The ending of conflict
The turning point
3rd Public Talk, Saanen
July 16, 1981
May we continue where we left off the day before yesterday? I would like, if I may, to repeat what we said a little bit. We are not trying to convince you of anything. That must be clearly understood. We are not trying to persuade you to accept a particular point of view, nor trying to impress you about anything. We are not doing any propaganda - that is dreadful, for and against, and so on. We are not talking about personalities, or who is right and who is wrong, but rather trying to think out together, which seems to be the most difficult thing to do: to observe together what the world is and what we are, what we have made of the world and what we have made of ourselves. We are trying together to examine both the inward and the outward man. And to observe clearly one must be free to look. If one clings to one's particular experience, opinion, judgement, prejudice, then it is not possible to think together. And the world crisis which is right in front of us demands, urges us to think together so that we can solve the human problem together, not according to any particular person, to a particular philosopher, to a particular guru, to any particular person. We are trying, looking, observing together. And this is important to bear in mind all the time, that the speaker is merely pointing out and together examining it. So it is not one sided but rather co-operating together and examining, taking a journey together and so act together.
As we pointed out, our consciousness is not our consciousness, our individual consciousness. This is very important to understand because our consciousness is not only the specialised group, the national and so on, but also all the travail, the conflicts, the misery, the confusion, sorrow and so on. And we are examining together that consciousness, which is the human consciousness, which is our consciousness, not mine but ours.
Now one of the factors that is demanded in this examination is that one has to have the capacity of intelligence. According to the dictionary meaning, intelligence means to discern, to understand, to distinguish. And also it means observing, gathering, putting it together all that which we have gathered and act from that. That gathering, that discernment, that observation, can be prejudiced and therefore that intelligence is denied when there is prejudice. And that intelligence, if you follow another that intelligence is denied: following another, however noble, however this or that, denies your own perception, denies your own observation, you are merely following somebody who will tell you what to do, what to think and so on. And if you do that, that intelligence doesn't exist because in that intelligence there is no observation. Intelligence demands doubt, questioning, not being impressed by persons, by their enthusiasm, by their energy. Intelligence demands that there must be impersonal observation. And intelligence is not only the capacity to understand that which is rationally explained verbally but also it demands that you gather as much information as possible, knowing that information can never be complete about anybody, about anything, and therefore where there is that intelligence there is hesitation, rational impersonal thinking, observation and clarity of thinking. Intelligence also implies the comprehension of the whole: the whole of man, all his complexities, all his physical responses, his emotional reactions, his intellectual capacity, his affection, his travail, all that, to perceive all that at one glance and act, that is supreme intelligence.
And intelligence has not so far been able to transcend conflict - right? And we are going this morning, together, to see if it is possible if the brain can be free from conflict, because we have lived with conflict from the time we are born till we die. The constant struggle to be, or to become, to become something, so-called spiritually, psychologically or in the world, which is, to become successful, to fulfil, that is the whole movement of becoming. I am this but I will be that. And the ultimate reaching, destination, direction, is towards the highest principle, whether that principle is called God, Brahman, or any other name one gives to it. This constant struggle to become, or to be. Both are the same. When one is trying to become in various directions, then you are denying being. And when you try to be you are becoming also. See this movement of the mind, of thought: I am, I think I am, and being dissatisfied with what I am, discontented with what I am, I try to fulfil in something, or drive towards a particular direction, pleasurable, it may be painful but at the end pleasurable. So there is this constant struggle to be and to become.
What is it that we are trying to become, all of us? Physically we want more money, better house, better position, more power, more money, a better status. Biologically, if one is not well, to become well. Psychologically, that is the whole inward process of thought, consciousness, the whole drive, inwardly, is from the perception or the recognition that one is nothing, actually, but to become, move away from that, through education, through university - if one is so-called lucky enough to go to any university - get a good career, job, that will give you position, money, etc. etc. Psychologically, inwardly, there is always the escape from 'what is', always running away from that which I am, with which I am dissatisfied to something which will satisfy me. Whether that satisfaction is deep contentment, happiness, a projection of thought as enlightenment, as acquiring greater knowledge, this is the process of becoming - I am, I shall be - right? That involves time. Now the brain is programmed to this. All our culture, all our religious sanctions, everything says, 'become' - right? You see this phenomenon all over the world. It is not only in this Western world but in the East and Far East, and West, everyone is trying to become, or be, or avoid, and so on. Is this the cause of conflict, inwardly and outwardly? Inwardly there is this imitation, conformity, competition with the ideal. And also outwardly there is this competition between so-called individuals of one group against another group, nation against nation and so on. So inwardly and outwardly there is this drive to be and become something.
