Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 1st Public Dialogue 17th November, 1970
THIS IS SUPPOSED to be a discussion, or rather, a dialogue to talk things over together and understand and perhaps resolve the problems that one has. You know, the more one goes through the world, not only in this country but in India, Europe and America - there are so many conflicting problems, so much confusion and brutality, such a desperate violence; human beings don't seem to change very much.
We have many problems not only the physical problems of environment, ecology, but also the deeper inward problems, problems of relationship, problems of conflict, despair, loneliness, misery, confusion and sorrow. We have accepted these and live with them as though it is part of our life.
Perhaps we could this morning go into any one of these issues deeply, not theoretically, not in abstraction but actually, go into them in detail and also to get the general picture. Then perhaps it might be worthwhile if we could take one issue, whatever it is that you wish, and talk it over together so that we understand it completely. And when we leave this place, this hall, then perhaps we will be able to be free of it. So, what would you like to talk over?
Questioner: Could we speak of death?
Questioner: Can we talk of self-doubt? Can we go beyond doubting ourselves?
Krishnamurti: Can we talk over together this question of self-doubt, having no confidence in oneself and go beyond it?
Questioner: Can one actually live what you speak of and raise a family in this world of conflict?
Krishnamurti: Can one live in this terrible, mad world sanely and at the same time earn a livelihood raising a family and so on? Is that the question, Madam?
Questioner: Can we bring in sensitivity?
Krishnamurti: Can we bring in sensitivity? We can bring a lot of things. (Laughter.)
Questioner: Can we talk about how to see properly, how to see clearly?
Krishnamurti: Shall we take up that question and then we can include all the other questions in it: fear, self doubt. I've forgotten the rest.
The question is, now can one see things very clearly without prejudice, without bringing our own particular opinion, conclusions, our own form of conditioning? Without all that is it possible to see, totally, the whole vast spectrum of life?
To see. What does that mean? To see clearly, now what does that word imply? Seeing, observing, to see without any image, to see things actually as they are without any form of conclusion; is that possible at all? I want to see not only outwardly what's going on: the wars, the contradictions of nationalities, the linguistic differences, the fragmentation caused by religions. I want to see all that very clearly, the outward phenomena; and, also I want to see very clearly what's going on within myself, within the skin, without any distortion. Distortion comes when there is any kind of effort. Are we following each other? We'll discuss this, we'll talk it over; I'm just explaining perhaps what it means to see, to observe, to observe clearly without any distortion what is actually taking place, not translating what I see in terms of my own conclusion, prejudice, fears and so on. Is that at all possible? Can we discuss this? Do you think that will be worthwhile?
We have so many prejudices, conclusions, opinions, we have knowledge about so many factors, and these obviously prevent perception. I want to understand what you are talking about. I must listen, and to listen implies that there must be no interpretation but I must actually listen. That implies while I am listening there must be no comparison with what I have already learnt because you may be saying something entirely different. So, I must have the capacity and the art of listening, otherwise I can't understand what you are talking about. In the same way to observe clearly what is going on outwardly and inwardly, without any image; is that possible? Which means really to observe without any conditioning as a Christian, Communist, a hippie, a square and all the rest of it; to listen so completely, to see without any form of distortion. Now is that possible?
It is only possible, surely, when I know all my prejudices, the formulas that I have, the conclusions, the opinions that I have gathered; becoming aware of those and putting them aside. Then I can listen. Then I can observe. Is that possible? Is it possible for me to put aside my particular form of conclusion, my prejudice, my conditioning as a Communist, as a Hindu, as a Christian or whatever?
Questioner: Just because you become aware of a certain conditioning doesn't automatically mean that you conquer it. Krishnamurti: I'm going to show it to you in a minute. Go slowly, have a little patience please.
I said be aware of one's conditioning. How, what does this awareness mean? To be aware. What do you think it means?
Questioner: To be conscious.
Krishnamurti: To be aware, to be conscious, to be sensitive; what does it imply?
Questioner: To be identified with the things as they really are.
Krishnamurti: To be aware, you say, is to identify oneself with the thing you are aware of.
Questioner: You are the thing you are aware of
Krishnamurti: Look Sir, follow this step by step, go into it because if we could understand this one thing we would resolve a great many problems. When you say you identify yourself with the thing you are aware of, who is the entity that identifies itself?
