What is the function of learning?
Thought can never change man
1st Public Discussion, Ojai, California
April 06, 1976
A lovely morning, isn't it, probably we ought to be among the hills walking.
We are going to have a dialogue. The word 'dialogue' comes from the Greek word 'logos', which means, words by which to express one's deep inner thoughts. Probably most of us don't want to go so deeply as that or expose ourselves too much but we could have a conversation, not dialectal which is argumentative, but rather a conversation in which we can share the problems however deep, and go widely and deeply into them. So this is not, if I may remind you, an argumentative dialectical conversation. That is, trying to find truth through opinions and arguments. I don't think one can ever come upon that. So we are going to, if we may this morning, spend an hour or so talking over some issue that is of vital interest. So please
Questioner: Education and maybe the approach according to different ages.
Krishnamurti: The lady wants to discuss the question of education according to different ages.
Q: Listening to talk on Sunday when you were saying there is the reality of war that’s created with thought, there is the reality of the tree that is created not by thought. I was struck with the idea that there is a mind of the absolute, that there is a mind of god, and that some of the traditions (inaudible) say that god thought a tree and there was a tree, or god said let there be light, and there was light. And I wonder if we could go into that problem of new thought and what is called thought of the absolute mind.
K: He wants to go into the question of the absolute truth or god or whatever name one likes to give to it, and the thought of everyday life.
Q: I am thinking of in the Bible it says, it’s spoken of the wrath of god, the will of god, and it’s approached almost as if god is thinking.
K: In the Bible it says the wrath of god and so on, it implies god is thinking. I am sorry god is thinking, isn't it, too bad! (Laughter) We will come to that. Do you want to discuss, talk over that?
Q: I want to discuss the problem after you awaken the energy in you and your parents curse you and turn you out, and you have no friends, what do you do then, no place to sleep, nothing to eat?
Q: When the energy has been awakened in you and your parents don’t like that, they curse you and then throw you out, what do you do then?
K: I can't make out - you are speaking
Q: I said when this energy has been awakened in you and your parents curse you and you have no more friends, and they turn you out and you have no money, and you have nowhere to sleep
K: When the parents get upset with you and turn you out and you have no place to go and no place to sleep, what is one to do.
Q: I am saying they didn’t do this until I spoke of and told them that a certain energy had awakened in me.
K: Yes, I understand. So what is one to do.
Q: What is our function as a human being, why are we here, our function?
K: As a human being why are we here.
Q: Why do I desire a mate, why aren’t I enough?
K: Why does one desire a mate, why isn't one self-sufficient. Is that it?
Q: Sir, why does Mr Krishnamurti say that doing it within society or within a social scene and not leaving it, escaping from this society physically and going to a monastery or
K: Why do you say one shouldn't escape from the world in which one lives actually, and not escape into some monastic world.
I think that is enough, may we... First of all you want to know what kind of education one should have in a school, not only in one's school, college and university, but throughout life, at whatever level one is at. And also you want to know, to talk over if there is a will of god, if there is the word of god, the wrath of god, so apparently god is thinking. Then there is the question of when a person asserts himself with the parents or says something which he wishes, the parents turn him out, have no money, no place to sleep, what is one to do. And your question: why should one not live alone, be self-sufficient, one does one desire a mate. Right? Now, which of these questions do you think we should take? - including yours, sir.
K: No, please, I think they may be all related.
Q: How do we find the way to live?
K: How do we find a way to live. I think if we could take one question, one issue and it may be that they are all related to each other - I think they are, because they are all human problems: being turned out of one's house, without money and food and shelter, and what kind of education one should have right through life. That means what is learning. And also if there is a god who thinks; and is it possible to be completely self-sufficient. I think they are all related, don't you, or not? So can we take one thing, which is learning. I think as we go along we will relate all these to that question - may we? What do you think is learning? Learning. That is - you know what the meaning of that word is - so what is learning? Why have human beings to learn and what to learn? What is the function of learning? Why has education, whatever that may mean for the moment, has become so important in the world. Whether you go to India, Middle East, or Japan or Russia or here, they are all being educated, going through the mill of education - school, colleges, if they are lucky and university, and then getting a job, getting married, settle down, and having all the responsibility of a citizen, honourable citizen or dishonourable citizen. So why are we being educated?
