Krishnamurti: Talk 8
Transcript of Talk 8, New Delhi, 14 February 1962
This is the last talk. I would like this evening, if I may, to talk about freedom and the quality of energy that is necessary to find a new way of living. We have been talking about a great many subjects concerning everyday life. We have not been talking about abstractions, about ideas; nor have we indulged in scholastic or theological conceptions and formulations. We have been dealing with facts. And it would be a thousand pities if those of you who have listened should translate all that has been said into mere ideas, conclusions, formulate certain sanctions, and follow them as a method in order to arrive at what you think is the ultimate reality.
We have not laid down any path because there is no path, there is no way, no system. We are concerned with the whole, the totality of life, not with one segment, not with one part, one idea, or a series of ideas. We are concerned with living, with the totality of life. And as we observe in our daily activities, in our troubles and sorrows, our life is getting more and more complex. There is greater and greater division and contradiction in ourselves and in society, in ourselves as individuals and in society as collective human beings.
More and more freedom is being denied in the name of religion, or of organized spiritual thought and belief, or of institutionalized political action. If you observe – and it does not demand a great deal of intelligence – you will find that politics has become extraordinarily important, and the political leaders seem to usurp the whole of the world by their thought, by their activities, by what they say, or by what they do not say. We are being conditioned by them. At one time the priests of religions shaped our minds; now the politicians and the newspapers mould our thought, they are becoming the priests. And it shows how extraordinarily superficial, how on the surface we are living. We talk about freedom from a superficial level. We talk of freedom from something. Is freedom from something real freedom, or is it merely a reaction and therefore not at all freedom?
We must have freedom, not verbal freedom, not mere political freedom, nor freedom from organized religions. I think that most people who are aware of the world-situation have gone away from these institutionalized ways of life; though these have had a superficial effect on our life, deeply they have not had much effect. If one has to find out what is freedom, one must question everything, question every institution – the family, religion, marriage, tradition, the values that society has imposed upon us, education, the whole structure of social and moral organization. But we question not to discover what is true, but to find a way out; and therefore we are never psychologically free. We are concerned more with resistance, and not with freedom. I think it is important to understand this.
All our life is built on resistance, on defence. A mind that has taken shelter behind defence can never be free; and we need freedom complete, absolute freedom. But to understand the quality and the depth of freedom one must first be aware in what manner, at what depth we have built defences and resistances psychologically, and how on these defences and resistances we depend. From behind these walls we look upon life; from behind these resistances we look at and translate life. So before we can enquire and find out what is freedom, we must understand the resistances that we have built, and also never build again any form of resistance. These two must be understood before there can be freedom. We have built up resistances ideologically, verbally, traditionally, because psychologically we take shelter behind these resistances. If you observe yourself you will see this to be a fact. And we are not discussing; we are not talking as a communication merely of words; but we are concerned with the understanding of ourselves. You cannot go very far without knowing yourself as you are – not as the Supreme Self and the divine self and all that kind of theological nonsense and ideas, but actually what you are from moment to moment; not ideas; not what you want to be; but the fact of what you are, which fact is undergoing change all the time and is never still. And one has to understand that. That is, there must be self-knowing, knowing oneself. Without knowing oneself it is absolutely impossible not to live in illusion.
So we are enquiring not into ideas, not into new formulas or new speculative theories; but we are actually looking at ourselves, as it were in a mirror, and from that observation discovering for ourselves what it is to be free. If we have the capacity to look at ourselves without distortion, to see actually what we are, then every form of resistance, every form of dependence ceases. And that is what we are going to do. As I was saying, we have built resistances, because we are always in conflict. We have never a moment when we are not in a struggle, in travail, in sorrow, in conflict, in some form of confusion. And to escape from this confusion, from this sorrow, from this insufficiency, from this poverty of being, we have built walls and behind these walls we seek security. And these walls are ideas; they have no value at all; they are just ideas, they are just verbal structures. You call yourself a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Christian, or what you will – they are merely ideas, words having no reality; they are just symbols. The symbol has no reality, it is merely a shadow. But to find out what is beyond the shadow one must see through the shelter, the refuges, the resistances. You have during the course of your life built walls of resistance – resistance as an idea, as an ideal. The more so-called spiritual you are, the more ideals you have. And ideals are resistances, they are not facts. The fact that you are violent is real; but the ideal of non-violence is pure theory, it has no value at all. That ideal is a form of resistance which prevents you from looking at the fact that you are violent.
