Commentaries on Living 
Commentaries on Living
Series – 2
By J. Krishnamurti
E-Text Source: www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net
1. Creative Happiness
3. The Fear of Inner Solitude
4. The Process of Hate
5. Progress and Revolution
8. Conflict, Freedom, Relationship
10. Devotion and Worship
12. Education and Integration
14. The Fear of Death
15. Fusion of Thinker and His Thoughts
16. The Pursuit of Power
17. What Is Making You Dull
19. The Individual and the Ideal
20. To Be Vulnerable Is To Live
21. Despair and Hope
22. The Mind and the Known
23. Conformity and Freedom
24. Time and Continuity
25. Family and Desire For Security
26. The 'I'
27. The Nature of Desire
28. The Purpose of Life
29. Valuing an Experience
30. This Problem of Love
31. What Is True Function of a Teacher
32. Your Children and their Success
33. The Urge to Seek
35. The Fire of Discontent
36. An Experience of Bliss
37. A Politician Who Wanted to do Good
38. The Competitive Way of Life
39. Meditation, Effort, Consciousness
40. Psychoanalysis & Human Problem
41. Cleansed of the Past
42. Authority and Co-operation
44. Positive and Negative Teaching
46. Silence of the Mind
48. The Actor
49. The Way of Knowledge
50. Convictions, Dreams
53. Envy and Loneliness
54. The Storm in the Mind
55. Control of Thought
56. Is there Profound Thinking
The copyright of this book is held by Krishnamurti Foundations. We are providing this e-book solely for non-commercial usage as a noble service. The printed book can be purchased from Krishnamurti Foundations.
Chapter - 1
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.
Chapter - 2
HE WAS VERY concerned with helping humanity, with doing good works, and was active in various social-welfare organizations. He said he had literally never taken a long holiday and that since his graduation from college he had worked constantly for the betterment of man. Of course he wasn't taking any money for the work he was doing. His work had always been very important to him, and he was greatly attached to what he did. He had become a first-class social worker, and he loved it. But he had heard something in one of the talks about the various kinds of escape which condition the mind, and he wanted to talk things over.
"Do you think being a social worker is conditioning? Does it only bring about further conflict?"
Let us find out what we mean by conditioning. When are we aware that we are conditioned? Are we ever aware of it? Are you aware that you are conditioned, or are you only aware of conflict, of struggle at various levels of your being? Surely, we are aware, not of our conditioning, but only of conflict, of pain and pleasure.
"What do you mean by conflict?"
Every kind of conflict: the conflict between nations, between various social groups, between individuals, and the conflict within oneself. Is not conflict inevitable as long as there is no integration between the actor and his action, between challenge and response? Conflict is our problem, is it not? Not any one particular conflict, but all conflict: the struggle between ideas, beliefs, ideologies, between the opposites. If there were no conflict there would be no problems.
"Are you suggesting that we should all seek a life of isolation, of contemplation?"
Contemplation is arduous; it is one of the most difficult things to understand. Isolation, though each one is consciously or unconsciously seeking it in his own way, does not solve our problems; on the contrary, it increases them. We are trying to understand what are the factors of conditioning which bring further conflict. We are only aware of conflict, of pain and pleasure, and we are not aware of our conditioning. What makes for conditioning?
"Social or environmental influences: the society in which we were born, the culture in which we have been raised, economic and political pressures, and so on."
That is so; but is that all? These influences are our own product, are they not? Society is the outcome of man's relationship with man, which is fairly obvious. This relationship is one of use, of need, of comfort, of gratification, and it creates influences, values that bind us. The binding is our conditioning. By our own thoughts and actions we are bound; but we are not aware that we are bound, we are only aware of the conflict of pleasure and pain. We never seem to go beyond this; and if we do, it is only into further conflict. We are not aware of our conditioning, and until we are, we can only produce further conflict and confusion.
"How is one to be aware of one's conditioning?"
It is possible only by understanding another process, the process of attachment. If we can understand why we are attached, then perhaps we can be aware of our conditioning.
"Isn't that rather a long way round to come to a direct question?"
Is it? Just try to be aware of your conditioning. You can only know it indirectly, in relation to something else. You cannot be aware of your conditioning as an abstraction, for then it is merely verbal, without much significance. We are only aware of conflict. Conflict exists when there is no integration between challenge and response. This conflict is the result of our conditioning. Conditioning is attachment: attachment to work, to tradition, to property, to people, to ideas, and so on. If there were no attachment, would there be conditioning? Of course not. So why are we attached? I am attached to my country because through identification with it I become somebody. I identify myself with my work, and the work becomes important. I am my family, my property; I am attached to them. The object of attachment offers me the means of escape from my own emptiness. Attachment is escape, and it is escape that strengthens conditioning. If I am attached to you, it is because you have become the means of escape from myself; therefore you are very important to me and I must possess you, hold on to you. You become the conditioning factor, and escape is the conditioning. If we can be aware of our escapes, we can then perceive the factors, the influences that make for conditioning.
"Am I escaping from myself through social work?"
Are you attached to it, bound to it? Would you feel lost, empty, bored, if you did not do social work?
"I am sure I would."
Attachment to your work is your escape. There are escapes at all the levels of our being. You escape through work, another through drink, another through religious ceremonies, another through knowledge, another through God, and still another is addicted to amusement. All escapes are the same; there is no superior or inferior escape. God and drink are on the same level as long as they are escapes from what we are. When we are aware of our escapes, only then can we know of our conditioning.
"What shall I do if I cease to escape through social work? Can I do anything without escaping? Is not all my action a form of escape from what I am?"
Is this question merely verbal, or does it reflect an actuality, a fact which you are experiencing? If you did not escape, what would happen? Have you ever tried it?
"What you are saying is so negative, if I may say so. You don't offer any substitute for work."
Is not all substitution another form of escape? When one particular form of activity is not satisfactory or brings further conflict, we turn to another. To replace one activity by another without understanding escape is rather futile, is it not? It is these escapes and our attachment to them that make for conditioning. Conditioning brings problems, conflict. It is conditioning that prevents our understanding of the challenge; being conditioned, our response must inevitably create conflict.
"How can one be free from conditioning?"
Only by understanding, being aware of our escapes. Our attachment to a person, to work, to an ideology, is the conditioning factor; this is the thing we have to understand, and not seek a better or more intelligent escape. All escapes are unintelligent, as they inevitably bring about conflict. To cultivate detachment is another form of escape, of isolation; it is attachment to an abstraction, to an ideal called detachment. The ideal is fictitious, ego-made, and becoming the ideal is an escape from what is. There is the understanding of what is, an adequate action towards what is, only when the mind is no longer seeking any escape. The very thinking about what is is an escape from what is. Thinking about the problem is escape from the problem; for thinking is the problem, and the only problem. The mind, unwilling to be what it is, fearful of what it is, seeks these various escapes; and the way of escape is thought. As long as there is thinking, there must be escapes, attachments, which only strengthen conditioning.
Freedom from conditioning comes with the freedom from thinking. When the mind is utterly still, only then is there freedom for the real to be.
