Paris 1st Public Talk 15th May 1966
Though one must distrust similarities, there is not much difference between the orient and the occident, the people who live in Asia and those who live in the West. Though they may have different philosophies, different beliefs, different customs, habits and manners from the West, they are human beings like the rest of the world - suffering, with innumerable problems, anxious, fearful, often in great despair over disease, old age and death. These problems exist throughout the world. Their beliefs, their gods are not different from the gods and beliefs of this country or of other countries in the West. These beliefs have not solved any human problems fundamentally, deeply, radically. They have brought about a certain culture, good manners, a superficial acceptance of certain relationships, but deeply, radically, man has not changed very much in the last two million years or so. Man throughout these ages apparently has struggled, has swum against the current of life, always in battle, in conflict, striving, groping, searching, asking, demanding, praying, looking to someone else to solve his human problems.
This has been going on century upon century and apparently we have not solved our problems. We still suffer, we still are groping, searching, asking, demanding that someone tell us what we should do, what we should not do, how we should think and what not to think, exchanging one belief for another, one outlook, one idiotic ideology for another. We all know this; we've all been through the varieties of beliefs. Though we react, change our positions in the same field of life, somehow we remain fundamentally what we are. Perhaps there is a little change here and there. There are little modifications, different sects, different groups and different outlooks, but inwardly there is the same fearful struggle, anxiety, despair.
Perhaps we can approach these problems differently. There must be - and I think there is - a different approach to our whole existence, a different way of living without this battle, without this fear, without these gods that have really lost their meaning altogether, and without these ideologies, whether communist or religious, which have little meaning anymore. Probably they never had much meaning. They helped to civilize man, make him a little more gentle, a little more friendly, but basically man has not been tamed or changed fundamentally. We are still brutal, at war with one another, both outwardly and inwardly. There have been fifteen thousand wars in the last five thousand five hundred years - two and a half wars every year. Mankind has been venomous, hating, competing, striving for position, prestige, power and domination. This we all know, and this we accept as the way of life - war, fear, conflict, a superficial existence.
It seems to me that there may be a different way of living, and this is what we are going to talk about during these five gatherings: how to bring about a revolution, not outwardly but inwardly, because the crisis is in consciousness; it is not economic or social. We are always responding to outward challenge, trying to answer it superficially. We must actually respond adequately to this inward crisis which has been mounting, building up throughout the ages. The intellectual, clever, cunning philosophies, theologies, and the various escapes of religions through dogmas cannot possibly answer these problems. The more one is serious, the more one becomes aware of these problems. I mean by " serious" those who are capable, who are actually facing the issues and resolving them, not postponing, not escaping, not trying to answer them intellectually, verbally or emotionally. Life is only for the serious, and not for those who merely enjoy themselves, answering superficially, escaping from the deep crisis within. Having stated the problem more or less, though we can go into it much more deeply, and perhaps we shall, what is the way out? The more clearly we state the problem, the clearer the answer becomes. I'm not at all sure we are very clear what the problem is, what the issue is. We try to answer according to our temperaments, education, the conditioning in the society in which we have been brought up. We try to answer the issue in fragments. If we are very intellectual we try to answer intellectually, try to live by the intellect. If we're at all emotional, sentimental, sloppy, or if we're artists, we try to answer it in that way; we try to look at everything in an emotional, sentimental way. We look at this whole problem of existence fragmentarily, in pieces, in divisions. We don't seem to be able to look at it totally, as a whole life, and a fragmentary answer is no answer at all. We can't answer these many problems according to our temperaments, according to our concepts, ideologies. The issue is much greater than the individual response.
The individual is the local entity; he's the Frenchman, the Englishman, the Indian and so on; he's a localized entity. But the human being, though he may live in a local country, is a human being of the world. One must also be clear on this whole question, the difference between the individual and the human being. If one can understand the human being, then the individual has a place, or no place at all. But merely cultivating the back garden of one's own individuality, keeping order, cleanliness in the back yard of individuality has very little meaning in relation to the whole of human existence. Perhaps in understanding the human being one can comprehend the place of the individual, but the individual understanding cannot possibly comprehend the total human being. The problem becomes much more clear if one can look at it non-fragmentarily, look at it not as a scientist, as an artist, as a philosopher, as a theologian and so on, but as a human being who has to live in this world, not escape from it but look at this issue - if it is possible - as a whole.
