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2nd Public Dialogue - 3rd August 1967
Yesterday we were saying that we would go to the very end of this problem of violence. To do that we have to be quite serious and put our mind and heart into it so that when we do analyse the nature of violence we are not only examining it intellectually, verbally, but also seeing violence in our selves - as aggression, anger, hate, enmity and so on. And becoming aware of that violence in oneself, to see if it is at all possible to go above and beyond it and never come back to it again, never in any form be violent in oneself. Most of us take a pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or a group of people, having antagonistic feelings about others. There is a certain pleasure in this, which I think most of us are aware of. But I don't think we realize that there is a far greater state of mind in which all violence of any sort has come to an end. In that there is far more joy (I dislike to use the word enjoyment) than in the mere pleasure of violence with its conflicts, with its hatred and fears. So if we are at all serious we should by discussing, by the exchange of ideas, thoughts, feelings, we should discover whether it is at all possible totally to end every form of violence. I think it is possible and yet to live in this world, in this monstrous brutal world of violence.
We took a part of this violence, which is anger, and we were trying to find out how to meet it without suppressing it, sublimating it, or accepting it. We said that it is quite an art to look at anger without any justification or condemnation. To look at ourselves without accepting or denying, to see ourselves exactly as we are, is quite a difficult thing to do and therefore one has to learn how to look. If one knows how to look at violence outwardly in society - wars, riots, the nationalistic antagonisms, the class conflicts - then perhaps we can observe violence in ourselves: sexual, ambition, aggression, the violence of defending oneself. Then perhaps we shall be able to go beyond it.
So can we, in dialogue, in conversation, seriously go into this matter? Unless you are one hundred percent serious it has no value. When one is hungry one is very serious. Here is a complex problem which has existed for centuries upon centuries. Man has been violent; religions have tried to tame him throughout the world and none of them have succeeded. Perhaps Buddhism and at one time Hinduism tried to create, to bring about a human being who was not at all violent. But if we are going to discuss this question we must, it seems to me, be really very serious about it. Because it will lead us into quite a different domain, into quite a different way of life. And I do not know if you want to go that far, or merely play with it for amusement, for entertainment, intellectually. So shall we go on with what we were discussing yesterday about violence?
Questioner: There seems to be contradiction in the words used. You speak of violence and of being aware of it without any movement of the mind searching for an explanation. Now on the contrary you say, let's analyse violence.
Krishnamurti: We said, we have not only to analyse the structure and nature of violence (which is in ourselves) but also in the very process of analysing we shall perhaps come upon that state of mind which is totally aware of the whole problem. You follow, Sir, what I mean? Most of us don't even know how to analyse. I do not think through analysis anything is going to be achieved. I cannot get rid of my violence through analysis. I should probably justify it, or modify it slightly, live a little more quietly with a little more affection; but analysis, whether with the professional or through oneself will not lead anywhere. When one realizes that this process of analysis does not lead anywhere, discovers for oneself that this analytical process has no end and has no meaning, then perhaps one will have a mind that begins totally to be aware of the whole problem.
Questioner: Yet you talk of not analysing.
Krishnamurti: If I do not know how to analyse, how to look, I cannot come upon the other. I cannot have this total perception if I don't know how to look. My mind has been trained for generations to analyse; it is extremely arduous to realize that analysis in any form doesn't lead anywhere. But I must know how to analyse, otherwise I cannot come upon the other. This means, in the very process of analysis my mind becomes extraordinarily sharp, and it is that quality of sharpness, attention, seriousness that will give a total perception. You see, we are so eager to get the total, to see the whole thing in one glance. But we haven't the eyes to look. It is only possible to have that clarity if I can see the detail and then jump.
Questioner (1): Yesterday you did not translate my last question (from French), so will you allow me to repeat it in English? I am very conscious of my share of responsibility in this disintegrating world. The rich have even more responsibility for this disintegration. There are rich people who have listened to you, some of them for forty years; they are still more responsible. The presence in this tent of such persons represents a static force in contradiction to what you have been saying for forty years. There is an urgent need for each one of us to understand what you are saying, because of this disintegration. But whose role should it be to denounce vigorously the sabotage which this static force constitutes?
