The root cause of confusion
Living without measurement is part of meditation
1st Public Talk, New Delhi
October 30, 1982
If one may point out, this is not a lecture as it is commonly understood, a discourse on a particular subject with its instructions. So this is not a lecture but rather a conversation between two people, between you and the speaker, not on a particular subject instructing, guiding and shaping your thought or opinions. We are two friends sitting in a park, on a bench, talking over together their problems. So please bear that in mind throughout the talks - tomorrow and the weekend, the next weekend - that two friends, you and the speaker, who are concerned deeply with what is going on with the world, their confusion, the chaos, almost anarchy that exists throughout the world. But we are talking over together of what is happening in this part of the world.
I wonder if you have a friend with whom you talk, with whom you expose your own feelings, your own concepts, your ideas and disillusionment and so on. If you have such a friend - and I hope you have - if you have such a friend with whom you are discussing, you are talking over together, neither one nor the other is trying to persuade the other, persuade, guide or shape his particular thought. So if you are willing, we are going to talk over together in that manner - exploring, enquiring, never accepting what another says, never expressing one's own strong opinions but rather without any bias, in great friendship, which means with great affection, respecting each other, without any arriere-pensee, that is, having some kind of hidden thought, hidden motive.
So, we are together this evening going to enquire, not asserting, because in this enquiry, there is no authority. The speaker has no authority. He is not your guru, thank god. He is not a lecturer asserting certain points of view or introducing a new kind of philosophy or ideas. This must be made perfectly clear that he is not an authority but rather together we are going to enquire what is happening in this country, that is, what is happening not only outwardly in the world of politics, economics in business and the environment but also we are going to talk over together as two friends, their own inward life, their confusion, their misery, their suffering and so on.
So, please, we are both, you and the speaker are responsible as two friends, not, the speaker is lecturing, telling you what to do or what to think or proposing new set of systems, ideologies and so on. Both of us are equal. Both of us are concerned with our own lives and the lives of others. So first let us look what is happening around us, outwardly, without any bias, not as an Indian, not as a German, Englishman or an American or Russian. We are human beings whatever country we belong to. We are human beings facing a very dangerous world, facing great deal of uncertainty, confusion. And when the mind is confused, we seek some kind of authority as a means of security. So, we are first going to consider, if you will, what is happening here.
As one observes, the country going through a great confusion, great uncertainty, there is chaos, people have no direction. But unfortunately we are conditioned, when we are confused, uncertain, insecure, to try and find a solution in the past, go back to our old traditions. This is what is happening throughout the world. There are the fundamentalists who accept the Bible as their authority, the fundamentalists of Islam who look to the Koran. There are the fundamentalists who look to Marx. So when we are uncertain, confused, greatly disturbed, we look to some kind of authority, some kind of book, to the past, to find a direction. Now, in this country, as you observe, there are not many books or rather too many books, too many leaders. So our tradition is uncertain. They have all the leaders, all the gurus, all the so called saints have not helped mankind, because we are actually what we are at the moment.
So, what is the root cause of all this confusion? Because when one can find the cause then we can end it. A cause has an end. Right? I hope we are following each other. So we are asking what is the cause or causes of this confusion, this lack of integrity, this sense of desperate degeneration. What is the root of all this? Most of us play with symptoms. We say it is the over population, bad governments, right throughout the world it is the same - lack of leadership, lack of morality. These are all symptoms. But one never asks what is the cause of all this. And when you begin to enquire into the cause of it, each one of us will give different opinions. The more learned you are, the greater assertion of the cause or causes. But we are not very learned people. We are ordinary people. We are laymen. We are not very bright, very intelligent. But we are caught in this, in this great turmoil that exists in the world, and here, there are wars. Every nation, every group is preparing for war. I wonder if you are aware of all this. Every country, specially the industrial countries are supplying armaments to the rest of the world. The other day in London on television, an industrialist was being interviewed and the industrialist said, 'We send abroad 80 percent of our armaments and 20 percent we keep'. This is happening in all the industrial countries. And nobody says why do we have to have war, why do we have to kill each other, murder each other. They are talking about stopping nuclear war but not ending all wars. Why? Why have human beings reduced themselves to this condition? Please, this is very important to ask. Why do we have to kill other people, for what? For your nation, for your particular group? The idea of war is a great historical process which we have accepted and it has become a great reality. But the root of it is, we live in an illusion, illusion that our country must be protected. What is your country? Please ask these questions! What are you protecting - your house, your home, your ideas, your bank account? When the whole world is degenerating, going to pieces and we are not inquiring into fundamental causes.
