Why do we live under pressure?
Is there a way of living completely free from pressure?
2nd Public Discussion, Ojai, California
April 06, 1978
Krishnamurti: This is a dialogue, a conversation between two people, but unfortunately there are too many people to have a conversation with two people. When we have a conversation of this kind we are talking over together as two friends perhaps our innermost deep problems that concern our daily life, not some theory, not some speculative ideas or hypothesis, but rather be concerned with something that affects our daily constant life. And so we are not opposing one opinion against another or one theory against another theory or hypothesis and so on, but rather as two friends who know each other fairly well so there is a certain sense of affection, care, attention to what each one is saying to the other, and with that I hope we can talk over together any question, any problem that we have. So what would you like to talk over this morning?
Questioner: Krishnamurti, when you become aware that you have just had a reaction, some thoughts, do you ever go back and look at all the thoughts that comprise that reaction?
K: When you have a reaction of a particular kind must you trace it to all the other reactions one has - is that the question, sir?
Q: The question is actually, do you look at all the thoughts that bring that reaction about?
K: Ah, to look at the whole content of thought that brings the reactions. Is that right?
Q: I’d like to hear your thoughts concerning what you consider telepathy to be, suggestion, magnetism, also what you think of the simple question of the idea of the present, like I can talk and learn differently as to what the present is and how you differentiate that from the past, sort of why you make any difference. Also why you many times make a part the whole thing, such as the experiencer. There is a difference there between the experiencer and the word ‘experience’. To me the experience is the whole actuality, the experiencer only perceives a relative portion of that actuality, and I’d like to know why you see no difference between the part and the whole, and everything concerning telepathy, suggestion and magnetism.
K: Yes, sir. But I'm afraid I don't quite understand your question. Would you make it brief?
Q: What is the difference between a part and a whole, and what are your thoughts concerning telepathy, suggestion and magnetism, and – this is kind of three questions, you’ve had two of them there, and the third one is how do you distinguish between the present and the past.
K: I've got it, sir. That's enough. (Laughs) You are asking, how do you differentiate between the present and the past.
Q: Well, no, what do you think the present is.
K: What is the present.
Q: This word, symbol, idea of ‘what is’, as I’ve been taught (inaudible) Why the past is only memories, past does not any longer exist, the same as the future does not exist, it’s only today, it’s only here and now.
K: Yes, sir, I understand your question, sir. So you are asking, what actually is the present.
Q: Yes. Why you don’t use that word more often.
K: Yes. And the other is (laughter) about magnetism.
Q: Magnetism, telepathy and suggestion.
K: Ah, magnetism, telepathy, occultism, mysticism, all that is implied in that question. And the first one, sir?
Q: What is the difference between a part and a whole.
K: Oh, yes, what is the difference between part right. That's enough.
Q: When you say that the observed is the observer, and I then take that to other psychological relationships to the observer, such as anger, envy, grief. I believe I see what you are saying. I have difficulty with only short glimpses of what you refer to as, when you really see that the observer is the observed and there is pure observation, that there is an immense release of energy. I see only footling bits of it. Is it that it is so terribly difficult to really see what is involved?
K: All right, sir. The questioner asks - if have you heard all his question - have you?
K: So I don't have to repeat it, have I?
K: No? All right.
Q: The question in my mind is when one has investigated this clearly and begins to see how to translate this seeing into an action which is not somehow in a sense add to the confusion and disorder, perhaps the mind becomes occupied with communicating this seeing or formulating an action, and the action itself turns out to be destructive.
K: I don't quite follow your question, sir.
Q: Well, it seems that the mind can either see or it can communicate, formulate, process, and when you see and somehow relate this to other human beings, the mind can do one or the other but to translate the seeing into an actual action which has an effect in the world seems to be a very difficult thing to do.
K: I don't quite follow it. If somebody else follows his question would they make it clear for me?
Q: The difference between thinking and clarity and putting it into action as we go along.
K: What is that, sir?
Q: He felt it was difficult to express the clarity that he is thinking about in his everyday life, how do you translate it into living action.
