The roots of psychological disorder
The nature of the mind
1st Scientists Discussion, Ojai, California
April 16, 1982
John Hidley: We are particularly interested in regard to the origin of psychological disorder and what is necessary to heal that disorder. Perhaps we could start with the question of what is the source of psychological disorder.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir. And I would like to ask, if I may, what do we mean by disorder, when the whole world - as one knows here, as one sees it from continent to continent - there is a great deal of disorder.
K: Economically, socially...
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 at the International Crops Research Institute in Hyderabad, India.
John Hidley is a psychiatrist in private practice who has been associated with the Krishnamurti school in Ojai, California for the past six years.
In the culture there are conflicting points of view about the proper approach to dealing with one's own or others' psychological problems. And the underlying principles from which these approaches are drawn are in even greater conflict. Without invoking a narrow or specialised point of view, can the mind, the nature of consciousness, its relationship to human suffering, and the potential for change be understood? These are the issues to be explored in these dialogues.
K: Is disorder the very nature of the self?
JH: Why do you say that? Why do you ask that, if it is the nature of the self?
K: Isn't the self, the me, the ego...
K: ...whatever word we like to use, isn't that divisive? Isn't that exclusive, isolating process: the self-centred activity which causes so much disorder in the world, isn't that the origin, the beginning of all disorder?
JH: The origin being selfish activity.
K: Yes, self-centred activity, at all levels of life.
JH: Yes, and certainly that's the way in which the patient comes in, he's concerned about his depression.
JH: Or his fear.
K: His fulfilment, his joy, his suffering, his...
K: ...agony and so on, it's all self-centred.
K: So, I am asking, if I may, is not the self the beginning of all disorder? The self - I mean the egotistic attitude towards life, the sense of individual - emphasis on the individual: his salvation, his fulfilment, his happiness, his anxiety, and so on, so on.
JH: Well, I don't know that it's the source of the thing. It's certainly the way he experiences it and presents it. He presents it as his.
K: Yes, but I mean, if you go all over the world, it is the same expression, it is the same way of living. They are all living their own personal lives unrelated to another, though they may marry, they may do all kinds of things, but they're really functioning from an isolated centre.
JH: And that centre, that self, is the source of the difficulty in the relationship?
K: In relationship.
JH: And the difficulty that creates the symptoms.
K: And I wonder if the psychologists have tackled that problem, that the self is the origin, the beginning of all contradiction, divisive activity, self-centred activity, and so on.
JH: No. I think that the way psychiatrists and psychologists look at this is that the problem is to have an adequate self.
K: Adequate self.
K: Which means what?
JH: Defining normality...
K: The self that is functioning...
K: Which means furthering more misery.
David Bohm: Well, I don't feel that the psychiatrists would necessarily agree with you on that last point, they might feel that a proper, or properly organised self could get together with other properly organised selves and make an orderly society.
DB: And you are saying, as I understand it, something quite different.
DB: Which is that no self can do it. No structure of the self can make order.
K: That's right. The very nature of the self must intrinsically bring disorder.
DB: Yes, but I'm not sure this will be clear. How can that be made clear, evident?
Rupert Sheldrake: Sorry, it seems to me that the context is even broader than that of psychology, because in the world we have all sorts of things which are not human beings with selves, there are animals and plants and all the forces of nature and all the stars and so on. Now we see disorder in nature too. It may not be consciously experienced and a cat that's suffering or a lion that is suffering or a mouse or even an earthworm that's suffering may not come into a psychiatrist's office and say so, but the fact is that there seems to be disorder and conflict within nature. There are conflicts between forces of nature, inanimate things, earthquakes and so on; there are conflicts within the animal world; there are even conflicts within the plant world - plants compete for light, and bigger ones get higher up in the forest and the smaller ones get shaded out and die. There's conflict between predators and prey; all animals live on other plants or animals. There's every kind of conflict: there's disease, there's suffering, there's parasites; all these things occur in the natural world. So is the context of psychological suffering and disorder something that's merely something to do with the mind or is it something to do with the whole of nature, the fact that the world is full of separate things and that if we have a world which is full of separate things and these separate things are all interacting with each other, that there's always going to be conflict in such a world.
