What is wrong with pleasure?
Attention and order
2nd Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 20, 1984
If one may remind you again, this is not a lecture. Lectures are meant to convey or give instructions, information and guidance. So this is not a lecture, but we are going to take a journey together into an extensive field of the psyche in the psychological realm, though there have been a great many descriptions, investigations up to certain point, but in these talks, if one may remind you, we are going together as two friends to take a long journey into the area of the whole psychological states - if we have time and if we can go to the very end of it, not stop in the middle of something which you may not like, or dislike, one must take the journey to the very end of things.
We must also see that thought has done the most extraordinary things in the world, technological world: from the neutron bombs, missiles, the computers; and the whole area of communication, rapid travel and so on. Thought has been responsible for all that. Also great surgery, medicine, and health - if that is possible - and so on. But also thought has brought about great wars: in the last perhaps hundred years we have had two terrible wars, which is also the result of thought because thought has divided humanity, geographically and nationally. And also thought has divided humanity in the world as Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Moslems. And as we were saying: where there is division as American and Russian, European and South Africans and so on there must be conflict, there must be war: people are killing by the thousands, killing has been going on for the last six thousand historical years, practically every year there is a war. And man during all these forty, fifty thousand years, this long duration of evolution, has not stopped killing each other or destroying nature, more especially now.
Thought has not created nature - the tiger, the wolf and the marvellous trees and flowers. But thought has created division between man and woman. Though biologically they are different, thought in their relationship has brought about great conflict, misunderstanding, quarrels, disputes, antagonism, hatred. So thought has bred conflict not only externally, outwardly, in the world but also inwardly in the whole psychological world, which is far more important to understand than the reorganisation of outward structure of society.
Society is what we have made of it. With our greed, with our ambitions, corruption, competition and all the rest of it. So we have made the society which is disintegrating, becoming dangerous as we are, as human beings are, degenerating and becoming dangerous: killing, kidnapping, terrorising. We went into this yesterday and we said also that thought, thinking, has been responsible for the religious divisions, as Christians with all the subdivisions, thought has been responsible for the things in all the temples, churches and mosques.
Thought is the result of memory: if we had no memory there would be no thinking. Memory is based on knowledge and experience. There is no complete experience about anything, there is always the more, and where there is more there is measurement and measurement is never complete, whole. So knowledge is limited, now and always in the future, you can add to it, expand it, but that very expansion is limited, so thought is limited. And being limited, as selfishness, egocentric activity is limited, so thought, whatever it does, must inevitably create conflict because anything that is limited, any concept whether religious or ideological, any ideal will always be limited and therefore it must breed extraordinary conflict between human beings.
We were talking about that, yesterday, and we must go on taking the journey together as two friends who are concerned with the way of life: to find out for themselves without any gurus' authority and all that rubbish; find out for themselves a way of life which is an art, an art that will bring about in human beings a great deal of quietude, affection and an art of life.
These two friends, you and the speaker, are taking a long extensive journey together. Together. Please bear this in mind all the time. He is not speaking for his own pleasure, because if he does he can do that in his own room if he wants to, but as two friends exploring hesitantly without any bias, sceptically, doubting, questioning, exploring and observing objectively without any bias - together, because we are concerned with our own lives. And this enquiry into this psyche is not selfish activity, does not encourage or expand self-centred egotistic movement. On the contrary, both religiously and through education throughout the world the egocentric activity has been emphasised: Christians believe in souls, separate from the rest of humanity, so do the Hindus with their atman and so on. And this great emphasis on individuality has brought about great harm, great competition, cruelty. So one must - you and the speaker - are going to question all this: whether we are individuals at all, or we share the common humanity of sorrow, fear, pleasure, anxiety, depression, and the fear of the unknown - death. This is the common lot of every human being on this earth. Every human being on this earth has invented their own gods, hoping thereby there could be some kind of security, a way out of fear, praying in their own way to end their own complexity, their own pain and anxiety - this is shared by all human beings. Not by you as an American or an Italian or Russian or English or an Indian, but it is shared by every human being on this earth. You may intellectually, my friend, accept the logic of it: but what is logic, reason, is merely superficial, but when actually in one's blood, in one's whole being feels the truth of this, that our consciousness is shared by all humanity. You may believe in one kind of god, or in one kind of saviour and so on but that belief - believing - is shared by every human being: to believe in something. So you are humanity. This is a great truth. It is a great something when one actually, in one's heart and in one's blood and in one's guts - realises this, then we would think of the world totally in a different way. To kill another is to kill oneself, to hate another is to hate oneself and so on.
