Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 2nd Public Dialogue 19th November, 1970
WHAT SHALL WE talk over this morning together?
Questioner: I would like to talk about education, not education only for the young but for the old as well; and, about religion, not my religion or their religion but religion, God, the truth, and about the dignity of man, to be one with life, all life.
Krishnamurti: The questioner would like to talk over education, not only of the young but of the older generation, and also religion, not the organized religion, and so on. Is that what we all want to discuss?
Questioner: Could we bring self-knowledge into that?
Krishnamurti: I think we can begin with what is self-knowledge and go into this question of religion and education and so on. Would that be all right?
Questioner: Yes. Krishnamurti: You know, I believe the Greeks started, and before them the Asiatics, to find out what is knowledge and what is the self. When we are considering knowledge, what do we mean by that word to `know'? To know implies a time sequence; that is, all knowledge is always in the past. You can add to it or take away from it but knowledge is in the field of the past. When I say `I know you', I know you because I met you yesterday, so I have an image of you and that image is the past. And I meet you with that image today. I say I know you, but you might have changed, and I come to see you with the image of the past, so, I really don't meet you at all. Knowledge is, in a certain direction, absolutely necessary, as in the scientific technological field but knowledge becomes a hindrance in relationship.
This is not a talk by me but a discussion where we are talking over together, so if we don't understand each other, let us interrupt and discuss, talk over together. When we say self-knowledge, is it that we understand something which we call the self - a self which is the permanent - or is it learning about the movement of the self? There are two things involved in this. One, to study something that is there, like the microphone; I can study it, I can learn about it and it is there. Now, is the self there, or is it a movement, is it a thing that is constantly in motion, therefore nothing permanent? One has to find out, is the self something that endures, that is permanent or is it something that is constantly in motion, constantly changing. So when we say self-knowledge, is it the knowledge of the self, which is the permanent, or the understanding of what the self is? I don't know if I am making the question clear. I don't know which it is to you. Is the self something static, permanent, enduring or is it something that has to be understood?
Questioner: What do you mean by self?
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out, not what I mean, we are going to find out together. You know, as we said yesterday, communication implies understanding together, learning together, sharing together, otherwise there is no communication. The very word in itself means that: to communicate, to look at something together, learn together, create together. It's not that I communicate something which I have to you, or you have to me. Together we are learning. That is what is implied in the very word to communicate. So, it is not what I mean, but let us find out together what we mean by the self.
What is the self? The self-centred activity, the self that is always asserting, the self that demands fulfilment, the self that perpetuates itself through identification, the self that is constantly in action and creating its own centre and therefore isolating itself. What is this self? When you say I, me, what is that `me', the `I'? Is it according to the Christians - the soul; according to the Hindus - the atman, and so on? When we talk about the self what do we mean by that word, the 'me'?
Questioner: Where do we actually look to find out? What do we watch to find out?
Krishnamurti: What is it that we watch, examine, to find
out the truth of that word `self'? Is that it? We can look that word up in the dictionary and there is a definition. We know the word is not the thing, the description is not the described. To find out what the self is one has to watch its activity, actually its action, in relationship, otherwise you cannot examine it. Living is relationship, otherwise there is no living. You can live in isolation but that isolation brings about constant conflict in relationship. One can find out what the self is only in relationship. We are doing it together, its no fun if I do all the work and you just listen. So, what is relationship? What does it mean to be related?
Questioner: To be in communication with other people and the environment.
Krishnamurti: To be in communication with other people and with the environment: to be in contact, to be related, to respond to any kind of challenge, is part of relationship also.
Krishnamurti: Involvement implies a different thing. Let us go slowly. What is relationship? I am related to my wife, to my husband, to my family. There is a relationship, that is, I am in contact not only physically but also psychologically.
Questioner: Does relationship imply understanding?
Krishnamurti: Not yet, surely. Let us think together, not you think something and I think something, let's together walk; don't go ahead or behind me, but together walk and find out.
I'm related to my wife and my children and my neighbour, to the environment. Relationship means contact, being together. Am I related in contact? Apart from physical contact with my wife, with my husband, with my children, am I related? Are you? Contact, you understand what I mean?
