Saanen 2nd Public Discussion 3rd August 1972.
We were yesterday trying to talk over the observer and the observed, and I'm afraid it was rather complicated - I'm not at all sure each one of us understood what was said. But I'm afraid you're trying, aren't you, to understand what the speaker is saying. Don't bother. That's not at all important, what the speaker is saying. What the speaker is saying is: we have this problem of existence with all its complexities - there is war, there is violence in our daily life, there is the religious divisions, there are the divisions caused by priests, by their idea of what god is and so on. There are the divisions of nationalities, there are the divisions of racial hatreds and so on and so on.
The house is burning, not only your house but everybody's house is burning. One may have put away a little money for old age, or bought a house or flat or this or that, hoping to survive the chaos, and instead of understanding what the speaker is trying to convey, wouldn't it be better, far better if we, each one of us, looked at the problem of the world in which we are, of which we are a part. The world is not different from you, the world is you, we have built this world - the chaos, the uncertainty, the misery, the sorrow, the confusion - we have put it together, it is our world. So instead of trying to understand what the speaker is trying to convey, wouldn't it be better if we took one of those problems, which is your problem. Wouldn't that be better? Or are you rather uncertain about it? Haven't you problems? I don't want to put on to you what I say, to make it into another problem - you have enough problems.
So in understanding your problem, really going into it very, very seriously, you and I will meet, completely. But if you are trying to understand the observer and the observed, and all that I want to convey, you'll be confused still further.
So what I propose, with your - what is it, goodness, kindness - that we take the problem of existence - your problem, your house, your relationship, your daily, monotonous, lonely, unacceptable existence. Can we start from there? Wouldn't that be much wiser? So, now, this morning, what shall we talk about, discuss - not discuss - converse together.
Q: Could we talk about the problem of over population?
K: Overpopulation. Fortunately I have no children. What am I to do about it - what are you to do about overpopulation? You go to India, which I do every winter, except last year, and there are 570 million people, crawling. For one job there are about 5,000 people, people sleeping in the streets. Tremendous population - China is the same, go to the East, it is burdened, and in Europe too. So what are we to do - you and I, not somebody else - what are we to do about it? Join the Family Planning Board? Advocate which is the best contraceptive and so on? Is that your major problem? Come on, sirs, is this what you want to discuss, talk over together, how to prevent...
Q: That's not what I mean, sir, but in connection with talking about life and death, there is a connection with death and multiplying. Not how to solve the problem of over population...
K: Connection between life and death and the overpopulation. Is that it? I don't quite understand the question then.
Q: You have talked in the past days about life and death.
Q: And our connection with death. But it is the necessity of nature to multiply.
K: Yes, nature multiplies. And then what - what is the question, sir?
Q: I think the questioner wants to say something about procreation, and the necessity of procreation.
K: Why do we procreate? I think it is fairly clear, isn't it? Is that your problem?
Q: I have a problem: in the process of learning about myself there arises something which distorts it eventually - an active movement which seems to be fear, which seems to turn round the whole thing, as I watch that
K: Have I understood, sir - I'll have to repeat it. What is the factor of distortion in our life? Is that it?
Q: Yes, for me it seems to be fear.
K: Wait - what is the factor of distortion in our life? I want to go straight, or walk easily, quietly, happily, with great energy, vitality and so on, but certain factors enter and distort the whole movement of life. There are certain seeds in one, conscious or unconscious, that bring about chaos, misery. Is that what you mean? That's right. Now shall we discuss that? Is that your problem?
Q: Can I give another example? We buy food and the shopkeeper has to pay tax. The tax goes for nuclear weapons and so on.
K: Yes, sir, yes.
Q: And also by the revenues we pay we are contributing to war.
K: By buying a stamp, you're contributing to war.
Now, you understand his first question. What are the factors that distort life? What are the seeds conscious or unconscious in one that brings about such a disgraceful existence? Do you want to talk it over together? It would be rather fun, if we could go into it. Now how do you find out? I want to lead a good life, a sane, balanced, healthy life - intellectually, emotionally, and I want to have a very good physical body so that I function harmoniously, happily, easily. I see this as an idea, or as an ideal, or I have a feeling for it, not as something outside but inwardly, innately. I feel this would be marvellous, if I could live like that.