Let us just look. We are trying to find out what it means to be aware, aware of this hall, the proportions of it, the colour of it, the steel beams, the cross-beams, the bricks, the windows and aware of the people sitting in it, the coats, the colour - to be aware. Now are you aware of all this if you begin to say `I don't like that colour', `I don't like that particular dress, mini or midi or whatever it is'? The moment there is a certain kind of prejudice stepping in you are not aware. Right? I have learnt one thing. This is a process of learning, isn't it? I've learnt that there is no awareness if any form of interference as knowledge, as prejudice, as like and dislike comes in. We are learning not theorizing.
To be aware implies to be conscious without any choice, without any distortion or prejudice. Are you doing it? I am aware of my conditioning, as a Hindu, Christian, Communist, a hippie, or whatever it is. To be aware of my conditioning without any distortion, without any choice, just to see what that conditioning is.
Questioner: But, Sir, we don't see it.
Krishnamurti: Why don't we - why don't we see our conditioning?
Questioner: Because if we could see it, it would have a hold over us.
Krishnamurti: No Sir, no, no, why don't we see our conditioning as a Christian or whatever it is?
Questioner: It's a protection.
Krishnamurti: Which means what? That you don't want to see that you are conditioned? that if you saw it there might be certain action which might lead to danger? Therefore you don't want to see, therefore you are not aware. Don't let us talk theoretically of being aware which is mere pretension and hypocrisy. I see that in this world there are divisions as Christians, Communists, Socialists, Capitalists, Hindus - division. That division has created such havoc, such misery and as a human being I am part of this. I must be aware of this conditioning, of this division in myself, if I want to understand the structure and the nature of the society in which I live. If there is to be a radical revolution the mind must be free from its conditioning. Why isn't one aware of one's conditioning? Is it danger? Is it fear? Go slowly, is it fear, or is it a great indolence, laziness, indifference, letting things drift? After all we have lived with this confusion, war and misery for so many millennia, what does it matter one more life? Is that it - laziness, indifference, laisser-aller and fear? Or, is it also the fear of what might happen if I become suddenly aware how silly it all is? Aware that I'm the result of vast propaganda, whether it is the propaganda of the Christians, the Communists or the Hindus; that I'm caught in the trap and I'm too frightened to leave that trap? Which is it, please, not theoretically, actually when you look at yourself, which is it? Why aren't you aware of your conditioning? Is it fear?
Questioner: Fear of being alone.
Krishnamurti: Fear of being alone. Is that the fear?
Questioner: Is it because we imagine there are things coming from outside ourselves?
Krishnamurti: Is it that we imagine that it is outside of ourselves?
Look Madam, you are conditioned aren't you? We are all conditioned terribly by the environment, by the society in which we live, and we are part of that conditioning, part of that society. When we are aware of what is happening in the whole world - the appalling brutality, the violence, the destruction, the misery, don't we feel we have to act? The house is on fire you can't say `I'm too lazy to put it out. I'm afraid to get burnt'. All that indicates a mind that demands a kind of isolated security. To be aware of all that. Now when one becomes aware of one's conditioning what takes place? I am aware that I am conditioned as a stupid Hindu or a clever Hindu, conditioned as a Hindu through centuries of propaganda and tradition. Now, what takes place when I am aware that I am conditioned? Questioner: You really don't see it.
Krishnamurti: Don't I? I say I am seeing it. Sir, it's so simple. Why do you complicate it?
Questioner: You get out of it.
Krishnamurti: Madam, don't get out of it. We are going to examine, we are going to learn and find out.
Questioner: When you become aware in this sense you have to become involved and when you become involved it's painful, arduous; only a little bit joyful.
Krishnamurti: You are already coming to a conclusion. I don't think it is arduous at all. It is very simple. Please go with me a little, you will see what is involved in it. I become aware of my conditioning as a Catholic, as a Communist. That conditioning has taken place through centuries of propaganda - that there is God or there is no God, that there is a Saviour, that there is no Saviour, you follow? Conditioned according to the culture in which you have lived. I become aware of it, then what takes place?
Questioner: You start seeing your conditioning, you see yourself as a Catholic, you see your limitations.
Krishnamurti: You see that and what takes place?
