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Paris, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 2nd Public Talk Paris 20th April 1967

WE WERE SAYING the other day that there must be a radical revolution, not only in the outward structure of society but also psychologically; inwardly, there must be a total mutation, a revolution in the psychological being.

We see that society is in terrible disorder, and that it is based on greed, envy, power, position, and so on. And we, as human beings, of that society, we are also in disorder, inwardly. For the average human being, life - the daily routine, the daily grind of earning a livelihood, the fearful loneliness and boredom, the endless repetition - has very little meaning. To give meaning and significance to life, intellectuals throughout the world, in the west and in the east, have invented philosophies and religions; they have said `There is God, there is a certain state of mind which one must strive after, and there have been so many clever philosophers stating certain things totally unrelated to life. They have tried to give a significance, but in actuality - nonintellectually, non-ideationally - life, as it is, as we live it everyday, is really quite meaningless. And it has no meaning, not only because we as human beings are in a state of disorder, but also because our life is very repetitive. We spend years in an office - forty or fifty years - endlessly carrying out something that has very little meaning, and, as we see, inwardly, the disorder is growing. Outwardly they are trying to establish order through law, through various forms of dictatorship, by controlling the mind and behaviour of human beings; outwardly bringing about, politically, economically, a semblance of order, but inwardly there is no order at all. Order implies - does it not? - a state of mind in which there is no conflict at all a state of mind that is clear, that is not caught in routine; a state of mind not conditioned by any personal inclination or tendency, or compelled by outward environmental influence. And it seems to me that this order must be born without any effort; it cannot be brought about by will, by conceptual or ideational striving; in one's confused mind, in one's misery, in this endless loneliness and conflict, such striving cannot possibly bring about order, it can only increase the confusion.

What is one to do? What is a human being to do who realizes he is confused, uncertain, that he is living a life of routine, imitating, conforming to a pattern set by society, of which he is himself part - yet he sees the necessity of there being order within himself? Unless there is order within - however much there may be order outwardly - the inward disorder will invariably overcome the outward semblance of order - I think that is fairly clear. So, how is one to bring about order within oneself?

Order means a state of mind in which there is no contradiction, and therefore no conflict - and that doesn't imply a state of stagnation or of decay.

Order which is according to a formula, according to an ideal or concept, is merely disorder. If a human being conforms to a pattern of thought - an ideal of something that he should be - then he is merely imitating, conforming, disciplining and forcing himself to fit into a mould. When he does that - which in society he has been coerced to do for centuries upon centuries, society trying to control him through various religious sanctions, through laws and so on - then great disorder is always produced in him. And it seems to me that that is one of the basic reasons for the present revolt that is going on throughout the world. Younger generations are trying to throw off the ideas, the gods, the behaviour of the older generation; everything is being discarded; they are in revolt against society, against the established order. And yet the order they are trying to find is also slowly becoming conformist - and therefore creating disorder in themselves.

So the problem is - is it not - how is a radical change to be brought about? - that essential need is obvious. If there is a motive to change then you are tethered or bound to the past because all motives come from the background of one's conditioning.

I hope together we can work this out; if you are merely listening intellectually, emotionally or verbally then we are not working together, you are merely hearing a few sets of ideas and agreeing or disagreeing - this will have very little value. But if we could actually go through this problem together, actually work it out, actually live the thing through, each one of us, then I think we might come to something which will be realistic, in which there does take place a radical revolution, psychologically, in the very act of listening.

We all agree, even if only intellectually, that there must be change in the whole mind structure, in the whole being. And we have tried so many ways - through discipline, through conformity, through obeying, through following; or we have accepted life as it is and lived it to the full; and if one has had capacity, money, then as one comes to die one says to oneself that one has had a good life and that is the end of it. We may realize that to live we must have order - because without order there is no peace - but order that is brought about by identifying oneself with a concept, with an idea, with a formula, only brings about an isolation. Though one may identify oneself with something like nationalism, or with an idea of god, it brings about separation and conflict. Therefore, identifying oneself with an idea, with a concept, does not bring about a radical change.