Now what happens? What happens so that things go wrong? I take to drink, you follow - everything goes to pieces. Go on, sir, discuss with me - let's talk it over. Is it a factor of heredity, the genes? Is it that there is a seed in me, in one, that has been so overlaid by environment, by the culture in which I live, and that seed begins to grow and distorts everything, all my life? Now what is that seed?
Q: I project ideas and ideals.
K: He says ideals. I have no ideal. I see the futility of ideals. I've dropped them. I want to lead a really good, sane, balanced life, a happy life. But something goes wrong. I want to find out if it is a seed in me, in one, that gradually puts out its destructive force. I'm enquiring. Is it my parents, is it the society, is it the culture that I live in, that has compelled me to conform, shaped my mind and my heart, and when given an opportunity it breaks through? Which is it? I've seen so many people - I've lived a long time - from the age of fifteen, I've seen this happen, with people of my own age - begin beautifully, you know, and gradually finish, destructive, cruel, brutal, self-centred, ugly, drunk.
Q: For me it's habit.
Q: That seems to stamp on the...
K: Have you understood my question, air? You say ideals create this horror. I have no ideals, I don't look to a future life or to a future action - I want to live a life now, from day to day, happily, energetically, clearly. But at the same time there is a flowering of the ugly - the religions have called it the devil, the evil one, and the Hindus and the Asiatics explain it as karma - the word 'karma' I believe means to act, and that action is conditioned by your past actions. So your actions control your life, therefore behave. If you don't behave properly this life, next life you're going to pay for it, therefore behave, and all that's involved.
So I want to find out why a human being who wants to live a straight, harmonious, active life, totally, all round, gradually goes to pieces? You've understood my question now? That was his question.
Q: In birth itself is the propensity to respond to the existing environment.
K: You're saying, at the very birth itself there is this destructive element.
Q: Not necessarily destructive, but the propensity.
K: Yes, the propensity is there. Sir, don't give me explanations. I don't want explanations - there are about one thousand or nine hundred people here, we'll all give explanations - that doesn't solve my problem. My problem is, there is in me some seed which begins to flower over which I have no control, and that destroys my life. And I want to find out if I can wipe that seed out, destroy it. And I want to find out if that seed in me can be understood, resolved, so that I can live a normal life, and all the rest of it. That's my problem - don't give me explanations. I'm thirsty - you understand, sir - don't give me ashes which are explanations. What am I to do?
Q: Sir, when things start going wrong it's because one starts to compare oneself with others.
K: Yes, sir, you compare yourself, you imitate others, you conform to the social pattern, or reject the social pattern and react against that and try to form your own pattern. We know all this. But the seed goes on. Yes, sir?
Q: Does one recognize what it is?
K: Look, sir - I've been brought up fairly well, educated, so-called educated. And it happens I take to drink. And gradually I drink more and more and more, which destroys my brain cells. What was the origin of it, why did I do this, when I could have walked as - you know - why did I take to drink, destroy myself? Doesn't this happen? Some of you take drugs, LSD, marijuana, pot, all the rest of it. Why? You know very well it destroys your mind and you keep on taking it. I want to find out what is the factor in human beings that brings about this catastrophic activity.
Q: It seems to me that people don't see that it destroys.
K: I know - yes, sir. You see it outside, I don't see it. Why don't I see it? It comes to the same thing.
Q: It seems to me a person takes to drugs or drink because the seed which he has - the centre which is separating him from everything makes existence so intolerable, he has to put himself out of his misery.
K: That's an explanation, isn't it? I want to find out why it happens, why do I do this thing? Is it inevitable because the seed has been planted - put yourself in somebody's place, sir.
Q: The seed can be a conditioning of the past.
