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3rd Public Dialogue - 4th August 1967
If we may, we'll continue with what we were talking about yesterday, which was violence. I think we should be clear what these dialogues, these conversations are meant for. For the time being it seems to me that it is so utterly futile to be concerned with another: to be concerned with the rich or with the poor. Our concern is with a transformation that is necessary within oneself. Because, as we said the other day, we are the result of the society which each one of us has created: in the state in which we live there is no difference between society externally and psychologically, inwardly. We are trying to understand the structure and the nature of the psyche of each one of us and we are concerned with bringing about a radical transformation - to go beyond and above this conflict, this violence. Violence, not only externally, but also inwardly - the conflict, the contradiction (which breeds aggression, hatred, antagonism) - we are trying to understand what this violence is, what this aggression is, and whether it is at all possible to go beyond it. And that's what we are going to go into during these remaining dialogues.
We were discussing yesterday the question of 'seeing: how we look at things - the things outside of us and the things in us - how we look at them. When we see a danger of any kind we respond to it according to the memory that has been cultivated. When we see a precipice or a dangerous animal we act immediately, but in that immediate action there is the whole cultivation of memory which responds instantly - which one can observe. Also, when we observe ourselves, we look with our conditioned mind, which is again cultivated; and we are saying: as long as this conditioned memory responds in any form there is no understanding, there is no seeing. There is action only when seeing is acting: the seeing which is not conditioned. There is nothing very difficult about understanding this; but the difficulty arises when we have to apply it, act. We act according to our conditioning. That again is fairly obvious. If I'm a Communist, a Socialist, a Catholic, a Hindu, a follower of Zen (or whatever it is) I act according to my background, according to my conditioning. That conditioning may be the result of centuries, or the result of a few days. Hence, the action is according to an idea which has been cultivated. That again is fairly clear - right?
Now, as long as there is a separation between idea and action, there must be contradiction and therefore there must be conflict, and this conflict is violence - isn't it? I have an ideology - Catholic, Communist, whatever it is - and according to that ideology, ideal, or tradition, I act; I approximate the action to the ideal and hence there is a contradiction and in this contradiction there is conflict. The very nature of violence is this contradiction - right? I am violent and there is also in me a sense of kindliness, gentleness, so there is a contradiction. This contradiction contributes to greater violence. And we are asking ourselves whether it is at all possible to act without conditioning, and hence act without contradiction, effort and violence. Please, this requires a great deal of enquiry, understanding; it mustn't just be accepted. Because all of us have ideals. To me, to the speaker, every form of ideal or ideology, whether it be Communist, Catholic, Hindu or whatever it is, is idiotic, it has no sense; because it prevents not only seeing and therefore acting, but it prevents the understanding of the total structure of violence. Are we going with each other so far? What do you say, Sirs? This is not a talk by me, this is a dialogue between us, a conversation.
Questioner: What is it that sees and acts at the same time?
Krishnamurti: You know, the varieties of action, most of our actions are based on a memory, an idea, a concept, a formula: 'what should be', 'what has been' and 'what must be', and according to that we act - don't we? No? (Are you sure we are understanding each other?) And we say, as long as there is a division between an action and an ideal there is contradiction; because the ideal is always old. Ideals are always the result of the past projected into the future and therefore all ideals are always the old; but, action is always in the present, it is an active present: to act. Now the important thing is to understand this, not only verbally, but actually see how each one of us acts and see what is implied in this action (that is, the idea and the action, and the conflict involved in it, which is a contradiction) and to ask ourselves the question: is it possible to act without the idea? Right?
Questioner: ...Is it action you speak about, or also the thinking, inside.
Krishnamurti: Speak in Italian.
Questioner: (In Italian) When we see danger there is rapid action and in that rapid action memory is involved; is what you are talking about an action which is instantaneous, yet also a response of memory?
