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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


P.J.: Can we start laying the landscape of the future of man, the problems which he faces and what lies in the matrix of the human mind which makes it impossible for him to break free?

K: What is the future of man? The computer can out-think man, learn faster than man, record much more extensively than man. It can learn, unlearn, correct itself, according to what has been programmed. Computers exist that can programme other computers and so keep going, learning more. So, what is the future of man when everything that he has done or will do, the computer can outdo? Of course, it cannot compose like Beethoven, it cannot see the beauty of Orion on an evening in the sky. But it can create a new Vedanta, a new philosophy, new gods and so on. What then is man to do? Either he seeks entertainment, enters more and more into the world of sports, or seeks religious entertainment. Or he goes inward. The human mind is infinite. It has got an immense capacity; not the capacity of specialization, not the capacity of knowledge. It is infinite.

This is perhaps the future of mankind: Scientists have started asking what is going to happen to man when the computer takes charge of the whole of man. The brain is occupied now; it is active. When that brain is not active, it is going to wither and the machine is going to operate. We may all become zombies, lose our extraordinary inward capacity or become superficially intellectual, seeking the world of entertainment. I do not know if you have noticed that more and more time is given on the T.V. to sport, especially in Europe. So, is that the future of man? The future of man may depend on the atom bomb, the neutron bomb. In the East, in India, war may seem very far away. But if you live in Europe, there is tremendous concern about the bomb; war is very close there. So there are these two threats: war and the computer. So what is the future of man? Either he goes very deeply inward, not through delving into the depth of his mind, into the depth of his heart. Or he will be entertained. Freedom of choice, freedom from dictatorship, freedom from chaos, are problems that man has to face.

In the world, there is great disturbance, corruption; people are very very disturbed. It is dangerous to walk on the streets. When we are talking about freedom from fear, we want outward freedom, freedom from chaos, anarchy, or dictatorship. But we never demand or enquire if there is an inner freedom at all: freedom of the mind. Is that freedom actual or theoretical? We regard the State as an impediment to freedom. Communists and other totalitarian people say there is no such thing as freedom; the State, the government, is the only authority. And they are suppressing every form of freedom. So what kind of freedom do we want? Out there? Outside of us? Or inward freedom? When we talk about freedom, is it the freedom of choice between this government and that, here and there, between outer and inward freedom? The inner psyche always conquers the outer. The psyche, that is, the inward structure of man - his thoughts, emotions, his ambitions, his actions, his greed - always conquers the outer. So, where do we seek freedom? Could we discuss that? Can there be freedom from nationality which gives us a sense of security? Can there be freedom from all the superstitions, dogmas and religions? A new civilization can only come about through real religion, not through superstition, dogma or traditional religions.

P.J.: You have asked a question: What is the choice that man has in the world of the outer when the world of the inner is not participating in the movement of freedom? That is, without knowing whether the mind is free or in bondage, is there a choice possible in the outer? Is it possible for a mind which is unexplored, to make a choice in the outer?

S.K.: Sir, you talked about the computer and the possibility of the human brain withering away from lack of activity. Do you then foresee the possibility of man becoming extinct and being replaced by a non-biological entity?

K: Perhaps, but my point is, we must take things as they are and see if we can't bring about a mutation in our brain itself.

S.K.: I would like to ask you a little more about freedom of the mind when it is in bondage. We only know relative freedom. There is a complete distinction between inner and outer freedom and bondage; they somehow confuse me. For example, we are talking about greed and the aggression of the mind. To me it makes man human. This is what makes a distinction between a computer and man. I would like you to throw a little more light on this freedom. Is it relative freedom? Does it include all the emotions we are talking about? How can one be with them, live with them? It seems that somewhere there are some boundaries set by those customs and to try to transcend them is to try to transcend humanity itself.

K: The human mind has lived in fear for so many millions of centuries. Can that fear possibly come to an end? Or, are we going to continue with it for the rest of our lives?

P.J.: What Dr. Kakkar said was that it is these very elements of fear, envy, anger, aggression, which make up humanness. What is your response to that?

K: Are they? We accept them as human nature. We are used to that. Our ancestors and the present generation have accepted that as the condition of man. I question that. Humanity, a human being, may be entirely different.

