Madras 2nd Public Talk 20th December 1964
In the modern world where there are so many problems, one is apt to lose great feeling. I mean by that word "feeling", not sentiment, not emotionalism, not mere excitement, but that quality of perception, the quality of hearing, listening, the quality of feeling, a bird singing on a tree, the movement of a leaf in the sun. To feel things greatly, deeply, penetratingly is very difficult for most of us, because we have so many problems. Whatever we seem to touch turns into a problem. And, apparently, there is no end to man's problems, and he seems utterly incapable of resolving them, because the more the problems exist, the less the feelings become.
I mean by "feeling" the appreciation of the curve of a branch, the squalor, the dirt on the road, to be sensitive to the sorrow of another, to be in a state of ecstasy when we see a sunset. These are not sentiments, these are not mere emotions. Emotion and sentiment or sentimentality turn to cruelty, they can be used by society; and when there is sentiment, sensation, then one becomes a slave to society. But one must have great feelings. The feeling for beauty, the feeling for a word, the silence between two words, and the hearing of a sound clearly - all that generates feeling. And one must have strong feelings, because it is only the feelings that make the mind highly sensitive.
Sensitivity in its highest form is intelligence. Without sensitivity to everything - to one's own sorrows; to the sorrow of a group of people, of a race; to the sorrow of everything that is - , unless one feels and has the feeling highly sensitivized, one cannot possibly solve any problem. And we have many problems, not only at the physical level, the economic level, the social level, but also at the deeper levels of one's own being - problems that apparently we are not capable of solving. I am not talking of the mathematical problems, or the problems of mechanical inventions, but of human problems: of our sorrows, of despair, of the narrow spirit of the mind, of the shallowness of one's thinking, of the constant repetitive boredom of life, the routine of going to office every day for forty or thirty years. And the many problems that exist, both consciously and unconsciously, make the mind dull, and therefore the mind loses this extraordinary sensitivity. And when we lose sensitivity, we lose intelligence.
As we said the last time when we met here, we are going to discuss, talk over together, the question of fear. To go into that problem really comprehensively, one must understand that all problems are related. There is no separate problem by itself; every problem is interrelated with another problem. So, a mind that seeks to solve a particular problem will never solve it, because that particular problem is related to half-a-dozen other problems conscious as well as unconscious. It is only a religious action that can solve all problems altogether.
I hope you will excuse the use of the word "religion", because for many people religion smells and it has very little meaning in modern society! Going to the church, to the temple, hearing a psalm or a chant sung - it has very little significance; it is convenient, but no more. And we are not using the word "religion" in that sense at all. Organized religion, organized belief has no validity; it does not lead anywhere, it does not bring understanding or clarity, nor does it lead man to truth. Such organized beliefs and religions are really, essentially, man's incapacity to solve his daily problems, and therefore his attempt to escape from them to some form of mysticism, ritualism and so on. We are using the word "religion" in a totally different sense. I mean by that word the capacity to see and understand the whole of the issue immediately and act on that immediacy.
And I think it is rather important to understand this: to see something very clearly, intellectually or verbally, one must understand the meaning of the word and the significance of the sound of the word - the sound which evokes the symbol, the image, the significance, the remembrance, the immediate response. Unless we understand the word and see how deeply we are a slave to words, we shall not be able to penetrate into this question of what is the true significance of religion. Because the word becomes significant when the word is not a hindrance, when it opens the door - not according to one's own particular idiosyncrasy or character or inclination, or according to something that one is committed to. A word, after all, is a sound; and if that sound is merely received as an intellectual concept or as an idea or as a formula, the word loses the sensitivity of that sound. And the word becomes important when the word takes the place of, or becomes more important than, the fact.
We are sharing together this question. You are not merely listening to the speaker; you are not listening to a set of words or ideas or concepts, agreeing or disagreeing. But rather you and I are sharing together this enormous question of fear. And to share together, there must be communion, not only communication but also communion which is much more important.
I mean by that word "communion" a state of mind that is sensitive, alert, watchful, neither accepting nor rejecting, tremendously alive and, therefore, capable of rejecting and pursuing. After all, that is what we mean by sharing. To share together a problem means, does it not?, that you and I go into it together. And together means not that you stand aside, not that you listen to the explanation or to words that have very little meaning, but that you follow - through the words and therefore through the significance, the sound - the meaning, the sensitivity of what that word evokes. And through the communication of that word, we can establish a communion; then we can share.
