Can thought explore consciousness?
A mind that seeks truth must be free of the observer
3rd Public Talk, Saanen
July 19, 1973
If I may I will go on with what we were talking about the day before yesterday. We said we had two central problems: one, knowing what the world is, which each one of us has created, with all its fragmentation and division, with its brutalities, chicanery, deceptions, violence and wars and all the horrors that are going on, to turn our back against it, away from it, totally and yet live in this world. Can this be done? That's what we were talking about and we shall, if we may, go further into the matter.
I do not know if you have considered how serious all this is. That it is not an entertainment, an amusement, something that one seeks out of pleasure, or out of despair, but rather being aware of the whole situation, the various intricacies in the world movement, both historically, outwardly and inwardly, is it possible to turn our backs away from it, to turn away from it? That is, to turn away from the culture, the civilisation, all that man has put together throughout the centuries and free the mind from that conditioning. That is one issue.
Then the other issue is: whether it is possible in the very process of unconditioning the mind, to live in this world, not of it, not be involved in it but yet live in it? I do not know if you saw the other day on the television - I happened to turn it on by chance - people killing baby seals. Man has destroyed nature, exterminated certain species of animals and birds. Man has created the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, and extraordinary mosques and temples, great literature, music, painting. And that is part of our culture - the beauty, the ugliness, the cruelty, the immense destruction of man by man. That is part of our civilisation, of which we are. I do not know if you really realise deeply what is involved in all this, both economically, socially, religiously. If you have examined it fairly deeply, be concerned whether the structure can be changed, the structure that has created this world; and what has brought about this structure; and by merely changing the structure will it change the man? This has been one of the problems of the world: change the outer then man will be changed inwardly. That has always been one of the arguments. But you see that it doesn't work that way. So man has to change and thereby also change the structure.
Now can the mind, your mind, be free from this culture? And what does it mean to be free from the culture? Is it a matter of analysis? Is it a matter of time? Is it a matter of more rational, logical conclusions of thought? Or is it a non-movement of thought? Please go into this with me a little bit, perhaps it may be a little - you may not be used to this kind of thinking, you may not have thought about it at all. So please have a little patience and thereby share together this extraordinary question. Can this conditioning of the mind, which has been brought about through time, experience and knowledge, can this be analysed analytically, dissolved - this conditioning? That is one point. Analysis, the very word means, to break up. The analyser and the analysed, which is the breaking up. And through fragmentation we hope to understand and dissolve the complex problem of conditioning, both at the conscious as well as at the unconscious levels. Can this be done through analysis? Of course when you look at the problem of analysis, in it is involved the analyser and the analysed, taking months, years and by that time you will be dead, and all that involves time. I can analyse myself very, very carefully, step by step, investigate the cause, the effect, the effect becoming the cause, which is a chain in which analysis is caught - you are following all this I hope. And whether the mind can analyse itself and dissolve all its peculiarities, violence, superstitions, the various contradictions and thereby bring about a total harmony through analysis?
As we said, analysis implies time, and what is time? Time is both physical as well as a psychological movement - if you have watched yourself. A movement from here to there physically, a movement psychologically from 'what is' to 'what should be'. Or 'what is', transforming that through an ideology, which is a movement in time. Right? May I go on with it? Please we are sharing together this problem, this question, you are not just listening to me, we are travelling together. We are investigating together, finding out what is true together. You are not accepting what the speaker is saying, that has no value whatsoever, neither verbally, nor in reality. What has reality is when we through investigation, through observation, through very careful awareness, share that which we discover, each one of us for ourselves, then that has validity, then it has substance, then it has meaning. But merely listening to a series of words and translating these into ideas and then putting that idea into action has no significance.
