Order is essential for survival
An energy that will transform the human mind
3rd Public Talk, Madras
December 23, 1973
I often wonder why people go to meetings at all, why we sit around and be told what to do or what to think, or we accept very easily the dictum, the lecture of somebody. Why do we gather together at all? Why do we sit and listen to somebody? Is it a habit? Is it a tradition? Is it that we are ourselves - what a lovely sunset, isn't it - we ourselves are incapable of thinking out our own conduct, our behaviour, and are only too willing to be told what to do. And I am afraid, here, you are not going to be told what to do. We are going to think over things together, have an insight, intelligently examine our problems of living, love, death, which is what we are going to discuss, talk over together this evening. And also, if time permits - I don't think it will - we should also talk about meditation. Perhaps we will do it next Wednesday afternoon. So, as we are here, I presume that you are serious, and that you want to be serious, that you have the capacity of sustained serious attention. And in talking over these matters together, every form of authority must be discarded, specially where the speaker is concerned.
Authority means the originator, the one who originates, starts something new, either in the field of science, biology, archaeology, or in the religious matters, and thereby establish an authority. There is the authority of law, of the law, the authority of the policeman, the authority of government, however corrupt the governments are, the authority of doctors, the scientists, the authority of those who know how to build a bridge, and so on. But here, when we are concerned with our lives, not with bridges, not with merely biology or mathematics, here, which is our existence, our life, our way of living, our conduct, what need there be for authority? And authority in the world of thought, in the world of conduct, behaviour, relationship, that very authority breeds disorder, and we need order to survive. And we are going to find out for ourselves if we can this evening, what is order, that is so essential for human beings to survive, what is that order, which is not the blueprint of discipline, control, suppression, conformity. We have assumed order to be a matter of discipline, either established by a dictatorship for a series of ideological continuity or the order established by religious sanctions or by experience, knowledge.
Order is essential for survival. Order implies a way of living our daily life in which every form of suppression, control, imitation, is the very negation of order. I know most of you will disagree totally with what I am what the speaker is saying, but you please kindly listen. Because to me, to the speaker, there is a way of living which needs tremendous intelligence, which has nothing whatsoever to do with conformity, with control, with suppression. A discipline, which is obedience to a particular pattern, social, religious or otherwise, adjusting a mind to conform to a pattern, is generally called discipline. The word 'discipline', the root meaning of that word is 'to learn'. To learn constantly, and therefore a mind that is learning has no need of suppression, control.
Please, first of all, see what we have done with learning. We have divided we have accumulated knowledge through learning - learning a language, learning certain technological professions, and so on - there, accumulated knowledge is necessary. If I want to know how to drive a car I must practice, I must learn the mechanical process, how the engine works, and so on, so on. That is the kind of learning that is necessary, and there is another kind of learning which is nonaccumulative, which is constantly learning, never learning in order to accumulate and act, but in the very act of learning is action. I learn as I go along. And there is another kind of learning, which is, I have learnt, and act according to that. Discipline means to learn, not what we have translated it to be.
So, order is essential for the brain to survive. To function rationally, reasonably, healthily, objectively and effectively it must have order. Right? Please, notice your own mind, your own brain in operation, as it were, how when the brain has no order it brings about a sense of insecurity, and being insecure it projects ideas, concepts, formulas, which may be fallacious, and accepts them in order to be secure. Are we going together in this? I am afraid not quite.
Why do you believe that there is god? Why do you believe in anything that you hold dear? You believe because that gives you a sense of security. However ridiculous, however irrational, however nonsensical, you believe. I believe, or you believe you are a Hindu, which is nonsense, but you believe and therefore that gives you great security. Right? You are following this? Please. So the brain needs security. And if during the day you do not establish security, which is objective action, healthy, total action, during sleep it tries to establish order. I do not know if you have not noticed it. Just before going to sleep you take stock of the day, what has happened, what you have done, not done, what you should do, not do, what you have said and could have said better, and so on. You take a stock before you go to sleep, don't you? At least some of you do, don't you? Why? It is the brain demanding order. If it isn't established during the day, waking hours, it will establish during sleep because it must have order to survive. And when you look at your life, the daily existence, is it orderly, in the sense we are talking about? That is, noncontradictory, objective, nonpersonal, not clinging to any ideology, therefore no conflict. It is only such a mind is orderly. In that sense we are using that word, not the orderliness of conformity, of obedience.
