Dialogue on Krishnamurti’s Teachings

Our dialogue is typically based on a passage from a book or a talk by Krishnamurti, and is held at the Gazebo Rocking Chairs.

Open to all high-school students, parents and staff.

The schedule for dialogue is:

Tuesday 13, 3:30-4:30pm

Thursday 15, 7:15-8:00am

Friday 16, 10:00-11:00am

Reminder: Bring your favorite tea or coffee, a mask to walk to the Gazebo, and please remember to complete your health screening before arrival.

The passage for the week of April 12 —

Immensity

THE VALLEY LAY far below and was filled with the activity of most valleys. The sun was just setting behind the distant mountains, and the shadows were dark and long. It was a quiet evening, with a breeze coming off the sea. The orange trees, row upon row, were almost black, and on the long straight road that ran through the valley there were occasional glints as moving cars caught the light of the setting sun. It was an evening of enchantment and peace.

The mind seemed to cover the vast space and the unending distance; or rather, the mind seemed to expand without an end, and behind and beyond the mind there was something that held all things in it. The mind vaguely struggled to recognize and remember that which was not of itself, and so it stopped its usual activity; but it could not grasp what was not of its own nature, and presently all things, including the mind were enfolded in that immensity. The evening darkened, and the distant barking of dogs in no way disturbed that which is beyond all consciousness. It cannot be thought about and so experienced by the mind.

But what is it, then, that has perceived and is aware of something totally different from the projections of the mind? Who is it that experiences it? Obviously it is not the mind of everyday memories, responses and urges. Is there another mind, or is there a part of the mind which is dormant, to be awakened only by that which is above and beyond all mind? If this is so, then within the mind there is always that which is beyond all thought and time. And yet this cannot be, for it is only speculative thought and therefore another of the many inventions of the mind.

Since that immensity is not born of the process of the mind, then what is it that is aware of it? Is the mind as the experiencer aware of it, or is that immensity aware of itself because there is no experiencer at all? There was no experiencer when this happened coming down the mountain, and yet the awareness of the mind was wholly different, in kind as well as in degree, from that which is not measurable. The mind was not functioning; it was alert and passive, and though cognizant of the breeze playing among the leaves, there was no movement of any kind within itself. There was no observer who measured the observed. There was only that, and that was aware of itself without measure. It had no beginning and no word.

The mind is aware that it cannot capture by experience and word that which ever abides, timeless and immeasurable.

Commentaries on Living –  Series II – Chapter 57

Previous Dialogue Topics

We ought to consider very seriously, not only in these schools but also as human beings, the capacity to work together; to work together with nature, the living things of the earth, and also with other human beings. As social beings, we exist for ourselves. Our laws, our governments, our religions all emphasize the separateness of humanity, and during the centuries this has developed into man against man. It is becoming more and more important if we are to survive, that there be a spirit of cooperation with the universe, with all the things of the sea and earth.

One can see in all social structures the destructive effect of fragmentation taking place: nation against nation, one group against another group, one family against another family, one individual against another. It is the same religiously, socially and economically. Each one is striving for himself, for his class, or his particular interest in the community. This division of beliefs, ideals, conclusions and prejudices is preventing the spirit of co-operation from flowering.

We are human beings, not tribal identities, exclusive and separate. We are human beings caught in conclusions, theories, faiths. We are living creatures, not labels. It is our human circumstance that makes us search for food, clothes and shelter at the expense of others. Our very thinking is separative; and all action springing from this limited thought must prevent co-operation. The economic and social structure, as it is now, including organized religions, intensifies exclusiveness, separateness. This lack of co-operation ultimately brings about wars and the destruction of man. It is only during crises or disasters, that we seem to come together, and when they are over we are back to our old condition.

We seem to be incapable of living and working together harmoniously. Has this isolating, aggressive process come about because our brain, which is the centre of our thought, our feeling, has from ancient days become through necessity so conditioned to seek its own personal survival? Is it because this isolating process identifies itself with the family, with the tribe, and becomes glorified nationalism? Isn’t all isolation linked to a need for identification and fulfilment? Hasn’t the importance of the self been cultivated through evolution by the opposition of the “me” and the “you”, the “we” and the “they”? Haven’t all religions emphasized personal salvation, personal enlightenment, personal achievement, both religiously and in the world? Has co-operation become impossible because we have given such importance to talent, to specialization, to achievement, to success, which all emphasize separateness? Is it because human co-operation has centred on some kind of authority of government or religion, around some ideology or conclusion, which then inevitably brings about its own destructive opposite?

What does it mean to co-operate; not the word but the spirit of it? You cannot possibly co-operate with another, with the earth and its waters, unless you in yourself are harmonious, not broken up, not contradictory. You cannot co-operate if you yourself are under strain, pressure, conflict. How can you co-operate with the universe if you are concerned with yourself, your problems, your ambitions? There can be no co-operation if all your activities are selfcentred and you are occupied with your own selfishness, with your own secret desires and pleasures. As long as the intellect with its thoughts dominates all your actions, obviously there can be no co-operation, for thought is partial, narrow and everlastingly divisive. Co-operation demands great honesty.

Honesty has no motive. Honesty is not some ideal, some faith. Honesty is clarity, the clear perception of things as they are. Perception is attention. That very attention throws light, with all its energy, on that which is being observed. This light of perception brings about a transformation of the thing observed.

There is no system through which you learn to cooperate. It is not to be structured and classified. Its very nature demands that there be love, and that love is not measurable; for when you compare, which is the essence of measurement, thought has entered. Where thought is, love is not.

Co-operation demands great honesty – The Whole Movement of Life is Learning Chapter 30

Observing without the ‘me’

I am so glad it is such a nice morning. A beautiful sky and lovely countryside. But I am afraid this is not a weekend entertainment. What we shall talk about is quite serious, and perhaps after I have talked a little we can talk over, discuss, or dialogue, or talk over together what we have talked about.
I don’t know how you feel about what is happening in the world, in our environment, to our culture and society. It seems to me there is so much chaos, so much contradiction and so much strife and war, hatred and sorrow. And various leaders, both political and religious, try to find an answer either in some ideology, or in some belief, or in a cultivated faith. And none of these things seems to answer the problems. Our problems go on endlessly. And if we could in these four talks in this tent and the two discussions that are to take place, if we could be serious enough to go into this question of how to bring about, not only in ourselves but in society, a revolution, not physical revolution because that only leads to tyranny and the heightened control of bureaucracy; if we could very deeply find out for ourselves what to do, not depending on any authority, including that of the speaker, or on a book, on a philosophy, on any structural behavioural pattern, but actually find out irrevocably, if one can, what to do about all this confusion, this strife, this extraordinary, contradictory, hypocritical life on leads.

To me it seems to be fairly clear that to observe there must be freedom, not only the outward phenomenon, but also to observe what is going on within ourselves, to observe without any prejudice, without taking any side, but to examine very closely, freely the whole process of our thinking and our activity, our pleasures, fears, and all the things that we have built around ourselves, not only outwardly but in ourselves as a form of resistance, compulsive demands, escapes, and so on. If we could do that consistently, with full intention, to discover for ourselves a way of living that is not contradictory, then perhaps these talks will be worthwhile; otherwise it will be another lecture, another entertainment, pleasurable or rather absurd, logical or illogical and so on. So if we could completely give ourselves to the examination, to observe intimately what is going on, both outwardly and inwardly.

Now the difficulty in this lies, it seems to me, in the capacity to observe, to see things as they are, not as we would like them to be, or what they should be, but actually what is going on. To so observe has its own discipline, not the discipline of imitation, or compulsion, or conformity but that very observation brings its own discipline, not imposed, not conforming to any particular pattern, which implies suppression, but to observe. After all when you do observe something very closely, or listen to somebody very fully, that very listening and seeing, in that is implied attention. And where there is attention there is discipline, without being disciplined.

If that is clear, the next point is, in observing there is always the observer. The observer who, with his prejudices, with his conditioning, with his fears and guilts and all the rest of it, he is the observer, the censor, and through his eyes he looks, and therefore he is really not looking at all, he is merely coming to conclusions based upon his past experiences and knowledge. The past experiences, conclusions and knowledge prevent actually seeing. And when there is such an observer, what he observers is something different, or something which he has to conquer, or change and so on; whereas if the observer is the observed – I think this is really a radical thing to understand, really the most important thing to understand if we are going to discuss anything seriously: that in us there is this division, this contradiction, the observer and the many fragments which he observes. The many fragments make up the ‘me’, the ego, the personality, whatever you like to call it, the many fragments. And one of the fragments becomes the observer or the censor, and that fragment looks over the various other fragments. Please do this as we are talking, not agreeing or disagreeing but observe this fact that is going on within oneself; it becomes terribly interesting and rather fun if you go at it very, very seriously.

Public Talk 1 Brockwood Park, England – 05 September 1970

Most of us, in this very confused and rather brutal world, try to carve out a private life of our own, a life where we can be happy, somewhat peaceful and yet abide with the things of the world. We seem to think that our life, the daily life one leads, the life of struggle, conflict, pain and sorrow is something separate, away from the whole world of travail, misery, confusion. We seem to think the individual, the you, is different from the rest of the world, the world with all its atrocities, wars, the world of riots, the world of inequality and injustice, is something entirely different from our particular, individual life. When you look a little more closely, not only at your own life but also at the world then you will see what you are, your daily life, what you think, what you feel, is the external world, the world about you. The world about you is not different. You are the world. You are the human being that has made this world – the world so utterly in disorder, the world that is crying, in great sorrow, helpless. It is you, the human being have built this world. So that world outside you is not different from the world in which you live, your world, your private life. So this division between the individual and the society doesn’t really exist at all. Though one tries to carve out a life of our own, in spite of that the individual is no different from the community in which he lives. For the individual, the human being, has put together the community, the society. So I think we ought to be very clear from the beginning that this division is artificial, is utterly unreal.

So, in bringing about a radical change in the human being, in you, in the individual, you are naturally bringing about a radical change in the structure and the nature of society. I think that must be very clearly understood, that the human mind with all its complexity, with all its intricate work is part of this world, of the external world. The ‘you’ is the world and in bringing about a fundamental revolution, if I may use that word without being misunderstood, in bringing about a fundamental revolution, not the communist, not the socialist, but a totally different kind of revolution, a revolution in the very structure and nature of the psyche, of yourself. Then it seems to me you will bring about a social revolution. It must begin not outwardly first but inwardly, because the outer is the result of our private, individual, inner life.

Students Talk 1 San Juan, Puerto Rico – 10 September 1968

Listening with great care

We ought to understand very clearly and simply the art of listening, the art of seeing and the art of learning. The word art is generally applied to artists, those who paint, write poems, make sculptures, and so on. But the meaning of that word art is giving everything its right place, putting all our thoughts, feelings, anxieties, and so on, in their right place, giving the proper proportion to things, putting everything in harmony.

We rarely listen to anybody. We are so full of our conclusions, experiences, problems and judgments that we have no space in which to listen. To listen is possible only when you put aside your opinion, knowledge, problems and conclusions. Then you are free to listen without interpreting, judging or evaluating. The art of listening is to listen with great care, attention and affection. If you are capable of such listening, communication becomes very simple and there will be no misunderstanding. Communication implies to think together, to share the things we are talking about together, to partake in the problem as two human beings. Living in a monstrous, corrupt world where things are so ugly, brutal, violent and meaningless, communication is very important. In the art of listening, one learns immediately; one sees the fact instantly. In the art of listening, there is freedom. In that freedom, every nuance of a word has significance, and there is immediate comprehension. There is immediate insight and therefore immediate freedom to observe.

