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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


Question: Is not insight intuition? Would you discuss this sudden clarity which some people have. What do you mean by insight and is it a momentary thing or can it be continuous?

In the various talks the speaker has given he has used the word `insight'. That is to see into things, into the whole movement of thought, into the whole movement, for example, of jealousy. It is to perceive the nature of greed, to see the whole content of sorrow. It is not analysis, not the exercise of intellectual capacity, nor is it the result of knowledge. Knowledge is that which has been accumulated through the past from experience, stored up in the brain. There is no complete knowledge, therefore with knowledge there is always ignorance, like two horses in tandem. If observation is not based on knowledge, or on intellectual capacity or reasoning, exploring and analysing, then what is it? That is the whole question. The questioner asks: is it intuition? That word `intuition' is rather a tricky word which many use. The actuality of intuition may be the result of desire. One may desire something and then a few days later one has an intuition about it. And one thinks that that intuition is extraordinarily important. But if one goes into it rather deeply one may find that it is based on desire, on fear, or on various forms of pleasure. So one is doubtful about that word, especially when used by those people who are rather romantic, who are rather imaginative, sentimental and seeking something. They would certainly have intuitions, but they would be based on some obvious self-deceptive desire. So for the moment put aside that word intuition.

Then what is insight? It is: to perceive something instantly, which must be true, logical, sane, rational. Insight must act instantly. It is not that one has an insight and does nothing about it. If one has an insight into the whole nature of thinking there is instant action. Thinking is the response of memory. Memory is experience, knowledge, stored up in the brain. Memory responds: where do you live? - you answer. What is your name? - there is an immediate response. Thought is the result or the response of the accumulation of experience and knowledge, stored as memory. Thought is based upon, or is the outcome of, knowledge; thought is limited because knowledge is limited. Thought can never be all-inclusive; therefore it is everlastingly confined, limited, narrow. Now, to have an insight into that, means that there is an action which is not merely the repetition of thought. To have an insight into, say, the nature of organizations means that one is observing without remembrances, without argumentation, pro and con; it is just to see the whole movement and nature of the demand for organization. One has an insight into it, and from that insight one acts. And that action is logical, sane, healthy. it is not that one has an insight and then acts the opposite, then it is not insight.

Have an insight, for example, into the wounds and hurts that one has received from childhood. All people are hurt for various reasons, from childhood until they die. There is this wound in them, psychologically. Now, have an insight into the whole nature and structure of that hurt. You are hurt, wounded psychologically? You may go to a psychologist, analyst, psychotherapist, and he may trace why you are hurt; from childhood, your mother was this and your father was that and so on, but by merely seeking out the cause, the hurt is not going to be resolved. It is there. The consequences of that hurt are isolation, fear, resistance, so as not to be hurt more; therefore there is self-enclosure. You know all this. That is the whole movement of being hurt. The hurt is the image that you have created for yourself about yourself. So as long as that image remains you will be hurt, obviously. Now, to have an insight into all that - without analysis - to perceive it instantly, then that very perception is insight; it demands all your attention and energy; in that insight the hurt is dissolved. That insight will dissolve your hurt completely, leaving no mark, and therefore nobody can hurt you any more. The image that you had created about yourself no longer exists.