So we were saying, time is movement. Time, movement as moving from here to there, going to the room I live in. That takes time. Psychologically also it is a movement from 'what is' and changing that to 'what should be'. 'What is', is the result of the past which is a movement in time to the present, and 'what should be' is a movement in the future. The whole movement is time. Right? And thought is always a process in time, for thought is the response of memory, which is the past, which is the knowledge which is the past, and according to that conditioning it reacts, which is a movement. So thought is a movement in time. And analysis is a movement in time, now can this analysis in time and analysis means time; analysis means the movement of thought examining itself. And if you go into it deeply, our conditioning is to analyse, we are conditioned to that. And we never see that the cause becomes the effect, and the effect becomes the cause. Right? That is a movement in time. So through analysis there is no freedom from time. Analysis does not free the mind, which is the result of time. Right? I wonder if you see this. Please if you don't understand this we will ask questions afterwards. Keep your question if you don't understand it, and I hope we understand this fairly simple thing. It is fairly simple if you observe it in yourself. I am angry, I analyse the cause. And in the process of analysis I come to a conclusion, which is the effect. And that conclusion becomes the cause to a next effect. All that is a movement of thought in time. Thought is time. And thought has built this conditioning. After all our culture is the result of thought, as feeling, physical responses and so on. So analysis cannot possibly resolve the conditioning of the human mind. I hope it is clear - not the verbal statement but the truth of it, the actual fact of it, not the assertion or the repetition that analysis will not free the mind, that has no value.
So the mind seeing the falseness of analysis discovers the truth that analysis does not free the mind. That is, discovering the truth in the false. Then analysis also implies not only the conscious mind, of the conscious mind, but also the deep layers of the unconscious, which is also the result of time. This division between the conscious and the unconscious is artificial. Consciousness is total, we may divide it, we may break it up to examine it, but it is a total movement within the area of time. And the unconscious becomes not important when you look, when you are able to look at the whole of consciousness and its content. You understand? We look at ourselves fragmentarily. We look at ourselves through the action of thought. Am I making any sense? No? One moment. We'll discuss it a little later, let me talk a while, if you don't mind.
Look sir, my consciousness is a total movement. My consciousness can be broken up as the conscious and the unconscious, as action and inaction, as greed, envy, non-envy, it is a total thing, it is a total movement which can be fragmented in order to examine. And I see that examination of fragments doesn't bring about a comprehension of the total. Right? What is needed is to be aware of the total, not merely of the fragments. To be aware of the whole movement of consciousness, which is in the area of time. Right? Can thought, can I, as thought, explore this consciousness? Won't somebody meet me half way in this? Look, sir, what I am trying to say is: I have never personally analysed myself at all. What has happened is to observe and the very observation reveals the total, because there is no intention of going beyond 'what is'. Going beyond 'what is' is the movement in time. Is that fairly clear? I'll go on, you'll get it.
So I see clearly the mind can, without analysis, discover, see, observe, the total movement of consciousness. That is one point. What we are concerned with is: whether the mind can free itself from its conditioning. We see - I see, not you - I see it cannot free itself from its conditioning through analysis. That is very clear. And logically, sanely, reasonably it is so, if you go into it. All that involves time and through time to dissolve time is not possible. Then can thought dissolve it? Can thought transform, free the mind from the conditioning? Now please listen to this. Thought is movement in time. Thought is movement and therefore time. And the examination by thought of the movement of the conditioning, is still within the field of time, therefore thought cannot possibly resolve the conditioning because it is thought as knowledge, experience, memory, that has brought about this civilisation in which the mind has been educated. That is clear. So thought cannot resolve it. Analysis cannot. Thought cannot. Then what have you? You understand? We have used thought as a means of conquering, destroying, changing, analysing, overcoming. And I see thought cannot possibly bring freedom to the mind. So thought is movement. Wait a minute, wait a minute. Non-movement is freedom from time. Right? Non-movement of thought is a state in which the mind is free from time. Now I'll go into this, you will see this.