Q: To fit in and continue the whole thing.
K: No, please, why are you educated, if you are lucky enough to go to college and university - why?
Q: I enjoy accumulating information.
K: He says, accumulating information - for what? Please, go into it, not just... Why should I accumulate information - what to do with it?
Q: I would like to learn to be free of prejudice, so that learning...
K: We'll come to all that. But first mustn't we find out why we are being educated, dozens and dozens and thousands of schools.
Q: To survive.
K: Go into it, don't just make one word, examine it, explore it. We are educated at the most expensive schools or the ordinary schools - why? Is it to conform to the pattern of society - please listen, find out - and become technicians in order to use what we know skilfully? Right? And earn a livelihood. That is one part of survival in a particular given society or culture. Right, that is part of that education. Which is, in a world that is becoming more and more overpopulated there must be more and more skilled people to do all kinds of things. And one is being educated to conform to that pattern. That's one side of it. And also in learning, what is taking place to the mind? In learning, acquiring information, learning a technique as a lawyer, businessman, as a politician, as - anything, learning a technique, what is happening to the whole structure of the brain, of the mind?
Q: It seems that it becomes fixed, or frozen.
K: Mustn't you have that?
Q: Yes, technically.
K: Technically you must have it. So what is the function of learning? You follow, I am questioning. I am a student, been to college and university, and I have acquired certain information, knowledge, stored up in memory and I use that memory skilfully in any job I have to do, I specialise in whatever job, as a foreman, a labourer, whatever it is, as a lawyer, politician, a doctor and so on.
Q: The aspect of the brain physiology is sharpened by function.
K: Yes, what takes place? Is that all? Is that all my life? Is that all one's life? Are we educated in any other direction? You follow my question? We spend twenty or thirty years in acquiring a particular technological activity, learn all about it and disregard or neglect the totality of life. Right? Now we say, is that learning? When you emphasise one part of life, one segment of life, and learn all about it - how to earn bread and butter, to put it very simply - the other part totally disregard. That's what is happening. They don't disregard it but train you in certain beliefs, and dogmas - I am a Catholic, I am a Protestant, all the rest of it. So is this education?
K: No, don't say no. This is actually what is happening. If you had a son, if one had a son what is one to do in a world of this kind? You don't face the problems. You have children, if you educate them in only one area, small area of life and disregard the rest of it, you must have a neurotic behaviour. Right? A life that is broken up, fragmented - no?
So then what is learning and what is education when we think our children should be educated totally, all round? You have understood my question? I want him to understand not only technological things that he must know but also I want him to know beauty, I want him to know what his relationship with nature, what his relationship with the human being, what is death, what is love - you follow? - I want him to know the whole area of life, and no school teaches that. And therefore our problem becomes more and more complex because we don't know how to live but we only know the technological field. So what shall we do? So we have produced, our parents, grandparents, you and we, have produced a society, a culture, that says: learn that part, that segment of life, disregard the rest. What shall we do?
Q: Can a human being be educated in any other aspects besides technology?
K: Can there be education in the other areas of life. What do you mean by education? To be told, to be given information about the other areas of life? The psychologists are doing it, the anthropologists are doing it, the so-called philosophers are doing it - is that what we call learning?
Q: Isn’t the function of education to teach you how to learn and then apply?
K: We said that, sir, learn.
Q: Teach you how to learn, not to teach you facts, should not education teach you how to acquire
K: How to learn. So that's what we are asking, how to learn. What does it mean, learning? I know we have to have facts about learning, I must learn how to drive a car from another, how to do things, so on. But can I know about myself, the vast area, from another? Please, this is a very important question. Can I learn, please, just about not the technological area but the other areas of life from another - from the guru, from the psychologist, from the anthropologist, from all the Freuds and, you know, can I learn from another?
Q: Perhaps the artist can help somewhat in that direction.
K: Perhaps the artist. That means, can anybody help me to learn about myself? Come down to brass tacks - go on.
