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Dialogue 12 - Madras - 3rd January 1971 - ‘The paradox of causation’
Questioner S: In physics we have certain unsolved problems. If the world is fully causal, then you cannot change anything. If the world is not fully causal, you cannot find any laws for such a world. Either the world is causal or not. Of course, if you think of cause and effect as one single entity, if all the world is one and there is no separation into pieces, then of course there is no cause and effect.
If the whole universe is physical and suffers physical laws, then you have no choice. In a purely physical thing, there is no option. Even if the soul or whatever it is, is different from the kind of things that we are talking about, it still has no special significance if it is subject to physical laws. You cannot say that there is no cause-effect relationship because it is not natural. You cannot also accept cause and effect because there is no control over it and so what is the point in saying it? This is the paradox. What is the way out of this paradox?
Krishnamurti: Are you talking of karma?
S: No. The physical universe is closed. There is no movement here at all.
Krishnamurti: All this implies time, does it not? That is, anything put together, horizontal or vertical, is time. Cause and effect are in time. Cause becoming effect and the effect being the cause, are all within the field of time. Whether I move my hand up this way or that, whether the movement is linear or vertical – all these are in within the field of time. Are you asking, Sir, can we move out of time?
S: No. The experience of a physical law is within time. One does not ask questions within that law and what option does one have?
Krishnamurti: None at all. Within the prison you can operate, but it is always within the field of time, cause-effect and effect-cause are within the field of time. Memory, experience, knowledge are within time and thought is the response of all that. If I have no memory, I cannot think; I will be in a state of amnesia. And thought is the response of memory. Thinking is within the field of time because it is put together through experience, knowledge, memory and memory is part of the brain cells.
So thought can never move out of the field of time, because thought is never free. Thought is always old. Between the intervals of two thoughts, one may come upon something new and translate it in terms of time. There is a gap between two thoughts. In that interval there might be a different perception and the translation of that perception is time, but the perception itself is not of time.
S: I have several questions to ask here.
Krishnamurti: Go slow. Otherwise living in time there is nothing new. Living in time, thought which is put together, when thought tries to investigate something beyond time, it is still thought. So, as long as thought and time are within the field, it is a prison; I can think it is freedom but it would be merely a conception, a formula. It is like a man who is violent and pretends he is non-violent, and the whole ideological conception in this country of being non-violent and violent at the same time is a pretension.
So, as far as thought functions, it must function within the field of time. There is no escape from it at all. I can pretend I am thinking outside time, but it is still within time. Thought is old, whether it is the atman, the super ego, it is all part of thought.
S: Where is the way out of the paradox?
Krishnamurti: The intellect, thought functions there. And we are trying to find an answer here as a physicist, biologist, mathematician, as a bourgeois or as a sannyasi.
S: But there are laws in physics.
Krishnamurti: Of course there are. This is anyhow a madhouse and we are trying to find an answer within this. This is a fact. I have to accept it as it is. Then my question is, is there an action which is not of this? Here all action is fragmentary. You are a religious man, I am a scientist. In this everything is in a state of fragmentation.
S: Fragmentation carries laws.
Krishnamurti: Of course, but these laws have not solved human problems. Apart from physics you are a human being. Take the problem as it is, that human beings live in fragments, that society is broken up. There is fragmentation. And thought is responsible for this.
S: Thought is also responsible for all the other things.
Krishnamurti: Surely. The priests, the inventions, the discoveries, the Gods, the yogis, everything. So that is what actually is. The problem is how we live here and find something else. You cannot. The question is not how to integrate the various fragments, but how is it possible to live without fragmentation?
S: To the extent to which it is possible, you have no questions. At that point it ceases to be physics. At that level I am no longer a physicist.
Krishnamurti: Of course. You are first a human being, a non-fragmentary human being. Your action can then be a non-fragmentary action.
S: For the non-fragmented person physics does not exist.
Krishnamurti: What is the importance of an artist?
S: He transports people into states which they themselves are not able to reach. Still fragmentary, but different.
Krishnamurti: Being fragmented, he needs self-expression and the self is part of the fragmentation. So would you deny the artist his function? Now the physicist is important. But he does not come before the universe, the human heart, the human mind. He is as important or not important as the artist.
S: There is a difference in the quality. The artist is usually non-clear.
Krishnamurti: The artist is clear in his feeling, but the expression goes wrong because he is conditioned to objectivism, non-objectivism and all that. So, can I live in this world non-fragmentarily; not as a Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, communist, but as a human being?
S: Why not just live; why the word “human”?
Krishnamurti: The way we live is not human at all. It is a battle – country, wife, children, the boss – we live that way. We are at war with each other. If you call that living, I say that is not it. This perpetual struggle is not living.
S: Life is not a perpetual struggle all the time.
Krishnamurti: But most of the time it is. The window is closed.
S: But why the word “human”?
