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5th Public Talk - 18th July 1967

5th Public Talk - 18th July 1967

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Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1967

We said that we were going to talk over together this morning the question of fear. As it is a very important subject we should spend not only this morning, but perhaps several mornings, going into that question and all the problems related to that central issue, which is fear.

Before we begin to unravel the very complex issue of fear we should also, I think, understand the nature of freedom. What do we mean by freedom and do we really want to be free? I am not at all sure that most of us want to be completely free of every burden, rather we should like to keep some pleasurable, satisfying, complex ideologies and gratifying formulas. We should of course like to be free of those things that are painful - the ugly memories, painful experiences and so on. So we should go into this question of freedom and enquire whether it is at all possible to be free, or if it is an ideological utopia, a concept which has no reality whatsoever. We all say we would like to be free, but I think that before we pursue that desire with which our inclinations or tendencies confront us, we should understand the nature and the structure of freedom. Is it freedom when you are free from something, free from pain, free from some kind of anxiety; or is not freedom itself entirely different from freedom from something? One can be free from anger, perhaps from jealousy, but is not freedom from something a reaction and therefore not freedom at all?

Is not freedom something entirely different from any reaction, any inclination, any desire? One can be free from dogma very easily, by analysing, kicking it out, yet the motive for that freedom from a dogma contains its own reaction, doesn't it? The motive, the desire to be free from a dogma, may be that it is no longer convenient, no longer fashionable, no longer reasonable, no longer popular, circumstances are against it and therefore you want to be free from it; these are merely reactions. Is reaction away from anything freedom - or is freedom something entirely different from reaction, standing by itself without any motive, not dependent upon any inclination, tendency and circumstance? Is there such a thing as that kind of freedom? One can be free from nationalism because one believes in internationalism, or because it is no longer economically necessary with a Common market in which it is no longer worth keeping the dogma of nationalism with its flag; you can easily put that away. But has such rationalization or logical conclusion anything to do with freedom? Nor can a leader, spiritual or political, promise freedom at the end of something - for can freedom which comes about through discipline, through conformity, through acceptance, that promises the ideal through the following of that ideal, be freedom? Or is freedom a state of mind which is so intensely active, vigorous, that it throws away every form of dependence, slavery, conformity and acceptance? Does the mind want such freedom? Such freedom implies complete solitude, a state of mind which is not dependant on circumstantial stimulation, ideas, experience. Freedom of that kind obviously means aloneness, solitude. Can the mind brought up in a culture that is so dependent upon environment, on its own tendencies, inclinations, ever find that freedom which is completely alone? It is only in such solitude that there can be relationship with another; in it there is no friction, no dominance, no dependence. Please, you have to understand this, it is not just s verbal conclusion, which you accept or deny. Is this what each individual demands and insists upon - a freedom in which there is no leadership, no tradition, no authority?

Otherwise there is not freedom; otherwise when you say you are free from something, it is merely a reaction, which, because it is a reaction, is going to be the cause of another reaction. One can have a chain of reactions, accepting each reaction as a freedom, but that chain is not freedom, it is a continuity of the modified past to which the mind clings.

Freedom from fear can be reaction, but such a reaction is not freedom. I can be free from the fear of my wife, but I may still be afraid. I may be free from the fear of my wife but freedom from that form of fear is particular, - I don't like to be dominated and therefore I want to be free from domination, from the nagging and all the rest. That particular demand for freedom is a reaction which will create another form of conformity, another form of domination. Like the beatniks, the hippies and so on, their revolt against society, which is good in itself, is a reaction which is going to create a conformity to the hippies, therefore it is not freedom at all.

When we discuss the question of fear, we must, of necessity, understand the nature of freedom, or see that when we talk about freedom we are not talking about complete freedom, but rather freedom from some inconvenient, un pleasant, undesirable thing. We don't want to be free from pleasure; we want to be free from pain. But pain is the shadow of pleasure - the two cannot be separated, they are the one coin with pleasure and pain on reverse sides.

