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5th Public Dialogue - 6th August 1967
I think we should be clear about why we have gathered here, and what is the intention of these dialogues. We said that they are not meant for mere intellectual amusement or exchange of opinions and ideas. What we want to do is something entirely different. In talking over together our problems we are exposing ourselves - not to anyone - but to ourselves so that we see things more clearly, and seeing as we said the other day is acting. And if we reduce this merely to a form of serious entertainment I'm afraid it will be of very little significance. So we will proceed with what we were talking about yesterday.
We were talking about knowing oneself, learning about oneself, and to learn about oneself one needs a great deal of humility. If you start by saying, 'I know myself', you've already stopped learning about yourself. Or if you say, 'there is nothing much to learn about myself because I know what I am - I'm a bundle of memories, ideas, experiences, tradition, a conditioned entity with innumerable contradictory reactions' - you've stopped learning about yourself. To learn about oneself requires considerable humility, never assuming that you know anything: that is, learning about oneself from the beginning and never accumulating. The moment you accumulate knowledge about yourself through your own discovery, that becomes the platform from which you begin to examine, learn, and therefore what you learn is merely further addition to what you already know. Humility is a state of mind that never acquires, never says, 'I know,. We were saying yesterday that there is this whole structure of the me, the self, with all its extraordinary complexity, and thought is the very basis of this structure which is the me. I think this morning it might be worthwhile to go into this question of what is thinking and what significance it has, and where thought has no significance at all: where thought must be exercised with care, with logic, with sanity, and where thought has very little meaning. Unless we know the two, we cannot possibly understand something much deeper, much more extensive, which thought cannot possibly touch. And that's what we are going to talk over together this morning. Shall we go into that?
In understanding thought we shall probably also discover what love is. I think the understanding of thought must inevitably lead to the other. So it is necessary to understand this whole complex structure of what thinking is, what memory is, how thought is conditioned and is always of the past and therefore never new. If we can grasp that perhaps we shall find out something - a state that is entirely different. So it seems to me that it is important to understand for ourselves what thinking is, how it originates, what is its beginning, how it conditions all action. And in understanding that, perhaps we shall be able to come upon something that thought has never discovered, which is that thought can never under any circumstances open the door. So let's go into it.
Why has thought become so important in the life of each one of us? Do please examine it for yourselves, go into yourself and find out. Thought being idea, thought which is the response of memory, thought which is the response of the accumulated memories in the brain cells - why do we give such extraordinary importance to ideas, which are organized thought? Perhaps many of us have not even asked such a question before. And if we have, we say, that's of very little importance, what is important is emotion, feelings. I don't see how you can separate the two. You may have a feeling, but if thought doesn't give it continuity that feeling dies very quickly. Do please observe this in yourself.
Why in our lives, in our daily grinding, boring, frightened lives, why has thought taken a place of such inordinate importance?
Questioner: We have made it so in order to protect ourselves.
Krishnamurti: If I may suggest - I'm saying this courteously - please don't answer immediately, because if you do you stop yourself enquiring further. If you say, 'thought has become so important because I have to protect myself', your enquiry is already finished. But if you began to enquire, being free from your opinions and conclusions, you would be free to go on to search, to ask, to flow.
Questioner: Thought is the only means we have of understanding ourselves or the Universe - anything at all.
Krishnamurti: Is it? No, Sir. I have asked a question, I am asking myself the question, 'why has thought become important in my life?' If you say, it is important 'because', then you've already assumed something, you already have come to a conclusion and so your mind is no longer free to enquire, to look. I ask myself and I hope you are asking yourself: why has thought assumed such colossal importance? Intellectual ideas, theories, hypotheses, conclusions, ideas about God, the Universe, about what I should be, what I shouldn't be. Why has thought taken such predominant hold on my whole being?
Questioner: Is there a difference between 'thinking' and 'thought'?
Krishnamurti: Surely all thought (whether thinking or thought) is the outcome of memory, isn't it? I think about my wife or my husband, about my family or my profession, which gives me a certain dignity, a certain prestige. I think about my wife or husband - we'll start with the most familiar. I think about her, which is an active present: I am thinking about her. The thinking about her is the response of my knowledge about her, my experience with her - sexual or whatever it is - and that is the memory I have about her. To think about her is a continuation of that memory. Right? Or, I have certain memories about her or him, and out of that memory there come certain responses, of pleasure, or pain; which also means I have thought about her in the past. Thinking and thought are similar; you can't divide it so neatly. Ask yourselves, as I am asking myself, why is one a slave to thought - thought, cunning, clever, thought that can organize; thought that can start things; thought that has invented so much; thought that has bred so many wars; thought that breeds such fear, such anxiety; thought that has enjoyed the pleasure of something yesterday, and gives to that pleasure a continuity in the present and also in the future - why is this thought always active, chattering, moving, constructing, taking away, adding, supposing?
