The source of conflict
Intelligence is the capacity to see the truth that thought is limited
2nd Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 03, 1977
May we go on with what we were talking about yesterday morning. We were talking about security and the importance of security, both physiological security, and the search and the demand and the eagerness to find psychological security - the security of dependence on another, on an idea, with a group or with a nation, and such desire for psychological security invariably brings about division among people. We went into that very carefully yesterday and I hope you won't mind if I don't go through it again because I want to talk about several other things.
I'm sure most of you will understand the importance of leisure, because it's only when you have leisure that you learn. The meaning of that word 'leisure', according to a very good dictionary, means not having any occupation, at the time when we are talking over together. Not to be occupied all the time, psychologically, physically or intellectually, just have plenty of leisure so that one can learn. That's really the meaning of a school, where one can learn easily, without conflict, when your mind is not occupied with so many other problems. So if I may suggest this morning, and during the rest of the other mornings that we meet here, that you are not occupied, that your minds are not filled with problems, anxieties, occupations, trying to solve problems. But that we are here together to have actually leisure, so that when we talk over things together, as we're going to, that leisure, which is the mind not being occupied, not chattering, not trying to find out, just having plenty of leisure so that in that state one can learn.
There are two types of learning: either memorise what is being said, which is what most of us call learning, or learning through observation and therefore not storing it up as a memory and then looking, observing through memory. I'm going to explain it. As we said, there are two types of learning: one is to learn something by heart so that you store it up in the brain and act according to that knowledge, skilfully or not skilfully. That's what most of us do. When we go to school, college and university we store up a great deal of information called knowledge, and according to that knowledge act, beneficially for oneself or for society, skilfully or incapable of acting, simply, directly. That's one type of learning, with which we are all very familiar, which we do all the time. Every experience is stored up as knowledge, and acted according to that action taking place according to that knowledge. So that's very clear; I expect most of us, it is so. Then there is another kind of learning, which probably you're not quite accustomed to, because we are such slaves to habits, to tradition, to every form of conformity. There is the other type of learning, as we were saying, which is to observe. Observation implies, to see without the accompaniment of previous knowledge; to look at something as though for the first time, afresh. And if you observe things afresh, then there is not the cultivation of memory, because each time you observe, and through that observation you learn, store it up as memory, then the next time you observe you are observing through the pattern of memory, therefore you see never anything fresh. Right? You have understood? I wonder - I'll go on; we'll go into it.
So, as we were saying, leisure is extraordinarily important - not to have a mind that is constantly occupied, constantly chattering. Because it's only in that unoccupied mind a new seed of learning can take place. Which is entirely different from the memory, cultivating memory, storing up as knowledge and acting from that knowledge. As we were saying, there is another kind of learning, which is to observe - the tree, the skies, the mountains, the beauty of the mountains, the light among the leaves. And that observation if stored up as memory will prevent the next observation being fresh. You get this point? It's quite simple. That is, if you observe your wife or your girlfriend or boyfriend, if you observe, can you observe without the previous recording of the incidents and all the rest of it, in that particular relationship. If you observe or watch the other without the previous knowledge, then you learn much more. I wonder if you're understanding what I'm talking about. Am I conveying anything or nothing at all?
You see, for me, the most important thing is - among a great many other things - is to observe. And we mean by observe, observing, not to have the division between the observer and the observed. Most of us have this division. The observer who is the total summation of past experiences, knowledge and all that, which is the past, then that past observes, so there is a division between the observer and the observed. That is the source of conflict. Right? I wonder if you see this.
As we said yesterday, wherever there is division there must be conflict: between races, between people, between two individuals, husband, wife, boy or girl, nations, divisions of belief, divisions of churches - any form of division must bring about conflict. That's clear. Now, is it possible not to have that conflict at all, right through one's life? You understand my question? We are traditionally we traditionally accept this conflict, this struggle, this everlasting fight, not only physiologically, that is, to survive, but also psychologically: the good and the bad, and so on, so on - the division. So is it at all possible to live a life without a single effort, because if there is constant effort there is no peace. Right? Please, we're communicating with each other, you're not listening to a speaker, agreeing or disagreeing, but we are sharing the thing together, we are travelling together, we are concerned about all this together. Therefore it is ours, not mine or - it is ours.
