The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Public Talk 28th December, 1947
This will be the last Sunday talk. Though I have gone over many subjects and approached our human problem from different points of view I think it may be just as well if I made, not exactly a summary, but a general survey of what we have been discussing during the last ten weeks. Naturally I cannot do it in detail and, as time is limited, I will naturally have to be very concise but I hope that those of you who have followed these discussions and talks will understand their true significance rather than accept merely the words.
We must have realized not only through newspapers but through our everyday contact with life, with our neighbours, our friends, our families, the increasing confusion and misery all around us, politically, socially, religiously; and the same confusion exists in our relationship with each other, that is, with society. So, how are we to understand this increasing confusion and misery and bring order and happiness? I think that is what every thoughtful man is concerned with; I am not talking of those people who are concerned with systems, for they are really not thoughtful people at all; they want to impress upon people a system by means of which happiness or order could be brought about, they are concerned with systems and not with human beings. So, we are not discussing systems or organizations, but how to bring about order in this mad chaotic world.
To go far you must begin very near, mustn't you? You must begin with what is very close, which is yourself. That is, we see this chaos about us, mounting disaster, mounting wars and terrible cruelties and misery; how are we to solve these? It is a vast confused puzzle and where must we begin to bring order and happiness? Surely with yourself, mustn't you? You are the focal point of all this chaos, surely; if we understand that, we will begin with ourselves, each one of us, I with myself and you with yourself. But, somehow we fail to realize this basic fact, that we are the important keystone in the whole structure of society.
What is the relationship between yourself and the misery, the confusion in and around you? Surely this confusion, this misery did not come into being by itself. You and I have created it, not a capitalist or a communist or a fascist society, but you and I have created it in our relation: ship with each other. What you are within has been projected without, onto the world; what you are, what you think and what you feel, what you do in your everyday existence, is projected outwardly and that constitutes the world. If we are miserable, confused, chaotic within, by projection that becomes the world, that becomes society, because the relationship between yourself and myself, between myself and another is society - society is the product of our relationship - and if our relationship is confused, egocentric, narrow, limited, national, we project that and bring chaos into the world.
So, what you are, the world is. So your problem is the world's problem. Surely, this is a simple and basic fact, is it not? In our relationship with the one or the many we seem somehow to overlook this point all the time. We want to bring about alteration through a system or through a revolution in ideas or values, based on a system, forgetting that it is you and I who create society, who bring about confusion or order by the way in which we live. So, we must begin near, that is, we must concern ourselves, with our daily existence, with our daily thoughts and feelings and actions which are revealed in the manner of earning our livelihood and in our relationship with ideas or beliefs. This is our daily existence, is it not? We are concerned with livelihood, getting jobs, earning money, we are concerned with the relationship with our family or with our neighbours, and we are concerned with ideas and with beliefs. Now, if you examine our occupation, it is fundamentally based on envy, it is not just a means of earning a livelihood. Society is so constructed that it is a process of constant conflict, constant becoming; it is based on greed, on envy, envy of your superior; the clerk wanting to become the manager, which shows that he is not just concerned with earning a livelihood, a means of subsistence but with acquiring position and prestige. This attitude naturally creates havoc in society, in relationship, but if you and I were only concerned with livelihood we would find out the right means of earning it, a means not based on envy. Envy is one of the most destructive factors in relationship because envy indicates the desire for power, for position and it ultimately leads to politics; both are closely related; the clerk when he seeks to become a manager, becomes a factor in the creation of power politics which produce war. So, he is directly responsible for war.
What is our relationship based on? The relationship between yourself and myself, between yourself and another - which is society - what is it based on? Surely not on love, though we talk about it. It is not based on love because if there were love there would be order, there would be peace, happiness between you and me. But in that relationship between you and me there is a great deal of ill will which assumes the form of respect. If we were both equal in thought, in feeling, there would be no respect, there would be no ill will, because we would be two individuals meeting, not as disciple and teacher, nor as the husband dominating the wife, nor as the wife dominating the husband. When there is ill will there is a desire to dominate which arouses jealousy, anger, passion, all of which in our relationship create constant conflict from which we try to escape, and this produces further chaos, further misery.