Questioner: You see it as limited. It's incomplete.
Krishnamurti: That's only a conclusion. What actually takes place?
Questioner: You are free. Krishnamurti: You are not learning from observation. Please, to observe means to learn, doesn't it? To find out, to enquire, to push through, to find out whether the mind can really be free of its conditioning, not to say yes it can be or cannot be, but to find out, to learn. So what takes place when I am aware that I am conditioned as a Hindu? Watch it Sir, find out.
Questioner: There is an emptiness within the mind.
Krishnamurti: There is an emptiness within the mind. Is that so? I am aware of my conditioning. I am aware that I am a Hindu with all its prejudices, superstitions, with its tradition and all the rest of it. Now, go slowly, who is it that is aware of this conditioning?
Questioner: The conditioning.
Questioner: The conditioned.
Krishnamurti: Don't guess, please.
Questioner: I see the conditioning in my mind.
Krishnamurti: Who is it that sees the conditioning?
Questioner: The 'I'.
Krishnamurti: Who is the `I'?
Will you allow me to speak just two minutes. I am aware of my conditioning; in that awareness there is a division isn't there? The observer and the observed, the 'I' that observes that he is conditioned. There is a division between the observer and the thing observed. Are you quite sure?
Questioner: Yes. Questioner: No.
Krishnamurti: Learn Sir. Don't say yes, no. Let's find out. Don't come to any conclusion. That prevents you from learning, from observing. I want to see what happens when I become aware that I am conditioned. Do I want to be free of that conditioning? Who is the entity who says that I must be free or the entity that says I must conquer it, I must escape from it, or I'm afraid of it? Who is this entity, who is this censor, the observer that says: this must be, this must not be?
Questioner: The thing created by the conditioning.
Krishnamurti: Created by the conditioning? Who is the censor? Therefore, you see, there is a division between the censor and the thing he condemns or approves. There is a division. Why is there this division?
Let's leave that for the moment and look at something else. When you look at somebody, a tree, a mountain, the sea, or a face or a person, you look with an image, don't you? The image as knowledge. When you see a tree you say that is a Chestnut and the word itself becomes the barrier of perception.
Questioner: Sir, when you identify it, isn't that the next stage after just seeing a tree?
Krishnamurti: You want to go so fast. Go step by step, please. You look at things with an image, with a conclusion. And what happens? The image looks. There is no looking, but looking through an image. And perception is distorted the moment there is an image. I look at my conditioning and there is a division between the observer and the thing observed. I say to myself why does this division exist at all, because if that division doesn't exist then the whole problem is changed. It's because of that division there is conflict, isn't there? I see I am conditioned, there is a division, then the I, the observer, the censor, the thinker says - I must get rid of it, I'm afraid of it, I must change it, I must suppress it, I must do something about it because the has separated itself from the thing observed. The division brings about conflict.
Are you learning this with me? You are probably not used to this kind of enquiry.
Questioner: Is it the same thing as seeing blind?
Krishnamurti: As seeing?
Questioner: He isn't interpreting anything, he is seeing blind.
Krishnamurti: Not quite Sir. I want to learn about this thing called conditioning. I don't know anything about it. I see I am conditioned. I want to learn all about it therefore I must observe it. I must be curious about it. I must be passionate about it, otherwise I can't learn. I must have intensity, I must have passion otherwise I can't learn. In observing I see there is a division and I see that division brings about conflict, because if there is only the thing observed without the observer then there is no problem.
Questioner: Does that mean to concentrate on the problem?
Krishnamurti: Who is it that is going to concentrate? Have you tried to concentrate on anything? What is involved in this concentration?
Questioner: The experiencer.
Krishnamurti: Who is the experiencer? Who is the thinker? Is there a thinker apart from thought? Questioner: The thinker is distilled memory.
Krishnamurti: Which means what? Thought - which means there is no thinker if there is no thought. You are not used to this.
Questioner: There is no thinker with no thought, but there is consciousness without thinking.
Krishnamurti: When you say consciousness, is it made up of the content or separate from the content?