Questioner: On rare occasions.
Krishnamurti: On rare occasions. Then you are not related to your wife or children or neighbours except on rare occasions. Is that so?
Questioner: Not always, sometimes it's bad and sometimes good.
Krishnamurti: We are not evaluating the bad and the good in relationship. We are asking if we are directly in contact not only physically but psychologically with the family, with the wife...
Questioner: We don't seem to be sensitive. We don't seem to get into their skin and feel what they feel.
Krishnamurti: Madam, let's be simple about all this. I am married - I'm not, thank the Lord - I'm married and I am supposed to be in relationship with my wife. Apart from the physical contact, sexual and so on, what is my relationship with her?
Questioner: Is it a question of attitudes?
Krishnamurti: We are not talking about attitudes. We haven't come to that yet, Madam. We are trying to find out what is relationship.
Questioner: We are related to everyone and everything simply by being among these things.
Krishnamurti: I am married. Am I related to my wife? Apart from the physical contact is there any relationship at all? Don't assert, don't say yes or no, find out.
Questioner: Is it a series of habits?
Questioner: Isn't the relationship just conditioning?
Krishnamurti: I go to the office, I am ambitious, competitive, and worshipping success. And my wife also pursues her own ambitions, her own greeds and all the rest of it. We may meet physically but psychologically we are isolated, aren't we? Except when I say: I love you. Then, what is the relationship, the actuality, not what you think it should be? The actual. Then we can do something about it. If you theorize then you will be lost. Look what happens. I have lived with my wife for twenty years or ten days. During that time I have built an image about her. She has responded in a certain way, nagged me, got angry, this or that and I have built an image about her and she has built an image about me.
These two images have relationship; not me and her, but the images.
Questioner: I don't know, because I don't know, myself
Krishnamurti: But, the fact is you have an image, isn't that so? Is not that image the `me'?
Questioner: It must be.
Krishnamurti: We are asking; please don't say should or should not. I have an image about her and I have an image about myself.
Questioner: Is the image necessarily entirely wrong?
Krishnamurti: I don't say it is right or wrong. It is a fact.
Questioner: Is it incorrect?
Krishnamurti: I won't say it is incorrect or say it is right or wrong, good or beautiful. The fact is I have an image which I have built about myself, and she has built an image about herself. This image is the me; identified with the furniture, with the house, with various memories, experiences. And she does the same.
Questioner: Are you forgetting affinity? Krishnamurti: Affinity, love, tenderness, goodness, that is the outcome of this interaction between the two images. We don't go step by step taking facts as they are, so that we can then move further. If we refuse to face the fact then we wander off into a kind of abstraction.
Questioner: Isn't this on the personality level, whereas we can look at ourselves in terms of the higher self and the lower self?
Krishnamurti: Wait a minute, the higher self and the lower self the soul and the body, the atman, you know, the supreme and me, we'll come to that.
The `me' is a bundle of images, memories, which has been built through centuries. The `me'. The father says the `me'. The mother says the `me'. And the child also says the 'me'.
The `me' is a bundle of memories; the memories which respond to any challenge. The `me' is a bundle of memories from which thought responds, thought reacts. The reaction to that memory is thought. Right? Is that simple or not? I have memory, a bundle of memories as a Hindu, a Catholic, a Communist. Those memories have been built from childhood through tradition, through family and so that response is thought. When we say `self-knowledge' there is the learning about what the self is, how it has come into being, knowing the self, knowing oneself.
Questioner: Does the self perpetuate itself?
Krishnamurti: Does the self perpetuate? The self perpetuates through identification, doesn't it? My son, my wife, my house, my furniture.
Questioner: My troubles. Krishnamurti: My troubles, my anxieties, me, and all the rest of it. The identification with something perpetuates the `me'. I identify myself with the furniture; because my furniture is very old, 14th century, I love it, I keep it very carefully, polish it, look after it, I value it because one day I will sell it and I will get lots of money. So, the furniture has become more important than the `me'. Right? See the tricks which we are playing on ourselves and each other. Through identification with that, that becomes important, not the `me' which identifies itself. I identify myself with my country, with my nationality, with my God. The country, the nationality, the God becomes all important. We never enquire why this identification takes place. Why do I want to identify? I am asking the question - you have to ask the question.
