Monday, February 22, 2010

The Observer and the Observed

Questioner: I see the fact that my mind is fragmented as the observer and the observed. But I cannot see any way by which the two can come together.

Krishnamurti: The questioner says, "I see that my mind is fragmented: I see very clearly that there is a division. There is the observer and the observed, and there is conflict. But I can't see how the two can come together." Now we are going to share this question together.

How do you observe a tree? Just a tree. How do you observe it? Do you see it through an image. the image being your knowledge of a particular tree, that it is a mango tree or whatever it is?

Do you look at the tree with an image that you have about it, which is the knowledge that you have? Do you look at your neighbor or your wife or husband with the knowledge that you have, with the image that you have? You do, don't you? When you look at a communist, you have an idea, an image of what a communist is. Or you look at a Protestant with Catholic eyes or a Muslim with Hindu eyes. That is, you look through an image, right? So the image divides. If I am married and I have lived with my wife or a friend for twenty years, naturally I have built up an image about that person. Nagging, friendship, companionship, sex, pleasure, all that is involved, and that becomes the image through which I look. That is simple, isn't it? So the image divides.

Now take the observer and the observed. The observer is the image, is the knowledge of the past. And he looks with that image at the thing he is observing. Therefore there is a division. Now, can the mind be free of images? Of all images? Can the mind, which is in the habit of building images, be free of image-building? That is, can the machinery that builds the image come to an end? Now, what is that machinery? Please, we are sharing the problem together: I am not instructing you. We are asking each other what this image is and how this image is produced and what it is that sustains this image.

Now, the machinery that builds the image is inattention, right? You insult me or flatter me. When you insult me, I react, and that reaction builds the image. The reaction comes about when there is no attention, when I am not attending completely to your insult, when I don't pay complete attention. Therefore inattention, not having attention. breeds the image. When you call me an idiot, I react. That is, I am not fully attentive to what you are saying, and therefore the image is formed. But when I am completely attentive to what you are saying, there is no image-forming. When you flatter me and I listen completely, with complete attention, which is to attend without any choice, to be aware without any choice, then there is no image-forming at all. After all, image—forming is a way of not getting hurt. we won't go into that because that leads us somewhere else. So when somebody flatters or insults, give complete attention at that moment: then you will see there is no image. And having no image, there is no division between the observer and the observed.

From 'Inward Revolution' and 'The First Step is the Last Step'

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