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4th Public Talk - 16th July 1967

4th Public Talk - 16th July 1967

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Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1967

We are very serious about rather trivial things but very few of us are serious and earnest about the fundamental issues of life. We are serious in demanding and fulfilling our desires and pleasures. We are serious in self-expression or in continuing a particular activity to which we are committed. We are serious about nationalism, about wars, about our particular prejudices, dogmas and beliefs. At least we are superficially serious, but unfortunately we are not serious about the deep issues of life. And the more one is serious about the radical implications of life the more one has vigour, vitality, and the drive that is necessary to go through to the very end. It seems to me that here in this tent we should be clear, at least for the time being, clear and serious in what we are talking about.

We were saying how extraordinarily important it is to bring about a psychological revolution so that we are totally outside society. There have been many revolutions, economic, social, ideological, but unfortunately they have brought about colossal misery, and peripheral improvement - they have not in any way solved the human problem of relationship. When we talk about revolution we are concerned with the psychological structure of society in which we are caught and of which we are part. And apparently we are not very serious about the psychological structure or the psychological nature of our being which has brought about a society which is so corrupt and which really has very little meaning. We don't take very seriously the question of how to be free from that society. At least there must be a few, a group of people, not organized round a particular form of dogma, belief, or leader, but rather a group of individuals who are seriously and with complete intent, aware of the nature of their psyche and of society and of the necessity of inwardly bringing about a total revolution - that is, no longer living in violence, in hatred, in antagonism, in merely pursuing every form of entertainment and pleasure. Pleasure and desire are not love. We pursue pleasure and desire and their fulfilment, sexually, or ambitiously - which we call love - at different levels of our existence, and this pursuit we consider imperative, necessary and demanding complete attention.

What we are concerned about, in this tent, during these talks and discussions, is to see if as individuals we can bring about in ourselves that quality of seriousness which in itself, through awareness of one's own nature, brings about a revolution: to bring this about, not through propaganda, not because we are here every other day for the next three weeks, not because we conform to a particular ideological pattern, but rather as human beings gathered together to understand the very complex problem of living - not belonging to any group, any society, any nationality, to any particular dogma, religion, church, and all that immature nonsense. So we are trying during these days to bring about in ourselves that quality of seriousness, which in itself, through awareness of its own nature - never accepting, never condemning, but observing its relationship to society - will bring about a revolution. That is what we are concerned with and with nothing else. Because everything else is rather immature, everything else leads to antagonism, to war, to hatred. Also we are concerned with action, not ideological action, not action according to a particular principle, or action according to Communism, Socialism, Capitalism, or action according to a particular religious dogma or sanction, but the action of a mind which, because it has freed itself from the sociological and psychological structure of society, has become a religious mind.

By 'religious mind' we mean a mind that is aware not only of the outward circumstances of life and of how society is built, of the complex problems of outward relationships, but also aware of its own mechanism, of the way it thinks, it feels, it acts. Such a mind is not a fragmentary mind; such a mind is not concerned with the particular, whether the particular is the 'me' or society, or a particular culture, or a particular dogma or ideology but rather it is concerned with the total understanding of man, which is ourselves.

What we are inwardly exposes itself outwardly. You may introduce many laws, many injunctions, sanctions and tortures outwardly, but unless there is an inward revolution, inward change, the mere outward structure of what 'should be' is ultimately broken down; you may put man in a frame work so tight, as in the communist world, yet it will break up. So we are in this world that is so confused, so miserable, at war; can we, living in this world, as human beings, bring about a change in ourselves? That seems to me the fundamental issue, not what you believe, or what you don't believe whether you are a Christian, non-Christian, whether you are a Catholic, Protestant and all the immature structures which the mind has built upon fear.

What are we, as human beings, concerned about - what is it that is most important for us, apart from the routine of daily living, going to the office and all that goes with that - what is fundamentally serious to each one of us? I think we should ask that question of ourselves, not to find an easy answer - and when we do put such a question earnestly, deeply, we shall begin then to find out for ourselves, whether money, position, prestige, fame, success, whether these things and all the implications involved in them, are really most important for each one of us. Or, are we pursuing a secret pleasure of our own - that pleasure of having a greater experience, a greater knowledge, greater understanding of life, which again is the pursuit of pleasure in different forms? And we may be very serious, seeking to find out what truth is and if there is such a thing as God yet is not that search, is not the pursuit of that, also tinged with pleasure? Or, are we merely pursuing physical satisfaction - sensorial, sexually, and so on? Of these things I think we should be very clear, because they are going to guide and shape our lives. Most of us are pursuing, outwardly and inwardly, pleasure, and pleasure is the structure of society. I think it is very important to find this out, because from childhood till death, deeply, surreptitiously, cunningly and also obviously, we are pursuing pleasure, whether it be in the name of God, in the name of society, or in the name of our own demands and urgencies. And if we are pursuing pleasure, which most of us are, which we can observe very simply, what is implied in that pursuit? I may want pleasure, I may want the fulfilment of that pleasure, through ambition, through hate, through jealousy, and so on - if I know, or observe, for myself, the nature and structure of pleasure then in the understanding of it I can either pursue it logically, ruthlessly, acting with fully open eyes though it involves a great deal of fear and pain - or come upon a state in which I can live in peace.

