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3rd Public Dialogue - 2nd August 1968

3rd Public Dialogue - 2nd August 1968

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Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1968

Krishnamurti: Shall we go on with what we were talking over together yesterday, or would you like to start something else?

I think we have lost the quality of a high level of curiosity. Man has been very curious, wanting to find out about the phenomenal world, the world which is outside him, and he has been extraordinarily successful, going to the moon, doing astonishing things. But inwardly, though we have evolved from the ape, we have not advanced much. There is a vast contradiction in our life between the outer and the inner; outwardly an enormous advance, and almost no advance at all inwardly.

Is there such a division as the outer and the inner? Is there an activity ever advancing, ever progressing, ever evolving outwardly, whilst inwardly, except for very modified small changes, there is hardly any movement? Why is there this division between the outer and the inner? Outwardly we live a very full life and inwardly we are poverty-stricken, very shallow, petty minded, self-centred, unaware of our own activities. So one asks oneself, what is an inward life? (I don't know if you are interested in this, we are coming to the point where we left off yesterday). What if I may use a word which is so hackneyed and so spoilt what is a spiritual life? What is a life which contains both the outer and the inner? What is a life that is not merely circumscribed by outer pressures and events, economic, social and so on? Is there a life apart from these outward demands and the environment? Does the environment dictate the inward state of the mind, or does the inner confusion, shallowness, misery, despair and arrogance, dictate the outer structure and nature of society?

We have asked this question of ourselves many times. Can we spend some time this morning to find out if there is really a limit to human understanding, to see for ourselves where that limit ends or begins? I don't know if you are interested in this? Can we go into this question: what is a life which is not divided into the outer and the inner? We know this division, and the so-called spiritual people, the theologians, say there are greater values, greater heights to be achieved inwardly. The monks, the saints and all that group, reject the outer because they say that is worldly, the real life lies deep within oneself. Though man has made such a division, is it valid? Or is it artificial to think the inner values are much more important, quite separate, and that the outer is of very little significance?

If you are interested in it and don't want to discuss something else, can we ask ourselves: what is a life that is not divided into an outer and an inner, a life that is not related by these two words, outer and inner? Can we find out what inner truth is, an inner life which includes the outer? Is that a valid question?

Questioner: I think that the inner has no sense unless it is related to the outer.

Krishnamurti: Sir, when you make a statement like that, it has no reality, you have already come to a conclusion. We are saying, to explore you need a high level of curiosity. Man has been very curious to find out about the external world; outwardly he has conquered almost everything. But he has not been as eager, as intensely curious, to find the inward world if there is such a thing. If one has this quality of high curiosity it must be applicable both outwardly and inwardly. One can't only examine the outward phenomena! So can we, this morning, have this quality of curiosity at a high level?

Not just be curious about how others live, about what people say or don't say. I don't mean that kind of childish curiosity, but a quality of curiosity that explores inwardly.

First of all, why is it that most of us have neglected to explore the world of the mind, of the spirit, of the deep inward unknown? We have said man's understanding is limited; what is beyond that limitation is mysterious, is God, is something which we can't explore, which is a mystery. That has been the pet jargon of the religious people. They have drawn a line, beyond which lies mystery. But a mind that is curious knows the limitation of human understanding and does not know where that limit is right? So can we start with that high level of curiosity and explore this world which we have divided into the inner and the outer? We know more or less what is taking place in the outer world there are a few selective, specialized brains that have made an examination of the outer and how to conquer it. But those who have explored the inner, have approached it always with a mind that has already formed a conclusion; they have started with an a priori belief, with an ideology, and they have never explored. They said 'There is God' or, as the Hindus said, 'There is the Atman' and that's the end of it. Man drew a line beyond which he said you can't go, or only a few can reach the few who are recognised by society as the saints. And because society recognizes them as saints, obviously they are not saints, they fit into the pattern of what society thinks saints should be, they conform to that pattern, so they are accepted as saints.

So if we could do it together, it would be very interesting this morning to try to be intensely curious; not starting with any conclusion, with any belief, dogma, hope with nothing, just be curious! If you have a motive you cease to be curious, and that curiosity becomes shallow, empty, superficial. So can we explore together this world which man has never really gone into? Except very superficially by the behaviourists, the psychologists. They have described, or explained, how one has inherited aggression from the animal and so on, but they have never explored to find out inwardly, where there is no limitation.

First of all, what do we mean by being curious? What do you think?

Questioner: Curiosity implies a mind that is highly sensitive.

