What is the relationship of clarity to compassion?
Can the mind be free of every motive to investigate?
3rd Public Talk, Saanen
July 14, 1977
Shall we go on with what we were talking about the day before yesterday? We were talking about authority and the dangers of an authoritarian outlook on life, which not only perverts perception, clarity but also it breeds fear. And we went into it comparatively deeply. And where there is psychological authority the awakening of intelligence is not possible. We went into that quite clearly.
This morning, if one may go into something that requires equal attention, that all of us think over together, that the speaker is not only responsible for what he is saying but also those of you who are willing to listen seriously, it is your responsibility also, to share, to partake in thinking over together this thing that we are going to discuss this morning. We have been talking about security: security in the things of thought, of the things thought has created, the security in authority; and also I would like to go into this question of finding safety, comfort, security in skill - skill in action. Please listen to it, because a great deal is involved in this.
When one has a skill in action it gives a certain sense of wellbeing, security. And that skill born of knowledge must invariably in its action become mechanical. Right? I hope we are sharing this together. Skill in action is what man has sought because it gives him a certain position in society, certain prestige and power - power to go to the moon, live under the sea and so on - skill, skill which is born of accumulated technological knowledge. And if one lives in that field all the time, as one does in modern society, with all its economic demands, that knowledge becomes not only additive - you add more to that knowledge - but also invariably it becomes a repetitive, mechanical process which gradually gathers its own stimulation, its own activity, its own arrogance, and power. In that power one seeks a great deal of security - one has security. I do not know - this must be obvious to all of us. And the world at the present time is demanding more and more skill - whether you are an engineer, technological expert, a scientist, a psychotherapist, etc., etc., etc. But there is great danger, is there not, in seeking this absolute skill. That skill is born out of accumulated knowledge, but in that skill there is no clarity.
Please listen: I am going to investigate something totally new this morning. And I hope you will have the kindness and the seriousness to listen, not agreeing or disagreeing but thinking over together - thinking together logically, sanely, rationally and with a certain sense of humility.
When skill becomes all-important in life, because that is the means of livelihood, and when one is totally educated for that purpose - all our universities, colleges, and schools are directed for that purpose - and that skill invariably breeds a certain sense of power, arrogance and self-importance. Right? What is the relationship of skill to clarity? And what is the relationship of clarity to compassion? These are the three things which we are going to discuss.
As we have talked very often, the art of listening, the art of seeing, the art of learning. The art of listening is to listen so that naturally everything is put in its right place. The meaning of that word 'art' means that: to put things where they belong. And the art of seeing is to observe without any distortion, obviously. If there is any distortion there is no observation. If we mistake a bird for a snake then you can't see clearly. In the same way to see clearly, to have great clarity in perception, there must be no distortion - distortion brought about by any form of motive, purpose, a direction. Right? May we go on? We are meeting each other, thinking together? And the art of learning is not only the acquisition of knowledge, which is necessary, necessary for skilful action, but also there is learning without accumulation. Right? This is a little more difficult. There are two types of learning: acquiring and gathering through experience, through books, through education a great deal of knowledge, and that knowledge is used skilfully - that is one form of learning. There is the other form, which is never to accumulate, which means - please listen to this - which means never to register anything but that which is absolutely necessary. Right? Are we meeting each other? That is, when you learn any form of knowledge the brain is registering, accumulating knowledge, storing it up and acting from that storage of knowledge skilfully, or unskilfully. But there is another form of learning which is to become so totally aware that you only register what is absolutely necessary, and nothing else. You understand this? So then the mind is not cluttered up all the time with knowledge, movement. I wonder if you are following all this. We will go into this.
