Relationship without the movement of thought
Truth comes when there is total order
1st Public Talk, Madras
December 11, 1976
I hope you are not as nervous as I! As there are going to be several talks and a couple of discussions or rather dialogues, we are going to talk over together during these evening gatherings, our human problems: the problem of hurt, psychologically being hurt, fear, pleasure, and if there is an ending to sorrow, and what is before and after death - much more important what is before rather than after.
So, first of all, before we go into all the rather complex problems of our human relationship, I think we ought to establish between ourselves what it means to communicate. The speaker wants to tell you something, a great many things. I think it matters enormously how you receive it, how you hear it, what your responses are. And communication implies here sharing together, partaking the common problems together. So it is important, it seems to me at least, that we understand each other verbally. We are using ordinary English language without any jargon, without any special significance to any particular word, but using words that are common to both of us when we are speaking English. Communication implies also that we listen and in listening not to translate what is being said into your own particular terminology or into your own particular understanding, translating what you have heard with what already you know, but to listen with your heart. That is, not emotionally, not sentimentally, but with care, with attention, with a sense of mutual sharing over together a particular problem as two friends who are concerned intimately with a particular problem or problems. In their conversation they are trying to understand each other, they are trying to find out what each other is saying and therefore they are listening to each other with care, with attention, with a certain quality of affection. All that is implied when one is listening, specially when we are talking about very complex problems of human relationship - of all the human struggle, pain, sorrow, grief, anxiety, uncertainty, chaos and the desire to find security and so on. We are going to talk over all these matters together.
We are not asking that you should obey or follow or try to understand what you perhaps already know. In listening there is a great difficulty that what you hear is not made into an abstraction as an idea. I hope this is clear. When we hear something, specially a complex problem of human existence with all its problems, we are apt to make an abstraction. That is, the fact and an abstraction of the fact which is an idea. And most of us, unfortunately, indulge in this form of intellectual argument or intellectual striving to bring about a harmony with their life. That is, say for instance, if you hear, as the speaker is going to explain presently, that there is an ending to sorrow - the whole human conflict, pain, travail - there is an ending to that and a way of living totally differently. Now, when you hear that, you are apt to make an abstraction of it into an idea and then hold to that idea and argue about that idea. You understand what I am saying - I hope. What we are trying to say is: listen without interpretation, if you can, without agreeing or disagreeing - like listening to that crow making a noise - just listen and perhaps then communication may be much more, easier, more possible. And that's the first thing the speaker would like to go into.
Two: we are dealing with facts, not with theories, not with philosophy, not with speculation, speculative ideas, but actually 'what is'. And to understand 'what is', to make 'what is' into an idea becomes absurd. That has no value. For most of us we are inclined to escape from 'what is', from the actual. So, as we are going to talk over many, many things together, if one may point out that we are going to take a journey together, not that the speaker is going to lead you but together we are going to walk. Please, this is very important to understand right from the beginning. We are not, the speaker is not your guru and you are not his followers. To me, the idea of following somebody is an abomination, specially in so-called spiritual matters. So there is no authority. We are together investigating into our human, complex problems. And I hope this is very clear right from the beginning that we are together investigating, exploring, examining into our human, complex issues which most of us try to avoid or run away from it and are incapable of facing actually 'what is'.
So, communication implies that we are sharing together. So, in sharing something it's your responsibility how you share it, whether you are serious or flippant or merely argumentative or sentimental or romantic; or you have got your own prejudices and translate everything with those prejudices. So, if we are taking the journey together, exploring, investigating into our problems, we have a responsibility. You are not just listening to ideas, conclusions, methods, systems but we are investigating into the structure and the nature of our brain and our mind and our action - our daily action because we are concerned with our daily existence and whether it is possible for human beings to transform themselves radically. Because as one observes throughout the world, freedom is gradually being denied to man. Human rights throughout the world are gradually being chipped away. There is in the world more and more terror, more and more dangerous life is becoming, because of over-population, economic division, national division, racial division, the limitation of one's own so-called culture, tradition. All these are factors that are closing around one in the trap of political, religious, economic, social trap. And we are going to investigate together - and I hope this is perfectly clear that we are together investigating - into our enormous complex problems of sorrow, love and that quality of beauty of a mind that acts wholly, in which there is no fragmentation. If you are willing - and I suppose you must be willing because you have come, you have taken the trouble to come here - and if you are willing, we shall both of us go very hesitantly, slowly, in not too many details because you can fill the details yourselves as you go along, but we must be very serious. It is not a form of entertainment on Saturday evening where you forget your problems and enjoy a lovely evening. You are dealing with your problems: problems of relationship, problems of fear, the pursuit of pleasure, that overloaded word 'love' with its beauty and if there is an ending to sorrow. Finally, if we have the time and the inclination, what is meditation.
