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Rome 1966

Rome 2nd Public Discussion 3rd April 1966

We were talking, the other day when we met here, about being serious, what it implies, and how important it is. Only the very earnest and the very serious people in the sense that we mean, have; the others do not. Considering the enormous complication of modern existence, perhaps outwardly it may be very simple, but inwardly it is very, very complex. We have accepted war both outwardly and inwardly as a way of life. We have never challenged it; we have never questioned it; and perhaps we dare not question it. If we do question it, we have no answers, and our mind is always seeking answers, is always trying to find a way out, a path, a system, a new method through which it can put aside all this confusion and find a different way of life. As we said the other day, man has lived, as far as human recorded history goes, for five thousand five hundred years with war; and that has been our life. We have looked to science, to religion, to priests, to various forms of Hindu escapism, to Zen.

If we are at all serious, we do not trust anyone. We have no faith in anyone, and quite rightly, too. We have no faith in the politician, in the priest, in any organized religion; nor in any book. That again is an obvious fact, except for very, very immature people. And as the world consists of 99.9 percent immature people, we are lost. Not that we are in any way superior, but that's a fact. We cannot look to any authority. It behoves us to find out for ourselves as human beings, not as individuals. We went into the fact the other day that the individual is a local entity, an Italian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Vietnamese, or an American, a localized entity, whereas a human being is a total being, a vast quantum of human experience, misery, conflicts, sorrow.

One has to look for oneself, since there is no one else to tell what one should do or should not do, what one should think or not think. That becomes extremely difficult, because one does not know if one is capable. One wants someone else to point out; and if one looks to someone else, one falls into the trap again - the trap of authority, of following, of books, of priests, and the whole circus of it. What is one to do?

How is one to renew or rewrite or examine the whole process of living anew? That is the real issue that was discussed the other day, only I am putting it in different words. There is no guide, no philosopher, no friend, nothing to help us out of this dreadful mess. Either one comes to total despair, complete cynicism, as most so-called intellectual writers have done, invents marvellous philosophies of despair and sticks there; or putting everything aside, all these systems, philosophies, ideas, concepts, beliefs, organized propaganda as religion, if one is capable of doing it - and one has to do it to find out - one then comes to the problem, the central issue. One must find out whether it is possible, living in this world, not escaping from it to a monastery or to a hill. top, whether it is possible to live in this world as a total human being. This means a human being who is no longer at war with the world and within himself; there is no contradiction without or within. Contradiction breeds conflict Where there is conflict in any form, conscious or unconscious, obviously there can't be affection, love and all the rest of that. One can't perceive clearly if there is a distorted mind, and there is distortion as long as there is conflict.

We are saying that it is possible to live a life in which there is no conflict at all, at any time. This means denying war, outwardly and inwardly, as a means of life, as a means of living. In examining that the other day - I hope you don't mind my going over it a little bit - we said that there is contradiction as long as there are contradictory, opposing desires. We went into the question how desire per se comes into being, not desire for something. We also went into the question of what gives potency, continuity, vitality to desire. We said that thought gives it constancy. I see something visually; out of that there is desire, contact, pleasure; and thought by thinking about it, gives it nourishment and continuity. Naturally, I wouldn't think about it if it didn't give pleasure. We can observe this very easily for ourselves. I like that woman; I like that house; I like that picture or that music, and I think it. I sustain by thought the intensity of that desire

Please, don't accept anything that the speaker is saying because we are not setting up as another authority which would be dreadful. If we observe sufficiently intelligently, we can see this phenomenon going on all the time. The conflict is between the various contradictory desires, sustained by thought, and thought maintains it as long as the desire is pleasurable; otherwise thought wouldn't even think about it. If you have had a pain, you want to forget it very quickly; if you have had a pleasure, either of a sunset or of any other form, thought gives it movement, vitality, a propulsion, drive. Thought maintains it because there is pleasure in it. Where there is pleasure, there is always pain, if you observe it. That's a fact. There is this basic contradiction in the structure of our thinking: pleasure and pain, the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure. Yet where there is the pursuit of pleasure there is in it, inherently, pain. Hence the whole process of our living is contradictory, and therefore there is potential conflict. Again this is factual; it is not my imagination or your wish or not-wish; it is just a fact. We can see that our values, our ideals, our gods, our search are all based on this desire for the continuance of pleasure. If one goes into this sufficiently seriously and earnestly, one comes to this point.

