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2nd Public Dialogue - 1st August 1968
Yesterday we were saying how important it is to communicate with each other, not only here but throughout life, to know what proper communication means; because there is so much misunderstanding we live in misunderstanding and communication could probably clear up a great deal of this. We said we communicate through words, through gesture; the word with its content, with its frame or form or design, must naturally awaken in each one of us a series of associations, and that becomes a blockage, a hindrance. If each one of us has a series of associations, a content for every word, and each person carries all that along with him whether he is a communist, or a socialist or whatever he may be then all communication becomes impossible. I think we should be very clear about this. When that is obvious and there is no distortion in this communication, when both of us understand exactly what we mean not twisted to mean something you or I like or dislike then we shall proceed to another form of communication, which is what we call communion. To commune requires a state of mind which is highly sensitive and therefore extremely alert and intelligent, awake, and capable of an intensity that is immediate, so that there is between you and the speaker an intensity of communion, at the same time, at the same level. And this communion is only possible when the mind is very still, very quiet; when the mind with its brain cells doesn't respond immediately but when there is a hesitation, an interval, before response takes place. Since we have evolved from the primates, from the higher forms of apes, the brains of most of us have grown according to certain forms of conditioning: aggression, fear, violence, brutality, thinking about the self, the family, the community, the whole activity centred round itself. That is the old brain. When there is an immediate response it is the response of that conditioned brain. And when there is that quick, immediate response according to the race, community, society, or culture in which that particular brain has lived, then communion, an immediate comprehension, doesn't take place. So one has to know for oneself the organic, physical and psychological responses, the whole structure in which we live, which is our life; that is, to know oneself.
I know this has been said in Greece and before that in India, but apparently it is one of the most difficult things to do, to know ourselves as we are. Unless there is this fundamental knowing of oneself the causes of certain actions, behaviour, thought then any purposive action becomes merely ideological. Whatever the goal, the purpose be which may be invented by the specialist or by oneself it becomes a contradiction to 'what is'. What we were discussing yesterday was how to look at ourselves, not with the accustomed brain, not with the habitual responses of the brain that has been heavily conditioned, that comes from the animal, from the apes. We asked, is it possible to look at ourselves without that response. That is, look at ourselves without the thinker, the observer who is the old, the entity that has evolved through time, through environmental influences, accumulation and so on. Can I look at myself with a mind that is not disturbed by the past? Though the past is there and must exist and has its value, can I look at myself without the past responses, so that I am learning about myself all the time?
That is, if I remember rightly, what we were talking about yesterday. Shall we go on with that?
You understand the issue? First have we looked at ourselves, have we done so at all? Most of us have not, because we are very proud, proud of achievement, capacity, opinion. Please do follow this, observe it in yourself. We are proud of our experiences, knowledge, we think we are some extraordinary entity, divine or ideological and so on. That is not a fact but merely an invention, but we cling to it. And there is the sense of pride not to give up an opinion if we have formulated one, not to give up our accumulated knowledge, experience, tradition. We take pride in that, and so pride prevents us from observing ourselves. That's clear, isn't it? Humility is only possible for a mind that is really capable of looking at itself. That humility is not the opposite of pride. Can I give up pride in my family, my nation, my opinions, my judgment, in the things I have accumulated as knowledge? By dropping pride I can look at myself with great humility. Right? Can we do that? Can we discuss, talk this over together now, before we go further?
Questioner: I feel Sir, that we cannot totally give up our images and motives. We can lessen them or see them, but I fear that we cannot give them up completely.
Krishnamurti: You are saying we must keep a few images, we cannot drop all our images. It is said we cannot drop those images in which we take pride, which give us pleasure, and look at ourselves without the image of opinion, judgment and so on.
Surely, if I want to look at something clearly, want to understand it, see what is actually going on in myself, then do I have to have any image? From observation I can go further, but not if I come to it with a conclusion. (I don't know if you're following.) After observing myself I'm capable of doing that; I can then proceed. But if I come to it with an image, with an opinion, with a conclusion, with pride obviously it is going to block me. Please see the reason of it! Not your opinion or my opinion. I can proceed if I can look at myself without any image and see the causes of my activity: why I think this way why I behave that way, why I'm aggressive. But if I look at myself saying, 'I must not be aggressive', that is an ideological escape, which has no value at all.
