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Chapter 67 - Relationship is society
Freedom is not something you set out to find. It isn't a thing to be cultivated. It comes naturally, through the negation of what it is not. It is not a reaction, and this is a basic thing that must be understood. The reaction to what is is a continuation of what is in a different form. It may be modified, it may be structured differently, it may be rationalized and made to function, but this is not freedom. This reaction may take the form of opinion, evaluation, of judgment, but this is not freedom. The reaction to an old order, to tradition, to various forms of authority is not freedom. The reaction of one's particular tendency, idiosyncrasy or characteristics, which are the response of one's conditioning, is not freedom. The reaction to having been told to restrain, to control, to obey by going off in some different direction, pleasant or unpleasant, neurotic or rational, is not freedom. And going from one orthodoxy to another, from one belief to another, from one authority to another, however pleasant, is not freedom; exchanging one ideology for another, is in no way freedom.
To do what one likes is an imagined freedom. To assert one's own individuality, and the identification of one's desires with something that is romantically or mystically great, is not freedom.
Freedom is the understanding of all this, not only verbally but actually transcending all this. That is why it is so important to observe clearly the repetitive reactions in the guise of freedom and experience. Through negation of these reactions and in transcending them, one is confronted with the actual, the what is. The what is is relationship.
Relationship is society, this society which humanity has put together. As you and I have put this society together, we are responsible for the society. It is our society, not "theirs". It is not created only by your parents, you also are responsible for it. You as a human being are creating this society and you are part of this society. So you are the society, the world.
It is your relationship with another, your behaviour, your conflicts, your ambitions, your competition that has brought about this structure in which we live. Again, this is very important to understand. Understanding is not at the intellectual or verbal level; understanding is action. It is not first understanding and then action afterwards; they are simultaneous, they go together. This relationship is not only with your intimate friend or with your neighbour, but with people you never see, who may be thousands of miles away. The responsibility of relationship is enormous. You cannot live without relationship; life is relationship. However much one may want to isolate oneself for neurotic reasons or for some form of specialization, one is still in relationship.
So relationship is of the highest importance. There is no relationship if your daily activity is centred around your own egotistic activities. There is no relationship if you build a wall around yourself because you have been hurt, or because you cannot have what you want, or because you are trying to fulfil yourself in a particular activity. There is no relationship if you are tethered to a strong belief or a conclusion, either one given by another or one you have put together yourself. There is no relationship if you belong to one group as opposed to another, or if you have committed yourself to one course of action based on some rational or irrational conclusion. There is no relationship if you have an image about yourself or about another. That image may be based on your knowledge, your experience, and these images, either traditional or your own, separate you from another. Where there is separation of any kind, national, religious, economic or social, there must be conflict in yourself and so with the world. Where there is conflict there is no relationship.
Love has no conflict. When love becomes pleasure- there begins conflict. Desire is not love, and in the fulfilment of desire love is denied.
Relationship is not only with human beings, but with nature, with the tree and with the animal. When we lose contact with nature, we lose contact with each other. When you lose contact with the birds, the shy and timid quail, then you lose contact with your child and the person across the street. When you kill an animal to eat, you are also cultivating insensitivity which will kill that man across the border. When you lose contact with the enormous movement of life, you lose all relationship. Then you, the ego with all its fanciful urges, demands and pursuits, become all-important, and the gulf between you and the world widens in endless conflicts.
So relationship and freedom go together. The denial of what is not relationship and the negation of what is not freedom bring about an action of total responsibility. And this is love.