Chapter - 3
The Fear of Inner Solitude
HOW NECESSARY it is to die each day, to die each minute to everything to the many yesterdays and to the moment that has just gone by! Without death there is no renewing, without death there is no creation. The burden of the past gives birth to its own continuity, and the worry of yesterday gives new life to the worry of today.
Yesterday perpetuates today, and tomorrow is still yesterday. There is no release from this continuity except in death. In dying there is joy. This new morning, fresh and clear, is free from the light and darkness of yesterday; the song of that bird is heard for the first lime, and the noise of those children is not that of yesterday. We carry the memory of yesterday, and it darkens our being. As long as the mind is the mechanical machine of memory, it knows no rest, no quietude, no silence; it is ever wearing itself out. That which is still can be reborn, but anything that is in constant activity wears out and is useless. The well-spring is in ending, and death is as near as life.
She said she had studied for a number of years with one of the famous psychologists and had been analysed by him, which had taken considerable time. Though she had been brought up as a Christian and had also studied Hindu philosophy and its teachers, she had never joined any particular group or associated herself with any system of thought. As always, she was still dissatisfied, and had even put aside the psychoanalysis; and now she was engaged in some kind of welfare work. She had been married and had known all the misfortunes of family life as well as its joys. She had taken refuge in various ways: in social prestige, in work, in money, and in the warm delight of this country by the blue sea. Sorrows had multiplied, which she could bear; but she had never been able to go beyond a certain depth, and it was not very deep.
Almost everything is shallow and soon comes to an end, only to begin again with a further shallowness. The inexhaustible is not to be discovered through any activity of the mind.
"I have gone from one activity to another, from one misfortune to another, always being driven and always pursuing. Now that I have reached the end of one urge, and before I follow another which will carry me on for a number of years, I have acted on a stronger impulse, and here I am. I have had a good life, gay and rich. I have been interested in many things and have studied certain subjects fairly deeply; but somehow, after all these years, I am still on the fringe of things, I don't seem able to penetrate beyond a certain point; I want to go deeper, but I cannot. I am told I am good at what I have been doing, and it is that very goodness that binds me. My conditioning is of the beneficent kind: doing good to others, helping the needy, consideration, generosity, and so on; but it is binding, like any other conditioning. My problems to be free, not only of this conditioning, but of all conditioning, and to go beyond. This has become an imperative necessity, not only from hearing the talks, but also from my own observation and experience. I have for the time being put aside my welfare work, and whether or not I shall continue with it will be decided later."
Why have you not previously asked yourself the reason for all these activities?
"It has never before occurred to me to ask myself why I am in social work. I have always wanted to help, to do good, and it wasn't just empty sentimentality. I have found that the people with whom I live are not real, but only masks; it is those who need help that are real. Living with the masked is dull and stupid, but with the others there is struggle, pain."
Why do you engage in welfare or in any other kind of work?
"I suppose it is just to carry on. One must live and act, and my conditioning has been to act as decently as possible. I have never questioned why I do these things, and now I must find out. But before we go any further, let me say that I am a solitary person; though I see many people, I am alone and I like it. There is something exhilarating in being alone."
To be alone, in the highest sense, is essential; but the aloneness of withdrawal gives a sense of power, of strength, of invulnerability. Such aloneness is isolation, it is an escape, a refuge. But isn't it important to find out why you have never asked yourself the reason for all your supposedly good activities? Shouldn't you inquire into that?
"Yes, let us do so. I think it is the fear of inner solitude that has made me do all these things."
Why do you use the word `fear' with regard to inner solitude? Outwardly you don't mind being alone, but from inner solitude you turn away. Why? Fear is not an abstraction, it exists only in relationship to something. Fear does not exist by itself; it exists as a word, but it is felt only in contact with something else. What is it that you are afraid of?
"Of this inner solitude."
There is fear of inner solitude only in relation to something else. You cannot be afraid of inner solitude, because you have never looked at it; you are measuring it now with what you already know. You know your worth, if one may put it that way, as a social worker, as a mother, as a capable and efficient person, and so on; you know the worth of your outer solitude. So it is in relation to all this that you measure or approach inner solitude; you know what has been, but you don't know what is. The known looking at the unknown brings about fear; it is this activity that causes, fear.
"Yes, that is perfectly true. I am comparing the inner solitude with the things I know through experience. It is these experiences that are causing fear of something I have really not experienced at all."
So your fear is really not of the inner solitude, but the past is afraid of something it does not know, has not experienced. The past wants to absorb the new, make of it an experience. But can the past, which is you, experience the new, the unknown? The known can experience only that which is of itself, it can never experience the new, the unknown. By giving the unknown a name, by calling it inner solitude, you have only recognized it verbally, and the word is taking the place of experiencing; for the word is the screen of fear. The term `inner solitude' is covering the fact, the what is, and the very word is creating fear.
"But somehow I don't seem to be able to look at it."
Let us first understand why we are not capable of looking at the fact, and what is preventing our being passively watchful of it. Don't attempt to look at it now, but please listen quietly to what is being said.
The known, past experience, is trying to absorb what it calls the inner solitude; but it cannot experience it, for it does not know what it is; it knows the term, but not what is behind the term. The unknown cannot be experienced. You may think or speculate about the unknown, or be afraid of it; but thought cannot comprehend it, for thought is the outcome of the known, of experience. As thought cannot know the unknown, it is afraid of it. There will be fear as long as thought desires to experience, to understand the unknown.
"Then what... ?"
Please listen. If you listen rightly, the truth of all this will be seen, and then truth will be the only action. Whatever thought does with regard to inner solitude is an escape, an avoidance of what is. In avoiding what is, thought creates its own conditioning which prevents the experiencing of the new, the unknown. Fear is the only response of thought to the unknown; thought may call it by different terms, but still it is fear. Just see that thought cannot operate upon the unknown, upon what is behind the term `inner solitude'. Only then does what is unfold itself and it is inexhaustible.
Now, if one may suggest, leave it alone; you have heard, and let that work as it will. To be still after tilling and sowing is to give birth to creation.
Chapter - 4
The Process of Hate
SHE WAS A teacher, or rather had been one. She was affectionate and kindly, and this had almost become a routine. She said she had taught for over twenty-five years and had been happy in it; and although towards the end she had wanted to get away from the whole thing, she had stuck to it. Recently she had begun to realize what was deeply buried in her nature. She had suddenly discovered it during one of the discussions, and it had really surprised and shocked her. It was there, and it wasn't a mere self-accusation; and as she looked back through the years she could now see that it had always been there. She really hated. It was not hatred of anyone in particular, but a feeling of general hate, a suppressed antagonism towards everyone and everything. When she first discovered it, she thought it was something very superficial which she could easily throw off; but as the days went by she found that it wasn't just a mild affair, but a deep-rooted hatred which had been going on all her life. What shocked her was that she had always thought she was affectionate and kind.
