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London, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 3rd Public Talk London 23rd September 1967

THE LAST TIME that we met here we were talking about fear. And this morning I would like to go into it from a different angle.

One of the most difficult things, I feel, is to communicate to another so that one understands very clearly what is being talked about, so that there is no interpretation but actual understanding of what is said. Communication demands a certain quality of a mind that is willing, not only to listen, but also to act in the very process of listening. It is not that one first understands and then acts; in that there is a time interval and in that time interval all kinds of pressures, strains and other activities come into being. Whereas when there is an understanding, that very understanding is the way of action; and to communicate about such a thing - or in fact about anything - between two human beings, is extraordinarily difficult. For communication to take place between two people who know each other fairly well, fairly intimately, the other must be willing to listen - must have a certain quality of attention and affection, otherwise communication ceases. Specially when we are talking about something which demands total attention, not to the speaker and to the words that he uses, but rather to the state of one's own mind and how it reacts, what its responses are, its inward activity. All that demands a certain quality of deep penetration into one's own being. Then I think communication becomes a communion, which is much more important.

To really commune with one another words are not neces- sary at all. But to commune implies to be at the same level at the same moment with the same intensity, otherwise communion is not possible. And when we are talking about fear (as we were the other day), to commune about it, each one of us, it seems to me, must be at that level of heightened intelligent awareness at the same time, with the same quality of attention, urgency and intensity. Our intensity may be of short duration (it generally is, because we are so occupied with so many other things), but to be intensely aware and to sustain it, that needs a certain affection, certain care, a certain quality of love.

This morning we are going to talk over together the nature of violence that is so rampant throughout the world and in each one of us. To be entirely free from that violence in all its various forms, one must, it seems to me, meet each other at a level that comprehends the totality of violence - not any particular form of violence - where we can both look wholly at the structure and the nature of violence; and when one can look wholly then one can detect the details without distortion. Because when one can look at something wholly - and that is only possible when there is no personal inclination or tendency interfering with it, or when one is not merely guided by circumstances - it is only then that one can see something entirely. And as we're going to talk over this problem of violence, we're not going to cultivate its opposite, nonviolence - that's an old trick - but rather see how extraordinarily deep-rooted violence is; and to see, there must be awareness in which there is no choice, no argument, no justification, no excuse. When the mind is so alert, then I think one begins to understand not only this violence at the conscious level, but also at a much deeper level. And if we may, this morning we're to go into that.

But before we go into this thing one has to understand, it seems to me, the nature of the unconscious. Because superficially we may be highly sophisticated, polished, outwardly so-called cultured, but inwardly seething with hatred, animosity, greed, violence; and that's rooted very deeply because, after all, we have inherited the various qualities of the animal and as long as the animal is petted, treated nicely, kindly, it reacts accordingly, but the moment you antagonise it then the whole violence comes out. It is the same with us. We act on this principle of like and dislike, and basically in that principle there is violence.

So before we go into it we have to understand the unconscious. First of all, we have accepted that there is an unconscious. The psychologists, the analysts, the specialists, have maintained that deep down there is the unconscious in all of us. There are these phrases, the words that have seeped into the language, the jargon which the analysts and the psychologists use! Those analysts and psychologists say that by going back to your childhood they can trace your conditioning, which has taken place because you have been treated improperly, not been looked after - and so on.

Now, is there an unconscious at all? And why is it that we give such extraordinary importance to the unconscious? It seems to me it is as trivial, as stupid as the conscious mind, as narrow, limited, conditioned, bigoted, anxious, fearful, tawdry, as the conscious mind, and I wonder if there is anything to understand deeply in the unconscious at all. And I think one has to go into this very deeply, because most people are conditioned by the unconscious - or rather by the idea that there is such a thing as the unconscious - with all its motives, its fears, its racially inherited qualities, and so on. And when one looks at it, when one is aware of it all - not through dreams but actually - one can observe when the racial responses arise, the responses from deep down of a culture in which one has been brought up.