Krishnamurti: Sir, I did not use the word “individual”. You know the meaning of the word “individual” – one who is indivisible. Man is not. So one realizes this fact of fragmentation, time and the constant battle for position, power, prestige, success, domination and the effort to escape from all this to reach enlightenment through the mantra, through yoga. How is this everlasting chattering, that is going on all the time, to come to an end? Is it at all possible not to be fragmented? How is it possible for the brain cells themselves to be quiet, because that is the mechanism of time, because that is being put together slowly over years. That is what we call evolution. That is the central question.
S: And that is rightly so. You bring the problem back to physics, because physics talks about the external universe but it does not talk about brain cells. If you had only a fragment of reality, then you do not accept it as consistent. If it is consistent, then it is fiction. Could the fragment be self-consistent?
Krishnamurti: I would put it this way. I would suggest, is it possible for a human being to be a physicist and be self-consistent without fragmenting himself?
I see time is the central factor. Thought is the response of memory, thought is time.
S.: For the experiencer...
Krishnamurti: The experiencer is the experienced, the observer is the observed. The observer is over there and looks at it. There is space and time. The observer separates himself through conclusions, images, formulas, etc., and so creates space and time, and this is one of the major fragmentations.
Can the observer look without the observed who is the maker of time, space, distance? After all, Sir, how do you discover anything, say, as a physicist?
S: I am peculiar, I invent them.
Krishnamurti: There must be a period in which the inventor is silent.
Krishnamurti: If he is constantly in movement, there is continuity. There must be a break. In that he sees something new.
The observer sees through the image and it is continued in time. And so he cannot see anything new. If I look at my wife with the image of years, and I call that relationship, there is nothing new in that.
So is it possible to see something new without the observer? The observer is time. Can I look at “what is”, the fragmented without the observer that is time? Can there be a perception without the perceiver?
S: There is no perception without the perceiver, but the perceived is sort of waiting to be perceived.
Krishnamurti: The tree is there all the time without the perceiver, and the perceiver is looking at it through fragmentation, through the censor. Can the censor be absent and yet be observed?
S: Certainly not. Perception is a single act. There is no possibility of breaking it up.
Krishnamurti: Who is the censor? Who is the perceiver? Who is using the verb “to perceive”?
S: When you are perceiving, you do not talk about the perceiver.
Krishnamurti: I look at the tree with knowledge. Can the observer observe without the past? Who is the thinker, the examiner?
S: When you perceive, you do not need all this.
Krishnamurti: There is the tree. Can I look at it without the observer?
Krishnamurti: There is only that. Then the perceiver comes into operation. So the image-maker can look without the image. Otherwise you cannot invent.
S: We were talking about communication. If time itself is the product of thinking, then how can thinking be imprisoned in time? Then what makes time common to all people?
M: Different people have the same notion of time.
Krishnamurti: I wonder if they do.
M: Can it be answered?
Krishnamurti: Why do you want a concept of time? You look at the watch, you have no concept about it.
S: The idea of time as movement is associated with the watch.
Krishnamurti: Within the rising and setting of the sun, there is numerical time, but is there any other psychological, inward time?
S: There is another time when you think of action in the future.
Krishnamurti: So time is the movement of the past through the present to the future. That is time.
S: Time is part of thought.
Krishnamurti: Time is thought. Time is sorrow.
S: How can thought transcend itself? What is the significance of saying that thought cannot transcend itself?
Krishnamurti: But it is all the time trying it. Let me put it this way. What is the validity of time? I have to go from here to there, from this house to the other house, from one continent to another continent; I will be a manager of this factory – all that involves time, which is being put together, in sequence or not in sequence.
S: There is a great limitation to this. Time is single but experiences are not single. Time is one dimensional: one string with beads collected on it. Experience connected together gives you an impression of time, but time itself is one dimension, a single string. You can think of different strands and scales of time. They are a string of time. The connectivity of things can be complex. We do not experience the multiple connectivity of it. We can, of course, experience several things together; for example, I am listening to you, part of my mind may be thinking of something else, I may be shaking my toe; because my understanding is functioning, I watch all that. I see a series of pictures but I do not live anything.
Krishnamurti: That means the self is absent.
S: There is no single self.
Krishnamurti: That is, there is no centre.
S: There is no centre which has time in it.
Krishnamurti: That means in oneself there is no fragmentation at all. At the very core of one’s being, there is no fragmentation.
S: Put that way, one sees there is a state in which there is no fragmentation.
Krishnamurti: Can one find out a quality in which there is no fragmentation, which means the ending of thought; thought breeds fragmentation, which is time?
Look, Sir, when you go through the world there are separate actions – social, political, communal, the hippy action – all fragmented. Is there an action which is not fragmented but which will cover all that?
S: When you use the word “action”, action is associated with time.
Krishnamurti: I mean the active present.
S: Yes, it is.
Krishnamurti: It means there is a quality of mind in which there is no fragmentation at all. It is active present all the time.
What relationship has all this with love? What is the relationship between me, you and the artist? I think that is the core of relationship. Love has been reduced to sex and all the morality round it. If love is not there, fragmentation will go on. You will be a physicist, I will be something and we will communicate, discuss, but they are mere words.
S: How do you communicate? There has been some communication after you have talked. How do I understand that? How is it that I understand it?