There are vast technological changes going on outwardly, but inward I'm the same as we've been for centuries, in conflict, in misery, in battle with myself and with others - my life is a battlefield. All my relationships are based on images, formed by thought. My life is a battlefield, I want to change it, I see that I cannot possibly live at peace within myself, or with society, or with another, unless there is complete order - which means complete freedom. Order can only come into being when there is freedom; and there is no freedom through slavery to an idea, or in acceptance of a certain theology, or in conforming to a certain pattern set by society or by myself. So what am I to do? I do not know if you have thought about it - if you have you will have seen that it is really an enormous problem. What am I as a human being conditioned through millions of years, with a brain that functions only in patterns of self-preservation, this self-preservation leading more and more to self-isolation, and therefore more and more conflict - to do? Seeing this whole battlefield in which as a human being I live, afraid, guilty, in despair, clinging to past memories, afraid to die, living in semi-darkness, though clever enough to invent all kinds of theories, giving myself work to do, writing books, explaining, doing all that ordinary human beings do - seeing all that, not as an idea, not as something that is outside of myself but actually seeing that my life is that - what am I to do? How am I to change the whole psychological structure of my being? - otherwise I can't have peace and there is no such thing as freedom.

If it is your problem as well as the speaker's (it is not actually my problem, but we are exploring it together) what is one to do? Obviously there is no authority any more, no body is going to tell us what to do; no priest, no theologian, no guru, no book, no outside agency is going to tell us what to do. We have tried all those, and they have no meaning whatsoever now, and they never had. There being no authority I have to rely completely on myself - yet, `myself' is a confused entity. The more I discard every form of outside agency which promised to bring about a change within oneself - all sanctions, all law which makes me do this and that - the more I discard them the more I am aware of the enormous problem of myself, who am confused, uncertain, not knowing. And when one becomes aware of that, there is more fear, more despair, and, as a reaction a reversion, and one joins various organizations, political or religious; if one was a Catholic, one becomes a Protestant, if one had been a Protestant one begins to follow Zen, or one finds some other form of distraction without fundamentally solving the problem at all.

So there it is. One has discarded totally all outside authority - if one has - and one finds that authority is one of the causes of disorder. One sees one has followed a so-called teacher, philosopher, or saviour, out of fear - not out of love. If one had love, one wouldn't follow anybody; love doesn't obey, love has no duty, no responsibility. One follows, accepts, obeys, essentially because there is fear - fear of not arriving, of going wrong, and so on, a dozen forms of fear. Inwardly, to discard authority totally - the authority of another and also the authority of your own concepts, of your own experience of the past - is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. It is fairly easy to deny the authority of society - the monks have done it in various ways, and the modern younger generation is doing it in a different way - but to discard the authority of one's own conditioning - of one's own experiences, the authority of the past in oneself, of which one is and which becomes the supreme authority - is much more difficult. And to discard that is much more important, much more essential, because that is what breeds outward authority, and also breeds fear, because one wants to be certain, sure, secure.

So, freedom from authority, which means freedom from fear, from psychological fear, surely is the first requirement for order? Is it possible to be free, totally, from fear - both at the conscious as well as the unconscious level? And is there such a thing as the unconscious at all? We have accepted the idea of the unconscious as part of us - that has been the fashion - but is there such a thing? Because, enquiring now into this question of whether it is possible to be completely free from fear, one obviously has to go into this question of the unconscious.

