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Dialogue 18 - Madras - 14th January 1971 - ‘Energy and fragmentation’

Questioner A: After listening to yesterday’s talk, I wonder what is meant by energy? We only know fragmentary energy.

Krishnamurti: Would you put it differently? Would you say that all energy is fragmented?

A: If I hear your talk and I look at all the fields of my activity, I seem to know nothing but fragmentary energy.

Krishnamurti: That is energy which is fragmented.

A: In observation I see that I know only fragmented energy and I do not know what you are talking about.

Krishnamurti: There is physical energy, intellectual energy, emotional energy, there is the energy of anger, of greed; they are all various forms of energy, like human energy and cosmic energy. They are all divided, but they are energy.

A: I listen to you, but I never seem to come upon what you say.

Krishnamurti: Traditionally it has been said sexual energy must be controlled.

A: Traditionalists hold that unless all dissipations of energy are halted, one will never know the “other”. It does not seem to be that way. Between suppression and the negation you speak about, there is no relationship. The truth is I only know fragmented energy.

Krishnamurti: It may be the traditional approach that holds us to a particular pattern, to that energy which is fragmentary.

A: It may be because every form of energy we know is destructive. Our intellectual energy creates systems and patterns; our emotional energy is reaction against individuals.

Krishnamurti: Yesterday did the speaker not say that all energy springs from one source of energy?

A: What you are saying comes from a different source. And you say that the function of the intellect is to see that intellect itself is fragmentary and, therefore, it is inadequate.

When the intellect sees its inadequacy, that is the highest truth the intellect can perceive. It is only when you come to this that there is the “other”. All that we seem to know is the fragmentary, and you speak of something else.

Krishnamurti: Then what will you do? How do you stop the fragmentation of energy?

A: I would not say how, because that action itself is a becoming process.

Krishnamurti: Then what will you do? How do the professionals, the traditionalists, approach this problem – the problem of various forms of energy contradicting each other and one form of energy assuming the dictatorship of the rest, trying to control, to suppress? Does this happen by introducing the atman?

A: It is shunyata, voidness. Having eliminated, this is a void. In the void is everything. Did you come to this spontaneously?

Krishnamurti: What do the professionals say?

A: Sankara says: “Acquire learning and the prestige that goes with it, so what? Acquire wealth and the power that goes with it, so what? Visit many countries, feed and entertain your friends, help the poor and the sick, bathe in the Ganga, give alms in vast quantities, repeat mantras by the million, etc., so what? All these are of no avail unless the Self is realized.”

And Sankara ends by saying that only he who discovers that all these forms of prestigious action are bereft of significance for self-knowledge, he alone is capable of self-realization.

Krishnamurti: I cannot imagine that this question has not been tackled by the professionals.

A: They call it chitta and chaitanya. The common “root” is “chit”.

N: Chit is consciousness.

A: Do they go into the fragmentary nature of the mind or do they say that the mind’s activities are unreal?

Krishnamurti: So, what is the question, what is it that we are trying to discuss, explore?

A: We only know the various fragmented expressions of energy. Is it possible to see the entire field? Or is it a wrong question?

Krishnamurti: If one fragment or many fragments exist, who is the entity that is going to observe the totality of energy? Are our minds so conditioned that we cannot break ourselves from the conditioning?

A: We are so conditioned.

R: The other day at the discussion you said that someone slaps me. I feel hurt, etc., but if attention is given at that moment, then I do not feel hurt. There is no recording of it. But the fact is, reaction is instantaneous. I react to that hurt instantaneously. How is it possible to give attention at that moment?

Krishnamurti: What is the problem? I have been seeing only this fragment (pointing to a portion of the carpet) and you say this fragment would not exist if there was no total carpet. There is this little bit of carpet which is part of this whole carpet. I am saying in this fragment there are many other fragments. My whole life has been spent in observing the fragment. You come along and say this is part of the whole, this would not exist if the other did not exist. But I cannot take my eyes off this fragment. I agree that this can only exist because of the whole carpet but I have never, never looked at the whole carpet. I have never moved away from this. This fragment exists because of the whole carpet. My attention has been fixed on this little bit of carpet. And I do not know how to remove my eyes and look at the whole carpet. If I can do that, there is no contradiction. If I can remove my eyes and look at the whole carpet, I see there is no contradiction, no duality. But if I say I must suppress the fragment in order to see the whole, there is duality.

R: It is intellectually clear.

Krishnamurti: It is a very good exercise. Then what do you do? The intellect is also a part. It is one of the fragments within the carpet. I am still not looking at the carpet. If intellect sees, perception is back to the fragment.

First, intellectually I have to understand what is being said. This is part of the whole. And as long as perception is focused on the fragment, there is no perception of the whole carpet. You say I understand this intellectually. So, you have already moved away. You also see that intellect is a fragment. You are looking at the whole with different parts.

R: What is looking is also a fragment.

Krishnamurti: Therefore, deny the fragment. (Pause)

You see, we are used to reading in straight lines. Therefore, we are always thinking in straight lines. If we were used to reading, like the Chinese, vertically, then our whole thinking would be vertical. So thinking itself is a linear thinking. All that is a form of fragmentation. So, what is the question? Form your question. (Pause)

Is there a perception which is not linear nor vertical, and, therefore, non-fragmentary?

How do you see something totally? What is the capacity of perception that sees the whole structure of human life, the whole field, at a glance?

I think I see something.

Look, there is the whole field of life, the physical, the emotional, the intellectual, the psychosomatic existence; and in that there are various contradictions – sorrows, anxieties, guilts, ambitions, humility, pride, sex, non-sex, God, no-God, communism – this is the whole fie1d of existence. Now, how does the mind see the whole of this field? If it does not see the whole field, but merely tackles one problem, it will create more mischief.

