The Mirror of Relationship: Love, Sex and Chastity -J Krishnamurti
Fourth Talk in Poona
It is fairly obvious that most of us are confused intellectually. We see that the so-called leaders in all departments of life have no complete answer to our various questions and problems. The many conflicting political parties, whether of the left or of the right, seem not to have found the right solution for our national and international strife, and we also see that socially there is an utter destruction of moral values. Everything about us seems to be disintegrating; moral and ethical values have become merely a matter of tradition, without much significance. War, the conflict between the right and the left, seems to be a constantly recurring factor in our lives; everywhere there is destruction, everywhere there is confusion. In ourselves we are utterly confused, though we do not like to acknowledge it; we see confusion in all things, and we do not know exactly what to do. Most of us who recognize this confusion, this uncertainty, want to do something, and the more confused we are, the more anxious we are to act. So, for those people who have realized that there is confusion in themselves and about them, action becomes all-important. But when a person is confused, how can he act? Whatever he does, whatever his course of action may be, it is bound to be confused, and naturally such action will inevitably create greater confusion. To whatever party, institution, or organization he may belong, until he clears up his own sphere of confusion, obviously, whatever he does is bound to produce further chaos. So, what is he to do? What is a man to do who is earnest and desirous of clearing up the confusion about him and in himself? What is his first responsibility - to act, or to clear up the confusion in himself and therefore outside of himself? I think this is an important question that most of us are unwilling to face. We see so much social disorder which we feel needs immediate reform that action becomes an engulfing process. Being anxious to do something, we proceed to act, we try to bring about reforms, we join political parties, either of the left or of the right; but we soon find out that reforms need further reform, leaders need regrouping, organizations demand more organizing, and so on. Whenever we try to act, we find that the actor himself is the source of confusion; so what is he to do? Is he to act when he is confused, or remain inactive? That is really the problem most of us face.
Now, we are afraid to be inactive, and to withdraw for a period to consider the whole problem requires extraordinary intelligence. If you were to withdraw for a time to reconsider, to revaluate the problem, then your friends, your associates, would consider you an escapist. You would become a nonentity, socially you would be nowhere. If when there is flag - waving you do not wave a flag, if when everyone puts on a particular cap you do not have that cap, you feel left out; and as most of us do not like to remain in the background, we plunge into action. So, the problem of action and inaction is quite important to understand. Is it not necessary to be inactive to consider the whole issue? Obviously, we must carry on with our daily responsibility of earning bread; all the necessities must be carried on. But the political, religious, social organizations, the groups, committees, and so on - need we belong to them? If we are very serious about it, must we not reconsider, revalue the whole problem of existence? And to do that, must we not for the time being withdraw in order to consider, ponder, meditate? Is that withdrawal inaction? Is not that withdrawal really action? In that so-called inaction there is the extraordinary action of reconsidering the whole question, revaluing, thinking over the confusion in which one lives. Why are we so afraid to be inactive? Is it inaction to reconsider? Obviously not. Surely, the man who is avoiding action is he who is active without reconsidering the issue. He is the real escapist. He is confused, and in order to escape from his confusion, from his insufficiency, he plunges into action, he joins a society, a party, an organization. He is really escaping from the fundamental issue, which is confusion. So, we are misapplying words. The man who plunges into action without reconsidering the problem, thinking that he is reforming the world by joining a society or a party - it is he who is creating greater confusion and greater misery; whereas, the so-called inactive man who withdraws and is seriously considering the whole question - surely, such a man is much more active.
In these times especially, when the whole world is on the edge of a precipice and catastrophic events are taking place, is it not necessary for a few at least to be inactive, deliberately not to allow themselves to be caught in this machine, this atomic machine of action, which does not produce anything except further confusion, further chaos? Surely, those who are in earnest will withdraw, not from life, not from daily activities, but withdraw in order to discover, study, explore, investigate, the cause of confusion; and to find out, to discover, to explore, one need not go into the innumerable plans and blueprints of what a new society should or should not be. Obviously, such blueprints are utterly useless because a man who is confused and who is merely carrying out blueprints will bring about further confusion. Therefore, as I have repeatedly said, the important thing, if we are to understand the cause of confusion, is self-knowledge. Without understanding oneself there cannot be order in the world; without exploring the whole process of thought, feeling, and action in oneself, there cannot possibly be world peace, order, and security. Therefore, the study of oneself is of primary importance, and it is not a process of escape. This study of oneself is not mere inaction. On the contrary, it requires an extraordinary awareness in everything that one does, awareness in which there is no judgment, no condemnation, nor blame. This awareness of the total process of oneself as one lives in daily life is not narrowing but ever expanding, ever clarifying; and out of this awareness comes order, first in oneself, and then externally in one's relationships.
