Reality, pleasure and sorrow
Thought can never change man
4th Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 11, 1976
I am sorry you have been kept waiting for half an hour.
We have been talking over together, the last three times that we met here, the importance of observing our daily life. We are concerned with that only and whether it is possible, living in this rather chaotic, degenerating world, to bring about a radical transformation in the human mind. We are not concerned with theories, speculative philosophy, nor asserting any form of belief. But rather together examine, closely and meticulously our ways of life, the way we live, our contradictions in ourselves, the misery, the confusion, the loneliness, the despair, and all the travail of human mind. With that we are concerned, not with speculative philosophy. Philosophy means, according to the dictionary, the love of truth, or the love of life. And we have been concerned with relationship, because on that the whole of society is based. If our human relationship with each other is not right then our society, our culture, is bound to be violent, menacing, destructive, as it is now.
And also we talked about thought, the importance and the understanding, and having an insight into the whole structure and the nature of thought. And yesterday morning we talked about fear, whether the human mind can ever be free of fear, not only at the conscious level but at the deeper layers of one's consciousness. Whether it is at all possible for human beings who have lived for millennia upon millennia, to utterly be free of this terrible burden of fear. We went into that sufficiently yesterday.
Today we would like to talk about pleasure and sorrow. We are going to go into this problem, which is much more complex than fear, the pursuit of pleasure. And before we go into this we must understand what is reality, and what is truth. This is not a speculative question. It concerns our life, and therefore we must understand very deeply the nature of reality. When we talk about reality we mean that everything that thought has put together, both outwardly and inwardly. The outward movement is the inner movement, and the inner movement is the outer movement. There is no division between the outer and the inner. And whatever thought has put together, that is reality. Thought has not put together the trees, and mountains, the lakes but thought has put together the whole technological area, with all its enormous complicated machinery, based upon knowledge. That is also reality because it's part of thought. And also reality is all the illusions and the neurotic behaviour, the beliefs, the dogmas, the rituals - the desire for experiences and so on are reality. We are concerned with the transformation and bringing order in that reality. The reality of the things of thought. I hope we are meeting each other because, if I may point out, this is rather important to understand when we go into the question of pleasure and whether the human mind, your mind, can ever be free from sorrow, or must sorrow continue endlessly.
So to find that out we must enquire very deeply into the question of what is reality. We are saying that nature, the trees, the mountains, the lakes and the beauty of nature is not created by thought, but that is a reality, that is an actuality. But all the psychological structure put together by thought, the 'me', and the 'not me', the 'I' and the 'you', 'we' and 'they', the communist, the socialist, the imperialist, the business, all that area of the psyche is a reality, and the neurotic behaviour, the illusions, the beliefs, also that is a reality. And to bring order in that reality, which is the reality which thought has created as the 'me', as the you', the divisions between nationalities, beliefs, dogmas, all that, in that confusion there must be order because without order no society, no different kind of culture can come into being. We disregard order. We think that is old fashioned, that it's square - or whatever name you give to it. We think order is mechanical. And therefore we want to be free of mechanical habits, mechanical traditions, mechanical culture and so in disregarding it we are bringing confusion and not order. I hope we are sharing this together, not agreeing with the speaker, or disagreeing, but examining. And in the process of examination there must be no prejudice, or a particular direction in the examination.
We are disorderly people. I don't know if you have watched yourself walking down the road: sloppy, uncombed hair, dirty, unconcerned, all the things that are happening; a permissive, thoughtless society which we have created. Not only in this country, but right throughout the world it is taking place, because America has become the standard of the world, the affluent society is the highest form of society apparently, and the world is copying it. And unless in that reality - please follow this, if you don't mind - unless there is order in the structure of thought, in the world of reality, which is the world in which we live daily, we will not be able to end sorrow. A man who is concerned with the understanding and going beyond sorrow, must bring order in life, in daily life. As we said, order has been regarded as mechanical, conforming, following a particular pattern, moralistic, laid down by societies, by traditions, sanctions of religion and so on and so on. So one has to find out what is mechanical. You understand?
Is the mind mechanical? Is your mind, which is the thought movement, is it mechanical? We mean by mechanical that which has a cause. Any movement that has a cause with its effect, and the effect becoming the cause, which is a process of a chain movement - that is mechanical. You have understood? Please give a little thought to this if you don't mind, because this is really important to understand because we are going to find out if there is any part of the brain which is non-mechanical. Or is the whole structure of the brain, of our mind, mechanical, repetitive? And we say that which is mechanical must always have a cause - the cause becoming the effect and the effect becoming the cause for the next effect. That's a process of enchainment, binding. As long as that process exists there must be mechanical activity. Right? That is, if one acts according to a particular pattern established by experience as memory, and act according to that memory, that is binding, that is mechanical. Whether that mechanical habit is ten thousand years old, or a week old. So there is a part of our brain, you can observe it yourself, we are not a specialist, I am talking as a layman, we can observe in ourselves a part of the brain which is the storehouse of memory, memory being experience, accumulated knowledge, and according to that knowledge, experience, memory, there is activity, therefore that is mechanical. And realising that we revolt against it. Are we communicating with each other? I will explain as we go along. It's quite a complex thing.
