Why have we lost relationship with nature and each other?
Can the human condition change radically?
2nd Public Talk, Bombay
January 24, 1982
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday evening? We were talking over together the activity of thought, thought that has created the atom bomb and thought that has created marvellous communications, the thought that has created wars, thought that has brought about division among people, thought that has specialised in so-called religion. Thought has been both beneficial and destructive. We also went into the question what is the origin and the beginning of thought, we went into that too. And we should also talk over together this evening, what is relationship? What is the nature of human relationship? Because, as we said yesterday, we are concerned with our daily life, not with some abstractions, not with some theories and speculative assertions but rather look at things as they are, both at the outside world and the world in which we live, inwardly. We talked about human consciousness and its content, which we should go much further, later on. And also we talked about together, why human beings are what they are - confused, seeking security both outwardly and inwardly, uncertain, unhappy, constant struggle, pain, suffering, that seems to be the lot of human beings. And that has continued for millennia upon millennia, thousands upon thousands of years and human beings have not changed very much. They are modified, somewhat, but they continue to live a life of conflict, and apparently no one has been able to solve this problem, either through meditation, which has also become another conflict, or through various forms of systems - sociological, political, religious - and none of them have been able to resolve our human problems.
And we were asking yesterday, why after these millennia we are what we are - shrunken human beings, both emotionally, intellectually and of course, religiously? And we said too yesterday, please, this is not a lecture as it is generally understood, this is a conversation, a dialogue between two people, you and the speaker. They are talking over together their problems in a friendly way, not asserting anything, not forcing each other to accept certain dogma, theory or ideals. They are walking together, down a lane, crowded with trees and birds and the beauty of the land around them. They are walking together as two good friends. That's our relationship, between you and the speaker. He is not directing you, he is not leading you, he is not helping you but together we are going to look at our problems, and if possible, resolve them. That's our relationship, between you and the speaker. That he is not doing any kind of propaganda. He is not certainly your guru, because one has to live one's life not dependent on another politically, religiously and so on. One has to have the strength, the vitality, the energy, the drive, to live correctly, which we are going to discuss, all these problems, not only the problems of every day life, but also the problems of fear, pleasure, pain, sorrow, love, compassion and ultimately the problem of death.
And at the end of the talk we are going to discuss together, what is meditation. The speaker has purposely put meditation at the end, not at the beginning of his talks because unless you put your house in order, unless there is inwardly order, not confusion, not disorder, it is utterly meaningless to meditate, which we will go into completely, thoroughly, during all these four more talks left.
So, we are going to talk over together this evening, the relationship between human beings, between a human being and nature. Which is the relationship between yourself and the environment. The environment is not only the city, the town or the village you live in but also the environment of nature. If you have no relationship with nature, you have no relationship with man. Nature, which is the meadows, the groves, the rivers, all the marvellous earth, the trees and the beauty of the earth. If we have no relationship with that, we shall have no relationship with each other. Because thought has not created nature. Like the tiger, thought hasn't made it. The waters of an evening with the stars on it, the beauty of it, thought has not created it. Thought has not created the vast mountains, the snow capped mountains against the blue sky, the evening sunset and the lonely moon when there are no other stars. So, thought has not created nature. Nature is a reality.
And what we have created between human beings is also a reality but a reality in which there is conflict, there is struggle. Everyone is trying to become something, both physically and inwardly, psychologically, psychically and, if I may use that word, spiritually, we are all struggling to become something. And when one is trying to become - ambition, competition, trying to achieve some status politically or religiously, then you have no relationship with another nor with nature. I doubt many of you who live in cities with all the crowds, noise, dirt - you know what you live in, environment, probably you have not come across nature. But you have, you have this marvellous sea. You have no relationship to it. You look at it, perhaps you swim there. But the feeling of the sea with its enormous vitality, enormous energy, the beauty of a wave, the crashing of a wave upon the shore, there is no communication between that marvellous movement of the sea and yourself. If you have no relationship with that, how can you have relationship with another, with another human being? If you don't perceive that - the sea, the quality of the water, the waves, the enormous vitality of the tide going out and coming in, if you are not aware of that, how can one be aware or be sensitive to human relationship? Please this is very important to understand this, because beauty, if one may talk about it, is not merely in the physical form, but beauty in essence is that quality of sensitivity, the quality of observation of nature.
