Our Lives Are the Movement of Cause and Effect

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE FLAME OF ATTENTION

Apparently we are always concerned with effects; psychologically we are always trying to change or modify these effects, or results. We never enquire very deeply into the cause of these effects. All our ways of thinking and acting have a cause, a ground, a reason, a motive. If the cause were to end, then what is beyond?

One hopes you will not mind being reminded again that the speaker is completely anonymous. The speaker is not important. What is important is to find out for yourselves if what is being said is true or false, and that depends on intelligence. Intelligence is the uncovering of the false and totally rejecting it. Please bear in mind that together, in co-operation, we are investigating, examining, exploring into these problems. The speaker is not exploring, but you are exploring with him. There is no question of following him. There is no authority invested in him. This must be said over and over again as most of us have a tendency to follow, to accept, especially from those whom you think somewhat different or spiritually advanced all that nonsense. So please, if one may repeat over and over again: our minds and our brains are conditioned to follow as we follow a professor in a university; he informs and we accept because he certainly knows more of his subject than perhaps we do but here it is not a matter of that kind. The speaker is not informing you or urging you to accept those things that are said; but rather we should together, in co-operation, investigate into these human problems, which are very complex, need a great deal of observation, a great deal of energy and enquiry. But if you merely follow you are only following the image that you have created about him or about the symbolic meaning of the words. So please bear in mind all these facts. We are going to enquire together into what intelligence is. Is thought, our thinking, the way we act, the whole social, moral, or immoral, world in which we live, the activity of intelligence? One of the factors of intelligence is to uncover and explore; explore into the nature of the false, because in the understanding of the false, in the uncovering of that which is illusion, there is the truth, which is intelligence.

Has intelligence a cause? Thought has a cause. One thinks because one has past experiences, past accumulated information and knowledge. That knowledge is never complete, it must go hand in hand with ignorance, and from this ground of knowledge with its ignorance thought is born. Thought must be partial, limited, fragmented, because it is the outcome of knowledge, and knowledge can never be complete at any time. Thought must always be incomplete, insufficient, limited. And we use that thought, not recognizing the limitation of it; we live endlessly creating thoughts, and worshipping the things that thought has created. Thought has created wars and the instruments of war, and the terror of war. Thought has created the whole technological world. So, is thought, the activity of thought, which is to compare, to identify, to fulfil, to seek satisfaction, to seek security which are the result of thinking intelligent? The movement of thought is from the past to the present to the future which is the movement of time and thought has its cunningness, with its capacity to adjust itself, as no animal does except the human being.

So thought has causation, obviously. One wants to build a house; one wants to drive a car; one wants to be powerful, well-known; one is dull, but one will be clever, one will achieve, one will fulfil; all that is the movement of the centre from which thought arises. It is so obvious. Through the obvious we are going to penetrate to that which may be difficult. But first we must be very clear about the obvious. There is a cause and an effect, an effect that may be immediate or postponed. The movement from the cause to the effect is time. One has done something in the past which was not correct; the effect of that may be that one pays for it immediately, or perhaps in five years’ time. There is cause followed by an effect; the interval, whether it is a second or years, is the movement of time. But, is intelligence the movement of time? Think it over, examine it, because this is not a verbal clarification, it is not a verbal explanation; but perceive the reality of it, the truth of it.

We are going into the various aspects of our daily living not some Utopian concept, or some ideological conclusion according to which we shall act we are investigating our lives, our lives which are the lives of all humanity; it is not my life or your life; life is a tremendous movement; and in that movement we have separated off parts which we call individual selves.

We are saying that where there is a cause, the effect can be ended with the ending of the cause. If one has tuberculosis it is the cause of one’s coughing and loss of blood; that cause can be cured and the effect will disappear. All one’s life is the movement of cause and effect: you flatter me, I am delighted and I flatter you. You say something unpleasant; I hate you. In all this movement there is cause and effect. Of course. We are asking: is there a life, a way of living, without causation? But first we must understand the implications of ending. One ends anger or greed in order to achieve something else; that ending leads to further cause. What is it to end? Is ending a continuation? One ends something and begins something else which is another form of the same thing. To go into this very deeply one has to understand the conflict of the opposites, the conflict of duality. One is greedy and for various social or economic reasons one must end it. In the ending of it one wants something else, which then is a cause. The something else is the result of the greed. In ending the greed one has merely replaced it by something else. One is violent by nature; violence has been inherited from the animal and so on. One wants to end violence because one feels it is too stupid. In trying to end violence one is trying to find a field which is non-violent, which has no shadow of violence in it. But one has not really ended violence, one has only translated that feeling into another feeling, but the principle is the same.

