Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 3rd Public Talk 25th November, 1970
I DON'T KNOW why you clap. What we are talking about is not something that needs your approval. What it demands is that you listen to what the speaker has to say and find out for yourself the truth of the matter; not your opinion, not your conclusion, not your information but rather to consider what the speaker has to say and see for yourself whether it corresponds with what you yourself actually feel and think.
The speaker is not saying or putting forward a new philosophy, a new series of ideas and conclusions, but rather we are going to investigate together the whole question of fear, pleasure and joy.
Before we go into that, I think we should be clear that we are so capable of self deception, we so easily deceive ourselves that we have to be extremely watchful when we discuss together this question. It is complex and needs a great deal of attention.
We are going to discuss fear, pleasure and joy and whether the mind can ever be free of fear, not only the conscious mind but also the deeper layers that lie below the conscious; whether one can expose all the content of that and whether fear which is so deeply rooted and to which one has become so accustomed can be totally understood and therefore completely and absolutely freed. Fear in its various forms destroys the capacity to see clearly, to think logically and to perceive actually what is. Fear distorts all of our conduct. After all, behaviour is righteousness and any form of fear, perceived or not perceived, makes every behaviour into a contradiction.
So, as we discuss this evening, together, the question of fear, we have to be very watchful that we don't slip into some form of formula that will help us to cover up our fears.
What we are going to concern ourselves with is not only fear but the necessity of being free from it, completely. Otherwise, human conduct, behaviour, cannot possibly undergo a radical revolution. We are concerned with that revolution, not physical revolution but psychological revolution, the conditioning which has been brought about through fear. Until we really, deeply understand fear, pleasure and joy, there cannot be a radical change in the very structure of our life, and the very structure of our thinking and action cannot possibly undergo a mutation. So, it is absolutely essential that we understand this very complex problem of fear. We have to look at it, not at the description but rather at the fact. We are going to look at it both analytically and non-analytically, verbally and non-verbally. Therefore, when we are examining what fear is, we mustn't get stuck with mere explanation or mere words. One has to be aware of one's own fear; actually. You may not have that fear at this moment sitting in this hall but the indication of that fear as dependency on another, attachment, the fear of not being, of not becoming, the fear that lies behind all our activity. One has to be aware of it, to look at it.
One of our difficulties is going to be that we are apt to escape through the word, and through the habit which we have cultivated for so long, which is to escape, fly away from what actually is.
As we said the other day, we cannot possibly understand what fear is unless we understand what pleasure is and also, in understanding pleasure, to know what joy is and ecstasy. They're all interrelated and we cannot possibly separate one from the other and hold on to one and avoid the other. They are all interrelated, complex, and this needs a great deal of enquiry, observation and learning.
We are using those words, 'to learn' perhaps in a peculiar way. Learning implies an observation which is not acquisition; to observe without acquiring. When we use the words 'to learn', we generally mean to accumulate knowledge, to pile up knowledge so that according to that knowledge we will act. That's what we generally mean by learning. Having learnt Italian, Greek, whatever it is, one can speak that language. Having learnt mathematics, then one can become an engineer or what you will. The accumulation of knowledge through learning is one thing and learning without accumulation is another. Learning and acquiring knowledge; action from that becomes routine, automatic. It's like a man in a factory, having learned a few movements, he can keep on repeating and repeating and repeating. Having learned a particular language, acquired the words, the verbs, the irregular verbs and so on, and having accumulated knowledge, he can then speak. That's one thing. Whereas, learning without accumulation is a constant movement of observation.
I hope this point is somewhat clear, because there have been experiments, I've been told, in American factories where the worker is allowed to learn as he goes along and he produces more; whereas, the man who has learnt and keeps on repeating, to him it becomes a bore, therefore he doesn't produce so much.
What we are concerned with is learning. Accumulation of knowledge is necessary, otherwise we couldn't go home, speak English, or Italian or what you will, but when we are looking, examining this factor which guides, shapes most of our life, which is fear, one has to learn about it. Therefore, we must come to it afresh, not with a conclusion, not with condemnation or justification. justification and condemna- tion are born out of knowledge which is the past and therefore there is the cessation of learning anew.
So, we are going to learn, together, about this whole thing called fear and pleasure and joy; learn together, not hear what the speaker has to say, or learn some technique from him and then apply it. Then you won't be able to understand or deal afresh with the factor of fear.
