Last talks at Saanen 1985
Last Talks at Saanen 1985 2nd Public Talk Wednesday, 10th July, 1985
May we continue with what we were talking about the other day? I think it is important to realize that this is not a personality cult. The person called K is not important at all. What is important is what he is saying, not what he looks like, his personality, and all the rest of that nonsense. So please, if one may point out carefully and definitely, the person who is speaking on the platform is in no way important.
We talked the other day about various forms of conflict, what is the cause of it, why throughout the history of mankind, man, including of course woman, has lived in conflict and never solved that problem at all. Throughout the ages, during this long period of evolution, of many, many millennia, we are still in conflict with each other - conflict between man and woman, between human beings, between a group of people, between nations, sexes, religions. I am sure one is aware of all this. The terrorism, the brutality, the appalling cruelty, all the hideous things that are taking place in the world - who is responsible for all this? As we said the other day, this is a serious gathering, not just spending a good morning under a tent or listening to somebody; this is a serious, active, co-operative, definite gathering. We are asking this morning, who is responsible for all this? Responsibility implies care, attention, not only to what is taking place outwardly in the world, but also inwardly in all of us: who is responsible for this? Are the politicians responsible? That is, let them do what they want to do because we have elected them in a so-called Democratic society. In the Totalitarian states they are not elected, they just come to power and dominate the whole. So who is responsible? The religions? The Islamic world? The Christian world? The Hindu world? Buddhist and so on? Or are we responsible, each one of us? Please do consider this. Is each one of us, living in this world, in this environment, not only in lovely Switzerland but also all over the world, is each one of us - you sitting there, and the speaker here - are we responsible for all this?
I hope you are putting this question to yourself - are you responsible for creating this appalling, dangerous world, brutal and terrifying world? If you have gone to various countries you see all this, enormous poverty, millions upon millions of poor people, starving, and those who are terribly rich, born to high position and for the rest of their lives keeping their riches, castles, mansions and so on. Who is responsible? Are we responsible for creating this society around us, the culture, the religion, the gods, all the rest of that ritualistic repetition and sensation, because we are angry, greedy, violent, disorderly, hating and only limiting our affection to a very, very, very few - has each one of us created this society in which we live? Is that so? Is each one of us responsible? You say,`I am sorry, I am not', or you may be indifferent to the whole thing as long as you are safe in a particular country, protected by frontiers.
So, we come to a very serious question: what is order and what is disorder? Please, we are discussing, going together into this question. It is not that you will accept, or in any way acquiesce in what the speaker is saying, that would be utterly futile, but could we together take a very long journey, not only intellectually, verbally, but much more profoundly to discover why the society for which we are responsible is creating such terrible disorder and cruelty? Are we different from society, the thing we have created? Must there not be order first in our house - not only in the outer walls of the house and garden, but also in the inward world in which we all live, the subjective world, the psychological world? Is there disorder there? You understand my question? I hope the speaker is making it quite clear. As long as we live, each one of us, in disorder, psychologically, subjectively, inwardly, whatever we do will create disorder. The Totalitarian states have said that by changing society, the environment, forcing it, compelling it, they will change humanity, the human brain. They have not succeeded. There is constant dissent, revolt and all the rest of it.
So, if you see this, that we have created this disorder, and this disorder is the society in which we live, then what shall we do? Where do you start? Do you want to change society as the social reformers do, the do-gooders, the men who want to alter laws, through terrorism, through compulsion? Or do you put your own house inwardly in order? Is the question clear? So, how shall I, or you, put our house in order? Because that is the only place I can start, not by outward reform, outward change of laws, forming United Nations. If I may digress a little bit, we were invited to speak at the United Nations last year and this year. One of their big shots got up after K had spoken and said, `At last after forty years of working in this institution, very hard, I have come to the conclusion that we must not kill each other.' Forty years! And we are the same, hoping something will happen out there, something that will compel us, force us, persuade us, drive us. We have depended on the outer - outer challenges, outer wars and so on.
