Is there security in psychological authority?
Can the mind be free of every motive to investigate?
2nd Public Talk, Saanen
July 12, 1977
May we go on with what we were talking about the day before yesterday morning? I hope you aren't too hot.
We were concerned in the last talk with the awakening of intelligence, that intelligence which is not yours or mine. We arrived at that point logically, sanely, and holistically. We said that all thought, however divine the thought may be, or it may think itself totally divine, it is still the movement of the past - the past being experience, knowledge, stored up in the brain as memory. And our lives are dictated by the past. And thought tries to find security in the things that it has created. We talked about that. That is, in belief, in ideological philosophical projections, in conclusions which invariably are the result of an experience retained by memory and making them more and more definite. I hope we are communicating with each other all about these matters.
We said also that thought can never solve our human problems, psychological problems, it may solve the problems of food, shelter and so on, physical comforts for the whole of mankind. But that is not possible when there is nationalistic, ideological divisions - which we've talked about that too. So we are concerned with the desire to be secure, psychologically as well as physiologically, and in that desire to be secure we create all kinds of illusions, which we talked about. Illusions in the future, there is the old theory that god, divinity descends on earth and helps man to grow, to evolve, to live nobly. That is the old tradition of the countries in the east, and also in a different way in the west. In that there is a great deal of comfort, a great deal of feeling that you are at least secure in something, that there is somebody who is looking after you and the world. This is a very old theory and you know all about it. It has no meaning whatsoever, because the future, whether the teachings are the future or for some kind of Utopian outlook for the future, is made by the present, obviously. What one is now, unless there is a radical transformation, the future is a modified continuity of 'what is'. We talked about that. May we go on?
So to realise that the things that thought has put together, in those there is no security whatsoever. I wonder how many of us really understand this. How many of us have gone into it sufficiently, intelligently, rationally and sanely to find out for ourselves if there is really any structure, either in the future, or in the past, or in the present, if there is any structure whatsoever, philosophical, religious, or ideological, or economic and so on, whether there is any kind of security in that. And to find that out there must not only be the clear thinking, logically, sanely, rationally, objectively, but also that very thinking, that very reasoning, if it is pursued very deeply begins the awakening of that intelligence. We talked about it the day before yesterday. All right? May we go on from there? May we?
And also thought seeks security in authority. There is the authority of the surgeon, and there is the authority of tradition, the guru, the bishop, the pope and so on. They are the two authorities well established in the world. The authority of the dictator, the totalitarian authority and all that. Now we must go into this very carefully because we are going to find out if there is any kind of security in authority - religious, economic, or psychological.
Pretty hot, isn't it.
We accept very easily the path that is the most satisfying, the most convenient, the most pleasurable. It is very easy to move into that groove. And authority dictates, lays down religiously and psychologically a system, a method by which, or through which you will find security. This is well-known. And so we are going to go into this question whether there is any kind of authority, psychological, apart from technological, medicine and so on, if there is any kind of psychological authority whatsoever. Because if we see that there isn't any, security in any authority, including the speaker's, then we are going to find out whether it is possible to live without any guidance - right? - without any control, without any effort. This is asking a tremendous lot. Right? Because we are educated, conditioned to accept authority because that is the most convenient and the easiest way to live. Put all our faith and all our trust in somebody, or in some idea, or in some conclusion, or in some teaching, and give ourselves to that hoping that we shall find some deep satisfaction, deep security - the guru, those teachings have done all the work and you just have to follow! Now an intelligent person, a fairly aware, awakened, you know, in the normal sense, objects to that totally. Living in a free country like this where there is freedom of speech and so on, you would object tremendously to a totalitarian state; but you would accept the authority of psychologists, the guru, the teachings that will promise you something marvellous in the future, but not now, you'd accept all that because that is very satisfactory. So we are going to demolish all that - if you are willing - because otherwise you will not be able to awaken that intelligence of which we are talking.
