Talks with American Students. Morcelo, Puerto Rico
Talks with American Students, Chapter 5 2nd Talk at Morcelo, Puerto Rico 15th September, 1968
It seems To me that one of our major problems is how to bring about total and complete action in our life. Our life as it is, is broken up, fragmentary; we are scientists, engineers and so on. We are specialized technologically, and inwardly also we are in different fragments - we are at moments pacifists, at moments aggressive and brutal and at other times we are tender and quiet. So there is in our life, both outwardly and inwardly a constant cleavage, a constant fragmentation, the breaking up of a life, which being contradictory, brings about confusion and pain. We are drawn by one desire, by one pleasure opposed to another pleasure and so on. This I think is recognizable, one can observe this if one is sufficiently interested; it is there, this fragmentation is going on. Each fragment has its own activity, its own action. Hence our life is fragmentary, a destructive and contradictory existence. I think that is fairly clear, isn't it?
One asks oneself if it is at all possible, not theoretically but actually, to lead a life that is always whole, that is always non-fragmentary. So that whatever the activity is, it is complete, not broken up, contradictory, opposing or resisting. think that is an inevitable question when one observes the fragmentation that goes on in one's life. Now can we proceed from there?
I hope the question is clear to you. One is pulled in different directions and there is a great sense of frustration, a deep sense of inadequacy, in dealing with the totality of life. For instance, one is a politician of a certain party, or a Communist, a socialist, a Catholic, a Protestant, each with its own particular beliefs. And one asks if one can live a life that is completely whole, (I do not like to use the word integrated because it is not an integration at all) a life that is non-fragmentary, that is always flowering without a break, without fragmentation, without cleavage. If this is clear, then the next question is: what can one do? One's life is broken up between office, home, ambition and all the rest of it. It is broken up. Then, can one lead a life that is so complete that there is no contradiction at all in it? Now what do you say to that question? I am speaking of a life that is not a spiritual life nor a mundane life, not a religious life nor a secular life. There is a challenge. And how do you respond to it? No answer?
Questioner: I don't quite understand.
Krishnamurti: No, sir, don't use a word, one word doesn't cover everything. One must go into it a little more deeply, not just use a universal blanket that will cover up everything. What makes for contradiction? I see a life broken up. I am kind at home and brutal in the office; I am divided. First of all, one has to find out what is the cause of this fragmentation. Why I am one thing at one time and at another completely different. Why? What is the cause of this fragmentation, this division? How do you find out? What process do you use - we are talking like friends, there is no teacher and disciple here at all - one has to be both a teacher and a disciple to oneself, so there is no teacher and disciple here or a sense of authority. So, how does one find out what is the cause of this fragmentation?
Krishnamurti: No, you are going back to yesterday, forget yesterday.
Questioner: We want first of all your opinion... Krishnamurti: The gentleman says he wants to know my opinion first. We are not dealing with opinions. You can say, it's your opinion, my opinion and his opinion, but opinions have no value at all - you can leave that to the politicians and to the intellectuals. But here is a thing that you have to find out. You have to find out; it is not I who have to find out and tell you what to do. We can go into it together, explore it, but if you say, I'll wait till you tell me, then there is no fun in it.
Questioner: How can I know the fragmentation if I do not know the whole?
Krishnamurti: I am fragmented, there it is - I go to the office, there I am brutal, I am envious, I am vicious, I am competitive. And at home I am very quiet, very gentle, dominated by my wife or I dominate her and so on. There is a fragmentation. We are asking, why is there such a fragmentation, what is the cause of it?
Questioner: We live in opposites, but why?
Krishnamurti: The questioner says, we live in opposites, but why?
Questioner: There is no love.
Krishnamurti: That is not an answer - is it? - when you say `there is no love'. We are examining the question and if you say, `there is no love', then you cannot go any further. We are examining it, exploring why we live in duality, why we constantly swing from one point of view to the other between opposites; why we live in a corridor of opposites, why.
Questioner: We have no control over circumstances in our life.
Krishnamurti: That is true but that is not the question. Questioner: We are looking for satisfaction.
Krishnamurti: Oh no, not looking for satisfaction; you see - now, may I suggest something? Before you give an opinion, as you are now doing, find out why one lives in this condition; what is the cause of it.
Questioner: There is duality.
