You are here
Dialogue 29 - Bombay - 18th February 1971 - ‘Biological survival and intelligence’
Questioner P: There was something which Krishnaji said in his talk yesterday. I do not know whether it will bear discussion. It was a very startling statement. The question he posed was whether the brain cells could strip themselves of everything except the movement of survival, the pure biological necessity which alone makes the organism exist? Krishnaji seemed to suggest that before any movement in the new dimension could take place, this total stripping to the bare bedrock was essential. In a sense he was totally back to the materialistic position.
D: If you have survival as the dimension of existence, there is no other dimension. Can this bear investigation? Is such stripping of every element of consciousness as we have understood it, possible? We have always claimed that the human being is more than the urge for survival.
F: Are the brain cells not the repository of culture?
P: If you strip man of every psychological element except the urge for physical survival, how is he different from the animal?
Krishnamurti: We know both biological and psychological survival. The biological exists on survival, but psychological factors have made that survival almost impossible.
F: You are now bringing in other elements.
Krishnamurti: There are these two elements – the biological and the psychological. Psychological elements like nationalism are preventing man from surviving. Psychological fragmentation is destroying the beauty of survival. Can one strip man of all the psychological factors?
P: Apart from the biological and psychological, is there anything else? You spoke of stripping yourself of all factors, not psychological. I am asking you is there any other element excepting the biological and the psychological?
Krishnamurti: As far as we know these are the only two factors that operate in man.
F: Is there not such a factor as psychological survival, apart from the physiological?
Krishnamurti: Which means the survival of the psyche. The psyche that is the result of environment, of heritage. Last evening when we used the word “con- sciousness”, we said the whole of consciousness is the content of consciousness. The content of consciousness is conflict, pain; the whole of that is consciousness.
D: You said also that intelligence is more than consciousness.
Krishnamurti: Wait. We said in understanding the fact of consciousness and going beyond it, is intelligence. You cannot come to that intelligence if this consciousness is in conflict. Now all that we know is biological survival and the survival of psychological consciousness. What is the next question?
P: You said or implied yesterday that there was a necessity to strip so that nothing existed but biological survival.
Krishnamurti: Can you not strip the whole content of consciousness which is psychological? In stripping, that intelligence is in operation. There is the biological and intelligence – there is no other.
P: You did not speak of intelligence yesterday. You said when there is this total stripping and no other thing, that operation is the biological movement of survival and that perceives. Is there such a seeing?
Krishnamurti: Then the mind is not merely the survival element, but there is another quality in it which perceives.
P: What is that quality?
Krishnamurti: What did “K” say yesterday?
P: He said there is a stripping and there is only the movement of survival and that silence sees
Krishnamurti: Perfectly true. Now what is silence? What is the nature of silence?
P: That seeing is something which we can affirm. But there was this other thing said, so that we cannot help asking if man is stripped of everything which we consider the elements of the human.....
Krishnamurti: Which is conflict, pain.
P: Not only that, compassion -
B: We consider that man is human as opposed to the animal. What are the things which differentiate man – intelligence, the capacity to analyse, speech -
D: Man is a language animal. Language and man are co-related. And that is the mark of man that distinguishes him from the rest of the animal world. What language does to man is to enable him to say “I am I”. And the moment he goes beyond it, he speculates, projects; he says “I am I” and in that “I” you can bring in the whole cosmology. There is no language for the other.
B: And one more thing. Because of language, man has been able to evolve culture and he cannot go back to the biological stage.
D: In twenty-five thousand years of evolution, of thinking, of speaking and so on, there is very little change in man; the environment has changed, but fundamentally there is very little change in man.
P: One says right, or I accept what “B” or “D” says, but still I am aware “I am”. That statement is where it is.
Krishnamurti: “B” is saying very simply: strip man of all the psychological factors and what is the difference between animal and man? Oh, there is a vast difference.
P: The moment you posit a difference, then you are investigating something else.
B: Man is aware of himself and the animal is not; that is the only distinction.
Krishnamurti: Let us go back. There is psychological survival. We want to survive psychologically and also biologically.
D: I say there is something else.
Krishnamurti: We will have to find out. Merely to posit that there is something else has no meaning.
D: But you say all other aspects of the human being have ended.
Krishnamurti: When conflict, misery, pain have ended......
P: As also the fantasy, the wonder, imagination; that which has made man reach out, reach in.
Krishnamurti: “K” said both the outer and the inner.
