Wholly Different Way of Living
Wholly Different Way of Living
By J. Krishnamurti
E-Text Source: www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net
San Diego, California 1974
Knowledge And Transformation - 18th February 1974 - 1st Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Knowledge And Human Relationships - 18th February 1974 - 2nd Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Responsibility - 19th February 1974 - 3rd Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Responsibility And Relationship - 19th February 1974 - 4th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Order - 20th February 1974 - 5th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Fear - San Diego, California 20th February 1974 - 6th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Desire - 21st February 1974 - 7th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Pleasure - 21st February 1974 - 8th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Inward Or True Beauty - 22nd February 1974 - 9th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
The Art Of Listening - 22nd February 1974 - 10th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
The Nature Of Hurt - 25th February 1974 - 11th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Love And Pleasure - 25th February 1974 - 12th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
A Different Way Of Life - 26th February 1974 - 13th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Death - 26th February 1974 -14th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Religion And Authority 1 - 27th February 1974 - 15th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Religion And Authority 2 - 27th February 1974 - 16th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Meditation 1 - 28th February 1974 - 17th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
Meditation 2 - 28th February 1974 - 18th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
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1st Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
San Diego, California
18th February 1974
Knowledge and Transformation
J Krishnamurti was born in South India and educated in England. For the past 40 years he has been speaking in the United States, Europe, India, Australia and other parts of the world. From the outset of his life's work he repudiated all connections with organized religions and ideologies and said that his only concern was to set man absolutely unconditionally free. He is the author of many books, among them THE AWAKENING Of INTELLIGENCE, THE URGENCY OF CHANGE, FREEDOM FROM THE KNOWN and THE FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE.
This is one of a series of dialogues between Krishnamurti and Dr. Allan W. Anderson, who is professor of religious studies at San Diego State University where he teaches Indian and Chinese scriptures and the oracular tradition. Dr. Anderson, a published poet, received his degree from Columbia University and the Union Theological Seminary, he has been honoured with the distinguished teaching award from the California State University.
A: Mr Krishnamurti I was very taken with a recent statement of yours in which you said that it's the responsibility of each human being to bring about his own transformation, which is not dependent on knowledge or time. And if it's agreeable with you I thought it would be a splendid thing if we explored together the general area of transformation itself and after we have done that perhaps the other related areas would begin to fall into place and we could bring about in conversation a relationship among them.
K: Don't you think, sir, considering what's happening in the world, in India, in Europe and in America, the general degeneration in literature, in art, and specially in the deep cultural sense, in the sense religion...
K: ...there is a traditional approach, a mere acceptance of authority, belief which is not really the religious spirit. Seeing all this, the confusion the great misery, the sense of infinity sorrow, any observant and serious people would say that this society cannot possibly be changed except only when the individual, the human being, really transforms himself radically, that is regenerates himself fundamentally. And the responsibility of that depends on the human being not on the mass or on the priests or on a church or a temple or mosque or whatever, but on a human being who is aware of this enormous confusion, politically, religiously, economically, in every direction there is such misery, such unhappiness. And when you see that it is a very serious thing to ask oneself whether a human being like oneself or another whether he can really deeply undergo a radical transformation. And when that question is put to him, and when he sees his responsibility in relation to the whole then perhaps we can discuss what relationship has knowledge and time in the transformation of man.
A: I quite follow. We need then to lay some groundwork in order to move into the question itself.
K: Yes. Because most people are not concerned with the world at all. Most people are not concerned seriously with the events, with the chaos with the mess in the world at present. They are only concerned very superficially. The problem of energy, problem of pollution and so on - such superficial things. But they are really not deeply concerned with the human mind - the mind that is destroying the world.
A: Yes - I quite follow. What you have said places in a very cardinal way the radical responsibility on the individual as such, if I've understood you correctly.
A: There are no five years plans that we can expect to help us out.
K: You see, the word individual is really not a correct word because individual, as you know sir, means undivided, indivisible, in himself. But human beings are totally fragmented, therefore they are not individuals. They may have a bank account, a name, a house, but they are not really individuals in the sense, a total complete harmonious whole, unfragmented. That is really what it means to be an individual.
A: Well would you say then that to move or to make passage or perhaps a better word simply would be change, since we are not talking about time, from this fragmented state to one of wholeness which could be regarded as a change in the level of the being of the person.
A: Could we say that?
K: Yes, but you see again the word whole implies not only sanity, health and also the word whole means holy, h-o-l-y. All that's implied in that one word whole. And human beings are never whole. They are fragmented, they are contradictory, they are torn apart by various desires. So, when we talk of an individual, the individual is really a human being who is totally completely whole, sane, healthy and therefore holy. And to bring about such a human being is our responsibility in education, politically, religiously, in every way. And therefore it is the responsibility of the educator, of everybody, not just myself, my responsibility, it is your responsibility as well as mine, as well as his.
A: It's everybody's responsibility...
K: Absolutely - because we have created this awful mess in the world.
A: But the individual is the one who must make the start.
K: A human being, each human being, it does not matter whether he is a politician or a businessman or just an ordinary person like me in the street, it's our business as a human being to realize the enormous suffering, misery, confusion there is in the world. And it's our responsibility to change all that, not the politicians, not the businessman, not the scientist. It's our responsibility.
A: When we say our responsibility, and we have two uses of the word individual now. There is the general use of it meaning a quantitative measure...
K: Yes - quantitative measure.
A: ...and than this qualitative reference that we simply needed, it seems to me, to discern as a possibility. I am reminded again of the statement that you made that I quoted earlier, that it is the responsibility of each, each human person.
K: Human being, yes.
K: Whether he is in India or in England or in America or wherever he is.
A: So we can't slip out of this by saying, we have created this therefore we must change it. We get back to, well if the change is going to start at all, it's going to be with each.
K: Yes, sir.
A: With each.
K: With each human being. Therefore the question arises from that, does a human being realize with all seriousness his responsibility not only to himself but to the whole of mankind?
A: It wouldn't appear so from the way things go on.
K: Obviously not, each one is concerned with his own petty little selfish desires. So responsibility implies tremendous attention, care, diligence - not negligence as now it is going on.
A: Yes I do follow that. The word we that we used in relation to each brings about the suggestion of a relationship which perhaps we could pursue here a moment. There seems to be something indivisible apparently between what we refer to by each or the individual person as the usage is usually construed. It seems to be an indivisible relation between that and what we call the whole, which the individual doesn't sense.
K: Sir, as you know, I have been all over the world, except behind the Iron Curtain and China - Bamboo Curtain. I have been all over and I have talked to and seen thousands and thousands of people. I have been doing this for 50 years and more. Human beings wherever they live are more or less the same. They have their problems of sorrow, problems of fear, problems of livelihood, problems of personal relationship, problems of survival, overpopulation and the enormous problem of death - it is a common problem to all of us. There is no eastern problem or western problem. The West has its particular civilization and the East has it's own. And human beings are caught in this trap.