And we have to share that problem together, because it is a very complex problem. All problems are complex; there is no one solution to one problem. So, to share together anything, we must both meet together, we must both travel together rapidly; you not only see the significance of the word and become sensitive to the word, but also you are intellectually aware of the meaning of that word and also the feeling and the total significance that word conveys - all that is implied, is it not?, when we are sharing anything together.
When you are listening to a story, you are pursuing it, because it is interesting amusing, dramatic or tragic; you are with it, you are flowing with it. So, when we are discussing, talking about, sharing together this question of fear, we must also understand that every problem - physical pain, psychological disturbance, an economic problem, social contradiction - is interrelated with other problems, and that problems cannot be solved by themselves. A man who says, "I will solve the problems of society, or my own problems, by going within and therefore going deeper and deeper and deeper", such a man is not in relation with society, with the events that are happening. Likewise is the man who turns so, outwardly. So, to understand the problem it requires extraordinary balance, watchfulness, alertness.
And to understand this question of fear, which is not only at the conscious level but also at the deeper levels, one must understand the whole question of friction, of effort, of contradiction. Because all our life is based on struggle, friction, effort. That is all we know: struggle, effort, friction which engenders certain forms of energy, and that energy keeps us going. Ambition, greed, envy, is friction; and that keeps us on. That greed that envy, that ambition, makes us make effort to achieve what we want; and that gives us a certain quality of energy, and that is all we know. And when that energy creates misery, confusion, sorrow, we try to escape into various forms of religious absurdities, or drink, or women, or amusement in ten different ways we want to escape, and we do; but the problem still remains - the problem of effort, of conflict, of contradiction.
Education, society, religion and the so-called sacred books - all maintain that you must make effort, effort, effort. Man is told that he is inherently lazy, sluggish, indolent, and that unless he makes effort, he will vegetate, he will become lazy, lethargic and incapable. That is what you are brought up on from the days of the school till you die: that you must make endless effort, not only in the family but in the office; you must make an effort to be virtuous, to be good and so on. We never question if there is another way of living altogether, which is without effort, without friction.
A life without friction is the religious life. And a mind without friction, without conflict is the religious mind. When that mind acts, it has every problem dissolved; it has no problem. And we are going into that, because one must understand that first, before we go into the question of fear.
So, why do we make effort? The obvious answer is to achieve a result. And without effort, we feel we shall degenerate. But before we make an effort, we never enquire into the question: why has the mind to make an effort at all? Is it not possible to learn without effort, to observe without effort, to listen, so that that very act of listening is learning? There is effort, only because we are in contradiction. If there was no contradiction at all, there would be no effort. And a man who has completely identified himself with a belief, makes no effort - like those people who are unbalanced, who are psychotic; they make no effort; they are so completely identified with a certain belief, with a certain idea, with a certain concept, that there is no effort; they are that, because they have no sense of contradiction. Please do follow this. We have to understand from the very beginning that a mind that makes an effort is a destructive mind and, therefore, is incapable of learning. We have gone before into the question of learning.
When do you learn? I am not asking about the accumulation of knowledge, which is quite a different thing. We are asking: when does one learn? I mean by "learning" a movement which is not accumulative, which is constantly flowing, learning, learning and never accumulating. The electronic brains accumulate knowledge, they have knowledge; but they cannot learn. And what is the state of the mind that learns? As we were saying the other day, life is a movement in relationship; and if you make that movement merely an accumulative process as knowledge, then you do not learn from that movement at all. One can learn only when there is a movement, a constant movement, either from curiosity or of exploration or of comprehension, not in terms of accumulation.
You only learn when the mind is completely quiet; then only you begin to learn. If, for example, you are listening to what is being said with ideas, with opinions, with a knowledge which you already have, or if you are comparing what is being said with what somebody else has said, then you are not learning. You can only learn if you listen. And listening is an act of silence; it is only the mind that is very quiet but tremendously active, that can learn.
So, we are learning together about this question of effort. And to understand it and to learn about it - is that effort? "Life is effort. What are you talking about! We are brought up on effort, we make effort. Otherwise what you say has no meaning" - when you assert that, you have already stopped learning. To learn, which is to share, which is to communicate, you must obviously be in a state of enquiry, and, therefore, your mind must be free from the state of knowledge, of accumulation and therefore capable of moving, living, acting. Therefore, sharing is an active process between you and the speaker. And it is only when you share that there is learning.
We make effort because we are in a state of contradiction. The contradiction is not only between the idea and the action - the idea being the belief, the concept, the formula - but also the difference between our thinking and our acting. I think one thing and do something else; I am violent and I pretend to be non-violent - which is called the ideal. So there is always a contradiction, all our life. That contradiction is established deep down in us through society, through our own experiences, through all the innumerable accumulations of what the saints and the teachers and the books have said.