K: Aha, when you see something very clearly how do you express that clarity in daily life, which is through action. Is that it?
Q: In following question has been I can ask the following question: in the matter of the observer and the observed there seems to be a fear that one will be overwhelmed by what one sees in that way. Could you comment on this – overwhelmed by whatever one is looking at, in particular, fear.
Q: Sir, I’d like to extend upon a topic that we discussed this past weekend. It’s about pressure and what sort of pressure becoming, ambition exerts on the brain; and the next part of this question involves self-improvement because I have noticed that within the past ten years in America, and especially here in California, there has been a vast proliferation of many sorts of methods of self-improvement. I can separate these into two basic categories, you have the psychological area where many people report that you create your own reality by certain visualisation techniques, and the others are in developing motor skills and technical experiences, things like that; also the question is, all these sorts of meditation systems may exert pressure on the brain and that included with the pressure to become successful in life, and that type of pressure.
K: I am lost! (Laughs) I am sorry, would you you are asking, sir, are you, would we discuss more deeply the whole question of pressure, is that it?
Q: Yes, pressure as involved with the pressure to become in life, to become successful.
K: Yes, that is, are you asking, sir, could we discuss this question of pressure and its effect on the brain and when there is a release from pressure is there a different structure in the brain - is that what you are asking?
Q: Yes, and also the fear involved of not getting on this escalator of pressure, when you jump off of it. Do you still follow?
K: I don't quite follow it, sir. Put it just simply, very simply. Sir, would it help if we discussed this question of pressure and go into it in detail, in detail, then perhaps your question will be answered fully?
K: Right, sir. Could we discuss that, do you want to discuss this question of pressure?
Q: I would like to go into why you say the body must be light and sensitive in order to be attentive.
K: The body must be light and sensitive
Q: In order to be attentive.
K: Ah, in order oh, yes - mustn't the body be light and sensitive to pay complete attention. Not too many questions, sir because...
Q: And how one can become light and sensitive – we’re not – to be attentive without taking time.
K: Yes. Sir?
Q: Sir, I can understand all that you are saying and what you write intellectually, but to transform it in actuality becomes very difficult in the sense when you say investigate and be aware of experience, it becomes an action the experiencer as me is always there, and it is becoming rather than being all the time. It’s an action.
K: Yes, sir. Now just a minute, sir.
Q: How do I get free of this, it’s like a dog chasing its tail all the time and I’m caught.
K: Yes, I understand. Please, that's enough questions, otherwise I wouldn't know I am not preventing you from asking your questions, sir, but there are so many questions I don't know what question you would like to talk over together. There was the question of pressure: could we discuss that in our daily life, how that pressure and the various forms of pressure affects our actions, distorts our way of life, perverts or deforms the total comprehension of life. Could we discuss that? Would you like to Perhaps all the other questions will be included in that. Would it help if we discussed that?
K: You are sure? I wonder what we mean by the word 'pressure'. To exert pressure, to weigh down by a burden, by a weight, by propaganda, by various assertions of people that this is right, this is wrong, this should be, this must not be - the weight of nationalistic attitude, religious pressures, economic pressures, the pressure of knowledge, the pressure of tradition, and so on. Do you want to discuss that?
Will it affect our daily life, which is our daily action, if we understand the nature and the structure - we are using the word 'structure' as a movement, not something, a physical edifice. So we are trying to find out together in a conversation what pressure does on our action, how it deforms the activity of the brain, both physically as well as psychologically - can we go into this. Right? Is this what you want to discuss?
So we are asking, what do we mean by pressure, the word, the actual word, not the result of it. You may mean one thing and the speaker may mean a different thing, so we must both have the same meaning to that word, must give the same significance to that word. We mean by pressure, an imposition, a weight put on one, put on the brain and therefore on thought, on feeling and all the rest of it. Pressure in the sense of forcing you to a particular direction, compelling you to act in a limited way, making you do something that you may not totally agree with. There is the economic pressure of a society that is broken up, there is the pressure of the climate, the food, the coarseness, the insensitivity of one's organism and so on - do we agree to the meaning of that word together? Is this what you and the speaker mean when he uses the word 'pressure'? Right? Are we clear on this? So first of all are we aware, know, conscious that we are acting under pressure? Whether it be religious pressure, economic pressure, climatic pressure or the pressure in relationship with each other and so on, are we aware that we live under tremendous pressure, tremendous strain? We mean by 'aware' very simply, know, recognise, see, observe, feel. Are we? This is a discussion please, this is not a conversation with myself.
