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Brockwood Park 1985

Brockwood Park 1st Conversation with Four Students 2nd June 1985

K: From childhood until now and what you are going to do in the future. So we will begin with your background: you are French, you are from the Philippines, you are from India, and you from Argentina. Four different nationalities, four different backgrounds, four different conditioning.

So shall we begin: I am going to ask you, if I may, what was your father and mother like? How did they treat you, as a toy when you were a baby and when you were a child, or they might have treated you with a great deal of affection, care? What's your background? Because after all that background does condition your thinking partly, and also it shapes your way of life. You see you gradually fall into a certain pattern.

So we are going to begin to talk over together, if you will, if you don't mind, what was your childhood like and what were your parents like - if you can remember. I personally can't remember a thing about my youth, a little bit, very vaguely, my childhood, my mother and father. I can't see them, what they would look like. But my thing is different. So I would like to ask you. Begin with India, or would you like to begin with you?

What were your parents like?

A: Shall I begin right from the beginning?

K: Yes.

A: As far as I can remember?

K: As far as you can remember, of course, you can't remember when you were born!

A: I'd like to think that I had a happy childhood.

K: Not 'like to think', but actually. Let's understand each other right from the beginning. It is better to deal with facts as they are - right? Not imagined, romanticized, hope, or say "I thought it was like that", but actually, factually, so that we can go from fact to fact - you follow? Not bring any kind of imagination, fantasies and so on. Would that be all right?

A: Of course.

K: Right?

D: It is difficult because I am talking about memories, about the past and I always get mixed up. I mean I am not sure how it really was.

K: You can't remember?

B: Well I think mine is quite a simple case sir, so I might start with myself. Although I live in the Philippines now I was actually born in Hong Kong. And as far as I remember, I remember nothing about what happened when I was in Hong Kong.

K: How old were you?

B: When I was in Hong Kong? I was there for eight years, for the first eight years of my life.

K: So, what was your eight years like, if you can remember it? With your father you were naturally.

B: No, my father was in the Philippines.

K: Then you lived with your mother?

B: Yes, and my brothers and my sister.

K: Your father was in Hong Kong?

B: Yes.

K: Then what was your relationship to your mother, to your other brothers and sisters, and what were you feeling like? How did your mother treat your? Get your background clear - you follow?

B: She wasn't working then. Well at one time she had to do some work but not much. So her main job was to look after us.

K: So what was your relationship to her, and her relationship to you?

B: Well, as a mother to her child. We were very well looked after by her. And as far as I remember I was very happy with her and with my brothers.

K: Was she merely looking after you, or was there a great deal of affection, care, responsibility - you follow? - as a mother. Mothers are always much more important than the fathers - right? Because specially in India they look after you. Mothers are the last people to eat.

A: In my case my father looked after me for a long time.

K: A little bit louder please.

A: In my case my father looked after me for a long time.

K: With you, absent?

A: No, he looked after me.

K: What about your mother?

A: Both.

K: Both.

You are not answering my question quite. If I may repeat it again. Unless you are very clear what your background is, from childhood, as far as you can remember naturally, that background, that conditioning, or that past from the beginning, when you can remember, shapes one's mind gradually, the brain, and then you get caught in a pattern. You are a Brahmin.

A: Yes, I come from a Brahmin family.

K: You were born as a Brahmin family, and they have certain traditions, certain superstitions, a certain kind of way of living. Probably not too orthodox - right? Or were they very orthodox?

A: No, they weren't orthodox at all.

K: There were not. So they were more or less stepping out of tradition.

A: Yes.

K: What was their feeling about you? How did they treat you? What was their feeling about you? And your feeling about them? Did they love you? Or just looking after you? You understand what I mean by loving, caring, hugging, putting you on their lap, looking after you, saw that you slept properly, that you had the right foot, that you weren't too rough, or too gentle, you know, taking care of you greatly. How many sisters and brothers did you have?

A: None.

K: So you were the only child?

A: Yes.

K: So did they spoil you?

