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  • Man's SearchThe Tortured MindThe Traditional ApproachThe Trap of Respectability

  • The Human Being and the IndividualThe Battle of ExistenceThe Basic Nature of

  • ManResponsibilityTruthSelf-transformationDissipation of EnergyFreedom from

  • Authority Man has throughout the ages been seeking something

  • beyond himself, beyond material welfaresomething we call truth or God or reality, a timeless

  • statesomething that cannot be disturbed by circumstances, by thought or by human corruption.

  • Man has always asked the question: what is it all about? Has life any meaning at all?

  • He sees the enormous confusion of life, the brutalities, the revolts, the wars, the endless

  • divisions of religion, ideology and nationality, and with a sense of deep abiding frustration

  • he asks, what is one to do, what is this thing we call living, is there anything beyond it?

  • And not finding this nameless thing of a thousand names which he has always sought, he has cultivated

  • faithfaith in a saviour or an idealand faith invariably breeds violence.

  • In this constant battle which we call living, we try to set a code of conduct according

  • to the society in which we are brought up, whether it be a Communist society or a so-called

  • free society; we accept a standard of behaviour as part of our tradition as Hindus or Muslims

  • or Christians or whatever we happen to be. We look to someone to tell us what is right

  • or wrong behaviour, what is right or wrong thought, and in following this pattern our

  • conduct and our thinking become mechanical, our responses automatic. We can observe this

  • very easily in ourselves. For centuries we have been spoon-fed by our

  • teachers, by our authorities, by our books, our saints. We say, 'Tell me all about itwhat

  • lies beyond the hills and the mountains and the earth?' and we are satisfied with their

  • descriptions, which means that we live on words and our life is shallow and empty. We

  • are secondhand people. We have lived on what we have been told, either guided by our inclinations,

  • our tendencies, or compelled to accept by circumstances and environment. We are the

  • result of all kinds of influences and there is nothing new in us, nothing that we have

  • discovered for ourselves; nothing original, pristine, clear.

  • Throughout theological history we have been assured by religious leaders that if we perform

  • certain rituals, repeat certain prayers or mantras, conform to certain patterns, suppress

  • our desires, control our thoughts, sublimate our passions, limit our appetites and refrain

  • from sexual indulgence, we shall, after sufficient torture of the mind and body, find something

  • beyond this little life. And that is what millions of so-called religious people have

  • done through the ages, either in isolation, going off into the desert or into the mountains

  • or a cave or wandering from village to village with a begging bowl, or, in a group, joining

  • a monastery, forcing their minds to conform to an established pattern. But a tortured

  • mind, a broken mind, a mind which wants to escape from all turmoil, which has denied

  • the outer world and been made dull through discipline and conformitysuch a mind, however

  • long it seeks, will find only according to its own distortion.

  • So to discover whether there actually is or is not something beyond this anxious, guilty,

  • fearful, competitive existence, it seems to me that one must have a completely different

  • approach altogether. The traditional approach is from the periphery inwards, and through

  • time, practice and renunciation, gradually to come upon that inner flower, that inner

  • beauty and lovein fact to do everything to make oneself narrow, petty and shoddy;

  • peel off little by little; take time; tomorrow will do, next life will doand when at last

  • one comes to the centre one finds there is nothing there, because one's mind has been

  • made incapable, dull and insensitive. Having observed this process, one asks oneself,

  • is there not a different approach altogetherthat is, is it not possible to explode from the

  • centre? The world accepts and follows the traditional

  • approach. The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised

  • by another; we mechanically follow somebody who will assure us a comfortable spiritual

  • life. It is a most extraordinary thing that although most of us are opposed to political

  • tyranny and dictatorship, we inwardly accept the authority, the tyranny, of another to

  • twist our minds and our way of life. So if we completely reject, not intellectually but

  • actually, all so-called spiritual authority, all ceremonies, rituals and dogmas, it means

  • that we stand alone and are already in conflict with society; we cease to be respectable human

  • beings. A respectable human being cannot possibly come near to that infinite, immeasurable,

  • reality. You have now started by denying something

  • absolutely falsethe traditional approachbut if you deny it as a reaction you will have

  • created another pattern in which you will be trapped; if you tell yourself intellectually

  • that this denial is a very good idea but do nothing about it, you cannot go any further.

  • If you deny it, however, because you understand the stupidity and immaturity of it, if you

  • reject it with tremendous intelligence, because you are free and not frightened, you will

  • create a great disturbance in yourself and around you but you will step out of the trap

  • of respectability. Then you will find that you are no longer seeking. That is the first

  • thing to learnnot to seek. When you seek you are really only window-shopping.

  • The question of whether or not there is a God or truth or reality, or whatever you like

  • to call it, can never be answered by books, by priests, philosophers or saviours. Nobody

  • and nothing can answer the question but you yourself and that is why you must know yourself.

  • Immaturity lies only in total ignorance of self. To understand yourself is the beginning

  • of wisdom. And what is yourself, the individual you?

  • I think there is a difference between the human being and the individual. The individual

  • is a local entity, living in a particular country, belonging to a particular culture,

  • particular society, particular religion. The human being is not a local entity. He is everywhere.

