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Ojai 1966

Ojai 2nd Public Talk 30th October 1966

California has one of the most beautiful climates in the world, perhaps rather hot, especially in the south; and it seems to me it should produce a marvellous society, a society which is totally different from that which is now; a society which is highly disciplined - I am using that word with great care, and we shall go into the meaning of the word presently - a society that's not wholly materialistic, as it is now; a society that is not self-centred in its progressive acquisitiveness; a society that has deep inward life, not everlastingly seeking entertainment, amusement and various forms of thrills. It seems to me, as I've been all over the world, except behind the red curtain and all the rest of that, the world is looking and more or less copying America, trying to bring about prosperity. The world of cinema, the world of entertainment, football, and all the rest of those things are being imitated all over the world. And one asks oneself, if one is at all serious, as those who live in this climate must have asked themselves, this real question: what is America producing, apart from cars, going to the moon, technological advancement, prosperity, great concerts, museums, and all the rest of that; what is it actually giving? Apart from literature, which is a form of entertainment, apart from new sectarian dogmatism, or experimentation in the field of narcotics and LSD and all the rest of those things, what actually is this country bringing about? Shouldn't we know, shouldn't we ask, shouldn't we demand, not only of ourselves, but also of those people who are attempting to create a different world, a different society, especially the politician? And the politician, obviously, will never create a new world, nor the priests. One has to ask oneself, it seems to me, and ask oneself not out of curiosity, but out of some deep despair and anxiety, ask oneself what it is all about. Where are human beings going? We have asked this question of some very prominent people, Americans, and unfortunately they have no answer; nor have they an answer in the East, either. They have some speculative formula, a hope; but you cannot build a society on hope, or on a formula. A society can only be built by a small group of people, a dedicated people who are not persuaded by ambition, greed, by the principle of pleasure. And so, as you are going to listen to these talks and discussions, unfortunately, I wonder what your own answer is, not a speculative answer, not an answer based on hope, on some fantastic myth.

If you examine the world, not only in this country, in Europe, in Asia, but in Russia where also there are great changes taking place, where they are leaning more and more to the right, when you look at all this, surely one asks oneself where the new seed is taking place, a new culture, a new society, a new mind, not fashioned in the mould of the old pattern, not belonging to any particular religion, group, class, sect, nor doing all the immature things that one does. I do not know if one has asked that question; one is, maybe, too occupied with one's own problems; or one is caught up in the trap, going round and round, having no time, no leisure, no mind to investigate. Of course they cannot answer this question. But of those who have perhaps put this question to themselves seriously, especially in a climate like this, where there is a great deal of leisure, where you can sit under a tree and look at the blue sky, where the climate is gentle, where there is plenty of food, clothing, great prosperity; what is the outcome of this? Is it lost? Is this country already on the decline, never having matured? And that's a difficult word also, maturity. And who is going to answer this question? Some philosopher? Some scientist? Someone who has studied history deeply and has all the information, what this society should be, what it will become? Or shall one turn to some clairvoyant, some visionary, some phony individual with some ideas? Who is going to answer this? And it seems to me, we human beings right through the world have no faith in anything any more, neither in the gods that man has invented out of his fear, nor in the scientist, nor in the politicians, nor in the books and the theologians with their conditioned thoughts. As one cannot possibly put faith in any of these people, and having no fundamental faith in oneself, because one is so uncertain, confused, torn by innumerable desires; as one cannot possibly allow oneself to be led by another, or follow another, one has to find an answer for oneself as a human being. If you answer it as an individual - please do pay a little attention to this - if you answer it as an individual, then you are answering it from a personal point of view, from an inclination, from a temperament, from a conditioned, narrow little individual experience, a narrow little hope; and your answer will invariably be rather infantile, immature; it has no meaning at all, because the problem is much greater than the individual mind that is tackling it. The challenge is immense; and to meet that challenge one has to meet it with the understanding of the whole of the human world: the wars, the starvation, the under-developed countries, the overpopulation, the extravagance of the rich and the difference of the poor class, and so on and so on; the world, what is going on in the world actually at the present time. If one can look at it totally, not partially as an individual, as an American, as a Catholic, as a Hindu, as a Buddhist or a communist, and all that; but look at the whole phenomenon totally, then I think we shall find the answer - which may not be according to your like and dislike, what you want it to be. Otherwise, if one doesn't find a real, significant answer to this, our lives become rather shoddy, meaningless.