P: It is the same movement. When you say all this is to be stripped, what happens? Is that legitimate to ask? Can we, in discussion, can we in going through this, get the feeling of that stripping, that seeing?
Krishnamurti: We have said intelligence is beyond consciousness and when the mind is stripped of the psychological elements, in the very stripping there is the uncovering of this intelligence. Or intelligence comes into being in the very stripping. There is the biological survival and intelligence. That is all.
Intelligence has no heritage. Consciousness has heritage. We are caught in the becoming within the field of consciousness. Within the fie]d of consciousness we are trying to become. Strip all that. Empty all that. Let the mind empty itself of all that. In the very emptying comes intelligence.
Therefore there are only two things left: the highest form of intelligence and survival which is entirely different from animal survival. Man is not merely the animal because he is able to think, design, construct.
P: Do you mean to say there is intelligence which manifests itself in stripping?
Krishnamurti: Listen carefully. My consciousness is all the time trying to become, change, modify, struggle, etc. That is all I know. Biological survival and that. Everybody operates within these two. And within that struggle we project something beyond consciousness which is still within consciousness because it is projected.
The mind that really wants to be free from the wrangle, the back-chattering asks, can the mind strip “itself” of all the content of “itself”? That is all. (Pause.) And in that, intelligence comes to be.
P: Is stripping, emptying an endless process?
Krishnamurti: Certainly not. Because then I am caught in the same phenomenon.
P: Let us pause here. Is it not an endless process?
Krishnamurti: It is not an endless process.
P: You mean, once it is done, it is done?
Krishnamurti: Let us go slowly. You must first understand this verbally. My consciousness is made up of all that we have talked about.
P: Is the emptying of it, does it take time or is it free of time? Is it piecemeal? Or is it an emptying of the whole?
Krishnamurti: Is that the question? The piecemeal and the whole? Is that the question?
P: You see, putting the question as the piecemeal and the whole is the query. What is revealed is the whole which contains the piece.
B: Stripping has to be a joint process.
Krishnamurti: Discuss it.
P: What is it that one strips? Or what is it that one perceives? Or is there dissolution of that which emerges? There cannot be dissolution of anything else. What emerges is thought.
D: If all these go what remains?
P: When you say all goes, what does it mean?
B: Only awareness remains. Is complete awareness the whole?
Krishnamurti: She says Yes. What is the question?
P: Is the awareness of a point of consciousness – such as jealousy – is the awareness of that one thing, the totality of all consciousness?
Krishnamurti: When you use the word “aware”, what do you mean by that word “aware”? If you mean aware of the implications – in which there is no choice, no will, no compulsion, no resistance – obviously it is so.
P: So at any point this is possible?
Krishnamurti: Of course.
P: Yes, because that is the door; the door of dissolution.
Krishnamurti: No. Hold it a minute.
P: I used that word “door” deliberately.
Krishnamurti: Hold on. Let us begin slowly because I want to go step by step. My consciousness is made up of all this. My consciousness is part of the whole, both at the superficial and at the deeper level and you are asking, is there any awareness which is so penetrating that in that very awareness the whole is present? Or is it bit by bit? Is there a search, is there a looking in, an analysing?
D: The yogic position is that nature is a flowing river. In that flow, man’s organism comes into being. As soon as it comes into being, it has also the capacity to choose and the moment it chooses, it separates itself from the now, from the river. This is a process of separation from the flow and the only thing which brings this into being is choice. Therefore, they say the dissolution of choice may bring you to total emptiness and in that emptiness you see.
Krishnamurti: Right sir, that is one point. “P”‘s question was, is this awareness, this process of stripping bit by bit? Is this awareness in which there is no choice, the total? Does it empty the whole of consciousness? Does it go beyond consciousness?
F: Supposing I cease to choose, is that stripping?
P: Is there an end to stripping?
Krishnamurti: Or is it a constant process?
P: And the second question was where there is intelligence is there stripping?
Krishnamurti: Let us start with the first question which is good enough. What do you say? Discuss it.
P: It is one of those extraordinary questions where you can neither say “Yes” nor “No”.
D: It hangs on time or no time. If it is invited, it is time.
P: If you say it is not a question of time then it is not a process. five minutes later it will emerge again. So this question cannot be answered.
Krishnamurti: I am not sure. Let us begin again.
My consciousness is made up of all this. My consciousness is used to the process of time, my consciousness thinks in terms of gradualness, my consciousness is practice and through practice to achieve, which is time. My consciousness is a process of time.
