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Beginnings of Learning

Part 1

Beginnings of Learning Part I Chapter 10 School Dialogue Brockwood Park 19th June 1971

Krishnamurti: We are all terribly solemn this morning, aren't we? What do you think about all day long and why do you think about these things? Are you aware of what you are thinking or does one thought precede another endlessly and one is not aware of it? If you are aware of your thoughts from what source do they arise?

Questioner: From past experiences.

Krishnamurti: Are you quoting what I said? Be quite clear that you don't say anything that you don't know yourself, don't say it if you haven't thought it out and worked it out, otherwise you get verbal and theoretical, so be careful. First of all what do you think about all day long? Is it a secret to keep to yourself, or can you share it with another?

Questioner: (1) I think about lots of different things.

Questioner: (2) About people at Brockwood.

Krishnamurti: What is the central core of your thinking? You know there is peripheral thinking which is not really important, but at the centre, what is the momentum, the movement of that thinking? What is that `me' that is so concerned with itself? I think about myself, that is the core, the heart of my thinking. And on the periphery I think about various things, the people here, the trees, the bird flying - these things don't really very much matter unless there is a crisis on the periphery and it affects the `me' and the `me' reacts. Now what is that centre from which you think - which is the `me'? And why is there this continual occupation about oneself? I am not saying it is right or wrong, or "How terrible", "How childish" or "How good" - but we see that we are occupied with ourselves. Why? Questioner: Because we think it is important.

Krishnamurti: Why do you give it importance?

Questioner: When you are a child you have to.

Krishnamurti: Why do you think about yourself so much? See what is involved in this. Thinking about oneself isn't just a very small affair, you think about yourself in relation to another with like and dislike; and you think about yourself, identifying yourself with another - right? I think about the person I have just left, or the person I think I like, or the person with whom I have quarrelled, or the person whom I love. I have identified myself with all those people, haven't I?

Questioner: What do you mean by `identify'?

Krishnamurti: I love you, I have identified myself with you. Or, I have hurt her and you identify yourself with her and get angry with me. See what has happened: I have said something to her which is harmful and unpleasant; you are her friend, you identify yourself with her and get angry with me. So that is part of the self-centred activity, isn't it? Are you sure?

Questioner: But isn't it the other person who is identifying with you?

Krishnamurti: Is it or is it not? Let's enquire. I like you, I am very fond of you - what does that mean? I like your looks, you are a good companion and so on. It means what?

Questioner: It means you are a better companion than other people and so I like being with you.

Krishnamurti: Go a little deeper. What does it mean?

Questioner: You keep that person to yourself and exclude others.

Krishnamurti: That is part of it, but go on further.

Questioner: It is pleasing to be with that person.

Krishnamurti: It is pleasing to be with that person and it is not pleasing with another person. So my relationship with you is based on my pleasure. If I don't like you I say, "I'll be off!" My pleasure is my concern, as is my hurt, my anger. So self-concern isn't just thinking about myself and identifying with this or that possession, person, or book. Is that what you do all day? There is the peripheral occupation, and also I am comparing myself with you; that is going on all the time, but from a centre.

Questioner: You read about the refugees in India and you haven't a personal relationship with them but you do identify with them.

Krishnamurti: Why do I identify myself with those people who have been killed and chased out of East Pakistan? I watched them the other day on television; this is happening everywhere, not only in Pakistan, it is appalling. Now you say you identify yourself with all those refugees - what do you feel?

Questioner; Sympathy.

Krishnamurti: Go on, explore it, unravel it.

Questioner: (1) Anger against the people who caused this.

Questioner: (2) Frustration because you can't do anything about it.

Krishnamurti: You get angry with the people who do these things, who kill the young men and chase out old women and children. Is that what you do? You identify with this and reject that. What is the structure, the analysis of this identification?

Questioner: It is dualistic.

Krishnamurti: Move on...

Questioner: You don't feel secure.

Krishnamurti: Through identification you feel that you could do something?

Questioner: Even by taking one side you feel that you have a certain chance to do something. Krishnamurti: I am anti-Catholic, I identify myself with a group who are anti-clerical. Identifying myself with those, I feel I can do something. But go further, it is still me doing something about it, it is still the occupation with myself. I have identified myself with what I consider greater: India, Communism, Catholicism and so on. My family, my God, my belief, my house, you have hurt me - you follow? What is the reason for this identification?

Questioner: I separate myself from the rest of the world and in identifying with something bigger, that something becomes my ally.

