Saanen 3rd Public Dialogue 6th August 1965
I think it is very important to understand this question of a positive activity, and the negative which is not the opposite of the positive. We must understand this question very fundamentally, because there is need of a tremendous, radical revolution in our lives. We need to change. Our whole way of living, thinking and feeling must undergo a radical mutation. This is fairly obvious to anyone who is at all sensitive and aware, living in this rather mad and insane world.
Man has suffered endlessly, tried various subterfuges, escapes, but he hasn't really, fundamentally gone beyond elementary suffering. We either worship suffering, as is done in Christianity; try to escape through various forms of inventions, drugs and ideas, as is done in the Western world; or through images and symbols, as is done in the East. I feel that unless one understands the positive and the negative, a radical mutation will not take place. We may change in areas that are of little value - change the economic world, or the social world, or make a change in our relationships - but that means very little.
We are talking about a mutation that is not brought about by will or by the principle of pleasure. To bring about this mutation, one must understand the enormous problem of what the positive is and what the negative is; and one must understand that the negative is not in contradiction to the positive, the opposite of the positive, or a reaction to the positive. One must understand the structure, the nature and the meaning; of the positive. Without understanding that, one can't go into the other. One can only escape into a kind of negative, bland, mystical, sentimental, devotional nonsense, which has no validity at all. So we must explore still more this question of what the positive is, without seeking an end to it.
We were saying yesterday that the very essence of the positive is seeking and finding. This question interests me tremendously. I am very much excited about this; I have never before thought about this point - not thought about it, it has never happened to me. The positive, as we said yesterday, is the self-centred activity which identifies itself with a formula, with a Utopia, with a social activity, and so on. We also said that it is the positive that follows, believes, conforms, obeys, possesses, dominates and accepts domination. In the area of the so-called positive one feels secure, one reels safe; and the mischief begins when we deny the impermanency of every thing we touch. The positive mind wants a shelter at any cost, so it establishes an ideological area, as God, Atman, or some other Hindu, Christian or Buddhist ideal. It establishes a formula and holds on to it like grim death; but to be without shelter, without anchorage, without comfort, is to be without fear.
There is another area which needs great exploration, understanding, unfolding, and that is: whether there is seeking, there is always a finding. The seeking implies distance, and the reaching, finding, is also a further distance.
Please, I'm not making a speech; we are simply going to talk this over. Please stick to the point, and not talk about how to stop the war in Vietnam. Perhaps we shall stop a war in Vietnam by approaching it differently.
When the mind admits distance as the time involved in seeking and the time involved in finding, there is a duration. We are caught in that mode of thinking. We use time as a means of overcoming or annihilating distance; but time itself is distance.
Let me put it differently. I have an image of myself an extraordinary being - our images of ourselves are always most extraordinary, lovely, divine, spiritual - but I am just what I am: crude, vulgar, ambitious, worldly, with plenty of money, or lacking money and wanting it, craving position and prestige. I am that, but the image is something entirely different. To reach that image, and be totally identified with that image, requires time in which to cover the distance; and the covering of that, the reaching of that is a positive action. We soon realize that the image is self-fabricated, manufactured by ourselves; we want a centre which is permanent, beyond the image - God, reality or Utopia. We cross the space between the actual and the ideational, and beyond the ideational. All this involves distance, and to cover that distance time is necessary.
Time, as you will find if you go into yourself and observe it realistically, not mythologically, is a most detrimental thing. The ideal, the image, is non-factual; it is based on pleasure, and inherently in it is the seed of sorrow. I cannot face the fact of what I actually am. Facing the fact of what I am, what is, needs no time, but the other needs time. So we have invented time as a means of avoiding what is. To look at what is, we need no distance between the observer and the thing observed, but we need distance between the fact and the image. So, time breeds disorder in helping us not to face what is. The time needed to cover that distance is not only a waste of energy, but inherently it is breeding disorder. The positive is the way of disorder.