Now I am asking that consciousness, can it go beyond this? Can we, who are caught in the movement of time, go beyond time?
That question, consciousness cannot answer.
Consciousness does not know what it means, because it can only think in terms of time and when questioned whether this process can end in which there is no time, it cannot answer, can it?
Now as consciousness cannot answer the question, we say let us see what is awareness and investigate whether that awareness can bring about a timeless state? But this brings in new elements. What is awareness? Is it within the field of time, is it outside the field of time?
Now what is awareness? Is there in awareness any choice, explanation, justification, or condemnation? Or is there the observer, the chooser? And if there is, is that awareness? So is there an awareness in which there is no observer at all?
I am aware of that lamp and I do not have to choose when I am aware of that lamp.
Is there an awareness in which the observer is totally absent? Not a continuous state of awareness in which the observer is absent, which again is a fallacious statement.
A: The word is swarupa shunyata. The observer becomes empty. He is stripped.
Krishnamurti: Now is that awareness to be cultivated which implies time? How does this awareness come into being in which there is no observer? Are we meeting each other?
How is this awareness to come about? Is it the result of time? If it is, then it is part of consciousness in which choice exists.
And you say awareness is not choice. It is observation in which there is no observer.
Now how is that to come about without consciousness interfering? Or does it come out of consciousness? Does it flower out of consciousness? Or is it free of consciousness?
D: It is free of consciousness.
P: I want to ask two things. Does it come about when I ask the question “who am I?
Krishnamurti: All the traditionalists have asked that question.
P: But it is an essential question. When I really try to investigate the source of the ego itself, that is the one question. Or does awareness come about when one tries to discover the observer?
Krishnamurti: No. The moment you try, you are in time.
P: It is a question of language, of semantics. You can strip at any point. Where is the observer? We are taking for granted that the observer “is”.
Krishnamurti: Let us begin slowly. One sees what consciousness is. Any movement within that field, any movement is still a process of time. It may try to be or not to be, it may try to go beyond, it may try to invent something beyond consciousness, but it is still part of time. So I am stuck.
P: I want to use words which are not your words. So I have rejected all your words. I have to use my own instruments. What is the element in me which seems to me the most potent and powerful: It is the sense of the “I”.
Krishnamurti: Which is the past.
P: I will not use your language. It is very interesting not to use your language. I say the most potent thing is the sense of the “I”? Now can there be a perception of the “I”?
F: That is a wrong question. I will tell you why. You ask can I perceive the “I”?
Now the “I” is nothing but an insatiable hunger for experience.
Krishnamurti: “P” began by asking “who am I?” Is the “me”, the “I” an action of consciousness?
P: So I say let us look, let us investigate.
Krishnamurti: When I ask myself “who am I?”, is that the central factor in consciousness?
P: It seems so. And then I say let me see the “I”, let me find it, perceive it, touch it.
Krishnamurti: So you are asking, is this central factor perceivable sensorily?
Is the central factor tactable, to be felt, to be tasted? Or is that central factor, the “I”, something which the senses have invented.
P: That comes later. First of all, I see whether it is tactable.
Krishnamurti: When I have asked the question, “who am I?”, one must also question who is investigating, who is asking the question “who am I?”.
P: I do not ask that question. I have asked that question over and over again.
I have discussed awareness endlessly. I leave it, because the one thing which you have said is, do not accept one word which is not your own. I start looking. Is this “I” which is the central core of myself, is it tactable? I observe it in the surface layers, in the depth layers of my consciousness, in the hidden darkness and as I unfold it what takes place is a light within, an explosion, an extension within. Another factor that operates is that which has been exclusive becomes inclusive. So far I have been exclusive, now the world movement flows in.
Krishnamurti: We see that.
P: And I find this is not something which can be touched, perceived. What can be perceived is that which has been, which is a manifestation of this “I”. I see I had a thought of this “I’’ in action, but it is already over. Then I explore – from where does thought emerge? Can I find the springs of thought? Or where does thought go? Can I pursue a thought? How far can I go with a thought? How far can I hold a thought? Can thought be held in consciousness? These are tangible things which I think the individual has to completely feel for himself.
Krishnamurti: We have gone through this. I thought we had done all this.
F: I say all this is awareness.
Krishnamurti: Let us be simple. When I ask “who am I?”, who is asking the question? And one finds on investigation that the “I” is not observable, touchable, hearable, and so on. And so, is the “I” within the field of the senses? Or have the senses created the “I”?
