Knowledge and conflict in human relationships
A wholly different way of living
2nd Dialogue, San Diego, California
February 18, 1974
J. Krishnamurti was born in South India and educated in England. For the past 40 years he has been speaking in the United States, Europe, India, Australia and other parts of the world. From the outset of his life's work he repudiated all connections with organised religions and ideologies, and said that his only concern was to set man absolutely unconditionally free. He is the author of many books, among them The Awakening of Intelligence, The Urgency of Change, Freedom From the Known, and The Flight of the Eagle.
This is one of a series of dialogues between Krishnamurti and Dr. Allan W. Anderson, who is professor of religious studies at San Diego State University where he teaches Indian and Chinese scriptures and the oracular tradition. Dr. Anderson, a published poet, received his degree from Columbia University and the Union Theological Seminary. He has been honoured with the distinguished teaching award from the California State University.
A: Mr Krishnamurti, in our previous conversation I was extremely delighted, for myself at least, that we had made the distinction in terms of relation between knowledge and self transformation, between on the one hand, the relationship that I sustain with the world, as the world is me, and I am the world, and on the other hand this dysfunctional condition which indicates in your phrase, that a person is involved in thinking, that the description is the described. It would appear then that something must be done to bring about a change in the individual, and going back to our use of the word individual, we could say, and you used the word earlier, that we are dealing with an observer. So if the individual is not to make the mistake of taking the description for the described, then he must as an observer relate to the observed in a particular way that is totally different from the way he has been in his confusion. I thought that perhaps in this particular conversation, if we pursued that it would be a link directly with what we had said prior.
K: What we previously, wasn't it surely that there must be a quality of freedom from the known, otherwise the known is merely the repetition of the past, the tradition, the image, and so on. The past, sir, is the observer. The past is the accumulated knowledge as the 'me' and the 'we', 'they' and 'us'. The observer is put together by thought as the past. Thought is the past. Thought is never free. Thought is never new, because thought is the response of the past, as knowledge, as experience, as memory.
A: Yes I follow that.
K: And the observer, when he observes, is observing with the memories, experiences, knowledge, hurts, despairs, hope - all that, with all that background he looks at the observed. So the observer then becomes separate from the observed. Is the observer different from the observed? Which we will go into presently later on. That leads to all kinds of other things. So when we are talking of freedom from the known we are talking about the freedom from the observer.
A: The observer, yes.
K: And the observer is tradition, the past, the conditioned mind that looks at things, looks at itself, looks at the world, looks at me and so on. So the observer is always dividing. The observer is the past and therefore it cannot observe wholly.
A: If the person uses the first person pronoun, 'I', while he is taking the description for the described, this is the observer he refers to when he says, 'I'.
K: 'I' is the past.
A: I see
K: 'I' is the whole structure of what has been, the remembrances, the memories, the hurts, the various demands, all that is put together in the word, 'the I', who is the observer, and therefore division: the observer and the observed. The observer who thinks he is a Christian and observes a non-Christian or a Communist, this division, this attitude of mind which observes with conditioned responses, with memories and so on. So that is the known.
A: I see.
K: I mean I think that is logically so.
A: Oh, no, it follows precisely from what you have said.
K: So, we are asking, can the mind or the whole structure, can the mind be free from the known? Otherwise the repetitious action, repetitious attitudes, repetitious ideologies, will go on, modified, changed, but it will be the same direction.
A: Do go ahead, I was going to say something but I think I'll let it wait until you have finished what you have said.
K: So, what is this freedom from the known? I think that is very important to understand because, any creative action - I am using the word creative in its original sense, not in the sense creative writing, creative...
A: I know
K: ...bakery, creative essay, creative pictures. I am not talking in that sense. In the deeper sense of that word, creation means something totally new being born. It is not creative, it is merely repetitive, modified, changed, the past. So unless there is a freedom from the known there is no creative action at all. Which is freedom implies not the negation of the known but the understanding of the known and that understanding brings about an intelligence which is the very essence of freedom.
