Can You Look Without the Observer?


Analysis prevents action. And action is absolutely essential in order to bring about this radical change. So analysis is not the way. Don’t accept, please, what the speaker is saying, but observe it for yourself, learn about it, not from me, but learn by watching all these implications of analysis: time, the analyser and the analysed – the analyser is the analysed – and each analysis must be complete, otherwise it distorts the next analysis. So to see that the whole process of analyses, whether it is introspective or intellectual analysis, is totally wrong! It is not the way out – maybe it is necessary for those who are somewhat, or greatly, unbalanced; and perhaps most of us are unbalanced.

We must find a way of observing the whole content of consciousness without the analyser. It is great fun if you go into this, because you have then rejected totally everything that man has said. Because then you stand alone; when you find out for yourself, it will be authentic, real, true, not dependent on any professor, any psychologist, any analyst and so on.

So one must find a way of observing without analysis. I’m going to go into that – I hope you don’t mind my doing all this, do you? This is not group therapy! (Laughter) This is not an open confession, it is not that the speaker is analysing you, or making you change and become marvellous human beings! You have to do this yourself, and as most of us are second-hand or third-hand human beings, it is going to be very difficult to put away totally all that has been imposed on your minds by the professionals, whether by religious or scientific professionals. We have to find out for ourselves.

If analysis is not the way – and it is not, as far as the speaker is concerned, as he has explained – then how is one to examine or to observe the total content of consciousness? What is the content of consciousness? Please don’t repeat what somebody else has said. What is your total content? Have you ever looked at it, considered it? If you have, is it not the various recorded incidents, happenings, pleasurable and non-pleasurable, various beliefs, traditions, the various individual recollections and memories, the racial and family memories, the culture in which one has been brought up – all that is the content, isn’t it? And the incidents that take place every day, the memories, the various pains, the unhappiness, the insults, all that is recorded. And that content is your consciousness – you, as a Catholic, or Protestant, living in this western world with the search for more and more and more, the world of great pleasure, entertainment, wealth, incessant noise of the television, the brutality – all that is you, that’s your content.

How is all that to be exposed? – and in the exposing of it, is each incident, each happening, each tradition, each hurt, each pain to be examined one by one? Or is it to be looked at totally? If it is to be examined bit by bit, one by one, you are entering into the world of analysis and there is no end to that, you will die analysing – and giving a great deal of money to those who analyse, if that’s your pleasure.

Now we’re going to find out how to look at these various fragments, which are the content of consciousness, totally – not analytically. We are going to find out how to observe without any analysis at all. That is, we have looked at everything – at the tree, at the cloud, at the wife and the husband, at the girl and the boy – as the observer and the observed. Please do give a little attention to this. You have observed your anger, your greed or your jealousy, whatever it is, as an observer looking at greed. The observer is greed, but you have separated the observer because your mind is conditioned to the analytical process; therefore you are always looking at the tree, at the cloud, at everything in life as an observer and the thing observed. Have you noticed it? You look at your wife through the image which you have of her; that image is the observer, it is the past, that image has been put together through time. And the observer is the time, is the past, is the accumulated knowledge of the various incidents, accidents, happenings, experiences and so on. That observer is the past, and he looks at the thing observed as though he were not of it, but separate from it.

Now can you look without the observer? Can you look at the tree without the past as the observer? That is, when there is the observer, then there is space between the observer and the observed – the tree. That space is time, because there is a distance. That time is the quality of the observer, who is the past, who is the accumulated knowledge, who says, ‘That is the tree’, or ‘That is the image of my wife.’

Can you look, not only at the tree, but at your wife or your husband, without the image? You know, this requires tremendous discipline. I am going to show you something: discipline generally implies conformity, drill, imitation, conflict between what is and what should be. And so in discipline there is conflict: suppressing, overcoming, the exercise of will and so on – all that is implied in that word. But that word means to learn – not to conform, not to suppress, but to learn. And the quality of the mind that learns has its own order which is discipline. We are learning now to observe, without the observer, without the past, without the image. When you so observe, the actual ‘what is’, is a living thing, not a thing looked upon as dead, recognizable by the past event, by past knowledge.

Look, Sirs, let’s make it much simpler than this. You say something to me which hurts me, and the pain of that hurt is recorded. The memory of that continues and when there is further pain, it is recorded again. So the hurt is being strengthened from childhood on. Whereas, if I observe it completely, when you say something which is painful to me, then it is not recorded as a hurt. The moment you record it as a hurt, that recording is continued and for the rest of your life you are being hurt, because you are adding to that hurt. Whereas to observe the pain completely without recording it, is to give your total attention at the moment of the pain. Are you doing all this?

