London 4th Public Dialogue 3rd May 1965
Shall we continue with what we were talking about the other day - time? We were saying that time, apart from physical time by the watch, creates disorder; and to be sane, factual, unemotional and unsentimental, one has to understand the whole structure of time. We went into that somewhat; and I think perhaps this evening we can approach it from a different angle.
Conflict in any form is the illusion of time; and we are all in conflict, different kinds of conflict at different levels of our being. We accept the conflict of life as inevitable, and we adjust ourselves to that conflict. One can see that conflict in any form distorts and perverts thought; and therefore thought becomes the breeder of illusion, which is time.
We are not talking about something. We are not talking about an idea. It is not like looking at a picture someone else has painted and saying, "I like it", or "I don't like it", wondering who has painted it, if it has any monetary value, and so on and on and on. We are not doing that. We are not looking at a verbal picture. We are actually living the thing that is being said; and the thing that is being said is not foreign, it is not something strange. That's why it is very important, I think, to listen attentively, not only to the speaker, but to everything in life, listen without any distortion, listen without time. Then perhaps we will find out for ourselves whether it is at all possible to live in this world - earning a livelihood, having a family, living a life of continuous movement in relationship - without effort, and therefore without time.
Time also implies space. We only know space from a centre which is the observer; and therefore our space always has a limit, a boundary, a frontier. Actually, not as a theory, we only know the space within a house because of the four walls of the house. Within ourselves, when we look at ourselves and consider what space is, there is always a centre from which we are looking; and therefore space is limited, and its limitation is bred by the observer. In the modern world, where the amount of physical space available is becoming less and less, if one has to have space, one must go to the moon or to the other planets. Space without the centre, space without the boundary, is freedom; and that freedom is not possible when there is time which creates the illusion of the observer who limits space by his thought. The observer divides himself from the thing which he has observed, and therefore there is a space between the thing observed and the observer, which is still of time.
It is very interesting, if you go into it for yourself, to find out what space is, whether you can have space, not only outwardly, but inwardly, without going crazy. It is only in space that there is no influence, no pressure, no civilized entity as the observer, the centre, who discriminates, who exercises will to achieve or not to achieve. So in understanding time, not physical time, we have also to understand this question of space - whether there is space without the observer and the thing observed. Since the observer and the thing observed are separate, there is conflict; and to understand conflict and to be, and so to be free of conflict, neither the observer nor the observed must exist.
We know space because of the four I walls of the house which enclose the space, and because of the chair which creates space around itself. We also know space as distance in time. We know space because we exist as human beings, with all our turmoil, conflicts, miseries and sorrow; and we also know space from the struggle, the conflict, the drive to achieve, from the centre to that which is projected by thought as the end. That centre becomes the experiencer, the observer, and from that centre one knows space, but one doesn't know space without that centre. Therefore, without discovering that space without the centre, one is always a slave to time, and hence the constant strain, the conflict of the duality of the observer and the observed.
The observer, which is the "me", the thought, the centre, creates a space around himself either to ward off, to push away, to resist; or through identification, to establish another centre. The experiencer and the observer cannot exist without creating another centre. He may reject his centre, because his centre is the result of time and experience and knowledge. Unless he completely understands and rejects it, he is not free of that centre, and invariably creates another outside of himself as an ideal, as a Utopia, as a symbol, as God, as what you will, and proceeds to identify himself with that. He still creates sPace as time, and requires time to achieve. One has to understand the question of time and space, if one would understand this matter of a life without effort, which is really quite extraordinary, demanding great sensitivity and great attention. It is not just saying, "How can I live without effort in the modern world?", just brushing it off, or trying to make living without effort into an ideal and living according to that, because it then becomes an effort. An action which is really spontaneous, and` not instinctive, not impetuous, is not limited by time.