DB: So, I'm wondering, is it clear that there is that disorder in nature. Would we say that disorder is only in human consciousness?
DB: That is, the phenomena that you have described, are they actually disorder? That's a question we have to go into. Or what is the difference between the disorder in consciousness and whatever is going on in nature?
K: I saw the other night on the television a cheetah chasing a deer, killing it. Would you consider that disorder?
RS: Well, I would consider that it involves suffering.
K: Suffering, yes. So are we saying that it is natural in nature and in human beings to suffer, to go through agonies, to live in disorder?
K: So what do you say to that, sir?
JH: Well, I think that's the way it's looked at by the therapist. To some degree it's felt that this arises in the course of development and that some people have it more than others... suffering - some people are more fortunate in their upbringing, for example, or in their heredity. But it isn't questioned that that may not be necessary in any absolute sense.
JH: Well, that's what we're questioning.
K: That's what I would like to question too.
K: Dr. Sheldrake says it is accepted. It's like that.
K: Human conditioning is to suffer, to struggle, to have anxiety, pain, disorder.
JH: Well, it's certainly...
K: ...human conditioning.
JH: ...certainly necessary to have physical suffering. People get sick, they die, and we're wondering whether or not psychological suffering is analogous to that or whether there's something intrinsically different about it.
K: No, sir. I do question seriously whether human beings must inevitably live in this state: everlastingly suffering; everlastingly going through this agony of life. Is that necessary, is it right that they should?
JH: It's certainly not desirable that they should.
K: No, no. If we accept that it's inevitable, as many people do, then there is no answer to it.
K: But is it inevitable?
JH: Well, physical suffering is inevitable.
JH: Illness, death.
K: Yes, sir, physical sufferings, old age, accidents, disease.
JH: Maybe we increase the physical suffering because of our psychological problems.
K: That's it. That's it. Sir, a mother bearing babies, she goes through a terrible time delivering them. Strangely, she forgets that pain. She has the next baby, another baby. In India, as you know, there mothers have about seven or eight children. If they remembered the first agony of it, they would never have children. I have talked to several mothers about it. They seem to totally forget it. It's a blank after suffering. So is there an activity in the psyche that helps the suffering to be wiped away? Recently, personally I have had an operation, a minor operation, there was plenty of pain; quite a lot. And it went on considerably. It's out of my mind completely gone. So is it the psychological nourishing of a remembrance of pain - you follow - which gives us a sense of continuity in pain?
JH: So you are saying that perhaps the physical suffering in the world is not the source of the psychological suffering, but that the psychological suffering is an action of its own.
K: Yes. Right. You have had toothache, I'm sure.
RS: Yes. I've forgotten...
K: ...you have forgotten it. Why? If we accept pain is inevitable, suffering is inevitable you must continue with it. You must sustain it.
RS: No, we have to accept that it's inevitable, that it happens sometimes. But we can forget physical pain; can we forget the kind of psychological pain that's caused by natural things like loss, death of people?
K: Yes, we'll come to that. I come to you, I've a problem with my wife, if I'm married. I am not, but suppose I am married. I come because I can't get on with her.
K: And she can't get on with me.
K: And we have a problem in relationship. I come to you. How will you help me? This is a problem that everybody's facing.
K: Either a divorce...
K: Or adjustment. And is that possible when each one wants to fulfil, wants to go his own way, pursue his own desires, his own ambitions, and so on?
JH: You are saying that the problem arises out of the fact that they each have their own interests at heart.
K: No, it's not interest, it's like - sir, we are all terribly individualistic.
K: I want my way and my wife wants her way. Deeply.
JH: And we see that our needs are in conflict for some reason.
K: Yes, that's all. Right away you begin.
K: After the first few days or few months of relationship, pleasure and all that, that soon wears off and we are stuck.
