The mirror of relationship
Why has man become what he is?
2nd Public Talk Madras
December 26, 1982
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday evening. We were saying that this is not a lecture, with a view to conveying information. We are together having a conversation, you as a separate human being, if you are separate at all, with the speaker. We are walking down a lane, wooded, plenty of shadows and birds singing and we sit down together and talk about the whole problem of existence, which is very complex. And as we are friends for a long time we have many days to talk over these things. And we are neither convincing each other about any subject. We are not trying to persuade each other, we are not trying to overcome the other through arguments or sticking dogmatically to one's own opinion, prejudices, but rather together - and I hope you are doing the same with me - together we are going to look at the world as it is and the world that is within us.
Many volumes have been written about the world outside of us: the environment, society, politics, economics, and so on but very few - as far as I know, and one may be mistaken - very few have gone to the very length of discovering what we actually are, why human beings are behaving as they are doing - killing each other, constantly in trouble with each other, following some authority or other - some book, some person, some ideal - and having no right relationship with their friends, with their wives, with their husbands and with their children. Why human beings have become after so many millennia so vulgar, so brutal, utterly lacking care, consideration, attention to others, and denying the whole process of what is considered love, if we at all have that quality.
And outwardly there are wars, which man has lived with wars for thousands and thousands of years. We are trying to stop nuclear war but we have never stopped wars. There has been no demonstration right in the world to stop wars, but they demonstrate against a particular war. And these wars have been going on; people being exploited, oppressed - and the oppressor becoming the oppressor. This is the cycle of human existence with sorrow, loneliness, a great sense of depression, the mounting anxiety, the utter lack of insecurity, and there is no relationship with society or with one's own intimate persons - a relationship in which there is no row, conflict, quarrels, oppression and so on. This is the world we live in - which I am sure we all know; or we are unaware of it, or we don't want to know. Most of us are unaware of what is actually happening. And the scientists, the biologists, the philosophers have their own separate existence apart from the rest of us. And throughout these millennia our brains are conditioned; conditioned by knowledge.
Please as we said yesterday, please don't reject or accept anything that the speaker says. Question it, doubt it, be sceptical and above all don't be influenced by the speaker because we are so easily influenced, we are so gullible. And if we are to have a conversation together and to talk seriously about these matters, one must have a mind or a brain that is free to examine, free from bias, from any conclusion, from any opinion, obstinate, any conclusion that is definite. One must have a brain that is constantly enquiring, questioning, doubting. It is only then perhaps that we can have a relationship with each other and so communicate with each other easily. Words are meant to communicate. You may translate the meaning of the words differently but if you are speaking, as we are, in English, words have a definite meaning.
And together as we said yesterday, look at the activities of thought because we live by thought, all our actions are based on thought, all our contemplated efforts are based on thought - our meditations, our worships, our prayer. And thought has brought about the division of nationalities which breed wars, the division in religions as the Jew, the Arab, the Muslim, the Christian, the Hindu and the Buddhist, and so on. Thought has divided the world, not only geographically but also psychologically inwardly - man is fragmented. Man is fragmented - when I use 'man', please ladies, you are included - man is fragmented, broken up, not only at the psychological, mechanical level of his existence but also in his occupation. If you are a professor, you have your own small circle and live in that. If you are a businessman, if you have multinational business, you may travel but you are still business, money making. Or if you are a politician, you live within that area. And if you are a religious person, in the accepted sense of that word, doing various forms of puja, rituals, meditations, worshipping some idol and so on. We live a fragmented life. Each fragment has its own energy, has its own capacity, has its own discipline, and each part plays an extraordinary role in contradicting the other part. You must know all this. And this division, both outwardly, geographically, religiously, nationally, and the division that is between oneself and another, is such a waste of energy in their conflict: wasting our energy, quarrelling, dividing, each one pursuing his own thing, each one aspiring, demanding for his own personal security and so on. This contradictory energy, for all action takes energy, all thinking takes energy. This energy which is so constantly being broken up is a wastage of energy. When one energy contradicts another, one action contradicts another action - saying one thing and doing another, which is obviously a hypocritical acceptance of life, all such activities must invariably condition the mind the brain. We are conditioned as a Hindu, with all the superstitions, beliefs - you know all that - what a Hindu is, what a Roman Catholic is, what a Protestant is, what a Christian is, or the Buddhist and so on, or the Islamic world. We are conditioned and there is no question about it, there is no argument that we are not conditioned - we are, both religiously, politically, geographically. And as we were talking about yesterday, until there is freedom from conditioning, the activities of thought which is creating great problems and those problems thought cannot possibly solve, as we pointed out yesterday. And a new instrument is necessary to solve our human problems and we are going to talk as we go along about it. But as we said, it is not for the speaker to tell you what that new quality of that instrument is; each one has to find for himself. That is why both of us must think together, if we can. That demands that both of us feel, enquire, search out, question, doubt all the things that man has put together, all the things that we have created, the barriers between each other.
