Quote of the Day

Aug 13, 2023
As I was saying, through conflict, outward and inward, we develop will. And will is a form of resistance, obviously, whether it is the will to achieve, or the will to be, the urge to deny or the determination to sustain something. Will is the many threads of desire, and with that we live. And when we enquire into time, we require an insight which is quite different from the will to understand. I do not know if this is clear, but I will go along with it and perhaps you will see it. This is an informal talk, not a prepared talk; it is more or less an enquiring into oneself; and to go into it publicly is one thing and to go into it all by oneself is quite another. What we are trying to do is to communicate it to each other - this journey into time. The enquiry implies time also, and the putting of words together implies time, and all communication is based on time. And perhaps there is a comprehension of what is time, and what is timelessness, not through words, not through verbal or intellectual communication, but perhaps by sidestepping the whole process. But unfortunately we must first enquire verbally, intellectually, into time. And this enquiry is the sense of learning about it - which is not remembering what you have read, or merely hearing the words I am saying, but the perception of it, seeing it directly for yourself. And I think that may have immense value.

Time is both chronological and psychological, outward and inward. And conflict arises when time is introduced into our lives as `I will be', `I not be', `I must arrive', `I must fulfil'. And if the mind could eliminate all that process, then we might find that the mind is no longer measurable, has no frontier, and yet can live in this world totally, completely, with all its senses.

For most of us, chronological time as today, tomorrow and yesterday is essential. Time is involved in learning a technique, to earn a livelihood. It is there, and you cannot avoid it; it is a reality. It took time for you to come here; it takes time to learn a language; there is time as growing from youth to old age. It takes time, involving distance and space, to go from here to the moon. These are all facts, and it would be absurd and insane to deny it.

Now, is there any other time at all, as a fact? Or has the mind invented psychological time as a means of achievement, as a means of becoming something? I am envious, acquisitive, brutal; but, given time, I will gradually be free from envy, be non-violent. Is that a reality, is it a fact, as the distance from London to Paris is a fact? Is there any other fact as definite and real as space and distance? In other words, is there psychological time at all? Though we have invented it, though we live with it, though it is a fact to us,is there such a thing? We accept chronological time and we also accept psychological time; and these two, we say, are facts. The one, the chronological time, is a fact; but I am questioning whether the other is a fact. Is time necessary in order to see something clearly, immediately? To see acquisitiveness, envy, all the things, the suffering involved in envy, to see the truth of it, is time necessary? Or does the mind invent psychological time in order to enjoy the fruits of envy and avoid the pain of it? So, time may be the refuge of an indolent mind. It is the lazy mind that says: `I cannot see the thing immediately, give me time, let me look at it for a longer period; later I will do something about it', or `I know I am violent; and gradually, when it no longer pleases me, when it is no longer profitable to me, when I am no longer enjoying it, I will give it up'. Therefore the ideal is born: the idea of `what should be' is placed at a distance, away from the fact of `what is'. So there is a gap between `the fact' and `what should be'. And I am asking: is the ideal, the `what should be', a fact? Or is it a convenient invention of the mind to enable it to carry on with the pleasures and pains, the indolence of postponement?

Now to see something immediately - the absurdity of envy, of competition, of social morality - , to see the falseness of it immediately, does that require time? To transform the mind, for the mind to free itself of its own conditioning, does it require time? You see, as it is generally understood, a revolution implies carrying out an economic, social, political or other pattern as a reaction to what has been before. For me, a reaction is not a revolution. A revolution is instantaneous, and is unrelated to a reaction.

The mind is, after all, the result of many thousands of yesterdays; and being itself the result of time it always thinks in terms of yesterday, today and tomorrow. And to find out if there is a timelessness, to really find out, to learn about it, there must be a complete revolution in the mind itself. Am I conveying anything, or not at all?
Public Talk 9 London, England - 21 May 1961 Read full text