The need for security
The nature of the mind
3rd Scientists Discussion, Ojai, California
April 17, 1982
Tom Krause: This is one of a series of dialogues between J Krishnamurti, David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and John Hidley. The purpose of these discussions is to explore essential questions about the mind: what is psychological disorder, and what is required for fundamental psychological change? J Krishnamurti is a religious philosopher, author and educator who has written and given lectures on these subjects for many years. He has founded elementary and secondary schools in the United States, England and India.
David Bohm is professor of theoretical physics at Birkbeck College, London University in England. He has written numerous books concerning theoretical physics and the nature of consciousness. Professor Bohm and Mr Krishnamurti have held previous dialogues on many subjects.
Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist whose recently published book proposes that learning in some members of a species affects the species as a whole. Dr Sheldrake is presently consulting plant physiologist to the International Crops Research Institute at Hyderabad, India.
John Hidley is a psychiatrist in private practice who has been associated with the Krishnamurti school at Ojai, California for the past six years.
In the first two dialogues consideration has been given to the process of self identification. A range of subjects has been related to this process, including the problem of suffering, the role of thinking and memory, images, and the uniqueness or commonality of consciousness. Can these processes be observed, and what is the relationship of observation to order, responsibility and change? Today's discussion focuses on the question: is there such a thing as absolute psychological security?
John Hidley: We would like to talk about the question of whether there is a deep security, whether the self can be dissolved. You have suggested that if that's possible, then the problems that the individual brings to the office, the problems...
Krishnamurti: Sir, why do we seek security, apart from physical? Apart from terrestrial security, why do we want security?
JH: Well, we know moments of peace and happiness, and we want to stabilise that and hold that.
K: Then that becomes a memory.
K: Not actual security. A memory that one day you were happy, and I wish one could go back to it. Or you project an idea and a hope someday to achieve it. But why is it that human beings, probably throughout the world, seek security? What is the raison d'etre, I mean, what is the demand for security? What makes people ask for security, psychologically?
JH: Well, they're occupied, they're filled with their problems.
There's the feeling that if I can solve the problem, if I can find out what the right answer is, if...
K: That's not security, surely. There is great uncertainty, great sense of emptiness in oneself, loneliness. Really, loneliness - let's take that for an example.
K: I may be married, I may have children and all the rest of it but I still feel isolated, lonely. And it's frightening, depressing, and I realise it is isolating. After all, loneliness is the essence of isolation, in which I have no relationship with anybody. Is that one of the reasons why human beings seek security this desire for security?
JH: Yes, to fill that up.
K: Or much deeper than that. To be secure in my fulfilment, to be free of fear, free of my agony. I want to be free of all those so that I can be completely secure in peace and happiness. Is that what we want?
K: Is that the reason why we seek?
JH: And we want that to be stable over time.
K: Stable, permanent - if there is anything permanent - is that the reason why we crave this, demand, crave for security?
K: That means to be free from fear, and then I am totally secure.
JH: It feels like I have to be that way in order to function adequately.
K: Function adequately comes later.
JH: What do you mean?
K: If I am secure, I'll function.
K: If I am very anchored in something which I think is false or true, I'll act according to those principles. But is it that human beings are incapable of solving this deep-rooted fear. For example I am taking fear - and they have not been able to solve it.
JH: Yes, that's right.
K: Psychological fears. And to be free from that is to be so marvellously secure.
JH: You are saying that if we can solve these problems at a fundamental level.
K: Otherwise what's the point, how can I be totally secure?
K: So, is it the physical security, of bread, of shelter, food and clothes, spilling over to the psychological field? You understand what I mean?
JH: Do you mean, is that where the psychological feeling of the need for security comes from?
K: Yes, partly. One must have food and clothes and shelter. That's an absolute essential, otherwise you four wouldn't be sitting here.
K: In the search of that, psychologically also I want to be equally secure.
JH: They seem to be equated.
K: Yes, I'm questioning whether it is so.
K: Or, the psychological desire to be secure prevents physical security.
JH: It seems like the psychological desire to be secure arises out of the necessity to function in reality.
K: I want to be psychologically secure.
K: So I am attached to a group, a community, a nation.
K: Which then prevents me from being secure. Security means long-lasting security. But if I identify myself, in my search for psychological security and attach myself to a nation, that very isolation is going to destroy me. So why do we seek this?
