3rd Question & Answer Meeting
To observe without distortion
3rd Public Questions, Ojai, California
May 13, 1980
There have been many, many questions, written down, but we can't answer all of them. In answering these questions, or rather in enquiring into these questions, we are both involved in it. Not just the speaker answering the questions, but both you and the speaker are sharing in the question. So don't just please merely listen to what the speaker is saying but rather join in with the speaker in answering the questions.
1st Question: What is true creativity? And how is it different from that which is celebrated in popular culture?
What is generally called creativity is mostly man-made: painting, music, literature - both romantic and factual, all the architecture, the marvellous technology, and all those who are involved in all this, the painters, the writers, the poets, the philosophical writers, probably consider themselves as creative. And we all seem to agree with them. That's the popular idea of what is a creative person. We agree to that? I think we all see that, that all man-made things most beautiful: the great cathedrals, temples and Islamic mosques are extraordinarily, some of them are extraordinarily beautiful. I don't know if you have seen them, and if you have, they are really marvellous. And the people who built these were anonymous, we don't know who built them. They were only concerned with building, writing, the Bible, all that. Nobody knows who wrote them. But now, with us, anonymity is almost gone. And perhaps with anonymity, there is a different kind of creativity. It is not based on success, money, and twenty eight million books sold in ten years, and so on, so on. The speaker himself at one time tried anonymity because the speaker doesn't like all this fuss and nonsense. He tried to talk behind a curtain! (Laughter) And it became rather absurd. (Laughter)
So anonymity has great importance. In that there is a different quality, different - this personal motive doesn't exist, the personal attitudes and personal opinions, it is a feeling of freedom from which you are acting. But most creativity, as we call it, is man-made. That is, this creation takes from the known. Right? The known. The great musicians, Beethoven, Bach and so on, it is from the known they act. And the writers, philosophers and so on, also have read, accumulated, developed their own style and so on, always moving, or acting or writing from that which has been accumulated, known. And this we call, generally, creativity.
Now is that really creative? Please, let's talk about it. Or is there a different kind of creativity which is born out of the freedom from the known? You understand my question? Because when we paint, write, create a marvellous structure out of stone, it is the accumulated knowledge, whether in the scientific field or in the world of art, human art, there is always this sense of carrying from the past to the present. Or imagination, romantic, factual, maudlin and so on. Is there creativity, something totally different from this activity that we call generally creativity? You are following?
We are asking, and I think it is rather an important question to go into, if you are willing, whether there is an action, there is a living, there is a movement, which is not from the known. That is, is there a creation from a mind that is not burdened from all the turmoils of life, from all the social pressures, economic and so on, is there a creation out of a mind that has freed itself from the known? And it can then use memory - you understand what I'm saying? - knowledge. But we start with knowledge and that we call creative. But we are suggesting that there is a creativity which is not born out of the known. When that creative impulse, or movement takes place, it can then use the known. But not the other way round. I don't know if you are following what I am saying.
If you don't mind some time, try, or be, find out whether the mind can ever be free from the known - the known being all the accumulated experience, remembrance, the knowledge that one has acquired, the impressions and so on, whether the mind can be free from all that. And in that very state of mind creation as we know it may not be necessary. You understand? A man who has a talent for writing feels he must express himself. He develops his own style, the way he writes, Keats, Shelly, Eliot and so on and the others, they have this impulse to write, fulfil, create. Perhaps their own lives are not all that beautiful - like Michelangelo, Raphael and all those people. Sorry to quote these names. I am not learned but I have visited many museums when I was young, I was pushed into it, all that (laughter), and the remnants of all that remains. And I have talked to a great many artists, writers, friends and so on.
It seems to me that all our creation in the scientific world, in all the human art, it is always from a point, from a talent, from a gift, and that gift is exploited to its fullest extent. Like a musician who has a gift, a prodigy, he becomes tremendously important. And we common people admire all that and wish we had some of that. As we haven't got it we run after them, we almost worship them - the conductors, you know all the game that goes on.