Krishnamurti: Yes, but why do you do this? I identify myself with you because I like you. I don't identify myself with him because I don't like him. And I identify myself with my family, with my country, with my God, with my belief. Now why do I identify with anything at all - I don't say it is right or wrong - what is behind this identification?

Questioner: Inward confusion.

Krishnamurti: Is it?

Questioner: You are afraid

Krishnamurti: Push further.

Questioner: The confusion is caused by the identification.

Krishnamurti: Is it? I am questioning you and you must question me too. Don't accept what I am saying, enquire. This whole process of identification, why does it happen? And if I don't identify myself with you, or with something, I feel frustrated. Are you sure?

Questioner: (1) I don't know.

Questioner: (2) You feel unfulfilled empty.

Krishnamurti: Go on. I feel sad, frustrated, not fulfilled, insufficient, empty. Now I want to know why I identify myself with a group, with a community, with feelings, ideas, ideals, heroes and all the rest of it - why?

Questioner: I think it is in order to have security.

Krishnamurti: Yes. But what do you mean by that word `security'?

Questioner: Alone I am weak.

Krishnamurti: Is it because you cannot stand alone?

Questioner: It is because you are afraid to stand alone.

Krishnamurti: You are frightened of being alone, so therefore you identify?

Questioner: Not always.

Krishnamurti: But it is the core, the root of it. Why do I want to identify myself? Because then I feel safe. I have pleasant memories of people and places so I identify myself with that. I see in identification I am much more secure right.

Questioner: I don't know if you want to talk about this particular aspect, but if I see the killing in Vietnam is wrong, and there is a group of anti-war demonstrators in Washington, then I go and join them.

Krishnamurti: Now wait a minute. There is an anti-war group and I join them. I identify myself with them because in identifying with a group of people who are doing something about it, I am also doing something about it; by myself I cannot do anything. But belonging to a group of people who demonstrate, who write articles and say, "It is terrible," I am actively taking part in stopping the war. That is the identification. We are not seeking the results of that identification - whether it is good or bad. But why does the human mind want to identify itself with something?

Questioner: When is it action and when is it identification? Krishnamurti: I am coming to that. First, I want to be clear in myself and in talking it over find out why I should identify. And when necessary I will identify. That is, I must first understand what it means to cooperate. Then, when I am really deeply cooperating, then I will know when not to cooperate. Not the other way round. I don't know if you see this? If I know what is involved in cooperation, which is a tremendous thing - to work together, to live together, to do things together - when I understand that, then I will know when not to cooperate.

Now I want to know why I identify myself with anything. Not that I shouldn't identify if there is a necessity of identification in action, but before I find out how to act, or with whom I can cooperate, I want to find out why there is this urge to identify. To have security? - is that the reason? Because you are far from your country, from your family, you identify with this house, with a group, to be safe, protected. The identification takes place because you feel, "Here I am secure." So is the reason you identify because you are insecure? Is that it? Insecurity means fear, uncertainty, not to know what to think, to be confused. So you need protection - it is good to have protection. Is that the reason why you identify?

What is the next step? In myself I am uncertain, unclear, confused, frightened and insufficient, therefore I identify myself with a belief, Now what happens?

Questioner: I find I am still insecure.

Krishnamurti: No. I have identified myself with certain ideologies. What happens then?

Questioner: You try to make that your security.

Krishnamurti: I have given various reasons for this identification: because it is rational, it is workable, all the rest of it. Now what happens when I have identified myself with it?

Questioner: You have a conflict.

Krishnamurti: Look what happens. I have identified myself with an ideology, with a group of people, or a person, it is part of me. I must protect that mustn't I? Therefore if it is threatened I am lost, I am back again to my insecurity. So what takes place? I am angry with anybody who attacks or doubts it. Then what is the actual thing that takes place?

Questioner: Conflict.

Krishnamurti: Look: I have identified myself with an ideology. I must protect it because it is my security and I resist anybody who threatens that, in the sense of having a contradictory ideology. So where I have identified myself with an ideology there must be resistance, I build a wall round what I have identified myself with. Where there is a wall, it must create division. Then there is conflict. I don't know if you see all this?

Now what is the next step? - go on.

Questioner: (1) What is the difference between identification and cooperation?

Questioner: (2) It seems there has to be more understanding of cooperation.

Krishnamurti: You know what it means to cooperate, to work together? Can there be cooperation when there is identification? Do you know what we mean by identification? We have examined the anatomy of it. Cooperation means to work together. Can I work with you if I have identified myself with an ideology and you are identified with another ideology? Obviously not.

