What are we human beings trying to become?
Is there an intelligence which has no cause?
4th Public Talk, Saanen
July 18, 1982
May we continue with what we have been talking about for the last three or four meetings? One thinks it should be made clear that this is not a sermon nor a lecture as is commonly understood. We are not giving you, if we may point out, any information or any ideological new set of beliefs and faiths and exotic religion and philosophy. Nor is the person who is speaking important.
We were pointing out the other day, that is we were together co-operating in the investigation of what has happened to human beings after twenty five thousand years or thirty thousand years or in millennia upon millennia. We have become coarse, brutal, violent, cynical, tremendous sense of antagonism, hatred, having enemies, and the present structure of religions, the organised, orthodox, dogmatic religions have no place at all.
And also we pointed out how dangerous it is to follow somebody psychologically. We pointed out that human beings in a confused world with their wars and self-destruction, we want someone to lead us, to help us out of this chaos, and we have relied on political, religious and other forms of leaders, and they have not actually deeply helped to bring about a new society, new ways of living and so on. So it behoves us, if you are at all aware of what is happening, we have to be a light to ourselves. Which doesn't mean doing exactly what we would like to do, but rather consider our relationship the whole of humanity and realise that we are the entire humanity, each one. We have been talking about that quite a bit.
And I think one thinks this morning we should go together into the question, what is it that we human beings are trying to become? What is it each one of us, if one may ask, trying to do, achieve, and gain an end. If we enquire into ourselves, even very superficially, what is it we all want? Whether we are well-placed, poor, or intellectually highly cultivated, each one of us apparently is becoming something, wants to become something. It is natural I think to become something in this world - natural. That is, if we do not know a certain language we spend a great deal of time learning it. That is becoming learned in a particular language. Or if one is not skilful academically, then you strive, study to achieve a certain position academically because it gives you a job and so on. It is also quite natural if one is a poor carpenter to study the nature of the wood, the instruments and so on and become a good master carpenter, or a scientist and so on. That is fairly obvious. If I am a worker in a factory I want to become the foreman in that factory, and so on.
And we are asking, is it natural - and we are using the word 'natural' in the sense that is it inevitable, is it the nature of human beings psychologically to become something? That is, the becoming something, whatever it be, involves time, naturally. I am this but I will be that. That requires a series of days, weeks or months or years, and during that period one strives to become that. That is, I am violent, one is violent, one will attempt to become free of violence, and so on. And after achieving freedom from violence what is there more to achieve? That is the eternal demand of human beings to achieve, become something psychologically, inwardly. If one examines, each one of us, deeply, what is it we are trying to become? More enlightened? To achieve heaven? To achieve in the Buddhist sense Nirvana? Or Hindu sense, Moksha? What is it each one of us wants to achieve? One thinks this is an important question to ask. Is there anything to achieve? We are predisposed to the concept of becoming something, inwardly. That is, we have carried over the same mentality of becoming something in skill, in technological knowledge, in achieving certain status, we have carried that same mentality to the psychological field. I wonder if we are aware of all this.
If one is aware of this, what is it we are trying to become? What is it deeply we are trying to achieve? And each achievement is separate from all other achievements. It is isolated achievements. I am poor inwardly and I want to be rich inwardly. The richness consists in achieving knowledge, in overcoming conflict. So I am always struggling to become what I project - right? - what thought projects, that which is not. And one is trying to become that which is not. Right? And this achievement is based on the principle of reward and punishment. The reward is to achieve, to come to a point where one can say 'I have got this'. And punishment is in not achieving what is projected, which is pain, in which there is a sense of lack of fulfilment, pain and depression, and all the consequences of so-called failure. In this process we are caught.
Please, we are together co-operating in the investigation, examination of this question. The speaker is not stating something which is not actual. We are examining. Please don't accept what the speaker says. That's the first principle. One must have a sense of questioning, doubt, enquiry, scepticism so that we can both of us together investigate why human beings have become what they are, living in eternal conflict, endless wars, terrorism, all the rest of it. Outwardly we have made perhaps what may be called progress, from the horse-drawn carriage to the jet. That is called progress and we apply the same attitude, same way of thinking that I am this, I will be that. It has taken many centuries to move, evolve from a bullock cart to the present transportation. And man has said, 'I am this but I will take centuries to become that'. All this implies time. Right? Time as evolution. And what is time? It is important to understand the nature of time, not only by the sunrise and the sunset, the evening, the night and the morning, time by the clock, and also we have psychological time: 'I am this, I must be that'. And we also say society is this, with all the terrible things that are going on, the hatreds, the violence and all that, and it will take time to change the condition of man. Right? Again we are caught in that movement of time.
