Ojai 2nd Public Talk 3rd May 1981
I suppose you know why you are here, why you have come on a lovely morning like this. May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday?
If one may again point out that we are not doing any kind of propaganda for any idea, for any belief, for any group or concept and so on. What we are doing together is to observe what is happening in the world, not only in the world outside of us but also inwardly, psychologically, just to observe, not to draw any conclusion from that observation, not to make an abstraction of it into an idea, or observe without any prejudice, or being committed to any particular philosophy, religion, or any psychological conclusions, Freudian and so on. Just to observe. And that requires a certain freedom, certain sensitive awareness. And if one so observes, all over the world there is a great deal of violence, streets are becoming dangerous, there is the national, religious, sectarian divisions, and ultimately there is the nuclear bomb with all its horrible devastation. There is the computer and the robot, which are probably going to take over all the activities of mankind; and there is general, throughout the world, degeneration taking place. And if we observe it closely, what is taking place in the outward world is the result of what is happening to each one of us inwardly. We have created this society - our parents, grandparents, the past generations, and generation after generation, and we are adding to that. This society is not something created by some strange events, but it is created by human beings all throughout the world.
The crisis is not in politics, in governments, whether it is totalitarian, or so-called democratic, the crisis is not among the scientists, nor among the established respectable religions. We said all this yesterday. The crisis is in our consciousness, which is in our minds, in our hearts, in our behaviour, in our relationship. And the crisis cannot be understood fully, and perhaps met totally unless we understand the nature and the structure of this crisis in consciousness, which is put together by thought. We are repeating what we said yesterday because perhaps there are some people who have come on Sunday morning, so I have to repeat it again.
Please I would like to point out, this is not an entertainment - intellectual, romantic, emotional or sensational. We are rather serious, and if you are at all serious too we can explore together into the nature of this crisis. It is not a crisis somewhere else, it is in our minds, in each one of our minds, in our hearts, in our relationship with each other. And the crisis, as we have said, is in our consciousness. This consciousness is common to all mankind. Wherever you go man is suffering, uncertain, insecure, lonely, neurotic, depressed, elated, chasing one fad after another, specially in this part of the world. And this crisis is brought about by thought. Thought has put together the content of our consciousness. Please, if one may again point out very clearly, that we are not explaining, we are observing together. The speaker is not a teacher. There is no teacher, except in mathematics, or if you want to be a good carpenter, but in the world of psychology there is no teacher and there is no disciple, there is no leader, or a follower. We are together observing the nature of man, what has happened to him, why we are as we are now - violent, neurotic, lonely, terribly uncertain, confused, and to this confusion the philosophers are adding to it, the religious people are adding to it, the evangelists, the scholars, and so on.
So we are learning, or observing our own state of mind. That's where real education begins, self education. We have learnt so much from others about ourselves. We are always looking for others to lead us, not only outwardly but specially in the psychological realm, inwardly. If there is any trouble, any disturbance, we immediately go after somebody who will help us to clear it away. We are addicted to institutions, we are addicted to organizations, hoping that they will settle our problems, help us to clarify our own minds. So we are always depending on somebody. And dependence will inevitably bring about corruption. So here we are not depending on anybody, including the speaker, specially on the speaker, because there is no intention to persuade you to think in any particular direction, to stimulate you by fanciful words and theories, but rather to observe what is actually going on in the world, and all the confusion within.
And in that observation not to make an abstraction of what is observed into an idea. Please let's be very clear on this point. When we observe that, a tree, the word 'tree' is an abstraction, it is not the tree. Right? I hope that is clear. The word, the explanation, the description, is not the actuality, it is not 'what is'. So we must be very clear on this point from the beginning. When we observe actually what is going on in the world, and deeply in our own consciousness, that observation can remain pure, direct, clear when there is no abstraction of what is observed into an idea. And most of us live with ideas, which are not actualities. Ideas become all important, not what actually is. Philosophers use ideas in various senses - the Aristotelian, various philosophers have used ideas in their own particular way. But we are not dealing with ideas. We are concerned only with the observation of what is going on, actually, not theoretically, not according to a particular pattern of thought, but what is. And in that observation of 'what is' to make that very clear. An abstraction of 'what is' into an idea brings only further confusion. One hopes this is clear.
