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London, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 1st Public Talk London 16th September 1967

I THINK IT WOULD be best, if I may suggest, that I talk for a while and then we can go into the details of what has been said and talk it over together and see if we can't go further into the matter.

I think we ought to keep these meetings quite informal and not have a series of talks in which you participate by merely listening and not taking any part. What would be worthwhile, it seems to me, would be that we share what we are going to talk over together. Because I feel that life has become so complex, the everyday living with all its strains, with all the pressures, the violence, the hatred, the brutality, the massing of opinions and judgments against people, all this has become so extraordinarily complex that unless one thinks and feels very clearly and makes one's way through this confusing world, I do not see how it is possible to come upon something which is not of this world - in which there is no violence, no evaluation of another, but only regard for facts. And so, it seems to me, what is important is to understand the psychological structure of the society in which w are caught, and see if it is at all possible to go beyond it; because most of the people throughout the world are discontented with the structure of society as it is. They are in revolt - the beatniks, the hippies, the long-haired ones and the short-haired ones. There are various forms of drugs to escape from the business world, from the world of the army, from the world of violence, from the world of routine - the structure that has no meaning whatsoever as it is - it is a matter of mere survival without any significance, without any deep meaning to it.

And we all know this; throughout the world this is going on, there is a major or minor form of revolt - disowning the country, burning the draft card and all the rest of it. There is a great deal of poverty and starvation for which, as the structure of the world is, there is no answer. There is a great deal of discontent - spending one's whole life, thirty, forty years in an office. And the revolution, whether it be of the right or of the left, has the same issue: that of man's relationship to man, the conflict, the misery, the suffering, the agony that each one of us goes through. We have to understand this because each one of us has brought this into being, we have created this society. Each one of us is responsible for the psychological structure of this society, because each one of us is greedy, violent, brutal, amassing judgments and opinions against others and holding on to our prejudices, our nationalities, our beliefs which have become superstition. We have built this society, of which we are part, and until we understand this structure, psychologically, inwardly, and perhaps are able to break through it - which is to go beyond it, not as an escape, not by going into a monastery, but actually become psychologically disentangled - I do not see how there can be a different world or how we can enter into a totally different dimension. Because that is, after all, what most of us are trying to find out - at least those who are fairly sane, fairly balanced, intelligent - a world which is not put together by thought, a world which is not the outcome of our own everlasting struggles and battles.

How we can come upon that world, of which man has talked endlessly - it has been called by different names, in the East it has one name, in the West another? For man wants to find something that is more than mere physical living, with all its comforts and discomforts and so on. I feel that one cannot possibly come upon this unless we are capable of disentangling ourselves from the psychological structure which we call the society in which we live. So if you will we shall go into that first: whether it is possible, living in this world, to be free of this world, be free of anxiety, fear, despair, of the utter boredom of existence which has very little meaning as it is, and in which there is no affection. And living a daily life in this world, whether the mind can free itself from its own structure, which it has built; psychologically it has built a structure of greed, of acquisitiveness, of envy, of violence, of deep unmitigated despair. I think that is the real issue. People have attempted it by withdrawing from this world into a monastery, by various forms of escape, through drugs, through beliefs, through denials, through complete self-sacrifice and so on. But it seems to me that doesn't lead very far. What they escape into is their own projection, and their own projection is not very enlightening.

So one asks oneself, if one is at all serious, whether a mind caught in its own psychological structure can really free itself from its own bondage. Because it is only in freedom that one can see, that one can listen, observe and watch - being free, not in a particular direction but totally free, all round. Freedom is not in fragments - being free here and not free there. But a freedom that comes into being with complete self-knowledge - by knowing oneself completely - to enquire into such freedom and go into it more deeply, widely, seems to me worthwhile, because every other problem has very little meaning.