JH: OK, then you're saying that there is a mistake, which is that we identify ourselves, attach ourselves to something and seek security in that, and that that's fundamentally wrong.
K: Yes. No, not fundamentally. I won't say right or wrong.
K: I am asking why? Why do human beings do this? A fact which is right through the world, it's not just for certain communities, all human beings want to be so unshakable security.
David Bohm: Well, I think that people have some answers. You see, if you say there's a young child, or a baby, now he feels the need to be loved by his parents and it seems that at a certain stage the infant has the need for a kind of psychological security, which he should grow out of perhaps, but since he isn't properly taken care of by his parents very often, he begins to feel lost, as you say, alone, isolated, and there arises the demand that he become inwardly secure.
K: A baby must be secure.
DB: Yes, psychologically as well as physically, would you say?
K: Yes, there must be.
DB: Now at some stage you would say that it would change.
DB: I don't know what age.
K: Why No, a certain age, a small baby or a young child, it must be protected.
DB: In every way, psychologically...
K: Yes, psychologically...
DB: ...it must not be shocked psychologically.
K: ...you protect it with affection, taking it in your lap, cuddling him or her, and holding his hand, you make him feel that he is loved, that he is cared for. That gives him a feeling, here is somebody who is looking after me, and there is security here.
DB: Yes, and then I suppose he will grow up not requiring that security.
K: That's it. I am questioning, as he grows up, and as he faces the world, why does he crave for security?
DB: Well, I think very few children ever have that love to begin with, you see.
K: Oh, that's it. So is that the problem?
DB: Well, I don't know, but that's one factor in there.
K: That we really don't love? And if one loves, there is no need for security. You don't even think about security. If I love you... not intellectually, not because you give me comfort, sex, or this or that, if I really have this deep sense of love for another, what is the need for security? It's my responsibility to see that you are secure. But you don't demand it.
K: But human beings do. And does that mean we don't love another?
JH: Yes, it means that what we love is the...
K: I love you because you give me something.
JH: Yes. You make me feel like I'm going to get that security which I crave.
K: Yes. So, no, we are skirting around this. Why? Why do I want security so that I feel completely content, without fear, without anxiety, without agony and so on? Is fear the root of all this?
JH: Oh, we seem to have mentioned already several things that are the root of it? As the baby grows up and isn't loved, he feels the need for that, he remembers that, he tries to return to that or get that as an adult, he's afraid because he's not protected, and as an adult he tries to get that protection.
K: Or, sir, is it unconsciously we know that the self, the me, the ego, is really totally unstable.
JH: You are saying that in its nature it's totally unstable?
K: In its nature unstable. And therefore there is this anxiety for security outside and inside.
JH: Why do you say it's totally unstable?
K: Isn't it? Isn't our consciousness unstable?
JH: It seems to have two sides to it. One side says that if I could just get such and such, I would be stable.
K: Yes. And there is a contradiction to that. I may not be.
JH: I may not be.
K: Yes, of course.
JH: I'm not yet, but I will be.
K: Will be.
K: No, much more fundamentally, is not this, the self itself, in a state of movement, uncertainty, attached, fear in attachment - all that? That's a state of lack of stability. Therefore I am asking, is that the reason that human beings unconsciously, knowing the instability of the self, want security - god, the saviour?
JH: Wanting something absolute.
K: Yes, that'll give complete contentment. Because our consciousness is its content. Right?
K: And the content is always in contradiction. I believe...
JH: That's right.
K: ...and yet I'm frightened of not believing.
JH: That's why you're saying it's in essence unstable.
K: Obviously it is unstable. So clearly unstable. I want this thing and some other desire comes along and says, don't have that, for god's sake. There is this contradiction, there is duality, all that exists in our consciousness: fear, pleasure, fear of death, you know all the content of our consciousness, all that. So that is unstable.
JH: Now sensing all of that, people generally say this problem is too deep or too complex, there's no way to solve it, we can maybe just make some adjustments.
K: Yes, yes. And in that adjustment also there is lack of stability. So unconsciously there must be craving for security. So we invent god.
JH: We keep inventing lots of different things we hope will give us that security.
K: We create god, he's our creation. We are not the creation of God, I wish we were. We would be totally different. So there is this illusory desire for security.
JH: Now wait a minute, why do you say that it's illusory?
K: Because they invent something in which they hope they'll be secure.
JH: Oh, I see. Yes.
K: So, if the content of our consciousness can be changed... quotes, changed - would there be need for security?