So we are talking about together, I am not telling you, please bear in mind that we are putting into words what you are obviously, if you are interested, if you are serious, we are considering together the nature of time, because we live by time. Hope is time, the future which promises something or other is time. The remembrance of the past is time. One will require knowledge in order to act properly. So the accumulation of knowledge is in the field of time, and as knowledge is never complete it is also it goes with ignorance. So this whole process, outwardly and inwardly, we have accepted as a movement in evolution, in becoming something. Right?
Now, as we said the other day, intelligence has no cause, as love has no cause. And we said time also is the cause and the movement of the effect. That is also time. The time may be a second or many years. The cause and the effect. The movement of the cause to bring about effect is time. Right? So where there is a cause there is time. Right? Please, this is important because we are going to go into the question whether certain conditioning of man, can those conditions require time at all, to be free of (inaudible) - you understand? We are asking: human brain is conditioned, mechanical, repetitive, it is conditioned that way and that condition has been brought about through evolution, which is time, and whether time, if we proceed along that way, living in this constant time there is no radical change. It is a continuity of what has been - the process of that will go on. But we are asking together - I am not the speaker is not asking, you are asking, if one may point out - can this condition of man, which is the result of time, which has a cause, and the effect is what we are, and if we continue in the same pattern, modified, it will be the same line. What has continuity is a process of time.
So, can the condition of man be transformed without time? You understand? You understand the question? I am conditioned, as born in a certain culture, with certain religious dogmas, superstitions, realities, and the way of life that has conditioned the mind, the brain. And there are those who assert that conditioning can never be changed, they can be modified, they can be somewhat, like living in a prison make the prison rather nice. And we are questioning together whether that condition can be transformed, end, without time. Right? We are going into it, we are not asserting a thing. We are together investigating if you are aware of all this, and exercising your brain, not your romantic feelings and activities, but your capacity to think. We are not telling you what to think but how to think, which is quite different.
As we said too, where there is a cause, that very cause brings about its own end. The cause of anger, violence and so on, there is a cause for it. When there is the discovery of that cause the effect can be radically changed. Right? I am lonely, which is a terrible fear and anxiety and ache, and the effect of that is isolation, more and more isolation. The cause of loneliness, if one can discover it, that the very ending of the cause is the ending of loneliness. Right? Because I have discovered the cause. I have discovered that I have tuberculosis and it can be cured, they have modern medicines that can cure it. So one must discover the cause of this sense of separateness which brings about such deep isolation which is called loneliness. Right? Please, go into this.
What is it to be lonely? In that feeling of loneliness, which is deep isolation from all outward and inward relationship, what is the cause of that, this sense of being utterly without any relation to anything. You all know this, perhaps. You may be married, you may have children, you may have lots of friends, position and all the rest of it but there is this deep element, see it in man, that is so desperately alone. Please, what is the cause of it? The explanation by the speaker is not the fact. Explanations are never the fact. Descriptions are never the real. The word is not the thing. So please do not be carried away by the word, by the description or by the explanation. It is like looking at the movement of the river in a picture, in a painting, which is entirely different from the actual beauty of a river that is in full flow. So we are asking the cause of it.
How does one look at this question? How does one enquire into this question? Do you exercise thought to enquire? Please understand. Is thought the instrument of enquiry into such a problem? Thought being, as we went into it the other day, it's limited because it is the outcome of knowledge which is limited, and knowledge can never be complete about anything. So thought is always limited. Now, do you, do we enquire into this question by the exercise of thought? If you exercise thought, obviously thought being limited in itself, fragmented in itself, can only discover the fragmentary causes, not the actual cause. You follow? Right? So, if one does not exercise thought, then is there, another instrument? We are used to this one single instrument. That is our conditioning. That is our education. And that is the only instrument we have. And we discover that instrument is not cannot delve into something much more profound. Right? Be sure, be absolutely clear on this point.
