The Way of Intelligence
Chapter 2, Seminars Madras 1981
The Way of Intelligence Chapter 2 Part 1 1st Seminar Madras 14th January 1981 'In Listening Is Transformation'
Achyut Patwardhan: Reflective minds have come to realize that there is a certain degeneration at the very source of the human brain. Would it be possible for us to explore this source of degeneration?
Is it possible for us to start our exploration with a mind which says, `I see the fact of degeneration, I don't know its causes, I am willing to explore'?
Brij Khare: I am wondering whether we can discover the tools we are going to use in order to explore; what really are the tools we need to enter into such an enquiry?
P.J.: Is the brain the tool of enquiry and are we enquiring into the movement of the brain? Does the tool then enquire into itself?
B.K.: Is it characteristic of the human brain or mind to be an observer of itself?
A.P.: Is it possible to cleanse the brain of the source of pollution?
P.J.: Can we take these two questions together? Are the tools which are available to us adequate to explore the nature of this movement? If they are of the essence of pollution, can they investigate pollution? Therefore, should we not investigate the tools?
B.K.: I was also wondering, is it really a question of tools or can we directly see disorder? We can then ask what evolves from that. Degeneration somehow seems to imply a time scale. Clearly there is disorder. Q: Will the examination of the tools by itself take us anywhere?
P.J.: I do not think the two questions are independent of each other.
A.P.: I discover that the tools are inadequate, and I put them aside, I say I can only see that there is this very rapid process of degeneration which threatens human survival. Now, how do we understand this?
P.J.: We said there is a state of degeneration, both outside and within, that this is part of the very condition of man, the degenerative process having accelerated and, therefore, degeneration being at our doorstep and within one. We start with the query, with what instruments do we enquire. Unless one asks this question we will keep on going round the circle of degeneration.
K.: I think all of us agree that there is degeneration, that there is corruption - moral, intellectual and also physical. There is chaos, confusion, misery, despair. To think is to be full of sorrow. Now, how do we approach this present condition? Do we approach it as a Christian, as a Buddhist, or a Hindu or Muslim, or as a communist? Or do we approach the problem without taking a stand, a position? The communist agrees that sorrow is the burden of mankind, but if one is to change that sorrow one must recondition society. If we could put aside all our stands, positions, then perhaps we can really look at the problem of degeneration.
The problem is very serious. Knowledge either of the technological world or of the psychological world, or knowledge handed down through tradition, books and so on, appears to be at the root of all degeneration. Let us discuss this. I see this chaos throughout the world, there is uncertainty, utter confusion and despair. How do we approach it? It is quite clear that I have no answer to this problem of degeneration within me. I imagine I have read Vedanta and the answer is in that; I imagine I am a Marxist and that there is an answer in that, and that only some modifications in the system are necessary. These positions would vitiate enquiry. Therefore, I don't want to say anything beyond what is based on observable fact.
P.J.: Krishnaji has brought an element into this enquiry which demands a great deal of examination, which is that knowledge per se - technological knowledge, skill, all that the human brain has acquired through millennia - is itself the source of degeneration. First, I must see that challenge. And how do I see the challenge, how do I respond to it?
Q: The challenge may be utterly false.
P.J.: I must discover the truth or untruth of it.
B.K.: I still say that perhaps we are anatomically, biologically, physiologically, inadequate to deal with the situation and we do not have appropriate tools. What I am enquiring is, is there a root cause for all this?
K: What is the root cause? Can we find out what is? We are not examining the symptoms; we all know the symptoms. Can we find out through sceptical investigation what is the effect of knowledge on our minds, on our brains? This has to be examined, and then the root cause will be uncovered. Can we find a different approach?
J.U.: There are two points from which we look at this problem: one is that of the individual and the other is that of society. Problems arise because the individual feels he is intrinsically free, but at the same time there is a dimension of him which is in interaction with society. The individual himself is, partly, an entity but, largely, he is the product of society. In order to examine the question, we have to draw attention to the problems of the individual and society separately. The individual in relation to himself on the one hand, and the individual in relation to society on the other, are really processes within society. I would not like to go back to the ancient past - I am confining myself to the last three to four hundred years of civilization. I want to stress that the problem lies in the nature of the relationship between the individual and society. There are moments when the individual acquires a greater importance, and moments when society acquires greater importance. What is the nature of the relationship of one to the other, and how are the balances disturbed? Is it in the transmission of knowledge or experience that one has to see the relationship between them?