Freedom is complete in itself, it is not a reaction, it is not an ideological conclusion. Freedom implies complete solitude, an inward state of mind that is not dependent on any stimulus, on any knowledge; it is not the result of any experience or conclusion. In understanding freedom we also understand what is implied in solitude. Most of us, inwardly, are never alone. There is a difference between isolation, cutting oneself off and aloneness, solitude. We know what it is to be isolated, to have built a wall round oneself, a wall of resistance, a wall which we have built in order never to be vulnerable. Or we may live in a dreamy idiotic ideology which has no validity at all. All these bring about self isolation, and in our daily life, in the office, at home, in our sexual relationships, in every activity, this process of self isolation is going on. That form of isolation, and living in an ivory tower of ideology, has nothing whatsoever to do with solitude, with aloneness. The state of solitude, aloneness, can only come about when there is freedom from the psychological structure of society, which we have built through our reactions and of which we are.

In understanding total freedom we come upon the sense of complete solitude. I feel that it is only a mind that has understood this solitude that can have relationship in which there is no conflict whatsoever. But if we create an image of what we think is solitude and establish that as the basis of solitude in ourselves, and from that try to find a relationship, then such relationship will only bring about conflict.

We are concerned with the question of fear, but if we don't understand the problems related to that central issue, that quality of aloneness, then when we approach that thing called fear we shan't know what to do. We were saying, that we human beings - who have lived so long, gathered so much experience - are second-hand entities, there is nothing original. We are contaminated by every kind of torture, conflict, obedience, acceptance, fear, jealousy, anxiety and therefore there is not that quality of aloneness. Please observe yourself - as we said the other day, do use the speaker and his words as a mirror in which you are observing yourself. The more you know about yourself the greater the quality of maturity - the immature person is he who does not know himself at all. One of the main features of fear is the non-acceptance of what one is, the inability to face oneself.

We as human beings, as we are, are only a result, a psychological product. In that state - in being a product of time, of culture, of experience, of knowledge, of all the accumulated memories of a thousand yesterdays, or of yesterday - there is no aloneness at all. All our relationships are based on what has been, or what should be, therefore all relation ship is a conflict, a battlefield. If one would Understand what is right relationship, one must enquire into the nature and the structure of solitude, which is to be completely alone. But that word alone creates an image - watch yourself, you will see. When you use that word alone you have already a formula, an image, and you try to live up to that image, to that formula. But the word or the image is not the fact. One has to understand and live with that which actually is. We are not alone, we are a bundle of memories, handed down through centuries, as Germans, as Russians, as Europeans, and so on.

Understanding solitude - if you really know what it means and live in that state - is really quite extraordinary, because then the mind is always fresh and is not dependent upon inclination, tendency, nor guided by circumstance. In understanding solitude you will begin to understand the necessity of living with yourself as you actually are - for one of our major causes of fear is that we do not want to face ourselves as we are. Please, this morning, do look at yourselves as you actually are, not as you think you ought to be or as you have been. See whether you can look at yourself without any tremor, without any false modesty, without any fear, without any justification or condemnation - just live with what you actually are.

Know what it means to live with actuality. In observing myself I find I am jealous, anxious, or envious - I realize that. Now I want to live with that because it is only when I live with something intimately that I begin to understand it. But to live with my envy, with my anxiety, is one of the most difficult things - I see that the moment I get used to it I am not living with it. You are following all this? There is that river and I can see it every day, hear the sound of it, the lapping of the water, but after two or three days I have got used to it and I don't always hear it. I can have a picture in the room, I have looked at it every day, at the beauty, the colour, the various depths and shadows, the quality of it, yet having looked at it for a week I have lost it, I have got used to it. And the same happens with the mountains, with the valleys, the rivers, the trees, with the family, with my wife, with my husband. But to live with a living thing like jealousy, envy, means that I can never accept it, I can never get used to it - I must care for it as I would care for a newly planted tree, I must protect it against the sun, against the storm. So, in the same way, I have to live with this anxiety and envy, I must care for it, not get used to it, not condemn it. In this way I begin to love it and to care for it, which is not that I love to be envious or anxious, but rather that I care for the watching. It is like living with a snake in the room, gradually I begin to see my immediate relationship to it and there is no conflict.

