Saanen 2nd Public Dialogue 5th August 1965
I think we shall continue, if we may, where we left off yesterday. We were saying yesterday that doing is learning. not that you learn first, and then do afterwards. If there is the idea first, and then action, in that there is contradiction and therefore conflict. But if acting is learning, then there is a constant process of understanding in which there is no conflict and no contradiction whatsoever. We also said that to learn is to have a silent mind, there must be a silence, a stillness which is not induced, which is not put together by thought in order to acquire silence. But invariably, if there is intensity and attention, in everything we do, there comes that quality of silence from which learning and acting take place.
We said also that it is very essential to understand contradiction; and contradiction within ourselves will always exist as long as there is a centre, the censor, the observer who is judging, evaluating, creating images, and so on. We were inquiring into what that centre is; we were examining the whole structure of the positive, directive activity of a centre that is always guiding shaping, controlling, changing.
Questioner: Since this state of silence seems to be a precondition to everything, would you please describe it in terms of what you do not mean by the word? What kind of activity do you not mean by silence? Approach it that way.
Krishnamurti: I wonder if we can't approach the whole issue differently. I think most of us are aware that we are in a state of contradiction. One doesn't have to go into the details of that contradiction. Because that contradiction causes pain, various forms of destructive activity, one says to oneself, "Is it possible to be free of all contradiction, not only conscious but also unconscious contradiction?". That is the principal question. I want to learn about it. I do not want you to tell me what silence is, or what it is not, but I want to understand, I want to learn in the very process of observation. I observe that I am in a state of contradiction; and also I know very well that as long as there is a centre, a form, an image, whatever it may be, it will always breed contradiction. Then what is the mind to do? How is it to learn about contradiction without creating another centre which would in turn become a further source of contradiction? I see that I must have a certain passive, quiet, still awareness in order to learn, in order to understand anything. That passive awareness is not a thing which I can cultivate. To understand this vast stream of life which is myself, with my various centers - business, spiritual, family - is the act of silence itself.
What is this silence: You are not going to cultivate it by listening to me; getting a pattern of silence, or of what silence is not, and then working up in it and capturing the silence - you never can do that, obviously. What is this silence? Can it be described? If it is described, either positively or negatively, there is still an observer, there is still a centre which looks at it as silence; that centre creates contradiction by saying "How am I to cultivate that silence?".
First of all, are we clear that the mind must be somewhat quiet if it would listen to that stream, if it would look at a tree, if it would look at another's face? To look, to listen, to learn, there must be a certain quiet, there must be a certain passive attention - not a blankness, not a determined quietness, nor a cultivated quietness. If we inquire what that silence is, what that quietness is, we'll invent images, symbols, words, which become the centre.
What is this quietness? What is the nature and the structure of the silence itself, not the structure of the words which describe the silence? Please, again let's be very clear. You are not listening to me, trying to understand me, the speaker. The speaker is not at all important. What is important is to understand the nature and the structure of the mind which is quiet, and out of that quietness to learn and act. The learning is the acting.
We have used three expressions: silence or stillness, passive attention and negation. What do we mean by a passive mind? To understand the nature of the passive mind, we must understand what we consider to be positive. The positive is not in contrast to the passive. If the negative, passive state is the opposite of the positive, there is a contradiction, and therefore it is not passive or negative. What constitutes, or what is the structure of, or what is the nature of a mind that is always functioning in the positive?
Shall we describe the things that constitute the positive, or shall we come to the essence of it? Shall we describe in detail the positive mind that follows, that accepts, that obeys, that creates authority and therefore fear, that is always looking for someone to tell what it should do, that lives and has its being in experience as knowledge?
Krishnamurti: Wait, please. You are so impatient. Shall we go through all the detailed description, - and it may be necessary, because we haven't really understood - or shall we come to the essence of what a positive mind is? If you say, "Yes, get to the essence as quickly as possible", you will not have understood the nature and the structure of a positive mind. But if you have understood, examined, approached, learned about the positive mind, then you would put to yourselves the question of what the essence of it is.
Our minds, our brains, our whole organisms are the result of time. During the course of time the mind has established certain patterns of behaviour, conduct, thought, activity; and the pattern, the formula, is the positive. Am I working and finding it out, and you are listening and accepting, or are we working together, with you finding it out also? If we are working together, there is a learning together about what wee call a positive mind, a mind which is aggressive, which is assertive, which is dominating, and which, Because it dominates, accepts being dominated. It functions within the pattern of knowledge because it wants to be sure.
