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The Only Revolution

Europe 1969

The Only Revolution Europe Part 15

He was rather a blunt man, full of interest and drive. He had read extensively, and spoke several languages. He had been to the East and knew a little about Indian philosophy, had read the so-called sacred books and had followed some guru or other. And here he was now, in this little room overlooking a verdant valley smiling in the morning sun. The snow peaks were sparkling and there were huge clouds just coming over the mountains. It was going to be a very nice day, and at that altitude the air was clear and the light penetrating. It was the beginning of summer and there was still in the air the cold of spring. It was a quiet valley, especially at this time of the year, full of silence, and the sound of cow-bells, and the smell of pine and new mown grass. There were a lot of children shouting and playing, and that morning, early, there was delight in the air and the beauty of the land lay upon one's senses. The eye saw the blue sky and the green earth, and there was rejoicing.

"Behaviour is righteousness - at least, that's what you have said. I have listened to you for some years, in different parts of the world, and I have grasped the teaching. I am not trying to put that teaching into action in life for then it becomes another pattern, another form of imitation, the acceptance of a new formula. I see the danger of this. I have absorbed a great deal of what you have said and it has almost become part of me. This may prevent a freedom of action - upon which you so insist. One's life is never free and spontaneous. I have to live my daily life but I'm always watchful to see that I'm not merely following some new pattern which I have made for myself. So I seem to lead a double life; there is the ordinary activity, family, work, and so on, and on the other hand there is the teaching that you have been giving, in which I am deeply interested. If I follow the teaching then I'm the same as any Catholic who conforms to a dogma. So, from what does one act in daily life if one lives the teaching without simply conforming to it?"

It is necessary to put aside the teaching and the teacher and also the follower who is trying to live a different kind of life. There is only learning: in the learning is the doing. The learning is not separate from the action. If they are separate, them learning is an idea or a set of ideals according to which action takes place, whereas learning is the doing in which there is no conflict. When this is understood, what is the question? The learning is not an abstraction, an idea, but an actual learning about something. You cannot learn without doing; you cannot learn about yourself except in action. It is not that you first learn about yourself and then act from that knowledge for then that action becomes imitative, conforming to your accumulated knowledge.

"But, sir, every moment I am challenged, by this or by that, and I respond as I always have done - which often means there is conflict. I'd like to understand the pertinence of what you say about learning in these everyday situations."

Challenges must always be new, otherwise they are not challenges, but the response, which is old, is inadequate, and therefore there is conflict. You are asking what there is to learn about this. There is the learning about responses, how they come into being, their background and conditioning, so there is a learning about the whole structure and nature of the response. This learning is not an accumulation from which you are going to respond to the challenge. Learning is a movement not anchored in knowledge. If it is anchored it is not a movement. The machine, the computer, is anchored. That is the basic difference between man and the machine. Learning is watching, seeing. If you see from accumulated knowledge then the seeing is limited and there is no new thing in the seeing.

"You say one learns about the whole structure of response. This does seem to mean that there is a certain accumulated volume of what is learnt. On the other hand you say that the learning you speak of is so fluid that it accumulates nothing at all."

Our education is the gathering of a volume of knowledge, and the computer does this faster and more accurately. What need is there for such an education? The machines are going to take over most of the activities of man. When you say, as people do, that learning is the gathering of a volume of knowledge then you are denying, aren't you, the movement of life, which is relationship and behaviour? If relationship and behaviour are based on previous experience and knowledge, then is there true relationship? Is memory, with all its associations, the true basis of relationship? Memory is images and words, and when you base your relationship on symbols, images and words, can it ever bring about true relationship?

As we said, life is a movement in relationship, and if that relationship is tethered to the past, to memory, its movement is limited and becomes agonizing.

"I understand very well what you say, and I ask again, from what do you act? Are you not contradicting yourself when you say that one learns in observing the whole structure of one's responses, and at the same time say that learning precludes accumulation?"

The seeing of the structure is alive, it is moving; but when that seeing adds to the structure then the structure becomes far more important than the seeing, which is the living. In this there is no contradiction. What we are saying is that the seeing is far more important than the nature of the structure. When you give importance to learning about the structure and not to learning as the seeing, then there is a contradiction; then seeing is one thing and learning about the structure is another.

You ask, sir, what is the source from which one acts? If there is a source of action then it is memory, knowledge, which is the past. We said the seeing is the acting; the two things are not separate. And the seeing is always new and so the acting is always new. Therefore the seeing of the everyday response brings out the new, which is what you call spontaneity. At the very moment of anger there is no recognition of it as anger. The recognition takes place a few seconds later as "being angry". Is this seeing of that anger a choiceless awareness of that anger, or is it again choice based on the old? If it is based on the old, then all the responses to that anger - repression, control, indulgence and so on - are the traditional activity. But when the seeing is choiceless, there is only the new.

From all this arises another interesting problem: our dependence on challenges to keep us awake, to pull us out of our routine, tradition, established order, either through bloodshed, revolt, or some other upheaval.

"Is it possible for the mind not to depend on challenges at all?"

It is possible when the mind is undergoing constant change and has no resting place, safe anchorage, vested interest or commitment. An awakened mind, a mind which is alight - what need has it of challenges of any kind?

The Only Revolution

Europe 1969

The Only Revolution Europe Part 15

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