Facing a World in Crisis. Part 4

~Jiddu Krishnamurti 

We have said how important it is that, seeing how inevitably corrupt the various types of religious, secular, and social organizations are, to belong to any of them not only prevents the unburdening of one’s conditioning but also prevents one from seeing things clearly. We have said that is important to be able to stand completely alone, not adhering any group or sect, following any teacher or guru, so that we can bring about quite a different kind of society. I do not know if you see the importance of or have an insight into this question, because most of us are very confused. There are so many demands and pressures that most of us lean on somebody—we want to be guided and told what to do. In ourselves we have no clarity, and of course there are those who say that they are very clear, in a state of enlightenment, or of freedom, and so on. And being uncertain ourselves, we more or less yield to their persuasion and so not only become more conditioned but accept a new form of conditioning. And if we are conditioned in this way, our mind inevitably becomes almost mechanical.

Please, as we have also said, we are sharing this thing together, thinking over these problems together and therefore understanding them together. It is not that I am telling you what to think or how to think, but rather that we together investigate, understand, have an insight into all these problems, so that you are very clear at the end of it. So that in that clarity you stand alone. Because one must bring about a totally different kind of society, a totally different kind of human being, and the more one sees what is happening in the world, the greater the demand for such a human being.

It is only the mind that is capable of standing alone—in the sense of not belonging to any group, any party, any community, any set of dogmas, beliefs, conclusions—that can be creative. So I think we have to go into the question of what it is to be creative, because if that is not clear we are apt to follow those things that make the mind more and more mechanical, dependent, and attached. So what is it to be creative? Because if you are not creative, you will inevitably be fragmented, accept authority, succumb to all the absurdities of escapes. I do not know what the word creative means to you. It is not, surely, creating some new kind of physical thing—a new invention, a new mode of speech, of painting, or of music. We are talking of a mind that is standing alone and therefore capable of being creative.

Most of us are in conflict, caught in various kinds of demands, not only physical but environmental, social, and so on. We depend on each other both physically and psychologically, and therefore our whole nature, our psychological structure, is fragmented. Please observe it in yourself. Can a mind that is fragmented, contradictory in itself, be creative? Or does creation take place when there is the absence of the continuity of fragmentation? I don’t know if you follow all this. Does it interest you? Because if we are not creative in the deeper sense of that word, into which we are going, we are bound to escape from the central fact of deep frustration. And the escapes then become very important, whether they are religious, political, sexual escapes, or escapes into good works. So the escapes become all-important, and not the factor of this fragmentation in which a mind is caught. Please do follow this. And observing this in oneself—how one is fragmented, contradictory, being pulled by different desires, demands—how is a mind to be free, in which alone there can be creation?

First of all, do you know what it means, what takes place, when you have an insight into something? Say, for instance, you have an insight into the whole business of organized religion; you see what is implied in it, how corrupt, how false it is. You can have such insight only when the mind is not conditioned, not attached to any particular form of belief, right? Now, having an insight into the religious structure, you then draw a conclusion from that. But when you draw that conclusion, you terminate that insight. You put an end to it by drawing a conclusion from it. Is that clear?

I must make this very clear so that you understand it. I see very clearly what it means to belong to any political party, which must be nationalistic, run by people who are utterly corrupt, working for themselves in the name of the party, wanting power, position, and all the rest of it. I have an insight into that, not through book knowledge, not through reading, but actually through seeing it. From that perception I draw a conclusion that politicians, all politics, are dreadful. Now, by drawing a conclusion from it, I have terminated that insight. You follow? So I act from the conclusion and not from that insight. So my action from a conclusion is mechanical, and being mechanical I then say, “How terrible to live mechanically. I want to escape.” I join a community, I become whatever I do, escaping from the mechanical process of living, which is the result of a conclusion from an insight I had into something.
You see the sequence of it? So when I act on a conclusion, my action must be continuously mechanical, though at the beginning I may have had an insight. Now, if one doesn’t draw a conclusion at all, and there is only insight, then action is nonmechanical. Therefore that action is always creative, always new, always living. So a mind that has insight and acts from that without drawing a conclusion is in the movement of continuous, constant insight. Do you understand this? Understand, not verbally, but actually see the truth of this, as you see the truth of a precipice?