So we are going together as two friends - please bear this in mind - as two friends who are not against each other, who are friendly, who have certain affection for each other and are facing this problem, which is, why have we human beings become what we are - confused, uncertain, following any leader that comes along, country breaking up, fragmentation going on - the Sikhs, the Muslims, the Hindus and so on. What is the cause of this? Are you waiting for the speaker to tell you or is your mind, your brain active enough to enquire, not depend on the speaker to tell you? We will talk over together, which means your mind, your brain must be as active as that of the speaker. And it can only be active if you are not saying I am a Hindu, Buddhist, whatever it is. We are free to enquire. Enquiry means first looking what is actually going on, not a theory of what is going on, actually observing with your heart, with your mind, with your capacity, with your energy to look.
Now, what is the cause of it? Is it that we have looked to others to help us. We have looked to political leaders, religious leaders, economic leaders with their particular ideas, with their particular systems, so that you are always depending on others to guide you, to tell you what to do. Is that the root cause of this? Or do you blame the environment? You understand my question? Do you blame the environment, that is the government, no proper leader, no righteous guru. That is all the environment, something outside of you. Is that the cause of this which means that you have relied entirely on authority - authority of tradition, authority of books, authority of leaders, gurus and so on. So when you depend, you gradually become weak, You become feeble. You are incapable of thinking clearly, because you depend. This is a fact. Newspapers tell you what to think. All the meetings that you attend, they discourse, instruct. So self-reliance, the sense of responsibility for oneself, not depending on another, that may be the root cause of this, that we have become irresponsible because we depend. You understand the fact of this?
Krishnamurti: Just a minute, sir. You will ask questions perhaps at the end of the talk, if we have time, but please, quietly, you and I are talking over together. I am not, the speaker is not asserting a thing. He doesn't want you to follow. He is not your guru. He is not your leader. But you and I, the speaker, who wants to show a different way of living. Not that you must accept it, but enquire, put your mind and heart into this to find out why we have become what we are, so utterly selfish, utterly self-concerned, and in that state of mind and brain you ask what is the root cause of all this. You are incapable of inquiring, finding out, because our conditioning is to depend, to be directed, to be told what to do, what to believe. This is a fact, isn't it?
So, is it possible to be a light to oneself and not depend on a single person? Of course you depend on the milkman, on the postman, on the policeman who keeps order at a crossroad. You depend on a surgeon, on a doctor. But inwardly, psychologically, to think clearly for oneself, to observe one's own reactions and responses and ask if one can be completely a light to oneself. You understand what that means, to be a light to oneself, not self-confidence, not self-reliance. Self-confidence is a part of selfishness. It is part of egotism. But to be a light to oneself which requires great freedom, a very clear brain, not a conditioned brain. We will go into, look how the activity of the brain, what is the relationship of brain to the mind. We will go into all that presently. But one must be very active, not merely intellectually, which is verbally, active with one's ideas. I do not, the speaker does not mean that. To have an active brain, to challenge, to question, to doubt. That means to have energy. But when you depend on others you lose energy. That is what is happening.
So we are asking if this is the root cause of all this confusion, uncertainty, insecurity, this breaking up of this country into parties which all indicates a state of chaos. And we are responsible for it. Each one of us is responsible for what is happening. And so we are going together seriously, amicably with a great sense of affection with each other, enquire and see if we cannot go beyond all this. So you are here for that purpose, not to be instructed, not to be told or given a direction. We have had all that in the past. And that may be the and the result is this utter lack of personal responsibility. So let us proceed from there. This is the cause. Where there is a cause there is an end. If I have cancer which is the cause of my pain it can be removed. So where there is a cause to any problem there is an end to that problem. But we must be very clear for the causation of a particular problem or many problems, not just merely explain away verbally the problems.
