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1st Public Talk - 14th July 1974
1st Public Talk - 14th July 1974
I think it is rather important to realize that we are going to talk about serious things and to understand them we ourselves must be quite serious. This is not an entertainment, something you attend to one day and then forget the rest of the time.
I mean by serious, to be concerned and to be committed totally to the understanding of what is happening around us; to try to find - if we can, indeed we should as it is our responsibility - the answer to these many many challenges that are offered to us. It is in that sense that I mean we should be serious, we should be concerned and committed. And to be committed means action, not just the theoretical acceptance of any particular system, it means to be committed and totally concerned to find the solution and therefore the action in the problems that face us, politically, economically, socially, morally and religiously.
As we observe the world we see that it is in a dreadful state. There is so much confusion politically; and in the field of education, they are educating people, but for what? Where is it all going, educationally? Also religiously, which should be the most important issue in life, there is the denial of creed, the denial of all the assumed authority of the priest, the doctrines and the beliefs. Everything is going to pieces around us - of which I am sure you must be aware. Go to India, an ancient country, with an ancient culture and tradition, there they are destroying themselves inwardly; and the ultimate destruction, there, inwardly is the nuclear bomb - I hope you realize all this. Turn to the West and it is the same problem, poverty - not so much as in the East - and the decline of social morality. It is now looking for the new political leaders. A leader is a dangerous person in whom, in that one person, the whole of society is involved. Society is so complex. When you follow a leader, either you know where he is leading to - which he generally does not - or you must give your mind to the investigation of his theories, of his propositions and so on. That is, you must be capable as citizens of following what he is saying. All that is involved in leadership, political or otherwise. Unfortunately the politicians, right throughout the world, are not concerned with human beings, with the unity of man and his total welfare, but are only concerned with their particular party, with their particular system. As all governments are more or less corrupt, the politicians cannot see very far, they can only operate within a very small field, segregated, not concerned with the total understanding of man.
We accept slogans, clichés, worn out theories, or we invent new theories, new systems, but always within the field of consciousness which man has carried throughout the centuries. Consciousness is its content; without its content there is no consciousness, as we know it.
Please, as we said, we are investigating together these problems. Therefore you must partake in the investigation, you must share in it, you must be involved in it. You must not merely listen to the speaker, accepting or rejecting what he says, but together in fellowship, in co-operation, try to find out what the world is like around us and what the world is inside of us; whether there is a relationship between the inner and the outer; or are they one indivisible? And that is our concern. We must be committed to the understanding of this. And that is why we must not be led, but investigate together; therefore there is no authority, there is no leader in investigating. To investigate you must be totally concerned, not one day be concerned and the rest of the time forget it. You must be concerned day after day, month after month, year after year, all your life - because this is your life.
So, where do we find the answer, the logical, sane, healthy answer to all these problems; not only to the problems that lie outside of us, the wars, the violence, the cunning politicians, the preparation for war and talking about peace - you know what is happening around us, it is wicked, diabolical, appalling - but also the problem of our relationship to that? We have to find out what our place is in all this, our responsibility. To be responsible means to respond adequately or totally to what is happening; and to respond to it we must be deadly serious, right through our life. That is why, if you are going to be here for the next three or four weeks and you are going to share with what the speaker is saying, you have to listen, to find out. To find out, not merely what the speaker is saying, but to find out for yourself the right answer, you must put aside you prejudices, your nationalities, your beliefs, your experiences, your knowledge, your hopes, everything, to find out. And that demands tremendous seriousness.
