What is one to do in a world of increasing violence?
What is correct action in a deteriorating world?
1st Seminar, Brockwood Park
September 13, 1979
I'm a bit nervous. I think we all know each other, don't we? At least you know me. And perhaps we'll meet each other after the meetings, gathering here.
We chose a subject to discuss or to talk over together during this Seminar. And I hope everyone will talk, not just two or three of us but everyone of us will partake in our discussions or talks or dialogues. The subject is: we live in a world of increasing violence, and disorder. What can I, as a human being, do to change this? Does it interest all of us, this question? We chose this question because it affects not only the people here but also we were thinking about India and all the people concerned there, Europe, and America. This would be a question that would apply to all people.
So shall I read it once more or you have already read it all?
Questioner: I think we’ve read it.
Krishnamurti: All right. So how shall we begin. There is the subject: what shall I do as a human being in a world that is steadily deteriorating, declining, in violence, terror and a great deal of confusion, in all the fields of life. What shall we do? What shall I, as a human being, concerned with the world, and naturally with myself, what is my action, not a rare action but a continuous daily action, what shall I do?
How do we approach this question? What is your manner of approach to a question of this kind? Do I approach it - 'I' means each one of us - do I approach it with an already formed opinion or conclusion or point of view? Or have I my own problems, my own difficulties; that I cannot possibly be concerned with the world. You understand my question?
I may be having difficulties with my family, my wife, keeping a job, earning a livelihood, you know, my son and daughter are becoming so neurotic, drug ridden, and I quarrel with my husband, wife and so on, so I'm only concerned with that, with my problem, and I'm not really greatly concerned what is happening in the world. The world doesn't interest me so much. Or the world is so imminent, so pressing that I am only concerned with the world and not with myself. You understand? How do we approach this question?
Q: Sir, the problem is so enormous that one’s left in despair, or paralysed.
K: I know, the problem is enormous and leaves one paralysed. So what shall I, all the same, if one is paralysed, you are finished, you have no more answer to it. One has the enormous problem, enormous crisis, and how do I approach it - first let's come to that, take that question and go into it. How does one, or you or I, approach this question? Because how I approach it may decide the quality of my attention, the quality of my enquiry, investigation and so on.
So I think it's important before we start discussing this question, how do I or you approach this problem.
Q: It must be from compassion.
K: Ah, no, not must be - how do you approach it? If you say 'must', that becomes an idea, a future thing. I'm not trying to push you down, sir, but if I say 'I must, it should be' or 'if it were' then it's a conditional approach, and therefore your approach will dictate your investigation.
So I'm just asking, how do we, each one of us, approach this question. Perhaps in the approach may be the real quality of investigation. I think one should be very clear before we start discussing this question.
Q: I have to look at the environment in my own daily life.
K: So you are not concerned with the world.
Q: By looking at that...
K: No. How do I I don't know if I'm making my question clear or not. How do I approach a problem, any problem?
Q: Isn’t it important to question the presupposition, the assumptions that seem to be implicit in the way the question was phrased, because the question seems to imply that the violence is in the world external to me. That seems to require some questioning, where the violence is.
K: Is that your approach sir? And now what's your approach, Peter? How do you approach the question?
Q: I feel rather hopeless.
K: No, you see, you've already, when you say, 'I feel hopeless', you've already - it's no problem, it's hopeless, finished!
Q: Well, that’s the way I’m feeling...
K: Is that your approach?
Q: I felt that until now I can do if there is I will not fight for my decisions, I will not go in a war for that or for some idea, and just escaping...
K: So your approach is to escape.
K: Will that solve the problem? We are discussing this, it's not just I'm opposing you, or taking the opposite... Will that solve the problem? If I escape from the world into some monastery, into some utopian concepts and you know, all the rest of it, run after some guru and all that, will that solve the problem?
Q: I ask myself what is the relevance between the proposition that violence in the world, when there is a violence that I find in myself, what is the relevance, where do these two meet, do I see it? Intellectually one may see this, but does one really see it from the inside instead of just a proposition?
K: Sir, is this a problem at all, to each one of us?
Q: Am I really concerned about it?
K: Yes, is it a problem, is it something I've got to resolve?
Q: Yes, it is.
K: Or is it something I can't resolve therefore I lose all hope and I don't care as long as I have a little money, and I just wither away.
Q: We’ve got to do something.
K: No. Is it a problem, as hunger, as lack of money, as sex, it doesn't matter, a problem which has got to be resolved?
Q: Can we look at how all that has come into being?
K: That we can enquire, how all this mess has come about, after you are really serious, if you really want to solve it. I don't know if I'm making myself clear. That's why I'm asking - sir, I am sitting a little higher that doesn't give me the chairmanship or anything, or authority, I'm sitting a little higher because it's a little more convenient for everybody to see the speaker. I'm not the Pope.
Q: Can I just say, I think it’s not so much that I approach the thing with passion so much as with a great drive, some kind of energy, and I feel a little bit as though I’ve got myself into some very deep water.
K: Yes, sir. I'll have energy, if it is something that I've got to do.
Q: Well, it’s not so much that it’s something that one has got to do, I mean, I don’t know how one can tell what’s a violent action and what’s not.
K: We'll come to
Q: It seems to me there’s so much total disorder in the whole sphere.
K: I know, but we'll come to the understanding and the resolution of it if I say 'Look it is to me an intense, demanding, immediate problem'. You follow what I mean? That will drive me.
Q: Sir, I was just talking outside with Brian and I said this is not a problem to me, really, it hasn’t got this urgency.
K: Why? Why isn't it a problem?
Scott Forbes: Sir, I think that that urgency comes second, you know - the first time that question is posed, I think we would have to see the nature of that problem, we would have to see, is it just the violence that is in Cambodia, ten thousand miles away or we have to see the nature of that violence and our relationship to it before we could muster any passion to look at that.
