Saanen 1st Public Question & Answer Meeting 25th July 1982
The talks are over. This is a meeting where many questions have been put, written down. And I don't think it's possible to answer all the questions that have been sent in. It would probably take ten days or so to answer each one of them, or perhaps more. So I've chosen some of the questions out of them.
When we put a question to somebody, or to ourselves, what is the intention behind the question? Is it merely to find an answer, and the answer from somebody else, or do we put the question to ourselves and what is the response to the question which we have put to ourselves? As there have been written down questions handed over, apparently you're expecting actually answers from the speaker. I'm afraid that will not be possible. We are going together to explore the question. We're going together not seek an answer, but rather what the question itself means. And so in the very investigation of that question we find the answer - we find the answer is in the question, not away from the question. Right?
The question is an explosion, it's a challenge. And to meet a challenge, whether it is scientific, medical or our own personal lives, one must approach it correctly. The approach, if we can go into it first, matters a great deal. How do we approach any problem? A problem, the meaning of that word is something thrown at you - that's the root meaning of that word, something pushed forward. And how do we meet it? What is our motive in looking at it, the question. What is our cause in inquiring into the question? Is it to find a comfortable answer, a satisfying answer, or to investigate the question so deeply? And to enquire deeply one cannot have a motive, a question when you are looking at it, exploring it, opens its whole depth and significance. So could we, this morning and the next two mornings, in investigating the question, one must be clear whether we approach it with a motive, or observe the question very carefully, so that the question itself begins to unfold.
For most of us we want to narrow down everything to a certain narrow point of view. For most of us any problem which is related to all other problems - there is no single problem by itself - but we would like to reduce this problem to a narrow, limited, enquiry. But in enquiring you must let it flow, let it run, let it move. So that's what we can, I hope, together, go into these questions. The speaker is not answering the questions, but rather together co-operating in the enquiry of the question. Right?
1st QUESTION: Can one slow down the ageing process of the mind? Or is the deterioration of the mind inevitable?
That is a question that all of us are asking as we grow older. Everybody wants to slow down the process of ageing, not only physically but also mentally, intellectually, emotionally, and keep the capacity of heightened sensitivity. Right? We all want that, especially as one grows older. One can be old at the age of ten. Or one can be old at the age of ninety. So we must enquire what do we mean by growing old.
The world outside of us is always pressing down upon us. The world is becoming more and more dangerous, more and more violent, and if we do not respond to it correctly, we'll also be violent, we'll also be destructive and degenerating. So there is the problem, there is the question: can the brain keep young? It doesn't matter how old it is, can that brain be active, efficient, clear, and have the energy of youth, to make decisions, and maintain a certain standard of quality? That is the problem, that is the question. Right? Is this possible? We would all like to have a very clear, precise, decisive brain, unconfused, uncluttered, always fresh, moving, not bogged down by problems. That's what we all would like, whether we are very young or very old.
And what makes the brain old? Please, we are enquiring together, you're not just listening to the speaker. What makes the brain, which is, as we explained during the talks, not our brain, it is not a personal brain, that it's rather childish and rather immature to think our brain is mine and yours, because the brain has evolved through time, accumulated a great deal of knowledge, has been through a great many experiences, pain, sorrow, anxiety, all kinds of travail. It's not my brain or your brain, it's the brain of humanity that has manifested itself in each of us. I think we have talked about it very carefully so we don't have to go into it now.
So what makes the brain, which is manifest in each of us, old, worn down? Please, we're asking each other this question. Please think it out, not just wait for me to explain it. Any organism, any machinery, wears down through friction - friction, either artificially created, brought about, or the natural friction. Whether it is artificial or natural, it is friction. Everything wears down through friction, friction being strain, disease, ill health, wrong behaviour and so on. It is inevitable that the brain should and must break down, deteriorate. And the questioner asks whether it is possible to keep it afresh. In investigating this question, what is the cause of this deterioration? Is it conflict, perpetual conflict? Our life is not only conflict but adjustment. We are exploring together, you're not accepting what the speaker is saying. We are together looking at this problem. This question has been asked from the ancient of times, and apparently very few have found the answer, the cause. Perhaps we can try to find the correct observation into this matter.