Now as regards ideas which are part of our daily existence, beliefs and formulations, are they not distorting our minds? For, what is stupidity? Stupidity is the giving of wrong values to those things which the mind creates, or to those things which the hands produce. Most of our thoughts spring from the self-protective instinct, do they not? Our ideas, oh, so many of them, do they not receive the wrong significance which they have not in themselves? And therefore, when we believe in any form, whether religious, economic or social, when we believe in God, in ideas, in a social system which separates man from man, in nationalism and so on, surely we are giving a wrong significance to belief, which indicates stupidity, for belief divides people, doesn't unite people. So we see that by the way we live, we can produce order or chaos, peace or conflict, happiness or misery. So, what we have been discussing for the past eleven weeks is directly related to our daily life, to our daily existence and is not theoretical.
To bring order out of this confusion, out of this chaos which we have projected outwardly because inwardly we are chaotic, envious and stupid, is virtue. You can only bring order and peace and happiness through self-knowledge, and not by following a particular system, either economic or religious. But to know one's self is most difficult. It is very easy to follow a system for you don't have to think very much, you give yourself over to a party, either the left or the right, and thereby close your thinking process. To be aware of the activities of your daily existence requires thoughtfulness, intelligence, awareness which very few people are willing to practice. They would rather reform society than understand their own activity, their own thought, their own feelings, yet it is they who really create misery and havoc. Self-knowledge is not the knowledge of some supreme self, which is still within the field of the mind, but the knowledge of yourself in your daily action, what you do every day, what you feel, what you think every moment. This requires extraordinary alertness, does it not? There must be constant alertness to pursue every thought, every feeling and to know all their contents. From self-knowledge comes right thinking, therefore, right action which is really extremely simple when you are aware, but extremely difficult when you talk theoretically about it. Most of us are so callous about everything, about life itself, that we would rather discuss what is self-knowledge than be aware. Yet it is only through right thinking which comes through self-knowledge, the knowledge of everything we do, think and feel, that we can bring order and peace, and not in any other way. No system of philosophy, either of the left or of the right, can bring order, peace and happiness to men because it is you and I who have created this misery, through our everyday stupidity, ill will and envy. These things cannot be eradicated until we understand them. We can only understand them as they function within us, in you and in me, and not by theoretically reading about them in any book; and through understanding them we will bring virtue into being and virtue gives freedom and that freedom is Truth.
I have many questions to answer. I have chosen seven as representing the many and I am going to try to answer these seven questions as quickly and as concisely as possible.
Question: Can an ignorant man with many responsibilities understand and so carry out your teachings without the aid of another, without resorting to books and to teachers?
Krishnamurti: Now, can understanding be given to another? Can you be taught how to love? Can you go to a guru, a teacher, or read a book and learn how to love, how to be kind, how to be generous and how to understand? Can you follow another and be free? Can you accept authority and yet be creative? Surely creativeness comes only when there is freedom, inward freedom, when there is no fear, when there is no imitation, when there is no submission to authority whether of a sacred book or of a teacher. Now, who is the ignorant man? Surely the ignorant man is the man who does not know himself, and not the man who is not learned; The learned man is really stupid in his ignorance because he relies on knowledge, books, outward authority to give him understanding, but understanding comes only through self-knowledge which is the true state of yourself, the state of your total process and not only one part of your being, either the material or the psychological for both these act and react upon each other. The study of yourself, which is self-knowledge, is extraordinarily arduous as it demands constant awareness which is not introspection because introspection is merely the improvement of the self, the self which is functioning every day. Improvement implies condemnation and depression; that is introspection, but awareness is totally different. Awareness can only come into being when you are not condemning when you are alertly passive. So, self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.