Q: I must first see that all of my education has been one of an accumulation of knowledge which has been passed down to me.
K: Yes, sir.
Q: If my education has been that then I should have learned about myself already, and I haven’t, from another.
K: I am asking a much more serious question, sir, if you don't mind, do listen: I can learn medicine, doctors, surgery, how to drive a car and so on, the technology of all that, from another. Right? Can I learn about myself from Freud?
K: From psychologists? From gurus? From philosophers?
Q: You can learn about them, not about yourself.
K: You are not, please, just find out. If I learn from another, from a psychologist - right? - am I learning about myself, or his interpretation about myself? You understand?
Q: He maybe points the direction so that you can look at yourself.
K: No, do try it, sir. I tell you to look at yourself in this way, in a particular way, and you try to follow my instructions about yourself. Does it mean then that you have learnt about yourself? Oh, this is such a simple Or must I learn how to look, not from another but learn what it means to look.
K: First of all, sir, look: I am a human being, one is a human being, totally related to the rest of other human beings in the world. That's a fact. I am not an isolated entity, I am related to the rest of the world. And I can learn about myself by reading the book which is me, because I am the world. If I can read that book I don't have to go to anybody. Right? So how am I to learn to look at myself, which is the vast area which traditional education doesn't explore, traditional education doesn't help me. I wonder if you are getting all this. Are you following all this, just a
Q: Don’t you have to have desire to learn first?
K: Mustn't one have the desire to learn. Do you have the desire to learn about yourself now, here? Would you be a little bit honest, if I may say so, and say, have you the desire, as the lady points out, to learn about yourself? Not according to Freud, Jung, the latest psychologist, to learn about yourself because you are the world and the world is you, you are a human being totally related to all the rest of other human beings in the world, whether you like it or not. If you have a desire to learn, or the necessity, or the urgency and you see the importance of learning about yourself because if you don't know about yourself what can you know about life?
Q: Does the image of ourselves prevent us from looking at ourselves?
K: We are going to find out, we are going to find out how to look at ourselves, learn about ourselves.
Q: Watch our reaction to stimulus around us.
K: My question, sir, as the lady put it: do we have the desire, or the urgency, or the necessity to see the importance that we must learn about ourselves? Do we have that urgency, or you just say well, tell me all about it and I will take what parts I like and I neglect what I don't like?
Q: It seems to me that learning starts by finding out the answer to that question.
Q: It depends how serious you are.
K: I am asking a very simple question.
Q: When we are confused we realise we have that problem but other times we forget it. When we are confused, when we make mistakes, we realise we don’t know what’s going on, then that seriousness returns, but most of the time we forget about it.
K: Look, I want to know about myself, so I must learn about myself, so I must find out what it means to learn. Right? And what it means to observe. There are two things involved in it: what it means to learn and what it means to observe. Or put it the other way round: what it means to observe and what it means through observation, learning. May we go on from there? What does it mean to observe oneself? You understand? This vast area which has been neglected, which we have taken for granted, which is crowded with a lot of beliefs, prejudices, dogmas, and so on, I want to learn all about that. So I say, before I learn I must look. Right? Now how am I to look? What does it mean to look, the art of looking. You understand? The word 'art' means to put everything in the right place, where it belongs, that's the meaning of that word 'art'. The artist is one - please listen - not one who just paints pictures or writes a poem - an artist is one who puts everything in its right place. So you are giving a new meaning to art, to an artist. You follow?
So the art of observation, what does it mean? How do I observe, not only myself, the world around me, the politicians, the businessman, the priest, the wife, the husband, the educator - you follow? - how do I observe it?
Q: One must be receptive to what is actually there.
K: How do you observe things, sir? How do you look at that mountain?
Q: If you look with your eyes, you see outside, but if you look with your mind, you look inwards
K: We are coming to that. First, how do you look at those mountains?
Q: Open your eyes. (Laughter)
K: Of course, sir. You are sitting there with your eyes open and you see those mountains, those range of mountains. What is your reaction when you look at that?
Q: I would say most of the time you are not interested. You are not interested most of the time.
K: Sir, you are now, (laughs) you are looking at those mountains. What is your reaction?
