New York 1950
New York 3rd Public Talk 18th June 1950
It is most important, is it not?, that the various disintegrating factors in our lives should be understood. These disruptive elements exist, not only at the superficial or economic level, but also at the deeper levels of one's consciousness. We can see throughout the world that there is division, not only between various groups of people, but within the individual himself there is conflict, contradiction. Until we understand this contradiction in ourselves, we shall not be able to deal with the contradictions about us. This contradiction which exists in each one, and of which most of us are aware if we are at all thoughtful, cannot be resolved by the desire to be integrated - which merely becomes another problem to contend with; but if we can be aware of and understand the factors that bring about contradiction, then perhaps there will be a possibility of being integrated.
Now, what brings about contradiction in each one of us? Surely, it is the desire to become something, is it not? We all want to become something: to become successful in the world, and, inwardly, to achieve a result. So, as long as we think in terms of time, in terms of achievement, in terms of position, there must be contradiction. After all, the mind is the product of time. Thought is based on yesterday, on the past; and as long as thought is functioning within the field of time, thinking in terms of the future, of becoming, gaining, achieving, there must be contradiction, because then we are incapable of facing exactly what is. Only in realizing, in understanding, in being choicelessly aware of what is, is there a possibility of freedom from that disintegrating factor which is contradiction.
So, it is essential, is it not?, to understand the whole process of our thinking, for it is there that we find contra diction. Thought itself has become a contradiction, because we have not understood the total process of ourselves; and that understanding is possible only when we are fully aware of our thought, not as an observer operating upon his thought, but integrally and without choice - which is extremely arduous. Then only is there the dissolution of that contradiction which is so detrimental, so painful.
As long as we are trying to achieve a psychological result, as long as we want inward security, there must lie a contradiction in our life. I do not think that most of us are aware of this contradiction; or, if we are, we do not see its real significance. On the contrary, contradiction gives us an impetus to live; the very element of friction makes us feel that we are alive. The effort, the struggle of contradiction, gives us a sense of vitality. That is why we love wars, that is why we enjoy the battle of frustrations. As long as there is the desire to achieve a result, which is the desire to be psychologic ally secure, there must be a contradiction; and where there is contradiction, there cannot be a quiet mind. Quietness of mind is essential to understand the whole significance of life. Thought can never be tranquil; thought, which is the product of time, can never find that which is timeless, can never know that which is beyond time. The very nature of our thinking is a contradiction, because we are always thinking in terms of the past or of the future, and therefore we are never fully cognizant, fully aware of the present.
To be fully aware of the present is an extraordinarily difficult task, be cause the mind is incapable of facing a fact directly without deception. As I explained, thought is the product of the past, and therefore it can only think in terms of the past or of the future, it cannot be completely aware of a fact in the present. So, as long as thought, which is the product of the past, tries to eliminate contradiction and all the problems that it creates, it is merely pursuing a result, trying to achieve an end, and such thinking only creates more contradiction, and hence conflict, misery, and confusion in us, and, therefore, about us.
To be free of contradiction, one must be aware of the present without choice. How can there be choice when you are confronted with a fact? Surely, the understanding of the fact is made impossible as long as thought is trying to operate upon the fact in terms of becoming, changing, altering. So, self-knowledge is the beginning of understanding; and without self-knowledge, contradiction and conflict will continue. To know the whole process, the totality of oneself, does not require any expert, any authority. The pursuit of authority only breeds fear. No expert, no specialist, can show us how to understand the process of the self. One has to study it for oneself. You and I can help each other by talking about it; but none can unfold it for us, no specialist, no teacher, can explore it for us. We can be aware of it only in our relationship - in our relationship to things, to property, to people, and to ideas. In relationship we will discover that contradiction arises when action is approximating itself to an idea. The idea is merely the crystallization of thought as a symbol; and the effort to live up to the symbol brings about a contradiction.
So, as long as there is a pattern of thought, contradiction will continue; and to put an end to the pattern, and so to contradiction, there must be self-knowledge. This understanding of the self is not a process reserved for the few. The self is to be understood in our everyday speech, in the way we think and feel, in the way we look at another. If we can be aware of every thought, of every feeling, from moment to moment, then we shall see that in relationship the ways of the self are understood. Then only is there a possibility of that tranquillity of mind in which alone the ultimate reality can come into being.
