Question & answer meeting
Thought, fear, death and meditation
1st Public Questions, Rajghat
November 28, 1981
There are about a hundred questions, and we cannot possibly answer all of them, and if we did, it would take probably the whole month of December, (laughter) so you wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be here. So we have chosen - a few people have chosen the questions, and if your particular question is not answered please don't get angry or impatient, or that we are trying to evade your particular question.
I wonder why we ask questions. We must ask questions, we must doubt, be very sceptical, question, but why do we question and from whom does one expect answers? You have put here several questions, who is going to answer them? If you put the right question naturally there will be right answer. If there are questions that are merely intellectual, theoretical, something based on some hypotheses then such questions have no value; but if one asks serious questions then the questioner and the speaker are responsible together - it is not you are putting questions to me and then I answer you, I am not the Delphic Oracle! Nobody is. But one should ask oneself, I think, why we put questions and from whom we expect an answer. So we are going to answer these questions, investigating the question itself, and in the investigation of that question we will find the answer, not that you put the question and then you expect an answer, but rather, together we are going to examine the question. And in the examination of that question we will find the answer in the question. I hope this is clear.
And also if one may remind you most respectfully, we should listen to the question, not wait for an answer - listen to the question itself, and it matters a great deal, if one may point out, how you listen. Whether you listen with an expectation, with a motive, waiting impatiently for the answer, or you are listening not only between the words, the sound of the word - please listen to all this - the sound of the word. Each word has a certain content, a certain significance, and the sentence, the sound, the quality of the question itself makes the hearing more acute. And in listening you learn much more than the answer itself. I wonder if you are following all this. So please, if one may suggest that you really listen to the question.
1st Question: What does it mean to enquire? Is enquiry itself a process of thought?
How do we enquire, what is the state of the mind that enquires? What is it it is enquiring, and who is it that is enquiring? To enquire means to investigate, to explore. And to explore very deeply, if the brain is conditioned, your exploration, your enquiry will be limited. Naturally. It's like an animal being tethered to a post, the rope may be long or short, but it is tethered. If the brain is conditioned, as most people's brains are, then the enquiry will be very limited. But the enquiry demands that we be free to look. Right? It is necessary if we are to enquire, which means really part of that enquiry is subtly doubtful, questioning, asking, scepticism. Right? Are we going to together with hesitant scepticism to enquire into this question, explore into this question? Which is: is enquiry a process of thought? That is, we are enquiring into the process, say for example of death - we haven't touched that subject - we are enquiring together into the nature of death, what does it mean? Now one can approach this question either with fear, or with avoidance, or seeking comfort. Now when we approach it in that manner our enquiry is naturally very limited because the motive dictates the enquiry. So can we be free in our enquiry of our prejudices, our desire for comfort, our commitment to some form of beliefs, and with a fresh mind enquire who is the enquirer and what is it that is being enquired. You understand? Is this all right, are we going along together?
Who is the enquirer? I want to investigate into death, the nature of death, what does it mean. So before I enquire into death I must find out who is the enquirer, who is asking these questions. Who is it that is asking these questions? You will say, 'I' - right? Who is the 'I'? I, the self, is put together by thought. Now you are stuck! The 'me', myself, my form, my name, all the characteristics, tendencies, the desires, the ambitions, the struggles, the pain, the loneliness, suffering, all that is me. Right? The 'me' is the past, the present and the future. The past is all my inherited tendencies, the memories, the experiences, the education, or non-education, all that is the past which is knowledge. Right? Knowledge is always the past. The past, that knowledge, meets the present, modifies itself and proceeds further. All that is me; even the super-self, super-consciousness, all that blah, blah, blah, is still me. Right? So that me is put together by thought - past memories meeting the present incidents, challenges, being modified and proceeding further, which is the future, so all that is me. The 'me' is enquiring. Right? The 'me' is the thought. Of course. I know you will object to this because the 'me' you think there is something far superior, some extraordinary entity derived straight from god, or Atman, whatever it is, but it is still a movement of thought. So thought is enquiring about itself. You follow? You understand this? Thought is enquiring about death. What is important is to understand the enquirer, not about death, because if the enquirer is very clear, objective, impersonal, free, non-attached, then the enquiry can be extraordinary, but if the enquirer is attached, conditioned, has a motive, his enquiry will inevitably be limited about death.
