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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


Would you accept that intelligence is not the product of thought? If intelligence is the product of thought, then intelligence is mechanical. Thought can never be non-mechanical.

A.C.: Intelligence can be the product of thought. The computer scientists believe it.

K: That's why they are investigating intelligence through thought.

A.C.: They want to know what is intelligence, and therefore, they want to know what is the thinking process, because the thinking process for them is linked to intelligence.

K: I am not saying it is so, or not. A.C.: So we have to enquire into what is thought and what is intelligence?

K: If you once admit that intelligence is not the product of thought, then the thinker has no importance.

A.C.: I think you are going too fast. If intelligence is not the product of thought, then thought has no importance. But negatively, it is important because, without understanding it, intelligence cannot come about.

K: Yes. Thought is a mechanical process; therefore, keep it in its right place. But you want to find out what is intelligence. Don't introduce thought into it. Can we go into what that intelligence is which is never touched by thought?

A.C.: Yes, I understand, How does one enquire into what is intelligence?

K: Not by using thought to enquire. If you use thought you are blocking yourself.

A.C.: I follow, in the sense that you are saying, don't use thought or the thinking process to enquire into what is intelligence.

K: Because intelligence is not the product of thought.

A.C.: I don't know that. If you say, don't use thought to enquire, then what do you want?

K: That's just it. Let us go into it. But let us be quite sure that thought cannot produce intelligence. Thought has produced the atom bomb, it has produced war. But you are enquiring into something which thought cannot enquire into. You are enquiring into what is intelligence. We say it is not a product of thought. If it is, you are operating with thought.

A.C.: I accept this; that's clear. I accept that you cannot use the tool - the thought process - to enquire into intelligence. Then how do you enquire? K: But first we must be quite sure that we accept that.

A.C.: I can see that Now - for then everything would be intelligence, everything that is thought. And it is not intelligence.

K: Of course.

A.C.: I see that there is no such thing as inefficient thought, good thought, bad thought, that is quite clear.

K: What the computer experts are doing in Japan is to enquire into thought.

A.C.: That is why they are stuck because they never reach intelligence.

K: Yes The Indians have tried to suppress thought, control thought.

A.C.: Why have they said that?

K: Because they feel if thought stops, the other may exist. Meditation to them is that.

A.C.: That means they had an insight into this other thing?

K: No. Look sir, perhaps the Buddha may have seen that intelligence is not thought. The other have spoken of how to suppress thought, control it. To them that is meditation. Which means what? That which is intelligence cannot be found through thought; therefore, suppress it.

A.C.: Do you feel that they have some insight into this whole thing? If someone told you, suppress thought, contain it, wouldn't you feel that the person had some insight into it? Can one refine thought?

K: Thought is as the child of a barren woman. Which means what?<

A.C.: It's not creative. The computer scientists are trying to create a computer like the human brain, but they can`t do it because they don't know the thinking process. I wonder whether Indians who are supposed to have investigated for five thousand years into the human mind, nirvana and the other, could get together to create this.

K: Which two getting together?

A.C.: The Indian mind and the mind of technology.

K: Listen, the Buddha might have said there is intelligence that has nothing to do with thought. The rest of them read it or heard it; they translated that or repeated that.

A.C.: So, there is no meaning to their investigation.

K: It is the original man who said, `Look, I don't know what it is all about, but I'm going to find out.' That is research.

A.C.: I follow; you have answered my question. We come back. You are saying the computer scientist is approaching it wrongly; he is approaching intelligence through the thinking process and he can never find it and, therefore, he is stuck.

K: Which means the thinking process is mechanical.

A.C.: Yes.

K: Ah, be careful. Because thinking is based on knowledge. Right? Knowledge is limited.

A.C.: Even if they understand the thinking process, they still want to understand intelligence. So we come back to the question: How does one enquire into intelligence?

K: You can't because your enquiry is with the brain. The brain is conditioned to think. Is this clear?

A.C.: Are you saying that if you really saw this clearly you don't enquire using the thought process? Then, is there any enquiry into intelligence? Intelligence is, it exists.

K: No, no. Then you have to enquire into what it is to investigate. Can I discard the use of the brain, of thought - which is the brain, which is mechanical? There may be a part of the brain which is not mechanical - I don't know - but we can leave that for the moment. Intelligence is not the product of the brain as thought.

A.C.: Then one discards thought.

K: Not discards, one can't discard that. I want a baby. I can't produce a baby. So, what have you left when you are no longer using the brain to enquire?

A.C.: But you talk of seeing and listening. Would you call that the use of the brain?

K: Seeing is not the use of the brain. But I have seen the world through my thinking. I have seen what it has done in the word - atom bombs, destruction, etc., which is all the movement of thought. It has done evil things and good things. We will use evil and good for the moment. But that is not intelligence.

A.C.: I follow.

