Can one learn through relationship?
The movement of desire
2nd Public Discussion, Brockwood Park
August 31, 1978
What shall we talk about this morning, talk over together?
Questioner: May I please request you to say something about the energy of consciousness? The energies.
Krishnamurti: Would you talk over together the energy that you talk about.
Q: I feel after Tuesday’s discussion that there is some confusion over the word ‘observation’, in as much as what we generally call observation is in fact commentary after the fact and not observation at all.
K: What do you mean by observation. We generally observe after the event and not observe as it is taking place - is that what you mean sir?
K: Any other? Madame?
Q: Could you speak about learning, and what is learning, what is relationship? And can one learn about oneself through relationship?
K: Can one learn about oneself through self-observation.
Q: And relationship with others.
K: Can one learn through relationship with others about oneself. That's what that is the question.
Q: Yes sir.
Q: Sir, could we talk about emptiness, please.
K: Just a minute.
Q: You have said that silence is the one fact. I wonder if you could enlarge on that.
K: Silence is a fact and could we go into it, enlarge it, and see the depth of it, the meaning of it.
Q: Could you go into emptiness please?
K: Could we go over together, talk about that which you have said about emptiness.
Q: Can we continue the question of registration, whether one should register or not.
K: Oh. The question of registration, whether one should register or not. I wonder if you were here the other day, sir, I think we discussed it two days ago, or the day before and I hope you will not mind if we don't go into it because we went into it pretty thoroughly.
Q; I wonder, could we talk about the energy of violence.
K: Talk about energy of violence.
Q: (In French)
K: Disorder. Can one be aware of oneself, at the same time observe one's disorder?
Q: Can one be one with fear and so on and at the same time observe it.
K: That's it sir.
Q: If we shouldn’t discipline and shouldn’t make an effort but we should work on ourselves. I don’t understand not to discipline and not to make the effort but still be working on ourselves. Can you make that more clear?
K: Can you talk over together about effort and discipline and without effort can one observe oneself.
Now just a minute, please: we have had so many questions. I don't know of whom you are asking these questions, because we are asking these questions of ourselves and trying to find a solution, an answer. So these are the questions: energy, can one learn about oneself through relationship and also what do you mean by that word 'learn', can one learn about oneself through relationship and what do you mean by learning. The other is, talk about emptiness, silence. I think that is about all.
K: And that lady points out can one observe oneself in action, and that lady put a question, which is, effort and discipline seem to go together, and you apparently point out a different way of observing, acting. So which of these questions shall we take?
Q: The last question: you also point out that you must do it. It seems like a contradiction.
K: Contradiction. You also say you must do it, that is, test it out. Test it out, test out what is being said in one's own life and not depend on somebody else. Now which of these questions shall we talk about?
Q: Learning and relationship. (Laughter)
K: Learning and can one learn about oneself through relationship. Now which of these questions would you like to talk over together?
Q: Silence and emptiness.
Q: Silence and energy.
K: Silence, emptiness, relationship - all right, I think we can bring it all together in talking over this question of what is learning, and can one learn about oneself in any kind of relationship, and perhaps if we could go into that rather deeply we might be able to answer these several questions about energy, silence, discipline and effort, and can one observe without any effort and discipline, and is it possible to be aware at the same time when one is acting, conscious? Right? And silence and so on. Can we bring all this into this one question which has been put: what is learning and can one learn through relationship? Can we go into that and bring all the other factors into it? May we?
K: All right. What do we mean by learning? I think this is a fairly important question, if we could go into it rather slowly and carefully. We learn from books, we learn from parents, colleges, universities and so on, and also we learn through experience. We learn through various forms of events, which all become knowledge. Right? That is fairly clear: that we gather information, experience, and various forms of events and incidents that happen in our life, and from all these we accumulate knowledge, and from that knowledge we act. Right? That is one way of learning.
