1st Question & Answer Meeting 2
To observe without distortion
1st Public Questions, Ojai, California
May 06, 1980
This is a question and answer meeting. About fifty questions and more have been given and we cannot possibly answer all of them. But we have chosen perhaps what might be representative of all these questions.
We have been talking over together why human beings who have lived apparently for millions and millions of years have not been able to solve their conflicts both outwardly and inwardly, why they are destroying the earth, polluting the air, why human beings are becoming more and more cruel, violent. And apparently none of these questions have been resolved. We are supposed to be highly civilised human beings, and one begins to doubt whether we are. And these questions that we have been put, perhaps by answering them we might begin to understand a way of living which might be totally different.
1st Question: What is the significance of history in the education of the young?
I think if one has read history books it is fairly clear that man has struggled against nature, conquered it, destroying it, polluting everything that he touches; there have been wars, kings, renaissance, industrialisation, and man's struggle to be free, and yet he becomes a slave to institutions, organisations, and he tries to break away from them, but again forms another series of institutions, another series of organisations. So this everlasting struggle to be free. That probably is the history of mankind according to books. And also the tribal wars, the feudal wars, the baronial wars, the wars of the kings, nations, it is still going on, this tribal mind which has become national, sophisticated mind, but it is still the tribal mind.
And that is what more or less - perhaps we are rather simplifying the history, with the culture, music, painting, you know, the whole thing, how is all that to be taught to the young? Surely history is the story of mankind - mankind, the human being who has gone through all kinds of suffering, through various diseases, through wars, through religious beliefs and dogmas, persecution, inquisition, torture in the name of god, in the name of peace, in the name of ideals. And how is all that to be taught to the young? That is the question.
If it is the story of mankind, the story of human beings, then both the educator and the young are the human beings, it is their story, not the story of kings and wars, it is their story. That is, the story of themselves. Right? Now can the educator help the student to understand the story of himself? I don't know if you are following all this. The story, the past of which he is the result. Right? So can the educator help the student to understand himself, because he is the story. That is the problem. Would you agree to that?
That is, if you are the educator and I am the student, how would you help me as a young student understand the whole nature and structure of myself? Myself being the whole of humanity; my brain is the result of many million years. How would you help me to understand myself, my story, the past, which is all in me - the violence, the competition, the aggressiveness, the brutality, the violence, the cruelty, the fear, the pleasure, occasional joy and that slight perfume of love. How will you help me to understand all this? Which means the educator must also understand this. He is also understanding himself - right? - and so helping the 'me', the student, to understand myself. So it is a communication between the teacher and myself and in that process of communication he is understanding himself and helping me to understand myself. I wonder if you see. It is not that the teacher or the educator must first understand himself and then teach - that would take the rest of his life, perhaps, but in the relationship between the educator and the person to be educated, there is a relationship of mutual investigation. Can this be done with the young child, with the young student? And in what manner would you set about it? That is the question, right?
Are you interested in this?
Krishnamurti: How would you, as a parent, go into this? How would you help your child, your boy or a girl, to understand the whole nature, and structure of his mind, of his desires, of his fears - you follow? - the whole momentum of life? Don't look at me! (Laughter) How would you deal with it? Don't say immediately, we must have love, and all that kind of stuff. But it is a great problem and are we prepared as parents and teachers to bring about a new generation of people? That's what is implied. A totally different generation of people, totally different mind and heart. Are we prepared for that? If you are a parent would you give up for the sake of your daughter and son, drink, cigarettes, pot, you know the whole drug culture, and see that both the parent and the child are good human beings.
The word 'good' means well-fitted, psychologically without any friction, well-fitting like a good door. You understand? Like a good motor. But also good means whole, not broken up, not fragmented. So are we, the elder people, prepared to bring about through education a good human being, a human being who is not afraid - afraid of his neighbour, afraid of the future, afraid of so many, many things, disease, poverty - fear? And also are we prepared in the search of the good, or in establishing the good, prepared or help the child and ourselves to be integral - integrity? The word 'integrity' means, to be whole, and integrity also means to say what you mean and hold it, not say one thing and do something else. Integrity implies honesty. And are we prepared for that? Can we be honest if we have got any illusions, any romantic, speculative ideas, or ideals. If we have strong beliefs, can we be honest? You may be honest to the belief, but that doesn't imply integrity. Are we prepared for all this? Or we bring children into the world, spoil them till they are two or three and then throw them to the wolves. Right? Prepare them for war. You know what is happening in the world.