Is it conflict? Conflict in our relationship, conflict in becoming - I am this, I will be that. 'What is' and 'what should be', 'what is', and transform 'what is' into the ideal. 'What is', that is, what I am, what is at the present moment, what is actually happening inwardly, and that happening is translated according to the past, or according to an ideological concept. So there is always this contradictory existence. This very contradiction is the cause, one of the causes of conflict. Right?
Please, let's understand it very carefully. 'What is', that which is actually happening, and we have the ideal, the opposite, and we strive to achieve the opposite, so there is always conflict. Is this very clear then we can enquire if this conflict is necessary. We might say all life so far has been a series of infinite conflicts, it can never end - that's part of life. If you accept that, then inevitably the machinery, which is the brain, will wear down. But if you don't accept that, that conflict is necessary, then we can ask, as we're asking now: is conflict necessary, in relationship, in learning, in acquiring knowledge, conflict? Now, which means, does duality exist at all, the opposite? Right? Are we meeting each other? We're asking each other, does the opposite exist, which is the contrary, which is something totally opposed to 'what is'.
That is - you're following all this, we're enquiring - are you interested in all this? I hope the speaker is not making you interested in it. This is a natural interest of every human being, wherever he be in the world, he wants to find out.
And we're asking, is there a psychological opposite? There is the opposite, man-woman, darkness and light, pain and no pain - there is the opposite, naturally, but we're asking, is the conflict, does it exist in the psychological opposite? Is that clear? So is there an opposite to 'what is'? I am violent, and is there an opposite to violence? And many philosophers and many teachers and many idealists have said it, the opposite is the concept of non-violence. Right? Then we have the problem right away, the concept and the fact. So there is a division of time. Right? Time being, 'what is' and what is violence, that to be transformed through a series of investigations, to arrive at the opposite, which is non-violence, which is the end of violence. Right? Now where there is opposite, there must be conflict, good and bad. Right? We're talking psychologically, first. So there is violence probably in all human beings, inherited from the animal and so on. And cultivated, carefully, through nationalism, separatism, the idea that each one of us is utterly separate from everybody else, psychologically. Right? Religions throughout the world have maintained that you are a separate soul. We've talked about that during the last six Talks.
So we are asking: is there psychologically an opposite to 'what is'? Right? I am violent. Why does the thought create the opposite? The fact is I am violent, the fact is I am anxious, the fact is I am greedy, envious, lonely, those are facts. The opposite is a non-fact. Right? Do we accept that? What matters is not there should be freedom from violence, what matters is to understand the nature of violence, and see if violence can end, not create the opposite. The moment we create, thought creates the opposite, conflict begins. Is this clear? Can we go on from there?
So one is violent. Can we look at that quality, that reaction, and find out whether it is possible to end violence, not create a state of mind which says, "I'm free from violence", ending violence? You understand? Not the continuation of violence as non-violence. Right? That is, the opposite is inevitably born from its own opposite. Right? So is it possible to observe violence and end it? What is violence? Anger, the desire to hurt another, violence is competition, comparison, imitation - all that is generally considered violence. An ambitious man is naturally violent. We have described what is violence. And without creating the opposite, can this state of violence end? Right? Because we see the opposite must create conflict. Right? But if I say to myself, I must end violence in order to achieve another state, that, again, is escaping from 'what is'. Clear?
So can that end, and not let it continue in another form, at another level? Right? So let's find out together whether violence with all its extraordinary complexity can end. That is, can we observe the reaction which the word has awakened - right? - the word - for most of us the word is extraordinarily important, so can we look at this reaction called violence without the word? Right? It's really quite a complex issue this. Can I look at my wife, if I have one, or girl friend, without the word, without the word which creates the image, the word which is the symbol, and discover that thought is the movement of verbalization? Right? Are you doing all this together, are we? Or am I, are you merely listening to the speaker?
You know, we are caught in a network of words. We are German, French, Italian, whatever it is. Those are just words, but behind that word is a great deal of culture, certain traditions and so on, and so on.
