You Are Not Separate from Disorder

From Krishnamurti’s Book TRUTH AND ACTUALITY

Krishnamurti: We must all be very concerned with what is going on in the world. The disintegration, the violence, the brutality, the wars and the dishonesty in high political places. In the face of this disintegration what is correct action? What is one to do to survive in freedom and be totally religious? We are using the word ‘religious’ not in the orthodox sense, which is not religious. The meaning of that word is: gathering together all energy to find out what is the place of thought and where are its limitations and to go beyond it. That is the true significance and the meaning of that world ‘religious’. So what is one to do in this disintegrating, corrupt, immoral world, as a human being – not an individual, because there is no such thing as the individual – we are human beings, we are collective, not individual, we are the result of various collective influences, forces, conditioning and so on. As human beings, whether we live in this country, or in America or in Russia or in India, which is going through terrible times, what is one to do? What is the correct, right action? To find this out, if one is at all serious – and I hope we are serious here, otherwise you wouldn’t have come – what is one to do? Is there an action that is total, whole, not fragmented, that is both correct and accurate, that is compassionate, religious in the sense we are using that word? This has nothing whatsoever to do with belief, dogma, ritual, or the conditioning of a certain type of religious enquiry. What is a human being confronted with this problem to do?

To find an answer, not imaginary, fictitious or pretended, to find the true, the right answer one must enquire into the whole movement of thought. Because all our conditioning, all our activity, all our political, economic, social, moral and religious life is based on thought. Thought has been our chief instrument in all the fields of life, in all the areas, religious, moral, political, economic, social, and in personal relationships: I think that is fairly obvious. Please, if I may point out, we are talking this over together. We are enquiring into this together, sharing it, your responsibility is to share it, not just merely listen to a few ideas, agree or disagree, but to share it; which means you must give attention to it, you must care for it, this problem must be serious, this problem must be something that touches your mind, your heart, everything in life – otherwise there is no sharing, there is no communion, there is no communication except verbally or intellectually and that has very little value. So we are together enquiring into this question.

What is the responsibility of thought? – knowing its limitation, knowing that whatever it does is within a limited area; and in that limited area is it possible to have correct, accurate response and action? At what level does one find for oneself, as a human being, the right action? If it is imaginary, personal, according to an idea, a concept, or an ideal, it ceases to be correct action. I hope we are understanding each other. The ideal, the conclusion is still the movement of thought as time, as measure. And thought has created all our problems; in our personal relationships, economically, socially, morally, religiously, thought has not found an answer. And we are trying to find out if we can, this morning – and in the next two or three talks – what is the action which is whole, non-traditional, non-mechanistic, which is not a conclusion, a prejudice, a belief. That is, I want to find out, if I am at all serious, how am I to act? An action in which there is no pretension, an action that has no regrets, an action that does not breed further problems, an action that will be whole, complete and answer every issue, whether at the personal level, or at the most complex social level. I hope this is your problem. Unless we solve this problem very deeply, talking about meditation, about what is God, what is truth and all the rest of it, has very little meaning. One must lay the foundation, otherwise one cannot go very far. One must begin as close as possible to go very far, and the nearness is you, as a human being living in this monstrous, corrupt society. And one must find for oneself an action that is whole, non-fragmented, because the world is becoming more and more dangerous to live in, it is becoming a desert and each one of us has to be an oasis. To bring about that – not an isolated existence – but a total human existence, our enquiry is into the problem of action.

Can thought solve our problems, thought being the response of memory, experience and knowledge? Memory is a material process; thought is material and chemical – the scientists agree about this. And the things that thought has created in the world and in ourselves is the world of reality, the world of things. Reality means the thing that exists. And to find out what truth is one must be very clear where the limitations of reality are, and not let it flow into the world that is not real.

