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Saanen 1965

Saanen 3rd Public Talk 15th July 1965

We were talking day before yesterday about the approach to a problem. The problem ceases to exist, as I said, when the image, the formula, the concept, is no longer the centre from which we look at a crisis. The image which each one creates for himself depends on his own temperament, circumstances, and the various pressures and experiences that shape his thought. That is what we were discussing day before yesterday.

I would like this morning, if I may, to talk about something which is more or less the same issue, but perhaps we can approach it differently.

When there is greater outward security for the individual as a social entity - as in the western world, where there is security for practically everyone - there is a correspondingly greater demand for inner security, isn't there? And inner security is sought through organized religions, through various forms of escape, through entertainment, through political dogmatism either of the extreme left or of the extreme right, and so on. Whatever it is, in that we take shelter, and thereby create a certain sense of inner security. Having created that sense of security in ourselves, we resist every form of change; and I would like this morning to talk about the implications of that word `change'.

Most of us resist change, outwardly as well as inwardly. Outwardly there are extraordinary changes going on, changes of which you are probably not fully aware, particularly in the scientific and technological fields, and in the field of cybernetics; but inwardly there is hardly any change at all. We are what we have been, and we strengthen what we have been.

Please, again let me repeat that you and I are in communication with each other. Communication is not one-sided, it is a movement in which both of us are taking part. You are not merely listening to a series of words with which you agree or disagree, a series of ideas which you can refute or accept. If you listen thus, then there is no possibility of communicating with each other.

We are going to consider something which demands a great deal of intelligence, insight and inquiry. Therefore, it seems to me, one has to be conscious of one's own desire to be secure; one has to be aware that one if seeking something permanent, which is the image that most of us create. And when you become aware that you are seeking a sense of being secure in that image, there is a revolt; but that revolt has very little meaning, because it is only the response of another form of image. So we go from one conclusion to another, from one belief or dogma to another, from one system of philosophy to another - or we cling to our own experience, and there we settle down, crystallize. Most of us become neurotic, quite unbalanced, when we have these mythical, unreal images; we do not want to examine these images, we do not want to be aware of what is actually going on. When we do become aware of it, there is a great conflict, from which we try to escape, and we resist every form of change.

Now, I think it is very important that we should change, but not just outwardly. Outwardly there are a great many pressures and influences - political, scientific, economic - going on all the time, to which we are consciously or unconsciously responding; we are resisting, or flowing with them. To me, that is no change at all. Mere outward adjustment to a social pattern, however revolutionary it may be, is not change, because one has to adjust oneself, otherwise one will be destroyed. One is compelled to accept the situation, to conform or adjust oneself to certain outward changes, and live with them. All forms of pressure to make one change outwardly, have no significance inwardly. They may influence one superficially, but fundamentally they do not bring about a change in oneself. That is obvious, we don't have to labour the point.

So we have to consider what it is that changes, and what that word `change' fundamentally implies. As I said, each one of us has an image of himself, pleasurable or painful, flattering or condemnatory. Please follow this with me, become conscious of your own image and observe it. Don't say, "It is my nature to have an image of myself. I was born with it, it is part of me, and I cannot change" - which is sheer nonsense. Human nature can be changed radically, fundamentally, deeply. There is no such thing as an image which is `natural'. So please be aware of the image you have of yourself.

Then the next step is choice. You choose what you will be, or what you will not be, according to the image you have of yourself. That image dictates your activities. Outwardly you may conform, you may go to the office, be with the family, and all the rest of it, but inwardly that image dictates your activities, your way of thinking and feeling, your motives, your energy, your drive. Where there is the exercise of choice, there is will in action, isn't, there ? You have an image of yourself, and that image helps to build up your various forms of choice; and the carrying out of choice in action, is will. Are you following this?

For most of us, will in action is necessary. We do not know any other action. We only know action as will - `I will' and `I will not'. We say, This is pleasurable and I will pursue it, that is not pleasurable and I will avoid it". Please observe yourself, don't merely listen to me, because I want to go into this very deeply if I can.

We know action only as will, and from will there is so-called virtue. We say',` I will be this and I will not be that. Our virtue, our morality, our ethics are based on choice, which is will in action.

