Saanen 1st Public Dialogue 26 July 1978
I believe this is a discussion, or a dialogue, or a conversation between ourselves. I don't know what questions or subjects you want to talk over together but I would suggest, not that you must accept it, I would suggest that we are not exchanging opinions, we are not trying to convince each other of anything, we are not trying to persuade or coerce or subtly control each other's thinking, or trying to be clever with each other. I would suggest that before asking questions, any problem, any issue, we should be clear in ourselves who is going to answer the question. Do we, in our conversation, dialogue or discussion, discover for ourselves the answer, the fact, the truth of the matter, or expect someone to answer it for you? And if one expects the speaker to answer the question, or the issue, then I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. But whereas if we could talk over together, find out the answer for oneself, then that question, the issue, will have meaning.
So please bear all this in mind, that we are not trying to convince each other, that we are not doing propaganda, that we are not trying to persuade each other to believe or not to believe, to follow or not to follow; but in our conversation we are going to find out for ourselves the correct, the truthful solution to the issue.
So what shall we talk about this morning?
Q: It appears that one of the biggest barriers to perception, to insight, to relating to a fact is that when we see the fact of our self interest at work, our self-centredness, that we mind. That we can see, and therefore we do not go into what we see.
K: I understand. When we observe, the questioner asks - and if I am putting it wrongly please correct it - the questioner asks: any issue, or any problem into which we have to have an insight, or a perception, is controlled by the mind, and it is not the perception, it is not the insight, but the quality of the mind that is capable of insight. Is that right sir? Have I put it wrongly?
Q: Not quite. The point seems that there is the nature of our self-interest that we are investigating, and when we look, when we admit momentarily to our self-interest at work, we wake up to what is actually happening, we mind what we see, we don't like what we see each time. Sometimes we do observe it clearly but the problem is when we will not look clearly at our selfishness, at our self-centredness.
K: We do not see our problems, our selfishness very clearly. That is one of the questions we want to discuss. Any others?
Q: When we are aware of people there can possibly be compassion, or there can be very cold awareness. What is the relationship between awareness and compassion?
K: What is the relationship between awareness and compassion.
Q: We generally intellectualize everything we hear, or when we read something, a statement of any kind, we immediately translate it into an intellectual process. Why does this happen and can that end?
Q: I perceive that I can be conscious of my conditioning, of certain conditioning, yet this will keep on coming up and up, and it feels that though I am aware of it I am still caught in it, and I can't seem to free myself from it.
K: When I am aware, or observe my conditioning, I think I am somewhat free of it but I come back to it again over and over and over. Is that enough for this morning?
Which of these three questions, or four questions, should we take? Why, as that gentleman asked, we don't have a deep insight into our selfishness and be free of it? Then the other question was, what is the relationship between awareness and compassion? And the other question is, why does the mind always intellectualize and therefore avoid the main issue? And the other is, one is aware of the conditioning and one perhaps slightly loosens up the weight of the past but it recurs over and over again? Now which of these four questions do we take up and go into? No answer?
Q: The last one.
K: The last one? Perhaps the other questions can be included in the last question of this person, which is: it seems to happen that occasionally when one is aware and one is interested that this conditioning of many, many centuries is broken down somewhat, but it comes back again and again. What is one to do? Shall we discuss that?
First of all if we go into it seriously, and I hope you want to go into it seriously, we must be very clear not only of the question but also how we approach the question. The approach matters enormously, perhaps more than the question itself. May I go into that a little bit?
There is this question: whether it is possible for the mind to uncondition itself completely and not occasionally? That is the question. How do you approach that question because the manner of your approach will find a solution? But if you approach it with an intellectual concept, then your answer will also be very superficial. Right sir? Or you want to be completely free of this conditioning and therefore your desire to be free of it is much stronger than the problem itself. Right sir? Or is it a problem to you at all? A real problem, a real issue, like wanting food, or is it merely a superficial, casual question you put while you are here, and then you forget all about it and say, 'Well next year we will trot it out again'?