I do not think most of us realize what is actually going on in the world. We read newspapers, watch the television, go to lectures, political, religious and all the rest of it; but all they give are superficial explanations, superficial demonstrations. But if one can go beyond all that, put all that aside and observe rather closely, one can see how man is deteriorating, degenerating. This degeneration takes place when one depends totally on the outer, that is, when matter, material, has become all important. When you look at all this, the divergence of opinions, the ideologies, the political systems, right, left, or centre, when everybody is talking or arranging, or trying to reform the institutions, the governments, you see it is all still action in the field of time, of thought and matter,
I use words which are very simple, not those of any particular jargon or words which have a subtle or hidden meaning, but words as they exist in the dictionary. To communicate we must use simple, clear words. And in communication, we must find out not only the meaning of the words but also the meaning that lies behind them. Only then is there communication between the speaker and you. But if you are merely caught in words and the explanation of words, the semantic meaning of words, then you will miss what lies behind. To communicate requires a great deal of concern on both sides, a great deal of serious attention.
When one sees what is happening, when one observes the politicians, the religious people, the various sects and denominations and so on, one sees that they are merely concerned with the operation of thought. Thought has created this world, the world of politics, the world of economics, the world of business, of social morality and the whole of the religious structures - whether in India, or here or anywhere - and it is all based on thought, whether it is Jewish thought, Arabic thought, Christian thought or Hindu thought; it is all essentially the operation of thought as matter.
When you meditate you are still caught within the pattern of that thought, still within that area of consciousness which is put together by thought. When you try to find political answers it is still within that area. All our problems, all our desires to find answers to those problems, are within that consciousness. If you have talked to any serious politicians, you will have seen, as the speaker has, in India, in America, here and elsewhere, that they are all trying to find an answer, a political philosophy, a reformation of institutions, within that field which thought has created. So thought is trying to find an answer to that which it has created, an answer to the mess it has made in our personal relationships, in our relationship with the community, in our relationship with the government and so on and so on, all within that field. Politics, unfortunately, play such an important part in our social, moral and environmental conditioning and the politicians - the so-called 'right on top of the ladder' - if they are at all serious are trying to find an answer to all these problems in the field, or in the function, of thought. That is so. It is not my invention, it is not what I think, it is a fact. Thought has divided the world into the Americans, the Communists, the Socialists, the
Germans, the Swiss, the Hindus, the Buddhists and all the other religious divisions which it has created. So, is there an answer to all these problems through the operation of thought? Even your meditations, even your gods, your Christs and your Buddhas and all the rest, they are the creations of thought, thought which is matter, which can only operate within the field of time. If thought will give no answer to all these problems, then what will? That is what we are going to investigate, not only this morning, but right through all these discussions and talks.
We think that through thought, through will, through ambition, through drive and aggression, we can solve all these problems, the problems of personal relationship between you and another by the substitution of new religions for the old traditions which, dead already in India, are brought over here or to America by gurus, who are soaked in tradition.
What is consciousness? What is the operation of thought? Thought has created everything around us, the whole technological field with all its scientific knowledge and the culture in which we live - the Christian culture, the Western culture or the Eastern culture, they are all put together by thought. The gods, the saviours - our thought has created them. God has not created us in his image; we have created god in our image and we pursue that image which thought has created and we call that religious activity.
When one says, 'I am conscious' it implies that I am conscious of everything happening around me as much as possible and further, it means I am aware of what is happening within that consciousness. The investigation of the content of consciousness implies also what lies beyond - if there is something beyond the so-called consciousness. All your meditations are in that area; all your pursuits of pleasure, fear, greed, envy, brutality, violence, are within that field. And thought is always endeavouring to go beyond it, asserting the ineffable, the unnameable, unknowable and so on.
The content of consciousness is consciousness. Your consciousness, or another's consciousness, is its content. If it is born in India, then all the traditions, superstitions, hopes, fears, sorrows, anxieties, violence, sexual demands, aggression, the beliefs, dogmas and creeds of that country are the content of its consciousness. Yet the content of consciousness is extraordinarily similar, whether of one born in the East or in the West.