So, can you and I, live with what we actuality are? Being dull, envious, fearful, thinking that we have tremendous affection when we have not, getting easily hurt, flattered, bored, can we live with these actualities, neither accepting nor denying, but observing, living with them without becoming morbid, depressed or elated? Then you will find that one of the major reasons for fear is that we don't want to live with what we are.

We have talked, first of freedom, then of solitude and then of being aware of what we are, and also of how what we are is related to the past and has a movement towards the future, of being aware of this and of living with it, never getting used to it, never accepting it. If we understand this, not intellectually, but through actually doing it, then we can ask a further question: is this freedom, this solitude, this actual coming into immediate contact with the whole structure of what is, to be found or to be come upon through time? That is, is freedom to be achieved through time, through a gradual process? I am not free, because I am anxious, I am fearful, I am this, I am that, I am afraid of death, I am afraid of my neighbour, I am afraid of losing my job, I am afraid of my husband turning against me - of all the things that one has built up through life. I am not free. I can be free by getting rid of them one by one, throwing them out, but that is not freedom. Is freedom to be achieved through time? Obviously not - for the moment you introduce time there is a process, you are enslaving yourself more and more. If I am to be free from violence gradually, through the practice of non-violence, then in the gradual practice I am sowing the seeds of violence all the time. So we are asking a very fundamental question when we ask whether freedom is to be achieved, or rather, whether it comes into being, through time?

The next question is - can one be conscious of that freedom? You are following? If one says 'I am free, then one is not free. So freedom, the freedom of which we are talking, is not something resulting from a conscious effort to achieve it. Therefore it lies beyond all, beyond the field of consciousness and it is not a matter of time. Time is consciousness; time is sorrow; time is fear of thought. When you say, 'I have realized that complete freedom', then you certainly know, if you are really honest with yourself, that you are back where you were. It is like a man saying 'I am happy', the moment he says 'I am happy', he is living the memory of that which is gone. Freedom is not of time and the mind has to look at life, which is a vast movement, without the bondage of time. Do go into it, you will see that one can do all this and when this is very clear - not ideologically, not because you have accepted explanations - then one can proceed to find out what fear is and whether it is at all possible to be completely free of it, right through one's being.

One may be superficially aware or conscious of fear. I may be afraid of my neighbour and know I am afraid; I can resist, or neglect, or be totally indifferent to what he says because I think he is stupid - I can resist him. I can be aware of my conscious fears, but am I aware of my fears at the deeper levels of my mind? How are you going to find out the fears that are concealed, hidden, secret? This implies much graver question, which is - is fear to be divided into the conscious and the unconscious? Please follow this closely, it is a very important question. The specialist, the psychologist, the analyst, has made this division into the deeper levels of fear and the superficial levels of fear. But if you follow what the psychologists say, or what the speaker says, then you are understanding their theory, their dogmas, their knowledge - you are not understanding the actuality of yourself. You can't understand yourself according to Freud, Jung or according to the speaker - you have to understand yourself directly. For this reason all those people have no importance at all.

We are asking - is fear to be divided, as the conscious fears and the unconscious fears? Please be careful how you answer this question, for if you say they are not to be divided then you are denying the unconscious. If you accept that fears are to be divided into the conscious and the unconscious, then you accept that formula. See what is implied when you make the division into fears of the deeply rooted unconscious and the superficial fears. What is implied in that? One can be fairly easily conscious and aware and know the superficial fears by one's immediate reactions. But to unearth, unravel, uproot, to expose the deep-rooted fears, how is that to take place - through dreams, through intimations, through hints? All that implies time. Or is there only fear, which fear we translate into different forms? Only one desire, but the objects of desire change? Desire is always the same - perhaps fear is always the same - one fear which is translated into different fears. I am afraid of this and that, but I realize that fear cannot be divided. This is something that you have to realize, it is not a logical conclusion, not some thing which you put together and believe in. But when you see that fear cannot be divided you have made a discovery that is tremendous and then you will have put away altogether this problem of the unconscious and you will no longer depend on the psychologists, the analysts. This is really a very serious thing, for when you see that fear is indivisible you understand that it is a movement which expresses itself in different ways, not the separate fears of death, of my wife, of losing my job, of not achieving, fulfilling myself and so on. And as long as you see that movement - and not the object to which the movement goes - then you are facing an immense question. Then you are asking how one can look at fear which is indivisible and therefore not fragmentary, without the fragmentation which the mind has cultivated. You are following? I have been presented with the nature of fear as a totality, there is only a total fear, not the fragmentary fears. Now can my mind, which thinks in fragments - my wife, my child, my family, my job, my country - you know how it functions in fragments - can my fragmentary mind observe the total picture of fear? Can it? You are understanding the question? I have lived a life of fragmentation, my thought is only capable of thinking in fragmentation, so I only look at fear through the fragmentary process of thought. To look at total fear must I not be without the fragmentary process of thought? Thought, the whole process of the machinery of thinking, is fragmentation, it breaks up everything. I love you and I hate you, you are my enemy, you are my friend. My peculiar idiosyncrasies, my inclinations are in battle with everything else - my job, my position, my prestige, my country and your country, my God and your God - it is all the fragmentation of thought. And this thought is always old, it is never new and is therefore never free. Thought can never be free because it is the reaction of memory and memory is old. This thought looks at the total state of fear, or tries to look at it, and when it looks it reduces it into fragments. So the mind can only look at this total fear when there is no movement of thought.

