Is there order which thought has never touched?
Can the brain ever be free from knowledge?
4th Public Talk, Madras
January 04, 1981
If one may, if one is allowed, the speaker will not go over what we have talked about during the last three gatherings here.
I think it is necessary to go into the question of what is order, and why the mind, the brain has not been able to function in an orderly way. Our education, whether in the West, or in the East, North or South, is making human beings mediocre. I mean by that word, following a routine, fitting into a slot, whether it is an administrative slot, or a surgical slot, or a lawyer, or engineer. We are all being educated to conform to a pattern, whether that pattern be highly paid, highly respected, or a pattern that may be socially convenient, profitable, and perhaps worthwhile. I do not know if you have not examined your own minds and your own activities and whether you have not discovered for yourself, if one may be so presumptuous, whether your brain and therefore your whole series of chain reactions, have not conformed, have not followed a pattern, have not become a machine of identification, conformity, imitation, whether it be religious, political, economic, social and so on.
I think it is very important to find out why we have become neither excellent - I am going to use that word 'excellent' very carefully - excellent, not in profession, not in a career, there are thousands of people, perhaps millions, throughout the world who are very, very efficient, who are earning a great deal of money - but we are talking about mediocrity of a brain that refuses to alter the pattern in which it is caught. The brain becomes dull, it hasn't got the rapidity or freedom in which it can see its own movement. I think most of us are frightened of freedom, not that rebellion that takes place against the establishment, that's only a reaction which pushes you in the opposite direction - permissiveness, drugs and all that business. We are afraid to be radically, deeply free of mediocrity. We want to be very safe, both outwardly and inwardly. And this search for certainty is, if one may point out, is a form of mediocrity - wanting to be successful as a painter, as an artist, as a lawyer, as an engineer and so on.
And excellence is not achieved through competition: excellence in aesthetics, in the appreciation and the perception of that which is beautiful, excellence in morality, morality in the sense of conduct, behaviour, a sense of dignity, which freedom brings. And when one looks at the world, as you must, not the little world around oneself - the office, the factory, the family, the happenings of the politicians and so on, but the human world, the world in which human beings are suffering, the world in which almost everyone is in a great sense of anxiety, sorrow, pain, which has nothing to do with any kind of career or religious belief, it actually is going on in the world. When one regards all that, why has the brain, which has been capable of such extraordinary activity in the technological world, as regards the computer and the robot, why the brain has become sluggish, why, though it is capable of action in a certain direction, it is incapable of perceiving the whole structure and the nature of man and acting from that. One would call a mediocre person one who is incapable of such perception.
One asks, why the brain in one direction, in the technological world, which is so extraordinarily advancing of which we know very little, like the computer, it can do almost anything that a human being can - write poems, paint pictures, any problem the human has can be answered through the computer. The computer is going to take over our brains. I don't know if you are aware of all these facts. The robot and the computer are going to manage factories, all the manual labour and so on, so on, so on. And so if one is not aware of all this, our brains are going to become more and more sluggish because there will be no physical problems, technological problems, but there will be psychological problems. Even that perhaps the computer will take over because we will be just human beings without any occupation, empty, sluggish. You understand? - this is coming, perhaps within the next fifteen, twenty years.
And then what does education mean? You are following all this? Then what is a human being who is deprived, or whom the machine has taken over, what is the quality of your brain then? You are following what I am saying? And why is it that we live such a disorderly life? We live in disorder. Of that there is no question. Is the brain itself in a state of disorder? That is, is our consciousness in disorder?
Consciousness, human consciousness is its content. Right? The content of human consciousness is its beliefs, its educated conditioning which is called information, knowledge, to act, to live in a world where skill is necessary, where knowledge is necessary in the outer world to earn a livelihood; the content of our consciousness is anxiety, jealousy, aggressiveness, ambition in different forms, and the pursuit of pleasure, fear, and the vast weight of sorrow. That's our consciousness - all our superstitions, the gods that we have created. In that consciousness there is constant movement. I don't know - please, let's begin again. We are talking over together.
That, you and the speaker are together investigating the nature of order, and the nature of disorder. Why we human beings after so many millennia live such an extraordinarily disordered life. There is no sense of total harmony of a human being, the harmony both physical and psychological and intellectual, a sense of wholeness, a sense of a comprehensive outlook on life.
