Correct action in a disintegrating society
Thought can never change man
3rd Public Discussion, Ojai, California
April 15, 1976
We are going to have a dialogue. The speaker thought it would be a good idea if two or three discussed with me a particular subject and in discussing that, please join in. There are three or four people who are going to have a dialogue with me about a particular subject, which I am going to tell you presently. And please join in when you are doubtful or uncertain and want to make the point clear. So it is not excluding you, but when we have two or three or four people discussing, having a dialogue, it's much more concentrated. But which doesn't mean we want to keep you out, so join in when you think it is necessary.
The subject is: in a disintegrating society what is correct action to survive in freedom? You understand? In a disintegrating society what is correct action to survive in freedom - that is the subject which we are going to have a dialogue about. The more you go into this question the more vital, interesting, and has great significance. You understand the question? Please be clear what we are discussing about. We know society is disintegrating, morally, ethically, even economically and all the overpopulation and so on, religiously, it is disintegrating. Right? And in that disintegrating society what is correct action to survive in freedom. That's what we are going to discuss this morning. There they are, three or four of them: one from Germany, American, one Indian from India and so on. So we are going to start with these three or four, and then please join in when you think it is necessary, not talk about trees, and you know, some other subject except what we are talking about.
If you realize that the society is disintegrating - we mean by that word to 'disintegrate', breaking up, not generating, creating but breaking up, a society that is breaking up throughout the world, not only in this country, but in India, in Europe, in every part of the world - what is correct action, correct being accurate, true, right action to survive both physically, ethically, religiously, with a mind that is clear and intense, to survive in freedom. If there is no freedom, and yet you may survive, you have lost the whole endeavour man has been making for millennia, which is to free himself - from nature, from the political structure, domination, tyranny and all the rest of it. So the question is - please, if I may repeat it again: in a disintegrating society what is correct action to survive in freedom. Right? You have got the question clear? Now we are going to start.
This is not an arena, you understand? I am not the gladiator and the rest are the lions. (Laughter) You understand? They are not going to attack me, we are going to survive. (Laughter) We are going to go into this question, which is extraordinarily important and very interesting. We were to have discussed this question with the scientists and the psychotherapists who met here about three weeks ago, but unfortunately they didn't, we discussed about something else. So we thought this would be a very good and pertinent question to ask. Avanti. (Laughs)
Questioner: I think in considering that question one must start with the basic question, is correct action based on thought, or how can I bring correct action about in my daily life?
Krishnamurti: Does correct action come from thought which will affect my daily living. We can theorize what is correct action which would be of very little importance, very little significance, but what is correct action in my life, in daily, everyday life. Realizing I live in a society that is not only corrupt, immoral, destructive - war, and living in that society does correct action come from thinking? That is the question.
Q: Shall we not make it clear at the outset what is action?
K: If you hear the question, do you want me to repeat it? No? Not necessary? Please tell me, I'll...
Q: Some said yes. Some people want the questions repeated.
K: Some want it repeated. Before we, the questioner says, before we discuss correct action, whether it is derived from thought, the question is, what do we mean by action: to act. Now, so there are two points in this: does thought bring about correct action, and what do we mean by action? So let's take those two for the moment. So we will say, what is action? We were looking at a dictionary, action means to act, to do, not, having done or will do, not in the past or in the future but doing, which is always in the present. Right? Please let's be clear on this point. Action means active present, acting in the present, not having acted or will act. So action is always in the present. This is very important to understand - at least I feel it is important, because we are always acting from an experience, from knowledge, therefore it is based on the past, or, I will act, which is in the future, therefore we are never acting now in the present. So is there such action? You understand the question? We have acted according to a pattern based upon experience, which is the past, according to a system, to a tradition, to a memory, which are all the past, and from that past we act, thinking we are acting in the present. Or 'I will act', which means I have laid down a pattern of action in the future, according to that pattern I act. Is this clear? Either action springs from the past or from the future: I will do, I should be, or I have been, which was good, bad, indifferent, or pleasant and I am acting from that.
So is there an action - please listen to this - is there an action which is not based on future or on the past?
