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Paris, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 4th Public Talk Paris 27th April 1967

DURING THE LAST three meetings that we have had here, we have touched in some detail upon several human problems, such as fear, anxiety, violence and sorrow. And I would like, if I may, this evening, to talk about something that may demand a certain quality of attention.

Most of us are crippled by the environment in which we live, by the family, by society, and by our own defensive measures and our incapacity to face the enormous problem of life. At the end of it all, after having lived a rather sorrowful, meaningless existence, there is always death. And in life - the life we generally have and lead - there is very little space, very little solitude. Whenever we are alone, our minds are crowded by so much knowledge, by all the experiences that we have had, by so many influences, and all our anxiety, misery and conflict. Our minds become more and more dull, insensitive - functioning in a monotonous routine. And it seems to me that one of our greatest difficulties is to have space; even outwardly that becomes more and more difficult, because we live in boxes, called flats; our life is very crowded and we have very little space either outwardly or inwardly.

Space is very important because it implies freedom - freedom to be, to function, to flower. After all, goodness can only flower if there is space; virtue can only flower when there is freedom. We have hardly any freedom - we may have political freedom (fortunately there are very few tyrannies left) - but inwardly we are not free and therefore there is no space. I do not know if you have ever thought about it, of how important it is to have this vast space within one; not a space brought about by will, not formed imaginatively, speculatively. Without this inward space, virtue, or any quality that is worthwhile, cannot function, grow or come into being. And beauty - not in the picture, in the music, in the building - beauty is only possible when there is silence.

Space and silence are necessary, because it is only when the mind is alone, uninfluenced, untrained, not caught by thousands of experiences, no longer functioning in the very limited and petty field of its monotonous daily existence, it is only when the mind is free of all this, alone and silent, that it can discover, or come upon, something totally new. I would like to talk about this, this evening. But to talk about something is not the fact; the word, the symbol, is not the actuality. The word `tree' is not the tree - and for most of us the symbol, the word, is more important. We are very easily held fast by the word. But really it is of greatest importance that we should come upon something which is not merely the word, and all the implications of the word, but come upon the fact, the actual state of the mind that - though it has lived as thousand experiences - is alone, untouched by civilization, by the constant battles of life. It seems to me that it is only in that state that anything new - a new flow, a new wave of living, a new creative movement - can take place.

Is it possible for one's mind, which is so heavily conditioned, to free itself and be alone, untouched? - to free itself not only of the modern technological conditioning, but also of the racial and the cultural background in which it has been so obviously conditioned, of two or three millions of years of the deep conditioning that mankind has lived? We are the result of so much influence, so many experiences, so many fears, anxieties - and we ask: can the mind so heavily burdened, free itself and be alone, untouched? I do not know if this is a problem to anyone, if one has ever asked even such a question? What most of us want is to solve our immediate problems, achieve our immediate fulfilments, vanities, or pleasures; but when we go beyond these, we must inevitably, it seems to me, ask this question: can the mind ever renew itself totally, and be untouched? There are those who say it can never be, that it must always be conditioned - like the Communists, the religious people, Catholics or whoever you will. And as we have been brought up, conditioned, probably we never ask such a question; and when we do, we are not capable of finding the answer - ideologically we may, but actually, not. It seems to me that it is important to actually find out and not live on theories, formulas, in the hope of eventually finding it - but to actually find out, truly.

The whole of the Orient is mesmerized by the word meditation, and in the Occident, the word prayer is of tremendous importance. It is essential to find out whether the mind - which is so very complex, and then caught in a system of what is called meditation, or in a repetition of words, however ancient, however meaningful as prayer - whether the mind can actually know what meditation is, or what lies beyond the word prayer, and discover an actual state that is really silent.

It is only when the mind is silent that we can understand anything. If I want to understand somebody, my mind must be quiet, not chattering, not prejudiced, not having innumerable opinions and experiences, for they prevent the observation and the understanding.

One can see directly that it is only when the mind is very quiet that there is a possibility of clarity; and the whole purpose of meditation in the East is to bring about such a state of mind. That purpose is the controlling of thought - which is the same purpose in constantly repeating a prayer - so that in that quiet state one may hope to understand one's problems. One has to understand these problems, one has to be free of the anxieties and fears which they entail, otherwise one cannot really be a human being, one is a tortured entity, and the tortured entity obviously cannot see anything serious very clearly.

