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Saanen 1965

Saanen 4th Public Talk 18th July 1965

We have been talking, the last three times we have met here, about the necessity for a fundamental and radical revolution within oneself. It is not a revolution within oneself as an individual that we are talking about - a matter of saving your own particular little soul - but a revolution within oneself as a human being totally related to all other human beings. We may consciously separate ourselves into petty little individualities, but deep down, unconsciously, we are the inherited human experience of all time; and mere superficial changes on the economic or social level, though they may provide a little more comfort and convenience, are not productive of a new society. We are concerned, not only with the human being's transformation of his total nature, but also with bringing about a different society, a good society; and a good society is not possible if there are no good human beings. Good human beings do not flower in prison. Goodness flowers in freedom, not in tyranny, not in one-Party systems, either political or religious.

Freedom is considered by society to be dangerous to society, because in freedom the individual pursues his own particular enterprise. Through his own cleverness, cunning, the individual dominates others who are less enterprising, and so there is generally a feeling, an idea, a judgment that freedom is contrary to a good society. Therefore political tyrannies try to control, religiously as well as economically and socially, the human mind; they penalize the mind, trying to prevent man from thinking freely. In the so-called democratic societies there is greater freedom, obviously, otherwise we would not be sitting here discussing this matter. It would not be allowed in some countries. But freedom is also denied in the democracies when it takes the form of a revolt. Now, we are not talking about revolt in the political sense, but rather of a complete flowering of human goodness, which can alone produce a creative society.

This goodness of the human being can flower only in freedom, in total freedom; and to understand the question of freedom, one has to go into it, not only in terms of the social order, but also in terms of the individual's relationship to society. Society survives through maintaining some semblance of order. If one observes the society in which one lives, whether it be of the left, of the right, or of the centre, one sees that society demands order, a social relationship in which the individual does not rampantly exploit others. But order is denied because of the very structure, the basic psychological structure of society. Though it may proclaim otherwise, society as we know it is based on competition, greed, envy, on an aggressive pursuit of one's own fulfilment, achievement; and in such a society there can be no real freedom at all, and therefore no order. Society as it is, whether of the left or of the right, is disorder, because it is not concerned with a fundamental transformation of the human mind. This inner transformation or revolution can take place only in freedom - and by freedom I do not mean a reaction, a freedom from something. Freedom from something is a reaction, and that is not freedom at all.

If the mind merely frees itself from a certain attitude, from certain ideas, or from certain forms of its own self-expression, in that freedom from something, which is a reaction, it is driven into still another form of assertion, and hence there is no freedom at all. So one has to be very clear what one means by the word `freedom'. I know this problem of freedom has been discussed in a great many books; it has given rise to philosophies, to religious ideas and concepts, and to innumerable political expressions. But living as we do in a world which is so destructive, so full of sorrow, misery and confusion, and being so ridden by our own problems, by our own frustrations, despairs, unless you and I - as human beings in total relationship with other human beings - find out for ourselves what freedom is, there can be no flowering of goodness. Goodness is not a mere sentimental word, it has an extraordinary significance, and without it I do not see how one can act without reaction in which there is misery, fear and despair.

So I think it is necessary for the human mind to understand totally this question of what goodness is. The word `goodness' is not the fact, the word is not the thing, and we should be extremely watchful not to be caught in that word and its definition. Rather we must be, or understand, the state which is goodness. Goodness cannot flower and flourish except in freedom. Freedom is not a reaction, it is not freedom from something, nor is it a resistance or a revolt against something. It is a state of mind; and that state of mind which is freedom cannot be understood if there is no space. Freedom demands space.

There is in the world less and less space; towns are getting more and more crowded. The explosion of population is denying space to each one of us. Most of us live in a little room surrounded by innumerable other rooms, and there is no space except perhaps when we wander into the country, far away from towns, smoke, dirt and noise. In that there is a certain freedom; but there cannot be inward freedom if there is no inward space. Again, the word `space' is different from the fact, so may I suggest that you don't seize upon that word and get caught in trying to analyse or define it. You can easily look up the word in a dictionary and find out what it says about space.

