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Life is a movement in relationship and in that relationship there is disorder. We must examine closely why we live in such disorder in our relationships with each other, however intimate or superficial. To understand the full meaning of relationship with each other, however close, however distant, we must begin to understand why the brain creates images. We have images about ourselves and images about others. Why is it that each one has a peculiar image and identifies himself with that image? Is the image necessary? Does it give one a sense of security? Does not the image bring about the separation of human beings?

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE NETWORK OF THOUGHT

Video: Knowledge and Conflict in Human Relationships

Thought May Be Responsible for Conflict

Why is there conflict between you, your husband or wife, or neighbour? In that relationship thought plays a great part. Thought creates the image of the man or the woman, and the relationship is between images. So actual relationship doesn’t exist; it exists between these two images thought has created. So thought may be responsible for conflict. So is it possible not to create the image? You have built and image or accumulated a series of images, and the other has also created a series of images. How is one to put an end to this movement of creating images all the time? Is that at all possible? We live by images, the images of the past, the remembrance of incidents, pleasant or unpleasant. This is our life. If thought is the origin of this disorder in our relationship then what place has thought at all? Let’s go into it.

You see very clearly that thought begins the mess in our relationship, and then the question arises: how am I to stop thought? This is a wrong question, because you who wants to stop thought are created by thought. So thought has divided itself as the controller and the controlled. Then you ask the question: how am I to control thought? That is also a wrong question, indicating that you haven’t grasped the whole movement of thought, that thought has broken itself up as the thinker and thought, the controller and the controlled. Do we realise this fact that the controller is the controlled? Do you actually perceive that the thinker is the root of this?

Thought creates the image and our relationships are between images.

You have created the image between you and your wife or husband, and that image is not actual, it is a material structure created by thought which acts as a barrier, and therefore there is no love. Thought is not love. Does your mind, your brain actually perceive the fact that thought is responsible for our confusion and disorder? When you perceive the fact what takes place? When you see danger, physical danger, there is instant action, an immediate response. Now why does your brain not see the danger that thought creates disorder? Your brain is tremendously active when you see a danger; everything responds. There your life is threatened. Here also your life is threatened, which is, living in disorder is a great threat, a great danger to human beings. Why doesn’t the brain equally see it, instantly the danger of this as it sees the other? Why do we not see that to live in disorder is the greatest danger? Is it because we are used to disorder? We are accustomed to disorder, we put up with disorder, we haven’t the energy to create order. Which all means what? Is it that the brain having accepted disorder, disregards it, is indifferent to it? What happens to the brain that has created disorder and accepts it? When you accept anything it becomes very dull. When you accept your relationship with another, which is essentially conflict, you have accepted something which is disorderly and immoral. So what happens? Your life becomes mediocre, dull.

So listening to all this, is there order now in your life, not tomorrow but immediately, because you see the danger? You act instantly to physical danger but here you don’t act. A brain that is awake, alert, sees the danger of disorder. The active brain never accepts anything and is therefore questioning, asking, looking.

 If thought brings disorder in life, then what is order?

So if thought brings disorder in life, then what is order? Can there be order without the movement of thought? This is real meditation. We are meditating now. When we are inquiring into order and disorder, your whole brain is active, there is no sluggish part in it. That means your whole brain is alert, not caught in a particular groove. If order is not discipline, if order is not conformity, imitation or suppression, following a particular system, then what is order which is not put together by thought? See the beauty of the question first. Is there such order? The universe, the heavens, the stars, the sun rising and setting, that is in total order. Nature is in total order, that nature which is the hills, the rivers, the birds, tigers, the trees. It is only when man interferes with it there is disorder.

Is there order which thought has never touched? When thought touches anything it creates disorder. What is that order? Have you understood the nature of order so that your life is totally in order? Which means order in your relationship, no image between you and another. When there is that extraordinary sense of freedom, in that there is love. And without that, life is empty. So please, give your thought, give your attention to all this because it is your own life.

Krishnamurti in New Delhi 1963, Talk 5

Video: Order Comes From the Understanding of Our Disorder

Order and Disorder

What do we mean by the word order? What does that convey to you, what is your feeling, your response, your instinctual answer? Order, according to the totalitarian is to obey and conform to a certain established pattern, with no dissent, all thinking alike, and anybody who deviates is called a dissident and punished. That is one kind of order. Then there has been Victorian order, which meant keeping everything outside orderly, but inwardly you might have chaos and misery. In response to that, we have more recently cultivated permissiveness, doing anything you like. To one who is living in the permissive society, order is abomination. And to one who lived in the Victorian era, order is control: don’t express your emotions, hold back, restrain.

Are we aware that we live in disorder?