To understand this thing - I mean by that word "understand" not an intellectual comprehension; that's fairly easy, intellectually to see why all the civilizations, cultures have ended, and from that study come to a conclusion and say, "America should be this", or "The world should be that". That's. not understanding; that's merely an intellectual analysis of what should be. Nor does understanding come into being with an emotional, sentimental, hopeful outlook. Understanding has nothing whatsoever to do either with the intellect or the emotions kept apart; and as most people are rather emotional, their response is sentimental, rather cruel, thoughtless.

We are using that word "understanding". This takes place only when the crisis is great and you have no answer to it, and therefore your mind becomes completely silent; and in that silence there is an understanding. This must have happened to all of us. When you are faced with something to which you cannot possibly find an answer, you try everything; you consult, you talk it over, you inquire, you go through all the analyses, and so on, and yet there is no answer. Suddenly, when you have put it aside, as it were, there is an understanding, there is clarity, because the mind at a certain moment has become extraordinarily quiet with regard to that problem, and it is only then that there is an understanding.

But to answer this question, which is a tremendous challenge that's going on right through the world, you have no answer. You can pretend you have an answer, or answer according to the Catholic or the Protestant ideas; then we are back again with the same old issue. But to understand this immense problem, to bring about that complete quiescence of the mind so that it can observe, not from a particular individualistic point of view, demands a great discipline. We are using that word "discipline" not in the military sense nor in the orthodox religious sense. Generally that word implies conformity, cultivating certain habits, suppressing, forcing, adjusting; and all that is implied in that word "discipline", generally, but we are using that word quite differently. The root meaning of that word "discipline" is to learn; and you cannot possibly learn if you are merely conforming, or suppressing, or controlling. So one has to understand again the meaning of the word "learning". Because if there is no right discipline, the mind cannot possibly find an answer to this, the answer in which is implied the meaning, the structure, the whole of life.

To understand there must be discipline. Please follow this a little bit; give your attention. Understanding is not the outcome of the intellect, or of emotion, of sentiment. As we said, understanding comes when the mind is really very, very quiet; has no movement at all in any direction. When you observe a tree, if you have ever done it, when you look at a tree, your mind never observes the tree; it observes the image it has created about a tree; and that image is always moving; it is never quiet. It is being added to and taken away from. It is only when the mind is very quiet, really observant, without any movement, that it observes the actual fact of the tree.

Any problem, especially this problem that is confronting us, the crisis in the whole consciousness of man, can only be understood, and therefore answered radically, when that understanding is the outcome of discipline; and by discipline we do not mean drill, conformity, enforcement, adjustment through fear, through punishment, all that. Discipline comes naturally when there is learning. So, one has to go into this question of what learning is. Learning, surely, is always in the active present. I am always learning, always in the present, active. That active present of learning ceases when it has become the past: I have learned.

Please do follow this, if you will; because we are going to go into something which will be rather difficult if you don't understand this first thing.

What we generally do is, having learned, having accumulated knowledge, a technology and so on, with that we act; or in that acting after we have learned, we learn more, and add more to what we have already known. Right? This is what we are doing all the time. I learn from an experience, and store that experience as memory, as knowledge, and a further experience is translated according to what I have accumulated, and so I'm always adding, and therefore never learning. Learning is an active present, an action, a process always in the present; and therefore learning is action - not having learned, act. Then action has a totally different meaning. Then you are always learning; therefore life is always new; therefore there is never a moment of having learned, and acting from that past; and therefore conflict with the present or with the future.

