What is supreme intelligence?
Why has the brain got caught in the narrow circle of the self?
4th Public Talk, Saanen
July 17, 1983
I hope you are not too hot. May we continue with what we were talking about on Thursday? We were saying, last Thursday, that human beings throughout the world have sought security, and they must have security, not only biologically, physically, but also human beings have sought psychological security. They have invented all kinds of images, theories, hypotheses and so on. In all those man has sought psychological security. And physically it is necessary, obviously, that all of us throughout the world should have food, clothes and shelter. And that is denied by various forms of divisions - racial, national, which is tribalism, and ideological differences, which have produced a great many wars, thousands of wars. Throughout history wars have existed. So man has hardly any security physically except those who are well-established, plenty of money, following the tradition, conservative and so on. But psychologically, inwardly, security we have sought in various illusions - in god, in ideas, in relationship, in concepts and prejudices, conclusions, convictions. And all those have not given man inward security, which we went into pretty thoroughly last time that we met here.
And we said: is there security at all for human beings? Those of you who have come here for the first time, please if you will kindly bear in mind that this is not a lecture: a lecture being a talking about, a discourse, on a particular subject, to be instructed, informed. So this is not a lecture, this is not something ideological, philosophical, exotic from the East. But as we said, we are talking over together as two friends about human existence, why human beings after so many millennia upon millennia are still primitive psychologically, though technologically highly advanced. They have been to the moon, they have invented a great many things, rapid communication, great surgery, medicine - if you believe in all that - and also computers, which perhaps may take over the whole activity of our brain - not quite, but most of it. So we were talking over together at the last few meetings that we have had here, why human beings are what they are now, after a long period of time which is called evolution. They are still violent, brutal, primitive, have tribal wars, which are national wars, economic wars and so on. And apparently there is no peace in the world. The government cannot possibly, of whatever country, cannot bring about peace. We have talked about that a great deal, I am not going to go into all that again because we have another two meetings only - next Tuesday and Thursday - so we must not go back to what we have said over and over again.
And we are talking over as two friends, not, the speaker is laying down certain dicta, certain ideas. He has no authority, he is just a friend talking over together the whole question of human misery, human suffering, pain, anxiety, loneliness, despair, depression, uncertainty and all the turmoil of life. So we were talking the other day about whether there is any security at all, psychologically. And we have tried to find psychological security in every form of illusion, attachments, ties and so on. In all those activities there has been no security - security being stable, firm, unchangeable, not fluctuating, not changing but a stability, a steadiness, a sense of great strength and vitality. And we said it is only in intelligence that there is total security.
Now we are going to enquire together, together, you and the speaker, investigate what is intelligence. According to the dictionary common usage of that word it means to understand, to discern, to grasp quickly, a statement, an idea, a something put forward, to understand rapidly. And to have sagacity, which is to be able to have the capacity to discern instantly. Each one of us when we hear that word 'intelligence', we will translate it according to our conditioning, to our prejudices. We say, 'That is an intelligent book', 'That is an intelligent man'. That is, a man who has capacity to investigate, to observe, to think out. That word intelligence, radically the root of that word, is not only to discern, to be able to capture something that is put forward instantly that may be new, but also it means to understand, to have glimpses between the lines, between the two thoughts, between the lines on a page which are not printed. And intelligence, that very word, has an extraordinary sound. When you hear that word, what does it mean to each one of us? First we hear the word, the sound of the word. Because the word is not the intelligence. The word is not the thing. This tent, the word 'tent' is not the actuality. So the word has its own significance verbally, but also behind the word is the sound of that word. The sound contains the deeper significance of that word. Are we meeting each other? Because sound is very important. Music is sound. That river flowing down rapidly makes a sound. We hardly listen to sound. We have our prejudices which prevent the hearing of not only the word to communicate but also to capture the sound of that word. That means one has to listen very, very carefully so that the word itself unfolds the full significance of that word. And you can only listen when there is the sound that word brings about. A sound is not noise. Sound is not an interval between two notes. Sound has great depth. That is, when one listens very clearly, without any bias, without any prejudice, opinion, or any form of conclusion, then you capture the enormous significance of a word like intelligence with its sound. I hope we are doing this together, because we are going to talk over many things this morning and one has not only to communicate with words, because we are speaking unfortunately, or fortunately, in English, and English has certain definite meanings to certain words. And those words must be used to communicate: 'That is a nice day.' 'It is a beautiful morning.' But the words are not the beautiful morning. The words are not the mountain. But if you listen to the sound of that word - a beautiful morning - you capture the whole significance of that morning, with all its extraordinary beauty, the shadows, the clear air, the mountains. In that sound all things exist.