And when you begin to question what is creativity, as the questioner is asking, is it something totally different, which I think we all can have. Not the specialists, not the professionals, not the talented, gifted, I think we can all have this extraordinary mind that is really free from all the burden which man has imposed upon himself, created for himself. And then out of that sane, rational, healthy life, something totally different comes. And that may not necessarily be expressed as in painting, architecture; why should one? You follow? If you have gone into this fairly deeply, and I hope you will, you will find out that there is a state of mind which actually has no experience whatsoever. Because experience implies a mind that is still groping, asking, seeking, and therefore struggling in darkness, and wanting to go beyond it. But a mind that is very clear, not confused, has no conflict, has no problem. You understand? Has no problem. You try. Such a mind it has no need to express, talk - I am talking, sorry! (Laughter) The speaker is talking not because he wants to impress you, or anything of that kind, which is too silly, or persuade you to certain attitudes and opinions and judgements, it is a kind of friendly communication with two people who are concerned with all this enormous complex life, who haven't found a complete total answer to all this. And there is a complete and total answer if we apply our minds, our hearts to this.
So there is a creativity which is not man-made. Don't please say, that is god-made, that has no meaning either, because if our own minds are extraordinarily clear, without a shadow of conflict then that mind is really in a state of creation, which needs no expression, no fulfilment, or all that publicity and nonsense.
2nd Question: You have said that in the very seeing there is action. Is this action the same as the expression of action? If not, is there a connection between the two, and how do they possibly relate to suppression?
What the speaker said was, if he remembers rightly, that in observation, the very observation is action. There is an observation of greed - observation, which is to observe without any distortion, without motive, without saying, I must go beyond it and all that, just to observe this greed movement. And that very observation sees the whole movement of it, not just one particular form of greed, but the whole movement of greed, and that perception, that seeing, that observation, ends the movement. That is what he calls action.
There is no interval - this I must forgive me if I go into it a little bit more - there is no interval in seeing and acting. One must be careful here. It is not impulsive acting, it is not saying, I feel like it and I'll act. That's what we are all doing. But what we are saying is that in observing greed - I am taking that as an example - in observing greed, hatred, violence, whatever it is, when that observation is completely non-directive - right? - then there is no interval between the seeing and the acting. Whereas we have intervals: seeing, concluding, abstracting an idea and then carrying out that idea, which is the interval between the creation of an idea and the acting of that idea. I don't know if you are following this. If you observe yourself this is what goes on. This time interval, in which all kinds of other problems arise, whereas the seeing is the very movement of ending greed.
Now the questioner says, is this action the same as the expression of action? Have you understood? Is this the same as the expression of action? That is, you see a cobra, a snake; there is instant expression of self-preservation, self-protection, which is natural, healthy and so on - unless you are some kind of peculiar person, then you play with these things. But the self-possessive instinct is immediate: to run away, or do something about it. There the seeing has expressed itself in action, physical action. Right? We are talking of not only physical observation but also the observation with the whole of your mind, not partial observation, which we do, but to be so attentive that it is the whole of the mind, if you can do this. I don't know if you have tried all these things. That is, to give complete attention. Right? That means attention implies there is no centre from which you are attending. I don't know if you follow this. Must I go into all this? All right.
When you concentrate it is from a centre, from a point to point. I don't know if you understand it. Therefore it is limited, restricted, narrow. Whereas attention has no centre, you attend. I don't know if you follow this. If you now - forgive me for pointing out - if you are really attending now you will see you are not attending from a point. Right? So find out for yourself, if you are willing - I am not persuading you, or anything of that kind, it is not group therapy and all that business - if you are willing just see if you can completely attend. That is you hear, you see, you feel, everything in your mind is alive, attending. Then you will find out that there is no point from which you are attending, from a point to point. In that attention there is no border. Whereas concentration has a border.
If not, is there a connection between the two, and how do they possibly relate to suppression? I am not quite sure I understand the question. Is there a connection between the two, that is, the physical action, which is when you see a danger, you move away immediately, and the action, the perception, the observation which ends a particular reaction, that is called greed, ending totally, not partially. The questioner says, asks, is there a connection between these two, and how do they possibly relate to suppression. There is no suppression.