That demands great attention, great awareness. It's very easy for most of us having gathered information, experience, storing that up, which we call knowledge, and from that knowledge to act. That's mechanical. That doesn't need great energy. That doesn't need great attention, awareness, intensity. But if one understands the meaning of that word "learning", then it is an actual movement in the present all the time, and therefore never a moment of accumulated knowledge, and acting from that.

To learn is to be extraordinarily aware, not aware of what you already know, which becomes - please follow all this - the so-called unconscious. You are following this? Is this all rather a puzzle? Bien. To me there is no unconscious. The unconscious is one of the fashionable things nowadays - to investigate it, to go into it, to analyse it, to examine it, examine your dreams; you know all that circus that goes on. There is only consciousness. It's like a field. Either you take the whole field into view, into observation, or you take one corner of it and call that the unconscious, this the conscious; this action, that something else, which we'll go into.

Learning becomes extraordinarily vital, and it brings great energy, because in that there is no conflict. You follow? Because now our energy is dissipated, lost, between what has been accumulated through learning, through experience, through information, and so on, and the action; and hence there is a contradiction, the action approximating itself to the knowledge. Where there is a contradiction, there is a waste of energy; and our life is a contradiction. and therefore it is a constant dissipation of energy.

Please, I hope you are not merely listening to the words, but rather observing your own activity of your own mind. Because it will be utterly meaningless to listen to these talks, just hearing to words, going away either appreciating it or saying, "Well, that's old stuff". But if you are aware, not only of what the speaker is saying, but also aware of yourself in relation to what is being said, then the act of listening has great significance; then you are discovering for yourself actually what is taking place. It is of great importance also to find out how to listen. We hardly ever listen. Either we are too occupied with our own problems, with our own point of view, with our own amusements, with guarding ourselves, protecting ourselves - the "ourselves" being the image that we have built about ourselves, or, when we do listen, we are interpreting, agreeing or disagreeing, coming to a conclusion, or comparing with what we already know. So actually you're never in the act of listening. If you are aware of all this, that very awareness is discipline. As we said, the word "discipline" implies learning - never having learned. That's what modern education is doing: having learned, apply. But learning, as we said, demands a great deal of awareness - awareness of the machinery of your own thought and feeling; awareness without choice, obviously. The moment you choose, or say, "This I like; this I don't like", you are introducing a factor of choice. Whereas, if you are merely aware of your own machinery of thought, feeling, pleasure, displeasure, experience, knowledge, and all the rest of it, just to be aware without any choice, then you are in a state of learning; and in that learning there is not a dissipation of energy. On the contrary, your mind becomes astonishingly alert, alive, and therefore very sensitive; and such a mind that is alive, sensitive, learning, and so energetic, needs no drug of any kind, no stimulation; because then learning is a challenge itself, and the response to that challenge is the act of learning.

Such a mind can answer this question, this challenge: is there actual significance to living, not an invented significance, either of the existentialists, of the Catholics or of the drug fiends, and so on and so on, but an actual, deep significance which you have found out for yourself? Then out of that a different society can come into being.

Our society, as it is, has no meaning; three meals a day, a house, comforts, and all the rest of it. If you would go further into this, one has to understand this whole principle of pleasure. Would you like to ask questions, or shall I go on?


Audience: Go on; go on.


Krishnamurti: It's very easy for you to tell me to go on. (Laughter.) All that you will do is just to hear. But if you were actually working, working together, going step by step into it, then you wouldn't ask me to go on. Then you'd be asking questions to find out. You know, we are so used to being entertained: on the football field, in the cinema, in the churches, in the magazines, and so on, entertained. That's what you want. But to actually work hard, one has to be serious; and that's why one has to go into this question of pleasure, which cannot be discussed in ten minutes, which we'll perhaps go into on another occasion. Without understanding pleasure, learning, discipline, and the whole structure and meaning of all this, we'll never find out as a human being the real issue, the right response. So perhaps now we can ask questions bearing on what we have talked about this morning, and through questions go into the problems.