And, as together - you and the speaker - are taking a journey, we ought to enquire into what is discipline and what is para-psychology. Many people are concerned with the para-psychology: occultism, reading thoughts, and awakening kundalini, you have heard all that kind of stuff, haven't you? Going to India to 'find out' or to Tibet if you can get there - you can't any more - or go to Japan, 'find out' - all the rest of this stuff. The speaker has been, from childhood, involved in all this. Forgive me for being a little personal: he knows a great deal or something of all that. But all these things are like a pleasant day or a lovely afternoon that pass away and they have utterly no importance whatsoever. What is important, most essential, not these mysterious things which are not mysterious at all, if one is very sensitive both physically and has a very, very quiet, silent brain, then all the other things are possible. And what is possible can be understood and transcended. That is to find out that which is timeless, which is beyond measure is much more important than to indulge in these childish things.
And also we ought to talk over together, what is discipline? Why human beings more and more have no sense of order. Please, this is not a sermon, which becomes a bore, the speaker is not telling you what to do, or what to think, but to observe together, to see things as they are, not as you or the speaker wishes, to see exactly, correctly, directly things as they are. We live in a very disordered world, chaotic, contradictory, cruel world and this has been the result of long - forty thousand years - of evolution, and we have come to this chaotic state. And in observing that, what is order? Is there any order at all? Or must man, human beings, live perpetually in disorder, not only externally but also inwardly? Disorder seems to be our lot: to think clearly, objectively seems almost impossible, because each one of us wants his own particular way, his own fulfilment, his own ambition and so on.
So what is order? And what is the relationship of that to discipline? The word 'discipline' - etymologically - means 'a disciple, who learns', it comes from the word 'disciple'. A disciple is one who is learning - not conforming, not repeating, not repeating slogans, but constantly learning. So what do we mean by learning? When you go to school, college, university, you learn from books, from the professors, from the teachers, and memorise. That memory is necessary up to a certain point to have a vocation, a job. Either one uses that memory skilfully or sloppily. So learning so far as we understand it generally is to memorise. If you read a book, about mathematics or computers or what you will, and memorise, and from that act. So it becomes mechanical. So is there a learning?
Please enquire with the speaker. He is asking the friend who is walking along, taking the journey together - he is asking him - what is actually learning? Is it merely memory operating, accumulation of a great deal of information, knowledge about various subjects which have their own discipline, their own way, and gradually the brain follows certain categories, certain grooves, and so those grooves and categories and specialisation's become a means of accumulating knowledge, memory, and operating from that memory. This is what we call learning. But, learning also implies a constant movement, a brain that is not only burdened with knowledge of mathematics, geography, history or computer and so on, but also the brain must be active, enquiring, questioning, doubting. And through this process there is never... (I'm finding the right word) there is never a static state. Knowledge becomes static when you have accumulated a great deal, it becomes repetitive, static, but learning is a movement, and therefore is never static, it is living. One must understand this very carefully because each one of us, the self, the 'me', the persona, whatever name you give to the psyche, is a bundle of memories. We may think we are great spiritual entities - gods or all the rest of that business - but it is still memory; we are a bundle of memories. And to that memory we are adding all the time. But the essence of it is static. But whereas learning, not merely accumulating knowledge, but moving further away from knowledge, constantly is the act of learning. That learning brings its own discipline which is to order. Therefore order is a living thing, not conformative, following a pattern - also it doesn't mean that you change from day to day to day, that's what you are all doing - going after various fads. But learning implies tremendous observation, observation without motive. The moment you have motive that motive is static, because that motive is born out of memory.