Now, the questioner asks: Can an ignorant man, with many responsibilities, understand and carry out your teachings without the aid of a teacher? Obviously, if you accept authority there cannot be understanding, for authority is ever blinding whether it be outward authority or inward authority; and to have many responsibilities implies relationship, does it not? And relationship is a process of self-revelation. Only in relationship can you find out. There is no such thing as living in isolation. Even the man who seeks to avoid the world and run away from the world, is in relationship with others, because to exist is to be related and in the relationship between you and me, between yourself and another, the activities of the self are revealed.
Surely in order to know yourself, to know what you think, what you feel, you don't have to go to a guru. Though it is arduous no one can help you to follow out every thought, every feeling and to realize their implications and their significance. You and I can discuss it, go into it significantly, with complete concentration, with interest, but because you are not really interested, you will go to someone else to find out how to think, how to discover and that is the misfortune. The moment you are interested, the moment you recognize your responsibility in relationship then that very process begins to unwrap the ways of your own thoughts and actions. So, the problem is not whether you should read books or go to teachers but whether, very simply, you are aware of what you are doing, of what you are thinking, when you put on your sacred threads, your namams, when you talk to your servants; aware of the way you treat your wives, your children and your neighbours. Be aware every moment and see what happens. You will see that when you are aware, there will be conflict, greater conflict than before; because you then begin to see the significance of your actions, of your thoughts and feelings, and this will bring you further misery, and as we want to avoid suffering we turn to gurus, books, which are merely escapes and therefore create further misery in us and therefore in society.
So, what is important is to be creative but creativeness does not come through imitation, creativeness comes into being only when there is freedom. Surely you do have ideas and feelings at moments when you are not imitating, when you are quiet and when you are silent. There is creativeness only when there is cessation of fear, when you are not concerned about your own activities, about your miseries and misfortunes. Only in that state of freedom from your daily existence, your daily worries, is there that creativeness, and that creativeness cannot be learned, it comes into being when your daily problems are understood, but you cannot understand them through a book, through a teacher but only by coming into direct contact with them, by being aware of them every minute of the day. This is very arduous, it requires swiftness of thought. But as most of us are dull, as most of us are merely imitating, copying tradition or following a system, our minds are sluggish. To break away from those things which make us dull requires direct action; but as we have committed ourselves, it is very difficult because it means more disruption and as we are unwilling to face it we turn to books, to teachers who will gratify us, who will pacify us in our dullness. So, understanding comes only through self-knowledge and not through a book or through a teacher.
Question: What is the awareness that you speak of? Is it the awareness of the supreme universal consciousness?
Krishnamurti: Surely, Sirs, to be aware means very simply, to be aware of yourself in relation to your neighbour, to the flower, to the bird, to the tree; to be aware of your own thoughts, feelings and actions, because you must begin very near, mustn't you, to go very far. You cannot be aware of something that you don't know; you talk about universal consciousness, but you don't know it. If you do know it, surely it is not the Real. You have learned of it in a book or you have been told about it. It is still within the field of the mind, of the memory; you want to begin with the most difficult and far away and not with the near, because it is much easier to be aware of God, for you can lose yourself in an idea, in imagination. But to be aware of your own daily acts, daily feelings, daily thoughts is much more painful and so you would rather be aware of something far away than of the things very close, such as your relationship with your wife or with your neighbour. You can be aware of love ideologically for it is the farthest and the most difficult thing. But to be aware, in our relationship how cruel we are, thoughtless, callous, self-enclosed, is very painful, and being conscious of the immediate pain which direct awareness brings, we would rather think of, or be aware of the universal consciousness, whatever that may mean, which again is a form of escape from the actual, from what is.
