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New York 1966

New York 5th Public Talk 5th October 1966

Most of us must have noticed, not only in this country but also in Europe and in India, that though the mechanical part of the brain is rapidly increasing, there is a deterioration taking place in other fields of life. The general relationship of man to man, morally and ethically, is usually deteriorating. We must, as human beings, not only come to grips with this problem, but go beyond it, see what we can do, see if it is possible to stop the deterioration, the disintegration of a very capable mind. We have spent many, many years in cultivating the mechanical, technological side of life. The problems that exist there can easily be solved, but we have other problems, and we never seem to resolve them. Throughout life we go on increasing, or running away from, our problems, and we die with them. Is it possible for a mind to be totally free from all problems? It is the problems which remain unsolved that bring about the destruction, the deterioration of the mind.

Is it possible to resolve every problem as it arises, and not give to the problem a root in the mind? We are talking about non-mechanical problems, the psychological, the deeper issues of life. The more we carry these problems with us, the more heavily we are burdened with them, the more obviously the mind and the totality of our human existence become more and more complex, more and more confusing. There are greater strains and greater confusion. Naturally the brain, as well as the totality of the mind, which is consciousness as a whole, deteriorates. Can a human being, living in this world, with all its influences, resolve his problems?

A problem exists only when there is an inadequate response to the challenge; otherwise we have no problem. When we are incapable of responding totally to a challenge, whatever that challenge may be, then, out of that inadequacy, we have a problem. These challenges being always new, we respond to them mechanically, or with the accumulation of knowledge or experience, and there is no immediate response.

All over the world this is taking place. Outwardly we are making great progress; outwardly there are great changes taking place, but inwardly, psychologically, there is no change at all, or very little. There is a contradiction between what is going on within, and the vast changes taking place outwardly. Inwardly we are tradition-bound; our responses are animalistic, limited. One of our great problems is how to renew, make new the psyche, the whole of consciousness. Is it possible?

Man has always tried to go beyond his problems, either escaping from them through various methods, or inventing beliefs which he hopes will renew the mind that is always deteriorating. He goes through various experiences, hoping that there will be one experience which will transcend all others and give him a total comprehension of life. He tries so many ways - through drugs, through meditation, through worship, through sex, through knowledge - and yet through all these methods he doesn't seem to be able to solve the central factor that brings about this deterioration. Is it possible to empty the mind totally, so that it is fresh every day, so that it is no longer creating problems for itself; so that it is able to meet every challenge so completely, so totally, that it leaves no residue, which becomes another problem? Is it possible to have every kind of experience that human beings have, and yet at the end of the day not have any residue to be carried over to the next day, except mechanical knowledge? Don't let's confuse the two issues. If this is not possible, the mind then deteriorates, naturally; it can only disintegrate. Our question is: can the mind, which is the result of time, of experience, of all the influences, of the culture, of the social, economic and climatic conditioning, can it free itself and not have a problem, so that it is always fresh, always capable of meeting every challenge as it comes? If we are not capable of this, then we die; a miserable life has come to an end. We haven't resolved our sorrows; we haven't ever satisfied our appetites; we have been caught in fulfilment and frustration; our life has been a constant battlefield.

We must find an answer to this question, not through any philosophy, for of course no philosophy can answer it, although it may give explanations. To answer it is to be free from every problem, so that the mind is tremendously sensitive, active. In this very activity, it can throw off every problem that arises.

We understand what we mean by a problem: the inadequate response to a challenge. There are endless challenges going on all the time, consciously or unconsciously. The more alert we are, the more thoughtful we are, the more acute the problems become. Being incapable of resolving them, we invent theories; and the more intellectual we are, the more cunning the mind is in inventing a structure, a belief, an ideology, through which it escapes. Life is full of experiences which constantly impinge on the mind. As most of our lives are so utterly empty, lonely, boring - a meaningless, sorrowful existence - we want more and more, wider and deeper experiences. The peculiarity of experience is that it is never new. Experience is what has always been, not actually what is. If you have had an experience of any kind, you have recognized it and you say, "That is an experience". Recognition implies that you already know it, that you have already had such an experience, and therefore there is nothing new in experiencing. It is always the known that is capable of recognizing any experience, the past that says, "That experience I've already had", and therefore it is capable of saying it is an experience.