That's why history has not taught human beings. How many mothers must have cried, their sons being killed in wars - you understand? - and yet we are incapable of stopping this monstrous movement of killing each other.
So if you are to teach the young, one must have in oneself this sense of the demand of the good. Good is not an ideal. You understand? If we translate the good, which is to be whole, to have integrity, to have no fear, not to be confused. These are not ideals, they are facts. You understand? So can we be factual and so bring about a good human being through education? If we say, yes, then what will the parent and you do about it? You understand? What is your responsibility? Because probably you have children, if you have, then what? You understand the problem?
So one asks, do we really want a different culture, a different human being with a mind that is not confused, that has no fear, that has this quality of integrity? I hope I have answered that question.
2nd Question: Why is knowledge as you said always incomplete? When one is observing is one aware that one is observing, or only aware of the thing being observed? Does awareness lead to analysis? What is psychological knowledge?
Whom do you expect to answer these questions? (Laughter) The Delphic Oracle (laughter), the highly elevated priests, the astrologers, the soothsayers, the reading of tea leaves! (Laughter) Whom do you expect to answer this question? But if you are not expecting anyone to answer this question, but since you have put this question, can we talk it over together? You understand? Talk it over together, not that the speaker will answer it, and then you accept it or deny it, and go home dissatisfied, saying, 'I have wasted my morning'. But if we could seriously talk over these questions so that we both penetrate into the problem, then it will be your own answer, not the answer of someone who has answered these questions, you have heard, it is not yours then. You understand? Like a man having cancer, you can talk about cancer - who haven't got it. But if you have got it you are involved in it, there is pain, there is anxiety, there is fear.
So can we talk over these questions, all of them, not just this one but also the previous question. Why is knowledge always incomplete, as you said? What is knowledge? What do we mean when we say, 'I know'? Please go into it with me together, slowly. When I say, 'I know mathematics', or 'I know the medicine, surgery', and also I know through experience, gathered some facts. So when we say, I know, or we know, what do we mean by that? You are following my question? To know. You may say I know my wife, or my husband, or my girl, girlfriend, or boy. Do you really know them? Can you ever know them? Please follow this step by step. Or you have, as we said the other day, an image about them. Is the image the fact? You understand what I am saying? You understand what I am saying? Are we meeting each other? So the word, 'know' is very, very limited. Right? And the knowledge that has been acquired through science, not only the technological side of it, but also scientists are trying to find out through matter what is beyond, what is the origin of all this. And they have accumulated a great deal of knowledge; and what is beyond they have never been able to find out, so far. So knowledge, according to science, is limited, is narrow, therefore there is knowledge and ignorance always going together. The ignorance which is not knowing, and the knowing, they both go together always. Right? I think that is fairly clear.
But to answer a little bit more further, which is, scientists say through matter they will find that which may be beyond. We human beings are matter. You understand? Why don't we go through this rather than through that? You understand what I am saying? You follow what I am saying? Are we talking together? Because if the mind can go through itself the possibility of coming upon that which is the origin of all things is much more likely than the other. I don't know So to know oneself is always limited. I don't know if you follow this. If I say, I must know myself, I can study psychology, I can discuss with the psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psycho-biologists and so on, so on, so on. But it is always limited. Whereas if I understand myself, penetrate into this entity called myself, there is the possibility of going infinitely beyond, which we are going to discuss and perhaps we may be able to go beyond during the next talks, because it is a very important thing because otherwise life has very little meaning - you understand? - naturally. Our life is pleasure, pain, you know the whole cycle of it, reward and punishment; that's the pattern in which we live. And that pattern has created the knowledge which psychologically we have acquired. That knowledge which we have acquired has created the pattern in which we are caught. Right? So knowledge, whether it is biological, medicine, science, must always be limited. That's simple. Right?
