Thought and the divisive process
Why has man after thousands of years not found peace?
3rd Public Talk, Saanen
July 12, 1984
Thank goodness it is a little bit cooler!
May we continue with what we were talking about the day before yesterday? We were talking about freedom and - I have forgotten! We were talking about freedom and energy and time, I think.
We ought to consider this morning together what is the capacity of the brain? The brain that is inside the skull. And that brain is very carefully protected, various layers of bone, air, more bone and then water, so it is very carefully protected. The speaker is not a specialist on brains - thank God! But one has observed how the brain operates for oneself. The brain has extraordinary capacity, as is shown how it has developed in the technological world. They are doing incredible things in the field of technology - computers, and all the incredible, unbelievable technological things that are taking place throughout the world. And inwardly, I do not mean in the sense of veins, bones, arteries, liver and heart and all that, inwardly, psychologically, we are very, very limited. That is a fact. And after forty five thousand years or more we are still rather primitive psychologically, inwardly. And our brains, which have incredible capacity, psychologically are very limited, and therefore we are misusing the technological world and all the inventions that human beings are bringing about to do immense harm and also great good, but psychologically we have neglected the capacity of the brain inwardly. Why? Please, as we said the other day, and one must repeat it again, we are observing together, seeing objectively, not merely subjectively prejudiced, opinionated, holding on to certain dogmas, beliefs, and conclusions but together observing very closely why the psychological world, which is the whole field of thought, emotions, sensations, fears, pleasures, joys, and incalculable suffering that man has gone through, why inwardly we are so limited, concerned with our own self, with our own advancement, with our own so-called progress, with our own ambitions and so on, do we together see the limitation of that?
Please I am asking this question, let's consider it together. The area of psychology, psyche, is in the field of thought and all the projections that thought has put forward, images, imagination, symbols, mythology, and the various hurts human beings have received from childhood, fears which man has borne for forty five thousand years and the pleasures in relationship, both sexual and other ways of pleasure, and the pain of relationship. And also the - not only personal suffering but suffering of humanity. And man has also thought, or wanted, or desired, or hoped there was something more than the mere physical activity, something greater, something that is holy, sacred. Man has sought all these things since time began. And we are still groping, we are still seeking how to escape, or how to understand, or how to resolve the cage, the prison in which the brain is psychologically caught. We are understanding each other? Why have we not paid attention to it? Why have we not broken the limitation and found out the extraordinary capacity inwardly of the brain? Why? Is it that we have always sought security? Both externally and inwardly, because security is necessary, otherwise the brain can't function at its excellence - right?
So physically, externally, we have found some kind of security - security in the family, security in the community, security in the greater community and in nationality - step by - there have been physical, psychological security we have sought, which is an obvious fact because if we haven't had our breakfast, had no food and no clothes, we can't possibly think very, very clearly, act impersonally. So security physically is necessary and that is being denied by nationalities, nationalism, because that produces one of the causes of war - French, Russian, English, Swiss, if you will allow me, Belgian, America, India, and all that business. It is really a form of tribalism, which we all know. And psychologically, inwardly, we sought security in relationship - right? Please we are thinking together. You are not just listening to the speaker and just accepting some ideas or rejecting, but carefully observing the function of the brain, the complex thought, observing the whole process of living, both externally and inwardly.
We have sought security inwardly. We have - thought has created God - would you be shocked by that? Thought has created it. Thought has put all together the various rituals, the various dogmas, beliefs, faith, rituals - this is the common factor of all religions. And thought, not finding psychological security, projected the concept of god from the ancient days, from Jupiter, Zeus and the Asiatics had their own peculiar ancient deities. Is there such security psychologically at all? You understand my question? One follows another, specially in the so-called - the speaker doesn't like that word 'spiritual' - in the so-called spiritual world one seeks security - following the guru, following the various traditional concepts, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and also gurus, and security in knowledge - right? In skill, in various forms of activity, consoling, disturbing, destructive but trying to find through all these means security. And the brain needs extraordinary security - right? Otherwise it can't function clearly.
