Pleasure and desire
Truth comes when there is total order
3rd Public Talk, Madras
December 18, 1976
I suppose I must talk. The last time, two times that we met here, we have seen how important it is to establish communication between the speaker and yourself. Communication implies sharing, partaking in what is being said. Because we are concerned with human problems: such as the human psyche being hurt from childhood, fear, pleasure, love and if there is, if it is possible to end all suffering and also what is the significance of death and what it is to meditate. We are going to go into all that which are the human problems. And we were saying that in sharing the responsibility is mostly yours. Unless you are very serious and want to go into these problems very deeply, it's much better not to come here at all. Because human beings have carried on more or less, psychologically, except technologically, for millennia upon millennia, thousand years of misery, confusion, following somebody or other, obeying and living in fear and sorrow. This is the human lot right throughout the world whether they live in America or Russia or here or any other part of the world, this is the common factor of us all. We may belong to different nationalities, different costumes, different idiosyncrasies, but basically deep down, in our hearts and minds, we are very confused beings, frightened, uncertain. The security, the physical security that one seeks is becoming more and more difficult, more and more scarce.
So if one observes all this, one realises, I think, that human beings though they think they are separate, are actually common to each other, human beings are like everywhere else in the world. Therefore the world is you and you are the world. I think that must be clearly understood from the very beginning of these talks with which we began - that essentially, deeply you are the world and the world is you. This is not a slogan, an idea to be remembered, but rather it's a fact, and something which one must feel, understand at its very depth because, as we were saying, human consciousness with its content makes the consciousness. The content makes the consciousness. If there is no content, the consciousness as we know is totally different. And when human beings radically, psychologically undergo a revolution - I am using the word, we are using the word 'revolution' in the sense not bloody or throwing bombs and all that business but psychologically, that is inside the skin, as it were - when there is that fundamental change in the very structure and the nature of the consciousness, when there is that radical change, then it affects the whole consciousness of mankind. I think it is so, it is obvious because the various leaders, the various tyrants, the various gurus, the various teachers have affected mankind. So you are the world and the world is you. That's a fact. That must be understood, at least when you look at it objectively, deeply and not merely cling to one's own particular idiosyncratic view which is, I am an individual, the idea of an individual. The word 'individual' means indivisible, one who is not divided, one who is not broken up, one who is not fragmented. That is really one who is not fragmented, who is not broken up. That person is really an individual.
So we were saying also that in sharing, which is the essence of communication, in sharing we must both be interested in what we are talking about. It must be not my solution and your acceptance or denial of that solution, but together exploring, investigating into ourselves, into our whole consciousness, into our whole being. And to investigate properly, with care, with attention, there must be no motive. If there is a motive, that motive decides the end and that's one of the great difficulties in investigation into ourselves, into our whole human endeavour. So we are investigating together. I am not investigating and you are listening. I am not exploring and you are just observing from the outside and say, 'I agree or disagree', but we are taking a journey, walking together into this complex problem of existence. So it's your responsibility how deeply, how earnestly, how seriously you want to go into all this.
And we were also saying that thought, the whole process of thinking is a material process, because thought is memory, the response of memory. Sorry to repeat all this because there may be somebody here who has not understood and if I go on further into this matter, they will say, 'What are you talking about?' So we must make this very clear. That thought is the response of memory. Memory is the accumulation of knowledge through experience. I think that even the - as we pointed out - even the scientists are accepting this now. And all our civilisation, our so-called culture is based on thought. The temples, the mosques, the churches, all the Gods, all the rituals, the whole circus of human existence is based on thought. I don't think anybody can deny that. And thought thinks it can penetrate into the unknown, into something that is immeasurable - if there is immeasurable. Thought has never realised that in itself it's limited and therefore fragmentary. So whatever it does - the religious thinking, the psychological process of investigation - please listen to all this - is based on thought. All the meditations, if you enquire, go into it, you can see is the control of thought. And thought assumes the responsibility as the thinker and dictates to thought what it should do. I hope all this is clear, is it?