So we're asking, as man has lived centuries upon centuries a life of battle, conflict, both outwardly and inwardly, constant struggle to achieve, and then fear of losing, dropping. We all are familiar with all this. Now we're asking is it possible not to have any conflict or even a shadow of conflict in one's life, otherwise you can never have peace. You may talk endlessly about peace, but there will be no peace as long as man is conditioned to the acceptance of conflict. So we are asking is it possible to live a life, in daily life, in all strata of life both outwardly and inwardly, a life that is absolutely without conflict?
Now when you listen to that, don't please, if I may suggest, accept it or deny it. Don't say, 'It is not possible'. Or say, 'It is possible'. If you say it is possible, then it's just an idea and therefore valueless. But if you say it is not possible, then you block yourself. Right? So we are together investigating this question. And investigation can only take place when you have leisure - right? - leisure being your mind not being occupied with other problems. We are here together. Because you have leisure this morning you came, near or far from far, and together having leisure, which means a mind that is not occupied with daily problems, and therefore willing to learn and see if that is possible to live that way all one's days. Right? Are we meeting each other, somewhere? Not verbally, I hope, but actually, because it's our problem. Because life is becoming more and more difficult. Mere survival, physical survival is becoming enormously difficult - overpopulation, national divisions, economic inequalities, you know all the rest that is happening. Life is becoming extraordinarily difficult.
And the mere physical survival, one is conditioned to the fact that one must make tremendous effort to achieve a position and hold it. You know all this. And if you don't hold it, if you don't struggle, you might lose everything - you might be crushed, you might fall down, and all that. So we're asking a very, very serious question - do please give your attention to it - is it possible to live without a single shadow of conflict? Conflict exists when there is division: the 'me' and the 'you', 'we' and 'they' - the American, the Russian, the ideologies of this group and the ideologies of that group, and so on, so on, so on. Psychologically first, which is most important, not physiologically. If one understands very deeply the nature and the structure of conflict psychologically and perhaps end it there then you will be able to deal with the physiological factor. But if you are only concerned with the physiological factor, biological factor, to survive, then you'll find it enormously difficult; you can't probably do it at all.
So we are concerned, as we have leisure this morning, sitting down together in a beautiful place with a lot of shadow, green trees and the mountains and the cool breeze - I hope it's not too cold - and having leisure we are examining, exploring together the fact whether one can live a life that is really without conflict and therefore with deep care, affection, attention. Right? Have you got the question? So we ask: why is there this conflict, psychologically? First psychologically - why?
From ancient days, both historically and religiously, and economic and so on, there has been this division between the good and the bad. I do not know if you are aware of the ancient caves in the south of France, north of Africa, in their caves, where there is a painting, probably they say it is 25,000 years old - don't write to me and tell me, 'You are wrong about the date' (laughter) - where there is this constant, in symbolic form, the fight between the good and the evil. It existed in Sumeria 7,000 BC and down to the present time - the good opposed to the evil, the righteous and the unrighteous, the angel and the devil. Right? We are all familiar with this. We are conditioned to this division. Right? And, as we have leisure - and I'm going to insist on that during this talk - we are going to investigate the fact whether there is this division at all. Or only 'what is', and not its opposite. You understand? There is, suppose there is anger. That is the fact, that is 'what is'. But not to be angry is not a fact. You are meeting my So, the fact and the non-fact. That is, the good opposed to the evil. And we are asking why human beings have divided this, how has it come about, this division - god and the devil, you know the whole mythological as well as intellectual and so on - why this division? Is it because we look at everything from the past? One of the factors. The past being all that you have learnt, all that you have experienced, and living in the past you look at the present not as the present but from the past. I wonder if you see it. Are we communicating with each other? I do hope. Let's - if I'm not, I would like to go over it in a different way.
