Action that is always correct
When there is freedom
3rd Public Talk Saanen
July 10, 1980
May we go on talking about what we have been saying for the last two gatherings? I am not at all sure that we are not making all that has been said into a kind of intellectual concept, a series of ideas or conclusions and therefore they have become merely a series of ideas, a set of values, and something that one has to carry out in life - desirable, perhaps worthwhile and profitable. If we turn all these talks into that kind of thing I am afraid we shall be missing a great deal, because, as we were saying, man has lived for millennia upon millennia, living in constant struggle, conflict, not only with himself but with his environment, with his neighbour whether he is very near or very far. And we have followed that pattern for centuries. And when one observes what is happening in the world there must be an answer to all this, there must be a way out of all this, there must be a way where we can think globally, not as a group of individuals or sects and so on, but we are concerned with the whole of humanity. That humanity is you and I. We are not different from the humanity of India or China or Russia, or America or here. We all go through the same struggle, the same anxieties, the same conflict, the same kind of mischief and so on.
And, as we said, we tried to find out for ourselves the root cause of all this, and whether it is possible, having found the root cause, whether the mind is capable of dissolving the cause and therefore bringing about a different action in life. That is what we are concerned about.
And if one may point out, we are talking over together, thinking together. That is, if we can approach this problem not from your point of view or from the point of view of the speaker, but to observe quite impersonally, without being tied to any particular belief, dogma or person, then perhaps it is possible we can think together over these problems. The problem being: why human beings who have lived so long continue in the same pattern, perhaps modified, perhaps a little more knowledgeable, capable of meeting certain challenges, but basically he is what he has been for millennia. And we said the cause may be, the root cause of it, that every human being is trying to become something, not only in the physical world but also in the psychological realm where he is trying or making tremendous effort to be or to become something. And we are saying that may be the root cause of all these problems. You may agree or disagree with this cause, the original cause but if we can go into it together - not I tell you and you say, 'Well, I agree', or disagree but together if we could go into this very, very seriously and act, not merely verbally exchange opinions and ideas, opposing each other but if we could go beyond the word, and act. That is, is it not so - I am putting this question to you - that each one of us in different ways is trying to be other than what he is - what he is trying to achieve, to become, to change. If we are agreed on that, that is the root cause of this great mischief that is going on in the world, bringing about great confusion and so on, then we can think together over the problem. Right?
As one observes, our action is based on ideas. Ideas are more important than action. Right? I wonder if you see Please, we are talking together, I am not just talking to myself. Ideas or ideals is the platform, is the background from which we act. Right? Whether those ideas are personal or evolved through a great many centuries, or sanctioned by organised religions, we move, live with ideas. Right? Ideas may be symbols, memories, experiences, conclusions. Ideas create values - right? - values which are satisfactory, desirable, worthwhile, have significance. And having established those values based on ideas - right? - we act according to those values. And those values are created by thought. Can we proceed? Right?
So our action is based on values. And these values are brought about by constant adjustment to circumstances, to one's character, to one's desire, to one's social, environmental condition. Right? So our actions are based on values which are the product of thought. Right? Right, sir? Can we go on? Because we are going to point out presently that a mind that has values is very limited because those values are created by thought, by desire. Right? And therefore action is always limited. Right? And if we examine our actions, that is, whole of life is action. All life is action - speaking, walking, thinking, acting from knowledge, responsibility, friendship, the whole of our existence is action, whether that action is directed by a value, or by an experience, or sanctioned by society or culture and religion. Right? We are moving. Are we? Right?
So we are asking: this has been the pattern of our existence, each person creating his own value, what is important, what is not important, what is worthwhile and not, what is comforting, what is desirable and so on. So we are asking: is there an action which is not based on value? You understand? So that is, as we said, our action is based either on past memories, past values, or present values or future ideals. Right? That which should be, that which has been and that which is. Bien? So our action is a continuous, constant movement of the past through the present, modifying itself into the future. Bene? I wonder if we are meeting, are we meeting each other? Yes sir? Good, at least somebody is. (Laughs)
So our actions are always based on the past. There is no spontaneous action. Can we move along? Please don't agree with me. Everybody is talking about more or less spontaneous action. There isn't such a thing. It is essentially based on past memories, past values, modifying itself constantly, but essentially rooted in the past. And therefore there is no spontaneous action. And then one asks: what is correct action? If action is not based on the past, on values, because they limit action, because they are the outcome of thought which is the result of knowledge - right? - we have been through that. So is there action which is correct under all circumstances, not based on values? Am I putting the question rightly? Are you meeting with me? Because it is very important to find out if there is freedom in action. Now we think there is freedom in action because we can do what we want. That is the prevalent fashion, to do, each one, what he likes without the father or the government on your back. And that freedom has led more or less to this present chaos, each one doing exactly what he wants.
