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Saanen 1981

Saanen 1st Public Question & Answer Meeting 29th July 1981

It is a lovely morning for a change. And I hope you had the pleasure of looking at the long shadows of the morning.

We have had many, many questions. We didn't count them but there must have been over a hundred. And out of those we have chosen some, not because they are easy to answer, or what we like to answer, but we have chosen some that may be representative of some of the questions that have been put. There have been, if I may point out, rather absurd questions, but there are these questions which we have gathered together and put for this morning.

When one asks a question, is the answer more important than the question itself? When one looks to an answer one overlooks the question. In the question itself, if we examine it deeply, is the answer. In the question itself. And how one approaches the question is all important, not try to find a rather clever, or not clever, or an answer that is worthwhile or personal. So please bear in mind that we are together, and I must emphasize again, that we are together examining the question. And out of that question, in the investigation of that question, the answer is inevitable. There are ten of them this morning. I don't know if we can answer all of them but we will try.

1st QUESTION: What do you mean by insight? Does it differ from intuition?

What do we mean by intuition? Having a hunch, having a feeling that is the right thing. And intuition is also having been sensitive, capturing something which may be conditioned, which may be personal, which may be a desire, wish fulfilment. And we must be clear and hesitant in using that word intuition, because it may be one's own unconscious desire, one's own longing for something to happen, or sudden feeling that it is the right thing to do. But I think insight is different. May we go into it together?

The scientists, the physicists, the technological people have an insight into some invention. They see something new. Is that insight partial or is an insight whole? You understand? We are meeting, I hope, together. I may have an insight as I am an engineer into the structure of a bridge. And I operate according to that insight. That insight being more powerful, I adjust all my knowledge to conform, or adjust, to that knowledge - right? - to that insight. But is that insight partial? A poet, a painter, a musician, may have an insight, but it is still partial. When we use the word 'insight' we mean insight into the whole movement of life, not one part of it - right? So let us together find out what we mean by insight, how does it take place? - if you are interested in it. Because that may be the solution for our problems, specially psychological issues that are such a tremendous travail in all our lives. So together let's find out what we mean by insight.

Is - I am questioning it, so please question it also - is insight an action of memory? One has accumulated a great deal of knowledge, psychologically or physically, and that knowledge may, being limited, see something very clearly. But that knowledge being always in the field of ignorance because there is no complete knowledge about anything, including oneself, and when there is an insight from that limited knowledge that insight must also be limited. So insight, we mean by that word, it is not the outcome of knowledge - knowledge being you can examine, say for example, all the comparative religions, the various sects, the various rituals and so on, you can examine them, study them, and come to a conclusion. Whereas that conclusion may be rational, sane, logical but it is based on the activity of thought. And therefore it is limited. And that conclusion naturally must be limited. That's clear. Whereas insight has nothing whatever to do with knowledge, it has nothing to do with remembrance, but you have an insight say into all the comparative religions, with all their rituals, sanctions, dogmas, beliefs and so on, if you have an insight into all that you will see they are all similar - right? They are all based on thought and therefore all religions are limited. There is an immediate perception, not a logical conclusion, an action but the total perception of all the religious activities in the world, having an insight implies you see that they are essentially limited because they are put together, invented by thought.

Similarly to have an insight into one's relationship, which is much more difficult. Relationship, as it is now based on images, hopes, pleasures, fears and so on, essentially based on the images that thought during a period of time, it may be a day or ten years, has built it. To have an insight into that, that is, relationship is based on images, to have an insight into that is to dispel the images. I hope you are following some of this.

Suppose I am married, or have a girl friend, my relationship actually is based on my particular like and dislike, my particular attraction, sexual or otherwise, the environmental influences, the biological demands and I establish a relationship with another person based on that. Obviously. And is it possible to have an insight into the whole movement of relationship - not come to a conclusion that I have images, I must break them, how to break them and so on and so on and so on, but to have an insight into it, which means to see basically what it is, fundamentally what it is. And if one has that deep insight the action which comes out of that insight is much more logical, much more sane and has a quality of something original, love. I hope you are following all this. Right?

