Why should the brain register hurt?
Can the brain be free of all pressure?
1st Public Talk, Madras
December 24, 1977
I suppose I must talk.
To communicate with each other is quite important. Unfortunately we must use words. And we rather interpret each word according to our like and dislike. And during these talks here we are going to use the English language, and try to use the words exactly what they mean in the dictionary, not what I would like it to be, or. you would like it to be, but actually the word, not only its common usage, but also words that have a special meaning. And as we go along we will try and explain these words, and please, if you will kindly, listen to the language, the word itself, not what you think the word means, or your reactions to the word, but actually listen to the word itself, because it is going to be rather amusing and worthwhile if we could really communicate, not only verbally - what a beautiful evening, isn't it - not only verbally but also through the words catch an insight into the full meaning, to the significance, to the depth of that word.
But to have a verbal communication with each other we must both first be free to observe, free to listen. And that, I am afraid, is one of the most difficult things to do, to listen. Because we are going together during these talks, and discussions, to investigate into the actuality of our daily life. We are not going to discuss theories because they are utterly meaningless, nor speculative ideas, which are equally absurd, or accept some authoritarian traditional outlook. We are going together, if we may, to investigate what actually is.
And it is one of the most difficult things to observe actually, which means what is actually taking place now, to observe that and to investigate, if it is possible, that which is being observed. To observe one must be free. That's an obvious fact. If I want to observe the beauty of the evening, the light on the clouds and looking through the leaves at the blue sky, you must be free to look, you must not be preoccupied. You must not be concerned with theories of how to look, how to paint, you must look. So, what we are going to do, if we may this evening, and the following evenings, is to learn the art of investigation into the actual, not into what you experience, which may not be true - or your religions and all the rest, we are going to investigate all that; but what is absolutely necessary to examine, to investigate, to explore, is there must be freedom. If you are tied to a particular belief or to a particular dogma, to a particular tradition and are bound by it, intellectually as well as emotionally, or tied so deeply in your daily lives, then you cannot possibly investigate, obviously. It is like an animal that is being tied to a post, and it can only wander within the radius, the length of its rope. So what is important, if I may suggest, and I hope you will follow this, to examine, to explore, there must be freedom. That is, you are exploring now, not when you go home, or when you feel inclined, but sitting here, talking over together, communicating with each other, we are actually investigating. This is one of the most difficult things to do: to observe, to examine, to explore what is actually going on. Of course, you cannot possibly explore, or investigate politically. That's absurd, nobody can do that because everything is so uncertain, lopsided, and crooked, dishonest, theoretical, so it becomes impossible. Nor the economic condition, of the world as it is, because there are constant changes going on. But we human beings, we are riddled with our problems, not only political, economic, but social, individual, relationship with another. And if we are really very, very serious and honest, we have to enquire into what is truth. You know it is one of the most extraordinary things if you go into it. If you are really seeking truth, compassion, that which is timeless, if you are really deeply concerned and persistently understand what is implied in that, in that pursuit, you are never alone. You understand? When you are seeking truth, you are never alone. You are never lonely. You are not approaching as an individual. When you look at life as an individual, as a separated, fragmented entity, then you are lonely - which we will all go into presently, all this.
So, if we may repeat again, to investigate, to observe, to listen one must be free. Now freedom isn't at the end but at the beginning. If you are not free, you cannot examine, obviously. It sounds very simple, but it is very, very complex, because our minds, our brains are so conditioned and it is almost impossible to listen, to investigate without pressure, without the distorted outlook. So that is our first concern, if you are at all serious, if you want to go into this matter deeply. That one must be free from prejudice, from your own particular experience, from your own dogma, belief or your innumerable conclusions. So one must be free of all that to examine. Right? Are you free now to examine what we are going to look at? So that is the first thing, if I may keep on insisting on it, that the world is so utterly confused and each one of us, if we are honest and observing our own actions, we are also very confused, uncertain. And that is why there is the increase of authority, increase of gurus, increase of those who assert that they know. So you are caught in all this which prevents you from examining logically, reasonably, sanely.
