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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

ONE NEEDS A great deal of energy, vitality, interest to bring about a radical change in oneself. If we are interested in outward phenomena, we have to see what we can do with the rest of the world in the process of changing ourselves; and also we must see not only how to conserve energy, but how to increase it. We dissipate enejgy endlessly, by useless talk, by having innumerable opinions about everything, by living in a world of concepts, formulas, and by the everlasting conflict in ourselves. I think all this wastes energy. But beyond that, there is a much deeper cause that dissipates the vital energy that is necessary not only to bring about a change in ourselves, but also to penetrate very deeply beyond the confines of our own thought.

The ancients said, control sex, hold your senses on a tight rein, take vows so that you don't dissipate your energy: you must concentrate your energy on God, or whatever it is. All such disciplines are also a wastage of energy, because when you take a vow, it is a form of resistance. It needs energy not only for a superficial external change, but also to bring about a deep, inward transformation or revolution. One must have an extraordinary sense of energy which has no cause, which has no motive, which has the capacity to be utterly quiet, and this very quietness has its own explosive quality. We are going to go into all that.

One sees how human beings waste their energy, in quarrels, in jealousies, in a tremendous sense of anxiety, in the everlasting pursuit of pleasure and in the demand for it; it is fairly obvious that this is a wastage of energy. And is it not also a wastage of energy to have innumerable opinions and beliefs about everything? - how another should behave, what another should do and so on. Is it not a waste of energy to have formulas and concepts? In this culture we are encouraged to have concepts according to which we live. Don't you have formulas and concepts in the sense of having images of how you should be, what should happen? - in the sense of thought which rejects "what is" and formulates "what should be"? All such endeavour is a waste of energy and I hope we can proceed from there.

What is the basic reason behind dissipation of energy? Apart from the cultural patterns that one has acquired of wasting energy, there is a much deeper question, which is: can one function, and carry on daily life without any form of resistance? Resistance is will. I know you are all brought up to use will, to control, in the sense of "you must, you must not, you should, you should not". Will is independent of the fact. Will is the assertion of the self, of the "me", independent of "what is". Will is desire; the manifestation of desire is will. We function superficially, or at great depth, in this assertion of the resistance of desire as will, which is unrelated to the "fact" but dependent on the desire of the "me", of the self.

Knowing what will is, I am asking: is it possible to live in this world without the operation of will at all? Will is a form of resistance, a form of division. "I will" against something "I will not", "I must" against "I must not". So will is building a wall in action against every other form of action. We only know action either as conforming to a formula, to a concept, or as approximating according to an ideal and acting in relationship to that ideal, to that pattern. That is what we call action and in that there is conflict. There is imitation of what "should be", which we have projected as an ideal according to which we act; therefore there is a conflict between the act and the ideal, because in that there is always an approximation, imitation, conformity. I feel that is a total wastage of energy and I am going to show why.

I hope we are watching our own activities, our own minds, to see how we exercise will in action. To repeat, will is independent of the fact, of "what is; it depends on the self, on what it wants - not on "what is", but on what it wants. And that want is depending on circumstances, on the environment, the culture and so on; it is divorced from the fact. Therefore there is contradiction and resistance against "what is", and that is a wastage of energy.

Action means the doing now - not tomorrow, not having acted. Action is in the present. Can there be action without an idea, without a formula, without a concept? - an action in which there is no resistance as will. If there is will there is contradiction, resistance and effort, which is a wastage of energy. So I want to find out if there is an action without any will as the assertion of the "me" in resistance.

You see, we are slaves to the present culture, we are the culture, and if there is to be a different kind of action, a different kind of life and so a different kind of culture altogether - not the counter-culture, but something entirely different - one must understand this whole question of will. Will belongs to the old culture in which is involved ambition and drive, the whole assertion and aggression of the "me". If there is to be a totally different way of living, one has to understand the central issue, which is: can there be action without formula, concept, ideal, or belief? An action based on knowledge, which is the past, which is conditioned, is not action. Being conditioned and dependent on the past, it must inevitably create discord and therefore conflict. So I want to find out if there is an action in which there is no will at all and choice does not enter.

We said the other day, where there is confusion there must be choice. A man who sees things very clearly (not neurotically or obstinately) does not choose. So choice, will, resistance - the "me" in action - a wastage of energy. Is there an action unrelated to all this so that the mind lives in this world, functioning in the field of knowledge and yet free to act without the impedi- ment of the limitation of knowledge? The speaker says there is an action in which there is no resistance, no interference of the past, no response of the "me". That action is instantaneous because it is not in the field of time - time being yesterday, with all the knowledge and experience which acts today, so that the future is already established by the past. There is an action which is instantaneous and therefore complete, in which will does not operate at all. To find that out the mind must learn how to observe, how to see. If the mind sees according to a formula of what you should be, or what I should be, then the action is of the past.