So it is important to understand who is the enquirer. We have gone into that a little bit, we said, still thought. Now can thought examine itself? Can you? Can thought look at itself? Go on sir. That is, we explained the other day, and bearing in mind that explanations are not the fact, the word is not the thing, the word 'tree' is not the actual, living, beautiful, designed tree. So the word, the explanation, the description, is not the actual, but we were saying the other day that experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action - that is thought. And we are enquiring whether thought can look at itself. Can you be aware when thought arises? Of course one can. But who is the entity that is being aware of thought arising? You are following all this? It is still thought. Is this clear? You see we have divided thought into the thinker and thought. Right? Right, sir?
So the difficulty in this enquiry is we have never been able to go beyond thought. Our whole way of living is based on thought, that is the only instrument we have, apart from emotional, romantic, but it is still, thought is feeling, is the romantic sentimentality and so on. It is all involved with thought. We have never been able to enquire if there is something beyond thought which can directly understand. No, this is too difficult for you. I wonder if you have ever asked yourself whether there is action without thought. You understand? That is, our action is based on thought, whether that action is based on an ideal which is again the invention of thought, whether it is based on past memory, which is still thought, whether it is a projected concept in the future according to which one acts it is still thought, so all that we know of action is the reaction of thought. That's clear. We have never asked if there is an action which is not based on thought. That's our enquiry, which is death. I wonder if you see this. Are you all asleep? I'm afraid.
Is there an action, to put it differently, which is not based on knowledge? You understand? Our action at present is based on knowledge. Right? That's quite clear. Is there an action which is not? To enquire into that one must be entirely free from the past, obviously. Can one? Can you be free of your tradition, can you be free of your gurus, can you be free from all the subtle influences of thought, so that you discover for yourself an action which is not based on thought? I have answered the question. I am not evading it. It is for you to do it. That is, to be aware that your actions are based on thought. You may call it love but it is still thought. And to find out for oneself whether there is action totally free from all knowledge which is thought. Right? Which means, time as memory, time as thought, time as the future, time as the present, time as the future, has altogether disappeared. This requires - you have got it?
2nd Question: You have said, let us think together. Does it mean collective thinking? If not, how can two people of different backgrounds think together?
Does it mean collective thinking? Listen to the question carefully please. I'll read it again because you have not listened to it, you are just waiting for somebody to say something about it. You are not actually listening to the question. Please do.
You have said, let us think together, does it mean collective thinking, if not how can two people of different backgrounds think together?
The speaker has said over and over again, let us think together. And the questioner asks, does it mean collective thinking, which is opposed to individual thinking? You understand? When you say, is it collective thinking, naturally it means is there individual thinking. Right? Is thinking collective, or individual, or it is neither? Exercise, come on sirs. Let's have some fun, not just Is thinking personal, individual, collective, or there is only thinking? Your thinking is the result of your past: your past conditioning, if you are a scientist it is the accumulated knowledge of the past scientists, if you are a religious crank, as most of you are, (laughter) with your peculiar robes, then your thinking is based on your desire, on your fear, on your superstition, and so on. So we are saying - and the businessman thinks according to his background, which is to make money, all the rest of it, or the politician - there is only thinking, not collective thinking or individual thinking, or Eastern thinking and Western thinking. There is only the act of thinking.
