Is time necessary to end something psychologically?
To observe without distortion
3rd Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 10, 1980
May we continue where we left off last Sunday. Perhaps some of you were not here, so we have to go over again a little bit, briefly, what we were saying.
We have been saying for many years that society cannot possibly be changed, the society which is in great turmoil, which is corrupt, where there is war, a great deal of struggle between human beings, that society cannot possibly be changed unless human beings, who have created it, bring about a radical change in themselves. This is what we've said, and we must explain a little more about it.
But please, this is not a gathering for entertainment. This is not a meeting of people together, to be mentally, intellectually or romantically, stimulated. We are here, I hope, to face this problem, which is this enormous confusion, mischief, great danger, which human beings are facing. To go into it very deeply we must think together about the problem.
We cannot possibly think together if we have contradictory opinions. If we are anchored in our own particular conclusion or belief, or hold onto some fantastic or romantic experience. Because this problem faces all mankind. Wherever you go, if you have travelled, not as a tourist, but wherever you go you'll find the same problem, man against man, confusion, fear, lack of integrity. And the scientist, the psychologists, somehow don't seem to be able to resolve this problem, nor the politicians, nor the Institutions, whether they are religious or political or social.
So it behoves us, if we are at all serious and concerned, that we human beings who have created that society - and we have - and we are responsible for all the things that are happening in the world, the appalling cruelty, to animals, to human beings, the religious tortures in the past, and so on. We have created them. And to understand that, not merely intellectually, but to really face it.
I hope we can think together about the problem. That is, if one has a particular point of view and another holds his opinion, then it's impossible to think together. If you are prejudiced and the speaker has a particular point of view, then we cannot possibly think together. Thinking together does not mean agreeing, but rather together, human beings, as two human beings, not Americans and Hindus, and all that business, but two human beings who are confronted with this problem: the problem that human beings have created this society which is so terrifying. And as human beings we have to radically change ourselves. And is that possible? Is it possible for a human mind, which has evolved through time, many millennia upon millennia, passed through a great many experiences, sufferings, many conflicting incidents, wars, this mind of the human being, this brain, which is not yours or mine, but the brain that has evolved, five, ten million years, it's the human brain, not a particular brain. But we have reduced it as a particular brain, mine and yours, but if you examine it very carefully one will find this brain, which has evolved through time, is the brain of mankind. Please don't reject it or accept it, examine it, look at it. Because this brain of ours suffers, is anxious, lonely, frightened, pursuing constant pleasure. And this brain has lived in a particular pattern, and this pattern is repeated over and over and over again, all over the world, whether they are Buddhists, Hindus, Communists, Catholics or whatever, what you will.
So it is not your brain or a particular individual's brain, it's the brain of mankind. And that brain has functioned in various patterns - pattern of fear, pattern of pleasure, and reward or punishment. That's the pattern, through all these millennia, it has developed. And is it possible to bring about, not another series of pleasurable patterns or patterns of fear, beliefs and so on, but to go beyond all these patterns, otherwise there is no radical change, there is no psychological revolution. I think this is important to understand.
Again, please, you're not listening to a talk by some strange person. We are together thinking, enquiring into the problem. So you're not, if you will kindly follow it, you're not accepting any authority, we're not doing any propaganda or trying to convince you of anything. But seeing the problem, which is very complex, and looking at that problem, facing that problem, and enquiring together into that problem. The enquiry into the problem is not analysis - the cause, effect. Enquiry is not argument, opposing one opinion against another opinion, one prejudice against another. Enquiry implies observation. Where there is observation there is no analysis. When you observe, that is when you observe without fear, without your own particular prejudice, or idiosyncrasy, then in that observation analysis ends. I hope we are doing this together.
That is, when you observe a tree, that thing, the very observation is through words, the moment you see it you call it a tree. Please do this as we are talking. To look at that thing without the word, which is to observe actually what it is. That's fairly clear. But to do that psychologically is much more complex. To observe without any motive, to observe what actually is going on - your fear, your anxiety, your loneliness, one's own sense of lacking, depression, whatever is actually going on. To observe it without analysis, without judging, without evaluating, just to observe. I hope this is becoming clear. Can we do this, together? Our minds have been trained to analyse, to see the cause and discover the effect, and in the very process of discovering the effect, the effect becomes the cause. It is a chain. You're following all this?