So do you approach it intellectually, conceptually, do you approach it with a desire to find an answer? All this indicates you are giving a direction to your enquiry. You are directing your enquiry, you are not free to enquire, so you will never find the answer because you are directing what the answer should be. So first please, if you are serious at all, find out how you approach this problem, the question, which is: is it possible for the mind to completely uncondition itself and not occasionally think it is free? Now how do you approach it? The approach is serious and the problem is urgent, demanding, and the problem says you must find a way out of this - right? That means you are deeply concerned with it - as you demand sexual fulfilment, as you demand money, hunger, demand it. Or do you say, 'Well, let's talk about it casually while we are here, and afterwards we will forget all about the beastly thing'? So if you are serious then let's investigate together. I am not investigating, you are investigating, you are enquiring, you are not accepting a thing - right?
So what do we mean by conditioning? Education in certain ways conditions us - going to school, college, university, if you are lucky, or unlucky. And conditioning by the environment in which you live - the economic condition, the political condition, the cultural condition, the religious conditioning, the conditioning of what you eat, which obviously conditions you, and your relationship with another, intimate or not intimate is a factor of conditioning. So this is what we mean by conditioning. Is that also your perception, understanding, not intellectually but actually, that is the nature of conditioning. That is, if the speaker is born in India and is conditioned by the superstition, by the culture, by the family, and so on and so on and so on, that conditioning is part of the mind, part of the brain, part of his actions, part of his reactions. Now can one be aware of all this? That is the first question. Can I be aware that I have been brought up as a Hindu, with all the superstitions, with all the certain qualities of excellence and so on and so on? Is one aware of that?
Then what do you mean by being aware, conscious, know? Is it an intellectual comprehension - I have understood my conditioning intellectually, which means verbally. That is, when we use the word 'verbally', we mean by that, you hear the statement that you are conditioned, probably you have never even thought about it before, you hear that statement and make that statement into an idea - right? I hope you are following this. Into an idea, and pursue that idea, that you are conditioned. The idea is not the fact - right? So what is it that you do when you say, 'I know I am conditioned', is that an idea with which you are familiar, or is it an actual fact, fact, that you are conditioned as a Christian, as a Swiss, as a Frenchman, an Englishman, or whatever it is, with all the religious superstitions and so on and so on? If you are aware, or if you know you are conditioned as a fact, are you aware of it - not an entity who is aware of something - you follow? You see the difference? I wonder if you do. When you are hungry you say, 'I am hungry'. That hunger is not different from you - right? Is that right? Is what we are saying, is that correct? I am hungry. You don't say, 'I am different from hunger', you see the fact and you say, 'I am hungry' - right? The 'I' is not separate from hunger. Is that a fact? Please discuss this, go into it, I may be wrong. Let's find out the truth of the matter.
When you are angry is that anger different from you, or you are that, at the moment you are that? Later on you say, 'I have been angry'. Therefore later on you disassociate yourself from anger. Right? So are you aware, or know, or cognizant of the fact that you are conditioned? You are conditioned, not conditioning is different from me. You understand the question? This is really important, if you don't mind, go into it patiently. We will go into it in different ways. Let us stick to this one thing so that we are very, very clear about the matter.
If I say to myself, 'I am different from my conditioning', then I act about the conditioning - right? Then I do something about the conditioning. I work on it, I say, 'I must be free from it', so there is conflict between me and the conditioning. Right sir? Are you doing that? Or you are that conditioning? You have understood? You are not different from the conditioning because you are Christian, you are the result of all the things that go on round about you, so you are that. You are not separate from your conditioning. This is a very complex question because one has to go deeply into it. One's thinking is the result of the conditioning. Right? Please discuss it, don't accept anything I am talking about. This is not a talk by me. We are discussing the thing together, talking over together. The 'me' that observes the conditioning, that 'me', or the observer who thinks he is observing, looking into the conditioning is not different, he is part of that conditioning. If he is different you take a positive action about the conditioning, you say, 'I must get rid of it', 'I must be free of my religious conditioning'. So how am I to be free, what will happen when I am free, will I fall into another conditioning, what will I do, what practices must I do to get rid of my conditioning. All that takes place when the 'me', the observer, says, 'I am different from my conditioning'. Is this clear? Not clear for me, clear to you. It has been clear to me since I was twenty.
