Concepts Have Nothing To Do With Actuality


Krishnamurti: We look at everything through concepts. Concepts, beliefs, ideas, knowledge or experience, or what appeals to us. Communism appeals to one person and does not appeal to the other; one person believes in God and another does not believe in God. These are all concepts, Utopias, and on that level we live. Now, are they of any value? Being on an abstract level, conceptual, have they any value? Have they any significance in daily life? Life means living: living means relationship; relationship means contact; contact means co-operation. Have concepts of any kind any significance, in that sense, in relationship? But the only relationship we have is conceptual. Right?

Questioner: Then we have to find a right relationship.

K: No, it is not a question of right relationship, Sir. We are just examining. Do please understand this, Sirs. Let us go into it slowly. Don’t let us jump. We live in concepts, our life is conceptual. We know what we mean by ‘conceptual’ so we do not have to analyse that word. And so there is an actual daily living and a conceptual living. Or, is all living conceptual? Do I live according to my concepts? One person believes, let us suppose, that one must be non-violent.

Q: I have not met anyone who actually believes in violence.

K: All right, Sir. My question is: Is all living conceptual?

Q: The building of a concept is due to habit and becomes a habit.

K: Perhaps we shall be able to come to that question later, if we can tackle this problem first. Our question is: Is all my living conceptual?

Q: Is there no such thing as spontaneous living?

K: There is conceptual living and spontaneous living, but do I know what spontaneous living is when I am so conditioned, when I have inherited so many traditions? – is there and spontaneity left? Whether you have one concept or a dozen, it is still a question of concepts. Please Sirs, do hold to this for a minute. Is all life, all living, all relationship merely conceptual?

Q: How can that be?

K: Have you not an idea, Sir, that you should live this way and not that way? Therefore when you say ‘I must do this and I must not do that’ – it is conceptual. So, is all living conceptual or is there a difference between nonconceptual living and conceptual living – and hence a conflict between the two?

Q: I would say that we have a concept, but after experience the concept is modified.

K: Yes Sir, Concepts are modified, obviously – modified, changed a little; but is conceptual living different from daily living or…

Q: It is different.

K: Wait Sir, wait Sir! I want to analyse this a little more. Is conceptual living different from daily living, or is there a gap between the two? I say there is a gap. What is this gap? Why should there be a gap?

Q: (Inaudible)

K: That’s it. My concept is different from the actuality that is taking place now. Right? So there is an interval, a gap between what is, and what should be, or the concept. I am still sticking to the word ‘concept’.

Q: When you talk about ‘the actuality’, that, to me, is the concept.

K: No Sir. When you have toothache it is not a concept. When I have toothache it is not a concept. It is an actuality. When I am hungry, it is not a concept. When I have sexual desire, it is not a concept. But the next moment I say ‘No, I must not’ or ‘I must’, ‘It is evil’, or ‘It is good’. So there is a division between the actual, and what is, and the conceptual. So there is a duality. Right?

Q: If I am hungry it is not just a concept.

K: That is what we are saying, Sir. The primary urges, hunger, sex and so on, are actual, but we also have concepts about them. Concepts of class division, and so on. So, we are trying to find out why this gap exists and if it is possible to live without this gap, to live only with what is. Right? That is what we are trying to find out.

Q: Animals just eat when they are hungry.

K: But you and I are not animals. We may be at moments, but actually, now, we are not animals. So do not let us go back to animals, babies and previous generations; let us stick to ourselves. So there is the actual moment of living and the ideational, conceptual, non-factual living. Right Sirs? I believe in something, but that belief has nothing to do with the actuality, though the actuality may have produced the belief; the actual is not related to that belief. ‘I believe in universal brotherhood.’ God knows who can believe it, but I say, ‘I believe in universal brotherhood’ – but actually I am competing with you. So the actuality of competition with you is entirely different from the conceptual.

Q: (Inaudible)

K: We have made it fairly clear up to now. The actual is, ‘what is’ – the factual. There is hunger in this country, poverty, overpopulation, corruption, inefficiency, brutality, and all the rest of it. That is the fact, but the ideation is that we should not be that. Right? In our daily life the ‘actual’, the ‘what is’, the ‘factual’ is something entirely different from the real fact; it is the conceptual. Right?

Q: But what you call the actual is just another concept, surely.

K: No. I am hungry – that is not a concept, I am hungry. It is not born out of a memory of yesterday’s hunger. If it is born out of yesterday’s hunger it is not actual.

Take sex – you do not mind my talking about sex do you? We all… but never mind. (Laughter) The sexual urge may or may not be there, but it is stimulated into being by the image which is fictional, not actual. So I am asking why do we have the conceptual at all?

Q: Perhaps it is…

K: No, no, Sir. Don t just answer me but find out if you have a concept at all. Why do I have a concept at all?

Q: There are some things like anger which are psychological…

K: All that is related, Sir. When I am angry, when there is irritation – it is a fact. It is there. But the moment I say, ‘It must not be there’ it becomes conceptual. If you say ‘Well, the Indian starvation can only be solved by a particular political party,’ then it is conceptual – then you are not dealing with the fact. The Communist, the Socialist, the Congressman – whatever the parties are, they all think they will solve the problem of starvation if you follow their method – which is sheer nonsense, of course. Starvation is the fact and the conceptual is the idea, the method, the system. So I am asking myself, why do I have concepts at all? (Don’t answer me, Sirs. Ask yourself that question.) Why do you believe in the Masters, the Gurus, in God, in the perfect state? Why?

Q: I wonder if…

K: Listen to what the first gentleman says. He says that by having a concept I reform myself. Everybody thinks that, not only you. By having an ideal, a goal, a principle, a hero, and so on, you think you will be helped to improve yourself. Now, what does this do actually, does it improve you or does it create conflict, conflict between what is and what should be?