When one is observing, is one aware that one is observing, or only aware of the thing being observed? Does the awareness lead to analysis? First of all let us talk over together what do we mean by observing. There is visual observation, the tree, the hearing, not only hearing with the ear but also hearing inwardly. You follow? You know this. So when we observe do we really observe at all? Or we observe with the word. You understand? Are you following this? That is, I observe that thing and I say, 'tree', so I observe with the word. I don't know if you are following this. Right, sir? There is an observation with the word. So can I find out, can we find out to observe without the word? You understand what I'm saying? Right? Are we proceeding together? So the word has become all important rather than the seeing. Right? We observe, if we have a wife or a husband, with all the memory, pictures, sensations, the irritations and so on of each other, so we never observe.
So the next step is, can we observe a person with whom we have lived intimate and so on, so on, without the image, without the picture, without the idea? Can you do it? Perhaps we are able to perceive that thing which we call the tree without the word, that's fairly easy, if you have gone into it, that's fairly easy. But to observe a person with whom you have lived, and observe without the accumulation of memory about that person. If you have gone into it, if you are interested in it - no, first of all, this observation through the image, through the picture, through the sensations and all the rest of it, through this accumulated memory, is no relationship at all. It is a relationship of one picture with another picture, and that's what we call relationship. But when you examine it closely it is not relationship. It is my idea and your idea.
So can we in the observation not make an abstraction of what we observe as an idea? You are following all this? Don't be puzzled, sirs. You are not used to all this, are you? So this is what we mean by psychological knowledge. That is, I have built up psychologically a great deal of information about my wife - if I have a wife, or a girlfriend. I have built up this knowledge about her, correctly or incorrectly, depending on my sensitivity, depending on my ambition, greed, envy and all that, depending on my self-centred activity - you are following all this? So that knowledge is preventing actual observation of the person, which is a living thing. Right? So I never want to meet that living thing because I am afraid. It is much safer to have an image about that person rather than to see the living thing. Right? You are following this?
So my psychological knowledge is going to prevent pure observation. So can one be free of that? You follow? Can the machinery that builds these images come to an end? You understand my question? Then you will say, 'How am I to end it? I have got an image about my friend, or whatever it is, and it is there, like a tremendous fact, like a stone round my neck, how am I to throw it away?' Right? Is the stone, the image (laughs) round one's neck different from the observer? I am going slowly into this. Is that image, that weight round your neck, is that different from the observer who says, 'I have an image'? I wonder if you catch. You understand my question, sir? Meet me, sir, let's talk together, move.
Is the observer who says, 'I have the image', and says, 'How am I to get rid of it?' is that observer different from the thing he has observed? You follow? Obviously not. Right? So the observer is the image-maker. I wonder if you see that. Right? Do you meet this?
So what is the observer? Who is this observer that is making the image, and then separating himself from the image, and then saying, 'What am I to do about it?' You understand? That is the way we live, that's the pattern of our action, and that's our conditioning to which we are so accustomed, so naturally accept. So we are saying something entirely different, which is, the observer is the observed. Let me go into it a little more. I observe the tree but I am not the tree - thank god! That would be too stupid to say, I am the tree, or I have identified myself with the tree, and so on, so on. All this process of identification is still the observer trying to be something, or become something. So we have to enquire into what is the observer, who is the observer. The observer is the result of all the past knowledge. Right? His experience, his knowledge, his memories, his fears, his anxieties - the past. So the observer is always living in the past. If you have noticed you can watch it in yourself. And he is modifying himself all the time meeting the present, but still rooted in the past. Right? So there is this movement of time, which is the past, modifying itself in the present, going on to the future. This is the momentum or the movement of time. I won't go into that now for the moment.
So when we observe we are observing through the image which we have created about that thing, or that person. Can we observe that thing without the word, and can we observe the person without the image? That means can the observer be absent in observation. Right? Do you get the point? Are you working with When you look at a person - of course, if it is a stranger you have no picture, or you say, oh, he is a foreigner, throw him out (laughter) - when you look at somebody whom you know fairly intimately, the more intimately you know them the more the image, can you look at that person without the image? Which means, can you look at that person without the observer? You get it? I wonder if you... That is pure observation.