So can one observe this fact of violence without the word? That's the first question. Then is the word creating the feeling? Right? When I say 'my wife', the word creates the feeling. So can we look at the reaction without the word? Right? See what the implications of that is. That is, the word is the remembrance or the association of the past incidents which I have called violent. So when I use the word, I have related the present response to the past, and therefore the past is judging. Right? This requires a lot of exercise of the brain, exercise to observe very, very, very closely when you're looking at this fact of violence. So is there a freedom from the word, so that you look? Right? When you free the brain, when there is freedom from the word, what remains? You understand? Only the reaction, what you have named as violent. I wonder if you follow all this. Are we meeting each other - or am I talking to myself?
In observation to be free of time. Right? I'll explain it more. Time being the past - right? - modifying the present, and continuing. Right? The past accumulation of memories, experience, knowledge, meeting the present, modified or not modified, and continuing, which is the future. Now to look at violence without the idea of time. Have you got it?
Now, just a minute. To look at one's wife or friend or whatever it is, afresh, to look at something afresh, time cannot be, cannot come into being. Right? If I look at my wife with all the past memories and incidents and so on, and so on, this accumulation which is the result of time, is observing the wife. Right? So can I look at the person whom I call my wife without the word and without time? You understand? Try it, do it, sir as you are sitting there. You see it requires very, very close observation to do all this. It requires a brain that is active, not just say, yes, a brain that is alert and sensitive to this question. To observe without time and the word, time being all the accumulated knowledge about her and about him. Then you are observing the person or that reaction afresh. Right? Are we doing it?
And the question is: is it possible for the brain not to deteriorate? And we said, conflict is one of the factors of deterioration, strain, pressure, the urge to achieve, the urge to become something, psychologically, all these are factors of conflict. Now we have observed the whole movement of violence, which is one of the major factors of conflict, factors in which conflict is involved. Right? Now can this conflict, psychologically, inwardly, end? Please ask yourself, go into it. Let's go into it again carefully, because one can see any machinery which is in perpetual movement, however well oiled but constantly moving, must wear down. And one of the factors is that thought, thought is perpetually active. Right? Now can thought, which is chattering all the time, creating pictures, all that - can thought come to an end in observing itself in action? You understand? Oh Lord! Which is, can thought quieten down, because thought is constantly active, therefore the brain is constantly being, chattering, arguing, discussing - you follow? Can that brain with its movement of thought, quieten down? Right? And they have said, it is possible if you do certain things, meditate, sit quietly, go for a walk by yourself, all that. Right? But all that has a motive, a cause, because you think by quietening down the brain will become not so old. Right? So where there is a motive, the end is merely a continuation in another form. I wonder if you understand all this.
So, sir, you're not used to this kind of thinking, you're not used to investigation, free investigation. So, we're asking whether the brain, which has become mechanical, which is constantly active, can that activity slow down? Can that activity stop? What is the motive behind that desire, that question: can it stop? Is it that you want to have a brain that is very young, therefore there is a motive behind it. That very motive is going to destroy your investigation. Right? So can one be free of all motives in looking at this fact? Right? If there is freedom from motive, however subtle, however hidden, then can conflict end? Now this is the question - can conflict end? Who's going to answer it? The speaker? Or you have investigated it, explored into it, and it's burst open, and you have to answer it yourself. Right? Can you look at it and find out? Suppose if the speaker said, says, "Yes, it can end", then where are you? It's not important. What is important is to find out for oneself. So the question is answered.
2nd QUESTION: How can one face an incurable disease with all the physical pain and agony that's involved?
There are different kinds of pain, physical and psychological. Now the psychological pain, the agony, the acute suffering, is that what one is concerned with? Or the physical pain, a certain incurable disease, like cancer, how do we meet this? There are various drugs and so on to alleviate physical pain. And one can put up with it. I'm sure most of us have experienced in spite of the drugs, put up with certain forms of pain. When it becomes acute, then you do something, some kind of medicine, medical treatment.
So let us first look at the psychological pain, which may be psychosomatic. And what is pain inwardly? You answer please. What is psychological grief, pain, pain that's caused by many factors, like one wants to fulfil, become, achieve, and there is the pain of all that. Right? There is the pain of being hurt, being wounded by another. And most of us are hurt from childhood, and we carry that hurt all our lives. That hurt brings about a resistance - right? - resistance in my relationship, because I don't want to be hurt any more. So I build a wall around myself, isolate myself, and that creates more fear. So I live with this hurt and fear and resistance all my life. That's one of the hurts that most human beings have. Is it possible not to have the pain of hurt, which is, not to be hurt at all, psychologically? Right? What is it that is hurt? Look at it, please, go into it yourself. When I say, "I am hurt by what you have told me, what you have said", what is it that's hurt? The 'me'. What is that? What is the 'me' which is hurt? The thought which has created the image, the image being myself. Right? Myself is not without the image.
