What is correct action?
Is there a way of living completely free from pressure?
4th Public Discussion, Ojai, California
April 13, 1978
Krishnamurti: What shall we talk about this morning? You are very quick!
Questioner: May I ask you when there is looking during the day what prevents the attention from being total enough to end the me completely?
K: When one observes why is it not possible to observe totally during the day.
Q: And end the ‘me’ completely.
K: And bring to an end the 'me', the 'I', completely.
Q: You have often referred to yourself as the speaker, but last Tuesday it seemed you weren’t even bothered by referring to Krishnamurti as ‘he’. Could we examine how language affects the development of ego?
K: Could you examine the language which cultivates the ego; you referred to yourself as the speaker and on other occasions, 'I', is that cultivation of the 'I'.
Q: Will you please speak about meditation and what is the relation of intuition to insight?
K: Could you talk about meditation and the relationship between insight and intuition.
Q: I think I am going to ask what I asked on Tuesday: could we go into the question of living and acting with integrity in this human desert we have created? Living and acting with integrity in the human desert we have created.
K: Is it possible to act with integrity and what do you mean by that word 'integrity'.
Q: And the problems and pressures involved in doing so in the human society we have now, which we have created.
K: How can one act with integrity in a society in which we have to live.
K: Right, sir.
Q: When I find myself in negative emotions like fear and resentment, how best can I get out of them?
K: How am I to be free myself from negative emotions. I don't know what negative emotions are, so let's go into it.
Q: You have often spoken of the metaphor of jumping away from a car that is coming at you. I have difficulty with this because I feel that instead I am in a veritable fortress of conditioning which would place me into the car in the metaphor which is racing towards a precipice and how do I get out of the car? The point being if you are in the fortress of conditioning looking out, how do you see clearly enough to get out of the fortress or leap from the car?
K: You have used the metaphor, jumping away from a car which is coming towards you and the danger of a precipice, is it possible - I am not quite clear, sir, of your question, I am trying to understand it - is it possible to be equally perceptive of the danger of conditioning.
Q: To see it clearly enough when you are entrenched in it.
K: To see the danger clearly enough and jump away from it. (Laughs) Quite.
Q: Could we go into that silence that you talk about that is indescribable you write because I can see my noise.
K: I didn't quite catch that, sir.
Q: Can you go into the silence that you write about.
K: Ah, could we go into the question of what it means to be silent. Quite.
Q: Could we go into the difference between intensity and desire?
K: Could we examine intensity and desire, what is the relationship between them.
Q: Or the difference between them.
K: Yes, yes, between them. Now just a minute. Yes, please, you can ask all the questions you want, but I don't know where it is going to lead us.
Q: When does the need to secure psychological security for oneself in any form, come totally and completely, to an end?
K: Is there, if I understand it rightly, is there complete and total security psychologically and physically. Is that the question?
Q: The need to secure that security.
K: The need to have that security.
Q: Will that end?
K: Yes. Can that end. The need to have complete and total security both physiologically as well as psychologically, can that end.
Q: I want to continue something you were talking about last time: you talked about is it possible to look at one’s habits without direction, without wishing to change, and not compare oneself to another, and yet there is this desire to transform oneself which I find becomes an entrenched idea in the mind, a goal. And then the question of technique comes up, or how, so despite all the efforts again I find myself looking towards the ‘how’, the technique, and again looking in a direction. So I hope you’ll go into that.
K: Yes, sir, I understand. You have heard the question, need I repeat it?
K: All right. Now may I - just a minute, I am not asking you to stop asking questions, I don't know which of these questions we are going to ask, there are so many of them.
Q: Meditation, insight and intuition.
K: What were you going to say, sir?
Q: I was going to ask if right action is not according to a blueprint how can one ascertain if what one is doing is correct?
K: What is right action. Yes?
Q: What is implied in being a total human being?
K: What does it mean, or what is the significance of being totally a human being. Now which of these questions would we take?
Q: What is right action.
K: What is right action. Could we take that?
