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Brockwood Park 1985

Brockwood Park 2nd Conversation with Four Students 9th June 1985

A: Self-interest and how that lead to conflict.

K: And also we began by talking about childhood memories, conditioning. Let's talk about it a little bit.

A: We were wondering if we could discuss further this question of looking at ourselves.

K: Looking at ourselves. Is that it?

B: Yes, well we were talking about our background.

D: Last time we were trying to talk but I think...

C: Well we were not really sure whether we should talk about ourselves or if we should just talk about more general...

K: Talk about yourself, about your family, about your background.

A: We found it quite difficult to talk about all that, to go into specific details of how we were brought up.

K: So you found it difficult?

A: Yes.

K: Shall we start there?

D: It is a difficult point.

B: Is there a different way to do it sir?

K: The last time we met we were talking about, weren't we, about your backgrounds, your upbringing, your childhood, your education. And all this in various forms has conditioned you: newspapers, magazines, television, politics, economics, climate, food. Talking about food are you all very healthy?

D: Fairly healthy.

K: Good strong bodies? Or you are all rather floppy, sloppy, feeble?

A: I don't think...

K: Have you got a good strong body that can play tennis or run - I used to run five miles a day at one time. Can you do all that? Or you are all rather lazy about that kind of thing?

A: No I think we can all do some exercise quite well.

K: But do you do it?

A: Yes, sir.

K: Yes? Good. You have good food here.

A: Yes, very good.

K: Of course! Very good food. And is your brain working properly?

A: Properly?

K: Properly in the sense, acute, sharp, clear, not muddled, confused.

D: I think sometimes we do get confused.

K: Not sometimes. You know if you say sometimes then it is most of the time!

D: Yes, yes.

A: We try to be clear sir, but most of the time one is confused.

K: No, I am asking you is your brain clear, alert, active, not chattering, I don't mean that, active, full of vitality? You are quite young. How old are you?

A: Seventeen.

K: And you?

B: Twenty six.

K: And you?

C: Eighteen.

D: Seventeen.

K: My gosh! You have got a long life ahead of you. And so is your mind, is your brain very alert?

C: What did you mean by alert?

K: I will tell you. Watching the birds, the trees, the grass, the flowers, and the flight of those wood pigeons. Have you watched the flowers?

A: Yes sir.

K: The shape of the trees, the sound when the strong wind is there have you heard the trees? And also have you heard when the trees are very quiet? The other day it was absolutely motionless - right? I don't know if you watched all this. And there is a certain quality of silence, and the sound of a tree. I won't go into all that. But do you have such a brain that is watching, looking, observing, feeling, or is it all casual?

A: More often it tends to be casual.

K: Casual in the sense it doesn't care. You don't mind what you think, what you feel, there is not self awareness, a critical awareness of oneself.

A: Perhaps this relates to what you mentioned the other day about looking at oneself.

K: I am coming to that.

A: Do you think we could go into that?

K: Yes I am going to go into it. But first one has to have, doesn't one, I am asking you, don't listen to me merely, I am asking you shouldn't you have a very good brain, not just being clever, I don't mean that, or having a lot of degrees behind your name. But a brain that is watching, listening, looking, weighing, impersonal - you follow - all that. Or are you all the time thinking about yourself? About your background - Oh, I have been brought up wrongly, my father is a little bit odd and so on. So is there a critical self-awareness?

C: No sir.

D: No I don't think so.

K: No. Not selfishness, I don't mean that. Self-awareness in which you don't choose, say this is good, but to be aware. You understand what I am talking about? Right? If you are not, why aren't you?

A: I tend to get distracted.

K: Distracted?

A: Yes.

K: Now wait a minute. Is there such thing as distraction? Careful, think it out with me. I am asking you why do you call it distraction?

A: Because I am trying to pay attention to a certain thing but then my mind wanders and I start thinking about other things.

K: All right. Just a minute. You are studying a book, some particular subject - right? And as you are looking at it your mind goes off - right? Your have sudden thoughts. Why? Why do you call it distraction?

