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1st Public Dialogue - 31st July 1968

1st Public Dialogue - 31st July 1968

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Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1968

Krishnamurti: I wonder what we are trying to do during these so-called discussions, which are really dialogues, talking things over together. Are we merely trying to express something only intellectually, or are we trying to understand a way of living that is different from that which we are accustomed to? Or are we exposing ourselves as we are, so that we can see for ourselves our moods, tendencies, idiosyncrasies, the states of our own mind and heart, so that there might be a possibility of change? Is this what we are trying to do during these discussions? I hope we are trying to explore into ourselves, not according to a specialist, a philosopher, or an analyst, but actually to see ourselves as we are. If we are going to do that, then we must establish a communication between ourselves from the very beginning.

To communicate with each other we must use words, obviously, but each word, for each person, is heavily loaded; each word creates in us a form, a design, a content. This design, content, form, is actually the 'me', the thinker, the observer. And if we are merely trying to communicate with each other verbally, then it will be very difficult to understand each other. So there is that difficulty, which is: a sentence, a word, an idea, may be so deeply engrained in each one of us, that we can't go beyond it; we translate, interpret everything that we hear according to that background. Whether we are intellectual or emotional, scientific or artistic, everything is translated according to that frame in which we live and function. And perhaps the speaker has not got that difficulty at all; therefore how can we communicate so that we understand each other completely, thoroughly, so that there is no misunderstanding? There is also another form of communication, which is silence. But we cannot come to that quality of silence, whose nature and structure is quite peculiar, if we do not establish between us a communication which will not lead to misunderstanding.

So we have this problem to communicate with each other first verbally, so that the words don't become a barrier, but rather a help in clearing up our understanding of ourselves; that must be established between us first. Then there is a form of communion which is non-verbal, which needs that peculiar quality of attention and ease. You know, it's like two very intimate friends they don't have to say very much, they don't have to go into long complicated explanations, they understand each other in that very silence in which there is communion of friendship, an exposing of oneself to the other, in which there is affection, love. These are the two issues we must first understand, before we can go into the question whether it is at all possible to establish a communication in which there will not be the slightest misunderstanding, so that when the speaker says: two plus two make four, you don't make five out of it; or when you say: two and two make four, I don't make it into six. Both of us must establish that very clearly and very definitely, so that we don't get confused by the form, by the design, by the content of the word. When that is very clear, then we can go on to the next dimension, which is to commune with each other without words, so that there is an empathy, a feeling, a sense of closeness in which there is no barrier. Can these two go together at the same time not one, or the other, first?

If we could do this, that both of these dimensions operate at the same time, then there would be a possibility of really understanding each other. That is, understanding our problems, our daily struggles, sorrows, conflicts, despair, loneliness, irritation, anger, hate and all the rest of it. To really commune in silence with each other is going to be very difficult, because there is always the examiner, the censor, the observer, who separates himself from the thing observed, seen or thought. And when there is this division between the observer and the observed, communion with the observed comes to an end. That is going to be one of our major difficulties to listen to each other without the listener; and the listener is the word, the form, the design, the content, the tradition which is the 'me', the ego, the habitual entity which functions in a routine. So when we are talking over our problems together, can we listen, observe, be silent without the examiner, without the entity that says, 'This is right, this is wrong, this should be, this must not be, I am right, you are wrong, my opinion is better than yours', and so on? Can we do this? So that you and I see the same thing at the same time with the same intensity otherwise we are not in communion with each other. If you or I are not intense at the same time, at the same level, how can we communicate, how can we feel together in examining something? So we will try; we will go into this as we go along.

Having said that and I hope it is somewhat clear and we will make it clearer as we go along what shall we talk over together? If we are going to talk something over together, we must be serious, so that we can look into it very, very closely, intimately; we must go into that thing completely whatever the problem is so that at the end of this hour you are actually free of that problem, do not carry it over for another year, or for another day. To examine a problem intellectually has no validity at all, saying: 'I must', 'I should'. Ideology is an invention of the intellect. If we are going to talk at the intellectual, verbal level, then it is not worth it, it has no meaning as far as I am concerned. So, if we are going to discuss any human, psychological, inward problems, we must be very clear that we are not offering opinions, judgments, evaluations but that we are actually examining, exploring: you cannot explore if you offer an opinion about what you think 'should be', or 'must be'. You can only examine when you are looking very closely, attentively, with your heart, with your mind, when you give yourself to look.