There are contradictions which are inevitable, natural: man and woman; darkness and light; a dozen forms of contradiction from colours, and so on. Those variations and differences and that duality do not bring us pain. We accept them as inevitable. What gives us pain is the demand for the continuance of a pleasure. This doesn't mean that we must have no pleasure we will go into that presently. First we must understand this basic principle.

How are we to put an end to the conflict? As long as the principle exists there will be conflict. It is not a matter of agreement with me. We have to work at this with intense passion, otherwise it becomes merely intellectual agreement and blah. We can see very well that as long as there is conflict, we can't think clearly; we can't look clearly; we can't observe in clarity. We may have no conflict superficially, consciously, but unconsciously there is a whirlpool, a world of contradiction. The more extreme the contradiction, the greater the tension, the greater will be the desire to escape, through football, amusement, church or goodness knows what else. Hence there is a psychotic, unbalanced state, and I go to an analyst to be made normal, and to return to conflict again; or if I am normal, to adjust myself to society, which is the very essence of contradiction. The whole psychoanalytical approach to this question seems to be utterly superficial, leading nowhere.

If we have really gone very deeply into this question, then what are we to do? If we have not gone that far - not verbally, not intellectually, but actually - there is no point in talking things over. It has no value at all. Unless we have done it, we might just as well gossip about someone, discuss the beauties of morning, talk about pictures and modern art, and carry on. We understand the problem very clearly, don't we? We see the importance of having a very clear mind. We might say that that is impossible; that the mind will always be conditioned, by communism, by the church, by society or by propaganda, that it is bound to be conditioned, and therefore there is no escape from this conditioning. If we accept that, there is no question; there is no problem. All we have to do is to make the conditioning a little more clean, a little more palatable, a little more civilized, a little more decorated. But if we don't accept that, if we see the absurdity of it, then we must have a clear mind, and that clear mind can only come when there is no conflict, conscious or unconscious.

The problem then arises: how are we to come to this? How are we, seeing the basic issue, that where there is pleasure there must be pain, that the pursuit of pleasure in any form is the breeding of pain and therefore of contradiction and conflict, how are we to come out of it? If such a proposition, such a question, such a challenge is put to us, how do we respond? We have to answer this; let's talk it over together. There is perpetual war between nations, for economic, social, ideological reasons; there is tyranny, oppression, dogmatism, both religious and political; there is all that on the outside, and there is the battle inside, the unending battle; that's our life. Tracing it, watching the flow of all the ways of man, the ways man has lived through centuries upon centuries, one comes to this essential central issue. As human beings, what do we do? How do we answer it? How do you answer it? You understand the question, the problem? What is to end it? Is thought to end it? Is will to end it? And who is the entity that wields the power as will to end it? If we say we will live in peace by suppressing all desire, all pleasure, then we will become dead sticks. If we say we will end it through the action of the will, determination, choice, force, that in itself is violence. Any exertion of will, which is opposition, resistance, breeds conflict. It isn't an easy problem! It isn't just a slick problem that we can answer very easily and superficially.

Questioner: Is the logical structure of man in a position to do this?

Krishnamurti:I don't know what you mean, sir, by logical structure. Do you mean that the very brain cells have accepted the reaction through centuries of growth, development, pressure; have accepted this way of life? The brain itself - the cells have said, "There is no way out; I'll accept it". Having accepted it, yet resisting it, not wanting it, they invent ways and means to escape from it: drink, sex, multitudinous forms of escapes. Never wanting to go near this conflict, which is eating out the individual's heart and mind, he becomes a psychosomatic case. Do you understand the problem? I see the importance of living without conflict. I must not only sec it intellectually, but see it, not as a theory, a speculative hope or a wish. I must see it as clearly as I see that flower. That state must come into being. How am I to get it? How am I to come upon it? By exertion? By making more effort, which is the will? The very effort is a contradiction. To overcome something I have to exert, and the very exertion implies a contradiction. I see will, determination, the exercise of choice as a decisive factor. I say, "I will", and thereby create resistance; the very resistance brings contradiction, and I am again back in conflict.

