Saanen 4th Public Talk 17th July 1966
During the last three talks we have been considering the importance and the urgency of radical revolution in the mind. Such a revolution cannot be the outcome of a planned, systematized intention, because any revolution that follows a certain plan, a certain philosophy, a certain idea or ideology ceases to be a revolution. It merely conforms to a pattern, however ideological, however noble. Human beings have lived for over two million years in a constant state of battle, within themselves and without, in conflict. Life is a battlefield, both in the business world, and in the intimate world of the family. Any society that is to be created anew, afresh, must surely put an end to this conflict. Otherwise both society and the individual, the human being, will be held in the prison of conflicts, miseries and competition. That is what is actually taking place, both in the recorded history of human beings, and at the present time. We don't seem to be able to break through this cage, this prison. Perhaps there are one or two exceptions, but those exceptions do not matter. What is important is whether we, as human beings, can really bring about a tremendous change within ourselves, so that we are different human beings and lead a different kind of life, without a moment of conflict.
When we ask that question seriously of ourselves, we generally do not know what to do. The psychological structure of society is so strong, so oppressive, demanding, that as human beings who are part of that society - the human being is not different from society when we ask ourselves whether it is at all possible, we either become rather cynical, saying that it is impossible; we escape through imagination into some mythical world which has no reality; or we think that little by little, gradually, slowly we can change our hearts and minds by constant effort, brutalizing our minds and our hearts. This is what is going on throughout the world, both in the East and in the West. If we don't do any of these things, then we worship the State, or just live as best we can in a world that has utterly no meaning, that is a complete mess, without any significance. That is what most of us are actually doing, although we may pretend to be serious. Our main intention is to find in the midst of this misery, chaos and confusion some kind of pleasure that is really satisfactory.
We don't seem to learn at all. That word " learning" has great significance. There are two kinds of learning. For most of us learning means the accumulation of knowledge, of experience, of technology, of a skill, of a language. There is also psychological learning, learning through experience, either the immediate experiences of life, which leave a certain residue, a storehouse of knowledge; or the psychological residue of tradition, of the race, of society. There are these two kinds of learning how to meet life: psychological and physiological; outward skill and inward skill. There is really no line of demarcation between the two; they overlap. We are not considering for the moment the skill that we learn through practice, the technological knowledge that we acquire through study. What we are concerned about is the psychological learning, which we have acquired through the centuries, or inherited as tradition, as knowledge, as experience. This we call learning, but I question whether it is learning at all. I am not talking about learning a skill, a language, a technique, but I am asking whether the mind ever learns psychologically. It has learned, and with what it has learned it meets the challenge of life. It is always translating life, or the new challenge according to what it has learned. That is what we are doing. Is that learning? Doesn't learning imply something new, something that I don't know and am learning? If I am merely adding to what I already know, it is no longer learning. It is an additive process, with which I meet life. Let's be clear about this, because what we are going to discuss presently may be rather confusing if we do not understand this. Learning surely implies a fresh mind, that is learning - not having learned and from what it has learned it now functions, acts. A mind that is learning is always acting, not from what it has already acquired, but it is learning in the very acting.
As we said the other day, life is a movement, an immense river, of great depth, beauty, with extraordinary speed. As I move along with it as a human being, I am learning. I cease to learn when I am merely functioning with what I know already. In that case I never meet life anew; I always meet life with what I already know. I have to learn a different way of living, in which there is no conflict, no battle, no wars outwardly or inwardly. There have been so many wars, brutalizing wars, wars that have no meaning. No war has any meaning; there is no righteous war, or wrong war. All wars are unrighteous. We have to learn, and apparently we are incapable of learning. Though this present older generation has faced two catastrophic wars, it doesn't seem to learn. We continue to live psychologically in a society in which there is competition, greed, envy and the worship of success, which are all indications of conflict, of battle. As a human being I have to learn a different way of living altogether, if I am at all serious. If I want to find a way of life which is totally peaceful, I have to learn all about it as though I had never lived before. It is only when the mind is at peace that we can learn, can see, can discover. A mind in conflict cannot possibly see very clearly; whatever it sees is distorted, perverted. Peace is absolutely necessary, not only inwardly, but outwardly. First of all, we don,t want peace; we don't demand peace. If we did, we would have no nationalities, no sovereign governments, no armies, but as human beings we have vested interests, and we do not want peace at all. All we want is a satisfying comfort in this field of agony. We want to carve out a little peace, a little corner somewhere within our own mind and heart, and then live in it, in that decomposing, rotten, little ego.