I think it's one of our calamities that we have during these probably hundred years, we have Communism and psychoanalysis, because they now prevent your being actually responsible for yourself. If there is any trouble, turmoil in yourself, you go to an analyst or some institution or some group, and so on. You, as a human being, you are now becoming, not free, but depending on others - depending on the church, depending on politics, depending on your gurus, or whatever it is, you are always depending on somebody to change, to bring about order in yourself. So we are nearly losing our freedom to be responsible for ourselves. That's why Communism makes one irresponsible, like psychoanalysis it reduces you, or makes you depend on somebody to solve your problem.
So what we're saying is that as human beings, we are responsible for the disorder that exists in the world. And this disorder is created by thought. That's where we ended up last week, last Sunday. We said that thought has created, not only the marvellous architecture, the marvellous cathedrals and the temples, and the mosques, it has created the technological world, beneficial and destructive, war and the instruments of war. Thought has created, has brought about the division between human beings: nationalistic, class, political, economic, spiritual, religious divisions. If you examine it closely, you will see that's a fact. Thought has been responsible for all this, not only what is inside the temples, the churches, but also what is outside in the world. So unless we understand very deeply the nature of thought, there is no possibility of bringing about a radical change. Right? Are we together in this, so far?
Thought has created the technological world. Right? Thought also has created the images about oneself, about the various national divisions, thought has created the Arab, the Jew, the Hindu, the Muslim, and so on and so on. Thought has also created the marvellous architecture and the churches, the cathedrals and the images in all those cathedrals, temples and mosques - there are no images in the Islamic world, but they have the scripture, the writing, which is also a form of image.
But thought has not created nature: the tree, the river, the skies, the stars, those lovely mountains, the birds. But thought is using them, destroying them, destroying the earth, polluting the air and so on. So if we want to resolve this problem of conflict, struggle, turmoil, confusion in the human mind and so in the human society, we must go into this question of what is thinking. Right? Are we meeting together? Please, shall we? No, Sir, not only you but all of us together.
We are asking: what is thought, what is thinking? Why has thought made all this? Why has thought brought about marvellous medicine and also why thought creates wars and destroys human beings? Why has thought made god and why has thought made the image of god? We have, thought has made the image of god. And also thought has brought such enormous conflict between human beings, between you and your intimate friend, intimate person, wife, husband, boy and so on and so on. Are you interested in all this? Or have you come here to enjoy a rather cool morning, sitting under the trees? If you are really interested, not in what is being said, but rather interested to find out, interested to find out for yourself why has thought done this, what is the nature of thought. That means, together we are looking into it. That means you must exercise your observation, you must go into it as alertly, keenly, passionately as the speaker is doing. Not just sit there and casually listen and go away. This is not an entertainment, this is a very serious affair.
So we are enquiring, talking over together, as two friends. You can't talk together with so many people, but it's two people, you and the speaker, trying to find out why thought has made this confusion, this turmoil. So thought is matter. Thought is the response of memory. Right? If you had no memory you wouldn't be able to think; if you had no remembrance of things past, thought wouldn't operate. So thought is the response of memory, memory is the outcome of various experiences, multiple incidents, accidents, which have been accumulated as knowledge - follow all this, sirs, - stored up in the brain. And that experience, that knowledge, which is memory, and the reaction of that memory is thinking. Right? It's not what I'm saying - you can discover it for yourself. Right? Is that clear? Can we go on from there? That is, through millennia we have acquired different kinds of knowledge, literary, scientific, personal, experiences. Those experiences have become knowledge, both scientific and personal. That knowledge is stored in the brain. So that brain is not your knowledge, it is the human knowledge. I know we like to think that it's my brain and your brain.
