Ojai 1st Public Talk 11th May 1985
We're going to talk over many things which concerns mostly our life - our daily, monotonous, rather tiresome, conflicting life. And one hopes that you will be quite assured that we are not doing any kind of propaganda. To propagate any point of view, any particular ideology, any conclusion, or any persuasion. We are going to talk over together as two friends our various problems, not only the problems of the world externally, but also the very complex problem psychologically. We are going to talk over together, not accepting anything the speaker says, but rather questioning, doubting, enquiring together. So this is not a lecture or the speaker preaching.
But rather we should talk over, you and the speaker, not only what is actually happening in the world - it's becoming more and more disorderly; and also the world - that's much more complex; that demands a great deal of sanity, a great deal of search - looking, observing, searching, questioning - the world of the psyche, the so-called subjective world. And if one can be assured that this is not a sensational meeting, where you are going to receive sensations. It's becoming more and more clear that we are dependent on sensation - either intellectual, emotional, imaginary, or sentimental, romantic.
We must be very clear, all of us, if one may remind you, that we are together, you and the speaker, are going to look at the world first. That's the world that human beings have created: the economic, social, environmental, political, and religious. The society that we have made, put together; the disorder, which is becoming quite dangerous, the world of tyranny, absolute tyranny, so-called totalitarian states, and the democratic, the free state. This country, and perhaps one or two other countries, are open societies. You can do what you want to do. Go where you will; change jobs, express your opinions, you judgments, criticize everything about you, if you want to. Or you accept what is, and go along.
So please bear in mind, if you will, that we are going to talk over as two friends - we may be strangers, perhaps - speaker doesn't know all of you, certainly not, but as we are here this morning and the next week, we are going to quietly, hesitantly, tentatively look what we are doing; enquire together, after all these millennia of evolution, thousands upon thousands of years of long duration of time, why we are what we are.
There are various kinds of disorder. War is the greatest disorder. And every little nation is arming itself, supplied by the great powers, and the little powers. And there has been holocaust, in the last war. And there are other kinds of holocaust going on now - Beirut, VietNam, and South America, Russia, and so on. There hasn't been only one holocaust. Those holocausts are taking place now. And we seem to have become totally indifferent to what is happening in the Far East, in the Near East, in the Middle East, in Europe and Russia and here. We are really insensitive, indifferent, silent in the sense, though one may have demonstrations, these demonstrations are taking place all over the world for various causes, not wanting a particular kind of war - neutron bombs and the atom bombs. But nobody, as far as one has been able to make out, nobody wants to end wars.
And, as we said, there is disorder, the ideological disorder: one country, one part of the world having crystallized in a particular ideology. Leninism has become the religion of a certain part of the world, and anybody who is against it becomes a heretic, like the old Middle Ages, when the Catholics burnt people. They were heretics, heathens. That's what's happening in a certain part of the world. And we are indifferent to it. We know it is happening out there, newspapers are full of it, books have been written about it, and murder, one sect against another sect, of the same religion, being armed by the others, killing each other in the name of God, in the name of peace, in the name of their own particular ideology.
These are all facts. The speaker is not saying anything that's not actually taking place. And we are indifferent as long as it is far away. Apparently we become terribly alive, active when it touches us, when it touches each one of us, when it's very near at home, in your back yard. Again that's a fact. And, knowing all this in words, in books, and in newspapers and television, we seem to be unable to do anything whatever about all this. Again that's a fact.
And if we can this morning and the following weeks - next week, rather, we'll go and find out together what each one of us can do. What is our responsibility - not just the words, but the actual feeling of responsibility, as you feel responsible for your wife or children, for your husband or your girl friends, and so on. If you feel responsible. But when one asks oneself, what is one's place in this world, what is the relationship of oneself to the rest of mankind, what is one to do with this appalling, frightening chaos in the world? And most of us are aware, know, not only verbally but actually; we have been through wars, through concentration camps, whether in the recent war or in the past wars or the concentration camps that are going on now, we know what is happening: how deeply we are responsible or how superficially; how indifferent. Or actually taking part in the whole human society, not a particular part of the world; whether America or England, France or India or Japan. We are human beings apart from economic and national frontiers, religious frontiers, we are all human beings: black, white, purple, pink, or whatever colour it be. It's our earth. To be lived on, to enjoy the marvellous beauty of the land, the lovely seas and the hills, and the great valleys and mountains, the groves, the orchards and the meadows.