See how very important this is, because most of us take pride in free will: 'I am free to choose'. Perhaps you are free to choose this colour or that colour the colour of the hat you are going to wear choose ( I mustn't use the word 'choose') your husband! But is there such a thing as free will? Will being desire to do or not to do to choose or not to choose. And is there a law in which there is no choice of will at all? I don't know if you're following this? If there is complete harmony within oneself (this is one of the most difficult things, don't think you are perfectly harmonious, you are not, we are broken up fragments) but if one has this complete harmony, awareness in oneself, then probably one is in harmony with the universal law then it is not a question of obeying or following, then there is only that. Sorry, I may have gone a little too far. We cannot go into that unless we can really look at ourselves anew, afresh, so that we see what we are.
It's pride that prevents me from looking at myself and it is pride that is inventing the ideology which says 'I should be'. I don't like what I am and my pride says, 'I must be that'. This is the ideological philosophy which man has invented, the formula, the 'should be'. Pride creates this conflict between what is and what should be, and pride says: I must be that, this is ugly, this is stupid, this is unintelligent, this is unreasonable. So I put on a mask of what I should be, and hence there is a conflict, a kind of hypocritical activity going on. Is it possible to look at oneself without the image of pride? I'm only putting in other words what we were talking about yesterday. But one has such extraordinary images of oneself haven't you? No? I am a great writer, I am this, I am that, I am a Jew, a Christian, a Catholic, a Communist, all the images that one has built about oneself. Why? Is it pride? Or, have we invested in these images values other than the actual state of one's own being?
One is aggressive and for various reasons one is ashamed of that and one has the ideology of non-aggression. This ideology is invented by one's pride, by one's desire to be other than 'what is', and by giving great value to 'what should be'. Please, see what we are doing; we put on so many masks, depending on whom we meet, with whom we talk, the game we play with ourselves. Can one look at oneself without the images that man has created through fear and pride and therefore see without any image, and hence with great silence, in which there is humility to observe?
Questioner: Isn't pride caused by fear?
Krishnamurti: Why is one afraid to look at oneself? Why are you afraid to see what you are? Is it fear that has invented pride? Or is it that you dislike what you see and therefore you say, 'I must be better', 'I must be different'. If I'm not afraid of what I see, I won't run away from it, and why should I be afraid of it? I am only afraid of it if I think I should be something else. Right? And that is part of our conditioning, our ideological philosophy that has cultivated this sense of 'what should be', the ideal. If I see that, then I must face 'what is'. If I can, and if there is no fear of wanting to change it and not being able to change it, then I can look at whatever there is in me the aggression, the brutality, the violence, the cheating, the doubletalk everything that is in me I can look at it; then I can find out what the causes are that have brought this about. Surely that's fairly simple, isn't it? This is very logical, sane; but we don't do it.
Questioner: We have talked a great deal here, and in different parts of the world, about self-knowledge. We want to go into it, and perhaps some of us have gone into it, but what prevents us from going into it much more deeply, and therefore acting differently, is that we may hurt others. We want to change, not out of pride, but to avoid damaging others.
Krishnamurti: Ah, that's very simple. We want to change because aggression hurts others. That's all. It isn't that we want to change because we are proud, but we see that aggression might hurt others, therefore we want to change. Sir, we are not talking about change. We are saying, why is it that we cannot look at ourselves. That's the first thing; we'll come to the problem of change afterwards.
Questioner: Does a child create an image of what he should be, because he fears not to be loved as he is?
Krishnamurti: Yes, that may be one of the reasons. But you are not meeting my point. Why is it that you and I cannot face ourselves as we are? Just face it, just look at it. If I cannot look at myself as I am, there is no possibility of change at all. Because by looking at myself as I am, I can find out the causes which have brought about the aggression, the brutality, the violence all that! Unless I discover the cause of all this - subjectively, inwardly it's not possible to change. Change will be merely between 'what is' and 'what should be', and this causes conflict and therefore a change to another form of aggression.
Questioner: Is it not because I identify myself with my brain?
Krishnamurti: You think you are your brain. Of course! What you think, that you are. This elaborate process of identification you are that. But please, do come to this essential point first. Is it pride that is preventing us from looking at ourselves? Is it fear?