Now I am asking: is there an action which is not motivated, which is in the present and which does not bring contradiction, anxiety and conflict? As I said, a mind which has been trained in a culture which believes and functions and acts with will, such a mind obviously cannot act in the sense we are talking about, because it is conditioned. So can the mind - your mind - see this conditioning and be free of it so as to act differently? If my mind is trained through education to function with will, then it cannot possibly understand what it is to act without will. Therefore my concern is not to find out how to act without will, but rather to find out if my mind can be free of its conditioning, which is the conditioning of will. That is my concern, and I see, as I look into myself, that everything I do has a secret motive, is the outcome of some anxiety, of some fear, of the demand for pleasure and so on. Now can that mind free itself instantly to act differently?

So the mind must learn how to look. That, for me, is the central problem. Can this mind, which is the result of time, of various cultures, experiences and knowledge, look with eyes that are not conditioned? That is, can it operate instantly, being free of its conditioning? So I must learn to look at my conditioning without any desire to change, to transform, to go beyond it. I must be capableof looking at it as it is. If I want to change it, then I bring about the action of will again. If I want to escape from it, there is again a resistance. If I keep one part and reject others, again it means choice. And choice, as we pointed out, is confusion. So can I, can this mind, look without any resistance, without any choice? Can I look at the mountains, the trees, my neighbour, my family, the politicians, the priests, without any image? The image is the past. So the mind must be able to look. When I look at "what is" in myself and in the world, without resistance, then out of that observation there is instant action which is not the result of will. Do you understand?

I want to find out how to live and act in this world; not go offinto a monastery, or escape to some Nirvana asserted by some guru who promises, "If you do this, you will get that" - all that is nonsense. Putting that aside, I want to find out how to live in this world without any resistance, without any will. I also want to find out what love is. So my mind which has been conditioned to the demand of pleasure, of gratification, of satisfaction and therefore of resistance, sees all that is not love. So what is love? You know, to find out what is, one must deny, put aside totally what is not. Through negation come to the positive; do not seek the positive, but come to it by understanding what it is not. That is, if I want to find out whilt truth is, not knowing what it is, I must be able to see what is false. If I do not have the capacity to perceive what is false, I cannot see what truth is. So I must find out what is false.

What is false? Everything else that thought has put together - psychologically not technologically. That is, thought has put together the "me", the self with its memories, with its aggression, with its separativeness, with its ambitions, competitiveness, imitation, fear and past memories; all that has been put together by thought. And thought has put together the most extraordinary things mechanically. So thought, as the me, which has in essence no reality whatsoever, is the false. When the mind understands what is false, then the truth is there. Similarly, when the mind really enquires deeply into what is love, without saying "it is this", "it is that", but enquires, then it must see what it is not and completely drop it; otherwise you can't find the real. Is one capable of doing that? To say for instance, "Love is not ambition". A mind that is ambitious, wanting to achieve, wanting to become powerful, that is aggressive, competitive, imitative, such a mind cannot possibly understand what love is - we see that, don't we?

Now can the mind see the falseness of it? Can it see that a mind that is ambitious cannot possibly love and drop it instantly because it is false? Only when you deny the false completely, then the other is. So can we see very clearly that a mind seeking gain, or achievement, either in the world, or in the so-called spiritual seeking of enlightenment, cannot love? The drive to find out, to achieve is ambition. Therefore can the mind see the falseness of it and completely drop it instantly? Otherwise you won't find out "what is", and you will never find out what love is. Love is not jealousy, is it? Love is not possessiveness, it is not dependency. Do you see that? Do not carry it over with you to the next day but drop it instantly. The dropping of it instantly does not depend on will. It depends on whether you actually see the falseness of it. When you drop that which is false, that which is not, the other is.

Now it becomes a little more difficult. Is love pleasure? Is love fulfilment? If you really want to have a mind that has love you have to go into it very deeply. We are asking: is love pleasure, gratification, fulfilment? We said that the demand for pleasure is the continuity of thought, which pursues pleasure as desire and will, separate from "what is". We have associated love with sex, and because there is pleasure in it we have made an extraordinary thing of it. Sex has become the most important thing in life. We have tied to find some deep meaning in it, a deep reality, a sense of great union, oneness, and other transcendental things. Why has sex such significance in our life? Probably we have nothing else; maybe in every other field we are mechanical. There is nothing original in ourselves, nothing creative - not "creative" in the sense of producing pictures, songs and poems, that is a very superficial part of what is really a sense of creativeness. As we are more or less secondhand people, sex and pleasure have become extraordinarily important. That is why we call it love, and behind that mask we do all kinds of mischievous things.