So, the awareness I am speaking of, is the awareness of what is, what is actually, directly in front of you, because in understanding what is, which is the very nearest, you can reach great depths, great heights; then there is no deception, then there is no self-illusion, because in the understanding of what is there is transformation. You will find that awareness is not condemnation or identification but a process of understanding of what is. If you condemn, if you, identify, you stop thinking, do you not? If you want to understand your child and if you condemn him you don't understand him. Similarly if you have a feeling, which is `what is', don't condemn it, don't identify it with yourself, don't cling to it but be aware of it; and by becoming aware of it you will find that you can go deeper and deeper into it and therefore discover the whole content of what is.
Awareness of what is, must be choice: less which again is very arduous. Awareness is that state of choicelessness, because if you want to understand something you must not condemn or identify, it must tell you its story. After all, if you observe a child, if you want to understand him, if you want to study him, his ways, his mannerisms, his idiosyncrasies, his moods, you can only do that if you don't condemn him or identify yourself with him, saying: this is my child. Condemnation, justification or identification prevents understanding and to be aware of the whole total process of what is, there must be choiceless observation. You do just that when you are interested in something, when you are vitally interested in pursuing something, in understanding something; you are not criticizing, you are not condemning, you give all your mind and heart to it. But, unfortunately we are trained educationally and religiously to condemn and not to understand. After all, condemnation is very easy, but to understand is very arduous, understanding requires intelligence, condemnation does not demand any intelligence at all, condemnation is a form of self-protection just as identification is. When you condemn you protect yourself, but if you want to understand what is, condemnation is a barrier. If you want to understand the state of the world as it is now, its appalling misery, surely it is no good condemning it, you must investigate it, you must observe from different points of view, from the psychological, economic, and so on. It is a total process and to understand the total process you cannot condemn it in part. We condemn because it is so easy to condemn, while to be aware and to pursue all the implications requires a great deal of patience, a capacity to penetrate and to be still. You understand only when there is stillness, when there is silent observation, passive awareness. Then the problem yields you its significance. So, the awareness of which I am speaking is awareness of what is, and not of something which is the invention of the mind. Being aware implies awareness of the mind's activities in which are included ideas, beliefs but also the tricks which the mind plays upon itself. So, be aware of what is, without condemnation, without justification or identification, then you will see that there is a deeper understanding which resolves our problems.
Question: I am very interested in your teachings; I would like to spread them. What is the best way to do it?
Krishnamurti: Many things are involved in this question. Let us look at it. Propaganda is a lie because mere repetition is not Truth. What you can repeat is a lie. Truth cannot be repeated for Truth can only be experienced directly; mere repetition is a lie because repetition implies imitation. That which you repeat may be Truth to someone but when you repeat it, it ceases to be Truth. Propaganda is one of the terrible things in which we are caught. You know something or you don't know. Usually you have read something in some books and you have heard some talk and you want to spread it. Have words any significance besides the verbal meaning? So what you are spreading is really words and do words or terms, resolve our problems? Say, for instance, you believe in reincarnation; you don't know why you believe but you want to spread that belief. What are you spreading in fact? Your belief, terms, words, your convictions which are still within the field, within the layer of verbal expression.
We think in words, in terms, we seek explanations which are still only words and we are caught in this monstrous lie, believing that the word is the thing. Surely, the word God is not God, but you believe that the word is God and that therefore you can spread it. Please see this. To you the word has become important, and not Reality. So you are caught in the verbal level and what you want to spread is the word. That means you will catch what I am saying in the net of words and so cause a new division between man and man. Then you will create a new system based on Krishnamurti's words which you the propagandist will spread among other propagandists who are also caught in words and thereby what have you done? Whom have you helped? No, Sirs, that is not the way to spread. So don't try what is stupid, what is the height of folly - to spread someone else's experience.