That is, to take a very simple example: all nationalism is glorified tribalism - right? All nationalism - American, Russian and all the rest of it is glorified tribalism - right? The moment you see that, that it is a very limited, narrow, feeling which divides man, to have an insight into that is to be free from all the tribalism - right? Are you following all this? Or if you have an insight into the question of obedience and following, whether the obedience to a guru, to a priest, to a law and so on, to have a deep insight into this quality of following and obedience, will you obey, follow anybody? Naturally you will obey laws, whether they are good or bad we are not discussing, how far you can go, how far you cannot go, that is not our problem for the moment, but the whole concept of following and obeying - obey a doctor, obey a surgeon and if I am not too neurotic and the policeman isn't too brutal, I will obey him. But the whole psychological desire in which lies the security of following, if I follow somebody I feel safe, whether it is a psychiatrist, or a priest, or my wife or husband, or whatever it is, one feels safe - right? Now if you have an insight into that, that is a mind, a brain that is conditioned to follow, the feeling of following and the urge to follow completely drops away instantly.

So insight is not brought about through will, through desire, through memory, it is immediate perception and therefore action. When we talk about perception, is it possible to observe without the word - please do it as we are talking and you will see - is it possible to observe a tree, a person, the speaker, to observe without the word, the word indicating all the memories, the reputation, the remembrances, the word implying all that. Knowing the word is not the thing, can you observe without the word? Right? And when you observe, is the observer different from the observed? One observes that tree. There the observer, I hope, is different from the tree - right? The observer is not the tree. That would be rather neurotic to say, "I am the tree". But to observe the tree without calling it the tree, without the name. The name and all the things associated with that name, is the tradition, the memory, the past, which says, "That is the tree". To look at it without all that in operation - right? Please do it as we are talking about it. And can one observe oneself without the word, without all the associations connected with that word, to look at it? And when you do observe in such a manner, is the observer different from the observed? Wait, I'll show it to you.

The feeling of anger arises in me: is that anger different from me? Or I am anger? But what thought has done is, a moment later one says, "I have been angry", which means I am separate from that anger - are you following all this? Whereas the actual fact is when there is anger there is only anger, that feeling. There is no observer different from the observed. That division arises only after. Out of that division comes all our conflict - right? So is it possible to observe without the word, without all the memories associated with that word? Then only the observer is the observed and that eliminates altogether the division which brings about conflict. To have an insight into that is to end the division - right?

2nd QUESTION: How can the idea of, "You are the world and you are totally responsible for the whole of mankind" be justified on a rational, objective, sane basis.

I am not sure, one is not sure it can be rationalized on a sane, objective basis. But we will examine first before we say it can't.

First of all the earth on which we live is our earth - right? It is not the British earth, the French earth or the German, Russian, Indian, Chinese, it is our earth on which we are all living. That is a fact. But thought has divided racially, geographically, culturally, economically. That division is causing havoc in the world - obviously. There is no denial of that. That is rational, objective, sane. Right? And we have been saying human beings, living on this earth, which is our earth, all ours, not the isolated, divided communities, it is our earth on which we are all living, though politically, economically we have divided it - for security, for various forms of patriotic, illusory reasons which eventually brings about war.

