Saanen 6th Public Dialogue 9th August 1965
What shall we talk over together this morning?
Questioner: What is the essence of pain?
Questioner: Why do we crave pleasure more and more?
Questioner: Haven't you gone rather easily and quickly into the question of time by saying that the essence of time is no-time? And also, could we discuss vulnerability a little further?
Questioner: To be healthy is to be vulnerable.
Krishnamurti: Yes. To be healthy is to be vulnerable, not only psychologically, but physically. And what's the other question?
Questioner: Why haven't you spent more time at the schools in India?
Krishnamurti: Why have I spent so much time....
Questioner: Why have you not spent more time?
Krishnamurti: Oh! Laughter). Why haven't I spent a much longer time at the schools in India, to which I go for a month every year? Is that it?
Questioner: Is it possible to discuss more deeply the question of conserving energy?
Questioner: Would you please explain motive, and give an example of an action which is without motive?
Questioner: What do you mean when you talk about a new society?
Questioner: We go through life and death alone. Would you please talk more about that aloneness?
Krishnamurti: Now, there are enough questions. How do we answer them all? What do we mean by a new society, aloneness, life and death? And have you not slurred over and simplified time too much by saying "no-time"? Why don't you spend a much longer time in those two schools in India? And the other question about vulnerability. How do we answer all those questions?
Questioner: What is the difference between I seeing and not seeing?
Krishnamurti: Ah! Sometimes one sees, and most of the time one does not see. What is the reason, when one does see?
I wonder if we cannot answer all these questions - I am just suggesting it - by considering the question of what we mean by a new society. May we explore that together? Perhaps in that exploration we shall be able to answer all these questions, except the question of why I don't spend a much longer time (laughter) in the two schools I go to every year for a month or much longer. For a very simple reason: I haven't the time. You know, there are two schools in India, one in the north and one in the south, and I spend about a month in each place. I also spend nearly a month each in Bombay, Delhi and Madras. So about four and a half months are spent in India, and that's enough.
What do we mean by a new society? We mean by society the organized customs, habits, of a so-called civilized nation. That is the generally understood meaning, according to the dictionary, which by chance I looked up this morning. That is what it says.
The society in which we live is based on acquisitiveness, greed, the search for power, prestige, position. We are concerned, not only with the transformation of the human being, but also with bringing about a radical change in society, because the human being cannot possibly exist outside of society. He is part of society, society being the organized customs and habits of a nation. That society is based psychologically on greed, envy, and all the rest of it, of which each one of us is a part. Is it possible to bring about a change in the human being, apart from society, or must we wait for society, which includes every human being, to change, and then only shall we chance as individuals? The thing we must find out is whether society, which is organized according to a certain pattern of behaviour, conduct, organized communication, and so on, will permit freedom to a human being. You may not be interested in all this, but I am afraid we have to go through it.
Society, as we know, does not consider freedom necessary; because society thinks or feels that freedom implies disorder, that if there is complete freedom, the human being will do what he likes. There is a fear of free enterprise and aggressive individualism, so society inherently tries to prevent human beings from being free. Can a society exist with a group of people who are free and yet part of society? This question is very important, for society as it is now is not the ground, the area in which human freedom can easily grow. So, must a human being seek freedom outside the area of society, or can he find out what freedom is while still living in society?
We have been talking about freedom, freedom which is not a reaction, freedom which is essentially a state of mind that has put away greed, envy, ambition, self-fulfilment, aggressiveness. By negating the positive there is freedom. The other day we discussed sufficiently what the positive is, the area of the human being, of society, which is positive. By negating that, not intellectually, verbally, idealistically, theoretically, but actually negating it - that is, when the human being is in a state of freedom in which aggressiveness, domination, the search for power, self-fulfilment. does not occur, does not take place - only then is there freedom. Then what is the relationship to society of a human being or a group of human beings who have come to this freedom?
To understand that, one has to explore this question of life, death, and the futility of a life that faces inevitable death. Please bear in mind all we have said previously about society. Our society is based on life and death, living and dying. The theory of reincarnation and the theory of resurrection are merely hopeful, suggestive ideas. If you accept reincarnation - which is to be born over and over again till the whole mind and heart are purified and reach the highest point of intelligence and Brahma - then you must accept the fact that you must behave in this life completely, not postpone.
