BEYOND VIOLENCE PART V CHAPTER 1 TALK AT ROME CINEMA PASQUINO 21ST OCTOBER 1970 'PSYCHOLOGICAL REVOLUTION'
LIFE IS SERIOUS; one has to give one's mind and one's heart to it, completely; one cannot play with it. There are so many problems; there is so much confusion in the world; there is the corruption of society and the various religious and political divisions and contradictions. There is great injustice, sorrow and poverty - not only the poverty outside but the poverty inside. Any serious man - fairly intelligent and not just sentimentally emotional - seeing all this, sees the necessity of change.
Change is either a complete psychological revolution in the nature of the whole human being, or it is a mere attempt at the reformation of the social structure. The real crisis in the life of man, you and I, is whether such a complete psychological revolution can be brought about - independent of nationality and of all religious division.
We have built this society; our parents, and their parents before them, have produced this corrupt structure and we are the product of that. We are society, we are the world, and if we do not change ourselves radically, really very, very deeply, then there is no possibility of changing the social order. Most of us do not realize this. Everyone, especially the younger generation, says: 'We must society'. We talk a great deal but we do nothing about it. It is we ourselves that have to change, not society - do please realize this. We have to bring about in ourselves, at the highest and at the deepest levels, a change in our whole way of thinking, living, feeling; then only is the social change possible - mere social revolution, the change of the structure of society outwardly by physical revolution, inevitably brings about, as has been seen, dictatorship or the totalitarian state, which deny all freedom.
To bring about such a change in ourselves is a lifetime's work - not just something for a few days then to be forgotten - it is a constant application, a constant awareness of what is going on, within and without.
We have to live in relationship; without it we cannot possibly exist. To be related means to live totally, wholly; for this there must be in ourselves a radical transformation. How shall we radically transform ourselves? If this seriously interests you then we shall have communication with each other; we shall think together, feel and understand together. So: how can man, you and I, totally change? That is the question and nothing else is relevant - it is a question not only for the young but also for the old.
In this world there is tremendous agony, immense sorrow, war, brutality and violence; there is starvation of which you know nothing. One realizes that there is so much that can be done but for the vast fragmentation that there is, in the political world with its many parties and in the many religions; they all talk about peace but deny it, for there can only be peace, reality and love, when there is no division.
So again, seeing this vast fragmentation both inwardly and outwardly, the only issue is that a human being must radically, profoundly, bring about in himself a revolution. This is a very serious problem, it is an issue that affects one's whole life; in it is involved meditation, truth, beauty, love. These are not just words. One has to find a way of living where they come into reality.
One of the most important things in life is love. But what is called love is associated with sex, which has become so tremendously important; everything seems to revolve around sex. Why do human beings right through the world, whatever their cultures be, whatever religious sanctions say - find sex so extraordinarily important? - and with it is associated the word `love' - why?
When you look at your own life, you see how it has become mechanical; our education is mechanical; we acquire knowledge, information, which gradually becomes mechanical. We are machines, secondhand people. We repeat what others have said. We read enormously. We are the result of thousands of years of propaganda. We have become psychologically and intellectually mechanical. In a machine there is no freedom. Sex offers freedom; there for a few seconds is freedom, you have completely forgotten yourself and your mechanical life. So sex has become enormously significant; its pleasure you call love. But is love pleasure? Or is love something entirely different, something in which there is no jealousy, no dependency, no possessiveness?
One has to give one's life to find out what love means, just as one has to give one's whole life to find out what meditation is and what truth is. Truth has nothing whatsoever to do with belief.
Belief comes into being when there is fear. One believes in God because in oneself one is so completely uncertain. One sees the transient things of life - there is no certainty, there is no security, there is no comfort, but immense sorrow - so thought projects something with the attribute of permanency, called God, in which the human mind takes comfort. But that is not truth.
Truth is something that is to be found when there is no fear. Again, one has to give a great deal of attention to understand what fear is - both physical and psychological fear. One has these problems in life which one has not understood, which one has not transcended; thereby one continues a corrupt society, whose morality is immoral and in which virtue, goodness, beauty, love, of which we talk so much, soon become corrupt.
Will the understanding of these problems take time? Is change immediate? Or is it to be brought about through the evolution of time? If time is taken - that is to say, at the end of your life you have reached enlightenment - then in that time you continue to sow seeds of corruption, war, hatred. So can this radical inward revolution happen instantly? It can happen instantly when you see the danger of all this. It is like seeing the danger of a precipice, of a wild animal, of a snake; then there is instant action. But we do not see the danger of all this fragmentation which takes place when the `self', the `me', becomes important - and the fragmentation of the 'me' and the `not me'. The moment there is that fragmentation in yourself there must be conflict; and conflict is the very root of corruption. So, it behoves one to find out for oneself the beauty of meditation, for then the mind, being free and unconditioned, perceives what is true.
To ask questions is important; it is not only that one exposes oneself, but in asking questions one will find for oneself the answer. If one puts the right question the right answer is in the question. One must question everything in life, one's short hair or long hair, one's dress, the way one walks, the way one eats, what one thinks, how one feels, everything must be questioned: then the mind becomes extraordinarily sensitive, alive and intelligent. Such a mind can love; such a mind alone knows what a religious mind is.
Questioner: What is the meditation of which you speak?
Krishnamurti: Do you know anything of what meditation means even? Questioner: I know there are various forms of meditation, but I do not know which one you speak of.
Krishnamurti: A system of meditation is not meditation. A system implies a method, which you practise in order to achieve something at the end. Something practised over and over again becomes mechanical - does it not? How can a mechanical mind - which has been trained and twisted, tortured to comply to the pattern of what it calls meditation - hoping to achieve a reward at the end - be free to observe, to learn?
There are various schools, in India and further East, where they teach methods of meditation - it is really most appalling. It means training the mind mechanically; it therefore ceases to be free and does not understand the problem.
So when we use the word `meditation' we do not mean something that is practised. We have no method. Meditation means awareness; to be aware of what you are doing, what you are thinking, what you are feeling, aware without any choice, to observe, to learn. Meditation is to be aware of one's conditioning, how one is conditioned by the society in which one lives, in which one has been brought up, by the religious propaganda - aware without any choice, without distortion, without wishing it were different. Out of this awareness comes attention, the capacity to be completely attentive. Then there is freedom to see things as they actually are, without distortion. The mind becomes unconfused, clear, sensitive; such meditation brings about a quality of the mind that is completely silent - of which quality one can go on talking, but it will have no meaning unless it exists.
Questioner: Will not this way lead to more isolation, more confusion?
Krishnamurti: First of all: are not most human beings terribly confused? Are you not very confused? - see the fact, know whether you are confused or not. A mind that is confused, whatever it does, brings about confusion. A mind that is confused says `I will practise meditation,' or `I will find out what love is' - how can a confused mind find anything, except its own projection of confusion. If one has realized this fact, then what shall one do?
One is confused and one tries to bring about a state of mind which is not confused. One tries this, that, ten different things - drugs, drink, sex, worship, escapes - you follow - throw bombs, anything. The first thing is to stop action, to stop doing something. Also, one must stop all movement away from confusion so that there is no action springing to, or away from, confusion. So all action then stops, there is only confusion. There is no escape from it, neither is there trying to find a way out of it, nor trying to replace that confusion by clarity; there is no movement of thought away from this, causing further confusion; thought is not concerned with action for the moment. Then the question arises: are you aware of this confusion as being something outside of you as the `observer', or are you part of this confusion? Is the `observer' different from the thing observed - the confusion? If the `observer' is differentiated from the thing observed then there is a contradiction - that very contradiction is the cause of confusion. So, how the mind looks at this confusion is important. Does it observe it as something apart, separated from itself, or is the `observer' the observed? Please do understand this most important thing. Once you have understood this you will see what a tremendous difference it makes in life; all conflict is removed. The `observer' no longer says: `I must change it', `I must bring about clarity', `I must overcome it', `I must try to understand it', `I must escape from it'. All such activity is that of the `observer' who has separated himself from the confusion and has generated conflict between himself and the confusion. Questioner: I admit my confusion.
Krishnamurti: Ah! The moment you say `I admit my confusion', there is an entity who admits it. You do not see the importance of this. I observe; in observing do I find I am observing as an outsider, or as part of this confusion? If I am part of the confusion the mind becomes completely quiet, there is no movement, I am still, I do not move away from it. Therefore, when there is no division between the `observer' and the observed there is complete cessation of confusion.
And the other question that was asked: `If I am to learn from myself, what happens when the world around me controls me, conscripts me, takes me to war, tells me what to do politically, economically, religiously? There are the psychologists and the gurus from the East - they all tell me what to do. If I obey - which is what they all want me to do, promising Utopia at the end of it, or Nirvana, Enlightenment or truth - then I become mechanical. The root meaning of the word `obey' is to hear. By hearing constantly what other people tell me, I gradually slip into obedience. If I learn from myself, I also learn about others. And if the government ask me to join the army, I will do what I think is right at the moment I am asked. A free mind does not obey. A free mind is free because in itself there is no confusion. Then you will say, `What is the good of having one individual, one human being, with such a mind when all about it there is corruption, confusion?' Do you think you would ask such a question if you had such a mind?
What is the meaning of having a mind so completely clear and unconfused?
Questioner: Surely there will be no words any more?
Krishnamurti: Those are all your speculations, are they not? How do you know? Questioner: Words are the basis of ideas. There would be no ideas any more and the mind would be free; then we would not have relationships, we would not seek any more. We would have silence, complete silence and we would understand. Everybody can have a free mind.
Krishnamurti: I understand what you are saying very clearly.
But, first of all: are we concerned with the world as something separate from ourselves? Is the world `you' actually - not theoretically `you'? Do you feel the quality of a mind that says, `I am the world, the world is me, the me and the world are not two separate entities'? The `self' is divided from the community, the `self' is against the world, the `self' is against your friend, against your wife, your husband. The `self' is important, is it not. And that `self' is asking the question, `What will the world be if there is no self'? Find out if you can live without the `self' and then you will see the truth of it. Also there is the previous question: what is the good of one human being in the world having a clear, unspotted mind, free - what is the point of it? Now who is asking the question? He who is confused or he whose mind is clear, unconfused, free? `Who' is asking this question? Does the flower ask this question? Does love ask this question? Do you ask a question of this kind when you are confronted with a tremendous issue? Do you ask this question: what value is it if I know what it means to love when the others do not know what it means to love? You just love. You do not ask this question. When you have no fear, psychologically, and everyone around you has this fear, will you then ask: `What is the good of my having no fear when all the others have fear?' Then what do you do? You have no fear and others have fear - what do you do? - you try to help me to learn the whole structure of fear.
