The identification of thought
Is it possible to observe the whole movement of consciousness?
2nd Public Talk, Saanen
July 11, 1978
May we continue with what we were talking about the day before yesterday? Before we go into that, I would like to ask if I may, with all due respect and all the rest of it, why you are here; why you come to these talks and discussions. Is it out of curiosity? Is it that you have nothing better to do, therefore you might just spend an hour or so here? Or since you apparently have taken a lot of trouble to come, you must be fairly serious. And if you are serious how far are you willing to go? Not another long journey physically, but inwardly, psychologically, inside the skin as it were, how deeply you are willing to go? One can go very deeply only - if you are willing, not with an intellectual concept of depth, then if you have an intellectual concept of depth, then it takes time to travel into that depth. And you may be serious enough to find out for yourself whether you can observe this whole movement of time, the measurement, height and depth, climbing and descending, enquiring into depth, which requires also a great deal of time and energy. Or there may be a totally different action, which doesn't involve physical expansion, the travelling from this country to India to find some ugly guru or beautiful guru, but rather to have a quick perception into things, to have an insight, an immediate understanding, immediate contact with actually 'what is'. Not what you think 'what is', or what you might want it to be, but actually perceive in its entirety what actually is taking place. When one observes so totally, holistically, then that gives an insight. From that insight you act; therefore insight and action are immediate, not a postponement of action. So that is what we are going to enquire, if we may, this morning, if you are willing, and if that is what you want to discover.
And as we were saying the other day, why throughout the world human beings are so occupied with themselves, with their growth intellectually, with their physical beauty or whatever it is, and psychologically, inwardly, so anxiously occupied with themselves, with their understanding, whether they are meditating properly, whether the right posture, whether it is the right thing to do, what one should do - this constant expanding enquiry and occupation about themselves. If one discovers for oneself the danger of such occupation, the actual not only psychological as well as physiological danger of this centralised occupation, then perhaps one can clearly and easily go into the question 'why'. Why human beings, of which we all are, and every human being if you enquire into it more deeply, is the representative of all humanity, and that is very important, I think, to understand too, because every human being right throughout the world suffers, is anxious, uncertain, in despair, elated, confused, attached. So all human beings are that. So you, when you look at yourself very carefully, objectively, non-personally, then you will see that you are like the rest of humanity. And that discovery that you are actually, truly, irrevocably the representative of every human being, that gives you an extraordinary sense of vitality, strength. This is not mere sentiment, a romantic concept, an intellectual idea but an actual daily fact.
So we were saying the other day, this occupation limits energy. And when energy is limited, narrowed-down, canalised, it begins to lose its pristine vitality, energy. And this narrowing down of self-occupation with oneself, if one observes, has created a lot of misery in the world. When each person is occupied with himself, with his ambitions, with his fulfilment, with his despairs, with his fears and so on, so on, you have no relationship with anybody else. You may think you have but actually you have no relationship when the whole of your mind is occupied with one's own progress, with one's anxieties, with one's own problems and so on. It is so obvious. But though it is very obvious we do nothing about it. On the contrary, we work at it, improve it - it is called self-improvement, to become better, but always within the narrow limits.
So, that is what we were talking about the other day. Perhaps some of you are new to this, so if you are new to what is being said, don't say to yourself, 'Oh, that is old stuff. We have heard all this in different ways before'. Or say, 'He is repeating what somebody else has said'. Or you don't quite understand the vocabulary - we are using ordinary English language, no jargons, no specific meaning to special words, but ordinary, daily English. And if we both are speaking English communication becomes easy, but verbal communication is not merely enough. We can understand that it is a lovely day, fortunately, but when one goes deeply, enquires extensively, wisely, hesitantly, the words are not enough. Words are never the thing, the description is never the described. So one must be not only aware of the meaning of the words but also the word is not the thing.
Then one begins to enquire very, very deeply, slowly, hesitantly, without any conclusion. Right? Like a first-class lawyer or a surgeon, doesn't bring all his concepts. He first enquires into the case - the case is us, we are the problem. So we must be very clear what is our problem, which I begin to question whether we are. We are so diffused, emotional, sentimental, so we are always colouring the problem, looking at it from a very, very narrow, limited point. Isn't this so? So one has to be very advisedly careful that in our examination into why human beings are so destructively occupied with themselves, in enquiring into that, and whether it is possible to be totally free from this occupation, completely. Freedom is the complete dissolution of the self. Then there is freedom. We are going to go into all that. Phew! Oh, for sure, it's hot! (Laughter)
Does one see the actual danger of this self-centred occupation? That occupation may identify itself with a nation, with a group, with a particular ideal or belief. It is the same process. I hope this is clear. When I identify myself with a group, with an idea, with a belief, with a conclusion, that identification is the very essence of being occupied with oneself. Right? When one is occupied with say, internationalism, you have moved from occupying yourself with yourself to something with which you identify yourself. Therefore that identification is still the occupation with oneself. Is this clear? When I identify myself with Christ or Jesus, or Krishna, or whatever it is, I am still in the process of identifying myself with that, but it is still occupation with myself. I wonder if this is clear? Bene? Can we go on if that is clear?
