Why is there such chaos in the world?
When there is freedom
1st Public Talk, Saanen
July 06, 1980
We are going to have six talks and several question and answer meetings so we will go very slowly and quietly into the whole problem of human existence. Please don't be impatient if I repeat some things which have already been said. And we are going to deal with meditation, love, compassion, fear and all the travail of human life - the sorrows, the terrors, the violence - we are going to go into all these matters quietly, logically, perhaps sanely.
It is becoming more and more evident it is not the environment that matters, not the starvation, not the poverty, not the injustice, not all the things that exist around us. What is becoming more and more evident is that human beings are themselves becoming the terror of this world. Human beings themselves are destroying each other. Human beings are dividing themselves into tribes, into nationalities, into classes, into every kind of destructive, divisive process. The Communists and the Socialists and all the politicians will never transform the world, nor the scientists. The astrophysicists who are exploring the universe outside of themselves, they are not going to find the solution either. And so human beings, that is we, you and another, we are bringing about great chaos in the world, we are bringing great terror, we are becoming a danger to each other. Our religions, the organised beliefs, dogmas, rituals and all that absurd nonsense without much meaning are dividing the people - wars, preparations for wars, nuclear bombs, you know the whole terror of this world. And some of us are trying to escape from all this, going off into little communes, or joining monasteries, or following some Asiatic gurus away from this monstrous world, but they also cannot possibly solve the problems. You cannot escape from what is. Neither have ideologies helped man: on the contrary the Communist ideologies, the ideologies of the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Christians, they are again dividing man, destroying man. And human beings, because there is so much confusion, want or desire to commit themselves to something, to some group, to some idea, to some activity. And this commitment to something, to some philosophy, to some outrageous nonsensical gurus, is the desire of human beings to depend, to rely, to commit themselves to some beliefs, ideas, concepts.
And during these talks we hope that we can think about all these matters sanely, not antagonistically, not meeting each other with arguments, opinion against opinion, a conclusion against another conclusion, but rather together, you and I, the speaker, be concerned with all these matters. And if it is possible, think together, not agreeing together, not opposing each other, not contending against ideas, opinions, but rather together, each one of us, think about these matters. One cannot possibly think clearly and so together if we are committed to one experience and hold on to that experience. Or if you are very learned, have read a lot of books, steeped in philosophies, theories and ideas, whether it is Marxists or the Christian theologians, or the Hindu pundits, we cannot then think together. That is obvious.
That is, if you are very learned, if you are clinging to a certain belief or to certain experiences which you yourself have had, and hold on to those, how is it possible to think together? These experiences, conclusions, beliefs will prevent you from exchange. So, if you will kindly put aside all those, if you can, then we can meet each other, because the speaker has no beliefs, no values, doesn't belong to any group or religion, he is not trying to do any kind of propaganda, to persuade you to think in a particular direction, or to convince you of what he is talking about. We must be very clear on this matter from the very beginning. There is no belief demanded or asked, there are no followers, there are no cults, there is no persuasion of any kind, in any direction, and therefore only then we can meet on the same platform, on the same ground, at the same level. Then we can together observe the extraordinary phenomena of human existence. And I hope that is very clear.
First of all I would like to ask, if I may, why human beings who have lived on this earth for five, ten million years, why are they after such a lengthy period of time, experience and sorrow, why are they still carrying on the same pattern? What is wrong? What has happened to man's brain and heart after these million years? I do not know if you have asked such a question: why through a million years and more, of evolution, time, gathering immense knowledge, experience, the travails of everyday life for millions and millions of years, why we are still like that? Do you understand my question? Why, after such a lengthy period of time, we are still suffering, we are still hating each other, we are still living in some kind of peculiar personal illusions? Why we are tribal, committed to tribalism? You understand my question? Why? What is the cause of all this? There have been thousand philosophers, the leftists and the rightists and the centralists, there have been every kind of religious teacher, some so-called saints who are really not saints at all, they are probably neurotic people, why the theologians of the past in the Christian world and perhaps a much longer period in the Asiatic world, the pundits, the scholars, all this vast accumulation of knowledge has apparently not solved any of our problems. You understand? This is a very serious question: why human beings, you and another and perhaps oneself, why we go on in this way? What is the cause of it?