One observes in the world and in oneself, thought has created an extraordinary complex problem of existence. Thought has created the centre as the ‘me’ and the ‘you’. And from that centre we act. Please look at it, observe it, you will see it for yourself; you are not accepting something the speaker is talking about, don’t accept anything. You know, when one begins to doubt everything, then from that doubt, from that uncertainty grows certainty, clarity; but if you start with imagination, belief, and live within that area you will end up always doubting. Here we are trying to investigate, enquire, look into things that are very close to us: which is our daily life, with all its misery, conflict, pain, suffering, love and anxiety, greed, envy, all that.

As we said, thought has created the ‘me’, and so thought in itself being fragmentary makes the me into a fragment. When you say ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘I want, I don’t want, I am this, I am not that’, it is the result of thought. And thought itself being fragmentary, thought is never the whole, so what it has created becomes fragmentary. ‘My world’, ‘my religion’, ‘my belief’, ‘my country’, ‘my god’ and yours, so it becomes fragmentary. Thought intrinsically is a process of time, measure, and therefore fragmentary. I wonder if you see this? If you see this once very clearly, then we will be able to find out what is action, a correct, accurate action in which there is no imagination, no pretension, nothing but the actual.

We are trying to find out what is action that is whole, that is not fragmentary, that is not caught in the movement of time, not traditional and therefore mechanical. One wants to live a life without conflict and live in a society that doesn’t destroy freedom, and yet survive. As the societies and governments throughout the world are becoming more and more centralised, more and more bureaucratic, our freedom is getting less and less. Freedom is not what one likes to do, what one wants to do, that is not freedom. Freedom means something entirely different. it means freedom from this constant battle, constant anxiety, uncertainty, suffering, pain, all the things that thought has created in us.

Now is there an action which is not based on the mechanical process of memory, on a repetition of an experience and therefore a continuing in the movement of time as past, present and future? Is there an action that is not conditioned by environment? You know the Marxists say that if you control the environment then you will change man, and that has been tried and man has not changed. Man remains primitive, vulgar, cruel, brutal, violent and all the rest of it, though they are controlling the environment. And there are those who say don’t bother about the environment, but believe in some divinity and that will guide you; and that divinity is the projection of thought. So we are back again in the same field. Realizing all this what is a human being to do?

Can thought, which is a material, a chemical process, a thing, which has created all this structure, can that very thought solve our problems? One must very carefully, dill – gently, find out what are the limitations of thought. And can thought itself realize its limitation and therefore not spill over into the realm which thought can never touch? Thought has created the technological world, and thought has also created the division between ‘you’ and ‘me’. Thought has created the image of you and the ‘me’ and these images separate each one of us. Thought can only function in duality, in opposites, and therefore all reaction is a divisive process, a separative process. And thought has created division between human beings, nationalities, religious beliefs, dogmas, political differences, opinions, conclusions, all that is the result of thought. Thought has also created the division between you and me as form and name; and thought has created the centre which is the ‘me’ as opposed to you, therefore there is a division between you and me. Thought has created this whole structure of social behaviour, which is essentially based on tradition, which is mechanical. Thought has also created the religious world, the Christian, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Muslim, with all the divisions, all the practices, all the innumerable gurus that are springing up like mushrooms. And thought has created what it considers is love. Is compassion the result of ‘love’, the result of thought? That is our problem, those are all our problems.

Yet we are trying to solve all these problems through thought. Can thought see itself as the mischief maker, see itself as a necessary instrument in the creation of a society which is not immoral? Can thought be aware of itself? Please do follow this. Can your thought become conscious of itself?

And if it does, is that consciousness part of thought? One can be aware of the activities of thought, and one can choose between those activities as good and bad, worthwhile and not worthwhile, but the choice is still the result of thought. And therefore it is perpetuating conflict and duality. Can thought be attentive to its own movements? Or is there an entity outside the field of thought which directs thought? I can say I am aware of my thoughts, I know what I am thinking, but that entity which says, ‘I know what I am thinking’, that ‘I’ is the product of thought. And that entity then begins to control, subjugate, or rationalize thinking. So there is an entity, we say, which is different from thought: but it is essentially thought. What we are trying to explain is: thought is tremendously limited, it plays all kinds of tricks, it imagines, it creates it.