Look, sir; take a very simple thing. If I smoke and want to give it up, by saying, "I am determined to give it up", I have already created a conflict. I want to give it up. I force myself to give it up. The very force is a symptom of the conflict. Yet I must give it up. Perhaps I give it up through fear, because it affects my lungs. I may give it up, but there is this constant fear. So will - and this requires tremendous comprehension, real understanding - will is not the way to peace, to the cessation of conflict. To break through that you must have such clarity. It's like a man who has taken the wrong road and insists on going on that road; that's what we have done. We know through experience, through knowledge, through information, through everything, that the road leads nowhere; yet we keep on going in the same way. If we see that will is no way out, we must abandon it, not only with regard to this, but totally. Questioner: So I go on smoking.

Krishnamurti: All right, do it, but do it consciously. Know where it is going, what it is doing to you. Understand all the implications of being caught in a habit, being a slave to habit. If you want that, go to it. That's what we are doing, anyhow. We know very well that one of the major factors that bring on war is nationalism; we realize the poison of that, and yet we keep on. We are Italians, Russians, Indians. And the mind saying that it wants to achieve a state of mind which has no conflict is already a factor which is going to result in conflict.

Questioner: Then there is no hope.

Krishnamurti: Ah, wait a bit, sir; I don't say that there is no hope.

Questioner: The only weapon we have is will.

Krishnamurti: Ah, no; will doesn't do anything.

Questioner: All right; what is the alternative?

Krishnamurti: Wait, sir, wait! If you don't see that as false and give it up as false, you won't see the other. You can't say "Well I'll keep to this till he proves me the other". You can't find the other unless you give this up. I mean, you can't have one foot there and one foot here.

Questioner: The word "alternative" is conflict.

Krishnamurti: Obviously. This is really a very, very, tremendous question. We can't just banish it away in a morning. just as man has lived on war, competition ambition and greed, he has also lived on will, resistance and fighting. I must be that, and I am going to work for it. The stronger the will, the more achievement, the more success, the more revolution. That's what we live on. And if we see that will under any circumstances is not the way out, we have cleared the field, cleared the field to look somewhere else. But if we say, "Well, show me the other", we haven't cleared the field to look. We are like that man who said, "I belong to all religions because I don't know; there may be something to them all". This is really a very complex and profound thing to understand, that the action of will only produces more conflict. We can see that intellectually, because we can prove it statistically, but we're not dealing with statistics. Intellectually we say, "Yes, I see that", but the intellectual perception is not action. Intellect, however clever, however bright, however sound, is not going to solve this problem. We have used will as the way of conquering, the way of going beyond the conflict. The problem in that comes also: who is the entity that exercises will? Who is the "me", the "I", the thinker? When we say, "I will do this", who is the "I"? When we deny or accept will as the way of life, as most human beings do, 99.9 percent of them, ii,e live in conflict. But if we don't accept it as the way of life, then we have to see who it is that is exercising this will. Again we have to go back to desire.

Questioner: So the "I" is desire?

Krishnamurti: Obviously. A bundle of desires, with its memories. Don't let us go into that for the moment.

Questioner: But investigation also comes from having a will to see more clearly. Krishnamurti: Ah, wait a bit! Is that so? Look at that flower. Do you exercise will to look at that flower? Please, let's begin slowly. Where do you exercise will? You want to look at that tree, or something more pleasurable, and you exercise your will to cut that out and look at this.

Questioner: That is a simple phenomenon.

Krishnamurti: Keep to the simple; we'll complicate it as we go along. Do you see anything when you determine to see? When you say, "I am determined to listen to what you're saying", all your energy has gone into the determination, not into the listening. This is elementary. To see anything you must have freedom, not determination. To observe there must be no hindrance. If you are not interested in observing, don't observe. Who cares?