So does this awareness lead to analysis? Obviously not. You understand the question? That is, what do we mean by analysis? Which is to analyse. Who is analysing? You understand? I am analysing myself - right, I'll go into it. I am analysing myself, or the analyst is analysing me. When I analyse myself, who is the analyser? You are following this? Is the analyser different from the thing who is analysing me - you understand? - is the analyser different from me? Oh, come on sir. Obviously not. You see as in our talks and in these answers and questions we are eliminating the very structure of conflict - you understand? - between human beings. The structure of conflict exists as long as there is division. The division in myself which creates the division outside. There is a division in myself because I say I am a Hindu, and identification with that image of being a Hindu gives me security so I hold on to that. Which is nonsense, there is no security in an image. And the other fellow does the same, he is a Muslim, or an Arab, or a Jew, he does the same. So we are at each other's throats. So the analyser is the analysed. You understand? So what happens then? If, when the observer psychologically is the observed, and therefore no conflict - you understand? - because there is no division. If you see this clearly, that is our minds have been trained, educated to have this division. I and the thing are different. I, with my anger, with my jealousy - jealousy is different from me, therefore I must do something about it: control it, suppress it, go beyond it - I am acting upon it. But when jealousy, anxiety, is me, what has happened? You understand my question? There is the elimination of conflict. Then what happens? Go on sir. I don't want to Go on, what happens? If you are actually doing this as we are talking, when you end the division between the two what happens? When anxiety is me, I am anxiety. Obviously. Then what takes place? Don't wait for me to answer it.
First of all, may I go on, because First of all the pattern has been broken. Right? The pattern which is the conditioning of my mind, that pattern has been broken. Right? Which means what? The ending of something is the beginning of something else. I wonder if you capture this. If I break the pattern - if the pattern is broken, the ending of the struggle, what then takes place? A new momentum takes place - you follow? - a new movement takes place. Right sir? Don't be sceptical. If you do this you will find out. If you apply your mind, you know, your energy, go into this. You can observe the tree and the word 'tree' interferes. The moment you see that you say, tree, a butterfly, a deer, the mountain, the river - you follow? - immediate reaction. That reaction can be observed and perhaps put aside and just to observe the tree, the beauty, the line of it - you follow? - the grace of it, the quality of it.
Now to do the same with the person with whom you have lived, with whom you have been intimate, not to have a single image about that person. You know what, then relationship is something extraordinary, isn't it? I wonder if you see. No? You don't do this, that's why you don't find out. We are so anchored in our own past, in our own conditioning, in our own pattern, god only knows how you are going to break it. Right? It has to be broken. It is like a man living in an illusion and calling that reality.
Questioner: Sir, if the observer is the observed how can you ever go beyond that? I mean you can’t make yourself step out of that. When you see it, you are still in it.
K: Sir, just a minute sir. Are you actually, not you personally I am talking, I am not being personal - is one aware of the fact of this, fact, not the idea of it? The fact that the observer has the image about the person whom he is observing, his wife and so on. Is he aware of that fact of this division? And is he aware that this division is created by the image which he has made about him or her? Right? Are you aware of this fact? Or am I telling you of the fact and therefore you accept it? Therefore it is not actual, it is just an idea. But if you say, yes, this fact is so. That is, there is the image about her or him, I am aware of that image, that picture, that idea, then the next is: is the picture, the image, the actual person that is living with you? Obviously not. So who is creating this image? You follow? If you go sequentially the answer is very simple. You understand?
So, sir, first observe the tree, see whether you can see it without the word: when you see the thing called rose, can you look at that flower without naming it? You understand, sir? Test it out. Then find out if you have an image about a person. Now wait a minute. You have an image about me, haven't you? Because the papers write about it, or some silly book. You follow? You have an image about me. So are you listening through the image, through the picture, through the articles you have read, or the books? Or are you listening directly without the image? You understand? Oh, come on, sir.
Q: Sir, what happens when the other person behaves to confirm your image?