Look sir, all right, let's take greed, as we did the day before yesterday. Greed we all know how it arises, what its responses are and so on. In observing greed, if there is a division between the observer and the observed, that is, there is greed and I say, 'I am greedy', which means I am separate from that thing called greed. Right? You are following? So this separation, in this separation there is either conflict, suppression, overcoming it and so on, all the travail that comes about in this division. But this division actually doesn't exist if you go into it. Greed is me, is the observer. Right? I wonder if you understand this. May I go on? Greed is not separate from the person who is observing as though he were different from the observer. We are saying the observer is the observed, which doesn't mean I observe the tree, I am the tree. I would end up in an asylum. But we are saying when there is this reaction, which is named as greed, that greed is not different from the me who is observing it, so you eliminate altogether the division. In that there is no suppression, you are that. If you come to that point - you understand? - when you say, 'Yes, I am that', not as an idea but as an actuality, then there is a totally different movement takes place. I don't know if you have tried it after these weeks of talking, you must have tried one of these things. If you have, you must have found out. Test it.
That is, the total absence of conflict, which is an extraordinary thing because you have broken the pattern of this division which creates conflict.
3rd Question: For the making of images to end must thought also end? Is one necessarily implied in the other? Is the end of image-making merely a foundation upon which one can begin to discover what love and truth are? Or is that ending the very essence of truth and love?
We've talked about it, the other day, how images are made. We will go into it again, because we live by images, not only actual image created by the hand but by the images created by the mind, by thought. These images are continuously added and taken diminished. This is the movement that we go through. I don't know if you are watching your own images that you have. You have your own image about yourself. If you are a writer you have an image of yourself, if you are a poet you have an image, if you are a wife, husband and all the rest of it, each one has created for himself an image about himself. This begins from childhood through comparison, through suggestion, by saying you must be as good as the other chap, or you must not do, or you must, so gradually this accumulative process begins. And in our relationships, personal and otherwise, there is always this image, man, woman and all the rest of that. And as long as this image exists you are either wounded, bruised, hurt or this image prevents having actual relationship with another. We explained and have gone into this..
Now the questioner says, can this ever end, or is it something with which we have to live everlastingly, and in the very ending of the image does thought end? And he asks also, are they interrelated, image and thought? And when the image-making machinery comes to an end, is that the very essence of love and truth? That is more or less what he means. Have you ever actually ended an image? Voluntarily, easily, without any compulsion, without any motive, without saying, I must end my image, I won't be hurt, and all the rest of it. Just voluntarily, pleasantly, easily, happily, ended the various kinds the image you have: the image of god, the image of - you know all that. Take one image and go into it. In going into it you discover the whole movement of making images. You understand what I am saying? That is, if one has an image, let's say a belief, which is an image, go into it. That image, you begin to discover in the very ending of it there is fear, there is anxiety, there is a sense of isolation, and so you see the image-making involves all this. And if you are frightened you carry on. You say it is much better to keep something I know rather than something I don't know. Right? Whereas if you go into it fairly seriously and deeply, who is the maker of this image? Not one particular image but the image-making machinery, the whole of it. Is it thought? Is it the natural response, natural reaction to protect oneself? Wait a minute, don't agree yet, don't agree. The natural reaction to protect, protect physically, and protect psychologically. One can understand the natural response of protecting physically: to have food, to have shelter, to have clothes, not to be run over by buses and so on, not to jump down a precipice. That is a natural, healthy, intelligent response. In that there is no image. I don't know if you follow this. When you see a precipice, you move away. It is not the image that is moving away, it is the physical danger you see and the physical danger and the self-protective reaction makes you move. In that there is no image. I don't know if you see that.
