Saanen 1st Public Discussion 3rd August 1966
I think all of us should be very clear as to what we mean by these discussions. First of all, it is not an entertainment. It isn't something we go to because we have an hour or two to spare, like going to a concert. It isn't mental gymnastics, showing off our cleverness or erudition. What we are trying to do is to discuss so that we can expose ourselves, not to the speaker, but to ourselves, to find out what we think, what we feel, what our reactions actually are. That demands a great deal of serious intelligence, not just a verbal quibble or an intellectual exchange of ideas. Whatever we discuss, we should go to the end of, logically, reasonably, sanely, without any personal emotion or personal point of view, trying to discover for ourselves the truth of what actually is. To make these discussions worthwhile requires a great deal of intelligence, a certain amount of attention and a certain quality of intention, which pursues to the very end, whatever the difficulties, whatever the hindrances we may find ourselves caught in. Let us go into each subject, each problem that we have, so completely that when we leave this tent we are free of it, not ideologically but actually. In the same way that a person drops, puts away smoking, drinking, let us be completely rid of any problem that we discuss. We have a vast number of problems. We may not be aware of them, but there they are. We may conceal them behind a mask, unwilling to face the reality of what our problems are; but I feel that these discussions should break down the defences which we have cultivated deeply, so that at the end of each discussion, whatever the problem may be, it is not my problem or your problem, but the problem of man. If we could go into it hesitantly and gently, take the journey together, partaking of all the implications in it, then perhaps these discussions will be worth while.
What shall we discuss?
Questioner: We all have some kind of beliefs and we come here in the hope of attaining what we believe. Madame Curie had a belief and worked enthusiastically till she found what she wanted. Is not some kind of belief necessary to have enthusiasm?
Krishnamurti: This is a discussion. It is not a question-and-answer meeting. It isn't that you ask a question, and I reply to it. In that way, after putting the question you have no further responsibility. It should be quite the contrary. Because you have put the question you have tremendous responsibility, responsibility in the sense that you are vitally interested in it. After putting the question, you don't lean back in your seat and say, "Well, I'll wait for him to reply". Whoever puts a question, please let us realize that both of us are going into the problem. You and I are both eager to find the truth of the matter, whatever it is. You are not merely asking a question, hoping to find an answer.
Does belief give enthusiasm? That's one point. Can enthusiasm sustain itself without a belief, and is enthusiasm at all necessary, or is a different kind of energy needed, a different kind of vitality, drive? Most of us have enthusiasm for something or other. We are very keen, very enthusiastic about concerts, about physical exercise, or going to a picnic. Unless it is nourished all the time by something or other, it fades away and we have a new enthusiasm for other things. Is there a self-sustaining I force, energy, which doesn't depend on a belief?
The other question is, do we need a belief of any kind, and if we do, why is it necessary? We don't need a belief that there is sunshine, the mountains, the rivers. We don't need a belief that we and our wives quarrel. We don't have to have a belief that life is a terrible misery with its anguish, conflict and constant ambition; it is a fact. But we demand a belief when we want to escape from a fact into an unreality. For example, I know there is death. It is a fact. I can't avoid it. I may like to avoid it; I may pretend; I may push it away from me, not think about it, nor talk about it; but there it is, a fact. Being afraid, I must have a belief that will give me comfort in facing this terrible reality. Apparently for most of us belief of some kind is necessary, belief in brotherhood, in the end of war, in the end of sorrow, in pacifism, in leading a good life. Why should we have any beliefs?
Questioner: Because we don't know.
Krishnamurti: Then don't; and don't have a belief.
Questioner: How can I be interested in discussing it, if I don't?
Krishnamurti: Does belief in ending sorrow give an interest in sorrow? Do please find out. I have sorrow of various kinds; I'm miserable, unhappy, unfulfilled. Someone tells me that sorrow can end. I say that I want to find out. I don't have to believe what he says. I want to find out if it can actually end. To find out, I have to see what is implied in it. My interest is not in the belief that it can end, but rather whether I can go into it so that I have no sorrow. Having a belief that sorrow can end is a waste of energy; and I need all my energy to investigate.
Questioner: Mustn't one have physical health, a good healthy body, so that doctors are not necessary?
Krishnamurti: That's not what we are discussing at the moment. May we go into this to the very end of it, not just leave it and take up something else? We are asking ourselves why we need beliefs, ideals, examples, heroes, leaders, teachers, Masters.
Questioner: We are too lazy.
Krishnamurti: Then be lazy! Why have a belief?
Questioner: Because I'm afraid to be alone.
Questioner: Because we need comfort.
