Saanen 1974, unedited versions
Saanen 6th Public Talk 25th July 1974
We have been talking over together many problems, many issues and the different forms of conflict that we live. We have been going into all these problems, human problems which are common to the world. It is not only our personal problems but also when you go to India, Asia, America you see the same problems, the same issues, same miseries and confusions and sorrows, and we have gone into them not perhaps in great detail but somewhat deeply. And I think this morning we ought to talk over rather a difficult issue, a difficult problem.
It seems rather a morbid subject but it is not. We have talked about love, pleasure and the various forms of pursuits of that pleasure and the great unsolved problem of fear and sorrow. And we ought to talk about what is living and what it is to die. And whether one can really, not intellectually or romantically, or converted to a certain form of belief and taking comfort in that belief, however rational, however logical and somewhat provable, consider this extraordinary problem of why the human mind has always avoided this question of death. Why the human mind has never been able to solve it. Why the human mind has invented speculative, comforting theories, satisfying beliefs and so on. To go into that problem, that issue, that we all must face one day or another - I hope not for a long time - to understand that, rather to go into it very, very deeply, one must also find out what it is to live. Is living different from dying?
And to find out what living means, we must look at what we call living, actual living: not the theoretical living that we should live, or the ideological concept of a good life, but the life that one leads every day. And it seems to me unless we understand that, the whole significance, not just part of it, the whole area of existence in which is included death - we shall not be able to penetrate into that thing that we don't know, which is called death.
So first we have to look quite objectively, non-personally, non-ideationally at what we are actually doing, which we call living. Because unless one understands this problem of security in all its varieties, at various depths, unless we understand that security, we shall not be able to understand if there is a security when this whole organism comes to an end. Please, as we said several times before, and it is worth repeating, we are serious people - at least the speaker is - and to go into this you must be very, very serious. It is not a thing for the immature mind. We will go into that presently, what we mean by maturity. It isn't something that you just look at and go away, pass it by; it is your life from the moment you are born till the moment you die. It is your life and we are examining that life, which we call living.
And we also explained the day before yesterday, if I remember rightly, what it is to understand. Understanding is not merely an intellectual verbal comprehension. One can say, I have understood verbally, intellectually what you have said. But that understanding is very, very, superficial and therefore does not produce or bring about an action, it remains at a certain level. Understanding implies understanding not only the word, the understanding intellectually, but understanding as a whole, and therefore productive of action. If there is no action following understanding, there is no understanding, obviously. So when we use the word understanding - in that word the implications are a total comprehension in which action takes place. It is not a verbal, emotional, intellectual amusing understanding.
So we must look first at our life - the daily, monotonous, boring life of every human being on this unfortunate earth. Because when you observe it, which is in yourself, the eternal pursuit is for security. Security in pleasure, security in a relationship, security in an ideal, in a concept, in a formula. Please observe it, we are sharing this thing together, you are not just listening and passing it by; you are sharing totally, verbally, actually, in observing yourself. We are seeking security in things - property, money, possessions - and we have built a society where that becomes all important. We have created that society. All human beings right throughout the world have put together a society that is based on not only personal security but the communal security, national security, which is not only in the idea of a nation, but also in the possession of things. And we try to find this security in a concept, which you call the ideal. And all the structure of this desire, the demand, the necessity - and it is a necessity, to be physically secure - predominates all our thinking.
We need to have physical security - food, clothes and shelter: that is an absolute necessity. But that necessity is becoming more and more impossible because of ideological reasons - the ideological reasons being nationalities, class divisions, economic, national division and the concept of a superior and inferior - physical necessity. And the mind can only survive physically, when it is assured of food clothes and shelter - that we see is an absolute necessity, not only for the western world, but for the whole of mankind: the unity of mankind is the political responsibility but the politicians are not going to bring it about, because they survive on national divisions. And this physical security is denied not only for political reasons but a much deeper issue - which is, we have built a conceptual world, a world based on idea, a world based on a philosophy which is essentially material. We went into that the other day. We said thought - please listen to it although I have repeated it a hundred times - thought is essentially material because thought is the response of memory: memory is experience, knowledge that is held in the brain cells, in the tissues of the brain, which is matter. And we have built a world on a concept, on an idea of self-importance, self-survival at any price, identified with the nation, with a religious group. See it in yourself, please.
So as the world is becoming more and more overpopulated, security, physical security is becoming more and more rare, more and more difficult. And a man who feels totally responsible - please listen - totally responsible for all human beings, not only for myself and for yourself - this flame of responsibility makes each one of us non-ideological, non-national and he does not belong to any religion in the accepted form of that word. He is neither a Christian, nor a Hindu, nor a Buddhist, nor a Moslem because they are the factors of dividing people, and therefore bringing about insecurity. I wonder if you follow all this?
