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Chapter 5 - 4th February 1969 - 2nd Public Talk at University of California Berkeley
Chapter 5 - 4th February 1969 - 2nd Public Talk at University of California Berkeley
Considering the chaos and disorder in the world - both outwardly and inwardly - seeing all this misery, starvation, war, hatred, brutality - many of us must have asked what one can do. As a human being confronted with this confusion, what can I or you do? When we put that question, we feel we must be committed to some kind of political or sociological action, or some kind of religious search and discovery. One feels one must be committed, and throughout the world this desire to be committed has become very important. Either one is an activist, or one withdraws from this social chaos and pursues a vision. I think it is far more important not to be committed at all, but to be totally involved in the whole structure and nature of life. When you commit yourself, you are committed to a part and therefore the part becomes important and that creates division. Whereas, when one is involved completely, totally, with the whole problem of living, action is entirely different. Then action is not only inward, but also outward; it is in relationship with the whole problem of life. To be involved implies total relationship with every problem, with every thought and feeling of the human mind. And when one is so completely involved in life and not committed to any particular part or fragment of it, then one has to see what one can actually do as a human being.
For most of us, action is derived from an ideology. First we have an idea about what we should do, the idea being an ideology, a concept, a formula. Having formulated what we should do, we act according to that ideology. So there is always a division, and hence a conflict between action and what you have formulated that action should be. And as most of one's life is a series of conflicts, struggles, one inevitably asks oneself whether one can live in this world being completely involved with it, not in some isolated monastery.
Inevitably this brings about another question, which is: What is relationship? Because it is in that that we are involved - man in relationship with another man - that is the whole of life. If there were no relationship at all, if one actually lived completely in isolation, life would cease. Life is a movement in relationship. To understand that relationship and to end the conflict in that relationship is our entire problem. It is to see whether man can live at peace not only within himself, but also outwardly. Because then behaviour is righteous and we are concerned with behaviour, which is action. You might ask, "What can one individual, one human being do, confronted with this immense problem of life with its confusion, wars, hatred, agony, suffering?" What can one human being do to bring about a change, a revolution, a radical state, a new way of looking, living? I think that is a wrong question, to say, "What can I do to affect this total confusion and disorder". If you put that question, "What can I do, confronted with this disorder", then you have already answered it; you can't do anything. Therefore it is a wrong question. But if you are concerned, not with what you can do confronted with this enormity of misery, but with how you can live a totally different life, then you will find that your relationship with man, with the whole community, with the world, undergoes a change. Because after all, you and I as human beings, we are the entire world - I'm not saying this rhetorically, but actually: I and you are the entire world. What one thinks, what one feels, the agony, the suffering, the ambition, the envy, the extraordinary confusion one is in, that is the world. There must be a change in the world, a radical revolution, one can't live as one is living, a bourgeois life, a life of super facility, a life of shoddy existence from day to day, indifferent to what is happening. If you and I, as human beings, can change totally, then whatever we do will be righteous. Then we will not bring about a conflict within ourselves and therefore outwardly. So that is the problem. That is what the speaker wants to talk over with you this evening. Because as we said, how one conducts one's life, what one does in daily life - not at a moment of great crisis but actually every day - is of the highest importance. Relationship is life, and this relationship is a constant movement, a constant change.
So our question is: How am I, or you, to change so fundamentally, that tomorrow morning you wake up as a different human being meeting any problem that arises, resolving it instantly and not carrying it over as a burden, so that there is great love in your heart and you see the beauty of the hills and the light on the water? To bring about this change, obviously one must understand oneself, because self-knowledge, not theoretically but actually, whatever you are, is of the highest importance.
You know, when one is confronted with all these problems, one is deeply moved; not by words, not by the description, because the word is not the thing, the description is not the described. When one observes oneself as one actually is, then either one is moved to despair because one considers oneself as hopeless, ugly, miserable; or one looks at oneself without any judgment. And to look at oneself without any judgment is of the greatest importance, because that is the only way you can understand yourself and know about yourself. And in observing oneself objectively - which is not a process of self-centredness, or self-isolation, or cutting oneself off from the whole of mankind or from another human being - one realizes how terribly one is conditioned: by the economic pressures, by the culture in which one has lived, by the climate, by the food one eats, by the propaganda of the so-called religious organizations or by the Communists. This conditioning is not superficial but it goes down very deeply and so one asks whether one can ever be free of it, because if one is not free, then one is a slave, then one lives in incessant conflict and battle, which has become the accepted way of life.
