Do we have the patience to listen to ourselves?
The crisis is in the very nature of thought
4th Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 10, 1981
One is afraid that one has to repeat some of the things that we have said before, at the last three talks.
What we are talking about is not a particular point of view, it is not that one is doing any kind of propaganda for any ideal, for any person, for any concept. We have been saying that the world is in a crisis, threatened by war, overpopulation, poverty, terrible division between nationalities, and all the absurdities that are going on in the name of religion. But the crisis, as we said, is in the human consciousness, in the mind, in the brain, in the heart, which cannot possibly be solved by politicians, or by the accumulated knowledge of the scientists, nor is it an economic problem, but it has become dangerously a human problem. And apparently very few are inclined, or interested to concern themselves with that crisis in the human mind.
And if you are at all serious, and I hope we are, we must be concerned with the responsibility of all that is taking place in the world, because as we have explained quite often, our consciousness is not the particular consciousness of one person, it is the consciousness of all mankind. Because all human beings suffer wherever they live. They are in conflict, misery, confusion, searching out leaders who are always betraying them, depending on priests who have given them a lot of words and meaningless answers. Nor can one depend on the scientists who with their specialisation are helping to destroy the world. And as this crisis is in ourselves, and nowhere else, so the responsibility, as we pointed out, becomes very great and very serious. And whether this consciousness with which we have lived for a million years can ever be transformed. There are some who say it cannot, human nature is what it is, modify it, accept it, slightly change it, but fundamentally it cannot possibly be changed. And if one accepts the philosophers and those who think in that manner, then man - human being - must suffer endlessly, must remain in conflict everlastingly, there must be wars endlessly, as there have been for the last five thousand years, in history, recorded history, practically a war somewhere on this earth, which is our earth, where we are meant to live and not the American earth, or the English earth, or the Indian, or the Japanese and so on. And this consciousness in which there is this crisis that must be answered, not by any particular specialist, professionals, but by us ordinary, everyday living human beings with their jobs, with their miseries, confusion.
As we said, patience is timeless, impatience is full of time. And one must have patience to listen to ourselves because now we are depending on all the specialists, the professors, those who tell you what to do. We have lost self-reliance. We have become more or less slaves to authority, whether it is scientific authority, religious, or economic, or environmental authority. We are losing all over the world our sense of integrity. We are depending on books - books have their place, but to understand ourselves through books, through another, has led us to this confusion, to this crisis. And as we have pointed out over and over again, that we are thinking, reasoning, observing together. We are not accepting what the speaker is saying, or rejecting. He is merely acting as a mirror in which we see ourselves. And when we begin to see ourselves as we are then we can throw away, break up the mirror. The mirror has no value.
So we are saying that the crisis is in our minds and our hearts. And we don't seem to be able to understand that crisis. Understanding brings its own discipline - not the discipline of conformity, not the discipline of imitation, not the discipline to accept something, however great or small. Discipline means - the root meaning of that word 'discipline' comes from the word 'disciple'. Disciple is one who learns - not from another, however wise, however enlightened, however knowledgeable, but learning from our own self-education, learning about ourselves because there is our crisis. We have handed ourselves over to the priests, to the scholars, to the professors, to the philosophers, and to the analysts. And unfortunately, recently, handed ourselves over to some gurus from India or Asia, which is most unfortunate. They have become rich, exploiting people. It has become a great religion, as it is now, it has become a great business affair, which again is obvious.
So we are saying that one has to observe oneself, learn about oneself, not from anybody because they are not themselves studying themselves. They have theories, some speculative ideas which they have experimented on animals, pigeons and so on, but they have never looked at themselves actually as they are, with their greed, with their ambition, with their competition, with their aggressiveness, violence and so on - all that we are. And in the understanding of that, actually understanding not merely the verbal description of what we are but the actual understanding of our reactions, our thoughts, our anger, our wounds, our aggressiveness, violence and so on, looking at it. Therefore out of that understanding, observation, comes this discipline which is constantly learning anew.