We have also said that human consciousness is - please go into this with me, you may disagree, you may say it is all nonsense, but please listen to it and see if it is not rational, objective, sane - all our human consciousness is similar - right? We all, wherever, on whatever part of the earth we live, we all go through a great deal of suffering, a great deal of pain, great anxiety, uncertainty, fear. And we have occasionally or perhaps often, pleasure. This is the common ground on which all human beings stand - right? This is an irrefutable fact. We may try to dodge it, we may try to say it is not, that I am an individual and so on and so on, but when you look at it objectively, non-personally, not as British, French and so on, in examination you will find that our consciousness is like the consciousness of all human beings, psychologically. You may be tall, you may be fair, you may have brown hair, I may be black or white, or pink or whatever it is, but inwardly, psychologically we are all having a terrible time. We all have a great sense of desperate loneliness. You may have children, a husband, and all the rest of it, but when you are alone you have this feeling that you have no relationship with anything, totally isolated. I am sure most of us have had that feeling. And we are saying this is the common ground on which all humanity stands. And whatever happens in the field of this consciousness we are responsible. That is: if I am violent, I am adding violence to that consciousness which is common to all of us. If I am not violent, I am not adding to it, I am bringing a totally new factor to that consciousness. So I am profoundly responsible: either to contribute to that violence, to that confusion, to that terrible division, or as I recognize deeply in my heart, in my blood, in the depths of my being, that I am the rest of the world, I am mankind, I am the world, the world is not separate from me, then I become totally responsible, obviously, which is rational, objective, sane. The other is insanity, to call oneself a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Christian and all the rest of it - they are just labels.

So when one has that feeling, that reality, the truth of it, that every human being living on this earth is responsible not only for himself, but responsible for everything that is happening. Now how will one translate that in daily life? How will you translate it? - if you have that feeling, not an intellectual conclusion, as an ideal and so on, then it has no reality. But if the truth is that you are standing on the ground which is common to all mankind, and you feel totally responsible, then what is your action towards society, towards the world in which you are actually living? The world as it is now is full of violence - right? And only a very, very few people escape from it because they are carefully guarded, protected and all the rest of it. One realizes, suppose I realize I am totally responsible, what is my action then? Shall I join a group of terrorists? Obviously not. Obviously competitiveness between nations is destroying the world - the most powerful, the less powerful, and the less powerful trying to become more powerful, which is competition. Not only nationally, which is destroying the world, shall I realizing that I am the rest of mankind and I am totally responsible, shall I be competitive? Please answer these questions. When I feel responsible for this naturally I cease to be competitive. And also the world, the religious world as well as the economic world, social world, is based on hierarchical principle - right? And shall I also have this concept of hierarchical outlook? Right? Obviously not, because that again is the one who says, "I know", the other says, "I do not know". The one who says "I know" is now taking a superior position, economically, socially, religiously and has a status. And if you want that status go after it, but you are contributing to the confusion of the world.

So there are actual, objective, sane actions when you perceive, when you realize in your heart of hearts, in the depth of your being that you are the rest of mankind and that we are all standing on the same ground.

3rd QUESTION: You use the term 'psychological time'. This is difficult to comprehend. Why do you say that psychological time is the source of conflict and sorrow?

Let us consider together what is time. Time by the watch, time by the sun setting, sun rising, time as yesterday, today, tomorrow - that tomorrow may be a hundred years and yesterday may be another hundred years backwards, and the time today is that we are sitting here listening. That is time physically, in the acquisition of knowledge, in so-called evolution; to learn a language time is necessary, to become a physicist time is necessary, to drive a car time is necessary - right? That is obvious. Is it that we carry this idea of time, which we have established naturally, logically because I need time to learn a technique, is it that we have carried over this principle of time into the psychological world? You are meeting my point. You understand? Are we meeting each other? Or am I talking to myself? Right.

I am asking the question: one realizes time is necessary in acquiring a skill. Is it that principle we have carried over into the psychological area? Or psychologically time exists for itself? Not that we have carried it over but time as a process of evolution psychologically, time in itself exists. You follow this?

Please let us be quite clear on this point: is there psychologically, in itself, intrinsic in itself, time? Or we have carried over from the time element that is necessary in learning a skill to the psychological world? So there are the two problems. That is: psychologically does time exist per se? Or we have introduced it because we have been conditioned to that therefore we react to the psychological world in the same manner? Clear?