So our problem then is: can thought realize for itself where it is essential to operate, where it is accurate in its operation, and yet totally limited in every other direction? That means, one has to go into this question of human consciousness. This sounds very philosophical, very complicated, but it isn’t. Philosophy means the love of truth, not love of words, not love of ideas, not love of speculations, but the love of truth. And that means you have to find out for yourself where reality is and that reality cannot become truth. You cannot go through reality to come to truth. You must understand the limitations of reality, which is the whole process of thought. You know, when you look into yourself, knowing your consciousness, why you think, what your motives are, what your purposes are, your beliefs, your intentions, your pretensions, what your imaginations are, all that is your consciousness; and that consciousness essentially is the consciousness of the world. Please do see this. Your consciousness is not radically different from the consciousness of a Muslim, a Hindu, or anybody else, because your consciousness is filled with anxiety, hope, fear, pleasure, suffering, greed, envy, competition; that is consciousness. Your beliefs and your gods, everything is in that consciousness. The content of that makes up your consciousness, and the content of that is thought – thought that has filled consciousness with the things it has created. Look into yourself and you will see how extraordinary obvious it is.

And from this content, which is conditioned, which is the tradition, which is the result of thought, we are trying to find a way to act within that area – within that area of consciousness which thought has filled with the things of thought. And one asks: if thought cannot solve all our human problems – other than technological or mathematical problems – then how can it limit itself and not enter into the field of the psyche, into the field of the spirit? – we can use that word for the moment. As long as we function within that area we must always suffer, there must always be disorder, there must always be fear and anxiety. So my question is: can I, can a human being bring about order in the world of reality? And when thought has established order in the world of reality, then it will realize its own tremendous limitations. I wonder if you see this? We live in a world of disorder, not only outwardly but inwardly. And we have not been able to solve this disorder. We try everything – meditation, drugs, accepting authority, denying authority, pursuing freedom and denying freedom – we have done everything possible to bring about order – through compulsion, through fear – but we still live in disorder. And a disordered mind is now trying to find out if there is a correct action – you follow? A disordered mind is trying to find out if there is a right, accurate, correct action. And it will find an action which is incorrect, disorderly, not whole. Therefore in the world of reality in which we live we must bring about order. I wonder if you see this?

Order is not the acceptance of authority. Order is not what one wants to do. Order is not something according to a blueprint. Order must be something highly mathematical, the greatest mathematical order is the total denial of disorder, and so within oneself, within the human being. Can you look at your disorder, be aware of it, not choosing particular forms of disorder, accepting some and denying others, but see the whole disorder? Disorder implies conflict, self-centred activity, the acceptance of a conclusion and living according to that conclusion, the ideal and the pursuit of the ideal which denies the actual; can you totally deny all that? It is only when you deny totally all that, that there is order, the order that is not created by thought in the world of reality. You understand? We are separating reality and truth. We say reality is everything that thought has created; and in that area, in that field, there is total disorder, except in the world of technology. In that field human beings live in complete disorder and this disorder is brought about, as we have explained, by conflict, by the pursuit of pleasure, fear, suffering, all that. Can you become aware of all that and totally deny it – walk away from it? Out of that comes order in the world of reality.

In that world of reality behaviour is something entirely different. When you have denied all that, denied the ‘me’, which is the product of thought, which creates the division, the thought that has created the ‘me’ and the super-conscious, all the imaginations, the pretensions, the anxieties, the acceptance and the denial. That is the content which is so traditional; to deny that tradition is to have order. Then we can go into the question of what truth is, not before; otherwise it becomes pretentious, hypocritical, nonsensical. In that one has to understand the whole question of fear, how human beings live in fear, and that fear is now becoming more and more acute, because the world is becoming so dangerous a place, where tyrannies are increasing, political tyrannies, bureaucratic tyrannies, denying freedom for the mind to understand, to enquire.

