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Chapter 2 - 21st October 1968 - 2nd Public Talk at Brandeis University
Chapter 2 - 21st October 1968 - 2nd Public Talk at Brandeis University
We have so many complex problems; unfortunately we rely on others, experts and specialists, to solve them. Religions throughout the world have offered various forms of escape from them. It was thought that science would help to resolve this complexity of human problems; that education would resolve and put an end to them. But one observes that the problems are increasing throughout the world, they are multiplying and becoming more and more urgent, complex, and seemingly endless. Eventually one realizes that one cannot depend on anyone, either on the priests, the scientists or the specialists. One has to "go it alone" for they have all failed; the wars, the divisions of religion, the antagonism of man to man, the brutalities, all continue; constant and progressive fear and sorrow exist.
One sees that one has to make the journey of understanding by oneself; one sees that there is no "authority". Every form of "authority" (except, at a different level, the authority of the technocrats and the specialists,) has failed. Man set up these "authorities" as a guide, as a means of bringing freedom, peace, and because they have failed they have lost their meaning and hence there is a general revolt against the "authorities", spiritual, moral and ethical. Everything is breaking down. One can see in this country, which is quite young, perhaps 300 years old, that there is already a decay taking place before maturity has been reached; there is disorder, conflict, confusion; there is inevitable fear and sorrow. These outward events inevitably force one to find for oneself the answer; one has to wipe the slate clean and begin again, knowing that no outside authority is going to help, no belief, no religious sanction, no moral standard - nothing. The inheritance from the past, with its Scriptures, its Saviour, is no longer important. One is forced to stand alone, examining, exploring, questioning, doubting everything, so that one's own mind becomes clarified; so that it is no longer conditioned, perverted, tortured.
Can we in fact stand alone and explore for ourselves to find the right answer? Can we, in exploring our own minds, our own hearts which are so heavily conditioned, be free, completely - both unconsciously as well as consciously? Can the mind be free of fear? This is one of the major issues of life. Can the human mind ever be free from the contagion of fear? Let us go into it, not abstractly, not theoretically, but by actually being aware of one's own fears, physical as well as psychological, conscious as well as the secret hidden fears. Is that possible? One may be aware of the physical fears - that is fairly simple. But can one be aware of the unconscious, deeper layers of fears? Fear in any form darkens the mind, perverts the mind, brings about confusion and neurotic states. In fear there is no clarity. And let us bear in mind that one can theorize about the causes of fear, analyse them very carefully, go into them intellectually, but at the end one is still afraid. But if one could go into this question of fear, being actually aware of it, then perhaps we could be free of it completely.
There are the conscious fears: "I am afraid of public opinion; "I might lose my job; "my wife may run away; "I am afraid of being lonely; "I am afraid of not being loved; "I am afraid of dying". There is fear of the apparently meaningless boredom of this life, the everlasting trap in which one is caught; the tedium of being educated, earning a livelihood in an office or in a factory, bearing children, the enjoyment of a few sexual interludes and the inevitable sorrow and death. All this engenders fear, conscious fear. Can one face all this fear, go through it so that one is no longer afraid. Can one brush all that aside and be free? If one cannot, then obviously one lives in a state of perpetual anxiety, guilt, uncertainty, with increasing and multiplying problems.
So what is fear? Do we really know fear at all, or do we know it only when it is over? It is important to find this out. Are we ever directly in contact with fear, or is our mind so accustomed, so trained, that it is always escaping and so never coming directly into contact with what it calls fear? It would be worthwhile if you could take your own fear and as we go into it together perhaps we may learn directly about fear.
What is fear? How does it come about? What is the structure and nature of fear? One is, for example, afraid, as we said, of public opinion; there are several things involved in that: one might lose one's job and so on. How does this fear arise? Is it the result of time? Does fear come to an end when I know the cause of fear? Does fear disappear through analysis, in exploring and finding out its cause? I am afraid of something, of death, of what might happen the day after tomorrow, or I am afraid of the past; what sustains and gives continuity to this fear? One may have done something wrong, or one may have said something which should not have been said, all in the past; or one is afraid of what might happen, ill health, disease, losing one's job, all in the future. So there is fear of the past and there is fear of the future. Fear of the past is the fear of something which has actually taken place and fear of the future is the fear of something which might happen, a possibility.
What sustains and gives continuity to the fear of the past and also to the fear for the future? Surely it is thought, - thought of what one has done in the past, or of how a particular disease has given pain and one is afraid of the future repetition of that pain. Fear is sustained by memory, by thinking about it. Thought, in thinking about past pain or pleasure, gives a continuity to it, sustains and nourishes it. Pleasure or pain in relation to the future is the activity of thought.
I am afraid of something I have done, its possible consequences in the future. This fear is sustained by thought. That is fairly obvious. So thought is time - psychologically. Thought brings about psychological time as distinct from chronological time. (We are not talking about chronological time.)
Thought, which puts together time as yesterday, today and tomorrow, breeds fear. Thought creates the interval between now and what might happen in the future. Thought perpetuates fear through psychological time; thought is the origin of fear; thought is the source of sorrow. Do we accept this? Do we actually see the nature of thought, how it operates, how it functions and produces the whole structure of the past, present and the future? Do we see that thought, through analysis, discovering the causes of fear, which takes time, cannot dissolve fear? In the interval between the cause of fear and the ending of fear there is the action of fear. It is like a man who is violent and has invented the ideology of non-violence; he says "I will become non-violent, but in the meantime he is sowing the seeds of violence. So, if we use time - time which is thought - as a means of being free of fear, we will not resolve fear. Fear is not to be resolved by thought because thought has bred fear.
