The Observer Is the Observed
Madras, India. Group Discussion 8th December, 1947
In actual life problems are solved by individuals in various ways.
(i) Some people solve their problems one by one as they arise. this process implies that (a) the problems are isolated and are not interrelated, (b) that the individual concerned is asleep and each problem comes and wakes him up - for example, a domestic calamity like the death of a son. When he wakes up, he does something about the problem and then goes to sleep again.
(ii) There are others who find that when they try to solve one problem, that problem is interrelated with many other problems. They get puzzled because of the arduousness of the attempt and, giving up the attempt to solve the problem, go to sleep.
(iii) In the case of others, some problems come to them while they are asleep, and wake them up; there are other problems to which they go when they are awake. In other words, they are half asleep sometimes and less asleep at other times. When such a person attempts to solve the problems, he invariably pigeon-holes them under categories and solves them in the light of what he knows already of each such type or category.
It is, therefore, necessary to understand the truth of this problem.
When you are intelligent, you are fully awake and, in that state, you meet each problem instantaneously and therefore it is not really a problem to you at all. If you are not intelligent or awake, you meet each problem in a half sleepy state and you cannot therefore solve it. This leads to pain and sorrow. When you begin to think about this state, you realise that you are dull and asleep. Therefore in order to get the correct solution of this problem, you have first to find out why you are asleep.
The problem now is why you are dull or asleep. Are you dull by nature or have you been made dull by outside agencies? If you believe that dullness is your nature you believe that God has made you dull, as is said by every man of religion. If your dullness is due to outside agencies then you can believe that outside agencies can also make you intelligent - i.e. you can be moulded by environment, by the State. In so doing you will be believing in materialism. In order to know the truth of the matter, you should not identify yourself with either of these approaches, religion or materialism, but you should understand the true nature of the problem by following out the thought completely.