K: Suppose one's wife has no image about the husband, what is the relationship then between the husband and the wife who has no image? You understand the question? That's what you are asking. You understand sir? You are violent and the other person is not violent, then what is the relationship? Have you any relationship, except perhaps sensory, sexual, have you any relationship? Obviously not. But you are living in the same house. (Laughter) So what will you do? Sir, you are all not facing, moving with facts, you see that's why, you are living with ideas, that's the difficulty in this matter.
All right, sir, let's go into it. My wife has no image about me. First of all, that's the most extraordinary way of living. You understand? In that perhaps there may be real profound love. She has no image about me but I have an image, pictures, ideas, all that in me piling up, and we are living in the same house. What takes place? She is free, I am not. And I create the conflict, not she. Right? I want her to have an image about me because I am used to that, so I begin. A most destructive relationship goes on. Right? Till she says, enough. Does she divorce me? Go on sirs, this is your job, face it all. Leave me? Or her having no image of me has brought about a totally different atmosphere in the house. You understand sir? You have never done this, do test it out sirs! There is a totally different - I am beginning to be aware because she is immovable - you understand? - and I am moving all around. So I begin to see when I meet something that is immovable something happens to me. Isn't it happening to you now? Oh, come on sirs!
Sir, a man goes from one religion to another, one guru to another, one philosophy - you know, plays around, around, around, and another man says, I have been through all that, out, finished. He is immovable. You understand? So what happens? Test it out.
Q: How to eliminate the image?
K: How to eliminate the image. You see, you haven't understood. You can't eliminate the image because you are the image maker. Right? Do you see that? You have to eliminate yourself. (Laughter) Which is, your thought that has built up the image about yourself. I won't enter into the whole movement of thought because that requires a great, you know, there are too many questions, we will go into it when we talk.
3rd Question: Doesn't thought originate as a defence against pain? The infant begins to think in order to separate itself from physical pain. Which comes first: is thought, which is psychological knowledge the result of pain, or is pain the result of thought? How does one go beyond the defences developed in childhood?
Right? You have understood the question? What is the time, sir?
Q: Five thirty.
K: Oh lord! You see sir how long one question, or two questions, take. You know really there is only one question. If you consider all these questions there is only one real question. What is that? Ask it, sir. One, if you had. Please, careful, some angel comes along and says you can ask only one question, and it must be the real question, not how am I to get rich, who am I to marry - you follow? - but the real deep fundamental question.
Q: How to eliminate thought.
K: Who is the entity who says, how am I to You are not
Q: Who am I?
K: I won't answer that question because you haven't come to it. You'll find out.
Q: Why don’t you ask the question?
K: I have asked it.
Q: I don’t understand it.
K: Oh, you are not quick enough. Sir, the question is: does thought create the pain, or pain creates the thought? You understand? You put a pin into this leg, it is communicated to the brain, then the pain, then the anxiety to end that pain. The whole of that is a momentum of thinking, isn't it? The nervous reaction, the identification with that reaction, and the identification saying, I hope it will end and I mustn't have it in the future. All that is part of the whole momentum, isn't it, of the whole movement. Why do you separate the two: does thinking come first, or the pain comes first? You understand? 'Who laid the egg' business, you know. Does the chicken come first, or the egg comes first? You are missing the whole point, sir.
It's not the time to go into this. Is fear, which is part of pain, is fear the result of thought? You understand? Is there fear without thought?
Q: Is there free of fear even with thought?
K: Sir, the 'me' is put together by thought, obviously, I mean you all... Successive incidents, successive ideas, and genetic heritage, and so on and so on, the me is the result of thought: I am a Hindu, I am a Catholic, I am this, I am that, I am an American, I am successful, I am a doctor, I am - all that is a bundle put together by thought.
I am asking, sir, most of us have had pain. Have you ever experimented to disassociate thought from pain? Haven't you? Of course you have done it. To watch the pain, not identify with it and say, 'Oh, I have pain'. You understand? Sit in the dentist's chair for some time and watch the thing going on, so your mind observes without identifying. You can do this, sir. I sat in the dentist's chair for four hours - I can tell you about it. Never a single thought came into my mind. I discovered that after I had sat for four hours.