There must be freedom – I will go into it presently and you will see the real significance of it. A mind that is enquiring into freedom must be completely free of romantic ideas, because they are unreal. The ideals which the churches have built up, the religions have built up, the saints have built up, are all different forms of resistance, and they have no validity. What has validity is the fact – which is that you are violent, that you are ambitious, greedy, envious, creating enmity. And a mind that is ridden – as most minds are – with ideals derived from books, derived from gurus, derived from society, can never be free because we are dealing with actuality, with facts, and not with ideals, not with theories, not with speculations. As I pointed out earlier, a religious mind is concerned with facts; as the scientific mind is concerned with observable facts under the microscope, we are concerned with psychological facts. And when we are examining those psychological facts, it is only in freedom from resistances that there is mutation.
Change implies resistance to the present, a continuity of the present modified – but still the continuity of what is, only modified; that is not mutation. When we are concerned with freedom, we must also enquire into the question of change. A mind that is concerned with changing gradually, through time over a long period, through a process, is only undergoing a modified change but continuing the same old pattern. Mutation is not gradual change. The idea that you will gradually change is another form of resistance. Either you change immediately or you do not change at all. You do not change, because the very process of change implies revolution and there is fear of what might happen.
So through fear you resist every form of change. And a mind that resists change can never understand what mutation implies. You are angry and you say, `I will get over it; I will become non-angry’. So you have introduced another problem which is the ideal, and therefore there is a conflict between what you are and what you should be. The idea then becomes the means of gradual change. Therefore you do not really change at all. There is mutation only when you see anger immediately and not build up the defence of an idea. Please observe this, think it over, look at it. As I am explaining, please look at yourself. Do not accept what we are talking about. There is no authority in the world, in spiritual matters; if you have authority, you are dead. So, when you introduce the time element, when you say, `I will change gradually’, you do not change at all. The gradual process is a form of resistance, because you have introduced an idea which has no reality. What has reality is that you are angry, you are vicious, you are ambitious, envious, acquisitive. Those are facts. Now to look at them and to be free of them immediately is all-important. And you can change them immediately when you have no ideas, when you have no ideals but when you are capable of looking at them.
So freedom is the capacity to look at a psychological fact without distortion; and that freedom is at the beginning, not at the end. You must understand that time is a process of evasion and not a fact – except chronological time which is a fact. But the psychological time that we have introduced – that of gradually bringing about a change in ourselves – has no validity. Because, when you are angry, when you are ambitious, when you are envious, you take pleasure in it, you want it; and the idea that you will gradually change has no depth behind it at all. So one removes psychological resistances by observing the fact and not allowing the mind to be caught in unreal, ideational, theoretical issues. When you are confronted with a fact, there is no possibility of resistance; the fact is there.
So freedom is to look at a fact without any idea, to look at a fact without thought. I will go into that later; you will see what I mean. Either you look at a fact with words which is thought, or with conclusions which again is thought and words, or with knowledge which you have acquired previously which again is words based on experience – that is the result of memory conditioning every form of experience. So you have to look at something without thought – which does not mean looking at something blankly, emptily, but looking at it through the understanding of the whole significance of thought.
Sirs, may I suggest something? There are several people taking notes. Please do not take notes, if I may suggest. This is not a lecture for you to take home and consider. You are considering it right now. You are listening now, not tomorrow, not after the meeting is over. And you cannot listen while you are taking notes. Listening implies attention; and you cannot attend, doing various other things and paying verbal attention. Attention means complete, not concentrated, listening – listening with all your being, with your heart and mind – because our lives are concerned. We feel that everything must come to us on a silver platter, that we have got to do nothing. But we have to work tremendously hard to salvage ourselves out of this confusing misery of this political world, of this religious world, of society; otherwise we are being destroyed. This is not a rhetorical statement but an actual fact.
So, if you are at all serious – and you must be somewhat serious to come and stay here for a whole hour – do please pay attention. Do not write, do not fiddle about; give your whole mind. Your whole life is at stake.
When you are confronting a fact, every thought is a form of resistance. Why should you have thought at all? Can you not look at something without thought? Can you look at a flower, a tree, a woman, a man, a child, an animal without thought? That is, can you look at a flower non-botanically – though you may have knowledge concerning the flower: what species it belongs to, what kind of flower it is and so on? The colour, the perfume, the beauty – all that interferes with your looking at the flower; that is, the thought process prevents you from looking. Just understand this. Do not say, `How am I to get to that stage?’ or `When can I look without thought?’ There is no system; there is no power. But if you understand that you do not see anything clearly, definitely, sanely, if thought interferes, then you stop thinking; then you look.
So freedom is that state of mind that comes into being when it is concerned only with a fact and not with an opinion. And if you look at yourself in that mirror of freedom, whatever you are, without the distorting effect of thought, there is immediate, instant mutation. If you can look at yourself; when you are angry, if you know the fact that you are angry, envious, acquisitive, and that envy, acquisitiveness, ambition and so on form the whole structure on which society is built; if you can look at the morality of society which is yourself in relationship with another; then as you see yourself actually as you are, without the interference of thought, there is absolute mutation; then you are no longer ambitious.
