Talk and Dialogues Saanen 1967 1st Public Dialogue 2nd August 1967
We are going to talk things over together for six days. I think we ought to be clear what these so-called discussions are. They are a dialogue, a form of conversing seriously together about problems, going into them not only analytically, carefully, but also seeing the whole structure of each problem: not merely the details of it, but its whole form and content. As this is a conversation, a dialogue between you and the speaker, we ought to be vulnerable; that is, not have any defence, any resistance, but be willing to expose ourselves completely not only to the problem, but to what is involved in the problem, giving our whole attention to it. So this dialogue, this conversation is not an intellectual amusement, a mere exchange of arguments - one opinion against another, or one formula against another formula, or one experience against various other experiences. Rather it is to look into the very problem itself and not merely be concerned with how to be rid of it, how to go beyond it; nor how to have a concept or a formula, which we hope will solve all problems. So we are not dealing with ideas, we are not concerned with an idea which is yours, or that of the speaker. What we are concerned with is the fact, with what is - what actually is! Then if you and the speaker both accept that we are starting with what actually is - not what you think about it or what you think it should be - then our relationship in this dialogue will be entirely different; it won't be a one-sided affair. It will be worthwhile to be vulnerable to everything that is said, not rejecting anything; so that one begins to be very sensitive, alert to the problem itself. If this is somewhat clear and I hope we shall clarify it as we go along during these six days meeting here every morning, then we can with profit go into the various problems that we have.
So what shall we talk about?
Questioner (1): I don't quite understand the phrase, `a light unto yourself; and also having no challenge related to experience.
Questioner (2): I wonder what is the right use of our faculties? You said during the last conference that even art and science as well as financial or political activities may be an escape. What can we do with our faculties which won't be an escape from actual life itself?
Questioner (3): To understand violence one has to understand also the fact of loneliness with its hopes and fears could we go into this?
Questioner (4): Could we discuss the problem of having a goal in life, an aim and purpose and not being conditioned by it?
Questioner (5): What is right action?
Questioner (6): Could you go into the question of identification with regard to feeding the ego?
Krishnamurti: Now which of these questions shall we take?
Questioner (7): What is thinking?
Questioner (8): Could we have a purpose in life without being conditioned?
Questioner (9): My question is also about motive - there is a school which is being started in Santa Barbara and I have a problem - about the motivation of being completely passive. I don't do anything; I just respond to the immediate situation - but there is the question of one's motive.
Krishnamurti: When we discuss one subject very closely, intimately, in detail, perhaps we shall be able to touch all these problems. So which of these problems that have been raised shall we take up and go into completely?
Questioner (10): Discussing the purpose of life will involve all other questions.
Questioner (11): Maybe we can discuss questions, Sir. What are fundamental questions?
Krishnamurti: That's what I was going to ask. What is a fundamental question? Are we asking a fundamental question? I'm not saying you're not; I'm just asking. Will these questions we have raised this morning reveal the ways of our thinking, will they reveal in detail the issues which we want to understand? Or are we asking peripheral questions, questions that are rather superficial? I'm not saying that they are but I want to find out what is a fundamental question. For instance, a fundamental question (it appears to me - I may be mistaken) is this question of violence, the problem of vulnerability - being vulnerable because defence implies violence. Any form of resistance is violence. And if we are going to discuss violence, is it a problem to you or is it merely an idea? You see there is so much violence in the world today and I want to understand it. Is the violence out there, or here? If it is here, then what is my question? Do I want to solve the violence out there - expressing itself in racial riots in America, violence in Vietnam, every form of violence that exists outside - or are we questioning violence in itself, as it is in me, which expresses itself outwardly? Therefore, in questioning this violence, I'm vulnerable to discover the truth of it. But if I'm merely examining the violence outside me, it becomes of academic interest. So when we put all these questions, are we relating them to ourselves, or to an objective fact outside of us? (I hope I'm making myself clear on this point.)
Questioner: Sir, instead of asking the question `what is violence?', the fundamental question is `why am I violent?'
Krishnamurti: It comes to the same thing, Sir. Why am I violent and do I know the nature of violence, do I know what is implied in that violence? Sir, we must be clear how we converse about this. Are we exchanging ideas, opinions, or are we conversing together so that we can penetrate more and more deeply into this fact of violence, which is in us? Therefore, if we are discussing violence, we must be vulnerable to this fact and not resist it: not say `I am not vulnerable', `I am above all violence' (which would be absurd) nor say, `I'm only concerned with the improvement of the world and stopping violence out there'.