Love is a strange thing; as long as thought is woven through it, it is not love. When you think of someone you love, that person becomes the symbol of pleasant sensations, memories, images; but that is not love. Thought is sensation, and sensation is not love. The very process of thinking is the denial of love. Love is the flame without the smoke of thought, of jealousy, of antagonism, of usage, which are things of the mind. As long as the heart is burdened with the things of the mind, there must be hate; for the mind is the seat of hate, of antagonism, of opposition, of conflict. Thought is reaction, and reaction is always, in one way or another, the source of enmity. Thought is opposition, hate; thought is always in competition, always seeking an end, success; its fulfilment is pleasure and its frustration is hate. Conflict is thought caught in the opposites; and the synthesis of the opposites is still hate, antagonism.
"You see, I always thought I loved the children, and even when they grew up they used to come to me for comfort when they were in trouble. I took it for granted that I loved them, especially those who were my favorites away from the classroom; but now I see there has always been an undercurrent of hate, of deep-rooted antagonism. What am I to do with this discovery? You have no idea how appalled I am by it, and though you say we must not condemn, this discovery has been very salutary."
Have you also discovered the process of hate? To see the cause, to know why you hate, is comparatively easy; but are you aware of the ways of hate? Do you observe it as you would a strange new animal?
"It is all so new to me, and I have never watched the process of hate."
Let us do so now and see what happens; let us be passively watchful of hate as it unrolls itself. Don't be shocked, don't condemn or find excuses; just passively watch it. Hate is a form of frustration, is it not? Fulfilment and frustration always go together.
What are you interested in, not professionally, but deep down?
"I always wanted to paint."
Why haven't you?
"My father used to insist that I should not do anything that didn't bring in money. He was a very aggressive man, and money was to him the end of all things; he never did a thing if there was no money in it, or if it didn't bring more prestige, more power. `More' was his god, and we were all his children. Though I liked him, I was opposed to him in so many ways. This idea of the importance of money was deeply embedded in me; and I liked teaching, probably because it offered me an opportunity to be the boss. On my holidays I used to paint, but it was most unsatisfactory; I wanted to give my life to it, and I actually gave only a couple of months a year. Finally I stopped painting, but it was burning inwardly. I see now how it was breeding antagonism."
Were you ever married? Have you children of your own?
"I fell in love with a married man, and we lived together secretly. I was furiously jealous of his wife and children, and I was scared to have babies, though I longed for them. All the natural things the everyday companionship and so on, were denied to me, and jealousy was a consuming fury. He had to move to another town, and my jealousy never abated. It was an unbearable thing. To forget it all, I took to teaching more intensely. But now I see I am still jealous, not of him, for he is dead, but of happy people, of married people, of the successful, of almost any one. What we could have been together was denied to us!"
Jealousy is hate, is it not? If one loves, there is no room for anything else. But we do not love; the smoke chokes our life, and the flame dies.
"I can see now that in school, with my married sisters, and in almost all my relationships, there was war going on, only it was covered up. I was becoming the ideal teacher; to become the ideal teacher was my goal, and I was being recognized as such."
The stronger the ideal, the deeper the suppression, the deeper the conflict and antagonism.
"Yes, I see all that now; and strangely, as I watch, I don't mind being what I actually am."
You don't mind it because there is a kind of brutal recognition, is there not? This very recognition brings a certain pleasure; it gives vitality, a sense of confidence in knowing yourself, the power of knowledge. As jealousy, though painful, gave a pleasurable sensation, so now the knowledge of your past gives you a sense of mastery which is also pleasurable. You have now found a new term for jealousy, for frustration, for being left: it is hate and the knowledge of it. There is pride in knowing, which is another form of antagonism. We move from one substitution to another; but essentially, all substitutions are the same, though verbally they may appear to be dissimilar. So you are caught in the net of your own thought, are you not?
"Yes, but what else can one do?"
Don't ask, but watch the process of your own thinking. How cunning and deceptive it is! It promises release, but only produces another crisis, another antagonism. Just be passively watchful of this and let the truth of it be.
"Will there be freedom from jealousy, from hate, from this constant, suppressed battle?"
When you are hoping for something positively or negatively, you are projecting your own desire; you will succeed in your desire, but that is only another substitution, and so the battle is on again. This desire to gain or to avoid is still within the field of opposition, is it not? See the false as the false, then the truth is. You don't have to look for it. What you seek you will find, but it will not be truth. It is like a suspicious man finding what he suspects, which is comparatively easy and stupid. Just be passively aware of this total thought process, and also of the desire to be free of it.
"All this has been an extraordinary discovery for me, and I am beginning to see the truth of what you are saying. I hope it won't take more years to go beyond this conflict. There I am hoping again! I shall silently watch and see what happens."
Chapter - 5
Progress and Revolution
THEY WERE CHANTING in the temple. It was a clean temple of carved stone, massive and indestructible. There were over thirty priests, naked to the waist; their pronunciation of the Sanskrit was precise and distinct, and they knew the meaning of the chant. The depth and sound of the words made those walls and pillars almost tremble, and instinctively the group that was there became silent. The creation, the beginning of the world was being chanted, and how man was brought forth. The people had closed their eyes, and the chant was producing a pleasant disturbance: nostalgic remembrances of their childhood, thoughts of the progress they had made since those youthful days, the strange effect of Sanskrit words, delight in hearing the chant again. Some were repeating the chant to themselves, and their lips were moving. The atmosphere was getting charged with strong emotions, but the priests went on with the chant and the gods remained silent.
How we hug to ourselves the idea of progress. We like to think we shall achieve a better state, become more merciful, peaceful and virtuous. We love to cling to this illusion, and few are deeply aware that this becoming is a pretence, a satisfying myth. We love to think that someday we shall be better, but in the meantime we carry on. Progress is such a comforting word, so reassuring, a word with which we hypnotize ourselves. The thing which is cannot become something different; greed can never become non-greed, any more than violence can become non-violence. You can make pig iron into a marvellous, complicated machine, but progress is illusion when applied to self-becoming. The idea of the `me' becoming something glorious is the simple deception of the craving to be great. We worship the success of the State, of the ideology, of the self, and deceive ourselves with the comforting illusion of progress. Thought may progress, become something more, go towards a more perfect end, or make itself silent; but as long as thought is a movement of acquisitiveness or renunciation, it is always a mere reaction. Reaction ever produces conflict, and progress in conflict is further confusion, further antagonism.
He said he was a revolutionary, ready to kill or be killed for his cause, for his ideology. He was prepared to kill for the sake of a better world. To destroy the present social order would of course produce more chaos, but this confusion could be used to build a classless society. What did it matter if you destroyed some or many in the process of building a perfect social order? What mattered was not the present man, but the future man; the new world that they were going to build would have no inequality, there would be work for all, and there would be happiness.
How can you be so sure of the future? What makes you so certain of it? The religious people promise heaven, and you promise a better world in the future; you have your book and your priests, as they have theirs, so there is really not much difference between you. But what makes you so sure that you are clear-sighted about the future?
"Logically, if we follow a certain course the end is certain. Moreover, there is a great deal of historical evidence to support our position."
We all translate the past according to our particular conditioning and interpret it to suit our prejudices. You are as uncertain of tomorrow as the rest of us, and thank heaven it is so! But to sacrifice the present for an illusory future is obviously most illogical.
