A CONVERSATION WITH STOKOWSKI
Eerde, Holland, 1928
STOKOWSKI: Every art has its medium of expression. The dramatist -stage, actors, lights, costumes, decoration in color and form. The sculptor -stone or wood; the poet words; the painter -canvas and pigment; the musician -air vibration. It seems to me that music is the least material of the arts, and perhaps we could even conceive of an art still subtler than that. I was very impressed by a light-color organ called the "Clavilux'", invented by Thomas Wilfred of New York. He has developed what seems to me a new art of color in form and motion, and it occurred to me that there are aspects of music that are extremely immaterial, that are almost pure spirit -and that some day an art might develop that would be immaterial, pure spirit...
KRISHNAMURTI: Don't you think that it is not so much a question of comparing one art with another as of the evolution of the individual who produces that art? With regard to the possibility of evolving an art still more subtle than music, isn't it the question of inspiration? Inspiration, according to my idea, is keeping intelligence enthusiastically awakened.
STOKOWSKI: I feel that inspiration is almost like a melody or a rhythm, like music that I hear deep, deep inside of me, as if it were a long way off.
KRISHNAMURTI: Because you are a musician you will hear that intelligence to which you are awake all the time, and will interpret it through music. A sculptor would express that intelligence in stone. You see my point? What matters is the inspiration.
STOKOWSKI: But do you think inspiration has much "rapport"...
KRISHNAMURTI: ...yes, connection...
STOKOWSKI: ...with intelligence?
KRISHNAMURTI: In the sense in which I am using it, yes. After all, sir, that is the whole point. If you are not intelligent, you are not a great creator. Therefore, intelligence, if fanned and kept alive, will always act as a medium for inspiration -I don't like the word "medium", because it is used in so many other senses; if you keep intelligence awake all the time, it is searching for ideas, for new ways of connecting itself with life. And that is what I call inspiration. You get a new idea because you are keeping your intelligence awakened.
STOKOWSKI: That is not the sensation I have inside at all. I can describe it this way: when I have an inspiration, it is as if I remember, become conscious of something which five minutes or ten minutes ago somehow came into my brain. It was there before but had not come into my consciousness. I have the feeling that it has been there in the background a long time -I do not know how long-and that it has just come forward.
KRISHNAMURTI: I should say that is intelligence which is working to get this idea. After all, sir, please let us take it concretely: a being without intelligence would not be inspired in the highest sense of the word.
STOKOWSKI: Not in the highest, no.
KRISHNAMURTI: I feel inspired when I see a beautiful thing, beautiful scenery, hear beautiful music, or someone recite poetry, because my intelligence is all the time seeking. I am keeping my intelligence awake, and if there is beauty, I want to translate that vision into something which people will understand. Isn't that it?
STOKOWSKI: That is one form of expression.
KRISHNAMURTI: And there are hundreds of forms. I am only one form, in the sense that we are discussing, and there may be the form of a poet, a sculptor, musician and so on.
STOKOWSKI: I have the feeling inside of me that inspiration comes from a higher level than intelligence.
KRISHNAMURTI: No, I say intelligence is the highest level. Sir, intelligence, to me, is the accumulation of experience; it is the residue of experience.
STOKOWSKI: What is the relation between "intelligence" in your sense of the word and "intuition"?
KRISHNAMURTI: You can't divide intuition from intelligence in the higher sense. A clever man is not an intelligent man. Or, I should rather say that a clever man need not necessarily be an intelligent man.
STOKOWSKI: No, but often there is a great distance between an intelligent man and an intuitive man.
KRISHNAMURTI: Yes, because again it is on a very different scale. Intuition is the highest point of intelligence.
STOKOWSKI: Ah, now I feel entirely with you.
KRISHNAMURTI: Intuition is the highest point of intelligence and, to me, keeping alive that intelligence is inspiration. Now you can only keep alive that intelligence, of which intuition is the highest expression, by experience, by being all the time like a questioning child. Intuition is the apotheosis, the culmination, the accumulation of intelligence.
STOKOWSKI: Yes, that is true. May I ask you another question? If as, you say, liberation and happiness are the aim of our individual lives, what is the final goal of all life collectively? Or, in other words -how does the truth, as you enunciate it, answer the question as to why we are on this earth and toward what goal we are evolving?
KRISHNAMURTI: Therefore the question is: If the goal for the individual is freedom and happiness, what is it collectively? I say, it is exactly the same. What divides individuals? Form. Your form is different from mine, but that life behind you and behind me is the same. So life is unity; therefore your life and my life must likewise culminate in that which is eternal, that which is freedom and happiness.
STOKOWSKI: In the whole design of life do you not find any farther-on goal than freedom and happiness, any farther-on design or function for all of life?
KRISHNAMURTI: Now, sir, isn't it like a child who says: teach me the higher mathematics? My reply would be: It would be useless to teach you higher mathematics unless you have first learnt algebra. If we understand this particular thing, the divinity of that life which lies before us, it is not important to discuss what lies beyond, because we are discussing a thing which is unconditioned with a conditioned mind.
STOKOWSKI: That is perfectly answered, clear and brief. People remember better what is brief. It has always seemed to me that art-works should be anonymous. The question in my mind is: Is a poem, or drama or picture or symphony the expression of its creator, or is he the mediums through which creative forces flow?
KRISHNAMURTI: Sir, that is a point in which I am really interested.
STOKOWSKI: Now, you are a poet and I am a musician. What I am interested in is to compare our sensations when we are creating in our respective mediums. Do you ever feel a total stranger to what you have written?
KRISHNAMURTI: Oh, surely.
