London 5th Public Talk 30th October 1949
It must seem very difficult for most of us to bring about a real transformation within ourselves. We see the necessity of real, deep, radical revolution, both inwardly and in outward things; and it is obvious that this transformation should be, not momentary, but constant. We want to bring about changes in the world - economic changes, social changes, and so on; but it seems to me, that one cannot really bring about a significant outward change, unless there is a radical psychological revolution, transformation. For the inner, surely, always overcomes the outer. What one is, that one creates outwardly. And unless this transformation takes place mere outward reforms, outward changes, however carefully worked out will inevitably fail, because the thing that is missing, is this inward revolution, this inward transformation.
And how is this inner transformation to be brought about? If we can really discuss it this morning, we may see that it is not so impossible, that it is not just for the few, but for those who are really serious and earnest. And what do we mean by this revolution, by this transformation within? Because if there is no inner transformation, one can see that whatever one may do outwardly, whatever social reforms one may bring about will inevitably fail. Unless the inner motives, desires, impulses, are understood, they overpower the outward structure.
So, it is essential to begin within oneself, to bring about the transformation in one's own attitude, actions and direction. That transformation, surely, must begin with self-knowledge; because without self-knowledge, there can be no radical revolution. Revolution is not according to an idea, according to a pattern; then, it is not a revolution - it is merely a modified continuity. But, if one can understand the psychological process of oneself, the inward demands, pursuits, fears, ambitions, hopes; and if one can go through the whole process of them - then it is possible to bring about a transformation. And therefore it is necessary, surely, to understand oneself, before one can bring about a transformation, outwardly or inwardly.
Now, this study of oneself cannot take place without understanding relationship. And as I've been saying over and over again, it is only in relationship that one begins to see the ways of the self - the self at whatever level one may place it; because, relationship is the fundamental issue, is it not? Without understanding relationship, the relationship between yourself and another, and without bringing about a radical transformation there, mere attempts at social revolution will inevitably fail because our whole existence is based on relationship - the relationship between yourself and your wife, between yourself and your neighbour, and therefore the relationships of society as a whole. It is there that there must be transformation. And, there cannot be transformation in relationship if the self is not fully investigated and understood - because the self is obviously the source of all conflict. One may give full expression to that self, thinking that it is the only thing one has; but it will invariably bring conflict and confusion in relationship. And it is only in understanding relationship that there can be transformation. So, transformation must surely begin with relationship, and not merely with the trimming of outward circumstances.
So, the problem of transformation, that is, of complete inward revolution, is not so difficult. It comes about only in understanding relationship; because relationship is the mirror in which I discover myself in action. And without understanding the total process of myself, there can be no radical revolution. So, in the unfolding of relationship, I begin to discover myself - not only at the superficial level, but at the deeper levels as well. Surely, one can begin there, can one not? One can begin to watch oneself constantly, to observe the sense of possessiveness, the sense of domination, which expresses itself outwardly, in your office and at home.
And why is there this sense of possession in relationship? Obviously, if we did not possess the person whom we say we love, we would feel frustrated, we would be at a loss, we would be faced with ourselves and our own emptiness, our own loneliness. So, we begin to possess, we begin to dominate, and are thereby caught in jealousy. So, in relationship we begin to discover ourselves; but, in possessing, in dominating another, that relationship does not unfold itself, does not uncover the process of ourselves.
Most of us do not want to know ourselves. But that is the first necessity, is it not?, if we are to understand ourselves. Most of us are afraid to know, afraid to discover, what we are - the ugly and the beautiful - whatever it is. So, we run away from it and use relationship as a means of comfort, as a means of security; and therefore, we never understand ourselves. The self is a closed door when we seek comfort in relationship. And it is this desire for comfort from which arise all the complications of relationship - domination, jealousy, differentiation, loving one, more than another, trying to make love impersonal, trying to be detached, and so on. There can be transformation only in the understanding of oneself. Only then is it possible to have a still mind - a mind that is not made still, but is still, through comprehension.
So, what is important is the intention to discover in relationship what is, what exactly is. And in understanding what is, without condemnation, without justification, one can go beyond it. It is this capacity to look clearly at what is - jealousy, ambition, greed, or whatever is discovered through relationship; it is this capacity to look at it, to be with it, without any sense of condemnation or suppression, without any sense of escape, that makes it possible to go beyond what is. And it is only then that there can be radical transformation.
