Beginnings of Learning
Beginnings of Learning Part I Chapter 5 School Dialogue Brockwood Park 31st January 1970
Krishnamurti: In a school like this, what is order and what is discipline? The word "discipline" means "to learn". A "disciple" is one who learns, not who conforms, not who obeys; he is one who is constantly learning. And when learning ceases and becomes merely accumulation of knowledge then disorder begins. When we stop learning in our relationship, whether we are studying, playing, or whatever we are doing, and merely act from the knowledge that we have accumulated, then disorder comes.
Discipline is learning. You say something, such as, "Don't give the dogs too much food" or, "Go to bed early" or, "Be punctual", "Keep the room tidy". You tell me that and I am learning. Life, living, is a movement in learning and if I resist your telling me what to do, the resistance is the assertion of my own particular accumulated knowledge; therefore I cease to learn and so create a conflict between you and me.
Questioner: Does this apply to students only or to anybody?
Krishnamurti: To life, not only to students, to human beings.
Questioner: But everybody is not a disciple.
Krishnamurti: Everybody is learning. "Disciple" means "one who learns". But the generally accepted meaning is that a disciple is one who follows someone, some guru, some silly person. But both the follower and the one who is followed are not learning.
Questioner: But if we follow somebody who is not silly? Krishnamurti: You cannot follow anybody. The moment you follow somebody you are making yourself an idiot and the one whom you follow is also an idiot - because they have stopped learning. So, what do you do about discipline, about order? Are you learning about everything? - not only about geography, history and all the rest of it, but learning about relationship? We are living together in this house, each pulling in a different direction, each wanting something, each resisting somebody else saying, "Oh, he or she has become authoritarian." All such assertions, all such resistances, and doing what one thinks one wants to do - does not all that create disorder?
If you say, "I'm doing what I want to do; I'm being natural; it's my nature and you are not going to tell me what to do" - if you say that, and I say the same, what then takes place? What is our relationship? Can we ever do anything "naturally"? This is a very serious question, if you follow what I mean. Are you natural, any of you? Of course you are not! You are influenced - by your father, by your mother, by society, by your culture, by the climate, the food, the clothes, the propaganda. You are completely influenced and then you say, "I must be natural!" It has no meaning. You say, "I want to do what I think is the right thing" or, "I am a free person". You are not! You are not free. Freedom is something tremendous and to start out saying, "I am free" has no meaning. You don't even know what it means.
Questioner: Then how can you say, "It is tremendous"?
Krishnamurti: It is tremendous when one is free, but one is not. Can one realize that one is not free? Freedom means freedom from fear. It means freedom from any form of resistance. Freedom means a movement without isolation. It means having no resistance at all. So are you free? We are frightened, we resist, we are isolated within our own little ideas, wants and desires, obviously. So when you say "freedom" and "natural", those two words have no meaning. You can only be free when you have understood how deeply you are conditioned and are free of that conditioning. Then one can be free, then one is natural.
You know what order means? To have a lot of space, doesn't it? In a little room where there is no space it is more difficult to have order. You don't agree? You'll see it in a minute. Somebody told me about an experiment with rats: they put a lot of rats in a very small space and because they had no space they began to kill each other - the mother killed her babies. But we also need space inwardly. More and more cities are becoming overcrowded. You ought to go to India and see some of the big towns like Calcutta, Bombay or Delhi - you have no idea what it is like, the noise, the shouting, the people. They are like ants on the streets and, having no space, they are exploding in violence.
Here we must have space; the house itself is limited in size, so what will you do? Outwardly there is limited space and also how are you going to have inward space? You understand what I mean by inward space? Our minds are so crowded with a thousand ideas there is no space at all, even between two thoughts, between two ideas; between two emotions there is no space, no interval. But unless you have space there is no order, Order means learning, doesn't it? Learning about everything, So, if somebody tells me I am a fool, I want to learn the truth of it; I want to find out. I don't merely resist it and say, "You're another." I want to see, I want to listen, to learn. Therefore, learning brings order and resistance brings disorder.
So though outwardly I may not have space, because the world is getting more and more crowded, I want to see if I can have space inwardly. If I have no space inwardly, then I a bound to create disorder. What do you say to this? Here we are, a group of teenagers and they revolt against the established order, which is natural, inevitable. We have come here with those ideas, those feelings, and anybody who tells us anything we call "authoritarian". So what are we going to do?