So please, we are listening to each other actively, without any bias. If that is the cause of this present degeneration of mankind, then can this degeneration be put an end to? That is the problem. So, is your mind, your brain conditioned? You understand that word being 'conditioned'? When we are born, from the moment we are born, the brain is being conditioned, shaped by tradition, by your religion, by the literature you read, by the newspapers, by your parents, you are being conditioned. The brain is conditioned. It has lived for millions of years. It has had great many experiences. It has faced wars, sorrow, pleasure, pain, agony, great disturbance. And it is conditioned as a Hindu, it's conditioned as a Sikh, as a Muslim, as a Christian. Why is it conditioned? Please enquire with me. Why is one's brain conditioned, if you are aware that it is conditioned. You are conditioned, aren't you? You call yourself a Hindu and I call myself a Muslim, why? Your parents, your books have told you, you are a Hindu, I am a Muslim. That is, years of propaganda. Two thousand years of Christianity, the repetition of a certain formula, rituals, has conditioned the brain. The Muslims' brain is also conditioned like the Hindu brain with his rituals, with his authority, with his knowledge of previous instructions and so on.
So we are inquiring, please listen to this, we are inquiring seriously whether your brain which is conditioned - if you are aware of it - can that condition be resolved. Do we both of us see actually that we are conditioned? Right? Do we, both of us agree to this at least? Yes? If you are conditioned it means your being conditioned, becomes mechanical - right? - you repeat that you are a Hindu, I am a Muslim, I am a Marxist and so on. So your brain becomes mechanical, routine, repeating the same thing over and over again - like war is necessary, leadership is necessary, that you must depend. A child depends on his mother up to a certain age but after that he leaves. But we, through dependence, even when we have grown up become infantile. Right? So we are concerned, first, whether the brain can be free from its conditioning. You understand, if it is conditioned, I, the speaker as a Muslim and you as a Hindu, we are going to have war. We will fight each other, we will kill each other. That is what is happening. And if you like to live in a state of perpetual war that is your affair. But if you are serious, if you are concerned with human existence, with the future of man, you must, one must learn whether it is possible to free the brain from its conditioning. There is a whole group of people who say that the brain cannot be freed from conditioning. It will always be conditioned but modified. That is one of the theories of Communism, of Marxism, that the brain can never be free from its conditioning and therefore condition it in a new way, which is Marxism, read what Marx has said, accept him as your god, perhaps not as god, as your saint and so on. If I am a Christian, I have been conditioned, I accept the Bible, and so on.
So first do we realise, two of us talking together as friends, do we realise actually that our brains are conditioned? Then we will ask, if we are serious, whether it is possible to free the brain from being a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a Marxist. We are human beings, not labels. But labels count a great deal. That is what is going on. The Sikhs are wanting their own petty little affair. So first please realise as two friends who are talking over together, great friendship that we are, our brains are conditioned and we see the consequences of being conditioned.
Where there is condition, there is no freedom, there cannot be love, there cannot be affection. So it is imperative, absolutely essential for the future of humanity that we are concerned with the brain which is conditioned. If one is aware of that, then we can proceed whether it is possible to free the brain. The relationship between the brain and the mind comes, exists, is realised, when the brain is completely free. Then the brain is the mind. We will go into that later as we go along.
So we are conditioned, and we are asking whether it is possible to be free. Don't say it is or it is not, because that will be absurd; whereas if you are inquiring, then you are learning, for you are not being instructed. You are learning for yourselves through enquiry, through investigation. Right. So let us find out. Where do you begin, where do you begin to enquire whether it is possible to free the brain from its conditioning? You understand? That is, you are inquiring whether it is possible not to be a Hindu or a Muslim or a Sikh but a human being with all the travail of humanity, with the anxieties, the uncertainties, the depth of sorrow and pain. So, where do you begin? Do you begin to enquire from the outside or do you begin to enquire from inside? You understand my question? That is, is the outside, the world, not the physical world, not nature, but the world which humanity has created - is that world different from the world in which you live, inside? Do you understand my question? The society, the morals, the systems, the outer world, is that different from you, or you have created it, you who want security, you who want to have different status: the more powerful, the less powerful, the more greedy and the less greedy, the religious saint and the ordinary man. You have created all this. So please look at this. The world is you and you are the world. Right? Is that a fact to you or just an idea? You understand? This is very important to understand this. We in our disorder, in our confusion, in the desire for security, we have created a world outside of us as society which is corrupt, immoral, confused, everlastingly at war, because we ourselves, in ourselves are confused. We are in conflict. We want to kill somebody out of anger, violence because we want to protect our image as Hindus. Right? And the Muslim wants to protect his image as a Muslim. And the Christian does the same thing. The speaker has just returned from Europe. He has visited many countries. Each country says British, British, British, French, French, French - right? They never consider as human beings but isolated entities, isolated groups, that is part of our conditioning.
