J. Krishnamurti On Deep Intelligence

Posted by Rajesh Kadam on Nov 6, 2018
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[Below is a talk by J. Krishnamurti, on July 14 1974 in Saaneen. I thought a lot of you might enjoy reading it.]

Thought has created this world, the world of politics, the world of economics, the world of business, of social morality and all the religious structures. All our problems and all our desires to find answers to problems are within that consciousness, within the field that thought has created. So thought is trying to find answers to the mess it has made in our personal relationships, in our relationship with the community. Even your meditations, even your gods, your Christs, and your Buddhas are the creations of thought, which is matter, which can only operate within the field of time. We think that through thought, through will, through ambition, through drive and aggression, through substituting new religions for the old traditions, we can solve all the problems of personal relationship.

Is there an answer to all the problems through the operation of thought? If thought will give no answer to all the problems, then what will?

What is consciousness? What is the operation of thought? All your meditations are in that area; all your pursuits of pleasure, fear, greed, envy, brutality, violence, are within that field. And thought is always endeavoring to go beyond that, asserting the ineffable, the unnamable, unknowable. The content of consciousness is consciousness. Your consciousness or another’s consciousness is its content. If it is born in India, then all the traditions, superstitions, hopes, fears, sorrows, anxieties, violence, sexual demands, aggression, the beliefs, dogmas, and creeds of that country are the content of its consciousness. Yet the content of consciousness is extraordinarily similar, whether one is born in the East or in the West.
Look at your own consciousness, if you can. If you are brought up in a religious culture as a Christian, you believe in saviors, rituals, creeds, and dogmas on one side and, on the other side, you accept social immorality, wars, nationalities and their divisions that restrict economic expansion and deny consideration for others. The content of your consciousness is your personal unhappiness, your ambitions, your fears, your greeds, your aggressiveness, your demands, your loneliness, your sorrow, your lack of relationship with another, the isolation, frustration, confusion, misery. All that is consciousness whether you are of the East or the West—with variations, with joys, with more knowledge or less knowledge. Without that content, there is no consciousness as we know it.

All education is based on the acquiring of more knowledge, more information, but functioning always within this area. Any political reformation based on a new philosophy is an invention still within that area. And so man goes on suffering, unhappy, lonely, fearful of death and of living, hoping for some great leader to come and take him out of his misery, a new savior, a new politician. In this confusion we are so irresponsible that out of our own disorder we are going to create tyrants, hoping they will create order within this area. This is what is happening outside of us and inside. Any leader we choose will be like us; we will not choose a leader who is totally different from us. That is the actual picture of our life: conflict inside and outside, struggle, opposition to one another, appalling selfishness.

When there is so much sorrow in the world it is necessary to find out for oneself—through careful, slow, patient, hesitating investigation—if there is any other way of solving all these problems other than through the operation of thought. Is there an action which is not based on thought? Is there an intelligence which is not the function or the result of thought, which is not put together by thought, which does not come about through cunning, through friction and struggle, something entirely different?

To communicate one has to listen not just to the speaker but to the very action of listening. How does one listen? Does one ever really listen at all? Is one free to listen, or does one always listen with the cunning operations of thought, with interpretation or prejudice? One has to listen, if one is free, to the content of one’s consciousness, to listen not only to what is at the surface, which is fairly simple, but to the deeper layers of it. That means to listen to the totality of consciousness.

How does one listen to and look at one’s consciousness?

The speaker was born in a certain country where he absorbed all the prejudices, the irrationalities and the superstitions, the beliefs, the class differences, as a Brahmin. There the young mind absorbed the tradition, the rituals, the extraordinary orthodoxy, and the tremendous discipline imposed by that group upon itself. And then he moves to the West; and again he absorbs from all that is there. The content of his consciousness is what has been put into it, what he has learned, what his thoughts are, and its own emotions, which thought recognizes. That is the content and the consciousness of this person. Within that area he has all the political, religious, personal, communal problems. All the problems are there. And not being able to solve them himself, he looks to books, to others, asking what to do, how to meditate, what to do about personal relationship with his wife, or his girlfriend, his parents. Should he believe in Jesus or in Buddha or the new guru who comes along with a lot of nonsense? He is searching for a new philosophy of life, a new philosophy of politics, and so on, all within this area.

