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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

The Observer Is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 10th December, 1947

On the last occasion, we saw the need to understand the problem without identifying ourselves either with the religious or with the materialistic idea. You have to be free from the conflict of the opposites. In fact, the opposite does not exist at all.

You should not follow the general practice of either identifying with God or with materialism which is based solely on sensate values. In order to see the true significance of both these approaches, you have to start from the known centre, 'I'. You don't know God but you know only the 'me'. You have therefore to start from the 'me' which is really the result of your senses. Thus you have to give the senses their right place. As was stated already, greed creates the conflict of opposites. Mostly due to tradition and to the manner of your upbringing, you think in terms of opposites. There is a continual conflict of opposites inside you - right and wrong, good and evil, anger and non-anger, arrogance and humility, communism and capitalism, materialism and absolutism etc. This is because you do not know how to view things from the centre,i.e. from the 'me'. Instead of relating every problem to the end-purpose of life, you relate it to one or the other of the opposites, and therefore your life is full of frustration. If you understand this, you will be free of the conflict of opposites. This can be summed up as follows: Thesis versus Antithesis. Communism or Materialism -- Absolutism. All sensate values -- God, the Absolute Value. Matter and man can be shaped -- Idea moves on matter by environment, by the State. Importance of the State -- Sacredness of the individual. Totalitarianism -- Individualism

The question of duality, the conflict of opposites, has already been gone into fully. As this conflict is wearing you out in your daily life, it is absolutely necessary for you to understand it and thus be free from this conflict.

The naming of a feeling - When you contact something with any of your senses you give it a name to capture it, usually adopting the convention already set up. This is done even in the case of the feelings that arise in you though the feeling cannot be contacted by the senses. Therefore the word which is 'sensuous', cannot adequately describe the feeling which is non-sensuous. The word is not the thing. However, to you the word has become important and you interpret your feeling through a word. Therefore you miss the full significance of the feeling. As this is one of the things which you are doing constantly in your daily life, it is necessary for each one of you to realise that it is futile to use words which are sensuous to capture your feelings.