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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


We were going to talk over this evening the question of the conscious and unconscious, the superficial mind and the deeper layers of consciousness. I wonder why we divide life into fragments, the business life, social life, family life, religious life, the life of sport and so on? Why is there this division, not only in ourselves but also socially - we and they, you and me, love and hate, dying and living? I think we ought to go into this question rather deeply to find out if there is a way of life in which there is no division at all between living and dying, between the conscious and the unconscious, the business and social life, the family life and the individual life.

These divisions between nationalities, religions, classes, all this separation in oneself in which there is so much contradiction - why do we live that way? It breeds such turmoil, conflict, war; it brings about real insecurity, outwardly as well as inwardly. There is so much division, as God and the devil, the good and the bad, `what should be' and `what is.'

I think it would be worthwhile to spend this evening in trying to find out if there is a way of living - not theoretically or intellectually but actually - a way of life, in which there is no division whatsoever; a way of life in which action is not fragmented, so that it is one constant flow, where every action is related to all other actions.

To find a way of living in which there is no fragmentation one has to go very deeply into the question of love and death; in understanding that we may be able to come upon a way of life that is a continuous movement, not broken up, a way of life that is highly intelligent. A fragmented mind lacks intell- gence; the man who leads half a dozen lives - which is accepted as being highly moral - obviously shows lack of intelligence.

It seems to me that the idea of integration - of putting together the various fragments to make a whole - is obviously not intelligent, for it implies that there is an integrator, one who is integrating, putting together, all the fragments; but the very entity that tries to do this is also part of that fragment.

What is needed is such intelligence and passion as to bring about a radical revolution in one's life, so that there is no contradictory action but whole, continuous movement. To bring about this change in one's life there must be passion. If one is to do anything worthwhile, one must have this intense passion - which is not pleasure. To understand that action in which there is no fragmentation or contradiction, there must be this passion. Intellectual concepts and formulas will not change one's way of life, but only the very understanding of `what is; and for that there must be an intensity, a passion.

To find out if there is a way of living - daily living, not a monastic living - which has this quality of passion and intelligence one has to understand the nature of pleasure. We went into the question of pleasure the other day, of how thought sustains an experience, which has given for the moment a delight, and how by thinking about it pleasure is sustained; where there is pleasure there is bound to be pain and fear. Is love pleasure? For most of us moral values are based on pleasure; the very sacrificing of oneself, controlling oneself in order to conform, is the urge of pleasure - greater, nobler, or whatever it is. Is love a thing of pleasure? Again that word `love' is so loaded, everyone uses it, from the politician to the husband and wife. And it seems to me that it is only love, in the deepest sense of the word, that can bring about a way of life in which there is no fragmentation at all. Fear is always part of pleasure; obviously where there is any kind of fear in relationship there must be fragmentation, there must be division. It is really quite a deep issue, this inquiry as to why the human mind has always divided itself in opposition to others, resulting in violence and what it is hoped to achieve through violence. We human beings are committed to a way of life that leads to war and yet at the same time we want peace, we want freedom; but it is peace only as an idea, as an ideology; and at the same time everything that we do conditions us.

There is the division, psychologically, of time; time as the past (the yesterday), today and tomorrow; we must inquire into this if we are to find a way of life in which division does not exist at all. We have to consider if it is time, as the past, the present and the future - psychological time - that is the cause of this division. Is division brought about by the known, as memory, which is the past, which is the content of the brain itself? Or does division arise because the `observer,' the `experiencer,' the `thinker' is always separate from the thing which he observes, experiences? Or is it the egotistic self-centred activity, which is the `me' and the `you,' creating its own resistances, its own isolated activities, which causes this division? In going into this, one must be aware of all these issues: time; the "observer" separating himself from the thing observed; the experiencer different from the experience; pleasure; and whether all this has anything whatsoever to do with love.

Is there tomorrow psychologically? - actually, not invented by thought. There is a tomorrow in chronological time; but is there actually tomorrow, psychologically, inwardly? If there is tomorrow as idea, then action is not complete, and that action brings about division, contradiction. The idea of tomorrow, the future is - is it not? - the cause of not seeing things very clearly as they are now - `I hope to see them more clearly tomorrow'. One is lazy; one does not have this passion, this vital interest, to find out. Thought invents the idea of eventually arriving, eventually understanding; so for that, time is necessary, many days are necessary. Does time bring understan- ding, does it enable one to see something very clearly?

Is it possible for the mind to be free of the past so that it is not bound by time? Tomorrow, psychologically, is in terms of the known; is there then the possibility of being free from the known? Is there the possibility of an action not in terms of the known?

