The cause of conflict in relationship
The ending of sorrow
1st Public Talk Brockwood Park
August 25, 1984
Good Lord, there are so many people, aren't there?
There are going to be four talks and a couple of question and answer meetings during these ten days. I would like to remind you, if I may, that this is not an entertainment. It is not something you come for a day, or spend an hour, listening to some talk, or talks and questions, but rather this is a very, very serious affair. And if you have come here out of curiosity, or because you have seen something on the TV and you feel like listening to this chap, that isn't good enough. We are here at a gathering of very serious people, at least one hopes so. And we are not trying in any way to convince you of anything, of any new theories, new conclusions, new concepts or ideals. To the speaker all those things are really an abomination, they have no meaning in daily life. And this is not something popular. Popularity is the last thing that is desired. What is important, it seems to us, is that we consider together both objectively and subjectively all the problems, all the conflicts, struggles, pains, sorrow, fear and so on while we are here during these talks and question and answers. Please bear in mind that if one may remind you, and we shall keep on reminding you, that the speaker has no authority as a person. This is not a personality cult, or something that you agree or disagree. Because we have to exercise our brains, reason, logic, sanity. Not say, 'I like you therefore I agree with you', or, 'You are some strange person therefore I disagree with you', but rather that we are going to think over together. Not agree or disagree, but observe together the whole phenomenon of existence, our daily life, our way of living, our thoughts or emotions or reactions.
And to enquire deeply into the whole process of living, what is happening outwardly in the world, objectively, and what is happening inwardly, subjectively. That is psychologically, or if you do not like that word subjective, or psychological states, inside the skin, not the bones and the blood and sinews and so on but the whole unexplored, by each one of us, though specialists may have explored it superficially. But together, and the speaker means together, not that he is going to talk and put forth certain ideas but rather together we are going to observe these extraordinary events in our life: the conflicts, the many, many human problems, the problems of relationship, why human beings get hurt, psychologically wounded. But we are also going to talk over together the whole question of fear: whether it is possible ever to be free of fear, first, not outwardly, objectively, but subjectively, inwardly, to be entirely free of fear. And we are going to talk over together the question of pleasure which human beings in different ways pursue. And also the enormous burden of sorrow, not only of one's own but the sorrow of humankind.
And also we are going to talk over together the question of religion. Not that which is organised, not that which you believe in, or don't believe in, but the question of what is religion, what is the state of the brain that is free and is able to perceive that which is sacred, true. And also we are going to talk over together, death, which is the lot of every human being in the world. That is one thing that is absolutely certain. And also we are going to talk over together meditation and so on.
So we are concerned with the whole of life, not one aspect of it. Nor one particular form but the whole of our existence on this earth. And we will also talk over together what is beauty. If there is no beauty there is no truth. Not only the beauty externally, environmentally, but also the sense of what is really beautiful. So we are going to, together, without any kind of persuasion or enticement, or reward or punishment think together, observe together, take a very long journey into ourselves, long journey objectively in the world and also subjectively, inwardly. And to do this very carefully and minutely, precisely, there must be the quality of doubt, scepticism, questioning, never accepting anything, neither one's own experience or another's or any philosophical, theoretical, ideological concepts. If we are prepared for this, each one of us, then we see for ourselves how important it is, how serious it is, not something one comes for a weekend, and it is a long holiday I believe, Bank Holiday, but rather we give our energies and we have leisure, at least for an hour or two this morning. And talk over together these problems.
Which means: one must put aside for the time being, if you will, or completely, one's own prejudices, one's own bias, one's own obstinate or light opinions because they distort, prevent, block when the accurate perception is to take place. Can we go together on this journey? Not with tremendous effort, but rather hesitantly, tentatively, not following anybody. There is no guru and all that nonsense. In so-called psychological, subjective matters there is no authority, either the authority of one's own experience, the authority of one's own knowledge - and all knowledge is limited. We will not go into all this. Or obeying some concept. All this prevents, naturally, clear perception. Is this possible at all? To be free of one's own conclusions, the concepts and images that one has built for oneself as a guide, or some ideals projected by thought in opposition or with the connivance of the present so the brain becomes very clear, active so that we can observe, think and take this exploration into the world outside and into ourselves.