So where there is authority, psychologically, there is conformity. Right? To conform to the pattern set by another through various sanctions, or the authority of your own which you have experienced, which you have felt and from that conclude and have security in that conclusion. You are following all this? So is there any security in psychological authority, in any teaching? You are following all this? In any teaching - including the speaker's teachings, the so-called various religious teachings and the gurus, top guru's - you know, all that stuff! So is there any security in all that? And yet if you observe, millions and millions are following that path, that way of thinking, hoping eventually some day, in some future life, or somewhere there is going to be security. Now we are going to question and ask ourselves if in it there is any kind of truth. Right?
Please, we are working together. Right? We are exploring together. We are really thinking out this problem together, so that I am not thinking and you are merely listening, but we are sharing the thing together to find out the truth of this enormous weight that man has carried hoping thereby to find somewhere some security and happiness. So please, it is your responsibility as well as the speaker's to go into this question very, very carefully, to find out whether one can live a daily life, a nonconforming life, non-imitative life, not following any particular tradition, because if you have got a tradition, a sanction, a pattern, you will invariably conform to that, consciously, or unconsciously. So we are asking whether it is possible for a human being fairly awake, fairly intellectually alive, seeing the problems of the world, because the world is based on this, on authority, whether the authority of Lenin or Marx, or whatever they are, or the authority of some extraordinary self assuming guru...
So we are going to investigate into this so that the mind can be free to find out the truth of this matter, so that you never, under any circumstances, conform to any pattern - psychologically. When you are conforming to a pattern - religious, psychological, or the pattern which you have set out for yourself, there is always a contradiction - right? - the pattern and what you are. I hope you are following all this. May I go on? The pattern and what you actually are and so there is always a conflict. Right? And this conflict is endless. If you haven't got one pattern you go to another pattern. We are educated in the field of conflict because we have got ideals, we have got patterns, we have got conclusions, beliefs and so on. So there is always conflict when there is any kind of pattern - the pattern which you have created for yourself, or the pattern given by some so-called illumined person. An illumined person, if he is at all illumined, will never have a pattern - right? - because if you have a pattern you are never free, if you have a pattern you don't know what compassion is. If you have a pattern you are always battling, battling and therefore giving importance to yourself, then the self becomes extraordinarily important - the idea of self-improvement.
So, is it possible to live without a pattern - the pattern being tradition, a conclusion, an ideal, a future assumption that there is a divinity which will help you in the future to evolve and so on - you know, all that business. Now how are you going to find out the truth of this? You understand my question? Not accept what the speaker is saying but for yourself as a human being, who is the total representative of all mankind, how are you going to find out the truth of this matter? Because if your consciousness is changed radically, profoundly - no, revolutionised rather than changed - then you affect the consciousness of the whole of mankind. Please see this! Right? If your consciousness, which is the consciousness of man - man, not the European man or the Chinese man (laughs), but a human being - when there is that radical transformation in that consciousness then you affect the whole consciousness of mankind, which is a fact. Stalin affected the whole of mankind. Right? So has Hitler, so have the various preachers, or prophets, or priests affected the whole of the consciousness of mankind; the whole Christian world is affected by the dictums, beliefs, rituals of a Catholic structure - the whole of the European world is modified and continues in that structure. So please see the truth of this, then you become tremendously responsible, then you are not just worrying a little bit about your own particular little worry, whether you have a little sex, or no sex, or should smoke, or not smoke - you know all those kinds of petty little affairs.
