Paris 2nd Public Talk 16th April 1950
Surely, one of our great difficulties is that in trying to find security, not only in the economic world, but also in the psychological or so-called spiritual world, we destroy physical security. In the search for economic and psychological security we create certain ideas, we cling to certain beliefs, we have certain anxieties, certain acquisitive instincts, and that very search ultimately destroys physical security for most of us. So, is it not important to find out why it is that the mind attaches itself so strongly to ideas, to beliefs, to conclusions, to systems and formulae? Because, obviously, this attachment to ideas and beliefs with the hope of inward security in view ultimately destroys outward or physical security. Physical security is made impossible by the desire, by the anxiety, by the psychological necessity, of seeking inward security; therefore it is surely important to find out why the mind, why each one of us, so ardently pursues inward security.
Now, it is obvious that we must have physical security, food, clothing, and shelter; and it is important to find out, is it not?, how the mind, in seeking inward security, destroys security outwardly. In order to bring about physical 8 security we have to investigate this desire for inward security, this inward attachment to ideas, to beliefs, to conclusions. Why does the mind seek inward security? Why do we attach such enormous importance to ideas, to property, to certain people? Why do we take refuge in belief, in seclusion, which ultimately destroys outward security? Why does the mind hold so strongly, so determinedly, to ideas? Nationalism, belief in God, belief in a formula of one sort or another, is merely attachment to an idea; and we see that ideas beliefs, divide people. Why are we attached so strongly to ideas? If we can be free from the desire to be secure inwardly, then perhaps it will be possible to organize outward security; because, it is the desire for inward security that divides us, not the desire for outward security. We must have outward security, that is obvious; but outward security is prevented by the desire to be inwardly secure. Until this problem is solved, not superficially, but radically, fundamentally and seriously, there can be no outward security.
So, our problem is not to seek a formula or system which will bring about outward security, but to find out why the mind is constantly seeking inward isolation, inward gratification, psychological security. It is easy to put the question, but to discover the right answer, which must be true, is very arduous. Because most of us want to be certain, we avoid uncertainty; we want to be certain in our affections, we want to be certain in our knowledge, we want to be certain in our experiences, because that certainty gives us a sense of assurance, a sense of well being, in which there is no disturbance, no shock of experience, the shock of a new quality coming into being. It is this very desire for certainty which prevents us from enquiring into the need for freedom from all inward security. We obviously find great satisfaction in our capacity to do things with our hands or with our mind, which is accumulated knowledge, experience; and in that capacity we seek certainty, because in that state the mind need never be disturbed, there is no anxiety, no fear, no new experience.
So, the mind, seeking inward certainty through property, through people, through ideas, does not desire to be disturbed and made uncertain. Have you not often noticed how the mind rebels against anything new - a new idea, a new experience, a new state? When it does experience a new state, the mind immediately brings it into the field of itself, into the field of the known. The mind is always functioning, is it not?, within the field of certainty within the field of the known, within the field of security, which is its own projection, and therefore it can never experience something beyond itself. The state of creation, surely, is the experiencing of something beyond the mind, and that state of creation cannot come into being as long as the mind is attached to any particular form of security, inward or outward. Obviously, then, what is important is for each one to find out where one is attached, where one is seeking security; and if one is really interested, one can easily find this out for oneself, one can discover in what manner, through what experience through what belief, the mind is seeking security, certainty. When one discovers that, not theoretically but actually, when one directly experiences attachment to belief, to a particular form of affection, to a particular idea or formula, then one will see that there comes a freedom from that particular form of security. And in that state of uncertainty, which is not isolation, which is not fear, there is creative being. Uncertainty is essential for creative being.
We see in the world that beliefs, ideas and ideologies are dividing people, are bringing about catastrophes, miseries, and confusion. Holding on to our beliefs being divided by our personal opinions and experiences which we cling to as being the ultimate truth, we then try to bring about collective action - which is obviously impossible. There can be collective action only when there is freedom from all desire to take refuge in any ideology, in any belief, in any system, in any group, in any one person, in any particular teacher or teaching. It is only when there is freedom from all desire to be inwardly secure that there is a possibility of being outwardly secure, having the physical things that are necessary for human survival.
I am going to answer some of these questions, but please bear in mind that there is no categorical `yes' and `no' to any human problem. One must think out each problem, go into it, see the truth of it, and only then does the problem reveal its own answer.
Question: What is thought ? From whence does it come? And what is the relation of the thinker to thought?