So can we as human beings, living in this disorderly, disintegrating world, become actually, not in theory or imagination, an oasis in a world that is becoming a desert? This is really a very serious question. And can we human beings educate ourselves totally differently? We can do that only if we understand the nature and the movement of thought as time, which means really understanding oneself as a human being. To look at ourselves not according to some psychologist, but to look at ourselves actually as we are and discover how disorderly a life we lead – a life of uncertainty, a life of pain, living on conclusions, beliefs, memories. And becoming aware of it, that very awareness washes away all this.

For the rest of this morning can we talk over together, by question and enquiry, what we have talked about? Please, you are asking questions not of me, not of the speaker. We are asking questions of ourselves, saying it aloud so that we can all I share it because your problem is the problem of everybody share. Your problem is the problem of the world, you are the world. I don’t think we realize that. You are actually in the world, in the very deepest essence – your manners, your dress, your name and your form may be different – but essentially, deep down, you are the world, you have created the world and the world is you. So if you ask a question you are asking it for the whole of mankind. I don’t know if you see that? – which doesn’t mean that you mustn’t ask questions, on the contrary. Questioning then becomes a very serious matter, not a glib question and a glib answer, some momentary question and forget it till another day. If you ask, ask about a really human problem.

Questioner: Did you say that by walking away from the disorder of traditions we create order? Is that what you meant ?

Krishnamurti: Yes, that is what I meant. Now just a minute, that needs a great deal of explanation of what you mean by tradition, what you mean by walking away, what you mean by order.

Q: In addition to that question, the seeing of this disorder already implies that the ‘see-er’ has gone, that you have walked away.

K: There are three things involved in this: order, walking away, and the observation of disorder. Walking away from disorder, the very act of moving away from it, is order. Now first, how do you observe disorder? How do you observe disorder in yourself? Are you looking at it as an outsider looking in, as something separate and there is therefore a division, you and the thing which you are observing? Or are you looking at it, if I may ask, not as an outsider, without the outsider, without the observer who says, ‘I am disorderly’? Let us put it round the other way. When you look at something, those trees and that house, there is a space between you and that tree and that house. The space is the distance and you must have a certain distance to look, to observe. If you are too close you don’t see the whole thing. So if you are an observer looking at disorder, there is a space between you and that disorder. Then the problem arises, how to cover that space, how to control that disorder, how to rationalize the disorder, how to suppress it, or whatever you do. But if there is no space you are that disorder. I wonder if you see that?

Q: How can I walk away from it?

K: I am going to show it to you; I am going to go into that. You understand my question?

When you observe your wife, your husband, a boy or a girl – nowadays they don’t marry – or your friend, how do you observe him or her? Watch it please. Go into it, it is very simple. Do you observe directly, or do you observe that person through an image, through a screen, from a distance? Obviously, if you have lived with a person – it doesn’t matter if it’s for a day or ten years – there is an image, a distance. You are separate from her or him. And when you observe disorder you have an image of what order is; or an image which says, ‘this disorder is ugly’. So you are looking at that disorder from a distance, which is time, which is tradition, which is the past. And is that distance created by thought? Or does this distance actually exist? When you say, ‘I am angry’, is anger different from you? No, so you are anger. You are disorderly: not you separate from disorder. I think that is clear.

So you are that disorder. Any movement – please follow this – any movement of thought away from that disorder is still disorder. Because that disorder is created by thought. That disorder is the result of your self-centred activity, the centre that says, ‘I am different from somebody else’ and so on. All that produces disorder. Now can you observe that disorder without the observer?

Q: Then you will find in yourself what you are criticizing in the other?

K: No, no. I am not talking about criticizing the others. That has very little meaning criticizing others.

Q: No, what you found in the other, you will find it in yourself.