K: Just listen to the question first. You understand? We act from the past or according to a pattern of the future - the past is the tradition, is the memory, is the experience, is the knowledge, and the future is the ideal, the 'what should be', 'what must be', which is also another form of tradition and according to these two patterns we act, therefore we are always acting within the time limits of yesterday and tomorrow. So is there an action which is always in the present? You understand the question? It's extraordinarily interesting this, if you go into it.
So we have explained what is action, either based, having its root in the past, which is a motive, which is a cause, or a fixed or modified pattern in the future and acting according to that - imitating it, conforming to it, that being the example. So always within this pattern we are acting. Now we are asking something entirely different, which is, is there an action which is not based in the future or in the past, which is really action. If I want to climb the tree, I am climbing the tree - not, 'I will climb the tree' or 'have climbed the tree'. I don't know if you see. Right?
So, we are asking: is there an action which does not have its roots in the past or conforming to a pattern established in the future? Leave it there. That's what we call action.
The other is: is there correct action springing from thought? That was the first question. Are you following all this? You are interested in this? I hope you are. Though it is cold I hope you will like this. So we are going to look at the whole structure and nature of thought, whether thought can bring about correct action. Or there is a totally different action which is not contaminated by thought. So what is thinking? And is the thinking different from the thinker? Right? So the question is: what is thinking? I am asking you this question, just listen to it. I am asking you this question: what is thinking, what takes place in your brain, what happens in your mind, in your brain when that question is put to you: what is thinking? Go on, sir, what is thinking? Watch your mind, your brain, how it responds.
Q: The brain looks for an answer and it doesn’t find an answer, so in questioning this, one realizes that one doesn’t know.
K: No. The questioner says when you put that question, I don't know. That's one answer, I don't know what thinking is. But this whole machinery is in operation all the time. I don't know how it works, what is the energy that makes it work, what is the result, how it comes into being. Now I am asking you, please listen, what is thinking? And when somebody puts that question, don't you look for an answer? Where? In a book that you have read? Examine it, please go slowly. In a book that you have read, or try to remember somebody told you about it? Or you say, I really don't know, I never thought about it. I have never thought about it, I am expecting someone to tell me about it, or I am trying to remember where I read about it. When you say, I don't know, what takes place? You understand? Either when you make a statement I don't know, you are waiting for someone to tell you - right? - or expecting to discover it for yourself. Right? When you say, I don't know, either you are waiting for someone to tell you, or you are looking for an answer in yourself. Right? Are we following each other? Now what are we doing? Waiting for the speaker to tell you? Or waiting for an answer out of your own observation? So that's one thing. Or you say, 'Well, I read it in a book, I must remember what he said, what the writer said, and I can't remember it, so I say, I don't know', which is totally different from the 'I don't know' of the first. You are following all this? I read it in a book and I have forgotten it, so I say, I don't know. Which is, you hope to remember the author of that book and try to, through association find the answer in that book. Right? So you are looking for an answer in memory. Right? Right?
Now watch something else: let's look at it for a minute. If you are asked a familiar question, what's your name, there is instant reply, isn't there. Why? There is memory in operation but it is so trained, your name is so well known to yourself it comes out instantly. Now if one asks a question much more difficult, with which you are not quite familiar there is an interval - please listen to all this, you can watch it in your own brain - there is an interval between the question and the answer - right? - which is time lag. In that time lag you are enquiring quickly, where was it that I can find the answer, in that book, in the - you follow? - there is the operation going on, between the question and the answer there is a time interval in which memory is searching. So you take time to say, yes, that's the answer. Right? The familiar question, instant reply; a much more difficult question, an interval between the question and the answer, and in that interval you are looking, you go to your book, try to remember; then there is the third thing, which is, you say, 'I really don't know'. You are not expecting someone to tell you, when you don't know, you don't know. Right? Not knowing, proceed from there. You understand the three stages?
Q: I didn’t get the last one.
