Wholly Different Way of Living
3rd Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
San Diego, California
19th February 1974
A: Mr Krishnamurti, in this series of conversations we have been exploring the general question of the transformation of man. A transformation, which as you say, is not dependent on knowledge or time. And, as I recall, we arrived at a point that was very crucial, namely the one concerned with relationship and communication. I remember one point in our conversation together that was extremely instructive for me, a point at which, when you asked me a question I began to answer it and you interrupted me and reminded the viewers and me, that the important thing here is, is not to finish out a theoretical construction but rather to attain to the right beginning point so that we do not go beyond where we haven't yet begun. This, as I repeat, was extremely instructive for me and I was thinking, if it is agreeable with you, it would be helpful today if we could begin at the point of concern for communication and relationship to go into that question and begin to unravel it.
K: Unravel it, quite. I wonder sir, what that word communication means. To communicate implies not only verbally but also listening in which there is a sharing, a thinking together, not accepting something that you or I say, but sharing together, thinking together, creating together, all that is involved in that word 'communicate'. And in that word is implied also the art of listening. The art of listening demands a quality of attention in which there is real listening, real sense of having an insight as we go along, each second, not at the end, but at the beginning.
A: So that we are...
A: So that we are both - yes, yes!
K: Walking together all the time.
A: There is a concurrent activity. Not one making a statement, the other thinking about it and then saying, "Well, I agree, I don't agree, I accept, I don't accept. These are the reasons I don't accept. These are the reasons I do", but we are walking together.
K: Journeying together, walking together on the same path.
A: Side by side. Yes.
K: On the same road, with the same attention, with the same intensity, at the same tongue, otherwise there is no communication.
A: Exactly. Exactly.
K: Communication implies there must be at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, we are walking together, we are thinking together, we are observing together, sharing together.
A: Would you say that this requires an activity that underlies the speaking together, or does one come to the activity after one has started to speak together?
K: No sir. We are not saying that. What is the art of listening, aren't we? The art of listening implies, doesn't it, that there is not only the verbal understanding between you and me, because we are both speaking English, and we know the meaning of each word, more or less, and at the same time we are sharing the problem together, sharing the issue together.
A: Because, as you say, it's a matter of life and death.
K: Also if you and I are both serious, we are sharing the thing. So, in communication there is not only a verbal communication, but there is a non-verbal communication, really which comes into being, or which happens when one has the art of really listening to somebody, in which there is no acceptance, no denial, or comparison, or judgement, just the act of listening.
A: I wonder whether I am on the right track here, if I suggest that there is a relation that is very deep here between communication and what we call in English, 'communion'.
K: Communion, yes.
A: So that if we are in communion, our chance of communicating...
K: ...becomes simpler.
K: Now, to be in communion with each other, we must be, both of us must be, serious about the same problem at the same time with the same passion. Otherwise there is no communication.
K: If you are not interested in what is being said, well, you will think of something else and communication stops. So there is a verbal communication and a non-verbal communication. They are both operating at the same time.
A: One does not precede the other. Or follow upon the other. Yes, they move together.
K: Which means that each of us, being serious, gives our attention completely to the issue.
A: That act of seriousness that takes place then requires the utmost devoted attention.
K: Sir, but a man who is really serious lives, not the man who is flippant, or merely wanting to be entertained. He does not live.
A: The general notion of being serious about something generally suggests either undergoing some pain, or I'm serious about something in order to get something else. These two things, as a rule, are what persons imagine about seriousness. As a matter of fact, we often hear this expression, "Don't look so serious", don't we.
A: It's as though we fear something about the serious.
K: Sir, look! As we said yesterday, the world is in a mess and it's my responsibility living in this world as a human being who has created this mess, it's my responsibility to be serious in the resolution of this problem. I am serious. It doesn't mean I am long faced, I am miserable, unhappy, or I want something out of it. It has got to be solved. It's like if one has cancer, one is serious about it. You don't play around with it.
A: Action in relation to this seriousness then is instantaneous.
A: This raises not an additional question, I don't mean to go beyond where we haven't begun in that sense, but time assumes for the serious person something very different for his undergoing than it would seem to be for the unserious person. One would not have then the feeling of something being dragged out. Or as may say in English, time that has to be put in.
K: Put in, quite.
A: As a matter of fact, in this concurrent communication in which communion is abidingly present time as such would not in any way oppress.
K: No, sir, no, sir.
A: Am I...
K: Quite right. Like we see sir, I am trying to see what it means to be serious. The intent, the urge, the feeling of total responsibility, the feeling of action, the doing, not, I will do. All that is implied in that word seriousness. At least I'll put all those things into that word.
A: Could we look for a moment at one of them that you put into them? Responsibility, able to be responsive.
K: That's right. To respond adequately.
A: Yes. To respond adequately.
K: To any challenge. The challenge now is that the world is in mess, confusion, sorrow and everything, violence and all that. I must, as a human being who has created this thing, I must respond adequately. The adequacy depends on my seriousness, in that sense on my observation of the chaos and responding, not according to my prejudice, my inclination, or tendencies, or pleasures, or fears, but responding to the problem, not according to my translation of the problem. Right?
A: Yes. I am just thinking as you are speaking about how difficult it is to communicate this to the person who is thinking that the way adequately to respond to this chaos is to have a plan for it which one superimposes on it. And that's exactly what we assume, and if the plan doesn't work out, we blame ourselves...
K: Or change the plan.
A: Or we change the plan, yes.
K: But we don't respond to the challenge.
K: We respond according to our conclusion about the problem.
K: Therefore, it means really sir, if we can explore it a little more, the observer is the observed.
A: Therefore the change, if it comes, is total, not partial. One is no longer outside what he is operating upon.
K: That's right.
A: And what he is operating upon is not outside himself.
K: Of course. As we said yesterday, it's very interesting if we go into it rather deeply, the world is me and I am the world. That is not intellectual or emotional, but a fact. Now, when I approach the problem, the chaos, the misery, the suffering, the violence, all that, I approach it with my conclusions, with my fears, with my despairs. I don't look at the problem.
A: Would you think it possible to put it this way, that one doesn't make room for the problem.
K: Yes. Yes, put it any way.
A: Would that be alright?
K: Yes. Sir, let's look at this. As a human being one has created this, this misery which is called the society in which we live, an immoral society.
A: Oh yes!
K: Completely immoral! As a human being one has created that. But that human being looking at it separates himself and says, "I must do something about it." The 'it' is me.
A: Some people respond to that this way. They say, "Well look, if I, I am truly serious, I am truly responsible, I make this act and there comes between me and the world this confluent relationship, which is total, all the things that are going on out there that are atrocious, let's say, 2,500 miles away from where I am, don't stop. Therefore, how can I say that the whole world is me and I am the whole world?" This objection comes up again and again. I am interested to know what your reply to that would be.
K: Sir, Look. We are human beings irrespective of our labels, English, French German, all the rest of it. A human being living in America or in India has the problems of relationship, of suffering, of jealousy, envy, greed, ambition, imitation, conformity. And all that are our problems, common to both of us.
K: And when I say, the world is me and me is the world and the world I am, I see that as a reality, not as a concept. Now, my responsibility to the challenge to be adequate must not be in terms of what I think, but what the problem is.
A: Yes. I follow you I'm sure here. I was thinking while you were saying that, that it might have been possible to answer the question that I posed, and I am posing the question simply because I know some persons who might very well view this, who would raise that and who would want to participate with us in this conversation. I wondered whether you might have said that as soon as one puts it that way, one has already divorced himself from the issue.
K: That's right.
A: That in the practical order that, that question is an interposition that simply does not have a place in the activity you are talking about.
K: Yes, that's right.
A: Now this is very interesting, because it means that the person must suspend his disbelief.
K: Or his belief.
A: Or his belief...
K: ...and observe the thing.
A: And observes the thing.
K: Which is not possible if the observer is different from the observed.
A: Now, would you explore the practical aspect of this with me for a moment? People will say, who up to this point are listening, it would seem people at this point will say, "Well, yes, but I can't stop it, I think I have an intuition of what you mean," they will say, "But the minute that I open myself, or begin to open myself, all these things seem to rush in on me. What I had hoped doesn't seem to take place." If I understand you correctly, they are really not doing what they claim that they are trying to do.
K: That's right. Sir, can we put it, this question differently? What is a human being to do confronted with this problem of suffering, chaos, all that is going around us? What is he to do? He approaches it generally with a conclusion - what he should do about it.
A: And this conclusion is interposed between him...
K: Yes, the conclusion is the factor of separation.
K: Now, can he observe the fact of this confusion without any conclusions, without any planning, without any predetermined way of getting out of this chaos? Because his predetermined conclusions, ideas and so on are all derived from the past, and the past is trying to resolve the problem and therefore he is translating it and acting according to his previous conclusions, whereas the fact demands that you look at it; the fact demand that you observe it, you listen to it. The fact itself will have the answer, you don't have to bring the answer to it. I wonder if I am making myself clear?