Krishnamurti: Duality - but why? You are giving a new set of responses, but you really do not know. Please do not guess, because then we shall be lost. Do not guess, don't try several things out to find out if it is so. When you say `I really do not know' as it has been suggested, you admit that you do not know what the cause of it is. That is the only right approach, isn't it? I really do not know. That would be a fair statement; I really do not know why I live in duality. Now, I do not know, but how am I going to find out?
Questioner: (Various indistinct interjections by questioners.)
Krishnamurti: Do you give up this game? When you do not know, what do you do? Let us proceed from there. I do not know, you do not know why we live in this contradiction. When you say, I do not know, how do you then proceed? How do you find out? Wait, please go slowly. How do you find out - by thinking? Now, what do you mean by thinking? Analyse the problem? Wait, wait. Analyse the problem. The problem involves division, contradiction, fragmentation. I have analysed it and I see my life split up. And I am asking why. And you say, think about it, use thought to find out. Thought! Now, what is thought? Before I say I will use it, I must go into the question of what thought is. Thought obviously is the response of memory. No?
Questioner: One of the causes is our fear.
Krishnamurti: No, sir; you make a statement and block yourself. You are not prepared to examine, to explore, so do not make a statement. A gentleman said there that the instrument of investigation, of analysis, is thought. But will thought uncover it? We think it may uncover it, and therefore say, `I will find out what thought is'. Now what is thinking? Please do not just guess. Do look at it. What is thinking? I ask you where you live and your response to that question is immediate because you know, you are familiar with the street, with the number and so on; you answer the question instantly. There is no interval between the question and the answer. Now if I ask you a slightly more complex question, there is an interval between the question and the answer. What takes place in that interval?
Questioner: Mental activity, that is, thinking.
Krishnamurti: What takes place there? I ask you the distance from here to New York and you do not know or you have been told but you have forgotten it. So what takes place? I do not know, therefore I begin to look into my memory; thought begins to examine the store of memory. I have read somewhere that it is so many miles from here to New York and I ask people and at last I answer that question. It is so many miles. That is what we call thinking. The question is put, there is an interval before the response, in that interval there is a great deal of enquiry, analysis, asking, expecting, waiting. That is what we call mental activity, reasonable or unreasonable. Now when I ask you a question to which you do not know the answer, what takes place then? You cannot appeal to your memory. You cannot say `I will find out', Nobody can answer you. So what takes place?
Questioner: You use your imagination or intuition.
Krishnamurti: Imagination? I cannot imagine something which I do not know. Intuition? That might be guess-work. Follow this step by step; you will find out for yourself. I ask a familiar question and you answer it immediately. I ask another question which is a little more complex, a little more difficult, and you take time over it. In that interval of time you are cogitating, thinking, watching, looking, asking. Now, I am asking you what is the cause of this fragmentation about which we were speaking and you do not know. If you knew, it would be according to your memory, wouldn't it? So, `I really do not know' would be the most honest answer. I really do not know.
Wait a minute, have patience. If I do not know, what do I do? I cannot go to a professor and ask this question. I cannot look into any book. No book will tell me. And I have to find out because it is a very serious question, because if I can change this whole activity of life which is fragmented, I will live differently, entirely differently. So I, as a human being, have to find out. I cannot depend on anybody. It may be guess-work, it may be wrong, it may be false. But I must find out. Now, how do I proceed to find out?
Questioner: We compare.
Krishnamurti: No, sir, that is still thought.
Questioner: A man's life may stop being fragmentary.
Krishnamurti: That is too simple, sir; it may stop, but it never will.
Questioner: I don't know where I am going.
Krishnamurti: So when you say you do not know, is thought still in operation? I do not know - I want to find out and there is nobody who is going to tell me. And I will not let anybody tell me. Because they may be utterly wrong - they generally are. I have no faith in anybody because all of the people whom I have trusted, the priests, the philosophers, the politician, the Communist, the socialist have all failed. So I must find out and what I discover must be true under all circumstances. Wait, listen to me please, do listen. So I am not going to ask anybody and I do not know why I live a life which is so broken up. And I want to find out. How are you going to find out? I am asking how you are going to find it?
Krishnamurti: Madam, we are not asking how to look at ourselves, but what we are asking is when you do not know the answer to a very important, vital question, what do you do? Do you give up? Wait; you do not give up, do you? When you are hungry, tremendously hungry, you do not give up. And if this question is as serious as hunger, do you give up and say `I don't know, I don't care'? It is a tremendously vital question.
Questioner: That sounds very materialistic.
Krishnamurti: Materialistic? No, sir, it is not materialistic; I do not know what you mean by materialistic.
