Saanen 6th Public Discussion 8th August 1966
This morning we were going to discus why thought brings about fragmentation of action; and in relation to that we are going to talk about violence, because that was the last question that was asked before we ended the previous meeting perhaps in talking over together this question of violence, we may discover for ourselves the nature of thinking, which must of necessity be fragmentary.
What do we mean by violence? Is violence something opposed to non-violence, as hate is opposed to love? Violence includes, surely, not only the physical act of deliberately hurting another when we are very angry and strike someone or say a harsh word, or` killing another, as happens during a war, but also there is psychological violence, as hate, envy, ambition, competition, forcing ourselves to conform to a pattern, defending ourselves, suppressing. Surely all those are acts of violence, psychologically. Even though the ardent follower of non-violence has an ideal, he's extremely violent. His violence consists in suppressing his desires, his passions, and making others conform. The pacifist, the conscientious objector, the man who says, "I will not kill another human being" may not kill in a particular war, but they have their favourite wars, wars of defence. There is no war of defence at all, but that doesn't matter.
One fragment says, "I must love", and there is the other fragment, hate. In suppressing hate, we are already violent; because every form of suppression, distortion, torture, mental and physical, is obviously violence. Contempt, distrust, suspicion, resistance, pride, haughtiness, the sense of superiority, the urge to fulfil, are all ways and expressions of violence. Should we take one fragment of violence and examine that, or should we take the whole, total expression of violence? Where do you draw the line between violence and non-violence, or is there no line at all? When the dictator liquidates millions for the future race, for personal ambition, or for the sake of a certain ideal, human beings accept it. We find excuses for all that.
When you talk about violence, what do you mean by it? It is really quite an interesting question, if you go into it deeply, to enquire whether a human being, living in this world, can totally cease to be violent. Societies, religious communities, have tried not to kill animals. Some have even said, "If you don't want to kill animals, what about the vegetables?". You can carry it to such an extent that you would cease to exist. Where do you draw the line? Is there an arbitrary line according to your ideal, to your fancy, to your norm, to your temperament, to your conditioning, and you say, "I'll go up to there but not beyond"? Is there a difference between individual anger, with violent action on the part of the individual, and the organized hatred of a society which breeds and builds up an army to destroy another society? Where, at what level, and what fragment of violence are you discussing, or do you want to discuss whether man can be free of total violence, not a particular fragment which lie calls violence?
Questioner: Can we be totally non-violent?
Krishnamurti: Can we, sir?
Questioner: Violence has its origin in our feelings.
Krishnamurti: I agree. However, we can discuss endlessly about the violence of human beings, but is it possible to totally end violence?
Questioner: It would be possible to live without violence if each one were non-violent.
Questioner: When I myself am totally non-violent, when I end all violence in my own life, then perhaps I can live in a society which is entirely based on violence.
Questioner: Should I as a human being in relationship with other human beings - and I must always be related, because I cannot possibly exist in isolation - should I end total violence in myself and is it possible to do so? Or shall I wait for the whole society to be totally non-violent?
Krishnamurti: It isn't as simple as that. Are we discussing the cause of violence? Do we see the symptoms and know the cause of violence, in ourselves, in society - the policeman, the law, the murderer, the entity who is so conditioned by poverty in a slum, in a ghetto, that he's violent, because he's choked in that particular corner of life, as is going on in every big town?
Questioner: In any action, or inaction, brought about by an effort of will, there is self-violence, as opposed to a type of choiceless, necessary action.
Krishnamurti: We know what violence is without expressing in words, in phrases, in action. As a human being in whom the animal is still very strong, in spite of centuries of so-called civilization, where shall I begin? Shall I begin at the periphery, which is society, or at the centre, which is myself?
You tell me not to be violent, because it is ugly. You explain to me all the reasons, and I see that violence is a terrible thing in human beings, outwardly and inwardly. Is it possible to end this violence?
Questioner: Fan we act without will or choice, which are the very essence of violence?
