A crisis in our consciousness
Is creation related to ending?
2nd Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 12, 1985
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday morning? We have got the next two talks three talks, rather - today and next Saturday and Sunday. We have to cover a great deal of ground. We must talk over together the question of time, thought, and the various forms of fear, and the everlasting pursuit of pleasure, satisfaction, gratification, and also we should talk over together sorrow, whether it is possible to end sorrow. And also love and compassion, death, and the religious mind, or the brain. And also we should go into the question of meditation, and ask ourselves if there is anything beyond all the travail of man - all this confusion, all this loneliness and despair and anxiety - if there is anything sacred, holy. And so we have a great deal of ground to cover, if you are willing.
As we said yesterday we are not imposing anything on you, not trying to convince you of anything. And the speaker really means it. We're not trying to convert you, do propaganda, or program you, because we are apt to be rather gullible, easily satisfied with new forms of experiences and sensations. So we should together - not that the speaker is the only talker - but together you and the speaker are going to look into all these matters. Not only verbally or analytically, which is comparatively easy, but rather go much deeper than mere rationalisation, explanation, and description. If that is clearly understood between us, that the speaker doesn't want anything from you, fortunately, neither your applause, please, your applause at the end of the talks, or your encouragement or discouragement - literally he doesn't want a thing from you. So you can all be quiet, relaxed, and listen.
It has been one of our problems, perhaps for many, many millennia, the question of guilt. It's important to understand this question, why human beings throughout the world have this sense of guilt. Having been told from childhood to do something and not being able to do it like most children, happily, but unfortunately they cultivate this sense of guilt. And also in religions, especially in Christianity, the original sin - you must know if you are Christian all about it - and one who saves you from that sin. So you begin to have guilt there too. That we are all guilty, we are all the product of original sin, whatever that may mean. And also we are always falling short of our own ideals. And thereby also one feels guilty. You must know this. Probably most of us do. Either we are aware of it or it's deeply hidden in most people. We are indifferent to all that and if one awakens to it, knows the process of guilt, what is implied in it. And also there are those who love to keep other people feeling guilty. Then you have them under your thumb and they love that kind of power. So there is the guilt of not behaving rightly, according to some tradition or according to your own pattern of thought, and not being able to reach that level one begins to feel guilty, and so on.
And also there is the other question. We are living with something dreadful around us, something very, very ugly. Surely we all must be aware of it. Not only the ugliness, the naughtiness, the brutality of war, but also this tremendous - if one, call it evil, the speaker doesn't like to use that word - but the constant pressure, influence of certain ideologies, like the totalitarian Communist ideologies, which is completely monstrous and deadly, if you know all about it, and we have to live with that next door. It's our brother across the wall. Not only the Berlin wall, but the wall that exists to push this away or to fight it or face it. And we are living with that. If you are at all aware of all this - not only monstrosities and the cruelty of war, but the ideology of wars. And how do we meet that, not only as individuals but collectively, and what is the response of each one of us? We are living with something in the world that is becoming more and more ugly, more and more destructive, tyrannical. This is happening the world over, it isn't just in certain spots of the world - it's gradually creeping. And what is our response to all that? Is it indifference? Is it we don't care what happens in the other field? Is it that we don't want to face all this? And if we do face it, what can we do? Not organisationally, because that always ends up in some kind of another kind of mess. What do we, as human beings living on this earth, which is also being gradually destroyed because of overpopulation, more and more big cities, and our indifference to nature - what is our responsibility to all this? Do we feel at all responsible? Responsible in the sense not only to your wife or husband or to your family, but to the rest of mankind, whether you be Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, that's all just names, labels, without much depth.
Will you go into all this matter? Please don't wait, if I may most respectfully point out, for the speaker to tell you what to do. Which would be another form of cultivation of guilt. But rather, in talking things over together, observing, hearing each other very carefully, not merely to the words but behind the words, the deep significance of a word and what it signifies, then we don't have to tell each other what to do.
