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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


From the very beginning, we ought to establish our relationship. This is not a lecture as it is commonly understood. A lecture is a discourse on a particular subject by way of instruction. This is a conversation between you and the speaker. The speaker is not telling you what to do, what to think, how you should behave, and so on. This is a conversation between two people concerned with what is happening in the world, what is happening to man, not a particular man but man in the world; what is man doing to man, what he has done to other men, what is exactly happening in the world - not in any particular part of the world, but what is happening to man on the earth.

To have a conversation with another, a friendly, serious communication with each other, we must learn how to listen. We hardly ever listen to another. We carry on with our own thoughts, with our own problems, with our own particular ideas and conclusions, and so it is very difficult to listen to another. We are suggesting that you listen. There is an art of listening. We are going to talk over together a great many things - the state of war, divided nations, divided groups, human relationship. We are going to talk over together the problems of fear, pleasure and the complexity of human thought. We are going to talk over together whether sorrow can ever end and the implications and the complexities of death. We are also going to talk over together what is religion, what is meditation, and if there is anything sacred, eternal. We are going to talk over together all these things. And one must have the art of listening to all this; not what you think with all your traditions, with all your knowledge, but to listen to another who is telling you something. Then communication becomes simple, easy. But if you are not thinking together, which is quite an arduous task, then you and the speaker will be thinking in two different directions. So there is an art of listening; not translating what the speaker is saying, but listening to the word, the content of the word, the significance and the depth of the word. We are using ordinary, daily language. There is no jargon, there is no specialized subject about which we are talking. We are talking of human beings and problems. The word has depth, meaning, and we are speaking in English, using the daily language without any mysterious words being used. It is important that you and the speaker establish a right relationship. He is not a guru. He is not going to inform you what to think, how to think, but together we are going to observe the activities of human beings right throughout the world, why they have become what they are.

We are going to look together why man has become what he is - cruel, destructive, violent, idealistic and, in the world of technology, doing astonishing things of which most of us are unaware; why after thousands of years of wars, shedding tears, a human being, through a long period of time, is actually behaving in this manner. Man has divided the world into nationalities; man has divided the world into the Catholic, the Protestant, the Hindu, the Muslim and so on - religiously. Where there is division as the Arab and the Jew, the Hindu and the Muslim, and so on, where there is division, there must be conflict. This is a natural law, which is what is actually taking place in the world. Why is there this division? Who has brought this about? Why has man become what he is in spite of great experience, in spite of great knowledge, in spite of vast technological advancement; why has he remained more or less what he has been for 40,000 years; why? Is it because our mind, our brain, is programmed, like a computer? The computer is programmed by the professionals and it can repeat perhaps much quicker, more rapidly, than man, giving infinite information. Is it that every human being in this world has been programmed to be a Bengali, to be a Muslim, to be a Hindu, and so on? Is your brain programmed, thinking in a conventional, narrow, limited way? Our brain within the skull is limited. But it has the capacity of extraordinary invention, extraordinary technological advancement. Perhaps most of us do not know what is actually going on in the biological world, in the technological world, in the world of warfare, because most of us are concerned with our daily living, with our own particular problems, with our own fulfilments. So, we generally forget the vast advancement humanity is making in one direction, in the technological world, and totally, completely, neglecting the psychological world, the world of human behaviour, the world of consciousness. What are the causes of all this? Why are human beings being programmed as Christians for 2,000 years, believing in certain doctrines, certain beliefs, seeking only one saviour, and the Muslim also being programmed for the last 1,000 or more years to believe in certain principles and call himself a Muslim, and the Hindu being programmed perhaps for the last three to five thousand years. So our brains are conditioned. Does one ever realize how our brain is acting, thinking, looking? Where there is limitation, there must be conflict.

