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Paris, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 3rd Public Talk Paris 23rd April 1967

I FEEL THAT merely attending talks, reading books and discussing with one another, has very little meaning. Verbal exchange may be somewhat necessary and useful, but much more important is understanding, and that comes only in the doing. It is not that first you understand and then do, but rather that in the very doing, in the very acting, there is understanding; learning. It is not that you learn first, and then act - which action becomes automatic, mechanical - but rather in the doing, as one is acting, there, in that, is learning. Learning is acting, and acting is learning - the two things are not separate. When there is understanding in doing - learning in acting - there is great conservation of energy.

One needs energy to solve the many problems of one's life, one wastes energy in the conflict that there is between idea and action. When one has ideation - an ideal or a formula according to which one is acting, living - then there is an interval between the ideation and the act; in that interval there is conflict which wastes energy. One observes this process in oneself in the continual approximation to the ideal, which approximation and effort is a form of conflict and thus a waste of energy.

When there is no ideation at all, no ideal or example, no pattern or formula, then there is no contradiction or conflict, and therefore there is a gathering of energy. But one observes that most of us function, live and act, within the field of patterns, conceptual formulations, ideals and so on. One,s life has become mechanical, imitative, and the breeding ground of contradiction between that which is and what we think should be. In this there is conflict and waste of energy; yet one needs a great deal of energy if one is to solve one's problems completely. Look at the waste of energy that takes place when one talks incessantly about nothing, or incessantly amuses oneself in reading; and outwardly the waste of energy in the build up of armaments, in going to the moon, and all the rest of it.

One, as a human being, has enormous complex problems, which one alone must solve; for somebody else's solution is of no significance, has no value at all. One has to solve them, and one needs the energy which one dissipates in so many useless, vain, unprofitable activities; that energy is necessary to solve the problems of love, living and death.

It seems to me that unless we solve these three fundamental issues of life, love, living and death, we are not really human beings at all, not really civilized, cultured. We may have a great deal of knowledge about pictures and music, we may write about the past, explain this or that, but we have not solved the problems which are of greatest significance in our lives - love, what is living, and what it means to die. And, if I may, I would like to go into this matter this morning; but not as idea, not as explanation, but rather as an investigation, a process of enquiry, so as to discover for oneself. For most of us are secondhand people; we have lived on what we have been told, guided by our inclinations or tendencies, and we have been compelled, urged or forced by circumstance, by environment, to accept a conditioned way of life. There is nothing original, pristine, clear. Being the result of all kinds of influences there is nothing new in us, there is nothing that we have discovered for ourselves. Discovery is a constant living process; you cannot discover, store up what you have discovered and then live according to that.

To understand these three fundamental issues - life, love and death one needs not only energy but also a very sharp mind; not a dull, mechanical mind, not a mind that is tremendously informed and knowledgeable - such a mind may be necessary at certain levels but not at the level of enquiry in this region.

I suggest, if I may, that we take a voyage into this enormous problem - what is living? - and see actually what it is now, see actually what it is, not what it should be. What should be, or what has been, have no importance whatever; how people, the prophets and the saints and the saviours, are said to have lived, that has no value at all; it is only a dull, stupid mind that talks about them. We have to investigate that which actually is, we have to look very closely, and to look in this way there must be no interpretation, no discarding, no antagonism, no choice - we must look at our life as it is. And our life is a battlefield from the moment we are born until we die; it is an agony, a despair, a sense of guilt, fear, everlasting competition, comparing ourselves with others, trying to become something more and more, trying to control, trying to free oneself, trying to attain, trying to conserve. Our daily life, our everyday routine of existence, is competition, brutality, agony, despair, loneliness; there is constant sorrow which is never solved, never put aside. That is the fact, that is what actually is, and we have never been able to go beyond that. We have a whole network of escapes, from the football field to the churches, from organized religion to museums and concerts, and of course, the intellectual investigation which leads nowhere. That is our life, and that is not living at all - obviously. Living implies a state of mind in which there is no conflict whatsoever; being free from all this conflict - to live!

