Paris 3rd Public Talk 22nd May 1966
The other day we were talking about the necessity for a radical change, not at some future date, but on the instant. We discussed the fact that thought in different ways crudely and very subtly has created the psychological structure in which human beings are caught, both outwardly and inwardly. Thought has created this confusion, this misery, this conflict and thought cannot possibly, under any circumstances, bring about a different structure, because thought will always remain the same. We also discussed the origin of thinking. Perhaps we can go into it a little more deeply today.
The problem is, what action or inaction is necessary for a radical mutation to take place? For most of us action is fragmentary; we act as scientists, writers, business men or family people, as social reformers, politicians, in so many different ways. We act according to our conditioning; if conditioned as a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim, a communist and so on, our whole outlook, our activity, though modified by tendency and temperament, continue to function, act according to the background out of which we have come. The background, the conditioning is not different from the me, the you; we are the background. We are the result of our conditioning. We are conditioned entities and we function, act within the limited field of our conditioning. I think that's fairly obvious for most of us who are a little bit aware of what we are doing. We hope to bring about a change within ourselves, which we see is necessary, by an act of thought, an act under pressure, necessity or a demand. Such action always has a motive behind it. We function in the fragmentary field in which we live. Life for us is an action. It is not action and life. The two are not separate, but we act, we live, we have our being, we do everything in fragments. Within that fragmentary field by an act of volition, which is determination, will, desire, a compulsive urge, we try to bring about a change.
Please, we are talking quite informally, we are talking over together the problems that confront each one of us, not only the outward problems but also the psychological, deep, conscious and unconscious problems that each one has, that each one is caught up in. You're not listening to the speaker to find out what your problems are, because if you're trying to be informed as to what your problems are, then you are totally unaware of your problems. You depend on another to tell you what your problems are; therefore it becomes superficial, authoritarian and unnecessary. Whereas if you can be intelligently aware of your own problem, of conscious as well as unconscious issues, then your problem is extraordinarily acute; it cannot be postponed. You cannot possibly escape from it; it is there. You may try to cover it up, you may try to run away from it, rationalize it, go to an analyst or to a confessional, do all the innumerable things that you do in order to try to solve the particular issue, but all that is action - not only the action that has produced the problem, but also all the activities in which you indulge in order to escape from the problem. The intellectual activity that tries to rationalize the problem or tries to find an answer to the problem is also activity. Or you say to yourself, " I must understand it; what is the answer; what is the way out?". That's also action, either emotional, intellectual or purely neurological. Being conditioned, you respond or act according to the fragmentary response of this total conditioning.
The problem is this: I know I am conditioned, as a Hindu or whatever it is. I'm aware that this conditioning is very deep-rooted, deep-seated, and whatever I do as action is a response to this conditioning. I also see the immense importance of a complete change of consciousness, of the way of thinking or not thinking, a complete revolution in my relationship to the world, to another human being. I have an image about myself - as each one has - and that image has been carefully built up, nurtured by thought, by influence, by experience, by knowledge. I am also aware that any response of that image will invariably be fragmentary, and therefore all my action will always be limited, each action being contradictory to another kind of action. We are going to discuss this, if you wish, after we've talked a little.
I say to myself, " What am I to do?". There must be some action which will break up this conditioning, this response of the image which thought has built up. Of course all belief in God, in dogma, whether it is communist dogma, socialist dogma or religious dogma has no value at all, because we are much more mature, beyond all that. After having put the question as to whether I can do anything at all, and after having seen that all action, all action, is the response of my conditioning, of my image, the image which I have about myself, and it can never bring about freedom from conflict and misery, then what am I to do? I have to find out if there is an action which is not the response of my image or of my conditioning.