K: The seed can be the conditioning of the past, some weakness in the character, some unsolved desire - I want to be great and I can't be great. I see somebody capable, full of life and beauty and I would like to be like him but I can't. I'm jealous, I begin to hate, and escape through drink. I know all this, I conform, or I compare myself with somebody and in that comparison I hate everything, because I can't reach up to that level, I'm jealous. So I take to drink, or drugs, or sex, or whatever it is.
Now after explaining all this, what am I to do?
Q: Become aware of your negative side and it would disappear.
K: If you would become aware of your so-called negative side, then perhaps it would disappear.
Isn't this one of your problems? You may not be so violently destructive, but there are these two sides, aren't there? I want to be kind, generous, I want to have deep affection. At the same time in its wake comes jealousy, antagonism, hate. Haven't you noticed all this? Now how does this happen?
Q: Pursuing pleasure brings about all this. There is no pleasure in duty...
K: I don't know - we're not meeting each other.
Q: Sir, is it because we identify with the seen instead of the see-er.
K: You're not meeting my point. I want you to help me.
K: Yes, sir, I understand - I want you to help me. I want to lead a good social life, and I suddenly become antisocial. I'm taking a different example.
Q: Nobody can help me.
K: Nobody can help me - can't you help me?
K: No? Then what is the point of your existence? I come to you with a problem, you're a human being. You are educated, you have lived a long time, you've seen life. And I say to you, "Please, for god's sake help me." Have you a right to say, "No, it's your own job, you have to go through it."? Because you are also exactly in the same position, you're not different from me. In you there is that seed, in you there is the opposite of what you want to be. So don't say you can't help me - that's an easy way out.
Q: It might be the right way out.
K: It might be the right way out - is it?
Q: Why is my solution good for you?
K: No - you have this problem, haven't you?
Q: You have it.
K: I haven't got it, sir - this gentleman asked this question, and he says, "What is the factor, what is the seed in me that makes all life so destructive, so ugly - which all of us have, either hidden or actively in operation?"
Q: Is it because we look for the happiness outside instead of inside?
K: Is it because we look for happiness outside instead of inside.
K: Let's settle this first - aren't you exactly in the same place as the questioner? Haven't you got this dual factor active in you? Wanting to be kind, generous, affectionate, full of beauty, and at the same time there is an ugly thing going on. Haven't each one of you got this? So your problem is his problem - don't say, "Well, I can't help you." We have to solve this problem together, that's why you are there and we are sitting here.
Q: I feel there are very great individuals who are also very destructive. And that this destructiveness comes from a fear of not being perfect, of searching for perfection in oneself.
K: Please, I understand this. I can give explanations. I say, one of the reasons is the desire to be secure, another reason is the pursuit of pleasure, another reason is fear, the desire to have somebody to help you or to lead you, or some element in you which wants to escape from all this chaos. I can give a dozen explanations. At the end of it I'm still there. Look sir, haven't you been through all this before, haven't you heard inside yourself, or seen your friends going to destruction - haven't you observed all this, of which you are a part?
So what will you do, how will you stop the seed from operating, but only one movement, not double movement? How will you do this?
K: First, don't answer my question yet - please just listen to my question first. One sees this dualistic activity going on. I am asking myself: how is this dualistic, the opposites to stop, only one continuous activity, not an activity which distorts the movement? Now what am I to do? Go into it - I'll show it to you in a minute. Now first of all, is there a duality? You understand? The good and the bad, love and hate - is there this dualistic reality? You've understood my question? Or there is only one factor, not its opposite, because the opposite contains its own opposite. Have you understood? When I say I must not hate, the 'must not' is contained in love. So the opposites contain each other - is that a fact, as it is a fact that it is raining? Do you see it as a fact, or is it just an intellectual concept with which you agree? It is not an intellectual concept when you hear that rain on the canvas. It is raining. You don't speculate about it - it is so. Now, do you see it as clearly as you hear that rain, that the opposites contain each other? Therefore there is no opposite at all. Right?