But apparently we are incapable of living together without any barrier, without any separation as nationalities, which is really a glorified form of tribalism, without any organized religious attachments. We talk a great deal about freedom, the democratic world, though in the other parts of the world though they feel the demand for freedom, the human necessity for freedom, the absolute elite destroy their freedom.
So can we, recognizing all this, not merely verbally, not merely descriptively, not accepting mere explanations, whether it be historical or dialectical or personal, can we look at all this impersonally, if that's possible, without any bias, prejudice and find out together what we can do.
What is disorder? What would you consider to be disorder? And what is order? Is order brought about by ideologies? By one's opinions? Judgments? Various religious conclusions with their experiences? Are not the very ideologies the cause of disorder? Please, we are thinking together. Don't, if one may suggest most earnestly, don't merely listen to what the speaker is saying. If you are merely listening as a long series of words, it's not worth listening. But if you listen not only with the hearing of the ear but listen with your heart, with your mind, with all your being to find out what we can do as human beings.
There's considerable mess in the world, which is called disorder, dangerous mess. And around this mess we organize, and reorganize what has been organized. Right, I hope you are following all this. And this reorganization round the disorder, mess, confusion, conflict, this reorganizing around that is called progress. Right? You are following all this? And we are satisfied with these new organizations. We feel we are vitally progressing. But the mess, the confusion, the conflict, the disorder, the terror that's going on, has been going on for millennia upon millennia; now we know it is happening all over the world, through quick communication and so on.
It is said that to train a Roman legion soldier in Italy, Rome, took 15 to 20 cents, now it takes probably thousands of dollars. You are following all this? And we have progressed tremendously. The man with a club killed another. Then somebody came along and invented archery, and they said, "At last all wars will end. This will kill so many people." Then came along various instruments, material of war, and we have the latest one, the absolute bomb, that can evaporate human beings by the million with one blow. And we have made again a vast progress.
In all this, the wars, the terrors, the appalling things that are going on, we have never tackled cruelty - not the cruelty of a Central Europe or the recent war with all their horror; and the horrors of war that are going on in the world. We have never as human beings been able to be free of cruelty - not only to the animals, to nature, but to each other. The ultimate cruelty is war, naturally. Can we as human beings look at this word first - the word cruelty, then feel the meaning and the depth of that word. Cruelty to one's own self as discipline; we'll go into all that. Cruelty to others, exploiting others, using each other for our own personal ambition or sexual ambition. All these are various forms of cruelty, ideological cruelty, and so on. It's not the cruelty of a particular group of people, but the cruelty that is almost in every human being wanting to hurt somebody else.
Why is it, after all the religious admonitions, long before Christianity, many, many centuries before Christianity, they said, "Don't kill. The other is yourself." And we are still going on. Can this end? That's one of our great problems of life, whether this cruelty, which is inherent - please listen to all this - which is inherent in self-interest. As long as there is self-interest, there must be exploitation of another, cruelty to another, using others, and so on. This self-interest, which hides under every form of expression, it hides behind the name of God, it hides in every priest and every human being. Aren't you self-interested in yourself? Of course. But one never faces it. One doesn't want to look at it. And to pursue it, to find out, all its trickery, all its hypocritical hypocrisy, its pride, its arrogance, its vanity and its humility. It requires great awareness And it demands great discipline. But we are all rather slack people. We are rather sloppy in our thinking. We are never certain about anything. We have a lot of beliefs, dogmas, faith.
I wonder if you have examined certain religion, as Christianity, and the world of Islam, based on books. If you begin to question them, doubt, the whole thing would collapse, because we never doubt our own thinking, our own experience. We never question.
