What are we seeking?
Can the mind be free of every motive to investigate?
1st Public Talk, Saanen
July 10, 1977
As there are going to be several talks and discussions I think we must begin with - if it is possible - that we should think over together, think together. Which doesn't mean that you accept or reject, or be of a similar mind, but rather in talking over thoughtfully the various problems and questions and the travails of life, and reasoning together, and communicating that reasoning over together, then we will find as we go along, that reason doesn't solve any problems - as it has become so very obvious both politically, economically and socially. Reason has not solved our human problems, nor logic, but we are going to find out together in thinking over together, and so communicating with each other, that there is quite a different approach to all these problems of our life. And we are going to discover it together. Please let's be very clear about this from the beginning. I am not your guru. I hope that is clearly understood from the beginning. That you are not my followers, because those who follow somebody destroy truth. We are not proselytising or convincing you of anything. We are going to reason together, talk over together, investigate together, explore together, and therefore there is no authority, there is no spiritual leader, but together through very careful thinking over together, exploring together, investigating together we shall come upon something that is beyond reason - because reason, as we said, has not solved any of our political, economic, social problems. Reason has also not solved our human problems between two people either. It becomes more and more obvious in a world that is going to pieces, that has become quite insane, quite disorderly, and a dangerous place to live in. So all reason, though up to a point we must reason together, logically, sanely, holistically, then perhaps we shall be able to find out for ourselves a different state of mind, a different quality of a mind that is not bound by any dogma, by any belief, by any experience, and therefore a mind that is free to observe and through that observation and perception see what exactly is and therefore there is energy to transform 'what is'.
So from the beginning, please, let us work together. You are not listening to me. You are listening to the speaker as though you are listening to yourself. And therefore to reason together one must not start from any conclusion, from any belief, from any dogma which conditions the mind so that we cannot reason together. Because I am not a Hindu, nor a Christian, nor a Buddhist, nor any of those things. The speaker is not starting from any conclusion, from any belief, from any experience, therefore from a mind that is free to observe, to learn, to move, to act. And I think such a mind is a compassionate mind, because compassion has no cause, it is not a result. Please understand this. This is very important because we are going to go into this very deeply: that compassion comes when the mind is free. And such compassion has no cause and therefore no effect. But when there is that compassion it brings about fundamental psychological revolution. That is what we are talking about from the beginning to the end.
So we will begin by asking ourselves: what is it that we are seeking? What is it that we are wanting, each one of us? Please this is a serious question, don't brush it aside as though this is easily answered, it is not. What is it that we want? Physical comfort? Physical security? Or, deep down there is a demand, or a desire to be totally secure in all our activities, in all our relationships, to be stable, certain, secure, permanent - is that what we are seeking? We cling to an experience and that gives us a certain quality of stability, a certain sense of identification which gives us a sense of permanency, well being. In that there is security. Right? In a belief there is security. Identification with a particular dogma, conclusion, nation, or an idea, gives it security. And that is why there are so many gurus springing up all over the world offering security: 'Follow me and you will know how to act, how to be secure.' Is that what you are seeking? Please go into it yourself, find out.
If we are old, aged, we find security or happiness in remembrance of things past, in the experience that we have known, in the love that we have had, and we cling to that. The past becomes very important. And if we are young and lithe and cheerful we are satisfied for the moment, not thinking about the future or the past. And gradually youth slips into old age, and begins the trouble - the desire to be secure, the anxiety of uncertainty, not being able to depend on anything or anybody, and yet demanding, desiring deeply security, to have something to cling to. Don't you do that? If you are really deeply honest you are bound to come to that perception.
Please may I again remind you all, if I may, this is not an entertainment: this is not something that you come for on a Sunday morning to listen to somebody oriental and say, 'Good Lord, what is he talking about? Is he a mystic, is he this or that' - you know, all that blah. And also, if I may point out very carefully that this is a serious gathering. For me at least what we are talking about is very, very serious. One has spent over fifty years at this, and it would be a pity if you are not responsible for yourself and for the world, and are merely satisfied superficially and live for the day and are not concerned for tomorrow. So this is not an entertainment: this is not something ideological which you accept or deny; but together in the very process of thinking one becomes serious, in the very process of observation, reasoning, thinking logically, objectively you become inevitably very, very serious. And that is the purpose, if I may use that word, of these meetings: not exchanging one set of ideas for another, or rejecting one guru and accepting another, or trying to find a new experience, and if you are not able to find that experience be disappointed. We are together seriously going into the problems of our daily life with all its misery, confusion, uncertainty. So please be responsible, not be casual.