Questioner: The essence of violence is egoism, and if we could be non-egoists.... Krishnamurti: Quite right, sir, if we could be. (Laughter.) If we could all be marvellous human beings, it would be lovely. We are not, unfortunately. Please, sir, just look at the problem. Don't find an answer. Don't define it. The saints who outwardly are extraordinarily kind, are inwardly tortured human beings. I ask myself, "What is violence, and is it possible to end it?". Who is asking the question, and who is going to say it is, or it is not possible? Who is the entity that is going to find the answer? Don't say, "The observer and the observed must be together, and then everything will be all right". Don't let's repeat all that stuff which we have talked about. Let's forget what we said yesterday. If you don't forget it, you can't learn. If you repeat what you have learned, or what you have heard, then you are no longer learning.
Questioner: What is the material in me which, when provoked, when attacked, when insulted, when pushed, turns to violence?
Krishnamurti: Please do go slowly, because if you reduce everything to thought, you can't explore; you have blocked yourself.
Questioner: As long as we are too much aware of ourselves, there must be violence.
Krishnamurti: What is the material, what is the matrix, what is the substance in us that so quickly turns to love or hate, that so quickly says good and bad, and acts in that division?
Questioner: It is self-protection.
Krishnamurti: Go behind it. What is that "me", the material, the entity that says, "I must protect"?
Questioner: In the conditions of life, some persons are unafraid, and in the same conditions others are very much afraid. The first become violent.
Krishnamurti: We have said all that. Please push the question a little further. What is the substance, what is the material, what is the thing that reacts this way?
Questioner: Fear that my possessions, my pleasure will be taken from me.
Krishnamurti: Take a little time. What is behind all this?
Questioner: The centre.
Krishnamurti: Take a little time before you plunge into an answer. What is it? Probably most of us have not even thought about it; and if you respond very quickly it is merely a statement, a description, but if you want to find out, you must be a little silent, a little quiet.
You say that it is the centre; it is the ego; it is the property which, when attacked, responds. This is not what is. You are merely describing the symptoms, and the questioner wants to know what is beyond all these words, if there is anything.
Questioner: We don't know, because the problem is endless.
Krishnamurti: All right, it's endless. But you haven't listened to his question. He says, "What is the material, what is behind all this which, the moment it is touched, explodes?".
Questioner: When a person has lived in the slums all his life, and he sees rich people going about, he must explode. Krishnamurti: That also we have said.
Questioner: He may not; some accept.
Krishnamurti: Some explode. Some say, "Well, this is my karma, my past life". But you are not answering that gentleman's question!
Questioner: It has to do with a lack of integration in human beings.
Krishnamurti: Integrate between what? Between love and hate? Between violence and non-violence?
Questioner: No, I don't mean that. The moment a human being finds himself with two possibilities and the necessity of a choice, there is violence already.
Krishnamurti; That's what we said earlier. As long as there is choice and will, there is violence.
Questioner: If the human being is fully....
Krishnamurti: Not "if"! You're all supposing. Stop.
Questioner: I can see it but I can't communicate it.
Krishnamurti: I understand. That questioner said, "I don't know". If you don't know, why don't you simply say, "I really don't know"? Don't say that the centre must protect itself, possessions must be defended when thieves attack, I should protect my sister when she is attacked by another man - all those everlasting questions. The question is: what is the stuff, the material, the essence that, when touched, explodes or accepts or submits. If you ask someone else he'll give you an opinion, according to his conditioning. Can you say, "Really, as a matter of fact, beyond all these conditionings, I don't know. I won't invent", or have you so carefully built walls of defence that you never can say, "I really don't know"? Do you know?
Questioner: Everyone has an idea.
Krishnamurti: Idea is not the thing.
Questioner: We think about what is, but others are not accepting what we think. That's why it appears that we don't know.
Krishnamurti: How are you to find out if you don't know?
Questioner: We can find out if we desire it.
Krishnamurti: That has nothing to do with what we are talking about. When we don't know, why can't we & simple about it? If I don't know, what am I going to do? Am I going to ask someone?
Questioner: What is the state of not-knowing?
Krishnamurti: I really don't know. When the questioner asked what the material was, I wanted to get in touch with the material, and not say that it is this or that. To discover anything, I have to have a very free mind, which says, "please, I really don't know". I haven't found out for myself, as I find out for myself what hunger is, so I totally reject your definition. I want to find out, so say that I really do not know. I really don't know, and I'm not waiting for someone to tell me. What shall I do?
Questioner: Do nothing! Krishnamurti: But I have to answer that gentleman's question.