So, we are going to observe together our relationship with each other, between human beings. Have they any relationship at all? Please, as we said, this is not a lecture, this is having a conversation between you and the speaker. We are both looking at the human relationship, whether it is personal, intimate or a relationship that has no actual contact except physical contact. We are going to look into this. Because our whole external world of society is based on human relationship. Society is not an abstraction, it's a fact, that society is built or put together by thought, by human beings who are greedy, struggling, ambitious, competitive, aggressive, selfish and so we have created a society out of our relationship with each other. This is a fact. This is not a theory. I hope we are understanding this question together. We want to change society, the communists have tried it, there have been revolutions, physical, always physical, shedding a lot of blood and so on. We want to change society. All of us do, because it is corrupt, immoral, without any sense of human contact. And you cannot possibly change it unless our relationship with the other is completely, radically changed. Again, that's very obvious. But we always want to change the outer without changing the inner structure of the human mind. Right? Are we together in all this or am I talking to myself? I don't want your approval or clapping, but we are together examining, looking, being sensitive to be aware of what we are doing.
As we said, this is a serious conversation, not an intellectual or emotional conversation. A very serious man is a religious man. And we are seriously considering human relationship. In that human relationship there is conflict, pain, misery and there is also so-called pleasure, and we are going to look at all this problem, whether it is possible radically to change a relationship in which there is hardly any love.
So, we are asking what is relationship, what does it mean to be related to another? Please, I am asking, the speaker is asking the question but we are thinking together about the question. Now, human relationship has become a problem. The meaning of that word 'problem' is to be thrown something at you, it is a challenge, flung something at you, that is a problem. Bien? Something thrown at you, something that you have to face, something that you have to understand, it is a challenge and a challenge needs right approach. So we have to understand what our approach is to a problem. There is the problem of human relationship. It's a problem in everybody's life, if you are aware of it or not. It is there. How do you approach that problem? Do you understand my question? There is the problem. How do you come to it, with what mind, with what motive, how do you approach it? How do you come closely into contact with the problem? Is the problem different from the observer who is examining the problem? Are you following all this? Probably most of you will find this rather difficult, because you have not thought about all these matters at all. So please, be patient and let's go into it.
Suppose I have a problem, whatever the problem is is not important for the moment, but suppose I have a problem, how do I look at that problem? How do I examine that problem? What is my response to that problem? So the problem is not important but how you approach it. Right? Is that clear? I have a problem and how do I approach it - am I afraid of the problem or I want to run away from the problem or I want to suppress the problem or rationalise the problem or I have a motive that I must find an answer to that problem. So I approach the problem with all my confusion, with all my uncertainty, fear. Right? So the problem is not so important as my approach to the problem. Right? So you have to find out what is your approach to the problem, how do you come to it. What is your motive, if you have a problem? Your motive is to resolve it, if you are aware of that problem at all, you want to resolve because it pains. If the problem was most pleasurable you don't want it is not a problem. But when a problem becomes painful, confusing, bringing about insecurity then you have to look at the problem, then you have to investigate the problem. So, please, what is important is how you approach the problem. Please, sir, would you mind being quiet? Please, either you are listening to the speaker or you are listening to your own thoughts, confused or you want to interrupt the speaker. So would you kindly listen to what he is saying.
How do you listen to what he is saying? What is your reception? Of course, you hear it through sensual ear. Right? You understand English and the speaker is speaking in that language. You understand the word. So you hear through the sensual ear. But also there is hearing beyond the word, beyond the verbal interpretation. To listen so that you immediately understand what he is talking about. That is the art of listening. We are asking now, we have problems and how do you approach the problem - because your approach will dictate or resolve the problem. So find out how you approach any problem. It is very simple if it is a scientific problem, you approach it with all the knowledge you have and trying to discover further information about matter, about the atom and so on. If you have a problem, do you approach it with all the past knowledge, with all the past remembrances or do you approach the problem as though for the first time? You understand my question? Are you following? No, you are not. I see you are not following it.
Let's approach it differently. What actually is our relationship between man and woman. Apart from sexual relationship, is there any relationship at all? Or each one going separately in their own way, never meeting except sexually, like two railway lines never meeting. Right? That is our relationship, is it not? No? So our relationship is merely a sensory relationship, sexual relationship and the relationship between each other is based on the images we have built about each other. Right? Are you aware of all this? Am I talking Greek or Chinese? Are you aware of all this, what actually your relationship with the another is? Or you have no relationship at all, except sexual? If you have no relationship with each other, which I am afraid is the fact, then what is your life? Life is relationship. Without relationship we cannot exist. But we have reduced that relationship to mere sensory responses. I wonder if one is aware of this complexity of relationship. You cannot escape from it by becoming a hermit, a sanyasi, a monk, you cannot escape from having human relationship.