Man has done this from time immemorial, but there is no answer within that area. You may meditate for hours, sitting in a certain posture, breathing in a special way, but it is still within that area because you want something out of your meditation.

So there is this content of consciousness: dull, stupid, traditional thought, recognizing all its emotions—otherwise they are not emotions. Always it is thought, which is the response of memory, knowledge, and experience operating. Now, can the mind look at it? Can you look at the operation of thought?

When you look, who is the observer who is looking at the content? Is it different from the content? This is really a very important question to ask, and to which to find an answer. Is the observer different from the content and, therefore, capable of changing it and going beyond it? Or is the observer the same as the content? First, look. If the observer—the “I” that looks, the “me” that looks—is different from the observed, then there is a division between the observer and the observed and, therefore, conflict: “I must not do this; I should do that”; “I must get rid of my particular prejudice,” and I adopt a new prejudice; “I must get rid of my old gods,” and I take on new gods. So when there is a division between the observer and the observed, there must be conflict. That is a principle, that is a law. So, do I observe the content of my consciousness as if I were an outsider looking in, altering the pieces and moving the pieces to different places? Or am I the observer, the thinker, the experiencer, the same as that which is observed, experienced, thought?

If I look at the content of my consciousness as an outsider observing, then there must be conflict between what is observed and the observer. There must be conflict, and in that conflict we live: the “me” and the “not me,” “we” and “they.” If “I,” the observer, am different from anger, I try to control it, suppress it, dominate it, overcome it, and there is conflict. But is the observer different at all? Or is he essentially the same as the observed? If he is the same, then there is no conflict, is there? The understanding of that is intelligence. Then intelligence operates and not conflict.

It would be a thousand pities if you did not understand this simple thing. Man has lived in conflict. He wants peace through conflict. And there can never be peace through conflict; however many armaments you may have against another’s equally strong armaments, there will never be peace. Only when intelligence operates will there be peace, the intelligence that comes when one understands that there is no division between the observer and the observed. The insight into that very fact, that very truth, brings this intelligence.
This is a very serious thing, for then you will see that you have no nationality; you may have a passport but you have no nationality. You have no gods. There is no outside authority, nor inward authority. The only authority then is intelligence. It is not the cunning intelligence of thought, which is mere knowledge operating within a certain area, and that is not intelligence.

So this is the first thing to understand when you look at your consciousness: the division between the thinker and the thought, between the observer and the observed, between the experiencer and the experienced is false, for they are one. There is no thinker if you do not think. Thought has created the thinker. That is the first thing to understand, to have an insight into the truth of, the fact of, as palpable as you sitting there, so that there is no conflict between the observer and the observed.

So, what is the content of your consciousness, the hidden as well as the open? Can you look at it—and not make an effort?

You can find this out, not just sitting there, but in your relationships. That is the mirror in which you will see, not by closing your eyes, or by going off into the woods and thinking up some dreams. In the actual fact of your relationship with man, woman, your neighbor, your politician, your gods, your gurus, you will observe your reactions, your attitudes, your prejudices, your images, your constant groping. The content is in that. What you are doing now is merely ploughing, and you can only sow when you observe your relationships and see what actually is taking place. You can look as much as you like and begin to distinguish various qualities and tendencies, but if you look as an observer different from the observed then you are bound to create conflict and, therefore, further suffering. When you have an insight, see the truth that the observer is the observed, then conflict ceases altogether. Then a totally different kind of energy comes into operation.

There are different kinds of energy. There is physical energy from good food; there may be energy created by emotionalism, sentimentality; there is energy created by thought through various conflicts and tensions. Within that field of energy we have lived, and we are still trying to find greater energy within that field to solve our problems. There is a different kind of energy, or the continuation of this energy in a totally different form, when the mind is operating completely, not in the field of thought but intelligently.

Can the mind observe its content without any choice as to the content, not choosing any part of the content, any part of the piece, but observing totally? Now, how is it possible to observe totally? When I look at a map of France, as I come from England and cross the Channel, I see the road leading to Gstaad. I can tell the mileage, I can see the direction. All that is very simple because it is marked on the map and I follow it. In doing that, I do not look at any other part of the map; I know the direction in which I want to go and that direction excludes all others. In the same way, a mind that is seeking in a given direction does not see the whole. If I want to find something that I think is real, then the direction is set and I follow that direction and my mind is incapable of seeing the totality. Now, when I look at the content of my consciousness, which is the same as yours, I have set a direction—to go beyond it. A movement in a particular direction, seeking a certain pleasure, not wanting to do this or that, makes one incapable of seeing the whole. If I am a scientist, I see only in a certain direction. If I am an artist, there again. If I have a certain talent or gift, I see only a certain direction. So the mind is incapable of seeing the totality and the immensity of that totality if there is a movement in a particular direction. So can the mind have no direction at all?

