What is our responsibility?
Is there a movement other than the movement of thought?
3rd Public Discussion Saanen
August 02, 1974
What shall we talk over together this morning? The utter chaos that exists around us, in the world, sometimes a little less, sometimes more, we human beings have created this society - the misery, the poverty, the extraordinary sense of brutality and wars, and all that. And out of this chaos one hopes there will be some day some order. And we don't feel, as human beings, responsible at all. We are all concerned with our own little problems, with our own critical, rather asinine attitude towards institutions, towards this and towards that. And what is the place of morality when there is no authority, when the so-called religions are fading away, when you can do almost what you like - steal, murder? And we feel utterly helpless. And for all this - this corruption, this destruction, this great misery and suffering - we are responsible. We don't feel that responsibility. And what can one do to make, or to help you to realise the utter inescapable the flame of responsibility that you must have?
Now if we could this morning give some thought and have a dialogue or conversation about this matter I think it would be worthwhile because our problems are the world's problems. That's an absolute fact. Unless our minds radically undergo a change we will maintain this corruption, the brutality, the appalling confusion in the world. So how does one, in what way can one, feel this overwhelming responsibility? Would that be worthwhile to consider, or would you like to discuss, or argue, or offer opinions about if there is god, if there is no god? I hope I haven't put any of you off your particular question. Perhaps if you put your question, what you want to discuss this morning, we can include all that in this major question.
K: Can we go into detail, keeping the general perception of the whole.
K: One comes from a poor country and governments are incapable of dealing with the matter, what is one to do.
K: How do you propose, or how do you suggest the feeling of responsibility into action?
Q: Responsibility, or to understand responsibility seems to take a great deal of energy and I was wondering how...
K: How to you have or obtain or come upon this great deal of energy when you feel responsible.
K: Can I do anything to the world before I change myself? Basta, no?
K: You have said, the world is you and you are the world and I am afraid - the questioner says - that most people don't understand that statement.
K: It's a bit hot, isn't it? Look, sir, you have put many questions: to observe the whole and yet be concerned with the detail as that gentleman pointed out; what is one to do when governments throughout the world are not concerned with poverty, with the solution of hunger, actually - they talk a great deal about it, there have been organisations but people are still starving and so on; and would you also please explain, or go into, the world is you, and you are the world, and so on.
I think, if we could see the world as it is, and ourselves as we are, and not a division, a demarcation between the world and me and you, because we are all involved in this, we are all in the same boat. And realising that, not intellectually, not verbally, not theoretically but actually to feel this actual reality that we are the world and the world is you. And I think when one feels that, then the responsibility begins to awaken. Now can we discuss that? In that we will include - how to observe the whole and yet not forget the detail, what can the governments do to abolish poverty - United Nations, I hope there is nobody here from the United Nations! I have a great friend who is at the top of the United Nations, but he is not here. (Laughter). And what can one do, realising the responsibility, and what is the response of that responsibility in action?
First of all, why have we divided the world there, and the world here - the inner and the outer? You know this has been a great problem. The yogi, the sannyasi, the monk, says, 'I am not the world, the world is an illusion, the world is a temptation, the world is destructive, and I withdraw from it in order to find reality'. This has existed from time immemorial - the division between the outer and the inner. And there are still people who say, 'I don't want to identify myself with the world, the world has nothing to give me'. And there has been a great deal of controversy among the communists - the commissar and the yogi - the division. And having divided - you understand? - the outer and the inner, we are trying to bring it together, integrate these two divisions. See what the mind has done - divide first and then integrate what is called, bring them together. That is part of yoga - yoga, the meaning of that word, means to join, the outer and the inner. And having divided the outer and the inner then we proceed to join it. I don't know if you follow this. Now why has the mind done this? Let's think about it. Don't say, 'Yes, I have an answer'. I don't know, we are investigating. Why has the mind, your mind, and the mind of civilised human beings, the culture that minds throughout the ages have created, why is there this division? When you say, 'I must meditate', you are discarding the outer and running away into some inner nature. I don't know if you follow all this.
So I think it would be worthwhile if you would give your attention to find out for yourself why this division has existed for ages. What is your answer?