A: You ask me a difficult question sir. I don't know.

K: Go on sir, answer my questions. Because I will tell you why it is important. Do you see the importance of it?

B: I am not sure sir.

K: That is, if you are not brought up properly, properly in quotes, we will go into that, what it means to be brought up properly. If you are not brought up properly your life begins to be twisted somewhat - right? You either don't care for the world, you become more and more self-centred, more and more concerned about yourself, your happiness, your way of life - you follow? More and more self-interest. When you are quite young that self-interest isn't too prominent, too defined but as you grow older it becomes stronger and stronger and then you assert yourself, or are aggressive and all the rest of it - right?

So I am asking you what was your background, not only environmentally but also financially, also your relationship with society, how you related to nature, when you looked at the trees what you felt like, when you saw a deer - probably you never saw a tiger. I have seen them but that was in the wild, that is fun. So what was your relationship to the whole thing, to the whole of life, to the trees, to the grass, to the flowers, and to your parents? You understand what I am saying? Isn't that important to find out for yourself?

A: You were talking about being brought up properly.

K: Properly. I will tell you what I mean by properly. You had the right number of hours to sleep, right food, since you were a Brahmina you probably didn't eat meat, probably, now of course all that has blown. You were kept very clean and your clothes were washed regularly, you had clean clothes, and you slept in the right place - maybe on the floor but it was clean - you follow? Was there, say in India, a traditional background? Or not at all? Or it was becoming very modernized?

A: If one lives in urban India it is quite modernized, westernized.

K: That means what? Did you eat meat?

A: Well at times yes.

K: So you see what I am trying to get at? You understand? In the old days my father and mother, they were very strict, they never ate meat, fish and so on, never smoked. So the whole tradition is changing tremendously. So in other words economy is changing and therefore you are forced to accept what everybody is doing - right? Meat, smoke, alcohol, you know the whole thing.

A: Like everywhere else.

K: Yes. So is your brain also becoming ordinary, like everybody else? Enquire. I am asking you, don't say yes, or no, find out. Let's enquire. Right?

B: Sir from what you said about being brought up properly...

K: Properly, I have explained that.

B: Properly, yes you have explained that.

K: Real affection, real sense of when you are young you must be protected, that you learnt to be gentle, to be quiet, to have a certain modesty - you follow what I mean? The whole of that kind of thing.

B: Well in that case, sir, I didn't have that. And also I was living in a city.

K: In a city, of course.

B: And I think many of us, probably many of the children nowadays are in that environment.

K: That is the environment. But all that has made a tremendous impression you, did it? Or not at all?

B: Yes, some of it.

K: So what is your background? You understand me? What is the conditioning of your thinking, of your feeling, of your emotions? You understand what I am talking about?

B: Yes.

K: What were they like? What are they like now? And in relation to the past? Of course what you are now is what has been - right? Right? So what were you like? And what are you now? You can't be something totally different now from what you have been - right? So trace it out from the beginning, from the time you remember until now. Trace it out, take time, go into it.

B: Well I must say it was quite narrow then, my outlook of life was quite narrow then.

K: Are you judging from now? From now you are saying it was narrow?

B: Well sir I was in a city, probably I didn't have much contact with nature, as you said. It is quite important. And also I was only living with my family. And from what I see of my mother now, I am sorry to say but you know her whole life was to bring us up and she expects us to look after her when she is old.

K: Of course. Probably the whole of the East, Asia, there is no social security, therefore the sons have to look after the mother, therefore they have to have several children and so on.

You talk to me, don't keep quiet.

C: I can remember when I was young I wasn't really thinking about nature, thinking about looking at a tree, or thinking very much. I was just living.

K: Were you living in the country?

C: No I was studying in Paris.

K: I want you to go further back. When were you studying in Paris, at what age?

C: Well I was born in Paris and I stayed until I was seven.

K: In Paris?

C: Yes.