Questioner: But to see smears of cancer cells that come from lungs as a result of smoking is something of investigation, everyone doesn't see it, naturally. You have to go to a certain place and investigate what comes from smoking.

Krishnamurti: But I have investigated, and I like smoking, and to blazes with regard to what they have investigated. I don't mind dying.

I am afraid that we are not pursuing the thing we were discussing. To observe a flower, anything, there must be freedom to look, not a determination which is sustained by a motive of pleasure, gain or pain. I see clearly that will, conscious or unconscious, is not the way, because will is really a process, a mechanism of resistance. If I resist, obviously there is no peace, no ending of conflict. This is so, outwardly. If I resist you by will, you are my enemy. I put you away. This is so clear that I don't see the difficulty. The difficulty comes in because I don't know any other way; and without seeing the depth, the reality, the complexity involved in will, I say, "I'll hold on to that before I go to something else. It is better to have the evil that I know of, rather than to go after something that I don't know". Anyhow, I'll go into it. Will is not the way; at least for me it is not the way. Consciously or unconsciously, I will not resist. But that doesn't mean that I do not see ugliness, beauty, evil, dirt, squalor, and all the exploitation that is going on in the world. It doesn't mean that I also yield, that I say, "Well, as I have no will, I'll do anything that anyone wants me to do". On the contrary, if what the world wants me to do is based on will, immaturity and resistance, why should I accept? I have rejected will, which means that I have understood the entity who exercises will, which is desire and the memories of desire, memories of pleasure and of pain. That is a bundle from which will has its being.

Then what am I to do, if I have no will at all? Please don't say the opposite, that you're just a leaf in the wind, driven by anyone, anything. That's not at all true, but quite the contrary. Then what happens? Now we come to really quite the most interesting part of it. I see that conflict cannot end through will. Will in itself breeds conflict. The very nature and structure of the will, to which we have become accustomed, the brain cells and all the rest of it, in their very structure breed conflict. I see very clearly that to live intensely, fully, completely, wholly, conflict is not necessary. Conflict, on the contrary, destroys. Will is gone, not verbally or theoretically, but actually; not as a hypothesis towards which I am working which again becomes another conflict. Then what have I to do? How am I to give up without will, without fear? Smoking, sex or anything I take as an escape gives me pleasure, and becomes a habit, either pleasurable or painful. If it is painful it is easier to give it up, naturally. But a thing that gives pleasure, how am I to give it up without will, which means without time? If I say I'll give it up gradually, and day after day diminish the number of cigarettes I smoke, what has happened? There's a resistance all along.

Questioner: You have to understand why you smoke.

Krishnamurti: We understand why we smoke. First of all, it's a habit. We did it as small boys and now it has become constant. We know why we smoke. It gives us something for us to do with our hands when we are with people, and we fiddle around. It's just that everyone does it, and we do it, too. We are like a lot of monkeys, with our intense restlessness. Take drink, if you don't smoke. It's the same thing with drink, with sex, with any habit. Now please, sirs, this is very interesting. To I give up smoking, sex, a particular habit of thinking, a particular way of living, a particular food may be a very small affair, or a most complex affair. We see will is not the way out; and a gradual process is not the way out. It must be done instantly, without effort. To give up something immediately, no time is involved at all. How do we do it, sirs? I don't know why we make a mystery of it. It's very simple. There's a wasp there, a pretty large one. There it is. What takes place when we see it. There is immediate action to get away from it.

Questioner: There is fear.

Krishnamurti: Please don't reduce it so quickly; just look at it; look at it. There is a wasp. You know that it stings, causes pain. There is an immediate reaction, to kill it, to run away from it or to push it out. It is a physiological reaction; it is not an intellectual process. It may have been at the beginning, but now it is a physical reaction. There is instant movement, instant action. Your brain cells, your nerves, your whole being responds, because there is a danger. If you don't respond, there's something wrong with your nerves, with your brain, with your whole nervous organism. You have to respond. So there is a state when you can respond immediately. When you see danger, physical danger, you respond instantly; the body responds before the mind enters. I once saw a tiger in the wilderness; there was immediate reaction, and that reaction is necessary. It is a healthy reaction, and it is instant.