K: Was there a time when this did not exist. I don't know. But it exists now, unfortunately. And I want to find out why, why the mind has divided this thing.
Q: The identification of the ‘me’.
K: You understand the question, sir, the full implication of this question? It requires a little investigation. If you don't mind kindly pay attention. The world we see, we touch, the world of senses, the world as it actually is - the technological world, the scientific world, the business world, the artistic world, the world of education, entertainment - all that, out there.
K: That is the identification of the 'me' and the development of the 'me' the gentleman says, is the cause of this division. Is the 'me' different from the world?
Q: Is one necessarily an individual?
K: Now is there individuality? Individual means indivisible, a human being who is not fragmented, who is whole. That is what is the actual meaning of individuality - indivisible. In that there is neither the outer, nor the inner. We are not that kind of human beings, we are not individuals. Individual also means unique. We are not unique. There may be a unique genius, a gifted or talented person that's a freak. But as human beings we are not individuals at all in the real meaning of that word. So I am asking myself, I am asking you, why does this division take place? Why am I not satisfied with the outer completely? You understand? Just listen. I am one of the questioners, sir, so please give your attention to the questioner. If we are completely and utterly satisfied with the outer - cars, the amusement, everything that is going on, say, 'It's marvellous, I love that', and many millions say that, then there would be no inner, would there? Would there? Come on sirs. I am not laying down the law, I am just asking. If I identify totally with my country and endow that country with all the virtues, with all the beauty, with all the loveliness of everything, I'm finished. But I don't do that. I want something much more. The more intelligent, the more sensitive, the more alive you are, you say, 'That's very superficial, I want something much more'. I think there begins the real worm of division. Don't you?
K: Sir, the moment we say that that toy is mine, there is the division. You follow? I wonder if you understand.
Q: If I have a wound I feel it in my body, which is me. I am not concerned with others.
K: Of course, madam, that is quite true. If I have a wound, I feel it in my body which is me. I am not concerned with others. Yes, I won't feel the intensity of that pain as I do about myself with regard to others. You see we are all offering opinions. We are not saying, 'Look, let me find out - apart from Aristotle, apart from philosophers, apart from freaks, apart from everything that has been said. I don't know, I haven't read those things therefore I can come to it fresh myself'. But you can't, because you are full of opinions, full of other people's ideas. So if you could put that aside for the time being and say, look, why do I always think in these terms of the outer and the inner?
K: Is there always evolution. You see - what do you mean by evolution? To evolve, to go forward in evolution. Are we? You are so hopeless! No, please, don't make statements, don't assert anything. We are trying to find out, if you will kindly pay attention, not to your answers but find out for yourself why the mind has divided the world as there and the world of 'me' as something separate.
Q: We understand so little about ourselves, we are ignorant.
K: We understand so little about ourselves, we are ignorant. Is it this ignorance that has separated me from the rest, from the world?
K: Why does this division exist. Please stick to that one thing for the time being. We will come upon all the other questions - suffering, my personal suffering and the suffering in the world, and is there a suffering which is not personal at all? You follow? So we will come upon all these questions if we can find out the first question we are asking. Probably you have not thought about this at all.
Personally I never thought, I never feel that the world is out there and the world is 'me' - separate. And everybody around one approaches the problem from the outer to the inner, and from the inner to the outer, it is this endless ebb and flow. Not one constant stream - you follow? Not flowing back and flowing out. Now this is what we have done, the division has taken place. I am asking myself, who has created this division - god, the priest, the philosopher, the clever verbalizer, the erudite - have they created this and created the structure as the outer and the inner, and we are educated in that and are caught in it? You understand my Somebody must have started this game.
Q: Is it not the nature of cells themselves to separate?
K: Is it not the life itself separates. I know all that, sir. The cells separate. They have been saying, the atom is the whole, it is not broken, now they know it can be broken, the cells are broken, and all the rest of it. And you are saying it is the very nature of life to divide.
Q: And to build.
K: Build, destroy, corrupt. Don't just say, build, and leave it at that. It destroys. So you are saying, it is the very nature of existence that creates this division, the very nature of life. The very nature of our daily life creates this.