Both in Europe and in this country LSD is giving new experiences to people, and they are pursuing these new experiences, "taking a trip", as it is called. These experiences are the result of their own conditioning, of their own limited consciousness, and therefore it is not something totally new. If it is something totally new, they would not recognize it as an experience. Can the mind be in such a state of activity that it is fee from all experience?

We are the result of time; and, during that time, we have cultivated all the human tendencies. Culture, society, religions have conditioned the mind. We are always translating every challenge in terms of our conditioning, and so what happens generally is, if we observe ourselves, that every thought, every movement of the mind, is limited, is conditioned, and thought cannot go beyond itself. If we did not have experience, we would go to sleep. If there was no challenge, however inadequate the response is, with all the problems that it brings, we would go to sleep. That's what is happening to most of us. We respond inadequately; we have problems; the problems become so enormous that we are incapable of solving them, and so these problems make us dull, insufficient, confused. This confusion and this inadequacy increase more and more and more, and we look to experience as a measure for bringing about clarity, bringing about a great, fundamental change.

Can experience of any kind bring about a radical change in the psyche, in consciousness? That is the issue; that is the problem. Our consciousness is the result of the past; we are the past. And a mind functioning within the field of the past cannot at any time resolve any problem. We must have a totally new mind; a revolution must take place in the psyche. Can this revolution come about through experience? That's what we are waiting for; that's what we want. We are looking for an experience that will transform us. That's why we go to church, or take drugs, or sit in meditation - because our craving, longing, intensity, is to bring about a change within ourselves. We see the necessity of it, and we look to some outside authority, or to our own experience.

Can any experience, through any means, bring about this total revolution in the psyche? Can any outside authority, outside agency, such as God, an idea, a belief bring about this transformation? Will authority as an idea, as grace, as God - will that bring about a change? Will authority transform the human mind? This is very important to understand, because to us authority is very important. Though we may revolt against authority, we set up our own authority, and we conform to that authority, like long hair, and so on.

There is the authority of the law, which obviously one must accept. Then there is the psychological authority, the authority of one who knows, as the priest. Nobody bothers about the priest nowadays. The so-called intellectual, fairly clear-thinking people, don't care about the priest, the church, and all their inventions, but they have their own authority, which is the authority of the intellect, reason or knowledge, and they follow that authority. A man afraid, uncertain, not clear in his activities, in his life, wants some authority to tell him what to do; the authority of the analyst, the book, or the latest fad.

Can the mind be free from authority, which means free from fear, so that it is no longer capable of following? If so, this puts an end to imitation, which becomes mechanical. After all, virtue, ethics, is not a repetition of what is good. The moment it becomes mechanical, it ceases to be virtue. Virtue is something that must be from moment to moment, like humility. Humility cannot be cultivated, and a mind that has no humility is incapable of learning. So virtue has no authority. The social morality is no morality at all; it's immoral, because it admits competition, greed, ambition, and therefore society is encouraging immorality. Virtue is something that transcends memory. Without virtue there is no order, and order is not according to a pattern, according to a formula. A mind that follows a formula through disciplining itself to achieve virtue, creates for itself the problems of immorality.

An external authority which the mind objectifies, apart from the law, as God, as moral, and so on becomes destructive when the mind is seeking to understand what real virtue is. We have our own authority as experience, as knowledge, which we are trying to follow. There is this constant repetition, imitation, which we all know. Psychological authority - not the authority of the law, the policeman who keeps order - the psychological authority, which each one has, becomes destructive of virtue; because virtue is something that is living moving. As you cannot possibly cultivate humility, as you cannot possibly cultivate love, so also virtue cannot be cultivated; and there is great beauty in that. Virtue is non-mechanical; and without virtue there is no foundation for clear thinking.