I hope you are listening to the speaker, not merely to the words but using the words as a mirror to observe yourself. Then communication between the speaker and yourself becomes entirely different, then we are dealing with facts and not suppositions, or opinions, or judgments, then we are both concerned with this problem of how the mind can be unconditioned, changed completely. As we said, this understanding of oneself is only possible by becoming aware of our relationships. In relationship alone can one observe oneself; there all the reactions, all the conditionings are exposed. So in relationship one becomes aware of the actual state of oneself. And as one observes, one becomes aware of this immense problem of fear.
One sees the mind is always demanding to be certain, to be secure, to be safe. A mind that is safe, secure, is a bourgeois mind, a shoddy mind. Yet that is what all of us want: to be completely safe. And psychologically there is no such thing. See what takes place outwardly - it's quite interesting if you observe it - each person wants to be safe, secure. And yet psychologically he does everything to bring about his own destruction. You can see this. As long as there are nationalities with their sovereign governments, with their armies and navies and so on, there must be war. And yet psychologically we are conditioned to accept that we are a particular group, a particular nation, belonging to a particular ideology, or religion. I do not know if you have ever observed what mischief the religious organizations have done in the world, how they have divided man. You are a Catholic, I am a Protestant. To us the label is much more important than the actual state of affection, love, kindliness. Nations have divided us, nationalities have divided us. One can observe this division, which is our conditioning and which brings about fear.
So we are going to go into the question of what to do with fear, Unless we resolve this fear we live in darkness, we live in violence. A man who is not afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man. As human beings we must resolve this problem, because if we cannot, we cannot possibly live righteously. Unless one understands behaviour, conduct in which is involved virtue - you may spit on that word - and unless one is totally free of fear, the mind can never discover what truth is, what bliss is, and if there is such a thing as a timeless state. When there is fear you want to escape, and that escape is quite absurd, immature. So we have this problem of fear. Can the mind be free of it entirely, both at the conscious as well as at the so-called unconscious, deeper levels of the mind? That is what we are going to talk over this evening, because without understanding this question of fear and resolving it, the mind can never be free. And it is only in freedom that you can explore, discover. It is very important, it is essential, that the mind be free of fear. So shall we go into it?
Now first of all do please bear in mind that the description is not the described, so don't be caught by the description, by the words. The word, the description, is merely a means of communicating. But if you are held by the word you cannot go very far. One has to be aware not only of the meaning of the word, but also one has to realize that the word is not actually the thing. So what is fear? I hope we are going to do it together. Please don't just listen and disregard it; be involved, entirely live it. Because it is your fear, it's not mine. We are taking a journey together into this very complex problem of fear. If one doesn't understand it and become free of it, relationship is not possible: relationship remains conflict, travail, misery.
What is fear? One is afraid of the past, of the present, or of something that might happen tomorrow. Fear involves time. One is afraid of death; that is in the future. Or one is afraid of something that has happened. Or one is afraid of the pain one has had when one was ill. Please follow this closely. Fear implies time: one is afraid of something - of some pain that one has had and which might happen again. One is afraid of something that might take place tomorrow, in the future. Or one is afraid of the present. All that involves time. Psychologically speaking, if there were no yesterday, today and tomorrow, there would be no fear. Fear is not only of time but it is the product of thought. That is, in thinking about what happened yesterday - which was painful - I am thinking that it might happen again tomorrow. Thought produces this fear. Thought breeds fear: thinking about the pain, thinking about death, thinking about the frustrations, the fulfilments, what might happen, what should be, and so on. Thought produces fear and gives vitality to the continuance of fear. And thought, by thinking about what has given you pleasure yesterday, sustains that pleasure, gives it duration. So thought produces, sustains, nourishes, not only fear but also pleasure. Please observe it in yourself, see what actually goes on within you.
You have had a pleasurable or so-called enjoyable experience and you think about it. You want to repeat it, whether it is sex or any other experience. Thinking about that thing which has given a pleasurable moment, you want that pleasure repeated, continued. So thought is not only responsible for fear, but also for pleasure. One sees the truth of this, the actual fact that thought sustains pleasure and nourishes fear. Thought breeds both fear and pleasure; the two are not separate. Where there is the demand for pleasure, there must also be fear; the two are unavoidable because they are both the product of thought.
Please let's bear in mind that I am not persuading you of anything, I'm not making propaganda. God forbid! Because to make propaganda is to lie; if someone is trying to convince you of something, don't be convinced. We are dealing with something much more serious than being convinced, or with offering opinions and judgments. We are dealing with realities, with facts. And facts, which you observe, don't need an opinion. You haven't got to be told what the fact is, it is there, if you are capable of observing it.