A: Yes I follow that.
K: They don't seem to be able to get out of it. They are going on and on and on, for millennia.
A: Therefore the question is how does he bring this about, as an each, as a one? The word individual as you have just described, seems to me to have a relationship to the word transform in itself, and I would like to ask you whether you would agree in this. It seems that many persons have the notion that to transform a thing means to change it utterly without any relationship whatsoever to what it is as such. That would seem to ignore that we are talking about form that undergoes a change, which form still abides.
K: Yes sir, I understand.
A: Otherwise the change would involve a loss, a total loss.
K: So are we asking this question, sir? What place has knowledge in the regeneration of man, in the transformation of man, in the fundamental, radical movement in man? What place has knowledge and therefore time? Is it that what you are asking?
A: Yes, yes, I am. Because either we accept that a change that is a genuine change means the annihilation of what preceded it, or we are talking about a total transformation of something that abides.
K: Yes. So let us look at that word for a minute. Revolution in the ordinary sense of that word means, doesn't it, not an evolution, gradual evolution, it's a revolution.
A: It doesn't mean that then - right. I agree.
K: By revolution is generally meant, if you talk to a communist, he want to overthrow the government, if you talk to a bourgeois he is frightened, if you talk to an intellectual he has various criticisms about revolution. Now, revolution is either bloody, or...
K: Or revolution in the psyche.
K: Outward or inner.
A: Outward, or inner.
K: The outward is the inner. The inner is the outward. There is not the difference between the outward and the inner. They are totally related to each other,
A: Then this goes back to what you mentioned earlier. There is no division even though intellectually you make a distinction, between the I and the we.
K: That's right.
A: Yes, of course.
K: So, when we talk about change, we mean not the mere bloody revolution physical revolution, but rather the revolution in the makeup of the mind.
A: Of each.
K: Of human beings.
K: The way he thinks, the way he behaves, the way he conducts himself, the way he operates, he functions, the whole of that. Now, whether that psychological revolution - not evolution in the sense of gradualness...
K: What place has knowledge in that?
A: What place has knowledge in something?
K: In the regeneration of man which is the inward revolution which will affect the outer.
A: Yes, which is not a gradual progress.
K: Gradual progress is endless.
A: Exactly. So we are talking an instant qualitative change.
K: Again when you use the word instant, it seems as though suddenly it is to happen. That's why I am rather hesitant in using the word instant. We will go into it in a minute. First of all, sir, let's be clear what you and I are talking about if we may. We see objectively the appalling mess the world is in. Right?
K: The misery the confusion, the deep sorrow of man.
A: Oh, yes.
K: I can't tell you what I feel when I go round the world. The pettiness, the shallowness, the emptiness of all this, of the so-called western civilization, if I may use that word; into which the eastern civilization is being grabbed into. And we are just scratching on the surface. all the time. And we think the mere change on the surface - change in the structure is going to do something enormous to all human beings. On the contrary it has done nothing. It polishes a little bit here and there but deeply fundamentally it does not change man. So, when we are discussing change we must be, I think, fairly clear that we mean the change in the psyche, in the very being of human beings. That is, in the very structure and nature of his thought.
A: The change at the root.
K: At the root - yes.
A: At the root itself.
K: At the root. And therefore when there is that change he will naturally bring about a change in society. It isn't society first, or individual first, it is the human change which will transform the society. They are not two separate things.
A: Now I must be very careful that I understand this precisely. I think I discern now why in the statement you said, which is not dependent on knowledge or time. Because when this person changes, this each human being changes, the change which begins in society is a change that is in a non-temporal relationship with the change in each human being.
K: After all human beings have created this society. By their greed, by their anger, by their violence, by their brutality, by their pettiness, they have created this society.
K: And they think by changing the structure you are going to change the human being. This has been the communist problem, this has been the eternal problem: that if we change the environment then you change man. They have tried that in ten different ways and they haven't done it, succeeded in changing man. On the contrary man conquers the environment as such.
So, if we are clear that the outer is the inner - the inner is the outer, that there is not the division, the society and the individual, the collective and the separate human being, but the human being is the whole, he is the society, he is the separate human individual, he is the factor which brings about this chaos.
A: Yes, I am following this very closely.
K: Therefore he is the world and the world is him.
A: Yes. Therefore if he changes everything changes. If he doesn't change nothing changes.
K: I think this is very important because we don't realize, I think, this basic factor that we are the world and the world is us, that the world is not something separate from me and me separate from the world. You are born in a culture, Christian or Hindu or whatever culture you are born in. You are the result of that culture. And that culture has produced this world. The materialistic world of the West, if one can call it, which is spreading all over the world, destroying their own culture, their own traditions - everything is being swept aside in the wake of the western culture, and this culture has produced this human being, and the human being has created this culture.
K: I mean he has created the paintings, the marvelous cathedrals, the marvelous technological things, going to the moon and so on and so on, the human beings have produced it. It is the human beings that have created the rotten society in which we live. It is the immoral society in which we live which human beings have created.
A: Oh yes there is no doubt about that.
K: And therefore the world is you, you are the world, there is no other. If we accept that, if we see that not intellectually, but feel it in your heart, in your mind, in your blood that you are that, then the question is, is it possible for a human being to transform himself inwardly and therefore outwardly?
A: I am very concerned to see this as clearly as I can in terms of two texts that come to my mind, which we could say possess an inner meaning, and because of this inner outer thing that we have spoken about in the divided approach that is made to scripture - there is a tremendous irony here - I am thinking of that, to me, wonderful text in St Johns gospel, in the third chapter, which says - and I will try to translate this as the Greek has it - 'The one who is doing the truth is coming to the light'. It isn't that he does the truth and then later he comes to the light. And it isn't that we could say from the pulpit, I will tell you what the truth is, if you do it then you will see the light. Because we are back again to what you mentioned earlier, the non-temporal relationship between the action which itself is the transformation.
A: And the marvelous vista of understanding, which is not an 'if' then thing, but is truly concurrent. And the other one that I thought of, I was hoping you might agree is saying the same thing, so that I understand it well in terms of what you have said, is, and again I will try to translate it as literally as I can: God is love and the one abiding in love is abiding in God and God is abiding in him.
K: Quite, quite.
A: I put the '-ing' on all those words because of the character of the language itself. One wouldn't want to translate that for pulpit reading perhaps - but that's the real sense of it. And this 'ing-ing' along gives the feeling that there is an activity here that is not bound temporally.
K: It isn't a static state. It isn't something you intellectually accept, and leave it like that. Then it is death, there is nothing in it.