Questioner: If it's a question of the individual learning for himself, doing for himself, by learning what the necessary thing is in the moment as it arises, if he's busy occupied in that, how can he be going out to life to form a society?


Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks: if the individual is occupied in the observation of learning, and therefore learning, how can he go out and form a society?


Questioner: Going after life.


Krishnamurti: Going after life?


Questioner: This is forming society.


Krishnamurti: Sir, life is learning, isn't it? Life is a movement, an endless movement. It's like a vast river of great depth, with a great volume of water, moving endlessly. And to learn about it is to observe it choicelessly, to be with it endlessly; and that movement of being with it is the creation of a new society. You don't have to learn, and then go out. You see, sirs, one does not actually - I'm not criticising you as a personal criticism at all, but one does not actually - observe what one is thinking, feeling; one's motives. When one is aware of all that, if there is an awareness, and if it is a discriminative awareness, then it ceases to be awareness. Awareness is to be aware of everything: to be aware of the people sitting here, the colours, the trees, the light on the leaf, the noise; to see the mountains, the movement of wind among the leaves. Awareness is not concentration. Again we can't go into all that now. But to separate life and the individual, and to learn about the individual, is to create a chasm of contradiction and misery. The individual, the human being is life; is you and me. Unfortunately that life has been divided into nationalities, into groups, into sects, into beliefs, into this and into that.

To learn about the whole movement of existence is to be aware of this vast field. The question is not a division between life and action, learning and creating, but rather how to look at this whole field of life. You understand, sirs? I hope my question is clear. Just a minute, sir. I know you're full of questions and responses.


Questioner: It's the same question; I wanted to word it differently.


Krishnamurti: I'm answering the same question, sir. You know, to look at the whole world, whether in Vietnam, in Russia, the Chinese brutality, and so on, to look at all this world as a whole, not as America, as an individual, or as a Christian, as a Catholic, as a Hindu, as a Buddhist, and so on; but to see this whole enormous movement, which is the human movement, the agony, the despair, the love, the tragedies, the jealousies, oh, all the travail of human anxiety, just to see the whole of that, that is the real problem. Is it possible to see the whole of it, not intellectually? If you see the whole of it at one look, with one glance, then you'll have the answer. Then you are no longer looking at the world as an individual; then you are no longer thinking of the world in terms of East and West, communist and non-communist, and so on and so on.

The question is: is it possible for us to look at this whole thing, this whole division, contradiction, this misery, this battle as a whole? If you are capable of looking at it as a whole, totally, then the answer will be total, not particular. And it's only that answer that's going to solve any problem, whether it's an individual problem, or a political, economic problem, but to see the whole of it demands your complete attention.

When you are really very attentive - we mean by that word when you are giving your mind, your heart, your nerves, your ears, your eyes, your brain, your mind, everything - in that attention there is no observer at all; and therefore the observer is the observed. There is only attention. Again, we'll go into that on a different occasion.


Questioner: Is it ever possible to change, to create a new society if you use force? Is not force the outcome of fear?


Krishnamurti: The questioner asks: is it ever possible to create a new society out of force, out of compulsion, out of threat and punishment, for all that is based on fear? Obviously you can't create a new thing. . . .


Questioner: I have burned my ego, so I would like to ask - I, not the small, but I the capital - how do you make this world so desperate that they receive the transformation of the mind? And the second question would be. . . .


Krishnamurti: Oh, sir; one question! (Laughter.) The questioner asks: how is it possible to bring about a total transformation of a society?


Questioner: No. How do you make this world so desperate that they receive the transformation of the mind?