Q: The ‘me’ and its activity creates this division.
K: Now let's take that. He says the 'me' and its activity creates this division. What is this 'me'?
K: What is the action of memory that sustains and maintains the 'me'.
K: Why don't we see the action that is generating the 'me'. Because we are probably blind. We are not aware. Look, sir, I think it begins - I am just exploring, don't jump on me - I think it begins in the act of observation. When you observe there is always the observer. I am not laying down the law, please, just listen to it and tear it to pieces, but first listen. When I see a mountain, and observe a mountain, the word 'mountain' springs into my mind. The word. The word has its associations, and those associations are stored up in the brain. So when I see that range, that line of snow and the peaks and the beauty of it, I say, 'It's a mountain'. Right? Go slowly. And the word has already divided the fact from the observer. You understand? You follow? Am I right in this? You understand what I am saying? The word, or the screen of words has separated the observer and the observed. Obviously. The words with their associations bring about a certain feeling, sensation. You follow? My wife - there are certain associations with that word, and the words and the memory have separated the woman and the man - my wife. Right? We are investigating, we are moving.
So there is this problem of verbalisation. And I know the word is not the thing, and yet all the time words are coming into action. Right? So words, phrases, all that plays an immense importance. He is an Italian - immediately there is a division. Now can the mind be free of the word, the 'mountain', and look at it? Then is there a division - division being space, distance, time? You follow this? We'll come to Slowly, slowly, sir, patience.
So I see the image I have is projected in front, which says, 'That's a mountain'. The image which I have about a tree divides, the image is my memory - is memory, knowledge, experience. And when I say, 'It's my wife', the word is a symbol, an image put together by various incidents, pleasures and so on and so on, soon, which are all in the memory as words. So I am questioning, I am asking, the division may come into being with the word. After all there is the Christian, which is a word, with all the symbols, with all the tradition, with all the ideas. And there are the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims - they are all words. And the mind, and the brain, is the instrument of words. The word creates the thought, without the word is there a thought? I hope somebody will follow all this, contradict it, or say, 'No, you are talking nonsense'.
K: He says, in Italian, the thinker invents the word. The word is the consequence of the thinker. I am saying the opposite. Do listen. You may be right, sir. But let's look at it. I said - we are investigating - the speaker said, the word divides, the word is employed in order to recognise and so on - the word. And I said the word may be the division. And the word, our friend says, is the expression of thought. Right? Now is there a thought without the word, without the symbol, without the image? You understand? He said, there is the thinker first and then words flow from that thinker; and therefore those words divide people - words being labels, etiquette, images. Now that is the generally accepted tradition all over the world: the thinker is the employer of words; the thinker is the maker of words; the thinker uses the word to convey his thoughts; the thinker is, in essence, non-verbal. Is that so? I do not know if you have ever tried to find out if you don't use a word - words - is there a thought? When you look at that mountain there is perception, sensation, and the actual contact, physical contact with the mountain - the stone, the river, the tree. So seeing, contact, sensation and from that this whole question of desire arises. Now can the mind observe - please listen to this - can the mind observe that mountain without the word, without the sensation, without the contact, just look non-verbally?
K: Look sir, put it much more simply, sir. What you are saying is correct, put it much more simply. I use the word 'communist', or the German, or the Russian, or the American, and I have immediately put him into a category and I think I have understood him. You follow? So my mind is incapable of looking without categorising.
K: Of course, of course. Sir, we are trying to find out, sir, why is it we have the world outside, the world inside. Why is it there is a German, there is a Russian, there is a Jew, Arab, Hindu, why this division - the Catholic, non-Catholic and all the rest of it? Obviously, it is so simple. It is so simple you won't see it. The form - right? - the form of your face, your body, then the name - look at what takes place - the name, with the name the associations, so immediately you have a name, a word, different from me. So you are the word, the form, the shape, and I the form, the shape and so on. So immediately there is a division. So I am saying to myself, does this division take place with words? The word being Muslim, the Christian. Remove the word, remove the label, remove all that, you are me, because you have your problems of suffering, pain, anxiety, despair, hope, criticism, all the rest of it.