Q: You are paying attention.
K: Out of that attention what is your reaction when you look at those?
Q: I don’t think we ever have a reaction, or at least very rarely, we are not even looking I don’t think.
K: That's just it. Have you time to look at it? Do you, sitting there, say, wait I am going to look at those mountains and find out what my reactions are, what I feel, and use words by which you express that which you feel, which is a dialogue. What takes place when you look at those mountains? There is visual sensation, there is visual perception, there is sensation, isn't there? Then what takes place?
K: Do look, sir, don't
Q: You name that sensation as a result.
K: You name it. You name it. You say 'That's a mountain.' Right?
Q: A reaction with things past.
K: Yes, sir, I know.
Q: Then you start working, generally.
Q: We identify it.
Q: Notice details.
K: Look, sir, may I go into it? You are all You look at that mountain, you see it, there is the reaction of beauty, the shadow, the depth, the line of it, the valleys and you say, 'That's a mountain.' You verbalise it. Then, 'It is beautiful.' Right? So when you are verbalising it you have gone away from looking. Right? Oh, do please
Q: We experience it.
K: Experiencing what?
Q: The mountain.
K: You are experiencing the mountain?
Q: Your reaction to the mountain.
K: I give up! (Laughter)
Q: When I look at the mountain I see the mountain, I see everything but I don’t judge what I see, it’s there...
K: You just observe, don't you. In that observation when there is verbalisation you have already moved away from observation, haven't you? This is so simple, isn't it? So can you observe without verbalising? - just to observe without naming. Now can you look at yourself, observe yourself without saying, good, bad, get depressed - you follow? - just to observe.
Q: That’s so much harder.
K: Wait, wait! Don't make it hard or easy. Just do it! Please, this is not group therapy. (Laughter) I have a horror of group therapy. It is silly. So, please, this is not group therapy. What we are trying to find out is the art of learning. The art of observing - can I observe the tree, the things about me, around me, the act of politicians, what is going on in the world, observe there, and observe myself, see actually what I am without any interpretation, without judgement, just to look at myself. Which is, the art means, as we explained, to put where everything belongs, in its right place. So I look at myself, myself which is the complex structure of my human activity - you follow? - my ambitions, my greed, my envy, my deceits, my arrogance, my double-talk - everything, I look. My tradition which says there is god, and my tradition also says there is no god. One part of me says the whole rituals of churches and all the rest of it, it's nonsense, another part is frightened if I say that out, I might lose my job or I might get into difficulty. One part of me says I must take drugs because everybody is doing it and they say you get experience, the most extraordinary things, and the other part says don't be silly, and so on and on and on and on. Can I look at all these various complex activities in myself? Probably one never has done it. Right?
So what am I to What is there to learn? You are following? You have gone to sleep? Is this all too much of a morning, on a lovely morning?
Q: How does one know the right place?
K: How does one know which is the right place. That's a good question, isn't it? How is one to know to put things in their right place? He has asked me that question. I'll show you. I don't know.
Wait, don't - please, just find... You people don't He asked me a question: how do you put everything where it belongs, correct, accurate place - he asked me that. And I say, I don't know. Please listen. I don't know but I am going to find out. You understand? I don't say, this is the right place, that's the wrong So my mind is free to find out, so I don't accept tradition which is the right place, I don't follow the authority which tells me which is the right place. You follow? So I say, I don't know. So I begin to observe. I see there is a contradiction in oneself. Right? Now, why is there a contradiction in oneself? As long as there is a contradiction you cannot find the right place, can you? Do please see a very simple fact like this. I don't know but I do know that I am in conflict. Right? So I say, as long as I am in conflict I will never know what is the right place. Right? So I must find out why I am in conflict, what is conflict. And if the mind can ever be free from conflict. Then I will put everything in the right place. You have understood? Because I said, I don't know - which is a fact - but I do know I am in conflict. And as long as I am in conflict there is no right place. Right? Right, sir? So what is conflict? Because that becomes much more important what is the right place. Why is a human being in conflict? Because he is divided in himself, contradictory. Right? Now why is there contradiction? Are you enquiring with me or are you just listening? Why is there conflict?