K: That's why you see, sir, we have divided the physical world as the East and the West. We have divided religions, Christian religion and Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist. And we have divided the world into nationalities; the capitalist and the socialist, the communist and the other people and so on. We have divided the world, and we have divided ourselves as Christians, non-Christians, we have divided ourselves into fragments, opposing each other, so, where there is a division there is conflict.
K: I think that is a basic law.
A: Where there is a division there is conflict. But in terms of that word knowledge it appears that people believe to start with that that division is there, and they operate on that radical belief.
K: That's why I am saying it's so important to understand from the beginning of our talks, in our dialogue, that the world is not different from me and that I am the world. This may sound rather simplified, simplistic, but it has got very deep fundamental meaning if you realize what it means, not intellectually, but inwardly, the understanding of it, therefore there is no division. The moment I say to myself, I realize that I am the world and the world is me, I am not a Christian, nor a Hindu, or a Buddhist - nothing, I am a human being.
A: I was just thinking when you were saying how certain kinds of philosophical analysis would approach that, and in terms of the spirit of what you have said, this really is almost a cosmic joke because on the one hand as you said, it might sound simplistic. Some would say it is, therefore we don't have to pay attention to it; others would say, well it's probably so much in want of clarity even though it's profound that it is some kind of mysticism. And we are back and forth, the division again, as soon as that.
K: I know, I know.
A: So I do follow you.
K: So, if that is clear that human mind has divided the world in order to find it's own security, which brings about it's own insecurity, when one is aware of that then one must inwardly as well as outwardly deny this division, as we and they, I and you, the Indian and the European and the Communist. You cut at the very root of this division. Therefore from that arises the question, can the human mind which has been so conditioned for millennia, can that human mind which has acquired so much knowledge in so many directions, can that human mind change, bring about a regeneration in itself and be free to reincarnate now?
K: That is the question.
A: That is the question - exactly - reincarnate now. It would appear from what you have said that one could say that the vast amount of represented knowledge, an accretion of centuries, is a discussion we have been having with ourselves regardless of which culture we are speaking about as a commentary on this division.
A: Without really grasping the division itself. And of course the division itself. And of course since division is infinitely divisible...
K: Of course.
A: Then we can have tome after tome, after tome, libraries after libraries, mausoleums of books without end because we are continually dividing the division. Yes I follow you.
K: And you see that's why culture is different from civilization. Culture implies growth.
A: Oh yes, oh yes.
K: Now growth in the flowering of goodness.
A: A lovely phrase, lovely phrase.
K: That is culture - real culture - the flowering in goodness - you understand sir, and that doesn't exist. We have civilization, you can travel from India to America in a few hours - you have better bathrooms - better this and better that and so on with all the complications that involves. That has been the western culture which has been absorbed in the East. So goodness is the very essence of culture. Religion is the transformation of man. Not all the beliefs, churches and the idolatry of the Christians or the Hindus. That's not religion.
So we come back to the point, if one sees all this in this world - observes it, not condemn it or justify it - just to observe it, then from that one asks: man has collected such enormous information, knowledge, and has that knowledge changed him into goodness? You follow sir - into a culture that will make him flower in this beauty of goodness. It has not.
A: No it has not.
K: Therefore it has no meaning.
A: Excursions into defining goodness is not going to help us.
K: You can give explanations, definitions, but definitions are not the reality.
A: Of course not.
K: The word isn't the thing. The description isn't the described.
K: So we come back again.
A: Yes, let's do.
K: Because personally I am tremendously concerned with this question: how to change man. Because I go to India every year for three months or five months and I see what is happening there, and I see what is happening in Europe, and I see what is happening in this country, in America, and I can't tell you what shock it gives me each time I come to these countries - the degeneration, the superficiality, the intellectual concepts galore without any substance, without any basis or ground in which the beauty of goodness, of reality can grow. So saying all that what place has knowledge in the regeneration of man? That is the basic question.
A: That's our point of departure.
A: Good. And the knowledge that we have pointed to so far that has emerged in our discussion is a knowledge which in itself has no power to effect this transformation.
K: No sir, but knowledge has a place.
A: Yes I didn't mean that. I mean what is expected of this knowledge that we pointed to, that is accumulated in libraries, is an expectation which in itself cannot fulfil.
K: No, no. I must now go back to the word again - the word knowledge, what does it mean to know?
A: Well I have understood the word in a strict sense this way: knowledge is the apprehension of 'what is', but what passes for knowledge might not be that.
K: No. What is generally accepted as knowledge is experience.
A: Yes, what is generally accepted.
K: We will begin with that because it's generally accepted - the experience which yields, or leaves a mark which is knowledge. That accumulated knowledge whether in the scientific world or in the biological world or in the business world or in the world of the mind, the being, is the known. The known is the past, therefore knowledge is the past. Knowledge cannot be in the present. I can use knowledge in the present.
A: But it's founded on the past.
K: Yes. But it has its roots in the past. Which means - that's very interesting - whether this knowledge which we have acquired about everything -
K: ...I personally don't read any of these books, neither the Gita, the Bhagvad-gita or the Upanishads, none of the psychological books, nothing. I am not a reader. I have observed tremendously all my life. Now, knowledge has it's place.
A: Oh yes, yes.
K: Let's be clear on this. In the practical, technological - I must know where I am going, physically, and so on. Now, what place has that, which is human experience as well as scientific knowledge, what place has that in changing the quality of a mind that has become brutal, violent, petty, selfish, greedy, ambitious and all the rest of that? What place has knowledge in that?
A: We are going back to the statement we began with - namely that this transformation is not dependent on knowledge, then the answer would have to be, then it doesn't have a place.
K: Therefore let's find out what are the limits of knowledge.
A: Yes, yes, of course.
K: Where is the demarcation, freedom from the known - where does that freedom begin?
A: Good. Yes, now I know precisely the point at which we are going to move from. Where does that freedom begin, which is not dependent on this funded accretion from the past.
K: That's right. So, the human mind is constructed on knowledge. It has evolved through millennia on this accretion, on tradition, on knowledge.
K: It is there, and all our actions are based on that knowledge.
A: Which by definition must be repetitious.
K: Obviously and it is a repetition. So, what is the beginning of freedom in relation to knowledge? May I put it this way to make myself clear?
A: Yes, yes.
K: I have experienced something yesterday that has left a mark. That is knowledge and with that knowledge I meet the next experience. So the next experience is translated in terms of the old and therefore that experience is never new.
A: So in a way if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the experience that I had yesterday, that I recall...
K: The recollection.
A: ...the recollection upon my meeting something new that appears to have some relationship to it, I approach on the basis of holding my previous knowledge up as a mirror in which to determine the nature of this new thing that I...
K: Quite, quite.
A: And this could be a rather crazy mirror.
K: Generally it is. You see that's what I mean. Where is freedom in relation to knowledge? Or is freedom something other than the continuity of knowledge?
A: Must be something other.
K: Which means if one goes into it very, very deeply, it means the ending of knowledge.
