Saanen 2nd Public Talk 14th July 1964
The other day, when we met here, I was talking about the necessity of freedom; and by that word `freedom' I do not mean a peripheral or fragmentary freedom at certain levels of one's consciousness. I was talking about being totally free - free at the very root of one's mind, in all one's activities, physical, psychological, and parapsychological. Freedom implies a total absence of problems, does it not? Because when the mind is free it can observe and act with complete clarity; it can be what it is without any sense of contradiction. To me, a life of problems - whether economic or social, private or public - destroys and perverts clarity. And one needs clarity. One needs a mind that sees very clearly every problem as it arises, a mind that can think without confusion, without conditioning, a mind that has a quality of affection, love - which has nothing whatever to do with emotionalism or sentimentality.
To be in this state of freedom - which is extremely difficult to understand, and requires a great deal of probing into - one must have an undisturbed, quiet mind; a mind that is functioning totally, not only at the periphery, but also at the centre. This freedom is not an abstraction, it is not an ideal. The movement of the mind in freedom is a reality, and ideals and abstractions have nothing whatsoever to do with it. Such freedom takes place naturally, spontaneously - without any sort of coercion, discipline, control or persuasion - when we understand the whole process of the arising and the ending of problems. A mind that has a problem, which is really a disturbance, and has escaped from that problem, is still crippled, bound, it is not free. For the mind that does not resolve every problem as it arises, at whatever level - physical, psychological, emotional - there can be no freedom and therefore no clarity of thought, of outlook, of perception.
Most human beings have problems. I mean by a problem the lingering disturbance created by one's inadequate response to a challenge - that is, by the incapacity to meet an issue totally, with one's whole being - or by the indifference which results in the habitual acceptance of problems and just putting up with them. There is a problem when one fails to confront each issue and go to the very end of it, not tomorrow or at some future date, but as it arises, every minute, every hour, every day.
Any problem at any level, conscious or unconscious, is a factor that destroys freedom. A problem is something which we don't understand completely. One's problem may be pain, physical discomfort, the death of someone, or the lack of money; it may be the incapacity to discover for oneself whether God is a reality, or merely a word without substance. And there are the problems of relationship, both private and public, individual as well as collective. Not to understand the whole of human relationship does breed problems; and most of us have these problems - from which psychosomatic diseases arise - crippling our minds and hearts. Being burdened with these problems, we turn to various forms of escape: we worship the state, accept authority, look to someone else to resolve our problems, plunge into a useless repetition of prayers and rituals, take to drink, indulge in sex, in hate, in self-pity, and so on.
So we have carefully cultivated a network of escapes - rational or irrational, neurotic or intellectual - which enable us to accept and therefore put up with all the human problems that arise. But these problems inevitably breed confusion, and the mind is never free.
Now, I don't know if you feel the way I do about the necessity - not a fragmentary necessity, not the necessity of one day because you are suddenly forced to face an issue, but the absolute necessity, from the very beginning of one's thought about these things right through to the end of one's life - of having no problem. Probably you do not feel the urgency of it. But if one sees very clearly and factually, not abstractly, that to be free of problems is as much a necessity as food and fresh air, then from that perception one acts, both psychologically and in the business of everyday life; it is present in everything that one does and thinks and feels.
So, freedom from problems is the main issue, at least for this morning. Tomorrow we may approach it differently, but it doesn't matter. What matters is to see that a mind in conflict is a destructive mind, because it is constantly deteriorating. Deterioration is not a question of old age, or of youth, but it arises when the mind is caught in conflict and has many unresolved problems. Conflict is the core of deterioration and decay. I do not know if you see the truth of that. If you do, then the issue is how to resolve conflict. But first one must perceive for oneself the truth that a mind that has a problem of any kind, at any level, for any duration, is incapable of clear thinking, of seeing things as they are - brutally, ruthlessly - without any sentiment or self-pity.
Now, most of us are used to escaping immediately a problem arises, and we find it very difficult to stay with the problem - just to observe it without interpreting, condemning, or comparing, without trying to alter it, or do something about it. That demands one's complete attention; but to most of us no problem is ever so serious that we want to give it our complete attention, because we lead a very superficial life and we are easily satisfied by glib answers, quick responses. We want to forget the problem, put it away and get on with something else. It is only when the problem touches us intimately, as in the case of death, or a complete lack of money, or when the husband or the wife has left us - it is only then that the problem may become a crisis. But we never allow any problem to bring about a real crisis in our life; we always push it away by explanations, by words,by the various things as a defence.
