Where There Is a Cause, There Is an End

From Krishnamurti’s Book MIND WITHOUT MEASURE

If one may like to point out, this is not a lecture to instruct on a particular subject or with a view to inform, not to instruct and teach, but we, you and the speaker, are searching out the various issues of our daily lives to see if there are any solutions for them. So it is your responsibility as well as that of the speaker to think together, for each of us to discover, find out for ourselves if we are meeting each other; not merely at the intellectual level or emotional, ideational level, but rather meet in a relationship that is enquiring, questioning. To question, enquire, one must be free of prejudices. Otherwise, enquiry has no value at all. Most of you are already committed to so many ideals, conclusions, opinions, and so we never meet. As the speaker has no beliefs, has no ideals, has no authority whatsoever, he can investigate easily, freely, happily, but if you also were free, you can also enquire, look into the vast conflicts of our society, of our governments, why human beings who have lived on this earth for perhaps forty, fifty thousand years or more have become what they are – dull, violent, superstitious. We are the society, we have created this society in which we live, and to bring about order in that society, our own house must be in order, which it is not. Our house, the house in which we live, is not the physical house, but it is the house of our struggle, conflict, misery, confusion, sorrow. That is our house, and we don’t bring about order in that. Mere demand for outward order has little meaning.

What we are concerned with deeply is why human beings are what they are, why they have become like this. The future is what they are now. If they don’t change now, the future will be exactly what it is now, perhaps with certain modification, variation. If human beings don’t radically, fundamentally, bring about a change in their own attitudes, in their own lives, which is to put order, then attending all these talks has very little meaning. If that is very clear, then we are together meeting at a certain level with the same intensity, at the same time; then communication becomes very simple. Because, obviously the speaker is here to say something, to explore something with you. If you hold on to your commitments, to your beliefs, to your gurus and all that, we can never meet each other. So, please, this is a talk or a conversation between two people, a dialogue of two friends who are concerned not only with their own private life but concerned with the world, concerned with what is happening in the world – the global disorder, the threat of wars, poverty, the violence and the destruction that is going on right through the world. We are responsible for all that.

What is the problem? Why have we, throughout our life, problems – from the beginning, when we see the light, till we die? Why do we have problems – social problems, economic problems, mechanical problems, computer problems and our own problems in our daily life, in our relationship? Is it necessary to have problems? Is it possible to live without a single problem? If you have problems, obviously those problems act as friction and wear out the brain, and one gets old and so on. Human beings throughout the world have many, many problems. They live in problems. Their whole life is a movement of problems. Now we are asking: is it possible not to have problems? We are going to investigate the question, not say, ‘yes, it is possible to live without problems; that is not the point. The point is why do we have it, what is a problem, why the brain is always trying to solve problems. There are mechanical problems, mathematical problems, problems of design, problems in architecture, physics. In the technological field, there are many, many problems. That is inevitable. But why do we, in our life, in our relationship, in our own way of living, in our family, have problems? We see that in the technological world problems must exist. We live in a mechanical world. We are business people: we are doctors, surgeons, physicists, biologists, trained computer experts. And our brain is trained, educated, conditioned, to solve problems. We extend that same attitude to our daily life. Do you understand what I am saying? Suppose one is a computer expert. He has several problems there, and mechanically he has to solve those problems, which means his brain is trained, conditioned, educated, to solve problems. And we extend that same movement of solution of problems to the psychological field.

The psychological field is the field of our relationship, our fears, anxiety, all the rest of it. We have got the same mentality that these have to be solved: these are problems that have to be solved, which means we look at life, at our daily living, from the point of view of our problems. You are trained or educated to solve problems.

We try to solve one problem. In the solution of that one problem we add more problems. So we live with problems. We are saying something totally different, which is, to observe life not with a mind that is trained to solve problems, but to understand why the brain is conditioned, trained, educated, to solve problems, and why with that same movement we meet life.

Now, we are going to look at the various issues of our life not with a brain that is trained to solve problems, but to observe the issues, not demanding an answer, not demanding a solution, because to live a life without a single problem is the most extraordinary life. It has immense capacity. It has tremendous energy. It is always renewing itself, but if you are always caught in the field of problems and the resolution of those problems, then you never move out of those problems. Is this clear? We are going to find out whether it is possible to look at any issue and not call it a problem, to look at any issue of our daily life and not label it as a problem but only to observe it, to be aware of the whole nature of that issue, the content of that issue; but if you approach it as a problem and therefore try to find an answer to it, you will increase the problem. Say, for example, it is important to have an unoccupied mind. It is only a brain that is unoccupied that can perceive something new, that is free, that has tremendous vitality. It is necessary to have a very quiet mind because it is only a quiet mind, unoccupied mind, a brain that can see things clearly, that can actually think totally differently. Now, you hear that it is necessary to have a quiet, still mind, then you ask, ‘how am I to get it?’ Then you make a problem of it – ‘I need a quiet mind. My mind is occupied, restless, chattering all the time and how am I to stop it?’ The desire to stop it brings about problems. How am I to do it is a problem. Have you understood this? But if you approach the question of that unoccupied mind without the how, then you will begin to see for yourself the nature of occupation, why it is occupied, why it is constantly dwelling on a particular thing. When you observe it, when you are aware of it, it is telling you the story. Do you understand this?

