The relationship of health to freedom
Why has man after thousands of years not found peace?
2nd Public Talk, Saanen
July 10, 1984
May we go on where we left off the day before yesterday morning? We were talking about time: time as the past, if I may briefly repeat, time as the past, time as the future, time now, at this second. We were saying also that all time, the past, the present and the future is contained in the now. We went into it fairly thoroughly, that the future is the present, because what we are now, our behaviour, our vulgarity, our - what? - our cruelty, bestiality, terror, and all the rest of it, what we are now, violent, tomorrow will also be violent if there is no fundamental change now. So the future is contained in the present. The future, though modified, is still violence. So please, as we pointed out yesterday, in greater detail, all time is in the present, is in the now. If one realises the truth of that it has tremendous significance. I am using the word tremendous purposely, without exaggeration. It has a tremendous effect in our behaviour, in our relationship, in what we are actually doing every minute of the day. It has great significance. If one captures that, the truth of it, not the mere verbal expression, the intellectual, logical explanation, description, but the substance of it, the quality of it, the depth of it, the truth of it, then that perfume of that which is true affects the whole of our existence.
We would like this morning also in relation to time to enquire together, I mean together, not I explain, you just accept, or you deny or agree, but together investigate closely, both intellectually, logically, sanely, rationally, and also to go beyond it. Because logic, rationality has its own limitation because it is still within the field of thought. We went into that, we'll go into it again today. So if we capture the significance of time then we should also enquire into what is freedom, what is health and what is energy? Right?
Freedom, health and the quality of energy that comes when one captures or sees, perceives the truth of all time contained in the now. Right? What is freedom? All human beings throughout the ages have sought some kind of freedom, historically, religiously and so on. And freedom is translated now as doing exactly what one wants, which you are all doing obviously. Choice - one can choose to go from one place to another place, from one job to another job, unlike the totalitarian states where there is total dictatorship and everything is controlled. Even your thinking, feeling is moulded according to a pattern. So there is a denial in the totalitarian states of freedom, therefore the totalitarian states are retrogressive - you understand? Going back, not moving.
So we must enquire into what is freedom? Is freedom choice? To choose between two cars, between two materials, to go where you want, to fulfil yourself at the expense of everybody else - right? I hope you are following all this. To try to become much more than what we are - better, nobler, wiser, more - acquiring more knowledge. So - which is the whole process of becoming, which is called fulfilling. I must fulfil. I must have roots somewhere. You follow? The implication of all that is becoming. Not only physical becoming, as from an employee to the owner, from an apprentice to a master, but also we feel becoming inwardly. I am this, I will be that. I am envious, greedy, violent - we will use the word violent, that is good enough. We are violent. I will one day achieve non-violence, perhaps in a year or two, or perhaps at the end of my life when I am just about to die - right? And all this implies a psychological becoming. That's clear. And is there freedom in becoming? You understand my question? Or is freedom something entirely different? Please, together we are investigating, exploring. I am not explaining and you are just receiving. Together we are enquiring which demands that you exercise your brain, not accept a thing, not accept whatever the speaker says. Therefore the enquiry must be yours, not the speaker's. The speaker may just outline, put it into words but the activity, the penetration, must be on your part. So we are both sharing in this - right? Not I put something forward with which you agree or disagree - that implies no sharing. But if we are both enquiring, probing, asking, doubting everything we think and feel, and its relationship to time, and see if that becoming prevents freedom - right? Are we together in this a little bit? May I still more explain it?
That is, if one is a teacher who wants gradually to become a professor in a university, or an apprentice in any discipline, he is all the time attempting to become something - becoming more, becoming a greater expert, greater skill, greater knowledge. This limited energy given to a certain subject is limiting. Therefore that denies freedom. You understand? Are we together in this somewhat?