JH: Okay, that's the same problem then with the mother raising this child and making it her toy. Her needs are in conflict with the needs of the child.
K: Please, perhaps you'll go on, sir. The mother, her mother was also like that.
K: And the whole world is like that, sir. It's not the mother.
K: So when I come to you with my problem, you say it's the mother.
JH: No, I wouldn't say it's...
K: I object to that.
JH: I wouldn't say it's the mother.
K: Ah, no, I'm pushing it.
JH: You were saying that it's a much broader problem.
K: Much deeper problem than the mother or the brother didn't put the baby on the right pot, or something. (laughter)
JH: Right. Then it appears that the needs are in conflict.
K: No, I wouldn't say needs are in conflict. Basically, they are divisive; self-centred activity.
K: That inevitably must bring contradiction - you know, the whole business of relationship and conflict.
K: Because each one wants his pleasure.
JH: There's self-centred activity on the part of the person who's raising the child or on the part of the person who is in the relationship, married. The child is the victim of that.
K: Of course.
JH: And then grows up to perpetuate it.
K: And the mother's father and mother's fathers are like that too.
JH: Yes. Now why does it have to happen that way? Are we saying that's the way it is in nature? Or are we saying that...
K: Oh, no.
RS: Well, I mean, there are certain conflicts in nature. For example, among troops of gorillas or baboons - take baboons or even chimpanzees - there's a conflict among the males. Often the strongest male...
K: Yes, quite.
RS: ...wishes to monopolise all the attractive females. Now some of the younger males want to get in on the act as well. They try going off with these females and this younger male will fight and beat them off. So they'll be kept out of this. This selfish activity of this one male keeps most of the females to himself. The same occurs in red deer, where the stag will monopolise the females. Now these are examples of conflict in the animal kingdom which are quite needless. There would be enough food for these hens without pecking each other. Now these are not exceptions; we can find this kind of thing throughout the animal kingdom. So I don't think that the origin of this kind of selfish conflict is something just to do with human societies and the way they are structured. I think we can see in biological nature this kind of thing.
K: Are you saying that as we are the result of the animal, as we human beings evolved from the animal, we have inherited all those pecking order?
RS: Yes, I think we've inherited a lot of animal tendencies from our animal forbearers.
K: Oh, yes, yes.
RS: And I think that many of these show up in these psychological problems.
K: Yes, but is it necessary that we should continue that way?
K: We are thoughtful, we are ingenious in our inventions, extraordinarily capable in certain directions, why should we not also say: we won't have this, the way we live, let's change it.
RS: Well, we can say that; many people have said it.
K: I know, many people have said it.
RS: But without very much effect.
RS: Well, that indeed is a question. Is it that we're so completely trapped in the ancestry of the past?
K: Or so heavily conditioned that it's impossible to be free.
RS: Well, there are two possible kinds of conditioning: one is the genuine biological conditioning that comes from our animal heritage, which means that we inherit all these tendencies.
K: Let's accept that.
RS: Now that is undoubtedly extremely strong. It goes right back into our animal past.
RS: The other kind of conditioning is the kind of argument that I'm putting forward, perhaps: the argument, this has always been so; human nature is like this, there have always been wars and conflicts and all that kind of thing, and therefore there always will be; that the most we can do is try to minimise these, and that there'll always be psychological conflicts within families and between people and that the most we can do is try and minimise these...
K: So, accept the...
RS: ...or at least make them liveable with.
K: ...conditioning, modify it. But you cannot fundamentally change it.
RS: Yes. I'm saying this is a possible kind of conditioning: the belief that we can't really change it radically is another kind of conditioning. I'm a victim of it myself. So I don't know if it's possible to get out of it.
K: That is what I want to discuss. Whether it's possible to change the human conditioning. And not accept it, say, as most philosophers, the existentialists and others say, your human nature is conditioned. You cannot change. You can modify it; you can be less selfish, have psychologically less painful problems, bear up with pain, this is natural, we have inherited from the animals; we'll go on like this for the rest of our lives and for the lives to come. Not reincarnation, other people's lives. It'll be our conditioning, human conditioning. Do we accept that? Or should we enquire into whether it's possible to change this conditioning?
