Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 2nd Public Talk 22nd November, 1970
SHALL WE CONTINUE with what we were talking about yesterday afternoon?
We are so afraid to use reason, to be objective. To think very clearly seems to be out of fashion. We are afraid of the mind and the capacity of the mind. We want to kill thought or we want to follow somebody - either Marx or St. John or some other philosopher, who, according to his own particular tendency, idiosyncrasy and conditioning, theorizes about life - what it should be.
We forget, it seems to me, that life is a vast field - very complex and demands a great deal of enquiry. It is very subtle and yet at the same time extraordinarily simple. We are apt to take one segment, one part of this vast complex and commit ourselves to that particular part, whatever it be - economic, historical, scientific or technological; neglecting the rest of the field. Either we approach this whole problem of existence through religious belief, superstition, tradition, propaganda, or we treat the whole of life as a matter of superficial existence. Control the environment and everything will come right. We have seen in recent years that when one is committed to a particular section of this vast complex existence, you gather around yourself or around the party or the theory a great many people and then you can't let go. You're frightened to let go because it's become a habit.
There are the Marxists, the Maoists - so many political divisions collecting groups around themselves and each one asserting that it is the right way. There is so much contradiction and this contradiction is bound to exist if we don't take life as a harmonious whole - neither neglecting one nor the other part of the field. We have to take this extraordinary thing called life as a whole, not in fragmentation but as a whole, and if we do, then we shall be committed to the whole and not to the particular. When we are committed, involved in the particular - whether it is political, national, economic or a particular religious insanity, then there must be division, then there must be contradiction, then there must be conflict between each other.
I think that is clear when one observes what is going on in the world. A serious man, who is really deeply concerned with the human existence with all the travail, the misery, the conflict, the despair, the utter sense of hopelessness has to take life as a whole. That is what we are going to do, if we can, during these talks: not be committed to any particular section or involved in a particular corner of the field but being completely and totally involved in the whole problem of existence which includes religion, death, love, daily existence, relationship, meditation and trying to find out for ourselves if there is such a thing as reality - such a thing that is beyond thought, which man through centuries has been seeking. We are involved in all of that, not in one particular expression of it, so let us be clear from the beginning that we are not talking about a particular panacea, a particular solution, a particular philosophy. Philosophy means the love of truth; not the theory of truth, not the speculation about what truth is, which any intellectual person can spin endlessly. It means to discover for ourselves what truth is actually in our life, in our daily living - the beauty of it, a quality of timelessness. All this involves that the mind must look at life non-fragmentarily, not be wholly absorbed in sex or in amusement, or in a particular form of belief, or completely lost in nationalism. We are concerned, surely, with the understanding of this whole existence; therefore a mind that wishes to understand it must be free to observe non-fragmentarily. It can't be a Marxist, it can't be a Communist or a Socialist or a Catholic or a Protestant, or a Hindu or a Buddhist, or just be concerned with Zen, and so on. If this is clear between us that we must be totally involved with the whole problem of existence, from the moment we're born till we die, with all the things that are involved in it, and to be committed to them wholly - if that is established between us then we can go into all the many problems because every problem is interrelated. There is no problem by itself, they are all interrelated.
You cannot solve one particular problem, whether it be an economic problem, a technological problem or the problem of pollution by itself. They are all dreadfully and intricately related, and to try to solve one problem at one level, discarding or neglecting the other levels, is utterly, if one may use the word, stupid. It doesn't bring about understanding, a solution. If that is completely clear between us, then we can go into the question we were talking about yesterday, which is dreams. We are going to discuss that and we're going to go into the question of fear and so on. We are not discussing dreams by themselves but in relation to the whole of our daily existence with its fears, ambitions, competition, conformity, pleasure, fear and so on. In relation to all that, we are investigating what dreams are. If we neglect all the rest of it and be concerned only with dreams then it's as though you're playing with a toy; it has no value.