So we are going to talk over together: what is intelligence? How does one approach a question like that? Each one of us will give a different meaning to it according to our capacity, if you have read a great deal, a great many books, talk a great many languages, gifted in various directions, you would call that intelligence. And someone else might say you must have the capacity to discern without choice, action. Someone might say, to put together the whole complicated machinery of computers is intelligence. So each one according to his predilection, according to his prejudice, bias, conclusion, will say, 'This is intelligence'. But to investigate what is really intelligence we must negate what is not intelligence - right? We must investigate that which is not intelligence to find out what is intelligence. But to investigate what is intelligence you must first understand what it is not - right? I hope this is somewhat clear, that we are investigating what is not intelligence. Through negation you come to the positive. But if you start with the positive you end up with negation. If you start from childhood believing, having faith in some form of illusion and so on, as you grow up you will invariably end up with not believing in anything.
So we are starting now to find out what is not intelligence - right? That is we are thinking together, not the speaker is telling you what is not intelligence, but together, you and the speaker, as two friends, investigating this enormous problem, and very complex problem, to find out for themselves what is intelligence. And to do that there must be negation of what is not intelligence - right? Are we clear on this matter? If we are we can then proceed.
What is not intelligence? Is war intelligence? All the bestiality, the nastiness, the ugliness, the noise, the brutality, the shedding blood, killing others - is that intelligence? Killing all the things on the earth, the animals, the whales under the sea. We are perpetually killing, not only nature but ourselves. Our brains are degenerating. I do not know if you have gone into this question at all. We see war is not intelligent but yet we are pursuing it. Each one of us responsible for it - right? I do not know if you would acknowledge such responsibility. There is a war going on in Beirut, I believe there are forty wars going on in the world at the present time. Killing each other for ideas, ideals, to assert one's own position, power as a nation, and not to be encroached, surrounded. You know, all that is going on. Is that an act of intelligence? Human beings who have evolved through a long passage of time, have had two appalling wars recently, and yet they are preparing for wars. That is an act of great stupidity - right? Obviously. The cause of it - one of the causes of it - is nationalism, which is glorified tribalism - right? My country, my space, my people, my tradition, my god: all such activity is an act of stupidity. It is not intelligence. I think you all agree to that. But do we see the fact of it, not just the verbal assertion that it is stupid?
So what is our responsibility - we will come very near home - what is our responsibility when you see this thing going on? If I belong to a certain tribe called nationalism, certain religious sect, which brings about division, and therefore conflict, I either accept that conflict and follow the usual traditional path, or I no longer belong to any country, actually not belong to any country, to any tribe, to any group, to any sect - right? - or to any religion. Because they are the factors of division, and therefore conflict. And the deterioration of the brain, which has happened to all of us; when we are born very young it is already deteriorating. Conflict is one of the factors, or major factor, of deterioration in the brain. Conflict. And human beings from childhood till they die are in perpetual conflict about one thing or another, and that conflict comes into being when there is contradiction: when you say something and do totally a different thing. That is hypocrisy. Will you listen? As a friend are we listening to each other? Or you just say, 'Yes, quite right, I agree with you' and carry on.
As we said the other day, this is a serious meeting, not an entertainment, not an intellectual stimulation, or something romantic, sentimental, and all that nonsense. This is a very serious gathering. And life has become most dangerous for most people. And life has apparently no meaning whatsoever. And if we are to take life seriously, which we must if we are intelligent, we must be concerned with all this, not just one aspect of it. We are concerned with the whole human existence from the moment we are born till we die. Not go off into some kind of absurd meditation, or follow some guru, or accept and be tied to a theory, or an ideal. This is a serious matter to consider. That means exercising one's brain to find out for oneself what is true, and what are illusory, things that are illusory. And nationalism of any kind, bringing about war, division, is obviously not an act of intelligence. So when you see something to be true the false drops away. There is no longer conflict, or determination not to be a nationalist. You may have a passport, but passport is not... unfortunately it is necessary to travel. So nationalism is one of the factors of conflict.