So these are the things we require to examine: freedom, to be able to think clearly, that means logically and to see the limit of logic. But you must proceed logically before you see the limit of it. And also one must have sanity. You know that word 'sanity' is a rather difficult word. Each one will interpret it according to his own inclination. Sanity implies good health, first. So that, having good health, the illnesses, all those ailments that one has, does not distort your examination. So one must have health, but if one is not well, to know one is not well and to observe that it does not interfere with your observation, with your examination and therefore to bring about sanity, which means health, clarity and to observe without any distortion. If you are a Hindu and caught in that ancient tradition, with all the superstition, theories, and all the nonsense that is going on, then obviously you are not sane; or if you are a Christian, with all their dogmas, rituals, beliefs, and again you are not sane. Sanity implies having a capacity to observe oneself clearly without distortion, without any form of deviation from that which is actually going on. All that means sanity, and much more.
Now we are communicating with each other. We are seeing the meaning of sanity. Now to communicate, you and the speaker must both be sane, otherwise you will think something totally different, distort what is being said. So I hope when we are talking over our innumerable problems, human problems, which we will as we go along, that we are both at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity; otherwise there is no possibility of communication. Right? You understand? That is, to meet each other linguistically, as well as non-linguistically, at the same level, because there is no authority here, we are both examining and therefore if one assumes authority then the communication ceases. So at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity means love. Otherwise you can't meet. You understand? It is simple, but very complex if you go into it. Because, after all, what is love? I am afraid there is no such thing in this country. They know what is kindness, perhaps, generosity, a little bit, tenderness when it suits them, affection, when it is fairly convenient; but that word, not just the meaning of the word, but the whole content of that word. Love implies there is no division. Love implies that all forms of jealousy, antagonism, vanity and so on have gone from one's heart. So love is when there is communication, to be at the same level, at the same time, at the same intensity. And that is what we mean by communication.
So we'll begin. First of all, we must understand each other very clearly. The speaker wants to tell you something. To him that is very, very important, and being important, it is very serious. Not casual seriousness, but persistent and continuous seriousness because we are going to investigate that wherever one goes, no matter what country, what type of person, whether they are scientists, philosophers, so-called religious leaders, businessmen, the sannyasi, the monk, and those who are disciples of these people, it is a common factor throughout the world that human beings suffer, uncertain, in agony, in despair, lonely, anxious, frightened. And that is the common factor. If you really observe, whether you may call yourself a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Christian or this or that, but behind that screen of words, one is anxious, one is frightened; there is no happiness; there is constant struggle bringing about great self-importance, self-centred activity. This is the common factor so you are the world and the world is you. Right? Please understand this, not as words or theories, but as an actuality. That is, if you look at yourself - and I hope you will - you will see how extraordinarily complicated your life is, how extraordinarily, uncertain it is. There is always anxiety, jealousy, confusion, misery. This is a fact. This is what is actual. All the theories about them, what you should do about them, how to deal with them, are all unnecessary. As long as you live in the world of theories as I am afraid most Hindus do, that is a marvellous escape. As long as you are dealing with theories, you will never face the actual. When you do face the actual, then you realise that you are like the rest of the world, and that brings you an extraordinary sense of communion. You understand this? That is, when you know that you are suffering and your neighbour also is suffering, whether the neighbour is next door a few feet away or thousand miles away, then there is a certain sense of being together. Haven't you noticed all these things? And so non-verbally, non-theoretically, but actually, as a fact; that there is this microphone, it's a fact, there is the tree, it is a fact, and in the same way, it is an absolute, irrevocable fact that you are the world and the world is you. Do you see this? Do you see the actuality of it, not the theory of it. There is no theory. Theory is when you listen to a statement like that, which is that you are the world and the world is you, you make an abstraction of it. You understand what we mean by abstraction? I'll show you. That is, you listen to those words, you don't quite understand, or agree with it, or you don't want to agree with it because you like to think that you are extraordinarily separate, therefore you make an abstraction of it which is, you make it into an idea, and then theorise about that idea. You understand? Argue back and forth, invent new theories and so on and so on, so on. Which is away from the fact. Right? We are understanding each other?