Questioner: My brain is the storehouse of memory,
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir, my brain is the storehouse of memory, of experience, of knowledge but that brain has no answer now. I used that brain before to find the ordinary answer, depending on people and so on, but now it fails. So what am I to do? I have been a Communist, a socialist, a religious man, I have been through every type of fragmentation, one after the other, and I say `What a stupid way of living'! And yet I go on. I want to find out why. I live a life of fragmentation, in bits and pieces and I cannot ask anybody for an answer. I want to find out. What am I to do?
Questioner: You have to meditate.
Krishnamurti: Wait, sir, we are doing that now, we are doing that. We are meditating now, but you refuse to - I do not use that word. Questioner: We must go in for self-examination. There is lack of harmony in ourselves.
Krishnamurti: No, madam, we have examined ourselves. That `lack of harmony in ourselves' is not an answer.
Krishnamurti: No - you are quoting - please do not.
Questioner: We look for divine inspiration.
Krishnamurti: `Look for divine inspiration' - wait a minute, sir. Suppose I am a non-believer, and I cannot look. Inspiration! You believe in it because you are conditioned, as a Catholic, as a Hindu or a Buddhist and you look according to your conditioning for that inspiration. We are meditating - please follow this slowly - we are meditating, we are very carefully going into this step by step. You are going to find out. I did not really want to use that word `meditation', as that is a very difficult word; it means something entirely different from what is usually called by that name. But we will use it for the time being in order to understand this immense problem, sir.
Questioner: I am living with it now.
Krishnamurti: You are living with it now. (laughter) You see, one of our difficulties is, you are not used to this kind of examination; you are learning to observe. We want to observe how in our life, everything is fragmented. That is very clear. We have different desires pulling one against the other, different pleasures; we are peaceful at one moment, war-mongering the other, aggressive then kind, and so on. We believe, we do not believe; despair and hope alternate, we live in contradictions and opposites. I say to myself, why? Why do I live this way? just listen to me for two minutes, sir. Why do I live this way? Madame, would you just give me two minutes? Let me talk for a little and then you can put your questions.
My life and yours are in fragmentation, broken up. We lead a dual kind of life, say one thing, do another, think one thing and say something else. This contradiction, this duality, that is the life one leads. And I am asking why? Why is life so fragmented? And I cannot ask anybody, because their own life is fragmented. They will guess, they will say, it is your conditioning, it is God, it is society, it is this, it is that. So I cannot ask anybody, therefore I have to find out for myself. And what I find out must be true. It must be absolutely true, Now, how do I find out? I really do not know and I have used thought as an instrument to find out all my life. All my life I have used thought, asking, using memory, knowledge and experience - I have used all these to find out. And here I cannot rely on my knowledge because knowledge says, `I do not know'. Knowledge says, `that is the individual way of life'. So there is no dependence on knowledge, on experience or on what people say. Therefore I discard all that, completely. And now what am I to do, how am I going to find out what is truth?
How do I now look on this fragmentation. You understand my question? I do not know, but there must be a right answer. What has happened to my mind now? Let me put the question differently. Probably most of you are conditioned to believe in God, what you call being spiritual. And if you really want to find out - not repeat, not have faith, not say `it is so' - if you really want to find out if there is such a thing as God, you have to discard all beliefs, haven,t you? You must be free of all beliefs to find out. You must be free of fear to enquire, to give your life to find out. Now, in the same way, I want to find out the truth of this matter. What is the state of my mind that has discarded authority, that has given up asking somebody else to tell me, that has discarded knowledge, because knowledge is always of the past? This is a question that must be answered now, not according to the terms of the past, but now. Therefore I must discard knowledge as a means of enquiry. And I must not be frightened; there may be no answer at all, contradiction may be the way of life. I must not be frightened, there must be no fear of any authority, including that of my experience, my knowledge or other people's knowledge - there must be complete freedom for enquiry. Now, what is the state of mind that is free to look? You understand my question? Don,t answer me please.
Questioner: Please repeat the question.
Krishnamurti: I cannot repeat the question but I will put it differently. Look, sir, I have lived a life depending on others, on what people say, what the Church has taught me or what the authorities have told me about this and that, and here is a problem which no authority can answer. And I do not trust any authority, because they have led me up the wrong path. So, what is the state of my mind that has refused to accept what other people say; what are my own feelings, my own intuitions? - because these may also be very deceptive. I have no fear, because I do not care if I have to suffer; this is my way of life, that is, I accept it. So I am not afraid, and I say to myself `what is the state of the mind which is not afraid, which is not accepting any authority, or looking for some divine superior intuitive answer?' I refuse to do all that. I say to myself `I have done with that'. Then what is the state of my mind that has done this?
