Flight of The Eagle
Flight of The Eagle Chapter 6 Amsterdam 4th Public Talk 11th May 1969 'The Wholeness of Life'
Krishnamurti: One wonders why human beings throughout the world lack passion. They lust after power, position and various forms of entertainment both sexual and religious, and have other forms of lustful cravings. But apparently few have that deep passion which dedicates itself to the understanding of the whole process of living, not giving their whole energy to fragmentary activity. The bank manager is tremendously interested in his banking and the artist and the scientist are given over to their own special interests, but apparently it is one of the most difficult things to have an abiding, intense passion given over to the understanding of the wholeness of life.
As we go into this question of what constitutes the total understanding of living, loving and dying, we shall need not only intellectual capacity and strong feeling, but much more than these, great energy that only passion can give. As we have this enormous problem, complex, subtle and very profound, we must give our total attention - which is after all passion - to see and find out for ourselves if there is a way of life, wholly different from that which we now live. To understand this, one has to go into several questions, one has to inquire into the process of consciousness, examining both the surface and the deep layers of one's own mind, and one also has to look at the nature of order; not only outwardly, in society, but within oneself.
One has to find out the meaning of living, not merely giving an intellectual significance to it, but looking at what it means to live. And one has also to go into this question of what love is, and what it means to die. Al this has to be examined in the conscious and the deep, hidden recesses of one's own mind. One has to ask what order is, what living really means, and whether one can live a life of complete, total affection, compassion, tenderness and love. One has also to find out for oneself the meaning of that extraordinary thing called death.
These are not fragments, but the total movement, the wholeness of life. We shall not be able to understand this if we cut it up into living, loving and dying - it is all one movement. To understand its total process, there must be energy, not only intellectual energy but energy of strong feeling, which involves having motiveless passion, so that it is constantly burning within one. And as our minds are fragmented, it is necessary to go into this question of the conscious and the unconscious, for there begins all division - the `me' and `not me,' the `you' and `me,' the `we' and `they.' As long as this separation exists - nationally, in the family, between religions with their separate possessive dependencies - there will inevitably be divisions in life. There will be the living of everyday life with its boredom and routine and that thing which we call love, hedged about by jealousy, possessiveness, dependence, and domination, there will be fear, the inevitability of death. Could we go into this question seriously - not merely theoretically, or verbally, but really investigate it by looking into ourselves and asking why there is this division, which breeds so much misery, confusion and conflict?
One can observe in oneself very clearly the activity of the superficial mind with its concern with livelihood, with its technological, scientific, acquisitive knowledge. One can see oneself being competitive in the office, one can see the superficial operations of one's own mind. But there are the hidden parts which have not been explored, because we don't know how to explore them. If we want to expose them to the light of clarity and understanding, we either read books which tell us all about it, or we go to some analyst, or philosopher. But we do not know for ourselves how to look at things; though we may be capable of observing the outward, superficial activity of the mind, we are apparently incapable of looking into this deep, hidden cave in which the whole of the past abides. Can the conscious mind with its positive demands and assertions look into the deeper layers of one's own being? I do not know if you have ever tried it, but if you have and have been sufficiently insistent and serious, you may have found for yourself the vast content of the past, the racial inheritance, the religious impositions, the divisions; all these are hidden there. The casual offering of an opinion springs from that past accumulation, which is essentially based on past knowledge and experience, with their various forms of conclusions and opinions. Can the mind look into all this, understand it and go beyond it, so that there is no division at all?
This is important, because we are so conditioned to look at life in a fragmentary way. And as long as this fragmentation goes on, there is the demand for fulfillment - `me' wanting to fulfil, to achieve, to compete, to be ambitious. It is this fragmentation of life that makes us both individualistic and collective, self-centred yet needing to identify oneself with something greater, while remaining separate. It is this deep division in consciousness, in the whole structure and nature of our being that makes for division in our activities, in our thoughts and in our feelings. So we divide life and those things called loving and dying.
Is it possible to observe the movement of the past, which is the unconscious? - if one can use that word `unconscious' without giving it a special psychoanalytical significance. The deep unconscious is the past, and we are operating from that. Therefore there is the division into the past, the present and the future - which is time.
All this may sound rather complicated, but it is not - it is really quite simple if one can look into oneself, observe oneself in action, observe the workings of one's opinions and thoughts and conclusions. When you look at yourself critically you can see that your actions are based on a past conclusion, a formula or pattern, which projects itself into the future as an ideal and you act according to that ideal. So the past is always operating with its motives, conclusions and formulas; the mind and the heart are heavily laden with memories, which are shaping our lives, bringing about fragmentation.
