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Rome 1966

Rome 1st Public Discussion 31st March 1966

I think it would be a good idea if we could investigate the word "serious". Most of us think we are quite serious. We think we are serious if we follow a certain action to which we are committed, or pursue to the end a particular idea, a particular belief, or having committed ourselves to a certain ideology, we pursue that throughout life, not deviating from it. We also think we are very serious if we have a concept, a formula of life, and carry that out throughout our existence.

Now, is that seriousness? If we have committed ourselves to a particular belief, and pursued that belief, if we have given ourselves over to a certain ideological formula, and have lived according to that formula or according to a belief, which is a concept, does all that constitute seriousness? I am just questioning it, because that word has a great content in it. If we could, as it were, open up that word, and investigate its significance and its structure, then perhaps we should establish a communication with each other, because what we are talking about is quite serious. We are not using words just for the words' sake, or having a reputation to keep, to keep up that reputation. We are not saying something that we don't mean, at least the speaker is not. And so, to establish a relationship between the speaker and yourself, we must understand the verbal meaning, the content of words, the nature of the usage of words. I think it would be worthwhile if we could investigate that word "serious".

If you are going to come here to all these discussions, then either you are very serious, or you are just being entertained by a speaker who perhaps has a new set of ideas. So it seems to me that it's important to understand this word "serious". I do not consider any person who is committed to a belief, a dogma, a formula, a belief, a course of action to be serious at all. We have to establish that. To be really serious means to be free - free to investigate, to find out, to have passion to pursue. People do have passion to pursue according to a formula. A man who believes ardently pursues; he lives a life, but it is a life committed to an idea; and a life committed to an idea, to a formula, to a belief, to a concept, to a Utopia is just going round and round in circles. It is really a form of self-worship through identification with a belief.

By using that word "serious" we mean something entirely different. To enquire into, or examine into, the reality of life, into what is existence, we must be totally free; otherwise we can't examine. If we are conditioned by belief as Catholics, as protestants, or as Anglicans for whom the recent visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury is very important, then we are not free to investigate. It seems to me that a person who is serious, who is essentially free, demands freedom. He may not be free, but he demands it; and in the very demanding of it, he becomes serious, because he has no concept of what freedom is. If we have a concept of what freedom is, and are committed to that concept, then we are no longer free to investigate freedom. But if we deny the whole commitment to a formula, to a concept, to a Utopia, to a conditioned state or to propaganda, on that basis we may discuss. If the mind has been brainwashed through propaganda, through a certain belief, such a person is not free to enquire, and therefore he is not serious. I hope that's clear. If it is not clear, you and I will have no relationship in our talking together. We must really deny this two thousand years of propaganda, of which we are the result. Our social, economic, cultural structure is the result of propaganda, of our religious beliefs, and with that background, with that conditioned mind, it's impossible to examine, or to enquire into a different way of living. Please let us establish that relationship with each other. It is not possible to discuss or talk over together any issue if you or I are not both at the same level of intensity. If I am factual, argumentative and you are not serious, in the sense in which I am using the word, then you and I have no contact. Can we establish that? Our talking together is not an intellectual examination of the whole process of living. If we are discussing, if we are merely talking together intellectually, then it will have very little more meaning than going to a cinema. But if we are not intellectual, if we are really serious in trying to find out a different way of living, because we have come to a crisis, a tremendous crisis in consciousness,not economic, social or religious, but deep then these discussions can be of great value. In the deep consciousness of man, there is a crisis, because he has to face a tremendous change in the world, not only outwardly, but inwardly. The outward response depends on the inward state, naturally; and if the inward state is merely a response of a conditioned mind, then of course the crisis doesn't exist at all. If I am a dyed-in-the-wool Catholic, my response to this enormous change that's going on will be very limited. It will have no value at all.

