Flight of the Eagle
Paris 2nd Public Talk
13th April 1969
Most of us are caught in habits - physical and psychological habits. Some of us are aware of them and others are not. If one is aware of these habits then is it possible to stop a particular habit instantly and not carry it on over many months to put an end to it without any form of struggle, to drop it instantly - the habit of smoking, the particular twitch of the head, the habitual smile or any one of the various peculiar habits one has? To become conscious of chattering endlessly about nothing, of the restlessness of the mind - can one do that without any form of resistance, or control, and thus end it easily without effort and immediately? In that are implied several things: first the understanding that struggle against something, like a particular habit, develops a form of resistance to that habit; and one learns that resistance in any form breeds more conflict. If one resists a habit, tries to suppress it, struggle against it, the very energy that is necessary to understand that habit is wasted in the struggle and control. In that is involved the second thing: one takes for granted that time is necessary, that any particular habit must be slowly worn out, must slowly be suppressed or got rid of.
We are accustomed on the one hand to the idea that it is only possible to be free of any habit through resistance, through developing the opposite habit, and on the other hand to the idea that we can only do it gradually over a period of time. But if one really examines it one sees that any form of resistance develops further conflicts and also that time, taking many days, weeks, years, does not really end the habit; and we are asking whether it is possible to end a habit without resistance and without time, immediately.
To be free of fear what is required is not resistance over a period of time but the energy that can meet this habit and dissolve it immediately: and that is attention. Attention is the very essence of all energy. To give one's attention means to give one's mind, one's heart, one's whole physical energy, to attend and with that energy to face, or to be aware of, the particular habit; then you will see that the habit has no longer any hold - it disappears instantly.
One may think that one's various habits are not particularly important - one has them, what does it matter; or one finds excuses for one's habits. But if one could establish the quality of attention in the mind, the mind having seized the fact, the truth, that energy is attention and that attention is necessary to dissolve any particular habit, then becoming aware of a particular habit, or tradition, one will see that it comes to an end, completely.
One has a way of talking or one indulges in endless chatter about nothing: if one becomes so attentively aware, then one has an extraordinary energy - energy that is not brought about through resistance, as most energies are. This energy of attention is freedom. If one understands this really very deeply, not as a theory but an actual fact with which one has experimented, a fact seen and of which one is fully aware, then one can proceed to inquire into the whole nature and structure of fear. And one must bear in mind, when talking about this rather complicated question, that verbal communication between you and the speaker becomes rather difficult; if one is not listening with sufficient care and attention then communication is not possible. If you are thinking about one thing and the speaker is talking about something else, then communication comes to an end, obviously. If you are concerned with your own particular fear and your whole attention is given to that particular fear, then verbal communication between you and the speaker also comes to an end. To communicate with one another, verbally, there must be a quality of attention in which there is care, in which there is an intensity, an urgency to understand this question of fear.
More important than communication is communion. Communication is verbal and communion is nonverbal. Two people who know each other very well can, without saying any words, understand each other completely, immediately, because they have established a certain form of communication between themselves. When we are dealing with such a very complicated issue as fear, there must be communion as well as verbal communication; the two must go together all the time, or otherwise we shall not be working together. Having said all this - which is necessary - let us consider the question of fear.
It is not that you must be free from fear. The moment you try to free yourself from fear, you create a resistance against fear. Resistance, in any form, does not end fear - it will always be there, though you may try to escape from it, resist it, control it, run away from it and so on, it will always be there. The running away, the controlling, the suppressing, all are forms of resistance; and the fear continues even though you develop greater strength to resist. So we are not talking about being free from fear. Being free from something is not freedom. Please do understand this, because in going into this question, if you have given your whole attention to what is being said, you must leave this hall without any sense of fear. That is the only thing that matters, not what the speaker says or does not say or whether you agree or disagree; what is important is that one should totally, right through one's being, psychologically, end fear.
So, it is not that one must be free from or resist fear but that one must understand the whole nature and structure of fear, understand it; that means, learn about it, watch it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it, not how to resist it through courage and so on. We are to learn. What does that word mean, `to learn'? Surely it is not the accumulation of knowledge about fear. It will be rather useless going into this question unless you understand this completely. We think that learning implies the accumulation of knowledge about something; if one wants to learn Italian, one has to accumulate the words and their meaning, the grammar and how to put the sentences together and so on; having gathered knowledge then one is capable of speaking that particular language. That is, there is the accumulation of knowledge and then action; time is involved. Now, such accumulation we say is not learning. Learning is always in the active present, it is not the result of having accumulated knowledge; learning is a process, an action, which is always in the present. Most of us are accustomed to the idea of first of all accumulating knowledge, information, experience and from that acting. We are saying something entirely different. Knowledge is always in the past and when you act, the past is determining that acting. We are saying, learning is in the very action itself and therefore there is never an accumulation as knowledge.
Learning about fear is in the present, is something fresh. If I come upon fear with past knowledge, with past memories and associations, I do not come face to face with fear and therefore I do not learn about it. I can do this only if my mind is fresh, new. And that is our difficulty, because we always approach fear with all the associations, memories, incidents and experiences, all of which prevent us from looking at it afresh and learning about it anew.
There are many fears - fear of death, fear of darkness, fear of losing a job, fear of the husband or wife, insecurity, fear of not fulfilling, fear of not being loved, fear of loneliness, fear of not being a success. Are not these many fears the expression of one central fear? One asks, then: are we going to deal with a particular fear, or are we dealing with the fact of fear itself?
We want to understand the nature of fear, not how fear expresses itself in a particular direction. If we can deal with the central fact of fear, then we shall be able to resolve, or do something about, a particular fear. So do not take your particular fear and say `I must resolve this,' but understand the nature and structure of fear; then you will be able to deal with the particular fear.
See how important it is that the mind be in a state in which there is no fear whatsoever. Because when there is fear there is darkness and the mind becomes dull; then the mind seeks various escapes and stimulation through amusement - whether the amusement be in the Church or on the football field or on the radio. Such a mind is afraid, is incapable of clarity and does not know what it means to love - it may know pleasure but it certainly does not know what it means to love. Fear destroys and makes the mind ugly.
There is physical fear and psychological fear. There is the physical fear of danger - like meeting a snake or coming upon a precipice. That fear, the physical fear of meeting danger, is it not intelligence? There is a precipice there - I see it and I immediately react, I do not go near it. Now is not that fear intelligence which says to me, `be careful, there is danger'? That intelligence has been accumulated through time; others have fallen over or my mother or my friend has said, be careful of that precipice. So in that physical expression of fear there is memory and intelligence operating at the same time. Then there is the psychological fear of the physical fear that one has had, of having had a disease which has given a great deal of pain; having known pain, purely a physical phenomenon, we do not want it to be repeated again and we have the psychological fear of it although it is no longer actual. Now can that psychological fear be understood so as not to bring it into being at all? I have had pain - most of us do - it happened last week or a year ago. The pain was excruciating, I do not want it repeated and I am afraid it might come back. What has taken place there? Please follow this carefully. There is the memory of that pain and thought says, `Don't let it occur again, be careful.' Thinking about the past pain brings fear of its repetition, thought brings fear upon itself. That is a particular form of fear, the fear of disease being repeated with its pain.
There are all the various psychological fears which derive from thought - fear of what the neighbour might say, fear of not being highly bourgeois and respectable, fear of not following the social morality - which is immorality - fear of losing a job, fear of loneliness, fear of anxiety - anxiety in itself is fear and so on - all the product of a life which is based on thought.
There are not only the conscious fears, but also the deep, hidden fears in the psyche, in the deeper layers of the mind. One may deal with the conscious fears, but the deep, hidden fears are more difficult. How is one to bring these unconscious, deep, hidden fears to the surface and expose them? Can the conscious mind do that? Can the conscious mind with its active thought uncover the unconscious, the hidden? (We are using the word `unconscious' non-technically: not being conscious of, or knowing, the hidden layers - that is all). Can the conscious mind - the mind that is trained to adjust itself to survive, to go on with things as they are - you know the conscious mind, how tricky it is - can that conscious mind uncover the whole content of the unconscious? I do not think it can. It may uncover a layer which it will translate according to its conditioning. But that very translation according to its conditioning will further prejudice the conscious mind, so that it is even less capable of examining the next layer completely.