So please do not make an abstraction of it, make it into an idea, but see the fact only, the actuality. The word 'actual' means that which is taking place now. The word 'actual' means that which is happening now. What is happening now is this extraordinary common factor of every human being. When you realise that, not as a theory which you accept or reject, but something which is fearfully actual, then your whole attitude towards life changes. Then you are not alone because you are like the rest of humanity. Which means you, as a human being, represent the totality of all humanity. You understand this? You, as a human being, are the representative of all humanity because you suffer, you cry, you are frightened, you want pleasure, you are seeking god, and not knowing if there is god, belief, rituals that have no meaning, so you are like the rest of them - the Christians, if you go into a church and there are a lot of words, meaningless words, symbols, and inwardly the monk, the sannyasi, you, everyone is burning with desire, with pain, with sorrow. So that is the first thing to understand, that you are the world and the world is you. If that is - no, that is so, not 'if', I withdraw that word. That is so.
Then the next question is: is it possible to change, to transform that which is? You understand? That is, human beings throughout the world from childhood get hurt psychologically. You are aware of course, obviously. You are hurt. You are hurt by your parents, by comparing you with somebody else. Please follow all this because it's your life. Because we are going to see whether it is possible at all to wipe away all this factor and have a brain which is pristine, a brain that is never damaged, never deformed. We are going to go into It is possible, I'll show it to you. But you must also have energy to do it, passion, the urge to find out.
So as we were saying, every human being right throughout the world from childhood psychologically is wounded - aren't you? Wounded through comparison, through imitation, through conformity. All those are the instruments of getting hurt, and more. Now, please see, a brain that has been hurt psychologically can never act freely. Therefore it can never act rightly, accurately, precisely. Right? Please see the fact. That is, if I am hurt, because somebody said I must be like my elder brother, some idiotic teacher tells me that, at home or in school, says I must be and I try, make an effort. And throughout life that goes on. Right? You are being hurt and the consequence of being hurt is that you resist, that you build a wall around yourself. Are you listening, are you doing, are you being aware of all this as I am talking, otherwise we cannot communicate. This is very important for you to understand. A psyche, a human mind that is hurt, therefore distorted, and its activities will become neurotic, violent. So you are hurt and the consequence of it is you resist, you build a wall around yourself, gradually you become more and more lonely, withdraw and from that you act. Therefore your action is distorted. Your action then is violent and so on.
Now the question is, if you are at all aware of being hurt, see the consequences of it, the result in your human relationship - if you are hurt you will never have a relationship with another. Right? So that is a common factor of every human being right throughout the world. Now, since you are the world and the world is you, is it possible for you to be free of hurt? You understand my question? Have we gone together so far? That it is very important for a human being not to be hurt at all. Right? Now, what is hurt? Please examine what is hurt and who is hurt. I say I am hurt. When you call me a fool, I am hurt. When you say anything that is contrary to what I think, or I have an image about myself and that image gets hurt. Right, do you see this? Actually see it, please for your own sake, just observe it. Obviously each one has an image about himself - right? - that you are clever, not clever, that you have a certain status - you know, I don't have to go into all that. You have an image about yourself. That image is challenged and gets hurt. And is it possible not to be hurt at all? You know, how can you love somebody if you are hurt? Do you understand? How can you have sympathy, care, affection when you are hurt, and frightened to be hurt more? So it is very important to be free of hurt. Which means to be free of the image which you have about yourself. The image may be conclusions, opinions, your perception of yourself as being somebody or not being somebody. So can you - please listen - can you live without any image at all? Do you understand what that means? To have no image about yourself: that does not mean that you are lost, that you become insecure, uncertain. On the contrary when you have an image about yourself, that image creates uncertainty. That image denies security. So that is the first thing in realising in our human behaviour. We are talking about human behaviour in our daily life because that is the only life you have, not the theoretical life: whether Brahman exists, or what Shankara said, or some other philosopher said, they are all worthless. They have no meaning at all. What has meaning is what you are, what you are actually doing, whether you are suffering, anxiety, all the rest of it. So let's proceed from there.