Now, this constant insight without a formula, a conclusion that puts an end to that insight, is creative action—have you got it? Please look at it, go into it yourself. It is astonishingly beautiful and interesting how thought is absent when you have an insight. Thought cannot have an insight. It is only when the mind is not operating mechanically in the structure of thought that you have an insight. When you have an insight, thought draws a conclusion from that insight. And then thought acts, and thought is mechanical. Are we following each other? So I have to find out whether in having an insight into myself—which means into the world, myself being the world and the world is me—there is no drawing of a conclusion from it. If I draw a conclusion, I act on an idea, on an image, on a symbol that is the structure of thought, and so I am constantly preventing myself from having insight, preventing myself from understanding things as they are. So I have to go into this whole question of why thought interferes and draws a conclusion when there is a perception. Have you understood my question?

I perceive something to be true, I perceive that to control oneself—listen to this carefully—brings about a division in myself between the controller and the controlled and therefore conflict. I have an insight into that, that is the truth, but my whole thinking process is conditioned to the idea that I must control. My education, my religion, the society in which I live, the family structure, everything says to me “control,” which is the conclusion that has been handed down to me, the conclusion that I have also acquired, and I act according to that conclusion, which is mechanical. And therefore I live in constant strife.

Now I have an insight into this whole problem of control, an insight that came into being when the mind was free to observe, unconditioned. But this whole structure of conditioning still remains. So now there is a mind that says, “By Jove, I have seen this thing very clearly, but I am also caught in the habit of control.” So there is a battle. One thing is mechanical, the other is nonmechanical. Now, why does thought cling to the whole structure of control? Because thought has brought about this idea of control. Do you see this?

What does it mean to control? First, it implies suppression. Division in oneself, with one part, one segment of me saying, “I must control the other segments.” That division is created by thought. Thought says, “I must control myself because otherwise I would not adapt myself to the environment, to what people say, and so forth, so therefore I must control.” So thought, being the response of memory—which means the past, one’s experience, one’s knowledge, which are all mechanical—has immense power. So there is constant battle between perception, insight, and conditioning.

Now what is the mind to do? This is our problem. You see something new, but the old is still there—the old habits, ideas, beliefs, all that is tremendously waiting. So how is the mind to sustain an insight without ever having a conclusion? Because if I have a conclusion, it is mechanical, the result of thought, the result of memory. From memory there is a reaction as thought. Then it becomes mechanical, then it becomes old. Now, please experiment with me.
There is insight—seeing something new, seeing something that is totally new, clear, beautiful—and there is the past with all the memory, experience, knowledge, and from that there is thought that is cautious, watching, afraid, concerned about how to bring the new into the old. Now, when you see this problem clearly, what takes place? Have you understood my question: We are the result of the past. The younger generation may try to break away from the past, and think they are free to create a new world, but they are not free from the past. They are reacting to the past and therefore continuing with the past. I don’t know if you follow this. So there is not a break with the past but a modified continuity of the past.

So I see this: I see what thought has done, and also there is clear perception that insight exists only when there is absence of thought. Now, how do you solve this problem? Perhaps you are thinking about it, looking at it for the first time. So how do you respond to this? How does the mind respond to this?

Let me put the question differently. Mind must have knowledge: I must know where I live. Mind must know the language it speaks. It must exercise thought—thought that is the response of memory, experience, knowledge, which is the past. Otherwise there would be no communication between you and me; I wouldn’t know where I lived and all the rest of it, and absurdities begin if I am not capable of thinking clearly. So I see knowledge is necessary to function in the mechanical world. Going from here to the place I live is mechanical, speaking a language is mechanical, acting from knowledge is mechanical, acting from all kinds of experience is mechanical. And that mechanical process must to a certain extent continue. Like my insight. Have you got it? So when there is insight there is no contradiction between knowledge and freedom from knowledge.

So there is the insight now that knowledge is necessary, and there is also the insight that comes when there is the absence of thought. So there is perception, insight, all the time, not a contradiction. I wonder if you see this?