As far as I know all my action springs from the field of the known. When I say, " I will be something in the future, tomorrow", the something is already known; thought has projected what I will be tomorrow. All desire, motive, urge for a change is always within the field of the known, which means there is no change at all as long as I function in that way. Am I making myself clear on this point? Clarity is in seeing the problem, not in understanding verbally what a speaker is saying. To see anything clearly, I must have clarity. The problem must be very clear, not only verbally, intellectually, emotionally, but it must be absolutely clear in every way. Clarity isn't something to be achieved. When the problem is acute and there is no answer to that problem in the way to which I am accustomed, which is thought, then I have clarity. I see that all my action is within the field of the known, whether it is the action of tomorrow, the action of today or of the next moment. It's always within that field and whatever action there may be within the field of the known, there is no radical revolution in there. The new cannot take place within the field of the known. I see that very clearly. Action will not bring about a change; only inaction will do it.
We have tried the various doors and avenues of thought to bring about a mutation in the mind, in consciousness itself. We all do that if we are at all aware, through discipline, control, subjugation, obedience, following someone, believing in something, having faith in a priest, in a god, in a tyrannical government or in an ideology. We have tried all those ways, which we call positive action, to try to end this misery, this confusion, this anxiety. After trying them all we are invariably where we began. They have all been a waste of time. When we realize that any action within the field of the known cannot possibly bring about a transformation in consciousness, or of consciousness, then there is only one thing left, total inaction. This doesn't mean that we become lazy, that we don't lead normal lives, that we go off into some fanciful dream, and so on. This requires tremendous attention to the futility of action in the field of the known. When the mind sees that very clearly then action of a different kind takes place, which is total inaction in terms of the positive action of doing something within the field of the known.
Take the question of fear. Most people are afraid, both physically and inwardly. Fear exists only in relationship to something. I am afraid of illness, of physical pain. I've had it and I'm afraid of it. I'm afraid of public opinion. I'm afraid of losing a job. I'm afraid of not arriving, achieving, not being able to fulfil. I'm afraid of darkness, afraid of my own stupidity, afraid of my own pettiness. We have so many different fears, and we try to solve these fears in fragments. We don't seem to be able to go beyond that. If we think we have understood one particular fear, and have resolved it, another fear comes up. When we are aware that we are afraid, we try to run away from it, try to find an answer, try to find out what to do or try to suppress it.
We have, as human beings, cunningly developed a network of escapes: God, amusement, drink, sex, anything. All escapes are the same, whether it is in the name of God or drink! If we are to live as human beings we have to solve the problem. If we live in fear, conscious or unconscious, it's like living in darkness, with tremendous inward conflict and resistance. The greater the fear, the greater the tension, the greater the neuroticism, the greater is the urge to escape. If we do not escape, then we ask ourselves, " How are we to solve it?". We seek ways and means of solving it, but always within the field of the known. We do something about it, and this action bred by thought is action within the field of experience, knowledge, the known, and therefore there is no answer. That's what we do, and we die with fear. We live throughout our lives with fear and die with fear. Now can a human being totally eradicate fear? Can we do anything, or nothing? The nothing does not mean that we accept fear, rationalize it and live with it; that's not the inaction of which we are talking.
We have done everything we can with regard to fear. We have analysed it, gone into it, tried to face it, come into direct contact with it, resisted it, done everything possible, and the thing remains. Is it possible to be aware of it totally, not merely intellectually, emotionally, but completely aware of it, and yet not act in the sense of doing something about it? We must come into contact with fear, but we don't. The word " fear" has caused that fear. The word itself keeps us from being in contact with the fact.
The word " love" is loaded, heavy with tradition, with human experience, with verbal explanations as to what it should be and what it must not be, with its division into divine love, secular love and all the rest. To really understand that thing the word is not important and the word, because it is not important, does not give meaning to the feeling. In the same way the word "fear" causes fear, the word being thought. So to be in contact with that thing which we call fear the word, which is thought, must not interfere. To be in contact deeply with that fact, the observer is not different from the thing observed. Fear is not different from me; I am fear. It doesn't mean that I identify myself with fear, but that fear is me. When I'm aware of all this, there is total inaction which is the most positive action, and there is freedom from fear, total freedom.
