Pleasure is a factor of conditioning
Can a human being undergo a deep, radical transformation?
2nd Public Talk, Brockwood Park
August 29, 1976
May we go on talking about what we said yesterday morning? We were saying how important it is that there should be transformation in the human consciousness. I think it is fairly obvious why it is so absolutely necessary and urgent. One can observe right throughout the world there is great disorder - politically, religiously, economically and in our social relationship - which is society. There are wars, cruelty, every form of distortion, and apparently no religious person or group of people, have transformed themselves radically and so affected the whole of human consciousness. And what we were saying yesterday was that when there is human transformation, that is, there is a transformation in the content of your consciousness - which is you - then that very transformation affects the whole of mankind. Which again is fairly clear; and I hope one understands this fact that where there is radical transformation - actual, not theoretical, not an ideational or a hypothetical change - but actual transformation in our consciousness, in you as a human being, then that transformation brings about quite a different atmosphere in the consciousness of the world. I think this is clear; because one can see how people - however neurotic like Hitler, this person and that - have affected the world.
So it is necessary if we are at all serious, if we are at all concerned with human behaviour, human condition, and the urgency of that transformation, we must examine together our consciousness, that is, what you are, what we are. And apparently very few have applied themselves to this transformation; they have talked about it, volumes have been written about it, by the psychologists, philosophers and the analysts. But, in fact, very few human beings have radically transformed themselves. They are concerned with the outer trimmings, the frills, the branches, but have not tackled the very root of our existence to find out what is totally wrong with us, why we behave like this.
So, what we were saying yesterday, if we may continue with it today, that in our consciousness there are three principal factors: fear, with all the complications of fear - please observe it in yourself, don't merely listen to my words. Description is not the described; the word is not the thing. Unless one observes oneself through what is described - the description - then you can go into yourself and observe the described - the fact. So we were saying yesterday there are three factors, major factors in our consciousness which is fear, pleasure, the pursuit of pleasure and great sorrow, sorrow implying grief, travail, anxiety, every form of neurotic behaviour, all that is in our consciousness. And is it possible to change that consciousness - to bring about a profound revolution in that consciousness? And if you are really concerned about it we can then share the thing together. But if you are merely playing with words and theories, and beliefs and dogmas, and joining this group or that group, this guru or that guru, then I'm afraid we have very little in common with each other. So if you are concerned, then we were talking yesterday about fear. We said that fear is the movement of thought, movement of thought as time; it is very simple, don't let's complicate it. Time in the sense, one is afraid of tomorrow, or one is afraid of things that have happened in the past and not wanting it repeated again in the future. So, thought is a movement in time. Right? And fear is part of that movement of thought. Right?
Please look at it; we are communicating with each other. Communication implies sharing not only the verbal meaning but the actual substance of the word - the significance of the word - the depth of the word. So we are together exploring. We are not telling you what to do, because we are used to this habit of following others, therefore we establish an authority and then accept that authority because in ourselves we are disorderly and out of that disorder we create an authority who we hope will help us to get out of our confusion. On the contrary we are saying in the matters of the mind, psyche, in the matters of spiritual things - if I may use that word 'spiritual', it rather stinks, but doesn't matter, we'll use that word - there's no authority, there is no guru, though this country is inundated and the western world - by the gurus from India. So we are saying, communication means sharing, thinking together, observing together - together, not the speaker says something, you accept it or deny it, but sharing, actually together what we are observing in ourselves.
So we have said thought is a movement in time as measure, and that fear is the movement of thought. When there is no movement of thought there is no fear. We went into it yesterday fairly deeply and perhaps I can go into it very, very briefly now again, which is, fear - the root of fear, not the various expressions of fear, various objects of fear, but the root of fear which is so destructive, which brings about such darkness, paralysis of the mind - that fear, does it come about through the word 'fear' or is it independent of the word? Please observe, examine your fear in that way as we are describing. Does fear exist without the word, or does the word 'fear' create fear? That's one problem. Then, how do you observe fear? When you say, I know I am afraid - how do you know? Is your knowledge based on past experiences of fear? So you are looking at the fresh fear with the eyes of the past and therefore giving to that new fear, strength. You've understood? That is, I am afraid of something I have done, or something I might do, and that thing I have named it as fear. When I have named it, I have recognised it. And the recognition of it only strengthens the fact of fear. Now is it possible to be aware of that fear - the new expression of fear, and not name it, and observe it? You've understood?
