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London, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 6th Public Talk London 1st October 1967

IT SEEMS TO me that one of the greatest problems we have, is the urgency and the necessity of a fundamental revolution in ourselves, a radical change in the ways of our thinking feeling and reacting. And most of us are compelled to modify our attitudes and our activities either by circumstances, or by our own particular tendency and inclination. If one changes according to one's own inclination as one generally does - inclination being pleasure, gratification, tendency being temperament, emotional or intellectual - then it seems to me such change is really very superficial and most of us are satisfied to modify our activities, our ways of thinking, outwardly, on the surface. Or we are guided by circumstances, and again that is not a fundamental radical revolution in ourselves, and I think such a revolution is necessary because society as it is, is a horrifying thing; the brutality, the wars, the aggression - whether that aggression be offensive or defensive.

The division brought about by nationalities, by the politicians, by the religious organizations, by the technological revolution, technical knowledge, all this has made us acquiesce in what is, accept a society that is essentially based on violence and according to the structure of society, we psychologically adjust ourselves. And one sees that it is not a fundamental revolution, a mutation in the psyche. One observes this throughout the world - not only in the Western world, but in Asia where the poverty is immense, degradation is not measurable and fragmentation through class, through language and so on, is really very destructive. Seeing all this one asks oneself, if one is at all serious, whether a change in the human mind which is so old, so conditioned, is at all possible - or if man must go on suffering indefinitely; war after war, daily conflict, the daily boredom, the routine of life, the loneliness - and out of that loneliness despair. The utter meaninglessness of life as it is. Seeing all that one asks, `How is a human being to change?' Because human beings have created this monstrous society, and it's only human beings that can bring about a revolution not only in themselves but also in society. And how is this change or revolution, or mutation, to take place? As we said, if it is merely dependent on inclination, on tendency and the pressure of circumstances, then obviously such a change is meaningless. So we have to go into this question rather deeply to see whether it is at all possible to change - change at the very core of our being. And one perceives such a change is necessary. And what will make us change? Punishment, reward, greater security, greater hope, an organized pressure of religious propaganda, or the political chicanery and all that absurdity - will that bring about a change?

I think it is necessary not merely so listen to the speaker but also to ask oneself that question; and if one is at all serious, one does ask it. And the very asking of it - not superficially, not casually, but really with serious intent - brings about a certain quality of energy which is necessary to tackle this problem, because we need a great deal of energy to understand the confusion in which one is, to understand what the structure and nature of change is. To understand it there must be attention - not concentration - because there is a difference between attention and concentration. Concentration is limited, exclusive, it breeds conflicts and in concentration there is distraction. But in attention there are none of these things - you are completely attentive; if one has experimented or observed this, one can see the difference between concentration and attention very clearly. In attention there is no conflict or distraction whatsoever, whereas in concentration there is distraction, conflict, a forcing upon a certain point which becomes exclusive; in concentration there is resistance. In attention there is no resistance at all. And we need such attention to find out what is implied in change.

According to the anthropologists we have lived two million years or more and during those centuries we have killed each other, destroyed each other, divided ourselves into families, into nations, into religious groups, and all the time we are talking about brotherhood, peace and all that ideological nonsense. But actually in every day of our life we are violent, we destroy animals to eat and we destroy each other in the name of God, in the name of country or whatever, for an ideal. Seeing all this one must naturally ask - and one does ask if one is at all serious - whether a radical revolution is possible. And to understand it and go into it one needs a tremendous energy and vitality and vigour. Therefore that vigour and that vitality does naturally bring about attention. If one does put such a question seriously to oneself one has the vitality.

And as we said the other day - perhaps at every talk - we are always ploughing but we never sow. We're always listening to what other people say. We're secondhand people. We read so many books on psychology, on religion and so on, and we are slaves to what we read. Probably we have never discovered anything for ourselves. We are imitators. We are yes-sayers, but to find out and to penetrate into the question very deeply, we have to be no-sayers, we have to deny totally everything that we have been brought up to believe. For we do need a totally different kind of society.

So what do we mean by change? One observes that one does have to change - change to what? One is violent, angry, furious at all the absurdities that are going on around one. One wants to change all that into what? Is the opposite of `what is' - the pursuit of the opposite - is that change? One is violent, and pursuing non-violence, hoping thereby to bring about change, is that radical change? The pursuit of the opposite contains its own opposite. This is very important to understand.

There is hatred and one sees the necessity that hatred must cease and that there must be affection, love, kindliness. Is love the opposite of hate and can love be pursued and thereby hate denied? So one must understand, it seems to me, the nature of the opposite, that is, the nature of duality. Because when we talk about change, we are always thinking in those terms - of what is and what should be.

