What is the place of knowledge in our lives?
Truth demands a mind that is totally free
2nd Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 02, 1982
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday morning? For those who were not here yesterday, may we repeat something of what we said? We were saying yesterday morning how the world is broken up, divided through nationalism, which is really a form of tribalism; how religions have divided man, with their dogmas, with their beliefs, with their superstitions, illusions; how human beings have created sects, each one believing that they are going to lead mankind to a different kind of physical world and a so-called spiritual world. There have been various gurus, both in the West and in the East, with their peculiar beliefs and meditations and all that business. It is really a good business! (laughter) And also how man has created armies and all the implements of war to destroy each other in the name of their country, honour, prestige, freedom - anything, an idea to destroy each other. And also ideologically man again has divided himself as the totalitarians and the democratic group. While in one country there is absolutely no freedom - it is like living in a prison, and the others are free to do what they want to do. And also man had divided himself with his beliefs. Take in this little valley, if you observe, or if you have gone around, there are so many little sects, so many different congregations, different beliefs, different ideals, different prejudices, bias, and so on. They represent the world which is similar, with their bias, conclusions, ideals, faiths, following this person and worshipping that person, that symbol or another kind of symbol in the East or in the West. Wherever you go you see this extraordinary phenomenon, that man throughout his life has broken not only the earth, the American earth, the English earth, the French and the Russian and the Asiatic world; whatever he has touched has brought about misery. And also technologically, he has brought about great benefits. Technologically also, he has created wars.
And so we were saying yesterday the scientists have not helped man; he has helped him technologically, but also he has helped to further wars - the atomic bomb and the conventional war. So the scientists have not basically, fundamentally brought about a mutation in man's conditioning. Nor the politicians, nor the religious leaders, the organised belief, the organised faith, the organised, conventional worship of a symbol, of a person, of a saviour. None of those people have helped man to end his sorrow, his loneliness, his despair and anxiety, nor local priests nor the gurus. Apparently throughout the ages man has been led. There have always been political leaders, religious leaders, and of course national heroes, who kill the most.
And observing all this, which is not a Western phenomenon, but also in the Asiatic world, observing all this, if one is at all serious, if one is at all concerned with man's mind, his heart, his whole existence, he must either escape from it all through another form of isolation, commune, or become a monk or escape through some form of entertainment, amusement. Or, if he is at all serious, he has to answer for all this, he is responsible for all this. I do not know how serious the listeners are, but if you are serious, what is your responsibility towards all this? How far will you go in your responsibility, how deeply, how widely? Or limit oneself to one's own little life, one's own little experience, pleasures, and forget the vast human suffering, poverty - not be concerned or be concerned with one particular type of war, or be concerned with the ending of all wars, not only outward war but also the inward struggle of man, his eternal conflict within himself and with his fellow man. This has been the history of man. Thousands and thousands of years of evolution, man still remains as he was, slightly, probably, a little modified, but basically he is cruel, violent, antagonistic, competitive, and so on.
And, as we were saying yesterday also, each one of us thinks we are independent individuals with his own narrow problems and limited points of view. But when one begins to enquire deeply, as we are doing now, and I hope we can do this together, when we are enquiring deeply why human beings, after so many million years, why have we become like this - divided, fragmented, contradictory, confused, everlastingly seeking pleasure, never ending his sorrow, never comprehending his relationship to the world and to each other; why there is this infinite conflict between man and man.
We were saying also yesterday morning that our consciousness, that is, what you are; what you think, what you feel, your reactions, your beliefs, your conclusions, your experiences, your knowledge, your fears, anxieties, loneliness, despair and sorrow and the fear of death is common to all mankind. Wherever you go, man is conditioned to this state. Wherever you live, whether in the affluent society or in some poor village, in a hamlet far from civilisation, there too man suffers, is desperately lonely, anxious, insecure, like the rest of the mankind. As we were saying also, seeing this, one begins to question whether there is individuality at all. Or, there is only humanity and you are humanity. Essentially, deeply you are the rest of mankind. But unfortunately we have been educated, conditioned, both religiously and environmentally, educated to the idea that we are separate individuals, each one seeking his own particular salvation, particular happiness, particular enjoyment of life. And this has given a great sense of freedom, each one doing what he wants to do. That is choice. He thinks he is free, because he can choose. But the movement of choice is in the same field from one corner to another. This is not freedom. So we were saying yesterday our consciousness, which is our human, daily existence is the rest of humanity. And that consciousness in itself is contradictory, in itself broken up, fragmented.