[K: Are you saying, sir, we must examine in detail what is happening in the world, the violence or the causes of that violence and then come
SF: No, I'm suggesting that we would have to take a look at the nature of the violence in the world, we would have to see how we are related to it, before we could add any passion to...
K: No, I'm not even asking for passion - is this a problem? He says, Peter says it is not a problem to him.
Q: If someone doesn’t feel that it’s related to them, it is not a problem to them.
K: Why? Why?
Q: Because they might not see that it is related to them. But if that violence is part of their daily life...
K: No. He says, it's not a problem. And I'm saying, 'Why?' Are you blind? I am not, you know - sorry - I'm not being personal. Are you blind, are you insensitive or don't you know, even read a paper headlines - everything indicates. And I say to somebody who says, 'I'm really not, it doesn't concern me', what's happened to you?
Dorothy Simmons: Peter has come from Brazil and he has said that the violence there disturbs him greatly, he's come here to try to find out what is the cause of it, how he can respond, and do anything about it. So I think he's under-estimating or not saying correctly what he's feeling.
K: In Brazil, appalling things are happening there.
Q: That is what he says, and he is concerned.
K: They are murdering poor Indians and all kinds of things are going on there.
Q: But when a problem manifests itself as being so vast, don’t we tend to want to try and push it away and pretend that it’s maybe not there, so we say I don’t care about it, when in actual fact we just don’t know how to, maybe, deal with it.
Q: Sir, we’ve got feelings in our heart, sir.
K: Is this a problem to any of us?
Q: Yes it is.
K: Or is it a problem which is insoluble, so we give up? Or retreat into some kind of nice, comfortable corner and forget the rest? Am I, are you, concerned with this problem, first, that's all I am And if it is a problem to each one of us, except perhaps one or two here, then how do I approach the problem?
Q: To me it seems the only thing I don’t want is really to quarrel (inaudible) have a continuous quarrel, you know, like strife. And whatever makes it, strife I let go.
K: But that means whatever disturbs you, you let go.
Q: Well, whatever is creating a conflict.
K: But you're not answering my question, sir. Why as a human being, living in this world, doesn't matter Brazil or Chile or in Russia or here, there is violence, tremendous disorder. And we say I'm not concerned. Then I say, 'Why? Why as a human being I'm not concerned with the things that are happening around us.'
Q: Isn’t it, sir, because we don’t see the nature of that violence and how it touches, and how we are related to it, how it affects us, how we participate in it?
K: All right then let's discuss what is our relationship to the world. Right?
Q: And to that violence.
K: Yes, to the world, to the world that is in disorder, deteriorating, violence, terror, kidnapping and all the rest of it. Lufthansa and all that.
DS: Aren't those the end products of something that is more the confusion that creates that? Isn't that when it's the final thing, the violence, and something comes first, confusion within ourselves in our living?
K: No, as Scott pointed out, what is my relationship to the world. If the world is that, what's my relationship to it.
Q: Dorothy has used, confusion, because physical violence if we separate it out from mental violence, physical violence is the result of confusion. And confusion arises out of intellectual idiocy in some cases, believing things which are not necessarily truths. And any problem, whether it is the problem we are addressing ourselves to at this particular time or any other problem, is summed up in what happens in each skull, so that we are all (inaudible) and it revolves around this central thing, confusion, which we all do, holding onto things which perhaps we should let go and therein lie the seeds of violence, not holding onto, but being prepared to let go in order to find something else.
K: Yes, sir, but have you, have we answered that question of Mr. Scott's, saying, what is my relationship to the world?
Q: (Inaudible) in a state of confusion.
K: Yes sir, what is my relationship to all that is happening? In the Arab world, what's my relationship to all this?
Q: I think if one is paying attention one sees in a thousand ways in the course of the day how circumscribed one is by the violence within, from without.
K: No, you're not answering - are we answering your question, sir? I may misunderstand. Have I, have we established for ourselves what is our relationship to the world?
Q: I think our relationships are also violent, it is of the same nature of violence.
SF: Is it the same question, Krishnaji, to ask how do we participate in the world?
K: If you like to put it that way. Who has created this awful mess?
Q: We have to accept responsibility.
K: No, before, sir - who has created it?
Q: We have.
K: Human beings have created it. Right? Whether they live in India or Russia or America or here, we human beings have created this mess. And what's my relationship to that?
Q: I am that. I’m part of it.
Q: We don’t normally see that, we always attribute it to somebody else outside.
K: Are you answering my question, sir? You may be but I may be deaf, or not - are you answering my question?
Q: Are we really in relation, sir, or do we feel different from the world?
K: Yes, that's all I'm asking. Is the world, that's happened there, different from me?
Q: In our attitudes it is. In our present attitude, it is.
K: In our present attitude it is. So let's examine that, shall we? Is that your attitude? That the world is totally different from me?
Q: I don’t feel it so keenly. What is out there and what is happening close...
K: No, we're asking the question, sir - is the world different from me? The world: the scientific world, the world of misery, confusion, all that's going on, sir, in the world - is it different from me, something out there which I have nothing to do with?
Q: I think we do from time to time only realise when there is something very serious happening.
K: We are serious here.
Q: Then we realise, it touches us, we start crying when we see all this misery. But then we lose sight of it, our daily life makes us lose sight of it.
K: We lost sight of this and we say, 'I am different from the world.' is that it?
Q: No, I don’t think so.
K: Sir, let's look at it, sir.
Q: We do everything we can to protect ourselves.
K: So you are saying, we are different from the world.
Q: But we don’t see it, we act.
K: All right. We seem to think we are different from the world. And very rarely we think we are the world. Is that it? Sometimes we think we are the world, and sometimes the world is totally different from us. Right?
Q: That’s the truth, yes.
K: Is that your approach?
