Saanen 5th Public Discussion 7th August 1966
Human beings are most gullible. We will believe in anything. Given sufficient pressure, propaganda, we will do all the rest. We so easily accept a new leader, a new idea, a new diet, a new doctor. People take advantage of us, people exploit us because we are always seeking pleasure, wanting more health, more intelligence, more spirituality, whatever that word may mean; we are always seeking someone who will give us more stimulation, following, looking up to someone, putting all our faith in one basket. We should be very careful, during all these discussions and talks, to put aside all gullibility, to have a great deal of scepticism, to question, to demand, to never become "yes-sayers" but rather to be "no-sayers". We are very vulnerable to wrong things as well as to right things; and apparently the wrong things have greater control, hold greater sway over us. I'm just asking that we should be very careful in this tent to examine everything that is said for ourselves - everything.
Behind all this lies this extraordinary demand for pleasure, for gratification; and that's what we are all seeking. Whenever that pleasure is thwarted there is conflict, pain, bitterness, frustration. We are all in this category. If we would face fear, be totally free of it and go beyond it, we not only have to go, as we did yesterday, into the question of belief in its various forms, why we defend ourselves, why these beliefs cause confusion, and what the nature of confusion is, the structure of confusion, but we must go into the complex problem of pleasure. We know that a great part of our brain is still the animal; and the animal is always seeking pleasure. If we have observed pets, we know how delighted they are when we pet them, when we give them something. Not only is it self-satisfying to be adored by a dog, but also the doZ loves to please us. We struggle to have pleasure through ambition, through power, by doing good, by becoming a leader, a politician. Political parties control through promises, offering great Utopias, subjugating a whole nation through promises. We must understand this structure of pleasure. We are going to discuss it this morning. Do not accept what I say, but question, ask, investigate, examine, listen very carefully to what is being said, so that you yourselves will find the right answer for yourselves, so that you won't deceive yourselves.
It is very important for us to find out for ourselves how we create beliefs, are caught in them, and thereby bring about greater confusion, greater conflict, division and fragmentation of the mind. To go into this question of pleasure, we mustn't take sides; we mustn't become puritans and say that we must not have pleasure, or say, "I must have pleasure". Isn't it a pleasure when you look at a mountain, a river, sparkling meadows, when you see a woman with a beautiful face? Isn't it a pleasure to hold someone's hand? Very few say, "No; pleasure is a dreadful thing", and become terribly puritanical, terribly austere. Austerity is an extraordinary thing. It doesn't come through suppression of pleasure; it doesn't come about through discipline, through conformity, through denial, through holding oneself back, trying to conform to an idea. Austerity of that kind is harsh, bitter and has no meaning. It only leads to the grave, to something that has no value at all. But there is an austerity that comes when one begins to understand the nature of pleasure. ft comes without any effort, without any suppression, control, discipline, and all the rest of those harsh methods, which all the saints throughout the ages have employed. When the mind has understood belief, defence, self-defence, the resistance which breeds confusion; when we have gone into the nature and the meaning of pleasure, then we will perhaps be able to come upon fear and be totally free of it. What is pleasure? Is there such a thing? We want pleasure; we seek pleasure; we know there is this constant urge to avoid pain, and pursue pleasure, but most of us have never asked what pleasure is. We have never enquired into that feeling, into that demand. We have never pursued it to the very end to find out what it is - not to deny it, not to suppress it, not to say, "Instead of having pleasure I will have something else" - but to find out what it means and whether there is such a thing, actually, as pleasure.
Please don't wait for me. This is a discussion.
Questioner: Pleasure is a sense of being more than you were before.
Krishnamurti: Are you giving me explanations for what pleasure is, telling me that it is more than what you had before, that you have become more beautiful, more intelligent; that you have had tremendous sex? Are you giving me explanations or are you trying to find out what pleasure is.
Questioner: I think pleasure is....
Krishnamurti: Madam, I can give dozens of explanations myself. I'm rather good at it. (Laughter.) Not that I'm vain, but I can give explanations. I will, if you want me to. More and more money, experience, fulfilment, ambition to reach something, to attain a state which no one has attained, because then I become very important. We know all the explanations, the reactions, the interrelations between all the reactions, and the pains involved in it. Please don't give me explanations. When you give explanations, you are blocking yourself.