One sees that the mere conscious effort to examine the deeper content of the mind becomes extremely difficult unless the surface mind is completely free from all conditioning, from all prejudice, from all fear - otherwise it is incapable of looking. One sees that that may be extremely difficult, probably completely impossible. So one asks: is there another way, altogether different? Can the mind empty itself of all fear through analysis, self-analysis or professional analysis? In that is involved something else. When I analyze myself, look at myself, layer after layer, I examine, judge, evaluate; I say, `This is right,' `This is wrong,' `This I will keep,' `This I won't keep.' When I analyze, am I different from the thing I analyze? I have to answer it for myself, see what the truth of it is. The analyzer, is he different from the thing he is analyzing - say jealousy? He is not different, he is that jealousy, and he tries to divide himself off from the jealousy as the entity who says, `I am going to look at jealousy, get rid of it, or contact it.' But jealousy and the analyzer are part of each other.
In the process of analysis time is involved, that is, I take many days or many years to analyze myself. At the end of many years I am still afraid. So, analysis is not the way. Analysis implies a great deal of time and when the house is burning you do not sit down and analyze, or go to the professional and say, `Please tell me all about myself' - you have to act. An analysis is a form of escape, laziness and inefficiency. (It may be all right for the neurotic to go to an analyst, but even then he is not completely at the end of his neuroses. But that is a different question.)
Analysis by the conscious of the unconscious is not the way. The mind has seen this and said to itself"I will not analyze any more, I see the valuelessness of it; `I will not resist fear any more.' You follow what has happened to the mind? `When it has discarded the traditional approach, the approach of analysis, resistance, time, then what has happened to the mind itself? The mind has become extraordinarily sharp. The mind has become, through the necessity of observation, extraordinarily intense, sharp, alive. It is asking: is there another approach to this problem of uncovering its whole content, the past, the racial inheritance, the family, the weight of the cultural and religious tradition, the product of two thousand or ten thousand years? Can the mind be free of all that, can the mind put away all that and therefore put away all fear?
So I have this problem, the problem which a sharpened mind - the mind having put aside every form of analysis which of necessity takes time and for which therefore there is no tomorrow - must resolve completely, now. Therefore there is no ideal; there is no question of a future, saying, `I will be free of it.' Therefore the mind is now in a state of complete attention. It is no longer escaping, no longer inventing time as a way of resolving the problem, no longer using analysis, or resistance. Therefore the mind itself has a quality entirely new.
The psychologists say that you must dream, otherwise you will go mad. I ask myself, `Why should I dream at all?' Is there a way of living so that one does not dream at all? - for then, if one does not dream at all, the mind really has rest. It has been active all day, watching, listening, questioning, looking at the beauty of a cloud, the face of a beautiful person, the water, the movement of life, everything - it has been watching, watching; and when it goes to sleep it must have complete rest, otherwise on waking the next morning it is tired, it is still old.
So one asks is there a way of not dreaming at all so that the mind during sleep has complete rest and can come upon certain qualities which it cannot during the waking hours? It is possible only - and this is a fact, not a supposition, not a theory, not an invention, or a hope - it is possible only when you are completely awake during the day, watching every activity of your thought, your feeling, awake to every motive, to every intimation, every hint of that which is deep down, when you chatter, when you walk, when you listen to somebody, when you are watching your ambition, your jealousy, watching your response to the `glory of France,' when you read a book which says `your religious beliefs are nonsense' - watching to see what is implied in belief. During the waking hours be completely awake, when you are sitting in the bus, when you are talking to your wife, to your children, to your friend, when you are smoking - why you are smoking - when you read a detective story - why you are reading it - when you go to a cinema - why - for excitement, for sex? When you see a beautiful tree or the movement of a cloud across the sky, be completely aware of what is happening within and without, then you will see, when you go to sleep, that you do not dream and when you wake the next morning the mind is fresh, intense and alive.
Paris 5th Public Talk
24th April 1969
We have been talking about the chaos in the world, the great violence, the confusion, not only outwardly but inwardly. Violence is the result of fear and we went into the question of fear. I think we ought now to go into something that may be a little foreign to most of you: but it must be considered and not merely rejected, saying that it is an illusion, a fancy and so on.
Throughout history, man - realizing his life is very short, full of accidents, sorrow and inevitable death - has always formulated an idea which is called God. He realized, as we do now also, that life is transient and he wanted to experience something vastly great, supreme, to experience something not put together by the mind or by emotion; he wanted to experience, or feel his way into, a world that is entirely different, a world that transcends this, that lies beyond all misery and torture. And he hoped to find this transcendental world by seeking, searching it out. We ought to go into this question as to whether there is, or there is not, a reality - it doesn't matter what name one gives it - that is of an altogether different dimension. To penetrate into its depth one must naturally realize that it is not enough to merely understand at the verbal level - for the description is never the described, the word is never the thing. Can we penetrate into the mystery - if it is a mystery that man has always been trying to enter or capture, inviting it, holding it, worshipping it, becoming its devotee?
Life being what it is - rather shallow, empty, a tortuous affair without much meaning - one tries to invent a significance, give it a meaning. If one has a certain cleverness, the significance and the purpose of the invention become rather complex. And not finding the beauty, the love or the sense of immensity, one may become cynical, not believing in anything. One sees it is rather absurd and illusory and without much meaning to merely invent an ideology, a formula, affirming that there is God or that there is not, when life has no meaning whatsoever - which is true the way we live, it has no meaning. So do not let us invent a meaning.
If we could go together and discover for ourselves if there is, or if there is not, a reality, which is not merely an intellectual or emotional invention, an escape. Man throughout history has said that there is a reality. for which you must prepare, for which you must do certain things, discipline yourself, resist every form of temptation, control yourself, control sex, conform to a pattern established by religious authority, the saints and so on; or you must deny the world, withdraw into a monastery, to some cave where you can meditate, to be alone and not be tempted. One sees the absurdity of such striving one sees that one cannot possibly escape from the world, from `what is', from the suffering, from the distraction, and from all that man has put together in science. And the theologies: one must obviously discard all theologies and all beliefs. If one does completely put aside every form of belief, then there is no fear whatsoever.
Knowing that social morality is no morality, that it is immoral, one sees that one must be extraordinarily moral, for after all, morality is only the bringing of order both within oneself and also without oneself; but that morality must be in action, not merely an ideational or conceptual morality, but actual moral behaviour.
Is it possible to discipline oneself without suppression, control, escape? The root meaning of the word `discipline' is `to learn,' not to conform or become a disciple of somebody, not to imitate or suppress, but to learn. The very act of learning demands discipline - a discipline which is not imposed nor accommodating itself to some ideology - not the harsh austerity of the monk. Yet without a deep austerity our behaviour in daily life only leads to disorder. One can see how essential it is to have complete order in oneself, like mathematical order, not relative, not comparative, not brought about by environmental influence. Behaviour, which is righteousness, must be established so that the mind is in complete order. A mind that is tortured, frustrated, shaped by environment, conforming to the social morality, must in itself be confused; and a confused mind cannot discover what is true.
If the mind is to come upon that strange mystery - if there is such a thing - it must lay the foundation of a behaviour, a morality, which is not that of society, a morality in which there is no fear whatsoever and which is therefore free. It is only then - after laying this deep foundation - that the mind can proceed to find out what meditation is, that quality of silence, of observation, in which the `observer' is not. If this basis of righteous behaviour does not take place in one's life, in one's action, then meditation has very little meaning.