Is it possible to find a way of life, a way of daily living, which is basically and radically free, and therefore revolutionary? There is only one revolution for me, and that is the religious revolution. The others are not revolutions at all;economic, social, political and all the rest are not revolutions. There is only one revolution, which is the religious mind in a revolt, not as a reaction, but a mind that has established a way of life in which there is no contradiction. All our lives our in contradiction and therefore in conflict, either the conflict born of trying to conform, conflict through fulfilment, or the conflict engendered by social influence. Human beings have lived in this state of conflict as long as human history is known.

Everything they touch they turn into conflict, within and without. Either it's a war between people, or life as a human being is a battle field within. We all know this constant, everlasting battle, outwardly and inwardly. Conflict does produce a certain result by the use of the will, but conflict is never creative. That's a dangerous word to use; we'll go into it a little later. To live, to flower in goodness, there must be peace, not economic peace, the peace between two wars, the peace of politicians negotiating treaties. the peace which the church talks about, or the organized religious preach,but peace that one has discovered for oneself. It is only in peace that we can flower, can grow can be, can function. It cannot come into being when there is conflict of any kind, conscious or unconscious.

Is it possible to live a life without conflict, in the modern world with all the strain,struggles, pressures and influences in the social structure? That is really living, the essence of a mind that is enquiring seriously. The question of whether there is God, whether there is truth, whether there is beauty can only come when this is established, when the mind is no longer in conflict. Can we discuss this?

Questioner: How is one to avoid this conflict?

Krishnamurti: You can't avoid conflict. You have to understand the nature of conflict. It is one of the most difficult things to understand conflict. We have tried to avoid conflict, so we take to drink,sex, church, organized religions, social activities, superficial amusements-every form of escape. We have tried to avoid this conflict, but we haven't been able to. The very avoidance is contributory to conflict.

Questioner:Could you say something about the terms of conflict? Krishnamurti: We'll go into that sir. First let us see the basic necessity, the fundamental, radical necessity of freedom and peace. We don't know what it means yet. We can see, perhaps only intellectually, the necessity of a mind, a heart, the whole structure of a human being not having conflict, because then there is peace. That peace is really a form of moral behaviour, because a mind that is not peaceful cannot behave, cannot have right relationship; and right relationship is behaviour, conduct, virtue, morals, all the rest of it.

If both of us understand the necessity of ending conflict - understand it even verbally for the moment, then we can proceed; then we can begin to investigate what conflict is, why conflict comes into being, and whether it is at all possible to end conflict by increasing, or by insisting upon, a factor which is called the will. Let's begin slowly. It's a tremendous subject; we can't brush it off in an afternoon. What is conflict, both outwardly and inwardly? We can see outwardly the wars, which are the result of nationalities, economic pressures, religious, personal prejudices. There have been religious wars right through the world. Perhaps Buddhism has not contributed to war, except recently Buddhist priests have burned themselves, but it is totally against the teaching. They are told never to touch politics; but politics is the new oracle. It gives intoxication; that is nationalism. We can see the contributory factors of war, outwardly, outward ideologies; we don't have to go into all that.

Then there is the inward conflict, which is much more complex. Why is there conflict in us? We are examining. we are not saying that we should or should not be without conflict. We are examining it; and to examine we must be very clear in our thinking, very acute in our observation; we must be intensely aware in observing the whole nature and the significance of conflict. Why is there conflict? What do we mean by that word "struggle"? We are examining the meaning of the word, not what brings about conflict. When are we at all conscious of this word, of the fact? Only when there is pain; only when there is a contradiction; only when there is the pursuit of pleasure and it is denied. I am aware of conflict when my form of pleasure in fulfilment, in ambition, in various forms is thwarted. When pleasure, ambition is frustrated, then I am conscious of conflict, but as long as the pleasure of ambition continues without any blockage I have no sense of conflict at all. There is pleasure in conformity. I want to conform to society because it pays me; it gives me profit. For security, for a means of livelihood, to become famous, to be recognized, to be somebody in society, I must conform to the norm, to the pattern set by society. As long as I am conforming to it completely, which is a great pleasure, there is no conflict; but there is conflict the moment there is a distraction from that conformity.