Krishnamurti: Which means what? Highly sensitive, pliable, sharp, not hindered by whatever it discovers. It doesn't say, 'I don't like this, I am frightened, I won't go beyond it'. Curiosity in that sense can only be when there is freedom to enquire not hindered by 'I mustn't'. You see, I really want to know with great curiosity, I want to find out. Don't say, 'Who is the I?' leave that for the moment, I am using the 'I' merely to explain. After having understood and gone beyond the aggressive nature of the human animal, the anger, the brutality, the despair, the desire for power, position, prestige those are so very obvious and putting them aside, not verbally but actually, the mind says, 'What more?' Can we start from there? Yes? Are you sure you are not caught in opinions of like and dislike? Because to be highly curious (in the sense we are using that word), there must be great balance, otherwise curiosity becomes another instrument of distortion I don't know if you are following this? It is like being curious about my neighbour: I am peeping over the wall, but there is always the wall over which I am looking.

It is really quite worthwhile asking: is it possible to observe without any distortion? To observe with effort is a distortion process. If I say to myself, 'I must be curious, I must observe, I have already given a shape to that curiosity, to that movement of exploration; my motive is something quite different, because I want to get something, I want to use it, I want to improve society, I want to get happiness out of it, or whatever it is. Can I observe without any distortion? And there is a distortion if I am ambitious, or if I am sexual, or if I am driven by pleasure, or if there is any form of fear. All these, obviously, distort the perceptive quality. So unless the mind is free of all this, exploration becomes merely another form of scratching the surface of something you think is the reason. That's why we ought to be very clear in ourselves, whether the curiosity of exploration is born out of freedom, or out of some compulsion, some inward void, fear, anxiety and is therefore an escape. When you have this quality of very intense, high level curiosity, it pushes aside all the other elements, like ambition, greed, envy. I don't know if you are following this? Are we communicating with each other? I am not talking of a different dimension. Am I, the speaker, making myself clear at least verbally that in this exploration there must be no distorting element? And there will be a distortion as long as there is an effort to explore, that effort being a motive, an escape, fear, a desire to use what you discover for yourself and society in order to gain God, or whatever motive you have.

Now what do you say?

Questioner: Is not curiosity a motive?

Krishnamurti: Is it? I want to know, just for the fun of it, just to see what there is there is no motive! I want to know what more there is, when there is freedom from all the things I have known. That's all. In that there is no motive.

Questioner: It is ambition.

Krishnamurti: Is there ambition in that in the sense of wanting to succeed in my discovery, of wanting to achieve, wanting to gain an end?

Questioner: No. I want to learn.

Krishnamurti: Wait a minute. Is learning ambition?

Questioner: Learning is pleasure, isn't it?

Krishnamurti: Have you learnt a language? You know what a painful business it is! I don't quite see why you bring in ambition and pleasure. I said at the beginning, if there is any form of distortion, exploration has no meaning. I said too, ambition is a distortion because then I want to succeed, I want to learn, I want to be more powerful, I want to gain, I want to use what I have gained, what I have experienced, to exploit others, to tell others what a marvellous entity I am all that excludes what we are talking about. Haven't you the sense of delighted curiosity in something? Or is it always accompanied by ambition, pain, anxiety?

Questioner: Is it not a matter of just to see and to feel?

Krishnamurti: No, Sir. Look: I am angry, and I say to myself, why am I angry? About what? I know I am angry, I don't escape from that, it is a fact; I want to know why I am angry. I don't want to escape from it, I don't merely want to verbalize it, rationalize it, I want to know what the cause of the anger is, the approach to find out. And I see I haven't slept properly I don't have to explain what the causes of anger are. But if you say, 'I must not be angry', and with that motive examine the cause of anger, you may discover the cause, but it will not bring about an end to anger. Is this so very difficult? What we are saying is: to explore, you need a scientific mind, a mind that is not personally involved. Like the scientist in the laboratory, when he is examining he is not personally involved, but take him outside and he becomes an American, a Russian, or whatever it is, with his own fears, for the family and so on. Can we have a scientific mind which has understood anger, fear, ambition, pleasure, and says, 'I know all that, I see the limitation of it, see the dangers of it and I am not going to let it interfere,

I am going to watch the motive very carefully, I am going to be intensely aware whether any pleasure enters'.

Questioner: Doesn't it depend on memory?

Krishnamurti: No Sir. I see you have never done it. I am sorry.

Questioner: A scientific mind is not only capable of observing but it needs a hypothesis.

Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir. but can't one talk simply? Let's forget the scientific mind. If you don't like it, let's drop it.

Questioner: Sir, what you are trying to do is impossible! We are very limited and we have a short life the mind is unable to understand.

Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir. Just look you say we are very limited and it is impossible. Then it is finished! There is nothing more to explore.

Questioner: I understand that. But it is impossible to seek and not to distort.