"Do you believe in change, or are you a tool of the capitalist bourgeoisie?"
Change is modified continuity, which you may call revolution; but fundamental revolution is quite a different process, it has nothing to do with logic or historical evidence. There is fundamental revolution only in understanding the total process of action, not at any particular level, whether economic or ideological, but action as an integrated whole. Such action is not reaction. You only know reaction, the reaction of antithesis, and the further reaction which you call synthesis. Integration is not an intellectual synthesis, a verbal conclusion based on historical study. Integration can come into being only with the understanding of reaction. The mind is a series of reactions; and revolution based on reactions, on ideas, is no revolution at all, but only a modified continuity of what has been. You may call it revolution, but actually it is not.
"What to you is revolution?"
Change based on an idea is not revolution; for idea is the response of memory, which is again a reaction. Fundamental revolution is possible only when ideas are not important and so have ceased. A revolution born of antagonism ceases to be what it says it is; it is only opposition, and opposition can never be creative.
"The kind of revolution you are talking about is purely an abstraction; it has no reality in the modern world. You are a vague idealist, utterly impractical."
On the contrary, the idealist is the man with an idea, and it is he who is not revolutionary. Ideas divide, and separation is disintegration, it is not revolution at all. The man with an ideology is concerned with ideas, words, and not with direct action; he avoids direct action. An ideology is a hindrance to direct action.
"Don't you think there can be equality through revolution?"
Revolution based on an idea, however logical and in accordance with historical evidence, cannot bring about equality. The very function of idea is to separate people. Belief, religious or political, sets man against man. So-called religions have divided people, and still do. Organized belief, which is called religion, is, like any other ideology, a thing of the mind and therefore separative. You with your ideology are doing the same, are you not? You also are forming a nucleus or group around an idea; you want to include everyone in your group, just as the believer does. You want to save the world in your way, as he in his. You murder and liquidate each other, all for a better world. Neither of you is interested in a better world, but in shaping the world according to your idea. How can idea make for equality.
"Within the fold of the idea we are all equal, though we may have different functions. We are first what the idea represents, and afterwards we are individual functionaries. In function we have gradations, but not as representatives of the ideology."
This is precisely what every other organized belief has proclaimed. In the eyes of God we are all equal, but in capacity there is variation; life is one, but social divisions are inevitable. By substituting one ideology for another you have not changed the fundamental fact that one group or individual treats another as inferior. Actually, there is inequality at all the levels of existence. One has capacity, and another has not; one leads, and another follows; one is dull, and another is sensitive, alert, adaptable; one paints or writes, and another digs; one is a scientist, and another a sweeper. Inequality is a fact, and no revolution can do away with it. What so-called revolution does is to substitute one group for another, and the new group then assumes power, political and economic; it becomes the new upper class which proceeds to strengthen itself by privileges, and so on; it knows all the tricks of the other class, which has been thrown down. It has not abolished inequality, has it?
"Eventually it will. When the whole world is of our way of thinking, then there will be ideological equality."
Which is not equality at all, but merely an idea, a theory, the dream of another world, like that of the religious believer. How very near you are to each other! Ideas divide, they are separative, opposing, breeding conflict. An idea can never bring about equality, even in its own world. If we all believed the same thing at the same time, at the same level, there would be equality of a sort; but that is an impossibility, a mere speculation which can only lead to illusion.
"Are you scouting all equality? Are you being cynical and condemning all efforts to bring about equal opportunity for all?"
I am not being cynical, but am merely stating the obvious facts; nor am I against equal opportunity. Surely, it is possible to go beyond and perhaps discover an effective approach to this problem of inequality, only when we understand the actual, the what is. To approach what is with an idea, a conclusion, a dream, is not to understand what is. Prejudiced observation is no observation at all. The fact is, there is inequality at all the levels of consciousness, of life; and do what we may, we cannot alter that fact.
Now, is it possible to approach the fact of inequality without creating further antagonism, further division? Revolution has used man as a means to an end. The end was important, but not man. Religions have maintained, at least verbally, that man is important; but they too have used man for the building up of belief, of dogma. The utilizing of man for a purpose must of necessity breed the sense of the superior and the inferior, the one who is near and the one who is far, the one who knows and the one who does not know. This separation is psychological inequality, and it is the factor of disintegration in society. At present we know relationship only as utility; society uses the individual, just as individuals use each other, in order to benefit in various ways. This using of another is the fundamental cause of the psychological division of man against man.
We cease to use one another only when idea is not the motivating factor in relationship. With idea comes exploitation, and exploitation breeds antagonism.
"Then what is the factor that comes into being when idea ceases?"
It is love, the only factor that can bring about a fundamental revolution. Love is the only true revolution. But love is not an idea; it is when thought is not. Love is not a tool of propaganda; it is not something to be cultivated and shouted about from the house tops. Only when the flag, the belief, the leader, the idea as planned action, drop away, can there be love; and love is the only creative and constant revolution.
"But love won't run machinery, will it?"
Chapter - 6
IT HAD STOPPED raining; the roads were clean, and the dust had been washed from the trees. The earth was refreshed, and the frogs were loud in the pond; they were big, and their throats were swollen with pleasure. The grass was sparkling with tiny drops of water, and there was peace in the land after the heavy downpour. The cattle were soaking wet, but during the rain they never took shelter, and now they were contentedly grazing. Some boys were playing in the little stream that the rain had made by the road side; they were naked, and it was good to see their shining bodies and their bright eyes. They were having the time of their life, and how happy they were! Nothing else mattered, and they smiled out of joy as one said something to them, though they didn't understand a word. The sun was coming out and the shadows were deep.
How necessary it is for the mind to purge itself of all thought, to be constantly empty, not made empty, but simply empty; to die to all thought, to all of yesterday's memories, and to the coming hour! It is simple to die, and it is hard to continue; for continuity is effort to be or not to be. Effort is desire, and desire can die only when the mind ceases to acquire. How simple it is just to live! But it is not stagnation. There is great happiness in not wanting, in not being something, in not going somewhere. When the mind purges itself of all thought, only then is there the silence of creation. The mind is not tranquil as long as it is travelling in order to arrive. For the mind, to arrive is to succeed, and success is ever the same, whether at the beginning or at the end. There is no purgation of the mind if it is weaving the pattern of its own becoming.
She said she had always been active in one way or another, either with her children, or in social affairs, or in sports; but behind this activity there was always boredom, pressing and constant. She was bored with the routine of life, with pleasure, pain, flattery, and everything else. Boredom was like a cloud that had hung over her life for as long as she could remember. She had tried to escape from it, but every new interest soon became a further boredom, a deadly weariness. She had read a great deal, and had had the usual turmoils of family life, but through it all there was this weary boredom. It had nothing to do with her health, for she was very well.
Why do you think you get bored? Is it the outcome of some frustration, of some fundamental desire which has been thwarted?
"Not especially. There have been some superficial obstructions, but they have never bothered me; or when they have, I have met them fairly intelligently and have never been stumped by them. I don't think my trouble is frustration, for I have always been able to get what I want. I haven't cried for the moon, and have been sensible in my demands; but there has nevertheless been this sense of boredom with everything, with my family and with my work."