Questioner: Sir, one thing about thought is that from the time we were small children we were encouraged to think. Nobody ever told us that there is something else, so thinking has become a habit.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, all right. There is not 'something else', nobody has told you about something else. Forget the something else; I am asking, why have you given such importance to thought?
Questioner (2): One of the reasons is, thought allows us to get new pleasure, new enjoyment; it is the means by which we get pleasure.
Questioner (2): Sir, the moment we answer such a question we're giving importance to thought and therefore we cannot explore.
Questioner (3): We must have clarity; we think thought is the means to it.
Krishnamurti: Somebody has put you this question: 'why have you given such importance to thought?; and they say to you 'you must answer it and the answer must be right, not just guesswork, otherwise you'll be shot tomorrow morning!' How will you answer it?
Questioner: Can we live without thinking?
Krishnamurti: I really don't know. Let us take one thing and go through with it. Perhaps we shall be able to understand a very simple thing. I had a certain desire yesterday and I've fulfilled it, and in the very fulfilling of it there was a certain pleasure, a certain gratification. And thought comes along and says, 'how very nice that was, I must have more of it'. What has taken place? There is a desire, which has been fulfilled, and out of that fulfilment there is a certain pleasure, enjoyment. Then what takes place? You tell me.
Questioner: You want to repeat it.
Krishnamurti: Who wants it repeated?
Questioner: The experiencer.
Krishnamurti: Who is the experiencer? Do look at it, Sir. Go into it. Who is the experiencer who says, 'yesterday I had a marvellous experience and I must have more of it'?
Questioner (1): Memory.
Questioner (2): Thought itself.... the experience is the experiencer.
Krishnamurti: Quite right, that's so simple, isn't it? It is said, thought itself is the experiencer. That is, there was an experience yesterday which was pleasurable, a great delight, and that delight has left a mark on the mind as memory. Then out of that memory comes thought and says, I must have more of it. So thought is the experiencer. It's so simple - isn't it? No?
Questioner: Who is the experiencer in the first experience?
Krishnamurti: Ah, the first experience, the very first - is there an experiencer? What do you say Sirs, are you all going to sleep or am I asleep?
Questioner: Sir, it seems to me there was an experiencer who said that you had a desire yesterday and it was gratified. So, the one who had the desire and was gratified, that was the experiencer.
Krishnamurti: That's so simple, Sir. What are we discussing? It's so clear, isn't it? If there was no memory at all and therefore there was only desire, fulfilment, pleasure, it would finish there! But the experiencer wants that pleasure to continue, which is thought. Right? So I see thought sustains a pleasure. Thought gives continuity to a pleasure that I had yesterday. And thought gives continuity to the other form of pleasure which is pain, which is fear. Which means: thought as the experiencer says, 'I must have that pleasure repeated tomorrow' - the sexual - any form of pleasure. And thought also gives nourishment, continuity to fear, by thinking about it. So the experiencer, which means the thinker, is both the pleasure and the pain; both the entity that gives nourishment to pleasure and to fear. So when thought demands a continuity to pleasure, it is also constantly inviting fear!
Questioner: Is it possible to die to that thinker and to that memory?
Krishnamurti: I don't know, we are going to find out.
Questioner: Can we understand desire, which makes thought?
Krishnamurti: Sir, have you observed your desire, how it comes into being? Haven't you noticed it?
Questioner: You see a thing and you want it. 15 Krishnamurti: Now why do you want it? You see some thing, 'you want it' you say, but how does this want arise?
Questioner: It attracts you.
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by that word? Sir, be simple about it, you will see it in a second for yourself.
Questioner: Desire arises from the pleasure we get out of something.
