Can thought bring order?
Is there a movement other than the movement of thought?
3rd Public Talk, Saanen
July 18, 1974
May we go on with what we were talking about the last two meetings that we had here? We were concerned about the understanding of our action, of our behaviour and the content of consciousness. Unless we understand the nature and the structure of this consciousness in which we act, through which all our behaviour, our ways of thinking, until we understand that, it seems to me, we shall always be floundering, rather confused, and always live in constant battle within ourselves, and outside. We shall never be able to find, it seems to me, peace, a sense of deep inward tranquillity; and in a world that is getting madder and madder every day, where there is so much brutality and violence and deception and chicanery, it is so necessary that all of us should understand this immense problem of living. And we can understand that field which we call the living only when we understand the content of that living. And that is what we have been talking about the last two times that we've met here.
And if one may point out, this is not an intellectual amusement, it is not a verbal entertainment, it is not a word investigation; but rather these talks should be taken as a serious thing because it affects our daily life, not merely the intellectual, emotional life but the whole of our life, which is all our consciousnesses.
And we are going to, if we may, this morning concern ourselves with what is called materialism. Materialism means having an opinion, or evaluating life as matter. I am going to go slowly, please follow this: matter, its movement, its modification, also consciousness and will as matter. That is what the materialists maintain. Please you have to understand a little bit of this, because we have to find if there is anything more than matter and go beyond it, and therefore it is not merely an intellectual amusement and investigation but rather a deep enquiry whether our minds, our whole relationship, our social, economic and religious life, is entirely material - in the sense, materialism means having an opinion that all existence is matter, its movement, its modification, also its consciousness and will. Please you have to understand this a little bit. Because we are ruled by our senses, our taste, smell, touch and so on. Sensations play a great part in our life. And thought, the capacity to think, is also material. That is, the brain, if you examine it - I am not a specialist on the brain - if you examine, if you are rather aware of your activities you will see that the brain cells hold memory, memory as experience and knowledge. And when the cells hold that it is material, it is matter - so thought is matter. And one can imagine, or construct through thought, as thought, otherness, which is not matter - but it is still matter! That is, we know that we live in a material world, based on our sensations, desires, emotions, and we have constructed a consciousness which is essentially the product of thought with its content. We know that, if we have investigated, gone into it very deeply and seriously, not just romanticised about it. Knowing that, we say there must be otherness, something beyond that. So thought begins to investigate the other. When thought investigates the other, it is still material. Please, this is important to understand because we are all so romantically minded, all our religions are sentimental, romantic, and living in this very small field of materialism we want to have something much greater, beyond. That is a natural desire. So thought constructs a verbal and non-verbal structure of god, otherness, immensity, timelessness and so on and so on, but it is still the product of thought, so it is still material.
Please don't agree or disagree. We are not doing propaganda, not trying to convince you of anything, and I really mean it. It is for you to examine, to listen, to find out.
So thought creates the form outside, thinking that form, that image, that prototype, the original type, is not material. But the form is the product of thought, the ideal is still the product of thought, so it is still material. And if you go to India, or in the east, they will tell you that we accept that, but there is a higher self, there is a super consciousness, which dominates the material, or it is enclosing the material, as you have the soul. There they call it by a Sanskrit word, Atman and so on. But the Atman, the super consciousness, the soul is still the product of thought. Of course it is. Do you understand? So thought is matter. And whatever its movement, inside, outside, trying to go beyond itself, is still material.
So the problem arises: is the mind mechanical? That is, is the mind, your mind, your thoughts, your feelings, your reactions, your responsibilities, your relationship, your ways, your opinions and so on and so on, are they merely mechanical? That is, responding according to its conditioning, according to its environmental influences and so on. And if that is the totality of the mind then we live in a tremendous, inescapable prison. You are following all this? Do please give some of your attention to this.
