Saanen 1st Public Question & Answer Meeting 22nd July 1984
There have been a lot of questions, about probably two hundred or more. Out of those some of these questions were chosen. I have not looked at them before. I wonder what we are really interested in, each one of us. Probably health, probably, if you are rather old, getting one foot in the grave, fear of death, and also while we are very young, sex. And if you have no jobs, no vocation, which is becoming more and more imitation, what are we really interested in, profoundly, for which you are willing to give a great deal of one's energy, vitality and serious intention? How far would we go in carrying out, or pursuing something very, very serious in life? Are we all becoming very, very superficial? Never asking any serious demanding questions: what is it all about, the whole world? Why we behave as we do? Why isn't there peace in the world? I am sure we have asked all these questions of ourselves, probably. And we find no answers for them, or if we do, according to some tenet, some philosophy, some kind of acceptance of a system. Apart from all this, what is one really interested in? If we ask ourselves that question, do you ever find an absolute answer? Or is it all relative? If one is unhappy, one wants to be happy. Insecurity physically, biologically, then one seeks a form of security and fighting class differences. You know all that thing that is going on in the world. What is our answer to all this, these very demanding problems?
Do you ever stick to one thing and pursue it to the very end? We talked about the other day, health, which is naturally very important. How can a body be healthy if one has abused from one's youth, alcohol, tobacco, drugs - you know the whole medical process of health, keeping the body healthy. Or you do some kind of exercise, jogging along for ten miles, or five miles, or you do some kind of yoga - may I use that word? And become rather fanatical about yoga. At one time, in India, yoga was taught only to the very, very, few. It was not a moneymaking concern. Now it has become a big business. I hope you don't mind my telling you all this. And one is concerned about one's health. I think health comes when the self is not, when the ego is not tremendously active. It is like beauty, when the self is not the beauty is. When the ego with its self-centred activity is not, there is great good health.
And also we have many, many psychological problems, apart from physical problems - we have no houses to live in, only live in a flat in a town or big cities, in drawers, as it were. And that too has a great strain on the body, and so on. How do all these economic problems, which are really devastating the world, each country concerned with its own economic problem, its own security, armaments and all the rest of it, how can each country separate itself from the rest of mankind, and the population is increasing by the million. In India every year there are fifteen million people born. That is the population of Holland and Australia - fifteen million people - unemployed, poverty - you understand all this? Surely all these problems - class warfare, ideological warfare, can only end when we all become really civilized. That is, when we are not attached to any particular part of the country, when we are not nationally, religiously divided, but treat the whole world as our world, and then there will be no barriers. I am sure, we have talked to some of the scientists, the whole of humanity can be fed properly, housed, clothed and all the rest of it if we can abolish war, all the terrible instruments of war. But we are not civilized, I am afraid. We are too barbarous, and so none of the problems, physical problems, are being ever solved.
And the question arises: if there are half a dozen people in the world who have really transcended, gone beyond the self, which is the highest form of civilization, culture, what effect will they have on the rest of humanity - right? This is a question that has been asked over and over again. You, perhaps, change radically, fundamentally, utterly free from all the idiocy of mankind, what effect will it have on the rest of the world, on the mass as it is called? Will it have any effect? Don't you ask all these questions?
Would it be a right question to ask: what effect will it have? Are we changing because of the effect? Or we are changing deeply, profoundly, because per se, for itself, for its own beauty, for its own strength and love and compassion, and all that. And if we do, perhaps half a dozen or a dozen people in the world, surely it will affect the whole of consciousness of mankind. As Napoleon affected the whole of the world, and so on, and the religious teachers, the real religious teachers - not the phoney ones - have affected the consciousness of mankind. We should bear all this when we say to ourselves, "If I do change, how will it affect my neighbour, the mass of people?" I think that is a wrong approach to the question. One loves, not because of something, not because one is going to affect the world or your neighbour, but that very quality of the perfume, the depth of it, and the beauty of it, will have its own result without each one wanting a result.