So, the problem is one of relationship. Without relationship, there is no existence; to be is to be related. If I merely use relationship without understanding myself, I increase the mess and contribute to further confusion. Most of us do not seem to realize this - that the world is my relationship with others, whether one or many. My problem is that of relationship. What I am, that I project; and obviously, if I do not understand myself, the whole of relationship is one of confusion in ever-widening circles. So, relationship becomes of extraordinary importance, not with the so-called mass, the crowd, but in the world of my family and friends, however small that may be - my relationship with my wife, my children, my neighbor. In a world of vast organizations, vast mobilizations of people, mass movements, we are afraid to act on a small scale; we are afraid to be little people clearing up our own patch. We say to ourselves, ''What can I personally do? I must join a mass movement in order to reform.'' On the contrary, real revolution takes place not through mass movements but through the inward revaluation of relationship - that alone is real reformation, a radical, continuous revolution. We are afraid to begin on a small scale. Because the problem is so vast, we think we must meet it with large numbers of people, with a great organization, with mass movements, Surely, we must begin to tackle the problem on a small scale, and the small scale is the 'me' and the 'you'. When I understand myself, I understand you, and out of that understanding comes love. Love is the missing factor; there is a lack of affection, of warmth in relationship; and because we lack that love, that tenderness, that generosity, that mercy in relationship, we escape into mass action which produces further confusion, further misery. We fill our hearts with blueprints for world reform and do not look to that one resolving factor which is love. Do what you will, without the regenerating factor of love, whatever you do will produce further chaos. The action of the intellect is not going to produce a solution. Our problem is relationship, and not which system, which blueprint to follow, what kind of United Nations Organization to form; it is the utter lack of goodwill in relationship, not with humanity, whatever that may mean, but the utter lack of goodwill and love in the relationship between two people. Have you not found how extraordinarily difficult it is to work with another, to think out a problem together with two or three? If we cannot think out problems with two or three, how can we think them out with a mass of people? We can think out problems together only when there is that generosity, that kindliness, that warmth of love in relationship; but we deny love and try to find the solution in the and fields of the mind.
So, relationship is our problem; and without understanding relationship, merely to be active is to produce further confusion, further misery. Action is relationship; to be is to be related. Do what you will, withdraw to the mountains, sit in a forest, you cannot live in isolation. You can live only in relationship, and as long as relationship is not understood, there can be no right action. Right action comes in understanding relationship, which reveals the process of oneself. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, it is a field of affection, warmth, and love, therefore a field rich with flowers.
Questioner: The institution of marriage is one of the chief causes of social conflict. It creates a seeming order at the cost of terrible repression and suffering. Is there another way of solving the problem of sex?
Krishnamurti: Every human problem requires great consideration, and to understand the problem there must be no response, no rejection, no acceptance. That which you condemn, you do not understand. So, we must go into the problem of sex very closely, fully and carefully, step by step - which is what I propose to do. I am not going to lay down what should or should not be done, which is silly, which is immature thinking. You cannot lay down a pattern for life, you cannot put life into the framework of ideas; and because society inevitably puts life into the framework of moral order, society is always breeding disorder. So, to understand this problem, we must neither condemn nor justify, but we will have to think it out anew.