K: I question whether there is an individual, whether society is not an abstraction. What is actual is human relationship. You may call that relationship society, but the fact is, it is relationship between you and another, intimate or otherwise. Let us find out whether we are individuals or we are programmed to think we are individuals. I am questioning very deeply whether the concept of the individual is actual. You think you are an individual and you act as one and from this arise problems and then you pose the question of relationship between society and the individual. But society is a total abstraction. What is real, actual, is the relationship between two human beings - which is society.
J.U.: Do you say that the individual is not? There are two levels of delusion at which one is working.
P.J.: Upadhyayaji says that the individual is not, but he deludes himself that he is. Society is not, but there is a delusion that society is. While the two delusions - of individual's existence and society's existence - `exist', ,there is conflict between the two which must also be resolved.
G. Narayan: Though the individual is an illusion and society is an illusion, we have made a reality out of them and all the effects are there.
K: Are you saying that the brain has been programmed as the individual, with its expressions, freedom, fulfilment, with society opposed to the individual? Are you admitting that the brain has been programmed? Don't call it a relationship; it is programmed to think in that way. Therefore, it is not illusion. Programming is an illusion, not what is programmed.
A.P.: To say that the individual is an illusion or society is an illusion is to say that we have created an imaginary problem which we are discussing speculatively. Actually, we are discussing the condition of man. The condition of man is a fact; he is degenerating, he is selfish, unhappy, in conflict, and is on the point of destroying himself. This cannot be denied. Krishnaji says to the traditionalists and to the Marxists that they are programmed.
P.J.: Achyutji, you are missing the point. Krishnaji says, don't call it illusion, it is not an illusion in that sense. The brain has not created it. The brain itself is that, because it has been programmed to be that.
K: If you call it illusion, then the programmed is the illusion. So if you stop programming the brain, which is illusion, you wipe out the whole thing. The computer is programmed and we are programmed.
J.U.: If I wipe that out, then what is relationship?
K: Not ifs and buts. Do we actually see the fact, not the theory of the fact, that we are not individuals?
RMP.: Whenever we speak of relationship, we are taking for granted that there are two points, between which we speak of relationship. My assumption is that before we examine relationship, we must examine the two points. To speak about relationship without the two points becomes merely academic.
B.K.: Does it include the animal, animalistic mind? If yes, then we cannot talk about the last three or four hundred years only - we must go back to the time when we were living in trees.
K: What is the point, sir?
P.J.: The whole point is in your saying that the brain is programmed. Where do we go from there? You have been saying that self-centred activity, the individual as he is, elaborated a little more, has to be negated at every point. But when we observe, whether it is the outer or the inner - sometimes the outer predominates, sometimes the inner - the interaction between the two is always evident. You can call it individual and society, or anything else, but there are always the two; I create it. This is the point. Therefore, as Rimpocheji says, we cannot wipe out the individual and just talk of relationship, we cannot because we have to examine the two points.
K: I question that. I am saying there is only relationship.
P.J.: Are you taking relationship out of the context of the two?
K: Yes. That is, the brain relating itself to the past. The brain is the past.
P.J.: Then, who is relating to whom?
K: It is not relating to anybody. It is functioning within its own circle, within its own area. This is obvious.
S.P.: But, sir, this brain is relating to other brains with which it has certain similarities.
P.J.: Sunanda, did you hear what he said - that you are never relating to another, that the brain itself creates the `other' and then relates to that?
K: Can you repeat what I said?
G.N.: You are saying that there is no relationship because the brain creates the `other' and then relates to it. In fact, there is only the human brain.
K: The brain is only concerned with itself, its own security, its own problems, its own sorrow, and the `other' is also this. The brain is never related to anything. There is no `other'. The `other' is the image created by thought which is the brain.
R.B.: Are you saying that relationship itself is part of the programming? K: No. Let us move from that word `programme'.
R.B.: There is no `other' and no relationship.
K: No. Relationship is always between two.
S: Do you mean to say there is no `other'?
K: You exist, but my relationship with you is based on the image I have created of you. Therefore, my relationship is with the image which I have.
B.K.: But part of the brain is also questioning it.
K: Let us get this clear. My relation to you is based on the thought which I have about you, the image that I have created about you. The relationship is not with you, but with the image that I have. Therefore, there is no relationship.
B.K.: What I do not understand is, how does the programming come in?