So there are these three essential things in the awakening of intelligence: which is, the art of listening, to communicate not only verbally but non-verbally exactly what you mean, and you listen without distortion: that is the art of listening. The art of seeing is to observe clearly without a direction, without motive, without any form of desire, but merely to observe. Right? And then there is the art of learning, accumulating knowledge which means registering all the things that are necessary for skilful action, and non-registering any psychological responses, any psychological reactions so that the brain is employing itself where function, skill are necessary through knowledge and the brain is free not to register. Right? I wonder if you understand this. This is very arduous, this, to be so totally aware so that you only register what is necessary and not, absolutely not register anything which is not necessary. Someone insults you, someone flatters you, someone calls you this or that - no registration. Right? This gives tremendous clarity - right? - not only with regard to skill, which is the outcome of knowledge - why am I getting so... (laughs) It is very exciting, you don't know what it means. I was thinking about it yesterday, I wanted to talk about it the day before yesterday but it slipped. To register and not to register so there is no psychological building up of the 'me', the structure of the self. The structure of the self arises only when there is registration of everything that is not necessary. That is, giving importance to the name, one's name, form, one's experience, one's opinions, conclusions, all that is the gathering up of the energy of the self - which is always distorting. Right? Shall we go on? I mean, please, I can go on but you must keep together with me. We are taking the journey together, I am not walking ahead of you, or walking behind you. We are all moving together.
So where there is the art of learning, where there is putting everything in its right place and therefore to listen without any conclusion, without any opinion - which are all distorting factors. And in that listening one discovers the false and the true, without any effort because when there is actual attention given to listening that very attention excludes everything that is not absolutely factual. Right? And in the art of seeing, when one observes with one's conclusions, opinions, dogmas, beliefs you cannot possibly see very clearly - obviously. And the art of learning: learning to accumulate knowledge to act in life skilfully, but any other form of registering distorts, gives importance to skill and therefore it becomes mechanical. I hope you understand this. Right? You see this?
So the art of listening, the art of seeing, the art of learning gives extraordinary clarity, and therefore that clarity can communicate verbally. Right? So there is the skill in action, if there is no clarity it breeds self-importance, whether that self importance is identified with a group, with oneself, or with a nation. And that self importance denies clarity, naturally. So skill, clarity and compassion. You cannot have clarity without compassion. And because we have no compassion skill has become more important. Right? May I take a rest a bit?
It is very important to understand this because when you listen to all this seriously, with attention, and therefore sharing together in our thinking, logically and so on, when you have this compassion, clarity and skill, then you become the teacher, because then you have the teaching, not mine, or anyone's - the teaching. And so it becomes extraordinarily important for a person who listens. And this clarity is denied when there is any form of fear. Right? And most human beings have a great deal of fear which denies compassion. Right? Fear - oh god, need we go through all that? - fear of various kinds, fear of growing old, fear of losing your husband, wife, losing your girl, boy and so on, fear of not being successful - you know, various forms of fear. I hope you are aware of your own fears. You may not be aware of them sitting here, at this present moment, but if you are serious you don't have to invite fear, it is there. So you can look at the fear now. Right? You don't have to say, 'Well, I am not afraid at the moment and I can't recall my fears' - which is absurd because you are a living human being now and in that state your fears, though they may be dormant, are still there - right? - consciously or unconsciously.
So fear in any form, both physiological as well as psychological, distorts clarity and therefore a person that is afraid in any form has no compassion. We will go into the whole question of compassion later, much later. But let's take all this together.
So if you see, that is, as I said, the art of seeing, the art of observing very clearly, and that is only possible when you don't want to get rid of fear because then that becomes a distorting factor; or you are unconscious of your fears, which is also a distorting factor. Right? So to be aware of the fear, the many fears which have a common root. Right? Agreed to this? Oh, come on! It is like a tree: a tree has many, many branches and many leaves. And fear also has many branches, many leaves, many expressions of fear which breed their own flowering and their own fruit, which is action. Right? So one must go to the very root of fear, not take various forms of fears but the root of fear. Is that clear?
