The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
8th Public Talk 4th August, 1936
I hope you have spent these ten days in purposeful thought, for now you have to return to face the daily routine of conflicts and problems in a world gone mad with hatred. We have been trying during these few days to understand in what way we can deal with the many complex problems of man. Without deep penetration into the whole process of human struggle, mere superficial response to reactions can only lead to greater conflict and suffering. This Camp, I hope, has given each one of us an opportunity to think integrally, fully and truly. Going out into the world again, each one of us has to cope with the many problems of his religious, social and economic environment, with its conflicting and sorrowful divisions.
By tracing each problem back to its cause, shall we be free from conflicts? By studying reactions, can we perceive the cause of all action? Science and religion with their conflicting assertions have only created division in the mind. How are we with our intricate, subtle human problems to know what is the true centre or cause of all action with its conflict and suffering? Until we discover for ourselves this centre of action, and discern it comprehensively, integrally, the mere analysis of reactions, or the reliance on faith, will not free the mind from ignorance and sorrow.
If we fully discern the centre of all action we will bring about a tremendous change in our outlook and activities. Without understanding the process of action, mere tinkering with social reforms or economic changes is utterly useless; it may produce results, but they can only be superficial remedies.
There are many unique separative forces or energies at work in the world, which we cannot wholly understand. We can only understand fundamentally and integrally the unique energy which is focussed in each one of us, which is the "I". It is the only process we can understand.
To understand the process of this unique energy, the "I", you need deep discernment, not the study of intellectual deductions and analysis. You must have a mind that is capable of great pliability. A mind that is burdened with want and fear, which creates opposites and from which arises choice, is incapable of discerning the subtle process of the "I", the centre of all action. As I have explained, this energy is unique; it is conditioning and conditioned at the same time. It is creating its own limitation through its own action born of ignorance. This unique energy, without a beginning, has in its self-active development become consciousness, the "I" process. This consciousness, which is conditioning itself through its own volitional activities, this "I" process of ignorance, wants, fears, illusions, is the centre of action. This centre is continually reforming itself, and creating anew its own limitation through its own volitional activities, and so there is always conflict, pain, sorrow. There must be a fundamental change in consciousness, in this very centre of action; mere discipline and the authority of ideals cannot bring about the cessation of suffering and sorrow. You have to discern that the "I" process, with its fear and illusion, is transient, and so can be dissolved.
Many of you subtly believe that the "I" is eternal, divine, and that without the "I" there cannot be activity, there cannot be love, and that with the cessation of the "I" process there can only be annihilation. So you must first discern profoundly for yourselves if the "I" process is everenduring, or if it is transient. You must know what is its nature, its being. This is a very difficult task, for most of you have been brought up through faith in the religious tradition which makes you cling to the "I" and prevents you from perceiving its true essence. Some of you, who have cast aside religious beliefs, only to accept scientific dogmas, will equally find it difficult to know the true nature of the centre of action. Superficial inquiry into the nature of the "I", or casual assertion of its divinity, merely indicates an essential lack of understanding of the true nature of the "I" process.
You can discern for yourself what it is, as I know for myself its real nature. When I say this, it is not to encourage a belief in my comprehension of the "I" process. Only when you know for yourself what it is, can this process be brought to an end.
With the cessation of the "I" process there is a change of will, which alone can end suffering. No system, no discipline, can bring about the change of will. Become aware of the "I" process. In choiceless awareness, duality which exists only in the action of want, fear and ignorance, ceases. There is simply the perception of the actor, with his memories, wants and fears, and his actions; the one centre perceiving itself without objectifying itself.
Mere control or compulsion, one want overcoming another want, mere substitution, is but a change in will, which can never bring suffering to an end. The change in want is a change in limitation, further conditioning thought, which results in superficial reformation. If there is change of will through the comprehension of the "I" process, then there is intelligence, creative intuition, from which alone can come harmonious relationship with individuals, with environment. Through discernment of the "I" process of ignorance there comes awareness. It is choiceless spontaneity of action, not action born of discrimination which is weighing one act against another, one reaction against another, one habit of thought against another. When there is the full comprehension and so the cessation of the "I" process there comes a choiceless life, a life of plenitude, a life of bliss.
Question: When one encounters those who are caught up in the collective thought and mass psychology which are responsible for much of the chaos and strife around us, how can one extricate them from their mass mentality and show them the necessity of individual thought?