If you take pleasure, if you derive benefit from being envious, from being ambitious – as most politicians do – , then you will not listen to what is being said. But a man who is enquiring into the whole process of freedom must come to this point when mutation takes place without time. And that can only happen when thought is not interfering with the fact; then there is no resistance. You will see that most of us are in conflict, live a life of contradiction, not only outwardly but also inwardly. Contradiction implies effort. Watch yourself please. I am explaining; but I am explaining you. Where there is effort, there is wastage – there is waste of energy. Where there is contradiction, there is conflict. Where there is conflict, there is effort to get over that conflict – which is another form of resistance. And where you resist there is also a certain form of energy engendered – you know that, when you resist something, that very resistance creates energy. I resist what you are saying; to resist what you are saying is a form of energy; that energy prevents me from being free from contradiction. Now through resistance you can create energy; through contradiction you can create energy – as most people do. You know, there are people who have contradictory selves, opposing selves – wanting to do this and not wanting to do that. The two elements, the good and the bad, when they are in friction, make us act.
All action is based on this friction that I must and I must not. And this form of resistance, this form of conflict, does breed energy; but that energy, if you observe very closely, is very destructive, it is not creative. I mean by that word `creation’ something entirely different, which you will understand as I go into it. Most people are in contradiction. And if they have a gift, a talent to write or to paint or to do this or that, the tension of that contradiction gives them the energy to express, to create, to write, to be. The more the tension, the greater the conflict, the greater is the output, and that is what we call creation. But it is not at all creation. It is the result of conflict. To face the fact that you are in conflict, that you are in contradiction, will bring that quality of energy which is not the outcome of resistance.
Please understand this. Look, most of you probably go to your office every morning. Probably you have done this for the last ten or twenty or thirty years. It must be a terribly boring and agonizing effort, unless you have become so completely mechanical that you go through it as a machine moves. Now, observe the fact that you are bored, that you are being destroyed by this machine; merely observe it, watch it; do not say, `I must or must not’, or `What am I to do or how am I to stop being bored?’ but merely observe the fact. Then through that observation of the fact, you will see how mechanical your mind has become and how the office, the job, has taken the place of life, of living – which does not mean you give up the job, but you begin to understand the whole significance of action.
Let me put it in a different way. For most of us action is based on an idea. I must be good; India is a nation; and, therefore, I must resist, I must build up – an idea and then action. Therefore, if you observe, you will see that in that there is contradiction; and to get over that contradiction, you create more ideas. You change ideas, but always action is based on an idea. Now, if you observe that your action is based on an idea, then you will see that the idea is a form of resistance to complete action. Look, sirs, as long as you are acquisitive, envious, ambitious, seeking power, position, prestige, society approves of it; and on that you base your action. That action is considered respectable, moral. But it is not moral at all. Power in any form is evil – the power of the husband over the wife or the wife over the husband, the power of the politicians. The more tyrannical, the more bigoted, the more religious the power, the more evil it is. That is a fact, a provable, observable fact; but society approves of it. You all worship the man in power and you base your action on that power. So if you observe that your action is based on acquisitiveness of power, on the desire to succeed, on the desire to be somebody in this rotten world, then facing the fact will bring about a totally different action, and that is true action – not the action which society has imposed upon the individual. So, social morality is not morality at all; it is immoral; it is another form of defending ourselves; and therefore we are being gradually destroyed by society. A man who would understand freedom must be ruthlessly free of society – psychologically, not physically. You cannot be free of society physically because for everything you do depend on society the clothes that you wear, money and so on. Outwardly, non-psychologically, you depend on society. But to be free of society implies psychological freedom – that is, to be totally free from ambition, from envy, greed, power, position, prestige. But unfortunately we have translated freedom from society most absurdly. We think freedom from society is to change clothes – you put on sannyasi robes and you think you are free from the world; or you become a monk and you think you have somehow destroyed the world or society. Far from it – you may put on a loincloth; but inwardly you are psychologically bound by society, because you are still ambitious, still envious, still seeking power. So, a mind that is enquiring into freedom must be totally free from society psychologically and also from dependence on the family.
You know, the family is the most convenient form of resistance because that resistance is made highly respectable by society; and if you observe, you will see how entangled the mind is in the family. The family has become the means to your fulfilment, the family has become the means of your immortality, through the name, through the idea, through tradition. I do not say the family must be destroyed; every revolution has tried it; the family cannot be destroyed. But one must be psychologically free of the family, inwardly not depend on the family. Why does one depend?