K. Thought can never beget intelligence. Therefore, I say to myself: I wonder whether I am approaching it wrongly.

A.C.: You have shown me that you cannot reproduce human intelligence that way but you can simulate thought that way, and you can get to know the thought process that way.
K: Yes, that's simple.

A.C.: That in itself could be dangerous.

K: That's what is happening. The computer will be able to think much better, quicker.

A.C.: That in itself is dangerous.

K: The fighter pilots have something inside the brain or outside. The moment they think and look, they shoot accurately.

A.C.: Yes, they will look at the target and then the shooting takes place. K: If you are really clear that thought under no circumstances can have intelligence, then what is the instrument that will investigate? We have used thought to investigate; now I have discarded thought, in the sense that thought has its place but when I am enquiring into intelligence thought has no place. Thought cannot investigate into intelligence. If you tell this to computer experts they will say, what the hell are you talking about? Then what is the instrument which is not thought that can perceive, investigate, look into intelligence?

A.C.: Seeing? Observing?

K: Don't use those words. Use your own words. Then it will have more clarity.

A.C.: There is nothing else except thought.

K: That's it. So the battle. And that's why they are stumped; they are moving in the same circle. They use thought and they want to enquire into the process of thought. The process of thought is very clear - it is based on memory, memory is based on knowledge and so on. The brain is conditioned to that; it has operated for a million years on that basis and now these experts come along and try to investigate intelligence with their brains which are highly trained. But their enquiry is still based on knowledge which is limited. Therefore, their investigation can never find out. Now, is there any instrument that will see what intelligence is - or is there no instrument at all? Do you see what I am talking about? I have so far used the instrument of thought to investigate. Now we have discarded that. But I am still searching for an instrument to investigate. That means I am still in the same groove.

A.C.: There is only thought.

K: There is no process of investigation. Now, what is it that is not contaminated by thought, that has no past, no future, no time element in it? The time element is thought. The quality of mind that is not of time, not of tomorrow, not of yesterday, not of memory - that mind is an intelligent mind

A.C.: Why do you call it that?

K: That is intelligence.

A.C.: Why is that intelligence?

K: I will show you in a moment. First of all we have given up thought, and there is no instrument that can investigate.

A.C.: Yes, for the instrument would be thought.

K: Thought may be waiting surreptitiously, unconsciously, to catch something. It cannot investigate that. If you admit that once, then what has happened to your brain? What has happened to your enquiry? You want to discuss intelligence. The moment you deny thought totally, that is intelligence.

A.C.: I don't know what intelligence is.

K: Why does one think one doesn't know?

A.C.: Because obviously...

K: Ah no, you are not answering my question. Because you are saying thought must know what intelligence is. But thought can never know.

A.C.: Yes.

K: Knowing means feeling, accumulating, acting.

A.C.: I see that.

K: If you follow that, there is no instrument of enquiry.

A.C.: I follow that.

K: Therefore, what? That state of the mind that has put away thought; it is not enquiring. So, what has happened? We will use another word - insight. Insight is not remembrance, it is not the accumulated knowledge which is thought. It has nothing to do with time. To see something instantly has nothing to do with time. A.C.: I see that. Are you saying that intelligence - insight - that state of mind does not exist if you approach it through the thought process?

K: If you are clear - as clear as in the knowledge that a cobra is poisonous - that thought can never under any circumstances reach intelligence, you wipe away all enquiry. These people are using thought to create a machine that can think, a super computer, artificial intelligence. They are working to create a brain which will be like ours, which will be mechanical. They are using their brain, with their tremendous knowledge of the brain, to produce a brain which is based on thought.

A.C.: In fact, they are using the model of the human brain to copy it.

K: Which is thinking. I follow that. Do you see this as a fact? To see it as a fact is to see that thought under no circumstances can have the other. If thought is no longer the instrument of enquiry, then you have nothing else with which to enquire. You can't enquire. Then what is intelligence, that is not based on enquiry? Look sir, I want to enquire into truth. I don't know anything about it. I don't want to depend on anyone to find out. So, I have to discard all the past. I want to find out what is supreme intelligence - that is what they all want to find out - not casual intelligence. We want to find out what is supreme intelligence. So, can I discard everything that I know? The only instrument I have is thought. I can think clearly because I have been trained to think, not sentimentally but objectively. Thinking which can produce so-called intelligence is then on the same level as thinking that has produced war. Therefore, it is not intelligence. So, under no circumstances will thinking have a perception of that. I must be absolutely clear. If I am not clear, unconsciously, deeply, then thought is going to interfere.

Before anything else, I want to clear the board. Is that possible? I see that what they are doing won't get them there. They will create mechanical, artificial intelligence which is like human intelligence that is capable of destroying the world. Right? Thinking, and all the instruments thought has invented to investigate into that - meditation, various types of silence, various types of self-denial - are out. The technologies won't accept that but true enquiry is that. And they haven't found it. They are anchored to Jesus or to the saint, which is thought, and from there they move through thought. They won't accept that thought can under no circumstances come to that. Then what have I left to see that thought, under any circumstances, can produce intelligence?