Unless one is obviously somewhat neurotic and unbalanced, I don't think it is of very great importance to examine the unconscious at all. I think it is a waste of time. I know what we are saying is anathema to the specialists, because there is a great deal to be earned with that; it is a gold mine! And when we are trying to understand this so-called unconscious, we must not accept anything anybody says about it; because then we are lost again in the pastures of authority. But by examining for oneself, one can discover how very simple it is, one can discover how one is conditioned outwardly, by the climate, the food, the clothes, the newspapers, the magazines, the radio, the television, the speeches, the politicians, the constant pressure which shapes our thinking, our reactions. And the same thing has been going on inwardly for centuries. You are a Christian or a Hindu because for ten thousand years the propaganda has been going on: that you are a Brahmin, a Hindu, that you must believe, that you must not believe, and so on. And within the last two thousand years you have been conditioned to believe in the saviour, that there is original sin, and it is all there under pressure, in the so-called unconscious, which is part of the whole of consciousness.

And so, if one gives too much value to this (that the unconscious has tremendous significance) one will be caught up in the analytical process, and in its tawdry pettiness. But if one could look at the total state of the mind, not divided up! The Hindus have divided the mind most beautifully into different categories, that's a game one can go on playing indefinitely; and there are certain types of analysts and psychologists in the West who also play with that. But apart from the specialists, apart from the analysts, here is a human being and he is the result of time, and if we try to understand him according to somebody else, obviously we don't understand ourselves.

So is it possible for me and for you, as human beings living in this world, to look at the totality, not at the fragments? How does one look? The act of looking - not at the total, not at the complete nature and structure of consciousness - that may not be relevant at all, but probably what is relevant is `How to look'. And as we're going to examine this question of violence, which is so deeply rooted in most of us, we must learn to look; not at the total structure or the nature of violence - but at the `act of looking'!

Obviously, first one looks with the physical organism; one looks at the tree with the eye. And one can look at that tree without any interference by the past, which is thought. Can one look at the whole consciousness of man - which is oneself - without any interference, judgment, evaluation, which is essentially based on the past? Then what is important is the act of looking and not what you look at. If one knows how to look, then the thing one looks at takes on quite a different quality. One can observe that in one's own everyday life.

As we were saying, violence is part of our nature. The various religious organizations, which are not really religious at all, have tried to soften man, to tame him, to control him, but they have not succeeded; on the contrary, religions have probably produced more wars. Obviously all so-called spiritual organizations must inevitably create discontent, contention and wars. I belong to my society and you to yours and we're at each other's throats; mine is superior and so on.

So there is in all of us this deep-rooted sense of violence based on pleasure (and therefore on fear), on like and dislike; and that applies to the whole of society in which we live, the society of which each one of us is part; the society for which each one of us is responsible because we have created that society - which again is fairly simple. And to belong to that society in any way inwardly, psychologically, is to make a mess of our lives. You accept all this, do you? So quietly?

I suppose you listen because you are here to listen and you get used to hearing outrageous things. But what we're talking about is not outrageous. If one really wants to live peacefully - which one must as an intelligent human being - without wars, without contention, without making our whole life into a battlefield, one must understand this violence. And one can see the nature and the structure of society which man has built, and to belong to that society in any way psychologically, inwardly, obviously brings about further destruction, further wars, further misery.

So one asks oneself, is it possible to be free from all inward and therefore outward violence? Not first outwardly and inwardly afterwards - but a movement which is not divided as the outer and the inner. Obviously we are violent because we are fearful; fearful not only of losing a position, a job, a house, a home and outward security, but we are violent primarily, because inwardly we want to be completely secure, secure in our beliefs.

Please, as we are talking, examine yourselves, because we are taking a journey together and it is your responsibility to go into it as much as the speaker's. You can't just sit there and listen casually - such listening has no value at all. But if we are taking the journey together we both have to work. I can't carry you, nor can you carry me. We have to walk together - that is to work together. And to work together demands a great deal of energy, attention; not agreement or disagreement - that only leads us to opinions and judgments. But if we could share together on the journey, then spending an hour together has an extraordinary value.

Inwardly we are essentially seeking security in different forms; to be safe, to be certain, never to be caught in a state of uncertainty about anything: uncertainty in my relationship with another, in my relationship to my wife or husband, in my relationship to ideas which are beliefs, dogmas, to the conclusions which the mind has come to through experience, through knowledge, through enquiry and examination and which says, `This is so', `I know'. And one is afraid to be dislodged from a position, from a conclusion to which one has come, and one reacts violently to any form of disturbance. You can see this very well. You know, over the whole world marriage is undergoing a revision and lots of people are objecting to it because we are used to things as they are. The same applies to churches, gods, beliefs, saviours. So there is always resistance to any disturbance, and resistance is violent by its very nature. And when one can look without resistance at one's own forms of resistance, then one begins to understand the nature of violence, the fear of loneliness, fear of this extraordinary boredom with life - the life that one leads every day, spending years and years in an office, the same house, the same face, the same sexual routine, the same pleasures. Naturally one is bored stiff by all that. Being anchored - and we want to be anchored - we don't mind being disturbed on the periphery. But the question of violence only disappears when we are deeply disturbed, so that we have no anchorage - which means to have no resistance, no defence, no excuse, no justification, no conclusion - so that the mind is intensely aware, sharp, clean. Only then the question of violence disappears.