Q: Does a child have this?
K: Don't take the child, yourself is good enough, sir. Look at yourself. Forget the child, look at yourself as you are, don't go back to the child.
K: Of course sir, that's what - words. And when we give a label, which is the word, I think I have understood the whole thing. When I say, 'He is a Hindu', I have finished. Remove the label it is much more difficult.
So that may be the reason why the division exists. The word being memory, the word being the remembrance, knowledge, experience, all that is stored in the brain which reacts in action according to the image it has. Right sir? That is fairly simple. I have an image about myself, if I have, I have an image about myself - noble, ignoble, despair, I am not noble, I am not capable, I am worthy, I am a great master of everything. I have a great many images. And you have an image about yourself. The image is the memory, the experience, the accumulated knowledge stored up in the brain cells as memory. Obviously. So when I look at you I look at the image which I have, through that image I look at you.
Q: It is a protection.
K: Wait sir, we'll find Of course it is a protection of oneself. Protection of an image which I think I am. Sir, look at that first, before you ask questions see if you have an image about yourself and what kind of image you have about yourself, how it is put together - education, suffering, the whole civilisation, the whole culture says, you are important. And the other culture says, you are not important but the State is important. Which is again just words.
So can I - please go the next step - can I, can the mind observe that mountain without the word? The word, the experience, the word, the thought, memory, experience, knowledge is the observer. You have got it? The word with all its associations, sensations, the word, the memory, memory is experience, memory is knowledge stored in the cells. Now when I look at that mountain all that comes into being. Right? Therefore I am looking at that thing with an image which I have. Now can I look at that thing without the image? You understand? This is really important. Go into it, you will see.
Then see what happens - god, it is so exciting, you people miss something - now when one looks at the mountain there is space, distance, and to cover that distance time is necessary - physical distance, physical space, physical time. That will always be there. Now when there is no word with its associations, sensations, contact, memory, all that coming into being, what takes place when the observer is not but is merely observing? You have understood my question? You've understood, sir? Now what takes place?
Q: There is nothing.
K: Oh no, you haven't done it, sir, don't say, 'There is nothing.' You people don't
Q: There is no psychological ‘me’.
K: Sir, look - you understand? - the observer divides. Right? The observer is the past, which is memory, experience, knowledge. When you are actually experiencing there is no 'me'. Right? The 'me' comes into being only after saying, 'Yes, that was a marvellous experience, and I must have more of it.'
Q: How can there be experience without memory?
K: No, I am showing you something. There is no experience when the observer is not. Experience implies a recognition. Right? Recognition means that it has already been experienced, stored up in the memory as an experience and remembered, which is the observer. Now when the observer is not what takes place?
Q: It is like listening to music or looking at an abstract form.
K: Yes. All right. When you are listening to music, or looking at an abstract form - leave the abstract form for the minute - when you are listening to music what takes place? When you are actually listening to a piece of music what happens? You listen, you go to concerts and listen to music, pop or otherwise, what takes place?
Q: It becomes a part of you.
K: It becomes a part of you, he says. Look, sir, you are listening - Mozart, Beethoven, or the modern pop, if you like that kind of stuff - and you listen, what takes place? Do you listen without remembrances, without emotion, without romanticism, without saying, 'By Jove, that was a marvellous thing which I heard the other day, and it woke up so many memories, so many feelings, and I would like to capture that same feeling when I listen today'. Don't you go through all this? So you are not listening, are you?
Q: You immediately try to connect it.
K: That's what we are saying. Can you listen, observe, without the observer? Sir, do it, don't always say, 'I can't', 'I don't know', and remaining there always. You see you are not pioneers, you are traditionalists, you don't say, 'Let's find out'.
Q: When you say, ‘Do it’, I don’t understand what you
K: I'll show you, sir, very simple. When you look at that mountain, can you look at it not only without saying the word 'mountain', but actually not having the image of it?
Q: When I have, I’ve seen myself. Trying to look at the mountain without the image.