You see we don't really demand freedom. We demand only within the limited area that I must do what I feel, I must act according to my like and dislike, and in that action I am free, I can choose between you and another, and so on. So all that activity is very, very limited, and that very limitation denies freedom. Of course. We are also verbally limited, linguistically - I won't go into the question of linguistics - linguistically we are limited. Let's find out whether language limits freedom. You understand all this? Language. That is words. Whether - the speaker is using English - whether that language, the words, condition the brain and therefore it becomes limited. Whether language conditions the brain - right? Are you getting this? Or language doesn't limit the brain, condition the brain? You are enquiring? Please go into it with me. I wish there were - sorry I don't wish - if there were only you and the speaker together and not such a large audience, together, my friend and myself, then we can discuss it very, very closely. And I am going to do that - right? That is you represent my friend and I represent the speaker. The speaker and the friend are discussing this question, which is: does freedom lie in becoming something all the time? Does freedom lie in expressing your ambition? Does freedom lie in trying to fulfil your own desires? And the friend says, 'I really don't understand what the devil you are talking about.' We are used to this, our conditioning, our habit, is this. We are always wanting to fulfil, to become, as in the outer world also in the inner world. We must achieve something otherwise there is no progress. And so on, my friend is saying this, countering everything I am saying, the speaker is saying. And the speaker says, don't get so excited about it, let's look at it together. When you are ambitious, both in the external world and in the psychological world, ambition is the same whether you are ambitious to become tremendously rich or ambitious to reach Nirvana, Heaven or illumination, or ambitious to become silent. Ambition is the same. And that ambition, the speaker is saying to his friend, is limited, is not freedom. And we have misused that word freedom. Which is, each person trying to assert himself, aggressively, holding on to his opinion, judgement, evaluation, dogmas, creed and so on. And all this we call freedom. And is that freedom? Right? My friend says, 'I begin to understand what you are talking about. I agree'. I say, don't agree but see the fact of it, the truth of it - right?
So freedom must be something entirely different. And is it possible to come to that, to realise that freedom? That is not to be ambitious at all. Go into it. Which doesn't prevent the love of doing - right? The scientists throughout the world are very ambitious too, like the rest of us. They want to achieve some superior armaments against the Russians and so on. All that game, that horrible game they are playing. So every human being in the world, however uneducated, stupid, terribly intellectual, are always caught in this process. And that is called freedom generally. And the speaker says that is not freedom. And the friend says, 'Does language prevent, or encourage the limited activity of the brain?' You are following all this? Does this interest you? He? Are you quite sure? Or is it that you are playing a game with me? Does language condition the brain? It does condition the brain if the words become important. Whether the words are English words, or French words, or German, or Italian or Russian, when the word has lost its depth, when the word is used casually, when the word has special significance to each one, when the words have become the network of the brain. You understand? Are you following? Then the words condition the brain. Right? But when the words, which are merely used to convey a certain... used for communication purposes, if you and I, and the speaker, which requires a certain sensitivity, attention, pliability, affection, then words can be used without their limiting quality. Then the brain is not conditioned by words. But now, as we are, words do condition our brain. When you say the totalitarian states - immediately I have a picture of it. You immediately see various dictators in different parts of the world, because their pictures have been in every newspaper for the last fifty years. The image springs up and that image conditions the brain. You are following all this? When I use the word guru (laughter) - there you are, you have a reaction immediately! Or when a word like the Christ is used to a Christian - immediately. Or to a Hindu with his particular word, or the Buddhist. Please see the importance of the linguistic conditioning, and whether in that conditioning all kinds of troubles arise, all kinds of conflicts arise - the Hindu conflict against the Muslim, the Muslim and the Arab against the Jew, the Christians who believe in God against the totalitarians - you follow? This is going on.
So is it possible to be free from the linguistic prison? You understand? Sirs, you don't put your minds to all this. Right? See if it is possible for you, sitting here now, to be entirely free of the image of words. So there is freedom - there is no freedom in becoming. There is no freedom when a man is ambitious, or a woman is ambitious, greedy, envious. He may think he is free because he expresses his ambition. So there is freedom - there is no freedom in becoming. And there is no freedom when the brain is caught or imprisoned in words with their images.
And also we ought to enquire: what is health? Does this interest you, health? Now, you all wake up! What is health? Can there be healthy organism, biological organism when there is constant conflict? - between each other, one opinion opposing the other, one expressing his desires fully against others' desires? This constant struggle, strain, conflict in which human beings live, does that contribute to health? Don't say no. Then that means those are the factors of ill health. Psychosomatic diseases. You understand all this? So can there be intellectual health, and emotions which are healthy, not romantic sentimentality and all that, that conduces to ill health. I don't know if you are following all this. So we must enquire very deeply what is really to be healthy?