Questioner: I am trying to read some book on philosophy and there is a conflict or tension between my limited understanding right now and the understanding in the book, which I am trying to attain.

Krishnamurti: That's quite a different question. Why do I want to read a book? Why should I try to understand someone, whether it is Buddha, Christ, or a philosopher?

Questioner: I think a person is looking for something.

Krishnamurti: What for?

Questioner: Well, for myself I'd say the truth.

Krishnamurti: What are we seeking, and why should we seek? This really requires a great deal of examination. You can't just say it is God, truth, this or that; this requires tremendous enquire. Why do we seek? What are we seeking - God, truth, happiness, a better way of life, more sex, more money, more pleasure? You want God; and they want a new society. Then what? You want something sublime, and they want I don't know what. Before we say we are seeking, why are we seeking and what are we seeking? If there is a motive for seeking, there is no seeking.

Questioner: Maybe we are investigating to see.

Krishnamurti: We are always seeking with a motive. I am unhappy and I want to be happy. I like to see the country, I love to drive and I want a car; that's my motive. As long as I have a motive, is there any seeking? The seeking is dictated by my motive; therefore the seeking is limited.

Questioner: It is conditioned.

Krishnamurti:It is conditioned. And is there a seeking if there is no motive at all?

Questioner: It seems as though there is a certain unknown which draws us toward itself.

Krishnamurti: To come upon the unknown, there must be freedom from the known. We must go into this very slowly. So, let's begin again. When are we conscious of conflict? When there is physical pain, we become conscious; we do something about it. If there is no pain at all, we carry on, and that's what we want - to live a life in which there is no pain at all. Psychologically this is a fact.

Questioner: There are times when people do things, even though there is pain.

Krishnamurti: That may be because they are committed to a certain formula, certain beliefs, a certain concept of life, and they say,"This is part of it".

Questioner: It may be a certain person that they are doing it for.

Krishnamurti: Then why have pain?

Questioner: I think it's just there.

Krishnamurti: You can't accept pain as it's being there. Why should it be there? If we could go into this a little more closely, a little more slowly, step by step, perhaps we'll get at it.

Questioner: When we go into something in enquiry, even on a word, isn't there a search for something?

Krishnamurti: Surely, sir. The word "search" came when we said "examine". What do we mean by seeking? If a man is very clear in his thinking, in his feeling, in his relationships, in his daily life, there is no conflict; why should he seek? The light in itself is sufficient. Clarity itself is sufficient. That is the basis of existence, and from there we can proceed. But without laying the foundation of right relationship, in which there is no conflict, we are seeking something outside. Right relationship means no conflict between man and man. If we try to go beyond, try to find something else without establishing that, without laying the foundation of that, we won't go any further. The search for truth, God, merely becomes an escape.

Questioner: Though theoretically clarity and light are sufficient, are the foundation, in the actual order we start out in darkness. Krishnamurti: Why do we start out in darkness? Education, the social structure, the influences on our life, propaganda - oh, there are so many contributory factors to this darkness.

Questioner: Are they contributory factors to the darkness, or are they attempts to shed light on the darkness which was there prior to education or whatever?

Krishnamurti: The past is infinite. Can one say, "Before the past there wa clarity"? It comes to that, doesn't it?

Look, sir. If a man is born in India, or in Europe, he becomes a Hindu, or a Catholic, or a protestant, whatever it is. He is conditioned by society, whether it is communist society, Indian society or European society. He is conditioned by environment.

Questioner: We are part of our environment, but it seems like we are not absolutely conditioned by it.

Krishnamurti: We are conditioned. Ninety per cent of us are conditioned.

Questioner: Ninety-nine per cent.

Krishnamurti: We are conditioned.

Questioner: What happens to the one per cent?

Krishnamurti: Let's find out. To find out if there is one per cent at all, you must uncondition your ninety-nine per cent; otherwise you can't find out.

Questioner: Just because a person is living in a certain social structure, holding certain dogmas or beliefs, there may be two ways of doing it. He may have been born into a religion or a certain society, and just continues along in that, never questioning it....