What do you mean by boredom? Do you mean dissatisfaction? Is it that nothing has given you complete satisfaction?
"It isn't quite that. I am as dissatisfied as any normal person, but I have been able to reconcile myself to the inevitable dissatisfactions."
What are you interested in? Is there any deep interest in your life?
"Not especially. If I had a deep interest I would never be bored. I am naturally an enthusiastic person, I assure you, and if I had an interest I wouldn't easily let it go. I have had many intermittent interests, but they have all led in the end to this cloud of boredom."
What do you mean by interest? Why is there this change from interest to boredom? What does interest mean? You are interested in that which pleases you, gratifies you, are you not? Is not interest a process of acquisitiveness? You would not be interested in anything if you did not get something out of it, would you? There is sustained interest as long as you are acquiring; acquisition is interest, is it not? You have tried to gain satisfaction from everything you have come in contact with; and when you have thoroughly used it, naturally you get bored with it. Every acquisition is a form of boredom, weariness. We want a change of toys; as soon as we lose interest in one, we turn to another, and there is always a new toy to turn to. We turn to something in order to acquire; there is acquisition in pleasure, in knowledge, in fame, in power, in efficiency, in having a family, and so on. When there is nothing further to acquire in one religion, in one saviour, we lose interest and turn to another. Some go to sleep in an organization and never wake up, and those who do wake up put themselves to sleep again by joining another. This acquisitive movement is called expansion of thought, progress.
"Is interest always acquisition?"
Actually, are you interested in anything which doesn't give you something, whether it be a play, a game, a conversation, a book, or a person? If a painting doesn't give you something, you pass it by; if a person doesn't stimulate or disturb you in some way, if there is no pleasure or pain in a particular relationship, you lose interest, you get bored. Haven't you noticed this?
"Yes, but I have never before looked at it in this way."
You wouldn't have come here if you didn't want something. You want to be free of boredom. As I cannot give you that freedom, you will get bored again; but if we can together understand the process of acquisition, of interest, of boredom, then perhaps there will be freedom. Freedom cannot be acquired. If you acquire it, you will soon be bored with it. Does not acquisition dull the mind? Acquisition, positive or negative, is a burden. As soon as you acquire you lose interest. In trying to possess, you are alert, interested; but possession is boredom. You may want to possess more, but the pursuit of more is only a movement towards boredom. You try various forms of acquisition, and as long as there is the effort to acquire, there is interest; but there is always an end to acquisition and so there is always boredom. Isn't this what has been happening?
"I suppose it is, but I haven't grasped the full significance of it."
That will come presently.
Possessions make the mind weary. Acquisition, whether of knowledge, of property, of virtue, makes for insensitivity. The nature of the mind is to acquire, to absorb, is it not? Or rather, the pattern it has created for itself is one of gathering in; and in that very activity the mind is preparing its own weariness, boredom. Interest, curiosity, is the beginning of acquisition, which soon becomes boredom; and the urge to be free from boredom is another form of possession. So the mind goes from boredom to interest to boredom again, till it is utterly weary; and these successive waves of interest and weariness are regarded as existence.
"But how is one to be free from acquiring without further acquisition?"
Only by allowing the truth of the whole process of acquisition to be experienced, and not by trying to be non-acquisitive, detached. To be non-acquisitive is another form of acquisition which soon becomes wearisome. The difficulty, if one may use that word, lies, not in the verbal understanding of what has been said, but in experiencing the false as the false. To see the truth in the false is the beginning of wisdom. The difficulty is for the mind to be still; for the mind is always worried, it is always after something, acquiring or denying, searching and finding. The mind is never still, it is in continuous movement. The past, over shadowing the present, makes its own future. It is a movement in time, and there is hardly ever an interval between thoughts. One thought follows another without a pause; the mind is ever making itself sharp and so wearing itself out. If a pencil is being sharpened all the time, soon there will be nothing left of it; similarly, the mind uses itself constantly and is exhausted. The mind is always afraid of coming to an end. But, living is ending from day to day; it is the dying to all acquisition, to memories, to experiences, to the past. How can there be living if there is experience? Experience is knowledge, memory; and is memory the state of experiencing? In the state of experiencing, is there memory as the experiencer? The purgation of the mind is having, is creation. Beauty is in experiencing, not in experience; for experience is ever of the past, and the past is not the experiencing, it is not the living. The purgation of the mind is tranquillity of heart.
Chapter - 7
WE HAD DRIVEN through heavy traffic, and presently we turned off the main road into a sheltered lane. Leaving the car, we followed a path that wove through palm groves and along a field of green ripening rice. How lovely was that long, curving rice field, bordered by the tall palms! It was a cool evening, and a breeze was stirring among the trees with their heavy foliage. Unexpectedly, round a bend, there was a lake. It was long, narrow and deep, and on both sides of it the palms stood so close together as to be almost impenetrable. The breeze was playing with the water, and there was murmuring along the shore. Some boys were bathing, naked, unashamed and free. Their bodies were glistening and beautiful, well formed, slender and supple. They would swim out into the middle of the lake, then come back and start again. The path led on past a village, and on the way back the full moon made deep shadows; the boys had gone, the moonlight was upon the waters, and the palms were like white columns in the shadowy dark.
He had come from some distance, and was eager to find out how to subdue the mind. He said that he had deliberately withdrawn from the world and was living very simply with some relatives, devoting his time to the overcoming of the mind. He had practiced a certain discipline for a number of years, but his mind was still not under control; it was always ready to wander off, like an animal on a leash. He had starved himself, but that did not help; he had experimented with his diet, and that had helped a little, but there was never any peace. His mind was forever throwing up images, conjuring up past scenes, sensations and incidents; or it would think of how it would be quiet tomorrow. But tomorrow never came, and the whole process became quite nightmarish. On very rare occasions the mind was quiet, but the quietness soon became a memory, a thing of the past.
What is overcome must be conquered again and again. Suppression is a form of overcoming, as are substitution and sublimation. To desire to conquer is to give birth to further conflict. Why do you want to conquer, to calm the mind?
"I have always been interested in religious matters; I have studied various religions, and they all say that to know God the mind must be still. Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to find God, the pervading beauty of the world, the beauty of the rice field and the dirty village. I had a very promising career, had been abroad and all that kind of thing; but one morning I just walked out to find that stillness. I heard what you said about it the other day, and so I have come."
To find God, you try to subdue the mind. But is calmness of mind a way to God? Is calmness the coin which will open the gates of heaven? You want to buy your way to God to truth, or what name you will. Can you buy the eternal through virtue, through renunciation, through mortification? We think that if we do certain things, practice virtue, pursue chastity, withdraw from the world, we shall be able to measure the measureless; so it's just a bargain, isn't it? Your `virtue' is a means to an end.
"But discipline is necessary to curb the mind, otherwise there is no peace. I have just not disciplined it sufficiently; it's my fault, not the fault of the discipline."