Look - I am jealous, because my friend or my girl or my wife does something of which I disapprove, or goes away from me. I become furious, angry, jealous. And I fight with jealousy, I rationalize it, I say, "How stupid of me, let her go, what does it matter." But the thing is boiling. Now I say to myself, the fact is, I have never loved her. You understand? Otherwise I wouldn't be jealous. We have taken for granted jealousy is part of love. I heard a friend say the other day, "Oh, without jealousy there is no love".
Now take that - love and jealousy. I'd better begin at the beginning. There are opposites, aren't there? Sunny day and a rainy day, night, darkness and light. The is a man and a woman. Now psychologically are they opposites? Or only one factor and because I do not know how to solve that one factor, I invent other factors. Are we meeting each other? No. All right.
Look - I am angry, that's the only factor, isn't it? When I say, I must not be angry, that's a conclusion, that's an abstraction. But the fact is I'm angry. If I know how to resolve that anger, its opposite wouldn't arise. Are we meeting each other? I am angry. Now can I solve that anger without resorting to its opposite, saying "I must not be angry." The 'must not be angry' is its opposite. And that comes only when I can't understand the whole structure of anger and go beyond it.
So I say, can I understand anger, not control it, not reject it, not yield to it, but understand it, have an insight into the whole structure of anger? If I do, then the opposite doesn't exist. You're meeting my point? Please do come. Shall we go on?
Q: If I don't control my anger I'm afraid I'll kill someone.
K: Look: before you kill somebody, try to find out if you can resolve the anger. To control it is to suppress it. To say, I must not be angry is to create the opposite, and therefore a conflict between 'must not be' and the fact that I am. Or if you try to escape from it, anger is still there.
So now I do not escape, I do not suppress, I do not say, I must resort to - there is anger. Now how am I to go beyond, how is the mind to go beyond it, without creating its opposite? You've understood? Please come on, sir, some of you understand this? Good, then come with me. Then what am I to do? Look what has taken place. Before I tried to control it, which is a wastage of energy. Before I tried to suppress it, which is a wastage of energy. Before I tried to escape from it or rationalize it, which is an avoidance, an escape from the fact. If I don't escape, control, suppress or try to rationalize it, all that energy is concentrated, isn't it? So I have got that enormous energy to deal with one fact, which is anger. Have you got that? Please, otherwise we can't go on - if you haven't got it then it becomes merely verbal. You understand? You're angry, your tradition, your culture says, "Suppress it, control it, escape from it, and rationalize it." I say, that is wasting your energy which prevents you from observing the only factor, which is anger. So anger has no opposite, there is only that, and you have the energy.
Now, next step. Why do you call it anger? Because previously you have been angry, by naming it as anger, you have emphasized the previous experience. So you are observing the present factor with the previous experience, therefore conditioning the present factor. Are you meeting this? So the naming is a wastage of energy. So you do not name, no control, no suppression, no escape, and you have the energy. Then, is there anger? Don't say you don't know, because you are then facing the only factor. And when you are facing completely that factor, the factor doesn't exist, because it exists only when you are escaping, fighting, controlling, suppressing. Right, you've got it?
So, there is in me, in one, a human being, this duality. And I ask myself, "Is there a duality at all?" There is man, woman, sunshine - that's obvious, but psychologically, are there opposites? Or only thought invented the opposite because it could not solve the one factor. Have you got it? Please. And this requires attention, doesn't it? Because to see this clearly you need to observe. And you're prevented from observing when thought says, "I must do something about it." It is thought that has said, "I must control, otherwise I'll kill somebody." It is thought that has said, "I must suppress it, I don't know what to do about it, I must run away from it, I must watch it". These are all activities of thought - when you say, "I must watch it".
So thinking about the factor is a wastage of energy. You understand all this? There is no wastage of energy when there is only observation.
Q: Do you mean by observation that you are that?
K: You've understood the question? Do you mean by observation you see you are that? Aren't you that? Do see it clearly - aren't you that anger? It's part of you. So thought says, "I must do something about that part." So thought begins to function - I must not, I must, it's right, it's wrong, it should be, you follow? So to observe without thought. You've understood, sir?
