Krishnamurti with Keith Berwick 2

Episode Notes

Keith Berwick is a four-time Emmy Award winning television broadcaster, and senior fellow of the Aspen Institute. His career also includes historian, educator, newspaper publisher and editor. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.

This second interview was recorded in Los Angeles in 1983, two years after the first. Themes include: What is a human being? What is an individual? Clarity can only come into being when there is no confusion. One must have physical security, but it is being denied because we think in terms of tribalism. Disorder creates authority. Ambition, jealousy, desire and pleasure are not love. What is intelligence? What is thinking? Conscious meditation is determination, not meditation. To meditate you must understand relationship. What is the root of desire? Is there another instrument than thought? If thought has its right place, then you can look.


Krishnamurti: Sir, the whole question is: what is the psyche?

Keith Berwick: Psyche.

K: Which is the self. What is a human being? What is an individual? Is he not the result of all the pressures of environment, tradition, his education, his beliefs, the whole psychological movement which he has both inherited, cultivated, educated? That is the real self, the psyche, or if you like to use… that is his consciousness.

KB: Ah. His consciousness?

K: Yes, sir.

KB: And yet what you’re describing sounds extraordinarily complex, and we hear the admonition to ‘know thyself’. Not easy.

K: No, I think it is fairly easy. After all, in the mirror of relationship – whether it’s intimate, otherwise – in that mirror you can see yourself very clearly, your reactions, your prejudices, all your absurd memories, and the cultivated memories and kept… all that, the images, and you can see that very clearly if you’re interested in that kind of stuff.

KB: Should we be?

K: I think one should, but very few people are, because it requires a great deal of attention, an awareness not only of your environment – environment being nature, the whole ecological world – but also one must be aware of all one’s reactions.

KB: Yes. And those change from moment to moment.

K: So, is that possible, to watch all that? It is possible if you really have got the intent, if you are really interested. Because this has been, ‘know thyself’, from Socrates, Greeks, but much before then, the Hindus and the Chinese, 5,000 years ago they talked about this. Very, very few people have gone through it – they rely on psychologists, on professors, on specialists, and they tell them what to do, and they follow, but they never put aside all authority and look.

KB: But we’re taught, we’re taught from the first lessons upward to respect authority…

K: I know, I know.

KB: …to listen, to…

K: Sir, in Christianity faith and belief and dogma are important. That is, in the Middle Ages they burnt you if you didn’t believe what they told you.

KB: Yes.

K: But in the Asiatic world, especially in Hinduism and Buddhism, doubt, scepticism, questioning is all-important. Otherwise you’re just like a sheep, being led. So, it has been one of the things that is missing in the western world, in the religious area. In the scientific area, they question.

KB: Well, that’s the whole scientific method.

K: Of course, to question.

KB: To set up a model, to test and question.

K: Yes, test hypotheses.

KB: Yes.

K: Test that hypothesis, that theory.

KB: Yes.

K: And doubt it.

KB: Yes.

K: Prove it, change it.

KB: Yes.

K: But in the religious world they never question that. I was in Italy – and I speak Italian – when the Pope said, if I may quote him, that we must have more faith, much more faith, and they all accepted it. In India, if you’re seriously religiously inclined, you begin to question everything.

KB: So that nothing would be a matter of belief.

K: No, that’s just it. But even in India, that is, in the ancient days, they questioned the very belief itself.

KB: You mean the grounds for any belief?

K: Yes. You start afresh.

KB: And do you start afresh over and over and over?

K: No, no. Once you clear the ground, clear the decks as it were, then you can start from there.

KB: And how does one ‘clear the decks’, as you put it?

K: When you ask that question, ‘how’, you are asking for a system, for a method. We’ve had methods. We’ve had systems galore. All the gurus that come into this country, to the gullible Americans…

KB: Many from India.

K: Many from India, and they’re coining money. You’ve seen all that thing…

KB: Yes, of course.

K: …what’s going on in this country. And to start afresh one must be aware of one’s conditioning.

KB: Ah, so that that conditioning, which is a kind of prison, in which we’re unfree.

K: Framed on the whole brain structure.

KB: And you have somehow to free yourself.

K: Ah, that’s what I’m saying, sir. After all, the whole basis of our culture, whether it’s East or West – for me, there is no East and West, there is only… – thinking.

KB: Thinking or experiencing, irrespective of thought.

