The Art of Thinking Together


I think it is important to learn the art of thinking together. The scientists and the most uneducated human beings think. They think according to their profession, specialization, and according to their belief and experience. We all think objectively or according to our own particular inclination, but we never seem to think together, to observe together. We may think about something, a particular problem or a similar experience, but this thinking does not go beyond its own limitation. Thinking together not about a particular subject but the capacity to think together is entirely different. To think together is necessary when you are facing the great crisis that is taking place in the world, the danger, the terror, the ultimate brutality of war. To observe this, not as a capitalist, socialist, the extreme left or extreme right, but to observe it together demands that we comprehend not only how we have come to this rotten state, but also that we together perceive a way out. The business man or the politician looks at this problem from a limited point of view, whereas we are saying we must look at life as a whole not as British, French or Chinese. What does it mean to look at life as a whole? It means to observe the human being, ourselves, without any division of nationality, to see life as one single movement without a beginning and without an end, without time, without death. This is a difficult thing to understand because we think of the part not the totality. We divide, hoping to understand the whole from its part. The art of thinking together needs to be studied carefully, examined to see whether it is at all possible. Each one clings to his own way of thinking according to his own particular reactions, experience, prejudice. This is how we are conditioned, which prevents the capacity to think together. Thinking together does not mean to be of one mind. Our minds can come together about an ideal, an historical conclusion or some philosophic concept and work for that but this is essentially based on authority. Freedom is the essence of thinking together. You must be free from your concept, prejudice and so on. I also must be free and we come together in this freedom. It means dropping all our conditioning. It implies complete attention without any past. The present world crisis demands that we totally abandon our tribal instincts that have become our glorified nationalisms. Thinking together implies that we totally abandon self-interest identified as the British, the Arab, the Russian and so on. Then what is a human being to do facing this danger of separatism, of self-interest? There is the expansionist movement of one power or another, economically, politically, or of one or two bigoted, neurotic leaders. What is a human being to do confronted with this? Either you turn away from it and withdraw into indifference, or you join some political activity, or take refuge in some religious group. You cannot escape from this. It is there. What do I do? I refuse the present pattern of social structures, the nonsensical irreligious ways. I refuse all that. So I am totally isolated. This isolation is not an escape nor some form of ivory tower, some romantic illusion. Because I see the futility, the divisiveness, the pursuit of self-interest of nationalism, of expansionism, of the irreligious life, I reject the total destructiveness of this society. So I stand alone. As I am not contributing psychologically to the destructive consciousness of man, I am in the stream of that which is goodness, compassion and intelligence. That intelligence is acting, confronting the madness of the present world. That intelligence will be acting wherever the ugly is.