If we go into this matter very carefully, deeply, it will affect our daily life; it may be the ending of conflict. Our life is in conflict, our consciousness is in conflict, it is confused, contradictory. Our consciousness is the result of thought. Thought is subject to causation; our consciousness is subject to causation. One observes that all one’s complex life with its contradictions, its imitation and conformity, its various conclusions with their opposites, is all a movement of causation. Can one end that causation by will, by a desire to have an orderly life? If one does, then that life is born out of causation because one is disorderly. Discovering the disorderliness of one’s life and wishing to have an orderly life, is in the chain of causation, one sees, therefore, that it will not be orderly.

What is order? There is obviously the order of law which is based upon various experiences, judgements, necessities, conveniences, in order to restrain the ill-doer. That which we call social order, ethical order, political order, has essentially a basis of cause. Now we are asking, inwardly, psychologically, has order a cause? Do we recognize, see, that our lives are disorderly, contradictory, conforming, following, accepting, denying what we may want and accepting something else? The conflict between the various opposites is disorder. Because we accept one form of thought as order, we think its opposite is disorder. The opposite may create disorder, so we live always within the field of these opposites. So, will disorder end completely in our lives if we want order? One wants to live peacefully, to have a pleasant life with companionship and so on; that want is born out of disorder. The cause of the opposite is its own opposite. One hates, one must not hate; therefore one is trying not to hate, not to hate is the outcome of one’s hate. If there is no hate it has no opposite.

Thought has created disorder. Let us see that fact. Thought has created disorder in the world through nationalism, through faiths, one is a Jew another is an Arab one believes and another does not believe. Those are all the activities of thought, which in itself is divisive; it cannot bring unity because in itself it is fragmented. That which is fragmented cannot see the whole. One discovers that one’s consciousness is entirely in disorder and one wants order, hoping thereby one will end conflict. There is a motive; that motive is the cause of my desire to have an orderly life. The desire for order is born there out of disorder. That desired order perpetuates disorder which is happening in political, religious and other fields.

Now one sees the cause of disorder; one does not move away from disorder. One sees the cause of it, that one is contradictory, that one is angry; one sees the confusion. One sees the cause of it. One is not moving away from the cause or the effect. One is the cause and one is the effect. One sees that one is the cause and that things that happen are oneself. Any movement away from that is to perpetuate disorder. So, is there an ending without a future? An ending of ‘what is’ that has no future? Any future projected by my demand for order is still the continuation of disorder. Is there an observation of my disorder and an ending of it without any cause?

One is violent. There is violence in all human beings. The cause of that violence is essentially a self-centred movement. Another is also violent because he is self-centred. Therefore there is a battle between us. Thought is not pursuing non-violence, which is a form of violence. If one sees that very clearly then one is only concerned with violence. The cause of that violence may be so many contradictory demands, so many pressures and so on. So there are many causes and one cause of violence is the self. The self has many aspects, it hides behind many ideas; one is an idealist because that appeals to one and one wants to work for that ideal, but in the working for that ideal one is becoming more and more important and one covers that up by the ideal; the very escape from oneself is part of oneself. This whole movement is the cause of violence. An idealist wants to kill others because by killing them there may be a better world-you know all that goes on.

Our life is conditioned by many causes. Is there a way of living, psychologically, without a single cause? Please enquire into this. It is a marvellous enquiry; even to put that question demands some deep searching. One wants security; therefore one follows a guru. One may put on his robes or copy what he says, but deeply one wants to be safe. One clings to some idea, some image. But the image, the idea, the conclusion, the guru, can never bring about security. So one has to enquire into security. Is there such a thing as security, inwardly? Because one is uncertain, confused and another says he is not confused, one holds on to him. One’s demand is to find some kind of peace, hope, some kind of quietness in one’s life. He is not important but one’s desire is important. One will do whatever he wants and follow him. One is silly enough to do all that but when one enquires into the cause of it one discovers, deeply, that one wants protection, the feeling of being safe. Now, can there ever be security, psychologically? The very question implies the demand for intelligence. The very putting of that question is an outcome of intelligence. But if one says there is always security in one’s symbol, in one’s saviour, in this, in that, then one will not move away from it. But if one begins to enquire, to ask: is there security..? So, if there is a cause for security, it is not secure, because the desire for security is the opposite of security.

Has love a cause? We said intelligence has no cause, it is intelligence, it is not your intelligence, or my intelligence. It is light. Where there’s light there is not my light or your light. The sun is not your sun or my sun; it is the clarity of light. Has love a cause? If it has not, then love and intelligence go together. When one says to one’s wife or one’s girlfriend, ‘I love you’, what does it mean? One loves God. One does not know anything about that being and one loves him; because there is fear, there is a demand for security, and the vast weight of tradition and the ‘sacred’ books encourage one to love that about which one knows nothing. So one says ‘I believe in god’. But if there is the discovery that intelligence is total security, and that love is something beyond all causation, which is order, then the universe is open because the universe is order.