K: Sir, the computer is programmed. It will believe in god, it will believe in the Vedas, believe in anything it has been told. My brain has also been programmed that I am a Hindu, I am Christian, I believe in god, I don't believe in god. Leave it for the moment. We are saying there is no `other'. Therefore, there is no relationship with `other'.
A.P.: I question this.
K: I am examining this. My brain is the common brain of humanity; it is not my brain. The common brain, which has existed for five to ten million years, has through experience, knowledge, etc., established for itself an image of the world - and also of my wife. My wife is only there for my pleasure, my loneliness; she exists as an image in me which thought has created. Therefore, there is no relationship. But if I actually see that and change the whole movement, then perhaps we may know what love is. Then relationship is totally different.
A.P.: You have stated something. Is this a description or a fact? K: It is a description to communicate a fact. Question the fact, not the description.
A.P.: I am questioning the fact. I say the fact is that the world is full of people. They are divided into nationalities, etc. I cannot permit an oversimplification of a situation in which the problem itself is reduced to what is happening in the brain - because I say something is happening outside, something is happening within me and there is an interaction, and that, that is the problem.
K: You are saying that there is an interaction between my psychological world and the world. I am saying there is only one world - my psychological world. It is not an oversimplification; on the contrary.
Q: You said that my relationship with my wife is my ideal or image, but how does that image come about? For the coming into being of the image, you as an individual are necessary. I have created the image of her but for that she has to be out there as an object. Something has to trigger it off.
Q: You have taken away the object.
K: I have not.
P.J.: We are talking of degeneration. Anyone who has observed the mind in operation sees the validity of what Krishnaji says, that you may be physically a human being but you exist in terms of an image in my mind and my relation is to that image in my mind.
K: Therefore, there is no interaction. Therefore, there is no `you' for the `I' to interact with.
A.P.: I have a difficulty. Unless you accept the existence of the other individual, you are by implication devaluing or negating what arises as a challenge from the `other', which is as great a reality as my urges or responses. My urges and responses are no more valid than those of the other person.
Q: You are taking away the object which sets something in motion, which is a reality. G.N.: The brain creates its own image which prevents real relationship. In fact, when the brain is relating to its own image, all the problems arise.
A.P.: Is the movement arising from the image sui generis, or is the brain a response to a challenge from outside? I say it is a response to a challenge from outside.
P.J.: The response is in the brain.
K: The brain is the centre of all the sensory reactions. I see a woman and all the sensory responses awaken. Then the brain creates the image - the woman and the man sleeping, sex, all that business. The sensory response is stored in the brain. The brain then reacts as thought, through the senses, memory and all the rest of it. Then this sensation meets a woman and all the responses, the biological responses, take place. Then the image is created. The image then becomes all-important, not the woman. The woman may be necessary for my pleasure, etc., but there is no relationship with her except the physical. This is simple enough.
A.P.: There is a certain fear lurking in my mind: Is this a process of refined self-centredness?
K: It is. I am saying that.
B.K.: Can we take one more step? Can there be a mental relationship? Images can be refined, modified, manipulated. So, can there be mental relationship?
K: Of course, the brain is doing that all the time.
P.J.: The real question then arises, what is the action or challenge or that which triggers the ending of this image-making machinery so that direct contact is possible? The trap we are caught in is, we see it is so but we continue in the same pattern.
K: This is so. Why is the brain functioning so mechanically?
P.J.: What is the challenge, what is the action which will break this mechanical functioning so that there is direct contact?
R.B.: Contact with what?
P.J.: Direct contact with `what is'.
K: Let us get this clear. The brain has been accustomed to this sensory, imaginary, movement. What will break this chain? That is the basic question.
J.U.: The implication is that everything that arises, arises out of the senses. Nothing arises out of outer challenges.
K: I said there is no outer, there is only the brain responding to certain reactions, which is knowledge.
S.: Are you saying that there is no outer and inner, but only the brain?
J.U.: You have made a statement. I have listened to what you said. It is not part of my brain - that there is no outer challenge, that the image is born out of the image-making machinery of the brain itself, that the self projects the images of the other. All that you have said is not part of my brain.
J.U.: It is something new to me.
B.K.: It is programmed differently.
P.J.: The question is, what is your relationship to me or to Upadhyayaji or to Y? Are you not a challenge to me?
K: What do you mean by `you'?