The questioner asks: if not, can two people of different backgrounds think together. We are talking of thinking, not of your background. Right? If this is clear - there is only thinking, even the poorest, uneducated man thinks, even the most highly sophisticated intellectual thinks. He doesn't say, 'It is my thinking' he is thinking. Right? So can we not think together, not collective, individual, having different backgrounds, but the act of thinking, not about something, but to watch together that tree. Right? To watch together. That means both of us pay attention to what we are seeing. We may describe it differently, you may say that light on that leaf is not quite so bright as it was yesterday, or there is too much fog, too much dirt - you follow? - but the act of seeing, observing is together. The description may vary, the reactions may vary, but the act of perceiving, we can do that together. The act of thinking, not according to my background or your background, the act of thinking itself can be done together. We can both observe what is happening in the world: wars, the politicians making a mess of the world - are there any politicians here? (Laughter) I hope not! - making a mess of the world and we are helping to help them to make the world worse, and so on. So we can think together about war, how appallingly dangerous it all is, you may want to avoid it, but thinking together means communicating with each other without any barrier. You listen to what the speaker is saying, and the speaker listens to what you are saying, and that we can do together very happily. It is not complicated: if you want to communicate something to me I listen to you because I am interested in what you are talking about, and you listen to the speaker if you are interested. Where there is interest there is communication, where there is care, affection, love, there is communication.
3rd Question: What is the nature of evil? Do you think it is possible to live in the present day world without compromising with evil in some form or another?
I don't know - the speaker doesn't know what you call evil. Each person translates that word according to his fancy, to his ideas, to his concepts, saying evil is the opposite of the good. Right? So each person has a definite idea, concept, gives a different meaning to that word. Now let's look at it carefully.
Is there an opposite to the good? Think it out, let's go into it carefully. We say the opposite is evil. We are asking: is evil the opposite of the good? Or is there an opposite to the good? If there is an opposite to the good, then the opposite must be born out of the good. I wonder if you understand all this. We understand all this, sirs? Can we go on? That is, is there an opposite at all? You follow all this? I wonder. That is, I am frightened, and the opposite of fear is supposed to be courage. Right? When there is no fear, is it courage? So I am asking: is good the opposite of evil? Or where there is good there is no evil.
So we have to enquire first, what is goodness. Perhaps you may think that it is an old fashioned word, 'being good', but it is not. What does goodness mean? Let's enquire into that, sir, don't just go to sleep while I am talking, for god's sake. What is it to be good, a good human being? The word 'good' implies being whole, not fragmented, not broken up, that is, saying one thing, doing something else, feeling something, saying quite the opposite to that, or the thinker separate from thought. Where there is fragmentation in one's action, in one's thinking, there is no goodness. Goodness implies the feeling, or the act, or acting from whole being, not from fragmentation. Anything that is fragmented has its opposite. Goodness has no opposite. I wonder if you see all this. So one questions altogether whether there is an opposite at all, except there is man, woman, light and darkness, but the idea of the opposite; that is, violence, the opposite of that is non-violence. The opposite is a projection of violence. I don't know if you see all this. Right? That is, I do not know how to get rid of violence, and so I invent the idea of non-violence, use that word as a lever to free myself from violence, but I am still violent. So there is only violence, not non-violence. I know you Is this all right? You see we are all brought up from childhood with the idea of opposites, like a long corridor of opposites our life is, battling from one thing to the other. We are questioning whether there is an opposite at all. Hate is not the opposite of love, there is only hate or love, but we make it an opposite and thereby hope to help ourselves from a difficult condition, or a difficult problem by looking for an answer. Right? Is this clear?
So we are not saying that there is not evil, war is evil, killing another is evil, being terrorists is evil, all the dacoits in this country - it is an evil act. Right? But that which is not good is not the opposite of the good. I wonder if you see this.
4th Question: For living beyond the shadow of time we must discard psychological memory, yet it is necessary to have memory of our skills for daily living. The two types of memory are the contents of the same brain, and each has close association with the other. How is it possible then to retain the essential memory and discard the psychological?
