Psychological time is the cause of conflict
Why has man become what he is?
3rd Public Talk, Madras
January 01, 1983
May I wish you all a happy New Year. I hope you will have a happy New Year.
We have been talking over together our daily problems, not theories, not speculative philosophy or some romantic, imaginative life. We have been talking about, together, as a conversation between two people, the very complex process of our living from the time we are born till we die. We went into several things in the last two talks, or two conversations, and perhaps it will be right to remind you if I may that this is not a lecture as it is commonly understood, to inform and to instruct on a particular subject, but it is a conversation between two people, between you and the speaker, about the life they live, their pleasures, their fears, their sorrows, and the perpetual conflict between human beings. We talked about whether it is possible at all to live a life without a single conflict - conflict in our relationship with each other, however intimate or far away. We went into that question very carefully, whether it is possible in the modern world with all its terrible things that are happening, for a human being in relationship with another to live a life without a single shadow of conflict. Conflict we said brings about disorder and as long as we live each one of us in disorder we cannot possibly bring about a radical psychological revolution in the structure of our society. We went into that too.
I think this evening we ought to talk over the nature of time, desire, fear, and whether sorrow, which man has lived with, can ever end. So we will talk over together as two friends, not a speaker sitting on a platform - that is only for convenience - two people talking over this very complex problem of time, desire, fear, pleasure, and whether sorrow, which happens to be the lot of man throughout the world, whether it has an end to it. So please, the speaker is not directing you what to think, or agree with what he is saying, but we are together going into this problem. Together, not you listen to the speaker or agree or disagree, but together you and the speaker investigate the nature of time, because that's very important to understand, the nature of time. And also we ought to explore desire which is very complex, and we ought to talk over together too, whether there is an end to sorrow, because where there is sorrow there cannot be love, there can be no compassion, there can be no intelligence.
So it is important that you and the speaker meet at the same level at the same time with the same intensity, otherwise there will be no possibility of communication. I hope this is clear. That to understand another, to understand another with your heart, not with one's intellect, which is necessary, but to meet another, like the speaker, there must be a communication, not merely verbal but a communication of the mind in the heart, intelligence in the heart. The word 'heart' is not merely a physical organ but the whole nature of that word, to have the mind, which is an extraordinary affair, in the heart. But most of us listen to words, to ideas, agree or disagree, analyse, speculate and so on, but we never meet at the same time at the same level with the same intensity. Then there is really deep profound communication; then words become rather meaningless, though they have to be used and the words have definite meaning. The construction of a phrase, of a sentence, must be naturally grammatical, but to meet another in communication there must be no barrier. That means you or the speaker must have no prejudice, no bias, not committed to any philosophy, to any conclusion, but meet in freedom. And to meet in freedom requires a great deal of intelligence, a great deal of enquiry.
And one hopes this evening we will meet on the same level because the speaker has no authority, he is not telling you what to do or what you should do with your life, but when we are together, discussing, having a dialogue over a problem, that problem is the concern of both the speaker and you, or you and the speaker. It is your concern as well as that of the speaker. And merely meet at a verbal level, as most of us do, has very little significance because we are concerned with psychological revolution not physical revolution, psychological, inward, radical, fundamental change. We have lived for millennia upon millennia, thousands of years with sorrow, pain, anxiety, loneliness, despair, fear, and the pursuit of wandering desire, and man has always asked if there is a stop to time. And we are going to talk over together the nature of time.
What is time? Time fundamentally means division, distribution, evolution, achievement, moving from here to there - that is, this constant division as of yesterday, today and tomorrow, sun rising, sun setting, the full moon of a lovely evening, and time, meeting your friend, time is hope. Time is a very, very complex affair and that requires a patient - patience is timeless. You understand what we are talking about? It is only impatience that has time. Are we meeting each other somewhere? So, to enquire into the nature of time one must have a great deal of patience; not impatience, not say, 'Get on with it. I understand what you are talking about, let us get on'. Because we live by time. We have divided our life in a time movement. Movement is time. To go from here to there requires time. To learn a language requires time. To accumulate knowledge, to experience, to have pleasure, looking forward to something as fear or as pleasure, the memories of yesterday, or thousand yesterdays, meeting the present, modified and moving towards the future. This is all time. Time for a clerk to become the manager. To acquire any skill. All this requires time. And the desire to experience something other than the usual experience; the pursuit of that is also time. And whether there is psychological time at all. That is, being violent, to become non-violent, that requires time. The pursuit of an ideal requires time. Time means evolution, both physical as well as one imagines or one has the fallacy that one will evolve into something totally different from 'what is'. All this implies time. Time to realise, to become illumined, which the speaker is questioning.
