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6th Public Talk - 18th July 1968
When we left off last time we were going to talk about pleasure; exploring that very important factor in life we have also to understand what love is and in understanding that we have also to find out what beauty is. So there are three things involved: there is pleasure, there is beauty about which we talk and feel a great deal, and there is love that word which is so spoilt. We will go into it, step by step, rather diligently yet hesitatingly, because such a vast field of human existence is covered by these three things. And to come to any conclusion, to say 'This is pleasure' or 'One must not have pleasure', or 'This is love', 'This is beauty' seems to me to demand the very clearest comprehension and feeling of beauty, of love and pleasure. So we must, if we are somewhat wise, avoid any formula, any conclusion, any definite apprehension about this deep subject. To come into contact with the deep truth of these three things is not a matter of intellection nor of the definition of words, nor of any vague, mystical, or parapsychological feeling.
(You know, I have not really enquired into it, except I have a general view of it, so I am also investigating with you. It is not that I have prepared a talk and come here to spill it out. So if I hesitate and go rather slowly, I hope you will be equally careful, and slowly, hesitatingly enquire.)
For most of us pleasure and its expression, is very important. Most of our moral values are based on it, on the ultimate or immediate pleasure; our hereditary and psychological trends and our physical and neurological reactions are based on pleasure. If you examine, not only the outward values and judgments of society, but also look within yourself, you will see that pleasure and its evaluation is the main pursuit of our lives. We may resist, we may sacrifice, we may achieve or deny, but at the end of it there is always this sense of gaining pleasure, satisfaction, contentment, of being pleased or gratified. Self expression and self fulfilment is a form of pleasure and when that pleasure is thwarted, blocked, there is fear and out of that fear there is aggression. Please, watch this in yourself, you are not just listening to a lot of words or ideas, they have no meaning; you can read in a book a psychological explanation that will have no value; but if we investigate together, step by step, then you will see for yourself what an extraordinary thing comes out of it. Bear in mind that we are not saying we must not have pleasure, that pleasure is wrong, as the various religious groups throughout the world maintain. We are not saying you must suppress, deny, control, translate to a higher level and all that kind of thing. We are just examining and if we can examine quite objectively, deeply, then out of that comes a different state of mind which has a bliss, but not pleasure bliss is something entirely different.
We know what pleasure is, the looking at a beautiful mountain, at a lovely tree, at the light in a cloud that is chased by the wind across the sky, at the beauty of the river with its clear running water. There is a great deal of pleasure in watching all of this or in seeing the beautiful face of a woman, a man or a child; and we all know the pleasure that comes through touch, taste, seeing, listening. And when that intense pleasure is sustained by thought, then there is the counteraction which is aggression, reprisal, anger, hate, born out of the feeling of not getting that pleasure which you are after and therefore fear which is again fairly obvious if you observe it. Any kind of experience is sustained by thought, the pleasure of an experience of yesterday, whatever it was, sensual, sexual, visual. Thought thinks over, thought chews over the pleasure, goes over it, creating an image or picture which sustains it, gives it nourishment. Thought gives sustenance to that pleasure of yesterday, gives it a continuity today and tomorrow. Do notice it. And when the pleasure sustained by that thought is inhibited, because it is bound round by circumstance, by various forms of hindrances, then that thought is in revolt, it turns its energy into aggression, to hate, to violence which again is another form of pleasure.
Most of us seek pleasure through self-expression. We want to express ourselves, whether in little or in great things. The artist wants to express himself on the canvas, the author in books, the musician using an instrument and so on. This self-expression from which one derives an enormous amount of pleasure is it beauty? When an artist expresses himself he derives pleasure and intense satisfaction is that beauty? Or, because he can't completely convey on canvas or in words what he feels, there is discontent, which is another form of pleasure.
So is beauty pleasure? And when there is self-expression in any form, does it convey beauty? And is love pleasure? Is love which has now almost become synonymous with sex and its expression and all that is involved in it, self-forgetfulness and so on is love, when thought derives intense pleasure from it, love? When it is thwarted it becomes jealousy, anger, hatred. Pleasure entails domination, possession, dependence and therefore fear. So one asks oneself, is love pleasure? Is love desire, in all its subtle forms, sexual, as companionship, tenderness and that self-forgetfulness is all that love and if it is not, then what is love?
If you have observed your own mind operating, being aware of the very activity of the brain, you will see that from the ancient time, from the very beginning, man has pursued pleasure. If you have watched the animal, you see how pleasure is an extraordinarily important thing, the pursuit of pleasure and the aggression when that pleasure is thwarted.