A: I'd like to make sure that I've understood your use of this word creative. It seems to me very important. People who use the word creative in the sense that you described, creative this that or the other...
K: That's a horror. That is a dreadful way of using that word.
A: ...because what the issue is of their activity is something merely novel.
K: Novel, novel, that's right.
A: Not radically new, but novel.
K: It's like creative writing, teaching creative writing. It's so absurd.
A: Exactly. Yes, now I do, I think, grasp precisely the distinction you have made. And I must say I fully agree with that.
K: Unless you feel new you cannot create anything new.
A: That's right. And the person who imagines that he is creative in this other sense that we pointed to is a person whose reference for his activity is this observer that we mentioned that is tied to the past.
K: Yes, that's right.
A: So even if something does appear that is really extraordinarily novel, merely novel, but still extraordinarily novel, they are kidding themselves.
K: The novel is not the creative.
K: The novel is just the...
A: And today especially, it seems to me in our culture, we have become hysterical about this because in order to be creative one must simply wrack his brains in order to produce something, which in itself is bizarre enough to get attention.
K: That's all. Attention, success.
A: Yes. It has to be novel to the degree that I feel knocked on the head by it.
K: Eccentric, and all the rest.
A: Exactly. But if that tension is increased, then with each succeeding generation the person is put to tremendous stress not to repeat the past, which he can't help repeating.
K: Repeating quite.
K: That's why I say freedom is one thing and knowledge is another. We must relate the two to see whether the mind can be free from knowledge. We won't go into it now. This is real meditation for me. You follow, sir?
A: Yes I do.
K: Because when we talk about meditation - we will go into it - but to see whether the brain can record and be free not to record, the brain to record and operate when necessary in the recording, in the memory, in knowledge, and be free to observe without the observer.
A: Oh yes, yes. I see, that distinction seems to me to be absolutely necessary, otherwise it wouldn't be intelligible.
K: So knowledge is necessary to act in the sense, my going home from here to the place I live; I must have knowledge. I must have knowledge to speak English. I must have knowledge to write a letter, and so on, everything. The knowledge as function, mechanical function, is necessary. Now if I use that knowledge in my relationship with you, another human being I am bringing about a barrier, a division between you and me, who is the observer. Am I making myself clear?
A: I am the observed in that case.
A: Right in that context.
K: That is, knowledge in a relationship, in human relationship, is destructive,
K: That is, knowledge which is the tradition, the memory, the image, which the mind has built about you when we are related together, that knowledge is separative and therefore creates conflict in that relationship. As we said earlier, where there is division there must be conflict. Division between India and Pakistan, India and America, Russia and all that, this divisive activity politically, religiously, economically, socially, in every way must inevitably bring conflict and therefore violence. That's obvious.
K: Now, when in relationship, in human relationship, knowledge comes between then in that relationship there must be conflict - between husband and wife, boy and girl, wherever there is the operation as the observer who is the past, who is knowledge, in that activity there is division, and therefore conflict in relationship.
A: So now the question that comes up next is the one of freedom from, being subject to this repetitive round.
K: Yes, that's right,
A: Good, good,
K: Now is that possible? It is an immense question because human beings live in relationship.
K: There is no life without relationship. Life means to be related.
K: People who retire into a monastery and all that, they are still related, however they might like to think they are alone, they are actually related, related to the past.
A: Oh yes, very much so.
K: To their saviour, to their Christ, to their Buddha, you follow, all that, they are related to the past.
A: And their rules.
K: And their rules, everything.
K: They live in the past and therefore they are the most destructive people because they are not creative in the deeper sense of that word.
A: No, and they also, in so far as they are involved in this confusion that you have been talking about, are not even producing anything novel. Not that that means anything, but perhaps that would rather radically...
K: The novel would be for a man who is talkative to enter a monastery where they don't talk.
K: That's a novel to him and he says that's a miracle!