The conditioning of civilisation, culture, has said, I must be competitive, has taught me to be violent, or rather helped me to be more violent. So the mind is violent, that is 'what is'. Can the mind be free of violence, which is 'what is', without the movement of thought? You have understood my question? I am violent and thought says, 'It is necessary in this civilisation to be somewhat violent'. Thought says, 'Overcome that violence'. Thought says, 'Control that violence, utilise that violence'. Which is, encouraging, controlling, shaping that violence for its own purposes. That is what we are doing all the time. So thought, being a movement, is all the time acting upon 'what is', which is also the result of time and thought. Right? Now can thought have no movement at all but only but the 'what is' remains, and no interference of thought with regard to 'what is'? You understand what I am saying? Look, sir, I am violent, I know all the causes, how it has come about, I won't go into that, that is fairly clear. It is part of the culture, part of the economic situation, encouragement, education and so on. Right? I am violent, that is a fact. That is 'what is'. Can the mind look at 'what is' without any movement? Any movement is time. Right? So can the mind observe that violence with non-thought, that is, without time? Have you understood my question at least? Because all my conditioning says, 'Use thought; control it, shape it, put it away, struggle against it, fight it, it is ugly to be violent, you want to be peaceful, human beings should be peaceful'. So it has all the reasons, justifications, condemnations, which are all movements of thought, and thought is time, and movement is time. And there is only the fact that this human being is violent. That is the only 'what is'. That is clear up to there.
Can the mind look at 'what is' without any movement? Right? And then look at 'what is'? Let us examine 'what is'. The 'what is' is violence. Right? And I have used a word to indicate a feeling which I have called violence. I have used a word with its meaning that I have already used before. Right? So I am recognising the feeling in terms of the old. When I recognise something it must be the old. So 'what is' is the result of thought. Right? And the mind meets without movement, which means without time, that which has been put together by thought, which I have called violence. So when non-movement meets time, thought, which is the movement of time, then what takes place? You are following all this?
Look sir, my son dies, I suffer a great deal for various reasons - loneliness, despair and so on and so on. Then thought comes along, or thought says, 'I must overcome it'. 'What is', is suffering and the movement of thought is time. And the mind meets that suffering and tries to do something about it, get away from it, run away from it, seek comfort, seances, mediums, belief, it goes through all that process, which is all a movement of time as thought. Now to meet that suffering without any movement, then what takes place? Have you ever tried this? Have you? If you have you will see the non-movement completely transforms the movement of time. That means suffering doesn't leave a mark on the mind at all, because non-movement is timeless, and that which we call suffering is time. And that cannot possibly touch that which is not of itself. I must go on. Sorry if you don't understand this.
So the mind being conditioned, through culture, through environment, through knowledge, through experience - all that is the movement of time, and thought is also movement of time, is movement. So thought cannot possibly transform or free the mind from its conditioning, nor analysis. So can the mind observe this conditioning, this educated entity, without any movement? Then you will see, if you do it, that all sense of control, imitation, conformity, totally disappears. Are we sharing this thing together, or not at all?
Q: How do you get there?
K: How do I get there. That is not so important sir. How do you get there is more important.
Sir, look what I said just now. What is implied in control? There is the controller and the thing controlled - division, therefore conflict, therefore fragmentation. Right? And this movement of fragmentary activity is thought. I have been conditioned, my mind has been conditioned to control, that is, I must not do this, I must control it. And the controller is the past, obviously. And he has been taught to control, to fight, to have battle between the controller and the thing to be controlled. Both are a movement in time. Right? And both are the product of thought, which is also movement in time. And through control there is no freedom from conditioning. So I discard totally all control. The mind discards totally all control. Please be careful. This requires tremendous enquiry, intelligence. You can't say, 'Well I have learnt not to control' and then go and do what you want, or whatever you want to do. You can't do whatever you want to do in the world anyhow. But when you see the truth of this, that control has no meaning whatsoever, when you see that, intelligence is in operation. I wonder if you see this?
In the same way conformity - conformity to a pattern, conformity to an idea, conformity to a particular state or ideology and so on. Conformity implies the thing that is conforming to a pattern. Again a duality. Again a conflict. Both are the result of the movement of thought and time, therefore conformity. Seeing that conformity will not free the mind from conditioning is the act of intelligence. And that act of intelligence comes through awareness of this fact that the controller is the controlled. Right? And this division is part of our culture. We have been educated round it. And to re-educate ourselves does not need time. Right? The re-education of ourselves - I'll repeat it again - does not require time because this re-education takes place instantly, which is outside the field of time, only when you see the whole movement of thought as time.
Q: Excuse me sir. Is that what you mean by learning in the active present?
K: Yes, I was going to go into that. Just a minute sir. I'll go into it now, I'll show it to you.