If the mind is crowded and has no space, one cannot look, one cannot really observe. To observe totally demands a looking, a seeing, a hearing in which distance is not and therefore space is not - space created by the centre. If I would see you and you would see me, your mind cannot be crowded with problems, with every kind of question and doubt and misery, for then there is no space in which to look. Most of us don't want space, because space means fear.
Is it possible to live in this world, not escaping from it, but without experiencing? Because the moment there is experiencing, there is the experiencer, who prevents space from being.
This is not as crazy as it sounds. It is only in space that anything new can take place. As long as one is experiencing everything, and therefore translating the new in terms of the old, which is experience, the space created by the experiencer is always limited, because it is in the field of time. I have accumulated a great deal of information, knowledge and experience. That experience has created a space around itself, and therefore has limited space. In that limited space I live with my identification with all the things which I have experienced, with all my memories, with the past. How can I be free of it? How can I so completely reject it, that the very rejection is an explosion? When we ask "How?", the "how" is disorder, because it is of time.
The fact is that each human being who is really not an individual at all, is held in time, as the experiencer projecting his own space around himself. That centre is the observer, and whatever he looks at is still the observed, and therefore there is no relationship between the observer and the observed, that is, no real communion. Communion exists only when the centre is not; and that takes place when, if I may use the word without distorting it, there is love. And love is not of time, it is not a remembrance, it is not of the past. As a human being who has lived a life of experience, accumulating knowledge, whose centre creates the space of time and its bondage, how is it possible for me to cease and therefore for space to exist?
You see, death must be something extraordinary; yet nobody wants to know what it is. Nobody wants to find out the enormous significance of something one doesn't know. I know there is death, and I see others going by, going to their graves; I see myself becoming old, losing my capacity, not only physical capacity but emotional and mental capacity as well, with a lessening of sensitivity, and a quickening of deterioration. Anything I experience as the unknown, which is death, is still in the field of time if I experience it. But to find out what death is, not only must there be the end of fear, which is fairly obvious, but also one has to really understand this complex thing called time, and the space which one cannot experience as an observer, an experiencer.
After all, we know nothing about peace; we don't know what peace is. We talk about it and the politicians everlastingly play with the word. Actually we don't know what it means. I am not referring to the verbal meaning of the word "peace", but to that state of peace where there is tremendous activity without conflict, without time. To find out how to achieve it, what does one do? Please don't put to yourselves the question, "How am I to do it?", or "How am I to achieve it?". The moment you ask the question, "How?", you are already bringing in disorder, because you are introducing time as a means of achieving peace, and that which is achieved through time is no longer peace; it is only disorder, confusion. We don't know what it is to be really peaceful, which means no violence at all. Violence not only includes killing animals for food, killing each other, wars and the conflict of nationalities, but also ambition, greed, envy, the discipline of society which becomes immoral, and the disciplining of oneself, as one tries to conform to an idea, to imitate a pattern, or to pursue a symbol, which are all in the structure of violence. So we don't know what this extraordinary thing called peace is. We think that if we can ban the bomb we'll have peace. Certainly not! Or we try to control anger, or to get rid of this or that. That doesn't bring about peace. We don't know what it is, as we don't know what love is, or death. We know love as jealousy and as pleasure, the conflict of jealousy, and the sexual relationships of pleasure, which are all of time. But we don't actually know - not at an experiencer, because that's too immature, if I may use that word, and too limited - what it is to be aware of this extraordinary thing called love; or to be aware of peace or of death.
There is this thing called death. I'm not talking about it because I'm getting old! One avoids it because one can't understand it, or one has theories about reincarnation or resurrection. One tries to brush it away and lock it up. It is something unknown, like and peace, and life without effort. One doesn't know it. One cannot approach it through time as experience, and one cannot approach it through disorder. We must have order to be free from experience. It is only the disordered mind that seeks experience or wants more experience. I don't know if you have gone into this matter of experience at all. Would you like to ask questions? There is a danger of your merely listening and my going along alone.
Questioner: When you say "experience", do you mean "conditioning"?