We're asking why human beings live in this division, therefore in conflict. We are saying one of the factors is this constant living in the past, which dictates all our action, which is the factor of the unconscious. I won't go into that for the moment, but later on. And I hope there are a lot of prominent psychologists here, analysts; I hope they'll along with me slowly. We have never questioned this division. We have accepted it, because we are very traditional by nature, habit; we don't want anything new. And that being a factor, other factor is that there is a division between the observer and the observed. When you look at a mountain you are looking at it as an observer, so there is an observer and the thing observed which you call the mountain. The word is not the thing - right? - the word 'mountain' is not the mountain. But to us the word is very important. So when you look at that, instantly the response is, 'That's a mountain' - the word. Now can you look at that mountain, at that thing called 'mountain' without the word? Because the word is a factor of division. I wonder if you're getting all this. When you say, 'It's my wife', the word 'my' creates the division. We'll go into it when we talk about relationship. So one of the factors of this division is the word, the name. And the word and the name is a memory, is part of thought. And when we look at a thing - the man or the woman, or the mountain, the tree, whatever it is, division takes place when the name, the memory, thought comes into being. Right? So is there an observation without the word, without the name, without the attachment to that particular form and symbol, and to observe without all that?
Is this getting difficult? So can you observe without the observer, who is the past - you understand? - who is the past, who is the essence of all the memories, experiences, the reactions and so on, which is the past, and look at something without the past, without the observer? When you do that, there is only the observed, so there is no division. You understand? And so no conflict psychologically. Are you doing it or are you just memorising what is being said? Can you look at your girlfriend or wife or whatever, your nearest intimate friend, can you look, observe her or him without the name, the word, and all the experiences that you have gathered in that relationship, which is memory, which is the past, and look? And when you so look, what takes place? Then you're looking at him or her for the first time. You understand? For god's sake, get this. Don't please learn it, but actually, as you are leisure and as we are talking over something which is tremendously important, and learning implies doing it now, not tomorrow, not another day. So that the observer is the observed. Therefore there is only the observed. I wonder if you get this. Nobody's going to tell you all these things - no books, no gurus, no philosophers. You have to learn this from yourself. And you can only learn this from yourself when you have time, leisure, the mind not being occupied with all kinds of things.
So we are saying, it is possible to live a life that is completely psychologically free from all conflict. Has it happened to you? Please, this is not group therapy, which is an abomination to me, personally, exposing our dirty laundry to each other - it has no meaning. But what we are actually doing is learning, not memorising, but learning, observing the fact. And the fact will do everything if you let the fact alone. You understand? So, the fact is that human beings live in the past, and therefore there is always division between the past and the present, and the future. The past being time. So we're saying, as long as - if I may go a little further - as long as there is a time interval in your observation, between the observer and the observed, there must be conflict. Please, don't agree with me. See, find out if this is an actual fact to you. If this really you have really understood this, not verbally, but are actually doing it, because we're talking about a very, very serious problem which is conflict, struggle in life. And when you do not struggle you think you are lost, and thereby be afraid of losing, which is another form of conflict. So if you really have gone into this with the speaker, together, and discovered for yourself, not from the speaker but discovered it for yourself, that as long as there is a division between the observer, the image-maker and the fact, which has no image but only fact, as long as there is division there must be everlasting conflict. That's a law. And can that conflict be ended? And we're pointing out or talking about it and learning that it is that it can end.
So when there is a psychological ending of suffering, ending of conflict, which is part of suffering, then how does that apply to our livelihood? How does that apply in our relationship with each other? Right? You are following? I don't know if you are understanding or not. Can I go on? If this is a fact, that you as a human being who is the world and the world is you, which we went into yesterday very carefully, if this is a fact, that you have really that you are actually now living a life in which there is psychologically no conflict whatsoever, then how does that ending of psychological struggle, with all its conflicts, pain, anxiety, fear, how does that apply to our daily living? You understand? To our daily going to the office etc., etc. What's your answer? If this is a fact to you, that you have ended psychological conflict, then how will you live a life without conflict outwardly?