Let's take another issue. We are all afraid of death, the old and the young. We either rationalize it, accept it as inevitable, put up with it or forget it - but it is there. Or we create beliefs to escape from the fact, reincarnation, resurrection and all the rest of it. Again, thought fears that it will come to an end, which is death. Not only the organism, but also the whole psychological structure which thought has created, is coming to an end, unfulfilled, wanting to live a few more years to do this or that, to correct what has been and have it become what should be.
Consciously and unconsciously we know it's the end of thinking, or the end of what we think thinking is, the end of the me, although the me invents various structures of hope. We die through illness, through old age, through accident, or deliberately put an end to our lives because they are so futile, boring, with the utter boredom of routine. We see no meaning, no significance at all to life. Really, if you observe it very carefully, there's hardly any significance in our living. We carry on day after day with the routine, with the boredom, with the repetition of pleasure, pain, and all the rest of insensitive, meaningless existence. When we realize that, we try to give significance to life; we invent a significance - God, noble work, I must fulfil, I'm a writer and I must do this, I must do that, the endless activity of the monkey which is the me.
We are afraid to die. To end the fear of death we must come into contact with death, not with the image which thought has created about death, but we must actually feel the state. Otherwise there is no end to fear, because the word " death" creates fear, and we don't even want to talk about it. Being healthy, normal, with the capacity to reason clearly, to think objectively, to observe, is it possible for us to come into contact with the fact, totally? The organism, through usage, through disease, will eventually die. If we are healthy, we want to find out what death means. It's not a morbid desire, because perhaps by dying we shall understand living. Living, as it is now, is torture, endless turmoil, a contradiction, and therefore there is conflict, misery and confusion. The everyday going to the office, the repetition of pleasure with its pains, the anxiety, the groping, the uncertainty - that's what we call living. We have become accustomed to that kind of living. We accept it; we grow old with it and die.
To find out what living is as well, as to find out what dying is, one must come into contact with death, that is, one must end every day everything one has known. One must end the image that one has built up about oneself, about one's family, about one's relationship, the image that one has built through pleasure, through one's relationship to society, everything. That is what is going to take place when death occurs. Then we shall know what it means to die and also what it means to live, because then we shall die to every misery, every conflict, every form of struggle. It's only in dying that there is something new. There's nothing new if time continues. There's only the new when time comes to an end, time being duration. Time as we know it is yesterday, today and tomorrow. In that flow of time we are caught and we try to solve our problems within that current, within that flow of time.
One can only solve the problem when time has come to an end as yesterday, today and tomorrow. One must die to memory, to hurts, to all the images one has built through thought about oneself, about others or about the world. Then one comes directly into contact with reality, which is living as well as dying and in that reality there is no fear. That reality can only take place in total inaction, the inaction when thought has understood its own place and has no existence in a different dimension.
Questioner: If the grass no longer wants to grow, there is no more grass. What remains?
Krishnamurti: Where is the grass, if the grass doesn't want to grow? Does the grass not want to grow? Do you know about it? Have you seen a grass saying it doesn't want to grow? Please don't talk in similes when you are dealing with facts.
Questioner: But I want to put an end....
Krishnamurti: Ah you want! You have not understood the talk at all, madam, if you say, " I want to put an end". Who is the you that is putting an end? You haven't really understood this. We are discussing something which needs your attention, not your agreement or disagreement. We are looking at life most rigorously, objectively, clearly; not according to your, sentiment, your fancy, what you like or don't like. It's what we like and don't like that has created this misery. All that we are saying is this: " How do we end fear?". That's one of our great problems, because if a human being can't end it he lives in darkness everlastingly, not everlastingly in the Christian sense but in the ordinary sense; one life is good enough. For me, as a human being, there must be a way out and not by creating a hope in some future. Can I as a human being end fear, totally; not little bits of it? Probably you've never put this question to yourself and, probably you've not put the question because you don't know how to get out of it. But if you did put that question most seriously, with the intention, of finding out not how to end it, but with the intention of finding out the nature and the structure of fear, the moment you have found out, fear itself comes to an end; you don't have to do anything about it.
