QUESTION 28 'ON THE KNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN'
Question: Our mind knows only the known. What is it in us that drives us to find the unknown reality, God?
Krishnamurti: Does your mind urge toward the unknown ? Is there an urge in us for the unknown, for reality, for God? Please think it out seriously. This is not a rhetorical question but let us actually find out. Is there an inward urge in each one of us to find the unknown? Is there? How can you find the unknown? If you do not know it, how can you find it? Is there an urge for reality, or is it merely a desire for the known, expanded? Do you understand what I mean? I have known many things; they have not given me happiness, satisfaction, joy. So now I am wanting something else that will give me greater joy, greater happiness, greater vitality - what you will. Can the known, which is my mind - because my mind is known, the result of the past, - can that mind seek the unknown? If I do not know reality, the unknown, how can I search for it? Surely it must come, I cannot go after it. If I go after it, I am going after something which is the known, projected by me.
Our problem is not what it is in us that drives us to find the unknown - that is clear enough. It is our own desire to be more secure, more permanent, more established, more happy, to escape from turmoil, from pain, confusion. That is our obvious drive. When there is that drive, that urge, you will find a marvellous escape, a marvellous refuge - in the Buddha, in the Christ or in political slogans and all the rest of it. That is not reality; that is not the unknowable, the unknown. Therefore the urge for the unknown must come to an end, the search for the unknown must stop; which means there must be understanding of the cumulative known, which is the mind. The mind must understand itself as the known, because that is all it knows. You cannot think about something that you do not know. You can only think about something that you know.
Our difficulty is for the mind not to proceed in the known; that can only happen when the mind understands itself and how all its movement is from the past, projecting itself through the present, to the future. It is one continuous movement of the known; can that movement come to an end? It can come to an end only when the mechanism of its own process is understood, only when the mind understands itself and its workings, its ways, its purposes, its pursuits, its demands - not only the superficial demands but the deep inward urges and motives. This is quite an arduous task. It isn't just in a meeting or at a lecture or by reading a book, that you are going to find out. On the contrary, it needs constant watchfulness, constant awareness of every movement of thought - not only when you are waking but also when you are asleep. It must be a total process, not a sporadic, partial process.
Also, the intention must be right. That is there must be a cessation of the superstition that inwardly we all want the unknown. It is an illusion to think that we are all seeking God - we are not. We don't have to search for light. There will be light when there is no darkness and through darkness we cannot find the light. All that we can do is to remove those barriers that create darkness and the removal depends on the intention. If you are removing them in order to see light, then you are not removing anything, you are only substituting the word light for darkness. Even to look beyond the darkness is an escape from darkness.
We have to consider not what it is that is driving us but why there is in us such confusion, such turmoil, such strife and antagonism - all the stupid things of our existence. When these are not, then there is light, we don't have to look for it. When stupidity is gone, there is intelligence. But the man who is stupid and tries to become intelligent is still stupid. Stupidity can never be made wisdom; only when stupidity ceases is there wisdom, intelligence. The man who is stupid and tries to become intelligent, wise, obviously can never be so. To know what is stupidity, one must go into it, not superficially, but fully, completely, deeply, profoundly; one must go into all the different layers of stupidity and when there is the cessation of that stupidity, there is wisdom.
Therefore it is important to find out not if there is something more, something greater than the known, which is urging us to the unknown, but to see what it is in us that is creating confusion, wars, class differences, snobbishness, the pursuit of the famous, the accumulation of knowledge, the escape through music, through art, through so many ways. It is important, surely, to see them as they are and to come back to ourselves as we are. From there we can proceed. Then the throwing off of the known is comparatively easy. When the mind is silent, when it is no longer projecting itself into the future, wishing for something; when the mind is really quiet, profoundly peaceful, the unknown comes into being. You don't have to search for it. You cannot invite it. That which you can invite is only that which you know. You cannot invite an unknown guest. You can only invite one you know. But you do not know the unknown, God, reality, or what you will. It must come. It can come only when the field is right, when the soil is tilled, but if you till in order for it to come, then you will not have it.