And yet the mind must have security, because otherwise it can't function. You follow? Are we communicating with each other? Do, please. This is really quite important if you will give your attention to it. The brain, as we said, with which I think the brain specialists and everybody agrees, must have security. Like a child it must have security. And when there is no security in the real deep sense of that word, it creates a security in a formula, in a concept, in a belief. Belief, a concept, a dogma, an ideal become the neurotic activity of a mind that is seeking security. Right? Watch yourselves. Are you doing this? - not that you agree or disagree with me but are you doing this? Are you seeking security in a concept - Communist, Socialist, Capitalist, all the religions, or a concept that you have yourself found out? And if you have a concept and are acting according to that concept you are acting neurotically, because in a concept there is no security. And yet the brain, the mind, the physical body need complete security. You understand the question? See what we are doing? Physically we want security, not only for ourselves but for the whole of humanity: that is love, that is compassion, but that compassion, that love is denied totally when you seek security in neurotic concepts, and all concepts are neurotic, obviously, because a concept is an idea - you follow? A thing formulated by thought. A thing formulated by a materialistic attitude, and when you have an action based on a concept which is totally material, then division must inevitably take place, and there are battles, quarrels, divisions, agony. So that is one side of it.
Another is, is there security at all? Mind has sought security in things, physical things - property and so on, in name, in property, in a characteristic activity. It has sought security in concepts, ideals, formulas, systems - all that. And when one looks at all that very closely, objectively, non-sentimentally, non-personally, then you will see that whole set-up brings insecurity for everybody. And yet the mind, the brain must have security to function. So I am asking you and myself if there is this thing called security at all? Right? Now that is what we are going to investigate. That is what we are going to find out. But if I find out, and I tell you, then we shall not be sharing. But together we are going to find out. Right?
That means you see the truth of the necessity of physical security which is totally denied by conceptual attitude, and yet the mind is always pursuing in different forms security - security being something permanent. Right? Permanent relationship, and a permanent house, a permanent idea. Now is there such a thing as permanency? I may want it because I see everything around me fading away, withering, in a flux, but the mind says, there must be security, permanency. But there is no permanency in an idea, in a concept, no permanency in things, because there is not or - I do not know - for various reasons. And then I seek permanency in my relationships - in my wife, in my children and so on. And is there a permanent security in relationship? You understand? You ask yourself. When you want permanency in relationship the whole problem of attachment arises. Please do - for your own sake, do watch it. And when you are attached, the whole problem of fear, loss, suspicion, hate, jealousy, anxiety, fear - all that enters into that problem, into that desire to have permanent relationship. You understand? One has found there is no permanency in a concept, though the Catholics, the Protestants, the Communists have indoctrinated the mind, and the mind has accepted that philosophy as permanent. But you can see it is disappearing, it is fading away, they are questioning everything. And also one sees there is no permanency in any physical thing. So the mind says, I must have personal relationship. Right? And then when we see the implications of that relationship, a relationship based on an image of you and of the other, each one having an image about the other, which is impermanent, and yet seeking permanency in that relationship.
So one asks, is there anything permanent? It is a very difficult question to ask, if you are at all serious, and a very difficult thing to find out what happens to a mind - please listen - what happens to a mind that has found the truth that there is nothing permanent? Will it go off, become insane? Please listen to this. Will it take a drug, commit suicide? Will it again fall into the trap of another ideology, another desire which will project a permanent thing? You follow? So please listen to it.
One has discovered by looking, not analysing, by just observing our daily, everyday life, that the mind has sought security in all these things. And thought says, there is no security, there is nothing permanent. And it begins to seek something more permanent. It has not found something permanent here - please listen - therefore it is seeking a permanency in another area, in another consciousness. But thought itself is impermanent. Right? But it has never questioned that itself is impermanent. You understand what I am saying?
So, please this demands tremendous care, don't go off the deep end. So when the mind says, there is nothing permanent, it includes thought. Right? So look at it. Can the mind be sane, healthy, whole and therefore act totally when it realizes there is nothing permanent? Or will it become insane? You follow? When you are confronted with this problem that there is nothing permanent, including the structure of thought, can you stand it? You understand? Can you see the significance of saying there is nothing permanent - including yourself, including all the structure of thought which has built, and says, that structure is 'me'? That 'me' is also impermanent. I wonder if you see all this? Leave it there for the moment, we'll come to it in a different way.