Questioner: How do you prevent language creating division? Each language has its own peculiar structure, a certain pattern, and language becomes a barrier.
Krishnamurti: So, how does one get over this barrier? Is it not fairly clear that the word is not the thing? Whether you use an Italian word or an English word or a Greek word, that word is not the thing. The word `door' is not the door. The word, the description, the explanation, is not the thing explained or described: if this is seen, then there is no longer a dependency on the mere word. Now thought is manufactured of words; thought is always responding, according to memory, in verbal structures. Thought is limited by words, is the slave of words. Can one listen without the word interfering? You say to me `I love you', but what happens there? The words do not mean anything at all; but there may be a feeling of relationship which has not been brought about by the response of thought to the words; there may be a direct communication. So the mind, being aware that the word is not the thing, that the word, which is thought, interferes, listens freely, without prejudice - as it does when you say `I love you'.
Can you listen without interpreting, without your prejudices interfering, twisting - listen as you may listen to the song of a bird? (In Italy there are so few birds; they kill them. What monstrous people we are.) Can you listen to the song of the bird without verbal comment, without naming it, saying, `It is a blackbird', `I would like to go on listening to it; can you listen without any of that interference, just listen - eh? You can, can you not? Now: can you listen equally to what goes on in yourself? - without prejudice, without a formula, without distortion - just as you may listen to that bell (noise of bell without any association, just listening to the pure sound of it; then you are the sound, you are not listening to the sound as something separate. Questioner: To do this we need to practise.
Krishnamurti: To so listen you need to practise! Somebody must teach you! The moment somebody teaches you, you have the guru and the disciple, the authority and the learner. Now when that bell rang, did you listen to it - without any interpretation, with complete attention? If you saw that you said to yourself, `It is mid-day', `What time is it?', `It is meal time', then you saw that you were not actually giving complete attention to that sound; so you learnt - you were not taught - that you were not listening.
Questioner: There is a difference between a bell ringing or a bird singing, on the one hand, and a word in a sentence which is interlaced with other words. I can isolate the sound of a bird, but a word in a sentence I cannot isolate.
Krishnamurti: Listening to a bird is objective, outside. But can I listen to myself using a word in the context of a sentence; can I listen to the word and be free of the word and its context?
You may say: `That is a beautiful table.' You have given that table certain appreciation; you have called it beautiful. I may look at it and say: `What an ugly table.' So the word denotes your feeling; it is not the actual thing; it comes into being as an associated idea. Can you look at your friend without the image you have created about that friend - the image being the word, the symbol? We cannot, because we do not know how that image has been built. You tell me something, which is pleasurable, and I create an image out of that, that you are my friend; another tells me something which is unpleasant, similarly I build an image; when I meet you it is as a friend, when I meet another it is not as a friend. But can the mind not build an image at all, though you say pleasant or unpleasant things? It can stop building the image when I give attention; then there is no image-formation; I can listen - listen without any image.
Questioner: Would it be possible to go back to what you were saying at the beginning, about changing ourselves in society? How is it possible to really change yourself when you are obliged to conserve your relationships. I am in the Capitalist world and all my relations have to be capitalistic otherwise I would starve.
Krishnamurti: And if you lived in the Communist world, you would also adjust yourself there.
Krishnamurti: So what will you do?
Questioner: How can I change?
Krishnamurti: You have put the question: if I live in a capitalist society I have to adjust myself to the Capitalist demands; yet if I lived in a Communist society, totalitarian, bureaucratic society, I would also have to do exactly the same things - so what will I do?
Questioner: I do not think it would be the same thing.
Krishnamurti: But it is the same pattern. There you might have short hair and you would have to go to work, do this or that. But it is within the same whirlpool. What will you do? A human being, realizing that change within himself is of primary importance - whether he lives here or there - where is his concern? He must change himself: what does this change imply? Freedom from psychological fear, freedom from greed, envy, jealousy, dependency; freedom from the fear of being lonely, from the fear of conformity - right? If you have all these things working inside you - realising no conformity - you live as well as you can, there or here. But, unfortunately for us, the important thing is not revolution inwardly but change this and that externally.
Questioner: And then what happens if someone kills you?
Krishnamurti: Ah! No one can kill a free man. They can put his eyes out; inwardly he is free, nothing can touch that freedom.
Questioner: Would you give a definition of egoism?
Krishnamurti: If you want a definition look it up in a dictionary. `Definition' - please, I have said very carefully that the description is not the described. What is this self that is isolating itself all the time? Even though you love somebody, whether you sleep with that somebody, etc., there is always this self which is separate - with its ambitions, its fears, its agonies, with its occupation with itself in self-pity. As long as that self exists there must be separation, as long as that exists there must be conflict - right? How is that self to disappear - without effort? The moment you make an effort, there is the `Higher Self', so-called, that is dominating the `lower self.' How can the mind dissipate this thing called `the self'? What is the self? - is it a bundle of memories? - or is it something permanent? If it is a bundle of memories, it is of the past; that is the only thing you have, it is nothing permanent. The self is the `me' that has accumulated knowledge and experience, as memory, as pain; and that becomes the centre from which all action takes place. See it actually as it is.
Every religion, every society and culture, realizes that `the self' wants to express itself; in art, self-expression is tremendously important; it is also very important in its assertion to dominate. Every religion has tried to destroy the self - `Do not bother about the self,' `Put God in its place, or the State in its place'. And that has not succeeded. The self has identified itself with God - whatever that is - and so it remains. We are saying: observe that self in operation, learn about it, watch it, be aware of it, do not destroy it, do not say, `I must get rid of it' or `must change it', just watch it, without any choice, without any distortion; then out of that watching and learning, the self disappears.
TALK MARCH 2017 PART 2
I would like, if I may, this evening, to talk about the implications of meditation and what is necessary for a mind that is capable of really true meditation - what is the first step, as it were.
First of all, I think one has to understand the meaning of the word freedom. For most of us, freedom implies freedom to express ourselves, or freedom to do what we like in society; or freedom to think what we like; or freedom from a particular tiresome habit or a particular idiosyncrasy and so on. To understand what is freedom - because that seems to me absolutely necessary for a mind that is capable without any distortion to be able to meditate.
For most of us we demand freedom politically or religiously or to think what we like, and there is the freedom of choice. Political freedom is all right and one must have it, but for most of us we never demand and find out whether it is at all possible to be free inwardly. Our mind is a slave to its own projections, to its own demands, to its own desires and fulfillments. The mind is a slave to its cravings, to its appetites. And apparently we never ask whether it is at all possible to be free inwardly. But we are always wanting freedom outwardly - to go against the society, against a particular structure of society. And this revolt against society, which is taking place all over the world, is a form of violence which indicates that one is concentrating on an outward change without the inward change.
So, violence plays an extraordinary part in our life, we never ask whether the mind can be completely and utterly free from violence. We have accepted it as part of life, as we have accepted war as a way of life. And we have our favourite wars - you may not like this particular war, but you don't mind having other kinds of wars. And there will be always wars - and there have been for 5,000 years, wars, because man has accepted violence as a way of life. And we never question whether the mind can be really and truly, deeply free of violence. And the permissive society in which we live, the culture in which this is gradually coming out of this society, to do what one likes or choose what one likes, is still an indication of violence. Where there is choice there is no freedom. Choice implies confusion, not clarity. When you see something very clearly there is no choice, there is only action. It is only a confused mind that chooses. And choice is an indication of the lack of freedom and therefore in choice there is resistance, conflict.
And so our life as it is now is based on violence. Our life is conditioned by the verb 'to be'. Please, this is important to understand, how our life is guided and conditioned by the verb 'to be: one has been, one is, and one will be. The idea in that verb is to arrive, to succeed, to achieve, to become, gradually attain peace, gradually get rid of the things that hinder us. So the verb 'to be' is the conditioning of the mind in time. Do please follow this.
Because enlightenment is not of time at all. Understanding is not a matter of gradual sensitivity; either one understands it immediately or not at all. As long as the mind is conditioned by that verb, and as most minds are, all our modern structure is based on that. I will be good, I will gradually achieve a certain state of mind and so on. So one has to be aware of this dangerous word. And find out whether the mind can be free of the word, because the word is never the thing, the description is never the described. And we are satisfied with the description, with the explanations.
So, as I said, we are going to go into this question of not only what is meditation - and I believe that is a new word that you have learned in this country, brought from the East, and one doesn't know the full meaning of that word. But before we go into that, which is a very complex and most important thing, meditation is the most beautiful thing in life, if you know what meditation is. But before one can meditate one must understand what is living, what is love and what is death. If you don't understand that your meditation is merely an escape, is a form of self-hypnosis.
So you must lay the foundation, not gradually. There must be order before the mind can fully comprehend the significance of what meditation is, there must be complete order. Which means, the end of all conflict, all disturbance, all disorder within oneself, otherwise your sitting down in a corner by yourself for ten minutes a day and thinking you're going to meditate or achieve enlightenment, is nonsense, if you don't mind my saying so.
So one has to understand what living is. And one can understand that only by observing what actually it is, not in opposition to a concept, to a formula, to an ideology, but actually what it is. So one must be free to observe actually what our life is, not what it should be. If you are thinking in terms of what it should be, then you are totally avoiding what your actual life is.
So what is this life that we are living, this life, the actual daily life is disorder, isn't it? There is conflict, there is driving ambition, there is battle in ourselves, opposing contradictory desires and words, endless frustrations. And there is frustration because we have never understood what fulfillment is, and if there is such a thing as fulfillment. What is there to fulfil? One's own particular little ambition, one's own appetites, envies, ambitions to be somebody? And what is that centre that demands all this? Is not that very centre the cause of disorder? Please, as I said the other day, and I hope you won't mind the repetition of it, you are not merely listening to a few words or ideas of the speaker. That has no value whatsoever. What has significance and worthwhileness, is that through these words of the speaker you are observing yourself, you are observing your life, your daily life as it is lived. And without bringing about order in that life, complete mathematical order, life has very little meaning - going to the office every day for the next 60 years, 40 years, living in this constant battle between 'what is' and 'what should be', between the frustrated ambitions and the simple, clear, beautiful life; the images that one has built about oneself and about others, the self-centred activity that is going on all the time, which is isolating each one, and therefore dividing.
And what is our life, a life of conflict, a life that has really no meaning as it is, a life that is a battlefield, not only in yourself but also in your relationship, a life of division, contradiction, routine, monotony. And a life that is, when you look at it very deeply, utterly lonely, a life that has no beauty. And that is our life and we are not exaggerating it, if you observe yourself very carefully, without any prejudice, bias, when you look at every human being, right through the world, the saint, the priest, the specialist, the careerist, the ordinary layman are all caught in this.