Q: You are in conflict when you don’t trust your feelings.
K: Your feelings also may be contradictory. I want one thing and I don't want another thing, my feeling says eat more, and my mind says don't eat more. So feelings can't be trusted.
K: You haven't understood what I said. Intuition - that's one of the most dangerous things, isn't it?
Q: I am in conflict when I am dividing ‘what is’ from ‘what should be’.
K: That's right. But we are educated, trained to 'what should be', so there is a contradiction. So as long as there is a contradiction I will not know what is the right thing to do. So I am in contradiction, therefore one is in a contradiction. What is that? What is contradiction? Is it two opposing desires? Or opposing objects of desire? Or being uncertain I say one thing, and do another. You are following all this? So I say to myself, why does one live in contradiction? Why doesn't one live with 'what is', not with 'what should be', which is a contradiction. Right? Why can't I live with actually 'what is'? Do look at it. One is envious. Live with it, not have the opposite - I mustn't be envious, it is immoral to be envious, or it is rational - you follow? - live with it. We don't live with it because we don't know what to do with it. You understand? If you knew what to do with it then the opposite wouldn't exist. Have you understood?
Q: If you have a habit you can’t learn about it if you are trying to change it – yes?
K: Look at it. I have a habit, say for scratching myself, or twisting my fingers, something or other, look at it, be aware of it with all your senses, don't say 'I must not do that', that brings a conflict, that's a duality, that means conflict. So, wait a minute. So we come to it, slowly we are learning, that is coming, which is: as we do not know how to live with envy, what to do with it, we think we should get rid of it, or do something about it if we move away from it. Which is, not to be envious, the ideal of a human being who is not envy, who doesn't have any envy, that must be a marvellous state. So you move away from 'what is', from the fact of envy. Right? When you move away from the fact of envy what takes place, when you don't move away what takes place?
K: Do look at it, do look at it. You remember yesterday we were talking about the scientists are saying, some of them at least, I have been told, that when you look at a cell through a microscope, as you are observing it is undergoing a transformation. Now we are saying, as you observe envy without its opposite - you understand? - without trying to avoid it, just to look at it, the very process of observation is transforming the envy totally. Listen to it carefully, you will get it in a minute. That is - we'll keep to envy - when we have that feeling of envy we either rationalise it, justify it or condemn it. Right? Which is a division, isn't it. In that there is a conflict: the observer says, 'I must not be envious', the observer says, 'why shouldn't I be envious, in a world that is full of envy if I am not envious I will be destroyed'. Or avoids it and... So, the observer says, 'I must do something about it'. So there is a division between the observer and the fact of envy. When you look at the microscope without the observer - you understand? - then that which is envious undergoes radical change. And I'll show you why. Don't accept what I am saying, I am not your authority, I am not your guru, for god's sake. It undergoes a change because justification, condemnation or rationalisation is a wastage of energy. Right? And when you don't waste that energy through that you have that energy, that energy transforms the fact of envy.
Look: I have a habit, twisting my fingers, you know most people have this, they can't keep still, they are doing something or other. Look at it, don't rationalise it, don't say 'Well, other people do it, why shouldn't I do it?' - just watch it. Which means you are not wasting your energy by saying, 'Other people do it, why shouldn't I do it, I have been used to that', let it go. But when you don't waste all that energy in rationalisation, justification and so on, you have all that energy. Right? Then observe with that energy the twisting of the fingers. I wonder if you get it, if you don't it's up to you. Let's get on with it.
Q: The energy of habit is one thing, and the energy of observation is another. But the two energies are not different, are they?
Q: He says there’s the energy that’s caught up in the habit and the energy that observes. He says, are they different or are they the same.
K: No, they are the same, of course.
Q: It’s not just the feeling of energy
K: Wait, let's keep to simple things. If you have understood this thing, this principle, that when you rationalise, justify or condemn you are wasting energy, the energy that is needed to observe 'what is'. Whether it is any kind of feeling, any kind of reaction, any kind of prejudice and so on.
Q: A man’s action if you are envious it wants to say harsh words, it wants to...