One of the most difficult things is to communicate. There must be verbal communication, obviously, but I think there is a much deeper level of communication, which is not only a verbal communication but communion, where both of us meet at the same level, with the same intensity, with the same passion; then only does communion take place, something far more important than mere verbal communication. And as we are talking about something rather complex, which touches very deeply our daily life, there must not only be verbal communication but also communion. What we are concerned about is a radical revolution, psychologically; not in some distant future, but actually today, now. We are concerned to find out whether the human mind, which has been so conditioned, can change immediately, so that its actions are a continuous whole, not broken up, and therefore pitted with its regrets, despairs, pains, fears, anxieties, its guilt and so on. How can the mind throw it all off and be completely fresh, young and innocent? That is really the issue. I do not think this is possible - such a radical revolution - so long as there is a division between the `observer' and the observed, between the `experiencer' and the experienced. It is this division that brings about conflict. All division must bring about conflict, and through conflict, through struggle, through battle, obviously there can be no change, in the deep psychological sense - though there may be superficial changes. So how is the mind, the heart and the brain, the total state, to cope with this problem of division?

We said we would go into this question of the conscious and the deeper levels, the unconscious: and we are asking why is there this division, this division between the conscious mind, occupied with its own daily activities, worries, problems, superficial pleasures, earning a livelihood and so on and the deeper levels of that mind, with all its hidden motives, its drives, compulsive demands, its fears? Why is there this division? Does it exist because we are so occupied, superficially, with endless chatter, with the constant demand, superficially, for amusement, entertainment, religious as well as otherwise? Because the superficial mind cannot possibly delve go deeply into itself while this division arises.

What is the content of the deeper layers of the mind? - not according to the psychologists, Freud and so on - and how do you find out, if you do not read what others have said? How will you find out what your unconscious is? You will watch it, will you not? Or, will you expect your dreams to interpret the contents of the unconscious? And who is to translate those dreams? The experts? - they are also conditioned by their specialization. And one asks: is it possible not to dream at all? - excepting of course for nightmares when one has eaten the wrong food, or has had too heavy a meal in the evening.

There is - we will use the word for the time being - the unconscious. What is it made of? - obviously the past; all the racial consciousness, the racial residue, the family tradition, the various religious and social conditioning - hidden, dark, undiscovered; can all that be discovered and exposed without dreams? - or without going to an analyst? - so that the mind, when it does sleep, is quiet, not incessantly active. And, because it is quiet, may there not come into it quite a different quality, a different activity altogether, dissociated from the daily anxieties, fears, worries, problems, demands? To find that out - if that is possible - that is, not to dream at all, so that the mind is really fresh when it wakes up in the morning, one has to be aware during the day, aware of the hints and intimations. Those one can discover only in relationship; when you are watching your relationship with others, without condemning, judging, evaluating; just watching how you behave, your reactions; seeing without any choice; just observing, so that during the day the hidden, the unconscious, is exposed.

Why do we give such deep significance and meaning to the unconscious? - for after all, it is as trivial as the conscious. If the conscious mind is extraordinarily active, watching, listening, seeing, then the conscious mind becomes far more important than the unconscious; in that state all the contents of the unconscious are exposed; the division between the various layers comes to an end. Watching your reactions when you sit in a bus, when you are talking to your wife, your husband, when in your office, writing, being alone - if you are ever alone - then this whole process of observation, this act of seeing (in which there is no division as the `observer' and the `observed') ends the contradiction.

When this is somewhat clear, then we can ask: What is love? Is love pleasure? Is love jealousy? Is love possessive? Does love dominate? - the husband over the wife and the wife over the husband. Surely, not one of these things is love; yet we are burdened with all these things, and yet we say to our husband or our wife, or whoever it is, `I love you.' Now, most of us are, in some form or other, envious. Envy arises through comparison, through measurement, through wanting to be something different from what one is. Can we see envy as it actually is, and be entirely free of it, for it never to happen again? - otherwise love cannot exist. Love is not of time; love cannot be cultivated; it is not a thing of pleasure.

What is death? - What is the relationship between love and death? I think we will find the relationship between the two when we understand the meaning of `death; to understand that we must obviously understand what living is. What actually is our living? - the daily living, not the ideological, the intellectual something, which we consider should be, but which is really false. What actually is our living? - the daily living of conflict, despair, loneliness, isolation. Our life is a battlefield, sleeping and waking; we try to escape from this in various ways through music, art, museums, religious or philosophical entertainment, spinning a lot of theories, caught up in knowledge, anything but putting an end to this conflict, to this battle which we call living, with its constant sorrow.

Can the sorrow in daily life end? Unless the mind changes radically our living has very little meaning - going to the office every day, earning a livelihood, reading a few books, being able to quote cleverly, being very well-informed - a life which is empty, a real bourgeois life. And then as one becomes aware of this state of affairs, one begins to invent a meaning to life; find some significance to give to it; one searches out the clever people who will give one the significance, the purpose, of life - which is another escape from living. This kind of living must undergo a radical transformation.