Unless one lays the foundation - which is to be free from fear, free from sorrow, anxiety, and all the traps that consciously or unconsciously one lays for oneself - I do not see how it is possible for a mind to be actually quiet. This is one of the most difficult things to communicate, or even to talk about. Communication implies, does it not, that we must not only understand the words that we use in telling something, but also that we must both - the speaker and the listener - be intense at the same level and at the same time, capable of meeting each other, not a moment later, or a moment after. Otherwise, communication is not possible. And such communion is not possible when you are interpreting what is being said according to your opinions, to your knowledge, according to your pleasure; or making a tremendous effort in trying to comprehend. One of the greatest difficulties lies in this constant struggle to reach, to understand, to acquire; for we are trained from childhood to acquire, to achieve (the very brain cells themselves have set in this pattern in order to have physical security - but psychological security is not within their field). The mind wants to be completely certain - but there is no certainty. We may demand security in all our relationships, our attitudes, our activities - but actually there is no such thing as being secure; and when we try to communicate with each other, we may be thinking in terms of this urge to be psychologically secure (and most of us are) and that dominates all our attitudes, all our activities, all our thinking, and hence that becomes a block. So before we can begin to understand something much more fundamental, we have to be clear about this matter of security. Psychologically, is there such a thing as `to be secure'? When one puts this question, it does not mean that one has to live in a state of uncertainty, and thereby bring about certain forms of neurosis. It is a question one must ask or oneself in order to find out whether there is actually any form of psychological inward certainty.

When one is young, active, there is great discontent and the asking of questions, but this discontent, unfortunately, disappears as one grows older, settling down to a job, to a family, to responsibility, to the environmental conditioning; gradually this discontent, this curiosity to find out, this questioning disappears. One accepts, and so discontent disappears, and one is no longer concerned to find out for oneself, actually, if there is any form of security. In all relationship - because life is relationship, to live is to be related - we demand security, and hence we make life into a battle. field. But if we realize that there is no such thing as security, psychologically - and there is not, however much we may demand it, there is nothing permanent - if we realize that, not as a definition, an idea, but actually realize the fact that there is no such thing as being psychologically secure, then there is a totally different approach to life.

As we said, space and silence are necessary. It is only in silence that there is beauty. As we are we only know beauty in the object - in a poem, music, a picture, and so on - but is there beauty without the object? - for if there is no beauty without the object then there is not beauty at all. And to find this quality of beauty, is really to find - if I may use that word - love. This quality of beauty can only exist in silence.

How can the mind, which is so endlessly active, active in its self-interest, active in its own self-centred pursuits, how can such a mind be quiet? Do you understand? It must b quiet because it is only when your mind is very quiet that you discover something new. Now a true scientist (one who is not paid to work for the Government, in producing weapons of destruction) who is investigating in order to find, certain truth, must of necessity be alone and quiet, or he cannot discover. In the same way, silence is absolutely necessary to discover, to understand, to go beyond, our psychological limitations; how is this possible with a mind which is so actively self-centred? - this is a problem that man has faced, everlastingly. We all know that to understand anything we must be very quiet; to look at the sunset, at the flowers, the trees in spring, to look you must be quiet; one must be extraordinarily sensitive to look. And how can the mind, which is endlessly chattering, be quiet? That is the question. Now let us find out the truth of this matter.

One can attempt to make the mind quiet be disciplining it, controlling or shaping it; but such torture does not make it quiet; on the contrary, it makes the mind more dull. So obviously, control, the pursuit of an ideal of having a quiet mind, has no value at all, because the more one controls the mind, forces it, the more narrow, the more stagnant, the more dull it becomes - which is so obvious that we don't have to go into the psychological process. Control, like suppression in any form, only produces conflict. So control is not the way - nor has an undisciplined life any value.

One has to understand discipline, for most of our lives are disciplined; outwardly, by pressure, by influence, by the demands of society, by the family; inwardly by one's suffering, by one's own experiences, in the conforming to certain patterns, ideological or factual - conforming, suppressing, imitating - and these all become the pattern of discipline, which again is the most deadening thing. But there must be discipline without control, without suppression, without any form of fear. So how is this discipline to come about? It is not that one first disciplines and then finds freedom; but rather that freedom is at the very beginning - it is not a result, at the end. To understand that freedom - which is the freedom from the discipline of conformity - is discipline itself. After all, that word discipline, the root meaning of that word, is to learn; not to follow, not to imitate, not to suppress, but to learn. The very act of learning is discipline; in the very act, learning becomes clarity, That is, to understand, for example, the nature of control, suppression, or indulgence, to understand it and study it, to investigate very closely the whole structure and nature of this imitative process, demands attention, doesn't it? I don't have to impose a discipline on myself in order to study it - the very act of studying brings about its own discipline and in that is no suppression. To learn there must be freedom and in the very act of caring is the very act of discipline. I think that it is most important to actuality realize this fact. So true negation, the negation of what has been considered worthwhile, like imposed discipline, like the following of an authority, is an act that is positive, which is itself discipline.