That brings in the problem of discipline. For most of us discipline is suppression, imitation, adjustment, conformity, and therefore there is a conflict all the time, but there is a discipline which is not suppression, which is not control, which is not adjustment. That discipline comes when it becomes imperative to see clearly. We are confused, and out of that confusion we act, which only increases confusion all the more. Realizing that we are confused, to not act demands great discipline in itself.

To see a flower demands a great deal of attention. If you really want to look at a flower, at a tree, at your neighbour, at your wife or your husband, you have to look; and you cannot look if thought interferes with that look. You realize that; you see that fact. The very observation of the fact demands discipline. There is no imposition of a mind that says, "I must be orderly, disciplined, in order to look". There is the psyche that demands authority to guide itself, to follow, to do the right thing. Such an authority ends all virtue, and without virtue you cannot possibly think clearly, live a life of tremendous sensitivity and activity.

We look to experience as a means to bring about this revolution in the psyche. Can any experience bring about a change in consciousness? First of all, why do we need experience? We demand it because our lives are empty. We've had sex; we've been to churches; we have read; we have done hundreds of little things; and we want some supreme experience that will clear away all this mess. What do we mean by experience, and why do we demand it? This is a very serious question; do go into it with me. Find out for yourselves why you want experience, not only the experiences that LSD gives, but also other forms of experience. Obviously these experiences must be pleasurable, enjoyable; you don't want sorrowful experiences. Why? And who is it that is experiencing? When you are experiencing, in a state of experience, is there an experiencer who says, "I am enjoying it"? All experiences are always in the past, never at the moment, and any experience that you have is recognizable, otherwise it is not an experience. If you recognize it, it is already known; otherwise you can't recognize it.

A mind that demands experience as a means to bring about a radical revolution in the psyche is merely asking for a continuity of what has been; and therefore it is nothing new in experience. Most people need experience to keep them awake; otherwise they would go to sleep. If there was no challenge, if there was no response, if there was no pleasure and pain, we would just become vegetables, cow-like. Experience keeps us awake, through pain, through suffering, through every form of discontent. On one side it acts as a stimulant; and on the other it keeps the mind from having clarity, from having a revolution.

Is it possible to keep totally awake, to be highly active, intelligent, sensitive? If the mind is sensitive, tremendously active, it doesn't need experience. It is only a dull mind, an insensitive mind that is demanding experience, hoping that through experience it will reach greater and greater and greater experiences of enlightenment.

The mind is the result of many centuries, thousands upon thousands of years. It has functioned always within the field of the known. Within that field of the known there is nothing new. All the gods it has invented are from the past, from the known. Can the mind by thought, by intelligence, by reason bring about a transformation? We need tremendous psychological change not a neurotic change; and reason, thought cannot do it. Neither knowledge nor reason, nor all the cunning activities of the intellect, will bring about this radical revolution in the psyche. If neither experience nor authority will bring it about, then what will? This is a fundamental question, not a question that can be answered by another; but in examining the question, not in trying to find an answer to the question, we will find the answer. To put that question, we must be tremendously earnest; because if we put the question with a motive, because we want certain results, the motive dictates the answer. Therefore we must put the question without motive, without any profit; and that's an extraordinarily difficult thing to do,because all our activities, all our demands, have personal motives, or a personal motive identified with a greater motive, which is still a motive.

If thought, reason, knowledge, experience will not bring about a radical revolution in the psyche, what will? Only that revolution will solve all our problems. I'm examining the question; I'm not answering the question; because there is no answer, but in investigating the question itself we will come upon the answer. We must be intense, passionate, highly sensitive and therefore highly intelligent, to pursue any investigation, and we cannot be passionate if we have a motive. Then that passion is only the result of wanting to achieve a result, and therefore it becomes a pleasure. Where there is pleasure there is no passion. The very urgency of putting that question to ourselves brings about the energy to examine.