From the very beginning of time man has lived in conflict, not only with his environment but also with his neighbour, with his wife, with the woman he caught or dragged into the cave, it has been a constant battle, constant strife, endless misery, suffering for generation upon generation. We are not exaggerating, these are facts. We study history, which is really the story of man - his violence, his wars, his gathering of the land for himself and his family. Man has always apparently been destructive. And religions have tried to tame him, make him a little more peaceful, a little more gentle, a little more considerate. But apparently they too have not succeeded, whether in the Christian world - perhaps the Christian world has destroyed more human beings than any other race. They talk about peace and love and they are responsible for murdering millions and millions and millions of people. There is the Asiatic world with their superstitions, with their innumerable gods, but they have not been so violent. Their religion says, 'Don't kill', but when circumstances force them they kill, they are as destructive as the West.
So, observing all this, which everyone must have seen, thought about, why is it after a million years and many, many, many million years, what has gone wrong with the human mind? The brain has evolved through time. Your brain is the result of thousands and thousands of years. It is not your particular brain, though we think it is our brain, the individual brain. If you examine it very carefully it is the human brain, genetically, racially, this brain has grown and evolved through time, which is obvious. And it has followed certain patterns of living, always trying to seek security, both physically as well as psychologically. Its pre-eminent demand has been to find, at any price, security. And is that the cause of this present chaos and misery and confusion and terror? You understand? Is that the cause, this eternal demand for personal security? Though the brain, your brain and mine, each individual brain is the result of great evolution, it is not your brain, it is the human brain. We can talk about it, we will ask questions about it later. But even the scientists are beginning to discover - at least some of them - that this brain is not yours or mine, it has grown through time, evolved. So it is the human brain. And that brain has sought security - inwardly, outwardly. And is that the cause of this terrible chaos in the world? You know if there is a cause for anything there is an end to the cause. Right? Do you see this? If there is a cause for physical pain there is an end to the physical pain, they can find it. If there is a cause for psychological disturbance, chaos, misery, the cause can be found and ended. So where there is a cause, a beginning, there is also an ending. And is our present degeneration, the danger, is that the result after all these millennia? Is the cause separativeness, individuality? You are following all this? Please! I am not laying down the law. We are together thinking about all this. So you must exercise your brain as the speaker is doing, not merely listen, but if you do listen with care, with attention, then perhaps we will meet each other. But if you are merely casually listening and thinking about other things then we shall not meet each other, there is no communication.
We are asking, if one may, this is a very serious matter, we are trying to find out together whether there is a cause for all this misery, for all this terrible chaos, uncertainty, terror, wars - a root cause. And if one can discover it, not somebody tell you the cause and you agree with it, but if you, yourself, discover or come upon it through observation, you yourself then will be free of the cause and therefore of the effect.
So we are asking: is this confusion, misery, the result of the human brain seeking, at all levels of life, security? Is that the cause? Though one must have security physically - clothes, food, a roof over one's head, one must have that. But psychologically, inwardly, is there security at all, though one may seek it. We will go into this matter more deeply presently. And is this chaos the cause of this idea, a concept that each one of us is a separate entity? Because we have never gone into the question that the brain of each one of us is the common brain of humanity. We are enquiring into that. And this desire for security may have brought about this concept of the individual - me and you. We as a group against another group. Is that the cause? Or is there also another cause, which is: ideas, ideals, that is, the very substance of knowledge? This is rather difficult. You understand what we are talking about? Are we going together so far? Please I am not talking to myself. You have taken the trouble to come here in this unpleasant weather, uncomfortable, and so please kindly pay attention - if you also desire.