Why is it we are frightened of death? - as most people are. Frightened of what? Do please observe your own fears of what we call death - being frightened of coming to the end of this battle which we call living. We are frightened of the unknown, what might happen; we are frightened of leaving the known things, the family, the books, the attachment to your house and furniture, to the people near us. We are frightened to let go of the things known; and the known is his living in sorrow, pain and despair, with occasional flashes of joy; there is no end to this constant struggle; that is what we call living - of that we are frightened to let go. Is it the `me' - who is the result of all this accumulation - that is frightened that it will come to an end? - therefore it demands a future hope, therefore there must be reincarnation. The idea of reincarnation, in which the whole of the East believes, is that you will be born next life a little higher up on the rungs of the ladder. You have been a dishwasher this life, next life you will be a prince, or whatever it is - somebody else will go and wash the dishes for you. For those who believe in reincarnation, what you are in this life matters very much, because what you do, how you behave, what your thoughts are, what your activities are, so in the next life depending on this, you either get a reward or you are punished. But they do not care a pin about how they behave; for them it is just another form of belief, just as the belief that there is heaven, God, what you will. Actually all that matters is what you are now, today, how you actually behave, not only outwardly but inwardly. The West has its own form of consolation about death, it rationalizes it, it has its own religious conditioning.

So, what is death, actually - the ending? The organism is going to end, because it grows old, or from disease and accident. Very few of us grow old beautifully because we are tortured entities, our faces show it as we grow older - and there is the sadness of old age, remembering the things of the past.

Can one die to everything that is `known,' psychologically, from day to day? Unless there is freedom from that,known, what is `possible' can never be captured. As it is, our `possibility' is always within the field of the `known; but when there is freedom, then that `possibility' is immense. Can one die, psychologically, to all one's past, to all the attachments, fears, to the anxiety, vanity, and pride, so completely that tomorrow you wake up a fresh human being? You will say, `How is this to be done, what is the method?' There is no method, because `a method' implies tomorrow; it implies that you will practice and achieve something eventually, tomorrow, after many tomorrows. But can you see immediately the truth of it - see it actually, not theoretically - that the mind cannot be fresh, innocent, young, vital, passionate, unless there is an ending, psychologically, to everything of the past? But we do not want to let the past go because we are the past; all our thoughts are based on the past; all knowledge is the past; so the mind cannot let go; any effort it makes to let go is still part of the past,the past hoping to achieve a different state.

The mind must become extraordinarily quiet, silent; and it does become extraordinarily quiet without any resistance, without any system, when it sees this whole issue. Man has always sought immortality; he paints a picture, puts his name on it, that is a form of immortality; leaving a name behind, man always wants to leave something of himself behind. What has he got to give - apart from technological knowledge - what has he of himself to give? What is he? You and I, what are we, psychologically? You may have a bigger bank account, be cleverer than I am, or this and that; but psychologically, what are we? - a lot of words, memories, experiences, and these we want to hand over to a son, put in a book, or paint in a picture, `me.' The `me' becomes extremely important, the `me' opposed to the community, the `me, wanting to identity itself, wanting to fulfil itself, wanting to become something great - you know, all the rest of it. When you observe that `me,' you see that it is a bundle of memories, empty words: that is what we cling to; that is the very essence of the separation between you and me, they and we.

When you understand all this - observe it, not through another but through yourself, watch it very closely, without any judgment, evaluation, suppression, just to observe - then you will see that love is only possible when there is death. Love is not memory, love is not pleasure. It is said that love is related to sex - back again to the division between profane love and sacred love, with approval of one and condemnation of the other. Surely, love is none of these things. One cannot come upon it, totally, completely, unless there is a dying to the past, a dying to all the travail, conflict and sorrow; then there is love; then one can do what one will.

As we said the other day, it is fairly easy to ask a question; but ask it purposefully and keep with it until you have resolved it totally for yourself; such asking has an importance; but to ask casually has very little meaning. Questioner: If you do not have the division between the `what is' and the `what should be' you might become complacent, you would not worry about the terrible things that are going on.