Now, let us look at our lives, at your life, if you dare. Is it orderly? Or is it in constant turmoil, disturbance, constant disorder? Are you looking at your life or you are looking at me? Are you looking or hearing the description only and not what is described, which is you? Now, which is it that you are doing: looking at your life as it is, or satisfied with the description which the speaker is giving? Which is it that you are doing? If you are merely satisfied or dissatisfied with the description, then you are not observing your life. And we are looking at your life, your daily life. You are educated to be disorderly. You are educated to conform. Please look at yourself, for god's sake. It's your life. You are educated to imitate, you are educated to conform to the pattern of society, the pattern of ambition, envy, seeking power, money, constant battle, constant struggle, effort, to survive in a society, which you have created, which is disorderly. Are you following all this? And society as it is, it is the very essence of disorder, whether it is a communist society or the capitalist society or your Hindu society. And you are educated from childhood to conform to the pattern. And that pattern says, you are a Hindu, you are a Muslim, you are a Buddhist, you are a communist, you are a Mao, you are a democrat, this, that and the other. And your whole existence is based on that pattern. Right? Please observe yourself. And being in disorder, you think you are free to choose.
A mind that is disorderly, when it chooses and what it chooses must be also disorderly. You are following? Your gurus are disorderly, your politicians whom you elect, because you are disorderly, inevitably they must be disorderly, they also must be disorderly. You understand what I am saying? So you think you are free to choose, and you choose out of confusion. Should there be choice at all? That is, when you see something very clearly there is no choice, is there. It is only a confused mind, a disorderly mind that chooses. I wonder if you see all this. So your life is a contradictory, disorderly life. You live at different levels. If you are an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, what profession you will, your profession is one thing, your conduct is another, your worship is something superstitious, unreal, your temples and your priests have no validity at all. So you live in fragments, and a life that is lived in fragments is disorderly. Right?
Now, what is order? Is order the opposite of disorder? Or is order, or does order come about with the understanding of what is disorder? The diligent negation of disorder gives the energy to bring about order in life. Suppose I look at my life. I am looking; my life is your life, I am looking at it. I go to the office or the factory, spend the rest of my life working, working, working, working, day after day, with occasional holiday. I spend forty years or fifty years of my life, because I say I have a responsibility for my children and wife, and therefore I must work. That is your education which has trained you, conditioned you, to work. I am not saying you shouldn't work. Look what is involved in it. And my relationship is superficial - with my wife, with my neighbour, with myself, with everything. My relationship is based on the image that I have built about another, and therefore I have no relationship at all. I have relationship of ideas, conclusions, the images which I have about myself and about another. I am ambitious. I want to conform in order to gain more money, more power, more position. That's a battle. Everybody wants power, money, position. That's the structure of society which I have built, as you have built it.
Please observe your life, which I am describing as though I was your life. And envy, bitterness, jealousy, frustration, constant struggle of misery, confusion, fear, rushing off to the guru to tell me at least seeking comfort with him, attached to my wife, to my family, to my house, to my ideas, to my conclusions, and I don't want to be disturbed about those attachments, and life says shakes me, disturbs me and I battle against it. So my life, which is your life, is a constant battle, constant fear and great sorrow. Do you know - you know sorrow, don't you? Or is that something strange? Do you know sorrow, grief, pain, anxiety, uncertainty, the sense of insecurity - don't you know all this? You may be married, have children, a house, a bank account, a title, whatever you want, and yet this thing going on inside. That's your life. Sexual pleasure and the repetition of it endlessly, and the guilt feeling of sex because religion says don't; and society encourages you on the one hand and religion says don't.