Have you heard the question?
The questioner begins by asking: for living beyond time, the shadow of time, we must discard the psychological memory. How do you know? How do you know, or are aware that you must discard psychological memory to live beyond time, how do you know? Or you have heard somebody, like the speaker, say it and you are repeating it. Please, sir, this is important to understand, the first part of the question. You hear something from another and you take it for granted that it is so, so you become second-hand people. Right? That's what we are. And we are very proud of it. We never say, throw all this out and find out what it is to live firsthand. So when you start with a hypothesis of which you don't know, a theory, then the question becomes rather superficial. Right?
The questioner says further: it is necessary to have memory of our skills for daily living. The two types of memories, the content of the same brain, and each has its association with the other, how is it possible to retain essential memories, and discard the psychological? We will go into that. The speaker has been saying for many years, that we are only functioning with a partial brain, which is conditioned, as Hindus, as Christians, as Buddhists or as Communists, Socialists, Labourite and so on, so on, so on, it is conditioned. And therefore what is conditioned must always be partial. And the brain specialists are discovering that the right part of the brain, this side of the brain is associated with the practical, the daily activities, the remembrance and so on, it is concerned with the daily activity of life; and the left side is theoretical, thinking abstractly. The left side is not practical as the right side and so on. I won't go into all the details of it, but you comprehend that. Which is, the right, the practical, the left, non-practical, theoretical, abstract. So the scientists are saying, the right and the left are two separate functions, and of course they are subtly associated with each other, they are not absolute divisions. Right? Left and right.
So out of that arises a very interesting question, if you are interested in it, which we have discussed with some of the brain specialists and others, whether the whole brain can be active at the same moment, not one moment theoretical, the next moment practical, but the whole of the brain in a flow, in a movement. I don't know if you are interested in this. Are you? Don't agree with me so easily, sir. (Laughs) The brain functions, obviously, according to the senses; the senses are taste, smell, hearing and so on, touching, it is communicated through the nerves and to the brain. And - I am not a brain specialist, I have discussed this a great deal with others who are supposed to be, and also my own enquiry into myself - not 'enquiry', I won't use those words. Observing myself.
The question is: can the brain which has been so conditioned by knowledge, which is partial, can that brain which has been so conditioned free itself and act as a whole, practical as well as theoretical? It is not theoretical, a total perception, not partial perception. Is this clear? Am I making the question clear? A total perception with all your senses active. Or, part of the brain active, which is partial and therefore limited, and therefore creating all the human problems. It is possible for the whole of the brain to be active together, whole, when all the senses are active, not one sense more active than the other. That is, sir, when you look at the waters of that river in the early morning where there is not a breath of air, not a ripple, and the sunlight is on that water, the early morning golden light making a path on that water, can you look at it with all your senses? Where there is such an observation there is no centre; it is only when you observe partially that there is the centre formed. That is, wherever there is a partial observation there must be a limited area. Right? That limited area is the 'me'. Whereas if you observe that light on that water and the early morning with the glory of that clear light on that water, with all your senses there is no centre because you are observing totally with all your attention. So there is a possibility, if one is attentive, when one is really serious, it is possible to have only memories that are absolutely necessary for daily living, and not have psychological memories accumulated day after day, day after day, which is the real factor of degeneration.
5th Question: In the West children are brought up to be separate independent individualists, and this makes them less affectionate.
And this country is so very different, is that it?