As we said, the crisis is in our consciousness. That consciousness is the common ground of all humanity. It is not a particular consciousness, it is not your consciousness, it is the consciousness of man, of the human, because wherever you go, the Far East, the Middle East, or far West, or middle West, all over the world, man, the human being, suffers, has pain, lives in deep uncertainty, loneliness, utter despair, caught in various fanciful religious concepts which have no meaning whatsoever in actuality. So this is common to all mankind. Please do see this very clearly. It is not your consciousness, it is the consciousness of all human beings who go through such travail, such misery, conflict, wanting to identify themselves with something, with the nation, with a religious figure, or a concept.
As we were saying, this consciousness is common to all mankind. Please grasp the significance of this. Because it is very important to understand this because we have separated ourselves as individuals, which we are not actually, we are the result of a million years. In those million years we have been encouraged, we have accepted the idea - the idea - of the individual. Actually when you observe closely, you are not an individual, you are like the rest, psychologically, of mankind. This is a very difficult thing to perceive because most of us cling to this idea - idea - that we are all separate individuals with our own personal ambitions, greed, envy, suffering, loneliness. But when you observe, this is what everybody is doing. And the concept as an individual makes us much more selfish, self-centred, neurotic, and competitive. So competition is destroying man also. So the world is you, and you are the world. It is a marvellous feeling that, if you really understand it. In that there is great vitality, perception. There is immense beauty in it. Not the mere beauty of a painting, a poem, or a lovely face. But we are the world, and that world is you, me.
And in this part of the world, freedom is misused, like the rest of the world, because each one wants to fulfil, to be, to become. And therefore the content of our consciousness is this constant struggle to be, to become, to succeed, to have power, to have position, to have status. And that you can only have if you have money, or talent, or capacity in a particular direction. So the capacity, talent encourage individuality. But if you observe, that individuality is put together by thought.
And so observing all this, the crisis is in the very nature of thought. We went into that yesterday briefly, and we will go into it again very carefully. The outward world and the inward world is put together by thought. Thought is a material process. Thought has built the atom bomb, the shuttle, the computer, the robot, and all the instruments of war. Thought has also built the marvellous cathedrals, the churches, and all the content of those cathedrals and churches. There is nothing whatsoever sacred in the movement of thought. What thought has created as a symbol which you worship, is not sacred, it is put there by thought. The rituals, all the religious divisions, and national divisions, are the result of thought. Please look at it very closely. We are not persuading, or condemning, or encouraging, we are just observing. This is a fact.
So the crisis is in the very nature of thought. And as we said yesterday, thought is the result of the origin of the senses, the sensory responses, the experience, meeting with something which is recorded as knowledge, as memory, and from that memory arises thought. This has been the process and the nature of thought for millions and millions of years. All the culture from ancient Egypt, 5,000 BC, and previous to that, is based on thought. And thought has created this confusion outside and inside. Please observe it for yourself, I am not teaching you, I am not explaining, the speaker is merely putting into words in order to communicate what he has observed, but you are observing, not me, not the speaker. We are both observing the nature and the structure of thought. That is, sensory reactions, experience which you meet with something which is an experience, that experience is recorded as knowledge, that knowledge becomes the memory, and that memory acts as thought. So from that action you learn more, accumulate more knowledge. So man has lived for millions and millions of years in this process - experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, in this chain. I wonder if we see this very clearly.
And we have given tremendous importance to knowledge. All the universities, all the scientific knowledge, the knowledge that one has acquired through experience for oneself becomes all important. But knowledge is never complete, never, whether it is scientific knowledge, or the knowledge of a carpenter, the knowledge of a housewife, or the so-called knowledge of the gurus or the priests. There is no revelation but only thought reveals.
So our crisis is in the very nature of thought. One hopes this is clear. You will then say, how can we act without knowledge, without thought? That is not the point. First observe the nature of thought, very clearly, without any prejudice, without any direction, just that it is like that. So our brains living in this cycle of experience, knowledge, action, memory, more knowledge, have problems because knowledge is limited always, so our brains are trained to resolving problems. It is a problem-resolving brain, it is never free from problems. One hopes you see the distinction between the two. Our brains have been trained to resolve problems, both in the scientific world and in the world of psychology, in the world of relationship. Problems arise, we try to solve them. The solution is always within the field of knowledge.