So, what shall we do? It is no good joining little communities, following some guru. That is total irresponsibility. Giving, surrendering, oneself to somebody who calls himself enlightened, leads you to... whatever he will lead you to, generally money - so how shall we start inwardly to bring about order? Order implies no conflict, doesn't it? No conflict in oneself, completely no conflict? We went into that question the other day, what is the cause of conflict? Volumes have been written about it. Psychologists, psychiatrists, therapeutists and so on have explained verbally; millions of words have been spilled over it, and yet we remain, all of us, in conflict. Where the mind, the brain is in disorder, which is the essence of conflict, that brain can never be orderly, simple, clear. That can be taken for granted as a law, like the law of gravity, the law that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west: where there is subjective or inward conflict there must be disorder. Look into it, please, carefully. And what is the nature of disorder? Not what is order, because a confused mind can invent order and say, `That is order.' A brain that is caught in illusions, as most people's are, will create its own order out of confusion - right? So, what is the nature of disorder? Why do we say there must be order and then be in disorder? Why do we separate the two? We say we realize that we are in disorder, which is fairly simple, and then we are seeking order out of that. The politicians know there is disorder and they are seeking order. Is this clear? Of course. Not only the politicians but each one of us knows that our life is in disorder. Going to the office in the morning from nine till five - what a life you lead! - struggling, fighting, ambitious, greedy, aggressive, climbing the ladder and then coming home and being very docile, submitting to your wife, or husband, or whoever it is. There is disorder in this, and all the time the brain is seeking order - all the time - because it cannot live in disorder; it cannot function clearly, beautifully, exquisitely, to its highest capacity when there is disorder. Therefore there is a slight search for order in all of us. So we are asking: why is there this division - wanting order and then living in disorder? I don't know if you are following all this. Don't be puzzled, it is very simple.
We live in disorder, that is certain. Why bother about order? Let us see if we can clear up disorder. If you can clear it up then there is order. There is not this conflict between disorder and order. Look: it is fairly simple this. We are violent people, aggressive, not only physically but also psychologically, inwardly. We want to hurt people. We say things brutally about others. Violence is not merely physical action; violence is also psychological - aggressive, imitative, comparing oneself with another and so on, all that is a form of violence. We are, by nature from the animal, violent. And we don't stay with that, recognizing `I am violent; we invent non-violence. We say, `I mustn't be violent'. Why bother with not being violent? You are violent. Let's see that, stay with that, hold with that, not move away from that, then we can examine it together and see how far we can go to dissipate it. But if you are constantly struggling to become non-violent you can't solve the problem, because when you are trying to become non-violent you are all the time sowing the seeds of violence. I am violent, I hope one day to be without violence, that one day is pretty far away, and during that interval I sow, I am still violent, perhaps not so much so but still violent. So, I say, don't let me bother with not being violent, let's understand violence, what is its nature, why it exists and is it possible to be free of it completely? That's much more interesting and vital than pursuing non-violence.
So similarly it is important to understand disorder, and forget about order. Because if we understand, and move out of that intellectual, verbal understanding, then we can find out how to live a life which is completely non-violent. I hope we are clear on this matter.
So, what is disorder? The brain is seeking order, it is not concentrated, attentive to discover what is disorder. This is a dialogue between you and the speaker. Don't wait for him to answer that question, then you will just repeat. If you can discover, find the truth of it, it is yours, then you can act, but if you merely listen to what the speaker is saying then you repeat, you don't know - `I don't understand, it is so difficult', and all the rest of that nonsense.
So what is disorder? To say one thing and think another, to act in one way, and hide your own thoughts, feelings, in another way. That is only a very simple matter. That requires great honesty, to say things that you mean - not what others have told you, you mean. Probably all of you have read a great deal, so your brains are full of other people's knowledge, other people's concepts, prejudices, added to your own. So you repeat. You never sit down, or walk in the woods, and find out what is disorder. To find out, one has to have tremendous honesty - face things as they are. If I am afraid, I am afraid, I don't pretend I am not afraid. If I have told a lie, I say I have told a lie, not defend it. Face exactly what one is, not what one should be. Are we together in this? So gradually, or instantly, you find out for yourself the causation of any kind, either physical, or subjective, or psychological. Conflict exists when there are two opposing factors in life, the good and the bad. Is the good something totally separate from the bad? Or is the good partly bad? Am I making myself clear? No.