So we, as human beings, living on this beautiful earth which is slowly being destroyed, living on this earth which is our earth, not the Indian earth or the British earth or the American earth, it is our earth, to live intelligently, happily. But apparently that is not possible because we are conditioned. This conditioning is like the computer - we are programmed. We are programmed to be Hindus, to be Muslims, to be Christians, Catholics, Protestants. For 2000 years the Christian world has been programmed and the brain has been conditioned through that programme, like the computer. And so our brains are deeply conditioned and we are asking if it is at all possible to be free of that conditioning. Unless we are totally, completely, free from that limitation, mere enquiry or asking what is the new instrument which is not thought has no meaning. First one must begin very near to go very far. But most of us don't want to begin very near because we are all idealistic. We want to go so far without taking the first step, and perhaps the first step may be the last step.
Are we understanding each other? Are we communicating each other, or am I talking to myself? If I am talking to myself, I can do this in my own room. But if we are talking, having a conversation together, that conversation has significance when both of us meet at the same level, with the same intensity at the same time. That is love, that is real deep friendship. So please, this is not a lecture in the ordinary sense of the word. We are together trying to enquire and resolve our human problems. That requires a great deal of enquiry because human problems are very, very complex. One must have the quality of patience which is not of time. You understand? We are all impatient to get on: tell me quickly something or other. But if you have patience, that is, not trying to achieve something, not to arrive at some end, some goal, but step by step enquire into it.
As we said, we are programmed. Our human brain is a mechanical process. Our thought is a materialistic process, and that thought has been conditioned to think as a Buddhist, as a Hindu, Christian and so on. So our brain is conditioned. And whether it is possible to be free from that conditioning. Do you understand my question? There are those who say it is not possible; and they are not stupid people but very intelligent people. They say it is not possible because how can a brain which has been conditioned for so many centuries upon centuries, how can that conditioning be wiped away completely so that the human brain is extraordinarily pristine, original, capable of infinite capacity. Many people assert this, and are merely satisfied in modifying it, modifying the condition.
Isn't this a bit too loud?
But we are saying that this conditioning can be examined, can be observed and there can be total freedom from that conditioning. And to discover for ourselves whether it is not possible or not, we have to enquire into our relationship. Relationship is the mirror in which we see ourselves as we are. All life is a movement in relationship. There is no living thing on earth that is not related to something or other. Even the hermit that abandons the world and goes into some lonely spot is related to the past, is related to those who are around him. There is no escape from relationship. And in that relationship, which is the mirror in which we can see ourselves, in that relationship we can discover what we are: our reactions, our prejudices, our fears, depressions, anxieties, loneliness, sorrow, pain, grief. And we can also discover whether we love, or there is no such thing as love. So we are together, if you will, if you are serious enough to examine this question of relationship, because that is the basis of life. That is the only thing we have with each other. And if we cannot find the right relationship, if we live our own particular narrow life apart from my wife, husband, and so on, that isolated existence brings about its own destruction. So relationship is the most extraordinarily important thing in life. If we do not understand that relationship, we cannot possibly create a new society. You may have physical revolutions - Communist, Mao, or other forms of physical revolution, as has been observed in Russia, where there has been great revolution, the same old cycle is being repeated there are always the elite on top. You know the whole business. So relationship is important.
So we are going to enquire very closely into what is relationship? Why human beings throughout the long existence of their lives have never had a relationship in which there is neither oppression, possessiveness, attachment, contradiction and so on. Why there is always this division - man, woman, we and they. We are going to examine it together. This examination can be intellectual or merely verbal, which is intellectual concept of what relationship is, trying to understand intellectually what that relationship is, but such intellectual comprehension has no value at all. It is just an idea, it is just a concept, but if we can look at our relationship as a whole, then perhaps we can see the depth and the beauty and the quality of relationship. Right sirs? Can we go on?