Krishnamurti: No, please don't. We are asking if one has gone into and explored this question of experience. Experience is a reaction to a challenge, adequate or inadequate. Experience is to go through something - anger, jealousy, sex, what you will - and to go through it as an experiencer. We say, "I had a marvellous experience yesterday when I was out walking; the beauty of the clouds, the light in them, was something extraordinary". I've experienced; it has become a memory. There was that beautiful sunset; I have responded. One has to respond, otherwise one is dead. If a needle is put into me, I must react, unless I am paralysed. But when the experiencer draws from that pinprick, or from that sunset, a memory of pleasure or pain, then one has set the pattern of experience going. And it is this pleasure and pain that translate every reaction as experience. If one is surfeited with experience, one wants a greater experience, a wider, a more significant, a more meaningful experience, because this life is terribly boring, seeing the same wife or husband, working in the same office year after year, living in a crowded little, tight little island, very bourgeois. One gets very tired of all that. One either becomes a beatnik, a beatle, or one takes to drugs; because what one wants is more experience. And the "more experience" is always the demand for the same in terms of the new. If we had no experience at all, most of us would go to sleep. If there were no challenging on the part of the state, of our neighbour, of the computer, of automation, we would all go to sleep. We depend on experience to keep us awake in that sense.
If you have gone beyond that a little bit, not in time, but if you understand it, then you create your own challenge; the challenge is much more acute, much more vital, than the challenge which is given to you from outside. However, that challenge which you yourself have posed is still within the field of time, because you as the experiencer responded to it.
There is an outward challenge or an inward challenge to that outward response. One can put aside the outward challenge, because that has very little meaning for the really serious man. One has one's own challenge, which becomes much more acute, much more vital; and when one understands that too, then is there any challenge at all? Because every experience is still the experiencer and the thing experienced in time; therefore it creates illusion and creates a space which is time-bound. To see, to observe without the experiencer, is to create order - which is really virtue.
The mind, which is the result of time, the brain, the nerves, everything that I know, experience, think, feel and strive after - all are from a centre of experience. With that I try to discover the unknown as death, as love, as peace; the very attempt to find out is disorder. This is terribly important to understand. Order is peace, but not the social order. That of course you must have. It is not the order of relationship between husband and wife. That also is necessary. But the order which we want to establish in the world is based on time, and therefore it is everlastingly producing disorder. Look at all the politicians, the lawyers, the business men, look at them! They want order on their terms; what they want is disorder. To have order, which is really an extraordinary structure of understanding, there must be an understanding not of time, and you cannot grasp this understanding as an experience.
So there is, like death, something new: the unknown. I cannot possibly approach that thing with the known, as the known. So you see the problem: how am I, who am a bundle of the known, to end it, without introducing time, without experiencing the dying of the known? I cannot possibly conceive of or formulate the unknown. No symbol, no word can be that. The word is not that.
So, is it possible to die to the known - the known as the memory of my wife and my children, the pleasures which we have had together, the problems? Is it possible to die without experiencing death, without effort, and therefore without time?
Let's look at it differently. Life is a movement - action in relationship. It is a movement without a beginning and without an end. But all our actions spring from the known as an idea, and from carrying out that idea in action. Is this getting too complicated? When one says to oneself, "I will do this tomorrow", one has already projected the tomorrow and the idea, as well as the action which is going to follow from that idea, not only physical action - that of course must be, so we won't bring it in, because that would make things more confusing - but the psychological action, which involves time. That's what we do.
I have an idea about myself; I think I am that. Or I have symbolized my concept of myself in words or in an image; and that idea I want to alter, I want to change; and the change of that idea is still another idea - idea being organized thought. And thought is of time. So time, thought in time, as time, creates disorder. I see all my activities - trying to be great, trying to become a saint, trying to be successful, trying to be famous, trying to be, trying to change, trying to do this and do that. There is a division between the concept and the act; there is a division between the concept and the experiencer who is acting. My whole life is: "I am going to be", "I will give up", and "I must be". This same thing is carried out politically, as they do in the communist world, with their Utopia. Our action is always divided, an image conforming to the pattern of an idea. Therefore there is conflict, and total disorder. There is disorder the moment will operates as pleasure in time.