JH: If we could eliminate all these contradictions?
K: Yes, contradictions.
JH: Then maybe we would have the security because our consciousness would be stable.
K: So that maybe We may not call it security. To be secure, which is a really disgusting desire, sorry. To be secure in what? About what? Personally I never thought about security. You might say, well, you are looked after, you are cared for by others and all the rest of it, therefore there is no need for you to think about security, but I never - I don't want security. I need, of course, I need food, clothes and shelter, that's understood, somebody to...
JH: But we're talking about psychological security.
K: Yes, I'm talking of much deeper issue.
JH: And you're saying that that occurs because the contents of consciousness are no longer contradictory.
K: Is there a consciousness - it may not be what we know as consciousness, it may be something totally different. All that we know is fear, reward and pleasure, and death and constant conflict in relationship: I love you but...
JH: Within limits.
K: Within limits. I don't know if that's called love. So there is the content of consciousness is all that, which is me. My consciousness is me. In this complex, contradictory, dualistic existence, that very fact creates the demand for security.
K: So can we eliminate the self? (Laughs)
JH: But we haven't - have we got to the self? It seems like there's somebody in there, in here, who's going to juggle all these things and get rid of the contradictions.
K: But that means you are different from this; from consciousness.
K: But you are that! You are pleasure, you are fear, you are belief, all that you are. I think we don't please agree with what we are talking about, what I'm saying. It may be all tommyrot.
JH: I think there are a lot of people who wouldn't agree with that. I think that they would say that...
K: I know there're a lot of people wouldn't agree because they haven't gone into it. They just want to brush all this aside.
JH: Well, let's look at this. Is there a self that's separate, that's going to be able to somehow iron out these contradictions?
Rupert Sheldrake: How do you know? I mean it seems to me that there is a - well, at least it may be illusory, but it's very easy to think that one is separate from some of these problems and that there's something inside one which can make decisions.
K: Doctor, am I separate from my fear? Am I separate from the agony I go through? The depression?
RS: Well, I think that there's something within one which can examine these things and that's why it indicates there is some kind of separation.
K: Because there is the observer separate from the observed.
K: Is that so?
RS: Well, it seems to be so.
K: It seems to be so!
RS: Now, this seems to be the problem, that it does seem to be so, I mean, in my own experience, of course, and many other people's it does indeed seem that there is an observer observing things like fear and one's own reactions. And it comes out most clearly, I find, in insomnia, if one's trying to sleep there's one part of one which says, that is going on with silly worries and ridiculous thoughts round and round; there's another part of one that says, I really want to sleep, I wish I could stop all these silly thoughts. And there one has this actual experience of an apparent separation.
K: Yes. Of course, of course.
RS: So this isn't just a theory, it's an actual fact of experience that there is this kind of separation.
K: I agree, I agree. But why does that division exist? Who created the division?
RS: It may just be a fact.
K: What may?
RS: It may just be a fact.
K: Is that so? I want to examine it.
RS: Yes, so do I. I mean, is it indeed a fact that consciousness, as it were, has levels, some of which can examine others, one at a time?
K: No. Would you kindly consider, is fear different from me? I may act upon fear, I may say, I must suppress it, I may rationalise it, I might transcend it, but the fear is me.
RS: Well, we often...
K: You only invent the separation where you want to act upon it.
But otherwise I am fear.
RS: The common and ordinary way of analysing it would be to say, I feel afraid, as if the afraidness was separate from the I. I want to get out of this state of feeling afraid, so I want to escape from it, leaving the fear behind and the I will pass beyond it and somehow escape it. This is the normal way we think.
K: I know.
RS: So what's wrong with that?
K: You keep up this conflict.
DB: But I think he is saying it may be inevitable.
RS: It may be inevitable, you see...
K: I question it.
DB: Yes, well, could we how do you propose to show it's not inevitable?
K: First of all, when there is anger, at the moment of anger, there is no separation. Right?
RS: When you're very angry...
K: Of course.
RS: ...what we normally say is you lose control of yourself and the separation disappears, you become the anger, yes.
K: At the moment when you are really angry, there is no separation. The separation only takes place after. 'I have been angry'. Right? Now, why? Why does this separation take place?
RS: Through memory.
K: Through memory, right. Because I have been angry before. So the past is evaluating, the past recognising. So the past is the observer.