Now, I want to learn about this conditioning in which every human being is trapped. To learn I must observe and in observing I see there is a division between the observer and the thing observed. This is really the root of the matter, if you could understand this deeply you will have solved the whole works. I'll show it. You see where there is a division there must be conflict, as an Englishman and a Frenchman, there is conflict. As an Englishman and a German - conflict, you follow? the conflict between the division as a Catholic and a Protestant, the Baptist and the Arab. As long as there is any kind of division there must be conflict. National division produces inevitably conflict. You have to learn this, you have to see it. The mind that wants to live completely at peace must have no division as the black as the white and all the rest of it.
So, I see the root of all division in human beings is the division in himself as the observer and the observed, we and they, my party and your party, my God, your God and all the rest of it. Can this division disappear altogether? Otherwise we shall live in conflict.
Questioner: There is such fear at the thought of losing our centre, our control.
Krishnamurti: I am coming to that, Madam. You are not doing this, you are not learning, not following this tremendously important thing. Questioner: We must relax and become aware there is nothing to fear.
Krishnamurti: Alright, Sir, fear. Do you want to discuss fear?
Questioner: Let's finish this.
Krishnamurti: If we could understand what is happening in the world, outwardly, which is the constant fragmentation, the businessman and the scientist, the religious man and the layman, the yogi, the guru and the disciple, the teacher and the follower; the division, you understand, the Pope and the poor chap, the rich man - division.
Because this division exists there is bound to be conflict of various kinds. A mind in conflict, whatever it does, must distort. Obviously. I have to learn about it, how to live in this world without conflict, when everything around me is in conflict, when everything sustains this division. How?
This is an imperative necessity, it is not just a theory. As a human being which has evolved through thousands of years, living like a savage, fighting, fighting, fighting, within himself and outside, how can this conflict come to an end? This conflict comes to an end only when there is no division inside myself, because I am part of the society - part of the culture which I have bred. I am the world, the world is not separate from me. I observe this conditioning going on; so I must learn totally about the whole thing. I see this division in myself as the observer and the observed. Why does this division exist? I must learn, find out, enquire why this division in me exists. What is this division? This division is contradiction. Questioner: Is it not the residue of the past?
Krishnamurti: It is, but that doesn't solve the problem. Why is there this contradiction in me and in you, this hypocrisy, why? Contradiction - weekend religion and the rest of the week butcher people. We talk about internationalism and hold on to beastly nationalism. This contradiction; private life and public life. Why this contradiction?
Questioner: We want to be the best, important. Krishnamurti: Is that it? We want to be important?
Questioner: We move away from what we are to what we think we should be.
Krishnamurti: Which means what?
Questioner: That we are in contradiction.
Krishnamurti: Go into it a little deeper. Why is there this contradiction? One of the major reasons for this contradiction is non-acceptance of what is. Which is, I have an ideal of what should be. That's one factor. The other is, I'm always living in comparison, comparing myself with somebody else or with a principle or with an ideal. This means I never accept the fact of what is. I am angry. Immediately I say I must not be angry. I am jealous, eaten up with ambition and I say no. You follow? Why don't I accept, why don't I see the fact, as it is, and not compare, not say it will be different tomorrow? Look, I see I am jealous, envious, brutal and what happens? The mind, thought says I must suppress it, that it is not right, that I should not be jealous, that jealousy is very painful, leads to hatred and all the misery it involves, I must avoid it, and so there is a duality. Now, can the mind observe jealousy and not get away from it? I am jealous, now what does that mean? What is involved in it? I don't want to suppress it, run away from it or change it. The fact is that I am jealous.
Questioner: If you see this then you have to be as jealous as you are.
Krishnamurti: Madam, please observe simple things. You are jealous aren't you? You know what that means jolly well, don't you? Most people do unfortunately. This is not to have a reaction about it - but observe it.
Questioner: As soon as you start observing you are separated from it.
Krishnamurti: When you are observing, when you are giving attention to the thing you are observing, is there a duality? You don't do these things, you are just playing with it. Look Sirs, have you ever given attention to something completely? Do you know what it means to give attention?
Questioner: In this case there is none.
Krishnamurti: Have you done it, Sir?
Questioner: I have tried.
