London 2nd Public Talk 30th April 1966
Perhaps after I have talked a little you might like to ask questions to clarify the things that we have talked about, if that suits you.
We were saying the other day when we met in the other hall that it is very important from every point of view that one should live in peace and in freedom. To live in peace one must lead a peaceful life, and that demands a great deal of energy because we are conditioned not to be peaceful. We are aggressive, dominating, competitive, brutal. Our way of life is not at all peaceful because essentially all our activity is self-centred and therefore breeds conflict. Very few of us insist on being free. We're inclined to revolt, go against something or other. When one is in revolt, it sets up other reactions in which one is caught and one is constantly, if one observes, in conflict with one's self and without. We're never free; we never insist on freedom in ourselves and so we are always caught in every kind of problem, in various types of contradictions.
Again, to be free one must have immense energy. Freedom and peace are not merely intellectual concepts or ideals to be achieved, to be striven after. To pursue, to strive after something also demands a certain type of energy, a certain discipline, control, imitation, but the freedom of which we are talking comes not through any decision or any volition or determination. It come about, I think, when there is clarification in ourselves, when we are very clear. As most of us are confused, in contradiction, our activities springing from that confusion are bound to be more confusing, more contradictory, unclear. I think that is fairly simple to understand. If I am confused, the things I do, whatever thoughts, whatever feelings I have, are all bound to be confused. There is no part of me which is not confused. The idea that there are some moments when I am very clear is really quite fallacious. I am confused right through, if I observe, if I go into it. And out of that confusion any thought, any action, any feeling is bound to lead to further confusion. I think we must clearly see and understand that, because we think there is some part of ourselves that is seeing things very clearly. If that part does see clearly, then the other part contradicts that which is clear. I may do something in clarity at moments, but on the other hand at other moments I'm not clear.
There is a contradiction between the clarity which I think I have sometimes and the lack of clarity when I am confused. In that there is contradiction. Really there is no clarity. We are confused. And it's very difficult to admit that to oneself. We like to pretend that there are moments of clarity, but there aren't.
So it becomes very important to enquire then what it is to be serious. Please, this is a very informal talk. We will discuss afterwards, talk together about things. This is not a talk where you listen and I just talk. Let us share the thing together and go into it easily, naturally, so that we begin to understand the various problems of our lives.
I was considering what it is to be serious. Most of us feel we are fairly serious, but we never question what the state of the mind is that is really serious, not serious about something. If we are serious about something, that leads to various other forms of miseries. It is like a man who takes drink seriously or who is serious about an idea, an activity, an action, serious about a commitment and pursuing that commitment to the very end. We consider people serious who have a concept, an idea or an ideal and pursue it logically, brutally, ruthlessly, or with a certain sense of sympathy. We consider a man serious who does this, but is he? Is a person serious who pursues a course of action which he has formulated or reasoned out or accepted because he is so conditioned, and who lives according to that pattern? To me such a person is not serious at all, because he has never considered, it seems to me, what it is to be serious, what the state of the mind is that is serious, not serious about something. If we could first go into that a little, then we can go back and reconsider peace and freedom at a different level.
We are asking what the state of the mind is that is really serious. What we generally consider a person to be who is serious is a human being serious about something fragmentarily. His mind works in fragments. He's very serious about painting; he feels very strongly about painting, art, music or whatever it is. He is not aware of the other part of his mind; it is not even considered. His social activities, his daily responses and so on are not important because he is completely committed to a certain fragment of existence. He may be an artist, a scientist, a poet or a writer but as long as the mind is working fragmentarily and is committed to that fragment, politically or religiously, surely such fragmentary activity is not an indication of seriousness, because it contradicts the other part of existence.
