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6th Public Talk - 25th July 1974
6th Public Talk - 25th July 1974
We have been going into the many problems and the many different forms of conflict in which we live - human problems which are common to the whole world. They are not only our personal problems for when you go to India, Asia, America you see the same issues, same miseries, confusions and sorrows. We have talked about love, the various forms of pursuit of pleasure and the great unsolved problem of fear and sorrow.
This morning we ought to talk-about a rather different issue - it seems rather morbid but it is not - and that is: what is living and what it is to die. We ought to see whether we can really - not intellectually or romantically, or taking comfort in a belief, however rational, however logical and somewhat provable - consider the extraordinary problem of what the human mind has always avoided, this question of death, of why the human mind has never been able to solve it, of why the human mind has invented speculative, comforting theories, satisfying beliefs and so on. To go into that issue - that we all must face one day - to go into it very, very deeply, we must also understand what it is to live and if living is different from dying? We must look at what we call living, actual living, not the theoretical idea of how we should live, or the ideological concept of a good life, but the life that one leads every day. Unless we understand that, its whole significance, the whole area of existence in which is included death, then we shall not be able to penetrate into that thing that we don't know, called death. We have to look quite objectively, non-personally, non-ideationally, at what we are actually doing, which we call living and unless we understand the problem of security, in all its varieties, at various depths, we shall not be able to understand if there is a security when the whole organism comes to an end.
As we have said several times before and it is worth repeating, we are serious people - at least the speaker is - and to go into this you must be very, very serious. It is not a thing for the immature mind. It is not something that you just look at then go away, pass it by; it is your life from the moment you are born till the moment you die. It is your life and we are examining that life, which we call living. As we also explained before: understanding is not merely an intellectual or verbal comprehension. One can say: I have understood verbally, intellectually what you have said. But that understanding is very superficial and therefore does not bring about an action. It remains at a certain level. Understanding implies understanding not only the word, intellectual understanding, but understanding as a whole which is therefore productive of action. If there is no action following understanding, there is no understanding, obviously.
We must look first at our life, the daily, monotonous, boring life of every human being on this unfortunate earth. When you observe it in yourself, you see that the eternal pursuit is for security - security in pleasure, security in a relationship, security in an ideal, in a concept, in a formula. We seek security in possessions, property, money and we have built a society where that has become all important. We have created that society. All human beings, throughout the world, have put together a society that is based on security, not only personal but communal security, national security. And the structure of this necessity to be physically secure, predominates all our thinking. We need to have physical security - food, clothes and shelter - that is an absolute necessity. But that necessity is becoming more and more impossible of attainment because of ideologies, nationalities, class divisions, economic and national divisions, the concept of a superior and inferior. The mind can only survive physically when it is assured of food, clothes and shelter - that we see is an absolute necessity, not only for the Western world, but for the whole of mankind. And this physical security is denied because we have built a conceptual world, a world based on idea, on philosophies which are essentially material. Thought is essentially material because it is the response of memory: memory is experience and knowledge that is held in the brain cells, in the tissues of the brain, which are material. We have built a world on a concept, on the idea of self-importance, self-survival at any price, of identification with the nation, with a religious group.
The world is becoming more and more overpopulated, security, physical security, is becoming more and more difficult of attainment. And a man who feels totally responsible for all human beings, is made by this flame of responsibility, non-ideological, non-national; he does not belong to any religion in the accepted form of that word; he is neither Christian, nor Hindu, nor Buddhist, nor Moslem; he sees that they are factors dividing people and therefore bringing about insecurity.
The mind itself must have security, otherwise it cannot function. Which means that the brain, with which one thinks, must have security - just like a child it must have security. And when there is no security, in the real deep sense of that word, it creates a 'security', in a formula, in a concept, in a belief which becomes a neurotic activity of the mind. If one has such concepts and is acting according to them one is acting neurotically, because in a concept there is no security. Yet the brain, the mind and the physical body need security. One wants security, not only for oneself but for the whole of humanity: that is love, that is compassion. But that compassion and love is totally denied when one seeks security in a neurotic concept, a thing formulated by thought, a thing formulated by a materialistic attitude. When an action is based on a concept, which is itself totally material, then division must inevitably take place - battles, quarrels, agony. That is one side of it; but one must ask: is there security at all? Mind has sought security in physical things - in name, in property and has sought it in concepts, ideals, formulas, systems, yet when one looks at all that very closely, objectively, non-sentimentally, non-personally and sees that this whole set-up brings insecurity for everybody, one asks: is there this thing called security at all?
