Krishnamurti on Intelligence
This week’s episode on Intelligence has five sections.
The first extract (2:10) is from Krishnamurti’s second question and answer meeting in Saanen 1985, titled ‘Partial versus holistic intelligence’.
The second extract (15:17) is from the sixth talk in Saanen 1979, titled ‘Intelligence is perception and action’.
The third extract (25:36) is from the third question and answer meeting in Saanen 1984, titled ‘Unlimited intelligence’.
The fourth extract (47:55) is from the third talk in Saanen 1980, titled ‘Where there is intelligence there is right action’.
The final extract this week (53:04)is from the fourth talk in New Delhi 1972, titled ‘In intelligence is total security’.
Partial Versus Holistic Intelligence
What is intelligence? What do you think is intelligence? The meaning of that word, if you look in an etymological dictionary, is ‘interlegere’, to read between the lines. There is a space between two lines – to read between the lines. That is one meaning. The other meaning is to gather information of every kind and to discern among various information what is the correct information. That depends on choice, on one’s education, on one’s way of life and so on. So there is that intelligence, and there is the intelligence of the body. There is the intelligence of the body if you let it alone – not take a lot of wine, alcohol, drugs and live according to taste and sensation because then the body loses its own intelligence.
The body is an extraordinary instrument – how all the nerves are connected to the brain, how the liver works. The heart, from the moment you are born till you die, keeps on beating. It is an extraordinary machine, the product of a million years. Tremendous if you go into it, if you have seen some of the images on television in which they show the body; it is amazing what nature has done through a million or two million years. And we destroy the native intelligence of the body by doing all kinds of extravagant things. Drinking. Sex has its place, but you know the whole issue: ambition, greed, fighting, struggling, a tremendous strain on the body, heart failure and the bypass operations. All that affects the brain, the nerves, the organism, therefore the physical, biological instrument is gradually destroyed; it gradually withers and loses its vitality and energy. If one left it naturally alone, not depending on taste, it then looks after itself; you don’t have to do a thing. Except for a person such as K: the body is ninety years old, so one has to be a little careful.
So, what is intelligence? There is the body’s intelligence: the heart, the liver, the nerves, all the strain, the structure, and the brain can defend itself. If there is any danger, it reacts – certain glands. I don’t know all about it, but you can see how quickly it comes to defend itself. So there is the body intelligence. Let’s leave that alone now.
Then what is the intelligence that a clever physician, a technocrat, technologist, or the one who puts a very, very, very complex machine together. Thousands of people get together send a rocket to the moon, which requires intelligence, cooperation, see that everything is perfect. That requires great intelligence and cooperation. That requires great intelligence, a certain type of intelligence, and that intelligence, which is very cunning, calculating, which has put together the rituals of the world in the temples, mosques and churches. That is also very clever, very intelligent, to control people through their apostolic succession. Sorry, if you are a Catholic forget what I am saying! All that. There is also in India a Sanskrit word for it, this handing it down, the original, handing down his benediction, or his apostolic succession. That also demands quite a clever movement. That is also very intelligent, to control people, to make them believe in something that may or may not exist, and to have faith, and to be baptised – the whole of it is very clever if you have watched it, very intelligent. Which the communists are doing – they have their god Lenin, and below him Stalin, all the way down to the present gentleman. So it is the same movement. And all that is also intelligent, partially. And the scientists, the theoretical physicists, all are partially intelligent.
Then what is a holistic intelligence? Which is whole, not fragmented. I am very intelligent in that direction, but in other directions I don’t care, I am dull. I am very good at the physical sciences – you know all that. So there is partial intelligence in various phases of life, and we are asking: is there an intelligence which is complete, which is not partial, which is not fragmented? We are going to find out. Are you going to find out, or am I going to find out and tell you? Please, am I going to answer that question or are you going to answer it?