So we had better tackle these questions. There are seven of them this morning. I don't know if we can answer all of them. Why do we put questions? We should. But to whom are you putting these questions? I know - I mean the speaker knows because he has received a lot of letters from all over the world, they want to talk to somebody. They can't talk to their wives or to their husbands, or to somebody with whom they are familiar, but they want to talk to somebody about their problems, their jobs, their quarrels and all those things that make life so utterly miserable. And so one writes letters, long letters. Not that you shouldn't write letters to the speaker but as it is not possible to talk over together each one of us separately, can we not look for another to help us but have that strength, that quality which resolves our own problems? I know it is nice to talk to somebody, to tell of our pain, our depressions, our anxieties, our ambitions, and in that talk, in that conversation, it might help one. And when we ask questions, how do we approach a question, not only the questions which we ask for ourselves, but also if you ask these questions, how do you approach a question? How do you approach a problem? The word 'approach' means coming very near, coming as close as possible to a question, or to the problem. In what manner do we approach - you understand the English meaning of that word, to come very, very , very close. I approach you. How do we approach these questions? Not only the questions that have been put to the speaker, but also to any problems, any questions that we have, how do we come near it? Are we first concerned with the solution of the problem? You understand my questions? Suppose I have a problem. My concern then is to find a solution to the problem - right? But the solution may lie in the question itself. You understand? We will go into it.
Shouldn't we approach the problem tentatively, hesitantly, and if you have a motive then the motive directs the problem. Clear? Right? Is this clear? We are discussing this together, the question how to approach the question. Could we approach it without a motive first? Because if you have a motive it has already set a direction to the question - right? You understand? It is clear, isn't it? If we have any kind of direction, which is the solution, then we have already limited it - right? So could we approach a problem without a motive, without seeking a solution for it? Or wanting the problem to be solved according to our pleasure and pain? Could we approach the problem without any reaction? Which is going to be very difficult because when we have a problem we react to it instantly - right? So could we have a gap, a sense of not having any motive, any direction, like or dislike, then you can look at the problem - right? - not project your wishes, your desires - right? Then you can look at the problem, study the problem, go into the problem, and in the understanding of the problem the solution is there, not outside the problem - right? I talked - we talked to some of the politicians about this - I know they are the last people, but we talked to them. They said all this takes too long. We have to resolve our problems immediately because they are starving, there are people who are terrorists and so on. They never go to the cause of things - you understand? They want quick - all of us do, not the politicians only, all of us want a quick immediate, convenient answer. If one has a headache, as most people apparently do, we never find out why it arises, what is the cause of it, but what we do is take a pill quickly, but the cause is there. So to investigate the cause, go into it very, very deeply, requires a brain that is not reacting all the time, defending, attacking, aggressive - you follow? It must have the quality of pliability, quickness, but the quickness comes when there is patience. Patience is not time. Patience is the quality of a brain that is looking, watching. I wonder if you see all this? Right?
So here are some questions: some friends have chosen these questions. They have shown me all the questions but they chose these - I haven't seen it, nor have you seen it - right? So let both of us approach it without motive, without any kind of reaction, like or dislike, but just listen to the question first, so that your answer - or rather the solution will be real not just fancy, imaginative, illusory - right? So you and the speaker are going to approach this question hesitantly, without any motive, without any reaction - right?
1st QUESTION: How do we tell the difference between observing ourselves in the sense you mean, and merely thinking about ourselves?
Have you got the answer? Thinking about ourselves and observing about ourselves. They are two different things according to this question. Thinking about oneself, which we all do - I am making progress, I am better than yesterday, I have my problems, which is thinking. I wish I had better food, better clothing, better housing, or I wish I had more sex - you follow? - money, thinking about oneself all the time - which most of us do, even the austere monk, he does think about himself - right? Only is the name of God - right? And the questioner says, what is the difference between that, thinking about yourself, and observing yourself - right? Right, that is the question.