So, we are saying that thought, on which our whole relationship between human beings is based on thought. And as we are going to go into the question of what is love this evening, if we have time, unless we understand very deeply, not intellectually but actually investigate into the whole movement of thought, one will not come upon it, that word which is so heavily loaded and spoilt and spat upon, what is called love.
And we were saying also that in investigation, as we are doing now, you are doing it too with me, you are using the speaker and his words as a mirror in which you are seeing actually what is going on within yourself. So please observe, if I may point out, that the word is not the thing, the description is not the described. So in investigating, you are investigating, though the speaker is using the word to investigate, which means to trace out, you are following your own mind, your own heart, your own being, your own movement of thought. So when you are doing that there is no question of agreeing or disagreeing - you are observing. You may observe distortedly or actually and there is distortion when there is any form of motive because motive then directs your investigation. That's clear, isn't it? If I have a motive that I must be free from my anxiety, then my investigation is dictated by my anxiety to be free of it. So is it possible to investigate like a scientist does, if he is really a good scientist, not a government scientist, actual scientist, to observe and let that which is observed tell you its story. I hope you are following all this.
And also we were saying - perhaps we didn't say - we'll begin with that this evening: we are not analysing. There is a difference between observing and analysing. Analysing implies the analyser and that which is being analysed. So there is the analyser and the analysed. Is the analyser different from the analysed or the analyser is the analysed, like the experiencer, is he different from the experience or the experiencer is the experience? This is very important to understand from the very beginning of our investigation and dialogues. When you examine, analyse yourself or a professional analyst analyses, isn't there a difference between the analyser and the analysed? Of course. But if you go into it deeply, you will see the analyser when he analyses that which he is going into, is part of himself. He has separated that which is to be examined, analysed by an entity who calls himself the analyser and that analyser is the past, with his accumulated knowledge, and he then begins to analyse that which he is going to examine. Are you understanding all this? So there is a gap between the analyser and the analysed. This gap takes place because the analyser thinks he knows more than the analysed. Right? Are you all agreeing, listening to me or you are off and I am talking to myself? Because this is very important to understand because a man who wants to live without conflict, totally, completely, without a shadow of conflict must understand this. Because we are used to live in conflict, we are conditioned to live in conflict. From the moment we are born till we die, it's a constant struggle and where there is struggle there must be violence, there must be all kinds of misery. And is it possible to totally eliminate this conflict in a human being and it is only possible when the observer realises - not verbally, not in abstraction as an idea but actually realises the observer is the observed and therefore there is no gap and therefore no conflict. There is conflict, wherever there is division between the Hindus, Muslims, Jews and all the rest of it.
So in us, in every human being there is this division and that division causes enormous misery, enormous suffering, pain, anxiety, and struggle. So we are not analysing, which is, the analyser different from the analysed. And in that process - please listen - in that process time is involved. Right? Time is involved. That is, I will take many days or many years to analyse myself. Right? Because every analysis, unless it is complete, is a factor of distortion for the next analysis. Are there any analysts here? Probably not. It doesn't matter. So, we have discussed this problem with many analysts, psychologists, psychotherapists and all the rest of it, when we pointed out this problem that the analyser is the analysed they see it very clearly, obviously it is so but they have to live in this world! So we are not analysing, but we are observing which is totally different - which is to observe what exactly is, in ourselves, in human beings, what actually is. And to observe what actually is any form of motive is a distorting factor. Isn't it? That's clear, I think. If I want to be free of fear, the desire behind that freedom is the pleasure of being free from 'what is'. Therefore the investigation becomes coloured, distorted, not actual. Right?
So we are observing, observing ourselves, who is the total history of mankind. You are the total history of mankind. If you know how to read that book, you need no other book in the world. But most of us do not know how to read. Because we are so conditioned to learn from others, to follow others, gurus and all the rest of that gang, that we have become incapable of reading the book of history which is ourselves, which is mankind. And that's what we are going to do. And to observe, not analyse, there must be this observation without any motive whatsoever and that's going to be your problem. That's why it's your responsibility in investigating whether you can put away your motives, however painful, however desirable, however pleasing and then observe.