Outwardly we say we must have order but inwardly we are very disorderly. Disorderly means contradiction, confusion, giving importance to one thing in opposition to other things. Inwardly there is constant struggle and battle. Now, what makes for disorder, both outwardly and inwardly? Are we aware that we live in disorder? Outwardly there is disorder when there is war; that is total disorder, that is organised terrorism, blessed by the priests and respectable. That is obviously disorder, but it is respectable disorder considered necessary. And there is disorder when there are nationalities. So outwardly there is disorder and inwardly there is disorder. Are we familiar with our disorder inwardly? We are familiar when we read the newspapers and magazines that there is this monstrous disorder but it is much more arduous, or one has not given attention, to be acquainted with our inner disorder. What is the root of this disorder? Why do we live this way? Why do we tolerate it? Why do we accept it? There is disorder between man and woman in relationship, however intimate, however pleasant, comforting or satisfying.

QUESTIONER: It is not necessary. It is not always so.

KRISHNAMURTI: There may be exceptions, granted. A few people in the world may have a marvellous relationship with each other, but appalling relationship with the world.

So are we, first of all, familiar with this? Are we aware that we live in disorder? If we are not aware that we live in disorder, who is going to tell you that you are living in disorder? Nobody cares. On the contrary, they want you to live in disorder. It is profitable for society and business that you live in disorder. The moment you have order in yourself you become a danger. But order may also mean conforming to a pattern or tradition. That is generally called orderly, conforming to what the religious people have said – the monks, the gurus, the teachers, the so-called sacred books. If you follow conform to those, you say, ‘I am living orderly.’ Does conformity bring about order, or is it the very root of disorder? One conforms when one puts on trousers and shirt, but we are talking of conformity psychologically, inwardly. Do we conform? Do you realise that you are conforming?

Q: Any idea is conformation, because if the thought is repeating then it conforms.

K: We will go further, deeper into this. Begin with this: are you conforming to a pattern? Whether established by society or established for yourself, it is still conforming. I may reject the outward authority of society but inwardly I have the authority of my experience and knowledge, and to that I conform. Are you aware of this fact for yourself? If you are not then who is going to awaken you? Who is going to put pressure on you so that you say, ‘Yes, I am in disorder, I have found out.’ Through pressure you won’t find out. It is the pressure from outside that makes you conform or not conform. So are you conforming psychologically in any way? This is one of the most subtle and important points if you go into it very deeply.

So please ask yourself whether you are conforming to tradition, to your aggressive or violent responses. You see what a tremendous problem this is? Look at yourself and discover for yourself whether you are conforming or imitating. If you are conforming to a certain pattern and another conforms to another pattern, there is conflict between the two and so disorder. Then if you are aware that you are in disorder, will you remain with it? Not try to change it, not try to say ‘I must go beyond it, I must suppress it, I must understand it, I must rationalise it,’ but just hold it in your arms as it were, without any movement. The baby is asleep in your arms; the moment you move it wakes up and cries. Will you comprehend and bring about order in your life by rules, discipline, control, suppression, or will you observe in yourself disorder and not run away from it, not translate it into your own idiosyncrasies and temperament, but merely look it, observe it, watch it?

Are you serious enough to live a life of total order?

Order is not to go from window to window, window-shopping, thinking you have an extraordinarily wide mind, going from one book to another, one teacher to another, one guru to another, one philosopher to another, never staying in one place and finding out. Why do people do that? Have you ever wondered? They are fed up with their priests at home, so perhaps there is something in India. And this is called gathering knowledge, or this is called an open mind. It isn’t really an open mind, it is a big sieve with nothing but holes in it. We are doing this all the time in different ways.

So we asking: are you serious enough, committed enough, dedicated enough, to live a life of total order?

Q: It seems easier to live in disorder.

K: Is it? Let’s find out for ourselves if we like to live in disorder. Apparently most people do: disorder in their room and so on. If they like it that’s one matter, there is nothing to be said about it. But if you say that living in disorder brings about havoc in one’s life, misery, confusion, violence, then obviously one must become aware of one’s disorder. Sit quietly to find out, to become familiar with oneself. If you find that you live in disorder, then what is one to do. To find out what to do or what not to do, one has to go into the question: what is the very root of disorder? What is the very root that produces confusion, conflict, misery? The total disorder in the way we live, what is the root of it? Don’t say it is the self or the ego, but find out for oneself.

Q: That we do not care for others is the source of disorder.

K: What is the root of disorder? Anything that is limited, anything that functions within a very narrow space must create disorder. If I love you as one human being and hate others, it must create disorder, or if I am attached to you and I don’t care for the world at all as long as you and I are happy in our little home. So we are discovering something, that is, anything that acts in a very small space must create disorder. If I belong to a guru I am acting very limitedly. Obviously. But if I don’t follow anybody at all then I may act widely. So is disorder brought about by a limited way of life? Loving my husband or wife and nobody else. I say I must be kind, generous, compassionate, I must love others, but those are just words because my whole centre is around one person. So I have found that any action that is limited must create disorder. That is, if I act as a nationalist, it is disorder; if I act as a Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, all the rest of it, it is disorder.

What is the very root of disorder?

Now, have you looked at yourself, become familiar with yourself, and say, ‘That is so. I will drop that. Finished’? If you are interested in finding out what is order then everything that creates disorder is dropped away instantly. So can you find out for yourself if you are acting, living in a small circle?