We have also to understand - we are coming to the immense question of death presently, all this is part of it - we have to understand this question of time. Time means movement - right? From here to there, physically; to cover that distance from here to there you need time - time by the watch, time by the sun, time by day or time by year. And what is the relationship of time, which is distance, movement, to thought? Please, this is not difficult, just listen to it and you will see it for yourself. The whole western world principally, essentially is based on measurement - technologically, spiritually, the hierarchy, the top-dog, the top bishop, the top archbishop, the pope, it is all based on measurement - socially, morally and obviously technologically. And the saint also is the supreme measure, accepted by the church or by the religion. So the whole moral, intellectual, structure of our civilization is based on that - time, measurement, thought. Right? Because thought is measurement: thought is time - time being yesterday, what I did yesterday; what I did, modifies the present and this modification continues in a different form in the future. That is time, the movement from the past through the present to the future, is time, which is measurable. Right?
And there must be time to go from here to there. I need time to learn a language, or any technique, but does the mind need time to transform itself? You are following all this? The moment the mind admits time in order to transform itself, it is still within the field of measurement, time, thought. That area has been created by thought, and to change itself, to bring about a different mind, if it still functions within that same field, then there is no change at all. Right? May I go on? I hope you are following all this.
Look, I'll put it this way. I am greedy and I know greed is comparative - right? I have this feeling of greed which arises when I see something more than I have: which is a measure - right? And I ask myself, to transform that feeling, that measurement, is time necessary? If time becomes a necessity, then I still remain within the field of measure: therefore I have not changed greed at all. You have seen this? So is there a change which is not based on cause, which is time, but change which is instantaneous? Please, you are asking all these questions, not I only.
I am violent: human beings are unfortunately violent beings: violence, for various causes, we know all that. To change violence - to transform it so that the mind is never violent, does it need time? If you admit it needs time, then that violence takes another form because it is still within the same area - right? Some of you have got it? If you have got it, tell others.
So I am asking, is the desire for permanency the cause, is that desire the cause - cause, desire and the action of permanency, that is still within the field of time: I am moving: the cause, the motive, makes me desire permanency, and so on. So cause brings about the structure of time. Now I ask is there any permanency at all?
Now let's look at it: you follow, we have looked at time, permanency, time, and now we are going to look at our daily life which is based on that. Right? Desire for permanency in relationship, because that is becoming more and more real, because we have discarded all the others, the intellectual permanencies, of theories, state-worship, church - and so on: we have discarded it, and so we say there must be permanent relationship, that is the only thing we have, and in that too we find there is no permanent relationship. Can the mind, your mind, face this absolute truth that there is no permanency? To see this, not just theorize about it.
Then let us look at the problem, at this immense problem which man has never been able to solve, this question of death. They are all related - please, you understand?
When you go to India you see dead bodies being carried about to the river, to be burned: you see them in the western world, the hearse, the black thing with flowers on it, and the long queue of mourners, and those who say, thank God he is dead! You have all that. And the people who cry, because they have lost, and the people who inherit the wealth, who are delighted! And when we have seen this physical phenomenon, what is your response? Do you see yourself in the hearse - you follow, the whole process? What is your relationship to death which is there? This is not a morbid question, not something that will make you sad, and all the rest of the romantic nonsense, but actually when you face this thing, when you see it all about you, in all its crudeness, in all its decorated corruption, what is your relationship to it? Is it an intellectual relationship: you say, yes we are all going to die one day, that is inevitable, and logical, and I accept that logical inevitability with a rational mind? Is that what your relationship is? Or is it a romantic relationship? Or is it a total relationship? We are all going to die one day, that is inevitable: through disease, accident, old age, painful diseases because we have not taken care when we were young, or we have grown to maturity too quickly, you understand? Don't you understand what I am talking about? No.
Have you noticed how all the young people in the modern world are astonishingly mature physically, so quickly: they have sexual experience when they are twelve and thirteen, they smoke, they drink, take drugs at the age of twelve, thirteen, fifteen: they are already grown up: they drink, they smoke, they do all these sexual things, and they are already gone - you follow? And because of the demands of society, all the industry of entertainment, the schools, the colleges, everything making them mature, physically at an astonishing speed. You are already old when you are thirty - gone! You follow? And as you grow older your body begins to date much quicker, and the doctors have their medicines, their pills - all the rest of it. And you do not see the sadness of all this. You understand? If you have children - and you see them growing so quickly, never having a childhood, never a boyhood, always caught in the trap of civilization, and it is a very sad thing to see this - not romantically but it is a dreadful thing to see this happening to human minds, where they should grow slowly, mature quietly, so that the mind at the end of its life is completely alive, whole, healthy But instead of that our bodies begin to have diseases, complaints, you know, all the rest of it.