K: So our problem then is, what place has knowledge in human relationship?
A: Yes, that's the problem.
K: That's one problem.
K: Because relationship with human beings is the highest importance, obviously, because out of that relationship we create the society in which we live. Out of that relationship all our existence comes.
A: This would take us back again to the earlier statement: I am the world and the world is me. That is a statement about relationship. It's a statement about many other things too, but that is a statement about relationship. The statement: the description is not the described, is the statement of the rupture of this relationship...
K: That's right.
A: ...in terms of everyday activity.
K: Sir, everyday activity is my life, is our life.
A: Is everything. Yes precisely.
K: Whether I go to the office, the factory, or drive a bus or whatever it is, it is life, living.
A: But it is interesting, isn't it, that even when that rupture is undergone, at a very destructive level, what we call thought in the context of our description of it and image becomes itself, even distorted.
K: Of course, of course,
A: So that the distortion that we've been calling knowledge in terms of its application - not as you described as, 'I need to know how to get from here to there', no of course - can itself suffer an even worse condition than we are presently related to; and we have tomes upon tomes about that pathology in itself don't we? Please, please do go on.
K: So knowledge and freedom: they must both exist together, not freedom and knowledge. It's the harmony between the two. The two operating all the time in relationship.
A: The knowledge and freedom in harmony.
K: In harmony. It's like they can never be divorced. If I want to live with you in great harmony, which is love - which we will discuss that later on - there must be this absolute sense of freedom from you, not dependency, and so on, and so on, and so on, this absolute sense of freedom and operating at the same time in the field of knowledge.
A: Exactly. So somehow this knowledge, if I may use a theological word here without prejudicing what we are talking about, if in correct relationship with this freedom is somehow continuously redeemed, it is somehow operating no longer destructively but in co-ordination with the freedom in which I may live, because we haven't got to that freedom yet, we are just positing freedom.
K: We have somewhat analysed, or discussed, or opened the question of knowledge.
K: And we haven't gone into the question of freedom, what it means.
A: No, but we have established something, I think this conversation so far has revealed, which is terribly important, at least I'd say for my students in terms of helping them not to misunderstand what you are saying.
A: I have the feeling that many persons because they are not sufficiently attentive to what you say simply dismiss many statements you say out of hand as...
A: ...impossible, or if they like the aesthetics of it it still doesn't apply to them. It's a lovely thing out there, wouldn't it be great if somehow we could do this. But you see you haven't said that. You haven't said what they think you have said. You've said something about knowledge with respect to pathology and you've said something about knowledge in which knowledge itself is no longer destructive.
A: So we're not saying that knowledge as such is the bad guy and something else is the good guy.
A: No, I think it is terribly important that that's seen, and I wouldn't mind it being repeated over and over again, because I do heartily feel that it's easy to misunderstand.
K: That's very important because religion, at least the meaning of word is to gather together to be attentive. That is the true meaning of that word, religion, I have looked it up in a dictionary.
A: Oh yes, I agree.
K: Gathering together all energy to be attentive; to be attentive, otherwise it's not religion. Religion is all the things - we'll discuss that when we come to it. So freedom means the sense of complete austerity and a sense of total negation of the observer.
K: Out of that comes austerity, everything else. We'll go into that later on.
A: But austerity in itself doesn't produce it.
K: No. Upside down.
A: So we've turned that upside down.
K: Austere means really, the word itself means ash, dry, brittle. But the austerity of which we are talking about is something entirely different.
K: It is the freedom that brings about this austerity inwardly.
A: There is a beautiful Biblical phrase that points to this, just three words, 'beauty for ashes' when the transformation takes place. And in English we have the phrase ashes in the mouth when the whole thing has come to ashes. But there is a change from ashes to beauty.
K: So freedom in action in the field of knowledge and in the field of human relationship, because that is the highest importance, human relationship.
A: Oh yes, yes. Oh yes, particularly if I am the world and the world is me.