So there is guilt, and there is the thing with which we are living daily, and what is the relationship of that, of these two, to fear. And in the enquiring into this question of fear, that which is brutal, terrible that is happening in the world, and also our own sense of inadequacy, which is another form of guilt - what is the relationship of all this to fear and what is fear, not the superficial or deep fears but the root of the not only the trunk of it but the many, many branches of it, what is the root of it?
So we are going to enquire not only into time; because time is related to fear, as we shall go into it. What is time, by which we live - today, tomorrow, the past, the future - and also what is thinking? Because we live by thinking. Everything we do, act, is based on thought. So may we go into all that?
It's a nice, not too hot a morning, pleasant under the trees, and a rather cool breeze, which one hopes you will not mind, and it is rather convenient to go to sleep here. (Laughter) If you are well-covered with blankets and all the rest of it, nice Sunday morning, free of all the office work, and labour and travail and skill. And under the trees in the dappled light it's rather pleasant. 'You can go on talking, but it doesn't matter, I'll go to sleep and you go on.' (Laughter) If that is what you want, go to sleep. But if we are serious, earnest, which we must be because that's one of the crises we have come to - it's no longer mere entertainment, no longer mere intellectual game, or seeking sensation from one thing to another, or from another. We've got to face some extraordinary crises in life - life being our consciousness. The crisis is not in economics, political, religious, but the crisis is in our consciousness - why we are what we are after thousands and thousands of years - that's where the crisis is. And merely to solve the economic crisis or the political crisis or the brutality of ideologies and wars, it's not only there but it's much deeper. So we are going to enquire first, because they're all related, all problems are related to each other, they are not separate. If one can solve one problem completely, then you have solved all other problems because there is no separate problem, whether it be sexual, whether it be the desire to fulfil, and so on. So in the resolution of one is solved the whole thing, if you know how to do it.
So what is time? Time not only by the sunrise and the sunset, the darkness of a night and the glory of a morning. Time as the past, not only the past of one's own life but the vast historical past, the story of mankind, which is the history of mankind. That's the long centuries, millennia upon millennia past. And the present. And the past modifying itself through the present becomes the future. Time is a cycle. It's a circle in which we are caught. So we should look at it closely, not merely understand it intellectually but actually go into it, if you will.
We are the past, whether that past be one day or many thousands of years. The past being the knowledge, the memories, the remembrances, concealed or open. And that past is from that past is our action. That past is the tradition. That past is the religions of Christianity, with all its divisions during the last two thousand years. That's the past. And in India and China the past is three to five thousand years old, with their tradition, with their beliefs, with their superstition, with their nonsense. So the past is what we are. Without the past you are not. So that past, that enormous past, weighty past, goes through the and modifies itself through the present. You can see economically the pressures change the present, which is the past. And the future - tomorrow or the very end of one's life and beyond - not reincarnation, we will go into all that presently - the future. That future is the modified form of the past. It's so obvious. And that future is in the now. Right? Because the past modifying itself is the future. And that future is now, because if I'm smoking, I'll smoke tomorrow; if I am greedy, tomorrow I'll be greedy still, and so on. So the past is in the present. Please understand this very simple fact. This whole movement from the past through the present modifying itself as the future, and that future is now because unless I fundamentally change, the future will be what I am now. Right? See the truth of this simple fact. Not I am persuading you, not that you are being told or pressurised, or computerised. This is a simple fact. If I am vicious, cruel, brutal today, as I have been in the past, I'll be that tomorrow. You can't get away from it. If I am quarrelling with my wife or husband and so on, I'll do it tomorrow too. So tomorrow is now. And to break this chain in which we are caught is I have to there must be a mutation now. You follow this simple fact. This is the whole cycle of time, isn't it?
And is it possible to bring about this mutation? What is it that is being - not transformed, the word 'transformed' means moving from one form to another form, therefore it is not mutation. What is it that's being radically changed - even that word 'change' implies time, changing from this to that. So we have to stick to that word - to bring about a mutation. That is, radical ending of something, and the beginning of something totally new.
