4th Question & Answer Meeting
To observe without distortion
4th Public Questions, Ojai, California
May 15, 1980
In talking over together these questions we are sharing not only with the question but also with the answers, with the exploration of the answer. So it is not just I answer and you listen and you all agree or disagree, but together we are trying to find the right answer to these questions.
1st Question: I am not asking how fear arises, that you have already explained, rather what is the actual substance of fear? What is fear itself? Is it a pattern of physiologic reactions and sensations, tightening of muscles, surge of adrenaline and so forth, or is something more? What am I to look at when I look at fear itself? Can this looking take place when fear is not immediately present?
Rather a long question. The questioner, as far as I can make out from this question, wants to know what is the substance of fear, what is actual fear, and how can one observe fear present or past. Right? That's the question. Do we understand the question?
What is fear itself, apart from the physiologic reactions, tightening and so on, what is the actual moment of fear? What is the nature, the inward structure of fear, the substance? Right? Can we go on with that? We have all understood this rather long question? What is fear itself? We are generally afraid of something. Right? Or a remembrance of something that has happened, or a projection of the reaction into the future. Right? But that is not what the questioner asks only; he asks also what is the actual nature of fear. I really don't know, we're going to find out.
When one is afraid, both physiologically as well as psychologically it is, is it not, something that one has, a feeling of danger, a feeling of total isolation, called loneliness, deep, abiding, lasting loneliness. Those are all reactions to something: one is afraid of the snake, or one has had pain and is afraid of that pain and so on. So it is either a remembrance and therefore something that has happened in the past, and recalled when any dangerous moment arrives, the remembrance of the past identifying, and say, that is fear. The questioners says, and I think there is something, which we have to go into it together, which is, apart from all this, physical, psychological reactions which we know as fear, apart from it is there fear in itself, not fear of something? You understand? Am I making it clear? Is there fear per se? Or we only know fear in relation to something else. If it is not in relation to something else, is it fear? We only know fear in relation to something, from something or towards something. But if you eliminate all that, is there actual fear, which you can examine. You understand my question? Or is fear, deep-rooted fear, in the mind, which has always wanted total security and not finding it, it's afraid? You understand?
Please we are examining it together, you are not just playing games with me. The ball is not in your court or in my court. We are looking at it together. The mind, the brain needs complete security to function well, healthily, sanely. Not finding it in anything, in a relationship, in an idea, in a belief, in an image, an intelligent mind rejects all that. But yet it must have complete security. And lacking that, fear comes into being. Right? That is, is there something totally, completely secure, certain? Not the certainty of belief, dogma, rituals and ideas, which can be abolished and new ideas, dogmas, theories can replace them, but if we put aside all that, is the mind, the brain seeking a security that is imperishable? And not finding it, it has deep-rooted fear. I don't know if you Are we meeting together?
So I am asking, one is asking oneself apart from the ordinary kind of fears, is the mind, brain creating the fear itself? You follow? Because there is nothing valid, nothing that is whole, and is that the substance of fear? That is, can the brain - and the mind includes the brain, reactions and all that - can that total mind have complete security, certainty, not about something - you understand what I'm saying? - not about god, belief, all that, but in itself completely whole? Right? Am I conveying something? That is, can the mind in itself have no fear? Am I conveying something, are we meeting each other? Thought which is part of the mind and brain, has created - desiring security, has created various illusions, philosophical and so on, theological, and not finding it there it either creates something beyond itself in which it can find security, total security, or the mind is so totally complete it has no need for fear. Are we meeting? This is rather difficult.
We are not talking of getting rid of fear, or suppressing fear, what is the cause of fear - we went into all that the other day - but we are asking something totally different, which is, can the mind in itself have no cause or substance or reaction which brings fear? Sir, please, this is rather a difficult question, to find this out, that is, can the mind, can it ever be in a state - again that word 'state' implies static, I don't mean that - can it ever be in a quality, in a state, where it has no movement reaching out or going - you follow? - completely whole in itself?
You see this implies going into, understanding what is meditation, if you are interested in it. Meditation isn't all this nonsense that is going on, but to be free from fear - you follow? - both physiological as well as psychological, be free from it. Otherwise one can't love, there is no love, there is no compassion, you know, as long as there is fear the other cannot exist. And to meditate, not to reach something, to understand the nature of fear, and to go beyond it, which is to find out whether the mind has no memory or remembrance of something which has caused fear, so that it is completely whole.