We are asking: is this the basic cause of our conflict? Or man is doomed forever as long as he lives on this marvellous earth, doomed to perpetual conflict? One can rationalise this conflict, say nature is in conflict, the tree struggling to reach the sun is in conflict, and that is part of our nature because through conflict, through competition, we have evolved, we have grown into this marvellous human beings that we are. This is not being said sarcastically, this is what most of us do think. So our brain is programmed to conflict. And we have never been able to resolve this problem. You may neurotically escape into some fantasy and hold on to that fantasy and be totally content. Or imagine that you have inwardly achieved something and be totally content with that. And any questioning, any doubt, any scepticism that must be exercised by an intelligent mind, must question all this: why human beings after millions and millions of years, from the beginning of man, we have lived with conflict. There are in those caves where man is fighting evil in the form of a boar, or this or that. From the ancient times of the Sumerians, there has been conflict, the Egyptians and so on up to the present evolution of man he has lived in conflict. We have accepted it, we have tolerated it, we have said it is part of our nature to compete, to be aggressive, to imitate, to conform, is part of this everlasting pattern of conflict.
Please, we are observing together. I am not - the speaker is not verbally putting a map of conflict and you accept that map, but rather together we are observing the conflict in ourselves and outwardly - right?
Since our brains have been programmed to this conflict, like a computer that is programmed, but the computer can learn, can discover its own fallacies, its own mistakes and correct them. A highest mathematician can inform or programme the computer with all his theories and so on, and the computer being so programmed discovers new theorems. This has been proved, not programmed by the professor, it has the capacity to learn, to discover, which is a mechanical, perhaps, intelligence. They are trying to bring about ultra intelligence machines which go far beyond our human brain. And our human brain has not solved this problem for ourselves but the machine has solved it. You follow all this?
So why is man who is so highly sophisticated in one direction, so utterly unintelligent in other directions? Does conflict end through knowledge? Please put these questions to yourself. Knowledge about knowing oneself, or knowledge about the world, knowledge about matter. The world, the society, learning more about society, better organisations, better institutions and so on, will that solve our human conflict - acquiring more and more knowledge? Or the freedom from conflict has nothing whatsoever to do with knowledge? You are following all this? Please together we are thinking this out, not the speaker talking to himself, he can do that in his own room, if he wants to, but together we are working this out.
We have knowledge, a great deal of knowledge about the world, matter, about the universe, and also a great deal of historical knowledge about ourselves. The whole of history is the story of mankind. And if we know how to read that book, which is me, myself, my consciousness, I may have tremendous knowledge about myself, and will that knowledge free the human being from conflict? You understand? Please go along with me. Or it has nothing to do with analysis, discovering the various causes and factors of conflict. We can go into that. Will the cause, or many causes, through analytical discovery, will that free the brain from conflict, conflict not only while we are awake during the daytime, but also this conflict carried on when we are asleep? You can examine the dreams, interpret dreams, go into the whole nature of why human beings dream at all, and will that solve conflict? Will the analytical mind, brain analysing very clearly, rationally, sanely the cause of conflict, there are many causes, many factors of conflict, will that analysis end conflict? Analysis being not only time but the analyser separating himself from the object, which is conflict, and then try to analyse that conflict, so separating himself from conflict - you follow? Will that solve it? Or it has nothing whatsoever to do with any of these processes. That is, analysis, discovering the cause, and trying to force ourselves to be free from that cause, or through various examinations acquiring a great deal of knowledge about ourselves, will that solve the problem of conflict? Or following somebody who says, 'I will show you the way. I am free from conflict but I will show you the way' - will that help you? This has been the part of the priest, part of the guru, part of the so-called enlightened man - 'Follow me, I will show you. Or I will point out to you the goal'. And we have had all these through millennia upon millennia, history shows this and yet man has not been able to solve that one deep rooted conflict. Right?
