Colombo, Ceylon 1950
Colombo Ceylon 2nd Public Talk 1st January 1950
We were saying how important it is, before we ask what to do or how to act, to discover what is right thinking; because, without right thinking, obviously there cannot be right action. Action according to a pattern, according to a belief, has set man against man, as we discussed last Sunday. There can be no right thinking as long as there is no self-knowledge; because, without self-knowledge, how can one know what one is actually thinking? We do a great deal of thinking, and there is a great deal of activity; but such thought and action produce conflict and antagonism, which we see, not only in ourselves, but also about us in the world. So, our problem is, is it not?, how to think rightly, which will produce right action, thereby eliminating the conflict and confusion which we find not only in ourselves, but in the world about us.
Now, to find out what is right thinking, we must enquire into what don't know what we think, or if our thought is based on the background which is our conditioning, whatever we think is obviously merely a reaction and therefore leads to further conflict. So, before we can find out what is right thinking, we have to know what is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge, surely, is not mere learning a particular kind of thinking. Self-knowledge is not based on ideas, belief, or conclusion. It must be a living thing, otherwise it ceases to be self-knowledge and becomes mere information. There is a difference between information which is knowledge, and wisdom which is knowing the processes of our thoughts and feelings. But most of us are caught up in information, superficial knowledge, and so we are incapable or going much deeper into the problem. To discover the whole process of self-knowledge, we have to be aware in relationship. Relationship is the only mirror we have, a mirror that will not distort, a mirror in which we can exactly and precisely see our thought unfolding itself. Isolation, which many people seek, is the surreptitious building up of resistance against relationship. Isolation obviously prevents the understanding of relationship - relationship with people, with ideas, with things. As long as we don't know our relationship, actually what is, between ourselves and our property, ourselves and people, ourselves and ideas, obviously there must be confusion and conflict.
So, we can find out what is right thinking only in relationship. That is, we can discover in relationship how we think from moment to moment, what are our reactions, and thereby proceed step by step to the unfoldment of right thinking. This is not an abstract or difficult thing to do: to watch exactly what is taking place in our relationship, what are our reactions, and thus discover the truth of each thought, each feeling. But if we bring to it an idea or a preconception of what relationship should be, then obviously that pre- vents the uncovering, the unfoldment of what is. That is our difficulty: we have already made up our minds as to what relationship should be. To most of us, relationship is a term for comfort, for gratification, for security; and in that relationship we use property, ideas and persons for our gratification. We use belief as a means of security. Relationship is not merely a mechanical adjustment. When we use people, it necessitates possession, physical or psychological; and in possessing someone we create all the problems of jealousy, envy, loneliness and conflict. Because, if we examine it a little more closely and deeply, we will see that using a person or property for gratification is a process of isolation. This process of isolation is not actual relationship at all. So our difficulty and our mounting problem comes with the lack of understanding of relationship, which is essentially self-knowledge. If we do not know how we are related to people, to property, to ideas, then our relationship will inevitably bring about conflict. That is our whole problem at the present time, is it not? - relationship not only between people, but between groups of people, between nations, between ideologies, either of the left or of the right, religious or secular. Therefore, it is important to understand fundamentally your relationship with your wife, with your husband, with your neighbour; for relationship is a door through which we can discover ourselves, and through that discovery we understand what is right thinking.
Right thinking, surely, is entirely different from right thought. Right thought is static. You can learn about right thought, but you cannot learn about right thinking; because right thinking is movement, it is not static. Right thought you can learn from a book, from a teacher, or gather information about; but you cannot have right thinking by following a pattern or a mould. Right thinking is the understanding of relationship from moment to moment, which uncovers the whole process of the self.
At whatever level you live, there is conflict, not only individual conflict, but also world conflict.The world is you, it is not separate from you. What you are, the world is. There must be a fundamental revolution in your relationship with people, with ideas; there must be a fundamental change, and that change must begin, not outside you, but in your relationships. Therefore, it is essential for a man of peace, for a man of thought, to understand himself; for without self-knowledge his efforts only create further confusion and further misery. Be aware of the total process of yourself. You need no guru, no book, to understand from moment to moment your relationship with all things.
Question: Why do you waste your time preaching instead of helping the world in a practical way?