P: The very fact that it is not within the field of the senses......
Krishnamurti: Do not move away from that. Is it not also within the field of the senses? We jump too quickly.
Is perceiving a visual perception or something else?
D: We are going into the nature of awareness. Now how does awareness arise?
P: I want to put aside everything Krishnaji has said and I find that the very enquiry, that the very investigation into the “I” creates light, intelligence.
Krishnamurti: You are saying, the very enquiry brings about awareness. Obviously I did not say it did not.
P: And in the enquiry one can only use certain instruments which are the senses. Whether the enquiry is outside or within, the only instruments which can be used are the senses, because that is all we know – the seeing, listening, feeling – and the field is illuminated. The field of the without and the field of the within is illuminated. Now in this state of illumination, you suddenly find that there has been a thought, but that it is already over.
Krishnamurti: Thought exists in the field of relationship and observation. It does not exist by itself. It exists in observing relationship – the lamp.
P: In this, if you ask is there a partial or total stripping, the question is irrelevant. It has no meaning.
Krishnamurti: Wait a minute. I am not sure. Is perception partial? I have investigated through the senses, the senses creating the “I”, investigating the “I”. The activity brings a lightness, clarity. Not entire clarity, but some clarity.
P: I will not use the word some clarity, but clarity.
Krishnamurti: It brings clarity. We will stick to that. Is that clarity expandable?
P: The nature of seeing is such, I can see here, and I can see there, depending on the power of the eye.
Krishnamurti: We said perception is not only visual but also non-visual. We said perception is that which illuminates.
P: Here I would like to ask something. You have said that seeing is not only visual but non-visual. What is the nature of this non-visual seeing? 39 Krishnamurti: It is non-visual which is non-thinkable. It does not pertain to the word. It does not pertain to thought. That is all.
Is visual perception non-verbal perception?
The non-visual perception is the perception without the meaning, the expression, the thought.
Is there a perception without thought? Now proceed.
P: And that also is not such a difficult thing. I see there is such perception. Now that perception can see close, can see far.
Krishnamurti: Wait. Perception. We are talking only of perception. Not the duration, length, size or breadth of perception, but perception which is non-visual which is not deep perception or shallow perception. Shallow perception or deep perception comes only when thought interferes.
P: Now in that is there partial stripping or total stripping? We started with that.
Krishnamurti: When there is non-verbal perception, what are you asking? What are you asking further?
F: She is asking, in every perception, there is the non-verbal element of mere perception. Then there is the psychological superimposition. The stripping refers only to the psychological superimposition. Is there a state of mind in which superimposition does not occur and there is no stripping?
P: That is right. Perception is perception. We are asking is there a perception in which stripping is not necessary?
Krishnamurti: There is no such thing as an everlasting perception.
Is it identical with what you call intelligence?
Krishnamurti: I do not know. Why are you asking that?
P: Because it is timeless.
Krishnamurti: Timeless means timeless. Why do you ask? Is perception which is non-verbal, is it not also non-time, non-thought? If you have answered this question you have answered that.
F: There is the momentary time of the “now”. And there is another timeless in which one moves and lives.
Krishnamurti: I do not understand what you say.
F: Still, perception can be sensory.
Krishnamurti: Now is there perception that is non-verbal and therefore not per- taining to thought? Then what is the question? A mind that is perceiving is not asking this question, it is perceiving. And each perception is perception. It is not carrying over perception. Where does the question of stripping or not stripping arise?
P: I say even in perception which is not linked with thought, perception is never carried into another thought. I see that lamp. The seeing has not been carried. Thought is only being carried.
Krishnamurti: That is obvious. My consciousness is my mind, is my brain cells, is the result of my sensory perceptions. That is my consciousness. That is all consciousness. That consciousness is the result of time, evolution, growth. It is expandable, contractible and so on. And thought is part of that. Now somebody comes along and asks “who am I?”. Is the “I” the permanent entity in this consciousness?
D: It cannot be.
Krishnamurti: This “I” – is it consciousness?
D: It is not permanent.
Krishnamurti: Consciousness is heritage. Of course it is.
F: We are mixing the concept of consciousness, with the experience of consciousness.
Krishnamurti: This is very clear. “I” is that consciousness.
P: “I” has a great reality for me till I investigate.
Krishnamurti: Of course. The fact is after looking, observing, I see I am the whole of this consciousness. This is not a verbal statement. I am all that. I am the heritage. And is that “I” touchable, observable? Can it be felt, twisted? Is it the result of perception, of heritage?