In enquiring into what is order and disorder we must first enquire whether thought can ever bring about order. You understand? Please meet me half way at least. Has thought created disorder in our lives? Is thinking itself disorder? In a country like this, this part of the world, there is extraordinary disorder: politically, religiously, in every direction there is disorder, the thing is coming to pieces, disintegrating. And we are all trying to solve the problem of this disorder in this part of the world either through political means, or military means, or go back to tradition where you accept authority, follow certain rules, be disciplined, and so on. Now can the politicians, the economists, the business people solve this problem of disorder? Or one must ask this question whether thought which has been exercised as the intellect, which wants order - you follow? Everybody wants order in their own life, in their house, in their environment, one wants everything to run properly. And we are exercising thought as a means to bring about order. I am sure you are aware of all this. Perhaps you are not aware of it. Probably you have never put this question to yourself, which is whether thought, that is thinking which is the operation of the intellect, reason, logic, discernment, understanding, all that is part of the intellect, whether the exercise of that intellect with its thought is going to bring order in the world, in the human relationship. You follow my question?
And we are asking, what is the cause of this disorder, first, before we begin to enquire into what is order. What is the deep-rooted cause of this disorder, not only outwardly but in our relationship with each other, not only in our action but in the very structure of our consciousness? What is at the root of it? Are you interested in all this? Not a passing interest, not a weekend interest, but a demand, a deep challenge to yourself why human beings live so disorderly - in their action, in their relationship - primarily in their relationship. And seeing this disorder, if you are a religious person - religious in the ordinary sense of that word - you escape from that disorder into some fanciful godly worship, or ungodly worship, go off to some temple, shave your head, you know what is happening in this country, and also in the other parts of the world.
We are trying to find out the root of this disorder, in consciousness, in action, and in our relationship with each other. We are trying to find out the root of it, not trim the branches of disorder but go into it so that the very exploration brings its own understanding and therefore its clarity. That is the purpose, or the intention of exploring, investigating - in the very movement of investigation clarity comes, and that clarity clears disorder. Which means you cannot investigate intellectually, verbally, but investigate in one's life, the life that one leads. And for that you need energy. And that energy is dissipated if you are escaping from the question, which is, why human beings throughout the world live in such chaotic disorder. And if you are serious, and I hope we are - one means by 'seriousness' being committed to the investigation, giving your energy, your interest, your observation, your scepticism, your vitality to find out.
So we have to ask: is all this confusion, disorder, conformity, imitation, which is part of disorder, and the disorder caused in our relationship, is all that based on thinking? Is thought responsible for this disorder? And if it is responsible for this disorder then what is the relationship of thought to our daily life? You are following all this? It's no good looking at me. You have to look into yourself. The speaker is only a mirror in which you are looking. And when you have looked very carefully you can destroy the mirror, otherwise the mirror becomes the authority. As we said, thought, the whole process of thinking is the result of experience, knowledge, memory, and action. So thought is always limited. That one has to see completely, not just verbally, that thought, whatever it does, either in the technological world, or in the investigative process of sceptical exploration, which is essentially the action of religion, for that you need energy, vitality. And if thought is the origin of this disorder - we are not saying it is, we are going to find out - and as thought is limited - right? - because thought is born of experience, and knowledge can never be complete, never, and from that knowledge memory, thought, which is the movement of time - I won't go into that for the moment, we will come back to it later - therefore it is basically in its very nature limited. Right? Can we meet this? See the logic of it, the reality of it, the actuality of it.
So thought must create disorder. Thought itself is disorder, whatever its action. We will come to find out whether there is an order which is not brought about by thought, but first we must understand the movement of thought in relation to order and disorder. Right, sirs, may we go on? But one must be absolutely clear, not verbally, intellectually, but actually, that thought brings about, by its very nature, conflict and therefore disorder. Disorder in action because action is based on thought, which is the result of knowledge, experience, and knowledge and experience can never be complete, you may have a thousand experiences, they must always be incomplete, and therefore knowledge must be incomplete. And thought with its action must create disorder. That is the basis of what we are investigating. If that is not clear let's explore it together so that you are absolutely clear that thought, whatever it does, except in the technological world and so on - thought has created the most beautiful architecture, great poems, marvellous engineering, beautiful bridges, great music, astonishing statues. And thought has also created the great images in the temples, and the cathedrals, the idol worship, all that is responsible for thought, though the priests say, no, it is divine revelation and all that, it is still within the area of thought.