Q: No sir, we are part of the world, we are in it.
K: Yes, but is that a fact?
Q: It is.
K: A burning reality, which says, 'I am the world.'
Q: We are deluding ourselves if we think we are separate. We are always part of it, whether we like it or not.
K: So why do we lose the sight or the understanding, or the reality that we are the world, why do we lose sight of that?
Q: But what does it mean when you say, ‘You are the world’?
K: What, sir?
Q: When you say you are the world, I mean, it means you are full of all that rubbish that’s out there and violence, as well as all...
K: Wait - aren't we? You see, that's...
Q: In one sense, I like to be important, I am caught in sexual things, I’m afraid of losing my security, in that sense I feel like everybody else. But then I am saying I’m not joining the army, I’m not going shooting around, I would rather be shot than do that, in that sense then I stop feeling ambition, although you see its confusing.
K: The army is created by us, because we are nationalistic. We'll answer all those questions, sir, but first, if one may be clear, what are we talking about? We're asking, how do you approach this question - the question is, in the world there is disorder, disintegration, decay going on, confusion, all the rest of it, and what am I to do? That's the question.
Q: I have to approach the question with my present attitude of mind. Unless I am clear about this
K: All right, sir, what is your present attitude? Sitting in this room, what is your present attitude?
Q: Sometimes one feels closer in relating to the things that are happening, the things that one does understand when one has suffered violence in one form or another oneself, but then preoccupation of our usual daily demands comes in and we no longer feel with the depth of feeling that we are actually related with the world. This is the fact, not what should be.
K: So you are saying, in this room, at the present time, I really don't feel completely identified or realise that the world is me.
K: That's all, let's (laughs) otherwise we will go off. Is that what you all feel?
Q: No, it is not what we all feel, I don’t think.
Q: Then what do you feel, sir?
Q: I feel vastly involved, tremendously involved in the world, and part of that confusion manifests itself in me. I am that confusion.
K: So the world, being confused, that confusion is manifested in you.
K: Just a minute, just a minute. That violence, that disorder is showing that in yourself. Right? So you are different from the world.
Q: No, I’m caught in it.
K: No, sir, just a minute. If that can be manifested in you, then you are clean, healthy, and that manifests. Or is it the other way round?
Q: The feeling that you can do something about it, which is also different from...
K: Yes, sir, the moment when you say, 'I can do something about it', you are different from that.
Q: Right, yes.
K: You see, that's why I think we ought to be very clear in our discussion, whether the world, with all the things that are going on, is different from you, and you, being different, by some curious process, that world manifests itself in you.
Q: Why am I so callous?
K: One might say for various reasons - indifference, education, your own particular job which occupies all your time and energy. And you have very little time to consider what is happening in the world, so you are gradually enclosed. And so you say well, I can't, I don't care what happens. We must come back over and over again. All right. What shall I do in front of this?
Q: Well, if I do find it difficult to accept the fact that I am part of the world...
K: I'm not - what shall I do?
Q: ...I have to examine my relationship to it. What are my contributions to that confusion.
Stephen Smith: Sir, the problem is not the world but the problem. You see what I mean, this is the world that arises out of the non-resolution of the problem. In a sense, all the conflict that takes place in the world, the battling and destruction etc. arises out of problems not being resolved, that is, not being considered accurately, in the first place.
Q: Sir, do we have to approach it that way? Can we approach it, what we should not do.
K: What, sir?
Q: What we should not do about it, just see this disorder, this violence, this world, we cannot approach it directly.
K: I can't hear.
Q: We should be concerned with what we should not do.
K: No, before what we should do or should not do, is it a problem? I'm sorry.
SF: We seem to be implying if it's not a problem it's because we think we are different from the world, so we have some mistaken idea about who we are, so it seems we would begin by straightening out that problem.
K: Scott, is it as much a problem to you, to us, as when you have a toothache, and you have got to go to the dentist. The pain drives you, the pain makes you act. And you put up with extra pain to get rid of more pain. Now is this problem as acute as that for each one of us, or is it something casual, to be casually discussed without, you know, putting some vitality and energy into it. That's all my first question.
SF: I would say no, it's not the same.
K: So if it is not, why?
SF: Could it not be because we have some mistaken idea about who we are, that we are separate, that we are individuals.
K: Is that it?
Q: Sir, if somebody threatens you with violence, then it’s a real problem, to you at that time. If somebody is threatening somebody else with violence
K: It's not a problem.
Q: It’s not a problem, unless maybe they are your close friends or you can see it.
K: So it becomes a problem if you are personally involved.
Q: That’s right.
K: Otherwise it's no problem. Right? It would be a problem if you lived in the Middle East, if you were a PLO or the other, then it would be a problem. Is that what we're saying? As long as it doesn't touch you personally it's no problem.
Q: If it does touch one personally, the mind tends to particularise it.
Q: So what do you mean by touching personally – do you mean going through your mind?
K: No, touch you, somebody comes and hits you, somebody tears down your house.
Q: But that is a different problem. To me it’s a fact that we are profoundly connected to what is happening in the world, whether we see it or not. Somebody hits me on the head and that’s a problem, another one, but that we are profoundly connected to everything that’s happening is a fact and not a question of...
K: Sir is it a personal problem to you, this?
Q: It must be.
K: Not must be - is it a problem to me?
Q: What is a problem, sir? Why is it so important to say is it a problem, or is it not a problem?
K: Oh, goodness!
Q: Are you implying that we somehow isolate or insulate ourselves from things that really do affect us because we’re part of the world but we put our heads in the sand and say, no, it is not very close to me individually.
DS: I think our education, upbringing is doing that, that is the problem. We're taught to think only personally and that creates the problems.
K: Apparently to that gentleman it's not a problem.
DS: I think it is, I think that's what he is saying.
K: You think it is but he doesn't think so.