Consider, look at, your own consciousness, if you can. You are brought up in a religious culture as a Christian, believing in saviours, rituals, creeds and dogmas on one side and social immorality, accepting wars, accepting nationalities and their division and therefore restricting economic expansion and consideration for others, on the other side. Your personal unhappiness, your ambitions, your fears, your greeds, your aggressiveness, your demands, your loneliness, your sorrow, your lack of relationship with another, the isolation, frustration, confusion, misery, all that is consciousness, whether you are of the East or the West; with variations, with joys, with more knowledge or less knowledge, all that is the content of your consciousness. Without that content there is no consciousness as we know it. All education, in the schools, the colleges, the universities, is based on the acquiring of more knowledge, more information, but functioning always within this area. Any political reformation, based on a new political philosophy, instead of the Marxist philosophy or other established philosophy, is an invention still within that area. And so man goes on suffering, unhappy, lonely, fearful of death and of living, hoping for some great leader to come and take him out of his misery - a new saviour, a new politician. In this confusion we are so irresponsible, so that out of our own disorder we are going to create tyrants, hoping they will create order within this area. This is what is happening outside of us and inside.
So what shall we do? It is not what the politicians will do, because they like us are confused, unhappy, ambitious, envious just as we are. Any leader we choose will be like us; we will not choose a leader who is totally different from us. So that is the actual picture of our life: conflict, inside and outside, struggle, one opposed to the other, appalling selfishness - you know the whole picture.
The first thing that behoves one, if one is at all serious, and one must be serious when there is so much sorrow in the world, is to find out for oneself through careful investigation, slow, patient, hesitating investigation, if there is any other way of solving all these problems other than through the operation of thought. Is there an action which is not based on thought? Is there an intelligence which is not the function or the result of thought, which is not put together by thought, which does not come about through cunning, through friction and struggle, but something entirely different? That is what I want to communicate. Therefore one has to listen - not just to the speaker - but to the very action of listening. How does one listen? Does one ever really listen at all? Is one free to listen, or does one always listen with the cunning operations of thought, with interpretation, or prejudice? One has to listen, if one is free, to the content of one's consciousness; listen, not only to what is at the surface, which is fairly simple, but to the deeper layers of it, that means listen to the totality of consciousness,
So from that arises the question: how does one listen to and look at one's consciousness? The speaker was born in a certain country where he absorbed all the prejudices, the irrationalities and the superstitions, the beliefs, the class differences, as a Brahmin; there the young mind absorbed all this, the tradition, the rituals, the extraordinary orthodoxy and the tremendous discipline imposed by that group upon itself. And then he moves to the West, again he absorbs from all that is there; the content of his consciousness is what has been put into it, what he has learnt, what his thoughts are and the thought which recognizes its own emotions and so on. That is the content and the consciousness of this person. Within that area he has all the problems, the political, religious, personal, communal, you follow? - all the problems are there. And not being able to solve them himself, he looks to books, to others, asking: ' Please tell me what to do, how to meditate, what shall I do about my personal relationship with my wife, or my girl-friend or whatever it is, between myself and my parents, should I believe in Jesus or in Buddha, or the new guru who comes along with a lot of nonsense?' - you follow? - searching for a new philosophy of life, a new philosophy of politics and so on, all within this area. And man has done this from time immemorial. There is no answer within that area. You may meditate for hours, sitting in a certain posture, breathing in a special way, but it is still within that area because you want something out of meditation. I do not know if you see all this?
So there is this content of unconsciousness, thought, dull, stupid, traditional, recognising all its emotions - otherwise they are not emotions - always it is thought, which is the response of memory, knowledge and experience, operating. Now, can the mind look at it? Can you look at the operation of thought? Now, when you look, who is the observer who is looking at the content, is it different from the content? This is really a very important question to ask and to which to find an answer. Is the observer different from the content and therefore capable of changing, altering and going beyond the content? Or is it that the observer is the same as the content? first look: if the observer - the 'I' that looks, the 'me' that looks - is different from the observed then there is a division between the observer and the observed, therefore conflict - I must not do this, I should do that - I must get rid of my particular prejudice and adopt a new prejudice - get rid of my old gods and take on new gods. So when there is a division between the observer and the observed there must be conflict. That is a principle, that is a law. So, do I observe the content of my consciousness as if I were an outsider looking in, altering the pieces and moving the pieces to different places? Or am I the observer, the thinker, the experiencer, the same as that thought which is observed, experienced, seen?