Now can you listen to that rain - please listen quietly - can you listen to that rain without thinking about the rain? You can only listen to the rain completely when you are not resisting it - when you say, "I can't hear it, I must hear." So you listen, observe, when there is no resistance of any kind. Now are you free of the opposite? Are you free at the end of this talk, are you free of it, never enter into the field of the opposite? Come on, Sirs. Yes, sir?
Q: When I see anger or confusion - when I see confusion very clearly - the thing that I see very clearly is clarity, then it's not confusion, it's clarity. Clarity is the end of confusion.
K: The gentleman says, when I see confusion, observe it totally, not wanting to get beyond it, not trying to find a way out of it, or ask somebody to help you to clear up the confusion, when you see it clearly, then there is clarity. There is clarity, obviously no confusion.
Q: May I ask the question - when I see the brutality of war clearly, it is not the end of the brutality.
K: Of course not. Wait, sir. I see brutality, war, very clearly, all the reasons, the whole structure, the army and the navy, the investment, you follow? - the whole of it, the nationality, pride of leader, white and black and all the rest of it - I see it very clearly. In that perception there is clarity, but war still goes on. Then what is your relationship to the war? You see it clearly, you understand? First of all, do you see it clearly? Or is it just an idea that you see it clearly? To see it clearly you cannot belong to any group as nationality - to any group, politically, religiously, economically - to any group. Then if you see clearly, because you do not belong to any group, to any religion, to any leader, or to any community, then what is your relationship to the fact of brutality, which is war?
Q: I was not talking about the brutality within.
K: No, of course not.
Q: When I see that brutality clearly, that brutality is finished.
K: Yes, I said that. I've no brutality - please listen - I've no brutality because I see the whole business of it and I've finished with it and for me I've finished with it, you understand, not just verbally. Then what is my relationship to the brutality, to the war, to the killing?
Q: You have none - none - it is finished.
K: Have I any relationship with that? Obviously not. Wait - go step by step. I have no relationship, but it's still going on. But I have to do something about it, I can't say, "I've no relationship," and walk off. Right? So what shall I do? I'm very clear - I don't belong to any group, to any race, to any culture, to any religion, to any leader, because all that is part of brutality, and that brutality has produced the war. I see it very clearly - see in the sense, feel it, wipe out the whole thing. Then the brutality exists - what's my relationship? I have no relationship in the sense I don't participate in it, I am not related to it, I have no connection with it, though I buy a stamp which goes to create a war, psychologically I have no relationship with it. But I have to do something, I can't say it has nothing to do with me.
So what shall I do? Are you in that position?
K: Yes, sir - are you? Don't say so easily you are. It means that you stand completely alone, don't you? If you have no authority, if you are not following anybody, you are not dependent or attached to anything - because attachment to a group, to an idea, to a person, breeds antagonism, breeds brutality. So what is your relationship if you see clearly and you say, "I have no relationship, but yet I have to do something, I have to act in this world, I can't just sit back and say, well I have nothing to do with it, with this beastly world." So what shall I do? Is it your problem? You're not a pacifist, you follow? So what will you do? Come on, sirs. Tell me, what am I to do? Go for a walk? What shall I do?
Q: Sir, if the understanding is clear I think the action also would take place.
K: Yes, what is that action?
Q: It would be an individual action.
K: Wait - will it be individual? Or will it be non-individual but human - you see the difference between individual and the human? I want to make a distinction there, if you don't mind. What is the difference between an individual and a human being? Look, sir - you live in Europe, another lives in India, Asia - each of them have the same problems as you have, though modified, but the same problems - hunger, starvation, pleasure, sex, war, worrying about tomorrow, uncertainty, you follow? - the agony of existence - it exists there, it exists here. They are human problems, aren't they? But I can, the individual can translate it as a particular issue. The individual is his temperament, his character, his idiosyncrasy, depending on his conditioning.
So the human is much bigger, wider, whether you're brown, black, purple, Indian, you belong to the whole collective human race, human beings. But the moment you separate yourself as an individual, you are creating a division, and hence conflict and all the rest of it.