A: Yes, I'm listening very, very hard. I, really, am. I'm afraid if I am not going beyond where I shouldn't, having yet begun, the next question that would naturally arise here - well, perhaps you might feel when I raise the question that it is the wrong question - but can one communicate in the sense that we have been unravelling this? One says, I don't know. It doesn't seem to me that I have done this. I haven't done this yet. I can recognize all the things that have been described, that are terrible. I don't recognize all the things that appear to be promised without suggesting that I am imagining them or projecting them out there. Clearly, if there is to be a change, it has to be a change that is altogether radical. Now, I must start. What do I do?
K: There are two things involved in that. First, I must learn from the problem, which means I must have a mind that has a quality of humility. He does not come to it, and say, "I know all about it." What he knows is merely explanations, rational or irrational. He comes to the problem with rational or irrational solutions. Therefore he is not learning from the problem. The problem will reveal an infinite lot of things, if I'm capable of looking at it and learning about it. And for that I must have a sense of humility, and say, "I don't know. There is tremendous problem. Let me look at it, let me learn about it." Not I come to it with my conclusions, therefore I have stopped learning about the problem.
A: Are you suggesting that this act is a waiting on the problem to reveal itself?
K: To reveal. That's right! Therefore, I must be capable of looking at it. I cannot look at it if I've come to it with ideas, with ideations, with mentations, or every kind of conclusion. I must come to it, say, "Look, what is it?" I must learn from it, not learn according to some professor or some psychologist, some philosopher.
A: That one has the capacity for this, some persons would...
K: I think everybody has. Sir, we are so vain.
A: But this doesn't mean anything for the doing, of the what must be done, that there is a capacity.
K: Look, the learning is the doing.
A: Exactly. Yes, yes. I wanted to make that clear because we comfort ourselves with the curious notion if I have been following you, that we possess a possibility and because we possess the possibility we think that someday it will actualize itself perhaps.
K: Quite right.
A: But if I'm correct, both ways no possibility can actualize itself, and in the practical order that never occurs, but somehow it is believed, isn't it?
K: I'm afraid it is.
A: It is believed.
K: Sir, it is really quite simple. There is this misery, confusion, immense sorrow in the world, violence, all that. Human beings have created it. Human beings have built a structure of society which sustains this chaos. That's a fact. Now, I come to it, a human being comes to it, trying to resolve it according to his plan, according to his prejudices, his idiosyncracies, or knowledge, which means he has already understood the problem, whereas the problem is always new. So I must come to it afresh.
A: One of the things that has concerned me for many, many years as a reader, as a student, as one whose daily work involves the study of scriptures, is the recurrent statement that one comes upon, sometimes in a very dramatic form. For instance, take the prophetic ministry of Jesus where he speaks, and he says that they are hearing but they are not listening, they are observing but they are not seeing.
K: And doing.
A: But then it seems he does not say, "In order to attain to that, do this." No. The closest he comes to it is, through the analogy with the child, to have faith as a little child. I don't want to talk about words here because that would be disastrous, so what is meant by the word faith here is not something that would be proper to go into, but the analogy with the child suggests that the child is doing something that is lost somewhere along the way in some respect. I'm sure he didn't mean that there is a perfect continuity between the adult and the child. But why is it that over the centuries that men have said this over and over again, namely you are not listening, you are not seeing, and then they don't point to an operation, they point to an analogy. Some of them don't even point to an analogy. They just hold up a flower.
K: Sir, look! We live on words. Most people live on words. They don't go beyond the word. And what we talking about is not only the word, the meaning of the word, the communication that exists in using words, but the non-verbal communication, which is having an insight. That is what we are talking about all the time so far.
K: That is, I can, the mind can, only have an insight if it is capable of listening. And you do listen when the crisis is right at your doorstep.
A: Now, I think I'm at a point here that is solid. Is it that we don't allow ourselves access to the crisis that is there continuously, it isn't a crisis that is episodic?
K: No. The crisis is always there.
A: It is always. Right. Well, we are doing something to shut ourselves of from it, aren't we?
K: Or, we don't know how to meet it. Either we avoid it, or we don't know how to meet it, or we are indifferent. We have become so callous. All these things, all three are involved in not facing the crisis because I am frightened. One is frightened. One says, "My lord! I don't know how to deal with it." So one goes off to an analyst, or to a priest, or pick up a book to see how it can be translated. He becomes irresponsible.
A: Sometimes people will register the disappointment that things haven't worked out. So why try something new?
K: Yes. Of course.
A: And this would be a buffer.
K: Yes. That's what I mean. Avoidance. There are so many ways to avoid - clever, cunning, superficial and very subtle. All that is involved in avoiding an issue. So what we are trying to say, sir, isn't it, the observer is the past, as we said yesterday. The observer is trying to translate and act according to the past when the crisis arises. The crisis is always new. Otherwise it's not a crisis. A challenge must be new, is new, and always new. But he translates it according to the past. Now, can he look at that challenge, that crisis, without the response of the past?
A: May I read a sentence out of your book? I think that may be this has a very direct relationship to what we are talking about. It's a sentence that arrested me when I read it. "Through negation that thing which alone is the positive comes into being." May I read it again? Through negation, something is done apparently.
A: Right. So we are not leaving it at the point where we are saying, simply words are of no consequence. Therefore, I will do something non-verbal, or I will say something because I never communicate with the non-verbal. That has nothing to do with it. Something must be done. There is an act.
K: Absolutely. Life is action.
K: It isn't just...
A: Now here I suppose I should say for our listeners and viewers that this is from the "Awakening of Intelligence", the most recent publication of yours, and it's on page 196 in the chapter on Freedom. 'Through negation' - I take it that's a word for this act.
A: "That thing which alone is the positive" - the word alone came over to me with the force of something unique.
K: Yes sir.
A: Something that is not continuous with anything else. That thing which alone is the positive comes into being. There is no temporal hiatus here, so we are back to that thing we began with in our earlier conversations about not being dependent on knowledge and time. Could we look at this negation together for a moment? I have the feeling that, if I have understood this correctly, that unless whatever this is that's called negation is, is not an abiding activity, then communion and communication and the relationship that we are talking about just simply can never be reached. Is that correct?
K: Quite. May I put it this way? I must negate, I mean negate not intellectually or verbally, actually negate the society in which I live. The implication of immorality which exists in society, on which society is built, I must negate totally that immorality. That means that I live morally. In negating that the positive is the moral. I don't know if I am?
A: Oh, yes. I am being quiet because I want to follow step by step. I don't want to go beyond where we have begun.
K: I negate totally the idea of success.
A: Yes, I negate totally.
K: Totally. Not only in the mundane world, not only in the sense of achievement in a world of money, position, authority, I negate that completely, and I also negate success in the so-called spiritual world.
A: Oh, yes. Quite, the temptation.
K: Both are the same. Only I call that spiritual and I call that physical, moral, mundane. So in negating success, achievement, there comes an energy. Through negation there is a tremendous energy to act totally different which is not in the field of success, in the field of imitation, conformity and all that. So through negation, I mean actual negation, actual negation not just ideal negation, through actual negation of that which is immoral, morality comes into being.
A: Which is altogether different from trying to be moral.
K: Yes, yes. Of course, trying to be moral is immoral.
A: Yes. May I try to go into this another step? At least it would be a step for me. There is something that I intuit here as a double aspect to this negation. I'd like very much to see whether this is concurrent with your own feeling about this. I was going to say a statement and I stopped myself. My desire for success in itself is a withholding myself from the problem that we talked about, and that itself is a form of negation. I have negated access to myself. I've negated, in other words, I have done violence to what it is that wishes to reveal itself. So I am going to negate then my negation as the observer. This I wanted to make sure.
K: You are quite right. When we use the word negation, as it is generally understood, it is an act of violence.
A: Yes. That's what I was hoping.
K: It's an act of violence. I negate.
A: That's what I thought. Yes. Yes.
K: I brush it aside. And we are using the word negate not in the violence sense, but the understanding of what success implies. The understanding of what success implies. The 'me', who is separate from you, wanting or desiring success which will put me in a position of authority, power, prestige. So I am, in negating success, I am negating my desire to be powerful which I negate only when I have understood the whole process which is involved in achieving success. In achieving success is employed ruthlessness, lack of love, lack of immense consideration for others, lack of a sense of conformity, imitation, acceptance of the social structure, all that is involved and the understanding of all that when I negate success. It is not an act of violence. On the contrary, it is an act of tremendous attention.
A: I've negated something in my person.
K: I've negated myself.
A: Right. I've negated myself.
K: The 'me' which is separate from you.
K: And therefore I am negating violence which comes about when there is separation.
A: Would you use the term self-denial here, not in the sense of how it has been received down the line, but that if there is anything to what has been stated in the past, could a person who saw that word self-denial read that word in this context that you are using?
K: I'm afraid he wouldn't. Self-denial means sacrifice, pain, lack of understanding.
A: But if he heard what you are saying.
K: Ah, then why use another term when you have understood this thing?
A: Well, may be he'd want to communicate with someone.
K: But change the word so that we both understand the meaning of self-denial. I mean all religions have based their action on self-denial, sacrifice, deny your desire, desire your looking at a woman, or deny riches, take vow to poverty. You know all of them: vow of poverty, vow of celibacy and so on. All these are a kind of punishment, a distorting of a clear perception. If I see something clearly, the action is immediate. So, sir, to negate implies diligence. The word called diligence means giving complete attention to the fact of success - we are taking that word. Giving my whole attention to success, in that attention, the whole map of success is revealed.