Is there another way of learning at all? That is what we are We know the ordinary way of learning. Is there another way of learning? Because the ordinary way of learning, the implication of learning in the ordinary way, is to accumulate knowledge and act according to that knowledge, therefore that learning helps us to become more and more mechanical. I don't know if you follow all this. May I go on with it? This is not a talk by me. We are sharing this thing together. So, please, I can go into it but you will also have to join in, in the investigation of what we mean by learning. So it is your responsibility too not just mine, talking about it.
The ordinary everyday form of learning is to accumulate through experience, events and accidents and so on, a great deal of knowledge, and that knowledge is always the past. There is no future knowledge. Right? And if we act according to that knowledge it must be action based on the past, based on knowledge and that knowledge can be expanded infinitely, or to a certain extent, but it will always be limited, it will always become a routine, mechanical. So we are asking if there is another way of learning. Learning through accumulation of knowledge and acting according to the accumulation of knowledge - you understand? - acting and acquiring knowledge from that action, or having acquired knowledge through various forms, act from that. You follow? Do you understand? Am I making myself clear?
K: That is, I accumulate knowledge about science, about technology, doctors and so on, accumulate it. And then from that accumulation I act. Or act and through that action learn. And having learnt a great deal through action that also becomes knowledge. So both are the same essentially: acquire knowledge and then act, act and from that action accumulate, which becomes knowledge. So essentially both are the same. Both tend to become mechanical. If this is clear then the question is: is there a way of learning which is non-mechanistic? I don't know if you are interested in all this. To find that out we must be very clear that the mechanistic activity of accumulated knowledge and the whole movement of that, one must be very, very clear in oneself. Can we proceed? Please, as we are talking over together, find out how you learn, whether this learning is becoming more and more, more mechanistic. You hear me, the speaker, read about it, listen to tapes, learn, accumulate knowledge and then say, 'Well, I am going to practice that.' Therefore that practise becomes mechanistic.
Now we are asking: is there a different movement which is not mechanistic? - which is also learning but it is not accumulated knowledge and acting from that. Right? Is this clear?
Q: Sir, part of that mechanistic process might be an attempt to destroy the knowledge that you have accumulated.
K: Yes, which is still mechanistic. You try to get rid of that past knowledge which you accumulated, you say that is not the way to learn so you learn in a different form but yet accumulate.
K: This accumulation process goes on all the time. So we are asking, please: is there a different way of learning which is not accumulative, which is not mechanistic, which is not all the time functioning on the past movement. Right? We are going to find that out. Do please enquire, question, challenge all the rest of it for yourself and find out.
We said very clearly, action and then knowledge, knowledge and action are both essentially the same. Now we are asking: is there a different learning? Don't jump to conclusion, don't say spontaneity, don't say it is intuition. Don't let's be caught in words. Is there a way of learning which is not mechanistic?
Q: Does silence come into this?
K: You see, you are jumping. Don't come It is as though you don't know.
Q: Through suffering in relationship.
K: Wait, madame we are coming to that. We are starting with, is there, a question mark, therefore you don't know. So don't say it is silence, this or that. You really don't know. Say, that is the way to find out, with a clean slate, you don't know, so you are going to find out. Are you quite sure you don't know? Or you pretend you don't know? (Laughter) No, please, for oneself, I am talking of oneself seriously. Do I pretend that I don't know, or I actually don't know a way of learning, perhaps learning then has a different meaning, a way of learning which is not mechanistic, I don't know. I have to be terribly honest to myself then I can find out. But if I say, 'Yes, I don't know, but I have a few ideas about it, behind me', then you are not enquiring at all.