As stated earlier, we live a life of conflict, always searching, seeking, asking, hoping; never ending our sorrows, never putting an end to violence both inwardly and outwardly. We have been playing this game for centuries upon centuries. Religions have taught man that he must struggle, make a tremendous effort, strive, battle between the good and the evil, pursue the righteous and avoid the unrighteous. Our life as we know it, actually, not theoretically, is a series of conflicts, contradictions, tensions of opposing desires, and we don't seem to be able to get out of this net. Is there a different approach altogether to this whole issue?
I think there is. I don't know how you are listening to what is being said. Are you merely listening, hearing a series of words, ideas, concepts, agreeing or disagreeing with them, arguing silently with the speaker, or are you through the act of listening becoming aware of the actual state of your own life as a human being? If you are merely intellectually responding to what is being said, then you merely try to identify yourself with the problem; therefore you are different from the problem. I think this should be gone into a little.
There is this question of anxiety. Let's take that for the moment. In our lives there is a sense of despair because of the futility, the boredom of life, our repetitive, mechanical existence, and there is anxiety. Intellectually we can see that we are anxious and we separate ourselves from that anxiety. The observer then is different from the thing observed. We say, " I am anxious", I being different from anxiety. The thinker, the observer is different from that which he observes or thinks about. There is a division between the observer, the thinker and the thought, the thing observed. We have to find out how we listen. If we listen as observers, as thinkers, there is something we are thinking about or observing. It is different if we listen with attention. Attention is not intellectual or emotional; attention is not directive. If we say, " I will be attentive", then it's merely an act of will, which again separates. But if we listen with attention, if we attend, there is neither the activity of the fragmentary intellect nor sentimental activity; there is a complete attention which is neither intellect, emotion, nor purely physical. Attention is physical, emotional and intellectual; it's a total activity. There the nerves, the highly sensitive cells of the brain are all tremendously awakened, attentive. In that state of attention we can listen. Whatever is false is put aside; it has no value at all. Whatever is true remains and flowers in that attention.
I hope you are doing it as we are talking together. That's what I meant when I said that you should not merely agree or disagree with the speaker, or try to interpret what he is talking about. You will find as you listen during these five talks that he is not giving you any ideas, any formulas, any concepts. But if you are attentive, totally attentive, a relationship will be established between the speaker and the listener Then we'll examine, partake of the thing that we are talking about together; then you are not the listener; then we are taking the journey together. This is entirely different from being concentrated; a person who is concentrated is self-centred; attention is not.
What we are talking about is the ending of this everlasting conflict. We are trying to find out if it is at all possible, living in this world, to live entirely without conflict. To find out if that is possible, we must give attention. There is no attention if you say, "I agree", or if you say, "So far I go and no further", "This pleases me; this doesn't", "I am a writer and I want to interpret all this in a certain way". If we can give attention, it becomes extremely worthwhile. Then we establish a communion between us. In that communion there is neither the teacher nor the taught, which again is too immature. There is no follower and no one who says, "Do this; do that". As human beings we have been through all that for centuries upon centuries. We've had saviours, Masters, gods, beliefs, religions by the dozen, and they have not solved our problems. We are as unhappy as ever, miserable, confused, suffering, and our lives have become very petty, small. We may be awfully clever, talk infinitely about everything cleverly, but inwardly there's a turmoil, an endless loneliness, a deepening, wider confusion and a sorrow that seems to have no end at all.
Having stated the problem, with which most of us are quite familiar, is there a different approach? The old approach obviously is not the way out. Of that one must be absolutely clear, so that one turns one's back on it completely. The old way of the religions, with their beliefs, dogmas, saviours, Masters, priests, archbishops and all the rest of it, whether it is Catholic, Protestant, Hindu or Buddhist - all that one must put aside entirely, because one understands that such a way doesn't give man any freedom. Freedom is something entirely different from revolt. The whole world at the present time is in revolt, especially the young, but that's not freedom. Freedom is something entirely different; freedom is not from something. If it is from something it's a revolt. If I revolt against the religion to which I belong, out of that reaction I join another religion because it gives me, I think, greater freedom, something more exciting, a new set of words, a new set of phrases, a new set of dogmas and ideologies, but this reaction is incapable of examining. Only a mind that is in freedom, not in reaction, can examine, not only the human mind as it is but also the whole psychological structure of the social order of which one is a part, questioning, doubting, being sceptical. To question, to ask, to find out - all these demand a great deal of freedom, not a great deal of reaction. Where there is freedom there is passion, there is an intensity which is entirely different from the intensity and the passion of reaction. The passion, the intensity, the vitality, the vigour that freedom brings about cannot end, whereas the enthusiasm, the interest, the vitality of reaction can undergo a change and be modified.