K: (Laughs). Yes, I understand that, but go beyond that. Don't try, just look. Find out if you can look without a single image. That's fairly easy - you understand? - to look at a mountain. But can you look at your friend, wife, husband, without that? It is much more demanding, much more - you follow? You need to have an astonishing energy and attention to look.
So the division, apparently takes place when there is an image which has been put in the mind through so-called culture - the culture of the Catholic world, the culture of a Hindu, and so on and so on, so on. That's one part. The other part is, you give a child a toy and it is immediately his, and you take it away from him, he cries, you know, all the rest of it. The immediate pleasure, the immediate identification with that toy, is 'me', the creation of the 'me' - it's my toy - the toy, the house, the car, the various possessions and so on and so on, so on. The moment there is an identification with the toy, the whole process of the 'me' begins. Right, sir? So that's another problem, and that divides as mine and yours.
Then there is another division which is the ideological division - you are a communist, Marxist, or a Maoist, and I am not, I am some other 'Maoist' and there we are. And there is another division - division as my god and your god, my guru and your guru, and my guru is better than your guru, obviously! (Laughter). And there is the division of nationalities and so on. There it is. All depending - please listen to this, we are going to discover something - all depending on my conditioning by the culture, the culture which I was conditioned in, and according to that conditioning, my temperament, my idiosyncrasies, are reactions to that conditioning. You understand? And I say, 'Yes, I am a devotee', and 'I am an intellectual' - you follow? The division. The response according to my conditioning is the temperament, is the character, is the tendency. I have built myself into a perfect cage, around myself, that is me. And that 'me' separates you from the 'you' who are different. My goodness, see what we have done! And then we say we are brothers. And we try to find, holding on to my division and you holding on to your division, a common ground to meet, which is called tolerance. I am not being cynical. This is the game we are playing. And I say to myself, is it possible not to have this division, not to be conditioned, not to have this everlasting 'me' operating, operating, operating?
Q: When division ceases there is unity.
K: Not unity. When the reason for division ceases I don't talk about unity, brotherhood or any of that. And when there is no division then the question of poverty, all that, will be answered.
Q: The image shapes our behaviour.
K: Of course, of course, of course. The image shapes our behaviour. Of course. The image I have about you as a great man, and the image I have about you as the cook are different, and my behaviour is different, obviously. No? You are the great man and my behaviour to you, because I have an image of what is great, and according to that image I behave.
Q: The image has a reality, not just a memory.
K: Of course, sir. Therefore I am saying, sir, can you look at your image? You understand? Whether hidden or open, can you look at that image and see how it is created, how it is put together? And from that image all action, all behaviour, all morality, everything takes place.
So morality in this chaotic world has no place. But morality has a place when there is no image at all. I don't know if you are following this. Very interesting. Do you want to go into it? So the stronger the image the greater the division, obviously. And I see you as a rich man, everything you have, and I am a poor man, and I want to be - I have to work, work, work, work all day and every day for a pittance. You follow? Where is morality in that? I will steal. And I say, 'Why shouldn't I steal, you have stolen otherwise you wouldn't be rich.' So there is no morality there, is there? I wonder if you are meeting all this! And if I have no image and you have no image, what takes place? Sir, look, you can't answer this question honestly if you have an image. You can speculate about it, you can theorise about it. But if you have literally no image of yourself at all, and I say that is utterly possible, and then there is no motive to be moral. You are moral. I don't know if you understand this.
So we are asking, we come back to the question: you are the world and the world is you. The world is out there and the world of you is here. The division takes place through this image, label, identification with a race, with a group, with an ideology, which are all the images which you have built in yourself, or society has put it upon you through education. That society past generations have created so it is you. Now when you see the effect of division, see it, actually observe it - the rich and the poor, the Catholic and the Protestant, the communist and the capitalist, the Hindu, the Jew, the Arab, the world which is so divided - it is our world to live on, to be happy - when you see that and you realise that this division exists because of your various subtle and obvious images that you have, then your responsibility is to get rid, free yourself of those images absolutely. And when you feel the responsibility then the flame of that will burn every image. The flame is energy.
Q: Am I then aware of the details?