DB: That may not be obvious, you know. For example, I may have physical reactions that go out of control, like sometimes the hand or the body, and then I say I am observing those physical reactions going out of control and I would like to bring them back in, right?
DB: I think somebody might feel the same way, that his mental reactions are going out of control and that they have momentarily escaped his control and he's trying to bring them back in. You see, now, that's the way it may look or feel to many people.
K: So, what?
DB: Well, then it is not clear. Have we made it clear that that is not the case, you see.
K: Sir, I am trying to point out, I don't know if I am making myself clear: when one is frightened, actually, there's no me separate from fear.
JH: But then there seems...
K: When there is a time interval, there is the division. And time interval, time is thought. And when thought comes in then begins the division. Because thought is memory; the past.
RS: Thought involves memory - yes.
K: Yes, involves memory and so on. So thought, memory, knowledge, is the past. So the past is the observer who says, I am different from fear, I must control it.
JH: Let's go through this very slowly because it's seems like the experience is that the observer is the present. It seems like he's saying, I'm here now, what am I going to do about this the next time it comes up.
K: Yes. But the 'what am I going to do about it' is the response of the past, because you have already had that kind of experience. Sir, haven't you had fear?
K: You know, something, a fear that has really shaken
K: Devastating one.
K: And at that second there is no division, you are entirely consumed by that.
K: Now, then thought comes along and says, I've been afraid or because of this and because of that, now I must defend myself, rationalise fear and so on, so on, so on. It's so obvious, what are we discussing?
DB: You see, I think it's coming back again to the physical reaction which can also consume you and you say at the next moment, you say, I didn't notice it at the time, thought comes in and says, that's a physical reaction.
DB: Now I know it, you see, what is the difference of these two cases, you see, that in the second case it would make sense to say, I know that I have reacted this way before, right? You know, I can take such an such an action.
K: I don't quite follow this.
DB: Somebody can feel that it's true I get overwhelmed by a reaction and thought comes in. But in many areas that's the normal procedure for thought to come in. If something shattering happens, and then a moment later, you think, what was it? Right? Now, in some cases that would be correct, right?
K: Quite right.
DB: Now, why is it in this case it is not, you see.
K: Ah, I see what you mean. Answer it, sir, you are Answer it. You see, you meet a rattler on a walk.
K: Which I have done very often. You meet a rattler, he rattles and you jump. That is, physical, self-protective, intelligent response. That's not fear.
DB: Right. Well, not psychological fear.
DB: It has been called a kind of fear.
K: I know, I don't call that psychological fear.
DB: No, it's not psychological fear, it's a simple physical reaction...
K: Physical reaction...
DB: ...of danger.
K: ...which is an intelligent reaction not to be bitten by the rattler.
DB: Yes, but a moment later I can say, I know that's rattler or it's not a rattler, I may discover it's not a rattler, it's another snake which is not so dangerous.
K: No, not so dangerous, then I pass it by.
DB: But then thought comes in and it's perfectly all right.
DB: But here, when I am angry or frightened...
K: Then thought comes in.
DB: And it's not all right.
K: It's not all right.
K: Oh, I see what you are trying to get at. Why do I say it is not all right. Because fear is devastating, it blocks one's mind, thought and all the rest of it, one shrinks in that fear.
DB: Yes, I think I see that. You mean that possibly that when thought comes in it cannot possibly come in rationally in the midst of fear, right?
DB: Is that what you mean?
K: That's what I'm trying to say.
DB: So in the case of physical danger, it could still come in rationally.
K: Yes. Here it becomes irrational.
K: Why, I am asking, why? Why doesn't one clear up all this awful mess?
JH: Well, it isn't clear.
K: Look, sir, it is a messy consciousness.
JH: Yes, it's a messy consciousness.
K: Messy consciousness, contradicting
K: frightened, oh, so many fears and so on, it's a messy consciousness. Now, why can't we clear it up?
JH: Well, it seems we are always trying to clear it up after the fact.
K: No, I think the difficulty lies in that we don't recognise deeply this messy consciousness is me. And if it is me, I can't do anything! I don't know if you get the point.
RS: You mean we think that there's a me separate from this messy consciousness.
K: We think we are separate. And therefore we are accustomed, it is our conditioning, to act upon it. But I can't very well do that with all this messy consciousness which is me. So the problem then arises, what is action? We are accustomed to act upon the messy consciousness. When there is realisation of the fact that I can't act, because I am that.