I don't know quite where to begin this question of dreams, but we'll begin somehow and see where it leads. Most people dream either fantastic or subtle or crude forms of dreams. We have never questioned why we dream at all. We have accepted dreams as we have accepted so many things, as part of daily life. We have accepted nationalism, we have accepted drugs, we have accepted alcohol, we have accepted smoking, we have accepted religious beliefs and all the rest. We accept, we fall into habits, and we drift along; whereas, we must question very fundamentally why do we dream at all? Is it necessary? Some psychologists say it is. I'm not an expert, nor have I read psychological books. I don't read books at all, except weekly magazines and detective stories; I really mean it. One can find in one's self if one knows how to observe one's self, the whole history of man, past and present. You investigate it in yourself, because yourself is the world, yourself is the division, the contradiction, the misery, the confusion, the aching loneliness and the suffering, and if you know how to look then you need not read any book because the whole history, the whole life, is there; and you are your own teacher and your own disciple. You become a light to yourself and therefore do not depend on anybody.
So why do we dream and what are dreams? In dreams, if one observes and, if you have tried it, put down on a piece of paper every morning the dreams that you have, just for fun, you will find there is a consecutive relationship between each dream. You will find that these dreams are the continuation of your daily life, only in symbolic form, with scenes, variations, with various forms of subtlety but it is the continuation of our daily life - the daily struggles, the daily conflicts, the daily irritations, the daily fears, pleasures. It is the same movement but in words, in scenes, in symbols. I think most people would agree, except of course the neurotics to whom dreams mean so much. Through dreams one hopes to find some kind of mysterious universe, but it is really a movement of our daily life.
So what takes place? As the speaker is putting this into words, use him as a mirror, if you will, to observe yourself. He is not saying anything new, or rather, nothing ideological, nothing that can be put into categories. If you are listening and observing in the mirror, then you will see for yourself, without agreeing or disagreeing, that what he says is what you actually are. Dreams are the continuation of our daily life and our daily life is occupied, busy with constant chattering, gossiping, having opinions about this and that, judging, condemning, justifying. It is aggressive, violent; that's our daily life, and that goes on when we are asleep.
The brain, which is the residue of memory, both the conscious as well as the unconscious, continues like a machine and therefore the brain has never any rest. It's like any motor that's constantly running, all day and all night, endlessly. So, what takes place? Such a brain becomes tired, acts erratically, erroneously, gets caught in illusion; it has no vitality, no energy. Dreams become unnecessary if you know how to observe the movement of life during the day, if you are aware fully what you are doing during the day. Then, the brain becomes extraordinarily active, sensitive, awake to every movement of thought. You discover all the motives, all the hidden, subtle drives, complexities. You are awake during the day fully. The words you use, the gestures, the contempt, the disrespect, the violence, the brutality, the competition, the vulgarity, you become aware of all that during the day, so the brain, the whole structure of the nerves, the body, the organism, being alert during the day, when it goes to sleep becomes very quiet. It has expended itself during the day, understanding what has been going on. Then the brain, when it sleeps doesn't have to bring about order in itself.
You see most of our brains are disorderly. We function with only a very small part of that brain and we have a great many disorders and much confusion. Yet the brain can only function properly, sanely, when there is order. If you have observed, as you go to sleep, the brain tries to bring about order just before it goes to sleep; have you noticed that? You try to look over what has happened during the day, in retrospect and say, `well, I should do this - I should have done that'... `I should not have done that'... `I must have...' `this is right, this is wrong'. It tries to bring about some order and as you have not brought order during the day, at night the brain brings about order. These are facts, you can experiment with yourself and you'll find out. There is nothing mysterious about it.
This bringing order during sleep is dreams. To bring about order during the day there must be order in your relationships, not order theoretically, abstractly, but order in your daily relationships - with the conductor on a bus, with your boss, with your wife, with your children, with your neighbour. Otherwise the brain tries to bring it about while the body is at rest, during sleep. This is a waste of energy. If you bring about order during the day, the brain becomes quiet at night, it refreshes itself, makes itself new, functions more smoothly. Therefore, when you wake up, you have energy.
Dreams then are merely the continuation of one's daily life and if that daily life is contradictory, confusing, disorderly, the brain spends the night bringing about some kind of order, but it is not complete order. Unless you have complete order, the brain is slightly distorted all the time. Our question is - how to bring about order in our life, order, not according to some blueprint, not the order according to Marx or some philosopher?