The `what should be' is the outcome of `what is', and the opposite must always contain that which is, therefore it is no longer the pursuit of the opposite, it is only the pursuit of what is, modified. Therefore any demand to change must create it's own opposite. And therefore the question is, not what to change to, but what do we mean by change at all?

Violence and its opposite must always contain violence - the observer who is violent, perceives that he is violent and creates the opposite which is non-violence, as an idea. He pursues that idea, cultivating non-violence out of violence, and therefore the non-violence is still violence. Please, this is not mere trickery of words, but is actually what goes on when we are talking about change. The good is not the opposite of evil, but one has this tendency of the evil, which is to do harm, to get angry, to be violent, to be acquisitive, greedy, envious and so on, and realizing that, one demands to be good. The very demand creates the opposite, so in that way there is no change at all, and I think it is essential to understand this. Then we can ask what change is; is there such a thing as change at all?

If one sees the whole structure of what one calls change and the demand that comes when one observes one's own violence, which creates non-violence, then the pursuit of the opposite comes to an end altogether; so there is no duality and hence no conflict. Because all our conflict comes from this duality, this contradiction between what is and what should be. One wants this and one wants something contrary to that. I demand peace but that very demand comes out of a state of mind which is in conflict, which is not peaceful. Therefore the very demand to change does breed the opposite and brings about a conflict in the demand to change.

Is this clearer? If not we'll talk about it a little later.

So then what is change? If the change is not the cultivation of the opposite - which it is not - then what do we mean by change? To answer this question one has to go into the problem of the observer and the observed. The observer being not only the visual perception, but what is behind it, memory, thought, idiosyncrasies, prejudices, a conditioned state. He's the censor, the experiencer, the one who judges, evaluates. That whole bundle of memories is the observer. And that observer is always modifying, changing, it is not a static observer but under pressure, tension, necessity. There is always a modifying process going on within the observer himself. And, as long as there is the observer, there must be the observed - the opposite.

When one says one is angry, or jealous, or violent, there is the observer asserting he is violent - violence being apart from the observer. So the observer has separated himself from that which he calls violence. Then the observer says, `I must overcome it'. I must find out ways and means to suppress, or change, or sublimate, this quality, this violence; but the observer has created the violence, he is violent, not the thing which he observes as violence. So, the observer is the observed. That is, the observer separates himself from the observed and creates a distance between himself and that which he observes. The experiencer, demanding experience, separates himself from experience by that very demand and thereby creates the longing, the wish, the conflict to have more experience. He, the experiencer, has brought about a space between himself and the thing to be experienced. But the experiencer is the experienced. So when he says, `I must change, I see the necessity of change', he the observer, the experiencer, the thinker, does project a pattern, an idea of what should be, and trying to become that, creates the conflict, the contradiction, because he has separated himself from the thing to be observed. Can this observer be without any movement whatsoever? Because any movement on his part to bring about a change within himself creates the opposite and then he is caught in the conflict of the opposite. But the observer is the observed, and when he realizes that, then what does change mean?

Is this all too abstract? I hope not, but we'll see.

So one sees that total inaction is radical change. Total inaction on the part of the observer and therefore the observer is not. If you go into yourselves not theoretically, not with the words of the speaker, but actually observe yourself, you will see this going on in yourself. The pattern of the opposite has been set throughout millennia, good and bad, God and the Devil and all that business. And this constant struggle between the good and the bad is sustained because the observer is both the good and the bad, and the pursuit of the bad or the evil is the pursuit of the observer, not of the good. So realizing that, if one observes it in oneself, one sees that change can only take place when there is no movement or demand on the part of the observer. So total inaction is total revolution.

Let's put it differently. Please, this is not philosophy - this is not another pattern, another ideal to be pursued. All ideals are idiotic. They have no meaning whatsoever. What has meaning is what is. The what is, is this whole structure of the observer. And one can discover it really for oneself if one is attentive, meditative, watching without choice, aware, intense about finding out what it means to change. As we said, let's look at it from a different point of view, approach it differently. We talk a great deal about love. The love of one's country, the love of the family, the love of God, the love of man.`I love this book'. So to find out what love is, to come upon it as one comes upon a perfume that one has never smelt before one must unburden this word, cleanse it of all the things that we have given to that word. And one has to find out for oneself what the thing is that one calls love. Perhaps that may be the ultimate solution to all man's difficulties, problems and travails. Because when the husband says `I love you', and the wife says `I love you', is it love? Or is there in it sensuous pleasure, possession, domination, comfort, gratification? And all that we call love, and it may be, as man has sustained this thing called love through the family. So to find out what love is, not theoretically, not in abstraction, but actually, one has to understand whether love has any opposite.