Because all this concerns our daily life and in exploring ourselves, into all these problems, we are not exploring some other's problems. We are going to explore ourselves, what we are, and to do that, if you will, use the speaker as a mirror in which you see yourself actually, without distortion, and after seeing yourself very clearly, objectively, non-emotionally, without any neurotic beliefs and dogmas and rituals and traditions, see yourself actually as you are in that mirror, then you can break that mirror, smash it. Because then if you see yourself very clearly in that mirror, the mirror is not worth keeping.
So that's what we are going to do. We are going to take a long journey into ourselves and that requires a mind, a brain, that is willing to go very far, not stop half way, but go to the very end, to find out what it all means. Why human beings have suffered so endlessly for millennia upon millennia, why there are wars, why man is violent, cruel, bestial, why there is so much terror, violence in the world. And the world is you and you are the world. I hope we'll understand it, we'll go into it. Unfortunately, I must talk, mustn't I, it's too bad. I wish with one glance you could have an insight into the whole movement of man. Then all words, all books, all speeches, all leaders come to an end. But unfortunately we are so heavily conditioned from our childhood to obey, to follow, to find security in a little house, in a little property, with a wife and children and everlastingly work, work, work till you die.
So, when one goes round the world - America, Europe, in different parts of Europe - and come to this country, one finds that human beings whether black, brown or yellow or purple, whatever colour you like, are almost the same. They suffer, they are confused, they are uncertain, they are seeking jobs, some kind of security both physically as well as psychologically. There is no answer to their suffering, to their confusion, to their uncertainty. So, wherever you go, human beings are almost the same. They may have cultural, superficial differences but inwardly, psychologically they are essentially the same. So you are the world and the world is you. Right? Listen to it carefully, we are not saying agree or disagree. Find out. You suffer, don't you? You are uncertain, you are confused. Governments all over the world are destroying you slowly, without your knowing it. There is dictatorship all over the world and slowly, without your knowing, unconsciously, human rights are being taken away. This is happening all over the world and wherever you go, this is the problem: the problem of agony, indifference, callousness, selfishness, each person working for himself - it's called individuality and when one questions individuality, is there such a thing as an individual? The word itself means indivisible, that is, a human being who is not fragmented is an individual. But when he is fragmented as most people are, 99.9% people, fragmented, they are not individuals. They may think so, that's their vanity, that's their arrogance. So basically if you look around, not only your neighbour, but at the world, whether the East or the West, communist or not-communist, Catholic or Buddhist or a Hindu, they all go through this mill: hunting for a job, working endlessly to survive, and in the process of survival go through great anxieties, fears, uncertainties, escape from their daily life into some form of religious nonsense, with their rituals, with their gurus, with their priests, with their endless temples and statues. This is happening all over the world, this human being, the human heart, the human mind.
So, you are the world, whether you like it or not, and the world is you. This is a fact. And your consciousness - now I am going to talk - and your consciousness is the consciousness of humanity - you understand? - because your consciousness with its content makes consciousness. The content in this consciousness is put together by thought as fear, as pleasure and all the different forms of pleasure and fear, the lack of relationship, the sorrows, the pains - all that is your consciousness, the content. And this consciousness is the consciousness of every human being in the world. Is this right? Look at it. Don't believe what I say, it's not a question of belief. To me all beliefs are a process of neuroticism. We are dealing with facts. You are uncertain, so is the American. You go to temples, he goes to churches. Now churches are becoming less and less populated, so they are attracting them by dances and all kinds of stuff. Here too, here much more superstitious, much more traditional, much more bigoted, narrow, conditioned through centuries, but underneath it all, you are like everybody else in the world. Right?