And we want to escape from it. And so you escape through nationalism, through beliefs, through dogmas, through innumerable forms of entertainment, in which is included the religious entertainment. That is our life, comparing ourselves with something that should be, comparing ourselves with the greater, with the nobler, with the more intelligent, with the more spiritual and so on and on. Therefore conflict and fear. This is our life, a battle for security and in the very search for security, psychological as well as physical, we bring about destruction. These are obvious facts.
And from this we want to escape, because man has lived like this for thousands and thousands of years, with sorrow, confusion and great misery and mischief. And without changing all that, completely, radically, mere outward revolution, changing a particular system for another system, does not solve this aching agony. There is only one revolution, the inward revolution.
So, spitting on society, blaming society for your condition, is obviously blaming something which you have created - it is your society, you have built it, by your greed, envy, ambition, competitiveness, comparison, by one's own inward hatreds, violence. So that is our life, a really quite insane life.
Now the question is, how can that life be changed, not gradually, but immediately, otherwise you're sowing the seed of violence, though you may want peace, you are actually sowing the seeds of enmity, misery.
So seeing all this non-verbally, not as an explanation, not as an idea but seeing it actually as it is, feel it, as you feel hunger, therefore being intimately related to it. And you cannot be deeply, beautifully related to this living, which we call life, as long as you have any form of escape from it, any form of distortion.
So, awareness without choice, to be aware of this whole phenomenon of existence, not someone else's existence, not being aware of this, of our life according to somebody, some philosopher, some guru, some psychologist, but being aware of it actually, because you yourself see it. If one is so completely aware of it, and one must be, because one cannot possibly live as we are living - we are talking inwardly, psychologically, a life that is so torn. And if we want order, and order is virtue, order demands discipline, that is to learn, not to conform, not to imitate, but to learn. And to learn about a disorder, which is our life, to observe it, to learn, and in that observation comes an extraordinary discipline, not imposed by anybody, because the very observation itself has its own discipline. In the very act of observing you are learning, and therefore the learning is the discipline. Please do see this because we have imposed on ourselves so many disciplines - the business discipline, the religious discipline, the family discipline - of course the military discipline is the most absurd kind of discipline.
But we've got so many disciplines - the must and the must nots, all this conforming, imitating, suppressing, and being suppressed, wanting to fulfil - all that is disorder. So to understand order, to learn about order, not what order should be, but to learn about it, one must learn about disorder. Are we following each other or are you slowly being mesmerized by words, because if you are, tant pis, it's up to you.
We said, one must learn about disorder, which is our life, which is our mind, our heart, our very core of our being, is disorder, because if you say, there is a soul, there is, according to the Hindus, the Atman and so on, they are just theories. Philosophy has nothing to do with living, and we are trying to understand what living is, and we are seeing that in living is disorder, utter disorder, the battle, the misery, the confusion, the agony, the guilt, the fear.
So one has to observe without any choice, this disorder which is you, which is me - to observe it, not what you want it to be, then you create conflict between 'what is' and 'what should be'. And when there is conflict there is disorder. Please do understand this thing very simply - once you understand this you will find that by observing disorder in oneself, without any distortion, without wanting to bring about order out of this disorder, trying to impose what you think is order on disorder, but observe it without any choice, without any distortions. Then out of that observation comes supreme order, the highest good.
And in that there is a total revolution. And from that inward radical change, then there comes outward order, not the other way round. We want outward order first and this has never been possible - every revolution including the Communist revolution, says forget about the inward order, let's have State order. And you know what is happening, every revolution has done this, try to bring about outward order without paying any attention whatsoever to this psychological, supreme order within oneself.
And order means also not only virtue but love. And what is love? I wonder if you have ever asked that question, what love is - have you? What is love, how will you find out? You will find out what it is through what it is not, through negation the positive comes. But if you pursue the positive, then it is the pursuit of the projection of the mind. So when you deny all the projections of the mind, by denying in the sense, setting it aside, negating, then you will find out what it is.
So that is what we are going to do, find out what it is not, to find out what it is. We said, what is love - you know, that is one of the most important things in life. If one has love you can do what you like, then there is no conflict, then there is no evil, there is great bliss, but to imagine what bliss is and pursue that, is not love. So we are going to see what it is not, and therefore come upon what it is. Therefore it is not a question of searching out love, nor cultivating love - how can you cultivate love, all cultivation is the product of the mind, product of thought; it is like a mind that pursues humility, it says, I know vanity and I must cultivate humility. And then the mind that is proud and vain cultivates humility it is still vain. It is like those saints that are pretending to be humble, because they have cultivated humility.
So what we are going to do is to find out what it is not, not through me, not through the speaker at all, but by listening to yourself and finding out what it is not and if it is not that, wipe it away instantly. If you don't wipe it, if it doesn't disappear, then you are caught in time, you are a slave to the word and the verb 'to be'. And therefore there is no love.
So first we are asking what it is not. Obviously it is not jealousy, it is not envy, and your love is hedged about, a prisoner to jealousy, envy. And when you see that, that what you call love is entangled with the ugly brutality of jealousy, see, actually observe it, and in that observation jealousy goes, and you will never be jealous again, never envious.
Please do this as we are talking. Envy comes only when there is comparison. And is love comparison? So again, you put aside all comparison, which means all envy. Then, is love pleasure? This is going to be a little more difficult. For most of us, love is pleasure - there is love, sexual love, love of God or love of - God knows what else. It is based on pleasure. The love of respectability is the very essence of the bourgeois mind.
So is love pleasure? Do observe it, please. We were saying yesterday evening what pleasure is - the product of thought, having had pleasure of different kinds yesterday, you think about it, you have image upon image built and that stimulates you and that gives you pleasure, sexual or otherwise, and that you call love. And is it love, because in pleasure there is frustration, there's pain, there's agony, there is dependency? Don't you depend psychologically on another? And when you do, when you depend on your wife or your husband, whatever it is, and you say, "I love you", is that love? And in that dependence is there not fear?
You are the product of your conditioning, you're the product of your society, you're the product of propaganda, religious and otherwise - for two thousand years, as in India ten thousand or five thousand years they have been told what to believe, what to think. You repeat what others have said. All your education is that, the repetition of what you have learnt from a book. And you're that, you're conditioned, you are not free, happy, vital, passionate human beings. You are frightened human beings and therefore secondhand, you're full of authority of others; or your own particular little authority, of your own knowledge - you know something about something and you become an authority.
So you're not free. And intellectually - look - are you free? Not repeat what others have said, not what you've been taught in the university or what you have learnt from a book. And what have you experienced? Go into it, you will see what you have experienced. You have experienced something that you will always recognize, otherwise it is not an experience. Therefore your experience is always old, like thought is always old - thought is never new, because it is the response of memory.
So you - if you will forgive my repeating it - you are secondhand human beings, intellectually, emotionally. You go to places to learn how to be sensitive. Lovely, idea, isn't it, be taught by another how to think.
So morally, intellectually, deeply, you are not free, and therefore you are only free in your sexual expression. And that is why it has become so extraordinarily important. There you are full, there you are free, though it has its own problems and its own neurotic attitudes and actions. So sex becomes important when everything else becomes unimportant, when life, the whole of it, not just sex, life includes living, life includes what love is, what death is, the whole movement of living, when that has no meaning, then one fragment which you call sex, becomes extraordinarily important and vital. When you are not passionate about freedom, inwardly, then you are lustfully passionate about sex, that's all. And with that you associate love, pleasure. And with that you associate tenderness, gentleness, you may be sexually very tender, very kind, considerate, but outwardly you destroy, you kill everything round you, animals to eat, to hunt. So your love is based on pleasure and therefore is it love? Love, surely, is something that is none of all this; compassion means passion for everybody, not to your particular little desire.
So when you understand what disorder is by observing very closely, out of that comes order. And order has its own discipline which is its own virtue, therefore that order is the supreme good and therefore love, which has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure, because pleasure has pain. Love is enjoyment, love is joy, not the puny thing that man has made it. To find that out, what love is, you must also understand what death is. Do you really want to understand what death is? Yes? I doubt it, very much, because you are all so scared of death, aren't you? Or you have a belief in an after life, therefore you are not frightened. You have rationalized your life, knowing that it is going to come to an end, the puny, shoddy little life that one lives, and one is frightened of that, therefore you say, let's rationalize, it, think about it, clarify it - you know, all the rest of it.
Or, you have a belief in an after life. The whole of Asia believes in an after life, millions believe in reincarnation. But they never question what it is that incarnates. They believe that there is a permanent entity that is going to incarnate and so on, I won't go into all that. If you believe in reincarnation, then what matters is how you live today, because you are going to pay for it next life. How you live, what you do, what you think, what your morality is. So, even though you may believe in reincarnation, what matters is how you live now. So you have to face death, not postpone it till old age, some accident, disease and so on - you have to meet it, you have to understand it, not be afraid of it.
So we say, we must understand life and avoid death. But if you see life as a whole in which there is this living and this extraordinary thing called love, and death, as a total unit, not three separate things, then what is death? The organism, by usage, disease and all the rest of it, comes to an end - it comes to an end quicker when there is conflict. All your heart failures and all the business of it, is the result of this extraordinary emotional, contradictory way of living. The organism comes to an end. And either you can say, that is the end, finish; or, which we do say, the end of the whole structure and the nature of the 'me', the 'me' which has divided itself as us and they, we and them, we and you, that 'me' is the centre of conflict.
Now can that 'me' die, not eventually but every day, then you will know what death is, so that the mind is always fresh tomorrow because you have death to the past. Do it, not follow it. Die to your pleasure, die to your furniture - that's what you are, your furniture: whether the chair or the furniture that you have accumulated in your mind, which you call knowledge. So that you die every day to everything that you have accumulated. And that's what is going to happen to you anyhow. That means, to empty the mind of everything known, which means the mind becomes utterly innocent. And it is only such a mind that has this extraordinary religious quality of purity that can come upon what is called enlightenment.
HE SAID THAT his guru was too great a man to be described, and that he had been a pupil of his for many years. This teacher, he went on, imparted his teachings through brutal shocks, through foul language, through insults and actions that were contradictory; and he added that many important people were among the followers. The very crudeness of the procedure forced people to think, it made them sit up and take notice, which was considered necessary because most people were asleep and needed to be shaken. This teacher said the most awful things about God, and it seemed that his pupils had to drink a great deal, as the teacher himself drank heavily at most meals. The teachings, however, were profound; they had been kept secret at one time, but now they were being made available to all.