Questioner (2): He is trying to say that the primal root or aggression is a static force that uses you as a scapegoat to escape.... because nothing ever happens, never.
Questioner (3): I also have a point. This disintegration is coming very quickly now and perhaps one day we shall not be able to hear you in this tent.
Krishnamurti: The problem, putting it in a very few sentences is this, isn't it? The rich, apparently from what you say, are using the speaker as a drug and therefore the whole thing becomes static. Right? Therefore this disintegration is more rapid. That's the problem, the question.
I don't know why we are concerned with the rich or the poor, nor who is disintegrating or not disintegrating; whether somebody is using the speaker as a drug, to stimulate himself and therefore remains static, or those who take actual LSD and remain static. They have an activity but it's still an activity which is a disintegrating process. Now I don't see, as we said yesterday, why we are concerned with another. We are concerned first with what we are - you and I. Leave the others alone! Whether rich or poor, Communist or Socialist, Hindu or Buddhist - leave them alone! You and I are responsible! You who are listening and I who am talking. I am responsible. And whether you use me, the speaker, for your own amusement, enjoyment, as a drug - that's your affair, it's your misery. Whereas what we are talking about is something entirely different. We are not talking about the individual or the society; we are talking about a human being who is beyond the individual and society, how to bring about such a human being - that's what we are concerned with. Not whether next year there will be a tent or not, whether I speak or don't speak. ( Interruption) No, no, Sir. What are we concerned with? Primarily, essentially with bringing about a radical revolution in the human being - whether he is rich or poor - anybody! And if we lose our energy in saying, 'well, why haven't the people who have listened to you for forty years changed?' - it's their affair! Sir, look.
I believe the speaker has talked for more then forty years. It's my tragedy, not yours. And it would be a tragedy to the speaker if he was expecting something out of it, expecting people to change, to bring about a different society, a different way of life. If I was expecting it I would be disappointed, I would be hurt, I would feel I had not done what I started out to do. It doesn't affect me at all! Whether you change or don't change, it's up to you. The blue sky, the hills, the flowers, the birds don't exist for you; they exist for themselves. So let's proceed, Sir, to discuss this matter.
We are violent human beings. To say, 'you have not changed, why haven't you?' is a form of violence. That's the communist way, which is to brainwash people to their particular ideology. We are not doing that here; it doesn't mean a thing to me to convince you of anything. It's your life, not my life; the way you live is your affair. And if you want to live with great happiness, great bliss, with a great sense of ecstasy, we'll walk together, we'll communicate with each other. If you don't, you don't, and what am I to do? Human beings are violent and is it possible for that violence to be totally eradicated? That is the only question we are concerned with, not whether the rich or poor are better; all that has no meaning.
Now is it possible for me and for you to end violence in yourselves? Which means, I must find out for myself what kind of violence there is in me. Is it defensive violence to defend myself? I defend myself through my nationality, through the religion I belong to, through an ideology, whether it is Communist or Catholic or Buddhist, or what ever it is. The very process of defending and resisting is a form of violence. When a nation says, I defend myself only, such a concept obviously means I am prepared to fight. So there is no such thing as defence and offence, because both contain in themselves, violence. That's one form of violence. Then there is a form of violence which is anger, in which is involved hate, jealousy, aggressive acquisitiveness, the demand to dominate, to possess; all those are forms of violence. Or do you call violence merely killing another? Is it not violence when you use a sharp word against another? Is it not also violence when you make a gesture to brush away a person, or when you obey, because there's fear? So violence isn't merely killing another - in the name of God, in the name of society, in the name of the country - this organized butchery. Violence is also much more subtle, much deeper, and we are enquiring into the very depth of violence. If one is not subtle enough, clear enough to follow to the very end the root of violence, with is both in the conscious as well as in the so-called deeper layers of consciousness, I don't see how you can ever be free of violence. After all, why shouldn't one be violent? We take it for granted that we should not be violent. I don't know why. You've had in Europe two dreadful wars, with all the brutality, the exterminations of the concentration camps, the butchery, and yet you haven't changed. You're still Germans, Austrians, Russians, Catholics and all the rest of it. So you have accepted that as the way of life - haven't you? Obviously Sirs. And can you voluntarily, sanely (not neurotically) put away that? Psychologically begin with that and see where it will lead you. Can one do that? My friend up there says it cannot be done.