JH: Then what is action?
K: That is non-action.
K: Ah, that's not OK, that is the total difference.
JH: Yes, I think I understand. On the one hand there's the action of consciousness on itself which just perpetuates things.
JH: And seeing that, then it ceases to act.
K: It's not non-violence.
RS: Sorry sir, you're saying that normally we have the idea that there's a self which is somehow separate from some of the contents of our messy consciousness.
K: That's right, that's right, sir.
RS: If someone tells us we're wonderful, we don't want to be separate from that, but if we feel afraid and if somebody tells we're awful, we do want to be separate from that.
K: (Laughs) Quite.
RS: So it's rather selective. But nevertheless we do feel there's something in us which is separate from the contents of this messy consciousness. We normally act in such a way as to change either the contents of the consciousness or our relation to them or our relation to the world, and so on. But we don't normally examine this apparent separation between the self, the me, and the contents of the messy consciousness. That's something we don't challenge. Now you're suggesting that in fact this separation which we can actually experience and do, most of us do experience, is in fact something we ought to challenge and look at and we ought to face the idea that we actually are the messy consciousness and nothing other.
K: Of course. It's so obvious.
RS: Well, it isn't obvious, it's very non-obvious and it's a very difficult thing to realise, because one's very much in the habit of thinking one is separate from it.
K: So if it's our conditioning, can we move away from our conditioning? Our conditioning is me. And then I act upon that conditioning, separating myself. But if I am that, no action, which is the most positive action.
JH: The way that that would be heard, I'm afraid, is that if I don't act on it it's just going to stay the way it is.
RS: You're suggesting that by recognising this, there's a sort of the process of recognising it, facing up to...
K: It's not facing up. Who is to face up? (Laughs) Not recognise. Who is to recognise it? You see, we are always thinking in those terms. I am that, full stop. We never come to that realisation, totally. There is some part of me which is clear and that clarity is going to act upon that which is not clear. Always this goes on.
K: I am saying the whole content of one's consciousness is unclear, messy. There is no part of it that's clear. We think there is a part, which is the observer, separating himself from the mess. So the observer is the observed. Gurus, and all that.
JH: Oh, yes.
DB: You were raising the question of action. If that is the case, how is action to take place?
K: When there is perception of that which is true, that very truth is sufficient, it is finished.
DB: Yes. You have said also, for example, that that mess itself realises its own messiness, right?
K: Yes. Messiness, it's finished.
RS: Sir, are you suggesting that the realisation of the messiness itself in some way dissolves the messiness?
K: Yes. Not a separative realisation that I am messy. The fact is consciousness is messy, full stop. And I can't act upon it. Because previously acting upon it was a wastage of energy. Because I never solved it. I have struggled, I have taken vows, I have done all kinds of things to resolve this messy stuff. And it has never been cleared. It may partially, occasionally...
JH: Well, I think that's another aspect of this. In therapy or in our own lives we seem to have insights that are partial, that we clear up a particular problem and gain some clarity and order for a time. And then the thing returns in some other form or...
K: Yes, yes.
JH: ...the same form. You're suggesting that the thing needs to be done across the board in some way.
K: You see, sir, before, the observer acted upon it, upon the messy consciousness, right?
K: Saying, I'll clear this up, give me time, you know, all the rest of it. But that's a wastage of energy.
K: When the fact that you are that - you are not wasting energy. Which is attention. I don't know if you want to go into this.
RS: No, this is very interesting. Please do.
K: Would we agree that acting upon it is a wastage of energy?
JH: Yes. This creates more disorder.
K: No. It creates more disorder, and there is this constant conflict between me and the not me. The me who is the observer and I battle with it, control it, suppress it, anxious, worry, you follow? Which is all essentially wastage of energy. Whereas this messy consciousness is me. I have come to realise that through attention. Not I have come to realise - sorry.
DB: Would you say that the consciousness itself has come to realise it?
DB: I mean, it's not me, right?
K: Yes. Which is total attention I am giving to this consciousness - not 'I am' - there is attention and inattention. Inattention is wastage of energy. Attention is energy. When there is observation that consciousness is messy, that fact can only exist when there is total attention. And when there is total attention, it doesn't exist any more, confusion. It's only inattention that creates the problems. Refute it! (Laughs)
RS: But, sir, I don't understand entirely what you're saying. This total attention that you're talking about would only be able to have this effect if it somehow was something completely in the present and devoid of memory.
