What is our relationship to another?
Can the brain ever be free from knowledge?
2nd Public Talk, Madras
December 28, 1980
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday? Perhaps if what was said briefly could be repeated, I hope you won't mind.
We were considering together the decline of man, morally, aesthetically and in the real sense, religious sacredness. We were considering together what has happened to man: his decline, his degeneration which is expressed in violence, in self-centred activity, in perhaps total selfishness, and throughout the world there is a great deal of corruption not only at the high level but everywhere, and specially in this country where bribery, corruption of every kind is going on. Observing this country, as the speaker has done for the last sixty years or so, the degeneration is rather rapid, and we seem to be totally indifferent to what is happening, or we don't know what to do. And if we do know what to do, we either join some communist - a party, left, right, centre, hoping thereby to resolve the appalling condition, the mess, the disorder, the total lack of care.
We said before we take action we should consider what is the cause of all this misery, this living in illusion in which there is such contradiction, in our private lives as well as public life. There may be many causes, or one cause - we went into that somewhat, perhaps briefly, but it is evident that throughout the world this sense of love, this sense of care, the feeling for another has come to an end. When you do feel for another it is so superficial. And pleasure in the form of sex, money, power, status has become all important.
And does the cause of this decline, does it rest on each individual? We said there is no such thing as an individual. We explained very carefully that our mind, which is the source of our thought, has created the idea that you are separate from another. You may be separate in colour, in height, and so on, linguistically, culturally, but are we individuals at all? Or are we the result of a great many influences - economic, social, political, religious, climatic and so on, these influences have created the idea that you are an individual separate from another. And this idea has been encouraged throughout the religions: personal salvation, personal achievement both externally and inwardly, this emphasis on the individual which is utterly false, for there is no individuality. We are the mixture of so many influences, cultures, traditions. Individuality means that state of mind which is whole, unbroken. And we are not that. We are broken up entities.
And we said that if you have come here with the understanding that you are going to be personally salvaged, or personally seek enlightenment, I am afraid you will be disappointed. You cannot seek enlightenment. There is no practice, no system, no effort which will bring about enlightenment. It requires a mind that is beyond time, a mind that is free of all knowledge, that is free from all experience. And that sense of wholeness, it cannot be come by through any combination of thought.
So we were saying yesterday, as there is corruption in this world, lack of integrity, and we human beings have created this society in which we live, we have created it: our fathers, grandfathers, past generation upon generation and we are the result of all that. And we are contributing to this corruption. And to blame society seems to be rather absurd - there is no society. Please, we are talking over together, we are not arguing, we are not exercising one opinion against another, one conclusion against another, but rather, intelligently, sceptically, with considerable doubt we are investigating into what is the nature of man, both intellect, the sense of great affection, and the quality of mind that can transcend this appalling misery, confusion of all human beings throughout the world. So we are talking over together, please bear in mind through all these talks and discussions that we are together, you and the speaker, examining why - this problem - why human beings, you who actually represent the whole of mankind, if you go into it you will see, why you have become what you are - violent, superstitious, obeying, accepting authority, apart from the technological understanding, why you have given yourselves over to another, to a book, whether it be the Gita, the Bible or the Koran, why you, as a human being, are not thinking clearly for yourself but merely following. These are the problems we talked about yesterday.
After the talk yesterday I was walking along, the speaker was walking along, and a man came up to me and said, 'I understand everything you said at the talk very clearly, only why don't you lead us?' You understand the mentality of most of us? We want leaders - politically, religiously, the so-called specialists. And we are willing to subjugate ourselves to higher authority, either spiritually, if you can use that word, or blame society. Society doesn't exist. Society is a word in abstraction, it is an abstract idea. Society is not there, there is nothing concrete about it. But man, human being, in his relationship to another, that's what matters, not society. If we can understand our relationship to each other, not the relationship of a Hindu to a Muslim, a Christian, a Catholic to a Protestant, those are just propaganda of thousands of years, which has programmed our brain, conditioned our brain to say, 'I am a Hindu, I believe in this, I don't believe in that'. It is the result of thousands of years of careful propaganda. So what matters is to find the right kind of relationship with another. Then the world in which we live... (Short gap in recording) a yest.