Krishnamurti: Look Sir, we'll take another example, let's look at it quite differently. I ask you a question with which you are very familiar. I ask you, what's your name, where do you live, and your response is immediate. Why? Because you are familiar with your name, you are familiar with where you live, so the response is immediate; but in that immediacy there is a time interval also. It isn't instantaneous, there is a rime interval. In that time interval the mind has acted extra ordinarily quickly and given the answer. Right? If you ask a more complicated question, you have a time interval between the question and the answer. There, the memory is operating searching, asking, looking; then after having found the answer you reply. And if the question is very, very complicated you take a long time - perhaps days, weeks, months. All that implies an activity with the field of memory, whether it is instantaneous, or whether there is a lag of time; all that implies the activity of memory and memory is always conditioned. Now we're asking: in that activity of memory, which is always conditioned and hence must always create contradiction, hence conflict (and conflict implies violence) is there an action which is not conditioned? So we are asking whether there is an action - please follow this - an action in which the time interval does not exist? You understand? So we have to enquire much more deeply into this question of what is thinking and what is consciousness.
Questioner: Sir, I don't see why that time interval always has to be just the response of memory. After all, we cannot stop what limited intelligence we do have - such as an intelligent appraisal when faced with a situation.
Krishnamurti: Wait, follow it! The operation of that in intelligence has produced violence also. Now, to be free of that violence we have to bring about a different quality of intelligence. Right? And that's what we are seeking, what we are asking ourselves. The intelligence that we have cultivated - which is the result of time and memory - that intelligence is within the limitations of thought.
Questioner: But this action without any ideal may also bring conflict.
Krishnamurti: Of course, Sir, of course.
Questioner: A well known example might be a little child, newly born, he sees for the first time the fire, he is attracted by the light of the fire, but then he touches the fire and he burns himself....
Krishnamurti: We all know this, Sir. What is the point?
Questioner: But he has acted without any ideas.
Krishnamurti: And then he has an idea afterwards, and according to that idea he acts. Of course, we know this Sir. That's what we are all doing, all the time.
Questioner: But if we act according to an idea it doesn't always bring a conflict, it gives perhaps a rational event or something like that.... you never know. If you see an animal for the first time and you don't know what kind of animal it is, you look at it without any memory, without any knowledge and you don't know how you will react....
Krishnamurti: Sir, you see, we have to go into this question of memory. I thought we had explained it enough! We cannot live without memory. Right? If you had no memory at all you would be in a state of amnesia and you wouldn't know what you were doing, your name or where you lived - nothing. Memory obviously has a place. We have killed each other in the name of God, in the name of peace, in the name of nationality for centuries; that is stored-up memory, and according to that memory we respond. And that response has produced disastrous results as well as very good results; scientifically it has produced an extraordinary world. But that memory also has produced appalling wars. We are concerned not with the good results of memory but with the destructive quality of a mind that is conditioned. Right? Shall we proceed from there, not go back and back?
We are asking if it is possible for an action to take place in which there is no contradiction and no conflict. That is the question. An action which will not breed conflict within oneself, because we said conflict in any form is violence conflict when I discipline myself according to a pattern, or suppress my feeling because of an ideal. Such discipline, such conformity is effort, is a contradiction which must breed violence. I think that is clear, isn't it? So we are asking, is there an action which is not the result of contradiction? Now, let's proceed to find out, not intellectually, not verbally, but actually, inwardly, find out for ourselves; which means we have to enquire into this whole field of consciousness. What is consciousness? What is thought? What is the observer who says, 'I am thinking' and 'this should be' and 'that should not be'? Right? So let's proceed.
Is all consciousness the result of contradiction? You understand my question? Do I know a state of mind in which there is no contradiction at all? Am I aware of a state of being in which every form of conflict has ended? Or, do I only know conflict? You understand my question? Find out Sirs, we are taking the journey together, you're not just listening to my words. We are exploring together, exploring our state of mind.
Questioner: Does conflict arise because we give a meaning to things built through thought?
Krishnamurti: Look, my question is this: I am conscious, I am conscious of this tent and the people in it, I am conscious that I am speaking, and I am aware of the limitation of my feelings and thoughts and I take cognizance of my limitation. And that limitation is my consciousness, isn't it? No?