I may have many images. So is it possible to live a daily life without the image which is me? Go into it, sir. You understand? The image is getting hurt, the image is causing pain, the image is created by thought through various incidents, accidents, and so on. That image, with all its complexity, it isn't just an image, is hurt. The image is I have a conclusion, I've come to a conclusion, and I hold onto that conclusion. And any disturbance of that conclusion is pain. I believe, if I do, in God. And you come along and say, "Don't be absurd." Then that very verbal assertion has hurt, because I'm beginning to question. Or I may not question but I'm hurt, because you say something very serious.
So as long as we have an image, as long as the process of thought, which is constantly creating the image and giving life to that image, there must be pain. Right? This is a fact. Then one asks, can that pain end, which means, can one live in this life without any image? Sir, this is not an intellectual conundrum, a puzzle - this is our life. "I am British", or Indian, or whatever it is. And it is very important to hold to that image. Any slur on that image I get violent, and pain follows and so on. Can one live a life without any image whatsoever? Right? You think it out.
Now there is this psychological pain. If one understands the nature of this pain, inwardly, therefore there is no image and therefore there is no pain as we, psychologically, know it. Right? From there let's move to the physical pain, not from the physical to the psychological, but from the psychological to the physical. Right? We always are concerned with the physical pains, never enquiring into the psychological structure of pain, inwardly. Right? We begin with the psychological, the psychosomatic state of mind and brain, and then enquire into the physical pain.
We live such rotten lives, smoke, drink and all the rest of it, we're all the time corrupting the natural process of life. Right? Pollution, polluting the air, waters, eating dead animals - right? Carcasses. And indulging ourselves in various forms of sensation and taste becomes all-important. So physically we yield to all the things that seem so abnormal. Right? And that may be, and perhaps it is one of the causes of physical pain, disease and illness. We're not going into the question, now what is disease and what is illness - we'll do that another time. Or you've have an accident, in a car. Your arm or your leg is broken and so on. Can one look at all this pain, physical pain, if it isn't too acute, to observe it, and remain with it for a while, as long as one can? You understand my question? Do we accept physical pain, or we are always trying to get rid of pain? If it is acute, naturally, we want to be free of pain. But can we observe pain, not being identified with pain? You understand my question? Suppose I have a bad headache, migraine, can I observe it, not identify myself with it? You understand my question? Or say, "My God, I've got such awful headache, I must do something about it." Or, if it isn't too terrible, can one be free of all identification with that pain? Right? Enquire into it, find out.
Sirs, in all this, what is important is to approach life with intelligence. Now what is intelligence? This is a problem, isn't it - here is a problem - first problem was whether the brain can be kept fresh, young, active, clear. Second question is, can one bear pain, and so on. Now, in observing these two questions, the central fact comes out, which is intelligence. To approach life, which is pain, pleasure, anxiety, sorrow, and all the complexities of this life which man has made for himself, both outwardly and inwardly: the wars, the terrors, the terrorists, kidnapping, the brutality, the vulgarity, the coarseness, the whole of that - which is part of our life, can one approach all this with real intelligence?
So let's enquire, what is intelligence? Right? If you are not tired. Intelligence, the meaning of that word, is to accumulate information and use it, collect a lot of information and use it so-called intelligently, not according to your pleasure or pain, according to your bias, you have collected lot a of experience, knowledge, and employed that knowledge actively in life, intelligently. Right? That intelligence is not personal, because you have accumulated a lot of information. You may identify yourself with that information, saying, 'My information' but it is information. So can you see that intelligence is not personal, it is not the clever activity of thought? Right?