Questioner: Is it a valid question?
Krishnamurti: It is a valid question.
Questioner: Can a human being live in this society, not becoming a hermit, not withdrawing into some mountain or into a little cave?
Krishnamurti: We now have two questions. First, living in this society, which is entirely based on violence, can violence end? We also ask another question, "Why is thought fragmentary; why does thought bring about fragmentation in life?". As to the first question, I really don't know whether violence can end totally, not little bits here, little bits there. If I don't know and I'm not waiting for someone to tell me, what am I to do?
Questioner: Be aware of the violence.
Krishnamurti: Please, we have gone beyond all that. That gentleman asked a question which each of us had to answer, which is: what is the material that always responds, violently or non-violently? What is that stuff? You can say it's my conditioning; it's my culture; it's my temperament, but the temperament, the culture, the conditioning is not the material. The material, like mud, like a plastic thing, can be shaped to any shape, any size, but what is that material?
Questioner: My feeling, my sense of separateness.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir; we know all that.
Questioner: Is it the sense of freedom?
Krishnamurti: You're still describing the periphery, but not the material. The conditioning, the temperament, the society, the culture, the place I live in, the food I eat - all that has shaped the material, that mind, that mud, that pliable thing. I want to find out what that soft thing is, which is shaped into a particular society, a particular culture.
Suppose you really don't know; you're just having guesswork. One says this, and someone else says that, and a very, clever man comes along and says, "Oh, no, it is neither of those; it is something else". There you are. You are caught. But suppose you say, "My friend, I don't know. I would like to find out". Then you begin to ask, "Does it exist?".
Questioner: It is part of you.
Krishnamurti: Is the part of me my memory, my temperament, my culture, my society, my relationship with another?
Questioner: Is it possible that I can have a sensation of this material, this energy?
Krishnamurti: There is this energy, which is being shaped by the society in which live, by its culture. There is energy which has been encased, put into a particular shape, and it reacts, violently or non-violently. Can that energy, be conditioned so that it will never react violently, whether I'm in the slums, whether I'm the pope, whether I'm a rich man or a poor man?
Questioner: That energy is not conscious.
Krishnamurti: Then what is conscious, if that energy is not conscious?
Questioner: The moment that energy acts, there is consciousness. Krishnamurti: It is too bad that you're asking so many things at once. If you could go slowly you would find out for yourselves.
It does not matter whether there is a material or no material. The state of mind that is enquiring is much more important than what it discovers. Unless you understand it, what is discovered is not important, but in order to discover you must have that state of mind, that energy, love, or whatever it is.
What is that state of mind that is capable of learning? As we go along enquiring, we are learning. This learning becomes consciousness. For a mind to learn it must begin by saying, "I really don't know". I don't know Russian; I can't pretend that I know Russian. So I don't know.
Questioner: Sir, can we stop a moment?
Krishnamurti: Delighted. I'll stop even longer.
Questioner: If I don't know, then I can begin to learn.
Krishnamurti: You can walk through life in a state of always learning, therefore always being fair to life.
Questioner: Does the state of learning never reply?
Krishnamurti: It will reply presently. None of you have really said, "I don't know; I'm going to find out".
We began with a question. We know violence at every level of our being, both physical and psychological. As a human being living in this world, can I end violence, not fragmentarily, but totally? It can only end totally if thought, which creates fragments, doesn't function. So I have to go into why thought always functions in fragments. Do you know for yourself that thought, as a business man, thought as a scientist, thought as a family man, thought as a labourer, all function in fragmentation? This fragmentation is bred, brought about by thought, which has created the social structure, which has made me incapable of being a scientist. I'm a labourer; because I can't pass the examinations, I can't enter the special schools; therefore I am shoved aside.
Does thought necessarily bring about fragmentation?
Questioner: Again we don't know.
Krishnamurti: You will know presently. You will see it. Why do you say, "I don't know"? There is the scientist in his laboratory who through his knowledge, through his experience, is creating the bomb which is going to kill his son. Both are the result of thought.
Questioner: The physical eye can only see very clearly one part of this tent.
Krishnamurti: But that one part is not the whole of the tent. Because I look at one part of the tent and then at another part, I have a perception of the whole of the tent, its shape, its nature, its construction. Do the additions of various parts make the tent?