Questioner: What do you mean by 'limitation', Sir?
Krishnamurti: I am limited by my thought, I am limited by my feeling - my feelings are very small, my feelings are self-centred, my love is full of hate, jealousy and envy. And this is the consciousness in which I live.
Questioner: Without all this there is no conflict.
Krishnamurti: Wait, wait, we're going to find out. Am I conscious only through my limitation? Am I conscious only of the content of this limitation? That is, I am aware of the content of myself - my thoughts, my feelings, my anxieties, my guilts, my hopes, despairs, loneliness - and because I am aware of the content, I am therefore aware of the limitation of my consciousness.
Questioner: But I'm aware of other things too, Sir, I see you there.
Krishnamurti: Hold on to that for the moment.
Questioner: Do you mean, Sir, that the limitations you see are just what you want to see.
Krishnamurti: No, no, no. It's not just what I want to see.
Questioner: You're creating a boundary with whatever it is you see - it's a boundary.
Krishnamurti: Sir, may I ask you something? What to you is consciousness.
Questioner: Being awake.
Krishnamurti: When do you know you're awake?
Questioner: I suppose when I have an experience.
Krishnamurti: Be very simple. Go very simply into this. When do I know I am awake?
Questioner: I don't know I'm asleep. I remember that I was asleep, afterwards.
Krishnamurti: Look, please Sir, let's think about this very simply. I go to sleep and I wake up to my daily routine, to my daily troubles, to my daily worries, to my daily apprehensions, fears, joys - I'm awake to those things. That's one part of it. I am also awake to all my motives - if I'm at all aware. Now, what makes me awake, keep awake? Are we pursuing this wrongly, in a wrong direction?
Questioner: The conflict and awareness of my limitations of thought keep me awake.
Krishnamurti: Sir, look, if you have no conflict at all of any kind would you say, I'm awake?
Questioner: I think so. Are you saying that if there is no conflict or something like conflict....
Krishnamurti: No, no I did not say that, Sir. I asked: if you are not in conflict at all, at any level, what would that state be? Would you then say, I am awake? Or, do you only know you are awake through conflict?
Questioner: (In French) I am conscious when I am open to impressions (quand je me sens disponible).
Krishnamurti: Sir, when are you conscious? Do stick to this for two minutes. When are you hurt? When you have joy, when you respond? Otherwise you're dead or asleep. So you only know that you are conscious, awake, when there is a challenge and a response. That's all! Wait, Sir, that's all we're saying. So, I am conscious only when there is a challenge to which I respond and that response breeds conflict. If the response is complete to the challenge there is no conflict. Then I don't even know that I'm responding, then I don't even know of the challenge, because I'm so completely awake. Of course that sounds Utopian nonsense! I am pointing out only one thing, which is: I am awake only when there is challenge and response and that response is not complete to the challenge, is not adequate to that challenge. Right? Which means, when there is a challenge and I don't act completely or respond completely to that challenge, there is conflict. So I only know conflict, which makes me say 'I am conscious'. Now, wait a minute. When I say 'I love you' is there conflict?
Questioner: What does love mean?
Krishnamurti: Please Sir, don't analyse, we'll analyse it presently, just listen. When I say 'I love you' is there conflict?
Questioner: Well, if there is conflict, then you're saying it when you're asleep.
Krishnamurti: Quite right.
Questioner: Sir, in this business of being asleep all the time and dead all the time, there must he lapses when one's consciousness may not be like you describe. Could you point out a lapse so we could get the feel of it?
Krishnamurti: Look, Sir, what are we trying to find out, what are we trying to do with each other? We are trying to find out whether violence, which is conflict, can come to an end. Right? Not superficially, but deeply. And in enquiring into that we are looking into the whole process of memory - into the state of mind which is perpetually in conflict. And because we are in conflict, we are in misery, we are conscious. Right? When you are completely happy - you follow Sir? - are you conscious that you're happy?
Questioner: There is a different kind of consciousness when you are happy.
Krishnamurti: Don't introduce other factors, Sir, take just one fact.