DS: He is saying it is.
Q: I feel that the turmoil in me is the turmoil outside. Now if you call that a problem or – I don’t know what you mean by the word ‘problem’.
K: Sir, I don't know if you heard the question, the first question. The questioner says - not the question which we worked out, the question is, 'What am I to do, living in this chaotic, destructive decaying world, what is my responsibility, what am I to do?'
Q: Survival, it seems to me, is the only thing that one can go for.
K: Is that what you're concerned with, just survival?
Q: Sir, you said to begin with ourselves.
Q: I think the problem is that we don’t know what to do, that we are utterly unable to do anything. I think we all feel concerned but then we don’t know what to do.
K: Are you saying that it is such a colossal, complex problem that I can't do anything about it?
Q: I feel unable to do anything.
K: Unable. I'm not sure, let's find out. Don't say it is hopeless, and give it up.
Q: No, but there is a barrier, I can’t do anything.
K: Let's find out, if we can't remove that barrier.
Q: Yes, let’s discuss.
Q: Isn’t our guilt one of those barriers, because we participate with that violence via our selfishness, constant selfishness, so we are sort of impeded from doing something because we are guilty.
Q: Sir, if someone threatens to beat me up, then it’s a real problem and I have to do something. If somebody threatens to beat somebody else up, then it’s not a real problem to me, I can be intellectually concerned about the problem.
K: Yes, sir, I understand that.
Q: And I can find but it is not the same urgency.
K: So you're saying, this thing is happening to somebody else, not to me.
Q: Of course.
K: Wait, sir, let's pursue that one thing - it is happening out there, it doesn't concern me, but if it concerns me, personally, then I will do something about it. Is that what you're saying? Which means, as long as you leave me alone, as long as I've a little corner safe and comfortable, I don't mind, I've nothing to do with that. But the moment my comfort, my security is touched, I will do something. Is that what you're all saying?
Q: I think there’s the problem, yes.
Q: Sir, taking this gentleman’s example, if somebody else is doing violence to somebody else, and I am watching this, one can see that violence leads to violence, it can’t just stop. It’s a very rare occasion when violence stops.
K: I understand, sir.
Q: It will inevitably be part of me.
K: Yes. So all that you have said so far, if I have understood right, as long as it doesn't touch me, it's no problem.
Q: It’s an intellectual problem – I can explain, I understand the reasons for the violence in the world, it’s a problem, intellectually, but it’s not the same quality of problem when somebody is threatening me.
K: That's right sir, that's right. And that's what, I'm saying the same thing - as long as it doesn't touch me, then what is happening there and being concerned with that becomes an intellectual problem. That's what you're saying. Is that so for all of us?
Q: You know sir, that question of yours is so profound, one of the troubles that is going on in Ireland, if I may mention that, is that the violent people of Ireland feel that the British people will not concern themselves about the problems over there. And this really is the question which is going on here. We’re really not concerned with the violence that is in the world.
K: So you are really not concerned with the world at all, what is happening, you're only concerned with yourself. Is that it? Let's come to the point, sir.
Q: For most people, perhaps, it is aggravated by others who feel it, just as a stone at the bottom of a pool is affected by another stone being thrown in. The ripples spread, the impact of the new arrival is there. There are people who feel things like this and to them the world is them, they are the world. But the trouble is that we are caught in a trap of words, where words in one head create associations and ideas which may be exchanged in one situation, suggesting one thing. In another situation they are subtly changed again. But the problem seems to revolve around words and what we do with them inside our own skull.
Q: I don’t find it as a problem, an intellectual problem, to me it’s a real problem, that I am directly in touch with people, mentally in some way they are there, I don’t care whether they are a thousand miles away or fifty feet away, they are there, and it’s a problem I’ve got to, you know, I just don’t know how to relate to it. I find no privacy, or whatever it is.
K: You're asking, I am directly in relation with the world.
K: Wait, and you are saying, 'What am I to do about it?' That's the question, that is the real question.
K: Now here there are such varieties of opinions, we'll never come together about anything. You say one thing and that gentleman says another, and somebody else says something else. So can we think together about this, first? You follow what I mean? So that we are all there is a common denominator with all of us concerned about this.
Q: Sir, I don’t understand how some people here can talk about violence in other parts of the world and how that it doesn’t affect them. I mean surely anyone who has got open eyes can see the direct effect of violence and conflict
K: Of course, sir.
Q: ...on themselves, quite directly.
Q: It’s not just a question of affecting oneself, it’s that we don’t care about others, I think that’s why we don’t see the urgency of this, because we only care about ourselves and not others.
Q: Yes, and then we cannot, perhaps see the violence in ourselves.
K: Could we begin by finding out if we could all think together about this?
Q: Can we come together, sir?
K: What, sir?
Q: Sir, what do you mean by ‘think together’?
K: I'm coming to that, sir (laughs). Could you and I think together about something?
Q: I think it would be very difficult.
K: That's all. It wouldn't be difficult if we both of us wanted to build a house. You may disagree about the architect, the shape of the house, amount of room, but we could talk over it together, if we are agreeable we say, let's both of us choose that architect, we'd do that, we'd agree. Right?
Q: Is thinking together agreement then?
K: Yes, sir, I'm saying that. We are saying the same thing. Look sir, think together, that means, could we both of us put aside our prejudice about this architect or that architect and say look, who is the best architect, together. We can do that, can't we?
Q: I’ve never done it, sir. You probably can, but I’ve never been able to do that sort of thing.
Q: Where there is an interest and enthusiasm in the subject, that dispels the prejudices and preferences that usually bad up a situation. In other words, you have a common interest in exploring the situation.
K: All right. Is there a common interest here?
K: Or are we all we have no common interest, we're all thinking about different things all the time. I want to find out for myself, what am I to do with the world, with all the catastrophes etc., etc., what am I to do about all that? That's all my problem.