So one must find out for oneself what is right action, not based on concepts, ideals, values. Right? Do we want to find out? (Laughs)
Questioner: Yes, we want to find out.
Krishnamurti: No, sir this is not a game we are playing. It is not something that you do this morning and forget all about it. It touches our daily life and therefore it is very serious. And it is a very serious question to ask: is there an action which is not based on Marxism, or on Christianity, or on Hinduism and all the rest of it? Or on any human values which are the product of thought? Right? Therefore one must ask this question whether there is a right action under all circumstances.
So one must go into the question: what is right? One will say what I think is right, or I have a certain belief and according to that I act and that is right, or I have experiences which have shaped my action and therefore they are correct. Right? And we are pointing out, if one may, that all such expressions of action is prejudice, a prejudice which has something common with ideals. Right? I wonder if you are following all this! Your prejudices form your ideals, whether those prejudices are carefully culturally cultivated or religiously adopted, such action is essentially based on values. Bene? And we are asking: is there an action which is not based on any of this. Right? Because that is freedom, otherwise it is like being tied to something and therefore every action becomes corrupt. I wonder if you follow all this! If I am tied to a belief, naturally my action will be according to that belief and therefore limited and therefore corrupt. Right? You may not agree, but please examine it first before you agree or disagree. We are using the word 'corrupt' which means 'rompere', the root of that word is 'rompere' - to break, to fragment, to bring about fragmentation. That is the root meaning of that word 'corrupt'. So our actions are corrupt, never whole. And to find out what is correct action one must be actually free from all values. Right? Please see the logic of it or the sense of it.
Now what is correct action? Correct. The word 'correct' means precise, actual, not distorted, which must be constant. Right? That is the meaning of that word 'correct'. Not you give a meaning to that word 'correct' or the speaker gives it. The dictionary gives that meaning, which means an action which is constant, which never varies under any circumstances, precise, not based on any romantic, sentimental imagination. Right? Are you following this? Yes sir? And is there such correct action? Action being not based on some principle, not based on some ideal, not the result of personal or cultivated values, otherwise it is corrupt action. We are going to find that out.
A mind that is tied to an idea, to a concept, to some value, or to a person, action springing from that must always be corrupt. Right? That is, if I am attached to a person, that attachment is going to dictate my action, obviously. If I am attached, or tied to a belief my action will be according to that belief and therefore my action is corrupt. If I act according to my experience, knowledge, and knowledge being always limited, my action will be corrupt. You understand what we are saying? It is totally different from everything that has been said. And we are saying: is there an action which is incorruptible? And we say there is, which comes - please follow this now - which comes when you observe, not analyse, when you observe the consequences of values, how the values are created, how when you are attached to an idea, a concept, a person, such action is invariably destructive, corrupt, limited. If this is so, by observing - not analysing - they come to an end. Am I making myself clear? That is, I am attached, suppose I am attached to a symbol, whether the symbol be in the church or I have created my own symbol through mythology and so on and so on, those symbols are created by thought. I am attached to a symbol and I act according to that symbol. The result is conflict, not only against your symbol, against your belief, but also conflict in my daily action. Right? I wonder if you see this. I observe this, I see this actual fact. Right? No?
Q: (In French)
K: Un memento, un moment, I am going to go into that.
Sir, do we both of us see this fact that as long as you are tied to anything, a person, a belief, a concept, an idea, to your own knowledge and experience, the outcome of that action must invariably bring conflict. Do we see that?
All right, I will put it differently. I am a Jew, I hold on to that concept. The result is, you who are a Muslim - the Arab, we are at war with each other. Right? That is fairly simple, obviously, observable. But if you go much deeper inwardly, I may cling to a person for various reasons, and the very attachment to that brings a great deal of conflict, fear, hate. Right? And without analysing can I observe the fact? We will go into what we mean by observing.
Do you observe without any distortion, yourself? Observe, not try to change what you see, not try to reason away what you see, or try to overcome what you see, or suppress what you see, but just to observe as you do in a mirror, what you actually are. That is, can I observe my reaction which is aggression? You understand? I am taking that as an example. I am aggressive - god forbid! - I am aggressive. Can I observe that? The cause of it, without analysing, the expression in my face, in my voice, in my gesture, can I observe it without trying to justify it or give an excuse, or try to say 'I am not', but just to observe. Can you do it? Are you doing it as we are talking? Take your own particular idiosyncrasy, your own particular character, your own particular attachment and observe it, which will become rather difficult because our minds are trained and educated to analyse. That is to find the cause through analysis and hope thereby to overcome the cause. Bene? Whereas we are saying that process of analysis will not free the cause. Whereas if you merely observe without any emotional reaction, see exactly as it is, let the fact tell the story rather than you tell the story about the fact. Vous avez compris now? Have I made that clear? We are always telling what to do about the fact. Right? It must not be, it must be, we must go into it and so on. But we never allow the fact to unfold itself. That is what we are saying. Observation is the unfolding of what is going on. Are you doing this as we are talking?