So this has been the problem of man right through the ages. He knows he lives by the senses, by his desires, by his touch, by his appetites, sexual, intellectual, otherwise, and he questions, 'Is that all?' Then he begins to invent - the gods, the super-gods, super consciousness and so on and so on and so on. And having projected a form he then pursues it, and he thinks he is tremendously idealistic, or tremendously religious, but his pursuit of what he calls god or truth or whatever, is still the product of thought, which is material. You have understood? See what we are doing. See what the churches, the temples, the mosques have done to us, to each one of us, this sense of great deception on which you have been fed, and we think we are extraordinarily idealistic. When one realises that seriously, it is rather a shock, because you are stripped of all illusion.
So you then begin to ask, if you have gone that far seriously: is there a movement other than the movement of thought? You are following? How does one find out? Now to find that out we must examine what is cause, causation. If I am trying to find out something beyond the material, what is the cause of my search? You are understanding? The cause of my search is either an escape from this, or a cause - no, you see, I am thinking with you and I have to enquire, I am enquiring, I'll do it for you - you see cause means a motive. Is all my enquiry motivated? Because if I have a cause, the root of that is either pleasure or the escape from fear, or total dissatisfaction with 'what is' and therefore the cause projects its own answer. You are following this? Therefore to enquire into the other my mind must be without cause. You are following all this?
As we said the other day, and we are saying it again today, there must be a transformation in the mind, not peripheral reformation, but a revolution deep in the mind to solve our problems. The problems which thought has created, whether religious problems, or economic, social, moral and so on. And if one is enormously serious, not flippant, not merely amused by intellectual theories, a philosophy that is invented by thought, then we must be concerned and totally committed to this question of transforming the content of consciousness. This content makes up consciousness, and we went into that. I am not going to go over and over again the same thing. And who is the entity that is to change it? And we said the observer is the observed. When there is a division between the observer and the observed, 'me' and the 'not me', there is conflict. And that is essentially a waste of energy. And when you look into it you will find that the observer is the observed, therefore you remove conflict altogether and you have enormous energy because it is no longer wasted in conflict.
Now this energy is either in the field of thought, or it is an energy totally different from thought. Thought creates its own energy, that is obvious. So we are asking now whether a mind that is so burdened, so conditioned, so shaped by materialistic thought, for such a mind is there a movement other than that of thought? So we said to find that out we must look into the cause of this search. Where there is a cause there is time, because the cause produces an effect, and that effect becomes the cause later. Right? Please, are you following all this? Or it is too difficult? It is not really difficult because this is our life. It becomes difficult when you treat it, or look at it as something apart from our daily life.
I'll go into it. I'll put it differently. What is virtue? What is morality? Is morality transient? Is morality relative, or is it absolute? For us in the modern world morality is relative, and that relativism is nearly destroying us. So one asks: what is virtue? Is there an absolute virtue? Absolute non-killing, you understand? A sense of no hate under any circumstances. Is there a sense of complete peace, absolute peace which can never be disturbed? Can one live without any sense of violence? Or is violence relative? Killing is relative? Hate is modified and so on. You are following all this? So what is virtue? If you hit me and I hit you back and apologise for it later, that becomes relative. If I have a cause for hating you, or disliking you, or being violent, that cause makes my action not complete, therefore relative. You are following all this? Do please, it is your life. Is there a way of living which has no cause, because the moment you have a cause it becomes relative. Right? You are following all this? Do please! If I have a cause to love you because you give me comfort, psychologically, physically, sexually, morally, comfort, it is not love. So where there is a cause the action must be relative. But when there is no cause the action will be absolute. You are following this? See what takes place in your life, not in what I am explaining. That is, if I depend on you, if I am attached to you, that attachment has a cause because I am lonely, or I am unhappy, or I want companionship, I want your love, your affection, your care, and so I am attached to you. And from that attachment there is great sorrow, there is pain because you, you don't like me, or you tolerate me, or give me a little of your affection and turn to somebody else, so there is jealousy, antagonism, hate and all the rest of it follows. So where there is a cause - please understand this, in your life - where there is a cause, action, morality must be relative.
So can the mind be free of form, free of the ideal. That ideal, that form has a cause. And therefore such a mind is incapable of going beyond itself. I wonder if you see this. It is very simple really. Words make it so very difficult, but words are necessary to communicate, but if you don't apply, merely live at the verbal level it is absolutely useless. It is like ploughing, ploughing, ploughing, and you destroy the earth by merely ploughing.