Questioner: Does this mean then that the search for truth equates with a constant review of the images? Krishnamurti: Obviously.
Questioner: We identify because we are afraid to look at that which we are, we feel safe in possessions.
Krishnamurti: We are learning about ourselves aren't we? Are you learning about yourself as you are talking, watching yourself, watching how you respond, how you identify, why there is this division between me and you, we and they, why all this battle all through life?
Questioner: If we didn't have images there'd be no self.
Krishnamurti: No, Madam, it really isn't a question of not having an image. This is what is going on in our life, isn't it? Why does this happen, who is responsible for this? Questioner: What gives life to the image?
Krishnamurti: What do you think?
Questioner: It's all a process of the me, a device whereby if we have a success, we want to repeat it.
Krishnamurti: So, Sir, I want to understand myself. I don't know what I am; I really don't know. I must find out. I must learn. I must learn about myself not according to what others say, the experts, the psychologists, the analysts, the Freudians, the Jungians, all the rest of them. I must learn about myself, and not according to somebody else. Do please see the importance of that. Not according to the professionals; they may be wrong or they may be right. I am not concerned with them. I am concerned to learn about myself. To learn means I must observe, I must not come to it with any conclusion, with any prejudice, with any kind of hope. I must learn, find out what it is. Will you do that? Or, you have read what the self is. You are going to learn what the self is. I don't know. People have said so many things about it. I discard everything the others have said. Will you do that? Discard completely what others have said.
Questioner: Is it possible to discard what we have heard, when we have listened and found out?
Krishnamurti: I am not interested at all what others have said. I have never read books on what the others have said, fortunately. I want to find out, so I look, I observe, I can observe that only in relationship; how I react, anger, jealousy, hate, envy, violence, domination, suppression; you know, the whole movement, I watch. So, it is important to find out how I watch, not what I watch. The manner of watching, the art of observing is much more important than the thing you observe. The art of seeing is much more important than that which you look at. Now, how do you look? Please apply yourselves, don't just listen to what the speaker is saying. Find out how you look.
Questioner: Be open to what you see.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, how do you look? Let's begin very simply. How do you look at a tree? Have you looked at a tree? You have, haven't you? How do you look at a tree?
Questioner: I am the tree without thinking. I don't think: isn't that beautiful. It just is.
Krishnamurti: Just find out. How do you observe a tree? Do you look at it with the word? Do you look at the tree with the word, that it is an oak tree, a eucalyptus tree, that it's beautiful?
Watch it. Go slowly. probably you are not interested in a tree. If you are interested you look at it with botanical knowledge, don't you?
Questioner: No, for enjoyment.
Krishnamurti: Wait Sir, go slow. We are coming to something much more complicated - you will see presently how complex it becomes. The tree doesn't affect you. Psychologically it doesn't touch you. You can observe it casually. You can observe it without the word, without botanical knowledge, you can look at it without thought.
Questioner: I can't. When I look at a tree, I am part of that tree, because to me it is something alive and it is something that I am part of Krishnamurti: You say you are part of that tree. Do you know what that means? What does that mean?
Questioner: How can I describe that which is a state of being wondrous?
Krishnamurti: I will show you. We will share together. When you look at something, at a tree or a cloud, a mountain or water, you look at it with space, space between you and it. There is not only physical space but space divided by thought. That tree is in my garden. There is this division. Can you look at that tree without that division? This doesn't mean you identify yourself with the tree, you don't become the tree. You observe it and in that observation if there is no space between the observer and the observed it is not identification but a totally different kind of relationship. You do it sometime. To look at an object, it doesn't matter what it is, without the intervening space then there is a direct contact. You can do that with a tree fairly easily. But, to do it with your husband, with your friend, with your wife then it becomes very difficult. Can you look at your wife, husband, neighbour, your politicians; can you look with eyes that have not this intervening space as created by the image? Can you look at yourself without condemning or justifying? The justification and condemnation is the censor. The censor is the conditioned entity. The conditioned entity is the `me', the, 'me' that says I must be more successful, the `me' that says I must have more pleasure. So can you look at yourself without any distraction of thought? Are you following all of this? Have you done it?