Sow what can we talk over together?

Questioner: You have said that one cannot invite reality, that all one can do is to open the door, and this means that the mind must be completely quiet, silent, then, perhaps if one is lucky, maybe truth and reality will come in. Why do you say 'lucky', 'perhaps'?

Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir. Do you want to discuss that? Let's forget what I have said, because there is no authority here. It is no good saying 'Yesterday you said that, what do you mean by it'? What we are trying to do is not to repeat, or say: 'Please explain what you meant by that'. You have your daily problems of despair, of loneliness we have a dozen problems, all interrelated, and if you say 'Please don't bother about that, but tell me what you meant by what you said yesterday', it becomes rather meaningless. The question was: 'you said all that one can do is to leave the door open, then, if one is lucky, perhaps truth or reality can come in. Why do you say "perhaps" and "if you are lucky"'? If you leave the door open, if there is fresh air outside, it will come in. Do you want to discuss that? Or do you want to ask something else?

Questioner (1): Am I selfish if I refuse responsibility?

Questioner (2): Can we talk about children, as regards communication and teaching, parenthood and bringing up children?

Questioner (3): How can we remain earnest in self-study without stimulating desire?

Questioner (4): Could we talk about identification?

Questioner (5): The search for spirituality seems to lead to indifference.

Krishnamurti: I am rather stuck. You see, if I were sitting there and somebody else was sitting here, I would like to know, I would ask him, how to live rightly? How to live? What is involved? Because what is involved in our life is in such chaos, such contradiction; intellect, activity, feeling, thought, all go in different directions all tearing at each other. We are broken up entities. And if I were there and somebody else was here, I would say, 'Look, I know this, I am fully aware of how I behave in the office, or at home and so on, in contradiction, inwardly broken up; how am I to live a life that is complete, whole, full?' Don't you also want to know that?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Ah no! (Laughter) You see the danger? you are used to listening, to being told. Why didn't you ask me that?

Questioner: It is completely impossible to ask this question, because in the very asking we are accepting the authority of one person, or maybe five hundred people who are here. I think you have to go through the problem in your life to come to a conclusion.

Krishnamurti: You see Sir, I have a horror of conclusions, because conclusions are a pattern according to which I am going to live. But leave all that aside. What we just stated, would that be the real issue, would you be interested in talking that over?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Don't say 'Yes' casually because if you go into it very deeply, it may revolutionize your life and you may not want it. You may never go to the office again (I don't say you will or you won't; or you may do something which is real and may therefore be tremendously revolutionary. So if you really want to talk about that in the sense of not merely seeing this contradiction, this fragmentation in selves, as the intellect, as the emotions, as thought, as action if you see that for yourself, and it's your recognition, your awareness of it, then the inevitable question would be: what am I to do? And then, perhaps later on, we can go into this question of reality, the urge to identify with oneself, with something else, and so on.

If this is what you really want to discuss, let's go into it. Shall we?

First of all, am I aware, conscious, that I lead a fragmentary life? (Don't give a tremendous significance to awareness, just keep it, at its lowest level.) Do I know that I lead a contradictory life? a life of hypocrisy, because contradiction means hypocrisy. You may not like that word. I say one thing and do anther. Do I know that my life is broken up? Can one say this as one says 'I am hungry'? Nobody can question that because if you are hungry, you know it. In the same way, do you know that your life is a complex of contradictions? Or, do you know it because somebody tells you so? The two states are different, aren't they? You know for yourself when you are hungry, nobody has to tell you that. In the same way, do you know for yourself that your life is contradictory: love and hate, a contradictory, dualistic existence? If you know it, first of all how does it come into being? Why do I have this contradiction in me? Is it natural and must I therefore accept it, or is it something that has been brought about through society, civilization, culture and so on, or by my own relationship to everything in life? Is my relationship to nature, to other people, to ideas, always dualistic? (I don't know if you are following?) Before I can do anything with it, I must know how it comes about.