How do we live differently here, act differently, be happy differently? Otherwise, you know what is going to happen? You will be thrown into the jungle of the world, thrown to a lot of wolves and you will be destroyed. In India, about three to four thousand people apply for every job. You understand what that means? They advertised for a cook and do you know who applied? - B.A.s, M.A.s and Ph.Ds! And it is going to get worse, right throughout the world. So at a school of this kind we have to learn. I am using the word "learn" in the right sense: to find out, explore relationship, because after all that is how we live. Society is the relationship between man and man. And it is essential that we learn here how to live, what relationship is, what love is. We must learn, not just say, "This is love" or, "That's not love" or, "This is authority", "That's not authority" - all those absurd statements have no meaning. But if we can actually learn together, then I think that this school has some meaning.
In India, at the school in the south, there are little boys from the ages of six up to eighteen, and we talk about everything. In India the word "meditation" is a tremendous word. There meditation has some meaning. And while I was talking about it, there they were, a whole group of boys, and yet they sat completely still. It was extraordinary how they did it! They shut their eyes, sat cross-legged and were absolutely quiet. It is part of the tradition there that you must meditate - whatever that may mean to them. You must sit quite still, and you must have a good feeling about life... So how are we, all of us, going to create this together? Not you alone, or Mrs. Simmons, or me - but all of us together. How can we do this?
Questioner: (1) Is it only together that we can do this?
Questioner: (2) Did you say, "Not individually, but together"?
Krishnamurti: Together. You know what the word "individual" means? - indivisible. An individual means one who is not divisible in himself. But we are divisible, we are broken up, we are not individuals. We are little fragments, broken, divided. Look, where does one feel completely secure, safe, protected? And you must have complete security.
Questioner: When you have trust in another?
Krishnamurti: Yes, and also at home, don't you? Home is supposed to be that place where you are completely safe, which you can trust, where you are protected. This is your home, isn't it? - for eight months of the year this is your home. But you don't feel secure here, do you?
Questioner: I do. Krishnamurti: Do you? That's good. But do you all? See what it means to be completely at home, where you are completely secure. The brain demands security; otherwise it can't function efficiently, clearly. It is only when the brain cells feel insecure that one becomes neurotic; one goes off balance. And this a place where you are at home, where you are completely safe.
Questioner: What do you do if this isn't so?
Krishnamurti: I'm coming to that. One needs safety, protection, trust, confidence and a feeling that you can do anything without destroying this. In a place like this you don't feel at home in that sense, do you? Who is going to make it for you? You understand what I'm talking about? Who is going to provide you with this environment of complete protection? I don't think you understand it. Do you know what it means, to be completely protected? You know how a baby needs complete protection, otherwise it cries? It must have its food regularly, it must be washed, taken care of, otherwise it is harmed. Now we are growing up and who is going to provide this home for us? Mrs. Simmons, or somebody like me? The day after tomorrow I'm gone. So who is going to provide it for us?
Questioner: All of us.
Krishnamurti: You are going to create it yourselves, you are going to build it. And if you don't build it, it is your fault. You can't say to Mrs. Simmons, "I want complete security and you are not providing it for me." This is your home and you are building it, you are creating it. If you don't feel at home here it is your fault. Find out about it, bring it about. Bring about this feeling that you are completely at home.
Questioner: Could you go into this question of security because I think we don't understand it. Security for what? Not security for an idea. You see, we identify ourselves with an idea.
Krishnamurti: No! Security, feeling completely safe, security not with ideas but with people. Don't you know what it means?
Questioner: (1) I'm not sure. Questioner: (2) It's something we don't know. Some of us have come here because we have ideas about it.
Krishnamurti: First of all look! I haven't studied neurology and the structure of the brain, but just watch yourself and you can easily find out. Where the brain feels completely at rest, safe, protected, it functions perfectly, beautifully. Have you ever tried it? It thinks very clearly, can learn very quickly, everything functions beautifully, without friction - that is safety. That is to be completely secure. The brain cells themselves feel there is no conflict. Why should you be in conflict with me or I with you?
When you tell me: "Keep the room in order", why should I feel, "Oh, how terrible"? Why shouldn't I be told that? But it creates a conflict in me. Why? Because I have stopped learning. Are we meeting each other? It is your home and you have to build it, not somebody else. It is where you feel completely safe, otherwise you can't learn properly, otherwise you reduce this place to something just like the outside world, where each one is against the other. Safety means the brain cells themselves are in perfect harmony, in perfect equilibrium, in a sense of being healthy, quiet. That is home; and this place is your home. If you don't make it so, it is your fault. And if you see disorder in your own room, you have to make order there because it is your home.
