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Dialogue 9 - New Delhi - 27th December 1970 - ‘Time and deterioration’
Dialogue 9 - New Delhi - 27th December 1970 - ‘Time and deterioration’
Questioner P: The key to your teachings appears to be in the understanding of time. The human mind, the structure of the brain cells have come to their present state with an in-built sense of time – as the yesterday, the today and the tomorrow. It is along this axis that the mind sustains itself. You appear to explode this process, to break through and therefore give the mind a new state of time. How is the time cycle to end? (Pause)
What is your concept of time? The Buddha talks of the endless cycle of births and deaths, which is the yesterday, the today and the tomorrow, and the liberation from this cycle.
Krishnamurti: What is time to you? Is it the movement of the past through the present to the future; not only in space and time, but also inwardly from the yesterday, to today and tomorrow? Or is time that which is invo1ved in covering physical or psychological distance; the time to achieve, to fulfil, to arrive? Or is time an ending as death? Or is time the memory of a pleasant or unpleasant happening; time to learn a technique or time to forget? All these involve time. Time is not a concept.
P: We know time as a sense of duration, as clock time.
Krishnamurti: Time as duration, a process, a continuity and an ending. There is not only physical time by the watch but also the psychological inward time. Time by the watch is very clear – going to the moon requires clock time. Is there any other time?
P: We see time by the clock, the sun setting and rising. Psychological time is not different from that. If physical time has validity, my stating that I shall be tomorrow also has validity, not only physically but psychologically. All becoming is related to the tomorrow.
Krishnamurti: All becoming is not only clock time but also the desire to become.
P: The latter is possible only because there is tomorrow.
Krishnamurti: That means, you think if there was no physical time, there would be no psychological time.
P: I question the distinction you draw between the two – the physical and psychological time.
Krishnamurti: I go to Madras; that needs time as today and the tomorrow.
We can also see that because there is time – as yesterday, today and tomorrow – one will be different, one will change one’s character, one will become so-called perfect.
P: It is easy to see that time does not bring perfection. But the nature of the movement of thought, the sprouting, is a projection in time. I question the distinction you make.
Krishnamurti: I know that physical time exists. Even if I do not think about tomorrow, there would be tomorrow. Why am I sure that there will be a tomorrow apart from the chronological time?
It is fairly clear. This evening I will be going for a walk and between now and the walk there is an interval of ten hours. In the same way I am something and I want to be something else. In that also there is time involved. I am asking myself if there is such time at all. If I do not think about the walk, or about my becoming something else, is there time?
P: Certain measurements have to be made.
Krishnamurti: I need only physical measurement, no psychological measurement. I do not have to say I will become that; I will fulfil; I will achieve my ideal. All that involves time. If it does not enter my consciousness, where is time? It is only when I want to change this into that, there is time. I have no such desire.
P: So long as there is desire for improvement, a change for the better, which to me is a fact, there is validity to the sense of time.
Krishnamurti: That is, two years ago, I did not do my exercises properly. In two years, I have learnt, improved. I apply the same kind of argument to an inward process, which is, I say I am this and I will improve in two years time.
I know only physical time and I do not know any other time. And why do you have any other time except the physical; any other time except the chronological? Why?
You see, what is really involved is movement – the movement of improvement; the putting together involves time, both physical and psychological.
Is there any other movement except the movement of thought?
And thought is time – thought which says I have been and I will become. If thought functioned only in the movement of the physical, is there any other time? If there is no psychological being, psychological ending, is there time? We always associate physical time with psychological time, and therefore say: “I will be”. The verb “to be” is time.
Now what happens when you do not want to do anything, one way or the other?
P: What would have happened if man did not have this movement of becoming as time?
Krishnamurti: He would have been destroyed. So the movement of becoming was a movement of protection.
P: Then the movement of protection as time is necessary.
Krishnamurti: Agreed, protection against fire. But is there any other form of protection?
P: Once you admit protection against fire, the other protection is of the same nature.
Krishnamurti: If the psychological is non-existent, is there need for protection?
P: What you say is true. If the other is non-existent there is nothing to protect. But we see that there is the other.
Krishnamurti: You accept that there is the other. You take it for granted that there is. But is there the “other”? I need only physical protection – food, clothes and shelter. Physical protection is absolutely necessary. And nothing else. Physical protection involves time. But why should there be protection about something which may not exist at all? How can you protect me psychologically? And that is what we are doing. We are doing something to protect that which does not exist and we therefore invent time.