So there you are. That's your life. A total disorder. Is my description fictitious, unreal, or is it real? Answer Look at it. And the brain demands order. So you take, you bring about, at least you think you have order by accepting a belief which has nothing to do with daily living, so your actions become neurotic. Right? The religious man, as he is now called a religious man, who is not religious, that religious man is a neurotic man. Right? Do you see all this? You are very educated, you become a professional, a career, and yet you trot off to the temple, the least trouble, take a vow, do this, that, which are all contradictory to your daily life and therefore neurotic, and all that is disorder. And is order, can order come out of disorder or is order nothing to do with disorder?
So, living a life of disorder and acting neurotically gives such disturbance to the brain that it will escape in any direction to find any kind of security. Now, see that, be totally aware of it. Not choose what you think is not disorder, out of disorder, but be totally, choicelessly aware of this disorder. And then you will see out of that disorder flowers order, which is constantly living, because order is virtue. Behaviour is righteousness. And when there is behaviour, a way of living in which no conflict, then in that there is total order and therefore the brain can work marvellously, which means freely, always learning, learning, moving. Right? So order is virtue. Not the virtue that you cultivate. When you cultivate virtue it is no longer virtue. When a man who is haughty, proud, vane, cultivates humility, it is not humility. It is still vanity under the name of humility. You are following all this? Sir, give your life to understand all this because you are all so unhappy. Your life is so miserable and you put up with it.
So, order is necessary, and this order comes when you understand the full when you have an insight, when you have the capacity to look at disorder choicelessly, and that choiceless awareness is intelligence, and that intelligence will bring order. The word - shall I go on? Are you still interested in what we are talking about? Intelligence means, the root meaning of that word, is the capacity to read; read between the lines. Between the lines is an open space. You are following all this? To read in the open space between the lines, your mind must be free to look. That is, an intelligent mind is a mind that is capable of looking between the lines and reading what is between the lines. That is, to have an insight, to have an understanding, not about words, but in that space where the mind can look freely. Have you understood the meaning of that word 'intelligence'? You can be very learned but you may not be intelligent. You may be highly professional in your career; you may not be intelligent. You might have tremendous responsibilities, burden of responsibility and yet you may not be intelligent. Intelligence means the capacity to observe freely and learn. So there is this disorder. To look at it freely without the choice of what you think is order, and when you look at it, at your life, so completely disorderly, then out of that insight comes order which is the highest form of intelligence and therefore virtue.
And order implies relationship. You cannot live by yourself. You may go off into a mountain, to the Himalayas, or go off into a little village and you think you can live by yourself. There is no person or human being without relationship. Life is relationship. Oh, come on, sir. You understand all this? And relationship means also order. But there is disorder in relationship when that relationship is based on conclusions - please follow this - conclusions, on the images you have built about another, on the images that you have about your wife and your husband. Those images have nothing whatsoever to do with relationship. Relationship means direct contact, direct perception, direct understanding, and you cannot have an understanding of another, whether it's a wife, husband, your children, if you are looking through the eyes of the image which you have built about them. And these images are the product of your own image about yourself. You have an image about yourself, don't you? No? Oh, what a generation this is! And where there is image, there is no love. Where there is image, there is suffering. My image about myself, my country, my god, my family, and you have your image about yourself, and so we have no - we are not related. We are related in the imagebuilding which is not relationship. Therefore we suffer. You understand, sirs?
Now look, you suffer, don't you? Don't you suffer? And what do we do with suffering? Run away from it, cover it up, become bitter, angry, furious, or so deeply hurt you build a wall round yourself. Don't you do all these things? You are hurt from childhood, and we live with these hurts till we die and that's part of our suffering, and we have never been able to end our suffering. Because a mind that suffers - please understand this - a mind that suffers has no love, and it is only the mind that is free from suffering knows what compassion is, what love is. And what is love? Go on, sirs - what is love? Have you ever thought about it, have you given your heart to understand this thing called love? I love my wife, I love my country, I will die for my country, I will kill another for my country, I love my country so much. I love my god. What do you mean by that word 'love'? Is love pleasure? Sir, look at it. Look at what I am saying. Listen to it. Is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is love lust? Can there be love when there is fear? Can a man who is ambitious love? Can a man who is in conflict with himself, does he know what it means to love? A man who is pretending to be somebody, wants to be famous, do you think he knows the meaning of that word? So what is love?