STOKOWSKI: I do... and I wake up the next day and say, did I write that? That is not like me at all!
KRISHNAMURTI: Now I say that is inspiration. That is your intuition, the highest point of your intelligence acting suddenly. And that is my whole point. If you keep your mind, your emotions, your body in harmony, pure and strong, then that highest point of intelligence, out of which the intuition acts...
STOKOWSKI: ...will act constantly...
KRISHNAMURTI: ...and consciously...
STOKOWSKI: And one can live by that....
KRISHNAMURTI: Of course. That is the only guide. Now take, for instance, poets, dramatists, musicians, all artists: they should be anonymous, detached from all that they create. I think that is the greatest truth. To be, to give and be detached from what you give. You see what I mean? After all, the greatest artists of the world, the greatest teachers of the world say: "Look here, I have got something which, if you really understand it, would forever unfold your intelligence, would act as your intuition. But don't worship me as an individual -I am not concerned, after all." But most artists want their names put under the picture, they want to be admired. They want their degrees and titles.
STOKOWSKI: Here is an old old question: Is the Truth relative or absolute? Is it the same for all of us, or different for each one?
KRISHNAMURTI: It is neither, sir.
STOKOWSKI: Then what is it?
KRISHNAMURTI: You cannot describe it. You cannot describe that which gives you inspiration to write music, can you? If you were asked: Is it absolute or is it relative, you would answer: "What are you asking me? It is neither." You see, you cannot say it is the absolute or the relative. It is far beyond matter, time and space. Take, for example, the water in that river out there. It is limited by its banks. Then you might say, looking at the water: "Water is always limited", because you see the narrow banks enclosing it. But if you were in the midst of the ocean where you see nothing but water, you could say: "Water is limitless."
STOKOWSKI: That is a perfect answer... you do not need to say any more -that is complete. Is there a standard or criterion of beauty in art, or does each person find his own beauty to which he responds? The question is related to the question of taste. People are always saying, this is good taste, that is bad taste. By what authority do they say that?
KRISHNAMURTI: I should say, by their own experience.
STOKOWSKI: That is a personal response. Then can any authority say what is good or bad in art?
KRISHNAMURTI: No; yet I hold that beauty exists in itself beyond all forms and all appreciations.
STOKOWSKI: Ah, then that is an everlasting thing!
KRISHNAMURTI: Like the eternal perfume of the rose. Sir, you hear music and I hear music; you hear a whole vast plane of vibrations, I only hear that much -but that much fits in with all your vast plane.
STOKOWSKI: Yes. It is a question of personal absorption, experience. So the answer is like that to the other question: In itself it is both relative and absolute, but for us it is relative.
KRISHNAMURTI: Must be!
STOKOWSKI: We see design in life, in the arts, in our body, in machines and everything, and the design of an automobile is made always with the idea of its function. What is the function of life, of all life?
KRISHNAMURTI: To express itself.
STOKOWSKI: How does order come from your doctrine of freedom?
KRISHNAMURTI: Because, sir, freedom is the common goal for all -you admit that. If each man realizes that freedom is the common goal, each one then in shaping, in adapting himself to this common goal can only create order.
STOKOWSKI: Do you mean that, in living up to the ideal of freedom, the ideal of beauty, we must all finally come to the same goal?
KRISHNAMURTI: Of course; is that not so?
STOKOWSKI: ...and so order will come?
KRISHNAMURTI: At present there are you and I and half-a-dozen others who have all got different ideas as to what is the final goal. But if we all sat down and asked: "What is the ultimate aim for each of us?" -we should say, freedom and happiness for one and all. Then even if you work in one way and I in another we still work along our own lines towards the same goal. Then there must be order.
STOKOWSKI: How should society, organized in freedom, treat the man who takes the life of another?
KRISHNAMURTI: At the present time society, working without a goal, puts him into prison or kills him; it is a just vengeance. But if you and I were the authorities who laid down law for society, we should keep in mind all the time that, for the murderer, as for ourselves, the goal is the same, which is freedom. It is no good killing him because he has killed someone else. We should rather say: "Look here, you have misused your experience, you have killed life which was trying to grow through, experience towards freedom. You also want experience, but experience which injures another, which interferes with another, cannot lead to your ultimate happiness and freedom." We should create laws founded on wisdom which is the culmination of experience, and not on the idea of vengeance. If you had a child, and that child did something wrong, you would not promptly put him into a corner. You would make him see the reason why he should not act in that manner.
STOKOWSKI: But what would you do with a child before it could speak and before it could understand what you were saying?
KRISHNAMURTI: I would protect him from things which are harmful to others or to himself. After all, a murderer is only a child...
STOKOWSKI: Yes, you would take the murderer and guard him from hurting others and himself, and educate him...
KRISHNAMURTI: Yes, educate him...
STOKOWSKI: What is the highest and ultimate ideal of education?
KRISHNAMURTI: Teach the child from the very beginning that its goal is happiness and freedom, and that the manner of attainment is through the harmony of all the bodies -mind, emotion and the physical body.
STOKOWSKI: When the child falls below that ideal and hurts itself, or somebody else, or destroys beauty of some kind, how would you describe to the child what would be the ideal course of action, instead of the destructive course that he has followed?
KRISHNAMURTI: Put him into conditions where he will see the ideal. That is, precept, example... Sir, if you are a musician, and I am learning from you, I would watch every movement that you make. After all, you are a master in music, and I want to learn. Don't you see, that is my whole point -the example is lacking...
A CONVERSATION WITH STOKOWSKI
Eerde, Holland, 1928
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