So, we know what we mean by a problem. It is an issue that we have not gone to the very end of and completely understood; therefore it is not-finished, it repeats again and again. To understand a problem one has to understand the contradictions - the extreme contradictions as well as the everyday contradictions - of one's own being. We think one thing, and do another; we say one thing and feel quite differently. There is the conflict of respect and disrespect, rudeness and politeness. On the one hand there is a sense of arrogance, pride, and on the other we play with humility. You know the many contradictions we all have both conscious and hidden. Now, how do these contradictions arise?
Please, as I have repeatedly said, don't just listen to the speaker, but listen also to your own thought; observe the operation of your own reactions, be aware of your own response when the question is put, so that you become familiar with yourself.
Most of us, when we have a problem, want to know how to resolve it, what to do about it, how to go beyond it, how to get rid of it, or what the answer is. I am not interested in all that. I want to know why the problem arises; because if I can find the root of one problem, understand it, go to the very end of it, then I shall have found the answer to all problems. If I know how to look at one problem completely, then I can understand any problem that may arise in the future.
So, how does a problem arise - a psychological problem? Let us deal with that first, because psychological problems distort every activity in life. It is only when the mind understands and resolves a psychological problem as it arises, and does not carry the record of that problem over to the following hour, or the following day, that it is capable of meeting the next issue with freshness, with clarity. Our life is a series of challenges and responses, and we must be capable of meeting each challenge completely, otherwise every moment brings us further problems. Do you understand? My whole concern is to be free, not to have problems - about God, about sex, about anything. If God becomes my problem, then God is not worth seeking; because to find out if there is such a thing as God, a supreme something beyond the measure of the mind, my own mind must be very clear, innocent, free, not crippled with a problem.
That is why I have said from the very beginning that freedom is a necessity. I am told that even Karl Marx - the god of the communists - wrote that human beings must have freedom. To me, freedom is absolutely necessary - freedom at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end - and that freedom is denied when I carry a problem over to the next day. This means that I have not only to discover how the problem arises, but also how to end it completely, surgically so that there is no repetition, no carrying over of the problem, no feeling that I will think about it and find the answer tomorrow. If I carry the problem over to the next day, I have provided the soil in which the problem takes root; and then the pruning of that problem becomes still another problem. Therefore I have to operate so drastically and immediately that the problem comes completely to an end.
So you see the two issues. Whether it is a problem of one's wife and children, or the lack of money, or the problem of God - whatever it is, one has to find out how the problem arises, and also how to end it instantly.
What I am saying is not illogical. I have shown you logically, reasonably, the necessity of ending the problem and not carrying it over to the next day. Would you like to ask any questions about that?
Questioner: I can't understand why you say that money is not a problem.
Krishnamurti: It is a problem for many people. I never said it was not. Please, I said that a problem is something which you do not understand completely, whether it is with regard to money, sex, God, your relationship with your wife, with somebody who hates you - it doesn't matter what it is. If I have a disease, or very little money, it becomes a psychological problem. Or it may be sex that becomes a problem. We are investigating how psychological problems arise, not how to deal with a particular problem. Do you understand? Good Lord, that is very simple.
You know, there are people in the East who give up the world and wander from village to village with a begging bowl. The Brahmins in India have established through centuries the custom that a man who gives up the world is to be respected, and the people must feed and clothe him. To such a man, money is obviously not a problem - but I am not advocating that custom here! I am just pointing out that most of us have so many psychological problems. Haven't you got problems, not only with regard to money, but also with regard to sex, God, relationship? Aren't you concerned about whether you are loved or not loved? If I have very little money and I want more, then that becomes my problem. I worry about it, there is a feeling of anxiety; or I become envious because you have more money than I have. All this distorts perception, and these are the problems we are talking about. We are trying to find out how a problem of this kind arises. I think I made that fairly clear - or do you want me to go into it further?
Surely, a problem arises when there is in me a contradiction. If there is no contradiction, at any level, there is no problem. If I have no money, I will work, beg, borrow - I will do something, and it won't be a problem.
Questioner: But what happens when you can't do anything?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean, you can't do anything? If you have a technique, or some specialized knowledge, you become this or that. If you are incapable of anything else, you go and dig.
Questioner: After a certain age a man can't work at all.
Krishnamurti: But he has the welfare state.