So I am asking, the speaker is asking, where do you begin, knowing that you have created this world. So you have to begin with yourself, not with the alteration or the system of the outer world which is, not looking for a new leader, new system, new philosophy, new gurus but looking at yourself as you are. So can you observe yourself as you would observe your face in a mirror? You understand my question? Can you observe your reactions, your responses, because your reactions and your responses are what you are. So let us begin there, to enquire.
Life is a process of relationship. There is no life without relationship. You understand? This is a fact. You may be a hermit, you may be a monk, you may withdraw from all society but you are related. As a human being, you cannot escape from being related. Right? Is this clear? You are related to your wife, to your husband, to your children, you are related to your government, you are related to the hermit who withdraws because you feed him and he is related to his ideas. So relationship is the basis of human existence. Without relationship there is no existence. You are either related to the past which is to all the tradition, to all the memories, to all the books, or you are related to some future ideation. So relationship is the most important thing in life. Do we see that? Not verbally, not intellectually but actually with your heart and mind. Do you see the truth of that?
So we are inquiring what is your relationship with another, however intimate or not. Go on, sir. We are inquiring, sir, don't go to sleep. What is your relationship? Is it that we are from childhood hurt, wounded, psychologically - are you wounded, hurt? - and therefore from that hurt, from that psychological wound, you bring about violence. And the consequences of being hurt, inwardly, wounded, is that you enclose yourself more and more not to be hurt. And your relationship with another then becomes very narrow, limited. So we must first enquire whether it is possible to find out whether you can never be hurt. So we are inquiring what is the root of being hurt, what is the cause of it? When I say I am hurt, my pride is hurt, what does that mean? My teacher has hurt me, my parents have hurt me. We are all hurt. We are all wounded by an accident, by a word, by a look, by a gesture. So what is it that is hurt? You'll say I am hurt. What is that 'I' which is being hurt? Is it not an image that you have built about yourself? Haven't you got images? The brain - what a noisy town this is! All right, let us go on. Probably it is a demonstration against this meeting. The whole world wants to demonstrate about something or other.
So we are asking a very serious question: what is it that is hurt? The brain has the capacity to create images. The images are the illusions we have. Illusions, like war, it is an illusion. We accept it. We accept killing another human being, another life as part of the image which we have. We have many, many images. And one of the images is, I am being hurt. So we are inquiring what is the entity that is being hurt. The entity is the image that I have built about myself. Right? I think I am very clever, a great man. You come along and tell me don't be an idiot. You get hurt - I get hurt. Where there is comparison, there is hurt. You follow all this? When I compare myself with somebody who is more clever, more bright, more intelligent, that is when there is measurement, there must be hurt. So please enquire whether you can live without comparison, without measurement. You understand that? That is, we are always comparing ourselves with somebody. It begins at the school level, when the boy is told he must be as good as his brother, that is the comparison, that is measurement and that process continues throughout life.
So, is it possible - please enquire - is it possible to live without comparison, without measurement? This is a tremendously complicated question. Because the word 'better' is measurement. The word 'more' is measurement. Self-improvement is measurement. So find out whether it is possible to live without measurement, which means without comparison. You know part of meditation is to enquire into not becoming, which is measurement. We will go into that when we come to that. So, is it possible in our relationship with each other, however intimate it is, not to have measurement? That means your brain must be active in your relationship, not just routine - she is my wife or husband, you know, carry on like a machine. So one must enquire into our relationship, whether in that relationship there is hurt and that hurt brings about greater fear, greater enclosure within oneself and therefore isolation - you follow? - isolation. Each country is isolating itself. Britain is isolated. France is isolated. America is isolated in their way of looking at life. So where there is isolation there must be conflict. If I am a Jew and you are an Arab, which is, you are isolated as an Arab, I am isolated as a Jew, we are going to fight. So please see the importance of this. As long as there is isolation either outwardly or inwardly, there must be conflict.