If we really demand peace, both inwardly and outwardly, we not only have to have tremendous psychological revolution, but also we have to learn anew how to live. No one is going to teach us, no philosopher, no teacher, no guru, no psychologist, certainly not the army leaders or the politicians. We have to learn anew about everything; how to live without conflict. To understand conflict and to understand peace, we have to go into the question of pleasure, because without understanding pleasure and its opposite, pain, we cannot have peace, or live a life in which there is no conflict. We are not saying that we should not have pleasure or that we should lead a Puritanical life. Man has tried all those things, disciplined himself, killed all his desires, pleasures, tortured himself, denying every sensual pleasure, and yet he has not resolved the conflict; he has not resolved the psychological torture. If we would really seriously understand the nature of conflict and the ending of conflict, which is peace, we must go, not intellectually, but actually, factually into this question of pleasure, which is desire. We cannot be at peace with another or with ourselves if there is no love, if there is no affection. Desire is not love; desire leads to pleasure; desire is pleasure. We are not denying desire. It would be utterly stupid to say that we must live without desire, for that is impossible. Man has tried that. People have denied themselves every kind of pleasure, disciplined themselves, tortured themselves, and yet desire has persisted, creating conflict, and all the brutalizing effects of that conflict. We are not advocating desirelessness, but we must understand the phenomena of desire, pleasure and pain, and if we can go beyond there is a bliss and ecstasy which is love. We are going to talk about that this morning, but not intellectually, because that has no meaning. It has no meaning to theorize about desire; to theorize about love; to spin words verbally, intellectually, everlastingly about whether it is possible to live in this world without conflict.
A man, a human being, has no nationality, no religion. A human being is one who is in conflict, in misery, in fear, in anxiety, in great agony of existence over the loneliness, the boredom of life. To enquire into pleasure, you must first have clarity to examine. You cannot have clarity if you condemn pleasure, or say, " I must have it", whether it is sensuous pleasure or the pleasure that you derive from various psychological reactions. When you condemn or demand pleasure, you cannot understand it, I do not mean by that word "understand" an intellectual, conceptual understanding, an understanding created by a word or an idea, the idea being organized word or thought. If you function or think in terms of a formula or a concept with regard to pleasure and pain, you won't understand it. You have to look at it; you have to go into it. You cannot understand it or go into it if you deny, accept or insist that you must have pleasure, because all our social, moral, religious and ethical values are based on pleasure.
I think it would be stupid to deny that our morality is based on pleasure. Our Attitude toward life is based on sensuous delight or on inward, psychological delight. All our searching, groping, wanting, demanding is based on pleasure. Our gods are based on the delight of finding a different world, away from this torture, away from this fear. The thing that we are seeking is based on this demand for some deep, abiding pleasure.
If we would examine it objectively, sanely, with clarity, there must be neither condemning nor demanding it. If that is clear between the speaker and you who are listening - I am sorry that you have to listen, and I don't know why you do listen - we must both be clear that we do want to go into it, because otherwise there can be no revolution. It'll be the same field, but in a different corner, and therefore there will be no radical revolution in the psyche, in the mind itself. Our brain and the whole structure of the psyche, of our daily existence, are based on pleasure - pleasure through achievement, through success, through ambition, through competition, through ten different ways. Unless there is a radical revolution in that we can talk endlessly about change, the need for a new kind of society, and so on, but it will have no meaning whatsoever. We are going to learn, which means that you are not going to be taught by the speaker, and having been taught, say, " I've got it", and from that try to function in a different way. We are going to learn about it. What we are concerned with is the active present of learning - not having learned or I will learn.
Then there is no accumulation of having learned, as an idea, or a conclusion from which you are functioning, or from which you are acting. You are acting as you are learning. That is the total difference. Therefore it is not an idea, or a symbol, or a concept from which you are acting. If you can really understand this, totally, completely, then action has a quite different meaning. Then you are not acting from an idea, from a concept, but acting, and acting has no future.
I don't know if we see the beauty of this, because we have always acted from the past. We have ideas about what action should be - good action, evil action, righteous action, action according to certain principles, according to certain formulas, concepts, ideas. We have established these philosophical ideas, or ideas derived from experience, which are concepts. From them we act, and the action is always trying to approximate itself to the idea. There is always conflict between the idea and the action, and we are everlastingly trying to bridge the gap between the two, trying to integrate the two, which is impossible. We are not learning an idea, or a new concept. What we are doing is learning, which is always active present. If we see that, not intellectually, not sentimentally, not in a woolly way, but with tremendous clarity, then action has an extraordinary beauty, and brings tremendous freedom in itself.