Is there an intelligence which is incorruptible, not based on circumstances, which is not pragmatic, self-centred and therefore broken up, fragmented, not whole? Is there an intelligence which is impeccable, which has no holes in it, which covers the whole field of man? Inquire into it. To inquire into it, the brain must be completely free of any conclusion, any kind of attachment, any kind of self-centred movement or self-interest. Therefore a brain that is totally free from fear and sorrow. When there is the end of sorrow, there is passion behind it. The very word ‘sorrow’ etymologically has a deeper meaning than merely shedding tears, and pain and grief and anxiety. Passion is not for something. Passion per se, for itself. I may have passion for a belief – a belief may evoke passion in me, or a symbol, a community, a devotion, an imagination. All that is still very limited.
So first one has to discover, come upon this passion which is neither lust nor has any motive. Is there such passion, or is it mere sensation? There is such passion when there is an end to sorrow. When there is an end to sorrow, there is love and compassion. When there is compassion, not for this or that, but compassion, that compassion has its own supreme quintessence, intelligence. That is neither of time, nor does it belong to any theory, to any technology, to nobody. That intelligence is not personal or universal, or the words around it.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1985, Question and Answer Meeting 2
Intelligence Is Perception and Action
One must have intelligence. Intelligence is different from knowledge. In knowledge, as we pointed out earlier, there is ignorance, whereas intelligence is free from ignorance and therefore free from illusion. It is not the result of accumulated knowledge. The quality of intelligence comes when there is perception and action. That is, perception and no interval between that perception and action. You see, act. I wonder if you understand this.
You see danger, like a precipice. The very perception is action: you move away instantly. That is intelligence, part of that intelligence. You see a dangerous snake: instant action. That is fairly simple because there is a physical response. And the physical reaction is self-preservation, which is intelligence. It is the unintelligent that sees a danger and pursues it. Intelligence is the perception of that which is psychologically dangerous, and acting instantly. That is intelligence. Psychologically it is dangerous to depend on another: for affection, for love, for comfort, for enlightenment – that is dangerous because you are not free. Therefore the very perception of that danger and the acting of it is intelligence. One must have that quality of intelligence.
Intelligence is denied when you are conforming to a pattern laid down by gurus – it doesn’t matter who – by some idiotic person, or conforming, imitating, following. Then there is the ideal and the action which is different from the ideal, or conforming or adjusting to the ideal – which is lack of perception, lack of seeing the actual movement of this. When there is perception, the ideal, imitation, conformity and following totally ends, and that is intelligence. You are following all this? I am not defining intelligence; it is so. It is only the neurotic that sees the danger and continues. The neurotic, the stupid, the thoughtless, the man who just follows his own particular idiosyncrasy and pleasure, and gives it a rational meaning and so on.
So one must have this quality of intelligence. Then with that intelligence is there a state, a movement or whatever you like to call it, which can solve all these innumerable conflicts and miseries? The mind that is totally intelligent. That mind is inquiring. With that intelligence, we are inquiring to find out if there is – there may not be – an act, a state, a quality that resolves every issue of our life.
I am hesitant because one has to use words that have been spoilt, one has to use a word that has lost all its meaning. A word like ‘love’ has become sexual, sensory, sensuous. With it goes pleasure, fear, anxiety, dependence and all the ugliness that takes place in the so-called relationship. So one uses that word very, very hesitantly. It is in no way related to jealousy, fear, or sorrow. It is total responsibility, not only to an immediate person but the total responsibility to the whole of life. Not only your life but the other life. I say that love is the total answer. Without love, do what you will, stand on your head for the rest of your life, sit in any position, lotus, or whatever you do, there is no intelligence. So with that intelligence goes the other. Without intelligence you cannot have the other. They are inseparable. And that is why compassion has this quality of great intelligence. And that is the solution which will solve all our problems.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1979, Talk 6
Question: Could you tell us something more about this vast intelligence of which you speak? Is it an untapped capacity within the brain, or is it some disembodied force to which we may become open?
Krishnamurti: Lovely question, isn’t it?