The late autumnal sun was pouring in through the window, and one could hear the roar of the busy street. The leaves in their death were brilliant, and the air was fresh and keen. As with all cities, there was an atmosphere of depression and unnameable sorrow in contrast to the light of the evening; and the artificial gaiety was even more sorrowful. We seem to have forgotten what it is to be natural, to smile freely; our faces are so closed with worry and anxiety. But the leaves sparkled in the sun and a cloud passed by.
Even in so-called spiritual movements the social divisions are maintained. How eagerly a titled person is welcomed and given the front seat! How the followers hang around the famous! How hungry we are for distinctions and labels! This craving for distinction becomes what we call spiritual growth: those who are near and those who are far, the hierarchical division as the Master and the initiate, the pupil and the novice. This craving is obvious and somewhat understandable in the everyday world; but when the same attitude is carried over into a world where these stupid distinctions have no meaning whatever, it reveals how deeply we are conditioned by our cravings and appetites. Without understanding these cravings, it is utterly vain to seek to be free from pride.
"But," he continued, "we need guides, gurus, Masters. You may be beyond them, but we ordinary people need them, otherwise we shall be like lost sheep."
We choose our leaders, political or spiritual, out of our own confusion, and so they also are confused. We demand to be coaxed and comforted, to be encouraged and gratified, so we choose a teacher who will give us what we crave for. We do not search out reality, but go after gratification and sensation. It is essentially for self-glorification that we create the teacher, the Master; and we feel lost, confused. and anxious when the self is denied. If you have no direct physical teacher, you fabricate one who is far away, hidden and mysterious; the former is dependent on various physical and emotional influences, and the latter is self-projected, a homemade ideal; but both are the outcome of your choice, and choice is inevitably based on bias, prejudice. You may prefer to give a more respectable and comforting name to your prejudice, but it is out of your confusion and appetites that you choose. If you are seeking gratification, you will naturally find what you desire, but do not let us call it truth. Truth comes into being when gratification, the desire for sensation, comes to an end.
"You have not convinced me that I do not need a Master," he said.
Truth is not a matter of argumentation and conviction; it is not the outcome of opinion.
"But the Master helps me to overcome my greed, my envy," he insisted.
Can another, however great, help to bring about a transformation in yourself he can, you are not transformed; you are merely dominated, influenced. This influence may last a considerable time, but you are not transformed. You have been overcome; and whether you are overcome by envy or by a so-called noble influence, you are still a slave, you are not free. We like to be slavish, to be possessed by someone, whether by a Master or by anyone else, because there is security in this possession; the Master becomes the refuge. To possess is to be possessed, but possession is not freedom from greed.
"I must resist greed," he said. "I must fight it, make every effort to destroy it, and only then will it go."
From what you say, you have been in conflict with greed for a great many years, and yet you are not free from it. Do not say that you have not tried hard enough, which is the obvious response. Can you understand anything through conflict? To conquer is not to understand. What you conquer has to be conquered again and again, but there is freedom from that which is fully understood. To understand, there must be awareness of the process of resistance. To resist is so much easier than to understand; and besides, we are educated to resist. In resistance there need be no observation, no consideration, no communication; resistance is an indication of the dullness of the mind. A mind that resists is self-enclosed and so is incapable of sensitivity, of understanding. To understand the ways of resistance is far more important than to get rid of greed. Actually, you are not listening to what is being said; you are considering your various commitments which have grown out of your years of struggle and resistance. You are now committed, and around your commitments, which you have probably lectured and written about, you have gathered friends; you have an investment in your Master, who has helped you to resist. So your past is preventing you from listening to what is being said.
"I both agree and disagree with you," he remarked.
Which shows that you are not listening. You are weighing your commitments against what is being said, which is not to listen. You are afraid to listen and so you are in conflict, agreeing and at the same time disagreeing.
"You are probably right," he said, "but I cannot let go of all that I have gathered: my friends, my knowledge, my experience. I know that I must let go, but I simply cannot, and there it is."
The conflict within him will now be greater than ever; for when once you are aware of what is, however reluctantly, and deny it because of your commitments, deep contradiction is set going. This contradiction is duality. There can be no bridging over of opposing desires; and if a bridge is created, it is resistance, which is consistency. Only in understanding what is is there freedom from what is.
It is an odd fact that followers like to be bullied and directed, whether softly or harshly. They think the harsh treatment is part of their training - training in spiritual success. The desire to be hurt, to be rudely shaken, is part of the pleasure of hurting; and this mutual degradation of the leader and the follower is the outcome of the desire for sensation. It is because you want greater sensation that you follow and so create a leader, a guru; and for this new gratification you will sacrifice, put up with discomforts, insults and discouragements. All this is part of mutual exploitation, it has nothing whatever to do with reality and will never lead to happiness.
"THE MOUNTAINS HAVE made me silent," she said. "I went to the Engadine and its beauty made me utterly silent; I was speechless at the wonder of it all. It was a tremendous experience. I wish I could hold that silence, that living, vibrant, moving silence. When you talk of silence, I suppose you mean this extraordinary experience I have had. I really would like to know if you are referring to the same quality of silence as I experienced. The effect of this silence lasted for a considerable period, and now I go back to it, I try to recapture and live in it."
You are made silent by the Engadine, another by a beautiful human form, and another by a Master, by a book, or by drink. Through outward stimulation one is reduced to a sensation which one calls silence and which is extremely pleasurable. The effect of beauty and grandeur is to drive away one's daily problems and conflicts, which is a release. Through outward stimulation, the mind is made temporarily quiet; it is perhaps a new experience, a nev delight, and the mind goes back to it as a remembrance when it is no longer experiencing it. To remain in the mountains is probably not possible, as one has to be back for business; but it is possible to seek that state of quietness through some other form of stimulation, through drink, through a person, or through an idea, which is what most of us do. These various forms of stimulation are the means through which the mind is made still; so the means become significant, important, and we become attached to them. Because the means give us the pleasure of silence, they become dominant in our lives; they are our vested interest, a psychological necessity which we defend and for which, if necessary, we destroy each other. The means take the place of experience, which is now only a memory.
Stimulations may vary, each having a significance according to the conditioning of the person. But there is a similarity in all stimulations: the desire to escape from what is, from our daily routine, from a relationship that is no longer alive, and from knowledge which is always becoming stale. You choose one kind of escape, I another, and my particular brand is always assumed to be more worth while than yours; but all escape, whether in the form of an ideal, the cinema, or the church, is harmful, leading to illusion and mischief. Psychological escapes are more harmful than the obvious ones, being more subtle and complex and therefore more difficult to discover. The silence that is brought about through stimulation, the silence that is made up through disciplines, control, resistances, positive or negative, is a result, an effect and so not creative; it is dead.
There is a silence which is not a reaction, a result; a silence which is not the outcome of stimulation, of sensation; a silence which is not put together, not a conclusion. It comes into being when the process of thought is understood. Thought is the response of memory, of determined conclusions, conscious or unconscious; this memory dictates action according to pleasure and pain. So ideas control action, and hence there is conflict between action and idea. This conflict is always with us, and as it intensifies there is an urge to be free from it; but until this conflict is understood and resolved, any attempt to be free from it is an escape. As long as action is approximating to an idea, conflict is inevitable. Only when action is free from idea does conflict cease.
"But how can action ever be free from idea? Surely there can be no action without there being ideation first. Action follows idea, and I cannot possibly imagine any action which is not the result of idea."
Idea is the outcome of memory; idea is the verbalization of memory; idea is an inadequate reaction to challenge, to life. Adequate response to life is action, not ideation. We respond ideationally in order to safeguard ourselves against action. Ideas limit action. There is safety in the field of ideas, but not in action; so action is made subservient to idea. Idea is the self-protective pattern for action. In intense crisis there is direct action, freed from idea. It is against this spontaneous action that the mind has disciplined itself; and as with most of us the mind is dominant, ideas act as a brake on action and hence there is friction between action and ideation.
"I find my mind wandering off to that happy experience of the Engadine. Is it an escape to relive that experience in memory?,"
Obviously. The actual is your life in the present: this crowded street, your business, your immediate relationships. If these were pleasing and gratifying, the Engadine would fade away; but as the actual is confusing and painful, you turn to an experience which is over and dead. You may remember that experience, but it is finished; you give it life only through memory. It is like pumping life into a dead thing. The present being dull, shallow, we turn to the past or look to a self-projected future.To escape from the present inevitably leads to illusion. To see the present as it actually is, without condemnation or justification, is to understand what is, and then there is action which brings about a transformation in what is.
I wonder why you are being educated? Do you know? As soon as you are old enough your parents send you to school. They perhaps know why they send you to school, but do you know why you go to school? All that you and your parents know is that you must go to school and be educated.
Now, what does it mean to be educated? Have you ever thought about it? Does it mean merely passing examinations so that afterwards you can get married and have some sort of job which you may or may not like, and continue in that job for the rest of your life? Is that education?
You are in various schools and you are being educated, that is, you are learning mathematics, history, geography, science, and so on. Why? Have you ever wondered? Is it merely in order to earn a living afterwards? Is that the purpose of education? Is education merely a matter of passing examinations and putting a few letters after your name, or is it something entirely different?
If you look around, you will see what an awful mess the world is in. Do you see the poor who have very little to eat, who have no holidays and must work day after day from morning till night, while your parents go to the club in luxurious cars and enjoy themselves there? That is life, is it not? There are the poor and the rich, those who are ill and those who have good health, and throughout the world there are wars, there are miseries, there is every kind of trouble. And should you not begin to think about these things while you are young? But you see, you are not helped in your schools to prepare yourself to meet that vast expanse of life with its extraordinary struggles, miseries, suffering, wars; nobody talks to you about all this. They just tell you the bare facts, but that is not enough, is it?
Surely, education is not just to enable you to get a job; it is something which should help you to prepare for life. You may become a clerk, or a governor, or a scientist, but that is not the whole of life.
There are all kinds of things in life. Life is like the ocean. The ocean is not just what you see on the surface, is it? It is tremendously deep, it has enormous currents and is teeming with all kinds of life, with many varieties of fish, the big living on the small. All that is the sea; and so it is with life, in which there are all kinds of enjoyments, pleasures, pains, extraordinary inventions, innumerable systems of meditation, and the mass search for happiness. The whole of that is life, but you are not prepared for it. At school nobody talks to you about all those things. There are too many boys and girls in each class, and the teacher is only concerned with helping you to pass the examinations, he is not interested in the clarification of your minds. But education is surely not a process of stuffing the mind with information. If you know how to read you can pick up any encyclopedia and get whatever information you want. So I think education is something entirely different from merely learning certain facts and passing a few examinations.