K: No, it is not a question of identification. I don't identify myself with my conditioning.
Q: But I am not that conditioning.
K: No, madame. First of all madame, do you know you are conditioned? What do you mean you know you are conditioned? That you are a Catholic, Protestant, or a Socialist, Liberal, or belonging to this Institution or that Institution, that you believe and don't believe.
Q: I can see it but I cannot verbalize what is me.
K: Now wait a minute. I understand the question. I cannot verbalize what is the 'me'. Can't you? The 'me' is your senses with which you identify. Or you belong to somebody, or you have identified yourself with a particular nation, with a particular name, with a particular family, with a particular group of people, with a particular series of conclusions, ideals. If you are none of these, actually none of these, then you are free from the conditioning.
Q: If I see astrology I feel that is true also.
K: I am afraid I don't understand what you are saying. You are not explaining clearly madame. What is it you want to say?
Q: We are just playing at something, acting in life, but it is not that. There is an unconscious conditioning as well, a deeper conditioning.
K: Do you mean, consciously you are not conditioned, but deep down you are? Is that what you mean? If you don't know what you mean, I give up.
Please, this is an important subject because if you can understand very profoundly this question, whether the mind can be really completely free of conditioning; if it can then all our problems will be resolved, both economic problems, social problems, and so-called psychological problems, the outer and the inner, by understanding the whole nature and the structure of conditioning and being completely free from it, then the whole thing becomes entirely different.
So what we are saying is: are we aware, know, conscious, recognize that we are conditioned? That is the first thing. If you are conditioned, and you say, 'Yes, I am', is the 'I' that says, 'I am conditioned', is that 'I' different from the conditioning, or both are the same? This is an important question you have basically to understand. The 'I', the observer who says, 'I am conditioned', that observer is not different from the thing which he calls conditioning. He is that. Without that conditioning what are you? If you have no name, don't identify with your body, no group, no nationality, no belief, no religion, you follow, if you discard all that, where is the 'I' with all the selfishness, ambition? It is washed away. So this is a very important question, if you are at all serious, to go into.
So if you see that the 'I' is separate from the conditioning then you act upon it. This action is called positive. The positive action of this kind is to struggle with it, to find out the causes of conditioning, how deeply you are conditioned, whether you can do something about it, or go to somebody and ask them what to do, they will tell you what to do, which is practice, you know all the rest of it. Whereas the actual fact is the entity that says, 'I am conditioned and I want to be free from it', that entity is also conditioned. Therefore there is only conditioning, not 'I am conditioned'. You have understood this simple fact?
So the battle is over between me and the conditioning. Then we can examine without division. You understand, sir? Have you got it, really got it? That you are part of that conditioning, you are not different from that conditioning, therefore you cannot analyse that conditioning - right? If you analyse there is the analyser and the conditioning - you follow. So if you see the actual fact that the analyser is the analysed - please, I happened to discuss this matter, the analyser and the analysed, with a lot of professional analysts, very clever, top people, they immediately said, 'We don't understand this, please go and talk somewhere else' - because it means they lose their job - don't laugh, we are all in that position - lose their job, their position, their victims or patients, and so on and so on. So this is really a very, very serious question.
The conflict between the analyser and the analysed gives strength to the analyser, which is the 'me'. The analyser is the past, the past is conditioning the analyser - right? Do see this. The past is conditioning, or has conditioned the analyser, and the analyser then says, 'I am going to analyse my conditioning'. So he is going round and round in circles. So to realize the absurdity, the fallacy of analysis is to break down this division. Which means, the conditioning is me. The conditioning isn't over there, it is here.
So then arises the question which is really important from there: then if I am that, what am I to do? You have understood sir? I am not persuading you to anything, don't accept it, find out these facts for yourself.
Q: I don't accept anything. Why does the observer separate himself?