K: Sir, I do all the work. Sir, please do pay a little attention because we want to go on, there's much more involved in this question. The third thing is, when I say, 'I don't know', I am not expecting an answer from anybody, memory has no records about it, so I say, I don't know, which is real freedom to enquire. You understand? When you say I don't know, that's a solid ground upon which you can build, from which you can move. Right. So there are these three states.
So the questioner says, what is thinking. It's memory, response of memory, as we saw, response of experience as knowledge stored up in the brain cells, which is matter. You understand? The cells are a material process, so thought is a material process. Right? That's clear. So can thought bring about correct action? That's the question. Right?
Q: The relationship between the noise of the thought, the sound of the thought which is immediate and the symbol of that sound, the symbol of the word. It is the noise of the thought.
K: I can't hear, make it much louder.
Q: Thought we said is a material process. Right?
K: I mean all the scientists are saying too, now.
Q: Yes. So there is a noise, chattering, there is sound in the active present right now going on, and that sound has a meaning. The sound in a particular mould has a meaning, so what is the relationship between that sound in the now and the meaning which is from the past?
K: Aha, you can see he is from the Orient! No, no, it is very interesting, please. I understand, sir, I understand.
Q: Before you go on could you sort of rephrase his statement?
K: What is the relationship between the sound which the word makes and the meaning of the word. The meaning of the word and the sound of the word. Clear? Now wait a minute. He put that question. Right? He says, what is the relationship between the sound the word makes and the meaning of the word, the significance of the word, what is the relationship. Now he has put that question, what is your answer?
K: Take time. What is the answer? The relationship between the sound and the meaning of the word, which makes the sound, what is the relationship? That is, without the sound is there a meaning? You understand? Now you use the word 'god', I am taking that haphazardly, god. The word makes a certain sound, that sound creates a meaning, is there a meaning without the sound? Is there a meaning without the word? Go slowly, you are going to find out in a minute. You know you have heard the word 'mantra' - have you? - which is now rampant in this country, fifty dollars worth! (Laughter) You know the word 'mantra', it is a Sanskrit word. Now, I am not going to involve too much in it, I will just touch upon it. You repeat that sound verbally - listen carefully - loud, 'Topa Topa', 'Coca Cola' (Laughter) No, don't laugh, please, it is the same. You don't have to pay fifty dollars to find that out. You can repeat the word, 'Topa Topa', 'Coca Cola' - repeat, repeat, repeat, loud. Then you repeat it without the sound. You understand? Repeat it silently so that you don't hear the sound of the word. I won't go into all this. And when you repeat something without sound, what takes place? I won't
So the question is, his question is: what is the relationship between the sound and the meaning of that sound? Right? Is there a meaning without the sound?
Q: There is.
K: There is. There is - ah, we are enquiring, please, you spoil it!
Q: Is there a meaning without the symbol?
K: That's what I am coming to. What is the source of the sound, the word? Please, if there was no word would there be no thinking? Or is thinking part of the verbalization? I know, this is too much, this requires you are not used to all this. Look: let's take the word 'god'. Please I am neither believing it nor saying that there is god, we will just take the word, because that is a common word which you all use. You use that word, that word makes a sound and the word has great significance, which thought has given to it. Right? So what is the relationship of the word to the reality, to truth? You understand? Is there a relationship between truth and sound? Right? Of course not. Right? Hai capito? You have understood? This requires doesn't matter. This is too complex, I won't go into it.
So is there a thinking when there is no word? Or we are so used to words and when we are thinking we are thinking not only in words, in symbols, in metaphors, in imagination, it's all a process of verbalization. And if there is no verbalization - picture, imagination, what is thinking then? Right.
Q: How would one think if one didn’t speak a language, like English or French?
K: If you did not speak English, how would we communicate with each other? Through symbols? You know, waving fingers? Which is also a form of verbalization. So let's proceed, sir, we must get on.