Krishnamurti:Yes sir. Or? Or?

Questioner: Or the person is actually choosing....

Krishnamurti: Ah, wait, wait! This is a famous fallacy, choosing. What makes him choose? Why should he choose at all?

Questioner: I don't know. It seems like man does choose....

Krishnamurti: Why does he choose? Why doesn't he choose Buddhism instead of Catholicism, or communism? Why 1.

Questioner: Some people are....

Krishnamurti: Your tendency, your proclivities, your inclination, your social background, religion - all that pushes you in a certain direction, and you say you are choosing. You see, sir, I question this whole way of choosing. Why should I choose? If a man is free, he has no choice. There is no question of choice. Finished. That is why I said at the beginning that to establish a serious discussion, there must be this examination of freedom and peace. Otherwise you can't proceed. If you say man can never be free, then you have blocked yourself. You have stopped yourself from further examination. If you make an ideal of freedom, again you have blocked yourself. You have not if you say, "Let us find out by denying what it is to be free". To be free is not a reaction. It implies no nationality, obviously, that is, outwardly, though you may have a passport. I have one from India, but I'm not anything, nor do I belong to any religion; because organized religions are just like any other organized corporation. Through those I can't find God, or truth. I must be free first, to find out. It further implies freedom from anger, jealousy, envy, ambition, competition, wanting fame, prestige - a complete denial of the social structure in which I have been brought up. Otherwise I'm not free; otherwise I cannot possibly have a right relationship with man. If you and I discuss this question of freedom, and you say, "Well, I stick to my particular conditioning, and let's talk about freedom", this is completely futile. It means, really understanding my conditioning not finding an excuse for it, not saying that it is right or wrong, that it is justified, that I can't escape from it, that it is inevitable, that I have chosen it. I have to examine my conditioning.

Questioner: Is a yogi who lives on the top of a mountain free from conditioning?

Krishnamurti: No, obviously not. It is merely an escape. Sir, it is so obvious. He may live on the top of a mountain, or in a cell, but he is conditioned; his whole background is Catholic, Buddhist, Islam. He is the expression of his background, which says that you must retire into a monastery, to a hill, to find God. The other background says that you must so identify yourself with the community, with the State, that you are not an individual, that you are no longer thinking about yourself. You have the two extremes.

To come back to the question, is it possible to live a life in the modern world without conflict? Conflict is an awareness of frustration, an awareness of blockage, an awareness of pain, an awareness of competition, an awareness of the importance of the pursuit of your own activities, or of being identified with an activity organized as a religion, of being identified as a communist, and so on.

I feel that man has never demanded freedom, absolute freedom. We want partial freedom, partial freedom being freedom from anything that causes pain, any psychological pain. From that I want to free, divorced, or any of a dozen forms. The fundamental question is, if I may repeat it, whether it is possible to live without conflict, without war, outwardly, and inwardly without there being a battle with myself, my wife, my children, my society, my neighbour. If there is conflict, it distorts the mind, consciously or unconsciously; and a distorted mind, whether it is on the top of a hill or in a monastery, is still a distorted mind. It can pursue its own image, but it won't be reality.

Questioner: Can I live without any conflict at all? It seems something simple like getting up in the morning. Sometimes I just don't feel like getting up. Rationally I know there are certain things I want to do today, yet there's a certain part of me that....

Krishnamurti: Rebels, which is contradiction. That is, one part of me, one part of desire says, "I must go for a walk on this lovely evening", and the other part says, "What a bore walking is; I want to listen to what this chap is talking about", and I have a conflict. I may be putting it on the most absurd level, but that's what we are. Our desires are torn towards one thing, and the opposite of that.

