What will make a human being change?
Is it possible to observe the whole movement of consciousness?
2nd Public Discussion, Saanen
July 27, 1978
Before we begin to bombard each other with a lot of questions and arguments, I wonder if you read in the newspaper - I don't generally read newspapers, I look at the headlines - that the world, every year, is spending four hundred billion dollars on armaments. That is four hundred thousand million dollars. I don't know what that sum means but that is what is being spent on trying to kill each other. I wonder, after reading such a statement, what will make human beings change? Yesterday, that gentleman over on my left put a question: he said I have listened to you for so many years, listened to your talks, listened to your tapes and so on, and I am exactly where I started when I began. I think it would be important if we could go into that question rather seriously. Perhaps most of us are in that position - perhaps.
What will make a human being change very deeply? This has been a great problem for those people who are concerned with the transformation of man. What makes us change? If you put that question to yourself seriously, and ask with all sincerity, with all depth of your being, what will make you change? Will an external event bring about a crisis in your life and that forces you to do some radical thinking - change? A death in the family, an incident or an event, or a happening that is devastating, psychologically as well as physically - will that bring about deep change? Or must you go through great pain, great sorrow, great agony, brought about by external events, and forces you, forces a human being to alter his course, his drive, his direction, his selfishness, his limited brutal thinking? We have had several wars and most of us perhaps have lived through two wars, devastating wars, millions have been killed. Think of the misery, the confusion, the enormous sorrow of those people who have had great losses, not only physical losses but their sons destroyed. And apparently superficial events, however great they are, don't seem to bring about a freedom, say, 'This cannot happen again' - you understand?
So I am asking you, as well as I've asked this has been a question which we have considered many, many times - will external events change man? That is one problem. That is, superficial events. And apparently that has not changed man - change in the sense we mean, a real deep transformation of this selfish drive, identified with groups, nations, with beliefs, dogmas, religion, all the rest of it. And apparently - please follow this - apparently some superficial event, like the death of one's husband, wife, children, does bring through great pain and sorrow a certain change in oneself. I do not know if you have not noticed it. Does that mean we must depend on external events - death, war, somebody leaving you and so on and so on and so on, external devastating events, will that change you? Which means that you must depend on outward things, which will then put you through great agony and suffering and out of that you come, bringing about, perhaps, a deep mutation - all right?
It seems to us that that is the most appalling thing, even to say it, that we must go through suffering to bring a change. That's inconceivable, but yet that is what happens, apparently. It is like a man who is driving a car rather carelessly, kills others and perhaps survives, and after that he says, 'I am going to be awfully careful how I drive' - he is intelligent after the event. You follow? Is it possible to be intelligent before the event? You understand my question? Intelligent meaning, not become more clever in this instinctual survival of selfishness, of that drive of desire and so on and so on, but that intelligence that is born out of the perception that superficial events do not fundamentally change man, but that change must come totally inwardly, without any pressure, without any incident, event. To perceive that is part of intelligence. To perceive the truth that if I depend on outward pressure, outward events which puts me through a great deal of sorrow and anxiety, I will either become cynical, bitter or escape into some form of entertainment. So in that there is no deep change. To see that is part of intelligence. The materialists, the communists, the totalitarian people say, change the outward events then man changes. But that has been tried through millennia. Right? And apparently man has not changed.
And also there is this statement made by several gurus and teachers in the east, and perhaps in the west, that surrender yourself, then all your problems are solved. You again surrender to something outside, or, surrender to something which you have created. You follow all this? I wonder if you understand. Please, are we understanding each other? This is very important after that question of that gentleman yesterday. He said, 'I have listened to you for so many years and I have not changed. I am where I started out.' You know, to hear such a statement you cry inwardly. You understand? I wonder how many of you cried inwardly. And what will change him, or you, or another? Is it, as we said, an external event, devastating, which brings about sorrow, and then that sorrow if it is deep it shatters everything that you have had, and then perhaps you say, 'I can't live this way any more' - so you are again depending on an external event. And external events can be vast - wars, earthquakes, and so on - external events. Realising that, these religious - can I use the word exploiters? - these religious exploiters - with your consent I am using that word - say, give yourself over, surrender. You understand the implications of it? Surrender naturally to the guru, to the man who says, 'Surrender', but inwardly do you eliminate this drive, this self-centredness and so on and so on? You understand? Again the same phenomenon, which is outward pressure, now you are exerting inward pressure to submit to somebody else. Have you understood this? Can we go on from there?