As we were saying, we never question our thinking, our prejudices, our conclusions, to find out whether they are accurate, or merely opinions. Or we never question our own demand for self-interest. So please, during these talks, and question and answer meetings, there must be doubt. Doubt is essential, a certain form of scepticism without cynicism, because that clears the brain so that one can see clearly. One can see clearly what one is. And so specially be sceptical with what the speaker is saying, specially, because he is not a guru. He doesn't want a thing from you, neither your applause, and so on. Please be assured of that. So you can relax. And be free. Because it's very important if you are really assured, convinced that the speaker is not expecting a thing from you, doesn't want your money - except what you give for the donations. (Laughter) But it's not for the speaker. It is to keep the place clean and the schools and so on. He doesn't want to create any sensation in you, because you want to be entertained. Your novels, your books, your television, everything entertains you. And you like that, the religious entertainment. But here we are trying to fathom, delve into this deep problem of our existence.
So is it possible, we are asking, to bring about order in our life? If there is complete order, both biologically and psychologically, complete order, then there is no conflict. There is conflict and disorder when we pursue an ideology - the ideal, which is projected from our confusion. So your ideals bring about confusion. I don't know if you are aware of all this. This is very clear if you observe what is happening in the so-called totalitarian states. There the ideology is supreme. The ideology, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and all those people, and their interpreters, they are creating and have done in the past and are doing it now, great disorder in the world. Any ideology, whether it is the Catholic ideology, or the Hindu ideology, or the socialist and so on. They are bound to create disorder because the ideology you believe in, I accept that ideology. Therefore you divide yourself against other ideologies. And hence there is conflict in ideologies. If you once actually deeply see that - not merely verbally, intellectually, but deeply inwardly, in your blood - the truth of that, then you are a free man to look at something else.
But ideologies give us the sense of security. And that's why we cling to beliefs and dogmas, faith, which are put together by priests and so on, I won't go into all that. And we cling to that. There are over 800 Catholics. I don't know how many divisions of Protestantism. And there is in the Islamic world several sects fighting each other, killing each other. But in the Buddhist and Hindu world it exists but not so violently.
So can one knowing the truth of this, the feeling, the depth of the truth, put away all ideologies which divides human beings. This is a very serious question, please don't push it aside, and say, "Well, why shouldn't I have my own particular little ideology, or my own particular ideal? The ideal based on my experience; my knowledge." Then that knowledge, that experience, that particular concept one clings to, must be questioned, doubted, torn apart to find the truth of it.
So then one must ask, what is disorder? Why we live in our private life and also in public life, why there is so much disorder. The speaker is not asking the question. You are asking the question. Who has brought about this disorder? Don't casually say, "Yes, each one of us is responsible" and then put that aside too. We learn quick answers because we are all very learned people. Learned, quotes. But we never ask of ourselves why our house is in disorder. Which means where there is disorder there must be conflict. And we live with conflict - the ultimate being war with its total irresponsibility, and the disorder. You may have create order in your house, physical house, because most Americans do; but we are talking not only of the external disorder but also inward disorder. Why is there in all of us such conflict, which breeds disorder?
What is this conflict? Why have we human beings lived with disorder? Not only during this century, not only last week and now, but man has lived in disorder for thousands of years. We have inherited it, our brains are conditioned to conflict. Our very way of looking at life, thinking about, accepting, disobeying, belonging to this and not to that sect, particular silly guru - I hope you don't mind my using that word - particular person who says, I've got it, you haven't got it, let me lead you. The vanity of these people; and their followers. So what is this conflict due to, the reason, the root of it?
First let us look very closely and intimately, deeply, the human brain, which has evolved through centuries upon centuries, millennia, two million or three million years, or 15 million years, or 50,000 years, why this brain, the brain of human beings, not my particular brain - there is no 'my particular brain'. A nice idea, I think my brain is mine. But the brain has evolved like the human organism. Your organism is like another organism. Highly evolved, sensitive, intelligent. Each organism has its own intelligence. But we are slowly destroying that intelligence, by drugs, alcohol, smoking, you know the whole business of modern absurd existence.