So can we start honestly by saying I really don't know? Which is rather difficult because when you don't know you are looking, you are trying to find out if you know. You understand my question? When you say I don't know, but there is always the desire to find out, or expect to be told, or project some hidden hope and that becomes an idea and say, 'Yes, I begin to capture it.' So if you can be free of all that and say, 'I actually do not know', then you are curious, you are really curious, like a young boy or a girl learning for the first time. You have got it? No, no, see what has happened. Do watch yourself sir, don't look at me or anyone, watch yourself, which is, when you say 'I really don't know', what has taken place? Your mind is not actively thinking out how to find out. Right? Are we meeting each other in this point? Say for instance, I really don't know, which means I have no hope of finding it, I have no conclusion, I have no motive. This is very important, when I say I don't know, in that is implied having no motive whatsoever. Because motive then gives a direction and then I have lost it. So I must be very, very clear and terribly honest in myself to say, I really don't know. Wait sir, listen to it carefully. I really don't know, then what has taken place in my mind?
K: Find out, don't answer quickly.
Hasn't it broken away from the old tradition? You understand? The old mechanistic tradition. When I say, I really don't know I have moved out of that field altogether. Right?
Q: Although I don’t think that one’s thinking in terms of not knowing a new way of learning. All that one knows is that the conflict which mechanistic knowledge causes, just that – one doesn’t know any more. And one can see that one doesn’t know how to get over this conflict.
K: No, we are not talking of conflict yet sir. We will come to that in a minute. We are talking about: is there a different process of learning? If you don't know it - I don't know it - and I actually say 'I don't know it' - what has happened?
Q: My mind then says if I don’t know it I am empty.
K: Oh, for god's sake! How silly people are.
Q: Why is it stupid? (Laughter)
K: I didn't say stupid, I said silly. (Laughter) Because we are not paying attention, you've gone: it is empty - is it empty? Or is it so tremendously free of that - mechanistic - it is totally awake because it is intensely curious to find out. You see the difference? The mind that says, 'I don't know' - wait, let me take an example. Do you know what God is? Of course you have beliefs, you have dogmas, all kinds of conditioning, but actually you don't know that. You can invent about it, you can think about it, you can argue about it, or be against it, but the actual fact: you don't know. So you start with not knowing in order to find out.
Q: May I ask you sir, do you always start with not knowing when you come to speak, do you always start with saying that I don’t know, let’s find out today, let’s find out now’?
K: Yes, that is what I am saying now.
Q: Is this what you do when you come, when you come into this tent, is this what you do? Are you completely free of what you know before?
K: Please I don't prepare talks, I don't do anything, I just come and I spill out. (Laughter) I have prepared talks, written them all out carefully and so on and so on, and one day somebody suggested throw away all your notes and talk. So I did, and began that way.
Q: There is no difference though, is there, really? There isn’t a lot of difference between having it written down on paper and having it written down inside.
K: No. I don't
Q: The question hasn’t been answered.
K: I am doing it now (laughs). Please - you follow? When you say actually you don't know, you have stopped the mechanistic process of learning, haven't you? So your mind is not empty, it is free from that in which it has been functioning, and therefore it is now in a state of acute attention, learning, acute state, free from that. Then what takes place?
Q: Hunger. (Laughter)
Q: Sir, the mind gets bored.
K: Do try it, please try it, please do try it as we are talking here, do it, in the sense attempt to find out.
K: Yes. What does enquiry mean? Enquiry implies that you must be free from your prejudice, from your hypothetical conclusions, from any form of opinion so that your mind is free to move. In the same way if you understand the whole nature of this mechanistic acquisition of knowledge then if you put it in its right place you are free from it. And you are then capable of complete attention, aren't you? When there is complete attention is there a learning? No, please this requires a little bit of going into.
I may be rather stupid this morning and so please forgive me if I keep on persisting in this thing but perhaps we will come back to it a little later.
The next question in that is involved: can I observe myself through relationship? Can I know myself fundamentally, basically, all the reactions, all the nuances, the subtleties of myself in relationship. Right? That is the question that was raised. So we have to enquire what do we mean by 'relationship' - the word itself. To be related, to be in contact, to be not physically intimate but, not only that, but to have a relationship at the same level, at the same moment, at the same intensity, then there is a relationship. Right? There is a relationship between a man and woman, or a friend and another, or a boy and girl, when they meet not merely physically only but much more, which is when they meet at the same level, at the same moment, with the same intensity there is actual relationship, because they are meeting at the same level. Right? That can be called a real, true relationship.