A: With all its horrors.
K: With all the things involved in it and it is only then the seeing is the doing. Then it is finished. And the mind can never revert to success and therefore become bitter and all the things that follow.
A: What you are saying, I take it, is that once this happens, there is no reversion.
K: It is finished. Of course not. Say for instance sir...
A: It's not something that one has to keep up.
K: Of course not.
A: Well, fine. I'm delighted we've established that.
K: Now take for instance what happened. In 1928 I happened to be the head of a tremendous organization, a religious organization, and I saw around me various religious organizations, sects, Catholic, Protestant, and I saw all trying to find truth. So I said, "No organization can lead man to truth." So I dissolved it. Property, an enormous business. I can never go back to it. When you see something as poison you won't take it again. It isn't that you say, "By Jove, I've made a mistake. I should go back and..." It is sir, like seeing danger. When you see danger you never go near it again.
A: I hope I won't annoy you by...
K: No, no.
A: ...by talking about words here again. But you know so many of the things that you say cast a light on common terms which for me at least illuminate them. They sound altogether different from the way they used to be heard. For instance, we say in English, don't we, practice makes perfect. Now obviously this can't be the case if we mean by practice we are repeating something. But if you mean by practice the Greek praxis, which is concerned directly with act, not repetition, with act, then to say, makes perfect, doesn't refer to time at all. It's that upon the instance the act is performed, perfection is. Now I'm sorry I used the word instant again and I understand why that's awkward, but I think in our communication the concern for the word here is one that surely is productive, because one can open himself to words and if one sees the word that way, then it appears there is a whole host of phenomena which suddenly acquire very magical significance. Not magical in the sense of enchantment, but they open a door, which, when walked into immediately situate him in the crisis in such a way that he attains to this that you call the one alone, the unique which comes into being.
A: Which comes into being.
K: Sir, can we now go back, or go forward to the question of freedom and responsibility in relationship? That's where we left off yesterday.
A: Right. That was quoted from the chapter on freedom. Yes.
K: First of all, can we go into this question of what it is to be responsible?
A: I should like that.
K: Because I think that is what we are missing in this world, in what is happening now. We don't feel responsible. We don't feel we are responsible because the people in position, in authority politically, religiously are responsible. We are not. That is the general feeling that is all over the world.
A: Because those over there have been delegated to do a job by me.
K: Yes. And scientists, politicians, the educational people, the religious people, they are responsible, but I know nothing about it, I just follow. That's the general attitude right through the world.
A: Oh yes, oh yes.
K: So, you follow the whole thing.
A: One feels he gets off scot-free that way because it’s the other one's fault.
K: Yes. So, I make myself irresponsible. By delegating a responsibility to you I become irresponsible. Whereas now we are saying, nobody is responsible except you, because you are the world and the world is you. You have created this mess. You alone can bring about clarity, and therefore you are totally, utterly, completely responsible. And nobody else. Now, that means you have to be a light to yourself, not the light of a professor, or a analyst, or a psychologist, or the light of Jesus, or the light of the Buddha. You have to be light to yourself in a world that is utterly becoming dark. That means you have to be responsible. Now, what does that word mean? It means really, to respond totally, adequately to every challenge. You cannot possibly respond adequately if you are rooted in the past, because the challenge is new, otherwise it is not a challenge. A crisis is new, otherwise it is not a crisis. If I respond to a crisis in terms of a preconceived plan, which the Communists are doing, or the Catholics, or the Protestants and so on and so on, then they are not responding totally and adequately to the challenge.
A: This takes me back to something I think that is very germane in the dramatic situation of confrontation between the soldier and the Lord Krishna in the Gita. Arjuna, the general of the army says to Krishna, "Tell me definitely what to do and I will do it." Now Krishna does not turn around and say to him in the next verse, "I am not going to tell you what to do", But, of course, at that point he simply doesn't tell him what to do, and one of the great Sanskrit scholars has pointed out that that's an irresponsible action on the part of the teacher. But am I understanding you correctly, he couldn't have done otherwise?
K: When that man put the question, he is putting the question out of irresponsibility.
A: Of course, a refusal to be responsible. Exactly! A refusal to be responsible.
K: That's why, that's why sir, responsibility means total commitment.
A: Total commitment.
K: Total commitment to the challenge. Responding adequately, completely to a crisis. That is, the word responsibility means that, to respond. I cannot respond completely if I am frightened. Or I cannot completely if I am seeking pleasure. I cannot respond totally if my action is routine, is repetitive, is traditional, is conditioned. So, to respond adequately to a challenge means that the 'me', which is the past, must end.
A: And at this point Arjuna just wants it continued right down the line.
K: That's what everybody wants, sir. Politically, look at what is happening in this country, and elsewhere. We don't feel responsible. We don't feel responsible to how we bring our children up.
A: I understand. I really do, I think. In our next conversation I'd really like to continue this in terms of the phrase we sometimes use "being responsible for my action". But that does not seem to be saying exactly what you are saying at all. As a matter of fact, it seems to be quite wide of the mark.
A: Good, let's do that.
4th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
San Diego, California
19th February 1974
Responsibility and Relationship
A: Mr Krishnamurti, just at the point where we left last time in our conversation we had raised the question of the distinction between the notion that I must be responsible for my action and just being responsible. I was sitting here thinking to myself, oh why can't we go on, so perhaps we could start at that point. Would that be agreeable?
K: Sir, there is a very definite distinction between responsible for and being responsible. Being responsible for implies direction, a directed will. But the feeling of responsibility implies responsibility for everything, not in a direction, not in a direction, in any one particular direction. Responsible for education, responsible for politics, responsible the way I live, to be responsible for my behaviour. It's a total feeling of complete responsibility which is the ground in which action takes place.
A: I think then this takes us back to this business of crisis we were talking about. If the crisis is continuous then it's misleading to say, I'm responsible for my action, because I've put the thing out there again and it becomes an occasion for my confusing what is at hand that requires to be done and the concept of this notion of this action because I am my action.
K: Yes, that's just it.
A: I am it.
K: That means, the feeling of responsibility expresses itself politically, religiously, educationally in business, in the whole of life, responsible for the total behaviour. Not in a particular direction. I think there is great deal of difference when I say, when one says I am responsible for my action. That means you are responsible for your action according to the idea that you have preconceived about action.
A: Exactly. Yes. People sometimes will say that the child is free because it's not responsible.
K: Child is free, you can't take a child.
A: No, of course not. But I think sometimes when we say this we have this nostalgia for the past as though our freedom would be freedom from constraint, whereas if one is his action genuinely absolutely...
K: There isn't any restraint.
A: ...there isn't any restraint at all.
K: Not at all.
A: Right. Right.
K: Look. Take, if one has this total feeling of responsibility then what is your responsibility with regard to your children? It means education. Are you educating them to bring about a mind that conforms to the pattern which the society has established, which means you accept the immorality of the society that is. If you feel totally responsible you are responsible from the moment its born until the moment it dies. The right kind of education, not the education of making the child conform, the worship of success and the division of nationalities which brings about war. You follow, all that you are responsible for, not just in a particular direction. Even if you are in a particular direction, I'm responsible for my act, what is your action based on? How can you be responsible, when you, your action is the result of a formula that has been handed down to you?
A: Yes I quite follow what you mean.
K: Like communists, they say, the state is responsible. The state, worship the state, the state is the god and you are responsible to the state. Which means they have conceived what the state should be, formulated ideationally and according to that you act. That's not a responsible action. That's irresponsible action. Whereas action means the doing now. The active present of the verb to do, which is to do now. The acting now. The acting now must be free from the task. Otherwise you are just repeating, repetition, traditionally carrying on. That's all.
A: I'm reminded of something in the I Ching that I think is a reflection of this principle that you pointed to. I don't mean principle in the abstract. If I am quoting it correctly from one of the standard translations, it goes like this, 'The superior man' by which it means the free man, not hierarchically structured 'does not let his thoughts go beyond his situation'. Which would mean that he simply would be present as he is, not being responsible to something out there that is going to tell him how to be responsible or what he should do, but upon the instant that he is, he is always...
A: He simply does not let his thoughts go beyond his situation. That goes back to that word negation. Because if he won't let his thoughts go beyond his situation he has negated the possibility for their doing so, hasn't he?
K: Yes. Quite.
A: Yes. Oh yes. Yes, I see that. The reason that I'm referring to these other quotations is because if what you are saying is true and if what they say is true, quite without respect to how they are understood or not understood, then there must be something in common here, and I realize that your emphasis is practical, imminently practical upon the act. But it does seem to me to be of great value if one could converse, commune with the great literatures which have so many statements and complain about the fact that they are not understood. I see that as a great gain.
K: Sir, I have not read any books, any literature in the sense...
A: Yes I understand.
K: ...in that sense. Suppose there is no book in the world.
A: The problem is the same.
K: The problem is the same.
A: Of course, of course.
K: There is no leader, no teacher, nobody to tell you do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that. You are there. You feel totally, completely responsible.
A: Right. Yes.
