Saturday, November 5, 1966
Shall we continue with what we were talking about when we met here last Saturday and Sunday? We were saying how very important it is to bring about in the human mind a radical revolution. The crisis – and there are always crises in the world, especially now – it seems to me, is a crisis in consciousness, a crisis that cannot any more accept the old norms, the old patterns, the ancient traditions, a particular way of life, whether it is the American way, the European way, or the Asiatic way. And considering what the world is now, with all the misery, conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, the tremendous advancement in technology, and so on, it seems to me, though man has cultivated the external world and has more or less mastered it, inwardly he is still as he was: a great deal of animal in him; he is still brutal, violent, aggressive, acquisitive, competitive, and he has built a society along these lines. The more one observes – and I think almost everyone sees it, unless he is totally blind, deaf and dumb – the more one is aware of the extraordinary contradictions of human beings, and of the great demands, intellectual as well as a demand at a different level; a demand which is not emotional, not built on enthusiasm, not sentimental, but factual. And to understand the factual, which is neither intellectual nor emotional, there must be a great deal of passion.
For most of us, passion is merely mental or physical gratification, which soon fades and has to be renewed. All passions generally are evoked by external circumstances, or by our own particular temperament, idiosyncrasy and appetite. Such passion soon withers away. Any passion with a motive is bound to come to an end. And to understand this extraordinary, complex problem of existence, one must have tremendous passion, which cannot possibly be supplied by the intellect, or by casual sentiment or emotionalism; or the passion aroused by committing oneself to a particular course of action, or belonging to a particular political or religious group. That does give a certain quality of intensity, a certain elan, a certain drive. But we are talking about a passion that is not easily come by; because any passion for any action must be without motive. Most of us seek gratification, intellectual, emotional, physical, and various forms of comfort; ideologically or psychologically we demand this gratification, and as long as this gratification is fulfilled, that arouses a certain quality of intensity. But that intensity soon fades away, and it has to be renewed, stimulated, pushed, driven; and hence we are always seeking a certain perpetuated purpose, a certain continuity of passion. A life without this intense drive, passion, has no meaning at all. Generally one seeks an idea, a concept, a formula, to which one can give oneself over, and from that there is a certain intensity, a certain passion. But through it all there is the demand for gratification, for pleasure. And it seems to me that society, of which we are a part, as human beings – and society is not different from the human being; psychologically they are one – the whole structure of society, with its morality, with its gods, with its culture, with its entertainment, is based on pleasure. There may be a rare occasion when mind functions without a motive, and without the demand for gratification, but most of our life and our conduct is based on the demand and the search for the continuity of pleasure.
I hope when one is listening to this talk, or to the various other talks that are coming, that one does more than hear a lot of words; hearing many words is not listening. It is like a noise among the leaves. It soon passes away. When we hear, we either accept or reject; or we translate what we hear according to our knowledge, our background; or we compare what is being said with what is already known; or we oppose one idea by another. All these characteristics of hearing deny the act of listening. The act of listening is entirely different. When one listens, there is no comparison; there is no acceptance or rejection. The quality of listening is attention; and when you attend totally with your whole mind, with your heart, with your nerves, with your eyes and ears completely, in that state of attention there is the act of listening. And that act of listening puts away anything that is not true, when you give your whole attention to something, that is, when you are completely listening. You listen to the totality of the thing. When you attend, there are no borders of inattention. When you so intensely listen, you are listening to the birds, to the wind, to the breeze among the leaves; you listen to the slightest whisper that's about you. In the same way, when you listen, that very act of listening brings about a total attention in which you see the totality and the whole significance and structure of what is being said; not only what the speaker is saying, but also when you are listening to your wife, to your husband, to your children, to the politician, to the priest, to everything about you. Then there is no choice. Then there is only clarity. There is no confusion, but right perception.
We hope that you will so listen to what is being said, not hear a lot of words, a lot of ideas; because ideas and words are not the fact. Ideas and words never bring about a radical revolution, a mutation in the mind. I'm not dealing with ideas and opinions and judgment. What we are concerned with is bringing about a radical revolution in the mind; and that revolution must take place without effort, because all effort has behind it a motive; and a revolution with a motive is not a revolution at all, a change. It becomes merely a modified continuity when there is a motive. But a mutation, a radical transformation of the mind, can only take place when there is no motive, and when we begin to understand the psychological structure of society, of which we are, which is part of us; and to understand it, there must be the act of listening – not listening to the speaker, but listening to what is actually taking place in ourselves.