So what is the cause in our daily life, we are talking first. If there is order in each one of us, now as you are listening; if each one of us has this complete order in ourselves, do you think we would kill another? Do you think we would belong to any nation, any group, any guru? Any book that is sanctified through time? Then there would be no fear, no sorrow, no loneliness, and certainly no gods.
So we're going to find out together if it is possible to have this complete order in ourselves. Are you interested in it? Honestly? Would you spend your time, not your money, that's the last filthy thing you can ask, would you spend your energy to find out? As you spend your energy going to the office or the laboratory or a particular scientific discipline and so on, you give great deal of energy in all these directions - for power, money, and position, recognition, fame, all the notoriety of all that. You spend tremendous energy going to the office day after day, day after day, for 50, 60 years; and trying to cure others when you need curing yourself. Now will you give some of that energy? Sitting there quietly looking, thinking together, will you give that energy? Not all of it, because you have to go to office the day after tomorrow morning, or the factory or some job. Will you give that energy to find out if you can put your house in order, inward house, this whole complex structure of the psyche.
If you will give it - to yourself, not to me, not to the speaker, he won't accept it, then together find out. Together find out, not the speaker tells you, then it becomes absurd, childish, immature. But if you give that energy, that vitality, the drive behind it, to find out, if you can live without a single shadow of conflict, then we can ask, what's the cause of it? Because when you can find the cause the effect doesn't exist. I don't know if you have gone into the question of cause and effect. We'll go into it briefly.
Cause is not separate from the effect. The effect lies in the cause. If there is no cause there is no effect. But we separate the cause and the effect. The acorn of these oaks produce the oak. But the tree, the whole leaf, the beauty of the leaves, the sunlight on the leaves and the branches and the trunk, it lies in the seed. But to us the cause and effect are two different things. We say, if I can get rid of the cause, perhaps I'll be very healthy. But it's like saying the means to the goal matters - or the means doesn't matter for the goal, for the end. Whereas the means is the end. You understand all this? Look at it, what is happening in the world. They are talking about peace, all of them, and building up armaments. The cause is fear, trying to save something or other, you know all the rest of it. As long as there is that fear, that desire to be completely safe for oneself, you are going to have wars. We'll talk about it later.
So what is the cause of this disorder in which we live? As I said, give your brain, thought, your energy to find out. It's not very difficult. Don't call it difficult and then make it difficult. It's very simple. Look what is happening between Palestine, the Arabs, and the Israelis. They are of the same group. They live on this same earth. But one has been trained, educated, programmed to think he is an Arab. Programmed like a computer for the last 1600 years. And the other side, call them the Israelis, for 4,000 years. They are old people, like the Hindus, like the Chinese. So they have divided themselves - the Arab and the Israelis, the Americans and the old Indians of this country, you have very carefully destroyed them. The holocaust.
So there must be conflict as long as there is division. Please, this is a law, it's not my law, it's a law - not the law of the judges and the court but this is the eternal law. As long as you are separate from your wife, and the wife separate from you, with their ambition, with their desire for fulfillment, with their pride, with their separate saying, I must fulfil, I must be this, I must be that. In that relationship there will be conflict, as there is conflict between the disciple and the guru, conflict between god and you - if there is a god. So wherever there is a division between me and you and they and we, we are going to have conflict.
How does this division come about? Is it self-interest on the part of all of us? Please examine, question, doubt, ask. Is it that each one of us is so self-centred, so concerned with himself, so that that very concern divides? You may get married, live with another and so on, but this division goes on. And we accept this division as being natural and therefore accept the conflict, everlasting struggle as part of existence, part of life, it's natural to struggle, to battle with each other. And the raison d'etre for that is, doesn't everything fight in nature? Each tree is fighting for light. The bigger animal eats the lesser animal, and so on. That's the reason we give. So our life then is accepted as being naturally, inevitably to be lived in conflict. But we never ask actually is it possible not to have this separate individualistic self-interest at all.