Most of us hate violence. We are jealous, acquisitive, dominating and with many inhibitions, and yet we say, `I love you'. Find out the nature of that love in which there is no conflict whatsoever, and the love which is total contact in all relationships, because only a total contact is total relationship. But if I only touch you at different points, sexually, seeking comfort, domination, then is that love, is that relationship? So to find out, or rather to come upon it, one has to first find out what relationship means. Not only relationship to things, to houses, to furniture, but also to people and ideas. That which we possess, we are. If you possess a house, the furniture, the family, an idea, you are that - obviously. So is possession in any form love? Does not possession breed anxiety, envy, jealousy, domination, fear? And when there is fear, domination, is that love? And in that relationship between man and man, man and woman, and so on, if in that relationship there is a self-centred activity - whether it is the self-centred activity of the wife or the husband - does that not separate the two human beings? Though they say we love each other, each is pursuing his own particular path, his particular intention, and can there be love when there is aggression, when there is competition? Obviously hate and jealousy are not love. But for us love contains jealousy, for in that love there is possession. To us, then, love is desire and pleasure.

And out of this desire and pleasure arise sexual problems. I wonder why the whole world is tortured by this problem. All the newspapers, magazines, television, radio, talk about this. It has become an extraordinary problem in the world. Why? Partly religions have sustained the problem, because they have said it is wrong; to find God you must be celibate, you mustn't marry, the whole Catholic Church is supporting this view. To serve God you must be a bachelor, for sex is an abomination to all religions. And also it has become a problem for most people in the world, because intellectually they have no escape, intellectually they are slaves, they are not free human beings; intellectually you obey, follow, you read innumerable books - what to think and what to do and what not to do, so intellectually all that energy is bottled up. If one can observe it in oneself, intellectually no one is a revolutionary. Very few are. And emotionally because we are acquisitive, greedy, jealous, fearful, anxious, guilty, there is only one pleasure left which is free. That is sex. When your intellectual energy is cut off, emotionally you are not alive. To become emotionally alive you go to concerts, museums, read books. So you have only this outlet - sex. And only in that there is pleasure, and the everlasting chewing it over. Sex then becomes an extraordinarily important thing in life because love, or what one calls love, is based on desire and pleasure, which is the process of thinking; thinking about the pleasure that you have had, because intellectually you have no pleasure in the deep sense of the word. We read dozens of books, are up-to-date, but having read the latest book to be able to criticize it, we are still in the pattern of the old, repeated. In that there is no pleasure, because pleasure implies freedom. And emotionally you have so many fears. So thought inevitably makes sex into an immense thing and then it becomes a problem. Because then love is merely desire and pleasure and naturally with it goes so-called responsibility, the responsibility for the family, and the family is inevitably against the whole structure of society. I and my family first, and so the world is divided into families, nationalities, groups and all the rest of it.

So thought, thinking about that from which it has gained pleasure, gives duration to pleasure. I had pleasure yesterday looking at that sunset, or that tree, or that extraordinary light of the evening on the water. Thinking about it has brought pleasure - not when I observed it; when I observed it there was no pleasure, there was a great sense of beauty, quietness of the evening, but the more I think about that quietness, that beauty, the more I derive pleasure from it and I want the repetition of that pleasure. It's the same with sex, with any form of pleasure. So, sex has it's own place; we are not discussing what is the right place. But one will discover what is it's right place when one understands love, which is not desire and pleasure. Love is not the opposite of pleasure and desire. Because if one only knows desire and pleasure, and wants to come upon this thing called love, to understand what love is, one must understand the structure of thought.

Thought, which is a response of memory, knowledge, experience, is always old. Thought is never free. Thought is always conditioned by past experience and knowledge. So thought can never under any circumstances understand, come upon that thing called love. The observer is essentially thought, the observer is essentially the old, so the observer is never the new. The new can never contain the observer. The observer cannot hold the new, but when one understands the whole process, then one comes upon this thing called love - which is never old, which is always in the active present, which has no image, because that which has an image, or is represented by a symbol, is always the old created by thought. So when you worship God you are really worshipping your own image which you have projected - and therefore it is not love. It is only your fear and the opposite. So to understand this extraordinary thing which man has sought endlessly, through sacrifice, through worship, through pain, through relationship, through sex, through every form of pleasure and pain, is only possible when thought - which is an extraordinary thing in itself - comes to understand itself and comes to an end naturally.