We will proceed the day after tomorrow, because there is much to be gone into. Can we discuss, what we have talked about this morning?

Questioner: Sir, you take a fundamental question like fear and you have the confidence to approach that problem, even though it sounds like analysis. I am sure it doesn't bother you a bit - you approach it with full confidence. Now what is that confidence and how does it arise? How does one go about it?

Krishnamurti: How do you know I have confidence? And what do you mean by that word 'confidence'? You say I have confidence in approaching a problem of such a nature as fear. Is it confidence? That is to say, being certain, capable, being capable of analysis, capable of seeing the whole of it - having the capacity and from that capacity having confidence; because you are sure and confident in yourself - you are clever and therefore you can tackle such a fundamental issue. And you ask, how do I get that confidence? First you posit, you state that I have confidence, then you ask how do I get it? How do you know I have confidence? Perhaps I have no confidence at all? Do follow this please. I dislike or distrust confidence for it implies that one is certain, and has achieved; one moves as from a platform, from a state, which means one has accumulated a great deal of knowledge, a great deal of experience and from that one has gained confidence and is therefore able to tackle the problem. But it isn't a bit like that, quite the contrary, for the moment one has reached a conclusion, a position of achievement, of knowledge, from which one starts examining, one is finished, then one is translating every living thing in terms of the old. Whereas, if one has no foothold, if there is no certainty, no achievement, then there is freedom to examine, freedom to look. And when one looks with freedom it is always new.

A man who is confident is a dead human being, like the priest, like the commissar, believing in ideologies, in God, in their conclusions, their ideas, their reactions; they have produced a hideous, monstrous world. Whereas a man who is free to look, and look without the background - without having any opinion, any conclusion, without any standard or principle - he can observe and his observation is always clear, unconfused, fresh and innocent. It is that innocency alone that can see the totality of this whole process.

Q: Sir, there is an essential difference; that is, you approach this whole problem and you don't ask anybody about it at all, and I don't do that. What is the nature of what you do?

K: The problem is not the essential difference between the speaker and the questioner, but why does the questioner depend? Why do you depend, what are the implications of dependence? I depend on my wife, or my wife depends on me - why? Follow this out - don't brush it aside. Why does she depend on me? Is it not because in her self she is not clear, she is unhappy, therefore I help her, I sustain her, I nourish her, or she nourishes me. So it is a mutual dependence, psychologically as well as objectively. So I depend, and when she looks at somebody else she has taken away that support on which I depend, I am hurt, I am afraid, I am jealous. So if you depend on me, on the speaker, to nourish you psychologically, then you will always be in doubt and say, 'My goodness, he may be wrong' or 'There is a better teacher round the corner, there is a greater psychologist, the latest anthropologist who has studied so much, who knows so much'. So you will depend on him; but if you understand the nature of your own dependence then you will have no need of authority at all from anybody. Then your eyes will be clear to look; then you will really look out of innocence and innocence is its own action.

18th July, 1967