Control and Order

From Krishnamurti’s Book BEYOND VIOLENCE

There are so many frightening things happening in the world; there is so much confusion, violence and brutality. What can one do, as a human being, in a world that is torn apart, in a world where there is so much despair and sorrow? And in oneself there is so much confusion and conflict. What is the relationship of a human being with this corrupt society, where the individual himself is corrupt? What is the way of life in which one can find some kind of peace, some kind of order and yet live in this society which is corrupt, disintegrating? I am sure you must have asked these questions of yourself; and if one has found the right answer, which is extremely difficult, perhaps one can bring about some kind of order in one’s life.

What value has one individual who leads an orderly, sane, whole, balanced life in a world that is destroying itself, a world that is constantly threatened by war? What value has individual change? How will it affect this whole mass of human existence? I am sure you have asked these questions. But I think they are wrong questions, because one does not live and act rightly for the sake of somebody else, for the benefit of society. So one must find out, it seems to me, what order is, so as not to be dependent on circumstance, on a particular culture – economic, social or otherwise – because if one does not find out for oneself what order is and the way to live without conflict, one’s life is wasted, it has no meaning. As we are living now in constant travail and conflict, life has very little meaning; it actually has no significance at all. Having a little money, going to the office, being conditioned, repeating what others say, having very strong, obstinate opinions and dogmatic beliefs – all such activity has very little meaning. And since it has no meaning, the intellectuals throughout the world try to give it a meaning. If they are religious they give it a particular slant; if they are materialistic they give it another, with a particular philosophy or theory.

So it seems very important – not only now but at all times, if one is at all serious – to find a way of life for oneself, not as a theory, but actually in daily life, a way to live without conflict of any kind at every level of one’s being. To find that out one must be serious. These meetings here are not a philosophical or religious entertainment. We are here – if we are serious, and I hope we are – to find out together a way of life not according to any particular formula or theory or principle or belief. Communication implies sharing together, creating together, working together, not merely listening to a lot of words and ideas; we are not dealing with ideas at all. So from the beginning it must be very clear that we are seriously giving our mind and heart to find out if man – if you – can live completely at peace, ending all conflict in all relationships.

To find out, one must look at oneself not according to a particular philosophy or a particular system of thought, or from any particular religious point of view. I think one has to discard all that completely, so that one’s mind is free to observe itself in relation to society, in relation to ourselves, to our families, to our neighbour; for only then, in the observation of what is actually going on, is there a possibility of going beyond it. And I hope that is what we are going to do during these talks.

We are not professing a new theory, a new philosophy, nor bringing a religious revelation. There is no teacher, no saviour, no master, no authority – I really mean this – because if you are going to share in what is being said, you must also put aside totally every form of authoritarian, hierarchical outlook; the mind must be free to observe. And it cannot possibly observe if you are following some system, some guide, some principle, or are tethered to any form of belief. The mind must be capable of observing. That is going to be our difficulty, because for most of us knowledge has become a dead weight, a heavy stone round our necks; it has become our habit, our conditioning. The mind that is serious must be free to observe; it must be free of this dead weight which is knowledge, experience, tradition – which is accumulated memory, the past.

So to observe actually ‘what is’, to see the whole significance of ‘what is’, the mind must be fresh, clear, undivided. And that is going to be another problem: how to look without this division – the ‘me’ and the ‘not me’, and ‘we’ and ‘they’.

As we said, you are observing yourself, watching yourself through the words of the speaker. So the question is: how are you to observe? I do not know if you have ever gone into that question at all. How do you look, hear, observe? – not only yourself, but the sky, the trees, the birds, your neighbour, the politician. How do you listen and observe another, how do you observe yourself? The key to this observation lies in seeing things without division. And can that ever happen? All our existence is fragmented. We are divided in ourselves, we are contradictory. We live in fragmentation – which is an actual fact. One fragment of these many fragments thinks it has the capacity to observe. Although through many associations it has assumed authority, it is still a fragment of the many fragments. And that one fragment looks and says, ‘I understand; I know what right action is.’