Now do you listen to all this? That outward pressure is not going to change, inward giving yourself over to a presence, a reality, to god, to this, or to that, is still the desire which drives you to forget yourself, but the self is still there, only covered up. So do you listen to these statements. Right? Or it doesn't mean any thing at all? So perhaps the root of the matter lies there: intellectually, verbally you see reasonably, logically, what the statements we have made just now - very clear, unless you want to change the words, you can change the words but the essence of it is that. The outward pressure through sorrow, and the inward pressure to escape from yourself - right? - which again is another form of pressure. Do you listen to this so that you see the truth of it, that whether it be pressure from outside or from inside there is no change. To see that, to hear that and see that fact, that is intelligence. You understand? So are you - forgive me for asking this question - are you, who have listened to this this morning, clearly exposed, logically, sanely, do you see the actuality of it, the truth of it and therefore there is intelligence? Therefore that intelligence is the denial of the outer or the inner, and therefore moving from where you are. Do you understand?
Now have you listened this morning, taken in, seriously gone into it, as we did just now, and seen that pressure, outward or inward, in different ways, in different forms, will not bring about the radical mutation? To hear that and see it is intelligence. Do you see it? Do you have that intelligence? Therefore that intelligence acts before the event so that man has not to go through sorrow. If you discover that, it is something - you follow? - it is a divine gift. Sorry to use the word 'divine'. It is a great, enormous gift because before the event, catastrophic devastating event that brings sorrow, or any pressure, outward or inward, will not change man, when he realises that, sees the truth of that, that intelligence is operating wherever it is - whether in your daily life, whether it is in your office - you follow? - all the time that is operating. Right?
Now let us discuss (laughs), or let's talk over - if you want to.
Questioner: Je ne parle l’anglais, je le comprend trs peu.
Krishnamurti: Parlez en Francais, a va.
Q: Alores je vais me contenter simplement d’exprimer un sentiment. Il s’git de ma gratitude, je crois que je suis venu un peu pour a parce que j’ai lu dja les dialogues et les livres que sous avez publis, qui existent, et je voulais vous remercier profondment pour l’clairage que vous avez dja apport.
K: Bien. He says, I am very glad I came here to listen to all this, I am very grateful.
Q: What is loneliness?
K: What is loneliness. Any other?
Q: Yesterday we arrived half way to this idea of being free from conditioning. We stopped at the point where one is aware that one is conditioned and my question is what happens after you are aware, and why does it seem that one is overtaken by this conditioning process?
K: All right. Shall we go back to that? Or you are bored with it? I see some of you are bored no?[ So monsieur, he is bored - I won't look at him (laughter)
Q: In this question of conditioning, I would like to see if the body itself is conditioned or identification with the body is conditioning.
K: Right, we'll go into that, sir.
Q: What is the relationship of the conditioning and identification?
K: What is the relationship between conditioning and identification, with the body, with an event, and so on, so on?
Q: Is the body itself conditioned?
K: Is the body itself conditioned. Obviously. Right sir? What was the other question that lady asked?
K: Shall we start with that, and work into this question of whether it is possible to understand this question of conditioning, not only the actual fact of being conditioned, what takes place when the mind is not conditioned. That is more difficult.