So, there is this sense of contradiction, invited or existing. We never question it. We never learn about that; so we keep on making effort. Because man does not want contradiction which brings misery, an extraordinary sense of frustration, conflict, confusion, he makes more and more effort to get out. But he never enquiries or learns about this sense of contradiction. So, is it possible to live without effort of any kind, at any level? We say it is. Do not accept it, but enquire, find out. We are going to enquire together whether it is possible.
There is the opinion and the fact, the "what is". We have opinions, ideas and the fact. Let us take the fact of poverty in this country. Poverty, starvation - that is a fact. But we have opinions about that; we have ideas, formulas how to resolve it - formulas as a socialist, as a communist, as a congressman, or whatever it is. Ideas, formulas, concepts, patterns are not facts but opinions, knowledge; and according to that knowledge we try to solve the problem of starvation; and so there is a contradiction. That is, if you are a socialist or a communist, whatever you are, you have a concept, you have a formula, you have a certain knowledge, you have a certain belief, and you want to fit the problem into that belief. The question of starvation, poverty, the appalling things that are going on in this country cannot be solved through nationalism, nor through tribalism. No government can solve it at any level, at any time, because it is a world problem, like overpopulation and so on. It is a world issue, not the issue of a local group of people, or the issue of some eccentric person wanting to do some good; and one knows that this question can only be solved as a whole, not as a part. So you have immediately a contradiction: the concept and the fact. And the same is with us, inwardly as well as outwardly. We have ideas, opinions, concepts, formulas; and there is the fact of envy, jealousy, brutality, violence. There is the idea and the fact; and immediately there is a contradiction. That is very simple.
Can one look at the fact without the idea, look at something without any concept? When you approach a fact through a concept, the fact becomes unimportant and the concept becomes important; and, therefore, you increase the conflict, the contradiction. So, is it possible to look at the fact without an opinion, without an idea? Can you listen to that aeroplane without an idea - just listen to the sound and not let that sound interfere with the other sound of the speaker? Can you look at that tree or that sunset without a verbalization, without the memory of other sunsets? Please, we are sharing together, you are not just listening, do not go to sleep over this matter. There is that sunset; can you look at it without the word, without the remembrances of other sunsets? It is only possible to look at it, to see it completely, when there is no word, when there are no images, no symbols; then you are in direct relation, in direct contact with that sunset.
So, in the same way, can you look at a fact without bringing upon that fact all your knowledge, all your sympathy, emotions, ideas? It is these ideas, opinions, concepts, that create contradiction, not the fact; the fact never creates a contradiction. Suppose I am violent. It is the idea of non-violence that creates a contradiction. We have been fed on ideas: that you must be gentle, that you must be good and non-violent! And so there is a contradiction! So, can I look at my violence without the idea - which is the opposite - and merely deal with the fact that I am violent, and go into this whole question of violence, not through non-violence, but directly? What makes me violent? Either lack of calcium, or I have been frustrated in different ways, or I want something and I cannot get it. There are half-a-dozen explanations why one gets violent. You can deal with the fact and not with the idea; and you can deal with the fact immediately.
This capacity of the mind to deal with the fact instantly, without bringing about a contradiction in the observing of the fact, is the real capacity of the mind that can see the whole. It is only the mind that has the capacity to see the whole thing instantly, that is a religious mind. And seeing is acting; seeing is not the verbalization, not the intellectual seeing and then acting - that again creates a contradiction.
So, one has to learn that the idea, the ideal, the formula the concept, creates contradiction, not the fact. And it is only when the mind is capable of looking at the fact, that there is no contradiction, and therefore there is no effort. Please, this is very important to understand. The conflict, the friction, arises only when there is an opinion, a concept about the fact. When one says, "I want to change it, I do not like it, it must be that way, it must be this way", then contradiction arises, then one does not learn from it. And as we said, to learn is to approach any problem quietly, silently. It is only a silent mind, a quiet mind, the mind that is moving with the fact, that learns. And, therefore, in learning, there is no contradiction. It is only when one takes a position intellectually, verbally, or in experience, and from that position tries to alter the fact, that there is contradiction. I hope this is clear. If it is not, we will discuss it some other time.
So, as long as there is friction of any kind, there must be conflict, there must be contradiction. And is it possible so completely to see, to understand this whole question of contradiction, that one can live only with facts and nothing else? There is also the deeper issue involved in contradiction: there is not only the conscious and unconscious, but also the division between the thinker and the thought. Unless one understands all this, one cannot possibly go into the question of fear.
