Bombay 2nd Public Talk 14th February 1965
It is always rather difficult to communicate, through words, what one wants to convey. And it is specially difficult, not when we use technological words or words that have special forms or meanings according to a certain formula, but when we are using everyday words, as we are going to do: then it becomes much more difficult to convey the meaning and the significance of what one wants to say. Most of us, unfortunately, think in formulas. We have certain concepts of freedom, of society, of what is goodness, of what is virtue, and so on. On these patterns we think. And if one uses words that have ordinary meaning, not belonging to any particular formula, then communication becomes much more difficult, because you have certain concepts, ideas, and the speaker has to battle through your concepts and formulas, to convey what he wants to convey.
This is an inevitable process of communication: you have certain ideas and the speaker has to force his way, as it were, through what you have already come to, through what your conclusions are already. So, knowing that you have your special formulas - and I am going to use ordinary words with ordinary dictionary meanings which both of us know - we can proceed and find out how far we can communicate with each other.
We are going to deal, during these talks, with very complex problems, issues that need a great deal of investigation, insight, that need a mind that is willing to put aside its own particular opinions, conclusions and experiences, and is willing to explore. And to explore we must have, obviously, not only the freedom from the verbal conclusions that one has, but also the freedom to enquire, the freedom and the urgency to find out. Because it is only in freedom that one can find out about anything, about scientific matters, or about psychological matters. And as we are dealing with psychological matters, we need much greater insight, freedom and the urgency to discover.
So, words have certain definite meanings. And we must always bear in mind that the word is not the thing. The word "sea" is not the sea, the ocean, the vast water any more than the word "tree" is the tree. That must always be borne in mind, if we are going to investigate into something extraordinarily complex, that demands all your attention. By attending one or two talks you are not going to find out the whole structure of your thinking, feeling; you have to take the whole series and go into it critically, sanely, with balance.
As we were saying the other day, we have to find order in society and in freedom. Society is the organized relationship of man with man. In that organization we must find freedom; and that freedom must be in society and it must be orderly. Otherwise it is not freedom; then it is merely a reaction against society. That is, most of us are caught in the environment, and we react, we revolt; and that revolt, we take it, is freedom. But that revolt which is born of reaction, does not bring freedom; it brings disorder. So freedom is a state of mind, which is not the result of a reaction, just as communism is a reaction to capitalism; and such a reaction in daily life or in organized society only leads to further disorder.
There is technological order in society, and that is what is taking place throughout the world. Order is necessary to work together, to live together, to function together; to co-operate together, order is necessary. But that order is the outcome of technological necessity and of the necessity born of convenience, of fear and so on. In that technological order there is disorder, because man is not free. And it is only when we understand the psychological relationship of man with man and bring order in that psychological relationship, that there is freedom. This must be clearly understood between the speaker and yourself.
When we talk of freedom, we are not talking of reaction; we are talking of order born out of understanding the whole psyche of man, the whole total essence of man, the whole sociological, psychological structure of man. And in the understanding of that structure, there is freedom which brings order; and only within that order can men live together peacefully. So, our concern throughout these talks is to bring about order in freedom, or rather to bring about a transformation of the human mind which can come through the understanding of its social relationship with man and the psychological relationship of man, which will bring about freedom - out of which freedom there is order. So our concern is how not to be slaves to society, and yet establish a relationship in a new world which will be orderly and not produce disorder in relationship with man.
As society exists now, man's relationship to man is organized; in that there is disorder, because we are in conflict, not only within ourselves but with each other: as communities, dividing themselves linguistically, nationally, religiously; dividing itself as family opposed to a community, the community opposed to a nation and so on - outwardly. Inwardly, there is a tremendous urge to succeed, to compete, to conform; there is the drive of ambition, the despair, the boredom of everyday existence, and the despair of every human being when he discovers himself to be utterly, irredeemably lonely. All this, consciously or unconsciously, is the battleground of relationship. Unless we bring order in that relationship, whatever the economic, the social, or the scientific revolution may produce, it will inevitably disintegrate, because the whole structure of the human mind has not been understood and resolved and made free.