So the enquiry is whether freedom is possible for the mind with all its complexity - both the conscious as well as the unconscious mind - the mind that goes to the office, the technological mind, the mind that lives at home with a wife and children, the mind that is in constant battle with itself, and the mind that is groping after something that is real, true, that is of no church, no dogma, no religion. Until one finds that - and one cannot find it without this freedom which comes when there is total self-knowing - any form of search, any form of enquiry into another dimension seems to me utterly futile; such enquiry is based on belief (generally) and belief is essentially superstition. To believe is to be superstitious, which is to avoid facts, to avoid `what is'. And `what is' is this psychological structure which the mind has created for itself, in which it is caught. During these talks and discussions we are going to enquire whether the mind can be free. To enquire sanely, intelligently, healthily, one must become aware of one's own bandages and be free of them - surely? Because if I want to enquire into anything there must be a certain amount of freedom; I can't be tethered to a particular conclusion, to any particular belief or even to any particular knowledge. One must be free of them to enquire - to enquire into one's self which is so absolutely necessary - otherwise you have no basis for any rational, clear thinking.

To enquire one must be free from the dogmas, the particular Freudian or Indian psychologies; if you enquire along their lines you are finding out what they think and you don't know about yourself. That seems to me fairly obvious. If I want to know about myself, I have to put away totally, completely, Freud, Jung, or any psychologist, any analyst or any philosopher, or any religious teacher, or any form of authority. Because if the mind can put away all that, then I can look at myself actually as I am - discover what actually is and from there find out, move.

First, is one capable of doing that? It demands a great seriousness, it demands energy; to watch oneself in every action, in every thought, in every feeling, in every gesture, to be aware of all this. And is one sufficiently serious or does one merely play with these things and enquire with curiosity, outwardly, into something that has no value at all? So the first thing is to ask oneself if one is serious. I don't see how you can not be serious. Because every indication of what is going on in the world - the wars, the brutalities, the utter loneliness and boredom of everyday existence, the routine - all that must make one very serious. I mean not serious about something, not serious about a particular belief or a particular activity, but that quality of mind that is serious in itself. And I think that is rather difficult, for most of us are serious about something, about a particular fancy, a particular idea, a particular dogma or in seeking a particular experience. Most of those hippies are serious because they want to find out a different way of living, and their seriousness takes innumerable forms: drugs, living in a community and so on, and so on. But it seems to me that the quality of seriousness in itself is entirely different - the quality of seriousness which is not `about something', which is in itself serious. I don't know if I am able to convey this: a mind that is inherently, inescapably serious. I do not know if you have noticed that serious quality is with the young; a young mind is serious, but the older mind is serious about something. Because the older mind has already found answers, ways of meeting life. It is already burdened with knowledge, with experience, it is already old; but a young mind is in itself serious and from that seriousness it begins to act and think and feel.

It seems to me that one must have this seriousness to begin to enquire into oneself, healthily, not neurotically. Because what I am is the world; the world as it is, is what I am; the individual as well as the collective: I am all that. This is not some mystical state, this is an actual daily fact. I am greedy and I have created a world that is greedy; I am acquisitive, I am anxious, I am violent, I am competitive, and I have created a psychological structure of a society in which it is possible for those things to express themselves. So the world is not different from what I am, and the individual, as the `me' is the collective - which is the various forms of the `me'. So I think we should not get lost in this battle between the individual and the collective, the whole and the particular. When we exaggerate one, we destroy the other. But when one regards the total structure of man - not the Englishman, the Frenchman, the German, the Russian, the Chinese - but man throughout the world, one sees he is caught in this. Wherever one goes one finds the same problems, the same daily problems, the same daily anxieties, worries, despairs, and fears of death. So when we are enquiring into ourselves we are not isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. It is not a process of unhealthy isolation; on the contrary, it is the most sane thing to do, because one observes the world, the society in which one lives and it is so corrupt, so brutal that one demands a change, an inward revolution. Obviously the outward revolutions, the Communists, the old French Revolution and so on, they have led back to the same old pattern. But what is necessary is not mere outward economic social revolution, but psychological revolution, so that each one is a different entity altogether. And to enquire into oneself there must first be seriousness; to enquire into oneself one must see actually `what is', both outwardly and inwardly - not having an opinion of what is the outer and what is the inner, but just look.