There is ordinary intelligence – you wouldn’t be sitting here if you hadn’t intelligence, would you? You took a train, you walked, you went by car, you went by bus and so on, which is the exercise of intelligence to come here because you wanted to come. Or it is intelligence to write a good letter. It is intelligence to put a computer together. It is intelligence that has put man on the moon. And it is not intelligence that puts a flag up there! (Laughter) Right? And it is intelligence that has made the computers, missiles, atom bombs, neutron bombs, hydrogen bombs and all the things they are investigating about cancer, liver trouble and so on, so on, so on. That all requires intelligence. And that intelligence is the outcome of thought. But that intelligence is limited because it is the outcome of very careful, logical, experimental, systematic working it out, which is thought. And thought is limited therefore all measurement, which is technology, is limited; they are adding more and more and more every year. right? Where there is the ‘more’ it is limited, or the better is limited. I am better than yesterday – it is very limited.
Now, is there an intelligence which is not limited? I am asking you; we are not telling each other. We recognise the common intelligence – earn money, do business, go to the factory, get up in the morning, you know, all the rest of it – that requires certain intelligence, which is limited because it is the outcome of thought. And thought is born of knowledge. As knowledge is limited always in the future or now, so thought is always limited. So the intelligence of thought is limited. That is simple. And is there intelligence that is not limited? Now who is going to find out? How will you find out? How do you inquire, how do you probe into this, knowing that thought has created intelligence which is limited? The artist, the poet, the great sculptures, the great literary people, painters and so on, all their things are limited naturally – though the artists may not accept that. Scientists have accepted it because they are adding more and more and more every year, getting more and more knowledge about biology, about everything. So is there an intelligence which is not additive? You understand the word? Adding, adding, adding to it. How can one probe into this?
To go into it together – I am not telling you what to do, please. I am not your guru. I am not your leader. I am not your helper. That is not cruelty because we have been helped by so many people for thousands of years and this help has made us weak. This help from seeking from so many directions is making us feeble. We cannot stand on our own feet, observe and be responsible. If you are seeking help, how can you be responsible? Or if you are dependent, how can you be responsible?
So is it possible to probe into this, into that intelligence which is not limited? That intelligence we don’t know. It is not that the speaker has talked about it – he may know it or he may not know it – that is irrelevant. But how shall we come upon it? To inquire into it, I must inquire into my whole existence. That means my daily existence, not some illusory existence on another plane, in another dimension and so on, super-ego, super consciousness, all that ideological nonsense. So I must probe into my life.
Obviously, the first thing is where there is conflict there is no intelligence – if I am in conflict all the time with people, with ideas, with theories, opinions. So is there an end to conflict? Which means is there an end to conflict and other problems so that the brain is free? Are we together in this, at least verbally? You can see the logic of it, the sanity of this. The brain is conditioned, and conditioned to conflict – I am taking that one issue. The brain is in conflict. Where there is conflict, it is impossible to see things clearly. I see things very clearly, that thought is limited and whatever it does is limited, technologically or spiritually. So-called spirituality is limited. And one also sees conflict being the way of life – struggle, being somebody, achieving something and so on, so on, so on, is conflict. And conflict distorts perception. If I am quarrelling with my wife or husband, or with the neighbour, I cannot see things as they are. I won’t go into this more.
So if I see the truth of it, that very truth frees the brain from conflict. That is intelligence. Seeing the truth of something and letting that truth act. I see very clearly that as long as there is conflict in the brain, it is not possible to see things clearly. That very perception ends conflict because it is so. It is so: a snake is dangerous. A wild animal is dangerous: it is so. There are no two ways about it.
So where is the root of conflict? What makes the brain live in endless conflict? Is there a remedy for it? Not drugs, not alcohol, not some kind of fanciful imagination. Is there a perception that frees the brain from conflict and therefore that brain is now moving or living in quite a different state? What is that state? We are not analysing, we are just observing.
Very briefly – we have got so little time – very briefly: the analyser is the analysed. Now there is the analyser separate from the thing he is analysing. I am analysing myself, suppose. I have separated myself from the thing I am observing. I am angry or jealous or neurotic – probably neurotic more. I am neurotic, and then I say, ‘Why am I neurotic?’ as though it was something outside of me. I am neurotic because the brain is neurotic. My whole being is neurotic. It is not that I am different from neurosis. So the observer, the analyser is the analysed, like the experiencer is the experience. Of course. It is rather difficult. Need I go into this? The thinker is the thought – that is clear. The thinker who says, ‘I am separate from thought’ therefore he controls thought, shapes it. But the thinker is thought itself. So the thinker is the thought. The analyser is the analysed.