A serious person is one, it seems to me, who does not function in fragments, or whose mind does not think in fragments. Is it possible to be totally attentive to the whole existence of life, not just fragments, parts, but to the totality of it? If one is so serious, then there is no contradiction. It is the person who is not serious who lives in contradiction. Is that very clear? Please don't agree or disagree. Just examine what is being said and feel for yourself, be aware of this fragmentary action and not consider as serious that which is not,. find out what a mind is that is really serious, which doesn't function in fragments, but considers the whole. Surely such a mind is a serious mind, one that is aware of the whole total process of life.
Questioner: May I ask you something?
Krishnamurti: Yes, please. Questioner: I recognize from my own observation the accuracy of what you say. One of the things that keeps me from being serious is this inability to bear the whole.
Krishnamurti: The lady says the difficulty is inability to bear the whole. Let me go on a little, if you don't mind. Let me talk a little bit more before you begin to ask questions and talk things over together. I am afraid it is not a question of bearing anything. There is no burden in seeing something totally. Either you see it or you don't see it. When you see it, then it is not a burden. It is only when you don't see it, when you're confused about the whole question of seriousness and all the rest of it that it becomes a terrible burden. Let me go on talking a little and we'll come together upon this.
We are talking about seriousness because we must somehow eliminate contradiction in ourselves, for that is the source of conflict. A mind in conflict is incapable of perception, of seeing. It's a distorted mind and when the contradiction becomes more and more acute, it leads to various forms of imbalance, psychotic states and so on and on and on. Is it possible for a mind, for a person, in daily life, to live without contradiction and therefore without conflict? To find that out we must enquire into what a serious mind is. Perhaps if we can understand that we will then not function in fragments but from a totally different state in which there is no contradiction at all.
Please, before you ask me, just consider what is being said, not how to achieve it, not how to arrive at it. That is all too immature.
It is essential for a man to live in peace. This means that he must lead a peaceful life. The word "lead" implies the whole, not just one part. Is this possible for a mind, for a brain, which has been trained, educated, conditioned for centuries upon centuries to live and accept a way of life in which there is conflict? The brain cells themselves are used to it. Our outlook on life is non-peaceful. Our whole social, moral, ethical, religious structure is non-peaceful. This psychological structure which man has created through so-called evolution for centuries is part of us. We are that. It is no answer merely to run away from that structure into a monastery or into a mental hospital, or to escape through drugs, or to say, " Well, I am against this war, but I'll fight another war. I'm against the war in Vietnam but if my country is attacked I'm all for it".
So we have accepted war, which is the extreme form of our daily life, as the way of life. Religious talk about peace and all that kind of stuff is really just idle talk; it has no meaning.
We have accepted it. Our way of life is war, not peace, because we are competitive. Our brains respond to this conditioning which is conflict, battle, struggle. Is it possible to change this whole structure, of which we are part, of which the brain itself is a part? Is it possible to end it? Can thought, which has created a way of life in which there is conflict, can that very thought, which is the result of centuries of thinking of violence, end it? Can thought end a way of life which is brutal? Our intellect, our brain, our thoughts have made a way of life which in its essence is non-peaceful, violent and all that. Thought cannot end it. Thought has created this; therefore thought cannot end it. It can create other patterns opposite to it, but it still has the seeds of violence in it, because thought produces a way of life which is based on its own pleasure.
Thought cannot create a way of life in which there is peace. I do not know if you see that. If thought says, " I must be peaceful; I must find a way of life in which activity is peaceful, non-violent", then thought only creates resistance to violence, and resistance is a contradiction. Therefore we are back again in the same muddle as before. Thought as will, thought which says, "I must; I determine to live a peaceful life", thought which has created a way of life which is not peaceful can only also create a way of life which it considers peaceful, but which is not peaceful. I think this is really an extraordinarily subtle problem. It isn't just saying, " I live a peaceful life". That is what has been done in all the monasteries and by people who have renounced the world; but they don't live peaceful lives, they are boiling in themselves.
It is quite simple, but I'll go into it. Thought has created this way of life which is our daily life. Thought can say to itself, "I'll create a different way of life, which will be peaceful", because thought has found that the way of life which we live, which is our normal state, is unpleasant, painful, destructive. Therefore thought, in reaction to that, creates a way of life in which it thinks it will live peacefully. But when one observes a way of life which thought has created to be peaceful, it is really in essence a resistance to violence. And therefore that way of life is also a contradiction.