A.C.: I understand that. It is not enough to see that thinking is not intelligence.

K: That is fairly simple, but the implications of it, the inwardness of it...

A.C.: When you say that intelligence is not the product of thought, it is clear.

K: Because you have applied your brain.

A.C.: But that is not enough. It does not mean that thought has found its proper place. To see something is not enough.

K: No. To see that you don't know - we all think we know - to see that thought cannot produce intelligence which is non-mechanical, you didn't use thought. Thought is limited. You accepted the fact; there was no thinking; you understand.

A.C.: I understand. My problem is slightly different. It is not enough to see that thinking is not intelligence.

K: To accept that is fairly simple, but the implications of it?

A.C.: That's what I want to know.

K: If you pointed this out to the computer scientists, what would their reaction be? They would treat it as mystical. Yet, these are the people trying to find out.

A.C.: Yes. These people are trying to find intelligence. But other people are also trying to find that - the people whom you have been talking to.

K: They can't, they haven't. They react with thought. You have to apply your brain.

A.C.: To see something is not enough.

K: To see that you don't know - they all say they know. Progress in the last twenty years has been so rapid. They know; they wouldn't accept they don't know. I want you to see this.

A.C.: The person who has listened to you, who sees what you say, does not become intelligent. I am talking of myself.

K: But you don't have to investigate; it is all there. They want to investigate the point they want to reach. Their minds want to investigate where they want to go. When you see that thought is not the instrument, what will produce intelligence? Are you seeing the whole of it? Or are you seeing only in one direction? I don't know whether I am conveying something. That means, can the brain observe something whole without any kind of fragmentation? Intelligence is not fragmentation. The brain that investigates is fragmented, broken up. Whatever words you use, it functions in a very small field of knowledge. So, this cannot see it. Do you really feel this in your blood?

A.C.: What does that mean, sir?

K: This is something in which organized religions have no place. Why?

A.C.: Because we see what has happened with organized religions.

K: No, that means you are approaching it through reason - you see what is happening and from there you come to a conclusion.

A.C.: I follow what you are saying; it is possible. K: You don't have the insight to see that is wrong. So, when you say that you are using reason, logic, you are turning to thought and through thought you come to a conclusion. Can you have insight which says without logic this is wrong? And having seen that it is wrong, use logic then?

A.C.: I follow that.

K: In the same way, sir, thought cannot do this. We use logic to communicate and we say it is quite clear. It is not Logic has made it very clear; so what do you do? We may have discussed it, gone into it, but you are still following the same way of thought - logic, reason, facts. Right? Do you see that?

A.C.: In order to see that...

K: First see that clearly and then it comes naturally. Don't put it the other way round. Don't say, to live like that I must do this.

A1.C.: To see needs the right environment.

K: This is our environment. Wherever you are, that is your environment. If you are in a hotel room in London, that's our environment.

A.C.: If I am with you, it's different. If I am not with you, it's totally different.

K: Of course.

A.C.: The environment is different.

K: No, not the environment. Here I am forcing you to look. "Forcing', in quotes, pushing you. There no one is pushing; they are all thinking the same way.

A.C.: So, it becomes very important, and that is the trap: to have to be pushed.

K: Yes. It is very important to go to a doctor, a right doctor if I can find him. I am stimulated. When the stimulation is one you are back to what your environment is. To see this is no stimulation. Either you see it or you don't see it. We have discussed this for over an hour and we are beginning to see the nature of it. If you had another couple of days here, steadily working, thinking, you'd be in it.

A.C.: That's what I meant when I was talking to you, that's what I meant by environment.

K: But if you treat it as a-drug...

A.C.: Of course, I see that when I am with you it is different from when I am not with you. When I am away, it is completely overwhelmed and overpowered, but it does come back when I am with you. What can I do to see that it stays?

K: As you have other things to do, I would meet you very often till you are soaked in it, soaked in the sense that you understand what I mean, not just repeat what I say. You are born in it. How will you transmit this to your associates? Would they listen to you?

A.C.: No, they won't listen. This research into artificial intelligence will go on. Through thought they are going to produce a super computer better than `most people's brains'. They will do it and they will end up creating a world which will make the human mind obsolete. That is the threat to the human race.

K: Will they consider that they have reached the mystery of intelligence then?

A.C.: Yes. They will be able to reproduce anything that is mechanical, reproduce the thought process. That is the human brain, and that is frightening. What is most exciting is to investigate the nature of this intelligence and what can happen, not artificial intelligence. And I have been asking why in this environment I can feel a total change taking place.

K: Suppose we were to discuss every day, could you stand it?

A.C.: Yes. K: Careful.

A.C.: I could stand it, but to carry it out is the problem. The problem is when I go out of the door.

K: That means you haven't seen this. To see the danger of that, of thought, of the whole mechanistic process, the inwardness of it, is the very source of intelligence.