K: Why does the observer, the analyser, or the experiencer, or the thinker, why does he separate himself - right? Why?
Q: He wants to be free from it.
K: He wants to be free of it. That is, the analyser wants to be free of the analysed, therefore he separates himself.
Q: To make himself more strong.
K: That's all. No, go into this question, it is important too. Why is there division between the analyser and the analysed? That is what we are discussing. The conditioned and the entity that says, 'I am not conditioned but I am going to uncondition myself'. So what is the problem? We are saying, why is there this division? Go on.
Q: The analyser is the fact, he is actually in the present.
K: But why is there this division?
Q: Because we always want to identify.
K: Don't throw out ideas, guess.
Q: Shouldn't the analyser accept his own conditioning?
K: Madame, let's put the analyser differently. Is the experiencer different from experience? Is the thinker different from thought? If there is no thinker there is no thought. Or there may be a totally different state. The experiencer says, 'I am different from the experience, I must have that experience, because I am different'. We are asking, why is there this division between the experiencer who says, 'I must have more of that experience' - sexual experience, or the experience of power and so on and so on - why is there this division?
K: Do you know, or are you merely guessing? Please find out. If you know why the division exists, is it an intellectual conclusion, an argument, a deduction, from that deduction you say, 'It is so'? Or you say, 'I really don't know'?
Q: Sir, there seems to be no space in the consciousness. When I observe the observed there seems to be no space.
K: I see. So by creating space between the observer and the observed have I understood the whole business? Have I? You have space between the observer and the observed. You have space when you say, 'I want that experience', there is space.
Q: Why does it matter, why do you have to find out?
K: I will tell you. Why do you have to find out? Are you asking this of me, or of yourself?
K: If you are asking yourself, why do you ask it? Just out of curiosity?
Q: No, I was thinking..
K: No, just see. When there is a division there is conflict, isn't there? When there is division between the Arab and the Jew, between the Catholic and the Protestant, or the North Irelander and the British, division in any form must bring about conflict. So when there is a division between the experiencer, the analyser, the thinker and the thought, the experience, there must be conflict. Right, sir? So it is a law that where there is division there must be conflict. If there is a conflict between me and my wife it means there is no relationship. Right? There is conflict.
Q: Sir, the other day you told us that when we are in sorrow and we are not trying to escape from it, but just watch it. But you warned us too when we are watching our sorrow not to identify ourselves with the sorrow. It seems for me quite impossible just to watch it. While I am watching my sorrow I am watching with a part of me. With what part of the mind do I have to watch my sorrow?
K: That is what we are going to find out, sir. You use sorrow and myself. I am different from sorrow. And if there is that division then I do something about sorrow. I work at it, I say, 'I must not be sorrowful, what is the reason for that sorrow' and so on, analyse. The moment I begin to analyse it I separate myself from the thing I am analysing. Is this clear?
Q: It is very easy to look at the manifestations of your conditioning. But what we are trying to do here, if I have understood it: I, inside myself, am trying to look at my own conditioning inside myself. That is a different question. My consciousness is trying to be conscious of itself. I am conditioned to say something.
K: Yes, what are you asking, sir?
Q: I am just pointing out that the conditioning we are trying to look at is not really an outer manifestation. We are looking at the conditioning in here, if you see what I mean.
K: I am afraid it is an outward manifestation. When I am a Muslim and I hate the Hindu, my conditioning brings war.
Q: But that is not the problem.
K: That is one of the problems.
Q: That is one of the consequences of being conditioned.
K: That is what I said, sir. That's right. One of the consequences of being conditioned.
Q: But the truth is one is conditioned, and we are trying to look at what is conditioned, not the manifestations of that conditioning.
K: I must not only observe..
Q: All right, I will put it in a question. Can my consciousness be conscious of itself, and will that promote a proper change within me?
Q: Is that a promise?
K: Oh no! It is not a promise. How can I promise somebody will be free? What a ridiculous question that is.
Q: Then it is a ridiculous answer.
Q: Sir, may I say something. Many of us have been here many years.
K: I agree!