So we are going to see, investigate together, whether there is a life in which there is not a spark of authority. Now how are we going to investigate it? Because all our educated background, consciously, or unconsciously, is bound by this tradition of obedience - obey. They know better than you do, therefore the wise, the aristocracy of the wise is the salvation of the foolish. It's a good old You know this, you have heard about this. So how are we going to go into this problem, which is your problem, a human problem? With what capacity do you investigate? Investigation implies the mind must be free of cause and effect. Mustn't it? You understand? To investigate there must be freedom from motive. Right? I wonder if you see this? No? I want to investigate into the question of authority. My background says you must obey, you must follow. And in the process of investigation my background is always projecting - right? - is always distorting my investigation. So can I be free of my background so that it doesn't interfere in any way in my investigation? My urgency to investigate, to find the truth, my urgency, my immediacy, my demand to find out the truth of it puts the background in abeyance, because my intensity is so strong to find out the background doesn't interfere. You see the point? I wonder if you do. The background is so strong, my education, my conditioning is so - intense, it has accumulated for centuries, consciously I can't fight it, I can't push it aside. Right? I can't battle with it. I have no time to take it through analysis, step by step. Life is too short. So my very intensity to find out the truth of authority makes my background much further away. You follow what I mean? It is not impinging on my mind. Do you see that? It is reasonable, isn't it? It is logical, it is sane. To fight the background intensifies the background. Right? But the urgency to find out the truth of authority - the urgency, because it is tremendously important to discover the truth because then there is a freedom to look, to investigate, to find out. Right? I hope I am not pushing you through my intensity.
So are you prepared to investigate this whole question of psychological, external or imposed authority of human beings by other human beings, to find the truth of it? Which means to find the truth there must be no motive, no cause for the investigation into the truth of authority. You understand this? I wonder if you do. This is asking a tremendous lot, isn't it? Are we prepared for this? Or are we all too old? Doesn't matter. If you are too old it is your affair, if you are not intense it is your affair. I want to find out the truth of it, as a human being - not now, I have gone through all this for the last fifty years so I am out. It doesn't mean a thing to me - any authority. But I am assuming as a representative of the human being, I say to myself I want to find the truth of this matter, which is: whether one can live a life without any conformity, without any conflict, without having a goal, a purpose, a projected ideal, which all create, bring about conflict. You understand this? Right? The intensity of the investigation depends on the urgency to find the truth of it, to have tremendous energy to find out.
Most of us dissipate this energy - goodness, how hot it is - through conflict - right? - 'What is' and 'what must be'. If we see that 'what must be' is an escape or an avoidance of the fact of 'what is; or thought, incapable of meeting 'what is', projects 'what should be' and uses that as a lever to remove 'what is.' You follow all this? Obviously. So is it possible to look, observe 'what is' without any motive? - to change it, to transform it, to make it conform to a particular pattern that you or another has established? You are following all this? Or is it getting too much? I wonder why you are all here. I would like to find out, if I may, why you are all here. You can't answer me, naturally, each one. But are you here out of curiosity, or to listen to some Asiatic person with some peculiar philosophy, or are you here because he has a reputation, or you have read some books and say, 'Well, I wonder if I can by reading books I can't understand the man but I will go and listen to him and find out if I can understand'. So you should ask yourself, if one may point out, why you are here. Because, as we said, this is a very, very serious matter. It is a matter of life and death. And I mean it. In a world that is totally disintegrating, in a hypocritical, monstrous world, immoral world, where they are preparing for war through all kinds of instruments. Right? You know all this. Is it you want to escape from all that and listen to somebody who is talking something which you hope to understand? Or seeing all that, seeing what the world is: the divisions, the conflicts, the corruption, the pollution, the horrors of killing each other - all that is going on in the world - seeing all that you say there must a way out of all this, an intelligent, rational, sane way out of all this mess. If that is your intention, then you are serious. But if you just come here casually and listen casually and agreeing or disagreeing - you know, that has no meaning whatsoever.
So let's proceed. We are assuming - the speaker is assuming that you are really desperately serious, in a nice, in a humouristic way serious. And being serious, together we are going to investigate into the question of authority and see the truth of it - not opinions, not judgements, not 'it is necessary', or 'it is not necessary', see the truth of it and therefore be totally free of authority - authority of a book, authority of a priest, authority of psychologists with their latest desperate inventions and so on, so on, so on.