To find out if there is a different way, a different way of living, not a different way of doing or acting, but of living which is acting, one must naturally turn one's back upon those things to which one has become a slave. I think that is the first thing one has to do, because otherwise one cannot examine, one cannot look. How can a mind that is so heavily conditioned through two thousand years of propaganda or ten thousand years of tradition, how can such a mind observe? It can only observe according to its conditioning according to its ambitions, according to its craving for fulfilment. Such examination has no vitality, nothing; it cannot discover anything new. Even in the scientific field, though one may have a great deal of knowledge, to discover anything new the known must be temporarily set aside; otherwise one can't discover anything new. It is obvious that if one is to see the new clearly, the past, the known, knowledge must come to an end.
We are asking ourselves, you and I, if there is an altogether different approach in which there is no conflict, no contradiction. Where there is contradiction there is effort, and where there is effort there is conflict, conflict being either resistance or acceptance. Resistance is sheltering oneself behind ideas, hopes, fears; acceptance becomes imitation. We are always swimming against the current; that's our life. Is it possible to move, to live, to be, to function in such a way that there is no current against which we must battle? The more there is conflict, the more there is tension. From that tension there is every form of neurosis and every psychotic state. A human being in tension may have a certain capacity and that capacity through that tension may be expressed in writing, in music, in ten different ways.
I am trying to convey, or rather to communicate non-verbally; though one must use words, yet one knows that the word is not the fact, the thing. Instead of always approaching reality through discipline, conflict, acceptance, denial, the things that man has practised for centuries upon centuries to find out something, is it possible to explode and in that very explosion to have a new state of mind come into being? Can the old mind, which still has in it the animal, the old mind which is seeking comfort, security, which is afraid, anxious, lonely, painfully aware of its own limitations, can that old mind come to an end immediately and a new mind operate? Is the problem stated clearly?
Let me put it in a different way. Thought has created these problems. Thought has said, "I must find God", "I must have security", "This is my country; this is not your country", "You are a German; I'm a Frenchman; you are a Russian; you are a communist; you're this, that", " My God, your God", "I'm a writer; you're not a writer", "You're inferior; I'm superior", "You're spiritual; I'm not spiritual". Thought has built the social structure in which we are, of which we are. Thought is responsible for this whole confusion. Thought has created it, and if thought says, "I must change all this in order to be different", it will create a structure perhaps dissimilar in some respects, but similar, because it's still the action of thought. Thought has divided the world into nationalities, into religious groups; thought has bred fear. Thought has said, "I'm much more important than you; thought has said, "I must love my neighbour". Thought has created this hierarchy of priests, saviours, gods, concepts, formulas; and if thought says, " This is wrong; I'll create a new set of activities, a new set of beliefs, a new set of structures", they will be similar, though somewhat dissimilar. They are still the result of thought.
Thought has built a communist world and thought is now making it different, bringing about a difference in communism, which is becoming bourgeois, not so revolutionary. Thought is making it more soft, more gentle. It's still thought that is creating and destroying.
To find anything totally different you must not only understand the origin of thought, the beginning of thought, but also whether it is possible for thought to come to an end so that a new process can begin. This is an extraordinarily important question. You can't agree or disagree; you don't know; you probably have not even thought about it, and so you can't say you understand or you don't understand. You may say, " Yes, I understand in the sense that I can follow verbally, intellectually what you are talking about", but this is entirely different from actually understanding the fact. Thought has created wars by dividing men into Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Indians, Russians. Thought has divided the world into fields, into areas of belief, with their saviours, with their gods, and each one has its God! People have fought against each other. All this thought has bred, and thought says, " I see this; it is a fact; now I will create a different world". It has tried to do this in the communist world. Every revolution tries to do this, but it eventually comes back to the same circle.