Questioner: But there are other factors.
Krishnamurti: I know, there are lots of other factors, I know that.
Questioner: Then your question does not have any meaning.
Krishnamurti: It has no meaning if we bring in all the other factors, but I'm just asking a very simple question. When you're tremendously joyous are you conscious that you're joyous?
Questioner (1): No.
Questioner (2): Yes.
Questioner (3): You stop to look at it.
Krishnamurti: When you're very angry, at that second, are you conscious, or only afterwards? When, for whatever motive, there's an extraordinary state of happiness, you're not at that second, conscious. Later on it begins, you say, what an extraordinary moment that was, I wish I could have it repeated, and so on and so on. So both conflict and that state in which there is no conflict, is within this field of consciousness. Right? No?
Questioner: (Somewhat inaudible).... a small child or an animal....
Krishnamurti: Sir, we're not discussing the child or the animal, we are discussing ourselves - you and I - not the child nor the animal. Here I am. Look, Sir. Here I am, there you are - our problem is we have lived in violence for so many centuries. As human beings we are asking ourselves: is it possible to be free of this violence? And in asking that question we are exploring; we're not going back to the child or to the animal. The animal is also violent and we have inherited perhaps that violence, or that violence has been created as the result of society, a culture. But we are violent and we're asking if that violence can come to an end - in you and in me.
Questioner: Is not consciousness the feeling of being separated from other human beings?
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, that's part of it; when there is a separation between the observer and the observed.
Questioner: Sir, did you say that not being conscious at the moment of anger or passion, and the immediate memory of it, both those things are within the field of consciousness?
Krishnamurti: Are they?
Questioner: They have to be, otherwise you couldn't remember.
Krishnamurti: Of course. What are we asking, Sir? We are trying to find out the nature of conflict, conflict being violence. Now, this conflict in which we have lived has created a consciousness in which there is the observer and the observed. Right? There is the me and the not-me, which means there is a separation between the observer and the observed. Right? Now, will not this violence, this conflict endure as long as there is this separation?
Questioner: Separation and the conflict within ourselves will cease when we give up everything on earth.
Krishnamurti: Sir, Sir, we're not giving up. That's just a theory; 'when we give up everything on earth'. We can't give up everything on this earth. We have to have food, we have to have clothes, shelter. Sir, let's make it very simple, shall we? I want to be free of violence. How am I to do it? What am I to do? I have tried suppression, I have tried conformity, I have tried identifying myself with something greater which I call peace, love, God, and that doesn't solve it either - right? I have tried everything! Because I really want to be free of violence, because to me violence is a disease and a healthy mind must be free of every form of disease. So I say, what am I to do? Such obvious things as to give up my nationality, religious beliefs, dogmas - that's gone, finished - it has no meaning any more - but I'm still violent, I'm still aggressive, ambitious. Now I say: what am I to do?
Questioner: Conflict is the result of education. If you eliminate all those conflicts from education you're no longer alive.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, I understand, but answer me: will you tell me how to be free of violence? That's all I ask. I have tried education, I have tried religion, I have tried to control myself, I have tried to be kind and generous, yet there are moments when I am tremendously violent. My problem, my question is: what am I to do to be free of this violence?
Questioner: But this question is a subtle form of violence.
Krishnamurti: No, no, it is not! Put it round the other way, Sir; I want to live completely at peace with myself and with the world - which doesn't mean I go to sleep, or go to a mountain, into a cave or some absurd thing, but I want to live peacefully. What am I to do?
Questioner: You can't do it.
Krishnamurti: 'You cannot' - then my problem is solved! I can't live at peace. But I want to live at peace! Look, please I beg of you, just listen. I want to live at peace - right? it isn't just an idea, it isn't just a formula. I don't want to have a breath of hate, jealousy, anxiety, fear in me. I want to live completely at peace! Which doesn't mean I want to die. I want to live in this world, I want to function, I want to look at the trees, flowers, women, boys, girls - I want to look at them and at the same time live completely at peace with myself and with the world. What am I to do? But you don't ask that question; you're asking all kinds of questions. When you ask that question what do you reply? Either you say like that gentleman, 'you can't', therefore you have blocked yourself, you have stopped yourself from further enquiry; or you say you can be at peace only when you go to Heaven, that is, when you die.