Krishnamurti: You're not answering the question. One says, "I am lazy". Others say, "I am afraid to be alone", "I need comfort; therefore I must have a belief". That doesn't solve the issue.
Questioner: We don't know why we live, and therefore we believe.
Krishnamurti: Life is a terrible bore, with loneliness and anguish. We believe there is something else. We avoid the issue. We know why we invent beliefs.
Questioner: It is not a question of belief but of having a purpose.
Krishnamurti: My life is drifting, useless, and if I have a purpose, an ideal, if I have something to aim at, I pursue it. Why?
Questioner: If you have no purpose, then you have no intelligence and no energy.
Krishnamurti: Do you have energy and intelligence if you have a purpose. You know people who have purposes, who have ideals, who have beliefs. Are they intelligent?
Questioner: What belief?
Krishnamurti: It doesn't matter what the belief is. Any belief conditions your way of thinking, and therefore your mind functions according to the belief or purpose which you have projected. Let us go into it slowly. Let us approach the problem quietly, with patience. First of all, the fact is that we are unhappy; we are miserable; we are in conflict; we are confused. If we can clear that up, why do we want a belief? Because we don't know how to clear up our confusion, we say, "I must have a purpose; otherwise I'll just dissipate my life".
Why do we need a belief? Is it not an escape? Please don't accept what I am saying, but actually observe it. The people who have preached non-violence for a number of years are violent in their hearts, in their beings. They have forced themselves to discipline; they have tortured themselves according to some idea; they are peculiarly brutal in their relationships, but they have this marvellous ideal of non-violence. What's the point of it? What is the point of having an ideal of non-violence when we are violent? Why do we have to believe in non-violence? The fact is that we are violent. We want to know if it is possible to be free of it; we don't want a belief. We don't want examples of people who have preached non-violence, for they have tortured themselves, suppressed their sex and many other things. Why do we need a belief when there is the fact of what is?
If I am confused, will having a belief in clarity give me enthusiasm to get rid of my confusion? It only creates contradiction. I dissipate my energy in this contradiction, in this effort. Do I say to myself, "I am going to throw away all my purposes, all my beliefs, because I first want to be rid of confusion"? Realizing that I am confused gives me energy. There is a waste of energy when I don't realize that I'm confused, or knowing that I'm confused I believe in ideals.
The speaker has talked for the last forty years about throwing away all beliefs, all ideals, all heroes, all ideations, all teachers. Have you done it? No, of course not; you are conditioned to a life of concepts, not actuality. Why not find out for yourselves if you need an idea, a belief, a human being who knows more than you do, a Master, a teacher, a guru? If you find that you need any one of these, find out why you need it. If you say, "I need it because I'm lazy", will having an ideal of being very alert make you any less lazy? But if you say, "Why am I lazy?", perhaps you will find that it is because you don't go to bed properly early, because you are wasting your energy sexually, in games, in a dozen ways, or perhaps your glands don't function properly. Perhaps you are lazy because it is your habit. Your wife gives you tea and goodness knows what else. You live a lazy life; you like it; you want it. If you like it, be lazy, but don't have a conflict about laziness. Be completely lazy and see what happens.
In the same way, if you are confused, and someone says there is a state of mind in which there is clarity like sunshine on a lovely day, without any mist, without any fog, in which you can see everything clearly, in which every line is clear, why do you believe in that person? The fact is that you are confused. To be free of confusion you don't need a belief. You want to know whether it is possible to be free of the confusion. You don't have to believe me because I say that you can be free.
Questioner: I am aware that between you and myself there is space. Is there any way that I can make myself free in this space?
Krishnamurti: The speaker said the other day that there is space of different kinds, that there is space between you and me, which is an observable, actual fact. There is space between you and your most intimate person - wife, husband, whoever it may be. Why do you want an ideal of a contact in which there is no space? The fact is that there is that space, and in that space there is all our misery, conflict and the problems , of relationship.
Is it possible for me to have no space between you and me? I don't have to believe in it. That would be stupid. There is a belief in life after death. If I am going to die, I want to know what it means. I want to know what life means. Why should I have a purpose? I know what life means as it is - the misery, the everyday conflict, going to the office, being kicked around by the boss, being insulted, all the humility and all the ugliness of forty years spent in a beastly little office; coming home, quarrelling with my wife, patching up, sex, the whole circus of life. Why do I have to have any belief at all?
Questioner: Having a belief is like putting a penny in the slot, hoping a bar of chocolate will come out.