Questioner: Vision has been granted to very few people, but when we have reached it then we don't have to look at ourselves any more, then we are part of the laws and harmony of the Universe.
Krishnamurti: The questioner says, must we examine all this, be aware, see ourselves as we are; can't we if I may put it quickly jump into another state?
You see, that is one of the most dangerous things; that can lead to such illusion. If you will go with the speaker a little we'll go into something which you yourself can understand and have it, live it. But you see, we refuse to begin at the lowest, the most essential level which is not really low. Probably we are afraid that if we have no ideals or purposes, we shall deteriorate.
Questioner: How can one express truth?
Krishnamurti: Madame, we are not talking about truth. We will come to that. I can only find out what truth is when there is no illusion, and illusion must exist as long as there is any kind of conflict.
What is preventing us from looking at ourselves so that we shall know all our ways, our peculiarities? Not to judge, jump to conclusions about others, not impute motives to others. It seems to me such common sense to begin with 'what is'.
Questioner: If we start to really observe ourselves, what we see is so ugly that it's natural not to want to look.
Krishnamurti: Why do you call what you see 'ugly'? It may be that one is very sexual. Why do you call it ugly? Because you have the ideological approach, values, judgments according to some idea. If I am aggressive, why do I call it 'ugly: I am aggressive. If one knows one hates people, why call it ugly? One is caught in words listen to this please one is caught in words with all their content and prejudice; so these words prevent us from looking at ourselves. I see we are coming to an impasse.
Questioner: I cannot look at myself, there is always the observer.
Krishnamurti: Wait! In the very looking at myself there is the observer. The observer, as we said, is the word is the content of that word. Please follow this. That word, with all its associations has created a design, memories, knowledge, tradition which is me, the ego. The ego, the me, is a set of words. And those words are the content of the observer, the memories and so on, and with this content we look. I say that's impossible. So, can you look without the observer? And you do! You do look without the observer when there is a tremendous crisis. Hasn't it happened to you? When there is a great shock, then the very shock, the very crisis makes you silent. Then the observer with all the traditions, words, concepts, becomes utterly speechless he is paralysed. And when you come out of that shock you begin to go through your old process again. See what has happened, follow this! There is this observer functioning all the time the me, my family, my nation, my country, my belief, my opinion, me that is active all the time, and when you experience a crisis, when a tremendous shock takes place, that observer naturally becomes silent, because it's too big, it's too immense for him to tackle. That may last a minute, or a day, or perhaps a year, that is, physically you get paralysed. But when you come out of the crisis the whole process begins again. What has happened? The intensity of the shock has driven out the observer and when that shock wears off the observer comes back. That is a simple phenomenon. Can the same thing take place without shock, without a crisis? So that there is only looking, without any observer. To look without the observer is silence. Just to look, silently.
May I go on a little more, if one has followed it so far? You know, the mind is always chattering. (Sound of horses hooves passing by). I hear that horse going by, I listen to the rhythm of those hooves on the hard road. I like it or I don't like it. I'm aware of the whole movement of that horse and I'm chattering, chattering either chattering inwardly,
or outwardly always talking, indulging in gossip, telling about somebody else: "my opinion is this", "why should he do that" chatter, chatter. And this chattering obviously indicates a form of laziness; because you have nothing to do, you talk about somebody else; or you want to express yourself, show how clever you are. So the mind is never quiet. Is that a fact or not? Right? If it is a fact, can you look at it? Just look at it, that your mind is chattering; don't say, 'Who is the looker?' Know the fact that you spend hours talking, writing letters, giving your opinions, what is right, what is wrong, Kennedy should have done this, Johnson should have done that, or De Gaulle is going to have a very thin time in October and so on and on.
Can one be aware of that not in a complicated way but just watch it? Now, if you watch it, that's a fact isn't it? Remember the fact, don't say, I mustn't chatter, it's wrong or it's right just remain with that fact, that you chatter. You understand? Watch it, watch it. To remain with it means to watch it without any interference of other thoughts coming in. I am very interested to see why I chatter, by myself or with somebody, offering my opinion about this or that. I say: why? I'm interested to find out. How do I find out the cause of this chatter? Please follow this step by step. It's very interesting if you do.