Shall we go into the nature of conflict? Let's not particularize, but get the whole picture of conflict; then you can particularize it yourselves. What is conflict? We have accepted conflict as the way of life, conflict with a man or with a woman. There have been nearly fifteen thousand wars in the last five thousand five hundred years, two and a half wars every year. We have accepted war as the way of life. In ourselves there is this perpetual battle going on: "I must" and "I must not; "I should" and "I should not". We live in an endless corridor of duality. Not that there is not duality. There is the woman and the man; there is darkness and light. Factually there is no contradiction; but we have created psychological contradiction. Why is there this conflict of duality: "I must" and "I must not", "I should" and "I should not"?

Questioner: Because we don't understand; I we don't see.

Krishnamurti: Why don't we see? Because we don't know that we are in conflict. We don't know, and we don't say, "I must find a way out of this completely". We have never said, "I must be totally free from conflict". We have accepted the bourgeois way of life, which is conflict, whether it is in Moscow, in London, in Rome, or in any other place. We have accepted it. If we don't accept it, we have much more trouble; we have infinite bother. That's why we avoid it.

Questioner: So how do we get out of it?

Krishnamurti: First, let's see it. What brings about conflict?

Questioner: Our desires.

Krishnamurti: All right. Your desire. What is wrong with a desire?

Questioner: We should have no desires.

Krishnamurti: No, sir. If you had no desire, what would happen?

Questioner: I would have peace.

Krishnamurti: Does peace contradict desire?

Questioner: No.

Krishnamurti: Therefore you have to understand desire. You have to understand the nature of it, the meaning of it, the whole structure of it. Now, what is desire?

Questioner: Something that you believe you need.

Krishnamurti: No, no, before that. What is desire, not desire for something?

Questioner: A craving that comes out from. your body, from your brain.

Krishnamurti: What doe s that mean, sir? Go into it. Let us go into the anatomy of desire, before the desire is, before it identifies itself, before desire is. created by the object. You follow, sir, what I mean? Both in Asia and in Europe the religious people have denied desire. They say, "Desire is wrong, evil, sinful; turn your back against it." You must take that into account.

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: That's part of the structure. They say that unless you have tremendous control over your desires, unless you have them trained, those desires will lead you to distraction and not to reality; so you must discipline, control, suppress. That's part of the heritage.

Questioner: If we don't suppress the whole. thing, we....

Krishnamurti: Wait, wait! Don't say that yet. Go into it, sir; let's see. Before we suppress it, deny it, control it, shape it or whatever it is, let's see how desire comes into being, not the desire for the object or the object that creates. the desire, but the feeling of desire itself.

Questioner: I am discontented with what I have. Krishnamurti: No, no. We are not talking of discontent, but of desire. I see a beautiful car. Instantly I have a desire for it. That is the immediate reaction.

Questioner: Is that the same for everybody? You can have five people walking by a beautiful car and they won't all want it.

Krishnamurti: It may be a beautiful woman, or you may want a beautiful house, a lovely garden. The object varies with each person. We are talking of the nature of desire itself, not the object.

Questioner: I don't see how we can talk about desire if we don't talk about the person desiring.

Krishnamurti: We are going to; you will see it in a minute, sir. I or you or someone sees something. There is a first seeing, the image, the car, the woman, the house, the first visual perception. It may not even be visual, but may be intellectual, a very good idea. There is perception; there is perceiving; then there is the reacting.

Questioner: The reaction could be any of a number of things.

Krishnamurti: Oh, yes, of course. I said "reacting; I didn't give a specific name to the reaction. Then there is the intervention of the mind, of thought, saying, "I would like to have that", or "not that". That's a form of desire, isn't it? It is very simple when you examine what desire is. Perception, contact, sensation, the identification with that, and the demand for the fulfilment of that. All religions have said, "Retire; don't look at the world, at the woman, the money, position; it's death to reality".

Questioner: Many religions don't say that.

Krishnamurti: Most do. Otherwise all the Catholic priests wouldn't be in that position. All the Hindus and Buddhists say, "Suppress; get away from desire".

Questioner: Do you not think it might be better to hold of judgment of religions, which may be historical....

Krishnamurti: No, sir. This is not a question of anything historical. We are discussing the fact, desire.

Questioner: Judgment as to whether the desire of life to Buddhism, the Mayan Indians, or to Catholicism....