F: It is not the result. It is the inherited.
Krishnamurti: And then she asks who is that “I”? Is that “I” part of consciousness, part of thought? I say yes. Thought is part of it. Thought is the “I”, except where thought is functioning technologically, where there is no “I”. The moment you move away from the scientific field, you come to the “I” which is part of the biological heritage.
F: The “I” is the centre of perception, a working centre of perception, an ad hoc centre and the other is an effective centre.
Krishnamurti: Be simple. We see consciousness is the “I”. The whole of that field is the “I”. In the field, the “I” is the centre.
P: I want to put aside everything and tackle it in a new way. I see that the most important element in me is the “I”. Now what is the “I”? What is its nature? One investigates that and in the very process of observation there is clarity.
Krishnamurti: Full stop.
P: Clarity being not eternal.,....
Krishnamurti: But it can pick it up again.
P: I say, maybe.
Krishnamurti: Because I have an idea that perception is whole.
P: Is it a question which legitimately arises in this state?
Krishnamurti: In the state of perception it does not arise. It only arises, exists when I ask, is this process eternal, everlasting?
P: And what would you say?
Krishnamurti: You are being asked. Answer. Wait. You have to answer this question. At the moment of perception the question does not arise. The next moment I do not perceive so clearly.
P: If I am alert to see that I am not perceiving so clearly, I will investigate that.
Krishnamurti: So what am I doing? There is perception. That is all.
P: The doorway is in the question. The “key” of the doorway is in that question.
Krishnamurti: Let us be simple about this. There is perception. In that perception there is no question of duration. There is only perception. The next minute I do not see clearly. There is no clear perception. It is muddled. There is investigation of pollution and so clarity. Right? And again perception; move again; cover and uncover – and this goes on. This is going on.
F: Is it a movement of time?
P: A very interesting thing takes place. The very nature of this awareness is that it operates on the “other”.
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by the “other”?
Krishnamurti: Wait. Attention and inattention. Then be aware of inattention which becomes attention. This balancing is going on all the time.
P: I observe the very nature of attention. It has its own action on inattention. Now if I make a statement “it lessens inattention” it would be an incorrect thing for me to say. The only thing I can observe is that there is an action of attention on inattention.
Krishnamurti: Does that action on inattention wipe away inattention so that inattention does not come again?
D: It is attentive to the inattentive.
P: I am going further than being attentive to the inattentive. I say the nature of this attention is such that it operates on the brain cells. I am very very hesitant when I say this. It is the nature of attention to operate on the brain cells. That which is dormant in the brain-cells – which re-emerges when it is exposed to attention, the very nature of the dormancy undergoes a change. I would like this area to be investigated.
Krishnamurti: Let us begin again. Awareness – if there is choice in that awareness we are back again in consciousness.
Awareness is non-verbal. Awareness has no relationship to thought. That awareness we call attention. What takes place when there is inattention: there is inattention. Why do you mix the two?
I am inattentive; there is no attention; that is all.
In that inattention there are certain actions going on. And those activities bring further misery, confusion, trouble. So I say to myself, I must be attentive all the time so as to prevent this disturbance taking place and I say I have to cultivate attention and therefore that very cultivation becomes inattention. The seeing of that inattention brings attention.
Attention affects the brain cells.
Look what has happened. There is attention, and then inattention. In inattention there is confusion, misery, and all the rest of it. Now what takes place?
D: Dispelling of inattention has gone down in the unconscious.
P: Is it not really that you can do nothing about it?
Krishnamurti: I agree “P; hold on a minute. Do not say there is nothing. We will find out. We are investigating. There is attention and there is inattention. in inattention everything is confusion. Why do I want to put the two together? When there is the urge to put the two together, then there is an action of will which is choice. I prefer attention; I do not prefer inattention – so I am back again in the field of consciousness.
So what is the action where the two are never brought together?
I want to explore it a little bit.
When there is attention, thought as memory does not operate. There is no thinking process in attention. There is only attention. I am only aware that I have been inattentive when the action produces discomfort, misery or danger. Then I say to myself, I have been inattentive and as attention has left a mark on the brain I am concerned with the misery which inattention has brought about. Then in investigating that misery, attention comes again leaving no mark. So what is taking place? Actually what is taking place? Each time there is inattention there is quick, instant perception of inattention. Therefore perception is not of duration, of time. Perception and attention leave no mark. The immediacy of perception is always taking place.