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Ojai 1981

Ojai 3rd Public Question & Answer Meeting 12th May 1981

You are all warm - the vagaries of the climate in California!

Can we start with the questions right away?

1st QUESTION: What is the relationship between intelligence and responsibility?

I wonder - one wonders what the meaning of that word 'intelligence' is. If each one of us had to give a meaning to it according to either a dictionary or one's own perception of what is intelligence, how would we put it into words? According to the dictionary it is, reading between the lines, and also gathering in, gathering in a lot of information, knowledge, and from knowledge, reason and act. A man who is very scholarly, well read, highly educated but he may not be intelligent in his action. So one must be, I think, fairly clear what we mean by that word intelligence.

To see danger and act is part of intelligence. To see psychological dangers and act immediately, that is intelligence. But if we see the danger both outwardly and inwardly and not act, that is not intelligence. To see, for example, I am taking a very simple, ordinary example, that nationality is a danger to the world, and to continue with that feeling of being a nationalist, surely that is an unintelligent way of looking at life. But to see nationality is a danger and act, would that not be intelligent? Likewise to see all the pitfalls, all the subtleties of psychological conflict, all the travail that human beings go through and not end it but keep going on year after year, year after year, that is an act of unintelligence. To see that one is hurt and be free of that hurt, and never to be hurt, is an act of intelligence, surely.

Would that be clear? Is this clear when we talk about what we mean by intelligence? To see clearly something inwardly, psychologically. And all the traditional approaches to it have not solved our problems, but to see for ourselves very clearly and act, is an act of intelligence.

And also what is the meaning of that word responsibility, to be responsible? Responsible to your children, responsible to your husband, wife and so on, responsible not to destroy nature and so on. And also to be responsible to the whole of mankind. May I go on? That is, psychologically all human beings are more or less similar - they suffer, are anxious and so on, we have gone into that. So we are responsible as human beings for humanity, not only for being personally responsible for one's family but responsible for everything that is happening in the world: the division between the Arab and the Jew, the wars that are going on in South America, the atom bomb and so on. We are responsible for all that. I wonder if we feel that way. Or we say, yes, the problem is between the Jew and the Palestines and leave it at that. That surely is an act of not being intelligent.

And the questioner asked: what is the relationship between intelligence and responsibility. Intelligence is responsibility. In itself it is responsible for everything it does. I wonder if you see. Why do we separate responsibility and intelligence. If one is intelligent one is totally responsible. I wonder if one feels this way. Do we, as human beings, living in a monstrous world where every kind of cruelty is going on, and we know violence is part of human nature, we have accepted it, and wherever one goes violence is apparently in the human being. And to understand violence and to be free of violence is the responsibility of any intelligent man. Do we feel such responsibility? Or is the questioner merely asking, putting a question just intellectually, verbally, for amusement, for some kind of definition? Do we, as human beings, feel totally, completely responsible for all mankind, for whatever is happening in the world?

2nd QUESTION: How does one tackle the dormant seed of fear within one? You have talked of fear several times, but it is neither possible to face fear nor to uproot it. Is it that there is another factor that operates to dissolve it? Can one do anything about it?

I hope the question is clear. Shall I read it again or is it clear? We were going to talk about it on Saturday but we will do it now.

The questioner asks, is there another factor that will dissolve, uproot the very root of fear. You are waiting for me to answer! Can we go into it together, not wait for me to answer such a question, but together investigate a very, very serious problem, and a very complex problem. This fear has been with man since time immemorial, and apparently they have not solved it. We carry, day after day until you almost die, this burden of fear. Can that fear be totally uprooted? That's the question.

And the questioner says, one has tried several different ways but somehow it doesn't disappear. Is there another factor that will help to uproot it?

Can we, sitting here, look at our fear, not only physical fears of loss, of insecurity, the fear of losing one's children, the fear, that sense of insecurity when there is divorce, there is fear of not achieving something, fulfilling. There are various forms of fear. Fear of not being loved, fear of loneliness, fear of what happens after death, fear of heaven and hell - you know all that kind of stuff. One is so frightened of so many, many things. Now can we, each one of us, consciously, sensitively be aware of one's own fear. Do we know our own fear? It may be losing a job, not having money, death and so on. Can we look at it first, not try to dissolve it, or conquer it, or go beyond it, but to observe it. Consciously observe, sensitively the fears, or one fear that one has, a dominant fear. And there are dormant fears that are asleep, deep rooted, unconscious, way down in one's own recesses of one's own mind. Can those dormant fears, which lie deeply within one, can they be awakened and looked at now? Or must they, those dormant fears, appear only in a crisis, in a shock, in certain strong challenges? Or can one awaken the whole structure of fear? Not only the conscious fears but also the deep unconscious, those shadowy recesses of one's brain which has collected fears? Are we following all this, or am I talking to myself? Can we do that?