So one questions whether there is, apart from physical security which is slowly being denied and destroyed, is there psychological security at all? Right? Please let us investigate that very carefully because most of us want in our relationship some kind of stability, some kind of safety, a sense of being at home - not in the house, but inwardly of being at home, with somebody - man, woman, or with some symbol, with some concept. Or, as the Christians would have it, in faith. God knows why, what that means, but they find security in faith. And in the Asiatic world, specially in India, doubt has been one of the major tenets of their religion. That one must question the very highest authority, one must doubt. So in that doubting, questioning, probing, one asks, if one has done it very, very deeply, is there security at all? You understand my question? One must have physical security - that is understood, don't let's... and that is being destroyed through nationalism, through wars, through division. There is the peculiar thing going on called United Nations. It is a contradictory in terms, nations cannot be united, they are always separative, divisive - right? They can never be united and therefore they are always at war, getting more armaments and so on and so on, I don't have to go into all that. We all know that. And nobody seems to say, 'Let's stop all this.' The religions encourage it, this division - Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist and all that nonsense, to me. And this division, the divisive process which is going on throughout the world is bringing about great conflict. And inwardly too we are divisive. We are, as human beings, broken up - right? - fragmented, never whole, holistic. And if one begins to enquire more deeply, is there any security at all? One tries to find security in relationship - let's look at that word 'relationship'.
What is relationship? To be related to, to have - to be in contact with, to have a communication with another so complete that there is no divisive process going on - you understand? What is this relationship which brings, as it is observed with almost everyone all throughout the world, it is a constant conflict. Would I be right in saying that to the married people and the unmarried people? I am glad - the speaker is glad we all agree about that at least!
And why is there this division? The brain is seeking security and yet that very brain is creating division - you follow? Is it thought? Is thought creating the division in relationship?
Then we have to enquire very deeply into what is thought. Some of you may have heard the speaker explaining the movement of thought, the origin of thought, but if they would kindly put aside what they have heard the speaker say perhaps a thousand times before and start anew. What is the origin of thought? Thought has created the most marvellous world technologically - right? The incredible things thought has done - in the world of medicine, surgery, in homeopathy - all right? - in producing instruments of war, and so on, the computer. We will talk about the computer a little later. Great fun, that!
And thought has also created a division between you and me, my wife and me - follow? - this whole process of division is going on throughout life. Is thought the cause of it? Please look at it carefully. Let's find out. If thought is the cause of this divisive process then we will have to ask a question which is much more serious: whether thought can ever function in one area completely, in the physical world, in the daily world, but completely end in the psychological world? Vous avez compris? You understand what I am saying? We are going to find out. Let's go slowly.
Thought is functioning when I learn a language, when I learn - when one learns various skills, when one skis - right? - constructing various ships - thought is very active there. And thought also is psychologically very active - right? And we are asking: is thought - please listen, pay attention to this, if you will, if you are not too tired - is thought the origin of this divisive process? Christian god, the Hindu god, the Muslim god and so on and so on and so on. God must be one god - right? - to be at all god. But thought has divided the poor chap!
So let's enquire very carefully: what is thought? Why thought plays such an extraordinary part in our life? And what is thinking? - which is the same as thought. What is thinking? If there is no memory you wouldn't - one would not be able to think - clear? That would be a state of amnesia. So if memory is necessary for thought-(noise of aeroplanes) - it is a small country! (Laughter) - thought is the response of memory and memory is the outcome of accumulated knowledge - right? Knowledge is gathered through experience - right? That knowledge in the scientific world is gathered bit by bit or through jumps - right? Constantly accumulated. That knowledge is based on experience. And is experience - please go into it carefully together - is experience limited? Right? Can there be ever complete experience? What does that word experience mean? I am just thinking it out aloud. To experience: if you are driving a car, if one is driving a car and there is an accident, that is an experience. From that experience you have learnt, one has learnt to be more watchful, much more to observe all the roads, 300 yards ahead and so on. Now we are asking: is experience limited? And who is the experiencer who is experiencing? Right? Lord! (Noise of aeroplanes).