If you accept or believe in reincarnation, continuity in the next life, then it is of tremendous importance what you are now, not what you will be tomorrow, in the next life, because the next life is shaped by what you arc now. Reincarnation not only says that there is continuity of the human mind, but it implies that you must behave with such extraordinary understanding that in the next life you will have reached a tremendous height, not fallen behind. So, the next life is not important, but what you are now. The comfort that you derive from reincarnation is denied when you have to face life now.
Our society is based on life and death, and the futility of a life that ends in death. Life becomes very superficial, meaningless, frustrating, despairing, without significance to a human being in a society that gives no significance to living, because there is death. Therefore we say, "What is the purpose of life?", or establish a satisfying purpose, which is not living. Please, this requires not agreement or disagreement, but attention and tremendous inquiry.
This society in which we all live breeds more superficial activity, such as amusement, entertainment, the mass, and so on; and life becomes meaningless, because there is death. I may go to the office every day for the next forty years. just think of it! Just think of a human being going to an-office every day for the rest of his life! I do not know if you see the extraordinary sorrow in that. Such a human being, spending his days in an office and his nights at home, asks, "What is it all about?", "Why should I live?", "What does it mean?", "I write a book, become famous for a few days, and die; what then?".
Unless we find a significance - not substitute an ideal - unless we find a different way of living, a different outlook, a different feeling about life, a different inward state of mind, though there is death, there will be a total cycle. Am I making that clear? I want to go step by step.
Questioner: That point is not clear.
Krishnamurti: Look, sirs. Civilizations in the past have lived, like Egypt - not that I'm an Egyptologist; I don't know, I just watch things in life - in order to die. All living is an ending; therefore they prepared, while living, for death. Other civilizations knew birth and death only as a movement in the whole of life, the whole of existence. Most modern people belong to life. They don't prepare for death; they don't treat life and death as a movement in living. For them there is only a routine living, a mechanical living, a frustrated self-fulfilment, followed by inevitable death. Life and living lose all significance in themselves, because death is there.
Others may not be interested in all this. You and I are here. We are talking together. Therefore you and I are interested in finding a new way of living, outside society, not inside society; though living inside the area of what we call society, not belonging to it, but outside it. To live outside it, there must be freedom from the psychological structure of society. One must be free of greed, envy, ambition, the urge for self-fulfilment, the pursuit of pleasure, and so on and on, which we have discussed sufficiently.
Is it possible for you and me - as human beings, capable of having enormous energy, capable of understanding this movement of life in which there is death, but not death as the ending, not as continuity in the next life - is it possible for us to untangle ourselves from the structure of society?
One of our major problems, living in this society, is the utter boredom of life. One may have pleasures, one may have cars, one may have many other things, but this boredom, this indifference, this mechanical living leads to further misery, and so one has to understand as a human being a life in which there is death, but not a continuity as the "me" in the next life. One has to see. I am going to try to answer the question of seeing.
Do we see this thing which the speaker has described in words, which, if we are at all intelligent, aware, we know? Whether in the Communist world, in the Christian world, or in the Asiatic world, this is the way we live. Now do I see this as an idea, something apart from me, because you have described it to ' me, or do I see it totally? What do I mean by seeing, and when does seeing take place? I know that I see in fragments. My behaviour isn't good today. I'm moody, I'm angry" I'm obsessive, rude, dominating. The next day I see something else and try to deal with each fragment as it arises. When do I see, not only visually, but psychologically, inwardly? When do I really comprehend totally, not in fragments? When do I see life totally, in which is living and dying, and a life which is not merely ending, not merely living for sixty years and then dying? I do not understand death, because I am so frightened of it, and therefore I am not living.
When do I see the whole of it, both living and the dying, not only as a human being, but also in relation to society, so that I am free from society psychologically? When do I see this whole thing so completely that there is no death, no living as misery, no striving, trying to come to some superhuman state, or making tremendous efforts to reach greater pleasures? When do I see all this as a total thing?
Are you waiting for me to give you the answer?
Questioner: The constant companion is the observer.
Krishnamurti: We have been through that. I do not know if you have been here from the beginning of these discussions, and the ten previous talks. We went into that; and if you don't mind, sir, it would be a pity to go back to it. If I may put it very briefly: when there is a thinker, the observer, the experiencer, which is the censor, the companion, there cannot be total observation. If you don't mind, we will proceed.