A: Because there is something that I want to do.

K: But if you have other kinds of thoughts that is part of your being, part of your brain, so why do you call it distraction?

C: Because we don't accept those thoughts that come about while we are reading.

K: So don't you pursue that for a while?

C: Because we want to read, you see.

K: I know, just a minute, just a minute. Listen to what I am saying. You want to concentrate on a particular page. As you are concentrating, looking at it you have other thoughts - right? Now why don't you pursue the other thoughts and not call it distraction? You follow what I am trying to say? Don't call it distraction.

A: I tend to see them as unimportant compared to what I have to do.

K: But you want to read that page, you want to learn that subject and other thoughts interfere, why do they interfere? Just go into it slowly.

B: Well maybe it could be our problems that...

K: No, don't make it into a problem. Just look at what I am saying. I want to look at that clock, I am watching it and other thoughts come in. The moment I call it distraction I have separated the whole process of thinking - right? You understand what I am saying?

C: No, not very well.

K: When I am reading that page, I am thinking, observing, looking, seeing how the word is spelt and so on.

A: I am not sure I am even doing that sir when I am looking.

K: No, you may read very quickly, or it may be a very difficult subject, so you have to read carefully - right? As you are reading carefully there is a second or two when this other thought comes in. That interference you call distraction.

A: Yes.

K: Why do you call it distraction? I know what you are going to say but find out why do you use that word? You are attracted by that page, or that particular subject, or you are watching the tree, or bird, other thoughts come in. Why do you call it distraction? It is the whole movement of thought, isn't it?

A: Yes, but I don't see it as that sir.

K: See it now.

A: Yes.

K: It is a whole movement of thinking - right? Thinking about the subject you are reading, memorizing, because unfortunately you are going to pass some examination therefore you must be prepared, and a thought arises. Give a second to investigate that thought and come back so that you begin gradually to learn how to look at yourself. You understand what I am saying?

B: Sir, what do you mean by investigating a thought?

K: Just a minute. I am polishing my shoes, which I generally do, and a thought arises. For a second or two or a little longer I want to find out why it comes - right? Right? I find because that is also worrying or it is this, it is something else, so for a minute or two I say wait, why I am thinking that, is there some interest in this when I am polishing my shoe? Right? You follow? I am interested in polishing my shoe, I am making it as clean and as nice looking as possible. So there is not this terrible word distraction. You are then aware. You are learning a subject, your mind is active and - you follow - you are active.

A: Sir you seem to make a difference between concentration and attention.

K: Oh rather, we will go into that presently, that is a little more complex. Wait a minute, wait a minute. If you could drop that word 'distraction' from your brain, see what happens - you understand? See what happens if you don't say, "By Jove, I am distracted, I must pay attention" then you are creating conflict - you understand?

A: You mean there are two different movements going on?

K: Yes. I must concentrate but also I must... you follow? Can you drop altogether from your vocabulary 'distraction'? Learn - right? Your are learning, therefore there is no distraction. I don't know if you follow that - right? You are learning about that page, you are learning about why that thought arises, why it interferes. It means probably you are not interested in that particular subject but there are other interests inside you. So begin. You understand? And you agree, or not?

A: Yes sir.

K: You see it? No, see it, not I am teaching you, learn about it.

B: Sir it seems you are using the word 'learning' in a different sense.

K: Yes, I am learning. I am learning about that page, that subject - right?

B: But that learning, sir, is accumulation of knowledge.

K: Wait. Don't go too far ahead. Go step by step otherwise you will enter... I am learning about the subject. I am also learning why there are these other thoughts that come into being. So the whole movement is to learn - right? I am learning about that subject, that particular page, and also I am learning about why thoughts arise. So it is a whole movement of learning. He asks: what is the difference between learning and accumulating knowledge - right?

B: Yes.