Isn't it that our consciousness, each one's consciousness, which is what we are - there are lots of books written about this stuff, but it's very simple. I don't know why people like things very complex. It's probably very exciting to get talking about things rather complex. But it is rather simple. What is one's consciousness? Surely what one believes, what one has faith in, what one desires, what one has, one's nationality, one's fears, one's terrors, one's depression, anxiety, loneliness, despair, cruelty, guilt, fear, pleasure, sorrow, the multiplication of desires - all that is our consciousness, isn't it? Let's be simple about it. You see, to approach very complex problems one must come simply to it first. Then it becomes complex, then you can understand it. But if you begin already with complexity, then the thing will become more and more complex - we'll never resolve anything.
So, our consciousness is all its content. You can put into that content everything you can think of: your knowledge, your superstitions, your fears, and so on. The multiplication of human experiences and trials and attempts, all the rest of it. And can the content, which is what we are, which is not only the past but the future - and that future is now, we went into all that just now, briefly. The whole of that is you, is the persona, is the ego, is the tremendous self-interest. And we are asking, can that - that consciousness is the result of vast evolution, not only the survival but also the knowledge of surviving - so is there can there be a total mutation in that consciousness? And if we rely on time, as we do, then we'll begin the same old pattern again. I wonder if we understand each other.
The speaker recently talked - if I may most humbly point out, it's not out of vanity I'm informing you - he talked to the United Nations. I don't know why he was invited, but he went there. (Laughter) And after the talk one of the high authorities there said 'I have come to the conclusion, conviction rather, that after forty years working in this organisation I have come to the conclusion that I must not kill'. Forty years it took him. (Laughter) No just see the significance of it. That it takes the human brain to come to some truth during forty years. That is, not to kill another human being. And the whole organisation is based on not to bring about wars, prevent wars - they haven't done - that's irrelevant. But the whole point is how the human brain refuses to face fact and act. And we think that during time we'll resolve everything. Time will help you to forget, and so on.
So that's the nature of time: the past modifying itself through the present and continuing as the future. So the future, the past, and the present are one. Unless there is fundamental, radical ending of all that, otherwise you will be what you are tomorrow. We are unfortunately miserable people, unhappy people, which is a fact, and if we don't change now we'll be tomorrow the same. It's simple reality, truth of it. And also, what is the relationship of time - not the chronological time only, what is the relationship of time to thought? And what is the relationship of time, thought, to fear? You follow? May we go on? You're not too bored with all this? I hope the sun is warming you. But please, keep awake for another fifty minutes or so, will you? Which is not an insult, please, asking this. So we are asking, what's the relationship of time, thought, and fear.
We've more or less gone into the question of time, so let us go into the question of thought. What is thinking? The speaker is using words to communicate what he is supposed to be thinking, and you share the words and translate those words according to your pleasure or displeasure, or you're casually hearing, or probably you don't understand English quite well, or you do understand English very well and give certain significance to those words. Right? Thinking. This is the whole process of thinking. Thought has put man on the moon. Thought has created the instruments of war. Thought has created the destruction of man. Right? Put together the most amazing cathedrals in the world, temples and mosques - if you've seen some of them, they are marvellous beauties. And thought has also created the vast technological world. Thought has also established a relationship between man and woman, which we'll go into presently, afterwards. Thought produces all our actions, so thought is very important. Not to expand or give greater depth to thought, but we are enquiring into the very nature and structure of thought, of thinking. Right? Can we go shall we go into it?
I do not know one doesn't know the speaker doesn't know if you have really gone into this question at all. Probably one has never asked; even the professionals don't ask, so why should you? You are not educated to enquire; you are educated to conform, educated to say 'Yes, I've memorised, I've acquired information, knowledge, and I'll get a good job, or no job', or whatever one does. But one has never gone into this question really very deeply - enquiring what is thinking. Why does the brain, which is after all our only instrument we have, neurologically, biologically, emotionally, it is the centre of all our existence. And that thing inside the skull, which we call the brain, that brain has never asked itself why am I constantly thinking, chattering away like blazes about everything - what I did yesterday, what I will do tomorrow, what I am doing, why this, why that - you know? - dreaming at night and all day long chattering. What extraordinary human beings we are. So we must enquire what is thought. What is thinking? What is the origin of it?