How you listen is a responsibility, if I may use that word, on the part of the listener, because we are taking a journey together. We are taking a journey together into the whole psychological structure of man; because In understanding that structure, and its meaning, we can perhaps bring about a change in society. And society, God knows, needs a total change, a total revolution.
As we were saying earlier, our whole concept, action and urges are based on pleasure; and until one understands the nature and the structure of pleasure, there will always be fear – fear, not only in our relationships with each other, but fear of all life, the totality of existence. So without understanding pleasure, there can be no freedom from fear. We are not denying pleasure; we are not advocating a puritanical way of life, a suppression of pleasure, or a substitution for pleasure; or denying that thing that we call great satisfaction. We are examining it; and in examination there must be freedom from opinion; otherwise you can't examine. You can't say, « Well, how will I live if there is no pleasure? ». W hen you are certain that one cannot, or can, live without pleasure, you are already blocking all examination, and therefore all discovery; all understanding of something, understanding of the problem totally anew. We are examining pleasure; we are not condemning it. And without really, radically, seriously understanding that pleasure principle in man, as in the animal, we shall live within the borders of fear always – which is fairly obvious.
First of all, pleasure is an extraordinary thing to understand. It needs a great deal of attention, a swiftness of mind, a subtle perception. There is pleasure in aggression. There is pleasure in violence. There is pleasure in ambition, in self fulfilment, in domination, in asserting, in pursuing any gratification. There are various forms of pleasure which we don't have to go into in detail; but one can see that the totality of our deep thinking, feeling, is based on this extraordinary principle of pleasure. Our relationships are based on it, and our morality; and the gods that the mind through fear has invented, the Saviours, the Masters, the leaders, and so on are essentially based on that pleasure which gives gratification. The assertion of will is part of that pleasure; and denial, sacrifice is also based on pleasure. So one has to understand it; and to understand it there must be neither withholding nor denying that quality, that principle of pleasure. And that's very difficult to do, because we are so heavily conditioned to accept and to function with the motive of pleasure, with gratification; and therefore we are always limiting our total attention. We look at life in fragments – as a business man, as an artist: as a psychologist, as a scientist, as a politician, as a priest, as a housewife, as a professor, and so on and so on and so on. All in fragments; and we try to relate one fragment to the totality of other fragments, which is called identification. As long as the particular fragment exists, one cannot possibly see the total. If one says, « I must have a certain pleasure, and I am going to hold on to it at any price », then we will not comprehend or see the total pattern of pleasure. We are concerned with seeing the totality of pleasure, what is involved in it: the pain, the frustration, the agony, the remorse, the ache of loneliness when all pleasure is denied; and naturally we try to escape from all that through various forms, which again is the continuation of pleasure. A mind that is caught, that is conditioned by this principle of pleasure, obviously cannot see what is true; it cannot think clearly, and therefore it has no passion. It translates passion as sexual, or achieving some fragmentary activity, and fulfilment in that fragment. Where there is no understanding of pleasure, there is only enthusiasm, sentimentality, which evokes brutality and callousness, and all the rest of it.
So, what is pleasure? Because, without understanding pleasure, there is no love. Love is not pleasure; love is not desire; love is not memory. And pleasure denies love. Therefore, it seems to me, it is important to understand this principle. Surely pleasure is desire – desire, which comes into being very naturally when you see something which gives you a stimulation, a sensation, and from that sensation there is desire; and the continuation of that desire is pleasure; and that pleasure is sustained by thought. I see something, and in that contact with it, there is a sensation; the sensation is the desire sustained by thought. Please, you can see this in yourself. You are not listening to something extraordinary. This is an obvious, daily fact. You see a beautiful car, a nice house, a beautiful face, and there is the sensation, there is contact; contact, sensation and desire. Then thought comes in; because thought is the response of memory; that memory is based on other experiences of pleasure and pain, and thought gives to that desire the sustenance, the quality of pursuit and fulfilment. One can see this in oneself very simply. One doesn't have to read psychological books about all this. I don't know why one reads psychological books anyhow, or goes to analysts, and so on. If one observes, it's all there in front of you; and the quality of observation cannot be taught by another. If you are taught how to observe, you cease to observe. Then you have merely the technique of observation, which prevents you from actually seeing.
This whole concept of going to somebody to be taught, to be analysed, to be psychologically informed about yourself, seems to me to be so utterly immature. I know what we are saying goes contrary to all the present fashion, but if one observes, not somebody else, but yourself for yourself is the whole of mankind, with all the aches and the miseries, with the solitude and loneliness, despair, the utter loneliness of existence, the meaninglessness of it all – in that observation you are so anxious to resolve everything quickly. We haven't the patience nor the intention to observe clearly; and when you do so observe, it unfolds endlessly, which is life itself Then you are not dependent on anybody, on any psychologist, on any theologian, on any priest, on any dogma. Then you are looking at this movement of life, which is yourself. But unfortunately we cannot look with clarity because we are driven by this principle of pleasure.
