THE FIRST AND LAST FREEDOM CHAPTER 17 'THE FUNCTION OF THE MIND'
When you observe your own mind you are observing not only the so-called upper levels of the mind but also watching the unconscious; you are seeing what the mind actually does, are you not? That is the only way you can investigate. Do not superimpose what it should do, how it should think or act and so on; that would amount to making mere statements. That is if you say the mind should be this or should not be that, then you stop all investigation and all thinking; or, if you quote some high authority, then you equally stop thinking, don't you? If you quote Buddha, Christ or XYZ, there is an end to all pursuit, to all thinking and all investigation. So one has to guard against that. You must put aside all these subtleties of the mind if you would investigate this problem of the self together with me.
What is the function of the mind? To find that out, you must know what the mind is actually doing. What does your mind do? It is all a process of thinking, is it not? Otherwise, the mind is not there. So long as the mind is not thinking, consciously or unconsciously, there is no consciousness. We have to find out what the mind that we use in our everyday life, and also the mind of which most of us are unconscious, does in relation to our problems. We must look at the mind as it is and not as it should be.
Now what is mind as it is functioning? It is actually a process of isolation, is it not? Fundamentally that is what the process of thought is. It is thinking in an isolated form, yet remaining collective. When you observe your own thinking, you will see it is an isolated, fragmentary process. You are thinking according to your reactions, the reactions of your memory of your experience, of your knowledge, of your belief. You are reacting to all that, aren't you? If I say that there must be a fundamental revolution, you immediately react. You will object to that word 'revolution' if you have got good investments, spiritual or otherwise. So your reaction is dependent on your knowledge, on your belief, on your experience. That is an obvious fact. There are various forms of reaction. You say "I must be brotherly", "I must co-operate", "I must be friendly", ''I must be kind", and so on. What are these? These are all reactions; but the fundamental reaction of thinking is a process of isolation. You are watching the process of your own mind, each one of you, which means watching your own action, belief, knowledge, experience. All these give security, do they not? They give security, give strength to the process of thinking. That process only strengthens the 'me', the mind, the self - whether you call that self high or low. All our religions, all our social sanctions, all our laws are for the support of the individual, the individual self, the separative action; and in opposition to that there is the totalitarian state. If you go deeper into the unconscious, there too it is the same process that is at work. There, we are the collective influenced by the environment, by the climate, by the society, by the father, the mother, the grandfather. There again is the desire to assert, to dominate as an individual, as the me.
Is not the function of the mind, as we know it and as we function daily, a process of isolation? Aren't you seeking individual salvation? You are going to be somebody in the future; or in this very life you are going to be a great man, a great writer. Our whole tendency is to be separated. Can the mind do anything else but that? Is it possible for the mind not to think separatively, in a self-enclosed manner, fragmentarily? That is impossible. So we worship the mind; the mind is extraordinarily important. Don't you know, the moment you are a little bit cunning, a little bit alert, and have a little accumulated information and knowledge, how important you become in society? You know how you worship those who are intellectually superior, the lawyers, the professors, the orators, the great writers, the explainers and the expounders! You have cultivated the intellect and the mind.
The function of the mind is to be separated; otherwise your mind is not there. Having cultivated this process for centuries we find we cannot co-operate; we can only be urged, compelled, driven by authority, fear, either economic or religious. If that is the actual state, not only consciously but also at the deeper levels, in our motives, our intentions, our pursuits, how can there be co-operation? How can there be intelligent coming together to do something? As that is almost impossible, religions and organized social parties force the individual to certain forms of discipline. Discipline then becomes imperative if we want to come together, to do things together.
Until we understand how to transcend this separative thinking, this process of giving emphasis to the 'me' and the 'mine', whether in the collective form or in individual form, we shall not have peace; we shall have constant conflict and wars. Our problem is how to bring an end to the separative process of thought. Can thought ever destroy the self, thought being the process of verbalization and of reaction? Thought is nothing else but reaction; thought is not creative. Can such thought put an end to itself? That is what we are trying to find out. When I think along these lines: "I must discipline", "I must think more properly", "I must be this or that", thought is compelling itself, urging itself, disciplining itself to be something or not to be something. Is that not a process of isolation? It is therefore not that integrated intelligence which functions as a whole, from which alone there can be co-operation.
How are you to come to the end of thought? Or rather how is thought, which is isolated, fragmentary and partial, to come to an end? How do you set about it? Will your so-called discipline destroy it? Obviously, you have not succeeded all these long years, otherwise you would not be here. Please examine the disciplining process, which is solely a thought process, in which there is subjection, repression, control, domination - all affecting the unconscious, which asserts itself later as you grow older. Having tried for such a long time to no purpose, you must have found that discipline is obviously not the process to destroy the self. The self cannot be destroyed through discipline, because discipline is a process of strengthening the self. Yet all your religions support it; all your meditations, your assertions are based on this. Will knowledge destroy the self? Will belief destroy it? In other words, will anything that we are at present doing, any of the activities in which we are at present engaged in order to get at the root of the self, will any of that succeed? Is not all this a fundamental waste in a thought process which is a process of isolation, of reaction? What do you do when you realize fundamentally or deeply that thought cannot end itself? What happens? Watch yourself. When you are fully aware of this fact, what happens? You understand that any reaction is conditioned and that, through conditioning, there can be no freedom either at the beginning or at the end - and freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end.
When you realize that any reaction is a form of conditioning and therefore gives continuity to the self in different ways, what actually takes place? You must be very clear in this matter. Belief, knowledge, discipline, experience, the whole process of achieving a result or an end, ambition, becoming something in this life or in a future life - all these are a process of isolation, a process which brings destruction, misery, wars, from which there is no escape through collective action, however much you may be threatened with concentration camps and all the rest of it. Are you aware of that fact? What is the state of the mind which says "It is so", "That is my problem", "That is exactly where I am", "I see what knowledge and discipline can do, what ambition does"? Surely, if you see all that, there is already a different process at work. We see the ways of the intellect but we do not see the way of love. The way of love is not to be found through the intellect. The intellect, with all its ramifications, with all its desires, ambitions, pursuits, must come to an end for love to come into existence. Don't you know that when you love, you co-operate, you are not thinking of yourself? That is the highest form of intelligence - not when you love as a superior entity or when you are in a good position, which is nothing but fear. When your vested interests are there, there can be no love; there is only the process of exploitation, born of fear. So love can come into being only when the mind is not there. Therefore you must understand the whole process of the mind, the function of the mind.
It is only when we know how to love each other that there can be co-operation, that there can be intelligent functioning, a coming together over any question. Only then is it possible to find out what God is, what truth is. Now, we are trying to find truth through intellect, through imitation - which is idolatry. Only when you discard completely, through understanding, the whole structure of the self, can that which is eternal, timeless, immeasurable, come into being. You cannot go to it; it comes to you.