K: Wait, I know all that, but don't abstain a little bit.
Q: Well, this is what I am interested in.
K: Of course
Q: How does one look at envy?
K: How does one look at envy. Aren't you envious? Aren't you? Everybody becomes silent.
Q: Yes, I’m envious.
K: Aren't you envious, can't you look at it, know the feeling of it? Envy means comparison, doesn't it. I compare myself with you who are more intelligent, more bright, more clever and all the rest of it - taller, beautiful, and all that - I compare myself with you. So where there is comparison there must be envy. In that envy there is imitation, the desire to conform to the pattern. Right? All that is implied in being envious. Now you mean to say you can't look at it? Can't you look at the feeling of envy as it arises? Of course you can.
Q: But how do you not judge it?
K: Just look at it. You see, it is a wrong question to ask how am I not to judge it. But you have been used to judging and therefore you say, how am I not to do it. If I tell you how not to do it then your old tradition and the new tradition will be in battle. I wonder if you see all this. Whereas if you say look, I am envious, I am going to watch it, I am going to see if I am comparing myself with anybody. And we are educated to compare ourselves: I am poor, you are rich, both physically and psychologically and I am envious of you because I want to be rich like you. You mean to say you can't know the feelings that arise as they come up? Can't you watch that?
Q: But the envy says, I don’t want to sit here and be watched, I want to go and express myself.
K: Go ahead and do it.
Q: It won’t sit still for you to watch it.
K: Go ahead and do it. Be caught by it. That's what we are all doing.
Q: I can’t quite understand how is it the same energy that can observe and also the energy that justifies. How is it the same energy?
K: When I twist my fingers, twiddle my fingers, isn't that energy? When I condemn it, isn't that part of that same energy?
Q: I don’t see how that is the same energy.
K: Ah, no, ah, no. I am afraid you have not understood what I said. I am envious. Envy implies comparison, measurement, imitation, conformity. Right? All those are implied in envy. And most human beings are envious, almost everybody. And am I envious, I want to find out. Of course one is. Right? Are you following, is this clear madame? Now, can you watch it? Are you watching it with the feeling of condemnation, with the feeling of judgement, or just watch it? Because condemnation, justification, rationalisation are a wastage of energy, the energy which is needed to focus all your attention on 'what is', which is envy. Because when you condemn, justify, rationalise, it is the observer - you understand? - the past which says, condemn, the past says, judge, the past says, it's quite all right. So the past which is also energy, when you don't waste that energy you have that energy to observe. Understood now?
Q: Is observing different from the past?
K: Yes, totally different from the past. Observing.
Q: Sir, are you saying that one is that energy, the habit, the envy?
K: Of course.
Q: Consciousness is that. I mean it is absurd to say you are the energy.
K: You haven't understood it, sir, let's find out. When you think, you are using energy, aren't you? When you feel, that's a form of energy. When you get angry, envious, afraid, and so on - that's all energy, isn't it? Envy, jealousy, anger is you and so on. That whole complex structure is you, which means you, the past.
Q: Sir, when you look at envy and you see that you are envious, then you also see that you are judging envy. Will that energy of observing the fact that you are judging the fact that you are envious, will that energy transform the judgement?
K: You see you are still judging. For the love of Pete! Why do we judge? Which means you have a preconceived opinion - right? - a prejudice - no? When you look at a picture in a museum, you just judge it, don't you. You judge it by saying, it is by so-and-so, therefore he is already famous, already known, he must be a very good painter and therefore I like it, or I don't like it. You are judging already. That is, you have formed an opinion, your brain is forming opinions all the time, is part of your education, part of your tradition to judge. No? So you never look. If it is by Picasso, you say, 'My god, it is such a marvellous painter' - already finished. Van Gogh or this or that. So you prevent yourself from looking.
Q: Thought creates the image and through the image I understand. How can I understand without an image?
K: Thought creates an image, image being prejudice. Right? Image being a conclusion. How can I look without a conclusion, without an opinion, without a judgement? You see how we are trained, educated, conditioned to operate always with judgement, opinions. And that you call freedom.
