Saanen 1st Public Talk 25th July 1961
I think we should be very clear from the beginning why we have come here. For me these meetings are very serious, and I am using that word with a special significance. Seriousness, for most of us, implies adopting a certain line of thought, a particular way of life, following a chosen pattern of conduct; and gradually that pattern, that mode of life becomes the rule by which we live. For me, that does not constitute seriousness, and I think it would be very profitable and worthwhile if we could, each one of us, try to find out what it is that we take seriously.
Perhaps most of us, consciously or unconsciously, are seeking security in some form or another: security in property, in relationships and in ideas. And these pursuits we take as being very serious. For me, again, that is not seriousness.
For me, the word `seriousness' implies a certain purification of the mind. I am using the word `mind' generally, not specifically, and we shall later go into the meaning of that word. A serious mind is constantly aware, and thereby purifying itself, and in it there is no search for security of any kind. It is not pursuing a particular fancy, does not belong to any particular group of thought, or to any religion, dogma, nationality or country; and it is not concerned with the immediate problems of existence, though one has to take care of everyday events. A mind that is really serious has to be extraordinarily alive, sharp, so that it has no illusions and does not get caught in experiences that seem profitable, worthwhile or pleasurable.
So it would be wise if we could from the very beginning of these gatherings be very clear for ourselves to what extent and to what depth we are serious. If our minds are sharp, intelligent and serious, then I think we can look at the whole pattern of human existence throughout the world, and from that total comprehension come to the particular, to the individual. So let us see the totality of what is taking place in the world, not merely as information, not investigating any particular problem - one of a country or of a particular sect or society, whether democratic, Communist or liberal - , but rather let us see what is actually taking place in the world. And from there, after seeing the whole, after grasping the significance of the outer events - not as information, opinion, but seeing the actual facts of what is taking place - then we can come to the individual. That is what I would like to do.
You know, opinion, judgment and evaluation are all utterly futile in front of a fact. What you think, what opinions you have, to what religion or sect you belong, what experiences you have had - these have no meaning at all in front of a fact. The fact is far more important than your thought about the fact; it has a much greater significance than your opinion, which is based on your education, religion, particular culture, conditioning. So we are not going to deal with opinions, ideas, judgements; we are going, if we can, to see facts as they are. That requires a free mind, a mind that is capable of looking.
I wonder if you have ever thought over the question of what it means to look, to see? Is it merely a matter of visual perception, or is seeing, looking something much more profound than mere visual seeing? For most of us, seeing implies the immediate: what is happening today and what is going to happen tomorrow; and what is going to happen tomorrow is coloured by yesterday. So our looking is very narrow, very close, confined, and our capacity to look is very limited. I feel that if one wants to look, to see - beyond the hills, beyond the mountains, beyond the rivers and green fields, beyond the horizon - there must be a certain quality of freedom. It requires a very steady mind; and a mind is not steady when it is not free. And it seems to me very important that we should have this capacity of seeing, not merely what we want to see, not what is pleasurable according to our narrow, limited experiences, but seeing things as they are. To see things as they are frees the mind. It is really an extraordinary thing - to perceive directly, simply, totally.
Now, with that generality we will go on and look at all the things that are happening in the world; and you probably know much more about it, because you read the newspapers, the magazines, the articles which are all produced in accordance with the prejudices of the author, the editor, the party. The printed word is very important for most of us. I do not happen to read newspapers, but I have travelled a great deal and have seen a great many people. I have been in the narrow lanes where the very poor live, and I have talked to the politicians, the very important people - at least they think they are important - , and you know for yourselves what is happening. There is starvation, misery, degradation, poverty in the East. They will do anything to have a square, full meal; and therefore they want to break down the frontiers of thought, of custom, of tradition. And then there is the other extreme, places where there is immense prosperity, a prosperity that the world has never known, and places where food is abundant, clothes plentiful, houses clean, comfortable, as in this country. And one notices that these comforts breed a certain satisfaction, a mediocrity, a certain attitude of accepting things and not wanting to be disturbed.
The world is broken up into fragments, politically, religiously, economically, in thought and in philosophy. And the events in the world are fragmentary. The religions and the governments are after the minds of men; they want to control them, to shape them into technicians, soldiers, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, because then they will be useful to society. And organized religion or belief - as Catholicism or Communism - is spreading. You must know all this very well. Organized belief is shaping the mind of man, whether it is the organized belief of democracy, Communism, Christianity or Islam. Do consider all this and do not say, `You are wasting your time repeating all this'. I am not, because I want to see first what is actually taking place, and then, if it is possible, to destroy all that within ourselves, totally destroy it. Because the outward movement, which we call the world, is the same tide that turns inward. The outward world is not different from the inward world; and without understanding the outward world, to turn inward has no meaning at all. I feel it is essential to understand the outward world, the brutality, the ruthlessness, the tremendous urge for success - how strongly one wants to belong to something, to commit oneself to certain groups of ideas, thoughts and feelings. If we can understand all the outward events, not in detail, but grasp the totality of it by seeing it all with an eye which is not prejudiced, not afraid, not seeking security, not sheltering behind its own favourite theories, hopes and fancies, then the inward movement has quite a different meaning. It is the inward movement which has understood the outer, that I call seriousness.