We live in a world, very confused, economically, socially and obviously religiously, in a world that is getting worse and worse. Technologically it's marvellous. You go to the moon and do all kinds of medical surgery and so on. It's most extraordinary things that are happening technologically. But as human beings we live in confusion, contradiction, opposing desires and so on and so on.
So when one looks at all this, one asks, if you are serious: what is right action? You understand? What is the right thing to do in life? Not in one particular department of life, but the whole, total process of living, what is the right thing to do? Right being the word 'accurate' - accurate, precise, without any distortion - what is the accurate thing to do, the right thing to do in life? You understand my question? Do you ask that question? So we are going to investigate into this question because unless we find out, every action that we do leads to further confusion, further misery and man becomes utterly a mechanical entity - which we are gradually becoming. So it's very important for a serious man, and I hope you are serious, to find out for himself what is the right thing to do.
Obviously, in all relationship between human beings, intimate and otherwise, as long as there is - as we talked about it the other evening - when relationship is based on thought, that is the creating of images, you creating an image about the woman and the woman creating about you, the man, as long as there is this creative imagery, which is the movement of thought in relationship, in that relationship there must be constant division, constant struggle, constant quarrels, constant suffering. Please see this. Because our relationship at present is based on the image that you have about yourself and you have about another. There are two images or multiple images: the one that you have about yourself, the artist, the painter, the meditator, the engineer, the good man and the bad man, the you know, the different masks that one puts on oneself. And also you have the images of another, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend so on, so on, so on. So the relationship is between these two images created by thought through past incidents, happenings, irritations, nagging, possessiveness, and all the rest of it, the sexual pleasures and so on. So as long as these images exist relationship must always end in conflict. And whether it is possible to have no image whatsoever about yourself or about another - images being pictures, conclusions, ideas and opinions. That is, if you are serious and want to find out how to live without conflict, it is utterly important to go into the questions of relationship, which we talked about the other evening. We won't go into it now again.
So we are asking: what is the right action in relationship? That's one point. What is right action when there is fear? Can there be right action when there is fear? You understand? When you are afraid can you act rightly, correctly, accurately? It's impossible. So to find out what is right action, because this demands tremendous, you know, inward insight into all this. It demands that you have right relationship with another - right relationship being no image-making at all. We are going into that, if you are interested, a little later. Then if there is fear of any kind, psychologically as well as biologically or physiologically, that fear will interfere with correct action. Right? That's obvious. And we also went into that question whether it is possible to be free of fear both at the conscious level as well as at the unconscious, deeper levels. It has become the fashion to separate consciousness into the unconscious and conscious. They are one whole and it's the artificial division to divide these two - which we will go into, if we have time. So there cannot be right action if you are (not) serious, if you really want to live a life totally different from this monstrous life that we are leading now - the life of pain, anxiety, destruction, violence, brutality and cruelty - to live a totally different kind of transformation in consciousness, one has to find out what is right action in relationship. There cannot be right action when there is fear. Right? Don't make this into an idea, a concept but see the actual fact of it that as long as there is fear in your heart, in your mind, in your being, there cannot be right action. You may follow all the gurus in the world and obey them, all their silly rules, but those are not right actions, because you are afraid, you have a motive, you want something. And there cannot be right action when there is the pursuit of pleasure. And that's what we are going to discuss this evening together - is that all right?
This is a very complex problem - pleasure. And human beings throughout the world have pursued it intensely, superficially and deeply. So we are going to enquire together, you are not listening to the speaker, agreeing or disagreeing, you are investigating this whole nature and the structure of pleasure in yourself, how you are, what is the meaning of pleasure, why this principle of pleasure has become so tremendously important.