If you experience something directly, it would be experience not based on belief; because what you believe you experience and therefore it is not real experience but only conditioned experience; there can be experience, the right kind of experience only when thinking ceases, but that experience cannot be spread as information to clear the mess. But, if you begin to understand simple things like nationalism, surely you can discuss it with others, in order to make it known as a poison which is destroying man. Sirs, you are not aware of the enormous calamity that lies in wait for you and for the whole world because this poison is spreading. You are nationalists, you are Hindus against pakistan, against England, against Germany, against Russia, and so on. So, nationalism is a poison, is it not? You can understand that very easily, because it divides men. You cannot be a nationalist and talk of brotherhood; these terms are contradictory. That also you can understand, that you can talk about. But you don't want to talk about that because that would mean a change of heart within yourself, which means that you must cease to be a Hindu with your beliefs, ceremonies and all the rubbish that is around you. We don't talk about nationalism because we might be asked if we are free of it ourselves. Not being free, we evade it and try to discuss something else. Surely you can talk about something which you live and which you are doing every day, and that is what I have been talking about - your daily actions, your daily thoughts and feelings. My words you cannot repeat; for, if you do, they will have no meaning; but you can talk about the way you live, the way you act, the way you think, from which alone there can be understanding; all that, you can discuss; but there is no use of groups with presidents and Secretaries and organizations which are terrible things in which you are often caught. Sirs, though you all smile, yet surely you are all caught in these.
I don't think you know how catastrophic the whole situation is in the world now. I don't have to frighten you. You have merely to pick up a newspaper and read about it. You are on the edge of a precipice and you still perform ceremonies, carry on in your stupid ways, blind to what is happening. You can only alter by transformation of yourself and not by the introduction of a new system whether of the left or of the right. In the transformation of yourself is the only hope but you cannot transform yourself, radically, profoundly, if you are above all a Hindu, if you perform ceremonies, if you are caught in the net of organizations.
As it has always been in the past, so also at the present time the salvation of man is in his being creative. You are caught inwardly in belief, in fear and in those hindrances that prevent the coming together of man and man. That is, if I don't know how to love you, how to love my neighbour, my wife, how can there be communion between us. We need communion, not communion between systems but communion between you and me without systems, without organizations and that means we must really know how to love one another, our hearts must be opened to one another, but your hearts cannot be open if you belong to an organization, if you are bound by beliefs, if you are nationalistic, if you are a brahmin or a sudra.
So, you can spread even a tiny part of what I have been talking about, only as you live it. It is by your life that you communicate profoundly, not through words. Words, Sirs, to a serious, thoughtful man have very little meaning. Terms are of very little significance when you are really seeking Truth, Truth in relationship and not an abstract Truth of valuations, of things, or of ideas. If you want to find the truth of those things verbally, it is of little importance; but words become very important when you are not seeking Truth; then the word is the thing and then the thing catches you. So, if you want to spread these teachings, live them, and by your life you will be spreading them, you will be communicating them, which is much more true and significant than verbal repetition, for repetition is imitation and imitation is not creativeness and you as an individual must awake to your own conditioning and thereby free yourself and hence give love to another.
Question: Is marriage necessary for women?
Krishnamurti: I don't know why it is necessary for women any more than it is for men. This is really an enormous problem. We will try to tackle it. First of all we are trying to understand the problem, we are not trying to condemn it or identify with it or justify it. We are trying to understand the problem of marriage, in which is implied sexual relationship, love, companionship, communion. Obviously if there is no love, marriage becomes a disgrace, does it not? Then it becomes mere gratification. To love is one of the most difficult things, is it not? Love can come into being, can exist only when the self is absent. Without love, relationship is a pain; however gratifying, or however superficial, it leads to boredom, to routine, to habit with all its implications. Then, sexual problems become all important. In considering marriage, whether it is necessary or not, one must first comprehend love. Surely, love is chaste, without love you cannot be chaste; you may be a celibate, whether a man or a woman, but that is not being chaste, that is not being pure, if there is no love. If you have an ideal of chastity, that is if you want to become chaste, there is no love in it either because it is merely the desire to become something which you think is noble, which you think will help you to find Reality; there is no love there at all. Licentiousness is not chaste, it leads only to degradation, to misery. So does the pursuit of an ideal. Both exclude love, both imply becoming something, indulging in something and therefore you become important and where you are important, love is not. So, that is one of the problems. Then, if you are not married, consider the difficulties, either for man or woman. Biologically, the woman `needs' to fulfil herself in a child. When she is deprived of that she is starved, as she is starved when she is deprived of love. And as most women are deprived of love they seek fulfillment in things or in their children. So, children and things become all important to women, whereas the man tries to fulfil himself in work and activity. But is there fulfillment? I hope you are following all this. If I try to fulfil myself through things, through family, through ideas, then family, names, things and ideas become very important. And therefore I give value to things, to relationship, to ideas. I give them a greater value than they have because they are important to me. I introduce wrong laws, wrong methods, wrong values instead of finding out if there is fulfillment.