So let us first examine why thought has created disorder in our relationship - relationship whether it is intimate or not. Before we go into, investigate into our relationship we must first understand the nature of desire. Right? Is it getting too complicated? You see, sirs, and ladies, we are not used to this kind of enquiry. We are used to being talked at, lectured at, helped to think what to think, but not how to think. We are all trained in what to think, like a good lawyer, good engineer, you know, but we never say, enquire how the brain works - ourselves, not according to some specialists, watching our own brain, its own reactions, its chemical responses and so on, so on. So we are going first to examine the whole movement of desire because we live by desire. Desire is part of our life. And when we are enquiring into it we must not say it is right or wrong. Like many priests, like many sannyasis, like many monks, they suppress it, or the desire is urged in a particular direction where they worship Jesus - you follow? - all that, identify with something greater. We are not doing that; we are examining the whole movement of desire and what is its relationship to thought, and the action that must inevitably follow. You understand all this? Examining desire, the relationship of desire to thought and action. This may be one of the causes of disorder.
So the mind - we are enquiring freely into it, not saying it is right, or wrong, it must be suppressed, we must escape from it, you must transcend and go beyond desire, and all that nonsense. Because they have never examined desire deeply and gone into it.
What is desire? How does desire arise? And what gives it impetus, vitality, drive? Must I explain all this? Avanti. Let's go. Please, we are observing desire, the speaker is only describing it, the description is not the actual, the explanation is not what is going on, so please let us be very clear from the beginning that the word is not the thing. Right? The word 'tree', the word, is not the actual tree, but for most of us the word is more important than the the word, symbol is more important than the actuality. So we must be free of the word to look. You are following this? We are examining what is desire, and why man has been driven by this constant desire to fulfil, to become, to achieve, this tremendous energy behind it. The man who wishes to climb the Everest, tremendous energy is required - the desire behind it, going through every kind of difficulty, pain, but to achieve. And is desire - or rather, is illumination, the understanding of what is truth, a matter of desire? We will go into that presently. You are interested in all this? Not interested, I don't care, it's up to you.
Desire comes through perception, seeing, contact, sensation. Right? Seeing a tree, touching it and having sensation, or seeing a woman, a man, seeing, touching, contact, sensation. This is the normal process. Then if you see a shirt in the window, or a robe, or a car, you see it, touch it - sensation. Then thought creates the image of you sitting in the car and driving it. Right? See the car, touch it, the sensation, the beauty, the lines - not the Indian cars, sorry! (Laughter) - the lines of it and so on, and thought creates the image of you sitting in the car, driving it. You follow? Which is what? Thought has created the image: you in the car and driving it, when thought creates the image then there is the beginning of desire. You have got it? This is logical, you don't have to accept what I am saying, it is so, if you examine it closely. Seeing, contact, sensation, thought creating the image - you in that shirt, or you in that dress, or you in that sari, or whatever it is, and wanting to possess it and so on, so on. Seeing, contact, sensation. Is there a possibility - please listen to this - is there a possibility of thought not creating the image? You follow? When thought creates the image then desire begins. Right? So one begins to discover, thought when it has created an image with regard to the sensation, desire is born. So thought plus sensation - desire. I wonder if you see this.
So you see if one understands this very clearly, desire then becomes not so intensely powerful because thought sees all the possibilities of pain, achievement. You follow? - you don't, I'll explain. Why is there conflict with regard - why desire brings conflict? Right? Why? As we said, desire begins when thought creates the image, you sitting in the car, that building an image by thought is the beginning of desire. If that is clearly seen as an actuality, that is what is happening in all of us, then desire brings about conflict because in the fulfilment of that desire time is involved. Right? Time. And during that time other incidents take place, so there must be contradictions, wanting, not wanting, all the rest of it follows.
I'll make it much simpler. Why is there conflict between you, your husband, your wife, your neighbour? You follow? Why? In that relationship thought plays a great part. Right? Thought. Both sexually and in other ways. I won't go into all the details of it because it is fairly simple. Thought plays a great part in our intimate relationship. Thought creates the image of the man or the woman, and the relationship is between these two images. Are you following all this? Or you are all asleep. So actual relationship doesn't exist. It exists between these two images which thought has created. So thought may be responsible for conflict. I wonder if you see all this. So is it possible not to create the image? You follow? That is, seeing, contact, sensation - car, the image you have built - you sitting in that car, putting your hands on the steering wheel and driving off. It is the same thing as in our personal relationship, which is the image you have built, or you have accumulated a series of images and she also has created a series of images. So thought is the origin of conflict. I wonder if you see this. Right? At least a few of us, let's go together.
