Saanen 2nd Public Discussion 4th August 1966
We were discussing yesterday morning whether it is possible to free the mind of all beliefs, ideas, concepts, formulas, ideals and all purposive, directive action. Unless we understand very clearly why it is important for a mind to be psychologically free of beliefs, we will never be able to face facts, to come directly in contact with what is. We are going to discuss this morning whether a mind, without having a belief, an idea, a concept, can face what it actually is. We will also go into the question of whether the mind can face fear without any escape, such as belief. We will go to the very end of this problem of fear and what to do about it. To discuss it fully, we first have to enquire whether action, any kind of activity, is possible without a formula, without an idea, idea being organized thought.
Questioner: Is it possible to face myself? Between myself and the fact is all the psychological structure of memory, tradition, the culture in which I have been brought up.
Krishnamurti: Let us be very clear what we are discussing.
Questioner: We must live without any conflict at all.
Krishnamurti: Don't let us indulge in theories. We are not using intellectual gymnastics, nor are we opposing one theory to another. We are trying to face facts, which is one of the most difficult things to do. As we said yesterday, we have built around ourselves defences made up of beliefs, ideas, words and symbols, through which we try to face what is. This, obviously, is not possible.
Can I really be free of belief - of what I should be, what I am, what I was? I may not be expressing your particular sentiment, your particular question, but it involves the whole thing. Is it possible for me to act, to do something, without a formula? That is really an extraordinarily important question because, so far, we have always functioned, acted according to an idea, according to a belief, according to what someone has said, it doesn't matter whether it's Marx or Christ. Our action has approximated itself to a belief, to an idea. We are now saying something so totally different, to act without an idea, that it may sound completely crazy, a neurotic statement. It may be true or it may be false. We have to go into it very, very deeply, step by step, to find out for ourselves if we can act so that every moment is new. Ideas are never new; beliefs are never new. All action, whatever it is - sexual, going to the office, any activity - is based on a memory, a concept, an ideal, a tradition, a thought which has a remembrance. Is it possible to be free of it? Don't tell me it is, or it is not. Don't take sides, or say, "If we do this, it will happen". Those are all theories, excellent in their own way, but they have no meaning to a man who really wants to find out if it is possible to live in this world without any idea - brotherhood, the unity of man, the love of God, and dozens and dozens of others.
Questioner: You pointed out that the mind is totally unclear, and that no sensible action can be taken as long as the mind is in that state. If part of the mind is not clear, the whole thing is unclear; so how can we even look at your question, as long as our mind is so unclear?
Krishnamurti: What will you do? You state that your mind is totally confused. You don't know whether there is God or there is no God; whether there is reincarnation, or no reincarnation; whether you must love your country, when many people say we have gone beyond all that. Some say that you must have a king or a queen, but the republicans say, "Oh, that's old stuff; put it all out". You are brought up in this confusion; you are this confusion. Realizing that whatever you think, whatever you do, whatever your aspirations may be, noble or otherwise, they are all the outcome of this confusion and are therefore still confused, what will you do?
Questioner: Shouldn't I just do nothing, and look completely at my confusion?
Krishnamurti: It is not, "You should look", or "You should not look". You are coming to me and saying, "please tell me what to do".
Questioner: Well, that's what I've done; I've looked at my confusion.
Questioner: We can do a simple action without thinking.
Questioner: We must pay attention to the results of scientific research; otherwise we throw away all scientific knowledge.
Krishnamurti: We need scientific knowledge, and all the implications involved in it. That is entirely different from the psychological demand of the human being who says, "I must have beliefs". There is the Christian belief, the Hindu belief, the communist belief, the socialist belief, each dividing man more and more. We are asking whether it is possible to have no beliefs, and if it is possible to act without an idea. This requires a great deal of attention, not just saying, "Yes, I agree with you", or "I don't agree with you". It is a tremendous problem. I must ask myself why I try to escape from the fact of what I am, whatever I am. I don't like something in myself; I want to run away from it and either go to a church, to a concert, take a drink, go somewhere or come to a meeting like this. If I say, "I'm frightened; therefore I escape", that's not the reason at all.
Questioner: I do all these things because I'm lonely.