K: No, no, just a minute, sir. All our activities are based on thinking. The whole structure of this studio is based on thinking. And all the religions, especially Christianity and so on, are based on thinking. Though they may say it’s divine revelation, straight from the God’s mouth, it is still the expression of thought.

KB: Yes, reduced to words.

K: Through words, through images, through pictures.

KB: Yes.

K: So, if you want to go into it rather deeply, we are questioning the very structure of thought, because thought has created the most extraordinary things in the world, communication, surgery, medicine, and also it’s created all the materials of war.

KB: Yes.

K: It has been the… wars have been the result of thought, of nationalities. Right?

KB: Thought has a great deal to answer for.

K: So, thought has created the problems and then thought tries to solve it. Which it can never do. I don’t know if you have not noticed, our brains are trained to solve problems, from childhood. Go to school, a whole series of problems are put before you.

KB: Yes.

K: Mathematical, you know the whole business.

KB: We’re taught to be problem-solving beings.

K: Yes. So our brain is trained, conditioned to solve problems. So we make the whole of life into a problem. Right?

KB: Yes.

K: We never look at it not as a problem but something that you have to understand – the whole of it not just one part of it.

KB: And you can come to understand not through some system that… – a pathless land as you say – not through some system…

K: Not through any belief, dogma, rituals.

KB: No religion, no books, no words that can be spoken, incantations.

K: Not committed to any dogma, to any ideal, left or right.

KB: But by getting in touch with the innermost self.

K: Which is what? The innermost self is essentially – if I may use that word – selfish, self-centred.

KB: Yes.

K: The whole… I mean, you know what is happening here: self-centred interest.

KB: Even to the extent that you mentioned, that in a relationship with another person, here as I talk to you I project out to you and see…

K: Yes.

KB: …you as a mirror for my self-image.

K: Yes, but you can distort that image.

KB: Yes. Right.

K: You can say, ‘I don’t like it,’ or like it, and so you begin to choose. And we consider choice brings freedom. On the contrary, choice is indication of lack of freedom.

KB: How so?

K: Because if you’re clear, you don’t choose. It is so.

KB: Oh! If you are clear, if you have real clarity…

K: …there’s no choice.

KB: …there’s no choice.

K: That’s it. Now, clarity can only come into being when there is no confusion.

KB: Right.

K: But we’re all confused, politically, in every direction we are confused, from the greatest politician to the most poor clerk or poor servant, or…

KB: Including yourself?

K: What?

KB: You too, when you say we are confused, even you.

K: Ah, no, I’m not confused.

KB: No. All right.

K: Because I don’t belong, if I may talk personally, to any cult, to any group, to any nation. And to me the idea of being a Hindu, American, Russian, that is one of the major causes of war, this tribal division. And if man… if you want peace, all that must end, not think in terms of tribalism.

KB: No matter how sophisticated these may be, whether it’s nations or…

K: I mean, that’s what is happening. There is… the Israelis and the Arabs in Beirut, you know all that thing that’s going on.

KB: So, truth has to do with universals that cut through all of these divisions.

K: Yes, sir. Therefore, to find that or to come upon it, or for it to exist, you must be totally free – free from your conditioning, from your fears, from your anxieties, from your quarrels, you know, all the pettiness…

KB: …religious beliefs, prejudices.

K: But to be free implies no fear.

KB: Yes.

K: Right? But most human beings are frightened.

KB: Yes.

K: Because they want security, both…

KB: The search for security…

K: …breeds fear.

KB: …breads fear. Yes, I can see that.

K: They want physical security and psychological security. One must have physical security – right? – otherwise I wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be here, but that physical security is being denied for all humanity because we’re thinking in terms of tribalism.

KB: Aha.

K: Me, my country, my God, my little backyard as opposed to your back yard, and we are at each other’s throat. So the very search for security is denying security, through these divisions.

KB: I see that. I see that.

K: I mean, it’s so obvious. It is a law: where there is division there must be conflict.

KB: By definition. By definition.

K: By definition. It is so.

KB: Yes. Right. What I want to do is to pause for some commercial words and come back and talk about a particular conflict that you experienced and how you resolved it.

K: Yes.

(Pause in recording)

KB: Mr Krishnamurti, in 1929 you broke with Theosophy, with the Order that Annie Besant had set up. That’s the conflict that I speak of. At least I think it was a conflict.