Krishnamurti: That's the same thing in different words, only you have a slot in which you can put the penny. (Laughter.) If you can, when you go out, leave behind in the tent all your ideals, and see what happens. First of all, you don't really believe in your ideals. That's a fact. If people really believed in reincarnation, what they do in this life would be tremendously important, because next life they are going to pay for it if they don't behave properly now. They don't believe it, because they don't believe in leading the real life. It is an escape.
Can each one of us face his escape, from confusion, from quarrels with wife or husband, from the meaningless existence, the boredom of life, with the things that he wants to do and can't, from the complete frustration, the feeling of guilt, the agony of it, this agony that we human beings go through? Can we look at it all, face our escapes from it all without an ideal? Ideals have no meaning when we have to face reality.
The French revolution, the communist revolution and all other revolutions have been brought about because of ideas, Utopias. Millions and millions of people have been killed because those in power think that they have the right, that they know. After passing through many years of experiment, torture, liquidation, killing, exile, they come back to the same point, that of leading a bourgeois life.
Questioner: Don't you need dialogue to face any problem?
Krishnamurti: With whom are you having a dialogue? When I am facing a problem, with whom am I discussing the problem? If it is myself, who is the entity that is talking to the other? Who should I discuss with myself, have a dialogue, saying that this is right, that is wrong, this I should do, that I should not do, this is moral, that is immoral, asking what society would say? If there are no confusion, I wouldn't have a dialogue with myself. Or am I having a dialogue, a speech, an interview with nay higher self? The higher self is invented by me. It all becomes too absurd. Either I see clearly, or I don't.
Questioner: You have pictured to us a state, a space in which there is no sorrow; there is understanding, compassion. We are looking at that, and we still have distance between what is and that.
Krishnamurti: I am in sorrow, and I have listened to someone, who describes a state in which there is no sorrow, who says that sorrow can end. With sorrow there is always cunning, deception, hypocrisy; but with the ending of sorrow, there is wisdom, there is intelligence. He says, "Don't make that into an ideal, into a concept, but see if you can be free from your sorrow". He has gone into it step by step. We are now asking ourselves why there is this monstrous structure of ideals, concepts, formulas, when they are just words without any reality. The reality is that we are confused; we have problems; we are miserable. We don't ask how we can end all of that. We always ask, "Can I move from this to that?".
Questioner: I do not believe in God, in religious leaders, and all the rest of it, it is almost like saying, "Whatever happens, I know that I can cope with it".
Krishnamurti: That would be a most dangerous assertion, because I am not capable. To be capable, to have the necessary vitality, energy, it should not be dissipated in ideals, in beliefs. How can you face facts, if you have a divided mind, if there is an ideal, and the fact? You must have a mind that can say, "I can look at the facts". You cannot if you have ideals, if you have a divided mind, an idealistic mind and a non-idealistic mind.
Questioner: How can you bring up children without ideals, without beliefs? You will isolate them in the world.
Krishnamurti: Do you think that if you bring them up without beliefs, you isolate them, choke them, cut them off from a lot of other people who believe, so that they have no relationships? There are two things involved. First, you yourself have to be free of ideals, beliefs. In the process of helping the child not to have beliefs, you yourself are getting rid of beliefs. You can't say, "I'll wait until I get rid of all my beliefs, and then I will teach them". By then the child is dead, or gone to some other person. If I understand the futility of beliefs, I can help the child to face the world, which is drowned in beliefs; that child will have intelligence enough not to be isolated.
Let us stick to what we were talking about. Can I, being confused, afraid, guilty, little-minded, petty, anxious fearful, greedy and acquisitive, being all that, can I face it without any ideals. I realize that having an ideal is an escape; it has no meaning. When I am unhealthy, if I say to myself, "I must be healthy; I must be healthy", that doesn't make me healthy. What makes me healthy is to eat the right food, and find out what the disease is. That means that I have to face the fact that I will.
If you have no beliefs, it's a great relief. You put off a heavy burden. Then you walk lighter; then you can look into problems more freely. Can you do it? Can each of you actually, not theoretically, leave all beliefs, purposes, ideals, ideations, concepts? If you can't, then let's find out why you can't.
Questioner: When you are ill, you realize that your health has gone, but then you believe that there is a state of good health.
Krishnamurti: When you are ill, do you really believe in a state of good health? You say, "I have a toothache; let me go to the dentist". You do something. You don't believe in some perpetual good health.
Questioner: Isn't belief a psychological state?