Krishnamurti: Now who puts this question? Does the thinker put the question? Or, is the question the outcome of thought? If the thinker puts the question then the thinker is an entity separate from thought, he is merely the observer of thought, he is the experiencer outside the experience. So, when you put this question, you have to find out whether the thinker is separate from the thought. Are you putting the question as though you were outside of, apart from the process of thinking? If you are, then you have to find out if the thinker is really separate from thought. Thought is a process of reaction, is it not? That is, if there is a challenge and a response; and the response is the process of thinking. If there is no challenge of any kind, conscious or unconscious, violent or very subtle, there is no response, there is no thinking. So, thinking is a process of re- sponse, reaction, to any form of stimulus or challenge. There is
Now, is that all? Is the thinker the outcome of thought, or is he an entity in his own right, not created by thought, but outside all thought and apart from time? Because, thought is a process of time; thought is the response of the background and the response of the background is the process of time. So, is the thinker apart from time? Or, is the thinker part of the process of time, which is thought?
This is a difficult problem to deal with in two languages, and it would be much simpler if I could speak in French. As I cannot - although I talk and understand it a little - , let us proceed, and we will see.
The question is, what is thought, and what is the thinker? Is the thinker separate from thought, or is he the outcome of thinking? If he is separate from thought, then he can operate on thought' he can control, change, modify thought; but if he is part of thinking, then he cannot operate on it. Though he may think he can control thought, change or modify it, he is not capable of doing that because he is himself the product of thinking. So, we have to find out whether thought produces the thinker, or whether the thinker, being separate, apart, is independent of thought, and therefore can control it.
Now we can see very well that the thinker is the result of thought; because, there is no thinker if there is no thought, there is no experiencer if there is no experiencing. The experiencing, the observing, the thinking, produces the experiencer, the observer, the thinker. The experiencer is not separate from the experience, the thinker is not separate from the thought. Why, then, has thought made the thinker into a separate entity? When we know that our daily thinking, which is a response to challenge, produces the thinker, why do we believe that there is an entity separate from our daily thinking? Thought has created the thinker as a separate entity because thought is always changing, modifying, and it sees its own impermanence. Being transient, thought desires permanency, and so creates the thinker as an entity who is permanent who is not caught in the net of time. So, we create the thinker - which is merely a belief. That is, the mind, seeking security, holds to the belief that there is a thinker separate from thought, a `me' that is apart from my daily activities, from my daily thoughts, from my daily functions. So, the thinker becomes an entity apart from thought; and then the thinker proceeds to control, modify, dominate thought, which creates conflict between the thinker and the thought, between the actor and the action.
Now, if we see the truth of that - that the thinker is thought, that there is no thinker separate from thought, but only the process of thinking - , then what happens? If we see that there is only thinking and not a thinker trying to modify thought, what is the result? I hope I am making myself clear. So far, we know that the thinker is operating upon thought, and this creates conflict between the thinker and the thought; but if we see the truth that there is only thought and not a thinker, that the thinker is arbitrary, artificial and entirely fictitious - then what happens? Is not the process of conflict removed? At present our life is a conflict, a series of battles between the thinker and the thought - what to do and what not to do, what should be and what should not be. The thinker is always separating himself as the `me' remaining outside of action. But when we see that there is only thought, have we not then removed the cause of conflict? Then we are able to be choicelessly aware of thought and not as the thinker observing thought from outside.When we remove the entity that creates conflict, surely then there is a possibility of understanding thought When there is no thinker observing, judging, moulding thought, but only choiceless awareness of the whole process of thinking, without any resistance, without battle, without conflict, then the thought process comes to an end.
So, the mind, in understanding that there is no thinker, but only thought, eliminates conflict, and therefore there is merely the process of thinking; and when there is an awareness of thinking without any choice, because the chooser has been eliminated then you will see that thought comes to an end. Then the mind is very quiet, it is not agitated; and in that quietness, in that stillness, the problem is understood,
Question: Considering the world's present condition, there must be immediate action on the part of some who are not caught in any system either of the left or of the right. How is this group to be created, and how will it act with regard to the present crisis?