So, we are conversing together over the problem of violence, not as an idea, but as a fact that exists in a human being. And the human being is me! - not the Vietnamese, the American, the Russian, the Egyptian, the Israelite - it is me, here, as a human being. And to go into this question I must be completely vulnerable, open! I must expose myself to myself; not necessarily expose myself to you - because you might not be interested - but I must be in a state of mind which demands that I see this thing right to the end, and therefore be vulnerable right through: at no point do I stop and say, I won't go any further. If we could so discuss, go into this, it would be really extraordinary. So shall we take violence? Yes? (Approval) Right.
Why do you want to take it? Why do you want to enter into that subject?
Questioner (1): Because we are violent, I am violent.
Krishnamurti: You say, `I want to go into it because I am violent'. Questioner (2): I want to take violence, go into it, because I'm a violent human being.
Krishnamurti: I have experienced violence as anger, violence in my sexual demand, violence as hatred creating enmity, violence as jealousy, and so on - I have experienced it, I have known it. And I say to myself, I want to understand this whole problem, not one aspect of it, not one fragment of it - as war or as hate - but aggression in man ( which exists in animals of which we are part). I am a human being, I am violent. Now, is that what you feel? - as a human being, not driven by circumstances to be violent - you understand?
There are two schools of thought; one says `violence is innate in man; `violence is part of his nature, he's born with it, it is his structure'. The other says `violence is the result of the social or cultural structure in which he lives'. Right? That is, human beings are innately violent, or they are violent because society has made them so. We are not discussing which school you belong to. What is important is that we are violent; and is it possible to go beyond it? That is the whole question; not whether it is innate or is the result of the social structure in which we live. Now let's proceed. I am violent - right? Now what do you mean by that word `violent'?
Krishnamurti: I know, Sir, aggressiveness. But how do you know you are violent? What does that word mean to you? - not according to the dictionary - but how do you know when you are violent?
Questioner: I am angry, violent, when I can't get what I want.
Krishnamurti: Sir, just a minute, let's begin very simply. Anger; we all know anger or irritation. Would you call anger violence? Go slowly, Sir. You would call it violence, wouldn't you? Now, there is righteous anger and unrighteous anger. When my wife or sister is attacked I'm righteously angry; when my property is taken away from me I'm righteously angry. Wait, wait! I don't say you are that way - you may have no property. I'm just saying there is righteous anger and unrighteous anger. When my country is attacked, my God, my ideas, my principles, my habits, I am angry. I take drugs and if anybody says it's wrong I am very annoyed. So, when you say `anger' is there righteous anger, ever? No, Sir, please - go into this very carefully - or is there only anger? There is not good influence and bad influence, but only influence. That means, when you are influenced by somebody which doesn't suit me, I call that, `evil influence'. There is only anger; not `righteous' or `unrighteous' anger - right? We have experienced that. You tread on my toe and I get angry. You say something to me which I don't like and I get angry; or, you take away the money, the substance on which I have lived, I get angry; or, my wife runs away with you and I get jealous - that jealousy is righteous, because she is my property. (Laughter) No, no, Sirs, please, don't brush it away by laughing. That is justified legally, morally, in the Church, religiously, and so on. That is justified. To kill for my country is also justified, legally. So, when we are talking about anger, which is a part of violence, do we look at anger in terms of righteous and unrighteous anger, or do I see anger? - not in terms according to my inclination. Now, how do I look at anger?
Questioner (1): It is something to do with the `I'.
Questioner (2): It's me.
Krishnamurti: But how do you look at it, how do you feel about it?
Questioner: I want to protect the me and what belongs to me or I think it belongs to me).... Krishnamurti: Therefore, it is righteous.
Questioner: It is never righteous, but it is.
Krishnamurti: The moment you protect it, it becomes righteous. The moment I protect an idea, the family, the country, the belief, the dogma, the thing that I demand, that I hold - as long as I protect it, that very protection indicates anger. I don't know if you see this?
Questioner: My violence is energy to get something.