Krishnamurti: It is a very complex psychological state; it demands that I have beliefs, a purpose, an ideal. It is not a physical state; it is a psychological demand. Psychologically I can't face death, confusion, misery. I can't face what I am - my ugliness, my pettiness, my loneliness. I must have some kind of entertainment. Psychologically I need it; it feeds me; it sustains me; and I live like that. Psychologically I am no one, a poor, withered entity. I need a perfume; I need a richness; I need concerts; I need to come and listen to these talks, or be entertained by a church. I need it. Or, psychologically, I'm so denuded, insufficient, that I commit myself to some action; I become a communist, a socialist, a liberal, or whatever it is.
There is only one fact, the fact that I am confused, miserable; and psychologically I can't face it; therefore I have to invent beliefs, purposes, gods and ideals. Why can't I face it, not tomorrow, not at some future date, but now 1.
Questioner: If you have no beliefs you can become very violent.
Krishnamurti: In spite of the Christian beliefs of peace and meekness, Christians have created many wars. You are defending beliefs. You have never said, "Why do I have beliefs?".
Questioner: If you have a belief, it arises from an area that is not clear. As soon as you look into that area, you start to think about it, and that's dialogue.
Krishnamurti: You have an area which is not clear, which is confused, and you have another area, which you think is clear. You have a dialogue between these two. That's called thinking, investigating, searching, asking. The area that is confused and the area that is not confused are both the same. There is a conflict between them, which indicates a state of confusion. It's not clarity.
Questioner: Can I look at confusion? And what is the state that looks at confusion?
Krishnamurti: I m confused about politics, about religion, about my wife, about what to do. I look at myself. Who is the entity that is looking? He's part of my confusion. Why don't I stop and look at myself? When I am confused in a jungle, I don't go around like a squirrel or a monkey all over the place. I stop to take stock of where I am, but I stop.
Questioner: Does that not bring up the question of psychological fear? We are suddenly faced with the fact that we have been trapped by the mind for years.
Krishnamurti: We are frightened. Therefore the problem is not the ideal, but whether it is possible to be free of fear.
Questioner: Once you have faced it, you can no longer have an ideal.
Krishnamurti: Of course. A man says he believes in brotherhood. When everyone is butchering each other, both inwardly and outwardly, why have an ideal of brotherhood? It is tommyrot.
Psychologically we are afraid; we are confused; and being incapable of resolving the confusion, not knowing what to do with the fear, we invent the idea. We must drop the idea, the ideal, the purpose. We must be sure that it is dropped completely, so that it doesn't interfere, doesn't come back in some other subtle way.
Out of my confusion I have chosen a leader, a teacher, an ideal, a guru. I realize what I've done. My mind, my psyche, my psychological state has invented the ideal, and that ideal is preventing me from looking at the fact. The first thing I have to do to look at the fact is to drop the ideal. It is not a question of what I am to do next. I am already inventing another idea, if I put that question. Have I dropped the ideal? Only when I drop it can I look at the fact of my fear.
Let's go over this again step by step. Psychologically I am confused; I am afraid. I know this. I am also aware that out of this fear, out of this uncertainty, I invent a concept. To understand the psychological state completely, I must drop the concept. If I come back to the problem of how to face the fear, I haven't dropped it. I have already moved so that I am investigating the fear; I haven't stopped. When I have dropped the belief, the purpose, the idea, the ideal, I must stop and take a breath. Then my mind is no longer burdened with ideas, with concepts. Then I can look; then I can find out how to look. That's all.
We are talking together so that we see things clearly. We have to be rid of the psychological structure of defence, and that is one of the most difficult things to do. Is it possible to have the energy, the vitality to look at the fact, or must we lose that vitality in psychological defence? I'm afraid I can't answer whether we can or cannot. We either do it or we don't. It is an obvious fact that we have these defences, and we can live and die with them, with constant misery, confusion and conflict. To be open, to look, to investigate, to find out, we must stop; we must have the feeling that we have completely dropped all defence.
Does each one of us, when we leave this tent, feel that we have unburdened ourselves, thrown away our ideals, so that we can look at ourselves as we are? Then we can proceed; we can find out; we can discuss what to do. We can discuss whether the fact can be changed, or if mere confrontation with the fact brings about a mutation. That only take place if we have dropped the other. Tomorrow morning we will talk over together the only problem, how to face the fact, not how to get rid of ideals.
If you haven't got rid of them after nearly an hour and a half, good luck; carry them to your homes; but I hope you have dropped them and have stopped. Do you know what it means to stop? It is like a man who smokes, who says, "I will stop", and actually stops smoking. If he says, "I must choose something; I must do something in order to be occupied so that I am not thinking about smoking", he is still smoking. But if you can drop your ideals, then you will find for yourselves that there is not only a new energy, but there is also a new perfume, which is of passion, and without that perfume you can't look.
August 3, 1966
Saanen 1st Public Discussion 3rd August 1966
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