Is this clear? May we go on from there? That is, to look at the new or the fresh form of sensation which we call fear, without categorising it, without putting it into a frame, and thereby giving it vitality. So is it possible to observe that fear without naming, without trying to suppress, analyse, escape from it; just to observe it? And you cannot observe it if you've put it in a frame, because we've already captured it and held it. So what then becomes important is how you observe your fear, how you look at it. Do you look at it as an entity separate from fear? You understand this? That is, do you say, fear is different from me - or, the fact is, fear is you? Right? Please this is very important to understand because on this whole thing depends our investigation: how you observe. Do you observe as a separate entity - the observer - and look at that fear, which is the observed, something different, something separated from you? If it is separated from you then there is a gap, there's an interval. Then you try to suppress it, you try to control it, you try to run away from it, analyse it - and so there is constant battle going on. Where there is division there must be conflict; like in nationalities, in every class difference, and so on; wherever there is division between the Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim - whatever it is - there must be conflict, struggle, pain.
So, one has to find out very carefully why this division exists; is it an illusion or is it an actuality? Like anger - anger is not separate from you - when you say I am angry, you are anger; it's part of you. But when you are afraid, it's not part of you. You say, I'm going to do something about it, so you have created a division, and hence, conflict. Whereas, when you observe fear, that fear is you, part of you, so the observer is the past. Please understand this very deeply. The observer is the past; he has accumulated a great deal of knowledge, experience and with that memory he looks. So the past meets the present and says, I am different from the present, whereas the observer is the observed. Right? Please get this. The thinker is the thought. There is no thinker without thought. The experiencer is the experienced. Right?
Let's look into it a little bit more. That is, when you experience something you must recognise it; otherwise it is not an experience. Right? So recognition means you've already known it, so it's nothing new. So the experiencer is the experienced. Like the analyser, when you go to a analyst or the analyser, when you analyse yourself - the analyser is the analysed. Right? See this clearly. For god's Understand? If you once understand this basic principle then we can go much further. Which is, you eliminate conflict altogether - inwardly as well as outwardly. Right? So, when you observe fear, are you observing it as a separate person and fear is not part of you and therefore you are in conflict with it? But when the thinker is the thought, the observer is the observed, what takes place? You understand my question now? You have eliminated conflict altogether. Therefore you have the energy, the attention to give to that fact - which you call fear. It's only when you are not attentive, fear continues. Right. Is this somewhat clear?
So, this is what we were saying yesterday - it took an hour and a quarter - we are trying to make a rsum of it in a few minutes.
So we must go on with another factor, which is as we said, in human consciousness which is so limited, so conditioned by these three factors: fear, pleasure, sorrow - it is limited by that; and the content of consciousness is consciousness, isn't it? The house is what is inside. So, our consciousness has these three main factors, and unless these main factors are understood and gone beyond, our consciousness is limited, is conditioned by these three factors, and therefore there can be no radical transformation. We are concerned with the radical transformation; not trimming the outward edges of life, but the deep problems which confront man, and to change them radically.
So, now we are going to talk about pleasure, which is one of the greatest factors in our life. We are not saying it's right or wrong, it's good or bad, we are looking at it, we are exploring the content of pleasure, why human beings right throughout the world have pursued pleasure in different forms: pleasure through religion - essentially when you seek what you call god, it is ultimately pleasure. Pleasure in multiple forms - sexual pleasure, pleasure of possession, pleasure of attachment, in which is involved fear - but we will go into it presently - pleasure in achievement, in success, pleasure in arrogance, pleasure in having a tremendous reputation. So there are these extraordinary forms of complicated pleasure. Why do human beings pursue this? It's not only in the modern age, but also from the ancient of times, this has been one of the major factors. And religion throughout the world has said - organised religion, which is based on authority, belief, superstition and all the rest of it - organised religions have said, you must eliminate pleasure, which is desire, because they said, if you are seeking pleasure you cannot find god, or you cannot serve god. So we are saying let us explore it; not deny it or accept it, nor say, what is wrong with it, why shouldn't I seek pleasure, but we are trying to explore the whole structure and the nature of pleasure - if you are willing. If pleasure is all important to you then don't examine it, because it's going to destroy a lot of things. As we said yesterday also, to understand pleasure deeply, what is it's significance, what is its worth, we must examine very closely what is thinking, because part of pleasure is thinking, imagining, making pictures, making images. You understand? So we must go into the question very deeply, if you want to, into the problem, or into the question of what is thinking.