Now, can we put to ourselves the question `What is space?' and remain there, not trying to define the word, not trying to feel our way into it, or to inquire into it, but rather to see what it means non-verbally? Freedom and space go together. To most of us, space is the emptiness around an object - around a chair, around a building, around a person, or around the contours of the mind.

Please just listen to what is being said, don't agree or disagree, because we are about to go into something rather subtle and difficult to express in words; but we must go into it if we are to understand what freedom is.

Most of us know space only because of the object. There is an object, and around it there is what we call space. There is this tent, and within and around it there is space. There is space around that tree, around that mountain. We know space only within the four walls of a building, or outside the building, or around some object. Similarly, we know space inwardly only from the centre which looks out at it. There is a centre, the image, if I may go back to that word - and again, the word `image' is not the fact - and around this centre there is space; so we know space only because of the object within that space.

Now, is there space without the object, without the centre from which you as a human being are looking? Space, as we know it, has to do with design, structure; it exists in the relationship of one structure to another structure, one centre to another centre. Now, if space exists only because of the object, or because the mind has a centre from which it is looking out, then that space is limited, and therefore in that space there is no freedom. To be free in a prison is not freedom. To be free of a certain problem within the four walls of one's relationships - that is, within the limited space of one's own image, one's own thoughts, activities, ideas, conclusions - is not freedom.

Please, may I once again suggest that through the words of the speaker you observe the limited space which you have created around yourself as a human being in relationship with another; as a human being living in a world of destruction and brutality; as a human being in relationship to a particular society. Observe your own space, see how limited it is. I do not mean the size of the room in which you live, whether it is small or big - that is not what I am talking about. I mean the inner space which each one of us has created around his own image, around a centre, around a conclusion. So the only space live know is the space which has an object as its centre.

I don't know if I am making myself clear. I am trying to say that as long as there is a centre around which there is space, or a centre which creates space, there is no freedom at all; and when there is no freedom, there is no goodness nor the flowering of goodness. Goodness can flower only when there is space - space in which the image, the centre, is not.

Let me put it another way - you look a little bit puzzled. You know, it is the very nature of a good, healthy, strong mind, to demand freedom, not only for itself but for others. But that word `freedom' has been translated in various ways, religious, economic, and social. In India it has been translated in one way, and here in another. So let us go into the question of what is freedom for a human being. Isolating oneself in a monastery, or becoming a wandering monk, or living in some fanciful ivory tower - surely, that is not freedom at all. Nor is it freedom to identify oneself with a particular religious or ideological group. So let us inquire into what is freedom, and how there can be freedom in every relationship.

Now, to understand freedom in relationship, one must go into this question of what is space; because the minds of most of us are small, petty, limited. We are heavily conditioned - conditioned by religion, by the society in which we live, by our education, by technology; we are limited, forced to conform to a certain pattern, and one sees that there is no freedom within that circumscribed area. But one demands freedom - complete freedom, not just partial freedom. Living in a prison cell for twenty-four hours a day, and going occasionally into the prison yard to walk around there - that is not freedom. As a human being living in the present society, with all its confusion, misery, conflict, torture, one demands freedom; and this demand for freedom is a healthy, normal thing. So, living in society - living in relationship with your family, with your property, with your ideas - what does it mean to be free? Can the mind ever be free if it hasn't got limitless space within itself - space not created by an idea of space, not created by an image which has a certain limited space around itself as the centre? Surely, as a human being one has to find out the relationship that exists between freedom and space. What is space? And is there space without the centre, without the object which creates space?

Are you following all this? It is very important to find out for ourselves what space is, otherwise there can be no freedom and we shall always be tortured, we shall always be in conflict with each other; and we shall only revolt against society, which has no meaning at all. Merely to give up smoking, or to become a `beatnik' or a `beatle', or God knows what else, has no meaning, because those are all just forms of revolt within the prison.

