Bombay 4th Public Talk 21st February 1965
If I may, I would like to talk about something that may be considered rather complex. But it is really quite simple. We like to make things complex, we like to complicate things. We think it is rather intellectual to be complicated, to treat everything in an intellectual or in a traditional way, and thereby give the problem or the issue a complex turn. But to understand anything rather deeply one must approach the issue simply - that is, not verbally or emotionally merely, but rather with a mind that is very young. Most of us have old minds, because we have had so many experiences, we are bruised, we have had so many shocks, so many problems; and we lose the elasticity, the quickness of action. A young mind, surely, is a mind that acts on the seeing and the observing. That is, a young mind is a mind to which seeing is acting.
I wonder how you listen to a sound. Sound plays an important part in our life. The sound of a bird, the thunder, the incessant restless waves of the sea, the hum of a great town, the whisper among the leaves, the laughter, the cry, a word - these are all forms of sound, and they play an extraordinary part in our Life, not only as music, but also as everyday sound. How is one to listen to the sound around one - to the sound of the crows, to that distant music? Does one listen to it with one's own noise, or does one listen to it without noise?
Most of us listen with our own peculiar noises of chatter, of opinion, of judgment, of evaluation, the naming, and we never listen to the fact. We listen to our own chattering and are not actually listening. So, to listen, actually to listen, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet and silent. When you are listening to the speaker, if you are carrying on your own conversation with yourself, turning out your opinions or ideas or conclusions or evaluations, you are actually not listening to the speaker at all. But to listen not only to the speaker but also to the birds, to the noise of everyday life, there must be a certain quietness, a certain silence.
Most of us are not silent. We are not only carrying on a conversation with ourselves, but we are always talking, talking endlessly. Now to listen, we must have a certain sense of space, and there is no space if we are chattering to ourselves. And to listen demands a certain quietness; and to listen with quietness, demands a certain discipline. Discipline, for most of us, is the suppression of our own particular noise, our own judgment, our own evaluation. To stop chattering, atleast for the moment, we try to suppress it, and thereby make an effort to listen to the speaker or to the bird. Discipline, for most of us, is a form of suppression; it is a form of conformity to a pattern. To listen to the sound, every form of control, suppression, must naturally disappear. If you listened, you would find it extraordinarily difficult to stop your own noise, your own chattering, and to listen quietly.
I am using the word "discipline" in its right sense, its right meaning - which is, to learn. Discipline does not imply, in the original sense of that word, conformity, suppression, imitation, but rather a process of learning. And learning demands not mere accumulation of knowledge - which any machine can do. No machine can learn; even an electronic computer or electronic brain cannot learn. The computers and the electronic brains can only accumulate knowledge, information and give it back to you. So the act of learning is the act of discipline; and this is very important to understand.
We are going to go into something this evening that demands the act of learning each minute - not a conformity, not a suppression, but rather a learning. And there can be no learning if you are merely comparing what you hear with what you already know or have read - however widely, however intelligently. If you are comparing, you cease to learn. Learning can only take place when the mind is fairly silent and out of that silence listens; otherwise there is no learning. When you want to learn a new language, a new technique, a new something which you do not know, your mind has to be comparatively quiet; if it is not quiet, it is not learning. When you already know the language or the technique, you merely add further information; the adding of further information is merely acquiring more knowledge, but not learning.
And to learn is to discipline. All relationship is a form of discipline, and all relationship is a movement. No relationship is static, and every relationship demands a new learning. Even though you have been married for forty years and have established a comfortable, steady, respectable relationship with your wife or husband, the moment you have already established it as a pattern, you have ceased to learn. Relationship is a movement; it is not static. And each relationship demands that you learn about it constantly, because relationship is constantly changing, moving, vital; otherwise, you are not related at all. You may think that you are related; but actually you are related to your own image of the other person, or to the experience which you both had, or to the pain or the hurt or the pleasure. The image, the symbol, the idea - with that you approach a person, and therefore you make relationship a dead thing, a static thing, without any life, without any vitality, without passion. It is only a mind that is learning that is very passionate.
We are using the word "passion", not in the sense of heightened pleasure but rather that state of mind that is always learning and, therefore, always eager, alive, moving vital, vigorous, young and therefore passionate. Very few of us are passionate. We have sensual pleasures, lust, enjoyment; but the sense of passion most of us have not. Without passion, in the large sense or meaning of that word, how can you learn, how can you discover new things, how can you enquire, how can you run with the movement of enquiry?
And a mind that is very passionate is always in danger. Perhaps most of us, unconsciously, are aware of this passionate mind which is learning and therefore acting, and have failed unconsciously; and probably that is one of the reasons why we are never passionate. We are respectable, we conform. We accept, we obey. There is respectability, duty and all the rest of those words which we use to smother the act of learning.