Krishnamurti: But sir, this is human structure; not Catholic desire or Hindu desire, but human nature desires.

Questioner: I think we have to understand whether a particular religion discourages desire or not.

Krishnamurti: Let's forget religion. There is human desire. That desire has created so much mischief in the world; my desire, wanting to be prominent, wanting to be famous. Unless one understands the nature of desire, merely suppressing it or running away from it has no meaning. I see how desire arises: seeing the object, and the object strengthening desire. This is very simple. What makes it more complex is when the desire has a continuity. I have to find out why there is continuity to desire.

Questioner: I may desire to understand something, too. For instance, in reading a book about communism, I want to understand how it developed, what it stands for, what it means, what position it has in the world today.

Krishnamurti: All right; all right.

Questioner: Shouldn't there be a desire for understanding?

Krishnamurti: Yes, may be. But we're not discussing the desire for understanding. We are trying to find out the nature of desire, not for something. We don't say the desire for understanding is right or wrong. What we are saying is that we are trying to understand desire itself, per se, not whether desire for this is right or is wrong. I see how desire comes into being. Then also I see how desire has a continuity, and there is the problem, not desire itself, but giving strength and vitality through time to desire. Now, what gives continuity to desire?

Questioner: I want a thing and I have it, and then the desire grows.

Krishnamurti: There is desire for it, and I make a lot of effort to get it, which means that there is a sustained desire. Now, what gives substance, nourishment, sustenance to maintain this desire?

Questioner: That is the problem.

Krishnamurti: I'm looking at it, sir; I'm looking at the problem.

Questioner: You think that by getting that thing, something will be added to your life.

Krishnamurti: All right, you get it. We're not going into the question of getting an object of enrichment or one which does not enrich. We are seeing the nature of desire itself.

Questioner: The urge to grow is what keeps the desire going.

Krishnamurti: The urge to grow, to keep the desire going means a continuity, a constancy.

Questioner: As long as you have the urge to grow, it seems all right to have the desire.

Krishnamurti: I am not saying "grow" or "not grow". You see, you are identifying already with growth,. and therefore you're blocking the examination.

Questioner: Well, I don't see how I can do otherwise. I am not what I was when I was ten years old.

Krishnamurti: We are not discussing the importance or unimportance of desire. We are trying to find out what gives constancy to desire.

Questioner: That doesn't present an answer, because I'm not talking about the importance or the unimportance of desire.

Krishnamurti: Please have a little patience; I'm coming to that; you will see it. I have to find out why desire has such potency in my life. It may be right or it may not be right. I have to find out. I see that. Desire arises, , which is a reaction, which is a healthy, normal reaction; otherwise I would be dead. I see a beautiful thing and I say, "By Jove, I want that". If I didn't, I'd be dead. But in the constant pursuit of it there is pain. That's my problem; there is pain as well as pleasure. I see a beautiful woman, and `I she is beautiful; it would be most `' absurd to say, "No, she's not". This is a fact. But what gives continuity to the pleasure? Obviously it is thought, thinking about it. Right, sir? Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: I think about it. It is no longer the direct relationship with the object, which is desire, but thought now increases that desire by thinking about it, by having images, pictures, ideas.

Questioner: Yes.

Questioner: You fight not to have it.

Krishnamurti: All that fight not to have it, the whole business of thought gives it intensity. Thought comes in and says, "please, you must have it; that's growth; "That is important"; "That is not important; "This is vital for your life; "This is not vital for your life".

But I can look` at it, and have a desire, and that's the end of it, without interference of thought.

Questioner: It relates to God, too?

Krishnamurti: I don't want to come into that yet. Let's take the simple things first. I have to understand the whole machinery of thought; not suppress desire, not say it is right or wrong, good or bad, noble or ignoble - that's all too immature. But I have to go into the question of what thinking is. If thought doesn't interfere with it, then there may be a different action altogether. I have to find out what thinking is, and if there is any need to think at all. These are the big questions I have to answer, before I can say what I am going to do with the desire. Right, sir?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: What is thinking? The electronic brains are thinking, thinking along the information which has been fed into them. And I think according to my experiences, knowledge, incidents, influences, pain, pleasure - the whole background of my memory, religious, economic; a Brahmin fasting. I react according to the whole of that background. My machinery is much more subtle than the electronic brain, but it works on the same principle.