So the essence of a positive mind is a demand for security at any price, for complete security, not only outwardly, but also very deeply inwardly; for something which will give it permanency. I've just learned, the mind has just learned that as long as it is seeking and therefore finding permanency, security, certainty in relationship, in activity, in anything, the seeking and the finding make up the essence of a positive mind.
Questioner: Is there a way to suppress contradiction in the positive mind?
Krishnamurti: Sir, you're not even listening! Look, please, I understand what you are saying. I am not trying to deviate from it. We are trying to find out, and learn; in the very finding is the learning; not that I find, and then act. We are trying to learn about the nature and the structure of the positive mind; and after examining the details, I see. I may be wrong. Don't accept what we are talking about as the final word of the oracle that speaks, or the authority - this mind finds that as long as there is a seeking, which means finding, that state of seeking and finding is the essence of the positive mind, which does not mean that the negative mind does not seek, does not find, does not do.
Questioner: Excuse me, sir, while we are in the present state, the present level of consciousness, isn't any question we ask a positive question?
Krishnamurti: Why shouldn't we think and function positively? What is wrong with that? If we find that it is not worthwhile, if we find that it does not clear up our confusion, we will then look for something else; but if we accept the positive way of life, which is, "I will", "I will not", according to the image which has been created through pleasure - which means the avoidance of pain, though the cultivation of pleasure breeds pain - from that image we determine to be or not to be, to do or not to do. This positive, assertive, directive, determined pursuit of seeking and finding in itself creates contradiction. As long as we do not learn about it, we will not come upon any other way of functioning.
Questioner: When we look at life with a positive outlook, with a positive mind, we divide life into the "me" and the "not-me."
Krishnamurti: The positive approach to life breeds competition, because the positive approach inherently is to seek and to find, and therefore there must be competition, aggressiveness. Can a positive mind know what affection is, what love is? A positive mind demands experience. Because it is tired of all the experiences it has had, it seeks out new experiences. When they are not sufficiently acute, strong, then through imagination it creates experiences, visions; and if that too does not satisfy, then it takes to drugs, not only marijuana, but stronger forms of drugs: opium, the derivatives of opium and LSD. Through these drugs it induces negative state of mind, which has certain experiences through stimulation, but such a mind is still a positive mind, seeking experience.
What is wrong with having wider and deeper and stronger experiences? What is wrong with self-created experiences, projections from one's own conditioned mind, longing, seeking, searching, wanting? That's the way we live. There is a dependence on drugs, whether the particular drug be drink, sex, amusement, going to church or attending mass with all its rituals. A mind which is seeking to escape from a past, which has been cultivated through experience, into the future must inevitably be in conflict. A mind that is seeking, experiencing, wanting more experience, is always in a state of contradiction.
We see the nature and the structure of a positive mind. It is aggressive, competitive, jealous, vain, superstitious, ambitious and in despair. It seeks and therefore finds. It is dissatisfied with what it has found and wants more, because it wants to reach a certain point of eminence, or excellence, where it can be undisturbed and certain. Our concern is to find out if the mind can be free from contradiction, not temporarily, not for a certain period, but completely free. It is only then that there can be clarity; and clarity is not something to be found.
But I am discovering that a mind that is seeking may find a clarity which is merely self-created, and therefore within itself inherently contradictory. Such an activity can only produce more contradiction. It is only a mind that is completely negative that can be in a state of non-contradiction. I've learned it! No one has told me. I haven't read a book, I haven't been to a philosopher, I have no guru, teacher and all that silly nonsense. In doing I have learned, the mind has learned.
So, a negative mind, the negative state, is not a contradiction of the other, is not the opposite of the positive. It is very important to understand this point. I may deny, sacrifice myself and reject property, money and fame, because I want to find God, truth or bliss. If I reject anything because I want something else, it is not really a rejection, it is part of the same movement.
Questioner: I look at something, a face, the movement of the river, a mountain, a tree. I look at something, and through that very observation there is an experiencing. Is that still a positive mind?
Krishnamurti: I say it is. You are going to discover something if you pursue it, but as long as there is an experiencing, for whatever cause, it is still within the field of the positive.
Questioner: How will we get it?
Krishnamurti: I have very carefully explained that you can't get it. (Laughter).
Questioner: Create it.