I say, I love my wife or husband and I dislike so many people, or I hate somebody. Immediately there is contradiction. I want to tell the truth and I lie, because I am afraid; in that there is a contradiction. I want to fulfil, express myself and I can't; or I express myself so badly that it creates misunderstanding and that causes fear, there is anxiety and so on. Then there is the 'good' and the 'bad', the pattern which I have been following for years, and I am afraid to let that go because I don't know what will happen. So I live a contradictory life during the day, and when I sleep, through dreams. Why does it arise in me? I want to lead a harmonious, peaceful life, be non-aggressive, quiet; I want to live fairly, without too much ugliness. And I do everything that brings ugliness why? Is it because (I am just suggesting, I am not saying it is so) I am afraid? Because I am afraid I become aggressive, because I am afraid I am not free to say 'Yes, this is a lie' or to acknowledge to myself that I am a hypocrite. Because I pretend to be something, I have an image about myself which I dare not destroy. Is it due to fear or insecurity? (I am talking about inward insecurity). Do you say, 'I like your examination, your exploration, what you find'? We know only fools give advice! We are not fools, I hope, so don't give me advice. I want to find out why I lead this kind of double life with all its complexities: the hypocrisy, the neurotic states, isolating myself from others and so on.

Are we communicating with each other because we are silent, or are we silent because we are looking? Are we silent because we are looking at ourselves, or are we silent because we have understood or seen this contradiction seen it, without reacting to it yet and therefore seeing is silence. I wonder if you get this?

Questioner: I am hesitating because of the responsibility involved in this.

Krishnamurti: Ah! The reaction of responsibility comes a little later. Because we are silent, do we see together what is taking place in us? (May I point out here that we are not having a mass or group analysis, or a confession. We are looking at a problem which is individual and therefore human.) This kind of contradictory life exists everywhere you go, even with the hermits, with the monks in India, in Japan; every human being has this problem. So when we are considering it, we are looking at the whole human problem, not my problem. When you reduce the whole problem to 'my' problem, you make it very small. But if you regard it as a human problem a human being living in Switzerland, in India, Japan, Russia, America if you have the feeling of humanity, then perhaps in that looking we may communicate with each other at a different level, which isn't mere sentiment, an emotional state. Here is a problem and I am looking at it, therefore I am silent. And what you say out of that silence will have meaning.

Questioner: Sir, we are now facing the fact of hypocrisy; that's what we are doing now.

Krishnamurti: Are we facing the fact that one is a hypocrite ? We are not. We are facing the fact that our life is contradictory, broken up that's all. The condemnation or the justification comes afterwards, saying: 'It is a hypocritical action', 'It is a right action', but before you react to what you see, do you see it actually as it is? When I have lied, told something which is not so, do I see it? And if I see it, what happens? This is where it is important; that is why I am insisting on this. I am confronting a fact: that I have lied; that's a fact, I am looking at it. I am looking at it without justification, without saying, 'How terrible to lie', or 'I am frightened, therefore I lied' those are all explanations, and those explanations, those reactions, prevent me from looking at the fact that I have lied. So when I look at that fact, or the fact that my life is contradictory, what is the relationship between the observer and the thing he is looking at? If I am looking at the fact silently there is only the fact right?

Questioner: There is always the image looking at an image; in looking at what is the relationship between the observer and the observed, in considering the question, there is always another observer.

Krishnamurti: That's right, that's what I said. I am answering that question. Am I looking at this fact that I have lied, completely, silently, without the observer? Not with a superior observer or a series of observers, but am I looking at something without 'me' interfering with it?

Questioner: Sir, it seems that while one is lying one is aware of it and then something says: it's not really so bad. Then the lie comes out and a justification accompanies it.

Krishnamurti: Yes. When one lies one knows it, and one justifies it. And I am asking, can you look at this contradiction, this lie, this whatever it is, without justification, without condemning it just look.

If I am unhealthy there is pain; can I look at that pain without reacting to it? Just look at the pain, not say, 'How am I going to get rid of it? Is it possible or is it not? What am I to do?' and so on that will all come later. But can I merely look at it without all the circus round it? Can I look at my pain in complete silence?