Questioner: It is completely denuded of all influence, conditioning, fear.
Krishnamurti: Now, wait, if it is that, then there is not any contradiction. When there is no duality then there is the answer. Please do not answer me, look at it. You are then living in a different dimension. Therefore to find out anything fun- damental, like the answer to this issue, is not to be afraid, not to ask, not to say `Please tell me what is the answer', not to be frightened, whatever it is. Now can you do it? If you cannot, you must lead the dualistic life, a contradictory, painful, sorrowing life.
You see unfortunately we do not like to be put into a corner like this. You want to find an easy outlet, an easy way of escape. So the question is; why do you live this way, knowing very clearly now what is involved in the dualistic life, and knowing also that one can completely get out of it, by not being afraid; what will you do? just go on playing as before?
You know what meditation is? I am afraid you do not, Or you have read about it in some book or other, and that is too bad. Real meditation exists and is what we are talking about. To empty the mind of the known, as fear. Do you want to talk about something else?
Questioner: You mentioned yesterday the question of Russia and Czechoslovakia. Do you not think if the super powers do not stop hating each other, competing with each other for world markets and all the rest of it, we are going to bc destroyed?
Krishnamurti: Now, how are you going to stop Russia or America from preparing for defence, as they call it? Would you tell me? Russia, with its three million men in arms, and America with so many millions, how are you going to prevent it? There is tremendous vested interest, isn't there, in the army, in the officers, at the Pentagon, at the Kremlin, tremendous vested personal interest. Now, do you mean to say the admiral or the general is going to give everything up? Because there must be peace in the world? What do you say? What will you do? Please, pursue this question to the very end, if you are not too tired. How are we going to prevent this division that is going on in the world - two great powers, super powers, with their spheres of influence, with their vested interest - think what they have invested in armaments! What are they going to do? This division will exist as long as the citizens of those countries and other countries feel patriotic, nationalistic. No?
Krishnamurti: If you hate the Russians and love the Americans, if you feel nationalistic saying `my country first and everybody else second', and if you cannot depend on these great powers to end wars, it must begin with us. No? The minority, the few who feel things very strongly, the minority has always moved forward and brought about a different position in the world. But we are not willing to be in the minority. Which means this thing is very complex, it is not just `there you are', it is very complex. Now, the speaker personally is not a Hindu - that is a terrible, ugly thing, to call oneself a Hindu. But here is a passport, Indian passport, otherwise you could not travel. And if you use the aeroplane, the railway, the stamp, you are supporting war. No? What do you say - aren't you?
If you pay taxes, then you support the war. So what are you to do? Are you not going to pay taxes? Not travel? Not buy stamps? I know people who have done this, who will not travel, so they limit their activities to a very small field, and it is absurd not to pay taxes because you will go to prison if you do not. It would be absurd not to buy a stamp, because you could not write letters. And so on. But do not let us give importance or emphasis to secondary issues, like the stamp or the tax and such little things but let us get involved in the primary issue which is not to be nationalistic, not to be patriotic, respond to colour prejudice or any of the rest of the mess one indulges in. And that requires a great deal of intelligence. To decide not to be nationalistic means nothing, but to consider this whole problem one has to be very intelligent which means very sensitive to all the issues.
Any more questions?
Questioner: What is your position, what is my position if the country or the army calls me, drafts me or conscripts me to join the army and I do not believe in killing.
Krishnamurti: Is this a trap for me? (laughter) Wait, wait. If you are really serious, that you do not want to kill, not just saying, `I do not want to kill', but really meaning not to kill, you have to live peacefully, haven't you? Do not kill animals. For your food, do not kill. Do not kill by words; do not say, `he is an awful man, he is a stupid man'. You are killing, verbally, you are killing with words, with gestures, with thought, in the office, in the Church, everywhere you are killing. So if you really do not want to kill, you have to begin a life which is really peaceful. But you won't. You see, you listen to all this. You give lip service or listen quietly but you go back home, you do the whole thing ali over again. Therefore you are supporting war.
Questioner: Very many young people object in America and I am sure they object in Russia.