So being fragmented, broken up, contradictory, there is conflict between the various fragments. You know this as a fact, if you have observed it. And we come to the conclusion that nothing can be done about it, that nothing can be changed. How can this fragmentation be made whole? We realize that to live a harmonious, orderly, sane, healthy life, this fragmentation, this division between the ‘you’ and the ‘me’ must come to an end. But we have concluded that this is not possible – that is the dead weight of ‘what is’. So we invent theories, we wait for ‘grace’ from something divine – whatever you call it – to come and miraculously release us. Unfortunately that does not happen. Or you live in an illusion, invent some myth about the higher self, the Atman. This offers an escape.

We are easily persuaded to escape because we do not know how this fragmentation can be made whole. We are not talking of integration, because that implies that somebody brings about integration – one fragment bringing the other fragments together. I hope you see the difficulty of this, how we are broken up into many fragments, conscious or unconscious. And we try many ways. One of the fashionable ways is to have an analyst to do this for you; or you analyse yourself. Please do follow this carefully: there is the analyser and the thing to be analysed. We have never questioned who the analyser is. He is obviously one of the many fragments and he proceeds to analyse the whole structure of oneself. But the analyser himself, being a fragment, is conditioned. When he analyses there are several things involved. First of all, every analysis must be complete or otherwise it becomes the stone round the neck of the analyser when he begins to analyse the next incident, the next reaction. So the memory of the previous analysis increases the burden. And analysis also implies time; there are so many reactions, associations and memories to be analysed that it will take all your life. By the time you have completely analysed yourself – if that is ever possible – you are ready for the grave.

That is one of our conditionings, the idea that we must analyse ourselves, look at ourselves introspectively. In the analysis there is always the censor, the one who controls, guides, shapes; there is always the conflict between the analyser and the thing to be analysed. So one has to see this – not as a theory, not as something that you have accumulated as knowledge; knowledge is excellent in its own place but not when you are trying to understand the whole structure of your being. If you use knowledge through association and accumulation, through analysis, as a means of understanding yourself, then you have stopped learning about yourself. To learn there must be freedom to observe without the censor.

We can see this going on in ourselves, actually, as ‘what is’, night and day, endlessly. And seeing the truth of it – the truth, not as an opinion – the futility, the mischief, the wastage of energy and time, then the whole process of analysis comes to an end. I hope you are doing this as you are listening to what is being said. Because through analysis there is the continuation of the endless chain of association; therefore one says to oneself, ‘One can never change; this conflict, this misery, this confusion is inevitable, this is the way of life.’ So one becomes mechanical, violent, brutal, and stupid. When one really observes this as a fact, one sees the truth of it; one can only see this truth when one actually sees what is going on – the ‘what is’. Do not condemn it, do not rationalize it – just observe it. And you can only observe when there is no association in your observation.

As long as there is the analyser there must be the censor who brings about this whole problem of control. I do not know if you have ever realized that from the moment we are born till we die, we are always controlling ourselves. The ‘must’ and the ‘must not’, the ‘should be’ and the ‘should not’. Control implies conformity, imitation, following a particular principle, an ideal, eventually leading to that appalling thing called respectability. Why should one control at all? – which does not mean you entirely lose all control. One has to understand what is implied in control. The very process of control breeds disorder; just as the opposite – lack of control – also breeds disorder.

One has to explore, understand, look at what is implied in control and see the truth of it; then one lives a life of order in which there is no control whatsoever. Disorder is brought about by this contradiction caused by the censor, the analyser, the entity that has separated himself from the various other fragments, and who is trying to impose what he thinks is right.

So one has to understand this particular form of conditioning, which is: that we are all bound and shaped by control. I do not know if you ever asked yourself why you control anything at all. You do control, don’t you? Why? What makes you control? What is the root of this imitation, this conformity? Obviously one of the factors is our conditioning, our culture, our religious and social sanctions, as ‘you must do this’ and ‘not do that’. In this control there is always the will, which is a form of urgent desire that controls, that shapes, that directs. Observe this, please, as you are listening; actually observe it and you will see that something quite different comes about. We control ourselves, our tempers, our desires, our appetites, because it is always safe. There is great security in control, with all its suppressions and contradictions, with all its struggles and conflicts; there is a certain sense of safety. And also it assures us that we shall never fail.