I think I have more or less answered that question. Oh yes, except, can this looking take place when fear is not immediately present? One can recall fear, can't one? And the recalling of that fear can be observed, can't it? You are sitting here quietly, probably you have no fear now. But you have had fear in the past, and you can summon it, but it is not actually the same. Right? Because at the moment when there is - no, fear exists a moment after, not at the actual moment. I don't know if you You have given it a name, a reaction and so on, and that you call fear. But at the actual moment of great danger, the moment of facing something that may cause fear, at that second there is no fear, there is nothing. Then there is a recollection of the past and then the naming of it and you say, 'By Jove, I am afraid'. All the tightening of the muscles, the adrenaline and so on and so on. So one can, I think, recall the past fears and look at them. The observing of that fear is important because either you put it outside of you, or you say, 'I am that fear' - there is not you observing that fear, you are that reaction. Then when there is no division as you and fear, but only the state of that reaction, something - if you have noticed it - something entirely new takes place. Right?
2nd Question: When one sees in the world about us no demonstrable universal principle of justice I feel no compelling reason to change myself, or the chaotic society outside. I see no rational criteria by which to measure the consequences of action and their accountability. Can you share your perception on this matter with us?
I don't like that word 'demonstrable' - one cannot demonstrate universal principle of justice.
Is there justice in the world? This has been a question which all the philosophers have gone into, spinning a lot of words about it. Now is there justice in the world, rational, sane, justice? You are clever, I am not. Right? You have money, I have not. You have capacity and another has not. You have talent, you can enjoy all that, another is born poor. One has crippling disease and the other has not. The criminal, what we call criminals, he is judged and sent to prison, or whatever takes place. So we consider that there must be justice. Right? Seeing all this we say, there must be somewhere justice. So we move from lack of justice to an idea of justice. I don't know if you are following this? God is just and so on. But the fact remains that there is terrible injustice in the world. Right? And the questioner wants to know: if there is no justice why should I change? You understand? There is no point in it. Why should I change this chaotic world where the dictators are so supreme, their very life is injustice, terrorising millions of people. And seeing all that there is no rational cause for me to change. I think that is a rather not rational question - if I may say so. Do you change for some cause, because you are under pressure? Or you are rewarded? You follow? Is change brought about by reward and punishment? Or you see human beings are so irrational right through the world and all the things they have made are also irrational, and you as a human being, you as a human is the rest of humanity. I don't know if you see that - we went into it the other day. And if you are the rest of mankind, you must you are responsible, not because you find you are rewarded, or you see so much injustice in the world, how the crooks get away with everything - they build marvellous churches and all the rest, a lot of money, and there are millions and millions and millions starving.
So change is not brought about through compulsion, through reward or punishment. The mind itself sees the absurdity of all this and says I'll You follow? It's per se, it sees the necessity of change in itself - not because you tell me to change, or god or the priest or somebody tells me to change. I see the chaos around me and that chaos has been created by human beings and I am that human being, and I have to act, it is my responsibility, a global responsibility.
3rd Question: Can we die psychologically to the self? To find out is a process of choiceless awareness - I wish you wouldn't quote me. (Laughter) However in order to observe choicelessly it seems we must have ended, or died to the ego, 'me'. So my question is, how can I observe in my current state of fragmentation? Is it like the 'I' trying to see the 'I'? As you have said, we must be free of fear in order to observe fear. This is an impossible paradox. It is driving me mad. (Laughter) Please clarify this issue.
I will clarify the issue: don't quote me. Or anybody, because then it is not yours, you become second-hand human beings, which we are. So please, that is the first thing to do, because that distorts our thinking. You understand? We are the result of a million years of pressure of other people's thinking, propaganda, all that. And if one is not free of all that you can never find out the origin of all things. You understand?