So you can never say, "I'm going to leave this place," because it's your home (though you may have to leave it one day). Do you know what that does when you feel completely at home, without fear, where you are open, where you are trusting? Not that you must have trust in somebody, but have the capacity of trusting, of generosity - it doesn't matter what the other does. I don't know if you are following all this?
Questioner: When you say, "It does not matter what the other does", what do you mean?
Krishnamurti: Look, you tell me something. Why do you tell me?
Questioner: Because it's your idea of what is needed. Krishnamurti: No, no. Why do you or Mrs. Simmons tell me to keep my room in order? Before I say that I will or I won't, find out why you are telling me that.
Questioner: (1) Because you're not doing it.
Questioner: (2) Because they like order.
Krishnamurti: No. You haven't understood my question. Do listen to it before you answer. I've told you ten times to keep your room in order and the eleventh time I get irritated. Then you say I'm bossy. Now, why have I told you this at all? Find out why. Is it because I want to express my egotism, my idea of what order is, my idea that you should behave in this way? Saying, "Go to bed", "Be punctual", imposing my idea on your idea. You answer, "Why should I keep my room in order? Who are you? It is my room." So what takes place then?
Questioner: A struggle.
Krishnamurti: Which means what?
Krishnamurti: It means, really, that you don't feel at home. You are not learning. Right? Conflict exists only when you are not learning. You come and tell me : "Keep your room in order", and I listen to you, I learn. And you also find out why you are telling me. Do you follow what I mean? If you want to burn the place down... it's your home. If you want to keep the gardens, the house, the rooms untidy and have a messy way of eating, well, it's your home. But if somebody tells me: "Don't put your feet on the table when you're eating", I say "Quite right." I learn.
Questioner: If somebody says to me: This is your country...
Krishnamurti: Oh no. Please don't extend it. It is not "my country". I am talking about a home. If somebody tells me it is my country and for that country I must kill someone, that's sheer nonsense...
Questioner: But can one be learning in that relationship too? Krishnamurti: Of course! Learning means learning.
Questioner: Yes, but there is also resistance.
Krishnamurti: No, no. You haven't understood the meaning.
Questioner: I don't go and kill.
Krishnamurti: We are discussing a school, living together here. If I know how to live here, learn here, then I will know what to do when the Government or the State says: "Go and kill somebody." If I don't know how to learn to live, I shan't be able to reply properly.
Questioner: There's something I don't really have straight. If I walk around and I don't wear shoes and somebody says, "You should wear shoes..."
Krishnamurti: What happens? You don't wear shoes and I come along and say, "Please put on your shoes."
Questioner: I would probably say, "I don't want to put on my shoes!"
Krishnamurti: Find out why I am asking you to. There are two people concerned, aren't there - you and I. I am asking you to put on your shoes. Why? Either I am conventional, or I want to boss you, or I see your feet are dirty, you'll dirty the carpet, or because it doesn't look nice to have dirty feet. I want to see that you understand what I am talking about.
Questioner: Shouldn't you tell me, then?
Krishnamurti: Yes, that's why I am telling you. I'm not telling you because I'm orthodox, you follow? I explain all this to you and you resist and say, "Why not? I did it at home, why not here?" Because here it's a different country, a different climate. And the crowd round about you, the neighbours, say: "What's the matter with all those people there, going about half naked?" You set up a bad reputation. You see all that is involved in it. So you have to learn about all this, which does not mean that you conform to the bourgeois.
Questioner: I don't understand. If you're worried about what the others think, the others on the outside... Krishnamurti: I'm not worried. I'm living in the world. If the outside people give this place a bad reputation, what happens?
Questioner: Trouble, probably.
Krishnamurti: That's it. You will soon have to close the place. There are nasty people in the world.
Questioner: And then there will not be the security which we need.
Krishnamurti: That's just it. So learn about it! Don't say: "Why shouldn't I do what I like, to hell with the outside world, they're stupid." I have to learn, I have to live in the stupid world.
To come back to the point. How are we, each one of us, going to make this our home? It's your job! Home means where you have energy, where you are creative, where you are happy, where you are active, where you are alive and not just learning from some book or other.
I have been travelling, talking, for the last fifty years. I go from country to country, from a room to a different room, different food, different climate. Wherever I am that little room is my home. You understand? I'm at home, I feel completely safe because I have no resistance.