This enquiry is not just when you are reaching death, on the deathbed, but one must enquire right from when you are very young, or middle aged, or now as the speaker is. What is health? And health implies energy, tremendous energy. And we dissipate that energy through conflict, through strain, through all kinds of tobacco, drinking, you know all the business of it. And without becoming 'food fad' - 'food fads', you know what that means? Crazy about food, only concerned with what one eats and nothing else. Without becoming food fads, to find out if the brain can live without a single conflict. That means without any kind of emotional strain or intellectual strain - you understand all this? Are you doing it as we are talking, or you are just listening, agreeing and perhaps at the end of the day you will try to think about it - you understand my question? Are we doing this together? Seeing how ill health is brought about, heart trouble and all the rest of it. Suppose I am, one is highly intellectual - very few people are - but suppose one is highly intellectual, only using that part of the brain which is called the intellect, which is only concerned with discovering new ideas, new expressions, new way of putting it, new concepts, and disregarding the whole of one's existence, biological and other ways of living, completely caught in that - right? Then that affects the health naturally. And if one is highly emotional, romantic, sentimental, as most people are, that also brings various forms of conflicts which effects ill health. Health means energy - right? Not through drugs, not through alcohol but - oh, need I explain all this silly stuff? - but when there is no conflict whatsoever then there is tremendous health. And we said there is freedom, we talked about, health and energy.
There is intellectual energy - right? The intellectual energy is when they have put a robot on the moon, it requires tremendous intellectual energy - you understand? To invent all the horrible things of war requires great intellectual capacity and energy - right? There is emotional energy by itself, perhaps slightly modified by the intellect, but when we are sentimental, emotional, a kind of ugly vulgar sentimentality, that too deprives energy - right? Are we together in this? I don't know if you are or we are not. I hope I am not talking to myself.
So what is energy which is not dissipated at all? - dissipated, wasted. Because this is important to understand, the quality of energy which is highly intelligent, highly capable of reasoning, highly capable of analysing, looking, observing, self-critically aware and therefore constantly removing any impediment in the movement. That requires a great deal of energy. People who are purely - not purely, one can't use that - semi-physical energy, you know you have plenty of them in the world - their energy is limited naturally, their energy controls all thought - you understand? Are you understanding what I am saying? I may be stupid but I have got tremendous energy. What I think is right and that drives me. And you see such people all over the world with extraordinary amount of energy. And those people who are very, very clever, their energy goes into calculation, all the rest of it. Now is there an energy which is not contaminated, polluted by or through conflict? You understand all this? Right? Are we together in this? A little bit? Then we must enquire: why we human beings for the last forty, fifty thousand years of our evolution, which the biologists and the archaeologists are saying that we have lived on this earth, as human beings walking on two legs, why from that time on until now we are in perpetual conflict - right? Why? Is it agreement and disagreement? Look at it. I agree to something and you disagree with that. There is the beginning of conflict. I believe in a certain - the speaker - or one believes in ideals, the other doesn't, immediately a conflict. One likes, the other doesn't like. One protects the few, and the few are against everybody else. In our relationship with each other there is conflict - man, woman, conflict. And there is conflict between the guru and the disciple. Don't you notice all this? The disciple wants to become like the guru. How silly that is. But the guru himself is probably rather silly. So there is this perpetual struggle, conflict. One holds on to something, identifies oneself with that something, and one resists at any price. And between man and woman there is not only sexual conflict, but also each human being, the woman and the man, or the man and the girl and so on and so on, each wants to express things in his own way. He is ambitious and she is ambitious. And therefore there is conflict - right? Why do we live this way? That is an immense waste of energy - right? But why we human beings after this long duration of experience, knowledge, wars, suffering, the eternal anxiety and so on, why do we live this way? Why do we, who are so clever, who have so much knowledge, so learned, why do we carry on this way? Please ask this question. Don't wait to find out. Ask it, demand it, put your passion behind to find out. Is it our brain which evolved through conflict - right? Conflict with nature, conflict in the air, conflict in everything. So our brain has become accustomed to it. Having become accustomed it says that is the way to live, that is the way to progress. If there was no competition there would be no progress. And so the brain which has become accustomed, used to live in a certain environment, says that is the way to live. Are you in that position? You, sitting there, say, 'Well I am used to this'. And because you are used to it you rationalise it, you say, 'Yes, in nature everything struggles. The little tree, the little plant is struggling towards the light. The tiger kills the deer.' - right? 'So it is part of our nature.' - to be violent, to be in conflict, to be at war with each other and therefore war with much greater significance - right? We have lived that way.