So our problem is that we are responsible to bring about a complete psychological revolution, because each one, each human being, is part of society, is not separate from society. There is no such thing as an individual. He may have a name, a separate family, and all the rest of it; but, psychologically, he is not an individual, because he is conditioned by his society; by his beliefs, his fears, his dogmas, all those influences which are exercised by society by the circumstances in which he lives. That is fairly obvious. He is conditioned by the society in which he lives, and the society in which he lives is created by him. He is responsible for that society; and he alone, as a human being, must bring about a transformation in that society.
And that is the greatest responsibility of every human being - not to join certain social reforms; that is totally inadequate, totally absurd; that is a fancy of some people according to their eccentric ideas. What we, as human beings, have to do - and to do that is our responsibility - is to bring about a psychological revolution, so that the relationship between man and man is based on order. That order can only come about through a psychological revolution, and this revolution can only come about when each one of us becomes gravely and tremendously responsible.
Most of us feel that someone else will bring about this revolution: that circumstances, God, beliefs, politicians, prayers, reading some books called the "sacred books", and so on will somehow transform our minds - that is, we shift our responsibility to someone else, to some leader, to some social pattern, to some influence. Such ways of thinking show an utter irresponsibility and also a great sense of indolence.
So this is your problem. I am not imposing this problem on you. You may not be aware of it; and the speaker is merely trying to point it out to you, he is not imposing the problem on you. If you are not hungry, no amount of anybody else's saying that you are hungry will make you hungry; but to be healthily hungry your body must have a great deal of exercise. You have to be aware of this problem: that economic, political, scientific revolution is not the answer; that no leader, however tyrannical or beneficial no authority, can bring about psychological order except you yourself, as a human being - not in the world of heaven, even if there is such a world, but in this world and now.
So it is your problem. You may not want it. You may say "I wish somebody else will show me the way. I will easily follow". Because we are used to follow people - in the past, religious teachers; now, it is Marx, or your particular guru, or some saint with his peculiar idiosyncrasies - , we are always bound to authority. A mind enslaved by authority for centuries, through tradition, through custom, through habit - such a mind is willing to follow and therefore shifts the responsibility on to somebody else; such a mind cannot, under any circumstances, bring about psychological order. And that psychological order is imperative, because we must lay the foundation in our daily life - that is the only thing that matters. From there, from the solid foundation, you can go very far. But if you have no foundation, or if you have laid your foundation on belief, on dogma, on authority, in the trust of some one else, then you are completely lost.
So we have to bring about a psychological transformation in our relationship with the society in which we live. Therefore, there is no escape from it into the Himalayas, into becoming a monk or a nun, and taking up social service and all the rest of such juvenile business. We have to live in this world, we have to bring about a radical transformation in our relationship with each other, not in some distant future, but now; and that is our greatest responsibility. Because if you cannot alter the psyche, the inward structure of your mind and heart, then you will be everlastingly in confusion, misery and despair.
So, if it is a problem to you, not imposed by me, and if you are at all alert, if you are at all taking note of everything that is happening in the world, inevitably you will have this problem facing you. You may run away from it and, therefore, become irresponsible. But if it is a problem to you - as it must be to every thoughtful, intelligent, sensitive human being - then the problem is: how is one to bring about this radical transformation in the psyche, in the psychological structure of the human mind?
I, as a human being, am living in a particular society; and that society is not different from me. I am part of that society, I am conditioned by that society. That society has encouraged my greed, envy, jealousy, ambition, brutality; and I have contributed to that society my brutality, my ambition. We are both in it. I am part of it, I am part of the psychological structure of that society, which is me. Now, how am I to bring about a tremendous revolution within myself?