P.J.: If you question it, then you must be able to show what it is that makes it possible to quench these elements so that the humanness which you speak about can flower totally. How is it possible?

R.T.: It also means that there can be no such thing as freedom unless you have quenched these elements.

K: Yes sir, as long as I am attached to some conclusion, to some concept, some ideal, there is no freedom. Should we discuss this?

P.J.: This is after all the core of the whole problem of mankind.

J.S.: May I stretch the question further by suggesting that in the statement or the question which Dr. Kakkar asked, there is implied another concept of freedom, where you obtain freedom not by getting rid of fear, anxiety, greed, so on and so forth, but by integrating them, incorporating them within a larger whole.

K: Integrating in a larger awareness of consciousness.

Swami Chidanand:. Learning successfully to cope with them.

S.K.: May I elaborate? There are two things; fear is a part of humanness; the elimination is also part of humanness. If you talk only of elimination of desire or of quenching it, reaching another state is, to me, leaving out the other part. And this is very important to me for a strategy. My strategy is that I believe that envy, greed, etc., are part of humanness because that is what makes man. Man has to live with them, but he has to make friends with them and use them. Then he will see that fears are not as great as we think; that greed is not really that frightening. To have fear reduced, lessened, used - that is my strategy.

P.J.: Dr. Kakkar is right; you cannot take only the dark elements in man. It is the same centre which talks of transformation of the good, which talks of all the elements which are today considered the opposites. The total thing makes up man - the dark and the light. Is it possible to integrate the dark and the light? And who integrates them? So the problem is really a central one. That is, is there an entity who can choose, integrate?

K: Why is there this division; dark, light; beauty, ugly? Why is there in human beings this contradiction?

Shanta Gandhi: Without contradiction one can hardly live. Life is full of contradictions. An outcome of life is contradiction.

K: Oh! You consider life a contradiction. Contradiction implies conflict. So to you life is an endless conflict. You reduce life to a perpetual conflict.

S.G.: Life, as we know it, certainly is.

K: We have accepted life to be a conflict. That may be our habit, our tradition, our education, our condition. S.G.: My difficulty is that my tool for attaining this awareness is also my own mind. It is the sum total of that which is conditioned by what has gone by. And I can only start from that point.

K: So we start with the human condition. Some say it is impossible to change that condition; you can only modify it. The existentialists say that you cannot possibly uncondition that. Therefore, you must live perpetually in conflict. We are contradicting ourselves, that is all.

S.K.: What I feel is, there are two conditions; this is part of human growth and development. There are two conflicts which are inescapable. One is separation, the awareness of `I am' as different from my parents. This is part of human evolution. And the second is differentiation, when one learns sex differentiation - I am male and the other one is female; these are part of human evolution, faces of contradiction, of differences, and they are the basic anxieties which are inescapable in the human mind.

K: So what is integration?

S.K.: Trying to get them together.

K: Can you bring the opposites together? Or is there no opposite at all? May I go into that? I am violent; human beings are violent. That is a fact. Non-violence is not a fact. Violence is `what is; the other is not. But all your leaders, philosophers, have tried to cultivate non-violence. Which means what? Through the cultivation of non-violence I am being violent. So non-violence can never be. There is only violence. Why do I, the mind, create the opposite? As a lever to escape from violence? Why cannot I deal only with violence and not be concerned with non-fact? There is only violence; the other is merely an escape from this fact. So there is only `what is; not `what should be; ideals, concepts, all that goes.

A.P.: When you say that non-violence is only an idea and violence is the fact, then the enquiry must logically proceed a step further and ask: Can violence end?

K: Surely. First we should understand what violence is. What is violence? Conformity is violence. Limitation is violence.

S.K.: I would like to understand this a little more.

K: What do I call violence? Anger, hatred, hitting another, killing another for an ideal, for a concept, for the word `peace'. And is violence an idea or a fact? When I get angry, it is a fact. Why do I call it violence? Why do I give it a name? I give a name to a reaction which is called violence. Why do I do that?

Look, there is a squirrel on the roof. Do I have to name it? Do you follow my question? Do I do it for purposes of recognition, thereby strengthening the present reaction? Of course. So the present reaction is caught up in the past remembrance and I name the past remembrance as violence.