So this knowledge, experience stored in the brain as memory must always be limited, because knowledge is never complete. Right? Can never be complete, in any field. So with knowledge goes ignorance. Therefore thought is always limited, partial, it can never be complete. Right? Don't agree with me, sirs, examine it. So thought has created this world of confusion, because in itself it's limited. Right? Thought, as we said, is matter. That thought can only create matter, thing. Right? It can create illusions, it can create marvellous ideas, Utopias, marvellous systems, theories, but that very theory, that very ideal, that very concept by the theologians, or by the historians, is always limited. Right? So our actions are always limited. Therefore our actions are fragmented. Right? Our action can never be complete if it is based on thought. Right, sirs? If one realises that, not as an idea, but as an actuality - you understand the difference? The idea and the actual. You hear this statement that thought can never be complete, whatever it creates must be incomplete. You hear that statement and instinctively you make an abstraction of it into an idea. You're following all this? Are we together in this? An abstraction, away from the fact. So then the idea becomes all-important. And then you think, how am I to carry out that idea. So there is again division between action and idea. Are we going too fast? It's up to you.
So observation without abstraction, observation without analysis, observation without any form of conclusion, just to observe the nature of thinking. That is, who is the observer who is observing the nature of thinking? I wonder if you see this. You understand sir? Somebody I must talk to. Right? Can I pick on somebody, sir? Right, sir, let's put it this way. One is very greedy, self-centred. That's a fact. Is greed different from you? You understand my question? You are greed, but we have unfortunately created an illusion, that is, greed and I will act, do something about that greed. Right? So there is a division between greed and the actor, who will act upon greed. Right? So is that a fact? Or is it a pattern which we have developed to escape from the fact? Right? I wonder if you're meeting all this. That is, I am greedy, I don't quite know how to resolve this whole problem of greed, so I created its opposite, non-greed, and work with non-greed, which is non-fact. You're following all this? So we are saying, the observer is the observed. Right? Right, sir? So there is no division. Sir, look - there is a division between the Jew and the Arab, right? Created by thought: by racial prejudices, by religious conditioning but they are living on the same earth, but they are all fighting each other.
Now if you observe it very carefully, the human mind is conditioned as a Hindu, as a Muslim, Arab, Jew, Christian, non-Christian. You follow? It has been conditioned. And that conditioning says, I'm different from you. Right? And these differences of conditioning by thought, encouraged by various people for political, religious reasons, and we hold onto that division. So where there is division there must be struggle, there must be conflict. So when one realises that greed is not separate from me, I am greed, then there is totally a different movement taking place. You're following this, sir? Are we meeting each other in this point? Gosh, it seems so difficult. Is it very complex, what we're talking about? Yes, sir? Look at it, sir.
How will you meet violence? Human beings are violent. Right? We have cultivated the opposite. Right? The non-violence, don't be violent, be kind, be just, be all the rest of it. But basically we are violent, it still goes on, after a million years. Is that violence different from you? It's not, obviously. You are violence. Now can you observe that fact without making any kind of idea about the fact? Then what takes place? You're following all this? I'm violent. As a human being I'm violent. And I have lived with that violence for a million years, my brain has formed a pattern of not being violent and yet violence. And the pursuit of not being violent is an escape from the fact. And if I observe the fact, is the fact of being violent different from me, my nature, my way of looking? I am that. Right? Do we agree?
Then the conflict which existed before ends, doesn't it? I wonder if you see this. The conflict of division between violence and not being violent, that's a conflict, but when there is the realisation, I am conflict, not I am different from conflict, then that conflict ends. And a totally different action takes place.
Thought is the movement in time. Right? Thought is based on memory, which is the past, the past, with all its conclusions, ideas, beliefs, images, from that past the present, the past meets the present and the future. Right? There's a constant modification going on. That is time. Right? There is not only chronological time, by the watch, by the day, night, night and day, but also there is psychological time. Right? I will be. When you say, 'I will be' that's time. I must become something - that's time. I am not good but I will be good - that's time. And time is also thought. Right? Time as day and night, time when you have to go and catch the bus, time to acquire knowledge, to learn a language, time to acquire any kind of technological knowledge to act skilfully to earn a livelihood - all that is time, requires time. Psychologically, inwardly, we have also this idea of time. Right? I am not but I will be. I am confused, I'll go to the analyst, he will help me. Time. So psychologically we have cultivated this idea of time. Right?