I said to investigate there must be no motive, because the motive will dictate what you will discover. If there is a cause the effect is dependent on the cause. So the effect is not the truth, it is a reaction. So can your mind be free of every motive to investigate - whatever will happen at the end of it? Which means can you be free of this authoritarian education that one has received from childhood, and that freedom can only come into being when there is the present necessity and the urgency to find out the truth of the matter. Therefore the background fades away. You see the Because if I am very intent to understand what you are saying I forget myself. I forget I am a Hindu, a Christian, a Buddhist, all my background, I am really interested to understand fully what you mean. Therefore the whole thing disappears, the background, the motive is not, because I am interested to find out. You get what I am talking about? Some of you?
So the intensity is necessary to investigate. And that intensity can only come into being when there is no cause and no effect and therefore no reaction. Are we together? Are you doing this with me? Not you must, but together, we said, and that is why you are here, you have taken a journey, you have taken a lot of trouble, expense and all the rest of it, you are here to find out the truth of the matter. Not what you think, or what I think, which has relatively no value at all, but the truth of something so that you are free for ever from this beastly authority. Sorry to use (laughs) an adjective. You understand what it implies? It implies that you must be completely alone in your investigation. Right? Alone - the word 'alone' means all one. Isn't that strange? Please I will repeat it so that you get it. Alone, the meaning of that word, the root meaning of that word means 'all one'. Aloneness doesn't mean isolation, doesn't mean you have withdrawn, you have built a wall around yourself. 'Alone' means you are all one. Oh, you don't see all this! Right?
So: as humanity, general humanity, has a background, a motive, a purpose, a goal, a pattern to live by and therefore they never find out the truth of authority, here we are trying to find out the truth of it. Here we are trying to find out the truth of it. So if you are at all serious to find the truth of it you must observe. Observe not outside as it were, but observe why you have authority, why you accept to obey somebody, with a beard, with garlands, with, you know, all the hoola around it. Why you obey psychologically. You obey a surgeon - when he tells me I have got cancer and he says, 'Look old boy, you have got to go under the knife' and he has taken X-rays and all the rest of it and shows me how close I dangerous it is, I naturally obey. That is a natural, self-preserving instinct. But the other is not a self-preserving instinct, it is a cultivated instinct, it is an educated instinct, it is a conditioned instinct.
So why we grown-up human beings, so-called civilised, obey. I am not talking about law, the policeman (laughs) and all the rest of it. Psychologically, why is it that we obey? Is it because in that obedience to an authority there is deep rooted desire for security? Or we think there is security in that? Right? Otherwise you wouldn't be here, would you? Would you, honestly?
So in obedience to some person, idea, authority and so on psychologically, we hope to live a life without conflict, without any kind of uncertainty, which is very, very, very disturbing, leading to neuroticism. So being already psychologically neurotic one gives oneself over to somebody and be dictated what to do. Aren't you doing that? So in that obedience there is the root, the root of the desire for satisfaction and security. Please see this. And is there security in any teaching - teaching, in any idea? Or in any person? You understand? You have to find out. I come along, a speaker like me comes along and says, 'There is truth, there is an ecstasy' - the word 'ecstasy' means to be outside of oneself - right? - not inside of yourself and then have a great feeling of happiness, but ecstasy implies - the root meaning implies that you are completely outside of yourself. There is no self. So when one comes along, a person like me and says, 'There is a state of mind which is beyond death and conflict and sorrow and therefore a mind that is full of compassion and intelligence' - he says that, the speaker says that. And you come along and say, 'Yes, what a marvellous idea, I wonder how he has got it'. And he says, if he is silly enough - I am not - he says, 'Well, obey what I say, obey completely, the more totally you obey the greater your likelihood of having it'. And in your eagerness to have this extraordinary state you obey. Right?