Look, when you go out, when you walk in these streets, there are all kinds of noise, all kinds of shouting, vulgarity, brutality, this noise is pouring in. That is very destructive – the more sensitive you are the more destructive it becomes, it hurts your organism. You resist that hurt and therefore you build a wall. And when you build a wall you are isolating yourself. Therefore you are strengthening the isolation, by which you will get more and more hurt. Whereas if you are observing that noise, are attentive to that noise, then you will see that your organism is never hurt.

If you understand this one radical principle, you will have understood something immense: that where there is an observer separating himself from the thing he observes, there must be conflict. Do what you will, as long as there is a division between the observer and the observed, there must be conflict. As long as there is division between the Muslim and the Hindu, between the Catholic and the Protestant, between the Black and the White, there must be conflict; you may tolerate each other, which is an intellectual covering of intolerance.

As long as there is division between you and your wife, there must be conflict. This division exists fundamentally, basically, as long as there is the observer separate from the thing observed. As long as I say, ‘Anger is different from me, I must control anger, I must change, I must control my thoughts’, in that there is division, therefore there is conflict. Conflict implies suppression, conformity, imitation, all that is involved in it. If you really see the beauty of this, that the observer is the observed, that the two are not separate, then you can observe the totality of consciousness without analysis. Then you see the whole content of it instantly.

The observer is the thinker. We have given such tremendous importance to the thinker, haven’t we? We live by thought, we do things by thought, we plan our life by thought, our action is motivated by thought. And thought is worshipped throughout the world as the most extraordinarily important thing, which is part of the intellect.

And thought has separated itself as the thinker. The thinker says, ‘These thoughts are no good’, ‘These are better’, he says, ‘This ideal is better than that ideal’, ‘This belief is better than that belief’. It is all the product of thought – thought which has made itself separate, fragmented itself as the thinker, as the experiencer. Thought has separated itself as the higher self and the lower self – in India it is called the atman, the higher. Here you call it the soul, or this or that. But it is still thought in operation. That’s clear, isn’t it? I mean, this is logical, it is not irrational.

Now I am going to show you the irrationality of it. All our books, all our literature, everything is thought. And our relationship is based on thought – just think of it! My wife is the image which I have created by thinking. That thinking has been put together by nagging, by all the things which go on between husband and wife – pleasure, sex, the irritations, the exclusions, all the separative instincts that go on. Our thought is the result of our relationship. Now what is thought? You are asked that question, ‘What is thought?’ Please don’t repeat somebody else – find out for yourself. Surely thought is the response of memory, isn’t it? – memory as knowledge, memory as experience which has been accumulated, stored up in the brain cells. So the brain cells themselves are the cells of memory. But if you did not think at all, you would be in a state of amnesia, you would not be able to get to your house.

Thought is the response of the accumulated memory as knowledge, as experience – whether it is yours, or the inherited, the communal experience and so on. So thought is the response of the past, which may project itself into the future, going through the present, modifying it as the future. But it is still the past. So thought is never free – how can it be? It can imagine what is freedom, it can idealize what freedom should be, create a Utopia of freedom. But thought itself, in itself, is of the past and therefore it is not free, it is always old. Please, it is not a question of your agreeing with the speaker, it is a fact. Thought organises our life, based on the past. That thought, based on the past, projects what should be tomorrow and so there is conflict.

From that arises a question, which is, for most of us, thought has given a great deal of pleasure. Pleasure is a guiding principle in our life. We are not saying that it is wrong or right, we are examining it. Pleasure is the thing that we want most. Here in this world and in the spiritual world, in heaven – if you have a heaven – we want pleasure in any form – religious entertainment, going to Mass, all the circus that goes on in the name of religion. And the pleasure of any incident, whether it is of a sunset, or sexual, or any sensory pleasure, is recorded and thought over. So thought as pleasure plays a tremendous part in our life. Something happened yesterday which was a most lovely thing, a most happy event, it is recorded; thought comes upon it, chews it and keeps on thinking about it and wants it repeated tomorrow, whether it be sexual or otherwise. So thought gives vitality to an incident that is over.

The very process of recording is knowledge, which is the past, and thought is the past. So thought, as pleasure, is sustained. If you have noticed, pleasure is always in the past; or the imagined pleasure of tomorrow is still the recollection projected into the future, from the past.