K: And what does that mean, what does it mean to end knowledge. Whereas I have lived entirely on knowledge.
A: It means that immediately.
K: Ah wait, wait. See what is involved in it, sir. I met you yesterday and there is the image of you in my mind and that image meets you next day.
K: The image meets you.
A: The image meets me.
K: And there are a dozen images or hundred images. So the image is the knowledge. The image is the tradition. The image is the past. Now can there be freedom from that?
A: If this transformation that you speak of is to happen, is to come to pass, there must be.
K: Of course. Therefore we can state it, but how is the mind which strives, acts, functions on image, on knowledge, on the known - how is it to end that? Take this very simple fact, you are in sorrow, or you praise me, that remains a knowledge, with that with that image, with that knowledge I meet you. I never meet you. The image meets you.
K: Therefore there is no relationship between you and me.
A: Yes, because between us this has been interposed.
K: Of course, obviously. Therefore how is that image to end, never to register - you follow sir
A: I can't depend on someone else to handle it for me.
K: Therefore what am I to do? How is this mind which is registering, recording all the time - the function of the brain is to record, all the time - how is it to be free of knowledge? When you have done some harm to me personally, collectively or whatever, you have insulted me, flattered me, how is the brain not to register that? If it registers it is already an image, it's a memory - and the past then meets the present, And therefore there is no solution to it.
K: I was looking at that word the other day in a very good dictionary - tradition. It means and of course the ordinary word - tradere - to give, hand over, to give across. It also has another peculiar meaning - not peculiar - from the same word, betrayal.
A: Oh yes traduce.
K: Traduce. And in discussing in India this came out, betrayal of the present. If I live in tradition I betray the present.
A: Yes I do see that.
K: Which is knowledge betrays the present. I betray the present.
A: Which is in fact a self betrayal.
K: Yes, that's right.
A: Yes I do see that.
K: So how is the mind which functions on knowledge - how is the brain which is recording all the time...
K: ...to end, to see the importance of recording and not let it move in any other direction? That is, sir, let me to put it this way, very simply: you insult me, you hurt me, by word, gesture, by an actual act, that leaves a mark on the brain which is memory.
K: That memory is knowledge, that knowledge is going to interfere in my meeting you next time - obviously. Now how is the brain and also the mind, to record and not let it interfere with the present?
A: The person must, it seems to me, take pains to negate.
K: No, no. See what is implied, but how am I to negate it. How is the brain whose function is to record, like a computer it is recording...
A: I didn't mean to suggest that it negates the recording. But it's the association, the translation of the recording into an emotional complex.
K: How is it - that's just the point - how is it to end this emotional response when I meet you next time, you who have hurt me? That's a problem.
A: That's the place from which we in a practical order in relation to ourselves must then begin.
A: Exactly. There is an aspect of this that interests me very much in terms of the relation between the theoretical and the practical.
K: Sir, to me theory has no reality. Theories have no importance to a man who is actually living.
A: May I say what I mean by theory. I don't think I mean what you think I mean by it. I mean theory in the sense of the greek word theorea - spectacle, what is out there that I see. And the word is therefore very closely related to what you have been talking about in terms of knowledge. And yet it is the case that if we see something, that something is registered to us in the mind in terms of a likeness of it, otherwise we should have to become it in order to receive it, which in a material order would annihilate us, It seems to me, if I followed you correctly, that there is a profound confusion in ones relationship to that necessity for the finite being and what he makes of it. And in so far he is making the wrong thing of it he is in desperate trouble and can only go on repeating himself, and in such a repetition increasing despair. Have I distinguished this correctly?
K: You see religion is based on tradition. Religion is vast propaganda, as it is now. In India, here, anywhere, propaganda of theories of beliefs, of idolatry, worship, essentially based on the acceptance of a theory.
K: Essentially based on an idea.
A: Statement, a postulate.
K: Ideas, put out by thought.
K: And obviously that's not religion. So religion as it exists now is the very denial of truth.
A: Yes. I am sure I understand you.
K: And if a man like me or... wants to find out, discover what the truth is he must deny the whole structure of religion, as it is - which is idolatry propaganda, fear, division, you are a Christian I am a Hindu - all that nonsense, and be a light to oneself. Not in the vain sense of that word. Light because the world is in darkness and a human being has to transform himself, has to be a light to himself. And light is not lit by somebody else.
A: So there is a point at which he must stop repeating himself. Is that correct? In a sense we could use the analogy perhaps from surgery: something that has been continuous is now cut.
A: And cut radically - not just fooled around with.
K: We haven't time to fool around any more - the house is on fire. At least I feel this enormously - things are coming to such a pass we must do something - each human being. Not in terms of better housing, better security, more this and that - but basically to regenerate himself.
A: But if the person believes that in cutting himself from this accretion that he is killing himself, he is going to resist that idea.
K: Of course. Therefore he has to understand what his mind has created, therefore he has to understand himself.
A: So he starts observing himself.
K: Himself - which is the world.
A: Yes. Not learning five languages to be able to...
K: Attending schools where you learn sensitivity and all that rubbish.
A: The point that you are making, it seems it seems to me, is made also by the great Danish thinker, Kirkegaard, who lived a very trying life in his own community because he was asking them, it seems to me, to undertake what you are saying. He was saying: Look if I go to seminary and I try to understand what Christianity is by studying it myself then what I am doing is appropriating something here, but then when do I know I have appropriated it fully. I shall never know that point therefore I shall forever appropriate it and never do anything about it, as such, as a subject. The person who must risk the deed, not the utterance, in its essential form, or not simply thinking through what someone has thought but actually embodying the meaning through the observation of myself in relation to that. And that has always seemed to me a very profound insight. But one of the ironies of that is of course in the Academy we have an endless proliferation of studies in which scholars have learned Danish in order to understand Kirkegaard, and what they are doing is to a large extent - if I haven't misjudged the spirit of much that I have read - is simply perpetuate the very thing he said should be cut. I do have this very strong feeling that profound change would take place in the academy of which you know I am a member, if the teacher were not only to grasp this that you have said, but take the risk of acting on it. Since if it isn't acted on, if I understood you correctly, we are back again where we were. We have toyed with the idea of being valiant and courageous, but then we have to think about of what is involved before we do, and then we don't do.
A: We think and don't do.
K: Therefore sir, the word is not the thing. The description is not the described, and if you are not concerned with the description but only with the thing, 'what is', then we have to do something. When you are confronted with 'what is' you act, but when you are concerned with theories and speculations and beliefs you never act.
A: So there isn't any hope for this transformation, if I understood you correctly, if I should think to myself that this just sounds marvelous. I am the world and the world is me, but while I go on thinking that the description is the described. There is no hope. So we are speaking about a disease over here, and we are speaking about something that has been stated as the case, and if I take what has been stated as the case, as 'the case', then I am thinking that the description is the described.