Questioner: If a man has fear he lives in total darkness but all the motive force in the field of the known, as you have said, springs out of fear. If I work because I have fear that I will be hungry, I'm fighting all the tensions in the field of the known which spring from fear, and if there is no fear there is no action in the field of the known.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir. Are you implying that the moment when you know that all action is the result of fear in the field of the known you will not earn a livelihood?
Questioner: No, I mean that all action in the field of the known comes from the sense of fear.
Krishnamurti: And then what, sir? What is the question? Questioner: If we try to get out of fear, If we try to live without fear, then there is no more action in the field of the known.
Krishnamurti: That's what I said.
Questioner: Yes, and then what happens is.....
Krishnamurti: Wait, sir, wait! You don't know what happens then. Be careful, sir; don't speculate. This is not a speculative discussion, an immature schoolboy discussion. or a theological discussion. What happens after, if! Such speculation is futile; it has no meaning. All the religious people have speculated; all the theologians, all the communists speculate, but the fact remains that we are afraid; the fact is that we function within the field of the known, and that breeds a continuous fear. Now, can it end - not, what happens after? One finds that out.
Questioner: But if there is no fear there is no living, sir.
Krishnamurti: Oh, that's quite a different thing, sir. You say that if, there is no fear there is no motive for living. If there is no fear there is no love. Of course.
Questioner: The greatest fear is death, and therefore, fear being the significance of life, the greatest significance of life is death.
Krishnamurti: So you say, sir, that there is no living without fear; without fear one will not earn a livelihood; without fear there is no love. Without fear all existence ceases. This is what most people say. When they say, " I love you", in that love there is jealousy, there is anger; in that love there is ambition,success, domination: We all know that it. Surely that's,not love. To find out what love is, domination, fear, jealousy, envy, ambition all have to cease. Then you will find out, but you can't speculate about it. You can't say, " Well, if I'm not angry, I shan't live; if I'm afraid I won't go to the office". If fear is driving you to go to the office, you are not efficient; you are not capable and therefore you don't love the thing that you're doing. Because you don't love, all the other desires of amusement, of escape are born.
Questioner: With fear as the motive force one goes to the office.
Krishnamurti: Does one, sir? You say one does. Does one go with the motive? Does the motive of fear drive one to the office?
Questioner: But there is one more thing, sir - hope.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir.
Questioner: The primary force is fear; the secondary force is hope. The primary force is that if I don't work I will be hungry, I will not be able to clothe myself. The secondary force is the hope that I may be able to achieve something. And to me, it seems that death is the greatest fear in life. It gives a significance to life; it tries to give some hope after death" as you have already said about resurrection and things like that, and then tries to give some beauty to life. So that all actions in the field of the known spring primarily from fear and secondly from hope. Could I say that, sir?
Krishnamurti: What you say is so, sir, but what of it? I mean, can one live everlastingly in fear? What's the point of it? Doesn't one want to resolve it?
Questioner: The point of living is dying. Krishnamurti: No, sir. That has been said and achieved by many people; clever people have written about all this. They have said that life has no meaning and therefore we must give life a significance. Death has no meaning and therefore it must have another significance. This is what man has done throughout the centuries, sir. We are saying quite the contrary, that one cannot find the fullness of life, the depth of life if there is fear, and to end fear is also to understand death.
Questioner: How can one put oneself voluntarily in contact with the state of death?
Krishnamurti: You can't put yourself in contact with death. You put the question wrongly. Look, you are afraid of death and as long as you are afraid of anything there is no contact with that thing.
Questioner: Yes, but once the contact is made, fear vanishes.
Krishnamurti: Wait, madam; don't speculate.
Questioner: I don't speculate; I talk from experience.