One can be totally and completely free of fear. Physical fear is one thing and psychological fear is another; and most of our fears are psychological, inward, not physical fears. We don't live in the wild, we are not attacked by another in a so-called civilized society. Physical fears we can deal with and we know what to do when we meet a wild animal or a snake or this or that - we know what to do. But we don't know what to do with psychological fears which are much more complex, so we have to learn about them; not learn from the speaker, as knowledge, and apply what you have learnt to the fear that you may have in the future. I don't know if we are communicating together over this question.
So, we are sharing together, not knowledge, but the act of learning and therefore, the awareness, the intention and the intensity to observe. It's not through the description of what the speaker is saying, but in observing your own fear.
As we said, there must be, not only socially and environmentally, radical change in the social structure. Appalling things are happening, violence, brutality, wars, and a man who is at least civilized and thoughtful and wants to live completely at peace must understand this question - why human beings are so violent in all their relationships. And in understanding this question of fear you will understand the nature of violence. So, what is fear? Obviously, it doesn't exist by itself, it exists in relation to something, either in the past or in the future: fear of loneliness, fear of frustration, fear of not being identified with something, fear of not succeeding, fear of being completely isolated, fear of death, which is fear of not being, and also the fear of not becoming. Fear is always in relation to something. It doesn't exist by itself. When we enquire into the unconscious where there are a great many fears stored up, how are you going to look into it? You understand my question? How is the conscious mind to look into the so-called hidden parts of the mind? I don't know why we call it the unconscious, it's really a misnomer; the unconscious is very conscious, only we are not aware of it, that's all.
My question is, please follow this - how can your conscious mind, the mind that thinks, observes, watches, looks, how can that mind look into something that is unknown, hidden, where most of our fears lie? You understand my question? We are sharing together, please listen to what the speaker has to say, we are sharing together, we are not teaching. I am not your teacher or your philosopher, or your authority; that would be terrible. We are sharing together to find out whether it is at all possible for the mind to be totally and completely free of fear.
If there is any shadow of fear lurking it distorts all thought, all life, it destroys affection, love, therefore one has to really understand it. My question is, and I am sure you must have put this question to yourself also, and if you have not, please put it now: how can the conscious mind, the mind that is daily active, how can that mind enquire or look into the hidden parts of itself? Because that's where all our subtle forms of fear are; our attachments, our demands for success, the competitive aggression, anxiety, guilt - it is all there. Merely to say `I must get rid of fear' or suppress fear, has no meaning.
The question is: how can such a mind which is daily active, occupied with daily things, enquire into something which is hidden, deep? Does it lie through analysis? Can you, can the conscious mind analyse the hidden fears, hidden motives, all that goes on below, or must the conscious mind be completely still, so that its very silence and its observation reveal the whole content of the hidden? You follow my point?
As we said the other day, analysis doesn't reveal a thing. On the contrary, it prevents observation and direct action. Whereas, if there is no analysis at all but only observation, then the mind, the daily active mind (to observe all the hidden layers and their content) must be completely still.
You know, if I want to listen to a concert, to a symphony, I must listen to it silently. Don't you do that, when you are listening to some piece of beautiful music, Bach or whatever you will, don't you listen completely, quietly? Your body, your mind, your whole nervous organism is completely quiet. You are listening. You are not comparing the previous symphony which was played in another part of the world, you are listening without comparing, actually completely absorbed.
Now if you are absorbed by the music, if the music takes over, takes you over, it's like a child with a toy. He's completely absorbed and when he has finished with the toy he's back again. So it is not absorption that is required but attention, and therefore you have to observe with a clarity of mind that is completely quiet. Are you doing this as we are talking? You understand what we are trying to explain, knowing that the explanation is not that which is explained?
We are saying that if you would understand the deep content of the mind, the deep layers of the me, the self, with all its fears, anxieties, troubles and agonies, you can observe it only when the mind, the superficial mind, is extremely quiet; not make the mind quiet; but see the truth of it; and when you see the truth of it, it happens. You are getting all this? Are we following each other?
When you look with that quality of mind that is very quiet, there is no verbalization, there is no comparison, there is no justification or condemnation, just watching. To watch, the mind, the daily activity of the mind must completely end. To understand anything, the mind must be completely still, especially when you are observing yourself, when you are observing your own fears, anxieties, loneliness, despair, demands for pleasure and all the rest of it; to observe that completely, really at great depth, the superficial mind must be completely still. You have to see the reason of it. It's fairly simple, a chattering mind can't see, can't listen, can't observe, can't do anything. See actually for yourself, the truth: that to observe yourself and the content of yourself, the superficial mind must be still.
If you are doing that as the speaker is going into it, then what is there in the so-called hidden layers?