It is important, it seems to me, that one should understand the nature of pleasure - not condemning it or justifying it, or keeping it in a deep corner of one's mind which one never examines because it may reveal a pleasure that may contain in itself tremendous pain. I think we should investigate closely, hesitantly, delicately, this question, neither opposing it nor resisting it - for pleasure is a basic demand of our life, the finding of it and the continuity of that pleasure, in nourishing it and sustaining it, and when there is no pleasure, life becomes dull, stupid, lonely, tiresome, meaningless.

Intellectuals throughout the world have found that pleasure doesn't bring a great deal of understanding, and because of this they have invented philosophies, theologies, according to the clever, cunning mind. But those of us who are serious must find out what pleasure is, what is the nature of it, why we are caught in it. We are not condemning pleasure, we are not saying it is right or wrong. People are violent because it gives them a great deal of pleasure - they get a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure from hurting somebody, verbally, physically, or by a gesture. Or one takes pleasure in becoming famous, writing a book. So one must find out what pleasure is and what is involved in it, and whether it is at all possible to live in a world that contains not pleasure but a tremendous sense of bliss, a tremendous sense of enjoyment, which is not pleasure at all. We are going to investigate that this morning - investigate it together, not by the speaker explaining and you listening, agreeing or disagreeing, but rather by taking the journey together. To take the journey together you must travel lightly and you can only travel lightly when you are not burdened with opinions and conclusions.

Why is it that the mind is always demanding pleasure? Why is it that we do things, however noble or ignoble, with the undercurrent of pleasure? Why is it that we sacrifice, give up, suffer - again on the thin thread of pleasure? And what is pleasure? I wonder if any of us have seriously asked ourselves this question and pursued it to the very end to find out? Obviously it arises from sensory reactions - I like you or I don't like you - you look nice or you don't look nice - that's a lovely cloud, full of light, the beauty and shape of that mountain, clear against the blue sky. Sensory perception is involved and there is a deep delight in watching the flow of a river, watching a face that is well proportioned, intelligent, has depth. And then there is the memory of yesterday which was full of deep enjoyment, whether it was sexual or intellectual, or merely a fleeting emotional response - and one wants yesterday's pleasure repeated - again it is a form of sensory reaction. Yesterday evening one saw a cloud on the top of the mountains, lit by the setting sun; as one observed it there was no 'observer' but only the light and the beauty of that sunset - that left an imprint on the mind and the mind thinks it over and demands a further experience of that nature. These are obvious everyday phenomena in our lives, whether the perception of a cloud or a sexual or intellectual experience.

So thought has a great deal to do with pleasure. I can look at that sunset and the next moment it is gone - thought comes in and begins to think about it, says how beautiful it was when for a moment 'I' was absent, with all my problems, tortures, miseries; there was only that marvellous thing. And that remains as thought, is sustained by thought. The same thing with regard to sexual pleasure - thought chews it over, thinks about it endlessly, builds up images which sustain the sensation and the demand for fulfilment tomorrow. It is the same with regard to ambition, fame, success and being important. So desire is sustained and nourished by thought, it is given continuity in relation to a particular form of experience which has given pleasure. One can observe this very simply in oneself. And when that thought, which has created pleasure, is denied, then there is pain, there is conflict - then there is fear. Please do observe this in yourself, otherwise there is no value at all in what you are hearing. What you hear, the explanation, is like the noise of a roaring stream, it has no value at all, but if you listen, not to the speaker, but use the speaker as a mirror in which you are looking, then you will relate what is being said to yourself, and it may have tremendous value. I hope that you are doing this, because without understanding pleasure and therefore pain, we shall never be free of fear.

