The Mirror of Relationship
6th Public Talk 13th August, 1938
I have been trying to explain the habit-forming mechanism of fear, which destroys renewal, rebirth, in which alone there can be reality. The desire for satisfaction creates fear and habit. As I explained, desire and emotion are two different and distinct processes; desire being entirely of the mind, and emotion the integral expression of one's whole being. Desire, the process of the mind, is ever accompanied by fear, and emotion is devoid of fear. Desire must ever produce fear, and emotion has no fear at any time for it is of one's whole being. Emotion cannot conquer desire, for emotion is a state of fearlessness which can be experienced only when desire, with its fear and will of satisfaction, ceases. Emotion cannot overcome fear; for fear, as desire, is of the mind. Emotions are wholly of a different character, quality and dimension.
Now what we are trying to do, the majority of us, is to overcome fear either by desire or by what we call "emotion" - which is really another form of desire. You cannot overcome fear by love. To overcome fear through another force which we call emotion, love, is not possible, for the desire to overcome fear is born of desire itself, of the mind itself, and is not of love. That is, fear is the result of desire, satisfaction, and the desire to overcome fear is of the nature of satisfaction itself. It is not possible to overcome fear by love, as most people find out for themselves. Mind, which is of desire, cannot destroy part of itself. This is what you try to do when you talk of "getting rid" of fear. When you ask, "How am I to get rid of fear, what am I to do about the various forms of fear?" you are merely wanting to know how to overcome one set of desires by another - which only perpetuates fear. For all desire creates fear. Desire breeds fear, and in trying to overcome one desire by another you are only yielding to fear. Desire can only recondition itself, reshape itself to a new pattern, but it will still be desire, giving birth to fear.
We know that our present habits of thought and morality are based on individual security and gain and that thus we have created a society which is maintained through our own desire. Realizing this, there are those who try to create new habits, new virtues, in the hope of creating a new society based on non-gain, and so on. But desire still persists in different forms, and, until we realize the whole process of desire itself, the mere transformation of outside conditions, values, will have little significance.
To change the form of desire from the old to the new is merely to recondition the mind, for it will still be of desire and thus it will always be a source of fear. So we must understand the process of the mind itself. Is not the mind, as we know it, an instrument developed for survival, for satisfaction, for self-protection, for resistance, and therefore the instrument of fear? Let us put aside the consideration that the mind is the instrument of God, the highest moral guide, and so on, for all such assumptions are merely traditional or are mere hopes. Mind is essentially an instrument of fear. From desire spring reason, conclusion, action - whose values and moralities are based on the will to survive, to be satisfied. Thus the mind, thought, breaks itself up into many parts, as the conscious and the unconscious, the high and the low, the real and the false, the good and the evil. That is, the mind, seeking satisfaction, has broken itself up into many parts, each part being in conflict with the other, but the central and essential pursuit of each part and of the whole is one of self.satisfaction, under different forms. So the mind is ever engendering its own fear.
There are various forms of fear: fear of one's own future, fear of death, of life, of responsibility, and so forth. So the mind is ever trying to make itself secure through beliefs, hopes, illusions, knowledge, ideals, patterns. There is a constant struggle between the known and the unknown. The known is the past, the accumulated, habit, and the unknown is that which is the uncertain, the unconquerable, the spontaneous, the creative.
The past is ever trying to overcome the future; habit proceeds to make the unknown into the habitual so that fear may cease. Thus there is the constant conflict of desire, and fear is ever present. The process is to absorb, to be certain, to be satisfied, and when this is not possible, the mind resorts to satisfying explanations, theories, beliefs. Thus death, the unknown, is made into the known; truth, the unconquerable, is made into the attainable.
So the mind is a battlefield of its own desires, fears, values, and whatever effort it makes to destroy fear - that is, to destroy itself - is utterly vain. That part which desires to get rid of fear is ever seeking satisfaction; and that from which it craves to free itself has been in the past a means of satisfaction. Thus satisfaction is trying to get rid of that which has satisfied; fear is trying to overcome that which has been the instrument of fear. Desire, creating fear in its search for satisfaction, tries to conquer that fear, but desire itself is the cause of fear. Mere desire cannot destroy itself, nor fear overcome itself, and all effort of the mind to rid itself of them is born of desire. Thus the mind is caught in its own vicious circle of effort.