In the Orient there are many schools, systems and methods of meditation - including Zen and Yoga - which have been brought over to the West. One must be very clear in understanding this suggestion that through a method, through a system, though conforming to a certain pattern or tradition, the mind can come upon that reality. One can see how absurd the thing is, whether it is brought from the East or whether it is invented here. Method implies conformity, repetition; method implies someone who has reached a certain enlightenment, who says, do this and do not do that. And we, who are so eager to have that reality, follow, conform, obey, practice what we have been told, day after day, like a lot of machines. A dull insensitive mind, a mind that is not highly intelligent, can practice a method endlessly; it will become more and more dull, more and more stupid. It will have its own `experience' within the field of its own conditioning. Some of you perhaps have been to the East and have studied meditation there. A whole tradition exists behind it. In India, throughout the whole of Asia, it exploded in the ancient days. That tradition even now still holds the mind, endless volumes are written on it. But any form of tradition - a carry-over from the past - which is used to find out if there is great reality, is obviously a waste of endeavour. The mind must be free of every form of spiritual tradition and sanction; otherwise one becomes utterly lacking in the highest form of intelligence.
Then what is meditation, if it is not traditional? - and it cannot be traditional, no one can teach you, you cannot follow a particular path, and say, `along that path I will learn what meditation is.' The whole meaning of meditation is in the mind becoming completely quiet; quiet, not only at the conscious level but also at the deep, secret, hidden levels of consciousness; so completely and utterly quiet so that thought is silent and does not wander all over the place. One of the teachings of the tradition of meditation, the traditional approach we are talking about, is that thought must be controlled; but that must be totally set aside and to set it aside one must look at it very closely, objectively, non-emotionally.
Tradition says you must have a guru, a teacher, to help you to meditate, he will tell you what to do. The West has its own form of tradition, of prayer, contemplation and confession. But in the whole principle that someone else knows and you do not know, that the one who knows is going to teach you, give you enlightenment, in that is implied authority, the master, the guru, the saviour, the Son of God and so on. They know and you do not know; they say, follow this method, this system, do it day after day, practice and you will eventually get there - if you are lucky. Which means you are fighting with yourself all day long, trying to conform to a pattern, to a system, trying to suppress your own desires, your own appetites, your own envy, jealousies, ambitions. And so there is the conflict between what you are and what should be according to the system; this means there is effort; and a mind that is making an effort can never be quiet; through effort mind can never become completely still.
Tradition also says concentrate in order to control your thought. To concentrate is merely to resist, to build a wall round yourself, to protect an exclusive focusing on one idea, on a principle, a picture or what you will. Tradition says you must go through that in order to find whatever you want to find. Tradition also says you must have no sex, you must not look at this world, as all the saints, who are more or less neurotic, have always said. And when you see - not merely verbally and intellectually, but actually - what is involved in all this - and you can see it only if you are not committed to it and can look at it objectively - then you discard it completely. One must discard it completely, for then the mind, in the very discarding, becomes free and therefore intelligent, aware, and not liable to be caught in illusions.
To meditate in the deepest sense of the word one must be virtuous, moral; not the morality of a pattern, of a practice, or of the social order, but the morality that comes naturally, inevitably, sweetly when you begin to understand yourself, when you are aware of your thoughts, your feelings, your activities, your appetites, your ambitions and so on - aware without any choice, merely observing. Out of that observation comes right action, which has nothing to do with conformity, or action according to an ideal. Then when that exists deeply in oneself, with its beauty and austerity in which there is not a particle of harshness - for harshness exists only when there is effort - when one has observed all the systems, all the methods, all the promises and looked at them objectively without like or dislike, then you can discard them altogether so that your mind is free from the past; then you can proceed to find out what meditation is.
If you have not actually laid the foundation, you can play with meditation but that has no meaning - it is like those people who go out to the East, go to some master who will tell them how to sit, how to breathe, what to do, this or that, and who come back and write a book, which is all sheer nonsense. One has to be a teacher to oneself and a disciple of oneself, there is no authority, there is only understanding.
Understanding is possible only when there is observation without the centre as the observer. Have you ever observed, watched, tried to find out, what understanding is? Understanding is not an intellectual process; understanding is not an intuition or a feeling. When one says `I understand something very clearly,' there is an observation out of complete silence - it is only then there is understanding. When you say `I understand something,' you mean that the mind listens very quietly, neither agreeing nor disagreeing; that state listens completely - it is only then there is understanding and that understanding is action. It is not that there is understanding first and then action follows afterward, it is simultaneous, one movement.
So meditation - that word which is so heavily loaded by tradition - is to bring, without effort, without any form of compulsion, the mind and the brain to their highest capacity, which is intelligence, which is to be highly sensitive. The brain is quiet; that repository of the past, evolved through a million years, which is continuously and incessantly active - that brain is quiet.
Is it at all possible for the brain, which is reacting all the time, responding to the least stimulus, according to its conditioning, to be still? The traditionalists say, it can be made still by proper breathing, by practicing awareness. This again involves the question, `who' is the entity that controls, that practices, that shapes the brain? Is it not thought, which says, 'I am the observer and I am going to control the brain, put an end to thought'? Thought breeds the thinker.
Is it possible for the brain to be completely quiet? It is part of meditation to find out, not to be told how to do it; nobody can tell us how to do it. Your brain - which is so heavily conditioned through culture, through every form of experience, the brain which is the result of vast evolution - can it be so still? - because without that, whatever it sees or experiences will be distorted, will be translated according to its conditioning.
What part does sleep play in meditation, in living? It is quite an interesting question; if you have gone into it yourself you will have discovered a great deal. As we said the other day: dreams are unnecessary. We said: the mind, the brain, must be completely aware during the day - attentive to what is happening both outwardly and inwardly, aware of the inward reactions to the outer with its strains evoking reactions, attentive to the intimation of the unconscious - and then at the end of the day it must take all that into account. If you do not take all that has happened into account at the end of the day, the brain has to work at night, when you are asleep, to bring order into itself - which is obvious. If you have done all this, then when you sleep you are learning quite a different thing altogether, you are learning at a different dimension altogether; and that is part of meditation.
There is the laying of the foundation of behaviour, in which action is love. There is the discarding of all traditions, so that the mind is completely free; and the brain is completely quiet. If you have gone into it you will see that the brain can be quiet, not through any trick, not through taking a drug, but through that active and also passive awareness throughout the day. And if you have taken stock at the end of the day, of what has happened, and therefore brought order, then when there is sleep, the brain is quiet, learning with a different movement.
So this whole body, the brain, everything, is quiet, without any form of distortion; it is only then if there is any reality that such a mind can receive it. It cannot be invited, that immensity - if there is such an immensity, if there is the nameless, the transcendental, if there is such a thing - it is only such a mind that can see the false or the truth of that reality.
You might say, `What has all this to do with living?' I have to live this everyday life, go to the office, wash dishes, travel in a crowded bus with all the noise - what has meditation to do with all this?' Yet after all, meditation is the understanding of life, the life every day with all its complexity, misery, sorrow, loneliness, despair, the drive to become famous, successful, the fear, envy - to understand all that is meditation. Without understanding it, the mere attempt to find the mystery is utterly empty, it has no value. It is like a disordered life, a disordered mind, trying to find mathematical order. Meditation has everything to do with life; it isn't going off into some emotional, ecstatic state. There is ecstasy which is not pleasure; that ecstasy comes only when there is this mathematical order in oneself, which is absolute. Meditation is the way of life, every day - only then, that which is imperishable, which has no time, can come into being.
Questioner: Who is the observer that is aware of his own reactions? What is the energy that is used?
Krishnamurti: Have you looked at anything without reaction? Have you looked at a tree, at the face of a woman, at the mountain, or the cloud, or the light on the water, just to observe it, without translating it into like or dislike, pleasure or pain - just to observe it? In such observation, when you are completely attentive, is there an observer? Do it, Sir, do not ask me - if you do it you will find out. Observe reactions, without judging, evaluating, distorting, be so completely attentive to every reaction and in that attention you will see that there is no observer or thinker or experiencer at all.