Questioner: (In French) Is it not a question of the emotions? - one has bouts of anger.
Krishnamurti: Certainly it is related to emotion. Which is what, Sir? Look, you hit me for whatever reason (I've insulted you). There is an emotion - anger - but that anger is sustained by thought. Thought gives to that feeling a continuity. I hate you hereafter because you have hit me. I want to hit you back, I'm watching, waiting for an opportunity to hurt you, which is all the process of thinking.
Questioner: (In French) Is it not rather the relationship of the emotions?
Krishnamurti: That's only a part of it. Take this whole thing - emotion, thought, the power to retain, which is memory; from that memory, my conditioned responses, I act. I am a Catholic, a Communist, I have been conditioned that way and if anybody attacks that, questions that, I get annoyed, angry, which is an emotional response according to my conditioning. We're saying, can one go to the very root of violence and be free of it? Otherwise we are not human beings, we shall live everlastingly in a battle with each other. If that is the way you want - which is apparently what human beings want - then carry on. But if you say there might be a different way of living, there might be a different process of responding to life, then we can discuss, then we shall be able to communicate with each other. But if you say, well I'm sorry, violence can never end, then you and I have no means of communication, you have blocked yourself.
Questioner (1): That is to say, I must not say there is no end to violence, for I don't know.
Questioner (2): In discussing violence we soon arrive at the central problem, which is how to look without the interference of thought. I think all problems are fragmentations, but there is a central problem. So why are you speaking about violence and not the central problem, how to look - at anything?
Krishnamurti: We are conditioned to violence and in violence. Now, how do I look at that violence? I am conditioned and can I look at that violence, at that conditioning without any distortion? The problem is quite complex. My mind is distorted, because it is conditioned. Right? My mind has been for centuries shaped in a particular culture, a particular society, through time, experience, knowledge, memory - it is conditioned, shaped, held within a narrow pattern of the me. Can such a mind become aware of its own conditioning? And when it becomes aware of its own conditioning, who is aware of the conditioning? So, first are you and I aware of our conditioning? Then we can take the next step. Am I aware of my conditioning as a Hindu, living abroad, living in a culture which is totality foreign to the Indian culture, brought up along certain lines as a Messiah, and all the rest of it? (I'm doing it as a mirror in which you're looking.) Can you become aware of your conditioning, can you become conscious of it? Look, Sir, as a Hindu, a Brahmin, brought up in a particular culture, from childhood it was said, 'don't kill, don't hurt a fly, don't say a word against another, don't be aggressive' - that has conditioned the mind from childhood. And if it is merely a conditioned response which says 'don't be violent' then it is another form of violence. You follow? It's like a Catholic saying there is a Saviour, there is sin, and only this Saviour can save. That's a conditioned response, it has no meaning whatsoever. But this mind which from childhood has been told, 'don't kill, don't hurt, because next life you'll pay for it, therefore behave, be gentle, be kind', can that mind which has been shaped day after day become aware of its own conditioning - and then move further? - which we would if you would go along with the speaker, not follow him as disciples and all that tommyrot, but go along with him. Can you become aware of your conditioning - one's conditioning? Can you?
Questioner: To be without conditioning, isn't that a kind of death?
Krishnamurti: I don't know what it means. How do you know it means death? It might mean a much more extraordinary way of living. Why do you say to be out of conditioning means death? We don't know.
Questioner: A kind of death.
Krishnamurti: But, Sir, I don't know. I won't say it is death. First, my questions is - can I, can you, become aware of your conditioning?
Questioner: (In French) One cannot, it is an essential part of living.