Man, through fear, uncertainty, confusion, isolation, thought has created an idea called god, invented it. God certainly has not created us. If he has, we would be extraordinary human beings. We are not. The cause of this invention is one's fear, one's hope. That is the cause of this effect. So if one is enquiring into something that demands not the instrument of thought, then what is the instrument? You understand - the question is clear, is it not? You are putting this question, not the speaker only. Therefore it is your question. And you have to answer it. Thought is not the instrument.
Then we are asking is the other instrument, if it exists, is it the invention of thought, which may be unconscious? You are following? I know thought cannot examine the whole universe, the extraordinary order of the universe, and thought cannot examine it because thought itself - limited. So, when I say thought is limited and cannot possibly examine that which is limitless, then I am asking, is there a way of observation which is not the instrument of thought? Can I observe - observe this problem of deep loneliness, this sense of total isolation, with all its consequences? Where there is isolation there must be conflict. Where there is isolation there must be various forms of antagonism, hatred, inevitably leading to war. So what is the instrument, which is not thought, which is not unconsciously invented by thought, and you say, 'Yes, that is it'? So one must be very clear that it is not the activity of remembrance - right? - which is thought. Are we meeting each other?
So we have to go into the question of observation. That may be the instrument. We are not saying that is the instrument, because then it becomes dogmatic and perhaps you will accept it, then it has no meaning. But to enquire, which is only possible when you when one sees for oneself thought is limited, utterly. And that thought is not your thought or my thought - thought under all circumstances always is limited. Then only you can put the other question: is there another instrument which is not put together by thought? You understand? Only when you have seen the reality, the truth that thought is limited, then you can go to something else. But if you are confused then you will be playing a game. Is this clear? If we are clear on this point then what is observation? Is there an observation without the word, without association, which is remembrance, which is the chain of incidence, remembrances and activity, the chain of it, is there an observation without the past? Is that possible? You understand? Is it possible to observe the whole world as it is, not from any bias, not from the point of view of an American, British, Russian, an idealist, a terrorist, which are all a bias, whether it is historical bias, or bias brought about through reason, it is still a bias. Can one observe this world, this society around us and therefore myself, which is my loneliness - you understand? - is there an observation without the past? The past being the word, the past being the accumulated memory of experience, which is knowledge. Is that possible? To look as though you are looking at the world around us, the society, for the first time, afresh. Surely it is possible, isn't it? To look at the speaker - I am taking that as an example - without all the reputation, all that nonsense, to look, not at the figure, not at the form, but what he is saying, which means you have to listen, to listen not only with the sensual ear but the inward ear, to see whether it is false or true. So this listening requires attention, not translate what you hear to please yourself or to accommodate it to the past memories, but to listen without any single movement of thought. To listen.
When you listen to sound, like music, it is a sound. Can you listen to that sound without naming who wrote it, who composed it? Just to listen. There is great beauty in that listening, without any form of association. That means you are listening to it for the first time. Or when you go to Greece and see the Parthenon for the first time it has an extraordinary significance, you want to kneel to it, the beauty, the colour against the sky, the whole immense effort of the Grecian civilization. So in the same way can we look at this problem without the word, without the association, without any form of a relationship? Can I look at myself, which is lonely? - not that there is loneliness and I feel it. Or, loneliness is me. I have brought about this loneliness by self-centred activity, by pursuing my own desires, ambitions, greed and all the rest of it.
So, the outward activity of isolation and the inward activity of separateness has brought about this. Right? That is the cause. Can I observe the cause - not I - is there an observation of the cause without wanting to transform it, change it? You understand? Just to observe it, as you would observe the flow of that river. You cannot change the depth of that water, the purity of that water, the swiftness of that water. So can you observe the cause? - the cause being the whole way of our life. If you can so observe it, that very observation which is the ending of the cause and therefore the effect which is loneliness is gone. This is not just words. You have to work at it, look at it.