Q: Surely one can only look at oneself first.
K: Beg your pardon?
Q: See how violence arises in oneself. I don’t see how you can start...
K: Are you saying, whatever is happening there is affecting me, I have contributed to it, therefore I must see that in myself I don't give or contribute to all that. Is that what you're saying? You see we don't seem to be able to think together even!
Q: Yes, but that affects only the immediate environment.
K: It's not only the immediate environment but - look, could you and I think about this subject together, look out of the same window, which doesn't mean that you and I agree, we both agree to look out of that window, we both see it's important to look out through that. Will we do that?
Q: We can only do it if we see that it’s important.
K: So what am I to do, sir? (Laughs)
SF: Sir, could we come back to this, to that question where, we all pretty much agree that we do not feel that we are the world, and we all, from what we said, pretty much feel that that is incorrect.
Q: Excuse me, there are other views there.
K: I cannot understand - forgive me - a simple fact that the world is that because I have created it, by my arrogance, by my selfishness, by my silly activities of self-centred interests - I've created that thing. That's very clear to me.
Q: It’s also clear that we don’t seem to be prepared to accept that responsibility.
K: I do.
Q: Yes. I do too, sir.
Q: Isn’t that the first thing we’ve got to see, our self-centred activity?
K: That's very clear. Are we of the same outlook?
K: You and I may be but the others may not. Sorry. The others may say Marx has created it, or the Pope has created it, not me. Or these silly politicians have done this. It's not me.
Q: It seems the only thing we can actually agree about together...
K: We don't seem to agree.
Q: ...we can agree about the fact that there’s confusion, that seems...
K: Let's agree. All right. Could we all see the fact, not agree - could we all see the fact that there is terror, violence, disintegration, could we all see that?
K: Could we? You are doubtful? (Laughter)
Q: Sorry to keep saying the same thing, but obviously we can all see the fact of violence and so on. We can all see that intellectually, emotionally and so on, but it’s not the same as if the violence is threatening us.
K: I'm going to go step by step, sir, let's go step by step into this. If we all see the fact. Right? Wait, the fact that is happening there. Now first of all, how do you see it? As something happening out there which has nothing to do with me, or you see it because you read the newspapers, television, and that becomes an idea, a concept, something away there, nothing to do with me. So I'm asking, how do you see the fact?
Q: The fact manifests itself as...
K: How do you see the fact?
Q: ...as violence, as confusion, that manifests itself in my life. I am part of that.
K: No, sir, it's not - you see, sir, we're not again keeping together. How do you see the fact, is it an intellectual concept, an idea?
Q: You see it by looking, sir.
K: No, you've read the newspapers, sir, or you've been in a street fight, or in the demonstrations that are taking place there is violence. You see it, you are there. Or do you see it as something happening which has nothing to do with you? How do you see it?
Q: Gut reaction, makes you feel sick.
Q: Don’t many of us see it as a menace?
K: No, not as a menace, just how do you see it?
Q: That’s how we perceive it often, don’t we?
K: But you've already, when you say as a menace, you've already looked at it with fear.
K: Therefore you're not looking at it.
Q: I personally have never been in a war but I did go to one demonstration, I was amazed at the level, because there was so much awareness amongst those people, admittedly violence was going on, you know, policemen were knocked down and things, but there were many people and there was a great deal of affection and all sorts of things going on.
Q: Except to the other side.
Q: It wasn’t, I mean, something about people being in the streets, just consciousness which you don’t normally see, one’s normally used to television.
K: What shall we do? (Laughs) Could we see the same fact together.
Q: Sir, to me it seems that first there is a world ‘out there’ which I read about and somehow I separate it from the world in here at Brockwood, I feel rather safe here, it’s a nice place to be, people try at least to respect each other as much as they can, at least that’s how I feel. But as far as I am talking, I don’t have any real concern for anybody, maybe one person or two that I like, where I help in the work but concern about the person, I don’t have it. You see, I’m really indifferent whether this person dies or not.
K: All right, sir.
Q: You know it’s kind of callousness.
K: You're only concerned about yourself.
Q: Or one or other person that gives me pleasure.
K: Yes, yes, yes, but it's still...
Q: My father, or...
K: Yes, but it's still, you're concerned about yourself - that's clear. And you don't care a hoot what happens out there, as long as you're safe at Brockwood.
Q: To be honest, that’s it.
K: That's it. Keep to it, sir, keep to it, don't... Are we, do we think like that too?
K: As long as it doesn't touch me, I don't care what is happening out there.
Q: Yes, but it touches us, when I leave Brockwood and I go somewhere, then it touches me, and then it becomes a problem, you see.
K: I don't know - to him it's not.
Q: Yes, but he is saying it’s not a problem when it doesn’t touch him.
K: You see, you are reducing it to a personal problem. As long as it doesn't touch me, please, I'm not concerned about the world. Do you all think like that?
Q: No, no, I don’t.
Q: Until we lose this self we can’t look together, can we?
K: Apparently we don't come together about anything. That's one fact, at last.
Q: That’s confusion, isn’t it.
K: We don't seem to come to the same point together. Right? Why? The question, the subject of this Seminar is that. The world is in a terrible state, what am I to do? Apparently each one has a different point of view about that. One says, as long as I'm quite safe at Brockwood or anywhere else, it doesn't touch me, therefore I don't care what is happening out there. There are others who are saying, I am part of that world, it affects me, I have contributed to it, therefore I must change, that's another point.
Others say, well, occasionally I am part of the world, and the rest of the time I'm only concerned with myself. Right? At other times it becomes an acute problem when somebody hits me. So we are all of that. Now can we all come together and see one fact together.
Q: Surely the one fact that we can all see together is that we all think differently.
K: I know, we've said that, sir.