I see that any revolution - economic, social, scientific - only affects the periphery, the outward boundaries of my mind; but inwardly I am still the same. I may put on different clothes, acquire different forms of technological knowledge, work only a few hours in a week, and so on. But, inwardly, I am still in conflict; I am still ambitious, frustrated, under a terrific strain. Unless there is a tremendous transformation there, I cannot be orderly in living; there can be no freedom, no happiness, no escape from sorrow.
So how is a human being to bring about this transformation? The way for most of us is through the will. That is, we exercise our will as a means of achieving a result - the will expressing itself in different ways, through resistance, through control, through conformity, through suppression, through sublimation, through denial. Exercising the will, we have considered, is the way to bring about a psychological change. To discipline oneself endlessly, or to deny oneself endlessly - that is to exercise the will in order to bring about a desired result. Now, to the speaker, the way of the will is the way of destruction. But please do not go to the other conclusion that somebody else is going to do all the work, and that all you have to do is not to exercise your will but to accept, be so devoted or be so sentimental that you will follow the way of the Lord, and all the rest of it.
So most of us are used to the way of the will. Now what is will? Please follow this, because we are going to show to you that the way of the will is the way of the most destructive process of a mind. We are going into it logically, not irrationally; we are going into it sanely; and you also must follow it. That is, we are both going to investigate into this question of will. You are not going to accept what I am saying; but we are both going into it, to find out the whole structure of this extraordinary thing called "will" which we exercise in so many ways.
Will is effort. To me, effort under any circumstances; perverts the mind. We are going to go into that, and I hope we will be able to communicate with each other. You are used to the action of the will. So when I talk about it do not translate what you hear in terms of what you have already learnt or read, do not resist it. We are, both of us, going to investigate the nature and the significance of the will, because we think that, by exercising will, we will bring about a psychological change or transformation within ourselves. We are going to show that is not the way.
So, what is will? Whether you exercise it weakly or very strongly, it is still the same process; whether you exercise it negatively or positively, it is still will. When you say, "I must not", and begin to discipline on the most absurd things - such as, "I will not smoke" - , there you are exercising the will; there you are making effort. Because there is a contradiction in desire - to smoke and not to smoke - and that contradiction implies effort; and effort means the will to achieve that or this, negatively or positively.
So we are going to find out what we mean by the will. After all, will is the extension of desire - that is clear. I desire something, and I go after it. If it is pleasurable, I go after it much more strongly and push aside anything that stands in the way, in order to achieve it. Or, if it is painful, I resist it. The resistance and the pursuit, pleasure and pain, the pursuit of the one and the denial of the other, both involve the action of the will.
So, what is will? Now, probably you have opinions or ideas about the will - your books have told you. Or you have no ideas about what will is. For the moment set it aside, because I want to convey something to you. You have taken the trouble to come and sit here; so, please listen.
You know, it is one of the most difficult things to listen. We never listen. Now, to listen without resistance is one of the most difficult things to do - to listen to those crows and at the same time to listen to the speaker. Please follow this: to listen to the crows and at the same time to listen to the speaker demands attention. You want to listen to the speaker, but the crows are interfering. So, you resist the noise of the crows and you say, "I must not listen to the crows, I must pay attention to what the speaker says." What have you done in that process? You have exercised the will to resist the noise of the crows and tried to concentrate on listening to the speaker; so you are not listening. You are making an effort to listen, and all your effort has gone into resistance and concentration; and, therefore, you are not listening at all. Please observe this process in yourself. Whereas if you listen without resistance to the crows and without intense concentration to the speaker, then your attention is not divided; then you listen both to the crows and to the speaker. In that there is no concentration, because you are sensitive to both.
You know, it is very difficult to talk about these matters, when there is what is generally called distraction. That lady is getting up and wanting to find her way out; and the crows are cawing and saying "Good Night" to each other before they go to sleep; and you have to listen to the speaker. To listen to all these at the same time, without any distraction, is a most excellent way to listen; it is the most supreme way to listen with the highest sensitivity.