What do we mean by fulfillment? As long as we are seeking fulfillment there is fear, is there not? I want to fulfil myself in my family, in my name, in my continuity or in things or in ideas. So, there is always a desire for fulfillment where there is frustration. I want to fulfil myself because I am aware that I am not fulfilling myself. The fact is I am not fulfilling. I am empty, I would like to fill that emptiness. So, what happens? I merely pursue fulfillment without understanding `what is'. If I understood what is, which is my emptiness, my hollowness, my shallowness, my pettiness, then I could transform that. There is a tremendous revolution in that. But, if I merely pursue fulfillment, then there is misery because I seek fulfillment in so many ways, which is merely a continuation of my own emptiness. So, that is one of the problems.
Then there is the problem of creativeness which is not merely the breeding of children. Sirs, a man who is happy inwardly, who is creative, does not bother whether he is married or unmarried, he is not seeking fulfillment, he is not escaping through passion, through lust. We cease to be creative when we are imitative, when we are merely functioning according to the response of memory. The response of memory is generally called thinking but such thinking is merely a response of the framework of references which is memory, and that is not real thinking. There is real thinking only when there is no response to memory. In that passive alert awareness, there is creativeness. When you are in that state, then life with all its passions, with all its desires, fades away which does not mean that you cease to love, on the contrary.
Sirs, in order to communicate with another there must be love. It is because we have not that love that all these problems arise: whether I should or should not marry, whom should I marry, the sexual problem, creativeness and so on. But unfortunately, love is something you cannot learn, it is something which cannot be translated. It comes into being when you have no problem. Have you not found yourselves walking along the streets sometimes, looking at the stars, looking at the sky, or the sunset and feeling happy without knowing why? At such times you want to put your arm around another, you are really in communion with man. But unfortunately, we are so occupied with our own thoughts and problems and fears and our envy, that we have no time to be in communion. You don't know your wife, you don't know your husband or your children. You may have children but there is no love, because you and your wife are isolated. You are hiding behind a wall of your own making and without breaking down that wall, there cannot be communion and to commune there must be love. Without love, mere search for chastity, celibacy, is unchaste. When there is love there is chastity, purity, there is incorruptibility.
Question: I have listened to what you have been saying and I feel that to carry out your teachings I must renounce the world I live in.