Krishnamurti: No, please, don't answer me, because we'll have a discussion about this, a dialogue about all these matters the day after tomorrow - every Tuesday and Thursday. So this is a conversation between two people where only one person is conversing. (Laughter) Because we'll get lost otherwise; and I hope you don't mind.It's quite amusing, one person
What am I to do, if I live this kind of life? No conflict inwardly. Do you know what that means? When there is no conflict inside there is no conflict outside, because there is no division between the inner and the outer. You understand? It's like ebb and flow, the sea coming in and the sea going out, but when there is this psychologically no conflict, the ebb going out also no conflict. You understand? What shall I do? I have to earn a livelihood, unfortunately - personally I don't. (Laughter) I don't because I've no problem about earning a livelihood. But you have a problem about earning a livelihood. Why haven't I a problem about not earning a livelihood? Because - very simple. You're all waiting? (Laughter) You're a strange people all right! (Laughter) I've no problem because I don't mind what happens. You understand? I don't mind if I fail or succeed, I don't mind if I have money or not money - personally I have no money, thank god. I don't want money, but I need food and clothes and shelter, and if somebody gives me, it's all right, if somebody doesn't, I live where I am. You understand my question? I have no problem because I don't demand anything from anybody or from life. I wonder if you understand this.
So, I've explained. My way of living is entirely different from yours, so... So if I had to earn a livelihood, what shall I do. Having psychologically no conflict of any kind. You know what that means? How do I how has it happened that I have no conflict? Is it a theory? Is it a desire which has been fulfilled? Is it an illusion? Is it something that I've hypnotised myself into? You understand all my questions? Or is it an absolute, irrevocable fact, which nobody can touch; it is inviolate. You know what inviolate means? That which cannot be damaged, which cannot be touched. So if that is so, then what shall we do together - it is together - what shall we do together to earn a livelihood? Because there is no conflict, therefore there is no ambition. Because there is no conflict, there is no desire to be something. Right? Because there is no conflict, because inwardly there is absolute something which is inviolable, which cannot be touched, which cannot be damaged, then I don't depend psychologically on another. Therefore there is no conformity, no imitation and all that.
So, not having all that then I will do what I can in the world - be a gardener, a cook - anything. You understand? But we are so heavily conditioned to success and failure. Success in the world - money, position, prestige, you know, all that, and that's what we are struggling for. But if none of that exists - you understand what takes place in a human being? In consciousness, in human consciousness, which is so heavily conditioned - right? - heavily conditioned to success and the fear of failure. To be something not only outwardly but inwardly. That's why you accept all the gurus, because you hope he'll lead you to some illumination, some kind of illusory nonsense. Not that there is not something absolutely true, but nobody can lead you to it. So, our whole consciousness, or most of it, is conditioned to accept to live a life of constant struggle, because we have we want to achieve, we want to become, we want to play a certain part, we want to fulfil, we want - you know - which all implies the denial - please listen to this - the denial of 'what is' and the acceptance of 'what should be'. Because we deny 'what is', and have created the ideal of 'what should be', there is conflict. But to observe actually 'what is', which means you have no opposite, only 'what is'.
Look, if you observe violence, the word 'violence' is already contaminated, the very word, because there is people who approve of it, people who don't approve of it, so it's already warped. So take we have to take, for instance, violence. And the whole philosophy of non-violence, both politically, religiously and all the rest of it. That is, there is violence and its opposite, non-violence. The opposite exists because you know violence. Right? Come on, sirs. And the opposite has its root in 'what is'. Right? So we think by having an opposite, by some extraordinary method or means we'll get rid of the 'what is'. Which is, 'what is' and 'what should be'. To achieve 'what should be' you need time. See what we go through - the misery, the conflict, the absurdity of all this. 'What is' is violence and 'what should be' is non-violence. So we say we need time to achieve non-violence, because I'm conditioned to violence and to non-violence - I must have time, I must make an effort, I must struggle to be non-violent. That's the philosophy, that's the conditioning, that's the tradition - the good and the bad.
Now can you put away the opposite and just look at violence, which is the fact. The non-violence is not a fact. Right? Are we meeting each other? Non-violence is an idea, is a concept, is a conclusion. But the fact is violence, that you're angry, that you hate somebody, that you want to hurt people, anger, jealousy - all that is the implication of violence; that's the fact. Now can you observe that fact without introducing its opposite? You understand? Then you have the energy, which is being wasted in trying to achieve the opposite, you've all that energy to observe 'what is'. In that observation there is no conflict. I wonder if you get all this. Right?