K: That means what happened in Paris to you during those seven years? You see please understand what I am trying to say: trace it out, think it out, look at it as though you were looking at a picture which is yourself, you understand? At a series of movements, series of actions, series of feelings, all that has led you up to now. Right? You mightn't want to talk about it, that I understand. You understand what I am trying to say? Go on.

A: Well I went to an ordinary school in Delhi, where you had say twenty-five, thirty students in a class, and the teacher would write something on the blackboard.

K: But before that I am asking.

A: Well I went a school at the age of two.

K: Good Lord!

A: Indian children are sent to school at the age of two or three.

K: Why? Find out, you see you are not enquiring. At the age of two? That I can hardly believe.

A: Yes, to a nursery school.

K: To nursery school.

A: Nursery school where you just play with other children.

K: I understand. Not school then, it was really a kindergarten.

A: Well you learnt the alphabet and...

K: A creche.

A: Well you learnt your alphabet and numbers then.

K: What, as you grew up, trace it out, I can't repeat this over and over again, trace it out. Trace the whole thing from when you begin to remember until now so that you are very clear for yourself. You might not want to talk about it, I understand that. But if you say, sorry, I won't talk about it, that's all right. But if you want to go into it, either you express it, put it into words to convey to others, or you are tracing it out on your own - you follow - and may not want to talk about it.

A: Sir, I think it is easy to tell you what happened but it is difficult to say what one felt when one was young.

K: Quite right.

A: It is very difficult to say how I felt about my parents.

K: I understand that. Now tell me a little more.

A: I don't know how to proceed. Do you want to know what happened?

K: Yes, what happened, say, for instance, when you were five. You remember when you were five. Then at that age until twelve - right? What were you thinking about? What was your feeling about others? Or about your father and mother?

A: I can remember that I was mainly thinking about going to school and not liking school very much but mainly there were my parents telling me the things I should do and the things I shouldn't do, and the school also.

K: Go on, I am pushing you.

D: I remember I was in a Catholic school run by priests.

K: Where? In Buenos Aires?

D: No, in the north west of Argentina.

K: Tell me where.

D: Well the city is called Tucuman, next to the mountains. And I was in this school run by priests. I remember I was quite influenced by what they said and sometimes I used to feel very scared when they talked, and they said that if I lied I would go to hell. But on the other hand at home my father usually said all that the priests said was rubbish; and then sometimes I paid attention to the priests and sometimes I paid attention to my father.

K: May I ask another question? Was learning, writing, reading, was it a problem?

A: No.

K: No, just a minute. Say for instance, you went to school, you were told to study a book, or whatever it was, to read, to write clearly. Did you make that into a problem?

A: No.

B: Well no. I think it was something that we had to do and we were doing it.

K: You had to do it, was there any feeling of not wanting to do it, or wanting to do it?

B: Well in the beginning there might be that feeling of not wanting to do it.

D: I don't think that could have come up. I don't think that I would have thought that maybe I could not do it, so there wasn't this feeling of not wanting to.

K: You are not quite clear, you are not answering.

D: Well I am saying I don't think there was.

K: You have to learn mathematics, right, all of you? Did you make mathematics as a problem, or you were forced to do it? You understand the difference? Was it a problem to you, was it something you felt my gosh I don't want to do it but you had to do it?

A: Well we didn't have any other choice in a way. When you had to go to school you had to follow those classes.

K: Was it something disturbing? Something you kind of struggled to learn so that it became a problem to you?

A: I would say it depends on the subjects in a way. You are saying mathematics, for me it was a problem. Other subjects were no problems.

K: This may be a little too serious. Have you got problems now? Something which you have to resolve?

D: Yes, I would say, yes I do, sometimes there are some things and I feel, oh that's a problem, what can I do?

K: So why do you call it a problem?

D: Well I think...

K: Just listen to my question first. I may be wrong, don't accept what I am saying, or anything. Is your brain, brain, inside the skull, has it got many problems?

A: By itself, the brain by itself?

K: Problems, mathematics, marriage, sex, what are you going to do tomorrow after you leave here - you followwhat is your future? Isn't that all something that disturbs you? Or you merely live day by day?