Therefore, virtue is that state which comes into being, when what is, is transcended. But the transcending, the going beyond what is, cannot take place, if there is effort to be something. After all, that is what we are all trying to do, is it not? We all want to be something - more virtuous, more religious; we want to come nearer to the truth, or we are ambitious, worldly, and so on. We want to be something. We want to have greater understanding, greater happiness, greater wisdom. The very wanting to be something, is the denial of that which is. If I want to be something, I'm not understanding what I am. To understand what I am, this desire to be something, this desire to become, must be understood. Why do we want to be other than we are? If I do not make an effort to be something, will that lead to contentment, that false, respectable stagnation? Is that the reason why we want to be something? Or, is it because we do not face what we are, therefore, it is a process of escape from what is? - this constant desire to be something, with all its turmoil, confusion, struggle, effort, is an escape from what is, an escape from ourselves. And as long as we do not understand ourselves, and merely escape from what is, we only create greater conflict, greater misery. And if we can see that, see the futility of becoming something, of trying to achieve something psychologically then there comes a contentment with what is. It is only then, that there is no struggle with what is, trying to make it into something else: then it is possible to understand it. But, as long as we are trying to modify, to change what is, then there is no going beyond it. To discover what is, to be content with what is, is not stagnation: on the contrary, to be content with what is, is the most effective action; it does not bring confusion, it does not create enmity. There is so much enmity and confusion in the world, so much misery; and if we desire to bring about a radical transformation there, we must begin with ourselves, begin to understand what is, live with it, look at it without any sense of trying to sublimate, to change, to modify it. And that is not possible when we merely discard what is by giving it a name; because, the very naming of it is a process of condemnation or acceptance. But, when we do not name what is, it is transformed; and with that transformation there comes contentment - not the contentment of acquisition, not the contentment of having or possessing, or achieving a result, but the contentment that comes when there is no conflict; because it is conflict that creates discontent. And conflict is not creative, it cannot bring understanding. Conflict is unnecessary in life; and conflict comes to an end only when we can understand what is.
The understanding of what is, comes with freedom from the whole background of condemnation, justification, or identification. And as we discussed the other day, condemnation arises only when there is the analyzer, the examiner, the observer. But, the observer and the observed are a joint phenomenon; and that unification, that integration between the observer and the observed, takes place only when there is no sense of condemnation, justification or identification - that is, when there is freedom from the background, which is the I, the me, the mine. It is only when there is that freedom from the background that there is a possibility of responding to the challenge anew. Life is a process of challenge and response, and whenever the response is inadequate, there is conflict; and the inadequacy of the response can be removed only through understanding the process of relationship. And as we understand more and more the process of relationship, which is the process of myself in action, there is a possibility of the mind being still. A mind that is not still - whether it is pursuing knowledge, or greed, or becoming something now or in the hereafter - such a mind is incapable, obviously, of discovering; because there must be freedom to discover. And as long as the mind is trying to be something, there can be no discovery. It is only in freedom that there can be discovery, and freedom is virtue; because virtue gives freedom. But to strive to be virtuous, is not freedom; it is another form of becoming, which is self-expansion.
So, virtue is the denial of becoming; and that denial takes place only with the understanding of what is. And when there is this radical transformation, through self-knowledge, then there is a possibility of creative living. For, truth is not something to be achieved, it is not an end; it is not something to be gained. It comes into being from moment to moment. it is not a result of accumulated, stored up knowledge, which is merely memory, conditioning, experience. But truth comes into being from moment to moment, when the mind is capable of being free from all accumulations. For, the accumulator is the self: the self that gathers, in order to assert, to dominate, to expand, to self-fulfil. Only with the freedom of the self does truth come into being - not as a continuous process, but to be discovered from moment to moment. Therefore, to discover, the mind must be fresh, alert, and still.
Question: In what way can I help you in your work?
Krishnamurti: Is it my work, or your work? If it is my work, then you will become propagandists. And those who do propaganda are incapable of telling the truth; because they are merely repetitive machines, not knowing what they are saying. They may know the clever expressions, the slogans, the cliches; but they can never discover what is true. And most of us are directed by the propagandists; because we live mostly by words, without much content. We accept words so easily - words like democracy, peace, communist, God, or soul. We never look into these things. We never go beyond the transitory sensations these words evoke. And so, if you are merely a propagandist, or live by propaganda, then you cannot find that which is eternal. And without discovery of truth, life becomes tedious, painful.
