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3rd Public Talk - 11th July 1968

3rd Public Talk - 11th July 1968

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Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1968

WE LIVE IN A world that is completely broken and fragmented, a world in which there is the constant struggle of one group against another group, one ideology against another, one nation against another, one class against another and so on. Technologically there has been great advance, yet there is more fragmentation than ever before. And as one observes, factually, what is going on one sees that it is absolutely essential for man, that is, each one of us, to learn how to co-operate. We cannot possibly work together in anything it does not matter if it is about the new school, or the relationship with one another, or to end the monstrous wars that have been going on if each individual, if each human being, is isolating himself in an ideology, with his life based on a principle, a discipline, a technique, a belief, a dogma; when there is such basis there cannot be co-operation. That seems to me to be so eminently obvious that there need be no discussion about it. And, we were enquiring as to whether it is at all possible to break down all these values that one has deliberately built against others, whether it is at all possible for man to be free.

We were saying that freedom, both outwardly and inwardly, cannot be brought about through any system, whether it be political or economic, communist, or capitalist, nor through any organized religion, or by following a particular little group, separated from others. We went into that sufficiently the other day. We said, further, that freedom is not to be come by through any philosophy, through any intellectual theory. So we are going to examine, this morning, the possibility of each one of us being actually free from any system or method it is one of the most complex things to understand.

When we talk about systems we mean not only the outward following of a belief, a guru, a teacher, of a particular organized religion, and so on, but also the following of a habit of thought, living according to a certain inner belief, dogma or principle, which all form a kind of system. One has to ask, why is it that man insists on a system? Firstly, why do you and I, inwardly, want a system and secondly, why an outward system? Why do you want a system a system being a tradition, a discipline, a habit, a set of grooves which the mind follows? Why? If we discard one set of grooves then we follow another.

We said, peace or love or beauty is not possible unless there is complete freedom. We said that it is obviously not possible to be free, totally, completely, if inwardly, psychologically, we follow a method, a system, or a particular habit which we have cultivated, perhaps for many years or many generations, which has become tradition. Why do we do this? I hope I am making the question clear. The tradition may be of yesterday, or a thousand years. It is tradition to believe that you are a Catholic or a Protestant. It is a system when you say 'I am a Frenchman' and when you belong to a particular group or think according to a particular culture. Why we do this? Is it that the mind is constantly seeking security, wanting to be safe, certain? Can a mind that is constantly searching out security for itself, psychologically, ever be free? And if it is not free can it ever see what is true, can it ever see what is true through a system or tradition that promises the eventual beauty, the incalculable state of mind? Do please let us think it over, or rather let us go into it. Do not, if I may suggest, do not merely listen to a lot of words. To say, 'intellectually, I understand' is such a false statement. When we say we understand intellectually, we mean, we hear a lot of words of which we understand the meaning. But to understand means also immediate action; not, first there is understanding and later, perhaps many days after, there is action. You see the significance of the particular problem; you see that freedom cannot possibly be when there is any pursuit of the acceptance or the obedience of any particular ideology or tradition. If you see that, actually, not verbally, then there is action, you drop it immediately. But if you say 'I understand what you are talking about verbally' that is merely an avoidance of the fact.

Why is it that we want security, psychologically? There must be physical security food, clothes and shelter that is obvious. But why is it that the mind seeks certainty, demands a structure which becomes a system that will give an assurance to it? Why? And why does the mind constantly dwell upon its own security, upon its own safety, upon its own certainty? Can a mind that is certain about anything, psychologically, ever be free? which does not mean that the mind must always be in a state of uncertainty. This raises a problem of duality. Conflict in any form is a waste of energy; when there is a duality there is conflict and that, in essence, is a complete waste of energy. When the mind is seeking certainty it must inevitably create its own opposite obviously. When my mind is constantly searching out a state in which there will be no trouble, no disturbance, no conflict, it must inevitably run away to the opposite, to trouble and disturbance and conflict. There is uncertainty and the demand for certainty, there is a conflict between the two. And this conflict, in which most of us are caught, is a waste of energy. So, why does the mind seek certainty?

(Noise of aeroplane overhead). You heard that aeroplane fly by, it made a lot of noise. Before that you were giving your attention and perhaps you wished that the aeroplane did not come here at all. Right? So you create an opposite, you resist the noise, which is a waste of energy. But if you had listened to that noise without resistance, that is, if you had given your complete attention to it, it would not have affected you at all, there would not have been noise in conflict with a state in which there is no noise. (I wonder if you are catching all this?).

We are asking, why is it that the mind always seeks an image, a formula, assuring a state of certainty which becomes the system? Though the mind is constantly seeking safety, a sense of security and permanency, we never ask if there is such a state at all. We want it, we demand it, but is there such a state? I want a permanent relationship with my friend, with my wife and the demand for such permanent relationship is the system, is the tradition, is the structure which is going to establish in that relationship a sense of permanency.