I am going to answer some questions, and when I do so, let us together explore each problem. I am not the authority, the specialist, the teacher, who is telling you what to do; that would be too absurd for grown up people - if we are grown up at all. So, in considering these questions, let us try to explore and discover the truth for ourselves. It is the discovery of truth that is going to free us from our problems; but that truth cannot be discovered, it cannot come to us, if the mind is merely agitated in the current of these problems. In order to discover the ways of the problem, the problem must be unfolded, and the mind allowed to be quiet; then we see the truth, and it is the truth that frees us.
Question: How am I to get rid of fear, which influences all my activities?
Krishnamurti: This is a very complex problem requiring close attention; and if we do not follow and explore it fully in the sense of experiencing each step as we go along, we will not be able at the end of it to be free of fear.
What do we mean by fear? Fear of what? There are various types of fear, and we need not analyze every type. But we can see that fear comes into being when our comprehension of relationship is not complete. Relationship is not only between people, but between ourselves and nature, between ourselves and property, between ourselves and ideas; and as long as that relationship is not fully understood, there must be fear. Life is relationship. To be, is to be related, and without relationship there is no life. Nothing can exist in isolation, and as long as the mind is seeking isolation, there must be fear. So, fear is not an abstraction; it exists only in relation to something.
Now, the question is, how to be rid of fear? First of all, anything that is overcome has to be conquered again and again. No problem can be finally overcome, conquered; it can be understood, but not conquered. They are two completely different processes; and the conquering process leads to further confusion, further fear. To resist, to dominate, to do battle with a problem, or to build a defence against it, is only to create further conflict. Whereas, if we can understand fear, go into it fully step by step, explore the whole content of it, then fear will never return in any form; and that is what I hope we can do this morning.
As I said, fear is not an abstraction; it exists only in relationship. Now, what do we mean by fear? Ultimately, we are afraid, are we not?, of not being, of not becoming. Now, when there is fear of not being, of not advancing, or fear of the unknown, of death, can that fear be overcome by determination, by a conclusion, by any choice? Obviously not. Mere suppression, sublimation, or substitution, creates further resistance, does it not? So, fear can never be overcome through any form of discipline, through any form of resistance. That fact must be clearly seen, felt and experienced: that fear cannot be overcome through any form of defence or resistance. Nor can there be freedom from fear through the search for an answer, or through mere intellectual or verbal explanation.
Now, what are we afraid of? Are we afraid of a fact, or of an idea about the fact? Please see this point. Are we afraid of the thing as it is, or are we afraid of what we think it is? Take death, for example. Are we afraid of the fact of death, or of the idea of death? The fact is one thing, and the idea about the fact is another. Am I afraid of the word `death', or of the fact itself? Because I am afraid of the word, of the idea, I never understand the fact, I never look at the fact, I am never in direct relation with the fact. It is only when I am in complete communion with the fact that there is no fear. But if I am not in communion with the fact, then there is fear; and there is no communion with the fact as long as I have an idea, an opinion, a theory, about the fact. So, I have to be very clear whether I am afraid of the word, the idea, or of the fact. If I am face to face with the fact, there is nothing to understand about it: the fact is there, and I can deal with it. But if I am afraid of the word, then I must understand the word, go into the whole process of what the word, the term, implies.
For example, one is afraid of loneliness, afraid of the ache, the pain of loneliness. Surely, that fear exists because one has never really looked at loneliness, one has never been in complete communion with it. The moment one is completely open to the fact of loneliness, one can understand what it is; but one has an idea, an opinion about it, based on previous knowledge; and it is this idea, opinion, this previous knowledge about the fact, that creates fear. So, fear is obviously the outcome of naming, of terming, of projecting a symbol to represent the fact; that is, fear is not independent of the word, of the term. I hope I am making myself clear.
I have a reaction, say, to loneliness; that is, I say I am afraid of being nothing. Am I afraid of the fact itself, or is that fear awakened because I have previous knowledge of the fact, knowledge being the word, the symbol, the image? How can there be fear of a fact? When I am face to face with a fact, in direct communion with it, I can look at it, observe it; therefore, there is no fear of the fact. What causes fear is my apprehension about the fact, what the fact might be or do.