K: No, the other is me; essentially the other is me. He has his anxieties, his fears, his hopes, his despairs, his suffering, his pain, his loneliness, his misery, his lack of love and all the rest of it; that man or women is me. If that is clear, then I am not criticizing another, I am aware of myself in the other.

Q: That is what I meant.

K: Good. So is there an observation without the past, the past being the observer? Can you look at me, or look at another, without all the memories, all the chicanery, all the things that go on – just look? Can you look at your husband, wife and so on, without a single image? Can you look at another without the whole past springing up? You do, when there is an absolute crisis. When there is a tremendous challenge you do look that way. But we live such sloppy lives, we are not serious, we don’t work.

Q: How can you live permanently at crisis pitch?

K: I’ll answer that question, sir, after we have finished this.

So the walking away from it is to be totally involved in that which you observe. And when I observe this disorder without all the reactions, the memories, the things that crop up in one’s mind, then in that total observation, that very total observation is order. I wonder if you see this? Which raises the question, have you ever looked at anything totally? Have you looked at your political leaders, your religious beliefs, your conclusions, the whole thing on which we live, which is thought, have you looked at it completely? And to look at it completely means no division between you and that which looks. I can look at a mountain and the beauty of it, the line of it, the shadows, the depth, the dignity, the marvellous isolation and beauty of it, and it is not a process of identification. I cannot become the mountain, thank God! That is a trick of the imagination. But when I observe without the word ‘mountain’, I see there is a perception of that beauty entirely. A passion comes out of that. And can I observe another, my wife, friend, child, whoever it is, can I observe totally? That means can I observe without the observer who is the past? Which means observation implies total perception. There is only perception, not the perceiver. Then there is order.

Q: If there is only perception and no perceiver, what is it that looks? If I see that I am disorder, what is it that sees it?

K: Now go into it, sir. Disorder is a large word, let us look at it. When you see that you are violent and that violence is not different from you, that you are that violence – what takes place? Let us look at it round the other way.

What takes place when you are not the violence? You say violence is different from ‘me’, what happens then? In that there is division, in that there is trying to control violence, in that there is a projection of a state of non-violence, the ideal, and conformity to that ideal; therefore further conflict, and so on. So when there is a division between the observer and the observed, the sequence is a continuous conflict in different varieties and shapes; but when the observer is the observed, that is when the observer says, ‘I am violent, the violence is not separate from ‘me’‘, then a totally different kind of activity takes place. There is no conflict, there is no rationalization, there is no suppression, control, there is no non-violence as an ideal: you are that. Then what takes place? I don’t know if you have ever gone into this question.

Q: Then what is ‘you’? One cannot speak without ‘you’.

K: No, madam, that is a way of speaking. Look, please. You see the difference between the observer and the observed. When there is a difference between the observer and the observed there must be conflict in various forms because there is division. When there is a political division, when there is a national division there must be conflict; as is going on in the world. Where there is division there must be conflict; that is law. And when the observer is the observed, when violence is not separate from the observer, then a totally different action takes place. The word ‘violence’ is already condemnatory; it is a word we use in order to strengthen violence, though we may not want to, we strengthen it by using that word, don’t we? So the naming of that feeling is part of our tradition. If you don’t name it then there is a totally different response. And because you don’t name it, because there is no observer different from the observed, then the feeling that arises, which you call violence, is non-existent. You try it and you will see it. You can only act when you test it. But mere agreement is not testing it. You have to act and find out.

The next question was about challenge. Must we always live with challenge?

Q: I said crisis.

K: Crisis, it is the same thing. Aren’t you living in crisis? There is a political crisis in this country, an economic crisis, crisis with your wife or your husband; crisis means division, doesn’t it? Which means crisis apparently becomes necessary for those people who live in darkness, who are asleep. If you had no crisis you would all go to sleep. And that is what we want – ‘For God’s sake leave me alone!’ – to wallow in my own little pond, or whatever it is. But crisis comes all the time.