Questioner: I think the electronic brain is just regurgitating facts that have been fed into it.

Krishnamurti: But aren't we doing the same? Wait, madam. Examine it; don't say no or yes. Let's look.

Questioner: We are not thinking if we are only giving out what has been fed to us.

Krishnamurti: But that's what we call thinking.

Questioner: Ah, I see; that's what we call it.

Krishnamurti: I'm thinking.

Questioner: It may be true scientifically, but it is still working on the basis of what has been put into it.

Krishnamurti: Please, let s look at it the other way. You are an Italian and I am supposed to be a Hindu. You have your background, your glory, your culture, your religion, your experiences, your knowledge, your daily incidents and memories. And I have my memory, my banks of memory. From that I react; from that I respond.

Questioner: How does that fit in with the idea of freedom that you spoke about?

Krishnamurti: Doesn't exist. Questioner: If you think it doesn't exist.

Krishnamurti: It does not exist. That is one of the most difficult things to understand. That's what I was going into. Unless I understand this machinery of thinking, the memory, the whole background of my culture, my tradition of ten thousand years as the Brahmin, this, that, how am I to be free?

Questioner: I do it with my mind.

Krishnamurti: No, we haven t come to it yet. First let us see the fact. Then how to be free from it, from which comes a different question, whether this is at all possible. You might say, "Well, if I'm free, what am I? I am nothing. I'm no longer an Italian, with all my culture, with all my glory, with my literature, my art. And if I'm nothing, I'm lost".

Questioner: Do you think it might be good, along with the examination of memory, to investigate, investigate, investigate?

Krishnamurti: Who is the investigator? Is that what you're saying?

Questioner: No.

Krishnamurti: And what is the thing that is being investigated?

Questioner: I think that is the process of investigation.

Krishnamurti: We are doing it; we are doing it.

Questioner: It seems that would be different from the process of memory, or even the process of judgment. See what I mean?

Krishnamurti: I don't quite catch what you mean.

Questioner: It's just that you mentioned before that memory is very important in thinking.

Krishnamurti: With all of us it is.

Questioner: It really is. It also seems that we have this power of investigation.

Krishnamurti: Wait, wait! Do we investigate as long as we are tethered to the post of the past?

Questioner: We have to determine that, upon determining the meaning of investigation.

Krishnamurti: Sir, that's why to investigate even the greatest scientist must have freedom in his laboratory.

Questioner: Right.

Krishnamurti: Otherwise he can't investigate. And also, to investigate very profoundly, he must be free from the knowledge which he has. Otherwise it stops him.

Questioner: That's the way Freud found out about psychoanalysis. He threw away all conditioning.

Krishnamurti: Yes, sir, but Freud probably got it from some others. That's irrelevant for the moment.

Questioner: I think he throws away the past, goes beyond it, like a scientist, a chemist. He doesn't go back.

Krishnamurti: No, no! This is theoretical. I don't know what the scientist does. Questioner: He throws away the past and goes beyond it.

Krishnamurti: Ah, wait; wait. It comes to the same thing, sir. I cannot go beyond it if I am tethered to the `past.

Questioner: I don't see how one can get away from the past.

Krishnamurti: We are going to find out. You see, you insist on blocking it by saying you cannot.

Questioner: The only way I can see investigating is not to find out if there are any preconceived ideas, but to live out of experience, using that as a starting point.

Krishnamurti: Experience is not a starting point. Man has had experience for the last five thousand five hundred years about war. Kill, kill, kill in the name of God, in the name of peace, in the name of love, in the name of nations, etc., etc. There is tremendous experience stored up, but experience is not a criterion.