Have you I suppose you are all religious people, aren't you? And the religions throughout the world have said, 'Love god'. The god which you have created. God hasn't created you in his image, you have created god in your image. You follow all this? So your loving god is to love yourself. Right? So what is love? Because if you have no love in your heart, in your mind, in your being, do what you will, you will always live with sorrow. And is love passion? You understand the difference between passion and lust? Lust, according to the dictionary meaning, is sensual desires and the pursuit of them, the fulfilment of them, and passion is something entirely different. Passion comes - the root meaning of that word is 'suffering'. When the mind knows what suffering is and remains with that suffering without running away, without escaping, observing it totally, then out of that observation of suffering comes passion.
So, with love goes beauty. Because you have no love, therefore, you have no sense of the beautiful. Have you? Oh, too bad! So your life is disorderly, our life has no sense of inward beauty, no love, but the pursuit of lustful desires and pleasures and conflicts, with immense fears and anxieties, maintaining suffering. And we have the final thing called death.
Have you ever considered seriously, given your heart diligently to this question of death? That's one thing that's absolutely certain: we all die. Die in loneliness, in misery, in confusion, physical agony with disease, accident, old age, and we die. And mustn't you understand death as you must understand living? You understand? You must understand death as we must understand this living, which we call living, which is total disorder? We must understand, we must have an insight into it. And you are conditioned to believe in an afterlife. That's a great comfort. Right? You all believe in reincarnation, don't you? Don't you? You are silent. Does silence mean that you it's an acceptance that you believe? Incarnate what? What is going to incarnate? Your misery, your suffering, your vanities, your anxieties? Please look at it, for god's sake, it's your life. Your unfulfilled desires? Your sense of poverty and enrichment in next life? Not only inward poverty of the mind, the heart, but poverty of money, position, your name. All that is disorder, and you want that disorder to be born next life. You have lovely beliefs, don't you? And in that you take comfort. Which means, if you believe in an afterlife, what you do in this life matters enormously - doesn't it? - how you behave, what you do, what you think, how you live. So you don't either have a great deep belief in reincarnation or living righteously. All that you are interested in, carry on in misery, in confusion, bringing destruction to human beings.
So, what is death? Have you ever gone into this question? Do it, please, with the speaker now. Find out. Sit quietly. Find out with your mind, with your brain, with your heart. Find out what death means. But you can't find out if you are frightened of it. So what is death? Obviously, the physical organism withers away, through disease, old age, accident and so on, so on. It can be made to last longer by proper diet, care, attention. But the desire to live longer on the part of those who are so utterly confused has no meaning. That doesn't mean you must commit suicide. So organism ends. And what else dies? Do look at it for your own life. Are you frightened of letting go the known? The known being the attachments, the family, the wife, the mother, the sister, the brother, with whom you have had actually no relationship at all. So are you frightened of letting go the known? Please listen to this. The known. The known is also the 'me'. The very essence of the 'me' is the known. The known is the time. Knowledge is time, and are you afraid to let go that, the 'me'? What is the 'me'? Do look at it. What are you? Your name, the form you see in your mirror, the education that you have had, the attachment to your furniture, to the house, to the wife, identification with your bank account, with your position, title, all the rest of it - that's 'me', isn't it? Or is there a superior 'me'? - the soul, the Atman. Again, that is the invention of thought. Right? Somebody invented that and you accept it.
The consciousness, your consciousness, is its content. What it contains is consciousness. The two are not separate. The content is not separate from consciousness. Consciousness is its content. So are you afraid of losing the content? Oh lord! And there is the desire of immortality, to find something beyond death, the immortal, the timeless. And how can you find that thing, come upon it, when a mind, when a heart that doesn't know what beauty is, no love, living in disorder, frightened of death, how can such a mind and heart come upon that thing that is timeless?
