Order is not habit; habit becomes automatic and loses all its vitality when human beings merely become orderly in the mechanical sense. Order, as we were saying, covers not only our own particular life but also all the life about us, outwardly, in the world, and deeply inwardly. Now, being aware of this disorder, this confusion, how is one to bring about order in oneself without any conflict and without it becoming merely habitual, a routine, mechanical and neurotic? One has observed those people who are very orderly; they have a certain rigidity, they have no pliability; they are not quick and have become rather hard, self-centred, because they are following a particular pattern which they consider to be order; and gradually that becomes a neurotic state. So being aware that this kind of order (which is disorder) becomes mechanical and leads to neurosis, nevertheless one realizes that one must have order in one’s life. Then how is this to come about? That is what we are going to consider together.
One must have physical order. It is essential to have a well-disciplined, sensitive, alert body, because that reacts on the mind. And how is one to have a highly sensitive organism that doesn’t become rigid, hard, forced into a particular pattern or design – which the mind thinks is orderly and so forces the body to conform to. This is one of the problems.
Then there must be order in the whole totality of the mind, of the brain. The mind is the capacity to understand, the ability to observe logically, sanely, to function totally, all round, not fragmentarily, not to be caught in contradictory desires, purposes and intentions. How is this whole quality of mind to have total order, psychosomatic order without conformity, without the enforcement of a thought-up discipline?
See our difficulty first, what is involved in all this. One has to have order; this is absolutely essential. We are going to investigate together what we mean by that order. There is the order of the older generation, which is really total disorder as one observes its activities throughout the world, in business, in religion, in the economic field, amongst nations and everywhere else; there is total disorder.
In reaction to that there is the permissive society, the younger generation, who do quite the opposite to the older generation, which is also disorder – isn’t it? A reaction is disorder. And how is the mind, with all its subtleties of thought, with all the images thought has built, the images that it has built about another, and the images about itself, the images of the “what is” and the “what should be” (therefore living in a state of contradiction), how is such a mind to have complete, total order within itself, so that there is no fragmentation, no reaction to a pattern and no contradiction of the opposites out of which arises violence? Now, seeing all this, how is the mind, your mind, to have complete, total order in action and in thought, in every movement both psychologically and physiologically?
Religious people have said that you can only have order through belief in a higher life, through belief in God, belief in something outside, and that you must conform, adjust, imitate according to that belief; that through discipline you must force your whole nature and change the structure of the psyche, as well as your physiological state. They have said all this. And there is a group of behaviourists who say that environment forces you to behave; if you don’t behave properly then it destroys you. And people live that way, according to their own particular belief, whether it be the communist belief, some religious belief or a sociological, economic belief.
In spite of this division in the world, the contradiction in ourselves as well as in society, and the counter culture against the existing culture, they all say that there must be order in the world; the military say it and so do the priests. And is order mechanical? Can order be brought about through discipline? Can order be brought about through conformity, imitation and control? Or, is there an order that has nothing whatever to do with control, with discipline as we know it, that has nothing whatever to do with conformity, with adjustment and so on?
Let us look at this whole idea of control and find out whether it does bring order (which doesn’t mean we are talking against control). We are trying to understand; and if we understand, we may discover something entirely different. I hope you are following all this and that you are as interested in it and as passionate about it as I am. It is utterly useless to listen casually to some theoretical idea; we are not discussing theories or hypotheses; we are observing actually what is going on, seeing what is false. The very perception of seeing what is false is the truth. Do you understand?
Now what is implied in control? All our culture, all our education and the upbringing of our children is based on that; and in ourselves there is this urge to control. Now what is implied in that? We have never asked ourselves why we should control at all? Now, let us go into this question. Control implies, does it not, a controller and the thing to be controlled. Please give your attention to this. I am angry and I must control my anger; and where there is control, there is conflict; “I must” and “I must not”. And conflict obviously distorts the mind. A mind is healthy when it has no conflict at all; then it can function without any friction and such a mind is a sane, clear mind, but control denies that, because in control there is conflict and contradiction, there is the desire to imitate and to conform to a pattern – the thing you think you ought to do. Is this clear?
So control is not order. This is very important to understand. One can never have order through control, because order implies functioning clearly, seeing wholly, without any distortion; but where there is conflict, there must be distortion. Control also implies suppression, conformity, adjustment and the division between the observer and the observed. We are going to find out what it is to act or bring about order without control. Not that we are denying the whole structure of control, but we are seeing the falseness of it and, therefore, out of that comes the truth of order. Are we following each other, not verbally but actually doing it as we go along, because we are trying to create an entirely different world, a different culture, to bring about a human being who lives without friction? It is only such a mind which is capable of living without distortion that knows what love is. And control in any form does breed distortion, conflict and an unhealthy mind.