That is the concern of all these talks and question and answers. There is no authority in this matter. Each one of us is responsible for his actions, for his thoughts, for the way he lives and so on. And if we want to blame others, or the environment or the society - the society is what we have made of it. The social structure is what human beings have put together through centuries. Through their ambition, through their competition, their aggressiveness, their fear, their pleasure and so on. So the society in which we live, which is corrupt, preparing for wars, is the consequence, the result of the way we live, the way we think and feel and so on.
In considering all this, are we wasting our life? The wastage is conflict. The conflict in which we live perpetually from the moment we are born till we die. That is a fact. And human beings have never been able to solve their problem. Which is a very complex affair, whether human beings throughout the world, including all of us here, can ever be free from every kind of conflict. Or is it natural for human beings, both historically and actually, that we must live not only in inward conflict but also externally through perpetual wars, killing each other. Perhaps in the old days five or six thousand people were killed; now you can vaporise a million human beings with one bomb. And this is called progress. And every nation in the world is gathering armaments, of which you all know, supplied by this country - 80% of it goes abroad, the armaments, as America, Russia, Germany and so on.
We have accepted this as a natural way of life: conflict, butchery, maiming each other, terrorism, and all that is happening in the world. And apparently we don't seem to mind. We say everything is in struggle, nature. There is struggle in nature, conflict, killing - the tiger, the deer and so on. So it is natural for human beings to kill each other, though their religion, their so-called religion, their belief says live peacefully, love one another, which has been said thousands and thousands of years before, not just Christianity. Christianity has killed probably more people than any other religious organisation.
So we have accepted as natural, inevitable, conflict. Conflict between each other - man, woman. And one asks, through all this long fifty thousand years of evolution - we are now at the apex of so-called sophisticated human beings - is this natural, is this inevitable that we must live in conflict - right?
Can we go into this together? And see if we can really deeply understand it, not verbally or intellectually, but see the fact, the fact that one is in conflict. And whether it can possibly end. What is conflict? Do ideals bring about conflict? Do every form of the future and the present, are they responsible for our conflict? The future one does not know and the present is the past. The past is in conflict with the present and with the future. I hope one is following all this. Is conflict the duality of like and dislike, the good and the bad, what should be and what is. Does conflict arise from these factors? It is an obvious fact if one is at all serious and aware that one lives in conflict. From childhood, the long years or short years of one's existence, conflict seems to be one of the major factors of life. Unless one discovers for oneself the causation of this conflict, merely trimming the outward expressions of conflict will have very little significance. What is the cause of conflict? Wherever there is a cause with its effect, when the cause is understood deeply, not merely verbally, theoretically or intellectually, but as a fact in one's life, understand it profoundly then the cause can come to an end. And therefore conflict can come to an end.
So we are together going to find out what is the cause of conflict. The cause, the root of it. And of course if you admit that conflict is inevitable, it is natural, for human beings for the last millennia have lived in conflict, so why shouldn't we also? That kind of argument is rather, if I may say, rather silly and inept. But if one could go into it, examine, perceive, have an insight into the causation of conflict and then perhaps that will end. To discover the cause, it is not a process of analysis. Analysis implies, doesn't it, the analyser and the analysed. Right? The one who says, 'I must find the cause of this conflict' and then he begins to investigate as though it were something outside of him, then he analyses that. Is not the analyser the analysed? Please go into this a little bit if you will.
We are asking: is not the analyser - or put it differently: is the analyser different from that which he analyses? Who is the analyser? Apart from the professional psychologist, psychiatrist and so on, in this, what we are doing now, is to understand the causation of conflict. Is that conflict, the cause, is that to be analysed? Then if you are analysing the cause, then who is the analyser? Right? Is the analyser different from that which he analyses? Do you understand my question? Am I talking to myself? Are you really interested in all this?
K: Don't please, don't encourage the speaker. He is not worth it. (Laughter) Are you really interested in all this?
K: No, please, this is very serious, you understand? It is not just something for an hour. It is your life. It is your way of living, the whole question of love, tenderness, care, affection, all that is involved in this. It isn't just agreement with the speaker which becomes rather absurd. If you are really, deeply interested in this, which is to find out for oneself, not from the speaker, but for oneself, to find out the cause of conflict. And when there is the discovery of the cause then the effect disappears because all - any cause can be changed. If one has a toothache or a headache it has a cause. And when you find the cause that disease disappears. Similarly if we can find out the cause, or the causes of why we live in perpetual conflict, and to delve deeply into that, it is not a process of analysis because analysis implies a division between the analyser and the analysed. And therefore in that process of analysis there is still conflict. I hope you understand all this. But if we could observe the fact, or come upon the fact of the cause, which demands attention, care, deep urge to find out, passion to step out of this conflict - that requires energy. And analysis is a process of wastage of energy.