We are going to listen to the whole structure of the will. As we say, the will is the extension and the strengthening of desire - which is fairly obvious. I want something and I go after it. Now, what is desire? Please listen. We are not saying that you must be without desire, or that you must suppress desire, as all your religious books say, or as all your gurus say. On the contrary, we are going to explore together into this question of desire. If you suppress desire, then you are destroying yourself you are paralysing yourself, you are becoming insensitive, dull, stupid - as all religious people have done; to them beauty, sensitivity, is denied, because they have suppressed. Whereas if you begin to understand the whole subtlety of desire, the nature of desire, then you will never suppress desire, you will never suppress anything - I will come to it later.
What is desire? Desire arises when you see a beautiful woman, a beautiful car, a well dressed man, or a nice house. There is perception, sensation through contact, and then desire. I see you wearing a nice coat. There is perception, seeing; the attraction - the cut of that coat - and the sensation; and the desire to have that coat. This is very simple.
Now, what gives continuity to desire? You understand? I know how desire arises - that is fairly simple. What gives continuity to desire? It is this continuity of desire that strengthens, that becomes the will, obviously. Right? So I must find out what gives continuity to desire. If I can find out that, then I know how to deal with desire; I will never suppress it.
Now what gives continuity to desire? I see something beautiful, attractive; a desire has been aroused. And I must find out now what gives it vitality, what gives it the continuity of its strength. There is something pleasurable which I feel desirable, and I give it continuity by thinking about it. One thinks about sex. You think about it and you give it a continuity. Or you think about the pain you had yesterday, the misery; and so you give that also continuity. So the arising of desire is natural, inevitable; you must have desire, you must react; otherwise you are a dead entity. But what is important is to see, to find out for yourself, when to give continuity to it and when not to.
So you have to understand then the structure of thought, which influences and controls and shapes and gives continuity to desire. Right? That is clear. Thought functions according to memory and so on - into which we are not going now. We are just indicating how desire is strengthened by thinking about it constantly and giving it a continuity - which becomes the will. And with that will we operate. And that will is based on pleasure and on pain. If it is pleasurable, I want more of it; if it is painful, I resist it.
So the resistance to pain or the pursuit of pleasure - both give continuity to desire. And when I understand this, there is never a question of suppression of desire, because when you suppress desire, it will inevitably bring about other conflicts - as in the case of suppressing a disease. You cannot suppress a disease; you have to bring it out; you have to go into it and do all kinds of things. But if you suppress it, it will gain in potency and become stronger and later will attack you. Similarly, when you understand the whole nature of desire and what gives continuity to desire, you will never, under any circumstances, suppress desire. But that does not mean that you indulge in desire. Because the moment you indulge in desire, it brings its own pain, its own pleasure, and you are back again in the vicious circle.
So most human beings are used to this: if they want to change, if they want to drop a habit, they exercise their will. And that will is engendered through contradiction, and therefore, there is a battle going on all the time within one. Is there another way of bringing about a radical transformation within oneself, to find oneself in a totally different dimension, not in the old dimension?
And to explode into the new dimension one must understand the nature of the old dimension, what is involved in it, what are all the structures, the pains, the nuances, the subtleties of the old dimension. One of the things of the old dimension is the will. So one must understand it and one must be free of it. That is, one must be free of this idea of effort. And that is one of the most difficult things to do, because all our life, from childhood till we die, we are making efforts to be good, to achieve, to become a great man or a little man, to go to heaven or to find God; we say we must do this and we must not do that - we are continuously making effort. You know, goodness flowers naturally. If you make an effort to be good, you are no longer good. But to flower in goodness is the very nature of a mind that is religious. Therefore, a mind that is called religious, that makes an effort to be good, is irreligious.
To find out for oneself and not to accept or deny a way of life in which there is no effort at all, whatever you do in the office, in your home, while walking, while thinking - that demands great investigation, great understanding, immense insight within oneself. When you make effort, what is involved in that effort? First of all, there is strain, physical strain - more and more strain, not because of work or food. But this constant strain - the strain brought about by our ambition, by our disorderliness, our greed, our competition, our brutality, our insensitivity - effects the heart.