To be free from this battlefield, from this incessant boredom and loneliest, one must have the capacity and the energy to look and observe what actually takes place. One cannot observe if one is trapped in words. For us, words and symbols are extraordinarily important. A word like `God' or `Communist', like `Bible', `wife', `husband', `nationality', the name of a person, and so on, has this extraordinary importance. Words! - we are caught in the web of words. These words and the symbols which we have cultivated, prevent us from looking at the fact of that which actually is. Because we think in words it is very difficult to free the mind from words.

It is only when we actually look at what is going on within ourselves and at that which is going on outside - observing, giving complete attention, giving your whole mind, heart, nerves and everything that one has, to observe with complete and total attention - that here is energy that is no longer dissipated. With that energy we can look at our life, and when we do look at it with that attention, and with care and with a sense of affection, there is no despair - there is no despair when we look at despair.

I hope you are listening not merely to words but to the actual state of your own mind, to your own particular form of fear, despair, agony, loneliness, the lack of love, and so on, just giving your total and complete attention to it. In doing this you will discover for yourself how inattentive you are - this inattention is a waste of energy. Know when you are inattentive and be inattentive; not, try to become attentive when you are inattentive, that is a waste of energy. Be conscious, aware, know that you are inattentive, and be inattentive. And when you are attentive, give your whole being to attention - it doesn't matter if it lasts two seconds. With that attention, look; you will see that the thing that we have called life becomes transformed. There is then no `observer' separate from the thing observed, and therefore there is no conflict. The thing observed without the `observer' undergoes a tremendous transformation.

Most of our life is based upon pleasure; that is the fundamental demand of our life; pleasure in every form, comfort, security, possession, prestige, power, domination, success, to be on the top of the heap, all that is included in that word pleasure. That pleasure invariably breeds pain; and we would rather have pleasure than pain, so we pursue pleasure. To understand pleasure we have to understand the whole question of desire. We are not trying to get rid of pleasure, that would be too absurd - one has to leave that to the monks, to those people who are trying to be extremely religious yet who are not religious at all. I don't think we know what pleasure really is; we have an idea of what pleasure is, but actually we do not know what it is. And to understand it we have to come into contact with it completely, without the intervention of thought, the image, the picture; then it is something entirely different from what we call pleasure.

We have to understand this principle of pleasure, which breeds agony and despair; we have to understand the way of desire yet not deny desire. You can't deny desire, you can't deny anything, you have to see things as they are, and to see one has to be tremendously attentive, with care.

And what is desire? - again, a very complex problem which must be approached very simply, that is to say, with innocency. Our minds are so jaded, old, shoddy corrupt with so much knowledge, information and experience, that we cannot approach anything simply. Yet we can only understand the very complex problem of life when we look at it very simply, with innocent eyes - and we cannot have innocent eyes if we begin to choose, to like or dislike, accept or deny. Various religions throughout the world have said that you must be without desire, act without desire, or be desireless - which is all nonsense - it only leads to such oppression and to such smothering, control and the further increase of conflict. So we are not talking about the suppression of desire, but rather about the understanding of it. When you understand something it is no longer a problem, it is no longer a burden and a thing to be battled with.

One can see very simply how desire arises and how that desire is sustained, given vitality, given a continuity. Surely, desire begins with seeing, or feeling, or tasting, and the sen- sation from that contact; then thought comes in and says that is very pleasurable, or not pleasurable - it must continue, or it must not continue. So thought gives to sensation a continuity and strengthens desire. You can observe it very simply; it is not, I think, a very complex problem. There is a beautiful face, a car, a lovely mountain and a sunset, a sheet of water glistening in the sun, you look at it, and there is great pleasure, enjoyment; seeing - sensation. Then thought comes in and says I must keep it, I must treasure it, I must think about it. That is what takes place in sex and in every other form of pleasure. So thought gives a continuity to pleasure, which is desire.