All the teachers have blueprints of what order should be, and we poor monkeys imitate them, which brings about more disorder. To find out what order is, not according to any philosopher, to any book, to any social structure, one sees that there is no division between oneself and the world, that the world is oneself. In order to bring about order in the world which is so chaotic, there must be order in oneself. If you want to transform the society while being yourself disorderly, confused, messy, how can you do such a thing? It's impossible. You have to have order in yourself as a human being; not disassociated from the community because you are the community. So the question is - how to bring about order, that is, order without effort. The moment you make an effort that very effort brings disorder.
Please understand this deeply, this question. Every form of effort is distortion. Have you ever played with archery? The slightest movement sends the arrow crookedly. The whole body must be completely harmonious, relaxed to let the arrow fly smoothly. In golf, in cricket, everything must function smoothly. Effort implies contradiction, opposition, restriction, conformity. A mind that would understand order and live in order must observe and learn what is disorder; not how to bring about order. Are we meeting with each other? You know, communication implies sharing together, learning together, building together. The word communication comes from the word common, a common relationship. When we are discussing these subtle things there needs to be hesitancy, sensitivity. Unless you are also doing the same thing, being sensitive, watching, learning, communication comes to an end.
What we are saying is: order is not a blueprint, it is not to be copied, imitated, something to which you conform, but rather it comes about naturally, easily, without any effort, if you understand what is disorder. Through negation you come to the positive, not through the positive. If you are pursuing the positive, you will create disorder. We are trying to learn, observe, and through that observation we begin to find out what the subtlety of order is.
We live in disorder, that's a fact, which means we live in contradiction. If there were no contradiction at all, we would be orderly naturally, so we have to find out for ourselves why this disorder exists and why there is this contradiction in us. Why is there contradiction in each human being? not according to Marx, not according to religious people, not according to some psychologist or philosopher. We discard all those people. We can't learn from others, we have to learn from ourselves because we are the others. We have to find out for ourselves why there is this contradiction in ourselves and why out of this contradiction there is disorder. You have understood my question? Why is there this contradiction in our lives? Contradiction implies saying one thing, doing something else, thinking something else. We become hypocrites, not only to ourselves but to others.
One can see why there is contradiction in ourselves. First of all, we have ideals, various forms of principles, ideals about what should be. That is one of the major causes of contradiction.
We human beings are violent human beings, aggressive, competitive, and so on, and we have ideals of non-violence, that we should not be violent. Immediately there is contradiction; the violent man having ideals about not being violent, brings contradiction into his life. Why does he do it? Why does he have ideals? Because he doesn't know how to deal with violence, with actually what is, and also he may not want to deal with violence because it gives him some peculiar neurotic pleasure. Therefore he invents an ideal and that ideal is always in the distance, and in the meantime he is sowing the seeds of violence. He pretends to be non-violent, he has ideals, he practises idealism and yet he is being violent all the time.
One of the major causes of contradiction is ideals. Are you free of the ideals now as we are talking? You're not are you? You still have your ideals, you're still living in contradiction, which means you like contradiction. You are afraid to break down the ideals, you are afraid of what you might do if you had no ideals.
You don't see what ideals do. They bring about contradiction in our life because you avoid completely the actual fact of what is. Therefore the idealist is a hypocrite. All the young generation are supposed to be idealists because they want to change the world, and this young generation is as confused as the older generation.
This duality exists because of ideals and this duality, this contradiction exists because we are always conforming. From childhood, through education, through propaganda, through the social, economic, political, religious structure, the culture in which we have been brought up demands that you comply, conform. Aren't you conforming? We are not talking about conforming superficially; when the speaker goes to India he puts on Indian clothes. If he put on Indian clothes here it would be too much of a good thing. It would become a circus, therefore one has to conform outwardly. But the speaker is asking why do we conform inwardly to anything. Why conform to what society, culture may have given you or you yourself have projected from yourself, the what should be: not what actually is but what should be, or what has been? Conformity, imitation brings about a contradiction in ourselves; and can the mind not conform at all?
Conformity implies adjustment to a pattern of memory. Doesn't it? Do follow this because it is very interesting if you go into it: whether the mind can be free from all conformity. Can the mind function without the pattern which memory has created? Because then only can it be free. Technologically, there must be accumulation of knowledge. All science, all engineering, all mathematics is the accumulation of continuous knowledge which sets its own pattern. There is a form of conformity here and you must, if you want to go to the moon or live under the sea, you must then have technological knowledge, and conform to that knowledge, adding or taking away. Technologically there must be knowledge, but can the mind be free from conformity to the past? We are the past. You are the past, aren't you? You have memories, you remember certain things, pleasant, unpleasant. You are living in your youth, in your yesterdays, all the memories and the pleasures and the fears of yesterday. You are the past. Or, you project the past into the future, modified but it's still a continuation of the past. Can the mind be free to observe, and therefore act, without the pattern which memory creates? Now, to find that out, to find out if the mind can be free from all conformity you have to know, understand the whole nature and the structure of thought.