This is a difficult question. Please listen to it. Of course, the mind has to have direction when I go from here to the house, or when I have to drive a car, when I have to perform some technical function; but I am talking of a mind that understands the nature of direction and, therefore, is capable of seeing the whole. When it sees the whole, it can then also operate in direction. If I have the whole picture in mind, then I can take in the detail; but if my mind only operates in details, then I cannot take in the whole. If I am concerned with my opinions, with my anxieties, with what I want to do, with what I must do, I cannot see the whole. Obviously. If I come from India with my prejudices, superstitions, and traditions, I cannot see the whole. So can the mind be free of direction? Which does not mean that it is without direction. When it operates from the whole, the direction becomes clear, very strong and effective; but when the mind only operates in a direction according to the pattern it has set for itself, then it cannot see the whole.

There is the content of my consciousness. The content makes my consciousness. Now, can the mind look at it as a whole? Can it just look without any direction, without any judgment, without any choice? That implies no observer at all, for the observer is the past. Can it look with that intelligence which is not put together by thought? For thought is the past. Do it. It requires tremendous discipline; not the discipline of suppression, control, imitation, or conformity, but a discipline that is an act in which the truth is seen. The operation of truth creates its own action, which is discipline.

Can your mind look at its content when you talk to another, in your gestures, in the way you walk, in the way you sit and eat, in the way you behave? Behavior indicates the content of your consciousness, whether you are behaving according to pleasure, reward, or pain, which are part of your consciousness. The psychologists say that, so far, man has been educated on the principle of punishment and reward, hell and heaven. Now, they say that we must be educated only on the principle of reward, that we must not punish but reward—which is the same thing. To see the absurdity of punishment and reward is to see the whole. When you see the whole, intelligence functions when you act, and you are not then behaving according to reward or punishment.

Behavior exposes the content of your consciousness. You may hide yourself behind a polished behavior, a behavior that is very carefully drilled, but such behavior is merely mechanical. From that arises another question: Is the mind entirely mechanical, or is there any portion of the brain that is not mechanical at all?

To go over what has been said: Outside of us, in the political world, in the economic world, in the religious world, in the social world, and so on, mankind is searching. There are gods, new gurus, new leaders. And when you observe all this very clearly you see that man is functioning within the field of thought. Thought, essentially, is never free. Thought is always old because thought is the response of memory as knowledge and experience. Thought is matter. It is of the material world, and thought is trying to escape from that material world into a nonmaterial world. But trying to escape into the nonmaterial world by thought is still material. We have all the moral, social, and economic problems of the individual and the collective. The individual is essentially, intrinsically, part of the collective. The individual is not different from the collective; he may have different tendencies, different occupations, different moods, and so on, but he is intrinsically part of the culture, which is society.

Now, those are facts as to what is going on about us. The facts as to what is going on inside us are very much the same. We are trying to find an answer to the major problems of our human life through the operation of thought—thought which the Greeks imposed upon the West, with their political philosophy, with their mathematics, and so on. Thought has not found an answer and it never will. So we must go then into the whole structure of thought and the content that it has created as consciousness. We must observe the operation of thought in relationship, in our daily life. That observation implies having an insight as to whether it is a fact that the observer is different from the observed, for if there is a difference there must inevitably be conflict, just as there is between two ideologies. Ideologies are the inventions of thought, conditioned by the culture in which they have developed.

Now, can you, in your daily life, observe this? In such observation you will find out what your behavior is, whether it is based on the principle of reward and punishment—as most of our behavior is, however polished and refined. From that observation one begins to learn what real intelligence is. Not the intelligence that is obtained from a book, or out of experience; that is not intelligence at all. Intelligence has nothing whatsoever to do with thought. Intelligence operates when the mind sees the whole, the endless whole—not my country, my problems, my little gods, my meditations. It sees the whole implication of living. And this quality of intelligence has its own tremendous energy.

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