Questioner: You are left only to stand still....
Krishnamurti: No, I don't want to stand still, I want to live, I am living, I want to love without hate, without jealousy.
Questioner: Your problem is to communicate your wish to the world, only then will you have the possibility of having peace.
Krishnamurti: Ah, no. I don't want to communicate with the world; the world is stupid, the world is brutal. How can I communicate with the world? Sir, you are just talking nonsense.
Questioner: You must be vulnerable.
Krishnamurti: You're just quoting what I said yesterday. That's not my argument. I don't want to have conflict within myself at any cost, I don't want to quarrel with anybody; I want to have great affection, kindliness, love - I don't want anything else.
Questioner: It's not true for me.
Krishnamurti: It may not be true for you; then if it is not true for you, why isn't it true for you?
Questioner: Well, I wish it were.
Krishnamurti: Look, we started this discussion by asking ourselves if it is possible to be free of violence. To be free of violence means to live at peace - right? - and if I say I don't want to live at peace, I want to carry on with violence, there is something totally wrong with such a mind.
Questioner: I don't say I don't want peace; I say, I see my wish for violence.
Krishnamurti: What are you to do, Sir? You want peace I want peace; I don't want to have a single breath of conflict in me at any time - sleeping or waking - what am I to do?
Questioner: Respond to the challenge of life.
Krishnamurti: Please, would you ask that question your selves? My question to you, which I have put to you: do you really want to live at peace with yourself, which means no conflict?
Questioner: I will repeat again, you cannot live without violence, it's only an idea that you want to live without violence.
Krishnamurti: No, no, it is not an idea.
Questioner: But it's an idea that you want to live without violence.
Krishnamurti: Please Sir, I have lived in conflict all my life (I haven't personally, but it doesn't matter) I have lived in conflict with my wife, with my children, with my society, with my boss, with everything, and I say to myself: is there a way of living in which there is no conflict? It is not an idea!
Questioner: Sorry, but this question is not the most important thing; the most important thing is to see violence. That takes time.
Krishnamurti: No, no, we have been through that Sir. We have discussed the nature of violence, we have been into that and I'm putting the same question differently. I want to live in this world, not as an idea but actually, every minute of my life, I want to live in a different way, in which there is no conflict, which means no violence. Will you put this
Questioner (2): Can we have ten minutes of silence?
Krishnamurti: No, please, first put the question to your self..
Questioner: If I am not mature enough it is impossible to put this question.
Krishnamurti: Then, why aren't you mature? Who's going to make you mature?
Questioner: I am not mature....
Krishnamurti: But Sir, that is not my question. Put that question, see what happens. Find out that you are immature. We are avoiding the question, that's all.
Questioner: Shouldn't it be a question for everyone, and everybody should keep the answer to himself?
Krishnamurti: Keep it to yourself, I'm not asking you to tell me, Put it, and find out what your answer is. Find out how far you will go, how far you will go to live peacefully.
Questioner: At the same moment as you realize, deep in yourself, that this whole world leads nowhere, in fact this realization brings in yourself a 'stop'....
Krishnamurti: It's really quite an extraordinary phenomenon this, isn't it? You're all so ready to answer, which means that you have not really put this question to yourself. Perhaps you dare not put the question.
Questioner: (In Italian) But I have to start with something I have heard, something someone said about a different state. But all I see is the conflict, and I don't know if there is a way out.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, but that's not my point. My point is: you have lived in conflict and don't you ask yourself, is that the only thing I have to live for - conflict, conflict? put that question to yourself, Sir? Don't answer me. Put this question to yourself.
Questioner: But we are discussing.
Krishnamurti: Of course, Sir, we are discussing, but first put this question - see what happens to you - then find out what your response is.
Krishnamurti: That's a lovely idea - 'when, when I am' - I won't discuss it!