We are learning, or going to learn in the sense of the present, in the active present, what pleasure is, and why it has become so tremendously important. We are not denying it; we are not becoming Puritanical. What is pleasure? There are so many different kinds of pleasure, sensuous and psychological. They are both interrelated. We can't say that this is sensuous and this is psychological, so we are not separating them; we are looking at the whole process of pleasure, whether it be sensuous or psychological.
What is pleasure and how does it take such an important part in our lives? We are always thinking what will be pleasurable. There is the image, whether it is sexual or of another kind, and there is thought, which breeds this pleasure. We must find out what pleasure is, and learning what pleasure is in itself is discipline. The root of the word " discipline" means " to learn", not conforming to a pattern, to an order and all the things that are often called discipline. The very act of learning is disciplining, and the word discipline itself means to learn - not having learned, not suppressing, not practising something or conforming to a pattern. The very act of learning is the way of discipline, so there is no " I must" or " I must not" have pleasure. What is pleasure? Please, do not wait for me to answer it. We are learning. I may articulate it, put it into words, describe it, go into it in detail, but you have to learn. We are doing it together. Therefore you are listening not only to the speaker but you are also listening in yourselves, observing the question which is put to you.
Pleasure is related to desire. I have tasted a certain food and I want more of it; it gives me delight. There is sex, the pleasure of a lovely evening, of a sunset; the light on the water as the river flows by, the beauty of a bird on the wing, the beauty of a face, a sentence that awakens a deep delight, a smile. Then there is the desire that says that I must have more of this, and the desire, whether sexual, psychological or otherwise, which has tasted a certain pleasure and wants it repeated. The repetition comes the moment thought comes into being. Let us keep it very simple because it is a very complex issue. Yesterday evening, among the clouds and in the wind, suddenly there was a spot of sunlight shining on a green field. That light was an extraordinary light, full, rich, and the green had such aliveness. The eyes saw it; the mind recorded it, and took great delight in that beauty, in that light and in that incomparable green colour. I want a repetition of that delight, so today I look for that same light, that same beauty, that same feeling, which is thought. The act of seeing was one thing and then thought came in and said, " I would like more of that; I must repeat that again tomorrow". The repetition of that is the beginning of pleasure. When I saw the light on that field there was no desire, no pleasure; there was a tremendous observation and delight. But thought came in and said, " By jove, how nice it would be if I could have more of that tomorrow".
That is what we are doing all the time. It may be sexually; it may be when some one flatters you and says that he is your friend. Thought steps in and wants it repeated. The beginning of pleasure is the beginning of thought in conflict. It is thought that demands, that creates conflict. My problem is not the delight of seeing something beautiful, but commences when thought says that there must be a repetition. Then the delight becomes a pleasure and I feel that I must have more of it. The idea of " more of it" is created by thought thinking about it. I see a nice face, a beautiful face with a clear smile and I think about it. First I see it, and then I think about it. The thinking about it is the beginning of torture, of pain, of pleasure - how to have it, how to hold it, how to dominate it. When I have dominated it, it is destroyed and I go to something else, and so on and on and on. Can I look at that green field with that extraordinary light and that tremendous rapture of beauty without thought interfering? That is the issue. The moment thought enters it becomes a torture, a pain, a conflict, with all the results and side effects. Thought destroys that which was beautiful. My problem is not the avoidance or the welcoming of pleasure but the understanding of the whole thought process. I see a beautiful, powerful car. Thinking about it accentuates, strengthens the desire. The desire becomes a pleasure, and imagination and all the rest of it come into being. I must now enquire into thought, into thinking, not whether I can stop thinking, because I can't, but whether it is possible to understand the machinery of thinking.
This is really a very serious subject. You must give a great deal of attention to it and you can very easily get tired. You cannot attend for a whole hour with such tremendous energy. If you have really gone into it yourself up to now with all your energy, attention, capacity, with urgency, then your body, your mind, everything is tired out. If you say, " Please go on talking about it and I will know what you mean then", it means that you want to listen and have me explain; that you are no longer vitally with it. Next time we will go into this again, this thought machinery. In order to understand it, you have to go into the question of time, time as memory, time as the past. It is a very complex problem and you must come to it with a fresh mind, not a mind that is already tired, weary of life. To go into the machinery of thought, which is memory, you have to go into the unconscious as well as the conscious; you have to understand time, time by the watch and psychological time, and whether there is an end to time. All that is involved in the enquiry into what thinking is. That requires a very sharp mind, not a dull, weary mind that is just curious, that has exhausted itself in an office for forty years. It requires a clear, sharp mind, a mind that can think clearly, purposefully, that does not waver between this and that. It must have the energy to pursue to the very end.