Krishnamurti: You can't create it. Sir, look. When you understand that a particular snake is poisonous, you have understood the whole thing, haven't you? You move away from it. When you see poison, you don't drink it, because you see it is destructive. So, in understanding the positive, which is very complex, it isn't just a matter of saying, "Well, I've got it; it is a tremendous understanding. It means having a mind that has no authority, and therefore no experiencing as recognition.
I see a beautiful face, and I experience pleasure. That pleasure has arisen through recognition of what I consider to be beautiful. The experience is through stimulation of a pleasure which I have established as beauty.
By understanding the whole nature and structure of the positive mind, as I understand poison, my mind moves away from it totally. The mind doesn't have to do anything about it. If it does, there is a contradiction. But if the mind understands the poisonous nature of the positive, it automatically moves away into the so-called negative.
Questioner: Therefore, isn't that an experience of the negative?
Krishnamurti: Oh, never. The mind has no experience of the negative. It has experience only within the field of the positive. This requires tremendous understanding. Don't agree or disagree. I have been told that there is a whole school of thought in Buddhism which is based on negation; and there are people who have given all their lives to find out what this negation is. You have given half a day, or an hour, and are now trying to say that you agree or disagree. You have to understand a most profound thing, whether it is possible for the mind to be in a state where it is clear. It can only be clear in negation, when it has no experience at all.
Questioner: We ask questions because there is a challenge and a response; and the response is always according to the background, according to our experience, according to our knowledge. The answer is always within the question. Is it possible to remain only with the question, and not seek an answer?
Krishnamurti: Why do you ask a question?
Questioner: In order to renew, renovate, add to the storage as experience, as knowledge.
Krishnamurti: From that storage, from that knowledge, from that past you experience, you act; and that action, that experiencing, creates contradiction.
Questioner: We ask questions only about the part.
Krishnamurti: Obviously. We ask questions fragmentarily. Only when the mind is functioning in fragments, does it ask questions. When it is functioning as a whole, is there any need to ask questions? The whole is not the positive, but the negative. The positive question is a fragmentary question, within the field of the positive, because the mind is functioning fragmentarily, and therefore contradictorily. When we understand the nature of that positive structure - the understanding is the learning and the doing - the mind has moved away, as it moves away from poison; and that movement is negation.
Questioner: Does self-assertion come with questioning?
Krishnamurti: Self-assertion, desiring fame, wanting self-expression, wanting to be somebody, a great writer or painter - all that is still within the field of the positive. But surely, I can question without self-assertion. I can ask you what love is, what death is, what life is, and it is not because I'm self-assertive. I lead a miserable, sordid life, within the field of fame and success and all the rest of it, and I say, "By Jove, there must be something else". That is not self-assertion. But it becomes self-assertion if the positive tries to seek and find it. All religions have said, "Seek and you shall find", but we are cutting at the root of all that. How you can accept it, I don't know!
Questioner: Can we be conscious of the negative state of mind?
Krishnamurti: Obviously not. We have to find out what we mean by that word "conscious". When are we conscious? That airplane is making a noise; I want to listen to you, and I feel disturbed. Then I become conscious. I suffer; then I become conscious. I want to be famous, and I'm frustrated; in that frustration there is pain, and I become conscious. I become conscious either through the demand for the continuance of pleasure, or through the avoidance and the pushing away of pain.
Sir, look. When I do something as a journalist, as an engineer, as an artist, which are all functions, is there any consciousness of being a functionary? You become conscious as a functionary only when out of that function you are seeking status. You are a good writer, or something else, and through that function you seek fame; then all the mischief begins.
Questioner: Consciousness seems to be synonymous with awareness, or the opposite of being sound asleep. Krishnamurti: Consciousness is synonymous with words, with symbols, with experience, with deriving status from function; with ambition, greed, struggle and effort. This is clear. What we are talking about is understanding the whole positive, learning about it; the very learning is a new movement. It is not a question of "How am I to live without experience? Won't I die?". Of course you'll die. Anyhow, we are already dead, so it doesn't really much matter! (Laughter) Such questions have no meaning. But if we see what the nature and the structure of consciousness are, if we understand and learn, that very act of learning is the doing, and the doing is the movement that comes - which is not related to the positive.
Questioner: You say that in seeking there is no understanding. How about without seeking it, do you understand it?
Krishnamurti: We are asking why we seek, not that we mustn't, or must. Why do we seek?
Questioner: Is there not a difference between seeking and inquiring?