Then the second question: to change anything in oneself, to bring about a transformation, a revolution in the psyche, what energy is used? How is that energy to be had? We have energy now, but in tension, in contradiction, in conflict; there is energy in the battle between two desires, between what I must do and what I should do - that consumes a great deal of energy. But if there is no contradiction whatsoever then you have abundance of energy. Look at one's own life, actually do look at it: it is a contradiction; you want to be peaceful and you hate somebody; you want to love and you are ambitious. This contradiction breeds conflict, struggle; that struggle wastes energy. If there is no contradiction whatsoever you have the supreme energy to transform yourself. One asks: how is it possible to have no contradiction between the `observer' and the `observed,' between the `experiencer, and the `experience,' between love and hate? - these dualities, how is it possible to live without them? It is possible when there is only the fact and nothing else - the fact that you hate, that you are violent, and not its opposite as idea. When you are afraid you develop the opposite, courage, which is resistance, contradiction, effort and strain. But when you understand completely what fear is and do not escape into the opposite, when you give your whole attention to fear, then there is not only its cessation, psychologically, but also you have the energy that is needed to confront it. The traditionalists say, `You must have this energy, therefore do not be sexual, do not be worldly, concentrate, put your mind on God, leave the world, do not be tempted' - all in order to have this energy. But one is still a human being with appetites, fuming inside with sexual, biological urges, wanting to do this, controlling, forcing and all the rest of it - therefore wasting energy. But if you live with the fact and nothing else - if you are angry, understand it and not `how to be not angry,' go into it, be with it, live with it, give complete attention to it - you will see that you have this energy in abundance. It is this energy that keeps the mind clear, your heart open, so that there is abundance of love - not ideas, not sentiment.
Questioner: What do you mean by ecstasy, can you describe it? You said ecstasy is not pleasure, love is not pleasure?
Krishnamurti: What is ecstasy? When you look at a cloud, at the light in that cloud, there is beauty. Beauty is passion. To see the beauty of a cloud or the beauty of light on a tree, there must be passion, there must be intensity. In this intensity, this passion, there is no sentiment whatsoever, no feeling of like or dislike. Ecstasy is not personal; ecstasy is not yours or mine, just as love is not yours or mine. When there is pleasure it is yours or mine. When there is that meditative mind it has its own ecstasy - which is not to be described, not to be put into words.
Questioner: Are you saying that there is no good and bad, that all reactions are good - are you saying that?
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, I did not say that. I said, observe your reaction; do not call it good or bad. When you call it good or bad you bring about contradiction. Have you ever looked at your wife - I am sorry to keep at it - without the image that you have about her, the image that you have put together over thirty or so years? You have an image about her and she has an image about you; these images have relationship; you and she do not have relationship. These images come into being when you are not attentive in your relationship - it is inattention that breeds images. Can you look at your wife without condemning, evaluating, saying she is right, she is wrong, just observe without bringing in your prejudices? Then you will see there is a totally different kind of action that comes from that observation.
Saanen 1st Public Dialogue
3rd August 1969
Krishnamurti: The intention of these discussions is to be creatively observant - to watch ourselves creatively as we are speaking. All of us should contribute to any subject that we want to discuss and there must be a certain frankness - not rudeness or a rough exposing of another's stupidity or intelligence; but each one of us should partake in discussing a certain issue with all its content. In the very statement of anything that we feel, or inquire into, there must be a sense of perceiving something new. That is creation, not the repetition of the old, but the expression of the new in the discovery of ourselves as we are expressing ourselves in words. Then I think these discussions will be worthwhile.
Questioner (1): Can we go more deeply into this question of energy and how it is wasted?
Questioner (2): You have been talking about violence, the violence of war, the violence in how we treat people, the violence of how we think and look at other people. But how about the violence of self-preservation? If I were attacked by a wolf, I would defend myself passionately with all the forces I have. Is it possible to be violent in one part of us and not in another?
Krishnamurti: A suggestion has been made with regard to violence, distorting ourselves to conform to a particular pattern of society, or morality; but there is also the question of self-preservation. Where is the demarcation between self- preservation - which sometimes may demand violence - and other forms of violence? Do you want to discuss that?
Krishnamurti: First of all may I suggest that we discuss the various forms of psychological violence, and then see what is the place of self-preservation when attacked. I wonder what you think of violence? What is violence to you?
Questioner (1): It's a type of defence.
Questioner (2): It's a disturbance of my comfort.
Krishnamurti: What does violence, the feeling, the word, the nature of violence mean to you?
Questioner (1): It is aggression.
Questioner (2): If you are frustrated you get violent.
Questioner (3): If man is incapable of accomplishing something, then he gets violent.
Questioner (4): Hate, in the sense of overcoming.
Krishnamurti: What does violence mean to you?
Questioner (1) An expression of danger, when the me comes in.
Questioner (2): Fear.
Questioner (3) Surely in violence you are hurting somebody or something, either mentally or physically.
Krishnamurti: Do you know violence because you know non-violence? Would you know what violence was without its opposite? Because you know states of nonviolence, do you therefore recognize violence? How do you know violence? Because one is aggressive, competitive, and one sees the effects of all that, which is violence, one construes a state of non-violence. If there were no opposite, would you know what violence was?
Questioner: I wouldn't label it but I'd feel something.
Krishnamurti: Does that feeling exist or come into being because you know violence?
Questioner: I think that violence causes us pain; it is an unhealthy feeling we want to get rid of. That's why we want to become nonviolent.
Krishnamurti: I don't know anything about violence, nor about nonviolence. I don't start with any concept or formula. I really don't know what violence means. I want to find out.
Questioner: The experience of having been hurt and attacked makes one want to protect oneself.
Krishnamurti: Yes, I understand that; that has been suggested before. I am still trying to find out what violence is. I want to investigate, I want to explore it, I want to uproot it, change it - you follow?
Questioner: Violence is lack of love.
Krishnamurti: Do you know what love is?
Questioner: I think that all these things come from us.
Krishnamurti: Yes, that's just it.
Questioner: Violence comes from us.
Krishnamurti: That's right. I want to find out whether it comes from outside or from inside.
Questioner: It's a form of protection.
Krishnamurti: Let us go slowly, please; it is quite a serious problem and the whole world is involved in it.
Questioner: Violence wastes part of my energy.
Krishnamurti: Everybody has talked about violence and non-violence. People say, `You must live violently,' or seeing the effect of it, they say, `You must live peacefully.' We have heard so many things, from books, from preachers, from educators and others; but I want to discover whether it is possible to find out the nature of violence and what place - if any - it has in life. What is it that makes one violent, aggressive, competitive? And is violence involved in conformity to a pattern, however noble? Is violence part of the discipline imposed by oneself or by society? Is violence conflict within and without? I want to find out what is the origin, the beginning, of violence; otherwise I am just spinning a lot of words. Is it natural to be violent in the psychological sense? (We will consider the physio-psychological states afterward.) Inwardly, is violence aggression, anger, hate, conflict, suppression, conformity? And is conformity based on this constant struggle to find, to achieve, to become, to arrive, to self-realize, to be noble and all the rest of it? All that lies in the psychological field. If we cannot go into it very deeply then we shan't be able to understand how we can bring about a different state in our daily life, which demands a certain amount of self-preservation. Right? So let us start from there.
What would you consider is violence - not verbally, but actually, inwardly.
Questioner (1): It's violating something else. It imposes upon something.
Questioner (2): What about rejection?
Krishnamurti: Let's take imposing first, violating `what is.' I am jealous and I impose on that an idea of not being jealous: 'I must not be jealous.' The imposition, the violating of `what is', is violence. We'll start little by little, perhaps in that one sentence the whole thing may be covered. The `what is' is always moving, it is not static. I violate that by imposing on it something which I think `should be.'
Questioner: Do you mean that when I feel anger I think anger should not be and, instead of being angry, I hold it back. Is that violence? Or is it violence when I express it?
Krishnamurti: Look at something in this: I am angry and to give release to it I hit you and that brings about a chain of reactions, so that you hit me back. The very expression of that anger is violence. And if I impose upon the fact that I am angry something else, that is `not to be angry,' is that not also violence?
Questioner: I would agree with that very general definition but the imposition must happen in a brutal way. This is what makes it violent. If you impose it in a gradual way, then it would not be violent.