What we are concerned with is the radical mutation of the human mind. Can that mind be completely transformed through time, or is it to be transformed immediately? I see time, which is the distance between the fact and the image, as an element of disorder. Time creates the distance between the fact and the image, the space around the image, and the space around the fact. I see that completely, not as an idea, not as a particular, as a fragment, but totally. So I reject time totally as a means of bringing about order, but I don't know what comes next.
Please don't listen to me. Listen to yourselves as we are talking.
Questioner: Shouldn't we move from the positive to the negative?
Krishnamurti: You re quite right. But I want us to understand completely the nature and the structure of the positive before we go into the other, because I feel there is a distance of a different kind, which is not this distance. I didn't want to start with that.
Look. There is no mutation possible as long as I am functioning within the field of the positive, which is of time, which is covered by the distance between the fact and the image. There is no mutation possible as long as there is this reaching out, this searching and finding - all of which are forms of greed and pleasure, breeding pain, suffering, anxiety and fear. When there is an understanding of that, which we call the positive, there is a moving away from it to something else, The moving away does not involve distance. The negative is not an idea to which you are moving, away from the positive.
One must understand this question of distance. You are sitting there, and the speaker is sitting here. There is a distance between us. There is a distance between you and the person who is next to you, between you and the mountain. Those are actual facts. To reach the mountain, you need time. There the object is very clear: you want to get to the top of the Diablerets and you walk, or take the lift. But inwardly, inside the skin, inside the whole structure of consciousness, within the limits of consciousness, is there a distance? Distance between what? There is a distance only when there is a centre which creates space around itself. If that centre, driven by pleasure or by pain, moves to another centre, the movement is still the continuation of that centre in a different field.
Questioner: Doesn't a centre create space around itself? Krishnamurti: What does space mean to you - space between where you are and where that mountain is, the space created by the tent, within the tent, and outside the tent? We only know space when there is a centre. There is a tree; the tree creates space around itself. A building creates space outside and inside, because the building is the centre. We only know space where there is a fixed point round which there is space, and beyond. We know that when an image has been put together by pleasure we call the idea a centre and that centre creates space around itself. Is there any kind of space other than that? If space is only the outcome of an object, an idea, a centre or an image, then within that field there is no freedom. A man who wants to find out what freedom is, not through curiosity, but actually, must understand this question of space. He must know whether it is possible to be free of the centre, which is the image put together through pleasure. As long as there is activity within that space which has been created by the image, or by the centre, there can be no freedom and therefore there can be no mutation.
Questioner: If thought has created space and time, why can't thought end it?
Krishnamurti: Can thought end anything, sir, actually? I am greedy, violent. Can thought end it? It can run away from it, it can find a substitute for it, it can suppress it, it can control it. Thought is a reaction to memories of accumulated pleasures; thought has created greed, and so thought itself is greed. Can that end greed?
Questioner: Water cannot wipe away water.
Krishnamurti: All right, but let's go on. We have so far been considering the nature, meaning and structure of what we call the positive in life; this is productive of disorder, because it admits time. The mind sees that as a whole, not a fragmentary disorder, but total disorder. Then one moves away from it, naturally, as one moves away from poison. If one is neurotic, one may play with poison, take a little bit of it and get used to it, but if one observes with a healthy, clean attention, one moves away. The movement is not a reaction to the positive. The movement is not towards anything. If it moved to a point, that point would still be the projection of the positive as a reaction.
The mind, having understood the nature of the poison, has moved away, naturally. This movement is negation; because when I reject something, either I reject because I react to it, the reaction being pleasure or pain; or I reject it totally because it is finished, it has no meaning any more. The total rejection brings about the movement of another quality which we call the negative.
I must understand very clearly whether I'm rejecting because of a pleasure and pain reaction, or whether it is a natural movement away because I see its whole nature. I know most intimately exactly what takes place within the field of the positive; there is no deception, no illusion, no covering up. I have very' clearly seen every, angle, every recess, every secret movement, every pursuit, search and finding. There is no movement which breeds illusion, because the pleasure principle is totally absent.