Now move to the next step, which is: the experiencer is not different from the experience. He thinks he is different and therefore he says, ‘I must experience.’ To experience you must recognise it, otherwise it is not an experience. But to recognise it is to already know it. So the experiencer is the experience, the thinker is the thought, the analyser is the analysed. Probably the analysts and therapists and so on won’t agree with this, but it doesn’t matter. Probably, I said – they may.
So if there is no conflict, it means there is only the fact. There is only the ending of conflict. It is a fact. Or not a fact. Then what takes place in relationship? That is, when there is no conflict inside my brain – inside the brain, it is not my brain; it is the brain of all of us; that we won’t go into for the moment. This brain is now without conflict because I have watched it, worked, looked at it, and therefore in my relationship there is no conflict. Then when there is no conflict in relationship, what is it? Is it not love? When there is no conflict between you and me, there is no difference between you and me. You may be a woman and I a man, and so on, you may be tall, short, black, white, purple or whatever it is, but when there is no conflict there is total relationship with you and me. That is love. Love is not jealousy. Love is not desire. Love is not pleasure. Pleasure means conflict. Desire means conflict: I want to do something I want; my wife wants to do something else. Where there is love, she can do what she wants but there is love. The whole transformation has taken place.
Where there is love there is compassion. And where there is love and compassion, that is intelligence. That intelligence gives… in that intelligence there is absolute security, not relative security. That is intelligence. But one has to be tremendously watchful, which we have been now. And that intelligence is limitless; it is not yours or mine, it is intelligence. Love is not my love and your love, it is love. Yes sirs. That love may be for one or for many; it is still love. Where there is love there is no hate, there is no enemy. So that is intelligence. You can’t talk endlessly about it unless you do it. One can talk about it, as I have been doing, if you go into it much deeper.
You know, have you ever looked at a drum? A drum is tuned to its highest excellence, the right tone. And when you strike on it, it gives the right note. It is tuned. So the brain, when it is tuned, gives the right note, the right response. I wonder if you capture all this. And it is not tuned, like the drum is not, when it is in conflict, when it is slack. So to have the brain tuned. Not you tune the brain – because you are part of the brain. So is it possible, like the drum which is tuned to its highest excellence, to have the brain so tuned that it gives the right note all the time?
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1984, Question and Answer Meeting 3
Where There Is Intelligence There Is Right Action
Where there is intelligence there is correct action. Intelligence is not knowledge, is not accumulated information. Where there is insight into attachment, that insight is intelligence, and from that intelligence there is correct action.
Don’t look at me, it’s not worth it, but look at yourself and find out.
Man has lived with corruption for a million years, and all his actions must be corrupt, must bring chaos and conflict. His actions are based on ideals, on concepts, on values, which are all the product of thought. There is no divine, absolute value, even though the priests may say there is. When they do say it, it is the activity of their own thinking.
So there is an action which is completely whole, completely incorruptible – in daily life, not somewhere in heaven. That is, can I, can a human being, live in this world with that intelligence? That intelligence is born out of insight, for example, into attachment. Insight. Insight means having full comprehension of the whole process of attachment immediately. You all must have had an insight into something or other occasionally, where that insight is not memory, is not the process of values or a conclusion. It is a second of complete comprehension of that which you see, totally. And that is the essence of intelligence. And that intelligence is not yours or mine and therefore it is always acting correctly.
Will you try it, do it? Do it as we are sitting here, not when you go home. As you are sitting here, observe yourself, observe your action with regard to your wife or husband, to your neighbour, to your politics, to your religion, whatever it is. And can you have, without analysis, a perception, a seeing of the whole consequences and the cause of this attachment instantly, immediately?
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1984, Talk 3