The Human Condition

To observe the hidden, one has to have eyes that are not conditioned by the past

Public Talk 3 in Madras (Chennai), 13 January 1971

Everyone you met found you likeable and assumed you were trustworthy. But you knew you did not like or trust many of your own impulses and thoughts, so you didn’t feel likeable or trustworthy. You knew you were plagued with desires, fears, conflict, and confusion, despite how favorably others perceived you.

Then, one day, you met someone who could see clearly how plagued you are; someone who spoke to your condition - not to your appearance. You were drawn to this person who seemed to know more about your condition than you did. In fact, all he did was talk about your condition. He said that your condition can end, but that you can’t end it because you are its creator and director. He said that it/you must “die”, and that this metaphorical death can only come about naturally because, unlike suicide, it cannot be self-induced.

What were you to do with this information? There’s nothing you can do to end the condition because you are the condition, which means you can’t do anything that isn’t conditioned response. So, can you observe your condition without wanting to do anything about it? No, because desire is driving and distorting your observation. So, can you observe your desire-distorted observation without wanting to do anything about it?

This points to something I don’t think ever happens. My observations and my thinking are inseparable. Do I see desire? Or is it a sensation, a feeling, which I relate to something. Is this a true observation or is it conditioning? Desire is known to me by the values of the society, and is a system. Looking at conditioning I understand there is a machine and I am part of the operation. Even my thinking about this is conditioned, and it is emphasizing a place in all this for which I should be moral, ethical, righteous, enlightened, etc.

Of course. All our values and our thinking is conditioned. Is there a ‘me’ who is NOT conditioned? Rhetorical question.

“Abandon all hope ye who enter here” ~ Dante.

It appears to me self-evident that you cannot observe without wanting to do anything about it. “I/you” cannot act without a motive born of some kind of understanding. Even not wanting to interfere with what we experience has implicit motive couched underneath.

Perhaps that is what Krishnamurti means by you cannot actively pursue “meditation”, you can only leave the window open and perhaps it(?) will waft in despite your ‘desire-distorted observation’.

Question is: What does it mean to leave the window open? What does the state of mind look like that abandons all hope and still remains in the game?

The consensus assumption here is that our thinking is either practical thought or psychological thought, and that practical thought is logical, rational, and necessary because its based on fact, whereas psychological thought is distorted and false, because it is based on the fiction of one’s self.

All thought is conditioned, but not all conditioned thought is problematic. In fact, most of it is essential to survival. So the question, “is there a ME who is not conditioned?”, is misleading because there is no ME at all. There is only the illusion of ME, the creation and direction of which is a conditioned response to a society that supports and enables this illusion.

There is no game if there is no hope of winning, so the question is whether one can abandon the game.

I was using the word game in a metaphorical sense – but if you insist on splitting hairs, we can say it is a non-competitive game, with no winners or losers :slightly_smiling_face:.

Though, at this juncture, the metaphor falls apart. There is no game to abandon, for the game is me, and I am nothing but the game, and therefore for all intents and purposes, I am nothing but a bunch of intents and purposes.

Still though to continue the inquiry, we need to consider what Krishnamurti means to convey by his “impossible question” thing. The try but don’t try enigma.

In the moment that this is realized, when there is awareness of the self, there can be a ‘dying ‘ to the self. A “stepping out of time”…thought/time… that is the opening of the ‘window’, as I see it. It can take place every moment that there is awareness of oneself. The awareness is a negation of the activity of the self. A ‘collapsing ‘ of the space between thinker and thought. The ‘breeze ‘ comes in or it doesn’t, it can’t be ‘invited’

This is what K said, but how do you know it’s true if it is not your experience?

In my experience, no matter how many invitations I send out - it only turns up when I’m out.

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I don’t know if it is true. I thought I put ‘invited’ in quotation but I should have used “invited” rather than just the apostrophes.

The mention of the “window” metaphor would be incomplete without adding that. Opening the “window” then as I see it, is this “stepping out of time” or “dying” to use K’s words. Also in my own words it involves ‘snapshots’ of oneself…awareness that takes in the whole of oneself in a moment…just the seeing, no judgement, etc. Just the ‘self’ going about its ordinary business. Each occurrence is an “opening of the window”. And that is all that can be ‘done’. The seeing is done for its own sake…there is not a reward at the end, a ‘payoff’… the opening of the window does not mean there is a connection with a higher dimension or God, etc. All that is the desire to “become”. Wanting that is the desire of the self. The brain can’t invite the Mind. The part can’t invite the whole, etc.

This we read in Krishnamurti’s Notebook: ‘Keep far away where even you can’t find yourself; keep a distance which can never be crossed over; keep a passage open always thorough which no one can come. Don’t shut the door for there is no door, only an open, endless passage; if you shut any door, they will be very close to you, then you are lost.’ What illusion is Krishnamurti here talking about? Apparently only the existence of a door is an illusion, all the rest seems to be very real, including the existence of a kind of place to which one has access free from other people’s contamination but where you can’t stay for too long, you should move on so that you’re not caught. This human condition implies one has to be always ready to move.

A citation with a page number will be appreciated, Thank You.

United 78, here is the all citation, if it can help .

I have followed this discussion, I have seen there is conditioning, and the conditioning is affecting me, it is the nature of my thinking. Then I am seeing this whole affair, how the mind is forming an image to which, separately, I am reacting. Reacting with and by my own thinking. Isn’t that something I can understand? So I don’t need to further analyse or speculate about this, and it is all obvious there is this human condition. Why do I think I have to do anything about it? Is there a deeper suffering and it is disturbing? What I think are my normal abilities, my normal capabilities, these are disturbed and inhumane.

@Richard I was asking @Jess for the correct citation, you have provided an incorrect one.

Right above my comment, Jess has posted an excerpt in quotes claiming that it is from the “Notebook”.

I’m sorry, I haven’t had much time to search online, but maybe you can. Sometimes I take notes of what I hear Krishnamurti say and this text of Krishnamurti I find particularly striking. So, I googled and found two entries with it, I think at least one of them mentions the Notebook. Also, I think, if you have access to it, it comes in the last bulletin of the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd. If I find it later I’ll let you know. Yes, I think Richard gave the wrong information.


Thank you. I am almost sure K won’t say these words, but if you find a citation please be so kind as to post it.

But you are wrong this time, you know? I just googled kft 2019 bulletin and there it is this text and indeed it is Krishnamurti’s Notebook. And I find it both powerful and beautiful.

The determination of right and wrong can be easily done by a citation, which usually comes with a page number to the book. After verifying it i will be glad to be proven wrong. Do you have the page number for the notebook?