So we have this problem, the problem which man right from the beginning has sought to solve. Which is: is all life mechanical? Is all life material? - material in the sense which we have explained. Which is, the having an opinion, or evaluation that all existence is matter. Its movement, its modification - please listen to all this carefully - and also consciousness, with its will, is also matter. Your whole life is that. You may pretend it is not but actually it is that. Having that, being enclosed in that, thought creates a form, the ideal, the supreme, the highest form of excellence, great nobility, the gods and you know, all the things that thought has put together in the world - the immense technological movement, and the tradition and the gods. It is all matter. And living on this shore, as it were, which we are - our wars, our battles, our hatreds, our political appalling all that, we are on this side of the river, which is matter. And mind says, 'I want to go across, there must be something there because this life is too stupid' - and it is stupid, just to go to the office, earn money, responsibility, struggle, competition, worry, despair, anxieties, immense sorrow and then die. And we say that is not good enough, we put it more philosophically, in more extravagant, romantic languages if you wish, and we want something more. And then we say, 'How am I to cross this river to go to the other shore?' You are following all this? We want to cross the river to the other shore. Then we ask, 'Who will take us across?' And when you ask that question there is the priest, the guru, the man who knows, and he says, 'Follow me', and then you are done because he is exactly like you, because he still functions within the field of thought. I don't know if you see this for yourself. Because he has created the form - your gods, your Jesus, your Buddha, Krishna, he has created the form and that form is as materialistic as your sensations, that form is the product of thought. Now if that is absolutely clear - no romantic escapes, no ideological washing of hands and comfort and all the rest of that tommyrot, which leads to such illusions, if that is absolutely clear that any movement and modification within the field of consciousness is merely moving one object from one to another place. But it is still within the field of thought. You've understood this?
So what is the mind to do? Or not to do? I see, first, such a mind must be in total order - you understand? - material order. Because if it is in disorder it can't go away from itself. You have understood? I hope you are doing this with me. Please, do it as I am talking. Thought is matter and all its activity within this consciousness has created an extraordinary sense of confusion and disorder, politically, religiously, socially, morally, in relationship, in every direction, it has created disorder. Your life. Unless there is absolute order, and I am using the word 'absolute', not relative, unless there is absolute order within that area, the cause to move away from that area is still the product of disorder. You understand? So there must be order. Now how does this order come about? You understand? Politically, religiously, intellectually, morally, physically, in relationship - order - an absolute order, not convenient order, not relative order. Now how is the mind, which has been trained, educated, conditioned to live in disorder and to accept disorder - you follow? - that is our life, how is such a mind to bring order in itself? Please bear in mind, if you say there is an outside agency that will bring order then that outside agency is the product of thought and therefore that outside agency will create a contradiction, and therefore that contradiction is a disorder. You're following? If you say will - please listen - the action of will will bring about order, then what is will? Who says, 'I will do that' - please find out, look at it. When you are aggressive, when you say, 'I must do that', what is that will in action? It is, isn't it? Desire, a projected end to be achieved, that projected end conceived by thought. So it is desire, desire for success, achieving an end projected by thought as an ideal, as a form, as an original pattern, so it is still thought. Can thought bring order? Which is what the politicians are trying to do - you understand? Which is what the so-called priests are trying to do, and all the reformers. So can thought bring order? And thought has created disorder. So what is one to do? You are following all this?
Now can the mind, your mind observe, see this disorder? You understand? I am in disorder - I am not, but I am saying I am in disorder - I am in disorder and I see will, following another, having a desire to overcome it, is still within the field of disorder. So I say to myself 'What am I to do, what is the mind to do'? First of all, do I know disorder? You understand? Does the mind see disorder? Or does it see the description of disorder? You are following this? Please do. Are you following this? You describe to me the mountain, the beauty of the mountain, the snow, the lines, the blue sky in the forest and the depth of shadows and the running waters and the murmur of trees, leaves, and all the beauty of it, you describe it to me, and the description catches my mind, and I live with that description. But the description is not the described. So I am asking myself, am I caught in the description? Or am I actually seeing disorder? You see the difference? One is intellectual, the other is factual. Right? Now is the mind observing its disorder? Which means no word, not caught in the description, but merely observing this enormous disorder - disorder being contradiction, and so on and so on, so on. Please follow this. Can the mind observe it? And to observe its own disorder, is there an observer looking at it? Or there is no observer at all, merely observing. This becomes rather difficult, if you don't mind, if you pay a little attention to it.