K: Then you have to, you have to have an astonishingly, active, clear brain, not befuddled, not puzzled, not bewildered. You must have a mind that thinks clearly. And you cannot think clearly if you are rooted in the past. You are merely continuing, modified perhaps, through the present to the future. That's all. So from that arises the question, what is the responsibility in human relationship?
A: Yes. Now we are back to relationships.
K: Relationship, because that is the basic foundation of life: relationship. That is, to be related, to be in contact with.
A: We are presently related. This is what is.
K: What is human relationship? If I feel totally responsible, how does that responsibility express in relationship to my children, if I have children, to my family, to my neighbour, whether my neighbour is next door or ten thousand miles away; he is still my neighbour. So what is my responsibility. What is the responsibility of a man who feels totally completely involved in this feeling of being a light to himself and totally responsible? I think this is a question, sir, that has to be investigated.
A: Yes, you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking that only a person responsible, as you have said it, can make what we call, in our tongue, a clean decision.
K: Of course. Of course.
A: So many decisions are afraid.
K: Sir, I would like to ask this. Is there decision at all? Decision implies choice.
K: Choice implies a mind that's confused between this and that.
A: It means, I think radically to make a cut, to cut off.
K: Yes, but a mind that sees clearly has no choice. It doesn't decide. It acts.
A: Yes. Doesn't this take us back to this work negation again?
K: Yes, of course.
A: Might it not be that a clean decision could be interpreted in terms of what takes place at this point of negation from which flows a different action.
K: I don't like to use that word decision because deciding between this and that.
A: You don't want to use it because of the implications in it of conflict.
K: Conflict, choice, we think we are free because we choose. We can choose, right?
K: Is a mind free that is capable of choice? Or is a mind that is not free, that chooses? Because choice implies between this and that. Obviously. Now which means the mind doesn't see clearly and therefore there is choice. The choice exists when there is confusion. A mind that sees clearly, there is no choice. It is doing. I think this is where we have got into rather trouble when we say we are free to choose. Choice implies freedom. I say, on the contrary: choice implies a mind that is confused, and therefore not free.
A: What occurs to me now is the difference between regarding freedom as a property or quality of action rather than a state. Yes. But we have the notion that freedom is a state, a condition which is, which is quite different from the emphasis you are leading me into.
K: That's right.
K: Let's come back to this, sir, which is what is responsibility of a human being who feels this sense of responsibility in relationship? Because relationship is life, relationship is the foundation of existence. Relationship is absolutely necessary, otherwise you can not exist. Relationship means co-operation. Everything is involved in that one word. Relation means love, generosity, all that's implied. Now what is a human responsibility in relationship?
A: If we were genuinely and completely sharing then responsibility would be present fully.
K: Yes, but how does it express itself in relationship? Not only between you and me now, but between man and woman, between my neighbour, relationships to everything, to nature. What's my relationship to nature? Would I go and kill the baby seals?
A: No. No.
K: Would I go and destroy human beings calling them enemies? Would I destroy nature, everything which man is doing now? He is destroying the earth, the air, the sea, everything. Because he feels totally irresponsible.
A: He sees what is out there as something to operate on.
K: Yes. Which is, he kills the baby seal, which I saw the other day on a film, it's an appalling thing. And a Christian, they call themselves Christian, going and killing a little thing for some lady to put on the fur. And, you follow, totally immoral, the whole thing is. So to come back: I say how does this responsibility show itself in my life? I am married, I am not, but suppose I am married, what is my responsibility? Am I related to my wife?
A: The record doesn't seem very good.
K: Not only record, actuality. Am I related to my wife? Or am I related to my wife according to the image I make about her? And I am responsible for that image. Do you follow, sir?
A: Yes, because my input has been continuous with respect to that image.
K: Yes. So I have no relationship with my wife if I have an image about her. Or if I have an image about myself when I want to be successful, and all the rest of that business.
A: Since we were talking about now, being now, there ia a point of contact, I take it, between what you are saying and the phrase that you used in one of our earlier conversations, the betrayal of the present.
K: Absolutely. You see that is the whole point, sir. If I am related to you, I have no image about you, or you have no image about me, then we have relationship. We have no relationship if I have an image about myself or about you. Our images have a relationship, when in actuality we have no relationship. I might sleep with my wife but it is not a relationship. It is a physical contact, sensory excitement, nothing else. My responsibility is not to have any an image.
A: This brings to mind, I think one of the loveliest statements in the English language, which I should like to understand in terms of what we have been sharing. These lines from Keats' poem, Endymion, there is something miraculous, marvelous in this statement, it seems to me that is immediately related to what you have been saying: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." And then he says, as though that's not enough, "It's loveliness increases." And then as though that's not enough he says "It will never pass into nothingness." Now when the present is not betrayed, it's full with a fullness that keeps on abounding.
K: Quite, I understand.
A: Would I be correct in that?
K: Yes, I think so.
A: I think that's truly what he must be saying, and one of the things too that passed my mind was he calls it a thing of beauty. He doesn't call it a beautiful thing. It's a thing of beauty as though it's a child of beauty. A marvelous continuity between this. Not it's beautiful because I think it's beautiful and therefore it's outside. Yes, yes.
K: I must stick to this because this is really quite important. Because go where you will there is no relationship between human beings, and that is the tragedy, and from that arises all our conflicts, violence, the whole business. So if, not if, when there is this responsibility, the feeling of this responsibility it translates itself in relationship. It doesn't matter with whom it is. A freedom from the known which is the image. And therefore in that freedom, goodness flowers.
A: Goodness flowers.
K: And that is the beauty. And that is beauty. Beauty is not an abstract thing, but it goes with goodness. Goodness in behaviour, goodness in conduct, goodness in action.
A: Sometimes while we have been talking I have started a sentence with 'if', and I have looked into your eyes and immediately I got it out I knew I had said the wrong thing. It's just like a minute ago you said 'if', no 'when'. We are always 'ifing' it up.
K: I know. 'Ifing' it up!
A: It is awful.
K: I know sir. We are always dealing with abstractions rather than with reality.
A: Immediately we 'if', a construction is out there which we endlessly talk about.
K: That's right.
A: And we get cleverer and cleverer about it and it has nothing to do with anything. Yes, yes.
K: So how does this responsibility translate itself in human behaviour? You follow, sir?
A: Yes. There would be an end to violence.
A: It wouldn't taper off.
K: You see what we have done sir, we are violent, human beings, sexually, morally, in every way we are violent human beings, and not being able to resolve it we have created an ideal of not being violent, which is the fact, an abstraction of the fact, which is non fact and try to live the non fact.
A: Yes. Immediately that produces conflict because it cannot be done.
K: Conflict, misery, confusion all that. Why does the mind do it? The mind does it because it doesn't know what to do with this fact of violence. Therefore in abstracting the idea of not being violent, it postpones action. I am trying not to be violent and in the mean time I am jolly well violent.
K: And it is an escape from the fact. All abstractions are escape from the fact. So the mind does it because it is incapable of dealing with the fact, or it doesn't want to deal with the fact, or it is lazy and says, I will try and do it another day. All this is involved when it withdraws from the fact. Now in the same way the fact is, our relationship is nonexistent. I may say to my wife, I love you, etc., etc., but it's nonexistent. Because I have an image about her and she has an image about me. So on abstractions we have lived.
A: It just occurred to me that the word fact itself, which there have been no end of disquisitions about...
K: Oh yes of course. The fact, 'what is'. Let's call it, 'what is'.
A: But actually it means something done.
K: Done, yes.
A: Not the record of something. But actually something done, performed, act, act. And it's that sense of the word fact that with our use of the word fact. Give me facts and figures, we'd say in English, give me facts, we don't mean that when we say it.
K: No, no.
A: No. No. One probably wouldn't need facts and figures in that abstract sense.
K: You see, sir, this reveals a tremendous lot.
A: I follow
K: When you feel responsible, feel responsible for education of your children, not only your's, children. Are you educating them to conform to a society, are you educating them to merely acquire a job? Are you educating them to the continuity of what has been? Are you educating them to live in abstractions, as we are doing now? So what is your responsibility as a father, mother, it doesn't matter who you are, responsible in education, for the education of a human being. That's one problem. What is your responsibility, if you feel responsible, for human growth, human culture, human goodness? What's your responsibility to the earth do you follow? It is a tremendous thing to feel responsible.
A: This just came to mind which I must ask you about. The word negation in the book we looked at earlier which is continuous with what what we are saying, I think is itself rather endangered by the usual notion that we have of negation, which is simply a prohibition. Which is not meant.
K: No. No.
A: Which is not meant.
K: Of course not.
A: When we reviewed that incident in the Gita between the general and his charioteer, the lord, Krishna, the lord's response was a negation without it being a prohibition, wasn't it.
K: Quite. I don't know.
A: No, no. I mean in terms of what we just got through saying.
K: Of course.
A: There is a difference then between rearing a child in terms of relating to the child radically in the present, in which negation as is mentioned in the book here that we went through, is continuously and immediately and actively present. And simply walking around saying to oneself, "Now I am rearing a child therefore I mustn't do these things and I mustn't do those things, I must do that." Exactly. An entirely different thing. But, one has to break the habit of seeing negation as prohibition.
K: And also, you see, with responsibility goes love, care, attention.