We are built on that: our judgments, our values, our social demands, our relationships and so on, are based on this essential principle of pleasure and its self-expression; and when that is thwarted, when that is controlled, twisted, prevented, then there is anger, then there is aggression which becomes another form of pleasure.
What relationship has pleasure to love? Or has pleasure relationship to love at all? Is love something entirely different? Is love something which is not fragmented by society, by religion, as profane and divine? How are you going to find out? How are you going to find out for yourself? Not being told by another, for if somebody tells you what it is and you say 'Yes, that's right' it is not yours, it is not something you have discovered and felt profoundly for yourself.
What relationship has the pleasure of self-expression to beauty and to love? The scientist, he must know the truth of things; for the human being not the specialized philosopher, the scientist, the technologist but for the human being concerned with daily life, the earning of a livelihood, with the family, and so on, is truth something static? Or is it something that you discover as you go along, never stationary, never permanent but always moving? Truth is not an intellectual phenomenon, it is not an emotional or sentimental affair and we have to find the truth of pleasure, the truth of beauty and the reality of what love is.
One has seen the torture of love, the dependence on it, the fear of it, the loneliness of not being loved and the everlasting seeking of it in all kinds of relationships, never finding it to one's complete satisfaction. So one asks, is love satisfaction and at the same time a torture hedged about by jealousy, envy, hatred, anger, dependence?
When there is not beauty in the heart we go to museums and concerts, we visit and marvel at the beauty of an ancient Greek temple with its lovely columns, its proportions against the blue sky. We talk endlessly about beauty; we lose touch with nature altogether as modem man, living more and more in towns, is losing it. There are societies formed to go into the country to look at the birds, trees and rivers; as though by forming societies to look at trees you are going to touch nature and come into extraordinary contact with the immense beauty! Because we have lost touch with nature, modern objective painting, museums and concerts, assume such importance.
There is an emptiness, a sense of inward void which is always seeking self-expression and the deriving of pleasure and hence breeding the fear of not having it completely; there is resistance, aggression and all the rest of it. We proceed to fill that inward void, that emptiness and sense of utter isolation and loneliness which I am sure you have all felt with books, with knowledge, with relationships; with every form of trickery, but at the end of it there is still this unfillable emptiness; then we turn to God, the ultimate resort. When there is this emptiness and this sense of deep unfathomable void, is love, is beauty, possible? If one is aware of this emptiness and does not escape from it, then what is one to do? We have tried to fill it with gods, with knowledge, with experience, with music, with pictures, with extraordinary technological information; that is what we are occupied with morning until night. One realizes that this emptiness cannot be filled by any person one sees the importance of this. If you fill it with that which is called relationship with another person or with an image, then out of that comes dependence and the fear of loss, then aggressive possession, jealousy and all the rest that follows. So one asks oneself: can that emptiness ever be filled by anything, by social activity, good works, going to a monastery and meditating, training oneself to be aware? which again is such an absurdity. If one cannot fill it then what is one to do? You understand the importance of this question? One has tried to fill it with what one calls pleasure, through self-expression, searching for truth, God; one realizes that nothing can ever fill it, neither the image one has created about oneself nor the image or ideology one has created about the world, nothing. And so, one has used beauty, love and pleasure to cover this emptiness and if one no longer escapes but remains with it, then what is one to do? Is the question clear? Have you followed somewhat?
What is this loneliness, this sense of deep inward void, what is it and how does it come into being? Does it exist because we are trying to fill it, or are trying to escape from it? Does it exist because we are afraid of it? Is it just an idea of emptiness, therefore the mind is never in contact with what actually is (I do not know if you are following all this) it is never directly in relationship with it?
I see you are not meeting my point.
I discover this emptiness in myself and I cease to escape for that is obviously an immature activity I am aware of it, there it is and nothing can fill it. Now I ask myself: how has this come into being? Has all my living, have all my daily activities and assumptions and so on, produced it? is it that the 'self', the 'me', the 'ego' or whatever word you may use in all its activity, is isolating itself? The very nature of the 'me', the 'self', the 'ego', is isolation; it is separative. All these activities have produced this isolated state, this state of deep emptiness in myself, so it is a result, a consequence, not something inherent. I see that as long as my activity is self-centred and self-expressive there must be this void; I see that to fill this void I make every kind of effort; which again is self-centred and the emptiness becomes wider and deeper.
Is it possible to go beyond this state? not by escaping from it, not by saying 'I will not be self-centred.' When one says 'I will not be self-centred' one is already self-centred. When one exercises 'will' to deny the activity of the 'self' that very 'will' is the factor of isolation.