So our life, daily life becomes a mechanical process. You have had certain experiences, certain incidents, which have become a memory, and according to that memory thought responds, and pursues in that circle, in that cycle: that is mechanical. And thought, which is based on memory, is mechanical. You are understanding, sirs? So thought is mechanical. And the mechanical thought says, 'I must bring order in the things which I have created'. You are following this? In the world of reality, not in nature, but in the world of reality of human relationship, fear, pleasure, sorrow, it says, 'I must bring order'. Thought has created this confusion and says, 'I will bring order to it' - therefore it brings more confusion. Is this clear? Are we meeting each other? No, please, don't accept my words, but look at yourself and watch it. Your thinking is mechanical because it is based on memory - memory is experience, knowledge, and thought says, 'I will bring order in the things which I have created, which is rather messy, confused'. And that is what is happening politically, if you have watched it with all the campaigning going on now, and that's what religions have done, all our human relationship has become mechanical. Right?
Now we are enquiring: is there an action, a way of living, which is non-mechanistic, which is not based on the movement of thought as time? Are we understanding something of each other?
So we are going to find out if there is an action which is not mechanistic and therefore we must understand very clearly what is reality. Reality, as the psychological reality in which we live, is mechanistic. And as long as there is activity in that mechanical existence of our life there must be more confusion, more sorrow, more violence, more everything. Now we are going to find out if there is an action which is non-mechanistic. Is this clear? Can we proceed from there? I hope you have understood something of it, because it's your life, it's not my life. It's your way of living, your daily existence, which has become so utterly meaningless, so mechanistic, except for occasional freedom and so on. So we are going to go into this question of whether there is an action, a way of living which is not based on the mechanical repetition of memory, conforming to a pattern; a way of living in which there is no conflict - all that is involved.
So there is this world of reality which thought has created, the Christian, the Buddhist, all the rest of it, and what is truth? What is the relationship, if there is such a thing as truth, between truth and reality? That is, I want to find out if there is non-mechanistic action. Because if the human mind can find that then I can begin to enquire into the whole structure and nature of pleasure. Whether pleasure is mechanistic and is there joy, ecstasy, real enjoyment which is non-mechanistic? Are you following this? Please, we are using ordinary English, not American English, or the eighteenth century, or the twenty-first century English, but English as it is spoken originally according to the dictionary and so on.
So we are asking ourselves if there is an action which is free of regrets, free of any form of corruption, an action that doesn't leave a residue, that doesn't create contradiction, that in itself is the flowering of order? Do you understand? We are going to find out together. We are asking: what is an insight, an insight into the world of reality which thought has created, having an insight into that structure. You understand? Insight means having a sight in. Right? I think this is too complex. We will approach it differently.
First of all let's look at the question of pleasure. We will come back to it in a different way. Why does the human mind pursue pleasure? We are not saying that there should be no pleasure. We are going to investigate into the nature of pleasure because apparently human beings are everlastingly committed to pleasure. Aren't you? Pleasure implies that which is pleasing, in action, in conduct, in relationship, in all the things we do we are pursuing pleasure - why? Why is there this immense demand for pleasure? Which is the easiest way of action, the most comfortable way of living, the easy relationship of sex and all the rest. This enormous pursuit, not only of physical, sensory pleasures, but psychological pleasures, and the ultimate pleasure is the desire for God, for enlightenment and so on. Right? Why? I do not know if you have ever asked that question of yourself. So what is pleasure? Because it's very important to understand, it may be the other side of the coin of fear. You understand? We shared together yesterday the complex problem of fear, and pleasure is much more complex. And we are saying it may be the other side of the coin.
So most human beings disregard fear, do not know how to deal with fear, and pursue constantly pleasure. So we are asking: what is pleasure? Is it mechanistic? Because, as we said, through culture, through tradition, through our habits, environment and so on, our brain has become - part of the brain has become - mechanistic, as we went into. And pleasure is also - I am asking - is it mechanistic? So we are saying: what is pleasure? Is it the repetition of a certain delight of yesterday, whether it be sexual or other, which becomes a memory and the pursuit of memory as pleasure? Therefore is pleasure mechanistic? Please bite into it, don't just sit there and say, 'Yes'. Let's look, bite and find out because we are concerned - please, I am deadly serious about all these things - we are concerned with the transformation of the human mind. We can't live as we are living. There must be a radical change in our minds, in our heart, and our whole way of living. And it's very important, those who are really serious, to find out why we human beings have been caught in this everlasting pursuit of pleasure.