Have you ever gone into the question of psychological dependence? If you have gone into it very deeply, you will find that most of us are terribly lonely. Most of us have such shallow, empty minds. Most of us do not know what love means. So, out of that loneliness, out of that insufficiency, out of the privation of life, we are attached to something, attached to the family; we depend upon it. And when the wife or the husband turns away from us, we are jealous. Jealousy is not love; but the love which society acknowledges in the family is made respectable. That is another form of defence, another form of escape from ourselves. So every form of resistance breeds dependence. And a mind that is dependent can never be free.
You need to be free, because you will see that a mind that is free has the essence of humility. Such a mind which is free and therefore has humility, can learn – not a mind that resists. Learning is an extraordinary thing – to learn not to accumulate knowledge. Accumulating knowledge is quite a different thing. What we call knowledge is comparatively easy, because that is a movement from the known to the known. But to learn is a movement from the known to the unknown – you learn only like that, do you not? Please observe yourself. The moment you know something and you say, `I will learn’, you are adding to the knowledge which you already have. So you are never learning. You are merely acquiring, adding; it is an additive process. But learning is freedom. You can only learn in freedom, not in acquiring. A mind that is free is learning and therefore is capable of that extraordinary energy which can never be corrupted.
A mind has energy through resistance, through conflict, through contradiction. We all know that form of energy. But there is an energy which comes when there is no conflict of any kind, and which is therefore completely incorruptible. I am going to explain presently. I mean by the mind, the totality of consciousness and more. The brain is one thing and the mind is another. The brain, which is the result of time, which is sensation, which has accumulated knowledge through centuries of experience – that brain is conditioned, as also the total consciousness is conditioned. These words, consciousness and conditioning, are very simple. What you are; the educated, the unconscious, the accumulated mind; the accumulated consciousness of time – all that is you. What you think, what you feel when you call yourself a Hindu, when you call yourself a Muslim, a Christian or this or that – all this story about yourself is the total consciousness. Whether you think you are the Supreme Self or the greatest Atman or this or that – it is still within the field of consciousness, within the field of thought. And thought is conditioned.
Now, in that state of condition, resistance to life, you do create energy. The more the resistance, the more the conflict, the more energy you have; and that energy is of the most destructive kind. This is what is actually going on in the world. That energy dissipates itself. It is always corrupting. It always needs stimulation, always needs some form of attachment through which it can derive power, energy, growth. Please follow all this. When one realizes that fact and sees that fact – that our energy comes into being through resistance – and when you have understood the whole story of contradiction within yourself, then out of your so seeing the fact there comes a different kind of energy.
The energy I am talking about is not the energy preached by religion, it is not the energy of the brahmachari, the bachelor who refuses sex because he wants to have the supreme experience. Because his whole process of living, the sanyasi-life or the monk-life, is a form of resistance; and that does give you energy – a very limited, narrow, destructive energy which is what most religions offer. But what we are talking about is a totally different kind of energy. That energy is born out of freedom, not out of resistance, not out of self-denial, not out of ideational pursuits and discussions.
If you understand all this which I have been talking about, and face these facts, then out of that comes an energy which is incorruptible – because that energy is passion. Not the passion of sex, or identifying yourself with the country, with an idea – which passion is destructive; that gives you also a peculiar kind of energy. Have you not noticed that people who have identified themselves with their nation, with their country, with their job, have a peculiar energy? So also most politicians, most so-called missionaries, or those who have identified themselves with an idea, with a belief, with a dogma, as the Communists do – they have a peculiar energy which is most destructive. But the energy which is the most creative energy has no identification; it comes with freedom and that energy is creation.
Man throughout the ages has sought God, either denied it or accepted it. He has denied it as those do, who are brought up as atheists or Communists; or he has accepted, as you Hindus do because you have been brought up in the belief. But you are no more religious than the man who is being brought up in non-belief. You are all about the same. It suits you to believe in God, and it does not suit him to believe in God. It is a matter of your education, of your environmental, cultural influence. But man has sought this thing throughout the centuries. There is something immense, not measurable by man, not understandable by a mind that is caught in resistance, ambition, envy, greed. Such a mind can never understand this creative energy.
There is this energy which is completely incorruptible. It can live in this world and function. Every day it can function in your offices, in your family, because that energy is love – not the love of your wife and children which is not love at all. That creation, that energy is destructive. Look what you have done to find out that energy! You have destroyed everything around you psychologically; inwardly you have completely broken down everything that society, religion, the politicians have built.
So, that energy is death. Death is completely destructive. That energy is love, and therefore love is destructive – not the tame thing which the family is made up of, not the tame thing which religions have nurtured. So, that energy is creation – not the poem that you write, nor the thing put in marble; that is merely a capacity or a gift to express something which you feel. But the thing we are talking about is beyond feeling, beyond all thought. A mind that has not completely freed itself from society psychologically – society being ambition, envy, greed, acquisitiveness, power – such a mind, do what it will, will never find that. And we must find that, because that is the only salvation for man, because in that only is there real action; and that itself, when it acts, is action.