I want to find out why I chatter. Shall I analyse it step by step and find out the ultimate cause of why I chatter? Or is there a quicker way, so that I see it immediately? Is this clear? One way is analysis, to find out the cause; that takes time, there may be a misjudgement; unless I analyse very, very carefully I might be misled. And so I say, is there a different way of doing this, which is to find the cause and be beyond the cause? You get it? All right, let's keep to that. I chatter. I am not going to say I must not chatter, that's too absurd, that is an ideological approach. It's obvious I don't say that. But I say, I want to find out why I chatter. By finding out the cause of chattering I might be able to stop it; because what's the point of this endless chattering about nothing? So, can I find out the cause by analysing? I can. Which is: I may be lazy, therefore my mind wants to wander. Right? And therefore the wandering is the chatter. That's one cause: I chatter because my mind says, I must be occupied with something all the time. It feels it must be occupied with books, with knowledge, with saying 'why did so and so do this', 'this should be done better', 'he is this, he is that', 'she is nice', 'she is not nice', 'she is very pleasant, I like to kiss her'. Back and forth, because I'm afraid not to be occupied.
Questioner: Does the occupation of the mind depend upon use of words or language?
Krishnamurti: It may not Sir, I may not use any word at all, and yet I might be occupied. Are you following all this? I might be occupied without a word to find out what silence is, or what love is, or what form of government one should have. Or I may be occupied in observing my wife. Just watch it. The mind says, 'I must be occupied, therefore I chatter'. Follow this. It may be one of the causes. One of the causes is, I may be lazy; another is I must be occupied. And if I'm not occupied what shall I do? Right? I'm frightened. You understand? The businessman who has gone to the office everyday for forty years suddenly stops doing it; it's going to upset his whole organism. So maybe I'm frightened not to be occupied, I'm frightened of being alone. Or, I'm frightened that if I don't chatter I will find out what I am. I can go on multiplying the causes. Now, I know some of the causes, but that doesn't stop me from chattering. Right?
I wonder if you've got all this? So the examination and the discovery, or rather, the exploration and the discovery of the cause, or causes, of this chattering doesn't stop the chattering because that is an intellectual process; so it is a frag- mentary process. The fragment is looking at another fragment and is discovering the cause of a certain fragmentary issue. Right? Mere analysis is not going to solve it. What will stop it if you want to stop it is quite a different approach. It must be. That is, I am aware that I am chattering. What is the quality of this awareness? You understand what I mean? What is the nature, the structure of this awareness when I say with words or without words 'I am aware that I am chattering'? In that awareness there is no condemnation, there is no sense of 'I must not chatter', nor giving reasons for chattering. I wonder if you're following. In this quality of awareness there is no judgment value at all. The moment I'm aware in that way, all values, judgments come to an end, don't they? So there is a looking out of quietness at chattering and therefore it undergoes a complete change. I will talk when necessary, I will not talk when it's not necessary; which means I don't go about with my opinions, judgments, evaluations. I don't say what some politician should do, or what he should not do, or that my neighbour, or the man sitting on the platform, should do this, or should do that. All that is too immature. By giving attention to chattering, it has become something entirely different.
Will you chatter tomorrow? After you leave this tent, will you chatter? Of course you're going to! Look what happens. You hear a truth, you hear something that is real and you go out and do quite the opposite. So there is conflict in you. Right? So you say, 'this is too serious', and never come back. Or you say, 'why am I doing this?' I hear this, which is so rational, sane, and yet I go on irrationally why? Maybe because it has become a habit and the older you get the stronger that habit becomes. I've lived one way, one kind of life and I'm going to live that kind of life De Gaulle, or no De Gaulle! I have chattered all my life and suddenly I see the absurdity of it; and not to chatter is going to shatter me you understand?
So to come back to the beginning, can I look at myself? That self being the entity who is endlessly chattering, evaluating, offering opinions, looking, searching, endlessly. Can I look at myself without a word, without an image, without pride? ( Pause).
That's all. You know, as you sat very quietly just a few seconds ago, there was that peculiar quality of silence, not induced, not a state into which you are hypnotized; you were really looking with great attention, quietness right? You have got the key!
1st August, 1968