So thinking, we said, is the response of memory. Memory is the past, which is stored up in the brain and therefore thought is a material process, a material process in time. Time is movement, from here to there and so on. So thought is a material process in time. Right? This is simple, and there is no... Now, can thought produce correct action? That was the question. We said what is action, we went into it, which is action either conformity to a pattern in the future, or imitation or adjusting the present to the past and acting according to that adjustment, and is there an action which is not in the future or in the past but now, which is not held in time, which is not encased in time? It's very interesting Got it? Now we say, is there correct action from thought? Now we have understood the meaning of thought, the meaning of action. Now is there right action in a disintegrating society to survive in freedom - right action? So can thought produce right action?
Q: No, thought cannot produce right action because thought is of the past, or of the future, while action is now, of the moment.
K: So the questioner is saying, thought which is based on the past or on the future, therefore fragmentary, and so it cannot under any circumstances produce right action. You understand? This is a most dangerous thing to say when all our actions are based on the past or on the future.
Q: Thinking which is not of the past, which is not of the future, but in the now.
Q: Now does that produce right action?
K: We are going to find out.
Won't you come and sit in the front? Would it help? All right, leave it, leave it, leave it there.
So we said, thought is a fragmentary process, therefore it cannot under any circumstances bring about correct action. Do we see the truth of it, not the verbal statement and the sound the verbal statement makes, and the meaning the verbal sound creates, discarding all that, do you see the truth of it?
Q: Is mechanical thinking sometimes very necessary?
K: Mechanical action is sometimes necessary. Of course. Riding a bicycle, driving a car, doing a dozen things in the technological world. Right? So, that's understood, let's leave that for the moment.
Q: Sir, can correct action, accurate action follow from anything other than accurate perception?
K: That's what we are coming to. Quite right. Correct action can only come into being when there is accurate perception. You follow? He made a statement, which is, when there is accurate perception, from that perception there is action. And that perception is always in the present; it is not I have perceived and act, or I will perceive and act. Therefore perception brings right action. Now wait a minute: do you perceive the truth that thought under whatever circumstances cannot bring about correct action? Intellectually we have examined it, we have analysed it, we have broken it all up, and now we say, do you perceive that? - as you perceive the tree which is truth, that's an actuality. So is this statement that thought under no circumstances can bring about correct action, do you perceive in that truth?
Q: I’ve got a doubt. How about creative thought? When you are creating thoughts in your mind, writing a poem or writing something, something that is new?
K: What about creative thought, when you write a poem, when you paint and so on, what is creative thought. So we must go into the very complex question: what is creative, what is it to be creative? Right? Do you want to go into that?
Q: The expression ‘creative thought’ is in itself a contradiction, because creation is first and then thought puts it together and makes a poem out of it – that’s not creation.
K: You have heard it so I won't repeat it.
Q: Is not creation action, not thought?
K: I don't know - is not creation action, I don't know. He says, the questioner says, is there such thing as creative thought.
Q: It cannot be, creation is of the now and thought is of the past, and then there is a separation there. I can’t see that there could be
K: The lady says it cannot be that because creation is in the present, thought is in the past.
Q: What is creation?
K: What is creation.
Q: Is not thought the vehicle we use to express creatively, express a creative impulse – thought is the vehicle.
K: Thought is a vehicle for creative impulse. Creative impulse, which is taken over by thought and expressed, in a poem, in a stone, in what you like. The impulse, then the thought comes and takes it over and expresses it, and you call that creation. Right? Creative thinking. You see, we are going away a little bit, sorry, I must come back, we may deal with it presently because this is much more important than creative thought, creative thinking. What is correct action in my daily life? That's what we are talking about.
Q: Correct action and creative thought implies a sort of direction, for the hand to move from here to there, there’s a direction. Now we use thought, a gentleman over there said as a vehicle, maybe to give direction. I am wondering if true non-temporal, intelligence, which you have spoken of elsewhere, if it gives direction to action so that one isn’t just wandering aimlessly, so that action can be correct and it leads to something.
K: Action implies, the questioner says, direction. And thought gives to action direction, from the past or from the future, direction, based on the past or on the future, is that correct action? So please, don't let's go back over and over again. So we have come now. We have said thought under no circumstances can bring about correct action. Please. And that gentleman said, perception is action. Do you perceive the truth that lies in the statement that thought under no circumstances can bring about correct action, do you see the truth of it?