One must see that very clearly, not argumentatively, not agreeing with words or intellectually seeing. If one understands it intellectually, verbally, that doesn't mean anything. But if one sees that thought cannot possibly create a way of life which is peaceful, which means no contradiction and therefore no conflict, then one asks oneself, " What is the origin of thinking?". Unless one discovers that, one can't help thought create a new or a different way of life. Is what I am saying reasonably clear? The origin of thinking, how it begins, must be discovered.
This demands tremendous seriousness, not fragmentary but real seriousness. You can't play with this. You can't intellectually say, "Yes, that's very good", or disagree or agree and add some more or take away a little. That doesn't help in this. One must be tremendously attentive and serious when putting this question and wanting to find out. Because if one uncovers the origin of thinking, if that can be discovered, then thinking has its own place, has its importance at a certain level and that thinking will not interfere at a larger level.
Let me put it differently. I don't live a peaceful life. As a human being I don't know what it means. All that I know is a way of life which is war, within and without. And I also see that a mind that lives in peace is an extraordinary mind. It's full of energy. There is no dissipation of energy at any level, and only a mind that lives in peace completely right through, consciously, can function. Its action is, beauty, love, virtue, because in that there is no measure of resistance.
It is essential to be peaceful. Man has talked about peace since he began. The churches have said that we must have peace, and so has everyone else. The politician talks about it, unfortunately. To him peace is merely that interval between two catastrophes, two. wars, two elections or whatever it is.
Unless the mind can discover the source of thought it will be caught again in a way of life which will ultimately lead it to conflict, to a way of life which is violence. The source must be discovered. As long as there is the observer and the observed there is a contradiction, a distance, a time interval, a gap between them, and thought must exist. Please don't take notes. This is not a lecture with you taking notes and later thinking about it at home and discussing it with somebody. We are doing it together.
As long as there is an observer and the observed, the time interval between them, the distance, the space, the division is the origin of thinking. Only when the observer is the observed, and there is no observer at all, is there no. thinking.
Objectively I see a tree which in the springtime hasn't yet put out its leaves, naked to the skies and making a delicate pattern against the blue sky. I see it, I the observer, and there is that tree - the observer and the observed. The tree is not I. The tree is something outside. I think about that tree, how lovely it is, how beautiful, how dark, black against the naked sky, and the observer has memories of that tree, its species, its name, the memory which has been accumulated factually about the tree. The observer is the memory, is the knower who knows, and from that knowing, from memory, experience, knowledge, he looks at the tree. The observer then is thinking. As long as there is the observer and the observed, in thought, in action, that is the way it is.
Take another example. There is the wife and the husband. A tree is fairly easy to look at, but it becomes much more complex here when the wife and the husband look at each other. There is always the observer and the observed. The observer who has lived with that person recalls the pleasures, sensuous and otherwise, the companionship, the hurts, the flatteries, the comforts, the background of that relationship. Each one has an image about the other. From that image, that memory, those experiences, those pleasures, thought springs. Relationship is between the two images. This again is very clear and so one sees that as long as there is the observer and the observed, thought must function. There is the source of action - thought. As long as there is any division, any separation, there must be the beginning of thought, which doesn't mean that thought identifies itself with the object in order to think - on the contrary it's only identifying itself with the object in order to pacify thinking, but still thinking goes on in the relationship.