Q: Many times, probably thirty or maybe twenty years. I am exactly where I was on the very first day.
K: That's right, sir.
Q: What I feel about it is that you have made the present point over and over again in different words - I am sorry if I am talking too long, because when you cover you face I know you are impatient, I don't want that. Can you hear, because I can speak a little louder if you can't.
K: The gentleman says, he has been here a number of years, hearing over and over and over again the explanations, the various forms of analysis, all that, and he says after these number of years he is where he is - as most of us are.
Q: May I continue a little bit, sir? Because that is not really my question, that was a preamble. What I feel is that you have got a certain point to make, and you are making it in a multitude of different ways, whether it is the observer and the observed, the thinker and the thought, experiencer and the experience, and so forth, it is all really one point. If we can't understand that point when you put it in one set of words we are not going to understand it if you change it into another set of words. What you want to do - and I don't blame you because you are impatient with us, sitting here asking the same old stupid questions again and again and again, you want to get off and in a very little while from where you reached a little while ago where you pointed out that the mind that was observing the conditioning was itself conditioned and therefore couldn't do a thing about it. That point seemed to me to be the crux of the whole issue.
K: Quite right sir.
Q: If we really see that in five minutes we are with you on Cloud 9, we have seen the lot. If we don't see that we will come back here tomorrow and every year thereafter. We are obviously very stupid people because you have evidently done something on your own without having to be pushed and goaded into it. We are impervious to being pushed and pushed, and goaded, but if you really want some chance of this point which you have been trying to make for fifty years, to get across to us, I am afraid you will have to be a lot more patient because it is no use your continuing from the point which you reached, thinking we have got that far, we haven't got that far.
K: So what shall I do, sir?
Q: It is a very big problem, sir, I don't know what you should do. Next year we will be exactly in the same position. If we delude ourselves that we have understood something, but actually we have understood nothing.
K: So here we are. We have come to an impasse. You have heard the speaker for ten, thirty years, or two years, or a day, and we haven't met each other at the central point. And the speaker makes this in ten different ways, using a new set of words, speaking in Dutch or French or whatever it is, but the central point has not been understood by each one of us and there you are. It is an impasse. So what shall we do? Why don't you walk out? I am asking, why don't you say, 'Sorry, this is impossible, nonsense' and walk out?
Q: I see we are conditioned by your presence.
K: The lady says, we are conditioned by your presence. I will walk out. I think we are playing with words. Madame, just a minute, please. That gentleman raised a very good question. We have heard you for a number of years, we haven't changed. Perhaps a little bit, a little bit here, a little bit there, but actually we have not changed at all. We are not totally unconditioned ourselves. And if there is a total unconditioning the thing is over - we shall live differently, there will be etc. etc. So what shall we do? Would sitting together quietly uncondition you? No. Talking about it has not unconditioned you. Whose fault is it? Not fault, whose responsibility - without the word responsibility involving guilt, remove that word guilt away from responsibility. Whose responsibility is this?
Q: It is our responsibility.
K: Then if it is your responsibility, what are you doing about it?
Q: Do you wonder whether it might be yours in part?
K: I am asking myself. I said to you, is it my fault, is it partly the speaker's impatience, the speaker's presence, the speaker's dominance, the speaker's personality?
Q: The way you put it.
K: The way I put it. The way I put it. How shall I put it? Please tell me how I should put it. I'd be delighted to know.
Q: I would say we are taking the wrong approach. It is not a cause. I think we are looking for the cause of us being here. I..
K: You are not helping me, sir. You are not saying something.
Q: I am saying why have you made it into a problem?
K: I have not made it into a problem. Please sir, just a minute. I am not making a problem.
Q: Isn't it a fact that all this talking here of us, is just the talking of the 'me'? And the 'me' actually has to vanish.
K: Quite right, sir.
Q: The one who talks with the 'me' receives extra benefit, though he makes suggestions, he never makes suggestions of any such thing. So these talks we cannot say anything about it. But the one who is speaking only becomes stronger so he talks like this.