RS: Yes. I think we should enquire into that.
K: If you say it cannot be changed, then the argument is over.
RS: All right, so I'll say...
K: No, I'm not saying...
RS: I'd like it to be changed, I deeply want it to be changed. So I think that this question of enquiring into the possibility is extremely important. But one of my points, to go back to the conditioning point, is that a lot of this conditioning is deep in our biological nature and people who wish to change it merely by changing the structures of society...
K: Oh, I'm not talking about that, of course.
RS: ...are operating at too superficial a level.
K: Like the Communists want to change it.
RS: But the idea that you can do it by just changing the environment is what the Communists thought and still think, and in a sense the experiment has been tried and we can see the results in various communist countries. And of course, believers in that would say, well, they haven't tried properly or they betrayed the revolution, and so on. But nevertheless, the basis of that belief is that the source of all the evils and the problems is in society and by changing society man is perfectible.
K: But society is formed by us.
K: And by us it is going to be changed. So we haven't to change ourselves. We depend on society to change us. And society is what we have made it; so we are caught in that trap.
RS: Yes. Exactly; and if we start off with a heritage which is built into us, inherited, which comes from our biological past, and if we start with that and we start with these societies that also have bad effects, some of them, and to varying degrees, and we just try to change the society, the other part, the inherited part, is still there.
K: Oh, yes, but cannot those also be transformed?
RS: I really...
K: I may have inherited, what - violence from the from the apes and so on, so on. Can't I change that? The inherited biological...
K: ...conditioning, surely that can be transformed.
RS: Well, all societies surely seek to transform these biological drives we have, and all processes of bringing children up in all societies seek to bring those drives within the control of the society. Otherwise you would have complete anarchy. However these drives are always brought within certain social forms and individual aggression is obviously discouraged in most societies. But is it really transformed? Doesn't it just come out again in the aggression of the society as a whole, war and so on. So we can see that these things are transformed by society, these basic drives that we inherit.
K: But why do we sorry, what were you
DB: I was going to say they really haven't been transformed, but I think you're meaning by transformed a fundamental change and not just a superficial change or a transfer of the object of aggression from other individuals to other groups. So if you talk of transformation you would say really that they would more or less go away, right? That's as I understand it.
RS: Well, they'd be changed from one form to another...
DB: I meant...
RS: ...that's what I mean.
DB: ...I don't think that's the meaning which Krishnaji is using for the word 'transform', but essentially can't we be free of them, you see.
K: Yes. That's right. Sir, why do you divide, if I may ask, society and me? As though society were something outside which is influencing me, conditioning me, but my parents, grandparents, so on, past generations have created that society, so I am part of that society. I am society.
RS: Well, yes.
K: Why do we separate it?
RS: I think the reason why we separate it is that there are different kinds of society. And if I'd been born in India instead of in England I would have grown up in a very different way...
K: Of course, of course.
RS: ...with different set of attitudes.
K: Of course.
RS: And because we can think of ourselves growing up in different kinds of societies and we'd be different if we had, that's why in thought, I think, we have the idea that society and me are not exactly the same. We'd always be in one society or another, so society as a whole, all societies taken together, we would only exist within society, but any particular society is in a sense an accident of our birth or upbringing.
K: But even that society is part of us.
RS: Oh, yes. I mean through growing up in it, it becomes part of us and we become part of it.
K: But, I want to abolish this idea in discussion, this separation from me and society. I am society, I am the world. I am the result of all these influences, conditionings, whether in the East or in the West or in South or North, it's all part of conditioning.
K: So we are attacking the conditioning, not where you are born or East or West.
RS: Oh, yes. The problem would be conditioning of every kind: our biological conditioning, our conditioning from society.
K: That's right.