One must ask the question whether the conscious mind can see into the unconscious so completely that one has understood the whole of its content, which is the past. That demands a critical capacity - but not self-opinionated criticism - it demands that one should watch. If one is really awake, then this division in the totality of consciousness ends. That awakened state is possible only when there is this critical self-awareness devoid of judgment.
To observe means to be critical - not using criticism based on evaluation, on opinions, but to be critically watchful. But if that criticism is personal, hedged by fear or any form of prejudice, it ceases to be truly critical, it becomes merely fragmentary.
What we are now concerned with is the understanding of the total process, the wholeness of living, not with a particular fragment. We are not asking what to do with regard to a particular problem, with regard to social activity which is independent of the whole process of living; but we are trying to find out what is included in the understanding of reality and whether there is such a reality, such an immensity, eternity. It is this whole, total perception - not fragmentary perception - that we are concerned with. This understanding of the whole movement of life as one single unitary activity is possible only when in the whole of our consciousness there is the ending of one's own concepts, principles, ideas and divisions as the,me, and the `not me.' If that is clear - and I hope it is - then we can proceed to find out what living is.
We consider living to be a positive action - doing, thinking, the everlasting bustle, conflict, fear, sorrow, guilt, ambition, competition, the lusting after pleasure with its pain, the desire to be successful. All this is what we call living. That is our life, with its occasional joy, with its moments of compassion without any motive, and generosity without any strings attached to it. There are rare moments of ecstasy, of a bliss that has no past or future. But going to the office, anger, hatred, contempt, enmity, are what we call everyday living, and we consider it extraordinarily positive.
The negation of the positive is the only true positive. To negate this so-called living, which is ugly, lonely, fearful, brutal and violent, without knowledge of the other, is the most positive action. Are we communicating with each other? You know, to deny conventional morality completely is to be highly moral, because what we call social morality, the morality of respectability, is utterly immoral; we are competitive, greedy, envious, seeking our own way - you know how we behave. We call this social morality; religious people talk about a different kind of morality, but their life, their whole attitude, the hierarchical structure of religious organization and belief, is immoral. To deny that is not to react, because when you react, this is another form of dissenting through one's own resistance. But when you deny it because you understand it, there is the highest form of morality.
In the same way, to negate social morality, to negate the way we are living - our petty little lives, our shallow thinking and existence, the satisfaction at a superficial level with our accumulated things - to deny all that, not as a reaction but seeing the utter stupidity and the destructive nature of this way of living - to negate all that is to live. To see the false as the false - this seeing is the true.
Then, what is love? Is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is love attachment, dependence, possession of the person whom you love and dominate? Is it saying, `This is mine and not yours, my property, my sexual rights, in which are involved jealousy, hate, anger and violence'? And again, love has been divided into sacred and profane as part of religious conditioning; is all that love? Can you love and be ambitious? Can you love your husband, can he say he loves you when he is ambitious? Can there be love when there is competition and the drive for success?
To negate all that, not only intellectually or verbally, but to wipe it out of one's own being, never to experience jealousy, envy, competition or ambition - to deny all that, surely this is love. These two ways of acting cannot ever go together. The man who is jealous, or the woman who is dominating, doesn't know what love means - they may talk about it, they may sleep together, possess each other, depend on each other for comfort, security, or from fear of loneliness, but surely all that is not love. If people who say they love their children meant it, would there be war? And would there be division of nationalities - would there be these separations? What we call love is torture, despair, a feeling of guilt. This love is generally identified with sexual pleasure. We are not being puritanical or prudish, we are not saying that there must be no pleasure, When you look at a cloud or the sky or a beautiful face, there is delight. When you look at a flower there is the beauty of it - we are not denying beauty. Beauty is not the pleasure of thought, but it is thought that gives pleasure to beauty.
In the same way, when we love and there is sex, thought gives it pleasure, the image of that which has been experienced and the repetition of it tomorrow. In this repetition is pleasure which is not beauty. Beauty, tenderness and the total meaning of love don't exclude sex. But now when everything is allowed, the world suddenly seems to have discovered sex and it has become extraordinarily important. Probably that is the only escape man has now, the only freedom; everywhere else he is pushed around, bullied, violated intellectually, emotionally, in every way he is a slave, he is broken, and the only time when he can be free is in sexual experience. In that freedom he comes upon a certain joy and he wants the repetition of that joy. Looking at all this, where is love? Only a mind and a heart that are full of love can see the whole movement of life. Then whatever he does, a man who possesses such love is moral, good, and what he does is beautiful.