Thought has created philosophies, formulas according to which we try to live. Thought has created a psychological structure of pleasure, established certain values based on pleasure. This doesn't mean that I am against pleasure, but we have to investigate the whole structure of pleasure. Thought cannot create a new world. This doesn't mean that sentiment will create a new world; on the contrary, it won't. We must find a different energy, which is not the energy brought about by thought, a different energy which will function at a different dimension. Its very activities in its functioning are in this different world, not in a world of escape, in a monastery, on top of the Himalayas, in some cave, in some absurd business. That's what we are going to find out. I am quite sure that there is a different way of living, but it is not a world in which thought functions. We must go into the origin of thinking, the beginning of thinking and find out what thinking means, what its structure is, its mechanism. When the mind, the total entity understands, gives complete attention to understanding the structure of thought, then we begin to have a different kind of energy. This has nothing whatever to do with self-fulfilment, with seeking, with wanting; all that disappears. Our concern will be to understand together. It's not just you listening and the speaker putting out certain words. Together we are going to find out the origin of thinking.
I don't know if you have noticed how thought strengthens pleasure. The more you think about something which you have considered pleasurable, the more vitality, energy, volatile strength it has. When thought fights a habit, whatever the habit, good or bad, it doesn't matter, the energy that is derived by thinking is entirely different from the energy which understands the whole structure of thought.
We are going to discover together for ourselves. It is not a case of someone telling us; then it becomes too immature. We are going to discover together the origin of thinking, whether it is possible for thought to end when it is necessary, and for thought to function with accuracy, with precision, with reason, with clarity, when it is also necessary. Now we have overflown from the known to the unknown, and therefore we get confused. Where thought has to function vigorously, unemotionally, as in a technological job, there is no emotional reaction. You're trained as a technician and there you function precisely. That precision doesn't enter into a field where you have understood the whole origin of thinking. It brings confusion in there. Thought can function fully and completely, with reason and health, without any neurotic states, where it is necessary; but there is a field in which thought doesn't function at all; in that field a revolution can take place; the new can take place. That's what we are going to uncover for ourselves as we go along.
Questioner: I think there is one sort of energy which is given to everyone during sleep, and this is without thought, ordinary thought.
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says we are given a certain form of energy in which thought doesn't function at all. Who has given it? What is energy, sir? Wait; let's begin again. When we talk about energy, what do we mean by that? There is physical energy which we derive through food, and all the rest of it. There is energy derived through emotional states, the more sentimental, emotional. There is intellectual energy. Generally these three energies and their divisions are in contradiction to each other, and these contradictions create another form of energy. All this we can easily find out for ourselves through ordinary psychological observation.
I am ambitious; I want to fulfil; I want to reach the top; I want recognition by the world, whatever the world is. I want fame, and that engenders tremendous energy. I become ruthless. There's the energy of violence, and becoming aware of that violence I create an ideology of non-violence. The struggle between the fact of violence and the idiocy of the ideology of non-violence creates a conflict. Every energy creates its opposite energy, and in that we are caught. I love you and I'm jealous; I'm attached. I become possessive, dominating, and that gives me tremendous energy. When you turn against me I turn it into hate; that's also another energy. We're not talking of this kind of energy at all, the energy brought about by thought. Thought may be exercised consciously or unconsciously. With most of us it's an unconscious response. The unconscious response comes from a word which awakens a whole series of memories, associations, like the word " God", which awakens tremendous responses for both the believer and the non-believer.
We must be very clear what we mean by the energy which is created by conflict. Look at the energy a business man uses to go every morning for forty years to the office, to battle, whether it's in Russia or here. Think of the energy he has! That energy is brought about by social conditioning, through ambition through the desire for success, for pleasure, for acquisitiveness, for new cars, for houses, for more, more, more. Until that psychotic energy comes to an end, the other energy cannot come into being. The two cannot be put together. The ambition of the man who worships success, position, prestige, of the man who wants to express himself, has its own energy, but this energy cannot possibly understand what love is. How can a man who is ambitious, whether in the name of God, in the name of society or in the name of his own personal fulfilment, how can such a man understand love? How can he love? It is impossible.
One must be very clear not to mix the two kinds of energy; the two cannot be mixed. When the energy of conflict ceases then perhaps we will understand a different kind of energy. It is that energy and no other that is going to solve our human problems.
May 15, 1966
Paris 1st Public Talk 15th May 1966
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