So from that we should begin to enquire together into the question of fear, because that is one of our major problems in life. Fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of the present. Fear of public opinion, fear what somebody will say, fear of being exposed, that which you have done in the past, fear of death, fear of not fulfilling, fear of not being loved, and fear of loving. We all know the various forms of fear. Fear I might lose my wife or the girlfriend, what she will say about me. Expand all this. Fear of having no pleasure, physically or psychologically. Fear of being lonely, fear of getting hurt; getting hurt you want to hurt another, and we carry this hurt all through life. And the consequence of that hurt is building a wall round oneself not to be hurt any more, resisting any form of relationship, therefore out of that, bitterness, anxiety, loneliness, depression, agony. And there is the fear of not becoming. So it is like a vast tree with many branches, with many, many leaves full of chattering leaves. And we are concerned with one form of fear or another. One may be concerned only with the fear of death and nothing else. Or one may be involved with thought about the fear of tomorrow. Tomorrow is not just the day after, twenty four hours - the whole movement of tomorrow, which is endless. And the fear of having no significance in life, life has no meaning. It has no meaning as it is, which is perpetual striving after something, conflict, misery, unhappiness and all that.
So fear has multiple forms. It is not your fear or my fear, it is fear. You may translate it in one way, express it in a different way, and I or another may describe it differently, but basically it is fear. Right? And naturally most human beings, at least sane, rational, healthy human beings say we must end fear, not merely cut the branches of fear or tear the pieces, tear the leaves from the branches but rather what is the cause of fear? If one can discover the cause then it can, as we went - where there is a cause there is an ending to the effect. Right? Please, that is a principle, that is a law. Cancer, with all its different varieties, the cause of it they have not discovered it yet, though they have spent billions on it, they will discover it one day and the effect is ended. Right? Please see the significance of this. Where there is a cause with its effect, the cause can come to an end. Right?
So we are now concerned with what is the cause of fear, not your fear of mine, the cause, which is so common to all mankind, which is the ground on which all human beings struggle. So please it is not your fear or mine but fear, of mankind. What is the cause? This is important to discover for oneself because man has carried, lived with fear for millennia upon millennia, he hasn't solved it, he has escaped from it, he has disciplined it, or he has rationalised it, or justified it, but it is there whether it is in the conscious mind or in the deeper levels of the mind. So one must enquire together, we must enquire together what is the cause of it. If you discover it - right? - if you say, 'This is the cause' then hold it. You understand? Like a precious jewel, hold it, look at it. Don't say, 'I must go away'. It's like you have got a marvellous diamond in your hand, a jewel that has its brilliancy. So what is the cause?
We were asking the other day, what is intelligence? We were saying intelligence is not the product of thought, it is not put together by thought. Please, this is very serious. To understand this you will have to go into it, not just see the implications of it. Thought is neither yours or mine, it is thought. Whether you live as a hermit, or as a saint, or as an explorer or a scientist, there is thinking, it may be limited or a little bit more not limited. So thought is never personal. Then thought cannot through struggle, through study, through accumulated knowledge, thought can never have the capacity of that extraordinary thing called intelligence. And we said intelligence has no cause, like love has no cause. If it has cause, if love has a cause then it is not intelligence, obviously. One sees that very quickly. But one doesn't see that where there is cause there is no intelligence.
So we are enquiring intelligently, which is that intelligence which has not a cause, that intelligence is observing - please go carefully into this - into the nature of fear, the root of it. You understand? When thought has no when intelligence has no cause, that intelligence which is observing - right? - I won't tell you, you go on. I will come to it presently. What is the cause of fear? Is it thought? Is it time? Please go slowly into it, enquire. Is it a desire, desire being the freedom from fear? So are we looking at the cause with intelligence, which has no cause - you follow? - or we are trying to make an effort to look, therefore the effort has a cause, because you want to be free from it, you want to live more happily, blah blah, all the rest of it. So can you observe desire, time, thought? They are not separate, they are interrelated, therefore they are one. Right?