Look: one may be afraid of darkness, one may be afraid of losing one's wife, or husband, one may be afraid of having no money, one may be afraid of some past pain and not wanting it again, one may be afraid of a dozen things. And analytically you can go through them one by one - right? - which is such a waste of time, isn't it? Whereas it would be much simpler and more direct if you go to the root of fear. Right? I don't think many of us realise, or are aware deeply, the nature of fear, what it does to human beings. Because when there is fear there are many kinds of neurotic actions. Fear of being lonely - you know most of us are, most of you are lonely; and so you seek companionship escaping from loneliness. So companionship becomes very important, and if you have no companionship fear arises. Or out of that loneliness you build a wall around yourself, you resist, you escape and out of that escape, resistance, suppression, grows every form of neurotic action. So it is very important to understand the nature and the structure of fear, because it will not give clarity. And if there is no clarity there is no awakening of intelligence, which is our meeting that we have gathered together here, to see if we cannot awaken that intelligence which is neither yours nor mine, it is intelligence. And that intelligence has its own action, which is non-mechanistic, and therefore without cause. Oh, I wonder if you understand all this. Right? Somebody, yes?
So it is very important to understand, and be free totally, completely of fear. Right? Is that what we are prepared to do? Is that what we are thinking together? We see the importance and the urgency of being completely, both consciously as well as unconsciously, to wipe fear away? One can deal with conscious fears fairly, comparatively easily. Right? But it is much more difficult to be free of fears of which you know not of, fears that are hidden. Right? Do you understand this? Shall I, may I go on? Bene? How are you going to examine the deep rooted fears? Is it possible to examine them? Psychologists say it is possible through analysis - right? - through dreams, through careful psychoanalytical therapy. That is, one must go into this question of analysis altogether so that the mind is free from the analytical process, because analysis doesn't clear up the mind. Right? There is no clarity in analysis because the more you analyse the more there is. And it might take you the whole of your life - at the end of it you have nothing! Right?
So we are going to think together and find out the truth - the truth, not yours or mine, but the truth of analysis. Right? Can we go together? First of all in analysis there is the observer and the observed - right? - the analyser and the analysed. Which is, the analyser says, 'I am going to analyse my reactions' - right? 'My dreams, my desires, my fears'. But is the analyser different from the fear? You understand? Different from the thing which he is going to analyse? You must be very clear on this. (Sound of train) Oh, this train! We are asking: is the analyser different from the analysed? If you say they are different, which most people do, then you are caught in everlasting conflict. Right? That is, the analyser, being different, he can examine his responses of jealousy, anger, violence, and in that examination, in that analysis, the examiner thinks he is separate. Right? And this separation will inevitably divide, and therefore there must be conflict. Right? Where there is division there must be conflict, whether division between two nations and so on; divisions between man and woman - the woman is the same as the man, obviously biologically they are not - but the ideas, the accumulated responses of each, the images they have of each, they divide, and therefore there is conflict in all the relationships. Right? Can we go on?
So: when there is analysis and the analyser is different there must be inevitably conflict. And we are educated, most unfortunately, to have conflict, it is a way of our life. If we have no conflict we say, 'What is wrong with me?' And to have conflict is the essence of neuroticism, as violence. And in analysis time is necessary. Right? I might take days, months, years, if you have the energy, the capacity, the money then you can go on analysing yourself endlessly - it becomes quite fun! Then you have somebody to go to, and tell them all about your troubles and pay fifty dollars, or whatever you pay. That is such a waste of time. So in analysis time is implied. That is, postponement - right? - of the immediate solution of the problem. Analysis implies conflict, analysis implies time, analysis implies no ending to any problems. That is a fact. So when you see the truth of this, or see the fact, you will never analyse. Right? Then what will you do? If you have been educated as most people are to analyse - it is necessary to analyse technologically, medicine and so on - but psychologically analysis, not only breeds time, division, but also each analysis must be complete, mustn't it? Otherwise the incompleteness of analysis is brought over from yesterday, and with the incomplete analysis you examine the new fact. Right? So there is always a colouring from the past of the present. Right? If you see this very, very, very clearly - and I hope you are, I am making it as clear as possible. One could talk about it endlessly but there is no time for this - then what will you do if you don't analyse? If you see analysis is a false process in spite of all the big names, philosophers, all the rest of it, if you yourself see actually the truth that analysis doesn't lead anywhere, then what will you do?