This is rather important to ask this question. We all want to experience, when you are young sexual experience, as you get older religious experiences, and ultimately the experience of illumination, or whatever you like to call it. Now who is the experiencer who is experiencing? Right? You follow the question? One works, practises, certain forms of meditation, so-called meditation, which are not meditation but we will go into that later on, practises it, day after day, day after day. And he is experiencing in that process certain imaginative states, or some illusions. And there is an experiencer who is experiencing. Now who is the experiencer? Is the experiencer different from the experience he is going to have? You have understood my question? I want to - if one wants - I will keep to myself - if I want to experience god or that state of holiness - please I am not belittling it, I am not being cynical - that god, that illumination, that concept of illumination, thought has projected it - right? And I want to experience that which thought has put forward. See what is happening. I project something, and then experience that something. Right? Is this clear? That is, I project some imaginary deity and I work, practise to achieve or experience that state of deity which thought has invented. So I must be very clear who is the experiencer? Right? Surely the experiencer is all the accumulated memories - right? Accumulated knowledge and when he experiences something either he must recognise it or it is no experience. If he recognises he already knows - you understand all this? So thus experience becomes very, very limited - right? In the scientific world knowledge is added bit by bit, bit by bit - right? Or during the last hundred years it has jumped. But it is still limited. Therefore there can never be complete experience because the experience is always limited. Clear? Do we understand? Not verbal explanation but the fact, the truth of it. That is, the experiencer is the past, and that experiencer when he has experience of any kind must recognise it as something which he is experiencing, which means he already knows that which has happened before - right? So experience is always limited, whether the experience of God, or the experience of particular Christian deity or symbol or person, or in the Asiatic world with their deities. Any kind of experience, scientific, psychological, must always be limited. That is clear. Therefore knowledge is always limited, whether now or in the future - right? If you observe it, it is so clear. So thought and memory are limited. So thought being limited must be divisive. Anything that is limited must be separative - right?
If I am thinking about myself, my progress, my ambition, my achievement, how marvellous I am, or how stupid I am, and so on, thinking about myself is a very small affair. But that small affair can be extended, I say, 'I am thinking about universal' - it is still limited - right? So thought, whatever it does in any field, both in the technological world or in the psychological world, must be limited, therefore its action will always be limited - right? It becomes rather...
So what is the relationship of thought to time? Right? Are you asking this question? I am asking it. We said time is the past, the future and the present - contained in the now - right? Is that clear? Thought and time is the past, past memories, past knowledge, past experiences, stored up in the brain as memory, and the future is projected from that memory and that future is now - right? Is that clear? No, I am afraid not.
We are the result of the past - right? Obviously. Both biologically, through long period of evolution and psychologically all the accumulated memories we have - right? So the past are the memories - right? And the future is projected from the past memory. So the future is already the past because it is part of the past. The future is part of the past. Right? Clear? No?
Look sir, make it much more simple. I am all my memories - right? I am all my memories, I am memory. Even if I say I am god, inwardly there is something, it is still memory. So my whole being is memory. I know you will refute it, or not agree with it, but see the fact: if you have no memory you are not. Right? So you are a whole bundle of memories. And that memory - those memories project the future. 'I must be', 'I must not be,' 'I mustn't be violent'. So it is a movement of the past towards the future. But that future is the present. I can't go on with this - right?
So the present, the now, contains all time. Now what is the relationship of thought to time? You understand? It is necessary to use our brains, not just go to sleep and somebody tell you all about it. We are both of us acting, exercising the capacity of our brain. And we are asking a question, we have explained very carefully to each other, what time is; the whole movement of time is in the now. And we have also explained the nature of thought. What is the relationship of thought to time? Are they not both the same? So thought is time. Which is, I need time to have knowledge, experience. So time and thought are together, they are not separate movements - right? Do we see this as a fact? - not as an idea explained by some person. Do we see it as a fact? Not make an abstraction of what you have - from the fact into an idea and pursue the idea. Vous avez compris? Are we putting too much in one talk? Tant pis. Because it is important to understand this. Is time separate from thought? Or thought is time? Of course it is. So see what happens. If thought is time, and thought is now - if thought is time and we said thought is time - right? - then what is relationship? You understand? What is one's relationship with another? We will approach it differently. We live, life is relationship. Without relationship there is no life. Relationship to the earth, to the water, to everything, to nature, to all the things of the earth, we are related to it. And we are related much more intimately with a woman or a man. And in that relationship there is conflict - right? The man pursues his ambition, he pursues his fulfilment, sexually and in other ways, and the woman does the same - right? They perhaps meet sexually but all the time separate. What has brought about this separation? We are saying thought - right? That's clear. So please follow this carefully - we said thought is time and this division between man and woman and so on is brought about by thought, not love.
So one has to go into the question - there is so much - into the question: what is love? Is love time? Go into it. Find out sirs, don't... Is love time? Is love thought? When you say to someone, 'I love you' - and I hope you mean it - is that love the expression, or the outcome of your self-fulfilment, whether it is sexual or otherwise - right? So why is there then this division? I won't go further into the question of love - if you want I'll go into it now. Good Lord it is already twenty past eleven. All right sirs, let's go into it.