So, it is my opinion, my idea, my experience, my knowledge about the fact, that creates fear. As long as there is verbalization of the fact, giving the fact a name and therefore identifying or condemning it, as long as thought is judging the fact as an observer, there must be fear. Thought is the product of the past, it can only exist through verbalization, through symbols, through images; and as long as thought is regarding or translating the fact, there must he fear.
So, it is the mind that creates fear, the mind being the process of thinking. Thinking is verbalization. You cannot think without words, without symbols, images; these images, which are the prejudices, the previous knowledge, the apprehensions of the mind, are projected upon the fact, and out of that there arises fear. There is freedom from fear only when the mind is capable of looking at the fact without translating it, without giving it a name, a label. This is quite difficult, because the feelings, the reactions, the anxieties that we have, are promptly identified by the mind and given a word. The feeling of jealousy is identified by that word. Now, is it possible not to identify a feeling, to look at that feeling without naming it? It is the naming of the feeling that gives it continuity, that gives it strength. The moment you give a name to that which you call fear, you strengthen it; but if you can look at that feeling without terming it, you will see that it withers away. Therefore, if one would be completely free of fear, it is essential to understand this whole process of terming, of projecting symbols, images, giving names to facts. That is, there can be freedom from fear only when there is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, which is the ending of fear.
Question: How can I permanently get rid of sexual desire?
Krishnamurti: Why do we want to get permanently rid of a desire? You call it sexual, somebody else calls it attachment, fear, and so on. Why do we want to get rid of any desire permanently? Because that particular desire is disturbing to us, and we don't want to be disturbed. That is our whole process of thinking, is it not? We want to be self-enclosed, without any disturbance, that is, we want to be isolated; but nothing can live in isolation. In his search for God, the so-called religious person is really seeking complete isolation in which he will never be disturbed; but such a person is not really religious, is he? The truly religious are those who understand relationship completely, fully, and therefore have no problems, no conflict. Not that they are not disturbed; but because they are not seeking certainty, they understand disturbance and therefore there is no self-enclosing process created by the desire for security.
Now, this question requires a great deal of understanding, because we are dealing with sensation, which is thought. To most people, sex has become an extraordinarily important problem. Being uncreative, afraid, enclosed, cut off in all other directions, sex is the only thing through which most people can find a release, the one act in which the self is momentarily absent. In that brief state of abnegation when the self, the `me', with all its troubles, confusions, and worries, is absent, there is great happiness. Through self-forgetfulness there is a sense of quietness, a release; and because we are uncreative religiously, economically, and in every other direction, sex becomes an overwhelmingly important problem. In daily life we are mere gramophone records, repeating phrases that we have learned; religiously we are automatons, mechanically following the priest; economically and socially we are bound, strangled, by environmental influences. Is there a release for us in any of that? Obviously not; and where there is no release, there must be frustration. That is why the sexual act, in which there is a release, has become such a vital problem for most of us. And society encourages and stimulates it through advertisements, magazines, the cinema, and all the rest of it.
Now, as long as the mind, which is the result, the focal point of sensation, regards sex as a means of its release, sex must be a problem; and that problem will continue as long as we are incapable of being creative comprehensively, totally, and not merely in one particular direction. Creativeness has nothing to do with sensation. Sex is of the mind, and creation is not of the mind. Creation is never a product of the mind, a product of thought; and in that sense, sex, which is sensation, can never be creative. It may produce babies, but that is obviously not creativeness. As long as we depend for release on sensation, on stimulation in any form, there must be frustration, because the mind becomes incapable of realizing what creativeness is.
This problem cannot be resolved by any discipline, by any taboos, by any social edicts or sanctions. It can be resolved only when we understand the whole process of the mind; because it is the mind that is sexual. It is the mind's images, fancies, and pictures, that stimulate it to be sexual; and as the mind is the result of sensation, it can only become more and more sensuous. Such a mind can never be creative, because creation is not sensation. It is only when the mind does not seek stimuli in any form, whether outward or inward, that it can be completely quiet, free; and only in that freedom is there creation. We have made sex into something ugly because it is the only private sensation that we have; all other sensations are public, open. But as long as we use sensation in any form as a means of release, it will only increase the problems, the confusion and trouble; because, release can never come into being through seeking a result.