Krishnamurti: Sir, you cannot renounce the world, can you? What is the world? The world is made up of things, relationships and ideas. How can you give up things? Even if you give up your house you will still have a `kurtha'. You may renounce your wife but you will still be in relation with someone, with the milkman, for instance, or the man who gives you food. And you cannot renounce belief, can you? I wish you would. Begin there, if you must renounce something, renounce the wrong valuations which you have given to everything. Wrong valuations create havoc and it is from these wrong valuations which cause misery that you want to escape. You don't want to understand that you are giving wrong values. You want to escape from the result of wrong values but if you understood the world, which is - ideas, relationship, things - and their true significance, then you would not be in conflict with the world. You cannot withdraw from the world, to withdraw means isolation and you cannot live in isolation. You can live in isolation only in an asylum, but not by renouncing the world. You can only live truly happily with the world when you are not of the world, which means you don't give wrong values to the things in the world. This can happen only when you understand yourself the giver of wrong values. Sirs, it is like a stupid man trying to renounce stupidity. He will still be stupid, he may try to become clever but he will remain stupid. But if he understood what stupidity is, that is, himself, surely then he would reach great heights. Then he would have wisdom. It is not by renouncing that you can find Reality. By renouncing you escape into illusion; you do not discover that which is true. So, what I have been saying is that one must give right values to things, to relationship, to ideas and not try to escape from the world. It is comparatively easy to go away into isolation, but it is extremely arduous to be aware and to give true values. Sirs, things have no value in themselves. The house has no value in itself but it has the value you give it. If psychologically you are empty, insufficient in yourself, the house becomes very important because you identify yourself with the house, and then comes the problem of attachment and renunciation. It is really stupid, and if you understood your inward nature, your inward hollowness, then the problem would have very little meaning. Everything becomes extraordinarily significant when you are trying to use it to cover up your own loneliness. Similarly with relationship, with ideas, with belief. So, there is richness only in understanding the significance of what is, and not in running away into isolation.
Question: a) Life hurls at us one problem after another. Will the state of awareness of which you speak, enable us to understand and solve, once and for all, the whole question of problems or have they to be solved one after the other?
Question: b) I feel certain deep urges which need to be disciplined. What is the best way of disciplining them?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, it is a very difficult problem. Those of you who are really earnest must give your mind and heart to it. First of all there are problems one after the other. Life is one constant battle of problems and we want to know how to solve them, how to meet them or how to discipline ourselves in order to resist them. That is the whole problem: How are we to discipline ourselves so as not to let problems affect us, how are we to prevent this constant arising of problems? Can they be cut off at the root once and for all?
So, there are several things involved in this question. You will be pursued by problems, one after the other, with their constant annoyance and pain, constant apprehensions if you don't understand who is the creator of problems. If you understand who is the creator of problems, then naturally you will not deal with the problems one by one; that would be utterly stupid. If I understand the cause and not merely the symptoms, then the symptoms cease to be. Similarly if I understand who is the creator of the problems, then the problems cease to be, then there is no question of tackling first one problem and then another.
Then, there is implied the problem of the thinker and the thought, of the one who disciplines and the one who is disciplined. The thinker, the imitator, the discipliner is trying to discipline his thought. This is one of the problems, and the other is how to resist attack from the outside. So, let us begin with the resistance first.
Do you resist when you understand something? Surely not. Discipline exists only as a measure of resistance; otherwise you don't need discipline at all. If through discipline you can create a certain habit, a certain isolation, a certain enclosure then you think you will no longer be afraid. So, discipline, which is resistance or a means of self-protection exists when there is no understanding. If you understand a problem, then the problem ceases. You don't have to resist it. For example, if you understand why you are arrogant then you don't have to resist arrogance. Your disciplining yourself is again arrogance, pride, the pride of achieving, the pride of becoming, the pride of being somebody, it is the search for power, position. If you understand all of that then you will never resist, and you will not discipline your mind `not to be arrogant'. So, to understand `what is', is extremely difficult because to understand what is, there must be no distraction of an opposite; for instance, of humility which is the opposite of arrogance. There must be complete concentration on `what is'.
So, discipline exists only as a form of resistance. You discipline yourself in order not to be tempted, you discipline yourself against something. But, discipline as a mode of resistance, which is violence, ceases only when you understand it, when you are aware of it, when you don't reject it, when you don't condemn it. You will find that through awareness there comes a discipline which is not imposed, a discipline of extraordinary intelligence and pliability. A man who resists is really `dead,' he is `enclosed' to a man who is independent and free. So, discipline is resistance, I am using the word to include all modes and practices used for self-protection. Discipline is a form of resistance and where there is resistance, there is enclosure and where there is enclosure there is no understanding, there is no communion. A disciplined man is merely righteous and a righteous man has no love in his heart, he is enclosed within the walls of his becoming.