So we are asking: what is it that human beings seek - you as a human being, who is the total summation of all humanity - you understand? You are the summation of all humanity, whether they live in India, Russia, China or in America or here. You are the representative of every human being. And when you realise that it becomes tremendously important and responsible. But most of us don't want to recognise that because we don't want to be responsible. So if I may say again that we are together as human beings trying to find out deeply what it is that we are seeking, what is it you want. You understand my question? The world about us is very uncertain, it is becoming more and more insane, dangerous, violent. You know what is happening. People are being killed casually for the fun of it. You have read all about it, you know all about it. Politics has not solved our problems, has not put an end to this human violence, nor any religion either. On the contrary religions have been tremendously responsible for killing millions of people. You know all this, I don't have to go into the history of mankind, you know it very well, if you read at all.
So, as one observes, thought, reason, logic, though necessary, have not solved our human problems. And if they have not, then what is the solution for all this? So in asking that question: what is the solution for all this? - one inevitably comes to 'What is it I, as a human being, really recognising that I am the world, what is it essentially I want?' - because I represent the world - you understand? Every human being is responsible, every human being is the whole of mankind, because if you go to India they think like you, they worry, they are miserable, unhappy, sorrowful, poverty, degradation, which exists all over the world, the same phenomena. So you are like every other human being, whether you like it or not. So in finding out what you want then we can proceed.
Is it that you desire essentially, deeply, irrevocably, you are concerned to find out if you want security, a sense of being identified with something, an idea, a person, a group, a conclusion that will give you tremendous satisfaction, and you say, 'Well, I have come, I have reached, I have gained, I know'? You understand my question? So we'll begin to find out slowly, carefully, if you desire satisfaction in security, whether that security be in a person, in an experience, in a conclusion, or in a romantic idealisation as god, then we must examine logically, sanely if there is such a thing as security. You understand my question? Can I go on?
We want security. Every child, every boy demands security. And because parents, society doesn't give them security, nor education, they become violent - what is happening in the world, how the youth is going to destroy itself. You see all this. So they must have security, both physiological as well as psychological. You understand my question? Are you following all this, or am I talking (laughs) to a wall?
So are we seeking psychological security, which may destroy physiological security, and if you are seeking physiological security then psychological security becomes unnecessary. So we must find out what it is we are seeking.
I pause because - I can go on talking, but there must be pauses so that you and I can communicate with each other both verbally and non verbally. Because if you are thinking along the same lines communication becomes extraordinarily easy, we understand each other instantly. But we may not want to examine closely our psychological structure because we are frightened, we don't know where it may lead to. It may destroy everything that we hold as the most essential necessity for a human being. So we'd rather examine superficially and agree and disagree and go away. And that is what the speaker is trying to prevent. You examine very, very closely, hesitantly, knowing that reason, logic, thought has not solved our problems, and yet thought must be used as we are presently going to go into all that business.
So from the beginning we are asking: what is a human being seeking, you? Aren't you really seeking security, both physical as well as psychological? You must have food, clothes and shelter otherwise you can't function. Whether you function in a community, or in a chaotic society, you must have a certain kind of security, which gives a sense of wellbeing from which you can begin to think, observe and go into all that. And also one demands, probably much more deeply, psychological security. One may not have physical security but psychological security becomes extraordinarily important - doesn't it? Have you not noticed it in yourself how deeply the craving for psychological security is in our relationships, in our action, in our attitude towards life, in our experience, how we hold on to our experience, because that gives us tremendous sense of security?
So we have to examine closely whether there is psychological security at all. Please, if there is no psychological security will a human being go insane? You understand? Will he become totally neurotic because he has no security - you understand? - psychologically. And therefore he becomes neurotic and probably the majority of human beings are fairly neurotic. So we have to go and find out for ourselves whether you want psychological security. And what do you mean by the word 'security'? When we say, 'I am secure with my wife' - or with my girlfriend, or with my ideas and conclusions, or as a Communist, as the Catholics, Protestants and the Hindus, all the rest, they are secure in their belief. Right? They have no fear because they cling to this. And when you begin to investigate, or question them or reason with them they stop at a certain point, they won't examine further because it is too dangerous, because they feel they are being threatened - if you have talked to a Communist, Catholic, anybody, they go up to a certain point and refuse to go further. Probably you are doing the same and then communication ceases. You understand? And that which your mind clings to - whether it be a person, an object or an idea, or a conclusion, or something that you have deeply experienced - have they any significance, have they any deep significance at all? I will show you what I mean.