We have, as most people know, the conscious and the subconscious or the unconscious. For most of us, there is the division between the two, and therefore there is contradiction. Most of us function at the conscious level: going to an office, learning a certain technique. We spend most of our time at the level of the conscious; all our learning, all the impacts of modern civilization and all the pressures are more or less on the surface. Then there is the unconscious which is the residue of two million years - the racial inheritance, the family, the social influence, the legends, the myths, the ideas, the formulas, the desires, the motives hidden deep down. And there is the division between that and our daily living. And occasionally that unconscious shows itself and creates havoc, creates deep disturbance; or that unconscious projects itself into dreams and so on.
We are not going into this whole question of the conscious and the unconscious, we are just pointing out the contradiction there. And one has to learn about it, not from books, not from Freud or from your recent psychoanalysts or any one else. But one has to learn by watching every movement of one's thought. And that has much more significance than any philosophy, any teaching, any psychology, because that is firsthand: you are with it, living.
Then, there is also the contradiction between the thinker and the thought - which is between the observer and that which is observed. There, again, there is a contradiction. And one has to understand it. That is an extraordinarily complex problem. Most of us assume that there is the thinker first: the experiencer, the observer. But is that so? Not according to your Sanskrit traditions or what other people have said: Sankara, Buddha, X, Y, Z - that has no value at all, because that is authority; and when you accept authority, you stop investigating, you stop sharing, learning. We are finding out together why this contradiction exists between the thinker and the thought. As long as that contradiction exists, there must be conflict, and therefore there must be the sense of infinite struggle, everlastingly.
So, one has to learn about the whole problem of thinking. Thinking is a complex problem. I am not going into that now; perhaps one day we will do it. But now we are just pointing out the contradiction which is the source of effort. And where there is effort of any kind, the mind is made dull. To learn, the mind must remain highly sensitive; and to learn implies to look at every problem, not as an isolated issue but as interrelated.
Take the problem, which most people have, of sex. Why has sex become a problem? I am going to go into it. Please, this is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. We are going into it, exploring it. Why does anything become a problem? And what do we mean by a problem? Life is a process of challenge and response. That is, life is a constant challenge and a constant response. If the response is adequate - adequate in the sense as rich, as full, as potent, as vital as the challenge - , then there is no friction. When the response is inadequate, then that inadequacy creates a problem. Right? We are not defining it. We are exploring. We mean by a problem, don't we?, a human problem. Whatever the challenge may be, if the mind does not respond to the challenge adequately, completely, that challenge creates a problem in life. If I do not respond completely to the problem of death, to the problem of poverty, to the problem of my job, of my wife, of my children, of my society, the inadequacy of my response creates an issue, and that issue engenders conflict, strife, misery, confusion.
So, here is a question which most human beings have, the question of sex. Why has it become a problem? As I have said, every problem is interrelated. Sex becomes a problem when we have no other release intellectually, emotionally; or rather, when there is no sensitivity, when there is no feeling - not emotion, not sentiment, not the remembrance of a past incident, of a past sensation. That is, sex becomes a problem when your being has no release except in one direction. Intellectually you have no release, because you accept, you follow; to you, the ideas are of tremendous importance, not the act, not the activity. The ideas become tremendously important intellectually, and so you have no intellectual freedom at all. Please follow all this. Intellectually you are not creative. Intellectually you are bound by authority; you are a slave to society, to respectability; you conform, and therefore there is no release through the activity of the mind. And there is no release through beauty which is sensitivity - the beauty of a tree, of the sunset, the bird, the light, the sound. You never look at a tree, never look at the sky with stars. You may go to a concert and listen to music; but again it becomes an event, but you do not live. with beauty, beauty being sensitivity - sensitivity to beauty, to squalor, to dirt, to everything. Your daily activities are a boredom. Going to office, being insulted, the poverty of the mind and the heart, the utter insensitivity to life - through all that, you have no release at all. So, what happens? You have only one release. sex. And, because you have only one release, that becomes a problem.
So, to understand, to learn about this question, one must enquire widely into the whole problem of what it is to be creative. And you can only be creative when there is no fear. And to enquire into the whole question of fear, one must understand the whole question of time and thought, because it is time that creates fear, and it is thought that projects fear. And a mind that is afraid is a dark mind, is a dull mind; and do what it will - it can go to all the temples and churches in the world, do all the social reforms, cultivate itself by becoming stupidly virtuous, respectable, such a mind cannot find what is truth. It is only the free mind, the mind that is highly sensitive, intelligent, clear, without any sense of conflict - it is only such a mind that can understand the Ultimate.
December 20, 1964
Madras 2nd Public Talk 20th December 1964
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