What Will Solve Conflict?

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE NETWORK OF THOUGHT

I would like to repeat that we are not trying to convince you of anything – that must be clearly understood. We are not trying to persuade you to accept a particular point of view. We are not trying to impress you about anything; nor are we doing any propaganda. We are not talking about personalities, or who is right and who is wrong, but rather trying to think out, to observe, together, what the world is and what we are, what we have made of the world and what we have made of ourselves. We are trying together to examine both the inward and the outward man.

To observe clearly one must be free to look – obviously. If one clings to one’s particular experiences, judgements and prejudices, then it is not possible to think clearly. The world crisis which is right in front of us demands, urges, that we think together so that we can solve the human problem together, not according to any particular person, philosopher, or particular guru. We are trying to observe together. It is important to bear in mind all the time that the speaker is merely pointing out something which we are examining together. It is not something one-sided but rather that we are co-operating in examining, in taking a journey together and so acting together.

It is very important to understand that our consciousness is not our individual consciousness. Our consciousness is not only that of the specialized group, nationality and so on, but it is also all the human travail, conflict, misery, confusion and sorrow. We are examining together that human consciousness, which is our consciousness, not yours or mine, but ours.

One of the factors that is demanded in this examination is the capacity of intelligence. Intelligence is the capacity to discern, to understand, to distinguish; it is also the capacity to observe, to put together all that we have gathered and to act from that. That gathering, that discernment, that observation, can be prejudiced; and intelligence is denied when there is prejudice. If you follow another, intelligence is denied; the following of another, however noble, denies your own perception, denies your own observation – you are merely following somebody who will tell you what to do, what to think. If you do that, then intelligence does not exist; because in that there is no observation and therefore no intelligence. Intelligence demands doubting, questioning, not being impressed by others, by their enthusiasm, by their energy. Intelligence demands that there be impersonal observation. Intelligence is not only the capacity to understand that which is rationally, verbally explained but also implies that we gather as much information as possible, yet knowing that that information can never be complete, about anybody or anything. Where there is intelligence there is hesitation, observation and the clarity of rational impersonal thinking.

The comprehension of the whole of man, of all his complexities, all his physical responses, his emotional reactions, his intellectual capacities, his affection and his travail, the perceiving of all that at one glance, in one act, is supreme intelligence. Intelligence has not, so far, been able to transcend conflict. We are going together to see if it is possible for the brain to be free from conflict. We live with conflict from the time we are born and will continue co do so until we die. There is the constant struggle to be, to become something spiritually, so-called, or psychologically; co become successful in the world; to fulfil – all that is the movement of becoming: I am this now but I will reach the ultimate destination, the highest principle, whether that principle be called god, Brahman, or any other name. The constant struggle whether co become, or to be, is the same. But when one is trying to become, in various directions, then you are denying being. When you try to be you are becoming also. See this movement of the mind, of thought: I think; am, and being dissatisfied, discontented, with what I am, I try to fulfil myself in something; I drive towards a particular goal; it may be painful, but the end is thought to be pleasurable. There is this constant struggle to be and to become.

We are all trying to become; physically, we want a better house, a better position with more power, higher status. Biologically, if we are not well we seek to become well. psychologically, the whole inward process of thought, of consciousness, the whole drive, inwardly, is from the recognition that one is actually nothing, and by becoming, to move away from that. psychologically, inwardly, there is always the escape from ‘what is’, always the running away from that which I am, from that with which I am dissatisfied to something which will satisfy me. Whether that satisfaction is conceived as deep contentment, happiness, or enlightenment, which is a projection of thought, or as acquiring greater knowledge, it is still the process of becoming – I am, I shall be. That process involves time. The brain is ‘programmed’ to this. All our culture, all our religious sanctions, everything says: ‘become’. It is a phenomenon to be seen all over the world. Not only in this Western world but in the East, everyone is trying to become, or to be, or to avoid. Now: is this the cause of conflict, inwardly and outwardly? Inwardly there is this imitation, competition, conformity with the ideal; outwardly there is this competition between so-called individuals of one group against another group, nation against nation. Inwardly and outwardly there is always this drive to become and to be something.