Now we are going to take fear. Most of us are accustomed to analyse fear, the cause and the effect. Right? What has made one afraid? One seeks the cause. Right? That is a process of analysis. It may be a hundred causes, or it may be a single cause. And the cause, with its effect, the effect becomes the cause the next reaction. Right? So there is causation, effect, and the effect becomes the cause. So when you are seeking a cause you are caught up in this chain. Right? Are you following all this? And therefore there is no release from this chain, which is part of analysis. Are we following this? Clear?
So one asks: if there is no analysis then what will happen to my fear? What will happen to the fear that one has? The fears may be dozen but the root of fear, we are concerned with the root, not with the branches - right? - if you can pull out the root it is finished, the whole tree is dead. Right? So what is the root of fear? Can one find that out through analysis? Obviously not. Because as I have explained the reasons, the logic of not being able to see the root of fear if you are caught up with analysis. Right? So what is the root of fear? Is it time? - time being chronological, there is the watch, time by the watch, yes, twenty four hours, sunsets, sunrises, that is one form of time. There is the other which is psychological time. Right? Are you following this? That is the tomorrow: psychologically I will solve my problems the day after tomorrow. Right? So is fear the result of time? I have had, one has had pain yesterday or last week, and that pain is registered in the brain, which is unnecessary - right? - and that pain being registered then there is the fear of that pain happening again a week later. When there is no registration of that pain then there is no fear, which is time. You understand what Oh, come on! Are we meeting each other somewhere? Am I explaining clearly?
There is fear when there is measurement. Right? When one measures oneself with somebody there is fear. I am not as intelligent as you are and I would like to be as intelligent as you are, and I am afraid I may not be. All that is a movement of time, isn't it? Which is measurement, which is comparison. So measurement, time, comparison, imitation breeds fear. Are you following? And all that, which is time, measure, comparison, is the movement of thought. Right? So thought is the very root of fear. Please see the logic, the reasoning of this. It is not just a haphazard statement. We are thinking together, examining together, taking the journey together to find out. And we see analysis is not the solution; finding the cause is not the solution; and time is not the solution, time being measurement, comparison, and time is the movement of thought. So the problem then is not how to be free of fear, or how to suppress fear, but to understand the whole movement of thought. Right? See how far we have gone away from the demand to be free of fear. We are entering into something much greater, much more comprehensive. If there is understanding of the whole movement of thought it must be holistic, whole. And fear arises only when there is the 'me', which is the small, (laughs) and not whole. I wonder if you understand all this.
So the art of learning, the art of seeing, the art of listening - in that art there is no movement of thought. Right? I am just listening to you, why should I interfere with my thoughts. I am seeing, observing, in that observation there is no movement of thought. Right? I just observe. I observe the mountain, the trees, the rivers, the people, without any projection of my background and so on, which is the movement of thought. Right? And thought is necessary to accumulate knowledge to function skilfully, but otherwise thought has no place whatsoever. And this brings tremendous clarity, doesn't it? I hope you have clarity - have you? Clarity means there is no centre from which you are functioning. Right? A centre which is put together by thought as the 'me', mine, they and we. Right? And where there is a centre there must be a circumference, and where there is a circumference there is resistance, there is division, and that is one of the causes, the fundamental causes of fear - 'causes' in quotes. Right?
So when we consider fear we are considering the whole movement of thought, which breeds fear. And clarity is only possible when thought is completely in abeyance. Right? That is, when thought has its right place, which is to act in the field of knowledge and not enter into any other field. You understand, sir? Therefore in that there is total elimination of all opinion, judgement, evaluation. There is only listening, seeing and learning. And without that clarity skill becomes the most destructive thing in life, which is what is happening in the world. You can go to the moon and put the flag of your country up there, which is not clarity. You can kill each other through war, by the extraordinary development of technology, which is the movement of thought. You can divide yourselves into races, communes, and so on, so on, so on, which are all divisions created by thought.