To go into this question of pleasure one must understand what is desire. All religions, at least the orthodox, established, organised religions have said that desire must be suppressed - 'It's a most dangerous thing, if you want to reach God, nirvana, or enlightenment or serve Jesus, suppress desire.' And man has been conditioned to that. Haven't you noticed all the sannyasis, the monks, the priests are pursuing that? But the Catholics priests are now breaking it down by getting married. So we are going to go into the question of pleasure and to understand that you must really, deeply understand the nature of desire. We are not saying you must suppress desire or deny it or suppress it. We are saying understand it - not intellectually, because that is merely verbally and therefore has very little use and very little significance but understand it with your heart. When you look at the sunset, if you ever have, the beauty of the colour, the light on the leaves, the shadows on the trunk, the wavering light on the water; you are watching it - aren't you? - partially - please listen - you are watching it with partly awakened senses. Right? You are watching the sunset with fragmented sensory perception. That's right. I have got the words. Right? Have you ever watched the sunset with all your senses fully awakened? Have you ever? Then - please listen - when you watch the sunset or it doesn't mater what it is, a woman or a man, or a tree or a sheet of water, with all your senses, there is no desire. It's only when you watch with fragmentary perception of the senses, then desire arises. I'm going to go into that. Please, you must give me, please pay a little attention, it doesn't matter who is going out.
We are saying you have to understand desire which is a very complex process. We are saying that desire arises when there is fragmentary perception of the senses. But when there is a perception with all your senses completely, fully awakened, there is no desire. So we are going to investigate this question of desire, bearing in mind that we are not asking you to suppress it, try to change it, transmute it - none of those things. We are observing it and if you observe it properly with care, with attention, with affection, then you will see what comes out of it.
What is desire? Desire is the movement of the senses, sensory perception and the movement of thought, then desire and the image that desire makes. That is, watch it in yourself, please, I am not defining what is desire. Don't repeat it after me and all the rest of it, but see it in yourself and you will understand what it means - desire. Because we are so full of desires - desire for heaven, desire for nirvana, desire for enlightenment, desire to be successful, desire to be most beautiful, desire to have more money - you follow? - we are full of desires. And unless you understand the nature of desire, those desires will contradict each other and therefore you'll live in conflict. So please listen to it, listen to it not with your little mind, with your words, but with your heart find out, learn; not from me, I am not teaching you a thing, I am not your guru, as I've said a thousand times, nor are you my followers. It's very important to understand this because we are slaves to desires at all levels of our consciousness. And they are contradictory desires, opposing desires, a great longing, not only for something immeasurable, timeless, but also longing for a shirt, for some position, prestige, big cars, you know, all the rest of the stuff - desire. And human beings are conditioned to suppress it, deny it, rationalise it or run away from it, do all kinds of things. You know, the world is desire and when the sannyasi renounces the world he doesn't renounce desire. It's still burning in him - sexually or different forms of desires, how to meditate, what to think, what not to think. You know, all this. So it's very important to understand it, not verbally but have an insight into it, grope after it, the meaning, the significance of it. Don't come to any conclusion, but feel around it, go into it, be sensitive enough to pursue it like a fish in the water.
So we said contact, touch, then sensation, then thought plus thought comes in and desire and desire makes the image which you pursue, which thought pursues. You've understood this? Sensation plus thought is desire. And that desire makes the image which is pursued - pleasure or not pleasure. You understand it? Look into yourself, don't look at me. Shut your eyes and look into yourself. Then you will see how slavish we are to senses, to partial senses, not total senses. When there are total senses there is no thought at all at that moment, therefore there is no desire. It's only when there is fragmentary perception of the senses then desire comes into being. That is, when sensation which is partial; when there is total senses, of all the senses flowering, there is no sensation. Oh, I don't know if you understand it. You will if you go into it. Have time, have leisure. You understand? Have leisure in which you can learn. Don't occupy, don't fill your mind with all kinds of things all day long, have some leisure, half-an-hour a day, leisure, not meditate, have leisure for the mind not to be occupied with something or the other. In that state you learn. The word 'school' comes from the word 'leisure' in which you learn.