K: No, wait a minute. You have used the right word. Just a minute, sir. Am I aware of this whole thing, not only the details as that gentleman asked, the details we have looked at a little bit, but are we aware of the whole thing with the details? Or we are just looking at the map as though from outside? You understand the difference? Am I aware of this whole process taking place in me - you understand? - my brain, in my whole structure; or is it a verbal communication which you are accepting? You see the difference? If you are accepting a verbal description then you will go home with your image; but if you actually are aware of this whole phenomenon which we have described this morning, somewhat in detail and also expansively, then you are aware without the word, without any choice, there it is. Are you aware like that? If you are not, why aren't you? Don't say, 'I am lazy', 'I am afraid', 'I don't know what will happen'. You have got to, this is your responsibility - your responsibility as a human being living in this world, having created this appalling misery for everybody, and you say, 'Well, I am sorry I can't do anything about it. Good morning', and walk out.
K: Our innocency from childhood has been destroyed, and therefore we are afraid from childhood, and that cannot be got rid of. Right? I don't accept; that's a traditional acceptance. My mind refuses to accept that it cannot be free of anything. So if you are saying that is the basic thought then is fear, can the mind be free of fear?
Q: It is a childhood fear.
K: Again the word. You follow sir? See how we play with words. Please listen to this. Is that childhood fear so strong, so highly developed by the parents, by the society, by the food, by college, everything which you call culture, is it a word or a reality? Please listen to this. Is it a remembrance or an actuality?
Q: It is not an actuality.
K: Not an actuality, therefore it is a remembrance in the past. Right? If it is in the past, why does the past play such tremendous importance? So you are living in the past and trying to answer the problems of the present, so division takes place. So can the mind see, actually see, not verbally see, actually you know, come to grips with it that your fear is always a remembrance? Just a minute, sir, watch it in yourself, sir, for god's sake! It is always a remembrance which is in the past, so your brain is in the past, the brain cells are the past.
Q: Brains are influenced by the past.
K: Wait. Just a minute, just a minute. I am going to go into that. Just a minute. So there is a division through remembrance. The remembrance is not the actual. The actual is in the active present, which is action. Now can there be action without the infantile, grown-up memories? You understand, sir? This requires you know, a great deal of perception, and the feeling for words, and the feeling of the reality of remembrance, the feeling that we are all living in the past, in tradition, and betraying the present all the time. See, live it, sir, put your mind and your heart, look at it.
So fear is a remembrance, the thing that is over. It is over but the brain retains it and recognises a feeling which it calls fear, because it recognises it verbally, and absorbs it into the past. I don't know if you follow this. You understand, sir?
There are the remembrances of fear, which is the past, stored up in the brain. Next minute, or sometime a little later, or today, somebody brings, says some things to me and there is that feeling, there is that reaction, the brain responds immediately and calls it fear. Follow this. Immediately responds and calls it fear, recognises it as fear, and therefore strengthens the present fear with the past remembrance. You have got it? Have you got it, sir? Have you got it? Look: I see a snake, and from childhood I have been told snakes are dangerous. That's a memory, a remembrance, stored up there. And when I look at it the whole response is from the past, and says, 'Be afraid'. Now can I look at that snake without the remembrance? I have personally done this thing because it is greatly amusing to watch oneself in operation. I have met lots of snakes and know it.
So can there be an observation without any movement of the past, and therefore no fear at all, just observation? It doesn't mean I observe the bus rushing towards me, I step out of it.
So sir, we have come to this point, which is, what is responsibility with regard to morality, with regard to action in a world where there is no morality, where action is a continuation of the past as tradition, and therefore incapable of meeting the present, what is a man who sees all this and feels utterly responsible, not verbally but actually...
Q: I want to say something.
K: Sir, sir, wait a minute. Just a minute, sir.
Q: You can do it, I wanted to say something.
K: I haven't finished sir. Sorry.
Q: I say something and you jump at me.
K: For the simple reason sir, I have not finished my sentence.
Q: Oh, so that’s the explanation.
K: Not an explanation, sir.
Q: But to me it is not correct. In my case it doesn’t reject
K: I won't even discuss this point.