Now, what is the problem? Is sex a problem? Let us think it out together; do not wait for me to answer. If it is a problem, why is it a problem? Have we made hunger into a problem? Has starvation become a problem? The obvious causes of starvation are nationalism, class differences, economic frontiers, sovereign governments, the means of production in the hands of a few, separative religious factors, and so on. If we try to eliminate the symptoms without eradicating the causes, if instead of tackling the root we merely trim the branches because it is so much easier, the same old problem continues. Similarly, why has sex become a problem? To curb the sexual urge, to hold it within bounds, the institution of marriage has been created; and in marriage, behind the door, behind the wall, you can do anything you like and show a respectable front outside. By using her for your sexual gratification you can convert your wife into a prostitute, and it is perfectly respectable. Under the guise of marriage, you can be worse than an animal; and without marriage, without restraint, you know no bounds. So, in order to set a limit, society lays down certain moral laws which become tradition, and within that limit you can be as immoral, as ugly as you like; and that unrepressed indulgence, that habitual sexual action is considered perfectly normal, healthy, and moral. So, why is sex a problem? To a married couple, is sex a problem? Not at all. The woman and the man have an assured source of constant pleasure. When you have a source of constant pleasure, when you have a guaranteed income, what happens? You become dull, weary, empty, exhausted. Have you not noticed that people who before marriage were full of vital energy become dull the moment they are married? All the springs of life have gone out of them. Have you not noticed it in your own sons and daughters? Why has sex become a problem? Obviously, the more intellectual you are, the more sexual you are. Have you not noticed that? And the more there is of emotion, of kindliness, of affection, the less there is of sex. Because our whole social, moral, and educational culture is based on the cultivation of the intellect, sex has become a problem full of confusion and conflict. So, the solution of the problem of sex lies in understanding the cultivation of the intellect. The intellect is not the means of creation, and creation does not take place through the functioning of the intellect; on the contrary, there is creation when the intellect is silent. Only when there is creation does the functioning of intellect have a meaning; but without creation, without that creative affection, the mere functioning of the intellect obviously creates the problem of sex. As most of us live in the brain, as most of us live on words, and words are of the mind, most of us are not creative. We are caught in words, in spinning new words and rearranging old ones. Surely, that is not creation. Since we are not creative, the only expression of creativeness left to us is sex. In the sexual act there is forgetfulness, and in forgetfulness alone there is creation. The sexual act for a split second gives you freedom from that self which is of the mind, and therefore it has become a problem. Surely, creativeness comes into being only when there is absence of thought which is of the 'me', of the 'mine'. I do not know if you have noticed that in moments of great crisis, in moments of great joy, the consciousness of 'me' and 'mine' which is the product of the mind, disappears. In that moment of expansive appreciation of life, of intense joy, there is creativeness. To put it simply, when self is absent there is creation; and since all of us are caught in the and intellect, naturally there is no absence of self. On the contrary, in that field, in that striving to be, there is an exaggerated expansion of the self and therefore no creativeness. Therefore, sex is the only means of being creative, of experiencing the absence of the self - and since the mere sexual act becomes habitual, that too is wearisome and gives strength to the continuity of the self, so sex becomes a problem.
In order to solve the problem of sex, we will have to approach it, not on any one level of thought, but from every direction, from every side - the educational, religious, and moral. When we are young, we have a strong feeling of sex attraction, and we marry - or are married off by our parents, as happens here in the East. Parents are often concerned only with getting rid of their boys and girls, and the pair, the boy and the girl, have no knowledge of sexual matters. Within the sacred law of society, the man can suppress his wife, destroy her, give her children year after year - and it is perfectly all right. Under the guise of respectability, he can become a completely immoral person. One has to understand and educate the boy and the girl - and that requires extraordinary intelligence on the part of the educator. Unfortunately, our fathers, mothers, and teachers all need this same education; they are as dull as dishwater, they only know the do's, don'ts, and taboos, they have no intelligence for this problem. To help the boy and girl we will have to have a new teacher who is really educated. But through the cinema and the advertisements with their half-naked girls, their luscious women, and lavish houses, and through various other means, society is giving stimulation to sensate values, and what do you expect? If he is married, the man takes it out on his wife; if he is not married, he goes to someone under cover. It is a difficult problem to bring intelligence to the boy and the girl. On every side human beings are exploiting each other through sex, through property, through relationship; and religiously, there is no creativeness at all. On the contrary, the constant meditation, the rituals or pujas, the repetition of words are all merely mechanical acts with certain responses; but that is not creative thinking, creative living. Religiously, you are merely traditional therefore, there is no creative inquiry into the discovery of reality. Religiously, you are regimented, and where there is regimentation, whether it is in the military or the religious sense, obviously there cannot be creativeness; therefore, you seek creativeness through sex. Free the mind from orthodoxy, from ritual, from regimentation and dogmatism so that it can be creative, and then the problem of sex will not be so great or so dominant.