Questioner: It is something quite new.
Krishnamurti: It is not a question of something new, Madam, but to do it. Questioner: I mean it is new in the doing.
Krishnamurti: There is nothing new in doing. Doing is action, not you think out and then act.
Questioner: Is this the case when someone is totally absorbed in something?
Krishnamurti: What does that mean? A child is absorbed in a toy, totally absorbed, if you give him a new toy he plays with it for the rest of the day and there is no mischief. He is completely absorbed in it till the toy breaks and he becomes mischievous or whatever he does. Most of us do the same, we want to be absorbed in something whether the absorption is in the country, in an idea, in a belief, in a series of actions; which is commitment; to be absorbed as the religious person is supposed to be when he is absorbed in the idea of Jesus, Saviour, Christ, God. He is absorbed but he doesn't know anything about himself, and that is a very easy trick, to be absorbed in something so as to forget yourself.
Questioner: Isn't that good to forget yourself?
Krishnamurti: Can you forget yourself, though you have identified yourself with something? That very identification is the continuance of the self. I identify myself with India. Myself has become the idea of India. And if you say anything about India I get hurt; as long as you flatter it I am pleased. I identify myself with a belief and I will fight to the death any attempt to destroy that identification, because the moment I don't identify with something I am forced to look at myself. I don't want to look at myself because I am frightened to look at myself. Questioner: I meant by absorption, not to have thought coming in when I look at a tree.
Krishnamurti: You see, Sir, a whole question is involved in that. When the observer separates himself from the thing observed that division brings conflict. People have tried centuries ago taking drugs, a form of drug that destroys the time and the distance - space - so that there is immediate perception. Now they are taking LSD and various forms of psychedelic drugs. You know all about it? You do? You read about it? I am glad! I haven't touched it because it's not necessary. We have discussed this question with a great many people who have taken it; doctors, psychologists, prominent ones, not crazy ones. What happens in that, is that a chemical change takes place in the whole organism, that makes for clarity. I see things, then, very clearly. Every colour becomes extraordinarily clear. The ordinary leaf that I look at as I pass by becomes a leaf with such colour, such potency, such beauty, such vitality, and that's tremendously absorbing because the division between the observer and the observed disappears. You are directly in contact. That same thing can happen but with much greater reality when you understand this whole process of building images.
Self-knowledge is necessary because without understanding the whole movement of thought with all its reason, fallacy, deception; without understanding it, how it is constructed, what is its nature, we cannot go very far. So it is absolutely necessary, if you are really serious to find out. Thought is the response of memory. Obviously, if you had no memory at all you wouldn't be able to think.
Questioner: Could you think without memory?
Krishnamurti: You cannot Sir. Amnesia. You couldn't go home if you didn't think, if you had no memory. You would just be wandering about.
Questioner: If you say one plus one equals two, which is a thought, you have still got to remember the one to put the other one to it.
Krishnamurti: Sir, thought is the response of memory. Thought is never new. So, thought is never free, obviously. And every challenge is new, and thought responds to the challenge and thought is old. Therefore there is inadequacy between the response and the challenge, therefore conflict.
Questioner: Can there be consciousness without thought?
Krishnamurti: What is consciousness? Is it made up of the content or is it independent of the content? My consciousness, your consciousness: is it the content, the thoughts, the anxieties, the miseries, the suffering, the ambition, the violence, that makes up consciousness or is consciousness empty of all that? The content makes the consciousness, obviously. Let's leave that for now.
Thought is the response of memory. And thought is always old. It is a hard pill to swallow, because we think thought can solve all our problems. It can't. If you go into it I will show you something.