And also holding on to a prejudice. The word prejudice means preconceived opinion - right? And we are full of prejudices. Your opinion against another person's opinion - right? And there is the political opinion, and dividing people all over the world. Our opinions - opinion means suggestions, lacking proof, based on some emotional reaction, strong adherence to a conclusion, this is also dividing people, and therefore there is conflict. And can we live - please listen, my friend - can we live without opinion? Without prejudice? After all it is a prejudice when you believe in some kind of god. When you as Christians and someone else as a Hindu or a Buddhist doesn't believe in a saviour but you very strongly believe in a saviour, and the other chap doesn't. It is just a matter of belief, faith without any proof, and your belief in a person has not brought about peace in the world. When you see all this: how belief, prejudice, conclusions, ideals, divide people and therefore breed conflict, such activity is obviously not intelligence. So when you hear that, will you drop all your prejudices? All your opinions about what one is, what one is not, what you should be, and so on. Will you drop all those, so that you have a free mind, uncluttered mind? If you say, 'That is not possible', then you will never find out for yourself - we are talking as a friend - you will never find out what it is to be intelligent. And therefore you will always search for security in an illusion and never finding security, therefore in great turmoil, confusion, neurotic activity, and escape into sentimentalism and romanticism, or into sensuality. This is what is happening - right?
So, as we said, one of the major factors of the deterioration of the brain is this constant division which breeds conflict. Right? Why is there division in us, fragmentation? I hope we are asking each other this question. The speaker is not asking the question. We are asking each other this question. You are asking that question. Why is there in all human beings throughout the world this contradiction, this fragmentation, and therefore the urge to bring all the fragments together and to fulfil? So we are going to examine because we want to see what is really intelligence, supreme intelligence, not the intelligence of thought, not the intelligence of knowledge, not the intelligence of experience, because that intelligence is limited, because experience is limited, knowledge is limited and therefore anything that is limited is not intelligence. I hope we are meeting each other as two friends walking down a lane, quietly sitting on a bench, listening to the birds, listening to the stream as it goes by and seeing the beautiful mountains, quiet, still, and exchanging their investigation into understanding and establishing, not merely intellectually verbally understanding, but establishing in their life this quality of intelligence.
Why is there in us this duality, these opposites? Wanting, not wanting, 'what is' and 'what should not be', or 'what is' and 'what should be' - you are following all this? Greedy, one is greedy, one should not be greedy. One is violent and one should not be violent. One is dull, stupid and conforms or imitates, compares oneself, one's own stupidity with somebody who is not stupid. So we have this constant struggle. That is an obvious fact. Are you interested in all this?
K: Are you quite sure?
K: So I hope you won't go to sleep. If you are really interested in it and pursue it to the end and drop it, not just say, 'I am interested casually'. You are not interested casually about making money. You are not interested casually about having sex. You are not casually interested in having a job, you have to have a job, you have to have money. So this is far more important than the job, sex or any other thing because when there is that intelligence that will operate in all the fields of our life, in all the areas of our existence. But we never go to the very end, unfortunately. That is why we are all mediocre. Forgive me for saying that. The word mediocre means going half way up the hill, never going to the very top of the hill. And we are trying to understand and live a life of intelligence. And to do that one has to see not only what are the causes of conflict but also end the cause.