To understand pleasure one has to understand the structure of thinking, because it is thought that gives continuity to pleasure. I had the experience of pleasure yesterday, of different kinds, and thought thinks about that pleasure, and demands its continuity. The memory of that pleasure of yesterday is reacting, demanding that it be renewed through thought; and thought is time.
I hope all this is not becoming too difficult and abstract. I don't think it is abstract, but it may be rather complex. But it's not even that, really, if you're actually following, not so much what the speaker is saying, but what is actually taking place in yourself. After all, what the speaker is saying is a mirror in which you are looking at yourself. And when you do look, you see that pleasure is sustained by thought. There is thinking about the past pleasure, past gratification; yesterday's delight and enjoyment; and that thought demands its continuity now. Thought projects tomorrow's pleasure; and thought creates the past, the present and the future, which is time. There is time by the clock, chronological time. We're not concerned with that. If you have to keep an appointment, and so on, you must have the chronological time of yesterday, today and tomorrow. But we're talking about the psychological time which thought has bred; and that time is the product of thought. I have had that pleasure; I am going to have it; and I shall have it. This time-quality is created by thought; bred, put together by thought; and thought is time; and it is time that creates fear. And without probing into this time, pleasure, thought, we are always bound by time; and therefore time has never a stop. It is only when there is an end to time that there is something totally new; otherwise it is merely a continuity of what has been, modified through the present, and conditioned by the future.
As one can observe, love is not of time. It has nothing to do with memory. And pleasure denies love. Where there is love you can do what you will; it's only pleasure that is destructive.
For a human being to be free of fear, fear about the future, fear about – there are dozens of fears that human beings have, conscious or undiscovered; fear of the neighbour, fear of death, fear of being, lonely, insecure, uncertain, fear of being confused, fear of being stupid and trying to become very clever – you know, fear. Fear is always in relation to something; it doesn't exist by itself. To be totally free of fear, not partially, not free of a fragment of that totality of what is considered fear, but psychologically to be totally, completely free of fear, one must understand thought, time and pleasure. And this understanding is not intellectual or emotional. Understanding can only come when there is total attention, when you have your complete attention to pleasure, how it comes into being; what time is, time which thought has created. I was, I am, I will be. I must change this into that. This idea of a gradual process, this idea of the gradual psychological evolution of man is very gratifying; we'll gradually, all of us, become extraordinarily kindly; we shall gradually lose all our violence, aggression. We'll all be brotherly at some time, much later. This gradual concept, which psychologically is generally called evolution, seems to me so utterly false. We are not offering an opinion. This is a fact. because when you give your attention to something completely, there is no time at all. You don't say, « I'll be it tomorrow ». In that state of attention there is neither yesterday, today nor tomorrow; therefore time has come to an end. But that ending of time cannot possibly be when there is the center as the principle of pleasure. Pleasure has in it pain. The two things cannot be separated. Pleasure is pain, if you have observed.
So you cannot possibly psychologically avoid pain if you are psychologically pursuing pleasure. We want the one, and we don't want the other. The demand for the continuation of a certain pleasure is the center from which we think, function and act – call it the ego, the « me », the personality; it doesn't matter what you call it. W here there is a center, there is always the space round the center in which there is action of fear and pleasure. Right?
I hope we are somewhat following all this. If not, it doesn't matter. (Laughter. ) Because probably most of us have not given total attention – not for ten minutes or half an hour, but for a long period of time. We function emotionally, of want and not want; when deep issues, fundamental problems are concerned, to give your mind totally to them is rather difficult when all your life has been dissipated – dissipated in fragmentary action. When we do act totally, we only do it when there is a crisis. Then you wake up and give your whole attention. And this is a crisis. A talk of this kind is a crisis, is a challenge. You can't just push it aside. And therefore it may be rather difficult, may be perhaps arduous, to follow all this, but it won't be arduous if you are following your own state of mind. You know, it's like sitting on the bank of a river, and watching the river waters go by; and when you so watch there is neither the observer nor the observed. There is only a movement. But to observe that, there must be no fear, no time, no sense of pleasure and no demand for gratification. In that state you can observe the whole movement of life, which is agony, despair, the ache of meaningless existence, the routine, the boredom, the great fears, as of death, which we'll talk about another day. You can watch all this; and when you so observe, the observer is that which he is observing; and then you can go beyond all this. The mutation can only take place in the mind when time, pleasure and fear have come to an end, and therefore there is a certain dimension or quality which cannot be approached through thought.