Krishnamurti: Yes Sir. Violence is part of this drive to acquire. But for the moment, Sir, we are trying to go into this question of anger which is part of violence. How do I regard anger? How do you?
Questioner: I am part of anger.
Krishnamurti: No, no, Don t reduce it to `I am anger'. How do you look at it, how do you feel about it?
Questioner: Sir, can I look at anger when I'm not angry? otherwise it's part of memory....
Krishnamurti: The questioner says, `at the present moment I am not angry, when I look at anger it is a memory which I have had and I look at that'. That's good enough. Of course at the present moment your property is not threatened, your wife is not taken away - you're not angry. But wait a minute, you'll get angry presently if I tackle (laughter), if I approach something which you hold on to? - an idea, a belief, a dogma, as your country, as your God, as your Queen, King, whatever it is. If I say to you, if you take drugs, `how childish it is', you will be annoyed. So, how do you consider anger? Can you look at anger without any explanation, any justification, any sense of protection? Can you look at anger as though it was something by itself? - I'm putting it wrongly. Are you aware of anger the moment after? - or at the moment you are angry? Questioner: Certainly, I think, when I'm angry, Sir.
Krishnamurti: When you are angry, at that moment, are you aware you are angry, or when the thing is over?, `I am angry'. The adrenal glands are working and everything: anger! Am I aware at that moment, or, a moment after?
Questioner: The moment after! I can't feel it in the moment if I can't stop it.
Krishnamurti: No, please, please look at it, do let's consider before we answer it. We are discussing anger a part of this enormous complex thing called violence; how do I look at that anger? Do I look at it with my eyes which say, `you are right, you are justified in being angry' or, do I look at that anger condemning it?
Questioner: If I can notice that I'm angry at the very moment....
Krishnamurti: No, Madame, that's not the question we are asking. We are asking, `how do I regard anger'? Do look at it. You have been angry, how do you look at it, how do you consider it? Do you justify it or do you condemn it?
Questioner: I condemn it - it depends on my state of mind - .
Krishnamurti: No, no Madame, it is not your state of mind. Do you condemn it and justify it?
Questioner: Sometimes I don't....
Krishnamurti: Look Sir. Do you condemn war? Do you? or do you justify war?
Questioner: Not all war.
Krishnamurti: Madame, do consider it, please don't answer so quickly. Do you condemn homosexuality? Yes? No? Why? You see, you haven't considered these problems, you are just reacting. Here is an enormous problem: anger; how do you look at it, how do you consider it? Can you look at it completely objectively? - which means you neither justify it, nor condemn it? Can you do that?
Questioner: Can we consider anger by considering what it is not to he angry?
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, no Sir. I am angry, Sir, do please follow this for two minutes. I am angry. I either justify it or I say, how stupid of me to be angry.
Questioner: Why not he angry?
Krishnamurti: Be angry! All right! But you are not meeting my point. If you're angry and you like it, be angry. If you enjoy it, if you feel that it is righteous, if you feel it gives you a great deal of satisfaction - you can't kick your wife but you kick somebody else, so it gives you a tremendous feeling of fulfilment.
Questioner: I didn't mean that, Sir; I am angry....
Krishnamurti: Ah, you're angry. All right. Now please, Sir, do stick to one thing, I beg of you. I am angry. Being angry how do I regard it?
Questioner: At the moment of anger I do not regard it in any way.
Krishnamurti: Right Sir. That's understood. At the moment of anger, you are in it, you can't look at it. But the moment after how do you consider it? Righteous or unrighteous, justified, or do you say, it's terrible to be angry? What is your position?
Questioner: One is bewildered.
Krishnamurti: Oh, no.
Questioner: Sir, I think the first reaction is not as you suggest - one wonders about it and then you fall into temptation - you start to analyse it and look at the problem and its indications.
Krishnamurti: So, you either condemn it or justify it.
Questioner: Of course! You wonder about it.
Krishnamurti: Wait. You wonder about it, which means you want to know why it has come, what are the motives and what is the reason of your questioning that anger. Go slowly, Sir. Go into it slowly. What is the motive of your examination of that anger?
Questioner: Because it's an uncomfortable feeling.
Krishnamurti: That's it. You don't like it.
Krishnamurti: Therefore you condemn it.
Questioner: Analysis is condemnation.
Krishnamurti: Of course it is.
