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Five Conversations

Five Conversations 3rd Conversation

"What is action?" he asked. "And what is love? Is there a link between them, or are they two different things?"

He was a big man and had long hair, almost touching his shoulders, which emphasized the squareness of his face. He wore corduroy trousers and had an air of roughness. He was soft-spoken, with a ready smile and a quick mind. He wasn't particularly interested in himself but was keen to ask questions and to find the right answers.

Love and action are not separate; they are made separate by thought. Where there is love, action is part of it. Action by itself has very little meaning. Action is the response to challenge, and the response is from the background of culture, social influences and tradition, so it is always old. Challenge is always new, otherwise you wouldn't call it challenge. Unless response is adequate to challenge there must be conflict, and therefore decay. Our actions, springing from the past, must ever lead to disorder and decay.

"So, is there an action which is not in itself the cause of decay? And is such action possible in this world?" he asked.

It is possible only when we understand the nature of challenge. Is there only one challenge, or are there multiple challenges? Or, do we translate this one challenge into diversified and fragmentary challenges? Surely there is only one, but our mind, being fragmentary, translates that one challenge into many and tries to respond to these multiple fragments. And so our actions become contradictory and conflicting, causing misery and confusion in all our relationships.

"That I see," he said,"our minds are fragmentary; I see that very clearly, but what is this one challenge?"

It is that man should be completely, totally, free. Not free from any one particular issue or from one particular bondage, but from all bondages and from all issues. When you accept the challenge - and this challenge has always been there for man to accept from the most ancient of times until now - when you accept the challenge you cannot possibly interpret it according to any cond- ition of culture or society. To deny freedom is to retrogress. Can you accept this challenge, not intellectually, but with the impact, with the intensity, of some acute and dangerous disease? If you do not accept it then you are merely acting according to your own personal pleasure and idiosyncrasy, which make for bondage, slavery, to a particular pattern of thought. If you do not accept this challenge - that man be completely free - then you deny love. Then action is a series of adjustments to social and environmental demands, with its agonies, despairs and fears.

"But can one be so completely free, living in this murderous world?"

That is a wrong question. That is merely an intellectual inquiry which has very little validity. Be free, and then you will love, in whatever society or culture it be. Without freedom man withers away, however great his work, whether in art, science, politics or religion. Freedom and action are not separate. Being free is action; it isn't that there is action to be free, doing in order to be free. Love: and hate ceases. Rut to deny hate in order to love is part of that pleasure which thought establishes. So freedom, love and action are interrelated, not to be separated, not to be cut up into political or social activity and so on. The mind, being established in freedom, acts. And this action is love.

Five Conversations

Five Conversations 3rd Conversation

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