First, can we look at our fear? And how do we look at it? How do we face it? Suppose I am frightened - and I am not - that I cannot be saved except by some divine person, there is a deep rooted fear of two thousand years. Right? I am not even observing that fear, it is part of my tradition, part of my conditioning that I can't do anything but somebody else, an outside agency is going to help me, save me. Save me I don't know from what, but it doesn't matter. And that is part of one's fear. And of course there is the fear of death, that is the ultimate fear, and so on. Can one - can I observe a particular fear that I have, and not guide it, shape it, overcome it, try to rationalize it, it is there? Can I look at it? And how do I observe it? Perhaps this may be rather important. Do I observe it as an outsider looking in, or do I observe it as part of me? You understand? Fear is not separate from my consciousness. Fear is not separate, something outside of me. Fear is part of me. Obviously. So can I observe that fear without the division of the observer and the observed? You understand? Are we following each other? Please do follow.

Can I observe that fear without the division that thought has created between the entity that says, 'I must face fear' - just to observe fear without that division. Is that possible? You see, our conditioning, our training, our education, our religious ambitions all point out that the two are separate - the 'me' is different from that which is not me. All right? You see we never recognize or accept the fact that violence is not separate from me. I think that may be one of the factors why we are not able to be free of fear because we are always operating on fear. Right? We are always saying to ourselves, I must get rid of it, what am I to do with it, is there a way? All the rationalization, enquiries, as though fear is something separate from the enquirer, from the person who enquires into fear. All right, can we go on, is this clear?

So can we observe fear without that division? That is, the word fear is not fear. And also see whether the word creates the fear - like the word 'communist' to many people it is a frightening word. So can we look at that thing called fear without the word, and also find out if the word is creating the fear. Are we in this together?

Then is there another factor which is not mere observation, but bringing, or having energy which will dissipate that fear, having such tremendous energy that fear doesn't exist? You understand? Is fear a matter of lack of energy, lack of attention, and if it is a lack of energy how does one come about naturally to have this tremendous vitality, energy that pushes everything, fear away altogether? You understand? We are following each other? All right, please help me. Are we together? Do we understand so far?

So that may be the factor that will dissipate, or that energy will have no sense of fear. You see most of us dissipate our energy in constant occupation with something or other: constant occupation if you are a housewife, if you are a businessman, if you are a scientist, it doesn't matter, a careerist, you are always occupied. And such occupation may be, and is, I think, a dissipation of energy. Like the man who is perpetually occupied about meditation, perpetually occupied with the concern about whether there is god, or, you know, various forms of occupation. Is not such occupation, which is constantly thinking about it, worrying about it, concerned about it, is that not a waste of energy? If one is afraid and you say, 'I must not be afraid, what am I to do', and so on, which is another kind of occupation, and that may be one of the factors of a lack of energy. It is only a mind that is free from occupation of any kind that has tremendous energy. That may be one of the factors that may dissipate fear.

And also another factor is time. Time is fear. I wonder if you understand all this? Time, which is an interval between 'what is' and 'what should be', time between now and the end. We explained that the other day so I don't want to go into it too much. But we can see what a great part time plays in our life. The learning of a language requires time, learning about any technical subject requires time. And we also accept time in the psychological world, in the area where the psyche functions. That is, the area where thought is constructing, building, changing, operating, reasoning, doubting - you follow - all that is the area of time also. When one says, 'I am afraid, but I will not be afraid', the future is time. So I will be, but I am not, but I will be, may the root of fear. I wonder if you understand this? Right?

Or is there a totally different factor at all? We have enquired, facing fear, actually observing it consciously, sensitively aware and without any choice, without any direction, just to watch it. And we said also the watching is important. How you watch, how you observe, if you are an outsider and observing, then you maintain the duality and then conflict arises. Right? And the other is, time is a factor of fear. And is there an energy that has no fear whatsoever? Are we coming together somewhere? Or is there an energy that sees fear and is completely free of it immediately? I wonder if you understand all this.

So: also there are the unconscious fears, the racial fears that one has inherited from time beyond time. Right? The fears of our past generations which one has inherited, which are dormant, can all these dormant, silent, hidden fears, be revealed completely, not go step by step, one fear after the other? You understand? It is possible only to reveal all the dormant fears, fears that have never been observed, never even come to the surface, can all that be totally awakened and in the very awakening of it is the ending of it. Are we moving together, or am I walking a lonely path?