When we enter into the world of technology there is a vast accumulation of experience, knowledge. A technician may use that tremendous accumulation and identify himself with that accumulation, with that knowledge, and says, "I have done it." Right? Or he uses that information, knowledge, to produce something. Like a scientist who has gathered a great deal of knowledge from previous scientists, and uses it and enquires further and is adding to that knowledge. But the moment he identifies himself with that knowledge as 'me', the great person who has - then that activity is not intelligent. Right? Right? And intelligence is not the activity of thought. This is difficult to understand. We are enquiring, not accepting my definition. You're not accepting my description and the explanation of what is intelligence. We are seeing together what is intelligence, not my conclusion or your conclusion. Right?
Now what is intelligence? Thought is based on accumulated knowledge. Right? Therefore that knowledge will always be limited, there is no complete knowledge about anything. We must be clear on this point. Right? About the universe, about science, about physics, there is no complete, total knowledge, they are always adding, adding. Right? So knowledge goes hand in hand with ignorance. Right? Of course. I know you won't like that, but that's a fact. Right? So knowledge, being limited, thought must be limited. Right? That's so - it is limited. And whatever thought does, cleverly, being limited, is not complete intelligence. Right? You're following this? So it is not the activity of thought bringing about clever perceptions, clever arguments, clever doctrinaire theories - that's not intelligence - right? So what is intelligence? We have negated what it is not. Right? Right, sir? We have said this is not it, this is not it, this is not it. Then what is? If you discard all this, what it is not, which is also to see the false as the false - right? To see the truth in the false. Right? Which is another form of discarding. So if you discard all this, which includes time - right? - because accumulation of knowledge is time - right? - then what remains is intelligence. Right?
Now just a minute. I see something: I see I am vain, proud, arrogant, that is perceivable. Now to take time to dissolve it, if one wants to, that is, I will take time not to be arrogant - is that an intelligent action, because I have allowed there time? I am vain, I play it for a while, I like it, I know it is absurd but I like it, I carry on. And I hope some day it will end. Which is, I perceive, I am aware that I am vain, and I don't act immediately. The immediate action is intelligence. Get it? You understand? Is this clear? When I allow time to dissolve, or put away my vanity, then the action is not intelligent. But to perceive and act immediately is intelligence. Right? Which is, not to allow time to come between the perception and action.
So we can go into this fact of what is intelligence? Right? Look at another factor in this - what is love? We all use that word very freely. What do we mean by that word? You can only find out the depth of that word, the depth of that feeling, the clarity, the intensity of it, only when you discover what it is not - right? Right? It is not jealousy - right? Would you agree to that? I love you. Do I? I love you - I mean it. When I say, "I love you", I mean it. I love you. Has that love any motive? That is, the motive being I love you because I sit on a platform and talk to you, I feel very satisfied, very - you know, all the glamour of it, I am fulfilling that and so on, all that absurd stuff. So when I say, "I love you" if there is a motive, it is not. Right? If there is jealousy, which is, I'm attached to you, I cling to you, it gives me a sense of power, position, a sense of the avoidance of loneliness, and when I say, "I love you" it means I'm attached to you. Is that love? Go on, sir, investigate it. Is attachment love? Obviously not.
So I have discovered jealousy is not, attachment is not. I perceive attachment, I am attached, I won't take time to free myself from attachment, I see the consequences of attachment and end it immediately. That is intelligence.
So what are the factors which love is not? We said jealousy, attachment and isolation - my ambition, my fulfillment, you follow? The whole movement of self-centred activity is not love - right? Sir, don't look so dazed. These are facts. So by negation one discovers what it is, not occasionally or rarely. And if one has gone into this deeply there is that quality, that perfume, that intensity, the beauty of it, and with it comes compassion. I cannot be compassionate if I am attached to any form of conceit. If I love my god and say I'm compassionate, it is not compassion.
So love, compassion, intelligence, go together. So can we approach with this intelligence this problem: psychological pain and physical pain? Not to get neurotic about it, not to be constantly occupied with one's own pain, creating all kinds of psychological problems - right? So at the end of this conversation is there this quality of intelligence, is there this quality of intelligence which is love, which is compassion? Or merely clever argumentation, dialectical enquiry, opinion against opinion, idea against idea, which is conflict? One ideological group against another ideological group. The Communist ideology and the Totalitarian ideology, and so-called democratic ideology - these two are in battle now. So after this conversation together is there this perfume, this quality of intelligence and compassion that is active?
Saanen 1st Public Question & Answer Meeting 25th July 1982
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