I see all this. It is not that someone has told me, or that I have read a book about it. I see all this, I observe it all around me, in myself; wherever I go, this is the nature of conflict. The very essence of it is this observer and the thing observed; and hence the disorder of time, and the bondage of space to time. The problem then arises, how does one see? I see this, I say I understand it; at least intellectually and verbally do understand it. Then the question arises, how am I to put it into action I see it. It seems so terribly sane, rational and logical, structurally as well as verbally. How am I to give it action which is not of me? I have to find out what it means to see, what it means to listen, and what it means learn; because learning, listening, seeing are the same. They are three separate things. When I listen I'm learning, and therefore I'm seeing. Seeing is acting; not I see first, and then act later. If there is an interval of time between seeing and acting, the seeing and acting result in disorder.
There is no "how", there is no machinery, no formula explaining how I am going to do it. That must be completely wiped out. One can see why. The moment one says, "How am I to do it." one has already created a division between the experiencer and the thing experienced, and therefore one is already caught in time as practice. I am trying to do that - there is this habit, and I am going to break it, which is a division. But seeing a habit, whatever it may be, is the ending of that habit. So, it is very important to find out for oneself what it is to see. Seeing is not only visual; seeing is also much more of the mind.
When you are driving a car, your mind sees much more than your eyes. It is already aware of the car coming around the corner before the eye sees it; and if the mind is not really sensitive, and the brain also is not very sensitive, there is no seeing. They cannot be sensitive if the body and the nerves are not sensitive. So, one has to have the body and the nerves highly sensitive, not sodden with drink, food and all the rest of it; therefore right food - I'm not advising, please! (Laughter).
So, the body, the nerves, the brain, the mind, the total entity, which includes the unconscious as well as the conscious, must have great sensitivity. You must be aware of your likes and dislikes, of how you walk, how you talk, how you listen, so that the unconscious is activated.
Seeing, listening learning is total attention, in which there is no experiencer; therefore there is no question of, "How am I to be aware?", or "How am I to be attentive?". The "how" is the most disorderly demand. Either you see, or you don't see. If you don't see, leave it alone; don't beat yourself in order to see.
The structure of our being is based on the known; and that known cannot know the unknowable, the unknown. Yet that is what we are trying to do all the time.
Questioner: What is silence?
Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks what silence is. Silence is that which has been going on while there was talking. (Laughter). I am not saying something absurd. Don't you know what silence is? Not a silence created by the mind, by the brain; not put together by discipline or by the absurd artificial practice of meditation, which we will go into another time. Is there silence apart from the entity who experiences silence? I don't see how you can separate silence from peace, from death, from beauty, from love. If you have touched one of them, the others are. Some astronauts say there is extraordinary silence in outer space.
Questioner: Could we describe silence as equilibrium?
Krishnamurti: I'm afraid you can't describe it. How can you describe something which you don't know; and if you know it, you'll not describe it. To most of us, expression becomes extraordinarily important. The painter insists on expression, otherwise he says, "What's the good of living?". But to express there must be creation; and creation is something which may not demand expression at all.
Questioner: Krishnaji, to come back to time: is it not possible that it is physical time that pulls us into this whole mess.)
Krishnamurti: We have gone into that, sir. We said physical time is necessary.
Questioner: But it pulls us into it.
Krishnamurti: Wait. Physical time is necessary. Does it pull us back? No. Physical time is necessary. Then what's the problem?
Questioner: Physical time demands that we think.
Krishnamurti: All right. Physical time demands, the gentleman says, that you think. Questioner: And when we think, we create psychological time.