I asked if you are waiting for an answer from the speaker, telling you how to see totally. Will my description help you to see totally? Or is there a total action in which there is neither the fragment nor the observer, nor an idea as the observer, but only action?
I don't see life as a whole. I see it as something fearful, anxious, despairing, miserable, in conflict. I don't see life as living, in which there is death also, but that dying is not an ending. Don't translate it in terms of Christianity, the eternal life. In the dying is the living, because I am living. There is no fear of dying, no sorrow at all; the mind has totally understood this question of sorrow, which breeds pain. How do I, who am accustomed to see everything in fragments - living and dying; living in misery squalor and poverty; inwardly and outwardly struggling; and then dying - how do I see this whole thing totally, immediately? There is no process of seeing totally. It is useless to say, "I will practise constant awareness", I will meditate", "I will be", "I will do this", I will do that", but if I understand why the mind functions in fragments, and negate it, then I have something else. Until now I have divided life into office, sex, family, the neighbour, the religious life, the life of amusement - the various departments separate from each other, as the professor, the artist, the. scientist, the housewife, the monk. Why do I do this?
Questioner: I have never realized that there can be total action.
Krishnamurti: No, madame, please listen. I have put the question. Don't try to answer it immediately. Let it soak in, let it boil inside you a little bit. Let it simmer, so that you know, as you know when the pot is simmering because you smell it. So let it simmer, and let I it come naturally. Don't have one idea which you are trying to convey.
I am asking why it is that we live in fragments in departments - the artist, the writer the scientist, the business man, the religious man, the professor. Why? I really don't know. I have never thought about this, I have never felt my way into it; I am doing it now. So are you; we are doing it together. I want to find out why we live in fragments. I am not interested in some opinion, an idea; it must be the truth.
Questioner: Perhaps the mind cannot see the totality.
Krishnamurti; Then you have blocked yourself, finished. When you say, "Maybe the mind can't", you have stopped. I don't know whether it can or cannot! If it cannot, then life is a torture. If it cannot function totally, life becomes fragmentary, contradictory, inharmonious, destructive; with the army on one side, and the priest on the other, both of them talking peace and preparing for war and destruction. So don't say the mind can't do it.
Questioner: It may be so.
Questioner: Go beyond the mind.
Krishnamurti: Please listen. I don't know how to go beyond the mind. Don't say that only beyond the mind is. there a perception of the total! I must begin right from the beginning. When do you see anything? Not when you are deliberately trying to see something, do you? When you want to understand somebody, or yourself, you look; but if that look is deliberate, purposive, full of effort, then you have spent your energy in effort, in deliberation, in a purpose. To look, those must be absent; your look must be effortless, easy; there must be no motive. We are trying to find out why the mind lives in fragments, in departments; why the mind has divided life as death and living.
Questioner: Why do you separate the outer life and the inner life?
Questioner: We live in fragments because we have different attractions.
Questioner: We give substance to the ego. by clothing it in different ways.
Questioner: If the mind could be perfectly quiet, then we could see the total.
Krishnamurti: But how do I get the mind to be perfectly quiet?
Questioner: By rejecting positive thinking.
Krishnamurti; Sir, make it much simpler than that. Let us for the moment leave the question of when you see anything totally. Let's approach it differently.
What is beauty? Do you know what beauty is? Please don't answer. Don't jump to words and say something. Is. beauty brought about by any stimulus? When you see a beautiful mountain, a magnificent building, a lovely face, or read a poem, listen to music or see the light on the snow of an evening, and say how extraordinarily beautiful it is - is that beauty? Does beauty depend on stimulus? Don't agree or disagree; because if you are not going to go through this, it has no value. You have to feel what beauty is, not agree with words, nor disagree. You have to find out. You are all in agreement or disagreement, and therefore you are not , inquiring. That's why I close my eyes. If beauty is dependent on a stimulus, then the reaction to that stimulus depends on the various characteristics, conditionings, temperaments. It becomes merely a question of individual taste, which has nothing whatsoever to do with beauty.
Is there beauty without a stimulus? I can see the lake, clear, blue or green, with extraordinary life in it, and the reflection of the mountain on it. Does that make me feel beautiful? Do I know beauty from that, or is beauty independent, something entirely different from any stimulus, whether that stimulus is a reflection in the water, a mountain or a face? I can read a poem and get emotionally ecstatic, shiver over it. That is stimulation through imagination, through words, but surely it is not beauty. And if it is not beauty, then how does a mind see beauty, without being dependent on a stimulant which gives one a certain excitement, a certain sense of heightened energy, which makes one say, "That's a beautiful building", or "That's an ugly building"?