So we are asking what - actually - the present relationship with each other, not theoretical, not romantic, not idealistic which are all unreal, but the actual, daily relationship of man, woman or with each other. Are we related at all? There is the biological urge as sex - may I use that word without all of you getting excited about it, especially in this country that word is rather doubtful, we never talk about it. It is hidden, but we are going to talk about it. So please forgive if I do. Our relationship is sexual, pleasurable. Our relationship is either possessiveness, attachment, various forms of intrusions upon each other. And if we examine one quality in that relationship, which is attachment, what is attachment, why do we have such tremendous need for attachment? We are either attached to a person, to a belief, to some form of conclusion.
Is that turned down too low? Can you all hear us sir? Yes?
What are the implications of attachment? If one is attached to a person, to one's wife, to one's family, what are they - complication, the extraordinary nature of attachment. Why is one attached?
When you are attached, to anything, there is always fear in it, of losing. There is always a sense of uncertainty. Please observe it for yourself. There is always a sense of separation: I am attached to my wife - I am not married, but suppose I am - I am married to my wife, married, I am attached to her because she gives me pleasure, sexually, gives me pleasure as a companion, she gives me pleasure as a cook - you know all the rest of it, I don't have to tell you all this. You know all this without my telling you all this. So I am attached to her, which means I am jealous, frightened, and the consequences of attachment is the continuation of fear, of losing, jealousy, anxiety. Where there is jealousy there is hatred. And is attachment love? That is one point, in our relationship.
In our relationship each one has, through the years, put together an image about each other. Those images she and he have created about each other is the actual relationship. Right? They may sleep together, but the fact that you and she have an image about each other, and in that relationship of images, how can there be any actual, factual relationship with another? Right? We have, all of us from childhood, we have built images about ourselves and about others. And we are asking a very, very serious question: in our relationship can one live without a single image? Surely you all have an image about the speaker, haven't you? Obviously you have. Why? You don't know the speaker; actually you don't know him. He sits on the platform, talks - but you have no relationship with him because you have an image about, you have created an image about him, and you have your own personal images about yourself. You have got so many images; about the politicians, about the business man, about the guru, about this and that. You understand my question? Can one live profoundly without a single image? Image may be conclusion about one's wife, an image may be the picture, of sexual pictures, the image may be some form of better relationship, and so on. Why do human beings have images at all? Please, sir, ask this question of yourself: why do you have an image about the speaker? If you can answer that very honestly, go into it, perhaps you may solve the image which you have built about your wife, or your husband, or your children. When you have an image about another, that image gives you a sense of security. Right? Right sir? Please examine what the speaker is saying, because this is very important. Because love is not thought. Love is not desire, love is not pleasure, love is not the movement of images, and as long as you have an image about another there is no love. And one asks, is it possible to live a life without a single image? Then you have a relationship with each other. As it is now, they are like two parallel lines - our relationship - two parallel lines never meeting, except sexually. The man goes off to the office and the modern lady also goes off to an office. The man is ambitious, greedy, envious, trying to achieve a position in the business world, in the religious world, in the professorial world, and the woman goes off too, to earn a livelihood. And they meet in the house to breed children. And then the whole problem of responsibility, problem of education, or total indifference. It doesn't matter what your children are, what happens to them. You want them to be like you: safely married, a house, a job. Right? And the education conditions the poor student, the poor child, as you the parents are conditioned, and this process has been going on for millennia upon millennia. This is our daily life and it is really a sorrowful life.
So one asks why human beings live by images - all your gods are images: the Christian god, the Muslim god and your god, they are created by thought because thought is uncertain, fearful. There is no security in the things that thought has put together, and the thing it has created as an image, that you worship. Such an illusory trick thought plays upon each other.
So is it possible to be free from our conditioning in our relationship? That is, to observe in the mirror of relationship attentively, closely, persistently, what our reactions are; whether they are mechanical, habitual, tradition. And in that mirror you discover actually what you are. So relationship is extraordinarily important.