Is it all right so far? Please don't agree with me, don't accept or deny what I am saying, but see what is actually taking place in yourself.

So our morality is based on choice, on the action of will, behind which there is the image. Now, any change which we consciously bring about is within that pattern, so our action is always self-contradictory, isn't it? When action is based on choice and will, it can only be in a state of self-contradiction; for behind it there is the image of ourselves, the image of what we would like to be, whether neurotic or merely fanciful, pleasurable or painful. According to that image we act, and as action must constantly vary, it contradicts itself. You cannot follow one uniform action, action is always in a state of contradiction. If this is not clear, we will discuss it a little later on.

Now, we can see that order is necessary, not only outwardly, but inwardly. There must be order, not only outwardly in the room you live in, but also inwardly. Order is virtue, obviously; but order cannot be brought about by will. Will in action is immoral, because it brings contradiction, which is disorder.

Let me put it around the other way. I see some of you are not clear about this.

In the room in which I live I must have some degree of cleanliness, order, tidiness, so that it doesn't disturb me. But I have not only to be sensitive to outward things, I must also be sensitive inwardly. If there is outward disorder, confusion, then sensitivity is not possible. In the same way, inwardly I must have great order if I am to be greatly sensitive. When there is disorder inwardly, it creates confusion, contradiction, it keeps the mind constantly agonized, in travail, in misery. So I must have inward order. But I see that inward order cannot be brought about by will because will is resistance. If I say, "I shall create order within myself", the `order' I create is according to the pattern, the image which thought has established; therefore there is contradiction, which is disorder.

But I must have order; and order is virtue. Not the virtue of society, not social morality, the behaviour of respectability, and all the rest of it not talking about that. That is not virtue, it is immorality. Social morality is no morality at all. I am talking about order inwardly, and how I am to bring it about.

Please see the problem. I have an image of the kind of order I want, and according to that image I choose, I exercise will to bring about order. But now I see that to do this is not to bring about order at all. It is merely creating in myself a fortress of resistance-and therefore there is disorder. So I must find a way to bring about order in which there is no choice. Choice in any form is the action of will, or choice brings about the action of will, according to the image, the background, the conclusion, the experience, the ideas that I happen to have.

So I see that there must be order which is not resistance, which is not isolation, which is not an escape, and that such order must come about through a choiceless state in which no will as resistance operates. I see that the order I have created before, inwardly and outwardly, is really disorder. Outwardly I conform to the accepted pattern, the social norm; that is, I am ambitious, envious, greedy, competitive, and this creates terrible disorder in the world. Inwardly I want peace and quiet, I want serenity, security; and there too - because my desire is to find pleasure - I create disorder. So I see that all my action, inwardly as well as outwardly, is productive of disorder. Though what I do outwardly may be called moral, ethical, and all the rest of that nonsense, it actually brings about disorder. I see this very clearly. Any form of choice and the exercise of will based on pleasure does breed resistance, and therefore disorder.

Now, is there another kind of action which is not derived from choice or will? Don't say, "How am I to act without will? How am I to live in this world without choice? Everything I do is based on choice, whether it is choosing the colour for my trousers, or something else. If there is to be no choice, and therefore no exercise of will, then I shall just float; there will be no stability, no anchor". That is your natural reaction, isn't it? You say, "If I don't exercise will, what shall I do?" You put that question only when you don't see the implications of the whole activity of will. Will is essentially based on pleasure and resistance, and whatever order it may bring about is actually disorder; and when once you understand this whole process of will, then you won't touch it, you won't go near it, because fundamentally you want order.

So, do we understand the nature of will? Will is based on pleasure and resistance to pain; it is based, not on fact, but on pleasure. I wonder if you understand! Are you following me ? Please, you are not my disciples - don't follow me in that way! But we are moving together in the discovery of something; we are trying to find out if there is a new way of living. That is a natural, essential demand on the part of every intelligent human being: to find a new way of life, so that one will not be tortured, will not be in agony, will not have these terrible fears, anxieties, this endless confusion. There mu;t be a new way of living; and to find the new way, you must discard, reject the old completely. But you cannot reject the old without understanding it. You can't just say, "Well, I won't live in that way" - it has no meaning. Whereas, if you understand what is implied in the whole pattern of the old, which is thought and action derived from will and choice, then it naturally drops away.

