London 6th Public Talk 9th April 1953
Again this evening I would like to talk over with you the question of renewal, of being reborn - not in an afterlife, a next life, but whether it is possible to bring about the complete regeneration of consciousness, a rebirth, not a continuity but a complete revolution. It seems to me that is one of the most important questions to go into and to consider: if it is possible for the mind which is the only instrument we have of perception, of understanding, of investigation of discovery, to be made completely new. And if we can discover it, if we do not merely listen to words but actually experience that state of renewal, of complete regeneration, something new, then it may be possible to live the ordinary life of everyday routine, of trials, fears, mistakes, and yet bring to these mistakes and fears a quite different significance, a different meaning. So it may be worthwhile this evening to talk over this question: whether there can be a complete transformation of the unconscious. In understanding that, we may be able to find out what is the true function of the mind.
Now as I talk, perhaps it would be worthwhile if you would not merely listen to the words, but actually experience the significance of the words by observing your own minds, not only following what I am saying but watching the operation of your own mind as it is functioning when you listen. Because, I think, if we can go into this question we may find the key to this creativeness, to this complete state in which the unknown, the unknowable, can come into being.
What we now know of life is a series of struggles, of adjustments, of limitations, of continual compulsions; that is our life. And in that process there is no renewal, there is nothing new taking place. Occasionally there is a hint from the unconscious; but that hint is translated by the conscious mind and made to conform to the pattern of our everyday convenience. What we do know is struggle, a constant effort to achieve a result. And will strife, struggle, the conflict between the thesis and the antithesis, hoping to find a synthesis, will that struggle bring about this quality of something new original, clear, uncorrrupt?
Our life is a routine, a wasting away, a death - the death of continuity, not the death that brings a new state. We know this; this is our life; conscious or unconscious. And it is possible for this mechanical mind, the mind that is the result of time, that is made up of experience, memory, and knowledge - which are all a form of continuity, the mechanism of the known - is it possible for such a mind completely to renew itself and become innocent, uncorrupted? Can the mind, my mind and your mind, which is caught in various habits, passions demands, urges, which is forever following a series of convenient pleasant habits, or struggling to break down habits that are not pleasant, can such a mind put aside its activities and be the unknown?
Because, it seems to me, that is one of the major problems of our existence: `how to be able to die to everything of the past?' Can that take place? Can the mind die to all the past, the memory, the longings, the various conditionings, the fears, the respectabilities? If not, there is no hope, is there? Because then, all that we know is the continuity of the things that have been, which we are continually establishing in the mind, in consciousness. The mind is constantly giving birth, through memory, through experience, through knowledge, to a state of continuity. That is all I know. I want to continue, either through property, through family, or through ideas; I want this continuity to go on. And can the mind which is seeking security, seeking permanency either in pleasure or in strife, or trying to go beyond its own fears and so establish a state of permanency, which is the reaction of its own desire for continuity, can such a mind come to an end?
Because, what continues can never renew, can never give birth to something new. And yet, deep down in all of us there is the desire to live, to continue, to be as we are, only modified, better, more noble having greater significance in life through our actions, our relationships. So, the function of the mind, as we know it, is to give birth to continuity, to bring about a state in which time plays a very extraordinarily important part as a means of becoming. And so we are constantly making an endeavour, struggling, striving to maintain this continuity. And that continuity is the `me', the `I', the ego. That is the function of our mind up to now; that is all we know.
Now, can such a mind which is so embedded in time, put an end to itself, and be in that state in which the unknown is? The mind is mechanical, because memory is mechanical, experience is mechanical, and knowledge, though it may be stimulating, is still mechanical, and the background of the mind is of time; can such a mind cease to think in terms of time, in terms of becoming in terms of the `me'? The `me' is the idea, the idea being memory, the experience, the struggle, the fears. Can that mind come to an end, without desiring to come to an end?
When the mind desires to arrive at an end, it can intellectually come to that state, it can hypnotize itself to that state. The mind is capable of any form of illusion; but in that illusion there is no renewal.