Now, one's relationship with another is based on memory. Right? Would you accept it? On the various images, pictures, conclusions I have drawn about you and you have drawn about me. The various images that I have about you - wife, husband, girl or boy or friend and so on. So there is always image-making. Right? This is simple, this is normal, this is actually what goes on. When one is married or lives with a girl or a boy every incident, every word, every action creates an image - no? Are we clear on this point? Don't agree with me please, I am not trying to persuade you to anything, but actually you can see it for yourself. A word is registered, if it is pleasant you purr, it is nice, if it is unpleasant you immediately shrink from it, and that creates an image. The pleasure creates an image, the shrinking, the withdrawal creates an image. So our actual relationship with each other is based on various subtle forms of pictures, images and conclusions. That's right?
Now I am asking: when that takes place what happens? The man creates the image about her, and she creates an image about him. Whether in the office, whether in the field, or anywhere this relationship is essentially based on this formation of images. Right? This is a fact, isn't it? Can we go on from there.
K: Then what takes place? You have an image about her and she has an image about you - doesn't matter where it is, in the office, in the factory, in the field, in every way, labour, there is this image-making all the time. So when there is an image like that, she has and you have, then in there there is division, and then the whole conflict begins. Right? Where there is division between two images there must be conflict. Right?
Q: Why has image become so important to us?
K: We will go into it, madame. First go into it step by step, not say 'Why' - have you got this image about your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife, your father, whatever it is? Then see when there is this image there is certainly a division: the Jew and the Arab, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Christian, the Communist - you follow? - it is the same phenomena. Right? When that takes place there must be fundamentally conflict. The husband or the boy or the girl may go off to work and there he has created images about himself: his position, his worth, his competition and all the rest of it, comes home and says, 'Darling how are you?', and again he has got his image and she has hers. So there is conflict. So it is a basic law that where there is division between people there must be conflict. Full stop. Right? The man may say to the woman, or the woman may say to the man 'I love you' but that may merely be sensory love, sexual love but basically they are not related at all. They may wear rings and hug each other and sleep in the same bed and live in the same house, but basically he is pursuing his ambitions, his greed, all the rest of it, and she also. Right? So basically they never meet at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity. Cannot. Right? Do we see this? - not accept the words that are spoken by the speaker, that is worthless. Actually this is so in daily life. And then we can say to each other, 'I love you. You are so beautiful' - you are this and you are that, 'put more colour on your hair' (laughter) - you know, play with all that kind of stuff.
Now why do we create these images? Why do you create an image about your girl or your wife, or your husband, or your boy, why?
Q: I think it is survival.
Q: I think it is through fear. Basically because you didn’t look at something you feared.
K: He says that it is survival.
Q: Isn’t to guard one’s ego. One doesn’t want to be intruded on. One doesn’t want someone close, one’s frightened to lose one’s ego.
K: Oh! Is that so?
Q: I don’t know.
K: (Laughs) What sir?
Q: Because we don’t see the whole of the fact.
K: How can I see the whole, if that is what you are saying, the whole beauty of relationship, the whole nature of love and all that, when we are so concerned about our beastly little selves all the time?
Q: Isn’t it because we are registering all the time as well?
K: No, madame we have been through all that, I want to forget the registration. Look at it anew. Why do I, or why does one create an image about another? Why do you create an image about the speaker? (Laughs)
Q: It is lack of attention.
K: Just go into it sir. Why do you create an image about your girl, or your husband, boy and all that, why?
Q: To remember.
Q: To be dependent.
Q: Because it helps us.
K: Do look at it before you answer. See what you do first. If I may gently suggest, see the fact of it first, not say well, this is it, this is that. Just see if it is so.
Q: We want to be recognised in some way or another.
Q: Isn’t it because I’d like to know what is going to happen tomorrow.