You can also observe that where there is pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure, there is also the nourishing of fear. Haven’t you noticed it? Fear of the thing I have done yesterday, fear of the physical pain which I had a week ago; thinking about it sustains the fear. There is no ending of that pain when it’s over. It is finished, but I carry it over by thinking about it.

So thought sustains and gives nourishment to pleasure as well as to fear. Thought is responsible for this. There is fear of the present, of the future, fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of not fulfilling, fear of not being loved, wanting to be loved – there are so many fears, all created by the machinery of thought. So there is the rationality of thought and the irrationality of thought.

There must be the exercise of thought in doing things. Technologically, in the office, when you cook, when you wash dishes – knowledge must function perfectly. There is the rationality, the logic of thought in action, in doing. But also thought becomes totally irrational when it sustains pleasure or fear. And yet thought says, ‘I cannot let go of my pleasure; yet thought knows, if it is at all sensitive or aware, that there is pain coming with it.

So to be aware of all the machinery of thought, of the complicated, subtle movement of thought! This is really not at all difficult once you say, ‘I must find out a way of living that is totally different, a way of life in which there is no conflict.’ If that is your real, your insistent, passionate demand – as is your demand for pleasure – to live a life, inwardly and outwardly in which there is no conflict whatsoever – then you will see the possibility of it. Because, as we have explained, conflict exists only when there is division between ‘me’ and ‘not me’. Then if you see that, not verbally or intellectually – because that is not seeing – but when you actually realize that there is no division between the observer and the observed, between the thinker and the thought, then you see, then you observe actually ‘what is’. And when you see actually ‘what is’, you are already beyond it. You don’t stay with ‘what is’, you stay with ‘what is’ only when the observer is different from the ‘what is’. Are you getting this? So when there is this complete cessation of division between the observer and the observed, then ‘what is’ is no longer what is. The mind has gone beyond it.

Questioner: How can I change this identification of the observer with the observed? I can’t just agree with you and say ‘ Yes, it’s true’, but have to do something about it.

Krishnamurti: Quite right. Sir, there is no identification at all. When you identify yourself with the observed, it is still the pattern of thought, isn’t it?

Questioner: Precisely, but how do I get out of that?

Krishnamurti: You don’t get out of it, I’ll show it to you, Sir. Do you see the truth that the observer is the observed? – the fact of it, the logic of it. Do you see that? Or don’t you?

Questioner: It is still only a comment which arises; the truth does not exist.

Krishnamurti: The fact does not exist?

Questioner: No, a comment of agreement arises.

Krishnamurti: But you see that fact, don’t you? Don’t agree or disagree, this is a very serious thing; I wish I could talk about meditation, but not now, for this is implied in it. Sir, see the importance of this. The truth is that ‘I am anger’ – not ‘I’ am different from anger. That is the truth, that is a fact, isn’t it? I am anger; not ‘I’ separate from anger. When I am jealous, I am jealousy; not ‘I’ am different from jealousy. I make myself separate from jealousy because I want to do something about it, sustain it or get rid of it or rationalize it, whatever it is. But the fact is, the ‘me’ is jealous, isn’t it?

Now how am I to act when I am jealous, when ‘me’ is jealousy? Before, I thought ‘I’ could act when I separated myself from jealousy, I thought I could do something about it, suppress it, rationalize it, or run away from it – do various things. I thought I was doing something. Here, I feel I am not doing anything. That is, when I say ‘I am jealousy’, I feel I can’t move. Isn’t that right, Sir?

Look at the two varieties of activity, at the action which takes place when you are different from jealousy, which is the non-ending of jealousy. You may run away from it, you may suppress it, you may transcend it, you may escape, but it will come back, it will be there always, because there is the division between you and jealousy. Now there is a totally different kind of action when there is no division, because in that the observer is the observed, he cannot do anything about it. Before, he was able to do something about it, now he feels he is powerless, he is frustrated, he can’t do anything. If the observer is the observed, then there is no saying, ‘I can or can’t do anything about it’ – he is what he is. He is jealousy. Now, when he is jealousy, what takes place? Go on, Sir!

Questioner: He understands…

Krishnamurti: Do look at it, take time. When I think I am different from my jealousy, then I feel I can do something about it and in the doing of it there is conflict. Here on the other hand, when I realize the truth of it, that I am jealousy, that ‘I’, the observer, am the observed, then what takes place?