Please, we are talking over as two friends, I am not your guru, you are not my followers. That's an abomination. You are free human beings to investigate, to question, to doubt. And what is important is to find out, as we said, what is right relationship between human beings, not according to some theory, not according to some religious book, not according to what you wish a relationship should be, but rather to examine actually what is going on, what is our relationship to another, actually, not theoretically, not according to what somebody said in ancient times, or modern times - what actually your relationship is with another. If that relationship is corrupt, dishonest, exploiting, then in that relationship there is corruption and therefore in the world corruption comes into being. This is logic, rational. This isn't something invented by the speaker over which we can argue, dispute, exercise our verbal intellectual game, but we are asking, not only why man has become what he is: confused, unhappy, uncertain, anxious, full of sorrow and this everlasting fear, but also why we live in conflict from the moment we are born till we die. The books, the modern psychology may explain, very carefully, logically, but the explanation is not the actual. The word is not the thing. I hope you are following all this. The word 'tree' is not the actual tree. But we are so enamoured of words, to us words have extraordinary significance - they are merely a means of communication. If we both of us understand English, or French or Hindi, or whatever language one speaks, and we are both speaking the same language, then communication becomes fairly simple if each of us has understood the meaning of every word that we use.
So. If I may request, please don't take notes. You can't listen and take notes. It isn't a matter that you will think about it when you go home. We are together examining all this. So have, please, the courtesy, the care to listen to somebody. You are here to listen, to find out, but if you are taking notes or yawning, or bored, or tired, it isn't worth it - better go home and have a good sleep. You won't miss anything. You have missed a lot all your life, but one day more doesn't matter.
When we use the word 'right' it means whole, not broken up. Right relationship. The meaning of that word, if you go into the word etymologically and look up various dictionaries and so on, 'right' means correct, precise, actual, and also much more, which is, an action, a way of life that is whole, not fragmented. When that word is made clear then we can examine what our human relationship is.
There can be a wholeness only when there is love. The word 'whole' means healthy, sane, rational, and also it means holy, sacred. So is our relationship with another born out of love, or is it the outcome of convenience, a social contract? We are examining your life, not my life. Examine it for yourself. I am not married, I have lived all my life alone, I have no money, so I can talk about it quite easily. But talking about it has very little meaning, what matters is that one lives. And relationship means - the actual meaning of that word - to be related, not only through blood and so on, but to relate, it comes from the word 'relate', that is to look back, to relate a story, to relate an incident. It comes from that. That is, if you examine very carefully, you only know your relationship through memory. You are facing all this? Which is, your relationship is based on knowledge. Right, sirs? And is knowledge love? Find out, sirs, enquire with me, with the speaker. When relationship is based on memory, on convenience, on sex, of one needing the other, both physically, psychologically, then there is mutual, if I may use the word without hurting you, exploitation. So our whole process of relationship is the operation of the past controlling our actions in the present. Which is, knowledge controlling your action, your behaviour, your moral attitude, and action is the outcome of past knowledge. That is so.
Are we all asleep? Don't laugh, sir. This is really very, very serious. Your house is burning and you don't seem to be aware of it. Your country, this beautiful earth, is being destroyed by you, and we don't seem to find a way of action which is right. And that action is the understanding of the whole nature of knowledge, not knowledge of books, that's merely superficial learning so that you can have some kind of skill, so that you can have a job. We are talking of much deeper knowledge, the knowledge that is acquired through experience, through various incidents, not the knowledge of god, or your particular book or quotations and all that, the knowledge which you have in your relationship with another.