There is another side to this problem: in the sexual relationship between man and woman, there is no love. The woman is merely used as a means of sexual gratification. Surely, sirs, love is not the product of the mind; love is not the result of thought; love is not the outcome of a contract. Here in this country the boy and the girl hardly know each other, yet they are married and have sexual relations. The boy and girl accept each other and say, ''You give me this, and I give you that,'' or ''You give me your body, and I give you security, I give you my calculated affection.'' When the husband says, ''I love you,'' it is merely a response of the mind; because he gives his wife a certain protection, he expects of her and she gives him her favor. This relationship of calculation is called love. It is an obvious fact - you may not like me to put it so brutally, but it is the actual fact. Such marriage is said to be for love, but it is a mere matter of exchange; it is a bania marriage, it reveals the mentality of the market place. Surely, in such marriage there cannot be love, can there? Love is not of the mind, but since we have cultivated the mind, we use that word love to cover the field of the mind. Surely, love has nothing to do with the mind, it is not the product of the mind; love is entirely independent of calculation, of thought. When there is no love, then the framework of marriage as an institution becomes a necessity. When there is love, then sex is not a problem - it is the lack of love that makes it into a problem. Don't you know? When you love somebody really deeply - not with the love of the mind, but really from the heart - you share with him or her everything that you have, not your body only, but everything. In your trouble, you ask her help and she helps you. There is no division between man and woman when you love somebody, but there is a sexual problem when you do not know that love. We know only the love of the brain; thought has produced it, and a product of thought is still thought, it is not love.
So, this problem of sex is not simple and it cannot be solved on its own level. To try to solve it purely biologically is absurd; and to approach it through religion or to try to solve it as though it were a mere matter of physical adjustment, of glandular action, or to hedge it in with taboos and condemnations is all too immature, childish, and stupid. It requires intelligence of the highest order. To understand ourselves in our relationship with another requires intelligence far more swift and subtle than to understand nature. But we seek to understand without intelligence; we want immediate action, an immediate solution, and the problem becomes more and more important. Have you noticed a man whose heart is empty, how his face becomes ugly and how the children he produces are ugly and immature? And because they have had no affection, they remain immature for the rest of their lives. Look at your faces sometime in the mirror - how unformed, how undefined they are! You have brains to find out, and you are caught in the brain. Love is not mere thought; thoughts are only the external action of the brain. Love is much deeper, much more profound, and the profundity of life can be discovered only in love. Without love, life has no meaning - and that is the sad part of our existence. We grow old while still immature; our bodies become old, fat, and ugly, and we remain thoughtless. Though we read and talk about it, we have never known the perfume of life. Mere reading and verbalizing indicates an utter lack of the warmth of heart that enriches life; and without that quality of love, do what you will, join any society, bring about any law, you will not solve this problem. To love is to be chaste. Mere intellect is not chastity. The man who tries to be chaste in thought is unchaste because he has no love. Only the man who loves is chaste, pure, incorruptible.
Questioner: In the modern institution of society, it is impossible to live without organization. To shun all organizations as you seem to do is merely escapism. Do you call the postal system a nucleus of power? What should be the basis of organization in the new society?
Krishnamurti: Again, sir, it is a complex question. Surely, all organizations exist for efficiency. The post office is an organization for the efficiency of communication; but when the postmaster becomes a quasi-tyrant over his clerks, the post office becomes a means of power, does it not? The postmaster general is interested in the efficiency of communication, or he should be; his position is obviously not intended to be a means of power, authority, self-aggrandizement - which in fact it is. So, every institution or organization is used by human beings, not simply for efficiency of communication, distribution, and so on, but as a means of power - and that is what I am objecting to. Surely, the post office, the tramway, and various other public services are a necessity in modern society, and they must be organized. The power house which creates electricity needs careful organization; but when that organization is used for political purposes as a means of self-aggrandizement, as a means of exploitation, obviously the organization becomes the tool of extraordinary brutality.