Questioner: But people have to work together.

Krishnamurti: Is that cooperation?

Questioner: No.

Krishnamurti: See what is involved. Because of our identification with an ideology we work together, you protect it and I protect it. It is our security, in the name of God, in the name of beauty, in the name of anything. We think that is cooperation. Now what takes place? Can there be cooperation when there is identification with a group?

Questioner: No, because there is division. I find myself in conflict with members of the group, because I keep identifying with them.

Krishnamurti: Look what is happening. You and I have identified ourselves with that ideology. Our interpretation of that ideology may be...

Questioner: ...different...

Krishnamurti: Of course. If you vary in the interpretation of that ideology you are deviating, therefore we are in conflict. Therefore we must both of us agree about that ideology completely. Is that possible?

Questioner: That is exactly what happens with a school. Instead of an ideology, you identify with a school and each person has his own concept.

Krishnamurti: Yes, quite right - why?

Questioner: I sense that sometimes there is conflict here for just the reason you were giving when talking about an ideology. If you and I identify with the school, we think we are cooperating, but there isn't that spirit.

Krishnamurti: Therefore I am asking, can there be cooperation when there is identification.

Questioner: No.

Krishnamurti: Do you know what you are saying? (Laughter.) That is how everything in this world is working. Is that the truth? - that where there is identification there can be no cooperation? It is a marvellous thing to discover the truth of this. Not your opinion, or my opinion, but the truth, the validity of it. Therefore we have to find out what we mean by cooperation. You see there can be no cooperation when there is identification with an idea, with a leader, with a group and so on. Then, what is cooperation in which there is no identification?

Questioner: Acting in response to the situation itself.

Krishnamurti: I am not saying you are not right, but can we work together when you and I think differently? When you are concerned with yourself and I am concerned with myself? And one of the reasons is, that knowing we cannot cooperate when we are thinking of ourselves, we try to identify ourselves with an ideology, hoping thereby to bring about cooperation. But if you don't identify, what is cooperation?

Here we are at Brockwood, in a school. We see there cannot be cooperation when there is identification with the school, with an idea, with a programme, with a particular policy of this and that. And also we see that identification is the cause of all division. Then, what is cooperation? To work together: not "about something". Do you see the difference? So before you do something together, what is the spirit of cooperation? The feeling, the inwardness of it, what is that feeling?

Questioner: Understanding, being completely open to it.

Krishnamurti: Go a little deeper. We said identification is not cooperation. Are you quite sure on that point? And are you quite clear that cooperation cannot exist when each of us is concerned with himself? But you are concerned with yourself, therefore you have no spirit of cooperation, you only cooperate when it pleases you. So what does it mean to cooperate? We are not playing parlour games. What does it mean to cooperate when there is no `me'? - otherwise you can't cooperate. I may try to cooperate round an idea, but there is always the `me' that is trying to identify itself with the thing that I am doing. So I must find out why it is that I am thinking about myself all day long: how I look, that somebody is better than me; why somebody has hurt me, or somebody has said, "What a nice person you are." Now why am I doing this all day long? And at night too, when I'm asleep this goes on. I am better than you, I know what I am talking about, it is my experience, you are stupid, I am clever. Why?

Questioner: It seems a lot of it becomes a habit.

Krishnamurti: What is habit?

Questioner: Not being aware.

Krishnamurti: No. What is habit? - not how is it formed.

Questioner: Repetition of a movement.

Krishnamurti: Right. Why is there a repetition of this movement? Why is habit formed? You will see something extraordinary if you go slowly. We have all got short hair or long hair - why? Because others do it.

Questioner: Is that habit or imitation?

Krishnamurti: See what takes place. First you imitate others, then you say short hair is square.

Questioner: Is a custom a habit too?

Krishnamurti: Yes. I don't want to go too quickly into this. Isn't all thinking habit? You agree?

Questioner: Well, it is something you do over and over again.

Krishnamurti: Go on, see what you can discover for yourself when we go into this whole question of habit.

Questioner: It is really a situation with an old reaction, isn't it?

Krishnamurti: A new situation we meet with old responses. Is not identification a habit? Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Because you are insecure. So do you know the nature of this machinery that makes for habit? Are you aware that you are always operating by habit? To get up at six o'clock every day; to believe "all this; to smoke, not to smoke, to take drugs - you follow? Everything is reduced to habit - it may be of a week, ten days, or fifty years, but the habit is formed. Why does the mind fall into this groove? Haven't you asked yourself why you have a habit? - habit being merely tradition. Have you watched your mind working in habit?