So, is that the cause? Fear of death - I am not dead but I will be dead. This interval between the living and the ending. I am not, I will be. The 'will be' may be uncertain. So there is this time is involved in this. I have done something wrong, one is afraid of being exposed of that which is wrong, one is afraid of it, which is time. Desire is more complicated. I do not know if you have time to go into it. Is it desire, time, thought, as one unitary movement that is causing fear? Causing. Effort has a cause, fear has a cause. Intelligence has no cause, love has no cause. Right? Psychologically everything has a cause. I do this because. So that is the cause - desire, thought, time - time being a movement, tomorrow psychologically, therefore it is limited. So these are the may be the factors. We can enlarge it, go into details of the nature of desire, what is desire, perhaps next time we will go into it.
This apparently is the one cause. Though they look separate they are all the same movement, within the same area, within the same field. So that is the cause. Please, I am not telling you - you, yourself, are using your capacity to observe without any bias, without any sense of wanting to suppress fear, or escape from fear, rationalise fear - just observing it. You see the movement, the inward movement of fear, the cause of it. Now when you discover the cause of it, what do you do with it? Now just, please, go into it a little carefully. You have discovered the cause, discovered for yourself, found it, then what is your action, or non-action? We are accustomed, it is our habit, our condition, to do something. I have discovered the cause, I must do something about it, rub it out, forget it, analyse it, tear it to pieces, I must act. Which is again that action has a cause, which is thought saying this is unbearable, I must get rid of it, go beyond it, transmute it, whatever it is. So one has to be aware of that condition of action, wanting to do something about it. Now, who is it that is doing something about it? You understand my question? Surely desire, time, thought, is you. Right? You are not separate from fear. You are fear. You might like to say, 'I can get rid of it', separate yourself from the fact, but your are that. Right? Like you are, if you are violent, perpetually seeking fear, caught in some illusion, you are the enemy of mankind. That is a fact. If you are nationalistic, bound to a certain religion, a certain dogma, you are the enemy of the whole of mankind.
So you are that desire, time and thought. You are that. You are not separate from that. So what happens when there is the realization, the truth of it, not just verbal description of it, verbal explanation of it, but the fact that you are that? And that fear is the root, has its root, root in this. So you are the whole of that. Don't say am I not also, sometimes I have no time, I look at the world afresh, waking up one morning after a deep, dreamless night, wake up in the morning and say, 'What a beautiful lovely feeling to be fresh'. Those mornings are very rare. We can't live on those mornings, which is live on dead memories. But this is a fact. This is the cause. The cause is me. Right? The cause is time, thought, desire and so on, which is the whole composition of my consciousness. The content of that consciousness is the common content of humanity. So it is my enquiry, our enquiry into the nature of fear is not a selfish activity. Please bear this in mind. It is not selfish activity, I want to be free of fear. I am concerned, we are concerned with the human fear, of which you are part.
So we are, when we look at the nature of fear we are considering the whole of human fear. But if you are looking at it as though it were your personal fear then you have to examine why you think it is your personal fear. Then you will find out when you so think, that is limited. And if you like to live it that way naturally you will live that way. Nobody is going to force you. That is what humanity has done, living in separate compartments and fighting each other, destroying each other.
So, this observation has led you to this. Your examination, which is very careful investigation, exploration into the nature of fear. Now can you, can the brain, which is accustomed to escape, which is conditioned to rationalise, which is moulded to avoid and escape to some other form of entertainment, can that brain break the pattern and look without any movement of its past conditioning? This requires your application. Then when you so look, that is, when you give complete and total attention to the cause - you understand? - which we don't, because we want to escape - when you so give when there is complete focussing of your attention on the cause, what happens? That very light of attention dispels the cause, and so there is a total ending of fear.
Don't ask: 'Ah, but occasionally fear comes up again. Can this ending of fear be perpetual?' - you follow how our mind works? That state which I realised when you pointed out, I have captured it for a second, can that second continue? - which is desire, which is time, which is thought. You are back again in the circle. So, you see, our brains are so used to continuity. I have had happiness, it must go on for the rest of my life.
So, to look without any movement of thought. That is, to give complete, total energy to observe the jewel that you have caught, which is the cause. Where there is a cause there is an end to the effect, and to the cause itself, naturally.
We will continue if we may on Tuesday, if you are interested. And if one may point out, you must see the whole of it, not just you have told me about fear, that is not good enough, but you have to see life as a total movement, not a fragmentary movement which you are pursuing. Right, sirs.