Perhaps in this country we have lost the meaning of that word 'discipline', we have relegated it to the soldier, to some monks and so on. In this country specially, we have lost the meaning of that word. If you are a careerist, in that career there is a certain demand for discipline. If you are a carpenter, the very understanding of the wood, the tools, the nature of design, that observation, that understanding brings its own learning, its own discipline, its own action. But apparently we have lost that because we are all so terribly concerned to get on, to climb the ladder of success, to become something. If you observe all this. And therefore we are becoming more and more and more superficial. You have got a marvellous country, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, from the highest snow-capped mountains, to the desert, to the vast rivers, and the deep valleys, and the great trees. It is a marvellous country. And we human beings are destroying all that because we want to get on, god knows where, but get on. We are observing all this ourselves, please, you are not following the speaker. The speaker is not your guru, your leader, you are not his followers. One has to wipe away all that, and examine closely what we are doing as human beings.
And in this consciousness there is disorder. And we are trying to bring order in that by conformity, by acceptance, obedience. We have never understood what is order. And, as the speaker has been in this country for the last sixty years, I have seen every kind of phase, fad, something always new. And we live practically, socially, morally, ethically, in disorder. And without understanding order in the deepest sense of that word, meditation becomes utterly meaningless. We think that through meditation we will bring order. That is the trick that has been played upon us for a million years. But order begins at home, near.
So we have to investigate together what is that order, because our consciousness, as we said, is in total disarray. It is in conflict, it is battling itself against something which it has created. So we are, together, going to enquire what is order. We are using that word to imply a state of mind, not as an ideal, a state of mind, a state of heart in which there is no conflict whatsoever. Conflict indicates disorder. Choice indicates disorder. A man who chooses is really not actually free, he is confused. Please don't accept what is being said. It is important, one thinks, that one must cultivate or have this sense of scepticism, specially in psychological matters. There must be doubt. And if you observe, the Asiatic world, India, and so on, doubt has been one of the precepts in religion. The Hindus and the Buddhists have talked a great deal about doubt. But in the Christian world doubt is denied because that world is based on faith. And if you question, you are either excommunicated, or tortured as they have done in the past, burnt, now you are tolerated. There isn't much difference.
So please observe yourself, your environment, your society, and your own thoughts with considerable doubt. And also listen to the speaker with doubt, with question, demanding of yourself. You are doubting all that you have thought, observed, learnt, so that a mind, the brain is free to observe. And also doubt must be kept on a leash, like a dog. If you keep a dog on the leash all the time the poor animal withers, you must know when to let it go, run, chase, jump. Similarly one must hold doubt on a leash, and also one must learn the subtlety when to let it go.
So we are asking, saying, why is it that man has lived in this disorder for millions and millions of years? Why we human beings, wherever we are, why, what is the cause of this disorder? And as we pointed out previously, enquiring into the cause, which is the analytical process, requires time. Please understand this a little bit, if you will kindly give your attention to what is being said. Analysis has been one of our pet pursuits, not only analysing the heavens, the stars, this expanding and contracting universe, but also we are analysing ourselves constantly. And we have never enquired who is the analyser. The analyser, if you observe carefully, the analyser is the analysed. Thought has separated the analyser as though he is some superior entity, with a great deal of knowledge, experience, and he is capable of analysing. Analysing what? You can analyse the minerals, the nature of the trees, the hydrogen bomb, the various scientific analysis that has produced great benefit and great destruction also.
We are asking, not of those analyses, but we are saying what is it when we are seeking the cause of disorder, do we indulge in analysis? Or there is a different approach to this problem altogether which is not analysis, but pure observation - if you can do it. That is, to break away from the tradition of analysis. Which is, say for example - the speaker doesn't like to use examples, but we will, for the moment, because examples are rather deceptive, limited. If I am angry, or greedy, or violent, I want to know the cause of it. Then I begin to analyse, trace it back step by step. And I may find the cause of it. But who is the analyser who says, 'I will trace step by step backwards into the true origin'? Who is that entity that analyses? That entity is still part of thought. That entity is the receptacle, or the vessel of previous experiences, previous examinations, previous analyses, he separates himself from that which is taking place and then he says, 'I will analyse'. But if you observe carefully, giving your sensitive awareness to it, then you will see that the observer, the analyser is the analysed. Anger is not different from me. I am anger. But I have separated myself from anger and said, 'I must control it, I must shape it, I must rationalise it' and so on. One hopes this is clear. If you are not used to this kind of thinking, observing, perhaps we better go over it again. Because most of us are so accustomed, fallen into the habit of analysis.
