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Madras 1967

Madras 2nd Public Talk 18th January 1967

Shall we continue with what we were talking about the other day? We were saying that human beings now are confronted with extraordinarily complex problems; and to meet them adequately there must be a total revolution in the very field of consciousness itself, in the very structure and cells of the brain themselves. We were saying also that freedom is necessary. And that word is so loaded and can be interpreted in so many ways, that we must, I think, use it very carefully.

We see that there must be a change, not a mere economic or social change but in the very structure of our thought process. And to bring about that change we must understand the nature of the energy that will bring that about. Because energy is necessary for everything; to do anything, to talk, to do, to function at any level energy is necessary. We can compel that energy to function along a particular pattern, a particular ideology, whether it is Marx, Lenin, the Catholic, the Christian, the Hindu, the Muslim, or the Buddhist. And most of us function with ideologies, with formulas, with concepts: that is, first we conceive an idea, a belief, an ideology, and then, according to that, function. This functioning according to a pattern is called action. And we see in the world, not theoretically but actually, that is how human beings function all the time.

And we also see that freedom has been thoroughly misused. Society demands order; and it is afraid of freedom, because it thinks it is disorder. In nature all species of animals live according to their pattern of order - this has been established by study and so on. We human beings, who have inherited the consciousness of the animal, though modified and refined - we also demand order. Society is based on that structure. And anybody that revolts against that structure of society is called disorderly. This is what is going on: that is, anybody who challenges the authority in power brings about a certain disorder, and society does not want disorder. Again, this is everyday observance; and you can see this for yourself, without reading historical books and sociology.

And our problem is to have freedom and yet have a relationship with society that is not conforming. Society tries to force a human being, an individual, to conform to its pattern, and therefore the struggle begins between the human, the individual, and the structure of the society into which he fits; and society - though it is modified, though it changes - is always there to control, to shape, to mould opinion. And again one can observe this process going on throughout the world. That is, the `high' holds the power, and there is the `middle' that wants to usurp that power. And so there is always conflict between the `middle' and the `high', the top.

This conflict within the pattern of society is still orderly - at least it calls it orderly - till the `middle, becomes so strong that it can topple the `high', and that is called revolution. This process we are seeing throughout our lifetime. Historically also this is going on, and this is what has taken place also in recent years. When the `middle' takes over the power from the `high', then it holds on to it through psychology, through propaganda, through compulsive, tortuous methods, liquidation and so on, and establishes an ideology according to which society must function. Again you will observe, in the Russian revolution and in other forms of revolution, that the more powerful the group on top, the more insistent, the more clever, the more brutal it is. And they deny freedom, though they may call it democratic; there is double thinking, double way of looking - which is the denial of freedom.

On the other hand, we have in Europe - as in this country - freedom to function within that society which European culture and religion have established. Again the same formula has gone on. That is, organized religion, which is part of the culture, has established an ideology: the saviour, `you must pray this way', `you must think that way'. And they have seen to it that every heretic is burnt or liquidated, as the other side, the left, did - only now they dare not do it. So there is a battle going on, the battle of ideology on the right side and ideology on the left side, and there is a similarity of patterns in each. The organized religions throughout the world are facing this at the present moment. Because they are based on the authority of the few who represent on the one side God or Christ or Krishna or whoever it is, and on the other a social structure based on the authority of an ideology - Marx, Lenin and so on.

So, though outwardly there is freedom in the so-called democratic society, inwardly they are so heavily conditioned that it is difficult for them to break through. In India, for example, or in the Muslim world, or in the Catholic world, there has been brainwashing for thousands of years because of the pattern which has been set as tradition, as moral values and so on. And to break away, from that becomes almost impossible, because society is so big. That is, if you do break away, you might lose your job, you might not be able to get your daughter married. So it is really a matter of ideology, one on the left side and one on the right.

So man, his consciousness, has been conditioned by ideologies based on the animal inheritance and refined by greed, envy, power, prestige, competition and so on. And there are those people who deny that, who take to sanyasa, who become religious, who outwardly recognize no authority but inwardly are bound hand and foot to authority both deny freedom. And without freedom you cannot have abundance of energy. And if you have not complete abundance of energy, you cannot bring about a change.

So, as we were saying the other day, the brain cells themselves, whether the people are living in Russia or in India or in America, have been conditioned through centuries through time. And thought is the response of that conditioning. So thought is always old, there is nothing new; thought cannot bring about a change at all. And a revolution at a totally different level is necessary, at the level of consciousness, at the level of a mind that is conditioned and breaks through that conditioning. Of course, one can go much more into detail; but I think it is sufficiently clear that the human brain is conditioned according to some ideology, and all action takes place according to that ideology, according to that formula. So, there is a division between the ideology and the action, the action always approximating the ideology. People who are in power see that the action does approximate the ideology - that is what is going on in China. Here, fortunately, this country is not sufficiently organized, is not so clever at propaganda, because we are more human, a little more clever, and we say that is propaganda.