Now we know what it means to think about ourselves - right? It is really going round and round in circles. Either expanding the self, the ego, or contracting the ego - right? I am the world, I am God, I must be more kindly, I must love. I must be more intelligent, I must meditate in order to achieve - whatever they want to achieve. So we are all caught in that. And observing oneself is something entirely different - right?
Then let's find out what does it mean to observe. You understand the question? We are together in this? Come on sirs!
First of all, do we observe anything without the word? Do we observe the mountain and not call it mountain? Do we observe the evening light on the cloud, with its most extraordinary colour, beauty and something immense, can we look at those clouds and the mountains without using a single word? Can we do that? You understand my question? Don't look so paralysed. That is, can we look at anything objectively, the trees, nature, the waters, the sky and the evening star and the silence of a morning, this extraordinary world we live in, natural world, can we look at anything without a single word? And to find that out we have to find, go into the question why the brain is caught in a network of words? You understand my question? Are we together in this?
We are asking: can we look at anything, including my wife, my husband, my daughter, the politicians, the various gurus and the priests and all the circus that goes on in the name of religion, can we look at all that without reaction first? Then find out if we can look at all that without the network of words interfering with our observation. Can we do that? Have you ever tried that? When one looks at one's wife or husband, can you look at her or him, without all the images, all the things that you have accumulated about her or him, just to look? Can you? You are exceptionally silent when I talk about the husband and the wife and the girl and the boy. So one has to find out why the brain is so caught up in words. When you say he is a communist or a totalitarian you have wiped it out, you have put him in a category, in a cage, and that is the end of it. Or he is British. Or he is French, or he is an Indian, or he is this or that. See what is happening to our brain. Linguistically the brain has been caught with words, not the significance and the depth of the word, but just the word. This requires careful watching. Watching is to observe. There was a balloon going up this morning - you must have all seen it - and you watched it, going up and up and up very, very slowly. The gondola hanging and you saw the whole thing. Then you would say, "By Jove, I wish I were up there", or you say to yourself, "How dangerous." And so on. We never look at anything without words, without reactions. Look.
Now you are all sitting there and you are unfortunately seeing the speaker. And you have already put him into a category. You already have an image about him. You already say he is this, he is that, or he is some kind of idiot or whatever you like to say about him. So you never (noise of train) - he has forgotten to whistle! (Laughter) - so you never look at him as though for the first time. You understand? Have you ever done this kind of thing? Not just for a minute or for an hour or a day, but the freshness of a mind, brain - you understand? - which is not caught in words, reactions, look at everything as though for the first time you are looking at the world. That observation is to watch oneself, never allowing a single thought to escape, without watching it, being aware of it, giving your whole attention to that one thought. And then another thought, keep at it. So that your brain is tremendously attentive. You understand? So that watching is not egocentric movement. Whereas thinking about yourself is egotistic, self-centred activity. It is clear, isn't it?
Now, just a minute. How do we move from this to that? Right? You are asking naturally, you must ask that question. Or am I asking the question and you are accepting it? You understand? Suppose one is self-centred, I am self-centred, egocentric, all my outlook is personal - I am not loved, I must love, you know, all that kind of turmoil, silliness that goes on. I am that, one is that. Then how am I, how is it to move to the other? Right? You are asking that question, aren't you? Is that a right question? Moving from here to there. That is a wrong question obviously. Because if you move from here to there that is the same as this. Vous avez compris? Move! You understand this? If I say I am selfish, now I must not be selfish, I must observe. The"'must' is still in the same category, or the same movement, as thinking about oneself. Right? Are we together in all this? Some of us are I hope at least.
So the question then is answered, not the answer is outside the question, but the answer is in the question. Right? That is observing the question itself, what it reveals. It reveals a tremendous lot. Because you see observing, if I can put it differently, observing, perceiving has not time. The other is caught in time: thinking about myself, I will fulfil one day, I have no roots now but I am going to establish roots some time, I have no identity - you follow? All those are time binding qualities. Time binding quality is essentially the self. I don't know if you want to go into all that. I am finding all this as I talk - right? Whereas watching, if you watch that bird, there is no time in that at all, just watching - right? So the word and thought create time. I won't go into all that. Got it?