Krishnamurti: Sir, look. We are conditioned by the climate, by the food we eat, by the newspapers we read, by the company we keep; we are conditioned by the wife, by the husband, by the job, by techniques, by everyday influences and experiences. We are conditioned! Now, can I become aware of that conditioning: just one conditioning?
Questioner: (In French) One can begin with this certitude.
Krishnamurti: Whether it is pleasurable conditioning or unpleasant conditioning, are you aware of your conditioning?
Questioner: One conditioning interacts on another.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, I know they are all related to each other, but I am saying, begin with one conditioning, as an Englishman, as a Frenchman, as a Catholic, or if you are inclined towards Communism, or peculiar sexual aberrations - just one conditioning!
Questioner: I am aware of some of my conditioning, but nothing happens.
Krishnamurti: Why should anything happen? Nothing happens because you don't feel that you are caught like a prisoner within four walls of a conditioning. A prisoner within four walls says, 'I am in prison, I want to get out of it!'
Questioner: Sir, it is possible to be aware of one's conditioning, the state one is in. I know it.
Krishnamurti: Look Sir, please, take one conditioning and become aware of it; see how seriously you are aware of this conditioning and whether you enjoy it, or you want to break through all conditioning?
Questioner: I think, Sir, that I was aware to a certain extent of my conditioning as a Jew during the recent Middle East crisis, and I recall this gave me a mixture of great pleasure and great discomfort.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir. When one is aware of one's conditioning, as a Jew, as a Hindu, as a Negro - whatever it is - then in it there is not only great pleasure, but also as you say great discomfort. Now, does this conditioning bring a sense of imprisonment or not? Or, do you say, well the pleasure outweighs the discomfort and therefore it's all right. You follow what I mean? Or, do you say, it isn't good enough.
Questioner: Something in me says, it isn't good enough.
Krishnamurti: All right, something in you says it isn't good enough and how far are you going to go into this question and break it? That is the whole issue. One knows very well one is conditioned - I've had money, leisure, I can think more, or think less, or go to nightclubs, enjoy myself and all the rest of it; or, I'm conditioned because I'm a poor man and I want more money, more comfort, more this and that. Now, when I become aware of this, how far do I want to go into it and break through it? Because most of us are aware of our conditioning. If one is at all sensitive, thoughtful, serious, earnest, one is aware of one's conditioning, and also what it results in, what its dangers are. If I am aware as a Hindu opposed to a Chinaman, then I am at strife with the Chinese; but if I realize to what depth it leads one - to what anxiety, brutality, hate - I want to break through it. So, how far are you willing to go into this question of conditioning as violence?
Questioner: How far dare any man go in being aware of his conditioning without coming to a precipice?
Krishnamurti: Then when you come to a precipice you know how dangerous your conditioning is. But without coming upon that precipice you play with your conditioning. So, are you willing to push the awareness of your conditioning until you come to that precipice - when you've got to act! Or, are you merely playing with your conditioning from a safe distance?
Questioner: Most people are not conscious of their conditioning, but are satisfied as they are. They don't see another mode of living, But if we are deeply hurt by circumstances of life as a consequence of our conditioning, our eyes are opened. But it's a rare event.
Krishnamurti: If you are aware of your conditioning, how far will you go, how deeply, until you come to the point when you've got to act?
Questioner: And then -
Krishnamurti: Not, 'and then', not 'and then'. That's a supposition.
Questioner: Why don't I, when seeing part of my conditioning, see a precipice? Why?
Krishnamurti: Wait, shall we discuss that? That is, you are aware of your own conditioning, but it never comes to the point where you've got to act as you do when you're confronted with a danger, as a precipice. Now, why? Is it that one is lazy?
Krishnamurti: Just wait, Sir. Don't answer so quickly. Is it that one is lazy, laziness being lack of energy? Will you lack energy when it is really dangerous?
Questioner: If we don't suffer because of our conditioning we are satisfied. For instance, I feel security in my country.