And we are asking, the brain has been conditioned in isolation as a Hindu, as Buddhist and so on. So to enquire into this question whether the brain can resolve its own conditioning, we must enquire into relationship. What is your relationship with another, with your wife, with your husband, with your children? Begin there, near at home, not far way. You know, sirs, to go very far, you must begin very, very near. To go very far you must put your house in order. So can you be aware, alert so that you are watching your relationship and learning from that awareness how you respond, what are your reactions. That is life, that is every day life. And that requires constant attention to every reaction, every thought. But most of us are so lazy. And we have become lazy because we are dependent on others. So please, as two friends, we have gone into certain question of relationship and we will enquire further into the nature of that relationship. Whether the human brain, whether it is your brain or it's the brain of mankind. This is really a very serious question, Is your brain, individual brain or the brain of humanity. When you say it is my brain, which is, when you say it is my consciousness, is it your consciousness, individual consciousness or it is the consciousness of mankind. I'll go into it very, very briefly now, you can enquire into it. You suffer, you are uncertain, you believe, you are anxious, you are in agony, pain. That is what you are. Your belief, your knowledge, your character, that is what you are. And that is exactly what your neighbour is. He suffers, he goes through agonies, sorrow, pain, trouble. right? So is your consciousness separate from the rest of mankind? No, of course not.
So, please, if you admit that, if you see the truth of that, then are you an individual? You may think you are an individual, because you are dark, you are short, all peripheral activity makes you think you are an individual but deeply are you not the rest of mankind? So when you realise that, the truth of that, you will never kill another, because you are killing yourself. Then out of that comes great compassion, love. We will stop. We have talked for an hour. You want to ask questions?
Q: What is an impersonal action?
K: What is an impersonal action. First of all what is action? What do you mean by that word 'action'? Either you act according to a pattern - right? - or act according to some idea, act according to your experience which is the past, act according to your knowledge, which is the past, or act according to some ideal which is in the future, or act according to your convenience. So what do you mean by that word? The word means acting, not having acted or will act. But action means acting in the present. Whether that action is correct, true, actual, depends on the quality of your brain, of your heart, not just theory. First, therefore, please, sirs, enquire into what is action. We are all acting from morning till night. You are sitting there and the speaker is sitting here. And you listen and he is speaking, that is an action. Whether you listen, that is an action or whether you don't listen that is an action. How you listen is an action, whether you are actually listening or you think you are listening.
And what you mean by impersonal? You see we have concepts. What do you mean by person? What do you mean by that word 'person'; word, name, form? Are you an individual to call yourself and then ask can I be impersonal? Are you an individual? I know you all think you are individuals. Your whole tradition, religious and every other way tells you are an individual. Are you? Are you not the result of centuries of human endeavour? You see, you don't want to question all those things. You are afraid. If you are not an individual, what would happen to you? Individuality is a form of isolation and therefore we are all at each other's throat all the years of our life.
We have no love for each other. We talk about love of god but we don't love each other. And besides, god is the invention of man. Right? I know you are all believers in god probably but you have invented that entity. If god does exist and if he does, if he has created us, what a miserable god he must be! Right? You don't want to look at it that way. You worship an illusion and you like the illusion. You think that in illusion there is security. And you are finding out there is no security in illusions. Your god has betrayed you and yet you worship him. The Christian god, the Hindu god, the Muslim god, you follow? It is all so absurdly childish.
So, please, sirs, let us find out for ourselves if we can be a light to ourselves, not depend on anyone, psychologically, inwardly, not depend on your wife or your husband or your guru or a book but to live a life, free, full of vitality, energy, so that your brain is acting, not mechanical. Our brains have become now a form of computers but the computer is far more efficient, far more quick. We will go into that, if we have time. So please do enquire into a different way of living.
Q: Sir, there is a question.
K: I think that is enough, sir, for this evening.