Krishnamurti: Now, what do you mean by "practical"? You mean bringing about a change in the world, a better economic adjustment, a better distribution of wealth, a better relationship - or, to put it more brutally, helping you to find a better job. You want to see a change in the world, every intelligent man does, and you want a method to bring about that change, and therefore you ask me why I waste my time preaching instead of doing something about it. Now, is what I am actually doing a waste of time? It would be a waste of time, would it not?, if I introduced a new set of ideas to replace the old ideology, the old pattern. Perhaps that is what you want me to do. But instead of pointing out a so-called practical way to act, to live, to get a better job, to create a better world, is it not important to find out what are the impediments which actually prevent a real revolution - not a revolution of the left or the right, but a fundamental, radical revolution, not based on ideas? Because, as we have discussed it, ideals, beliefs, ideologies, dogmas, prevent action. There cannot be a world transformation, a revolution, as long as action is based on ideas; because action then is merely reaction; therefore ideas become much more important than action, and that is precisely what is taking place in the world, isn't it? To act, we must discover the impediments that prevent action. But most of us don't want to act - that is our difficulty. We prefer to discuss, we prefer to substitute one ideology for another, and so we escape from action through ideology. Surely, that is very simple, is it not? The world at the present time is facing many problems: overpopulation, starvation, division of people into nationalities and classes, and so on. Why isn't there a group of people sitting together trying to solve the problems of nationalism? But if we try to become international while clinging to our nationality, we create another problem; and that is what most of us do. So, you see that ideals are really preventing action. A statesman, an eminent authority, has said the world can be organized and all the people fed. Then why is it not done? Because of conflicting ideas, beliefs, and nationalism. Therefore, ideas are actually preventing the feeding of people; and most of us play with ideas and think we are tremendous revolutionaries, hypnotizing ourselves with such words as "practical". What is important is to free ourselves from ideas, from nationalism, from all religious beliefs and dogmas, so that we can act, not according to a pattern or an ideology, but as needs demand; and, surely, to point out the hindrances and impediments that prevent such action is not a waste of time, is not a lot of hot air. What you are doing is obviously nonsense. Your ideas and beliefs, your political, economic and religious panaceas, are actually dividing people and leading to war. It is only when the mind is free of idea and belief that it can act rightly. A man who is patriotic, nationalistic, can never know what it is to be brotherly, though he may talk about it; on the contrary, his actions, economically and in every direction, are conducive to war. So, there can be right action and therefore radical, lasting transformation, only when the mind is free of ideas, not superficially, but fundamentally; and freedom from ideas can take place only through self-awareness and self-knowledge.
Question: I am a teacher, and after studying what you say, I see that most of the present education is harmful or futile. What can I do about it?
Krishnamurti: Surely, the question is what we mean by education, and why we are educating people. We see throughout the world that education has failed, because it is producing more and more destruction and war. Education so far has furthered industrialism and war; that has been the process for the last century or so. What is actually taking place is war, conflict, unceasing waste of one's own effort, everything leading to more conflict, greater confusion and antagonism - and is that the end of education? So, to find out how to educate, not only must the educator be educated, but there must be an understanding of what it is all about and what we are living for, the end and purpose of life. When we seek the purpose of life, we can find it only as a self-projection. The end and purpose of life, obviously, is living. But living is not a goal, happiness is not a goal. It is only when we are unhappy that we seek the goal of happiness. Similarly, when life is confused, then we want a purpose, an end. So, we have to find out what living means. Is it merely a technique, a capacity to earn money mechanically, or is it a process of understanding the total way of our whole existence? What is happiness? Is it to be educated, to pass the B. A. or M. A., or God knows what? Apart from profession, what are you actually? What is your state of being apart from your social status, so many rupees earned from such and such a job - strip yourselves of these, and what are you? Hardly anything; nothing very great, but something shallow and empty.
Knowledge is what we call education. You can get information from any book as long as you can read; so education so far has actually been an escape from ourselves; and, as with all escapes, it must inevitably create further confusion and further misery. Without understanding the total process of yourself, which is understanding relationship, mere gathering of information and mere memorizing of books in order to pass examinations is utterly futile. Surely I am not exaggerating. Education is understanding, and helping others to understand, the total process of our existence. The teacher must understand the whole significance of his action in relationship with society, with the world; so it is essential that the educator be educated. To bring about revolution in the world, transformation must take place in you; but we avoid radical revolution in ourselves, and try to bring about revolution in the State, in the economic world. Therefore education must begin with you, with the guru. When you give your background to the child, the mind of the child responds to that conditioning; and it is only through freedom from conditioning that there can be the true salvation of the world.
Question: I am a smoker, and I am trying to break myself of the habit of smoking. Can you help me? (Laughter)..