So we are saying sensation, touch, smell and so on, sensation plus thought is desire. When there is desire, desire makes the image and pursues that image, sexual and non-sexual, or pride of possession, all those. So understand pleasure. So desire is a movement of thought combined with sensation. When there is total flowering of all the senses there is no sensation, therefore there is no desire and an action comes from that which is entirely different from the action of desire. Does anybody understand all this or just am I talking? All right. So where there is desire, which is partial observation of the senses, right action will be limited - right action being accurate action, that which is precise so that there is no conflict, no regrets, no future forgiveness, absolute correct action. And that is not possible when merely desire is in movement.
So from that we go into the question of what is pleasure because desire is the basis of pleasure, is the root of pleasure. We are not denying pleasure. We are going to go into it. Pleasure, enjoyment and joy. Joy you can never invite; do what you will, you cannot invite it, but when there is that strange happening of joy, when you are walking in a wood or walking in a street or sitting by yourself in a room, reading some book and suddenly you have this extraordinary flare. That moment is remembered - please listen to this - that joy is remembered, then the pursuit of that memory becomes pleasure. And enjoyment - you look at a beautiful tree, light on the water, a bird on the wing, that is enjoyment, there is nothing crooked about it, ugly, to see the beautiful sky of an evening full of stars, the beauty. But when that is made into memory and pursuit of that memory is pleasure. So we are going to go into this question. May I take a minute's rest? May I? No? Because I am working and you are just listening. So please learn, not memorise but learn, not from the speaker but from your observation of yourself which is the human history of mankind. If you don't learn from that history you will always suffer, repeat, repeat, repeat endlessly.
So pleasure is the movement of desire, the pursuit of that image which gives you pleasure and pleasure is a remembered thing, never an actual thing. Have you noticed it? Pleasure is remembered - not when there is a moment of actual pleasure, there is no memory, there is that state only. Then thought comes which says how pleasurable it was. Then desire comes with its image and you pursue that, desire pursues that image. You understand? At the moment, at the second of pleasure, whatever it is, there is no registration in the brain and when there is registration then it is turned into pleasure and the pursuit of it. You understand this? You understand? This is one of our problems, amongst many others, unfortunately, there is this problem of registering, the brain registering things - incidents, pain, pleasure and so on. The whole mechanical process of the brain is always registering. Right? You've noticed it, you must have noticed it, like a computer, registering wrongly or correctly - with most of us wrongly because our registration is dictated by our pleasure, fear, and so on, reward and punishment. So we are asking - please listen to this - it's one of our really serious problems of human beings. We have gone into it. Whether it is possible to register what is necessary and not register any other thing? If you register and act on that registration then it's a mechanical process. Right? Just understand even verbally. The brain is registering, past incidents, present, all the time it is like a tape, it's recording and therefore it becomes knowledge - then you act according to that knowledge. Then that knowledge, because it's fragmentary and your action then is fragmentary, is never complete. Right? So one of the problems is - if you have gone into it, if you want to go into it - is to register what is absolutely, precisely necessary. Nothing else. To register a language - you understand? - English, or Tamil, or whatever it is, how to drive a car, ride a bicycle, you know, technological knowledge and so on, so on. That's absolutely necessary. But the registration of psychological hurts is totally unnecessary. Right? I wonder if you see this. Psychological insults, insults which are given to you, not to register any of that, any other registration except only what is absolutely necessary. This requires an extraordinary sense of awareness. Right? Awareness in the sense - I must go into it a little bit. Are you aware of your neighbour? Are you aware of the trees round you? Are you aware of the space in which the trees exist and the space between the trees, the whole awareness around you? But in that awareness there is choice - I like this, I don't like it, this is my colour, that's not my colour. So awareness then is fragmented. When there is no choice, awareness is complete. I wonder if you understand this.