K: So personally I don't separate myself from society, I am society. I have created society through my anxiety, through my desire for security, through my desire to have power, and so on, so on, so on. Like the animal. It's all biologically inherited. And also my own individualistic activity has created this society. So I am asking, I am conditioned in that way; is it not possible to be free of it? Free of my conditioning? If you say it's not possible, then it's finished.
RS: Well, I would say first that it's not possible to be free of all of the conditioning. I mean, certain of it is necessary biologically, the conditioning that makes my heart beat...
K: Ah, well...
RS: ...my lungs operate, and all that.
K: I admit all that.
RS: Now, then, the question is, how far can you take that? The necessary conditioning.
K: Dr. Hidley was saying - that's his whole point - I am conditioned to suffer, psychologically. Right, sir?
K: Or I am conditioned to go through great conflict in my relationship with my wife or father, whatever it is. And you are saying, either we investigate into that and free ourselves from that, or accept it and modify it.
JH: That's right.
K: Now, which is it? That's what I want - which is it as a psychologist you maintain? If I may put such a question to you.
JH: Yes. Well, I think generally the approach is to attempt to modify it; to help the patient to make it work more effectively.
K: Why? I hope you don't mind my asking these questions.
JH: No, I think that part of the reason for that is that it's seen as biological and therefore fixed. A person is born with a certain temperament. His drives are the drives of the animal, and I think also because it isn't clear to the therapists that the problem can be dealt with as a whole, it is clear that it can be dealt with as particulars.
K: Is it - I am not asking an impudent question.
K: Is it the psychologists don't think holistically? Our only concern is solving individual problems.
JH: Yes, they are concerned with solving individual problems.
K: So therefore they are not thinking of human suffering as a whole.
K: A particular suffering of X who is very depressed.
JH: Right. For particular reasons.
K: For particular reasons. We don't enquire into what is depression, why human beings all over the world are depressed.
JH: Or we don't try and tackle that as a single problem. We try and tackle it with this particular individual who comes in.
K: Therefore you are still really, if I may point out - I may be wrong
K: you are emphasising his particular suffering and so sustaining it.
JH: Now, can we get clear on that?
K: I come to you.
K: I am depressed.
K: For various reasons which you know.
K: And you tell me, by talking to me, etc., you know the whole business of coming to you and all that, you tell me: my depression is the depression of the world.
JH: Yes, I don't tell you that. I tell you that your depression
K: When you tell me that, are you not helping me to carry on with this individualistic depression? And therefore my depression, not your depression.
K: It's my depression which I either cherish or want to dissolve.
K: Which means I am only concerned with myself.
K: Myself, I come back to that.
JH: Yes, it's within the context of yourself.
K: So you are helping me to be more selfish, if I may...
K: More self-concerned, more self-committed.
JH: It is approached within the context of the self, but I would think that I am helping you to be less self-concerned because when you are not depressed, then you don't have to be self-concerned. You feel better and you're able to relate to people more.
K: But again, on a very superficial level.
JH: Meaning that I leave the self intact.
DB: Yes, well, I feel that people generally wouldn't accept this, that the self is not there, you see, which is what you're implying, that the self is rather unimportant. But rather the assumption is that the self is really there and it has to be improved, you see, and if you say...
K: That's it, that's it.
DB: A certain amount of self-centredness people would say is normal...
K: Yes, sir.
DB: ...so you keep it within reason, right?
K: Modify selfishness, right? Continue with selfishness but go slow.
DB: But I think you're saying something which is very radical, then, because very few people have entertained the notion of no self-centredness.
K: That's it.
JH: That's right; it isn't entertained.
DB: Maybe a few but...
JH: Yes. For biological reasons and because of the universality of the phenomenon? Because it isn't even seen as relevant, really.
DB: I think most people feel that's the way things are, it's the only way.
K: That means status quo, modified status quo.
K: To me that seems so irrational.
DB: But you must feel that it's possible to be different, you see, at least, more than feel, in some sense there must be some reason why you say this.
K: I'll tell youWhat?
DB: Why you feel so different from other people about it.