We are asking: is this the basic cause of our conflict? Is man doomed – as long as he lives on this marvellous earth – to perpetual conflict? One can rationalize this conflict, say nature is in conflict, the tree struggling to reach the sun is in conflict, and that that is part of our nature, because, through conflict, through competition, we have evolved, we have grown into this marvellous human being that we are – this is not being said sarcastically. Our brain is programmed to conflict. We have a problem which we have never been able to resolve. You may neurotically escape into some phantasy and in that phantasy be totally content, or you may imagine that you have inwardly achieved something and be totally content with that: an intelligent mind must question all this, it must exercise doubt, scepticism. Why have human beings, for millions of years, from the beginning of man up to the present time, lived in conflict? We have accepted it, we have tolerated it, we have said it is part of our nature to compete, to be aggressive, to imitate, to conform; we have said that it is part of the everlasting pattern of life.

Why is man, who is so highly sophisticated in one direction, so utterly unintelligent in other directions? Does conflict end through knowledge – knowledge about oneself, or about the world, knowledge about matter, learning more about society so as to have better organizations and better institutions, acquiring more and more knowledge? Will that solve our human conflict? Or is it that freedom from conflict has nothing whatsoever to do with knowledge?

We have a great deal of knowledge about the world, about matter and the universe; we have also a great deal of historical knowledge about ourselves: will that knowledge free the human being from conflict? Or has freedom from conflict nothing to do with analysis, with discovering the various causes and factors of conflict? Will analytical discovery of the cause, or many causes, free the brain from conflict – the conflict which we have while we are awake during the daytime and the conflict carried on while we are asleep? We can examine and interpret dreams, we can go into the whole question of why human beings dream at all; will that solve conflict? Will the analytical mind analysing very clearly, rationally, sanely into the cause of conflict, end conflict? In analysis the analyser tries to analyse conflict, and in doing so separates himself from conflict – will that solve it? Or is it that freedom has nothing whatsoever to do with any of these processes? If you follow somebody who says: ‘I will show you the way; I am free from conflict and I will show you the way’ – will that help you? This has been the part of the priest, the part of the guru, the part of the so-called enlightened man – ‘Follow me, I will show you; or, ‘I will point out the goal to you.’ History shows this through millennia upon millennia, and yet man has not been able to solve his deep-rooted conflict.

Let us find out together – not agree, not as an intellectual verbal concept – if there is a perception, an action, that will end conflict, not gradually, but immediately. What are the implications of that? The brain being programmed to conflict is caught in that pattern. We are asking if that pattern can be broken immediately, not gradually. You may think you can break it through drugs, through alcohol, through sex, through different forms of discipline, through handing oneself over to something – man has tried a thousand different ways to escape from this terror of conflict. Now, we are asking: is it possible for a conditioned brain to break that conditioning immediately? This may be a theoretical, non-actual, question. You may say it is impossible, it is just a theory, it is just a wish, a desire, to be free of this conflict. But if you examine the matter rationally, logically, with intelligence, you see that time will not solve this conditioning.

The first thing to realize is that there is no psychological tomorrow. If you see actually, not verbally, but deeply in your heart, in your mind, in the very very depths of your being, you will realize that time will not solve this problem. And that means that you have already broken the pattern, you have begun to see cracks in the pattern we have accepted of time as a means of unravelling, breaking up, this programmed brain. Once you see for yourself, clearly, absolutely, irrevocably, that time is not a freeing factor then already you begin to see cracks in the enclosure of the brain. Philosophers and scientists have said: time is a factor of growth, biologically, linguistically, technologically, but they have never enquired into the nature of psychological time. Any enquiry into psychological time implies the whole complex of psychological becoming – I am this, but I will be that; I am unhappy, unfulfilled, desperately lonely but tomorrow will be different. To perceive that time is the factor of conflict then that very perception is action; decision has taken place – you do not have to decide – the very perception is the action and decision.