K: It wasn’t a conflict.

KB: Aha! So I’ve misunderstood. There was no choice.

K: Yes.

KB: But why? Why?

K: First of all, sir, if one really understands that truth is a pathless land, that no system, no guru, no authority can lead you to it, and there is an organisation round you with thousands of members, property, money – oh, you have no idea what it’s like! – devotion, candles – and I said that’s totally wrong, the whole thing. So, I…

KB: Your given name is Krishnamurti. What does the name mean?

K: ‘Murti’ means form. Krishna was a god, Hindu god – you know, all of these images.

KB: Yes, yes.

K: That’s all.

KB: In the form…

K: Every eighth child is called ‘Krishnamurti’ (inaudible).

KB: But in your case, in your case being in the form or likeness of God, was a call to a certain kind of destiny.

K: Sir, Dr Besant and her group chose me. She, Dr Besant, adopted me, my brother and myself, took us to England, put through college – you know, the whole business of it.

KB: Yes. You met the Lutyens there and all of that – yes.

K: Yes, yes. We lived with the so-called British aristocracy.

KB: Yes.

K: And there were… in Holland we had 5,000 acres and a castle, enormous affair; about 6,000 people used to turn up from all over the world to hear what I had to say.

KB: Yes.

K: I saw how absurd all this was. Another sectarian group. There are enough sectarian groups anyhow.

KB: You being revered as a great teacher…

K: Oh, a teacher, absolutely, prostration, candles, anything you want, and I said, ‘This is all wrong.’ I said, ‘Abolish the whole thing.’ There were many politicians, prominent politicians in England who said, ‘You can’t do this. You must hold all this. It’s meant to help you serve people.’ I broke through all that. And you see, it was not… it has never been a conflict in my life, nothing, because I object to conflict.

KB: But for a time you did serve in that capacity, so at some point you must…

K: No, I was too young. I just repeated what they said.

KB: Aha.

K: I was really rather immature and rather vague and rather moronic, (laughs) but later on, it… you know, one matures slowly. I happened to mature very slowly.

KB: Did this come as a sudden revelation or a gradual unfolding or…

K: No, no, from the very beginning I said certain things, like authority, like fear; don’t follow anybody, don’t worship persons, including myself; that all is sentimental, romantic, it has nothing to do with this search of truth, or nothing to do with understanding yourself. You can understand yourself by watching yourself, not by following some philosophy or some guru, some system.

KB: And so you renounced all of that…

K: I wouldn’t use even ‘renounced’ – that sounds rather… something very special.

KB: Well, so it seems to me.

K: I think, sir, if you see something very clearly, that some things are utterly destructive, you walk away from it. You see, the idea of renouncing and sacrifice and conflict never existed. Not that I’m something special but it is so in life. I used to know a great many communists at one time.

KB: Communists?

K: (Laughs) Can I talk about it in this country?

KB: Of course.

K: Card carrying communists in Holland, in England and so on. They would go with me so far. I said, ‘No authority, either Lenin, Stalin. No authority.’ Ah! They backed away from that. And a great many… I used to know some bishops and, you know, all that kind of thing, they… I remember once, in Stresa – you know Stresa in Italy?

KB: Oh, yes. Yes, of course. And you speak Italian fluently.

K: Lago Maggiore. I was invited by one of the disciples or one of the leaders under Mussolini.

KB: Yes, (laughs) who was an authoritarian figure, certainly.

K: Yes. So, they asked… they hired a big hall and there were – when I got up on the platform there were all the cardinals and all that affair. (Laughs) So I said… I talked about authority: there should be no authority in spiritual matters. And they listened very quietly. I talked for about forty minutes or so. Absolute silence. Next day, I was to continue a series, there was one old lady sitting in the corner!

KB: Just one, and you? (Laughs)

K: And a few friends of mine. This has happened everywhere where orthodoxy is very strong. Because, sir, humanity now follows somebody. In this country there are the specialists.

KB: Yes, and the cult of personality.

K: Oh, disgusting!

KB: Well, it’s certainly very misleading, even if one is not…

K: No, I think it is so destructive.

KB: Yes, yes.

K: That means you are merely following some of your own emotional stresses and your emotional…

KB: You mean that projection that you’re speaking of?

K: Projection. And they’re not worth it, those people they follow.

KB: We only discover that though, apparently, by putting them up on that pedestal or elevating them to a position of power.