So we must together understand, not verbally, but the feeling of time, the sense of time. Time is memory - the past as the observer, the observer observing what is happening, translating what is happening to his own condition, to his own experience, and so on. So, we need time, bearing in mind that time essentially means division. Division implies distribution, and time you need to learn a skill. The scientist needs a great deal of time to enquire into matter, into astrophysics. So outwardly to change we imagine time is necessary. Eventually man who is divided, who has divided himself into nationalities, will eventually become international and gradually drop all nationality and have a global relationship. We think all that requires time: we must evolve towards that. I hope this is being made clear. So time which is fundamentally a process of division, outwardly, physically it is necessary - like the seed growing into a great tree - that requires time, years. There is a tree in California which is over 5,000 years old. To come to that age, many, many rains and storms and fires and lightening, which is all the growth in time.
Are we together in all this? Do we are we following each other, sharing with each other? If we are, we see that outwardly, physically, we need time - time to acquire knowledge, the accumulating process of learning mathematics, physics or how to fly one of these jets - all that requires time. One cannot possibly escape from that time or try to find a stop to that kind of time. That would be utterly meaningless and foolish. But if you could enquire into the nature of time to become something inwardly. You can become through diligent work, a clerk or a worker becoming a foreman or a manager. There all that is time - go from here to there. For a plant to grow into a great magnificent tree, the season of winter, spring, summer, autumn is the division of time. Now we are together going to enquire if there is psychological time at all. You understand my question? The time that we think is necessary to change from one psychological or sensory responses to another. We think time is necessary to be free of violence. Time is necessary to be free of envy: I am envious but give me time to be free of that particular pain or pleasure.
So, we are questioning whether there is time at all psychologically. You understand my question? Right, sirs? Are we meeting each other? Otherwise my talking and your sitting here has no meaning. Right? So we are not discussing or having a conversation about the necessity of physical time. To build a house you need time. To be educated, if you must be educated, needs time. But we are enquiring into something much more important, much more essential, because we are conditioned to the idea or to the concept or to the illusion that time is necessary - from 'what is', to 'what should be'. We are, the speaker and you, are questioning that, whether time at all is necessary for a radical change. You understand? Have I stated the question clearly so we all meet it? We said time is division, time is distribution; division as 'I am', 'I should be'. That is a division, and 'I should be' requires time. Right? We are questioning that. We said is there such thing as becoming something, or experiencing something? Enlightenment, of which many people talk about, does that demand time? We are questioning a most fundamental thing - you understand, sirs? - because all our philosophy, our life, all the books that you read - so-called sacred books are no more sacred than any other book - they have all said time is necessary; you must go through various disciplines, various practices in order to come near whatever you like to call it - god, an experience which is beyond all measure, a state of mind that has not been touched by time.
So, we must go into this question very closely whether there is psychological time at all. The moment you admit that there is psychological time, time being division, there must be conflict. Right? I have divided violence, which I am, which all human beings apparently are, and to achieve non-violence there is a division immediately taking place. You understand, sirs? I am violent, we are violent and we must be the opposite. Where there is the opposite there must be division and therefore there must be conflict. And time is the element, is the cause of conflict. I wonder if you understand all this. Don't look so vague, please. Don't be so puzzled. Look at it very simply. I am greedy - which you perhaps are not - I am greedy and to be non-greedy takes time. We said time is division. Of course. You understand that? So where time comes into being, there must be conflict, and the becoming something is endless. You understand? Now we are asking, is there an end to violence in which there is no time at all? You understand my question? Do you understand, sir? Come on, somebody say yes. Don't say yes for the fun of it. Gosh! It is a very, very serious problem. We have accepted time, division, as a means of ending conflict. We are saying quite the contrary. Where there is division as me becoming something, the becoming something is noble, whatever it is, that very division is the process of time; and that division, does it exist at all? That is, I am greedy. That is the only fact I have - the other, non-greed, non-violence has no reality. It is just a concept, a structure of thought which cannot understand or end violence. It is an escaping process - the ideal. All right?
Are we together in this? I am afraid we are not. You are full of ideals, a bag full of them, and you never under any circumstances achieve the ideal because they are still the invention of thought. Right? As we went into the nature of thought which is limited because all knowledge is limited. We talked about it considerably. And it's also I don't want to make it one doesn't make it too complex. Greed, measurement, comparison - 'I am this, I will be that', which is measurement - all that implies psychological time. That is the illusion in which we live. We are questioning the reality of that. There is only 'what is'. There is only greed, there is only violence, there is only war. And can war end? - killing each other in the name of god, in the name of ideals, in the name of countries, god and all the rest of it.