K: Wait a minute. What do you say? Do you see a difference? Careful. Do you see the difference between accumulation, acquiring, acquiring, acquiring - right? - and not acquiring, which is the movement of learning, more and more, learning. There was a very famous painter, I believe, not I believe, Goya, Spanish. He said when he was ninety, or ninety two, "I am still learning". You understand? He never said "I have learnt". Right? So do you see the difference? I am not saying you should, or should not, but do you see the difference between acquiring knowledge, memorising - right - not only to pass exams but to have a certain skill which you can use to write, earn a job, earn a livelihood - right? Do you see the difference between that and learning?

A: No, sir I usually tend to mean the same thing when I say learning, as accumulation of knowledge. I don't see what you mean.

K: What do you say sir?

C: Well there seem to be one learning where you receive many things and you read and you hear, and the other one you experience.

K: All right, I will put it this way: you have accumulated a lot of things in your house, in your room - right? And that accumulation is you. You have collected a lot of memories, a lot of pain, a lot of fears, then you become a slave to what you have accumulated.

A: Which is a slave to myself.

K: Yes, collecting. Whereas there is no freedom. There is freedom when there is learning. I wonder if you can capture this. You tell me what you mean by learning. You tell me. Forget what I have said. But what do you mean by learning? You learn - tell me. Be simple.

D: Sir, yes. I find that I learn in order to know so I am accumulating memories, so that I can remember something, that is what I do when I say I am learning, you know.

K: You are learning to drive a car.

D: Yes.

K: And the instructor tells you how to hold the wheel, what are the pedals, all the rest of it, he informs you. And then he tells you start slowly and you begin to learn how to drive a car. It may take you three weeks, or a month, or a week and so on - right? In the process what has been happening to your brain? Just look at it carefully before... don't answer. It has taken you three weeks or much longer to learn how to drive a car.

A: I have acquired a skill.

K: You have acquired a skill, which means what?

D: Well you have become used to...

K: Tell me slowly. You keep quiet.

A: I have become familiar with certain things.

K: Go on, tell me more.

A: It has become sort of automatic, a reflex because if you drive a car it is the same things that come out every time that you do it.

K: So what has happened? You have learnt how to drive a car, you have learnt how to shift the gears, how to put on the brake and how to accelerate, and you listen to the engine, how it is working, and also you are watching, the road, keeping to your side and so on. And also you are watching about three hundred yards ahead of you-right? So you are taking the whole thing in. The road, the wetness of the road and so on. In doing all that what has happened to your brain? Answer me. All right, take something: you are all learning mathematics, aren't you?

B: Yes.

D: Yes.

K: Some kind, not too... so when you are learning mathematics, or history, you are accumulating information - right? Right? And you are storing that information, the brain is storing it - right?

A: As memory.

K: As memory. And you use that, to get a job and so on, you use that. When you learn how to write, you are doing the same thing, which is it becomes almost automatic - right? But driving, you can't do quite automatically. See the difference.

B: You also have to watch.

K: You have to be very careful. You are going about fifty, fifty-five, or sixty, or more, you have to be very careful. You can't remove your hands from the steering wheel and talk with gestures, you have to watch. See the difference in the two?

D: And still the watching seems to be somewhat automatic. When you travel in the car you...

K: Yes, it is almost automatic. I don't like to use the word 'automatic'

D: Mechanical.

K: Like mechanics or something - right? And you call that learning. Right? You call learning how to write, about mathematics, chemistry and so on. In that process it has taken you ten years, or fifteen years, or twenty years, during that time you have accumulated a lot of knowledge. And that knowledge almost becomes normal. So the brain then becomes mechanical.

A: You mean we are so used to it.

K: Used to it, you have learnt about your subject. You are an engineer, or chemist, you are learning. And then you move along - right? But always the basis is previous knowledge. You may add to it - right? But still the basis is knowledge. So enquire into knowledge.

A: Knowledge seems to be...

K: Learn, learn from what I am saying. Learn, find out what you mean by knowledge. What is knowledge? Enquire. Learn. Move. Is it like a computer? You know how a computer works. More or less. I don't know either but you programme it - right? So there are people who know how to programme and they need supplies and so on, it tells you. Are you like that?