I hope my friend is following all this. If not he says, 'I don't understand what the devil you are talking about! We all live by motives. Sexual motives, motives of pleasure, motives of wanting, gratifying, achieving, achieving illumination, knowledge and enlightenment - all that - we live by motive, and you are saying something: either true or utterly nonsense.'
The word 'motive', the root meaning of that word is 'to move'. To move, not in a particular direction, not self-centred egotistic desire. This becomes difficult - motive implies, as we said, motive is born out of memory. Right? Because I want something which I am missing. Right? That's one form of motive. I want to achieve fame: appear in the beastly papers, well-known, power, position, everybody say 'What a marvellous bird you are'. There is a motive, which is a projection of our own memory and desire, therefore that memory is limited and therefore static.
Right, have you understood, my friend? He says 'Go on, I am catching what you are talking about. But, is this possible,' he asks, 'to live and to live so that there is constantly learning, till you reach a point when there is no learning at all?' Because what is there to learn except mathematics, engineering, science and so on; technological learning? Apart from all that, what is there to learn?
Please, you understand, go slowly my friend.' He says to me, to the speaker: 'Go slow - I am not - my brain doesn't work as rapidly as yourself.' That's a form of flattery which the speaker is not falling for. He says 'Explain a little more', because we are talking about order. This order can only be understood and lived - not merely intellectually understood but lived in daily life. That order comes only when the static movement of the self as memory with its motive is no longer operating. Because the self is a bundle of memories - I am telling the friend - if you watch yourself, you see you are a bundle of memories, to those memories can be added a great deal, but it is still memory, and therefore it is limited, therefore it is static. Anything that is static must create conflict with things that are moving. So, find out (the speaker is telling the friend) find out if you can live without a motive and yet learn all the time, till you come to a point when there is nothing to learn any more - we'll go into that presently - so that there is complete order. Order for most of us means conformity, repetition, adjustment, always from a centre adjusting. So order is a living thing, not a blueprint. And that order brings an extraordinary sense of stability, gives great strength from which - as the earth from which trees, everything, grows - this sense of great stability, strength from which every other thing can flow.
So my friend says, 'It all sounds marvellous, verbally, but I don't quite capture what you're talking about. I understand it vaguely but perhaps I'll capture it one day.' And the speaker says, 'You'll never capture it one day! Either you capture it now, and if you don't understand it now, you'll never understand it tomorrow. Because the 'now' is time. The 'now' contains all time; the past, the present and the future. What is now, what you are now, is what you'll be tomorrow. Unless you radically change now, you'll be - the future is what you are now. That's so obvious. So, the future is the present, and the present is the past, so the present now contains all time.' And when my friend says, 'I'll think about it and perhaps eventually get it', then he is merely postponing, not giving attention to the whole content of the 'now'. And the 'now', which is attention, is order.
So let's go to next thing. My friend asks, 'Why is it that all my life I have sought pleasure?' Pleasure seems to be the most important thing in one's life. What's wrong with pleasure? Why is it that human beings go after it so ceaselessly? Pleasure through sex, pleasure through possessions, pleasure through power, fame, notoriety? Pleasure through writing a book - it may be a failure, people may not buy it, but the pleasure of writing it. Pleasure seems to be a common lot of humanity. And why? Why has it become so important? Please enquire, the speaker says to his friend, enquire. Don't say, 'Yes, I must have pleasure.' We have always lived by pleasure, fulfilment, gratification, achievement - the different forms of pleasure. But why is it that we cling to it, that we perpetually are after it? We take drugs, alcohol with all its misery, but it's pleasurable. The immediacy of pleasure. You understand? Not the postponement of pleasure. That is where there is pleasure now, at the second, there is no interference or interpretation of thought. Pleasure, the second there is the pleasure, then a few seconds later thought creates the image of that pleasure, of that sensation, and then pursues that. Right, my friend, do you understand this?