Now we will go into it very carefully. I am violent. When I say 'I', I mean all humanity. You are violent. Human beings are violent. Isn't it important to find out whether it can end immediately? Isn't it important? Not say, 'I must become non-violent'. When you become non-violent that means a period of time. During that period you are sowing the seeds of violence, which is so obvious. Like man saying, 'I am trying to be non-violent'. You understand all this? I will go on.
So, is it possible to end violence or greed, whatever you will, anger, immediately - the whole entirety of violence? So what is violence? Not merely anger, to injure another, to hate, to criticise, to wound another both physically and psychologically, to imitate, to conform, not merely physical aggression but the whole movement of violence, can that movement totally end? And to find that out one must understand time as division. I have divided, thought has divided 'what is' into 'what should be'. I am ignorant - not in the scholastic sense - I am ignorant but I will be enlightened some day. So we are now asking whether it is possible to end violence, greed, what you will, immediately, so that it never comes up again. Aren't you interested in that to find out? Are you really? Ah, come on. If you are interested what do you give? If you buy something, you must give something. Right? You must give money, you must make a gesture, you must do something - not say 'Yes, I want to end it', which means, to end it you have to think, you have to work, you have to be passionate about it, not just casual, saying yes. That is why I said in the beginning, the speaker said at the beginning we must meet at the same level at the same time with the same intensity. Then we can communicate profoundly. Not verbally, but with the mind in the heart, which means intelligence operating with love.
How do you observe violence? Violence is a sensory response. Right? You have hurt me, I am wounded; my image about myself has been hurt. You might not physically hurt me but you have wounded me inwardly because I have an image about myself as a great man or some professor or some idiotic person, and that image has been hurt. And to get over that hurt give me time. Right? I work not to be hurt, I'll be aware, I will be careful, listen carefully and so on. You see, all that is effort, which is brought about by the division of time. Clear? So, is it possible to end violence so completely it never comes back? That is why you are asking how do you look, how do you perceive violence? How do you look at a tree, the moon, the stars, the heavens and the beauty of a night, how do you look at it? How do you look at your wife or your husband, your friend? Do you look at your wife or your husband or the tree or the moon or the rivers with the memories that you have had, with the accumulated hurts, accumulated pleasures, companionship, stored in the brain as memory? Do you look at your wife and your husband with those memories? So memory is time. Right? I wonder if you understand. So where there is time there must be division. Right? And hence you have row after row, quarrels and all the rest of it in your relationship with another. Right, sirs?
So, it is of the highest importance to find out how to observe. How to observe a tree, which is one of the most beautiful things on earth. How do you look at it? The moment you use when you use the word 'tree', or the species of tree, you are not looking. Right? The word, the remembrance prevents you from looking. I want to look at my wife. Probably you have never looked at her. I have looked at her as my wife, my possession, my pleasure, sexual and otherwise. I have looked at her with all the memories of the last ten days or ten years or fifty years. And those memories come between her and me, and she has also her memories. So it is very important to find out whether one can look at a wife or a husband or the tree or the moon or the flowing waters of a great river without the word, without the name, which is the past. You understand all this? So can you look at violence or greed, whatever you will, without the word? The moment you use the word 'violence' you have already put it in time. You understand this? My god! The moment you use the word, which we have used a thousand times before, as violence, that very word is the factor of time. Right? Do you see this? And therefore you have already brought about a division. Now can you observe your wife, your friend - all right - or the speaker now? Can you observe him without his reputation, without his - nothing - without any image look at him - can you? Or the image that you have built about the poor chap is so strong that you cannot possibly see him as he is, or you see him impudently - say, 'Who are you to tell us?'
So, can you look at your wife, at the tree, at a flower without the movement of thought? The movement of thought is time. Thought divides as time divides. When you look, you are looking without the observer who is the past, who is the word, who is the memory. That past divides; the past is time. To look at yourself as you look in the mirror to look at yourself, and that mirror which is physical, the mirror in which you look is the mirror of relationship. There you can perceive every movement of thought, every movement of reaction. So the perceiver is the perceived - you understand? - the analyser is the analysed. Right? Do you understand this? I want to experience something extraordinary. I am bored with all the experience I have had - sex and pleasure - I want to experience something ultra, ultra, something beyond all thought, and the experiencer has projected what he wants to experience, and therefore the experiencer is the experience. I wonder if you understand all this. A mind that does not demand experience is totally different. Therefore we have to learn how to listen, how to observe. Not accumulate how to listen, just listen, just observe with all the memories. Then you will see that which you observe, which is violence, there is no division between the observer and the observed. The observer is the violence. Right? I wonder if you see that. And so when you are so alert, watch, observe, it is like putting a great light on the thing which you observe. Then it disappears totally, never to return.