Q: Could you repeat what you said?
Q: Could you repeat the last sentence. I didn’t hear it.
K: Do I repeat what I said? I'm afraid I can't but I will put it differently. (Laughter) Does one know for oneself, without being told that you are under pressure, does one know for oneself that your whole life is lived actually under pressure? The word 'pressure', we know what we mean by now, because we both understand the meaning of that word. Don't at the end of the talk, of the discussion, say, I didn't agree with you. If we don't agree with the meaning of that word now let's be clear on that point.
Q: You are not referring mainly to physiological pressures.
K: Both physiological as well as psychological.
Q: Well, I think most of the time you more refer to the psychological, sociological pressures and a little bit more than that exactly if we choose to live without those pressures, how can we go about it, such as I know some people who’ve (inaudible)
K: We will find out, sir. We will find out first of all if it is possible to live without pressure, and then how will we act if we are not under pressure, both physiologically as well as psychologically. So that's the first question: do we know, recognise, be conscious, be aware that we are living under pressure?
Q: Most of the time, no.
K: Perhaps not most of the time, part of the time. But it is really most of the time, but doesn't matter, we will begin with part of the time. Are you aware that you are aware, know, recognise, see that you are under pressure? Then if you recognise it don't you ask yourself, why do I live under pressure. Right? Do you?
Q: Is it possible to live not under pressure?
K: We will find out, sir. We will find out later if it is possible or not possible. First of all we are asking, do you know, if you do know that you are under pressure, don't you ask yourself, why do I live under pressure? Does the society demand this pressure around you?
K: Just, don't yet We are just asking, don't say yes or no, we are going to find out, go into it very deeply. Does society act as a pressure? If you say, yes, is society different from you? The society has been created by you - not by you actually, but by your grandparents, by your parents - past - so the past with all its traditions has created this society, of which you are a part, you are not different from society. I wonder if you see that. Do we see that? That you are society. So don't say, I am acting under the pressure of society. So if that is very clear, please, I am not forcing you to think in one particular way at all. I am not exercising pressure. I am trying to point out.
So we say society is exercising pressure: economic pressure, national pressure, colour prejudice pressures, black and while and blue and yellow, all the nationalistic, racial, communal pressures. Right? Are we aware of this? Right? Are you aware of the pressure of the past? Which is, tradition, that tradition may be two days old or ten thousand years old, or a million years old, the past - (sound of bells) (Laughter) I am sorry - twelve of them. I was once speaking in Rome and there are a thousand churches there! (Laughter) And you can imagine what happened! (Sound of bells) (Laughter) Shall I go on? Yes, sir?
Q: I wonder if you might add in your discussion the pressures caused by lack of unity within an individual? There are different centres for things in man, emotional, intellectual, in his mind and well, whatever else you want to add. Could you include that perhaps?
K: Yes, sir, you can include all those. Please, you see, if we leave out one kind of pressure it doesn't mean that we are not taking that into consideration. We said, pressure implies all this. That pressure - the pressure of those bells, and the reaction to those bells and so on and on. (Sound of bells) Is this a joke? (Laughter) Is somebody pulling our leg? (Sound stops) (Laughter)
Now if we are aware of these various kinds of pressure, which is the pressure of the past, the pressure of relationship, the pressure of not knowing and wanting to know, the pressure of emotions, desires, fears, all that, if you are aware of them, don't you then ask, why does one have to live under this kind of pressure? Is it that we so easily accept, that we are so conditioned to live with these pressures, it has become a habit, it has made us dull, therefore we don't break away from that pressure? So what is the fact, or the truth, why do human beings right throughout the world, wherever you go, live under pressure? Why? Why do you as a human being representative of all humanity, which is an actual fact, why do you live under pressure?