I observe you, I see you. I met you last year. You were pleasant to me, or unpleasant to me, you flattered me, or insulted me, or neglected me. So the memories of that remain - right? The memory. And this year I meet you. The memory responds. So that memory is the past, that memory is the observer - of course. So can I observe this disorder - please listen - can the mind observe this disorder, social, moral, all that disorder, which is created by thought, in which I am, which is part of me, can I observe this disorder without the observer? If the mind can do it then what takes place? That is - I'll explain a little more - if the observer is there looking at disorder then there is a division between the observer and the observed, then in that division conflict takes place - I must control it, I must change it, I must alter it, I must suppress it, I must overcome it and so on, that is a conflict. Now when the observer is not, but only observation, then there is no conflict, you are merely observing. You follow? Then you have energy to go beyond disorder.
So I see that where there is division there must be disorder. Right? And the observer essentially is the factor of division because he is rooted in the past. Now can the mind see the truth of that and observe the disorder? The disorder of your life, not my life, not the description. Can you observe your disorder, your confusion, your anxieties, your contradictions, your selfish demands, all that, observe. And if you observe without the observer there is then the going beyond it, which means total order, not relative order, mathematical order, and that is essential before you can go any further. Because without order in the material world, in the world of matter, in the world of thought. You follow? - you have no basis to move, the mind has no foundation to move. I wonder if you see all this! Therefore there must be observation of behaviour, which is order. Do I behave according to a motive, according to circumstances, is my behaviour pragmatic, you follow?, or is my behaviour under all circumstances the same? - not the same in the sense of copying a pattern - a behaviour that is never relative, which is not based on reward and punishment. You are following all this? Enquire into it, observe it and you will find - terrible, how your behaviour is, how you look to a superior and inferior and all the rest of it. There is never a constant movement without a motive of reward and punishment.
Then also you have to find out, which is still in the material world, your relationship, because relationship is of the highest importance, because life is relationship. What is your relationship? Have you a relationship? To be related. Relationship also means to respond rightly, adequately, to any challenge in that relationship. You understand? Come on sirs! Are you too cold?
We are enquiring into relationship: is my relationship with you, intimate or personal or not so intimate, based on my opinions, my memories, my hurts, my demands, my sexual appetites? If it is, then my relationship with you is relative, it changes - I am moody one day, not moody the next day, the next day I am frightfully affectionate, the third day I hate you, the fourth day I love you and so on and so on. And in that relationship if it is not satisfactory I go to somebody else. This is the game that we have been playing for centuries, now it is more open, more extravagant, more vulgar and all the rest of it - that's all. So mind has to find out what actually its relationship is. Because unless there is complete harmony in the world of material in which I live, which is part of me, in me, which is my consciousness, the mind cannot possibly go beyond itself. You understand this? That is why your meditations, your postures, your breathing, your going to India and searching all those - well, never mind! (laughter) - it is so utterly meaningless.
So is my relationship relative? And is all relationship relative? Please listen to this. Or, there is no relationship at all but only the division as the 'me' and the 'you' doesn't exist. You understand? Do please listen to this, I am finding something new for myself. You understand? I am related to you because I love you, because you give me food, clothes, shelter, you give me sex, you give me companionship, I have built a marvellous image about you. We may get annoyed with each other, irritated but that is trivial. And I hold on to you, I am attached to you, and in that attachment there is great pain, there is great sorrow, suffering, torture, jealousy, antagonism, and then I say to myself, 'I must be free of that'. And in freeing myself from that I am attaching myself to somebody else. And the game begins again. So I say to myself, 'What is this relationship? Is there a relationship, can there ever be a relationship?' The 'me' that is pursuing my appetites, my ambitions, my greed, my fears, my wanting to have more prestige, greater position and so on and so on, and the other also pursuing his own demands, so is there any relationship possible at all between two human beings, each functioning, each pursuing his own exclusive, selfish demands? So there may be no relationship in that direction at all. And there may be a relationship when there is no 'me' at all. You are following this? When the 'me', as thought and all that, is non-existent I am related. You follow it? I wonder if you follow this! I am related to you, to the trees, to the mountains, to the rivers, to human beings. That means love, doesn't it? Which has no cause.