So, you see, throughout the world the mind of man is being shaped and controlled - by religions, in the name of God, in the name of peace, eternal life, and so on; and also by governments, through everlasting propaganda, through economic enforcements, through the job, the bank account, education, and so on. So at the end of it you are merely a machine, though not as good a machine in some directions as the electronic computers. You are full of information: that is what our education does for us. So we are gradually becoming more and more mechanical. You are either a Swiss, an American, a Russian, an Englishman or a German, and so on. You are all stamped for life in a pattern, and only very few escape from this horror except into some fanciful religion or fantastic belief.
So that is life, that is the environment in which we live; there may be an occasional hope, a brief delight; but behind it all there is fear, despair and death. And how do we meet that life? What is the mind that meets that life? Do you understand the question? Our minds accept these things as inevitable; our minds adjust themselves to that pattern, and slowly but definitely our minds deteriorate. So the real problem is how to shatter all this - not in the outward world; you cannot; the historical process is going on. You cannot stop politicians from having wars. There are probably going to be wars - I hope not, but there probably will be. Not here, perhaps, or there, but in some poor far off unfortunate country. We cannot stop it. But we can, I think, shatter within ourselves all the stupidities that society has built into us; and this destruction is creativeness. That which is creative is always destructive. I am not talking of the creation of a new pattern, a new society, a new order, a new God or a new church. I am saying that the state of creation is destruction. It does not create a mode of conduct, a way of life. A mind that is creative has no pattern. Every moment it destroys what it has created. And it is only such a mind that can deal with the problems of the world; not the cunning mind, not the informative mind, not the mind that thinks of its own country, not the mind that functions in fragmentation.
So, what we are concerned with is the shattering of the mind so that a new thing can take place. And that is what we are going to discuss at all these meetings; how to bring about a revolution in the mind. There must be a revolution; there must be a total destruction of all the yesterdays, otherwise we shall not be able to meet the new. And life is always new, like love. Love has no yesterday or tomorrow; it is ever new. But the mind that has tasted satiety, satisfaction, stores up that love as memory and worships it, or it puts the photograph on the piano or on the mantelpiece as the symbol of love.
So, if you are willing, if it is your intention also, we will go into the question of how to transform the dull, weary, frightened mind, the mind that is ridden with sorrow, that has known so many struggles, so many despairs, so many pleasures, the mind that has become so old and has never known what it is to be young. If you will, we will go into that. At least, I am going to go into it, whether you will or will not. The door is open and you are free to come and go. This is not a captive audience; so if you do not like it, it is better not to hear it; because what you hear, if you do not want to hear, becomes your despair, your poison. So you know from the very beginning what is the intention of the speaker: that we are not going to leave one stone unturned, that all the secret recesses of the mind are to be explored, opened up and the contents destroyed, and that out of that destruction there is to be the creation of something new, something totally different from any creation of the mind.
For this you require seriousness, earnestness. We must pursue slowly, hesitantly but relentlessly. And perhaps at the end of it all - or at the very beginning of it, because there is no beginning and no end in the destructive process - one may find that which is immeasurable, one may suddenly open the door of the eye, the window of the mind, and receive that which is unnameable. There is such a thing, beyond time, beyond space, beyond measure; it cannot be described or put into words. Without discovering that, life is utterly empty, shallow, stupid, a waste of time.
So perhaps we can now discuss it a little bit, ask questions. But first we must find out what it means to discuss, what we mean by a question. A wrong question receives a wrong answer. Only a right question receives a right answer, and to ask a right question is extraordinarily difficult. To ask a right question - not of me alone but of yourself and all of us - requires a penetrating mind, a mind that is astute, alert, aware, willing to find out. So please do not ask questions which are not relevant to what we are discussing. And in discussing, let us not discuss like schoolboys, you taking one side and I taking the other - which is all right in colleges or debating societies-; but let us discuss to find out, which is the approach of the scientific mind and of the mind which is unafraid. Then such discussion becomes worthwhile; then we will proceed and discover for ourselves what is true and what is false. Therefore the authority of the speaker ceases; because there is no authority in discovery. It is only the dull, lazy mind that demands authority. But a mind that wants to find out, to experience something totally, completely, has to discover, has to push through. And I hope these meetings will help each one of us to see for ourselves - not through somebody else's eyes - what is worthwhile, what is true and what is false.
Question: Why do we find it difficult to put a right question?