We are saying that analysis takes time. And in that analysis there are a great many deceptive activities going on. So can you observe what is order, and what is disorder? Just to observe it. That is - you see, most unfortunately everything has to be explained. We don't jump to it, see it quickly. It has to be put into so many words, so many explanations. But the word, the explanation, is not the thing. You may paint a picture of the most beautiful mountain, that picture is not the mountain. The flowing waters in paint on a canvas, is not the living waters.
So we are together understanding, trying to find out, what is order, and disorder. We said, there is disorder as long as there is conflict, as long as there are in us the contradictions, the want and not want, the desire and the opposite of that desire. In that we are caught - wanting and not wanting - to put it very, very simply, though it is a very complex problem, which is cultivating the opposites. In that there is conflict, and that is disorder.
Now to find this out, go into it much deeper, one has to go into the whole question of desire, because human beings have lived with this desire for life, for everything - desire. Are we together in all this? Or the speaker is going on on his own and you are there sitting under the shade of a tree, under the beautiful leaves, and enjoying this sun and having a sun-bath! You are enjoying the sun-bath and all that - this is hardly the place. But if you are really concerned as a human being, and feel responsible for the whole world not merely for your family, for your children - and one doubts whether you really feel responsible even there. Thousands and thousands of children are running away from home, beaten, tortured. All the ugly things that are going on.
And if this crisis in our consciousness is really a deep, fundamental, sacred challenge - one is using the word 'sacred' in its real sense - sacred challenge, then we as human beings must respond to it. Or if you cannot we will be destroying each other, which is going on now. The competition between powers, the two powers, each wanting to be top of the other. And that is going on even with the most smallest country. This is an odd fact, the world is imitating America. I don't know if you have noticed it. Probably it is the easiest country to imitate. Don't be angry with what I am saying, or be irritated, but observe it. What are we giving to the world apart from grain, the materials of war, scientific know-how which other countries are now almost equal in their knowledge: laser destruction, atomic bombs - what else are we as Americans giving to the world? Please look at it carefully. And what is the world giving to you? Nothing. Because we are losing the deep substance of our own depth of understanding. We are losing our freedom, institutions and organisations have taken this over. And all this is adding so much confusion, so much destruction, misery in the world. I don't think we realise what we are doing. And, if one may point out most seriously, to understand all this confusion, this misery, this sorrow, this agony, this loneliness of human beings, we must go into the question of desire.
Man apparently has never been able to understand and go very deeply into this problem: desire. They have learnt to suppress it, or let it run. They have learnt every form of expression of desire - sexual, desire to possess, desire to deny, desire to become powerful, the desire to become a non-entity - you know this whole drive of desire. And the various religions have said, the monks throughout the world must transmute desire by offering themselves, surrendering themselves to a symbol, to a person, to a saviour, to an idea. That's what the monks are all doing throughout the world. But inwardly they are burning with desire. And we too, every human being in the world, is consumed by it. We have never been able to understand and comprehend the nature of desire, not - please listen carefully, what I am saying may be very dangerous unless you understand it very, very deeply. We are saying, mere control of desire is not intelligent, nor the suppression of it, nor the escape from it. But in the understanding of desire, which is a very complex subtle process, in the very understanding of that desire, it has its own discipline. Discipline being - please listen - the learning of the whole movement of desire, how desire arises, what is its nature, how it operates. In the fullness of that understanding, order in desire comes. Right?
Now we are going to, together please, you and the speaker, together are going to investigate patiently, step by step, into the nature of desire. When one learns - or rather when one perceives, sees the movement of desire, how it arises, the whole complexity of it, then out of that understanding, desire does not create confusion.
So we are enquiring into order, disorder and desire. Desire has created disorder, each one desiring something different from another, pursuing that desire through pleasure, pain, you know, all the rest of it. So we are trying together to understand how desire arises, and when it is controlled, who is the controller, and is the controller different from that which he desires? We are going to go into all that.