So my question is: how can I observe in my current state of fragmentation? You cannot. Right? But you can observe your fragmentation. I don't know if you follow this. I am observing myself; in observing I discover that I am looking at myself with certain prejudice, so I forget looking at myself, I go into the question of prejudice. I am aware, I become aware of my prejudice, and can I look at it without any sense of distortion, without choice, and all the rest of it, just to observe the prejudice I have. Let the story of prejudice tell me, not I tell the story about prejudice, but let prejudice unroll itself. You understand what I am saying? What is the cause of prejudice - the image, conclusions, opinions - you follow?
So I begin to discover, one begins to discover in looking at fear I realise that I am fragmented, that fragmentation is brought about by thought, naturally, and therefore I begin to be aware of the movement of thought. So what is important is not observe fear when my mind itself is clouded, confused, so I enquire into my confusion: why are human beings confused? Why are you all confused? If you are very clear you wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be here - thank god! Because we are confused our question is, what is this confusion, who has created this confusion in us and outside of us? Right? So in enquiring, or observing confusion the movement is to be aware of the movement of thought, the contradictory nature of thought. You follow? The whole thing unrolls itself if you watch. The story is there, but we don't read the story. We are telling the book what it should say. You understand? We are not saying yes, there is the history of myself - the history of mankind is myself. So in enquiring into, reading that book I read the book, chapter by chapter, or I understand the whole book instantly. That implies one has to have a deep insight - I don't want to enter into all that. I don't know if you want me to go on into that.
Sir, look: there is confusion in all of us, and if we say, 'I am not confused', that would be too silly. Or, 'I have perfect relationship with another', that is equally silly. So one is confused. Now either you analyse it, the cause of it - you understand? Please follow this a little bit. The cause of it, which is thought, thought in its very nature is contradictory, thought in its movement is divisive, as national - divisive, thought in itself must be limited because it is based on knowledge and knowledge can never be complete. Never! Right? So that is the way we go into, analytically or let thought move in a particular direction to examine, which means the remembrance, the memory, the experience is observing. Right? You are following all this? No? All right.
When you observe somebody, your friend or whoever it is, you are observing what? Not the face, not the figure, not how she looks, or he looks, long hair, short hair, you are observing the image that you have built about her, or him. So we are saying all that is a movement of thought, based on remembrances, conclusions, ideas. All that is a movement of thought. I mean this is an obvious fact. You don't have to prove it to anybody, that thought in itself is divisive, fragmentary, partial, it can never be complete, therefore it must create confusion.
Now, I have explained it. Now can you look at this sense of confusion in oneself - please follow this a little bit - without going through all that process? You understand? Without explanation, without remembrance, just to look at it and see, to have an insight into it, then you can explain it. Vous avez compris? I mean, have I explained it? I'll get it, I'll get it. Have I explained this? Insight, the very word means to have sight in the thing - insight. But you cannot have insight if it is merely the response of memory. Look sir, organised religion is not religion - right? - with all the nonsense that goes on with it: rituals, dogmas, theories, theologians spinning out new theories about - and so on, so on, so on, so on. That is not religion. Now what makes you say, that is not religion? Is it merely a thoughtful examination of all the religions, their dogmas, their superstitions, their ignorance, their rituals and saying at the end of it, 'This is nonsense'? Or you see immediately that any form of propaganda, pressure, and so on, that is never religion? Either you see it immediately and therefore you are out of it. I don't know if you see. But if you are merely examining various religions and then coming to a conclusion, then that conclusion will be limited, can be broken down by argument, by superior knowledge and so on. But if you get an insight into the nature of this religious structure which man has invented, the mind is immediately free of it. I don't know if you are following all this. It's like - I'll take another example - if you understand the tyranny of one guru, tyranny - they are tyrants because they want power, position and all the rest of it, they know, others don't know - so if you see the tyranny of one guru you have seen the tyranny of all gurus. You understand? So you don't go from one guru to another. I am afraid you are doing that. (Laughter)
4th Question: In observation without the observer is there a transformation from staying with the fact that leads to an increase of attention? Does the energy created have a direction? Good lord! I don't know what's all this. What is the relationship of attention to thought, to the centre, the self? Is there a gap between attention and thought that leads to freedom?