So, when there is a radical transformation in each human being, there is in consciousness, there is a change in the human beings all over the world. Have you understood this? No. Your consciousness - you know what consciousness is, obviously - your consciousness is composed, is put together through tradition, through belief. You have various fears, various pursuits of pleasure, sexual and otherwise. There are all kinds of agonies, pain, grief, sorrow and ultimately the fear of that which you call death. All that is the consciousness of every human being. That's clear, isn't it? The peripheral idiosyncrasies and tendencies and character are brought about by environment. You may call yourself a Hindu with all your superstitions and all the rest of it, and the other may call himself a communist, but both are conditioned. So, what we are saying is that every human being, with his own consciousness, is the consciousness of humanity. You understand? And when there is a transformation in that consciousness, that transformation affects the whole consciousness of mankind. Look, Hitler has affected the consciousness of mankind, hasn't he? No? Stalin has affected the consciousness of the world. The priests in the name of Jesus have affected the consciousness of the world. The Buddhas, every movement, religion have affected the consciousness of the world. So if there is in you a radical, profound revolution psychologically, then that change affects the consciousness of humanity. For God's sake, realise this. So, it becomes enormously important that human beings put an end to their sorrows, to their nationalities, to their differences in belief, in dogma and all the rest of that nonsense.
So, we'll begin to take the journey together into this very complex area of the human mind and heart and brain. First, the most important thing in our life is relationship. Isn't it? Be quite sure that you don't accept what the speaker says but we are investigating together. We say the most important, one of the most important factors in our daily life is relationship. And in that relationship if there is not harmony, then there is violence, there are quarrels, divisions, all the rest of it follows. So, we are going to investigate together this question of relationship first, because that's part of our consciousness. Right? We understand each other, we are in communion with each other? Uh? I don't know. Are we? Do say, 'yes' or 'no', for God's sake - I don't know whether I am talking to myself or to you.
So, what is relationship? Probably you have never thought about this. What do we mean by relationship between a man and a women, husband, wife, a boy and a girl and so on, brother and sister, all that, relationship, to be related. What does it mean? Because on that our whole society is based. If there is to be transformation, change in society, there must be change in relationship with other human beings. So, what does it mean to you to be related to somebody? - my husband, my wife, my sister and so on. What does it mean basically, not biological relationship, sexual and all the rest of that, but much deeper, when you go into it, what is involved in that? Shall I go on with it? Relationship between a man and a woman, husband, wife, boy, girl is the product of thought. Right? The relationship, as now exists, is the movement of thought. That is, you are married to a woman, a man. In that relationship there is not only sexual pleasures and all the rest of it but also there is the nagging, the assertions, the insults, the possessiveness, the domination, the cruelty, the indifference; you, the man, going off to the office, there ambitious, ruthless and coming home and trying to be very affectionate to your wife - if you are affectionate. All that, if you observe very carefully, is the movement of thought. That is, you have a picture of your wife or she has a picture of you. Right? Don't you have it? Uh? For God's sake, what are you all pretending? Don't you have an image about your husband and she has an image about you? What is that image? - put together by thought as a reaction to all that is happening to you during the day and night. That image you have about her and she has about you. Right? For God's sake, wake up! And those images, pictures, conclusions are the result of your daily interaction between each other. Right? Right? So your relationship is between these two images - verbal, accidental, put together by thought. And so actually you have no relationship at all, except verbal. Am I saying something extravagant, or actual?
So, when there is this division between man and woman, with their images, how can there be any kind of relationship? You understand? Relationship implies not only physical contact but living at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, which is love. Right? Do you understand what I am talking about? Do you? So the problem is to live with each other without forming an image. You understand what I am saying? Are we communicating with each other? Do tell me, will you? Look, you have an image of me, haven't you? That is why you are all here - obviously. That image is put together by newspapers, propaganda, reputation and so on. You have that image and you are actually not listening to what is being said, but you are observing that image and looking through that image to find out what is he saying. Right? Oh, for god's sake! No?
So, the problem is, in relationship, whether it is possible not to create a picture, an image, a conclusion about your wife or a husband, sister, brother, and so on. Is it possible? You understand my question? Then only there is a relationship between two people. We are going to go into that, whether it is possible for human beings to live together without a single image, because these images are separating. You understand? If I have an image about you and you have an image about me, there is no communication. Right? So that is one of our problems, which means whether we can live together so that I don't make a picture of you and you don't make a picture of me. If you see the importance of not making a picture, an image, see the importance, the danger of it, then there is a totally different kind of movement taking place. But the first thing is: do you see the danger of it? You understand what I am talking about? Do you see the danger of making pictures about people, conclusions, opinions, judgements, which are all movements of thought. Right?