  • If the individual merely acts in a particular corner of the vast field of life, then his

  • action is totally unrelated to the whole. So one has to bear in mind that we are talking

  • of the whole not the part, because in the greater the lesser is, but in the lesser the

  • greater is not. The individual is the little conditioned, miserable, frustrated entity,

  • satisfied with his little gods and his little traditions, whereas a human being is concerned

  • with the total welfare, the total misery and total confusion of the world.

  • We human beings are what we have been for millions of yearscolossally greedy, envious,

  • aggressive, jealous, anxious and despairing, with occasional flashes of joy and affection.

  • We are a strange mixture of hate, fear and gentleness; we are both violence and peace.

  • There has been outward progress from the bullock cart to the jet plane but psychologically

  • the individual has not changed at all, and the structure of society throughout the world

  • has been created by individuals. The outward social structure is the result of the inward

  • psychological structure of our human relationships, for the individual is the result of the total

  • experience, knowledge and conduct of man. Each one of us is the storehouse of all the

  • past. The individual is the human who is all mankind. The whole history of man is written

  • in ourselves. Do observe what is actually taking place within

  • yourself and outside yourself in the competitive culture in which you live with its desire

  • for power, position, prestige, name, success and all the rest of itobserve the achievements

  • of which you are so proud, this whole field you call living in which there is conflict

  • in every form of relationship, breeding hatred, antagonism, brutality and endless wars. This

  • field, this life, is all we know, and being unable to understand the enormous battle of

  • existence we are naturally afraid of it and find escape from it in all sorts of subtle

  • ways. And we are frightened also of the unknownfrightened of death, frightened of what lies beyond tomorrow.

  • So we are afraid of the known and afraid of the unknown. That is our daily life and in

  • that there is no hope, and therefore every form of philosophy, every form of theological

  • concept, is merely an escape from the actual reality of what is.

  • All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations, laws and

  • ideologies have failed completely to change the basic nature of man and therefore of society.

  • As human beings living in this monstrously ugly world, let us ask ourselves, can this

  • society, based on competition, brutality and fear, come to an end? Not as an intellectual

  • conception, not as a hope, but as an actual fact, so that the mind is made fresh, new

  • and innocent and can bring about a different world altogether? It can only happen, I think,

  • if each one of us recognizes the central fact that we, as individuals, as human beings,

  • in whatever part of the world we happen to live or whatever culture we happen to belong

  • to, are totally responsible for the whole state of the world.

  • We are each one of us responsible for every war because of the aggressiveness of our own

  • lives, because of our nationalism, our selfishness, our gods, our prejudices, our ideals, all

  • of which divide us. And only when we realize, not intellectually but actually, as actually

  • as we would recognize that we are hungry or in pain, that you and I are responsible for

  • all this existing chaos, for all the misery throughout the entire world because we have

  • contributed to it in our daily lives and are part of this monstrous society with its wars,

  • divisions, its ugliness, brutality and greedonly then will we act.

  • But what can a human being dowhat can you and I doto create a completely different

  • society? We are asking ourselves a very serious question. Is there anything to be done at

  • all? What can we do? Will somebody tell us? People have told us. The so-called spiritual

  • leaders, who are supposed to understand these things better than we do, have told us by

  • trying to twist and mould us into a new pattern, and that hasn't led us very far; sophisticated

  • and learned men have told us and that has led us no further. We have been told that

  • all paths lead to truthyou have your path as a Hindu and someone else has his path as

  • a Christian and another as a Muslim, and they all meet at the same doorwhich is, when

  • you look at it, so obviously absurd. Truth has no path, and that is the beauty of truth,

  • it is living. A dead thing has a path to it because it is static, but when you see that

  • truth is something living, moving, which has no resting place, which is in no temple, mosque

  • or church, which no religion, no teacher, no philosopher, nobody can lead you tothen

  • you will also see that this living thing is what you actually areyour anger, your brutality,

  • your violence, your despair, the agony and sorrow you live in. In the understanding of

  • all this is the truth, and you can understand it only if you know how to look at those things

  • in your life. And you cannot look through an ideology, through a screen of words, through

  • hopes and fears. So you see that you cannot depend upon anybody.

  • There is no guide, no teacher, no authority. There is only youyour relationship with

  • others and with the worldthere is nothing else. When you realize this, it either brings

  • great despair, from which comes cynicism and bitterness, or, in facing the fact that you

  • and nobody else are responsible for the world and for yourself, for what you think, what

  • you feel, how you act, all self-pity goes. Normally we thrive on blaming others, which

  • is a form of self-pity. Can you and I, then, bring about in ourselves

  • without any outside influence, without any persuasion, without any fear of punishmentcan

  • we bring about in the very essence of our being a total revolution, a psychological

  • mutation, so that we are no longer brutal, violent, competitive, anxious, fearful, greedy,

  • envious and all the rest of the manifestations of our nature which have built up the rotten

  • society in which we live our daily lives? It is important to understand from the very

  • beginning that I am not formulating any philosophy or any theological structure of ideas or theological

  • concepts. It seems to me that all ideologies are utterly idiotic. What is important is