If I look at the content of my consciousness as an outsider observing then there must be conflict between what is observed and the observer. So what happens when I hear this statement that when there is a division between the observer and the observed, there is conflict? There must be conflict; on that division and in that conflict we have lived, the 'me' and he 'not me', 'we' and 'they'. If 'I', the observer, am different from anger, I try to control it, suppress it, dominate it, overcome it and all the rest and here is conflict. But is the observer different at all; or is he essentially the same as the observed? If he is the same then there is no conflict is there? The understanding of that is intelligence; then intelligence operates and not conflict.
It would be a thousand pities if you did not understand this simple thing. Man has lived 'in conflict' and he wants peace, through conflict and there can never be peace through conflict - however much armament you may have, against another armament equally strong, there will never be peace.
Only when intelligence operates will there be peace - intelligence which comes when one understands that there is no division between the observer and the observed. That insight into that very fact, that very truth, bring this intelligence. Have you got it? This is a very serious thing, or then you will see you have no nationality - you may have a Passport but you have no nationality - you have no gods, there is no outside authority, nor inward authority. The only authority then is intelligence, not the cunning intelligence of thought, which is mere knowledge operating within a certain area - that is not intelligence.
So this is the first thing to understand when you look at your consciousness: this division between the thinker and the thought, between the observer and the observed, between the experiencer and the experienced is false, for they are one. There is no thinker if you do not think. Thought has created the thinker. So that is the first thing to understand, to have an insight into the truth of it, the fact of it, as palpable as you are sitting here, so that there is no conflict between the observer and the observed.
So: what is the content of you consciousness, the hidden as well as the open? Can you look at it? But do not make an effort. This you can find out, not just sitting here but in your relationships. That is the mirror in which you will see; not by closing your eyes, or by going off into the woods, and thinking up some dreams, but in the actual fact of relationship between man, woman, your neighbour, your politician, your gods, your gurus, you will observe your reactions, your attitudes, your prejudices, your images, your constant groping and all the rest - it is in that. What you are doing now is merely ploughing and we can go on ploughing ploughing and never sowing. You can only sow when you observe your relationships and see what actually is taking place.
From listening you move to looking; and you can look as much as you like and begin to distinguish various qualities and tendencies and all the rest of it, but if you look as an observer different from the observed then you are bound to create conflict, therefore further suffering. When you have the insight, the truth of it, that the observer is the observed, then conflict ceases altogether. Then a totally different kind of energy comes into operation. There are different kinds of energy: physical energy, from good food; there may be energy created by emotionalism, sentimentality; there is energy created by thought through various conflicts and tensions; within that field of energy we have lived. I am only putting it differently. And we are still trying to find greater energy within that field, to solve our problems which need tremendous energy. Now there is a different kind of energy, or the continuation of this energy in a totally different form, when the mind is completely operating, not in the field of thought, but intelligently.
Can the mind observe its content without any choice as to the content - not choosing any part of the content, any part of the piece, but observing totally? Now, how is it possible to observe totally? When I look at a map of France, as I come from England and cross the Channel, I see the road leading to Gstaad. I can tell the mileage, I can see the direction, and that is very simple because it is marked on the map and I follow it. In doing that I do not look at any other part of the map because I know the direction in which I want to go to, so that that direction excludes all others. In the same way, a mind that is seeking in a given direction does not see the whole. If I want to find something, something which I think is real, then the direction is set and I follow that direction and my mind is incapable of seeing the totality. Now, when I look at the content of my consciousness - which is the same as yours - I have set a direction to go beyond it. A movement in a particular direction, seeking a certain pleasure, not wanting to do this or that, makes one incapable of seeing the whole. If I am a scientist I only see in a certain direction. If I am an artist, there again, if I have a certain talent or gift, I see only a certain direction. So the mind is incapable of seeing the totality and the immensity of that totality if there is a movement in a particular direction. So, can the mind have no direction at all? This is a difficult question - please listen to it. Of course the mind has to have direction when I go from here to the house, or when I have to drive a car, when I have to do some technical function, those are all directions. But I am talking of a mind that understands the nature of direction and therefore is capable of seeing the whole. When it sees the whole it can then also operate in direction. I wonder if you get this? If I have the whole picture in mind then I can take in the detail; but if my mind only operates in a detail then I cannot take in the whole. If I am concerned with my opinions, with my anxieties, with what I want to do, with what I must do, I cannot see the whole - obviously. If I come from India with my prejudices, superstitions and traditions I cannot see the whole. So my question is: can the mind be free of direction? - which does not mean that it is without direction. When it operates from the whole the direction becomes clear, very strong and effective. But when the mind only operates in a direction according to the pattern it has set for itself then it cannot see the whole.