Krishnamurti: First of all, I am aware of my conditioning and I don't see what the results of that conditioning are. That's one point. I am a nationalist and I don't see where that nationalistic spirit leads to, so I like it, I enjoy it, it gives me pleasure. But if I saw the danger of it - wars - I would then act. Right? Now, I either don't see the danger of it, or, I don't want to see the danger of it because being a nationalist is a great pleasure; and to see the danger of it I must have energy to go to the very end of it. Why is it that I have no energy? Please stick to that one point.
Questioner: It's also dangerous to stand alone, without a group, without being attached to something.
Krishnamurti: Of course, Sir. To stand alone, to be alone is the most dangerous thing, we all want to be with some body; but that's a separate point.
Questioner: If you really see - with all the consequences - but we don't really see.
Krishnamurti: Wait, wait, that's my point. If we saw that nationalism is danger to our own security - leading to war, to self-destruction - if you saw the danger you would act, wouldn't you? So the question is, you don't see. Now, please just stick to that one thing. What do we mean by seeing? That is, I can see rationally through thought, analysis, examination that the nationalistic spirit does lead to war. In that analysis there is no emotional content, it is purely an intellectual dissection. When there is an emotional quality in this analysis - because it threatens me - then I become vital. So, the question is, what do we mean by seeing? Do I see detail by detail and put them all together and then say, well I've seen and so act? Or do I see this nationalistic conditioning and the result immediately? You follow Sir? It is only when I see something immediately that I see the danger - not as a process of thought, analysis. When you see a precipice there is an immediate action. So, seeing is acting. Right? Not, I see and then create an idea and from that idea act. That's what we are doing. And hence there is a conflict between the idea and action, and therefore that conflict takes away your energy.
Questioner: (In French) I've understood that, but....
Krishnamurti: First, let me swallow (laughter), let me assimilate what has been said, which is very difficult Sir. The speaker says, that seeing is acting. That is, I see a serpent and there is immediate action. I see a precipice and there is action. (It's very complex, this thing. Go slowly.) Or, I see, then have an idea about what I have seen, a conclusion, and from that conclusion I act. So there is a gap between seeing and acting.
Questioner: It is easy to see the danger of nationalism, but it is more difficult to see the danger of money.
Krishnamurti: Money is equally dangerous. I see conditioning as an idea. I have an idea about my conditioning, the idea being I must be free of my conditioning. With that idea I'm aware of my conditioning. So, what sees is not actual seeing with attention, but an idea sees another idea. Right? And therefore there is no action. So, let's go into it again. How do I see my conditioning? That's the first question. How do I see it? How am I aware of it? Are you aware of it as you are aware that it is raining? Raining is a fact that is actuality taking place, it's not an idea. It is actually raining at this moment. You may not like it, you may be saying, how am I going to get my car out; but the fact is it is raining. In that there is no idea. Now, when you see your conditioning do you see it as a fact, as you see it is raining?
Questioner: The difference in the two states is, that in one the impression has an overriding urgency (as one sees the precipice or hears this rain; but the crisis of the moment is almost invariably diluted by a contrasting stream of impressions that come in and disturb one's attention. So....
Krishnamurti: Look, Sir. When you see a danger there is immediate action. There is immediate action because you have known danger before, you have been told 'be careful of snakes', or you have been bitten by a snake, or you have heard that snakes are poisonous and you know somebody who has been bitten and died. So there is that memory which, when you see a snake, responds immediately. So that response to the danger is already old; you know already how dangerous a snake is. That isn't a direct response; it's a cultivated response. Time is involved in that response. Right? When you were a child you were told 'be careful', and you remember it when you see a snake. That seeing is a cultivated, quick response. Now move to the other, which is this. You are aware of your conditioning, but you also have the memory that it is pleasurable, that it is right, that you cannot live in this world without being conditioned and so on. Again you have a response of time, of memory. But we are talking of a response which is not of time at all, which is not a cultivated response.
Questioner (1): (In French) One must efface memory.
Questioner (2): The difficulty is, the two seeings, 'I am conditioned', and 'it is raining', are wrongly identified as alike.