Computers are programmed by anybody who can talk to it. And it will give you replies according to what you have programmed it to be. You understand? I hope I am making myself clear. Our minds are programmed by knowledge. Is this all right? Are we going together? Sir, your minds - your brains rather, have been conditioned through thousands and thousands of years. At the end of these years you say, 'I am a Hindu', 'I am a Muslim', 'I am a Christian', which is, that you have been programmed. You may not like the word. Your mind is programmed, conditioned to react, like the computer, of which perhaps some of you may know.
So we are asking, is knowledge the basis of relationship? Please, I wish you would discuss this with me, I wish you would understand what the speaker is saying. Please don't go to sleep, come with me. No, sir. Je vous en prie. Pas maintenant. So let's both talk over things, see what the speaker is saying.
So knowledge is the basis of our relationship - which it is, actually. And so this knowledge is essentially the past. There is no future knowledge. And knowledge is always within the shadow of ignorance because there is no complete knowledge about anything. So knowledge may be, and probably is - examine it please - is the beginning of corruption.
So is there an action, a relationship, which is not based on knowledge? Knowledge is the image you have created about him, or her, or them, or we, and they. You understand? The image. That is the word: he is a communist, he is a socialist, he is a Russian, he is a Hindu. The words are not the actual human being. They are merely symbols. And when symbols become all important, as they are becoming now, there is no actual relationship. You understand all this? Are we together somewhat? Yes sir?
So we are asking, what is actual relationship with our intimate or not intimate. Look into yourself, sirs. And that relationship creates this world in which we live. If that relationship is fragmented, selfish, self-centred, merely for convenience, a social contract, then you have a corrupt world, then you have a relationship that is most destructive.
Now can one see this fact, not the idea of the fact? You understand? The idea is an abstraction. The word 'tree' is an abstraction of the actual fact, which indicates that particular thing. So are we dealing with abstractions, with ideas, with conclusions or seeing what is actually going on? We must be very clear on this. You all understand English, don't you? Are we communicating with each other? Please, have the goodness to tell me that we are. You understand, sir, when we hear a statement like this, that we have no actual relationship with another, but we have a relationship based on memory, knowledge, convenience, or a relationship born out of a fear of loneliness, despair, then when you hear a statement of that kind do you make an abstraction of it, abstract what you hear into an idea, or are you actually observing the fact? You understand, sir, what I am saying? Which is what you are doing now. So the word 'idea' comes from the Greek, and Latin and so on, which means to observe, to observe what is actually taking place. But we have made the word 'idea' into an abstraction. So could you, please, not make an idea of what you hear, but actually observe what is going on in your life. (Sound of bird) That bird is very persistent! Probably you will hear that better than the speaker! (Laughter) But if you hear that bird completely without any resistance, hear it completely with all your heart and mind, you know then the art of listening to something. The art of listening is to give your whole mind and heart to that bird that is calling. If you can listen to that bird in that way you can also listen to your wife, to your husband, to your child, to your neighbour, and perhaps you can also listen to the speaker that way. But we have lost the art of listening because we are so concerned about ourselves, about our problems, our tears, our anguish, and so we are hardly capable of listening so completely. And when you listen so completely with your heart and with your mind, with total attention, that very listening is the miracle of action.