When you have done it you will know for yourselves what pleasure is, the endless pain of pleasure, and whether it is possible to live in this world,living with tremendous delight, bliss and ecstasy, not being caught in pleasure and pain. To come to all this a very earnest and serious mind is necessary, not a flippant mind, not a mind that is full of vanity and says, "I know". Most of us are such vain human beings. To. understand all that we are talking about requires great humility and humility means learning. You cannot learn if you are not simple.
Questioner: I want pleasure, of different kinds. I resist the pleasure because I know that it is going to bring pain, and I am afraid of pain. Yet my mind wants constant pleasure. How am I to be free, free of resisting pleasure, being afraid of pain, and yet wanting pleasure?
Krishnamurti: It is like a man who wants to fulfil himself, through books, through literature, through painting, through music. He wants to be some one, but he knows that in that very desire to fulfil there is pain, agony, distress and fear. Yet he wants to fulfil.
What am I to do? I must enquire, not how to be free of fear, of pain, but whether there is such a thing as fulfilment, whether there is such a thing as constant pleasure. The problem is not how to be free of pain, demanding pleasure, but whether in pleasure itself there is not pain. I want to fulfil, because it is a tremendous pleasure. I want to be known, to be famous, as a musician, as a writer, as what you will, because in that fulfilment there is great pleasure, because I shall be known, my name will be in the papers and all that silly rot. It gives me tremendous pleasure and I don't call it " silly rot". I try to fulfil but there is always some one better than I am, some one better known, a greater writer, a better musician. In that there is competition; there is pain; I have to play up to people; I have to be a hypocrite; I have to do all kinds of ugly things. All that brings pain. I want to fulfil and in that fulfilment there is pleasure. At the same time I want to avoid pain. What I have to enquire into is what I am fulfilling, what I am doing.
The whole world worships success. If I have money, position, prestige, fame; if I am some one and am known to a lot of newspaper readers, it is very pleasurable; it gives me a nice feeling, but what is it all about? Is there such a thing as fulfilment, what am I fulfilling, and why do I want to fulfil? I want to fulfil, become famous, because inwardly I am nothing; am empty; I am lonely; I am a miserable creature and I put on all the feathers of fame because I have some technique, with a violin, or a piano, or a pen. I am escaping in fulfilment from that emptiness, from that loneliness, from that everlasting self-activity and boredom, because I have a little technique. That fulfilment is an escape from the fact of what I am. Can I resolve what I am, this ugliness, this emptiness, this self-centred activity with all its neurotic disease and demands? When I can resolve that I do not care whether I am famous or not, fulfilling or not fulfilling. I am beyond all that stupid stuff. Then pleasure, thought and pain have a totally different meaning; I am beyond them.
Questioner: Will you please go into learning while acting?
Krishnamurti: They have found in certain factories that if a man keeps on repeating work in the same way, doing the same thing, he produces less, because he gets bored with doing the same repetitive thing, but if he is allowed to learn as he is doing he produces more. That is what they are discovering; so they let the worker learn as he is doing.
Look at it the other way. Most of us have ideas. To us ideas, formulas, concepts are tremendously important. Nationality is an idea. The negro, the Hindu, the white are ideas. Though those ideas have produced certain terrible activities, for us ideas, ideologies, formulas are tremendously important, but action is not important. We act according to those concepts, those ideas; we approximate action to the idea. There is always a division between the idea and the act, and therefore there is always a conflict. A man who would understand and end conflict has to understand whether he can act without idea; he must be learning as he is acting.
Let us take love. It is not a simple thing; it is quite complex. We do not know what love means. We have ideas about it, that we must be jealous to love, that love is divided into divine and human. We have many ideas. To find out what it means, the depth of it, the beauty of it, whether there is such a thing as love - which has nothing to do with good works, with sympathy, with tolerance, with gentleness, although all those may be included in it - if I really want to find out, I must throw away all my ideas about it and in the throwing away of all my concepts about love I am learning about it. That is all.
July 17, 1966
Saanen 4th Public Talk 17th July 1966
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