From the book The Shambhala Krishnamurti Reader, by J. Krishnamurti

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IT WAS A cold winter and the trees were bare, their naked branches exposed to the sky. There were very few evergreen trees, and even they felt the cold winds and the frosty nights. In the far distance the high mountains were covered with heavy snow, and white billowy clouds hung over them. The grass was brown, for there had been no rain for many months, and the spring rains were still distant. The earth was dormant and fallow. There was no cheery movement of nesting birds in green hedges, and the paths were hard and dusty. On the lake there were a few ducks, pausing on their way to the south. The mountains held the promise of a new spring, and the earth was dreaming of it. 2 What would happen if sleep were denied to us? Would we have more time to fight, to intrigue, to make mischief? Would we be more cruel and ruthless? Would there be more time for humility, compassion and frugality? Would we be more creative? Sleep is a strange thing, but extraordinarily important. For most people, the activities of the day continue through their nocturnal slumbers; their sleep is the continuation of their life, dull or exciting, an extension at a different level of the same insipidity or meaningless strife. The body is refreshed by sleep; the internal organism, having a life of its own, renews itself. During sleep, desires are quiescent, and so do not interfere with the organism; and with the body refreshed, the activities of desire have further opportunities for stimulation and expansion. Obviously, the less one interferes with the internal organism, the better; the less the mind takes charge of the organism, the more healthy and natural is its function. But disease of the organism is another matter, produced by the mind or by its own weakness.
Sleep is of great significance. The more the desires are strengthened, the less the meaning of sleep. Desires, positive or negative, are fundamentally always positive, and sleep is the temporary suspension of this positive. Sleep is not the opposite of desire, sleep is not negation, but a state which desire cannot penetrate. The quietening of the superficial layers of consciousness takes place during sleep, and so they are capable of receiving the intimations of the deeper layers; but this is only a partial comprehension of the whole problem. It is obviously possible for all the layers of consciousness to be in communication with each other during waking hours, and also during sleep; and of course this is essential. This communication frees the mind from its own self-importance, and so the mind does not become the dominant factor. Thus it loses, freely and naturally, its self-enclosing efforts and activities. In this process the impetus to become is completely dissolved, the accumulative momentum exists no longer.
But there is something more that takes place in sleep. There is found an answer to our problems. When the conscious mind is quiet, it is capable of receiving an answer, which is a simple affair. But what is far more significant and important than all this is the renewal which is not a cultivation. One can deliberately cultivate a gift, a capacity, or develop a technique, a pattern of action and behaviour; but this is not renewal. Cultivation is not creation. This creative renewal does not take place if there is any kind of effort on the part of a becomer. The mind must voluntarily lose all accumulative impulse, the storing up of experience as a means to further experience and achievement. It is the accumulative, self-protective urge that breeds the curve of time and prevents creative renewal.
Consciousness as we know it is of time, it is a process of recording and storing experience at its different levels. Whatever takes place within this consciousness is its own projection; it has its own quality, and is measurable. During sleep, either this consciousness is strengthened, or something wholly different takes place. For most of us, sleep strengthens experience, it is a process of recording and storing in which there is expansion but not renewal. Expansiveness gives a feeling of elation, of inclusive achievement, of having understood, and so on; but all this is not creative renewal. This process of becoming must wholly come to an end, not as a means to further experience, but as an ending in itself.
During sleep, and often during waking hours, when becoming has entirely ceased, when the effect of a cause has come to an end, then that which is beyond time, beyond the measure of cause and effect, comes into being.

Commentaries on Living –  Series I – Chapter 16

‘Creative Happiness’

There is a city by the magnificent river; wide and long steps lead down to the water’s edge, and the world seems to live on those steps. From early morning till well after dark, they are always crowded and noisy; almost level with the water are little projecting steps on which people sit and are lost in their hopes and longings, in their gods and chants. The temple bells are ringing, the muezzin is calling; someone is singing, and a huge crowd has gathered, listening in appreciative silence.

Beyond all this, round the bend and higher up the river, there is a pile of buildings. With their avenues of trees and wide roads, they stretch several miles inland; and along the river, through a narrow and dirty lane, one enters into this scattered field of learning. So many students from all over the country are there, eager, active and noisy. The teachers are pompous, intriguing for better positions and salaries. No one seems to be greatly concerned with what happens to the students after they leave. The teachers impart certain knowledge and techniques which the clever ones quickly absorb; and when they graduate, that is that. The teachers have assured jobs, they have families and security; but when the students leave, they have to face the turmoil and the insecurity of life. There are such buildings, such teachers and students all over the land. Some students achieve fame and position in the world; others breed, struggle and die. The State wants competent technicians, administrators to guide and to rule; and there is always the army, the church, and business. All the world over, it is the same.

It is to learn a technique and to have a job, a profession, that we go through this process of having the upper mind stuffed with facts and knowledge, is it not? Obviously, in the modern world, a good technician has a better chance of earning a livelihood; but then what? Is one who is a technician better able to face the complex problem of living than one who is not? A profession is only a part of life; but there are also those parts which are hidden, subtle and mysterious. To emphasize the one and to deny or neglect the rest must inevitably lead to very lopsided and disintegrating activity. This is precisely what is taking place in the world today, with ever mounting conflict, confusion and misery. Of course there are a few exceptions, the creative, the happy, those who are in touch with something that is not man-made, who are not dependent on the things of the mind.

You and I have intrinsically the capacity to be happy, to be creative, to be in touch with something that is beyond the clutches of time. Creative happiness is not a gift reserved for the few; and why is it that the vast majority do not know that happiness? Why do some seem to keep in touch with the profound in spite of circumstances and accidents, while others are destroyed by them? Why are some resilient, pliable, while others remain unyielding and are destroyed? In spite of knowledge, some keep the door open to that which no person and no book can offer, while others are smothered by technique and authority. Why? It is fairly clear that the mind wants to be caught and made certain in some kind of activity, disregarding wider and deeper issues, for it is then on safer ground; so its education, its exercises its activities are encouraged and sustained on that level, and excuses are found for not going beyond it.

Before they are contaminated by so-called education, many children are in touch with the unknown; they show this in so many ways. But environment soon begins to close around them, and after a certain age they lose that light, that beauty which is not found in any book or school. Why? Do not say that life is too much for them, that they have to face hard realities, that it is their karma, that it is their fathers sin; this is all nonsense. Creative happiness is for all and not for the few alone. You may express it in one way and I in another, but it is for all. Creative happiness has no value on the market; it is not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder, but it is the one thing that can be for all.

Is creative happiness realizable? That is, can the mind keep in touch with that which is the source of all happiness? Can this openness be sustained in spite of knowledge and technique, in spite of education and the crowding in of life? It can be, but only when the educator is educated to this reality, only when he who teaches is himself in touch with the source of creative happiness. So our problem is not the pupil, the child, but the teacher and the parent. Education is a vicious circle only when we do not see the importance, the essential necessity above all else, of this supreme happiness. After all, to be open to the source of all happiness is the highest religion; but to realize this happiness, you must give right attention to it, as you do to business. The teacher’s profession is not a mere routine job, but the expression of beauty and joy, which cannot be measured in terms of achievement and success.

The light of reality and its bliss are destroyed when the mind, which is the seat of self, assumes control. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom; without self-knowledge, learning leads to ignorance, strife and sorrow.

Commentaries on Living –  Series II – Chapter 1

Immensity

THE VALLEY LAY far below and was filled with the activity of most valleys. The sun was just setting behind the distant mountains, and the shadows were dark and long. It was a quiet evening, with a breeze coming off the sea. The orange trees, row upon row, were almost black, and on the long straight road that ran through the valley there were occasional glints as moving cars caught the light of the setting sun. It was an evening of enchantment and peace.

The mind seemed to cover the vast space and the unending distance; or rather, the mind seemed to expand without an end, and behind and beyond the mind there was something that held all things in it. The mind vaguely struggled to recognize and remember that which was not of itself, and so it stopped its usual activity; but it could not grasp what was not of its own nature, and presently all things, including the mind were enfolded in that immensity. The evening darkened, and the distant barking of dogs in no way disturbed that which is beyond all consciousness. It cannot be thought about and so experienced by the mind.

But what is it, then, that has perceived and is aware of something totally different from the projections of the mind? Who is it that experiences it? Obviously it is not the mind of everyday memories, responses and urges. Is there another mind, or is there a part of the mind which is dormant, to be awakened only by that which is above and beyond all mind? If this is so, then within the mind there is always that which is beyond all thought and time. And yet this cannot be, for it is only speculative thought and therefore another of the many inventions of the mind.

Since that immensity is not born of the process of the mind, then what is it that is aware of it? Is the mind as the experiencer aware of it, or is that immensity aware of itself because there is no experiencer at all? There was no experiencer when this happened coming down the mountain, and yet the awareness of the mind was wholly different, in kind as well as in degree, from that which is not measurable. The mind was not functioning; it was alert and passive, and though cognizant of the breeze playing among the leaves, there was no movement of any kind within itself. There was no observer who measured the observed. There was only that, and that was aware of itself without measure. It had no beginning and no word.

The mind is aware that it cannot capture by experience and word that which ever abides, timeless and immeasurable.

Commentaries on Living –  Series II – Chapter 57

Think on These Things

Have you ever sat very quietly with closed eyes and watched the movement of your own thinking? Have you watched your mind working – or rather, has your mind watched itself in operation, just to see what your thoughts are, what your feelings are, how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds, at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you ever done this? If you have not, you are missing a great deal. To know how one’s mind works is a basic purpose of education. If you don’t know how your mind reacts, if your mind is not aware of its own activities, you will never find out what society is. You may read books on sociology, study social sciences, but if you don’t know how your own mind works you cannot actually understand what society is, because your mind is part of society; it is society. Your reactions, your beliefs, your going to the temple, the clothes you wear, the things you do and don’t do and what you think – society is made up of all this, it is the replica of what is going on in your own mind. So your mind is not apart from society, it is not distinct from your culture, from your religion, from your various class divisions, from the ambitions and conflicts of the many. All this is society, and you are part of it. There is no ‘you’ separate from society.

Now, society is always trying to control, to shape, to mold the thinking of the young. From the moment you are born and begin to receive impressions, your father and mother are constantly telling you what to do and what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe; you are told that there is God, or that there is no God but the State and that some dictator is its prophet. From childhood these things are poured into you, which means that your mind – which is very young, impressionable, inquisitive, curious to know, wanting to find out – is gradually being encased, conditioned, shaped so that you will fit into the pattern of a particular society and not be a revolutionary. Since the habit of patterned thinking has already been established in you, even if you do ‘revolt’ it is within the pattern. It is like prisoners revolting in order to have better food, more conveniences – but always within the prison. When you seek God, or try to find out what is right government, it is always within the pattern of society, which says, “This is true and that is false, this is good and that is bad, this is the right leader and these are the saints”. So your revolt, like the so-called revolution brought about by ambitious or very clever people, is always limited by the past. That is not revolt, that is not revolution: it is merely heightened activity, a more valiant struggle within the pattern. Real revolt, true revolution is to break away from the pattern and to inquire outside of it.

Urgency to Change

Question: When I listen to you there is an urgency to change. When I return home it fades. What am I to do?

What are you to do? Is the urgency to change due to, or influenced by, the speaker? While you are here you are driven into a corner but when you leave that is so no longer. It means that you are being challenged, influenced, driven, persuaded, and when that is gone you are where you were.

Now, what is one to do? Please let us think out the right answer to this. What is one to do? I come to this gathering from a distant place. It is a lovely day. I have put up a tent and I am really interested. I have read, not only what the speaker has said, but a great deal besides. I know the Christian and Buddhist concepts, the Hindu mythology, and I have also done different forms of meditation, the T.M., the Tibetan, Hindu and Buddhist. But I am dissatisfied with all those, so I come here and I listen. Now am I prepared to listen completely? I cannot listen completely if I bring all my knowledge here with me. I cannot listen or learn, or comprehend, completely if I belong to some sect, if I am attached to one particular concept and if I also want to add to that what is said here. I must come, if I am serious, with a free mind, with a mind that says, “Let’s find out, for God’s sake”, not, “I want to add what you are saying to what I already know”.

So what is one’s attitude going to be? The speaker has been saying constantly: freedom is absolutely necessary. Psychological freedom first, not the physical freedom which you have in the democratic, if not in the totalitarian, countries. Inward freedom can only come about when one understands one’s conditioning, the conditioning which is both social and cultural, religious, economic and physical. Can one be free of that – of the psychological conditioning? Me first, everybody else second!

What is difficult in all this is that we cling to something so deeply that we are unwilling to let go. One has studied various things and one is attracted to a particular psychological school. One has gone into it, studied it and found out that there is a great deal in it and one sticks to it. And then one comes here and listens and adds what one has heard to that. So it all becomes a melange, a mixture of everything. Are we not doing that? Our minds become very confused. And for the time being when you are here that confusion is somewhat pushed away or diminished, but when you leave, it is back again. Can one be aware of this confusion, not only while you are here but when you are at home – that is much more important?

So what does it all indicate? We have the intelligence to solve technological problems: the problem-solving mind. We all have that, but it is not intelligence. The capacity to think clearly, objectively, and to be aware of the limitation of thinking, that is the beginning of intelligence. We worship thinking; the more cleverly we can think, the greater we see ourselves as being. Whereas if we could observe our own confusion, our own individual narrow way of looking at life, if we could be aware of all that, we would see how thought is perpetually creating problems. Thought creates the image and that image divides – to see that requires intelligence. To see psychological dangers is intelligence. But apparently we do not see those things. That means somebody has to goad you all the time, push you, drive you, ask you, persuade you, beg you to make you aware of yourself; and then to move from there, not just stay there. And I am afraid nobody is going to do that for you, not even the most enlightened human being, because then you become his slave.