K: Of course.
A: And I never get out.
K: Sir, it is like a man who is hungry, any amount of description of the right kind of food will never satisfy him. He is hungry he wants food. So, all this implies, doesn't it, sir, several things. First can there be freedom from knowledge - and knowledge has its place - can there be freedom from the tradition as knowledge...
A: From the tradition as knowledge, yes.
K: ...can there be freedom from this separative outlook - me and you? We and they, Christian, and all this divisive attitude or activity in life. Those are the problems we have to attend to.
A: That's what we must attend to as we move through our dialogues.
K: So first can the mind be free from the known, not verbally but actually?
K: I can speculate about the body's freedom and all the rest of it, but see the necessity, the importance, that there must be freedom from the known, otherwise life becomes repetitive, a continuous superficial scratching. It has no meaning.
A: Of course. In our next conversation together I hope we can begin where we have just left off.
2nd Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
San Diego, California
18th February 1974
Knowledge and Human Relationships
A: Mr Krishnamurti, in our previous conversation I was extremely delighted, for myself at least, that we had made the distinction in terms of relation between knowledge and self transformation, between on the one hand, the relationship that I sustain with the world, as the world is me, and I am the world, and on the other hand this dysfunctional condition which indicates in your phrase, that a person is involved in thinking, that the description is the described. It would appear then that something must be done to bring about a change in the individual, and going back to our use of the word individual, we could say, and you used the word earlier, that we are dealing with an observer. So if the individual is not to make the mistake of taking the description for the described, then he must as an observer relate to the observed in a particular way that is totally different from the way he has been in his confusion. I thought that perhaps in this particular conversation, if we pursued that it would be a link directly with what we had said prior.
K: What we previously, wasn't it, that there must be a quality of freedom from the known, otherwise the known is merely the repetition of the past, the tradition, the image, and so on. The past, sir, is the observer. The past is the accumulated knowledge as the me and the we, they and us. The observer is put together by thought as the past. Thought is the past. Thought is never free. Thought is never new, because thought is the response of the past, as knowledge, as experience, as memory.
A: Yes I follow that.
K: And the observer, when he observes, is observing with the memories, the experience, knowledge, hurts, despairs, hope - all that, with all that background he looks at the observed. So the observer then becomes separate from the observed. Is the observer different from the observed? Which we will go into presently later on. That leads to all kinds of other things. So when we are talking of freedom from the known we are talking about freedom from the observer.
A: The observer, yes.
K: And the observer is tradition, the past, the conditioned mind that looks at things, looks at itself, looks at the world, looks at me and so on. So the observer is always dividing. The observer is the past and therefore it cannot observe wholly.
A: If the person uses the first person pronoun, I, while he is taking the description for the described, this is the observer he refers to when he says I.
K: I is the past.
A: I see
K: I is the whole structure of what has been, the remembrances, the memories, the hurts, the various demands, all that is put together in the word, the I, who is the observer, and therefore division: the observer and the observed. The observer who thinks he is a Christian and observes a non-christian or a Communist, this division, this attitude of mind which observes with conditioned responses, with memories and so on. So that is the known.
A: I see.
K: I mean I think that is logically so.
A: Oh, no, it follows precisely from what you have said.
K: So, we are asking, can the mind or the whole structure, can the mind be free from the known? Otherwise the repetitious action, repetitious attitudes, repetitious ideologies, will go on, modified, changed, but it will be the same direction.
A: Do go ahead, I was going to say something but I think I'll let it wait until you have finished what you have said.
K: So, what is this freedom from the known. I think that is very important to understand because, any creative action - I am using the word creative in its original sense, not in the sense creative writing, creative...
A: I know
K: ...bakery, creative essay, creative pictures. I am not talking in that sense. In the deeper sense of that word, creation means something totally new being born. It is not creative, it is merely repetitive, modifying, changed, the past. So unless there is a freedom from the known there is no creative action at all. Which is freedom implies not the negation of the known but the understanding of the known and that understanding brings about an intelligence which is the very essence of freedom.
A: I'd like to make sure that I've understood your use of this word creative. It seems to me very important. People who use the word creative in the sense that you described, creative this that or the other...
K: That's a horror. That is a dreadful way of using that word.
A: ...because what the issue is of their activity is something merely novel.
K: Novel, novel, that's right.
A: Not radically new, but novel.
K: It's like creative writing, teaching creative writing. It's so absurd.
A: Exactly. Yes, now I do, I think, grasp precisely the distinction you have made. And I must say I fully agree with that.
K: Unless you feel new you cannot create anything new.
A: That's right. And the person who imagines that he is creative in this other sense that we pointed to is a person whose reference for his activity is this observer that we mentioned that is tied to the past.
K: Yes, that's right.
A: So even if something does appear that is really extraordinarily novel, merely novel, but still extraordinarily novel, they are kidding themselves.
K: The novel is not the creative.
K: The novel is just the...
A: And today especially, it seems to me in our culture, we have become hysterical about this because in order to be creative one must simply wrack his brains in order to produce something, which in itself is bizarre enough to get attention.
K: That's right. Attention, success.
A: Yes. It has to be novel to the degree that I feel knocked on the head by it.
K: Eccentric, and all the rest.
A: Exactly. But if that tension is increased, then with each succeeding generation the person is put to tremendous stress not to repeat the past, which he can't help repeating.
K: Repeating quite. That's why I say...
K: Freedom is one thing and knowledge is another. We must relate the two to see whether the mind can be free from knowledge. We won't go into it now. This is real meditation for me. You follow, sir?
A: Yes I do.
K: Because when we talk about meditation - we will go into it - but to see whether the brain can record and be free not to record, the brain to record and operate when necessary in the recording, in the memory, in knowledge, and be free to observe without the observer.
A: Oh yes, yes. I see, that distinction seems to me to be absolutely necessary, otherwise it wouldn't be intelligible.
K: So knowledge is necessary to act in the sense, my going home from here to the place I live; I must have knowledge. I must have knowledge to speak English. I must have knowledge to write a letter, and so on, everything. The knowledge as function, mechanical function, is necessary. Now if I use that knowledge in my relationship with you, another human being I am bringing about a barrier, a division between you and me, who is the observer. Am I making myself clear?
A: I am the observed in that case.
A: Right in that context.
K: That is, knowledge in a relationship, in human relationship, is destructive,
K: That is, knowledge which is the tradition, the memory, the image, which the mind has built about you when we are related together, that knowledge is separative and therefore creates conflict in that relationship. As we said earlier, where there is division there must be conflict. Division between India and Pakistan, India and America, Russia and all that, this divisive activity politically, religiously, economically, socially, in every way must inevitably bring conflict and therefore violence. That's obvious.
K: Now, when in a relationship, in human relationship, knowledge comes between then in that relationship there must be conflict - between husband and wife, boy and girl, wherever there is the operation as the observer who is the past, who is knowledge, in that activity there is division, and therefore conflict in relationship.