Questioner: What about space?
Krishnamurti: Sir, may we for the moment forget about space? You see, it is very important to understand this rejection, this putting away, this falling away. When you see a poisonous thing, you move away, both physically and psychologically. I wonder if you have ever rejected anything which gave you pleasure? Have you? Questioner: I eat something which gives pain, therefore I reject it. (Laughter).
Krishnamurti : I am afraid we must leave that and go on. Do you do anything without motive, give up smoking, or whisky, or whatever you are a slave to? Will you give it up without any motive? Have you ever done it? Not because a particular food gives you pain, and therefore you give it up; but have you ever given up anything which is pleasurable, not because of a greater pleasure, but without motive? You have never done it. That is our tragedy. You will give up something because of a greater pleasure; it is still within the field of the positive. The understanding of the nature, the structure and the significance of the positive is in itself a moving away from it; there is no motive to move away, but when you see the structure itself has no meaning, you are already out of it.
Questioner: Before one can see the meaning of the positive and be able to reject it, one must have gone through a lot of self-knowledge.
Krishnamurti: Sir, we've asked a very simple question. Have you ever done anything without a motive, such as pleasure or pain? Can you do anything without a motive? Can you be kind, generous, non-greedy, non-acquisitive, without violence - not because you want heaven, not because you want peace, not because you want to live a comfortable life - but just do it? If you have not done it, then I'm afraid you can't go any further; because we are entering into a dimension, into a field in which there is no motive, but only action. Motive is the positive, and it brings disorder. Unless you have understood that completely, you can't go into the other, do what you will. You might say; Well, go on talking about it; I like to listen", but that has no meaning. When you have done an act without motive, then you will know about the negative.
Questioner: Spontaneity is without motive.
Krishnamurti: That is a very dangerous word. We think we are spontaneous when we are not. To be spontaneous is a most extraordinary thing. To jump into a river when you see someone drowning, without calculation, without heroism, without the onlooker, is a very rare incident. To be really spontaneous demands an immense understanding of the positive. The world of the positive is totally unrelated to the world or to the dimension of the negative. That is the first thing one has to realize.
Questioner: But it is not the opposite.
Krishnamurti: It is not the opposite, under any circumstances. In the world of the negative there is only action, not motive and action, not idea followed by action.
As far as I understand electricity, it seems that only when the positive and the negative meet is there an explosion. There is never an explosion in the positive. In that field which is total negation, there is a positive movement which is the meeting of the negative and the positive, which is action.
Questioner: Should we do nothing but look at it?
Krishnamurti: Do nothing? We have done a tremendous lot. We have found out that the positive as we know it, is most destructive; that's why human beings are so monstrously ugly and destructive. In that field which we call the negative, which is a totally different dimension, unrelated to the positive, and not a reaction to the positive, there is a totally different positive, which is action. It is not thought and action, or the idea created by organized pleasure and action; these are in the field of the positive. There is only action; and that action can only take place when there is that positive which is not related to the other positive, and the total negation.
Questioner: You asked us earlier if we have ever acted without a motive.
Krishnamurti: Sir, haven't you moved away from that?
Questioner: But you asked us that question.
Krishnamurti: I've asked another question.
Questioner: The first question is very difficult to answer. The question was whether I have ever done anything without a motive. I sometimes think I have, but then I always discover that there is a motive, some hidden motive.
Krishnamurti: probably we have never done anything without a motive, conscious or unconscious.
Questioner: Not always. When you really love, there is no motive. I don't mean physical love! (Laughter).
Krishnamurti: The questioner says that when you really love, there is no motive. I don't know what that means.
Questioner: I could put it differently.
Krishnamurti: You can put it in different ways, but it is still the same thing. Physical love, sensual love, false love - all these are divided, fragmented, but in true love there is no motive.