A: No, very often one has to think what one is going to do in the future.

K: Yes.

A: After I leave Brockwood.

K: Does that create a problem in you? You are frightened, you become anxious, you say, my god, life is so monstrous - you follow what I mean - it is so frightening, so dangerous, what am I going to do? Or you just think I want to do that, I am going to do that? Nothing else.

A: I don't know what to do.

K: Right. We will come to that presently. What I am trying to find out - you are not helping me, you are not tracing out your life. So to put it differently, you don't know your conditioning - right?

A: What do you mean by that?

K: I told you. I mean by that conditioning, the tradition, the school, the various subjects you had to learn, and the background of your father and mother, what they were like, and what they told you to do and not to do, their superstitions, or their belief, or their faith imposed on you - you follow? All that shapes your brain. Right? Because they are older, they are more influential, they know better than you and I do - right? So they say you must do this, you must not do that, and they scold, or beat you up. So all that shapes your brain slowly - right? You understand what I am saying, no? Agree? So that gradually becomes your conditioning. Then your conditioning becomes still more when you have to take a special subject and become a specialist - right? As a carpenter, gardener, or scientist, or a doctor and so on - right? So gradually your brain becomes narrower and narrower - you follow? Are you aware of this?

D: Well I don't...

K: Wait. Listen to this. Are you aware of this taking place in you?

A: Why do you say it becomes narrower?

K: If you don't like that word narrow, it becomes limited.

A: You mean because I have to choose something that I have to do?

K: When you say, I want to do that, that's my life. So gradually you concentrate on that - right? You don't take life as a whole. You understand what I am saying? It doesn't mean that you must know all about playing the piano, or some instrument, that you must know all what the scientists are saying, all the books. I don't mean that. I am trying to point out, if I may, where there is self-interest, whether in specializing or in having some skill, linguistics, learning many languages, they are all good but if there is self-interest it becomes... you understand? You understand what I am saying?

A: But we are not aware of it.

K: First listen to what I have to say. Where there is self-interest, me first, my interests first, what I want to do, I am free to do what I think, I will rebel against my parents - you follow - I will do what I think is right. My prejudice is as good as your prejudice. I hold to my opinions - right? My conclusions. All that is self-interest in different ways. That self-interest has enormous consequences - right? If I am interested only in myself and I marry somebody and she also has self-interest - you understand? It is a mutual self-interest.

A: So would you say there is self-interest in a human being right from a very young age?

K: Probably. My book, my toy.

A: Well before you can say, this is my book?

K: I don't know. No, I have read somewhere some scientists have discovered, they may change tomorrow, they generally do, they said the baby knows who the friends are of the mother. The baby knows with whom the mother is friendly, of whom she kind of resists or is nervous, or frightened or emotional. The baby has a feeling about it. Probably, I don't know, I have read it, it may be wrong.

A: So self-interest could be acquired, or it could be genetic.

K: Find out, first, I am asking you, don't ask me.

A: I am wondering if that is so.

K: Find out. Rather, you know what self-interest is, don't you? That self-interest can express itself in prayer, in worship, and devotion to somebody - right? And also in knowledge - right? In certain capacities, as a painter, as a musician - right? It hides itself in faith, in belief - right? Right? So we know where self-interest is, it is fairly clear. Do you know where it is not? Careful, careful, don't answer yet. Where it is not. We know where it is, right?

D: It seems to be pretty much everywhere in humanity. It seems to be almost in every human being.

K: I know all that, we know that.

A: It seems to be in almost everything I do.

B: Sir, it also seems something natural.

K: Find out. You see I am asking you to enquire into all this, if I may.

A: I don't know what self-interest is not.

K: Find out. Do you see it hides in most subtle ways, and the most cruelest ways? When I use you and you use me, it is the most... right? So we know where it is, where it hides, where it kind of subtly moves along. It may be worshipping nature - you follow? It is extraordinary subtle. Right? I am not talking about all this, I don't want to talk. You are making me talk. You are not answering my questions. I will finish it.