To deny authority - we are talking of psychological authority - to deny the authority of ideation, the authority we have inwardly vested in the church, in experience, in tradition, and so on, one has to feel its structure and see how one obeys because of fear, fear of going wrong, of not being a success. One has to study it without any condemnation, justification, or giving an opinion, or accepting it - actually study it. To study it, there must be freedom. Now I cannot accept authority and yet study it - that is impossible. To study the whole psychological structure of authority within oneself there must be freedom. And when we are studying, looking in that way, we are negating the whole structure; that very negation is the light of the mind that is free from authority. So the actual negation of that, of inward authority, is an action that becomes the positive - I am only taking authority as an example - the negation of that which was the positive, in the studying of it and understanding of it in complete freedom - not merely as a revolt - is the positive action of freedom. So, we are negating all those things that we considered as important to bring about quietness of the mind.

One needs to be quiet; it is part of life to be quiet, part of life to be alone - which is not to be isolated - and one is not alone when there are these incessant pressures. One sees the importance of a very quiet mind and one does not know how to bring it about; one hopes to gain it by discipline, by control of thought, by suppression, by withdrawal, like the monks do throughout the world, they retire behind a wall, or behind a wall which they have built for themselves, inwardly; but that does not lead to quietness, on the contrary, it leads to disintegration. So it is not control, nor the repetition of words day after day, that make the mind a quiet mind - they make it a dead mind. Nor is it a quiet mind when it has an object that is so absorbing, that it gets lost in that object - like a child, give him an interesting toy, and he becomes very quiet, he is not naughty any more; but remove that toy and he returns to his mischief-making. We have our own ideational toys which absorb us and we think we are very quiet. If a man is dedicated to a certain form of activity - political, literary, whatever it is - it is as a toy that absorbs him - but his mind is not quiet at all.

So, by becoming aware of all these factors in life - aware, that is just to be aware, without any choice, just to be aware of the fact, of the colour, of the face in front of you, aware of the relationship with another, aware without any judgment, without any opinion, aware - one begins to see things one his never seen before. Then, when the mind is so aware, you will find, that out of this awareness (it is not a system that you follow) which has come naturally, that you are capable of attending. I do not know if you have noticed that when you give your whole attention to anything, complete attention, when you give your heart, your mind, your nerves, your ears, your everything to attend, to look, then there is no centre at all, there is no observer, there is no entity, who is attending, who is paying attention. If you are listening now, for example, with a complete attention, in which there is no opinion, agreement or disagreement, but attending completely with all your mind, heart, with an attention in which there is no division - then in that state, there is no listener and hence no contradiction, no conflict. In that state of attention, there is silence. In that state of attention there is clarity.

Attention is not possible when you are seeking experience. It is one of the most extraordinary things that we all want more and more experience; because the everyday experiences are stale, dull and rather monotonous, trivial - we want greater experiences; and if we are aging, with waning appetites and sexual demands, we want wider, deeper experiences. And to have these wider, deeper experiences, man tries to achieve various things by will - expanding his consciousness, which is quite an art, a very difficult business. And also he tries various forms of drugs. This is an old trick which has existed from time immemorial - from chewing a piece of leaf, to the latest forms of drugs, LSD and so on - to extend one's consciousness, to have greater experiences. And this demand for greater experiences shows the inward poverty of man; he thinks that through these experiences he can escape from himself; yet always these experiences are conditioned by what he is. If the mind is petty, jealous, anxious, the latest drug will cause it to see its own little creation projected from its own little mind as any vision, image, or whatever it is.

Any form of experience is to be doubted, because in that process of experiencing there is always the factor of recognition. You only recognize an experience because you have already had it. All recognition is based on the past, on past memories. Therefore, when you recognize an experience it is already an old experience; it is nothing new.

One begins to discover that in the state of attention, complete attention, there is not the observer, with its old conditioning as the conscious as well as the unconscious. In that state of attention, the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. The brain cells, though they may react, no longer function psy- chologically, within a pattern; they become extraordinarily quiet psychologically.

So, to come upon this freedom, this silence and space, one must negate the whole psychological structure of society in which one is; that is extraordinarily interesting and important, for otherwise one functions merely mechanically. And to deny the whole psychological structure of society, which we have made and of which we are a part, requires this attention; observing ourselves, as we are, everyday, in this total awareness is the realization of that which actuality is and in that there is freedom.