There are many things involved, and we are only dealing with fear and nothing else for the moment. Either that fear is associated with the past, or with the future; what might happen or what has happened. Fear is the outcome of the past or of the future. You're watching your own fear, not my fear. What gives a continuity to fear? I've had physical pain a week ago, a bad pain and it's gone but I am afraid that it might return, that is, the past and the future. What sustains this fear? I've had a bad pain a week ago, it is finished, but yet thought goes on with it, carries on that it might come back. Thought which is the response of memory, of the pain that it had a week ago, that memory, with its thought says, it might come back. Thought sustains fear, gives nourishment to fear, gives a continuity to fear, thinking about what happened a week ago or thinking of what might happen tomorrow; thinking breeds fear. Then the next question is: how will you stop thinking? Do you follow me?
An incident took place yesterday which gave me pain; it is finished; it's over but thought goes on, thinking, thinking, thinking about it, and so sustains the fear. Watch it a minute. Let's examine what is pleasure. What is pleasure, on which all our social morality is based, all our search, all our activity? All this demand, the searching for truth and all that nonsense is based on pleasure. Your gods are based on pleasure, your virtue is based on pleasure, your morality is based on pleasure; so what is pleasure, which every human being demands? What is pleasure? Again, there was an incident yesterday which was a great delight. It filled your whole mind, your whole heart; you looked at the cloud, the water, at the sailing ships, it was a great delight. But thought comes in and says, I would like that to be repeated it was so pleasurable I must have it. Right? There is the pleasure of sex. Thought builds the image, all the stimuli are sustained by thought, and the fulfilment of it tomorrow. So, thought sustains fear and gives continuity to pleasure. You don't finish with that incident of yesterday whether it is pleasurable or painful. It is finished; but thought goes on living with it. Right?
We are learning, please, I am not teaching. We are learning together. So thought is responsible for pleasure and pain, which is the sustaining of pleasure and continuing of fear.
The next question is, how can one not think about this? It was so beautiful yesterday, so marvellous, and there is the thinking about it. It was so painful and that pain is over, but, thought thinks about it. So one asks, is there a possibility for thought not to think about it at all, not to think about the pain or the pleasure? How is this to be done? Joy is not pleasure. You can't think about joy, you can think about it and reduce it to pleasure, but the thing that is called joy, ecstasy, is not the product of thought. Haven't you noticed when there is a great burst of joy you can't think about it the next day; and, if you do, it has already become pleasure? So, fear and pleasure are sustained by thought, given continuity by thought. How is one to look at great beauty, the beauty of a cloudless sky, the beauty of a sunset, the beauty of a face, the beauty of truth; to look at it and end it, and not think about it? Are you following? How is this to be done? Do you understand my question? If it is not clear, it must be made clear because one can see that fear continues by thinking about it, as you do with pleasure. Pleasure we want, the more of it the better, therefore we think about it; but we don't want fear, yet thought thinks about it, what might happen.
Is it possible for an incident, whether it is painful or pleasurable, to end and not leave a mark on the brain? The mark on the brain is the memory and then the memory responds, which is thought. So, can the mind observe the sunset, the beauty of the landscape, the curve of a wave, observe it and end it, and not carry it over? How is this to be done?
Please bear in mind what we are discussing. We are saying there must be a radical change in the human mind and heart, a total revolution. When there is that radical revolution in the human being then you will create a totally different kind of society, there will be a totally different kind of relationship between human beings. The miseries and the misfortune and the violence that comes in the human mind spring from fear; and as long as fear doesn't completely and absolutely end, man will be violent, and so there is no radical revolution.
Our concern is the understanding of fear, a total, absolute understanding and being free, completely, of fear. And we say that it is possible, not theoretically, not in abstraction, but actually, to be aware of that incident of beauty or that incident of grief, of danger, which causes fear, to be aware of it and end it as it arises.
Is this possible? Can the mind not keep a record of the incident that gave great delight or a happening which gave pain? Not keep a record, that is, for that incident not to leave a mark as memory in the brain? How is this possible? It is really quite simple. You know we are so frightened to be simple. We want things to be complicated and the more things are complicated the more we think we are intellectual. We are never simple, we don't know how to look at things simply. When you can look at things simply, you are beyond all the intellectual words, then you see something real, it's yours, it's not cooked up by the brain. There was that incident of the beautiful sunset; as you looked at it there was great delight. You observed it, the colours, the light on the water, the various shades of light in the cloud, you observed it. Can you observe it without the word? The moment you use the word, that word has associations and that association is part of this memory. When you say how extraordinarily beautiful it is, you have already gone away from looking, from observing, from seeing the sunset. So, can you look at that sunset without the word? Which means to look at that sunset completely, with complete attention, not comparing with the sunset you saw in California or in another part of the world, or say to your friends how lovely it is, but just to look, without the word. That means look with complete attention. Then you will find if you so look, that very perception prevents a memory being formed about that sunset. Which doesn't mean that you haven't any joy, delight in the sunset.