So this central issue is whether one can exist healthily, sanely, harmoniously without identifying with anything, not only outwardly but inwardly - identifying myself with my experience, identifying oneself with the family, with beliefs, with institutions and so on. That means can one live in this world with no identification? Which means can one live harmoniously, both with the outer and the inner without any sense of occupation and identification? Is this clear? Let's be clear of the problem first before we operate on it. When one is occupied with oneself, with one's body, with one's beauty, with one's eyes - you know, this constant occupation with oneself, you deny actually all relationship, though you may sleep with another, though you may hold hands with another, say 'What a darling you are' - all the rest of it, but the identification process separates human beings. And from that, violence, wars, division of races, everything takes place. Right?
Now the next question is: whether it is possible to live in this world daily without any sense of identification? Not only with the senses - the body - but with the name, with all the past, the heredity - you understand? - the Englishman, the German, all the history of all the past, to be completely free from all that and yet live in harmony with activity in daily life. Is this problem clear now?
First of all there is no speaker, as we pointed out the other day. You are speaking to yourself, you are looking at yourself. The speaker may be the mirror, but the mirror has no value. You use the telephone to speak, but the telephone itself has very little importance. What you say in the telephone is important. So similarly, there is no speaker here. You are talking to yourself, you are observing yourself, you are observing your occupation with yourself, and the result of that occupation in your daily activity, which is creating such chaos in the world. When people identify themselves with Russia, with a certain ideology, you become terribly brutal, you are willing to torture people and so on - we won't go into all that, everybody knows about it. Every magazine, every newspaper goes into all this.
So the next question is: can the mind totally disassociate not only with the knowledge which it has acquired and stored up to which it becomes attached, but also can the mind remain not in isolation. Because when one thinks, if one is not occupied oneself you have no relationship to others, you are so totally isolated. Those are all concepts, conclusions, theories. So what we are saying is: can the mind, including the brain, the senses - when we use the word 'mind' I am including all that, the brain, the movement of thought, the experiences accumulated as knowledge, memory, the whole momentum of thinking, and the senses, all that is the mind, which is essentially consciousness. Right? Can that mind, which has been so conditioned through millennia, because our minds, brains are very, very, very old, it is not something new that we have acquired when you are born, it is a tremendously old mind heavily conditioned to occupy itself with itself. Can that mind free itself completely from the past, which includes knowledge, tradition, heredity, all that, and actively, sanely, live in daily life harmoniously? Is this possible? Right? You understand the problem? The identification between the Jew and the Arab in the Middle East what is happening; when the Russians are occupied with an ideology and forcing man to shape himself according to that ideology - the authoritarian totalitarianism, which is destroying and so on, so on, so on. Does one see this centralised occupation is an enormous danger that is going to destroy man?
Then the problem is: how to disentangle, how to unravel all this and put it all away? Right? Now what is your answer? I am not answering it, you are answering. You are looking in the mirror. There is no speaker. You are looking and asking these questions. If you ask this question looking in the mirror you might say 'Well, it is not possible' - that is the instinctual response, to say it is not possible. If you say it is not possible then you have blocked yourself. Right? That is natural, isn't it? But if you say it is possible, that also means you have blocked yourself. Both negative and the positive is a way of avoiding the issue. Right? So you are looking at the mirror, there is no speaker, and you are neither accepting nor denying, saying it is, or it is not possible, but looking.
So here comes the problem whether you are actually looking, or you are looking at an idea which you have projected. You understand my question? Whether you are actually looking in the mirror, or you are looking with the conclusion or idea, or a hope, and through that hope, through that idea, through that conclusion looking at yourself. You understand? When you do that you can't see. If I am prejudiced about you because you wear a white shirt, or a blue shirt, or crinkly hair, or this or that, I can't, I mean, it is silly, if I want to have any contact with you it is not possible. But to look at oneself in the mirror and find the answer for yourself in the mirror, because nobody is going to answer it. Then you might say, 'Why are we here? If you don't answer this question as the speaker, what the dickens am I sitting here for?' Which would be a natural response. But as we said, we are human beings. There is this immense problem confronting us, a crisis, danger, destruction, and sane, healthy serious people must answer this, find an answer out of all this. So looking at the mirror where there is no speaker, you say is this possible at all, to move out of this habitual, constant, apparently irrevocable movement of this occupation? Right?