K: You know Andre Gide?

KB: Yes, of course.

K: He’s the Frenchman who was a communist, writer.

KB: Yes.

K: I met him several times in France long ago. And he went to Moscow. Thoroughly disillusioned. Came back and wrote books. But he drew, dragged with him when he was a communist, a great many.

KB: Yes.

K: And later on he gave it up. They were struck and he was free!

KB: But all through the decade of the 1930s there were a great many intelligent people who steeped themselves in those dogmas.

K: Yes, sir. I think it is partly excitement, something new.

KB: And partly, it would seem to me, distrust of self, because it is in those times of crisis that instead of turning inward and trusting ourselves…

K: That’s right, sir, that’s right.

KB: …we look outward for some saviour.

K: Yes. This is what is happening in the countries where there is a great deal of disorder. They want somebody to lead them.

KB: A Hitler?

K: I don’t know if you have… Where there is disorder, that very disorder creates authority, which is happening in this country.

KB: Yes. And that would apply also to the model of the individual self…

K: Of course.

KB: …where there is confusion.

K: Where there is… I mean, unless you put your house in order, your own house, society cannot have order. I mean, it’s so obvious what is happening in this country: drugs – you follow? – murder, 50,000 children are kidnapped every year. You follow? You’ve heard all this. There is really confusion, and America is becoming the… she’s leading the world.

KB: In these things. In violence.

K: In these things, and also people from the East want to be like Americans.

KB: Yes. Yes. For good or ill. For good and ill. Yes.

K: The vulgarity, the noise…

KB: And what is the place of love in an apparently heartless world?

K: Sir, that’s really a very complex question. I don’t know if you want to go into it. In marriage or when you are living with somebody, is there love, or is it sensuality?

KB: Or mutual dependence.

K: Dependence, convenience, and mutual adoration, mutual supporting each other? So, all that is called love. And is it love? Is desire love? I mean, the whole American, if you see it, television on this… nothing but entertainment, from the bishops down.

KB: It’s just distraction.

K: Distraction. And then, to kill another, you can’t, if you love somebody. If you love. Here, all over the world, they don’t seem to mind anymore to killing people for some ideas, for some ideals. For some idiotic concepts, they are willing to throw bombs, kidnap, murder. Now, all religions from 5,000 BC and perhaps before, all religions, accepted, orthodox, said, ‘Love is necessary’. Love which is not personal, which is not – I’m translating for myself – which is not attachment, because when you are attached, there is fear, there is anxiety, a sense of division.

KB: So love also must be without conditions, unconditional.

K: Which means no fear, no jealousy, and an ambitious man cannot love, whether in the physical world or in the psychological, so-called spiritual world. When he wants to attain nirvana or illumination or something, that ambition destroys love, if you have it. So ambition, jealousy, desire, pleasure is not love. If you say that to people, they say, ‘What are you talking about?’ I was talking to somebody very intelligent, a woman highly educated in England, she said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I used to know her quite well. She said, ‘What are you talking about? Love means jealousy. The two go together. Otherwise there is no love.’ I used to know her quite well and we used to talk a great but I couldn’t even… Allow her to think this way – she wouldn’t allow it. So, sir, that’s your question. Really we must… to understand what love is, there must be intelligence.

KB: Do you mean love is not possible between beings who are not highly intelligent? I don’t see that.

K: No, no. Wait a minute, sir. Let’s go into the question of intelligence. What is intelligence? Not the mechanical intelligence, not the computer, ultra-computer intelligence. But intelligence is not the product of thought.

KB: Ah, so you’re speaking of something very different from that thought process we spoke of before.

K: Of course. It is not the result of cunning thought, of all the mechanical movements of thought. After all, suppose I love somebody. I live with her or him and I’m building a series of images about her and she is doing the same with me, and so these images of forty years, the memories, the pictures, the incidents, the nagging, the hurts, all that I retain, consciously or unconsciously, and the relationship is between these two.

KB: Yes.

K: The images I have about her and she has about me. That’s not love. So to understand this very complex question one must really go into the question of ‘What is thinking?’

KB: How can one then follow your prescription which is to know the self?

K: Which is sane, rational – it’s not my prescription.

KB: It is indeed rational, so it seems to me, yet it is also extremely rare.

K: Ah, of course. People, sir. When the whole world, in the American world or in the other, is geared to entertainment, this…

KB: Yes, we are here.