Vitality, physical and psychological energy, is, as you are now, being dissipated in conflict, in worry, in chattering, in endless gossip not only with others but with oneself. This endless chattering! It all dissipates the psychological energy that is needed to observe ourselves in the mirror of relationship – we are all related to somebody or other – and so discover our illusions, images, absurdities and idiocies. Then out of that observation comes freedom and the intelligence which will show the way of life.

42nd Question – Brockwood Park, 1st Question & Answer Meeting – 2nd September 1980 – ‘Urgency to Change’

Education and the Significance of Life – Chapter I

When one travels around the world, one notices to what an extraordinary degree human nature is the same, whether in India or America, in Europe or Australia. This is especially true in colleges and universities. We are turning out, as if through a mould, a type of human being whose chief interest is to find security, to become somebody important, or to have a good time with as little thought as possible.

Conventional education makes independent thinking extremely difficult. Conformity leads to mediocrity. To be different from the group or to resist environment is not easy and is often risky as long as we worship success. The urge to be successful, which is the pursuit of reward whether in the material or in the so-called spiritual sphere, the search for inward or outward security, the desire for comfort – this whole process smothers discontent, puts an end to spontaneity and breeds fear; and fear blocks the intelligent understanding of life. With increasing age, dullness of mind and heart sets in.

In seeking comfort, we generally find a quiet corner in life where there is a minimum of conflict, and then we are afraid to step out of that seclusion. This fear of life, this fear of struggle and of new experience, kills in us the spirit of adventure; our whole upbringing and education have made us afraid to be different from our neighbor, afraid to think contrary to the established pattern of society, falsely respectful of authority and tradition.

Fortunately, there are a few who are in earnest, who are willing to examine our human problems without the prejudice of the right or of the left; but in the vast majority of us, there is no real spirit of discontent, of revolt. When we yield uncomprehendingly to environment, any spirit of revolt that we may have had dies down, and our responsibilities soon put an end to it.

Revolt is of two kinds: there is violent revolt, which is mere reaction, without understanding, against the existing order; and there is the deep psychological revolt of intelligence. There are many who revolt against the established orthodoxies only to fall into new orthodoxies, further illusions and concealed self-indulgences. What generally happens is that we break away from one group or set of ideals and join another group, take up other ideals, thus creating a new pattern of thought against which we will again have to revolt. Reaction only breeds opposition, and reform needs further reform.

But there is an intelligent revolt which is not reaction, and which comes with self-knowledge through the awareness of one’s own thought and feeling. It is only when we face experience as it comes and do not avoid disturbance that we keep intelligence highly awakened; and intelligence highly awakened is intuition, which is the only true guide in life. 7 Now, what is the significance of life? What are we living and struggling for? If we are being educated merely to achieve distinction, to get a better job, to be more efficient, to have wider domination over others, then our lives will be shallow and empty. If we are being educated only to be scientists, to be scholars wedded to books, or specialists addicted to knowledge, then we shall be contributing to the destruction and misery of the world.

Though there is a higher and wider significance to life, of what value is our education if we never discover it? We may be highly educated, but if we are without deep integration of thought and feeling, our lives are incomplete, contradictory and torn with many fears; and as long as education does not cultivate an integrated outlook on life, it has very little significance (…)

Excerpt taken from: Education and the Significance of Life

“I KNOW YOU HAVE healed,” he said, “and will you not heal my son? He is nearly blind. I have seen a few doctors, and they can do nothing. They advise me to take him to Europe or America, but I am not a rich man and I cannot afford it. Will you not please do something? He is our only child, and my wife is heart-stricken.”

He was a petty official, poor but educated, and like all of his group he knew Sanskrit and its literature. He kept on saying that it was the boy’s karma that he should suffer, and theirs too. What had they done to deserve this punishment? What evil had they committed, in a previous life or in the earlier part of this one, to have to bear such pain? There must be a cause for this calamity, hidden in some past action.

There may be an immediate cause for this blindness which the physicians have not yet discovered; some inherited disease may have brought it about. If the doctors cannot discover the physical cause, why do you seek a metaphysical one in the distant past? “By seeking the cause I may be better able to understand the effect.”

Do you understand anything by knowing its cause? By knowing why one is afraid, is one free of fear? One may know the cause, but does that in itself bring understanding? When you say that you will understand the effect by knowing the cause, you mean that you will take comfort in knowing how this thing has come about, do you not?

“Of course, that is why I want to know what action in the past has produced this blindness. It will certainly be most comforting.”

Then you want comfort and not understanding. “But are they not the same thing? To understand is to find comfort. What is the good of understanding if there is no joy in it?”

Understanding a fact may cause disturbance, it does not necessarily bring joy. You want comfort, and that is what you are seeking. You are disturbed by the fact of your son’s ailment, and you want to be pacified. This pacification you call understanding. You start out, not to understand, but to be comforted; your intention is to find a way to quiet your disturbance, and this you call the search for the cause. Your chief concern is to be put to sleep, to be undisturbed, and you are seeking a way to do it. We put ourselves to sleep through various ways: God, rituals, ideals, drink, and so on. We want to escape from disturbance, and one of the escapes is this search for the cause.

“Why shouldn’t one seek freedom from disturbance? Why shouldn’t one avoid suffering?”

Through avoidance is there freedom from suffering? You may shut the door on some ugly thing, on some fear; but it is still there behind the door, is it not? What is suppressed, resisted, is not understood, is it? You may suppress or discipline your child, but surely that does not yield the understanding of him. You are seeking the cause in order to avoid the pain of disturbance; with that intention you look, and naturally you will find what you are seeking. There is a possibility of being free of suffering only when one observes its process, when one is aware of every phase of it, cognizant of its whole structure. To avoid suffering is only to strengthen it. The explanation of the cause is not the understanding of the cause. Through explanation you are not freed from suffering; the suffering is still there, only you have covered it over with words, with conclusions, either your own or those of another. The study of explanations is not the study of wisdom; when explanations cease, then only is wisdom possible. You are anxiously seeking explanations which will put you to sleep, and you find them; but explanation is not truth. Truth comes when there is observation without conclusions, without explanations, without words. The observer is built out of words, the self is made up of explanations, conclusions, condemnations, justifications, and so on. There is communion with the observed only when the observer is not; and only then is there understanding, freedom from the problem.

“I think I see this; but is there not such a thing as karma?”

What do you mean by that word? “Present circumstances are the result of previous actions, immediately past or long removed. This process of cause and effect, with all its ramifications, is more or less what is meant by karma.”

That is only an explanation, but let us go beyond the words. Is there a fixed cause producing a fixed effect? When cause and effect are fixed, is there not death? Anything static, rigid, specialized, must die. The specialized animals soon come to an end, do they not? Man is the unspecialized, and so there is a possibility of his continued existence. That which is pliable endures; that which is not pliable is broken. The acorn cannot become anything but an oak tree; the cause and the effect are in the acorn. But man is not so completely enclosed, specialized; hence, if he does not destroy himself through various ways, he can survive. Are cause and effect fixed, stationary? When you use the word “and” between cause and effect, does it not imply that both are stationary? But is cause ever stationary? Is effect always unchangeable? Surely, cause-effect is a continuous process, is it not? Today is the result of yesterday, and tomorrow is the result of today; what was cause becomes effect, and what was effect becomes cause. It is a chain-process, is it not? One thing flows into another, and at no point is there a halt. It is a constant movement, with no fixation. There are many factors that bring about this cause-effect-cause movement.

Explanations, conclusions, are stationary, whether they are of the right or of the left, or of the organized belief called religion. When you try to cover the living with explanations, there is death to the living, and that is what most of us desire; we want to be put to sleep by word, by idea, by thought. Rationalization is merely another way to quiet the disturbed state; but the very desire to be put to sleep, to find the cause, to seek conclusions, brings disturbance, and so thought is caught in a net of its own making. Thought cannot be free nor can it ever make itself free. Thought is the result of experience, and experience is always conditioning. Experience is not the measure of truth. Awareness of the false as the false is the freedom of truth.

Commentaries on Living – Series I, Chapter 69

You are all that conditioning. Does one realize that one’s consciousness is its content? The content makes up consciousness. So, consciousness is not separate from its content; the content is consciousness.

The world order, or disorder, is the content of my consciousness, which is disorder. Therefore, I said, “I am the world, the world is me.” The “me” is made up of all the different parts of the content, and so is the world.

I can’t do anything about the noise of that train going by; therefore, I listen to it. Therefore, I don’t put up a resistance to it. I listen. There is noise, but it does not affect me. In the same way I realize that I am neurotic, that I am holding on to a particular belief, a particular way of action, that I have tremendous prejudices. I do not resist it. I listen to it
totally, completely, with my heart.

This division has brought about such disorder in the world and in myself. Can I look at all this as a marvelous single movement? I can’t; that is a fact. I can’t, because I am fragmented in myself. I am conditioned in myself. So, my concern then is not to find out how to live a unitary life, but to see if the fragmentation can come to an end. And that fragmentation comes to an end only when I realize that all my consciousness is made up of these fragments.

My consciousness is the fragmentation. And when I say, “There must be integration, it must be brought together,” it is still part of that trick I am playing upon myself. So, I realize that. I realize it as a truth, like fire burns; you can’t deceive me. It is a fact, and I am left with it. And I have to find out how it operates in my daily life—not guess, play, theorise. Because I have seen the truth of it, that truth is going to act. If I don’t see it but pretend I have seen it, then I am going to make a hideous mess of my life.

J Krishnamurti
Public discussion, Saanen, Switzerland, 4 August 1971.

You Have to Be Good Because You Are the Future

We ought to understand right from the beginning of this new year that we are primarily concerned with the psychological aspect of our life, though we are not going to neglect the physical, biological side. What one is inwardly will eventually bring about a good society or the gradual deterioration of human relationship. We are concerned with both aspects of life, not giving one or the other predominance, although the psychological-that is what we are inwardly-will dictate our behaviour, our relationship with others.

We seem to neglect wholly the deeper and wider realities of life, and give far greater importance to physical aspects, to everyday activities, however relevant or irrelevant. So please bear in mind that in these letters we are approaching our existence from the inner to the outer, not the other way round. Though most people are concerned with the outer, our education must be concerned with bringing about a harmony between the outer and inner; this cannot possibly come about if our eyes are fixed only on the outer.

We mean by the inner all the movement of thought, our feelings both reasonable and unreasonable, our imaginings, our beliefs, our happy and unhappy attachments, our secret desires with their contradictions, our experiences, suspicions, violence, and so on. The hidden ambitions, the illusions that the mind clings to, the superstitions of religion, and the seemingly everlasting conflict within ourselves are also part of our psychological structure. If we are blind to these, or accept them as an inevitable part of our human nature, we will allow a society in which we ourselves become prisoners. So this is really important to understand.

Surely every student throughout the world sees the effect of the chaos around us, and hopes to escape into some kind of outward order, even though in himself he may be in utter turmoil. He wants to change the outer without changing himself, but he is the source and continuation of the disorder. This is a fact, not a personal conclusion. So, we are concerned in our education with changing the source of the disorder and its continuation. It is human beings who create society, not some gods in some heaven.

So we begin with the student. The very word implies studying, learning and acting. Basic education is to learn not only from books and teachers, but to study and learn about yourself. If you don’t know about yourself, and are filling your mind with the facts of the universe, you are merely accepting and continuing the disorder. Probably as a student you are not interested in this. You want to enjoy yourself, pursue your own interests. You are forced to study, and do so only under pressure, accepting the inevitable comparisons and results with an eye fixed on some kind of career. This is your basic interest, which seems natural, because your parents and grandparents have followed the same path-job, marriage, children, responsibility. As long as you are safe, you care little for what is happening around you. This is your actual relationship to the world, the world human beings have created. The immediate is far more real, important and demanding for you than the whole.

But your concern and the educator’s concern is and must be to understand the whole of human existence; not a part but the whole. The part is only the knowledge of human physical discoveries. So, here in these letters we begin primarily with you, the student, and the educator who is helping you to know yourself. This is the function of all education. We need to bring about a good society in which all human beings can live happily in peace, without violence, with security. You as a student are responsible for this. A good society doesn’t come into existence through some ideal, a hero or a leader, or some carefully planned system. You have to be good because you are the future. You will make the world, either as it is, modified, or as a world in which you and others can live without wars, without brutalities, with generosity and affection.