What is a fact, and what is not a fact? When only there is fact, fact has no duality. You understand? Fact has no opposite. Love has no opposite as hate. So the fact is that which has happened before, that is a fact. Or that which is happening now, that is a fact. But we draw a conclusion from what has happened before and hold on to that conclusion. That conclusion is not a fact - right? Or what is happening now, which is a fact, but we never look at the fact but always make an abstraction of the fact as an idea, and then pursue the idea which is non fact - right? Is this clear? Or am I talking to myself? So can we stay only with the fact? I am envious. That is a fact - not I personally, I am not envious, I don't care - you follow? Suppose one is envious and that is a fact, that is what is taking place, a reaction which we call envy. And out of that fact we draw a conclusion that we must not be envious so we pursue the non-fact, and so create an opposite to 'what is' - clear? So if you don't pursue the non-fact and remain with the fact, and the fact is you, you are not separate from the fact - right? This is difficult for you to see this because most of us say, the 'me' is different from the action, 'me' is different from the reaction, 'me' is different from my anger, from my envy and so on. That is what we have been conditioned to. Which means we have been conditioned to conflict. Now somebody comes along and says, 'Look, to end the deterioration of the brain - only then the brain can be intelligent.' To end that deteriorating factor is to hold on to the fact and put away all non-fact. No idealism, no conclusion, no prejudice - you understand? - only the fact. The fact is one is envy, envious. Now if you hold on to the fact, what is implied in that? The other, when you pursue non-fact, time is involved. I wonder if you understand this. Am I making this difficult? When I pursue non-violence when I am violent, the pursuit of achieving non-violence requires time - right? To become non-violent requires time. But whereas if you remain with the fact there is no time involved in it. I wonder if you see this. This is important, please. So I'll have to enquire now: what is time?
Are you willing to go into all this? Well, it is up to you: but I am going to go on. Please bear in mind that we are friends talking over together. You are not merely listening to what is being said but you are sharing in what is being said. That is the activity of a friend. You don't talk to a stranger, probably he is not interested. But as a friend we are talking over this matter: what is time? Because all our life is based on time. The evolution of the passage of millennial years is time. What we have become requires time, not only the time that is required to go from here to your house, not only time to become something, become from the clerk to the chief executive, that requires time. If you have got the skill, the capacity, the crookedness and all the rest of it, then you reach the top, if you want to. All that requires time. To learn a language requires time. So time in a certain area is necessary. If you want to catch a train you must be there at a certain time. And is there psychological time at all - the tomorrow? Please understand this carefully otherwise we will create all kinds of mischievous ideas. Time. Time is hope, psychologically. Time is required to become something psychologically. One is envious, to become non-envious requires time. So our brain is conditioned to time, and by time - right? Clear? We have had a thousand years of experience - to accumulate all that experience requires time. To acquire a great deal of knowledge, psychological knowledge requires time. The passage of memory - right? - is time. So memory is the... thought is the response of memory, which is time. So thought is time. Is this all - no? Oh, my lord!
Now this is what I mean: having the capacity to capture this instantly, see the truth of it. That is, experience is always limited - right? You can't have complete experience about anything. So experience is limited and therefore knowledge is limited. That is a fact whether you like it or not. And so memory is based on knowledge, and therefore memory is limited. You may remember from your youth all the things, long passage of time, the remembrance of things past - all that is limited. And so thought is invariably, under whatever circumstances, is limited. Right? So all the things that thought has created are limited. All the religious structures of the world put together by thought are limited. I wonder if you understand this. If you are born in India - I won't talk about your Christian world because you might get upset - if you are born in India, or in the Buddhist countries, what the Buddha or somebody in Hinduism has said is complete, finished. They worship an image, thinking that it is the absolute, permanent, everlasting truth, as you do here in your own way, if you don't mind my pointing it out to you. And all that is the activity of thought. They all say it's the direct revelation of truth - right? Every religion, organisation says it's the revelation of the truth. But truth cannot be revealed though a book, through a person, through an idea, through a ceremony, or having faith. Truth has to be found, not to be told about it. Therefore there must be complete freedom. And only when there is complete freedom there is no conflict. It is only when the brain with its only instrument, which is thought, and that thought is the only instrument of our life, one must realise that all thinking is limited and must invariably bring about conflict. When I am thinking about my beastly little self all day long, as most people do, it is a very limited occupation - surely, no?
So time is a movement of thought, psychologically as well as physically. Time is not only the past and the future and the present - right? This whole movement from the past through the present, modifying itself and proceeding further. That whole movement is thought and time - right? Are you following this?