So can we find out what love is? This has been a question man has always asked. Not being able to find out this he says, "Love God", "Love an idea", "Love the State", "Love your neighbour". Not that you shouldn't love your neighbour, but this has become merely a social operation; it is not the love that is always new. So love is not the product of thought, which is pleasure. As we said: thought is old, not free, it is the response of the past, and so love has no real relationship with thought. As we know, most of our life is a battle, the strain, the anxiety the guilt the despair, the immense sense of loneliness and sorrow that is our life. That is actually "what is" and we are unwilling to face it. When you face it without choice and resistance, what takes place? Can you face it? - not try to overcome fear, jealousy, this or that, but actually look at it without any sense of wanting to change it, conquer it, control it, just to observe it totally, and give your whole attention to it. When you look at our daily life of travail, our daily bourgeois or non-bourgeois life, what takes place? Haven't you then tremendous energy? Energy has been dissipated in resistance, in overcoming, in going beyond it, trying to understand it, trying to change it. So when you do look at this life as it is, is there not then a transformation of "what is"? That transformation takes place only when you have this energy in which the operation of will does not exist at all.

You know, we like explanations, we like theories, we indulge in speculative philosophy and we are carried away by all that which is so obviously such a waste of time and energy. We must face what actually is: the misery, the poverty, the pollution, the wretched division of peoples and nations, the wars which we human beings have created - they haven't come into existence miraculously, each one of us is responsible for all this - we must face what actually is. And also we must face one of the most important things in life, which is death. That is one of the things that man avoids all the time. Ancient as well as modern civilizations have tried to go beyond that, to somehow conquer it, to imagine there is immortality, a life after death - anything but face it. Can my mind face something of which it knows absolutely nothing? Most of you, unfortunately, if I may say so, have read so much about these things. You have probably read what Indian philosophers and teachers have said; or you have read other philosophers and had your Christian training. You are full of other people's knowledge, assertions and opinions. You are bound to be, although you may not consciously acknowledge it, it is there in the blood because you were brought up in this civilization and culture. And here is something of which you know absolutely nothing. All you know is that you are frightened of coming to an end. And that is what death is.

Fear prevents you from looking at it, as fear has prevented you from living without anxiety, sorrow, guilt - you know all that brutal business. Fear has prevented you from living and fear prevents you from looking at what death is. Fear demands comfort and so there is the idea of reincarnation, the renewal in another life and so on. We won't go into this because what we are concerned with is, whether your mind can face the reality of an ending. That is what is going to happen, whethcr you are healthy, or a cripple, or fairly well off, anytliing cJn happen - old age, disease, or accident. Can the mind look at this enormous unknown question? Can you look at it as though for the first time? - having nobody to tell you what to do, knowing that to find comfort is an escape from the fact. So can you, as though for the first time, face something which is inevitable?

What is the state of mind that is capable of looking at something of which it knows absolutely nothing - except that there is organic death? The organism comes to an end through heart failure, through tension, through disease, and so on. But the psychological question is: can the mind face something, realizing it knows absolutely nothing about it, look at it, live with it and understand it completely? Which means, can it look at it without any sense of fear? The moment you have fear you have choice, there is will, there is resistance, and that is a wastage of energy. The ending of energy as the "me" is the capacity to look at death.

To face something of which I know absolutely nothing demands great energy, doesn't it? I can only do that when there is no will, no resistance, no choice, no wastage of energy. To face something unknown, there must be the highest form of energy, and when there is that total energy, is there a fear of death? Or is there a fear of continuity? It is only when I have lived a life of resistance, will and choice that there is fear of not being, or of not living. When the mind is faced with the unknown, and all these things have gone, there is tremendous energy. And when there is that supreme energy, which is intelligence, is there death? Find out.

Questioner: Sir, this morning you have questioned what the religions say, which prompts me to ask: how is it that I can understand what you say on an intellectual level. It seems to be sensible, it seems to be reasonable, and yet I lack the passion. Krishnamurti: The questioner says: what you say makes some sense intellectually, verbally, but somehow it does not penetrate, it does not go very deep, it does not touch the source of things; so that I can break through. It does not bring that sense of driving vitality, that sense of living with it. I am afraid that is the case with most people.


Krishnamurti: Please don't answer. Let us examine. The gentleman says: what you say is logical, intellectually I accept it, but I don't feel it deep in my heart so as to bring about a change, a revolution in myself and to live a totally different kind of life. And I say: that is the case with most of us. We go part of the way, take the journey a little distance and then drop out. We keep up the interest for ten minutes and the rest of the time think about something else. You go away after the talk and carry on with your daily life. Now why does this happen? Intellectually, verbally, logically, you understand; but apparently it does not touch you deeply, so that you will burn out the old, like a fire. Why doesn't this happen? Is it lack of interest? Is it a sense of deep laziness, of indolence? Examine it, Sir, don't answer me. If it is lack of interest, why aren't you interested? When the house is burning - your house - when your children are going to grow up to get killed, why aren't you interested? Are you blind, insensitive, indifferent, callous? Or deep down haven't you got the energy and are therefore lazy? Examine it, don't agree or disagree. Have you become so insensitive because you have your own problems? You want to fulfil, you are inferior, you are superior, you are anxious, you have a great sense of fear - there is all that; and your problems are smothering you, therefore you are not interested in anything unless you solve your problems first.