What is bad? And what is good? Obviously to kill another is bad, in the name of God, in the name of another human being, etc., etc. And what is good? To be good. Are you waiting for my description? Probably you have never gone into all this. Is the good separate from the bad? Or does the good have its roots, its beginning in the bad - you under- stand? There are two elements in human beings, the good and the bad. The bad, let's say, is to be angry, the good is not to be angry. But I have known anger and when I say"I mustn't be angry, I will be good,' the good is born out of my anger. When I say, `I must be good' I have known the bad. If I don't know the bad I am the good. Not the goods! I am the good. I wonder if you understand this. That is, as long as I am violent I don't know what is the other. If I am not violent then the other is. So is the good born out of the bad? If it is born out of the bad, then the good is not good. Are we together in this? It seems rather mystifying, but please it is not. It is very simple. That is why I said, please let us think simply, clearly, without prejudice, without taking a bias.
So love is not hate - right? If love is born out of hate then it is not love. Is that clear? The speaker does not hate anybody, but suppose he does, then he says, `l mustn't hate, I must love' - that is not love. It is still part of hate. It is a decision, it is an act of thought. And thought is not love.
So, can we, each one of us, feeling the responsibility that we have created this society in which we live, which is monstrous, immoral beyond imagination - can each one of us, living in this world, in this society, be utterly free from disorder? That means the complete end of conflict, the end of this feeling of duality in us - duality, the opposing elements in us. So is it not a matter of being tremendously aware - aware of every thought? Can we be that?
This leads up to a certain point: what is thought? What is thinking? If you are asked: what is thinking, what would be your answer? I am asking you, the speaker is asking you: what is thinking? And you begin to think. All our life is thinking and sensation. The child says, `My book', `That's my swing' - that is thinking. By thinking mankind has sent a rocket to the moon. But that thinking also put a flag up there. To go all that way to the moon and put up a flag! No, don't laugh. See what thought is doing.
Thought has created the whole world of technology. Astonishing things are being done of which we have very little imagination, which we know very little about - the computer, the extraordinary submarines and so on and so on. All that has been done by thinking - right? And thought has built the most extraordinary buildings. When you write a letter you have to think, when you drive a car you have to think, so thinking has become extraordinarily important for all of us. Thinking is part of our programme. We have been programmed: I am a Catholic, you are a Protestant, I am a Muslim, you are a Hindu, you are a Communist, I am a Democrat - you follow? It is part of our conditioning. We are being programmed by newspapers, magazines, the politicians, the priests, the archbishop, the Pope - you know the whole thing, how we are being programmed.
So thinking is what? Why do you think? Why do you think at all? Why don't you just act? You can't. First you design very carefully what you are going to do - is it right or wrong, is it as it should be or should not be? - and then your emotions, sensations say it is all right or all wrong, and you go and do it. All this is a process of thinking. Should I marry, should I not? That girl is right, that girl is not, or the other way round. Thinking has done an extraordinary amount of harm - war, hate, jealousy, wanting to hurt others. So what is thinking? The so-called good and the so-called bad thinking, right thinking and wrong thinking; it is still thinking. Oriental thinking and Western thinking; it is still thinking. What is thinking? Don't wait for me. Put to yourself that question. What is thinking? You cannot think without memory. Then what is memory? Go on. Put your brains into it. Remembrance, long association of ideas, long bundle of memories: I remember the house I lived in, I remember my childhood. That is what? The past. The past is memory. You don't know what will happen tomorrow but you can project what might happen. That is still the action of memory in time.