The other day on the BBC I heard one of the disciples of one of these people, a European girl, saying to the interviewer that she has left her family, her friends, all the past and joined this particular group of ideas and she said, 'My guru will tell me exactly what I should do: when to marry, when to have children, when to have sex, when to have babies. I have given myself over to him.' Right? This is what the Catholic church has done for centuries. Right? Only this new thing is rather attractive because it comes from the Orient, slightly romantic - you know, scented and chants and songs and all the rest of it, dance, and you fall for it because there is the desire inside you to have this extraordinary sense of security so that you are never, never, never disturbed, never uncertain. Right?
So in investigating rationally into the question of authority, if there is any form of obedience - because in obedience there is security - when you see that in that very obedience there is great illusion, then you drop obedience instantly. You understand what I am saying? Do you actually observe, are you aware, as you are aware of your heart beat, or your pulse, are you so deeply aware that in any form of obedience there is not only division, but there is conflict, there is imitation, conformity, and therefore endless trouble, which ultimately leads to various kinds of illusion. Right? Do you see this? If you see this, this morning, then it is over. Then you have dropped it. Then you will never, under any circumstances, obey anybody, including Jesus, or the Buddha, or Krishna or whoever it is, including the speaker. Then you are a as then you are a total human being representing all humanity, your consciousness has undergone a change - right? - which is, undergone through perception which is the awakening of intelligence. That intelligence says, finished forever with this authority. Because you have finished with authority the awakening of that intelligence comes. You understand? And therefore it affects your consciousness.
And from that one asks: is it possible to live a life without any pattern, without any goal, without any idea of the future, to live without conflict? Is it possible? Because we are educated to conflict. Right? If I am this, I must fight it, I must suppress it, I must control it. Now please listen.
Is it possible to live without any conflict? The speaker says yes. And you might say, 'Oh, don't be silly, you are deceiving yourself. Or, you like to think you are living without conflict but you actually aren't.' And it is no good arguing with such a person because he has made up his mind. But when the speaker says it is possible to live without any conflict whatsoever, either he is speaking the truth, or he is indulging in some kind of hypocritical illusion. So we have to examine not only the illusion, the hypocrisy of oneself, and also find out if it is possible to live a life without conflict. Right? The speaker says, 'I will tell you about it.' Don't accept it, because then if you accept it that becomes the authority and you are back in the old game. He says it is possible. It is only possible when you live completely with 'what is'. Right? With 'what is' means what actually is taking place - live with it. That is, don't try to transform it, don't try to go beyond it, don't try to control it, don't try to escape from it, just look at it, live with it. You understand what I am saying? Will you do it now? Will you do it now. Do it now, for god's sake, not tomorrow. There is no tomorrow. To live with 'what is', that is, to live, if you are envious, or greedy, or jealous, or you have problems, whatever it is, sex, fear, whatever it is, to live with that without any movement of thought that wants to move away from it. You understand? You understand what I am saying? Am I communicating with some? That is, I am envious of you because you are intelligent, you are bright, you look nice, you speak so intelligently, you know I am envious of you, you have got a big car, a big house, whatever it is - I want it, I am envious. My education has been to deny it, which means I must control it, I must suppress it, I must try to go beyond it. That has been my background, my education. You come along and tell me: look, there is a different way of living, which is, don't condemn it, don't evaluate it, don't throttle it, don't run away from it, just look at it, like a child, newborn child, terribly ugly (laughs) - the baby, the actual baby, you have seen them, terribly ugly, but the mother says 'It is my baby, I am living with it, it is not ugly, it is the most beautiful child I have.' So in the same way live with it - which means what? You are not wasting your energy, please listen to this, you are not wasting your energy in control, in suppression, in conflict, in resistance, in escape, you are just all that energy has been wasted. Now you have gathered that - because you see the absurdity of it, the falseness of it, the unreality of it, you have now got the energy to live with 'what is'. You understand what I am saying? Am I making myself clear? Very clear? Good. Then do it! Then you have that energy to observe without any movement of thought. It is the thought that has created jealousy, and thought says, I must run away from it, I must escape from it, I must suppress it. That is my education, my background, my conditioning. But somebody says to me, 'Don't do all that, that is too childish, you can't solve this problem of envy that way. Live with it'. That means don't move away from the thing which thought has created. You understand? Don't let another kind of thought say, 'Run away from it, resist it'. After all envy is created by thought - right? - thought awakening a reaction which is emotional, sentimental, and romantic and all the rest of it, that thought has created this reaction which is called envy. Thought has created it. And thought says now, also, I must run away from it, I don't know what to do with it. I must escape, resist, swallow - everything. So we are saying if you see that - the falseness of escape, resistance, suppression, then that energy which has gone into suppression, resistance, escape is gathered to observe. You understand? You see it? Then what takes place? You do it, please do it with me as we go along together, otherwise there is no point in my talking.