Krishnamurti: Oh yes, surely, but don't complicate it; take things one after another. We are discussing the question of seeking. Why do I seek? I'm unhappy, I'm miserable, my life is shoddy, petty, small, though I may have a great reputation and many titles. My life is ugly. I'm struggling and I want to get away from it, find something more. Also I'm dissatisfied with everything I've touched; dissatisfied with my family, with my wife, with myself, with the world, with everything. Out of that flame of dissatisfaction I want to find something, and I generally do. I may become a communist, a socialist, a Roman Catholic, a Zen, or whatever it is.
Can the mind which has lived on experience, adding more and more to itself, expanding itself through knowledge, through fame, through aggression, and finding all that to be empty, giving no significance to life - that mind which is the outcome of time, and therefore a tremendous positive process, with its "I will", "I must", "This isn't right", "This is wrong", "This is the line which no one is going to cross" - can such a mind, which has been brought up for centuries upon centuries on positive, competitive, aggressive seeking and finding, can that mind understand all this, and move away by learning about the positive? If the mind does not move away from the positive, it will always remain in conflict. If you derive pleasure from conflict, go on. Don't say, "I want the other", yet swallow this poison.
Questioner: Sir, isn't that dissatisfaction with what you call competition also the motive power which leads people to seek for what you call the negative state?
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir. Dissatisfaction is so easily satisfied; and being easily satisfied is simply going to try to find the negative state. Before, I found pleasure in the positive; now I am going to find pleasure in the negative. But the mind is still the rotten, little, stupid mind which has functioned within the positive, and is now going to try to function within the negative. It is the same mind, wanting fame, wanting success, wanting to find, wanting to experience; only it says, "I'm negative".
Questioner: That is why we are attracted first by one, and then by the other.
Krishnamurti: Sir, we have to live in this world.
Questioner: Yes, we are affected by thought, by all sorts of things. Krishnamurti: We are saying exactly the same thing that you are saying. We have to live in this world, we are influenced, we have our jobs, we have our families, we have our beliefs, dogmas, fears, anxieties, quarrels, jealousies, ambitions. That's our world, and that is a world of the positive state in which we live, kicking each other, killing each other, doing everything in that state. That is what we call life. If you say, "That's good enough for me", carry on, with your gods, with your superstitions, with your leaders, with your gurus, with your saviours, priests or whatever it is, carry on! But if you say, "Look, is there a way to end contradiction and live totally differently, not the opposite of this?", then you must understand this whole business of living in the world.
Questioner: We are so busy with family with our children, with our jobs, and all , the rest of it. Can we really do this, not in some vague, idealistic, Utopian way, but actually do it in life?
Krishnamurti: You've asked the question. Are you waiting for me to answer it? If you wait for an answer, and I say, "Yes, you can do it", then what? Where are you? But if you say, "Look, let me understand this whole structure, let me look at it, let me understand this mind; if you give ten minutes, then you will see that you can live in this world totally differently. If you cannot live totally differently in this world, then it's not worth it. Throw it in the garbage. One must be clear, ruthless with the understanding of this structure. Then one can go into the question of the state of the mind that lives and has its being in negation. But if you have not understood the positive, you can never go into the other, you can never flow into the negative.
Take the question of beauty. What is beauty? Volumes have been written by professional artists, professional theoreticians, about what beauty is - beauty according to the East, beauty according to the West, the Greek ideal, the Egyptian ideal, and so on and on. How do you find out? If you answer it from knowledge, then it is the answer of a petty mind, for all knowledge is within the petty mind. Does that mean that you are not to have any knowledge?
I'm asking you. Are you going to seek an answer? If you seek an answer, and find an answer, it will be in terms of what you already know; but if you listen to that question, and have no answer, then what is your response?
Questioner: May I ask one question more?
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir.
Questioner: How can one live in negation and still carry on with the practical problems of life?
Krishnamurti: We have just answered that question, sir. I can go into the mountains this afternoon, come back home and answer the telephone. In the mountains I have understood, and therefore learned and acted; there was a movement which was not of the positive. I can now pick up that telephone and hear someone say, "Will you come to dinner tonight?". I'll answer what is suitable at that moment, either that I want to, or that I don't want to, and there is the end of it. Understanding the negative state demands something else. One has to understand what it is to be alone; for beauty is aloneness.
August 5, 1965
Saanen 2nd Public Dialogue 5th August 1965
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