Questioner: (1) It is easier.

Questioner: (2) It takes really a lot of energy to live without habit.

Krishnamurti: I am coming to that. Don't jump, move from step to step. I am asking myself: why does the mind always live in habit? I thought that yesterday, I still think that today and I will think the same about it tomorrow - with slight modifications perhaps. Now why does the mind do this?

Questioner. One is half asleep.

Krishnamurti: We said laziness is part of it. What else? It feels easier with habits.

Questioner: One is afraid of the unknown.

Krishnamurti: I want to go a little deeper than that.

Questioner: The mind is afraid that if it doesn't maintain thinking in the same way, it will itself be threatened.

Krishnamurti: Which means what?

Questioner: It sees a certain kind of order in habit.

Krishnamurti: Is habit order? Questioner: You can form a certain structure with habit, but that is not necessarily order.

Krishnamurti: Which means that the mind functions in habit for various reasons, like a machine. It is easier, it avoids loneliness, fear of the unknown, and it implies a certain order to say, "I will follow that and nothing else." Now why does the mind function in a groove, which is habit?

Questioner: Its nature is that.

Krishnamurti: But if you say that, then you stop enquiring. We know the reasons why the mind functions in habit. Are you actually aware of it? The highly psychopathic person has got a habit which is completely different from others. A neurotic person has got certain habits. We condemn that habit but accept others. So why does the mind do this? I want to go into it deeper, I want to see why it does it and whether the mind can live without habit.

Questioner: Because it feels it is the personality.

Krishnamurti: We said that: the personality, the ego, the `me' which says, "I am frightened, I want order", laziness, all that is `me' - different facets of the `me'. Can the mind live without habit? - except for the biological habits, the regular functioning of the body which has its own mechanism, its own intelligence, its own machinery. But why does the mind accept habit so quickly? The question, "Can it live without habit?" is a tremendous question. To say that there is God, there is a Saviour, is a habit. And to say there is no Saviour but only the State, that is another habit. So the mind lives in habit. Does it feel more secure in habit?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Go slowly, which means what? Functioning in the field of the known it feels safe. The known is habit - right?

Questioner: Even then, we still say we don't feel safe. Krishnamurti: Because the known may change or may be taken away or get something added to it. But the mind is always functioning in the field of the known because there it feels secure. So the known is the habit, the known is knowledge - that is, knowledge of science, of technology, and the knowledge of my own experiences. And in that there is mechanical habit - of course. Now I am asking: can the mind move from the known - not into the unknown, I don't know what that means - but be free and move away from the borders of the known?

Look. If I know everything about the internal combustion engine, I can continue experimenting in the same direction, but there is a limitation. I must find something new, there must be some other way to create energy.

Questioner: Would the mind say that, if it wanted the security of the known?

Krishnamurti: I am not talking about security at the moment.

Questioner: Are you saying that there has to be a lack of continuity? In technology, in order for something new to happen, there has to be a break in continuity.

Krishnamurti: That's right. That is what takes place. Otherwise man couldn't have invented the jet, he must have looked at the problem differently. Are you following all this? My mind always works in the field of the known, modified, which is habit. In relationship with human beings, in thought - which is the response of memory and always within the field of the known - I am identifying myself with the unknown through the known. So I am asking: the mind must function with the known, because otherwise one couldn't talk, but can it also function without any habit?

Questioner: Does the mind ask that question because acting out of habit is unsuccessful?

Krishnamurti: I am not thinking of success.

Questioner: But what would make the mind ask this? Krishnamurti: My mind says, "This isn't good enough, I want more." It wants to find out more it can't find it within the field of the known, it can only expand that field.

Questioner: But it has to realize the limitation.

Krishnamurti: I realize it, and I say to myself: I can function within the field of the known, I can always expand it or contract it, horizontally, vertically, in any way, but it is always within the field of the known. My mind says: I understand that very well. And so, being curious, it says: can the mind live, can it function, without habit?

Questioner: Is that a different question?

Krishnamurti: Now I am talking psychologically, inwardly. Apparently all life, all the mental activity in the psyche, is a continuity of habit.

Questioner: Is there really an impetus or something...

Krishnamurti: I am creating an impetus. The mind is itself creating the impetus to find out - not because it wants to find something.

Questioner: This is a very touchy point. This seems to be the key to some difficulty. Why - if I may just ask the question - does the mind say: I see the need for living without psychological habit?