K: Do look at it sir. You are married, you have got a girl, or a boy, a husband. This image-making goes on. And I am asking why. Take time - a little. Please. You don't know, I don't know, let's find out.
Q: It is very pleasant to have an image. It is possession.
K: Is it? Is it very pleasant to have an image?
Q: It is very gratifying.
K: Is it very pleasant to have an image? Please sir - an image?
Q: Image is a dirty word.
K: All right. I won't use the word image - use some other word.
Q: With familiarity – we take things for granted, we are at all times preoccupied rather then attentive.
K: I want to find out why I create the image about my wife - if I have one. Is it habit? Is it convenient? Is it immemorial conditioning? Is it traditional that I do this, brought over from the genes and so on and so on, that instinctively I make an image about you?
Q: Does it matter why?
K: Find out. So I am saying is it this tremendous habit in which we live?
Q: No. It is influence.
K: Yes sir. Include that, include that. Influence. One is so accustomed to being influenced, which is environment and all the rest of it. So I say, is it habit, is it a tradition that has been handed down, unconsciously, from race to race, from generation to generation? Is it a thing which I have accepted as my arm, as I accept a leg, it is part of me?
Q: Sir, does that really answer the question why, though. That is just saying that we do have an image, but why do we have an image?
K: I am going into that sir.
Q: People, please, follow the speaker, don’t ask.
K: Comment, madame? (Laughter)
Q: I think it is a continuation of the conditioning that we ourselves have received.
K: It is part of our conditioning, inherited from father to son and so on, so on, generation after generation. So just let's find out. So put all this together - habit, immemorial tradition, desire for a sense of nearness and yet withdrawal - all that. Is that why we do it?
K: Do look at it, take a second, darling, please take a second. Or is it that we want to be certain of the girl or the boy, the husband, certain of her? Certain to possess her, it is mine and not yours. All that is involved in it. Desire for certainty - it is my wife, my girl, my boy, my husband, I am sure. That is, it gives me certainty in my relationship with another. I know my wife - which is the most absurd statement. It gives me a feeling that I possess something and I am sure of that possession. So habit, tradition, a thousand, million years of tradition carried from generation to generation to generation. Then the desire to possess, to be dominated, love to be possessed and love to be dominated - a neurotic state - and the desire to be certain: it is my house, my table, my pen, my wife. Right? What do you say to all this?
Q: We should be free of all that.
K: We should be, or we are?
Q: We should be.
K: Oh! I should be on the top of the Himalayas, but I am not! (Laughter)
Q: How can I recognise?
K: How can we talk over together if we are not both moving in the same direction! Please. The 'should be' is non-existent; 'what is' is the only fact.
Q: Can one not accept this state
K: Why should I you see, you see I can't
Q: by understanding it?
K: No, madame we are doing it. We are doing it step by step, going into this. I am certain about my name, I am certain about my form - physical form, I am certain I am qualified mechanically, or a scientist, or professor - I am certain, it's my profession, my career as a military, or navy, or a doctor, it is my career, and I am certain. So I want to be certain in my relationship - no? And when that certainty is shaken then begins the trouble - ends up in divorce, or a separation, or whatever you like to call it.
So these are the factors. That we create these images in order to be sure, certain, in order to possess and in that possession feel the power, the pleasure, the strength of that possession. And there is this inherited a thousand million years or a million years of man's desire to hold somebody and not let go, and so on, so on. These are the factors in daily life - no?
Q: So that implies something is just fixed, doesn’t it?
K: Yes sir.
Q: We also make use...
K: That is right. I want to be certain. I want to be sure when I come back from the office she is there. And when she comes back from the office she wants to be quite sure I will turn up too! (Laughter) This is the game we have been playing infinitely, in varieties of ways.
Q: Why do we need the certainty?
K: We are going to go into that. Go slowly sir.
Q: I am afraid I lose control.
K: You are afraid to lose control over her? I hope your wife is there! (Laughter).