How does memory come? This is all so simple. Memory cannot exist without knowledge. If I have knowledge of my accident in a car which happened yesterday - it didn't - that accident is remembered. But previous to that remembrance there was the accident, which was the knowledge - right? The accident becomes knowledge, then from that knowledge comes memory. If I had had no accident there would be no memory of an accident. So knowledge is based on experience, and experience is always limited, always. I can't experience the immensity of order of the universe. I can,t experience it, but I can imagine it. It is marvellous!
Experience is limited and therefore knowledge is limited, whether in the future or now because more and more knowledge is being added. Scientific knowledge is based on that. Knowledge is always limited whether now or in the future, so memory is limited. So thought is limited. Right? This is where the difficulty is. Thought is limited. Whether it is noble or ignoble, religious, or non-religious, virtuous or not virtuous, moral or immoral, thought is still limited. Whatever thought does is limited. Are we together in this?
So, can thought bring about order because thought itself, being limited, may be the source of disorder? I wonder if you capture this? You understand my question? Very interesting. Go into it. Anything that is limited must create disorder; if I am a Muslim, which is very limited, I must create disorder; if I am an Israeli, I must create disorder, or a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Christian, and all the rest of it. So is thought the very root of disorder? Go into it, sir. Please be sceptical, don't accept a thing that the speaker says. find out, investigate, not tomorrow, but now sitting there, go into it, find out. Put your passion into it, not your fanaticism. Then you will begin to discover.
So, as human beings, we have lived for millions of years in a state of violence, disorder, conflict - and all that is brought about by thought. All of it. So one begins to enquire: is there something else which is as active, as clear, as precise and energetic as thought? K discovered long ago that thought is very limited. Nobody told him; he discovered it, or came upon it. Then he began to ask, is there another instrument like that? Thought is within this brain, within this skull. The brain is the holder of all thought, all memories, all experience. It is also all emotion, sensation, nervous responses. It is the vast memory that is held there, racial, non-racial, personal - all that is there. And the centre of all that is thought. It may say, `No, it is something else', but that is still thought. When it says it is seeking super-consciousness, it is still thought.
So one asks, K asks, is there another instrument, or not an instrument, a wave, a movement which is not of this kind? Are you asking this question? If you are asking it who is going to tell you? Be careful, please. This demands great subtlety, skill, because thought can be very deceptive. It says, `All right I have understood, thought is limited', but it is still active. And then it begins to invent: `I know thought is limited but God is limitless, and I am seeking God.' Thought is limited but it invents the rituals, the Middle Ages' robes of the monks and the priests and all the rest of it. So, can the brain use thought - act thoughtfully when it is necessary but otherwise, have no thought? You understand? Can the brain when necessary use thought? It is necessary to live with thought when you drive a car, when you eat, when you write a letter, when you do this or that. All that is the movement of limited thought - that is, when necessary, thought can act. But otherwise why should it chatter all day long?
So, is there another instrument which is not thought at all - which is not put together by thought, or conceived by thought, or manufactured subtly by thought? Find out. That requires the understanding of time. May I go into it? You aren't tired?
You have to understand what time is. Not the time of the rising and the setting of the sun, not the time of the new moon, not the time of day from morning until evening. Time is also all that happened in one's life, which are a thousand yesterdays, and all that might happen tomorrow. Time is horizontal and vertical. Time is the past, time is now, sitting here, and time is also tomorrow. And this is the cycle in which we are caught. A thousand yesterdays, many days in our life, and before we die there will be some more days. So this whole cyclical movement is time. Time is necessary to evolve from the little seed to the big tree, from the little baby to the grown-up man. There is physical time and also psychological time: I am this, but I will be that. To become that I need time. You are following all this? So, the brain lives in time. The brain has been cultivated, grown, evolved through time. This whole movement of life as we know it is time - right?