To examine anything, especially non-objective things, things inside the skin, there must be freedom, complete freedom to look; and that freedom cannot be when thought as the response of previous experience or knowledge interferes with looking. If you are interested, just go with the speaker a little, not authoritatively; just look at it. If you would look at a flower, any thought about that flower prevents your looking at it. The words "the rose", "the violet", "it is this flower, that flower", "it is that species" keep you from observing. To look there must be no interference of the word, which is the objectifying of thought. There must be freedom from the word, and to look there must be silence; otherwise you can't look. If you look at your wife or husband, all the memories that you have had, either of pleasure or of pain, interfere with looking. It is only when you look without the image that there is a relationship. Your verbal image and the verbal image of the other have no relationship at all. They are non-existent.

May I suggest something? Please listen. Don't take notes. This is not a class. We are taking a journey together into one of the most difficult things, and that demands all your attention. If you take notes, it means that you are going to think about it later, which means that you are not doing it now, and therefore there is no urgency; and a mind that has no urgency about fundamental problems is a dead, dull, stupid mind, although it may be very cunning, very erudite. The urgency of a problem brings about energy and passion to look.

To observe, there must be freedom from the word, the word being the symbol, with all the content of that symbol, which is knowledge, and so on. To look, to observe, there must be silence; otherwise, how can one look at anything? Either that silence is brought about by an object which is so immense that it makes the mind silent; or the mind understands that to look at anything it must be quiet. It is like a child who has been given a toy, and the toy absorbs the child. The child becomes completely quiet; so interesting is the toy that he is absorbed by it, but that's not quietness. Take away the object of his absorption, and he becomes again agitated, noisy, playful. To look at anything there must be freedom to look; and freedom implies silence. This very understanding brings about its own discipline. There is no interpretation on the part of the observer of what he's looking at, the observer being all the ideas, memories, experiences, which prevent his looking.

Silence and freedom go together. It is only a mind that is completely silent - not through discipline, not through control, not through demand for greater experience, and all that silly stuff - that can answer this question. When it is silent, it has already answered the question. Only complete silence can bring about a total revolution in the psyche - not effort, not control, not experience or authority. That silence is tremendously active; it is not just static silence. To come upon that silence, you have to go through all this. Either you do it instantly, or you take time and analysis; and when you take time through analysis, you have already lost silence. Analysis, which is psychoanalysis, analysing yourself, does not bring freedom; nor does the analysis which takes time, from today to tomorrow, and so on, gradually.

The mind, which is the result of time, which is the residue of all human experience - your mind and my mind - is the result of our human, endless struggle. Your problems are the problems of the Indian, in India. He goes through immense sorrow, like yourself. This demand to find the truth, whether there can be a radical revolution in the mind, can be answered and discovered only when there is complete freedom, and therefore no fear. There is authority only when there is fear. When you have understood fear, authority, and the putting away of all demands for experience - which is really the highest form of maturity - then the mind becomes completely silent. It is only in that silence, which is very active, that you will see, if you have gone that far, that there is a total revolution in the psyche. Only such a mind can create a new society. There must be a new society, a new community, of people who, though living in the world, are not of the world. The responsibility for such a community to come into being is yours.

Questioner: Earlier you said that we must accept the authority of law. I can understand this with respect to such things as traffic regulations, but the law would have me become a soldier, and that I cannot accept.

Krishnamurti: This is a problem all over the world. Governments demand that you join the army, take some kind of part in war. What are you going to do, especially when you are young? We older people are finished. What happens to the young people? This is a question that is asked everywhere in the world.

Now, there is no authority. I'm not advising what you should do or not do, whether you should join or not join, should kill or not kill. We are examining the question.

In India at one time in the past there was a community within that society which said, "We will not kill". They didn't kill animals for their food. They thought a great deal of not hurting another, speaking kindly, having always a certain respect for virtue. That community existed for many, many centuries. It was especially in the south as the Brahmin. But all that's gone. What are you to do: to help war or not to help? When you buy a stamp, you are helping the war; when you pay a tax, you are helping the war; when you earn money, you are helping the war; when you are working in a factory, you are producing shells for the war; and the way you live, with your competition, ambition, self-centred prosperity, you are producing war. When the government asks that you join the army, either you decide that you must, or must not and face all the consequences. I know a boy in Europe. There every boy must go through the army for a year, or a year and a half, or two years. This boy said, "I don,t want to do it". I'm not going to do it". And he said, "I am going to run away". And he ran away, which means that he can never come back to his country. He left his property with the family. He can never see his family again. Whether you decide to join or not to join becomes a very small affair when there are much larger issues concerned.