So consciousness with its content is within the field of materialism. And the mind cannot possibly go beyond it under any circumstances, do what you will, unless there is complete order within itself, and the conflict in relationship has totally come to an end, which means a relationship in which there is no 'me'. You understand all this? Sirs, this isn't a verbal explanation; the speaker is telling you what he lives, not what he talks about. If he doesn't live it, it is a hypocrisy, it is a dirty thing to do.
So when the mind has order and the sense of total relationship, then what takes place? You understand? Then the mind is not seeking at all. You understand? Then the mind is not capable of any kind of illusion. That is absolutely necessary because a mind can invent, which is thought, can invent anything - any experience, any kind of vision, any kind of super-consciousness, and all the rest of it. So there is no ideal, there is no form, there is only behaviour, which is order and the sense of relationship for the whole of man. There you have the foundation - you understand?
Now another question from this arises. I have talked for an hour, all right, we can't go into it, I'll just show you something. You see, is the brain totally conditioned? You have understood my question? I have got this brain, there is this brain of man, educated, having a great many, thousands and thousands of experiences, a great deal of accumulated knowledge whether it is his own or in the books and so on, it is there, in the brain. And thought operates only within the field of the known. Right? Of course. It can invent a field that says, 'I don't know, I am there' - but that is too silly. So my mind is asking: is the whole brain conditioned - conditioned by the culture it has lived in, the economic, social, environmental, religious, all that? If it is, then it cannot go beyond. You follow? So the mind has to enquire, and this is real meditation, you understand sir? Not all this silly stuff that goes on, this is real meditation, which we will go into presently, what is meditation, later. To find out whether the mind, in which is included the brain, is totally conditioned within the borders of time. Is the mind a complete slave? Don't say, yes or no. Then you have settled it, if you say, 'Yes' then there is nothing more to enquire. If you say 'No', there is nothing more to enquire either. But a mind that is asking, groping, looking, without any motive, without any direction, says, 'Is the mind conditioned totally, therefore mechanical?' And you see it is mechanical. When it is functioning in the field of knowledge it is mechanical, whether it is scientific, or technological, or the priestly tradition, it is mechanical - repetition, repetition, repetition. And that is what we are doing. The repetition of a certain desire, sexual or otherwise, repeating, repeating, repeating. Therefore the mind asks itself, 'Is the totality of this thing mechanical?' You are following this? Or is there, in this field of the mind, an area which is not mechanical? You are following all this?
Now we better stop. We'll go into it - sorry, this is too I have talked for an hour and a quarter, an hour and twenty minutes, that is enough, you can't take more. If you don't mind I'll stop there and we will continue on Sunday. Because this is really very important, which is: where there is a cause it must be mechanical. I hope you see this. Where there is a cause all movement as thought must be mechanical. So can the mind be free of causation? Therefore is there a movement which is not of time? We'll go into all that on Sunday.
(Sound of aeroplane)
Yes sir. Just a minute, let the
Questioner: Who is it then that observes when the observer and the observed are one?