And now we ought to talk over what is desire. Because time and desire and thought are the major factors of fear. Time as tomorrow, what might happen to me, time as not achieving, not becoming. We went into that. And we are saying time, desire, thought, are the major factors of fear. So we ought to talk over together, as a dialogue between two friends who have known each other for some time, happily, easily without trying to convince one or the other, what is desire, the wandering nature of desire, desire which is never content, the desire that all religions have said suppress it. Right? So we are going to examine together the nature of that desire. Why have religious leaders, which are really phoney leaders, why have religious leaders all over the world and all the books and all the rest of it, why have they said you must suppress or desire for god? That is all right to desire for god, for illumination, that is perfectly all right; but to desire a woman, desire a house, desire the lovely things of the earth, the beauty of a painting, the beauty of a statue, a poem of Keats, you mustn't desire, it will lead you astray, it will lead you to temptation, and we have learnt through the ages the art of suppressing desire or yielding to desire. So we are together, if you are not tired, we will go into this question of desire.
What is desire? Not the object it desires or the object creating the desire. You understand? You understand this, what I said? The object creating the desire or the desire exists and the object varies. You understand? You must be clear on this point. Gosh, there is so much to talk about in all this, aren't you tired? You are a rummy crowd. You see a nice car, nice shirt, a lovely house, a beautiful painting. That painting, house, the car, the woman, the man - the object - does the object create the desire or the desire exists and the objects don't matter? If the object creates desire then it is a totally different investigation, but if desire exists and the wandering nature of desire from one thing to another. So, we have to examine together what is desire. What is the origin, the beginning of desire? Not how to control desire, not suppress it, transcend and all that kind of stuff, but the beginning. If one can understand the origin, the source of desire, then you can deal with it. But if we don't ask the origin, the beginning, then we are merely trimming the branches of desire. Is this clear? So together we are going to examine what is desire.
We live by sensation. Our sensory responses, their reaction is the activity of sensation. Right? I see you - well dressed, clean, healthy, beautiful or whatever you are - I see you. The seeing is the beginning of sensory responses. Right? You are following this - obviously, it is not complicated. So, the seeing, observing, contact and sensation, which are the responses of the senses. Right? Is this clear? Right, sir? Then what happens? You understand? I see a beautiful house, a lovely chalet in the mountains, beautifully built, strong; see it, contact, touch it, touch it actually, and the sensation from it. Then what happens? This is really important to understand. I see you, a beautiful woman - I am not tempted so don't bother - I see a beautiful woman or a beautiful man if you are a woman. The very seeing of that beauty - nice, clear, intelligent face, it's a sensation, isn't it? Then what is the next step that takes place? Think with me for god's sake, move. I'll show you. You see, I have to tell you, which is a pity. That is why - please - you become second-hand human beings. But if you saw it for yourself you are completely out of that mediocrity. You see a beautiful something, a statue which has been created by love and skill and matter. Then as you see it sensations arise, you touch it. Then what happens? Please listen, listen, find out for yourself. Listen, sir. Please listen, find out. Then thought comes in and says how beautiful, I wish I had that statue in my room, I wish I was in that car, I wish I had that house. Right? At that moment when thought takes charge of sensation, at that precise moment desire is born. Have you understood this? You people Do you understand this, sirs?
Krishnamurti: No. We will go into it a little more. Sensation, which is normal, healthy, vital - otherwise you are dead. To suppress sensation means you are dead and probably that is what happened here in this country. You read Gita and Upanishads and all the sacred books and you follow guru after guru, discipline your desires, control, suppress, escape and so on. Whereas we are saying something entirely different, if you can follow this a little bit. Sensation, then immediate association of thought with the object. Right? That is, sensation, seeing the car, thought then says, how nice it would be if I sat in there, it is a beautiful car with tremendous power behind it - not the Indian cars - and beautifully made - then begins desire. Right? You understand this? Now, is it possible for thought not to intervene? You understand my question? Not immediately thought saying, I must See itself in the car. You understand? Is there a hiatus, an interval between sensation and thought not immediately taking charge? You understand this? Have I made this question So that there is an interval, a gap. If there is a gap, what happens? That requires extraordinary skill and attention. Right, sirs?