P.J.: Krishnaji's statement or the way he has asked, or what he has been saying, to which I am listening, is it not a challenge to this very brain?
K: It is.
P.J.: If it is so, then there is a movement which is other than the movement of the brain.
K: K makes a statement. It is a challenge to you only when you can respond to it. Otherwise it is not a challenge. P.J.: I don't understand that.
A.P.: You see, someone walking on the road makes no impression on me; there is no record and, therefore, there is no response. There is a possibility of something happening and of my not responding in any way; and there is another, that he says something and immediately it evokes a reaction.
K: Now, this is a challenge. How do you respond to challenge? As a Buddhist, as a Christian, as a Hindu, Muslim, or as a politician, etc? Either you respond at the same intensity as the challenge or you don't respond at all. To meet a challenge you and I must face each other, not bodily, but face each other.
J.U.: If you are a challenge, then why are you denying there can be a challenge from the outer?
K: That is entirely different. The outside challenge is a challenge which thought has created. The communist challenges the believer. The communist is a believer therefore, he is challenging another belief; so, it becomes a protection, a reaction against belief. That is not a challenge. The speaker has no belief. From that point he challenges, which is different from the challenge from the outside.
P.J.: What is the challenge of the no-centre?
K: If you challenge my reputation or question my belief, then I react to it because I am protecting myself and you are challenging from your image. It is a challenge between two images which thought has created. But if you challenge K, which is the challenge of absoluteness, that is entirely different.
P.J.: We need to go back to where we started...
S: My brain which is the image-making machinery responds to the other in the same way as the challenge created by a person like you. Does it not respond in the same way?
P.J.: It is so. But the question is, how is this movement to end? K: How is this cycle of experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action - action again going back to knowledge, the circle in which you are caught - to end?
P.J.: It is really asking, how is the stream of causation to end? This process you have shown - challenge, sensation, action - does the learning of that action return and get stored?
K: Of course. Obviously. This is what we are doing.
J.U.: Does that which goes out return, or does something new return?
P.J.: It acts, and in between many causes have flowed into it. The whole thing comes back and is stored again.
G.N.: We have been saying the programme works this way - experience, knowledge, memory, action. Action further strengthens experience and this is repeated.
J.U.: In that process, what goes does not come back as it was, but something special is added to it. What is the special quality of what is added?
RMP.: In the whole thinking process, according to Upadhyayaji, there is this fixed point, which is the inner and outer. If we can discuss this, then perhaps it will be easier to understand.
G.N.: We are not denying the reality of the outer world, but there is nature, there are other human beings, there are things. Everything is real; war is real, nationality is real, the other person is real. But what we imply is: There is really no contact; only contact with our own image and this makes for no contact.
P.J.: It implies that at no point is there real freedom because, caught in this, there can be no freedom.
G.N.: This does not deny the existence of the outer world. Otherwise we go back to the me and society.
A.P.: You are not denying the outer world as things, you are denying the reality of the outer world as persons. P.J.: No, you are denying the reality of the images that your mind has made of the outer world.
J.U.: I have accepted this, that he who makes the images is responsible for this process. He has gone that far only through a process of causation. When he returns, he returns with new experience, desires and urges. What is this new factor; from where does it come?
P.J.: How has this accumulation of knowledge taken place? That which was green has turned yellow as in a leaf, as in a fruit.
K: Sir, all that I am saying is, knowledge as it exists now, psychological knowledge, is the corruption of the brain. We understand this process very well. You ask, how is that chain to be broken? I think the central issue is psychological knowledge which is corrupting the brain and, therefore, corrupting the world, corrupting the rivers, the skies, relationships, everything. How is this chain to be broken?
Now, why do you ask that question? Why do you want to break this chain? This is a logical question. Has the breaking of the chain a cause, a motive? If it has, then you are back in the same chain. If it is causing me pain and, therefore, I want to be out of it, then I am back in the chain. If it is causing me pleasure, I will say, please leave me alone. So I must be very clear in myself. I cannot persuade you to be clear, but in myself I must have no direction or motive.
Satyendra: It is a central question and people keep on asking, `How do I break the chain?' But the question I ask is, given the brain that I have, is it possible to end the chain?
I am conscious of myself. Can I ask the question in this way - is it basically a way of looking at things? Is it a matter of reason, logic?
K: No, it is not a matter of analysis, but of plain observation of what is going on.