In the East - ah, I thought so! I haven't read these questions before, this is the first time I am reading them - in the East they are brought up to share everything with the family. They are more affectionate but this makes them more dependent, more attached. Which of these is a healthier, more natural way of bringing up a child? (Laughter)
Need I read that question again? (Laughter) I'll read it, all right. In the West children are brought up to appreciate (laughs) Oh, for god's sake (Laughter) Are we individuals? That's the basic question. Right? The questioner is asking: in the West children are brought up to think of themselves as separate, independent, non-collective human beings; here apparently in the East they are brought up in the family and the family is more important than the individual, but the individual is equally important living in the family, and therefore he is more attached to the family, and so on. Which all means the emphasis either in one direction or the other is the importance of the individual. Right? Now we must question, doubt, enquire, into this problem whether we are individuals at all. All your tradition says you are individuals, separate souls, all struggling, struggling, struggling. Right? Personal illumination, personal realization, personal gods, personal salvation, personal achievement, individual success in heaven or on the earth, in both the West and the East the importance is given to the individual, both psychologically as well as religiously as well as physically, outwardly. Now we are asking, is that so? Are you an individual? You may have a different form, you are taller, perhaps darker, there are black people, white people, brown people, yellow people, woman, man, some have beards, some have not beards, some have grey hair, some have different names and so on, does that make you into an individual? Go on sir, enquire into all this, don't just you see you never doubt anything, you take it all for granted: that we are individuals, that we have separate souls, that we have etc., etc.
Is your consciousness separate, which is individual consciousness? You understand? I am only changing the words. Is your consciousness different from another? Your consciousness is made up of the things which thought has put there - fear, belief, whether you are a socialist, or a labourite, capitalist, or a communist, what you believe, your conclusions, your pains, your loneliness, your desperation, your depressions, anxiety, pain, sorrow, loneliness, is the same for all mankind. Right? All mankind goes through this, whether they live in this country, Russia, America or China. Right? They all go through this with greater emphasis on one or the other. That's the ground on which we all stand. Right? So is there an individual? No, don't, sir, this is the most important question, don't easily say no, shake your head as though you are free of individuality. You have to find out. You may have a different kind of education than the man in the West, but he suffers as you, he is insecure as you, he follows some superstition as you, only the figures of superstition vary - you have three hundred thousand gods here but there is only one god there, but still god. So we all stand on the same ground; it is the ground of all humanity.
So are you an individual? So if you are an individual either you are living in an illusion, in a fanciful world called individualism, or the other is untrue. You follow? Either this individual is true, or the other is not true, which is that we are all similar in our consciousness, or the similarity, perhaps various modifications and so on, is the truth, and the other is illusion. Truth has no opposite: this is so or this is not so. Go into it yourself, sir.
So thinking is common to all mankind; consciousness is common - perhaps not common, we won't use that word 'common', that gives a totally different meaning - is similar, the same flow of the river of sorrow, the same flow of the river of anxiety, insecurity, loneliness, despair, terrible things that we are. You understand? We as individuals have a cause, we are the result of causes. Right? Obviously. Climate, food, what you are educated, your Upanishads, your Gita, your blah, blah, and there, the Bible and Jesus and so on. They are all the same with different names. Oh for god's sake, it is all so childish, all this. So where there is a cause it must end. You understand? Sir, only global interrelationship between all the people will prevent war. Right? But if you are a nationalist and the other fellow is a nationalist, you are going to have wars because nationalism, which is glorified tribalism, brings about separation, the Muslim and the Hindu, Pakistan and India, such division is going to bring war. And the warped people are delighted because they play with the game of killing people. You know all this! So can you, as a human being, recognizing the responsibility of the human which is to have global interrelationship with all mankind, not as Hindus meeting the Christians and all that, as human beings, then you will prevent war. But if you stick to individuality, and that is expressed in nationalism - I don't know if you follow all this - if you stick to your individualism as your god, your own invention of god, and the other fellow does the same, you are going to have religious wars. So when you see all this, apprehend, perceive all this, individual has no meaning at all.
6th Question: In spite of your warning that the practice of a technique of meditation makes the mind dull and mechanical, it appears to me that your teaching of listening and seeing and learning also involves struggle in the mind to drop its activities. May I request you to enlighten me on this question?
Don't ask me, don't request me, just look at the question itself.