Q: (Inaudible) I have to analyse the colours, analyse the size of it.
K: But can you just look at it without analysing?
Q: That’s why I can’t see envy because I can’t even see the mountain.
K: That's just it, sir. So carry on now. From there, we said learning. I want to I mean, we have only learnt about a very small part of existence, the technological existence, and the rest we do not learn about it. And we say, 'How am I to learn about it?' By observing, looking at it myself, which is the world and the world is me, looking at this world which is me without any judgement. Right? Can you do it? As that gentleman pointed out, the parents turn you out because you do something, they are judging you, they are pushing you out of the house, they destroy your affection, the bitterness - all the rest of it follows.
So there is a vast field, a complex area in the human mind which has not been explored. They have explored it, the psychologists, anthropologists and others have explored it theoretically, or experimented with animals, gone down to Africa and looked at the gorillas and say, by studying those I will learn about myself. Don't laugh, this is what is happening. You don't have to go to India, or to a Zen monastery to learn about yourself, you can learn about yourself where you are because that is your world. So don't waste money on going to Africa. So this is your world in which you live: your neighbour, your wife, your husband and so on. The small micro world is the large world if one knows how to look at that small little world.
So, learning implies when you look at yourself you can learn about yourself only when the accumulated experience doesn't interfere with the actual observation at the moment of 'what is'. Have you understood that?
K: Listen. I look at myself, myself is constantly moving, it isn't static. Right? Have you noticed it? One moment it is peaceful, the next moment it is angry, the third moment it is pursuing some pleasure, it is constantly in action, movement. And I have learnt by looking at myself something about it. Right? That becomes an experience, that becomes the knowledge, with that knowledge I look next time. See what has happened. I look at the present movement with a past knowledge, therefore I never look. You have understood this? So can I look at the present movement without the past experience impinging upon it? I wonder if you follow all this.
Q: I ask myself the question, can I look without the past knowledge, but I am the past knowledge.
K: Yes, so can you look at yourself without the observer who is the past?
Q: It has to be in the present, it is the only way.
K: Now, what does that mean, you have to be in the present?
K: Just listen to that question, he says, I have to be in the present, what does that mean?
Q: You have to forget the past.
K: What does it mean to be in the present?
Q: I don’t know.
Q: You have to observe what is going on.
K: Can you observe without the past?
Q: It will be there
K: Do it, sir, do it. Find out.
Q: I can see the past pop up. I can see in the present the past coming forward.
K: Sir, very simple, look: I flatter you, or I insult you. That is registered in your memory. Right? Right? Now, the next time I meet you can you forget those insults or the flattery and look at me? That is the present, isn't it?
Q: Sir, you asked a question, can you watch yourself without the past. Which is the same thing as saying, can you watch yourself without you.
K: That's right.
Q: And I don’t understand that. (Laughter)
K: You are the past, aren't you? Your accumulated memories, experiences, knowledge, interests, all in the past - knowledge is the past. Knowledge is the past. Right? Sir, look: I read the Bible and it says, or some book says, 'God is will' - I like that idea, I think it is marvellous and that becomes a prejudice, doesn't it. Whether it is reality, whether it has any truth in it, it doesn't matter, it appeals to me, that god is looking after me. Right? So I get a fixed idea, I am that fixed idea. And I live with that idea for many years, and you come along and say, 'Don't be silly, that's a prejudice'. And you say, 'I can't get rid of it'. Right? 'It is so part of me'. Of course it is part of you. He says, 'Don't get rid of it but look at it, observe it, don't fight it'.
Q: You reach an observation, sheer observation with no past affecting the state of observation. What happens to the observer and the object observed?
K: That's just what I am saying, sir. What happens when the past doesn't interfere with the thing observed. Right, sir? What happens to the thing observed and what happens to the observer?
K: Wait. Are you answering him?
Q: I don’t know You asked me a question
Q: You don’t exist any more.
K: You see (laughs) You see this is all guesswork. He asked a question, which is, what happens to the thing observed and to the observer when the past is not. Right, sir, that was the question. What is the observer? Is he not the past? Which is his experience, his prejudice, his knowledge. The observer in essence is the past.