Krishnamurti: I do not know why you are laughing. The questioner wants to know how to stop smoking. It is a problem to him, and by merely laughing it away you have not solved it. Perhaps you also smoke, or have some other habit. Let us find out how to understand this whole process of habit-forming and habit-breaking. We can take the example of smoking, and you can substitute your own habit, your own particular problem, and experiment with your own problem directly as I am experimenting with the problem of smoking. It is a problem, it becomes a problem, when I want to give it up; as long as I am satisfied with it, it is not a problem. The problem arises when I have to do something about a particular habit, when the habit becomes a disturbance. Smoking has created a disturbance, so I want to be free of it. I want to stop smoking, I want to be rid of it, to put it aside; so my approach to smoking is one of resistance or condemnation. That is, I don't want to smoke; so my approach is either to suppress it, condemn it, or to find a substitute for it: instead of smoking, to chew. Now, can I look at the problem free of condemnation, justification, or suppression? Can I look at my smoking without any sense of rejection? Try to experiment with it now, as I am talking, and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is not to reject or accept. Because, our whole tradition, our whole background, is urging us to reject or to justify, rather than to be curious about it. Instead of being passively watchful, the mind always operates on the problem. So, the problem is not smoking, but our approach to smoking which creates the problem. Because, if you find smoking rather stupid, a waste of money, and so on - if you really see that, you will drop it, there will be no problem. Smoking, drinking, or any other habit, is an escape from something else; it makes you feel socially at ease. It is an escape from your own nervousness, or from a disturbed state; and the habit becomes a means of your conditioning. So, smoking is not the problem. When you approach smoking with your memory, your recollection of previous trials and failures, you approach it with a conclusion already made. Therefore, the problem is not in the fact, but in your approach to the fact. You have tried by discipline, control, denial, and you have not succeeded. So you say, "I shall go on smoking, I cannot stop" - which is after all an attempt to justify yourself; which means your approach is not very intelligent. So, smoking or any other habit is not a problem. The problem is thought, which is your approach to the fact. You are the problem, not the habit which you have created; and thus you will see, if you really try, how difficult it is for the mind to be free from the sense of condemnation and justification. When your mind is free, the problem of smoking or any other problem is non-existent.
Question: Is continence or chastity necessary for the attainment of liberation?
Krishnamurti: The question is wrongly put. For the attainment of liberation, nothing is necessary. You cannot attain it through bargaining, through sacrifice, through elimination; it is not a thing that you can buy. If you do these things you will get a thing of the marketplace, therefore not real. Truth cannot be bought, there is no means to truth; if there is a means, the end is not truth, because means and end are one, they are not separate. Chastity as a means to liberation, to truth, is a denial of truth. Chastity is not a coin with which you buy it. You cannot buy truth with any coin, and you cannot buy chastity with any coin. You can buy only those things which you know, but you cannot buy truth because you don't know it. Truth comes into being only when the mind is quiet, still; so the problem is entirely different, is it not?
Why do we think chastity is essential? Why has sex become a problem? That is really the question, isn't it? We shall understand what it is to be chaste when we understand this corroding problem of sex. Let us find out why sex has become such an extremely important factor in our life, more of a problem than property, money, and so on. What do we mean by sex? Not merely the act, but thinking about it, feeling about it, anticipating it, escaping from it - that is our problem. Our problem is sensation, wanting more and more. Watch yourself, don't watch your neighbour. Why are your thoughts so occupied with sex. Chastity can exist only when there is love, and without love there is no chastity. Without love, chastity is merely lust in a different form. To become chaste is to become something else; it is like a man becoming powerful, succeeding as a prominent lawyer, politician, or whatever else - the change is on the same level. That is not chastity, but merely the end result of a dream, the outcome of the continual resistance to a particular desire. So, our problem is not how to become chaste, or to find out what are the things necessary for liberation, but to understand this problem which we call sex. Because, it is an enormous problem, and you cannot approach it with condemnation or justification. Of course, you can easily isolate yourself from it - but then you will be creating another problem. This all-important, engrossing and destructive problem of sex can be understood only when the mind liberates itself from its own anchorage. Please think it out, don't brush it aside. As long as you are bound through fear, through tradition, to any particular job, activity, belief, idea, as long as you are conditioned by and attached to all that, you will have this problem of sex. Only when the mind is free of fear is there the fathomless, the inexhaustible; and only then does this problem take its ordinary place. Then you can deal with it simply and effectively; then it is not a problem. So, chastity ceases to be a problem where there is love. Then life is not a problem, life is to be lived completely in the fullness of love; and that revolution will bring about a new world.
Question: The idea of death terrifies me. Can you help me to overcome the dread of my own death and that of my loved ones?
Krishnamurti: Let us think this problem out together and go to the end of it; because we must find the truth of it, and not merely an opinion. Opinions are not truth. Death is a fact. You may like to dodge it, to escape from it through belief in reincarnation, continuity, growth; but it is a fact. Why are we terrified of it? What do we mean by death? Surely, we mean the end of something - of the body, and of our experiences which we have gathered throughout life: the psychological ending of accumulated experiences. Innumerable books are written about death, about the hereafter. But we are afraid of death. So, we try to find immortality, continuity, through property, through title, through name, through achievement, so that desire, memory, can be immortalized. Why do you want to continue? What is there to continue? Your memories? Memories are but accumulated experiences. Only in ending is there creation, not in continuity; therefore there must be death. In death only is there renewal, not in continuing, Incompleteness of action in. the present creates fear of death; and as long as there is the desire for continuity, there must be fear. That which continues must decay, it cannot be renewed; but in dying there is creation of the new.
January 1 1950
Colombo, Ceylon 1950
Colombo Ceylon 2nd Public Talk 1st January 1950
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