Questioner: I do not quite understand what you are driving at.
Krishnamurti: What I'm driving at is very simple: don't give me explanations of what pleasure is. Every man knows in different ways what pleasure is. When you begin to explain to me, or to someone else what pleasure is, aren't you blocking, stopping investigation and examination?
What is pleasure? It is a very complex thing. Don't just brush it off. At the moment of pleasure, do you know you're having pleasure, or do you know when the thing is over; do you remember it and say, "By jove, what a lovely state that was!"? Please go into this very slowly for yourself.
I'm asking myself, and you ask yourselves what pleasure is. Is it always something that has gone, that has passed, a thing that I have remembered, or the pleasure that I'm going to have? Is it either in the past or in the future?
Questioner: Isn't pleasure only an illusion?
Krishnamurti: When you smoke, when you take coffee, when you have your particular dish that you like, when you sleep with a man or a woman, don't tell me it's all an illusion! (Laughter.) Come off it! You cannot face facts, and you want to face fear! I am asking myself and you if you and I know what pleasure is, not pleasure as a dead thing but such a pleasure as the sunset of yesterday. I don't know if you saw the two rainbows. It was really quite an extraordinary sight, a great pleasure to watch and see the colours. At such a moment you don't say, "How pleasurable it is!". A second later you have the memory of it. Then you say, "How nice; I wish I could have some more of it". You project the thing that gives you pleasure into tomorrow, into the future. I am asking if you know what pleasure is, and if there is such a thing as pleasure.
Questioner: You can't speak about it.
Krishnamurti: But that's what we're all seeking, sir. you may not speak about it, but that's all we want.
Questioner: Somehow it seems to me that there are only those sensations which have been only partly lived.
Krishnamurti: In the past?
Questioner: They have been partly lived in the past, which it is possible to recall as pain or pleasure. The things which we have totally lived are already part of us.
Krishnamurti: So you have a reaction in the present in relation to the past, or in relation to the future.
Questioner: I personally have never experienced it from the future.
Krishnamurti: I am not talking about what I experience. This is a human question. I want to know what pleasure is; therefore I'm seeking.
Questioner: We can only re-evoke an experience which has been partly lived, even if there was at the time a conscious sensation of pleasure.
Krishnamurti: As an example, there was a rainbow, there was a feeling, there was a sex act, there were dozens of experiences yesterday, from which I derived tremendous pleasure.
Questioner: Unless you wrote it down in the mind as pleasure while looking at the rainbow, or directly after, it is almost impossible to re-evoke the sensation.
Krishnamurti: You have stored up; and the recollection of that you call pleasure, whether it is a physical sensation, a psychological sensation, or an intellectual sensation. Something is already past, already dead, and you revive it. The revival of the dead, or the invitation to a repetition in the future, you call pleasure. But I'm asking if I know what pleasure is. I know the pleasure that I derive out of something that has passed, or that I hope to experience in the future, but do I know at the moment of experiencing what pleasure is? Am I always living in the past or projecting myself into the future?
Questioner: It cannot be denied that pleasure is a continuing thing; so if it is there, it must be in the present, too.
Krishnamurti: Wait; if you go with it, you will see it in a minute for yourself What we want is the continuance of a pleasure that is gone, or a pleasure that we are going to have. The continuity of pleasure is what we are seeking, either in the past or in the future. We want a continuity from the past to the future through the present. That's what we call pleasure, and I ask if that is pleasure. I want to understand pleasure. I know that I want a thing which has given me pleasure yesterday to continue. What continues is the memory of yesterday's pleasure, or the pleasure that I'm hoping to have tomorrow. I want a continuity of something that's over, or something that's going to happen. want something dead, which I call pleasure, to continue through the present to the future, and is that pleasure? Please don't accept it or deny it; just look at the extraordinary beauty of it.
Questioner: Pleasure is there in the present, in the instant Krishnamurti: You say that. Is it so? I don't deny it; I don't know; I'm not doubting it; I'm not saying that it's right or wrong; I'm questioning it. I say, "Is there?".
Questioner: Sir, the present has some quality, because when we remember it, we remember it either as pain or as pleasure.