K: Look sir, we are talking about something so tremendously serious. Whether it is possible, knowing this, knowing these are facts, not imagination, not ideas, not some conclusions which you have got because I have talked about it but these are daily facts. Now the question is: in that there is no possibility of relationship. You may sleep together, you may hold hands together, do all kinds of things together, but actually there is no relationship. That is a fact. And we don't want to acknowledge it. Because the moment you acknowledge it then begins doubt, you've frightened, nervous and all that begins. Now, please just listen.
Now, can I learn about myself in my relationship with another? That is the question we began with, that is the question that was put. In that relationship I can observe my reactions. Right? I like and I don't like. She said a nasty word, he was so pleasant, and so on - my reactions I can watch. Those reactions are myself, aren't they? They are not separate from me, both sensory as well as nervous, psychological responses. Right? I am learning about myself tremendously as I go along, I have seen, oh, infinitely what I am doing, what I have done, what I am doing, what I will do tomorrow if I continue this mechanistic way of behaviour. Right? And death comes and you say, 'Darling, I am leaving you.' She feels terribly lonely, miserable, unhappy, tears, finds out suddenly she is left alone, or he is left alone. And then he can't face it, he goes off to some entertainment, or goes off with another woman, or boy, or whatever it is, or becomes tremendously religious. (Laughter)
What a game we are playing with each other. Right sir? So I see this is a fact. I have learnt a tremendous lot about myself in my relationship with another. Then the factor arises: can this image-making stop? You understand my question? Can this momentum of the past, of all that tremendous momentum, with tremendous volume behind it, like a river with a great volume of water rushing, can all this image-making tradition, desire for all that end, without a single conflict? You understand my question? Are you interested in this?
K: What will you pay for it? (Laughter) That is all you can do. By paying something you think you will get it.
Now how can this mechanism of image-making, not just image-making, the desire for certainty, the tradition, the whole structure of that, can that end? Right? Are you asking that question? Or am I asking, and (laughs) putting my question onto you? If you put that question to yourself, do you say, 'I don't know therefore I will find out'? Or you are already struggling to find out? How can this image-making come to an end. Which means the ending of registration, not to register a word that she or he says, the sneer, the insult, the nagging, all that, not to register at all. Is that possible? Do you understand my question? Please don't go off to sleep or some... I am asking this question, you have to answer it.
Q: No, it is not possible. I don’t find it possible.
K: The lady says it is not possible, therefore she has shut the door.
Q: No, I haven’t shut the door, but I find it impossible.
K: Ah, the moment you say it is impossible, it is not possible, or it is possible you have shut the door. It is like a man saying 'I can't do it' - finished. I am sure each of us can do it. I am certain, clear, if you put your heart and your mind into this question.
When the wife or the girl, or the man or the husband, says to you, 'You are rather stupid this morning', must you register that - react to the word, to his feeling and watch your own reactions to the word and his feeling. You follow? Can you watch all this instantly? Or he says, 'You look very nice this morning' and you You follow? Go into it sir. Not to register at all. Now is this possible? Please we are talking about learning about oneself in relationship. And we see why we create this image and so on, and therefore there is no actual relationship at all. There may be physical relationship. Psychologically, obviously you are totally divided. How can you be related and love another if you are ambitious? You can't. Or competitive, or this or that. So you have learnt a tremendous lot in enquiring into this relationship. You have come to the point now when we say: is this possible, to hear the word, not shut off, hear the word, see the meaning of the word, the significance of the word, the expression on the face of the man or the woman who says it, and your own reaction to all that, can you be aware of all that?
Q: Sir, it seems that we are continually getting into this difficulty at this point of saying I don’t know. Could we look at that and maybe it is the mechanism that builds the images that doesn’t want to say ‘I don’t know’. It doesn’t like the idea of saying it.
K: No, don't keep on repeating, 'I don't know', then you are stuck.