The origin of thinking has been discovered, but when the thinker, the experiencer, the observer is the observed, the experience, the thought, then in that state there is no thinking at all. That is the way of life in which there is peace. If you are serious, not fragmentarily at odd moments when it suits you, when it gives you comfort, when it gives you pleasure, but to find a way of life that is peaceful, in which there is no contradiction, therefore no conflict and no effort at all, you must enquire into this whole process of thinking, and the origin of thinking. This does not mean that you must not use thought. Of course you must use thought, but thought, when it is used without understanding the origin of thinking and the ending of thinking, creates more conflict, more confusion, as it is doing now. But when once there is this clarification which comes about when the observer is the observed, then thinking has lost its immense importance. Peace is not an end in itself. Peace is not something to be striven after as an ideal, not something to get so that one can live peacefully. It comes naturally, without any effort, without any struggle, when thought has understood itself. This does not mean that thought puts an end to thinking, which of course would be too immature, too childish. But when one understands this whole process of thinking, then one will naturally come to something that may be called peaceful, but that word is not the fact. That's only the basis of it. We're just laying the foundations, because without the right foundation thought, the mind, cannot function at a different dimension altogether. Now we can talk about it.
Questioner: Once one has obtained at-onement with the Almighty, then one is, as it were, in a pool of sunlight, surrounded by the barriers which God has created and put there so that one can enjoy being at the centre of unconscious surrender to a perfect state, and one with the Almighty.
Krishnamurti: I'm sorry, sir. I'm afraid we are not talking of the same thing, if you don't mind my saying so. There is no attainment, there is no identification of one's self with what is called the Almighty. This process is still thinking. Look, sir, man has done everything possible through these two million years and more, to live peacefully, because he sees that life is so brutal, so devastating with war after war. People are now being destroyed in Vietnam. Millions have been killed in the name of religion, in the name of love, in the name of God, in the name of the Almighty. Do you follow? Man has done everything to find out, and he apparently hasn't succeeded. Somewhere, some person might have, but it's not true of you and me, and therefore they are not at all important to us. What is important is our life, our daily existence, and we have to resolve this, not eventually, not in ten years, five years, but actually now, immediately, because if we don't we are sowing the seeds of violence, which our children will reap. And if we say, " God is the supreme entity" - I don't - we know nothing about all that. All we know is this brutal life, this life of despair, anxiety, misery, sorrow. If we don't end it, not speculatively, not idealistically, but actually end it, then we live and create future wars.
Questioner: I would like to take up this question of the origin of thought. I have read your book, "The First and Last Freedom", and I have discovered that my life is brought about by myself. All the anxieties, the wars that I fight daily, I've brought them all about. But I've reached the stage in which I can't get hold, by listening to you this morning, of this origin of thought. I am a man constantly worried with business, with problems, all sorts of things. I want to be free of them all, so I read your books. I will be back in my business next week, worrying with all these problems that come and go and so on and so on. This is Day I for me. Whither do I go with this origin of thought? How do I become free of it, so I can know of this peace of which you talk? For I know that I don't live in peace. How can this come about for me?
Krishnamurti: That's what I've been saying, sir. I have explained, sir. Please let us be clear. This is not a confessional. We're not confessing our difficulties to each other. We are trying to understand the whole problem, not individual localized conflicts and problems confessed publicly. We have lived this way of life in business, at home, and that's the way of our life. If we want to live differently, we don't know what that means; we actually don't know what it means to live peacefully. We can't create a picture of it, an image of it. We can't paint a picture and follow that picture. We don't know it, and we can't pursue what we don't know. We only know this: in business, at home, everything we touch is a way of life in which there is conflict. That's all we know. We refuse to look at anything else, because that's deception, it is an escape, it wastes energy. We have energy to tackle this problem. So we refuse to escape from this, from what is. To give full attention - therefore complete energy - to this, we mustn't look to someone or to something else; we have no time. We must completely give our whole bodies, minds, everything we have, to understand this. And I say that to understand it one must understand this question of the observer and the observed. Please, sir, it's very clear; it's very simple to put into words, but to go inwardly into it you need a very disciplined mind, not a mind that has been disciplined - that is a dead mind - but to go into it, the very act of examining is discipline. What we are trying to do is to find out why there is this contradiction, conflict, in all that exists in our life. And I say that as long as thought is dominating, as long as thought has not been understood, how it begins its activity, you will always live in conflict whether you do business or not.