K: It seems so practical, first of all. The way we live is so impractical: the wars, the accumulation of armaments, is totally impractical.
DB: But that wouldn't be an argument, you see, because people say, we all understand that, but since that's the way we are, nothing else is possible. You see, you really are challenging the notion that that is the way we are; or we have to be.
K: I don't quite follow this. We are what we are.
DB: People say we are individual, separate and we'll just have to fight and make the best of it. But you are saying something different, I mean, you're not accepting that.
K: All right. Don't accept it, but will you listen? Will the people who don't accept it, will they give their minds to find out? Right?
K: Or say, please, we don't want to listen to you. This is what we think; buzz off. (laughter) That's what most people do.
JH: Well, this question isn't even raised usually.
K: Of course.
JH: Now why do you think that the self, this selfish activity, isn't necessary?
K: No, sir, first of all, do we accept the condition that we are in? Do we accept it, and say, please, we can only modify it, it can never be changed. One can never be free from this anxiety, deep depression; modify it, always, from agony of life. You follow? This process of going through tortures in oneself. That's normal, accepted. Modify it, live little more quietly and so on, so on. If you accept that, there is no communication between us. But if you say, I know my conditioning, I may perhaps, I may, tell me, let's just talk about whether one can be free from it. Then we have a relationship, then we can communicate with each other. But if you say, sorry, shut the door in my face and it's finished.
RS: So, there are some people who accept it, say we can't change it. But there are other people, and I would say that some of the most inspiring leaders of the different religions of the world are among them, who have said we can change it; there is a way beyond this.
RS: Now since religions have wide followings and since their doctrines are widely dispersed, there are in fact large numbers of people in our society and in every society who do think it can be changed. Because all religions hold out the prospect of change, and of going beyond this conditioning.
K: Yes. But I would like to know, when you use the word 'religion', is it the organised religion, is it the authoritarian religion, is it the religion of belief, dogma, rituals, all that?
K: Or religion in the sense, the accumulation of energy to find whether it is possible to be free. You understand my question?
RS: Yes. Well, I think the second, but I think that if we look into the history of the organised religions and people within them, we see that much of the inspiration for them was in fact that second kind of religion, which, still within that framework, still survives, I think. But it's also something which has often been corrupted and debased and turned into yet another set of dogmas, conditioning, and so on. But I think that within all religious traditions that this second kind of religion you talk about has been kept alive and I think that the impetus in all the great religions of the world has been that, though it's then been debased and degraded in various ways. But this vision has never left any of these religions, there are still people within them, I think, who still have it. And this is the inner light that keeps them going over and above the simple political part and all the rest of it.
K: I know, I know. But suppose a man like me rejects tradition. Rejects anything that has been said about truth, about god, whatever it is: the other side. I don't know; the other people say, yes, we have this and that. So how am I, as a human being who has really rejected all this: tradition, the people who have said there is, and the people who have said that's all nonsense; people who have said we have found (inaudible) - and so on, so on. If you wipe all that out and say, look, I must find out - not as an individual - can this truth or this bliss, this illumination come without depending on all that? You see, if I am anchored, for example in Hinduism, with all the - not the superficiality of it, not all the rituals and all the superstitions - if I am anchored in the religious belief of a Hindu, of a real Brahmin, I am always anchored, and I may go very far, but I am anchored there. That is not freedom. Because there must be freedom to discover this, or come upon this.
K: Sir, we are going little bit too far?
RS: No, but I would then go back and say, well, you put forward the question of a man who rejects all his traditions. You said, let us suppose that I am a man who has rejected all these traditions. I would then say, well what reason do you have for rejecting all these traditions in such a way?
JH: Well, that seems to be part of the problem that we've arrived at. We have said that man is conditioned biologically and socially by his family. The tradition is part of that. We've said that that's the problem that we're up against now. Is it possible for him to change his nature or do we have to deal with each of these problems particularly as they come up?
RS: Well, what I was saying is that the inner core of all the great religions of the world is a vision of this possibility of a transformation, whether it's called salvation or liberation or nirvana or what. There's this vision. Now there have always been people within those religions who've had this vision and lived this vision; now...