Krishnamurti: I understand, Sir. If you apply the imposition with gentleness, with tact, then it is not violence. I violate the fact that I hate by gradually, gently, suppressing it. That, the gentleman says, would not be violent. But whether you do it violently or gently, the fact is you impose something else on `what is.' Do we more or less agree to that?
Krishnamurti: Let's examine it. Say I am ambitious to become the greatest poet in the world (or whatever it is), and I am frustrated because I can't. This frustration, this very ambition, is a form of violence against the fact that I am not. I feel frustrated because you are better than I am. Doesn't that breed violence?
Questioner: All action against a person or against a thing is violence.
Krishnamurti: Do please look at the difficulty involved in this. There is the fact, and the violation of that fact by another action. Say, for instance, I don't like the Russians, or the Germans, or the Americans and I impose my particular opinion, or political evaluation; that is a form of violence. When I impose on you, that is violence. When I compare myself with you (who are much greater, more intelligent), I am violating myself - isn't that so? I am violent. At school `B' is compared with `A,' who is much better at his exams and passes brilliantly. The teacher says to `B,' `You must be like him.' Therefore when he compares `B' with `A' there is violence and he destroys `B.' See what is implied in this fact, that when I impose on `what is' the `what should be' (the ideal, the perfection, the image and so on), there is violence.
Questioner (1): I feel in myself that if there is any resistance, anything that might destroy, then violence comes into being, but also, that if you don't resist, you could be violating yourself.
Questioner (2): Isn't all this dealing with the self, the `me' which is the root of all violence?
Questioner (3): Suppose I take your word for all this. Suppose you hate somebody and would like to eliminate that hate. There are two approaches: the violent approach and the non-, violent approach. If you impose upon your own being to eliminate that hate you will do violence to yourself. If on the other hand you take the time, take the trouble to get to know your feelings and the object of your hate, you will gradually overcome that hate. Then you will have solved the problem in a nonviolent way.
Krishnamurti: I think that's fairly clear, Sir, isn't it? We are not trying at present to find out how to dispose of violence, in a violent way or a nonviolent way, but what brings about this violence in us. What is violence in us, psychologically?
Questioner: In the imposition, isn't there a breaking up of something? Then one feels uncomfortable and one begins to get more violent.
Krishnamurti: The breaking up of one's ideas, one's way of life and so on, that makes for discomfort. That discomfort brings about violence.
Questioner (1): Violence can come from outside or from inside. I generally blame this violence on the outside.
Questioner (2): Is not the root of violence the result of fragmentation?
Krishnamurti: Please, there are so many ways of showing what violence is, or what the causes are. Can't we see one simple fact and begin from there, slowly? Can't we see that any form of imposition, of the parent over the child, or the child over the parent, of the teacher over the pupil, of the society, or of the priest, all these are forms of violence? Can't we agree on that and begin there?
Questioner: That comes from the outside.
Krishnamurti: We do that not only outwardly but also inwardly. I say to myself `I am angry,' and I impose on that an idea that I must not be angry. We say that is violence. Outwardly, when a dictator suppresses the people, that is violence. When I suppress what I feel because I am afraid, because it is not noble, because it is not pure and so on, that is also violence. So the nonacceptance of the fact of `what is' brings about this imposition. If I accept the fact that I am jealous and offer no resistance to it, there is no imposition; then I will know what to do with it. There is no violence in it.
Questioner: You are saying education is violence.
Krishnamurti: I do. Is there not a way of educating without violence?
Questioner: According to tradition, no.
Krishnamurti: The problem is: by nature, in my thoughts, in the way I live, I am a violent human being, aggressive, competitive, brutal and all the rest of it - I am that. And I say to myself, `How am I to live differently,' because violence breeds tremendous antagonism and destruction in the world. I want to understand it and be free of it, live differently. So I ask myself, `What is this violence in me?' Is it frustration, because I want to be famous and I know I can't be, therefore I hate people who are famous?' I am jealous and I want to be non-jealous and I hate this state of jealousy with all its anxiety and fear and annoyance, therefore I suppress it. I do all this and I realize it is a way of violence. Now I want to find out if that is inevitable; or if there is a way of understanding it, looking at it, coming to grips with it so that I shall live differently. So I must find out what violence is.
Questioner: It's a reaction.
Krishnamurti: You are too quick. Does that help me to understand the nature of my violence? I want to go into it, I want to find out. I see that as long as there is a duality - that is, violence and nonviolence - there must be conflict and therefore more violence. As long as I impose on the fact that I am stupid the idea that I must be clever, there is the beginning of violence. When I compare myself with you, who are much more that I am, that's also violence. Comparison, suppression, control - all those indicate a form of violence. I am made like that. I compare, I suppress, I am ambitious. Realizing that, how am I to live nonviolently? I want to find a way of living without all this strife.
Questioner: Isn't it the `me' and the self that is against the fact?
Krishnamurti: We'll come to that. See the fact, see what is happening first. My whole life, from when I was educated till now, has been a form of violence. The society in which I live is a form of violence. Society tells me to conform, accept, do this, not do that, and I follow it. That is a form of violence. And when I revolt against society, that also is a form of violence (revolt in the sense that I don't accept the values which society has laid down). I revolt against it and then create my own values, which become the pattern; and that pattern is imposed on others or on myself, which becomes another form of violence. I live that kind of life. That is: I am violent. Now what shall I do?
Questioner: First, you should ask yourself why you don't want to be violent anymore.
Krishnamurti: Because I see what violence has done in the world as it is; wars outwardly, conflict within, conflict in relationship. Objectively and inwardly I see this battle going on and I say, `Surely there must be a different way of living.'
Questioner: Why do you dislike that state of affairs?
Krishnamurti: It is very destructive.
Questioner: Then this means that you yourself have already given the highest value to love.
Krishnamurti: I have given no value to anything. I am just observing.
Questioner: If you dislike, then you have given values.
Krishnamurti: I am not giving values, I observe. I observe war is destructive.
Questioner: What's wrong with that?
Krishnamurti: I don't say it is right or wrong.
Questioner: Then why do you want to change it?
Krishnamurti: I want to change it because my son gets killed in a war, and I ask, `Isn't there a way of living without killing one another?
Questioner: So all you want to do is to experiment with a different way of living, then compare the new way of living with what is going on now.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir. I don't compare. I have expressed all this. I see my son gets killed in a war and I say, `Is there not a different way of living?' I want to find out if there is a way in which violence doesn't exist.
Questioner: But supposing...
Krishnamurti: No supposition, Sir. My son gets killed and I want to find a way of living in which other sons aren't killed.
Questioner: So what you want is one or other of two possibilities.
Krishnamurti: There are a dozen possibilities.
Questioner: Your urge to find another way of living is so great that you want to adopt another way - whatever it is. You want to experiment with it and compare it.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, I am afraid you are insisting on something which I have not made clear. Either we accept the way of life as it is, with violence and all the rest of it; or we say there must be a different way which human intelligence can find, where violence doesn't exist. That's all. And we say this violence will exist so long as comparison, suppression, conformity, the disciplining of oneself according to a pattern is the way of life. In this there is conflict and therefore violence.
Questioner: Why does confusion arise? Isn't it created around the 'I'?
Krishnamurti: We'll come to that, Sir.
Questioner: The thing underneath violence, the root, the essence of violence, is in fact affecting. Owing to the fact that we exist, we affect the rest of existence. I am here, By breathing the air I affect the existence within it. So I claim that the essence of violence is the fact of affecting, which is inherent in existence. When we affect in discord, in disharmony, we call that violence. But if we harmonize with it, then that's the other side of violence - but it is still affecting. One is `affecting against,' which is violating, the other is affecting with.
Krishnamurti: Sir, may I ask something? Are you concerned with violence? Are you involved in violence? Are you concerned about this violence in yourself and in the world in the sense that you feel, `I can't live this way'?
Questioner: When we revolt against violence we form a problem because revolt is violence.
Krishnamurti: I understand, Sir, but how do we proceed with this subject?