So, what will a man do who has understood this extraordinary complex existence based on violence, conflict, struggle, who is actually free of it, not theoretically about it - actually free, which means no conflict - what shall he do in the world? Will you ask me, or are you asking yourself this question? Will you ask this question - please listen - will you ask this question if you are inwardly, psychologically completely free from conflict? Will you? Obviously not. It's only the man in conflict who says, 'If there is no conflict, I will be ended, I will be destroyed by society'. Because society is based on conflict. But the society is what you have made of it. You have made the society, you are responsible for the society because you are greedy, envious, violent, and society is what you are. So, there is no difference between you and the society; you are society. These are facts. But when you separate yourself from society and say, 'I am different from society', which is such nonsense, then if there is complete transformation of the structure of society which is violence, immorality and all the rest of it, in you, you affect the consciousness of society. And when you are so free inwardly will you ever ask that question: what shall I do in the outward world? Do answer it yourself, sir, find out the answer for yourself. Because inwardly you have completely transformed something which man is conditioned to - this constant battle, battle, battle. Have I answered the question? I've answered it for myself, long ago. But will you put that question to yourself and find out, without any illusion, without any fantasy, without any desire to be or not be, which all brings conflict, find out for yourself the fact of it. That is a complete transformation inwardly of something which man has held as the most important thing, which is struggle, fight, conflict, you know, all the rest of it.
So, the next thing is - if I may go on to something else - that our consciousness, if you have observed it - and because we have leisure we can look, now - if you observe your consciousness, if you are aware of your consciousness, that is, are you aware of your consciousness, what you are? If you are aware, then you'll see that your consciousness is in total - I'm using the word 'total' in its absolute sense, not relative sense, in its absolute sense - your consciousness is in total disorder. Right? Are you aware of that fact? To be aware implies very simple, to be aware - you are aware of the trees, you are aware of where you're sitting, I am aware of the sun on my head - which I don't like - I'm aware of the various colours and so on - aware outwardly. And inwardly, to be aware implies to be aware without any distortion. You can't distort that tree and saying, 'That's an elephant'. But you can very easily distort what you see inwardly.
So, to be aware implies to be aware without any distortion of what is going on inside. Right? Are you so aware of your consciousness? If you are, you will find - don't you find? - that it is contradictory, saying one thing, doing something else, wanting something. You follow? The total movement within an area which is so small, and so no space and in that little space there is disorder. Right, sir? Are you aware of this? (Inaudible)
What time is it, sirs?
Q: Eight past twelve.
K: Twelve? You must be tired at the end of an hour, because this is rather strenuous work. We'll stop presently, but let's go on for a little while about this thing. We'll pick it up again on Saturday and Sunday - next Saturday and Sunday - which is: are you aware of your consciousness? Are you different from your consciousness? Or you are that consciousness. Right? That's simple. You are that consciousness. You are not different from your consciousness. And are you aware that you are in total disorder? And ultimately that disorder leading to neuroticism - obviously. And all the factors of modern society, with psychologists, psychoanalysts, psycho-therapists, you know, all that stuff going on. If you are aware in the sense that you watch yourself, which is your consciousness, without any disorder, without any distortion - is that possible? That is only possible when the observer is the observed. You understand? When the observer is the observed there is no distortion, he sees 'what is'. But if the observer exists, then he distorts what he sees. You understand this? Is this clear?
So can you observe is there an observation of oneself, which is our consciousness, and see the actual fact of its disorder, of one's disorder, in daily life? Not only outwardly but much more deeply, inwardly. Outwardly we are very orderly - some of us at least - because it is compulsive, it's becoming more and more you have to be orderly in order to etc. - I won't go into all that. But inwardly are you in order? Or there is disorder. Can you observe this fact? And what takes place when you observe choicelessly, which means without any distortion, what takes place? You understand my question? Because where there is disorder there must be conflict. Where there is absolute order there is no conflict. And we're saying there is an absolute order, not relative order. And that can only come about naturally, easily, without any conflict, only when one is aware of oneself as a consciousness, observe the confusion, the turmoil, the contradiction outwardly and inwardly, and observe without any distortion. Then out of that comes, naturally, sweetly, easily, an order which is irrevocable.
So far it's an hour. Is that enough for an hour, or would you like to sit and let me go on talking?
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