So what will you do? You have understood the problem, which is not difficult, so what will you do? Most of you are instinctively kind, good and wanting to help, unless of course you have been too trodden down and twisted, which one hopes you are not. So what will you do? If the educator is worth his salt, he will want to help you. Then the question is: what will you do together to help you to study yourself, to learn about yourself and act? We will stop here with this letter and go on in our next.

The Very Nature of Intelligence is Sensitivity, Which is Love

Intelligence and the capacity of the intellect are two entirely different things. Perhaps these two words derive from the same root, but in order to clarify the full significance of compassion we must be able to distinguish the difference in meaning between the two. Intellect is the capacity to discern, to reason, imagine, to create illusions, to think clearly and also to think non-objectively, personally. Intellect is generally considered different from emotion, but we use the word intellect to convey the whole human capacity for thought. Thought is the response of memory accumulated through various experiences, real or imagined, which are stored as knowledge in the brain. So the capacity of the intellect is to think. Thinking is limited under all circumstances, and when the intellect dominates our activities in both the outer and inner world, naturally our actions must be partial, incomplete. This brings about regret, anxiety and pain.

All theories and ideologies are in themselves partial, and when scientists, technicians and so- called philosophers dominate our society, our morals, and so our daily lives, then we are never faced with the realities of what is actually going on. These influences colour our perceptions, our direct understanding. It is the intellect that finds explanations for wrong-doing as well as for right-doing. It rationalizes misbehaviour, killing and wars. It defines the good as the opposite of the bad. The good has no opposite. If the good were related to the bad, then goodness would have in it the seeds of the bad. Then it would not be goodness. But the intellect is incapable, because of its own divisive capacity, to understand the fullness of the good.

The intellect, thought, is always comparing, evaluating, competing, imitating; so we become conforming, second-hand human beings. The intellect has given enormous benefits to mankind, but it has also brought about great destruction. It has cultivated the arts of war, but it is incapable of wiping away the barriers between human beings. Anxiety is part of the nature of the intellect, as is hurt, for the intellect, which is thought, creates the image which is then capable of being hurt.

When one understands the whole nature and movement of the intellect and thought, one can begin to investigate what intelligence is. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the whole. Intelligence is incapable of dividing the senses, the emotions and the intellect from each other; it regards them as one unitary movement. Because its perception is always whole, intelligence is incapable of dividing man from man and of setting man against nature. Because in its very nature intelligence is whole, it is incapable of killing.

Practically all religions have said do not kill, but they have never prevented killing. Some religions have said that the things of the earth, including the living creatures, are put there for man’s use-therefore kill and destroy them. Killing for pleasure, killing for commerce, killing for nationalism, killing for ideologies, killing for one’s faith, are all accepted as a way of life. As we are killing the living things of the earth and of the sea we are becoming more and more isolated, and in this isolation we become more and more greedy, seeking pleasure in every form. Intellect may perceive this, but it is incapable of complete action. Intelligence, which is inseparable from love, will never kill. “Not to kill”, if it is a concept, an ideal, is not intelligence.

When intelligence is active in our daily life it will tell us when to co-operate and when not to. The very nature of intelligence is sensitivity, and this sensitivity is love. Without this intelligence there can be no compassion. Compassion is not the doing of charitable acts or social reform; it is free from sentiment, romanticism and emotional enthusiasm. It is as strong as death. It is like a great rock, immovable in the midst of confusion, misery and anxiety. Without this compassion no new culture or society can come into being.

Compassion and intelligence walk together; they are not separate. Compassion acts through intelligence. It can never act through the intellect. Compassion is the essence of the wholeness of life.

Cooperation Demands Great Honesty

We ought to consider very seriously, not only in these schools but also as human beings, the capacity to work together; to work together with nature, the living things of the earth, and also with other human beings. As social beings, we exist for ourselves. Our laws, our governments, our religions all emphasize the separateness of humanity, and during the centuries this has developed into man against man. It is becoming more and more important if we are to survive, that there be a spirit of cooperation with the universe, with all the things of the sea and earth.

One can see in all social structures the destructive effect of fragmentation taking place: nation against nation, one group against another group, one family against another family, one individual against another. It is the same religiously, socially and economically. Each one is striving for himself, for his class, or his particular interest in the community. This division of beliefs, ideals, conclusions and prejudices is preventing the spirit of cooperation from flowering.

We are human beings, not tribal identities, exclusive and separate. We are human beings caught in conclusions, theories, faiths. We are living creatures, not labels. It is our human circumstance that makes us search for food, clothes and shelter at the expense of others. Our very thinking is separative; and all action springing from this limited thought must prevent co-operation. The economic and social structure, as it is now, including organized religions, intensifies exclusiveness, separateness. This lack of cooperation ultimately brings about wars and the destruction of man. It is only during crises or disasters, that we seem to come together, and when they are over we are back to our old condition.

We seem to be incapable of living and working together harmoniously. Has this isolating, aggressive process come about because our brain, which is the centre of our thought, our feeling, has from ancient days become through necessity so conditioned to seek its own personal survival? Is it because this isolating process identifies itself with the family, with the tribe, and becomes glorified nationalism? Isn’t all isolation linked to a need for identification and fulfilment? Hasn’t the importance of the self been cultivated through evolution by the opposition of the “me” and the “you”, the “we” and the “they”? Haven’t all religions emphasized personal salvation, personal enlightenment, personal achievement, both religiously and in the world? Has cooperation become impossible because we have given such importance to talent, to specialization, to achievement, to success, which all emphasize separateness? Is it because human cooperation has centred on some kind of authority of government or religion, around some ideology or conclusion, which then inevitably brings about its own destructive opposite?

What does it mean to co-operate; not the word but the spirit of it? You cannot possibly co-operate with another, with the earth and its waters, unless you in yourself are harmonious, not broken up, not contradictory. You cannot cooperate if you yourself are under strain, pressure, conflict. How can you cooperate with the universe if you are concerned with yourself, your problems, your ambitions? There can be no co-operation if all your activities are self centered and you are occupied with your own selfishness, with your own secret desires and pleasures. As long as the intellect with its thoughts dominates all your actions, obviously there can be no co-operation, for thought is partial, narrow and everlastingly divisive. Co-operation demands great honesty.

Honesty has no motive. Honesty is not some ideal, some faith. Honesty is clarity, the clear perception of things as they are. Perception is attention. That very attention throws light, with all its energy, on that which is being observed. This light of perception brings about a transformation of the thing observed.

There is no system through which you learn to cooperate. It is not to be structured and classified. Its very nature demands that there be love, and that love is not measurable; for when you compare, which is the essence of measurement, thought has entered. Where thought is, love is not.

Now, can this be conveyed to the student, and can cooperation exist among educators in these schools? These schools are centres of a new generation with a new outlook, with a new sense of being citizens of the world, concerned with all the living things of this world. It is your grave responsibility to bring about this spirit of cooperation.

The Places Exist for the Enlightenment of Humanity

Teachers or educators are human beings. Their function is to help the student to learn not only this or that subject, but to understand the whole activity of learning; not only to gather information about various subjects, but primarily to be complete human beings. These schools are not merely centres of learning, they must be centres of goodness and bring about a religious mind.

All over the world, human beings are degenerating to a greater or lesser extent. When pleasure, personal or collective, becomes the dominant interest in life-the pleasure of sex, the pleasure of asserting one’s own will, the pleasure of excitement, the pleasure of self- interest, the pleasure of power and status, the insistent demand to have one’s own pleasure fulfilled-there is degeneration. When human relationships become casual, based on pleasure, there is degeneration. When responsibility has totally lost its meaning, when there is no care for another or for the earth and the things of the sea, this disregard of heaven and earth is another form of degeneration. When there is hypocrisy in high places, when there is dishonesty in commerce, when lies are part of everyday speech, when there is the tyranny of the few, when only things predominate, there is the betrayal of all life. Then killing becomes the only language of life. When love is taken as pleasure, then human beings have cut themselves off from beauty and the sacredness of life.

Pleasure is always personal, an isolating process. Though one thinks pleasure is something shared with another through gratification, it is actually an enclosing, isolating action of the ego, of the “me”. The greater the pleasure, the greater is the strengthening of the “me”. When there is pursuit of pleasure, human beings are exploiting each other. When pleasure becomes dominant in our lives, relationship is exploited for this purpose, and so there is no actual relationship with another. Then relationship becomes merchandise. The urge for fulfilment is based on pleasure, and when that pleasure is denied or has not found means of expression, then there is anger, cynicism, hatred or bitterness. This incessant pursuit of pleasure is actually insanity.

All this indicates, doesn’t it, that man, in spite of his vast knowledge and extraordinary capacities, his driving energy and aggressive action, is on the decline? This calculated self centredness with its fears, pleasures and anxieties is evident throughout the world.

What, then, is the total responsibility of these schools? Surely they must be centres for learning a way of life that is not based on pleasure, on self-centred activities, but on the understanding of correct action, the depth and beauty of relationship, and the sacredness of a religious life. When the world around us is so utterly destructive and without meaning, these schools, these centres, must become places of light and wisdom. It is the responsibility of those who are in charge of these places to bring this about.

As this is urgent, excuses have no meaning. Either the centres are like a rock round which the waters of destruction flow, or they go with the current of decay. These places exist for the enlightenment of humanity.

To Live with Clarity is Not a Value

It is one of the peculiarities of human beings to cultivate values. From childhood, we are encouraged to set certain deep-rooted values for ourselves. Each person has his own long-lasting purposes and intents and naturally the values of one differ from those of another. These are cultivated either by desire or by the intellect. They are either illusory, comfortable, consoling, or factual. These values obviously encourage division between human beings. values are ignoble or noble according to one’s prejudices and intentions.

We can ask, without listing various types of values, why it is that human beings have values and what their consequences are. The root meaning of the word value is strength. It comes from the word valour. Strength is not a value. It becomes a value when it is the opposite of weakness. Strength-not strength of character, which is the result of the pressure of society-is the essence of clarity. Clear thinking is without prejudices, without bias; it is observation without distortion. Strength or valour is not a thing to be cultivated as you would cultivate a plant or a new breed. It is not a result. A result has a cause, and when there is a cause it indicates a weakness. The consequences of weakness are resistance or yielding. Clarity has no cause. Clarity is not an effect or result; it is the pure observation of thought and thought’s total activity. This clarity is strength.

So, why have human beings projected values? Is it to give guidance in daily life? Is it to give them a sense of purpose without which life seems uncertain, vague, without direction? But the direction is set by the intellect or desire, and so the very direction becomes a distortion. These distortions vary from man to man, and man clings to them in the restless ocean of confusion. One can observe the consequences of having values; they separate one human being from another and set them against one another. Extended, this leads to misery, to violence and ultimately to war.

Ideals are values. Ideals of any kind are a series of values-national, religious, collective, or personal-and one can observe the consequences of these ideals as they are taking place in the world. When one sees the truth of this, the mind is freed of all values. For such a mind there is only clarity. A mind that clings to or desires an experience is pursuing the fallacy of value, and so becomes private, secretive and divisive.

As an educator, can you explain to a student the need to have no values whatsoever, but to live with clarity which is not a value? This can be brought about when the educator himself has felt deeply the truth of this. If he has not, then it becomes merely a verbal explanation without any deep significance. This has to be conveyed not only to the older students but also to the very young. The older students are already heavily conditioned through the pressure of society and of parents with their values; or they themselves have projected their own goals which become their prison. With the very young, what is most important is to help them to free themselves from psychological pressures and problems. The very young are now being taught complicated intellectual problems; their studies are becoming more and more technical; they are given more and more abstract information; various forms of knowledge are being imposed on their brains, thus conditioning them right from childhood.

What we are concerned with is to help the very young to have no psychological problems, to be free of fear, anxiety, cruelty, and to have care, generosity and affection. This is far more important than the imposition of knowledge on their young minds. This does not mean that the child should not learn to read, write and so on, but the emphasis is on psychological freedom instead of the acquisition of knowledge, though that is necessary. This freedom does not mean the child doing what he wants to do, but understanding the nature of his reactions and his desires.