What is loneliness? Is loneliness separate from solitude? I am not quibbling about words. You understand my question? To be alone is different from being lonely. Alone means all one. I am using English language. The dictionary says, the word alone means all one. See the significance of that: aloneness, solitude and loneliness. So we are asking, what is loneliness? Have you ever discovered for yourself what is loneliness. Or you have never lived with it long enough to see what it is? Or being frightened of loneliness you move away from it and try to fill that loneliness with amusement, literature - you follow? - music and yoga, whatever it is. So there is loneliness, solitude, aloneness. How does this loneliness come about? You asked that question, madame, don't take notes while we are discussing - then you won't be able to pay attention while you are taking notes - forgive me for pointing it out.
That is, most of us are unconsciously or consciously lonely. Right? How does this loneliness take place? How does it happen? Aren't we in our actions in daily life, in our relationship with each other, acting for ourselves - no? - for our selfishness. We are all the time acting, living, driving, creating, moving, from a centre - our reactions are from a centre. Right? So this constant activity, which is essentially either withdrawal or resistance, must inevitably create the thing called loneliness. You understand? Look: I am married - I am not! - One is married or one has a girl, or a boy, or whatever it is. Are you really related to that person? Or there is always a barrier, a distance, an interval, a space - I am using the space in the sense a withdrawal from the other? Right? That is, you are concerned about yourself: your progress, your success, what you are doing, your ambitions, your vanities, your aggressiveness and so on and so on, so on. Right? And she is also concerned in a different way about that, so how can there be a relationship between the two when each person is concerned about himself? I wonder if you It is very simple. That is a fact. Right? Now just a minute, listen carefully. That is a fact. That fact creates conflict - jealousy, dominance, identification with the other, that identification is part of that desire to avoid, run away from oneself, all that. You have listened to it, haven't you. Right? Now you have listened to it. Have you listened to it, or you are translating what is being said in your own terms so that you are actually not listening, therefore you are avoiding - avoiding facing the fact that there is this separateness between you and your wife, girl, boy, and therefore there is this constant tension, constant effort, constant struggle? Right? Do you listen to that. Which means by listening to it very carefully you are beginning to find out for yourself that this loneliness is a movement in which all relationship with another has ended, with nature - complete isolation. Now do you see that intelligently and therefore the division ceases? I wonder if you do. And therefore there is no loneliness. You have understood this, actually, don't theorise about it - end it.
K: Wait a minute, sir, wait a minute. I know. I haven't finished yet. Then there is the question of solitude. Right? Solitude, it's a lovely word, in which is implied, you know, when you are walking alone in the woods, not carrying all your troubles, your problems, your anxieties, you are just walking, looking at the trees, the clouds, listening to the birds and the running water, you are absolutely alone, I mean, in solitude you are enjoying. And when you are alone, completely alone, you have left everything behind you - you understand? - your girls, your husband, your wife, your beliefs, everything 'is down the river'! In that aloneness there is actually, if you have gone very carefully into it, no division. Right? Do you listen to this, or is it romantic - you know, what a lovely thing that is! Or you have seen the enormous danger of loneliness, brought about by our own selfish, self-centred reactions? If you have seen that you can go on. You follow? Right.
So let's talk about conditioning. As the gentleman pointed out just now, we went to a certain extent and we were rather driven off our course. It was like that gentleman asked, I have listened to you for a number of years and there is nothing. I must tell you a lovely story about this. A pupil goes to a teacher and says, 'Teach me what is truth'. And he says, 'All right, stay with me and we'll have a conversation about the universe, about the beauty of the land and so on and so on, we'll talk, and perhaps you will see truth'. So the teacher talks to him everyday and goes into various things. At the end of fifteen years, he says, 'Master, I have lived with you for fifteen years, watched you, listened to you, seen how you act, do this and do that, but I haven't got truth. So I am leaving you. There is a man a few miles further away where I am going to learn from him the truth.' So the teacher says, 'Certainly'. So he is away for five years and comes back to the original teacher and he says, 'I have found it'. And he says, 'Really? Have you found it?' He says, 'Yes, there is that river' - they were standing on the banks of a river - 'There is that river and I can walk across it. I have found it'. The teacher then says, 'You have taken five years to learn this and more?' 'Yes'. And the teacher says, 'There is a boat, if you pay a cent or a pie (laughs) you'll cross it' - right? Got it? Most of us are like that! We pay enormous efforts to do things where it is so simple.