You've had pain a week ago. The pain has left a memory and that memory responds and therefore you think about it. Whereas, if you observe that pain completely, attentively, wholly, not saying I must go to the doctor, I'm frightened, you know all the chatter that goes on when you have pain, just to observe it, totally with complete attention, then you will see you are finished with it, therefore thought doesn't pick it up and carry it over. You have understood this?
If I may go into this in a different way: There were two monks walking from village to village, preaching. They had taken vows of poverty, celibacy, charity and all that business. When you take a vow, then you are lost, then you are in battle with yourself, but when you understand everything, then you don't take a vow, you simply live it without effort. These two monks were going from village to village, preaching. One morning as they were walking along they came to a river and they saw by the side of the river a girl, weeping. One of them said to her, `Sister what are you crying for?' And she said `This morning early, I waded across the river and my home is on the other side and there is no boat and I can't wade it now because the river has swollen and I don't know what to do and that's why I am crying.' One of the monks said, `Don't cry, it's quite simple'. He picks her up, wades across, leaves her on the other bank and goes on. The two monks walk on and after two hours the other monk says `Brother, we have taken a vow never to touch a woman. Brother, what did it feel like to carry that woman, didn't you get excited, didn't you feel extraordinary things happening to you?' And the other replies `I left her two hours ago and you are still carrying her'.
That's what we do. We carry our pleasures and our fears. As a human being, you, the self, the me, is the burden of the fear and the pleasure. And you are afraid to lose that burden. A mind that understands the nature and the structure of thought is free of fear. And because it understands fear, it understands, also, pleasure, which doesn't mean that you cannot have pleasure. When you look at a cloud and a leaf it is a pleasure to look, the beauty of anything is a pleasure, but to carry it to the next day, then pain begins. Joy is something entirely different from pleasure. You can invite pleasure, you can think about it, sustain it, nourish it, seek it out, pursue it, hold it; but you cannot with joy, with ecstasy. And that happens naturally, easily, without any invitation, this ecstasy, when you understand fear and pleasure. A mind that is really free of this, or rather understands it, then such a mind which is with ecstasy, is never violent, is never ambitious, never seeking position, prestige and all the rest of that nonsense.
You will find also that love is not pleasure and, one asks, what is love? We all talk about it, the politician, the admiral, the butcher; everyone talks about it, the priest. What does it mean?
You know, to find out what it is, you must totally deny what it is not. Through negation of what it is not, it is. One has to find out if pleasure is love. Is desire love? Love is associated with sex, and sex has become extraordinarily important, hasn't it? You see it everywhere, pick up any magazine, walk down any street, endlessly, this `love'. Why has sex become so colossally important, and with it is associated what we call `love'. Why? Have you ever asked this question? Why? Go right through the world, it doesn't matter where it is, perhaps in the Asiatic world it is hidden but it is there, whereas in the western world it is all open, completely permissive. Why has sex with which is associated love become so extraordinarily the only thing in life, apparently? Have you noticed how our lives are mechanical, repetitive? Going to the office day after day for 40, 50, 60 years, living with ourselves, with our anxieties, problems, with our routine, with the problems that go on, repeating, repeating, repeating? Have you noticed how mechanically our minds work? Please watch it. You repeat what you have read, what you have heard. You are a Catholic because for 2000 years it has been repeated that you are a Catholic. You must believe, the only saviour; and in India for 5000 years or less they have repeated their stories. Our lives are routine, habitual. You smoke because others smoke; you drink, it's habit, it's mechanical. Haven't you noticed this, that our lives are utterly meaningless? We can invent a meaning. We can give a significance to life, intellectually, but actually, our lives have no meaning whatsoever; the way we live. It is a constant repetition in conflict. Our lives are mechanical, secondhand, we are secondhand human beings. Our education is mechanical. This is obvious. So, sex becomes important because it is not mechanical. You can make it mechanical by thinking about it, as pleasure. Pleasure inevitably becomes mechanical. Through sex you hope to find heaven, some extraordinary, illuminating experience, something beyond the routine, the mechanical. Your whole life, from birth till you die, has become mechanical and the one thing you hope you have that is non-mechanical, sex, you soon reduce to a mechanical thing. That's why sex has become all important. That you call love. With it goes tenderness, jealousy, anxiety, anger, bitterness, hate. All that you call love. So, can you deny all that, not verbally but actually put it out completely? That is, not to be jealous, not to be competitive, because an ambitious man doesn't know what love is. How can he? A man who is seeking success, position, prestige, does he know what love is? He will know what pleasure is in the fulfilment of his ambition. Can you as a human being, caught in the thing called love with all its agony, suspicion, hatred, can you, actually, happily, put all this aside? Otherwise, you are caught in a trap, the trap which is the moral social structure.