Let us go into the question of what intelligent relationship is; not the relationship of thought with its image. Our brains are mechanical – mechanical in the sense that they are repetitive, never free, struggling within the same field, thinking they are free by moving from one corner to the other in the same field, which is choice, and thinking that choice is freedom, which is merely the same thing. One’s brain, which has evolved through ages of time, through tradition, through education, through conformity, through adjustment, has become mechanical. There may be parts of one’s brain which are free but one does not know, so do not assert that. Do not say: ‘Yes, there is part of me that is free; that is meaningless. The fact remains that the brain has become mechanical, traditional, repetitive, and that it has its own cunningness, its own capacity to adjustment, to discern. But it is always within a limited area and is fragmented. Thought has its home in the physical cells of the brain.

The brain has become mechanical, as is exemplified when I say, ‘I am a Christian or I am not a Christian; I am a Hindu; I believe; I have faith; I do not have faith, it is all a mechanical repetitive process, reaction to another reaction, and so on. The human brain being conditioned, has its own artificial, mechanical intelligence like a computer. We will keep that expression mechanical intelligence. (Billions and billions of dollars are being spent to find out if a computer can operate exactly like the brain.) Thought, which is born of memory, knowledge, stored in the brain, is mechanical; it may have the capacity to invent but it is still mechanical invention is totally different from creation. Thought is trying to discover a different way of life, or a different social order. But any discovery of a social order by thought is still within the field of confusion. We are asking: is there an intelligence which has no cause and which can act in our relationships not the mechanical state of relationship which exists now?

Our relationships are mechanical. One has certain biological urges and one fulfils them. One demands certain comforts, certain companionship because one is lonely or depressed and by holding on to another perhaps that depression will disappear. But in one’s relationships with another, intimate or otherwise, there is always a cause, a motive, a ground from which one establishes a relationship. That is mechanical. It has been happening for millennia; there appears always to have been a conflict between woman and man, a constant battle, each pursuing his or her own line, never meeting, like two railway lines. This relationship is always limited because it is from the activity of thought which itself is limited.

Wherever there is limitation there must be conflict. In any form of association one belongs to this group and another belongs to another group there is solitude, isolation; where there is isolation there must be conflict. This is a law, not invented by the speaker, it is obviously so. Thought is ever in limitation and therefore isolating itself. Therefore, in relationship, where there is the activity of thought there must be conflict. See the reality of it. See the actuality of this fact, not as an idea, but as something that is happening in one’s active daily life divorces, quarrels, hating each other, jealousy; you know the misery of it all. The wife wants to hurt you, is jealous of you, and you are jealous; which are all mechanical reactions, the repetitive activity of thought in relationship, bringing conflict. That is a fact. Now how do you deal with that fact?

Here is a fact: your wife and you quarrel. She hates you, and also there is your mechanical response, you hate. You discover that it is the remembrance of things that have happened stored in the brain, continuing day after day. Your whole thinking is a process of isolation and she also is in isolation. Neither of you ever discovers the truth of the isolation. Now how do you look at that fact? What are you to do with that fact? What is your response? Do you face this fact with a motive, a cause? Be careful, do not say, ‘My wife hates me’, and smother it over although you also hate her, dislike her, don’t want to be with her, because you are both isolated. You are ambitious for one thing; she is ambitious for something else. So your relationship operates in isolation. Do you approach the fact with reason, with a ground, which are all motives? Or do you approach it without a motive, without cause? When you approach it without a cause what then happens? Watch it. Please do not jump to some conclusion, watch it in yourself. Previously you have approached this problem mechanically with a motive, with some reason, a ground from which you act. Now you see the foolishness of such an action because it is the result of thought. So, is there an approach to the fact without a single motive? That is, you have no motive, yet she may have a motive. Then if you have no motive how are you looking at the fact? The fact is not different from you, you are the fact. You are ambition, you are hate, you depend on somebody, you are that. There is an observation of the fact, which is yourself, without any kind of reason, motive. Is that possible? If you do not do that you live perpetually in conflict. And you may say that that is the way of life. If you accept that as the way of life, that is your business, your pleasure. Your brain, tradition and habit, tell you that it is inevitable. But when you see the absurdity of such acceptance then you are bound to see that all this travail is you yourself; you are the enemy, not her.

You have met the enemy and discovered it is yourself. So, can you observe this whole movement of ‘me’, the self, and the traditional acceptance that you are separate which becomes foolish when you examine the whole field of the consciousness of humanity? You have come to a point in understanding what intelligence is. We said that intelligence is without a cause, as love is without a cause. If love has a cause, it is not love, obviously. If you are ‘intelligent’ so that the government employs you, or ‘intelligent’ because you are following me, that is not intelligence, that is capacity: Intelligence has no cause. Therefore, see if you are looking at yourself with a cause. Are you looking at this fact that you are thinking, working, feeling, in isolation and that isolation must inevitably breed everlasting conflict? That isolation is yourself; you are the enemy. When you look at yourself without a motive, is there ‘self’? Self as the cause and the effect; self as the result of time, which is the movement from cause to effect? When you look at yourself, look at this fact, without a cause, there is the ending of something and the beginning of something totally new.