Our brains are conditioned to be this or that, to behave in a certain manner, to enjoy, to suffer, to have a great burden of fear, uncertainty, confusion and the ultimate fear of death. We are conditioned to that and there is a whole group of people, professors, scholars, writers, including the communists with their guru Marx who say that the human brain will always be conditioned; it can never be free; you can modify that conditioning by environmental influence, by law. It can always be modified, changed here and there, but actually the human brain can never be free. Please understand the implication of that. Therefore, the totalitarian governments are controlling human thought and not allowing them to think freely, and if they do, they are sent to the psychiatric ward, to concentration camps. It is most important to find out for yourself whether the human brain which has been conditioned through experience, through knowledge, whether that brain can ever be free, have no fear, no conditioning. Where there is conditioning, there must be conflict, because all conditioning is limited. Is this clear?

In talking over together, you are aware of your own thinking, your own reactions, your own responses, how they are limited, how they are conditioned, how you depend on past knowledge. You see how your life becomes very narrow, rather sloppy, confused, and there is the fear of insecurity. If one is aware of all one's own inward activities, one's thoughts, one`s feelings, one's reactions, then you will find out for yourself how conditioned you are, how limited you are. When you recognise that fact, then you realize the consequences of that conditioning, that limitation. Wherever there is limitation as Hindu or Muslim, there must be conflict. Wherever there is a division between husband and wife, there must be conflict. And human beings throughout the world, after all this evolution, are still in conflict with each other.

Please consider all this because we are concerned with your life as a human being. And that life, our daily living, has become extraordinarily complex, extraordinarily dangerous, difficult, uncertain. The future of man is really at stake. This is not a threat, this is not a pessimistic point of view. The crisis is not only physical, but it is in our consciousness, in our being. So, talking over together, become aware of all this. In becoming aware, you begin to discover. You begin to find out for yourself how your life has become such pain, such anxiety, such uncertainty. If you are so aware, you can then proceed more deeply, but if you merely listen to the words, words have very little meaning. Words have certain significance, but if one lives in words, as most people do, in symbols, in myths, in romantic nonsense, then we make life more and more difficult, more and more dangerous, for each other. So, please listen to find out, to question, to doubt, so that your own brain becomes aware of itself. We are asking why human beings, who have developed the most marvellous technology the world has ever known, have remained more or less the same psychologically, inwardly, for the last 40,000 years. Inwardly, we have systems, we have ideals, we have all the so-called sacred books, but we have not radically brought about a change, a psychological revolution, and we are going to enquire into that - whether it is possible to bring about total mutation in the brain cells themselves.

We are talking about the radical change of human behaviour so that man is not self-centred as he is, which is causing such great destruction in the world. If one is aware, then we can begin to ask whether that conditioning can be totally changed so that man is completely free. Now, he thinks he is free to do what he likes. Each individual thinks he can do what he likes, all over the world, and his freedom is based on choice because he can choose where to live, what kind of work he can do, choose between this idea and that idea, this ideal or that ideal, change from one god to another god from one guru to another, from one philosopher to another. This capacity to choose brings in the concept of freedom, but in the totalitarian state there is no freedom; you can't do what you want to do. It is totally controlled. Choice is not freedom. Choice is merely moving in the same field from one corner to another. Is this clear? Our brain being limited, we are asking, is it possible for the brain to free itself so that there is no fear? Then there is right relationship with all the neighbours in the world.

Now we are going to enquire into the nature of our consciousness. Your consciousness is what you are - your belief, your ideals, your gods, your violence, fear, romantic concepts, your pleasure, your sorrow, and the fear of death and the everlasting question of man, which has been from time immemorial, whether there is something sacred beyond all this. That is your consciousness. That is what you are, You are not different from your consciousness. We are asking whether that content of consciousness can be transformed, can be totally changed.