Krishnamurti: Who is going to give this transformation? The priests have tried it; the theologians have tried it, for centuries upon centuries, as though you were going to receive this transformation from an outside agency. This transformation - they have threatened with hell and heaven to bring it about; they haven't succeeded, and nobody believes that somebody else is going to transform you. That's all too immature; that's gone, finished. One has to transform oneself:


Questioner: You said, and I quote you: "To me there is no unconscious". Now, my question to you is: for me there is an unconscious, this bubbling up that comes up from within for most of us. My question is: how can we reach this point of awareness so it is only consciousness, without the unconscious?


Krishnamurti: Sir, What is the unconscious? Not according to Freud and Jung and all the analysts and so on, but actually, what is your unconscious? Have you ever gone into it? And the question is also: how will you find out what your unconscious is, not have somebody tell you what it is? You understand the difference? If somebody tells me I'm hungry, that's quite a different state from being really hungry, isn't it? So can I find out what my unconscious is, and what is the instrument that's going to find out, the censor, the observer, the analyser, the thinker; and is the thinker different from the analysed? When one looks into the so-called unconscious, what is it, and why is it so tremendously important? It is as trivial, as petty, as shoddy as the conscious mind. Why do we give it such extraordinary importance? The question is: how to analyse the unconscious, first of all - wait, sir, I'm coming to that - and having observed it, transform it completely into the conscious. Right, sir?


Questioner: Yes.


Krishnamurti: That's it. First one has to look at this very carefully. How will you examine the unknown? You understand my question? We say the unconscious is buried deep down. People say that; and you want to examine it. How will you examine it? Through dreams? Through various intimations that it projects, intimations, hints? And why do you dream at all? Why should you? One has to find out, first, how to meet the unconscious, how to look at it. Is it possible for the conscious mind to look at the unconscious? Please follow this, sir. When the conscious mind looks at the unconscious, the conscious mind is already conditioned, already has its own desires, its own purposes, its own motives, its own anxieties, securities, and with that it looks; and what it looks at is its own self. Therefore the question is, then: is it possible to look at something which is hidden, which cannot be perceived by a conscious mind? You understand my question? Look, sir; there is something hidden which we call the unconscious. How am I to know about it? That is, how am I actually to come into contact with it, not through ideas, not through what people have said, but actually come into contact with it? To come into contact with something actually, immediately, there must be complete quietness of the conscious mind. Right? Obviously! And then, when the conscious mind is completely still, is there the unconscious?


Questioner: How is this achieved? How? The word "how" is the most important part of my question.


Krishnamurti: First see, sir, What has taken place, if you have followed. The moment the conscious mind is completely quiet, without any movement of pleasure, experience, knowledge, and all the rest of it, then there is no unconscious. Now, the questioner says, how is this to be achieved? The "how" is the most mischievous question; because in asking how, you want a method, a system. And the moment you follow a system, a method, a practice, you're already caught in that practice, system, method, and therefore you never discover. You're caught. But if you see the thing actually, if you see that only the completely quiet mind can observe, if you understand that, if you see the truth of that immediately, then the unconscious is not. But if you said, "Tell me the path along which I must go in order to achieve it", it's like going to college to become intelligent. (Laughter. )


Questioner: I would like to know, along with the quiet, still mind, what happens to the body?


Krishnamurti: The body is also quiet. We divide the body, the mind, the brain, the heart, the feeling and thought; you follow? You know, sir, this is really a very complex question. You can still the body by doing various kinds of tricks: by tranquillizers, pills or your own particular inward tranquillizer; by thought, repetition of words and sitting in a certain posture, breathing in a certain way; you can absolutely bring about a quietness of the body. That has been done, but the mind remains at the end of it equally petty and shoddy. We are concerned with the whole process, not just one part of it.


Questioner: What is the place of memory in education?


Krishnamurti: I'm afraid we have talked for an hour and a quarter. I think that will be enough, won't it? We'll take up that question, perhaps, if you'll be good enough to ask next time.

October 30, 1966


Ojai 1966

Ojai 2nd Public Talk 30th October 1966

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