has to learn about it. So, he begins to enquire, to learn about the thinker. And to learn about the thinker, he must observe the thinker, in the same way as he observes a flower without naming it, without giving it a species: he must just observe. Now when he just observes, there is no thinker, there is only observation, and therefore there is no division as the thinker and the thought.
Please don't agree or disagree. I know all the clever things that we say: the thinker comes first, and thought afterwards; which comes first, the egg or the chicken? You know all this old business. But if we are going to learn, there is no statement upon which you take a stand. You have to learn. And if you are learning, you will see that there is only thinking and not the thinker. The thinker is created by thought. If you have no thought there is no thinker, and therefore you destroy radically the root of conflict. There is only thinking, which then begins to create the entity called the thinker, giving it permanency; and that permanency is an idea - it is not an actuality, it is just an idea. Unfortunately, we live by ideas and not by facts, not by action but by ideas carried out in action - which we talked about the other day.
So, there is only thinking. Do you know what happens when you realize that there is only thinking? Please, we are sharing this together; you are not going to sleep. We are taking the journey together. You realize that there is only thinking - which is an obvious fact - and not the entity who thinks, separate from thought. Look! When I say I am angry, for most of us the "I" is different from anger. But is not anger part of the "I" which says "I am angry"? If there was only anger as a reaction, to which you have given the name "anger", then the whole problem changes.
You understand what I am talking about? There is no entity who says, "I must not be angry" or "I must continue to be angry". There is only that feeling, or that reaction, which we have named as anger. When one realizes that there is no entity who condemns anger, then the whole anatomy of anger changes. Is it too difficult, sirs? I am sorry, because if we do not understand this thing, then, when we talk about fear, you will not be free of fear, and then you and I will part company. That is why I am insisting I am going into this as deeply and in as great detail as possible. There has to be the realization, the understanding that there is only thought as a reaction of memory, as a reaction of experience - because that is what thought is. I ask you something and you reply quickly, or take time over it. The quickness of the reply indicates that you know the answer very well, you are very familiar, intimate with it. But if I ask you something much deeper, of which you do not know or which you have forgotten, you have to think about it. The thinking is the looking during the time interval.
So, thinking is a mechanical process; it is not something sublime, marvellous. The electronic brains are also doing the thinking. That is, an electronic brain responds to the various information that has been given to it, which is knowledge; and then when you put a question to that electronic brain, it replies. It is exactly the same with us. We act through association, through experience, through previous knowledge; and when that is challenged, it responds, and the response is thinking. If one realizes that all thinking is a response of memory and therefore mechanical - therefore dead, not vital - then our whole structure of conflict changes. Then you begin to learn about thinking. Then you will find out how important it is to understand the whole structure of memory, to learn about it; how our memory is the seat of all response. The scientists have been investigating into the whole problem of memory, how important it is at certain levels. I am saying this: memory is important at certain levels; and at another level it is completely destructive, because memory is of time, of the past; and if you are responding all the time from the past, your thinking is obviously from the past, and therefore you never have the freedom to look at something totally anew.
So a mind that is learning and not acquiring knowledge is concerned with thinking only, not with the thinker, because the thinker is created by thought. Look: it is very simple. I like something, I think about it all the time; the thinking about it gives me pleasure, and therefore I give to that something which like a continuity, which becomes my memory. And I do not like something and I push it away - which again gives it a continuity. So please look at it, learn about it: that all our thinking is mechanical; and that thought being mechanical, the mere pursuit of thought can never free man; however much you may refine, control, eliminate thought, you can never be free. What you have to do is to learn about thinking and therefore all the time be original. Learning is non-accumulative.
There is no time to talk about fear - which we shall do next Sunday, or whatever day we meet here. But one has to be very clear about certain things: that the act of learning is entirely different from the act of acquiring knowledge; learning releases energy, whereas accumulating knowledge and acting from that knowledge restrict energy; and this restriction, this bondage of energy is conflict; the real source of conflict is this division between thought and the thinker; and when there is only thought and therefore no condemnation of anything, no resistance of anything, there is merely the act of learning constantly; then that brings about a mind which is young, fresh, innocent; and therefore such a mind is not affected by age.
So a mind that can look, see, that can listen and learn, is a very disciplined mind - the discipline that is born from learning, not from conformity. That very word "discipline" means to learn - which we unfortunately have translated as conforming or suppression and all the rest of it. And to learn there must be attention, not concentration - which we will go into another day. All this requires energy, therefore right food and all the rest of it.
A religious mind is a young mind, which is a mind that is learning and therefore beyond time. Only such a mind is the religious mind. Not the mind that goes to temples - that is not a religious mind. Not the mind that reads books and quotes everlastingly, moralizing - that is not a religious mind. The mind that says prayers, that repeats, repeats, repeats, is frightened at heart and blind with knowledge; therefore it is not a religious mind. The religious mind is a mind that is learning, and therefore a mind that is never in conflict at any time, and therefore a young mind, an innocent mind. Such a mind is alone. The mind has to be completely alone, because only then can it go beyond itself.
October 28, 1964
New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 28th October 1964
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.