So, we have to go into the question of what is thought. Are you interested in all this, or you are rather tired at the end of the day? As I said, this is a very serious matter. If you are not serious, don't listen to it, go away. It's not worth your sitting here. But if you are really serious, because we are dealing with humanity, with human beings, with you, and if you are not interested in yourself, in your misery, in ending of your misery, ending of your fears, sorrow and all the rest of it, if you are really not deeply, profoundly concerned, then you shouldn't be here. I really mean it. It's a waste of your time. Much better go to a cinema or to your guru or to your temple or do some ringing bells and so on. So this is very serious.
So, we are saying as relationship is one of the most fundamental human necessities and demands and so on, upon which all society is based, it's very important to understand what the significance and the depth of that word means. We said, in our relationship with each other we form conclusions about each other and these conclusions become pictures, images which divide you and me, wife and husband and so on. Now, we are asking whether it is possible not to have any image between man and woman, husband and wife so that they are actually related. To find out if it is at all possible one has to go into the question of the movement of thought. You understand? May I go on? Are you actually listening, observing yourself or am I just talking and you are just actually, casually paying a little attention to what is being said? I said, we said, we are taking a journey together and this journey is very, very serious because the world, human beings are being destroyed. Man thought, human beings thought at one time they would be saved by science and science has not saved them. They thought politics would save them and it has not; on the contrary. The electorate dictatorship is not helping them either. And unless human beings fundamentally change, psychologically bring about a revolution, we are facing a very dangerous world. I don't think you know what is happening in the world. You may read newspapers, some magazines, but if you observe yourself you will see how you are being destroyed. Right?
So, we are now going to go into this question of what is thinking because it is a very important question. Because all our civilisation, culture, religion, politics, science and our relationship is based on thought. Right? All your gods are based on thought, aren't they? They are put together by thought. No? Whether Christianity or Buddhism or Hinduism with all their different sects and divisions, they are all the result of thinking - right? - thought. To go to the moon, thought was employed with all its highest capacity, mathematically, co-operation, and so on, so on. Thought has put together that machine that went to the moon. Thought has put together your tradition, thought has put together your churches, temples, mosques; all your gods are the result of your thinking. Right? Would you deny that? Oh, my lord! All your ideals to which you cling to so astonishingly, which have no significance at all, are the result of thought. So, it's very important when we are investigating relationship, we must also enquire into this question of what is thought, what is thinking. Please don't accept what the speaker is saying. Observe it for yourself, in yourself; exercise your mind, your brain to find out, not swallow something somebody says, whether the scientists or the gurus or your leaders. Find out.
Thought is the response of memory, isn't it? Memory is the accumulation of experience as knowledge. Right? Knowledge is the past. So, there is knowledge as experience stored up in the brain-cells - please listen to it - stored up in the brain-cells as memory and that memory acts either skilfully or not skilfully. Our whole process of education from the school, through college and university - if you are lucky enough to go through university - is the cultivation of this memory and that memory is used skilfully or not skilfully in earning a livelihood - right? - engineer, science, you know, all the rest of it. So thought is the response of memory. If you had no memory, you wouldn't be able to think. So memory is a material structure; that thought is a material process. You understand? Do we understand each other? No? Sir, look at your thought. You are thinking now. Right? Because we are using common language which is English. That English is stored up in memory - right? - and is used to communicate. That memory is stored up in the brain and the brain is matter, cells. So thought is a material process as time, as measure - more, less, good, bad and all the rest of it. So thought is a movement in time as measure. So it is a material process. It's nothing sacred about it. Right? The scientists are agreeing to this. So you will then perhaps be able to accept that when I use the word, 'Scientists are saying this' and say, 'By Jove, you must be right'! See how your mind works? You want higher authority which is a scientist, who says to you, they agree with what the speaker is saying, then you agree also. You don't work it out in yourself. You've become slaves to tradition, to authority, to governments because you all want to be secure, both biologically, physically and psychologically. And that is what is happening to you. So, thought which is the response of memory, memory which is the accumulation of knowledge through experience, is stored up in the brain and so knowledge becomes mechanical. Right? So knowledge which is cultivated very carefully through education makes our lives a mechanical process. Right? So, thought whatever it has built - all the extraordinary technological advancement - is the result of thought. Whatever the churches, the gods, the rituals, the incense, the nonsense that is going on, is the result of thought. And all the illusions, the neurotic beliefs - not 'neurotic beliefs', sorry, all beliefs are neurotic - is a result of thought. So, thought - please listen to this, watch it in yourself you will capture this instantly and see the extraordinary thing that thought is doing - thought, because it is based on time, knowledge, the past, is fragmentary.