So, are you looking at the mirror, or looking at the idea that you have a mirror in front of you? You see the difference? Do you? The idea, which is not the fact. The idea is an abstraction of the fact, a movement away from the fact. So if it is terribly important that you find the answer urgently, seriously, then ideas have no place, you are actually looking. Then what takes place?
Here comes a different problem: whether you are looking as an outsider in, or you are in it, not outside. That is, are you looking as though you were different from that thing which you see? You have understood? You understand sir? This is fairly simple, isn't?
Now let's I am going to begin differently: which is, when you are jealous, greedy, angry, violent, are you different from that violence, greed, envy, anger? Are you? Or you are that anger, that greed, that violence? So can you observe yourself in the mirror not as an observer but only the thing that is being observed, without the observer? Does this become rather difficult? Or is this old hat that you have heard before umpteen times and you say, 'Well, please get on with it'? Because this is very important to understand, because as long as there is a division between the observer and the observed - you understand? - there must be conflict, there must be effort, there must be a sense of either conquering it, suppressing it, or avoiding it. So to totally eliminate altogether effort there must be no division. Right? If there is no division between the Jew and the Arab, it is finished. Or North Ireland to South Ireland - it is over.
So in ourselves there is this division, the observer and the observed, which is dualistic. You follow? And we are conditioned through education, culture and all the rest of it, through religion, so-called religion, to maintain this division, to seek god. You are nobody - you follow? - this whole division, which is the corridor of opposites. And when there is the corridor of opposites there must be conflict, effort, practice. So it is absolutely necessary to understand that there is only observation, not the observer trying to control the observation, that which is observed. Is this clear? Can one do this. You may hear this. You may say, 'I see the gist of it, I have a feeling for it, I think what you are saying is true', but it avoids you, it escapes, but it is yours, you have to find out. Which means that as there is no division between yourself and anger - right? - you are anger, at the moment when you are angry there is no observer, you are only that. Later on you say, 'I have been angry' - then you say, 'I shouldn't be angry' - or you give reasons, explanations for being angry. Or you suppress anger. The moment of anger, of greed, of violence, there is no division. This is a fact. So similarly, is there an observer at all? This is very Please give your mind, your attention, your love, your care to understand this because we are totally, completely eliminating conflict, if you understand this. One can live a life in which there is not a shadow of conflict, not only within yourself but outwardly. And this is immensely important to understand, because, as we said, the manner of your observation in the mirror - there is no mirror, you are watching yourself, but for the moment we invent the mirror. Who is the observer? You understand? When you say, 'I observe the tree, the stream, I observe you and I observe myself', who is this observer? That is very important to understand before we begin to understand the observed. Right? Are we coming together? Are we communicating with each other? Say yes, or no, for god's sake.
Krishnamurti: Are you all asleep?
So who is this observer? When you say 'I have been angry' or 'I have been violent' - who is that entity that says, 'I have been'? That entity is the observer, isn't it? Who says, 'Yes, I have been angry' Is not the observer the past, who says, 'I have been angry'? Right? Not only in that instance, but whenever he observes, the whole observation is the movement of the past. I observe a Frenchman - because I have been told he is a Frenchman, you follow? - the conditioning, the past, knowledge. So this whole movement of observation is born from the past. Right? So the observer in essence is the past. Right? Don't accept what I am saying. That is the fact. Looking in the mirror there is no speaker, because you are questioning desperately, anxiously, passionately, you are questioning. I hope you are!
So the observer is the past - past memories, past experiences, past knowledge. With the past he is observing himself in the mirror. Right? So you have created a division between what you see now and what has been. So there is a division between the observer and the observed. Right? Are you getting this? So the conflict begins. In your occupation with yourself, don't you have a conflict with another, however intimate your relationship be? So to totally eliminate that conflict permanently, everlastingly, one must understand the nature of the observer. Right? And as you observe and enquire, and learn, the observer is the past, so the past is always dividing. Right? I am a Jew and you are an Arab. The Jew is tradition, propaganda, belief, certain mode of life and so on, so on, so on, and the Arab has his own mode of life and so on. Right? So wherever there is division there must be conflict, not only outwardly but inwardly. Right? Is this clear? That is, if you are serious, if you want to live completely without contradiction, without effort and therefore live in peace, live in love and compassion. If that is to be, you must eliminate totally the division in yourself outwardly - understood this? This is not an idea, an intellectual concept but actuality.
So can you look at yourself in the mirror without the observer? This is the real issue where, in which rather, identification ceases and therefore division. You understand? Where there is no identification there is no division. So can you observe your anger, your violence, your hurts and all the rest of it, without bringing in the past memories, past knowledge, past struggles, just to observe without the observer? Then what takes place? I am not asking the question, you are asking the question yourself. Then what takes place when you are looking at the fact? Not with the memories about the fact. Right? Is this possible? Can you do it. If you can't we cannot go further, because this is a very important issue as man has lived millennia upon millennia, constantly in battle with himself, with the devil and god, with the lower self and the higher self. You understand? This battle, this conflict, you see it in all the ancient pictures, drawings, the division between that which is good and that which is bad, that constant battle. And why should we live in this way?