Discipline is a means to an end. But the end is the unknown. Truth is the unknown, it cannot be known; if it is known, it is not truth. If you can measure the immeasurable, then it is not. Our measurement is the word, and the word is not the real. Discipline is the means; but the means and the end are not two dissimilar things, are they? Surely, the end and the means are one; the means is the end, the only end; there is no goal apart from the means. Violence as a means to peace is only the perpetuation of violence. The means is all that matters, and not the end; the end is determined by the means; the end is not separate, away from the means.
"I will listen and try to understand what you are saying. When I don't, I will ask."
You use discipline, control, as a means to gain tranquillity, do you not? Discipline implies conformity to a pattern; you control in order to be this or that. Is not discipline, in its very nature, violence? It may give you pleasure to discipline yourself, but is not that very pleasure a form of resistance which only breeds further conflict? Is not the practice of discipline the cultivation of defence? And what is defended is always attacked. Does not discipline imply the suppression of what is in order to achieve a desired end? Suppression, substitution and sublimation only increase effort and bring about further conflict. You may succeed in suppressing a disease, but it will continue to appear in different forms until it is eradicated. Discipline is the suppression, the overcoming of what is. Discipline is a form of violence; so through a `wrong' means we hope to gain the `right' end. Through resistance, how can there be the free, the true? Freedom is at the beginning, not at the end; the goal is the first step the means is the end. The first step must be free, and not the last. Discipline implies compulsion, subtle or brutal, outward or self-imposed; and where there is compulsion, there is fear. Fear, compulsion, is used as a means to an end, the end being love.
Can there be love through fear? Love is when there is no fear at any level.
"But without some kind of compulsion, some kind of conformity, how can the mind function at all?"
The very activity of the mind is a barrier to its own understanding. Have you never noticed that there is understanding only when the mind, as thought, is not functioning? Understanding comes with the ending of the thought process, in the interval between two thoughts. You say the mind must be still, and yet you desire it to function. If we can be simple in watchfulness, we shall understand; but our approach is so complex that it prevents understanding. Surely, we are not concerned with discipline, control, suppression, resistance, but with the process and the ending of thought itself. What do we mean when we say that the mind wanders? Simply that thought is everlastingly enticed from one attraction to another, from one association to another, and is inconstant agitation. Is it possible for thought to come to an end?
"That is exactly my problem. I want to end thought. I can see now the futility of discipline; I really see the falseness, the stupidity of it, and I won't pursue that line any more. But how can I end thought?"
Again, listen without prejudice, without interposing any conclusions, either your own or those of another; listen to understand and not merely to refute or accept. You ask how you can put an end to thought. Now, are you, the thinker, an entity separate from your thoughts? Are you entirely dissimilar from your thoughts? Are you not your own thoughts? Thought may place the thinker at a very high level and give a name to him, separate him from itself; yet the thinker is still within the process of thought, is he not? There is only thought, and thought creates the thinker; thought gives form to the thinker as a permanent, separate entity. Thought sees itself to be impermanent, in constant flux, so it breeds the thinker as a permanent entity apart and dissimilar from itself. Then the thinker operates on thought; the thinker says, "I must put an end to thought". But there is only the process of thinking, there is no thinker apart from thought. The experiencing of this truth is vital, it is not a mere repetition of phrases. There are only thoughts, and not a thinker who thinks thoughts.
"But how did thought arise originally?"
Through perception, contact, sensation, desire and identification; `I want', `I don't want', and so on. That is fairly simple, is it not? Our problem is, how can thought end? Any form of compulsion, conscious or unconscious, is utterly futile, for it implies a controller, one who disciplines; and such an entity, as we see, is non-existent. Discipline is a process of condemnation, comparison, or justification; and when it is clearly seen that there is no separate entity as the thinker, the one who disciplines, then there are only thoughts, the process of thinking. Thinking is the response of memory, of experience, of the past. This again must be perceived, not on the verbal level, but there must be an expericencing of it. Then only is there passive watchfulness in which the thinker is not, an awareness in which thought is entirely absent. The mind, the totality of experience, the self-consciousness which is ever in the past, is quiet only when it is not projecting itself; and this projection is the desire to become.
The mind is empty only when thought is not. Thought cannot come to an end save through passive watchfulness of every thought. In this awareness there is no watcher and no censor; without the censor, there is only experiencing. In experiencing there is neither the experiencer nor the experienced. The experienced is the thought, which gives birth to the thinker. Only when the mind is experiencing is there stillness, the silence which is not made up, put together; and only in that tranquillity can the real come into being. Reality is not of time and is not measurable.
Chapter - 8
Conflict -- Freedom -- Relationship
"THE CONFLICT BETWEEN thesis and antithesis is inevitable and necessary; it brings about synthesis, from which again there is a thesis with its corresponding antithesis, and so on. There is no end to conflict, and it is only through conflict that there can ever be any growth, any advance."
Does conflict bring about a comprehension of our problems? Does it lead to growth, advancement? It may bring about secondary improvements, but is not conflict in its very nature a factor of disintegration? Why do you insist that conflict is essential?
"We all know there is conflict at every level of our existence, so why deny or be blind to it?"
One is not blind to the constant strife within and without; but if I may ask, why do you insist that it is essential?
"Conflict cannot be denied, it is part of the human structure, and we use it as a means to an end, the end being the right environment for the individual. We work towards that goal and use every means to bring it about. Ambition, conflict, is the way of man, and it can be used either against him or for him. Through conflict we move to greater things."
What do you mean by conflict? Conflict between what?
"Between what has been and what will be."
The `what will be' is the further response of what has been and is. By conflict we mean the struggle between two opposing ideas. But is opposition in any form conducive to understanding? When is there understanding of any problem?
"There is class conflict, national conflict, and ideological conflict. Conflict is opposition, resistance due to ignorance of certain fundamental historical facts. Through opposition there is growth, there is progress, and this whole process is life."
We know there is conflict at all the different levels of life, and it would be foolish to deny it. But is this conflict essential? We have so far assumed that it is, or have justified it with cunning reason. In nature, the significance of conflict may be quite different; among the animals, conflict as we know it may not exist at all. But to us, conflict has become a factor of enormous importance. Why has it become so significant in our lives? Competition, ambition, the effort to be or not to be, the will to achieve, and soon - all this is part of conflict. Why do we accept conflict as being essential to existence? This does not imply, on the other hand, that we should accept indolence. But why do we tolerate conflict within and without? Is conflict essential to understanding, to their solution of a problem? Should we not investigate rather than assert or deny? Should we not attempt to find the truth of the matter rather than hold to our conclusions and opinions?
"How can there be progress from one form of society to another without conflict? The `haves' will never voluntarily give up their wealth, they must be forced, and this conflict will bring about a new social order, a new way of life. This cannot be done pacifically. We may not want to be violent, but we have to face facts."