Questioner: And that brings up a problem then.
Krishnamurti: Wait, wait, Sir, don't bring another problem. Go step by step into it. So your attitude towards anger is that of condemnation, you cannot look at anger objectively, which means being vulnerable to it.
Questioner: Yes, that's the problem.
Krishnamurti: Wait, keep to that, we'll develop it as we go along. You condemn it and I justify it. I say, `perfectly right'. I have a right to be angry because you trod on my toe, or you said something insulting to me. So, I justify it and you condemn it. Neither of us can look at anger objectively. That's all my point. Questioner: Right.
Krishnamurti: Now, how will you understand anger if you do not look at it objectively, which means, neither condemning it nor justifying it?
Questioner: But that means going with it.
Krishnamurti: Ah, wait. First - don't go with it or against it, just look at what is involved in it. Can I look at you if I'm antagonistic to you? I can't. Or, if you say, what a marvellous chap you are, I can't either. So, I must look at you with a certain care in which neither of these two things are involved. Now in the same way can I look at anger, neither justifying it nor condemning it? Which means I am vulnerable to that problem - you understand Sir? - in that there is no protection, I don't resist it, I am watching this extraordinary phenomenon called anger without any reaction to it. You understand Sir?
Questioner: I hear those words but I don't really see what you're driving at.
Krishnamurti: I'm not driving at anything. I am just saying it is impossible to understand anger if I justify it or condemn it, that's all. Wait. If you say `obviously', then you will look at anger hereafter objectively.
Questioner: (In French) Is it possible to consider anger without any motive? I always justify or condemn.
Krishnamurti: That's what we are saying, Sir. Do please give thought to this thing. I am angry, either I justify it or condemn it and therefore I never understand it - right? Can we put away this feeling of justification or condemnation when we look at anger?
Questioner: Anger is not objective and therefore I can't look at anger objectively. Krishnamurti: Can I look at my anger inwardly without identifying with it, which means justifying it or condemning it, which means resisting it? I don't see how you're going to go into the deeper issue when you don't understand this very simple fact. To comprehend something I must look at it completely dispassionately - right?
Questioner: It is impossible when we're angry.
Krishnamurti: At the moment of anger you're lost, but the moment after, or when preparing yourself not to be angry in the future.
Questioner: Anger is an excess of vitality.
Krishnamurti: Why do you limit vitality to anger only? You see you don't go into this.
Questioner: Sir, I don't think we know what it means to look at something dispassionately.
Krishnamurti: We're going to go into it, Sir. If I cannot look at myself dispassionately, I can't go beyond that.
Questioner: I deal with the pleasant feeling, the opposite of the anger....
Krishnamurti: No, but I examine it too; I don't just examine what I don't like, I examine everything.
Questioner: How can you look at a passionate state dispassionately?
Krishnamurti: You can look at passion without identifying yourself with it, or condemning it. But, Sir, you haven't even taken the first step - to look. I want to understand myself, myself being a very complex entity - a living thing, not a dead thing! I want to understand that. How do I look at myself? - I have to learn to look at myself. To look at a child I mustn't condemn him or adore him, I must have the eyes to look at him with care, with affection; not the affec- tion which says, `he's my baby' but to look at him. In the same way I have to look at myself; and part of myself is this violence; and anger is of this violence. I say, now I am angery, I have known anger - can I look at it?
Questioner: Essentially, however, is the mind not like the `I', it cannot see itself?
Krishnamurti: Sir, when you say, that the mind cannot look at itself you have stopped all enquiry, you have blocked yourself.
Questioner: (In French) One knows anger - one can,t do anything about it.
Krishnamurti: That is, one can't do anything about anger, one just accepts it. All right, accept it!
Questioner: I dare not see anger, I'm afraid of it. Is not anger part of fear?
Krishnamurti: Of course, but that's not the problem. Now, let's begin all over again.
Questioner: Can't I look with a sense of curiosity.
Krishnamurti: Look Madame, let's find out. Have you looked at a tree or a cloud without condemning it or accepting it? Passing it by have you stopped and looked at a tree or a cloud without any movement of thought? Have you? Well apparently you haven't.
Questioner: (In French) Could we consider fear?