Krishnamurti: Of course, Sir. Look, Sir, can I see without the movement of thought? The movement of thought is memory, because all thought is the response of memory, therefore it is always old.
Questioner: And the problem comes with memory.
Krishnamurti: When I see a danger, I act. In that action, which seems spontaneous, instantaneous memory is involved; therefore it's not spontaneous, not immediate - it's already calculated. Then there is seeing my conditioning and responding to that conditioning according to my memory - pleasure, pain, satisfaction and so on. And we say, such a form of seeing does not produce an immediate action, which is not of memory. And it is only when you can look without the movement of thought - which is memory - it is only then that you break through your conditioning. Wait, wait. Look. It's a tremendously complex thing, Sir, it isn't just agreeing or disagreeing, this is a tremendous problem. Can I look at my friend, my wife, my husband without the image? The image which I have created about her and she has created about me, these two images have relationships - which are memories - and can I look at my wife, husband, without the image? No, don't answer me, find out! Can I look at my conditioning without the image? Therefore can I look at my conditioning without another conditioning? Otherwise, one conditioning looking at another conditioning only creates conflict - which is a waste of energy. So, is it possible to look at you, or you to look at me, without the image you have about me or I have about you? Which means, can I look at everything in life as though it was new?
Questioner: That implies....
Krishnamurti: It doesn't imply anything! Do it.
Questioner: It implies a dying, Sir.
Krishnamurti: I don t know what it implies, do it!
Questioner: That means abandoning yourself....
Krishnamurti: You see you're theorizing. But can I look at you as though I'm meeting you for the first time, though I've known you for forty years? Can I look at that sky, that friend, that face, as though I was looking at it for the first time? If you cannot do it then you don't understand this whole business of conditioning. I may be aware of my conditioning, but that's not the problem, that's a very small affair. There's a much deeper issue involved in this conditioning, because we can never look without it, never. Therefore we are always living in the past with the dead. And that's a terrible thing to realize - you understand Sir? - to realize I am looking at life from a dead past. To realize it! To feel it!
Questioner: But we are conditioned since birth. You can only see without it if you don't allow time to enter, which means being spontaneously aware.
Krishnamurti: Sir, I said so! I said, from the moment you are born until the moment you die you are conditioned. Therefore if you like it, remain in it.
Questioner: But it is so....
Krishnamurti: We said so, we all agree.
Questioner: We must he continuously aware....
Krishnamurti: Please Madame, don't reduce everything to continuously aware. See one thing very clearly, which is, that I can never see anything except through my conditioned eyes. That is it! To realize that is a tremendous shock to me. You understand? It's a shock to realize that I'm a dead human being. No?
Questioner: And can I see sometimes....
Krishnamurti: Do you realize that you are a dead human being when you say that you see with conditioning, therefore you are looking at life with the past? That's all. Can one realize that? 33 Questioner: How do you know that human beings are conditioned, since you don't involve yourself? I mean, you tell me....
Krishnamurti: No Sir, I don t tell you anything.
Questioner: But you're talking....
Krishnamurti: I am talking because we said at the beginning of these discussions that it is a dialogue, a conversation between two people who are serious, who want to go into this question of violence, of conditioning. And we see that we look at life with our conditioning, life being my relation ship to my wife, to my husband, to my neighbour, to society. We are looking at everything with closed eyes. That's all. And how is it possible to open my eye? Nobody can do it. Religions have tried to tear my eyes apart by believing, by dogma, by rituals, and all the rest of it. And the Communists say, you can never be unconditioned, that's part of life, always live in prison only decorate the prison more and more. But a man who says 'such a way of living is not freedom', must find a way out of this; and to find a way out is to become aware of your own conditioning and discover that you look at your own conditioning through conditioned eyes. Find out whether you can live in that state! Do you know, Sirs, I have watched snakes - several of them round me - poisonous cobras - in India - many of them. And you know what happens to you? You're terribly awake! You're watching everything! Your nerves, your eyes, your ears are listening to every movement! And that's the way to live with yourself - without going mad.
3rd August 1967