A mind that is not clear of fear lives in darkness, in confusion, in conflict. A mind that is caught in fear must be violent, and the whole psychological structure as well as the sociological life of a human being, is based on the pleasure/ fear principle - therefore he is aggressive, violent. You may have ideologies and principles of non-violence, but they are all utterly meaningless. As we said the other day, all ideologies, whether of the communists, of the churches or of a serious person, are idiotic, they have no meaning. What has meaning is to understand fear and to Understand fear one must also understand, very deeply, the nature of pleasure. Pleasure involves pain, the two are not separate, they are two sides of a single coin. To understand pleasure one must be fully aware of the subtleties of this pleasure. Have you ever noticed how people talk when they have a little power, when they are at the head of some silly, stupid organization? - they thunder like God because they have a little power. That means that to them pleasure has become an extraordinarily important thing. And if they are a little intellectual or famous, how their manner, walk and outlook changes.

So where there is pleasure there is pain inevitably leading to fear - not only fear of great things, like death, like the fear of deep lonely isolation, fear of not being at all, but also at superficial levels, the fear of what a neighbour thinks about you, how the boss at the office regards you, of the husband and wife, and the fear of not living up to images that one has built about oneself. The fear not only of the unknown, but fear of the known. And all this fear is resolved, not by suppression, not be denial, but by understanding the whole structure of pleasure, pain and fear. For that understanding there is required an awareness which comes when you are looking at yourself, looking at yourself as in a mirror - because without self-knowing, that is, knowing about your self, pleasure and fear can never come to an end.

To know yourself is to know a very complex and living thing - it is like a movement, a constant moving, moving, moving. To know yourself, to observe, you must have a mind in which there is no sense of comparison or judgement or condemnation or justification. After all, life being an immense living movement, it is not to be limited to your idiosyncrasies or fancies, or your demands - although these are also part of that movement - and if you confine that movement to the particular form of your demands and inclinations then you will always remain in conflict.

A mind that has understood the nature of pleasure and fear is no longer violent and can therefore live at peace within itself and with the world.

Perhaps we can talk over together, through questioning, what we have discussed this morning.

Questioner: How can we have trust in the speaker so that we may know that what he is saying is true? And how can we have trust in him so that we may know that he leads us rightly?

Krishnamurti: Are we talking about leadership and trust? You know we have had leaders of every kind, political, religious. Aren't you fed up with the leaders? Haven't you thrown them overboard into that river so that you have no leader at all any more? Or are you still, after these two million years, seeking a leader? Because leaders destroy the follower and the followers destroy the leader. Why should you have faith in anyone?

The speaker does not demand your faith, he is not setting himself up as an authority, because an authority of any kind - specially in the field of thought, of understanding - is the most destructive, evil thing. So we are not talking of leadership, of having faith in the leader or the speaker. We are saying that each one of us, each one of us as a human being, has to be one's own leader, teacher, disciple, everything in oneself. Everything else has failed, the churches, the political leaders, the leaders of war, those people who want to bring about a marvellous society, they have not done it.

So it depends on you now, on you as a human being, in whom the whole of mankind is, it is your responsibility. Therefore you have to become tremendously aware of yourself, of what you say, of how you say it, of what you think and the motives in the pursuit of your pleasures.

Q: What is the relationship between pleasure and fear?

K: Don't you know it, do you want an explanation of that? When I can't get my pleasure what happens? Have you not noticed it? I want something which is going to give me tremendous pleasure - what takes place when I am thwarted, denied it? There is antagonism, there is violence, there is a sense of frustration, all of which is a form of fear.

So let us examine this question of pleasure and fear. I want something which is going to give me a great deal of pleasure. I want to become famous, have position, prestige - then that is denied - what happens to me? Or when you have denied yourself the pleasure of driving, of smoking or having sex, or whatever it is - have you noticed what battles you go through, what pain, what anxiety, what antagonism, hatred. It is all a form of fear, isn't it - I'm afraid of not getting what I want? Aren't you afraid, having climbed for many years to a particular form of ideology, when that ideology is shaken, torn away from you by logic or by life, aren't you afraid of standing alone? The belief in that ideology has given you satisfaction and pleasure, and when that is taken away you are left stranded, empty handed, and fear begins - until you find another form of belief, another pleasure. It is so simple and because it is so simple we refuse to see its simplicity, we want it to be very complex. When your wife turns away from you aren't you jealous - aren't you angry - aren't you hating the man who has attracted her? And what is all that but fear of losing that which has given you a great deal of pleasure, a companionship, a certain quality of assurance, and domination and all the rest.

You know it is most difficult to look at things simply, for our minds are very complex - we have lost the quality of simplicity. I don't mean simplicity in clothes, in food, in all that immature nonsense which the saints cultivate, but the simplicity of a mind that can look directly at things - that can without any fear look at oneself as one actuality is, without any distortion, so that when you lie, you see you lie - not cover it up, not run away from it, not find excuses. When you are afraid, know you are afraid, be clear about your fear.

16th July, 1967