If I cling to my particular form of experience, and that gives me an enormous satisfaction and I cling to that, what is then my relationship with another? You follow? He clings to his experience, or his belief, or his particular idea, so there is division, naturally. You understand this - obviously. You follow this? So communication ceases completely. Right? So are you doing that - are you blocking yourself because you are afraid to examine that to which you are attached, to that which you are clinging? And therefore thought, logic, reason will not break through. You understand my point? You have got it? Right, may I go on?
Look: if I am deeply convinced of my Buddhism, or Zen, or certain forms of meditation, convinced and hold on to them, and you think something entirely different, where is the communication between us two? You understand? That is what is taking place in the world: either you are a Communist, or a European Communist, or a Capitalist, or a Catholic - you follow? - division, division, division. Because each human being clings to his particular dogma, to his particular conditioning. Right? Are you doing that? Sorry to bring it home! Then if you are doing that, you may reason, think logically up to a certain point and therefore you are incapable of breaking through to a different dimension altogether. Do you follow?
So we are asking, knowing that all human beings, practically the whole of humanity, clings, is attached to some form of an idea, to some form of thought which has created a belief, to some form of an experience which is a reaction to 'what is', and he clings to that. So generally throughout the world this is the phenomena. Right? If you are deeply convinced of Communism - or rather Marxism and Leninism - then you are stuck in a groove. Right? You won't investigate anything else, and so on and on and on. So does that give security? Does thought - please follow this - does thought, which has created all these beliefs, dogmas, experiences, divisions, can thought give security? You understand my question? Because you function with thought, all your activity is based on thought, horizontal or vertical - whether you are aspiring to great heights it is still the movement of thought vertically. Or if you are merely satisfied to bring about a social revolution and so on, so on, so on, you are still the horizontal movement of thought. Right? So does thought fundamentally, basically, give security psychologically? You are getting my point? I can go to my guru - I haven't got any, thank god, but I may go to a guru: the action of going to a guru is based on thought, thought hoping that he will give me some kind of security in this uncertain world; he will lead me to some kind of happiness, to some kind of enlightenment. All that is the movement of thought. Right? And I am asking: does thought give security - psychologically? Right? And yet thought has its place, but when thought assumes that it can bring about a psychological security then it is living in illusion. You are getting my Isn't it? Because look: if you believe in Jesus and all the rest of it, it is the movement of thought, isn't it? And thought can create every kind of romantic illusion. Right? And when the mind psychologically seeks in the dogma of the church, or non-church, or whatever it is, it is the structure of thought. And thought is essentially - what (laughs) - is the movement of the past, through the present - isn't it - modified. Please go into it, you will see it. Thought is the response of memory. Right? Memory is the result of experience, stored up as knowledge, which is all the past. Right? No? Somebody contradict me, for god's sake!
So thought, which is the response of memory, knowledge, experience, stored up in the brain as knowledge, memory, that response is always moving from the past. Do you Now is there security in the past? You are following? Please use your reason, logic, all your energy to find out. Is there security in the past, which is tradition - tradition may be one day old, or ten thousand years old, it is still tradition, which is the past - and any activity of thought, which is the essence of the past, can that give security? You have got my point? Bene? Go into it, sir, think it out. Our religions are based on the past - organised religions, their rituals, dogmas, and all the circus that goes on with it, meaningless, is essentially a tradition, which is the past. And the thought is seeking - see what is happening - is seeking security in the thing it has created itself. Right? I wonder if you see that?
Mankind has created through thought the idea: god. I am not discussing whether there is god or not god, we will go into that much later. Thought wanting ultimate security has created a thing called god. And humanity clings to that idea. The other day the speaker tried to get a passport for a certain country, a part of a certain country, and one of the questions asked was: 'Do you believe in god?'. That is respectable, safe, then you belong to the gang! So thought has created it and thought seeks in that which it has created security. Follow the sequence of it. That which it has created, in that it seeks security. And that security is in the past. Right? Because thought is the past, though it may project in the future and say there is the future of god, I am going to attain godhood, but that that movement of thought has created it. And thought is the essence of the past. I wonder if you see all this! So you are seeking security in the past, in the things that you have created. So one asks: is there security in the past? You are following? Go into it step by step, you will find out for yourself. Is there security in the past? Or recognising there is no security in the past thought then projects an idea, an idealistic state or an idealistic mind and finds security in that, in the future. It is still the movement of the past. Right?