You see, as long as we are afraid, we are not educated. Do you know what fear is? You know you are afraid. The children are afraid, the grown-up people are afraid, you are all afraid; and as long as we are afraid, we are not educated, we have no intelligence. So education is not merely the stuffing of the mind with information, but the helping of the student to understand without fear this great complexity of life.
You are afraid of your teachers, of your parents, of your elder brother, of your aunt, or of somebody else, are you not? The older people have the power to punish you, to push you away or ask you to stay in your own room; and so in the school as well as in the home we are continually trained in fear. Our life is moulded by fear, and from childhood till we die we are afraid. And do you know what fear does? Have you ever watched yourself when you are afraid, how your tummy tightens up, how you perspire, how you get nightmares? You don't like to be with the people of whom you are frightened, do you? You want to run away like an animal that is threatened. You see, with that fear we go to school and college, and with that fear we leave college to meet this extraordinary thing, this vast stream with its enormous depth which we call life. So it seems to me that the thing of first importance in education is to see to it that we are educated to be free from fear; because fear dulls our minds, fear cripples our thinking, fear makes for darkness, and as long as we are frightened we shall not create a new world. Do you understand what I am talking about, or is it something of which you have never heard before?
You know, in the world outside of your of family, outside of your home, in the world beyond Bombay, in Europe, America and Russia, they are preparing instruments of enormous destruction. The world is going through an awful phase, and all the politicians all the leaders are very confused, though they say they are not, for they are always having wars, there is always some kind of trouble. So the world at present is not a beautiful thing, it is not a happy place to live in; and if you who are very young are not rightly educated, you will obviously create a world which is equally unhappy, equally miserable, equally confused. Is it not therefore very important to find out how you should be educated so that you can create a totally different kind of world? - a world in which we can all live happily together, in which there are not the rich and the poor, neither the big politicians who have all the power, position, glamour, nor the underprivileged who have nothing in life and must work without ceasing till they die.
It is you who will have to create a new world, not the old people, because the old people are making an awful mess of it. But if you are rightly educated you can create a new world. It is in your hands, not in the hands of the politicians or the priests. If you are rightly educated you will create a marvellous world - not a world of India or Europe, but a world which will be ours, yours and mine, a world in which we shall all live happily together. And I assure you, the creation of such a world depends on you, not on anybody else, and that is why it is very important how you are educated and what kind of teachers you have. If the teacher is afraid, he will have students who are also afraid. If the teacher is narrow, petty, small, merely passing on information to you, then you too will have minds which are very small and you will grow up without understanding what life is.
So it is really very important to be educated rightly, which means growing up in freedom; and you cannot be free if you are frightened of your parents, of your teachers, of public opinion, or of what your grandmother would say. If you are frightened you can never be free. And you may notice in the schools that the teachers have not thought out this problem of fear; because the moment you have any kind of compulsion to make you do something, either through so-called kindness or through a system of discipline, it does create fear. If I am the teacher, and in order to make you study I compare you with another student, saying that you are not as intelligent as some other boy or girl, I am destroying you, am I not? In our present schools we have examinations, which breed fear, and we also have systems of grading, which means that the student is always being compared with somebody else; therefore it is the clever boy or girl who is considered important, and not the individual student. The student who is very smart at his studies, who has a peculiar capacity to pass examinations, may be stupid in other directions, and probably he is.
Giving marks, grading, comparing, and any form of compulsion, either through kindness or through threats, breeds fear; and it is because we are caught in this fear while we are young that we struggle in fear for the rest of our life. The older people, by their attitude towards life, create a form of education which is merely a repetition of the old, so there is no new way of living. That is why it seems to me very important to think about all these matters while you are still very young. Even if you don't understand what I am saying you should ask your teachers about this, if they will permit it, and see if you can really be free from fear. When there is no fear, you study much better. When you feel that you are not being compelled to do anything, you will find out what you are interested in, and then for the rest of your life you will do something which you really love to do - which is much more important than becoming a miserable clerk because you must have a job. To do something because your parents say that you must do it, or because society demands it, is all non- sense; whereas, if you really love to do something with your hands and with your mind, then through that love you will create a new world. But you cannot create a new world if you are frightened, and therefore while you are young there must be a spirit of revolt.
Do you understand what revolt is? As you grow from childhood to adulthood, life presses in upon you in the form of parents, teachers, tradition, neighbours, the culture or society in which you are brought up, and so on; all this encloses you like a prison and compels you to do what it wants, so you are never yourself. And is it not very important that education should help you to be free so that you can think and live without fear and thereby know for yourself what love is? If your parents really love you they will bring about this kind of education, they will see to it that you are free - free to live and grow without fear, free to be happy. But there are very few such parents in the world, because most parents say that the child must do this and not that, he must be like his father: a lawyer, a policeman, a merchant, or whatever it is.
It is really very difficult to understand all these complex problems, and as we grow up we can understand them only when there is intelligence. Intelligence should come while we are young, which means that the teacher himself must first understand all this. But there are very few teachers who understand it, because to most of them teaching is merely a job. They cannot get another job where they would make more money, so they say, "Teaching is a good job", which means that they are interested neither in educating you nor in education itself.
So, as a boy or a girl you have to find out the truth of all this, you cannot just be tame, like a domesticated animal. I hope you are understanding what I am talking about, because all this is really very difficult and requires a great deal of thinking on your part. The world is disintegrating, going to pieces, there are wars, starvation and misery; and the creation of a new world is in your hands. But you cannot create a new world if in you there is no spirit of revolt; and you cannot have this spirit of revolt as long as there is fear which cripples intelligence. Questioner: I have everything to make me happy, while others have not. Why is this so?
Krishnamurti: Why do you think it is like that? You may have good health, kind parents, a good brain, and therefore think you are happy; whereas, somebody who is ill, whose parents are unkind, and who has not too good a brain, feel that he is unhappy. Now, why is this so? Why are you happy while somebody else is unhappy? Does happiness consist in having riches, cars, good houses, clean food, kind parents? Is that what you call happiness? And is a person unhappy who has none of these things? So, what do you mean by happiness? This is important to find out, is it not? Does happiness consist in comparing? When you say, "I am happy", is your happiness born of comparison? Do you understand what I am talking about, or is this too difficult?
Have you not heard your parents say, "So-and-so is not as well off as we are"? Comparison makes us feel that we have something, it gives us a sense of satisfaction, does it not? If one is clever and compares oneself with somebody who is not so clever, one feels very happy. That is, we think we are happy through pride, comparison; but the man who feels happy by comparing himself with another who has a little less, is a most miserable human being, because there is always somebody above him who has more; and so it goes on and on. Surely, comparison is not happiness. Happiness is entirely different; it is not a thing to be sought after. Happiness comes when you are doing something because you really love to do it, and not because it gives you riches or makes you a prominent person.
Questioner: What is the way to get rid of the fear that we have?
Krishnamurti: First you must know what you are afraid of, must you not? You may be afraid of your parents, of the teachers, of not passing an examination, of what your sister, your brother, or your neighbour might say; or you may be afraid of not being as good or as clever as your father, who has a big name. There are many kinds of fear, and one must know what one is afraid of. Now, do you know what you are afraid of? If you do, then don't run away from that fear, but find out why you are afraid. If you want to know how to get rid of fear, you must not escape from it, you must face it; and the very facing of it helps you to be free of it. As long as we are running away from fear, we do not look at it; but the moment we stop and look at fear, it begins to dissolve. The very running away is the cause of fear.
You must be teeming with questions, but perhaps you are shy. May I ask you a question? What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you know? Of course, for the girls it is simple, they want to get married, that is understood; but even if you get married, what do you want to do? Are you ambitious? Do you know what ambition is? It is the desire to become somebody, is it not? The man who has an ideal and says, "I am going to be like Rama, Sita, or Gandhiji", is still ambitious. Are you ambitious in some way?
Now, what does that mean? Why are you ambitious? This may be a little difficult, but it is one of the problems of life and you ought to be thinking about it. I will tell you why. We are all ambitious; everyone is ambitious in his own way. And do you know what that does? It causes us to be against one another. We are always struggling to be rich, to have fame, to be more clever; I want to be greater than you, and you want to be greater than I. So ambition really means trying to be something we are not. And which is important? To try to be something we are not, or to understand what we are? Surely, we must first look at ourselves and begin to understand what we are.
You see, most of us are idealists; and idealists are hypocrites, because they are always trying to become something which they are not. If I am stupid and I strive to become clever, everybody thinks it is a marvellous thing. But a stupid person, however well he may learn the tricks of cleverness, does not thereby become intelligent. Whereas, if I know that I am stupid, then that very knowledge is the beginning of intelligence - which is much better than merely being clever. Do you understand?
If I am not very quick-witted, what generally happens? In school I am put at the end of the class - which is a disgraceful thing for the teacher to do, because I am as important as anybody else. It is stupid of the teacher to keep me at the end of the class by comparing me with the clever students, because by comparing he is destroying me.
But comparison is the basis of our so-called education, and of our whole culture. The teacher is always saying that you,must do as well as such and such a boy or girl, so you struggle to be as clever as they are. And what happens to you? You get more and more worried, physically ill, mentally worn out. Whereas, if the teacher does not compare you with anyone, but says, "Look here, old boy, be yourself. Let us find out what you are interested in, what your capacities are. Don't imitate, don't try to become like Rama, Sita, or Gandhiji, but be what you are and begin from there" - if the teacher says that, then it is you who are important, not somebody else. It is the individual who is important, and by comparing a student with somebody who is cleverer, the teacher is belittling him, making him smaller, more stupid. It is the function of the teacher to help you to find out what you are, and he cannot help you to do that if he is comparing you with somebody else. Comparison destroys you, so don't compare yourself with another. You are as good as anybody. Understand what you are, and from there begin to find out how to be more fully, more freely, more expansively what you are.
Questioner: You said that if the parents really love their child they will not stop him from doing anything. But if the child does not want to be clean or eats something which is bad for his health, must we not stop him?
Krishnamurti: I do not think I have ever said that if the parents love their child they will let him do exactly as he likes. Sir, this is a very difficult question, is it not? After all, if I love my son I shall see to it that he has no cause for fear - which is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. As I said, to be free of fear, the child must not be compared with anyone else, nor must he be subjected to examinations. If I love the child I shall give him freedom, not to do what he likes - because merely to do what one likes is stupid - , but freedom in which to cultivate intelligence; and that intelligence will then tell him what to do.