And where does order come into all this - knowing our life is so confused, so disorderly. We all want order, not only in the house, arranging things in their proper place, but we also want order externally, in society, where there is such immense social injustice. We also want order inwardly - there must be order, deep, mathematical order. And is this order to be brought about by conforming to a pattern which we consider to be orderly? Then we should be comparing the pattern with the fact, and there would be conflict. Is not this very conflict disorder? - and therefore not virtue. When a mind struggles to be virtuous, moral, ethical, it resists, and in that very conflict there is disorder. So virtue is the very essence of order - though we may not like to use that word in the modern world. That virtue is not brought about through the conflict of thought, but comes only when you see disorder critically, with wakened intelligence, understanding yourself. Then there is complete order of the highest form, which is virtue. And that can come only when there is love.
Then there is the question of dying, which we have carefully put far away from us, as something that is going to happen in the future - the future may be fifty years off or tomorrow. We are afraid of coming to an end, coming physically to an end and being separated from the things we have possessed, worked for, experienced - wife, husband, the house, the furniture, the little garden, the books and the poems we have written or hoped to write. And we are afraid to let all that go because we are the furniture, we are the picture that we possess; when we have the capacity to play the violin, we are that violin. Because we have identified ourselves with those things - we are all that and nothing else. Have you ever looked at it that way? You are the house - with the shutters, the bedroom, the furniture which you have very carefully polished for years, which you own - that is what you are. If you remove all that you are nothing.
And that is what you are afraid of - of being nothing. Isn't it very strange how you spend forty years going to the office and when you stop doing these things you have heart trouble and die? You are the office, the files, the manager or the clerk or whatever your position is; you are that and nothing else. And you have a lot of ideas about God, goodness, truth, what society should be - that is all. Therein lies sorrow. To realize for yourself that you are that is great sorrow, but the greatest sorrow is that you do not realize it. To see that and find out what it means, is to die.
Death is inevitable, all organisms must come to an end. But we are afraid to let the past go. We are the past, we are time, sorrow and despair, with an occasional perception of beauty, a flowering of goodness or deep tenderness as a passing, not an abiding thing. And being afraid of death, we say, `Shall I live again?' - which is to continue the battle, the conflict, the misery, owning things, the accumulated experience. The whole of the East believes in reincarnation. That which you are you would like to see reincarnated; but you are all this, this mess, this confusion, this disorder. Also, reincarnation implies that we shall be born to another life; therefore what you do now, today, matters, not how you are going to live when you are born into your next life - if there is such a thing. If you are going to be born again, what matters is how you live today, because today is going to sow the seed of beauty or the seed of sorrow. But those who believe so fervently in reincarnation do not know how to behave; if they were concerned with behaviour, then they would not be concerned with tomorrow, for goodness is in the attention of today.
Dying is part of living. You cannot love without dying, dying to everything which is not love, dying to all ideals which are the projection of your own demands, dying to all the past, to the experience, so that you know what love means and therefore what living means. So living, loving and dying are the same thing, which consists in living wholly, completely, now. Then there is action which is not contradictory, bringing with it pain and sorrow; there is living, loving and dying in which there is action. That action is order. And if one lives that way - and one must, not in occasional moments but every day, every minute - then we shall have social order, then there will be the unity of man, and governments will be run on computers, not by politicians with their personal ambitions and conditioning. So to live is to love and to die.
Questioner: Can one be free instantly and live without conflicts or does it take time?
Krishnamurti: Can one live without the past immediately or does getting rid of the past take time? Does it take time to get rid of the past, and does this prevent one from living immediately? That is the question. The past is like a hidden cave, like a cellar where you keep your wine - if you have wine. Does it take time to be free of it? What is involved in taking time? - which is what we are used to. I say to myself, `I'll take time, virtue is a thing to be acquired, to be practiced day after day, I'll get rid of my hate, my violence, gradually, slowly; that is what we are used to, that is our conditioning. And so we ask ourselves whether it is possible to throw away all the past gradually - which involves time. That is, being violent, I say, `I'll gradually get rid of this.' What does that mean - `gradually,' `step by step'? In the meantime I am being violent. The idea of getting rid of violence gradually is a form of hypocrisy. Obviously, if I am violent I can't get rid of it gradually, I must end it immediately. Can I end psychological things immediately? I cannot, if I accept the idea of gradually freeing myself from the past. But what matters is to see the fact as it is now, without any distortion. If I am jealous and envious, I must see this completely by total, not partial, observation. I look at my jealousy - why am I jealous? Because I am lonely, the person I depended upon left me and I am suddenly faced with my emptiness, with my isolation and I am afraid of that, therefore I depend on you. And if you turn away I am angry, jealous. The fact is I am lonely, I need companionship, I need somebody not only to cook for me, to give me comfort, sexual pleasure and all the rest of it, but because basically I am alone. And that is why I am jealous. Can I understand this loneliness immediately? I can understand it only if I observe it, if I do not run away from it - if I can look at it, observe it critically, with awakened intelligence, not find excuses, try to fill the void or try to find a new companion. To look at this there must be freedom and when there is freedom to look I am free of jealousy. So the perception, the total observation of jealousy and the freedom from it, is not a matter of time, but of giving complete attention, critical awareness, observing choicelessly, instantly, all things as they arise. Then there is freedom - not in the future but now - from that which we call jealousy.