Because knowledge has become all important in the world. Technological knowledge - if you want to be a good carpenter you must spend many, many years learning, accumulating knowledge about the wood, the tools, the design, and acquiring great knowledge as a carpenter. Then that knowledge is used skilfully and so on. And if you are a scholar you acquire a great deal of knowledge, reading a great many books, storing up in the brain as memory and giving importance to knowledge, and assuming that knowledge will gradually through time, through accumulation of more and more knowledge you will ascend to heaven. And knowledge as a surgeon, as a philosopher, not only of outward things but also the psychological structure of man, structure of the mind, that knowledge, is that the cause of this present misery? Do you understand what I am I hope you are following all this. We are not talking to please you, to entertain you. There are cinemas, football, tennis courts, every form of entertainment outside exists. So this is not an intellectual or, if one may use an ugly word, spiritual entertainment, or romantic, emotional froth! Because this is a very serious matter into which we are going: why human beings, with all the immense accumulated knowledge, why through all these years and millennia they are still the same, a little more sophisticated, a little more polished but the same psychological brutality, cruelty, not only to each other but to animals, to the world around them - why? What has happened to us? You understand my question sirs?
As we said, where there is a cause there is an ending of that cause. If we can understand that principle: if you have a toothache there is a cause for it, and there is an ending of that pain. Similarly where there is a psychological cause there is an ending of that cause, you understand? Please meet me on this. A war, there is a cause to war - economic, national, prestige, power, and so on. There is a cause to war, it is a division of nationalities, division of ideologies, the totalitarian and the non-totalitarian, the democratic, so-called democratic and the autocratic. And when one sees the war is a result of all this, there is a cause to war and therefore war can be ended, but nobody seems to want to end it. So if we can understand the principle, the truth that where there is a cause, that cause can be ended. You understand this?
So we are trying to find out, trying to observe together what is the cause of the extraordinary things that are going on in our life. What is the essence of that cause? Is it that the very beginning of man - and also woman - don't get het up when I don't mention woman - when man and woman began, is it that they took a wrong turn? Look at it please, go into it with me. Why should we suffer? If man is the creation of god, god must be a rather horrible entity, a monstrous entity that is making human beings go through hell. Right? He must be total disorder because we live in disorder - if he created us. If he created us and we are killing each other through terror, bombs, kidnapping - oh, you know all the terrible things that are happening in the world. If you are created in his image, that image must be monstrous. Obviously it is quite evident that man is responsible. Nobody outside of us, no gods, no angels, no Brahman, no higher - none of that is responsible for this, we are responsible. And what is the cause of this? You understand now? Is the cause selfishness? Is the cause the accumulated knowledge - please listen carefully. We are not against knowledge, knowledge is necessary - to drive a car, to learn a language, to operate any electronic so on, so on, so on - knowledge is necessary. But the psychological knowledge that one has accumulated, generation after generation, is that the cause? Is it that the knowledge has been translated psychologically into concepts, into your belief and my belief - you are following all this? Please sirs, don't go to sleep! If you are really deeply concerned about this, which everyone must be, why we live this way, so-called civilised human beings, with cars, marvellous surgeries, excellent communication, transport and all the rest of it, but psychologically inwardly, inside the skin, we have become terror, we have become the most dangerous people on earth. Right? We may be occasionally kind, occasionally loving, unselfish, but this separate individual unselfishness and so on has not solved the problem. It is not poverty, starvation, disease that is the problem, it is us, our consciousness.
So how shall we find out what is the cause of this degeneracy, this great cruelty, bestiality, indifference, you know? How will you find out? By my - by the speaker telling you? I know you want that. That would be the easiest thing, wouldn't it, because our minds are always seeking the easiest way. But the speaker cannot tell you, and will not tell you. Then where are you? You follow? Please face this because it is your responsibility to find it - find the cause of this state of the world.
You know, if you love, if there is the sense of great compassion in your heart, this question still remains. You may follow somebody, the more Asiatic they are the more romantic and more nonsensical. None of them have asked this question, or have actually answered it. They have theories. The Hindus have gone into this and invented a theory. And the Christians say the original sin - that is a very convenient theory, then you can have Saviours and all the rest of it follows.