This requires a great deal of insight on the part of the teacher. After all, you want the student to be a complete human being without any psychological problems; otherwise he will misuse any knowledge he is given. Our education is to live in the known and so be a slave to the past with all its traditions, memories, experiences. Our life is from the known to the known, so there is never freedom from the known. If one lives constantly in the known, there is nothing new, nothing original, nothing uncontaminated by thought. Thought is the known. If our education is the constant accumulation of the known, then our minds and hearts become mechanical, without that immense vitality of the unknown. That which has continuity as knowledge, is everlastingly limited; and that which is limited must everlastingly create problems. The ending of continuity, which is time, is the flowering of the timeless.

Comparison is One of the Many Aspects of Violence

One is apt to forget or disregard the responsibility of the educator to bring about a new generation of human beings who are psychologically, inwardly free of miseries, anxieties and travail. It is a sacred responsibility, not to be easily set aside for one’s own ambitions, status or power. If the educator feels such a responsibility-the greatness of it and the depth and beauty of that responsibility-he will find the capacity to instruct and to sustain his own energy.

This demands great diligence, not a periodic, haphazard endeavour. The very profound responsibility will kindle the fire that will maintain the educator as a total human being and a great teacher. As the world is rapidly degenerating, there must be in all these schools a group of teachers and students who are dedicated to bringing about a radical transformation of human beings through right education. The word right is not a matter of opinion, evaluation or some concept invented by the intellect. The word right denotes total action in which all self interested motive ceases. The very dominant responsibility, the concern not only of the educator but also of the student, banishes self-perpetuating problems. However immature the mind, once you accept this responsibility that very acceptance brings about the flowering of the mind. This flowering is in the relationship between the student and the educator. It is not a one-sided affair.

When you read this, please give your total attention and feel the urgency and intensity of this responsibility. Please do not make it into an abstraction, an idea, but rather observe the actual fact, the actual happening in the reading of this.

Almost all human beings in their lives desire power and wealth. When there is wealth, there is a sense of freedom, and pleasure is pursued. The desire for power seems be an instinct which expresses itself in many ways. It is in the priest, the guru, the husband or the wife or in the action of one student towards another. The desire to dominate or to submit is one of the conditions of mankind, probably inherited from the animal. This aggressiveness and the yielding to it pervert all relationships throughout life. This has been the pattern from the beginning of time. Humanity has accepted this as a natural way of life, with all the conflicts and miseries it brings.

Basically, measurement is involved in it-the more and the less, the greater and the smaller-which is essentially comparison. One is always comparing oneself with another, comparing one painting with another. There is comparison between the greater power and the lesser, between the timid and the aggressive. This constant measurement of power, position, wealth begins almost at birth and continues throughout life. This is encouraged in schools, colleges and universities. Their whole system of gradation is this giving comparative value to knowledge. When A is compared to B who is clever, bright, assertive, that very comparison destroys A. This destruction takes the form of competition, of imitation of and conformity to the patterns set by B. This breeds, consciously or unconsciously, antagonism, jealousy, anxiety and even fear; and this becomes the condition in which A lives for the rest of his life, always measuring, always comparing psychologically and physically.

This comparison is one of the many aspects of violence. The word more is always comparative, as is the word better. The question is: can the educator put aside all comparison, all measurement, in his teaching? Can he take the student as he is, not as what he should be, and not make judgements based on comparative evaluations? It is only when there is comparison between the one called clever and the one called dull that there is such a quality as dullness.

Is an idiot so because of comparison, or because he is incapable of certain activities? We set certain standards which are based on measurement, and those who do not come up to them are considered deficient. When the educator puts aside comparison and measurement, then he is concerned with the student as he is, and his relationship with the student is direct and totally different. This is really very important to understand. Love is not comparative. It has no measurement.

Comparison and measurement are ways of the intellect. This is divisive. When this is understood basically, not the verbal meaning but the actual truth of it, the relationship of teacher and student undergoes a radical change. The ultimate tests of measurement are examinations accompanied by fear and anxieties, which deeply affect the future life of the student. The whole atmosphere of a school undergoes a change when there is no sense of competition, comparison.

The Desire to Be Separate is the Source of Destruction 

In a world where mankind feels threatened by social upheavals, overpopulation, wars, terrifying violence and callousness, each human being is more than ever concerned with his own survival. Survival implies living sanely, happily, without great pressure or strain. Each one of us translates survival according to his own particular concept. The idealist projects a way of life that is not the actual; the theoreticians, whether Marxist, religious, or of any other particular persuasion, have laid down patterns for survival; the nationalists consider survival possible only in a particular group or community. These ideological differences, ideals and faiths are the roots of a division that is preventing human survival.

Human beings want to survive in particular ways, according to their narrow responses, according to their immediate pleasures, according to some faith, according to some religious saviour, prophet or saint. All these cannot bring security; in themselves they are divisive, exclusive, limited. To live in the hope of survival according to a tradition, however ancient or modern, has no meaning. Partial solutions of any kind, whether they are scientific, religious, political, or economic, can no longer assure mankind’s survival. Man has been concerned with his own individual survival, with his family, with his group, his tribal nation; and because all this is divisive it threatens his actual survival.

The modern divisions of nationalities, of colour, of culture, of religion are the causes of man’s uncertainty about survival. In the turmoil of today’s world, uncertainty has made man turn to authorities, to the political, religious or economic experts. The specialist is inevitably a danger because his response must always be partial, limited. Man is no longer individual, separate. What affects the few affects all mankind. There is no escape or avoidance of the problem; you can no longer withdraw from the totality of the human predicament.

We have stated the problem, the cause, and now we must find the solution. This solution must not depend on any kind of pressure-sociological, religious, economic, political, or from any organization. We cannot possibly survive if we are concerned only with our own survival. All human beings the world over are interrelated today. What happens in one country affects the others. Man has considered himself an individual separate from others, but psychologically a human being is inseparable from the whole of mankind.

There is no such thing as psychological survival. When there is the desire to survive or to fulfil, you are psychologically creating a situation which not only separates, but which is totally unreal. Psychologically, you cannot be separate from another. The desire to be separate psychologically is the very source of danger and destruction. Each person by asserting himself threatens his own existence. When the truth of this is seen and understood, man’s responsibility undergoes a radical change, not only towards his immediate environment, but towards all living things. This total responsibility is compassion. This compassion acts through intelligence. This intelligence is not partial, individual, separate. Compassion is never partial. Compassion is for the sacredness of all living things.

The Word Prevents Actual Perception

The greatest art is the art of living, greater than all things that human beings have created by mind or hand, greater than all the scriptures and their gods. It is only through this art of living that a new culture can come into being. It is the responsibility of every teacher, especially in these schools, to bring this about. This art of living can come only out of total freedom.

This freedom is not an ideal, a thing to take place eventually. The first step in freedom is the last step in it. It is the first step that counts, not the last step. What you do now is far more essential than what you do at some future date. Life is what is happening this instant, not an imagined instant, not what thought has conceived. So it is the first step you take now that is important. If that step is in the right direction, then the whole of life is open to you. The right direction is not towards an ideal, a predetermined end. It is inseparable from that which is taking place now. This is not a philosophy, a series of theories. It is exactly what the word philosophy means-the love of truth, the love of life. It is not something that you go to a university to learn. We are learning about the art of living in our daily life.

We live by words, and words become our prison. Words are necessary to communicate, but the word is never the thing. The actual is not the word, but the word becomes all- important when it has taken the place of that which is. You may observe this phenomenon when the description-the symbol we worship, the shadow we follow, the illusion we cling to-has become the reality instead of the thing itself. Words, the language, shape our reactions. Language becomes the compelling force and our minds are shaped and controlled by the word. The words nation, State, God, family, and so on, envelop us with all their associations, and so our minds become slaves to the pressure of words.

Questioner: How is this to be avoided?

Krishnamurti: The word is never the thing. The word wife is never the person; the word door is not the door. The word prevents the actual perception of the thing or person because the word has many associations. These associations, which are actually remembrances, distort not only visual but also psychological observation. Words then become a barrier to the free flow of observation. Take the words Prime Minister and clerk. They describe functions, but the words Prime Minister have tremendous significance of power, status and importance, whereas the word clerk has associations of unimportance, little status and no power. So the word prevents you from looking at both of them as human beings. There is ingrained snobbery in most of us, and to see what words have done to our thinking and to be choicelessly aware of it, is to learn the art of observation-to observe without association.

Q: I understand what you say, but the speed of association is so instantaneous that the reaction takes place before one realizes it. Is it possible to prevent this?

K: Isn’t this a wrong question? Who is to prevent it? Is it another symbol, another word, another idea? If it is, the none has not seen the whole significance of the enslavement of the mind by words, language. You see, we use words emotionally; it is a form of emotional thinking, apart from the use of technological words, as in numbers, or measures, which are precise. In human relationship and activity, emotions play a great part. Desire, sustained by thought creating the image, is very strong,. The image is the word, is the picture, and this follows our pleasure, our desire. So the whole way of our life is shaped by the word and its associations. To see this entire process as a whole is to see the truth of how thought prevents perception.

Q: Are you saying that there is no thinking without words?

K: Yes, more or less. Please bear in mind that we are talking about the art of living, learning about it, not memorizing the words. We are learning; not I teaching and you becoming a silly disciple. You are asking if there is thinking without words. This is a very important question. Our whole thinking is based on memory, and memory is based on words, images, symbols, pictures. All these are words.

Q: But what one remembers is not a word; it is an experience, an emotional event, a picture of a person or a place. The word is a secondary association.

K: We are using words to describe all this. After all, the word is a symbol to indicate that which has happened or is happening, to communicate or to evoke something. Is there thinking without this whole process? Yes, there is, but it should not be called thinking. Thinking implies a continuation of memory, but perception is not the activity of thought; it is really insight into the whole nature and movement of the word, the symbol, the image and their emotional involvements. To see this as a whole is to give the word its right place.

Q: But what does it mean to see the whole? You say this often. What do you mean by it?

K: Thought is divisive because in itself it is limited. To observe wholly implies the non-interference of thought; to observe without the past as knowledge blocking the observation. Then the observer is not, for the observer is the past, the very nature of thought.

Q: Are you asking us to stop thought?

K: Again, if we may point out, that is a wrong question. If thought tells itself to stop thinking, it creates duality and conflict. This is the very divisive process of thought. If you really grasp the truth of this, then thought is in abeyance naturally. Thought then has its own limited place. Thought then will not take over the whole expanse of life, which it is doing now.

Q: Sir, I see what extraordinary attention is needed. Can I really have that attention; am I serious enough to give my whole energy to this?
K: Can energy be divided at all? Energy is expended in earning a livelihood, in having a family, and in being serious enough to grasp what is being said. It is all energy, but thought divides it, and so we expend much energy on living and very little on the other. This art of living is the art in which there is no division. This is the whole of life.
Relationship is the Art of Living

Questioner: If I may ask you in all seriousness, what do you consider to be one of the most important things in life? I have thought about this matter considerably and there are so many things in life that all seem important.
Krishnamurti: Perhaps it is the art of living. We are using the word art in its widest sense. As life is so complex, it is always difficult and confusing to pick one aspect and say it is the most important. The very choice, the differentiating quality, if I may point out, leads to further confusion. If you say this is the most important, then you relegate the other facts of life to a secondary position. Either we take the whole movement of life as one, which is extremely difficult for most people, or we take one fundamental aspect in which all the others may be included. If you agree to this, then we can proceed with our dialogue.

Q: Do you mean to say that one aspect may cover the whole field of life? Is that possible?
K: It is possible. Let us go into it very slowly and hesitantly. First of all, the two of us must investigate and not immediately come to some conclusion, which is generally rather superficial. We are exploring together one facet of life, and in the very understanding of it we may cover the whole field of life. To investigate, we must be free of our prejudices, personal experiences, and predetermined conclusions. Like a good scientist, we must have a mind unclouded by the knowledge that we have already accumulated. We must come to it afresh, without any reaction to what is being observed. This is one of the necessities in this exploration, which is not the exploration of an idea or series of philosophical concepts, but of our own minds. This is absolutely necessary; otherwise our investigation is coloured by our own fears, hopes and pleasures.

Q: Aren’t you asking too much? Is it possible to have such a mind?
K: The very urge to investigate and the intensity of it free the mind from its colouring. As we said, one of the most important things is the art of living. Is there a way of living our daily life that is entirely different from what it normally is? We all know the usual. Is there a way of living without any control, without any conflict, without a disciplinary conformity? How do I find out? I can only find out when my whole mind is facing exactly what is happening now. This means I can only find out what it means to live without conflict, when what is happening now can be observed. This observation is not an intellectual or emotional affair, but acute, clear, sharp perception in which there is no duality. There is only the actual and nothing else.