K: So what place has knowledge in human relationship? Knowledge in the sense of past experience, tradition, image.
K: What has the observer, who is the observer, all that is the observer, what place has the observer in human relationship?
A: What place has knowledge on the one hand, what place has the observer.
K: Observer is the knowledge
A: Is the knowledge. But there is the possibility of seeing knowledge, not simply negatively, but in co-ordination, in true creative relationship.
K: I have said that.
A: Right. Exactly.
K: I am related to you let's say, to make it very simple. I'm related to you, You are my brother, husband or wife, whatever it is, and what place has knowledge as the observer, which is the past, and knowledge is the past, what place has that in our relationship?
A: If our relationship is creative...
K: It is not. Not 'if', we must take it actually as it is. I am related to you, I am married to you, I am your wife or husband whatever it is. Now what is the actuality in that relationship? The actuality, not theoretical actuality, but the actuality is that I am separate from you.
A: The actuality must be that we are not divided.
K: But we are. I may call you my husband, my wife, but I am concerned with my success, I am concerned with my money, I am concerned with my ambitions, my envy, I am full of me.
A: Yes I see that, but I want to make sure now that we haven't reached a confusion here.
K: Yes we have.
A: When I say that the actuality is that we are not separate, I do not mean to say that at the phenomenal level that a dysfunction is occurring. I am fully aware of that. But if we are going to say that the world is me and I am the world...
K: We say it theoretically we don't feel it.
A: Precisely. But if that is the case, that the world is me and I am the world and this is actual, this is actual...
K: This is actual only when I have no division in myself.
A: Exactly. Exactly.
K: But I have a division.
A: If I have a division then there is no relationship between one and the other.
K: Therefore I accept, one accepts the idea that the world is me and me is the world. That is just an idea. Look sir.
A: Yes, I understand.
K: But if...
A: But if and when it happens...
K: Wait. Just see what takes place in my mind. I make a statement of that kind, the world is you and you are the world. The mind then translates it into an idea, into a concept and tries to live according to that concept.
K: It has abstracted from reality.
A: This is knowledge in the destructive sense.
K: I won't call it destructive or positive. This is what is going on.
A: Well let's say the issue from it is hell.
K: Yes. So in my relationship with you what place has knowledge, the past, the image which is the observer, all that is the observer, what place has the observer in our relationship? Actually the observer is the factor of division.
K: And therefore the conflict between you and me, this is what is going on in the world everyday.
A: Then one would have to say, it seems to me, following the conversation point by point, that the place of this observer, understood as you have pointed out, is the point of dysrelationship.
K: Is the point where there is really actually no relationship at all. I may sleep with my wife, and so on and so on but actually there is no relationship because I have my own pursuits, my own ambitions, all the idiosyncrasies, and so on and she has hers, so we are always separate and therefore always in battle with each other. Which means the observer as the past is the factor of division.
A: Yes, I was just wanting to be sure that the phrase is the place, of what is the place of the observer was understood in the context of what we are saying. We have made the statement that there is such a thing.
A: Well its place as such would seem to me not to be what we usually mean by its occupying a place.
A: We are talking rather about an activity here that is profoundly disordered.
K: Sir, as long as there is the observer, there must be conflict in relationship.
A: Yes, I follow that.
K: Wait, wait, see what happens. I make a statement of that kind, someone will translate that into an idea, into a concept and say, 'How am I to live that concept?' The fact is he doesn't observe himself as the observer.
A: That's right. That's right. He is the observer looking out there making a distinction between himself and the...
K: ...and the statement.
A: Right. Making a division.
K: Has the observer any place at all in relationship? I say, the moment he comes into existence in relationship there is no relationship.
A: The relationship is not.
K: Is not.
A: It is not something that is in dysrelationship.
K: Yes that's right.
A: We are talking about something, that in fact doesn't even exist.