A: So now the question that comes up next is the one of freedom from, being subject to this repetitive round.
K: Yes, that's right,
A: Good, good,
K: Now is that possible? It is an immense question because human beings live in relationship.
K: There is no life without relationship. Life means to be related.
K: People who retire into a monastery and all that, they are still related, however they might like to think they are alone, they are actually related, related to the past.
A: Oh yes, very much so.
K: To their saviour, to their Christ, to their Buddha, you follow, all that, they are related to the past.
A: And their rules.
K: And their rules, everything,
K: They live in the past and therefore they are the most destructive people because they are not creative in the deeper sense of that word.
A: No, and they also, in so far as they are involved in this confusion that you have been talking about, are not even producing anything novel. Not that that means anything, but perhaps that would rather radically...
K: The novel would be for a man who is talkative to enter a monastery where they don't talk.
K: That's a novel to him and he says that's a miracle!
K: So our problem then is, what place has knowledge in human relationship?
A: Yes, that's the problem.
K: That's one problem.
K: Because relationship with the human being is the highest importance, obviously, because out of that relationship we create the society in which we live. Out of that relationship all our existence comes.
A: This would take us back again to the earlier statement: I am the world and the world is me. That is a statement about relationship. It's a statement about many other things too, but that is a statement about relationship. The statement, the description is not the described, is the statement of the rupture of this relationship...
K: That's right.
A: ...in terms of everyday activity.
K: Sir, everyday activity is my life, is our life.
A: Is everything. Yes precisely.
K: Whether I go to the office, the factory, or drive a bus or whatever it is, it is life, living.
A: But it is interesting, isn't it, that even when that rupture is undergone, at a very destructive level, what we call thought in the context of our description of it and image becomes itself, even distorted,
K: Of course, of course,
A: So that the distortion that we've been calling knowledge in terms of its application - not as you described as, I need to know how to get from here to there, no of course - can itself suffer an even worse condition than we are presently related to; and we have tomes upon tomes about that pathology in itself don't we? Please, please do go on.
K: So knowledge and freedom: they must both exist together, not freedom and knowledge. It's the harmony between the two. The two operating all the time in relationship.
A: The knowledge and freedom in harmony.
K: In harmony. It's like they can never be divorced. If I want to live with you in great harmony, which is love, which we will discuss that later on, there must be this absolute sense of freedom from you, not dependency, and so on, and so on, and so on, this absolute sense of freedom and operating at the same time in the field of knowledge.
A: Exactly. So somehow this knowledge, if I may use a theological word here without prejudicing what we are talking about, if in correct relationship with this freedom it is somehow continuously redeemed, it is somehow operating no longer destructively but in coordination with the freedom in which I may live, because we haven't got to that freedom yet, we are just positing freedom.
K: We have somewhat analyzed, or discussed, or opened the question of knowledge.
K: And we haven't gone into the question of freedom, what it means.
A: Yes, but we have established something, I think this conversation so far has revealed, which is terribly important, at least I'd say for my students in terms of helping them not to misunderstand what you are saying.
A: I have the feeling that many persons because they are not sufficiently attentive to what you say simply dismiss many statements you say out of hand as...
A: ...impossible, or if they like the aesthetics of it it still doesn't apply to them. It's a lovely thing out there, wouldn't it be great if somehow we could do this. But you see you haven't said that. You haven't said what they think you have said. You've said something about knowledge with respect to pathology and you've said something about knowledge in which knowledge itself is no longer destructive.
A: So we're not saying that knowledge as such is the bad guy and something else is the good guy.
A: No, I think it is terribly important that that's seen, and I wouldn't mind it being repeated over and over again, because I do heartily feel that it's easy to misunderstand.
K: That's very important because religion, at least the meaning of word is to gather together to be attentive. That is the true meaning of that word, religion, I have looked it up in a dictionary.
A: Oh yes, I agree.
K: Gathering together all energy to be attentive; to be attentive, otherwise it's not religion. Religion is all the things - we'll discuss that when we come to it. So freedom means the sense of complete austerity and a sense of total negation of the observer.
K: Out of that comes austerity, everything else. We'll go into that later on.
A: But austerity in itself doesn't produce it.
K: No. Upside down.
A: So we turn that upside down.
K: Austere means really, the word itself means ash, dry, brittle. But the austerity that we are talking about means is something entirely different.
K: It is the freedom that brings about this austerity inwardly.
A: There is a beautiful Biblical phrase that points to this, just three words, 'beauty for ashes' when the transformation takes place. And in English we have the phrase ashes in the mouth when the whole thing has come to ashes. But there is a change from ashes to beauty.
K: So freedom in action in the field of knowledge and in the field of human relationship, because that is the highest importance, human relationship.
A: Oh yes, yes. Oh yes, particularly If I am the world and the world is me.
K: So what place has knowledge in human relationship? Knowledge in the sense of past experience, tradition, image.
K: What has the observer, who is the observer, all that is the observer, what place has the observer in human relationship?
A: What place has knowledge on the one hand, what place has the observer.
K: Observer is the knowledge
A: Is the knowledge. But there is the possibility of seeing knowledge, not simply negatively, but in coordination, in true creative relationship.
K: I have said that.
A: Right. Exactly.
K: I am related to you let's say, to make it very simple. I'm related to you, You are my brother, husband or wife, what ever it is, and what place has knowledge as the observer, which is the past, and knowledge is the past, what place has that in our relationship?
A: If our relationship is creative...
K: It is not. Not if, we will state it actually as it is. I am related to you, I am married to you, I am your wife or husband whatever it is. Now what is the actuality in that relationship? The actuality, not theoretical actuality, but the actuality is that I am separate from you.
A: The actuality must be that we are not divided.
K: But we are. I may call you my husband, my wife, but I am concerned with my success, I am concerned with my money, I am concerned with my ambitions, my envy, I am full of me.
A: Yes I see that, but I want to make sure now that we haven't reached a confusion here.
K: Yes we have.
A: When I say that the actuality is that we are not separate, I do not mean to say that at the phenomenal level that a dysfunction is not occurring. I am fully aware of that. But if we are going to say that the world is me and I am the world...
K: We say it theoretically we don't feel it.
A: Precisely. But if that is the case, that the world is me and I am the world and this is actual, this is actual...
K: This is actual only when I have no division in myself.
A: Exactly. Exactly.
K: But I have a division.
A: If I have a division then there is no relationship between one and the other.
K: Therefore I accept, one accepts the idea that the world is me and me is the world. That is just an idea. Look sir.
A: Yes, I understand.
K: But if...
A: But if and when it happens...
K: Wait. Just see what takes place in my mind. I make a statement of that kind, the world is you and you are the world. The mind then translates it into an idea, into a concept and tries to live according to that concept.