By asking questions, can we go over this in a different way?

Questioner: Je crois que vous avez touche le probleme de la solitude, et ce probleme est capital, parce que nous sommes seuls dans le sens total du mot. Je crois que, en montrant l'importance capitale de ce fait, nous pourrions voir le probleme que vous avez expose et pour certains plus clairement. (I believe you touched on the problem of solitude, and this problem is a fundamental one, because we are alone in the fullest sense of the word. It seems to me, that by showing the tremendous importance of this fact, some of us might see the problem which you spoke of, more clearly.)

Krishnamurti: Are we ever alone? When you are walking by yourself in a street or in a wood, are you alone? Or are you not carrying with you all the burdens of yesterday, all the memories? - therefore, never really alone? There is rather a nice story of the two monks who were walking from one village to another on a clear sunny morning, with deep shadows. And they came on a young girl, on the banks of a river, crying. And one of the monks went up to her, and said, `Sister, what are you crying about?' She said, `You see that house across the river? I came over early this morning and waded the river without trouble. But now the river has swollen, and I can't get across; there is no boat'. `Oh, said one monk, `that is no problem at all'. So he picked her up, carried her across the river, and left her on the other side; and the two monks went on. After a couple of hours the other monk said, `Brother, we have taken a vow never to touch a woman. What you have done is a terrible sin. Didn't you have a pleasure, a great sensation in touching a woman?, And the other monk said, `I left her behind two hours ago - you are still carrying her aren't you?

That is what we do. We are carrying all our burdens all the time, we never die to them, we never leave them behind. To do that means giving complete attention to any problem as it arises and solving it immediately - never carrying it over for the next day, for the next minute - so that the mind is fresh all the time. It is only then there is real solitude; even if you live in a crowded house, or are travelling in a bus. And that solitude is necessary, it indicates a fresh mind, an innocent mind.

Questioner: Would you go a little more into what you mean when you say that we should doubt our experience?

Krishnamurti: What is an experience, Sir? When you are responding to a challenge - any challenge, whether it is small or great - if the response is not adequate, complete, then there is conflict. This conflict, whether it is pleasurable or painful, is part of the experience. When you experience anything, be it a response to a political speech or whatever it is, it is either partial or total - and if total the response is comparable to the challenge. Every challenge is new - or it is not a challenge - and if you respond according to your background then the experience is in terms of the old, there is no experience at all.

For most of us, experience is the stimulus that keeps us awake. If we had no challenges at all we would be fast asleep - we would become very dull. There are vast technological changes in the world, and to these our psychological response is inadequate - hence the conflict.

Experience, as we have it, is a process of recognition of what has been. You cannot recognize a new experience - it is impossible. You only recognize something which you have already known; therefore when you say I have a new experience, it is not new at all.

One has to understand this process of recognition, which is the memory, which is the past - the past is responding all the time. We are the past, we are the bundle of memories, and it is that that is responding all the time - demanding more and more experience. And, as I said, if we did not have challenges, we would go to sleep; on these we depend to keep us awake. The more intelligent one becomes, the more one tends to reject the challenge; then one creates one,s own challenge, asking, doubting, questioning, denying, but in that there is still the process of recognition, hence conflict.

Can the mind keep awake without the stimulus of experience? - implying a great sensitivity, both physically and psychologically, a great capacity and vulnerability. Such a mind does not demand experience, it is not seeking experience. it is its own light; it does not need a challenge, or know a challenge; it does not say, I am asleep or not asleep; it is completely what it is. It is only the frustrated, narrow, shallow mind, the conditioned mind, that is always seeking the more. Is it possible to live a life in this world without the more - without this everlasting comparison? - surely it is. That, one has to find out for oneself. Questioner: What is the difference between a child of two or three who poses any question to himself, and the adult; between any questions that a child puts, and the questions of an adult?

Krishnamurti: Oh, a vast difference, surely. The child, an intelligent child, puts a question in order to find out, - if he is not a frightened child and he wants to learn. But the adult puts questions in order to acquire knowledge, from which he will act. To him, learning in itself is not important; what is important to him is to learn in order to act; he learns first, and acts afterwards. The child is innocent - if I may use that word. It is only a fresh mind which can learn. The older people have stopped learning long ago; they have learned, they have acquired knowledge as ideas, and according to these ideas, they act, and they do this in order to protect themselves, to be secure. I think there is a vast difference between the two.

27th April 1967


Paris, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 4th Public Talk Paris 27th April 1967

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