Q: If we broke away from it we would be afraid.
K: If you broke away from this pressure, are you saying that you would be frightened?
Q: In some cases it is because of a threat to life, that many people live under pressures and for others it is because they enjoy pressures.
K: Some people escape from one kind of pressure but live under other pressures, or others may enjoy the pressures. They must be a little odd if they enjoy the pressure which brings about neurotic activity - then if they like that kind of activity, they are welcome to it - we can't discuss that now. But we are asking: why do we live under pressure? Ask yourself, please, and find out why - the truth of it, not the opinion of yours or somebody else's, why? Is it habit? Is it that we are lazy, indolent and that's the easiest way to live? We have never even probably questioned it, and perhaps this is the first time you are questioning it? And if you are questioning it for the first time, what is your reaction to it?
Q: Sir, I feel myself to be the pressure.
K: Yes. That is, you are saying there is no outside pressure but the very essence of pressure is myself. Is that what you are saying?
K: Is that so? I am not saying it is not. We are enquiring, we are exploring into that.
Q: Perception of that pressure, like you can’t really say, that’s pressure only, and the self is only a part.
K: Sir, we said there is the social pressure, there is the family pressure, there is the pressure of the girl or the boy, the husband over the wife, and the wife over the husband, the pressure of knowledge, the past, the pressure that is exercised by the propaganda of churches, of various religions, of various gurus, of ideals and so on, so on. Does all that include the pressure in oneself? You understand my question, sir? Is the nature of pressure essentially the nature of desire? I am just asking, I am not saying it is. Wanting to be something, or not wanting to be something. Because it is very important, it seems to one, that we understand the nature of pressure and find out if it is possible to be free of pressure and what is the state or the quality of the mind, the brain, that is no longer functioning under pressure? These are the questions. Because a person who is living under pressure of any kind is not free. Right? If one lives under the pressure of a philosophy, which is, the pressure - philosophy means the love of wisdom, the love of truth - if that love of truth acts as a pressure because it is just a theory then that also brings about a distorted action.
Q: What is the difference between that and passion because you used to talk about passion.
K: No, not quite sir. Is that what you mean, passive awareness?
Q: Not passive, passion.
K: Oh, passion. Not quite.
Q: Isn’t passion a form of pressure?
K: It all depends what you call passion, what do you mean by that word. Do you mean by that word, lust?
Q: No, I think what you referred to as passion...
K: Just a minute, sir, I am exploring that. It's not what I mean but what we together mean. That word 'passion', does it imply lust? Or there is a passion of a person who wants to make a tremendous lot of money. There is a passion or desire or the urge of wanting sexual release, or wanting to be somebody or other. We mean by passion, at least what the speaker means by that word, there is passion when there is the ending of sorrow. We won't go into that for the moment, if you don't mind.
So are we aware of these various forms of pressure? If we are, why do we accept this pressure? Is it that we are indolent, indifferent? We have got used to them and therefore we accept them? This constant repetition on the television, commercially, buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, that acts as a pressure. So why do we live with pressures? Is it that we don't see what pressure does?
Q: Isn’t it also because some pressures are positive, whereas some are negative and we don’t categorise?
K: No, there is no negative or positive pressure, there is only pressure.
Q: Can’t you see the difference between destructive and constructive?
K: There is no Just a minute, sir, by using the words 'constructive' and 'destructive', you are then emphasising there is a pressure which is constructive, a pressure which is destructive. We are talking of pressure, not whether it is creative or not creative. If you are under pressure obviously you cannot be creative, whatever that word 'creative' may mean. If you are under pressure whatever you do will be destructive.
Q: Pressure is something we are always under, something we are with.
K: Yes, sir, that's what I am asking you, sir, pressure. Now if one is aware of it, one has asked the question, it is absurd to live under pressure - not absurd, see first of all the reason, the logic, the sanity of being free from pressure. Right? Because one has exercised reason, logic, and being sane about it, you say, is there a way of living in our daily life, which includes business, action and all the rest of action, without pressure? Which means, is there a way of living completely free from every form of pressure?