So it is obvious that we need time to learn a skill. Clear? Now we are asking: is time inherent in the psychological structure, psychological nature? Or thought has brought the element of time into it? Are we following each other? Is it too difficult? Right? May I go on?

Wait sirs, let's go slowly into it. I hope you are also working, not just listening. (Inaudible comment) We are coming to that sir, one moment. We will come to that sir, please. It is all right sir, take time! (Laughter) Have patience.

Patience has no time. Impatience has time. Right? When you are patient you are silent, listening. But if you are impatient and say "Let's get on with it", time element comes in. Obviously. So please let's look at this sensitively, not say, "You are right", "I am wrong" and so on, but sensitively let's approach this question. Has thought introduced into the psychological realm the whole idea of time? Or in the very nature of the psyche time is? First of all psychologically thought, which is part of the psyche, thought has introduced time: I am this, I will be that. I am angry, I will get over it. I am not successful but I will be. All that movement is time. The distance covered from what I am to what I shall be. The space between me as I am and as I will be. So time is what is, the space to be covered to achieve that. So the whole process of that is time. I do not know myself, I must learn about myself, educate myself. The same thing is operating as in the world of skill - I am going to learn about myself, which admits time - right? So I am asking - we are asking: time is a factor of thought, thought is the response of experience, knowledge, memory stored up in the brain. And that memory responds which is thought. Again this is an obvious fact. If you had no experience, no knowledge, you would be in a state of amnesia, or whatever you like to call it. But because we have accumulated a great deal of knowledge, psychologically, and that is stored up in the brain as memory and thought.

So this whole process of accumulating knowledge about oneself, learning about oneself, and gradually building information about oneself, all that implies time. That is: psychological time and time by the day and by the watch. Chronological time and psychological time. Again that is a fact. Now apart from that, is inherent in the psyche this element of time? That is: being and becoming. Right? I am only putting it in different ways. Is there inherent in me, which is the psyche, this question of time at all? Please don't jump to a conclusion. That is: in me there is a timeless state? I am not saying that at all. That is the old tradition. We are not saying that, we are just asking.

Is the me free of time? Right? Obviously not. The me, my family, my nation, my character, my capacity, my loneliness, my despair, my whole travail in existence, is me. The me that is going to die, the me that lives. Going to the office, to the laboratory, factory, whatever you are doing. And all that is the activity of thought, including the me. The me is my form, my name, the image I have about myself, if I have one, the things I have done, the things I want to do, etc. etc. - all that is me, which is my consciousness. The content of that consciousness is put there by thought which is time right?

So there is psychological time, which is the movement of thought, fear, pleasure, pain, suffering, joy, so-called love, all that is the movement of thought; thought being memory, space, time, the achievement of it. Now we are saying - please bear with me - we are saying that the psychological time is the factor of conflict and sorrow. That, the questioner says, why do you say that? As we have been pointing out during the talks, that thought is the root of fear. Thought is the root of pleasure. I have had pleasure yesterday, the remembrance and the desire to continue tomorrow. That is the movement of thought. And sorrow: sorrow, as we said, is the essence of isolation. Sorrow is the outcome of self-centred egotistic activity. We are only putting it differently. So thought is responsible for this. And thought creates, is time itself, of course. So is it possible to have, to be free of psychological time, because that divides? And where there is division there must be conflict - like the Jew and the Arab, like the capitalist and the totalitarian - division between me and another, with my wife and the husband and so on and so on. Wherever there is division there must be conflict, that is law. It is not my law, it is there.