So we know the facts of our daily relationship with each other, however intimate or not. Can that relationship be transformed, not through effort, but through intelligence. You understand sir? As we said (laughs) - (sound of birds) - probably they are objecting to our sitting here. (Laughter) So we are saying (sound of birds) - (laughs) - I better go on, this is not a competition between the crow and myself! (Laughter)
All right, sir, let's go on. We know what our relationship actually is, unless you are totally blind, unaware, you know what it is. Now can that be totally transformed so that there can be love? And that transformation can only take place through intelligence. Now we are going carefully into that word. It has various meanings which we won't go into etymologically. But it means to be able to see clearly the danger and to act so that you are moving away from danger. You understand? That's one meaning of it. That is, if you see danger you move. It is only the blind, the neurotic, the deaf and the dumb and the people who see danger, and don't move. Right? Intelligence is an action which instantly comes when you see something, a great danger. Right? That is one meaning of that word. We will stick to that word for the moment, the meaning of that word. Now do you see the danger - please listen carefully - do you see the danger of what you call your present relationship? You understand? Right, sir? Do you see the danger of it? Or you say, we are used to it, this is the way we have lived for thirty, forty years, our fathers have lived that way, our whole neighbourhood lives that way. Which means you don't see the actual danger of your present relationship, which is conflict, jealousy, anxiety, attachment. As we explained yesterday, where there is attachment there must be corruption. We will go into the sequence of this: when you are attached to somebody, or to a belief, or to a book, or to an idea, the consequences of that are, you are frightened of losing, jealousy, antagonism. Right? Frightened to be disturbed. If you are attached to a belief you hold on to it, you are attached, you cling to it, because that belief is created by thought and in that you find security. And that security is just non-existent, it is an illusory security therefore it is corrupt. And so on.
Now do you see to bring about a world in which human beings can live healthily, sanely, rationally, with a sense of sacredness, the present relationship is destructive of the other, is dangerous. Do you see the danger of it? If you don't see the danger of it then either you are callous, totally indifferent, and consequently brutal, violent, which is a danger to human existence. Right, sirs? Do you see it as danger, or you make an abstraction of it? For god's sake, come on, sirs! If you see the danger of it, why is there not action to move away from it? Either you are not intelligently observing the fact, or your mind has become so dull by habit that you are incapable of seeing the fact, actually what is going on. For god's sake!
Intelligence is not knowledge. I want to talk to somebody who understands what I am talking about. Intelligence is - all right, let me put it the other way. Knowledge is acquired through time. Right? You have an experience, that experience leaves a mark on the brain, which becomes knowledge, and from that knowledge, memory and thought. We will go into that at another time, much more deeply into the question of, the whole movement of thought. And on that movement we live. That is, experience, knowledge, memory, thought, and action. From that action you learn more, which becomes knowledge. So we move in this cycle: experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, and from that action you learn, acquire more knowledge, and keep in this cycle. That's what our life is. This is what we are doing all the time. And as we said, experience can never be complete, any kind of experience, therefore action is always incomplete.
And we are saying that knowledge is not intelligence. Intelligence is something totally away from that. We will go into it if time allows it. We have got another eight minutes, or ten minutes. Please understand this, this is your life, not mine. Because if you understand this very deeply perhaps you will then bring about a radical revolution in relationship.
First understand the cycle in which our brain, our human mind works. Always acquiring knowledge, modifying it or adding to it all the time, and therefore we are living all the time in the cycle of time. Right? Do you see that? Is that clear at least? Yes, sir? Right? Now, at last somebody. And therefore in that cycle there can never be a wholeness - right? - a completeness. Do you actually see that, or is it a theory? You follow what I am saying? Do you actually perceive how your life operates: experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, from that action you learn more, add more knowledge and have kept moving in this constant cycle. That's our life, both technologically as well as psychologically, inwardly. Technologically it is useful. Right? To build a computer, to build a dynamo, to build a bridge, to build a car, you must have knowledge, accumulated, experiment, add, change, move. That same thing operates in our daily life. Right? So we are asking: can that bring about a right relationship? Is relationship based on knowledge? If it is, it is incomplete. You follow? Therefore there must be conflict in it. If you understand that, not verbally, not theoretically but actually, then we can investigate how to - not how - whether it is possible to move away from that. You understand? I'll show you. I'm boiling with it but you are all asleep, but doesn't matter.