S.K.: Yes, sir, I also discover that violence is violating. I was saying `yes' to you without understanding what violence is.

S.C.: When you speak of violence, we of course know of violence; one refers to anger; there is also subjective violence.

K: I was coming to that. What is violence? Doing harm to others, hurting another psychologically by persuasion and through reward and punishment; by making him conform to a pattern by persuading him logically, affectionately, to accept a certain framework - all that is violence. Apparently that is inherent in man. Why do we call that violence? That is happening all the time. Tradition does it; the whole religious world does it; the political world does it; the business world does it; the intellectual world does it, enforcing their ideas, their concepts, their theories.

S.G.: Is all education violence? K: No. I won't use that word `education' for the moment. Is there a mind which cannot be persuaded, a mind that sees very clearly? That is the point.

S.K.: No.

K: Why do you say `no'?

S.K.: Because the question you asked is whether there is a mind that cannot be persuaded. My point is there is no such mind.

K: We are the result of persuasion; all propaganda, religious or political, is persuading, pressurizing, dragging us in a certain direction.

S.K.: So deep is that persuasion that it cannot be reached by us. It wears so many masks that those masks cannot be seen by us any more.

K: Can we be free from that violence? Can we be free from hatred? Obviously we can.

P.J.: You cannot leave it there and say, `Obviously you can be free.'

K: Have we agreed up to that point?

S.K.: That we hate, yes. But can we be free from that hate? No.

K: We will go into that. What is the cause of hate? Why do you hate me when I say something which you don't like? Why do you push me aside, you being stronger, intellectually more powerful, etc? Why do I get hurt? Psychologically, what is the process of being hurt? What is hurt? Who is hurt? The image I have of myself is hurt. You come and tread on it and put a pin into it; I get hurt. So the image I have about myself is the cause of hurt. You say something to me, call me an idiot, and I think I am not an idiot; you hurt me because I have an image of myself as not being an idiot.

S.K.: With one proviso - when you say that the image is hurt when it is called an idiot, it means it is not you who is hurt but something which you have invented.

K: We are the result of every hurt.

S.K.: It is not you who is hurt.

K: No. Suppose I think I am a great man. You come along and say, don't be silly, there are many greater men than you. I get hurt. Why? Obviously, I have an image of myself as a great man. You come and say something contrary to that. I get hurt. You are not hurting me; you are hurting my image of myself. The image which I have built about myself gets hurt. So the next question is: Can I live without an image of myself?

S.K.: No.

P.J.: Where, in what dimension, do I discover that I am making an image of myself?

K: I don't discover; I perceive.

P.J.: Where?

K: What do you mean by where? You pointed out to me just now that I have an image about myself. I have not thought about it, I have never seen my image. You point it out; you make a statement that I have an image. I am listening to you very carefully, very attentively, and in that very listening I discover the fact that I have an image of myself. Or, do I see an image of myself?

P.J.: I don't think I am making myself clear. If I don't see it as an abstraction, then that image-making machinery is the ground on which this is seen. Let me go into it a little further. There is a ground from which the image-making machinery rises.

K: Why do you use the word `ground'?

P.J.: Because, in talking and responding, there is a tendency to become conceptual. If one comes out of the con- ceptual to the actual, then the actual is the process of perceiving.

K: That is all. Stop there.

P.J.: I cannot stop there. I ask you further: I don't perceive it in your statement; then where do I perceive it?

K: You perceive it as it is taking place.

P.J.: When you say `as it is taking place', where do I perceive it? Do I perceive it outside or in my imagination?

K:. I saw that squirrel walking about. I perceive it, I perceive the fact, I watch the fact that I have an image.

P.J.: This is not very clear.

K: It is very very clear. You tell me that I am a liar. I have told a lie. I realize that I am a liar.

P.J.: Is there a difference between realizing that I am a liar and perceiving that I am a liar?

K: I have perceived that I am a liar. I am aware - let us use the word `aware' - that I am a liar. That is all.

P.J.: Can you open up this seeing of the movement within the mind? I think this is the core of the whole thing.