Q: What do you mean by duality in this instance?
K: That there is no opposition or contradiction in what is going on. Duality arises only when there is an escape from what is. This escape creates the opposite, and so conflict arises. There is only the actual and nothing else.

Q: Are you saying that when something which is happening now is perceived, the mind must not come in with associations and reactions?
K: Yes, that is what we mean. The associations and reactions to what is happening are the conditioning of the mind. This conditioning prevents the observation of what is taking place now. What is taking place now is free of time. Time is the evolution of our conditioning; it is man’s inheritance, the burden that has no beginning. When there is this passionate observation of what is going on, that which is being observed dissolves into nothingness. An observation of anger that is taking place now reveals the whole nature and structure of violence. This insight is the ending of all violence. It is not replaced by anything else; and therein lies our difficulty, because our whole desire and urge is to find a definite end. In that end there is an illusory sense of security.

Q: There is difficulty for many of us in the observation of anger because emotions and reactions seem inextricably part of that anger. One doesn’t feel anger without associations, content.
K: Anger has many stories behind it. It isn’t just a solitary event. It has, as you pointed out, a great many associations. These very associations, with their emotions, prevent actual observation. With anger, the content is the anger; the anger is the content; they are not two separate things. The content is the conditioning. In the passionate observation of what is actually going on, that is, the activities of the conditioning, the nature and structure of the conditioning are dissolved.

Q: Are you saying that when an event is taking place there is the immediate, racing current of associations in the mind and that if one instantly sees this starting to happen, that observation instantly stops it and it is gone? Is this what you mean?
K: Yes. It is really simple, so simple that you miss its very simplicity and so its subtlety. What we are saying is that whatever is happening-when you are walking, talking, “meditating”-the event that is taking place is to be observed. When the mind wanders, the very observation of it ends its chatter. So there is no distraction whatsoever at any time.

Q: It seems as if you are saying that the content of thought essentially has no meaning in the art of living.
K: Yes. remembrance has no place in the art of living. relationship is the art of living. If there is remembrance in relationship, it is not relationship. relationship is between human beings, not between their memories. It is these memories that divide, and so there is contention, the opposition of the “you” and the “me”. So thought, which is remembrance, has no place whatsoever in relationship. This is the art of living. relationship is to all things-to nature, the birds, the rocks, to everything around us and above us, to the clouds, the stars and to the blue sky. All existence is relationship. Without it you cannot live. Because we have corrupted relationship, we live in a society that is degenerating. The art of living can come into being only when thought does not contaminate love. In these schools can the teacher be wholly committed to this art?

Learn from the Book of the Story of Yourself

Why are we being educated? Perhaps you never ask this question, but if you do, what is your response to it? Many reasons are put forward for the necessity of being educated, arguments that are reasonable, quite necessary and mundane. The usual reply is to get a job, have a successful career, or to become skillful with your hands or with your mind. Great emphasis is laid upon the capacity of the mind to find itself a good, profitable career. If you are not intellectually bright, then the skill of your hands becomes important. Education is necessary, it is said, to sustain society as it is, to conform to a pattern set by the so-called establishment, traditional or ultramodern. The educated mind has great capacity to gather information on almost any subject-art, science, and so on. This informed mind is scholastic, professional, philosophical. Such erudition is greatly praised and honoured.This education,if you are studious, clever, swift in your learning, will assure you a bright future, the brightness of it depending on your social and environmental situation. If you are not so bright in this framework of education, you become a labourer, a factory worker, or you have to find a place at the bottom of this very complex society. This is generally the way of our education.

What is education? It is essentially the art of learning, not only from books, but from the whole movement of life. The printed word has become consumingly all-important. You are learning what other people think, their opinions, their values, their judgements and a variety of their innumerable experiences. The library is more important than the man who has the library. He himself is the library, and he assumes that he is learning by constant reading. This accumulation of information, as in a computer, is considered to make an educated, sophisticated mind. Then there are those who do not read at all, who are rather contemptuous of those who do, and are absorbed in their own self-centred experiences and assertive opinions.

Recognising all this, what is the function of a holistic mind? We mean by the mind all the responses of the senses, the emotions-which are entirely different from love-and the intellectual capacity. We now give fantastic importance to the intellect. We mean by the intellect the capacity to reason logically, sanely or without sanity, objectively or personally. It is the intellect with its movement of thought that brings about fragmentation of our human condition. It is the intellect that has divided the world linguistically, nationally, religiously-divided man from man. The intellect is the central factor of the degeneration of mankind throughout the world, for the intellect is only a part of the human condition and capacity. When the part is extolled, praised and given honours, when it assumes all-importance, then one’s life-which is relationship, action, conduct-becomes contradictory, hypocritical. Then anxiety and guilt come into being. Intellect has its place, as in science, but man has used scientific knowledge not only for his benefit, but to bring about instruments of war and pollution of the earth. The intellect can perceive its own activities, which bring about degeneration, but it is utterly incapable of putting an end to its own decline, because essentially it is only a part.

As we have said, education is the essence of learning. Learning about the nature of the intellect, its dominance, its activities, its vast capacities and its destructive power, is education. To learn the nature of thought, which is the very movement of the intellect, not from a book but from the observation of the world about you, to learn what exactly is happening, without theories, prejudices and values, is education. To learn from books is important, but what is far more important is to learn from the book of the story of yourself, because you are all mankind. To read that book is the art of learning. It is all there-the institutions, their pressures, the religious impositions and doctrines, their cruelty, their faiths. The social structure of all societies is the relationship between human beings with their greed, their ambitions, their violence, their pleasures, their anxieties. It is there if you know how to look.

The book is not out there or hidden in yourself; it is all around you; you are part of that book. The book tells you the story of the human being, and it is to be read in your relationships, in your reactions, in your concepts and values. The book is the very centre of your being, and the learning is to read that book with exquisite care. The book tells you the story of the past, how the past shapes your mind, your heart and your senses. The past shapes the present, modifying itself according to the challenge of the moment. And in this endless movement of time human beings are caught. This is the conditioning of man.

This conditioning has been the endless burden of man, of you and your brother. The philosophers, the theologians, the saints, have accepted this conditioning, have allowed the acceptance of it, making the best of it; or they have offered escapes into fantasies of mystical experiences, of gods and heavens. Education is the art of learning about this conditioning and the way out of it, the freedom from this burden. There is a way out, which is not an escape, which does not accept things as they are. It is not the avoidance of the conditioning; it is not the suppression of it. It is the dissolution of the conditioning.

When you read this or when you hear it, be aware of whether you are listening or reading with the verbal capacity of the intellect, or with the care of attention? When there is total attention, there is no past but only the pure observation of what is actually going on.

Thought is the Root of all our Sorrow, all our Ugliness

It is the concern of these schools to bring about a new generation of human beings who are free from self-centred action. No other educational centres are concerned with this. It is our responsibility as educators to bring about a mind that has no conflict within itself, and to end the struggle and conflict in the world about us.

Can the mind, which is a complex structure and movement, free itself from the network it has woven? Every intelligent human being asks whether it is possible to end the conflict between man and man. Some have gone into it very deeply, intellectually; others, seeing the hopelessness of it, become bitter, cynical, or look to some outside agency to deliver them from their own chaos and misery. When we ask whether the mind can free itself from the prison it has created, it is not an intellectual or rhetorical question. It is asked in all seriousness; it is a challenge to which you have to respond, not at your convenience or comfort, but according to the depth of that challenge. It cannot be postponed.

A challenge is not asking whether it is possible or not, whether the mind is capable of freeing itself. The challenge, if it is worth anything at all, is immediate and intense. To respond to it you must have that quality of intensity and immediacy, the feeling of it. When there is this intense approach, then the question has great implications. The challenge is demanding the highest excellence from you, not just intellectually but with every faculty of your being. This challenge is not outside you. Please do not externalize it, which is to make a concept of it. You are demanding of yourself the totality of all your energy. That very demand wipes away all control, all contradiction and any opposition within yourself. It implies a total integrity, complete harmony. This is the essence of not being selfish.

The mind with its emotional responses, with all the things that thought has put together, is our consciousness. This consciousness with its content is the consciousness of every human being. It is modified, not entirely similar, different in its nuances and subtleties, but basically the roots of its existence are common to all of us. Scientists and psychologists are examining this consciousness, and the gurus are playing with it for their own ends. The serious ones are examining consciousness as a concept, as a laboratory process; they are examining the responses of the brain, alpha waves and so on, as something outside themselves. But we are not concerned with the theories, concepts and ideas about consciousness; we are concerned with its activity in our daily life. In understanding these activities, the daily responses, the conflicts, we will have an insight into the nature and structure of our own consciousness. As we pointed out, the basic reality of this consciousness is common to us all. It is not your particular consciousness or mine. We have inherited it, and we are modifying it, changing it here and there, but its basic movement is common to all mankind.

This consciousness is our mind with all its intricacies of thought, the emotions, the sensory responses, the accumulated knowledge, the suffering, the pain, the anxiety, the violence. All that is our consciousness. The brain is ancient and it is conditioned by centuries of evolution, by every kind of experience, increased by more recent accumulations of knowledge. All this is consciousness in action in every moment of our life. It is the relationship between humans with all the pleasures, pains, confusion of contradictory senses and the gratification of desire with its pain. This is the movement of our life. We are asking- and this must be met as a challenge-whether this ancient movement can ever come to an end? For this has become a mechanical activity, a traditional way of life. In the ending there is a beginning, and then only is there neither ending nor beginning.

Consciousness appears to be a very complex affair, but actually it is very simple. Thought has put together all the content of our consciousness, its security, its uncertainty, its hopes and fears, the depression and elation, the ideals, the illusions. Once it is grasped that thought is responsible for the whole content of our consciousness, then the inevitable question arises whether thought can be stopped. Many attempts have been made, religious and mechanical, to end thought. The very demand for the ending of thought is part of the movement of thought. The very search for super- consciousness is still the measure of thought. The gods, the rituals, all the emotional illusions of churches, temples and mosques, with their marvellous architecture, is still the movement of thought. God is put in heaven by thought. Thought has not made nature; that is real. The chair is also real, and it is made by thought; all the things technology has brought about are real. Illusions avoid the actual- that which is taking place now-but illusions become real because we live by them. The dog is not made by thought, but what we wish the dog to be is the movement of thought. Thought is measure. Thought is time. The whole of this is our consciousness. The mind, the brain, the senses are part of it. We are asking if this movement can come to an end.

Thought is the root of all our sorrow, all our ugliness. What we are asking for is the ending of these things that thought has put together; not the ending of thought itself, but the ending of our anxiety, grief, pain, power, violence. With the ending of these, thought finds its rightful, limited place-the everyday knowledge and memory one must have. When the contents of consciousness, which have been put together by thought, are no longer active, then there is vast space and so the release of immense energy which was limited by consciousness. Love is beyond this consciousness.

The Intelligence of the Body will Guard its own Well-Being

The flowering of goodness is the release of our total energy. It is not the control or suppression of energy but rather the total freedom of this vast energy. It is limited, narrowed down by thought, by the fragmentation of our senses. Thought itself is this energy manipulating itself into a narrow groove, a centre of the self. The flowering of goodness can be only when energy is free. Thought by its very nature has limited this energy, and so the fragmentation of the senses takes place. Hence there are the senses, sensations, desires and the images that thought creates out of desire. All this is a fragmentation of energy. Can this limited movement be aware of itself? That is, can the senses be aware of themselves? Can desire see itself arising out of the senses, out of the sensation of the image that thought has created; and can thought be aware of itself, of its movement? All this implies: can the whole physical body be aware of itself?

We live by our senses. One of them is usually dominant: the listening, the seeing, the tasting seem to be separate from each other; but is this a fact? Or is it that we have given to one or other a greater importance, or rather that thought has given the greater importance? One may hear great music and delight in it, and yet be insensitive to other things. One may have a sensitive taste and be wholly insensitive to delicate colour. This is fragmentation. When each fragment is aware only of itself, then fragmentation is maintained. In this way energy is broken up. If this is so, as it appears to be, is there a non- fragmentary awareness by all the senses?

Thought is part of the senses. Can the body be aware of itself? Not you being aware of your own body, but the body itself being aware. This is very important to find out. It cannot be taught by another for then it is second-hand information, which thought is imposing on it. You must discover for yourself whether the whole organism, the physical entity, can be aware of itself. You may be aware of the movement of an arm, a leg or the head, and through that movement feel that you are becoming aware of the whole, but what we are asking is: can the body be aware of itself without any movement? This is essential to find out, because thought has imposed its pattern on the body, what it thinks is right exercise, right food, and so on. So there is the domination of thought over the organism; there is consciously or unconsciously a struggle between thought and the organism. In this way thought is destroying the natural intelligence of the body itself.