So one sees that thought sustains and nourishes fear as well as pleasure. We want pleasure continued, we want more and more pleasure. The ultimate pleasure for man is to find out if there is a permanent state in heaven which is God; to him God is the highest form of pleasure. And if you observe, all social morality - which is really immoral - is based on pleasure and fear, reward and punishment.
Then one asks, when one sees this actual fact - not the description, not the word, but the thing described, the actual state of how thought brings this about: "Is it possible for thought to come to an end?" The question sounds rather crazy, but it is not. You saw a sunset yesterday, the hills were extraordinarily lit in the evening sun and there was a glory, a beauty that gave you great enjoyment. Can one enjoy it so completely that it comes to an end, so that thought doesn't carry it over to tomorrow? And can one face fear, if there is such a thing as fear? This is only possible when you understand the whole structure and nature of thought. So one asks, "What is thinking?"
For most of us thinking has become extraordinarily important. We never realize that thought is always old, thought is never new, thought can never be free. We were talking about freedom of thought, which is sheer nonsense, which means you may express what you want, say what you like; but thought in itself is never free, because thought is the response of memory. One can observe this for oneself. Thought is the response of memory, experience, knowledge. Knowledge, experience, memory, are always old and so thought is always old. Therefore thought can never see anything new. Can the mind look at the problem of fear without the interference of thought? Do you understand, Sirs?
I am afraid. There is fear of what one has done. Be completely aware of it without the interference of thought - and then is there fear? As we said, fear is brought about through time; time is thought. This is not philosophy, not some mystical experience; just observe it in yourself, you will see. One realizes thought must function objectively, efficiently, logically, healthily. When you go to the office, or whatever you do, thought must operate, otherwise you cannot do anything. But the moment thought breeds or sustains pleasure and fear, then thought becomes inefficient. Thought then breeds inefficiency in relationship and therefore causes conflict. So one asks whether there can be an ending of thought in one direction, and yet with thought functioning in its highest capacity. We are concerned with whether thought can be absent when the mind sees the sunset in all its beauty. It is only then that you see the beauty of the sunset not when your mind is full of thoughts, problems, violence. That is, if you have observed it, at the moment of seeing the sunset thought is absent. You look at this extraordinary light on the mountain, it is a great delight and at that moment thought has no place in it at all. But the next moment thought says: "How marvellous that was, how beautiful, I wish I could paint it, I wish I could write a poem about it, I wish I could tell my friends what a lovely thing it is." Or thought says: "I would like to see that sunset again tomorrow." Then thought begins its mischief. Because thought then says: "tomorrow I will have that pleasure again", and when you don't have it there is pain. This is very simple, and because of its very simplicity it gets lost. We all want to be terribly clever, we are all so sophisticated, intellectual, we read such a lot. The whole psychological history of mankind (not who was king and what kind of wars there were and all the absurdity of nationalities) is within oneself. When you can read that in yourself you have understood. Then you are a light to yourself, then there is no authority, then you are actually free.
So our question is: Can thought cease to interfere? And it is this interference that produces time. Do you understand? Take death. There is great beauty in what is involved in death, and it is not possible to understand that beauty if there is any form of fear. We are just showing how frightened we are of death, because it might happen in the future and it is inevitable. So thought thinks about it and shuts it out. Or thought thinks about the fear that you have had, the pain, the anxiety, and that it might be repeated. We are caught in the mischief made by thought. Yet one also realizes the extraordinary importance of thought. When you go to the office, when you do some- thing technological, you must use thought and knowledge. Seeing the whole process of it from the beginning of this talk till now - seeing the whole of that - one asks, "Can thought be silent?" Can one look at the sunset and be completely involved in the beauty of that sunset, without thought bringing into it the question of pleasure? Please follow this. Then conduct becomes righteous. Conduct becomes virtuous only when thought does not cultivate what it considers to be virtue, which then becomes unholy and ugly. Virtue is not of time or of thought; which means virtue is not a product of pleasure or of fear. So now the question is: How is it possible to look at the sunset without thought weaving round it pleasure or pain? Can one look at this sunset with such attention, with such complete involvement in that beauty, so that when you have seen that sunset it is ended and not taken over by thought, as pleasure, for tomorrow?
Are we communicating with each other? Are we?
(Audience.. Yes, yes.)