Now, we are trying to find out if there is such a thing as freedom which is not a revolt - freedom which is not an ideational creation of the mind, but a fact. And to find that out, one must inquire profoundly into the question of space. A petty little bourgeois, middle-class mind - or an aristocratic mind, which is also petty - may think it is free; but it is not free, because it is living within the limits of its own space, the confining space created by the image in which it functions. Is that clear?

So you cannot have order without freedom, and you cannot have freedom without space. Space, freedom and order - the three go together, they are not separate. A society of the extreme left hopes to create order through dictatorship, through the tyranny of a political party; but it cannot create order, economically, socially, or in any other way, because order requires the freedom of man within himself - not as an individual saving his petty, dirty little soul, but as a human being who has lived for two million years or more, with all the vast experience of mankind.

Order is virtue, and virtue or goodness cannot flower in any society which is always in contradiction with itself. Outside influences - economic adjustment, social reform, technological progress, going to Mars, and all the rest of it - cannot possibly produce order. What produces order is inquiry into freedom - not intellectual inquiry, but doing the actual work of breaking down our conditioning, our limiting prejudices, our narrow ideas; breaking down the whole psychological structure of society, of which we are part. Unless you break through all that, there is no freedom, and therefore there is no order. It is like a small mind trying to understand the immensity of the world, of life, of beauty. It cannot. It can imagine, it can write poems about it, paint pictures, but the reality is different from the word, different from the image, the symbol, the picture.

Order can come about only through the awareness of disorder. You cannot create order - please do see this fact. You can only be aware of disorder, outwardly as well as inwardly. A disordered mind cannot create order, because it doesn't know what it means. It can only react to what it thinks is disorder by creating a pattern which it calls `order', and then conforming to that pattern. But if the mind is conscious of the disorder in which it lives - which is being aware of the negative, not projecting the so-called positive - then order becomes something extraordinarily creative, moving, living. Order is not a pattern which you follow day after day. To follow a pattern which you have established, to practise it day after day, is disorder - the disorder of effort, of conflict, of greed, of envy, of ambition, the disorder of all the petty little human beings who have created and been conditioned by the present society.

Now, can one become aware of disorder - aware of it without choosing, without saying, "This is disorder, and that is order"? Can one be choicelessly aware of disorder? This demands extraordinary intelligence, sensitivity; and in that choiceless awareness there is also a discipline which is not mere conformity.

Am I driving too hard? Am I putting too many ideas into one basket, as it were, presenting them all at the same moment?

You see, for most of us, discipline - whether we like it or not, whether we practise it or not, whether we are conscious or unconscious of it - is a form of conformity. All the soldiers in the world - those poor, miserable human beings, whether of the left or of the right - are made to conform to a pattern, because there are certain things which they are supposed to do. And although the rest of us are not soldiers trained to destroy others and protect ourselves, discipline is nevertheless imposed on us by environment, by society, by the family, by the office, by the routine of our everyday existence; or we discipline ourselves.

When one examines the whole structure and meaning of discipline, whether it is imposed discipline or self-discipline, one sees that it is a form of outward or inward conformity or adjustment to a pattern, to a memory, to an experience. And we revolt against that discipline. Every human mind revolts against the stupid kind of conformity, whether established by dictators, priests, saints, gods, or whatever they are. And yet one sees that there must be some kind of discipline in life - a discipline which is not mere conformity which is not adjustment to a pattern which is not based on fear, and all the rest of it; because if there is no discipline at all, one can't live. So one has to find out if there is a discipline which is not conformity; because conformity destroys freedom, it never brings freedom into being. Look at the organized religions throughout the world, the political parties. It is obvious that conformity destroys freedom, and we don't have to labour the point. Either you see it, or you don't see it: it is up to you.

The discipline of conformity, which is created by the fear of society and is part of the psychological structure of society, is immoral and disorderly, and we are caught in it. Now, can the mind find out if there is a certain movement of discipline which is not a process of controlling, shaping, conforming? To find that out, one has to be aware of this extraordinary disorder, confusion and misery in which one lives; and to be aware of it, not fragmentarily but totally and,therefore choicelessly - that in itself is discipline.

I don't know if you are following all this.