To see where sensations are important, because if your senses are not alive you cannot see the beauty of the earth, the movement of the sea. So, sensations, the sensory responses are essential for life, but when thought controls, shapes, gives identity to sensation, then at that precise moment desire is born. Right? Can we find out, without control, without suppression, just to see how thought is acting upon sensation. Just to see it, even verbally, even intellectually, but to go into it very deeply, to have such alertness, such care, such attention, such love to see the nature - how desire is born. Then you have to see what thought is, how thought makes all life a problem, which we went into the other days.
And also thought is a movement, material movement. Right? Perhaps you haven't enquired or you haven't gone into it - not gone into it in the sense read about it, by professionals who have written books about it, but you can watch yourself, which is far more exciting, far more real, then you are dealing with something actual. Thought, as we said, is limited because all knowledge, all experience is limited, and thought springs from knowledge, experience - or experience, knowledge, memory, and thought. And this whole process is limited. There is no complete knowledge about anything, can never be. Science, technology is always adding more, more, more, more. So, time, desire, thought, are the factors of fear. Right? Are we meeting? I am afraid what might happen to me because I have had an accident a couple of days ago or a year ago and I am afraid it might happen again. I am watchful. There is fear. I am afraid of the dark. I am afraid of the wife, and the husband, I am afraid of my boss. Aren't you all afraid? Aren't you? Don't be ashamed, it is the common lot of man. You may not want to acknowledge it, you may not want to face it, but you are frightened, and fear does terrible things to human beings - mentally, psychologically, it narrows down, it curtails, it makes human beings so bound to authority, to some ideas. They have become so dependent, so attached, so inhuman. So we are not talking about the many factors or many expressions of desire of fear, but fear itself. You understand? Not afraid of your wife or husband, afraid of losing a job, afraid of past pains, hoping that they will never occur again - we are not talking various aspects of fear but the root of it.
What is the root of fear? Isn't it time and thought? That is, I am a clerk, I may never become a manager. I am a disciple, I can never become a guru if I want to be. I am ignorant - in the deep sense of that word, not ignorance of the books, I am not talking about that - deep ignorance, which is not knowing myself wholly. That is ignorance - the movement that is me, that has no beginning, perhaps no end. And to understand that deep ignorance I not only need time - I imagine I need time and also I need experience, accumulation, reincarnation and all the rest of the blah blah. So there is fear. So we are asking each other what is the root of it all. Why has man, throughout the ages, past timeless beginning, why has he carried this burden of fear? He hasn't been able to resolve it. He may go to all the temples, to all the churches, to all the gurus, various try various systems of meditation but fear is always there. You may be blind to it, you may want to evade it but it is always there in one form or another. So we are asking what is the root of it. The root of it is time and thought. Of course. Is that clear? Must I go into it?
I have had pain a couple of weeks ago and I fear that it might return again, which is time. Right? You understand that is time, isn't it? Which is, the remembrance of that pain and it might happen again, and the fear is hoping it will not happen again. My wife - I am not married - my wife has hurt me, as I have hurt her, not physically, inwardly, and I hope she won't hurt me more, by word or gesture or by a tear. And I am afraid she might hurt me - fear. So fear is time and thought. If one understands the nature of time and thought, and the movement and the wandering of desire - understand in the sense, see the truth of it instantly - as we went into it: time; we went into in desire - see the actual truth of it, not the verbal conclusion of it, the fact of it, the reality of it, the depth of it, the intensity of it. If you do see it so clearly then you will never ask how is fear to end, nor ask, can I control thought - you understand? - or say, 'How am I to stop thought?' - which are the causes of fear. Right? You will never ask that question, because you can't ask a question about what you actually see - the truth. It is there - you understand? - it is there for you to see, not to accept, argue, analyse, discuss, take sides - you can't. It is like seeing a most beautiful thing on earth - it is there. An excellency, an excellent mind - it is there. A heart that is overflowing - it is there. If you see it, then fear ends. And where there is the ending of fear, there is no god. You understand? It is out of our fear, out of our desire, we invent the gods. When a man for him, in whom there is no fear, completely no fear, then he is totally a different human being and he needs no god.
And sirs and ladies, give your heart to consider all this. Not your mind, not your intellect. Intellect has its place, but when we are examining something very, very seriously, the heart must enter into its consideration. When the heart enters, that is when there is love to observe, love of watching, seeing, then when you see the truth of desire, time and thought, then there is no fear whatsoever. Then only there can be love. Fear and love cannot go together. Fear and pleasure go together but not love and fear.