Q: Mr Krishnamurti, you speak sometimes of choiceless awareness and in other words one should be totally aware and even if one is born – what if one is born into slavery, and for example, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and these people, and Cesar Chavez, if they hadn’t stood up and thought, in a sense, their people would be still in a much more unrespected place.
K: I understand. So what is the question?
Q: The question is (laughs): how can one be aware and help people without conflict?
K: Yes, could we talk over together the question which may cover all the other questions, what is correct action, given all the circumstances, what society is, what religions are, what other people have said and so on, so on, what is correct action in our life, living in modern society? Could we discuss that?
K: Yes, sir, what were you going to say?
Q: Please cover why we do not take right action. Why are we so confused?
K: Yes, can we take that question, which might cover all other questions: what is correct action, could we go into that? Do you want to discuss that? Yes sir?
K: I can't hear you, sir. Could we go into this question of what is correct action. Would that be worthwhile discussing and is that what you are really interested in? Could we go into that?
K: Right. When we use the word 'correct', don't we mean accurate, an action which is not only correct for the day or in certain circumstances, correct right throughout one's life. Would you agree to the definition or the expression of that word 'correct', right, accurate action throughout life, not under varying circumstances - could we go into that? Is that what you want to discuss? Please tell me, I don't know what...
K: Good! (Laughs) Does accurate action depend upon opinion? Your opinion and another's opinion, or the opinion of a scientist or a person who is very well read, full of knowledge. When we talk about correct action is it a specialised action? Please, this is a discussion, a dialogue. Is it an action not based on a conclusion: you may have your own particular conclusions and another may have another, his own, and therefore each conclusion and acting according to that conclusion may be incorrect action. Or, your experience tells you what is correct action, another's experience, perhaps different, tells him, that is the correct action. So we are asking does correct action depend on knowledge, opinion, choice, experience?
Q: You said, is it a specialised action.
K: Is action dependent on a specialised attitude, specialised knowledge, as a scientist, as a businessman, as a psychologist, as a religious man and so on, does it depend on specialised knowledge?
K: I am asking, I am not saying yes, or no. Does it depend on opinion?
Q: Sir, I am trying to get to action which does not conflict with other’s actions. Or I may have my own feeling of what is right but then someone else will have a feeling what he thinks is right.
K: That's right, that's what we are saying, sir.
Q: So therefore there will be conflict if we both hang on to what we both think is right.
K: That's what we said. So we are asking, does correct action depend on conclusions, yours or another's, opinions, judgements, evaluations and conclusions. You understand? Does it depend on those?
Q: It does from the physical standpoint like the act of driving a car, for example.
K: According to one's genes? According to one's character - character being the cultivation of certain types of resistance to a particular society and so on.
Now please just listen, let's find out. I am not saying this is correct, or this is correct, I want to find out, if I may, as a human being I want to find out what is correct action throughout life. Throughout life not just for one or two years and then slip back and so on. I want to find out for all my life so that correct action implies no conflict, no contradiction, no imposition. There is no correct action under pressure. So one must find out what is correct action. How will you find out? So we are asking, does it depend on time, culture, environment, what other people have said, including the greatest religious teachers, if there are any, and so on, so on, so on. So what is - now wait a minute, let me put the question differently. How do you approach this question?
Q: We don’t know what correct action is.
Q: We won’t know until the time comes.
K: Wait, my lady. There is the question, please just listen. I am not asking you for or pressing you or pressurising you to listen, you have asked a question: you said, what is correct action in life. How do you approach this question? You understand? How you approach it will dictate the discovery of right action. So how do you as a human being approach this question?
K: Openly? What do you mean by that word 'openly'?
Q: Realise we don’t know anything at all about correct action.
K: So we say, I don't know what is the correct action, so my approach is, I don't know. Is that it?
Q: We may know what incorrect action is.
K: We may know what is incorrect action. Do you? No, please, you haven't answered my question. Forgive me, sir. How do you approach such an enormous, complex question of what is correct action? That lady said, openly.