To have intelligence there must be freedom, and you cannot be free if you are constantly being urged to become like some hero, for then the hero is important and not you. Don't you have tummy-aches when you have examinations? Don't you feel nervous, anxious? When year after year you have to face this terrible ordeal called examinations, do you know what it does to you throughout the rest of your life? The older people say that you must grow without fear; but it doesn't mean a thing, it is only a lot of words, because they are cultivating fear through subjecting you to examinations and by comparing you with somebody else.
Another thing we should really discuss is what we call discipline. Do you know what I mean by discipline? From childhood you are told what to do, and you have jolly well got to do it. No one takes the trouble to explain why you should get up early, why you should be clean. parents and teachers do not explain these things to you because they have neither the love, the time, nor the patience; they merely say, "Do it or I shall punish you". So education as we know it, is the instilling of fear. And how can your mind be intelligent when there is fear? How can you have love or feel respect for people when you are afraid? You may `respect' the people who have big names, expensive cars; but you don't respect your servant, you just kick him. When a big man comes around you all salute him and touch his feet, and that is called respect; but it is not respect, it is fear that is making you touch his feet. You don't touch the feet of the poor coolie, do you? You are not respectful to him, because he cannot give you anything. So all our education is nothing but the cultivation or strengthening of fear. That is a terrible thing, is it not? And as long as there is fear, how can we create a new world? We cannot. That is why it is very important to understand this problem of fear while you are young, and for all of us to see to it that we are really educated without fear.
Questioner: Is it not important to have ideals in life?
Krishnamurti: This is a good question, because you all have ideals. You have the ideal of non-violence, the ideal of peace, or the ideal of a person such as Rama, Sita, or Gandhiji, have you not? Which means what? You are not important, but the ideal is very important. Rama is awfully important, but not poor old you, so you imitate him. All that you are concerned with is to copy either a person or an idea. As I said, an idealist is a hypocrite, because he is always trying to become what he is not, instead of being and understanding what he is.
You see, the problem of idealism is really a complex one, and you don't understand it because you have never been encouraged to think about it; no one has ever talked it over with you. All your books, all your teachers, all the newspapers and magazines say you must have ideals, you must be like this hero or that, which only makes the mind like a monkey who imitates, or like a gramophone record which repeats a lot of words. So you must not accept, but begin to question everything and find out; and you cannot question if you are inwardly afraid. To question everything means being in revolt, which is to create a new world. But you see, your teachers and parents do not want you to be in revolt, because they want to control you, they want to shape and mould you into their patterns; and so life continues to be an ugly thing.
Questioner: If we are small, how can we create a new world?
Krishnamurti: You cannot create a new world if you are small. But you are not going to be small for the rest of your life, are you? You are small if you are afraid. You may have a big body, a big car, a high position, but if you are afraid inside you will never create a new world. That is why it is very important to grow with intelligence, without fear, to grow in freedom. But to grow in freedom does not mean disciplining oneself to be free.
Questioner: What should be the system of education to make the child fearless?
Krishnamurti: A system or a method implies being told what to do and how to do it; and will that make you fearless? Can you be educated with intelligence, without fear, through any kind of system? When you are young, you should be free to grow; but there is no system to make you free. A system implies making the mind conform to a pattern, does it not? It means locking you up in a framework, not giving you freedom. The moment you rely on a system you dare not step out of it, and then the very thought of stepping out of it breeds fear. So, there is really no system of education. What is important is the teacher and the student, not the system. After all, if I want to help you to be free of fear, I myself must be free of fear. Then I must study you; I must take the trouble to explain everything to you and tell you what the world is like; and to do all this I must love you. As a teacher I must have the feeling that when you leave school or college you should be without fear. If I really have that feeling, I can help you to be free of fear.
Questioner: Is it possible to know the quality of gold without testing it in a special way? Similarly, can the capacity of each child be known without some sort of examination?
Krishnamurti: Do you really know the capacity of the child through examination? One child may fail because he is nervous, fearful of the examination, while another may slip through because he is less affected by it. Whereas, if you watch each child week after week, if you observe his character, the way he plays games, the way he talks, the interests he shows, how he studies, the food he eats, then you will begin to know the child without requiring examinations to tell you what he is capable of. But we have never thought about all these things.
Questioner: Sir, what is your idea of a new world?
Krishnamurti: I have no idea about the new world. The `new' world cannot be new if I have an idea about it. This is not just a clever statement, it is a fact. If I have an idea about it, the idea is born of my study and experience, is it not? It is born of what I have learnt, of what I have read, of what other people have said the new world should be. So, the `new' world can never be new if it is a creation of the mind, because the mind is the old. You don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, do you? You may know that there will be no school tomorrow because it is Sunday, and that on Monday you will be going to school again; but what is going to happen outside the school, what kind of feelings you are going to have, what kind of things you are going to see - all that you don't know, do you? Because you don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, or the next morning, when it happens it will be new; and to be able to meet the new is what matters.
Questioner: How can we create anything new if we don't know what it is we want to create?
Krishnamurti: It is a sad thing not to know what it means to create, is it not? When you have a feeling, you may put what you feel into words. If you see a beautiful tree, you may write a poem describing, not the tree, but what the tree has awakened in you. That feeling is the new, it is the creative thing; but you cannot bring it about, it must happen to you.
Questioner: Must the children take all these matters seriously. And if they do, will they ever be free to enjoy themselves?
Krishnamurti: Are you not serious now? But you cannot be serious all the time, can you? You cannot play all the time, or sleep all the time, or study all the time. There is a time to play and a time to be serious, and this meeting is meant to be serious; but if you do not want to be serious, it is all right, no body is going to compel you.
We have been talking about fear; and do you not think that what we call religion is really the outcome of fear? You must have noticed how your parents, your grandparents, or your relatives go to the temple, worship an idol, repeat sentences from the Gita or some other sacred book, or perform some ritual. Doing these things and believing in something, is what they call religion. But do you think it is so? Going to the temple, putting flowers at the foot of an idol made by the hand, doing some ritual day after day, year in and year out till you die - is that religion?
And if religion is not the worship of a thing made by the hand, then is it the worship of something made by the mind? When you enter a temple you see there an idol which some sculptor has carved out of stone. People put flowers before this image, they pour water on it, they clothe it; that is what they call religion, and they think it is irreligious not to do these things.
We also have an idea of what God is, and that idea is created by the mind, is it not? The idol is made by the mind through the hand, and the idea of God is made and held in the mind as something marvellous, something to be worshipped like the sacred idol. Both the idea and the idol are made by the mind, are they not? Obviously they are not God, because the mind has invented them. In Europe you will see the sculptured figure of a human being stripped and nailed on a cross, and that figure they worship. Here in India we do the same thing in a different way. Whether in India, in Europe or America, we pray to an image, we worship an idea, and gradually we build up a thing called religion - a religion which is invented by the mind.
You see, we are afraid to be alone, we want somebody to help us. At your age we want to be helped by our mother, by our father, by our grandfather, and as we grow older we still want somebody to help us, because life is very difficult; we want a glorified father to protect us, to tell us what to do. So, out of the fear of being lonely, of not being helped, we believe in a God who is going to help us; but it is still an invention of the mind, is it not? Because we are afraid and want to be guided and told what is right and what is wrong, as we grow up we create a religion which is not religion at all. Religion, I think, is something totally different, and to find the real thing we must obviously be free of the thing which man invents. Do you follow? To find out what God is, to discover something that is real, one must be free of all the pseudo-religious trappings that man has imposed upon himself. You can discover the real thing only if you are completely free of fear, which means that as you grow up and go out into the world you must have the intelligence to find out what you are afraid of - to take it out of the cupboard of your mind, look at it and not run away from it.
Most of us are afraid to be alone. Do we ever go out for a walk alone? Very rarely. We always want somebody to go with us because we want to chatter, we want to tell somebody a story, we are all the time talking, talking, talking; so we are never alone, are we? When one grows older and can go for a walk alone, one discovers a great many things. One discovers one's own ways of thinking, and then one begins to observe all the things about one - the beggar, the stupid man, the clever man, the rich and the poor; one becomes aware of the trees, the birds, the light on a leaf. You will see all this when you go out alone. In being alone you will soon find out that you are afraid. And it is because we are afraid that we have invented this thing called religion.
Volumes have been written about God and what you should do to approach him; but the basis of it all is fear. As long as one is afraid, one cannot find anything real. If you are afraid of the dark, you dare not go out, so you pull up the sheet and go to sleep. To go out and look, to find out what is real, there must be freedom from fear, must there not? But you see, to be free from fear is very difficult. Most grown-up people say that you can be free only when you are older, when you have gathered knowledge and have learned to discipline your mind. They think freedom is something very far away, at the end, not at the beginning. But surely there must be freedom right from childhood up, otherwise you are never free.
You see, being themselves frightened, the older people discipline you, they tell you what is right and what is wrong; they say you must do that and not this, that you must think of what people will say, and so on. There is every form of control to make you fit into the groove, into a frame, a pattern, and this is called discipline. Being very young, and out of your own fear, you fit in; but that does not help you, because when you just fit in you do not understand.
Now, look at it the other way. If you were not disciplined, if you were not controlled, held down, would you do what you like? Would you do as you please if there were nobody to tell you what you should do? You probably would now, because you are used to being forced, held down, put in a framework, and as a reaction you would do something contrary to it. But suppose that from childhood up, right from the beginning as you go through school, the teacher talked things over with you and did not tell you what you should do - how then would you respond? If, right from the beginning as you go through school, the teacher pointed out that to be free is the first thing, not the last thing when you are about to die, then what would happen?
The difficulty is that to be free demands a great deal of intelligence; and as you don't yet know what it is to be free - free to do something which you really love to do - , it is the function of the teacher to help you to discover the ways of intelligence. It is intelligence which brings about freedom from fear. As long as there is fear, you are constantly imposing upon yourself a kind of discipline: I must do this and not that, I must believe, I must conform, I must do puja, and so on. This self-discipline is all born of fear, and where there is fear there is no intelligence.
So education, rightly speaking, is not just a matter of reading books, passing examinations and getting a job. Education is quite a different process; it extends from the moment you are born to the moment you die. You may read innumerable books and be very clever, but I do not think mere cleverness is a mark of education. If you are merely clever you miss a great deal in life. The important thing is first to find out what you are afraid of, to understand it and not run away from it. When your mind is really free from demands of every kind, when it is no longer envious, acquisitive, only then can you find out what God is. God is not what people say God is. God is something entirely different - something that comes into being when you under. stand, when you have no fear.
So, religion is really a process of education, is it not? Religion is not a matter of what to believe and what not to believe, of doing rituals or clinging to some superstitions; it is a process of educating ourselves in the ways of understanding so that our life becomes extraordinarily rich and we are no longer frightened, mediocre human beings. Only then can we create a new world.