Now, the religious organizations as Hinduism, as Catholicism, as Buddhism, and so on are not for efficiency and are wholly unnecessary. They become pernicious; the priest, the bishop, the church, the temple are an extraordinary means of exploiting men. They exploit you through fear, through tradition, through ceremony. Religion is obviously and truly the search for reality, and such organizations are unnecessary because the search for reality is not carried on through an organized group of people. On the contrary, an organized group of people becomes a hindrance to reality; therefore, Hinduism, Christianity, or any other organized belief is a hindrance to truth. Why do we need such organizations? They are not efficient because the search for truth lies in your own hands; it cannot be realized through an organization, not through a guru or his disciples when they are organized for power. We obviously need technical organizations, such as the post office, the tramway, and so on; but surely, when man is intelligent every other organization is unnecessary. Because we ourselves are not intelligent, we turn over to those people who call themselves intelligent the power to rule us. An intelligent man does not want to be ruled; he does not want any organization other than that which is necessary for the efficiency of existence.
The necessities of life cannot be truly organized when they are in the hands of a few, of a class, or a group; and when the few act as representing the many, surely there is the same problem of power. Exploitation arises when organizations are used as a means of power, whether by the individual, by the group, by the party, or the state. It is this self-expansion through organization that is pernicious, such as a state identifying itself as a sovereign government, with which goes nationalism and in which the individual is also involved. It is this expansive, aggressive, self-defending power that is objectionable. Surely, in order for me to come here, there must be an organization. I must write a letter, and that letter can reach you only if there is a properly organized system of postal distribution. All this is right organization. But when organizations are used by the clever, by the cunning, as a means of exploiting men, such organizations must be eradicated; and they can be eradicated only when you yourself, in your little circle, are not seeking power, dominance. As long as the search for power exists, there must be a hierarchical process from the government's minister to the clerk, from the bishop to the priest, from the general to the common soldier.
Surely, we can have a decent society only when individuals, you and I, are not seeking power in any direction, whether through wealth, through relationship, or through an idea. It is the search for power that is the cause of this disaster, this disintegration of society. Our existence at present is all power politics, dominance in the family by the man or by the woman, dominance through an idea. Action based on an idea is always separative, it can never be inclusive; and the search for power, whether by the individual or by the state, indicates the expansion, the cultivation of the intellect in which there is no love. When you love someone, you are very careful, you organize spontaneously, don't you? You are watchful, you are efficient in helping that one or this one. It is when there is no love that organization as a means of power comes into being. When you love others, when you are full of affection and generosity, then organizations have a different meaning; they are kept on their own level. But when the individual's position becomes all-important, when there is craving for power, then organizations are used as the means to that power - and power and love cannot exist together. Love is its own power, its own beauty, and it is because our hearts are empty that we fill them with the things of the mind; and the things of the mind are not things of the heart. Because our hearts are filled with the things of the mind, we look to organizations as a means of bringing order, of bringing peace to the world. It is not organizations, but only love that can bring order and peace to the world; it is not blueprints of any utopia, but only goodwill that can achieve conciliation between people. Because we have no warmth of love, we depend upon organizations; and the moment we have organizations without love, the clever and the cunning come to the top and use them. We start an organization for the welfare of man, and before we know where we are, somebody is using it for his own ends. We create revolutions, bloody, disastrous revolutions to bring about world order, and before we know it, the power is in the hands of a few maniacs after power, and they become a powerful new class, a new dominating group of commissars with their secret police, and love is driven out.