First, your consciousness is not yours. Your consciousness is the consciousness of all humanity, because what you think, your beliefs, your sensations, your reactions, your pain, your sorrow, your insecurity, your gods, and so on, are shared by all humanity. Go to America, go to England, Europe or Russia, China, you will find human beings suffer everywhere. They are frightened of death, they have beliefs, they have ideals. They speak a particular language, but their thinking, their reactions, their responses, generally are shared by all human beings. This is a fact that you suffer, your neighbour suffers; that neighbour may be thousands of miles away, but he suffers. He is as insecure as you are. He may have a lot of money but inwardly there is insecurity. A rich man in America, or the man in power, all go through this pain, anxiety, loneliness, despair. So, your consciousness is not yours any more than your thinking. It is not an individual thinking. Thinking is common, is general, from the poorest man, the most uneducated, unsophisticated man in a little, tiny village to the most sophisticated brain - the great scientists; they all think. The thinking may be more complex, but thinking is general, shared by all human beings. Therefore, it is not your individual thinking. This is rather difficult to see and to recognise the truth of it, because we are so conditioned as individuals. All your religious books, whether Christian or Muslim or another, all sustain and nourish this idea, this concept of an individual. You have to question that. You have to find out the truth of the matter.

We are investigating together and we see that human consciousness is similar, is shared by all human beings. Therefore, there is no individual. He may be more educated than you, he may be taller, he may be shorter; outside he may be different, but inwardly he shares the ground of all humanity. This is a fact. But if you are frightened, if you are caught in the conditioning of being an individual, you will never understand the immensity and the extraordinary fact that you are the entire humanity. From that there is love, compassion, intelligence, but if you are merely conditioned to the idea that you are an individual, then you have endless complications because it is based on illusion, not on fact. The illusion may be of thousands of years, but it is still illusion. You are the result of your environment, you are the result of the language you speak, you are the result of the food you eat, the clothes, the climate, the tradition handed down from generation to generation - you are all that. You are the product of the society which you have created. Society is not different from you. Man has created the society, the society of greed, envy, hatred, brutality, violence, wars; he has created all that and he has also created the extraordinary world of technology. So, you are the world and the world is you. Your consciousness is not yours, it is the ground on which all human beings stand, all human beings think. So, you are actually not an individual. That is one of the realities, truth that one must understand.

Do not accept what the speaker is saying, but question your own isolation, because individual means isolation. To separate oneself from another is isolation, like nations isolate themselves as Indians and all the rest of it. And they think that in isolation there is security. There is no security in isolation. But the governments of the world, representing the humanity of each country, are maintaining this isolation, and therefore they are perpetuating wars. If you recognise the truth, the fact that you are not an individual, that inwardly there is no division, that we all share the same problems, then the problem is: Can you, as a human being representing all humanity, bring about a fundamental, psychological, revolution? You might ask `If I, as a human being, change, will it affect in any way the rest of mankind? If I do change, if there is a change in a particular person, how will it affect the whole consciousness of mankind?' Please do put that question to yourself; even as a single isolated human being you are asking, `If I change, what effect has it in the world?'

The question is, if you change fundamentally, you affect the whole consciousness of man. Napoleon affected the whole consciousness of Europe. Stalin affected the whole consciousness of Russia. The Christian saviour, he has affected the consciousness of the world, and the Hindus with their peculiar gods have affected the consciousness of the world. When you as a human being, radically transform psychologically, that is, be free of fear, have right relationship with each other, end sorrow and so on, which is a radical transformation, then you affect the whole consciousness of man. It is not an individual affair. It is not a selfish affair. It is not individual salvation; it is the salvation of all human beings of which you are.