But your problems are the other man's problems, your problems are the result of this culture in which you live. So what is it? Total indifference, insensitivity, callousness? Or is it that your whole culture and training has been intellectual, verbal? Your philosophies are verbal, your theories are the product of tremendously cunning brains and you have been brought up in that. Your whole education is based on it. Is it that thought has been given such extraordinary importance? - the clever, cunning, capable, technological mind, the mind that can measure, construct, fight and organize. You have been trained in that and you respond on that level. You say, "Yes, I agree with you intellectually, verbally, I see the logic, the sequence of it." But you cannot go beyond it because your mind is caught in the operations of thought which is measurement. Thought cannot measure depth or height, but only on its own level.

So this is really an important question for everybody, because most of us agree with all this verbally, intellectually, but somehow the fire doesn't get lit.

Questioner: I think there is no change because the important things are not on the intellectual level but on another plane.

Krishnamurti: That is what we said, Sir. There is no change, the gentleman says, because psychologically, economically, socially, in education, we are conditioned. We are the result of the culture in which we live. And he says as long as that is not changed in us we won't take any deep interest. So what is going to make you interested? I am asking: why is it that though you listen to all this logically, and I hope with a healthy mind, this does not light a fire so that you burn with it? Please ask yourselves, find out why you agree logically, verbally, superficially, yet it does not touch you deeply. If your money or your sex is taken away it will touch you. If your sense of importance is taken away, then you will struggle. If your gods, your nationalism, your petty bourgeois life is taken away, you will fight like cats and dogs. Which all indicates that intellectually we are capable of anything. Technologically, going to the moon, we live on the level of thought, but thought cannot possibly ignite the flame which changes man. What changes man is to face all this, to look at it and not always live on that very superficial level.

Questioner: You said this morning that whenyou are capable of looking at death as the absolute unknown, that includes thatyou are also capable of looking at life as it is, and thatyou are capable of action.

Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir. "When you are capable." The word "capable" is a difficult word. Capacity means working, or to have capacity for something. You can cultivate capacity. I can cultivate the capacity to play golf or tennis, or to put machinery together. Now we are not using the word "capacity" in the sense of time - you understand? Capacity involves time, doesn't it? That is, I am not capable now, but give me a year and I'll be capable of speaking Italian, French or English. If you have understood capacity as time, it is not what I mean. I mean: observe the unknown without any fear, live with it. That does not need capacity. I said you will do it, if you know what is false and reject that.

Questioner: Is it not a question of not knowing how to listen? You have said that to listen is one of the hardest things to do.

Krishnamurti: Yes, it is one of the hardest things to do, to listen. Do you mean to say that a man who is committed to social activity and has put all his life into it, is he ever going to listen to any of this? Or a man who says, "I have taken a vow of celibacy" - will he listen to all this? No, Sir. Listening is quite an art.

Questioner: You were saying that the difficulty is on the intellectual level and that we do not allow ourfeelings and our emotions to come into our relations with other people. But I have the impression it is exactly the contrary. I think that the trouble in the world is caused hy uncontrolled emotions and passions, probably born out of lack of understanding, but they are passions. We live a violent life.

Krishnamurti: Violent, of course, that's understood. Now, do you live an emotional life which needs conquering? Emotional, excited, the enthusiasms of pleasure and sentiment - do you live in that world? And when you do live in that world and when it gets disorderly, then the intellect comes in and you begin to control it, saying "I must not; but the intellect always dominates.

Questioner: Or it justifies.

Krishnamurti: It justifies or condemns. I may be greatly emotional but the intellect comes along and says: look, be careful, try to control yourself. Intellect always dominates - which is thought - doesn't it? In my relationship with another I get angry, irritated, emotional. Then what happens? That leads to trouble, a quarrel takes place between two human beings. Then I try to control it - which is thought; because it has established a pattern for itself of what it should do, or what it should not do, saying, "I must control". So we say, "There must be control," otherwise relationship breaks down. Isn't all that a process of thinking, of intellection? The intellect plays a tremendous part in our life, that is all we are pointing out. We are not saying emotions are wrong or right, or true or false, but thought with its measurement is always judging, evaluating, controlling, overcoming, and therefore thought prevents you from looking.

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