Krishnamurti: Why do you try to escape from your loneliness? Why don't you face it? Do please ask yourself why you have built a structure, a network of escapes around yourself.
Questioner: Deep down in us there is great fear; therefore we run away.
Krishnamurti: I am deeply afraid; therefore I run away. Is that a fact?
Questioner: We have been taught to be afraid.
Krishnamurti: I don't know if you have noticed what is implied in this question. For instance, young children don't mind being friends with negroes, with brown people, with anyone, but older people come and tell them, "Don't play with those people". The adults put fear into the children. I am asking quite a different question. The questioner said, "I am deeply frightened, I have great fear; therefore I run away". Whether you are taught to run away or not, is it true that fear makes you run away?
Questioner: You run away because you are annoyed.
Krishnamurti: Whether it is annoyance, or fear or something else, why do. you run? You generally say that you can't face yourselves, that you are. afraid, lonely, this and that and therefore you run away. You are not answering my question. Who are you running away?
Questioner: Because I can think about being afraid.
Questioner: All the time inside of us there is some sort of ideal of how we should be, and this is in conflict with what we really, are.
Krishnamurti: I have great fear, anxiety; I am lonely, I am unhappy; I am miserable; I am frustrated; I become envious, jealous, bitter, cynical, and go to do something to make myself more happy. I move away from what is to what is not. Why do I do this? The questioner says, "I am dissatisfied with what I am". Then why do I run?
Questioner: I don't like it.
Questioner: I can't stand still. That's why I run.
Questioner: I run away to save myself.
Questioner: By running away it may be easier.
Krishnamurti: It's a supposition again. If I did this wouldn't happen". One can talk like this endlessly. We are trying to go into the issue involved. Please have patience with me and listen to me for two minutes. I want to know why I run away. My question is not running away from something to something, but the action of running. I am frightened, lonely, anxious, miserable. That's a fact; I don't like it and make a movement away to something. I take a drink, go to a night club, to a meeting, or whatever it is. I'm not talking of what is and what should be, but of the interval between them, the act of running. If I can find out about that, perhaps I won't run. If I can find out why this movement takes place, I may be able to solve the problem. I may, although I may not, but I want to know why this action takes place. The response has been, "Because I don't like this, I want to change it; I want to move to something better". I know these games which man has played through centuries upon centuries, but have I ever questioned what this movement is, and what it involves?
Questioner: Everything is moving in the world.
Krishnamurti: Everything is moving; that river is extraordinarily full this morning; I hope it won't come in here. It's moving. Of course we all know that. You have not understood what I said. How difficult it is to make one understand a simple fact!
Questioner: I don't like something, so I just run away to something I like. Is your question why I adopt that particular technique of finding something that pleases me, and why I run away from what I don't like?
Krishnamurti: No. I am asking you something entirely different. Why does this movement take place?
Questioner: Why do you ask the question?
Krishnamurti: Because this is what we are always doing, running from this to that. I am asking what this means, The movement itself.
Questioner: If you ask that question there must be an answer.
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out. I say there is an answer. I would like to show it to you, but you don't stop.
Questioner: It isn't from this to that. Probably there is no movement at all.
Krishnamurti: I think I have moved; I think I have run away; and there may be no movement at all. What we think is a running away is no running away at all. I don't like this; I move away from this to that. I consider the moving away from this an escape, but the thing I have escaped to is the same as this. Therefore I haven't moved. It is a most extraordinary thing if you can discover this for yourself.
I don't like what I am and I say to myself, "I must change what I am and move to what I should be". The "should be" is an idea, a concept, a formula which I have invented; and I think I shall achieve that by moving away from this; but that is the same as this, because that will become the new centre; from there I go to somewhere else, and that new thing will become another centre. I am not really running away at all; I am merely changing from one centre to another centre, which is still the "me", which I don't like. When I think I am running away, I am really static. It is a terrible thing to discover that though I think I am moving, I am really static. The problem arises, how to break down something which is static, and not create more statics.
Questioner: There is only one way, which is to examine what I am, what society is.
Krishnamurti: We must understand that when we think we are changing, we are really not changing at all. It isn't like putting on a new coat and discarding the old one, because the entity that puts on the new coat is always the same entity. This doesn't mean that I must get rid of the self, which is the philosophy of the Orient.