But psychologically, inwardly, we have created this image. And this image is the outcome of a series of incidents, accidents, hurts, irritations, you know, which is after all the state of a mind which is inattentive. I don't know if you follow this. May I go on? You are following this? Does it interest you, all this? Don't agree, do it for yourself. Please, I don't care if you flatter me, if you agree with it, it is nothing to me. You follow? Unless you want to do it, don't do it. If you want to do it, do it. This psychological image-making, is it the movement of thought? You understand? We know it's not, thought doesn't - perhaps very, very infinitely enters in self-protective reaction, physically, but the psychological image-making must be the outcome of constant inattention, which is the very essence of thought. I wonder if you get it. You understand what I said, sir, just now? Thought in itself is inattentive. Please, I've carefully explained previously that attention has no centre, it has no point from which to go to another point, which is concentration. When there is complete attention there is no movement of thought. It's only the state of mind that is inattentive, and thought then which is always partial and therefore not completely attentive, creates the image. I wonder if you've followed this.
Have you followed a little bit? Look, I am inattentive, I am doing something else, you know, inattentive. My wife or friend or somebody tells me, 'You are silly ', and immediately I have formed an image, or somebody says, 'What a marvellous person you are', I have formed an image. Which is, the state of inattention, lacking attention creates the image by thought, which in itself is inattentive. Got it? I have discovered something new. Right? Because - please look at it carefully for yourself, thought which is matter, thought which is the outcome of memory, the outcome of memory, outcome of experience, knowledge, and that must always be limited, partial. Memory, knowledge, can never be complete. Right? Can never be complete, therefore it is partial, therefore it is inattentive, thought is inattentive in itself. I wonder if you see that.
So when there is attention there is no image-making. You get it? It is not a conflict. You see the fact. When you insult me or flatter me, I am completely attentive, it doesn't mean a thing. But the moment I am not paying attention my thought takes over, which is inattentive in itself and creates the image. Got it?
Now the questioner says, is the ending of image-making the beginning, the essence of love and truth? Not quite. Sorry to put it, not quite! (Laughs) One must go into it very, very deeply. This may not be the time or the occasion. I was going to talk about it, the speaker was going to talk about it on Saturday and Sunday. But it doesn't matter, we will go into it now briefly and we will talk about it.
Is desire love? Go into it, sir. Is pleasure love? What do you say? I know all our life, most of our life, is directed towards pleasure, different forms of pleasure. And in that movement of pleasure, sex, etc., etc., takes place and that we call love. Right? Am I saying something not true? So we are asking, is love desire, pleasure? And can there be love when there is conflict? When the mind is crippled with problems - problems of heaven, problems of meditation, problems between man and woman, problems of... You follow? When the mind is living in problems, which most minds are, can there be love? And when there is a great deal of suffering, physical as well as psychological, can there be love?
So I am not answering this question, it is for you to find out.
And is truth a matter of conclusion, a matter of opinion, of philosophers, of theologians, of those who believe so deeply about dogma, rituals, you know, which are all man-made, can such a mind know what truth is? Or truth can only be when the mind is totally free of all this jumble? So philosophers and others never look at their own lives, and go off into some metaphysical, psychological world, which they begin to publish and become famous.
So truth is something, sir, that demands extraordinary clarity of mind, that has no problem whatsoever, physical or psychological. A mind that has not known even conflict. You understand what I am saying? The memory of conflict must end. You are following all this? Because we have a great many pleasant and unpleasant memories, remembrances that are delightful, and remembrances that are most painful. With that mind, with that burden, we are trying to find truth. You understand? It is impossible. So a mind that is astonishingly free from all man-made psychological - you follow? - all that, then truth is something that is when there is love and compassion. You cannot have love and compassion when you are in violence, when you are clinging to some attachment, when attachment becomes all important.
Sirs, and ladies, if we may, I am not being personal, these are not words to me - you understand? If it was not something actual I wouldn't speak. You understand what I am saying? I wouldn't be dishonest to myself. If it is not a fact I would be such a terrible hypocrite. I wouldn't ever sit anywhere on a platform or talk to anybody. You understand what I am saying? This requires tremendous integrity.