As we were saying, knowledge is always incomplete. This is a fact. And the brain is accustomed, trained, to solve problems. It is a problem-solving brain. This is rather an important point to observe, with sensitive awareness, that knowledge is never complete under any circumstances.
Let's look at something else, which is, what is beauty? Because there is so little beauty in the world, apart from nature, apart from the hills, groves, and rivers, and the birds, and the things of the earth, why is there so little beauty in our lives? We go to the museums and see the paintings, the sculptures, and the extraordinary things man has made - the poems, the literature, the magnificent architecture, but when we look within there is so little beauty. We want beautiful faces, paint them, cover them, but inwardly - we are observing again, not denying it or accepting it - there is so little sense of beauty, quietness, dignity. Why? Why has man become like this? Why have human beings who are so clever, so erudite in all other directions, going to the Moon and planting a piece of cloth up there, creating marvellous machinery, why have all of us become what we are - vulgar, noisy, mediocre, full of vanity of little career, arrogant in our little knowledge - why? What has happened to mankind? What has happened to you?
And I think this is the crisis. And we avoid it, we don't want to look at ourselves clearly. And self education is the beginning of wisdom - not in books, not in somebody else, but in the understanding of our own selfish, narrow, distorted activity that is going on day after day, day after day. And, as we said, the crisis is in our heart and mind, in our brain. And as knowledge is always limited, and we are always acting within that field, and so conflict is everlastingly in the arena of knowledge. This must be clearly understood. We try to solve problems - political, religious, personal relationships and so on, and these problems are never solved. You try to solve one problem and the very solution of that problem brings other problems, which is happening in the political world. And so you turn to faith, to belief. I do not know if you have observed that belief brings about atrophy of the brain. Look at it, observe it. The constant assertion, "I believe in god", "I believe in this", "I believe in that", the repetition of that, which is what is happening in the churches, in the cathedrals, in the temples, in the mosques, is gradually atrophying the brain, not giving it nourishment. As a person who is attached to a belief, to a person, to an idea, in that attachment there is conflict, fear, jealousy, anxiety, and that is part of the atrophy of the brain, this constant repetition. I am an American, I am British, Hindu, and all that nationalistic nonsense. The repetition of that, if you observe, brings about lack of nourishment to the brain, and so the brain becomes more and more dull, as you must have observed those people who repeat, repeat that there is only one saviour, there is only the Buddha, Christ, this or that.
If you watch yourself you will see this attachment to a belief is part of the desire to be secure, and that security, the desire and the demand for psychological security in any form does bring about this atrophying of the brain. From that arises all kinds of neurotic behaviour. Most of us would rather reject this because it is too frightening to observe this. That is the very nature of mediocrity. When you go to some guru, to some priest, to some church, and repeat, repeat, repeat, and your meditation is a form of that repetition - in that repetition there is security, a sense of safety, and so gradually your brain becomes atrophied, shrivelled, it becomes small. Watch this for yourself. I am not teaching you. You can observe it in your life. But this observation of the crisis and the crisis which is in our mind and heart and in our consciousness is always bringing conflict because we are never able to solve any single problem completely without having other problems. So look what is happening to us. Problems after problems, crisis after crisis, one uncertainty after uncertainty.
So can the brain, mind, be ever free from problems? Please ask this. This is a fundamental question one must ask oneself. But the brain is so trained to solve problems, it cannot understand what it means to be free of problems. Being free it can resolve problems, but not the other way round.
So the question is: can this crisis in our consciousness - that crisis is brought about by thought, thought being always incomplete, and thought can never solve problems. It can increase or diversify problems.
If this is very clear then one begins to enquire if there is another instrument which will free the brain of all problems so that it can meet problems. You see the difference? It is only the free mind, free brain that has no problems that can meet problems, and resolve them immediately. But the brain that is trained to the solution of problems, such a brain will always be in conflict. And then the question arises: how is it possible to be free of conflict. That is why we said, thought is the instrument that is creating our problems.