Sat: Without the mind forming an image? K: The brain is the centre of all sensory responses. The sensory response has created experience, thought and action, and the brain being caught in that which is partial, is never complete. Therefore, it is polluting everything it does. If you admit that once, not as theory but as a fact, then that circle is broken.
P.J.: Practically every teaching which is concerned with the meditative processes has regarded the senses as an obstruction to the ending of this process. What role do you give to the senses in freeing the mind?
R.B.: I think what you are saying is not correct. All of them have never regarded the senses as obstruction because when they said `senses' they included the mind. They never separated the mind from the senses.
P.J.: After all, all austerities, all tapas, all yogic practices, were meant, as I have understood them, to see that the movement of the senses towards the object was destroyed.
K: I don't know what the ancients have said.
Kapila Vatsyayan: I think, at least in what is broadly called Hindu or ancient Indian thought, the senses are not to be denied. That is very crucial to the whole culture, and where it all began was with the Katha Upanishad, with sensory perception. The image they have is the chariot and horses. Yes, horses are primary; senses are primary and they are not to be destroyed. They are to be understood, controlled. They are the factors of the outer reality. They do not deny the outer.
P.J.: I am asking, what is the role of the senses,
K: The senses, as thought, create desire. Without the interference of thought they have very little importance.
P.J.: Senses have no importance?
K: Senses have their place. If I see a beautiful tree, it is beauty; the beauty of a tree is astonishing. Where does desire interfere with the senses? That is the whole point;not whether the senses are important or unimportant, but where desire begins. If one understands that, then why give such colossal importance to it?
R.B.: It sounds as if you are contradicting yourself.
R.B.: Sir, you have said, not just now but earlier, `if you can observe with all your senses'... Therefore, you cannot deny the importance of the senses.
K: I did not deny the senses. I said if you respond to that tree, look at that tree with the sunlight on it after the rain, it is full of beauty, there is a total response, there is no `me', there is no thought, there is no centre which is responding. That is beauty, not the painting, not the poem, but the total response of all your senses to that. We don't so respond because thought creates an image from which a desire arises. There is no contradiction in what I have said.
P.J.: If I may ask Upadhyayaji, how would the Vedantin regard the senses?
J.U.: According to Vedanta, without the observer there can be no observation.
P.J.: What about the Buddhist?
S: There is seeing only when the seer is not. There is no difference between the seer and the seeing.
K: The observer is the observed. Just look what is happening here. We stick to the Vedantist attitude, the Buddhist attitude; we do not move out of the field. I am not criticizing. Let us come back. This is the whole point: The brain is caught in this movement. And you are asking, how is the chain which is built by thought - thought being limited because it is born of knowledge, which is incomplete - to be broken?
Knowledge has created this chain. Then you ask the question, how is the chain to break? Who is asking this question? S: The prisoner is asking.
K: You are that. Who is asking the question?
S: That which is itself incomplete is asking itself.
K: Just look at it. The brain is caught in this. Is the brain asking the question, or is desire asking, `How am I to get out of it?' I don't ask that question. Do you see the difference? A.P.: That I understand. When you say, is the brain asking that question, or is desire asking it, I am bogged.
P.J.: Don't we ask the question?
K: There is only this chain. That is all. Don't ask the question. The moment you ask the question, you are trying to find an answer, you are not looking at the chain. You are that; you can't ask any question. I am coming to the next point which is, what happens when you do that? When you do that, there is no movement. The movement has created this, and when there is no movement, that ends. There is totally different dimension. So, I have to begin by not asking questions.
But is the chain a fact to me? This chain is desire - desire in the sense of sensory responses. If all the senses respond, there is no desire. But only when the sensory responses are partial, then thought comes in and creates the image. From that image arises desire. Is this a fact, that this is the chain the brain works in? Whatever it does must operate in this?
B.K.: How can one be more in touch with that observation?
K: Look, I have physical pain; I immediately take a pill, go to a doctor and so on. That same movement is taken over by the psyche; the psyche says: `What am I do? Give me a pill, a way out.' The moment you want to get out, there is the problem. Physical pain I can deal with, but with psychological pain, can the brain say that it is so, I won't move from that? it is so. Then see what happens. Sceptical research, sceptical investigation is the true spiritual process. This is true religion.
The Way of Intelligence
Chapter 2, Seminars Madras 1981
The Way of Intelligence Chapter 2 Part 1 1st Seminar Madras 14th January 1981 'In Listening Is Transformation'
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.