Why is it that we have been brought up to make effort? I do not know if you have ever asked yourself this: why do you make effort? To better yourself? To be better in your office? To control yourself? To change the psyche, the psychological thoughts and feelings and all the rest of it? Have you succeeded in changing yourself through effort, radically, not superficially? Or is there a different approach to this thing altogether? Because all effort destroys spontaneity. If you are not spontaneous, then you are mechanical, you become dull, you become insensitive. You become insensitive to that moon; and when you cannot see the beauty of that moon, spontaneously, naturally, with vitality, with vigour, then such a mind is a dead mind, is an inefficient mind, is a disorderly mind, is an irreligious mind.
But we never look at the moon, we never see the beauty of it. Passing by occasionally, if somebody points it out and asks you to look at it, you turn your head up and look at it; but your thoughts, your worries, occupy greater space, and so you never look. You never look at the beauty of the sea or the river, of a tree in another's garden. You never look at the beauty of the face of a child, of a woman, of a man. Because, to you, beauty is always associated with sex; and all your religious books have said, "Have nothing whatever to do with woman, if you want to find God." So in denying beauty you have denied life; and, when you have denied life, you cannot find life everlasting. Life is here, not in the hereafter.
So it is imperative that you find out for yourself why you make effort. I can explain; but explanations, words, are not the facts just as the word "tree" is not the tree. The explanation is not the fact of your own discovery. When you discover it for yourself, then it becomes tremendously vital; then it has significance; then it gives you vitality to meet that fact. Look! If I tell you to look at that moon, you will look; but you have not looked at all, because you have been told to look. But if you are listening to the speaker as well as looking at that moon, then you will see how extraordinarily united the attention is, which looks at the moon and listens to the words of the speaker - they are not two different things, two different activities. It is the same energy that looks, and it is the same energy that listens. But when you divide it as an act of listening and as an act of looking, then you have created a contradiction. Then, in that contradiction, there is effort. Then, you exclude the moon and listen to the speaker. When you exclude the moon and listen to the speaker, you are not listening to the speaker.
And the beauty of listening lies in being highly sensitive to everything about you, to the ugliness, to the dirt, to the squalor, to the poverty about you, and also to the dirt, to the disorder, to the poverty of one's own being. When you are aware of both, then there is no effort. That is, when there is an awareness which is without choice, then there is no effort. If you say "I will be aware of the moon", you choose to be aware of that; then, you will also choose not to be aware of the speaker and what he says; so there is a division - the one you exclude, and the other you are aware of. In that exclusion and in that division there is a contradiction. It is this contradiction that breeds conflict and therefore effort. Whereas if you listen and if you observe without any choice, without any exclusion, without any contradiction, then there is no effort at all.
We will go into this question of effort perhaps at the next meeting. But what is important is to understand this: will inevitably creates contradiction, whether it is a positive will or negative will; and when the mind is in contradiction, outwardly or inwardly, there must be effort; and where there is effort, there is no attention, there is no awareness, and hence all the problems arise.
So a mind that listens and at the same time looks at the moon without a contradiction - such a mind is sensitive to everything; and such a mind learns, learns indefinitely, never accumulating what it has learnt as knowledge. Because a mind that is merely accumulating knowledge and storing it up, is a dull mind, an insensitive mind. But a mind that is learning is highly sensitive.
And you can only learn when you observe, when you see, when you hear, when you feel, when you have this extraordinarily complete feeling and, therefore, high sensitivity. It is only such a mind that has no conflict; and therefore such a mind, when it goes very far and very deeply, is an untortured mind; it is not marked, it is not distorted. And it is only such a mind that can see what is truth; and it is only such a mind that can live beyond time.
February 14, 1965
Bombay 2nd Public Talk 14th February 1965
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