So now you are not escaping, not resisting, and you are envious, which is the result or movement of thought. Envy is comparison, is measurement - I have not, you have. So thought has brought about this feeling of envy. And thought itself says, I must run away from this enormous thing I don't know. I have been educated to run away. Now, because you see the falseness of it you stop, and you have this energy to observe this envy. The very word envy, the very word is its own condemnation - you understand what I am saying? Isn't it? When I say, I am envious there is already a sense of pushing it away. So the word - you follow? - the word - one must be free of the word to observe. All this demands tremendous alertness, tremendous watchfulness, you know, awareness, so that not to escape and see the word 'envy' - has the word created the feeling - or without the word is there a feeling? You follow all this? Now if there is no word and therefore no movement of thought - right? - you understand what I am saying? - then is there envy? You understand what I am saying? Isn't it? I am envious - envy implies comparison, measurement, desire to be something other than 'what is' and so on, or to have something which I have not got and so on. My education has been to run away from it, suppressing it and so on. Now by listening to what you are saying very, very, very carefully, I see the absurdity of it, therefore the very perception of it puts it all away from me, therefore there is a gathering of energy.
Then - I am investigating envy - has the word created the feeling, because the word is associated with the feeling. Right? Communism is associated with a certain pattern of life and so on, so on. So the word is dictating my feeling. Can I observe without the word? You understand, sir? Do it! Do it! Can you observe your envy without the word? Which means, the word is the movement of thought used to communicate - right? - communicate with itself, or with another. So when there is no word there is no communication between the fact and the observer. I wonder if you see all this. Therefore the movement of thought as envy has come to an end - come to an end completely, not temporarily. You can look at a beautiful car and observe the beauty, the line, and there is the end of it.
So to live with 'what is' completely implies no conflict whatsoever, therefore there is no future as transforming it into something else. The very ending of it is the gathering of supreme energy which is a form of intelligence. You understand? I wonder. So at the end of this talk, communication with each other, are you really free from all authority, free from all conclusion, free from all sense of going towards something? Which doesn't mean you live in despair - on the contrary. There is only despair when there is a projection of hope, when you are living with 'what is' there is neither future, nor past - there it is. I wonder if you get all this!
What time is it, sir?
So can you, by having listened seriously, with care I hope, have you discovered for yourself the truth that authority is the most destructive psychological factor? And therefore when there is no authority of any kind, which is pattern, idea and so on, you are living entirely in the world actually of timelessness, which is living with 'what is' in which there is no time. You understand this? Therefore there is an awakening of intelligence with which we are concerned - at least with which I am concerned, with which the speaker is concerned. And that by talking, by discussing with you, by going into it step by step with you, it is the intention of the speaker, it is the urgency of the speaker to awaken that intelligence in you. He is not awakening it in you. By working together, listening over the thing together it is naturally awakened. Right? Right, sirs.