LAST TALKS AT SAANEN 1985 2ND PUBLIC QUESTION DIALOGUE ANSWER MEETING WEDNESDAY, 24TH JULY, 1985
Let's forget for the moment the questions. We will come back to them.
What is happening to all of us, living in this world, which is quite terrible? If you have travelled at all you will see the dangers - airport explosions, terrorists, and all the rest of it. When you look at it all, how do you face the world? We may be old, but the coming generation, children, grandchildren, and so on, what is going to happen to them? Do you consider that at all? What is the future of the coming generation of which you are a part? How do we educate them, what is the purpose of education? Presumably we are all educated. You have been to school, college, university, if you are lucky, or we have been educating ourselves by looking at all these events that are taking place in the world and learning from them. But that learning is very limited, very small, narrow. And if one has children and grandchildren, how does one treat them? What is our response? Aren't we concerned about them at all? I believe there are about 500,000 children who run away from home in America, end up in New York, prostitution and all that - do you understand what it all means? In a country like this, part of the rest of the world, there is no poverty, no slums, there are literally no people starving. There are slums in America, England, France, and all those starving people in India and Asia; it is quite appalling, degrading. And when we look at ourselves and the future generation, what is going to happen? Is that same pattern going to be repeated? The same callousness? The irresponsibility of being trained in an army to kill thousands and thousands, and be killed? What is our responsibility? Or don't you want to think about all that at all? Are we only concerned with our own pleasure, with our own problems, with our own self-centred egotistic activity?
This is really a very serious question, frightening, agonizing. When we look at all this, what do we do? Do we have proper schools? What place has knowledge in all this, whether it be theoretical or physical knowledge? What relationship have we to it all? The tortures. Every country has indulged in torturing other human beings. My mother may be tortured, my son, for some information, for some nationalistic, communistic or democratic reason. Do we shed tears? Or not being able to do anything about it, do we become cynical, bitter and throw in our hands?
So, we have to consider all these things, not merely our own progress, our own happiness, our own self-centred activities.
May we go on now with the questions? Maybe that will be more pleasant, less challenging, less demanding on our energies and the capacities of the brain. The brain has extraordinary capacity and energy if you have watched all the progress in the fields of medicine and surgery, technology, computers - tremendous advances, incalculable advances. And it is going on and on. In other directions the brain is very limited, and that limitation is being used by the technological world. We are being exploited ruthlessly. The Communists still have their concentration camps, and there are not only the concentration camps of tyrannies but also the concentration camps of the gurus. You don't mind my saying that? And the concentration camps of all the monks in the world. This is really a tremendous problem.
When one understands something must one act on this understanding, or does the understanding act of itself Right? Question clear?
Now what do we mean by understanding? We use that word so easily. So we must investigate, explore the meaning of the word. We are discussing, exploring together, the speaker is not answering the question. Together we are looking into the question. We are together investigating, digging into the meaning of words first, according to the dictionary, which is the common usage of the language. What do we mean by understanding, to understand something? To understand oneself, to understand how the computer, which is so marvellous, works, to understand the whole surgical process. What do we mean by that word? Is it purely intellectual, which is a quick communication between two people, or half a dozen people or a hundred people, a comprehension of the meaning of the word, quickly translated to the brain, and the intellect saying, `Yes, I understand'? That is, I have a problem, I have reasoned it out, I have come to a conclusion and I understand it. Or I understand how to dismantle a car and so on. So is understanding merely an intellectual affair, a theoretical affair about which I can talk endlessly, adding more ideas to it and thinking I am enlarging, growing? In that understanding is there any emotional quality? Is there something that says, `That is not quite, quite, quite, you must add more to it'?
There is the intellect, there is emotion, there is action - right? Emotions exist naturally - one hopes - but when those emotions have become romantic, sentimental and very, very superficial, they must be recognized by the brain, therefore they are part of the brain - part of the sensation of feeling, sensation of imagination, of looking at a mountain, the beauty and the silence and the dignity and the majesty of it, and putting it on a canvas, or writing a poem about it. All that is still part of the activity of the brain. So is the intellect, which says, `I understand', the capacity to discern, to distinguish, to determine and take action and therefore dominating everything else?
