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Chapter 40 - Freedom is the essence of thinking together
I think it is important to learn the art of thinking together. Scientists and the most uneducated human beings think. They think according to their profession, specialization and according to their beliefs and experiences. We all think, objectively or according to our own particular inclinations, but we never seem to think together, to observe together. We may think about something, a particular problem or an experience, but this thinking does not go beyond its own limitation. Thinking together, not about a particular subject but having the capacity to think together, is entirely different. To think together is necessary when you are facing the great crisis that is taking place in the world, the danger, the terror and the ultimate brutality of war. To observe this, not as a capitalist, socialist, from the extreme left or extreme right, but to observe it together, demands not only that we comprehend how we have come to this rotten state, but also that together we perceive a way out. The businessman or the politician looks at this problem from a limited point of view, but we are saying we must look at life as a whole not as British, French or Chinese.
What does it mean to look at life as a whole? It means to observe the human being, ourselves, without any division of nationality, to see life as one single movement without a beginning and without an end, without time, without death. This is a difficult thing to understand because we think of the part, not the totality. We divide, hoping to understand the whole from its part.
The art of thinking together needs to be studied carefully, examined to see whether it is at all possible. Each one clings to his own way of thinking according to his own particular reactions, experiences, prejudices. This is how we are conditioned, and it prevents having the capacity to think together. Thinking together does not mean being of one mind. Our minds can come together about an ideal, an historical conclusion or some philosophical concept, and work for that, but this is essentially based on authority. Freedom is the essence of thinking together. You must be free from your concepts, prejudices, and so on. I too must be free, and we come together in this freedom. It means dropping all our conditioning. It implies complete attention without any past. The present world crisis demands that we totally abandon our tribal instincts that have become glorified as nationalism. Thinking together implies that we totally abandon self- interest and identifying ourselves as British, Arab, russian and so on.
Then what is a human being to do facing this danger of the separatism of self-interest? There is the expansionist movement of one power over another economically or politically, or of one or two bigoted, neurotic leaders. What is a human being confronted with this to do? Either you turn away from it and withdraw into indifference, or you join some political activity, or take refuge in some religious group. You cannot escape from this. It is there.
What do I do? I reject the present pattern of social structures, the nonsensical irreligious ways. I reject all that. So I am totally isolated. This isolation is not an escape to some form of ivory tower or into some romantic illusion. Because I see the futility, the divisiveness in the pursuit of self-interest and nationalism, in expansionism, in the irreligious life, I reject the total destructiveness of this society. So I stand alone. As I am not then contributing psychologically to the destructive consciousness of man, I am in the stream of that which is goodness, compassion and intelligence. That intelligence is acting, confronting the madness of the present world. That intelligence will act wherever the ugly is.