I am asking myself, 'why can the mind not live freely, why does it hold on to formulas and systems?' Obviously it is afraid and it wants some image, some symbol, some formula, or a system, which it can hold on to. (Please do observe it in yourself.) And when it holds on to something desperately, it is not only afraid of losing it, but that very holding on, that very fear of losing, is creating its own opposite. There is a struggle between the desire for certainty and the fear of not being certain, there is a battle going on.

The mind can enquire if there is, in life, psychological permanency; it can try to find out if such a state is at all possible. Or, may it not find that life is a constant movement, a state in which the new is always taking place? But the mind cannot see the new because it is constantly living in the past, the past which is the system. When you say 'I am a Christian', or 'I am a Hindu', it is the past which speaks and cannot see anything new. And life may be something extraordinary in its very movement, the very movement which is the new, which we discard. This movement is freedom.

There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for man, which is, that he must be completely free. As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom. Can that whole structure be completely abandoned, immediately? (You understand the question?) The conditioning of a mind that has been going on for many years or many centuries, that very conditioning is the system, the tradition, the habit and so on. As long as the mind is caught in that, it can never be free. And, this freedom is not at the end, it is not a question of eventually getting free; there is no such thing as 'eventually' getting free, that is to say, through a discipline, through a formula 'becoming' free. The formula or the system only emphasizes the conditioning only in different ways and there is no freedom. So the question is: is it possible for a mind that is so heavily conditioned to be completely free from this conditioning, immediately, because if not, this conditioning will continue to go on in different ways? Can we proceed from there?

One is born as a Christian, as a Catholic; or one belongs to one of the many branches of Protestantism. One is conditioned from childhood, believing in a Saviour, in priests, rituals, one God you know, all the rest of it. Or, you are a communist, brought up in communism, conditioned by what was said by Lenin or Marx. You know, I was laughing to myself to see how easily we are caught by words: the communist substitutes the word 'Lenin' and his philosophy for the word 'Jesus' and his philosophy. We are so easily caught in a net of words. We are conditioned and the challenge, the crisis in the whole of consciousness, is that man must be free; otherwise he is going to destroy himself.

Can the mind put away all its conditioning so that it is actually, not verbally or theoretically or ideologically, but actually free, completely? That is the only challenge, that is the only issue, now or ever. If you also see the importance of that, then we can go into this question as to whether the mind can uncondition itself. Can we proceed from there? Is it possible? In this question several things are involved. First of all who is the entity who is going to uncondition the conditioned mind? You understand? I want to uncondition myself, being born as a Hindu or brought up in a particular part of the world, with all the impressions, cultures, books, magazines, what people have said and what they have not, such constant pressure has shaped my mind. And I see it must be totally free. Now, how is it to be free? Is there an entity which is going to make it free? Man has said, there is an entity; they call it the Atman in India, the soul or the grace of God in the occident, or this or that, which, given an opportunity, will bring about this freedom. It is suggested that if I live rightly, if I do certain things, if I follow certain formulas, certain systems, certain beliefs, then I will be free. So, firstly it is posited that there is a superior outer form or agency, that will help me to be free, that will make the mind free if I do these things right? But 'If you do these things' is a system, which is going to condition you and that is what has happened. The theologians and the theoreticians and the various religious people have said, 'do these things, practice, meditate, control, force, suppress, follow, obey' then at the end, that outer agency will come and bring a certain miracle and you will be free; see how false that is, yet every religion believes in it in a different way. So, if you see the truth of that, that there is no outer agency, God what you will that is going to free the conditioned mind, then the whole organized religious structure, of priests with their rituals, with their mutterings of meaningless words, words, have no meaning any more. Then secondly, if you have actually discarded all that, how is it possible for this conditioning to be dissolved; who is the entity that is going to do it; you have discarded this outer agency, the sacred, the divine, all that, then there must be somebody who is going to dissolve it? Then who is that? the observer? the 'I', the 'me', which is the observer? Let us stick to that word, 'observer; that is good enough. Is it the observer that is going to dissolve it? The observer says; 'I must be free, therefore I must get rid of all this conditioning'. You have discarded the outer, divine agency, but you have created another agency which is the observer. Now, is the observer different from the thing which he observes? Please do follow this. You understand? We looked to an outer agency to free us God, Saviours, Masters and so on, the gurus if you discard that then you will see that you must also discard the observer, who is another form of an agency. The observer is the result of experience, of knowledge, of the desire to free himself from his own conditioning; he says, 'I must be free'. The 'I' is the observer. The 'I' says, 'I must be free'. But is the 'I' different from the thing it observes? It says, 'I am conditioned, I am a nationalist, I am a Catholic, I am this, I am that'. Is the 'I' really different from the thing which he says is separate from him, which he says is his conditioning?