How do you observe what you are in the mirror of relationship? So we have to enquire into what is to observe? Suppose you are married and you have a wife, and in that relationship that relationship is the mirror in which you see what you are; actually what you are, not theoretically - that you have some special consciousness, that there is something in you which is divine and all that kind of nonsense - actually what you are. Then how do you observe? You understand? How do you observe yourself, what you are, in the mirror of relationship? What does it mean to observe? This is really another important thing one has to find out. What does it mean to look? When you look at a tree, which is the most beautiful thing on the earth, one of the most lovely things on the earth, when you look at a tree, how do you look at it? Do you ever look at it? Do you ever look at the new moon, the slip of the new moon, so delicate, so fresh, so young. Have you ever looked at it? Can you look at it without using the word 'moon'? Are you following all this? Are you interested in all this? Would you kindly tell me. You are really interested in all this?
I'll go on, like a river that goes on - you are sitting on the banks of the river, looking at the river, but you don't become the river ever, because you never take part of the river, you never join the beauty of a movement that has no beginning and no end.
So please consider what it is to observe. When you observe a tree, or the moon, something outside you, we always use the word - the tree, the moon - and can you look at that moon, that tree, that flower with all the colours of it, can you look at it without naming it, without using a word to identify? You are following all this? Can you look without the word, without the content of that word, without identifying the word with the tree or with anything? Now, can you look at your wife, at your husband, at your children without the word - my wife - without the image? Have you ever tried it? No. When you observe without the word, without the name, without the form you have created about her or him, in that observation there is no centre from which you observe. Are you following all this? Are you following all this?
Questioner: We can’t hear this side.
Q: We can’t hear.
K: I don't think you are - that doesn't matter. You never even tried - to look at your pet politician without the word, without the form, without all the associations you have about him - to look at him. Can you look at the speaker, observe without your image, without the name? Then find out what happens.
The word is thought. Thought is born out of memory. So you have the memory, the word, the thought, the image interfering between you and the other. Right? So there is no thought - thought in the sense the word, the content of the word, the significance of the word, to look, to observe. Then in that observation there is no centre as me looking at you. Right? Then only there is a right relationship with another. Then in that, there is a quality of love, a quality of a certain beauty, a certain sensitivity, but if you have constantly an image about another there is no communication, there is no love, there is no depth of that word. So to look at another without the image, and the image is our conditioning. That is, we are conditioned, we are programmed. The Christian world has been programmed for two thousand years, the Muslim world for fourteen hundred years and perhaps the Hindu world five to three thousand years. And during those periods of time, which is called evolution, our brains have been conditioned by immense knowledge, great experience. Time and space has brought about the extraordinary quality of the brain. The speaker is not a brain specialist. The speaker does not want to be a specialist of any kind, even a religious specialist. But if you can observe your own activity of thought, that is, thought to observe itself, not you observe thought. You see the difference? Because you are put together by thought: your form, your name, your qualities, your fears, your anxieties, your nationality, your peculiar tendencies and so on, so on, are put together by thought. That is your consciousness, as we were saying yesterday. Psychologists, we were told this afternoon, they don't believe in consciousness. They only see matter and the reaction to matter, sensation and adjustment; adjustment to the present existence, whether slightly neurotic, and that is the result of various causes, and remove those causes, then you adjust yourself to the present society, to the present misery. And we are saying our conditioning is so deep, and to understand it one must understand the nature of effort.
May we go on? You are not tired? Are you sure you are not tired? You should be, because if you are actively co-operating in this, your brain must be active, questioning, asking, looking, experimenting as you are going on, now, not tomorrow. But all that needs attention, care, watching, and so you must be tired. But I will go on.
Why human beings throughout the world live in perpetual conflict? Please ask that question of yourself. You are in conflict. Your meditation is conflict, your worship is conflict. You have got various gods who are in conflict with each other and with you. Why human beings throughout the world live in constant struggle, pain, conflict. What is conflict? What is the cause of conflict? Where there is a cause, that cause has an end. You understand this? If I have a cause of pain, the doctor examines, if I have cancer he examines the cause and the symptom which is the pain - then that cause may be removed or may be terminal. So where there is a cause or a causation, there must be an ending of that causation. Right? So if you can find out, not be instructed - the speaker is not instructing you - but if you can find out for yourself what is the cause of conflict by which man has lived from time immemorial. What is the cause of it? Don't wait for the speaker to tell you. Go into yourself as we are doing now, find out what is the cause of this conflict outside and inside.