Krishnamurti: You can try. Have you ever given attention completely, totally to something? Are you giving attention completely now, to what is being said? Are you? Obviously not. To give attention means to give your mind, your heart, your whole being to find out, not from books and somebody else, but to find out for yourself. Because you see, unless this takes place, unless the mind is completely free of all distortion which is all form of effort, what is truth can never be found out. And a man who lives superficially cannot possibly live fully. When one is aware there is this duality one asks why this duality exists. This duality exists because we have ideals, we have formulas, principles, according to which we live and therefore we never observe actually what is. Then what takes place? Am I explaining myself? Personally I have no ideals - they are too silly no beliefs, no conclusions, only actually what is. That way you avoid all hypocrisy. Then what takes place? I see actually I am angry. Then what takes place? You see one of the difficulties is, we think that it is not possible to change human beings. We have come to the conclusion that it is not possible, human beings cannot be changed I cannot change myself. You understand? Don't you say that? Is it possible to change what is? I've come to the point when I see actually that I'm not moving away from what is, neither verbally nor intellectually nor in any ideological sense. I remain actually with what is. Then what takes place?
Questioner: I disappear.
Questioner: Then I am the present.
Krishnamurti: No, no. When you say I am - who is the I? You are that anger, you are that jealousy, you are that brutality, that violence. Then what happens?
Questioner: It changes.
Questioner: The confusion goes away.
Krishnamurti: What takes place when you don't move away in any direction from what is, it doesn't matter what it is?
Questioner: You become the observer.
Questioner: No reaction.
Krishnamurti: No Sirs, watch it.
Let me approach it differently. I have never looked at my conditioning. I've accepted it. I have lived with it. I've been a Hindu for 80 years or 10 years and I have lived with it. You come along and point out to me that I am conditioned and I begin to realize the implications of that conditioning; what it does, how it destroys, how it separates. In observing, the mind has become sensitive, hasn't it? The mind has become sensitive which means intelligent; observing not from books, not from Freud or this and that but by merely observing itself in relation with the world it has become extraordinarily sensitive. Right? The mind through observation becomes intelligent and therefore extraordinarily sensitive, doesn't it? That sensitivity and that intelligence is not personal; intelligence is never personal, it's not my intelligence. I don't know if you are following. The moment it is personal, limited, it ceases to be intelligent; therefore, the mind through observing all its conditioning has learnt the implications of that conditioning, has remained with what is, not tried to run away from it or to suppress it, but it has remained with it and wants to find out what takes place next. It can only find out if the mind is extraordinarily alert and sensitive, otherwise it comes to another conclusion.
Look, Sirs, what is happening in the world? There is a revolt against the establishment; perhaps a little in this country, tremendous in America and in certain parts of Europe and very little in India. Who are the people who are in revolt against, who want to alter the structure of society? They, if you talk to them, are as confused as the people who are caught in the establishment. Out of their confusion of which they are unaware they are going to create a new society. So, confusion is going to breed more confusion. When there is an awareness of this confusion and there is light, then the creative activity of an enlightened mind is entirely different from the action of revolt.
So, we come back. Can the mind remain without distortion with what is? Do you understand the implications of that - to observe without the word. The word is not the thing. The description is not the described. Can the mind look at what is without the word; jealousy, anger? The word is the thought. This isn't an entertainment. This is tremendous work. The word is the thought. Right?
Questioner: We can't feel it.
Krishnamurti: What is feeling it?
Questioner: Being aware.
Krishnamurti: Are you aware with feeling? You are aware with your mind, with your heart. You are aware. You don't say I am aware with my feeling, or aware with my intellect. That's only another division. You're aware totally.
If you want to learn, look. Can you look at what is without the word? Can you look at jealousy without the word jealousy? You understand?
The word is anchored in the past. The word is the past and the word prevents you from looking at what is. So can the mind look at what is without the word and therefore not calling it jealousy at all?
The moment you say `I'm going to remain with what is', which is jealousy, then you have identified the thing that is happening with the past. Therefore, it is not new. Therefore, your mind always lives in the past. Can you look at what is without the word? If you can look without the word, the word being the thought, thought being the response of memory which is the past, then you look without the past. Then what happens?
Questioner: You are seeing. Krishnamurti: You are just guessing, for the love of Pete!
Questioner: It really is what is.
Krishnamurti: Look carefully, Sir, please do observe it. I have looked at what is with the word - jealousy - jealousy is a word of association with the past. That's simple. So I am looking at what is with the eyes of the past.
Questioner: Now - what's now?