So, is the 'observer', the 'I' the 'I' which says, 'I am different from the thing I want to get rid of' is it really separate from the thing it observes? Right? Are there two separate entities, the observer different from the thing observed, or is there only one thing, the observed is the observer, and the observer is the observed? (Is this becoming too difficult?)

When you see the truth of that, that the observer is the observed, then there is no duality at all, therefore no conflict, (which, as we said, is a waste of energy). Then there is only the fact; the fact that the mind is conditioned; it is not that 'I am conditioned and I am going to free myself from that conditioning'. So, when the mind sees the truth of that, then there is no duality, but only that a state of conditioning, a conditioned state, nothing else! Can we go on from there?

So, do you see that, not as an idea, but actually; do you see actually that there is only conditioning, not 'I' and the 'conditioning' as two different things, with the 'I' exercising 'will' to get rid of the 'conditioning' hence conflict? When you see that the observer is the observed there is no conflict at all, you eliminate conflict altogether. So when the mind sees there is only a conditioned state, what then is going to happen? You have eliminated, altogether, the entity that is going to exercise power, discipline or will, in order to get rid of this conditioning, which means, essentially, that the mind has eliminated conflict altogether.

Now, have you done it? If you have not done it we cannot proceed any further. Look to put it much more simply when you see a tree there is the observer, the seer, and the thing seen. Between the observer and the thing observed there is space; between the entity that sees the tree and the tree, there is space. The observer looks at that tree and has various images or ideas about trees; through those innumerable images he looks at the tree. Can he eliminate those images botanical, aesthetic, and so on so that he looks at the tree without any image, without any ideas? Have you ever tried it? If you have not tried it, if you do not do it, you will not be able to go into this much more complex problem which we are investigating; that of the mind that has looked at everything as the 'observer', as something different from the thing observed and therefore with a space, a distance, between himself as the 'observer' and the thing 'observed' as you have the space between the tree and yourself. If you can do it, that is, if you can look at a tree without any 'image', without any knowledge, then the observer is the observed. That does not mean he becomes the tree which would be too silly but that the distance between the 'observer' and the 'observed' disappears. And that is not a kind of mystical, abstract or lovely state, or that you go into an ecstasy.

When the mind discards the outward agency divine or mystical or whatever it is (which is obviously an invention of a mind that has not been able to solve the problem of freeing itself from its own conditioning) when it discards that outward agency it invents another agency, the 'I', the 'me', the 'observer' who says, 'I am going to get rid of my conditioning'. But in fact there is only a mind that is in a conditioned state; not the duality of a mind that says, 'I am conditioned, I must be free, I must exercise will over my conditioned state; there is only a mind conditioned. Do listen to this very carefully; you will see, if you really listen with attention, with your heart, with your mind, you will see what will happen. The mind is conditioned only! there is nothing else. All psychological inventions permanent relationship, divinity, Gods, everything else are born out of this conditioned mind. There is only that and nothing else! Is that a fact to you? That is the question, it is really an extraordinarily important thing if you can come to it. Because, in the observation of that only, and nothing else, begins the sense of freedom which is the freedom from conflict.

Shall we discuss or have you had enough for this morning?

Questioner: Would you repeat the last sentence?

Krishnamurti: I said, I think, that if you see only that state, know it completely, being aware without any choice, that the mind is wholly conditioned, then you'll know, or begin to feel, or smell or taste. that extraordinary sense of freedom begin but you do not have it yet, do not run away with the smell of a perfume.

Questioner: If I say, 'My mind is conditioned', then that 'I' is also a conditioning, then I do not know what else is left.

Krishnamurti: That is just it. If I say, 'I am conditioned', that 'I' is also conditioned, then what is left? There is only a conditioned state. Do see that there is only a conditioned state. But the mind objects to that; it wants to find a way out. It does not say, 'I am conditioned, I'll remain there quietly'. Any movement on my part any movement, conscious or unconscious is the movement of conditioning. Right? So, there is no movement, but only a conditioned state. If you can completely remain with it without going neurotic, you understand? then you will find out. But you will say, 'who is the entity that is going to find out?' There is no other entity who is going to find out the thing itself will begin. (I do not know if you are following all this?) The mind has always avoided this implacable state; it is conditioned from childhood, from the very beginning of life, from millions of years and it tries every way to get out of it Gods, Systems, Philosophies, Sex, Pleasure, Ideas, it does everything to get out of this conditioned state and it is still doing that when it says, 'I must go beyond it'. So, whatever movement a conditioned mind makes, whatever movement a conditioned mind follows, it is still conditioned; therefore, one asks, can it remain completely with the fact alone and nothing else? you understand? remain there, having discarded the whole system of gurus, masters, teachers, saviours you know all the things that man has invented in order to be free.

11th July, 1968