Krishnamurti: Wait, wait, wait! If there is no fear of death, if there is no fear of my wife or my husband, of my neighbour, of the state, then I am in contact. I know it is not an image with which I am in contact, but I am actually in contact. Is it possible for the mind to be totally free of fear, not partly, but totally? That requires tremendous understanding, meditation; not just to say, " Well, I've had the experience of moments when I'm not afraid". Can I understand this extraordinary structure of fear? Can the whole of me, consciously and unconsciously, be aware of it? It's not for you to tell me or for me to tell you how to do it. See the extraordinary complexity of it! Notice how the word prevents the actual coming into contact with it, how the image that you have created about death, about your wife, your husband, your state, prevents you from coming in contact with the fact of your wife, the state, what another says, and so on. Can you, consciously or unconsciously, be aware of the total process?
Questioner: In order to understand your, fear you have to face that and analyse it first, don't you?
Krishnamurti: You have to face fear?
Questioner: Face the cause of it.
Krishnamurti: Now wait a minute. The lady says, " To be aware of fear you must come into contact with it; to come into contact with it you must be aware of the cause of fear". Wait, just listen to it all. How will you know the cause of fear? Through analysis? By examination? And when you have discovered the cause of fear, does fear end? It generally doesn't. I know I'm afraid of death, and I know why I'm afraid of death.
Questioner: I think if you face it, it does.
Krishnamurti: I'm coming to that, madam. Understanding the cause of fear does not end fear. Is there contact with fear? This again is really a very complex question. Do look at it a little; take a little time. There is fear, and I say I must look to the cause of it and I examine, analyse. Time has gone on. It has taken time to examine, to find out. In that time interval other factors have come into being. Madam, if you really understand this one question, you will probably be able to answer all your own questions.
Look, take something specific; human beings are violent and they have used the ideal of non-violence to get away from their violence. They have invented the idiocy of non-violence, when they are violent. It is an idiocy; it's a neurotic invention. I'll show you why. I am violent and I have an idea that I must be non-violent. There is an interval between what I am, violent, and what I should be. The interval is time - gradually I will come to non-violence. But in the meantime I'm being violent; I'm sowing the seeds of violence. I'm sowing the seeds of the poison of violence all the time. To end violence, the ideal of non-violence is unnecessary. All that I have to do is to face violence, to say that I am violent, not hoping to achieve non-violence, which is a waste of energy. So now I am violent. I know, and each one knows to what depth he is violent. Now, can I understand it? To understand, first of all I must understand the whole nature of violence, what it means to be violent. Anger, self-fulfilment, ambition, wanting to be a great success, competition, the whole human psychological structure - all these are based on violence, with occasional flashes of kindliness and gentleness.
To end this structure, is time necessary; that is, how am I to end time? What are the causes that have brought it about, which prevent me from being totally aware of the fact? When I'm totally aware of the fact, time doesn't enter into it at all, and therefore there's no ending of it. To end fear it is totally unnecessary to investigate the cause, to find out what the cause is. We know instantly what the cause of fear is, unless we are neurotic. When we are aware of it, and come into contact with it directly, the observer is the observed. There is no difference between the observer and the thing observed. When fear is observed without the observer, there is action, but not the action of the observer acting upon fear.
Questioner: In professional life we are forced to act in such a way that we become inactive in your sense. If we do as you say, we become unable to function in professional life.
Krishnamurti: No, sir. The gentle - man says that in professional life all action is within the field of the known. Of course! It must be! Otherwise you couldn't act as a doctor, as a scientist, as a professional. That's simple. But when that field of action enters into the psychological field and tries to solve human problems, then no problem can be solved. Sir, to remain a technician without the psyche using that technology, that knowledge for its own purposes, you might write a book; but if you say, consciously or unconsciously, "I'm writing a book because it gives me power, position, prestige", then it becomes a poison, then you cease to be a writer; you want fame. It is all very simple when once you understand all this.
May 22, 1966-
Paris 3rd Public Talk 22nd May 1966
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