Krishnamurti: Do you find it difficult to put a right question? Or, do you want to put a question? Do you see the difference? We ourselves are not concerned with putting a right question, are we? It was I who stated that only a right question receives a right answer. You are concerned, surely, with putting forward a problem you have; so you are not concerned at all about a `right question'. But if you want to understand your own problem, then you have to enquire into what the problem really is; and the very enquiry into what your problem actually is will bring about the right question. Do you understand? It is not that you must ask a right question. You cannot, you do not know. But if the problem is intense, if it has been studied, then you cannot help asking a right question. We generally do not study the problem, we do not look at it closely. We skim on the surface of it and from the surface we ask a question; and the superficial question will only bring a superficial answer. And the superficial answer is all we want to know. If we are afraid, we ask, `How am I to get rid of fear?'. If we have no money we ask, `How am I to get a better job, be successful?'. But if you begin to investigate the whole problem of success which every human being is after, and if you go into it, find out what it means, why there is this urge, why there is this fear of not being a success - and I hope we will go into it - , then in the very process of going into it you are bound to ask the right question. Question: What is it that is preventing us from going into a problem deeply?
Krishnamurti: What is holding us back? A lot of things, are there not? Do you really want to go very deeply into the problem of fear? Do you know what it means? It means probing into every corner of the mind, tearing away every shelter, shattering every form of escape in which the mind has taken refuge. And do you want to do that, do you want to expose yourselves? Please do not so easily say, `Yes'. It means giving up so many things you are holding on to. It may mean giving up your family, your jobs, your churches, your gods and all the rest of it. Very few people want to do that. So they ask superficial questions like how to get rid of fear, and think they have solved the problem. Or they ask if there is such a thing as God - just think of the stupidity of asking such a question! To find out if there is God, you must give up all gods, surely? You must be completely naked to find out; all the silly things that man has built up concerning God must be burnt out. That means to be fearless, to wander alone; and very few people want to do that.
Question: It is very painful to go into a problem.
Krishnamurti: No, no, madam. It is difficult, but it is not painful. You see, we use a word like `painful', and the very word prevents you from going into the problem. So first, if we would go into a problem, we must understand how the mind is a slave to words. Do please listen to this. We are slaves to words. You know, at the word `Swiss' the Swiss person is thrilled, as is the Christian at the word `Christ' and the Englishman at the word `England,. We are slaves to words, to symbols and to ideas. And how can such a mind go into a problem? Before it can do so it must first find out what the word means. It is not just an easy thing; it requires a mind that understands totally, that does not think in fragments.
Look, sir, the problem is simple. There is starvation in the world - probably not much of it in Switzerland or Europe, but in the East; you have no idea of the poverty, the starvation, the degradation and the horrors of it all. The problem is not being solved, because they all want to solve it according to their own pattern, the Communist pattern or the democratic pattern, or according to their own national conceptions. They are approaching it in fragments and therefore it will never be solved. It can only be solved when we approach it totally, irrespective of nationalities, party politics and all the rest of it.
Question: So to deal with this trouble in the world we need order.
Krishnamurti: Just a minute, sir. Do we want order in the world? Do please think it out. After all, order is what the Communists offer. First create a mess, confusion, misery; and then produce order according to a certain pattern of ideas. Do you want order in your life, sir? Do think it out.
Question: What is the price we have to pay for it?
Krishnamurti: That is not the problem. You can have order and pay the price through military dictatorship, through subjugating your mind, through adjusting yourself to authority, and so on. And you are paying the price when you belong to a certain group, to a certain religious society, are you not? There is Jesus, there is Mohammed, there is somebody else in India, and you follow; and there is order - you have paid the price for centuries. Now, do you want order? Do think about it and see the implications of it. Or, is it that in the very action of living, which is destructive, there is order?
Question: Fear is no doubt one of our biggest stumbling blocks and prevents progress. But we cannot tear down everything right from the start. Should we not be satisfied for the moment with half-way measures?
Krishnamurti: You say that to tear down everything in order to be free of fear is too difficult for ordinary people like us; and is there not a gentler, a slower way of doing things? I am afraid not. You see, you have used the word `progress' and the word `fear'. Outward progress creates fear, does it not? The more you have - the more cars, luxuries, bathrooms and so on - the more you are afraid of losing them. But if you are concerned with the understanding of fear then progress does not make the mind dull and satisfied. And is there progress inwardly? For me there is not. There is only seeing immediately, and to see immediately the mind must not be lazy. No, please do not agree with me, because it is very difficult. Just follow it. To see clearly, which is always in the immediate, the mind must no longer have the capacity to choose. To see things as they are, immediately, the mind must cease to condemn, to evaluate, to judge. That does not demand progress, it does not demand time. Sir, you do see things immediately when there is something dangerous - your response is immediate. There is no progress in it. When you love something with your whole being, the perception is immediate.
Question: But to reach that possibility of seeing immediately.......
Krishnamurti: Sir, you see, the word `reach' again implies time and distance. So the mind is a slave to the word `reach'. If the mind can free itself from the words `attain', `reach', `arrive', then the seeing may be immediate.
July 25, 1961
Saanen 1st Public Talk 25th July 1961
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