You know, one has cultivated talk about non-violence and it has been the fashion to use it as a political instrument and also as a means of overcoming this apparently innate violence. And the prophets of nonviolence, whether in the West or in the East, are really extraordinarily violent people; I don,t know if you have noticed that. They have deep-rooted principles according to which they will act and will not act. They force themselves, they control themselves, they deny everything which they want - from sexual relationship to every form of physical pleasure, comfort, to sitting easily, All that is a form of violence, a form of contortion according to a certain principle which they themselves have established. But to understand violence, there is no need to have this principle of non-violence. That is a very easy escape from violence. The fact is we are violent; in our relationships, in our feeling, we germinate antagonism in others, hatred, because in ourselves we are that, and can I look at my violence without this trick of non-violence? Actually look at what I am! Violent in my jobs, violent in my relationships, dominating, feeling superior, exercising my will to achieve something - because all forms of act of will are violent - and we have been nurtured in violence, in will.

And so one also has to see the nature of will. Will is after all the demand, the exercise of one's likes and dislikes highly strengthened; will is essentially based on desire - desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain, the pursuit of pleasure. To continue there must be the exercise of will, which is the constant thinking about that pleasure and the constant thinking about the avoidance of pain; it is based on this sense of desire, which becomes more and more intense. And has will any place at all? Will being violence, not understanding, not seeing something directly and then acting. The very seeing is the doing - as one does when there is danger. In that there is a great deal involved. We can go into it.

So, violence is a form of will, and can one live in this world without the perpetual exercise of `I want', `I don't want', of like and dislike? Which is, after all, to live peacefully. But one has to act in this world, and is it possible to act without this quality of will, which takes so many forms as ambition, competition, drive to achieve, to fulfil, to put away, to resist - and yet act?

Can the mind ever be free from this violence of comparison? We think we understand when we compare; in the technological field comparison is necessary. But in the psychological field, is comparison at all necessary to understand anything? Do I understand myself by comparing myself with somebody else? And in schools, when A is compared with B who is much cleverer, are you not destroying A? So, why do we compare at all? Is comparison not the avoidance of `what is'? And to understand what is, in oneself, psychologically, why do we need comparison which cultivates competition with all its battles and anxieties, fears, the exercise of will and so on - which are and forms of violence. Can one see all this not in separate fragments but completely as a whole, so that the very act of looking at `what is', is a dissipation of `what is'?

As we were saying earlier in this talk, to commune there must be attention and affection. Can I commune with this violence with attention and affection? And when I do, is there any form of violence in myself? As we are talking, do please go into it. And then the problem arises - if one is free of violence - what about the other person? How am I to live in a world which is full of violence, acquisitiveness, greed, envy, brutality, wars and so on, how can I live in this world? Will I not be destroyed? That is the inevitable question which is invariably asked.

When one asks such a question, it seems to me, one is not actually living peacefully. If you live peacefully you will have no problem at all. You may be shot because you may resist - you may not want to join the army, but it's not a problem then: you will be shot! It's really extraordinarily important to understand this. Because there must be a total revolution in our life, a psychological revolution, a tremendous crisis in consciousness. Not an economic crisis, a political crisis and wars, but much more significant and worthwhile is this deep inward revolution. Otherwise one cannot live sanely, intelligently in this monstrous world and the more one is intelligent, aware, alert to the whole problem the more one wants to live completely peacefully. Not only one wants to, but one does. That is why (as we said at the beginning) what is important is not, `how to live peacefully', but rather to see the nature of violence in oneself; and to see clearly what one is, that one's mind is a tortured entity, the mind that is conforming, imitating, resisting, which are all forms of violence. And in that seeing one becomes aware that there is no observer at all, because the observer, the centre, is the very nature of conflict - that is, as long as there is a separation which the observer creates between himself and the observed. Not that the observer wants to identify himself - there is no fundamental unity in identification, that's a trick - but when one realizes the actual observer himself is the entity that breeds violence, then between the observer and the observed there is communion and when that communion takes place there is no observer at all.