So what are you to do as a human being when there is this war going on. Go on, sir.
Q: You identify with it.
K: I can't - how can I identify myself with it? That has been created by nationalism, by the military, by the engineers, by the scientists, by the - you know, all the rest of it - they have invested a tremendous lot of money in the material of war. Each nation does this, it's their peculiar dirty game. And I see the whole thing, I say, "Out." Now what shall I do, as a human being - you understand?
Q: It is very hard to understand the nature of the conflict. But you will attempt to bring out the nature of the conflict, of the duality.
K: What am I to do, sir? This is not a question of duality - what am I to do?
Q: Would it not be better to try to decide what I should not do?
K: What I should not do? All right, let's begin - what should I not do. Should I not buy stamps? Should I not travel by car? Not pay taxes, go round doing propaganda for anti-war, demonstrations, all the rest of it? You follow? You are not answering my question - what am I to do?
Q: I don't see the point of trying to decide the way I am now what to do about that. When I got there, if I got there, I would do it, whatever it was, corresponding to that understanding.
K: I understand your question, sir. He says, why do you put that question when I am not there. What do you mean, you are not there? You mean, you do not see this thing clearly?
Q: That's correct.
K: Therefore why don't you see this thing clearly. People are shedding tears, you understand, sir? Children are being burnt, whole forests are being destroyed; and we sit here and say, "We don't see this." What's wrong with me, when I say, "I don't see it", what is wrong with me when my house is burning, and I don't see it. Is it an avoidance?
Q: If you see this activity going on, one has to resist it, one has to fight against it.
K: Sir, look - please, don't you read the newspapers. Don't you look at what is happening around you? Why do you say, I'll wait till I get there.' It is there, it is now, not tomorrow.
Q: We know - it is very easy to become pessimistic about it.
K: Sir, you're not - don't tell me, wait till it happens to you, then I can wait till I die. It's happening now.
Q: What is one to do?
K: I'm asking this - what am I to do? I have no relationship to the war, I can't just sit still and let the war go by, I'm part of this, I've cut myself completely off, and yet I must act. What shall I do?
Q: If one is really gentle inside oneself, then doesn't this bring about a healing action in one's everyday life?
K: Yes, but the war goes on. I can probably talk to you or to a friend and say, "Look, let's..." - you follow? - "Let's understand all this business", but is that all I can do? Put yourself...
Q: You have to die but we don't know how.
K: You have to die, you don't know how?
Q: The individuality.
K: Isn't this a problem for you?
Q: Yes, of course.
K: Then what do you do about this problem? Just let it remain and go on with the problem till you die?
Q: Can one find a different kind of life without any brutality?
K: I am leading a different kind of life when I don't belong to any country, when I don't belong to any group, when I don't have any kind of relationship with any kind of brutality - I'm leading a different life. And yet round me the misery is going on. What am I to do?
Q: Just try to do as you are doing as far as we have understood.
K: All right, as far as we have understood, we'll do, but have you understood this thing totally? Why don't you see totally, that as long as you have any feeling for nationality, you are breeding war. Why don't you see clearly, that as long as you belong to any sect, any group, any religion, you're breeding war. What prevents you from seeing this? Lazy?
K: The Bible. That's a good idea. (Laughter) That's a marvellous idea. I like that. And in India they would say the Bhagvad-gita, which is the same thing - what a lovely idea, sir.
Q: Survival - the necessity of survival.
K: I haven't understood, sir.
Q: You state that we should hold merely a passport. What nationality would we be allowed to put on the passport?
K: I've got a passport which says I'm an Indian - I'm trying to change it, the passport. (Laughter) It's an awful nuisance when you have to get a visa for every country in the world.
Now let's come back - what am I to do?