Krishnamurti: Not 'out of something', Sir. You see a beautiful house, a beautiful woman, a handsome man, and so on and so on - seeing comes first, right? Then there is sensation, contact, and out of this comes desire - doesn't it? I see you - very intelligent, alive, active - that gives me a feeling of envy, which is a form of desire - to be like you, or to surpass you. So, it's fairly simple to see how desire arises. When I see a beautiful car, I touch it, I see the lines, the power, and so on - it gives a sensation. I want that sensation to be fulfilled, I want to own it. The 'I' is the thinker who says, 'how nice it would be to get into that car and drive!' Right? That is so clear, if one can be simple about it. So there it is. The thinker is both the giver of pain, pleasure and fear, and what we want is the continuation of pleasure without fear. And that's what each one of us is seeking: pleasure, in the wife or the husband, pleasure in the family, pleasure which one derives from this absurd thing called 'nationality', the pleasures of finding through thought a so-called God, and so on. And the other side of the coin is the avoidance of pain and the avoidance of fear.
Questioner: Is not desire also wanting to give, to help and to serve?
Krishnamurti: I wonder why we want to serve? The petrol station says, 'we give you awfully good service'. ( Laughter) Don't laugh, please, I'm not being sarcastic, Madame, I'm just observing, trying to understand that word 'service', 'help', 'give'. What does it all mean? Does a flower full of beauty, light and loveliness, say to itself, 'I am giving, helping, serving'? It is. And because it is not trying to do anything it covers the earth. So, let us go into this. Thought as the thinker separates pain from pleasure. Follow this, watch it in yourself. When it says, I must have pleasure, it doesn't see that in this very demand it is inviting fear. And thought in our human relationship - not in the laboratory or in some technological activity - is always demanding pleasure, which it covers by different words like 'service', 'loyalty', 'helping', 'giving', 'sustaining' - you know, all those words. I wonder why you give importance to the family? Would you tell me?
Questioner: Because we are afraid of loneliness.
Krishnamurti: All right. You are afraid to be lonely, therefore you give importance to the family and you say out of that fear of loneliness, 'I love my family' - right? And is that love?
Questioner: That's self-protection.
Krishnamurti: I don't know what it is, I'm just asking you. Thought is so cunning, so clever, that it covers up everything for its own convenience. I am afraid, lonely, miserable - and the family becomes extraordinarily important because it covers my loneliness, my misery. So I see ( perhaps you don't) that thought in its demand for pleasure - which brings bondage - also breeds fear, which has its own bondage. This is what always takes place in our relationships with each other. This is not being cynical or bitter, this is actually what goes on. And so what happens? Thought is the breeder of this duality. Right? That is, I'm violent; there's violence which gives me great pleasure and also there is the desire for peace, to be kind, to be gentle. Thought engenders both - right? One sees that, understands that. And one asks oneself: 'but thought has a certain importance?' Thought has importance - thought as memory or rather the accumulated memory from which thought arises and thought has built this memory, given life to this memory. By thinking about the pleasure which I had yesterday, the pleasure which is dead, which is a memory, I am giving to that dead memory a new life. Please watch this in yourself. Thought is reviving the dead past, the dead pleasure, the dead memory, and from that very dead memory thought has come into being. This is what is going on all our life. So thought not only breeds this contradiction in our lives - as pleasure and fear - but also thought has accumulated the memory of the innumerable pleasures we have had and from those memories thought is reborn. So thought is always the past! Thought is always the old!
Questioner: But in this thought, revived by memory and sustaining memory, is there never anything new? Is it always the same material? - always just that?
Krishnamurti: Sir, don't answer 'no'. Look at it. You have a new experience - if there is such a thing - which we'll go into. You have a new feeling, a new intensity, 'élan', then what takes place? Do watch, don't answer me. Please be good enough to answer yourself, not me. You had a new experience yesterday; you say it is new and you call it an experience. Is it new? If you are able to recognize it as an experience, is it new? You understand? If I recognize some thing - you or an experience - that recognition is the outcome of something which I've already known, otherwise I cannot recognize it! So thought however cunning it may be, however subtle, however devious it may be, thought is always the old. Right?
Questioner: Sir, do you mean that if a new experience occurs and we do not recognize it, then we are unconscious?
Krishnamurti: No, you wouldn't call it an experience at all.
Questioner: If we're conscious of it, surely we call it an experience?
Krishnamurti: You do?
Questioner: For us, experience and consciousness are synonymous words.
Krishnamurti: Yes Sir, quite right, but if you do not recognize that experience you have no experience.
Questioner: Well, by that you mean that we're unconscious of it, just as if we were asleep?
Krishnamurti: Yes, all right, if you like to put it that way.
Questioner: It happens, you don't even know....
Krishnamurti: You know it, that's quite right.