Q: Is it possible to find out the root of that confusion? If we can all agree absolutely together that...
K: No, before you start - could we all of us look at this one fact, that we are all offering different opinions. Right? Different points of view, personal, impersonal, ideational, etc. Now do we realise this? This may be one of the major factors of the confusion in the world, because each one holds onto his personal opinion.
Q: Maybe when we say that we have different opinions we again tend to confirm the division between us.
K: No, sir. Do I realise, or do you realise that we are creating terrible confusion in this room, because each one of us is saying, 'I think this', 'I don't care what you think'. (Laughs)
Q: Ah, but if one does care, one expresses one’s own viewpoint, but if one does care that others...
K: Not if - you're saying if one cares, then you're out. The fact is, here we are, sir, look what we have done for 45 minutes or 50 minutes, we haven't come to answer the question at all, each is offering a different opinion.
Q: See the confusion now.
K: In asking this question we have awakened tremendous confusion all round us.
Q: Yes. Is it possible for us just to look without knowing?
K: We are trying to do that. We are trying to do that. Can Peter, who says, 'I'm really not concerned about the world, I'm really concerned about myself as long as I'm safe. Leave me alone.' The world won't let him alone, but doesn't matter, he wants it, he hopes it. So that is his opinion and he's stuck to it.
Now I say please let us drop our opinions, our conclusions, our ideas, let's consider the common factor, which is, as there is confusion between ourselves, who are supposed to be serious (laughs), we have met to discuss this thing, even here we can't clear that up. And we want to clear up, do something out there! Right? So can we clear up this confusion among ourselves first.
Q: Maybe there’s a way forward. Instead of seeing it as a confusion between different...
K: No, wait, sir - can I clear up this confusion? Can I say, 'All right, I'll forget myself for the moment, my opinion - let's look.' Will you do that? Do it actually, not just spin words and then play tricks with me, and say, 'Yes, I can put aside my prejudice, my conclusion, only me that matters and hell everything else.'
Come on sir. Can you drop that? And join me, who says, 'Look, I'm not only concerned about myself, but I'm also concerned with the world.' Right? Could you do that? No, not verbally - actually. I'll drop my point of view and say, 'Yes, I am really concerned about my own security, my own this and that, and also I'm concerned with the world.' Could we do that?
Q: Let us see.
K: No, not let us see!
Q: We can’t do it.
K: Can I do that? I am concerned about myself and equally concerned about the world, with the same pain, with the same anxiety, with the same intensity about the world.
Q: I don’t know. I just don’t know. You say can we have the same intensity. I don’t know.
K: No. You may not know, but will you do it?
Q: All I can say is that I have to see.
K: No, do it now, not you'll have to see - now.
Q: That is what I mean. If we investigate now...
K: We are doing it now, sir, (laughs) I am doing it. I am concerned with myself - I know that. I am fully aware of it. And also I'm concerned with the world.
Q: It feels like taking a vow, Krishnaji.
K: No, there is no vow.
Q: Krishnaji, that’s the feeling I get when you put that up, because it feels like something, are we all going to do that now, can we all feel this way?
K: No, nothing of that kind.
Q: It seems like we don’t have any choice. I mean, one observes that there is confusion in this room presently, externally and internally, and the one says, one is concerned about the world – does one have any choice but to jettison all of one’s opinions and ideas and explore this thing, go into it, find out, see if it’s possible together, first to find out the root of confusion, the root of violence. Surely we have at least to give it a go.
K: But, sir, she says, 'That is forcing me,' forcing her into a corner and making her do something which she is not willing to do.
Q: It feels different from, say, look at it, and to say, are you concerned, be concerned.
K: No, please, you didn't listen then. I said let us - obviously looks like it - I am concerned with myself, and perhaps I'm also maybe concerned with the world. That's all. There is no vow, there is no compulsion, there is nothing.
Q: Sir, nobody is disputing that the world is falling apart. Now you have said it’s a fact, the world is falling apart.
Q: You have said, shall we now look at it together now.
K: That's all.
Q: Good god, can’t we do it?
K: You understand that question?
Q: Yes, I understand but it seems it’s very easy to say, it’s too easy to say, it’s too easy to feel concerned about the world, but it’s somehow removed from myself, it doesn’t have that quality of urgency. It’s easy to deceive yourself that you are concerned and so on.
Q: If you see that this group here now is a microcosm of the world...
Q: I see that as intellectualism.
Q: No, actually what is going on in the room.
Q: It’s too easy to say that.
K: Sir, we said this, sir. Look, sir, I am concerned with myself. Right? Now wait. Seeing what is happening in the world, which is a fact - it's a fact, they are killing each other.
Q: I agree but...
K: Wait - can I also be concerned with that? Or only myself and nothing else?
SF: But sir, could we ask where this genuine concern for the world comes from?
Mary Zimbalist: It comes surely in part in pure self-interest, because where are people going to find these little spots to be safe in the world the way it's going? You, at Brockwood aren't going to stand up against the world. I don't understand this isolation between the self and the world out there. We're part of it.
K: Dr. Wilkins, Professor Wilkins pointed out a few minutes ago this, but nobody listens!
MZ: What is it in people, some of us, each one of us perhaps that thinks that we're safe, that we're separate, that the world is not going to affect us personally.
K: Maria, in microcosm, this is exactly what is happening in the world. Here we can't agree about anything, look at any fact together. If all the politicians drop their opinions and say, 'Look, what is best for the world,' come together, they could solve all these problems. They won't, because they are Conservatives, Liberal and blah, blah, blah. And we are doing exactly the same thing here.
Q: Can we distinguish facts from opinions?
K: Yes, sir, very simple. Fact is that which is actually happening. And the opinion is what I think about what is happening.
MZ: When we say is it a fact or an opinion that everybody in this room is threatened by what is happening in the world - is that a fact or an opinion?