A: Yes. Earlier I was going to ask you about care in relation to responsibility. Something that would flow immediately.
A: Naturally. Not something that I would have to project, that I needed to care for later and so I don't forget, but I would be with it.
K: You see that involves a great deal too because the mother depends on the child, and the child depends on the mother, or the father, or whatever it is. So that dependence if cultivated: not only between the father and the mother but depend on a teacher, depend on somebody to tell you what to do. Depend on your guru.
A: Yes, yes I follow.
K: Gradually the child, the man is incapable of standing alone and therefore he says I must depend on my wife for my comfort, for my sex, for my this or that, and the other thing, I am lost without her. And I am lost without my guru, without my teacher. It becomes so ridiculous. When the feeling of responsibility exists all this disappears. You are responsible for your behaviour, for the way you bring up you children, for the way you treat a dog, a neighbour, nature, everything is in your hands. Therefore you have to become astonishingly careful what you do. Careful, not, "I must not do this, and I must do that". Care, that means affection, that means consideration, diligence. All that goes with responsibility, which present society totally denies. When we begin to discuss the various gurus that are imported into this country that's what they are doing, creating such mischief making those people unfortunate, thoughtless people who want excitement, join them, do all kinds of ridiculous nonsensical things.
So, we come back: freedom implies responsibility. And therefore freedom, responsibility means care, diligence, not negligence. Not doing what you want to do, which is what is happening in America. Do what you want to do, this permissiveness is just doing what you want to do, which is not freedom, which breeds irresponsibility. I met the other day in Delhi, New Delhi, a girl and she'd become a Tibetan. You follow, sir. Born in America, being a Christian, brought up in all that. Throws all that aside and goes and becomes a Tibetan, which is the same thing in different words.
A: Yes. As a Tibetan coming over here and doing it.
K: It's so ridiculous. And I've known her some years, I said, where is your child? She said, "I've left him with other liberated Tibetans". I said, "At six, you are the mother". She said, "Yes, he is in very good hands". I come back next year and I ask, "Where is your child?" "Oh he has become a Tibetan monk." He was seven. He was seven years old and had become a Tibetan monk. You understand sir?
A: Oh yes, I do.
K: The irresponsibility of it. The mother feels, "They know better than I do, I am Tibetan and the lamas will help me to become..."
A: It puts a rather sinister cast on that Biblical statement: train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. There is a sinister note in there isn't there.
K: Absolutely. So this is going on in the world all the time. And a man who is really serious negates that because he understands the implications, the inwardness of all that. So he has to deny it. It isn't a question of will or choice, he says that's too silly, too absurd. So freedom means responsibility and infinite care.
A: The phrase that you just spoke, 'infinite care'...
K: Yes sir.
A: ...would be totally impossible to what we mean by a finite being, unless the finite being did not betray the present. "With not betraying the present" is a negative again. It is a negation again. With not betraying the present. Which is not to say what would happen if it is not.
K: Sir, the word 'present', the now, is rather difficult.
A: Oh yes. Philosophers love to call it the specious present.
K: I don't know what philosophers say. I don't want to enter into all that speculative things. But the fact, what is the 'now'? What is the act of now, the present? To understand the present I must understand the past - not history, I don't mean that.
A: Oh no, no.
K: Understand myself as the past. I am the past.
A: In terms of what we said earlier about knowledge.
K: Yes. I am that. Therefore I must understand the past, which is me, the 'me' is the known. The 'me' is not the unknown. I can imagine it is the unknown. But the fact is, the 'what is' is the known. That's me. I must understand myself. If I don't, the now is merely a continuation in modified form of the past. Therefore it is not the now, not the present. Therefore the 'me' is the tradition, the knowledge, in all the complicated manoevres, cunning, all that, the despairs, the anxieties, the desire for success, fear, pleasure, all that is me.
A: Since we are still involved in a discussion about relationships here, might we return for a moment to where we were with respect to education and relationship. I want to be sure I have understood you here. Let us say that one were fortunate enough to have a school where what you are pointing to is going on.
K: We are going to, we are doing it. We have got seven schools.
A: Marvelous. Well we'll have a chance to talk about that, won't we?
A: Good, good. If I'm current here, it would seem that if the teacher is totally present to the child the child will feel this. The child won't have to be instructed in what this means then. Is that right?
K: Yes, but one has to find out what is the relationship of the teacher to the student.
A: Yes, yes. I quite see that.
K: What is the relationship? Is he merely an informer, giving information to the child? Any machine can do that.
A: Oh yes, the library is filled with it.
K: Any machine can do that. Or what is his relationship? Does he put himself on a pedestal, up there and his student down there. Or is the relationship between the teacher and the student, is it a relationship in which there is learning on the part of the teacher as well as the student. Learning.
K: Not I have learned and I am going to teach you. Therefore in that there is a division between the teacher and the student. But when there is learning on the part of the teacher as well as on the part of the student there is no division. Both are learning.
K: And therefore that relationship brings about a companionship.
A: A sharing.
K: A sharing.
A: A sharing. Yes.
K: Taking a journey together. And therefore an infinite care on both sides. So it means how is the teacher to teach mathematics, or whatever it is, to the student and yet teach it in such a way that you awaken the intelligence in the child, not simply about mathematics.
A: No, no of course not. No. Yes.
K: And how do you bring this act of teaching in which there is order, because mathematic means order, the highest form of order is mathematics - now how will you convey to the student in teaching mathematics that there should be order in his life? Not order according to a blueprint. That's not order.
A: Yes, yes.
K: It's a creative teaching, not creative. It's an act of learning all the time. It's a living thing. Not something I have learned and I am going to impart it to you.
A: This reminds me of a little essay I read many years ago by Simone Weil which she called 'On Academic Studies' or some title like that and she said, that every one who teaches a subject is responsible for teaching the student the relation between what they are studying and the students making a pure act of attention.
K: I know, of course, of course.
A: And that if this doesn't take place the whole thing doesn't mean a thing. And when one stops to think what would a teacher say if a student walked up and looked at them and said, "Fine we're studying calculus right now. Now you tell me how I am to see this that I am pursuing in relation to my making a pure act of attention." It would be likely a little embarrassing, except for the most unusual person, who has a grasp of the present.
K: So sir, that's just it. What is the relationship of the teacher to the student in education? Is he training him merely to conform, is he training him to cultivate mere memory, like a machine? Is he training, or is he helping him to learn about life - not just about sex, the life, the whole immensity of living, the complexity of it? Which we are not doing.
A: No. No even in our language we refer students to subject matters. They take this, they take that, they take the other and in fact there are prerequisites for taking these other things. And this builds a notion of education which has absolutely no relationship to what...
K: None at all.
A: And yet, and yet amazingly in the catalogues of colleges and universities across the country there is in the first page or so a rather pious remark about the relation between their going to school and the values of civilization. And that turns out to be learning a series of ideas. I don't know if they do it any more but they used to put the word character in there. They probably decided that's unpopular, and might very well have dropped that out by now, I'm not sure.
K: Yes, yes.
A: Yes, I'm following what you are saying.
K: So, sir, when you feel responsible there is a flowering of real affection, a flowering of care for a child, and you don't train him, or condition him to go and kill another for the sake of your country. You follow? All that is involved in it. So, we come to a point where a human being, as he is now so conditioned to be irresponsible, what are the serious people going to do with the irresponsible people? You understand? Education, politics, religion everything is making human beings irresponsible. I am not exaggerating. This is so.
A: Oh no, you are not exaggerating.
K: Now, I see this as a human being. I say what am I to do? You follow, sir? What is my responsibility in face of the irresponsible?
A: Well if it's to start anywhere, as we say in English, it must start at home. It would have to start with me.
K: So I say, that's the whole point. Start with me.
K: Then from that the question arises, then you can't do anything about the irresponsible.
A: No. Exactly.
K: No, sir. Something strange takes place.
A: I misunderstood you. I'm sorry. What I meant by replying there is that I don't attack the irresponsible.
K: No. No.
A: No, no. Yes go ahead.
K: Something strange takes place. Which is, consciousness, the irresponsible consciousness is one thing, and the consciousness of responsibility is another. Now when the human being is totally responsible that responsibility unconsciously enters into the irresponsible mind. I don't know if I'm making it clear
A: Yes, yes. No, go ahead.
K: I'm irresponsible. Suppose I'm irresponsible, you are responsible. You can't do anything consciously with me. The more you actively operate on me, I resist.
A: That's right, that's right. That's what I meant by no attacking.
K: No attacking. I react violently to you. I build a wall against you. I hurt you. I do all kinds of things. But you see you cannot do anything consciously, actively, let's put it that way.
K: Designedly, planned, which is what they are all trying to do. But if you can talk to me, to my unconscious, because the unconscious is much more active, much more alert, much more, sees the danger much quicker than the conscious. So it is much more sensitive. So if you can talk to me, to the unconscious that operates so you don't actively designedly attack the irresponsible. They have done it. And they have made a mess of it.
A: Oh yes, it compounds, complicates the thing further.
K: Whereas if you talk to me, I talk, you talk to me but your whole inward intention is to show how irresponsible I am, what responsibility means, you follow, you care. In other words you care for me
A: Yes, yes. I was chuckling because the complete and total opposite crossed my mind and it just seemed so absolutely absurd. Yes.
