The experiences, the influences, the traditions by which we are bound may be conscious or unconscious. Most of us are probably unaware of all these things that bind us. Being in a state of contradiction, we ask, 'How am I to get out of it?' or else we accept this inward contradiction as inevitable, and somehow put up with it. But a man who would find out if there is a way of living free of self-contradiction, with all its miseries, must begin to inquire into the nature of his own consciousness, not only at the upper level, but at the deeper levels as well. And if you begin to inquire into yourself, you will inevitably see that your conscious and unconscious conflicts, which produce dreams and various other psychological states, are the result of a deep, inward contradiction. An ambitious man, whether he be a merchant, a politician, or a so-called saint is essentially a self-contradictory human being. So do please see the psychological revolution that will take place when you begin to inquire into this whole problem of self-contradiction.
Self-contradiction is not productive of intelligence but only of cunning. It produces a certain efficiency in adjusting oneself to the environment - and that is what most of us are doing. Self-contradiction, with its ceaseless effort, places a bondage on consciousness; and action born of self-contradiction is fundamentally productive of misery, though on the surface it may seem to be worthwhile. If your mind is in a state of self-contradiction, you may do good superficially, but essentially you are creating further misery. Of course, the streets must be cleaned, and all the rest of it - but we are not talking about that.
Now, seeing that any action born of self-contradiction, with its tension, will invariably produce misery, not only in the individual, but in his relationship with everything, one begins to inquire, 'Then what is intelligent action? What is the action which is not born of self-contradiction, which is not the outcome of effort?' Please follow this, sirs. With most of us, idea and action are two separate things. The idea is over there, and our approximation to that idea is what we call action, so there is self-contradiction. Do you follow? The mind which conceives of action as an idea and then shapes its action according to that idea is in a state of self-contradiction, is it not? So, then, is there an action which is not self-contradictory? We all know the action which is in contradiction with itself - that is our everyday life. The mind is very familiar with it. And seeing the misery, the confusion, the ugliness, the brutality, the fleeting joys that result from such action, the mind is now inquiring if there is an action which does not come out of the womb of self-contradiction. If it exists, what is the nature of that action? Surely, it is a movement which is not divided as idea and action. When you feel something very strongly, you act without calculation, without bringing in the intellect and its cunning reasons, without thinking how dangerous it will be. Out of this pure feeling there is an action which is not self-contradictory. Perhaps I am not making myself clear.
Sirs, when you love something with your whole being, there is no self-contradiction. But most of us have not that wholeness of love. Our love is divided as carnal and spiritual, sacred and profane, and all the rest of that nonsense. We do not know the love which is a total feeling, a completeness of being, which is neither of the past nor of the future, and which is not concerned with its own continuity. That feeling is total; it has no border, no frontier, and that feeling is action free of self-contradiction. Don't say, 'How am I to get it?' It is not an ideal, a thing to be gained, a goal you must arrive at. If it is an ideal, throw it out because it will only create greater contradiction in your life. You have enough ideals, enough miseries - don't add another. We are talking about something entirely different: freeing the mind of all ideals, and therefore of all contradiction. If you see the truth of that, it is enough.
So, you see, intelligence is neither yours nor mine, nor is it to be found in any particular book; it is anonymous. When the mind listens to what is being said without accepting or denying, without comparing or evaluating, when it uncovers the truth of everything as it goes along, such a mind is in a state of intelligence, and that intelligence is completely anonymous. Do you understand, sirs? All great things are anonymous, are they not? All the great temples of this country, all the great cathedrals of Europe are anonymous. You don't know who built those structures. No man has left his petty little name on them. Similarly, truth is anonymous, and you must be in a state of anonymity for it to come to you. All creation is anonymous - the creation which comes from nothingness.
If you have diligently followed all that has been said, you will perceive that where thinking is based on experience, it is productive of self-contradiction. What does that word experience mean? There is a challenge and a response; the response to the challenge is experience, which becomes memory. Such memory is productive of thought, which says, 'This is right, that is wrong. This is good, that is bad. This is what I must do, that is what I must not do,' and so on. As long as the mind is thus the residue of experience, as long as there is thought which has its roots in the soil of memory, there must be self-contradiction.
I know this is very difficult to understand, sirs, because for most of us life is based on experience. We move from experience to experience, and each experience, gathered as memory, shapes and conditions all further experience. But I am suggesting that there is a state of mind in which action is entire. There is then no idea apart from action; there is no approximation of action to an idea. If you really begin to inquire into that state of intelligence, you will discover for yourself the astonishing fullness, the entirety, the altogetherness of a mind that has no past, no future; and from that state, action is inevitable. Then living itself is action, and in such action there is no contradiction, but an extraordinary sense of bliss, a quietude which cannot be repeated, which is not to be imitated or learned from another. It comes darkly, mysteriously, without your asking for it. It comes only when you have gone into yourself very deeply and have torn away the roots of all your conventions, customs, habits, methods, ideals, and superstitions. Then you will find there is love; and with that love there is no evil; neither is there the good, for both are bondages. It is only love that is free.
Second Public Talk, December 27th 1959