K: It's a fact.
Q: It’s a fact.
MZ: But do we all see it as a fact, or is it for many just an opinion?
K: That's just it. Peter, would you see this fact, that what is happening is a fact.
Q: What I see...
K: Wait - that is what is happening, sir.
Q: Yes, but in here, which is the world...
K: What has happened this morning, they announced Lufthansa, being whatever it is, kidnapped - what is it?
K: Highjack. That's a fact. But I can have an opinion, say 'Well, Lufthansa deserves it.' That is an opinion. So could we not offer an opinion, any opinions, any judgements, but only look at the facts.
Q: It’s a fact that here we’re divided.
K: Wait, sir. Could we look at the fact. The fact is that we are separate and the world is separate.
Q: Each person here is also separate.
K: Yes, yes. Each one thinks, the fact is each one is concerned about himself, and the world, second. Right? Me first, the world second. Is that so? Is that a fact to all of us, me first and the world second.
Q: To me it is.
K: All right, I'm just asking. Could we all honestly say, 'Yes, that is a fact. Me first.'
Q: I think it’s about 50/50. (Laughter)
K: It's a reality, therefore let's stick to that. Now could we look at that, me first. And really the world comes second. Could we look at that fact? So we all say, 'Yes, that is so.' At least we are all altogether on that one point.
David Bohm: Somebody may ask a question, why shouldn't I be concerned first?
K: We'll come to that, we'll come to that. Me first and the world second. I think that we all agree to that at last.
K: Now why am I so 'me first.' What is this thing, I'm so concerned, me first and you the second, the world. You are the world, you're the second, me first. Why do I lay such tremendous emphasis on myself first. Go on, sir, answer this.
Q: Well, I’m far more important, by my attitude I’m far more important, because I’m the thing that is right here.
K: Wait. You feel that's much more important - is that a fact, for all of us?
Q: Now that’s our years and years of conditioning. That’s us. That’s what we’ve been conditioned to, that’s what we’ve been brought up as.
Q: Whether we were brought up as that or whether we naturally evolved into that, we are that, it doesn’t make any difference.
Q: Oh yes, we are that.
Q: We are that, so whether I feel I’m the world or I don’t, I’m the centre.
Q: But can we question that? Can we say that is why the world is so wrong in the way that it is?
K: Sir, me first and the world second, that's what everybody says. Right?
K: That's a fact. Right? The politicians, the priests, the economists, everybody says, 'Me, you second.' Right?
Q: What is good for me is good, what is bad for me is bad.
K: Of course, of course, me first - all that's implied.
Q: And of course us and them.
K: Of course. Now why do I give such tremendous importance to me?
Q: Other people give importance to you.
K: No, no. People also, I sit on a platform, you give me importance. I'm not talking about that. Why do I give importance to myself, what is the cause of all this? Is it my education, is it my culture, is it the society I live in, is it...
Q: Which is consciousness
K: Wait a minute, I'm going step by step. Is it the religion that says, salvation to you first - the trumpet of Gabriel! (Laughter) So society, religion, culture, everything says to me, 'You first.' Right?
Q: Also the survival instinct says that.
K: Yes, me first, survival, position, prestige, reputation, money, big house - me. All that's included. And you, the world, second.
Q: I feel nobody cares about my problems, I must do something about them.
K: Yes, yes, yes, yes, all that's involved in this. Nobody is going to solve my problem except myself.
K: So I'm only concerned with myself.
Q: I think it’s also, I find myself that I have a problem, that having read some of your books, I now have the conditioning which seems more in my mind than what you say, such as choiceless awareness.
K: Scrap books and conditions, sir, let's talk together freely. So I say to myself, Why? Is this the result of all this? Environment, culture, education, religion, the economic social structure which makes me consider myself first, my view, my union...
Q: My country.
K: So - wait, wait, look at it, that's a fact, isn't it? Now who has created that? This society, this religion, this culture etc., who has created it?
Q: Well, it certainly wasn’t me.
K: My grandmother, my grandfather, great-grandfather?
Q: Yes, they all did it.
K: Which means what? I am the result of all that.
Q: And I’m going to create the same situation for my children, if I have – I’m going to perpetuate this.
K: For my children - same thing, education.
Q: Sir, is this self-centredness entirely the result of our conditioning?
K: I'm coming to that, first we're examining that. Is this the result of my society, my culture, my religion, my superstition, the things around me, has forced me to be self-centred.
SF: It's certainly also that, but is that all?
K: That's good enough, I begin with that.
Q: There is already a sense of self-centredness when we say...
K: Sir, the moment the child, baby says, 'It's mine, it's my toy', it's already there. So let's begin. Do we all see that same thing, that the world, culture, society, my grandmothers, grandfathers, my father, my friends, my neighbours, society, everything has said, you first. Right? Do we all agree to that?
Q: Yes. Is it just a question...
K: Do we all see the same point? - just a minute, sir, go slowly. At least we can all come together on this. That's all I'm trying to say. Right? Do we all see this thing?
Now the next question is: who has created this?
K: Wait, don't, so quickly, that's an idea then.
Q: But doesn’t...
K: My grandfather, my grandmother, (laughs) my great father - down to me, have established a society based on 'me', and I'm caught in that trap.
Q: But does the baby naturally of its own accord say, ‘Mine’ or does the mama and papa...
K: So do we all see that fact, fact, not an opinion. It's not the result, I'm not taking a vow. It's a fact. Right?
Q: Could we examine who or what is seeing that as a fact?
K: Fact. The roof is a fact and all that. It's a fact. How do you see it? Do you just look at it or say I don't like it or like it - just look. Mere observation without prejudice, that observation is seeing the fact. Like a good scientist, he observes the fact, not his opinion.