Is love thought, the movement of thought? You understand? Which means: is love the product of time? Please carefully watch it in yourself. Or is love pleasure? Pleasure has become extraordinarily important in life - the whole industry of entertainment, sports, religious entertainment - right? - churches, you know, you go there to be entertained, to have new kind of sensations. So is love thought, time, pleasure, and is love desire? Has love a place - no, has thought a place in love? Go on. If thought has a place in love, then that love is limited. And that which is limited must create conflict - right? This is logical, sanity.
So is it possible to have that perfume, that extraordinary thing called love, which is a great flame in one's life, without all this travail, without all this division? You understand? That means one has to understand very, very deeply, or perceive instantly the nature of thought, time, pleasure and desire. Right? They are all interrelated, they are not separate things. Thought, time, pleasure, desire are one, they are inter-related - right?
So to capture that perfume and to - for it to abide all one's life without any division one must understand desire. Right? Desire for most of us is extraordinarily important. Desire for God, desire for a new house, desire for somebody with whom you can get on better, desire for more wealth, desire for greater peace - you know, desire, that which is burning in all of us, furiously. Desire has been very prominent in our lives. Like thought. And various religions have said, 'Suppress desire'. When you enter a monastery - have you ever been in a monastery, any of you? I was in one - the speaker was in one, it doesn't matter. There, in the monasteries, and in the monks who are wandering the earth without any organisation, they have desire. And desire being a dangerous thing, they say, 'Don't look at a woman, only be committed to God' - or whatever it is you are committed to. And man has always tried to suppress, control, shape desire. You desire when one is young for some silly little thing, then as you grow older you desire for position, power, money, status. As you also grow much older then you desire for some peace, then you desire for immortality - if there is such a thing - then you desire to escape from the fear, the darkness of death. From the beginning of life until the end of life one is tortured by desire, with its pleasures too - right? And as we said, is love desire? Is love pleasure? Pleasure is in the fulfilment of one's desire. I desire a car. When I get it I am happy, I am satisfied. Not quite because I want a bigger car! And so on. Desire in its fulfilment brings satisfaction, from that satisfaction gratification, there is a great sense of pleasure - right? And we have done everything conceivable either to express fully our desires, which is called freedom, or go to the other extreme, suppress desire. This has been the constant movement of man. Both in the so-called spiritual world and in the world of - in the exterior world. The expansion and the contraction of desire. And now we are trying to find out what is the origin, the beginning of desire. We are not saying we must suppress or fulfil. We are trying - not trying - we are observing the whole movement of desire from the very beginning to the very end - right? What is desire? (Noise of train).
I hear that train going by and I want to listen to what you are saying. I desire for that train to move quickly, not make all that row - right? That is, the hearing of the noise, the sensation from that noise, then from that sensation the desire saying, 'Please I wish that train wouldn't go by so often'. (Noise of train) There it is! (Laughter) The hearing is a sensation, pleasant or unpleasant. And if it is pleasant I want to hold it, if it is unpleasant I want to push it away. But it is still sensation. Right? And that sensation is necessary, otherwise I am deaf, dumb. So there is sensation, then thought comes in and says, 'I wish the train wouldn't pass so often' - you understand? Sensation, which is normal, healthy, natural. Then thought makes the image and says, 'I wish it didn't happen' - or wants it to happen. So when thought shapes or controls or gives an intention to sensation, then at that moment desire is born. Is that clear? Are we clear on this matter? That is, sir, if you are a man, you see a woman, that you know very well, or if you see somebody in great power, position, status, you see him. And the sensation is there, seeing is a sensation. Then thought comes and says, 'I wish I had that power, that position.' - right? When thought gives shapes through the image to the sensation, then at that moment desire is born - clear?
Now sensation, as we said, is normal, healthy, natural, unless one is paralysed, deaf, dumb and no reaction at all. Now that is normal. Then thought comes instantly, gives a shape to that sensation, at that moment desire. Now can - please watch this - can sensation and thought - can thought be slow and not capture the sensation? You understand my question? You understand? No. God! The speaker is working and you are not.