So we are going to enquire and find out if it is possible to live totally in a different way. That is if you are serious. So do you see the truth, not the idea, but the truth, the fact, the reality, that the observer is the past, accumulated memories, knowledge, and so he never perceives the present? To perceive the present there must be the absence of the past, obviously. And there is no effort involved in removing, or putting aside the observer, because you see it is so - you understand?
Let me let's put it differently: is love a remembrance? What do you say? Is love something that you have remembered and then you say, 'I love you'? So if it is a remembrance, a thing that is past, then it is merely pleasure, and that pleasure says, 'I love you' because it wants more of that pleasure. Is that love? The speaker is not here, you are asking this question yourself, you have got to answer it, you can't sit there and deliberately think about it. You have got to answer it.
So can you observe this fantastic, enduring occupation with yourself? Observe it without the observer. You understand? Then is there an occupation? I wonder if you see this. Occupation with yourself is the movement of the past. 'I have been that, I must be different from what I have been. I am a failure, I must be a success. I am depressed, I must be happy. I am not good but I will be good. I am not I haven't got virtues but I will have virtues. I will understand' - you follow? This whole movement of identification and occupation is born from the past. Because if you don't identify yourself with something: with a human being, with an idea, with a country, with a family, with something, with a rock, what are you? So the fear of being nothing makes you identify, makes you occupied. Right? Face that is a reality, it is not an intellectual structure. If you are not identified with your country, with your body, with your god, with your knowledge, with your wife or girl-friend, or boyfriend, you are empty, aren't you? Right? If you are empty, in that emptiness there is tremendous energy. But we are so frightened of this emptiness, this void in oneself. And to avoid that void (laughs) we occupy with god, with society, with our goodness. You follow?
So the question is: are you listening to the mirror which is telling you that there is no observer, that the observer is the past, and most of us live in the past? 'How beautiful I was when I was young. How quickly I could walk when I was young. What a lovely time I had, I ate so much, I enjoyed so much.' - you know, the past, living, living in the past. That is the observer. So the observer creates the division, and the whole conflict begins. Now do you see the truth of that? Not the words of it, not the meaning of the words, but the fact of it? If you don't, why don't you? Is it that you are incapable of thinking, observing, watching, or your brains have gone so old, you can't or you are not concerned?
So is it that you don't actually see this fact: the observer creates the division, which is the past. The Jew and the Arab, the Hindu, Muslim, the Catholic and the Protestant - you follow? The past creates this division and conflict, both inwardly and outwardly. Do you see what danger that is for humanity, for you and your children and all the rest of the stuff?
Then when there is no observer then there is only observation; the observation of the senses, without identifying with the senses. You understand this? Can you observe without identifying yourself with the senses, can you observe the movement, the activity of the senses, whether it is sexual senses, taste, smell and all the rest of it, the activity of the senses? From which arises the question: is there an observation of the whole movement of the senses? Not one particular sense. Are you meeting all this? Then when there is an observation of the whole movement of the senses, there is no centre which identifies itself with the senses.
Am I talking to myself?
K: If I am talking to myself I will go in my room. But I am not, you are talking to yourself. There is no speaker. So this requires no discipline, no practice. Right? When you practise, again there is a division. Right? But to see instantly the fact, the truth, that is insight, which we began this morning, talking about having insight; having an insight into the whole movement of identification. If I may - what time is it?
Q: Eleven thirty.
K: There was no announcement this morning, so. Last time we were here there was an announcement. I took five minutes longer. It's half past eleven but I'll go on a little while. Where was I?
Q: To observe the whole movement of the senses.
K: Yes. To observe the whole movement of the senses without identification. Which means, is it possible to observe without forcing yourself, without disciplining yourself to watch, to practise? Because when you do, again you have brought in this whole dualistic effort. And can you disassociate, can the mind disassociate with its tradition, with its conditioning of identifying, which creates duality? You understand? Do it! Can you disassociate and not identify with your girl-friend? Can you be free of attachment, which is identification, obviously? Attachment to your country, to your group, to your family, to your children - you follow, attachment - holding on to your name, to your ideas, to your conclusions. Does that non-identification with another, does it end in isolation, does it end the fact of love? You understand my question? Do we know what love is? Not know intellectually, verbally, volumes have been written about what love is, good god! Can we, looking in the mirror, ask these fundamental questions? When there is no identification or attachment with another, does it mean the end of affection, the end of tenderness, the end of love? Because now when we are attached we say, 'I love you'. You have to look at it, answer it. Basta per ora.