Krishnamurti: I don t see the need, I am not positing anything. I am only saying I have seen the mind in operation in the field of the known - contracting, expanding horizontally or vertically, or reducing it to nothing, but always within that area. And my mind asks, is there a way of living - I don't know it, I don't even posit it - in which there is no habit at all?

So we come back: do you know what you are thinking about all day? You say, yes, I am thinking about myself, vaguely or concretely, or subtly, or in a most refined manner, but always round that. Can there be love when the mind is occupied with itself all the time? You say, "No". Why?

Questioner: Because if you are thinking about your self all the time, you can't...

Krishnamurti: Therefore you can never say, "I love you", until you stop thinking about yourself. When a man feels ambitious, competitive, imitative, which is part of thinking about oneself, can there be love? So we have to find a way of living in which habit is not. But habit can be used, the known can be used - I won't call it habit - in a different way, depending on the circumstances, the situation and so on. So is love habit? Pleasure is habit, isn't it? - is love pleasure?

Questioner: What do you mean by love, Sir?

Krishnamurti: I don't know. I will tell you what it is not, and when that is not in you, the other is. Listen to this: where the known is, love is not.

Questioner: So one has to find out first what habit is, and then about non-habit.

Krishnamurti: We have found it, we have said: habit is the continuation of action within the field of the known. The known is the tomorrow. Tomorrow is Sunday and I am going out for a drive - I know that, I have arranged it. Can I say, "Tomorrow I will love"?

Questioner: (1) No.

Questioner: (2) I do.

Krishnamurti: What do you mean? "I will love you tomorrow?"

Questioner: We promise that. Krishnamurti: In a church, you mean? That means love is within the field of the known and therefore within time.

Questioner: But if you love once, can you suddenly stop loving?

Krishnamurti: I loved you once, I am bored with you now!

Questioner: If you love someone today you can love him tomorrow.

Krishnamurti: How do you know? I love you today, but you want to be sure that I'll love you tomorrow, therefore I say, "I'll love you, darling, tomorrow."

Questioner: That is something else.

Krishnamurti: I am asking: has love a tomorrow? Habit has a tomorrow because it continues. Is love a continuity? Is love identification? - I love my wife, my son, my God? Therefore you have to really understand - not just verbally - the whole process, the structure and the nature of the known, the whole field of it inwardly, how you function always within that field, thinking from that field. The tomorrow you can grasp because it is projected from the known. To really understand this you have to understand all that we have said; you have to know what you think and why, and you have to observe it.

Questioner: You can know what you think, but you don't always know why you think it.

Krishnamurti: Oh yes, it is fairly simple. I want to know why I think, why thought comes in. Yesterday I went to the tailor and I forgot my watch there. Last night I looked for it and I thought about it and said, "How lazy of me, how inconsiderate on my part to leave it there, giving trouble" - all that went through the mind.

Questioner: When you say it was inconsiderate of you, you were identifying yourself. Krishnamurti: No I forgot the watch. Which means they have to take the trouble to look after it, someone might take it, they will be responsible, all that. And I thought about it, and I know why this whole momentum of thinking arose from that I watched the whole flow of thought; you can know the beginning and the ending of thought - you look so mystified! - I have thought about it and I can end it. I left the watch there and I thought it might get lost; I have had it for a long time, I have cared for it. I would give it away, but not lose it. And it is lost! - finished. I didn't think any more about it. Now, to watch every thought, to be aware of it! Any thought is significant if you penetrate it; you can see the origin of it and the ending of it - not go on and on.

Questioner: And you say, Sir, if you see why the thought originated you will be able to see the ending of it?

Krishnamurti: No, look. Is there an individual thought separate from another thought? Are all thoughts separate or are they interrelated? What do you say?

Questioner: They are interrelated.

Krishnamurti: Are you sure?

Questioner: Well, they all come from one another.

Krishnamurti: If I understand their interrelationship, or if there is an understanding of the background from which all thought springs...

Questioner: That is the difficult point.

Krishnamurti: To watch without any question of wanting an answer means infinite watchfulness - not impatience - but watch carefully, then everything comes out. If you and I quarrel, I don't want to carry it in my mind, in thought, I want to finish it. I'll come to you and say, "I am sorry, I didn't mean it" - and it is finished. But do I do that? Have you learnt a lot this morning? Not "learnt" but "learning: what it means to learn.

Beginnings of Learning

Part 1

Beginnings of Learning Part I Chapter 10 School Dialogue Brockwood Park 19th June 1971

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