Krishnamurti: Yes Sir, I understand your question. It is impossible not to distort but is it? If it is impossible, then is it not possible to go beyond the impossible? Don't always say, 'it is impossible, I cannot help distorting, I am limited, I am this, it is so'. But I say: go beyond the impossible, see what happens!

Questioner: How can one go beyond the impossible if one is limited?

Krishnamurti: Do look, please. How can you go beyond the impossible? which means you know what the possibility is do you? Why do you say 'impossible'? When you say the mind is limited, of course it is limited. When you draw the line and say 'It can't go beyond that', you draw the line of the impossible. Don't draw that line, don't say it is impossible.

Questioner: There are things we shall never understand, our minds are finite.

Krishnamurti: 'Man can go only so far'. But he doesn't say that when he wants to go to the moon! Man said, 'I will find out how to reach the moon and go beyond' and he has done it. He never said 'It is impossible, I can't do it'. But you see what we are doing? Outwardly we are willing, but inwardly we say 'No, sorry'. So I say, why do you make the inward approach, the inward enquiry impossible? knowing our minds are limited, but being aware that we don't know where the limitation ends. Don't draw the line of limitation just within a very short distance you understand, Sir?

Questioner: Aren't there different kinds of possibilities and impossibilities?

(Sound of Thunder)

Questioner: It is impossible to speak when the thunder is going on.

Krishnamurti: Of course. You see now watch it. Communication between us is becoming impossible. You reduce possibility and impossibility into terms of noise. I say, don't say it is impossible that's all. I know it is impossible to be heard when there is thunder going on, therefore I stop, I don't battle with it.

(Sound of Thunder)

It won't last very long, now shall we try something? Let's keep quiet. Let's really keep quiet see what happens. [Long silence of several minutes. Sound of rain and thunder.]

When you are really silent like this, which means, very sensitive, don't you feel all the rain dropping into you, entering you? you were completely open, weren't you? And you received everything the rain, the noise, the thunder, the beauty of that sound, you were part of it weren't you? And if you hadn't done it you would say 'it is impossible'.

You know, to be silent means to be vulnerable, and that means to be completely, totally open without any resistance, with your heart and mind then you hear the rain with a delight.

Now, let's proceed. I wonder why we say that it is impossible for us to find out anything beyond the limitation, beyond the feeling we have that it is impossible. And yet we are eager to accept what others have said about what lies beyond the impossible right? A little guru comes along, or a saint, or somebody who has had a little experience, and says 'There is something beyond' and we all lap it up! Now why don't we find out for ourselves? Why do we accept others? Knowing the limitation of our mind, the limited understanding because our minds are rather shallow, empty, dull we repeat phrases, platitudes, and think we have understood everything. Knowing all that, is it possible to explore even that very limited mind, that limited understanding? dig under it, above it, so that you find out. But if I say 'My mind is very limited, my understanding is conditioned' that's the end of it. But to know the mind is conditioned, shaped, twisted, tortured, ugly, to be aware of it, to know the whole structure and the nature of it, what the causes of it are, surely that is to go beyond the limitation isn't it?

Questioner: Is not astonishment the beginning of curiosity?

Krishnamurti: Don't you know what it is to be curious? Why do you read newspapers, why are you listening to the speaker if you aren't curious? Not about 'how curiosity begins; one can go into it the squirrel has to be curious to find out where his safety is this can all be observed; but aren't you curious? Just curious!

Questioner: We see a tremendous necessity to go beyond the impossible now.

Krishnamurti: Sir, each one of you can give a dozen explanations, but at the end the fact remains that you are not curious. Or your curiosity has a slight twist in it, a bias, which makes it into a distorting instrument. Look! I want to find out if I have an image about myself the image which has been built up by the parents, by the environment in which I was born, by the circumstances, the influences, the pressures of various cultures and so on, and my own inclinations and tendencies all that put together has formed an image about myself. I am this right? 'I am a great man', 'I am an inferior man' whatever it is. I have got so many fears. I want to be ambitious and so on. I have an image about myself and I know how it has come into being. That is fairly simple: through fear, through the demands for security, through an idea, a philosophy that says 'Ideologies are so important not 'what is', but 'what should be' and so on. There it is: I have an image about myself and I say, 'That image is going to prevent me from looking and is going to distort anything I see' right? I shan't be able to hear what another is saying if I have an image. The image may be an opinion; I say, 'I have an opinion that you are this, or that, and when I look at you that opinion distorts'. So I say to myself, 'Is it possible to go beyond this image? I am just curious. What happens?' I don't want to succeed or achieve something, or gain something, or use what I gain to impress other people. I just want to find out what lies beyond this limited image I surround myself with. Don't you want to know?

Questioner: Yes.