As we were saying also, this is not a lecture. Lecture being, talking about a particular subject in view of giving further information about that subject. In that sense this is not a lecture. But we are thinking together, if that is at all possible. Thinking together, observing together this extraordinary phenomena, of what man has become, and what he has done with the world, with his own life, and with the life of the world around him. And so we are observing very closely, impartially, dispassionately, what we are and what we have made of the world. So please, if you are at all serious, and one must be serious because the world is in a terrible state; there is tremendous danger for each of us. And so we are thinking together, observing together, not agreeing together, not seeing things as I see it or as you see it, with our own particular bias, our own prejudices, our own nationalistic, idiotic points of view, but rather be free to observe. Free to observe implies not to have any bias, to see exactly what is going on outwardly. If we do not see that accurately, then we will not be able to relate ourselves to that accurately, precisely. If one observes clearly, without any motive, without any direction, just to observe as you would observe a mountain - it is there, majestic, silent, immovable. In the same way, to observe this extraordinary phenomena of man.
So we are together observing closely, hesitantly, attentively, this movement, this tide that goes out and comes in, which is what we are, we create the world, and then by the world we are trapped. We have created this society, not each one of us, but our past generations, those and us have created this present immoral, destructive society. And we are trapped by that society. That society is made by each one of us. So we are responsible for that society. Whether it is possible, not to change society, but is it possible to radically, deeply transform our conditioning, which is, understand deeply our consciousness, which is what we are. Is it possible to transform, not into something, but to change, to bring about a mutation in the very structure and nature of our consciousness? That is the problem. That is the crisis. It is not a political crisis, economic crisis, or the crisis of war, but the crisis is in ourselves. And we apparently cannot face that crisis, or are unwilling to face it. And so we try to escape from that fact through various forms of entertainment religious, political, football, and all the rest of it.
Also, as we were saying yesterday morning, the content of our consciousness, the content being what you think, what you feel, your reactions, your longings, your despairs, your pleasures, your depressions, your faith, your dogmas, your sorrow, your beliefs, your desperate loneliness, and the fear of ultimate death, all that is your consciousness. That is what you are. And we are asking together whether the content can end. That is, the conditioning of human mind, human existence, can that be transformed? So we took yesterday the whole question of belief, which is part of our consciousness - the ideals, the faiths that divide man against man, the totalitarian ideology and the democratic ideology, the Catholic ideology and the Protestant ideology; their belief, their dogmas, their violence - it's the same in the Asiatic world. That's part of our consciousness, as nationalism is part of our tribal consciousness. Whether that belief can end totally, completely, having no belief, ideals at all, but actually face facts as they are, not as they should be. Like each one of us seeing the fact of it, the truth of it, the reality of it, the logic of it, whether we can be free totally from belief, from ideals, ideology. This requires a great deal of investigation, attention, energy to find out how our minds are crippled with beliefs and ideologies, which is an actual escape from that which is. And being incapable of meeting 'what is', we try to escape into some ideal; which we will go into more in detail as we go along.
And also we took yesterday this question of hurt, psychological, inward hurt of human beings; how each one of us from childhood till we die, we are always hurt by something or other. If you are aware of it as you are sitting there - I hope comfortably - whether one is aware that one is hurt, deeply hurt: by the parents, by the school, through comparison, through some kind of harsh word, through a gesture. And as we grow older we carry that hurt, consciously or unconsciously, deeply. And the consequences of that hurt are incredibly complex because when one is hurt, one is afraid of getting more hurt, and the action from that hurt, either neurotic, defensive, and to defend oneself further from being hurt and therefore fear involved in that hurt. That's part of our consciousness.
As we said, that hurt is the image we have built about oneself. Each one has an image about himself: various types of masks, various qualities and variety of images he has himself - built himself or society has given him the images, because it is one of these images that gets hurt. The image is me; the image is not different from me. We went into that yesterday. So whether it is possible to be totally, completely free from all hurts, never to be hurt; then only the mind can flower, then only there can be proper human relationship with each other. So it is very important to find out whether it is possible to be entirely free of an image about oneself; and it is that image that gets hurt. We went into it somewhat in detail yesterday.