  • not a philosophy of life but to observe what is actually taking place in our daily life,

  • inwardly and outwardly. If you observe very closely what is taking place and examine it,

  • you will see that it is based on an intellectual conception, and the intellect is not the whole

  • field of existence; it is a fragment, and a fragment, however cleverly put together,

  • however ancient and traditional, is still a small part of existence whereas we have

  • to deal with the totality of life. And when we look at what is taking place in the world

  • we begin to understand that there is no outer and inner process; there is only one unitary

  • process, it is a whole, total movement, the inner movement expressing itself as the outer

  • and the outer reacting again on the inner. To be able to look at this seems to me all

  • that is needed, because if we know how to look, then the whole thing becomes very clear,

  • and to look needs no philosophy, no teacher. Nobody need tell you how to look. You just

  • look. Can you then, seeing this whole picture, seeing

  • it not verbally but actually, can you easily, spontaneously, transform yourself? That is

  • the real issue. Is it possible to bring about a complete revolution in the psyche?

  • I wonder what your reaction is to such a question? You may say, 'I don't want to change', and

  • most people don't, especially those who are fairly secure socially and economically or

  • who hold dogmatic beliefs and are content to accept themselves and things as they are

  • or in a slightly modified form. With those people we are not concerned. Or you may say

  • more subtly, 'Well, it's too difficult, it's not for me', in which case you will have already

  • blocked yourself, you will have ceased to enquire and it will be no use going any further.

  • Or else you may say, 'I see the necessity for a fundamental inward change in myself

  • but how am I to bring it about? Please show me the way, help me towards it.' If you say

  • that, then what you are concerned with is not change itself; you are not really interested

  • in a fundamental revolution: you are merely searching for a method, a system, to bring

  • about change. If I were foolish enough to give you a system

  • and if you were foolish enough to follow it, you would merely be copying, imitating, conforming,

  • accepting, and when you do that you have set up in yourself the authority of another and

  • hence there is conflict between you and that authority. You feel you must do such and such

  • a thing because you have been told to do it and yet you are incapable of doing it. You

  • have your own particular inclinations, tendencies and pressures which conflict with the system

  • you think you ought to follow and therefore there is a contradiction. So you will lead

  • a double life between the ideology of the system and the actuality of your daily existence.

  • In trying to conform to the ideology, you suppress yourselfwhereas what is actually

  • true is not the ideology but what you are. If you try to study yourself according to

  • another you will always remain a secondhand human being.

  • A man who says, 'I want to change, tell me how to', seems very earnest, very serious,

  • but he is not. He wants an authority whom he hopes will bring about order in himself.

  • But can authority ever bring about inward order? Order imposed from without must always

  • breed disorder. You may see the truth of this intellectually but can you actually apply

  • it so that your mind no longer projects any authority, the authority of a book, a teacher,

  • a wife or husband, a parent, a friend or of society? Because we have always functioned

  • within the pattern of a formula, the formula becomes the ideology and the authority; but

  • the moment you really see that the question, 'How can I change?' sets up a new authority,

  • you have finished with authority for ever. Let us state it again clearly: I see that

  • I must change completely from the roots of my being; I can no longer depend on any tradition

  • because tradition has brought about this colossal laziness, acceptance and obedience; I cannot

  • possibly look to another to help me to change, not to any teacher, any God, any belief, any

  • system, any outside pressure or influence. What then takes place?

  • First of all, can you reject all authority? If you can it means that you are no longer

  • afraid. Then what happens? When you reject something false which you have been carrying

  • about with you for generations, when you throw off a burden of any kind, what takes place?

  • You have more energy, haven't you? You have more capacity, more drive, greater intensity

  • and vitality. If you do not feel this, then you have not thrown off the burden, you have

  • not discarded the dead weight of authority. But when you have thrown it off and have this

  • energy in which there is no fear at allno fear of making a mistake, no fear of doing

  • right or wrongthen is not that energy itself the mutation? We need a tremendous amount

  • of energy and we dissipate it through fear but when there is this energy which comes

  • from throwing off every form of fear, that energy itself produces the radical inward

  • revolution. You do not have to do a thing about it.

  • So you are left with yourself, and that is the actual state for a man to be who is very

  • serious about all this; and as you are no longer looking to anybody or anything for

  • help, you are already free to discover. And when there is freedom, there is energy; and

  • when there is freedom it can never do anything wrong. Freedom is entirely different from

  • revolt. There is no such thing as doing right or wrong when there is freedom. You are free

  • and from that centre you act. And hence there is no fear, and a mind that has no fear is

  • capable of great love. And when there is love it can do what it will.

  • What we are now going to do, therefore, is to learn about ourselves, not according to

  • me or to some analyst or philosopherbecause if we learn about ourselves according to someone

  • else, we learn about them, not ourselveswe are going to learn what we actually are.

  • Having realized that we can depend on no outside authority in bringing about a total revolution

  • within the structure of our own psyche, there is the immensely greater difficulty of rejecting

  • our own inward authority, the authority of our own particular little experiences and

  • accumulated opinions, knowledge, ideas and ideals. You had an experience yesterday which