K: You care for me.
A: I do.
K: Because I am irresponsible. You follow?
K: Therefore you care for me. And therefore you are watching not to hurt me, not to, you follow? In that way you penetrate very, very deeply into my unconscious. And that operates unknowingly when suddenly I say, "By Jove, how irresponsible I am" - you follow. That operates. I have seen this, sir, in operation because I've talked for 50 years, unfortunately, or fortunately to large audiences, tremendous resistance to anything new. If I said, don't read sacred books, which I say all the time. Because you are just conforming, obeying. You are not living. You are living according to some book that you have read. Immediately there is resistance - 'Who are you to tell us?'
A: Not to do something.
K: Not to do this or to do that. So I say, all right. I go on pointing out, pointing out. I'm not trying to change them. I'm not doing propaganda because I don't believe in propaganda. It's a lie. So I say, look, look what you do when you are irresponsible. You are destroying your children. You send them to war, to be killed, to kill and be maimed. Is that an act of love, is that affection, is that care? Why do you do it? And I go into it. They get bewildered. They don't know what to do. So it begins to slowly seep in.
A: Well, at first it's such a shock. It sounds positively subversive to some of the people.
K: Oh, absolutely, absolutely, sir.
A: Of, course, of course. Yes.
K: So we enter into something now, which is, my relationship to another, when there is total responsibility in which freedom and care go together, the mind has no image in relationship at all. Because the image is the division. Where there is care there is no image, imagination, no image.
A: This would lead us into what perhaps later we could pursue, love.
K: Ah, that's a tremendous thing.
A: Yes. Could we lay a few words before that, I don't know necessarily that next time we would do that, but it would come naturally. I've been listening to what you have been saying and it's occurred to me that if one is responsible and care is continuous with that, one would not fear. One could not fear. Not, 'would not', 'could not', could not fear.
K: You see that means really, one must understand fear.
A: One must understand fear.
K: And also the pursuit of pleasure. Those two go together. They are not two separate things.
A: What I have learned here in our discussion is that what it is, if I have followed you correctly, that we should turn ourselves toward understanding, is not what are called values.
K: Oh no.
A: We don't understand love. We understand all those things which we catch ourselves into that militate against any possibility whatsoever. This is what's so hard to hear that, to be told that there just is no possibility. This produces immense terror. Do you think next time when we converse together we can begin at that point where we could discuss fear?
K: Oh yes.
A: Good, good.
K: But sir, before we enter fear there is something we should discuss very carefully: what is order in freedom?
A: Fine, fine, yes, yes.
5th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
San Diego, California
20th February 1974
A: Beginning from where we were: Mr Krishnamurti, when we were speaking last time it seemed to me that we had together reached the point where we were about to discuss order, converse about order and I thought perhaps we could begin with that today, if that's agreeable with you.
K: I think we were talking about freedom, responsibility and relationship. And before we go any further we thought we'd talk over together this question of order. What is order in freedom? As one observes all over the world, there is such extraordinary disorder.
A: Oh yes.
K: Outwardly and inwardly. One wonders why there is such disorder. You go to India and you see the streets filled with people, bursting with population. And you see also so many sects, so many gurus, so many teachers, so many contradictory lies, such misery. And you come to Europe: there is a little more order but you see when you penetrate the superficial order there is equal disorder. And you come to this country and you know what it is like, better than I do, there is complete disorder. You may drive very carefully, but go behind the facade of so-called order and you see chaos, not only in personal relationship but sexually, morally, so much corruption. All governments are corrupt, some more, some less. But this whole phenomenon of disorder, how has it come about? Is it the fault of the religions that have said, do this and don't do that? And now they are revolting against all that?
K: Is it governments are so corrupt that nobody has any trust in governments? Is it there is such corruption in business, nobody wants to look at it even, any intelligent man, any man who is really serious. And you look at family life, and there is such disorder. So taking the whole phenomenon of disorder, why is there such disorder? What has brought it about?
A: Doesn't it appear that there is a sort of necessary, almost built in progression in terms of the way we have mentioned necessity earlier, once order so conceived is superimposed upon an existing situation, not only does it not effect what is hoped for but it creates a new situation which we think requires a new approach. And the new approach is still the super imposition.
K: Like the communists are doing in Russia and China. They have imposed order, what they call order, on a disordered mind. And therefore there is revolt. So looking at all this, it's very interesting, looking at all this phenomenon of disorder, what is order then? Is order something imposed, order as in the military on the soldier, imposed order, a discipline which is a conformity, suppression, imitation? Is order conformity?
A: Not in the sense that it's artificially imposed, yes,
K: In any sense. If I conform to an order I am creating disorder.
A: Yes, yes, I understand what you mean. In our use of the word conform we sometimes mean by it a natural relation between the nature of a thing, and the activities that are proper to it or belong to it. But then that use of the word conform is not the use that is usual and the one that we are concerned with here.
K: So is order conformity? Is order imitation? Is order acceptance, obedience? Or because we have conformed, because we have obeyed, because we have accepted, we have created disorder. Because discipline, in the ordinary, accepted sense of that word, is to conform.
A: Yes, we say in English, don't we, to someone who appears to be undisciplined, or who in fact is undisciplined, we say, straighten up.
K: Straighten up, yes.
A: The images that we use to refer to that correction are always rigid, aren't they.
A: Yes. yes.
K: So that authority, whether the communist authority of the few, or the authority of the priest, or the authority of someone who says, I know and you don't know, that is one of the factors that has produced disorder. And one of the factors of this disorder is our lack of real culture. We are very sophisticated, very sophisticated, very so-called civilized, in the sense we are clean, we have bathrooms, we have better food and all that, but inwardly we are not cultured. We are not healthy, whole human beings.
A: The inner fragmentation spills out into our operations externally.
K: So unless we understand disorder, the nature of disorder, the structure of disorder, we can never find out what is order. Out of the understanding of disorder comes order. Not first seek order, and then impose that order on disorder. I don't know if I make myself clear.
A: Yes. I'm thinking as you are speaking of the phenomenon in the world of study and the world of teaching and learning as we understand them conventionally. I've noticed in our conversations that you always suggest that study some disfunction. We are never invited really to do that we, we are given the notion that the thing to study is the principle involved. The argument for that, of course, is that one refers to health in order to understand disease.
K: Quite, quite.
A: But then the reference to health, when that is said, is received purely conceptually.
K: Quite right.
A: So what we are studying now is a concept.
K: Is a concept rather than the actuality, that the 'what is'.
A: And we slip out of the true task. There is a difficulty in grasping the suggestion that we study the disorder simply because disorder by its own condition is without an ordering principle. Therefore it sounds when it comes out as though I am being asked to study something that is unstudyable. But to the contrary.
K: On the contrary.
A: Yes. Now I'll stop. You go ahead. On the contrary. You were about to say something.
K: On the contrary. There must be an understanding of disorder, why it has come about. One of the factors, sir, I think, is basically that thought is matter, and thought by its very nature is fragmentary. Thought divides, the 'me' and the 'not me', we and they, my country and your country, my ideas and your ideas, my religion and your religion and so on. The very movement of thought is divisive, because thought is the response of memory, response of experience, which is the past. And unless we really go into this question very, very deeply the movement of thought and the movement of disorder...
A: That seems to me to be a key word, from my understanding, in listening to you, movement. To study the movement of disorder would seem to me to take it a step deeper than the phrase, to study disorder. With the word movement we are dealing with act.
A: Exactly. The career of disorder.
K: The movement.
A: Yes, If that is what we are directed upon then I think the objection that the study of disorder is to undertake an impossible pursuit is not made with any foundation. That objection loses its force precisely at the point, when one says, no, no it's not disorder as a concept we are dealing with here, it's the movement of it, it's its own career, it's its passage, it's the whole corruption of the act as such. Yes, yes, exactly. I keep on saying this business about act all the time, and perhaps it seems repetitious.
K: Oh that's absolutely right.
A: But you know hardly, hardly ever is that taken seriously...
K: I know, sir.
A: ...by our species. Of course the animals are on to that from the beginning, but we don't.
K: No. You see we deal with concepts, not with 'what is', actually what is. Rather than discuss formulas, concepts and ideas, 'what is' is disorder. And that disorder is spreading all over the word, it's a movement, it's a living disorder. It isn't a disorder that is dead. It is a living thing, moving, corrupting, destroying.
A: Yes. Exactly, exactly.
A: But it takes, as you pointed out so often, it takes an extreme concentration of attention to follow movement and there is a rebellion in us against following movement which perhaps lies in our disaffection with the intuition that we have. The transition is unintelligible.
K: Of course. Quite, quite.
A: And we don't want that. We can't stand the thought that there is something that is unintelligible. And so we just will make that active attention.
K: It's like sitting on the bank of a river and watching the waters go by. You can't alter the water, you can't change the substance or the movement of the water. In the same way this movement of disorder is part of us and is flowing outside of us. So, one has look at it.
A: And there is no confusion in the act at all.
K: Obviously not. First of all, sir, let's go into it very, very carefully. What is the factor of disorder? Disorder means contradiction, right.
A: Yes. And conflict. Yes.