So thought, again, creates the image of that second - seeing the extraordinary beauty of the sunset, with all the golden light of an evening, the great beauty and the stillness of the sunset, with its green ray which so rarely happens; there is the immediate perception of that, then thought says, how marvellous that was! How beautiful! How extraordinarily vital! And it has created image, and the next day it wants it again. Right? So the understanding of thought, the thinking process, becomes extraordinarily important.
Fear is one of the factors of our life, like pleasure. Perhaps fear is a greater factor than pleasure. Fear of not having pleasure. So, my friend says, 'Can we go into this question of fear? And also in exploring,' he says, 'can it ever end or must fear everlastingly be the burden of humanity?' So together my friend, we are going to find out, not the speaker is going to instruct, and you follow, which becomes rather childish and immature, but rather, together, you and the speaker go into this question of fear.
Man has lived with fear for thousands upon thousands of years. Fear of nature, thunderstorm; fear of darkness, fear of the very existence of life, fear of your neighbour, of one's wife or husband; fear of not achieving; fear of being a failure, especially in this country where success is worshipped. Don't you all want success? Of course we all do. And most of us, unfortunately or fortunately, are not great successes - except perhaps a few politicians, and the gurus which accumulate money with their nonsense, and the evangelist and so on, so on, so on. You know, have you ever realised the Catholic world is the most realistic people in the world - they own great quantities of earth all over the world? And achievement, success, longing to be loved, and finding that you're not loved. And fear, bitterness, anxiety, and hate. So we, together, ought to go into the question of fear. Not merely the explanation, the description, which is very deceptive because people are generally caught in description and explanations; and so never get to the root of it.
My friend says, 'Let's get to the root of it, because I am also fed up with explanations. I can go to a psychologist and all the rest of it, but those explanations have not completely eradicated from me the sense of fear.' So unless we go into it very deeply, mere explanation is of very little value. The feel of it, the quality of it, the structure of it; because where there is fear there is everlastingly seeking security. Fear has created all the gods and the saviours of the world. A man that has no fear at all - both biologically and psychologically - for him there is no god, because he is the essence of a religious mind. We'll go into that later.
So, together, let's find out what is the root of it. Will you find out, or will the speaker find out and tell you about it? Which means: is your brain, (the speaker asking his friend) is your brain active enough, passionate enough, has energy to find out? Or you're merely verbally wanting something to find out? But if you have that intensity to find out, we'll go together into it.
First of all, time is a factor of fear. Time, as yesterday, of which we know because yesterday's memory is stored in the brain; and tomorrow is uncertain - tomorrow may extend a thousand tomorrows - but tomorrow is uncertain therefore there is fear. I might lose, I might not gain; I might find myself lonely, desperate, anxious. So time as a factor of fear is obvious. So what is time? Why is it that time has become so important in our life? Time to learn a language, time to get engaged to a woman, time to become an expert in something or other, time to write a letter - but a computer is going to take away your time too, because it can do things so extraordinarily rapidly. I do not know if this is a moment to talk about the computer. Perhaps we will because it is rather interesting.
We have been talking to the experts about it, specialists who are producing computers. They can do almost everything that man can do, except perhaps be affectionate to another. It can compose, it can etcetera, you know how much, I won't go into it. It can build a car through a robot, as some of them are doing in various factories in Japan and Germany and here. And so the computer can be programmed as we are programmed - to be Christians, to be Hindus, to be American, to be specialists: we are programmed. Our brain functions on programs, which is memory. And the computer can do all this with extraordinary rapidity. The IBM lately discovered that chip: a million memories in that one little chip. It can calculate, it can add, it can do extraordinary things, the computer. So what's going to happen to the brain of human beings? You understand my question?