So how will you, as a human being, feeling responsible, because your brain, your whole psychological structure is the result of many, many, many million years, that structure is not yours, every human being in the world is of that structure. Because they suffer in China, in the Far East and in the Middle East and here, in the West. They are cruel, there is no sense of affection, care, there is divorce, there is every kind of brutality going on. And each one of us is part of that. And if you feel tremendously responsible for all this, as you must, if you are at all awake and aware of what is happening in the world, how will you enquire, how will you find out? Do you understand my question? Are you sufficiently earnest to give your time and your heart, your mind to find out? Not how to meditate, that will come much later. Not what is yoga and all that business. We can talk about that too, later. But this is far more important than all that because if you can find the cause there is an ending to that cause. If there is a discovery of what is the cause of sorrow of every human being in the world, then that sorrow can be ended.
Why there is such conflict between human beings, what is the cause of it. When you discover the cause it can be ended. Not through time, that is, say 'Well, I will take time to find out the cause, I will spend a week meditating about it, thinking about it, pondering over it, discussing it'. That is, again, allowing time to discover the cause. Our brains - please follow all this - our brains are the result of time - right? - which is evolution. From the small micro cell to this enormous complex human being, to arrive at this stage has taken thousands of years, which is time. And we think in terms of time. That is, how can I find out the cause? You understand my question? And we are now going to spend time discussing it. Vous avez compris? You have understood what I am saying? Or can you be free of time and observe. You understand what I am saying? Would you admit that your brain is the result of time? Right? Though it is born, when it is born as a baby it is small, but as it grows older it gathers strength, vitality, more blood to the brain and evolves, grows. And this is the process of man and so this process is common to all of us, and this process is not yours, your petty little brain. It is the brain of all humanity, which suffers, which designs, which calculates, which creates images, which creates gods - you follow? - the whole thing is common to all of us.
And time is the pattern in which the brain lives - right? - pursues. You observe your own brain, how it acts, how it thinks. The speaker is not a specialist in brain, though he has discussed it with specialists who agree, some of them, some of them don't agree. Some of them go very far with the speaker, some of them say it is all nonsense. It can only be discovered - listen to all this - which is, the scientists are investigating matter and through that investigation of matter they want to find out the ultimate. You follow all this? That is, through matter they are trying to find out the ultimate. We are the matter. You understand? You are matter, your brain is matter. And they go outside and investigate, they don't begin with themselves. You understand what I am saying? And if they went through themselves they will come upon something most fantastically original, creative, beyond all time. But that requires tremendous observation of oneself, tremendous energy to give to this. But nobody wants to do that because that is not popular. That brings you nothing - no money, no position, no power, no status. But it is only through oneself which is matter, it is only through oneself that you can come upon that thing which is the beginning of all things.
So we are asking: what is the way, the manner, how is one to find out the cause of all this? Or are there several causes? Cause 'A' may be that man in conquering the environment at the beginning of time, gradually built himself the idea that he is separate, he is an individual against other individuals. 'B' may be this sense of continuous idea, concept of individuality is the cause, or it may be another, 'C' may be this tremendous psychological knowledge. This is difficult. Please go into it carefully.
You have gathered knowledge within the last thirty, twenty, fifty, sixty years as a separate individual - my experience, my belief, my consciousness. And this belief, this concept, this experience, which is after all knowledge, psychological knowledge which you have gathered, is that the cause? Or it is none of these. Do you understand my question? Is this becoming too difficult, too abstract? No, it is not abstract, it is not something that you read in a book and put it aside, it's not something that some philosopher invents and then you read and you agree or disagree. It is something actual, you are facing it now. This is not then a concept, an idea. We are dealing with actualities of our daily life, which is so enormously complex. Or the cause may be - I am not telling you, you have to go into it yourself - for god's sake, move! - when I use the words 'For god's sake', they are just... Or is it the beginning of thought? Please go into it carefully. Is this spreading complex cruelty of man, his behaviour, his vanity, his terrible cruelty to everything, is the cause thought? You understand?