Is there such a thing as the unconscious? I do not know what you think about it, what you discover. If there is the unconscious, how is the conscious mind going to uncover it? (The speaker is not accepting the unconscious, but we are examining what is said about the unconscious.) As it is said, the unconscious is the past, the racial inheritance, the storehouse of all human endeavour and so on; it is at a very deep level in each one of us. How is the conscious mind going to uncover that storehouse, all that hidden something which we have accepted? How are we going to examine with the conscious mind something which is unconscious? It is said that you examine it through analysis, going to an expert, an analyser that is, if you have the money and feel neurotic enough to go to him. Now, how are you as a human being going to examine something of which you know nothing, except verbally? Can the conscious mind look into the unconscious - or can it only discover through dreams, through intimations, an occasional glimpse of that thing called the unconscious? Can the observer, who is the analyser, who is part of and not separate from the structure, examine the other part of the structure? What it can examine is its own part and not the total structure. It can attempt to analyse the unconscious by watching every movement of thought, every motive, every dream. And to do that takes time. You can spend all your life analysing. And if in your analysis you are not extremely accurate, your next analysis will go wrong, will not be true. It takes time - and is time the instrument that will bring freedom, and there- fore order? - I hope I am making myself clear - time being the distance between the analyser, and the analysed, and the object which is going to be gained at the end of the analysis. To cover that interval between the observer and the ultimate end when he will be totally free - that distance is time. That interval, the gradual process, is time - will time bring freedom and order? If the unconscious cannot be examined so critically, so closely, so deeply by the conscious mind, then what is one to do? You understand the problem? Or, is there a totally different approach to this? - there must be. We have lived for thousands and thousands of years in this way and we have not escaped the trap. We get out of one trap, only to fall into another. One sees that as long as there is fear, at any level of consciousness, traps and authorities must invariably exist. And therefore the unconscious becomes immensely important - that is, when you say time is necessary to bring about change, then you have all these complicated problems, and therefore no ending to problems at all. But if you deny time - that is - no tomorrow at all, psychologically, which means really, no tomorrow as pleasure - there is no gradual unfolding of the conscious or the unconscious. If you deny time there is no acquiring of virtue, there is no achievement, there is no tomorrow. Which doesn't mean, if you say `There is no tomorrow', that one is in despair. But if you really understand this whole issue, then, when the mind frees itself from time the question of fear becomes something entirely different. Then the mind is in direct contact with that thing which is called fear - there is no interval of space between the observer and the observed, fear. One says, `I am afraid', afraid of my neighbour, afraid of death, afraid of not being a success - that is, I am different from that fear. And when there is a separation between the observer and the observed, then there is an action to do something about the observed. When I say, `I am afraid', then I want to do something about that fear, I want to control it, I want to shape it, I want to get rid of it, I want to escape from it, which means I am different from that fear. But I am that fear, that fear and me are part of the whole structure of life.

So, when this interval of space, which is time, between the sayer, who says, `I am afraid', and the fear disappears, then one is directly in contact with the fact - there is only the fact, not you as the observer of the fact. There are several things that take place in this process: you eliminate conflict altogether when the observer is the observed - for the observer is fear itself - this means you have the energy, that energy which has the form of fear. Since there is no interval between yourself and the fact, since the energy is you and the fear, there is, as we said, no conflict at all - obviously - therefore there is no positive action with regard to fear. There is no positive action at all, but merely a state of observation, seeing the fact, seeing actually `what is' - because you have removed the image - you understand Sirs?

Let's put it differently. All relationships between human beings are based on images. You have an image about your friend, or your wife or your husband, and he or she has an image about you, the relationship is between these two images - this is obvious. The images have been put together by thought, from various forms of insults, pleasures, pains, all the rest of it, between human beings. The relationship is only between the images. When there are no images at all, then there is real relationship - then you are directly in contact. And when there is no image about the tree, you are really observing what it actually is - which is quite a different state. In the same way if you have no image about another human being, the relationship is entirely different. Which means that there is the absence of thought, of the `me', of the Memory, (which is actually of the past). Therefore you are facing something which is immediate - and because one has eliminated conflict, one has tremendous energy. When one discards, or puts an end to, or stops, time, then there is only the fact of fear - therefore there is no escape from fear, there is no controlling, there is no sublimating - it is so. When that is a fact, then it undergoes a tremendous change. That is, when there is no longer the observer - the entity that says, `I am afraid', `I' being separate from the fear - then, is there fear at all?