One sees the truth of the necessity of physical security and how that is totally denied by conceptual attitude, for the mind is always pursuing in different forms, security, something permanent - permanent relationship, a permanent house, a permanent idea. Now, is there such a thing as permanency? One may want it, because one sees everything around fading away, withering, in a flux, but the mind insists that there must be security, permanency. But there is no permanency in an idea, in a concept, there is no permanency in things; there is no permanency in one's relationships - in one's wife, in one's children and so on. When you want permanency in relationship the whole problem of attachment arises and from that fear of loss, suspicion, hate, jealousy, anxiety, fear - all that enters into the desire to have permanent relationship. One has found there is no permanency in a concept, though the Catholics, the Protestants and the Communists have all indoctrinated the mind, and the mind has accepted those beliefs, those philosophies as permanent. But as one can see they are disappearing, fading away, everything is being questioned. So one asks: is there anything permanent? It is a very serious question to ask and it is a very difficult thing to find out what happens to a mind that has found the truth that there is nothing permanent. Will it go off, become insane? Will it take drugs, commit suicide? Will it again fall into the trap of another ideology, another desire which projects a permanent thing?
One has discovered by just observing one's everyday life, that mind seeks security in all these things. And thought says, 'there is no security, there is nothing permanent' and it begins to seek something more permanent in another area, in another consciousness. But thought itself is impermanent; it has never questioned that it itself is impermanent. So, when the mind says there is nothing permanent it must include its own thought. Can the mind be sane, healthy, whole and therefore act totally, when it realizes there is nothing permanent? Or will it become insane? When one is confronted with this fact, that there is nothing permanent, including the structure of thought, can one stand it? Can one see the significance of saying there is nothing permanent? - including yourself! For it is thought which has built that structure which is 'me'. That 'me' is also impermanent.
To understand the immense question of death we have to understand the question of time. Time means movement - from here to there, physically. To cover that distance from here to there you need time, time by the watch, time by the sun, time by day or time by year. And what is the relationship of time - which is distance, movement - to thought? The whole Western world is essentially based on measurement - physically, technologically - and spiritually there is the hierarchy, the bishop, the archbishop, the pope, all based on measurement. The saint is the supreme measure, accepted by the church or by the religion. So the whole moral and intellectual structure of our civilization is based on that - time, measurement, thought. Thought is measurement: thought is time - time being yesterday, what I did then modifies the present and this modification continues in a different form in the future. That is time, the movement from the past through the present to the future; that is time which is measurable.
There must be time in which to go from here to there and time is needed to learn a language, or any technique. But does the mind need time to transform itself? The moment the mind admits time, in order to transform itself, it is still within the field of measurement, thought. That area has been created by thought in order to change itself, to bring about a different mind, but as it is functioning within that field, then there is no change at all. Put it this way: I am greedy and I know that greed is comparative. I have this feeling of greed, which arises when I see something more that I have, which is a measure. And I ask myself if, to transform that feeling, that measurement, time is necessary. If time is a necessity, then I remain within the field of measure; therefore I have not changed greed at all. So, is there a change which is not based on causality, on time, a change which is instantaneous?
To change violence, to transform it, so that the mind is never violent, does it need time? If one admits that it needs time, then violence takes another form, but it is still within the same area.
The desire for permanency is the cause that brings about the structure of time. We look at our daily life: we may have discarded the intellectual permanencies, the theories, state-worship, church and so on, we have discarded them; yet we say there must be permanent relation- ship, that is the only thing we have, but in that too we find there is no permanency. Can the mind, face this absolute truth, that there is no permanency? Having seen this truth, then the mind can look at this immense problem, which man has never been able to solve, this question of death - because it is related.