As we said also yesterday, this is part of meditation; the investigation or the examination of fear, the examination and the understanding of pleasure and the ending of sorrow, is part of meditation. Not the repetition of some mantra, sitting in a corner and going off into some kind of nonsensical visions - but this is the foundation - please see it - this is the foundation of meditation. If you are not deeply established in this foundation your meditation is bound to lead to illusion - meaningless. So we are going to now together examine what is thinking. Because all our structure all our action, all our beliefs, all our religions - though they say it's revelation - all the rest of it, is essentially based on thought. Right? You cannot possibly deny that. So we are going to look into first, before we examine what is pleasure we must first look at what is thinking. Please don't accept what I am saying, what the speaker is saying; look at your own movement of thinking. What is thinking - not, thinking about something, but 'thinking' itself, per se. What is thinking?
Is there a thinking without word, without a symbol, without a picture, without an image? You understand? Have you ever thought without a word; or is word related to thinking? And if word is related to thinking then word becomes tremendously important, which it has in our life. When you mention the word 'god' you somehow - some extraordinary transformation takes place. And when you also say, 'There is no god, god is dead', it stirs you. So we are slave to the word. 'I am an Englishman' - immediately there's a certain sense of importance; or a Hindu - whatever it is. So, thinking as we said, is a movement of measure which is time; from the past through the present, modified to the future. That's the whole movement of thought. Thinking then is born out of experience, knowledge as memory, which is stored up in the brain, which is obvious. So please, this is very important because we are going to discuss presently what is death. So you must understand this very deeply, that thought is a movement; movement means time - from here to there, what has been to what should be - and so on and so on - the ideal and the actual. All this is a movement of time which is thought. Thought is stored up in the brain, in the cells - I'm not an expert, I've just watched myself.
Now, here arises a very interesting problem, if we can go into it, which is: can time have a stop? Not the chronological time, when you catch a train, and bus - don't confuse it, then you will lose your bus. We are saying, or asking, can time have a stop? Can the movement of thought come to an end? That is, it can come to an end; I'll show it to you, if you would go into it. The past which is all your memories, experiences, remembrances, traditions, all the rest of it - the past, in which we live, of which we are - that movement meets the present, and ends there. What we do is, meet the present, have it modified and move on, so give continuity all the time. You've understood this? I have a problem - sexual, the whatever problem be; I think about it, meet it and end it. So, this is part of meditation which we will discuss when we talk about meditation, because it is very important to find out if psychological time has an end. Because that which ends, only then something new can take place; not if there's constant continuity. Then it's merely mechanical. I won't go into that now because we will come to it later.
So, thought, we said, is a movement of time and measure and it is stored in the brain. That is our process of thinking; so thought is that. Now, what is pleasure? What is the difference between pleasure, enjoyment, joy and, there are, at rare moments in human life, ecstasy; not hysteria, but ecstasy? So there are these factors: ecstasy, joy, enjoyment and pleasure. Four different factors in this so-called pleasure. What is pleasure? Is there pleasure at the moment, at the second, or, is pleasure after? You're following all this? Please do go into this with me, a little bit. You aren't tired I hope this morning, are you? No - good. We are asking, is pleasure at this second, or is it after?
Krishnamurti: You may hear but there are lots of people over there - I am glad you have patience.
We are talking about pleasure. And it's very important to understand, I think, what great part it plays in our lives, and we have accepted it as a natural thing and never really examined it very deeply. We were saying that thought is a movement in time and measure. And we are asking what is actually pleasure? Is there that awareness of that sentiment or that feeling at the actual moment of experience, of perception, of observation, or does it come a second after? You understand my question? If it comes a second after then it's the movement of thought. But at the actual second of seeing some marvellous beauty - the sunset, a lovely tree in a field or a beautiful face - at that moment of perception there is no pleasure, there's only perception. But a few seconds later memory begins to operate. That is, thought says I must have more of it. So at the moment there is no recording. Please, this is very important to understand. At the moment of any action which we consider pleasurable, at that second there is no registration in the mind in the brain at all; the registration takes place when thought says, 'I must have more'. Haven't you observed this in yourself? So, it is only when thought takes over then the registration process in the brain takes place. Right? And so thought then pursues it - in image, in desire, in image and so on. So at the moment of actual incident, actual happening, the brain is not registering at all.