Krishnamurti: The now is only possible when you can look without the word - without the past. I am greedy. That's a fact. Can I look at that fact without the word, without the word greedy, because the word greedy has innumerable associations, of virtue, of non-virtue, it should or should not be. The word with its associations is rooted in the past. When I say I'm greedy I am really looking at something which is new with the eyes of the old. Can I look without the eyes of the past, without the word? You do it. You will see what takes place.
To put it round the other way, can you look at your wife or husband or your friend without the image you have built through thirty years or ten days about that person? Can you look without the image? You can't can you - why not? I have lived with my wife for thirty years, she has nagged me, bullied me, I have dominated her and we have built images about each other in our relationship. Can I look at her or him without an image? Then what is my relationship with my wife? Is it a relationship between two images which we call love, relationship? The image is the past and that image has been built through constant repetition - adding, adding - you know what takes place. That relationship, the image, is always based on the past therefore it is not a relationship at all.
Therefore, I see now that what is, can be understood only when one can look without the image, without the word, without the symbol. Then the mind meets the new with a freshness. The feeling of greed which arises is new but the thought says that it is greedy. The word establishes it in the past. Therefore I say I cannot do anything about greed. I say I can only suppress it, fight it and so on, but, when the mind can look at that greed without the word then the mind is a fresh mind, then it can deal with whatever there is.
I'll put the problem differently. There is a challenge in this world that there must be a different order of things because there is tremendous social injustice, there is brutality, such appalling violence. That's the challenge. You have to meet it. Challenges are always new. Obviously, otherwise it's not challenge; but, the mind meets it with the old mind. So the response to the challenge is inadequate and therefore there is conflict. Whereas if the mind can look at the challenge without the response of the past there is a totally different kind of action.
Questioner: Isn't it making a problem when I say I have to look at something as it is now?
Krishnamurti: There is no problem if you are learning. There is no problem at all if the mind is in the act of learning. If I am learning about violence it's not a problem, but if I come to it with a decision that there must be no violence, or violence is justified, that brings a problem. But if I see human minds are violent - and I see human beings are violent, aggressive - I want to learn, I don't make a problem of it.
Questioner: What is a problem?
Krishnamurti: A thing that you cannot solve. You carry it over the next day, you carry the burden with you. Whereas, if you say I will learn what is involved, learning simply means to observe. Observation is not possible when there is any form of distortion. Follow it, Sir.
Distortion exists when there is a division between the observer and the observed. I must understand why this division arises. This division arises because of ideals, principles, ideas, conclusions - this should be, this should not be.
And so the mind which began out of confusion now becomes clear. It is learning, not following anybody, it is learning through observation. The mind becomes highly sensitive which means the body also becomes sensitive. The human mind is so heavily conditioned: believing in God, or, like the Communists, not believing in God; it is the same, because they are both conditioned through propaganda. One says, don't talk such nonsense, there is no such thing as God and the other says, there is God.... believe, believe, beat the drum until you are deaf. And one or the other you accept. Now, to be aware of all that and to find out if there is such a thing as God, some reality, or if there is not, to find out, to learn, the mind must be totally free from all belief - which means the mind must be entirely free from all fear. Is it possible for a human mind which has lived on fear, to be free of fear, completely, not only at the conscious level but at the deeper level? Questioner: Could we consider the things you say in a radically different context, such as in adversity?
Krishnamurti: You are saying, here we are and for an hour we have talked, we have understood somewhat, we go outside and in 10 minutes we forget all about it and we are again caught in the trap. Is that it? What is one to do? What is the response? You listened here for an hour. Have you listened to the speaker or have you listened to yourself, to what is going on in yourself? Which is it? Have you listened to the speaker or have you listened to your own mutterings, to your own processes? Have you looked at the activity of yourself, or have you been forced to look, by the speaker, at the activity?
Questioner: It is the activity - but I have tried to participate in it.
Krishnamurti: Is the activity your own or imposed by another? Is the speaker imposing these things or are you watching your own activity? If you are watching your own activity when you go outside you will still be watching it, you will still be learning about it. But if you say: I've only been forced to listen to that speaker for an hour, then it is not yours, then you are caught in the trap. If it is yours, not another's, then you cannot lose it, you become a light to yourself and not the light of somebody else.
Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 1st Public Dialogue 17th November, 1970
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