So is it possible to observe clearly, perceive, have an insight into the causation of conflict? If we can find out the causation then this thing disappears altogether, the effect which is conflict.
So we are trying - asking - not trying - we are asking is the cause thought? Thought itself. Let me first - I am putting - the speaker is putting out these things, don't agree or disagree, we are going to examine. Is the cause this sense of duality we have, division between what I am, what I should be? The 'should be' is a projection of thought. That is, one does not like the way one is living, or it is painful, therefore one projects a concept of a better way of living, an ideal, and conforming oneself to that ideal, and therefore conflict. The actual and the ideal. Is that the cause - one of the causes of conflict? Which means we never face actually what is - right? Always moving away or escaping, from actually observing the actuality, the pettiness of our life, the idiosyncrasies and so on.
To observe without any prejudice, opinion, without the background of one's own culture, conditioning. Is that possible? Or is it given only to the few, to the elite and therefore it is not something that each person can be free of? Do you understand all these questions?
So is one of the causes of conflict, is it time? Which is the future, the present and the past. Do you understand? All right? Are we going together a little bit at least? That is, the past, all our experience, knowledge, tradition, all the things we have learnt, which is knowledge, all that background which is the past, the tradition, which is acting now, which is the present, and the future will be what we are now. Right? Tomorrow is what I am today, modified perhaps slightly on the edges, on the frill, but tomorrow will be what I am actually now. And of course unless there is a radical change, tomorrow then is totally different. That is, all time is contained in the present. The past, the present and the future. All that is now - right? So future is now. The tomorrow is now. And is thought one of the factors of conflict? Right? We are examining, we are looking into it, we are not stating a dogmatic statement. We are asking whether thought, the whole process of thinking, is that one of the basic causes of conflict, which is also war, ultimately. Right? Therefore one has to enquire, as we did, into what is time. Time is the past, the present and the future. It is a continuous series of movements associated. So that time is the past, the present and the future. And that time is contained in the now. Is that one of the factors of conflict: time?
And also we are asking: is thought, the whole process of thinking, both objectively and subjectively, thinking, is that also one of the major causes of conflict? And to go into that we have to ask: what is thinking? We spend our days and nights and years in thinking. All our actions are based on thinking. In our relationship with each other thinking plays an immense part. Thinking is part of recognition, knowledge. Thinking has done extraordinary things objectively, from the latest bomb, the atom bomb, to the most complicated ceramic structure, the great battleships, submarines, computers. And also thinking has given mankind great medicines, surgery and so on.
So we have to enquire: what is thinking? When the question is asked: what is thinking? - are you thinking, or listening to the question, what is thinking, and observe thinking? You have understood? No. Don't think, please, this is Someone is asking you: what is thinking? Do you immediately find what is thinking, work at it, or enquire, search, or do you listen to the question - you understand? Listen, which means there must be a quality of silence when you are listening - right?
We are asking: what is thinking? Probably you have never asked this question of yourself, or perhaps the professionals have not written about it. Perhaps you are used to being told by the professionals what is thinking and then you will repeat. But that is not - that prevents enquiry into what is thinking, you are just merely repeating, that is not thinking. So what is thinking? What is the origin of thought? The thought that has put man on the moon, the thought that has divided the world into nationalities, the thought that has made wars, the thought between you and your wife, and husband, girl, boy and so on, what is this enormous energy of thought? Is not thinking a process of memory? Right? Process of memory. Memory is stored in the brain, memory comes with knowledge, knowledge is based on experience - right? All scientific knowledge is based on experiment, theories, hypothesis, knowledge. Always adding more and more and more. In any field, whether it be in the mathematical world, biological or aerodynamics and so on, in every field knowledge is based on experience. When there is knowledge it is being added all the time, accumulated, therefore experience is limited, so knowledge is limited - right? - both now and in the future. Because knowledge is always limited. And so memory is limited, and thus thought is limited. Anything that is limited must cause conflict - right? If one is thinking about oneself from morning till night, as most people do; their worries, their problems, their like and dislike, they are perpetually concerned with their own self, that is a very, very limited way of living and therefore that which is limited must inevitably cause conflict. When Britain says, 'We are British', it is very limited and therefore they are perpetually at war, they have lost empires - you know all that business. France is limited, and so every country wanting security creates boundaries of thought, culture, language and therefore it is limited. So every form of limitation must inevitably cause conflict. And one finds security in this limitation - right? Because the brain is seeking all the time some form of security, whether the security is illusory or actual. And most of us want security, in some form of illusion. These are facts. And so thought being always limited, it can think expansively, it can imagine the limitless horizon, limitless universe, but because it thinks, it imagines, therefore that is limited.