Questioner: You were speaking in your last talk about space, and if I understood, there is only one space.
Krishnamurti: To go from here to the place where I live there is time; there is space; and there is definitely a movement. I walk, take a car, go by a cycle or by train. There is definitely a movement from the tent to where I'm going. I apply the same thing to myself. I say, "I am this; I am unhappy". If I'm young, I want more sex; if I'm middle-aged, I want to live more happily, and so on. I want to move away from what is to something else. Physically I move away from the tent to my home. There is a movement, and I apply that same thing to myself. I say that I am angry, that I am violent; I will move away to non-violence. I never stop and look; I never ask myself if I am really moving. I think I am moving; I think I am gaining what I want, but am I actually, or am I only putting on a new coat, while the same violence still continues?
Questioner: Fear still remains.
Krishnamurti: I am not talking of fear; I am not talking of what I am. I am only talking of this movement from what is to what I think should be. I am saying to myself, "Is it a movement?".
Questioner: If there is no movement at all, why do we think there is?
Krishnamurti:Find out. Up to now all religions, all philosophies have stated that you should change, move from this to that. If. someone comes along and says that it may not be like that at all, you don't even examine it.
Questioner: Isn't that movement a shift of concentration?
Krishnamurti: When you are concentrated, you are exclusive, and in that exclusiveness there is no movement at all. You are concentrated on this, and later on you are concentrated on that. If you are totally attentive, why do you want to move from this to that?
One asks oneself, "Is there a change at all?". If the movement from this to that is static, because this is essentially the same as that, although called by a different name, put in a different cloak, then one asks if there is a change at all.
Questioner: Is there a movement at all?
Krishnamurti: If there is no movement at all, if there is no such thing as evolution, then there is only decay. That is all we know and that is what we are running away from. The movement leading you to there is the same as this. You are caught in a vicious circle. You think you are changing, changing, changing, and this change is called evolution. May there not be a totally different way of looking, living?
Questioner: During my whole life, haven't I changed at all?
Krishnamurti: Whether you have not changed at all, or I have changed is not the question. You are eager to, apply everything to yourselves. You want to do something. You don't see first what is implied. Do you know what would happen to you if you really discovered this fact, if it meant something to you? You would be in a state of horror, if you discovered that the movement from this to that is the same as this. What you think you're changing to is what has been. If you realize this, you ask, "What have I done for forty years of my life?". Don't add this new torture; you have enough torture as it is.
Let us begin to understand slowly step by step. We started out by asking ourselves if we need any belief at all.
Apparently belief, psychological belief, is a means of defence, a means of protecting ourselves. These beliefs are Utopias, examples, ideals of what should be. We are making a movement from what is to what should be. This movement we call change, from antithesis to synthesis, and from this synthesis to another antithesis, and so on and on, spirally climbing.
Do we realize, as human beings, that for two million years or more man has said, "I mustn't kill, because I'll be killed". Yet he keeps on killing, and keeps on talking about peace. What has he learned, except to protect himself more and more, in a different, more subtle manner? This protection is called movement, evolution. I see that it has no meaning at all. It is like putting up an umbrella against the rain. If I don't have the umbrella, if I just think I have it, I am soaked through all my life. I realize that any movement from what is to what should be is the movement of what is. Therefore it is not a change at all.
If you realize it, which is a tremendous thing, you are faced with a problem of complete despair. If you don't invent philosophies, you are in despair, because you realize that the movement of change is no change at all. You say, "I am what I am; how terrible!". That is an agony. Most of you live with this agony. If you say you must break it up, you must find a different way of living, so that life isn't just an agony, what action can be taken? The only action you know is the movement from this to that. When you realize that it is a sterile action, that it has no meaning you ask whether there is an action which is not based on an idea or which does not approximate itself to an idea. Until you find that out, you are bound to be in despair; from that despair you run away. The running away to something is the same as the despair, but you have called it by a different name. Are you to live forever with your despair? Running away from despair to something which is not despair is still despair. Are you to live all your next forty years in despair?