4th Question: Would you please make a definitive statement about the non-existence of reincarnations, since increasing 'scientific evidence' - in quotes - is now being accumulated to prove reincarnation as a fact. I am concerned because I see a large number of people beginning to use this evidence to further strengthen a belief system they already have, which enables them to escape facing the problems of living and dying. Isn't it your responsibility to be clear, (laughter) direct and unequivocal on this matter instead of hedging round the issue? (Laughter)
We will be very definite. (Laughter) Sir, this idea of reincarnation has existed long before Christianity. Right? The Hindus, the ancient Hindus talked about it. I must tell you a lovely story, but this is going off... And it is prevalent and almost actual in India, and probably in the Asiatic world. They believe in reincarnation. Now what is it that incarnates? You understand? Not only now, incarnating now, but reincarnating. You follow? That is one point.
Second: this idea of reincarnation being proved scientifically as an evidence so that people can escape through that, the questioner implies, and the questioner also says, I am concerned because people are escaping. Right? Are you really concerned if people are escaping? They escape through football, they escape through going to, what do you call it - basketball, yes, and may I also add escape by going to church - another form of entertainment! And let's put all that aside, being concerned what other people do, because we are concerned with the fact, with the truth of reincarnation. Right? And you want a definite answer from the speaker.
What is it that incarnates? To incarnate is to be born. Right? What is it at the moment now, living now, sitting there, what is it that is living? You understand? Reincarnation means in a future life. Right? I am asking, what is it that is taking place now, which is incarnation? You understand my question? Right? What is it? Go on, sir, examine it. As we are sitting here, nothing is happening - fairly simple. You are listening to some talk, or some idiocy, or some rubbish, or you like what you are hearing, or you don't like what you are hearing. But in our daily life, when you go away from here, what is it that is actually taking place, which is the very movement of incarnation, what is it? You know it, I don't... Your struggles, your appetites, your greeds, your envies, your attachments, your - you follow, all that. Is that what is going to reincarnate next life? You understand what I am saying? Go on, sir think it out.
Now those who believe in reincarnation, that is to be born with all the things which I have now, all the things which we have, to be born next life, modified, perhaps, and carry on life after life. That's the idea. If you really believe in reincarnation, really, it is something that is alive, a belief - belief is never alive, but suppose it is tremendously alive, then how you are now matters much more than what you will be next. You understand what I am saying? Are you following? That is sir, it is called in the Asiatic world, Karma - I won't go into all that. Which means action, not all the stuff but action. If I live a life now, in this period, with all my misery, confusion, anger, jealousy, hatred, violence, it may be modified, but it will go on next life. Right? This is obvious if you go into all that. So there is evidence of that. The evidence of violence, evidence of remembrance of things past, you follow all this. It may be remembrance of things past of a past life. Right? That remembrance, that accumulated 'me' - this accumulation is the 'me', the I, the ego, the personality - that bundle, modified, chastened, polished a little bit goes on next life. Right? This has evidence. Right, you are following all this?
So the question is not whether there is reincarnation - -you follow? I am very clear on this matter, please I am very definite, not that there is reincarnation, but what is far more important than reincarnation is the ending of this mess, this conflict, now. You follow? Then there is something totally different goes on. I wonder if you get all this! It is like my being unhappy, miserable, sorrow-ridden and I say, 'I hope next life I will be better'. Right? That hope of next life is the postponement of facing the fact now. The speaker has talked a great deal to all those believers and so on who have lectured, written, talked about reincarnation endlessly. It is part of their game. And I say, all right sir, you believe in all that, right. What about if you believe, what you do now matters. Right? Right, sirs? But they are not interested in that, they are interested in the future. You follow? They don't say, look, I believe, but I will alter my life so completely there is no future. You follow the point?
Don't say at the end of answering this particular question, you are evading it. I am not. I say the present life is all important. If you understand, go into that present life, with all the turmoil of it, the complexity of it, and end it - you follow? - end it, not carry on with it, then you enter into a totally different world. To end it you must apply - you follow sir? - give attention, you must go after it, not just say, 'Well I believe in it, reincarnation, I hope in the future something will take place.' I think this is clear, isn't it? I am not hedging.
You might ask me, do I believe in reincarnation - right? That is the question implied too. I don't believe in anything. (Laughter) This is not an evasion. I have no belief, which doesn't mean I am an atheist, I am ungodly and all that nonsense. To have no belief. Go into it, sir, see what it means. It means that the mind is free from all entanglements of belief.
Questioner: Tell us that lovely story.
