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Beginnings of Learning

Part 1

Beginnings of Learning Part I Chapter 3 School Dialogue Brockwood Park 9th September 1970

Krishnamurti: The other day we were discussing what Brockwood Park is trying to do. We were saying that it has come into being in order to bring about intelligence, if that is possible. The word "intelligence" means having the faculty of understanding - to understand not only each other, but also what cooperation means, what freedom, what discipline and order mean. We said intelligence implies freedom. That freedom is not yours or mine - but freedom. Let's be very clear on this point. Please stop me if you don't understand. Don't be silent and then say afterwards, "I disagree with you." We are trying to find out together.

As we happen to be a small community, what does it mean to live together intelligently? Obviously the first thing is that there should be freedom between you and me and the others. Freedom doesn't mean doing what you want to do, because if each one of us did what he wanted there would be chaos here. Or a few of you would form a group thinking this is what we want to do in freedom, as opposed to another group. That is not freedom either.

You may say, "I think it is freedom to do what I like, because at home I do what I like, there is nobody to say `don't do it', and if they did I would revolt, get angry, run away." To do what one likes is really quite impossible. Because what one likes may be temporary, a passing desire, and if we all did what we liked without considering the others, we couldn't live together. So intelligence implies freedom to find out how to live together. You don't impose on me and I don't impose on you. Do see the responsibilities. And freedom implies that together we understand what the implications of authority are. If I sit up late and you tell me it's time to go to bed, don't call that authoritarian: that would be unintelligent. Because both of us have gone into the question of going to bed at a fixed hour, we have agreed. Our relationship then is not authoritarian, not nagging, but through intelligence. We have discussed what time to go to bed and intelligence is telling us, not authority. If I react to your telling me in a friendly way or with annoyance - whether you tell me rudely or politely - it is my lack of intelligence. I don't know if you see that.

Questioner: There is also a lack of intelligence in a person who tells me abruptly.

Krishnamurti: Of course, none of us is completely intelligent. We are learning - learning the nature, the quality of intelligence. I get angry and say things, and I am aware that I am silly, which is part of intelligence. Next time I will be careful, I will be watchful. So you see, cooperation is an understanding of intelligence.

Questioner: I wonder who is seeing, who is watching?

Krishnamurti: Yourself. I am angry with you, I say, "Please go to bed at eleven, I have told you ten times." I get irritated and I say to myself, "How silly of me to get irritated with a person who hasn't got the intelligence to see and after discussing it is still late." I see I've got angry. What's the difficulty?

Questioner: I am wondering if it's possible to look without the conditioning - the watcher is still in the conditioning.

Krishnamurti: No, don't go into the complex problem of the observer. We'll come to that a little later, I'm not disregarding what you're saying, but we are talking now of the quality of intelligence that cooperates.

Questioner: If someone says you are authoritarian, of course that's a reaction; but it is also a reaction to get angry. So why not say, "Don't be angry."

Krishnamurti: Of course. We are living together, we are trying to see, to help each other, learn from each other. If you refuse to learn because you think you are better, what are we going to do? The younger people think they know everything; what are you going to do if they say, "I disagree with you" and stick to it. Questioner: We're going to go into it.

Krishnamurti: But if they refuse to go into it.

Questioner: That's what we are doing now, laying the foundations for that.

Krishnamurti: That's just it, we are trying to lay the foundations so that we can live together intelligently. Not, you live intelligently and you tell me; or I tell you, but together. It's our responsibility together to be intelligent. Now what does that word mean? According to the dictionary it means to understand, to have the faculty of understanding.

Questioner: To choose between different courses is what it literally means.

Krishnamurti: Yes, you must have the faculty to choose and that faculty must be intelligent. If I choose out of prejudice it's not intelligence. So if we are laying the foundations of an environment in which our principal concern is to live together intelligently, this demands not only freedom, but self-critical awareness. I must be aware of what I am doing, why I'm doing it, of the consequence of that action; not be obstinate and say, "This is right! This is what I think! I'll stick to it." Then you stop learning, then we have no relationship.

Do you see this? Don't agree with me unless you really see it. My problem is: we want to live here happily, freely and intelligently, which we can't do in the world, because the world is brutal, thoughtless. Here we want to create an atmosphere, an environment, build a foundation where we live together, happily, intelligently, in cooperation. I am explaining what intelligent living together means. Find out, don't be silent and then go your own way afterwards. Discuss with me, so that we both learn what it is to be intelligent and live together in cooperation. Intelligence implies the faculty of understanding freedom, and all of us want to be free. We don't want to be under the control of any tyranny, whether of the family or of someone else. And we are trying to find out how to live together freely. I can stay by myself in my loneliness, in my room, dissociated from everybody; that may be what I call my free- dom, but I can't live that way. We are human beings in relationship with each other, therefore we must understand what it means to live together in freedom. And that demands intelligence.

Now, how are we going to do this? You might have an idea of freedom and I have another idea of it. So I say to myself, "I don't know what it means, I'm going to find out." You see the difference? If you start by saying, "I know what freedom means", it is finished - I don't know if you see this? - then you are not intelligent enough to learn about it.

Questioner: You are living in your own tyranny then.

Krishnamurti: Of course, you are living in your own soup, which is not very interesting. So we must both understand what it means to be free. Do you want to learn about it? Or do you say, "Don't teach me, I know all about it." When you say that you are already unintelligent, because you are not learning, you are fixed in your idea of what you think is freedom. I want to learn what it means to live together in freedom; therefore the first thing is not to say to myself, "I know what it means." So do you want to learn what freedom means? Because that's what we want to do at Brockwood.