So, you are not doing my work, you are not helping me. But what you are doing in all this is discovering yourself as you are, understanding yourself; because, without understanding yourself, there is no basis for action, there is no basis for right thinking. So, you are not helping me in my work, but understanding yourself. And whatever you understand of yourself, that, for the time being, is the truth. And that can be discovered only in daily relationship - and in the relationship between you and me as I talk and you listen, and how you listen. If you listen with prejudice, if you listen with your own background with all your condemnations, prejudices, for or against, then you are not listening: you and I have no relationship. But if you listen to find out about yourself, to discover yourself in relationship, then it's your work, and not my work. Then, since you are seeking truth, you will not be a mere propagandist. Then you are not concerned with convincing another trying to convert another to your particular form of belief, trying to reform another, trying to bring another to your particular group, to your particular society Then you, with your belief, are not important. But, the man with the belief, he is important, because the belief with which he is identified gives him importance. The man who is seeking real self-knowledge is not enclosed by belief; he is not hedged about by any society, any organization, by any religion. Therefore, there is no question of your work and my work. What is important, is to discover truth; and the discovery of truth is not yours or mine.
So, since it is not my work, but your own, it is important how you deal with it, how you approach the whole structure of your life. That is what we are discussing - to see it, to see the structure of your being, and thereby bring about a transformation. The very perception of what is, brings a radical transformation. But if you are listening in order to conform to what I am saying, then you will be a mere propagandist, then you will be a believer: you will create enmity and contention. And, God knows, there are enough groups, beliefs, in the world, all contending with each other, fighting with each other, for money for membership, and all that nonsense. But the man who is seeking self - knowledge will not create enmity, because he is honest, he is true to himself, he is true to what is.
But, what is important in this question is, to cease to be a propagandist, and to experience directly - not through a book, not through another, not through your own particular illusions and deceptions, but - to experience the truth directly for yourself from moment to moment. And such perception of truth is the liberating process. It brings joy to life, it brings clarity, an intensity that does not depend on moods. Therefore. it is your work, and that work begin; with self-knowledge. Question: Is all activity an escape? Is the service of humanity in its greatest need also an escape? Is not individual creative expression a true way of resolving conflict within oneself?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by activity and escape? Surely those of us who are at all aware, know that we are extraordinarily dull, extraordinarily empty. We have plenty of knowledge of what others say, of what others have written. We read, we listen, we try to copy, to imitate. But in ourselves we are as nothing. We are empty, insufficient, poor, lonely, driven like a leaf. And to escape from that, that sense of enormous fear, that gnawing anxiety of loneliness, we do all kinds of things we indulge in all kinds of activities, religious, political, scientific, and so on. And this escape from ourselves is called activity. Is it activity? It is movement, it is agitation, it is something to do; because, if you are left to yourself, you will be aware of that loneliness. So, you turn on the radio, or you pick up a book, or you run after somebody, or cry when that somebody leaves, or dies because you are left with yourself.
So, without understanding that emptiness, going through with it, understanding it fully, completely, how can you help humanity? What is humanity? Yourself and another, is it not? - you and your wife, you and your neighbour, the immediate world in which you live; not the Russian world, or the Indian world, but the world you live in. If there is no understanding there, if there is conflict, misery, strife, jealousy, envy there, how can you help humanity at large? It has no meaning, has it? It is merely a phrase of the exploiter, of the lecturer.
So, without understanding yourself, without observing all your activities - the escapes, the process of covering up your own ugliness, your own poverty, your own strife: the pursuit of the Master, the pursuit of virtue - any of these activities must lead to confusion and enmity. So, all activity becomes an escape, without understanding yourself. But, the understanding of yourself does not come through isolation, through cessation of activity. Activity is obviously relationship, action is relationship; and if whatever you discover in that action is shunned, put away, suppressed, avoided, then such activity is bound to create mischief and misery. But if in action, which is relationship, you discover what you are - the pettiness, the shallowness, the snobbishness, the sense of domination, and so on - and be with what you are, then out of that comes action which is entirely different from the activity of escape. Then, that action is releasing. creative. That action is not the outcome of a self - enclosing movement.
And the questioner wants to know if individual creative expression is not a way of resolving the individual conflict. That is, if you have a conflict, go and paint and forget it, release yourself through colour, through action, write a poem, go out for a walk, listen to a concert, pick up a book, go to church, think of the Master, serve humanity - do something. Will that put an end to conflict? Will that resolve the struggle, the pain? You may, as a scientist, be creative in your room, in your laboratory. Or you may paint creatively. But will that resolve your conflict? You may, at that moment of creative expression, escape from or put aside your conflict. But. the moment your work is finished, you are back again where you were, are you not? You may be a scientist, but, the moment you leave your laboratory, you are an ordinary human being, are you not? with your prejudices, with your nationalism, with your pettiness, your ambition, and all the rest of it. Similarly, you may have moments of creative understanding, creative expression - and then you paint. But the moment you stop painting, you are back with yourself.