How does one go beyond the defences cultivated in childhood? Would you go to a psychoanalyst? Would you? No, wait, don't say no. That's how they exist. (Laughter) They are the modern priests. Now would you go to a psychologist, psychotherapist, psycho and so on, there are so many varieties of these medicine men. Sorry, I am not being rude to them, I am just asking, would you go to them? That's the easiest way, isn't it? And we think they will answer all the childhood problems. They can't. They may slightly modify it. They themselves say so. So what will you do? There is nobody you can go to. Right? Sir, do you face that? There is nobody, your guru, god, priest, psychoanalyst, including Krishnamurti, nobody you can go to, what will you do? Have you ever faced that, that fact that you cannot. You can go to a doctor, if you have cancer, that's a different matter. The psychological knowledge that you have developed from childhood which becomes neurotic, which most people are neurotic somehow, but And there is nobody on earth you can go to, or in heaven, what will you do? How would you find out that you are neurotic? Not somebody telling you you are neurotic, because most people are neurotic. Somebody tells me I am neurotic, it is the pot calling the kettle black. Right? So how shall I find out I am neurotic? Do I want to find out? If I do, how shall I know, how shall I see it? Have I really eliminated from my thought, from my mind, the idea somebody is going to help me? You understand, sir? See what I have done. You understand? The very going to somebody to help me may be the essence of neuroticism. I wonder if you see this! It doesn't matter.
So what am I to do? How am I to know in a world that is almost neurotic, all my friends, my relations, they are all slightly imbalanced. (Laughter) And probably I am also imbalanced. So what shall I do, knowing there is nobody I can go to? No confession, all that business, nobody. So what shall I do? See what has happened, sir, to me? You are not meeting it! As I cannot go to anybody, then what is taking place in my mind when I have depended on others? On books, on psychologists - you follow? - on authority, what has happened to my mind?
K: Go on sir, what has happened to your mind if you actually realise that you cannot possibly go to anybody?
Q: You have to do it yourself.
K: No, watch it, sir, don't answer - what happens to your mind? Is neuroticism the result of dependence? I depend on my wife, I depend on the doctor, I depend on god, I depend on psychologists. You follow? I have established a series of dependence around me, hoping in that dependence I will be secure. Right? And I discover as I cannot depend on anybody, what happens? Oh, come on sirs, what happens when you don't depend?
Q: You become...
Q: have to solve the problem.
K: Do it, sir. Do it. You understand, sir? We are bringing about a tremendous revolution, psychological revolution. Right? Right? And you are unwilling to face it. I depend on my wife. She encourages me to be dependent on her, or I, etc., both ways. So you tell me that is part of your neurosis. I don't throw it out, I examine it. I say, you are quite right. I see this. So can I be free of not depending on my wife, psychologically, of course. Will you do it? No, sir, you won't, because you are frightened, you want something from her, sex, or this, or that, or she encourages you with your ideas, helps you to be dominant, helps you to be ambitious. You follow? Says, you are a marvellous philosopher. (Laughter) So to see that the very state of dependence on another may be the deep psychological neurosis. And when you break that pattern what happens? You are sane. When you are free of the church, the priests, the popes - you follow? - the whole works of all. You understand what happens to you, what is the state of your mind? Sir, you must have such a mind to find out what truth is.
Dependence has been, from childhood, has been a factor against pain, against hurt, for comfort, for emotional sustenance, for encouragement, and all that has been built in you, you are part of that. If you say, no more authority, religious authority, do you know what happens?
Q: What did Christ say?
K: Oh, sir. You see, it is impossible to discuss with you. Sir, before Christ there was the Buddha, 500 BC, before him there was somebody else, so it isn't just this one person that has suddenly discovered. That's your conditioning of two thousand years, as in India they are conditioned by three thousand years. This conditioned mind can never find out what truth is. You may worship your images, enjoy them, but it is not truth. Don't throw bombs! (Laughter)
So, sir, that means, not to depend on anything means you are alone. Do you know what that word 'alone' means? All one. Yes sir. That is sanity. That sanity breeds rationality, clarity, integrity.
Sorry, sir, not to answer all the other questions.