I do not know if you have ever looked at anything - looked at a cloud or a tree, looked at a flower or looked at your neighbour, or at yourself - looked, watched. I think that watching, looking, is immensely important. We look through the image which we have about the thing which we are watching. You look at me and you have an image about me and according to that image you are looking. Is it possible to look without the image? - to watch, to look, without any evaluation, but merely to observe what actually is? Because we are a mass of contradictions, we are conditioned in various ways, by the climate, the food, the literature, the pressures of society, the propaganda and so on. There is the propaganda of the church as well as the propaganda in the newspapers, of politics or sports, or whatever it is. We are conditioned. And with that conditioning we look at ourselves - that is, if we want to look at ourselves! And so we never observe `what is', we are looking at the projection which we have formed about ourselves. So if one is serious, the first thing to discover for oneself is how one observes anything; how one observes the neighbour, the cloud, and oneself. Can I look at myself actually as I am, psychologically? That watching in itself is an extraordinary discipline, isn't it? To look in itself is a discipline, isn't it? But we have disciplined ourselves to look - which is an entirely different thing. We have spent our energy in disciplining ourselves - to be, to look, to listen, to strive, to adjust and so on and so on. So the discipline has conditioned us; whereas the very act of listening, looking, at anything, demands in itself a form of discipline.

I want to listen to you, to what you're saying: to listen I must give complete attention. If my mind wanders off I'm not listening. But to stop this wandering is a form of discipline which is a waste of energy. Whereas what is important is the watching: watching not only myself, but the wandering away from what I'm watching. What I am concerned with is watching, not that which I am watching. I want to watch myself but, as I am watching, my thoughts go off, wander off, so I try to bring those thoughts back to the point which I am watching, and so there is a conflict. Whereas if my concern is watching, I watch `what is' and I am also watching when the mind wanders off, so there is no contradiction. My concern is watching all the time. And that watching in itself creates its own discipline; hence that very enquiry into oneself is its own discipline. And one needs such discipline to go into oneself totally.

For the moment we'll leave it at that and continue tomorrow morning. So let us talk over together what we have talked about. Questioner: This watching oneself is the most difficult thing.

Krishnamurti: I wonder why? Well, let's talk about it. Please, here there is no authority, I am not an authority. Before we begin to ask questions, let's find out what makes us ask questions. One must ask questions, one must not accept anything, any authority, including that of the speaker. We must have a healthy scepticism about everything. To ask questions surely is necessary. But why do we ask questions? To find out something? And from whom? From the speaker? Why do you look to the speaker to find an answer - or does the answer lie in the very question, if we know the right question? We can ask innumerable questions, very fundamental ones, superficial ones, or very casual questions. But to ask a question in itself demands a mind that has really enquired, gone into, asked, and begins to find out from within itself. So there is no authority. If one accepts that as a fundamental thing - that nobody is going to answer one's problem - one has to dig into it oneself. I feel that we do not know how to dig, how to look, how to enquire, go into it and it is this incapacity which might produce a question which will be a wrong question, whereas if we are able to find out why one does not have this capacity to go into oneself, to enquire, to look, to search, to answer, to find out, then our questions will have quite a different meaning. Then our questions will be right questions and therefore we will be likely to have right answers. Please, it doesn't mean that I'm preventing you from asking questions, but it is important to find out for oneself, why we ask and the nature of the question - and whether we expect somebody to answer. Or perhaps you ask as an enquiry, so that we can both go together, we can both take the journey into that question. Such an enquiry has meaning. Yes Sir? Questioner: Do you believe that each of us has enough inherent ability to begin to understand ourselves?

Krishnamurti: Has each one of us sufficient intelligence to enquire into himself?

Questioner: Well, I said to `understand'.

Krishnamurti: `Understand oneself'. Sir, when you apply yourself seriously to understand something, you begin to understand it. The scientist applies himself in his laboratory to find out the nature of matter; he may have little intelligence, but the more he applies it the more energy and the more quality of that intelligence comes into being. So here I am - I don't know anything about myself. I know what others have said about me, and I don't accept what others have said. They may be totally mistaken, or may be totally right, but I'm not interested in what others say. So I begin to learn about myself. I watch my thoughts, my feelings, my gestures and the words I use, the emotions I have, my reactions to various things; and out of that watching I am learning. So there is a much more fundamental issue involved, which is - does the learning about oneself demand time? That is - does one gradually learn about oneself? Is it a matter of gradually learning about myself?