So, the problem is: `knowing the function of the mind as it is, can such a mind renew itself?' Or, is such a mind incapable of seeing the new, or receiving the new, the unknown, and therefore all that it can do is to lie completely silent? And it seems to me that is all that it can do. Can the mind, which is so restless, discursive, wandering all over the place, gathering, rejecting - please follow your own mind - can such a mind immediately come to an end and be silent?
Because, in that silence there is the renewal, the renewal that is not comprehensible by the mind of time. But when the mind is silent, freed from time, it is altogether a different mind in which there is no continuity of experience, because there is no entity that is accumulating. In that silence, in that state, there is creativity, the creativity of God, or truth. That creativity is not continuous, as we know it. But our mind, the mind that is mechanical, can only think in terms of continuity and therefore it asks of truth, of God, that it should be continuous, constant, permanent. But the mechanical mind, the ordinary mind, the mind that we use every day, cannot experience the other; such a mind can never renew itself; such a mind can never know the unknowable.
But if the mind that is the continuous mind, the mind of time, the mind that functions in memory, in knowledge, in experience, if such a mind can come to that silence, that extraordinary stillness, then in that there is the creativity of truth. That truth is not for all time; it is only from moment to moment, for in it there is no sense of accumulation.
And so creativeness is something which is never, in terms of the ordinary mind, continuous. It is always there; but even to say `it is always there' is, not true. Because the idea that it is always there gives it a permanency. But a mind that can be silent will know that state which is eternally creative. And that is the function of the mind, is it not? The function of the mind is not merely the mechanical side of it, not merely how to put things together, how to struggle, how to break down and again be put together. All that is the everyday mind; the plain mind, where there are hints from the unconscious but where the whole process of consciousness is in the net of time; the mind that is constantly reacting - which it should, otherwise we are dead entities. We cannot dispense with such a mind. Such a mind is born of technique; and the more you pursue technique - the `how', the method, the system - the less there is of the other, the creative. Yet we have to have technique; we must know how to do things. But when that mechanical mind, the mind of memory, experience, knowledge, exists by itself, and functions by itself, irrespective of the other, it obviously must lead to destruction. For, intellectuality, without that creativeness of reality has no meaning; it only leads to war, to further misery, to further suffering. And so, is it possible for that creative state - to be while, at the same time, the mechanical, technical mind is yet going on? Does the one exclude the other?
There is only exclusion of the real, surely, when the intellect which is the mechanical becomes all-important; when ideas, beliefs, dogmas, theories, the inventions of the intellect become all-important. But, when the mind is silent, and that creative reality comes into being, then the ordinary mind has quite a different meaning; then the ordinary mind also is in continuous revolt against technique, the `how', then such a mind will never ask for the `how', then it is not concerned with virtue, because truth is beyond virtue. The silent mind, the mind that is utterly still, knowing, being the unknown, that creativity of the real, does not need virtue. For, in that, there is no struggle. It is only the mind that is struggling to become, which needs virtue.
So, as long as we give emphasis to the intellect, to the mind of knowledge, of information, of experience and memory, the other is not. One may occasionally catch glimpses of the other; but that glimpse is immediately translated in terms of time, of demanding further experience, and so strengthening memory. But if, seeing all this, this whole process of consciousness, the mind naturally is no longer caught in the net of beliefs, ideas, then there is a stillness, a silence, an unpremeditated silence; not a silence that is put together by will, by resistance. Then in that silence there is that creative reality which cannot be measured, which cannot be made as an end to be got hold of by the mechanical mind. In that state there is happiness of a kind the mechanical mind can never understand.
This is not mysticism, a thing from the East. But on the contrary, this is a human thing, wherever one is and whatever the clime. If one can really observe this whole process of consciousness, the function of the mind as we know it, then, without any struggle, that extraordinary stillness of the mind comes into being. And in that there is creative reality.
Many questions have been sent in. And I hope those who have sent them will forgive if all are not answered; there are too many of them. But each evening we have tried to answer the representative ones. And if your particular question is not answered, perhaps in listening to the other questions which have been answered you may solve or understand your own problem.