Q: There is observation then.
K: There is only observation. Then that which is observed undergoes radical transformation. I wish you would do it and find out.
Q: Is anybody doing it besides yourself?
K: Sir, look, there is something I want to find out, which is, I want to find out if there is a way of living without conflict, right through my life, not just for a few minutes. Right? Because if there is conflict there is violence, there is all kinds of things come out of that conflict: violence, bitterness, anger, hatred, throwing bombs, terrorism, brutality, comes out of that conflict. And no civilisation, no culture can exist in conflict, as the modern world is living, culture, it is destroying itself. So as a human being related to the world, I say, is it possible to live without a single conflict? Have you ever asked that question? Have you really? Not only between you and me, my wife, without a shadow of conflict in oneself. Then after having asked that question, I go into it, because it is a very important for a human being to find out, otherwise he is going to destroy humanity. You understand? I don't think you see the importance of this. You see the conflict between the Arab and the Jew is going to destroy them, isn't it? No? Between the Muslim and the Hindu, that is going to destroy it; communist and the capitalist, they are going to destroy each other; the Catholic, the Protestant - you follow? And conflict in oneself. As a human being living in this chaos, in this conflicting, mad, insane world you must find out.
So can a human being live in this modern culture, which is no culture, in this modern culture without a single conflict in himself? He can, if one goes into it very seriously you find out. That is, conflict exists as long as there is fragmentation in oneself. Right? And this fragment is between as the observer and the observed. Do you see it? As long as there is a division between the observer and the observed there must be conflict. I am a Jew, you are an Arab, or I want opposing contradictory desires. You follow all this?
Q: But if they destroy each other what will be the problem?
K: If we destroy each other there will be no problem - is that what you are saying?
Q: If the Jew and the Arab eliminate Judaism and Arab-ism, by the conflict, then there is no object and no subject.
Q: In the realm of thought.
Q: The truth of our divine wholeness is covered over by these illusions of self and other things, fragments.
K: How do you know you are covered over by divine intelligence?
Q: I don’t. I didn’t say I was covered over by divine intelligence. I said, if my divine wholeness
K: How do you know you are a divine whole?
Q: I am not a divine whole, I have experienced that there is a wholeness, and the truth of that wholeness is covered over by the fragments that we examined this weekend, fragments of parts of self and other things. And you were saying that some of these things, these divisions or fragments are the division, not the discovery of the wholeness, a process of infinite (inaudible)
K: Sir, just take 'what is', don't let's imagine that we are perfect, just take actually what is going on outside of us and inside, actually.
Q: A life without conflict, without sorrow, without pain, isn’t that a statement of perfection?
K: It is not a statement of perfection. Human beings suffer, one asks is there an end to sorrow. But it doesn't mean one wants to live a perfect life, I don't know what a perfect life is. We are moving away from something, this.
I have asked is there a way of living in this culture, in this world, in your daily life, in which there is no conflict. We said as long as there is a division, outwardly: the Arab, Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, Communist and so on, so on, as long as there is outward division there must be conflict; and as long as there is inward division there must be conflict. Right? The outward division, we have created it. Right? I am a Jew, or an Arab, and I won't give up my prejudice, my culture, my etcetera - I stick to my prejudice. You follow? So inwardly I have got there is division, as the observer and the observed. But the observer is the observed. If you see that once, the truth of it, then all conflict ends, then you won't be fighting that which is observed.
Q: Does the division remain? You say you have eliminated the conflict. The conflict was caused by division. After you have eliminated the conflict does the division remain?
K: No, of course not. How can it remain?
Q: With no division, there is wholeness?
K: Don't go beyond - that's just an idea. Find out what it means to live wholly. The word 'whole' means healthy physically, sane, you know, sanity, to think clearly, objectively, rationally, and holy, H-O-L-Y, sacred. The word 'whole' means all that.
Q: You alternate then between these two states of consciousness, between the technological and the whole thing.
K: Sir, I made it fairly clear.
Q: We can’t be holy all the time, you have to eat.
K: What time is it? (Laughter)
Q: Twelve thirty.
K: All right. We meet again on Thursday.