K: Exist. Therefore we have to go into the question why human beings in their relationship with other human beings are so violent, because that is spreading throughout the world. I was told the other day in India, a mother came to see me, very Brahmanical family, very cultured and all the rest of it, her son who is six, when she asked him to do something he took up a stick and began to hit her. A thing unknown. You follow, sir?
K: The idea that you should hit your mother is traditionally something incredible. And this boy did it. And I said, 'See what is the fact', we went into it, she understood. So to understand violence one has to understand division.
A: The division was already there.
A: Otherwise he would not have picked up the stick.
K: Division between nations, you follow sir?
K: This race for armaments is one of the factors of violence. Which is, I am calling myself American and he is calling himself Russian or Hindu or whatever it is, this division is the factor of real violence and hatred. If a mind, not 'if', when mind sees that it cuts away all division in himself. He is no longer a Hindu, American, Russian. He is a human being with his problems which he is then trying to solve, not in terms of India, or America or Russia. So we come to the point, can the mind be free in relationship, which means orderly, not chaotic, orderly?
A: It has to be otherwise you couldn't use the word relationship.
K: No. No. So can the mind be free of that? Free of the observer?
A: If not, there is no hope.
K: That's the whole point.
A: If not, we've had it.
K: Yes. And all the escapes and going off into other religions, doing all kinds of tricks, has no meaning. Now, this demands a great deal of perception, insight into the fact of your life: how one lives one's life. After all philosophy means the love of truth, love of wisdom, not the love of some abstraction.
A: Oh no, no, no. Wisdom is supremely practical.
K: Practical. Therefore here it is. That is, can a human being live in relationship in freedom and yet operate in the field of knowledge?
A: And yet operate in the field of knowledge, yes.
K: And be absolutely orderly. Otherwise it is not freedom. Because order means virtue.
A: Yes, yes.
K: Which doesn't exist in the world at the present time. There is no sense of virtue in anything. Then we repeat. Virtue is a creative thing, is a living thing, is a moving thing.
A: I am thinking as you are saying this about virtue, which is really power, which is really the ability to act; and if I am following you correctly what you are really saying, and please correct me if I am way off here, what you are really saying is that the ability to act in the strict sense, which must be creative, otherwise it's not an action but is simply a reaction.
K: A repetition.
A: A repetition. That the ability to act, or virtue, as you put it, bears with it necessarily the implication of order. it must. It seems to me no way out of that.
A: I just wanted to recover that a step at a time.
K: So can I come back. In human relationship as it exists now, we are looking at that, what actually is, in that human relationship there is conflict, sexual violence and so on and so on, every kind of violence. Now, can man live at total peace - otherwise he is not creative - in human relationship, because that is the basis of all life.
A: I'm very taken with the way you have pursued this. I notice that when we asked this question, 'is it possible that', the reference for it is always a totality.
A: And the reference over here is a fragment, or a fragmentation, or a division. Never once have you said that the passage from the one to the other is a movement that even exists.
K: No. It can't exist.
A: You see.
A: I think Mr Krishnamurti, that nothing is so difficult to grasp as this statement that you have made. There is nothing that we are taught, from childhood up to render such a possibility, a matter for taking seriously, because when - well of course, one doesn't like to make sweeping statements about the way everyone has been educated but I'm thinking of myself, from a child upward, all the way through graduate school, accumulating a lot of this knowledge that you have been talking about. I don't remember anybody saying to me, or even pointing me to a literature that so categorically makes this distinction between one and the other as in terms of each other, not accessible to each other through passage.
K: No. No, no, quite, quite.
A: Now, I'm correct in understanding you there, aren't I?
K: Quite right.
A: Maybe I could just say this as an aside.
K: The fragment can not become the whole.
A: No. The fragment cannot become the whole, in and of itself.
K: But the fragment is always trying to become the whole.
A: Exactly. Exactly. Now of course, in the years of very serious and devoted contemplation and exploration of this which quite clearly you have undertaken with great passion, I suppose it must have occurred to you that the first sight of this, while one is in the condition of the observer, must be very frightening in the condition of the observer, the thought that there is no passage.