Questioner: No, he hasn't. Krishnamurti: Then he dies, and there is no problem. But this isn't your problem, is it, madame?
Questioner: It is not my own personal problem.
Krishnamurti: Then you are talking about somebody else, and we are out of it. Here we are talking about you as a human being with problems, not about some relative or friend.
Questioner: He has no one to look after him but me. How am I to come and listen to you, and leave him helpless?
Krishnamurti: Don't come.
Questioner: But I want to.
Krishnamurti: Then don't make it a problem.
Questioner: Are you saying that when an embarrassing or inconvenient situation exists, like the lack of money, the mind can rise above it?
Krishnamurti: No. You see, you have already gone ahead of me, trying to resolve the problem. You want to know how to deal with the problem, and I haven't come to that yet. I have merely stated the problem, not what to do about it. When you say the mind must rise above the problem, or ask what a relative or friend is to do who is old and has no money, do you see what you are doing? You are escaping from the fact. Wait a minute, listen to what I am saying. Don't accept or reject what I am saying, but just listen to it. You are unwilling to face the fact that it is you who have a problem, not somebody else. If you can resolve your own problem as a human being, you will help another - or not, as the case may be - in resolving his. But the moment you go off to the problems of other people and ask, "What am I to do?", you have put yourself in a position in which you can have no answer, and therefore that becomes a contradiction.
I don't know if you are following all this.
Questioner: I am illiterate through a disability in childhood, and this has been a great problem to me throughout my life. How can I solve it?
Krishnamurti: You are all terribly concerned about solving a problem, aren't you? I am not. Sorry. I told you right at the beginning of these talks that I am not interested in solving problems, yours or mine. I am not your helper or your guide. You are your own teacher, your own disciple. You are here to learn, and not to ask somebody else what to do and what not to do. It is not a question of what you should do about the crippled person, or about a person who hasn't got enough money, or about illiteracy, and so on and so on. You are here to learn for yourself about the problems you have, and not to be instructed by me. So please don't put me in that false position, because I will not instruct you. If I did, I would become a leader, a guru, thereby adding to all the exploiting rubbish that already exists in the world. So we are here - you and I - to learn, and not to be instructed. We are learning, not through study, not through experience, but by being alert, awake, totally aware of ourselves; so our relationship is entirely different from that of the teacher and the taught. The speaker is not instructing you, or telling you what to do - that would be utterly immature.
Questioner: When we are incapable of seeing all that is involved in a problem, how can we go to the root of it and resolve it?
Krishnamurti: You are all so eager to find out what to do that you haven't given me a chance to go into it. Please do listen for two minutes, if you will. I am not telling you what to do about your problems. I am pointing out how to learn, and what learning is; and you will find that as you learn about your problem, the problem comes to an end. But if you look to someone to tell you what to do about a problem, then you will become like an irresponsible child who is being directed by another, and you will have still more problems. That is straightforward and simple, so please, once and for all, get it clearly into your heart and mind. We are here to learn, not to be instructed. To be instructed is to commit what is heard to memory; but mere repetition from memory does not bring about the resolution of problems. There is maturity only in the movement of learning. The use of knowledge, of that which has merely been memorized, as a means of resolving human problems, is born of immaturity, and it only creates further patterns, further problems.
The mere desire to resolve a problem is an escape from the problem, is it not? I haven't gone into the problem, I haven't studied it, explored it, understood it. I don't know the beauty, or the ugliness, or the depth of the problem; my only concern is to resolve it, put it away. This urge to resolve a problem without having understood it, is an escape from the problem - and therefore it becomes another problem. Every escape breeds further problems.
Now, I have a problem, and I want to understand it completely. I don't want to escape from it, I don't want to verbalize about it, I don't want to tell someone about it - I just want to understand it. I am not looking to anyone to tell me what to do. I see that no one can tell me what to do; and that if someone did, and I accepted his instruction, it would be a most foolish and absurd act. So I have to learn without being instructed, and without bringing in the memory of what I have learned about previous problems, in dealing with the present problem. Oh, you don't see the beauty of it!
Do you know what it means to live in the present? No, I am afraid you don't. To live in the present is to have no continuity at all. But that is a thing we will discuss some other time.
I have a problem and I want to understand, I want to learn about it. To learn about it, I cannot bring in the memories of the past in order to deal with it; because the new problem demands a fresh approach, and I cannot come to it with my dead, stupid memories. The problem is active, so I must deal with it in the active present, and therefore the time clement must be altogether put aside.