K: Yes, this whole business of television is nothing but entertainment. And to entertain means excitement. Excitement to buy a piece of toast – they sing and dance. You’ve seen it.

KB: Yes. Yes.

K: So, how can such a mind, or brain, which has lived in excitement from childhood, understand something extraordinarily complex, which is human beings, a human being, his whole biological, nervous, mechanical reactions, and the whole nature of thinking – how? To him, he says, ‘For God’s sake, get on with it. Tell me what to do.’

KB: ‘What are the rules – one, two, three?’ Yes.

K: He never says, ‘I will drop all this, find out for myself.’ That requires a great deal of attention, meditation, looking, watching, arguing, talking – you follow?

KB: I do. It could be argued, of course, there could be a different way of educating people.

K: Of course.

KB: And I know that a great deal of your attention, and of the Krishnamurti Foundation’s attention, has gone into education.

K: Yes. We have got five schools in India and they are forming another one. There is one in England, one in California. Our idea is, academics are necessary, but also to bring about a good human being. Not an American good human being or an Indian good… but a good human being.

KB: A good human being who would be free.

K: Free, that’s right. Not conditioned.

KB: Capable therefore of love.

K: Yes. Not conditioned, not afraid.

KB: Therefore rebellious against authority.

K: Not rebellious. He doesn’t belong to that.

KB: Yes, all right. But interested in change.

K: Obviously. Psychological revolution, not physical revolution. Physical revolution, like in the Communist Russia, has not produced anything. What is important is psychological revolution.

KB: This raises, of course, a whole series of questions. I’d like to pause for some words and come back to that.

K: Yes.

(Pause in recording)

KB: I get the impression that one great aspect of the problem that we’re talking about is all of this confusion and cacophony, therefore silence, meditation would seem to be a way – not a method, but a way to resolve.

K: Sir, no, what do you mean by the word ‘meditation’?

KB: Ah. I was going to ask you, but you’ve asked me first.

K: (Laughs) You see, conscious meditation – following a system, a practice, which most of them do – is not meditation. It’s a determination, not meditation.

KB: Aha.

K: Determine, desire, determination, planning and execution. That’s not meditation.

KB: That is a methodology and that’s not what you’re speaking of.

K: Methodology. That’s what they’re all doing, all the time, whether it is Zen, whether it is Tibetan or Hindu, all these are to control thought, essentially; control thought so that your brain is not rattling around all the time, chattering away. One should also ask, ‘Who is the controller?’ It’s easy to control, but who is the controller? Is not the controller part of the controlled?

KB: Just as the observer is part of the observed if we’re trying to look at ourselves.

K: Obviously.

KB: Of course.

K: So, that’s why I’m saying conscious, deliberate meditation, whether introduced by the gurus into this country and so on, is meaningless, as far as I’m concerned. It has really no depth.

KB: Aha.

K: No sense of… it doesn’t create sensitivity, observation, attention. It’s just repetition. You’ve seen those people who are coining money in this country.

KB: Indeed I have, yes.

K: Instead of Ave Maria, they repeat some other word.

KB: A mantram.

K: Yes, mantram. That’s my… You know that word ‘mantra’ means – I won’t go into the complex meaning of it, just ‘ponder over’ not becoming.

KB: Not becoming.

K: And dissolve all self-centred activity.

KB: Which would presumably cut you off from yourself?

K: No. To work that out, to work out in your life, daily life, not in a monastery, work out in your daily life not to become something, psychologically.

KB: Aha.

K: And also, dissolve, put aside any self-centred activity. That’s the real meaning of the word ‘mantra’.

KB: So what then do you mean by meditation as distinct from we’ve spoken of?

K: I’ll tell you. Through negation you come to the positive. When you deny what is not, then you are beginning to have a brain that is not caught in any system. And it means to meditate you must understand relationship.

KB: Yes.

K: It must begin there. Not high up there; it must begin on the ground and the foundation must be laid, which means no hurts, psychologically no wounds, no fear, no anxiety, no conflict, absolutely no problems.

KB: So that presupposes a high degree of self-knowledge, if I understand you.

K: No, not only self-knowledge, it demands that you be very, very earnest and honest, have integrity, otherwise it’s all nonsense.

KB: Now, when you say ‘relationship’, are you speaking of human relationship with another?

K: Yes. Not only that, human relation with nature, with…

KB: That I understood.