Questioner: I don't agree with society. Revolt against ideas - money, efficiency and so on - is my form of violence.
Krishnamurti: Yes, I understand. Therefore that rebellion against the present culture, education and so on, is violence.
Questioner: That's how I see my violence.
Krishnamurti: Yes, therefore what will you do with that? That's what we are trying to discuss.
Questioner: That is what I want to know.
Krishnamurti: I want to know about this too. So let us stick to it.
Questioner: If I have a problem with a person, I can understand it much more clearly. If I hate someone I know it; I react against it. But this is not possible with society.
Krishnamurti: Let us take this, please. I rebel against the present moral structure of society. I realize that mere rebellion against this morality, without finding out what is true morality, is violence. What is true morality? Unless I find that out and live it, merely to rebel against the structure of a social morality has very little meaning.
Questioner: Sir, you can't know violence unless you live it.
Krishnamurti: Oh! Are you saying I must live violently before I can understand the other?
Questioner: You said to understand true morality you must live it. You must live violently to see what love is.
Krishnamurti: When you say I must live that way, you are already imposing on me an idea of what you think love is.
Questioner: That's repeating your words.
Krishnamurti: Sir, there is the social morality against which I rebel because I see how absurd it is. What is true morality in which there is no violence?
Questioner: Isn't true morality controlling violence? Surely there is violence in everybody, people - so called higher beings - are controlling it, in nature it is always there; whether it is a thunderstorm or a wild animal killing another, or a tree dying, violence is everywhere.
Krishnamurti: There may be a higher form of violence, more subtle, more tenuous, and there are the brutal forms of violence. The whole of life is violence, the little and the big. If one wants to find out whether it is possible to step out of this whole structure of violence, one has to go into it. That's what we are trying to do.
Questioner: Sir, what do you mean by `going into it'?
Krishnamurti: I mean by `going into it,' first the examination, the exploration of `what is.' To explore, there must be freedom from any conclusion, from any prejudice. Then with that freedom I look at the problem of violence. That is `going into'.
Questioner: Then does something happen?
Krishnamurti: No, nothing happens.
Questioner: Find that my reaction against war is `I don't want to fight'.... But I find the thing I do is to try to keep away, live in another country, or keep away from the people I don't like. I just keep away from American society.
Krishnamurti: She says, `I am not a demonstrator or protestor but I don't live in the country in which there is all this. I keep away from people whom I don't like.' All this is a form of violence. Please do let us pay a little attention to this. Let us give our minds to understand this question. What is a man to do, who sees the whole pattern of behaviour, political, religious and economic, in which violence is involved to a greater or smaller degree, when he feels caught in the trap which he himself has created?
Questioner: May I suggest that there is no violence, but thinking makes it so.
Krishnamurti: Oh! I kill somebody and I think about it and therefore it is violent. No, Sir, aren't we playing with words? Couldn't we go into this a little more? We have seen that whenever I impose upon myself, psychologically, an idea or a conclusion, that breeds violence. (We'll take that for the moment.) I am cruel - verbally and in feeling. I impose on that, saying `I must not,' and I realize that is a form of violence. How am I to deal with this feeling of cruelty without imposing something else on it? Can I understand it without suppressing it, without running away from it, without any form of escape or substitution. Here is a fact - I am cruel. That is a problem to me and no amount of explanation, saying `you should, you should not,' will solve it. Here is an issue which affects me and I want to resolve it, because I see there may be a different way of living. So I say to myself, `How can I be free of this cruelty without conflict,' because the moment I introduce conflict in getting rid of cruelty, I have already brought violence into being. So first I must be very clear about what conflict implies. If there is any conflict with regard to cruelty - of which I want to be free - in that very conflict there is the breeding of violence. How am I to be free of cruelty without conflict?
Questioner: Accept it.
Krishnamurti: I wonder what we mean by accepting our cruelty. There it is! I am not accepting or denying it. What is the good of saying `accept it'? It is a fact that I have a brown skin - it is so. Why should I accept it or reject it? The fact is I am cruel.
Questioner: If I see I am cruel I accept it, I understand it; but also I am afraid of acting cruelly and of going along with it.
Krishnamurti: Yes. I said, `I am cruel.` I neither accept nor reject it. It is a fact; and it is another fact, that when there is conflict in getting rid of cruelty there is violence. So I have to deal with two things. Violence, cruelty and the ridding myself of it without effort. What am I to do? All my life struggle and fight.
Questioner: The question is not violence, but the creation of an image.
Krishnamurti: That image gets imposed upon, or one imposes that image on `what is right?
Questioner: It comes from ignorance of one's true being.
Krishnamurti: I don't quite know what you mean by `true being'.
Questioner: I mean by that one is not separate from the world, one is the world and therefore one is responsible for the violence that goes on outside.
Krishnamurti: Yes. He says, true being is to recognize that one is the world and the world is oneself, and that cruelty and violence are not something different, but part of one. Is that what you mean, Sir?
Questioner: No. Part of the ignorance.
Krishnamurti: So you are saying there is the true self and there is ignorance? There are two states, the true being and it getting covered over by ignorance. Why? This is an old Indian theory. How do you know that there is a true being which is covered over by illusion and ignorance?
Questioner: If we realize that the problems we have are in terms of opposites, all problems will disappear.
Krishnamurti: All one has to do is not to think in opposites. Do we do that, or is it just an idea?
Questioner: Sir, isn't duality inherent in thought?
Krishnamurti: We come to a point and go away from it. I know I am cruel - for various psychological reasons. That is a fact. How shall I be free without effort?
Questioner: What do you mean by `without effort'?
Krishnamurti: I explained what I mean by effort. If I suppress it there is effort involved in the sense that there is contradiction: the cruelty and the desire not to be cruel. There is conflict between `what is' and `what should be.'
Questioner: If I really look at it I can't be cruel.
Krishnamurti: I want to find out, not accept statements. I want to find out if it is at all possible to be free of cruelty. Is it possible to be free of it without suppression, without running away, trying to force it. What is one to do?
Questioner: The only thing to do is to expose it.
Krishnamurti: To expose it I must let it come out, let it show itself - not in the sense of becoming more cruel. Why don't I let it come out? First of all I am frightened of it. I don't know if by letting it come out I might not become more cruel. And if I expose it, am I capable of understanding it? Can I look at it very carefully, which means attentively? I can do it only if my energy, my interest and urgency coincide at this moment of exposure. At this moment I must have the urgency to understand it, I must have a mind without any kind of distortion. I must have tremendous energy to look. And these three must take place instantly at the moment of exposure. Which means, I am sensitive enough and free enough to have this vital energy, intensity and attention. How do I have that intense attention? How do I come by it?
Questioner: If we come to that point of wanting to understand it desperately, then we have this attention.
Krishnamurti: I understand. I am just saying, `Is it possible to be attentive'? Wait, see the implications of it, see what is involved in it. Don't give meanings, don't bring in a new set of words. Here I am. I don't know what attention means. Probably I have never given attention to anything, because most of my life I am inattentive. Suddenly you come along and say, Look, be attentive about cruelty; and I say, `I will' - but what does it mean? How am I to bring about this state of attention? Is there a method? If there is a method and I can practice to become attentive, it will take time. And during that time I continue to be inattentive and therefore bring more destruction. So all this must take place instantly!
I am cruel. I won't suppress, I won't escape; it doesn't mean that I am determined not to escape, it doesn't mean that I have made up my mind not to suppress it. But I see and understand intelligently that suppression, control, escape, do not solve the problem; therefore I have put those aside. Now I have this intelligence, which has come into being by understanding the futility of suppression, of escape, of trying to overcome. With this intelligence I am examining, I am looking at cruelty. I realize that to look at it, there must be a great deal of attention and to have that attention I must be very careful of my inattentions. So my concern is to be aware of inattention. What does that mean? Because if I try to practice attention, it becomes mechanical, stupid, there is no meaning to it; but if I become attentive, or aware of lack of attention, then I begin to find out how attention comes into being. Why am I inattentive to other people's feelings, to the way I talk, the way I eat, to what people say and do? By understanding the negative state I shall come to the positive, which is attention. So I am examining, trying to understand how this inattention comes into being.