Questioner: Do you mean that no matter how unprecedented something may seem it's never new, as far as we're concerned? I go to some country which I've never seen before, know nothing about it, like Central Africa, and there I see something strange and unprecedented. I see it. Do you mean that....
Krishnamurti: Wait, Sir; you see it, what takes place?
Questioner: I say: how extraordinary I never saw this before, so therefore....
Krishnamurti: Go on Sir, go on into it; 'never saw it before', then what takes place?
Questioner: I try to relate it to some category....
Questioner:.... That makes it so I can think of what its place is in proper proportion, and therefore I immediately make it old.
Krishnamurti: Therefore, what has happened? You see something new and translate it in terms of the old. The moment your thought interferes with it as the 'thinker' you've reduced it to the old.
Questioner: Then one can see something new, but the thinker makes it old.
Krishnamurti: Quite right! The moment the thinker interferes with it, it has become the old.
Questioner: Yes Sir, I can see that.
Krishnamurti: That's all. Now, let's proceed a little bit further. Thought has importance. Right? Otherwise I couldn't get from this place, from this tent, to the place where I live. I couldn't go to the office, I couldn't function there; the very language which one uses is the result of thought, and so on. Thought has vital importance. But, has thought any importance in relation to that thing which we call Love?
Questioner: But we don't know what love is.
Krishnamurti: We're going to find out what love is; or, what love is not. We said love is not desire. I don't know why, somebody has said it. Somebody has said, love is not pleasure. The speaker has said it and we're going to find out why. Why is love not desire? What do you think?
Questioner: Desire is memory.
Krishnamurti: No Sir, don't you see, the moment you have said 'desire is memory', you have stopped. I love my wife - God knows why - but I say, I love my wife. What does that mean? In that love desire is involved - sexual pleasure, the pleasure of having somebody in the house to look after the children, to cook, to worry about all that while I'm at the office, and so on. And when that wife looks at somebody else or doesn't give me complete satisfaction - sexually, or in different ways - I get annoyed or jealous. No? You're all very silent.
Questioner: But at least at the beginning there was some thing different. (Laughter)
Krishnamurti: He is betraying himself! (laughter) Excuse me! The questioner says, 'it was different at the beginning. Naturally! That question needn't be answered, need it? ( laughter) Now just go back to it. I consider that I love my wife. I say, I love my wife or husband or family. What is involved in that? There is desire, there is pleasure, there is fear, there is anxiety; there is a sense of escaping from myself, from my loneliness, through the family. All that I cover by this word 'love'. Right? And that is an accepted morality. That's legally acceptable to the culture, to the society in which we live. What we call love is hedged about; in it there is jealousy, envy, greed, fear, bullying, domination - and occasional joy. Is that love? I don't say, it is not; I don't know. That is what we live with, that's what we call love, that is the thing that is important to us.
Questioner: It can be with great affection.
Krishnamurti: Of course. So I'm asking myself, what has thought done? You understand? When I first met her, my wife, I said, I love this woman, we're going to marry, have sex, pleasure, companionship. But gradually boredom comes with her, with the routine, boredom with sex; and she also gets bored with the whole thing. But there are children. And she looks at somebody else - because after all we all want excitement - and I begin to be tortured by jealousy, by hate. You all know this, don't you?
Questioner: Sir, you are analysing something very delicate with a blunt instrument; it is not quite as brutal as that.
Krishnamurti: Of course not. There is tenderness, there is care, there is so-called responsibility, insurance, the pride of a clever son who is climbing the ladder, and so on. It isn't just one thing, it is everything - tenderness, affection, jealousy, hate, fear, loneliness - all that is covered by that word 'love'. No?
Questioner: I think there is another sort of love: when one wants someone to be happy.
Krishnamurti: If one had a different kind of love, every thing would be perfect! Obviously! But, I haven't got it! Sir, I'm going to find out. I say to myself: I see now that where there is desire and pleasure with all its pain - all that we described previously - obviously that's not love. And thought - please follow this - thought which has given continuity to pleasure, thought which has given continuity to fear, is not love. So thought is not love! Right?
Questioner: Is thought a creative power?
Krishnamurti: Sir, I don't know what these two words mean, 'creative' and 'power'. That's not what we are discussing for the moment. We are trying to find out what that quality of love is in which there is no fear, in which there is no pleasure. If you do not want fear in love, you must also put away pleasure, because fear and pleasure are the two sides of the same coin. So thought, which gives a continuity to desire as pleasure, must also give a continuity to fear - fear of my wife and the pleasure of my wife, or my husband, and so on. Thought cannot possibly bring about what love is. Right?