We said, that to understand the nature of a mind that is not conforming except in the technological world, one has to investigate the whole structure of thought. What is thought? When you are asked that question, what is your answer? What is thinking? Not what you think, but what is thinking in itself? Thinking is the response of memory, isn't it? This is very simple if you go step by step. You are dealing with a very complex problem and to deal with a complex problem you must move millimetre by millimetre, patiently. So we're asking whether the mind can be free from all conformity, and to find that out you have to investigate, question the nature of thought. Thought is the response of memory; memory is knowledge; knowledge is experience. If you had no memory, you couldn't think. You wouldn't know where to go - you wouldn't know where your home was, so response of memory is thought. Memory is stored in the brain cells themselves. It's part of the brain structure.
So thought which is the response of memory which is the past can never be new. Please do understand this basic thing; thought can never be new, so thought can never be free. It may invent or it may talk about freedom, explain what freedom is, write innumerable volumes about freedom, but the thought which can write volumes is the response of its memories and therefore thought is never, never new and therefore never free. Thought can only conform, modify, adjust, bring about certain changes, but it's still within the realm of the past which is memory.
This is not an opinion, it's not my opinion or my understanding, this is a fact. So, can the mind not conform, yet use thought whenever it is necessary, like going home, driving a car, performing the technological activities, yet inwardly, be free from any sense of response from the past? This becomes immensely complex and difficult if you haven't done it, if you haven't gone into yourself, taken time to observe. You have plenty of time, you have plenty of time to observe. You take plenty of time to amuse yourself, don't you? To go walking, sailing, watching other people play cricket, to sit in front of the radio, television, you have plenty of time. Give some of that time to look at these problems; the nature and the structure of thought. Don't learn from others. What you learn from others is not yours, it is theirs, and if you learn from others you remain secondhand; whereas if you learn from yourself by observing, a totally different kind of activity, life begins - at a different dimension altogether.
Thought, when it's conforming, brings contradiction. Contradiction implies, as we said, ideals, conformity, and there is contradiction when there is obedience, obedience to authority. The more civilized we are the more we reject outward authority. We are using the word civilized in the sense - not primitive, not responding to things violently. The response of violence is the most primitive form of action. I don't understand something, therefore kill it - throw a bomb against it, that's what's happening in the world. We must destroy this structure, therefore bomb it out. There is contradiction when there are ideals, conformity and obedience. You know the word obedience, the root meaning of that word obedience means to hear. When you hear constantly that you are a Catholic, you must have your son baptized, you must go to the confession, you must do this and do that every day, hear, hear, hear, you obey. Or you hear - `This is the greatest country, the noblest people, the marvellous politicians; this is the greatest religion' - repeat, repeat, repeat, and you just follow the propaganda. Where there is obedience to authority, whether it is the authority which you have selected, the authority which is imposed on you, or the authority of your own experience, then there is contradiction. A mind that can live without contradiction has to understand all this, understand the nature and the structure of thought; and from that we can go on to the question of fear.
When we are talking about fear, we are not describing fear, we are not explaining because description, explanation is not the thing described, explained. You have to feel it, you have to live with it, find out, put your teeth into it; which means you must have great intensity, passion to find out, not just calmly sit back and lazily investigate. You must give your life to this thing.
Shall we go into this question of fear? Probably sitting here in this hall for the moment you have no fear. At this actual moment you have no fear. If you think about it you can remember the fear and look at the past fear. That is, we are investigating what fear is and at the moment we are not afraid, so it is difficult to examine fear, understand it without inviting it, bringing it out. So, we are going to look at fear through one of the means which brings about fear, which is psychological dependency. Actually you depend on somebody, psychologically you depend, don't you? On your wife, on your husband, on your children, on what people will say. And, do you know you depend? You depend don't you? Depend on a book, depend on the priest, on the politician, depend on your wife or husband, because they give you comfort, security, position, safety? And if anything happens to that on which you depend you feel lost, you get frightened, you become jealous, angry, hating, don't you? So one of the forms of fear is dependency.
