Most of us are ridden by the desire for success, for
fame, or by the desire to be known; and it is an everlasting
struggle and effort. Struggle is apparently accepted by each
one as a necessity—in learning, in getting educated, in going
to the office, in climbing the ladder of success, in understanding
what is truth; everything has become a question of struggle,
Why do we struggle? What is the essence of struggle, what is
the essence ambition? Surely, conflict is the essence of ambition.
Conflict exists because there is contradiction. If there was no
contradiction, there would be no struggle.If there is no
contradiction, there need be no effort. And we are a mass of
Why does this contradiction exist? Why does desire tear in
different directions? Being torn in different directions, we say
to ourselves, ‘I must be without desire,’ or ‘I must control the
desire.’ Psychologically it is impossible to control desire; you
have to understand it, you have to unravel it, you have to go
to the full length, not in its expression, not in its fulfilment, but
understand the whole significance of desire which breeds
contradiction. Because it breeds contradiction, we resist desire,
we suppress desire, we say to ourselves, ‘We must be desireless’
—which is to destroy the whole immensity of life. For desire
is part of life, and merely to suppress it, deny it, control it, is
to shut off the immensity of life.
So, struggle exists because there is contradiction outwardly
and inwardly. Outwardly there is the attraction of power, position
or prestige, which is offered to a man who seeks status. There is
a living with function. We have to function as human beings,
we have to go to the office, we have to learn, we have to do things
—a function. But with that function goes the desire to be more than
a functionary, because you use that function as a means to
acquire power, position, prestige; and so, there is contradiction.
A man who uses function to achieve status can never be
efficient. And we need to be efficient in this world, because
function matters enormously.
Why is there this intense desire on the part of each one,
almost every one, to achieve fame? Why is there this desire?
why there is this incessant battle with yourself. Surely, for
most of us, we are aware at some time or other, consciously or
unconsciously, that there is a great emptiness, loneliness in us.
.And because we are so frightened of that loneliness, we run
away from it, so there is a contradiction. We try to escape from
that loneliness through knowledge, through success, through
money, through sex, through religion, through every form.
But the fact is that you are lonely—which you don't want to
face—and you are escaping from it, and so there is contradiction,
which breeds conflict.
We are concerned with conflict. A man who has no conflict is
not ambitious. And a man who is ambitious can never love;
he does not know what it means to love because he is concerned
with himself and with his own ideas and his own achievements.
A man who seeks fame—how can he love, how can he have
kindliness, generosity? And this sense of achievement can only
come about when there is an escape from the fact that you are
lonely. Do what you will, until you understand that extraordinary
loneliness, your gods, your knowledge, your power or your position
have no value, nor does virtue have any value.
So, this contradiction exists when there is an avoidance
of the fact—the fact that you are lonely, the fact that you
are angry, the fact that you are violent. You are violent,
you are angry, or you are ambitious—that is a fact. You
should not be angry, you should not be violent, or you
should not be ambitious—that is an idea, that is a non-fact.
Therefore ideals, which have no reality, no substance, breed
contradiction. The man who faces the fact of every day, of
every minute, without distortion—such a man has no conflict.
And to live without conflict demands tremendous energy. Not
that the man who has conflict has no energy; he is dissipating
energy. Not that the man who is ambitious has no energy;
he has the energy which comes about through resistance,
but that is destructive energy. There is that energy which
comes when there is no conflict, when you are facing the fact
every minute—I mean by ‘the fact’ the psychological fact,
what you are inwardly.
one has to understand the fact. We do not understand the fact
because consciousness is the result of influences. We cannot
see the fact because of the influence that has shaped thought,
the influence which is shaping the conscious mind as well as the
unconscious mind. Is it possible for the mind to be free of
influence? You understand, sir, influence Can you be aware
of every influence—be aware without choice, just be aware
of every influence that is going on around you? Is that possible?
Because, if you are free, if you can observe influence, your
mind is already sharpened and therefore capable of freeing
itself from influence. This is a complex subject; it needs attention,
it needs all your thought to find out, because you are the result
of influence. When you believe that you are the higher self,
and all the rest of it, when you say there is in you God, divinity,
the atman—all that is influence. When the communist does not
believe in God, he is also influenced.
Is it possible to be free of all influences? Otherwise you
cannot proceed to inquire into the question of freedom,
and be free. As I said, you can never be free of influence,
but you can always be watching every influence that you
meet. That means watching every minute what you are
doing, what you are thinking, what you are feeling; and
in that watching, not to allow any form of distortion,
self-opinion, evaluation to take place, which is the result
of influence. All influence is evil, as authority is evil. There
is no good influence or bad influence, as all influence
shapes the mind, corrupts the mind. So, if one understands
the fact that every form of influence—it does not matter
whether it is good or bad—distorts, cripples, corrupts the
mind, if one understands that fact, sees that fact, then
one will be aware, totally, of every influence that impinges
on the mind. That is, in denying, in negation, there is the
emergence of the fact, of truth. When you deny, when you
say no, you do so either with a motive or without a motive.
Probably you have never said no. Because, most of us are
yes-sayers; we accept, we never say, no to anything without
a motive—which means that when you say no without a motive,
you are out of influence.
The word anger, the word ‘God”, the word ‘communist’, the
word ‘Congress’, the word ‘India’—we are slaves to these
words. And a mind that is a slave to a word cannot
see the fact. So, you begin to discover for yourself
how extraordinarily slavish thought is to a word. And you
will find, if you will go into it very deeply, that there
is no thought without a word. And you will find,if you go
still deeper, that where there is a thinker and a thought,
there is a contradiction, and every form of experience only
divides and strengthens the thinker and the thought as a
separate process. So, it is only when this whole process
which I have from the beginning until now, is understood,
examined,watched, that the mind comes out of this social,
environmental,verbal structure as an uncorrupted, clear,
sane, rational mind.It is only then that the mind is no
longer influenced; it is completely empty. It is only
such a mind that can go beyond time, and beyond all space.
It is only then the immeasurable,the unknowable, can come
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