Q: May be we could explore what is action.
K: We are coming to that, madame. How do you approach either action or correct action, what is your venue into it?
Q: With intelligence.
K: With intelligence. What do you mean by that word? I am not quibbling over words but we must be clear when we use certain words, like 'intelligence', 'open' and so on, that we understand exactly, you and the speaker and others, the meaning of that word 'intelligence'.
Q: Look for the obvious.
Q: What is the obvious?
K: What is the obvious?
Q: How about the need to set a goal through which these actions can ensue.
K: A goal. Are you approaching it with a motive, with an object in view, with a purpose, with a goal?
Q: All goals are set to be broken.
Q: If we had a goal, it will certainly
K: Dictate. Of course. So what is your approach? Look, sir, this is a very, very complex question because if the mind is in contradiction and I am not aware that I am in contradiction and try to answer this question it will be too silly. So I have to find out for myself how, in what manner I come to the question, in what manner I receive the question, in what way I look at that question, because the way I look at it, the way I approach it, if there is a motive, that will dictate, direct my enquiry into it. So how does each one approach this question? Are we aware how we approach it? Are you and I approaching it through some conclusion? Are we approaching it through a particular opinion, fixed idea? If we are, we shall never find out, obviously. So I am asking, shouldn't there be freedom from all this to find out - from prejudice, from conclusion, from opinion, from a belief and so on, so on?
Q: If you approach it with the idea that every thought you have regarding the subject comes from the past.
K: Yes, sir, that's what I am saying. How do you approach it?
Q: I would observe the thoughts that arise.
K: Do it, sir. The thought that arises, will that thought help to bring about correct action?
Q: The observation of the thought is limited.
K: So when one realises thought is limited and exercises thought to find out what is correct action, that action will also be limited. So do we realise that thought is limited and therefore if thought approaches this question then obviously it is limited?
Q: Must we not approach it in silence?
K: Ah, can we approach it with silence - now what do you mean by that word 'silence'?
Q: A quiet heart.
K: A quiet heart.
Q: An empty mind.
K: A mind that is not occupied.
K: Look, please, this is just theories. Are you actually doing it or just throwing out words hoping that it will be correct? You see if I...
Q: You have to develop your intuition.
K: Oh, develop your intuition - what do you mean by that word 'intuition'? You see you are... Would you kindly find out, as this is a very complex question, shouldn't you come to it with freedom to find out? Not offer your opinions, your conclusions, your judgements, your ideas, but come to it with a freedom to find out. Can we do that?
Q: What if there is a judgement or a conclusion that I am aware of, that I can bring to it. To suppress it or put it aside certainly wouldn’t help.
K: Therefore you won't find out what is correct action, will you?
K: Therefore can't one put those aside?
Q: I put them aside but I see they creep up again.
K: No. This is an important question, isn't it? This demands your energy, doesn't it? - to find it. This demands that you are aware of your limited thoughts and so on, so on. So you say, as this is most important to find out, as it is essential to find out, as it is of the greatest necessity, you naturally drop the others. Don't you? If you see this is the greatest importance the others don't play any part - your conclusions, your opinions, your judgements, your beliefs, opinions and so on.
Q: Is it not necessary to really go into it to find out what your opinions are, and your ideas and your beliefs are – is it not necessary to find that out?
K: Oh, if you want to. Is it not necessary, the lady asks (sound of bells) Can we go on in spite of that?
K: All right. The lady asks, is it not necessary to go into the question of why we have opinions, why we always function according to some conclusion, why do we have strong beliefs, all that. Should we examine all that?
K: Why do you have opinions, about politics, about god, about me, about XYZ, why do you have opinions?
Q: Because we are compassionate, and we care. (Sound of bells)
K: Sorry, the bell is stronger. Because we have no compassion we have opinions, is that it?
Q: Because we have compassion therefore we have opinions.
K: Ah! We have compassion therefore we have opinions. What a statement to make: we have compassion and therefore we have opinions!