K: But we started out by saying we create these images; why we create these images is fairly clear. And we said, the next question is: can this image-making stop? Then I can say, 'I don't know'. Right? Because then your mind when you say you don't know is tremendously alert.
Q: So one has to be concerned to end the images.
K: Yes. You are concerned to find out whether the image-making can stop. And you say it is not possible, or it is possible, you are stuck. But when you say 'I don't know, but I am moving'. When I say 'I don't know', I am not static. I am moving, I am tremendously active and full of energy to find out. I am not transmitting my energy to you, you are doing it yourself, please. That is a danger. (Laughs)
So, is this possible? Which means to listen and not to register.
Q: Sometimes you are paralysed.
K: No, there is no paralysis madame. You can't paralyse when your relationship with another is so tremendously important. All life is relationship. Not just you and me, it's a not only you and me, it is a global problem. So we have to meet it globally, not just 'Oh, I love my wife' - you follow? - you and me, that is too little affair. When you understand the global issue then you will understand the little issue. But if you start with the little issue you won't understand the global thing - global in the sense, the enormity of it. It concerns every human being wherever he may be. So I say - now can I listen to the word, see the expression, the gesture, the contempt, the arrogance and so on, on the face of the other and listen to it without any reaction? So now we will have to find out what you mean by listening. Are we interested in this? Can we go on? No, please I can go on, but you see... I have spent my life from the age of fifteen at this. Right? So please, spend also an hour with this.
Can I listen. Therefore what does it mean to listen? Do you ever listen? Are you listening now? Please, you understand? Are you listening to what I am saying? No, I am not sure. Or you are listening to a conclusion which you have made about yourself? Or in listening you have already drawn a conclusion? Or you have abstracted from listening an idea and pursuing that idea? Therefore you are not actually listening. So are we listening now? That means you are listening without a single movement of thought because you are so tremendously concerned about this. If you are not well then you won't listen. If you are deeply, profoundly concerned about this then you will instinctively, naturally listen. And so are you listening from your experience, are you listening to the word and not to the content of the word, or are you listening, making an abstraction of what you are hearing into an idea and say, 'Yes, I have got it'? Which means then that you are listening without any movement, any movement of thought, any movement of intention. Just listening. If that is so - carefully please hear what I have to say - if you can so listen when the boy or the girl, or the wife, can you listen to that in the same way? You understand my question? You are finished. It is so terribly simple if you capture the simplicity of it. But intellectually we make a such a mess of everything.
So if there is the act of listening, then there is no registration. The other day after the talk, one of the talks, a man came up to me and said 'What a marvellous talk that was. Oh, it was excellent. It feels I have got it all.' I listened to it very carefully. I have been told this for fifty years and if I keep on registering how marvellous it is I would be a cuckoo! (Laughter). So can you please find out? To listen to somebody saying nasty things, or pleasurable things, so completely that there is no registration. Which means can you be so attentive at the moment the word is said that there is no centre which records? You understand my question? Have you ever been attentive? Attentive in the sense, giving all your attention, all your energy, your heart, your mind, everything you have. When you do that there is no 'me' from which you are attentive, there is only attention. Right? In that attention there is no recording. It is only when there is inattention there is the centre which records. Got it? You've understood?
Q: So, there is no distraction.
K: No. Sir, there is no such thing as distraction. Please understand this. There is no such thing as distraction. You want to pay attention to that and you are distracted as one generally is. Which means what? You are not paying attention, therefore there is no distraction. So realise that you are not attentive and therefore distraction. The moment you are aware that you are inattentive, you are already attentive. Capture this, sir! There is no effort necessary in this. So it is possible not to register at all when the wife says something pleasant or unpleasant, or a friend or a boy or a girl or a boy at the office, labour. Can you live that way? Not for one day or a few minutes - can you live the entirety of your life that way?
Q: Regardless of your age.
K: Regardless of my age, or your age? (Laughter). I don't understand this.
Q: Excuse me sir. When I am attentive in this way of which you speak, is the attention limited to the thing to which I am attentive?