Questioner: Sir, there is always desire to be free from the pain.

Krishnamurti: That is understood, these are obvious facts but I am asking something impossible. If you can go beyond the impossible as we were saying the other day then you will know what to do with the possible. Can I look at anything without the image? Apparently that seems to be something outrageous, or mysterious, or impossible. Look Sir, a scientist in his laboratory looks from a very objective, non-sentimental viewpoint; he looks at something. That is not what we are talking about. That is fairly easy, because it doesn't matter to him; but touch him in his core about his ambition, or his love, or his this or that, then he can't look. Are you getting it?

Questioner: Sir, the very word 'lie' contains the condemnation already.

Krishnamurti: No, the very word lie is a condemnation.

Questioner: It seems so to me, I don't know.

Krishnamurti: No, it need not be a condemnation. Suppose I have just told a lie. I want to hide something which I don't want you to know. I don't condemn it, I say, 'Yes, I have lied', though the word implies condemnation and so on, I don't associate it with condemnation, I say, 'Yes, I have lied'. 'My skin is black' full stop. I don't say, 'I wish it were whiter or pinker or blacker'.

Questioner: I can't remember my lies.

Krishnamurti: But you see that is not the point; I took lying as an example, to represent this contradictory life.

Questioner: But I don't feel any contradiction in myself at all.

Krishnamurti: Very good, then it is finished. Then the whole circus is over, then you are a happy man, or woman!

Questioner: But it needn't be so.

Krishnamurti: Ah! You may be that's for you to find out!

Sirs, may I ask a question? Because we don't seem to be getting much further. Have you looked at anything out of silence? You are looking at this speaker; can you look at him without any image, just look, not abstractly, dreamily, sentimentally, but only look; to look means attention, care, affection and therefore to look means silence. Apparently most of us have not done this at all in our life. If you are not silent how can you commune with this contradiction? I can look at this contradiction in my life and say 'How terrible, I must get over it, I must find some way of unifying all this mess, all this fragmentation'. That is, I am looking at this fragmentation with a lot of chatter, with a lot of saying, 'This must be', 'This must not be', 'This I shall keep', and so on. Can I look without a word? Word being thought, thought being the form, the content. Can I look without this content, this word, the 'me'? Please, it is very important to understand this before we proceed any further, because we can communicate verbally, explain in detail over and over again, point out intellectually, but that doesn't solve any problem, that doesn't solve my contradiction or your contradiction. So can we step out of that habit, that tradition, and say, 'Can I look at this whole existence as a human being, just look at it, out of complete silence?'

Questioner: How can we do it?

Krishnamurti: How can I look at this problem silently how? Which means: tell me the method, tell me a way, show a process right? Step by step. Isn't that what is implied when you say 'how'? First of all, is there a 'how'? We have accepted that there is a 'how', that there is a way, that there is a method, and you say, 'Please tell me'. That is the habitual, traditional way of saying, 'Tell me what to do step by step, and I'll follow you and do it'. And I say there is no 'how', there is no method, there is no system, because practising the method, the system, will not give you silence right? You make your mind more solid, heavier, more habitual in a different direction, therefore it is not silent. So what will you do with this problem? There is no 'how'. You must see that.

Questioner: It happens occasionally.

Krishnamurti: Does it ever happen at all to look at something silently, to be in communion with the thing you are looking at? Can I look at my wife or husband silently, without the image which I have built about her, or about him? You get rather nervous when I put that question, don't you?

Questioner: But I know that I can do it!

Krishnamurti: I said, have you ever done it? Have you ever looked at another without an image not at a stranger, not at somebody who passes by, but at your wife, husband, friend, your boss, the specialist so that you are in communion with that person, who is also chattering, and has got lots of images? Am I asking the impossible? Be simple about it, Sir. I am, am I not?

Questioner: It is not possible.

Krishnamurti: It is suggested it is impossible.

Questioner: (In Italian) You have asked us to do the impossible. We don't know how to do this. For me it is impossible.