K: I know sir. Could we put it very, very simply. We are selfish people - right? Our actions are selfish.
K: We are selfish people. I didn't say totally, or not totally.
Q: I want to put it: totally or not?
K: You may be occasionally unselfish.
Q: We must leave that aside, but the drive is within one, to be, to have, not to do.
K: All right. To be, to have, to possess, that is part of selfishness.
Q: That's why I ask, is it total.
K: All right, if you want me to put it that way. That is essence of our existence. That is the total drive, as you could call it. Now is it possible - I am just putting it quietly, gently - is it possible to be free of that tremendous drive of wanting to be, wanting to become, wanting to possess, wanting to identify with something, can all that drive end?
Q: That drive also goes with the direction of the next year, a higher year, the ending being a higher year.
K: No, no, no. That is where you and I part company. You insist on going higher and higher, becoming more and more refined. I say that is still the same drive.
Q: I say the same.
K: Madame, just listen. The same drive refined, but it is still the same. So I am asking, is that drive, which is the essence of the self, selfishness, and all the rest of it, can that end?
Q: At which point does that question become clean?
K: Clean? What do you mean by that, I don't understand?
Q: Every step that one takes poses a question: is there any point where the question is clean of that drive?
K: Yes. There is a point when the drive cleanly ends.
K: There is no Ok! Please listen carefully. Either you are trying to find out whether that drive can end, or you are just arguing.
Q: I asked the question for me. The drive and its perpetuation and its ending seem totally unrelated to each other.
K: Maybe. But do I know the limits, the expanse, the extension, the extent of that drive? Because in that drive there is every form of violence and so on and so on. So I am asking myself, or you are asking yourself, can that drive end?
Q: I ask, who is asking the question? And I know for myself who is asking the question.
K: Obviously, you are asking yourself.
Q: The drive continually takes a step back, it tries to simulate a disinterestedness, an objectivity, which is not inherent in its nature.
K: Madame, what are you to do? You insist on one thing. Perhaps, if I may respectfully point out, you have perhaps not listened, you are sticking to your point. You may accuse me that I am sticking to my point.
Q: No, I am prepared to say that here we part company. Let's put it this way: that here we part company.
K: Look, please, as I said before and I repeat again, I am not trying to convince you of anything. I am not telling you what to do. I am not your guru, or a subtle form of - you know, all that stuff. I am saying because we are conditioned, from that conditioning all problems arise. That's all. From that conditioning there is a certain drive - to use her word. The drive is more and more to be separate, more and more violence, as objectively it is happening in the world and so on and on and on. A man, a woman, who is serious, says, 'Will there be an end to all this?' - that's all. Or must this go on in a refined state, more and more subtle ways of violence, more and more subtle ways of conflict, more and more subtle ways of keeping up the division and so on and so on. That is what it comes to, essentially what that lady says.
The speaker says, for himself, not that you must accept, don't accept, he says there is a total ending of this drive, which is in essence the self. Then you will say, 'How does it manifest itself in daily life?' I say to that, 'Find out'. Find out to what extent you are selfish, to what extent you are self-centred, concerned about yourself both inwardly and outwardly - find out. And see if that is not causing tremendous harm in the world, when each human being is occupied with himself, which is our conditioning. If you want to find out if one can live harmoniously, happily, supremely intelligently, outwardly and inwardly, you have to find out for yourself whether you can be free of this drive. Which means, are you willing to give time, energy - you follow? Apparently, although you may listen for ten years, or fifteen, or a week, apparently this doesn't exist. And to that you may say you are using wrong words, you may use different expressions. To that we will say, we are using ordinary, everyday language.
Q: All that you have said up to now belongs in the same package.
K: Of course madame. Of course it belongs in the same package. But to explain the content of the package one must use words.
Q: Yes, that is the content. The different aspects all carry the same ego.
K: Yes, madame, understood.
Q: The examination is no different to the content.
K: What will you do, madame? You know the content as well as I do, and most of us know what the content is, what we are carrying in the bag for the rest of our lives, most of you know. Then why don't you, or another put it aside?