This act of learning, we said, is discipline. This discipline, has no conformity of any kind and therefore no suppression; because, when you are learning about your feelings, about your anger, about your sexual appetites and other things, there is no occasion to suppress, there is no occasion to indulge. And this is one of the most difficult things to do, because all our tradition, all the past, all the memory, the habits, have set the mind in a particular groove, and we follow easily in the groove and we do not want to be disturbed in any way from that groove. Therefore, for most of us, discipline is merely conformity, suppression, imitation, ultimately leading to a very respectable life - if it is at all life. A man caught within the framework of respectability, of suppression, of imitation, conformity - he does not live at all; all he has learnt, all he has acquired is an adjustment to a pattern; and the discipline which he has followed has destroyed him.
But we are talking of the act of learning which can only come about when there is an intense aliveness, passion; we are talking of discipline which is an act of learning. The act of learning is every minute, not that you have learnt and you apply what you have learnt to the next incident - then you cease to learn. And this kind of discipline, which we are talking about is necessary, because, as we said, all relationship is a movement in discipline - which is in learning. And this discipline which is the act of learning every minute, is essential, to enquire into something which demands a great deal of insight, understanding.
For most of us pleasure is of the greatest importance, and all our values, our longings, our search is for more pleasure. And pleasure is not love. To understand pleasure - not to deny it but to learn about it - demands that you come upon pleasure with a fresh mind. Pleasure is enjoyment, a delight and it is sensual enjoyment also. When you see a cloud full of light of an evening, it is a great delight. If at all you look up at the sky, if you are not caught up in your daily worries and amusements and aches, there is a delight in looking at that cloud, at the sky, at the light on the water; there is the enjoyment of seeing a fine face full of smiles and innocency; and there is also the sensual pleasure, the sensual enjoyment, having a good meal, hearing good music - both intellectual as well as physical, the sensation of taste, of sex, of ideas and so on. There is intellectual pleasure, emotional pleasure and physical enjoyment in all that; and that is pleasure. But love is something entirely different. Probably we are going to discuss that this evening.
First of all, to understand pleasure we must come to it to learn, not to suppress it, not to indulge in it. To learn about it is a discipline, which demands that you neither indulge nor deny. The learning comes when you understand that if there is any form of suppression, denial, control, you cease to learn, there is no learning. Therefore, to understand the whole problem of pleasure you must come to it with a fresh mind. Because, for us, pleasure is extraordinarily important. We do things out of pleasure. We run away from anything that is painful, and we reduce things to the values, to the criteria of pleasure. So pleasure plays an extraordinarily important part in our life, as an ideal, as a man who gives up this so-called worldly life to find another kind of life - it is still the basis of pleasure. Or when a man says, "I must help the poor", and indulges in social reform, it is still an act of pleasure; he may cover it up by saying "service", "goodness" and all the rest of it; but it is still a movement of the mind that is seeking pleasure or escaping from anything that causes a disturbance which it calls "pain". If you observe yourself, this is what we are doing in daily life, every moment. You like somebody because he flatters you, and you do not like another because he says something which is true and which you do not like, and you create an antagonism; and therefore you live with a constant battle.
So it is very important to understand this thing called "pleasure". I mean by "understand" to learn about it. There is a great deal to learn, because all our sensory reactions, all the values that we have created, all the demands - the so-called self-sacrifice, the denial, the acceptance - are based on this extraordinary thing: a refined or a crude form of pleasure. We commit ourselves to various activities - as communists, as socialists, or what you will - on this basis. Because we think that by identifying ourselves with a particular activity, with a particular idea, with a particular pattern of life, we shall have greater pleasure, we shall derive a greater benefit; and that value, that benefit is based on the identification of ourselves with a particular form of activity as pleasure. Please observe all this.
You are not listening to the words merely, but actually listening to find out the truth or the falseness of what is being said. It is your life; it is your everyday life. Most of us waste this extraordinary thing called "life". We have lived forty or sixty years, have gone to the office, have engaged ourselves in social activity, escaping in various forms; and at the end of it, we have nothing but an empty, dull, stupid life, a wasted life. And that is why it is very important if you would begin anew, to understand this issue of pleasure. Because the suppressing or the denying of pleasure does not solve the problem of pleasure. The so-called religious people suppress every form of pleasure, at least they attempt it, and therefore they become dull, starved, human beings. And such a mind is arid, dull, insensitive, and cannot possibly find out what is the real.