K: No. But you see I never looked at it that way.
A: Please tell me how you looked at it. Please.
K: From childhood I never thought I was a Hindu.
A: I see.
K: I never thought, when I was educated in England and all the rest of it, that I was European. I never was caught in that trap. I don't know how it happened, I was never caught in that trap.
A: Well, when you were quite little then and your playmates said to you, well now look, you are a Hindu, what did you say?
K: I probably put on Hinduism and all the trappings of Brahmin, tradition, but it never penetrated deeply.
A: As we say in the vernacular, it never got to you.
K: It never got to me, that's right.
A: I see. That's very remarkable. That's extraordinary. The vast number of people in the world seem to have been got to in respect this.
K: That's why I think, you see, propaganda has become the means of change.
A: Yes. Yes.
K: Propaganda is not truth. Repetition is not truth.
A: It's a form of violence too.
K: That's just it. So a mind that merely observes doesn't react to what it observes according to its conditioning. Which means there is no observer at anytime, therefore no division. It happened to me, I don't know how it happened, but it has happened. And in observing all this I've seen in every human relationship, every kind of human relationship, there is this division and therefore violence. And to me the very essence of non-relationship is the factor of me and you.
A: I was just trying to go back in my own personal history and think of when I was a child. I did, while accepting that I was different - I did believe that, I did come to accept that - there was something else however that always held me very, very hard to centre in terms of making an ultimate issue of that, and that was an experience I had when I was rowing a boat. I spent some time in Scandinavia as a child and I used to take a boat out on the fjord everyday, and when I would row I was profoundly moved by the action of the water when I moved the oar, because I lifted the oar out of the water, and there was a separation in substance between the water and the oar, but the water which was necessary for support and for purchase so that I could propel myself, never lost touch with itself, it always turned into itself without every having left itself in the beginning. And once in awhile I would laugh at myself and say, if anyone catches you looking at this water any longer than you are doing they will think that you are clear out of your mind. This is the observer talking to himself, of course. But that made such a profound impression on me that I think, it was what you might call a little salvation for me, and I never lost that. So maybe there is some relationship between that apprehension which I think changed my being, and what it is you are talking about as one who never ever suffered this sense of separation at all. Please go ahead.
K: This brings us to the point sir, doesn't it, can the human mind which has evolved in separation, in fragmentation...
A: This is where evolution is. Yes.
K: ...can such a mind transform, undergo a regeneration which is not produced by influence, by propaganda, by threat and punishment, because if it changes because it is going to get a reward then...
A: It hasn't changed.
K: ...it hasn't changed.
K: So that is one of the fundamental things which one has to ask and answer it in action, not in words.
A: In action. Oh yes.
K: Which is, my mind, the human mind has evolved in contradiction, in duality. The 'me' and the 'not me' has evolved in this traditional cleavage, division, fragmentation. Now can that mind observe this fact, observe without the observer, and only then there is a regeneration. As long as there is an observer observing this then there is a conflict. I don't know if I make myself clear.
A: Yes, you do. You make yourself very clear on two levels. On the level of discourse alone, which I know is not your major concern, on a level of discourse alone it necessarily follows that it must be the case that this possibility exists, otherwise we would be talking nonsense. But then the agony of the situation at large that we have been describing is simply that whether this can be done or not never occurs to a person and in the absence of it even occurring the repetition is going to continue indefinitely and things are going to get worse and worse.
K: Sir, the difficulty is most people won't even listen.
A: I'm sighing. I know that.
K: Won't listen. If they do listen they listen with their conclusions. If I am a Communist I will listen to you up to a point. After that I won't listen to you. And if I am slightly demented I will listen to you and translate what I hear according to my dementia.
K: So one has to be extraordinarily serious to listen. Serious in the sense put aside my peculiar prejudices and idiosyncrasies and listen to what you are saying, because the listening is the miracle: not what shall I do with what you have said.
A: Not what shall I listen to...