D: Well that is what it seems sometimes.

K: Just listen first before you answer.

A: Yes sir, because I too acquire certain bits of information, I play around with them and use them in the way that I want to.

K: So are you being programmed?

A: Yes.

K: Don't be shy sir, go on.

B: I am not sure that I am even aware of that process.

K: Are you, find out. I am asking you now, not next day, or later on, but I am asking you now, find out if you are being programmed, as a Filipino, or as Hindu, or as a Christian, or something else, which is you are being told from childhood, you are a Filipino, I am a Hindu, she is a Christian, and she is a Hindu or a Brahmin, and he is from South America, Argentina, so you are being programmed. If you are a Catholic you have been programmed for two thousand years. Right? See the fact. I am not saying it is right or wrong. And she is a Hindu of a certain strata of society called the Brahminas, and she has been programmed to say, "I am a Brahmin", or "I am no longer a Brahmin". Right? It is the same process, isn't it? You have been programmed as a Hindu for the last three to five thousand years. Hindu is from the word Indus, the famous river - I won't go into it.

So you are being programmed - right? It may be necessary - right? I am being programmed when I learn how to dance, how to play football, or cricket - right? I have learnt. You follow?

A: So when I use a certain bit of information that I have about you, would you call that programming as well?

K: If you use that knowledge of what you have learnt about me and that becomes a memory then it becomes a barrier, you then don't look at me afresh.

A: Every time I see you I remember what I have...

K: Of course, all the images you have built about him and so on, or her. And that image prevents you from looking at him afresh - right? You are meeting all this?

A: But still you have to remember certain things.

K: Of course. I can't each time ask you what is your name, it sounds silly.

A: But then you have to make a certain...

K: Find out, learn. Don't say I have to make a certain... go into it and find out. You see you are not doing it.

A: There seems to be...

K: Wait, wait. Are you learning from what I am saying? I am saying, asking you, are you learning from what we have discussed, or are you just passing it by? When we said that you are being programmed - right?

A: I can see that sir.

K: Is that a fact to you? Not - you see the difference between a fact and an idea? Be quick. Don't take time. Look, that clock is a fact, fact, but it is a complicated fact, there is a lot of mechanism, originality, inventing, there it is in front of us. You can touch it, you call feel it, you can almost smell it, you can't quite taste it, but it is a fact. Right? You don't make that into an idea, it is a clock, or a watch. Right? Now I say to you - just listen quietly - that you are being programmed - right? Is that a fact to you, or an idea that you are being programmed? You see the difference?

C: When we look at it, when we look at all the processes that has programmed us we can see that it is a fact.

K: So it is not an idea?

C: No.

K: Wait, wait, I'll show you. When you have a toothache it is a fact. You don't say, pretend, or have an idea that you have a toothache.

C: By the fact...

K: Have you listened?

C: Yes. By the fact do you mean something that exists.

K: Not only exists. Now wait a minute. I am asking you: find out for yourself whether you are being programmed. Right? When you say, "I realize that, that is a fact that I am being programmed", it is not an idea - right? Are you paying attention?

B: Yes.

K: Wait, go slowly. I say to you, just listen carefully, you are the world and the world is you. Is that an idea or a fact? Careful! Sir, look at it carefully. Is that statement that you are the world and the world is you, is that a fact to you? Or an idea, a Utopia, a feeling how marvellous - you follow?

B: I think it is an idea, sir.

K: Yes. Why? Why do you make it into an idea? I will go further: to you is it an idea or a fact? Your thinking, your anger - careful, careful - your jealousy, your fears, your antagonisms, you follow? Is that a fact or is it an idea? Now you are going to find it awfully difficult. Go into it, learn.

A: It is a fact that this organism exists over here.

K: The organism is a fact.

A: Yes.

K: I have got a thumb, you have got a thumb.

A: Yes.

K: You are short, I am tall, or I am short, you are tall. That's a fact. Right? You didn't create that tree, thank god! Or the tiger. But you created this room, not you, but you created this room - right? Now enquire, learn, move further. I am asking you to learn about yourself, what you think, what you feel, then go on, learn.