Krishnamurti: We do at present. It is not necessary, is it? Somebody puts a pin into me. I react, which is normal, healthy and sane. But why do I build psychologically the whole process of time? I dislike you because you have hurt me, verbally or in other ways. So physical time is a pain, and I must react to it. The reaction is all over; when you hit me, I withdraw. That's normal. But the disorder comes in when the mind begins to create the experiencer. This is very simple, isn't it? Must I explain it?
All right, all right. Let's go into it. You hit me, you flatter me; physically you harm me, put a pin into me. I react. That's physical time; that's physical response. That's normal, right? Why don't I stop there? I'll be very careful next time that I don't come too close to you (Laughter), because you may put a pin in me. Wait. But I have nothing against you. I don't say, "Well, last time he hit me, and the time I'm jolly well going to take care I'm going to hit him". I stop with the pain, full stop. I don't build. The building up is the coming into time.
I want to say something; I say it. But I say it because I'm vain; I want you to flatter me. The demand for the continuance of pleasure, or the avoidance of pain, is time, and time is disorder. I can live in this world without creating disorder, which is pleasure and time.
Questioner: It's simple to see.
Krishnamurti: Ah, no. If it is simple to see, it is simple to act.
Questioner: It's so simple and natural that the pull of physical time as it goes on pulls your mind into planning and avoiding.
Krishnamurti: No. I said, "If you see that, you are not attracted to it".
You are not attracted to an abyss unless you are somehow mentally unbalanced. You are not attracted to some poison, because you understand it. However, it is not a question of being attracted or not being attracted, but of seeing the fact of pleasure and pain, that's all; seeing the fact that pleasure gives continuance to time and illusion. If I see that, I can look at a beautiful tree, or a woman, or a man, or a child, and say, "How beautiful!", and there it is. But if I can't leave it there, and say, "Well, I wish I had that tree in my garden", I have begun the whole business. Therefore, this demands extraordinary attention to facts only, not to your emotions and your pleasures, and all the rest of it. But there is a time in which there is a different kind of joy, which is not pleasure. I can't go into it now; it's not the occasion.
Questioner: It seems to me that physical time is the villain in the piece.
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that physical time is the villain in the piece, in the play. Is it, sir? Look. I fall ill; I may die. That's a physical fact. But I don't stop there. I say, "I'm afraid.; I wonder if I will live. I wonder what's going to happen to my family to my husband, to my wife, to my children, to my property, to my estate. I wonder if there is a life hereafter; if there is a God who is going to be kind. I am lonely.
You see, the fact is that we are afraid of facts - the fact that I'm old, the fact that I'm stupid. We are afraid to face facts, because we cannot look at anything except in terms of pleasure and pain. This is so obvious. You're not asking the right question; that's why you keep on going round in a circle, if I may kindly point it out.
What is the question? Not that physical time draws you in, puts you in a net; physical time doesn't. It is psychological time that creates the net, I have to go to Paris next week. I'll go. But I don't like to go to Paris because of this, that and the other.
Questioner: Is that the way to stop making karma all the time?
Krishnamurti: Ah, karma! (Laughter). You know the word? I've been told by Sanskrit scholars that the word "karma" means cause-effect, which is action. Can you stop action? Obviously one can't stop action. But action as an idea, or imitating an idea, a formula, is of time, and creates disorder all our life. Oh, this is all so clear!
I don't know if you have observed something. The acorn will always produce an oak tree. It can't produce a pear tree. There is a definite cause, and there is a definite fixed result. But we aren't like that. I did something yesterday. That is the cause, but today there is a time interval during which other factors enter in; and therefore the effect is entirely different; and that effect becomes the cause of the next action. So there is never a definite cause-effect, except in nature. What becomes very important is not the avoidance of cause and effect, or the cessation of an act which has done harm to myself or to someone else, but an understanding of the whole structure of action in relation to time as an idea. If one sees that very clearly, then one acts without all this inward structure of the past which otherwise shapes action.
May 3, 1965
London 4th Public Dialogue 3rd May 1965
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