Questioner: I think personal experience does show people that in fact we do not have this ability and that to understand oneself thoroughly requires a certain ability. I am a scientist, I am aware of how scientists pursue their work, and people do realize in the course of research that their ability is not sufficient to find the answer. And this is why people like Einstein were able to push the frontiers of science further, because they had a greater ability. And understanding oneself is a very difficult task and I'm asking: have we in fact got the ability? I don`t really think we have. Krishnamurti: Have we got the ability? I think one has if one applies it. Sir, that requires a great deal of energy, doesn't it? We dissipate energy; we dissipate energy in conflict, in judgments, in opinions. But if you are concerned actually with `what is' and are looking at yourself as you are, which is yourself, surely you have the energy; that energy will create its own intelligence. Have I that intelligence to enquire into myself? Why do I ask that question?

Questioner: It needs courage.

Krishnamurti: No, it doesn't - I don't think it needs courage or anything of that kind. Why do I ask whether I have the ability or the intelligence to look at myself and go through to the very end of it? Because I am already doubting that I have. So I've already blocked myself. I compare myself with others who have this ability, and through comparison I get lost.

Questioner: I never mentioned courage.

Krishnamurti: You did not, Sir.

Questioner: Can I tell you something?

Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir.

Questioner: I have been wondering for a long time whether or not we create ourselves entirely.

Krishnamurti: Obviously not. We are the product of so many influences, so many ideas, so many strains, propaganda, beliefs, and so on. We are a result and can we go beyond that result? If I was born in India with all the tradition of that particular class of people who call themselves Brahmins (who have been so heavily conditioned for centuries), and have been educated here and there, this entity is the result of all that. It is the product of all that, of education or lack of education - all that. And is it possible to go beyond it? If not, I am a prisoner in the particular trap in which I am caught; I can decorate the trap, make it more comfortable, but it's still a trap. What we are asking ourselves is whether it is possible to go beyond all this, beyond this fear, anxiety, brutality, violence, which we are.

Questioner: Is it best to start this self-enquiry during quiet moments, which occur during meditation, or any time during the day?

Krishnamurti: The word `meditation' and the word `quietness' and `enquiry' seem to me to contradict each other. One has to enquire, or rather be aware of what one is, in every relationship, in every movement of thought and feeling; that can take place when we are in a bus, or a tube, or talking to a friend and so on. But the question of meditation and silence, quietness, surely that is something entirely different. I do not know if you want to go into that - perhaps this is not the moment for it?

Questioner: Sir, enquiry implies no criticism, that seems a bit difficult. You have to avoid criticism, self-criticism.

Krishnamurti: That's it. How do we avoid criticism, self-criticism when we are enquiring, when we are looking? Sir, why do we have to have criticism when we are looking? I look at you, I look at myself, why should I criticize myself? The fact is what I am. Why should I criticize it? I am angry, I am violent - why should I criticise it? What do we mean by criticising? - evaluating it, having a judgment about it? I watch and I realize I am violent. That's a fact. Why should I have an opinion, a judgment, an evaluation about it? And how do I know that I am violent if I'm not judging at all - right, Sir? I have an image of non-violence, haven't I? When I judge, when I criticize, I have an idea that there is a state of mind which is not violent; and so the non-violence is used as a means to condemn violence. Now I have no ideas at all because they have no meaning, but what has meaning is `what is: that I am violent. Can I watch that violence without any form of criticism, without any form of evaluation, just observe it? I am violent in my relationships, I am violent in my office, I am violent in Vietnam. Violence has so many different forms - I am violent when I am greedy, envious, competitive, ambitious, when I hate, when I am jealous. Can I watch all its expressions as they happen? And when I watch them, why should I have any criticism about them? They are so. And as I watch, I begin to go into something much deeper, which is: who is the watcher? I watch in myself violence as jealously, or hate, whatever you will. I watch it. And as I watch, who is the observer that's watching? Is the observer different from that which he watches? Is not the observer himself violent? So the observer is the observed. No?

Questioner: Excuse me, Sir. Judgment is inherent... it is the way it happens. If there is something and you observe it, you are observing it from a position and there is a space between your position and what is observed - this is inherent in the way it happens.

Krishnamurti: Yes, that is - when I watch violence the very word violence has its own images. And the watcher who says, `I am watching my violence', that very verbalization of the watcher divides the watcher from the watched. Right? Questioner (interrupting: With regard to what you said about seriousness...