Krishnamurti: Do you know you're enjoying yourself, or having pleasure, at the moment? Let us say that you are eating something that is very tasteful. There is a reaction, and that reaction you call pleasure, naturally. At the moment of eating, tasting, is there pleasure, or does it come a second later? I'm just asking; I'm not saying you're right or wrong. Probably you are right.
Questioner: If you live in the present, you have pleasure.
Krishnamurti: Ah, not "if"!
Questioner: Is experiencing pleasure?
Krishnamurti: Are you aware at the instant of pleasure?
Krishnamurti: At the moment of tasting a fruit, do you call it pleasure? Pleasure is something entirely different from the fruit, from the physical responses. Please don't tell me "memory". You are not watching yourself.
Questioner: I don't see why you say that we want the memory, because what we want is the thing which we experienced at the moment. That's a different condition.
Krishnamurti: You want to have in the present the thing which you have had in the past. That moment has gone, and you want it to be repeated.
Krishnamurti: That's all we're saying.
Questioner: It's the thing we want, not the memory.
Krishnamurti: Have you watched yourself when you have had great emotional, physical "enjoyment"? What do you do? You want more of it, don't you?
Questioner: Sometimes, not always.
Krishnamurti: I am trying to find out what pleasure is. Is it something purely physical, a reaction, or is it a psychological demand for the continuance of a physical response?
Questioner: Either the physical or the psychological reaction may be better.
Krishnamurti: I am not trying to deny it. I am not saying, "This is better; that is not better". We are investigating; we are examining. Let us drop the word "pleasure" for the moment and take a different word.
Questioner: Why take a different word?
Krishnamurti: Perhaps we will come at it differently, that's all.
Questioner: There is a difference between joy and pleasure. Krishnamurti: Is there a difference?
Questioner: We are talking about pleasure which comes as a result of our conditioning. Is there any unconditioning?
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out, sir, only unfortunately we don't seem to proceed. We get stuck with words and explanations.
Questioner: Pleasure exists, and as soon as we name it, it ceases to exist; we're getting all bogged down under this verbal misunderstanding.
Krishnamurti: Semanticism is necessary.
Questioner: Sometimes I can experience pleasure directly, but as soon as I experience it, the directness has gone; so I have only a concept.
Krishnamurti: I cat something which gives me great pleasure. I want the reaction, which I call pleasure, to continue. I like to be flattered; it gives me great pleasure. I want you to go on, feed me with it all the time. I am asking myself, what is pleasure?
Questioner: At the same time we must ask ourselves what desire is.
Krishnamurti: We know what desire is, and how it arises. I see something beautiful, and I want it. Desire doesn't exist by itself. There is perception, sensation, desire. We've been all through that, sir. Let's go on. Is there a pleasure without thought? Don't answer me, sir, please! Do give me two minutes for enquiry. When you answer so quickly, I'm already lost. You may have the answer; you may be perfectly right; but give me a chance! (Laughter.)
If there is no thinking, will there be pleasure? Pleasure is not only the instant pleasure, the instant desire, but also the demand for the continuity of a psychological pleasure which I have had. In all that is included thinking; in all that there is the process of recognition. In all that there is the word. The word, the recognition, the demand for a continuity; designing, communicating and expressing - all that is what we call thinking. There is the instant pleasure of eating a fruit, and a second later I want more. The "more" of anything is not the actual moment. The "more" is already the past, and I want more of it. There is a recognition of something which has given me pleasure, which I want to continue. That is what we are actually seeking.
What is the role of thought in this? If it has no role at all, then is there pleasure? The fruit, the pleasure of the sexual act, the pleasure of looking at a mountain, the pleasure of ambition, the desire to be a great man and having that desire carried out - in all of these there is great pleasure, and I want them to continue. When that desire is frustrated, there is pain. Is not all that related to thought?
Questioner: At the actual instant, there is neither pleasure nor pain. It only comes a second later.
Questioner: When you talk of pleasure without thought, without desire for further pleasure, is that meditation?
Krishnamurti: No, I don t call it meditation. Meditation is what we are doing now. We are exposing ourselves to find out; and to do this, we must be free from all entanglements, from all prejudice, from all preconceptions. Otherwise we cannot examine; and this whole process is meditation.