Q: Perhaps we should be free of our expectation.
K: The pressure of expectation? Oh lord.
Q: It would be a really, truly free state, a spiritual state then, if you want to be free of all pressures.
K: No, sir. First of all find out. Sir, please be good enough to listen.
Q: I have, I have thought of these things that you have already talked on, and like I said, I know some people, we have made decisions concerning what pressures we desire and what ones we don’t...
K: Yes, sir. You may like one form of pressure and you don't like other forms of pressure. We are saying any form of pressure, any form whether you like it or don't like it, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, whether it is profitable or not profitable, to live under pressure is to act not only defensively but also your actions will inevitably be deformed, incorrect, not actual.
Q: The air pressure helps hold up our corporate form, our physical being in place, there are gravitational pressures and physical pressures in the universe.
K: We said that, sir. First of all do we see clearly that to act under a pressure brings about a deformation of action, it is not straight action.
Q: Not distorted but ineffective. We know it is ineffective but ‘distortion’ has a negative connotation.
K: No, sir.
Q: Sir, if we are speaking about pressure, we are speaking about life. Without pressure there’d be no life. So what we’re speaking about is the problem of reacting to pressure, not about the fact that it exists.
K: First of all, pressure exists, and then do we react to those pressures.
Q: That’s what the discussion is about.
K: Wait. That's what I am saying. Do we react to those pressures, some pressure you like which is pleasant, another pressure which you don't like and therefore avoid it. Sir, please let's be clear. We said every form of pressure, pleasant, unpleasant, good, bad, psychological, physiological and so on, so on, so on, any form of pressure must deform action. That's all. If you say, I don't agree with you, then we can discuss that. 'I think you are talking nonsense', then we can talk about it. But don't say, certain pressures are necessary, certain pressures are not necessary.
Q: What I said, sir, was that pressure is life and if we are alive then we are pressured, and the fact that we respond to pressures.
K: Yes, sir. We said that. Pressure exists.
Q: We can see that it exists without taking action.
K: Yes. First of all, do you see pressure exists and then your reaction to those pressures, that you like some pressures and you don't like some other pressures.
Q: No, I don’t see that. I just see pressure.
K: Yes, that's all I am saying, just pressure.
Q: Sir, would we be able to have a meeting like today without pressure, from our side perhaps the pressure of wanting to know, from your side perhaps the pressure of wanting to communicate? How can we have this kind of meeting?
K: Did you come here under pressure? Did somebody force you to come here?
Q: No, but it is an internal pressure.
K: Wait, wait. (Laughs) That's what we said too, internal or outward pressure exercised by another or your own desire, any form of pressure is distorting. That's all I am saying, sir, you may agree or disagree, first go into it, let's go into it.
Q: Could you go into it as I can’t quite grasp your idea of the difference between the pressure that forms and not that disforms, deforms, distorts. There is a pressure that puts together, it brings an ideal...
K: Sir, sir, wait a minute, perhaps mechanically or technically or welding together two metals, it's under great pressure. And the other is the pressure exercised by each one on each other, does that bring about a union. Oh, for goodness this is all very
K: We said, sir, if you were there the other day when we were discussing in that little hall, the observer is the past. You may disagree with that, you are perfectly welcome to disagree, let's talk it over. Don't say, 'I disagree with you', and walk out, or shut yourself and resist. We are saying the observer is the past, the past projects and that which is projected the observer sees. That's clear, isn't it? No? So the observer is the observed.
Q: There is still the sense of separation between the two.
K: Yes. When there is a separation between the observer and the observed then there is conflict. That conflict acts as a pressure, or the division itself is the cause of pressure. Take, sir, what is happening in the Middle East, in the Far East, there are the Israelis, the Jews and the Arabs, the division - racial, communal, religious, territorial division, so where there is division there is pressure: the Muslim and the Hindu, that goes on all the time between various nationalities, there is pressure. As long as there is division between man and woman, or between a group of people against another group, that very division creates pressure. Under that pressure we act, as an Arab, as a Jew, as a Hindu, as a Buddhist, as a Christian. So we say, any form of pressure which brings about division will inevitably be incorrect action. That's one problem, division. Division in myself. Right? Division in one's ideas, the ideal - I am this, I must be that - which is a division, therefore conflict, therefore pressure. I wonder if you see. Right? Pressure brings about conflict.