I see the habit of smoking, or sex, a particular idea or a particular concept that I have. I hold on to it. It has become a habit. I don't react as I react to the wasp. This means that I don't see the danger, as I see the danger of that wasp; I don't see the danger of pleasure in smoking, in a hundred things, the danger of the pleasure of being a nationalist, a Hindu. The Hindu still has its own division, which is a Brahmin. The fact that I'm a Brahmin gives tremendous pleasure. It gives me dignity, position, a sense of identification, vitality, which leads ultimately to war. I don't see the whole sequence of it. If I saw the danger of it as clearly as I see the danger of the wasp, it is finished! I don't have to go to the analysts, and all the rest of the business. Why don't I see the danger of it? Why don't I see the danger of nationalism, racial differences, cultural differences, religious differences, ideological differences as communists, socialists and the whole works? Why don't I see the danger of it, totally? When I see the danger of it totally, I've finished; I don't even have to think about it twice.

Please discuss with me; otherwise I'll carry on. Why do I see the danger of the wasp, and not the much more dangerous other things? They are much more dangerous, because I and my children will be caught in wars. Everything will go up in smoke. Yet I keep on with my vested interests. Why don't I see the danger? To the wasp I'm sensitive, extremely sensitive; to the other I'm not sensitive. Why am I not? This brings another question, am I sensitive at all? Am I sensitive all around, not just to the wasp? If I am sensitive to one danger, why am I not sensitive to other dangers? It means that I'm not sensitive.

Questioner: Does conditioning fit in here?

Krishnamurti: Yes, sir, but first let's see that we're not sensitive. I'm not sensitive. I'm sensitive to the wasp, but not to nationalism, not to ideologies, not to anything that really matters. Why?

Questioner: I'm used to it; I don't see the dangers of it.

Krishnamurti: You are justifying insensitivity. First, look what has happened. I'm sensitive to the wasp, and I'm insensitive to the most dangerous things in life. I don't even pause to be aware of this fact.

Questioner: We make things that are explained to us more absolute than they are.

Krishnamurti: Sir, I don't want any explanations. I'm fed up with explanations. There have been, since five thousand years, umpteen explanations. I see this thing, a fact. I'm terribly sensitive, acutely so, to a wasp, and to nothing else. That means that I am indifferent to everything except immediate pain and immediate pleasure. Oh, sirs this is so simple! Immediate pleasure and immediate pain are my chief concerns, and so I lead a very superficial life. I am content to live that way. If I saw the danger, not only of the wasp, but ideological danger, the danger of habits, what would happen to me? I'd be thrown out of society. If I'm not a nationalist, not a religious person in the accepted sense of the word, if I don't salute the flag and all that circus that goes on around us all day long, what will happen? Unconsciously I'm very sensitive to the danger of being thrown out without a job, without anyone feeling for me or looking out for me, to the dangers of being alone. So I say, "Please, let's forget it".

Only a man who is completely alone, is sensitive, but not alone in the sense of isolation. As most of us are isolating ourselves all the time, we have become insensitive. The moment we see danger in everything that society has built up, obviously we will be alone. Unconsciously there is fear of what's going to happen. When we've gone through all that, then we say, `How is it possible to end pleasure or pain psychologically?'. I'm not talking of physical pain; that we can end by seeing a doctor or a dentist, if it is possible. If not, we put up with pain and get on with it; we don't make a lot of hullabaloo about it so as to become a psychological problem.

How are we to end conflict without will? If we have no will, in the sense in which we are using the term, no resistance, is there conflict? Don't agree with me; that is like two children talking together. Because I have built around me resistances, my family, my husband, my God, my society, my culture, I know more and you know less, or you know more and I want to be like you. The very resistance to life is conflict. So we have to enquire what life is. All that I know is to resist life. life being this extraordinary movement. I don't know what that movement is; it's a movement, an endless current. And all that I've learned since I'm a human being, for ten thousand years, is to build walls around myself. The very building of those walls is a resistance, and therefore conflict. The explanation is simple; but to see it, to break it down, to see the resistance, to be aware of the heavily guarded resistance, strengthened through centuries, that means instant action.