Krishnamurti: Good, I'm glad, but don't be so quick in answering "Yes". (Laughter) For this is quite a difficult problem, To watch the sunset without the interference of thought demands tremendous discipline; not the discipline of conformity, not the discipline of suppression or control. The word "discipline" means "to learn" - not to conform, not to obey - to learn about the whole process of thinking and its place. The negation of thought needs great observation. And to observe there must be freedom. In this freedom one knows the movement of thought, and then learning is active.
What do we mean by learning? When one goes to school or college one learns a great deal of information, perhaps not of great importance, but one learns. That becomes knowledge and from that knowledge we act, either in the technological field, or in the whole field of consciousness. So one must understand very deeply what that word "to learn" means. The word "to learn" obviously is an active present. There is learning all the time. But when that learning becomes a means to the accumulation of knowledge, then it is quite a different thing. That is, I have learned from past experience that fire burns. That is knowledge. I have learned it, therefore I don't go near the fire. I have ceased to learn. And most of us, having learned, act from there. Having gathered information about ourselves (or about another) this becomes knowledge; then that knowledge becomes almost static and from that we act. Therefore action is always old. So learning is something entirely different.
If one has listened this evening with attention, one has learned the nature of fear and pleasure; one has learned it and from that one acts. You see the difference, I hope. Learning implies a constant action. There is learning all the time. And the very act of learning is doing. The doing is not separate from learning. Whereas for most of us the doing is separate from the knowledge. That is, there is the ideology or the ideal, and according to that ideal we act, approximating the action only to that ideal. Therefore action is always old.
Learning, like seeing, is a great art. When you see a flower, what takes place? Do you see the flower actually, or do you see it through the image you have of that flower? The two things are entirely different. When you look at a flower, at a colour, without naming it, without like or dislike, without any screen between you and the thing you see as a flower, without the word, without thought, then the flower has an extraordinary colour and beauty. But when you look at the flower through botanical knowledge, when you say: "this is a rose", you have already conditioned your looking. Seeing and learning is quite an art, but you don't go to college to learn it. You can do it at home. You can look at a flower and find out how you look at it. If you are sensitive, alive, watching, then you will see that the space between you and the flower disappears and when that space disappears you see the thing so vitally, so strongly! In the same way when you observe yourself without that space (not as "the observer" and "the thing observed") then you will see there is no contradiction and therefore no conflict.
In seeing the structure of fear, one also sees the structure and nature of pleasure. The seeing is the learning about it and therefore the mind is not caught in the pursuit of pleasure. Then life has quite a different meaning. One lives - not in search of pleasure.
Wait a minute before you ask questions. I would like to ask you a question: What have you got out of this talk? Don't answer me, please. Find out whether you got words, descriptions, ideas, or if you got something that is true, that is irrevocable, indestructible, because you yourself have seen it. Then you are a light to yourself and therefore you will not light your candle at any other light; you are that light yourself. If that is a fact, not a hypocritical assumption, then a gathering of this kind has been worthwhile. Now, perhaps, would you like to ask questions?
As we said yesterday, you are asking questions to find out, not to show that you are more intelligent than the speaker. A person who compares is not intelligent; an intelligent man never compares. Either you ask a question because by asking you would reveal yourself, expose yourself to yourself and thereby learn, or you ask a question to trip up the speaker - which you are perfectly welcome to do. Or you ask a question to have a wider view, to open the door. So it depends on you what kind and what quality of question you are going to ask. Which doesn't mean, please, that the speaker does not want you to ask questions.
Questioner: What is one to do when one notices the sunset and at the same time thought is coming into it?
Krishnamurti: What is one to do? Please understand the significance of the question. That is, you see the sunset, thought interferes with it, and then you say "What is one to do?, Who is the questioner who says "What is one to do?" Is it thought that says what am I to do? Do you understand the question? Let me put it this way. There is the sunset, the beauty of it, the extraordinary colour, the feeling of it, the love of it; then thought comes along and I say to myself: "Here it is, what am I to do?" Do listen to it carefully, do go into it. Is it not thought also that says "What am I to do?" The "I" who says "What am I to do?", is the result of thought. So thought, seeing what is interfering with this beauty, says: "What am I to do?"
Don't do anything! (Laughter) If you do something, you bring conflict into it. But when you see the sunset and thought comes in, be aware of it. Be aware of the sunset and the thought that comes into it. Don't chase thought away be choicelessly aware of this whole thing: the sunset and thought coming into it. Then you will find, if you are so aware, without any desire to suppress thought, to struggle against the interference of thought, if you don't do any of those things then thought becomes quiet. Because it is thought itself that is saying "What am I to do?" That is one of the tricks of thought. Don't fall into the trap, but observe this whole structure of what is happening.