There have been wars for, historically, five thousand years, practically every year there has been a war, and we are living in a state of war - right? And you say that is natural, we have done it for fifty thousand years, why not? The profit - the politicians profit by this - right?
So, we are asking each other: is it possible to live without a single conflict? From that we have to enquire why we human beings have problems. Problem means conflict - right? Why have we problems? Why does the brain accept problems. Is the brain itself - you understand? I am going to ask something, please listen. I am just discovering it - is the brain itself in a condition of problems? Vows aver compress? Is the brain itself (Noise of aeroplane) - we won't compete with the aeroplane! Is the brain itself caught in problems? Is the brain itself, with all the activity that is going on, that brain itself is a problem? You understand? Gosh, I wish this noise would stop. Our brain is conditioned from childhood. You go to a school and you have problems of solving mathematics, how to write. Poor little child goes to a school and writing becomes a problem. (Noise of aeroplane) This is a small country and they have all this noise. (Laughter). We are asking whether the brain itself is the problem? The questioner is part of the brain - you understand? The questioner who says, 'Is the brain the problem?', and the questioner is also part of the brain, naturally. But the questioner is asking the brain: why are you in conflict? And it says, 'I have been trained from childhood to solve problems. I have been to schools as a child, they have taught me how to write which has become a problem to me. And how to read, however pleasant that reading may be, that has also become a problem because I don't know first what 'A' means, how it looks. So I go through school, college, university, if I am lucky, and that whole movement of acquiring knowledge, in any discipline has conditioned my brain.' So the brain is the problem-solving machinery. You have understood? The word problem, means something thrown at you. Problem means a challenge to you. From childhood something is thrown at the poor child - right? He must learn ABC, he must know mathematics and so on. So the brain itself has become a machinery which creates problems, and tries to solve problems. You understand this? Come on sir, move - he?
So what is one to do? Right? If the brain, that which is inside the skull, is the machinery which creates problems - it is - mathematical problems, technical problems, problems between man and woman, problems with politics, problems with pollution - right? All the depository of all the toxic material - you follow? The whole process, it is all becoming a problem. And the problems have arisen because of the brain. Right? Just a minute, we are moving further. So the brain is responsible for problems and the resolution of those problems. Right? Are we clear on this matter? Somewhat? Need I go more into it? He? Do you want me to go more into it? Why? It is so simple, isn't it?
Religiously, look at it, you are trained as a Christian, to have faith. Saviour and faith. And those who are the Buddhists say that is all nonsense. That is the invention of the Western priests - which is probably true. They say there is no such thing as Saviour, Buddhists, or having faith; they say doubt, question, enquire, never accept. So there are two - and the Christian says that is all rubbish, the pope says faith is important. And my family, my education has been Catholic so I am programmed, as the Arab is programmed, as a computer - right? And so on. So our brain is a form of computer programmed. And when a brain is programmed, as we are, linguistically, religiously, with many, many problems, the brain says I am tired, I can't think, you tell me all about it. That is what is happening here. So your brain becomes gradually withering, gradually atrophied, which is with problems. Krishnamurti says something and that has become a problem.
So can the brain be free of problems? You understand? That is, there are problems in life, you can't help it, it is so. But to meet the problem with a brain that has no problems - do you understand? That is, my statement, do you understand? You put in front of the speaker a problem. If his brain is also full of problems he will solve your problem and create more problems out of it. Right? Haven't you noticed this? That is what the politicians are doing. The economic problems are solved by experts and other experts come along and say sorry it is all wrong - right? And so on and on and on.
So to find out whether you can have a brain that is not a mechanical brain, that is not a machinery that is solving problems, which means to have no problem. And that is possible - I will show it to you in a minute, if you go into it carefully - that is possible only when you understand time.