When you go to India you see dead bodies being carried to the river side, to be burned: in the Western world you see the hearse, the black thing with flowers on it, and the long queue of mourners - and those who say, thank God he is dead! There are the people who cry, because they have lost, and the people who inherit the wealth, who are delighted. You see this physical phenomenon, what is your response? Do you see yourself in the hearse being... you follow the whole process? What is your relationship to death, which is there? This is not a morbid question, not something to make you sad or evoke any romantic nonsense; but actually, when you face this thing, when you see it all about you, in all its crudeness, in all its decorated corruption, what is your relationship to it? Is it an intellectual relationship? You say; 'Yes we are all going to die one day, that is inevitable and I accept that inevitability, with a rational mind'. Or is it a romantic relationship? Or is it a total relationship? We are all going to die one day, that is inevitable - through diseases, because we have not taken care when we were young, or we have grown to maturity too quickly, you understand?
Have you noticed how the young people in the modern world are astonishingly mature, physically, so quickly; they have sexual experience when they are twelve and thirteen, they smoke, drink and take drugs; at the age of twelve, thirteen, fifteen, they are already grown up - that is to say, they are already gone, you follow? Because of the pressure of society, all the industry of entertainment, the schools and colleges, everything making you mature, physically, at an astonishing speed, you are already old when you are thirty - gone! You follow? And as you grow older the body begins to decay more quickly - for which the doctors have their medicines, their pills. Do you not see the sadness of all this? If you have children it is a very sad thing to see them growing so quickly, never having a childhood, never a boyhood, always caught in the trap of civilization; it is a dreadful thing to see this happening to human minds, which should grow slowly, mature quietly, so that the mind at the end of its life is completely alive, whole, healthy.
So we die, through disease, accident and old age, in misery, in conflict, in pain, in sorrow. Then there is the sorrow that comes through attachment to things that we are leaving behind - your friend, your wife, your book, your name, your experience, your fame, your notoriety, the character that you are supposed to have built up. All that you are leaving behind and you are frightened, enormously. Notice this now, when you are living before the organism fades, decays and dies. But thought says to itself: 'All right, the body goes, but I go on, I go on in my books, I go on in my children, I go on in the work that I have done which I have left to somebody else'. That is called also, immortality - of a certain kind. But the book, the business, the name, the form, they also decay - somebody else takes it all over. And thought says: 'All right, I know that too, but I will be born again next life' - the whole of the East believes that. So thought, not seeing its own impermanency, not seeing the structure which it has built around itself as the 'me', and its impermanency, says: ' I am the cause and that cause must go on'. And that cause is time and it says: 'I will go on; I will go on improving myself - 'God is there, I cannot reach him now, but I will go on, slowly, until I have ultimately perfected myself, reaching what it has projected as God.
There is the thought of human beings as a great stream - everybody wants to go on - and in that stream the thought of you remains. And when the medium calls upon you, you manifest, out of that stream, because you are still there, still there in your daily life, because you are still pursuing the same thing that every human being is pursuing - security, permanency, 'me' and 'not me', 'we' and 'they', this constant concern with yourself in that stream in which all human beings are caught. When you die your thought of yourself goes on in that stream as it is going on now - as a Christian, Buddhist, whatever you please - greedy, envious, ambitious, frightened, pursuing pleasure - that is this human stream in which you are caught. Unless you step out of it now you will go on in that stream - obviously. Can the mind step out of that and face complete impermanency, now? If you have understood, that is death, is it not?
The ancient Hindus, they thought that man cannot let go of everything instantly, it is impossible. Therefore the 'me', as you hold to it, must go on, but must evolve, slowly; through various lives he must evolve till he reaches the highest excellence, which is Brahman, God, what you like to call it. They had that idea; the Christians have it in a different way, not so mathematically, so cleverly worked out and the implications are not so subtle. For the Hindus it is implied that the next life becomes very important - therefore how you behave now, in this life, is important; if you behaved rightly, you will be rewarded next life. They all believe in it, but nobody behaves now, so they carry on this game.