Questioner: There is no conflict.

Krishnamurti: The element of conflict ceases. There conflict exists, here conflict does not exist. So conflict is jealousy. Have you got it? There has been complete action, an action in which there has been no effort at all, therefore it is complete, total, it will never come back.

Questioner: You said analysis is the deadly tool to thought or consciousness. I perfectly agree with you and you were about to say that you would develop the argument that there are fragments in the brain or in thought or in consciousness which will be anti-analysis. I should be grateful, Sir, if you would continue to develop that part of the argument.

Krishnamurti: Of what, Sir?

Questioner: You mentioned the fragments will not constitute any conflict or struggle, they will be anti-analytical.

Krishnamurti: I just explained, Sir, there must be fragmentation when there is the observer and the observed, as two different things. Sir, look, this is not an argument, there is nothing to develop. I have gone into it fairly thoroughly, we can spend of course lots more time, because the more deeply you go into it the more there is. We have broken up our life into many fragments, haven’t we? – the scientist, the businessman, the artist, the housewife and so on. What is the basis, what is the root of this fragmentation? The root of this fragmentation is the observer being separate from the observed. He breaks up life: I am a Hindu and you are a Catholic, I am a Communist, you are a bourgeois. So there is this division going on all the time. And I say, ‘Why is there this division, what causes this division?’ – not only in the external, economic, social structure, but much more deeply. This division is brought about by the ‘me’ and the ‘not me’ – the me that wants to be superior, famous, greater – whereas ‘you’ are different.

So the ‘me’ is the observer, the ‘me’ is the past, which divides the present as the past and the future. So as long as there is the observer, the experiencer, the thinker, there must be division. Where the observer is the observed, conflict ceases and therefore jealousy ceases. Because jealousy is conflict, isn’t it?

Questioner: Is jealousy human nature?

Krishnamurti: Is violence human nature? Is greed human nature?

Questioner: I wanted to ask you another question, if I may. Am I right or wrong, according to what you’ve been telling us, to say, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he? So we must watch our thoughts and profit from experience.

Krishnamurti: That’s just it. As you think, what you think, you are. You think you are greater than somebody else, that you are inferior to somebody else, that you are perfect, that you are beautiful or not beautiful, that you are angry – what you think you are. That’s simple enough, isn’t it? One has to find out whether it is possible to live a life where thought has its rational function, and see where thought becomes irrational. We’ll go into that tomorrow.

Questioner: To continue with jealousy: when the jealousy is ‘me’, and ‘me’ is the jealousy, the conflict ends, because I know it’s the jealousy and it disappears. But when I listen to the noises in the street and the ‘me’ is the noise, and the noises are ‘me’, how can conflict end when that noise will go on for ever.

Krishnamurti: It’s fairly simple, Madam. I walk down the street and that noise is terrible. And when I say that noise is ‘me’, the noise does not end, it goes on. Isn’t that the question? But I don’t say the noise is me, I don’t say the cloud is me, or the tree is me, why should I say the noise is me? We pointed out just now, that if you observe, if you say, ‘I listen to that noise’, listen completely, not with resistance, then that noise may go on for ever, it does not affect you. The moment you resist, you are separate from the noise – not identify yourself with the noise – I don’t know if you see the difference. The noise goes on, I can cut myself off from it by resisting it, putting a wall between myself and that noise. Then what takes place, when I resist something? There is conflict, isn’t there? Now can I listen to that noise without any resistance whatsoever?

Questioner: Yes, if you know that the noise might stop in an hour!

Krishnamurti: No that is still part of your resistance.

Questioner: That means that I can listen to the noise in the street for the rest of my life with the possibility I might become deaf.

Krishnamurti: No, listen, Madam, I am saying something entirely different. We are saying, as long as there is resistance, there must be conflict. Whether I resist my wife, or my husband, whether I resist the noise of a dog barking, or the noise in the street, there must be conflict. Now, how is one to listen to the noise without conflict – not whether it will go on indefinitely, or hoping it will come to an end – but how to listen to the noise without any conflict? That is what we are talking about. You can listen to the noise when the mind is completely free of any form of resistance – not only to that noise, but to everything in life – to your husband, to your wife, to your children, to the politician. Therefore what takes place? Your listening becomes much more acute, you become much more sensitive, and therefore noise is only a part, it isn’t the whole world. The very act of listening is more important than the noise, so listening becomes the important thing and not the noise.