So our issue is, our problem is: can there be action without any ideology? Because if there is no action without an existing ideology or a new ideology, action can never be free but always frustrating and therefore always limiting; and therefore energy is wasted in friction. Please see this point clearly. We need energy to do anything and, specially, we need tremendous energy to bring about a mutation in the very brain cells themselves. Because, as we said the other day, the brain cells - through experience, through thought. through knowledge - have been so conditioned that thought is the response of that conditioning, and thought is that matter. Thought is matter. And energy has created this conditioned thinking for its own greed, for its own security, power, prestige, position, safety and so on. It is necessary to liberate that energy from the very structure which it has created, so that it may break it.

So, our problem is: whether there can be action without the limitation of an ideology, without a formula. The formula or the ideology and action are two different things. When we are approximating action to the formula, to the ideology, there is friction. And that friction is a waste of energy. So, action in relation to the formula, to the ideology, is a waste of energy, of time. There is the ideology given to us through propaganda, through compulsion, through various forms of traditional culture and all the rest of it. And according to that norm we act. And the action is divided from the ideology; the division is time. Isn't it?

Sirs, we are not talking any deep philosophy, we are not giving any philosophical ideas about time. You just see what is factual. To see what is factual is very difficult, because we always see the fact through an ideology. I cannot look at that tree without the ideology, the image of that tree. You cannot look at your wife, or your husband, or your political leader, or your religious leader without the ideology, the image that you have created of that person; and that person who is looking at you, has an ideology about you, his image about you; and therefore the relationship between the two is relationship of two images, two ideologies.

So, one asks oneself: is there freedom when time interferes with action? That is, `I will do', `I should', `I must', 'I will be' - these are all activities of the past, not of the future, these are the activities which are the result of a past conditioning. Surely, I hope I am making myself clear. If not, we will discuss it on Friday morning or perhaps, if you have time, after I talk a little. So, as long as time interferes with action, there is no freedom. That is, as long as my mind is caught in an ideology, left or right or centre, or an ideology supposed to be a religious conditioning - which belongs to neither but is still the outcome of all this, thought being the result of this conditioning - there is a division between ideology and action. To that we have been conditioned, and we think in these terms: `gradually I will do this', `there must be that', `I will become that'. So, this involvement of time postpones action. You understand? But that postponement of action never takes place if there is a danger in front of you; there is immediate action if you see a precipice, a snake, a dangerous animal, poison, and so on; there is not an ideology, and then the act which has an interval of time. Right? One has to go into it much more deeply than this. We will do so, perhaps, on another occasion.

Is there an action in which time and ideology are not involved at all? That is: seeing is doing. That is what the world is demanding. The man who has nothing - no food, no clothes - who is tortured, is not going to wait for some evolutionary process to come into being, and for his being fed according to that ideology. He says, "Feed me now, not tomorrow". Right through the world, there is a whole group of people, especially the young, who are saying that there must be action now, not tomorrow. Now is much more important than tomorrow; the present generation is far more important than the generation to come.

So, is there action without time and ideology? And that is the only revolution - which is, I see something as dangerous, and the very seeing is the acting. I see that nationalism - I am taking that as a very superficial example - is poison, because it divides people and so on. I see that as poison and drop the whole cultivation of nationalism completely and immediately. And immediacy of action is freedom.

Sir, look: take a very stupid example. If you smoke and if you know what effect it has, that it will give you lung disease - and the doctors have threatened you with all that - and yet there is the desire, the pleasure of something to do with your hands, which is involved in smoking, can you act immediately and drop it? Because there the very seeing is the acting. Now, take a deeper pleasure, because most of us are guided by inclination, which means pleasure. We are guided by the principle of pleasure: "I like this and I don't like that", "This is profitable, that is not profitable" and so on. It is much more complex than that, but that is the basis of our action inwardly, psychologically and also outwardly. Take any pleasure and see what is involved in that pleasure. Don't take time - time for examination, time for analysis. See immediately what is involved in it: frustration, pain, sorrow, a thought process which is the continuity of an experience which has been dead and which you want to continue, which will give you pleasure as sex or something else.

One has to be aware of this pleasure principle and act immediately. That is, seeing what is involved and, not admitting time, acting - that requires a great deal of attention, a great deal of awareness of the whole problem of the nature and the structure of an ideology, how we develop an ideology. You may reject an outward ideology, but inwardly you have your own ideology. You have to be aware of all that - not through a process of analysis, because that admits time. The process of analysis is to think about this a little more carefully and examine it very closely. We are used to this analytical process, finding out the cause; and we think that by finding out the cause we can drop the effect. But that is not always so and that takes time. It may take time - two minutes or six months or more to examine the whole process, layer after layer. Analysing everything, bit by bit, takes time; and when you admit time there are other complications coming into that field: postponement, conflict, friction, the authority of the past as memory and so on.