There are multiple forms of conflict, there are thousands of opinions so there are thousands of forms of conflict. But we are not talking about the many forms of conflict but about conflict itself. We are not talking about your particular conflict – I don’t get on with my wife, or in my business, or this or that – but the conflict of the human brain in its existence. Is there a perception – not born of memory, not born of knowledge – that sees the whole nature and structure of conflict; a perception of that whole? Is there such perception at all – not analytical perception, not intellectual observation of the various types of conflict, not an emotional response to conflict? Is there a perception not of remembrance, which is time, which is thought? Is there a perception which is not of time or thought, which can see the whole nature of conflict, and with that very perception bring about the ending of conflict? Thought is time. Thought is experience, knowledge, put together in the brain as memory. It is the result of time – ‘I didn’t know a week ago but I know now.’ The multiplication of knowledge, the expansion of knowledge, the depth of knowledge, is of time. So thought is time – any psychological movement is time. If I want to go from here to Montreux, if I want to learn a language, if I want to meet somebody at a distant place, time is required. And that same outer process is carried on inwardly – ‘I am not, I will be’. So thought is time. Thought and time are indivisible.

And we are asking the question: is there a perception which is not of time and thought – a perception that is entirely out of the pattern to which the brain has been accustomed? Is there such a thing that perhaps alone is going to solve the problem? We have not solved the problem in a million years of conflict; we are continuing the same pattern. We must find, intelligently, hesitantly, with care, if there is a way, if there is a perception which covers the whole of conflict, a perception which breaks the pattern.

The speaker has put this question forward. Now how shall we meet this together? He may be wrong, irrational, but after you have listened to him very carefully, it is your responsibility as well as the speaker’s, to see if it is so, if it is possible. Do not say: ‘Well it is not possible because I have not done it; it is not within my sphere; I have not though t enough about it; or, I do not want to think about it at all because I am satisfied with my conflict and because I am quite certain one day humanity will be free of conflict.’ That is all just an escape from the problem. So are we together being aware of all the complexities of conflict, not denying it. It is there, it is there as actually as pain in the body. Are we aware without any choice that it is so and at the same time ask the question as to whether there is a different approach altogether?

Now, can we observe – it does not matter what it is – without the naming, without the remembrance? Look at your friend, or your wife, or whomever it is, observe that person without the words ‘my wife’ or ‘my friend’ or ‘we belong to the same group’ – without any of that – observe so that you are not observing through remembrance. Have you ever directly tried it? Look at the person without naming, without time and remembrance and also look at yourself – at the image that you have built about yourself, the image that you have built about the other; look as though you were looking for the first time – as you might at a rose for the first time. Learn to look; learn to observe this quality which comes without all the operation of thought. Do not say it is not possible. If you go to a professor, not knowing his subject but wanting to learn from him (I am not your professor), you go to listen. You do not say: ‘I know something about it,’ or ‘You are wrong,’ or ‘You are right,’ or ‘I don’t like your attitude.’ You listen, you find out. As you begin to listen sensitively, with awareness, you begin to discover whether it is a phoney professor using a lot of words, or a professor who has really gone into the depths of his subject. Now, can we together so listen and observe, without the word, without remembrance, without all the movement of thought? Which means, complete attention; attention, not from a centre but attention which has no centre. If you have a centre from which you are attending, that is merely a form of concentration. But if you are attending and there is no centre, it means that you are giving complete attention; in that attention there is no time.

Many of you, fortunately or unfortunately, have heard the speaker for many years and one sees that this breaking of the ‘programme’ of the brain has not come about. You repeatedly listen to that statement year after year and it has not come about. Is it because you want to attain, to become, to have that state in which the pattern of the brain has been broken? You have listened, and it has not come about, and you are hoping that it will come about – which is another form of striving to become. So you are still in conflict. So you brush it all aside and say you will not come here anymore because you have not got what you want – ‘I want that but have not got it.’ That wanting is the desire to be something and is a cause of conflict. That desire comes from the ‘programmed’ brain. We are saying: to break that programme, that pattern, observe without the movement of thought. It sounds very simple, but see the logic of it, the reason, the sanity, of it, not because the speaker says so, but because it is sane. Obviously one must exercise the capacity to be logical, rational and yet know its limitation; because rational, logical thinking is still part of thought. Knowing that thought is limited, be aware of that limitation and do not push it further because it will still be limited however far you go, whereas if you observe a rose, a flower, without the word, without naming the colour, but just look at it, then that look brings about great sensitivity, breaks down this sense of heaviness of the brain, and gives extraordinary vitality. There is a totally different kind of energy when there is pure perception, which is not related to thought and time.