We must understand deeply the inward nature of the mind itself, and this understanding is not born of a day; it needs immense awareness of our whole being. The mind, as I said, is a battlefield of various desires, values, hopes, and any effort on its part to free itself from them can only accentuate the conflict. Struggle exists so long as desire in any form continues; when one desire discriminates against another, one series of values against another, one ideal against another, this conflict must continue. This discriminative power of desire, choice, must cease, and this can happen only when one understands, inwardly feels the blind effort of the intellect. The deep observation of this process, without want, without judgment, without prejudice, and so without desire, is the beginning of that awareness which alone can free the mind of its own destructive fears, habits, illusions.
But with the majority of us the difficulty is to pierce through those forms of emotion which are really the stimulations of desire, fear, for such emotions are destructive of love. They prevent integral awareness.
Questioner: Are desire and interest, as we know them now, the same?
Krishnamurti: If interest is merely the result of desire, to gain, to be satisfied, to succeed, then interest is the same as desire and therefore destructive of creative life.
Questioner: How can I attain the quality of desirelessness without having the desire to attain it?
Krishnamurti: Sir, this is exactly what I have been talking about this morning. Why do you want to attain desirelessness? Is it not because you have found through experience that desire is painful, desire brings fear, desire creates conflict or a success that is cruel? So you crave to be in a state of desirelessness, which can be achieved, but it is of death, for it is merely the result of fear. You want to be free from all fear, and so you make desirelessness the ideal, the pattern to be pursued. But the motive behind that ideal is still desire and so still of fear.
Questioner: Is mind life itself? Because one cannot divide up life as mind and emotion?
Krishnamurti: As I have explained, the mind has merely become an instrument of self-protection of various forms, and it has divided itself into emotion and thought - not that life has divided it nor that emotions have separated themselves from the mind, but the mind, through its own desires, has broken up itself into different parts. The mind has discovered that by being desireless it will be less prone to suffering. It has learnt through experience, through knowledge, that desirelessness might bring the ultimate comfort, which it hopes is truth, God, and so on. So it makes an effort to be without desire and therefore divides itself into different parts.
Questioner: Is it possible to be without desire when one has a body?
Krishnamurti: What do you say, sir? This is a problem that you have to face, that we all have to face. Mind, as I said, is ever seeking satisfaction through various forms. Necessity has thus become a means of gratification. This expresses itself in many ways - greed, power, position, and so forth. Can one not exist in this world without desire? You will find this out in your daily life. Do not separate needs from desire, which would be a false approach to the understanding of desire. When needs are glorified as a means for self-importance, then desire starts the complex process of ignorance. If you merely emphasize needs, and make a principle of it, you are again approaching the question of desire from a most unintelligent point of view, but if you begin to consider the process of desire itself, which breeds fear and ignorance, then needs will have their significant value.
Questioner: Please give us your views or anything you care to say on the subject of how to bring up children.
Questioner: It is not the child that is the problem; we are the problem.
Krishnamurti: Are you saying that we must first resolve our own problems and then we shall be able to deal with the child? Is this not a very one sided conception? Is not child education a very complex problem? You want to help the child to grow to its own fullest integral capacity, but as there are not adequate teachers and schools for this purpose, education becomes a problem. You as a parent may have certain definite ideas that will help the child to be intelligently critical and to be spontaneously himself at all times, but unfortunately at school, nationalism, race hatred, leadership, tradition, example, and so on, are inculcated in the child, thus counteracting all that you may be doing at home. So either you have to start a school of your own where prejudices of race, country, examples, religious superstitions, beliefs, are not inculcated in the children - which means that an intelligent human being as a teacher is necessary; and one is rarely found. Or you must send the child to the schools that already exist, hoping for the best, and counteracting at home all the stupid and pernicious things he learns at school, by helping him to be intelligent and critical. But generally you have not the time to do this, or you have too much money, so you employ nurses to look after your children.
It is a complex problem which each parent must deal with according to his capacity, but unfortunately this is paralysed by his own fears, superstitions, beliefs.
Questioner: At least we can give the child a right environment at home.
Krishnamurti: Even that is not enough, is it? For the pressure of opinion is very great. A child feels out of it if he does not put on some kind of uniform or carry a wooden gun when the majority of them are doing it. There is the demand of the so-called nation whose government, with its colossal power, forces the individual to a certain pattern, to carry arms, to kill, to die. Then there is the other institution, organized religion, which, through belief, dogma, and so on, equally tries to destroy the individual. Thus the individual is being continually thwarted of his fulfilment.
This is a problem of our whole life, not to be solved through mere explanations and assertions.
The Mirror of Relationship
6th Public Talk 13th August, 1938
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.