Man has always sought immortality; he paints a picture, puts his name on it, that is a form of immortality; leaving a name behind, man always wants to leave something of himself behind. What has he got to give – apart from technical knowledge – what has he of himself to give? What is he? You and I, what are we, psychologically? You may have a bigger bank account, be cleverer than I am, or this and that; but psychologically, what are we? – a lot of words, memories, experiences, and these we want to hand over to a son, put in a book, or paint in a picture, ‘me’. The ‘me’ becomes extremely important, the ‘me’ opposed to the community, the ‘me’, wanting to identify itself, wanting to fulfill itself, wanting to become something great – you know, all the rest of it. When you observe that ‘me’, you see that it is a bundle of memories, empty words: that is what we cling to; that is the very essence of the separation between you and me, they and we.
We look at conditions prevailing in the world and observe what is happening there – the student’s riots, the class prejudices, the conflict of black against white, the wars, the political confusion, the divisions caused by nationalities and religions. We are also aware of conflict, struggle, anxiety, loneliness, despair, lack of love, and fear. Why do we accept all this? Why do we accept the moral, social environment knowing very well that it is utterly immoral; knowing this for ourselves – not merely emotionally or sentimentally but looking at the world and at ourselves – why do we live this way? Why is it that our educational system does not turn out real human beings but mechanical entities trained to accept certain jobs and finally die? Education, science and religion have not solved our problems at all.
This is a very human, ordinary problem, which touches the life of everyone of us, rich and poor, young and old, why do we live this monotonous, meaningless life, going to the office or working in a laboratory or a factory for forty years, breeding a few children, educating them in absurd ways, and then dying? I think you should ask this question with all your being, in order to find out. Then you can ask the next question: whether human beings can ever change radically, fundamentally, so that they look at the world anew with different eyes, with a different heart, no longer filled with hatred, antagonism, racial prejudices, but with a mind that is very clear, that has tremendous energy.
Then there is the question of dying, which we have carefully put far away from us, as something that is going to happen in the future – the future may be fifty years off or tomorrow. We are afraid of coming to an end, coming physically to an end and being separated from the things we have possessed, worked for, experienced – wife, husband, the house, the furniture, the little garden, the books and the poems we have written or hoped to write. And we are afraid to let all that go because we are the furniture, we are the picture that we possess; when we have the capacity to play the violin, we are that violin. Because we have identified ourselves with those things – we are all that and nothing else. Have you ever looked at it that way? You are the house – with the shutters, the bedroom, the furniture which you have very carefully polished for years, which you own – that is what you are. If you remove all that you are nothing.
And that is what you are afraid of – of being nothing. Isn’t it very strange how you spend forty years going to the office and when you stop doing these things you have heart trouble and die? You are the office, the files, the manager or the clerk or whatever your position is; you are that and nothing else. And you have a lot of ideas about God, goodness, truth, what society should be – that is all. Therein lies sorrow. To realize for yourself that you are that is great sorrow, but the greatest sorrow is that you do not realize it. To see that and find out what it means is to die.
Real freedom is not something to be acquired, it is the outcome of intelligence. You cannot go out and buy freedom in the market. You cannot get it by reading a book, or by listening to someone talk. Freedom comes with intelligence.
But what is intelligence? Can there be intelligence when there is fear, or when the mind is conditioned? When your mind is prejudiced, or when you think you are a marvelous human being, or when you are very ambitious and want to climb the ladder of success, worldly or spiritual, can there be intelligence? When you are concerned about yourself, when you follow or worship somebody, can there be intelligence? Surely, intelligence comes when you understand and break away from all this stupidity. So you have to set about it; and the first thing is to be aware that your mind is not free. You have to observe how your mind is bound by all these things, and then there is the beginning of intelligence, which brings freedom. You have to find the answer for yourself. What is the use of someone else being free when you are not, or of someone else having food when you are hungry?
To be creative, which is to have real initiative, there must be freedom; and for freedom there must be intelligence. So you have to inquire and find out what is preventing intelligence. You have to investigate life, you have to question social values, everything, and not accept anything because you are frightened.
Now, there are many people who will tell you the purpose of life; they will tell you what the sacred books say. Clever people will go on inventing various purposes of life. The political group will have one purpose, the religious group will have another, and so on and on. And how are you to find out what is the purpose of life when you yourself are confused? Surely, as long as you are confused, you can only receive an answer which is also confused. If your mind is disturbed, if it is not really quiet, whatever answer you receive will be through this screen of confusion, anxiety, fear; therefore the answer will be perverted. So the important thing is not to ask what is the purpose of life, but to clear away the confusion that is within you. It is like a blind man asking, “What is light?” If I try to tell him what light is, he will listen according to his blindness, according to his darkness; but from the moment he is able to see, he will never ask what is light. It is there.