Let us together find out, not a way, not a verbal indication, not an intellectual verbal concept, let's find out together if there is a perception, an action that will end conflict, not gradually, end it immediately. You understand my question? Please first understand the question. What are the implications of that question? The brain being programmed, or wired, programmed to conflict. It is caught in that pattern. You can see it for yourself. And we are asking if that pattern can be broken immediately, not gradually. Either you think you break it through drugs, through alcohol, through sex, through different forms of discipline, through different forms of handing oneself over to something, man has tried a thousand different ways to escape from this terror of conflict - right? And we are asking: is it possible for a brain so conditioned to break that conditioning immediately? Right? This is maybe a theoretical, non-actual question. You may say that's impossible, it is just a theory, it is just a wish, a desire to be free of this. But if you examine the thing rationally, logically, which is part of our intelligence, time will not solve this conditioning - right? That is the first thing to realise, not tomorrow, there is no psychological tomorrow - I won't go into that for the moment - I am just saying that implies time. If one sees actually, not verbally, deeply in one's heart, in one's mind, in the very, very depths of one's being, time will not solve this problem. That means you have already broken the pattern, beginning to see the cracks in the pattern because we have accepted time - right? - as a means of unravelling, breaking up this programmed brain. So when you observe clearly that time, under no circumstances, will free the brain from time - we mean by time, as it is now conditioned, programmed, I will examine it, make efforts to break it, uncondition it, all that process involves time - right? So when you do that you are caught in the same pattern, you have not moved away from it - right? But once you clearly for yourself see absolutely, irrevocably, that time is not a factor then already you begin to see the cracks in the world, in the enclosure of the brain - right? Are you doing it now? Because philosophers and scientists have said time is a factor of growth. Biologically, linguistically, technologically, time is necessary, but they have never gone - perhaps some may have, we don't know - never enquired into the nature of psychological time. And this enquiry into time implies the whole psychological becoming - right? I am this, but I will be that. I am unhappy, unfulfilled, desperately lonely but tomorrow will be different.
So is our brain, which is common to all mankind, it is not your brain, you may have certain peculiarities, tendencies, but this brain of mine and yours has evolved through time, it is not my brain. Biologically it is so - it is not my brain. And that brain has been evolving through centuries to come to this point through conflict. Are we moving together? Do we see together the rationality of it, the logic of it, that our consciousness is not ours but human consciousness - which we went into very carefully the other day. And to realise that it is the human consciousness, you have already broken the pattern of individual consciousness. Right? So if one realises that time is a factor of conflict then that very perception is action, decision has taken place, you don't have to decide, the very perception is the action and decision. Right? Please we have to work together, it is not just you listen and agree or disagree, we are working together.
Now there are multiple forms of conflict, as there are a thousand opinions so there are a thousand ways of conflict. We are not talking about the many forms of conflict but conflict itself. Not my particular conflict - I don't get on with my wife, or with my businessman, or this or that - but the conflict of the human brain in its existence. Is there a perception - please, just first listen, you may agree or not agree afterwards, but just listen first - is there a perception not born of memory, not born of knowledge, a perception that sees the whole nature of conflict, the whole nature, the nature and the structure of conflict, the perception of that whole, is there such perception at all? You understand my question? Not analytical perception, not intellectual observation of the conflict, various types of conflict, nor an emotional response to conflict, but we are asking: is there a perception not of remembrance, which is time, which is thought, is there a perception which is not of time or thought, which can see the whole nature of conflict, and that very perception is the ending of that conflict? That is my question to you. You understand the question? That is, thought is time - right? Do you see that? Thought. Thought is memory, knowledge, experience put together in the brain as memory. All that is the result of time. 'I didn't know a week ago but I know' and so on, the multiplication of knowledge, the expanse of knowledge, the depth of knowledge is of time. So thought is time. Right? Obviously. I see any movement, any psychological movement is time - right? It is not - don't agree with me, it is so. If I want to go from here to Montreux I must use time. If I want to learn a language, time. If I want to meet somebody at a distant place it requires time. That time can be shortened or lengthened. And the same process, the outer process is carried inwardly. 'I am not, I will be' - and the expanse of that. So thought is time. Thought and time are indivisible. Can we go on? Do we see this fact?