Is there one cause or many causes? If there are many causes, we can examine the many and slowly resolve each cause; or there may be only one cause. So, are there many causes for conflict? Or is there only one cause? One of the causes may be the constant attempt to become something - the becoming. Please, this is very important to understand. The becoming - I am this, I must be that - right? - I am greedy and I hope I will not be greedy. That is, to become something different from what I am. I am not beautiful, but I will become beautiful, I am violent but I will become non-violent. Right? So the becoming is a process of evolution. Right? You understand all this? Don't look so vague sir. All becoming, whether the clerk becoming the manager, and the manager becoming the chairman is a process of time which is evolution, from the low to the high. You plant a sapling which becomes a great tree, which is the evolution of that plant, of that tree. And, please listen if you are interested, is evolution one of the causes of conflict? You understand my question? That is, I am violent - all human beings apparently, most unfortunately are violent - and I am violent and I will become non-violent. The becoming from 'what is' is the process of evolution - right? - which requires time, space. Right? You are following all this? And we are asking, is evolution, this movement from 'what is' to 'what should be', which is a movement of evolution, is that one of the causes of conflict? Right? Is time one of the factors of conflict?
Is duality one of the causes of conflict? That is, there is duality - light and dark, man/woman, you know - duality, you know all that, outward, physical world, in that physical world there is duality - between good cloth and bad cloth, between a nice dress, which is tasteful, good material and bad material, between a good car and a bad car. Obviously, physically, there is difference. There is duality, different. And we are asking, inwardly, psychologically, is there a duality at all? I am violent. When I try to become non-violent there is duality. Right? You follow this? And we are asking does conflict exist as long as duality, and why have we psychologically, inwardly duality? I am violent and I have thought I must not be violent, and so I invent an idea called non-violence, which in this country is fashionable. And this fashion of non-violence is spreading all over the world, which has no meaning of course. Because violence is the fact, is real. Non-violence is fiction. Right? So, there is only 'what is', not 'what should be', so that if one realises that 'what is' is reality and not 'what should be', then you can dispense with 'what should be'. Then there is no duality. You understand this? The moment there is the idea 'I must not' or 'I should', or 'I will', away from 'what is', then there must be conflict. Right? Does one perceive this intellectually or actually, that there is no psychologically, inwardly, the opposite, only 'what is'? When there is only 'what is' you deal with 'what is', not with 'what should be'. Right? I am violent and this idea of non-violence is fictitious, is hypocritical. It has no value because in becoming non-violent I am sowing the seeds of violence all the time. So there is only violence, not
What is violence? What is the nature and the structure of violence, not only to get angry, to hit somebody, to kill somebody, not only the killing of human beings but killing animals, killing nature. Fifty million whales have been killed by man. Do you understand all this? Violence is also imitation, conformity, trying to be something which you are not. So can one look at that violence with all the content of that word, not just physical anger or physical expression of that anger but to look at the whole content of that word and hold it, not move away from it, just hold that feeling, look at it, and not move away from it, neither suppress it nor escape from it, nor transcend it but just look at it as you would look at a precious jewel. And when you look at it, are you looking at it as something separate from you? Or what you observe is what you are. You understand my question? Please, this is important to understand. If some of you are tired don't listen, just go to sleep, but this is important to understand. We are violent. That violence we have said is different from 'me'. Therefore I try to change it to become something else. Right? That violence is 'me'. I am not different from violence. Greed is part of me, I am not different from violence, from greed, or envy, hate, or jealousy. Suffering is me but we have separated anger, jealousy, loneliness, sorrow as something separate from me. So I can control it, shape it - you follow? - run away from it, but if that is me, I can do nothing about it but just observe it. I wonder if you understand?
So the observer is the observed; the thinker is the thought, the experiencer is the experience. The two are not separate. So where there is division there must be conflict. If I am separate from my wife - of course physically I am separate - if I am separate psychologically from my wife there is bound to be conflict. So time, evolution, the sense of the opposite are the factors of violence. These are the many, and other factors; all those factors are me. So me, in essence is the cause of conflict. I wonder if you understand this? If one asks, how am I to be free of me, which is a wrong question - but to observe the whole movement of conflict, not translate it, not try to understand it, just to observe like you observe a marvellous movement of the skies, the ocean, then it tells you all its content without your analysing.
So a brain that is in conflict mechanically, psychologically, must inevitably bring about disorder in itself and so outwardly. Conditioning - which we will go into again next weekend - whether it is possible for human beings to be totally, completely be free of it? When there is that freedom, there is order, there is love, compassion, and that compassion is intelligence.