So we should also go into the examination of the further content of one's consciousness. That is, relationship with our fellow man, relationship with another, relationship with the most intimate person. In that relationship, as one observes in daily life, there is a great deal of conflict. There is a great deal of struggle, unhappiness, ultimately ending in divorce and finding another and beginning the same song again. This perpetual conflict between man and man, between man and woman; why? We accept this conflict, or if we do not accept it and want to find a solution for it, we go to the professionals to help us: the psychologists, the priest, some authority, some specialist that will help us to get over our particular conflict with another. And apparently, as one observes, if you have also observed, this conflict doesn't end. You may cover it over, you may run away from it, you may somehow forget it and accept it, but there is the conflict inwardly, in our relationship with all human beings, however intimate, however distant. We have never asked why. Whether that conflict between human beings, intimate or otherwise, can ever end. This is an important question to ask, because all life is relationship, whether you live in a monastery or in a commune or live by yourself in a little flat. You are still related. Life is a movement in relationship. And in that movement there is apparently a great deal of conflict and misery. This is part of our consciousness, submerged or on the surface. Why, after a million years with all the information that we have, all the information which has become our knowledge, has it not prevented us from this sorrow, conflict of this relationship?
Please ask yourself this question. I am not asking you to ask this question. It is a natural question. We have to face this problem and resolve it. If it is not resolved, if we live in conflict, we'll inevitably create a society that will perpetuate this conflict. So please be serious, if you will, with regard to this question, because it is very important. We are facing wars, war is this ultimate result of our endless conflict within ourselves, conflict with our most intimate persons. So this a very serious question which one must find an answer to and resolve it. It is not an academic question, a theoretical question. It's a human question, in which we are all involved, every day of our life; why we live in conflict with our neighbour, whether that neighbour be far away or close by; why we have this struggle, this conflict between man and woman; various forms of struggle - sexual, the struggle of each one pursuing his own desire, his own ambition, his own fulfilment or her fulfilment, each one trying to become something different from each other. This is an obvious, daily fact. You may meet in bed, but each one is pursuing different lives, that's like two parallel lines never meeting; and this is called relationship, in which there is no actual sense of love, which we'll go into.
Love is not pleasure, love is not desire, love is not seeking fulfilment, but we have made our relationship with each other a sense of fulfilment, pleasure, something to be desired and so on. So why do human beings so technologically intelligent, such extraordinary capacity and energy, why human beings have not solved this most essential question, problem. You may meditate; you may seek enlightenment; you may follow the latest guru, the latest expression of whatever you are following, but if you have not solved this problem, all your spiritual attainments and technological achievements have no value at all. Because our life is relationship, our life is something that cannot be lived by yourself in isolation, and because we live or attempt to live in isolation, we are bringing about great catastrophe. As a group, as nations which are isolating themselves - the American, the British, the French, the Russian, the Indian, and so on. This is a form of isolation, and in that isolation they are trying to find security. There is no security whatsoever in isolation. Because ultimately human beings are being destroyed. Similarly, if we have not resolved this essential, basic question of relationship, which is at present isolating us from each other, this isolation must inevitably breed all kinds of misery, confusion, hatred, anger. So is it possible to have a relationship in which there is no conflict whatsoever?
What is relationship? What does it mean to be related to another, not physically only, but much more psychologically, deeply, which conditions our physical activity. We always forget that: that we want to improve the environment as society, and we do all kind of legislative laws and so on, and so on, and so on. We never realise that psychologically if we are not clear what we do, we'll bring about a rotten society. Psychologically it is more important to transform our own conflicts, not end merely the outward conflicts. I hope we understand this deeply. The psychological conflicts will inevitably produce world conflict. But we are trying to change the outward structure without fundamentally, psychologically, if I may use that word which is so abused, spiritually - if there is no fundamental basic transformation of the psyche, do what you will outwardly, what you have done outwardly will always be overcome by the psyche. As you see in the recent revolution of the Communists. They hoped through changing of the outward structure of society they would change man. And it has been totally the other way, which is so observable and known.