Look at it very closely in another direction. We have problems in relationship between man and woman, or between man and man - homosexuality, in this country, more and more, not that it doesn't exist in other countries, but here it is becoming - you know all about it. Look at it very closely, observe it, not try to change it, try to direct it, say, it must not be this way, or it must be that way, or help me to get over it, but just to observe. You can't change the line of that mountain, or the flight of the bird, or the flow of the water, swift, you just observe it, and see the beauty of it. But if you observe and say, that is not so beautiful as the mountain I saw yesterday, you are not observing, you are merely comparing.
So let's observe very closely this question of relationship. Relationship is life. One cannot exist without relationship. You may deny relationship, you may withdraw from relationship because it is frightening, because in that there is conflict, hurt. So most of us build a wall round ourselves in relationship. So let's look very closely, observe, not learn. There is nothing to learn, but only to observe. Do you see the beauty of it? Because we always want to learn and put it into the category of knowledge. Then we feel safe. But whereas if you observe without any direction, without any motive, without any interference of thought, just to observe, not only with a naked eye visually, but also with a mind and heart and brain that is free to observe without any prejudice, then you discover for yourself the beauty of relationship. But we have not that beauty. So let's look at it closely.
What is relationship? To be related, not blood relationship, but to be related to another. Are we ever related to another? Except perhaps sexually, or holding hands, but psychologically, inwardly, deeply, are we ever related to anybody at all? Or we want to be so deeply related and we don't know how it could happen. So our relationship with another is full of tears, occasional joy, occasional pleasure, and the repetition of sexual pleasure.
So if you observe, are we related to anybody at all? Or we are related to another through thought, through the image that thought has built about your husband and your wife, the image that you have about her or him? Obviously. So our relationship is between the image you have about her and she has about you. And each one carries this image, and each one goes in his own direction - ambition, greed, envy, competition, seeking power, position. You know what is happening in relationship, each one moving in opposite directions, or perhaps parallel, and never meeting. Because this is the modern civilization, this is what you are offering to the world. And so there is constant struggle, conflict, divorce, changing of so-called mates. You know what is happening.
So when you observe all this it is rather frightening. And this is called freedom. So when you observe the fact - if you observe the fact very closely without any motive, without any direction, the fact begins to change because you are giving your complete attention to observe. Do you follow this? When you give complete attention to something you bring, as it were, light upon the subject. Then that light clarifies, and that clarification dissolves that which is. Do you understand this? Are we meeting each other? The fact is there is an image which thought has created during twenty, thirty, five days, or ten years, an image, and she, the other has an image, and each one is ambitious, greedy, wanting to fulfil sexually, this way, that way, you know, all the turmoil that goes on in this so-called relationship. And the observation of that, pure observation of that. It is only when you want to escape from it that all the neurotic business begins, and then you have all the psychologists helping you to become more neurotic. Face the problem, look at it, give your total attention to it. When you do give so complete attention, with your heart, with your brain, with your nerves, with everything you have, all your energy to look, then in that attentive observation there is clarification. And that which is clear has no problem. Then relationship becomes something entirely different.
So life, for most of us is becoming an enormous problem, because life is relationship. And if we are not related, as we are not, from that all problems arise. And we have created a society which is born out of the lack of relationship. And the communists, the socialists, the democrats, the politicians, are trying to change the nature, the structure of society. The basic question is to have right relationship with another. If you have it with one person you have it with everybody, with nature, with all the things of the beauty of the earth.
So one has to go back and enquire very deeply, again why thought has created this havoc in our lives, because it is thought that has put together this image about my wife and myself, and me and another. You cannot escape from this unless you resolve it, look at it - going to church, prayers, those are all too childish, utterly immature, because they have not solved any problem. One must begin very close to go very far. To begin very closely is to observe our relationship with another, whatever it is, with your boss, with your carpenter, if you are a master carpenter, if you are a foreman, if you are a worker, with your husband, life is a movement in relationship. And we have destroyed that relationship by thought. And thought is not love. Love is not pleasure, it is not desire. But we have reduced everything to that. We will go into all that next Saturday and Sunday. The day after tomorrow, Tuesday and Thursday, we will have questions.
Ojai 2nd Public Talk 3rd May 1981
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