This is a very serious question because the whole world is burning. If I am part of that world and that world is me, I must put an end to the fire. So we are stranded with this problem. Because it is lack of attention that has brought about all this chaos in the world. One sees the curious fact that inattention is negation - lack of attention, lack of `being there' at the moment. How is it possible to be so completely aware of inattention that it becomes attention? How am I to become completely, instantly, aware of this cruelty in me, with great energy, so that there is no friction, no contradiction, so that it is complete, whole? How do I bring this about? We said it is possible only when there is complete attention; and that complete attention does not exist because our life is spent wasting energy in inattention.
Saanen 4th Public Dialogue
6th August 1969
On Radical Change
Krishnamurti: Man has not changed very deeply. We are talking about the radical revolution in man, not the imposition of another pattern of behaviour over the old one. We are concerned only with the basic change in what is actually going on inwardly in ourselves. As we said, the world and ourselves are not two different entities, the world is us and we are the world. To bring about a great change at the very root of our being, a revolution, a mutation, a transformations - it doesn't matter what word one uses - that is what we are involved in during these discussions.
We were asking yesterday: can one look at oneself clearly, without any distortion - distortion being the desire to evaluate, to judge, to achieve, to get rid of `what is'? All that prevents clear perception, prevents one from looking exactly and intimately at `what is.' So I think this morning we should spend some time in discussing, or talking over together, the nature of observation, the way to look, to listen, to see. We shall try to find out whether it is at all possible to see, not only with one part of our being, visual, intellectual, or emotional. Is it at all possible to observe very closely without any distortion? It may be worthwhile to go into that. What is it to see? Can we look at ourselves, look at the basic fact of ourselves - which is greed, envy, anxiety, fear, hypocrisy, deception, ambition - can we just watch that, without any distortion?
Can we this morning spend some time trying to learn what it is to look? Learning is a constant movement, a constant renewal. It is not `having learned' and looking from there. By listening to what is being said and by watching ourselves a little bit, we learn something, we experience something; and from that learning and experiencing we look. We look with the memory of what we have learned and with what we have experienced; with that memory in mind we look. Therefore it is not looking, it is not learning. Learning implies a mind that learns each time anew. So it is always fresh to learn. Bearing that in mind we are not concerned with the cultivation of memory but rather to observe and see what actually takes place. We will try to be very alert, very attentive, so that what we have seen and what we have learned doesn't become a memory with which we look, and which is already a distortion. Look each time as though it were the first time! To look, to observe `what is' with a memory, means that memory dictates or shapes or directs your observation, and therefore it is already distorted. Can we go on from there?
We want to find out what it means to observe. The scientist may look at something through a microscope and observe closely; there is an outside object and he is looking at it without any prejudice, though with some knowledge which he must have to look. But here we are looking at the whole structure, at the whole movement of living, at the whole being which is `myself.' It must be looked at not intellectually, not emotionally, nor with any conclusion about right or wrong, or that `this must not be; `this should be.' So before we can look intimately, we must be aware of this process of evaluation, judgment, forming conclusions, which is going on and which will prevent observation.
We are now concerned not with looking, but with what it is that is looking. Is the instrument that is looking spotted, distorted, tortured, burdened? What is important is not the seeing, but the observation of yourself who is the instrument that is looking. If I have a conclusion, for instance nationalism, and look with that deep conditioning, that tribal exclusiveness called nationalism, obviously I look with a great deal of prejudice; therefore I can't see clearly. Or if I am afraid to look, then that obviously is a distorted look. Or if I am ambitious for enlightenment, or for a bigger position, or whatever it is, then that also prevents the clarity of perception. One has to be aware of all that, aware of the instrument that is looking and whether it is clean.
Questioner: If one looks and finds that the instrument is not clean, what does one do then?
Krishnamurti: Please follow this carefully. We said observe `what is,' the basic egoistic, self-centred activity, that which resists, which is frustrated, which becomes angry - observe all that. Then we said watch the instrument that is observing, find out whether that instrument is clean. We have moved from the fact to the instrument that is going to look. We are examining whether that instrument is clean, and we find that it is not clean. Then what are we to do? There is the sharpening of intelligence, I was concerned before to observe only the fact, the `what is; I was watching it, and I moved away from that and said, `I must watch the instrument that is looking, whether it is clean.' In that very questioning there is an intelligence. - you are following all this? Therefore there is a sharpening of intelligence, a sharpening of the mind, of the brain.
Questioner: Doesn't this imply that there is a level of consciousness where there is no division, no conditioning?
Krishnamurti: I don't know what it implies. I am just moving little by little. The movement is not a fragmentary movement. It is not broken up. Before, when I looked I had no intelligence. I said, `I must change it; `I must not change it; `This must not be; `This is good, this is bad; `This should be' - all that. With those conclusions I looked and nothing happened. Now I realize the instrument must be extraordinarily clean to look. So it is one constant movement of intelligence, not a fragmentary state. I want to go on with this.
Questioner: Is this intelligence itself energy? If it is dependent on something it will fizzle out.
Krishnamurti: Don't bother for the moment; leave the question of energy alone.
Questioner: You have already got it, whereas to us it seems refinement upon refinement, but the drive is the same.
Krishnamurti: Yes. Is that what is taking places - refinement? Or has the mind, the brain, the whole being, become very dull through various means as pressures and activities and so on? And we are saying that the whole being must be awakened completely.
Questioner: This is the tricky bit.
Krishnamurti: Wait, I am coming to it, you will see it. Intelligence has no evolution. Intelligence is not the product of time. Intelligence is this quality of sensitive awareness of `what is.' My mind is dull and I say, `I must look at myself' and this dull mind is trying to look at itself. Obviously it sees nothing. It either resists or rejects, or conforms; it is a very respectable mind, a bourgeois little mind that is looking.
Questioner: You began to speak of ideological systems of morality and now you go further and suggest that we should use self-observation, that all other systems are futile. Is this not also an ideology?
Krishnamurti: No, Sir. I say on the contrary, if you look with any ideology, including mine, then you are lost, then you are not looking at all. You have so many ideologies, respectable, not respectable and all the rest of it; with those ideologies in your brain, in your heart, you are looking. Those ideologies have made the brain and the mind and your whole being dull. Now the dull mind looks. And obviously the dull mind, whatever it looks at, whether it meditates, or goes to the moon, it is still a dull mind. So that dull mind observes and somebody comes along and says, `look, my friend, you are dull, what you see will be equally dull; because your mind is dull, what you see will inevitably be dull also.' That is a great discovery, that a dull mind looking at something which is extraordinarily vital has made the thing it looks at also dull.
Questioner: But the same thing keeps reaching out.
Krishnamurti: Wait, go slowly, if you don't mind, just move step by step with the speaker.
Questioner: If a dull mind recognizes that it is dull, it is not so dull.
Krishnamurti: I don`t recognize it! That would be excellent if the dull mind recognized that it was dull, but it doesn't. Either it tries to polish itself more and more, by becoming learned, scientific and all the rest of it, or if it is aware that it is dull it says, `This dull mind cannot look clearly.' So the next question is: How can this dull, spotted mind become extraordinarily intelligent, so that the instrument through which one looks is very clean?
Questioner: Are you saying that when the mind puts the question in that way, it has put an end to the dullness? Can one do the right things for the wrong reasons?
Krishnamurti: No. I wish you would leave your conclusion and find out what the speaker is saying.
Questioner: No, Sir. You stay with me.
Krishnamurti: What you are saying is this: you are trying to get hold of something, which will make the mind which is dull much sharper, clearer. I don't. I am saying: watch the dullness.
Questioner: Without the continual movement?
Krishnamurti: To watch the dull mind without the continual movement of distortion - show does that happen? My dull mind looks; therefore there is nothing to see. I ask myself, `How is it possible to make the mind bright? ` Has this question come into being because I have compared the dull mind with another, clever mind, saying, `I must be like it'? You follow? That very comparison is the continuation of the dull mind.
