BENGALURU: We see that a radical change is necessary in society, in ourselves, in our individual and group relationships. How is it to be brought about? If change is through conformity to a pattern projected by the mind, through a reasonable, well studied plan, then it is still within the field of the mind. Therefore whatever the mind calculates becomes the end, the vision for which we are willing to sacrifice ourselves and others. If you maintain that, then it follows that we as human beings are merely the creation of the mind, which implies conformity, compulsion, brutality, dictatorships, concentration camps - the whole business. When we worship the mind, all that is implied, is it not? If I realise this, if I see the futility of discipline, of control, if I see that the various forms of suppression only strengthens the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’, then what am I to do?
To consider this problem fully we must go into the question of, what is consciousness? I wonder if you have thought about it for yourself or have merely quoted what authorities have said about consciousness? I do not know how you have understood from your own experience, from your own study of yourself, what this consciousness implies – not only the consciousness of everyday activity and pursuits but the consciousness that is hidden, deeper, richer and much more difficult to get at. If we are to discuss this question of a fundamental change in ourselves and therefore in the world, and in this change to awaken a certain vision, an enthusiasm, a zeal, a faith, a hope, a certainty which will give us the necessary impetus for action – if we are to understand that, isn’t it necessary to go into this question of consciousness?
We can see what we mean by consciousness at the superficial level of the mind. Obviously it is the thinking process, thought. Thought is the result of memory, verbalization. It is the naming, recording and storing up of certain experiences, so as to be able to communicate. At this level there are also various inhibitions, controls, sanctions and disciplines. With all this we are quite familiar. When we go a little deeper there are all the accumulations of the race, the hidden motives, the collective and personal ambitions, prejudices, which are the result of perception, contact and desire. This total consciousness, the hidden as well as the open, is centred round the idea of the ‘me’, the self.
When we discuss how to bring about a change we generally mean a change at the superficial level, do we not? Through determination, conclusions, beliefs, controls, inhibitions, we struggle to reach a superficial end which we want, which we crave for, and we hope to arrive at that with the help of the unconscious, of the deeper layers of the mind. Therefore we think it is necessary to uncover the depths of oneself. But there is everlasting conflict between the superficial levels and the so-called deeper levels. All psychologists, all those who have pursued self-knowledge are fully aware of that.
Will this inner conflict bring about a change? Is that not the most fundamental and important question in our daily life: how to bring about a radical change in ourselves? Will mere alteration at the superficial level bring it about? Will understanding the different layers of consciousness, of the ‘me’, uncovering the past, the various personal experiences from childhood up to now, examining in myself the collective experiences of my father, my mother, my ancestors, my race, the conditioning of the particular society in which I live – will the analysis of all that bring about a change which is not merely an adjustment?