Krishnamurti: How is this group to be created, the group that does not belong to the left or to the right, or to any particular belief? How is such a group to be formed? How do you think it is to be formed? What is a group? Surely, it is you and I, isn't it? To form such a group, you and I must free ourselves from the desire to be secure, to be identified with any particular idea, belief, conclusion, system, or country. That is, you and I must begin to free ourselves from seeking shelter in an idea, in a belief, in knowledge; then, obviously, you and I are the group who are free from the exclusiveness of belonging to something. But are we such a group? Are you and I such entities? If we are not free from belief, from conclusion, from system, from idea, we may form a group, but we will create again the same confusion, the same misery, the same leadership, the same liquidation of those who disagree, and so on and on. So, before we form a group at all, we must first be free of the desire to be secure, to take shelter in any belief, in any idea, in any system. Are you and I free of that desire? If we are not, then let us not think in terms of groups and future action; but what is important, surely, is to find out, not merely verbally, but inwardly and deeply, both in the conscious as well as in the hidden parts of our own minds and hearts, whether we are really free from any sense of identification with a particular group, with a particular nation, with a particular belief or dogma. If we are not, then in starting a group we are bound to create the same mess, the same misery.
Now you will probably say, "It will take a long time for me to be free from my own beliefs, from the dogmas which I have projected and which are the result of my own thinking; therefore I cannot operate, I cannot do anything, I will have to wait." That is your re action is it not? You say, "As I am not free, what am I to do? I can't act." Isn't that your question? And while you wait, the world is going on creating more confusion, more misery, more horrors and destruction. Or, being anxious to help, you plunge in with your own beliefs, with your own dogmas, and so create greater confusion. Surely what is important is to see that there can be no right action as long as the mind is holding on to a particular conclusion or belief, either of the left or of the right; because, if you really see the truth of that, then obviously you will be in a position to act. And that does not take time, it is not a matter of progress, gradual evolution. Seeing a fact is not a process of evolution, is it? But you are not interested you do not want to see the truth of it. You just say, "Well, it is a matter of time for me to be free" - and there you drop it.
The question, then, is this: Is it possible for an ordinary person like you and me, a person who is not very intellectual and all the rest of it, to be free immediately of the desire to hold on to a particular belief or a particular dogma? Is it possible to be free immediately from belief? When you put that question seriously to yourself, is there any doubt left? Is it a matter of time for you to think about it? When you see that belief divides people, when you actually see and inwardly understand it, doesn't belief fall away from you? That does not require an effort, a struggle, a process of time. But we are not willing to see that fact - and that is our trouble. We want to act, so we join groups which are perhaps a little more cultured, a little more kindly, a little more pleasant. Such a group may act, but it can only produce the same chaos in another direction. But if you and I see the truth that each one of us can be free from dogma, from belief, then surely, whether we form a group or not, we will act; and it is this action that is needed, not action based on an idea.
So, the important point in this question is, is it not?, whether there can be action without idea, without belief. We see throughout the world that action based on a belief, on a dogma, on a conclusion, on a system, on a formula, has led to division, to conflict, and to disintegration. Is it possible, then, to act without idea, without belief? You have to find that out, have you not? - not accept or reject it. You have to discover for yourself whether such action is possible; and you will discover it only in experiencing not in believing or rejecting it. When you see that all action based on belief, on dogma, on conclusion, on calculation, must inevitably create separation, and therefore disintegration - when you see that, then you will experience action without the imposition of an idea.
Question: What is the relationship of the individual to society? Has he any responsibility towards it? If he has, should he modify it, or disown it?
Krishnamurti: Now, what is the individual, and what is society? What are you and I? Are we not the product of our background, of our education, of our social environmental influences, of our religious training? We are the result of everything about us, and the things about us are in turn created by us, are they not? The society that exists at the present time is the product of our desires, of our responses, of our actions. We project the society, and then become the instruments of that society. So, are you not the product of the society which you yourself have created? Surely, there is no extraordinary division or line of demarcation between the individual and society. Individuality comes into being later, much later, when we begin to free ourselves from the social influences.