You know most of us are attached to a person. Right? To our husband, to our children, to something or other, to our priest, to a guru, to a system of meditation, or whatever it is. Can you observe your attachment? Please, this is not a group therapy, this is not a confessional, all that nonsense, it is too silly, all those. But we are asking each other: can you observe your attachment? Of course you can. You become conscious of it. Then if you observe it carefully the immediate reaction is: why not? What is wrong with attachment? The consequences of attachment are fear, and therefore hate, jealousy and therefore lack of love. These are the consequences, aren't they? No? You are very silent. Probably you are sitting next to your wife or husband! (Laughter) But if you observe it very carefully without distorting what you actually see, that observation is the act of intelligence. I wonder if you get this. Right, sir?
May I go on? Because we are coming to a point when you are going into: there is an action which is correct under all circumstances. And that is to observe the fact of what is actually happening without any distortion. Right? I'll show you something. That is, when we observe, is the fact, that which is happening as attachment and the consequences of that attachment, when you observe, is the observer different from the thing he observes? You have understood my question? When you are angry, at the moment of anger there is no division between the observer and the observed. Right? Only a second later comes the division. Right? Right, sir? Right? I have been angry. You recognise the feeling of anger because you have had it before, so the division takes place the moment when the observer separates himself from the observed. I wonder if you see this. Right? No, no, please, this is serious if you want to go into it because if you can see this you will eliminate conflict altogether, because conflict exists between the observer and the observed. Right? Am I using words which you are not accustomed to and therefore you find it rather puzzling? Now, just a minute.
I am attached to a person, if I am. I am attached to a person. Is the attachment - please listen - is the attachment different from me? Or I am attachment? You understand, sir?
Q: (In Italian)
K: I am supplying you with energy. You see you really don't want to face this. Therefore you find lots of excuses. Because where there is attachment to a problem, to an idea, to an ideal, to a person, to a dogma, to a ritual, to an organisation, to certain institutions, there must be corruption. Right? And if I am attached to my wife, there is absolute certainty of corruption, because corruption means fear. Fear brings hate, conflict, jealousy, antagonism, which are all the expression of corruption - not the act of love. So do we see this not analytically but factually. Now when you say 'I see it', is the see-er different from that which he has seen? Are you following this? That is sir, where there is division there must be conflict. That is a law. It's a law. There is conflict between the Arab and the Jew, between the Communist and the Socialist, the Capitalist and so on, so on, son on - the Hindu, the Muslim, the Christian - you follow? Where there is division there must be conflict. Conflict is corruption. And we have lived with this norm, with this pattern that the observer, the thinker is different from the thought. So the thinker is always trying to dominate thought. You are following? Right? But the thinker is thought.
So when we observe attachment towards somebody or something - a piece of furniture, is the person who is attached different from himself, the attachment? You understand what I am saying? Obviously not. Therefore when there is no division and therefore no conflict, the whole process of attachment comes to an end. Please test it. Don't accept a thing anybody says, including myself. Test it. That is, see actually what you are attached to, tied to: to your name, to your family, to your brother, sister, father, wife, girl, boy, whatever it is, to the bishop, or to the pope, or some other person. If you are, just observe it. But if you like to be attached, if you like all the consequences of that attachment, you are perfectly welcome, nobody is going to stop you. But if you want to find out whether there is an action which is incorruptible, which is correct under all circumstances then you have to be free from all values, from all attachment. Because when you observe attachment it is intelligence that is seeing the whole process of it, not analysis.
So where there is intelligence there is correct action. Intelligence is not knowledge, is not accumulated information. Where there is insight into the attachment, that insight is intelligence and from that intelligence there is correct action. Right sir? Don't look at me - not worth it, but look at yourself and find out. Because man has lived with corruption for a million years and all his actions must be corrupt, must bring chaos, conflict, and his actions are based on ideals, on concepts, on values, which are all the product of thought. There is no divine, absolute value, even though the priests may say that. When they do say it, it is the activity of their own thinking.
