Friends, our very search for the understanding of life, for the meaning of life, our struggle to comprehend the whole substance of life or to find out what truth is, destroys our understanding. In this talk I am going to try to explain that where there is a search to understand life, or to find out the significance of life, that very search perverts our judgment.
If we suffer, we want an explanation of that suffering; we feel that if we don't search, if we don't try to find out the meaning of existence, then we are not progressing or gaining wisdom. So we are constantly making an effort to understand, and in that search for understanding we consciously or unconsciously set up a goal towards which we are driven. We establish a goal, the ideal of a perfect life, and we try to be true to that goal, to that end.
As I have said, consciously or unconsciously we set up a goal, a purpose, a principle or belief, and having established that we try to be true to it; we try to be true to an experience which we have but partly understood. By that process we establish a duality. Because we do not understand the immediate with its problems, with its conventions, because we do not understand the present, we establish an idea, a goal, an end, towards which we try to advance. Because we are not prepared to be alert in meeting suffering wholly as it comes, because we have not the capacity to face experience, we try to establish a goal and be consistent. Thereby we develop a duality in action, in thought, and in feeling, and from this duality there arises a problem. In that development of duality lies the cause of the problem.
1st Public Talk, 6th September, 1933