So thought is fragmentary. Right? I wonder if you see all this! Oh, come on! So whatever it does must be fragmented. Right? Do you see this? I wonder if you do. Thought is a fragment. Thought is limited. Thought is conditioned. Thought is narrow, because thought is based on experience, memory, knowledge, which is the past, which is time-binding. Right? So that which is time-binding is necessarily limited, therefore thought is a fragment. Right? Right sir? So thought can never understand that which is whole. Thought can never understand that which is immeasurable, which is timeless. The timeless, the immeasurable one can imagine, thought can put up all kinds of imaginary future structures, but it is still limited. So god, put together by thought, god is limited. Right? No, I am afraid those of you who believe in god won't see this, because your god is the result of your thought, of your fears, of your desire to be secure. And you may say, 'Has not god created all nature?' - talk to the scientists and they will tell you about it, the biologists and the theoretical physicists and so on. So thought, whatever - please see the truth of this and clarity will come like sun out of the clouds, that thought is word, and the word is never the thing, the word is the description of the thing but the thing is not the description. Right? So you have to then find out to have fear then becomes completely useless, it has no meaning. Then you have to find out whether thought can ever remain in its field. You understand? And not move out of that field. That is, to register, because that is the function of the brain, to register so that it can be secure, so that it can be safe. Right? It is safe, secure in the field of knowledge because that is the function of the brain accumulating knowledge so as to be secure in that field, because you can't live without security - food, clothes and shelter one must have, not the few but all. And that is only possible when thought only operates there; and when it does not register in any other direction there is then no nationality, there is no you and me. I don't know if you see this. Right? There is no division because when there is no registration the mind is free to look. Right? The mind is free to observe. And when there is that clarity skill never becomes mechanical. You understand sirs? Because there is functioning always from that clarity. Whatever the skill be it is functioning, acting from that clarity which is born out of compassion. Right?
So one has to enquire very deeply into what is compassion. (Pause) Can we go into it now? You understand, we have talked very clearly about clarity and skill, and the dangers of skill without clarity - skill then becomes the means of self-aggrandisement, the aggrandisement of a nation, of a group - you know, the whole process of it. So we are saying there are three things one must understand very, very carefully - understand in the sense, not intellectually, not verbally, but actually see the quality of it. There are three things, which are compassion, clarity and skill. Right? And when there is compassion there is no division between clarity and skill. Right? It is one movement. I wonder if you see this! And because we are caught up in skill we don't see the total movement. So what is the nature and the structure of compassion? To understand it one must go into the whole question of pleasure, love, suffering, death. You can't just say, 'I have compassion'. The mind that says, 'I am compassionate', is not compassionate. You understand? I wonder if you do. When the mind says, 'I am intelligent', it is no longer intelligent because it is conscious of itself. Right? When it is conscious of itself there is no intelligence.
So one must go into this question: what is the depth and the meaning and the significance and the beauty of compassion? And to do that we must enquire not only, as we did, into fear, but also into pleasure. Is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is love of another a remembrance? Is love of another an image? All these are involved when we think over together this question of compassion. And we can only go into it when we go together, not I, the speaker goes into it and you just listen, when we together go into it, because a human being is not alone, he is the essence of all human beings. And that is a fact, that is a reality. That is not my invention, my wanting to identify myself with the whole. The absolute fact is you, as a human being, living through millennia after millennia, you are the representative of the whole of mankind, mankind that has suffered, agonised, shed tears, killed, and been killed, jealous, angry, anxious, seeking pleasure, caught in fear - you are all that. Therefore you are the entire humanity. And when there is a total revolution in this consciousness, that revolution affects the consciousness of mankind. That is a fact. And that is why it is so urgently important that each one of us who listens, and you are good enough to listen, serious enough to take the journey together, when you fundamentally, deeply psychologically, consciousness change its content, you affect the whole of mankind.
So when we meet next time, next Sunday, we will go into the question of what is compassion. Right, sirs.