You know where it is. If you have examined closely, if you have observed very carefully what is happening around you, what is happening, you follow? Self-interest seems to be so extraordinarily dominant. And you also know it is very, very subtle, social health, social activities, helping people - you follow? And the gurus with their blah - you follow?

A: Very often we don't notice it.

K: Therefore find out where it is not. We will come to that presently. You haven't told me - not to me - you haven't discovered for yourself what your background is, what your conditioning is, why you think this, why you don't think that - you follow? Go into it.

D: It is difficult to define what one's background is. I mean it feels that is what I have lived, you know.

K: Yes, that is what I am asking you. That is your background.

A: But sir, if you ask what did you feel about it, I cannot say. I can't remember.

K: All right. Then tell me what were the facts, as far as you can remember, as far back.

D: That would be a very long story Krishnaji.

K: Yes, a long story, go on, we have got time. You see that is where you begin to learn about yourself - right? What you are, what you feel, why you feel, what you think, why you think - you follow? You begin to learn your reactions. You begin to learn about your own way of looking at it, prejudices, all that, you begin to learn about yourself, which is very important - right? You really agree? You really see how important it is to know yourself? Do you? Not what other people say - right? To know all the corners of yourself, all the caves, all the undergrounds, all the shadows, you follow, your whole being. You know mathematics, obviously, or history, or geography, or some technological subject, or you have some skill in some musical instrument and so on and so on. But apparently you don't seem to know about yourself, which is far more important than learning how to paint, or how to dance, which is necessary too but you follow what I am saying?

B: Why do you say that sir?

K: What?

B: It is more important than...

K: Obviously sir. I am asking you, tell me. What do you think?

B: Well you see we spend most of our time learning mathematics or...

K: I know. So are you also learning about yourself?

B: Well as far as I remember, not before.

K: Not before. Now to learn about yourself you have to trace what you were ten years ago, what you are now isn't that the result of ten years ago? Enquire into it.

A: Sir, I was brought up to believe in god, not so much by my parents, but by my friends, my cousins, my uncles, my aunts, to believe in god. And...

K: Yes, most people do.

A: Yes.

K: Move from there.

A: And I never really questioned that.

K: When did you begin to question that? Do you question it now?

A: Yes.

K: Now when you question what takes place, how do you question it? Why do they believe in god? What is it that makes them believe? You ought to be asking all these questions.

D: It seems to be an easy way of living, you know if you say there is god and he will send this to us and he has arranged things, so you put the reference in god.

K: Yes, so what do you say?

A: You want something to hang on to.

K: What do you feel?

C: Now?

K: What do you feel? You see the vast majority of mankind believe in god - right? In different ways - right? In the Asiatic world it is the Buddha, the Hindus have many gods and the Christians and the Muslims have only one, and what is your feeling about all this?

C: This feeling we have about it, wouldn't it come from the feeling the parents had about it?

K: So you believe too?

C: No.

K: Why?

C: Well my parents told me you believe if you want, you don't believe if you don't want.

K: Yes, what do you feel about it.

C: Well I personally don't believe in it.

K: You don't care.

C: No, it is not that I don't care but I...

K: You are indifferent.

C: Well I was in a Catholic school for a while so I saw you know how they go to church, how people when they go to church and all what happens when they pray, and their singing, and repeating many things. I didn't really see the point of doing that.

K: So is that part of your background, that you saw all this?

C: Yes.

K: And you say what a circus it is, what a nonsense it is, or how marvellous it is? You follow? What was your... you are not doing it. What do you think about all this, the wars, the terrorism that is going on, one group fighting another group, like in Lebanon - right? You follow? Christians against... what is your reaction to all that?

A: I feel frightened sometimes when I think of it.

K: Frightened of what?

A: Well that one day the world could blow up, maybe.

K: So are you concerned about the world, or about yourself in the world?

A: Myself in the world.

K: That means self-interest.

A: Yes.