2nd QUESTION: In relationship with another memory is there. What is the action of not letting memory intrude? Is it to see its presence as it arises and drop it instantly? Or should one be in a state where memory does not raise its head unless it is necessary. (I will read the question again more slowly)
In relationship with another - please we are listening to the question, not reacting to your relationship. You wife is sitting next to you, don't react. It is very difficult. (Laughter) It is a rummy world, isn't it? In relationship with another memory is there. What is the action of not letting memory intrude? Is it to see its presence as it arises and drop it instantly? Or should one be in a state where memory does not raise its head unless necessary? Right? Have you got the question?
What is the question? The question is in our relationship with each other, intimate or not, memory is there - right? It is always there because one is living with that person, cooking, sex, washing up (Laughter) the speaker has done a lot of washing up. Wherever he goes he washes up! Except in India, there they won't allow it.
Now the actual state in our relationship with another is the activity of memory. There is no refutation of that. That is so. Right? Do you all agree to that - no? You are not sure. Is not our relationship based on recognition, words, my wife, my husband, what she said this morning, he was moody, you only looked at the newspaper, never looked at me, his concern about his job and so on. That is the memory in operation. Nobody can deny that. What is the action, the questioner asks, of not letting memory intrude. Memory is there - right? It is not a question of memory intruding - right? The question is put wrongly. That is, there is another conclusion that memory should not intrude in relationship - you follow? You have already come to that conclusion by listening to the speaker and saying, "Yes, quite right, memory should not intrude". Then you say to me, ask the question, "How is it possible?" You have put a wrong question, then you answer it wrongly. Right? Let's get that clear.
We live with memories, not only with regard to our intimate relationship with another but also the long series of memories which we have accumulated through time. The racial memory, the linguistic memory, social memory, legislative memory, the memory of having read books, this whole accumulation of memories from childhood, and the racial memories which has been impressed upon us and so on. So we have memories. We are memories - right? Be clear - let's be clear on this point. We are past and present memories, and also the future memories unless there is something, a catharsis or a crisis and so on arises. So memories of the past, the present and the future is what we are. Traditionally, religiously, socially and so on, class, economics - I won't go into all that, repeat it over and over again - so we are memories. And she adds to that memory, or he adds to that memory, so we are all the time accumulating memories, not that memories intrude. Right? When you say that memories should not intrude, it is another form of memory. Have we understood? Because you have heard the speaker say in relationship knowledge is a danger, knowledge is an impediment, that you have accepted, or you see that, and you say, "Now how am I to prevent that memory intruding?" - but you are a bundle of memories. You don't want that particular memory with your wife or husband, to intrude. There you want a good relationship but elsewhere it doesn't matter - right?
The questioner asks: is it to see it's present, that is the memory arising, and as it arises drop it instantly in relationship? You understand? Have you understood? Come on sirs. Somebody say yes, or no whether you understand it or not. Or should one be in a state where memory does not raise its head unless necessary? It is a very complicated question - right? And requires not a complicated brain but a very simple brain can observe this. I am going to show it to you in a minute.
I am and you are memories, a bundle of memories. Even if you say there is in me, god, light, a sense of spirituality, it is still memory. So I am, the whole structure of the ego, me and all my knowledge is memory. Now I see in my relationship with my wife, or husband, or children or neighbour, these memories are always included. The memory of my wife who said something nasty, or bullied me, or said something pleasant or exciting, it is still I have gathered that memory. Right? So the question is - are you following all this? - the question is why does the brain retain all these memories - right? Would you ask that question? Right sir? Why does the brain retain something pleasant she has told me, and something unpleasant which she said yesterday that also is recorded, both pleasant and unpleasant are recorded, which becomes memory - right? Why does the brain record? That is the question. You understand?
There has been a war, forty years ago, nearly forty years ago, and they write books about it, they are talking about it, they show on the television various exciting scenes about war, the various material for destruction. You know, kept up, keep this going all the time - why? You understand? We will go into it.