So is there security in the movement of thought at all? Now I have explained it. You've got it? So far we have reasoned together. Right? And we are asking: is there security in the very things which we hold together as dear, holy, etc., which are all the movements of thought which is the essence of the past, is there in thought total security? Right? Hai capito? You understand? If there is not, then what? You understand my question? I have throughout my life - suppose - a human being, throughout his life he has depended on thought and the things that thought has put together as being holy, unholy, moral, immoral and all the rest of it, and to that, a human being, he holds all that as most essential. You come along and say, now look, all that is the movement of the past - after having reasoned with him logically and so on. And he says why not, what is wrong with holding with the past because thought is the past, he acknowledges it, and, I'll hold to it, what is wrong? Go on. That is, I have had an experience in my relationship with you as a human being, and another human being, I have had an experience with you, and to that experience I cling, which is memory - right? - which is the past. So what happens to our relationship? I am living in the past. Right? And obviously a relationship is only in the present. Right? No? If I am living in the past, and you are living in the past, where is our relationship?
So some thoughtful people realise this, have gone into this, then their problem is: if thought and all the things, however noble, ignoble, the churches, the temples, the mosques, all that, whatever it has created is the result of the past; and when the human mind lives in the past and holds to the past, then it is incapable of living, or perceiving what is truth. Right, isn't it? Right, you admit that even. So if there is no security in thought - and there must be security, otherwise you are lost - if there is no security in thought then what? Do you face that problem as intensely, as vitally, as urgently now? Or you are just thinking about it? Are we meeting each other somewhere?
Sorry, if I am sitting on a platform, it is only for convenience so that everybody can, we can see each other. But sitting on the platform doesn't give one authority. Right? So don't look to me to answer it for you. I'll answer it much later, but we must go through (laughs) the whole phenomena of thinking actively together.
Why do you say in thought there is no security? - if you say it. Do you understand my question? We have come to a certain point in our dialogue - a dialogue being a conversation between two people. We have come to a certain point in our dialogue, which is: we recognise, we see or we think we understand that thought, with all the things it has created, the most extraordinary technological things - the missiles, have you heard about the missiles? (Laughs) - and what the Russians have done, and so on, so on, so on, the most technological, the most extraordinary things, and technologically human beings are destroying the earth, polluting the lakes, the rivers - right? - all that is happening - and thought also has created the so-called religious structure, the popes, the anti-popes, you know, what is going on. And we say, 'Yes, I see that, and I recognise logically that in that there is no security because when that is questioned there is fear, therefore there is no security'. Right? So when we say, do you see that, what do we mean by that word 'see'? Do you understand it? Is it a logical understanding, a verbal understanding, a linear understanding, you know, or an understanding which is so profound that that very understanding breaks down without your effort, that very understanding breaks down the whole movement of thought? Do you understand what I am talking about? Am I explaining it? Or shall I go over it again?
I listen to you very carefully, what you are saying. So far logically, reasonably, without too many details, you have gone into this. I have listened to you, that thought is the past, thought is the essence of the past, and thought has created all this world, both the technological world and the so-called religious world, moral world and all that, and we try to find in that psychological security. That security is the result of thinking. Right? And you ask: is there in that structure, or in the very process of thinking, in the movement of thought, is there security? Right? You may say, yes. Or you may say, there isn't. If you say there is, then it is obvious you are not thinking logically to the very end because people are breaking away from one form of conditioning - Catholic, Protestant, Communist, Leninism, and going off to another conditioning - which is the same. It is like a Catholic becoming a Buddhist, or a Hindu, which they are trying to become, which is so absurd, and they remain in their isolated fields. Right? And therefore there is no communication between the two. And when there is no communication there is division. And when there is division there must be conflict. It is inevitable. Right? And if you say, 'Well that is life, conflict is necessary, violence is necessary, brutality, wars, every ugliness, torture is necessary,' then that is all right, for you. You understand? If you say yes, that is the end result. But if you say thought is not the answer, then what do you mean by saying 'I understand, thought does not solve this problem'. When you say 'I understand, thought is the essence of the past and therefore whatever it does is still in the past' - right? - whatever it does, and therefore in that there is no security. We have gone into that. And we are saying, when you say, 'I understand what you are saying', what do you mean by that word 'understand'? That is what I am talking about. What do you mean by saying 'I understand'? Do you mean you understand the English words? Right? Because you and I perhaps speak the same language. If I spoke in French and you say you understand, is it an understanding of the words, the meaning of the words, the explanation of the word and therefore you are understanding at a very superficial level? Right? Or when you say 'I understand', you mean you actually see, observe the truth of what thought is. You understand? You actually feel, taste, observe in your blood as it were, that thought, whatever it creates, has no security, then you and the speaker can commune. But if you say, 'Well, let's remain on the surface', we will remain on the surface but then there is no understanding. You get my point? Am I making myself clear?