Does the body, the physical organism, have its own intelligence? It has when all the senses are acting together in harmony so that there is no straining, no emotional or sensory demands of desire. When one is hungry one eats, but usually taste, formed by habit, dictates what one eats. So fragmentation takes place. A healthy body can be brought about only through the harmony of all the senses, which is the intelligence of the body itself. What we are asking is: doesn’t disharmony bring about waste of energy? Can the organism’s own intelligence, which has been suppressed or destroyed by thought, be awakened?

Remembrance plays havoc with the body. The remembrance of yesterday’s pleasure makes thought master of the body. The body then becomes a slave to the master, and intelligence is denied. So there is conflict. This struggle may express itself as laziness, fatigue, indifference, or in neurotic responses. When the body has its own intelligence freed from thought, though thought is part of it, this intelligence will guard its own well-being.

Pleasure dominates our life in its crudest or most educated forms; and pleasure essentially is a remembrance- that which has been, or that which is anticipated. Pleasure is never at the moment. When pleasure is denied, suppressed or blocked, neurotic acts, such as violence and hatred, take place out of this frustration. Then pleasure seeks other forms and outlets; satisfaction and dissatisfaction arise. To be aware of all these physical and psychological activities requires an observation of the whole movement of one’s life.

When the body is aware of itself, then we can ask a further and perhaps more difficult question: can thought, which has put together this whole consciousness, be aware of itself? Most of the time thought dominates the body, and so the body loses its vitality, intelligence, its own intrinsic energy, and hence has neurotic reactions. Is the intelligence of the body different from total intelligence, which can come about only when thought, realizing its own limitation, finds its right place?

As we said at the beginning of this letter, the flowering of goodness can take place only when there is the release of total energy. In this release there is no friction. It is only in this supreme undivided intelligence that there is this flowering. This intelligence is not the child of reason. The totality of this intelligence is compassion.

Mankind has tried to release this immense energy through various forms of control, through exhausting discipline, through fasting, through sacrificial denials offered to some supreme principle or god, or through manipulating this energy through various states. All this implies the manipulation of thought towards a desired end. But what we are saying is quite contrary to all this. Can all this be conveyed to the student? It is your responsibility to do so.

Selfishness is the Essential Problem of our Life

Most human beings are selfish. They are not conscious of their own selfishness, it is the way of their life. And if one is aware that one is selfish, one hides it very carefully and conforms to the pattern of society, which is essentially selfish. The selfish mind is very cunning. Either it is brutally and openly selfish, or it takes many forms. If you are a politician, the selfishness seeks power, status and popularity; it identifies itself with an idea, a mission, all for the public good. If you are a tyrant, it expresses itself in brutal domination. If you are inclined to be religious, it takes the form of adoration, devotion, adherence to some belief, some dogma. It also expresses itself in the family; the father pursues his own selfishness in the ways of his life, and so does the mother.

Fame, prosperity, good looks form a basis for this hidden creeping movement of the self. It is in the hierarchical structure of the priesthood, however much they may proclaim their love of God, their adherence to the self- created image of their particular deity. The captains of industry and the poor clerk have this expanding and benumbing sensuality of the self. The monks who have renounced the ways of the world may wander the face of the world or may be locked away in some monastery, but they have not left this unending movement of the self. They may change their names, put on robes or take vows of celibacy or silence, but they burn with some ideal, with some image, some symbol.

It is the same with the scientists, with the philosophers and the professors in the universities. The doer of good works, the saints and gurus, the man or the woman who works endlessly for the poor, all attempt to lose themselves in their work, but the work is part of the self. They have transferred the egotism to their labours. It begins in childhood and continues to old age. The conceit of knowledge, the practised humility of the leader, the submitting wife and dominating man all have this disease. The self identifies with the State, with endless groups, with endless ideas and causes, but it remains what it was at the beginning.

Human beings have tried various practices, methods, meditations to be free of this centre which causes so much misery and confusion but, like a shadow, it is never captured. It is always there, and it slips through your fingers, through your mind. Sometimes it is strengthened or becomes weak according to circumstances. You corner it here, it turns up there.

One wonders if the educator, who is responsible for a new generation, understands non-verbally what a mischievous thing the self is, how corrupting, distorting, how dangerous it is in our lives. He may not know how to be free of it; he may not even be aware it is there; but once he sees the nature of the movement of the self, can he or she convey its subtleties to the student? Isn’t it the teacher’s responsibility to do this? Insight into the working of the self is of greater importance than academic learning. Knowledge can be used by the self for its own expansion, its aggressiveness, its innate cruelty.

Selfishness is the essential problem of our life. Conforming and imitation are part of the self, as are competition and the ruthlessness of talent. If the educator in these schools takes this problem to his heart seriously, which I hope he does, then how will he help the student to be selfless? You might say it is a “gift of strange gods”, or brush it aside as being impossible; but if you are serious, as one must be, and are totally responsible for the student, how will you set about freeing the mind from this age-old, binding energy, this self which has caused so much sorrow?

Wouldn’t you, with great care, which implies affection, explain in simple words what the consequences are when the student speaks in anger, or when he hits somebody, or when he is thinking of his own importance? Is it not possible to explain to him that when he insists, ‘This is mine’, or boasts. ‘I did it’, or when he avoids a certain action through fear, he is building a wall, brick by brick, around himself? Is it not possible when his desires, his sensations overpower his rational thinking, to point out that the shadow of self is growing? Is it not possible to say to him that where the self is, in any guise, there is no love?

But the student might ask the educator, ‘Have you realized all this or are you just playing with words?’ That very question might awaken your own intelligence, and that very intelligence will give you the right feeling and the right words to answer.

As an educator you have no status; you are a human being with all the problems of life, like a student. The moment you speak from status, you are actually destroying the human relationship. Status implies power, and when you are seeking this, consciously or unconsciously, you enter a world of cruelty. You have a great responsibility, my friend, and if you take this total responsibility, which is love, then the roots of the self are gone. This is not said as an encouragement or to make you feel that you must do this, but as we are all human beings, representing the whole of mankind, we are totally and wholly responsible, whether we choose to be or not. You may try to evade it, but that very movement is the action of the self. Clarity of perception is freedom from the self.
Physical and Psychological Problems Waster our Energy

As a rule, parents have very little time for their children except when they are babies. They send them to the local or boarding schools, or they allow others to look after them. They may not have time or the necessary patience to educate them at home. They are occupied with their own problems. So our schools become the children’s homes and the educators become the parents with all the responsibility. We have written about this earlier, and it is not out of place to repeat it: home is a place where there is a certain freedom, a sense of being secure, being provided for and sheltered. Do the children in these schools feel that they are being carefully watched over, given a great deal of thought and affection, and that there is concern for their behaviour, their food, their clothes and their manners? If so, the school becomes a place where the student feels that he is really at home, with all its implications, that there are people around him who are looking after his tastes, the way he talks; that he is being looked after physically as well as psychologically, being helped to be free from hurts and fear. This is the responsibility of every teacher in these schools, not of one or two. The whole school exists for this, for an atmosphere in which both the educators and the students are flowering in goodness.

The educator needs leisure to be quiet by himself, to gather the energy that has been expended, to be aware of his own personal problems and resolve them, so that when he meets the students again he does not carry the noise of his personal turmoil. As we have pointed out earlier, any problem arising in our lives should be resolved instantly or as quickly as possible, for when problems are carried from day to day, the sensitivity of the whole mind degenerates. This sensitivity is essential. We lose this sensitivity when we are merely instructing the student in a subject. When the subject becomes the only important thing, sensitivity fades away, and then you really lose contact with the student. The student then is merely a receptacle for information. Thus your mind and the student’s mind become mechanical.

Generally, we are sensitive to our own problems, to our own desires and thoughts, and rarely to those of others. When we are constantly in contact with the students, there is a tendency to impose our own images on them or, if the student has his own strong images, there is conflict between these images. So it becomes very important that the educator should leave his images at home and be concerned with the images that parents or society have imposed on the student, or the images that the student himself has created.

Physical and psychological problems waste our energy. Can the educator be physically secure in these schools and be free of psychological problems? This is really important to understand. When there is not a sense of physical security, uncertainty brings about psychological turmoil. This encourages dullness of the mind, so the passion that is so necessary in our daily life withers away and enthusiasm takes its place. Enthusiasm is a dangerous thing for it is never constant. It rises in a wave and is gone. This is mistaken for seriousness. You may be enthusiastic, eager, active for some time about what you are doing, but inherent in it is dissipation. Again it is essential that we understand this, for most relationship is prone to this waste.

Passion is wholly different from lust, interest or enthusiasm. Interest in something can be very deep and you can use that interest for profit or for power, but that interest is not passion. Interest may be stimulated by an object or by an idea. Interest is self-indulgence. Passion is free of the self. Enthusiasm is always about something. Passion is a flame in itself. Enthusiasm can be aroused by another, something outside of you. Passion is the summation of energy, which is not the outcome of any kind of stimulation. Passion is beyond the self.

Do the teachers have this sense of passion? For out of this comes creation. In teaching subjects, one has to find new ways of transmitting information without the information making the mind mechanical. Can you teach history, which is the story of mankind, not as Indian, English, American history, but as the story of mankind, which is global? Then the educator’s mind is always fresh, eager, discovering a whole different approach to teaching. In this the educator is intensely alive, and with this aliveness goes passion.

Can this be done in all our schools? For we are concerned with bringing about a different society, with the flowering of goodness, with a non-mechanical mind. True education is this. Will you, the educators, undertake this responsibility? In this responsibility lies the flowering of goodness in you and in the student. We are responsible for the whole of mankind, which is you and the student. You have to start there and cover the whole earth. You can go very far if you start very near. The nearest is you and your student. We generally start with the farthest, the supreme principle, the greatest ideal, and get lost in some hazy dream of imaginative thought. But when you start very near, with the nearest, which is you, then the whole world is open, for you are the world, and the world beyond you is only nature. Nature is not imaginary, it is actual; and what is happening to you now is actual. You must begin from the actual, with what is happening now. And the now is timeless.

Can the Senses Be Supremely Active without Desire Coming In?

School is where one learns not only the knowledge required for daily life but also the art of living with all its complexities and subtleties. We seem to forget this, and become totally caught up in the superficiality of knowledge. Knowledge is always superficial. Learning the art of living is not considered to be necessary; living is not considered to be an art.

When one leaves school, one stops learning, and continues to live on that which one has accumulated as knowledge. We never consider that life is a whole process of learning. As one observes life, daily living is a constant change and movement, and one’s mind is not quick and sensitive enough to follow its subtleties. One comes to it with ready-made reactions and fixations. Can this be prevented in these schools? This does not mean that one must have an open mind. Generally the open mind is like a sieve retaining little or nothing. It is a mind that is capable of quick perception and action that is necessary. That is why we went into the subject of insight with its immediacy of action. Insight does not leave the scar of memory. Generally, experience, as it is understood, leaves its residue as memory, and from this residue one acts. The action strengthens the residue, and so action becomes mechanical. Insight is not a mechanical activity.

Without strengthening the residue that is memory, can it be taught in the school that daily life is a constant process of learning and action in relationship? With most of us the scar of residue becomes all-important, and we lose the swift current of life.

Both the student and the educator live in a state of confusion and disorder outwardly and inwardly. One may not be aware of this fact; if one is, one quickly puts order into outward things, but one is rarely aware of inner confusion and disorder.

God is disorder. Consider the innumerable gods that man has invented, or the one god, the one saviour, and observe the confusion this has created in the world, the wars it has brought about, the innumerable divisions, the separating beliefs, symbols and images. Isn’t this confusion and disorder? We have become accustomed to this; we accept it readily, for our life is so wearisome with boredom and pain that we seek comfort in the gods that thought has conjured up. This has been our way of life for thousands of years. Every civilization has invented gods, and they have been the source of great tyranny, wars and destruction. Their buildings may be extraordinarily beautiful, but inside there is darkness and the source of confusion.