So, we have broken up life as the everyday living, business, profession, the artist, then love something separate. Love is pleasure, sexual and all the rest of it, and death is something apart, far away, push it as far away as possible. This is our life. Death at one corner, locked away, put away, hidden, not wanting to know it, and without any compassion. Have you walked down your streets? Have you watched all the poverty in this world? Have you seen the people crying, killed by others, in wars? Have you seen people who will never enjoy a clean life, who are always who have only one meal a day, one set of clothes? You haven't seen any of that, have you? You see it, but you are so callous, so indifferent, or you say, 'What can I do? What is one individual to do to alter all this mess?' That's a wrong question. If you have compassion, which means passion for all - passion, not pity, not sentimentality, this passion that comes with suffering, out of suffering, then that very compassion is action. You don't have to act. That very thing creates action.
So, there are lots more things to be said about death. The complete emptying of the mind of the known, which is 'the me'. The complete ending of sorrow, and sorrow can end only when you look at sorrow, observe it, live with it, look at it, take diligent care of it, and when there is order. So life is one movement, not order, love, and death. It's all one. And our mind, being fragmented, look at life in this way, broken up. So, security, which is so essential for the brain, and it is essential because then it will act sanely, rationally, nonpersonally. Such a life is only possible when you have looked at yourself. Not through the eyes of others, not through some philosopher or some writer, some poet, or some saint, or Freud or one of these modern psychologists, but to look at yourself as you are, to look at yourself as you see in a mirror, your face. That is selfknowing, knowing oneself, is the beginning of ending sorrow, and when sorrow ends there is wisdom. You cannot buy wisdom. You cannot attend schools which teach you wisdom. Wisdom is comes with the understanding of this whole life, which is love, death and order.
Questioner: Question, sir.
Krishnamurti: Just a minute, sir. (Pause)
K: Wait a minute, sir. Are you occupied with your question or have been listening to what has been said? (Laughter)
Q: I have been listening to what you said.
K: You have been both listening and also listening to your question?
Q: But the question is...
K: Wait a minute, sir, I am asking you. Have you been listening for an hour and ten minutes to the speaker or have you been occupied with your question?
Q: I have been listening, both.
K: Just a minute, sir. Listen. What does it mean to listen? What does it mean to listen to that peculiar music? How do you listen? Can you listen if your attention is distracted? Can you listen if you are frightened? Can you listen if you are full of opinions and judgments? So what does it mean to listen? Look, sir, the speaker said: the ending of suffering is the knowing of oneself. Now, that is a statement. How do you listen to it? As an idea? As something that you will carry out? As something to be repeated, remembered and put on the shelf? Or do you listen to that statement: the ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom. When you listen to it, do you have an insight into it? As you listen does the insight take place? You see it, as you see the tree, the light, the sun, do you see it? So the hearing is the seeing and the doing; all one. And how can you listen when you are plodding along with your question? Now, what is the question, sir?
Q: The question is, that yesterday you were speaking about a person seeing; actual seeing takes place only when the seer is not there. Now, could you please tell me the stages or the type of metamorphosis that takes place and what happens when the seer is not there? Another point, sir...
K: Just a minute, sir, one question at a time. The questioner wants to know what takes place when the observer is not. Right, sir? Now, when you look at that tree - look at it, please look at it, that tree behind or there - when you look at it what takes place? There is visual perception, there is space between you and the tree. The visual perception awakens various associations with regard to the tree - pleasurable, painful, the things that you have done under the tree, the feeling of the beauty of that tree, or the total disregard of the tree. What takes place when you observe? Go on, sir, look at it. Tell me, what takes place? Memories, associations, the naming of that tree. Right? Now can you look at that tree without naming it, without any association with regard to that tree? Perhaps that is fairly easy. But can you look at your wife or husband in the same way? Come nearer, much nearer, and then you will find the difficulty. It is easy to look at a tree, at a mountain or the beauty of a sunset, the light on the water, the bird on the wing, the flower by the roadside, the beauty of it. But you don't look. You look through the image you have about that flower, about the sunset. Now can you look at your wife, husband, without the image that you have built about her? Do do it. Try it.