The old culture has said that you must discipline, and this discipline begins with children at home, then in schools and colleges and right the way through life. Now that word “discipline” means to learn; it does not mean drilling, conforming, suppressing and so on. And a mind that is learning all the time, is actually in a state of order, but the mind that is not learning, which says “I have learnt”, such a mind brings disorder. The mind itself resists being drilled, becoming mechanical, conforming and suppressing, which is all implied by discipline. And yet we said there must be order. How is this order to come into being without discipline in the accepted sense of that word?
Seeing the problem, which is very complex, what is your answer? If you are exercising your mind, if you are really deeply interested in this question of order, not only inwardly in yourself but also outwardly, what is your response to it? How do you find an answer to this urge for order, which does not depend on control, on discipline, on conformity and that totally denies all authority – which is freedom, isn’t it? If there is any form of authority, then in the acceptance of that authority there is conformity, there is a following; and that breeds contradiction and therefore disorder.
So, no control, in the usual meaning of that word “discipline”, and a total denial of the whole structure and nature of authority, which negates freedom. And yet there must be order; see the complications of it. There is the authority of law, of the policeman, the civil authority that one must abide by; but there must be freedom from the authority of the elders with their beliefs, and the authority of one’s own demands, experience, knowledge; because all that denies freedom.
Seeing the actual state of the world as it is, observing our culture, social, economic and religious, our educational system and the family relationship, we see that they are all based on this authority. And it has caused utter confusion, great suffering, wars and the fragmentation of the world, as well as the division of man. Observing this, how is one to bring about order? That is your problem – you understand? How will you answer that question if you are really deeply, passionately, interested in trying to bring order to your life, as well as outwardly? What will your answer be? Will you turn to books, to the priests, to the philosophers, to the gurus, to the latest person who says, “I am enlightened, come and I’ll tell you all about it?” To whom will you turn – to find out how to live a life that is totally orderly, denying all conformity, all authority, all discipline and control? You have to answer this question. We are coming to the problem afresh, that is, afresh in the sense that we don’t know how to bring order out of this chaos. If you say, order should be this or that, then you are reacting to “what is”, you are stating something which is in opposition to “what is”, a reaction that has no validity whatever. So we are approaching the problem anew; we have so far only examined the actual fact of what is going on in the world and in ourselves, the actual fact. Now, we are going to find out together what order is. You are not accepting anything the speaker says, be quite sure about this, because if you do, then our relationship changes entirely. But if we are examining together, being totally interested in this issue, which is, that realizing the state of confusion in the world, and seeing the disorder in ourselves, in all our lives, how tawdry they are, realizing the actual fact of this, then we need intensity and passion to discover what is order.
We are going to find out, first of all, what it means to learn by observing “What is” and learning from that. Learning means the active present of that verb to learn, which is a constant movement of learning, not having learnt and then applying that knowledge, which is something quite different from learning all the time. Do you see the difference? We are learning together; we are not storing up knowledge and then acting according to that knowledge; in that there is contradiction and therefore control, whereas a mind that is constantly learning has no authority, no contradiction, no control, no discipline, but the very learning itself demands order. Please observe yourself. Are you in a state of learning – or waiting to be told what order is? Do watch yourself. If you are waiting to find out from another what order is, then you are dependent on that person, or on that book, or on that priest, or on that structure and so on. So we are learning together. Is that your state of mind, that you have understood control and all its implications, understood the full significance of discipline and also you are completely aware of what authority entails? If you have understood, then you are free; otherwise you cannot learn. Learning means a mind that is curious, that doesn’t know, that is eager to find out, interested. Is your mind like that, interested? Are you saying I don’t know what order is but I am going to find out? Are you very curious, passionate and deeply interested, is your mind like that and, therefore, willing to learn, not from another but to learn for yourself by the act of observation? Control and authority, which to you mean discipline, prevent observation. Do you see this? A mind can only learn when it is free, when it doesn’t know, otherwise you cannot learn.
So, is your mind free to observe the world and observe yourself? You cannot observe if you are saying “This is right” and “This is wrong”, “I must control”, “I must suppress”, “I must obey”, “I must disobey” – you follow? And, if you are saying that I must live a permissive life, then you are not free to learn; if you are conforming, you are not free to learn. Are you conforming when you have long hair? Am I conforming because I put on a shirt and trousers? please find out. Conformity is not merely to a national pattern, to a particular structure of a society or to a belief, but there is conformity in little things. And such a mind is incapable of learning, because behind this conformity there is this enormous sense of fear; the young have it as well as the old and that is why they conform. If all that is going on, you are not free to learn.