Krishnamurti: Wait, wait. Sir, look. I want to understand the beauty, the movement of the tree, I want to look at it. It's outside me so I can look at it, it doesn't interfere with my thoughts, with my wife, with my husband, with my property - it is there! So I can look at it quite objectively, can,t I? Now, how do I look at that tree? Do I look at it with all my thought going, chattering, or, when I do look at that tree, my mind is quiet, because that tree is extraordinarily beautiful, I look at it. What do you do?
Questioner: Nothing, but looking.
Krishnamurti: Which means what?
Questioner: Being there, watching.
Krishnamurti: In that watching there is neither condemnation nor justification, is there? You just look - right? Like a flower, you look at it. Which means, no interference of thought - right? Now, to look at anger is much more difficult, isn't it, because it is subjective, it affects you. If you have not been able to look at a tree so dispassionately, how can you look at yourself, who are part of violence? And that's what we are trying to do. Here I am. I am violent as a human being. I don't know whether I've inherited it or the society around me has produced this violence in me. I am brown, black and you're all white - and you don't like brown, black, purple people - so you dislike me and so I get angry. And here I am violent; I'm not concerned whether I've inherited it or society has given it to me, what I am concerned with is whether it is at all possible, first of all, to be free of it. I'm really interested - you understand? It means everything to me to be free of violence. It's more important to me than sex, food, position - this thing is corrupting me and I want to understand it, I want to be beyond it. And to be beyond it I can't suppress it, I can't deny it, I can't say, `it's part of me'. I don't want it! And, I have to understand it, I have to look at it, I have to study it, I have to go into it. I must become very intimate with it and I can't become intimate with it if I condemn it or justify it - right? But we do condemn it, we do justify it. Therefore, I'm saying - stop, for the time being, condemning it or justifying it. Questioner: How can I be objective to my condemnation and my justification?
Krishnamurti: Sir, you can be objective to your condemnation or justification when you realize that they interfere when you are looking at anger. When I'm concerned with anger and trying to understand it, justification and condemnation interfere with that study of it, therefore I have to put it away.
Questioner: I don't.
Krishnamurti: You don't because to you the study of anger is not important; to me it is enormously important. Therefore as it is so important, these minor things don't matter. Sir, I want to understand affection, love. I must give my whole being to it, I must study it, I must he familiar with it, I must know every corner of it. And because of my tremendous serious intention and interest in that, everything else becomes secondary. So, when you are studying anger, you're either studying it as a curiosity or you're studying it because you want to understand this thing that is destroying you - destroying the world. I want to understand it, I want to be free of it, I want to be above and beyond it. Therefore, I'm not interested in condemning or justifying it - it has no value. It reduces it to a personal, petty little affair. Right? Can we proceed? Sir, are you really interested in understanding anger - anger which is part of violence, part of hate?
Questioner: It means we have to have energy to look at it.
Krishnamurti: Of course, but you're dissipating that energy when you're condemning it or justifying it.
Questioner: (In French) If I don't see very clearly and deeply that one must consider this problem of violence and anger, if by listening to you about it I become serious, am I not merely being stimulated by you to be interested? Krishnamurti: You are right. The questioner says, am I being stimulated by you, the speaker, to be interested in anger or am I really interested in it apart from any stimulation?' You see how little we have advanced? We have spent an hour over something very simple. That is, I can only look at anger when I'm really passionately interested to find out if it is possible to go beyond it. But apparently you're not interested in it.
Questioner: In all the questions during the last hour, it appears that none of us is as serious as you are. That makes it rather hopeless.
Krishnamurti: It's up to you, Sirs! You mean to say you are not interested in war?
Questioner: ...not the way you are.
Krishnamurti: Not the way I am - aren't you? - don't you want to stop wars, don't you want to stop violence? Of course you say you do. But how much vitality, what energy, what will you give to it?
Questioner: Would you discuss meditation in relation to anger?
Krishnamurti: We are doing that Sir. We are really meditating about anger.
Questioner: Maybe we should discuss communication. Isn't that what you meant when you said....