The observer is the activity of the image. Right? When you have an image between you and another, there is separation, isn't there? When I observe that tree, to look at it without a word, to look at it without the memories, the associations that tree awakens, to look at it without the observer, then what takes place? He is waiting to know what takes place. He won't do it, but he is waiting for me to tell him what takes place. And what I tell him, he will either agree or disagree, and that becomes the tradition, and he will repeat that, and he thinks he has understood the whole world.
So look at that tree and find out what happens when you look at that tree, that woman, that man, that child, that politician, that businessman, the father, the mother, the crying women and people in the world. Look at it without a single image in your mind or in heart. Look at that tree without the observer. Don't you then see the tree more clearly? You don't become the tree, thank god. There is much closer contact, you see much more. The thing in it the beauty of the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the shape of it, the whole content of it. Now can you look at your wife and husband in the same way? To look, without all the associations, memories, naggings, the hurts, the brutalities, the domination, position, all that, put all that aside, if you can, and look.
Is love an image? I wonder if you ever say, 'I love you'. Do you? What do you mean when you say, 'I love you'? Is it an association, a habit, a sexual pleasure, or is it something of the beauty of love, the sense of compassion? Don't you see, sirs, without love, without this sense of inward beauty, life has very little meaning, you waste your life. You may have all your possessions, all your money, but without that, what have you? Just dead memories and you live on that and you are satisfied to live on that. That's why the world is disintegrating, is destroying itself.
K: Sir, you have had your question, sir. There are other people asking, sir.
Q: Yesterday you also said to observe fear. Fear is a product of thought, or rather the projection of the past in the future and therefore projection of the images. And ‘you’ is also a product of knowledge. That means an image of yourself. Then what observes what?
K: You are repeating the same thing in different words, the question that other gentleman put. Who is the observer, and is there, without the observer, the thing? Sir, look, will you please listen? Have you got recording, sir? Are you recording?
Q: Yes, sir.
K: Please, don't record. How can you pay attention when you are watching that and listening? What's the matter with all of you? You are neither serious nor courteous nor affectionate when you do that. You are totally indifferent. That's what's wrong with this generation. I am not scolding you, sir, I am just showing you. It's your life.
Sir, this is a very important question. The observer is the observed. The man who is envious and the observer who says, 'I am envious', and wants to suppress it, enjoy it, control it, go beyond it, he separates himself from envy and there is conflict. Right, sir? Following this? Whereas when you observe, you will see the observer is the observed. The observer is envy itself - envy itself, there is not the observer different from the thing observed. Therefore the observer is the observed. Then what takes place? As long as there is a division between the observer and the observed, the observed being envy, and the observer thinking he is not envious, then there is a conflict, isn't there? Control, suppression, trying to achieve a state of nonenvy and so on, so on. But in reality the observer is the observed. Then conflict ceases, then you have the energy to go beyond that envy. The mind has energy to go beyond it. The observer is the observed. I observe that tree; the observer is not the tree. You understand, sir? The observer is the observed psychologically, inwardly. Outwardly, the observer is obviously different from that poor unfortunate tree.
So, a mind in conflict - and that conflict will inevitably exist where there is division, between Hindus and Muslims, between communists and Catholics, between Catholics and Protestants - as long as this division in nationalities, races, groups, exists, there must be conflict. And when you see that, you who are the observer is the observed, which is the Muslim. Right? Do you see that? Oh no, you are Hindus - you won't see that, or the Parsis or the god knows what. So it's mere theory to you. Therefore you are perpetuating wars, perpetuating hatreds and you go and worship your gods that have no meaning. What has meaning is to live a life in which there is no division, therefore no conflict.