Krishnamurti: Who is it that observes when the observer and the observed are one. You have understood the question? I observe the tree - just listen to this - there is the tree and there is the 'me' that is observing it. The observer looks at it with the knowledge of the tree - right? - botanical and all the rest of it. Now when there is no knowledge as the observer looking at the tree what takes place? And is there an observation as we know it now? You are following all this? What takes place when there is an observation of the tree, the mountain, or a person, which is much more difficult, more involved in it rather, not difficult, what takes place? First of all the observer creates the distance - you follow? - maybe a foot, or ten thousand miles, creates a distance. Distance means time. So the observer is the creator of distance and time. When there is no time and distance as space, what takes place? Is there an observer at all? Or only the thing that is? Only the tree and not the observer. You don't become the tree, which would be too silly. Only that. Therefore what takes place? When there is the observation of a human being - listen to this - I observe you, there is an observation of you. When the observer is there, the observer being the past, then there is a distance between you and the observer; the observer has been insulted, flattered, whatever it is, that is the past. He creates the distance between you and the observer. When the observer is not, the distance and time ceases, doesn't it? I mean you do it and you will see this happen to you. Then there is no reaction, but only the observation. The reaction is the observer. So you exist, not the observer. But the observer says, 'I have been cheated' - right? - 'You have taken my money. I remember that. You have cheated me'. Should the observer forget that? Please follow this. You have cheated, taken money away from me, and left me naked, or whatever it is. So I look at you without the reaction of the past, but knowing that it has happened. You follow this sir? There is no reaction to it, but the fact is that. So mind observes without the reaction but the fact is there. It is the reaction that creates the distance, not the fact, reaction to the fact.
So when the observer is not, which is, the 'me' is not - the observer is the 'me' - when the 'me' is not there is only the fact. And the operation of the fact matters, not my reaction. I wonder if you see this. You know this requires great attention - you understand? - to one's observation, to your reactions. Right sir, have I explained?
Q: Who sees the fact?
K: There is no seeing the now, wait a minute. There is this fact - isn't there? - the microphone. There is no question of who sees it. We both have agreed to call it the microphone, we might call it the giraffe - if we both agreed to give that name to that - in observing that there is no you or me, just there is that fact, isn't it? But if you say that is not a microphone, then begins all that.
Q: If I call what is going on disorder, doesn’t that imply that I am imagining an order?
K: Oh, no, no, sir, I carefully explained. I am only - the mind is only concerned with disorder - right? - not with order, because a disordered mind doesn't know what order is. A neurotic, unbalanced mind, how can it know order? All it can know is to be aware of its own disorder. Any projection from that disorder is still disorder, that is simple. So can the mind be aware of its disorder only? In the sense, disorder being contradiction, you know all that, imitation, conformity, all that is implied in disorder. Disorder is the fact. The reaction to that disorder is the observer that brings the reaction. Now can the mind observe that disorder?
Q: Maybe I am not understanding you. The moment I use the word disorder, doesn’t that...
K: Yes, I have said that previously, sir. The word disorder - is that disorder? You understand? Is hunger a word or a reality? You understand? When you are hungry that is a reality. But the word hunger is different from the reality. Or the word awakens the hunger. You follow? Are you following this? When we use the word 'disorder' - I explained that - is that a description which then tells you what disorder is? Or without the description you see the actual disorder? So can the mind be free of the word 'disorder' and look and discover its disorder? You understand? Am I explaining? No? Have I explained?
Can you disassociate the object and the name of the object? Please investigate this, it is good to investigate this. The name and the object. I say it is my wife, or girl, my father, whatever it is, the wife is the name. And the person is different from the word. Right? Can I disassociate the word from the person? And does the word interfere with looking at the person? Do you follow? If it does then the mind is a slave to the word, and not the person - not a slave to the person - the person is not then important. Am I explaining this sir? Or not? So we are caught in words. We are slave to words and the word is the thing. The word is the object, of course, for most of us.
Q: (In Italian)
K: The questioner says you are telling us that we don't see disorder. We actually don't see disorder. We see the description of disorder, the word being the description, but actually we are not in contact with disorder. That is right.
Why? You mean to say you don't know your own disorder? Don't you know the room in which you live, with your shirts and everything thrown about, don't you know that is disorder? Don't you know psychologically, inwardly, that one lives in disorder? Obviously, sir. If you give a little attention, a little observation, an awareness, you know it. Don't say that you are not aware of your disorder. You don't want to be aware of your disorder. That is a different matter, because the moment you are aware you have to do something. You pick up the shirt and put it away, you don't let your wife or your friend do it, you look in the room, you are aware of that disorder in the room and being aware you put order. But if you say, 'Well, I don't care how I live', then that is another matter. But the moment you are aware you have to act. But most of us don't want to act because we are not serious, we are playing.