Now let's start about conditioning. We explained very carefully what is the meaning of that word. Physically we are conditioned, you are a woman, I am a man. You are short, I am tall, or brown, white, pink or whatever it is. That is so, that is part of our conditioning - normal, healthy, natural. We are talking about psychological conditioning, which is the mind being conditioned - the mind being our feelings, our sensations, our emotions, imagination, and the intellectual concepts: the fears, the anxieties, the guilt, the hurts and so on and so on, is all that part of our conditioning psychologically, which may be called consciousness. We are using ordinary words, if you want me to use different sets of words I can use them, but let's stick to the ordinary original meaning. Which is, the mind, which includes thought, feeling, imagination, romanticism, and the sensations. So it is limited, that is, limited by the culture in which it lives - right sir? - the country in which it lives, the tradition, the superstition, the religion, the economic condition, the social structure: do this, don't do that, this is right, this is wrong, from the family, extended. Right. All that is the content of our mind, the content of our consciousness. Right? That's clear and simple. So a mind that is cultured, that is brought up in a limited sense, which is the conditioning - when we use the 'conditioned' it implies limited, conditioned, it is not extensive, it is not universal, global, it is limited, conditioned. Right? Now when one's mind is so conditioned, and your mind is so conditioned, there is division. Obviously. I am an Arab and you are a Jew - both Semitic races but divided by language, by race, by prejudice, by beliefs, by dogmas: I believe in the Prophet, you believe in something else, and I am willing to fight you, kill you and you are willing. Right? That is part of our conditioning.
Now we are asking - please just listen, don't agree or disagree, just find out - I am asking you, or you are asking yourself, do you know you are conditioned? Or somebody is telling you you are conditioned - you see the difference? I wonder if you see the difference. Do you see the difference? Is it your own discovery, or somebody has discovered this and tells you about it, with which you agree? See the difference? Long before the world war - the second world war - a very famous journalist came to see me, to see the speaker. And we were talking about various things that were happening in the world. He was a very, very intelligent man, very well-known, and I brought this question of conditioning. 'Ah', he said, 'Only the Indian mind can think that'. (Laughter) You understand? See the We were talking about the conditioning of man, whether he never applied it to himself but, 'It is the capacity of the Indian mind that goes into such subtleties'. You follow? So I am asking you whether you are being told about it, and therefore you realise it; or you realise for yourself that you are conditioned. If you are told about it and agree, that has one effect - a superficial effect, a devious effect, a doubtful effect, a sceptical effect. You say, 'Yes, you say so, but so-and-so doesn't say so. I prefer the other.' Or if you yourself realise it, it is so, it is so. It doesn't matter, a million people can say, 'Nonsense', it is so. It's like being hungry, others can say, 'Sorry, you are not hungry, old boy, you are pretending' (laughs), but if I am hungry I know it. You see the difference? So let's be very clear that we see the difference. Now if you see the difference that you yourself by looking at the world, what is happening in the world - the culture, the tradition, the superstitions, the religious nonsense and so on, and so on, so on - and you realise 'I am that'. Right?
K: Wait, let me finish sir, a moment, let me finish what we are talking about conditioning, and you can then argue, or question whatever you wish.
So let us be very clear that the condition is not imposed on you, persuaded by another, logically, illogically, or rationally, or merely he wants to tell you a story. That is one thing. The other, is for oneself to see the danger of being conditioned. You understand? Do you see that for yourself? Yes.
Q: Yes, we are conditioned. I see this for myself.
K: All right, that's what... The gentleman says, yes, you don't have to tell me, I know I am conditioned.
Q: Yes but you say ‘Do you see this conditioning?’ To see implies some kind of procedure.