K: Contradiction. This opposed to that. Or the duality, this opposed to that.
A: The contention between two things to be mutually exclusive.
K: Yes. And that brings about this dual, duality and the conflict. Is there a duality at all?
A: Certainly not in act, there is not a duality. That simply couldn't be. There certainly could be said, not even with respect, don't you think, to thought itself and its operation that there is a dualism. But the duality, of course, is present in terms of distinction, but not in terms of division.
K: Division, that's right.
A: Not in terms of division.
K: Not in terms.
A: Yes, yes. I follow.
K: After all there is man woman, black and white and so on, but is there an opposite to violence? You've understood?
A: Yes, yes I'm listening very intently.
K: Or only violence. But we have created the opposite. Thought has created the opposite as non-violence, and then the conflict between the two. The non-violence is an abstraction of the 'what is'. And thought has done that.
A: Yesterday I had a difficult time in class over this. I made the remark that, vice is not the opposite of virtue. Virtue is not the opposite of vice, and somehow I just couldn't, it seems, communicate that because of the insistence on the part of the students to deal with the problem purely in terms of a conceptual structure.
K: You see sir, I don't know if you want to go into it now, or if it is the right occasion: from ancient Greece, you must know, measurement was necessary to them. Measurement. And the whole of western civilization is based on measurement, which is thought.
A: This is certainly true in continuous practice. It is certainly true. And the irony of it is that an historian looking at the works of the great Greek thinkers turn around and say at this point, well now just wait a minute. And we would say some things about Aristotle and Plato that would suggest that no, no, no, there's a much more organic grasp of things than simply approaching it in a slide rule way, but that doesn't come to terms with what you are saying. You see that's right.
K: Sir, you can see what is happening in the world, in the western world: technology, commercialism, and consumerism is the highest activity that is going on now.
K: Which is based on measurement.
A: Yes it is. Oh yes.
K: Which is thought. Now look at it a minute, hold that a minute and you will see something rather odd taking place. The east, especially India, India exploded over the east in a different sense, they said measurement is illusion. To find the immeasurable, the measurement must come to an end. I'm putting it very crudely and quickly.
A: No. But it seems to me that you are putting it precisely well with respect to this concern we have with act.
A: It's not crude.
K: It's very interesting because I've watched it. In the west, technology , commercialism and consumerism, god, saviour, church, all that's outside. It is a plaything. And you just play with it on Saturday and Sunday but the rest of the week...
K: And you go to India and you see this. The word 'ma' is to measure, Sanskrit, and they said, reality is immeasurable. Go into it, see the beauty of it.
A: Yes, oh yes, I follow.
K: The measurement can never find - a mind that is measuring, or a mind that is caught in measurement can never find truth. I'm putting it that way. They don't put it that way, but I'm putting it. So they said, to find the real, the immense, measurement must end. But they use thought as a means to - thought must be controlled, they said.
A: Yes, yes.
K: You follow?
A: Yes, I do.
K: So, in order to find the immeasurable you must control thought. And to control, who is the controller of thought? Another fragment of thought. I don't know if you follow.
A: Oh, I follow you perfectly, yes I do.
K: So, they use measurement to go beyond measurement. And therefore they could never go beyond it. They were caught in an illusion of some other kind, but it is still the product of thought. I don't know if I'm conveying it?
A: Yes, yes. What flashed over my mind as you were speaking, was the incredible irony of their having right in front of them, I'm thinking now of this profound statement: "That is full", meaning anything that I think is over there. "That's full, this that I've divided off from that, this is full. From fullness to fullness issues forth". And then the next line, "If fullness is taken away from the full, fullness indeed still remains." Now they are reading that, you see, but if they approach it in the manner in which you have so well described, they haven't read it in the sense of attended to what's being said, because it's the total rejection of that statement in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that would be involved in thought control.
K: Yes, of course, of course. You see that's what I've been trying to get at. You see, thought has divided the world physically: America, India, Russia, China, you follow, divided the world. Thought has fragmented the activities of man, the businessman, the artist, the politician, the beggar, you follow?
K: Fragmented man. Thought has created a society based on this fragmentation. And thought has created the gods, the saviours, the Jesuses, the christs, the Krishnas, the Buddhas - and those are all measurable, in a sense. You must become like the christ, or you must be good. All sanctioned by a culture which is based on measurement.
A: Once you start with forecasts, as we have classically, then we are going to necessarily move to five six, seven, 400, 4000 an indefinite division. And all in the interest, it is claimed, of clarity. All in the interest of clarity.
K: So, unless, unless we understand the movement of thought, we cannot possibly understand disorder. It is thought that has produced disorder. It sounds contradictory, but it is so - thought is fragmentary, thought is time, and as long as we are functioning within that field there must be disorder. Which is, each fragment is working for itself, in opposition to other fragments. I, a Christian, am in opposition to the Hindu, though I talk about love and goodness and all the rest of it.
A: I love him so much I want to see him saved so I will go out and bring him into the fold.
K: Saved. Come over to my camp!
A: Yes, yes.
K: One of the, probably the basic cause of disorder is the fragmentation of thought. I was told the other day, that in a certain culture, thought means the outside.
A: That's very interesting.
K: When they use the word outside, they use the word thought.
A: And we think it's inside.
K: That's the whole... you follow.
A: How marvelous. How marvelous.
K: So thought is always outside. You can say, I am inwardly thinking. Thought has divided the outer and the inner. So to understand this whole contradiction, measurement, time, the division, the fragmentation, the chaos, and the disorder, one must really go into this question of what is thought, what is thinking. Can the mind, which has been so conditioned in fragments, in fragmentation, can that mind observe this whole movement of disorder, not fragmentarily?
A: No, but the movement itself.
K: Movement itself.
A: Movement itself. Yes. But that's what's so terrifying - to look at that movement. It's interesting that you've asked this question in a way that keeps boring in because measure is, and I'm going to put something now in a very concise, elliptical way, is possibility, which is infinitely divisible. It only comes to an end with an act, with an act. And as long as I remain divided against act, I regard myself as a very deep thinker. I'm sitting back exploring alternatives which are completely imaginary, illusory. And in the business world men are paid extremely high salaries to come up with what is called a new concept.
K: Yes, new concept.
A: And it's called by its right name, of course, but it isn't regarded correctly as to its nature. It isn't understood as to what's being said when that happens.
K: That brings up the point, which is, measurement means comparison. Our society and our civilizations are based on comparison. From childhood, to school to college and university, it is comparative.
A: That's right.
K: And comparison between intelligence and dullness, between the tall and the black, white and purple and all the rest of it - comparison in success. And look at also our religions. The priest, the bishop, you follow, the hierarchical outlook, ultimately Pope or the archbishop. The whole structure is based on that. Compare, comparison, which is measurement, which is essentially thought.
A: Yes. The Protestants complain about the Catholic hierarchy, and yet their scripture, their Bible is what some Catholics call their paper pope.
K: Of course.
A: Yes, of course. With the very rejection of something, something takes its place which becomes even more divisive.
K: So, is it possible to look without measurement, that is without comparison? Is it possible to live a life - life, living, acting, laughing, the whole life, living, crying, without a shadow of comparison coming into it? Sir, I'm not boasting, I'm just stating a fact. I have never compared myself with anybody.
A: That's a most remarkable thing. Most remarkable thing.
K: I never thought about it even - somebody much cleverer than me, somebody much more brilliant, so intelligent, somebody greater, spiritual - it didn't enter. Therefore, I say to myself, is measurement, comparison, imitation, are they not the major factors of disorder?
A: I've had a very long thought about what you said a few conversations ago, about when you were a boy, and you never accepted the distinctions that were employed in a dividing way...
K: Oh, of course, of course.
A: ...and within the social order. And I had to think about my own growing up, and accept the fact that I did accept this distinction in terms of division, but I didn't do it with nature. But that set up conflict in me, because I couldn't understand how it could be the case that I'm natural as a being in the world but I'm not somehow related to things the way things are, in what we call nature. Then it suddenly occurred to me later that in thinking that way I was already dividing myself off from nature, and I'd never get out of that problem.
A: And the thing came to me some years ago with a tremendous flash, when I was in Bangkok in a temple garden. And of an early morning I was taking a walk and my eye was drawn to a globule of dew resting on a lotus leaf and it was perfectly circle. And I said, where's the base. How can it be stable. Why doesn't it roll off. By the time I got to the end of my 'whys' I was worn out, so I took a deep breath and, I said, now shut up and just keep quiet and look. And I saw that each maintained its own nature in this marvelous harmony without any confusion at all. And I was just still.
A: Just still. I think that's something of what you mean about the fact. That was a fact.
K: Just remain with the fact. Look at the fact.
A: That marvelous globule on that leaf is the fact, is what is the act, is what is done.
K: That is correct.
A: Right. Yes.
K: Sir, from this arises, can one educate a student to live a life of non comparison - bigger car, lesser car, you follow?
K: Dull, you are clever, I am not clever. What happens if I don't compare at all? Will I become dull?
A: On the contrary.
K: I'm only dull, I know I'm dull only through comparison. If I don't compare, I don't know what I am. Then I begin from there.
A: Yes, yes. The world becomes infinitely accessible.