This is very important to understand, because the function of the brain is to register, and it wants to register because in that registration there is security. Right? And the brain can only operate perfectly when it is secure, either in neurotic action or a neurotic belief, there in that there is security. So registration takes place in order to be secure, or continue the pleasure of that incident. So pleasure is non-existent at the moment of action, at the moment of perception, it only takes place after. So can there be no registration after, only perception - and not a continuity of that which you call pleasure. Have you understood what I'm saying? Is this somewhat clear? Wait a minute. You see a mountain, snow-capped, marvellous sight, dignity, stability, endurance - an extraordinary thing to observe. Then the very dignity and the beauty and the majesty of that mountain absorbs all your thought. It's so great you are absorbed in it. But a second later registration takes place - how marvellous that was. The registration and the expression in words, 'How marvellous it is', is the movement of thought. So, pleasure is the continuity of that which has happened. This is very simple. Sexually, in observation, it is always after.
Now we are saying, can there be an observation only, and not the movement of thought interfering with that observation? Have you tried this in your life? To see something beautiful, observe it and then end it there; not let thought take over and pursue it, through image, through desire and all the rest of it? So, in order to understand the full meaning of pleasure one has to examine not only thought but also of desire. One must understand desire. Again, religions have said: wipe out desire, control desire, be without desire. I don't know if you have been to a monastery, watched the priests, talked to them, and you will see this fear of desire, because desire must be expressed otherwise it becomes a burning flame inside. So one must understand what is desire.
What is desire? When you are asked that question what is your inward response to that question - what is desire? Probably you've never even asked it. If you ask it, what is it? It's obviously sensation, the beginning of it, sensation: seeing something beautiful, a dress, a car, a woman, man, whatever it is - see, perception, then contact, sensation, then thought comes. That is, sensation, plus thought equals desire. Desire then creates the image. Right? This is simple. Sensation, thought, desire and the image that desire creates. I used to know a chap who used to put aside a piece of sugar for the flies (laughter), while he was eating.
So, thought is the response of memory and if there was no memory there would be disorder. Right? Of course. Memory is necessary to function in daily life; technologically, educationally, reading, learning a language, driving a car, and so on and so on, so on. Memory and the remembrance stored up in the brain is necessary, but the disorder comes when there is no order in the structure of memory. I'm getting on to something new!
That is, one recognises memory is necessary as knowledge - learning a language, and so on - but memory becomes disorder psychologically, because memory is mechanical. Right? So, our relationship with another, if it is mechanical - which is memory - then there is no relationship. I wonder if you see this. Then, therefore, there is no order in relationship. Right? So, one must be aware of this disorder and order. Disorder takes place in relationship when memory operates. I wonder if you get the point of this. You are my wife, or my husband; we have lived together - sex, annoyance, jealousy, antagonism, irritation, nagging, possession and all the strain of relationship. That is disorder. Right? Please see that is disorder because we are operating on memory, and therefore memory which is mechanical in relationship, in human relationship becomes disorder. Ah, captured it? Have you got it? That is, memory is essential at a certain level, in a certain area, but in human relationship when there is the operation of memory then that brings disorder.
Look at it a little more closely. That is, in our relationship with each other we create images of each other, and the relationship is between these two images. These images are mechanical; they are put together by thought as remembrance - you did this yesterday - I told you that - etcetera, etcetera - memory, which is mechanical. So, when in relationship, in human relationship, mechanistic action takes place there is bound to be disorder, and that's why there's such strain in our relationship with each other. Right?
So, order is necessary for the brain to function properly, efficiently. When there is order the brain is at rest, it hasn't to work to bring about order. Right? That is what takes place when we are sleeping - memory tries to assert order. When there is so much disorder around us, in ourselves, there is some part of the brain which says, for god's sake, let me put some order in all this mess. So, it puts order in the mechanical activity of life - going to the office, working, all that, or the factory, and so on. But it tries to bring order also in our relationship by creating an image of you, of her, and hopes thereby to have an orderly life, which is mechanistic. I wonder if you see this clearly? Therefore, there's always struggle between man and woman. That is, in all relationships, not only with man and woman, in all relationship. When we reduce relationship to mechanical process there is bound to be disorder. Right? This is a fact. Now, to observe the fact. Right? How do you observe the fact? Is the fact different from you? So you are the fact. So you are the image. You may have a dozen images - when you go to the office you have an image there, when you're working in a factory you have an image there, when you are a secretary you have an image there - and so on and on in your relationships - we have dozens of images, masks. And so, these images are perpetually creating disorder. I am a Catholic - you are a Protestant. Disorder - which is an image, put together by thought, thought which has been conditioned, educated to be a Catholic - as a Protestant, or a non-believer, as a Communist, and so on.