Q: I don’t see it. I know from experience, from the past, from my life, that every action is conflict and every action is a result of thought and yet I still do not, that’s the only way I perceive that statement that the speaker made.
K: No, sir, he made a statement, which is, thought under no circumstances can bring about correct action. Right? After explaining all this, after explaining the process of thought, after explaining what action is, we said thought is fragmentary and therefore there can be no correct action when there is a fragmentary broken up action. Right? That's all.
Q: But you say, you perceive it like the tree, I don’t perceive it like I perceive the tree.
K: Ah, of course not. Do you perceive it as a truth, as something real? Not a verbal statement and an abstraction of that statement? You understand? I hear a statement of that kind, then hearing it I make an abstraction of it into an idea. 'Yes, I agree, that's a very good idea'. So you have moved away from the fact, from the statement when you make an abstraction. So let's move.
Now he said, perception is action. That is, do you perceive in that statement the truth that thought can never bring correct action? You know what it does to one? If you see this, a tremendous burden is taken away because we said thought is necessary, thought will bring about correct action, all the moralists, all the religious people, all the churches, all the politicians, ethical - thought, thought, thought. Here we are saying thought will never. You have broken a tremendous tradition.
Q: Sir, to hear the question I still have to think.
K: No. I have thought. I have explained to you.
Q: I think, as soon as I hear the question my mind thinks.
K: No. That's just it, sir. Can you listen without thinking? For god's sake! Can you listen - sir, look, that gentleman asked, what is the relationship between sound and the meaning - can you listen to the sound the word makes and the meaning which that sound is associated with. Isn't it? Now, can you merely listen to the sound, first, and not associate it with meaning? You have never done all this. (Laughs)
Q: Apparently you know the language.
K: Sir, let's come back, sorry. So we see that thought cannot bring about right action. Now the next question is, in that question, survival. Right? We said the subject was: in a disintegrating society what is correct action to survive in freedom. Right? Now what do we mean by survive?
Q: Sir, is not survival implicit in correct action? How could you have correct action which did not include survival, indeed survival in freedom?
K: Is not correct action implied in survival.
Q: No, no, vice versa.
K: Vice versa. Doesn't survival imply correct action.
Q: No, does correct action imply survival.
K: Does correct action imply survival. Now what do we mean by survival?
Q: Biological survival.
K: Biological survival. Now when the world is overpopulated, when there are wars, when there are terrorists' bombs, all that is going on, in that culture, in that society, is survival possible? You understand my question?
Q: To a man in survival in freedom, it seems to be, if you say survival in freedom, which is more important, freedom or survival?
K: We are going to find out, we are going to relate both of those and find out. Biological survival. When nations are divided, the Arab, Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, the communist, the socialist - you follow? - this whole cycle of division into nationalities, into ideologies, into beliefs, is survival possible? You understand my question? We have had Vietnam war recently, there is a war going on all the time, all over the world, some place or other, and for those people who are caught in that, their survival is nonexistent. We sitting here having no wars, no immediate threat, we talk about survival. And when you look at this problem as a whole, is survival possible, biologically I am talking about, not psychological, we will come to that later, is biological survival possible when the world is divided? You understand? Nationalities, classes, ideologies, all the rest, is that possible?
Q: If I am lucky.
K: Obviously it is not possible. Right? Which history has shown, for those people who have lived at that period, they have been destroyed.
Q: No, but when I live here and I am lucky there is no war, then I have a good chance to survive.
K: Yes. Does survival then depend on luck? On chance? No, this is please. Will you tell your grandsons, or your sons and daughters, 'Your survival depends on chance, old boy', will you tell them that?
Q: We separate biological survival with psychological survival.
K: We will come to that, madam, go slowly. Go slowly, please, we are coming to that.
Q: Isn’t it important, it seems to me that it is indispensable to enquire as to the origin of the conditions which have prompted us to ask these sort of questions.