Then love has no opposite. Then love has no conflict. And without that love, do what you will, there will be no end to problems. You may belong to all the latest groups, or know all the psychologists, all the quacks or all the people who teach meditation and all the rest of it; it's only when there is that love, that there is peace. And then there is a benediction.

Questioner: Is love not desire, in your opinion?

Krishnamurti: Are we discussing opinions? You know, there is no end to opinions, or the truth in opinion, a dialectical approach to life, which is opinion. You have your opinion, and I have my opinion, Marx, and the capitalist opinion. We are not dealing with opinions. We are dealing with facts as they are and to understand the facts, no opinion is necessary whatsoever; neither the opinion of the Catholic, nor of the Protestant, nor of the Hindu, nor of the Communist. One has to observe the fact; and the fact is, most of us have intense desires, which is natural. When one sees a beautiful car, a beautiful person, a lovely face, it is natural to respond, as you do to a beautiful sky, to a tree that is turning in the autumn; one must respond and respond totally, completely. But in that response thought comes in and says `that was a great delight, I must continue with that delight'.

Therefore, the demand that it must continue creates its own opposite and hence the conflict of not having it. So desire is normal, healthy, but it becomes unhealthy, ugly, when thought turns it into pleasure and then pleasure breeds antagonism, hatred, and in antagonism and hatred there is no love.

Questioner: Sir, it seems to me that fear is the basis of humour and humour is the basis of compromise.

Krishnamurti: Why do we want to compromise and what do we mean by compromise? We say society is monstrous and are we compromising when we put on a suit made by that society, when we eat the food cultivated by that society? There is a total separation from society - that society which I psychologically have built - when I am psychologically totally free from all the things that belong to society, like greed, envy, belief, which is superstition, its Gods, its immoralities. Then there is freedom from that society; in that there is no compromise whatsoever. Society says you must fight, you must kill another, destroy other human beings for your country, for your God, for your ideals. And when one has affection, this quality of love, will you kill another? Can you compromise and say, `Well, my friend I'm going to kill you for your own good, for my freedom'? Is there a compromise at all when you see things very clearly? Is there compromise when you see a poisonous animal, a snake or a deep precipice? You see very clearly there is no compromise - you walk away. There is compromise only when there is confusion. And as most of us unfortunately are very confused about everything, we are everlastingly compromising. But when you have clarity there is enlightenment. To see things as they are, not in your own terms, not according to your own tendency and inclination, to see things actually as they are is to be free of them, and in that there is no compromise, for then there is no confusion whatsoever. Questioner: What is the difference between isolation and loneliness?

Krishnamurti: Is there much difference between the two? In daily life, however much one is related, however close one may be to one's family, every self-centred activity is a process of isolation. When I dominate my wife or my husband, when I'm jealous, when I'm ambitious - all this is part of self-centred activities which lead to isolation. And when one becomes aware of the extraordinary isolation one has built for oneself, one is lonely. One becomes aware of this agony of loneliness in which no relationship exists whatsoever. It may be while you are with friends in a group, or on a bus, and suddenly you are aware of this intense loneliness, which has been brought about through a daily life of self-centred movement, and becoming aware of that loneliness with its agony, one tries to escape from it. One picks up a paper or one goes to Church, or to a football match, or to a pub. Whether you worship God or go to a pub, it is exactly the same, when there is the sense of loneliness. And one cannot escape from it. What one can do is to see this self-centred activity in life every day; be aware, not demand that it should end, for then you are back again, in the turmoil of conflict.

Questioner: I find myself incapable of observing wretchedness in others without a feeling that I should interfere. Am I capable of love in the true sense?

Krishnamurti: I see in others sorrow, misery, conflict, and naturally I can't interfere. And do I have love when I observe without interference? You know, that word interfere is rather a difficult word - we are always interfering with others. The whole of education is interference with others. The whole propaganda of the Church is interference with others. All the propagandists, the missionaries throughout the world - whether they are Christian missionaries or the missionaries of Asia, or of the Communists and so on - they are all constantly interfering with others. The husband is interfering with the wife and the wife with the husband. It is an endless movement because we all want to change others, to make them different, to brainwash them to accept our opinions, our judgments, our values.

You know, to be free of all influence, which means to be free of all interference, is one of the greatest things. It is when one is free from all influence that there is love, and that love perhaps will answer the wretchedness, the sorrow of another.

1st October 1967


London, talks in Europe 1967

Talks in Europe 1967 6th Public Talk London 1st October 1967

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