K: Yes, we went into that yesterday.
Q: So how do you see the conditioning and see the condition at the same time?
K: How can you know that you are conditioned if I am conditioned? You follow the question? He says, how do you know, are aware that you are conditioned, if you don't observe it as something separate from you. Then you can say, 'I know'. But if you yourself are conditioned, how can you say, 'I am conditioned'? You see the problem? No? No. I'll have to explain it. Everything has got to be explained!
You see the difficulty? If I see that the entity that is speaking is conditioned, how do I know that I am conditioned? It is only when I look at it as something outside of myself then I can say, 'I am conditioned'. Am I explaining your question properly, sir? Yes. This is not being subtle, it is being simple about it. How do you know that you are in pain? Somebody tells you that you are in pain? Or is pain separate from you who says, 'I am in pain'? You follow what I am saying? Somebody puts a pin in your leg and you have pain, pain is through nerves and so on to the brain and you say, 'There is pain'. You know pain for itself - right? - caused by a physical accident, or pain of grief and so on and so on. So you know when you have pain. So can't you know equally that this conditioning is there? Either you approach it from the outer - you follow? - the results of conditioning, from the outer: wars, division, conflict, you are a Muslim, I am a Hindu, Catholic, Protestant, from the outer move to the inner, and see logically this sense of separation - which is the conditioning - creates pain, conflict. So then you enquire what are the reasons of this conflict. Then you discover it is because human beings are conditioned - Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Arab, Jew, wife, and all the rest of it. So there is an awareness that conditioning itself, like pain, is there. Right? Have I made myself clear? So let's proceed from there.
Now, the next question is - that is nobody is telling you, you know it, as you know pain - then why not leave it alone? Why not leave this conditioning alone? There are some good conditionings, as that gentleman said yesterday, I'll keep those good conditionings and reject those unpleasant conditionings. Right? Please see this. I will reject the unpleasant conditionings and keep the pleasant ones. Right? That is what he said. Now who chooses? You understand my question? Say this I will keep, this I won't keep. Again the entity who is conditioned. So choice is conditioning. I wonder if you see that. Do you see that, sir? Any form of psychological choice is conditioning: I will keep these and I'll reject those, which is based on choice. The choice is the result of either pleasure, gratifying, or it is painful so I will throw those away. We are talking of the total conditioning, not just the pleasant ones and the unpleasant ones.
From that the next question is: is it possible, having listened to all this very carefully, understood everything in detail that we have described, then you ask: is it possible to be unconditioned, both at the superficial level of consciousness and also at the deeper layers, deeper, at the greater depth of consciousness, that is totally? You ask this question not out of idle curiosity but you see what conditioning has done in the world. Right? Four hundred billion dollars every year spent on armaments! God, do you realise what it means? I don't think you do. That is the conditioning - each protecting himself.
Q: Why don’t we throw away our conditioning?
K: Throw it away?
K: Have you? She says, just throw it away (laughs). Is it so easy? As you throw a dirty handkerchief, or a dirty piece of paper, just throw it away. Is it so easy? I wish it were. Do you mean to say a man who has been a Catholic, or a woman who has been carefully baptised, brought up in Catholicism, practising Catholicism, soaked in it, that is his conditioning. You say, 'Just drop it, old boy'. Will he do it? Please.
Q: It seems to go beyond that perception. I can perceive the conditioning, perceive the reality of it, yet it recurs.