Surely, no action will help to put an end to conflict, no activity of any kind will resolve conflict. What resolves conflict, is to be the conflict, completely; and you cannot be directly in relationship with conflict if you are trying to escape from it. And one of the many ways of escaping is to condemn it, to justify it, to suppress it, to sublimate it, to find a substitute for it. But, if we do not do any of these things, but merely live with it, be passively aware, choicelessly aware of conflict, then the conflict itself will unfold its meaning, it will reveal its content; and only when the content of conflict is revealed, is there freedom from conflict.
Therefore, a mind that is escaping, is incapable of looking at what is, with tranquillity. You may place that escape at any level - whether it be drink, a temple, knowledge, or sensation. As long as activity is merely an escape from what is, it must breed contention and enmity. But, if there is the understanding of what is. then there is liberation, which brings its own action; and that action is entirely different from the activity of escape.
Question: No matter what you say, there are, and there have to be leaders, guides, Masters, teachers. You yourself are one of them. What is your purpose in denying this obvious fact, and creating a new conflict in us?
Krishnamurti: Whether there are leaders, guides, Masters and teachers, is not important; but what is important is, why you need them. If we begin to discuss whether there are, or there are not Masters, guides and teachers, we shall be lost in opinion and in so-called experience - which is really a self-projected reaction. But it is important, is it not?, to find out why you demand leaders, why you follow teachers why you worship Masters, why you obey gurus or guides. So, if you can find out why you want them, why you need them, then the problem can be tackled.
You need them, you'll say, because you are confused: you do not know in what direction to go. You need a refuge, a comfort, a crutch, somebody to lean on; you need the glorified father, the glorified mother; you want somebody to tell you what to do, give you a pattern for action, a code; someone to encourage you, to tell you how wonderful you are, or that you are making progress. This all resolves itself into a very simple fact: that you are in conflict and confusion, you are in misery and strife, in hopeless unhappiness, caught in the everyday routine of boring relationship. So, either you create a romantic world of Masters, teachers, a romantic world of super-knowledge; or, because you are confused, you want someone to help you to clear up the confusion.
So, in other words, you are confused. miserable, and you want help from someone to clarify that confusion. And what do you do? When, out of your confusion, you choose a leader, a guru, or a Master, that leader, that guru, that Master, must also be confused. Do you choose when there is clarity? If you are clear, there is no choice; there is no question of demanding, asking, looking for a guide. It is only when you are confused, that you look for a guide for a teacher - not when you are happy, not when you are joyous, not when you have completely forgotten yourself. It is only when you are with yourself with your miseries, conflicts, and want to escape - only then do you look for a guide, and out of your confusion, you choose. Therefore, what you have chosen, must also be confused. Therefore, your leaders are confused, whether political or religious.
So, you want someone to help you out of your confusion. In other words, you want to run away from your confusion. And those who give you the means of escape, you worship, you make leaders of. And what you have made, the confusion that you have created, is the outcome of yourself, the outcome of your environment, of your background, of your education, of your social and environmental influences. So, since you are yourself the cause of all this confusion, it is no good going away, seeking somebody to help you. You have to clear it up yourself. And as that is a painful task, you want to be romantic, sentimental. So you chase the gurus, the Masters, and create contention between the believer and the non-believer. Whereas, to be aware of your confusion, see all its intricacies, its subtleties its structure; to understand who creates the confusion: confusion with regard to things, to property, to possessions; confusion with regard to people, to relationships; confusion with regard to ideas, what to believe and what not to believe, what is true and what is false - to be aware of all this process, not only at the superficial level of the mind but also in the hidden depths, demands great alertness, great watchfulness. It does not demand any teacher, including myself. On the contrary, any teacher whom you choose will deceive you, because you want to be deceived. But what is important is, to watch this process of confusion to be aware of it in your relationships. In the very awareness of what is, in the very awareness of this process of confusion, there is freedom.
Since it is our problem, yours and mine, you and I must clear it up, and not another. We have to be a light unto ourselves, not seek light from another. We are not candles to be lit by any saviour. We have created this confusion in the world, which is the outcome of our own confusion, and we cannot clear it up, save through understanding ourselves. To understand ourselves, we do not need a Master. The Master will lead you astray - because the Master whom you choose is self-projected. To clear up this confusion, you have to observe yourself in relationship, which is action; you have to be aware of yourself in relationship, in action from moment to moment, watching every word, every thought, every feeling, without any distortion, without any condemnation, looking at it simply, as you look at a child you love and wish to understand. Then there is freedom. Then you are no longer creating confusion. Confusion arises only as long as there is a centre - the centre of me and mine, of accumulated memories, experiences, frustrations and fears. And when that centre does not exist, what need is there for a teacher, a Master, a guide?