Questioner: Of course.
Krishnamurti: Physically, yes, but you're missing the point, sir. A wheel has many spokes. Do the spokes make the wheel? Do the parts make the whole, or if I understand the whole, can the parts then be fitted in?
Krishnamurti: That's all we're saying. Must thought inevitably create fragments? Thought has created the unit, as "my family", "my community", "my society", "my country", "my God", "my queen", and another thought has created the other country, and so on. All are but fragments.
Questioner: What kinds of thought are you talking about?
Krishnamurti: I am talking about all thought, including memory, including going to the office where thought functions, including the thought of "my family", "my desires", "my appetites" and my thought of becoming famous.
Questioner: Has thought created my ideas of what I should do?
Krishnamurti: It has. At the office I have to function as a business man, but when I come home I'm not a business man. There I may cheat; here I won't cheat.
Questioner: Do you mean also the thinking we are doing at this moment?
Krishnamurti: all thinking, in this moment, or when you're outside the tent. I'm asking: is not all thought, all thinking necessarily fragmentary?
Questioner: Thought must be fragmentary, because thought is the response of memory, knowledge, experience, tradition, the storehouse from which it reacts, either from the past or out of the future which it has created.
Krishnamurti: Have you found out if thought is fragmentary? If you haven't found out yet, what are you going to do? How will you find out?
Questioner: Isn't thinking itself a fragment of the mind, a part of the mind?
Krishnamurti: Yes. Therefore it must necessarily be functioning in part. What are you going to do? Are you going to put all the fragments together hate, love, everything - put them all together, mix them up and say, this is the real stuff; this is the whole; this is integrated"?
Questioner: The moment we have used a word, a phrase, a symbol, it has already become a fragment.
Krishnamurti: But we live in fragments: "my country", "my wife", "my husband", and I say to myself, "is it possible to function non-fragmentarily?
Questioner: I think that can happen, in a sense.
Krishnamurti: Not you think it can happen.
Questioner: It can happen.
Krishnamurti: I don't know. It may or it may not happen. I want to know, I want to find out; I'm passionate about it.
Questioner: When I don't know and want to know, I discover that thinking is fragmentary.
Krishnamurti: May I have two minutes to go into this? I'm violent. Violence is a fragment of my nature, only a fragment, because I'm also kind. I'm occasionally generous, and at times I am proud, haughty, which is another fragment; occasionally I play with humility, and so on. That's my life. I live in fragments, and each fragment is in contradiction to the others. I say to myself, "Is this an everlasting process? Can it end?". This is not an intellectual, verbal, rhetorical question, because I am torn between all these fragments; I am confused; I don't know what to do. I know very well that they can't be integrated; all the parts can't be put together so that I can say, "This is the whole". Then I see that fragments exist as long as thinking is. Then the next question arises: can I stop thinking? I can't stop thinking, because I must know where I am going; I must know my house, my wife, my children, my office. Thought is necessary at one level, but may not be at all necessary at another level. It may be necessary when I write a letter, when I'm communicating something to someone, when I am designing, when I have to remember something. I owe somebody something, which I must pay back; therefore I must have thought, memory. But I see that it may not be necessary at another level altogether, and this may not be contradictory. I must find out where thought is necessary, knowing that it is fragmentary, knowing that the fragments are destructive, that they create confusion, conflict. I realize that I must not let fragmentation take place psychologically. If there is no psychological fragmentation, then probably there'll be no fragmentation in the daily activities.
So my concern then is: can fragmentation cease psychologically? If it can end, then this non-psychological fragmentation can function completely wherever it is. For most of us, this question is theoretical, and you may say, "please, it's too complicated; I really don't know; just tell me". It would be more intelligent and it is necessary for you to say, "I don't know; I'm going to find out for myself whether psychologically thought can cease to function fragmentarily". When you say, "It is any country, my God, my belief", when thought says and acts, it must function fragmentarily. I see that thought is memory, experience, tradition - the storehouse. I must have that storehouse to talk, to write, to go, to my house, to go to the office, but why should I have a psychological store - house which breeds fragmentation? Can I live without a storehouse, except the storehouse of knowing how to do things ?