K: Ah! Sorry. Go on, I'm sorry.
RS: Well, perhaps out of your radical rejection of all religions you've always denied that. But if so, I would say, why? Why should we be so radical as to deny...
K: I question whether they really - I may be sacrilegious, I may be an infidel, non-believer - I wonder if I am anchored to a certain organised belief, whether I can ever find the other. If I am a Buddhist, for example, I believe that the Buddha is my saviour. Suppose I believe that, and that has been told to me from childhood, my parents have been Buddhists and so on, so on, so on. And as long as I have found that security in that idea, or in that belief, in that person, there is no freedom.
RS: No, but it's possible that you can move beyond that framework, you see, starting from within it that you can move beyond it.
K: That means I wipe out everything.
RS: It means you wipe it out, but there's a difference between an approach where you wipe it out from the beginning...
K: From the beginning, I am talking.
RS: And there's an approach where you start within it and go beyond it.
K: You see that - wait, wait; yes, I know, the well-worn argument. What is important, breaking down all the barriers at the beginning, not at the end. I am a Hindu, I see what Hinduism is, a lot of superstition, you know, all the rest of it, and why should I go through number of years to end it, why can't I finish it the first day?
RS: Because I think you'd have to reinvent and rediscover for yourself a great many things that you would be able to get through more quickly if you didn't.
K: No. His question is: I am a living human being in relationship with him or with her. In that relationship I am in conflict. He says, don't go about religion and illumination and nirvana and all the rest of it. Transform this, live rightly here, then the door is open.
RS: Yes, but surely, isn't that easier said than done?
K: I know! I know it's easier said than done, therefore let's find out. Let me find out with him, or with you, or with her how to live in this world without conflict. Right, sir?
JH: That's what we're asking.
K: Can I find out, or is that impossible?
JH: We don't know.
K: No. Therefore we start, we don't know.
K: So let's enquire into that. Because if my relationship with life is not right - right in quotes for the moment - how can I find out something that's immensely beyond all this? Beyond time, beyond thought, beyond measure. I can't. 'Till we have established right relationship between us, which is order, how can I find that which is supreme order? So I must begin with you, not with that. I don't know if you are meeting me.
RS: No, I would have thought that you could easily argue the other way around.
K: Of course, of course! (laughs)
RS: Until you have that, you can't get this right; because the whole history of man shows that starting just from...
K: Ah! Therefore you invent that. You invent something illogical, may not be true; may be just invention of thought, and you imagine that to be order, and hope that order will filter into you. And it seems so illogical, irrational, whereas this is so rational.
RS: But is it possible?
K: That is it! Let's find out.
RS: But you've now completely reversed your argument to start with, you see. He started with the patient coming to the psychiatrist's office who wants to get his relationships right, get the human relationships out of this state of disorder and conflict into something that's more tolerable.
K: I'm not sure this way - forgive me, Doctor, if I'm blundering into where the angels fear to tread (laughter) - I question whether they are doing right.
RS: But they're doing just what you said now, starting with the relationship, and not going into these bigger questions.
K: But I question whether they are really concerned with bringing about a right relationship between human beings, fundamentally, not superficially, just to adjust themselves for the day.
JH: I don't think that you're denying that larger questions are involved in that, you are just saying that we shouldn't invent ideas about what a solution would be like.
K: Yes. I come to you with my problem: I cannot get on with somebody, or I am terribly depressed or something dishonest in me, I pretend. I come to you. You are concerned to tell me, become more honest.
K: But not find out what is real honesty.
JH: Don't we get into the problem of creating the idea of real honesty at this point?
K: No. It's not an idea. I am dishonest. You enquire, why are you dishonest?
K: Go - penetrate into it, disturb me. Don't pacify me. Don't help me to say, well, be a little more honest and a little more this or that, but shake me so that I find out what is real honesty.
JH: Okay, that's...
K: I may break away from my conditioning, from my wife, from my parents, anything. You don't disturb me.