So we find, again logically, reasonably, observing factually, that where there is division that division brings pressure, as, I am a Hindu, or I am a Christian, I am a Jew, or I am an Arab, a Muslim and so on, that brings inevitably a division, that division brings a pressure because I believe in this and you believe in that. So out of that pressure there is effort, conflict, and we live under that conflict, with that conflict which acts as a pressure.
Q: Are we saying that our likes and our desires of society are invalid?
K: Yes, I am questioning the whole thing, sir.
Q: If you say it creates incorrect action, therefore you must have an idea of what you mean by correct action.
K: Yes, all right. If you say, this is wrong action, incorrect action, you are asking what is correct action. Right?
Q: Your idea of it.
K: Not 'my idea', sir. You see you're all...
Q: You have to, I feel, know it if you are to recognise it.
K: No, I object, sorry, sorry, it's not 'my idea'. You want to know what's correct action.
Q: Your thoughts.
K: If I tell you, what value would it be?
K: No, sir, just look, listen quietly, sir, first find out what the poor speaker has to say. Gee Whillikins!
Q: Well, I agree with you sir, about pressure creating distortions in observation, I would not see something if it was not because of sensation and reception, although I am in the present and I may be only seeing the past around me because it has taken time. But you exist in your present at that point, and I exist in my present here, perceived in the past or having a memory of the past, as I have come to learn. In other words the past is what has been and not ‘what is’.
Q: Give the speaker a chance.
Q: This was a discussion I thought in which everyone was to be talking back and forth. Perhaps many other people have no thoughts and are not thinking, (laughter) or just following the sentences as they go along and have not thought it through.
Q: Mr Krishnamurti, assuming one has completely realised and understood what you are pointing out to us about all the life’s pressures and even though one can throw the television set away, and try and dispose of as much as one can, there is still society. I personally have the same conflicts, if I go out with my friends there is always the pressure and then the only way for me to escape it, not to escape it, is to walk away from it. It’s just instead of exchanging for one pressure to become a recluse which would create pressure again, just to walk away from it. But it’s again pressure because then I miss people.
K: Yes, quite, quite. So would it be right if I suggested that, or said, put into words: does one see the danger of pressure, as you see the danger of a precipice, or the danger of a snake? If you see something is dangerous both physiologically as well as psychologically then it is a danger, you don't go near it. But apparently it is extraordinarily difficult to see the danger about something with which we are completely identified. If the speaker is totally identified with India, with all the superstition, with all that goes on there then he belongs to a group of people opposed to another group of people. This division is the most dangerous thing. Right? If I see the tremendous danger of it I drop it. I am not a Hindu. That's all I am pointing out. I am sorry if you are cold.
Q: I am sorry if you are.
K: I am not, I am talking, it makes you warm. (Laughter)
Q: This dropping bit that you speak about, it sounds very easy but the division that I recognise is not to say that I am this or I am that, but to say that I am.
K: Instead of saying I am that, I am this, just say, I am. You know, just a minute, sir, when you say, I am, I wonder if one realises the meaning of such a word, those two words, I am. I believe, or rather I have discussed this point with some people, well-known scholars and religious people, only god, according to them, can say, I am. Right? And nobody else can. If you are god, then it's all right.
Q: Well, all right. (Laughter) Is god separate from myself?
K: So, then you have to enquire, what are you, when you say, I am, what are you?
Q: I don’t really know that.
K: We are going to find out, we'll find out. You can't leave it to god.
Q: No, I don’t intend to.
K: So you will have to find out when one says, I am, what does that mean? The name, the form, the bank account - if one has, the attachments, whether to furniture or to a person, attachment to an idea, all that and more is what you are. If you say, I am not all that, then what are you? An idea? A conclusion? A supposition? Then it is the result of thought. So as long as you think, you say, I am; if you don't think, what are you? Sorry, this is an old problem, this.