D: Krishnaji, when you say learn about yourself, I mean sometimes I think I do that but that is just memorizing, what I like, what I would like.

K: So, who is the 'I' that does like, and dislikes? You understand? Go on, I am pushing. I like her, I don't like you - right? She is a friend, you are not my friend. And I am angry - right? Is anger different from me?

C: No.

K: No, why do you say no?

D: It is part of me, I could say.

K: All right, part of you. Pleasure is part of you, fear is part of you - right? Pain is part of you and so on. Do you put all the parts together and make it whole? You understand what I am saying?

A: That is me, all those little parts put together.

K: Is you.

B: Yes.

K: Therefore what does that mean? You are all that.

A: Yes

B: Yes.

K: Wait, careful, don't agree so quickly. You are not different from all that. Right? Are you different from anger? No, of course not. So you are anger. Right?

Now I am going to look at myself - we are coming to that - right? I can see myself in the mirror when I shave, or comb my hair. The mirror reflects the face which is me - right? So can I look at myself as clearly as I see my face in the mirror? Have you listened? Listen, listen. Can you do it? Will you do it? Or will you find out how to look at yourself?

A: Is there something which would reflect myself?

K: Find out! You said, you all agreed, or saw for yourselves, anger is you, pleasure is you, being frightened is you. So you are a bundle of all this. Your background, your reactions, "Oh, I've had a terrible childhood" but you have had a happy childhood. All that is you.

A: But why is it that I tend to separate all those?

K: Now find out why.

A: I don't like to think...

K: Listen, listen. Just listen before you answer too quickly. Why do you separate yourself from all that? Is it tradition?

A: Partly.

K: Not partly. Don't use the word partly. See. Is it tradition, is it habit, is it your culture, your religion?

A: It is all that.

K: So what does that all mean?

B: It is another programme, isn't it.

K: No, go on, what does all that mean?

A: All the experiences that I have had.

K: You are just repeating.

A: No, sir.

K: When you say, when I ask you why you separate, and I said to you, why do you separate when you know now, probably you have not thought about it before, that anger is you - right? That is a fact. Why do you separate it? Separate anger as though it was something different from you? I asked: is it tradition, is it habit, is it your particular culture, which means go further, good and bad, the good fighting the bad and the bad fighting the good. Follow? Follow all that up.

A: These are things that we have been told since we were young.

K: Yes, therefore when you separate you are being mechanical, because you have been that that is all right.

B: That is why he said we just repeated all this.

K: Right? So have you understood?

C: I am not very clear about it.

K: You are not clear. Let's make it more clear so that you become clear. You look at that tree in full bloom, green leaves, rich, look at it. Look at it. Turn your face and look. Right? The breezes play with it, it is almost dancing. Right? How do you look at that tree?

C: What do you mean how?

K: What do you see?

C: Well I see the tree.

K: Of course you are not that tree. Right? Now do you look at yourself that way?

C: No.

K: No, naturally. Because you are not that tree. But when you look at yourself, how do you look at yourself, as though you were separate and looking?

A: Yes sir because I like to think I am not afraid, or the fear is not me.

K: So you have separated yourself from your fear, from your anxiety, from your etc. Right? I asked, you why? Why has mankind, including you and me, why have we separated anger from me?

A: Because we have again been programmed to think that anger is bad.

K: That's all. Now can you not be programmed and look?

A: You mean keep away all that we have been conditioned to do?

K: Of course. If I have been told from childhood to say you are separate from fear, therefore fight it, conquer it, be courageous, therefore avoid it - you follow? - and so on. So from childhood I have been conditioned, trained, educated to look at fear as though it was something apart from me. See what the result of that is, the consequences of this separation. Careful, don't answer me. Look at it first. See what it does. Right? I call myself a Hindu, if I do, and you are a Muslim. I have been programmed, you have been programmed to be a Muslim, Allah, and all the Koran - right? And I have been programmed in a different way, as a Jew and an Arab. And we will kill each other. This is the consequence.