So there is an action which is completely whole, completely incorruptible, in daily life, not somewhere in heaven. That is, can I, can a human being live in this world with that intelligence? That intelligence is born out of insight, for an example, into attachment. Insight. Insight means having full comprehension of the whole process of attachment immediately. You understand what I am saying? You all must have an insight into something or other occasionally, where that insight is not memory, is not the process of value or a conclusion, it is a second of complete comprehension of that which you see, totally. And that is the essence of intelligence. And that intelligence is not yours or mine and therefore it is always acting correctly. Will you try it, do it? Do it as we are sitting here, not when you go home. As you are sitting here observe yourself, observe your action with regard to your wife, to your husband, to your neighbour, to your politics, to your religion - whatever it is. And can you have without analysis a perception, a seeing the whole consequences and the cause of this attachment instantly, immediately? Because that implies the freedom from time. I mustn't Quelle heure est il?
Q: Nineteen past eleven.
K: We've got another fifteen minutes more.
As we said, the brain is the result of time, which nobody can deny. It has evolved through a million years, from the most primitive cell to very, very, very complex cells. And that has taken time - right? Which means evolution. And the brain is functioning according to the pattern of time. Right? Sir, this is all very simple if you give your mind, thought to this, your mind to this. It is really quite simple. The brain functions in the pattern of time, in the mould of time. That is, yesterday, today and tomorrow. The sun sets and sun rises. Time as, I will be, I hope to be, I want that - right? That is a movement of time. I look forward to meeting you tomorrow, which is time. Hope, having hope is time. Right? So the brain operates, functions because it has evolved through time, in the process of time. Clear?
Now we have lived with that pattern for million years. There is not only physical time which is yesterday, today and tomorrow, but also psychological time, inward time. We are talking about the inward time of the mind. So the brain - which is part of the mind - the brain functions, acts and responds, thinks in time. And that pattern has been established for a million years and we are still pursuing that pattern. We live in that pattern. And if there is no end to time - you understand what I am saying? - the pattern will be repeated over and over and over again. You understand something, sir?
Look: as we said the other day, I need time to become something. If I want to be a good chemist I need time. If I want to learn a language I need time. If I want to be a good driver, car driver, I must have time. Acquire knowledge, skill, action. There I need time, to learn a language and so on. And that same pattern, principle, is applied psychologically. You follow? I need time to be good (laughs). I need time to become unselfish. When you say 'I must have time to become unselfish' - that is the very essence of selfishness. So our brain is operating always in time. And time is movement - right? - from here to there, physically. And also time is to become something, psychologically, and so it is a movement - 'I am not quite good but I will be good'. That is a movement from 'what is' to 'what should be'. Movement is thinking also - right? So time is thinking. I wonder if I And that is the pattern on which we have lived. And that pattern has not changed man though he has lived for a million years and more. Therefore is there a possibility of breaking that pattern? You understand my question? No, you don't. This is too Yes? We say there is. If you follow this you will see it. Analysis is a process of time. Right? Right, sir? Therefore I see, I have an insight into analysis and therefore it is the ending of analysis. Right? Insight is not of time. Can we I have an insight into my desire, into my desire for something, and in the process of desire for that, either it can be analysed, examined and come to a conclusion; but if I observe the whole movement of desire, that very observation is insight which is not of time.
I'll put it differently. Look sir: we all know we are attached to something or other. Right? Can you end it immediately? If you end it instantly, immediately, that is the ending of time. But if you say, 'I'll go into it, I will analyse it, I will see it is right, it is wrong, it should be, it should not be', then you are repeating the pattern. Right sir? The ending of time is tremendously important because that is actual freedom from what has been. I wonder if you get it. Am I forcing you to think in a particular direction? Because I happen to be energetic, vehement? Or we are both of us moving in the same direction? Because you see, sir, this has been one of the problems of humanity. You may not have gone into it. Man has always asked whether there is an end to time. Time must have a stop. And we think time has a stop through some kind of meditation. They have gone into this very great deal, both, perhaps a little in the Western world, but a great deal in the Eastern world. So they say time has a stop only when thought can be controlled. You understand? Because thought is a movement in time, thought is time. Whereas we are saying: it can end when there is observation without distortion of what is actually going on, which is the actual reaction in yourself: reaction to attachment, why you are attached, what is the consequence. To see the whole of that immediately is the ending of time. I can't repeat it again. Is this somewhat clear? No, it must be clear, we are using common words. Either you are not exercising your own brain or you are merely persuaded, pushed around. But if you say, 'Look, I want to find out, I want to observe if I am attached to anything.' And then you soon discover you are, and you see the consequences of that: fear, hatred, anxiety, jealousy, all the conflict that goes on. And if you say, 'I am used to it. Let it go on, I don't mind putting up with it' - then you are just, you know, living in perpetual conflict, which is what ordinary, every human being is doing. But if you want to end that conflict, that can be ended only immediately, which is to see it without any distortion.
Finito. (Laughter) We'll meet on Sunday.