Q: Or identified with.
K: No. Attention is attention, not limited to this or to that. I am attentive. There is attention. Not tension. (Laughter) When you are attentive there is no tension. Now wait a minute, now wait a minute, just look at it: the question was about learning and can one learn about oneself through relationship. We went into the whole thing step by step, logically, reasonably, sanely. Now, just a minute, listen to this. We went into it very, very carefully, in detail. Now can you observe this whole thing as a whole, not broken up little pieces. You understand my question? Can you have perception of the entirety of the structure? We have dealt bit by bit, fragment by fragment, or piece by piece. That means nothing personally to me, because that's but if you capture the whole thing then from that you can work details. But you cannot through details work to the whole.
Now can you after an hour and twenty minutes, or ten minutes, or a quarter, can you observe this whole phenomenon of registration, learning, relationship as a whole? I mean by whole having a deep insight into the whole thing instantly. You see we are not used to that. We are always from one thing to another, from one fragment to another fragment, from one broken piece to another and so gradually build up the whole. We think we have built up the whole. But the whole is not this. The whole is the perception of the whole structure and beyond. Then you can be terribly logical.
Q: And beyond the structure you said.
K: Oh, of course. The structure is very, very fragile.
Q: Is the attention including the structure and going beyond the structure?
K: Yes sir, when we are attentive the structure is non-existent. You understand? You are missing all this. When you are totally attentive there is no structure. Right? That attention is meeting the person at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity - the other may not, that is indifferent, that is irrelevant. Your mind is meeting that totally. Then begins the objection on the other person, saying 'You are indifferent to me,' you are this, you are that, begins. You are not the cause - you understand? I wonder if you see all this!
Q: What is being attentive?
K: I have explained madame. You are not attentive to something, about something, or for something, you are just attentive.
Q: Who, what is it that is being attentive?
K: There is no you to be attentive, I have explained that. There is only attention.
Q: And there isn’t another I there?
K: No, no, please. See you are going off to something. So are we, at the end of an hour and a quarter - free of the images? If you are not you haven't been listening, and nobody can force you to listen. It is up to you. If you want the present kind of relationship with each other and so with humanity, globally that way, it is up to you, but if you want to find out a way of living totally differently, it is also up to you but you have to listen to everything in yourself, in other - you follow? I think that is enough this morning, isn't it?
Q: Sir, I don’t see how the structure disappears, I am sorry, I don’t understand it. How does the structure disappear when I am attentive to it? What makes the
K: Sir, I will tell you, I'll tell you. The structure exists with all that we mean by structure, which is the desire for certainty, habit, centuries of tradition and so on, all that is the structure, the picture, the image, which we have made about another. When we are totally attentive there is no structure and therefore you are there is no structure, therefore you are beyond everything, the image-making. You just try one thing. Just for fun. Next time your wife, your husband, your girl or boy says something pleasant or unpleasant, watch it, just for that second watch it, be attentive for that single moment and then you will see whether you are registering or not. You see that is what I mean, find out, try it, otherwise you will never find out. Finished.
Q: It seems to me there is contradiction, how can we watch it and be one with it at the same time? For god’s sake explain that.
K: I don't quite follow sir.
Q: How can we be fear and watch fear at the same time?
K: No, we are going off into something sir. I am saying, that you have listened for an hour - right sir? - an hour and a quarter. You have realised, understood the mechanistic way of learning and a different way. Right? And also whether one can learn about oneself through relationship. We went into that more or less. Now I am asking: can you be aware of this whole structure first? Right? Be aware of it as you are aware of the colour of the dress of the person sitting next to you. Then be aware that you are separate from that, which is absurd, therefore in that awareness you realise there is no division - right? - I am going on. Right? And so in that awareness where there is no division there begins to be a sense of great attention. In that attention, which is not yours or another's, it is just attention. In that attention, the whole structure is non-existent and I say from that when your wife, or a girl, or a boy says something to you be attentive at that moment and see what happens.