Sirs, how can man live without love? We can only exist, and existence without love is control, confusion, and pain - and that is what most of us are creating. We organize for existence and we accept conflict as inevitable because our existence is a ceaseless demand for power. Surely, when we love, organization has its own place, its right place; but without love, organization becomes a nightmare, merely mechanical and efficient, like the army. When there is love, there will be no army; but as modern society is based on mere efficiency, we have to have armies - and the purpose of an army is to create war. Even in so-called peace, the more intellectually efficient we are, the more ruthless, the more brutal, the more callous we become. That is why there is confusion in the world, why bureaucracy is more and more powerful, why more and more governments are becoming totalitarian. We submit to all this as being inevitable because we live in our brains and not in our hearts, and therefore love does not exist. Love is the most dangerous and uncertain element in life; and because we do not want to be uncertain, because we do not want to be in danger, we live in the mind. A man who loves is dangerous, and we do not want to live dangerously; we want to live efficiently, we want to live merely in the framework of organization because we think organizations are going to bring order and peace in the world. Organizations have never brought order and peace. Only love, only goodwill, only mercy can bring order and peace, ultimately and therefore now.
Questioner: Why is woman prone to permit herself to be dominated by man? Why do communities and nations permit themselves to be bossed by a leader or a Fuehrer?
Krishnamurti: Now, sir, why do you ask this question? Why don't you look into your own mind to find out why you want to be dominated, why you dominate, and why you seek a leader? Why do you dominate the woman or the man? And this domination is also called love, is it not? When the man dominates, the woman likes it and considers it as affection, and when a woman bosses the man, he also likes it. Why? It is an indication that the domination gives you a certain sense of closeness of relationship. If my wife dominates me, I feel very close to her, and if she does not dominate, I feel she is indifferent. You are afraid of indifference from your wife or your husband, from the woman or the man. You will accept anything as long as you do not feel someone is indifferent. You know how closely you want to keep to your guru; you will do anything - sacrifice your wife, honesty, everything - to be close to him because you want to feel that he is not indifferent to you. That is, we use relationship as a means of self-forgetfulness, and as long as relationship does not show us what we actually are, we are satisfied. That is why we accept the domination of another. When my wife or husband dominates me, it does not reveal what I am but is a source of gratification. If my wife does not dominate me, if she is indifferent and I discover what I really am, it is very disturbing. What am I? I am an empty, dour, sloppy being with certain appetites - and I am afraid to face all that emptiness. Therefore I accept the domination of my wife or husband because it makes me feel very close to him or to her, and I do not want to see myself as I am. And this domination gives a sense of relationship; this domination brings jealousy - the moment you do not dominate me, you are looking at somebody else. Therefore I am jealous because I have lost you, and I do not know how to get rid of jealousy, which is still on the plane of the brain. Sir, a man who loves is not jealous. Jealousy is of the brain, but love is not of the brain; and where there is love, there is no domination. When you love somebody, you are not dominating, you are a part of that person. There is no separation, but complete integration. It is the brain that separates and creates the problem of domination.
So, then, the problem is not the leader but how to eradicate confusion. Can another help you in removing confusion? If you look to another to remove your confusion, he can only help you to increase it because a confused mind can never choose that which is clear; since it is in confusion, it can only choose that which is confused. If you wish radically to get rid of confusion, you will set your own mind and heart in order, you will consider the causes that bring about confusion. Confusion arises only when there is no self-knowledge. When I do not know myself and do not know what to do or what to think, naturally I am caught in the whirlwind of confusion. But when I know myself, the whole total process of myself - which is extraordinarily simple if one has the intention to know oneself - then out of that understanding comes clarity, out of that understanding comes conduct and right behavior. So, it is of the highest importance not to follow a leader but to understand oneself. The understanding of oneself brings love, brings order. Chaos exists only in relationship to something, and as long as I do not understand that relationship, there must be confusion. To understand relationship is to understand myself, and to understand myself is to bring about that quality of love in which there is well-being. If I know how to love my wife, my children, or my neighbor, I know how to love everyone. Since I do not love the one, I am merely remaining on the intellectual or verbal level with humanity. The idealist is a bore - he loves humanity with his brain, he does not love with his heart. When you love, no leader is necessary. It is the empty of heart who seek a leader to fill that emptiness with words, with an ideology, with a utopia of the future. Love is only in the present, not in time, not in the future. For him who loves, eternity is now, for love is its own eternity.