So our consciousness is made up of all these things, fear, hurts. Please listen. It is not something mysterious, your consciousness. Philosophers and others like to make it mysterious, but in actuality your consciousness is made up of all the things that thought has put together. That is, your jealousy, your attachment, your fears, your longing for something or other, pleasure; having been attached, pain of attachment and try to be detached. You know all that is the content of your consciousness. And that content has been put together by thought. So one has to go into the question of this very complex problem of thought. You understand?
Everything that thought has put together is reality. This is a reality - the microphone - because thought has gone into it, put it together, and we name it as a microphone. The churches, the cinemas, all the technological world, the motor car, your gods, your temples, all the rituals, everything is put together by thought. Right? Is that clear? Because please understand this very carefully. I am going to go into it very, very slowly, in detail, because it is very important to understand.
We are saying that thought has divided the world into nationalities, into classes, into religious differences - Christ, Buddha, Rama or Sita or whoever it is here, all that is the creation of thought - the rituals, the pujas that you do every day is put together by thought. There is no denying of that. It would be silly to deny that. But thought has not put together the tree, nature, the forest, the rivers, the mountains, the skies, the stars, the birds - nature. But thought has used nature in making a chair, a microphone, all that, petrol, car - you follow? - please see the difference that thought, whatever it has created is reality. This is a reality, you can't dodge it. And thought also created illusions, which is a reality. All the gods, which are illusions, created by thought, are reality. The temple there in the corner is a reality, but it is the product of cunning thought. And thought has not put together nature, the universe. Right? Be very clear on this. And also thought has created the illusions that one lives with.
So thought is the response of the brain that has recorded. That is, the function of the brain is to record. Right? If it did not record, you would have no thought. It is like a registering machine there. Everything is recorded, which is our knowledge. From knowledge there is memory, and the response of memory is thought. These are facts. You cannot say, well, thought is the ripple of god or the ripple of some invention. If you say it is a ripple of god, it is still the product of thought. So please see how human beings are caught in the product of thought, in the things thought has created, and make it into something super extraordinary. Right? Please see this - very important, because we are going to find out that since the brain
The speaker is not an expert on brain but he has watched it in himself and discussed this matter of the whole movement of the brain with specialists and they agree what is generally accepted. Which is, the brain is an instrument of registration. You register your experiences; you register, your brain has been registering all the tradition, what your grandmother, your great-grandmother and so on, so on - registering. So it registers nationality, your religious beliefs and so on. So your brain is under pressure all the time. Right? I haven't discussed this matter except with one or two and they are beginning to agree with what I am saying. Which is, a brain is under constant pressure. All propaganda is pressure. Right? When you say, I believe in god, it is the result of pressure. When you say, I am a Christian, it is still propaganda imposed through two thousand years of constant pressure, believing that there is Jesus the Saviour, Virgin Mary and so on. Constant pressure. Right? Like the Hindu for 10,000 years or 5,000 years he is being under pressure saying you believe you are a Hindu, you are a Brahmin, this, that, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure. Right? Are you aware of this fact? Are you? To be aware, conscious, not something extraordinary, that you are constantly under pressure, at home, in the office, and when you go off to amuse yourself, still it is pressure. Everything - you are under great pressure. Now what happens to a brain that is under pressure? Please see this. Ask yourself this question. I believe in god. That is a pressure. I go to the temple every other day. That is a pressure, because you have been told. Or you are under pressure as a good lawyer to hold your position, and so on and so on, so on. Do you know that you are under constant pressure? Now, if you are aware of it, any form of pressure is a distorting factor. Right? You understand this? So your brains are deformed. You mightn't like to think so but it is a fact. Deformed, damaged, distorted. When a Hindu says I believe, I do this because it is right, I have accepted - you follow? - all the things that they are doing, is under the pressure of propaganda. Right? It may be ten thousand years or two thousand years. This pressure does damage the brain. The brain has the capacity of a highly polished, pliable steel that moves in any direction but always comes back to the centre. Right? - if you have no pressure - I wonder if you understand all this! This is part of meditation, to free the mind from all pressure, which means no practice because that is a pressure. You won't agree to all this because all of you are practising meditation, forcing yourself, controlling yourself. All that is too childish.