Questioner: Can the dull mind compare itself with a clever one?
Krishnamurti: Doesn't it always compare itself with some bright mind? That's what we call evolution, don’t we?
Questioner: The dull mind doesn't compare, it asks, `Why should I'? Or you can put it a little differently: one believes that if one can be a little cleverer one will get something more.
Krishnamurti: Yes, that's the same thing. So I have discovered something. The dull mind says, I am dull through comparison; I am dull because that man is clever. It is not aware that it is dull in itself. There are two different states. If I am aware that I am dull because you are bright, that's one thing. If I am aware that I am dull, without comparison, that's quite different. How is it with you? Are you comparing yourself and therefore saying, `I am dull'? Or are you aware that you are dull, without comparison. Can that be? Do please stay with that a little bit.
Questioner: Sir, is this possible?
Krishnamurti: Please give two minutes to this question. Am I aware that I am hungry because you tell me so, or do I feel hungry? If you tell me that I am hungry, I may feel a little hunger but it is not real hunger. But if I am hungry, I am am hungry. So I must be very clear whether my dullness is the result of comparison. Then I can proceed from there.
Questioner: What has brought it home to you in such a way that you can leave it and only be concerned with whether you are dull or not?
Krishnamurti: Because I see the truth that comparison makes the mind dull. At school when one boy is compared with another boy, you destroy the boy comparing him with another. If you tell the younger brother that he must be as clever as the elder brother, you have destroyed the younger brother, haven't you? You are not concerned with the younger brother; you are concerned with the cleverness of the older boy.
Questioner: Can a dull mind look and find out if it is dull?
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out. Please let's begin again. Could we not stick to this one thing this morning?
Questioner: So long as there is that drive, what validity has it whether I am dull in myself or by comparison.
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out. Please, just go along with the speaker for a few minutes, not accepting or rejecting but watching yourself. We said at the beginning of this morning's dialogue that the revolution must take place at the very root of our being, and that it can take place only when we know how to observe what we are. The observation depends on the brightness, the clarity and the openness of the mind that looks. But most of us are dull, and we say we see nothing when we look; we see anger, jealousy and so on, but it doesn't result in anything. So we are concerned with the dull mind, not with what it is looking at. This dull mind says. `I must be clever in order to look.' So it has a pattern of what cleverness is and is trying to become that. Somebody tells it, `Comparison will always produce dullness.' So it says, `I must be terribly careful of that, I won't compares I only knew what dullness was through comparison. If I don't compare, how do I know I am dull?' So I say to myself, `I won't call it dull.' I won't use the word `dull' at all. I will only observe `what is' and not call it dull. Because the moment I call it dull, I have already given it a name and made it dull. But if I don't call it dull, but only observe, I have removed comparison, I have removed the word `dull' and there is only `what is.' This is not difficult, is it? Please do watch it for yourself. Look what has happened now! Look where my mind is now.
Questioner: I see that my mind is too slow.
Krishnamurti: Will you please just listen. I'll go very slowly, step by step.
How do I realize my mind is dull? Because you have told me? Because I have read books that seem extraordinarily clever, intricate and subtle? Or I have seen brilliant people and in comparing myself with them I call myself dull? I have to find out. So I won't compare; I refuse to compare myself with somebody else. Then do I know I am dull? Is the word preventing me to observe? Or is the word taking the place of `what actually is'? Are you following this? So I will not use a word, I won't call it dull, I won't call it slow, I won't call it anything, but find out `what is.' So I have got rid of comparison, which is the most subtle thing. My mind has become extraordinarily intelligent because it doesn't compare, it doesn't use a word with which to see `what is,' because it has realized the description is not the described. So what is actually the fact of 'what is'?
Can we go from there? I am watching it; the mind is watching its own movement. Now do I condemn it, judge and evaluate and say, `This should be,' `This should not be'? Has it any formula, any ideal, any resolution, any conclusion, which will inevitably distort `what is'? I have to go into that. If I have any conclusion I cannot look. If I am a moralist, if I am a respectable person, or a Christian, a Vedantist, or an `enlightened one,' or this or that - all that prevents me from looking. Therefore I must be free of it all. I am watching if I have a conclusion of any kind. So the mind has become extraordinarily clear and it says, `Is there fear?' I watch it and I say, `There is fear, there is a desire for security, there is the urge for pleasure,' and so on. I see that I cannot possibly look if there is any kind of conclusion, any kind of pleasurable movement taking place. So I am watching, and I find I am very traditional and I realize such a traditional mind can't look. My deep interest is to look and that deep interest shows me the danger of any conclusion. Therefore the very perception of danger is the discarding of that danger. So my mind then is not confused, it has no conclusion, does not think in terms of words, of descriptions, and is not comparing. Such a mind can observe and what it observes is itself. Therefore a revolution has taken place. Now you are lost - completely lost!
Questioner: I don't think that this revolution has taken place. Today I managed to look at the mind in the way you say, the mind becomes sharper, but tomorrow I will have forgotten how to look.
Krishnamurti: You can't forget it, Sir. Do you forget a snake? Do you forget a precipice? Do you forget the bottle marked `poison'? You can`t forget it. The gentleman asked, `How can I cleanse the instrument?' We said the cleansing of the instrument is to be aware how the instrument is made dull, clouded, unclear. We have described what makes it clouded, and we also said the description is not the actual thing described; so don't be caught in words. Be with the thing described, which is the instrument that is made dull.
Questioner: Surely if you look at yourself in the manner you described you expect something.
Krishnamurti: I am not expecting a transformation, enlightenment, a mutation, I am expecting nothing, because I don't know what is going to happens I know only one thing very clearly, that the instrument that is looking is not clean, it is clouded, it is cracked. That's all I know and nothing else. And my only concern is, how can this instrument be made whole, healthy?
Questioner: Why are you looking?
Krishnamurti: The world is burning and the world is me. I am terribly disturbed, terribly confused, and there must be some order somewhere in all this. That is what is making me look. But if you say, `The world is all right, why do you bother about it, you have got good health and a little money, wife and children and a house, leave it alone' - then, of course, the world isn't burning. But it is burning all the same, whether you like or not. So that is what makes me look, not some intellectual conception, nor some emotional excitement, but the actual fact that the world is burning - the wars, the hatred, the deception, the images, the false gods and all the rest of it. And that very perception of what is taking place outwardly, makes me aware inwardly. And I say the inward state is the outward state, they are both one, indivisible.
Questioner: We are back at the very beginning. The fact is the dull mind doesn't see that by comparison it will think it should be different.
Krishnamurti: No, it is all wrong. I don't want to be different! I only see that the instrument is dull. I don't know what to do with it. So I am going to find out, which doesn't mean I want to change the instrument. I don't.
Questioner: Is using any word an obstacle to seeing?
Krishnamurti: The word is not the thing; therefore if you are looking at the thing, unless you put the word aside, it becomes extraordinarily important.
Questioner: I think that I disagree with you. When one looks, one sees the instrument has two parts, one is perception, the other is expression. It is impossible to sever these two parts. It is a linguistic problem, not one of dullness. The difficulty lies in language, in the randomness of expression.
Krishnamurti: Are you saying, in observation there is perception and expression, the two are not separate. Therefore when you perceive, there must also be the clarity of expression, the linguistic understanding, and the perception and the expression must never be separated, they must always go together. So you are saying that it is very important to use the right word.
Questioner: I am saying `expression,' I am not saying `intention.'
Krishnamurti: I understand - expression. Out of that comes another factor: perception, expression and action. If action is not expression and perception - expression being expressing it in words - then there is a fragmentation. So is not perception action? The very perceiving is the acting. As when I perceive a precipice and there is immediate acting; that action is the expression of the perception. So perception and action can never be separated, therefore the ideal and action are impossible. If I see the stupidity of an ideal, the very perception of the stupidity of it is the action of intelligence. So the watching of dullness, the perceiving of dullness, is the clearing of the mind of dullness, which is action.