You assume that you know what the new society should be and that the other fellow does not; you alone have this extraordinary knowledge, and you are willing to liquidate those who stand in your way. By this method, which you think is essential, you only bring about opposition and hate. What you know is merely another form of prejudice, a different kind of conditioning. Your historical studies, or those of your leaders, are interpreted according to a particular background which determines your response; and this response you call the new approach, the new ideology. All response of thought is conditioned, and to bring about a revolution based on thought or idea is to perpetuate a modified form of what was. You are essentially reformers, and not real revolutionaries. Reformation and revolution based on idea are retrogressive factors in society.
You said, did you not, that the contact between thesis and antithesis is essential, and that this conflict of opposites produces a synthesis?
"Conflict between the present society and its opposite, through the pressure of historical events and so on, will eventually bring about a new social order."
Is the opposite different or dissimilar from what is? How does the opposite come into being? Is it not a modified projection of what is? Has not the antithesis the elements of its own thesis? The one is not wholly different or dissimilar from the other, and the synthesis is still a modified thesis. Though periodically coated a different colour, though modified, reformed, reshaped according to circumstances and pressures, the thesis is always the thesis. The conflict between the opposites is utterly wasteful and stupid. Intellectually or verbally you can prove or disprove anything, but that cannot alter certain obvious facts. The present society is based on individual acquisitiveness; and its opposite, with the resulting synthesis, is what you call the new society. In your new society, individual acquisitiveness is opposed by State acquisitiveness, the State being the rulers; the State is now all-important, and not the individual. From this antithesis you say there will eventually be a synthesis in which all individuals are important. This future is imaginary, an ideal; it is the projection of thought, and thought is always the response of memory, of conditioning. It is really a vicious circle with no way out. This conflict, this struggling within the cage of thought, is what you call progress.
"Do you say, then, that we must stay as we are, with all the exploitation and corruption of the present society?"
Not at all. But your revolution is no revolution, it is only a change of power from one group to another, the substitution of one class for another. Your revolution is merely a different structure built of the same material and within the same underlying pattern. There is a radical revolution which is not a conflict, which is not based on thought with its ego-made projections, ideals, dogmas, Utopias; but as long as we think in terms of changing this into that, of becoming more or becoming less, of achieving an end, there cannot be this fundamental revolution.
"Such a revolution is an impossibility. Are you seriously proposing it?"
It is the only revolution, the only fundamental transformation.
"How do you propose to bring it about?"
By seeing the false as the false; by seeing the truth in the false. Obviously, there must be a fundamental revolution in man's relationship to man; we all know that things cannot go on as they are without increasing sorrow and disaster. But all reformers, like the so-called revolutionaries, have an end in view, a goal to be achieved, and both use man as a means to their own ends. The use of man for a purpose is the real issue, and not the attainment of a particular end. You cannot separate the end from the means, for they are a single, inseparable process. The means is the end; there can be no classless society through the means of class conflict. The results of using wrong means for a so-called right end are fairly obvious. There can be no peace through war, or through being prepared for war. All opposites are self-projected; the ideal is a reaction from what is, and the conflict to achieve the ideal is a vain and illusory struggle within the cage of thought. Through this conflict there is no release, no freedom for man. Without freedom, there can be no happiness; and freedom is not an ideal. Freedom is the only means to freedom.
As long as man is psychologically or physically used, whether in the name of God or of the State, there will be a society based on violence. Using man for a purpose is a trick employed by the politician and the priest, and it denies relationship.
"What do you mean by that?"
When we use each other for our mutual gratification, can there be any relationship between us? When you use another for your comfort, as you use a piece of furniture, are you related to that person? Are you related to the furniture? You may call it yours, and that is all; but you have no relationship with it. Similarly, when you use another for your psychological or physical advantage, you generally call that person yours, you possess him or her; and is possession relationship? The State uses the individual and calls him its citizen; but it has no relationship with the individual, it merely uses him as a tool. A tool is a dead thing, and there can be no relationship with that which is dead. When we use man for a purpose, however noble, we want him as an instrument, a dead thing. We cannot use a living thing, so our demand is for dead things; our society is based on the use of dead things. The use of another makes that person the dead instrument of our gratification. Relationship can exist only between the living, and usage is a process of isolation. It is this isolating process that breeds conflict, antagonism between man and man.
"Why do you lay so much emphasis on relationship?"
Existence is relationship; to be is to be related. Relationship is society. The structure of our present society, being based on mutual use, bring about violence, destruction and misery; and if the so-called revolutionary State does not fundamentally alter this usage, it can only produce, perhaps at a different level, still further conflict, confusion and antagonism. As long as we psychologically need and use each other, there can be no relationship. Relationship is communion; and how can there be communion if there is exploitation? Exploitation implies fear, and fear inevitably leads to all kinds of illusions and misery. Conflict exists only in exploitation and not in relationship. Conflict, opposition, enmity exists between us when there is the use of another as a means of pleasure, of achievement. This conflict obviously cannot be resolved by using it as a means to a self-projected goal; and all ideals, all Utopias are self-projected. To see this is essential, for then we shall experience the truth that conflict in any form destroys relationship, understanding. There is understanding only when the mind is quiet; and the mind is not quiet when it is held in any ideology, dogma or belief, or when it is bound to the pattern of its own experience, memories. The mind is not quiet when it is acquiring or becoming. All acquisition is conflict; all becoming is a process of isolation.
The mind is not quiet when it is disciplined, controlled and checked; such a mind is a dead mind, it is isolating itself through various forms of resistance, and so it inevitably creates misery for itself and for others. The mind is quiet only when it is not caught in thought, which is the net of its own activity. When the mind is still, not made still, a true factor, love, comes into being.
Chapter - 9
IT BEGAN TO rain gently enough, but suddenly it was as though the heavens had opened and there was a deluge. In the street the water was almost knee-deep, and it was well over the pavement. There was not a flutter among the leaves, and they too were silent in their surprise. A car passed by and then stalled, water having gotten into its essential parts. People were wading across the street, soaked to the skin, but they were enjoying this down-pour. The garden beds were being washed out and the lawn was covered with several inches of brown water. A dark blue bird with fawn-colored wings was trying to take shelter among the thick leaves, but it got wetter and wetter and shook itself so often. The downpour lasted for some time, and then stopped as suddenly as it had begun. All things were washed clean.
How simple it is to be innocent! Without innocence, it is impossible to be happy. The pleasure of sensations is not the happiness of innocence. Innocence is freedom from the burden of experience. It is the memory of experience that corrupts, and not the experiencing itself. Knowledge, the burden of the past, is corruption. The power to accumulate, the effort to become destroys innocence; and without innocence, how can there be wisdom? The merely curious can never know wisdom; they will find, but what they find will not be truth. The suspicious can never know happiness, for suspicion is the anxiety of their own being, and fear breeds corruption. Fearlessness is not courage but freedom from accumulation.
"I have spared no effort to get somewhere in the world, and have become a very successful moneymaker; my efforts in that direction have produced the results I wanted. I have also tried hard to make a happy affair of my family life, but you know how it is. Family life is not the same as making money or running an industry. One deals with human beings in business, but it is at a different level. At home there is a great deal of friction with very little to show for it, and one's efforts in this field only seem to increase the mess. I am not complaining, for that is not my nature, but the marriage system is all wrong. We marry to satisfy your sexual urges, without really knowing anything about each other; and though we live in the same house and occasionally and deliberately produce a child, we are like strangers to each other, and the tension that only married people know is always there. I have done what I think is my duty, but it has not produced the best results, to put it mildly. We are both dominant and aggressive people, and it is not easy. Our efforts to cooperate have not brought about a deep companionship between us. Though I am very interested in psychological matters, it has not been of great help, and I want to go much more deeply into this problem."