Our brains have been active in adding and subtracting - in a shop, in a supermarket, you have to add, work, use your brain to add. But when you press a button and a computer does all the adding, you don't think at all. So what is going to happen to the brain that is becoming more and more, or less and less active, which is becoming more and more mechanical, limited, when the computer can do almost everything? Either it degenerates very rapidly as is taking place now, of which most of us are totally unaware, or everlastingly be entertained. The entertainment industry is immensely strong. The entertainment industry is not only the cinema, the magazines and all that, but also the religious entertainment - don't get upset about it - it is also part of entertainment, because it is nothing to do with our daily living. So the computer may produce, may bring about a withering state of the brain, and so the entertainment industry takes it over, which is happening now. Please be aware of it for god's sake! Or we have the whole vast area of the psyche to investigate and live differently. These two possibilities are open to you. And inevitably man, being what he is, will choose entertainment.
So we must come back and find out what is the root of fear. We said time. Time is the most extraordinary complex thing. We live by time - we have to go to lunch at a certain time. And time is contained in the present, the future, the past, the whole movement of time is now - if you look at it - because tomorrow is what you are now. If you're angry, hating, violent, now, tomorrow you will be the same exactly; perhaps slightly modified or expanded.
So the future is now. Please see the truth of this. The fact of it, my friend. So if you don't radically, fundamentally bring about a total psychological revolution in you, tomorrow you will be the same. So time is the enemy of man. Please see it. So time is a factor of fear: I have a job, I might lose it; my wife can run away, leaving me alone; jealousy and all the rest of it follows. So time is the basic root cause of fear. And time is also thought. Both are movements, both psychologically and outwardly, externally. So time, thought, are the root of fear. It is a fact.
Then my friend asks: 'How in heaven's name can I stop time, thinking? How can I? I have to go - to the office - time is necessary there? But time - you are saying to me - inwardly, psychologically when you use time to become, to be, to drive, etc., that time is the enemy. Because tomorrow is what you are now. Therefore, unless you profoundly change now, tomorrow is the enemy.'
So fear - of which you are all well aware - every human being on this earth knows fear: the calamity of that, the sadness of that, and the brutality of fear. That's what's happening: the brutality of ideologies - the Russian ideology and the democratic ideology. So, sirs, look into it carefully. So time, thought, are the root of fear. 'How am I', my friend asks, 'to stop this movement of time and thought?' The speaker says then, that's a wrong question. When you put a wrong question, there is no answer to a wrong question. Put the right question, which is: do you see the fact - the actuality of time and thought? Not as an idea, but a fact, that what you are, you will be. Then if you see the fact - not the fact through an idea. Do you understand? Our brains first capture the idea and then apply the idea to the fact. The word 'idea' in Greek and so on has not only other different meanings to it, but 'idea' means to observe. Not through observation come to a conclusion - just to observe. When you so deeply observe with passionate intensity which is to give your attention to time and thought then there is no fear at all.
My friend says, 'At the moment when you are expressing this, I understand it. Your intensity helps me.' But don't depend on it. So find out if you have this energy, the vitality, the intensity, to go to the very end of it, to the end of the journey into fear. Which means you must sustain all the time the same intensity - not slacken at any moment. Go with the same intensity, the same movement until you come to the end of it.
But most of us waste our energy through chattering - endlessly chattering, gossiping, criticising, backbiting. And also wasting our energy in conflict - perpetual quarrels with each other. Wasting our energy trying to 'become something'. There is no 'becoming something' at all - there is only 'what is', and the completing of 'what is'. Then you have untold energy. Not to do more mischief, but to live a life daily with great love and compassion and intelligence.
I'll stop today, and we'll continue Saturday and Sunday - next Saturday and Sunday - but Tuesday and Thursday, I believe we are going to have questions that some people have sent in, and answers from the speaker. Not answers - we are going to investigate these questions together.