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Questioner: I should like to understand the nature of dependence. I have found myself depending on so many things – on women, on different kinds of amusement, on good wine, on my wife and children, on my friends, on what people say. Fortunately I no longer depend on religious entertainment, but I depend on the books I read to stimulate me and on good conversation. I see that the young are also dependent, perhaps not so much as I am, but they have their own particular forms of dependence. I have been to the East and have seen how there they depend on the guru and the family. Tradition there has greater importance and is more deeply rooted than it is here in Europe, and, of course, very much more so than in America. But we all seem to depend on something to sustain us, not only physically but, much more, inwardly. So I am wondering whether it is at all possible to be really free of dependence, and should one be free of it?
Krishnamurti: I take it you are concerned with the psychological inward attachments. The more one is attached the greater the dependence. The attachment is not only to persons but to ideas and to things. One is attached to a particular environment, to a particular country and so on. And from this springs dependence and therefore resistance. Questioner: Why resistance?
Krishnamurti: The object of my attachment is my territorial or my sexual domain. This I protect, resisting any form of encroachment on it from others. I also limit the freedom of the person to whom I am attached and limit my own freedom. So attachment is resistance. I am attached to something or somebody. That attachment is possessiveness; possessiveness is resistance, so attachment is resistance.
Questioner: Yes, I see that.
Krishnamurti: Any form of encroachment on my possessions leads to violence, legally or psychologically. So attachment is violence, resistance, imprisonment – the imprisonment of oneself and of the object of attachment. Attachment means this is mine and not yours; keep off! So this relationship is resistance against others. The whole world is divided into mine and yours: my opinion, my judgement, my advice, my God, my country – an infinity of such nonsense. Seeing all this taking place, not in abstraction but actually in our daily life, we can ask why there is this attachment to people, things and ideas. Why does one depend? All being is relationship and all relationship is in this dependence with its violence, resistance and domination. We have made the whole world into this. Where one possesses one must dominate. We meet beauty, love springs up, and immediately it turns to attachment and all this misery begins and the love has gone out of the window. Then we ask, “What has happened to our great love?” This is actually what is happening in our daily life. And, seeing all this, we can now ask: why is man invariably attached, not only to that which is lovely, but also to every form of illusion and to so many idiotic fancies?
Freedom is not a state of non-dependence; it is a positive state in which there isn’t any dependence. But it is not a result, it has no cause. This must be understood very clearly before we can go into the question of why man depends or falls into the trap of attachment with all its miseries. Being attached we try to cultivate a state of independence – which is another form of resistance.
Questioner: So what is freedom? You say it is not the negation of dependence or the ending of dependence; you say it is not freedom from something, but just freedom. So what is it? Is it an abstraction or an actuality?
Krishnamurti: It is not an abstraction. It is the state of mind in which there is no form of resistance whatsoever. It is not like a river accommodating itself to boulders here and there, going round or over them. In this freedom there are no boulders at all, only the movement of the water.
Questioner: But the boulder of attachment is there, in this river of life. You can’t just speak about another river in which there are no boulders.
Krishnamurti: We are not avoiding the boulder or saying it doesn’t exist. We must first understand freedom. It is not the same river as the one in which there are the boulders.
Questioner: I have still got my river with its boulders, and that’s what I came to ask about, not about some other unknown river without boulders. That’s no good to me.
Krishnamurti: Quite right. But you must understand what freedom is in order to understand your boulders. But don’t let us flog this simile to death. We must consider both freedom and attachment.
Questioner: What has my attachment to do with freedom or freedom with my attachment?
Krishnamurti: In your attachment there is pain. You want to be rid of this pain, so you cultivate detachment which is another form of resistance. In the opposite there is no freedom. These two opposites are identical and mutually strengthen each other. What you are concerned with is how to have the pleasures of attachment without its miseries. You cannot. That is why it is important to understand that freedom does not lie in detachment. In the process of understanding attachment there is freedom, not in running away from attachment. So our question now is, why are human beings attached, dependent?
Being nothing, being a desert in oneself, one hopes through another to find water. Being empty, poor, wretched, insufficient, devoid of interest or importance, one hopes through another to be enriched. Through the love of another one hopes to forget oneself. Through the beauty of another one hopes to acquire beauty. Through the family, through the nation, through the lover, through some fantastic belief, one hopes to cover this desert with flowers. And God is the ultimate lover. So one puts hooks into all these things. In this there is pain and uncertainty, and the desert seems more arid than ever before. Of course it is neither more nor less arid; it is what it was, only one has avoided looking at it while escaping through some form of attachment with its pain, and then escaping from that pain into detachment. But one remains arid and empty as before. So instead of trying to escape, either through attachment or through detachment, can we not become aware of this fact, of this deep inward poverty and inadequacy, this dull, hollow isolation? That is the only thing that matters, not attachment or detachment. Can you look at it without any sense of condemnation or evaluation? When you do, are you looking at it as an observer who looks at the observed, or without the observer?
Questioner: What do you mean, the observer?
Krishnamurti: Are you looking at it from a centre with all its conclusions of like and dislike, opinion, judgement, the desire to be free of this emptiness and so on – are you looking at this aridness with the eyes of conclusion – or are you looking with eyes that are completely free? When you look at it with completely free eyes there is no observer. If there is no observer, is there the thing observed as loneliness, emptiness, wretchedness?
Questioner: Do you mean to say that that tree doesn’t exist if I look at it without conclusions, without a centre which is the observer?
Krishnamurti: Of course the tree exists.
Questioner: Why does loneliness disappear but not the tree when I look without the observer?
Krishnamurti: Because the tree is not created by the centre, by the mind of the “me”. But the mind of the “me’, in all its self-centred activity has created this emptiness, this isolation. And when that mind, without the centre, looks, the self-centred activity ends. So the loneliness is not. Then the mind functions in freedom. Looking at the whole structure of attachment and detachment, and the movement of pain and pleasure, we see how the mind of the “me” builds its own desert and its own escapes. When the mind of the “me” is still, then there is no desert and there is no escape.