So how are you going to make this place into your home from today? If you don't, will you allow someone to tell you that you don't? If I come along and say, "Look, you are not making this into your home", will you listen to me then? Or will you say: "What do you mean? It is my home, I interpret `home' in a different way from you." You interpret the idea of home in one way and I interpret it in another way and we quarrel. Then it's not a home! The interpretation of an idea of what you consider to be a home does not bring about a home, but to have the real feeling of it - and that implies a certain yielding. Which doesn't mean that you accept authority.
If someone wants to come here who says, "These are all a lot of rather immature children" (Sorry, but you are), "What's going on here?" - and he is a disturbing factor - how will you deal with him? Will you all say: "Let's vote for him. We like his face, his appearance, or whatever it is, and therefore we alI agree that he should come"? Is that the reason you are going to accept him? He may be a drunkard; he may do all kinds of things. How will you act? These are the problems which you are going to have to face in life. Do you understand? How are you going to meet it all? Thank God I have no children - but I feel this very strongly here. You are going to leave this place and be thrown to the wolves and you are not capable of meeting all this. You think you are all very clever - but you're not.
So, how can we live here wisely, with care and affection, so that when you go out into the world you are prepared for the monstrous things that are happening? How will you bring about order in this house? Do please consider this seriously. As you pass by a room, if you see everything lying on the floor - what will you do?
Questioner: Pick it up.
Krishnamurti: And do that every day? (Laughter.)
Questioner: You ask him to put his things away.
Krishnamurti: And he doesn't!
Questioner: Tell him why he should. Remind him.
Krishnamurti: All right. You remind me ten times!
Questioner: You tell him why.
Krishnamurti: Yes, you tell me all that but I'm sleepy. I don't care. I don't learn. I am dull-witted. What are you going to do? Beat me up? And I consider it's my home too, as well as yours. What are you going to do with me?
You don't answer! It is your home, and if you have a room in disorder some part of the house is being destroyed. It's like setting fire to a house. What will you do?
Questioner: Put it out!
Krishnamurti: You put it out every day and he lights it every day? Find out. Don't give it up. It's your life! (Pause.) What do you say, what do you do? It's your home and I dirty the floor every day. How are you going to deal with me? Questioner: The problem is that somebody cares about it and somebody else doesn't care about it.
Krishnamurti: What will you do?
Questioner: Find out why.
Krishnamurti: Yes. And I'll tell you all the reasons! You see, you're missing the point. I keep my room in disorder; there is dirt on the carpet, I dirty everything. What will you do with me? You have told me ten times and I go on doing it.
Questioner: If there is no communication...
Krishnamurti: What are you going to do? Don't say "no communication". You are all finding excuses. Let's put it another way. You are responsible, you are the Principal... what are you going to do?
Questioner: It's as you say. If there is dirt and it's like a fire, there is no end to it. Either you say, "You are part of this home,you should take care of it" or, " You can't destroy the home".
Krishnamurti: So what are you going to do with me?
Questioner: Well, if you feel it's your home you'll do it, won't you?
Krishnamurti: Then, why don't I?
Questioner: (Many interjections.)
Krishnamurti: Go into it. You will see. The moment I come here it's your responsibility to see that I understand what it means to feel at home. Not after making an awful mess of it. Perhaps you and I feel at home. But make the third person feel at home, then you will have order. But if you don't care and I don't care, then the other person says, "All right, I'll do as I like."
So all of us are going to bring about this feeling that it is our home. Not Mrs. Simmons going round putting everything in order and telling us what to do and what not to do. We are all doing it together. Do you know what vitality it will give you? What energy you will have? Because now the energy is wasted in sentimental emotionalism and conflicts. When we feel that this is our home we will have tremendous vitality.
Questioner: Well, everybody comes from different backgrounds, and therefore it is...
Krishnamurti: Quite right. But they all want one thing: security.
Questioner: Yes, but it's just their own form of security.
Krishnamurti: Ah no - not your form of security and my form of security, but the feeling in which there is no fear. A feeling of being completely together. A sense of, "I can trust you", "I can tell you anything about myself." It's not my telling you in my own way or having particular idiosyncrasies, but I feel at home, I feel a sense of complete protection. Don't you know what it all means? Probably you don't feel this at home when you go back?
Questioner: Well, when you go home you feel at home. I think I do. But I don't keep my room that neat. When I come here, I don't know why I should be so neat here.