The sun had come out, the birds were calling, and the sky was clear and blue after the storm.
What do you mean by effort?
"To strive after something. I have striven after money and position, and I have won both. I have also striven to have a happy family life, but this has not been very successful; so now I am struggling after something deeper."
We struggle with an end in view; we strive after achievement; we make a constant effort to become something, positively or negatively. The struggle is always to be secure in some way, it is always towards something or away from something. Effort is really an endless battle to acquire, is it not?
"Is it wrong to acquire?"
We shall go into that presently; but what we call effort is this constant process of travelling and arriving, of acquiring in different directions. We get tired of one kind of acquisition, and turn to another; and when that is gathered, we again turn to something else. Effort is a process of gathering knowledge, experience, efficiency, virtue, possessions, power, and so on; it is an endless becoming, expanding, growing. Effort towards an end, whether worthy or unworthy, must always bring conflict; conflict is antagonism, opposition, resistance. Is that necessary?
"Necessary to what?"
Let us find out. Effort at the physical level may be necessary; the effort to build a bridge, to produce petroleum, coal, and so on, is or may be beneficial; but how the work is done, how things are produced and distributed, how profits are divided, is quite another matter. If at the physical level man is used for an end, for an ideal, whether by private interests or by the State, effort only produces more confusion and misery. Effort to acquire for the individual, for the State, or for a religious organization, is bound to breed opposition. Without understanding this striving after acquisition, effort at the physical level will inevitably have a disastrous effect on society.
Is effort at the psychological level - the effort to be, to achieve, to succeed - necessary or beneficial?
"If we made no such effort, would we not just rot, disintegrate?"
Would we? So far, what have we produced through effort at the psychological level?
"Not very much, I admit. Effort has been in the wrong direction. The direction matters, and rightly directed effort is of the greatest significance. It is because of the lack of right effort that we are in such a mess."
So you say there is right effort and wrong effort, is that it? Do not let us quibble over words, but how do you distinguish between right and wrong effort? According to what criterion do you judge? What is your standard? Is it tradition, or is it the future ideal, the `ought to be'?
"My criterion is determined by what brings results. It is the result that is important, and without the enticement of a goal we would make no effort."
If the result is your measure, then surely you are not concerned with the means; or are you?
"I will use the means according to the end. If the end is happiness, then a happy means must be found."
Is not the happy means the happy end? The end is in the means, is it not? So there is only the means. The means itself is the end, the result.
"I have never before looked at it this way, but I see that it is so."
We are inquiring into what is the happy means. If effort produces conflict, opposition within and without, can effort ever lead to happiness? If the end is in the means, how can there be happiness through conflict and antagonism? If effort produces more problems, more conflict, it is obviously destructive and disintegrating. And why do we make effort? Do we not make effort to be more, to advance, to gain? Effort is for more in one direction, and for less in another. Effort implies acquisition for oneself or for a group, does it not?
"Yes, that is so. Acquiring for oneself is at another level the acquisitiveness of the State or the church."
Effort is acquisition, negative or positive. What is it, then, that we are acquiring? At one level we acquire the physical necessities, and at another we use these as a means of self-aggrandizement; or, being satisfied with a few physical necessities, we acquire power, position, fame. The rulers, the representatives of the State, may live outwardly simple lives and possess but few things, but they have acquired power and so they resist and dominate.
"Do you think all acquisition is baneful?"
Let us see. Security, which is having the essential physical needs, is one thing, and acquisitiveness is another. It is acquisitiveness in the name of race or country, in the name of God, or in the name of the individual, that is destroying the sensible and efficient organization of physical necessities for the well-being of man. We must all have adequate food, clothing and shelter, that is simple and clear. Now, what is it that we are seeking to acquire, apart from these things?
One acquires money as a means to power, to certain social and psychological gratifications, as a means to the freedom to do what one wants to do. One struggles to attain wealth and position in order to be powerful in various ways; and having succeeded in outer things, one now wants to be successful, as you say, with regard to inner things.
What do we mean by power? To be powerful is to dominate, to overcome, to suppress, to feel superior, to be efficient, and soon.
Consciously or unconsciously the ascetic as well as the worldly person feels and strives for this power. Power is one of the completest expressions of the self, whether it be the power of knowledge, the power over oneself, worldly power, or the power of abstinence. The feeling; of power, of domination, is extraordinarily gratifying. You may seek gratification through power, another through drink, another through worship, another through knowledge, and still another through trying to be virtuous. Each may have its own particular sociological and psychological effect, but all acquisition is gratification. Gratification at any level is sensation, is it not? We are making effort to acquire greater or more subtle varieties of sensation, which at one time we call experience, at another knowledge, at another love, at another the search for God or truth; and there is the sensation of being righteous, or of being the efficient agent of an ideology. Effort is to acquire gratification, which is sensation. You have found gratification at one level, and now you are seeking it at another; and when you have acquired it there, you will move to another level, and so keep going. This constant desire for gratification for more and more subtle forms of sensation, is called progress, but it is ceaseless conflict. The search after ever wider gratification is without end, and so there is no end to conflict antagonism, and hence no happiness.
"I see your point. You are saying that the search for gratification in any form is really the search for misery. Effort towards gratification is everlasting pain. But what is one to do? Give up seeking gratification and just stagnate?"
If one does not seek gratification, is stagnation inevitable? Is the state of non-anger necessarily a lifeless state? Surely, gratification at any level is sensation. Refinement of sensation is only the refinement of word. The word, the term, the symbol, the image, plays an extraordinarily important part in our lives, does it not? We may no longer seek the touch, the satisfaction of physical contact, but the word, the image becomes very significant.
At one level we gather gratification through crude means and at another through means that are more subtle and refined; but the gathering of words is for the same purpose as the gathering of things, is it not? Why do we gather?
"Oh, I suppose it is because we are so discontented, so utterly bored with ourselves, that we will do anything to get away from our own shallowness. That is really so - and it just strikes me that I am exactly in that position. This is rather extraordinary!"
Our acquisitions are a means of covering up our own emptiness; our minds are like hollow drums, beaten upon by every passing hand and making a lot of noise. This is our life, the conflict of never-satisfying escapes and mounting misery. It is strange how we are never alone, never strictly alone. We are always with something with a problem, with a book, with a person; and when we are alone, our thoughts are with us. To be alone, naked, is essential. All escapes, all gatherings, all effort to be or not to be, must cease; and then only is there the aloneness that can receive the alone, the measureless.
"How is one to stop escaping?"
By seeing the truth that all escapes only lead to illusion and misery. The truth frees; you cannot do anything about it. Your very action to stop escaping is another escape. The highest state of inaction is the action of truth.