K: Which is, you are saying, shouldn't you find out why human beings have divided themselves into nationalities. Yes, sir, that is what you mean, that is what you mean, why. Very simple. Tradition, custom, hoping to survive as a tribe against another tribe, security - if I identify myself with a community survival is more possible. Right? If I don't, I may be destroyed. It is all very simple. So biologically survival becomes extraordinarily difficult when human beings biologically have divided themselves into nationalities, groups, committees - you follow? - communities based on beliefs, principles, ideals, all the rest of it. So will you sacrifice, give up your ideals, your nationalities, your beliefs, your etcetera, etcetera, to survive? Which means psychologically will you give up the structure of belief - you follow? - to which you cling as a means of psychological security which prevents biological security. If I insist that I am an Arab with all my religious feelings, with all my hurts of this and that, and I cling to that, hold on to that psychologically, I am bound to create a world in which survival becomes impossible.
So will you give up psychological securities to which you hold? Your belief, your dogma, your tradition, your prejudices, 'My experience is better than your experience', 'I know, you don't know'? You follow? All that, can you give it up?
Q: Would that be correct action?
K: Wait, sir, you will find out, you are going to find out. Which means as long as you are seeking security in illusion, biological security becomes impossible. I don't know if you see that. Can you give up your experiences, of pleasure? And there is great pleasure in calling yourself an American. Right? Affluent society, and so on; or call yourself a Hindu who has lived for five thousand years, long before you were all etcetera, etcetera, and they take tremendous pride in that - right? - 'We are a very ancient race, our knowledge of divinity existed before you were ever born or religion ever came into being'. So to give up all that, which is part of one's arrogance, completely to wipe it out. Yes, sir?
Q: I feel like I am my experience.
K: That's it. You think you are your experience.
Q: That’s how I feel about it.
K: That's right, sir. I think, my experience is, as long as I remain a Hindu I am completely secure - that's my experience, I am that experience and that's what destroys biological survival. Can you give that up?
Q: Can you carry that same idea of being a Hindu, to your own name?
K: Sir, they have tried that too. Change names into a number, or if not into a number call yourself Brother John. But it is still the same thing. Oh, for heaven's sake, this is so childish!
Q: I want to make it clear to myself, is what you are saying that any type of allegiance to any whatsoever it might be is false?
K: That's right, sir. Any type of attachment, not allegiance, attachment.
Q: Even to the land.
K: Of course. Attachment to a tree, to a piece of furniture, to a name, to a belief, to an ideology, that is what is destroying survival.
Q: If somebody says, I take your home by gun, then it’s the same – that leads to property. Right?
K: So correct action to survive in freedom. You understand? See what depth, see what is involved? In a disintegrating society what is correct action to survive in freedom? It is all one movement - you understand? - it is not correct action, survival, freedom, it's a total movement. I don't know if you see that.
So what is freedom? Are you free because you have got money and can go to India, Tibet, or to a Zen monastery? Are you free because you choose? You understand? We said because you can choose therefore you are free - right? - and the people who can't choose, as in Russia, choose different systems, go from village to village, or one profession to another, they are not free. So you think freedom is based on choice. Right? Right? Is that so? What do you mean by choice? When do you choose?
Q: When you are confused.
K: When you are confused. You choose when you are confused. When you are clear there is no choice. So clarity means freedom. You don't see it - not choice. A man who sees things very clearly, clarity, such a man is free, but a man who chooses all the time and thinks he is free because he can choose, he is a slave. I wonder if you see that. So freedom means, freedom - there are two kinds of freedom: freedom from, and freedom. Right? We think freedom is always from something - from a prison, from a burden, from a wife or a husband who nags or this or that - it is freedom from, which is really a reaction, which is not freedom. So is there a freedom which is not a reaction? You understand what is involved in all this?
Q: Freedom is non-attachment.
K: That's right. Freedom is non-attachment. Now wait a minute. You hear that statement, how do you receive that statement? Do you receive it applying it to yourself, or is it an idea? If that statement is made to the speaker, the speaker says, am I attached, to my tree, to my reputation, to my book, to my belief, to my furniture, to my house, to my wife, to my father, attached - am I? And if you say, yes, I am attached, then you have to enquire why you are attached. Why?