K: You see I am trying to push you. You don't investigate. You know in Brussels, that horrible thing that happened, forty two people were killed, what is your reaction? You saw that, you must have seen it on television, or read it in the papers, and what do you feel about it? What do you feel about having to depend on your background - you follow? So you have to enquire into your background. So unless - that is what I am trying to ask - unless you trace it out very carefully, step by step, so that you know what your actions are, what your feelings are, why you think this way, what your prejudice is, you follow, you begin to learn all about yourself. And then you find that by Jove, I am conditioned as a Argentine, as a Catholic, as a Hindu, or what nonsense all that is. You begin to learn about yourself. Right? Isn't that important? Careful, don't answer. I am asking you a question: isn't it important to know about yourself?

A: Why is it so important?

K: I am asking you. Look, I am asking you: isn't it important, of really great importance that you should know about yourself? I am asking you the question.

D: Well, I don't know.

K: What do you mean you don't know?

D: I am trying to think what the importance of that would be.

K: Why do you give importance to mathematics? Or geography? Or your 'A' and 'O' levels? Learning more and more about history - you follow? You think that is important and you say this is what.

A: Because I have been taught to see that that is important.

K: So I am asking you, do you consider this as important, to know yourself?

D: Well Krishnaji you have been saying that it is important.

K: I am asking you, don't tell me what I said, I know what I said.

D: Well because of what you have said then I sort of think that well maybe it is because you said that.

K: Find out if it is important or not. Forget what I have said.

B: It is true, even though we have heard what he has said, it seems we don't go into ourselves maybe because we don't see the importance of it.

K: You see what has happened to your four, you haven't learnt the art of enquiry - right?

A: Well, what is the art of enquiry?

K: I am showing it to you. The art, learning what you were as a young girl, how you looked at things, what is your feeling to your parents, to your environment, slowly begin from there, find out, what you are now. So that - I am not going to tell you! You tell me. I am asking you a question, an examination. You have considered acquiring knowledge about various subjects as tremendously important - right? Why?

A: Because everybody else around me thinks so.

K: Of course, everybody wants to smoke, everybody wants to drink beer.

A: That is what happens. You tend to do something which everybody else does.

K: Why? Enquire. You see you are not doing it.

A: Well you are just like everybody else. You tend - everyone does the same thing and no one tries to...

K: Then you are becoming - you see again you want to belong to a group.

A: But you are not aware of it.

K: Wait, wait. Find out. Don't say there is no other way. Find out.

A: Yes but I don't want to be alone.

K: So find out why you don't want to be alone. Is it fear?

D: Yes.

K: Is it that you want to belong to a group, feel safe.

A: It feels secure.

K: I mustn't tell you all these things. You tell me.

A: Yes, sir, it does feel safe to be part of a group.

K: So you are frightened, or nervous, or feel the danger of not belonging to something, to a group, to a country, to a tribe.

A: To my family.

K: And to a nation - right? Do you see the consequences of all that?

D: Yes.

K: He should know there was war in Falklands. And they are at war - right? Killing I don't know how many thousands. Which is, a particular group of people wanting that land and another group says no, you can't have it, and they go and kill each other - right? What do you think about it?

D: It seems foolish to think that one would kill because of a piece of land.

K: Yes. Now wait a minute. Why are people attached to this, to a particular group, a particular British, or the Argentine, or the French and Algiers? You understand? The Hindus and the Muslim.

A: Does self-interest come into this?

K: Find out. See. Enquire. Don't ask me. I'll tell you.

D: If the self-interest didn't tell you to belong to this group, you wouldn't have the groups then you wouldn't have the problem.

B: And we also said we want to be safe.

K: I won't tell you, go into it. That's why I have been saying please learn the art of it.

A: We often think enquiring is asking a whole lot of questions.

K: To yourself, not asking others.

A: No, no, to yourself as well.

K: Are you doing it?

A: I want to know is it just asking any question that comes to your mind, or is there such a thing as...