Now look at it. Yesterday there was some delightful incident, something that you liked immensely, it happened, which is registered in the brain; then it becomes a memory; then thought says, 'I must have more of that'. Right? Whether it is sexual or other. The repetition of an incident which is over, which was considered by thought as pleasure, and the pursuit of it today and tomorrow. You follow this? Which is mechanistic, obviously. Now what is the difference between pleasure, enjoyment and joy? There are three things: pleasure, enjoyment and joy. Pleasure you can cultivate. Right? Taste, all this, cultivate sensory activities and desire pleasure, you can cultivate it. Can you cultivate enjoyment? Or can you cultivate joy? Joy comes uninvited, by some curious chance. You just find yourself suddenly, extraordinarily, unspeakably happy. Then thought takes it over and says, 'I must have more of it'. So the moment thought interferes with that thing called joy, which is uninvited, it becomes pleasure, therefore it becomes mechanistic. Are you following all this?
So that is our life: a way of living, which is constantly repetitive, constantly going over something that was, that is already dead, making it live through thought and pursuing that as pleasure. Right? Can you look at something beautiful and enjoy looking at that tree and those clouds, and the light, that's enjoyment. Right? But when thought comes in and says, 'That was a lovely thing', it's already finished. Right? So can you - please this requires a tremendous sense of alertness, watchfulness, awareness - can you watch the beauty of nature, the beauty of this world, with all your senses and not let thought come in? Therefore enjoyment is completely for the moment, but when thought takes it over, it becomes pleasure and it becomes mechanistic. Have you understood this? That requires a mind - look, experiment with it now, as we are talking: look at the trees, the sunlight, the beauty of the hills, the shadows, the playing of those shadows among the hills, the valleys - look at it. And it is a delight. Can you watch it without thought coming into it? And end it there, not wanting to continue it. Have you understood? What has continuity becomes mechanistic. That which has an ending there is a new beginning. Kapito? Got it? Have you understood? Right?
Now please listen to this: you had an insight into this, didn't you. Didn't you? Now please just a minute, watch it carefully. You had an insight. Is that insight the product of thought? So you have found something. That is, when there is an insight and action through insight, it is not mechanistic. Got it? Have you understood this? We are coming back to it, because we are going to find out if insight or intelligence is not the product of thought, as we said it is not, just now, then acting according to insight and intelligence is non-mechanistic action. Don't say, 'What is intelligence?' We said when we explained very carefully that watching the shadows, the mountain, the clouds, and seeing the beauty of it, and ending it, and not giving thought a movement in that, you had in insight into it, you said 'How true that is'. Right? That to act according to that insight is non-mechanistic. Have you got it? Oh, my lord!
Look sir - ladies, or whatever it is: when we pointed out that whenever thought takes over the moment of delight it becomes mechanistic, you saw that, didn't you? The perception of that is intelligence, isn't it? Can you act always according to that intelligence, not according to the repetitive movement of thought? Do you see the difference? Wait, I will come back to it.
So we see the movement of pleasure, based upon desire, desire being sensation; to watch the trees, the clouds, the heavens and the stars and the moon, that is a tremendous sensation if you watch it with all your senses. Then thought comes in. So where there is sensation plus thought there is a desire. You have understood? You see it? That is, the sensation, the activity of the senses at their highest, plus thought is desire. Do you see that? How do you see it? You see it because your intelligence is observing it. That intelligence is not the product of thought. Right? So come back to it.
Now we are going to enquire into this question of sorrow. I do not know if you have gone into it, or if you have even considered why there are tears, why human beings suffer, both biologically as well as inwardly. What is this suffering, this sorrow, can it ever end? Or, is it an everlasting movement from the beginning of man to the end of man? Do you follow? Must man put up with it, live with it? Religions, organised religions, based on authority and belief, have never solved this problem. Christianity said, somebody suffers for you and you carry on. Hindus and the Buddhists have their own explanations - which we won't go into now. So man has lived with this sorrow from the ancient of days, and we are asking something, which is: can sorrow end? If there is no ending to sorrow there is no compassion, there is no love. We think suffering is necessary, or we think there is no solution to suffering, therefore we must escape from it.