Are you, if one may ask, are you asking this question of yourself? Are you frightened to ask it? Or do you just listen, spend useless hours sitting under these trees and go away, saying it is not possible; or, oh, yes, it is possible, and just leave it like that. Or, will you question it, seeing what the world is actually about you, first: nationalistic divisions, religious divisions, ideological differences; which we have created. The intellectuals, the terrorists, the imperialists. No empire has been built, whether the modern empire or the ancient empires, without blood. As they used to say, you first take the Bible and then the gun. This has been our way of life. And a man or a woman who is serious, really wants to find out whether conflict can end. If it ends, then only there is peace in the world. Peace demands a great deal of intelligence, not just demonstration of peace. It doesn't lie in any capital of any country. It demands to have real peace within one's heart and mind, about one to understand the nature of conflict and end it.
And to understand that, the structure and the nature of conflict, requires observation, not condemnation, not taking sides about it. But just to observe what one is doing. How we are constantly separating ourselves - the American way of life, and so on and on and on and on. Are you listening to all this. Or you're getting bored with all this. Would you kindly tell the speaker?
K: You can all say, "Yes" and go home. (Laughter) Or be stimulated for the moment by the speaker. That doesn't bring about the end of conflict. One must exercise the immense capacity of the brain, immense, infinite capacity of the brain. But our education limits that capacity. Our education also has helped us technologically; tremendous advancement. From the small computer to the complicated aeroplanes, submarines, warships, quick communication and so on, so on, so on. The more diseases are coming now, the more medicines are being invented. They are making tremendous progress. And the speaker is not saying this in cynicism. These are facts. He abhors cynicism.
So can one observe quietly, without any choice, without any saying - you know, observe what is going on in ourselves? The mirror in which we see our faces. How you comb your hair, how you brush your teeth, how you shave or do your face up, and so on. Can we observe as closely, as definitely, as precisely as possible, without any distortion?
That means, we have to understand the movement of choice. Why do we choose? Please ask yourself, why is there necessity of choice? Of course, there's choice between two cars, between two materials. If you have the money, you choose the better. Between two authors. The choice between the shadow and the light; shadow of the sun, sun which creates the shadow, and the light of the sun. Dark and the daylight. Tall, short. But is there psychological choice at all? You understand my question? Please ask yourself, why do we choose psychologically, inwardly, say I'll do this, I won't do that. This is right, that is wrong. I'm violent, but I must become non-violent. I have pride, but I'll become humble. You understand? This inward choice going on all the time. Is there choice at all when there is clarity? Or is there choice only where there is confusion?
Please listen, that is, not to the speaker but to yourself. You are asking this question, I am not asking you to ask that question. You are asking that question yourself. Why is there this choice of not to be violent? That's a choice; I am violent, but I'll choose to be non-violent. Why is there that choice?
K: Sir, would you kindly please, if you like to come here and sit here and talk, you're perfectly welcome. Sir, would you mind? You can ask questions on Tuesday and Thursday next week. I am not preventing you from asking questions. Please have the courtesy, the patience, and not get bored, to find out for yourself, not from what the speaker is saying, the speaker is not important, but what is being said together is important. The speaker is not seeking personal worship. There is no personality involved in this. I really mean it. He is not important at all. But what is being said is important.
So we are asking, why is there this choice in us - apart from the choice of things? Could we look at it for a minute? Human beings throughout the world inherited probably from the apes and so on, they are violent people, human beings are, throughout the world. And he says he realizes what is happening through violence, not only in himself collectively, he says, let us be non-violent, let's practice non-violence, let's talk about non-violence, let us use that instrument politically, and so on. This has been one of the things that India has produced, non-violence, not only India but others have talked about it long before. So, we, I, you are violent, if I am violent at all, we are violent. And then we say, I will become non-violent, which is a choice, isn't it?
Now, why do we do this? I am greedy, but I will not be greedy. Right? I am full of vanity, but I will pretend not to be vain. You can't, where there is vanity, that cannot be changed into humility. Where there is vanity, the ending of it, complete ending of it, not trying, that becoming that, only then there is humility.