Q: No, it can't be done.
K: Well it is finished. Madame.
Q: Because I putting aside is for the same purpose.
K: You say it can't be done. Wait. That's enough.
Q: Now when there is tremendous effort, in whatever disguise, one can wait for the full scheme of self improvement. Ok Now we leave that aside.
K: I don't know what you are talking about.
Q: Drop it. But when you say to me, 'Why don't you drop it?', I say, 'First of all I am not interested in making efforts to drop. If my shoes pinch I will buy another pair of shoes'.
K: But madame, that is not the question.
Q: It is the same thing. You say to someone, drop it, it doesn't happen that way. It can't be done that way. Everyone here knows that it doesn't happen that way. I don't know what makes it different, why it should happen, when it should happen, it doesn't seem to have any cause, any reason, it seems to be unrelated to all that rubbish, or desire, or being so objective about it.
K: If a particular diet doesn't suit me, I change the diet.
Q: I know why I change the diet.
K: Wait madame.
Q: You always want to go away. You always want to go and seek in terms of changing the diet. You think it is a clean action. It is not.
K: You say you cannot change. You cannot radically bring about a transformation, it is impossible. All right, finished. Then why do you stay here?
Q: Go home.
K: No, please.
Q: I find again and again, and you yourself reiterate the point, there is nothing you can do. Only when the observer is the observed then, only when there is no experiencer, the first step is the last step. You yourself point this out again and again.
K: The conversation between us ends.
Q: I didn't understand one thing. I am conditioned (inaudible)
K: I don't know quite where I am, do you?
Q: I feel that I am seldom free of my conditioning and of my replies, I don't know if I am existing any more.
K: What will happen to me, the questioner says, if I end the drive? We are using a new set of words. What will happen, will that be the end of me? Probably.
You see apparently any amount of our talking together doesn't do anything. You can cleverly oppose what one says, or say, use different language, different expression, this and that, but as we said we are using ordinary common English. Now we have come to a point when apparently the words - knowing the word is not the thing - the word and the description - the description is not the described - knowing all that, we are confronted with a simple problem, which is: we human beings are very selfish, limited, and from that limited state of mind our whole problem arises. We are destroying the earth and so on and so on, which all of us know. Now what shall we do? To me, personally, if I listen, that is enough for me. If I listen accurately, that is enough for me. To me, personally, someone says to me, 'Is it possible to end this drive of the self?', which is the selfishness and all that, will you end it, is it possible to end it and will you end it if you find it? If I hear it completely, as I do, then the very statement of that is acting on me. I don't argue, I don't say, 'Show me'. I have learnt the art - not learnt - the art of listening. That's all. If I listen accurately the thing is embedded in me, it works.
Now this morning we have talked an hour and twenty minutes. Where are we? Are we going to say, 'I am in exactly the same place as I was ten years ago' - or the same place, not the actual physical space, in myself, I haven't moved. I am still appallingly selfish. I am still being driven by that. All right. Is that what you have learnt this morning? Is that what we have learnt, that we are terribly selfish people, that this selfishness is the drive in our life, and there is no answer to it? We will go on our way as we have been doing for millennia. If that is so, we can't communicate with each other because the speaker says, it is not only an absolute necessity to end that drive because it is creating havoc in the world, and also he says, yes, it can be done. Will you listen to that? Or say, 'No, I have listened to you for ten years and nothing'? Will you listen with your heart, with your mind, to something - when you love something you listen? Right. When you love your little baby you listen to it. So can you listen so carefully, so attentively, with affection, to this statement: that we are being driven by selfishness and are you aware of it, can you end it? Let's find out whether it is possible. If you don't want to end it, it is perfectly all right. Nobody is asking you to end it. If that is the way you want to live - conflict, wars, you know all that is going on in the world, one superstition against another, which is called religion, one nationality against another - if you want all that it is your affair, go on. But if you say, 'That's all wrong, that is all the drive of the self, is there a different way of living?' I say, let's talk it over together. That's all.
Saanen 1st Public Dialogue 26 July 1978
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