So, there must be order right through life in our relationships; therefore one must understand the process of desire. See how complex it all is - but it's very simple if you once grasp the root of it. There is the disorder of mechanistic relationship and order in mechanical processes of life, and therefore one has to understand desire. Desire is, we said, sensation plus thought is desire - with its images. And pleasure is the movement of thought unaware of the whole structure of pleasure. Where there is pleasure there must be fear. I wonder if you get this. Isn't it? It's two sides of the same coin; if you pursue pleasure you are also pursuing fear. Right? Do you see? No? Oh, my god!
We are not saying you should not pursue pleasure, but see the implications of it. I seek pleasure and if I don't have it I'm annoyed, I feel frustrated, angry - which then breeds fear. So, they are always going together, fear and pleasure. Right? So thought is the movement giving life to both. Do you understand now? If I have no thought of tomorrow I wouldn't be afraid, would I? At the moment of an incident, danger, there is no fear. It's only after. The 'after' is the movement of thought. So, you see, this is very important; can the brain not register at all and so give movement to thought? I'll explain, just look at it. You see a sunset - I take that as the most simple thing, though it's time worn, but doesn't matter - you look at a sunset. At that moment of perception, the beauty, the colour, you follow, the whole of it - there is no registration, there is just the mere observation of an astonishing sight. It is so. Right? Then thought comes and says, How marvellous that was, I must write a poem about it, I must write it in my letter to my friend, or paint it' - verbalise it; all the movement of thought. Now, to observe the sunset and not let thought come into it at all, that requires great attention, not to let the movement of thought take over, which is the pursuit of pleasure. Have you got something of this? Do it; you'll find out what an extraordinary thing it is; that the brain which is accustomed to register - and it is necessary for it to register, to bring mechanical order in a certain field - but when it registers and pursues what it has registered then pleasure is the continuity of it which brings about fear also. You understand? So, can you observe only without registering. You understand my question now?
K: I have stated it sir; if you understand it, don't state it in your words. Try to follow, otherwise you will put it into words and then it becomes your you may be twisting it. So please just listen. I am aware that I am afraid - psychologically. And not to register that fact at the moment, which requires tremendous alertness, understand? Doesn't it? Otherwise you mechanically operate. I'm afraid, I must control it, I must run away from it - all the rest of it. But when you observe, in that observation is it possible not to register at all? I see a beautiful face - observe it. That's all! But we don't do that. All the mechanistic habits, movement of thought comes into being. This requires - as I said - great attention, which is its own discipline, so that the brain is free to observe only and not act mechanically. You see the point?
Now all this is not a process of analysis. To me analysis is a waste of time, whether you psychoanalyse, all the rest of it. It's a waste of time, because the analyser is the analysed. Now, can you see the totality of pleasure at one glance - the whole structure of it? You understand my question? We've said, what is pleasure, we've been through that. Right? Pleasure is the movement of thought after the actuality has gone. Right? We said that; that is the movement of pleasure and the pursuit of it. Now what is desire - and the whole movement of thought. Right? Movement of thought, desire, actual happening of incident and then the continuity given to it by thought. Can you see the totality of the structure of pleasure? Not bit by bit. You understand my question? I wonder if you do. To see something totally, to see something totally is not to have direction. I wonder if you see this? When you look at a map and you have a particular place you want to go to, which is a direction then you don't look at the rest of it; you go from here to Bramdean, to London and so on, then it is finished. So, to look at the whole of the map is possible only when you have no direction. Direction means motive. I wonder if you've got it.
So, to see the totality and the nature and the structure of pleasure which is thought, desire and the movement of thought after the incident - to see the totality of it. If you see the totality, then you can describe it in detail, but the description in detail will not give you the whole picture. I wonder if you get it. So, to see something totally - your wife, your husband, your politics, the whole of it - is possible only when there is no motive which gives direction. So, pleasure is the movement of thought, which is entirely different from that which is enjoyable. You enjoy. Say, I mean, if you like food, you enjoy food, but thought comes over and says, 'I must have the same kind of food tomorrow'. Then the habit begins. Then the breakdown of the habit, which thought says, 'I must break it down', so all the conflict begins. Whereas if you are fond of food, taste it, enjoy it, and end it there. You understand? Not to say, I must have it tomorrow, or this evening. So in the same way to observe your wife, your husband, everything around you without registering and therefore giving it a continuity. Then that gives the brain a tremendous freedom; you have established order where it should be orderly and you have cleared away all disorder in relationship, because then there is no picture, there is no image between you and her, or between another. You've got this? Good!
That's enough for today isn't it?