K: We were talking about freedom from fear. We want to discuss the whole movement of fear. It begins with desire, with time, with memory; it begins with the fact of the present movement of fear. All this is involved in the whole river of fear. Either the fear is very, very shallow or it is a deep river with a great volume of water. We are not discussing the various objects of fear, but fear itself. Now is it an abstraction of fear that we are discussing, or actual fear in my heart, in my mind? Is it that I am facing the fear? I want to be clear on this point. If we are discussing abstract fear, it has no meaning to me. I am concerned only with the actual happening of fear. I say in that fear all this is involved, the desire and the very complexity of desire, time, the past impinging on the present, and the sense of wanting to go beyond fear. All this must be perceived. I don't know if you follow. We have to take a thing like the drop of rain which contains all the rivers in the world, see the beauty of that one drop of rain. One drop of desire contains the whole movement of fear.

So what is desire? Why do we suppress it? Why do you say it has a tremendous importance? I want to be a minister; my desire is for that, or my desire is for god. My desire for god and my desire to be a minister are one and the same thing - it is desire. So I have to understand the depth of what desire is, why it drives man, why it has been suppressed by all religions.

One asks what is the place of desire and why the brain is consumed with desire. I have to understand it not only at the verbal level through explanation, through communication, but to understand it at its deepest level, in my guts. What is the place of thought in desire? Is desire different from thought? Does thought play an important part in desire? Or is thought the movement of desire? Is thought part of desire or does thought dominate desire, control and shape desire?

So I am asking: Are thought and desire not like two horses? I must understand not only thought, but the whole movement of thinking, the origin of thought; not the end, but the beginning of thought. Can the mind be aware of the beginning of thought and also of the beginning of desire?

I have to go into that question: What is desire and what is thought? First, there is perception, contact, sensation. That is, I see a blue shirt in the window. I go inside and touch the texture, then out of that touching, there is sensation. Then thought says, how nice it would be if I put on that blue shirt. The creation by thought of the image of that shirt on me is the beginning of desire.

S.K.: You said, you feel in the guts. I think that is where desire resides. K: We understand desire, how it arises, where thought creates the image and desire begins. Then what is time? Is time a movement of thought? There is time, the sun rises, the sun sets at a certain time; time as the past, present and the future; time as the past modifying itself, becoming the future physically; time as covering a distance; time as learning a language. Then there is the whole area of psychological time. I have been, I am, I will be. That is a movement of the past through the present modifying into the future. Time as acquiring knowledge through experience, memory, thought, action - that is also time. So there is psychological time and physical time.

Now, is there psychological time at all? Or, has thought as hope created time? That is, I am violent, I will be non-violent, and I realize that that process can never end violence. What will end violence is confronting the fact and remaining with it, not trying to dodge it or escape from it. There is no opposite; only `what is'.

And what is thinking? Why has man given a tremendous importance to the intellect, to words, theories, ideas? Unless I discover the origin of thinking, how it begins, can there be awareness of thought arising? Or, does awareness come after it has arisen? Is there awareness of the movement of the whole river of thought? Thought has become extraordinarily important. Thought exists because there is knowledge, experience, stored up in the brain as memory; from that memory there is thought and action. In this process we live, always within the field of the known. So desire, time, thought, is essentially fear. Without this there is no fear. I am afraid inwardly, and I want order out there - in society, in politics, economics. How can there be order out there if I am in disorder here?

P.J.: Can I bring order within, me if there is disorder outside? I am deliberately posing this problem which lay in your early dichotomy between the outward and the inward. The outward is compared to the computer on the one hand and the atom bomb, which I think is taking over.

J.U.: We cannot realize that freedom without relating ourselves to the outside where there is dukh (sorrow), where there is so much turmoil. We cannot understand the process of freedom without relating the inward and the outward.

K: Have I understood the question rightly? You are saying that the division between the outer and the inner is false. I agree with you. It is a movement like a tide, going out and coming in. So what is outside is me; me is the outside.

The outer is a movement of the inner; the inner is the movement of the outer. There is no dichotomy at all. But by understanding the outer, that criterion will guide me to the inner, so that there is no deception; because I do not want to be deceived at the end of it. So the outer is the indicator of the inner and the inner is the indicator of the outer. There is no difference. My part is not to put away the outer; I say I am responsible for that. I am responsible for everything that is happening in the world. My brain is not my brain: it is the brain of humanity, which has grown through evolution and all the rest of it. So there is responsibility, political, religious, all along the line.