Krishnamurti: Oh, you have heard of the Upanishads in India, the literature of ancient India. There is a story there about death which is reincarnation and all the rest of it. The son of a Brahmana - you know what a Brahmana is - the father is sacrificing, giving up, he has accumulated so much and one of the ancient customs and rules was that after collecting, at the end of five years you must give up everything and begin again. Would you do all that? (Laughter) So he had a son, and the son says to him, 'You are giving all this away to various people, and so on, to whom are you going to give me away to? To whom are you sending me?' The father said, 'Go away, I am not interested'. So the boy comes back several times, and the father gets angry and says, 'I am going to send you to death'. Being a Brahmana he must keep his word. So he sends him to death. And on his way to death the boy goes to various teachers and says, 'Some say there is incarnation, others say there is not.' So he goes on searching and he comes to the house of death. When he arrives death is absent. You know it is a marvellous story if you go into it. Death is absent. He waits for three days. On the third or the fourth day death appears and apologises. He apologies because the boy was a Brahmin and he says, 'I am sorry to have kept you waiting. And in my regret I will offer three whatever you wish. You can be the greatest king, have the greatest wealth, and you can have immortality.' He promises anything. And the boy says, 'I have been to all these teachers and they all say different things, what do you say about death and what happens afterwards?' So death says, 'I wish I had pupils like you' - you understand? - 'who is not concerned about anything except that.' So he begins to talk, tell him about truth, about a state of life in which there is no time and so on and so on. That's the story.
5th Question: If 'you are the world', in quotes, and one feels it, sees it, what does it mean to step out of the stream? Who steps out of it?
The questioner has probably read some books of the speaker. What time is it, sir?
Q: Twenty minutes to one.
K: Good lord!
Sir this is a very important question because - this will be the last question, if you don't mind, I am sorry to keep you waiting so long, in spite of the tape!
I wonder if one realises, not as an idea, not as something romantically appealing but as an actual fact that we are the world, psychologically, not physically, colour and hair and all that stuff, but psychologically, inwardly we are the world. Go to India, they have the same problems as here - suffering, loneliness, death, anxiety, sorrow - right? - as we have in the west. Wherever you go this is the common factor of humanity, the factor of all human beings. So psychologically, inwardly, we are the world. Right? Is that an idea or a fact? You understand? When you hear this statement, do you make of it into an idea, or actually realise it, as you realise when a pin is put into your thigh, or in your arm, the actual pain of it? Not the pain of the realisation. The pain when an injection is made, that is an actuality, you have no idea about it, it is so, there is pain. Now do we actually realise this immense fact? Or is it just a lot of words, you say, I see it, and I know it and I feel it? But something biting, something that is so tremendously actual, then the psychological fact of that affects the mind. You understand? The mind is not your mind, your brain is not your American little family brain. It is the human brain. And when one realises that it brings a sense of great, you know, not only responsibility - responsibility implies generally guilt in it, if you are really responsible you feel slightly guilty about it. I am using the word 'responsibility' without any sense of guilt. A sense of tremendous human responsibility for all things connected with human beings: how you educate your children, how you behave. You follow? When you actually realise this immensity - it is immense - then the particular entity as me seems so insignificant. You understand? With all my little worries, you know, it becomes so shoddy. And when you see this fact, in your heart, in your mind you feel this, you cover the earth - you understand? Cover the earth: nature, ecology, and all that - you follow? - you want to protect everything you can. Because you are responsible for all this.
And when there is this, the questioner asks, what does it mean to step out of this stream? And who does step out? The stream is this constant human struggle, misery - right? - of all human beings, whether communist, socialist, imperialists in China - you follow? - technicians, it is the common ground on which we all stand. And to be free of that - you follow? - to be free of all that is not who steps out of it, the mind has become something totally different. You understand? Am I making this point clear? It's not 'I step out of it' - the mind is no longer in it. Sir, look, if you are attached and you end attachment, something totally different takes place, not you are free from attachment. You understand? So there is a different quality, a different tone to your whole life when one realises this enormous fact that we are humanity. Right sir?
I think that is enough, isn't it?