So time is a movement from here to there. Psychologically also it's a movement from here to there. So thought is time. Right? This is important to understand because our brain is the essence of time and we've functioned psychologically in that pattern. I will have pleasure. I remember being happy, having a marvellous experience, this or that, and I must have more. This constant becoming is time. Now we're asking, is that an actuality or a fiction or an illusion, psychologically? Right, sir, are you getting tired? This is too much probably, all this.
We're saying, time is necessary in the acquisition of knowledge, of various kinds, many kinds. Now, is time necessary to end something, psychologically? You're following? That is, psychologically, I have fear, most human beings have fear. And they have had this fear psychologically probably from the very beginning of time, from the very beginning of psychological time. Right? And we haven't resolved it, not only are we frightened of physical pain and so on, physically, but psychologically also we have great fears of getting hurt, getting bruised, wounded, psychologically, because from childhood we have been hurt, and so on. So our brain functions in time. And so it has never resolved any of the problems. I wonder if you meet this. If I say to myself, I will get over my fear, actually what takes place is, I'm still frightened at the end of it. I exercise will, control it, escape from it and so on and so on. And so I never - human beings have never resolved this problem of fear. And we are saying, as long as we think in patterns of time, psychologically, fear will continue. Is this clear?
So, we are saying, can this thing called fear be ended immediately? Now let me take another example - fear is rather a complex problem which we'll go into perhaps tomorrow, in another talk. Take for instance dependence, psychological dependence. Human beings have cultivated this, because they are afraid to be alone, they are afraid to be lonely, they want comfort, they feel sustained if they depend on somebody. Because in themselves they are insufficient, psychologically, therefore clinging to somebody: a religious image, or a personal image and so on, clinging to somebody.
Now that has been the pattern of the human mind, cultivated through time. The consequences of dependence is fear, anxiety, jealousy, hatred, antagonism, all that follows. In that pattern we have lived. Right? Now to end that pattern immediately, is the question, because the moment when you admit time, I will end it, you have admitted moving away from the fact. Right? The fact is, one is dependent. Now without admitting time, you understand - I will get over it - end it, immediately - you have broken the pattern of time. You are following this? Are you working as hard as I am working for you? That is, sir, observe how you are dependent on another, psychologically. All the remembrance, all the pictures, the images and so on - dependent. And our brain has been used to the pattern of time, because it has grown with time. So it has exercised an act of will - 'I will' - and that means avoiding the fact. Now when one understands, not intellectually, or verbally, but actually sees the fact, how the brain works in time and therefore never resolves, and you see the urgency of not depending, it's ended. When you end something, a new thing begins. Right?
Are we thinking together or are you merely listening to the talk of a speaker and then saying, yes, I don't quite understand what he's talking about. He talks about this and that. Which means, you really are not thinking about the problem, which is your problem, the problem of humanity, the problem which is to bring about a totally different kind of society.
So is it possible to end your antagonism, your hatred, your jealousy - you understand - immediately, so that the brain has broken the pattern and can think and can act and look and observe totally differently. I wonder if you get this. Sir, this is meditation. You understand? Not all the phoney stuff that has been talked about. To meditate, which means to observe how your mind operates, not what the psychologists have told you how your mind works, Freud and all the rest of the gang, but to observe for yourself because you are responsible for yourself, for your body, for your mind, for your thoughts. So can you observe the whole content of your consciousness? You understand? Am I making this too difficult, sirs? I don't know, would you tell me a little bit? Am I making this too difficult? Your consciousness is full of the things that thought has created. Right? Your anxieties, your beliefs, your gods, your saviours, your Krishna's - you follow? All that has been created by thought. So your consciousness is the essence of time. By gosh, do you get it? And we are living, functioning, acting in that. And therefore there is never a radical, psychological change. And therefore society can never be good. Goodness is not the opposite of bad. Right? If it is, it is not good. Love is not the opposite of hate. Right? If it is, it is still hate. Right?
So, sir we had better stop here - we'll continue tomorrow, if you all want to come.