Now do we all see this fact? Are you quite sure, that the society with all the culture, superstition, the religions, the popes, the Protestants and all that, has made me into a self-centred human being. My education...
Q: My biological needs, I have to...
K: Yes, my biological needs, I said that sir - needs, sexual, everything around me, society has made me this. Do we agree, do we see this, simple and clear.
K: Right, sir? Right? Then who has if that is so, I am that. Right? Now comes the difficulty, now comes the difficulty. That is not separate from me, that has created me, and 'me' is that.
Q: And I’m now responsible for perpetuating it.
K: No, no, no, no. Don't go off further. That has created me, and me is that.
Q: But, Krishnaji, also society has screwed into me...
K: Yes, yes...
Q: ...a sense of my own self.
K: I have said. Don't enlarge, introduce new words, new screwing, (laughter) and all, but the fact is that the world, society has created me, conditioned me, made me what I am. And me is that. There is no question about it. Now do we all see that fact together. Do you?
K: Ah, no, don't agree with me. Do you see this fact or it's still a vow?
Q: It may be an idea, sir.
K; That's just what I want to know, is this an idea or a fact?
Q: One can see that logically it must be so.
K: No, no - I mean, this is a fact. The microphone in front of me is a fact. I don't have an opinion about it. But if we say, let's all agree it's a giraffe, it's all right, a giraffe. Do we see this clearly? Do you?
Q: I have to say what she said, it’s a good, logical sequence, Krishnaji.
Q: It’s logical.
K: No, it's not logical, it's a fact. Why do you make it 'logical'?
Q: It’s a fact that it’s also logical, that’s the problem.
Q: So there is a conflict between the feeling of separateness which one still has and...
K: No, but sir, either you want to look at the fact or you want to keep it to yourself. That's all right and I'm not preventing you.
Q: Maybe this fact is too unpleasant.
K: It is not pleasant or unpleasant, it is so. I've got toothache, I've got cancer, it's a fact. Then I say I don't like it, I'm frightened, I don't want to be operated on, but the fact is, the surgeon says, 'You've got cancer.' It's a fact. After X-rays, biopsy, and all the rest of it, he says, 'My dear chap, you've got cancer.' I accept the fact. Then I say, 'By Jove, I'm frightened, I might die, I'll be lonely', and all the rest of it. But are we accepting the fact? It's not a logical conclusion!
Goodness! (Laughs) Right? Do we start from there?
Q: Krishnaji, it is easy to see that I am that, part of that, it’s not so easy to see that I am that, full stop.
K: Sir, you've got a different tendency from me. Right? Different characteristics, different idiosyncrasies, right? Those are all the result of your environment, your reaction to the environment. Ah, you don't
But do we together see this fact, that the world has created me, what I am, the stand I take, the position I assume, my conceit, my vanity, and that world is me and I am the world, full stop.
Q: Isn’t the fact that you can see that, isn’t full stop, it’s an action in seeing.
K: Yes, I'm coming to that. Do I see that first, or is it just an idea, as she says, a logical conclusion, it has no reality. I'm not trying to put you into a corner.
Q: Krishnaji, it’s like I’m talking about astrology and the stars, I can understand that they are out there, I can understand what you are saying about it, but when I leave this room and I come back to my actions are here.
K: We are saying that.
Q: And it’s not in understanding about my connection with the whole, it’s much narrower.
K: Yes, we are saying that, we are saying, you are the result of all that, so you have to do something about yourself, because you are that.
Q: So why is it so difficult to understand such a simple fact?
K: I don't know, apparently it's very, very difficult to see a simple fact.
Q: Why should we investigate together?
K: Ask her sir, ask her to explain to you, why she finds it so extraordinarily difficult to see a fact, about herself, not about the stars.
K: The fact is she was born in California - forgive me - or in England, wherever we are, and the culture, the society, the parents, the grandparents, the education, has made her what she is.
Q: Part of that education is I am an original, separate being.
K: We've explained all that.
Q: Yes, I can see that fact but what I can’t see, it seems that there is a subtle implication in the fact that one should act some other way.
K: No, we'll come to that.
Q: As though that is wrong.
K: First I must see that there is actually no division between me and the world.
Q: I think the problem is that even when we see the fact...
Q: That to see the fact, we still think we are different.
K: Do you see that fact, sir, not your opinion of the fact, that I, born in India, with all the nonsense that goes on and brought to England, with all the nonsense that goes on here and so on, so on, I am the result of all that. What's the difficulty in seeing this?
Q: How about also the part that says ‘I’m different and I’m important’.
K: That's what the world made you.
Q: That’s what the world has created us.
K: What's the matter?
Q: They told you that constantly.
K: You are the world and the world has made you think that you are the most important person. Religions have done it, haven't they? - salvation. You are so. And your education says you're better than 'B'. So all the way from the moment we are born till we die, everything around us says, 'You are the first.' Right? That's a fact.
K: That's all.
K: My god! (Laughter)
Q: You have worked, sir.
K: Why has it taken nearly an hour to see a simple fact like this? Please answer me, why?
Q: Me is too strong.
Q: Because the thing that has been pushed into shade is wriggling.
K: No sir, you see what, it has taken an hour, because we are fairly friendly, we are not antagonistic to each other, we said we have come together to discuss, so we are fairly amicable. But even this amicability has taken us an hour to clear up some very simple points. You understand sir?
Q: It’s remarkable that it takes only an hour! (Laughter)
Q: We relate more readily to opinion than we do to facts.
K: I have no opinion, we just see the fact that I am that. I may not like it, I may say it's most unpleasant, but it is a fact. Then my next step is, what am I to do? Knowing I am that, what am I to do, what is my action, what is my responsibility? And at what level, at what depth is my responsibility, and is my action superficial or is it out of a deep understanding of this thing?
I think we better stop, don't you? It's five minutes to one. We'll continue tomorrow where we left off, can we?