Thought being old cannot respond to the new, and life is new. All this which is happening around us is totally new, and thought is always responding in terms of the past. Look Sir, revolution is necessary. Not physical revolution, because that doesn't solve anything. Physical revolution brings about dictatorship, bureaucratic tyranny or the tyranny of the few. Psychological revolution is absolutely necessary, because we have to change, we have to bring about a totally different way of living. And thought says I'll find out, how to live differently. Thought, which is old, which is memory, which is the result of experience, knowledge, which is the past; thought, the past tries to understand the present. The past tries to solve all these problems and has never succeeded. Go into this seriously to find out how to act, without the past. Scientifically, objectively, technologically, I must have knowledge to function; to go to the moon requires tremendous scientific knowledge. The mind also sees that to act when there is challenge, thought must be quiet. Otherwise it cannot respond completely to the challenge. So that is the problem: to push it ultimately. I hope you are following all this. It's up to you. That's our crisis.
The intellectuals throughout the world are responding to the crisis in terms of the old, in terms of thought, and their answers must inevitably be coloured by the past, however intellectual they are. And so-called religious people are also like that.
One has to find a way of acting which at the same time demands absolute objective, rational, sane, technological action in one direction, and, in the other, for the mind to function without the impediment of thought.
You don't know the beauty of all this. So the question then is - and now we are coming to quite a different problem - what is meditation? Are you interested in all this? It is deadly serious.
Questioner: I'd like you to go back to thought as being a barrier.
Krishnamurti: Right. Memory is in the very cells of the brain. You can watch it in yourself. Memory remains in the brain. It is part of the brain cells. The brain cells can function only in complete security. Where there is insecurity there is distortion, neurosis. So the brain demands that it functions all the time in complete security. That is why you have invented all the modern culture. You follow? Wars, battleships, to be safe, and that very desire for safety is destroying safety; nationality, division, each country having its own army, all the rest of it. The brain cells themselves are the residue of memory. And memory is necessary otherwise you can't get home, drive a car, you can't speak. But, that very memory becomes an impediment to acting completely in the present. Action implies the doing now, not tomorrow or yesterday. But when action is shaped by thought, by the past, then action becomes incomplete and therefore it has to be repeated over and over again. Therefore, incompleteness continues. Can that brain function at its highest level technologically, objectively, sanely, and at the same time can that brain function without all the impediment of the past, which is the psyche, which is the me?
This is where the so-called meditation comes in. You know this word is a dangerous word. From India a great many people have come to this country and other parts of the world talking and teaching meditation, which is all tricks. Meditation is something entirely different, a quality of mind that sees the whole totality of life, not fragments of life, the whole totality. There is no division between the artist and the business man, between the politician and the crook - probably they are the same! So you see this, a complete understanding of life.
Can the brain be completely still? I won't go into all that because you have never gone into this question at all and probably you don't know what it implies. Let's stick to something we can actually do. Which is, can you be free of your image? You can only be free of your image if you understand what the machinery is that builds the image. Now, what is the machinery that builds images?
Questioner: Thought? Memory? Krishnamurti: Thought, memory; how does that operate? Let's be simple. You tell me what a marvellous person I am. I like it. I have already built an image and you are my friend. You say something which I don't like, I have formed another image. So, the image pattern is built through pleasure and pain; of liking you because you say something pleasant and of not liking you because you are not nice to me, which is based on the pleasure principle. Watch it in yourself. I have built an image because you have said something pleasurable or not pleasurable. I carry that image when I meet you next. I am that image. Next time I meet you, you are my friend and so on. Can this machinery stop? That is, when you insult me, to be completely attentive at that moment, attentive in the sense that I listen to you totally, without any reaction, neither accepting nor rejecting your insult, just listening completely, which means complete attention. And the same when you flatter me, to listen so fully that nothing leaves a mark on the mind, so that the machinery that builds the image has no vitality, no juice. The mind listening to the insult and to the flattery doesn't leave a mark, therefore no image, and therefore it is a mind that is so sensitive, alert, watchful that the me doesn't exist, because the me is the image.
Questioner: We have used the word conflict. Does this necessarily mean a negative state or can it be a positive one?
Krishnamurti: Can conflict be positive or negative?