So we are asking, is understanding a whole movement, not an act of the brain only, an act of the intellect only? Do you understand my question? We will now have to examine what is action? What is it that one has to do? What determines action? What brings about action? What do we mean by action? To act. To do. Is that action based on an ideal, or on a theory, or a conclusion, dialectical or imaginative? That is, I act on an idea - right? So what is an idea? Why do we have so many ideas? We are investigating the word idea, not whether it is right or wrong. The scientists, the physicists and the theoretical philosophers want ideas, otherwise they feel lost. They want new ideas all the time. So we must examine what we mean by an idea. There is a fact. There is a clock there. It says ten to eleven, and that is a fact. And there are non-facts. The non-facts are totally away from the fact. Distance. And so there is the fact and the idea about the fact, and we pursue the idea, not the investigation into the fact. An idea becomes far more important than the fact. The Socialists, the Communists and others, left, right, centre, all have ideas, theories, conclusions, and they try to fit man into those ideas. And to make them fit they torture them, they say, `You can't do this, you can't do that.' So to them ideas become far more important than the human which is the fact.
So, are we, each one of us, always moving away from the fact and pursuing an idea and acting according to that idea which probably has nothing to do with the fact? So what do we mean by acting? If you act according to your past memories, experiences, or some future ideological conclusion, that action, based on the past or on the future, is not an act. Are we making this clear? If we act according to certain memories, conclusions, experiences, knowledge, then we are acting from the past. The word act means do, not according to the past or according to the future. So the question is - go into this, it is very serious - is there an action which is not based on time? Don't be puzzled. Can one grasp the significance, the content, the deep meaning of the past, how the past, modified, projects itself into the future, and how if one acts according to the past or according to some future concept it is not action; it is merely memory, having come to certain conclusions, acting. So it is always caught in the field of time, in the cycle of time - right? Now we are asking, is there an action which is not based on time? Think it out, sirs. Think it out, don't wait for me, for the speaker, to explain; think it out. It is a very simple question, but has tremendous meaning behind it. That is, I have always acted according to my tradition. The tradition may be one day old, or five thousand years old. You know what tradition means, 'tradere' - hand over. So my parents, grandparents, a thousand parents, have handed over certain traditions, the consequences of their thought, their feeling, gradually seeping through various generations; and I am that, part of that. That is my background and I act according to that. Or I reject all that, saying, `How stupid', and look to the future; I must do this, I must not do it, according to some leader whom I follow. And I call both these action. But the speaker asks, is there an action which is not based on these two, an action which is not the process of the time? Sorry, you have to use your brains.
What is one to do when one is asked that question: is there an action which is not caught in the wheel of time? How does one's brain react to that question - the brain which has been conditioned, shaped according to the past and the future, that is, caught in the field of time, in the network of time? The brain withdraws for the moment, is not able to answer; it says, `It is too much trouble, for goodness sake leave me alone. I am used to this pattern, it has brought its misery, suffering, but also there is the other compensating side to it. Don't ask these questions which are so difficult.' They are not difficult. The word difficult makes it difficult. So I won't use that word. But I have to find out if there is an action which is not of time. May I go into it? Do you want me to go into it?
Action is related to love, not to memory. Memory, remembering the images, is not love; it is sensation through which I act, and sensation is not love. Therefore what is the relationship of love to action? You follow? Is love memory? We have met together, we have slept together, we have done all kind of things together, walked up the mountain, down the valley, round the hills, been companions, held hands, quarrelled - and that is called affection, love, but most of it is based on sensation, the image, and attachment. Without attachment I am lost, I feel terribly lonely. Feeling lonely, I am desperate, become bitter and all the rest of it. Is all that love? Obviously it is not. We went into it. So what is the relationship between love and action? Go on, sir. If love is in the field of time, then it is not love. So love is action - I wonder if you get this? There is not love first and action later. For the speaker - don't accept it - for the speaker there is no division between the perception, the quality of that love and action. When there is that quality it is action. It is not an intellectual process of determination or choice. It is an action of immediate perception.
Now we must go on. Yesterday we only answered three questions and there are many more of them.
You have said many things about violence. Would you allow one of your friends to be attacked in front of you?
It is a good old question. What would you do if your sister was attacked in front of you? It is the same question. What would you do - you? Beat him up? Shoot him? Karate? You know what that word karate means? It has been explained to me. No self. No me. Not the military art of defending yourself. So what would you do? find out, sir. You are there, with your wife or husband or your girl friend, and somebody comes along and is violent towards your wife or husband. What would you do instinctively? You would attack, wouldn't you? Naturally. You would hit him. If you knew karate, or some kind of yoga tricks, you would trip him up. So this question is put to me, to the speaker - right? We know the normal reaction of people, violence. If you are violent I am going to be violent. If you are angry with me I am going to be doubly angry with you. If you call me an idiot, I say you are a greater one. And so on and so on. This question is put to me, to the speaker. This has been an old question, but I treat all questions as something new. What should I do? Are you waiting for me?
If I have lived a violent life all my life then my response would naturally be violent. But if I have lived as I have without violence, not only physical violence but psychological violence, which is aggression, competition, comparison, imitation, conformity (that is all part of violence) - lived as K has lived - then when my friend, or my sister, or my wife, is attacked I would act as I have lived.