I do not know if you have observed anything - the mountains, the hills, the valleys, the beautiful trees, with all your senses. Please, as you are sitting under these trees, dappled light, observe, if you can see, the trees, the hills, with all your senses totally awakened. Or you merely observe either visually, or observe through words, or if you have ever observed with all the attention, which means with all the senses totally awakened. When you look at the sea, the blue Pacific, the light, the sparkling waters, and the far-reaching waves, do you observe it, or you merely say, how beautiful it is, and you are so anxious to reach your goal? So we hardly ever observe anything with all our senses fully awakened. That's real sensitivity. And when you so observe with all the senses there is no centre from which you observe. This is not something mysterious, something you got from the Just observe for yourself, you will see. Our senses inform the brain whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, it's painful or not painful, and so on. So senses are very important. But those senses are destroyed by drugs, alcohol, tobacco, over-indulgence, with impatience. So senses help to observe. That is, first you perceive with your senses, then there is a contact, then there is a sensation. Right? You are following? Are we meeting each other? Come on, sirs!
The seeing, the contact, then from that contact sensation. Then - please observe closely for yourself, don't accept what the speaker is saying ever, but look at it for yourself - seeing, touching, the sensation. Then thought creates the image, and at that moment desire is born. Right? It is very simple. Explanation makes it a little complex but it is really quite simple. You see a robe, or a shirt, or trousers, or a dress in the window, go inside, feel it - the sensation, then thought says, 'How nice it would be if I was in it' - right? - then desire begins. Understood. I am not telling you, you are watching it for yourself. Seeing, contact, sensation, then thought creating the image: you sitting in the car and driving. So desire begins when thought creates the image and at that moment desire is born. Is it clear for ourselves? You are not accepting the speaker's explanation, they are merely words. They have no significance if you are merely accepting the words, but if you see it for yourself directly then you will understand - please follow this a little bit closely - then you will understand whether the seeing, contact, sensation, whether it can stop there, and not let thought create the image. You have understood? Have you captured this a little bit?
In that learning there is discipline. You understand? Not control. One of the factors of our education is that there is a controller separate from that which is controlled. That is how we live: I must control, I must discipline, I must learn. So there is always division between the controller and the controlled. And we have been trained in that, educated from childhood. But is that a fact? That may, this division between the controller and the controlled may create more and more and more conflict, which it is doing. That may be totally a wrong approach to life. But if you understand, the controller is the controlled. Right? Anger, violence, say for example, violence - we won't go into the nature of violence and all the rest of it - just the meaning of that word 'violence', which is spreading all over the world, etc., etc. - there is violence, human beings are violent therefore I realise I am violent, you are violent. And then we say, 'I must change it, I must control it, I must become non-violent' - which is one of the pet idiotic illusions. So violence is not separate from me, I am violent. Right? I wonder if you understand that.
So if there is no separation between violence and the thought that I am different from violence, when there is no separation there is only violence. Please follow this a little bit. There is only that state of sensation which you have named as violence. To look at that, to observe that violence without the word, to observe it, not as an observer looking at violence. Move, sirs! To look at it so that the observer is not but only that thing called violence, which is a sensation as anger, jealousy and so on.
Similarly, to observe the seeing, the contact, the sensation, then thought creating the image - having that dress, or that shirt, or whatever it is, which then creates the desire to possess, to deny, all that. So can the brain stop with seeing, contact, sensation, stop there, not let thought interfere with its image. That is the learning about desire. You have got it? Somebody got it?
Krishnamurti: So that we are freeing the brain, which has been accustomed to control, conflict, strain, all that, we are helping the brain to observe itself totally anew so that it becomes terribly alive, freed from a pattern which it has accepted for a million years. You understand?
So if there is no contradiction in desire, wanting and not wanting, knowing that to succeed one is ruthless and yet the desire to succeed. You follow? This contradiction which is so apparently part of our conditioning, when you observe it you can then see without any control, without any influence, without any direction, you can see the nature of desire, and the understanding of it brings its own learning, which is its discipline. Got it?
So from that, which is, desire and time are the factors of disorder. And when you understand it really deeply, profoundly, there is complete order in one's life. Total order. Not occasionally, not at weekends, but throughout our daily life.
I must stop.