Q: No, that is not what I said. We have compassion and therefore we care, not that we have opinions, but we are being attentive to the need of the moment because we have compassion.
Q: But how do you form an opinion – that’s the question. Why do we have opinions?
Q: Well, I’m against them. (Laughter)
K: I didn't catch that. (Laughter) I missed that joke.
Q: She said she was against opinions.
Q: Sir, this lady asked, why do we have opinions; and that lady said, I am against opinions. (Laughter)
Q: Opinions could be the illusion of security.
Q: Some people even sell their opinions.
K: Oh, sell their opinions. All the editorials.
Q: Like a flea-market.
Q: Isn’t a judgement an opinion? (Bells stop)
K: Thank god those bells have stopped! (Laughter)
Q: Could we just say that opinions are part of the reality of thought?
K: Would you kindly consider - I am not saying you should but would you kindly consider why your minds are so occupied that you can't look even at this question. You understand? Why you have so many ideas about it: why you should have opinions, why you should not have opinions, it is necessary, compassion, etc, etc. - can't you just listen to the question first? One means by listening, giving attention to the question. You know what you think, you know what you feel, you have your own conclusions, can't you put those aside for a minute, for a few seconds even, and listen to the question itself? What does the question imply? Is there a correct action at all? We want to find out what is correct action, but our minds are so confused, so uncertain, so opinionated we can't even listen to the beastly question.
K: I am afraid I can't hear, madame. Would somebody
Q: She is questioning the word ‘correct’, that perhaps the word itself is a value judgement.
K: Look, madame, we don't know what that word 'correct' means yet, we don't know what action means yet, we have to first listen to the question, not oppose the question, not agree with the question, or deny the question, but first listen to some question that the man has asked. He said, I'd like to find out in my life before I die what is correct action throughout my life - he is asking that.
Q: Sir, if we can listen, truly listen in freedom, there is no question.
Q: What is the question, sir?
Q: He says if we can listen in freedom, there is no question.
Q: You are asking, why are you asking?
K: No, forgive me, sir, I am just asking, if you don't mind: would you listen, please, to the question? That's all.
Q: Can we listen?
K: Apparently you can't. (Laughter) That's a simple fact.
Q: What is listening?
K: What is listening? When your wife or husband or your girl or boy says, 'I love you', do you listen? Or you take it for granted? In the same way, do you listen when a serious question is put about life, which involves what is action, and if there is accurate, true action which has no conflict, which doesn't bring regrets, which doesn't bring fear, etc., etc., he is asking that question. Please listen. And you say: what do you mean by listening? I mean by listening, with attention, with care, with affection, with a sense of responsibility, which doesn't bring guilt - just listen. And apparently that is one of the most difficult things here that we are facing, that we don't listen. Now what will persuade you to listen?
K: No, just, sir, listen to the question.
Q: May I try to answer your question?
K: If you like.
Q: OK. I tried to talk last time about perception and the way you see things; and you talked about a car coming at you and you jumping. I would like to put them together. If you stop and think about the car coming towards you, it’s over, there’s no decision to make, there is no action to make because it’s hit you. If you don’t stop and think because you see what is happening, you jump. So in order to get that action which is correct for the moment for that situation you have eliminated thought. So I suggest that in order to get correct action in any situation you have to eliminate thought, you have to perceive the situation exactly as it is, your own position in the correct perspective of it, not just a part of it but as a section of the whole and then there is only one action that can be made.
K: Madame, I have listened to it, I have listened to your question - your answer - but you haven't, forgive me if I point out, you haven't found out if you are listening to what the speaker has to say. He is asking, do you listen to this question at all, because it is such a - please understand this - it is a very complex question. And if you don't listen even to the question how can you answer anything about it? That's why when somebody says to you, 'I love you' and he means it, he says it with complete - with his heart, with his mind, he feels totally that he loves you, do you listen? Or you say, 'Yes, what do you mean by that?' Or do you argue: do you love me more than the previous girl or man? It is something he wants to tell you and you don't have even the courtesy to listen. I am not bullying you but I am just finding out how impossible this is becoming.