So can the mind, seeing this phenomenon, this vast area in which the mind has sought security, in which mind has created time, as thought, as measurement, in which it has a movement trying to find permanency, as the me, an enormous area, very complex and extraordinarily subtle, can the mind see the truth that there is absolutely no permanence - which is really death?
Can you see the truth of this - not accepting it from another, for then it is not truth, it is mere propaganda, a lie? Can you, for yourself, after all this explanation, see the truth of it - not as a verbal truth, not as an intellectual concept, saying: yes, I have understood it'. That is not truth. The truth acts, so you see that there is no permanency; then you are no longer attached, no longer attached to an idea, a religious belief, a dogma, a saviour. When you see the truth of that, there is freedom and freedom means total intelligence - not the intelligence of cunning thought, but that supreme intelligence which has seen the truth and is therefore free of the things that thought has created. That quality of intelligence - which is supreme and excellent in its essence - can operate and in that there is security - not in the things that thought has created. Then you can live in this world with possessions, or with nothing. That intelligence is immortal, it is neither yours, nor mine; it does not belong to any church, to any group, to anyone. That is the highest, in that there is a complete and total security. That intelligence takes place when you see the truth of the obvious; when you see the false as the false and mind is no longer caught in the network of thought. That intelligence can operate in our daily life; from there, there is permanency.
Questioner: Have you achieved the state of freedom? If you are free, then I might have a chance.
Krishnamurti: As I have said from the beginning, the speaker would not talk about this thing unless he has it, unless he is involved in it. But that is not important - whether he has it, or does not have it. But what is important is, have you? If you say: he has got it, therefore there is a chance for me', then you are depending on him. Then he becomes your little guru and you will become the follower: and followers always destroy truth. Invariably the follower corrupts truth and it does not exist any more. But if you - you as a human being - have understood this, understood it in the sense of act, then it is yours and nobody can take it away. Then you do not compare; for when you say, 'I also have a chance', you are really comparing. When you compare you are competitive, you are measuring, your thought, not your intelligence, is operating. Do not look to another: be your own light.
Questioner: You talk of deconditioning oneself immediately, with- out time. I do not have that experience, I have deconditioned myself but it takes time.
Krishnamurti: I have explained what time is. One is conditioned; wherever one lives, in the Communist world, the Socialist world, Capitalist world, Catholic world, the Hindu world, one is conditioned, from childhood. By the culture in which one lives, by one's parents who themselves are conditioned, by the school, the college, the whole structure conditions one. And being conditioned, invariably, one lives in a very small field. Does it take time for the mind to free itself from its conditioning?
Time is measurement. Time is movement, the movement from here to there including the movement from being conditioned to being non-conditioned. Time is thought, of course, because thought which has created this conditioning is also creating the idea of the unconditioned state, which it wants to achieve. So it is moving from the conditioned mind, to the non-conditioned mind. See what thought has done: created the conditioning and created the non-conditioned state which is another form of conditioning, because it is a product of thought; it is moving from the known to the known, a movement in time. Now, is it possible to look at that conditioning without this movement? I am conditioned, born in India, and so on and so on and I see that it will be good to have an unconditioned mind, because there, there is freedom, a sense of wholeness; no conflict. I see that; so I would like to get there; I would like to have a mind which is really unconditioned. So I need time for that; it is the tradition, is it not? Tradition also means betrayal; betraying the fact that your mind is conditioned. So can one look at the conditioning without the movement of time; without wanting to uncondition? The desire to uncondition is the movement in time to that state when the mind is unconditioned, knowing nothing about an unconditioned mind, it is something one has invented. Can one look at one's conditioning without the movement of its opposite? Can one look at one's greed, envy, lying, vanity, without its opposite? - if there is an opposite - obviously one cannot. When the mind moves towards an opposite, it is betraying the fact of what is and it is caught in the movement of time. Therefore there is no answer out of it. Therefore one has only one thing left. Can the mind observe the fact - the lie, the greed, the vanity, the neuroticism and so on and so on - can it just look? To look it must give its whole attention, for when there is no attention then there is the opposite. When it sees the falseness of the opposite, then it has this complete attention. Then you will see, attention burns away all conditioning.
25th July 1974