Thought and knowledge go together. Knowledge is always compounded in ignorance. Right? That is, knowledge can never be complete, whole, and therefore it is always within the shadow of ignorance. Right? Of course. This is logical. There is no complete knowledge about anything, even about the computers, or about your wife, or your husband, whatever - girl or whatever it is. So knowledge is always within the shadow of ignorance, so knowledge is always incomplete. And is thought, which is the child of knowledge, is that the cause? You are following all this? Please! You have to exercise thought when you drive a car. You have to exercise thought when you do your business, in the office, or in the factory or at home, when you cook, when you wash dishes, whatever one does, physically, one must have knowledge. Psychologically is knowledge necessary at all? You follow what I am saying? Please go into it carefully. And is the origin, cause of all this existence with all its chaos, and misery, confusion, uncertainty, insecurity, etc., etc., is thought the cause of all this? And if thought is the cause of it then thought can be ended. You follow? Where there is a cause there is an end. Where there is a beginning there is an ending. If you are addicted, or if you are a smoker, there was a cause and you can end it. So similarly, if thought is the cause of this state of the world then that can be ended. And with the ending there is a new beginning, totally different from that which thought has put together. You are following all this? So is thought the origin of all this?
Would you like the speaker to go into all this?
Questioner: Yes, please.
Krishnamurti: Not for you to follow, I am not your guru. Thank god! I am not your leader. I am not your philosopher. But the speaker has gone into this matter very, very deeply. All his life he has done this, has come to a point where he has found for himself - found, realised the cause of all this. And meditation is only when you have discovered the cause and the ending of the cause, then meditation begins. Meditation isn't what you are all doing. Forgive me pointing it out. Trying to concentrate, trying to follow methods, systems, and all that, that is not meditation. Meditation comes naturally, uninvited when you have finished with all the cause. Right? So the function of the speaker, without any vanity, without any sense of doing propaganda, he says, let us walk together and find out. Let us walk together on the same road, on the same path, not your path and my path, the path of intelligence, which is not your intelligence or the speaker's. That intelligence is to discover the cause. When there is the discovery of that cause there is that supreme intelligence, which in its very nature is compassionate love.
So we are asking one question, perhaps there is no other cause but this one cause: thought. You see man has never gone into this question of thought. They are just beginning, scientists are beginning to enquire. The Hindus have gone into it up to a certain point, the ancient Hindus, and stopped somewhere else. But we, the common people, ordinary people with our daily problems and anxieties, our attachments, and our griefs and our pains, we are asking this question: is all this the result of thought? Thought includes feeling, sensation, the pleasures, the fears, all that is part of thought. And if thought has created this world in which we live, some of it with great beauty: the marvellous cathedrals, the mosques, the temples, the poems, the literature. But what is inside the cathedrals, the mosques, the temples is put there by thought. The speaker once some years ago, in India, was speaking all over India and he happened to be behind Mr. Gandhi. And Mr. Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi whatever you like to call him, was saying that everybody could enter the temples. At that time only the Brahmanas could enter into the temples. And he was saying 'Gods are in the temple, anybody can enter'. So the speaker was following him. Next week he came to the same town, and so they asked him, to catch him out because he was a Brahmana, they said, 'What do you say, should non-Brahmanas enter temples?' And it was a very simple answer, 'God doesn't exist in temples!' If he exists at all it is somewhere else, totally, which is outside of man's thought. Right? But they didn't like that! So it goes on.
So I am asking you if thought is the result of this chaos. And if thought is the cause of this chaos thought can end and something totally new can begin. And it is your responsibility as a human being, not as an individual, as a human being, a human being who is in China, in India, in the Asiatic world, in the Arabic and in the Middle East, the West, that human being is asking this question. Is that the cause. And if it is the cause then how that cause can be dissipated and therefore the ending of it. Therefore from the ending of it a new beginning, a totally new beginning, which is the real revolution, not the Communist, not the terrorists, and so on. What is your responsibility and what is your answer to that question? You understand? The ball is in your court! You understand that term? When they are playing tennis the ball is in the opposite court. So how will you answer this question? Together during all these talks and question and answer meetings we will help each other to find it out. Right? For you to find it out so that you are not a follower, so that you have no authority over you to tell you what to think and what to do. Then you are a complete human being.
What time is it, sir?
K: Grazie. I think that's enough for this morning. May I go?