So it is very important to understand the activities of pleasure. To look at a beautiful tree is a lovely thing; it is a great delight - what is wrong with that? But to look at a woman or a man with pleasure - you call that immoral, because to you pleasure is always involved in, or related to, that one thing, the woman or the man; or it is the escape from the pains of relationship, and therefore you seek elsewhere a pleasure, in an idea, in an escape, in a certain activity. Now, pleasure has created this pattern of social life. We take pleasure in ambition, in competition, in comparing, in acquiring knowledge or power, or position, prestige, status. And that pursuit of pleasure as ambition, competition, greed, envy, status, domination, power, is respectable. It is made respectable by a society which has only one concept: that you shall lead a moral life, which is a respectable life. You can be ambitious, you can be greedy, you can be violent, you can be competitive, you can be a ruthless human being, but society accepts it, because, at the end of your ambition, you are either a so-called successful man with plenty of money, or a failure and therefore a frustrated human being. So social morality is immorality.
Please listen to all this, neither agreeing nor disagreeing; see the fact. And to see the fact - that is, to understand the fact - , don't evolve ideas about it, don't have opinions about it. You are learning about it. And to learn you must come with a mind that is enquiring therefore passionate, eager, and therefore young. Morality, which is custom, which is habit, is considered respectable within the pattern as long as you are conforming to the pattern. There are people who revolt against that pattern - this is happening all the time. Revolt is a reaction to the pattern. This reaction takes many forms - the beatniks, the beatles, the teddy-boys, and so on; but they are still within the pattern. To be really moral is quite a different thing. And that is why one has to understand the nature of virtue and the nature of pleasure. Our social custom, habit, tradition, relationship - all this is based on pleasure. I am not using that word "pleasure, in a small sense, in a limited sense; I am using it in its widest sense. Our society is based on pleasure, and all our relationship is based on that: you are my friend as long as I comply with what you like, as long as I help you to get better business; but the moment I criticize you, I am not your friend: it is so obvious and silly.
With the understanding of pleasure you will never be able to understand love. Love is not pleasure. Love is something entirely different. And to understand pleasure, as I said, you have to learn about it. Now for most of us, for every human being, sex is a problem. Why? Listen to this very carefully. Because you are not able to solve it, you run away from it. The sannyasi runs away from it by taking a vow of celibacy, by denying. Please see what happens to such a mind. By denying something which is a part of your whole structure - the glands and so on - , by suppressing it, you have made yourself arid, and there is a constant battle going on within yourself.
As we were saying, we have only two ways of meeting any problem, apparently: either suppressing it or running away from it. Suppressing it is really the same thing as running away from it. And we have a whole network of escapes - very intricate, intellectual, emotional - and ordinary everyday activity. There are various forms of escapes into which we will not go for the moment. But we have this problem. The sannyasi escapes from it in one way, but he has not resolved it; he has suppressed it by taking a vow, and the whole problem is boiling in him. He may put on the outward robe of simplicity, but this becomes an extraordinary issue for him too, as it is for the man who lives an ordinary life.
How do you solve that problem? You must solve it. It is an act of pleasure. You must understand it. How do you solve it? If you don't solve it, then you merely become caught in a habit. It means a routine; your mind becomes dull, stupid, heavy; and that is the only thing you have. And you have to solve the problem. First of all, do not condemn it, as you are going to learn about it. Please learn about it. That is why we talk about learning. When intellectually, emotionally, you are throttled, you have merely a repetitive mind, intellectually; what other people have said or done, you copy, you imitate; you quote endlessly the Gita, or the Upanishads, or some sacred book; intellectually, you are starved, empty, dull. In your office, you are intellectually imitating, copying day after day, doing the same thing whether in your office, or in your factory, or whatever you do in your home - the constant, repetition. So, the intellect, which must be vital, clear, reasonable, healthy, free, has been smothered; otherwise there is no outlet there, there is no creative action there. And emotionally - aesthetically - you are starved, because you deny emotion with sensitivity - sensitivity to see beauty, to enjoy the loveliness of an evening, to look at a tree and be intimately in communion with nature. So what have you left? You have only one thing in life, which is your own, and it becomes an immense problem.
So a mind that would understand that problem must deal with it immediately, because any problem that goes on day after day, dulls the spirit, dulls the mind. Haven't you noticed a mind that has a problem which it is not capable of resolving? What happens to such a mind? Either it is going to escape into some other problem, or it suppresses it, and therefore it becomes neurotic - so-called sanely neurotic; but it is neurotic. So each problem, whatever it is - emotional, intellectual, physical - must be resolved immediately and not carried over for the next day, because the next day you have other problems to meet.