K: No, no, don't reduce it to fear. Go into it. You see, by Just saying fear as though you have solved it. You have to penetrate into it, why. Why are you attached? Do you know what happens when you are attached? You become that to which you are attached. Right? If you are attached to the furniture you are the furniture. Right? You accept that, that you are the furniture? So when you are attached you are that to which you are attached. That means to anything, it doesn't matter what. So why are you attached? Attached to a name.
Q: It seems to be depending on something outside of oneself by which one can get out of one’s emptiness and unhappiness.
K: So he says to get out of one's own emptiness, one's own loneliness, one's own boredom, one's own insufficiency, you cling to something hoping that it will give you sufficiency. There is emptiness and I have filled that emptiness with my furniture. (Laughter) Wait, don't laugh, that's what you are doing! And you laugh at it. That's an escape. You may fill that emptiness with books, with furniture, with my husband, my house, my experience, my god, my nationality and therefore you feel that emptiness has been filled and you are perfectly happy.
Q: How does freedom relate to survival?
K: We have explained this! I don't How is freedom related to survival. If you are not free from your nationalities and divisions and ideologies as an Arab and a Jew, and a Hindu, Muslim, communist, socialist, etcetera, biological survival becomes impossible. And that is made impossible because psychologically we are attached to all this. And if you want to live that way, go ahead.
Q: How is this related to silence?
K: Wait a minute! How is this related to silence. You see, you are off to something.
Q: Let’s stay with that non-attachment. We see now we do not see that truth in non-attachment, that non-attachment means freedom. Then we make a theory of out of ‘don’t be attached’, and again there is no freedom.
K: That's what I was saying. When you hear a statement that attachment to the furniture destroys survival, how do you receive that statement? Is that an idea, or an actual fact in your life? You know the word 'idea' comes from the Greek which means to observe. You understand? Not what we have made of it. You observe something and make an abstraction of it as an idea. You hear this statement that survival is not possible if there is psychological attachment to anything - you understand? - you hear that statement and you make an abstraction of it into an idea and then say, how am I to carry out that idea. You understand all this? If you don't make an abstraction of it into an idea then you face it, then you are directly observing it.
Q: Sir, the position you take, the premises on which you operate, is that not a form of attachment?
K: Is not the position I take a form of attachment. Is the position the speaker takes, is that not an attachment. I didn't know I was taking a position. What position am I taking? Because I am sitting on the platform?
Q: Because of the statements you make.
K: Because of the statements I make? Those are logical, sane statements, it is not mine or yours. I don't take a position. I am not attached to those statements, I will change them if they are false. But if I said, I believe in god, and stick to it, then you can say, you know, I take a position. We are, as I said from the very beginning, investigating together, sharing the problem together, there is no authority in sharing. The speaker happens to be sitting on a platform, a little higher, for convenience, in that there is no authority. If I was attached to a position I would crawl out of it very quickly, I assure you. (Laughter)
K: Sir, we have to live in the material world - clothes, food and shelter, that's the material world, work efficiently, objectively, sanely. That's the material world, but that survival in the material world is destroyed by our attachments, by our belief, by our experience, by our conditioning. If you are born in Russia you are conditioned in one way, if you are born in the Arab world you are - you follow? And that is what is destroying us.
I think we had better stop. What time is it?
Q: Twelve twenty.
K: I think we had better stop, the wind is coming up. (Laughter)
Q: Freedom from attachment implies freedom from the need for physical survival.
K: No, sir, of course not. I need this warm coat to sit here.
Q: Do you have to defend your body to survive?
K: Of course.
Q: Then you are not detached from your body.
K: Aha, now, that goes off into something else. You people bring up... Now wait a minute, sir. Are you the name, are you the thought, are you the body? If I am attached to the body, I am the body, I am then the furniture. If I am not attached to the name, to the form, to the body, then the body sir, body has its own intelligence to survive, but which we have destroyed through drink. You follow? Destroyed the body, which we will go into when we talk about meditation. We had better stop now. Sorry, I hope you got something out of it.