Is it possible to do business, to live a family life, to look at a tree, without conflict? It is only possible when the observer is the observed. This requires tremendous understanding, sir. It isn't how you achieve it. You can't achieve it. You have to live it. You have to go into it. When you see a tree, you've never seen a tree, because what you have done is that you have the image of the tree and that image looks at the tree. When you look at a flower, when you look at a woman or a man, you have the image, which is the process of thinking. Can you look at the tree, at the woman, at the child, at your boss in the office, without the observer? This is very important, please, for then, when you go to the office, you can function there without the observer and you will find out that you will love what you are doing.
Questioner: How can one go into it. What is the discipline?
Krishnamurti: Just a minute! I am using the word " discipline" not in the sense of imitation, conformity, suppression, adjustment, forcing oneself. That is not what I consider discipline. That is just fear. That is just an acquisitive curiosity, an acquisitive pleasure. The mind, in looking at a tree, is looking at the tree with the image it has about that tree. To discover that image - whether about a tree, a person, your boss, your wife, your husband, to discover that image is disciplining. The origin of the word means really, doesn't it?, " to learn". To be disciple to something is to learn. You cannot learn if you are disciplined, but learning implies discipline. Learning is discipline. So I am going to learn - as learning. And to learn about this I have to find out what the answer is, why this observer is constantly interfering, constantly projecting his images, his concepts, his judgments, his valuations, his background. Why? Because the observer is the background. The observer is the knowledge, the conditioned entity, not simply a Britisher, or an Indian, or whatever it is. You are conditioned and that conditioning is the observer who looks at that tree or that flower or that woman or that country or that flag. To discover this conditioning, this background which is the observer, to understand it, to learn about it, is the very act of learning, is the disciplining, because you have no energy to look, if the image interferes.
Questioner: What should we do to eliminate this conditioning?
Krishnamurti: Please, the word " might" or " should" implies conditional thinking. Either you see the thing or you don't see it. This isn't just a morning's talk where we spend an hour or so and then at the end of it go back to our daily lives. This is the whole of life. This is every moment of life.
Questioner: Is there subjective thinking which comes from the observer, and then objective thinking which is just thinking.
Krishnamurti: No, no! There is no subjective thinking and objective thinking; there is only thinking.
Questioner: You talked of the whole total process of life. Now what exactly do you mean by that? I think we would be helped with the task here if you could give everyone an idea of what you learned in the East about the Masters and the wonderful people who are there on the other side of the world. Hasn't that something to do with the whole process?
Krishnamurti: No, madam. Look, let's begin again. We must surely approach life with a great deal of scepticism. Nobody has faith in anything any more.
Krishnamurti: You say it's nonsense - all right. Any thinking man who wants to discover something original, not secondhand, not something that's been handed down to him, must face life with a great deal of scepticism, which does not mean that he merely lives with scepticism. He examines; he doesn't accept or deny. If one wants to find out if there is reality, God, which man has asserted for centuries, merely following what others have said has no meaning at all. Both Catholic and Protestant churches have said that there is, and people who believe in that are conditioned like the people in Russia or in China who don't believe any of this nonsense, because they are conditioned that way. Have you ever talked with anyone who really is a communist, who says, " What piffle are you talking about? There is only physical existence, beyond that there is nothing more. Don't become an old-fashioned woman, without thinking. That is silly." To find out you must be free of both the believer and the non-believer, mustn't you? You can't say, "Well, I'll accept this because it's more pleasurable, it's more comforting", and deny the rest. One must be free of this conditioning. Then one can proceed. But without being free from this background of one's conditioning, how can one examine? How can one find out for oneself? Before you say, "Yes" or "No", before you say that what I am talking about is nonsense, you have to be free of your own conditioning and find out whether it is possible to be free, whether the brain which has been trained, on which propaganda has been poured for 2,000 years or more, can loosen itself and think, look at itself, without its own conditioning. That is the first thing. After laying the foundation of that, which means virtue, conduct, behaviour, no competition, then you can ask, then you can meditate to find out. Meditation is something not at one level, but meditation is right from the beginning.