Questioner: No, it is not a criterion, but. it seems that if we are going to find out what thinking is, we must start with the experience of thinking.

Krishnamurti: No, sir. Do please listen for a few minutes. Thinking is the reaction of accumulated knowledge as experience, as tradition, as the background. That's a fact. Look, sir. I ask your name and you reply immediately, don't you? There is no thinking; at least the thinking is so rapid it has become habitual.

Questioner: I can refuse to give my name.

Krishnamurti: Ah, ah, ah! (Laughter.) We said, sir, that thinking gives intensity and continuity to desire. Thinking breeds pleasure.

Questioner: Right.

Krishnamurti: I see a woman, or whatever it is. It's a pleasure; I think about it. Pleasure gives sustenance and continuity to desire. So, pleasure is the basic principle of our life, whether in the name of God, in the name of killing, or whatever it is.

Questioner: Right.

Krishnamurti: You follow, sir? All our ethics, all our virtue, all our relationships are based on pleasure. Right?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: You admit it so easily? (Laughter.) Sir, to discover that is a terrific blow. It isn't just a passing word. My relationship with my wife, with my society, with my God, with my values, with my virtue, everything is based on that. I'm not being cynical, but merely factual. Pleasure is what is driving me. Where there is pleasure there is pain. I'm caught in that; there is conflict. Inherent in pleasure is pain. There is the origin of conflict.

Questioner: One must see the fact.

Krishnamurti: See the fact that where there is the pursuit of pleasure in the name of the Most High or in the name of the most crooked, it is still pleasure, and therefore there is pain. There is the root of conflict. That's a fact, not how am I to get out of it.

Questioner: That's the way of our life. Krishnamurti: Of course. And I say to myself, "Is there a way of living without this, without pleasure which breeds pain?". This doesn't mean that I can't look at a tree and say, "What a marvellous tree!". Unless I understand this basic principle of pleasure, in which pain is embedded, consciously or unconsciously, there is always conflict.

Questioner: Suppose I understand it?

Krishnamurti: Then I have to pursue. Then I have to say that I see this fact, that as long as there is the pursuit of pleasure, there is pain. As long as I am eating wrong food, there is pain. The wrong food gives me pleasure; I eat it and I pay for it later. That's the way we live, wrong food and all the rest of it.

How am I to be free of it without conflict? If I deny it, there will be a conflict, because I'm still in it. If I accept it, then that's the way we all live.

Questioner: We seek pleasure and we die with pain.

Krishnamurti: That's our life. So, how are we to be free of conflict? That's a tremendous question. We have to go into it very deeply. All social, moral, ethical and religious beliefs and doctrines are based on this. We may deny it, but if we tear it open, it is that. The mind sees this factually, as I factually see this microphone. It sees it as a fact, not as a theory, not as a hopeless state. It is so; it is like that. Then the question is, is it possible to live without conflict? This does not mean that I must suppress pleasure.

Questioner: I must suppress both.

Krishnamurti: Ah, no! If you suppressed both, you'd be dead.

Questioner: I don't say we must accept it.

Krishnamurti: All of us have accepted it, and we live in conflict. If a man says, "No, I don't want to live in conflict; I must find a way out, totally, completely, both consciously and unconsciously", he has to tackle this problem. How is he to be free from conflict? This means freedom from pleasure and pain. Unless this is understood your enquiry about truth, God, has no meaning whatsoever; because God may be something tremendous, not your pet gods. Proceed; how do you go beyond it?

Questioner: I believe that each individual can create for himself a concept of happiness that has nothing to do with pain and pleasure.

Krishnamurti: Oh, my lady! No, madam. We said concepts were out.

Questioner: The individual, each individual....

Krishnamurti: No, no, no! There's no such thing as each individual.

Questioner: I must think for myself.

Krishnamurti: You are not an individual. You are the result of your country, your culture, your knowledge. We like to think we are individuals. There is nothing but secondhand.

March 31, 1966


Rome 1966

Rome 1st Public Discussion 31st March 1966

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