So we die, through disease, accident, old age, in misery, in conflict, in pain, in sorrow; then there is the sorrow that comes through attachments to things that we are leaving behind - right? Your friend, your wife, your book, your name, your experience, your fame, your notoriety - all that! The character that you are supposed to have built up. All that you are leaving behind, and you are frightened, enormously. Have you noticed all this? Notice it, not at the end of one's life, but now. You understand? You can notice this now, when you are living. And the organism fades, decays and dies. And also of course all this idea that you will be physically resurrected. You should have a camera at that moment. And they have their own physical resurrection of the saints in India, and all that. What a lot of rubbish we do indulge in! And the mind with its thoughts, all the things it has built, and thought says to itself, all right the body goes, but I go on. You follow? I go on in my books, I go on in my children, I go on in my work that I have done, and I have left it to somebody else - the work, the book, the name, the form, that goes on. And that is called also immortality, of a certain kind. But the book, the business, the name, the form also decay - somebody else takes it over - right? And thought says, all right, I know that too. So thought says, I'm alive, so I will be born again next life; the whole of the East believes that - the whole of the East. So thought, not seeing its own impermanency - please see this - thought not seeing the structure which it has built around itself as the 'me' as being permanent, and not seeing its impermanency, says I am the cause, and that cause must go on. And that cause is time. Please see the relationship - that cause is the time; and that says, I will go on, I will go on improving myself. You follow? Because God is there, and I cannot reach him now, but I will go on, slowly, till I am perfecting myself and ultimately I will reach what I have projected as God. You follow all this?
So there is this thought of human beings as a great stream. Right? Everybody wants to go on. Right? And in that stream the thought of you remains. Please see this. And when the mediums, the physical research societies and all those people, when they call upon you, you manifest out of that stream, because you are still there, and you are still there in your daily life, because you are still pursuing this, the same thing every human being is pursuing - security, permanency, 'me' and not 'me', we and they, this constant concern with myself - in that stream all human beings are caught. Right? And when you die, the thought of you goes on in that stream. Right? As you are going now - you are a Christian, Buddhist, whatever it is. You are greedy, envious, ambitious, frightened, pursuing pleasure - that is this human stream in which you are caught. Unless you step out of this now you will go on in that stream, obviously. Can the mind step out and face complete impermanency, now? If you have understood the whole - that is death isn't it? You understand, sir?
You see the ancient Hindus, they were very clever people; they thought this is impossible, man can't let go of everything instantly. Therefore the idea of 'me', as you hold to it, must go on: the 'me' which is the result of time, measurement, thought, of course. Right? You have got it? That 'me' must evolve, slowly through various lives must evolve till it reaches the highest excellence, which is Brahmin - God, what you like to call it. So they had that idea. The Christians have it in a different way, not so mathematically, so cleverly worked out, such subtle implications involved in it. I will not go into all that. In that is implied that the next life becomes very important, therefore this life is important. This life becomes tremendously important because how you behave now, if you behave rightly, you will be rewarded next life. You understand? That is the belief. They all believe in it, but nobody behaves now. (Laughter). So they carry on this game. You understand?
So can the mind, seeing all this phenomena - you follow? - tremendous - I cannot go into all the details of it, it is such a vast area in which the mind has sought security: mind has created time, as thought, as measurement. And in that measurement, in that time, it has a movement in which it has tried to find permanency, as the 'me'. The 'me', and you, and so on. And we are asking, seeing all this enormous area, very complex and extraordinarily subtle, can the mind see the truth that there is absolutely no permanency - which is really death. You understand?
Can you see the truth of this? Not accept the truth of another: then it is not truth, it is mere propaganda, which is a lie. Can you, for yourself, after all this explanation for an hour, see the truth of it? Not the verbal truth, not the intellectual concept, saying, yes, I have understood it. That is not truth. Truth means it acts. It acts, and so you see that there is no permanency: then you are no longer attached. You are no longer attached to an idea, a concept, a religious belief, a dogma, a saviour. So now what takes place. You follow? When you see the truth of that there is freedom, and freedom means total intelligence. I wonder if you see this. Not the intelligence of cunning thought but that supreme intelligence which has seen the truth and therefore is free of the things that thought has created. And that quality of intelligence, which is supreme and excellent in its essence, can operate, you follow? Therefore there is security in that - not in this. I wonder if you are getting all this? Then you can live in this world with things, or with nothing, you understand? So that is immortal, you understand? That intelligence which is neither yours, nor mine, which does not belong to any church, to any group, that is the highest form and therefore in that there is complete and total security. Mind cannot create that intelligence. It takes place when you see the truth of the obvious, when you see the false as the false. Then the mind is no longer caught in the network of thought, and that intelligence can operate in our daily life because there is permanency. Right - got it?