You see, one of our misfortunes is that we are so clever in investigating, analyzing, we never see things immediately as a whole, a holistic perception of all fear. Please don't go to sleep, just let's follow each other. That is, can we see psychologically the whole operation of fear in which the very observation of that, observing wholly, completely, absolutely, the dormant fears must, will inevitably come out, and observe. Are we understanding each other? You see most of us are concerned with trimming fear, like you trim trees, so most of us want to trim fears. And we think that is good enough, but we never challenge ourselves whether it is possible to be completely free of fear. One may have done things wrong in the past, that also brings fear. Look at it, face it.

You see most of us do not demand of ourselves to be free; to be free of these burdens which we have inherited from time past, fear and so on, to say, can my brain be ever free of fear. And questioning it, asking it, demanding it, that needs a certain persistency, a certain sense of immediacy. But we are not like that at all.

Has the question been answered? Or are you still waiting for it to be answered? I think we have energy to meet this holistically, see the whole movement of fear: time, the negligence, our laziness, our acceptance of fear as part of life, all that implies a certain inertia. We don't meet this thing completely so we are always living with it. Isn't that enough?

I stop here now before we go onto the next question because they have to change the tape, and we have to sit for several minutes, do what we like.

Q: I wanted to ask you one thing. What are you waiting to hear?

K: What am I waiting to hear? I don't quite follow your question.

Q: You are asking us a question, do you want an answer?

K: No, no. We are answering questions. I am not waiting for anything.

Q: I just wanted to say that energy knows no fear.

K: I didn't say that, sir.

Q: Well, that is what it feels like to me. I say that energy which knows no fear and no time and no obstacle, no frictions, is always here.

K: Is this a speculative question, or statement?

Q: No, sir. I am saying what it feels like to me. I wanted to say also that it seems as if it is not here, whereas if it is something we have to go somewhere else for, or make some effort for, because our minds are always dissipating it.

K: Yes, sir, that is what we said earlier.

Q: I think it is important for us to realize, it seems to me, I am not speaking for anyone else.

K: Yes, sir. I understand.

Q: That we can all find it, if we only look, see how important it is to look at it. The energy of our life.

Q: What is beauty?

K: I thought we were going to be quiet!

Q: May I go on a bit more sir?

K: No, sir.

Q: All right.

K: No, sir. Afterwards. Right? Can we go on with our questions?

3rd QUESTION: How would you define and value the quality of modesty?

The word modesty means self-abnegation. Right? Not to be assertive. We are examining the word. Not to show oneself off, both physically or psychologically. To be modest, which is implied in that word a certain quality of shyness, reserve, not to be obtrusive. Right? The meaning of that word is all that. Apparently in the world modesty has disappeared. Right? Everybody wants to be assertive, showing off, half naked. You know what is happening in the cinema, the cinema world, and in the television. Apparently we are losing that, or have lost it, or have never had it. Isn't it important to be modest? Not always asserting, aggressive, I say this, and you say. You follow? I want this. Isn't it important to be unobtrusive? The speaker at the moment is not, he is obvious, sitting there. But if that quality of modesty, which disregards totally all reputation, disregards totally the self as being important, then it is surely utter lack of intelligence. Why has the world, specially the American world, lost this sense of modesty? Would you answer it?

Q: It is a sign of mental illness.

K: It is a form of mental illness, it is a form of neurosis, it is a form of self-exhibition.

Q: Modesty is beauty.

K: Modesty is beauty? What are you saying? Sir, please if you all talk. Are we modest? You have to find the word. To be self-restrained, to be somewhat shy, not self-assertive, not trying to say, me first, look at my body first. You know what is happening in this world, especially in this country. I am not criticizing, I am just observing. Everybody wants to be somebody, get into the newspapers, television. You follow? You know what is happening. Isn't modesty part of beauty? Doesn't that require a great sense of self-abnegation? But when one is wanting to be a great success, to be known, to be a star, famous, sell more books. You know the whole thing. Apparently we have lost that and therefore we have become rather vulgar, insensitive. And if one is not modest you have lost a tremendous lot of life.

4th QUESTION: Show me how to dissolve the 'I', the 'me'. Without that everything else is futile.

The questioner says, show me. One can point out various ways of denying totally the self, the 'me', the selfishness, the self-centred activity, but apparently man has tried so many different ways - religiously, politically, accepting the State and adjusting, you know, all that, apparently man has not been able to totally deny or put away the whole nature and the structure of the self.

Let's look at it first, why self has become so important, why me first. And many people have tried through meditation, through the repetition of idiotic words, tried to be free of all this self. So why has man given such extraordinary importance to the self, why you - forgive me if I talk to you directly - why do you give importance to the self? Has it become a habit? Is it that we are encouraged from childhood? Is it that all religions have maintained that the self exists but identify that self with something greater? You know all that business. And is it that if one feels that there is no self there is nothing? And one is afraid of being nothing.