Krishnamurti: Let's finish this - sorry, Sir. Look, I watch violence. I see violence as anger, brutality, jealousy, tremendous efforts, competition, all the rest of it; I watch the expression of this violence in different forms. Can I watch them without verbalizing? And is the watcher merely watching without verbalizing? And is the division between the watcher and the watched created by the word? I don't know if you follow. And if there is no verbalization at all, then is the watcher different from that which he watches? One has to go into this very very deeply - it isn't a matter of casual explanation. Look, one watches a cloud. Do you watch it with a concept, with a word, or do you merely watch it? Not as an abstraction, but when you watch it without verbalisation - and hence there is no division between the watcher and the watched - then is there an observer?

Questioner: Is that the subject-object relationship between the observer, the watcher, and the watched?

Krishnamurti: Yes, yes, Sir. You know, Sir, I have been told by those people who have taken the drug LSD, that the space between the watcher and the watched disappears; the time interval ceases, for a second. And that state of observation in which the observer `is not' is entirely different from when there is the observer. Now, that LSD, whatever it does (it does a great deal of harm and so on) is a chemical reaction. But we are asking whether it is possible to come to some perception which is not induced by any drug, in which the observer is the observed. That is, the space and time interval ceases. And I say it is possible only when there is only watching, without the interference of the word, which is thought, which is knowledge, the idea, which is rationalized, organized thought. So when it is not there, then is the ob- server different from the observed? To find this out, to go into it very very deeply, is part of meditation. One has to go into it in detail; perhaps we will go into this whole question of meditation another time. But it is important when we are examining ourselves, looking at ourselves, not to create any conflict, which comes about through criticism, through denial, through suppression and resistance to `what is'. And the cessation of conflict only comes when the observer is the observed - which is when the space between the watcher and the watched ceases; because the watcher is violent, as well as that which he watches as violence - obviously! The two are not separate. When I say I am angry, `I' am not different from `anger'. Verbally, it's clear, but to actually experience it, to be in that state, is extraordinarily difficult. And we try various tricks like drugs and so on to dissipate that space and the time interval between the watcher and the watched.

Questioner: Sir, is the cessation of that space an involuntary action or a voluntary action?

Krishnamurti: That is, does that space disappear through will, or not? Isn't that it, Sir? Does anything disappear through will? I wish with all my being not to be jealous, but though I may set my will against it, I may resist it, it is always there in full form. So this whole problem of the will - that again would need going into in detail.

Questioner: When you contemplate something which seems in itself to be valuable, like a flower, and as a poet you could become that flower - then there is no difference between you and that, since you have understood it. But if you are contemplating something which seems to be evil (I know making a judgment), but something which one doesn't wish to contemplate, such as violence, then when you have removed the distance between yourself and the violence, what is the good of that? Is it because then you can transcend? Do you understand?

Krishnamurti: Yes, I understand the question. When you look at a flower it's fairly easy to identify yourself with the flower, but when you look at violence, something which you call evil, by merely dissipating the space between the observer and the observed, will that evil disappear? Isn't that the question? When you look at a flower and identify yourself with that flower, are you the flower? Obviously you're not the flower. I can identify myself with this country, but I am not this country. I'm a human being, I'm not an ideal. So I can identify myself with ideas, with images, but not with `what is'. I can look at a tree and identify myself with the tree, but I never become the tree. (I hope not!) (Laughter) But what is important, is not identification at all; that we have done - identifying ourselves with a country, with an idea, with a church, with God, and so on - which has led to such appalling misery. But to look at a tree without any identification with it - to look at it, to watch it - as one watches it one finds out how to watch. As you watch, perhaps you begin to love it. And the space between yourself and the tree is not. That doesn't mean you become the tree. It's the same if one watches that which one calls evil. You see, we want to identify ourselves with the good and not identify ourselves with the evil. But can you identify yourself with the good? Goodness can only flower when there is no conflict; but there will be conflict as long as you are identifying yourself with something, with what you call good and denying, resisting that which you call evil. In both, in identifying with the evil, in that there is conflict. Whereas if you observe what is the good and the evil - watch it - then perhaps you can go beyond both.

16th September 1967


London, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 1st Public Talk London 16th September 1967

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