K: But the act of listening.
A: But the act of listening itself.
A: We are back to 'ing', where there's listening itself.
K: That requires that you are good enough to listen to me because you want to find out. But the vast majority say what are you talking about, I want to go on enjoying myself so go and talk to somebody else. So to create an atmosphere, to create an ambience, a feeling that life is dreadfully serious, my friend, do listen. It's your life, don't waste it, do listen. To bring about a human being that will listen is the greatest importance, because we don't want to listen. It's too disturbing.
A: I understand. I have tried sometimes in class to make this very point. And sometimes I suggest that we should watch the animal, especially the wild animal, because if it's not listening it's likely dead.
K: Dead, yes sir.
A: There is this extraordinary attention that it makes and every instant of its life is a crisis.
A: And you know what happens, the eyes out there show in the main that they think I am talking about animal psychology. I'm not talking about psychology at all, I'm talking about what is the case which is either or, and there isn't any way to get from either to or. That's what I mean. So I think I understand you.
K: In America what is happening how, as I observe it, I may be mistaken, they are not serious. They are playing with new things, something entertaining, go from one thing to the other. And they think this is searching.
K: Searching, asking, but they get trapped in each one of them.
K: And at the end of it they have nothing but ashes. So it is becoming more and more difficult for human beings to be serious, to listen, to see what they are, not what they should be.
A: No. What is the case.
K: What is.
K: That means you please do listen for 5 minutes.
K: In this conversation you are listening because you are interested, you want to find out. But the vast majority of people say, for god's sake, leave me alone, I have my little house, my wife, my car, my yacht, or whatever it is, for god's sake don't change anything as long as I live.
A: You know, going back to what I do know something about, namely the Academy, because I am situated there in terms of day to day activity. I've often remarked to myself in attending conferences where papers are read that nobody is listening. It's one long monologue. And after a while you get the feeling that it really is a shocking waste of time. And even to sit down and have coffee the discussion say between classes usually runs on the basis of babble, we are just talking about things in which we are not genuinely interested in, in order to fill up space. This, however, is far more serious a matter than simply a description of what's going on.
K: It's a matter, I feel, of life and death.
K: If the house is burning I've got to do something. It isn't, I am going to discuss who burned the house.
A: No. No.
K: What colour his hair was, whether it was black or white or purple, I want to put that fire out.
A: Or if such and such had not happened the house would not be burning. I know, I know.
K: And I feel it is so urgent because I see it in India, I see in Europe and America, everywhere I go this sense of slackness, sense of, you know, sense of despair, sense of hopeless activity that is going on.
So to come back to what we are saying, relationship is the highest importance. When in that relationship there is conflict, we produce a society which will further that conflict, through education, through national sovereignties, through all the rest of it that is going on in the world. So a serious man, serious in the sense who is really concerned, committed, must give his total attention to this question of relationship, freedom and knowledge.
A: If I've heard you correctly, and I don't mean by that words that have passed between us, but if I have truly heard you, I've heard something very terrifying, that this disorder that we have in part described, has a built in necessity in it. As long as it persists it can never change. It can never change.
A: Any modification of it is...
K: Further disorder.
A: ...is more of the same.
K: More of the same.
A: More of the same. I have the feeling and I hope I have understood you correctly, that there is a relationship between the starkness of this necessity and the fact that there cannot be a gradual progress, or, as a philosopher would put it, something like essential progress, but nevertheless there is some demonic progress that takes place within this disorder that is not so much a progress as it is a proliferation of the same. Necessarily so. Is that what you have been saying?
K: Yes, yes.
A: Necessarily so.
K: You know that word progress, I was told the other day meant, entering into enemy's country fully armed.
A: Really! Progress is entering into an enemy's country fully armed. Dear me.
K: Sir. This is what is happening.
A: I know. Next time we converse, next time, I would like very much if you would be good enough to pursue precisely what we have just come to: namely this necessity and the necessity that produced that statement.
K: Yes, quite.