K: Yes. Relationship between two human beings. I mean, the conflict between two human beings which exists now throughout the world, in spite of all the specialists, all the drugs, the tremendous conflict going on between the sexes. And that conflict is expressed in society, and we are talking about changing society, but we’re always contributing to destroy any change. So, to understand the depth and the beauty and the greatness of meditation, one must be absolutely free of all desire. Be careful, sir, I don’t mean desire… We must understand the word ‘desire’ – it’s very complex. Do you want to go into all this?

KB: Yes, please. Because you’ve alluded to desire several times and I get the sense that desire stands in the way.

K: Of course. But therefore you – I don’t know if you have noticed; you must have – all the monks throughout the world have denied desire.

KB: Now you’re speaking of sexual desire…

K: Sexual or any desire, but they desire for heaven.

KB: Yes.

K: They desire for the saviour. They desire to be a noble… etc., etc. That is also desire.

KB: Yes, of course.

K: So, to understand desire one must go into the question of what is desire – which dominates the world, dominates every human being. I see a beautiful woman or a beautiful car, a nice house, a nice picture…

KB: Desire it, yes.

K: Desire. So, what’s the root of desire? Seeing a car or a woman or a picture or a house, then contact, touching it…

KB: Possessing.

K: …then sensation. Right? Then thought comes along and creates the image of you sitting in the car or having that house, and at that moment, desire is born. Right?

KB: Yes.

K: Now, to have a hiatus, a gap, between sensation and thought not creating the image out of the sensation. When you are very attentive you can see this happening. When you see that, there is not a question of controlling desire but watching that thought doesn’t create the image out of sensation.

KB: Aha.

K: I don’t know if you understand that.

KB: I think I do. Now let me take another kind of image. Let us suppose I have a mind filled with hate, animosity.

K: Animosity, right.

KB: I can never rid myself of that except by observing it and understanding it, seeing it.

K: Yes, but why do you have animosity? Before you begin to observe – why? Either he has hurt you…

KB: Some real or imagined hurt.

K: He’s hurt you.

KB: Or some projection from my own – whatever.

K: Yes, sir, various causes. So, which means what? You have an image about yourself.

KB: Yes.

K: And that image is trodden upon and you get hurt and you say, ‘That man is a brute,’ or he’s this, he’s that. So – I don’t know… – not to have an image.

KB: So, a lot of this, whether we’re talking about desire, whether we’re talking about hatreds and animosities…

K: Yes, sir.

KB: …has to do with dissolving those images before they take place, not allowing them.

K: Now, that’s why we must understand… one must understand: what is thinking? Because that is the root of all this. What is…

KB: Because thought can create the image that will…

K: Yes, course.

KB: Or it can prevent that image from taking form.

K: No, no.

KB: No?

K: No, no.

KB: Aha.

K: That’s why I’m saying thought must be understood, the whole process of thinking.

KB: Yes.

K: Right? Whether in the scientific world, in the religious world, or in any field, one must understand what is thinking.

KB: Yes.

K: Thinking is really – isn’t it? – the reaction of memory.

KB: Yes.

K: Memory is knowledge.

KB: That is the sum total. Knowledge is the sum total of all our memory.

K: So, knowledge is born of experience, whether in the scientific world, in a personal way – experience – and so experience is always limited. There is no complete experience.

KB: Yes.

K: Therefore there is no complete knowledge about anything. Therefore knowledge is limited.

KB: Always?

K: Always. Whether in the scientific world or my knowledge of you or your knowledge of me, it’s limited. And so, experience, knowledge, memory is limited, therefore thought is limited, and therefore whatever is limited must inevitably create conflict.

KB: Inevitably?

K: Inevitably. Which is what is happening politically, economically – right? – and religiously.

KB: Certainly, yes.

K: It’s creating tremendous problems.

KB: Yes. Psychologically.

K: Of course, of course.

KB: Yes.

K: So, as long as we have problems created by thought and realise thought cannot solve these problems… Because it’s created them. It’s like playing a game with…

KB: Yes.

K: So one has to understand: is there another instrument rather than thought?

KB: There must be.

K: Ah, we’re going to find out. To find out, one must understand the nature of thought, what it has created in the world, the beneficial and the destructive nature of thought. All the things that are in the churches, in the temples, in the mosque are created by thought – the robes they put on, created by thought, the rituals, the…

KB: …icons, the works.