Questioner: We don't know enough....
Krishnamurti: Have you ever put this question to your self? You know what conflict is, not as an idea, but what actually takes place when you quarrel with your wife or husband, when you are frightened of the boss, when you are frightened of every kind of thing - there is conflict. And have you asked yourselves if it is possible to live without conflict, not as an ideal, but actually?
Questioner: Can you divide your soul from your body?
Krishnamurti: This is a question which is not relevant to the point. Look, I'm asking you, do please have the goodness to listen. Humanity has lived in conflict for centuries. Is that the way to live? If it is, then all right, let's go on. If it is not, then is there a way of living in which there is no conflict at all? Put that question to yourself, not as an idea but as a thing that you want to find out.
Questioner: We don't know....
Krishnamurti: Madame, I'm not saying you should know. Put that question, see what you find out.
Questioner: Our mind is conditioned so how can we know?
Krishnamurti: It is not a different state that you want to achieve; but here I am in conflict and is there a way out of it?
Questioner: Sir, I think there's only conflict between persons, you and another person or a group of people and when you study them, when you 'are' the other persons, see what they are trying to do, what you're trying to do, see the whole thing dispassionately, this will produce an easier situation; it may not remove conflict but it is a step towards it.
Krishnamurti: Sir, put the question the other way. Don't you want to stop wars, which means, don't you want to live peacefully every day, to put an end to war?
Questioner: But just as all wars are fought to end wars, isn't the desire to end conflict the prime generator of conflict?
Krishnamurti: That is one of the old sayings, Sir - this war is not like the last war, it is to end all wars - you understand?
Questioner: Do you have a method for ending war?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what a question to ask; you have heard me often, haven't you, Sir?
Questioner: You asked 'do you want to end war'? So I asked, 'do you have a method'?
Krishnamurti: But you have heard me often, haven't you, Sir?
Questioner: Yes, Sir.
Krishnamurti: Therefore you will find the answer if you have heard me.
Questioner: Sir, whichever way one's mind moves, when you ask yourself that question, then you see that the protection the mind makes is not going to give the answer....
Krishnamurti: Look, how far are you willing to go to have peace in your life?
Questioner: All the way.
Krishnamurti: What does that mean? That means to end conflict, doesn't it? Now, how do you end conflict? Keep it very simple, Sir. How do you end conflict in yourself and live ordinarily? Is it possible?
Questioner: All I can say is that it has not been possible.
Krishnamurti: Why? Go into it, Sir, don't answer me, necessarily. I don't want to quarrel with you - so I stop quarrelling.
Krishnamurti: Wait, wait. I quarrel with you because you want my wife, or I quarrel with you because you want my position; I quarrel with you because I'm jealous of you, I quarrel with you because you're much more intelligent than I am, and so on. Am I willing to stop quarrelling with you altogether? Willing to do it? When you run away with my wife I won't quarrel with you.
Questioner: But quarrelling is inside the mind as well as outside.
Krishnamurti: I'm talking of 'inside', not outside.
Questioner: I don't control my thought-stream....
Krishnamurti: No Sir, it doesn't bang into you. So I have to understand myself - right? I don't want to quarrel with you under any circumstance. I want to live peacefully with you; if you want my shirt I'll give it to you. Fortunately I have no property and if you want that property you can have it; but I won't quarrel with you. If you want to come and set on the platform and I sit there, you're welcome, I won't quarrel with you. I'm not ambitious, I'm not greedy, I don't want any of those things, because I don't want to quarrel with you. To me, what is important is not to quarrel, therefore the other things subside. To quarrel like so many monkeys, like animals, is uncivilized, immoral in the deep sense. I feel that very strongly, therefore I'll do it. So, Sir, it all boils down to one thing: how deeply, how fundamentally do we want to live without violence? How deeply do we want to live at peace with each other? We may say we want it - but actually! And that's why it's very important to go within oneself, to find out the nature and the structure of one's being. Therefore, one has to know oneself. Perhaps we can discuss this question of knowing oneself tomorrow.
14th August 1967