K: It has abstracted from reality.
A: This is knowledge in the destructive sense.
K: I won't call it destructive or positive. This is what is going on.
A: Well let's say the issue from it is hell.
K: Yes. So in my relationship with you what place has knowledge, the past, the image which is the observer, all that is the observer, what place has the observer in our relationship? Actually the observer is the factor of division.
K: And therefore the conflict between you and me, this is what is going on in the world everyday.
A: Then one would have to say, it seems to me, following the conversation point by point, that the place of this observer, understood as you have pointed out, is the point of dysrelationship.
K: Is the point where there is really actually no relationship at all. I may sleep with my wife, and so on and so on but actually there is no relationship because I have my own pursuits, my own ambitions, all the idiosyncrasies, and so on and she has hers, so we are always separate and therefore always in battle with each other. Which means the observer as the past is the factor of division.
A: Yes, I was just wanting to be sure that the phrase is the place, of what is the place of the observer was understood in the context of what we are saying. We have made the statement that there is such a thing.
A: Well its place as such would seem to me not to be what we usually mean by its occupying a place.
A: We are talking rather about an activity here that is profoundly disordered.
K: Sir, as long as there is the observer, there must be conflict in relationship.
A: Yes, I follow that.
K: Wait, wait, see what happens. I make a statement of that kind, someone will translate that into an idea, into a concept and say, how am I to live that concept? The fact is he doesn't observe himself as the observer.
A: That's right. That's right. He is the observer looking out there making a distinction between himself and the...
K: ...and the statement.
A: Right. Making a division.
K: Has the observer any place at all in the relationship? I say, the moment he comes into existence in relationship there is no relationship.
A: The relationship is not.
K: Is not.
A: It is not something that is in dysrelationship.
K: Yes that's right.
A: We are talking about something, in fact, that doesn't even exist.
K: Exist. Therefore we have to go into the question why human beings in their relationship with other human beings are so violent, because that is spreading throughout the world. I was told the other day in India, a mother came to see me, very Brahmanical family, very cultured and all the rest of it, her son who is six, when she asked him to do something he took up a stick and began to hit her. A thing unknown. You follow, sir?
K: The idea that you should hit your mother is traditionally something incredible. And this boy did it. And I said, see what is the fact, we went into it, she understood. So to understand violence one has to understand division.
A: The division was already there.
A: Otherwise he would not have picked up the stick.
K: Division between nations, you follow sir?
K: This race for armaments is one of the factors of violence. Which is, I am calling myself American and he is calling himself Russian or Hindu or whatever it is, this division is the factor of real violence and hatred. If a mind, not 'if', when mind sees that it cuts away all division in himself. He is no longer a Hindu, American, Russian. He is a human being with his problems which he is then trying to solve, not in terms of India, or America or Russia. So we come to the point, can the mind be free in relationship, which means orderly, not chaotic, orderly?
A: It has to be otherwise you couldn't use the word relationship.
K: No. No. So can the mind be free of that? Free of the observer?
A: If not, there is no hope.
K: That's the whole point.
A: If not, we've had it.
K: Yes. And all the escapes and going off into other religions, doing all kinds of tricks, has no meaning. Now, this demands a great deal of perception, insight into the fact of your life: how one lives one's life. After all philosophy means the love of truth, love of wisdom, not the love of some abstraction.
A: Oh no, no, no. Wisdom is supremely practical.
K: Practical. Therefore here it is. That is, can a human being live in relationship in freedom and yet operate in the field of knowledge?
A: And yet operate in the field of knowledge, yes.
K: And be absolutely orderly. Otherwise it is not freedom. Because order means virtue.
A: Yes, yes.
K: Which doesn't exist in the world at the present time. There is no sense of virtue in anything. Then we repeat. Virtue is a creative thing, is a living thing, is a moving thing.
A: I am thinking as you are saying this about virtue, which is really power, which is really the ability to act; and if I am following you correctly what you are really saying, and please correct me if I am way off here, what you are really saying is that the ability to act in the strict sense, which must be creative, otherwise it's not an action but is simply a reaction.
K: A repetition.
A: A repetition. That the ability to act, or virtue, as you put it, bears with it necessarily the implication of order. it must. It seems to me no way out of that.
A: I just wanted to recover that a step at a time.
K: So can I come back. In human relationship as it exists now, we are looking at that, what actually is, in that human relationship there is conflict, sexual violence and so on and so on, every kind of violence. Now, can man live at total peace - otherwise he is not creative - in human relationship, because that is the basis of all life.
A: I'm very taken with the way you have pursued this. I notice that when we asked this question, 'is it possible that', the reference for it is always a totality.
A: And the reference over here is a fragment, or a fragmentation, or a division. Never once have you said that the passage from the one to the other is a movement that even exists.
K: No. It can't exist.
A: You see.
A: I think Mr Krishnamurti, that nothing is so difficult to grasp as this statement that you have made. There is nothing that we are taught, from childhood up to render such a possibility, a matter for taking seriously, because when - well of course, one doesn't like to make sweeping statements about how everyone has been educated but I'm thinking of myself, from a child upward, all the way through graduate school, accumulating a lot of this knowledge that you have been talking about. I don't remember anybody saying to me, or even pointing me to a literature that so categorically makes this distinction between one and the other as in terms of each other, not accessible to each other through passage.
K: No. No, no, quite, quite.
A: Now, I'm correct in understanding you this way, aren't I?
K: Quite right.
A: Maybe I could just say this as an aside.
K: The fragment can not become the whole.
A: No. The fragment cannot become the whole, in and of itself.
K: But the fragment is always trying to become the whole.
A: Exactly. Exactly. Now of course, in the years of very serious and devoted contemplation and exploration of this which quite clearly you have undertaken with great passion, I suppose it must have occurred to you that the first sight of this, while one is in the condition of the observer, must be very frightening in the condition of the observer, the thought that there is no passage.
K: No. But you see I never looked at it that way.
A: Please tell me how you looked at it.
K: From childhood I never thought I was a Hindu.
A: I see.
K: I never thought, when I was educated in England and all the rest of it, that I was European. I never was caught in that trap. I don't know how it happened, I was never caught in that trap.
A: Well, when you were quite little then and your playmates said to you, well now look, you are a Hindu, what did you say?
K: I probably put on Hinduism and all the trappings of Brahmin, tradition, but it never penetrated deeply.
A: As we say in the vernacular, it never got to you.
K: It never got to me, that's right.
A: I see. That's very remarkable. That's extraordinary. The vast number of people in the world seem to have been got to in respect this.
K: That's why I think, you see, propaganda has become the means of change.
A: Yes. Yes.
K: Propaganda is not truth. Repetition is not truth.
A: It's a form of violence too.