Now the question is this: is it possible to register only what is absolutely necessary and nothing else? Have you understood this? Have you understood my question? Have you, sir? Somebody say yes, or no (laughs).
Krishnamurti: Are we working together? Yes? Or you are just listening and meaninglessly going away afterwards? Are we working together to find out the full significance of this word 'pressure' on the brain? You understand?
Then, the problem arises: why should there be registration at all? That Nagra machine is registering now because they are going to make a cassette and all kinds of things out of it. So we are asking why does the brain have to register? Please enquire, find out. I am going to go into it with you. Because it is very important to have a brain which is not damaged, to have a brain that is not distorted, deformed through constant pressure. If you have a deformed brain, damaged brain, then your actions are crooked, untrue - you follow? - there is no validity in your action. It is like a diseased man trying to be healthy. He is diseased. Therefore he must clear up the disease then he will be healthy. So in the same way, we are saying, is it possible to register only that which is absolutely necessary? I'll show you. Let us go into it. Because then you have a mind, a brain, that has never been damaged, it's like having a body that has been healthy from the beginning to the end, never has gone to a doctor, never operated upon. So a brain that is pristine, free, young. So that's what we are going to discover.
Why does the brain register at all? You understand my question? Register. Why does the brain register? If it did not register, you couldn't talk, you couldn't learn any language, you couldn't have any technical knowledge. So the brain registers because it finds in the registration security. Right? I am going to explain. See first the statement, that is the brain can only function healthily, happily, sanely when it is secure. Like a baby, it must have security, every mother will tell you. So please listen to it and when we have a discussion you can bring it up. I don't think you will bring it up at all because I am going to make it very, very, clear. The brain can function happily, easily, without effort, if it feels completely secure. Right? So it has found security in knowledge - right? - knowledge being technological knowledge, in book knowledge. So it says: as long as I have knowledge, I am secure - right? - which means knowledge implies accumulating information and gathering information, storing it up as memory and in that memory it is quite safe. That is, to be safe in this world, the world economically I must become a doctor, a scientist, a lawyer, a businessman, there there is a certain security. Are you following all this? No? And that same security has spilled over into the psychological security. You understand? No, I see you don't understand. Let me explain. What sir?
Q: Go on, go on.
K: I am going on (laughs). I want you to understand what I am saying, not just rattle along. This is not theory. Watch it. Carefully listen to it. This is not theory, you can observe it, you can test it. Theory you can't test. But this you can test it in your life.
So it needs security. Right? Do you see that? And it has found security in the world - knowledge, information, job, technological capacity. There it is completely safe. And that same movement of search for safety has spilled over into the psychological field. It says: I am safe as long as I have got a name (laughs) - right? Are you following all this? As long as I feel I am this or that. That is, it has created an image about itself. There is feels completely safe. Right? I wonder if you see this. Psychologically, that is, inwardly, is there safety at all? You may believe in something. That belief may be questioned, therefore there is uncertainty and so on, so on, so on. So we are saying, is there security in your psychological world, in your world, inside world? Is there security in your gods, in your theories, in your going to the temple every other day, or whatever you do, puja and all the rest of it, is there security? Be tremendously honest about this. And when you say I am angry, I will achieve a state of mind which will never be angry. Watch it. That is, you have projected an idea and in the future you will not be angry. Therefore, in the future you are seeking security. You understand the subtleties of all this? You understand all this, sir - the subtleties of it.