Q: Do you think it is so easy to change oneself, to have the insight? There is disorder and this is the reason and on the next day…

K: Is it so easy to change oneself? I say yes. Don’t believe it because you are not going to change so easily. But if you see the danger, real danger, as you see the danger of a precipice, you act. But you don’t see the danger of limited action or a limited way of living. When you understand the danger of disorder in life, which is expressed in different ways – conformity, living in a narrow groove; which may be very wide but it is still narrow – if you see all that, not intellectually but actually the danger of it, it is finished. There is order.

Q: I think it is not so easy to change oneself. I have the insight now, I realise it is dangerous, then I go back to the city, back to my friends and I forget it.

K: The city, business, the wife or husband, are the most dangerous things because all that involves attachment. It doesn’t mean you can’t be married or have a girlfriend and all the rest of it, but see the danger of living as we are in a narrow small little circle. You know, in this little village they speak German. Go two miles away, they speak French. And those French-speakers won’t meet the others; they keep themselves in a very small circle. We are doing the same. Do you actually see the danger of that way of living? That’s all. If you don’t see it, how is one going to help you to see it? I don’t see the danger of conformity to a tradition, to a pattern, whether external or inward; I don’t see that causes disorder. You have explained to me in ten different ways but I refuse to see it because it is very disturbing. When I am accustomed to living in a disorderly way and you are asking me to look at it, it frightens me, I am appalled by it. You have got used to disorder, you have got used to wars, you have got used to quarrelling with your wife or husband. So you have got used to this living in this chaos.

The word cosmos means order. The universe is in order. It is complete order. And we live in disorder and try to understand the cosmos, the universe. How can I understand something that is total order when I myself am living in disorder? I can’t. So I am not concerned with order, I am concerned with disorder, and so I say, ‘I am going to find out how to dissolve that disorder.’ It is important and I see various causes that bring about disorder. That is enough. So I begin with disorder and find out what the causes are. Then it is simple. That is, my whole concern is to live in order. As I don’t know it, I go back and find out. I spend time and energy inquiring into it.

Q: But I don’t have much strength. I tried one time and I found the reason of disorder, which I somehow don’t want to lose. So I stopped there or forgot about it.

K: All right. So in other words, you like to live in disorder. I am not condemning it, I am saying that is what happens.

Q: Wouldn’t you say that order is inherently there, and we have our own limitations.

K: ‘Order is inherently in human beings and it is only thought that brings disorder’ – this is an old statement of the religious people, that there is order. ‘God is order, heaven is order, I am born of heaven, that little spark is in me and that will someday blossom and destroy disorder.’ We have played this game for millennia. You see how our minds work traditionally? Disorder is prejudice. Disorder is caused by conformity, psychologically, which is to follow tradition, patterns, obedience; and the opposite is not to follow, a reaction which is still conformity. And what is the root of this disorder? We said the root may be acting and thinking in a very small enclosed area, psychologically. You may travel all over the world, but inwardly one may live in a very, very small space. I extend that space and say that I must have an open mind, look at everything, and from that hope to act. So can you give your energy to find out if you live in disorder, and the cause of it?

The universe is in order. It is complete order.

It is there for you to look. If you find it is so, that you conform, that you are acting in a very, very narrow circle, then can you look at it, observe it, and not try to do something about it? Can you look without any reaction? That is, observing disorder, the cause of it, looking at it, not wanting to transcend it, go beyond it, suppress it, run away – nothing, just to look. Then if you so look, the thing at which you are looking begins to transform itself. The transformation of disorder is order. When you observe something without the past, without the prejudice, without anything, the very thing that you are looking at is living, moving, changing, and therefore it is never still. Disorder is always still; still in the sense it is disorder all the time. But if you watch it, that disorder in itself is transforming, becoming something else. So are you watching it that way?

Q: Is recognition involved in this watching?

K: It is not recognition. If you recognise it, it is a memory. If you say, ‘Yes, that is disorder, I am going to watch it,’ you have a memory of disorder, an idea of disorder, a concept, a formula of disorder, and with those concepts you are looking. But if you look without remembrance, without saying, ‘That is disorder,’ but say, ‘I want to see what is happening there, I don’t want to bring to it what I think should happen,’ then that very thing you are observing undergoes a tremendous transformation.

Q: If there is looking without memory, isn’t there no seeing of movement because the recognition of movement would be memory already.

K: Yes. Will you do this? Test it out, actually in daily life. That is the art of living. Which is, having put everything in its right place, there is no disorder. But if you put everything in its right place because it is convenient, because you think you will save energy, because you think you will have order, then you are creating disorder.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1978, Discussion 5

Audio: Freedom, Order, Love and Death

Can there be a relationship between human beings of complete freedom? I do not know if you have ever asked this question of yourself. You might say it is possible or not possible. The possibility or the impossibility of it is not an answer, but to find out whether freedom can exist, absolute freedom in our relationships. That freedom can only exist in relationship when there is order: order not according to you or another, but order in the sense of the observation of disorder. And that observation is not the movement of thought, because the observer is the observed; only then there is freedom in our relationship.

From Krishnamurti’s Book TRUTH AND ACTUALITY

Photo of J. Krishnamurti