So relationship is extraordinarily important. And why is there this division between man, woman, between himself, within himself, and with his neighbour; the whole process of relationship? Are you waiting for the speaker to explain it away? Why we live in conflict with each other, man, woman, and so on. Or, we are together observing this phenomena, observing, not trying to resolve it, to observe first and to understand how to observe, not how to resolve the problem, you understand? There is the problem: I am not married, suppose I am married, I have a wife, I am pursing my own desires, my own ambition, my own success and so on, and she is also doing the same thing, in a different form, and we may have sex, and all that, children, but we two are separate entities, pursuing our own goals, our own ways, our own fulfilment, doing our own thing, as you call it. And naturally, my wife and I are in contradiction, irritation, quarrel, not able to adjust, or not wanting to adjust. Because really, where there is love there is no adjustment. So what shall I do? What is my action, or non-action - please listen carefully, action or non-action, because non-action will be far more important than action. The negation is the most positive action. That is, to see the false and see the truth in the false, is to end the false. Just to observe. But we are all so eager to act, to do something about it. My wife and I quarrel, we disagree, you know all the rest of the ugly business that goes on; you are probably much more aware of it than I am: the terrible tension, the loneliness, the ugliness of it all!
Now, together, we are going to observe, not to resolve the problem - please listen carefully - not to resolve, not to end it, or try to find a solution for this; but together we will observe. That is, how you approach the problem, that is, how you look at the problem, you understand? The approach is far more important than the problem itself; isn't it? If I am frightened of losing my wife, or - you know all that business, I don't have to go into details of all that - my approach then is conditioned by my fear. And the solution then of the problem is conditioned by my fear, so it's not resolved. You understand? So, the approach matters far more than the problem itself. If we could understand this one simple thing! So we are always concerned with the problem, the complexity of it, the analysis of the problem. Our mind is directed to the solution of the problem. We are saying - the speaker is saying - don't bother with the solution, but how you approach, how you come close to the problem, how you observe the problem is much more important than the problem itself. Have you got this? Even intellectually see this, verbally; that the solution is not important, what is important is how you come to the problem, how you look at the problem. Is the problem out there and you are approaching it, or - please listen - or, the problem is you. You understand?
I won't go into that for the moment, for that leads us somewhere else. So, as we are saying, the approach to the problem is all important. Right? Can we move from there? You are moving, I am not moving. (laughter) We are saying, how you come to the problem, how you look at the problem, how you gather your energy to look at the problem. Is your approach directed, which means trying to resolve the problem, or have you a motive, and if you have a motive, you approach with that motive? So, when you approach with a motive, the motive is going to decide how you will deal with the problem. Whereas, if you have no motive - please, this demands accurate observation - when you have no motive and therefore no direction, then you are observing the problem purely, without any bias, without any discoloration. You are just observing it. Right? Are we doing this now as we go along? Please, this is not a game we are playing. It's not an intellectual amusement on Sunday morning. This is very, very serious, because life is relationship. If we don't understand that relationship, then we create havoc in the world; we destroy our children; we destroy each other, which we are doing now, through competition, through wars, through all the horror that man is doing.
So together we are observing, why human beings cannot live at peace with each other. That is the fact, that's an actual statement, not exaggerated, and our approach to it is either pure, non-personal objective observation or you are approaching it with a personal reaction. If you are approaching with a personal reaction, it'll go on forever, the conflict. But if you approach it objectively, dispassionately, without any direction - you understand? - what is then the state of your mind - please follow this - what is then the state of your mind which looks at the problem? You have understood this? Have you understood, somebody? All right, let's put it the other way. Why is there conflict between man and woman, between man and man, you know, the whole relationship - why? Look at it please; answer it to yourself, go into it yourself; don't depend on me, on the speaker, he's not worth it. He has no value. He is just a verbal entity, a telephone. But you have to find the answer, why. Is it - we are observing together, so you are not learning it from the speaker, he is not teaching you anything; please understand this. He is not teaching you a thing. Therefore you are not his followers; he is not your authority, he is not your guru. They have all led you astray. Because they have never been able to solve this problem, or never tackled this problem.