So we are saying: register only what is necessary - language, technological information, and don't register anything else, your hurts, your attachments. You follow? Is that possible? First see the problem, don't say, yes, or no. Because I will show you, if we'll go into it that one can do it.
I am asking: why should the brain register your hurts? You understand my I started with that. You are hurt from childhood, why should that brain register the hurt at all? Is it possible not to register your hurt? Is it possible not to register this tremendous attachment - attachment to your wife, to your house, to your gods, to your theories? Attachment, being attached. And that attachment is a pressure - right? - and therefore it is damaging your brain. Please understand why it is necessary to have a brain that is not deformed, because in meditation any form of distortion - any form - which is pressure, prevents the clarity of perception of truth. If you want to meditate, the brain must be free of all registration except that which is absolutely necessary, otherwise it is damaged. Therefore a man, a woman, who really wants to go into this tremendous question of meditation, the full meaning of it, the depth of it, the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the timeless quality of it, must understand the whole nature of thought. So is it possible not to register your hurts, your desires, your longings? It is possible only when you know the art - the art, when you learn the art of observation. The word 'art' means to put everything in its proper place - the true meaning of that word, the dictionary meaning, from Latin, Greek and so on. That is to put everything in its right place. Then you have order. Right? Do you understand this? If you put everything, you put your socks, your shirts, your trousers, your ties, your saris, or whatever it is, in the right place, you are not you can go to the right you know, there is no need for searching, wasting your energy, everything is in order. So similarly, to learn the art of observation. To learn the art of observation, to register and not to register - you understand? - I wonder if you capture this! Now we are registering everything, therefore, the brain is overburdened, damaged, deformed, and it cannot think logically, clearly, sanely.
I must stop because it's time. But let's go briefly into learning the art of observation.
To observe, to see. To observe, it is again very simple: to observe you must have clear eyes. To look at the trees you must have unclouded eyes. You may have to wear glasses, but it makes your eyes see clearly. Right? So to observe the outward things of life. Right? How the world is divided, why it is divided, the Hindu against the Muslim, the Muslim against somebody else. You follow? To observe all the facts, what is actually happening, which does not demand theories, but it requires that you observe. So from observing the outer you come to observe the inner. But if you do not know how to observe the outer, you have no criterion to see if you are observing correctly in yourself. You understand how important it is to start observing the outer and from the outer moving to the inner. Not moving suddenly to the inner, because you may be misjudging.
So, one has to learn the art of looking, observing. You cannot observe what is happening actually in the world if you are attached to one particular part of that world. If I am attached to this country saying, I am a Hindu, I am proud of being a Hindu, I am ancient, blah, blah, blah, blah - all that, if I am attached to that, I cannot possibly observe the division that is going on in the world - the Arab, the Jew, the Communists, the Socialists and so on, so on, so on. So, to learn to observe without personal distortion entering into the factor? Can you do it? That requires tremendous alertness, watching. Then to observe what is going on inwardly, what is actually going on. This becomes extraordinarily interesting. Now, which is I must stop - nearly quarter to seven. I'll just briefly go into it, we'll continue tomorrow. Can you watch, can you observe inwardly what actually is happening, actually at the moment of happening? Not after the event. You understand my question? That is, to observe my violence - violence in different forms. I won't go into that, we will discuss it much more in detail tomorrow - if you want to. That is, to observe that which is actually taking place, which is at the moment of anger to observe it; not after, or train your mind so carefully that you watch before it happens; but actually as it is flowering, beginning to grow, the actual movement of it. Which demands a mind, a brain that is not caught in the past, which is not a slave to words, which is violence. That very word is a distorting factor, and therefore when you observe with that word, you have already distorted it. You understand how subtle it is? So to learn the art of it, therefore, you are watching the movement which is out of time. So the brain is capable of observing without distortion. You understand? So we'll continue tomorrow, if you will.