Krishnamurti: What is the reality of `what should be'? Has it any reality at all? Man is violent but the `should be' peaceful. What is the reality of the `should be,' and why do we have the `should be`? If this division were to cease, would man become complacent, accept everything? Would I accept violence if I had no ideal of nonviolence? Nonviolence has been preached from the most ancient days: don't kill, be compassionate, and so on; and the fact is, man is violent, that is `what is.' If man accepts it as inevitable, then he becomes complacent - as he is now. He has accepted war as a way of life and he goes on, though a thousand sanctions, religious, social, and otherwise, say, `Do not kill' - not only man, but animals; but he does kill animals for food, and he does go to war. So if there was no ideal at all you would be left with `what is' Would that make one complacent? Or would you then have the energy, the interest, the vitality, to solve `what is'? Is not the ideal of nonviolence an escape from the fact of violence? When the mind is not escaping, but is confronted with the fact of violence - that it is violent, not condemning it, not judging it - then surely, such a mind has an entirely different quality and there is no longer violence. Such a mind does not accept violence; violence is not merely hurting or killing somebody; violence is equally this distortion, in conforming, imitating, following the social morality, or following one's own peculiar morality. Every form of control and suppression is a form of distortion and therefore violence. Surely, to understand `what is,' there must be a tension, a watchfulness to find out what actually is. What actually is, is the division man has created by nationalism, which is one of the major causes of war; we accept it, we worship the flag; and there are the divisions created by religion, we are Christians, Buddhists, this or that. Can we not be free of the `what is' by observing the actual fact? You can only be free of it when the mind does not distort what is observed.

Questioner: What is the difference between conceptual seeing and actual seeing?

Krishnamurti: Do you see a tree conceptually or actually? When you see a flower, do you see it directly, or do you see it through the screen of your particular knowledge, botanical or nonbotanical, or through the pleasure it gives? How do you see it? If it is conceptual seeing, that is to say, it is seen through thought, is it seen? Do you see your wife or your husband? - or do you see the image you have about him or her? That image is the concept through which you see conceptually; but when there is no image at all then you actually see, then you are actually related.

So, what is the mechanism that builds the image, that prevents us from actually seeing the tree, the wife, or the husband, or the friend, or whatever it is? Obviously - although I hope I am wrong - you have an image about me, about the speaker - no? If you have an image about the speaker, you are really not listening to the speaker at all. And when you look at your wife, or your husband, and so on, and you look through an image, you are not actually seeing the person, you are seeing the person through the image, and therefore there is no relationship at all; you may say `I love you', but it has no meaning at all.

Can the mind stop forming images? - in the sense of which we are speaking. It is only possible when the mind is completely attentive at the moment, at the instant of the challenge or the impression. To take a very simple example: you are flattered, you like that, and the very `like' builds the image. But if you listen to that flattery with complete attention, neither liking nor disliking, listen to it completely, wholly, then an image is not formed; you do not call him your friend, and alternatively, the person who insults you, you do not call him your enemy. `Image forming' arises from inattention; when there is attention there is no building up of any concept. Do it; one finds out, very simply. When you give complete attention to looking at a tree, or a flower or a cloud, then there is no projection of your botanical knowledge, or your like or dislike, you just look - which does not mean that you identify yourself with the tree, you cannot become the tree anyhow. If you look at your wife, husband or friend without any image, then relationship is something entirely different; then thought does not come into it at all and there is a possibility of love.

Questioner: Are love and freedom concomitant?

Krishnamurti: Can we love without freedom? If we are not free, can we love? If we are jealous, can we love? Frightened, can we love? Or, if we are pursuing our own particular ambition in the office and we come home and say `I love you, darling' - is that love? In the office we are brutal, cunning, and at home we try to be docile, loving - is that possible? With one hand kill, with the other hand love? Can the ambitious man ever love, or the competitive man ever know what love means? We accept all these things and social morality; but when we deny that social morality, completely, with alI our being, then we are really moral - but we do not do that. We are socially, morally, respectable, therefore we do not know what love is. Without love we can never find out what truth is, nor find out if there is such a thing - or not such a thing - as God. We can only know what love is when we know how to die to everything of yesterday, to all the images of pleasure, sexual or otherwise; then, when there is love, which in itself is virtue, which in itself is morality - all ethics are in it - then only does that reality, that something which is not measurable, come into being. Questioner: The individual, being in turmoil, creates society; to change society are you advocating that the individual detach himself, so as not to depend on society?

Krishnamurti: Is not the individual the society? You and I have created this society, with our greed, with our ambition, with our nationalism, with our competitiveness, brutality, violence; that is what we have done outwardly, because that is what we are inwardly. The war that is going on in Vietnam, for that we are responsible, you and I, actually, because we have accepted war as the way of life. Are you suggesting that we detach ourselves? On the contrary, how can you detach yourself from yourself? You are part of this whole mess and can only be free of this ugliness, this violence, everything that is actually there not by detachment, but by learning, by watching, by understanding the whole thing in yourself and thereby being free of all the violence. You cannot detach yourself from yourself; and this gives rise to the problem of `who' is to do it. `Who' is to detach `me' from society, or,me, from myself? The entity who wants to detach himself, is he not part of the whole circus? To understand all this - that the `observer' is not different from the thing observed - is meditation; it requires a great deal of penetration into oneself, non-analytically; by observing in relationship with things, with property, with people, with ideas, with nature, one comes upon this sense of complete freedom inwardly.