So we are asking a much more serious, fundamental question: why does the brain record everything? Why should it record the unpleasant and the pleasant, it is in a state of constant recording? Right? We are agreed to this? This is a fact, not the speaker's invention. Now the question is: it is necessary to record how to drive a car, right? - how to write a letter, to be skilful in using instruments, to have knowledge in dismantling a car and putting it together, which the speaker has done, so it is necessary there. Right? Now why does it record psychologically, inwardly? You have got the question? We are asking this question? Is it necessary to record the pleasant, the unpleasant, the flattery, the insult, the sense of - you know, all the rest of it - is it necessary? Or the psychological recording gives strength, builds up the ego, the me, the personality - you understand? See that. Recording is necessary, otherwise we couldn't do anything in the physical world. If you are a businessman you have to know quite a lot, if you are a banker you have to know a great deal, if you are a surgeon or a doctor, eye specialist, you follow?, or a builder of computers, you must know a great deal. There it is absolutely necessary - right?
Now we are asking inwardly, inside the skin as it were, which is the psyche, the psychological area, why should there be any recording there? Is it an extension of the outer physical necessities into the psychological necessities, is it an extension of that? Is it an extension of that? You understand? Is it a continuity of the outer knowledge, which is necessary, and we say psychologically also it is necessary? We never question it. You understand what I am saying. Are we somewhat together in this? Surely you are not paralysed are you? So, please I am not hypnotizing.
So we are questioning the whole recording process. When I see that what she has said this morning is not important, it is not necessary, she will say something different tomorrow. I will say something to her, something entirely different - right? We both play this game. And what does it matter? Is it necessary? Which means I am building an image about her and she is building an image about me, a picture about me. The picture, the image, the symbol, becomes very strong - right? You know all this, don't you? It becomes tremendously strong. Therefore I say, "She is like that" and she says I am like that and we keep apart, except perhaps in bed. And the division grows wider and wider and wider, and I break or she breaks, and I pursue another woman and start the same old game again there, and she does exactly the same. Right? Do you agree to all this, the much married people?
So this is going on. And we are saying in examining the question, the inevitable question arises: is it possible not to record psychologically? What does it mean? Can this happen? - this mechanical process? It is a mechanical process. The brain has become accustomed to it, it is part of its tradition, it is part of its continuation of sustaining itself as the self - right? So we are asking: is it possible? Record there, where it is absolutely necessary, not to record at all psychologically? Don't you see the beauty of this, for God's sake? Which means first of all see the danger of recording psychologically. I am a Hindu, you are a Christian - right? You are a Buddhist or Tibetan, or belonging to some potty little guru, he may have a lot of money, power, position, but it is still a very potty little affair. So you see all this. So we are asking is it possible not to record inwardly? What is your answer? I have put you a question. You have put me several questions, but I am putting you a question. Is it possible not to record psychologically? Which means not to get hurt, or flattered, it is the same thing. You may say it is possible, or you might say it is not possible. If you say either of those things you are blocking yourself - right? If you say "I can't walk up that mountain", you stop walking. But if you say, "Well I will walk, see what happens", then a totally different action takes place.
So what is your answer? The questioner's answer is this.
Are you aware of anything? Aware of the shape of this tent, how many sections there are in this tent, the printed word of the owner of the tent there, are you aware of all this? The proportions of it, the length of it, not measuring, the length of it, and are you aware of the people sitting around you, the various colours, the faces, different faces, young, old, white haired, black haired, and so on, are you aware of all this? Or you have never looked? If you are not aware then you may not be aware of your own reactions. You may not be aware of your own responses. You may not be aware of your body, because you are terribly intellectual, all living up there. Or you are very romantic. Are you aware of all this? Sentimental, attached and so on. If you are aware, aware, not say, "Well I am aware but I don't like that shirt, it is too blue" - (Laughter) So I was told this morning! (Laughter) So are we aware in that sense, without choosing, a choiceless awareness? Then if you are so choicelessly aware, then you are attentive - you understand? Choiceless awareness means attention, not cultivated, say, "I must attend". But becoming aware of the trees, the birds, the balloons going up the mountains, the light on the clouds, the evening, the moonlight and so on, watching, watching. Aware of all this and your reaction to all this, and by not responding, not choosing, I like this, I don't like that, it is mine, it is yours - you follow? Just to be aware. From this choiceless awareness there is attention, attending with your eyes, with your ears, with your nerves, with all your being. Then when she says something to me I am fully attentive - right? She says "You are a brute", because I am attentive there is no reaction. You understand? It is only when there is inattention there is reaction. Get it.