So thought, time, space, psychologically is the source of conflict and sorrow. After examining it, is it possible for thought - please listen to this - for thought to realize its own place, which is in the world of technique and it has no place psychologically? Please don't reject it, just look at it. Psychologically time exists when I have an image about myself and you tread on that image, that brings wounds, that hurts. That is the element of time. Now if I have no image about myself it is finished. Is that possible, living in this world, married and all the rest of it? That is to have psychologically no tomorrow. It is not when Dante talks about all those who enter Inferno that there is no hope, it is not that at all. You know what I am saying? Why do we have hope? I am not saying you shouldn't or should. Why do we have hope? See what happens? I have a hope to be a great man or whatever it is, my hope. And I am working for that. And I am a failure, generally I am. Then I get bitter, angry, violent, cynical. And violent, cynical, bitter, I am adding to the confusion of the total consciousness, to that, I am maintaining that - right? So if I have an insight into this, the image disappears entirely.

You might ask the speaker: are you glibly talking about it and you have your own private, secret image? I know you are terribly interested in that. This question has been asked, I don't know how often, in India, in Europe and in America, and each time that question is asked I am aware, not easily answered, which is when I say there is no image about myself - either you say, "That is nonsense", or you say, "It doesn't matter to me. As long as I have an image about myself" - right? You understand? It doesn't matter if you have no image about yourself, who cares? But what is important is to find out how to live - not how - to find out if it is possible to live in this terrible world, dangerous world, criminal world, to have no image. Find out. Don't say, "It is not possible". Or say, "It is possible". But to study the image that you have and have an insight into it, and end it immediately.

We have only answered three questions in an hour. Oh Lord!

4th QUESTION: How does one draw the dividing line between knowledge which must be retained, and which is to be abandoned? What is it that makes the decision?

I will read it again carefully. How does one draw the dividing line between knowledge which must be retained, and that which must be abandoned? What is it that makes this decision? You have understood the question?

The questioner is asking where does knowledge, which is necessary, to be a skilful engineer, carpenter, plumber, or if you want to be a politician - I hope none of us do - and the line between that and the recording - please listen - the recording of personal knowledge, personal hurts, personal ambitions, where apparently we have sustained knowledge and therefore harmful. So where do you draw the line between that and this? Is it clear? And the questioner says: and what is it that makes this decision: to keep it there and not to keep it here?

Do you see one of the factors in this question: how we all depend on decisions. I will decide to go there. I won't go there. Decide. What is that decision based on? Just look at it carefully please. My arm, my past knowledge, past pleasure, past pain, past remembrance of things which says, "Don't do that anymore", or "Do it". That is, in decision there is the element of will - right? Will is the accumulated, concentrated form of desire - right? Right? Desire, which says, "I must do that", but I call it will. So will is the accumulated, concentration of desire. We have been into the question of desire, I don't want to go into it now because it is - shall I go into it? Eh? No. Thank God!

Q: Why are we sitting here now?

K: I don't know why you are sitting here sir, but we are talking about decision. We are saying there is a great element in decision, will. And on that tradition we are conditioned. I am questioning, the speaker is questioning that action at all. You understand? Because will is a divisive factor, a dividing factor: I will do this, and my wife says I will not do that - right? So will is essentially desire and has in it the element of division - me and not me, and so on. I must succeed and so on.

So is there a way of living - please listen to this - without the operation of will at all? Right? A way of living in which there is no conflict, and conflict exists as long as I exercise will, obviously. I wonder if you are clear. Now let's find out if that is possible.

The questioner asks: how does one draw the line between the accumulating factor of knowledge necessary to act skilfully, and the non-recording factor of the psyche? Not recording my hurts, my insults, the flattery, all the bullying and all that, not recording any of that. How does one draw the line between the two? You don't draw the line. The moment you have drawn the line you have separated, and therefore you are going to cause conflict between the knowledge and non-recording, then you ask "How am I not to record?" I am insulted, personally the speaker has been insulted by professionals, so please don't join the professionals! How not to record the insult, or the flattery, it is the same thing. The two are the two sides of the same coin - you understand? Flattery and insult. You insult me. My brain instantly records it. I get hurt. In the field of technology I must record. But here why should I record? You insult me. All right. Why should that insult be carried over, day after day, when I meet you and I say, "You have insulted me". From that insult I retaliate. Now is it possible not to record at all any psychological factors? You understand? You understand my question? My wife - if I have one, thank God I haven't got any - if I have one, she says something brutal after I have come back from the office because she has had a tiresome day herself with rambunctious children, so she says something violent. Instantly because I am tired I want some kind of peace in the house, so I record it. Now I am asking myself: I am tired, I have worked, I come into the house, she says something brutal and is it possible not to record that incident at all? Otherwise I am building an image about her and she is building an image about me, so the images have relationship, not us. You understand sirs? It is an obvious fact.