The questioner wants to end sexual desire permanently because he has an idea that then he will be in a state in which all disturbances have disappeared; that is why he is seeking it, striving towards it. The very striving towards that state is preventing him from being free to understand the process of the mind. As long as the mind is merely seeking a permanent state in which it will have no disturbance of any kind, it is closed, and therefore it can never be creative. It is only when the mind is free of the desire to become something, to achieve a result, and hence free of fear, that it can be utterly quiet; and only then is there a possibility of that creativeness which is reality.
Question: Should I be a pacifist?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid I cannot tell you what you should or should not be. We are supposed to be mature, and seeking advice from another in a matter of this kind indicates immaturity. The search for authority only creates corruption, it does not bring freedom. It is only in freedom that truth can be discovered. By following another you will never find what it is to be free of violence.
Let us find out what we mean by pacifism. Is pacifism opposed to violence? Is peace the denial of conflict? Is good the opposite of evil? When you deny vice and go to the opposite, is that virtue? If you deny, resist, put away the ugly, are you beautiful? Is the pursuit of an opposite ever peaceful, ever virtuous or beautiful? The opposite implies conflict, does it not? If you deny violence and pursue peace, what happens? The very pursuit of peace creates conflict, because you are denying violence. The very denial creates conflict; and is virtue ever the result of conflict? Is peace the denial of war? War is obviously the extension, the projection of ourselves, is it not? War is the spectacular and bloody projection of our own daily existence. We call ourselves Americans, or Russians, or Hindus, or God knows what else, out of our desire to be safe; and this identification with a particular country, race, or group of people, gives us a sense of security. But identification with a group or nation means separation, leading to disintegration and war. Surely, as long as I am seeking identification in any form - with my family, with my group, with my property, with my particular ideology or belief - there must be separation, disintegration, and war. Although it is the dream of all ideologist, whether of the left or of the right, to have everybody believing in one particular theory or system, such a thing is an impossibility. Belief always separates, and therefore it is a disintegrating factor.
So, as long as you and I are in conflict inwardly, psychologically, there must be the projection of that conflict in the world as war. Without understanding your own inward conflict, merely to become a pacifist, or join an organization for peace, has no meaning. A man who merely resists war while remaining in psychological conflict only creates further confusion. But if you really understand this total process of inward conflict, which projects itself in the world as war, then obviously you are neither a war monger nor a mere pacifist - you are something entirely different; because you are at peace with yourself, you are at peace with the world. Being at peace inwardly and therefore outwardly, you will obviously not belong to any nationality, to any religion, to any particular group or class; and if you are brought before the tribunal to be conscripted, or whatever it is called, you will prob ably be shot. But that is not your responsibility: it is the responsibility of society, because society rejects you. After all, society is not very intelligent anyhow. What is society? It is your own projection, is it not? What you and I are, society is. So, don't call society stupid and laugh at it. Society is the structure of ourselves in projection; and if we want to bring about a fundamental revolution in society, there must be a fundamental revolution in ourselves - which is an enormously difficult task. Any revolution based on an idea is never a revolution: it is merely a modified continuity. Ideas can never be revolutionary, because ideas are merely the reactions of memory. Thought is mere reaction; and an action based on reaction can never be fundamental, can never be true.
Surely, then, whether or not you should be a pacifist, is not the problem. We see that everything in the world is contributing to war. War is obviously no means of settling any thing, but apparently we are incapable of learning that. We change enemies from time to time, and we seem to be quite satisfied with this process, which is kept going by propaganda, by our own desire to be revengeful, by our own inward, psychological conflict. So, we are encouraging war through nationalism, through greed, through the desire to be successful, to become somebody. That is, we encourage war inwardly, and then outwardly want to be pacifists, and such pacifism obvious- ly has no meaning. It is only a contradiction. We all want to become something: a pacifist, a war hero, a millionaire, a virtuous man, or what you will. The very desire to become, involves conflict; and that conflict produces war. There is peace only when there is no desire to become something; and that is the only true state, because in that state alone there is creation, there is reality. But that is completely foreign to the whole structure of society - which is the projection of yourself. You worship success. Your god is success, the giver of titles, degrees, position and authority. There is a constant battle within yourself, the struggle to achieve what you want. You never have a peaceful moment, there is never peace in your heart, because you are always striving to become something, to progress. Do not be misled by the word `progress'. Mechanical things progress, but thought can never progress except in terms of its own becoming. Thought moves from the known to the known; but that is not growth, that is not evolution, that is not freedom.