A simple answer. You are not puzzled over this, are you? No.
Another question: What is intell1gence?
What is intelligence? What do you think is intelligence? One meaning of that word, if you looked into a good etymological dictionary, is interlegere, to read between the lines. Another meaning is to gather information of every kind and to discern among the various kinds of information what is correct. That depends on choice, on one's education, on one's way of life and so on. Then there is the intelligence of the body, if you let it alone. The body is an extraordinary instrument - how all the nerves are connected to the brain, how the liver works, the heart. From the moment it is born until it dies the heart keeps on beating. It is an extraordinary machine. If you have seen some of the photographs on television where they show the body, it is amazing what nature has done through a million or two million years. But we destroy the native intelligence of the body by doing all kinds of extravagant things - drinking, drugs, sex (though sex has its place) - you know the whole issue of it, ambition, greed, fighting, struggling, a tremendous strain on the body, heart failure: all that affects the brain, the nerves, the organism, and therefore the physical, biological instrument is gradually destroyed; it gradually withers and loses its vitality, its energy. If one leaves it alone, it looks after itself, you don't have to do a thing, except for a person like K who is ninety years old and so has to be a little careful.
Then there is the intelligence of a clever physician, or a technologist, or a man who puts very, very complex machinery together, and the thousands of people who get together to send a rocket to the moon - that requires great intelligence and co-operation, a certain type of intelligence. There is also the very cunning, calculated, intelligence which has put together all the rituals of the world - the temples, the mosques, the churches - controlling people through their apostolic succession, sorry if you are a Catholic, forget what I am saying! (There is also in India a Sanskrit word for it, this handing down.) It demands great intelligence to control people, to make them believe in something that may or may not exist, to have faith, to be baptized. It is all very clever if you have watched it, very intelligent. The Communists are doing it; they have their god, Lenin, and after him Stalin, all the way down to the present gentlemen. So it is the same movement. All that is partially very intelligent. And the scientists, the theoretical physicists, are also partially very intelligent.
Then what is a holistic intelligence? You understand? Intelligence which is whole, which is not fragmented. I am very intelligent in one direction, but in other directions I am dull. There is partial intelligence in various phases of life. But we are asking, is there an intelligence which is complete, which is not fragmented? Are you going to find out? Or am I going to find out and tell you? Please, am I going to answer that question or are you going to answer it?
Is there an intelligence which is incorruptible, not based on circumstances, not pragmatic, not self-centred and therefore broken up, not whole? Is there an intelligence which is impeccable, which has no holes in it, which covers the whole field of man? To enquire into it the brain must be completely free of any conclusion, any kind of attachment, any kind of self-centred movement, self-interest, and therefore a brain that is totally free from fear, from sorrow. When there is the end of sorrow there is passion behind it. The word sorrow etymologically has a deeper meaning than merely shedding tears, pain and grief and anxiety. Passion is not for something. Passion is per se, for itself. A belief may invoke passion in me, or devotion to a symbol, a community, something I imagine, but all that is still very limited. So one has to discover, one has to come upon, this passion which is neither lust nor has any motive. Is there such passion? There is such passion when there is an end to sorrow. When there is an end to sorrow there is love and compassion. And when there is compassion, not for this or that, but compassion, then that compassion has its own supreme quintessence of intelligence. That is, it is neither of time, nor does it belong to any theories, to any technologies, to anybody; that intelligence is not personal or universal, nor the words round it.
Is there any benefit to the human being in physical illness?
Is there any benefit, reward, profit, to the human being in physical illness? In being ill? Now I put that question to you.
I am sure most of us have been ill at one time or another, either mentally ill, that is an illness of the brain, which is neurotic, psychopathic and so on, or physically ill, some organ not functioning properly. Now just listen: what is the difference between illness and health? What is health? What is it to be extraordinarily well? The question is: is there any profit, benefit, from illness? What do you think? To that question the speaker would say there is - sorry! When you are ill, what are your reactions, responses? The desire when one is ill is to avoid pain, to take a pill quickly, or immediately go to a doctor, and he tells you what to do. You want to get over it quickly because you may lose your job, etc. etc.