You have a resistance naturally because you have an image. You have an image of what you should be, or of what you are; and you have an image about life, which is the other. You have an image about me, and I have an image about you. I haven't actually, because I don't make it, but you probably have an image about me. And there's the husband and the wife; they have images between them. The husband has an image about the wife and the wife has an image about the husband. The two images have relationships, and nothing else. The human beings have no relationship, but the images have relationship, the images that have been created through resistance, through pleasure, and all the rest of it. Each of them says, "I love you; it's my family", and so on.

Questioner: We don't want to look.

Krishnamurti: We don't know what life is, and we have built a resistance to life. That's all we know - a resistance based on pleasure and pain. I say to myself, "By Jove, all my life I have done this; how can I drop it instantly, not gradually?". There is in the Hindu mind this whole concept of gradually evolving, and dropping it next life, or ten lives later, but life is too short. Then there is the whole Christian world idea of original sin, with someone else to save you from it. This is the same thing put in different words.

If the picture, the map over which we have travelled, is very clear, then what is life? Not an ideological life, not a thing of saying, "Life is marvellous, lovely, beautiful, ecstatic; it should be; it should not be" - I don't know anything about all that. I do know what my life is. My world is the world of my wife, my children, my neighbour, my job; and that's all I know. With my image of my boss, the boss having an image of me; my image of my wife, and she having an image about me, we live in an imaginary world.

So, what is my life, actually, day to day, as it is, not as it should be? It's misery, conflict, ambition and greed; wanting good opinions from others, wanting to be popular. I am an entity who is the result of ten thousand years of propaganda. That's a fact. Critics tell me how lovely a picture is and I say, "What a lovely picture that is!", they tell me that I must read a certain book, that I must see this and that. I am that. For my pleasure, sex, vanity, position and prestige I'm willing to suffer to maintain this horror. I'm not depicting something which is abnormal; this is our normal state. I look at my life as it is, not ideologically, not critically, not saying, "How terrible!". I see it is that. As I see the bloom of that flower, I see that my life is like that, without any equivocation. I don't want to improve it or change it, because that's my life; and no one is going to save me from it. We have gone through all those tricks, hundreds of times. Seeing that, can I drop it immediately? Can I drop the whole structure immediately? The authorities say, "Meditate; have a mind that is very peaceful; before you tackle this, have a peaceful mind". How can I have a peaceful mind when I'm eaten up with ambition, greed, envy, fear and all the rest of it?

As we cannot change this - and apparently we cannot - we invent gods, your God and my God, your Saviour and my Saviour, as a complete escape from the fact. I have a twisted mind and therefore my God will always be twisted, obviously. If it isn't God, it is the State, the communist State; if it isn't the State, it's social reform; if it isn't social reform, it is doing good, writing books, painting and music. Unless we change this completely, we cannot go any further; and to go any further is merely escape. This cannot be changed eventually, slowly. It must change instantly, or not at all. This is logic, isn't it - sane, healthy logic? But logic isn't going to do a thing, so what am I to do? I have to learn something else. Having put the picture in front of myself, I say to myself, "What am I to do?". I know the picture very well. I've lived with it for fifty years; for sixty, eighty, ninety, ten thousand years; I know it very well. Now, what am I to do? First, I'm not going to escape, through music, through sex, through church, through religion, through literature, through anything - I'm not going to escape, because escape creates more conflict.

Questioner: At this point may I ask a question?

Krishnamurti: At any point, madam.

Questioner: If we consider ourselves free....

Krishnamurti:Ah, free?

Questioner: Or say, if we consider that we are really experiencing this, seeing the flower, seeing....

Krishnamurti: We can t consider it. Either it is a fact, or....

Questioner: But just for saying....

Krishnamurti: Ah, no; don't say it then; not for saying's sake.

Questioner: But couldn't this state exist for some people some of the time?

Krishnamurti: It's like my saying that I'm happy once a year. I'm free once a year. The rest of the time I live in prison! What's the point of being free once a year? I see the picture; now I have to look. I have to find a different way of looking, thinking, feeling, living - a totally different way. I know the old way, and I won't touch it, because the old way keeps me everlastingly in the same cage, running like a squirrel, up and down, up and down. I have to find a way of coming, a way of looking, a way of learning, a way of listening. I have to find a different way altogether.