Human beings are by nature, through heredity and so on, violent. That is a fact, that is 'what is' - sexually, morally, religiously, in every way they are violent human beings. That is 'what is'. Education has taught me: get over it gradually, fight it, you will at the end of a certain time be free of this violence, through ideals, through control, through conformity, through every form of discipline. That has been my education, the human education. And culture has also told me, educate the human being, you will learn gradually, to overcome it. And in observing this fact I see how false that is. Violence cannot be got over gradually because if I achieve non-violence some time in the future, I am sowing the seed of violence all the time - relatively less or more. But I am sowing the seed all the time until I achieve non-violence. I see the absurdity of it. So learning is going on - in seeing the absurdity of it is the act of learning. Right? So can I learn, can I observe the fact of 'what is', which is violence, and in the very observation of it act non-violently? I'll explain it to you.
My mind is violent, I observe it. Now why do I observe it? I observe it in order to get over it. I observe it in order not to be hurt by it. So I observe it with a motive. I observe it with a motive which is the movement of time - of course. So can I observe it without any movement? That means without any motive. And when I so observe it, that very observation is instant action, isn't it? You understand? Are you meeting me or not at all? That gentleman asked: is learning always in the active present? Which we have talked about before at other talks. Sir, may I put it this way? I don't want to learn about anything, except how to ride a bicycle, speak a language and all the rest of it. Otherwise I don't want to learn about anything. What I want is to observe only. Observe actually 'what is' - the tree falling down, the waters flowing, the majesty of the mountains, look at myself, my stupidity, just observe. That is, you tell me I am stupid. I watch, I observe, I listen very carefully, very silently without any movement to your statement. I am not learning from your statement that I am stupid, or non-stupid. I am just listening to your statement. What takes place when I listen to the statement that I am stupid, without any reaction? Am I then stupid? I am only stupid through comparison, and I don't compare. That is what education has taught me, to compare. You are following all this? I refuse to compare therefore I am not stupid. (Laughter) No, please, don't laugh. Therefore the mind being incapable of comparison doesn't say it is clever or dull. Therefore attention to what is being said, written, or what you have heard, giving your complete attention, is instant action. I'll take a very simple example. I have a habit, a physical habit of scratching, or whatever it is. You point it out to me. Or I have watched it myself. I see the absurdity of control. Right? I have explained that. I won't conform to what is being said - I must not scratch - or do some physical act, habitual. So I just observe without any movement of thought. That is the central issue, that is the key. I observe the fact that there is a physical habit, of frowning, or whatever it is - observation without any movement of time as thought. There is nothing to learn, is there? Why I scratch, what made me do this, what are the causes of it, I won't go through all that, it is too absurd. But whereas when there is total observation, in which there is no movement of thought, then there is instant action. The habit is broken, not through conformity, control, suppression and all the rest of it. Do it and you'll find out.
Now the next question is: can the mind, freeing itself from its conditioning which is the result of time, live in this world, which has been brought about by the intricacies of thought as movement, in time? Right? My question is: can a human being, freeing himself from his conditioning - freeing doesn't mean time - live in this world, earn a livelihood and all the rest of that? I don't know if it is a problem to you. Is it a problem to any of you? Wait sir, let me make it clear, very clear, the problem.
Total transformation of the human mind, the human mind as the result of the past, of time, which has created this monstrous world, this ugly, brutal, violent, stupid, insane world and I have produced this world because human beings are unbalanced, vicious, brutal and all the rest of it, occasionally kind when it pays them, and so on - a total transformation of all that. That is, total unconditioning of the mind. Can the mind understanding this, seeing the truth of it, live in this world? You understand my question now? Not after I have unconditioned myself I will live in the world; but in the very act of freeing, not in the movement of freeing which involves time, but in the very act of freeing live in this world? That is, my education, my culture, my civilisation, hasn't given me intelligence. I mean by intelligence, sensitivity, the highest form of sensitivity, it is impersonal, it is not your intelligence, or my intelligence, or the racial intelligence, or the cultural intelligence. Intelligence has nothing to do with country, with culture, with religion, with persons, it is intelligence. Culture hasn't given me that. But in examining, in watching, in being aware of this conditioning, there is sensitivity to the movement of thought, of time of all that. Out of that highest sensitivity comes intelligence. Now that intelligence will operate when I am living in this world, totally transformed from the world. Are you meeting? The mind has got totally a new instrument, which is not the result of time. I wonder if you are following all this? That is, sir, freedom is not from something. Freedom is not freedom from conditioning. Freedom is to see the conditioning, to be aware of the conditioning without the movement of thought, and out of that attention, awareness, comes freedom.