Look sir, these questions unfortunately don't relate to your actual life. Right? I am not saying you should not put these questions, but I am only asking you most respectfully, all these questions actually have not touched the living daily, life. You understand? Right? Is that so, or not? So all these questions become theoretical, something abstract, something that you have heard and you then say well, who is the observer, and the observer is the observed and so on. But if you say, look, my life is this, let us find out why I live this way. You understand, sir? Why I am worried, why my mind is eternally chattering, why I have no right relationship with another, why am I cruel. You understand? Why is my mind so narrow? Why am I neurotic? A neurotic person never says, 'I am neurotic'. But one can observe the person who is neurotic, it may be my wife, or my husband who is neurotic, but we never apparently deal with questions that affect our daily existence. I wonder why. You understand my question?
All these questions are that. I think there are about two hundred and fifty questions, we went through them. Please I am not scolding, or impatient, or preaching, but I am just asking myself after reading all those questions, I say why isn't there one question that affects psychologically the inward - you understand? - why I am unhappy, why am I in conflict with my neighbour, with my husband? You follow? So why is this happening? I will answer these questions, if I must, but why are we so timid, or so enclosed, or we are afraid to expose ourselves to another, which doesn't mean that you must expose. If we ask a really, a genuine - a question that affects deeply our life it has much more vitality than this. Right?
So I'll ask the question. (Laughter) Why do we, each one of us, live the way we are doing? Taking drugs, pot, drinking, smoking, pursuing pleasure and aggression, why? You understand? Why? Why are we like this? Please sir, go into it with me. Why are we aggressive? The whole society in which we live, in this society of the west, aggression is one of the most important things, and competition, they both go together. Why? You can see in the animals how aggressive they are, in mating, in a certain season. They don't compete, do they? You know when a lion has killed a zebra, other lions share it. You have seen this on television and so on. But apparently with us aggression is the most deep-rooted thing, and competition. Why are we like this? Is it the fault of the society? Our education? But the society is what we have made of it. So don't say, society, blame the society for this, or some education, but apparently we are deeply aggressive, and competitive. And if you are not competitive, if you are not aggressive, in this society you are trodden down. Right? You are discarded, you are looked down upon. Why are we aggressive? Go on sir, examine it. Is it that this emphasis on individual freedom, you understand, individual freedom, and that freedom demands that he must express himself at any cost? Is that it? Especially in this country, in the west, this sense of freedom, you know. If you have an instinct to do something, if you want to do something, do it. Don't restrain, don't examine it, it doesn't matter, if you have this feeling, act.
Questioner: Is there no difference between aggression and competition? They look different to me right now.
Krishnamurti: Madame, please, I'll go into it, don't bother about that. Either you write the questions, I'll answer them, or let me talk a little about this.
You can see what aggression does. Right? You are aggressive, I am aggressive for the same job, the same this, that, the other. And so we are fighting each other all along the way - right? - both psychologically and physically. And we carry on. That's part of our pattern, part of our social education, and to break that pattern we say we must exercise our will. Right? Which is another aggression. I don't know if you follow this. Right? Right? Are you following this, sir? When I exercise my will, will is another form of 'I must'. You understand. That's another form of aggression. So can you have an insight into aggression? You have understood my question, or is it too difficult? You understand my question sir? That is, I am aggressive - thank god I am not, I have never been, I don't want to be (laughs) - suppose I am aggressive and that's the pattern from childhood, that is the education, the mother, the father, and the society, the boys around me, are all aggressive, and I see, and I like that, it gives me pleasure. And I accept it and I also become aggressive. Right? Then as I grow up somebody shows me the nature of aggression, what it does in society, how competition is destroying human beings. It is not only the speaker is saying this, scientists are beginning to say this - so perhaps you will accept the scientists. So you explain it very carefully, all the reason, the cause, and the destructive nature of competition, which is to compare, always comparing. You understand?
Now a mind that doesn't compare at all - you understand? - is a totally different kind of mind. It has got much more vitality. So one explains all this, and yet we go on being aggressive, competitive, comparing ourselves with somebody, always something much greater, not with the poorer, with always something greater. So there is this pattern established, this cadre, this framework, and in which the mind is caught. And listening to it you say, 'I must get out of it, I must do something about it', which is what? Another form of aggression. You understand? I wonder if you see that. So can you, can we have an insight into aggression? You follow? Not explanations, not the remembrance of all the implications of it and so on and so on, which is constant examination, then coming to a conclusion, and acting according to that conclusion. That's not insight. Whereas if you have immediate insight into it - you understand? - then you have broken the whole pattern of aggression.