We know what was yesterday. You may remember your childhood, you may remember your life twenty years ago or ten days ago, which is the past. That past is the present, slightly changed, slightly modified by present circumstances. Are you following or am I talking to myself? Another ten minutes please. Don't go to sleep or get bored. It is your life we are talking about, not my life. it is your life, your daily life - what it actually is, not what it should be. Your daily, monotonous, lonely, desperate, anxious, uncertain life. And that life is part of the movement of time. Time is also the coming to an end when I die. So we are concerned with time. I will have a better job if I keep at it; if I get more skilful I will have more money. All that is time. And yesterday, many yesterdays, being slightly modified by circumstances, by pressure, is now. All that has happened from a thousand yesterdays becomes slightly polished, slightly modified and goes to the future - right? The past modifying itself through the present becomes the future. So the future is now. I wonder if you see this? Please give it just a little time.
One lived in India, with all the cultural, superstitious beliefs, dogmas, immense traditions, three to five thousand years old: one was brought up on that and one lived there in that little circle of Brahminism, and if one wasn't awake one remained there all the rest of one's life until one died. But circumstances, economic circumstances, travel, this and that, make one drop this; the tradition of three to five thousand years is changed through modification, which is through economy: I have to earn more money; my wife, my children, must have more clothes. But the past is still moving and becomes changed through circumstances, and the change goes on into the future. That is clear. So you ask; what is the future? Is it what you are now your future, modified, but still the future. There is a continuity from the past, slightly changing, to the future - right?
We have lived on this earth as human beings, homo sapiens, for millions of years. We were savages then and we still are savages, but with clean clothes, shaved, washed, polished, but inwardly we hate each other, we kill each other, we are tribalists, and all the rest of it. We haven't changed very much. So the future is now, because what I have been I still am, modified, and I will go on like that. So the future is now and unless I break the cycle, the future will always be the now. I wonder if you understand this? It is not very difficult; please don't make it difficult. I have been greedy for the last thirty years and that greed becomes modified because I can't earn so much, satisfy myself, but I am still greedy; it goes on. So unless I stop greed now, tomorrow will be greedy. It is very simple.
So, our question then is: can `what is', the past, change, end completely? Then you break the cycle. When you break the cycle the cells in the brain themselves change. We have discussed this matter with brain specialists - but don't bother with all that. You see, sir, I have lived ninety years - the speaker is ninety. Don't sympathize with me for God's sake. All that has happened during these ninety years, or fifty years, or ten years, or even ten days, is the past - memory, experiences, talking here, there, small audiences, big audiences, reputation and all that nonsense - and all that is in the past. And he feels important sitting on a platform, he has a reputation, and he must keep up that reputation. So he wants this reputation, this sitting on the platform, all that business, to continue - right? But he may get old - not may, he is old - and he may lose the audience because his brain might go gaga - no listen to it carefully, please listen; it is not a matter of laughter. It is funny, but just look at it. Unless he is free of the audience now, his reputation now - he will be stuck. So end it. He may go gaga next year, all right, but he has ended it. The brain has broken the cycle of time.
The brain is composed of millions and millions of cells and those very cells mutate. There is a different species of cell because you have moved away from a certain direction to another direction. You follow? That is, you have been going north all your life. Somebody comes along and says, `Look, there is nothing in the north, for God's sake don't waste your energy on going north, go south or east.' The moment you turn east you have broken the pattern. You have broken the pattern which the brain cells have set and gone east. It is as simple as that, if one does it.
You can play with words endlessly, write books endlessly, but once you see the nature of time, you see that we have changed through these millions of years very little. We are still killing each other, only in a more diabolical way. The atom bomb can wipe us out in a second, vaporize us. We won't exist, nothing will exist. But it is the same when a man killed another man two million years ago. We are still doing that. Unless we break the pattern we will do that same thing tomorrow. This is very simple. They killed with a club two thousand years ago, later on they invented the arrow. The arrow, they thought, would stop all wars. Now we have the terrible means of destruction of the present day. It is the same as two million years ago; we are still killing. That is the pattern the brain has accepted, has lived with; the brain has created the pattern. If the brain can realize for itself, not through pressure, compulsion, but realize for itself that time has no value in the movement of change, then you have broken the pattern. Then there is a totally different way of living.
Last talks at Saanen 1985
Last Talks at Saanen 1985 2nd Public Talk Wednesday, 10th July, 1985
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.