Is there an action, a way of living, which is not based on memory, based on experience, therefore based on knowledge? Knowledge becomes repetitive, mechanical. Right? So our life becomes mechanical, which it is. Right? Now we are going to try and find out if there is a way of living with knowledge technologically - right? - the office, driving a car, going to your home, learning a language, doing a skilful job, efficiently and all that. That is, there you need memory, knowledge, experience. And we are saying, psychologically, inwardly, is knowledge necessary? You understand my question? Because as long as you are depending psychologically on your relationship then it is based on knowledge, therefore it is incomplete, therefore there must be conflict in your relationship. That is inevitable. So can our brain which has been so accustomed to this habit of knowledge, see, or move away even for a few minutes, see how important it is to find out a way of living which is not based on knowledge. Don't agree with me, sir, this is real meditation, if you want to go into it.
Our action is of time. Right? That is, I have learnt, I have acquired knowledge, and I act from that knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge is time. Right? It takes time. So is there an action which is not based on time? You understand my question? Just understand the logic, the sequence of this question. Our brains are used to time, the habit of this - experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, from that action learn, more knowledge. So it is caught in that. Our brain is conditioned to that. And being conditioned to that our relationship to another is partial, never complete, and therefore that which is incomplete must inevitably breed conflict, strife, anxiety, jealousy, misery. Now is there a way of living, acting, which is not of that? To come upon that you have to investigate the nature of an action which is not born of time, therefore not born of knowledge. That is, what is intelligence? Please listen to it carefully, if you are interested, if you are not asleep, please listen to it. The computer can do all this - what a human being does. That is acquire experience, store up memory, respond, learn, and add more knowledge to it. You understand this? That is, it can play chess with an expert, a master chess player, a computer. (Sound of bird) That poor bird! It can play, the computer can play with a master chess player. First time it may be beaten, it is beaten, so it learns the moves, why it has been beaten. That learning is stored up in the tape as memory. Then the second time it plays, it learns more, and the third time, fourth time, after that it beats every chess master. You understand this? That's how our brains are working. That is, learn, knowledge, fail, more knowledge - you follow? - so gradually you become expert.
Now what is the difference between the human brain and the computer? You understand? The computer, if you have studied it a little bit, I have talked to some computer experts therefore I am talking glibly about it. I know I am not an expert about it. I have talked to experts in California, in Europe, in Brockwood and here. So this is what the computer is doing: learning constantly, acquiring knowledge so that it can reply instantly. And that's what the mind is doing, our brain is doing. So what is the difference between the human brain and the computer? There isn't any. I wonder if you see this. No, sir, this is... So they are beginning to enquire, what is intelligence. If the machine can do it, and the human brain can do it too, there is not much difference, but the human brain has some other quality, which is to find out what is intelligence. Oh, you people are so dull! Probably you all go to temple, go to office every day, become more and more dull, and when something new is put before you, you don't even comprehend the beauty of it, the enormity of it.
We are enquiring into what is intelligence. If the machine can do what if the computer can do what the human brain can do then we are not intelligent. Therefore there must be a quality of intelligence which we can find out. Right?
First there is the quality of observation. I am talking about the same thing. To observe. Do you observe anything, or your brain is observing, not your eyes observing? You understand what I am There is a difference between optical observation and the observation of thought. Now which is it that you do? Do you do both? Observe visually, optically, or as you observe thought intercedes, therefore thought is observing. You understand what I am saying? Do you get what I am saying? Thank god, there is somebody. Now can you observe without the interference of thought? No, please, madame, don't play with it. Can you observe without the interference of thought? So observation then is pure, clear, and from that clarity and purity there is action. But the moment thought comes in it begins with knowledge - you are following the whole movement?
So there is an action which is born out of pure observation and therefore without time, which is immediate. That is intelligence. You have got it?
Now can that intelligence operate in your relationship, in your daily relationship? It's only then that you end all conflict. You understand? Because where there is conflict there can be no love. Where there is jealousy the other is not. Where there is anxiety, fear, attachment, that which is the greatest thing in life is not. Right, sirs.