K: Sir, listen to this - what is action? Action means the doing, doesn't it? Which is always in the present. Right? The acting is always in the present. Now what is my action based on? On the past, isn't it? No? Please discuss. Isn't my action based on the past, on my memory, on my experience, on my idea of what I should do, on my conditioning? So when action means the present, and what I do is related to the past, then it is not action. If my action is shaped according to my remembrance, then I am acting according to the pattern which my memory has set. Therefore there is no action taking place. Wait. So when I am acting according to a principle, according to an ideal, which is the future, it is no action either. Do you see that? See the reality of it? When you do, then I'm asking myself, what is my action in relation to war, though I'm not related to it. What is my responsibility?
Q: Isn't it to be what you are, having shed these things, then you are free to be what you are?
K: I don't know what I am. I am not all these things, but I don't know what I am, I am not interested, for the moment, what I am. That's not the question. My question is, when I say what am I to do, am I thinking in terms of what to do with regard to the past, or with regard to the future, or only what to do now? You see the difference?
Q: As long as you are acting there's a problem, but if you just live so intensely, and not asking the question what to do but you are living.
K: Yes, quite, that's quite right. I want to - the lady says, if you are living, then there is no question of what you are going to do. But do we live, or do we live in the past, or in the future and therefore we do not live. And therefore the question is - I won't put it yet. Have you understood the question? Look, there is this war, any war, not my favourite war, or my not favourite war - war. I see all wars are caused by many things. And I don't participate in any of them psychologically. Then I'm asking myself, "What is action?" One always acts according to the pattern of the past, a repetitive or non-repetitive action, based on memory, the past. Or action based on a future ideal, or a principle, which I have established as a concept and according to that, act. Now is that action? You follow? Or is action only when there is neither the future nor the past. Therefore there must be an insight into the past, and also an insight into the future, therefore then only there is action. Then when there is that action, I will then relate it to the present.
Has somebody understood?
K: Yes, Signora, I understand that. Please apply this to yourself, look at it: do you act or are you acting according to a memory? Do you act or you are acting according to a concept, belief, a conclusion, a principle, an ideal - find out. And when you find out you will see that's not action, it's either a continuity of a dead thing, or a future thing which is not now. Now, if you see that very clearly, then what is action? Action then is what you are doing now. What you are doing now, is it related to war? Or is it something totally of a different dimension? You've understood, sir?
Q: Seeing all this and the fact that the Vietnam war is not over there, it's everywhere, is the action...
K: Sir, I don't know - I only know what we call action is either the projection of the past in the present, modified by the present, or I am acting according to a principle or an ideal, which is the future. So my action is always there or there, behind me or in front of me, but never in my lap, never acting.
Till I find that out, I can't answer what shall I do with regard to the war. Do you understand my question? I'm not avoiding my action with regard to war. I want to find out what is action.
Q: Isn't the acting according to a principle or an idea, the past or the future, the major factor of war.
K: Obviously, sir, that's just it. You've understood what the gentleman said? Acting according to a principle, to an ideal, or acting according to your conditioning, is perhaps the major factor of war. So till I have really grasped the whole nature of action, any answer will be contributing to war. I don't know whether you see that. Because if I act according to the past, the past says I'm a national. The past says you must be loyal to your country, the past says this is a good war, this is a bad war, the past says, your memories, the inheritance of your race says you must fight to survive.
So if I act according to the past I am contributing to war. Or if I'm acting according to the future ideal, I'm contributing to war, because my culture in which I've been brought up emphasizes these two. So I have to find out for myself what action is. I see these two are not action, which are contributing to war. So my action then doesn't belong to this dimension.
Q: Action in the present is love?
K: Is that an idea? How do you know? If you are acting in the past or in the future - why do you call it love? It may be, but why do you - unless you actually live it, don't call it anything.
Q: I don't even call it war.
K: Don't call it war. War means destroying, war means conflict - give it another name but it's there. Now, sir, have you seen this, have you seen the beauty of this? So a mind that is acting in the past or in the future must contribute to war. A mind that is caught in nationalism, in religious beliefs, rituals, sects and so on, must contribute to war. So have you a mind that doesn't belong to all this? Then if you have, you are doing the right thing. You are acting.
Saanen 2nd Public Discussion 3rd August 1972.
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