So is it possible not to record? The recording process is to strengthen, to give vitality to a centre which is the me - right? Obviously. So is it possible not to do it? And it is only possible, however tired one is, to be attentive at that moment, when the wife or I am brutal. Because as we explained the other day with regard to meditation, where there is attention there is no recording. It is only when you are self-centred, and that very self-centredness is concentration, then there is recording. Right?

So to see the truth of this you need knowledge on this level, and here you don't need knowledge at all. See the truth of it, what freedom it beings you. That is real freedom. Right? If you have an insight into it, you don't draw the line, nor decide. There is no recording.

Do we go on? Enough?

5th QUESTION: Intellectually we understand that the observer is the observed. But what is necessary to perceive this so that it goes beyond the intellectual level?

The question is: what is necessary to go beyond this intellectual acceptance that the observer is the observed? First of all do we even intellectually accept it? Question yourself please. Do you even intellectually, that is verbally, logically, discerning and saying, "Yes, it is so, logically. Because it has been pointed out, objectively, logically." And you say, "Yes" - is that so? Do you even intellectually accept that? Or it is just a lot of words floating around? But if you do accept it intellectually, what does that acceptance mean? When you say, "I intellectually agree with you", what does it mean? It means absolutely nothing. It is just a form of convenient social acceptance, saying, "Yes, you are quite right but you may be wrong". So intellectually we don't even accept it. If we do it is again very superficial, and therefore of no value. But the fact is that the observer is the observed. That is the truth. That is: I am lonely, with all the implications of tremendous feeling of isolation, having no relationship with anything. I am completely absorbed with fear in the sense of detachment from everything. That depresses me tremendously. And my natural instinct is to run away from it, suppress it, run after meeting people, football, religion and all that. But the escape from the fact brings about the division. I am lonely, I must not be lonely - right? The escape from 'what is' gives me not only conflict, because it is divisive, it helps me not to understand this thing called loneliness - right?

Is loneliness separate from me? When I say, "God, I am lonely", is that feeling of desperate, anxious, fear of loneliness, is that something separate from me? Or I am that? Right? You understand? My self-centred activity, my ambition, my image about myself and so on, all that has brought about this sense of isolation, which I call loneliness. That loneliness is not separate from me. If it is separate from me I can act about it, run away - right? Suppress it and so on. But if it is me - please understand this - if it is me that is the state of loneliness, what is one to do? You understand my question? I am lonely, you know all the feeling of it. You may be married, have children and so on but you are basically terribly lonely. If that loneliness is something separate from me, then I am in conflict with that loneliness - right? I fight it, I try to fill it by knowledge, by excitement, by this or that, but if it is me I can't do anything about it. You understand? See, just stop there for a minute.

Before I am accustomed to do something about it. Now I realize I am that. Because I cannot do anything about it, it ends conflict but the thing remains - right? I can't do anything about it so it is there. So can I - please listen to this - can my thought remain with it completely, not run away from it, remain with that loneliness with all its anxiety, fear, all the complexity of that loneliness, totally without any movement, look at it. When you look at it, if you look at it as an observer looking in, then again the problem arises. But the fact is that loneliness is you so we have to look at it without the observer, as a whole. When you do that completely, loneliness disappears totally, never to come back.

Right sirs, I have answered five questions, that is enough.


Saanen 1981

Saanen 1st Public Question & Answer Meeting 29th July 1981

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

Art of War

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