So, we must examine very closely why human beings have lost, not only relationship with nature but also with each other. Do you understand? Why? As we pointed out yesterday, merely seeking the cause will not help to bring about the resolution of the problem. We may find the cause, I'll show you the cause, but the understanding of the cause, the examination of the cause will not solve the problem. Right? I know, for example, we are selfish, totally self-centred and we are selfcentred because it is our habit, it is our tradition, it is our religious upbringing: you are a separate soul, you must seek your salvation and so on. This emphasis on being selfish, self-centred through education, through pressure, it has existed from time immeasurable. That's the cause of all this misery - right? - that is the cause. We understand that intellectually and discovering the cause does not make us less selfish. So, we said, as yesterday, what is important is not the analytical process of discovering the cause but remaining with the problem, which is we are selfish. That is a fact. And therefore there is no relationship with each other. Each goes his own way. Divorces are multiplying in Europe and in America and it is also coming here, more and more. When women can earn their own livelihood, they walk out on men. So gradually there is the world in which hardly any relationship with each other exists. So we become very callous, self-centred, pursuing our own way. That is, our way is to become something - right? - become more rich, become the chief executive or become the high priest, the archbishop and so on. There is all this struggle to become something, which is essentially selfish.
Now, you have heard this, which we are all know. When you hear such a statement, what is your reaction to it? Do you accept it and say, 'Yes, what you say is absolutely so', and just let it go or you hear it, see the truth of it and remain with that truth so that it operates without your operating on selfishness. You understand what I am saying? No, no. Let's look at it. Suppose, I am selfish and I say, I must not be selfish. That is, thought has brought about selfishness. Right? It has structured selfishness. So, thought says, I must not be selfish. So there is conflict between the fact and what thought wants it to be. Right? No, you have not got it. I don't know what is happening to all your minds. Come on, let's go into it.
Suppose I am violent, we human beings are violent, suppose I am violent, that is a fact. That is so but I invent non-violence, which is nonfact. Right? I am violent, I do not know how to deal with it, what to do with it, I either indulge in it or try to understand it, try to go into it. And I think it will help me if I have the ideal of nonviolence, which this country has been preaching endlessly without any result. So, conflict arises between 'what is' and 'what should be'. You are following all this? The 'what is' is factual and the 'what should be' is non-factual. So can we drop the non- factual, the ideal, 'what should be' but only be concerned with 'what is' which is the violence. Right? That is a problem. You have, that is, the human problem: we want peace but yet we are violent. So the fact is we are violent. How do you approach that fact? How do you look at that fact? What is your intention when you look at that fact? Either you want to suppress it or run away from it or transcend it. Which is, that you are not really then facing the fact. You are trying to escape from it. You are following all this?
So, we are saying, remain with the fact, not translate the fact, not try to run away from the fact. Look at it, be with it. When you are with it you give all your attention to it. But when you say, I must transcend it, I must escape from it, I must pursue nonviolence, you are wasting your energy. You are following all this? Therefore we are saying, remain with that fact which you call violence, understand it, learn all about it. And you can only learn by watching it. Right? Now, just a minute. There is a difference between learning and memorizing. All of us have been trained to memorise, whereas we are not learning. Learning is to observe and let what you observe tell its story.
So, we are asking what is our human relationship? How do you, if you are married or if you have a girl friend or whatever you have, how do you look at her or him? What is your reaction when you look at your husband or your wife? Or you are totally indifferent? Or you say, I have a responsibility towards her and my children. You are following all this? What is your inward, true response? Are you going your way and she is going her way, so you never meet. Because you are ambitious, competitive, wanting more money, better job and so on, so on. And also she has her own ambitions, her own ideas. So there is no relationship when two people are running parallel. You understand this? Of course, it is so simple when you look at it.
So, then what is relationship in which there is only sexual pleasure - and is pleasure love? I am asking you a question. Please find out. Is love sexual pleasure? Is pleasure love? And we won't go into the question of this, what is love? That requires a great deal of understanding, great sensitivity, the appreciation of nature as beauty - beauty of a form, beauty of a face, beauty of the sky - and without all that sensitive appreciation of nature, we will never find out what love is. But if you have reduced life, the living in relationship to sexual pleasure and each person pursuing his own way, then you will have tremendous conflict, insupportable rebellion, which is going on in our life, between man and woman.
So, in examining our relationship with each other, intimate or not, one begins to understand or learn and find out whether it is possible to live together as two people, man and woman, without any conflict whatsoever, being sensitive to each other and yet no conflict whatsoever in that relationship. Is that possible? Because our life, our daily, continuous life, day after day, is a series of conflicts, endless conflicts till we die. And we have never known a life without a single moment of conflict. And is this conflict necessary in relationship? That is, as long as you have an image about her and she has an image about you there must be conflict. Right? You build an image about her or she about you through habit, through quarrels, through nagging, through encouraging, you are supporting each other through words, through flattery, through insult, all that is building an image about her and she about you. Right? This is what we are doing. Right, sirs?