The mind has been conditioned through centuries upon centuries in its demand for security and safety; it has built both physiologically and psychologically this self-centred activity and this activity pervades the daily life, as my family, my job, my possessions, and that produces this emptiness, this isolation. How is that activity to end, can it ever end, or must one entirely ignore that activity and bring another quality to it altogether?
I wonder if you are following all this? I see this emptiness, I see how it has come into being, I am aware that 'will', or any other activity, exerted to dispel the creator of this emptiness is only another form of self-centred activity; I see that very clearly, objectively and I realize suddenly that I cannot do anything about it. You understand? Before, I did something about it, I escaped, or I tried to fill it, I tried to understand it and to go into it, but they are all other forms of isolation. So, I suddenly realize that I cannot do anything, that the more I try to do something about it, the more I am creating and building walls of isolation. The mind itself realizes that it cannot do anything about it, that thought cannot touch it, because the moment thought touches it, it breeds emptiness again. So by carefully observing, objectively, I see this whole process and the very seeing of it is enough. See what has happened. Before I have used energy to fill this emptiness, wandered all over the place and now I see the absurdity of it, the mind sees very clearly how absurd it is, so now I am not dissipating energy. Thought becomes quiet; the mind becomes completely still; it has seen the whole map of this and so there is silence; in that silence there is no loneliness. When there is that silence, that complete silence of the mind, there is beauty and love, which may, or may not, express.
Have you at all followed? Have we taken the journey together? Madame, don't say 'yes'.. this, that we are talk- about, is one of the most difficult things and one of the most dangerous, because if you are at all neurotic as most of us are then it becomes complicated and ugly. This is a tremendously complex problem; when you look at this extraordinarily complex problem it becomes very, very simple; and the very simplicity of it leads you to say 'that is so simple' and you think you have got it.
So, there is bliss only, which is beyond pleasure; there is beauty, which is not the expression of a cunning mind, but the beauty which is known when the mind is completely silent.
It is raining and you can hear the pattern of the drops. You can hear it with your ears, or you can hear it out of that deep silence. If you hear it with complete silence of the mind, then the beauty of it is such that cannot be put into words or onto canvas, because that beauty is something beyond self-expression. Love obviously is bliss, which is not pleasure.
Do want to talk about it, explore together?
Questioner: When there is no awareness all the old responses come into being. How is one to prevent, or to inhibit, or to put aside, the old responses?
Krishnamurti: Put it into different words, perhaps that may help. There are the states of inattention and of attention. When you are completely giving your mind, your heart, your nerves, everything you have, to attend, then the old habits, the mechanical responses, do not enter into it, thought does not come into it at all. But we cannot maintain that all the time, so we are mostly in a state of inattention, a state in there is not an alert choiceless awareness. What takes place? There is inattention and rare attention and we are trying to bridge the one to the other. How can my inattention become attention or, can attention be complete, all the time?
Inattention can never become attention. How can it? How can you make hate into love? You cannot. But investigate the ways of inattention, watch it, watch how inattention grows, be aware of it and do not try to make inattention into attention, do nothing right? You are inattentive what is happening? look at it very carefully, be aware that you are inattentive, do not try to force it to become attention. Be aware that you are inattentive, then you will change it; but you cannot do it if you say 'I will be aware that I am inattentive'. You understand what I am talking about? Do please look at it, do not come to any conclusions, first look. There are two states, one is inattention, and the other in rare moments is complete attention when thought does not come into it at all; in those rare moments you will discover something wholly new. In that complete attention there is a different dimension altogether. If that then becomes something that you have known, that you have felt, that you remember, if it becomes a memory and you say to yourself 'I wish I could capture that again, keep hold of it, not let it go', then that again is the state of inattention. So, be aware of inattention not, 'how to be attentive' do not do anything about inattention. All right, I am inattentive, but I am very careful, I am watching it, I am not trying to give it a shape, I am not trying to change it, I am just watching it. The very watching is attention.
Questioner: The great part of our daily life is lived at the solely factual level, particularly so with children learning facts at school. Is this daily and necessary factual activity an impediment to psychological freedom?
Krishnamurti: Sir, nothing is an impediment to psychological freedom, nothing! An impediment comes into being only when there is a resistance. When there is no resistance of any kind then there is no psychological problem. If you treat the daily living, earning a livelihood, educating the children, the boredom of it all, the routine, the daily business of washing dishes, with resistance, as a hindrance, then it becomes a problem. But when you are aware of this whole process of living with its routine, with its habits, with its boredom, with its anxieties, griefs, fears, dominations, possessions when you are aware of it without any choice, (you can't do anything about that rain, or the line of those hills, and if you can look at your own activity in the same way, quietly, without any choice, without any resistance) then there is no psychological problem there is only freedom out of that.
18th July, 1968