A mind that enquires into this question of pleasure, fear and the beauty of ecstasy must find out what it is to love, what it means, not intellectually, but what it actually means to love. You know, when you say you love your wife or your husband or your friend and at the same time are concerned with your own particular little problems, your own particular fears and anxieties and ambitions, how can you love another? All these isolate. These are self-centred activities and how can such a mind and heart love? If you really loved, would you have wars? Would you allow your sons and daughters to be killed? Would you allow it? You don't love your children. You may love them as toys when they are very young, but as they grow older you let them go. You educate them, and part of this education is to destroy your neighbour. All this you call love. So, as you don't love here, in this world, then you must love God. Do you understand? And there, too, you are competitive. All the saints are competitive. They are record-breakers. Don't laugh please. We are not saying anything funny, this is dreadfully serious. All our life we say one thing and do another. We are hypocrites. We will always be hypocrites if we have fear and if we are merely pursuing pleasure, therefore love is not pleasure. If you loved you would educate your children totally differently, you would end wars, instantly. But you are not interested in all that, you want your own particular little security, the security of your own pleasures, not the mind that wants a totally different kind of existence, a different way of living. There is a different way of living that can only come about when you have really deeply, radically understood these things. Do you want to ask any questions?
Questioner: What is your approach to life after death?
Krishnamurti: Do you want to discuss that this evening? Perhaps we will go into it on Saturday afternoon. Have you any questions on what we have been talking about?
Questioner: Can one observe without effort and if you observe without effort will this observation dissolve fears?
Krishnamurti: I have been talking about it the whole evening. Can you observe without effort? Now, can you observe with effort? (audience - no...) Don't yell sir, find out, can you observe anything with effort? If I want to see you, must I make an effort to see you? Can't I see you because I am interested in seeing you? We have made everything into an effort. To get up is an effort, to go to bed is an effort, everything has become an effort. Why? Why is it we can't do anything simply, easily, happily, why? Why has all of life, the way we live, become a constant struggle, conflict and effort? First, let us look at it very simply. You make effort because you are comparing. You are comparing yourself with another, yourself with an idea, yourself as you think you should be. You are comparing. In education when you are a little boy the teacher compares you with the other boy who is still more clever. The mother compares herself with another woman, so, where there is measurement, comparison, there must be effort. Can you live without comparing? Never to compare, that means never to have an ideal, never to have a hero, by which you measure yourself with another. When you see a man riding in a big car, you look at it and you compare. You compare yourself with a man who is clever, bright, and you say, `I am dull'. Therefore, recognising through comparison you are dull, you make an effort to be bright. Please see this, the truth of it, that when you compare yourself with another or identify yourself with another, which is a form of comparison, there must be conflict. Can you live without comparison at all, which means seeing what is, and never comparing what is with what should be? You have understood? Never to compare, which means when you don't compare, you have to observe yourself and therefore through observation you become a light to yourself. Light doesn't compare itself with anything, it is light. When you are tremendously joyous, there is no comparison; but when you are comparing, when there is comparison you say, I had pleasure yesterday and I want more of it. To wipe out in our vocabulary in our thinking, the `better', the `more'. The better is the enemy of the good. If there is conformity there must be effort, if you are conforming to the social pattern, to what people say, conforming to an ideal, conforming to the past image of yourself or the future image of yourself, there is constant comparison, constant conformity. You train the child to conform. That is what the Stalins, Hitlers and all the tyrannical rulers of the world have done; conform. All the religious people have conformed and that's why there are saints. Can the mind not compare, not conform? That you can only find out by being aware, every day, seeing how you are comparing, how you are conforming, deeply, not at a superficial level, putting on these trousers or some other trousers, but deeply, inwardly conforming, comparing.
Then you can live a life without conflict, when there is no comparison and there is no conformity, because then life is intelligence and that intelligence is not yours or mine, but intelligence, which is wisdom.
Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 3rd Public Talk 25th November, 1970
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