I am asking myself, if there were no thinking about the fruit,about the sex-act, about the beautiful river, about the flattery, the insult, about wanting to fulfil myself, about fame, ambition, and all the rest, would there be what we call pleasure? This is really a good question, if we listen quietly to it, because we will go into it very deeply if we follow it through. I see a door opening; I want to go through it.
Thought may be a block to pleasure; or thought may create pleasure. If thought creates pleasure, then it is fragmentary, and being fragmentary, it is contradictory. Being contradictory, it breeds conflict and then pain. Thought, as we know it, is thinking about something. I see a lovely smile on a child's face; I see the face of a beautiful woman or of a man with really an extraordinary glow. I think about it all because of desire, because at the moment it has given me pleasure and I want that pleasure to continue.
Questioner: Thinking about anything must always be fragmentary.
Krishnamurti: We said yesterday that thought is always fragmentary. Thought must always bring about a fragmentation of the total. I want to see the totality of that marvellous thing called a mountain, not just the shape, the lines, and what name it has. If I begin to think about it, thought gives it a fragmentary significance. I see that wherever thought functions, with regard to pleasure, with regard to anything, it must be fragmentary. Being fragmentary, thought says, "I must have it, and I will resist everything else - pain, any intrusion, any interference". I say to myself, "Is there pleasure which includes all that we have said?". Pleasure must be total; otherwise it is fragmentary; and if it is fragmentary, it breeds conflict. I'm asking myself if pleasure is a fragmentary affair of thought, or if there is a pleasure which is so total that there is no fragmentation, no contradiction, no conflict. If there is no total pleasure, it is not pleasure.
My thought about food, sex, the mountain, ambition, the desire to fulfil must always be fragmentary. If I listen to that airplane with thought, then it is a fragmentary noise, because I don't like the noise. If there is no thinking, I can listen totally; there is neither like nor dislike; it's a noise. Pleasure breeds pain, because it is the result of thought. Don't agree; look at it yourselves. Pleasure which is brought into being by thought, memory, experience, knowledge and response to that, must always be contradictory. Thought always breeds fragmentation, and that's what we are seeking, fragmentary pleasures. The scientist in his laboratory doesn't care if his children, when they grow up, become soldiers and get killed. Is there a pleasure which is not the result of thought, which is non-fragmentary, and is not a contradiction to anything? Discover it. Don't accept what I am saying. I may be saying the most foolish things. Don't be gullible and say, "Yes, I would like to have that pleasure; how am I to get it?". If you go through what we have discussed and understand the nature of thinking, then inevitably you will realize for yourself that pleasure created by thought is always fragmentary, and that a thing which is in fragments must always breed conflict.
Questioner: Surely there must be a state where there is pleasure and no thought.
Krishnamurti: I don't know. It may be true. It is a lovely idea.
Questioner: When you look at the skies, you have no reaction.
Krishnamurti: You're not listening when you are asking this question. You're merely supposing when you say "should be", "when", "if". You haven't seen the beauty of this structure.
Such pleasures as sex, food, ambition or wanting to fulfil are obviously all fragmentary. Is there something which is not contradictory, which is not the result of thought, and therefore perhaps a pleasure which I never know? I can't say that it is pleasure. The moment that I say it is, thought has entered, the word, the recognition, the demand to express it, to communicate it - all that. Therefore the mind has to come upon it, upon something which is not the result of words or thought, something which has nothing to do with mysticism. I must understand thought, the nature of thinking, its structure, its meaning, not explanations about it. Its action in any field must be fragmentary, and therefore must breed contradiction, conflict, and all the misery of man. Is there a field, a dimension, which is not touched by thought, and therefore a pleasure, an ecstasy of which thought can never possibly conceive?
You must understand the fragmentation which is pleasure and pain, the contradiction and confusion which come from avoiding the one and wanting the other, and the confusion which comes through a defence of beliefs. You must understand what thinking is, and the whole structure of recognition. Until all this is very clear, you cannot be free of fear. But you can eradicate fear totally, instantly, without going through all this process; you will eradicate it instantly if you understand the whole thing.
I hope you are not getting tired of being talked at, of exposing yourselves; all this is tremendous work.
Questioner: Will you please go into the problem of violence. Perhaps that will give us a clue to thinking.
August 7, 1966
Saanen 5th Public Discussion 7th August 1966
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.