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Ojai, 1st meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 7th Question Ojai, California 1st Question & Answer Meeting 6th May 1980 'Knowledge'

Question: Why is knowledge, as you have said, always incomplete? When one is observing, is one aware that one is observing, or only aware of the thing that is being observed? Does awareness lead to analysis? What is psychological knowledge?

Whom do you expect to answer these questions, the Delphic oracle, the highly elevated priest, the astrologers, the soothsayers, the readers of tea leaves? Whom do you expect to answer these questions? But since you have put these questions, we can talk them over together. Not that I, the speaker, will answer them and then you accept or deny and go away dissatisfied, saying, "I've wasted my morning". If we could seriously talk over these questions, so that we both penetrate into the problem, then it will be your own answer, not the answer of someone you have heard answer these questions. You can talk about cancer, and not have it; but if you have it, you are involved in it, in its pain, anxiety and fear.

Why is knowledge always incomplete? What is knowledge and what do we mean when we say "I know". You may say,"I know my wife or my husband or my girl or boy friend". Do you really know them? Can you ever know them? Do you not have an image about them? Is the image the fact? So, to know is very limited. Scientific knowledge is also limited; scientists are trying to find out what is beyond matter; although they have accumulated a great deal of knowledge they have not been able to find out so far. Knowledge and ignorance always go together; the unknown and the known. Scientists say: through matter we will find that which may be beyond. But we human beings are matter. Our minds are matter. Why do we not go into this, for if the mind can go through itself, the possibility of coming upon that which is the origin of all things, is much more likely?

Knowledge of oneself is also limited. If I seek to know myself I can study psychology, I can discuss with the psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychobiologists. But that knowledge is always limited. But if I penetrate into this entity called myself, then there is a possibility of going infinitely beyond. This is a very important thing without which life has very little meaning other than the cycle of pleasure and pain, reward and punishment - the pattern in which we live. That psychological knowledge which we have acquired has created the patterns in which we are caught. Knowledge, whether it is physiological or psychological, must always be limited.

When one is observing, is one aware that one is observing; or only aware of the thing being observed? Does the awareness lead to analysis? What do we mean by observing? There is visual external observation - the observation of the tree - and also inward observation. There is the external hearing with the ear and also hearing inwardly.

When we observe, do we really observe or do we observe with the word? That is: I observe the thing we call a tree and I say `tree'. I observe with the word. Now, can we find out if it is possible to observe without the word? - for the word has become more important than the seeing. The husband observes his wife, or a wife her husband, with all the memory, pictures, sensations and irritations. They never directly observe.

Can we observe a person with whom we live intimately without the image, without the picture, without the idea? Perhaps we are able to perceive the thing which we call the tree, without the word. That is fairly easy, if you have gone into it. But to observe the person with whom you live without the activation of the memory about that person is not so easy.

This observation, through the image, through the accumulated memory, is no relationship at all. It is a relationship of one picture with another picture and that is what we call relationship. But if you examine it closely you will see that it is not relationship; it is the idea of one against the idea of another.

So can we observe without making an abstraction or idea of what we observe? This is what is meant by psychological knowledge; I build up, psychologically, a great deal of knowledge about my wife, correctly or incorrectly, depending on my sensitivity, depending on my ambition, greed, envy, depending on my self-centred activity. That knowledge is preventing the actual observation of the living person. And I never want to meet that living thing because I am afraid. It is much safer to have an image about that person than to see the living thing. My psychological knowledge prevents pure observation. Now, can one be free of that? Can the machinery that builds these images come to an end? I have these images about my wife, they are there; that is a tremendous fact, like a stone around my neck. How am I to throw it away? Is the stone, the image around my neck, different from the observer? Is that image, that weight around my neck, different from the observer who says, "I have these images".

Is the observer who says, "I have these images and, how am I to get rid of them?" different from the images he observes? Obviously not.

So the observer is the image-maker who is making these images and then separating himself from them, saying, "What am I to do about them?" That is the way we live, that is the pattern of our actions, that is our conditioning to which we are accustomed, so we naturally accept it. But we are saying something entirely different, which is that the observer is the observed.

We have to enquire into what the observer is. The observer is the result of all his experiences; he is his knowledge, his memories, his fears, his anxieties - the past. The observer is always living in the past; although modifying himself all the time to meet the present, he is still rooted in the past. There is this movement of time, the past modifying itself in the present and going on to the future. This is the psychological momentum or movement of time.

When we observe, we are observing through the image which we have created about that thing or that person, Can we observe the thing or person without that image? That means; can the observer be absent in observation? When we look at a person whom we know very intimately there arises the image; the more intimately we know them the more definite the image. Can we look at that person without the image? Which means: can we look at that person without the observer? That is pure observation.

Does this awareness lead to analysis? Obviously not. What do we mean by analysis and who is analysing? Suppose I am analysing myself; who is the analyser? Is the analyser different from me? Obviously not.

We are eliminating the very structure of conflict between human beings, the conflict that exists as long as there is division. it is the division in myself which creates the division outside. There is a division in myself if I say I am a Hindu. The identification with the image of being a Hindu gives me security. So I hold on to it, which is nonsense, for there is no security in an image. And the Muslim and the Arab and the Jew, do the same. So we are at each other's throats.

When the observer, psychologically, is the observed, there is no conflict, because there is no division. See this clearly: our minds have been trained and educated to have this division; that `I' and the thing observed are different - my anger and my jealousy are different from me; therefore I must do something about them, control them, suppress them, go beyond them, act upon them. But when anger and jealousy are `me', what has happened? There is the elimination of conflict. The pattern has been broken. The pattern, which is the conditioning of my mind, has been broken. It is the ending of something and the beginning of something else. If the pattern is broken and the struggle is ended what then takes place? A new momentum, a new movement, takes place.

You can observe a tree and the word `tree' interferes; the moment you see it you say, "There's a tree", or a butterfly, a deer, or the mountain or river; there is immediate reaction. That reaction can be observed and perhaps put aside so that there is just observation of the tree, the beauty of the line of it, the grace of it, the quality of it. Now, do the same with a person with whom you have lived, with whom you have been intimate - observe without a single image about that person. Then relationship is something extraordinary.

Suppose a wife has no image about her husband; what then is the relationship for the husband? The husband is violent and the wife is not violent. Is there any relationship - except perhaps through the senses, sexually - is there any relationship? Obviously not, but they are living in the same house. So what will the husband do? First of all that is a most extraordinary way of living, in which there may perhaps be real, profound love. The wife has no images about her husband, but he has images, ideas all the time, piling up. They are living in the same house. What takes place? She is free, he is not. He wants her to have an image about him, for he is used to that. ~o the most destructive relationship goes on till she says, "Enough". Does she divorce him, leave him? Perhaps, since she has no images about him, a totally different atmosphere has been brought about in the house. He is beginning to be aware because she is immovable - you understand? - and he is moving all around. When he meets something that is immovable, something happens to him.

Questions and Answers

Ojai, 1st meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 7th Question Ojai, California 1st Question & Answer Meeting 6th May 1980 'Knowledge'

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