To look without the interference of thought is, in itself, a tremendous discipline; then life is not a battle. If you understand all this - and I hope that you are not merely listening to the explanation, which is of no value at all, it is like dead ash - if you are actually taking the journey so that it becomes your own, then there is no secondhand thing. I feel that there is no teacher and no pupil, there is no guru and disciple, there is only learning - learning which takes place all the time. It is not that you learn and then act from what you have gathered as - learning that again breeds antagonism, battle. But if you are listening, then in that very act of listening is learning and the doing. When one does that, then life has a totally different meaning; a meaning and significance which is not given by the intellect.

One has to understand this thing called death, of which most of us are so terribly frightened. I feel that a human being who does not understand what living, or dying, or that which we call love, is, is not really a human being at all, he is a frightened entity, like an animal. And the more outwardly we are sophisticated - going to the moon or living under the sea, having marvellous instruments of destruction, or construction - the more inwardly our lives become superficial. And that very superficiality leads to great misery, to greater conflict - perhaps not in the battlefield, but inwardly.

To find out what death is there must be freedom from fear; we are all going to die whether we like it or whether we don't like it; whether the doctors, the scientist can give you ten or fifty years longer, there is always that thing waiting; you can't escape from it; no new hormones, new antibiotics or the various forms of genetics, geriatrics and so on, all that game one plays, will remove that fear - there it is - there is death. And we have separated living from dying. Living, which is our daily torture, daily insult, daily misery - which we call living - with perchance the occasional light, with the occasional opening of a window over enchanted seas, yet the rest of the time a misery, a sorrow, a confusion. That is what we call living; and we are afraid to die, which is to end this misery.

We rather cling to the known than face the unknown, the known being our loneliness, our sorrow, our embittered existence. And as we cannot face that thing called death, we invent all kinds of theories; in the East reincarnation, here resurrection, or whatever it is. If you believe in reincarnation - as millions and millions do in the Orient - implying that you will be born to a next life, the `you' being a constant, a permanent entity (there is no such thing as permanence, but that doesn't matter) if you believe in reincarnation you must live an extraordinarily intense, clear, virtuous life now, because in the next life you are going to pay for it, the next life will be equally of torture, agony. If you believe this you must live the right kind of life now, not tomorrow; live peacefully, not creating antagonism in another, because the next life will be what you have made of this life. But as nobody wants to bring about such a tremendous revolution in their lives, then reincarnation, or resurrection, or any other form of belief, is just an afternoon virtue, which has no value whatsoever. If you are really serious, to find out the implications of death, then you have to come into contact with that fact of death, actually come into contact with it - not theoretically, not as something which you have got to face, therefore let's face it, but rather by coming directly into contact with it, by dying. Dying - I mean by that word, coming to the end of all the things that you have known psychologically, your experiences, your pleasures, to die - every day. Otherwise, you will never know what death is; for it is only in the dying that there is something new, not in continuing the old. Most of us are so weighed down by the known, by the yesterday, by the memories, by the `me', the `self', which is but a bundle of memories accumulated yesterday, having no actual existence in itself. Die to those memories; actually die to a pleasure without any argument. If you know what it means to die to a pleasure, to something that you have taken great pleasure in - without argument, without postponement, without any sense of resentment, bitterness - that is what is going to happen when you do die. And to die every day, to everything that you have gathered psychologically, is to be totally reborn. If you do not die in that way, then you have the continual problem of this memory that you have accumulated as the `me' and the self-centred activity that we indulge in - the thought of `my' house, `my' family, `my' book, `my' fame, `my' loneliness - you know, that little entity that moves around incessantly within itself, with its own limited pattern of existence. Will that continue? - you understand? - that is the problem we have. Either one knows how to die every day, and dying actually, the mind is fresh, instant, eager, tremendously alive, or, there is this bundle of memories, of self-centred activity, with all its thoughts, searching for fulfilment, wanting to be somebody, imitating, copying. That whole network of thought - will that continue? - yet that is what we want to continue. We say, at the least, if I haven't fulfilled in this life, perhaps I will in the next. All the desire to fulfil tomorrow, is the next life - I do not know if you understand that - thought centres round the `me' and it will obviously continue in some form or another; but that way of living is so stupid, it is like a machine that goes on endlessly, well-oiled, with little friction. And this continues to take place when - as we have done - we divide living from dying, for living is dying, (that is the fundamental fact of that word which we are using) you cannot live if you do not die every minute to every instance of psychological knowledge, information, gathering, pleasure - it is only then, perhaps, that we shall understand what love is. For us, as we are, love is something terrible, something which is an agony, hedged about by jealousy, envy and uncertainty in all relationships. All our intimate relationship is based on love as pleasure and desire; in this love we know possession, domination, fear, the agony of not being loved, of not knowing how to love - you know all that we go through. Never knowing what it means and we die. Love has no sorrow; sorrow and love cannot go together; but in the Christian world suffering is idealized, it is put on a cross and worshipped - implying that you can never escape from suffering except through one particular door, all of which is the central dogma of an exploiting religious society. What we know as love is only hate, jealousy, antagonism, brutality and war. And love is not the opposite of hate, any more than humility is the opposite of vanity. A vain person can never be humble - he can struggle and achieve a form of humility, but it is hypocrisy. Being rid of vanity in every form - psychologically, inwardly, deeply, without the searching for humility - then there is humility and there is love. You know, the word `love' is so spoilt; every newspaper, every magazine and soap advertisement, talks about love - like the word `God' - and we are trying to use that same word yet give it an entirely different content.

