The Mirror of Relationship
2nd Public Talk 13th December, 1936
Amongst the many conflicting remedies, theories, ideals, what is the true cure for our social complexities and cruelties, for the deep misunderstandings that are creating confusion and chaos in the world?
There are many teachers with their methods, many philosophers with their systems. How is one to choose what is true? Each system, each teacher, lays emphasis on some part of the whole existence of man.
How is one, then, to comprehend the whole process of life, and how is one to free the mind, so that there can be the perception of what is true? Each leader has his own group of people, in conflict with another group, with another leader. There is disagreement, confusion, chaos. Some groups become ruthless, and others try to become tolerant, liberal, for their leaders say to them: Cultivate tolerance, for all paths lead to reality. So, in trying to develop the spirit of tolerance, brotherliness, they gradually become indifferent, sluggish, even brutal.
In a world of confusion, disagreement, when people take their beliefs and ideals seriously, vitally, can there be true co-operation between groups that believe differently, and work for varying ideals? If you believed firmly in an idea, and another through his ardent faith worked in opposition to you, could there be tolerance, friendship between you and the other? Or is the conception of each one going his own way, false? Is the idea of cultivating brotherliness and tolerance in the midst of conflict, impossible and hypocritical? In spite of your strong beliefs, convictions and hopes, can you establish a superficial relationship of friendliness and tolerance with another who is diametrically opposed to your conception of life? If you can, there must be compromise, a lessening of that which is true to you, and so you yield to another who is circumstantially more powerful than you. This but creates more confusion. The cultivation of tolerance is only an intellectual feat and so is without any deep significance, leading to thoughtlessness and poverty of being.
If you examine the propaganda that is being made throughout the world by nations, classes, groups, sects, individuals, you will see that in various ways they are all determined to convert you to their particular point of view or belief. Can rival propagandists be friendly and tolerant, deeply, truly? If you are a Hindu and another is a Mohammedan, you a capitalist and another a socialist, can there be deep relationship between you? Is this possible? It is impossible. The cultivation of tolerance is an intellectual and so an artificial process which has no reality. This does not mean that I am advocating persecution or some cruel act for the sake of beliefs. Please follow what I am saying.
While there is conversion, incitement, the subtle forcing of another to join a particular group or subscribe to a particular set of beliefs; while there are opposite, contradictory ideas, there cannot be harmony and peace, though we may pretend intellectually to be tolerant and brotherly. For each one is so interested, so enthusiastic about his own ideas and methods that he desires urgently that another shall accept them, and so creates a condition of conflict and confusion. This is obvious.
If you are thoughtful and not a propagandist, you are bound to see the superficiality of this jargon of tolerance and brotherliness and face the fierce battle of contradictory ideas, hopes, and faiths. In other words, you must perceive the actual, the disagreement, the confusion that is now about us. If we can put aside this easy jargon of tolerance and brotherhood we may then see the way to comprehend disagreement. There is a way out of the chaos, but it does not lie through artificial brotherhood or intellectual tolerance. Only through right thinking and action can the conflict of opposing groups and ideas be ended.
What do I mean by right thinking? Thought must be vital, dynamic, not mechanical or imitative.
A system of disciplining the mind according to a particular mode is considered to be positive thinking. You first create or accept an intellectual image, an ideal, and to accord with that you twist your thought. This conformity, imitation, is mistaken for comprehension, but in reality it is only the craving for security born of fear. The prompting of fear only leads to conformity, and discipline born of fear is not right thinking.
To awaken intelligence you must perceive what impedes the creative movement of thought. That is, if you can perceive for yourself that ideals, beliefs, traditions, values, are constantly twisting your thought-action, then by becoming aware of these distortions intelligence is awakened. There can be no creative thinking so long as there are conscious or unconscious hindrances, values, prejudices, that pervert thought. Instead of pursuing imitativeness, systems and gurus, you must become conscious of your impediments, your own prejudices and standards, and in discerning their significance there will be that creative intelligence which alone can destroy confusion and bring about deep agreement of comprehension.
The most stubborn of all impediments is tradition. You may ask: What will happen to the world if tradition is destroyed? Will there not be chaos? Will there not be immorality? Confusion, conflict, pain, exist now, in spite of your honoured traditions and moral doctrines.
What is the process by which the mind is ever accumulating values, memories, habits, which we call tradition? We cannot discern this process so long as mind is conditioned by fear and want which are constantly creating anchorages in consciousness that become tradition.