So then one asks: if that is the process of time, and that is limited - I hope you are following all this - and when it is limited it must create conflict, and therefore one of the factors of deterioration of the brain. Then to enquire whether the brain can not deteriorate at all, one must understand what is the 'now'. Do you understand all this? What to you is the 'now'? Is the 'now' where you are sitting there and listening, partaking, sharing, is that the now? Look carefully. Go into it sirs, don't say, 'Yes, that is part of it.' The now is not only the past, but the present - right? - the past being you have made a conclusion to come here and therefore you are sitting here. And the future is when you leave the tent and go away - right? So the 'now' contains the past, the present and the future. The past being you have decided to come here and listen to this poor chap, and you are sitting there, and also the now is when you finish here and go. So the now contains the past, the present and the future. That is, the 'now' which has no time.
So when you remain in the now, you understand the past with all the human experience of which you are - right? Your consciousness, with its content, is the past, the present and the future - right? Your consciousness is that - what you believe, what you believe you have been told, you have been programmed by the experts in politics, in religion, in education and so on, which is the past - right? Are you following all this? And the past is there now, and the future is the outcome of that past - right? - which is already here. So the 'now' contains all time as past, present and the future. And to understand this in depth so that the now contains the whole thing - all existence is now. Therefore there is no movement away from the 'now'. There is no movement away from the fact and the non-fact. A movement away from the fact to non-fact, that has ended. Therefore there is no conflict. I wonder if you understand all this? Not verbally, please don't take it verbally. See the truth of it. So that the brain, which has lived for thousands of years, which is not your brain, it is not your thought, it is the thought of the whole of humanity, which we went into very carefully the last few days.
So the fact is now. And the fact contains all the past, present and the future. But to listen to that fact, for the fact to reveal the content. Not you tell the fact what its content is. I wonder if you understand all this? Are we thinking together? Or you are merely listening to some words of the speaker and therefore confused. Are we thinking together? That we are now not only the past: all the memories, all the activities, the pain, the anxiety, the hurts, the loneliness, the suffering, the pain, the fears. You are all that now - right? And the future is what is now - right? Obviously sirs. So the future and the past exist now because of what you are - right? This seems so incredible - what is the difficulty? Would you kindly express your difficulty? Very simply please, don't complicate it. Aren't you the past? Right? Your education, your being programmed as a Swiss, as a British, as a German, as a Hindu, an American, Russian and so on, you have been programmed. That programme is the past - right? So the past is your accumulated memories - right? Those memories are stored in the brain. So the past is now - right? And the 'now' also contains the future, unless there is a fundamental mutation - you understand? That is, there is complete mutation in the very brain cells of the brain, you are the past memories and continuing in the future as memory. The future is now therefore, and the past is now. Is that clear? Unless there is fundamental psychological change. That is, when there is this conditioning of the human brain - right? That conditioning is memory - right? I am a Catholic, I am a Protestant, I am a Hindu, I am a Buddhist, I don't believe in gods, but I believe in Marx, Lenin - which is the same thing in different words. My guru is better than your guru, and all the rest of that business. So the brain of each one of us is conditioned, programmed, which is the vast accumulation of the past. That is simple enough. So we are memories - right? You may think that you are something more superior than memory but you are not, even when you think you are superior, that very thought is memory - right?
So memory is a movement of time, time as the future in the present. So if you remain with that fact and not move away from it, that you are now. You are the rest of all time. Right? Then when you realise, when the fact is revealed that you are that, and if you give your complete attention, not escape from that - you follow? - that memory is you. You are not different from that memory - right? So there is no division between you and that memory. When there is division there is conflict. So the observer is the observed. The experiencer is the experience. The analyser is the analysed. And so on. Then conflict ends. Conflict exists only when there is division and therefore the brain then has no conflict, and therefore there is no deterioration of the brain. But most of our brains have deteriorated, or are deteriorating. That is a fact. And so one has to discover why, what are the causes of deterioration: essentially conflict. A mind that is frightened, a brain that lives in fear - which we will discuss next time, fear and all the rest of it - such a brain must deteriorate. The brain that is seeking constant sensuality, sexuality, must deteriorate. These are facts.
So to find out a way of living, and that is quite... it is possible to find a way of living where is no shadow of conflict. Then your brain is extraordinarily alive. Its activity then is whole because it is free. And the word free means also love. Love has no opposite. Love has no... is love desire? Is love the activity of thought? If it is, as with most of us, it is not love. If thought in relationship, in intimate relationship, if there is the activity of thought then there is no love. Go into it. We shall go into it another time. May I get up? May I get up, please?