When you are waiting, expecting, you really are in a state of not knowing. I'm not talking about your wanting someone, or some book, or some teacher to tell you what it is. Let's keep to this. simple thing, which is really most complex. Can there be no psychological storehouse at all? As long as I have one, I am violent, because I'm against you. You have your psychological storehouse, your memories, your experiences, your dogmas, your country, your gods, your beliefs, your doctrines. If I also have a storehouse, we're always in battle; every storehouse breeds conflict and therefore violence.
Can that psychological storehouse bc broken up, finished? If you say, "Please tell me how to break it up in order for me to have a good relationship with my wife", it has no meaning. If you are a pacifist because you want to live at peace with the world, you have a motive and that very motive is fragmentation. Do you see how complex it is? It isn't just a child's morning discussion; you have to go very, very deeply into this.
Can thought, which breeds fragmentation, end? People have said it can, and they have a method to end it. Look what they have done! You have your method, and I have my method, you have your motive for ending it, and I have my motive for ending it. The motive has already bred the fragment. I want to end thought, so I invent a meditation; I say, "Do this; don't do that". The very thing which I want to eliminate is being strengthened.
Questioner: Sometimes people who are non-violent are those who struggle over it.
Krishnamurti: I quite agree that persons who are non-violent are neurotic, because they are violent in different ways.
Questioner: Sometimes, yes; sometimes not.
Krishnamurti: Like the curate's egg. Do you know what the curate's egg is? Part of it is bad, part of it is good, and they give it to the curate. (Laughter.) That's an old English expression, and probably the modern generation doesn't know it.
Questioner: Life is full of choice, and therefore life is full of violence. We have to choose.
Krishnamurti: I don't see the necessity of choice at all. It is only a mind that is confused that chooses. Don't you see it? When it's clear, you don't choose. When it's clear, there is no necessity for choice. You don't choose between this and that and then act, if your mind is very clear. You act. Why is the mind not clear? It is confused because people have said and the books have said that you must choose, and you accept it. But if you begin to question choice, then you inevitably come to this point: a confused mind is always at the mercy of choice, and therefore there is a conflict. A clear mind never chooses; what is there to choose? It sees things very clearly. It doesn't say, "Should I be a Catholic, or a protestant, or should I become a Hindu?". If you see the absurdity of it, you're none of those. But if you say, "Protestants have a little bit of truth, Catholicism has a little bit of truth, Hinduism has a little bit of truth, and so have the Muslims", then you will collect all the truths together and carry on.
Questioner: Making decisions is very close to choosing, but I guess it is necessary. the only danger is the time interval and the change which can take place in it.
Krishnamurti: One of the most difficult things in this mad world is to have a clear mind. Everyone is telling me what to do - my husband or wife, society, the newspapers, the politicians, the priests, the archpriest who is the dictator, the elder brother. I refuse to be told what to do; I refuse to be influenced.
Questioner: You are advocating a paradoxical type of mind that has no reality in human nature.
Krishnamurti: Human nature being what it is, is in itself very paradoxical. I'm not advocating anything - God forbid! I'm not advocating a new philosophy, a new theory, nothing at all. I'm just pointing out what actually is. It is the animal and it is being civilized. The animal is in conflict with what should be, and that's our life. I am taking human life as it is, not as it should be. What should be is non-existent. Therefore it becomes paradoxical. If you take what is, it is misery; it is confusion.
We have talked of very serious things this morning; we have not been making verbal statements. We started enquiring into violence. There is no paradox, no contradiction; we are violent; all of us. The man who wants to be the highest religious priest, or` the saint, is violent. Ambition breeds violence, is in the politician, as in the general. Can I live in this world totally without violence, amidst its monstrous contradictions, its violence and hate - not for one moment, not occasionally, but totally? It is possible when the mind, when thought is no longer creating fragments.
To go into the whole process of thinking, you have to watch it, learn, observe how you act, how you think, how you feel, what your reactions are when you meet a person with a dark skin. You must know all this. Questioner: Is a person violent all the time?
Krishnamurti: You are violent one moment, and non-violent another; kind and brutal - kind to your family at home, yet you go out with a gun and shoot someone. This is what is taking place. To understand all this you have to understand the nature of thinking.
August 8, 1966
Saanen 6th Public Discussion 8th August 1966
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