So wherever there is a limitation there must be war, there must be conflict because that limitation divides, separates. Are we together in this, a little bit at least? So when you see that will you cease to be British, will you cease to be German, French, Indian, and all that nonsense? Because then your brain is extraordinarily free from limitation and it has got tremendous energy then. So limitation is a wastage of life. You understand this? When one is thinking about oneself, that is, how to meditate, how to become religious, how to be happy, how to be... you know. How to be free of problems, which is all thinking about oneself. That thinking about oneself is very limited and therefore in our relationship there is always conflict. Therefore thought and time, we said, is the causation of one of the major reasons of conflict. If one understands that deeply, not verbally, not merely repeating something somebody has said but actually your own perception, seeing the truth of it, that very perception frees the brain from conflict.
Then the question arises from that: is it possible in our relationship with each other, man, woman, boy and girl, you know, all the rest of it, can we live in a relationship in which there is no shadow of conflict? Are you getting tired? Can we go on?
To understand that, we have to examine actually what our relationships are, actually, not what we think should be. The actual fact of our relationship with another, whether it be a man or woman, man and man, and so on, what is our relationship? We cannot possibly exist by ourselves. One may go to a monastery, or go off to some Asiatic country, including India and disappear into the mountains in search of some truth, or some guru, all that business - nonsense. One cannot live on earth without relationship. Relationship is the most important thing in life. And in that relationship there is conflict, marriage or no marriage, divorce and no divorce, the whole thing. And in that relationship what is actually taking place? Apart from sexual demands of each other, are we using each other, exploiting each other, trying to fulfil our own desires, our own urges in each other? And what is the relationship of this conflict with love? In relationship? Can the two exist together? Can jealousy, antagonism, each one pursuing his own way, each one pursuing his ambitions, his fulfilments, his urges? And sexually meeting and having children, but the conflict goes on. And in relationship can there be an end to all this?
So what - again, what is the cause of this conflict in relationship? Is it desire? Is it the obsession of possessing each other, depending on each other - 'I can't live without him or her'. And so this dependence implies possession, possessiveness, and where there is possessiveness there is weakness - right?
Is the speaker telling a fairy story? Or is he describing, or stating facts? And those facts are: there is no love. We may talk about love, 'Oh, I love her so much' - you know all that business very well. And in that there is dependence, attachment, fear, antagonism, gradually jealousy - you follow? - the whole machinery of human relationship with all its agony, fear, loss, gain, despair, depression, you know all this. Don't you know all this? How extraordinarily silent you are when it comes to actual facts. And how can all this end so that we have real relationship with each other, between man and woman. Is it knowledge of each other? Do look at it, please consider it. I know my wife, which is what? When you say, 'I know her, she is my wife', what does that mean? Or it is my girl friend, or whatever it is, actually. Is it all the pleasure, the pain, the anxiety, the jealousy, the struggle, with occasional flashes of tenderness? Is all that part of love? Is attachment love? Sir, I am asking these questions, go into it, find out, sirs. One is attached to one's wife, tremendous attachment. What is implied in that attachment? One cannot stand by oneself, therefore I must depend on somebody, whether it is a husband or some psychiatrist, or some - you know, guru, and all that tommy rot! Where there is attachment there is fear of loss. Where there is attachment there is a sense of deep possessiveness and therefore it breeds fear - you know all this.
So can we look at the fact of our relationship and discover for ourselves the place of thought in relationship. As we said, thought is limited, which is a fact. And if in our relationship thought plays a prominent factor, then in that relationship, that factor is limiting, so our relationship with each other is limited and therefore inevitably must breed conflict. There is the conflict between the Arab and the Israelis, because each is clinging to his own conditioning, which is, he is being programmed, each human being is programmed like a computer. I know it sounds cruel but it is a fact. When one is told that you are an Indian, from childhood, belonging to a certain type, or certain category socially, religiously, and you are conditioned, and for the rest of one's life one is an Indian, or a British, or French, or German, or whatever it is. Would you like to be included Russia in this? Yes. So there it is.