Krishnamurti: What does the word “communication” mean? You and I have something in common. Common implies sharing.
S: How is it possible to share?
Krishnamurti: Wait, we are using time to communicate. “Common” implies that both of us want to understand, examine, share an issue together. I am not giving, you are not receiving. We are sharing. So a relationship of sharing is established. You are not sitting on the platform and I on the ground. What really happens when you share a problem like sorrow in human beings? It is tremendous.
S: At the time you are sharing sorrow, after a while you do not see the person. I can understand that with deep personal emotions, but with an idea it is not possible.
Krishnamurti: What is the point of sharing ideas?
S: We share insights.
Krishnamurti: Which is understanding. But ideas are not understanding. On the contrary, formulas about understanding prevent understanding. Sir, when you share together, what takes place? Both of us have the same intensity, at the same time, at the same level. That is love. Otherwise there is no sharing. After all, Sir, to understand something together, I must forget all my experiences, prejudices, and so must you. Otherwise we cannot share.
Have you ever discussed with a Communist, with a Catholic?
S: I try to understand him.
Krishnamurti: But he will not understand you. That is simple. Take Chardin. He may have travelled extensively, covered a wide canvas, but he was fixed as a Catholic. You cannot share with a man who is fixed. Sharing implies love. Can a man who is fixed in a certain attitude, can he love?
S: He can have mystical experiences.
Krishnamurti: Because he is conditioned. He sees Krishna, Christ. He sees what he wants to. The question is whether the mind can uncondition itself? Not through time, for when the mind uses time to undo time, it is still within time.
Real understanding is out of time.
There is so little of love, of sharing, but of the other there is plenty. (Pause)
Sir, here we ask the question what is meditation? Whether the mind can be free of all its content because consciousness is made up of the content?
M: Most often when you talk of understanding you think of one individual. To have communication you must have two minds. Also there are some thoughts which occur to me. I may later on find out it has already occurred to other people, but are there thoughts which arise only when two people are together?
S: M says there are situations when two people have ideas together which neither could have got independently.
Krishnamurti: When two people come together, what takes place? You express something verbally. I hear it, translate it and answer it; that is verbal communication. And in that process certain other factors enter. You do not quite know what you are saying. I hear it, partially understand and partially answer. So communication remains broken. If you say something very clearly and I listen to you without any reaction, there is immediate communication.
May I put it this way? Because I do not know what love is, I want you to love me. I know what love is and, therefore, I can communicate with you. I do not want anything.
But you are asking a further question and that is, is there a necessity at all for communication; necessity in the sense that through communication I uncover something more, I discover something new. Like a man who plays the violin, uses the instrument for himself or uses the instrument and there is nothing beyond it.
S: Neither for good nor evil.
Krishnamurti: Yes, like a flower – take it or leave it, because through communication we discover something together, and without communication can I discover something without verbalizing?
When you and I have a common interest, and intensity at the same level and at the same time, then communion is possible non-verbally. I do not have to tell you “I love you”.
I think we are caught so much in words, in linguistic, semantic enquiry. The word is not the thing. The description is not the described.
S: And since this high level of communication is not a technique or a skill, the question arises, how does one learn anything? A child is able to learn.
Krishnamurti: Is learning a process of accumulation? That is what we do. I learn Italian, store up the words, then I speak. This is what we call learning. Is there learning which is non-accumulation? The two are totally different actions.
S: May I ask something? It may be totally irrelevant, but you will understand. Is there “the other”? Are there “other” people?
Krishnamurti: It all depends upon what you mean by “the other”, “the other people”.
S: Most times there is multiplicity – but there is also aloneness.
S: Since aloneness is real..................
Krishnamurti: Why do you call aloneness real and the other unreal? We know loneliness, resistance, the dual movement of action, defensive or aggressive action, being caught in thought, and that brings greater isolation – we and they, my party and yours. Now can the mind go beyond isolation, beyond resistance which means can it be completely alone? Not in the sense of isolation. It is only then that I discover something new, that which is real.
S: I have experience of that state, but you caught me at that point when you asked me, “why do you divide”. There are two situations. There are states when I do not see multiplicity and there are states in which I see multiplicity. I have a feeling that the states in which I see multiplicity are falling off.
Krishnamurti: Be careful, Sir. You are caught. Falling off – what do you mean, that is time. Anything that you can get rid of slowly is time, whereas the other does not involve time at all. So do not get caught, Sir. (Pause)
So is there a perception and action without time? I see danger, physical, and there is instant action. I do not say I will gradually withdraw from danger. So is there a perception of this sense of loneliness, resistance? Is there a perception, a seeing the danger of it completely, and the very seeing is the getting rid of it?
S: If you see the whole thing completely, there is no falling off. It is not there.
M: That is, there is no preparing for it.
S: This statement is at variance with my experience. I have experienced timeless moments. I loved it. I have a memory of it.
Krishnamurti: Leave it alone, Sir.
S: When I hold it, then it is pleasure.
Krishnamurti: That is what it is. Pleasure is the one main ruling principle.