Krishnamurti: How can I communicate, commune with myself? That is, 'myself' is this contradiction, and the entity who looks at the contradiction is part of that contradiction right? So when the entity that is looking at this contradiction is himself part of that contradiction, there is no way out. But can there be an observation without this entity which is part of the fragment? Can you look at something (I am sorry to repeat this everlastingly) just to look, without all the circus about it? If you cannot look without the observer, there can be no communion with the thing observed. If I have an image about my wife and she has an image about me, the communication is between these two images; which is between two images that have been built up through time, through many days, and therefore there is always a contradiction between these two obviously. So there is always a misunderstanding; she lives in one world and I live in another world and we say 'I love you'. But to commune with her means I must look at her without any image, and I may not want to that's a different point. I may not want to commune with her, she may be a bore, or I might be a bore to her; so I have this facade. But if I want to commune with these many fragments which are me I must look at the 'me' with all its fragments quietly, silently, without any reaction to it. Is this repetition getting rather boring?

Audience: No.

Krishnamurti: I wonder? You are too easy.

Questioner. What if what you see is a bore?

Krishnamurti: All right, don't look at it. ( Laughter) If my wife is a bore and I have carefully avoided looking at that bore because I have created an image about her which is lovely, I say, 'All right, keep it'. You are playing a double game, this is a contradiction. If you like that, keep it!

Questioner: Are we not full of contradictions because we are placed in contradictory circumstances?

Krishnamurti: Yes, that is what we said.

Questioner: Sometimes I see my husband as he is, without the image. But if I try to make myself look at my husband without the image, that is not possible.

Krishnamurti: Don't take the poor husband, or the poor wife; we are looking at something else, much nearer, which is in your own mind and your own heart.

Questioner: If a problem is created by thought, if you look at it in silence without thought, then there is no thought and therefore no problem.

Krishnamurti: The answer is in itself. Look Sir, why we are insisting on this question. We said verbal communication can be made very clear to show exactly what we mean, by-using and defining and explaining the word, and we both agree about that word. Then it becomes fairly easy to communicate with one another. But we have got a different problem, which is: I realize my way of living is contradictory, double, divided, and I know I have lived that way, with all the pain and misery of it, and I say to myself: what am I to do? How am I to get out of it? And you tell me, don't look at it as the observer watching this contradiction, because the observer himself is part of that contradiction. So there is a different way of approaching the problem. That is, look at it if you can silently, like two very intimate friends; they can be very quiet, they have their own problems and in their quietness, in their silence, some other activity takes place which may solve this problem.

Questioner: What do you mean by silence?

Krishnamurti: Don t you know what it means without my telling you what I mean by silence? Questioner: Full attention.

Krishnamurti: Don't put it into words yet. In this valley, when you wake up in the middle of the night don't you know what silence is? Except for the noise of the stream there is silence, but that noise is within the silence of this whole valley haven't you felt it?

Questioner: This is a physical silence.

Krishnamurti: You know what physical silence is. You don't say: 'What is your silence, what do you mean by physically silent, tell me about it?' You know it right? You walk in the woods and everything in the evening is very still; you know the physical silence with all the beauty in it, the richness, the quietness, the immeasurable magnificence, the dignity of it you know it. And apparently you don't know what psychological, inward silence is. So you say, 'Please tell me about it, put it into words'. Why should I? Why don't you find out for yourself if there is such a silence? I may be telling a lie, it may not exist, but you accept it. But if you say: I want to find out not what silence is but how to look at this contradiction and the structure of it, because I have always looked with an observer, with the examiner, with the analyser, and I suddenly realize that the analyser himself is the analysed. So I say, 'that is something which I have discovered', therefore I won't look that way any more; I am looking for another way of doing it. There is a way which is to look completely quietly.

Can I look at my pain, the toothache, without rushing immediately to the doctor, or taking a pill, going through all that excitement and fear can I look at that pain quietly, silently? Not say, 'It's my pain, what am I to do?' Haven't you ever done all this? No?

Questioner: There is just the pain.

Krishnamurti: I don't know what there is. You mean to say, Sirs, that you have never looked at a flower silently? How sad that is! That you never look at anything out of a full heart.

Questioner: What happens?

Krishnamurti: I don't know what happens, Sir. You see you are always theorizing. You always give it a clenched fist, don't you?

31st July 1968