So, is it possible to see something so directly that that very seeing is the action, now? You are probably sitting in front of a tree, watching that tree. There is a distance between you and that tree - distance in time as well as in space. To go from where you are to that tree takes time: one second, two seconds. Therefore between you the observer and the thing observed there is a time interval. Why does this time interval exist at all? It exists because you are looking at that tree with thought, with memory, with knowledge, with experience with botanical information. so actually you are not looking at the tree, but the thought is looking at that tree. Right? So, the relationship between you and the tree is the relationship of your image about that tree, and therefore you are not in contact with that tree at all. Only when you are in contact, you are in relationship; and you can only have that relationship when there is no image - which means no ideology, and therefore there is action.

So, can you look at that tree without this time-space interval? That is, can you look at your wife or your husband or your political leaders, religious leaders and so on, without the time interval? If you can look at that tree without that time interval, then your relationship to that tree is entirely different. You are directly in contact, therefore directly capable of action. And by taking the drug L.S.D - not that we have taken it - it is said that this time interval disappears. I believe bhang, hashish and other forms of drugs remove this time interval. Therefore the experience of seeing that tree without the time interval is something extraordinary, because for the first time you are acting - not second hand, not through an ideology which compels you to act in a different manner. Right?

So, freedom is this action which springs immediately from seeing. Now, seeing is also listening - that is, to listen without the time interval. It is very simple if you know how to do it. And you must know. Otherwise your mind becomes stale, dull, caught and conditioned by an ideology, and therefore the mind can never be fresh, young, innocent, alive. As we said, as long as there is a time interval between the observer and the observed, that time interval creates friction and therefore it is a waste of energy; that energy is gathered to its highest point when the observer is the observed, in which there is no time interval. You hear that statement. But you have not listened to it. There is a difference between `hearing' and `listening'. You can hear words, thinking you understand those words intellectually. Then you will ask, "How am I who have heard the words, to put those words into action?" You cannot put words into action! So you translate the words into thought, into an ideology; and then you have got the pattern and according to that pattern you are going to act. Now, listening is not to have that time interval at all. So listening, as seeing, is acting.

We have inherited violence from the animal. But the animal has not invented non-violence, the ideology; human beings have invented it. The violence is there, and ideology is non-factual. What is actual is violence. But we think that by having an ideology about violence we are going to get rid of violence - which is sheer nonsense, as it has been proved in this country. You have preached non-violence for forty years and when the time comes for violence, you all jump into it! So the fact is one thing and ideology is another. We are violent, we have inherited it through the animal. The animal in us has two rights, property rights and sexual rights. And violence is based on them. It is a fact that we are violent. Now, you hear the fact; and the hearing becomes merely intellectual, and you say, "How can I live without violence when Pakistan, China, or some other country is going to destroy me? I must protect myself". And you have innumerable arguments against and for, and so you are still violent at the end of it.

So can you see the fact of violence - the fact not only outside of you but also inside you - and not have any time interval between listening and acting? This means by the very act of listening you are free from violence. You are totally free from violence because you have not admitted time, an ideology through which you can get rid of violence. This requires very deep meditation, not just a verbal agreement or disagreement. We never listen to anything; our minds, our brain cells are so conditioned to an ideology about violence that we never look at the fact of violence. We look at the fact of violence through an ideology, and the looking at violence through an ideology creates time interval. And when you admit time, there is no end to violence; you go on showing violence, preaching non-violence.

Now, you have merely heard a series of statements, you have not listened. Because your mind, your way of life, the whole structure of society denies it, prevents you from looking at a fact and from being entirely free from it immediately. So thought says, "I will think about it, I will see whether it is profitable to be without violence". That is, you are admitting the time interval while the house is burning. The house is burning - which is the result of this violence throughout the world. And you say, "Let us think about it and find out which ideology is the best for putting out the fire". That is exactly what is happening with regard to starvation in this country. The communists, the socialists, the capitalists, the Congress and so on - they all have ideologies upon which they are going to feed the people; and ideologies will never feed the people. What will feed the people is not to be concerned with the ways of feeding them, but getting together and feeding them: which means no personal prestige, no party, no system, no leader. Because then we are concerned with feeding, organizing together the world in which we have to live.