That's what most people do. They say, "I am living; I have an ideal, a belief; there are these wonderful people to whom I'm going". All this is born out of despair, and therefore is still despair. What is to be done,.to find an action which is not based on a belief, an idea, a concept, a formula; or which is not approximating itself to something?
Questioner: There is an action when you act without a centre.
Krishnamurti:That is a supposition. It is like saying to a man who is hungry, "I'll give you a book which is full of recipes telling how to cook a marvellous meal".
Questioner: Actually when the difference between the experiencer and the experience is understood and finally abolished, then....
Krishnamurti: Forgive me for saying so, but you are just repeating what I have said. Don't repeat something that is not actual to you. If you don't repeat, you are learning. That is a most marvellous thing for you to discover for yourself.
Questioner: Once the experience has come and gone, it doesn't really matter whose words you use. Krishnamurti: I quite agree. If it is lost, it has gone down the river.
Krishnamurti: When you go out of this tent, do not act according to an idea, to a memory.
Questioner: When you are in conflict, there is fear of a loss of identity if that a difference between the experiencer and the experience is abolished.
Krishnamurti: What are you identified with?
Questioner: At the moment when it happens, nothing, but there is a reflex which brings one back.
Questioner: Why must I know despair?
Krishnamurti: I am not saying you should know it! If you have no despair, you are living perfectly happily. Don't let me introduce the problem of despair to you, for goodness' sake! The Vietnamese and the Americans who are dying in Vietnam, their mothers, their sisters and their wives are in despair.
Questioner: Is there an "I" to know this despair; is there something running away from despair to know this despair with?
Krishnamurti: You will find out only when there is no movement of escape, when you realize that, do what you will - discipline, control, you know the tortures you go through - do what you will, it is still what has been.
Questioner: How does one overcome the very real moment of terror?
Krishnamurti: You want a quick answer, and there is no quick answer. You can take a pill, a drug, but that's no answer. You'll be back again in the same state tomorrow. But if we take the voyage together step by step, not impatiently, not rushing, hesitantly, with care, with affection, you will find it for yourself.
Questioner: What are the causes of war?
Krishnamurti: We all know through centuries what the causes of war are: nationalism, my country and your country, my love of my country and your love of your country, economic separation, different kinds of societies, my prejudice against your prejudice, my leader against your leader, and so on and so on. We have known this for two million years and more, but we are still at it. Human beings know the danger of nationalism, and they still wave the flag. There is something abnormal about the human mind.
I'll put it differently. Our life functions in routine, in patterns. I repeat what has been, hoping it will change, and this hope is the movement which prevents me from facing my despair. Without hope, I'm lost. I hold on to it. It doesn't matter whether it is real or unreal, false and mythical. The hope is what has been. I don't realize that at first but when I do realize it, not intellectually, not emotionally but actually, I say, "I have lived, struggled, brought other human beings into the world, and I go on, for what?". I become more and more in despair, more ind more depressed. I end up in an asylum, or I take a drug; I go to the latest cinema or the latest entertainment.
What am I to do? To find out, I have to enquire into this question of functioning within an idea. If I don't function with an idea, with a belief, with a doctrine, what is action, action with regard to the actual fact, action with regard to despair, not with regard to some future state? If my action is based on a hope, or something or other" it is no answer. I have to find out how I, the mind refuses to move away from what it has known, how it refuses to function differently.
If you will go into it with the speaker, you will find out for yourself, but if you say, "I had that experience yesterday. When it happened I was so happy; please tell me how to get it back", it's all silly. Throw it down the river; it means nothing. There is only one question facing us now, whether there is an action in which there is no approximation of an idea. To find that out, don't say that there is or there is not; you don't know. Don't say, "You have been talking about spontaneity". There is no such thing as spontaneity. That's just an invention, because you are always acting with memory. Don't translate it, but try to find out for yourselves whether there is any action without idea. When you have discovered it, then you can proceed to see what you can do with regard to despair. If you can't find it, we will discuss it very carefully, step by step, tomorrow. But don't pretend that you've found it. Don't say, "Yes, I have had moments of clarity". It's like that noise of the train; it goes away. To enquire, you not only need freedom, but also great care; and care means affection, love.
August 4, 1966
Saanen 2nd Public Discussion 4th August 1966
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