K: Of course, of course, attention is that. If I attend to what you have said just now, devoid of memory, which is attention, I listen to you not only with the sensual ear, but with the other ear, which is, I am giving my whole attention to find out what you are saying; which is actually in the present. In attention there is no centre.
RS: Because the attention and the thing attended to become one, you mean. You mean there's no centre in the attention because the attention is all there is, the thing attended to and the attention is all there is.
K: Ah, no, no. There is messiness because I have been inattentive. Right?
K: When there is the observation of the fact that the observer is the observed, and that state of observation in which there is no observer as the past, that is attention. Sir, I don't know if you have gone into the question of meditation here. That's another subject.
JH: That may be a relevant subject. It seems that what you're talking about may happen partially.
K: Ah! It can't happen, then you keep partial mess and partial not mess. We're back again in the same position.
RS: But do you think this kind of attention you're talking about is the sort of thing that many people experience occasionally in moments of great beauty, or occasionally a piece of music they're really enjoying, they lose themselves, and so on - do you think that many of us have glimpses of this in these kinds of experiences?
K: That's it. That's it. When I see a mountain, the majesty, the dignity and the depth of it drives away myself. A child with a toy, the toy absorbs him. The mountain has absorbed me; toy has absorbed the child. I say that means there is something outside which will absorb me, which will make me peaceful. Which means an outside agency that'll keep me quiet: god, prayer, looking up to something or other. If I reject an outside agency completely, nothing can absorb me. Let's say, if you absorb me, when you are gone I am back to myself.
K: So I discard any sense of external agency which will absorb me. So I am left with myself, that's my point.
JH: I see. So you're suggesting that when this happens partially it's because we're depending on something.
K: Yes, of course.
JH: I see.
K: It's like my depending on my wife.
JH: Or my therapist or my problem.
K: Something or other.
K: Like a Hindu, Catholic or anybody, they depend on something. Therefore dependence demands attachment.
JH: Now it's possible to listen to you say this and have the idea of what you are talking about and try and do that.
K: Ah, you can't do it! That means you are acting again. You want something out of it. In exchange I'll give you this, you give me that. That's just a trade. Here it's not like that, you are enquiring into something which demands a great deal of thought, great deal of intelligence and attention that says look, why is there this division, this mess in the world? Because our consciousness is messy and so the world is messy. So from that arises, is it possible to be free of the self? Consciousness, the messy consciousness, is the self.
RS: It is not possible to be free from the contents of consciousness, different experiences, as long as my eyes are open, I'm looking, I see all sorts of different things. Now what you were saying about the attention when one's looking at a mountain, for example, are you suggesting that if I have that same kind of attention to everything I experience, that then this is the...
K: You see, again you experience. (Laughs)
RS: Yes, well, all right, but...
K: But you are the experience.
K: Right? That means, there is no experience.
RS: (Laughs) There's just attention, you mean.
K: Experience involves remembrance, time, which is the past. Therefore the experiencer is the experienced. If I seek illumination, enlightenment, or whatever you might like to call it, I am then trying to do all kinds of things to achieve that. But I don't know what illumination is. I don't know. Not because you said it or Buddha said it or somebody else said it: I don't know. But I am going to find out. Which means the mind must be totally free: from prejudice, from fear, all the rest of that messy business. So my concern is not illumination, but whether the content of my consciousness can be cleansed - whatever word you use. That's my concern - not concern, that's my enquiry. And as long as I am separate from my consciousness, I can experience it, I can analyse it, I can tear it to pieces, act upon it - which means perpetual conflict between me and my consciousness. I wonder why we accept all this. Why do I accept that I am a Hindu? Why do I accept that I am a Catholic? You follow?
K: Why do we accept what other people say?
JH: We say it ourselves.
K: Yes. No, not only we say it ourselves, but it's encouraged, sustained, nourished by people outside. Why? Why do we accept? He is a professor and he is teaching me, I accept that. Because he knows biology much more than I do, I go to his class, and I am being informed by what he says. But he's not my guru, he's not my behaviour guide. He is giving me information about biology and I am interested in it. I want to study it, I want to go out into the field and do all kinds of stuff. But why do we accept authority, psychological authority, spiritual - quote spiritual - authority? Again we come back to security. I don't know what to do but you know better than I do; you are my guru. I refuse that position.