So, our concern then is that we see that immediate mutation is necessary. Mutation is total revolution, something totally new. We have tried all the other ways - the democratic way, the communist way, the religious way, forming different societies, plans and so on - and they have not succeeded at all, man remains in perpetual misery, in great anxiety, in great uncertainty. And to bring about a radical revolution in that is the only issue, as the only political issue is the unity of mankind - not whether you have Kerala different from the rest of the country, thus breaking up this unfortunate country into linguistic and little parcels of land. The one problem for the politician - if there should be a politician at all - is to bring about the unity, the economic and social unity of mankind, not divided by nationalities, by sovereign governments. It is only then that we can live happily, peacefully in this world. That is the function of the organizer. And probably the computers, the electronic brains, will take that over; not the little narrow-minded, ideological politicians!

And the other issue is whether we human beings can change completely, immediately, so that there is no tomorrow. You understand, sirs? Because tomorrow is an idea. A man who is completely attentive now, completely watching, listening, seeing - for him there is no time. Because in that watching, listening, seeing, the observer is not creating time through which he can escape into some form of pleasure.

Sirs, look at the problem. Most of us have this problem of fear: the problem of uncertainty, the problem of death, of the unknown, the problem of losing a job, the fear of not being loved, the fear of being lonely; and the fear of living in a world that is like death. There is this fear. Again a great deal of it has been inherited from the animal, to which we have added psychological fears. We are talking about psychological fears. When we understand the deep fears, then we will be able to meet the animal fears. But first to be concerned with the animal fears will never help you to understand the psychological fears.

So most of us have these deep-rooted psychological fears - fear of tomorrow, fear of what is going to happen tomorrow. Have you ever examined how this fear comes into being? Here I am today, fairly well, having food, clothes and shelter; and I am afraid of tomorrow! How does that fear come into being? Thought comes. Please listen. Thought, because it is secure today, thinks about tomorrow and says, "I may be uncertain tomorrow". So, thinking about tomorrow creates the fear. You understand, sirs? There is death which we will all have to face one day or the other, and we are afraid of that thing which is unknown. I am living, I go to my office for the next forty years - which is a terrible idea - I think automatically, inefficiently, I carry on in the field I have known, and I am afraid of something I don't know - death. Thought is the very essence of the known, is the result of the known; and therefore thought can never free the mind from the known. So thought thinks about that thing called death, and the very thinking about it is the beginning of fear.

So is it possible to live completely today, because I know the whole machinery of thinking? The issue is not how to end thought, because the thought that says, "I must end thought", is still thought. Therefore it is not ending thought at all, but it is to find out if we can live so completely that there is no tomorrow for thought to think about. Only then is there freedom in action. You understand, sirs? Then freedom is not an ideology, it is not something that you are going to cultivate and gain ultimately.

So the relationship of man, the human being, to the world in which he is living - which is society - must radically change. Any observant person knows that. You cannot go back to your old gods or your old books. That is silly, they have gone and are finished. And we have to live in the world that is so completely changing deeply, technologically, the outward change being much more than the inward change; and the inward change is absolutely necessary for man to live peacefully. And that peace is not a matter of time, not a matter of tomorrow. That peace can only be now. And there is that peace, when this time interval totally disappears, when you deny. That is, when you look at that tree so attentively that thought disappears altogether, you are really in contact with that tree, then the observer is the observed. And hence there is no conflict at all, and therefore there is that extraordinary energy. And it is that energy that is going to bring about a different society in the world.

You want to ask any question with regard to what we have been talking about?

Questioner: Will you kindly tell us how thought is matter?

Krishnamurti: The questioner asks how thought is matter. Have you looked at that sunset? Please do look at it. The tree against that light, the golden light of the setting sun - see the beauty of it non-verbally. You understand, sir, non-verbally'? The moment you use the word `how beautiful', that very word is thought which is matter. Right? So you can find out for yourself how thought is matter-energy. Must I go through that again? We will keep it for another day, sir. But what is important is to look at that tree against the light. Because in most of our lives there is no beauty at all. We never look at a tree. We are never aware of the squalor and the dirt on the road. And without beauty there is no love. You cannot see that sunset and that marvellous tree against that light if you have no love. And love is not pleasure. Love is not desire. Love is that act of seeing that beauty, that extraordinary light. And to see it is to love it; and that is love. And without it you cannot do anything.

And in this barren, desert world, there is no love at all. There is a great deal of pleasure, there is a great deal of desire. And when desire and pleasure play the greatest role in the world, the world becomes a desert. That is, your life becomes a desert. Your everyday life has no meaning, because it is only when there is love, life becomes something entirely differently. And you cannot have love, if there is no beauty. And beauty is not something you see: a beautiful tree, a beautiful woman, a beautiful man, a light on the water, the moon, or a beautiful building. Beauty is not in a building. There is beauty only when your heart and mind know what love is.

January 18, 1967


Madras 1967

Madras 2nd Public Talk 18th January 1967

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