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Chapter 72 - Order is the action of the new, which is intelligence
Freedom is absolute order: neither freedom nor order is relative. Either you are free or you are not. Either there is complete order in you or there is disorder. Order is harmony. Human beings seem to like to live in disorder both outwardly and inwardly. You see this politically. All governments are corrupt; some more, some less. They are run by people who in themselves are disorderly, ambitious, deceitful, with personal antagonisms and vanities. So there is economic war, the very rich and the very poor and all the miseries that come from the struggles of poverty.
You see this confusion in education, which is mainly concerned with the cultivation of memory as knowledge, disregarding the entire psychological structure of man. You see the expression of this disorder where one group of people are killing another group, preparing for war while talking of peace. Science has become the tool of government. Business and progress are destroying the earth, polluting the air and the waters of the seas.
So outwardly, when you look around there is chaos, confusion and great misery. And inwardly too, human beings are unhappy, live contradictory lives, struggling endlessly, in conflict, seeking security and not finding it either in belief or in the things they possess. There is sorrow in life and in death. Man's inward disorder brings about the outward structure of disorder. These are all obvious facts. Though we talk about freedom, apparently very few seem to come upon it.
Education is primarily to bring about order in our daily living and in understanding the whole meaning of life. To understand order and live in that order needs the highest form of intelligence, but we are not being educated for this. We are chiefly concerned with the acquisition of knowledge as a means of survival, a conflicting survival in a chaotic world.
Order is an extraordinary thing. It has its own beauty, its own vitality not dependent on environment. You cannot say to yourself that you will be orderly in your ways, your actions and in your thoughts. If you do, you soon find that it creates a pattern of behaviour which then becomes mechanical. This mechanical habit either in thought or in action-and so in behaviour-is part of this confusion. Order is vastly pliable, subtle and swift. You cannot put it in a frame and endeavour to live according to it. Imitation itself is one of the reasons for confusion and conflict. You cannot lay down rules for the movement of order. If you do, then those very rules become the authority which demands obedience and conformity. This again has brought about man's misery.
Then there is the person who must have everything around him just so with nothing out of place. To him order is everything being in a straight line, and he is neurotically annoyed if that line is twisted or pushed aside. Such a person lives in a cage of his own neurosis. There are various monks and ascetics of the world who have trained their minds and their bodies to obey; their god can be approached only through the doors of strict belief and acceptance. Discipline is the drill of habit in the name of virtue, in the name of the State, in the name of God, peace or what you will.
So you see this all around you every day of your life. In this you are caught, you are part of it. You may deny discipline, order, and cling to an idea of what you think is freedom, but your very concept is a denial of freedom. Freedom is not a concept, an idea, but a reality. It is non-verbal, not put together by thought as a reaction. The total negation of the disorder in which one lives is freedom.
So what is order? The definition according to the dictionary is one thing, and according to your own personal reasoning, inclination or temperament is another. We are concerned with the meaning of that word in the dictionary and not what you think it is. We are concerned with it objectively and not from any personal reaction. The personal point of view about anything distorts what is. The fact is important, not what you think about what is. When you look at the whole movement of life from a personal, conditioned reaction or opinion, then you break up life into the "me" and the "you"; the "you" is the outer, the "me" is the inner, and so conflict begins. This fragmentation is the main cause of inward and outward confusion and conflict. Order comes about in a mind that is not fragmented or broken up by thought.
The order of thought is one thing, and the order of a mind that is whole is another. One leads to mischief, and the other leads to the flowering of goodness. The order of thought as law has its place, but the order of thought in conduct and relationship becomes disorder, for thought is the activity of fragmentation. Thought has divided people as nations, as sectarian religions, as "we" and "they", as communist and non- communist. There is no thought without the word, the image, the symbol. This has divided people. Thought has built this monstrous world, and through thought we are trying to create a new world without realizing that thought itself brings about the activities of conclusion, division and conflict.
The order of a mind that is whole is something entirely different, and here comes the difficulty. When you read this statement, you are translating it into a thought process, and so the reading of it is an abstraction. Having made an abstraction of the statement, you then try to match it with an existing abstraction in your memory. When there is no match, you say you do not understand what the statement means. You say you understand when they conform. So be aware of what is happening in your mind, how quickly thought intervenes, that you never listen or read with a mind that is not burdened with the past. Knowledge is the past. This knowledge has its utilitarian meaning, but when that knowledge is used in our relationships then confusion, conflict and sorrow begin.
So order is the action of the new, which is intelligence.
Now let us go back and look at all this. We were saying that absolute order is freedom. This absolute order can exist only when conflict of every kind has come to an end in you. When there is this order, then you will not ask about the disorders in the world. You will ask that question only when you are the world and the world is you. When you are not of the world, which means there is absolute order in you, then your relation to the world has undergone a total change. You are in the world but not of it.
So become aware of the disorder of the world and the disorder in you. Then there is no division between you and the world, there is only disorder. When the mind is choicelessly aware of this disorder without any movement of thought, then order comes unbidden. What you invite is not order: your invitation comes out of disorder. Order and disorder are not related, they are not opposites. Order does not come about through the conflict of the opposites. Either there is order or there is not. Any pretence at orderliness is born of disorder.
Where there is order there is humility.