Questioner: We are conditioned how to look at the sunset, we are conditioned how we listen to you as the speaker. So through our conditioning we look at everything and listen to everything. How is one to be free of this conditioning?
Krishnamurti: When are you aware of this conditioning, of any conditioning? Do please follow it a little bit. When are you aware that you are conditioned? Are you aware that you conditioned as an American, as a Hindu, as a Catholic, Protestant, Communist, this and that? Are you aware that you are so conditioned, or are you aware of it because somebody has told you? If you are aware because someone has pointed out to you that you are conditioned, then that is one kind of awareness. But if you are aware that you are conditioned without being told, then it has a different quality. If you are told that you are hungry, that is one thing; but if you are actually hungry that is another. Now find out which it is: whether you were told you are conditioned and therefore you realize it; or because you are aware because you are involved in this whole, process of living and because of that awareness you realize for yourself, without being told, that you are conditioned. Then that has a vitality, then it becomes a problem that you have to understand very deeply. One sees that one is conditioned, not because one is told. The obvious reaction to it is to throw away that conditioning, if you are intelligent. Becoming aware of a particular conditioning, you revolt against it, as the present generation is revolting - which is merely a reaction. Revolt against a conditioning forms another kind of conditioning. One becomes aware of one's conditioning as a Communist, a Protestant, a Democrat, or a Republican. What takes place when there is no reaction but only awareness of what this conditioning actually is? What takes place when you are choicelessly aware of this conditioning, which you have found for yourself? There is no reaction. Then you are learning about this conditioning, why it comes into being. Two thousand years of propaganda have made you believe in a particular form of religious dogma. You are aware of how the church through centuries upon centuries, through tradition, repetition, through various rituals and entertainments, has conditioned our minds. There has been the repetition day after day, month after month, from childhood on; we are baptized and all the rest of it. And another form of the same thing takes place in other countries like India, China and so on.
Now when you become aware of it, what happens? You see how quickly the mind is influenced. The mind being pliable, young, innocent, is conditioned as a Communist, Catholic, Protestant and so on. Why is it conditioned? Why is it so shaped by propaganda? Are you following this? Why are you persuaded by propaganda to buy certain things, to believe in certain things, why? Not only is there this constant pressure from the outside, but also one wants to belong to something, one wants to belong to a group, because belonging to a group is safe. One wants to be a tribal entity. And behind that there is fear, fear of being alone, of being left out - left out not only psychologically, but also one may not get a job. All that is involved in it and then you ask whether the mind can be free of conditioning. When you see the danger of conditioning, as you see the danger of a precipice or of a wild animal, then it drops away from you without any effort. But we don't see the danger of being conditioned. We don't see the danger of nationalism, how it separates man from man. If you saw the danger of it intensely, vitally, then you would drop it instantly.
So the question then is: Is it possible to be so intensely aware of conditioning that you see the truth of it? - not whether you like or dislike it, but the fact that you are conditioned and therefore have a mind incapable of freedom. Because only the free mind knows what love is.
Questioner: Is it true that the past should be consumed by the fire of present total involvement?
Krishnamurti: What is the present? Do you know what it is? You say: "Live in the present", as many intellectuals advocate - they advocate it because to them the future is bleak (laughter), meaningless, therefore they say, "Live in the present, make the best of the present, be completely "with it". We must find out what the present is. What is "the now? Do you know what "the now" is, what the present is? Is there such a thing as the present? No, please, don't speculate about it, observe it. Have you ever noticed what "the now" is? Can you be aware of "the now", know what it is? Or do you only know the past, the past which operates in the present, which creates the future? Are you following? When you say "live in the present" you must find out what that present actually is. Is there such a thing? To understand if there is such a thing as the actual present, you must understand the past. And when you observe what you are as a human being, you see you are completely the result of the past. There is nothing new in you, you are second-hand. You are the past looking at the present, translating the present. The present being the challenge, the pain, the anxiety, a dozen things which are the result of the past, and you are looking at it getting very frightened and thinking about tomorrow, which again creates another pleasure - you are all that. To understand the now is an immense problem of meditation - that is meditation. To understand the past totally, see where its importance lies, and to see its total unimportance, to realize the nature of time - all that is part of meditation. Perhaps we can go into it another evening. But Sirs, before you can meditate there must be the foundation of righteousness, which means no fear. If there is any kind of fear, secret or obvious, then meditation is the most dangerous thing, because it offers a marvellous escape. To know what the meditative mind is, is one of the greatest things.