Then the problem arises, how is one to put an end to this movement of creating images all the time? You are following? Is that at all possible? Because we live by images, the images of the past, the remembrance of incidents, pleasant, unpleasant and all the rest of it. This is our life. And if thought is the origin of this disorder in our relationship then what place has thought at all? You understand? I wonder if you are understanding what I am talking about.
You see, let's go into it. You see this, you see it very clearly, at least verbally, intellectually, that thought begins all the mess in our relationship, then the question arises, how am I to stop thought? - which is a totally wrong question. I wonder if you see that. Because you, who want to stop thought, you are created by thought. I wonder if you see that. Right? So thought has divided itself as the controller and the controlled. Then you ask the question: how am I to control thought? So we are saying that is a wrong question. That question indicates that you haven't grasped the whole movement of thought, that thought has broken itself up as the thinker and thought, the controller and the controlled. So do we realise this fact that the controller is the controlled? So what takes place? You understand my question? I see very clearly - if one sees it - I see very clearly that thought is the root of this disorder because thought in itself is utterly limited, it can imagine it is limitless but in fact it is limited. It can conceive theoretically what is time, what is beyond time, I've got it and all that but it has no value. What has value is our daily life.
So the question when you say, how am I to stop thought, is a wrong question because thought is the controller and the controlled. Right? Does one see this obvious fact? Or you make an abstraction of it as an idea and say, how am I to carry out that idea? Which means you haven't grasped the full significance of this fact. Right? When you make an abstraction you are dealing with non-fact. What is fact is the conflict which thought has created, the disorder. So do you actually perceive - perceive - that the thinker is the root of this? You have created the image between you and your wife, husband and so on, and that image is not actual, it is a material structure created by thought which acts as a barrier, and therefore no love. Thought is not love. We will go into that some time.
So the question is: does your mind, your brain actually perceive the fact that thought is responsible for our confusion, disorder? When you perceive the fact what takes place? That's what I want to get at. Let's move from there. You understand? When you see danger, physical danger, there is instant action, unless you are neurotic, or drugged, or drunk, or whatever it is. If you see something dangerous there is immediate response. Now why does your brain not see the danger that thought creates disorder? The danger of disorder. You are following? Why? There, your brain is tremendously active when you see a danger - the adrenaline, the whole blood, everything responds. There your life is threatened. Here also your life is threatened, which is, living in disorder is a great threat, a great danger to human beings. Why doesn't the brain equally see it, instantly the danger of this as it sees the other? You are following my question? Why? Come on, sirs! Why do we not see, to live in disorder is the greatest danger? Is it because we are used to disorder? Please, don't accept what the speaker is saying. We are accustomed to disorder, we put up with disorder, we haven't the energy to create order. Which all means what? Please go into your brain, look at it, please! Laziness, indifference, lack of aesthetic appreciation of that which is beautiful? Is it the brain having accepted disorder, disregards it, is indifferent to it, and therefore, what happens to the brain that has created disorder - thought - which has created disorder, and accepts it, what happens to such a brain? Come on, sirs! It becomes naturally very dull. When you accept anything it must be dull. Right? When you accept your relationship with another, which is essentially conflict, when you accept it, you have accepted something which is disorderly, unaesthetic, immoral. So what happens? Your life becomes mediocre, dull, and - sit there and just listen to some rubbish.
So listening to all this, is there order now in your life, not tomorrow, immediately, because you see the danger? I wonder if you see this. You understand what I am saying? You act instantly to danger, physical danger. And here you don't act, for various reasons. A brain that is awake, alert, sees the danger of disorder. Which means what? The brain with its thought has created this disorder. So the brain sees the danger of it and the brain acts because it must have security, safety. You understand all this? Now is your brain active in that sense? Which is never accepting anything, therefore questioning, asking, looking.
So if thought brings disorder in life, then what is order? Can there be order without the movement of thought? Please, sir, this is real meditation. You understand? We are meditating now. When we are enquiring into order and disorder, your whole brain is active, there is no sluggish part in it. That means your whole brain is alert, not caught in a particular groove. If order is not discipline, if order is not conformity, imitation, suppression, following a particular system - right? - then what is order which is not put together by thought? You are following all this? Please, just follow it. Just five or ten minutes more and you can go home.