The other point in this question is whether problems can be solved all at once, in one stroke cut off at the root. But first we must discover who is the creator of problems. If the creator is understood the problems will cease. The creator of the problem is the thinker, is he not? Problems do not exist apart from the thinker, that is obvious, is it not? The thinker is the creator of the problems whether many or one. Now, is the thinker separate from his thoughts? If he is separate, then the problem will continue because he creates the problem, separates himself from it and deals with the problem. But if the thinker is the thought, inseparably, then being the creator, he can begin to solve himself without being concerned with the problem, or with the thought. Now, you think that the thinker is separate from his thought, that is exactly what all your religious books, your philosophies are based on. Is that not so? It does not matter what the Bhagavad Gita says or what any book says. Is the thinker separate from his thought? If he is separate, problems will continue, if he is not, then he can be freed of the source of all problems.
If the thinker is separate from his thoughts, how does he become separated? Remove the qualities of the thinker, remove his thoughts, where is the thinker? The thinker is not. Remove the qualities of the self which is memory, ambition and so on, where is the self? But if you say the self is not the thinker but some other entity behind the thinker, he is still the thinker, because you have only pushed the thinker further back. Now, why has the thinker separated himself from his thoughts? The thinker cannot be without thought because if there is no thought there is no thinker. Now the thinker has separated himself from the thought for the simple reason that thought can be transformed, can be modified, and so in order to give himself permanency the thinker separates himself from the thought and thereby gives himself permanency. The thought being transient, mutable, can be altered, but the thinker who creates the thought can be permanent. He is the permanent entity, whereas the thought is changeable, it can be changed according to circumstances, according to environ- mental influences but he the thinker remains. He is the thought and if thought ceases he is not, surely, although all our books say differently. Just think it out for yourself for the first time. Put your books aside, forget your authorities and look at the problem directly. Without the thought the thinker is not and the thinker creates the thought and separates himself from it in order to protect himself; thereby he gives stability, certainty to himself and continuity.
Now, how does the thinker come into being? Obviously through desire. Desire is the outcome of perception, contact, sensation, identification and `me'. Perception of a car, contact, sensation, desire, identification, and `I like it', `I want it'. So, I am the product, the thinker is the product of desire, and having produced the `I', the `I' separates itself from the thought because it can then transform the thought and yet remain permanent.
So, as long as the thinker is separate from his thought, there will be problems, one after the other, innumerable problems; but if there is no separation, if the thinker is the thought, then what happens? Then the thinker himself undergoes a transformation, a radical, fundamental transformation, and that, as I have said, is meditation. It is self-knowledge, it is all that I have said about the thinker; how he separates himself from the thought and how the thinker has come into being. You can test it for yourself. You don't have to read a sacred book to find out the truth of it. That is the beginning of self-knowledge and from that there comes meditation. Meditation is the ending of thought of the thinker, by not giving significance to the thinker, by not giving continuity to the thinker. The thinker is disciplining his thought, separating himself so as to give continuity to himself through property, through family, through ideas, and as long as the thinker exists there will be problems and it is when the thinker ceases thinking, that meditation begins. Meditation is self-knowledge and without self-knowledge there is no meditation. You will find that if you go into the whole question of self-knowledge which is the beginning of wisdom - not by any practice because practice is merely resistance - you can go deeper and deeper starting with the centre which is the desire creating the `I', the self; and when that self continues in the Atman or higher self it is still the thinker merely pushing further back his permanency. Till you are aware of this whole process there is no ending of the problem. But when you become aware, you will find that time has ceased - time as memory of the past and the future - and that there is the immediate present, the eternal, and in this alone is Reality.
The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Public Talk 28th December, 1947
Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.