If I am fully aware of what I am doing, if I am choicelessly aware of the movement of my hand, for example, that very awareness is a form of discipline in which there is no conformity. Is this clear? You cannot understand this just verbally, you have actually do it within yourself. Order can come about only through this sense of awareness in which there is no choice, and which is therefore a total awareness, a complete sensitivity to every movement of thought. This total awareness itself is discipline without conformity; therefore, out of this total awareness of disorder, there is order. The mind hasn't produced order.

To have order, which is the flowering of goodness and of beauty, there must be freedom; and there is no freedom if you have no space.

Look, I will put a question to you - but don't answer me, please. What is space? Put that question to yourself, not just flippantly, but seriously, as I am putting it to you. What is space? Your mind now knows only the space. within the limitations of a room, or the space which an object creates around itself. That is the only space you know. And is there space without the object? If there is no space without the object, then there is no freedom, and therefore there is no order, no beauty, no flowering of goodness. There is only everlasting struggle. So the mind has to discover by hard work, and not just by listening to some words, that there is in fact space without a centre. When once that has been found, there is freedom, there is order, and then goodness and beauty flower in the human mind.

Discipline, order, freedom and space. cannot exist without the understanding of time. It is very interesting to inquire into the nature of time - time by the watch, time as yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the time in which you work, and the time in which you sleep. But there is also time which is not by the watch, and that is much more difficult to understand. We look to time as a means of bringing about order. We say, "Give us a few more years and we will be good, we will create a new generation, a marvellous world". Or we talk about creating a different type of human being, one who will be totally communist, totally this or totally that. So we look to time as a means of bringing about order; but if one observes, one sees that time only breeds disorder.

That is perhaps enough for this morning, so let us discuss what I have talked about. I hope you are not too hot.

Questioner: Can one share the misery, the tortures, the despairs of another?

Krishnamurti: What do we mean by the word `share'? I can share a few francs with you, I can share with you the few things that I possess - shirts, trousers, the extra room that I have. I can share an experience verbally, I can tell you about my misery, the things I have lived through, the beauty I have seen. So where does sharing end ? Where does it begin? I love my wife or my husband, my children, my family, my neighbour - no, sorry, I don't love my neighbour. Even though I talk about loving my neighbour, and the priests shout about it every day, it is all nonsense, because I compete with him, I destroy him through business, through war. I say that I love my family. And do I share anything with them, apart from things, possessions? Do you understand? Can I share my sorrow, my misery, with another? I can tell him about it, and he may say, "I am so sorry, old chap, you are having such a bad time; he may pat me on the shoulder, hold my hand, but can I actually share with him the agony, the anxiety I am going through?

Have you ever shared anything with anybody? Do you understand? When does one actually share with another - not financially, not in words, not through ideas or the exchange of ideas, not through arguments and all the rest of it, but when is one really open to another non-verbally, not through the mere sharing of things, but actually ? Surely, we share with another, commune with another, only when there is love. But wait a minute. That word has so many meanings for so many different people. I don't want to go into all this now, because it is too complex. You know, we share something together - something which is non-verbal, and which is not a matter of giving or receiving things - only when both of us are intense about it at the same level and at the same time. Otherwise there is no communion - which means there is nothing to share but things, words, explanations, knowledge, or stupid experiences. That is not sharing.

Can two people have this communion? Can you and I have it? You don't know me, I don't know you. You may know your wife or your husband, but I doubt it. To know another implies a great deal. Can you and I live for a few hours, or even for a minute, with an intensity, an urgency which is at the same depth and at the same time? Only then is there communion, only then is there sharing. Otherwise there is merely an exchange, a thing of the market place, or a sentimental, emotional thing which has no meaning at all. To share, there must be no emotionalism, no sentimentality, but only a state of mind in which both of us are serious, intense, alive. Then there is no question of sharing anything with anybody. A flower doesn't `share' with you or with me its beauty, its perfume. It is there for all to see, for all to smell.

July 18, 1965


Saanen 1965

Saanen 4th Public Talk 18th July 1965

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