So the questioner says, show me, help me how to be free of this torture of the self. It is a torture, it is a battle that is going on outwardly and inwardly. The self can have no relationship with anybody. The self in its very nature is an isolating process. And it may be an abstraction, not actual reality - reality in the sense that can be touched, looked at objectively. Is it a series of structures put together by thought? Because the self, the 'me', the egotistic action is tearing the world apart. Perhaps we don't see that. That self identifies itself as a Jew, as a Hindu, as a Muslim, as a Christian, as a scientist. And so in the very nature of the self its movement is to be isolated. Are we meeting together?

And the questioner says: what am I to do. I know all this. I have thought a great deal about all this, I have tried different ways, I have meditated, tried to control, tried to deny myself of everything, but it is still there. Have you played with all this, some of you? If you have, then the question is, what is one to do. It may be that there is nothing to be done. Do you understand the question. Through complete negation there is positive action. I wonder if you understand all this. To negate. But we are afraid to negate because we have identified ourselves with our body, the perpetual concern over the body, yoga, exercise, beauty, facial, you know, long hair, short hair, beard and no beard, go through the various fads that one goes through, all this is sustaining the self. And in meditation the controller is the self. I wonder if you see all this.

So what is one to do? One has tried ten thousand ways, one has tried many, many way to be free of this torture, this isolating process of the 'me'. I don't know if you have tried it, probably not. But to do it demands tremendous alertness, watchfulness, attention. And in the self there is great pleasure. The saints have done that; self control, self torture, but at the end of it all there is this self deeply rooted. And is it ever possible to have no shadow of the self? Which means no isolation; which doesn't mean, 'I am the whole', you follow, all those tricks. To have a sense of honest, absolute feeling that there is no isolation. Please don't go after the other, which is, 'I am the whole, therefore I am not isolated', which is just another trick of thought. The other day there was a letter in which a man said, 'I am truth, you are part of me, and you don't accept me therefore you are not whole' - you follow? Such nonsense that goes on!

So is it possible to eliminate altogether the feeling of isolation? And that may be love. And that may be the one central factor that totally dissipates the self. But that word love is such a misused word, it has been spat upon, made into such an ugly thing. I love my husband but I fight with him. I love with my wife, but I can't tolerate her, I must have a divorce. You know all that. I love my country, therefore I am ready to kill everybody else. I love god and I will torture anybody who doesn't believe in god. The Catholics have been experts at that. So that word is something very sacred - not the word but the content, the depth and the beauty and the utter reality of it, that is sacred. And if we haven't that, like the questioner says, everything else is futile. Then you might say, how am I to have that love? You can't, it isn't something that you cultivate, day after day being kind, generous, doing social work, going off to some unfortunate country and helping the poor and all that. You see that is one of our strange things, we have lost all reverence. It may be a bourgeois idea. We won't go into that for the moment.

That may be the only factor, the only thing that totally completely dissolves the self. Not, I love everybody. That's again another trick of the brain. I love one therefore I can love all. That's another. But to have the beauty of it in your heart, not in the word, not in the form. And when there is no sense of isolation then the other perhaps is, and then the self is not. When that is the other is not.

5th QUESTION: You have defined both insight and enlightenment as a clear perception of the whole without the observer. But many of us have had insight without being enlightened, so what is the difference between insight and enlightenment? And what prevents insight from being enlightenment?

I don't know who made this statement. The speaker certainly has not. The speaker has said, has acclaimed what is insight, never what is enlightenment. You can describe enlightenment but the description is not the reality. And any person who says, 'I am enlightened' - you know what that means!

So the question really is: the scientists have insight, but it is partial, the musicians have insight, it is still partial, many of us insight, quick perception of something, a quick perception and action, many of us sometimes have it, but that is all partial. Insight means insight into our daily life and action. I may, as a scientist, have an insight into certain factors of matter, but my life may be shoddy, ambitious, full of anxiety, dependency. Insight means insight into the whole movement of life, not just one part of it.

An insight can only take place when thought is absent as memory. Think it out. It is not the result of calculation, mathematical conclusions. Perception without the past, seeing the thing completely. Like when you see, for example, that all accepted established religion, all, whether it is in India, here or anywhere else, is what it is. When you have an insight of that kind you are free of all dogma, rituals, beliefs, faith, you don't belong to any group, to any guru. Such insight is possible only when you are really attentive, your whole being wants to find out.

I think we had better stop now, don't you.


Ojai 1981

Ojai 3rd Public Question & Answer Meeting 12th May 1981

Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.

Art of War

ancient Chinese treatise by Sun Tzu

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48 Laws of Power

a different universe by Robert Greene?

free summary online