The larger issue is how to stop wars altogether, not this particular war or that particular war. You have your favourite war and I may have my favourite war. Because I may happen to be a British citizen and hate Hitler, therefore I fight him; but I don't fight the Vietnamese, because it's not my favourite war; it doesn't pay me politically, or whatever the reasons may be. The larger issue is: man has chosen the way of war, conflict. Unless you alter that totally, you will be caught in this question in which the questioner is caught. To alter that totally, completely, you must live peacefully, not killing, either by word or by deed. That means no competition, no division of sovereign governments, no army. You say, "It is impossible for me to do it; I can't stop the war; I can't stop the army". But what is important, it seems to me, is that when you see the whole structure of human violence and brutality, which expresses itself ultimately in war, if you see that totally, then, in the very act of seeing, you will do the right thing. The right thing may produce all kinds of consequences; it doesn't matter. But to see the totality of this misery, you need great freedom to look; and that very looking is the disciplining of the mind, brings its own discipline. Out of that freedom there comes silence, and you'll have answered your question.

Questioner: What do you mean when you say that we must accept the authority of law?

Krishnamurti: Like traffic.... Questioner: Oh.

Krishnamurti: Taxes....

Questioner: Oh, all that.

Krishnamurti: Don't put me in a position or yourself in a position where I reject, or you reject accepting law. We purposely said the issue is greater than this. Man has lived for five thousand years in war, and can man live peacefully? To live peacefully every day demands an astonishing alertness, an awareness of every issue.

Questioner: Can an attempt to revolutionize the psyche also be termed "expansion of consciousness"?

Krishnamurti: To expand consciousness there must be a centre which is aware of its expansion. The moment there is a centre from which you are expanding, it is no longer expansion, because the centre always limits its own expansion. If there is a centre and I move from that centre though I call it expansion, the centre is always fixed. I may expand ten miles, but since the centre is always fixed, it is not expansion. It is wrong to use that word "expansion".

Questioner: Doesn't revolution also imply a centre?

Krishnamurti: No, that's what I carefully explained. Sir, look, let me put it very briefly. You know what space is. When you look at the sky, there is a space, and that space is created by the observer who is looking. There is this object, the microphone, which creates space round itself. Because that object exists, there is space around it. There is this hall, this room. There is space because of the four walls, and there is space outside. We only know space because of the centre, which is creating space around himself. Now, he can expand that space by meditation, concentration, and all the rest of it; but the space is always created by the object, like the microphone creates space around itself. As long as there is a centre, as the observer, it creates a space round itself; and he may call that space ten thousand miles, or ten steps, but it is still the space restricted by the observer. Expanding consciousness, which is one of the easiest tricks to do, is always within the radius which the centre creates. In that space there is no freedom at all, because it is like my being free in this room, this hall. I'm not free. There is freedom, and therefore space which is not measurable, only when there is no observer; and the revolution of which we are talking is in the psyche, in the consciousness itself, in which there is now always the centre who is talking in terms of "me" and "not-me".

Questioner: "In the beginning was the word". What does this mean to you?

Krishnamurti: Why should what another says mean anything to you? If you are investigating, looking, observing, then these questions don't arise. Even if it says in the Bible "the word" and all the rest of it, if you understand what authority is, then you can be free of authority to look, and you go beyond the word. To find out that ultimate reality which man has called God for thousands upon thousands of years, you must be free from belief; you must be free from authority. Then only can you find out if there is such a thing as God.

October 5, 1966


New York 1966

New York 5th Public Talk 5th October 1966

Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.

Art of War

ancient Chinese treatise by Sun Tzu

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48 Laws of Power

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