And we have developed a marvellous network of escapes, which are facts. What is sorrow? When you suffer, when there is this thing called sorrow, which is pain, grief, loneliness, a sense of total isolation, no hope, no sense of relationship, communication, total isolation - don't you know all this? This great thing that man has lived with and perhaps cultivated it, because he doesn't know how to resolve it. Now we are going to find out, share together this question and find out if there is an end to sorrow, because without the ending of sorrow there is no love. When there is love will you suffer for another? When there is love will there be sorrow? You might have sympathy, kindliness, generosity, sharing; but love is something totally different, a different dimension, which can only be, only one can come upon when sorrow ends. So it is immensely important to find out as human beings, this everlasting torture which is called sorrow.
There is sorrow when someone dies whom you like, love, so-called love in quotes. When you feel utterly lonely when you have lost that upon which you have depended. When you feel that you cannot climb the ladder of success, when someone whom you love, at least you think you love, and it is not returned, when your beliefs in which you have found security are shattered, when your mother, father dies, or son, brother dies there is sorrow. You all must know this thing. And I do not know if you have ever asked yourself deeply whether there can be an end to human sorrow. You understand?
Now what actually takes place when you suffer? Not biologically, physiologically, we will deal with that, but psychologically, which is much more penetrating, much deeper, much more excruciating. You may shed tears, escape from it, never look at it, but it's always there. And what is sorrow? Please, this is not an intellectual investigation, an analytical process. To me analysis is no answer. Analysis implies the analyser and the analysed. The analyser is the analysed. I do not know if you have gone into it. When you analyse something of your own nature, when you analyse your sorrow, who is the analyser? Is he different from the thing called sorrow? Or he has divided himself as the analyser, separates himself from sorrow and says, 'I'll look into it'. But in the very examination of it the division exists and therefore he can never understand through analysis the whole immensity and the nature of sorrow. So we are not analysing, because analysis implies time. Analysis implies the analyser and the analysed.
And the analyser may be mistaken and his analysis will be useless. So do you - please now experiment with me - do you see, have an insight into the question of analysis, the futility of it? You understand? So you have an insight into it, so you will never again analyse. You see? Right? If you have an insight into this question of analysis which the speaker has explained, the analyser sets himself apart from the analysed and says, 'I will examine that thing, which is to be analysed', and the examiner is the past with his prejudices, with his conclusions, with his memories, with his knowledge which he has acquired through Freud and somebody else or another. And then he examines or analyses that. So he establishes a division and where there is division there is conflict. And we are saying the analyser is the analysed. The man who says, 'I am going to examine my anger' - the examiner himself is anger. Right? Do you see that? Therefore if you have an insight into that you will never again analyse. That insight is your intelligence.
So we are saying, sorrow is the lot of human beings, everyone knows it. And what takes place when we are in sorrow? Apart from emotional sentiment, tears, apart from all that, what takes place? As we don't know how to understand sorrow, what is involved in sorrow, we have not an insight into sorrow, we escape from it, we rationalise it, we justify it, or say that every human being suffers, I suffer. Or if you are prejudiced religiously, you say, work of God. Now all those are ways and means of escaping from the fact, 'what is', which is sorrow.
Now if you don't escape, that is, no rationalising, no avoiding, no justifying, remain with that totality of suffering, without the movement of thought, then you have all that energy to comprehend that thing which you call sorrow. You understand? Have you understood something? That is, to remain without a single movement of thought, with that which you have called sorrow. Then if you remain with that there comes a transformation in that which you have called sorrow. That becomes passion. You understand? Because the root meaning of sorrow is passion. When you escape from it, you lose that quality which comes from sorrow, which is complete passion, which is totally different from lust and desire. So when you have an insight into sorrow and remain with that thing completely, without a single movement of thought, out of that comes this strange flame of passion. And you must have passion otherwise you can't create anything.
So out of passion comes compassion. Compassion means passion for all things, for all human beings. So there is an ending to sorrow. And only then you will begin to understand what it means to love.
So one has to understand, have an insight into fear, that is, insight into relationship, insight into the whole structure and nature of thought, thought that breeds fear, that pursues pleasure and the ending of sorrow. If you have an insight into all that you have that intelligence that transforms your mechanistic activity into something totally non-mechanistic. Right?
Don't go home and think about it! You have no time. If you think about it, when you think about what has been said, then your thinking becomes traditional, mechanistic, and empty, but as you are sitting there, sharing this thing, it is happening now, it must happen now otherwise it will never happen, because thought will prevent it, thought has no insight; but when you look at that picture, or the picture we have pointed out, knowing the description is not the described, and you look at it, and have an insight into that, and it must take place instantly, now, and that thinking about it at home - don't do it, it is just a waste of time. When you are sharing something, you share it now. Right.
What time is it? I think that is enough, isn't it?