So, sir, what is correct action. If we say, I really don't know, then we can begin. You understand? I really don't know what is correct action in life, because that is such a tremendous question. First of all, what is action? What do we mean by action? The word 'action' means doing, acting in the present, not in the future, but our action is according to some principle, according to some ideal, or according to some standardised memory. Right? I wonder if I So we are never acting. The verb 'to act' means to do, to do means the movement in the present. That the present - is there a present? You understand? Or is the present contaminated by the past? Tremendous things are involved in this question. So I must find out if what I do is based on a remembrance, on some hope, on some desperation, guilt and so on, which is all the past. So can the mind observe action which is springing from this past? That's one problem. And the other is: is one acting according to some ideal, a principle, according to some goal, a purpose, which is in the future, the Utopia? Then I am acting according to something that may be or might be in the future, which is not acting. Right, sirs? So I have to find out if there is an action that is totally in the present, uncontaminated by the past or the future. Is that possible? You understand my question?
Q: Sir, I am saying that the answer to the question is another question: what is now?
K: I am doing that, sir. (Laughs) The present is the now.
Q: So the question answers your question with another question: what is the now? That’s another question. What is now?
K: Is there such a thing as now, what does it mean? It means it must be totally independent of the past and the future, which is, is there a time which is not a movement? I am going into it, sir. There are scientists here, I must be very careful! (Laughter) First of all, time is movement, the movement from the past through the present to the future, if that movement is a movement of time then the now is non-existent. Right? Please understand this. It is non-existent. It's only when time stops as a movement then the present is. You won't understand this. Right, sir? So the now is without time. Do you see? (Laughs) So I see that, I apprehend it, I don't know quite if it is correct, if it is true, I just observe it, I don't say, yes, I've got it. I observe that all our actions, whatever they be, noble, ignoble, personal, communal, every type of action is based either, as it is now, on the past, memory, remembrance, or on some Utopian ideal. Right? This is a fact. So all that implies there is no acting, you are acting according to a principle, to a memory. And I call that non-action. I don't know if you understand this.
K: If I say, I love you, because I remember the pleasures that you have given me, or the comfort, or the encouragement, this or that, is that love? Is love based on a remembrance? So then I have to enquire whether that remembrance which is bringing about action and so on, can that remembrance, the tape that has recorded, stop? All that is implied in this question.
Then also I have to find out what is correct action. What is 'correct'? Is it according to you, or according to him, or according to some divinity, or some idea? I don't know. So I have to say, look, what is correct action? First of all there must be no contradiction in it. Right? It mustn't come out of some fear, it mustn't come out of some pleasure, it mustn't come out of some future hope. So I must find out if my thinking can ever find out what is correct, what is accurate, or is it nothing to do with thought? You follow all this? Perhaps you are not interested in all this. So you see how very complex the question is.
Q: What am I going to look with if I am not looking with my thought?
K: What am I looking if I am not looking with my thought.
Q: What am I going to look with if I don’t look with my thought?
K: What am I going to look with if I don't use my thought. We have been through this.
Q: Another way to put it might be, who is going to act?
K: I am going to show you in a minute, who is going to act.
Q: Every cell in your body acts. Everything acts.
K: All right. Yes, we didn't deny that. Are you really interested in this?
K: I am not sure. (Laughs)
Q: Haven’t we already done something by the time our thoughts know it?