RS: But don't we arrive at the same set of problems if we start not from authority but from responsibility; say I'm a father, I have this child - we've agreed some time ago...
K: You have to instruct it, of course.
RS: You have to look after this baby.
K: Of course, of course.
RS: Fine. But now in order to feed the baby you become preoccupied with security: job, tenure, you know, house...
K: Of course, of course.
RS: ...protecting the house against marauders and so on.
K: Of course, of course.
RS: Then you get into the same lot of things about preoccupation with security starting not from authority but from responsibility for others, for children, for example.
K: Of course.
RS: So then what is the answer to that. It's easy to say you should reject responsibility.
K: Of course, I have money, if I earn money, job, so on, I have to look after myself. If I have servants, I have to look after servants, my children, perhaps their children too. I am responsible for all that.
K: Physically I am responsible. To give them food, to give them the right amount of money, allow their children go to a proper school like my children, I am responsible for all that.
RS: But isn't that going to bring you back to the same position of insecurity and so on that you were trying to dissolve by this rejection of authority?
K: I don't see why I need spiritual or psychological authority. Because if I know how to read myself, I don't need anybody to tell me. But we have never attempted deeply to read the book of myself. I come to you and say, please, help me to read. And then the whole thing is lost.
JH: But I think what Rupert is asking is that if we start by assuming responsibility for other people, that entails...
K: What? My earning capacity.
JH: Which must be secure.
K: Yes, secure as much as possible. Not in countries where there's tremendous unemployment.
JH: So you're saying that that doesn't entail any psychological insecurity.
K: No, of course not. But when I say, he's my servant, I'm going to keep him in that place, you follow?
JH: No. Tell me more.
K: I mean, I treat him as a servant.
K: Which becomes irresponsible - I don't know naturally.
JH: But if it's a servant, he can come and go. But if it's a child...
JH: ...he can't come and go.
K: He's part of my family.
DB: I think the question is something like this, that suppose you are responsible for a family and the conditions are difficult, you may not have a job and you may start to worry about it and become insecure psychologically.
K: I don't worry about it, there it is, I have no more money. So, my friend, I have no more money, if you want to stay, share the little food I have, we'll share it.
DB: You're saying that even if you are unemployed and you are responsible for a family it will not disturb the order of the mind, right?
K: Of course not.
DB: You will find an intelligent way to solve it.
K: Deal with it.
RS: But this kind of worry as a result of responsibility is relative.
K: I don't call it worry. (Laughs) I am responsible.
K: And therefore I look after as much as I can.
RS: And if you can't?
K: I can't. Why should I worry and bother - I can't, it's a fact.
DB: You're saying that it's possible to be completely free of worry, for example, in the face of great difficulties.
K: Yes. There is no You see, that's what I am saying. Where there is attention, there is no need to there is no worry because there is no centre from which you are attending.
RS: There are still problems and there may still be responsibilities that one has.
K: Of course I have problems, so I resolve them.
RS: But if you can't resolve them.
K: Then I can't.
RS: If your family is starving.
K: I can't. Why should I worry about it? I can't be Queen of England.
K: No. That's all. Why should I worry about it? (Laughs)
RS: But if you're a poor Indian, unemployed, your family is starving, there's nothing you can You've tried everything, you've failed. And you don't worry. Actually, surprisingly enough, a lot of poor Indians in just that situation don't worry, that's the most amazing thing about India. But then of course people coming along looking from outside say, well, this is fatalism.
K: Yes, that's right.
RS: And it's often regarded as the disease of India, the very fact that so many people manage not to worry in those circumstances... to the degree that we would expect.
K: I'd like to ask you a question. You've listened to all this: messy consciousness - does one realise it, and empty the content: fear, you know, the whole business? Does it interest you?
K: That means what?
JH: It means you just listen.
K: No, it means a conversation, dialogue between us. Penetrating deeper and deeper and deeper. Which means you must be free to examine. Free from your prejudice, from your previous experience. Of course, otherwise you can't examine. You can't investigate... 'Investigare' means explore, you know, push it, push it, push it further and further. Now, are you, are we willing to do that, so that actually the self is not? But when the self is not it doesn't mean you neglect your wife, your children - you follow? That becomes so silly, like becoming a sannyasi, going off to the mountains, a monk going off into a monastery. That's an extraordinary escape. The fact is I have to deal with my wife and children and if I have, a servant. Can I be so totally without the self that I can intelligently deal with these problems?