Can we talk about what we have stated?

Questioner: It seems this has no appeal to the majority of people and that maybe only a few really listen and understand completely, perhaps some listen casually and forget about it afterwards. As you said, it's very difficult to find this freedom you are speaking of. Meanwhile the world is going on in a dreadful way, the premium is set on domination, power, and affairs are in the hands of politicians. How are we to accept this? Inevitably the world will eventually be destroyed. Perhaps one individual may find the freedom you speak of, but I cannot see it happening on a large scale.

Krishnamurti: Yes, that is the question. Perhaps one individual can change, what about the mass? What about the rest of the people who don't understand, who don't care two pins, who want to live in the mess which they have created in the world. What difference does it make if one human being understands, when the whole world is going on the way it is?

Why are we so concerned with the rest of the world? Please, do look at it - we will go into it. Why do we want to interfere with the rest of the world? Why do we divide the world into the individual and the collective? Is the individual really an individual, or really the collective - in a limited way? Are you so very different from the rest of the English people, from the rest of the world? You have your anxieties, your pains, your worries, your problems, your despairs, your miseries, jealousies, envies, just as it happens across the water, twenty miles away, so why are you so concerned about the rest of the world? I think in that there is a fundamental mistake. Nothing in the world is done by the mass; a few do something. The Communist society was created by very few people - the whole of that cultural explosion which took place in the East was brought about by very few people. The explosive influence of Greece over Europe - again very few! They never thought, `what's going to happen to the rest of the world?'

I think that way of looking, asking, is a waste of time. You know, when you love something, you're not thinking about the rest of the world, because in that love the whole world is included. In the same way, when we begin to understand the nature of violence and are actually free of it, we'll never ask that question. But when you do ask the question, you become a missionary, a propagandist; the moment you become a propagandist, a missionary, you have come to the end of everything: you create more misery.

Questioner: I don't understand when you say that will has no place at all in understanding and yet a certain discipline is necessary - it seems to be a contradiction.

Krishnamurti: Do you need will or discipline to listen? When you don't want to listen and are forced to listen because it's profitable, it's worthwhile, it brings you this or that, then you discipline yourself to listen. But when you want to understand something, when you want to understand sorrow (which we'll perhaps go into another time), physical sorrow, the pain, the sorrow which man goes through, when you want to understand it, where is the place of will? But in the very process of understanding suffering here is discipline; the very process is discipline. Sir, look, what does discipline imply - generally, as it is accepted? I believe the root of that word is `to learn', not `conform'. lt's excellent in the army, when you are drilled - there you don't have to understand a thing except the mechanical process of killing somebody. To understand suffering, to look at it, to find out all about it, does it need discipline? - discipline in the sense of conforming to a pattern, imitating, obeying a certain rule, formula. But to understand something you have to pay attention, you have to love and when you love something, that very nature of love is discipline.

Do you mean to say that you can discipline yourself to love? Exercise will to love? And when you do exercise will, discipline to love, love goes out by the window, doesn't it? So love has nothing whatsoever to do with discipline. But when there is that state of attention which is care, affection, that in itself is discipline. I can't attend if I don't give my whole being to listen. But if I make an effort to listen I'm not listening, there is a battle going on inside me and hence will in itself is a contradiction. It is that which creates duality. There's no time to go into it now, but one can observe it in oneself.

Questioner: But Sir, can`t one think of discipline in other fields as well? For example, I discipline myself and exercise will to get up in the morning?

Krishnamurti: Yes, one exercises will in different ways; one exercises will to get up in the morning; then you're in a conflict aren't you? (laughter) But if one has understood what laziness is, and it's good to be lazy, it all depends on what you call laziness! Perhaps you've lived wrongly the previous day, have over eaten, indulged in different ways and so in the morning when you want to get up, your body refuses and you force it and thereby the body loses its own intelligence. But if one knows how to live, not just the previous day but the whole of one's life, then you'll find that laziness has its place and immediate action is also necessary. It is not a division created by the will between the doing and the not doing.

23rd September 1967


London, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 3rd Public Talk London 23rd September 1967

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