K: I am going into that, I am going into that. It recurs because one doesn't see the complete danger of it. It never recurs if you throw yourself down a precipice, does it? Once you see the danger of a precipice it is finished. You never say, 'Well, I'll try again'! (Laughter) So the question is: why don't you see totally, completely the danger of conditioning, the entirety, not just little bits here and little bit there? Because you are still in that position - keeping some which are pleasant, and putting away the others which are not. So you are playing a game with yourself. Right? So can you see for yourself - and the seeing of it is the essence of intelligence - that conditioning is a tremendous danger to man? You have a very good example: human beings are spending four hundred billion dollars every year on armaments. And you can say, 'What can I do about it?' But you elect the politicians. If you felt the tremendous danger of conditioning, you act, you don't argue. Right sir? Now the question is: do you see the danger of it? If you don't, why? Look: the danger of ambition - right? - the politician trying to govern the people, politely but tremendously ambitious to come on top of the heap. There was a prime minister who spoke at a Union - a Union of students - saying, don't be ambitious! (Laughter) You understand? The joke of it. Because he is right on top, and he says, don't be ambitious. But we don't see the danger of ambition, which is to have power, which is to have position. Right? If you saw the immense danger of it, it is finished. You don't argue, you don't say, 'Well, what happens after, if you have no ambition?' You have no ambition because you are intelligent. Right, sir?
So we are asking: why don't you see the immense danger of being held within a small narrow space - which is our conditioning? Why don't you? Is it you must have an accident, an event, a disastrous event, then you say, 'By Jove, I will give it up'. That means you are waiting for an external event to take place and shake you, which means give you a great deal of pain and sorrow, and you say, 'Yes, I understand it now'. Which means you are not intelligent; you are waiting for an incident to make you intelligent, but no event can make you intelligent. Got it? You understand it?
So you see, I'll go into it a little further. One realises - if you are serious, I hope you are all serious till now - one realises that one is conditioned. And one realises the danger of it, logically. Then you say to yourself, how am I to give it up, how am I to break down the narrow walls which I have created, which culture has created, and so on and so on, how is the mind to break down this? Right? I don't know, so I come to you. I say, 'Please, how am I to break this?' Listen carefully. And you begin assuming that you are a great man, or the guru, or this, or that, and he says, 'I'll tell you what to do'. That is, do this, do this, do this, do this, and you will break it, which means again I am depending on the external person to tell me what to do. Right? So I realise the stupidity of going to another to help me to break down the walls which I have built round myself. Right? So what am I to do. Are you in that position? What am I to do to break down this wall, which I have built, society has built, and society is my relationship with another, so I have built it, it is my desire, my ambition, my sensations, my will that has built this enormous limited prison. Now what am I to do? I realise whatever positive act I do about it is still the action of a mind, or thought, which is limited - whatever I do. You understand? I hope you are following this. Is it time - are you getting tired? No, it is not, I have got another ten minutes.
So I realise it is no good depending on another - the other may be a guru, the priest, or the idea that you surrender yourself to all that nonsense. So what am I to do? My conditioning is - please listen to this - my conditioning is to do something about it. I have been to the priest, I have been to the guru, I have been to the professor, the analyst, which is again doing something about it. Or I say well, no, it is too troublesome, I'll leave it alone, what the heck does it matter? Right? But if I don't, my conditioning is to act, I am positive in that action, at least I feel I am doing something about it, which is part of my conditioning, my culture, my tradition, my education. And here is a man who comes along and tells me, don't do anything. Do you understand? Don't do a thing. Because I've realised that positive action is totally inaction, whereas to be with it and not act: I know I am conditioned, I won't act but I will watch. You understand? Watching, alert, aware, and I see every response is from that conditioning. I observe, I don't do anything.
So when there is non-positive action you don't give energy to the conditioning. That dies by itself, when you don't give it a push, or suppress it, or run away from it, but when you are aware of it and don't act, because you realise non-action is intelligence. Action is unintelligence. Do you follow all this? So if you do this, I mean, if this takes place it is all over. That's why we talked about the other day the positive, and action which is what is happening in the world - Russia says, 'I must build an armament stronger than America' - you follow? - and every country is being supplied by them. Which is to take positive action to keep power, position - I am bigger than you. Right? Whereas if you see all this, the stupidity of man, see it and leave it alone, then the leaving it alone is intelligence which will act, which is unconditioned. That's enough. Have I made this clear, sir? Right sirs.