K: That's just it. So a mind that merely observes doesn't react to what it observes according to its conditioning. Which means there is no observer at anytime, therefore no division. It happened to me, I don't know how it happened, but it has happened. And in observing all this I've seen in every human relationship, every kind of human relationship, there is this kind of relationship there is this division and therefore violence. And to me the very essence of non-relationship is the factor of me and you.
A: I was just trying to go back in my own personal history and think of when I was a child. I did, while accepting that I was different, I did believe that, I did come to accept that, there was something else however that always held me very, very hard to centre in terms of making an ultimate issue of that, and that was an experience I had when I was rowing a boat. I spent some time in Scandinavia as a child and I used to take a boat out on the fjord everyday, and when I would row I was profoundly moved by the action of the water when I moved the oar, because I lifted the oar out of the water, and there was a separation in substance between the water and the oar, but the water which was necessary for support and for purchase so that I could propel myself, never lost touch with itself, it always turned into itself without every having left itself in the beginning. And once in awhile I would laugh at myself and say, if anyone catches you looking at this water any longer than you are doing they will think that you are clear out of your mind. This is the observer talking to himself, of course. But that made such a profound impression on me that I think, it was what you might call a little salvation for me, and I never lost that. So maybe there is some relationship between that apprehension which I think changed my being, and what it is you are talking about as one who never ever suffered this sense of separation at all. Please go ahead.
K: This brings us to the point sir, doesn't it, can the human mind which has evolved in separation, fragmentation...
A: This is where evolution is. Yes.
K: ...can such a mind transform, undergo a regeneration which is not produced by influence, by propaganda, by threat and punishment, because if it changes because it is going to get a reward then...
A: It hasn't changed.
K: ...it hasn't changed.
K: So that is one of the fundamental things which one has to ask and answer it in action, not in words.
A: In action. Oh yes,
K: Which is, my mind, the human mind has evolved in contradiction, in duality. The 'me' and the 'not me' has evolved in this traditional cleavage, division, fragmentation. Now can that mind observe this fact, observe without the observer, and only then there is a regeneration. As long as there is an observer observing this then there is a conflict. I don't know if I make myself clear.
A: Yes, you do. You make yourself very clear on two levels. On the level of discourse alone, which I know is not your major concern, on a level of discourse alone it necessarily follows that it must be the case that this possibility exists, otherwise we would be talking nonsense. But then the agony of the situation at large that we have been describing is simply that whether this can be done or not never occurs to a person and in the absence of it even occurring the repetition is going to continue indefinitely and things are going to get worse and worse.
K: Sir, the difficulty is most people won't even listen.
A: I know that.
K: Won't listen. If they do listen they listen with their conclusions. If I am a Communist I will listen to you up to a point. After that I won't listen to you. And if I am slightly demented I will listen to you and translate what I hear according to my dementia.
K: So one has to be extraordinarily serious to listen. Serious in the sense put aside my peculiar prejudices and idiosyncrasies and listen to what you are saying, because the listening is the miracle: not what shall I do with what you have said.
A: Not what shall I listen to...
K: But the act of listening.
A: But the act of listening.
A: We are back to 'ing', where there's listening itself.
K: That requires that you are good enough to listen to me because you want to find out. But the vast majority say what are you talking about, I want to go on enjoying myself so go and talk to somebody else. So to create an atmosphere, to create an ambience, a feeling that life is dreadfully serious, my friend, do listen. It's your life, don't waste it, do listen. To bring about a human being that will listen is the greatest importance, because we don't want to listen. It's too disturbing.
A: I understand. I have tried that sometimes in class to make this very point. And sometimes I suggest that we should watch the animal, especially the wild animal, because if it's not listening it's likely dead.
K: Dead, yes sir,
A: There is this extraordinary attention that it makes and every instant of its life is a crisis.
A: And you know what happens, the eyes out there show in the main that they think I am talking about animal psychology. I'm not talking about psychology at all, I'm talking about what is the case which is either or, and there isn't any way to get from either to or. That's what I mean. So I think I understand you.
K: In America what is happening how, as I observe it, I may be mistaken, they are not serious. They are playing with new things, something entertaining, go from one thing to the other. And they think this is searching. Searching! - searching, asking, but they get trapped in each one of them.
K: And at the end of it they have nothing but ashes. So it is becoming more and more difficult for human beings to be serious, to listen, to see what they are, not what they should be.
A: No. What is the case.
K: What is.
K: That means you please do listen for 5 minutes.
K: In this conversation you are listening because you are interested, you want to find out. But the vast majority of people say, for god's sake, leave me alone, I have my little house, my wife, my car, my yacht, or whatever it is, for god's sake don't change anything as long as I live.
A: You know, going back to what I do know something about, namely the Academy, because I am situated there in terms of day to day activity. I've often remarked to myself in attending conferences where papers are read that nobody is listening. It's one long monologue. And after a while you get the feeling that it really is a shocking waste of time. And even to sit down and have coffee the discussion say between classes usually runs on the basis of babble, we are just talking about things in which we are not genuinely interested in, in order to fill up space. This, however, is far more serious a matter than simply a description of what's going on.
K: It's a matter, I feel, of life and death.
K: If the house is burning I've got to do something. It isn't, I am going to discuss who burned the house.
A: No. No.
K: What colour his hair was, whether it was black or white or purple, I want to put that fire out.
A: Or if such and such had not happened the house would not be burning. I know, I know.
K: And I feel it is so urgent because I see it in India, I see in Europe and America, everywhere I go this sense of slackness, sense of, you know, sense of despair, sense of hopeless activity that is going on.
So to come back to what we are saying, relationship is the highest importance. When in that relationship there is conflict, we produce a society which will further that conflict, through education, through national sovereignties, through all the rest of it that is going on in the world. So a serious man, serious in the sense who is really concerned, committed, must give his total attention to this question of relationship, freedom and knowledge.
A: If I've heard you correctly, and I don't mean by that words that have passed between us, but if I have truly heard you, I've heard something very terrifying, that this disorder that we have in part described, has a built in necessity in it. As long as it persists it can never change. It can never change.
A: Any modification of it is...
K: Further disorder.
A: ...is more of the same.
K: More of the same.
A: More of the same. I have the feeling and I hope I have understood you correctly, that there is a relationship between the starkness of this necessity and the fact that there cannot be a gradual progress, or, as a philosopher would put it, something like essential progress, but nevertheless there is some demonic progress that takes place within this disorder that is not so much a progress as it is a proliferation of the same. Necessarily so. Is that what you have been saying?
K: Yes, yes.
A: Necessarily so.
K: You know that word progress, I was told the other day meant, entering into enemies country fully armed.
A: Really! Progress is entering into an enemy's country fully armed. Dear me.
K: Sir. This is what is happening.
A: I know. Next time we converse, next time, I would like very much if you would be good enough to pursue precisely what we have just come to: namely this necessity and the necessity that produced that statement.
K: Yes, quite.