So where there is choice action is fragmented. I wonder if you see this. And can you exist without choice? - not choice of clothes and all that, I don't mean that - psychological choice. There is no choice at all whatsoever when psychologically there is clarity. It's only the confused mind that chooses. That is called democracy. That is called electorate dictatorship - that's better. So to be totally aware implies no choice. To observe without choice, and when there is an action out of that observation without choice it is born out of clarity. Therefore it is correct action.
So we are saying desire is the movement of thought driven by sensation and the pursuit of that image is the movement of pleasure. Watch it in yourself, be aware of yourself, how you pursue pleasure - sexual, the pleasure of position, status, pleasure of being somebody, pleasure of knowledge, pleasure you have of being a scholar, having read a lot of books, pleasure of being in complete control of yourself, the pleasure of controlling your mind, the pleasure of good, clear thinking, the pleasure of rationalisation, the pleasure of reasoning things out very, very, very carefully. All these are pleasures, including the pleasure of reaching enlightenment, reaching God, if there is such a thing which we will discuss later when we talk about religion. So human beings are caught in pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure which is the movement of desire with its image.
So we are asking: is pleasure love? Now, sit up and take notice. To most of us pleasure is love. Isn't it? No? Sexual pleasure, possessing the wife or the husband, mine, my husband, my wife, which is, my image of my wife and the image she has about me. And is love desire, which is pleasure? Is love the movement of thought as remembrance? Come on sir, it's your problem. Because there is hardly love in the world. There is the word 'love' - 'I love my book', 'I love to play', 'I love my wife', 'I love my children'. Is that love? If you really loved your children - for God's sake, listen - if you really loved your children - do you want them to live as you live with conflict, with misery, fighting, fighting, fighting? Would you send them to wars, fighting for your nationality, for your flag, for your country? Would you?
And love means beauty. Religions are afraid of beauty, because beauty implies desire - women, man - so suppress it, burn with it, and we, tortured human being, God wants you, a tortured human being - you understand? - not a sane, rational, clear human being, a tortured, distorted, agonised entity called a human being. Right? So one has to find out what love is. Because you haven't gone into it, you don't know what it means to love. Can a man who is ambitious love? Answer me, sirs. You are all ambitious, aren't you? You are all competitive, aren't you? Can you love? You may sleep with your wife or your boy or a girl, but when you are ambitious, greedy, envious, become mechanical in your sexual habits, the pursuit of pleasure, desire and you call that love. Therefore there is no beauty in your life. You may read the Gita and all those blasted books, write poems but if you have no love you will become a savage, because all that we are concerned with is pleasure. And with that distorted activity you want to understand the whole meaning and the significance and the breadth and the depth of beauty which is love. I do not know if you ever noticed in yourself, in your house, in your garden - if you have a garden, if you are lucky enough to have a garden or have a single tree in your backyard - I wonder if you've ever noticed it. If you've ever cared for it or are you so busy, so occupied with your problems that you have no space in your consciousness? You must have vast space for beauty. You understand, sirs? It's only then love comes. When there is vast space in your consciousness, and when that consciousness is so filled with all your with all the things that thought has put together, how can there be space? Do you understand? That tree is beautiful because it has got space. And with us we have no space at all except the space of resistance, the space which we have created in ourselves through hurt, through resistance, through pain and living in that little hole, we call that love. You understand, sir, what we are doing? Are you aware of all this, what we are doing?
So we have to learn a great deal, not repeat, learn from ourselves, not according to any philosopher, any psychologist or Gita, or any of the books. Those have destroyed you. They have made you into automatons. But to learn from ourselves, which is the human history of mankind, you are the result of all the human beings in the world. And to read that book you must know, you must have eyes that are eager to learn, to observe and when you read you will find there is great space between the words and lines. That space is not always lineal. I wonder if you understand what I am talking about. Lineal, because we are used to books reading that way - lineal. So we always think in lines, or if you read it that way, again it's lineal.
So we'll go into the question of love again tomorrow because it is an immense, important and immense question and if you haven't got it, if you don't know the perfume of it, the depth of it, you will always live with sorrow. Right, sirs.