What is important is, not who is the teacher and who is the guide, but to understand ourselves, for that brings about happiness, that brings creative joy. And that joy, that bliss, is not a thing that you can learn from a Master. You can learn the words, you can learn the technique; but the technique is not the thing, the word is not the real. Through a technique you cannot experience. Experiencing is a state in which the me is non-existent. The me is the technique; the me is the way through which we achieve a result, a gain, or through which we deny; and the me can never be in that state of experiencing. After all, when you are experiencing something, there is no consciousness of the me. But the me exists as long as there is the consciousness of the centre, demanding, denying, and creating confusion. That consciousness is a state of experience, in which there is naming and recording. But if there is no recorder as the me, there is only the state of experiencing; and that experiencing of the real cannot take place without self-knowledge. Without knowing yourself, to follow another - it does not matter who it is, whether a political or a religious leader - leads to illusion, to destruction, to misery.
So, what is important is, not to find out why you have created the leaders, the Masters, whether they exist or do not exist, whether their existence is factual or not: but, why you follow them, why you listen, why you worship. You deny idolatry; and yet this is a form of idolatry. You deny the idols made by the hand, the craven image; but the image carved by the mind, you worship. They are all escapes from your own poverty, your own insufficiency, your own misery; and you can understand that conflict. only when you confront yourself in relationship, which is action.
Question: What is true simplicity?
Krishnamurti: To understand a question of this kind, we must not only consider it at the verbal level, but also experience it directly. Perhaps we can experiment, at least for a few minutes, with this question. Though I shall be talking about it verbally giving it an expression in order to communicate, we can still find out what is true simplicity and experience it. It is the experiencing that is of vital importance, not the mere listening to words,.
So, what is true simplicity? Obviously, to find that out we must approach it negatively; because our minds are stuffed with positive conceptions of what it is, according to the dictionary, to the Bible, to the religious books and so on. But, that is merely imitation, merely approximation. That is not simplicity. There is one obvious fact: that a mind that is crowded with conclusions is not a simple mind. Therefore, we can understand it only through the negative process.
So, simplicity does not begin with the loincloth, possessing only a few essential things, obviously does not indicate simplicity. Renunciation and its effect, which is pride, is not simplicity. There is no simplicity as long as the mind is trying to achieve a result, as long as the mind is becoming something. as long as the mind is caught in effort negatively or positively - to be, or not to be. We seem to think simplicity consists mostly in having few possessions. Few possessions are convenient, that is all; if you want to travel, you have to travel lightly. But it's not a virtue; it doesn't make you simple.
Simplicity is for the mind to be free from belief, to be free from the struggle of becoming, to remain with what is. And a mind that is crowded with beliefs, struggles, effort, pursuing virtue, is not a simple mind. But unfortunately, we worship the outward expression of simplicity; because we have so crowded our life with things, with properties, with furniture, books, clothes, we worship anybody who denies all that; we think he is a marvellously simple person, a saint. Surely, that is not simplicity. Simplicity comes when the self is absent. and the self is, when there is the desire to be, positively or negatively; and the desire to be, creates complexity, confusion. So out of fear, we deny this confusion, this complexity and pain, by worshipping the simple expression of having few things. Surely, the man who has given up the world, but who lives in the world of ideas and beliefs, of hidden pursuits and secret ambitions. who is burning with his own desires, is not a simple person; he is not a saint. There is simplicity, only when there is no desire to be something, positively or negatively. then the me is absent, it is not identified with anything - with a nation, with a group, with a particular ideology or religious dogma. When that me is totally absent, then there is simplicity which expresses itself in the world of action. But to copy, to imitate, to try to have few things, and be crowded in our minds with ideas, beliefs, desires, passions - such a life is not the simple life.
So, simplicity comes into being, only with the process of understanding the complex me, the structure of myself. The more I understand what is, and the wider and deeper that understanding. the greater the freedom from conflict, from misery. And it is this freedom that brings simplicity. Then the mind is quiet; the mind is no longer crowded. pursuing. And as the pool is tranquil, so the mind is quiet when the whole process of effort is understood. And with the quietness of the mind, the timeless comes into being. That which is causeless, is simple; and the causeless is the true. It cannot be invented by you; because your inventions, your fabrications of the true, have causation. But that which is true has no causation. God has no cause: it is. And for that state to be, the mind must be extraordinarily simple - not regimented, not disciplined, which is not simplicity, which is merely bondage. When the mind is simple, that which is a blessing comes into being.
October 30, 1949
London 5th Public Talk 30th October 1949
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