Can one put aside these gods? One must if one is to consider why the human mind accepts disorder politically, religiously and economically and lives in it. What is the source of this disorder-the actuality of it, not the theological reason? Can one put aside the concepts of disorder and be free to inquire into the actual daily source of our disorder- not into what order is but disorder? We can find out what absolute order is only when we have thoroughly investigated disorder and its source. We are so eager to find out what order is, so impatient with disorder, that we are apt to suppress it, thinking thereby to bring about order. Here we are asking not only if there can be absolute order in our daily life, but also whether confusion can end. So our first concern is with disorder and its source. Is it thought? Is it contradictory desires? Is it fear and the search for security? Is it the constant demand for pleasure? Is thought one of the sources or the main reason for the disorder?

It is not merely the writer but you asking these questions. Please bear this in mind all the time. You must discover the source, not be told the source and then repeat that.

Thought, as we have pointed out, is finite, limited; and whatever is limited, however wide its activities may be, inevitably brings confusion. That which is limited is divisive and therefore destructive and confusing. We have gone sufficiently into the nature and structure of thought. To have an insight into the nature of thought is to give it its right place so that it loses its overpowering domination.

Is desire and the changing objects of desire one of the causes of our disorder? To suppress desire is to suppress all sensation, which is to paralyse the mind. We think this is the easy and quick way to end desire, but one cannot suppress it; it is much too strong, much too subtle. You cannot grasp it in your hand and twist it according to your wish, which is another desire. We have talked about desire in a previous letter. Desire can never be suppressed or transmuted or corrupted as right and wrong desire; whatever you do about it, it remains always sensation and desire,. Desire for enlightenment and desire for money are the same, though the objects vary.

Can one live without desire? Or to put it differently, can the senses be supremely active without desire coming in? There are both psychological and physical sensory activities. The body seeks warmth, food, sex; there is physical pain and so on. These sensations are natural, but when they enter into the psychological field, the trouble begins. Therein lies our confusion. It is important to understand this, especially when we are young, and to observe the physical sensations without suppression or exaggeration; to be alert, watchful that they do not seep into the psychological inner realm where they do not belong.

That is our difficulty; the whole process happens so quickly because we do not see this, have not understood it, have never really examined what actually takes place. There is immediate sensory response to challenge. This response is natural and is not under the domination of thought, of desire. Our difficulty begins when these sensory responses enter into the psychological realm. The challenge may be a woman or man or something pleasant, appetizing, or a lovely garden. The response to this is sensation, and when this sensation enters the psychological field, desire begins and thought with its images seeks the fulfilment of desire.

Our question is how to prevent the natural physical responses from entering into the psychological. Is this possible? It is possible only when you observe the nature of the challenge with great attention and carefully watch your responses. This total attention will prevent the physical responses from entering into the inner psyche.

We are concerned with desire and the understanding of it, not the brutalizing factor of suppressing, avoiding or sublimating. You cannot live without desire. When you are hungry you need food. But to understand, which is to investigate the whole activity of desire, is to give it its right place. Then it will not be a source of disorder in our daily life.

Where there is no Measurement, there is the Quality of Wholeness

What man has done to man has no limit. He has tortured him; he has burned him; he has killed him; he has exploited him in every possible way-religious, political and economic. This has been the story of man against man; the clever exploit the stupid, the ignorant. All philosophies are intellectual and therefore not whole. These philosophies have enslaved man. They have invented concepts of what society should be and sacrificed man to their concepts; the ideals of the so-called thinkers have dehumanized man. Exploitation of another man or woman seems to be the way of our daily life. We use each other, and each one accepts this. Out of this peculiar relationship, dependence arises with all the misery, confusion and agony that is inherent in dependence. Man has been both inwardly and outwardly so treacherous to himself and to others. How can there be love in these circumstances?

So it becomes very important for the educator to feel total responsibility in his personal relationship not only to the student but to the whole of mankind. He is mankind. If he does not feel responsible for himself totally, then he will be incapable of feeling the passion of total responsibility which is love. Do you as an educator feel this responsibility? If not, why not? You may feel responsible for your own wife, husband or children, and may disregard or feel no responsibility for another, but if you feel completely responsible in yourself, you cannot but be responsible for the whole of humanity.

The question of why you do not feel responsible for another is very important. responsibility is not an emotional reaction, not something you impose upon yourself-to feel responsible. Then it becomes duty, and duty has lost the perfume or the beauty of the inward quality of total responsibility. It is not something you invite as a principle or an idea to hold on to, like possessing a chair or a watch. A mother may feel responsible for her child, feel that the child is part of her blood and flesh, and so give all her care and attention to that baby for some years. Is this maternal instinct responsibility? It may be that we have inherited this peculiar attachment to the child from the first animals. It exists in all nature from the tiniest bird to the majestic elephant. We are asking if this instinct is responsibility. If it were, parents would feel responsible for a right kind of education, for a totally different kind of society. They would see that there were no wars and that they themselves flowered in goodness.

So, it appears that a human being is not concerned for another but is committed only to himself. This commitment is total irresponsibility. His own emotions, his own personal desires, his own attachments, his success, his advancement will inevitably breed ruthlessness both open and subtle. Is this the way of true responsibility?

In these schools the one who gives and the one who receives are both responsible, so they can never indulge in the peculiar quality of separateness. Egotistic separateness is perhaps the very root of the degeneration of the wholeness of the mind with which we are deeply concerned. This does not mean that there is no personal relationship, with affection, with tenderness, with encouragement and support; but when personalrelationshipbecomesall-importantandisresponsible only for the few, then the mischief has begun. The reality of this is known to every human being. This fragmentation of relationship is the degenerating factor in our lives. We have broken up relationship so that it is to the personal, to a group, to a nation, to certain concepts and so on.

That which is fragmented can never comprehend the wholeness of responsibility. From the little we are always trying to capture the greater. The better is not the good, and all our thought is based on the better, the more-being better at exams, having better jobs, greater status, better gods, nobler ideas. The better is the outcome of comparison. The thought of the better picture, the better technique, the greater musician, the more talented, the more beautiful and the more intelligent depend on this comparison. We rarely look at a painting for itself, or at a man or a woman for themselves. There is always this quality of comparison.

Is love comparison? Can you ever say you love this one more than that one? When there is this comparison, is that love? When there is this feeling of the more, which is measurement, then thought is in operation. Love is not the movement of thought. This measurement is comparison. We are encouraged throughout our life to compare. When in your school you compare B with A, you are destroying both of them. So is it possible to educate without any sense of comparison?

Why do we compare? We compare for the simple reason that measuring is the way of thought and the way of our life. We are educated in this corruption. The better is always nobler than what is, than what is actually going on. The observation of what is, without comparison, without the measure, is to go beyond what is.

When there is no comparison, there is integrity. It is not that you are true to yourself, which is a form of measurement, but when there is no measurement at all there is the quality of wholeness. The essence of the ego, the “me”, is measurement. When there is measurement, there is fragmentation. This must be profoundly understood, not as an idea but as an actuality. When you read this statement, you may make an abstraction of it as an idea, a concept, and the abstraction is another form of measurement. That which is has no measurement.

Please give your heart to the understanding of this. When you have grasped the full significance of this, your relationship with the student and with your own family will become something quite different. If you ask if that difference will be better, then you are caught in the wheel of measurement. Then you are lost. You will find the difference when you actually test this out. The very word difference implies measurement, but we are using the word non-comparatively. Almost every word we use has this feeling of measurement, so the words affect our reactions, and reactions deepen the sense of comparison. The word and the reaction are interrelated, and the art lies in not being conditioned by the word, which means that language does not shape us. Use the word without the psychological reactions to it.

As we have said, we are concerned with communicating with each other about the nature of the degeneration of our minds and so the ways of our life. Enthusiasm is not passion. You can be enthusiastic about something one day and lose it the next. You can be enthusiastic about playing football and lose interest when it no longer entertains you. But passion is something entirely different. It has no time lag in it.

Which is the honest desire or thought, and which is not?

Any form of conflict, struggle, corrupts the mind-the mind being the wholeness of all our existence. This quality is destroyed when there is any kind of friction, any kind of contradiction. As most of us live in a perpetual state of contradiction and conflict, this lack of completeness makes for degeneration. We are concerned here to discover for ourselves whether it is at all possible to end these degenerating factors.

Perhaps most of us have never thought about this; we have accepted it as a normal way of life. We have convinced ourselves that conflict, like competition, brings growth, and we have various explanations for this-the tree struggles in the forest for light; the baby just born struggles for breath; the mother labours to deliver. We are conditioned to accept this and to live in this manner. This has been the way of our life for generations, and any suggestion that perhaps there might be a way of life without conflict seems quite incredible. You may listen to this as some idealistic nonsense, or reject it out of hand, but you never consider whether there is any significance in the statement that it is possible to live a life without a shadow of conflict. When you are concerned with integrity and the responsibility of bringing about a new generation, which as educators is the only function you have, can you investigate this fact? And in the very process of educating, can you convey to the student what you are discovering for yourself?

Conflict in any form is an indication of resistance. In a fast flowing river there is no resistance; it flows around big boulders, through villages and towns. Man controls it for his own purpose. After all, doesn’t freedom imply absence of the resistance that thought has built around itself?

Honesty is a very complex affair. When one says to oneself that one must be honest, is that possible? What are you honest about and for what reason? Can you be honest with yourself and so be fair to another? Is honesty a matter of ideals? Can an idealist ever be honest? He is living in a future carved out of the past; he is caught between that which has been and that which ought to be, and so he can never be honest. You are the centre of various sometimes contradictory activities, of various thoughts, feelings and desires which are always in opposition to each other. Which is the honest desire or thought and which is not? These are not mere rhetorical questions or clever arguments. It is very important to find out what it means to be totally honest, because we are going to deal with insight and the immediacy of action. It is utterly important, if we would grasp the depth of meaning of insight, to have the quality of complete integrity, to have that integrity which is the honesty of the whole.

One may feel honest about an ideal, a principle or an ingrained belief. Surely this is not honesty. Honesty can be only when there is no conflict of duality, when the opposite does not exist. There is darkness and light, night and day; there is man, woman, the tall, the short, and so on, but it is thought that makes them opposites, puts them in contradiction. We are expressing the psychological contradiction that mankind has cultivated. Love is not the opposite of hate or jealousy. If it were, it would not be love. Humility is not the opposite of vanity or pride and arrogance. If it were, it would still be part of arrogance and pride and so could not be humility. Humility is totally divorced from all this. A mind that is humble is unaware of its humility. So honesty is not the opposite of dishonesty.

One can be sincere in one’s belief or in one’s concept, but that sincerity breeds conflict; and where there is conflict there is no honesty. So we are asking if you can be honest to yourself. Yourself is a mixture of many movements crossing each other, dominating each other and rarely flowing together. When all these movements flow together, then there is honesty. There is separation between the conscious and unconscious, god and the devil. Thought has brought about these divisions and the conflict that exists between these divisions. Goodness has no opposite.

With this new understanding of what honesty is, we can proceed with the investigation into what insight is. This is utterly important because that may be the factor to revolutionize our action and bring about a transformation in the brain itself. We have said that our way of life has become mechanical-the past with all the accumulated experience and knowledge, which is the source of thought, is directing, shaping all action. The past and the future are interrelated and inseparable, and the very process of thinking is based upon this. Thought is ever-limited, finite. Though it may pretend to reach heaven, that very heaven is within the frame of thought. Memory is measurable, as time is. This movement of thought can never be fresh, new, original. So action based on thought must ever be broken up, incomplete, contradictory. This whole movement of thought must be deeply understood, including its place relative to seeing to the necessities of life and things that must be remembered. Then what is action which is not the continuance of remembrance? It is insight.

Insight is not the careful deduction of thought, the analytical process of thought or the time-binding nature of memory. It is instantaneous perception without the perceiver. From this insight, action takes place. From this insight the explanation of any problem is accurate, final and true. There are no regrets, no reactions. It is absolute. There can be no insight without the quality of love. Insight is not an intellectual affair to be argued about. This love is the highest form of sensitivity when all the senses are flowering together. Without this sensitivity-which is not to one’s desires, problems and all the pettiness of life-insight is obviously quite impossible.

Insight is holistic. Holistic implies the whole, the whole of the mind. The mind is all the experience of humanity, including the vast accumulated knowledge with its technical skills, with its sorrows, anxiety, pain, grief and loneliness. But insight is beyond all this. Freedom from sorrow, from grief, from loneliness, is essential for insight to be. Insight is not a continuous movement. It cannot be captured by thought. Insight is supreme intelligence, and this intelligence employs thought as a tool. Insight is intelligence with its beauty and love; they are really inseparable; they are actually one. This is the whole, which is the most sacred.

Learn more about the school’s founder, J. Krishnamurti.

Many resources about Krishnamurti can be found on the Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) website.