But if you are not afraid of illness, illness has quite a different meaning. The speaker, if I may be slightly personal, was paralysed for a month in Kashmir for various reasons; they overdosed the poor chap with antibiotics, and a few days later he was paralysed for a month. I thought that was final. I thought, there it is. The speaker wasn't frightened. He said, `All right, I'm paralysed for the rest of my life.' This actually happened. I am not exaggerating. They carried me, washed me and all the rest of it, for a whole month. You know what that means? Fortunately you don't. But if I had struggled against it and said, `What stupid doctors. I am anti-antibiotics', it would have made it worse and I would have learnt nothing from it; it wouldn't have cleansed my body, it wouldn't have benefitted me. The speaker has several times been very, very ill. I am not going into that. But if one is not afraid to remain with it, to stay with it, does not immediately rush to a doctor or to a pill, physical illness has a certain natural profit, benefit. You may have to take a pill later, but go at it slowly, patiently" observing what your reactions are, why there is this craze to be healthy, to have no pain, which makes you resist the illness. This self-interest may be one of the factors of illness. It may be the true reason for illness. Do you understand all this? Clear? Right.
Why do you differentiate between the brain and the mind?
I am afraid this has to be the last question. There are several left over but this has to be the last one.
First of all what is the brain? Remember that we are not professionals; we are ordinary people who are not brain specialists. Though the speaker has talked to brain specialists, he is not, not underlined, a brain specialist. So we are asking each other what is the brain, not the physical biological structure of the brain, I don't know anything about all that. But what is this thing we live with which is in operation in our daily life, not superior consciousness or lower consciousness? You know that game. That is what the gurus play at. They help you to bring down the higher consciousness to lower consciousness, or through meditation, through following them, through repeating certain practices, to reach the higher consciousness. We are not doing all that kind of thing. We will come presently to what is consciousness. You don't mind going into all this?
What then is the function, the daily function of our brain - your brain, not my brain, your brain, the human brain, whether you live in Switzerland, America, Russia or the Far East - what goes on in our daily life which is the exercise of the brain, exercise of thought, exercise of choice, exercise of decision and action?
Wherever we live the activity of the brain plays a great role in our life. So what is this brain? We are amateurs, learning. Look at our own brain. Action and reaction. Sensation. Conditioned from the past - I am a Hindu, you are a Christian, I am a Buddhist, you are a Muslim and so on; I belong to this country and you belong to that country; I believe very strongly; I have come to certain conclusions, I stick to them; my prejudices and opinions are strong, and I am attached, I want to fulfil, I want to become something - you follow? That is our daily routine, and much more: the anguish of anxiety, tremendously depressing loneliness, and escaping from that loneliness through television, books, rituals, temple, church, mosque, God. Conflict. Conflict. Conflict. That is what the brain is caught up in all the time. This is not exaggerated. We are facing facts. It is so. The brain is the centre of all this - the memories, the nervous responses, the likes and dislikes - it is the very centre of all our existence, emotionally, imaginatively, art, science, knowledge. So that brain is very, very limited and yet it is extraordinarily capable. Technologically it has done incredible things, unimaginable fifty years ago. All that is the activity of the conditioned brain. And living within that conditioning - religious, political, business and so on - is very limited, concerned with oneself, self-serving. This is obvious. The brain says, `I am materialistic', and it says also, `No, no, I am better than that. There is a soul.' To use the Sanskrit word, `There is an Atman', and so on and so on. So consciousness is all that - right? People have written books and books about consciousness, professionals and nonprofessionals, but we are not professionals, we are dealing with what is.
Consciousness is its content. What it contains makes consciousness. It contains anxiety, belief, faith, bitterness, loneliness, jealousy, hate, violence - you know, all the qualities, the experiences of human beings. That is, consciousness is not yours because every human being on this earth, whether the poorest, most ignorant, degraded, or the most highly sophisticated, educated, has these problems. They may put on robes and crowns and all that circus, but remove all that and they are like you and me. So we share the consciousness of every human being in the world. I know you won't accept this, it doesn't matter: this is a fact because you suffer and that villager in India who lives on one meal a day also suffers, not in the way you suffer, but it is still suffering. Your memories may be different from another's, but it is still memory. Your experience may be different, but it is still experience. So your consciousness is not yours. It is psychologically the consciousness of the entire humanity. You may be tall, you may be fair, I may be black, I may be purple, but still that consciousness is common to all of us - psychologically.
So you are the entire humanity. You know what that means? If you accept it as an idea then you move away from the fact, from the truth of it, from the reality, the substance of it. When there is that reality, truth, that you are the rest of mankind, then the whole movement of life changes. You will not kill another, for then you are killing yourself. There was an American General - oh, I have forgotten his name. He was going to war and he faces the enemy. And he reports to the boss, `We have met the enemy. We are the enemy.' You understand? We have met the enemy across the field but we are the enemy, the enemy is us.
So when there is this truth that you are the entire humanity, sleep with it, go into it, feel your way into it, don't deny it or accept it, but as the river flows, go into it. You will see what a deep transformation takes place, which is not intellectual, imaginative, sentimental or romantic. In that there is a tremendous sense of compassion, love. And when there is that, you act according to supreme intelligence.