Where was I? What is responsibility in relationship to action in a world that is utterly confused, what is my responsibility? When I see the whole of this thing - the division, how the divisions have arisen, how we sustain those divisions, what the divisions have brought about in the world - I see not only the whole of it but also all the details of it - the economic, social, religious, private action, public action, private belief, public belief, deception, all the rest of it, the whole of it, what is my responsibility? What is your responsibility? And if you say, 'I have no responsibility, I didn't create the world', you have created the world, you are the result of the past generations, you can't say, 'I am not responsible' - that's a very convenient way out of it. But if you feel totally responsible for the whole thing, not romantically, not sentimentally, not emotionally, but actually - you understand? There is a house burning and you have got to do something, you don't sit round and discuss and say, 'Who set the house on fire' - whether it was a black man, white man, pink man, or what kind of beard he had. Why don't you feel the responsibility of this? I am afraid you feel responsible when it touches you drastically. Right? When you are hurt, when things are taken away from you. That is, to affect you personally, then you feel responsible, but you are the world.
Now, sir, what was your question?
Q: I have forgotten it.
K: I am sorry.
So in this world when authority has been rejected, when religions have no more meaning, when religions have become a circus, a meaningless repetition of something dead, when governments are corrupt - all governments are corrupt, some more, some less - when everything is so dishonest, hypocritical, how will you, feeling responsible, act? For god's sake! Retire into your private shell? We used to know a friend, an Indian, belonging to the same group as we did, highly educated, and he said, 'This is too much for me. The world is too awful, I can't do anything about it.' And he withdrew totally. I haven't met him for many years. And when I saw him some time ago, he was withdrawn into a world of his own, into a meditative world, and he said, 'Yes, you are perfectly right, through my meditation I have hypnotised myself into an isolated state'. You understand? 'I have no relation anymore. I am dead.' And probably that is what most of you will say. But as you are alive, active, respond to your pleasures and demands, you are responsible for your pleasures - you understand? - you want to fulfil them - don't you? Your sexual pleasures, your vanity pleasures. Right? There you feel utterly, totally responsible. So you have the energy. Only that energy you don't apply totally to this, to respond.
Sir, look, when you respond totally that is creative action - you understand? There, there is no imitation, conformity, authority. You respond because you see the whole and the detail, and because you see it you are free to act. You understand what this?
Q: We cannot do this in a consumer society.
K: We cannot do this in a consumer society. And how will you change the consumer society? If you feel responsible for the consumer society, for all the wars, for everything that is going on...
Q: One can’t be part of it.
K: Then you won't buy a pair of shoes, is that it? Then you won't buy a pair of trousers, or skirt, or whatever you call it, because by buying, supporting, the consumer society is sustained, therefore you won't buy, will you? Then what happens? You gradually isolate yourself and go away. Right?
K: Madam, look, when you write a letter, put a stamp on it, you are sustaining, you are maintaining war. Right? You are paying tax.
Q: I don’t pay taxes. (Laughter).
K: I don't pay tax either because I have no money. But those who pay tax, by saying, 'I won't pay tax', or 'I won't buy this, I won't do that', what happens? You are going to stop war? Or war is much more complex than that? Begin with the whole and not with some petty little thing. When you see the whole there is intelligence.
Q: I can’t understand this.
K: Sir, I have spent two hours, an hour and half this morning, you mean to say you don't see this?
Q: I see it but does everyone see it?
K: It's up to them. It's up to them. I can't force them, I can't bribe them, I can't push them. I have no motive to do that, I don't want to do that.
Q: You can be an example and effect a change.
K: I don't want to have an example.
Q: You are a miracle.
K: I am not, I don't want an example because if you are the example then I want to imitate the example. I refuse to conform to the image that I have built about you as So that is what I am saying, when you see - please listen, sir - no authority, no example, no acceptance of following somebody as the right, and so on, I see the whole of this.
Q: You are therefore teaching us.
K: I don't want to teach you. That is our old repetitive conditioning which says, 'Somebody has to teach me'. Wisdom cannot be taught. Wisdom comes when you understand sorrow.