This applies equally to violence, anger or any other habit, whether you smoke, drink or have sexual habits. If we observe them very attentively, completely with our heart and mind, we are intelligently aware of their whole content; then there is freedom. Once this awareness is functioning, then whatever arises - anger, jealousy, violence. brutality, shades of double meaning, enmity, all these things can be observed instantly, completely. In that there is freedom, and the thing that was there ceases to be. So the past is not to be wiped away through time. Time is not the way to freedom. Is not this idea of gradualness a form of indolence, of incapacity to deal with the past instantly as it arises? When you have that astonishing capacity to observe clearly as it arises and when you give your mind and heart completely to observe it, then the past ceases. So time and thought do not end the past, for time and thought are the past.
Questioner: Is thought a movement of the mind? Is awareness the function of a motionless mind?
Krishnamurti: As we said the other day, thought is the response of memory, like a computer into which you have fed all kinds of information. And when you ask for the answer, what has been stored up in the computer responds. In this same way the mind, the brain, is the storehouse of the past, which is the memory, and when it is challenged it responds in thought according to its knowledge, experience, conditioning and so on. So thought is the movement, or rather part of the movement, of the mind and the brain. The questioner wants to know whether awareness is a stillness of the mind. Can you observe anything - a tree, your wife, your neighbour, the politician, the priest, a beautiful face - without any movement of the mind? The images of your wife, of your husband, of your neighbour, the knowledge of the cloud or of pleasure, all that interferes, doesn't it? So when there is interference by an image of any kind, subtle or obvious, then there is no observation, there is no real, total awareness - there is only partial awareness. To observe clearly there must be no image coming in between the observer and the thing observed. When you look at a tree, can you look at it without the knowledge of that tree in botanical terms, or the knowledge of your pleasure or desire concerning it? Can you look at it so completely that the space between you - the observer - and the thing observed disappears? That doesn't mean that you become the tree! But when that space disappears, there is the cessation of the observer, and only the thing which is observed remains. In that observation there is perception, seeing the thing with extraordinary vitality, its colour, its shape, the beauty of the leaf or trunk; when there is not the centre of the `me' who is obser- ving, you are intimately in contact with that which you observe.
There is movement of thought, which is part of the brain and the mind, when there is a challenge which must be answered by thought. But to discover something new, something that has never been looked at, there must be this intense attention without any movement. This is not something mysterious or occult which you have to practice for years and years; that is all sheer nonsense. It does take place when, between two thoughts, you are observing.
You know how the man discovered jet propulsion? How did it happen? He knew all there was to know about the combustion engine, and he was looking for some other method. To look, you must be silent - if you carry all the knowledge of your combustion engine with you, you'll find only that which you have learned. What you have learned must remain dormant, quiet - then you will discover something new. In the same way, in order to see your wife, your husband, the tree, the neighbour, the whole social structure which is disorder, you must silently find a new way of looking and therefore a new way of living and acting.
Questioner: How do we find the power to live without theories and ideals?
Krishnamurti: How do you have the power to live with them? How do you have this extraordinary energy to live with formulas, with ideals, with theories? You are living with those formulas - how do you have the energy? This energy is being dissipated in conflict. The ideal is over there and you are here, and you are trying to live according to that. So there is a division, there is conflict, which is waste of energy. So when you see the wastage of energy, when you see the absurdity of having ideals, formulas, concepts, all bringing about such constant conflict, when you see it, then you have the energy to live without it. Then you have abundance of energy, because then there is no wastage through conflict at all. But you see, we are afraid to live that way, because of our conditioning. And we accept this structure of formulas and ideals, as others have done. We live with them, we accept conflict as the way of life. But when we see all this, not verbally, not theoretically, not intellectually, but feel with our whole being the absurdity of living that way, then we have the abundance of energy which comes when there is no conflict whatsoever. Then there is only the fact and nothing else. There is the fact that you are greedy, not the ideal that you should not be greedy - that is a waste of energy - but the fact you are greedy, possessive and dominating. That is the only fact, and when you give your whole attention to that fact, then you have the energy to dissipate it and therefore you can live freely, without any ideal, without any principle, without any belief. And that is loving and dying to everything of the past.
Amsterdam, May 11, 1969
Flight of The Eagle
Flight of The Eagle Chapter 6 Amsterdam 4th Public Talk 11th May 1969 'The Wholeness of Life'
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.