Krishnamurti: I do not know if you read that article by one of the top scientists in Russia, who is objecting to a great many things that the Soviet Government is doing. This is going on right through the world, and it is not just Russia and America. In India, public opinion demands that you must be a nationalist, and when I talk in India about not being a nationalist they say, `go and talk in other countries, not here'. Are you tired..? You are too eager to say no. Because what we are discussing is very serious and a mind that is serious cannot just say, `I am not tired', it has to be tremendously active. The question is, you are not aware, you are not conscious of your fragmentary life. And you can only be aware of it if you become very attentive to your life, to the way you live. And, what is attention? That is the question, Sir, isn't it? Does this interest you? But please do it - don't just say yes and drop it. What does attention mean? To attend. When is it an intellectual process? What do we mean by attention, not the soldier's attention, but what do we mean by attention, to attend. When do you attend? You attend only when you give your mind and your heart and your whole being to something. When I listen to the cry of that child, if there is any form of resistance to that child crying, to the noise, I am inattentive. Don't you see? When one gives attention, the implication is that your nerves, your body, your heart and your whole mind give attention to something of which you want to be aware. And we never do. I do not know if you have ever done this, given attention, let us say, to that tree. This means what? To give attention means, not to describe the tree, not to be caught in the verbal statement about that tree. If I use the word `cypress' it is a distraction, isn't it? This prevents me from giving my complete attention to looking at the tree. To attend means, to attend intellectually, emotionally, with your nerves, with your eyes, with your ears, with everything that you have. To attend, to look. And we have never done it because we live in fragments. Only when there is a tremendous crisis in our life, then we may perhaps give attention for a few seconds, and then go away from it, escape from it.
Now, if one is at all serious and one wants to find out if there is a reality, God or what you like to call it, one does not look to any authority, to any priest, to any belief; all that is too childish and immature. One has to give all one,s attention to find out. One cannot give attention, completely, if one is afraid of losing one's job, in finding out. One cannot give complete attention to find out the truth of this matter if one relies on some belief, on some conditioning, or what people have said. One has to discard that. One cannot belong to any society, to any group, to any culture to find out. Which means one must be completely alone, inwardly alone. Then one will find out. But if one is not attentive in that deep, profound sense of that word, one cannot possibly come upon that reality. Yes, Sir?
Questioner: Have you come to that state of mind?
Krishnamurti: Are you, the questioner says, in that state of mind? First of all, why do you ask that question? I am not avoiding it, Sir, I will reply to it. Why do you ask that question?
Questioner: Because the question is difficult.
Krishnamurti: I am asking that, the gentleman says, because it is rather difficult. I do not think it is difficult. Wait, Sir, I am answering. First of all, if I say `yes', it will have no value, will it? To you it will have no value because what is the good of my saying `yes'. Then you accept it or reject it. You might say, `poor chap, he is a little bit crazy', or you will say, `he is serious, it might be true'. So my statement that there is such a state has no value for another. What as value is whether you can find it; you, not somebody else. And when you say it is difficult, when you use the very word difficult, you are preventing yourself. Sir, if we accept life as it is, with the misery, with the sorrow, with the conflict, with so much agony, if we accept it, then there is no answer, that is the way of life. If we do not accept it, if we refuse to belong to the herd, to the group, then we begin to live differently. It is absolutely necessary to find out - to live quite differently-
Questioner: Can you develop attention by practice?
Krishnamurti: Practice means repetition, doing something over and over again. Is that attention? That is mechanical, isn't it? So, there are two things involved, if you are serious; there is inattention and attention. Now, most of us are in- attentive. And we say it is important not to be inattentive, but to be attentive. Then you want to begin to practice it. But if you say:look, I am going to be aware, attentive to my inattention', do you know what that means, to be inattentive? We accept things as they are, our life, the way we live, the ugly emotions, all `that is', actually. And to become attentive is to be aware of the inattention, not to try to become attentive, because that involves conflict, struggle and therefore when you practice attention it becomes mechanical. And that ceases to be attention. Whereas if one is attentive, aware of inattention, then out of that flowers attention. (Is that enough for this morning?) You see, I have been working, the speaker has been working, this talk has now lasted for an hour and a half, he has worked. But you haven't worked, you have just listened casually. You have listened to it as a form of entertainment, as going to a cinema saying to yourselves, `I disagree, I agree, it is a nice play, it was not nice', and so on. But if you also, which was your responsibility, worked as hard as the speaker, you would have said now, after an hour and a half; `for God's sake, please, do let us stop!'
15th September 1968
Talks with American Students. Morcelo, Puerto Rico
Talks with American Students, Chapter 5 2nd Talk at Morcelo, Puerto Rico 15th September, 1968
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