So whatever thought creates, puts together must of necessity be fragmentary. Nationalities - right? - to which you cling to, is put together by thought. There is your nationality and somebody else's nationality. So there is a difference, a division. Wherever there is a division, there must be conflict: between the Muslim and you know what is happening. All the result of thought. You have a concept of your guru, a picture and you think you know what enlightenment is and the poor guru says, 'I have got it' and you follow. All that is the result of thought. The Gita, the Upanishads, all the words that are put together in the world in the name of religion are the result of thought and so fragmentary, mechanical. Right? So where there is an image put together by thought about your wife, husband and so on, that brings about fragmentation. So do you realise, see the truth or have an insight that thought is fragmentary, limited? You may reason very cleverly, argue brilliantly, quote extensively, scholastically, but it is still limited, because it is based on knowledge. Knowledge is the past and there are scientists who are saying, 'The ascent of man is only possible through knowledge' - Bronowski and others. Which is, the ascent of man, that is, man can progress, evolve, something or other, through knowledge. We are saying quite the opposite. We are saying knowledge has its place but it's not going to help man psychologically. It may help him to have a job, to build a bridge, to communicate electronically and so on, so on, technologically. But psychological knowledge, the knowledge about yourself is always limited, therefore fragmentary and you cannot depend on a fragment to understand the whole.
So, if you see the actual fact that thought under any circumstances, however refined, however crude, however selfish, is limited and therefore it can never find what truth is. It can invent what truth is, it can speculate about Brahman and all the rest of that business, but what it speculates, what it thinks about is still fragmentary. So, if you actually see that, then you can ask the question: is it possible to live together without creating an image? You understand what I am saying? Because thought plays such an extraordinarily important part in our life and thought says, 'I can find out the whole' - 'whole' being, the word itself means healthy, physically, sane, sanity and also it means holy, h-o-l-y. That's what it means to be whole. And man has sought this wholeness through thought for generation upon generation, millennia upon millennia and he has never been able to find it. The ancient Egyptians and so on - we don't have to go into all that. They all have sought this action which is total, whole, which has no regrets, that action which is correct always, under any circumstances. That can only happen when a life is complete, whole, total, harmonious. And thought says, 'Well, I'll create that harmony, I'll bring it about by meditation, by practice, by sitting cross-legged' - you follow? - all that kind of nonsense.
So, one has to understand that thought has its right place. Right? It has a right place when I am using English language, when you ride a bicycle, when you remember where you live, when you go to your office or your factory, whatever you are doing. The doing of it is based on knowledge, technique; whether you do it properly or not correctly that depends on your capacity of knowledge, skill. So, knowledge has its place. But thought wants to creep into the psychological field. You understand? This is where the difficulty arises: we don't see the importance of thought and knowledge in its right place. You know, the word 'art' means putting everything in its proper place. That is the meaning of the word 'art', a-r-t, where it belongs. So, we are learning together - please listen - we are learning together to put thought in its right place. So when in that relationship, whether man and a woman, with all the stresses and strains and pains and fears, anxieties, dependency and so on, all created by thought. So, can there be a relationship without the interference of thought? You understand what I am saying? So, when one says: is thought the movement of love? Do you understand my question? When you say, 'I love my wife' - I don't know if you do, I doubt it very much - or 'my husband', you laugh at it, don't you? God, what a world you have made of this, haven't you? And you call yourself religious people. You are dead people, you are not religious people.
So, I am asking you to find out what is relationship without the movement of thought - movement of thought which is based on knowledge. What takes place when there is no image between you and the woman or the man, no image, no conclusions? Then is there not that thing which you call love? Again that word has been so spoilt, so vulgarised, so spat upon; it has become a sexual affair in which there is jealousy, fear and anxiety and all kinds of things are involved in that word.
So, if you are taking a journey with the speaker, you have to find out for yourself how to live a life - not a method - living a life without images. That is real freedom. And it's only when there is freedom, there is love, there is beauty. But we'll go into all that another day.