Long pause

Krishnamurti: You mean to say we are all as dead as that! I'll go on. I see this image, how it is formed, what are its causes (I have explained what the causes are) wanting security, and therefore fear, the influences of society which says you must be different from what you are, and so on. I see the causes of this image. And I want to know what lies beyond; so I must first break the image because the image is going to prevent me. There is no motive in that, because I see it. If I want to see beyond, I must go beyond the wall; so I must pull down the wall. And how do I pull down this image which has thickened throughout years? That is the first thing I have to do to look beyond the image. I must break it down. So I have got a very complex problem here: to see the causes of that image, the breaking down of the image, and in the very breaking of that image not to form another image right? Are we communicating with each other? I think we are, aren't we? Yes? At least with a few.

Now what am I to do? I know very well if I make an effort in the very breaking of that image, I shall distort the vision, the perception right? So there must be no effort. Effort implies motive, and the habit which has been cultivated through millions of years to make an effort to do something. This is the problem: can I leave it? look at it? And who is the entity that is going to leave it? The entity is the image-maker no? The observer is the machinery that is always making the images. I know all that; I see all this taking place in me. The observer who is what is observed, from one point of view, and becomes the observer; it is this machinery the 'me' is the machinery that is always resisting itself, and I know that. I also know the dangers of the images. I equally know, if there is any single image it will act as a distortion right? So I say to myself, 'What do I mean when I say: I know'? (I hope we are communicating.) When I say to myself, 'I know this whole structure, I am very familiar with it, I know the nature of it' when I say 'I know', what do I mean by that? The word 'know', when do I use those words I know'?

Questioner: It means that I remember.

Krishnamurti: One moment! You see, I ask a question: when do I say 'I know'? What do I mean by those words?

You are ready to answer so quickly! There is no silent listening to that word, to that question. Try to listen quietly to that question: what do we mean when we say 'I know'? I want to find out, I want to feel that word, I want to smell it, taste it, go into it, therefore I must be very sensitive to that word. I must be in contact with it, be familiar with all its meaning; and to be familiar, to be in contact with the feeling of that word, there must be a sensitive enquiry. But if I say, 'Yes, it is remembrance, it is something in the past, it is memory, it is a reaction' and so on we all know that. But find out (please listen) where the limitation of that word is right? The moment I use the word 'I know' I have limited it. I wonder if you are meeting this? Have you got it? It is like a man who says, 'I know what truth is'! 'I know my wife'. 'I know I have experienced something immense' then it is finished!

So when I use the word 'know', I have already limited it. The very word limits, therefore I am going to be very cautious you understand? I am going to be extraordinarily watchful of that word so that it doesn't block me. It is like saying, 'Man is nothing but...: the 'nothing but' means limitation. So when I use the words 'I know the nature and the structure of this image' (listen carefully please) when I say: 'I know it, I know the machinery of it, I know the causes of it,' what has happened?

Questioner: ( Several inaudible suggestions)

Krishnamurti: Do please listen, be quiet. Feel your way into it. When I say 'I know' the maker of the image, the nature of the image, the cause of the image what have I done? (Pause)

Right? Got it? When I say 'I know', the entity that says 'I know' is the image that is creating the image.

Questioner: So, 'I know' is non-existent.

Krishnamurti: That's right. When you say 'I know', know that you don't know. Right? Do see the importance of this. Listen quietly. When I say 'I know the cause' I have already blocked it, I have fixed it, I have limited it; but when I say, 'I really don't know that I know', then I am open right? When I say 'I know my wife' that's the end of it. It means really I don't want to know, I am too frightened to know what she is, therefore when I use the words 'I know', that finishes it, I don't have to look any further. But if I say, 'I really don't know that I know' (do you follow?) I am open, I am much more subtle, I am sensitive, I can look. So in using the word 'know' I am going to be extremely careful. Knowledge becomes a hindrance right? Not in the scientific world, but in the world of exploration within. So I will never say 'I know'. Therefore the mind is in a state of enquiry already. I wonder if you are meeting this? It is only the mind that is full of pride that says, 'I know'. (Pause)

So I don't know. I know, of course, the image, the measure of the image, the cause of it, I am well aware of it yes, it's there. And I want to find out if there is an end to the image-building. I won't say it is impossible or possible. When you say it is impossible, you have blocked it; or when you say, 'Oh, yes it is possible' then you are just theorizing. Now my mind is very alert, sensitive, it isn't going to accept quick answers it doesn't matter who is going to answer it hesitates, it looks. Therefore there is no authority. Right? I wonder whether we are communicating?

So I have discovered something. When exploring into myself, never to come to a conclusion, because the conclusion becomes the authority; never to say to myself, 'I know this is so', but to be open to find out. I have found out something: there is no such thing as the impossible. When the mind sees there is no such thing as the impossible, it is beyond the impossible right?

2nd August, 1968