There is the content of my consciousness - the content makes my consciousness. Now, can I look at it as a whole? - without any direction, without any judgement, without any choice, just look, which implies no observer at all, for that observer is the past - can it look with that intelligence which is not put together by thought, for thought is the past? Do it - it requires tremendous discipline; not the discipline of suppression, control, imitation or conformity, but a discipline that is an act in which the truth is seen. The operation of truth creates its own action which is discipline.
Can your mind look at its content, when you talk to another, in your gestures, in the way you walk, in the way you sit and eat, in the way you behave? Behaviour indicates the content of your consciousness - whether you are behaving according to pleasure, reward or pain, which are part of your consciousness. The psychologists are saying that, so far, man has been educated on the principle of punishment and reward, hell and heaven. Now they say he must be educated on the principle of reward. Do not punish him but reward him - which is the same thing. They go from one thing to another, thinking they are solving everything. To see the absurdity of punishment and reward is to see the whole; when you see the whole there is the operation of intelligence which functions when you behave; you are not then behaving according to reward or punishment.
Behaviour exposes the content of your consciousness. You may hide yourself behind a polished behaviour, a behaviour that is very carefully drilled, but such behaviour is merely mechanical. From that arises another question: is the mind entirely mechanical? - or is there any portion of the brain where it is not mechanical at all?
I will go over what has been said this morning. Outside of us, in the political world with its new political philosophies, in the economic world, in the religious world, in the social world, and so on, man is searching, searching. There are gods, new gurus, new leaders. And when you observe all this very clearly you see that man is functioning within the field of thought. Thought essentially is never free, thought is always old, because thought is the response of memory as knowledge and experience; thought is matter, it is of the material world. And thought is trying to escape from that material world into a non-material world and trying to escape into the non-material world by thought is still material.
We have all the moral, social and economic problems of the individual and the collective. The individual is essentially, intrinsically, part of the collective; the individual is different from the collective, he may have different tendencies, different occupations, different moods and so on, but he is intrinsically part of the culture, which is society.
Now, those are facts as to what is going on about us; the facts as to what is going on inside us are very much the same. We are trying to find an answer to the major problems of our human life through the operation of thought - thought which the Greeks imposed upon the West, with their political philosophy, with their mathematics and so on. Thought has not found an answer, and it never will. So we must go then into the whole structure of thought and the content which it has created as consciousness. We must then observe the operation of thought in relationship, in our daily life. That observation implies having an insight as to whether it is a fact that the observer is different from the observed, for if there is a difference there must inevitably be conflict, just as there is between two ideologies - two ideologies which are the inventions of thought, conditioned by the culture in which they have developed. Now, can you, in your daily life, observe this? In such observation you will find out what your behaviour is, whether it is based on the principle of reward and punishment - as most of our behaviour is, however polished and refined. From that observation one begins to learn what real intelligence is - not the intelligence which is obtained from a book, or out of experience, that is not intelligence at all. Intelligence has nothing whatsoever to do with thought. Intelligence operates when the mind sees the whole, the endless whole, not my country, my problems, my little gods, my meditations, whether this is right or this is wrong; it sees the whole implication of living. And this quality of intelligence has its own tremendous energy.
14th July 1974.