So what is one to do? If thought is not the way out of this trap of fear - do understand this very clearly, not intellectually, not verbally, not as an argument with which you agree or disagree, but as one who is concerned, involved in this question of fear, deeply as we must be if we are at all serious - then, what is one to do? Thought is responsible for fear; thought breeds both fear and pleasure. If one sees very clearly that thought breeds this enormous sense of fear and that thought cannot possibly solve this fear, then what is the next step? I hope you are asking this question of yourself and not waiting for me to answer it. If you are not waiting for me to answer it, then you are up against it, it is a challenge and you must answer it. If you answer that challenge with the old responses, then where are you? - you are still afraid. The challenge is new, immediate: thought has bred fear and thought cannot possibly end fear; what will you do?
First of all, when one says "I have understood the whole nature and structure of thought", what does one mean by that? What does one mean by "I understand", "I have understood it", "I have seen the nature of thought"? What is the state of the mind, which says, "I have understood"?
Please follow carefully, do not assert anything. We are asking: does thought understand? You tell me something, you describe for example the complexity of modern life very carefully, minutely, and I say, "I have understood", not merely the description but the content, the depth, so that I see how human beings caught in it are in a nervous, neurotic, terrible state and so on. I have understood with feeling, with my nerves, with my ears, everything, so that I am no longer caught in it. It is as when I have understood that a cobra is dangerous - then, finished, I won't go near it. My action if I do meet it will be entirely different now that I have understood it.
So, is one in a state of understanding the nature of thought and the product of thought, which is fear and pleasure? Has one come to grips with it? Has one seen, actually, not theoretically or verbally or intellectually, how it operates? Or, am I still with the description, am I still with the argument, with the logical sequence, and not with the fact? If I am merely content with the description, with the verbal explanation, then I am just playing around with it. When the description has led me to the thing described there is direct perception of it; then there is quite a different action. (It is like a hungry man who wants food, not a description of food or the conclusion as to what would happen if he ate; he wants food.)
When one sees how thought breeds fear, then what takes place? When one is hungry and someone describes how lovely food is, what does one do, what is one's response? One will say, "Don't describe food to me, give it me". The action is there, direct, not theoretical. So when one says "I understand", it means that there is a constant movement of learning about thought and fear and pleasure; from this constant movement one acts; one acts in the very movement of learning. When there is such learning about fear there is the ending of fear.
There are fears which the mind has never uncovered, hidden, secret. How can the conscious mind uncover them? The conscious mind receives the hints of those fears through dreams; when one has these dreams, have they to be interpreted? As one cannot understand them for oneself easily one may have an outside interpreter, but he will interpret them according to his particular method or specialization. And there are those dreams that, as one is dreaming, one is interpreting.
Why should one dream at all? The specialists say one must dream or one will go crazy; but I am not at all sure that one must dream. Why cannot one, during the day, be open to the hints and intimations of the unconscious, so that one does not dream at all? While this constant struggle of dreaming goes on in sleep, one's mind is never quiet, never refreshed, never renewed. Cannot the mind during the day be so open, so alert, awake and aware, that the hints and intimations of the hidden fears can come out and be observed and absorbed?
Through awareness, through attention during the day, in speech, in act, in everything that takes place, then both the hidden and the open fears are exposed; then when you sleep there is a sleep that is completely quiet, without a single dream and the mind wakes up the next morning fresh, young, innocent, alive. This is not a theory - do it and you will find out.
Questioner: How is it possible to bring the hidden fears out into consciousness?
Krishnamurti: One can observe within oneself if one is alert, quick, watchful, that the unconscious is, amongst other things, the repository of the past, the racial inheritance. I was born in India, raised in a certain class as a Brahmin, with all its prejudices, superstitions, its strict moral life and so on, together with all the racial and the family content, the tradition of ten thousand years and more, collective and individual, it is all there in the unconscious. That is what we generally mean by the unconscious; the specialist may give it another meaning but as laymen we can observe it for ourselves. Now, how is all that to be exposed? How will you do it? There is the unconscious in you; if you are a Jew there is all the tradition, hidden, of Judaism; if you are a Catholic, there is all that there, hidden; if you are a Communist it is there in a different way, and so on. Now how will you, without dreaming - it is not a puzzle - how will you bring all that into the open? If during the day you are alert, aware of all the movement of thought, aware of what you are saying, your gestures, how you sit, how you walk, how you talk, aware of your responses, then all the hidden things come out very easily; and it will not take time, it will not take many days, for you are no longer resisting, you are no longer actively digging, you are just observing, listening. In that state of awareness everything is exposed. But if you say, "I will keep some things and I will discard others", you are half asleep. If you say, "I will keep all the "goodness" of Hinduism or Judaism or Catholicism and let the rest go", obviously you are still conditioned, holding on. So one has to let all this come out, without resistance.
Questioner: That awareness is without choice,?
Krishnamurti: If that awareness is "choosing", then you are blocking it. But if that awareness is without choice, everything is exposed, the most hidden and secret demands, fears and compulsions.
Questioner: Should one attempt to be aware for one hour a day?
Krishnamurti: If I am aware, if I am attentive, for one minute, that is enough. Most of us are inattentive. To become aware of that inattention is attention; but the cultiva- tion of attention is not attention. I am aware for a single minute of everything that is going on in me, without any choice, observing very clearly; then I spend an hour not giving attention; I take it up again at the end of the hour.