A: It comes to this, this whole process, the seventy-five thousand years of the history of man, the entire past produces this and dies. This is “what is”, there is no going back. But even this is arrived at without any movement.

Krishnamurti: First listen. There is this whole field of existence, all that we have described. There are other factors also. Now, how do I look at this whole map with all the little bridges, hamlets, towns, all that at one glance? I cannot go up in an aeroplane. The atman is the aeroplane invented by thought.

You come and tell me, look, if you try to answer the whole of existence through one of the fragments, you will only create more confusion. Therefore you say, the whole of it. You say that and disappear. It is my job to find out. How do I set about it? I do not know what this total perception is. I see the beauty, logic, the sanity of it. I say, how am I to proceed?

A: There is very great intensity, passion in this because I also feel this is the precipice. There is no sluggishness left. It is all there at this moment.

Krishnamurti: You have this problem, this baby left in your lap. What are you going to do? You must answer. What is it that prevents total perception?

A: I see intellectually that I cannot see the whole of it.

Krishnamurti: Leave it there. What is it that prevents total perception of this vast complex, existence? Have you an answer? I have got it. Find out. (Pause)

When I enter the room, one object catches my eye. The lovely bedspread, and I casually look at other things. I say that is rather beautiful, the colouring, the design and it gives great pleasure.

So, what has happened? There is this whole field of existence. The eye catches the one thing. What is it that prevents the seeing of other things; that which makes other things shadowy, distant? Just listen.

R: The observer.

Krishnamurti: Go slow. That is beautiful but my observation of the other is still vague. This is clear. It watches this very clearly. The other is rather cloudy.

Now, in this vast field of existence, I catch one thing and the rest recedes, becomes very vague. Why is it that one thing becomes important? Or why has perception focused on that? Why is the eye, why is perception attracted to this only?

R: It is pleasant.

Krishnamurti: Which means what? The element of pleasure. There is this whole field and one thing only attracts me. So what happens? I translate the whole of the field of existence into pleasure. I enter this room, I look at the bedspread and I say I like it and there it is. And there is this vast existence and in it, the one thing that attracts me is the maintenance of pleasure at any price.

A: For most people life is painful.

Krishnamurti: It is painful because we are thinking in terms of pleasure. Pleasure is the principle, is the factor which is preventing me from seeing the whole.

A: I was investigating this morning. Sankara says fear of pain is the thorn in the bush.

K: I see this whole field of life only in terms of pursuing pleasure. I see the whole of this, with all the complexities, in terms of pleasure or wanting pleasure. Does that prevent total perception?

R: It is very complex. Here is the fragment which is part of the whole. Then our attention is on this fragment. What is giving attention is a fragment. What is wanting pleasure out of this is a fragment.

Krishnamurti: We have said all this.

R: So, pleasure is a fragment.

Krishnamurti: No, no.

I want pleasure throughout life. There is no other thing I want. Money, sex, position, prestige, god, virtue, ideas – this is understood – pleasure through everything.

And I do not see pleasure is the thorn. I do not see that. So, in perception there is one guiding factor, and if that is the guiding factor, how can I see the whole field which pleasure has brought about? I want pleasure; therefore, I create a society which will give me pleasure. My drive is pleasure. And that society has its morality, and that morality is always based on the principle of pleasure.

How can the mind see the whole of the field when there is only the search for pleasure? What is the factor of pleasure? It must always be personal – it must be mine, not yours. I will sacrifice my pleasure for the greater pleasure in collective work, but it is still pleasure. Pleasure is always personal.

So, look what I have done, life then becomes a movement of pleasure.

A: The validity of everything is pleasure.

Krishnamurti: So, as long as the mind is pursuing pleasure as the “me”, how can I see this whole thing? I must understand pleasure, not suppress it, not deny it.

So, it is important to see the whole, not the particular and the particular must always exist when there is the pursuit of pleasure. And there must be understanding of pleasure, not the cutting it off by the intellect.

A: It cannot be cut off.

Krishnamurti: What man has done, what religions have taught is to cut off with the intellect. What tortures the saints go through, the burning, the mutilating. That is the traditional way.

So, I see the central factor that when one thing becomes all-important, then I do not see the whole of life. Why is there this pursuit of pleasure?

A: The pleasure principle is too strong.

Krishnamurti: What do the professionals say about this pursuit of pleasure?

A: They say that every pleasure leads to pain; man contemplates pain but it still leads to fragmentation. To concentrate on pain instead of pleasure is the same thing.

Krishnamurti: Why has man pursued pleasure at any cost?

A: Biological needs are so deeply ingrained in us.

Krishnamurti: There is nothing wrong in that – we need good, clean food. What is wrong with that? A clean floor to sleep on, what is wrong? But see what happens – I must have it tomorrow. That means today’s biological need has been made into tomorrow’s pleasure; which is, thought has taken over. So thinking is the factor one has to understand, not pleasure.

A: We have come to see that pleasure is transferred in thought.

Krishnamurti: Now you have got it.

So, before you do anything with pleasure, understand thinking. Before you strengthen pleasure, before you nourish it, first find out what is thinking.

A: The movement of thought as pleasure has to be understood.

Krishnamurti: No, it is thought itself which sustains this. What shall I do with thinking? How do I stop thinking about sex or food, how?

A: We started with energy. At this point it becomes fragmented.

Krishnamurti: Thought in essence is the maker of fragments. Tradition has always talked of the suppression of thought. Act and forget it completely and do not carry it over.