Sir, apart from meditation, which perhaps we will go into tomorrow morning, if there is time, what does practice do? What is practice? Tell me, sir: you go to the office every day from nine to five - I don't know why you do it but you do it. No, no, don't laugh, that's part of your life. And that's a routine, isn't it? Get up in the morning, shave, rush off to have breakfast, rush to the office, and there you sit at a desk and write, write, whatever you do, or work in a factory. So that becomes a routine, doesn't it? That becomes mechanical, that becomes a practice, a habit. You accept that as the normal way of life, and somebody comes along and says: any system, any practice in meditation will also become mechanical, repetitive, makes the mind dull. Here you accept it and it is also making your mind dull in the office, in the factory. Right? If I am the carpenter, and I all day look at the wood, feel the wood, the right instruments, my mind obviously becomes wooden. A scientist who spends all day long in research inventing - you follow? - accumulating knowledge - any specialization must inevitably make the mind dull. Obviously. No? You meditate, don't you?
Q: How he does the research, he says. If his mind is dull how he will do the research.
Krishnamurti: Scientist. If you are a Sir, for god's sake, this is fairly simple, isn't it? If you are all the time accumulating knowledge and theorizing about knowledge you are specializing. You understand, sir? Don't you know this? If I sing, nothing but sing all day, however marvellously, I have specialised in that, my voice becomes marvellous but I know nothing about life, may know nothing about life, because my specialization keeps me in a narrow groove.
Now if this is so, which appears to be so, and the questioner says also, listening, seeing, learning, also involves struggle in the mind to drop its activities. Sir, we have made life into a marvellous machine of struggle. Right? We are struggling for everything: for god, for meditation, for love, struggle, struggle, struggle. Right? And you say, listening, seeing, learning is also a struggle. I say, no. Why do we make life into a struggle? Yes, sir, answer this question, put it to yourself: whether you can live without any conflict in life. Don't say, no. We are used to conflict. Right? To reach god, enlightenment, nirvana, or self-realisation, blah, blah, you must struggle, struggle, struggle, take vows, take all these peculiar robes that you have.
We are asking: is there a way of living which is not lazy, which is not comforting, which is not merely routine, routine, is there a way of living daily life without a single shadow of conflict?
Q: Yes, when you go in deep sleep
K: Lovely! Those, the gentleman says, those who are in deep sleep - perhaps all of you are! (Laughter) We are talking about daily living, not when you are fast asleep. Even when you are fast asleep the brain is still active, still dreaming. (Screech sound) Sirs, don't make that, sirs. Have you ever even asked, enquired to find out if it is possible to live a life, daily life, without a single sense of conflict, without a single sense of a problem, without this terrible sense of 'I must control'? Go on, sir, enquire. The speaker says, not theoretically, don't accept it, the speaker says, yes it is possible: not escape, not go off into the Himalayas, or in some become a hermit, living here on this earth, meeting people, married, if you are, and doing everything that one has to, to live without conflict. Find out, sirs! Why is there conflict in our life? Is it not because we are all trying to become something? Right? If I am not good, I will be good. This idea of perpetual movement of becoming something, ultimately becoming enlightened, which is nonsense.
So what is it that is becoming? You understand my question? Who is it that is becoming? The 'me'? And what is the 'me'? My name, my form, my memory, my education, my attachments, my bank account, if I have one, and so on, so on. Right? Why can't we face all this! Why can't we look at it instead of imagining all kinds of things. So as long as there is a desire to become there must be conflict. Right? Then you will say, 'If I don't become, what will happen? If I don't succeed in the office, what will happen to me?' Go on, sir, answer it yourself, I don't have to answer it. If you don't become something in the office, you won't have more money, better cars, better toilets and so on, so on, so on. Right? And if you don't become something inwardly you will never reach whatever you want to reach. So this struggle is going on all the time, for the rich man, and the poor man.