I'll show you why. In freedom you can discover new things. In the world of science there must be freedom to discover new things. In human relationship, here, we are discovering, or learning, new things about ourselves. If I am fixed in my opinion, I can't learn. So I must be very careful, be aware of my fixed opinions or judgments; because this is what the world is doing and it's not learning. They have fixed ideas, opinions, conclusions from which they won't budge. And there are young people revolting against that; yet they have their own opinions, their prejudices, their fixed conclusions, so they are like the old.

Questioner: What do you do then if people have their fixed opinions?

Krishnamurti: People who have opinions, judgments, conclusions which they hold on to are incapable of living together freely, with intelligence. So have you opinions, judgments, conclusions, a tradition? All these things I have, but I am going to learn. You see the difference? After all, this is a place in which we are being educated, not only about geography and history, mathematics and so on, but we are educating ourselves with the help of each other to be highly intelligent when we leave. You may never leave, you may want to become a teacher here, that's up to you.

This is an educational centre; an educational centre implies the cultivation of intelligence - which is the subtlety of understanding, the faculty to choose. To choose the right course the mind must be free from every form of prejudice, every form of conclusion. Do you want a place like this where you can be educated, freely, happily, in intelligence? Which means, really, cooperation, doesn't it? I cannot cooperate with you if I emphasize my peculiarities. You understand? If I give importance to length of hair and make that the symbol of revolt, follow the consequences of it. Long hair is now the fashion. Length of hair is a symbol of revolt, a symbol of doing what one likes, because the old generation are short haired: it is a symbol of self-assertive aggression, a symbol of beauty. All these are implied in it, aren't they? A symbol of revolt against war, of revolt against the established order. Do you wear your hair long because it's beautiful?

Questioner: It's like a trap. There are two things: short hair is the Establishment, long hair is anti-Establishment.

Krishnamurti: I don't say, "Long hair is right" or "Short hair is right". I am asking you: do you wear it because it looks beautiful?

Questioner: Well, let's say it makes me feel more comfortable.

Krishnamurti: Now go into it very carefully. It makes you feel comfortable. Suppose you sit next to me, unwashed, dirty, smelly and I say I don't want to sit next to you. If it is comfortable to you it must also be comfortable to me, who am sitting at the table next to you.

Questioner: Right. Krishnamurti: Long hair does look very nice if it is kept properly - not hanging all over the face - do you do it for that reason?

Questioner: I don't know if I do it specifically for that reason, to have nice shiny hair.

Krishnamurti: Then why do you keep it long?

Questioner: It feels good in the wind and it feels good in the water.

Krishnamurti: All right, but you are not in the wind all the time. You have to sit next to me. You are not living alone in this world. We are learning to live together with intelligence, in freedom.

Questioner: Yes, but I can see if bugs are crawling out of the hair, if the hair is just left to grow, I can see why you react on your part if you are sitting next to it.

Krishnamurti: Wait, I've told you to watch it. As long as it is clean and really looks nice, doesn't smell, what's wrong with it? In Ceylon the men have long hair, they put circular combs in it to keep it tidy and it looks very nice. Are you going to go about like that, with a comb in it? (Laughter.) What's wrong? You see, you are prejudiced, that's what I am getting at.

Questioner: It's not really prejudice. I don't have anything against you if you go around with a comb in your hair.

Krishnamurti: As I have to live with you, if you are smelly, if you are untidy, I object to it.

Questioner: Right. But there's a little confusion for me about the word "tidy".

Krishnamurti: So if you feel long hair is right, then wear it. But it means that you have to be clean. Or, do you wear it as a symbol of your revolt against the Establishment? And because I have short hair, does it mean I am accepting the Establishment? See the danger, So why are you wearing long hair? You haven't answered me. Do you do it because everybody does it? - which is imitation, conformity, which is unintelligent. Know what you are doing. Is it part of intelligence? If you said, "Look, I'm growing my hair because I like it, it looks nice, it's clean", I'd accept it immediately. But if you're wearing it as a symbol, then I want to know what that symbol is, because I've got to live with you. Your symbol may mean death to me! I want to find out.

Questioner: But isn't there also kinship with your generation?

Krishnamurti: But know why you are doing it. Kinship with your generation - is that right?

Questioner: Friendship, being related to...

Krishnamurti: If you feel related to the long-haired ones and not to the short-haired ones, do you see what you are doing? It means you are creating division, which the older generation has created, and therefore you are following. So you are creating as much destruction as they did. Then to wear the symbol of peace on your shirt means nothing. So what I'm saying is, if we are going to live together in intelligence and freedom, we must both know what we are doing and why we are doing it. Not just cover it up with a lot of words, because that is not intelligence. Why do we have vegetarian food in this place? Do you ask that? You raised the word "tidy". Do you know what it means to be orderly? You don't, do you?

Questioner: If I did I wouldn't be here.

Krishnamurti: We are going to go into it. To think in an orderly way, to think clearly, to act clearly. Not: to think one thing and do something else; but to think very clearly, objectively, sanely, that is orderly, isn't it? I'm going to bring that word "tidy" into this. To dress neatly is orderly, isn't it?

Questioner: I'm not sure.

Krishnamurti: What is it you are not sure of? You come into the dining room with naked, dirty feet and I'm sitting next to you. I don't like it because it's not clean, I like to be clean. And you say, that's a prejudice. Is it? Every animal wants to be clean. Questioner: Every animal has naked feet too.

Krishnamurti: But it is clean. It's always keeping clean, you've seen it licking itself. Come with clean feet! - which means keep the floor clean.

Beginnings of Learning

Part 1

Beginnings of Learning Part I Chapter 3 School Dialogue Brockwood Park 9th September 1970

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