Now, as we asked yesterday, is it possible to live with another person, never having an image about each other? Sir, learn about it. That is, I have an image about my wife. I am not married but suppose I have an image about my wife. (Laughter) Why do you laugh when I said I am not married? Why do you laugh? Are you laughing because I am a lucky man? (Laughter) Are you laughing because to you laughter is a means of escaping from the fact? So, please, we are talking about very, very serious things, about life, about our daily living. Don't pass it off by laughing. We have to face this terrible existence in which there is no happiness, no love. You see, sirs, one is deeply concerned, the speaker is deeply concerned with bringing about a transformation in the human mind. He is concerned. He feels it is tremendous responsibility and therefore he is talking about it. That is, as we are living now, utterly selfishly, careless, indifferent, brutal, insensitive. We are destroying each other. And we are asking, is it possible to live without a single conflict in our relationship? I say it is possible, the speaker says it is possible, completely possible - though, he is not married. I have lived, the speaker has lived with a great many people in their houses, friends and so on - not to build an image about anybody. You know, what that requires? A very quick mind. Not a mind that is clogged with knowledge, clogged with remembrances, clogged with experiences. But a mind that is very quick, alert, watchful, watchful of what is happening around you, in the street, when you get into a bus or when you go into a train, the aeroplane or when you are walking along the street, to watch, to look, to be sensitive to everything that is happening around you. Then you become very sensitive to your relationship.
And is it possible to live a life in which there is no conflict whatsoever? First of all, understand the question, the beauty of that question. To live a life, not ideally, not as an ideal which you must achieve, but the fact whether you can live a life without a single conflict. The question itself has great beauty in it. You put that question because you are sensitive. You are aware of this enormous conflict between human beings, which ends up in war, in divorce, in total neglect of each other, callousness and all that. But if you put to yourself the question, whether you can live a life in which struggle, conflict can ever end? If you put that question seriously to yourself, then that question will begin to evolve. The question itself will stir up a great many problems. And you have to face those problems. And in facing them there must be no motive, there must be no struggle to understand it, look at it. Have you ever been to museums, some of you? You have, I am sure. Have you ever looked at a picture? Not compare the picture of Rembrandt or the modern art, just looking at one picture without comparing it with other pictures. Have you ever done it? Just to remain with that one picture, sit in front of it and look at it. Then the picture will tell you its story, what the artist wanted you to understand. But if you come to look at that picture by comparing it, saying this is as good as somebody else, then you are not looking at that picture. Right? So, similarly, you are the story of mankind. Right? In you is the residue of all man's endeavour, all man's suffering, his anxiety. Look, sirs, you, as a human being, are not alone. You are like the rest of mankind, you suffer, you have pain, you are seeking security, uncertain, confused, agony, in pain and so is the man in Europe, in America or in Russia or in China. So there is a continuity of human suffering, of which you are, you are the rest of mankind, you are the mankind. So you are not alone. You are not, as consciousness, something separate. You are the rest of mankind. You are not an individual. You are the whole of humanity, because humanity has gone through endless pain, immeasurable sorrow, with occasional flare of joy and love, you are that. So, you have to understand that. And the story of mankind is you. So you have to learn how to read the book of mankind which is yourself. You understand all this? Oh god!
You are the story of mankind and you have to read that book. Either you read it page by page, which is to know all the content of suffering, pain, joy, pleasure, the terrible anxiety and agony or you skip, you say, I know all about it. Or by reading the first chapter, you have understood the whole book. You understand all this? Sir, knowing oneself, which is selfknowing, is important in relationship. If you don't know yourself, what you are, all your troubles, your anxieties, your uncertainties, desire for security, if you don't understand all that, how can you understand your wife or your husband? They will remain two separate entities. So relationship means not only physical contact which is sexual, but having no image about each other. Therefore there is immediate, sensitive relationship in which there is love. Love is not remembrance. Love is not the picture which thought creates about her. That is not love. Love is not pleasure. I wonder if you understand all this.
So, sirs, it is important to understand the nature and the structure of relationship. To change this corrupt society you must change, you must change yourself radically. And during all these talks we are concerned about that only: to bring about a mutation in the very mind, in the very cells of the brain.
The speaker has discussed this problem with scientists, brain specialist, whether the brain which has been conditioned through time to function within the area of knowledge, whether that brain can radically be changed. And it can radically be changed when there is a total insight into the whole human problem. Insight is not remembrance. I won't go into it now because it is too complex. So, please, understand what our conversation is about, which is, in our relationship with each other, as two friends walking along a beautiful lane full of trees and birds and shadows numberless, we are investigating the nature of the brain, nature of the mind, nature of our heart, whether in that structure, whether there can be total transformation so that we are different human beings, with a different mind, with compassion. So, please, do become serious sometimes, not just during the talk, but be serious through life. To be really, profoundly serious is to be religious. Not the religion of going to temples, doing puja and all that kind of stuff, that is not religion. The man who is diligent in his seriousness, that man is truly a religious man.