And therefore you have to learn. But you cannot learn if you have not resolved the problems of today, and you merely carry them over to tomorrow. So each problem, however intricate, however difficult, however demanding, must be resolved on the day, on the instant. Please see the importance of this. A mind that gives root to a problem, because it has not been able to tackle it, because it has not the capacity, it has not the intensity, it has not the drive to learn - such a mind, as you see in this world, becomes insensitive, fearful, ugly, concerned with itself, self-centred, brutal.
So this problem of so-called sex must be solved. And to solve it intelligently - not run away from it, or suppress it, or take a vow of some idiocy, or indulge in it - one has to understand this problem of pleasure. And also one has to understand the other issue: which is, most human beings are secondhand people. You can quote the Gita up-side down, but you are a secondhand human being. You have nothing original. There is nothing in you which is spontaneous, real, either intellectually, or aesthetically, or morally. And there is only one thing left: hunger, appetite as food and sex. There is a compulsive eating and a compulsive sex. You have observed people eating, gorging themselves - and the same thing, sexually.
So, to understand this very complex problem - because in that is involved beauty, affection, love - you have to understand pleasure, and to break through this conditioning of a mind that is repetitive, of a mind that merely repeats what others have said for centuries or ten years ago. It is a marvellous escape to quote Marx or Stalin or Lenin, and it is a marvellous escape to quote the Gita as though you have understood any of it at all. You have to live; and to live you cannot have problems.
So, to understand this problem of sex you must free the mind, the intellect, so that it can look, understand and move; and also emotionally, aesthetically, you have to look at the trees, the mountains and the rivers, the squalor of a filthy street; to be aware of your children, how they are brought up, how they are dressed, how you treat them, how you talk to them. You have to see the beauty of a line, of a building, of a mountain, of the curve of a river; to see the beauty of a face - all that is the releasing of that energy not through suppression, not through identification with some idea; but it is the releasing of energy in all directions, so that your mind is active, aesthetically, intellectually, with reason, with clarity, seeing things as they are. The beauty of a tree, of a bird on the wing, the light on the water, and the many other things in life - when you are not aware of all that, naturally, you have only this problem.
Society says that you must be moral; and that morality is the family. The family becomes deadening when it is confined to the family; that is, the family is the individual, and the individual which is the family is opposed to the many, to the collective, to society; then there begins the whole destructive process. So virtue has nothing whatsoever to do with respectability. Virtue is something like a flower that is flowering; that is not a state that you have achieved. You know goodness; you cannot achieve goodness, you cannot achieve humility. It is only the vain man that struggles to become humble. Either you are, or you are not, good. The being is not the becoming. You cannot become good, you cannot become humble. And so is virtue. The moral structure of a society which is based on imitation, fear, ugly, personal demands and ambitions, greed, envy - that is not virtue; nor is it moral. Virtue is the spontaneous action of love - spontaneous; not a calculated, cultivated thing called virtue. It must be spontaneous; otherwise it is not virtue. How can it be virtue, if it is a calculated thing, if it is practised, if it is a mechanical thing?
So you have to understand pleasure and you have also to understand the nature and significance of pleasure and sorrow - perhaps we shall discuss this some other day. And also you have to understand virtue and love.
Now, love is something that cannot be cultivated. You cannot say, "I will learn, I will practise love". Most idealists, most people who are escaping from themselves through various forms of intellectual, emotional activities, have no love. They may be marvellous social reformers, excellent politicians - if there is such an excellent thing called "politician" - but they have no love at all. Love is something entirely different from pleasure. But you cannot come upon love without understanding it with the depth of passion - not denying it, not running away from it, but understanding it. There is a great delight in the beauty of pleasure.
So love is not to be cultivated. Love cannot be divided into divine and physical; it is only love - not that you love many or the one. That again is an absurd question to ask: "Do you love all?" You know, a flower that has perfume is not concerned who comes to smell it, or who turns his back upon it. So is love. Love is not a memory. Love is not a thing of the mind or the intellect. But it comes into being naturally as compassion, when this whole problem of existence - as fear, greed, envy, despair, hope - has been understood and resolved. An ambitious man cannot love. A man who is attached to his family has no love. Nor has jealousy anything to do with love. When you say, "I love my wife", you really do not mean it, because the next moment you are jealous of her.
Love implies great freedom - not to do what you like. But love comes only when the mind is very quiet, disinterested, not self-centred. These are not ideals. If you have no love, do what you will - go after all the gods on earth, do all the social activities, try to reform the poor, the politics, write books, write poems - you are a dead human being. And without love your problems will increase, multiply endlessly. And with love, do what you will, there is no risk; there is no conflict. Then love is the essence of virtue. And a mind that is not in a state of love, is not a religious mind at all. And it is only the religious mind that is freed from problems, and that knows the beauty of love and truth.
February 21, 1965
Bombay 4th Public Talk 21st February 1965
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