I don't quite understand what those two words mean; but conflict means conflict. Don't you have conflicts, hundreds of them? Have you ever gone into this question of conflict? And why it exists in human beings? Why does it exist? In the office, at home, when you are playing golf, when you are doing anything there is this battle going on, and from that battle, neurosis; you know, the whole pattern of modern existence; quarrels between husband and wife, the constant striving, struggling, conflict, battle - why? First of all, one has accepted it as a natural thing. You have lived with it for so long that you have accepted it. You don't say to yourself I must find out, why? Why should I live this way? I will show you why you do it, the mechanism of it. Please bear in mind, the description is not the described. The word is not the thing. Therefore, when we talk about it you are watching yourself not listening to the speaker. Conflict exists because there is duality. That is simple isn't it? Duality is contradiction. I must be. I must not be. Conflict exists because you have an ideal, the possibility of what you will be and the fear of what you might be. Conflict exists because of contradiction, ideals, conformity, obedience, the desire to be something better, comparative. We are always comparing with somebody who has a bigger car, bigger house, better jewels. All our life is comparing. So there it is: comparison, ideals, principles, formulas. All these create a duality. So you never see actually what is. I see I am stupid, I don't say I must become clever. Through comparison I have found I am stupid and then I struggle not to be stupid. Am I stupid if there is no comparison at all? I am what I am. I don't call it stupid. I don't call it clever, or beautiful, or ugly. It is there. Then I can do something about it. Then I can go beyond it. I cannot go beyond it if I am trying to become clever.
But once the mind is free from all comparison, which means imitation, conformity, obedience to a principle, to an idea and so on, then the mind observes actually what is. To observe actually what is... am I looking at it through a word? Am I looking at myself with the image which the word has created, that I am dull? Am I looking at myself with a series of associations, a series of words, a series of conclusions, or am I looking at myself without any of these? All this demands tremendous attention which is discipline. The word discipline means to learn, not to conform, not to obey, not to imitate. Discipline, the word in Latin means: to learn. Therefore, the mind that is learning has no imposed discipline. It has order, not conformity. Learning becomes all important to a mind that is enquiring into this whole question of relationship between human beings. The relationship between human beings is society. That relationship between human beings has created the structure which we call society, with its Gods, with its laws, with its ambitions and all the rest of it. Society is the me. I am the society. To change society I must change myself. And we don't want to do that. We will do anything to alter the structure of society and we hope thereby we shall be happy. We shan't. The Communists have tried it. They have said environment is all important, give the right environment and you'll produce the right monkey. They haven't done it, on the contrary. The religious people have also played with this. To bring about a radical revolution we must begin here, not out there, because out there is here.
Are there any more questions or shall we stop?
Questioner: Are impulsive feelings a direct response to living?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by impulsive? You mean spontaneous? Are we ever spontaneous or are we always responding to our conditioning, though we may call it spontaneity? The other day I met somebody who came to see me, and that person said: I am free at last, I have gone into this question of freedom greatly, studied it, and I am free, and therefore I have become a Catholic. (Laughter) No. You may laugh, but that person was very serious and he is spreading what he thinks is truth. He thinks that it is spontaneous because he is free. So to understand what is freedom, and therefore action in freedom, one has to go into this question of the conditioning of the mind, the whole conditioned mind, how the mind is conditioned by propaganda of ten thousand years: the religious, the political, the propaganda of the family. we are slaves to propaganda. Can the mind observe all this propaganda and be free of it? Then only, can you talk about freedom in action.
Questioner: Listening is the hardest thing, I've found.
Krishnamurti: I wonder why. Do you ever listen? Or do you listen partially? There are two things involved aren't there? There is hearing and listening. When you hear you either agree or disagree, you say - I agree with him, because I like it or I don't like it, he is convincing or he is not convincing. But when you are actually listening, that means giving your complete attention, what takes place? What takes place when you are giving your whole attention, attention being your mind, your heart, your nerves, your body, everything... listening? Your mind is completely quiet isn't it? Not arguing, agreeing, disagreeing, opposing or forming any opinion. It is an act of complete listening. In that act of listening there is actual communion, isn't there? Communion, in the sense of complete relationship. There is no misunderstanding. And we never do this. We never give our whole attention to anything. We only have learnt what it is to concentrate. To concentrate means exclusion. Therefore, concentration is not attention. In attention there are no borders.
Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 2nd Public Dialogue 19th November, 1970
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.