K: Yes about yourself. Not what kind of kite or what kind of bird that is, that comes later. You know probably you have studied a great deal, books, you know what chemistry is, you know what the whole nature of history is - right? Geography and mathematics and science, and all the things you know very well, you have been brought up in it, educated - right? You give tremendous importance to that. And you say, well the other thing doesn't matter - the other thing being what you are, why you are. What's the future of you? Learn.

D: Krishnaji, I think we do think about it and we are somewhat worried sometimes about the future, but it is difficult to find an answer, about the past or the future, I find I seem not to be able to answer this question sir.

K: Because you haven't enquired old boy. Don't ask the question, find the answer for yourself.

B: Sir, somehow there are blocks to going into oneself.

K: Why? Why?

A: Sir I don't want to ask these question at times because I am afraid of finding out something that I don't like.

K: So find out why you are afraid. What is fear? You see?

A: Yes.

K: It is no good standing at the edge of a pool and say, I can't swim, I can't swim. I can't swim. You learn from a professional, or you temporary get in little by little - you follow?

B: Sir, could we find out what the blocks are?

K: Find out!

B: I mean now.

D: Well she mentioned fear, just now.

K: Yes, she mentioned one of them.

D: One of them.

K: She said fear and wanting to be safe - right? Now find out what it means 'wanting to be safe'. Safe from what?

D: Somehow it is not wanting to move because you don't know what is somewhere else.

K: Yes. So is your brain becoming limited through fear? So you say, by Jove, I don't know, so I wont even and look at it.

A: Or I have been hurt before and I don't want to be hurt again.

K: So take hurt. Why are you hurt? Who is hurt? You see? Please learn step by step. You didn't know history but you learnt, you spent time, book after book or somebody telling you. So this way go step by step and learn.

B: Is there a teacher, sir?

K: Is your brain active in a certain direction, knowledge, books, examinations, 'A' level, 'O' level and you want a job - you follow - at the end of it, or not. Why don't you spend a little time over the other side?

A: I am not sure I have seen the importance of knowing oneself.

K: Why? Why don't you see the importance of it?

D: In one way one doesn't feel important if there are so many other people too, you know, and they are also doing the same, then you feel, well I can't be that important.

K: From what you have told me you are really following the hurt. All right find out why you are following it.

A: Like we said before, sir, I want to belong to something.

K: Then go into it, learn.

A: Why do I want to belong?

K: Yes. And see the consequences of belonging. The consequences are separation - right? One group again another group - right? One tribe against another tribe. Gradually build up a nation, and this nation against that nation - right? This nation represents one ideology, and this group represents another ideology, so ideologies are fighting. For that you kill millions - right? So follow it up. Is this the way to live after a million, or two million, or fifty thousand years, is this the way to live?

D: Well somehow we have done it so much that it doesn't seem different. It seems that that is what we want, it is done and that is in our nature to do that.

K: All right. If you say it is my nature to be cruel.

D: Well I don't say it is my nature. But you say people are like that, people have wars, you know.

K: All right. Then live violently. You see what I am trying to say. I am saying, find out, not from me or from somebody else, find out for yourself. You haven't said a word.

C: I have listened.

K: That's just it!

B: Sir in learning mathematics we have our teacher - right - to teach us. Now in this area...

K: Then they keep on telling about you.

B: Are they two different things?

K: Of course. There you are being informed about history - right? What kind of wars, what kind of kings, what kind of society - right? History, what does that mean? What is history, the meaning of that word?

B: The history of human beings.

K: Yes. The history of human beings. You are the history of human beings. You are a human being. It is all about you. Not only you, about the whole. So you are not learning to enquire, that's is what I am saying. Right?

A: It seems so sir. I find it difficult.

K: This is not only one talk, we are going to have a series of discussions, if you are willing. If you are willing we are going to have a series of discussions, every Sunday morning we will go at it. But you must also, if I may suggest, go into it, not just say, "Well I will wait until Sunday morning." Go into it, find out. I give you - not I give you - you are given a whole week to see if you can pass the examination!


Brockwood Park 1985

Brockwood Park 1st Conversation with Four Students 2nd June 1985

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