Look sir: when I say, 'I love you', you understand very deeply if I really love you, don't you? There is instant emotional response. And with a very complex problem like thought, when you say you understand, is there an equal total response to it? When somebody says 'I love you' - you follow? (laughs) - heavens are open! And in the same way we are asking when you say 'I understand what you are saying', is there an equal burst of energy, total energy? Or you are still saying 'Well, explain to me some more, let us think about it much further, give me several days, let me listen to you for the next week, another year, then I will begin to understand' - is that your position? If it is, then you will never understand because you are postponing your direct challenge. It is like the house is on fire and you say, 'Well, please I am going away, you go' - you know, how your house is burnt. I wonder if you see all this.
So you cannot but respond instantly. When I say, 'I love you', you respond instantly, don't you? That is, if you say I like your love. (Laughs) Then you respond instantly. In the same way when you see that thought does not give security at all, whatever its creation is, the object, the person, the idea, whatever it is, in that there is no security, when you see that wholly, then what takes place? You understand my question?
If I see, observe, logically have thought out, and deeply comprehend in my blood, not just intellectually, wholly, that all nationalities are a danger - which doesn't mean I accept Communism, or Brezhnev (laughs) - is a danger because it divides people, I see that completely with all my blood, with all my being, then there is no problem, I have dropped it. But if I see security in my nationality and cling to that, however logically you may point out the irrationality of it, I will still hold it. So are we dealing with irrational people - right? - neurotic people, or with reasonable, somewhat sane people? You must be somewhat sane - somewhat, because you are here. Right? I don't say you are totally sane, perhaps you will be at the end of the talks! (Laughter)
Questioner: Una speranza.
Krishnamurti: Come? Una speranza. One hopes! (Laughs) Sorry.
So when we say 'I understand', either it is verbal, or real. You see the truth of it and therefore you are free of it. So the seeing the truth of it is the essence of intelligence. Right? I wonder if you see that. Intelligence is not reason, logic, the very careful dialectical explanation, that is not intelligence. That is merely the exposition of thought in various forms. And thought is never intelligent. If it was, our world would be different. So the perception of the truth is intelligence. And in that intelligence there is complete security, because that intelligence is not yours or mine, that intelligence is not conditioned because we have finished with all that, because we said thought in its very movement creates conditions. When you understand that movement that very understanding is intelligence. And in that intelligence there is security, from that there is action. Did you get some of this? Are you like that? Have you got that intelligence? Not 'got' it - is there that intelligence taking birth in you, like a child? If not, what is the point of your sitting there and listening to this poor chap!
So we will talk about this question in different ways, in different fields, like fear, pleasure, sorrow, death, meditation, and all that, but the essence of this is this: that thought is the movement of the past, therefore of time, and therefore it is measurable. And that which is measurable can never find what is immeasurable, which is truth. And that can only take place when your mind sees actually the truth that whatever thought has created, in that there is no security and that very observation of that is intelligence. And when there is that intelligence then it is all finished. Then you are out of this world, though you are living in it, trying to do something, in it you are completely an outsider. And our question is during the next six talks and gatherings and so on; is it possible in this dialogue between you and the speaker to awaken this tremendous intelligence? That is the function of the speaker, to awaken this intelligence. And if you don't want it, don't sit there - want it in the sense as you want food, when you want sex, it is a tremendous thing. In the same way you have to find out with all your energy, with all your total being to see if there is this intelligence in each one of us. Right?