Do you want to ask any questions?
Q: Have you achieved the state of freedom? If you are free then I might have a chance.
K: The gentleman asks, have you, the speaker, achieved or come upon that state. If you have, then I also have a chance.
Sirs, as I have said from the beginning, the speaker would not talk about this thing unless he has it, he is involved in it. But that is not important, whether he has it, or does not have it. But what is important is, have you? You understand. If you say, you have got it, and therefore there is a chance for me, then you are depending on him. Right? Then he becomes your beastly little guru: then you will become the follower, and followers always destroy truth. You understand? Invariably he corrupts truth, and therefore truth does not exist any more. But if you - you as a human being - have understood this, understood in the sense, act, then it is yours, and nobody can take it away. Then you do not have to compare, and when you say, I have also a chance, then you are really comparing. When you compare you are competitive, you are measuring, thought is operating, not your intelligence operating. Therefore sirs, don't look to another: be your own light. Yes, sir?
Q: You talk about unconditioning oneself immediately, without time. And I don't have that experience. I have unconditioned myself, but it takes time.
K: You say, you must uncondition yourself, and you also say that it does not need time, but I find, the questioner says, that I can perhaps uncondition myself, but it takes time.
Sir, I have explained what is time. Just listen to it. First of all, look, we are conditioned. Wherever you live, the Communist world, the Socialist world, Capitalist world, Catholic world, the Hindu world, you are conditioned, from childhood - by the culture in which you live, the parents themselves are conditioned, they condition you, the schools, the colleges, the whole structure conditions you. And being conditioned, invariably you live in a very small field, and that very conditioning divides and therefore there is conflict: wherever there is a division, there must be conflict, Jew, Arab, and so on and so on. Greek and the Turk, including the latest. So then you are conditioned. And does it take time for the mind to free itself from its conditioning? Right? That is the question. Right?
Now we said, what is time? Time is measurement. Time is movement, the movement from being conditioned, to non-conditioning; the movement from there to there. Right? Time is thought, of course, because thought has created this conditioning and thought also is creating the unconditioned state, which it wants to achieve, of course. So it is moving, from conditioning, the conditioned mind, to a non-conditioned mind. That movement has a distance from there to there. And to cover that distance, you need time. Right? But see what thought has done: created the conditioning, and it has created the non-conditioned state, which is a form of another conditioning, because it is a product of thought: it is moving from the known to the known. Right? Therefore it is a movement in time. Now is it possible to look at that conditioning without this movement? You follow? Give it a little bit of your thought, your attention.
I am conditioned, born in India, and so on and so on. And I see that it will be good to have an unconditioned mind, because there is freedom, there is a sense of wholeness, and in that there is no conflict - I see that. So I would like to get there: I would like to have that mind which is really unconditioned. And so I need time for that. This is the tradition, isn't it? This is the accepted tradition that you must have time. Right? Tradition also means, as I have pointed out, betrayal. Betrayal of the fact that you have done this: moved from wanting to uncondition - you follow? That is what you have done. And you are betraying the fact that your mind is conditioned. So can you look at that conditioning without the movement of time. You follow sir? Without wanting to uncondition that. The desire to uncondition is the movement of time to that state when the mind is not conditioned. You know nothing about an unconditioned mind - right? But you have invented an unconditioned mind. So can you look at your conditioning without the movement of its opposite? To look: can I look at my greed, envy, at my lying, my vanity, without its opposite? Is there an opposite? Obviously not. So when the mind moves towards the opposite, it is betraying the fact of 'what is', therefore it is caught in the movement of time, therefore there is no answer out of it. You follow? Therefore I have only one thing left. Can the mind observe the fact - the lie, the greed, the vanity, the neuroticism and so on and so on - just look? Now, to look you must give your whole attention - not casually play with it. Give your complete attention. There is no attention when there is the opposite. When you see the falseness of the opposite, then you have this complete attention with which to look. Then you will see, sir, attention burns away all conditioning.
Q: I found that too with everything but fear. Some fear has gone away but others remain.
K: Do you want to discuss fear now? Can we do it the day after tomorrow - on Sunday - part of it. I think we had better stop. We will go into this question of fear because that is really quite important, and perhaps in talking about it, or going into it, we will also go into the question of what is meditation. Meditation is something - I won't go into it now. You see what we did this morning is a form of meditation, you understand?
Saanen 1974, unedited versions
Saanen 6th Public Talk 25th July 1974
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