Do you want my explanation? (Laughter) You see, that's what I'm objecting to, (laughter) because you are not actually enquiring. You are waiting for somebody to tell you. Therefore he becomes the nasty guru and you become the follower. And the speaker says don't, please don't do that. That's really, you'll destroy not only yourself but also the one who leads you. So let's put aside all that nonsense and enquire together. The word 'together' is important, but don't let's go into that for the moment.
So what is thinking? Does thinking rely on memory? The accumulated memories, remembrances - I want to be a great man because I've seen great many people, great men having good time, becoming famous, plenty of money, plenty of cars, all the rest of it. So there is this vast collection of memories. Not only personal, but also the remembrance of many things past, the remembrance historically, collective memories, conscious memories and deep layers of memories - aren't we all memories? Aren't we a bundle of memories? Forgive me for using that word and putting it so limited, in a limited manner, aren't we all memories? And what are memories based on? Please enquire with me, don't just listen to the poor man. Go into it with the speaker. What are memories based on? Aren't they based on knowledge? The tremendous accumulation of information as knowledge, whether it be vast not vast - limited knowledge of science, adding to itself all the time; and that knowledge which is being added to must always be limited. Right? Because you're adding to it, therefore it's limited. One doesn't know about aerodynamics or the astrophysics, but I will gather, I will get it after experiment after experiment.
So, knowledge is based on experience. Right? Right? And experience, or experience and all that, is essentially limited. Isn't it? All experience, it doesn't matter whatever experience it is, it must be limited because there is an experiencer who is experiencing. And the experiencer is the past - his memories, his accumulation, his hopes, his fears, his wanting to be enlightened, his wanting to be godly, his wanting to say, I want to be popular, therefore I'll learn a few phrases and translate in my own way and then become - blah, blah, blah.
So, experience must be recognised, otherwise it's no experience at all. And the one who recognises is the past - it's all so silly, isn't it? So the experiences are always limited. I experience the divine, that tremendous feeling of elation, temporarily, you can fall back. So experiences are always limited. Right? Therefore knowledge is always limited. Always. In the past, or now to which that knowledge is being added to, is limited. So memories are limited. So thought is limited. Right? I wonder if we understand this, actually the truth of it, not just intellectual concept of it, or the idea of it, the truth of it, that thought will always be limited. Thought can imagine the limitless, but it's still limited. Thought has invented gods all over the world, for the last millennia upon millennia, those gods are limited, (laughs) naturally. So whatever the activity of thought and its action must always be limited. Therefore thought is not holistic. You understand? If we can realise this simple fact that the thought and the thinker are one, and therefore they are always limited.
Therefore all the religions of the world, though they say divine revelation direct from the horse's mouth (laughter) - I'm not being irrelevant or cynical, but that is so, they're all claim direct... And putting on medieval dresses and robes, and all the trickery of that goes on in the name of religion, is invented by thought. And therefore the whole hierarchical and the religious structure is limited. And their belief, their faith, their ritual, blah, all the rest of it, is limited, because it's based on thought.
So the question arises, if you will kindly listen: is there something beyond thought? Or everything is thought? Not nature, of course. The tiger wasn't put together by thought, thank god. Or the swift gazelle. So, what is the relationship of time, thought to fear? We are talking about fear. Is there fear without time and thought? Please look at it carefully. Is there a sense of fear that is not rooted in thought and time? I have done something some time ago, and I am frightened of that, guilty. Something that I have done ugly, not straight, not excellent in its quality, and I'm ashamed of it, and I'm frightened of it, I feel guilty about it, I've lived with it - and fear of all that. Therefore the root of fear is time and thought. Fear of what might happen: I've got a good reputation, but tomorrow you mightn't turn up - not that I would care, but I'm just... (Laughter) So there is always the shadow of fear with us, shadow of this fear between man and woman, what might happen. And the ultimate fear is death, and out of this fear all the gods are invented.