K: I don't know, madame. Personally I have always been interested to find out what is correct action. Because if there is no correct action there is unhappiness, there is regret, there is a kind of saying, 'I wish I hadn't done that, I wish I had done that' and so on, there is constant battle going on if I don't act truly, correctly, accurately. So I have to find out. Now how do I find out? Because it's very clear that thought is limited, thought cannot possibly find out what is correct action because whatever it does is very limited, it's broken up, therefore it never can be correct. Right? This is fairly obvious because you can look at it with reason, with logic, you can see it. So action born of thought can never be correct. You know that is a tremendous thing to discover. Not be told, not - you've said that, please explain it. I'll explain it but for each one of us to discover it, that thought is limited, it is limited because it is based on memory and memory can never be complete. You may gather more and more and more information, more and more facts, but it is still limited. The word 'more' is relative, therefore thought is relative, therefore incomplete, is broken up, is a fragment of something which is based on memory. Right? So thought cannot answer this question. Then what will? You understand? If thought cannot possibly answer this enormous complex question of correct action, correct - what do we mean by correct, what do we mean by accurate, true, and what is action. We are using logic not some vague ideas about it. Action can only be when there is only the acting, not, I have acted, or will act. I wonder if you see all this.
There is only acting. If that acting is based on some past memories, conclusions, hurts, fears, then it is coloured by the past, therefore that action undergoes various types of modification, therefore it is not accurate action. You're getting what I am Therefore I say to myself, is it possible to be free of the past and act? Which sounds most extraordinary, it's idiotic, unreasonable. So I say, wait, let's find out if it is unreasonable. That is, I want to find out any action born out of some memory, that action must be incomplete. Right? So then what is action which is totally complete? You understand? I wonder if you are following all this! So what is total action? Now 'total', I mean by that word 'whole'. Whole implies healthy, physical health, that word implies sanity because otherwise if the mind is insane, (laughs) as most people's minds are, neurotic and confused, then there is no - you can't find out. So I say to myself, is my mind sane, can it think objectively, not personally, not according to my pleasure, can it think clearly? So whole means having a healthy body, and also having a sane, clear, healthy mind, not drugged mind, a mind that has been ruined by drugs, by drink, alcohol and all the rest of it. Then whole means also holy, H-O-L-Y. I don't know what holy is yet but I am enquiring. So is it possible to perceive action as a whole? You understand? Whole being healthy, sane and holy, is there such action which is never contradictory, from the age of twenty till you die there is an action that is complete all the time? I am talking to myself, you are following all this, I hope - not following, don't follow me, but observe it in yourself.
So one has discovered for oneself that thought acting can never be whole, therefore thought whatever it acts upon or does will be incomplete, incorrect, limited. Then the problem is, is there an ending to thought? And if there is an ending what is action then? You follow? One has only known action according to some principle, some idea, some conclusion, some remembrance, hurt and so on, so on, according to that one acts. But if all that doesn't exist then what is action? You are following all this? Then action may have a totally different meaning, not, I acting. So I cannot find out action which will have a totally different significance if I am confused - you follow? - all that is going on in my mind. So how am I - how is the mind to be free from its occupations? You understand my question?
Q: How is the mind to set itself in order?
K: How is the mind to set itself in order. Now is that a right question or a wrong question? Just listen. She asked a question. She says, how is the mind to set itself in order. Is that a right question, or a question that will lead to some wrong conclusion?
Q: Can the mind set itself in order?
K: Did you say that?
Q: No, I’m asking another question.
K: Ah! That's a different question altogether. Can the mind set itself in order, that's a totally different question. Now who is to set it in order? Some external agency, the environment, the politicians, the priests, the society, the culture? You understand? All that, which is your own thinking. So can the mind - you see, you're not I am only asking what is correct action, not what is order yet, because when there is correct action the mind is totally in order.
So without order there is no correct action. Right? So what is order? The politicians will say, that is order; the dictators will say, this is order; and the priests and everybody says different things about order. So what is order? Is order according to a blueprint? According to the Bible, according to some figure in the Bible? Is it laid down by some religious fanatics? Is it a conclusion of some scientists? So how are we going to find out what is order? You can only find out what is order if you understand what is disorder. Right? Don't you live in disorder? What is disorder to you? You see, we are going away from this thing.
Q: If fear and conflict are given continuity, they are disorder.
K: What is that, sir?
Q: Well, if it was a whole that means it should be free of conflict.