Politicians and religious leaders say that the creation of a new world is in the hands of the young people. Haven't you heard that? Hundreds of times, probably. But they don't educate you to be free; and there must be freedom to create a new world. The grown-ups educate you in the pattern of their own ideas - and they have made an awful mess of things. They say it is you, the younger generation, who must create a new world; but at the same time they put you into a cage, do they not? They tell you that you must be an Indian, a Parsi, this or that - and if you follow their ideas, you are obviously going to create a world exactly like the present one. A new world can be created only when you create out of freedom, not out of fear, not out of superstition, nor on the basis of what certain people have said the new world should be.
You who are young, the coming generation, can bring about a totally different world only if you are educated to be free, and are not forced to do something which you do not love or understand. That is why it is very important, while you are young, to be real revolutionaries - which means not accepting anything, but inquiring into all these things to find out what is true. Only then can you create a new world. Otherwise, though you may call it by a deferent name, you will perpetuate the same old world of misery and destruction which has always existed until now.
But generally what happens to us when we are young? The girls get married, have children, and gradually wither away. The boys, when they grow up, have to earn a livelihood, so they get jobs and are required to conform, forced to follow a profession whether they like it or not; being married and having children, they are dragged along by their responsibilities and must therefore do what they are told. So the spirit of revolt, the spirit of inquiry, the spirit of inward search comes to an end; all their revolutionary ideas of creating a new world are crushed out, because life is too much for them. They have to go to the office, they have a boss there for whom they must do this or that, and gradually the sense of inquiry, the feeling of revolt, the eagerness to create an altogether different way of life, is completely destroyed. That is why it is very important to have this spirit of revolt right from the beginning, from childhood up.
You see, religion, the real thing, means a revolt in order to find God, which is to discover for oneself what is true. It is not a mere acceptance of the so-called sacred books, however ancient and venerated they may be.
Questioner: In your book on education you suggest that modern education is a complete failure. I would like you to explain this.
Krishnamurti: Is it not a failure, sir? When you go out on the street you see the poor man and the rich man; and when you look around you, you see all the so-called educated people throughout the world wrangling, fighting, killing each other in wars. There is now scientific knowledge enough to enable us to provide food, clothing and shelter for all human beings, yet it is not done. The politicians and other leaders throughout the world are educated people, they have titles, degrees, caps and gowns, they are doctors and scientists; and yet they have not created a world in which man can live happily. So modern education has failed, has it not? And if you are satisfied to be educated in the same old way, you will make another howling mess of life.
Questioner: May I know why we should not fit into our parents' plans, since they want us to be good?
Krishnamurti: Why should you fit into your parents' plans, however worthy, however noble they may be? You are not just putty, you are not jelly to be fitted into a mould. And if you do fit in, what happens to you? You become a so-called good girl, or good boy and then what? Do you know what it means to be good? Goodness is not just doing what society says, or what your parents say. Goodness is something entirely different, is it not? Goodness comes into being only when you have intelligence, when you have love, when you have no fear. You cannot be good if you are afraid. You can become respectable by doing what society demands - and then society gives you a garland, it says what a good person you are; but merely being respectable is not being good.
You see, when we are young we do not want to fit in, and at the same time we want to be good. We want to be nice, to be sweet, we want to be considerate and do kind things; but we do not know what it all means, and we are `good' because we are afraid. Our parents say, "Be good", and most of us are good, but such `goodness' is merely living according to their plans for us.
Questioner: You say that modern education is a failure. But if the politicians had not been educated, do you think they could have created a better world?
Krishnamurti: I am not at all sure that they couldn't have created a better world if they had never received this kind of education. What does it mean to govern the people? After all, that is what politicians are supposed to do - to govern the people. But they are ambitious, they want power, position, they want to be restricted, they want to be the leaders, to have the first place; they are not thinking of the people, they are thinking of themselves or their parties, which are an extension of themselves. Human beings are human beings, whether they live in India, in Germany, in Russia, in America, or in China; but you see, by dividing human beings according to countries, more politicians can have big jobs, so they are not interested in thinking of the world as a whole. They are `educated', they know how to read, how to argue, and they talk everlastingly about being good citizens - but they must have the first place. To divide up the world and create wars - is that what we call education? The politicians are not alone in doing this; we all do it. Some people want war because it gives them profit. So it is not only the politicians who must have the right kind of education. Questioner: Then what is your idea of the right kind of education?
Krishnamurti: I have just told you. Look, I will show you again. After all, the religious person is not one who worships a god, an image made by the hand or by the mind, but one who is really inquiring into what truth is, what God is; and such a person is really educated. He may not go to a school, he may have no books, he may not even know how to read; but he is freeing himself from fear, from his egotism, from his selfishness, ambition. So education is not merely a process of learning how to read, how to calculate, how to build bridges, how to do scientific research in order to find new ways of utilizing atomic power, and all the rest of it. The function of education is primarily to help man to free himself from his own pettiness and from his stupid ambitions. All ambition is stupid, petty - there is no great ambition. And education also implies helping the student to grow in freedom without fear, does it not?
Questioner: How can every man be educated like that?
Krishnamurti: Don't you want to be educated like that?
Questioner: But how?
Krishnamurti: First, do you want to be educated like that? Don't ask how, but have the feeling that you want to be educated in that way. If you have this intense reeling, as you grow up you will help to create it in others, will you not? Sir, look: if you are very keen on playing a certain game, you soon find other people to play it with you. Similarly, if you are really keen to be educated in the way we have been discussing, then you will help to create a school with the right kind of teachers who will provide that kind of education. But most of us don't really want that kind of education, and so we ask, "How can it be brought about?" We look to somebody else for the answer. But if all of you - every student who is listening, and I hope the teachers too - want that kind of education, then you will demand it and bring it into being.
Take a simple example. You know what chewing gum is, don't you? If you all want chewing gum, the manufacturer produces it, but if you don't want it the manufacturer goes broke. Similarly on quite a different level, if you all say, "We want the right kind of education, not this phoney education which only leads to organized murder" - if you say that and really mean it you will bring into being the right kind of education. But you see, you are still too young, too frightened, and that is why it is important to help you to create this thing.
Questioner: If I want the right kind of education, do I need teachers?
Krishnamurti: Of course you do. You need teachers to help you, do you not? But what is help? You are not living in the world alone, are you? There are your fellow students, your parents, your teachers, the postman, the man who brings the milk - everybody is needed, we all help each other to live in this world. But if you say, "The teacher is sacred, he is at one level and I am at another", then that kind of help is no help at all. The teacher is helpful only if he is not using teaching to feed his vanity or as a means of his own security. If he is teaching, not because he is unable to do anything else, but because he really loves to teach, then he will help the student to grow without fear. This means no examinations, no grading, no marks. If you are to create the right kind of education, you need such teachers to help you to create it; so it is very important for the teachers themselves to be rightly educated.
Questioner: If all ambitions are stupid, then how can man progress?
Krishnamurti: Do you know what progress is? Now, have patience and let us go into it slowly. What is progress? Have you ever thought about it? Is it progress when you can get to Europe in a few hours by airplane instead of taking a fortnight to get there by boat? The invention of faster means of transportation and communication, the development of bigger guns, bigger and better ways of destroying each other, wiping out thousands of people with a single atomic bomb instead of shooting them down one by one with arrows - this we call progress, do we not? So there has been progress in the technological sense; but have we progressed in any other direction? Have we stopped wars? Are people more kind, more loving, more generous, more thoughtful, less cruel? You don't have to say yes or no, but just look at the facts. Scientifically and physically we have made tremendous progress; but inwardly we are at a standstill, are we not? For most of us education has been like lengthening only one leg of a tripod so we have no balance; and yet we talk about progress, all the newspapers are full of it!
Questioner: I have a friend who hates her parents because they have separated her from a person she loves. How can I help her?
Krishnamurti: This is a very complicated question, is it not? You know, life is not very easy, some parts of it are very cruel. There are thoughtless parents who are not concerned with their children at all; or if they are concerned, they want the children to obey, to imitate, to do everything exactly as the parents wish. So resistance is gradually built up in the children, is it not? If the father happens to be intelligent, and the mother stupidly insistent when the father is not there, or vice versa, the children have resistance, antagonism to one parent or the other. Perhaps you can help your friend by being more understanding, more affectionate, and explaining in a kindly manner some of the things which you and I have talked about and which you understand for yourself.
You see, the moment you have a grudge, the moment you hate somebody, it harms you far more than the person you dislike, because that feeling is like a wound inside you that is festering, but it is very difficult for children, for young people to understand all this. After all, children are full of mischief, full of happy play - as they should be; and if parents force their child into a particular pattern or mould, it creates in the child a tremendous resistance, a blind antagonism which he is going to take out on somebody as he grows up. If you have begun to understand this, you can talk it over with your friend and perhaps help her not to build up this hatred, this antagonism within herself. Questioner: What is the definition of a student?
Krishnamurti: It is very easy to find a definition, is it not? All you have to do is to open a dictionary at the right place and it will give you the answer. But that is not the kind of definition you want, is it? You want to talk about it, you want to find out what a true student is. Is he a true student who passes examinations, gets a job, and then closes all books? Being a student implies studying life, not just reading the few books required by your curriculum; it implies the capacity to observe everything throughout life, not just a few things at a particular period. A student, surely, is not only one who reads, but one who is capable of observing all the movements of life, outward and inward, without saying, "This is right, that is wrong". If you condemn something, you don't observe it, do you? To observe you have to study without condemning, without comparing. If I compare you with somebody else I am not studying you, am I? If I compare you with your younger brother or your elder sister, it is the sister or the brother who is important; therefore I am not studying you.
But our whole education is to compare. You are everlastingly comparing yourself or another with somebody - with your guru, with your ideal, with your father who is so clever, a great politician, and so on. This process of comparison and condemnation prevents you from observing, studying. So a real student is one who observes everything in life, outwardly as well as inwardly, without comparing, approving or condemning. He is not only capable of research into scientific matters, but is also able to observe the workings of his own mind, his own feelings - which is much more difficult than observing a scientific fact. To understand the whole operation of one's own mind requires a great deal of insight, a great deal of inquiry without condemnation.
Questioner: You say that all idealists are hypocrites. Whom do you call an idealist?
Krishnamurti: Don't you know what an idealist is? If I am violent, I may say that my ideal is to be non-violent; but the fact remains that I am violent. The ideal is what I hope to be eventually. It will take years for me to become non-violent, and meanwhile I am violent - that is the real thing. Being violent, I am trying all the time to be non-violent, which is unreal; and is that not hypocrisy? Instead of understanding and dissolving my violence, I am trying to be something else. The man who is trying to be something other than he is, is obviously a hypocrite. It is like my putting on a mask and saying I am different, but behind the mask I am just the same old man. Whereas, if I can go into the whole process of violence and understand it, then there is a possibility of being free from violence.
