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Chapter 14 - The movement of thought is not beauty
We have become far too clever. Our brains have been trained to be verbally, intellectually, very bright. They are crammed with a great deal of information, and we use this for profitable careers. A clever, intellectual person is praised, shown honour. Such people seem to usurp all the important places in the world; they have power, position, prestige; but their cleverness betrays them at the end. In their hearts they never know what love is or deep charity and generosity, for they are enclosed in their vanity and arrogance. This has become the pattern of all highly endowed schools. A boy or girl in a conventional school, gets trapped in modern civilization and is lost to the whole beauty of life. When you wander through woods with heavy shadows and dappled light and suddenly come upon an open space, a green meadow surrounded by stately trees, or a sparkling stream, you wonder why man has lost his relationship to nature and the beauty of the earth, the fallen leaf and the broken branch. If you have lost touch with nature, then you will inevitably lose relationship with another. Nature is not just the flowers, the lovely green lawn or the flowing waters in your little garden, but the whole earth with all the things on it. We consider that nature exists for our use, for our convenience, and so lose communion with the earth. Sensitivity to the fallen leaf and to the tall tree on a hill is far more important than all the passing of examinations and having a bright career. Those are not the whole of life. Life is like a vast river with a great volume of water without a beginning or an ending. We take out of that fast running current a bucket of water, and that confined water becomes our life. This is our conditioning and our everlasting sorrow.
The movement of thought is not beauty. Thought can create what appears to be beautiful-the painting, the marble figure or a lovely poem-but this is not beauty. Beauty is supreme sensitivity, not to the sense of one's own pains and anxieties, but encompassing the whole existence of humanity. There is beauty only when the current of the "me" has completely dried up. When the "me" is not, beauty is. With the abandonment of the self, the passion of beauty comes into being.
We have been talking over together in these letters the degeneration of the mind. We have pointed out for your examination and investigation some of the ways of this deterioration. One of its basic activities is thought. Thought is a breaking up of the wholeness of the mind. The whole contains the part, but the part can never be that which is complete. Thought is the most active part of our life. Feeling goes with thought. Essentially they are one, though we tend to separate them. Having separated them, we give great importance to feeling, to sentiment, to romanticism and devotion; but thought, like a string in a necklace, weaves itself through them all, hidden, alive, controlling and shaping. It is always there, though we like to think our deep emotions are essentially different. In this lies great illusion, a deception that is highly regarded and leads to dishonesty.
As we have said, thought is the actuality of our daily life. All so-called sacred books are the product of thought. They may be revered as revelation, but they are essentially thought. Thought has put together the turbine and the great temples of the earth, the rocket, and the enmity in men. Thought has been responsible for wars, for the language one uses and the image made by the hand or by the mind. Thought dominates relationship. Thought has described what love is, the heavens and the pain of misery. Man worships thought, admires its subtleties, its cunning, its violence, its cruelties in the name of a cause. Thought has brought great advances in technology and with them a capacity for destruction. This has been the story of thought, repeated throughout the centuries.
Why has humanity given such extraordinary importance to thought? Is it because, even though it is activated through the senses, it is the only thing we have? Is it because thought has been able to dominate nature, dominate its surroundings, and has brought about some physical security? Is it because it is the greatest instrument through which man operates, lives and benefits? Is it because thought has made the gods, the saviours, the superconsciousness- forgetting the anxiety, the fear, the sorrow, the envy, the guilt? Is it because it holds people together as nations, as groups, as sects? Is it because it offers hope to dark lives? Is it because it gives an opening to escape from the daily boring ways of our lives? Is it because, not knowing what the future is, it offers the security of the past, in its arrogance insistence on experience? Is it because there is stability in knowledge, the avoidance of fear in the certainty of the known? Is it because thought in itself has assumed an invulnerable position, taken a stand against the unknown? Is it because love is unaccountable, not measurable, while thought is measured and resists the changeless movement of love?
We have never questioned the very nature of thought. We have accepted thought as inevitable as our eyes and legs. We have never probed to the very depth of thought, and because we have never questioned it, it has assumed preeminence. It is the tyrant of our life, and tyrants are rarely challenged.
So, as educators we are going to expose it to the bright light of observation. The light of observation not only instantly dispels illusion, but the clarity of its light reveals the tiniest detail of that which is being observed. As we have said, observation is not from a fixed point, from a belief, prejudice or conclusion. Opinion is a rather shoddy affair and so also is experience. The man of experience is a dangerous person because he is caught in the prison of his own knowledge.
So can you observe with extraordinary clarity the whole movement of thought? This light is freedom. This does not mean that you have captured it and employed it for your convenience and benefit. The very observation of thought is the observation of your whole being, and this very being is put together by thought. As thought is finite, limited, so are you.