K: How can a mind that is so confused, so disorderly, saying one thing, doing another, thinking about something and doing quite the opposite to what he is thinking, how can such a mind find out what is order? All that it can do is to say, why is my mind so terribly disorderly?
Q: But I don’t agree. We cannot use thought if we want to arrive at the place where we can see order. This is what I hear you say, is that correct?
K: Madame, it is not what the speaker is saying, please, these are facts put before you!
Q: Yes, I see that as fact. I wanted to know if you agree with me. Now if order of thought is to cease, what do we do? We first of all have to watch our process of thinking, and in watching that process we do not judge, we do not compare, we listen completely with attention, and then we have that silence (inaudible) in the process of not judging, not comparing and not allowing that thought to be there, something happens.
K: Look here, madame, you have said several things which point to some other direction, which is, you say when there is complete attention. When you say, 'when' there is complete attention' there is no attention. Right? When I say, 'When I am attentive this will happen', which means I am not attentive now. No?
Q: We don’t see We don’t have the intensity, the deep feeling that is required to see (inaudible)
K: I understand, sir. Now what is the speaker to do? Right? (Laughs) You are all here, and you all have expressed, what is the speaker to do? He wants to tell you something, which is, there is an action which is totally, absolutely correct, right through life, and for that you have to listen to it, find out for yourself. Which means find out what is action. Is your action based on the past - right? - on some memory, or is your action based on some Utopian ideal? If it is based on some utopian ideal, it is such a monstrous thing to live in the future. Or it is a monstrous thing to live in the past. Are you? If you are, then you will never find out what is correct action. It is as simple as that. So how will you find out whether you are living in the past? To be aware that you are doing it. Or if you have ideals, marvellous super, super ideals, perfect utopia - you are somewhere far away.
Q: This correct action, will it be different for different people?
K: No! Correct action is correct action whether it is yours, mine or his.
Q: But one of the things I do in my mind, and I imagine there are other people, I look at you and I say, well, you are acting correctly, now I am going to try to follow the way you act.
K: Ah, then you are (laughs) then you are merely a follower, therefore a destroyer. I wonder if you have understood that. If you follow somebody you are destroying that person, and yourself.
Q: What is it that perceives correct action?
K: What perceives correct action - it is a good question if you will go into it. Who will see what is correct action? Now we see from the past, don't we? No? And that is the 'me', I, who says, 'I observe correct action'. Right? The 'me' is the essence of the past. No? My memories, my pleasures, my mistakes, my regrets, my anxieties, my hopes, despairs, attachments, all that is the 'me'. Right? All that is based on something that has happened. Or the 'me' is what I shall be, what I must be, what I am going to be. So the 'me' is either in the past or in the future, the 'me' never exists now. I wonder if you see that. You see that's a tremendous discovery, not just words! Is there a 'me' that is neither the past nor the future?
K: Is the 'me' the result of time? Right? It is the result of time. Time is a movement from here to there both physically as well as psychologically. So it is of time. Time is the movement also of thought. So thought has put together the 'me', and the 'me' is thought. This is all logic, reason, and we object to reason apparently - we call them egg-heads or something or other.
Q: Sir, isn’t it all speaking is based on the past therefore incorrect action?
K: Quite right, sir, quite right. But - what you said is correct, but find out, sir...
Q: At present I am constructing the ‘me’, that’s what I am doing, because what I am now is from my memories, that’s what I am.
K: That gentleman asked a question, sir, didn't you?
K: What was the question, sir?
Q: The question was, when we are speaking we are using memories, therefore is all speaking incorrect?
K: That's right, that's right, sir. When we use language, when there is the usage of language, the language is recorded, memorised and the words express that memory. Right? And all the rest of it. So language drives us. We went into that the other day, if you were there. And we, we never use language. There is a difference. The instrument uses us but we never use the instrument. It may be that we are the instrument, there is not, 'we use the instrument'.