That is, sir, we compare - don't we? - both physically - you have long I wish I could look as nice as you look, or psychologically, there is constant comparison. Which means what? I don't know if you have gone into this. To compare oneself with somebody else, greater, more intelligent, bright, and so on, is to what? Deny what you are and change what you are. I wonder if you understand this. Am I making this clear? Look, I compare myself with you and I say you are awfully clever, all that, and in that comparison I say, by Jove, I realise I am very dull. Right? You are following this? But if I have no comparison, am I dull? I begin then to discover the things 'as is'. I wonder if you see.
So what we shall do with the way we are living? Sorry to bring it home. What shall we do? You will attend meetings, other forms of other kinds of meetings, discussions, philosophers explaining their philosophy, the latest psychologist, non-Freudian, non-this, and non-that, but the latest, he will explain to you. You understand? We are doing this all the time, moving from one thing to another, and that's called an open mind. But we never say look, this is so, I am like this, let me find out why am I like this. Why I have wounds, psychological bruises - you understand? - why. Why do I live with them? I don't know if you are following all this. But reading somebody like, books of books, attending Krishnamurti's talks, and then quoting back, it is so... I know all this by heart! (Laughter) I have been at this for sixty years and more, so you don't have to quote to me. But if you don't quote, and find out for yourself - you understand, sir? - there is greater energy, more fun, more alive, you become much more alive.
5th Question: What is the relationship of attention to thought? Is there a gap between attention and thought?
This is a good question because it affects us. That is, what is attention, what is the relationship of thought to attention, is there in attention freedom? Right? Is this a question that affects us? That is, we know what concentration is. Right? Most of us do from childhood we are trained to concentrate, and the implications of that concentration is narrowing down all energy to a particular point, and holding to that point. Right? A boy in a school is looking out of the window, looking at all the birds and the trees and the movement of the leaves, or the squirrel climbing up the tree, and the educator says, 'Look, you are not paying attention, concentrate on the book.' Right? 'Listen to what I am saying', and so on and so on. Which is what? Go into it, sir. Which is what? You are making concentration far more important than attention. That is, if the boy is looking out of the window watching that squirrel, I would help him to watch - if I am the educator - I would help him to watch that squirrel completely. You follow? Watch it. Watch the movement of the tail, the mouth, the nozzle, how its claws are, everything, watch it. Then if he learns to watch that attentively he will pay attention to the beastly book! (Laughter) You follow what I am saying? So there is no contradiction.
So attention is a state of mind in which there is no contradiction. Right? There is no entity, or a centre, or a point, which says, I must attend. In that state there is no wastage of energy. Whereas in concentration there is always the controlling process going on: I want to concentrate on that page but thought wanders off, and then you pull it back, the constant battle going on. Whereas in attention, if you go into it, it is very simple really. When somebody says, 'I love you', and he means it, you are attending, you don't say, do you love me because I look nice, or I have money, or sexual, or this or that - you follow what I am saying? So attention is something totally different from concentration.
And this attention, the questioner asks, what is the relationship of this attention to thought? Right? None, obviously. I don't know if you follow this. Concentration has a relationship to thought because thought directs: I must learn, I must concentrate in order to control myself. Right? Thought then gives a direction from one point to another point. Whereas in attention thought has no place - you attend.
And is there a gap between attention and thought. Good lord. Sir, as we explained the other day, if you once understand, if one once has a grasp of the whole movement of thought you wouldn't put this question. You understand sir? I am not I'll answer it, but first one has to, understand what thought is. You understand? Not somebody tell you what thought is. But to see what thought is, how it comes into being. And if you will go with me, I will do it again, we will go into it.