Gosh, it takes a long time to tell all this. Have you got it? When there is complete attention there is no recording. But I must completely attend there, in driving a car I must be tremendously attentive. Attention is there and here, attention. But the moment that I am inattentive to what she is saying it is recorded, naturally. You have got it? Will you do it? That is the fun, not just listen to a lot of words, but if one actually puts, you know, not into action, see the truth of it. Then there is no recording. But if you record, if you inattentively record, then you can deal with it instantly. But if you are constantly inattentive, as we are, in our relationship with another, because that is our habit, I have known her for forty years, for God's sake, or ten days. You understand? So the quality of attention, and the quality of inattention, not attending, are two different things. Where there is inattention there is choice, unawareness, lack of attention, then the recording process goes on, the old habit is established. But when there is attention the old habit is broken. Got it?
3rd QUESTION: I understand that inner silence cannot be practised or sought after, but what is the ground on which it may come about? Clear, the question is clear.
The questioner understands that silence cannot be achieved, cannot be practised through meditation - right? Cannot be controlled. I don't know why you accept it but apparently you accept it. But what is the ground in which it may come about?
When you observe something, clouds, the mountain, the river, or the tree, or your wife or your neighbour, this low, uneducated person, can you observe all the phenomenon of life silently? Not say, "Yes, I think so". That is to look, to observe, without the reaction of opinions, because we are full of opinions about everything - right? Why do we have opinions? Go on sirs, tell me why human beings have such deep rooted opinions, or very, very, superficial opinions - I believe - why? My guru is right, better than yours. I am ready to fight. So these opinions, conclusions, concepts, ideals, divide human beings. This is obvious. There is the totalitarian idealisms, and the democratic idealisms - right? They are dividing people, ideals divide people. And the questioner asks: I understand that inner silence cannot be practised. When he uses the word "I understand" what does he mean by understanding? You understand? I am asking you the question: what do you mean by understanding? I understand how this tent is put together, how it is going to be dismantled. I understand the distance between here and Geneva. I understand what someone has said. Right? I understand the internal combustion machine, and so on. Is that understanding intellectual, verbal - right? Is it just understanding because you have said something, I understand the meaning of the words. Or when does real understanding take place? Which is, I see something instantly and that very perception of the truth changes my whole existence. Which is it? Because it is important to understand, important to grasp the significance of the word 'understand'. I understand intellectually something, or I have grasped it emotionally, sentimentally, romantically, imaginatively, and all that. Or I really not only see the depth and the significance of words but also in communication with each other I see the truth of what you are saying. See the truth of it, not conclusion, or the idea of what you are saying, the truth of it, the perfume, the depth, the taste of it. Then that understanding is a revolution. But you say casually, "Oh yes I understand what K is talking about" - which is nonsense. The speaker says I understand inner silence cannot be practised, or sought after. But don't you all seek some kind of inward quietness, some kind of peace sometimes? You are all seeking. Don't say we are not seeking. We are seeking food, comfort, escape from this terrible turmoil one lives in. But to casually say "I understand inner silence cannot be practised or sought after," if you will forgive me, forgive the speaker for saying you really don't understand what you have said. But what is the ground in which it may come about? That is the real question - right?
What is necessary for the state of the brain to be utterly silent? Why do you want to be silent? When you observe, perceive something, if you have no reaction to it, response to it - right? - just observe, that observation itself is silence - right? You understand? Naturally. I am watching you and you are watching me. If I, if the speaker has reactions in watching he is not really responding - right? He is not watching your reactions, your feelings, all the rest of it. And if you are watching the speaker and you have reactions you are not watching him, you are watching your reactions. Simple.