Where there is division between the controller and the thing controlled, there is no goodness. Goodness does not lie in separation. Virtue is a state of mind in which there is no separation, therefore there is no control which involves division. Control implies suppression, contradiction, effort, the demand for security – all in the name of goodness, beauty, virtue; but it is the very denial of virtue, and is therefore disorder.

So can one observe without division, without the observer opposed to the thing to be observed, without the knowledge which the observer has acquired, which separates him when he looks? For the observer is the enemy of the good – though he desires order, though he attempts to bring about righteous behaviour, to live peacefully. The observer who separates himself from the thing observed is the very source of all that is not good. Do you see all this? Or are you just being casually entertained? Do you know what all this means? – that the mind is no longer analysing but actually observing, seeing directly and therefore acting directly. It means a mind in which there is no division whatsoever; it is a total, whole mind – which means being sane. It is the neurotic who has to control; when he comes to the point of having controlled himself totally, he is completely neurotic so that he cannot move, is not free.

See the truth of this! The truth is not ‘what is’ – the ‘what is’ is the division, the Black and White, the Arab and the Jew, all the mess that is going on in this frightful world. Because the mind has divided itself it is not a whole, sane, healthy, holy mind. And because of this division in the mind itself, there is so much corruption, so much disorder, so much violence and brutality. So the question then is: can the mind observe without division, where the observer is the observed? To look at a tree, at a cloud, at the beauty of the lovely spring, to look at yourself, without the burden of knowledge; to look at yourself and learn at the moment of observation, without the accumulation of learning, so that the mind is free all the time to observe. It is only the young mind that learns, not the mind that is burdened with knowledge. And to learn means to observe oneself without division, without analysis, without the censor dividing the good from the bad, the what ‘should be’ from the ‘should not be’. This is one of the most important things, because if you so observe, the mind will discover that all conflict comes to an end. In that there is total goodness. It is only such a mind that can act righteously, and in that there is great joy – not the joy stimulated through pleasure.

I wonder if you would care to ask any questions? You must question everything, including your pet beliefs, your ideals, your authorities, your scriptures, your politicians. Which means there must be a certain quality of scepticism. But scepticism must be kept on the leash; you must let it go when necessary, so that the mind can see freely, run rapidly. When you question, it must be your own particular problem, not a casual, superficial question that will entertain you; it must be something of your own. If this is so, then you will put the right question. And if it is the right question you will have the right answer, because the very act of putting that right question shows you the answer in itself. So one must – if I may point this out – put the right question. Then in putting the right question we can both of us share, partake together, in that problem. Your problem is not different from other people’s problems. All problems are interrelated, and if you can understand one problem completely, wholly, you have understood all other problems. Therefore it is very important to put the right question. But even if it is the wrong question, you will find that in putting the wrong question you will also know when to ask the right question. You must do both: then we shall come to putting always the fundamental, real, true question.

Questioner: Would you please define, in the context of which you were speaking, control in relation to restraint.

Krishnamurti: One has to understand the full meaning of that word ‘control’, not only according to the dictionary, but how the mind has been conditioned to control – control being suppression. In that there is the censor, the controller, the division, the conflict, the restraining, the holding, the inhibiting. When one is aware of all this, the mind then becomes very sensitive and therefore highly intelligent. We have destroyed that intelligence, which is also in the body, in the organism; we have perverted it through our pleasurable tastes and appetites. Also the mind has been shaped, controlled, conditioned through centuries by the culture, by fear, by belief. When one realizes this, not theoretically but actually, when one is aware of this, then one will find sensitivity responds intelligently without inhibition, control, suppression or restraint. But one has to understand the structure and the nature of control, which has bred so much disorder in ourselves – the will, which is the very centre of contradiction and therefore of control. Look at it, observe it in your life and you will discover all this and more. But when you make your discovery into knowledge, into some dead weight, then you are lost. Because knowledge is the accumulation of associations, an endless chain. And if the mind is caught in that, then change is impossible.