K: Wait, you haven't listened. Sir, this is quite important. I want to tell you something so I use language. I know language is memory, cultivated, carefully learnt and stored up word by word, syntax, adjectives, adverbs and all the rest of it, verbs and so on, it is all through constant repetition of words, it has been stored up. Right. But also the word is never the thing. Right? The word 'tree' is not the actual tree. Right? So if you and I understand that the word is not the thing - right? - that the description - I may describe the mountain but the mountain is different from the description - if you and I understand that very clearly then we are not slave to words. I wonder if I am making myself clear. Right? We are not slave to words therefore is there - this is too complex. I'll go on with it. Is there a talking, an expression, a saying, using the language but without the emotional, other reactions entering into the word? I wonder if I am making myself clear.
K: No, no, please, this is extraordinarily difficult, don't...
K: Sir, he asked a question, which was: aren't you speaking when you use these words from memory.
K: I haven't understood, sir.
Q: He says when I go beyond the word I understand the message.
K: No. There is no message.
Q: It is a feeling, you can sense it instead...
K: I am sorry, sir, forgive me, but I can't get your meaning.
Q: I’d rather listen to you.
K: I would rather listen to the birds! (Laughter) (Clapping) But you are not meeting me at all, sir. Look, sir, we have asked the most tremendously complex question: what is correct action. You have never finished it, you won't let the speaker or yourself find out, you are always projecting, projecting, projecting, you never find out. Now when we leave you won't know what's correct action. Right? As we have so far discussed you won't realise or see what is correct action for yourself because you are constantly interrupting yourself.
Q: What is causing the interruption
K: Sir, may I ask, if I may, have you found out for yourself what is correct action at the end of an hour and a half?
K: No, sir, please, quiet, listen, sir, I beg of you. Have you found out for yourself, all of us, what is correct action? Have you?
K: Good! (Laughs) Why? You have spent nearly an hour and a half talking about this, why haven't you found out?
Q: Because everyone is so full of their own questions that they have not paid attention to the question again.
K: That's right. So all this indicates, if I may most respectfully point out, that you are not interested in the question at all.
Q: We are.
K: If you were really interested, vitally, you would have shed blood into it, tears to find out! I am afraid we are used to being we want to lead a soft comfortable life. Yes, sir?
Q: I would say perhaps that correct action is an action when we do not impose our will on life, on things.
K: Sir, that is a definition. I am not interested in definitions. I want to find out for myself a way of living which will not be contradictory, which will have no regrets, which will not be under pressure, of fear, of hope, of despair - nothing, I want to find out what is correct action throughout my life.
K: Sir, please, for god's At the end of it I am asking you, it's an hour and a half nearly, have you found out? No. Why? Are you interested in it?
K: I am not sure. Interested so that it's your life you are giving.
Q: Sir, we were talking about language.
K: I am not.
Q: But we were talking about language.
K: Because he raised that question.
Q: Yes. May we get back to it?
K: We can do it, sir, but have you found out at the end of it what is correct action? That's what we started out with. Language, we can learn a great deal about language, the usage of words, how the words are formed, what is the root of words and so on, go into it, but does that solve the problem which we raised at the beginning which is: what is correct action throughout life? The speaker has given his life to it to find out. He doesn't want to live in contradiction, it has no meaning, or on some memory, which has awakened some regrets, hurts, all that is absurd when you want to find out what is correct action. You watch it, you observe it, you go into it with all your vitality, energy, intensity to find out.
So I am afraid you haven't found it. Until you find it one lives a miserable, confused, contradictory life. And if you are satisfied with that, that's perfectly all right. I am not telling you what is correct action. If I were to tell you what is correct action it would be a blueprint. Then it would be totally incorrect action. Then it would be based on authority, or well, he says, that is correct action, I think it is not correct action - so we are back again. So if you sir, unless you are very, very, very serious about this, one leads rather a shallow life. If that is what you think is the way you think to live, live it. May I finish now?
Q: Mr Krishnamurti, might you be speaking again at the weekend?
K: Yes, we will do it in a different way at the weekend.