Krishnamurti: First extricate yourself from mass psychology, from collective thoughtlessness. This extrication of thought from the stupidities of ages is a very difficult task. Thoughtlessness and stupidity of the mass exist in us. We are the mass, conscious of some of its stupidities and cruelties but mostly unconscious of its overpowering prejudices, false values and ideals. Before you can extricate another you must free yourself from the great power of those wants and fears. That is, you must know for yourself what are the stupidities, what are those values which condition life and action. Some of you are conscious of the obviously false values of hatred, national divisions and exploitation, but you have not discerned the process of these limitations and freed yourselves from them. When you begin to perceive the false values that hold you, and discern their significance, then you will know what a tremendous change takes place in you. Then only can you truly help another. Though you may not become a leader of great multitudes, though you may not accomplish spectacular reforms, if you really grasp the significance of what I am saying, you will become as an oasis in a burning desert, as a flame in darkness.
The ending of the "I" process is the beginning of wisdom which alone can bring intelligent order and happiness to this chaotic world.
Question: Some of us have listened to you for ten years, and while, as you encouragingly remark, we may have changed a little, we have not changed radically. Why is this? Must we wait for the urge of suffering?
Krishnamurti: I do not think you need to wait for the urge of suffering to change you radically. You are suffering now. You may be unconscious of conflict and sorrow, but you are suffering. What brings about superficial change is thought that is seeking superficial remedies, escapes and security. Profound change of will can come about only when there is the deep comprehension of the "I" process. In that alone is there the plenitude of intelligence and love.
Question: What is your idea of evolution?
Krishnamurti: Obviously there is simplicity and there is great complexity; simplicity and great complexity of form; simplicity and great subtlety of thought; the simple wheel of many thousands of years ago and the complex machinery of today. Is the simple becoming complex, evolution? When you talk about evolution you are not thinking merely about the evolution of form. You are thinking about the subtle evolution of consciousness which you call the "I". From this there arises the question: Is there growth, a future continuance, for individual consciousness? Can the "I" become all-comprehensive, permanent, enduring?
That which is capable of growth is not eternal. That which is enduring, true, is ever becoming. It is choiceless movement. You ask me if the "I" will evolve, become glorious, divine. You are looking to time to destroy and diminish sorrow. So long as the mind is bound to time there will be conflict and sorrow. So long as consciousness is identifying itself, renewing and reforming itself through its own activities of fear, which are time-binding, there must be suffering. It is not time that will free you from suffering. Craving for experience, for opportunity, comparing memories, cannot bring about the plenitude of life, the ecstasy of truth. Ignorance seeks the perpetuation of the "I" process; and wisdom comes into being with the cessation of the self-active renewal of limited consciousness. Mere complexity of accumulation is not wisdom, intelligence. Mere accumulation, growth, time, does not bring about the plenitude of life. To be without fear is the beginning of understanding, and fear is ever in the present.
Question: As a living example of one who has attained liberation, you are a tremendous source of encouragement to us who are still involved in suffering. Is there not a danger that in spite of ourselves this very encouragement might become a hindrance to us? Krishnamurti: I hope I am not becoming an example for you to follow because I speak of the process of suffering and ignorance, the illusion of the mind, the false values created by fear, the freedom of truth. An example is a hindrance; it is born of fear which leads to compulsion and imitation. Imitation of another is not the comprehension of oneself. To know oneself there can be no following of another; there cannot be compulsive memories which prevent the "I" process from revealing itself. When the mind has ceased to escape from suffering into illusions and false values, then that very suffering brings understanding, without the false motives of reward and punishment. The centre of action is ignorance and its result is suffering. The following of another or the disciplining of the mind according to the authority of an ideal will not bring about plenitude of life nor the bliss of reality.
Question: Is there any way in the world by which we can end the stupid horror which again we see perpetrated in Spain?
Krishnamurti: War is the problem of humanity. How are we going to end mass and individual barbarities?
To arouse mass action against the horrors, cruelties and absurdities of the present civilization there must be individual comprehension.
Begin with yourself. Root out the appallingly cruel prejudices and wants, and you will know a happy world. Root out your personal ambitions and subtle exploitations, acquisitiveness and the craving for power. Then you will have an intelligent and orderly world. As long as there is cruelty and violence in the individual, collective hatred, patriotism and strife must continue.
When you realize your individual responsibility in action, then there will be the possibility of peace and love and harmonious relationship with your neighbour. Then there will be the possibility of ending the horror of strife, the horror of man killing man.
The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
8th Public Talk 4th August, 1936
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.