So, if you want to be a pacifist in the true sense of the word, which is to be free of conflict, you have to understand yourself; and when the mind and heart are peaceful, quiet, then you will know what it is to be without conflict, which will express itself in action, whatever that action may be. But to make up your mind to become something, is merely a process of striving, which inevitably creates further conflict and strife. As every war produces another war, so each conflict produces more conflict. There can be real peace only when conflict ends, and to end conflict is to understand the whole process of oneself.
Question: I am not loved and I want to be, for without it life has no meaning. How can I fulfil this longing?
Krishnamurti: I hope you are not merely listening to words, because then these meetings will be another distraction, a waste of time. But if you are really experiencing the things that we are discussing, then they will have an extraordinary significance; because, though you may follow words with the conscious mind, if you are experiencing what is being said, the unconscious also takes part in it. If given an opportunity, the unconscious will reveal its whole content, and so bring about a complete understanding of ourselves. So, I hope you are not merely listening to another talk, but are actually experiencing the things as we go along.
The questioner wants to know how to love and to be loved. Is not that the state of most of us? We all want to be loved, and also to give love. We talk a great deal about it. All religions, all preachers, talk about it. So, let us find out what we mean by love. Is love sensation? Is love a thing of the mind? Can you think about love? You can think about the object of love, but you cannot think about love, can you? I can think about the person I love; I can have a picture, an image of that person, and recall the sensations, the memories, of our relationship. But is love sensation, memory? When I say, `I want to love and be loved', is that not merely thought, a reflection of the mind? Is thought love? We think it is, do we not? To us, love is sensation. That is why we have pictures of the people whom we love, that is why we think about them and are attached to them. That is all a process of thought, is it not?
Now, thought is frustrated in different directions, and therefore it says, `I find happiness in love, so I must have love'. That is why we cling to the person we love, that is why we possess the person, psychologically as well as physiologically. We create laws to protect the possession of what we love, whether it be a person, a piano, a piece of property, or an idea, a belief; because, in possession, with all its complications of jealousy, fear, suspicion, anxiety, we feel secure. So, we have made love into a thing of the mind; and with the things of the mind we fill the heart. Because the heart is empty, the mind says, `I must have that love; and we try to fulfil ourselves through the wife, through the husband. Through love, we try to become something. That is, love becomes a useful thing, we use love as a means to an end.
So, we have made of love a thing of the mind. The mind becomes the instrument of love, and the mind is only sensation. Thought is the reaction of memory to sensation. Without the symbol, the word, the image, there is no memory, there is no thought. We know the sensation of so-called love, and we cling to that; and when it fails, we want some other expression of that same sensation. So, the more we cultivate sensation, the more we cultivate so-called knowledge, which is merely memory, the less there is of love.
As long as we are seeking love, there must be a self-enclosing process. Love implies vulnerability, love implies communion; and there can be no communion, no vulnerability, as long as there is the self-enclosing process of thought. The very process of thought is fear; and how can there be communion with another when there is fear, when we use thought as a means for further stimulation?
There can be love only when you understand the whole process of the mind. Love is not of the mind, and you cannot think about love. When you say, `I want love', you are thinking about it, you are longing for it, which is a sensation, a means to an end. Therefore, it is not love that you want, but stimulation; you want a means through which you can fulfil yourself, whether it be a person, a job, a particular excitement, and so on. Surely, that is not love. Love can be only when the thought of the self is absent, and freedom from the self lies through self-knowledge. With self-knowledge there comes understanding; and when the total process of the mind is completely and fully revealed and understood, then you will know what it is to love. Then you will see that love has nothing to do with sensation, that it is not a means of fulfillment. Then love is by itself, without any result. Love is a state of being, and in that state, the `me', with its identifications, anxieties, and possessions, is absent. Love cannot be, as long as the activities of the self, of the `me', whether conscious or unconscious, continue to exist. That is why it is important to understand the process of the self, the centre of recognition which is the `me'.
June 18, 1950
New York 1950
New York 3rd Public Talk 18th June 1950
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