J. Krishnamurti on Sex, Rape, and Right Education

What do we mean by the problem of sex? Is it the act, or is it a thought about the act? Surely it is not the act. The sexual act is no problem to you, any more than eating is a problem to you, but if you think about eating or anything else all day long because you have nothing else to think about, it becomes a problem to you. Is the sexual act the problem or is it the thought about the act? Why do you think about it? Why do you build it up, which you are obviously doing? The cinemas, the magazines, the stories, the way women dress, everything is building up your thought of sex. Why does the mind build it up, why does the mind think about sex at all? Why? Why has it become a central issue in your life? When there are so many things calling, demanding your attention, you give complete attention to the thought of sex. What happens? Why are your minds so occupied with it? Because that is a way of ultimate escape, is it not? It is a way of complete self-forgetfulness. For the time being, at least for that moment, you can forget yourself – and there is no other way of forgetting yourself. Everything else you do in life gives emphasis to the `me’, to the self. Your business, your religion, your gods, your leaders, your political and economic actions, your escapes, your social activities, your joining one party and rejecting another – all that is emphasizing and giving strength to the `me’. That is there is only one act in which there is no emphasis on the `me’, so it becomes a problem, does it not? When there is only one thing in your life which is an avenue to ultimate escape to complete forgetfulness of yourself if only for a few seconds, you cling to it because that is the only moment in which you are happy. Every other issue you touch becomes a nightmare, a source of suffering and pain, so you cling to the one thing which gives complete self-forgetfulness, which you call happiness. But when you cling to it, it too becomes a nightmare, because then you want to be free from it, you do not want to be a slave to it. So you invent, again from the mind, the idea of chastity, of celibacy, and you try to be celibate, to be chaste, through suppression, all of which are operations of the mind to cut itself off from the fact. This again gives particular emphasis to the `me’ who is trying to become something, so again you are caught in travail, in trouble, in effort, in pain.

Sex becomes an extraordinarily difficult and complex problem so long as you do not understand the mind which thinks about the problem. The act itself can never be a problem but the thought about the act creates the problem. The act you safeguard; you live loosely, or indulge yourself in marriage, thereby making your wife into a prostitute which is all apparently very respectable, and you are satisfied to leave it at that. Surely the problem can be solved only when you understand the whole process and structure of the `me’ and the `mine: my wife, my child, my property, my car, my achievement, my success; until you understand and resolve all that, sex as a problem will remain. So long as you are ambitious, politically, religiously or in any way, so long as you are emphasizing the self, the thinker, the experiencer, by feeding him on ambition whether in the name of yourself as an individual or in the name of the country, of the party or of an idea which you call religion – so long as there is this activity of self-expansion, you will have a sexual problem.

You are creating, feeding, expanding yourself on the one hand, and on the other you are trying to forget yourself, to lose yourself if only for a moment. How can the two exist together? Your life is a contradiction; emphasis on the `me’ and forgetting the `me’. Sex is not a problem; the problem is this contradiction in your life; and the contradiction cannot be bridged over by the mind, because the mind itself is a contradiction. The contradiction can be understood only when you understand fully the whole process of your daily existence. Going to the cinemas and watching women on the screen, reading books which stimulate the thought, the magazines with their half-naked pictures, your way of looking at women, the surreptitious eyes that catch yours – all these things are encouraging the mind through devious ways to emphasize the self and at the same time you try to be kind, loving, tender. The two cannot go together.

The man who is ambitious, spiritually or otherwise, can never be without a problem, because problems cease only when the self is forgotten, when the `me’ is non-existent, and that state of the non-existence of the self is not an act of will, it is not a mere reaction. Sex becomes a reaction; when the mind tries to solve the problem, it only makes the problem more confused, more troublesome, more painful. The act is not the problem but the mind is the problem, the mind which says it must be chaste. Chastity is not of the mind. The mind can only suppress its own activities and suppression is not chastity. Chastity is not a virtue, chastity cannot be cultivated. `The man who is cultivating humility is surely not a humble man; he may call his pride humility, but he is a proud man, and that is why he seeks to become humble. Pride can never become humble and chastity is not a thing of the mind – you cannot become chaste. You will know chastity only when there is love, and love is not of the mind nor a thing of the mind. Therefore the problem of sex which tortures so many people all over the world cannot be resolved till the mind is understood. We cannot put an end to thinking but thought comes to an end when the thinker ceases and the thinker ceases only when there is an understanding of the whole process.