And we are asking a question: is there a perception which is not time and thought? That perception is entirely out of the pattern of the brain which has been accustomed to certain patterns, certain moulds, certain ways. Is it clear? Is there such a thing? And perhaps that alone is going to solve the problem. Because we have not solved the problem of a million years of conflict, we are continuing the same pattern. We must find intelligently, hesitantly, with care, if there is a perception which covers the whole of conflict and that very perception breaks up the pattern. Right?
Now how shall we meet this together? You understand? The speaker has put this question forward. He may be wrong, he may be silly, irrational, but after you have listened to him very carefully, if you have listened, it is our responsibility, yours as well as mine, as well as the speaker, to see if it is so, if it is possible - right? Not say, 'Well it is not possible because I haven't done it. It is not within my sphere. I haven't thought enough about it. Or I don't want to think about that way at all because I am satisfied with my conflict because I am quite certain one day humanity will be free of conflict.' That is all just an escape from the problem - right? Are we together in this now? Together being aware of all the complexities of conflict - aware, not denying it, it is there, it is there as actual as pain in the body, it is there, one is aware of it, aware without any choice, it is so. And at the same time asking the question whether there is a different approach to this altogether? You understand?
Now, can we observe - it doesn't matter what it is - without the word, without the naming, without the remembrance? You understand? Can you do it? To look at your friend, or your wife, or whatever it is, to observe the person, without the word 'my wife', 'my friend', we belong to the same little group, without any of that, to observe. Which is, not observe through remembrance. Can you do it? Can we do that? Have you ever directly tried it? Now as you are sitting there, can we do it together? That is, not only look at the person without naming, without time and remembrance, and also at ourselves - you understand? The image which we have built about ourselves, the image that we have built about the other, to look at that image as though you were looking at it for the first time, looking at a rose for the first time. Will you do that? That is, to learn to look. Learn to observe this quality without all the operation of thought. Don't say it is not possible. Sirs, it is like going to a professor not knowing his subject but you want to learn from him. I am not your professor. You want to learn from him. So you go to him and listen. You don't say, 'I know something about it', or 'You are wrong', or 'You are right', or 'I don't like your look'. You listen, you find out. And as you begin to listen sensitively, with awareness, you begin to discover whether he is a phoney professor with a lot of words, or a professor that has really gone into the depth of himself. You understand? Now can we together so listen and observe, without the word, without remembrance, without all the movement of thought? Which means, complete attention - right? Attention not from a centre to attend, but attention which has no centre. Of course, if you have a centre from which you are attending, that is merely a form of concentration. But if there is no centre but you are attending, which means you are giving your complete attention, in that attention there is no time. Right? I wonder if you see this?
Suppose I am listening to you. You are telling me a story. A story which is a story of myself, a story of mankind. You are telling me that story and I am listening to you because I don't know anything about it. But as I am listening not only to what you are saying verbally, to communicate what you think, but in that very sensitive attention to listening I am not only listening to the words but I have gone beyond the words, I am capturing the depth of the meaning of what he is saying. You understand? Are we doing this?
Look, many of you, unfortunately or fortunately, have heard the speaker for many years. And you say this breaking the programme of the brain has not come about. And you repeat that statement year after year, it hasn't come about. Is it because - please listen - is it because you want to attain, become, have that state of brain in which the pattern has been broken - you follow? That is, you have listened, it has not come about, and you are hoping it will come about. Which is another form of becoming. Right? So you are still in conflict. And you brush me aside or I won't come here any more because I haven't got what I want. 'I want that but haven't got it'. So the wanting is the becoming. I wonder if you see all this. The desire to be something is the beginning of conflict. And that desire is part of the programmed brain. And we are saying to break that pattern, observe without the movement of time, thought. It sounds very simple, but see the logic of it, the reason, the sanity of it, not because the speaker says so, it is sane.
So one must exercise the capacity to be logical, rational and know its limitation, because rational thinking, rational observation is still part of thought, and knowing that thought is limited, be aware of that limitation and don't push it further because it will still be limited however far you go. Whereas if you say: 'Can I observe a rose, a flower without the word, without the colour, just look at it?', that look brings about great sensitivity, breaks down this sense of heaviness of the brain, and gives extraordinary vitality because thought has its own energy through conflict, obviously. But there is a totally different kind of energy when there is pure perception, which is not related to thought, time. Right?
I think that is enough for this morning, isn't it? May I get up?