A: Of that separation.

K: Of this separation. Right? So when I call myself a Jew and you call yourself an Islam, following the Islam tradition, we are separated from each other. Which means that separation brings conflict between us - right? I believe in Jihad, you know what that word means, holy war, I become a martyr getting killed, it's marvellous. And you have been programmed and don't kill, suppose - right? Or you have been programmed as an Arab and I am Jew so we fight. See now, relate it to when you separate yourself from fear there is a conflict there.

A: But why does that happen?

K: I told you.

A: No, but why do I want to separate myself? It seems quite deliberate that I want to separate myself from all this.

K: Because then you could control it, then you can suppress it - right? Then you can run away from it, or transcend it. It's a conflict.

A: But where does that get me?

K: It has led you nowhere but you like that, it is tradition, you follow it mechanically.

A: Or on the other hand you reject it mechanically.

K: Mechanically. And become lazy, lethargic, don't care - you follow? So have you learnt the consequences, the result of separating yourself from fear?

C: What if we were not aware we were doing it?

K: Just take ordinary fear, when you are aware of fear.

C: Usually we are not.

K: Oh yes you are aware of fear, somebody comes and slaps you, it is natural.

C: Yes, but there are many other feelings that we are not aware of.

K: I'll begin with something that you can get hold of, not aware of everything. That will come very much later - not later, if you learn about it. Go on. So do you actually see the consequences of separation? I a Jew, my tradition goes back to four thousand years - right? I am the chosen people, etc. I worship the nameless and so on. You an Arab, Muslim, Islam, Allah, and we fight. Why? I have been programmed, you have been programmed - right? And we think we are separate. My god is separate from your god. Is that so? It is a fact. I am British - right? And you are Argentine. So I go to Falklands and kill you. Right? And this we have been doing for thousands of years - right? Right?

A: At one level I see the destruction that it has been causing, but at another level I still contribute to it. Why does that go on?

K: We will come to that presently. You are going ahead.

A: No.

K: Yes. First see the consequences of separation in yourself, and actually what is going on in the world. I am British, you are French. Only water of twenty-two miles separates us. I am a British businessman, I manufacture better than hers, and so on. The vanity, you follow?

A: That happens between two friends too.

K: That is what I am saying. Go into it. First see what is happening in the world, then relate what has happened to yourself. Right? Unless you have a criteria for the outer you can't then judge, value, look. Careful. You are not listening. Look, the ideology of the Soviets, which is what they have made of Marx, Lenin, Stalin - right? - and the whole democratic world - right? So ideologies separate. Learn. So they are fighting about ideologies, which is what? An idea society should be this and so you have the Politburo dominating the whole world, Russia.

A: Society should be what I think it should be.

K: That's it, exactly. Or what we all think. It is self-interest. Right? So see the consequences of separation.

B: Sir but what would stop all this going on?

K: Sir, I am not trying to stop what is going on. First I must see what is going on in me because I am contributing to all this, by calling myself a Hindu, you are a Philippine, she is French and he is Argentine, she is a Muslim - you follow?

A: Why do I blame it on another person, I don't seem to see that I am responsible for it too?

K: I don't blame anybody. I say this is what humanity has done to each other - right?

A: No, sir, I am saying when I think I am an Arab and that you are a Jew I put all the blame on you.

K: Of course, for various reasons.

A: I don't see that perhaps I am responsible as well.

K: I want that land which belonged to me about a hundred years ago, or two hundred, or four hundred years ago, and the Israelis say, my dear chap I used to own this land, all this enormous land, long before, four thousands years ago - right? So I am asking you to look at the result of separation in me, I am different from anger therefore I fight anger, control it, suppress it, or transcend it - right? There is separation going on in me. And so I create the world in which I live. Eh? Clear?

A: Yes.

K: The society is created by me.

A: By several me's.

K: By you, my grandfather, my great grandfather, we are all me first, and society we have created it. Unless there is a change here I can't change there. You are not talking, you are just saying yes.