So one asks is there an end to fear, total ending? You are asking this question, not I, not the speaker. Which means, is there an end to thought and time? You understand the relation? The logical sequence of all this. It's not only logical, but factual. Is there an ending to all this process, which causes fear? And one knows the results of fear, the consequences of fear, all the cruelty of - you know - all the ugliness, the shrinking, the whole world of fear which is dark. And that breeds a great deal of neuroticism and all the rest of it. So is there an ending to all this? Not only to ask a question of that kind - the very question sounds rather silly - you can't end time. You can't end thought. Because to go to your house from here you need thinking. To turn on the ignition you need thinking. On Monday morning you're going to probably an office or something or other, you need to think. So to say, can thought end, or time end, is not the actual question. But rather to ask, do I really comprehend, understand the truth of time and thought? Because thought has its place, time has its place. But why should fear arise from thinking? You understand the question? Why should time be a factor in fear?
So if I understand the whole picture, the whole design, the whole map of time, thought, guilt, or fear, then the very observation of it - you understand? - the very eyes, seeing, not only the eyes but your whole being looking at it. That means giving your whole attention to this map of fear, not one spot in the map, not one village, or town or the road, but the whole map of it. Can one observe without any distortion this whole structure of it? Of course one can. That is to give attention to pure observation without any distortion. Then that whole chain is broken.
What time is it, sirs?
Questioner: Twenty six until one.
Krishnamurti: Twenty five past twenty five minutes. Shall we go on little while longer?
K: Aren't you tired?
K: Why not? (Laughter) Are you all so actively thinking, working, applying, or just saying, 'Well, it's a nice day, let's talk about it'.
One also, in understanding fear, one should look at desire. We are driven by desire - not only for god, whatever that may mean, not only for success, for power, position, being at the centre of everything - like in Washington, or in Delhi or in London or in Paris or in Moscow, or Peking - shall we include Peking? - better. We want so many things in life; not only physical things: good cars, good clothes, good, having a nice body, a nice face, nice cosmetic, you know, the whole game of it. Commercialism in this country is rampant: buy, buy, buy, buy. And desire to be good, desire not to hurt my closest friend - it doesn't matter if I hurt others, but somebody nearby, and so on. We've got so many desires. To be great, to be this, to be that. And we have never asked, perhaps, what is desire? Why religions, the monks have suppressed desire. They burn with it, but they suppress it. I was once walking the speaker was once walking behind a lot of monks in the Himalayas. Have you ever been to the Himalayas? Some marvellous hills, marvellous mountains. It was a place where you see nearly four hundred miles across the horizon, snow-capped, great valleys, great marvellous blue sky, unpolluted, sharp, clear. Four hundred or three hundred and fifty miles from range to range to range, the highest peaks. So I was walking behind a path the speaker was walking behind a path - sorry.
K: And there were monks in front of me. They were chanting, and never looking at any flower, any sky, any tree, and the rivers, they have little streams singing down the hill, dancing waters. And there they were, completely absorbed in what they were supposed to be thinking. Didn't dare to look up and see the beauty of the sky, the trees and the rivers and the flowers. Because that is a distraction. Like all the monks all over the world.
So there is this desire in every human being, and without suppressing or denying or transforming or transmuting into something higher (laughs) - which becomes another form of desire, can we - sorry to laugh - can we look at desire and find out what is the nature, what is the movement, what is the structure of it? Quite objectively. What is desire? What is the beginning of it? Not the ending of it. What is the origin, the source, the movement of it? Shall we go into it? That interests (inaudible)
We live by sensation. Biologically it's necessary. Otherwise we are paralysed. Sensation plays tremendous part in our life, not only sexually, but wanting, having more and more and more sensations. Sensation is the result of seeing - will you kindly follow this for a little? - seeing, contact, sensation. Right? Seeing those hills, and saying 'How beautiful', getting a sensation from it, and that's sensation. I read a beautiful poem, and sensation. Or see a marvellous painting - that's another sensation. And so on. That's a natural thing, sensation, isn't it? You look at the trees and the leaves and the sky, and you say 'How beautiful it is.'