So a mind that has been educated wrongly, through civilisations, and culture, cannot re-educate itself to a new culture, to a new state. All it can do is to see the falseness of this culture. When you see that which is false then there is the truth in that falseness. Right? It is that truth the perception of that truth is intelligence. I wonder if you get this? Have we travelled together at all this morning?
Q: (In Italian)
K: You understand? No. (laughter) The question is this: the questioner says you are saying, time is 'me', time is thought, time is my mind, so all that is the 'me'. And you are asking me to destroy myself, which is to commit suicide. One moment. And that is the difficulty.
That is the question. That is, the questioner says, to put it very simply: destroy yourself as the 'me', as the 'me' who is always concerned with himself and his self-centred activity, destroy that 'me', kill that 'me'. That is the question.
Now, there is no destroyer. Right? There is no outside entity as the entity who says, 'I must destroy myself'. You see the truth of it, therefore there is no division between that which you want to destroy and the destroyer.
Q: (In Italian)
K: No, no. He is saying - that is the real point - all that you are advocating is suicide. I am sorry I am not. If I was advocating suicide for each one of you, you wouldn't be here! (Laughter) One moment. Please see it. The whole of this, this movement, is the 'me', the psychological 'me', the 'me' that is ambitious, competitive, that seeks pleasure, pain, suffers - all that is the 'me'. The 'me' educated through the culture, sustained through the culture, economically, socially, morally, religiously, the 'me' separate from the 'you', the we and the they, and you are saying, 'You are asking me to destroy that'. I am not asking you to destroy it. I am asking you, if I may, to observe it. To observe it, to observe it without any movement of thought which has built up the 'me'. Right? Just a minute sir. To observe the 'me' without any movement of thought, which has created the 'me'. Can you observe without the movement of thought? That is, can you observe with no thought?
Q: (In Spanish)
K: Now Spanish. Do you want it translated? Do you want it translated? When there is no 'me', the questioner asks, is that not the truth, the god?
Look I am not going to answer this question because you are becoming speculative, theoretical. That has no meaning. It is like a man who is hungry and you give him a lot of words, he wants food, not words, ideas, suppositions, 'ifs'. Just wait.
The first question is: he says, you are asking me to destroy myself, destroy the 'me'. I say I am not asking you to destroy anything. I am suggesting - I am not even asking - I am requesting, I am saying, watch the world. I am suggesting that you look, observe, watch, listen, which are the same thing, without any movement of thought. When you do that is there a 'me'? And when you do that, that very act of observation without the movement of thought, which is time, which has built the 'me', that very act of observation without the movement of time is intelligence.
Now then you ask me further: how am I, who have functioned always with thought, because thought is the only thing that I have, as feeling, as sentiment, as love, etc., etc., how am I to stop, or change that thought which is constantly moving, put a stop to it. Right? How am I to do it? Right? There is no way. There is only observation of this movement. Right? Observing the movement of thought - who observes? So what do we mean by observation? Is there an observation if there is an observer? The observer is the past. Right? The observer is the educated, conditioned being, who has separated himself as the observer. Right? And so he says, 'I am going to observe you' - the observer then is different from that which he observes. And I see the falsity of it because I am observing you through the image I have built about you, which is the past, through that image I observe you. One moment, I haven't finished yet. Right? So what happens? I see, I observe, that I look at you through the image I have built about you. So the image is the factor of division, the image is the observer. Now can I, can the mind observe without the image? I have to find out. I don't sit down and theorise about it. I want to test it. I want to find out and put it into action, not tomorrow, I want to do it now. You follow? It is tremendously important to me. But I have been taught to examine everything through the image, either of the society, or of the State, or of the orthodox religions, or Lenin, Trotsky, or whoever it is, Mao, all of it, the images they have given me, through that image I am told to observe. And I see how absurd it is, how unreal it is, it has no meaning, therefore I see the truth of it. You follow? I don't discard it, I see the falseness and therefore the truth of it. Seeing the truth of it, I observe. I observe without any movement of the image, in which there is no control, no imitation, no suppression. Can you do it?