But we were talking about something that is really quite extraordinary.
Questioner: Excuse me, I didn't understand what you said about the positive state. I thought you were talking in general. I say, that almost anything you want you can do without motive.
Krishnamurti: Look, when what we call love shows itself as jealousy, possessiveness, obstinacy, vanity and domination, even though we may call it that, it is not really love. It is our daily life, with the agony of it all. You love me, I don't love you, jealousy, and all the rest of it. If we accept that as the only thing, we will make the best of it. Living in a prison we will decorate the windows; or we will go into terrific despair. We don't say there is "real" love, or "real" spiritual love, and all that. We don't know. If the mind says, "Look, I want something which is not enmeshed in all this jealousy, possessiveness, mine, yours, physical love, spiritual love, divine love and profane love; I want to find something which is not all this", is there something else? The fact is, we are this. Unless the facts are faced and we are free, there is no possibility of anything else.
We all know about action based on idea, action derived from approximating or adjusting oneself to an idea, the idea being organized pleasure, memory, experience or knowledge, which are always positive. just now I was speaking of something entirely different, action not based on an idea. In a state of negation, in that state of the negative which is not positive, there is only action, and therefore no idea. There can be action without idea. And thought has no place in that dimension.
Questioner: When you say that thought has no place in that dimension, I don't follow you.
Krishnamurti: Sir, when do you use thought? Or if thought is taking place, when are you aware that thought is functioning? I ask you a most familiar question, what your name is, and your response is immediate. "Immediate", may be divided into seconds, but it is almost instantaneous, because you are very familiar with the answer to that question. Let us move a little further. You are not very familiar with some such question as the mileage between here and Zurich. You say, "Well, I don't know, but I'll look it up, or ask someone who knows, such as the garageman". You have taken time. Between the question and the answer there is a time interval in which you have tried to find out. Then there is the question to which you don't know the answer, or to which there is no answer. So what do you do? During the time interval between the question and the answer you are thinking, you are investigating, asking, waiting, demanding, looking up in books, going to a professor, a scientist or a priest. In the interval between the question and the answer, there was a lapse of time, which was thinking.
Now, if a question is asked in which thought doesn't function at all, and you say, "Really, I don't know", in that state there is no expectation, no waiting for an answer, because there is no one to answer you. You don't know a thing about death, do you? You have seen death; but if you are asked what is beyond, what is the nature of death, the whole structure of that extraordinary thing, if you are really honest, not wanting to invent theories, you say,`' I don't know".
What is the state of mind that says, "I don't know"? Is there thinking? Is there really thinking? You're not waiting, you're not expecting, your brain is faced with something it cannot possibly answer; the brain cells are quiet, because there is no response, there is no reaction. Either you become indifferent to the question and walk away, or you remain with the question, not knowing the answer. There you don't accept. Your mind, your brain is completely quiet, because it doesn't know. So is there any thinking? Your mind is tremendously active. Your brain is active; it hasn't gone to sleep, it hasn't become blank.
That mind, that brain is now completely alive. Previously it was waiting for an answer. It was asking, demanding, looking, expecting - all that. When there is no answer at all, it doesn't mean that you are asleep. On the contrary, your whole body, your whole organism, your mind, your brain cells are tremendously active; but then thought is absent. To listen with that sense of intense aliveness to that car, to that train going by, what happens? Is there a thought? There is a state of mind in which thought is totally absent; it is a state of action. When that state of mind has to do something, what it does. is not based on an idea.
So, one knows then the poisonous nature of positive action. When that is totally understood, not verbally, but completely, not fragmentarily, but wholly, then comes a natural state which is negation, a negative mind which is not a blank mind, which is not a reaction, which is not a rejection of the positive; such a mind is intensely active, and therefore it is action. The mind itself is action.
August 6, 1965
Saanen 3rd Public Dialogue 6th August 1965
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