So our relationship which should be the most extraordinary thing in life, is one of the causes of wastage of our life. We are wasting our life in our relationship. And when you really see the fact of it, give your attention to it, that is, to understand very deeply the nature of thought and time, which has nothing whatsoever to do with love. Thought and time is a movement in the brain. And love is outside of the brain. Please go into this very carefully because what is inside the skull is very important: how it functions, what are its blockages, why it is limited, why there is this perpetual sense of chattering, thought after thought, a series of associations, reactions, responses, the whole storehouse of memory, and memory obviously is not love. Therefore love cannot - is not inside the brain, inside the skull. And when we are merely living inside the skull all the time, all the days of our life, thinking, thinking, thinking, problem after problem, which is to live inside the limitation, that must inevitably breed conflict and misery.
One has heard all this, if you have listened at all, and what are we going to do about it? Do we carry on the old way? Or seeing the actuality of our life, our daily life, and see the various classifications, divisions, limitations, and enquire into them, pursue them day after day, never letting one thought escape without understanding it? Or we have become so used to everything, used to our religion, used to our way of living, accepting everything. What we really want is an easy life! What we want is comfort, some kind of security, both outwardly and inwardly, biologically and objectively. We never ask is there security at all? Is there security outwardly in any nation? If when there is security in community, in a co-operative state, or under dictatorship, totalitarian, or different kinds of dictators, is there security when there is war? Every other day they are perpetuating wars. Is there security outwardly? There is the threat. And inwardly, psychologically, is there security, which is far more important to discover first: whether there is inward, deep security, safety, protection, is there? What is security? Outwardly you may have an insurance, mortgage, you know, all the rest, I won't go into that. One must have outwardly security - a house, flat, tent, some kind of roof under which one sleeps and lives, clothes and all that. That one must have. Every human being in the world must have that. And that is being denied through nationalities - you understand? - through division, Britain, France, India, Russia, America, etc. So inwardly is there security? One can invent an illusion - God, the ultimate illusion. And one can cling, one can hold on to that. And we have lived historically for millennia upon millennia in this illusion - with priests, rituals and all that business, power - right? Power, position, status, outwardly, that is very important for people who want power. And power is strangely destructive, whether it is a political power, religious power, or the power over your wife or husband, or the power of the guru - my God, just think of it! Which is the priest and so on.
So where is there security for human beings? Please ask this question of yourself. Where have you, as a human being living on this earth, which is so marvellous, which is being destroyed slowly, where is there our security? Security means something permanent, something that doesn't change, that has no disappearance, that is firm, solid, immovable. Is there such security? Because the brain needs security, otherwise it cannot function at its highest level. But it has found various forms of security: illusions, ideologies, families, nations, tribalism, various forms of outward security but never has a human being found an inward sense of deep, abiding, unchangeable security. And is there such security? If there is, one has - if one has come upon it then there is no fear of any kind. That is timeless.
So is there such security? Thought cannot possibly provide that security because thought, as we said, is limited. Whatever it has invented is still limited. And we have lived in the field of limitation of thought. And in that there is no possibility ever of having security, and therefore our brain is always searching, asking, questioning, demanding, fearful, uncertain, depressed - do you follow? - the whole process of our activity. And security - there is such a thing as security. But that demands a great enquiry. Security in freedom. Freedom is not from something: freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety and so on. Those are all partial, limited. That freedom is not limited. Is there such freedom? And who is asking that question? The man in prison asking, 'Is there such freedom?' He can only find out such freedom if he leaves the prison. But we want to live in the prison and yet we are asking for freedom. Right? This is an obvious fact. We love our prison, or we are unaware of it. And when it is pointed out, the prison, all one does is try to accept the words, you know all that business, but one never breaks the prison, never shatters the prison. And when there is freedom there is intelligence. It is that intelligence which we will talk about as we go along. That intelligence in itself is absolute security, unshakeable. For it depends on nothing, not environment, on a person, or on any kind of ideology.
So, we began this morning talking over together the enormous problem of living, which is becoming very, very, very complex. And that which is very complex must be approached very simply. Not a simple mind but the quality of humility and simplicity. Not the simplicity of clothes and all that but the simplicity of a brain that starts a journey and must go on till it finds the end of it.
We have talked for an hour and a quarter. I think that is enough for this morning. We shall meet tomorrow morning if you will, and we will continue where we left off.
May we get up?