So, psychologically there is no tomorrow but there is tomorrow because I need food.
P: If one sees that, in that is there the ending of time?
Krishnamurti: This is it. (Pause.) Shall we investigate further?
Consciousness is made up of content. Content makes consciousness. They are not separate. The content is made up of time. Consciousness is time and that we are trying to protect.
And we are using time to shield time as a conditioned state. We are trying to protect that which has no existence.
If we look at the content of consciousness, we find memories, fears, anxieties, the “I believe”, the “I do not believe’’, which are all the product of time. And thought says this is the only thing I have, I must protect it, shield it against every possible danger. What is it that thought is trying to protect? Is it words? Dead memories? Is it a formula or a movement; the formula which encourages movement; which makes it move from here to there? Is there such movement except as an invention of thought?
The movement of thought which is born of memory, though it thinks of freedom is still of the past. Therefore, it cannot bring about radical change. Therefore, it is deceiving itself all the time. When you see that, is there time at all which needs self-protection?
If one really understood this, then one’s whole activity would be entirely different. Then I would protect only the physical and not the psychological.
P: Would that not mean a state of emptiness inside; a meaningless emptiness inside?
Krishnamurti: If I only protect the physical and nothing else, obviously it is like a glass which is being protected. Therefore, one is frightened of being empty, of meaningless emptiness. But if one sees the whole thing, there is an emptiness which is tremendously significant.
S: Does time have a point at all, at which there is an impact? How does one know the texture of time?
Krishnamurti: We live between regret and hope. If there is no movement, psychological movement backwards or forwards, then what is time?
Is it height, which again means measurement? If there is no measurement, no movement, no backward or forward movement, no height and depth, actually no movement at all, is there time? And also, why do we give such extraordinary importance to time?
P: Because time is age, decay, deterioration.
Krishnamurti: Follow it up. Time is decay. I see this body, young and healthy, getting older, dying, the whole mechanism unwinding. That is all I know. Nothing else.
P: The mind also deteriorates.
Krishnamurti: Why not? It is part of the decaying process. I brutalize the mind to achieve, to succeed, which are all factors of unnatural deterioration. Then what have I left? The body grows old. I have regrets – I cannot walk up the hill any more. The whole psychological struggle comes to an end and I am frightened. So I say “I must have a next life.”
P: Does age diminish the capacity to see, to perceive?
Krishnamurti: No, if you have not spoilt it by scars, memories, quarrels.
P: If not?
Krishnamurti: Then you are going to pay for it.
P: Then there is no redemption.
Krishnamurti: At any point the first step is the last step.
P: So time can be wiped out at any point.
Krishnamurti: Anyone who says let me be aware of this whole movement and perceives totally for one second, the mind becomes young again for that second. Then the mind carries that over and again deteriorates.
P: The carrying over is karma, karma is also time.
Krishnamurti: There is past action, present action and future action. Cause is never a static thing. There are so many things happening. The effect becomes the cause. So there is a constant movement undergoing change all the time.
P: Karma in itself has validity.
Krishnamurti: I plant the seed, it will grow up. I plant the seed in the woman and the child grows.
P: So psychological time has existed as karma. It has reality.
Krishnamurti: No. Is it the real? When you look, it ceases. Let us look at this question of cause and effect. I plant a seed in the earth and it grows. If I plant an acorn, it cannot grow to be anything but the oak.
P: I do a certain action. The seed is already planted. That will have its effect.
Krishnamurti: There I can change the effect. I plant the seed. What the seed is, the bush will be, or the tree will be. I cannot change that.
S: Can the effect be changed in psychological action?
Krishnamurti: Yes, of course. You have hit me for whatever reason – either hit physically or used words. Now, what is the response from me? If I hit you back, the movement continues. But if I do not react when you hit me, then what happens? Because there is observing, watching, I am out of it.
P: I understand at that level. I set a movement in motion. I observe. The process has ended. That act affects another. It is going to affect others.
Krishnamurti: It will affect your family, the world around you, and others.
P: The causation, action and reaction arising out of that action are in a sense independent of my action.
Krishnamurti: The wave goes on.
P: If that is so, that is karma. A certain energy has been released. It will work itself out unless it meets other minds which quench it.
Krishnamurti: The wave can only end when both of us see it at the same level at the same time with the same intensity. This means love. Otherwise you cannot end it.