A: You said change.

K: Find out.

B: What do you mean by that?

K: Not what I mean. Don't ever 'what do I mean'.

A: You used that word sir.

K: I am asking you: do you actually in your heart, in your brain, see the fact of what separation does? I get married, all the sex and all that. And I am ambitious, very, or aggressive, I want to get on, make money - right? Have a good job, good car, I want to advance; and my wife also wants to do the same thing in a different direction. Right? So we are already separated - right? So the consequences of that separation, I may enjoy my sex and all that, the comfort of a house but we two are separate, therefore we are at loggerheads with each other - right? You understand?

C: Yes.

K: Don't say yes. Do you actually see this as a fact? Or do you say I quite agree with you, let's get on?

D: Krishnaji, my problem is that I can see it happening outside, I can see it happening to the other people, but somehow I find it hard to see it in myself.

K: Why not? Don't accept anything hard and remain hard, let it remain as though it was a hard thing. See what it does. See what is happening in the world first. Argentine and England. It is very simple.

D: Well I can see that.

K: See what is happening to you when you separate yourself from your fear, from your reactions, from what you do - you follow? It is exactly the same thing.

C: There are two conflicting movements going on.

K: Conflicting movements of which you are.

C: That I am both those movements?

K: Of course.

C: Gosh!

K: Do you see that? I won't move from this, if you don't mind. As long as it is not actual in you, that you, when you separate you are bringing contradictory movements in yourself, and therefore conflict. I don't see why it is so difficult for you to see this.

C: When you say that we do the same thing with our anger, for example, we want to push it away, we want to suppress it, and we do the same with someone from another country. We say, he is English so I want to...

K: Separation, you understand?

C: Yes.

K: Division. I am British and you are French. Right? I have had a tremendous Empire, so I am better than you! I am very proud of my tradition, so are you. We both worship a symbol, Christian, but we are willing to kill each other, economically, and all the rest of it, for various territorial purposes - right? England had a great interest in France at one time. And so on.

A: Why do I think I am better than everybody else?

K: It is part of your vanity. Part of your aggression, part of your tradition. The other day on television, did you see, "German reliability and the British know-how"! You understand? As though the Germans didn't know the know-how, but we British only know the know-how, they are very reliable but we are... - you follow? The sense of separation, the sense of vanity. The Germans know as much of the know-how as you and I do otherwise they couldn't put a car together: or the Americans also say they have the know-how, we are better.

A: But where does that come from?

K: Find out.

A: Is it there in us from the minute we are born?

K: A little bit probably.

A: You mean genetically?

K: My family is better than yours.

A: When I am a baby I don't think that.

K: Not that. But it begins slowly.

A: Over the years.

K: The traditions, they say, you are British, behave like a British. Be proud of your tradition. You had a tremendous empire, now you are reduced but you still remember.

C: But even when you were a child and your parents tell you, because when you are young everyone says how wonderful he is, look he is doing this and that, and then you become proud of it.

K: So are you learning from this discussion, from this dialogue, are you learning, or just memorizing? See the difference? If you say, yes, I have learnt but I don't want to change. It is all right to carry on as I am. I like conflict - right? I like this struggle. Then carry on! That's what the world is doing anyhow. And you may be frightened to stand alone.

A: Yes, yes.

D: Do we know how to stand alone?

K: So, sir, please I am asking you most respectfully, learn from all this. Don't fall back and say it is my old tradition - right? Be aware of all this.

A: So we looked at learning was not, but what is this movement?

K: Why do you ask me?

A: Because I don't know.

K: We have spent an hour and you are still asking what is learning and what is memory.

A: No, I said we spoke of what learning is not, that it is not memory, that it is not accumulation of knowledge.

K: Therefore find out what it is.

A: I don't know.

K: Move. Don't say, I don't know and remain there. I told you, Goya after painting until he was ninety-two, or ninety, he said, "I am still learning". It is a marvellous statement if you go into it.


Brockwood Park 1985

Brockwood Park 2nd Conversation with Four Students 9th June 1985

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