As I said, it is very important to know how to listen, to listen to everything - not only to me, which is not very greatly important. But if one knows how to listen, then there is no authority, then there is no imitation. For in that listening there is great freedom. The moment I am incapable of listening, then I create resistance; and to break down that resistance I need further authorities, further compulsions. But if one knows how to listen without interpretation, without judgment, without twisting, without always bringing to it one's reactions, the reactions of one's conditioning, if one can put aside all that and listen to everything, listen to one's wife, one's children, one's neighbour, to the ugly newspapers, to all the things that are taking place about us, then everything has an extraordinary significance, everything is a revelation.
We are so caught up in our own judgments, in our own prejudices, in what we want to know; but if one can listen, it reveals a great deal. If we can really quietly listen to everything that is happening in our consciousness, to our own impulses, the various passions, the envies, the fears, then that silence of which I spoke earlier comes into being.
Question: How is collective action possible when there are so many divergent individual interests?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by collective action? Let us take that up first, and then see if we have fundamentally divergent interests which come into conflict with the collective action.
What do we mean by collective action? All of us doing something together, creatively doing things together, building a bridge together, painting together, writing a poem together, or cultivating the farm together? Collective action, surely, is only possible when there is collective thinking. We do not mean collective action; we mean collective thinking, which will naturally produce an action in which we all conform. Now is collective thinking possible? That is what we all want. All the governments, all the religions, organized philosophies, beliefs, all of them want collective thought. We must all be Christians, or Communists, or Hindus; then the world will be perfect. Now, is collective thinking possible? I know it is made possible now through education, through social order, through economic compulsion, through various forms of disciplines, nationalism, and so on; collective thinking is made possible, in which you are all English or Germans or Russians or what you will. Through propaganda, through education, through religion, there are various elastic frames in which we all think alike. And because we are individuals with our peculiar idiosyncrasies, with our peculiar drives and urges and ambitions, the framework is made more and more solid, so that we do not wander away from it; and if we do, we are liquidated, we are excommunicated, we are thrown out of the party - which means losing the job.
So we are all held together, whether we like it or not, by the framework of an ideology. And the more that work becomes solid, firm, the more we are happy, relieved, because responsibility is taken away from us. So every government, every society, wants to make us all think alike. And we also want to think alike, because we feel secure in thinking alike, don't we?, we feel safe. We are always afraid lest we do not create the right impression, afraid of what people will say about us, because we all want to be respectable.
And so, collective thinking becomes possible. And out of it, when there is a crisis, we all come together, as in wars, or when we all are threatened religiously, politically, or in any other way.
Now, is such a conditioning of the individual creative? Though we may yield to this conditioning, we are inwardly never happy, there is always a resistance; because, in that yielding to the collective, there is no freedom, the freedom of the individual becomes merely verbal. And the individual, because he is so held by conventions, by tradition is always expressing himself, wanting to fulfil himself through ambition. So society again curbs him, and there is a conflict between the individual and society, an everlasting war.
And is it not possible to have one vocation for all of us, not divergent aptitudes, divergent interests, but one true interest for all of us, which is: `the understanding of what is true, what is real'? That is the true vocation, surely, of all us, not that you become an engineer or a sailor, or a soldier, or a lawyer; the true vocation, surely, of each one of us, is to find that reality. Because, we are human beings, suffering, inquiring; and if we can have that true vocation, by right education from the very beginning, through freedom and so on, if we can find that reality, then we shall in freedom co-operate together, and not have collective thought everlastingly conditioning us and making us act together. If we as human beings can find that reality, then only is true creative action possible.
Question: How can our poor faulty human love become incorruptible?
Krishnamurti: Can that which is corruptible become non-corruptible? Can that which is ugly become beautiful? Can the stupid become very intelligent? Can I, who become aware that I am stupid, struggle to become intelligent? Is not the very struggle to become intelligent, stupid? Because, fundamentally I am stupid, though I may learn all the clever tricks, still, in essence, I am stupid. Similarly if my love is corruptible, I want to make it pure, incorruptible. I do not think it is possible. The very becoming is a form of corruption. All that I can do is to be aware of the whole implication of this love, with its envies, jealousies, anxieties, fears, its bondage, its dependence. We know that; we know what we mean when we say we love, the enormous background that lies behind that word. And we want the whole of that background to become incorruptible which means, again, the mind making something out of love, trying to give the timeless a quality of time. Is that possible?