So, in observing together, we are going to discover why this conflict exists, whether it is possible to end it completely, not theoretically, not for a day - end it. This conflict exists, must exist - I don't want to tell you, because it becomes so silly. If I tell you, you'll say, yes, that's quite right, (laughter) and then you are back. It isn't something that you yourself have discovered. You know what happens when you discover something for yourself, psychologically? You have immense energy. And you need energy to free the mind of its conditioning. I quarrel with my wife, if I have one, or the girl, whatever it is - I quarrel with her because I am a lonely man; I want to possess her. I want to depend on her; I want her comfort, her encouragement, her companionship; I want to have somebody who will tell me that I'm marvellous. So I am building an image about her, and she also wants to be possessed, wants to fulfil in me, sexually; wants me to be something different from what I am. So, there is this, each one, living it may be for a week, or a day, or years, has built an image which becomes knowledge. Follow this, please follow this - knowledge about each other. Knowledge - may I go into it a little bit? This is serious. Knowledge is destructive in relationship. Right? If you once understand this: I say I know my wife because I have lived with her, I know all her tendencies, her irritations, impetuosity, her jealousy, which becomes my knowledge about her: how she walks, how she does her hair, how she moves - you follow? I have collected a lot of information and knowledge about her. And she has collected a lot of knowledge about me; so the past - you follow? - knowledge is always the past. Right? There is no knowledge about the future, predictable. Predictable - you understand? So, I have knowledge, we have knowledge about each other. Right?
So we have to enquire a great deal into the question of knowledge: what place has knowledge in life? Are we together in this observation? Will knowledge transform man? What place has knowledge in the mutation or in the ending of conditioning? This is conditioning: I have conditioned through knowledge her, and she has conditioned me through knowledge. You are following all this? We are together in this? We are observing together? Please, I am not teaching you. You are observing with all your energy, with capacity to see this fact: that where there is knowledge in relationship, there must be conflict. I must have knowledge how to drive a car, how to write a sentence, how to speak English, or French, or Italian, whatever language it is. Or I must have technological knowledge; if I am a good carpenter, I must have knowledge about the wood, tools I use and so on; but in relationship with my wife, or with a friend, whatever it is, that knowledge which I have gathered together, put together through constant irritation, constant separation, ambitions, this knowledge which I have acquired, that knowledge is going to prevent actual relationship with another. Right? Is this a fact, or is this merely a supposition, a theory, an idea? An idea is an abstraction of a fact. Right? The word 'idea' in Greek means to observe, to see, to come very close to perception, not make an abstraction which becomes an idea. So we are not dealing with ideas. But we are dealing with the actual relationship, which is in conflict, and that conflict arises when I have accumulated lots of information about her and she has acquired a lot about me. So, our relationship then is based on knowledge; and knowledge can never be complete, about anything in life. Please realise this. Knowledge must always go with the shadow of ignorance. Right? You can't know about the universe. Astrophysicists may describe, but to be aware of that immensity, no knowledge is required through information; you have to have that mind that is so vast, so completely orderly, as the universe is, then that's a different matter.
So similarly, knowledge in relationship brings about conflict. See the fact. Not accept the fact; see the fact that knowledge has importance in one direction, in the other it has not. The negation is the most positive - you understand? Right? Can we go from there a little more? That is, do we exercise will to end conflict? That is, to enquire whether will, that is, positive action - 'I want to end this conflict' - whether that will will bring about the cessation of conflict, which we have done before.
So, it's very important to understand the place of knowledge and knowledge as an impediment in relationship. Love is not knowledge; love is not remembrance. When there is no knowledge about her, I look upon her, and she does, as a fresh, new human being, each day new. You know what it does? You are too learned, you are full of book knowledge, what other people have said. And that's why this becomes awfully difficult to comprehend - a very simple thing like this.
Again quarter to one. I'm sorry. We'll continue next Saturday and Sunday, because we are dealing with a very complex problem of living. And that living is the understanding of the content of our consciousness. As long as we have not comprehended the totality of that consciousness we'll always be in disorder. And disorder is the very nature of our consciousness. And that's why we took faith, belief, hurt, relationship: it's part of our consciousness. And out of this disorder order can be brought about, which we'll talk about next Saturday and Sunday. May I get up now?