Question: Gossip has value in self-revelation, especially in revealing others to me. Seriously, why not use gossip as a means of discovering what is? I do not shiver at the word `gossip' just because it has been condemned for ages.
Krishnamurti: I wonder why we gossip? Not because it reveals others to us. And why should others be revealed to us? Why do you want to know others? Why this extraordina1y concern about others? First of all, why do we gossip? It is a form of restlessness, is it not? Like worry, it is an indication of a restless mind. Why this desire to interfere with others, to know what others are doing, saying? It is a very superficial mind that gossips, isn't it? - an inquisitive mind which is wrongly directed. The questioner seems to think that others are revealed to him by his being concerned with them - with their doings, with their thoughts, with their opinions. But do we know others if we don't know ourselves? Can we judge others, if we do not know the way of our own thinking, the way we act, the way we behave? Why this extraordinary concern over others? Is it not an escape, really, this desire to find out what others are thinking and feeling and gossiping about? Doesn't it offer an escape from ourselves? Is there not in it also the desire to interfere with others' lives? Isn't our own life sufficiently difficult, sufficiently complex, sufficiently painful, without dealing with others', interfering with others'? Is there time to think about others in that gossipy, cruel, ugly manner? Why do we do this? You know, everybody does it. Practically everybody gossips about somebody else. Why?
I think, first of all, we gossip about others because we are not sufficiently interested in the process of our own thinking and of our own action. We want to see what others are doing and perhaps, to put it kindly, to imitate others. Generally, when we gossip it is to condemn others, but, stretching it charitably, it is perhaps to imitate others. Why do we want to imitate others? Doesn't it all indicate an extraordinary shallowness on our own part? It is an extraordinarily dull mind that wants excitement, and goes outside itself to get it. In other words gossip is a form of sensation, isn't it?, in which we indulge. It may be a different kind of sensation, but there is always this desire to find excitement, distraction. If one really goes into this question deeply, one comes back to oneself, which shows that one is really extraordinarily shallow and seeking excitement from outside by talking about others. Catch yourself the next time you are gossiping about somebody; if you are aware of it, it will indicate an awful lot to you about yourself. Don't cover it up by saying that you are merely inquisitive about others. It indicates restlessness, a sense of excitement, a shallowness, a lack of real, profound interest in people which has nothing to do with gossip.
The next problem is, how to stop gossip. That is the next question, isn't it? When you are aware that you are gossiping, how do you stop gossiping? If it has become a habit, an ugly thing that continues day after day, how do you stop it? Does that question arise? When you know you are gossiping, when you are aware that you are gossiping, aware of all its implications, do you then say to yourself, "How am I to stop it?" Does it not stop of its own accord, the moment you are aware that you are gossiping? The 'how' does not arise at all. The `how' arises only when you are unaware; and gossip indicates a lack of awareness. Experiment with this for yourself the next time you are gossiping, and see how quickly, how immediately you stop gossiping when you are aware of what you are talking about, aware that your tongue is running away with you. It does not demand the action of will to stop it. All that is necessary is to be aware, to be conscious of what you are saying and to see the implications of it. You don't have to condemn or justify gossip. Be aware of it and you will see how quickly you stop gossiping; because it reveals to oneself one's own ways of action, one's behaviour, thought pattern; in that revelation, one discovers oneself, which is far more important than gossiping about others, about what they are doing, what they are thinking, how they behave.
Most of us who read daily newspapers are filled with gossip, global gossip. It is all an escape from ourselves, from our own pettiness, from our own ugliness. We think that through a superficial interest in world events we are becoming more and more wise, more capable of dealing with our own lives. All these, surely, are ways of escaping from ourselves, are they not? In ourselves we are so empty, shallow; we are so frightened of ourselves. We are so poor in ourselves that gossip acts as a form of rich entertainment, an escape from ourselves. We try to fill that emptiness in us with knowledge, with rituals, with gossip, with group meetings - with the innumerable ways of escape, so the escapes become all-important, and not the understanding of what is. The understanding of what is demands attention; to know that one is empty, that one is in pain, needs immense attention and not escapes, but most of us like these escapes, because they are much more pleasurable, more pleasant. Also, when we know ourselves as we are, it is very difficult to deal with ourselves; that is one of the problems with which we are faced. We don't know what to do. When I know that I am empty, that I am suffering, that I am in pain, I don't know what to do, how to deal with it. So one resorts to all kinds of escapes.
The question is, what to do? Obviously, of course, one cannot escape; for that is most absurd and childish. But when you are faced with yourself as you are, what are you to do? First, is it possible not to deny or justify it but just to remain with it, as you are? - which is extremely arduous, because the mind seeks explanation, condemnation, identification. If it does not do any of those things but remains with it, then it is like accepting something. If I accept that I am brown, that is the end of it; but if I am desirous of changing to a lighter colour, then the problem arises. To accept what is is most difficult; one can do that only when there is no escape and condemnation or justification is a form of escape. Therefore when one understands the whole process of why one gossips and when one realizes the absurdity of it, the cruelty and all the things involved in it, then one is left with what one is; and we approach it always either to destroy it, or to change it into something else. If we don't do either of those things but approach it with the intention of understanding it, being with it completely, then we will find that it is no longer the thing that we dreaded. Then there is a possibility of transforming that which is.
Question: What place has criticism in relationship? What is the difference between destructive and constructive criticism?
Krishnamurti: First of all, why do we criticize? Is it in order to understand? Or is it merely a nagging process? If I criticize you, do I understand you? Does understanding come through judgement? If I want to comprehend, if I want to understand not superficially but deeply the whole significance of my relationship to you, do I begin to criticize you? Or am I aware of this relationship between you and me, silently observing it - not projecting my opinions, criticisms, judgements, identifications or condemnations, but silently observing what is happening? And if I do not criticize, what happens? One is apt to go to sleep, is one not? Which does not mean that we do not go to sleep if we are nagging. Perhaps that becomes a habit and we put ourselves to sleep through habit. Is there a deeper, wider understanding of relationship, through criticism? It doesn't matter whether criticism is constructive or destructive - that is irrelevant, surely. Therefore the question is: "What is the necessary state of mind and heart that will understand relationship?" What is the process of understanding? How do we understand something? How do you understand your child, if you are interested in your child? You observe, don't you? You watch him at play, you study him in his different moods; you don't project your opinion on to him. You don't say he should be this or that. You are alertly watchful, aren't you?, actively aware. Then, perhaps, you begin to understand the child. If you are constantly criticizing, constantly injecting your own particular personality, your idiosyncrasies, your opinions, deciding the way he should or should not be, and all the rest of it, obviously you create a barrier in that relationship. Unfortunately most of us criticize in order to shape, in order to interfere; it gives us a certain amount of pleasure, a certain gratification, to shape something - the relationship with a husband, child or whoever it may be. You feel a sense of power in it, you are the boss, and in that there is a tremendous gratification. Surely through all that process there is no understanding of relationship. There is mere imposition, the desire to mould another to the particular pattern of your idiosyncrasy, your desire, your wish. All these prevent, do they not?, the understanding of relationship.
Then there is self-criticism. To be critical of oneself, to criticize, condemn, or justify oneself - does that bring understanding of oneself? When I begin to criticize myself, do I not limit the process of understanding, of exploring? Does introspection, a form of self-criticism, unfold the self? What makes the unfoldment of the self possible? To be constantly analytical, fearful, critical - surely that does not help to unfold. What brings about the unfoldment of the self so that you begin to understand it is the constant awareness of it without any condemnation, without any identification. There must be a certain spontaneity; you cannot be constantly analysing it, disciplining it, shaping it. This spontaneity is essential to understanding. If I merely limit, control, condemn, then I put a stop to the movement of thought and feeling, do I not? It is in the movement of thought and feeling that I discover - not in mere control. When one discovers, then it is important to find out how to act about it. If I act according to an idea, according to a standard, according to an ideal, then I force the self into a particular pattern. In that there is no understanding, there is no transcending. If I can watch the self without any condemnation, without any identification, then it is possible to go beyond it. That is why this whole process of approximating oneself to an ideal is so utterly wrong. Ideals are homemade gods and to conform to a self-projected image is surely not a release.
Thus there can be understanding only when the mind is silently aware, observing - which is arduous, because we take delight in being active, in being restless, critical, in condemning, justifying. That is our whole structure of being; and, through the screen of ideas, prejudices, points of view, experiences, memories, we try to understand. Is it possible to be free of all these screens and so understand directly? Surely we do that when the problem is very intense; we do not go through all these methods - we approach it directly. The understanding of relationship comes only when this process of self-criticism is understood and the mind is quiet. If you are listening to me and are trying to follow, with not too great an effort, what I wish to convey, then there is a possibility of our understanding each other. But if you are all the time criticizing, throwing up your opinions, what you have learned from books, what somebody else has told you and so on and so on, then you and I are not related, because this screen is between us. If we are both trying to find out the issues of the problem, which lie in the problem itself, if both of us are eager to go to the bottom of it, find the truth of it, discover what it is - then we are related. Then your mind is both alert and passive, watching to see what is true in this. Therefore your mind must be extraordinarily swift, not anchored to any idea or ideal, to any judgement, to any opinion that you have consolidated through your particular experiences. Understanding comes, surely, when there is the swift pliability of a mind which is passively aware. Then it is capable of reception, then it is sensitive. A mind is not sensitive when it is crowded with ideas, prejudices, opinions, either for or against.
To understand relationship, there must be a passive awareness - which does not destroy relationship. On the contrary, it makes relationship much more vital, much more significant. Then there is in that relationship a possibility of real affection; there is a warmth, a sense of nearness, which is not mere sentiment or sensation. If we can so approach or be in that relationship to everything, then our problems will be easily solved - the problems of property, the problems of possession, because we are that which we possess. The man who possesses money is the money. The man who identifies himself with property is the property or the house or the furniture. Similarly with ideas or with people; when there is possessiveness, there is no relationship. Most of us possess because we have nothing else if we do not possess. We are empty shells if we do not possess, if we do not fill our life with furniture, with music, with knowledge, with this or that. And that shell makes a lot of noise and that noise we call living; and with that we are satisfied. When there is a disruption, a breaking away of that, then there is sorrow, because then you suddenly discover yourself as you are - an empty shell, without much meaning. To be aware of the whole content of relationship is action, and from that action there is a possibility of true relationship, a possibility of discovering its great depth, its great significance and of knowing what love is.