Why does one depend? Not depend on the milkman, on the postman or all that, but psychologically, inwardly, why do you depend? You depend because you are frightened of yourself, you are frightened what might happen if you didn't depend on somebody or on something. The mind must be occupied, it doesn't matter with what; with the kitchen or with God, with sex or with amusement. It must be occupied. Have you ever asked yourself why this happens, why should it be occupied? If it were not occupied, what would happen? Then you have to face, look at what actually is going on. You have to observe, you are thrown upon yourself to see what's going on, which is: you're frightened of your own emptiness, of your own insufficiency. You are afraid to be alone, not isolated. To be alone is entirely different from isolation. You see the difference?
One is afraid to be alone, therefore the mind must be occupied - or, is it occupied because in oneself one is so empty, shallow, one's life is so meaningless? You may have a good house, nice husband, wife, children, a pleasant lawn and blue skies, yet one's life is very shallow and therefore you try to fill it with occupations and when there is no occupation you're frightened. We are showing how fear comes about. You are afraid of death which is in the future, and afraid of the things that you have done in the past, so fear is in relation to something either in the past or in the future but never actually at the moment.
You know, the speaker is working very hard. I hope you are working too. You have to work, put all your energy and passion into this, otherwise you will never be free of fear and a mind that is frightened lives in darkness, its actions are neurotic. It escapes, creates so much mischief in the world, it's like living in darkness and trying to do the right action. To a mind that is frightened there is no beauty. It can visit museums, listen to concerts, but such a mind which is frightened becomes an ugly mind in action, a brutal mind, a violent mind. One has to understand and be completely free of fear, not only at the conscious level but at the deeper levels.
We are going to go into it to see if it is at all possible. I say it is possible. It is not possible to you unless you do it. We are going to examine this question of fear thoroughly and, in examining fear, we are also examining pleasure. We can't leave out one and take the other. If you want to investigate, understand, to be free of fear, you have to understand, pleasure completely. You can't say - I will divide the two and keep the pleasure and discard fear; they go together; you can't divorce them, they are the two sides of one coin.
It demands a great deal of energy to understand the deeper layers of the mind in which pleasure and fear are rooted. All our actions, activities, are based on the principle of pleasure, aren't they? Our gods are based on pleasure, our morality is based on pleasure, our relationship is based on pleasure. Subtly and deeply the current of pleasure runs through all our activity, of like and dislike. We pursue that relentlessly and we avoid at any cost, fear; run away from it, suppress it, escape from it, distort it, because we don,t know how to deal with fear. We know what to do with pleasure, the more the better, and we know the channels in which we can find it. And we have cultivated them so marvellously. Also we have cultivated all the innumerable escapes from fear. To understand all this demands a mind that is really, deeply, profoundly serious; because in the understanding of it, you live a totally different kind of life, and, as you are the society and you are the world, you bring about a radical change in the world.
Perhaps it may be better if we continue when we next meet, because this requires really deep investigation, not just a casual look at the end of an hour and a quarter, listening to something that you think will help you to get rid of fear. The question to be discussed is - is it possible to come upon the great energy needed to understand what is? If you think it is not possible, then you have no energy. Yet the impossible becomes the possible when you are deeply concerned with it.
So to find out the roots of fear which lie not only in heaven but very close to the earth, to find that out one has to go into this at the deeper layers, the hidden recesses of one's own mind. Therefore one must be capable of exposing one's self, not to others but to one's self, so that there is no hidden corner. I don't know if you've ever asked yourself whether you are honest, completely, totally honest to yourself, which means to find out if you are dependent on anything, on anybody. Am I dependent on you? You are there, a large audience, are you feeding my vanity? Am I dependent on what people say about me? Am I dependent on the company, the friends, and so on, am I dependent? If I am dependent I am afraid, then I am dishonest, basically, deeply; then I become a hypocrite, then there is conflict, then there is duality, division, contradiction. A mind that depends and finds out whether it can be free from all fear, both physical as well as psychological, must have the capacity, have the intensity to expose itself completely to itself. We are going to do this on Wednesday.
Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 2nd Public Talk 22nd November, 1970
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.