I want to find out how problems - psychological problems - arise. As I said, if I can understand the whole structure of the causation of problems, and am therefore free from making problems for myself, then I will know how to act with regard to money, with regard to sex, with regard to hate, with regard to everything in life; and I will not, in the very process of dealing with these things, create another problem. So I have to find out how a psychological problem arises, not how to resolve it. Do you follow? Nobody can tell me how it arises; I have to understand it for myself.
Please, as I explore into myself, you must explore into yourself also, and not just listen to my words. Unless you go beyond the words and look at yourself, the words won't help you at all; they will become a mere abstraction, not a reality. The reality is the actual movement of your own inquiry which discovers, not the verbal indication of that movement.
Is all this clear so far? To me, as I said, freedom is of the highest importance. But freedom cannot possibly be understood without intelligence; and intelligence can come about only when one has completely understood for oneself the causation of problems. The mind must be alert, attentive, it must be in a state of supersensitivity, so that every problem is resolved as it comes along. Otherwise there is no real freedom; there is a fragmentary, peripheral freedom which has no value at all. It is like a rich man saying he is free. Good God! He is a slave to drink, to sex, to comfort, to a dozen things. And the poor man who says, "I am free because I have no money" - he has other problems. So freedom, and the maintenance of that freedom, cannot be a mere abstraction; it must be the absolute demand on your part as a human being, because it is only when there is freedom that you can love. How can you love if you are ambitious, greedy, competitive?
Don't agree, sirs - you are letting me do all the work.
I am not interested at all in resolving the problem, or in seeking somebody who will tell me how to resolve it. No book, no leader, no church, no priest, no saviour can tell me. We have played with all that for millennia, and we are still burdened with problems. Going to church, confession, prayer - none of those things will solve our problems, which only continue to multiply, as is the case now. So, how does a problem arise?
As I said, when there is no contradiction within oneself, there is no problem. Self-contradiction implies a conflict of desire, does it not? But desire itself is never contradictory. Surely, what create contradiction are the objects of desire. Because I paint pictures, or write books, or because of some stupid thing I do, I want to be famous, recognized. When nobody recognizes me, there is a contradiction, and I am miserable. I am afraid of death, which I haven't understood; and in what I call love there is a contradiction. So I see that desire is the beginning of contradiction - not desire itself, but the objects of desire are contradictory. If I try to change or deny the objects of desire, saying that I am going to stick to just one thing and nothing else, then that again becomes a problem, because I have to resist, I have to build up barriers against everything else. So what I have to do is not merely to change or reduce the objects of desire, but to understand desire itself.
You may say: what has all this to do with the problem? We think it is desire that creates conflict, contradiction; and I am pointing out that it is not desire, but the conflicting objects or aims of desire that create contradiction. And it is no good trying to have only one desire. That is like the priest who says, "I have only one desire, the desire to reach God" - and who has innumerable desires of which he is not even aware. So one has to understand the nature of desire, and not merely control or deny it. All religious literature says that you must destroy desire, be without desire - which is rubbish. One has to understand how desire arises, and that gives continuity to desire - not how to end it. Do you follow the problem? You can see how desire arises - it is fairly simple.
There is perception, contact, sensation - sensation even without contact; and out of sensation there is the beginning of desire. I see a car; its lines, its shape, its beauty attract me, and I want it. But to destroy desire is not to be sensitive to anything. The moment I am sensitive, I am already in the process of desire. I see a beautiful object, or a beautiful woman - whatever it is - and there is the arising of desire; or I see a man with tremendous intelligence, integrity, and I want to be like that. From perception there is sensation, and from sensation the beginning of desire. This is what actually happens, there is nothing complicated about it. The complexity begins when thought comes in and gives desire a continuity. I think about the car, or the woman, or the man of intelligence, and through that thought desire is given a continuity. Otherwise it has no continuity - I can look at the car, and that is the end of it. Do you follow? But the moment I give an inch of thought to that car, then desire has continuity and contradiction begins.
Questioner: Can there be desire without an object?
Krishnamurti: There is no such thing. There is no abstract desire.
Questioner: Then desire is always connected with an object. But you said before that we have to understand the mechanism of desire itself, and not be concerned with its object.
Krishnamurti: Sir, I have pointed out how desire arises, and how through thought we give continuity to desire.
I am sorry, but we must stop now and continue next Thursday.
July 14, 1964
Saanen 2nd Public Talk 14th July 1964
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