Krishnamurti: It s not a question of neatness. First, it's the feeling. As we have said, one functions better when one feels completely safe, and most of us don't feel safe anywhere because we build a wall of resistance round ourselves, we have isolated ourselves. In that isolation we may feel safe, but that isolation can be broken into at any time. Now, is there the feeling of having no resistance? I don't know if you understand this? When we are really friends, when I love you and you love me - not sex and all that - but really feeling together, then we are safe, aren't we? You will protect me and I will protect you in the sense of working together, but not in the sense of resisting others. Now, can't we live like this? Can't we create that feeling here? Otherwise, what's the point of all this? Can't we have a sense of well-being, a sense of caring, of affection, love? Surely, then we shall create something totally new!
Look what happens. A mother brings up a baby. Think of the care - months and months of getting up at two o'clock at night; and then as the children grow up they are pushed out. Society swallows them up and sends them to Vietnam or somewhere else. And here there is this sense of being so safe. And you have to create it because it's your home, your furniture, your books, your food, your carpet. You understand?
I know a man who said to his daughter: "You are going to get married and I know what that means. You will always be in trouble, you will be in strife with your husband and all the rest of it. But here you always have a room. It's your home." Do you know what happened? There was tremendous trouble between husband and wife. But she used to come to this room and become quiet, rest, and be happy in it, even if only for a little while. I used to know the family fairly well.
Questioner: But in the story the girl is only being quiet, resting in the room.
Krishnamurti: Yes, but you can see the implication for this place.
Questioner: When one has accomplished this feeling of being at home, one is at home anywhere.
Krishnamurti: Then begin here. Then you will be at home anywhere.
Questioner: And you don't just "accomplish" it. You go on accomplishing it.
Krishnamurti: But if you don't know what the feeling is now, when you are young, and don't create it, then later on it is too late.
Do you know anything about meditation? You are interested in sex, aren't you? You are interested in being entertained; you are interested in learning geography, history - interested casually. You are interested in many things, aren't you? Meditation is part of life; don't say it's something outside for some silly people. It's part of existence, so you must know about it as you must know about mathematics, electronics or whatever it is. Do you know what it means to meditate? The dictionary meaning of the word is "to ponder", "to think over","to ruminate", "to enquire into". Shall we talk a little about it?
When you sit very quietly, or lie down very quietly, the body is completely relaxed, isn't it? Have you ever tried to sit very, very quietly? Not to force it, because the moment you force it, it is finished. To sit very quietly, either with your eyes closed or open. If you have your eyes open there is a little more distraction, you begin to see things. So, after looking at things, the curve of the tree, the leaves, the bushes, after looking at it all with care, then close your eyes. Then you will not say to yourself, "What's happening, let me look." First look at everything - the furniture, the colour of the chair, the colour of the sweater, look at the shape of the tree. After having looked, the desire to look out is less. I've seen that blue sky and I've finished with it and I won't look again. But you must first look. Then you can sit quietly. When you sit quietly, or lie down very quietly, the blood flows easily into your head, doesn't it? There is no strain. That's why they say you must sit cross-legged with head very straight, because the blood flows easier that way. If you sit crouched it is more difficult for the blood to go into the head. So you sit or lie down very, very quietly. Don't force it, don't fidget. If you fidget, then watch it, don't say, "I must not." Then, when you sit very quietly, you watch your mind. First, you watch the mind. Don't correct it. Don't say, "This thought is good, that thought is not good" just watch it. Then you will see that there is a watcher and the watched. There is a division. The moment there is a division there is conflict.
Now, can you watch without the watcher? Is there a watching without the watcher? It is the watcher that says, "This is good and that is bad", "This I like and that I don't like" or, "I wish she hadn't said this or that", "I wish I had more food". watch without the watcher - try it some time. That's part of meditation. Just begin with that. That's good enough. And you will see, if you have done it, what an extraordinary thing takes place... your body becomes very, very intelligent. Now the body is not intelligent because we have spoiled it. You understand what I mean? We have destroyed the natural intelligence of the body itself. Then you will find that the body says: "Go to bed at the right time." It wants it, it has its own intelligence and activity. And also if it wants to be lazy, let it be lazy.
Oh, you don't know what all this means! You try it. When I come back in April we'll sit down together twice a week and go into all this, shall we? Good! I feel you ought to leave this place highly intelligent. Not just pass some exams, but be tremendously intelligent, aware, beautiful persons. At least that is how I feel for you.
Beginnings of Learning
Beginnings of Learning Part I Chapter 5 School Dialogue Brockwood Park 31st January 1970
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.