So can you find out for yourself whether it is possible to live happily on this earth without all this monstrous divisions and mess? Sir, meditation is something immense. It cannot come through struggle - right? - through practise, through a system, because your mind then becomes routine, mechanical. By listening, seeing, learning you can also make that into mechanical. Anything you can make into mechanical. But to see for oneself, aware of one's brain, mind, how it is becoming mechanical. The very perception of the danger ends the danger. That is, when you stand on a precipice the very danger demands that you act. Right? When you see a cobra near you, you act. But we don't see the danger of this mechanical process of living. Right? Why don't you see the danger? Why don't you see the danger of having a leader, religious leaders? Look at you all! Because you want somebody to tell you what to do - in meditation, how to lead a spiritual life, what to do in politics, what to do in business - you follow? Told, educated, go to Harvard to become a business manager, go to this place. You understand? You are all being told what to do. And the speaker refuses to tell you what to do, and so you think he is evading. Whereas he is saying simply: look at the facts, just look at it - why you put on those robes, why somebody does it, just look. And when you look very carefully, observe without any prejudice, then the story is told by that which you are observing. Then as the story ends the observation ends. You don't understand
7th Question: You often say that thought is a material process, what does this mean?
All right. What is material? Go on, sir, what is material? Matter. Right? Is that so? Agree? Look sir, thought, as we explained, is contained in the cells of the memory - of the brain, it is a fact. This is what the scientist - I am not a scientist, I have been saying this for many years - the scientists are saying that: the brain cells hold the memory and the cells themselves are material. Right? So it is a material process, therefore there is nothing sacred about thought. But you can treat matter as sacred: a rock is a sacred thing, a tree is a sacred thing, the fish that live in that river are a sacred thing. You can make anything into sacred but that which makes things sacred is still a material process. The idols, whether they are in the Christian church or in the Hindu, or the writing in the Muslim world, are the result of thought, therefore it is a material process, the whole thing. Only when thought naturally, without conflict, without struggle comes to an end, which is time, then there is a possibility of that which is eternal. So you say, 'Tell me how to end thought; tell me the system, the practice, I'll do it for the rest of my life.' So you are back again to the same old thing. But if you see, if you are aware, give attention to what you are thinking, and follow it through - that requires very careful slowing down the whole movement of thought; not suppression, control, just the slowing down of thought. We will talk about meditation.
8th Question: You urge people to look inward and ask fundamental questions. Don't you think yoga, meditation and so on prepares one's mind to look within?
First of all, sirs and ladies, I am not persuading you, or urging you to do anything - nothing. All that he is saying is: look! Look in the mirror, as you do when you shave or comb your hair, look at yourself as you are: look. Look at the world, look at the society which we have made, look at all the politicians, what they are doing: just look first. But we don't look; we have prejudices - you follow? - all our conditionings which prevents us from looking, therefore looking is not important but why you are asking the question why you are conditioned. You follow? Then naturally you discover what you are, you don't have to look inward, it is all there. But to look at the outer, which will give you a criteria, and from that criteria look at yourself so that there is no illusion about yourself. I wonder if you understand all this? No, you are all completely soaked in thought.
Now the questioner says: doesn't meditation, yoga and so on help you to prepare yourself to look inward? You have had it for ten thousand years, haven't you? - you have been preparing. And you are still preparing, and where are you at the end of it, in spite of your robes, in spite of your meditation, in spite of all your gods? Why don't you ask those questions, sir? Sir, illumination or enlightenment doesn't demand preparation. Take that! Because preparation involves time, many lives, or many years. Right? That's your tradition. You accept it, so you say, well, I must life after life, life after life struggle to achieve ultimately this enlightenment which will give me complete happiness.
Q: How can it happen if there is no situation?