First, we must be very clear that you and the speaker are treating life not as a problem but as a tremendous movement. If your brain is trained to solve problems, then you will treat this movement as a problem to be solved. Is it possible to look at life with all its questions, with all its issues, which is tremendously complex, to look at it not as a problem, but to observe it clearly, without bias, without coming to some conclusion which will then dictate your observation? You have to observe this vast movement of life, not only your own particular life, but the life of humanity, the life of the earth, the life of the trees, the life of the whole world – look at it, observe it, move with it, but if you treat it as a problem, then you will create more problems. Is this clear?

What is our first issue in life, what is the first movement in our life, in the life of man? We are not talking about the petty little life which you lead, which we will come to presently, but the life that is around us, the vast, immense, complex movement of existence. What is it that strikes you first? What is it that has meaning, that has depth, that has a sense of vitality behind it? What would be your first observation, your first response, your first immediate enquiry? Perhaps you never ask this question. If you look at this vast extraordinary movement of life of which one is a part, what is the thing that you meet first? Would it be relationship, would it be your own particular concern about yourself, would it be your own fear, your own anxiety, your own particular, narrow, limited enquiry, your own search for god? What would be your first natural contact, natural demand? Don’t we look at this vast movement of life from a narrow little window, that window being your own little self – your own worries, your own anxieties, your own sexual demands? Are you looking at this vast movement from no particular point of view, from no window, from no commitment, or are you so caught in a system, in a tradition, in knowing as a professor, as a philosopher, as a writer, as a soldier or as a specialist? Or do you look at it as a human being, the human being with so many questions, sorrows, pains, anxieties? How do you look at all this?

When you put such a question among so many people, naturally each one has a different response. But as we are all human beings, we are the rest of mankind. We may have a certain background, certain tradition, certain long history. But primarily you are a human being, not a Christian, not a doctor, not a Buddhist, not a Hindu; you are primarily a human being related to all other human beings. Therefore, you are the rest of humanity. Your body may be different from another body, the physical organism may be different from other physical organism, but the body never says ‘I am’, the body never says ‘I am something special; the body never says ‘my progress, my success, I must seek God’, and all that. The body is never conscious that it is separate from somebody else. It is thought that says I am different. It is important to see how thought divides. So, that is the first thing that you notice when you look at this vast movement of life, how man has divided himself from another, separated himself from another, calling himself an American, a Jew, a Russian, an Arab, a Hindu, and all the rest of it. Don’t you observe this extraordinary broken up human entity? Are you aware of that? In that, the first thing you see is how the world is divided geographically, nationally, racially, religiously. This division is causing immense conflict, this division is causing wars – the Hindu against the Muslim. the Russian against the Afghan, and so on. Isn’t that the first thing you see in this world – how man has created this division? This division must exist because thought has created this division.

Sir, if you are at all alert, aware, one sees what man has done to himself and what he has done to others. That is the first thing one observes – the destruction of this division, the breeding of wars through nationalism. One of the causes of war is nationalism, and one never treats this vast movement of life as one unit. We have lived that way for thousands of years, killing each other in the name of god, in the name of peace, in the name of the country, in the name of a flag, and we are still doing this after thousands of years. So one asks, what is wrong with man? Why is he doing this? He is extraordinarily clever in the technological world; he has invented the most extraordinary delicate instruments. But we are still carrying on most stupidly our own lives. So that is the first thing you notice. And one asks what is the cause of it.

What is the cause of all this – this division, these wars, the structure of hierarchical authority in every country, in the religious world, in the political world, in the scientific world? It is all based on hierarchical principles – the authority of knowledge, authority of experience, and so on. Now, what is the cause of all this? Who is responsible? Please enquire. Because, where there is a cause, there is an end to that cause. If one has pain, the cause being cancer or what you will, then that pain can be ended or you are killed. So, wherever there is a cause, there is an end to that. That is a law, that is a principle. So we are asking: what is the cause of all this – this vast misery, unhappiness, the tremendous uncertainty?

May we go into it together, not that I explain, you accept, but together, slowly, carefully, find out for ourselves what is the root of all this, what is the cause of all this? If we don’t find it now, the future will be exactly the same, what you are now – wars, division, sorrow, pain, anxiety, uncertainty. So together let us find out what is the cause of this division. This division breeds wars, quarrels, perpetual conflict – conflict between man and woman, sexually, and so on. What is the root of all this, the cause of all this? If I may ask, how do you approach a question like that? How do you come near to it? Approach means to come near, to come into contact. This is a question put to you and are you looking at it as a problem to be resolved, or do you come even close to it? If you do, you are then open to the question, but if you keep away from the question, you are not open, you are not alive to the question.