But, you see, most of us are very lazy, physically as well as inwardly. All this demands a great deal of going into, searching out, breaking down, not accepting; it means living with tremendous energy to find out, and because most of us are lazy inside the skin, we don't want to do that. We would rather live happily in the neurotic state of our image - or live unhappily, hoping that circumstances will somehow change the image and bring about a happy new image.

This whole structure of image, choice and will is based on holding on to pleasure and discarding pain. Please understand what we are talking about in referring to pleasure and pain. One must resist physical pain; but we are speaking of the fear of psychological pain. Do you understand? Being afraid of inward or psychological pain, we are not facing facts, but are looking at everything with an eye to avoiding that pain, or maintaining pleasure.

So, if one understand; this whole process, then what is action without will? And what then is change? When you change consciously by saying, "I will not smoke", "I will not drink", "I will not do this", "I will not do that", when you deliberately set out to bring about a change in yourself, don,t you find that in this deliberate change there is a great deal of resistance and waste of energy? You are resisting, battling with the old habits, the old patterns of thought, hoping thereby to find a new way of life. This is quite a familiar pattern, isn't it? Where there is a deliberate choice, a deliberate intention to bring about a change, there is not only resistance but a waste of energy, and therefore there is no change at all.

I wonder if you are getting all this? Is it somewhat clear so far?

So I see that where there is deliberate action to bring about a change in myself, there is no real change at all, but only a waste of energy. Therefore change can take place only when there is no conscious effort to change. Change must happen without your deliberately wanting to change. Change comes when you understand the whole pattern of the image, and how it has been created - the image based on the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of psychological pain, from which there is choosing, exercising the will in action. This pattern repeats over and over again, and within the field of this pattern we want change; but any such change is still a resistance, a waste of energy, and therefore it is no change at all. Change in the real sense of the word means an explosion, and to explode you need energy, and to have energy there must be no resistance. It is a change into which thought as will has not entered at all. Change is like virtue. Virtue that is cultivated ceases to be virtue. Being full of vanity, when I deliberately set about being humble and practice the virtue of humility every day, it has no meaning. But to explode vanity without the exercise of will, unconsciously, is to have complete energy with which to look at the quality called vanity; and in that there is humility.

So virtue is order brought about without a deliberate thought or intention - and in that there is great beauty. Order is not of time. Time breeds disorder. So I have to be aware of this whole cycle, without pushing it aside, or running away from it, or otherwise doing something about it; I have to be aware of it as a fact, without choice, as I am aware of that microphone. That microphone is a fact, isn't it? It is so, and I can't alter it. It is there in front of me. Similarly, I have to be choicelessly aware of this whole process of thinking in terms of the image, which so far has brought such immense disorder and misery to man, to each one of us. And when one is choicelessly aware of it, one will find that there is an action into which time and will do not enter.

I have said that time breeds disorder, but I do not want to go into the question of time this morning. We will go into it another day; because one has to spend a great deal of time on that - time by the watch - and perhaps this is not the occasion for it. But when you really understand that immense order is necessary inwardly, then outwardly, in all your relationships, there will be order - order in your relationship with your family and friends, with your property, and with ideas.

Order - which is essentially the beginning and the end of virtue - does not come about through a deliberate act in any form. Any deliberate act to bring about order, is immoral - and that is what we see in the world. The social order which we have established in various parts of the world is based, as you well know, on competition, greed, envy, brutality; and on Sunday, or whatever day it may be, we talk about brotherly love. But the two cannot go together. Our social order is disorder, and therefore immoral. I am not condemning society, I just see the facts.

So, to bring about order in myself as a human being - not as an individual in isolation, but as a human being who is part of the rest of humanity - I must understand this extraordinarily complex and subtle process of will, choice and the image.

Questioner: The moment one becomes conscious of the image that one has built up, it causes pain, a disturbance, and the thought that looks at it stops.