K: Oh, lovely! Then drown yourself and see! (Laughter) Sir, please do listen to this seriously, if you are interested, I am not persuading you to listen, if you don't want to listen, don't listen. Our minds are conditioned to time, our brains themselves have evolved through time. It's not your brain, nor my brain, it is brain - evolved through time and so it thinks everything in terms of time: I am not, but I will be, I am violent but I will not be violent. So by its very conditioning it thinks in terms of time as a process, preparation for enlightenment, preparation for, as you if you want to have a good job you prepare through examinations and so on, so on. So our whole way of thinking, looking at life is to prepare for something. I question this preparation. You understand? Is enlightenment, the ultimate comprehension of that extraordinary thing called truth, is that to be approached through preparation? Which means what? Preparing yourself for what? Preparing yourself not to be greedy, not to have desires, not to have sex, not to have what? - one meal a day. You are preparing, which means what? You want to reach truth and you are preparing for it, which means truth is a fixed point. Right? And you are preparing to go towards the fixed point which means you don't begin with freedom, you begin with preparing, struggling, controlling. But you also know unconsciously or consciously that freedom is essential for truth. So why don't you ask yourself, begin yourself by being free now, not ultimately - free from attachment, free from your robes, free from your fears. You follow, sir? Why don't you begin there, freedom first? Because it is only when you are completely free, the other is.
So preparation according for myself is not necessary at all. What is necessary is to begin with freedom, and that freedom goes with intelligence, not to do what you like. That freedom means responsibility, integrity.
We have talked for nearly an hour and forty-five minutes - good lord! - an hour and thirty minutes - sorry!
9th Question: What is the basis for your getting pessimistic about the growth of computers?
I am not, the speaker has never been pessimistic or optimistic, he is just showing something to you: that the computers can take over all that man has done - almost, except the computers can't look at the beautiful tree, or the evening star, single, alone in the sky, or the morning light on the waters. When a machine can take over all that you are doing, thinking, learning much quicker than you, what's going to happen to you, as a human being? Sir, some of the people who are concerned with computers, really serious people, are really concerned with this: what is man, what is going to happen to him - while you sit here and meditate and (laughs) - you follow? So either man commits himself to entertainment, which you are doing now - religious entertainment, or football entertainment, or different forms of entertainment. I do not know if you have noticed on television in Europe and in America, sports are becoming more and more important, taking a great deal of time on the television. The new gods are the football players, earn millions and millions. You don't know all this! So either human beings go along that line of entertainment, or concern themselves with something much deeper. And that is what is - computers are challenging you. And to look at that challenge, to understand it, to see what is implied in it is not pessimism, you have to meet this challenge. Right, sirs.
Q: How does one meet the challenge, sir?
K: How does one meet the challenge - all right. We are back again! (Laughter) I'll reply, madame. How does one meet this challenge, the challenge that the computer plus the robot are going to take over building a car. They are doing it in Japan, and the workers wear white kid gloves. You understand? And the computer, as we said, is going to outstrip man, in his thinking, quickness. They are trying to invent, and they are, the ultimate intelligent machine computer. That's the challenge: what is man? Man is all that the computer can do except certain things. That is, your brain has been active for thousands and thousands of years, going to the office, struggling, maintaining house - you follow? - struggling, which is to keep it active, active in different ways, surgery, medicine, carpentry, it is active. Now that computer is going to take that activity over. Either your brain withers because it is not active, or it becomes active totally in a different direction. I wonder if you follow all this. The activity which we have had is thinking, and the machine is going to take over your thinking, not entirely, ninety-five per cent of it is going to be taken over by a machine. So your brain, unless it is kept, like any organ, like the arm, if it is kept active, it will live - if you keep it steady in that position, motionless, it will wither. So the brain will wither unless it is kept active. So either it is kept active through entertainment, sitting on a platform cheering the idiots playing, or the cinema, or this or that, or the religious nonsense. It is all the same, all entertainments are the same whether you call it religious or football, it is entertainment. So how will you keep the brain active? That's your challenge. To keep it active one has to enquire into something much deeper than the machine. That's sufficient, madame.