So the ground in which silence can come about is not through practice, not through determination, not through will or desire, but it comes naturally when there is freedom, freedom from conflict. So you have to understand conflict. Not say, "I must have silence", which is nonsense. So the ground on which natural, clear, beautiful, the immense depth of silence, comes when there is complete freedom. So one should ask not the quality of silence, how it comes about, but can one be free? Free from conflict, free from being hurt, free from fear, anxiety, loneliness - you know, sorrow and all that. Then the house of silence is immense.
It is twelve o'clock. Is that enough for this morning. Or do you want one more question? Am I working, or are you working too? Are we together working, or you are merely listening to a lot of words? If you are really actively co-operating, actively sharing, going to the very end of it, you would be exhausted. But if you are casually, it is like that river making noise, you get used to it. Anyhow although it is twelve, we will do the last one.
4th QUESTION: How can one reconcile the demands of society with a life of total freedom?
What are the demands of society? What are the demands of society? Tell me please. That you go to the office from nine to five, that you go to the factory from nine to five, that you go to the night club after all the boredom of office, there excitement, having a fortnight, or three week's holiday in sunny Spain or Italy? What are the demands of society? That you must earn a livelihood, that you must live in that particular part of the country for the rest of your life, practise there as a lawyer, or as a doctor, or a surgeon, or in the factory as a union leader, and so on and so on? Right? Therefore one must also ask the question: what is the society that demands so much? What is the society, what is society? Who created the bally thing? Who is responsible for all this? The church, the temple, the mosque - you follow? All the circus that goes on inside it. Who is responsible for all this? Is the society different from you? Or you have created the society, each one of us, through our ambition, through our greed, through our envy, through our violence, through our corruption, through our fear, wanting our security in the community, in the nation, you follow? We have created this society and then blame the society for what it demands. Therefore you ask: can I live in absolute freedom, can I reconcile, that is better, with society and myself seeking freedom? It is such an absurd question. You understand? Sorry, whoever put that question. I am not being rude. Because you are society. If we really see that, not as an idea, or as a concept, or something you must accept. But you, each one of us on this earth for the last forty thousand years, or more, we have created this society in which we live. The stupidity of religions - right? The stupidity of each nation, arming themselves. For God's sake, we have created it because I insist I am an American, or French or Russian. We insist that I am a Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, and so on, Muslim. It gives us security by calling it, and the search for security is being destroyed by our division. It is so clear, I don't know.
So there is no reconciliation between society and its demands and your demand for freedom. The demand is from your own violence, from your own ugly, limited, selfishness. It is one of the most complex things to find out for oneself where selfishness is, where the ego very, very subtly hides itself. It can hide politically, doing good for the country. It can hide in the religious world most beautifully. "I believe in God, I serve God". Or social help, not that I am against social help, don't jump to that conclusion, it can hide there. It can hide in marriage, in love - right? It requires a very attentive, not analytical, but observing brain to see where the subtleties of the self are hidden - selfishness. Then when there is not, society doesn't exist, you don't have to reconcile to it. It is only the inattentive, the thoughtless, the unaware, that says, "How am I to respond to society when I am working for freedom?" You understand?
If one may point out, we need to be re-educated, not through college, school and university, which also conditions our brain, or when we work in the factory and so on, but educate ourselves by being aware, seeing how we are caught in words and so on. Can we do this? If we cannot do it, we are going to have wars perpetually, we will be weeping perpetually, always in conflict, misery and all the rest of it. The speaker is not optimistic or pessimistic, these are facts. When one lives with facts as they are, as you observe them, not data given by the computers or the poets but watching your own activity, your own egotistic pursuits and so on. Out of that grows marvellous freedom with all this great beauty and strength.
Sorry to have talked so long. May I get up please?
Saanen 1st Public Question & Answer Meeting 22nd July 1984
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