Questioner: Are we always to think only good thoughts?
Krishnamurti: No, sir, no, sir, I don't mean good thought and bad thought, destructive thought and creative thought. We're talking about thought.
Questioner: Will you give us an example?
Krishnamurti: Look, sir. When you love something, then you love. Is love thought?
Questioner: I think so, yes.
Krishnamurti: Can love be cultivated through thought? Then is it love, or is it the product of thought, which is not love?
Questioner: I suppose one leads to the other.
Krishnamurti: Sir, do consider. I am not saying that you should agree or disagree. Just consider what is being said. That is, is love thought? When I say " I love you", is it thought that is saying it?
Questioner: If you think about it, yes.
Krishnamurti: Ah, if you think about love, is it love? Sir, do consider it, please. There is merely intellect. It is only the word. The intellect says, " I love you", and it is not love.
Questioner: Is it experience, love for somebody or something.
Krishnamurti: Oh, no. If love is the result of experience, which is knowledge, which is all the rest of it, is it love? Sir, look at it. You love. Not you, sir; I am not talking personally. One loves. If one loves, is there a contradiction in that love? Questioner: Yes, in a sense.
Krishnamurti: Can love go with jealousy and hate?
Questioner: I suppose so.
Krishnamurti: Not " suppose", sir.
Questioner: There is this question of energy. Actually one is bursting with energy with the energy of action. The energy is such that immediately you want to stop it. This is an actual, physical discipline. When you talk of conflicts, are you actually talking about a physical state?
Krishnamurti: No, sir, I am afraid we are not meeting each other. Look, sir, to go to the office daily requires energy. To do anything requires energy, physical energy, and that physical energy creates misery through its aggressive pursuits, and brings about psychological conflicts. We are talking of this energy, which outwardly creates psychological conflicts. These conflicts produce different forms of escapes, contradictions, a background of security from which I am unwilling to move. We are talking of releasing energy totally, where energy doesn't create mischief. That energy which we now expend is creating a great deal of mischief and misery. As long as that energy is not completely focussed rightly, there is bound to be mischief, and that's what we have been talking about.
Questioner: Last night suddenly there was a sudden impact, an energy of being.
Krishnamurti: I understand, sir. Now the question is this, " Can I, as thought, recognize something as being true?". I'm just asking. Go into it a little bit; don't answer me, sir. I say that is true. That state is love. That state of peace, of freedom, I recognize. The recognizing process implies, does it not?, that I have already experienced it; otherwise I can't recognize it. Therefore it is not true recognition. It is nothing new. It has already been known. So, is truth all that state of reality which is not recognizable? When you love someone, if you do, at that moment you see that you love. The moment you put it into words, the expression has already gone.
Questioner: Is it possible to teach children not to name, since naming is a barrier?
Krishnamurti: I would put it differently. You have to learn naming; you have to know that's a tree, that's an ant, that is this, that is that. But what is much more important, it seems to me, is not naming but the awakening of intelligence. Intelligence means to be sensitive, physically, emotionally, mentally, neurologically, with every sense The highest form of sensitivity is intelligence. When there is that intelligence you know where naming is interference, where it is destructive. But if you begin at the other end, with what is implied in naming or not naming, you're only making it rather confusing. The question then is, in this modern world with all the nationalities and prejudices, with what is going on in this country and in other countries, is it possible to help a child to be sensitive? You can't help another or bring about sensitivity in another if you are not yourself sensitive. You can discuss it, talk it over. In that very process you yourself are becoming sensitive. It isn't that you are teaching him to be sensitive; both are learning to be sensitive, all around, not fragmentarily, sensitive as an artist, sensitive to business, as a human being. Then, if you are sensitive right through, that very sensitivity is intelligence.
April 30, 1966
London 2nd Public Talk 30th April 1966
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