Questioner: Thought can only create an image about love.
Krishnamurti: Sir, it has no meaning. An image, a symbol hanging in a church has no meaning. So please follow this next question. Can I live in this world with my wife, with my family, without desire, pleasure and fear? If I have that desire, pleasure and fear, it would be dishonest on my part to use the word 'love'. Do you swallow this pill? So I begin to ask, is it possible for thought, in relationship, never to interfere? Because when thought interferes it will bring about in that relationship desire, pleasure and fear. Please follow this to the end. Is it possible for thought not to interfere at all?
Questioner: If we give up every desire there will he no thought.
Krishnamurti: Sir, that's just a supposition. Look, I have a husband or wife and there is this agony going on between us - fear, desire, pleasure, anxiety - all that I call, love. And I say, what a monstrous way of living! What a brutal existence it is! And I ask myself, is it possible for thought not to enter into this relationship at all? Which means - follow it carefully - that I don't chew over the sexual pleasure that I had yesterday, that there will be no question of domination either by me or by her - domination being 'aggression', whether sexual or in any other form - and that I am completely free and so is she! Because if I depend on her for my pleasure I'm a slave to her. Can I live with her without thought creating all these contradictory states with their efforts and endless quarrels in myself? If I can, then perhaps - perhaps - I will know what it is to love. Unfortunately the churches throughout the world, temples and mosques, have divided this love into the profane and the sacred. But I don't even know how to love a tree, let alone my wife and my neighbour - I'm willing to destroy him in business.
So, I see now how thought operates. I have watched thought building this house brick by brick: thought which has built this house and is caught in it. And we're saying, how are we to get out? How are we to break down the walls which thought has created? And the questioner is the thought itself! Right?
Questioner: Why should thought ask, 'what is love?'
Krishnamurti: It generally doesn't ask, because it's too frightened to enquire. It may break up the family, you may never go hack to the temple. If you ask that question it is a terribly disturbing question, so we avoid it; and we lead a respectable bourgeois life with pleasure, with desire, with fear and all the rest of it.
Questioner: When you see what thought is doing, why do you continue it?
Krishnamurti: But does one see what thought is doing? Do you - actually Sir, not only you but each one of us - actually see how thought builds this house in which it is caught? Or is it just an idea which you have heard and repeat and therefore it has become a theory, something which you have concluded? You understand Sir? If I want to find out the quality of what may be called love, in which there is no fear at all and therefore no pleasure, then I have to shatter the whole house which I have built - my family, my responsibility, or the other form which is to run away from the family and say, 'I'm not responsible!' This is a tremendous problem. Unless you solve this I don't see how you can go a step further. You can go on theoretically; you can discuss endlessly whether there is a God or not, what a particular Saviour was, or was not - all that. But if you really, deeply inside yourself, want to go a step further, this has got to be settled. Because unless you have love you have no beauty, and without beauty and love you can never find out what truth is. Not, 'truth is in everything' - there is truth in finding out how thought operates, what desire is, what pleasure is, what fear is. But if the mind wants to go very deeply and widely this question of love has to be understood. And love is not sentiment, it is not devotion, it is not service - it is none of those things! It is only when thought has understood itself and is quiet - never interfering - then it's something - then you are in a different dimension altogether. You hear all this but what you hear is not 'what is' - the word is never the thing. What one can do is only to go into this question of thought and be constantly aware of this problem of desire, pleasure and fear. You can't escape from it. You have to understand it, look at it, live with it, be aware of it, conscious of it.
Questioner: Sir, thought enters in relationship; but how may it come about that love does, which is not born out of memory?
Krishnamurti: It happens only when your whole being, everything in you says, I must find out what love is; when you give all your attention, Sir, to find out. You understand? Then thought begins to wither away. But if you're not interested in it, if you're not as hungry to find out as you are for food, then thought dominates, destroys everything that it touches in this relationship.
Questioner: Then love will be full of energy, or not?
Krishnamurti: Find out, Sir. The energy that thought - and thought is energy - wastes in desire, in pain, fear, anxiety - when all that is gone then there is only energy - which is love. But you see, I really dislike to use that word because it has been so corrupted. Every man and woman talks about love, all the magazines, newspapers, every missionary, every priest in every church talks everlastingly about love of God! That's not love at all. Love is something that thought cannot possibly come upon and we are so full of thought; thought can never come upon that beauty, that ecstasy.
6th August 1967