JH: No, that's...
K: That's just my point.
JH: I do disturb you.
JH: Well, what...
K: You disturb me not to conform to little adjustments.
JH: Well, let's look at that.
JH: I disturb you to conform to little adjustments, yes.
K: You don't say to me, look, you are dishonest, let's go into it.
JH: I do say that.
K: No but, go into it, so that he is totally honest.
JH: Well, how deeply do I need to go into it so that I have disturbed you totally?
K: Yes. So you tell me. Do it now, sir.
JH: Okay. You come in and in our talks we notice that the thing that you are up to is that you are always trying to find some other person to make your life be whole.
K: Yes. I depend on somebody.
JH: Yes, deeply.
JH: And you don't even know that.
JH: So I disturb you. I tell you that that's what's going on and I show you you're doing it with me. I show you you're doing it with your husband. Now is that sufficiently deep?
K: What have you shown me? A verbal picture...
JH: No, not verbal; not verbal.
K: Wait, wait.
K: Verbal picture, an argument, a thing which tells me that I am dishonest. Or whatever you tell me. That leaves me where?
JH: Well, if it's verbal it just gives you more knowledge about yourself.
K: That's all. Knowledge about myself.
K: Will knowledge transform me?
K: No. Be careful, sir, careful. Then why do I come to you?
JH: Well, not so that I can give you knowledge. You come thinking that maybe somehow I have some answers, because other people, because the society is set up...
K: Why don't you tell me, 'Old boy, do it yourself, don't depend on me'. Go into it. Find out, stir.
JH: Okay, I tell you that. I tell you, go into it yourself. And you say to me...
K: I can't do it.
JH: ...I don't know what you're talking about.
K: That's just it.
K: So how will you help me to go into myself and not depend on you? You understand my question? Please, I'm not the stage, the only actor. Sir, this is really a serious question. How will you help me to go into myself so deeply that I understand and go beyond. You know what I mean?
JH: No, I don't know what you mean. I understand how to help you go into it without depending on me.
K: I don't want to depend on you. I don't want to depend on anybody.
JH: Okay. I can help you do that. We can discover together that you are depending on me, but I don't know how deeply this has to go.
K: So you have to enquire into dependence.
K: Why am I dependent? Security.
K: Where is security? Is there such thing as security?
JH: Well, I have these experiences as I grew up that taught me what security is.
K: Yes, which is what? A projected idea?
K: A principle.
K: A belief, a faith, a dogma, or an ideal, which are all projected by me or by you, and I accept those. But they're unreal.
K: So, can I push those away?
JH: Yes. And then you are not depressed.
K: Ah! I am dependent and therefore I get angry, jealousy, all the rest of it. That dependence makes me attached and in that attachment there is more fear, there is more anxiety, there is more... you follow?
K: So can you help me to be free or, find out what is true security? Is there a deep abiding security? Not in furniture, not in a house, not in my wife or in some idea - find deeply if there is such thing as complete security. Sorry, I'm talking all the
JH: So you're suggesting that if I simply work on this with you and you come to understand that you're dependent that that's not sufficient because you won't have discovered any abiding security.
K: No. Because that's all I want. I've sought security in this house and it doesn't, there's no security. And there's none, I've sought security in my wife, there isn't any; then I change to another woman, but there isn't any either. Then I find security in a church, in a god, in a belief, in a faith, in some other symbol. You see what is happening? You are all externalising, if I can use that word - giving me security in things in which there is no security: in nations, all the rest of it. Could you help us to find out if there is complete security which is unshakeable?
RS: Are you suggesting that this is one of our most fundamental needs, driving activities?
K: I should think so.
RS: Drives and activities?
K: I should think so.
RS: So indeed it's a fundamental question as to whether this sense of abiding unshakeable security is possible.
K: Yes. Yes. Because if once you have that there is no problem any more.
JH: But this isn't clear, because then is it the individual that has that?
K: No. Individual can never have that security. Because he is in himself divisive.