Q: Sir, will it be right to say that I am a manifestation of energy.
K: All right, sir, but what does that mean? Why do I have to assert, I am, and then give a meaning to it?
Q: This self, ourselves, contain all these pressures. And it’s like the self itself is the pressure and we got these pressures. We’ve got to give up these pressures, everything we know.
K: We'll find out, madame, what it means. First of all, do you see the danger of it, that's our first. Do you actually see the danger of it, or is it an idea that it is dangerous?
Q: I think it is an idea.
K: That's right, sir. Like you don't actually see the danger of nationalities, if you saw the real danger of nationality don't belong to any nation, or to any group. Right? So do you actually see the danger of pressure? Don't define, include the pressure to everything - just pressure. One pressure is good enough, if you understand the danger of one pressure.
Q: I don’t know how to actually see.
K: Sir, actually see. What do you mean by that?
Q: I see ideas, intellectually I can see the danger of nationality.
K: Now wait a minute. Then if you see the danger of nationality are you free of it? You may carry the passport. (Laughs)
Q: I think I see only the image of nationality. I do not see the actual danger.
K: I'll show you. We will go into it, sir. Nationalities imply, don't they, glorified tribalism. Right? That means different tribes calling themselves different nationalities bring about one of the causes of war. Right? Don't you see the danger of war? Is that an idea? Or is it an actuality? - people going about maimed, all the horror of war! That's not an idea. If you go to a veterans' hospital you see the appalling things there. You see that is one of our difficulties, sir, that when we hear a statement we make an idea of it but we don't actually see the fact without the idea. That's one of our conditionings. Right? And also the word 'idea' I believe in a dictionary means from Greek, to observe. You understand, sir? The word 'idea' has its root in seeing, it means to see, to observe, not conclude, not make a conclusion of what you see. Right? So if you see the danger of nationality, it's finished. Though you may carry a passport you are no longer a citizen of a particular group of people, of a country. Right? Now in the same way, does one see the fact, not the idea, that division brings about conflict: your belief and my belief - right? - your conclusion and my conclusion, your god and my god, or your guru opposed to my guru - if I have one, thank god I haven't got any. You follow? So this division will inevitably bring conflict. Now if you see the danger of conflict, it's finished. If you see the danger of falling down a precipice you are very, very watchful of precipices, therefore it is not a temporary danger, it is a permanent danger.
Q: But then we don’t see the danger of a lot of pressures.
K: That's it, you don't see the danger of pressure. That's all my point.
Q: It seems to be relatively easy to see the division between nationalities, or races, those kind of external things, but I don’t see how there is not a division between the observer and the observed.
K: Oh, you don't see that.
Q: I don’t understand what that means.
K: Sir, the division between the observer and the observed exists, doesn't it?
K: When there is that division there is conflict between the observer and that which he has observed.
Q: But not necessarily.
K: Watch it, sir, watch it. Just look at it, sir, just consider for a minute. When the observer says, I am greedy, or, I am angry, then the observer acts upon anger. Right? Either he suppresses it, rationalises it, runs away from it, he is acting upon it, therefore there is conflict. Isn't that so?
K: So is that conflict necessary?
Q: Sir, if that action is not taken...
K: We will find out, sir, we will find out. When there is conflict, out of that any action will be distorted. So if you want - if one wants to act correctly with regard to that greed then one has to find out why this division exists at all, division between the observer and the greed. Right?
Q: That division seems to be there as something inherent.
K: I question it.
Q: We don’t see it otherwise.
K: No, sir, is your anger different from yourself?
Q: It is part of that which constitutes myself.
K: It is part of you.
K: You say that, do you, actually part of you, therefore there is no division.
Q: Well, there is something else in me.
K: Ah, then that something else is the good old idea that there is some super consciousness.
Q: No, I don’t mean it that way. I mean, well, I feel I am greed, and I know that that is part of my personality at the moment, but I also feel myself as an actor who can possibly act upon greed.
K: All right, at the moment of anger, at the moment of anger are you different from anger?