Please, see this. Because the mind knows the pain of love, the anxiety, the uncertainty, the separation, the fear, the death, it says it must change it, it wants to make love into something that cannot be corrupted. Does not the very desire to change it make love into something which is of the mind, which is sensation? The mind cannot make something which is already corrupt into something noble; and that is what we are always trying to do, are we not? I am envious, and I want to be non-envious; and so I struggle, because the mind feels the suffering of envy, and wants to transform it. I am violent, and it is painful; so the mind wants to transform violence into non-violence which is still within the field of time. And so there is never a freedom from violence, from envy, from the decay of love. As long as the mind makes of love something which is of time, there must always be corruption.
Then is human love not possible? One will find that out if one really understands the significance of how the mind corrupts love. It is the mind that destroys. Love is not corrupt. But the mind that feels that it is not being loved, that feels isolated, that is conditioned, it is that mind which destroys love. We love with our minds, not with our hearts. One has to find out what this means. One has to inquire, to go into it, not just repeat the words.
But one cannot comprehend it without understanding the whole significance of the function of the mind. One must come to understand the whole consciousness of the 'me' that is so afraid of not being loved, or, having love, is so anxious to hold the love that depends on another for its sustenance; that is all part of that mind. The `me' that says `I must love God, truth', and so creates the symbol, and goes to church every day, or once a week, or whenever you will, is still a part of the mind. Whatever the mind touches, with its mechanical memory, experience and knowledge, it corrupts.
So it is very important, when we are faced with a problem of such a kind, to find out how to deal with it. One can only deal with it and bring about that quality which is incorruptible, when the mind, knowing its function, comes to an end. Then only, surely, is love incorruptible.
Question: Are there not as many ways to reality or God as there are individuals? And is not yoga or discipline one of the ways?
Krishnamurti: Is there a path to the unknowable? There is always a path to the known, but not to the unknown. If we really saw that once, felt it in our hearts and minds, really saw the truth of it, then all the heavens that religions promise, and our own desire to find a path through which reality can be found, would be broken down.
If reality is the known as you know your way home to your house then it is very simple; you can make a path to it. Then you can have a discipline, then you can bind yourself to it with various forms of yogas, disciplines, beliefs, so as not to wander away. But is reality something known? And if it is known, is it the real? Surely, reality is something from moment to moment, which can only be found in the silence of the mind. So there is no path to truth, in spite of all the philosophies; because reality is the unknowable, unnameable, unthinkable. What you can think about truth is the outcome of your background, of your tradition of your knowledge. But truth is not knowledge, is not of memory, is not of experience. If the mind can create a God, as it does, surely it is not God, is it?, it is merely a word. The mind can only think in words, in symbols, in images. And what the mind creates is not the real.
The word is all we know. And to have faith in that God which the mind has created, obviously gives us certain strength. That is all we know. We have read, we have been conditioned as Christians, or Buddhists, as Communists, or what you will and that conditioning is all we know. There is a path always to the known; but not to the unknown. And can any discipline lead us to that discipline being resistance, suppression, sublimation, substitution? We want to find a substitute for the real. Because we do not know how to allow the real to come into being, we think it will come through control, through virtue. So we cultivate virtue, which is again the mechanical habit of the mind, and thus make of virtue something which gives, not freedom by respectability, a safeguarding from fear.
When we use discipline there is no understanding. Surely a mind that is disciplined, controlled, shaped, can never be a free mind free to inquire, to find out, to be silent. Because, all that it has learned is to strengthen the process of thought, which is the reaction of memory, reaction according to a conditioned demand, hoping thereby it will achieve some happiness, which it calls truth.
So can we not see all this, how consciousness, the mind, operates, how the "me" is everlastingly seeking, gathering, accumulating, in order to be secure, and projecting Heaven, or God, which is its own creation, which is the urge to be safe, to be singularistic? Such a mind obviously cannot come upon truth. A mind that is suppressed, that has never looked within itself. that is always fearful of what it may find within itself, and so always escaping, running away from "what is", such a mind obviously can never find the unknown.
For the unknown comes into being only when the mind is no longer searching, no longer asking, petitioning. Then the mind, fully comprehending the whole process of itself, naturally comes to that silence in which there is creative reality.
April 9, 1953
London 6th Public Talk 9th April 1953
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