First I must learn to look - look at that flower, and look at myself. I can't look at that flower if there is any interference of thought or of feeling. If I want to look at you, if I want to understand you, I can't have prejudices about you. I can't have an image about you. In that case the image is looking at your image. You might have insulted me; you might have flattered me; you might have been jealous of me; you might have been kind - all that prevents my looking. I have to learn to look. Ah, no; it's not easy, because looking means having a fresh mind, a fresh eye, a fresh ear each time; otherwise I can't look. I have to find out what it means to learn. I know what it means to accumulate knowledge; but that's not learning. Please, sirs, this has to be discussed. Don't listen to me all morning. Learning is one of the most extraordinary things.

Questioner: Can we learn through discipline?

Krishnamurti: Discipline means resistance.

Questioner: It's not in that way.

Krishnamurti: If you have listened this morning to what is being said, the very act of listening is disciplining. You don't have to discipline yourself to listen. It is very simple. Look at that flower. If you want to look at it, you will have to look without thought, without feeling, just look. That's fairly easy, but to look that way implies discipline. You don't have to discipline yourself to look: first discipline, and then look. Then it's finished.

Questioner: How about after you look?

Krishnamurti: When one looks, what happens? Do you look at that flower, or do you look at the image of that flower? Look at it, please. Experiment with yourself. Look at any flower. First begin with simple things. Can you look at the flower without any interpretation, without any condemnation, acceptance or denial - just look? If you can do that, can you look at yourself? In any incident can you look at the feeling that comes up, just looking, without accepting, without denying, without condemning, without justifying - just observing? To do that in itself is discipline. You don't have to discipline before or after.

Questioner: Does that flower exist? Maybe it doesn't really exist.

Krishnamurti: It exists, even though you don't look at it. Does your looking at it make it live? Leave that for the moment. You can turn your back on it. You may not see it, but it's there. We won't go into that now. That is a question that we will have to go into at another time. Please, look. Can I look at my husband without the image? Can I look at my wife without the image which I have built about her: pleasure, pain, hurts, flattery, nagging, the whole relationship of man and woman? To look I have to be free of the image; otherwise I can't look I don't know what my wife is, or what my husband is. I only know the image which both of us have.

Questioner: That's what we invent, the image.

Krishnamurti: Yes, of course.

Questioner: When we look with an idea" we see only that.

Krishnamurti: That's all. But if I can look at that flower without the image, I can also look at my wife, at my husband in that way. This doesn't mean that I'm cold, brutal, hard and all the rest of the business. I look, and then I begin to learn. Don't accept this just because I am saying it. This is. most difficult to comprehend.

Questioner: I think that to learn I have to. use my will power.

Krishnamurti: Ah, no, no! We must understand what we mean by learning. What do we mean by learning? Learning is always in the active present, not having learned or will learn. Learning can only take place in the active moment when we are learning. Having learned, we apply, we act. Having stored up, knowledge, having learned, we act. That's not learning. That's what the machines are doing. The electronic brains have learned, and give you information from what they have learned, therefore they are not learning. The human mind can learn.

Questioner: Maybe another word would be, experiencing.

Krishnamurti: No.

Questioner: Identifying?

Krishnamurti: No. Why do you; want to translate it into another word, and keep on repeating? The moment you say "experience", "identification", you have to enquire into. what experience and identification mean. Questioner: Experiencing.

Krishnamurti: Why should you experience? Who is the entity that is experiencing? And also, why should you identify? Why should I identify myself with my wife, with my husband, with my nation?

Questioner: Can you say, "I hate to do this, but I am being open to whatever the other wishes"?

Krishnamurti: Please let's keep to the word "learning; it's simpler. Unless each word is examined very carefully, it will lead us nowhere. I want to learn. What does it mean? I have to learn about life totally, differently.

April 3, 1966


Rome 1966

Rome 2nd Public Discussion 3rd April 1966

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the 48 laws of power