There can be no thought if there is total amnesia. Right? But fortunately, or unfortunately we are not in a state of amnesia. And one wants to find out what thought is, what place it has in life. You understand? So one begins to examine thinking. So what is thinking? Thinking takes place as a reaction to memory. Obviously. Memory responds to a challenge, to a question, to an action, or responds in relationship to something, or to an idea, to a person. Right? You see all this in life. So what is thinking, what is thought, how does thought exist in the human mind? So one asks then, what is memory? You understand? What is memory? Memory is you have trodden on some insect that has bitten you. That memory, that pain is registered and stored in the brain, that pain, which becomes a memory, it is not actual pain. That pain is over but the memory remains. So next time you are careful. So there is experience as pain, which has become knowledge, and that knowledge, experience is memory, that memory responds as thought. Right? That memory is thought. And knowledge, however wide, however deep, however extensive, must always be limited. Right? There is no complete knowledge. I don't know if you are following all this.
So thought is always partial, limited, divisive because in itself it isn't complete, in itself it can never be complete; it can think about completeness. You understand? It can think about totality, whole, but it's not, thought itself is not whole. So whatever it creates philosophically, religiously, it is still partial, limited, fragmentary, because knowledge is part of ignorance. You understand, sir? I don't know if you understand this. As knowledge can never be complete it must always go hand in hand with ignorance. Right? That's logical, rational. And if one understands the nature of thought, and understands what concentration is, then thought cannot attend because attention is giving all energy - you understand? - without any restraint. I wonder if you understand this. If you are listening now, I hope you are, if you are listening and attending, what takes place? There is no 'you' attending. Right? There is no centre that says, 'I must attend'. You are attending because it is your life, your interest. If you are not interested, lying down in the sun, saying, well I'll listen partly, that's a different matter. But if you are serious and giving attention you will soon find out all your problems, all that is gone - at least for the moment.
So to resolve problems is to attend. I wonder if you have got it. You understand this? It's not a trick! (Laughs)
What time is it sir?
Q: Seventeen minutes to one.
K: I am so sorry, it is seventeen minutes to one.
So sir, other questions are of the same kind. As this is the last question and answer meeting we shall perhaps some of us meet again on Saturday and Sunday and after that we close the shop! (Laughter)
So all these questions, two hundred and fifty questions of them and more, are always somehow not dealing with the facts of oneself. You understand sir? Why is my mind chattering, so restless? You follow? You don't ask such a question! Have you ever asked that question to yourself, why are you so restless, specially in this country, the mind so chattering, restless, moving, going from one thing to another, constant entertainment. Right? Why is your mind chattering? And what will you do about it. Right? Your immediate response is to control it. Right? Say, I must not chatter, which means what? The very controller is chattering. I don't know if you see that. Do you see that? There is a controller who says, 'I mustn't chatter', is in himself part of chattering. See the beauty of it? So what will you do? Go on sir.
Q: Watch it.
K: If you observe it, if you say, look, my mind is chattering and I can examine the causes of chattering because chattering is part of the mind being occupied. Right? I don't know if you have noticed, the mind, the whole structure of the brain must be occupied with something. Right? With sex, with problems, with television, with going to football, going to church - it must be occupied. Right? Why? Why must it be occupied? If it is not occupied, aren't you rather uncertain, won't you fear not being occupied? You follow? You feel empty, don't you? No? You feel lost, you feel - then you begin to realise what you are, that there is tremendous loneliness inside. Right? And so to avoid that deep loneliness with all its agony the mind chatters, is occupied about everything else except that. And then that becomes the occupation. You follow? If I am not occupied with all the outward things, like cooking, washing up, cleaning the house, and so on, then it says, I am lonely, that's my concern. You follow? How am I to get over it, let me talk about it, how miserable I am - back to chattering. But if you say, why is the mind chattering. Ask the question sir, go on with me. Why is your mind chattering? Never a moment it is quiet - you understand? - never a moment when there is complete freedom from any problem. Right?
So again is that occupation the result of our education, of the social nature of our life? Those are all excuses obviously. But when one realises, if one does, your mind is chattering and look at it - you follow? - wait with it, stay with it - I don't know if I am explaining. My mind is chattering. All right, I'll watch it. I say, 'All right, chatter'. I am attending to it. You follow? I wonder if you understand this. I am attending, which means I am not trying not to chatter, I am not saying, I must not suppress it, or any of it. I am just attending to chattering. If you do, you will see what happens. Then you mind is so clear, free of all this. And probably that is the state of a normal, healthy human being. Right? That's enough I think, sirs.