And there must be order, something living and beautiful, not a mechanical thing – the order of the universe, the order that exists in mathematics, the order that exists in nature, in the relationship between various animals, an order that human beings have totally denied, because in ourselves we are in disorder, which means that we are fragmentary, contradictory, frightened and all the rest of it.
Now, I am asking myself, and you are asking yourself, whether the mind is capable of learning, because it doesn’t know what order is. It knows reaction to disorder, but the mind must discover whether it is actually capable of learning without reaction and can therefore be free to observe. In other words, is your mind aware of the problem of control, of discipline, of authority and the constant response of reaction – are you aware of that whole structure? Are you aware of all this in yourself as you live from day to day? Or are you only aware when it is pointed out to you? please see the difference. If you are aware of this whole problem of confusion, discipline, control and suppression, which is conformity, because you have been observing, living, and watching, then it is your own; the other is second-hand. Now which is it?
For most of us, it is second-hand, because we are second-hand people, aren’t we? All our knowledge is second-hand, our traditions are second-hand; there may perhaps be a few activities that are totally our own and not of another. So, are we aware that it is our own direct perception, and not second-hand knowledge learnt from another? Now, if it is learnt from another, one has to discard that totally, hasn’t one? You have to discard all that has been said just now by the speaker about the implications of control, discipline, authority and so on; then you become aware that what has been pointed out to you must be totally rejected in order to learn. If you have rejected what others, including the speaker, have said, then you are actually learning, aren’t you?
Now, let’s find out together what order means. How do you find out what order is when you don’t know anything about it? You can only do this by enquiring into the state of the mind that is trying to find out what order is. I only know what disorder is, I am completely familiar with it, the whole culture of disorder in this present society; I know it very well. But I don’t know what order is; I can imagine what order is; I can theorize about it, but theories, imagination, speculation are not order; therefore I discard all that. So, I really don’t know what order is.
My mind knows what disorder is, how it has come into being through the culture and the conditioning of that culture and of the human beings; I am aware of all that which is total disorder. Now I really don’t know what order is, so what is the state of the mind that says I don’t know? What is the state of your own mind that says, “I really don’t know?” Is that state of mind waiting for an answer, waiting to be told, expecting to find order? If it is waiting, expecting to be told, then it is not the state which we are talking about, the state of not knowing. The state of “not knowing” is not waiting to be told, it is not expecting an answer; it is terribly alive, active, but it does not know; it knows what is disorder and therefore rejects it completely. When such a mind says, ‘I do not know, then it is totally free. It has denied the disorder and because it is free, it has found order. Do you understand this? It is really marvellous if you go into it for yourself.
I don’t know what order is and I am not waiting for anybody to tell me. And because my mind has denied everything that is disorder, totally, without holding back a thing, has emptied the cupboard completely, it is free; so it is capable of learning. And when the mind is totally free, which means non-fragmented, then it is in a state of order. Have you understood this? Now, is your mind in total order, otherwise don’t go any further. Nobody, no teacher, no guru, no saviour, no philosopher, can teach you what order is; in denying totally all authority, you are free from fear, and therefore you can find out what order is. Now, are you aware of your mind, of yourself, of your life – not the holiday life sitting here for an hour listening to a talk – but aware of your daily life, of your family life, of your relationship with each other? And in that life are you aware of the daily routine, the monotony, the boredom of going to the office? Are you aware of the quarrels, of the brutalities, of the nagging and the violence, of everything which is the result of a culture that is total disorder, which is your life? You can’t pick and choose out of that disorder what you think is order. Are you aware that your life is disorderly and if you haven’t got the interest, the passion, the intensity, the flame to find order, then you will pick and choose what you think is order out of the disorder. Can you observe yourself with great honesty, without any sense of hypocrisy or double talk, know for yourself that your life is disorderly, and can you put all that aside to find out what order is? You know, putting aside disorder is not so very difficult; we dramatise it, make much of it. But when you see something very dangerous, a precipice, a wild animal, or a man with a gun, you avoid it instantly, don’t you? There is no arguing, no hesitation, no temporising, there is immediate action. In the same way, when you see the danger of disorder, there is instant action which is the total denial of the whole culture which has brought about disorder, which is yourself. That is the main issue.