Sir, I go to a museum, which I have done rarely because the museum of the woods is much more beautiful, the mountains, than any museum in the world. You go to a museum and see a picture, a marvellous picture, and you see the beauty of it, then thought says, 'By Jove, I wish I had it. I'd like it in my room where there is some space. I'd like to hang it there and look at it every day.' The seeing of that picture is normal but when thought enters into it desire is born to possess it. Now can the sensation and thought be kept apart for a while? You understand my question? There you need tremendous alertness - right? Keep these apart. Which means alertness has its own great discipline. Not the discipline of conformity, of obedience, of following, practising, but that - seeing sensation is necessary, is normal, and desire is the movement of thought. To keep these two apart. If you do it you will see how extraordinarily quick thought is. The instant you see thought is there. So to be so tremendously alert so thought and sensation are kept apart, then there is neither suppression nor fulfilment, there is only that alertness. And that alertness, that watchfulness, the intensity of it, is its own discipline. You understand? The word 'discipline' means - it comes from the word 'disciple'. The disciple is one who learns. Learns, not learns what the master is saying but is learning. I wonder if you understand that?
We consider learning - do you want to go into all this? I'll go on, it's up to you. Learning is an extraordinary faculty. Not the accumulation of knowledge only - you understand? You go to school, college, university, if you are... or in a factory, there you are accumulating knowledge. And also you are accumulating knowledge about yourself. When you say, 'I am memory', you have learnt that and you repeat that. Right? But learning is something totally different. There is never a moment where you are stuck, so always moving. That makes the brain extraordinarily active. Knowledge may be the most destructive thing in relationship. You are getting this? Because where there is knowledge - 'I know my wife' - what a terrible thing to say. When you say that, which means you have come to a conclusion, you have built an image about her, and she has built an image about you, naturally, and when you say, 'I know my wife', that knowledge becomes the dividing factor between you and your wife. So that evokes a very fundamental question.
The brain has the function to record everything - right? To record. You are sitting there, the speaker is sitting up here, only for convenience, not for authority. The platform doesn't give him authority. I must tell you a story, rather amusing. We were in India, in Bombay. Some disciples of a guru came to see us and said, 'You must meet him, he is an extraordinary man. He has achieved. He wants you to come to him. We urge you to come to him.' I said, 'I am so sorry, I don't go out chasing gurus' - I was more polite. And after three or four days they persuaded the guru to come. And we happened to be sitting on a mattress about two inches thick, not fifty centimetres, or less than that, and when he came in we got up naturally, and offered him the mattress. He sat down there, took a position cross legged and became the authority because of that little height! You understand? That's life. (Laughter)
So, as we were saying, knowledge in relationship is really a most dangerous factor which destroys relationship. You build an image about her and she builds an image about you. And when you have that image, and she has that image, she knows - 'I know my husband' - and you repeat too, 'I know my wife.' So can one - please follow this - can one live without creating a single image in relationship? To find that out, whether it is possible or not, one must enquire much more deeply into this whole process of recording. You understand? The brain is recording. The brain now, if you are listening, is recording what is being said. And in relationship the recording process goes on. She tells me, 'You are a fool' one day. Right? And that is recorded. And that has left an imprint on - that has hurt me. Or one day, she says, 'You have been marvellous, old chap' - you know, 'Darling you have been extraordinarily nice to me yesterday.' That is recorded. Right? So our brain both outwardly and inwardly is recording. The question then is: is it possible to record physically certain things, you understand, but not to record a thing psychologically? That is, when one's wife says you are a beastly man, not to record it. And when she says you have been awfully kind to me yesterday, or you have given me such pleasure, not to record. You follow? So that the brain is recording when necessary, physically, in daily life, and inwardly, psychologically, never to record. Yes sir! That recording is knowledge. That recording is the image that separates you and me, and they and we, she and me, or me and him. You understand? Now can that recording never take place in relationship?
Sir, it is time to stop. But what is the point of listening to all this? What do you learn from all this? Do you hear and go away and repeat the old pattern? Then what is the value of listening? Either you listen with intensity, with passion to find out, to live a different kind of life. You may have done wrong things before, you may have done some harm to another, the remorse, the guilt, and all the rest of it is gone, not live with it. And so to find out passionately, you know, as you want money, as you want sex, as you are hungry, you are tremendously active, to find out for yourself whether this recording can end, so that there is no conflict between you and me, between a wife and yourself. It is this recording that is divisive. The recording is the me, is the self. And meditation is the ending of that recording, total ending. Not sitting cross legged, closed eyes and doing some kind of tricks. That is all nonsense. This requires enormous energy, passion, which brings its own tremendous discipline, which means learning.
It is a quarter to twelve. May I stop please.