K: Oh, the whole works.

KB: Yes.

K: And therefore it’s very limited, though they say it’s straight from God or…

KB: This extends to the Bible, it extends to all of it.

K: Of course. To the Gita, to all books.

KB: Right.

K: So, put aside all that and come to the point that thought cannot possibly solve our problems. That’s a tremendous step to take, which very few people are willing to take.

KB: Because we have given ourselves… we have elevated thought to such a high position.

K: Of course. How scientists are worshipped.

KB: Yes.

K: Looked up to. And the doctors. You know all the… it’s all limited thought that is creating the problems.

KB: Yes.

K: Thought is always limited. It’s not complete thought. It can never be.

KB: So we accept that, let us say. Let us say that we are then prepared to make this decision, to come to this decision.

K: Sir, that means… Thought has its place. I couldn’t be here if you…

KB: But it is limited.

K: It’s limited. Knowledge is limited. And your education now is becoming more and more… give them knowledge more and more, and therefore the human brain is becoming more and more limited. I don’t know if you…

KB: Yes, I see. So the more cluttered it becomes the more limited it is.

K: Of course. Obviously.

KB: Right.

K: So, when one realises that, not intellectually but actually, as that cup of coffee, then you would ask: is there another instrument?

KB: Yes.

K: It cannot be personal.

KB: Why not?

K: ‘Person’ means limited.

KB: All right.

K: Right? It cannot be something imaginary, universal. The astrophysicists are looking at the heavens, trying to understand it. They understand in terms of gas, matter and space and all that, but that is…

KB: …that is knowledge too and that is limited.

K: Therefore to understand the universe which means… which is complete order, one must have order in oneself. That’s a different matter.

KB: Aha. Yes.

K: So is there another instrument? Now, how are you going to find out? No philosopher is going to touch it because his whole basis is based on thought, theories, speculations, what is justice, what is goodness, Aristotle says… and so on and so on. He can’t conceive or feel that thought is limited.

KB: It’d be a denial of everything he stands for, sure.

K: That’s just it.

KB: Yes.

K: Which means denial of the self, because the self is put together by thought.

KB: Yes.

K: Right? So if you are really concerned to find another instrument which is not thought, though thought has its place, that implies a brain that is free from all conditioning – neither a Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, a specialist – you have a brain which is active, which is free. Now, is there another instrument? I say there is. You don’t have to believe it. It’s not a matter of faith and belief. It’s a matter of argument, doubt, question, inquiry. If you admit that, that you are inquiring, doubting what I’m saying then we meet at the same level.

KB: Yes. And I do that.

K: Yes. Actually do it, not theoretically.

KB: No, no, actually.

K: All right. If you do it actually, what is the state of the brain which is no longer… has no longer fear? Because fear is put together by thought. No longer fear of death, all the rest of it. Right? So, the total psychological elimination of fear.

KB: Hard to imagine.

K: Not imagine – otherwise you can’t find that out.

KB: Yes, yes. Right, right. So…

K: It’s like a gardener who wants to produce a new rose, he has to work at it.

KB: Yes.

K: So there must be no sense of controller because…

KB: Utterly free.

K: Free. Which means the ending of sorrow, because human beings have suffered for over 5,000 years – right? And the Buddha had talked about ending sorrow in 2,500 BC and humanity has not understood sorrow and not been free of it.

KB: And at this moment we have to pause for some words, and come back.

(Pause in recording)

K: Sir, the other instrument can only come into being when you have understood, when the brain has understood the whole complexity of thought. Without really going to the depth of thought, to see the other is futile. It is possible. I’m saying this. Which implies insight and action. You see something to be true, say for instance, nationalism which is glorified tribalism is very destructive.

KB: Yes.

K: And you don’t belong to any country, because you see what it does in the world.

KB: Yes. I can say a thing that is true: it is a great pleasure to be at one with you.

K: Yes.

KB: At this level.

K: Yes.

KB: In the closing moments of this programme. And then?

K: So, to see what thought has done, the good and the bad, and to give it its proper importance, that is the ground, that is the solid ground you can stand on, so to speak, and from there you look.

KB: That, it seems to me, requires such clarity, of a kind that I have never experienced.

K: Not clarity, it requires…

KB: Clarity. No?

K: It requires observation, observation without any prejudice.

Krishnamurti in Los Angeles, 8 October 1983

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