Fear comes into being when there is division between the thinker and his thought; when there is no thinker, then only is there no conflict in thought. What is implicit needs no effort to understand. The thinker comes into being through thought; then the thinker exerts himself to shape, to control his thoughts or to put an end to them. The thinker is a fictitious entity, an illusion of the mind. When there is a realization of thought as a fact, then there is no need to think about the fact. If there is simple, choice-less awareness, then that which is implicit in the fact begins to reveal itself. Therefore thought as fact ends. Then you will see that the problems which are eating at our hearts and minds, the problems of our social structure, can be resolved. Then sex is no longer a problem, it has its proper place, it is neither an impure thing nor a pure thing. Sex has its place; but when the mind gives it the predominant place, then it becomes a problem. The mind gives sex a predominant place because it cannot live without some happiness and so sex becomes a problem; when the mind understands its whole process and so comes to an end, that is when thinking ceases, then there is creation and it is that creation which makes us happy. To be in that state of creation is bliss, because it is self-forgetfulness in which there is no reaction as from the self. This is not an abstract answer to the daily problem of sex – it is the only answer. The mind denies love and without love there is no chastity; it is because there is no love that you make sex into a problem.

As the questioner says, education throughout the world has failed, it has produced catastrophe after catastrophe, destruction and more destruction, bloodshed, rape and murder. Obviously, education has failed; and if you look to the experts, the specialists, to educate your children, the disaster must continue, because the specialists, being concerned only with the part and not with the whole, are themselves inhuman. Surely, the first thing is to have love; for if there is love, it will find the way to educate the children rightly. But you see, we are all brains and no heart; we have cultivated the intellect, and in ourselves we are so absurdly lopsided – and then the problem arises of what to do with the children. Surely, it is obvious that the educator himself needs educating – and the educator is you; for the home environment is as important as the school environment. So, you have to transform yourself first to give the right environment to the child; for the environment can make him either a brute, an unfeeling technician, or a very sensitive, intelligent human being. The environment is yourself and your action; and unless you transform yourself, the environment, the present society in which we live, must inevitably harm the child, make him rude, rough, unintelligent.

Surely, sirs, those who are deeply interested in this problem will begin to transform themselves and thereby transform society, which will in turn bring about a new means of education. But you are really not interested. You will listen to all this and say, `Yes, I agree; but it is too impracticable’. You don’t treat it as a direct responsibility; you are not really, fundamentally concerned. If you really loved your son and knew the war was coming, as it inevitably is, do you mean to say yon would not act, you would not find a way of stopping war? You see, we don’t love; we use the word `love’ but the content of that word has no meaning any more. We just use the word without a referent, without substance, and we live merely on the word; so the complex problem is there still, and we have to face it. And don’t say I have not shown you a way out of it. The way is yourself and your relationship with your children, your wife, your society. You are the gleam, you are the hope; otherwise there is no way out of this at all.

Look at what is happening. More and more governments are taking charge of education, which means they want to produce efficient beings, either as technicians or for war; and therefore the children must be regimented, they must be told, not how to think, but what to think. They are taught to live on propaganda, slogans. Because those who are in power don’t want to be disturbed, they want to keep the power, it has become the function of government to maintain the status quo with little alterations here and there. So, taking all these factors into consideration, you have to find out what is the meaning of existence why you are living, why you are producing children; and you have to find out how to create a new environment – for, what the environment is, your child is. He listens to your talk, he repeats what the older people think and do. So, you have to create a right environment, not only at home, but outside, which is society; and you have to create a new kind of government which is radically different, which is not based on nationalism, on the sovereign State with its armies and efficient ways of murdering people. That implies seeing your responsibility in relationship, and you actually see that responsibility in relationship only when you love somebody. When your heart is full, then you find a way. This is urgent, it is imminent – you cannot wait for the experts to come and tell you how to educate your child. Only you who love will find the way; for, those hearts are empty that look to the experts.

You have listened to all this, and what is your reaction? You will say, `Yes, very nice, very good, it should be done; but let somebody else begin’ – which means, really, you don’t love your child; you have no relationship with your child, so you don’t see the difficulty. The more irresponsible you become, the more the State takes over all responsibility – the State being the few, the party, left or right. You yourself have to work it out because we are facing a great crisis – not a verbal crisis, not a political or an economic crisis, but a crisis of human degradation, of human disintegration. Therefore, it is your responsibility; as the father, as the mother, you have got to transform yourself. These are not just words I am indulging in. One sees this calamity approaching so closely and dangerously, and we sit here and do not do a thing about it; or if we do, we look to some leader and turn our hearts over to him. It is an obvious fact that when you pursue a leader, you choose that leader out of your own confusion, and therefore the leader himself is confused. (Laughter.) Don’t laugh it off as a clever remark: please look at it, see what you are doing. It is you who are responsible for the appalling horror which we have come to, and you are not facing it. You go out and do exactly the same thing that you did yesterday; and you feel your responsibility is over when you ask that question about education and pass your child on to a teacher who teaches and beats him. Don’t you see? Unless you love your wife, your children, and not merely use them as a tool or means for your own gratification, unless you are really touched by this, you will not find a right way of education. To educate your children means to be interested in the whole process of life. What you think, what you do, and what you say, matters infinitely, because that creates the environment, and it is the environment which created the child.

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