So one has learned to observe without the whole process of mentation, without thinking being set into motion. For, as we said the other day, thought is the response of memory, of knowledge, of experience; from the past, thought takes shape. Thought is always old and it can never be new. There is only a new state of being when thought, having been completely understood, comes to an end - that is the fundamental change. Thought, always seeking from the past its own security, has created fear. Basically we are seeking security, (speaking psychologically) security related to the past - I have had pain, I don't want pain; I have been happy, I must be happy in the future; I have had tremendous pleasure, there must be more pleasure. Thought, being old, only functions in this search for security. And if one observes in oneself closely, one sees that all the discontent which one has is turned into some poisonous contentment, security.

It is thought that creates the time interval that brings about disorder. But if one sees something, really clearly, in the absence of thought, one does so immediately, there is no time interval - the seeing is the doing. To see very clearly, without any confusion, the mind must be completely silent. If I want to see you, or understand you, my mind must stop chattering, obviously. in the state of incessant soliloquy, mental talking, chattering, it is not possible to see anything clearly. It is only when the mind is quiet that you do see clearly - but you cannot make the mind silent by enforcement, by discipline.

Quietness of the mind comes into being only when you see the whole implication of fear, of authority, of time and the separation between the observer and the observed when you see the whole structure. To see the whole structure, obviously your mind must be quiet; one has to learn how to look - not at the most complex things, but just to look at a tree or a flower, at a cloud - without any movement of thought - just to look.

I think that many of those people who take drugs, do so in order to destroy the separation between the observer and the observed; they experience this peculiar state, but it is artificially brought about and they are left as wretched as ever before. The drug has momentarily given them a heightened sensitivity; chemically it has brought about a change in the structure of the brain cells themselves - for the time being. In that state everything is experienced very clearly, very closely - there is no separation at all and this is due to the total absence of thought, as the `me' with all its memories. The more that is experienced in this way the more they want drugs to keep themselves in that state.

When one sees outwardly and inwardly all this disorder - the confusion, misery, loneliness and the utter meaninglessness of life as it is lived - one may invent extraordinary ideas about it, but they are mere inventions, theories. But when you understand the whole nature of time and thought, and discard it, then there is no need to seek a significance to life. Then there is quite a different state - not brought about by thought - that obviously cannot be explained by words. The more you explain it by words, the less it is. But to actuality come upon it because one has observed - that state of mind, surely, is the released mind; it has nothing to do with any organized belief and dogma.

Questioner: Is good and bad merely an idea?

Krishnamurti: Ah - is it just an idea? If you have a tooth ache, a pain, is it just an idea? Ah - is it? - (laughing) - or is it a natural response. Take another example - is it evil when you are violent - is it just an idea when you hit me, when you kill me? Is it an idea? You may kill me for an idea, which is called nationalism.

One has really to enquire into this question of what is evil and what is good, what is beauty and what is ugliness. When you get angry, violent, envious, greedy, jealous, would you call that evil? When you hurt another by a word, by a gesture, or by throwing a bomb, would you call that evil? But you are doing that all day. And what is it, to be good, to be kind, to be generous and not to create enmity? This dual thing exists in every human being - the good and the bad - the battle is there. That is our battlefield, we want to be peaceful and quiet, affectionate, yet there is the other in us, violent, wanting to hurt. Is it possible completely to be free of this duality? It is only possible to be free of this duality when you are completely in contact with the actual fact, with what actually is. That is to say, when you are violent, not to have its opposite as idea, as ideal, but to be completely aware of the total significance of violence. Then you will find, if you are totally aware of what actually is - whether you call it good or bad - then you will find that there is no duality at all. After all, if beauty is merely the opposite of ugliness, or if love is the opposite of hate, then there is neither beauty nor love. But, with us, love is the opposite of hate; therefore we are always caught in love, jealousy and hate. But when you completely face the fact - be it jealousy, envy, anger, brutality - not creating the opposite as a means of escape from the fact, then you will transcend both the good and the bad and go beyond.

20th April 1967


Paris, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 2nd Public Talk Paris 20th April 1967

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