Krishnamurti: First of all, are we conscious of the image for ourselves, or have we become conscious of it because somebody has told us about that image? Do you see the difference? Am I conscious of the image that I have in me, without anyone's telling me? Or am I conscious of that image only because you have told me about it? Surely there is a difference. I know when I am hungry, nobody need tell me. But if you say to me, "You are hungry", and I react and say, "By jove, I am hungry", then that is something entirely different.

So, are you aware of the image that you have built up through the years, the image that society has given you, and so on? Are you aware of it without being told? Or are you aware of it only because somebody has told you? Please find out. If it is your own discovery, it has vitality; but if you are merely told about it, and you say, "Yes, I have an image", then that has not the same vitality, the same energy.

Questioner: What happens when it is neither?

Krishnamurti: When you have neither discovered it for yourself, nor found it because somebody has told you about it, then what happens? Well, then I am afraid that either one is asleep, or one doesn't want to discover it, or one says, "It is part of my sublime self, the Supreme" - whatever that may be. Please, this is fairly simple; why do we complicate it?

If I don't want to discover that I have an image, any amount of your telling me that I have an image will not make me see it; and most of us don't want to discover it, because it is such a safe, satisfying, gratifying image. We don't want to be questioned about it, so we turn a deaf ear. But if you discover it for yourself, that has much more vitality than being told what is wrong. Now, let's proceed. I have discovered that I have an image. I have suddenly become conscious of the fact that I have an image of myself - an image which has been built up through my vanity, through my pleasure, pain, conclusions. It is an image put together by thought, by experience, by life, by my relationships, by my activities, sorrow, disgrace - everything has put together in me this image, and I have become aware of it. Then what happens? Am I choicelessly aware of it as a fact - as a fact which I can't alter? Do you understand what I mean? It is a fact that the sun rises and sets, and I can't do a thing about it. Similarly, this image is a fact, and I see it as a fact without saying, "I want to get rid of it", or, "I want to change it", or "I must do something about it".

Are you following this? Do you see the image of yourself which you have built up through centuries - see it as a fact? Do you understand? Are you looking at it choicelessly, and not according to your pleasure and pain? If you look at it without choice, then it is a fact, isn't it? The image is a fact, it is so. Now, are you looking at it as an outsider who is observing it - or are you the image? Do you understand what I mean? I hope I am making myself clear.

I have discovered this image unconsciously. Am I looking at it as an observer apart from the observed? Am I separate from that which I am observing? Is there a space between the observer and the thing observed? Actually, the observer is the image, the two are not separate - and that is where our difficulty is going to come in; because I have treated the image as a thing outside of myself, a thing to be observed, to be altered, to be added to, to take something away from. I have never seen it as `me', as the observer himself, but always as the thing observed. To see the image as the observer himself demands complete attention. When you are merely the observer apart from the thing observed, it is a form of escape from the fact, and one has to become aware of this. That is to say, there is only the image, and not the observer.

Now, take a flower, a tree, a face - it doesn't matter what it is - and look at it. When you look at the flower, you are looking at it biologically, botanically; that is, you are looking at that flower with all the knowledge that you have about it. Is that not so? And do you ever look at a flower non-botanically, or does all the information you have about that flower always interfere? When your knowledge interferes with looking, then you are merely the observer looking at that flower. That is fairly simple.

You have probably never looked at the image without the interference of choice, so you don't know that there is then only the image and not the observer. When that happens, there is no question of getting rid of the image, or adding to it, or denying it. It is a fact. But as long as you are the observer looking at the fact, you are dissipating the very energy which is necessary to understand completely, or be, or see that fact without the observer.

Now, what happens when there is only the image, and not the censor who says, "I like", or, "I do not like" that image? What happens when there is only the fact, and there is no escape from the fact; when the fact is neither pleasurable nor painful, but is simply so, and you are therefore able to look at it completely, with all your energy? Do you understand? Energy is dissipated when there is an observer, a censor. But when there is only the fact, which demands all your energy and attention, then you will find that the image explodes; it has no validity at all, no substance. It has gone completely. Then you start a new life, for there is no longer a censor dictating what you should or should not do. There is a complete revolution, a total change, and therefore great order.

July 15, 1965


Saanen 1965

Saanen 3rd Public Talk 15th July 1965

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