What is order which is not put together by thought? See the beauty of the question first, sirs, you understand? Is there such order? The universe, the heavens, the stars, sun rising, sun setting, that is in total order. Nature is in total order, that nature which is the hills, the rivers, birds, tigers, you know, nature, the trees, that is in total order. It is only when man interferes with it there is disorder.
We are asking, is there order which thought has never touched? You understand? Because when thought touches anything it creates disorder. What is that order? Come on sir, join me. In listening for an hour, are you learning? Or remembering what is said? You understand my question? Are you learning or you have gathered some information which has become knowledge and you say that knowledge will act? Which is one process. Or, listening, you are learning. Right? Right sir? So what have you have you found something in that? Come on, sirs! That where there is learning there is order. Do you understand this? No? Now, look sir, I'll point out. Can you go on with me for a while?
To us learning is the accumulation of information and knowledge. Right? That's what you are, from school, college, university, if you are lucky to go through all that, accumulating, knowledge, so as to acquire a job, act skilfully. That's the whole idea. There you are accumulating knowledge, layer after layer, after layer, if you are an engineer, spend years, if you a doctor ten years, practise and so on. All that demands time, so knowledge is time. Right? Now is there a learning without time? You are following all this? Sir, please, sir! See the difference, first see the difference. We take time to learn a language, mathematics, biology, go to various universities and so on and so on, so on, so you acquire a great deal knowledge, spend years through books, through listening, through experiment, science, laboratories and all the rest of it, gather a great deal of knowledge. And having acquired you act, or expand in that knowledge, getting more knowledge, more challenges, and responding according to your knowledge. Right? That is going on. Now all that requires a great deal of time. Is there a learning - please find out - in which there is no time, which means immediate perception? I wonder if you see this. You understand? To see instantly the truth of this, which is to see, which doesn't require time. Oh, my lord!
Look sir, let's look at it carefully. The brain is accustomed to the time factor. I have listened to you, I may agree or disagree, if I agree then how am I to put that into action? I must study, I must learn more about this, I must hear you half a dozen times, or read your books and so on, so on, till I completely understand, then I will act. All that is a movement in time, which is part of our life. That, you see that very clearly, that every school boy does, so it is very common. Now we are asking something totally different, which is, there is a learning, not accumulation, there is a learning through immediate perception and action. I'll show you in a minute, you'll follow if you follow it. When you see danger, physical danger, there is immediate reaction because from childhood, all through the ages, when you see a precipice - danger. You are conditioned to that and you act instantly. Learning and acting through knowledge: knowledge - learn, knowledge, act. Our brains are used to that, so completely mechanical it has become. So anything new it says, 'I don't understand. Explain to me, talk to me, show me.' I read about it, I must be convinced, what you say may be not true, I must go to the scientist, the neurologist, blah, blah, and all the rest of it. Which means what? Again the same process, time. So the brain has become used to time. And they are inventing, scientists are inventing, to learn a language in a few hours, breaking time - you understand? So what the speaker is saying is, there is a learning, or acting without the whole movement of time. Which is, to see, to perceive, to see, when you see you act. Wait, I'll show you.
I realise I am greedy, suppose I am greedy. I see it, and I act instantly. I don't take time over it and say, 'Why shouldn't I be greedy? Is it right to be not greedy?' - all that. Human beings are violent. We can go into the cause of it. Going into the cause of it is a waste of time. You will discover many causes according to many opinions, and you are stuck. Or you invent non-violence and you pursue that idiotic ideal. When you are really violent it is hypocrisy to follow So when you see that your mind is violent, your brain, your reaction, to see it instantly and end it instantly. You understand what I'm saying? Which is to learn to act instantly, which is not of time. I wonder if you get this. Do you get some of this? Do it! When you are violent, be aware that you are violent, and end it immediately, which is perception, action, movement - moving away from 'what was'. I wonder if you see this. So that your brain is tremendously active. Not stimulated by the speaker, as you are being now, but stimulated by your very perception. And when you do this, you know, you will have such tremendous energy - not to do mischief, energy of clarity.
So we have talked about mediocrity, we have talked about order and disorder. When you get up from here, have you understood the nature of order so that your life is totally in order? Which means, totally order in your relationship, no image between you and another. And when there is that extraordinary sense of freedom, in that there is love. And without that life is empty. So please, give your thought, give your attention to all this because it's your own life.