Can the mind ever be free of these anchorages of values, traditions, memories? What you call thinking is merely moving from one anchorage or centre of bias to another, and from this centre judging, choosing, and creating substitutions. Anchored in limitation, you contact other ideas and values, which superficially modify your own conditioned beliefs. You then form another centre of new values, new memories, which again condition future thought and action. So always from these anchorages you judge, calculate and react. As long as this movement from anchorage to anchorage continues, there must be conflict and suffering, there cannot be love. Superficial cultivation of brotherhood and tolerance only encourages this movement and intensifies illusion.
Can the mind-heart ever free itself from the centres of conditioned thought-emotion? If the mind-heart does not create for itself these anchorages of self-protection, then there can be clear thought, love, which alone will solve the many problems that now create confusion and misery. If you begin to be conscious of these centres you will discern what a tremendous power they are for disagreement, for confusion. When you are not conscious of them you are exploited by organizations, by leaders, who promise you new substitutions. You learn to talk easily of brotherhood, kindliness, love - words that can have no significance at all as long as you merely move from one bias to another.
Either you discern the process of ignorance with its tradition, and so there is immediate action, or you are so accustomed to the drug of substitution that perception becomes impossible, and so you begin to seek a method of escape. Perception is action, they are not divisible. What you call intellectual perception creates an artificial separation between thought and action. You then struggle to bridge this division, an effort that has no significance, for it is the lack of comprehension that has created this illusory division. Either you are aware of the process or you are not. If you are not, let us consider this process deeply, enthusiastically, but do not let us seek a method. This eagerness to comprehend becomes the flame of awareness which burns away the desire for substitution.
Question: Can I for ever be rid of sorrow, and by what method? Krishnamurti: Sorrow is the companion of all, the rich and the poor, the believer and the non-believer. In spite of all your beliefs and doctrines, in spite of your temples and Gods, suffering is your constant companion. Let us understand it and not merely think of being rid of it. When you have fully comprehended sorrow, then you will not seek a way to overcome it.
Do you want to be rid of joy, ecstasy, bliss? No. Then why do you say you must be rid of sorrow? The one gives pleasure, the other pain, and the mind clings to that which is pleasurable and nourishes it. All interference on the part of the mind to stimulate joy and overcome sorrow must be artificial, ineffective. You are seeking a way out of your misery, and there are those who will help you to forget sorrow by offering you the dope of belief, doctrine, and future happiness. If mind does not interfere either with joy or pain, then that very joy, that very sorrow, awakens the creative flame of awareness.
Sorrow is but an indication of conditioned thought, of mind limited by beliefs, fears, illusions, but you do not heed the incessant warning. To forget sorrow, to overcome it, to modify it, you seek refuge in beliefs, in the anchorage of self-protection and security. It is very difficult not to interfere with the process of sorrow, which does not mean that you must be resigned to it or that you must accept it as inevitable, as karma, as punishment. As you do not wish to change a lovely form, the glow after sunset, the vision of a tree in a field, so also do not obstruct the movement of sorrow. Let it ripen, for in its own process of fulfilment there is comprehension. When you are aware of the wound of sorrow, without acceptance, resignation or denial, without artificially inviting it, then suffering awakens the flame of creative intelligence.
The very search for an escape from sorrow creates the exploiter, and the mind yields to exploitation. So long as the artificial process of interference with sorrow continues, sorrow must be your constant companion. But if there is vital awareness, without choice, without detachment, then there is intelligence which alone can dispel all confusion.
Question: With what special significance do you use the word "intelligence"? Is it graded and therefore capable of constant evolution and variation?
Krishnamurti: I am using the word intelligence to convey the vital completeness of thought-action. Intelligence is not the outcome of intellectual effort, nor of emotional fervour. It is not the product of theories, beliefs and information. It is the completeness of action arising from the undivided comprehension of thought-emotion. In rare moments of deep love we know completeness.
Creative intelligence cannot be invited or measured, but the mind seeks definition, description, and is ever caught in the illusion of words. Awareness without choice reveals, in the very moment of action, the concealed distortions of thought and emotion and their hidden significance.
"Is it graded, and therefore capable of constant evolution and variation?" What is discerned completely cannot be variable, cannot evolve, grow. The comprehension of the process of the "I", with its many centres of self-protection, the discernment of the significance of anchorages, cannot be changeable, cannot be modified through growth. Ignorance can vary, develop, change, grow. The various self-protective centres of the mind are capable of growth, change and modification. The process of substitution is not intelligence, it is but a movement within the circle of ignorance.
The flame of intelligence, love, can be awakened only when the mind is vitally aware of its own conditioned thought, with its fears, values, wants.
The Mirror of Relationship
2nd Public Talk 13th December, 1936
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.