Now a much deeper question is: is it possible to live without a single crisis and keep totally awake? You understand? Crisis, challenge, shock, disturbance exist when the mind is sluggish, traditional, repetitive, unclear. Can the mind become completely clear, and therefore to such a mind there is no challenge? Is that possible?

That means, we have to go deeper still. We live on experiences to change our minds, to further our minds, to enlarge our minds; experiences, we think will create, will open the door to clarity. And we think a man who has no experience is asleep, or dull or stupid. A man who has no experience, but is fully awake, has an innocent mind, therefore he sees clearly. Now is that possible? Don’t say yes or no.

Q: When you say he has no experience, do you mean in the sense that he is ignorant of basic life?

K: No, no. Sir, look. We are conditioned by the society in which we live, by the food we eat, clothes, climate. We are conditioned by the culture, by the literature, by the newspapers, our mind is shaped by everything, consciously, or unconsciously. When you call yourself a Christian, a Buddhist, or whatever it is, that is your conditioning. And we move from one conditioning to another. I don’t like Hinduism so I jump into Christianity, or into something else. If I don’t like one guru I just follow another guru. So we are conditioned. Is it possible to uncondition the mind so that it is totally free? That means is it possible to be aware of your total conditioning – not choose which conditionings you like, but total conditioning, which is only possible when there is no choice and when there is no observer. To see the whole of that conditioning, which is at both the conscious level as well as at the unconscious level, the totality of it! And you can see the totality of something only when there is no distance between you and that – the distance created as movement of thought, time. Then you see the whole of it. And when there is a perception of the whole, then the unconditioning comes into being. But we don’t want to work at that kind of thing. We want the easiest way with everything. That is why we like gurus. The priest, the politician, the authority, the specialist, they know, but we don’t know; they will tell us what to do, which is our traditional acceptance of authority.

Q: A question about true action. Actually, as we are, every action is a self-centred activity. So when you see that, you are afraid to act because everything has no significance. That is a reality, there is no choice or imagination. You are facing a terrible void and you…

K: I understand the question…

Q: Even material activity.

K: When there is an observation and you see you can’t do anything, then you say there is a void. just hold on to that sentence, to that phrase. There is an observation, you realize you can’t do anything and therefore there is a void. Is that so? When I see that I have been able to do something before, there was no void. You understand? I could do something about it, join the Liberal Party, become a neurotic or whatever it is – sorry! (Laughter). Before I could do something and I thought by doing something there was no void. Because I had filled the void by doing something, which is running away from that void, that loneliness, that extraordinary sense of isolation. And now when I see the falseness of this doing, a doing about something – which doesn’t give a significance or an answer – then I say to myself, ‘I observe that I am the observer, and I am left naked, stark naked, void. I can’t do anything. There is no significance to existence.’ Before, you gave significance to existence, which is the significance created by thought, by all kinds of imaginings, hope and all the rest of it, and suddenly you realize that thought doesn’t solve the problems and you see no meaning in life, no significance. So you want to give significance to life – you understand? You want to give it. (Laughter). No, don’t laugh, this is what we are doing. Living itself has no meaning for most of us now. When we are young we say, ‘Well at least I’ll be happy’ – sex and all the rest of it. As we grow older we say, ‘My God, it is such an empty life’, and you fill that emptiness with literature, with knowledge, with beliefs, dogmas, ritual, opinions, judgements, and you think that has tremendous significance. You have filled it with words, nothing else but words. Now when you strip yourself of words you say, ‘I am empty, void’.

Q: These are still words.

K: Still words, that is what I am saying. Still words. So when you see that thought has created what you considered to be significance, now when you see the limitation of thought, and that what it has created has no significance, you are left empty, void, naked. Why? Aren’t you still seeking something? Isn’t thought still in operation? When you say, I have no significance, there is no significance to life’, it is thought that has made you say there is no significance, because you want significance. But when there is no movement of thought, life is full of significance. It has tremendous beauty.