Q: At the moment of anger I don’t think I am completely conscious of myself.
K: That's it. Which means what? You are anger.
Q: Anger is that which...
K: Wait, there is that state of anger.
Q: Yes, in my consciousness.
K: That state, leave don't bring in consciousness and all that because then we'll go off into something else. So at the moment of anger there is not me who is angry, there is only that state. Then a second or a few seconds later the division takes place: I have been angry.
Q: Yes, but...
K: Wait, go step by step, sir. I have been angry, so division has taken place immediately.
K: Why? Why does this division take place?
Q: Because that in me which says, I have been angry, that ‘I’ is something different from that anger.
K: That's what I am saying, sir. When you say, I have been angry, the I who says, I have been angry, is different from anger.
K: Is that so?
Q: It seems to be, because at the time when there was anger there was only anger, later on something else says, I have been angry.
K: Yes. What makes you say that, that I have been angry?
Q: It’s a bad feeling.
Q: No, no, it’s not because it’s a bad feeling.
K: No, wait, wait, don't please accept what I am saying. Why do you say, I have been angry, why do you bring the division in?
Q: Because that anger was a destructive process.
K: No, go into it, sir, look into it a bit more.
Q: Perhaps I have an ideal that I should not be angry.
Q: At the moment of anger there is an active threat.
K: At the moment of anger, sir, there is not you who says, I have been angry, there is just that feeling, that reaction. Then a few seconds, or a few seconds later you say, I have been angry.
Q: My ego.
Q: You mean that when I say, I have been angry, that is merely another thought.
K: No. Just find out, sir. First of all when you are totally angry there is no division. Division takes place when you use the word 'anger', because at the moment of that feeling you don't say, I am angry, there is only that state; then you recognise it, the recognition, the process of recognition is through word. You recognise, or put it differently, you recognise it, you can only recognise it by knowing that you have been angry, which means the past. So the past, which is the observer, says, I am different from anger. Oh, goodness, this is so simple.
Q: If we said, I am anger, would that be no pressure?
K: At that second there is no pressure. I may be wrong, find out. Sir, which indicates something extraordinary, if you go into it: facts, 'what is' can never be under pressure, doesn't bring pressure. Right, sir? Say, when I say I am jealous, the feeling at that moment has no pressure, it's later on when you say, I have been jealous, then you try to do something about it, then that is a pressure. So facts have no pressure. Like seeing the fact that nationality is a danger is not a pressure.
Q: It’s direct action.
K: Yes. Direct action takes place when there is no distortion of pressure, you act according to facts. What time is it?
Q: Five minutes to one.
Q: Which came first, chicken or the egg, there’s an answer to the question and it’s quite simple and it’s just one word – which came first, the chicken or the egg, and there is an answer, which came first. It makes quite a lot of sense. And it fits. It’s a question which has been asked for a long time, many people ask it and never bother to answer it. It’s almost the difference between nationalism and nationality. To me nationality in the world is something that people come from, it’s just a geographical location where a person is born and does not create a conflict, but the belief in nationalism is the supremacy of one’s nation state over another and brings us into conflict and division. To the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg.
K: The egg or the chicken?
K: I don't know. (Laughter)
Q: There were eggs before there were chickens, reptiles laid eggs.
K: It seems to me, sir that it is rather an irrelevant question, which came first, the egg or the chicken.
Q: Not in the whole logic of the thinking involved in many of the questions about division, conflict and so forth.
K: Look, sir, can you watch, is there an observation of that feeling without naming it? The moment you say, anger, it is violence. Right?
Q: But I am not naming what is happening, but it is still violence, right?
K: What we are saying, sir, is when we use the word 'violence' it has got so many associations with that word, that you must not be violent, you should be violent, under certain circumstances you must be violent and so on, so on, so on. Whereas is it possible to observe that feeling without naming it. You can, if you are really aware of the thing taking place. I think we better stop now, don't you?
Q: How do you observe without bringing in the observer?
K: By not naming. By looking at something, sir. Experiment with it, try and find out, whether you can look at something without naming.