With most of us the mind has been dependent on stimulants; drink, sex, pleasure, mountains. How is such a mind to see beauty without dependence on a stimulus? Leave it there for a moment. I am getting at the problem in different ways.
What is love? We know what is usually considered to be love: jealousy, possessiveness, domination, my family as opposed to your family, my country opposed to your country, my God and your God, the profane and the spiritual, which are all fragments. Do I know love without jealousy, without possessiveness? So I have to find out what love is.
Now there are three questions: "What is love?", "What is beauty?", and "What is seeing?".
What is total, not fragmentary seeing? When I see, I see life totally: death, birth, the whole of it, not in fragments. I say to myself, living in this world, what is beauty? There are so many museums, so many paintings, so many books, all influencing, or stimulating, or trying to shape my mind; some say that a thing is beautiful, and others that it is not. I depend on a stimulus; and is that stimulus beauty? I say, "No, it is not; it can't be". Seeing a beautiful building, or a beautiful face, or a mountain, or a reflection on the water, and saying that it is beautiful - I know that is not beauty. I have rejected negatively, not knowing what beauty is, rejected what has been considered beauty, which is a stimulant. I've rejected it completely.
I also see what love is, as we human beings know it: jealousy, anxiety, a sense of loneliness, not feeling love and wanting to be loved, sentimentalism, emotionalism, possession; all the ugly turmoil of despair is in it. I see that it is not love. This is a fact, not an idea. If love is mere torture, then call it what you like, but it is not love The mind tells us to reject it, totally.
When I reject without motive, without reaction, what has taken place? You answer me, sirs, what has taken place? My mind is in a state of negation, isn't it? I haven't yet found out what the positive is. The positive is the fragment. By denying all that, my state is a negation. My mind is empty, because it doesn't depend on any stimulus, such as sex, jealousy or position. I see beauty is not a stimulus; it must be something entirely different.
Also I see that living in fragments can never bring about the total. I see all that, and I am in a state of negation. The mind is in a state where it is completely negative, but not blank. It is full of vitality, full of energy, but there must be another element. In electricity there must be two, the positive and the negative. I have only one side of it. Now, what will bring about the other? The negative has its own movement. It is not still. When there is no movement at all, there is a positive which comes to meet it. Look at it yourselves, sirs, don't listen to me. Do it, and you will see in a second. It's marvellous, so I come on! The mind has lived on fragments, and is in a state of continuous conflict, effort and competition. That mind now says, "Finished; I am not going to enter into that field at all". In not entering into thee field, because the mind sees the foolishness, the absurdity of it, it has become negative. Because the negative state has its own movement, it is only when that negative state is completely still, not blank, but full of energy and therefore of stillness, that I positiveness comes into it, not from any direction, but in itself. This needs a little careful thinking.
Look, sir. Sit very quietly, without any movement. What happens? Your mind wanders off, you try to control it, try to resist it; go through all that, and then your mind, your body, your nerves, your brain cells, all of them, are quiet. Then if you sit, with your mind completely quiet, which is a stage of negation, what happens? Another factor is coming in, another movement is taking place in it, which is not created by any stimulus; but because the mind is so completely in a state of void, emptiness, negation, passiveness - in which there is no movement at all, created by a negation which says, "I must go further" - there is a movement which is not created by the mind. The mind has no place to go; it is not expecting an answer, waiting, hoping, searching, looking, finding. So when there is an absolute negative, passive stillness, in that comes a different movement. The positive and the negative are meeting.
The two have met. With that mind which knows both complete negation and complete positiveness, not the positiveness of fragments, with a mind which knows this extraordinary positive and negative, look. Look at beauty, love and the nature of a mind that sees totally.
Only a mind that is completely still,. with this passive, negative state, can totally see life without sorrow. It can see that life dying is not an ending, because dying then is a renewal, a new thing. If I die to yesterday, to all the memories of yesterday, my mind is fresh, innocent, alive. I'm no longer afraid of death. I've found a new way now, found out how to look at everything totally, out of the complete emptiness which is positive.
August 9, 1965.
Saanen 6th Public Dialogue 9th August 1965
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