Love cannot possibly be cultivated; it cannot be put together by thought. Thought is always old and love can never be old. All our relationship is based on thought; thought has created images which come between people, and it is these images that have relationships; so love doesn't exist. Love is always new - yet neither new nor old, something entirely different.

So, again, there are all the major problems of life, and they are complex - one must come to them very simply, not demanding a thing. Then one discovers for oneself a state of mind that is not touched by thought, a totally different dimension that man is always seeking. It is only when one stops seeking, and faces the fact of what actually is and goes beyond, that one will discover it for oneself.

Do you want to discuss any of this?

Questioner: There are parts of our unconscious which are active, because new; must we not get into contact with those parts of our unconscious?

Krishnamurti: Is not all consciousness limited? - just listen, don't accept or deny, we will go into it together. All consciousness is limited because there is always the centre and a circumference. Where there is a centre - and all consciousness must have a centre - there must be a frontier, a border, therefore limitation. That is to say, when you look at the stars of an evening there is the space between you, the observer who sees, and the stars - there is that immense space - the space created by the centre in relation to the object. As long as there is this centre, this observer, the space, no matter how vast, must be limited. This hall has space enclosed by four walls, and outside there is space because of the hall. This hall is the centre in space in which this hall exists. This microphone creates space round itself, and exists in space. Space is that which exists when there is a centre, as the microphone, or as the `me', the observer. Consciousness may be expanded but as long as there is an observer, a centre, it is always limited, conditioned. This expansion of consciousness can be achieved in various ways - taking drugs, for example, but we are not concerned with that - yet however much it may be expanded, it is always conditioned, it is always limited. Now, in this consciousness, there is the unconscious and the conscious. The unconscious is not outside the centre which creates the space, and therefore not outside the limitation. In that conditioning, in that limitation, there is the division of the unconscious and the conscious. And, in the unconscious - the questioner says - there are certain activities which are beyond thought, with which one must come into contact. Is there anything in the unconscious which is new? - obviously not. Look at the problem very simply, in another way; if you recognize a `new' experience, that very recognition is born from the old, that `new' experience is not new at all. (I do not know if you are following all this). I recognize you because I met you, yesterday; I met you, and the memory remains, from that I recognize you today. And when I recognize, what I call a `new' experience, it is really the old, set in a different frame, under different circumstances. Therefore, as long as there is a process of recognition, there is no experience which is new. This is a tremendous thing to discover; a mind that has discovered this does not depend on experience at all;-a different matter altogether.

23rd April 1967


Paris, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 3rd Public Talk Paris 23rd April 1967

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