Krishnamurti: Of course, of course. So, could we discuss or talk over for a while what communication means. You may be tremendously interested to resolve this problem of violence, but I'm not. I'm casual about the whole thing. How do we communicate with each other? I say to you, `I love you', and you say `yes, it's a nice day, isn't it?' and pass by. (No, you laugh. It doesn't mean a thing to you!) When I say, `I love you', you must listen, you must stop, you must see if I really mean it. Then you can reject me or whatever you like. But first you must stop, there must be communication, there must be a sense of together understanding the thing. There is the question of violence, and to you it is not important whether your children are killed, whether your sons go to the army, are trained, bullied, butchered - you don't care! You say `all right, let's talk about it'.
May we ask a question? Why is it that you don't care? You understand? Your daughters are going to get married or it is your son who is going to be called to the army. In America that's going on - they're dodging conscription, the draft. our sons are being sent to Vietnam to be shot to pieces - aren't you interested? My God! And if that doesn't interest you, what does? Keeping your money? Having a good time? Taking drugs?
Questioner: I believe it is an assumption to say that we are not interested.
Krishnamurti: I didn't say that. I very carefully didn't assume anything. I said, if you're not interested in violence, which means your children being destroyed, what are you interested in? Are you interested in some abstraction?
Questioner: But we are interested in violence.
Krishnamurti: All right. If you are interested then listen with your heart and mind to find out! Don't sit back and say, well tell us all about it. The speaker points out that to look at anger, you don't look at it with eyes that condemn or justify, put that away. And you can't put those two away if this anger isn't a burning problem. I don't know if you have seen a picture in a newspaper, an incident in New Delhi? A man with a long stick is hitting another who is Chinese. Have you seen that picture? A crowd is standing around him, people with hands in their pockets - and these are the Indians who have been told for centuries not to hurt. You understand Sir? When you look at that picture you realize what human beings are. And I am part of it, a human being. And I say to myself - how am I who am responsible for all this (I feel responsible, you understand? I feel responsible, it isn't just a set of words) and I say to myself, I can only do something if I am beyond anger, beyond violence, beyond nationality. That feeling that I must understand brings tremendous vitality, energy and passion to find out. So, first I have to learn how to look at anger; I have to learn how to look at my wife, at my husband, at my children; I have to learn how to listen to the politician, I have to learn now - you understand, Sir? I have to learn why I am not objective, why I condemn or justify, I have to learn about it. I can't say, well it's part of my nature. I must know, so I have to tackle the question of learning. What do you think is the state of mind that learns?
Krishnamurti: Silence? Do you learn Italian when you're silent? or French, or German? - a language which you don't know. You can't be silent. You buy the book, you read it, all the verbs, the irregular verbs and go into it. In the same way we have to learn. You don't assume that first I must be silent and then learn. Here is something that you don't know. You don't know how to look at anger, therefore you have to learn, and to learn you have to study why you justify, why you condemn. You condemn and justify because it is part of your social structure, part of your inheritance. It's the easiest thing to do: to condemn or justify. You are German - out! Or you are a Negro - you cannot associate! That's the easiest thing to do! But study means care; you must love the language that you are studying.
Questioner: When I'm angry I see that physics and chemistry are going on inside me. Krishnamurti: Of course. Chemical changes are taking place when you're angry, but knowing chemical changes are taking place doesn't stop you from anger.
Questioner: One has to discover something much more fundamental....
Krishnamurti: Of course, Sir. But to discover something much more fundamental one must have the capacity to go deeply. If one has a blunt instrument, one can't go deeply. Now what we are doing is to sharpen the instrument, which is the mind. The mind has been made dull by justifying and condemning; if I see that I can only penetrate very deeply when my mind is as sharp as a needle, a diamond that can penetrate very deeply, then I demand such a mind, not just casually sit back and say, how am I to get it, but I want it as I want my next meal. And to have that I must see what makes the mind dull, stupid; what makes the mind dull is this sense of invulnerability which has built walls round itself; part of the wall is the condemnation and justification. If the mind can be rid of that, then I can look, study, penetrate.
Questioner: (In French) I feel myself responsible for violence, but I'm surprised that many people here don't seem to feel it.
Krishnamurti: What am I to do, Sir? I don't care whether they take it seriously or not. I take it seriously; that's enough. I am not my brother's keeper. To me, as a human being, I feel this very strongly, and that's all; what can I do? I will see that in myself I am not violent. I can't tell you or some body else: don't be violent. Is has no meaning, unless you yourself want it.
2nd August, 1967
Talk and Dialogues Saanen 1967 1st Public Dialogue 2nd August 1967
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