We're not talking about what is beauty. Perhaps we will at the next meeting if we have time. But we live by sensation, the whole nervous organism is sensation. What is the relationship of sensation to thought to desire? You understand my question? Because we are enquiring into desire. What is the relationship between sensation and desire? Why they are always instantly related. 'I wish I could always live under these trees with a nice house' - and then desire: I must have a nice house under the tree. So what is the actual fact, the relationship, the communication, between sensation and what is called desire? Right? Is there an interval - please listen - is there an interval between sensation and the movement of desire? A gap? Or they are instant? See something, grab it, if you want. So we are going to find out if there is a division, if there is a separation, if there is an interval. Right?
There is sensation in seeing a beautiful garden, well-kept, a lawn that has been mowed and rolled for the last five hundred years. There are such lawns. And you see it and you say, 'My god, how marvellous it is, what depth, what beauty in that grass!' And you wish you could have it in your back yard.
So watch it, please just watch it closely. Sensation, and seeing No - seeing that grass - rich, heavy, deep-rooted grass - then the sensation, then wanting it in your garden. So, that is, desire is born - please listen - the moment, the second, thought takes control or gives shape to sensation. Right? And then at that second desire is born. You follow? That is, seeing that lawn, protected behind walls, and seeing it, the sensation, and thought saying, 'I wish I had that.' At that second desire is there. You understand? Right?
Now we are asking, can there be a movement, an interval between the sensation and thought giving it a shape, an image. You understand? That is, sensation, which is natural, seeing that beautiful grass, that field, that lawn, and then thought comes in and says, 'I wish I had it.' At that second desire is. Right? That's the truth. So we are asking, can these two be separate for a while? See a shirt in the window, go and touch it and say, 'What beautiful material it is', and leave it - we don't leave it there. We say 'I wish I had it.' Then desire is born. So the interval can be kept - you understand? - the gap can be kept separate for a while, then you will see the movement of desire, how it comes into being. Then you can stretch that space indefinitely or keep it very narrow. You understand what I'm saying? When you understand this, then discipline is not necessary at all - control or suppress or fight it. You understand all this? Not verbally - in your heart. Then you will do it naturally. When you see something beautiful, it is beautiful, and there it is. You can't have those mountains (laughter), nor that beautiful lawn. One can look at it, admire it, and say 'How lovely', and feel it. That requires great alertness, awareness, a sense of deep attention to it. But we rarely give all that, except for money or for pleasure. This is much more stringent, requires a great deal of austerity. The word 'austerity' comes from the Greek, which means 'dry mouth'. Not the and then we have translated it and all that kind of - austere: few clothes, and, you know, one meal a day, and all that stuff. But austerity is something tremendous. Not the trivial stuff. To be so attentive to this movement of sensation and desire, and all the things we have talked about. To watch it very carefully, see every thought in you, not let it go by without understanding why it arose, what's its cause - you follow? That is real austerity. Not joining a monastery and all that kind of stuff. Austerity is in our daily life.
So we have talked about all this. Tuesday and Thursday will be questions; next Saturday and Sunday we'll talk about other things: pleasure, sorrow, pain, and all the implications of loneliness, death, if we have time; and what is religion, what is a religious mind. Is there something which thought has not touched at all? The limitless, the immense, the nameless. Which is not an invitation for you to come. (Laughter) It's part of our life, not all the buying, buying, buying, and selling, going to office every day of one's life, conflict and all that. One must also give one's energy to find this out. Not merely live on faith, symbols and all that. So perhaps we'll see each the other the day after tomorrow, or next Saturday and Sunday.