Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1967 | 9th July, 1967
Questioner: I don't understand this business of immediate action.
Krishnamurti: What is action? The actual meaning of that word is `to do'. Action implies an active present. But action is the result of yesterday's mannerisms, knowledge, experience, ideas, formulas, which have become established and we act according to them. The memory of yesterday, modified and so on, acts in the present and that creates the future, so in that action there is no active present. I am acting in accordance with a dead thing. (Of course I must have memory in certain categories of activities, technical and so on). But acting according to memory only produces action that is not action at all, it is a dead thing, therefore tomorrow is also a dead thing. So what am I to do? I must learn about action which is totally different from the action of memory. To do this I must see what actually takes place, not intellectually, not verbally, not sentimentally. I have had an experience of anger or of pleasure and that remains as a memory, and according to that memory action takes place. That action from memory increases the anger or the pleasure and it is always accumulating the past - such action from the past is virtually inaction. Can the mind be free from these memories of yesterday so as to live in the present? This must not be a question to which I can obtain an intellectual answer. Nor can the mind, which is of time, which is subject to infinite moods, free itself from the memories of yesterday by trying to live in the present in accordance with the philosophy which says `I must live completely in the present' which says `there is no future, there is no past, that the future is hopeless therefore live in the present and make the best of the present'.
I cannot live in the present if the present is in the shadow of the past. To understand this the mind must be capable of looking and you can only look when there is no condemnation, no identification, no judgement - as you can look at a tree, a cloud - simply look at it. Before you can look at the most complex structure of memory, you must be able to look at a tree, at the ant, at the movement of the river, to look - we really don't. It is far more important to look at the past as memory, and this we don't know how to do.
Action according to memory, is total inaction, and therefore there is no revolution at all.