Perhaps you can ask some question: about what we have been discussing, and we will see if we can't go into these questions. Please, would you mind making the questions short.
Questioner: I'm confused about what you said about pleasure, because I don't see the distinction between pleasure and the desire for gratification. I would like to know what the sensation is that you get when you look at a painting; because I would define that as pleasure without desire, and that's a good kind of pleasure. Pleasure is good.
Krishnamurti: The questioner says that pleasure is good, when you look at a picture, when you look at a sunset, when you look at a beautiful face with a lovely smile. Pleasure, the questioner says, is gratification. I don't see the difference between gratification and pleasure.
Questioner: I said your distinction.
Krishnamurti: What? Questioner: I'm sorry. I didn't see your distinction between the two. I thought you were equating the two of them, and I was saying that desire for gratification is something very different from pleasure.
Krishnamurti: Yes, that's right. The questioner says that pleasure and gratification are two different things, not disagreeing with what the speaker has said. Isn't that it?
Krishnamurti: Oh, I beg your pardon. (Laughter.)
Questioner: Pleasure is love.
Krishnamurti: What? Questioner: That kind of pleasure brings love.
Krishnamurti: When we are examining something of this kind, don't come to any conclusion. Don't say, « Pleasure is love », or « not love ». We are examining. And if you have a conclusion, or if you have come to a conclusion, and start to examine the question from a conclusion, then that question is already answered by your conclusion.
Questioner: I beg your pardon, sir.
Krishnamurti: Not beg my pardon, please. What we are trying to do is to examine; and to examine there must be freedom from any conclusion, from any knowledge, from any demand. Otherwise you can't look; you can't examine. And that's one of the most difficult things in life to do; because we all have opinions, dozens of them; and we are so willing to offer opinions. You know, it's only fools who offer opinions. The wise man has no opinions.
It's a very difficult problem to answer this question. When you look at a sunset, it gives you great pleasure, a delight. That delight at that moment is intense, and your mind and your whole being are absorbed by the beauty of it. Then that experience remains stored up, and the next evening you demand that same experience to be repeated. It's like taking that drug, LSD; it gives you an extraordinary experience, and that experience is a great delight; but when that is gone, you're back to yourself with your tawdry little mind; and you take another dose, and so keep that going, till you become cuckoo. (Laughter.) No, no, don't laugh, please. Just a minute. We'll go into that at another time.
So, there is the cultivation of memory, which is sustained by thought – or, thought sustains itself. Like yesterday I saw a beautiful sunset, marvellous colours, the extraordinary tranquillity that comes of an evening at the time of sunset; the light is entirely different, and all that I've retained. The mind has taken it in, and next day, in an office or in a school, or in the kitchen, or when I'm by myself, I look to that delight. It comes up in me naturally; and 1 look out of the window, hoping to see that again. But it never happens again, because the mind looks at the new sunset with the old mind, with old memories. But if you can die to the sunset of yesterday, totally, then you can look at the new sunset. Then it is no longer this cloying gratification of pleasure.
Questioner: I'm confused about the difference between pleasure and joy. Would you speak about joy, and tell us how it is like and unlike pleasure?
Krishnamurti: What's the difference between pleasure and joy? Don't we know it? Pleasure has a continuity; joy has not. When we say, « I am joyful » it's already finished, but pleasure you can continue. Therefore pleasure is a continuity of that which was, which gave you gratification or pleasure yesterday, which, through thought, you can continue today, tomorrow and sustain it. Whereas joy is something that comes immediately, naturally, and goes away naturally, but if you cling to it, it has already become a memory, a pleasure. It's finished.
Questioner: Isn't life painful in any case?
Krishnamurti: It all depends. If you have a bad liver, it is. If you have pain, continuous physical pain, it is. If you have psychological pains from being hurt, being lonely, having no fulfilment, being unloved, and so on and so on and so on, life does become a torture. Going to an office daily for the next ten years, forty years, is a dreadful torture. (Laughter.) But that you put up with, because that brings you money, comfort and so on and so on. That you don't call torture.
Questioner: But not going to the office also. . . .
Krishnamurti: One moment, sir; we have not finished that question yet. (Laughter.) Sirs, please; this is not an entertainment.
Questioner: Well, how do you fit. . . .
Krishnamurti: Wait a minute, madam. Wait a minute; I'm trying to answer. You know, if we understand one question rightly, all questions are answered. But we don't know how to ask the right question. To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn't find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn't answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.
I think that will be enough, won't it?
Third Public Talk in Ojai
Saturday, November 5, 1966
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