K: Oh, then the whole thing becomes extraordinarily different. There is no competition, there is no anxiety, there is no conflict with each other.
A: This is why you use the word total often, isn't it.
A: In order to express that there's nothing drawn out from one condition to the other. There is no link there, there is no bridge there. Totally disordered. Totally order.
A: Yes, and you use the word 'absolute' often, which terrifies many people today.
K: Sir, after all mathematics is order. The highest form of mathematical investigation, you must have a mind that is totally orderly.
A: The marvelous thing about maths too, is that whereas it's the study of quantity, you don't make passage from one integer to another by two getting larger. Two stops at two. Two and a half is no more two. Somehow that's the case.
A: But a child when he is taught mathematics is never introduced to that - that I've ever heard of.
K: You see, sir, our teaching, our everything is so absurd. Is it possible, sir, to observe this movement of disorder, with a mind that is disorderly itself, and say, can this mind observe disorder, this mind which is already in a state of disorder. So disorder isn't out there but in here. Now can the mind observe that disorder without introducing a factor of an observer who is orderly?
A: Who will superimpose.
K: Yes. Therefore observe, perceive disorder without the perceiver. I don't know if I am making sense at all.
A: Yes, yes you are, yes you are making sense.
K: That is, sir, to understand disorder we think an orderly mind is necessary.
A: As over against the disorderly mind.
K: Disorderly mind. But the mind itself has created this disorder, which is thought and all the rest of it. So can the mind not look at disorder out there, but at the maker of disorder which is in here?
A: Which is itself the very mind as disorder.
K: Mind itself is disordered.
A: Yes. But as soon as that is stated conceptually...
K: No, no. Concepts are finished.
A: Yes. But we are using words.
K: We are using words to communicate.
A: Exactly. What I'm concerned with, just for a second, is what are we going to say when we hear the statement that it is the disordered mind that keeps proliferating disorder, but it is that disordered mind that must see, it must see.
K: I'm going to show you, you will see in a minute what takes place. Disorder is not outside of me, disorder is inside of me. That's a fact. Because the mind is disorderly all its activities must be disorderly. And the activities of disorder is proliferating or is moving in the world. Now can this mind observe itself without introducing the factor of an orderly mind, which is the opposite?
A: Yes it is. Of course it is the opposite.
K: So can it observe without the observer who is the opposite?
A: That's the question.
K: Now watch it, sir, if you are really interested in it.
A: I am. I am deeply interested in it.
K: If you will see. The observer is the observed. The observer who says, I am orderly, and I must put order in disorder. That is generally what takes place. But the observer is the factor of disorder. Because the observer is the past, is the factor of division. Where there is division there is not only conflict but disorder. You can see, sir, it is happening actually in the world. I mean all this problem of energy, all this problem of law, peace, and all the rest, can be solved absolutely when there are not separate governments, sovereign armies, and say, look let's solve this problem all together, for god's sake. We are human beings. This earth is meant for us to live on - not Arabs and Israelis, and America and Russia - it is our earth.
A: And it's round.
K: But we will never do this because our minds are so conditioned to live in disorder, to live in conflict.
A: And vocation is given a religious description in terms of the task of cleaning up the disorder with my idea of order.
K: Order. Your idea order is the fact that has produced disorder.
K: So, it brings up a question, sir, which is very interesting: can the mind observe itself without the observer? Because the observer is the observed. The observer who says, I will bring order in disorder, that observer itself is a fragment of disorder, therefore it can never bring about order. So can the mind be aware of itself as a movement of disorder, not trying to correct it, not trying to justify it, not trying to shape it, just to observe? I said previously to observe, sitting on the banks of a river and watch the waters go by. You see, then you see much more. But if you are in the middle of it swimming you will see nothing.
A: I've never forgotten that it was when I stopped questioning, when I stood before that droplet of dew on the leaf, that everything changed totally, totally. And what you say is true. Once something like that happens there isn't a regression from it.
K: Sir, it is not once, it is...
A: ...forever. Yes.
K: It's not an incident that took place. My life is not an incident, it is a movement.
K: And in that movement I observe this movement of disorder. And therefore the mind itself is disorderly and how can that disorderly, chaotic, contradictory, absurd little mind bring about order? It can't. Therefore a new factor is necessary. And the new factor is to observe, to perceive, to see without the perceiver.
A: To perceive without the perceiver. To perceive without the perceiver.
K: Because the perceiver is the perceived.
K: If you once grasp that then you see everything without the perceiver. You don't bring in your personality, your ego, your selfishness. You say, disorder is the factor which is in me, not out there. The politicians are trying to bring about order when they are themselves so corrupt. You follow sir? How can they bring order?
A: It's impossible. It's impossible. It's one long series of...
K: That's what's happening in the world. The politicians are ruling the world - from Moscow, from New Delhi, from Washington, wherever it is, it's the same pattern being repeated. Living a chaotic, corrupt life, you try to bring order in the world. It's childish. So that's why transformation of the mind is not your mind or my mind, it's the mind, the human mind.
A: Or the mind trying to order itself, even. Not even that.
K: Now how can it, it is like a blind man trying to bring about colour. And he says, well that's grey. It has no meaning. So can the mind observe this disorder in itself without the observer who has created disorder? Sir, this brings up a very simple thing. To look at a tree, at a woman, at mountain, at a bird, or a sheet of water with the light on it, the beauty of it, to look without the see-er. The moment the see-er comes in, the observer comes in, he divides. And division is all right as long as it's descriptive. But when you are living, living, that division is destructive.
A: Yes, what was running through my mind was this continuous propaganda that we hear about the techniques that are available to still the mind.
K: Oh, sir
A: But that requires a stiller to do the stilling.
K: No, I wouldn't...
A: And so that is absolutely, I'm using your words, absolutely and totally out, of any possibility of attaining.
K: But yet you see that's what the gurus are doing.
A: Yes, yes I do understand.
K: The imported gurus and the native gurus are doing this. They are really destroying people. You follow, sir. We'll talk about it when the occasion arises. What we are now concerned is, measurement which is the whole movement of commercialism, consumerism, technology, is now the pattern of the world. Begun in the West, and made more and more perfect in the West and that is spreading all over the world. Go to the smallest little town in India or anywhere, the same pattern being repeated. And the village you go and they are so miserable, unhappy, one-meal-a-day stuff. But it is still within that pattern. And the governments are trying to solve these problems separately, you follow. France by itself, Russia by itself. It's a human problem, therefore it has to be approached not with, with a Washington mind, or a London, mind, or a Moscow mind, with a mind that is human that says, look this is our problem and for god's sake lets get together and solve it. Which means care, which means accepting responsibility for every human being. So we come back: as we said, order comes only with the understanding of disorder. In that there is no superimposition. In that there is no conflict. In that there is no suppression. When you suppress you react. You know all that business. So it is totally a different kind of movement, order. And that order is real virtue. Because without virtue there is no order. There's gangsterism.
A: Oh yes.
K: Politically or any other way, religiously. But without virtue, virtue being conduct, the flowering in goodness everyday. It is not a theory, sir, it actually takes place, when you live that way.
A: The hexagram in the I Ching called conduct is also translated treading.
A: Treading. Meaning a movement.
K: Of course.
A: A movement. And that's a vastly different understanding of the usual notion of conduct. But I understand from what you have said that your use of the word conduct as virtue, as order is precisely oriented to act, movement.
K: Yes sir. You see, a man who acts out of disorder is creating more disorder. The politician, look at his life, sir, ambitious, greedy, seeking power, position.
A: Running for election.
K: Election, all the rest of it. And he is the man who is going to create order in the world. The tragedy of it and we accept it. You follow?
A: Yes, we believe it's inevitable. We do.
K: And therefore we are irresponsible.
A: Because he did it and I didn't. Yes. Yes.
K: Because we accept disorder in our life. I don't accept disorder in my life. I want to live an orderly life, which means I must understand disorder, and where there is order the brain functions much better.
A: There is a miracle here, isn't there.
K: Absolutely, that's the miracle.
A: There is a miracle here. As soon as I grasp the movement of disorder...
K: The mind grasps it.
A: Yes, yes. Behold, there's order. That's truly miraculous. Perhaps it's the one and only miracle.
K: There are other miracle but...
A: I mean in the deepest sense of the word, all of them would have to be related to that or we wouldn't have any of them, is what I meant, the real heart, the real core.
K: That's why, sir, relationship, communication, responsibility, freedom and this freedom from disorder, has a great sense of beauty in it. A life that is beautiful, a life that's really flowering in goodness. Unless we create, bring about such human beings the world will go to pot.
K: This is what is happening. And I feel it's my responsibility. And to me I've a passion for it, it's my responsibility to see that when I talk to you, you understand it, you live it, you function, move in that way.
A: I come back to this attention thing, The enormous emphasis that you've made on staying totally attentive to this. I think I begin to understand something of the phenomenon of what happens when a person begins to think that they are taking seriously what you are saying. I didn't say, begins to take it seriously, they think they are beginning to. As a matter of fact, they begin to watch themselves lean in to it. Of course nothing is started yet. But something very strange happens in the mind when this notion that I am leaning in. I start to get terribly afraid. I become terribly fearful of something. Next time could we discuss fear?