As we said, time is the past, present and the future. All that time, all the past, the present and the future is held in the now - right? You understand? Problem means a future. You get it? Come on sirs. You understand? Any problem implies the resolution of it, which is in the future. Right? That is why it is very important to understand all time is now. Sirs, see the beauty of it. So you put a problem, there is a problem - there are several problems, I know, I am aware of, in all the places I go to, the various schools I go to, various politicians one meets, the scientists one meets, they are all asking, demanding, questioning, and if your brain is also full of problems, anxieties, uncertainty, then your answer will be as muddled as theirs - right? So we are asking: whether the brain can be free of problems? And to understand the nature of that freedom you have to enquire into time - right? That is, as there is no - the now has no future, the now is in the future - right? I wonder if you understand this? So any problem arises and the solution means time - right? Therefore if you understand very clearly - I am going to go into it very slowly. I am also learning as I go along. It is fascinating, this. Let me take a breather.
There are problems, life has problems because human beings are so obstinate, so arrogant, full of their own importance. I have done this, I am going to stick to it. And they create problems, and the speaker has to meet them - right? If he is also full of problems he will make a mess of it - right? So to be free of problems implies the enquiry into time - right? Because the problem and its solution implies inherently in it, time - right? I have a problem, I must think over it, I will discuss it, I will go into it, I read books about it, or consult my guru - you follow? All that goes on. So the problem and its solution, inherent in itself, is time - clear?
Then we have said previously, time is contained in the now. See the relationship between the problem and the time, do you see it? Therefore any problem I meet has no time. It must be solved instantly. You have understood this? That implies - may I go on? I hope you are as excited as the speaker is, because he is discovering something new each time. That implies perception of the problem - perception not according to your prejudice, according to your judgement, according to your opinion and so on, but perceiving with your brain, with your heart, with your whole being. Seeing, in which there is no distortion. There is distortion the moment there is motive. So to put away motive, direction and absolutely perceive as it is, and not allowing a second to hinder the solution. You understand? I wonder if you understand this?
Look sir, there are problems between man and woman - there are other problems, I am just taking that one problem. Man and woman. They quarrel. This is one of the unfortunate things that happen in relationship. They quarrel about god knows what, every petty little thing on earth. They quarrel. And they never solve the quarrel. You understand? They keep on until it becomes unbearable and one of them says, 'I'll buzz off'. And thereby they think they have solved the problem. Then they get married to another man or woman and start the whole game again. You must all be familiar with this, aren't you? That is why you are all in agreement with this, I see. So this goes on.
Now if the man or the woman understood the nature of time, the truth of it - you understand? - that is, to see the quarrelling going on, the conflict going on, and see, perceive, and you perceive it instantly the cause, and instantly remove the cause because you are not allowing time at all to interfere with the solution of the problem. You understand this? Come on sir. Is this somewhat clear? That is, when time becomes the most important thing in life, the understanding of it, not mere verbal description of it, the agreement with it, but you yourself see the truth of it profoundly, then there is no problem at all for the brain. You may have a problem. But the brain that meets the problem is all important. How you approach the problem. If you approach the problem already having a solution to the problem, then it is not soluble - right? You solve it according to your old pattern. But if you approach it without any bias, without any sense of anxiety, and you can only do that if you understand the depth and the strength and the vitality of time. Is that right, clear?
So can your brain, which is no longer a slave to linguistic control, linguistic images, and has understood the nature of freedom, real freedom in which there is no sense of moving away from something. If you move away from, let's say, if you move away from anxiety, the movement is time. And therefore that movement may appear secure, security but that movement has inherently in itself uncertainty. Right? You are getting it? Is this too intellectual? No. It is just common sense.
So enquiring into freedom, enquiring into what is health, because if you are not healthy you cannot have freedom, because that will impede you. I may be paralysed but still I can be healthy - you understand? I may have only one eye to see clearly but that doesn't prevent me my health. Health is destroyed by this constant conflict, achievement, success, ambition, uncertainty, confusion, all the pain of life. And energy, energy never dissipated. You understand sirs? By chattering, arguing, holding on to what you have done and say, 'This is right, I am going to stick to it.' You understand? Energy implies constant movement, constant discovering something new, not technologically, psychologically. So that your brain becomes extraordinarily active and not dissipate that energy. When you have that energy then you can look at problems - you understand? And understand time. They are all dove-tailed, they all fit together, they are not separate. It is one long steady movement.
And also we ought to talk over together why human beings are hurt, psychologically wounded, why human beings in their relationship quarrel and so on. I don't think this morning there is time for it - it is now twenty to twelve. So may we stop this morning and continue on Thursday morning? Would that be all right?