Q: What is that, that we call the mind if there is no thought?
K: What is that, which is the mind if there is no thought and no violence. Look sir, there is the mind when I go from here to the room where I live. That is part of the mind, isn't it? The knowledge of the road which leads to the house. The knowledge how to drive a car. The knowledge of talking to you in English. All that knowledge must be there, otherwise I become cuckoo! But we are talking of knowledge as the factor of conditioning. The factor that I am a Hindu, with all its superstitions, a Catholic with all its absurdities, or I am the Krishnamurti-ite with all his absurdities. The mind then is free - I have talked about it enough - the mind frees itself through the observation, without the movement of thought as time.
Q: Do you believe in progress in general, and progress of mankind in particular?
K: Progress of mankind and progress of the particular human being. I don't know what you mean by the word 'progress'. I believe I was told the other day the meaning of the word 'progress' - it is rather interesting - to go forward. I was told originally it meant, be armed and enter into the enemies' territory. You are entering into the enemies' territory therefore be armed when you enter. You understand? That is what was originally I believe, what is meant by progress. Now what do we mean by progress? Probably the same thing really. What do we mean by that word progress, which means to go forward? Are human beings going forward - going to the moon, living under the sea, killing, exterminating species of animals in the waters and in the air, killing each other, miserable, unhappy, polluting the rivers, the air, the water - you know - destroying the earth. Is that progress? Having more cars, better bathrooms, discussing at the round table of the United Nations about not to quarrel, but preparing underhand instruments of war? That is one side. And are we progressing, and in particular you? Are you progressing? Going forward? Where? To where? Self-improvement in order to go forward? Is there improvement of the self? You are following all this sir? Can I improve myself? That means time.
So looking at all this, what is progress? Or we shouldn't use that word at all. We should only use the word, if I may suggest, 'psychological revolution', so that the human mind is transformed, so it is no longer the 'me' and the 'you'.
Q: Sir, sometimes I feel completely empty inside, losing all my energy. Sometimes it happens that I feel beauty, an awareness of something completely new, and then I am feeling complete happiness. But the emptiness is always disturbing. Do you understand my question?
K: I think I understand. The gentleman says, my question is, that I feel very empty and lack of energy. I feel utterly, you know, incapable of doing things, thinking. And also sometimes I feel great beauty. Is that it sir? Why shouldn't one feel empty? What do you mean by that word empty?
Q: When I stop thinking.
K: Ah, sir, look, look. I very carefully pointed out when I stop thinking, when I force myself not to think. We are not saying that - please you are saying something entirely different from what we are talking about. That is merely control, and that you have practised for the last ten thousand years. That is part of your culture, which has destroyed, wrongly educated the mind. We are saying sir, why shouldn't we be empty of all the things which man has put together in time? What is wrong with it? If you are so empty then you have abundance of energy. But if you force, drive and control so that you will never think about yourself, that you will never have problems - you follow? - force, control, shape, then you are an empty bag of potatoes!
Q: You say can we observe without the motive to change and yet when we try and observe this way, it is to change.
K: The questioner says, could you observe without any motive - is that it? Why don't you try it? Instead of asking me, see, find out, please do listen to this, find out why you observe. Because I am telling you? I don't have to tell you when you are hungry. You know you are hungry. So are you observing because somebody tells you to observe? Which becomes the motive. But your own capacity to observe what is happening around the world, and from observing what is happening in the world you observe yourself. It is a natural sequence, without any motive. You can watch yourself, and if you watch without any motive, which is a movement of thought, you watch with such care, with such delicacy, with subtlety, with such swiftness, which is the act of intelligence.
What is the time? Midday? We meet again on Sunday.
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