So let's look very carefully, if you will kindly have the patience and the energy, not be too bored and not too cold, why we are doing this all the time. Take violence. Because that's what is going on in the world and also in ourselves, the tremendous sense of violence. The bombs, the killing, the knifing, the stealing, murder, rape, every form of violence. What is violence? Physical violence? That's one side of it. Surely violence is much more complicated than that. Violence is, if you examine it closely, go into it in yourself, violence is conformity. I am this, but I will be that. You don't understand this, but you think you understand that. One doesn't understand 'what is' actually, and without understanding that you want to transform that into the other.
Suppose I am violent. Physically I don't like violence, physically, because I see it all about me; suppose, I say, I am not. I don't like what's going on, I won't be violent. I haven't understood the nature of violence, but I want to escape from that, therefore I create the ideal. So after creating something which is not, then there is conflict between 'what is' and what I think should be. This is what we are doing. So I say to myself, before I achieve the other, which is non-violence, I must first understand what is violence. This seems so logical, isn't it? We have become so illogical and we are frightened of being logical, because we are caught in illusions of trying not to be too logical. So I'm going to be very logical first, I can go beyond logic after I've used logic.
I'm violent. And I see everything round me has a different form of violence: from the animals, nature, and so on, the tremendous lightening, the beauty of it, it's a form of violence, the shock of it. And I'm violent. Violence is not only physical, but much more psychological. When I conform to a pattern, when I am being allowed to be programmed - you understand? When you tell me what I should do, for the good of my soul or my psyche or whatever it is, and you become the authority - so when I accept authority there is violence. Right? Psychological authority, of course. There is the authority of the computer. The authority of law. The authority of the policeman who says, keep to the left, or right. If you drive in Europe, you keep to the right, if you drive in England, or here, which is it, left? (Laughter) Yes, left. Left. No, right. (Laughter) Right. I haven't driven lately. (Laughter) Yes, I walk down to the left, walk up to the right. That's quite right.
So, violence must exist where - that is part of it - where out of my confusion, disorder, I create authority. You understand? I am confused. I am disturbed, I want certainty. And you come along, the guru, the priest, the psychologist, the others, and they become the authority. I have created them out of my confusion, my disorder. So I realize as long as there is an authority subjectively, either the experience which I have had, the memory of that experience which becomes the authority - follow all this - or the authority of somebody who says, I know, I'll tell you all about it. The nasty, ugly gurus do all this, coining money. They are some of the most rich people in the world - your evangelists, the churches, the tremendous organizations; they say, have faith, believe, accept. And I am so frightened, I say, yes. I am gullible, I accept it. So I am creating out of my disorder authority. If there is order, there is no authority because I behave properly - not according to a pattern.
So, one of the causes of conflict, disorder, is psychological acceptance of authority. That means, can one live without a single ideal, single authority, so that one lives in great order now, not tomorrow? And psychologically there is disorder in our inward house, because we have separated ourselves from one another. It's one of the most difficult things to do; to say, there is no separation. I am the world. I am the rest of humanity. Because you suffer, the Russians suffer, the Hindus, Chinese, every human being on this earth suffers. I shed tears. And also laughter, of course. Every human being on this earth pursues every form of avoidance, every form of escape from fear, from sorrow. So I am the world. You understand, because I suffer, you suffer. This is not just ideological nonsense, it's the actuality. So as long as I separate from the rest of mankind, which is you, I must have conflict and disorder. We'll go into that a little later, whether we are a separate consciousness or consciousness of mankind.
What time is it, sir?
Q: It's five after one.
K: I'm sorry to have kept you so long. Somebody should tell us. So I'll finish with this. Where there is separation in my thinking, I can separate thought from action. I think one thing, and say another thing, think one thing and act another way. That is separation breeds conflict, hypocrisy.
So one can go into this question of conflict very, very deeply, and when you begin to understand the nature and structure and the way of its subtlety, as you watch it, the very watching without any choice, in that watching you will see that conflict ends. And that requires great attention to every thought, every action, every way of inward feeling. And if one wants to end that conflict, you have to give tremendous attention to it. Not casual attention, not one day or one week later, but keeping that attention moving all the time.
Ojai 1st Public Talk 11th May 1985
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