So, are you an individual? Though you may have a particular name, own a piece of land, a private house, have a personal relationship a separate bank account, are you really an individual, or merely a product of the environment? Though all this makes you think that you are separate, are you not part of the whole? And how can you have a relationship to it unless you are separate from it? After all, our mind is the result of the past, is it not? All our thoughts are founded upon the past, and the past, both the conscious and the unconscious, is the result of the thoughts, efforts, struggles, intentions, and desires of all human beings. So we are the sum total, are we not?, of the entire human struggle; and since we are the result of the mass, of society, we cannot say that we are separate, that we are definitely apart from it. We are society; we are part of the whole, we are not separate. The separation takes place only when the mind begins to see where the false is, and therefore rejects it. Then only is there an individuality which is not resisting, which is not in opposition to society, an individuality not based on opposition, on resistance, on acquisition but which has understood the false and has there fore separated itself from it. Only such an entity can operate on society, and therefore its responsibility to society is entirely different. Then it will act, not in terms of disowning or modifying society, but out of its own understanding, its own vitality, which comes through the discovery of that which is false. So, as long as you and I are without self-knowledge, as long as we do not understand the whole process of ourselves, merely to modify or to disown society has no meaning.In order to bring about a fundamental revolution in society, self-knowledge is essential, and self-knowledge is to become aware of the false. Out of that awareness there comes the understanding of aloneness - that aloneness which is not a withdrawal, not an isolation, but which is essential if we are to act truly; because, only that which is alone is creative. Creation does not come when all the influences of the past are impinging upon the present; creation comes only when there is an aloneness which is not loneliness, which is not a state of apparent, division. It is an aloneness which comes through understanding both the hidden as well as the conscious; and in that state of aloneness there can be action which will be effective in the transformation of society.
Question: What relation has death to life?
Krishnamurti: Is there a division between life and death? Why do we regard death as something apart from life? Why are we afraid of death? And why have so many books been written about death? Why is there this line of demarcation between life and death? And is that separation real, or merely arbitrary, a thing of the mind?
Now, when we talk about life, we mean living as a process of continuity in which there is identification. Me and my house, me and my wife, me and my bank account, me and my past experiences - that is what we mean by life, is it not? Living is a process of continuity in memory, conscious as well as unconscious, with its various struggles, quarrels, incidents, experiences and so on. All that is what we call life; and in opposition to that there is death, which is putting an end to all that. So, having created the opposite, which is death, and being afraid of it, we proceed to look for the relationship between life and death; and if we can bridge the gap with some explanation, with belief in continuity, in the hereafter, we are satisfied. We believe in reincarnation, or in some other form of continuity of thought, and then we try to establish a relationship between the known and the unknown. We try to bridge the known and the unknown, and thereby try to find the relationship between the past and the future. That is what we are doing, is it not?, when we enquire if there is any relationship between life and death. We want to know how to bridge the living and the ending - surely that is our fundamental thinking.
Now, can the end, which is death, be known while living? That is, if we can know what death is while we are living, then we shall have no problem. It is because we cannot experience the unknown while we are living that we are afraid of it. So, our struggle is to establish a relationship between ourselves, which is the result of the known, and the unknown, which we call death. And can there be a relationship between the past and something which the mind cannot conceive, which we call death? And why do we separate the two? Is it not because our mind can function only within the field of the known, within the field of the continuous? One only knows oneself as a thinker, as an actor with certain memories of misery, of pleasure of love, affection, of various kinds of experience; one only knows oneself as being continuous - otherwise one would have no recollection of oneself as being something. Now, when that something comes to the end, which we call death, there is fear of the unknown; so, we want to draw the unknown into the known, and our whole effort is to give continuity to the unknown. That is, we do not want to know life which includes death, but we want to know how to continue and not come to an end. We do not want to know life and death, we only want to know how to continue without ending. Now, that which continues has no renewal. There can be nothing new, there can be nothing creative in that which has continuance - this is fairly obvious. It is only when continuity ends that there is a possibility of that which is ever new. But it is this ending that we dread, and we don't see that only in ending can there be renewal, the creative, the unknown - and not in carrying over from day to day our experiences, our memories and misfortunes. It is only when we die each day to all that is old, that there can be the new. The new cannot be where there is continuity - the new being the creative, the unknown, the eternal, God, or what you will. The person, the continuous entity, who seeks the unknown, the real, the eternal, will never find it, because he can find only that which he projects out of himself, and that which he projects is not the real. So, only in ending, in dying, can the new be known; and the man who seeks to find a relationship between life and death to bridge the continuous with that which he thinks is beyond, is living in a fictitious, unreal world, which is a projection of himself.
Now, is it possible, while living, to die - which means coming to an end, being as nothing? Is it possible, while living in this world where everything is becoming more and more or becoming less and less, where everything is a process of climbing, achieving, succeeding - is it our possible, in such a world, to know death? That is, is it possible to end all memories - not the memory of facts, the way to your house, and so on but the inward attachment through memory to psychological security, the memories that one has accumulated, stored up, and in which one seeks security, happiness? Is it possible to put an end to all that - which means dying every day so that there may be a renewal tomorrow? It is only then that one knows death while living. Only in that dying, in that coming to an end, putting an end to continuity, is there renewal, that creation which is eternal.
April 16, 1950
Paris 2nd Public Talk 16th April 1950
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