So we are together approaching this question with no direction, with no motive, because if there is a motive, then that motive dictates the answer, it distorts the perception. Suppose this is my question; I am putting this question to myself: ‘What is the root of all this?’ I have no answer. I don’t know, but I am going to find out. But to find out, I must be free, absolutely free from any kind of direction. Because, if I have a direction, a motive, hoping for some kind of reward, then that motive, that reward, is going to dictate my investigation. So one must be free to observe this question – what is the root of all this? Is it inevitable for every human being living on this beautiful earth that he must live in conflict, that he must live with anxiety, fear? If you accept that as inevitable, then there is no investigation. You have come to a conclusion and you have shut the door. Conclusion means the ending of investigation. The very word ‘conclusion’ is to close, to end. If you come to any conclusion, then you cannot possibly answer. So one must be aware of how you approach this question. We are asking: is it thought? What is thought? Is thought yours. Is thought individual? Is your thinking separate from somebody else’s thinking? Every person thinks – the most stupid, ignorant, downtrodden man in a village to the great scientist. So thinking is common to all of us. It is not your thinking separate from my thinking. But thinking is the movement of all mankind; it is not individual thinking. Do we see that? It is rather difficult to accept it or see it because we are so conditioned, we are so educated, so trained to think that my thinking is separate from yours, my opinion is different from yours. But opinion is opinion; it is not your opinion or my opinion.

So, is thinking the root of all this misery, this destruction, this decline, this corruption, this decay? If it is, then can that movement of thought which has created such havoc in the world, end? It is thinking which has created the most extraordinary technological world, great instruments of war, extraordinary submarines, and so on. Also it has created all the religions in the world. It has built extraordinary cathedrals, mosques, temples and all the things that are in the temples, in the mosques, in the churches. Thought has invented all the rituals, invented the saviour in the Christian world, invented liberation or moksha or whatever you like to call it in this country. Also it has invented gods. The more you are uncertain, the more dangerous the world becomes. So thought must find a security, the sense of safety, certainty. And it creates gods – your god and my god, my god is better than your god, my guru is better than yours, and so on. Thought has been responsible for all this, If that is the cause, if thought is the cause of all this – our misery, our superstitions, our immense insecurity, uncertainty, and also thought has created the most extraordinary things – communications, surgery, medicines and so on, is there an end to it? You understand my question? Is there an end to thought? That is, if thought is responsible for all this technological world and the human world of misery, unhappiness, anxiety, if thought is the cause of all this, it must have an end. That is, if one has a certain disease brought about by various incidents, that disease has a cause, and that having been discovered, it can be treated and ended. Similarly, if thought is responsible for all this, for our daily confusion, misery, uncertainty, sorrow, and all these superstitions that thought has created around us, if thought is the cause, it has an end.

If you say, tell me how to end thought, then you make a problem of it because your brain is trained, educated, to solve problems. As an expert in computers is trained to solve problems there, that same movement is extended into the psychological world. If thought is the cause of this, the question is not how to end it, but to understand the whole movement of thought. If you treat it as your thinking, and somebody else treats it as his thinking, then the issues are totally different. That leads to all kinds of illusion. Superstitions have no reality, but thinking is the ground upon which all human beings – the black, the white, the pink, the Muslim, the Hindu, the villager, the uneducated – stand. Then you move away from the idea that it is my thinking; you are then concerned with global thinking, not the Indian way of thinking. You are concerned really with the world, with all humanity, of which you are. You are not an individual. Individual means unique, undivided. You are not unique, you are totally divided, fragmented in yourself, you are the result of all the past generations. Your brain is not yours. It is evolved through thousands and thousands of years. But your religion, your scriptures, your everyday life, says you are separate from everybody else, and you are trained to accept it. You have never gone into it, you have never questioned it, doubted it, but you accept, and in that acceptance lies your problems. But if you look at it all as a vast movement of life of which you are a part, this movement that is limitless, that has no beginning and no end, then you begin to enquire into the nature of thought.

Now, what is the origin of thought? Why is thought divided in its very nature, the very movement of thinking in itself, why is it divisive, fragmentary, limited? Since thought is perhaps the cause, don’t ask, ‘Please tell me how to end the cause; then you are back into your old field of problems. If you try to solve this problem, you have other problems. Thought is creating problems. So you say, tell me how to stop them, how to stop thinking, and there are lots of people who will tell you how to stop thinking. And those people vary from each other – meditate, don’t meditate, try this way, you know all that. So we multiply problems after problems. But look at this movement of thought with which man has lived for thousands upon thousands of years, and ask not how to end thought, but what is the nature of it, why has thought become so important. Because, thought implies knowledge. Ask what place has knowledge in life. We must stop now, we will continue tomorrow evening. But please, when you leave here, look at it, find out; that means an active brain, brain that is active, thinking, discussing, not just stuck in a narrow little groove of tradition of some system. One of the calamities in the world is that we are all getting old, not merely old in the body, but old mentally. Decay begins there inside first because we become mechanical. We never have the energy, vitality, passion, to find out. We have all been told what to do, we have all been instructed. This is not a place of instruction nor are you being told what to do. Here we are serious to find out a different way of living, and you can only find that out when you understand the nature of thought and the way of living in which thought is not important at all.