First, we must enquire what is relationship. Why is there, in human relationship with each other, such conflict, such misery, such intense sense of loneliness? From past history, from all the knowledge that has been acquired, studied, man has lived in conflict with each other. But relationship is existence: without relationship you cannot exist. In that existence there is conflict. Relationship is absolutely necessary. Life is relationship, action is relationship; what you think brings about relationship or destroys relationship. The hermit, the monk, the sanyasi - he may think he is separate, but he is related - related to the past, related to the environment, related to the man who brings him some grains, some food, some clothes. So life is relationship. We are going to explore together why human beings live in conflict with each other, why there is conflict between you and your husband, between the wife and the man. Because, where there is conflict in relationship, there is no love, there is no compassion, and there is no intelligence. Are you actually related? You may be related to a man, woman, sexually, but apart from that, are you related to anybody? Relation means non-isolation. That is, the man goes to the office every day of his life, to a factory, to some form of occupation, leaving the house at 8 o'clock, spends the whole day working, for 50, 60 years, and then dies. And there the man is ambitious, greedy, envious, struggling, competing; he comes home and the woman, the wife, is also competitive, jealous, anxious, going on in her own way. They may meet sexually, talk together, care somewhat, but they remain separate, like two railway lines never meeting. This is what we call relationship, which is an actuality. This is a fact of everyone's life, the perpetual division between two people, each holding on to his opinions, to his conclusions. The fact is, however intimate that relationship may be, there is always conflict, one dominating the other, one possessing the other, one jealous of the other. This is what we call relationship. Now, can that relationship which we know, be totally changed? Ask yourself this.

Why is there conflict between two human beings, whether they are highly educated or not at all educated? They may be great scientists, but they are ordinary human beings, like you and another - fighting, quarrelling, ambitious. Why does this state exist? Is it not because each person is concerned about himself? So he is isolating himself. In isolation you cannot have right relationship. You hear this, but you will not do anything about it because we fall into a habit, into a rut, into a groove, into a narrow little life, and we put up with it, however miserable, unhappy, quarrelsome, ugly, it is. So, please enquire, question, doubt, whether it is possible to live with another with complete harmony without any dissension, without any division. If you really, deeply, enquire, you will find that you have created an image about your wife, and she has created an image about you. Each has built an image about the other, a picture about the other. These two pictures, images, words, are in relationship with each other. Where there is an image about another, a picture about another, there must be conflict. I am sure you all have an image about the speaker. I am quite sure of it. Why? You don't know the speaker. You can never know the speaker, but you have created an image about him: that he is religious, non-religious, he is stupid, he is very clever, he is beautiful, he is this, he is that. And with that image you look at the person. The image is not the person. The image is the reputation, and reputations are easily created; the reputation may be good or bad. But the human brain, the thought, creates the image. The image is the conclusion, and we live by images and imagination. The making of pictures has no place in love. We don't love each other; we may hold hands, we may sleep together, we may do this and ten different things, but we have no love for each other. If you had that quality, that perfume of love, there would be no wars. There will be no Hindu and Muslim, Jew and Arab. But you listen to all this and you still remain with your images. You still wrangle with each other, quarrel with each other. Your life has become so extraordinarily meaningless.

I wonder how many of you realize that we are put together by thought. Your gods are put together by thought. All the rituals, all the dogmas, the philosophy, are all put together by thought, and thought is not sacred. Thought is always limited. Thought has created an image about you as the audience, about you as the wife and the husband, about you as the Indian and he as the American, and so on. It is these images which are unreal, which are dividing humanity. You should never call yourself an Indian, Russian or American; we are human beings. Then we should have no wars. We should have global government, global relationship, but you are not interested in all that. You hear all this, and if you don't change radically, you are bringing about destruction to the future generation. So, please give ear, give thought, attention, to what is going on outside you and also to what is going on inwardly, for the inward psyche conquers the outer environment. As you see it in Russia, we give such importance to the outer. We must have right society, right laws, feed the poor, be concerned about the poor, but the inward thought, inward feeling inward isolation, is separating man from man and you are responsible for this. Each one of you is responsible for this. Unless you, change fundamentally, inwardly, the future is very dangerous. Unless you fundamentally bring about a change in your daily life, have right relationship with each other, live correctly, not be ambitious and so on, there is no possibility for the ending of conflict between human beings.