Beyond Violence Part I Chapter 2 Santa Monica 2nd Public Talk 4th March 1970
WE WERE SAYING how important it is that there should be a fundamental change in the human psyche and that this change can only come about through complete freedom. That word 'freedom' is a most dangerous word unless we understand completely and absolutely what it means; we have to learn the full implications of that word, not just its meaning according to the dictionary. Most of us use it according to our particular tendency, or fancy, or politically. We are going to use that word neither politically not circumstantially, but rather go into the inward, psychological meaning of it.
But before that, we have to understand the meaning of the word 'learn'. As we said the other day, we are going to communicate together - which means partake, share together - and learning is part of this. You are not going to learn from the speaker, but you learn by observing, by using the speaker as a mirror to observe your own movement of thought, of feeling, your own psyche, your own psychology. There is no authority involved in this at all; though the speaker has to sit on a platform, because it is convenient, that position does not give him any authority whatsoever. So we can brush that aside completely and consider the question of learning - not from another, but using the speaker to learn about oneself. You are learning from observing your own psyche, your own self - whatever it is. To learn, there must be freedom, there must be a great deal of curiosity and there must be intensity, passion, an immediacy. You cannot learn if there is no passion, no energy to find out. If there is any kind of prejudice, any bias, of like or dislike, of condemnation, then one cannot possibly learn, one only distorts what one observes.
The word `discipline` means to learn from a man who knows; you are supposed not to know, so you learn from another. The word `discipline' implies that. But here we are using the word `discipline' not as learning from another, but as the observing of oneself, which demands a discipline which is not suppression, imitation or conformity, or even adjustment, but actually observing; that very observation is an act of discipline - which is learning through observation. That very act of learning is its own discipline, in the sense that you have to give a great deal of attention, you have to have great energy, intensity, and the immediacy of action.
We are going to talk about fear, and in going into that we have to consider a great many things, because fear is a very complex problem. Unless the mind is absolutely free from fear, every form of action brings about more mischief, more misery, more confusion. So we are going to enquire together into the implication of fear and whether it is at all possible to be completely free of it - not tomorrow, not at some future date, but so that as you leave this hall, the burden, the darkness, the misery and the corruption of fear no longer exists.
To understand this you have to examine also the idea that we have of gradualness - that is, the idea of gradually getting rid of fear. There is no such thing as gradually getting rid of fear. Either you are completely free of it, or not at all; there is no gradualness, which implies time - time not only in the chronological sense of that word, but also in the psychological sense. Time is of the very essence of fear, as we shall point out presently. So in understanding and being free of fear and the conditioning in which one is brought up, the idea of doing it slowly, eventually, must completely come to an end. That is going to be our first difficulty. If I may point out again, this is not a lecture; it is rather that two friendly, affectionate people, enquire together into a very difficult problem. Man has lived with fear, he has accepted it as part of his life and we are enquiring into the possibility, or rather the `impossibility', of ending fear. You know, what is possible is already done, is already finished - is it not? If it is possible you can do it. But what is impossible becomes possible only when you understand that there is no tomorrow at all - psychologically speaking. We are confronted with the extraordinary problem of fear, and man apparently has never been able to be rid of it completely. Not only physically, but inwardly, psychologically, he has never been rid of it; he has always escaped from it through various forms of entertainment, religious and otherwise. And the escapes have been an avoidance of `what is'. So we are concerned with the `impossibility' of being free from it completely - therefore what is `impossible' becomes possible.
What actually is fear? The physical fears can be understood comparatively easily. But the psychological fears are much more complex, and to understand them there must be freedom to enquire - not to form an opinion, not a dialectical enquiry into the possibility of ending fear. But first let us go into the question of physical fears, which naturally affect the psyche. When you meet danger of any kind there is instant physical response. Is that fear?
(You are not learning from me, we are learning together; therefore you have to pay a great deal of attention, because it is no good coming to a gathering of this kind and going away with a few sets of ideas, or formulas - that doesn't free the mind from fear. But what does free the mind from fear completely and absolutely, is to understand it totally now - not tomorrow. It is like seeing something wholly, completely; and what you see you understand. Then it is yours and nobody else's.)
So there is physical fear, like seeing a precipice, meeting a wild animal. Is the response to meeting such a danger, physical fear, or is it intelligence? You meet a snake, and you respond immediately. That response is the past conditioning which says `be careful' and your whole psychosomatic response is immediate, though conditioned; it is the result of the past, for you were told that the animal is dangerous. In meeting any form of physical danger, is there fear? Or is it the response of intelligence to the necessity of self-preservation?
Then there is the fear of having again a previous physical pain or illness. What takes place there? Is that intelligence? Or is it an action of thought, which is the response of memory, fearing that the pain which one had in the past might happen again? Is this clear, that thought produces fear? There are also the various forms of psychological fears - fear of death fear of society, fear of not being respectable, fear of what people might say, fear of darkness and so on.
Before we go into this question of psychological fears, we have to understand something very clearly: we are not analysing. Analysis has nothing whatsoever to do with observation, with seeing. In analysis there is always the analyser and the thing analysed. The analyser is a fragment of the many other fragments of which we are compounded. One fragment assumes the authority of the analyser and begins to analyse. Now, what is involved in that? The analyser is the censor, the entity who assumes that he has knowledge and therefore he has the authority to analyse. Unless he analyses completely, truly, without any distortion, his analysis has no value at all. Please do understand this very clearly, because the speaker does not maintain the necessity of any analysis whatsoever, at any time. It is rather a bitter pill to swallow, because most of you either have been analysed, or are going to be analysed, or have studied what analysis is. Analysis implies not only an analyser separate from the analysed, but it also implies time. You have to analyse gradually, bit by bit, the whole series of fragments of which you are, and that takes years. And when you analyse, the mind must be absolutely clear and free. So several things are involved: the analyser, a fragment who separates himself from other fragments and says, `I am going to analyse', and also time, day after day, looking, criticizing, condemning, judging, evaluating, remembering. Also implied is the whole drama of dreams; one never asks if it is necessary to dream at all - though all the psychologists say you must, otherwise you will go mad.
So who is the analyser? He is part of yourself, part of your mind, and he is going to examine the other parts; he is the result of past experiences, past knowledge, past evaluation; he is the centre from which he is going to examine. Has that centre any truth, any validity? All of us function from a centre and what is that centre? That centre is a centre of fear, anxiety, greed, pleasure, despair, hope, dependency, ambition, comparison - it is that from which we think and act. This is not a supposition, not a theory, but an absolute, observable, daily fact. In that centre there are many fragments and one of the fragments becomes the analyser - which is absurd, because the analyser is the analysed. You must understand this, otherwise you will not be able to follow when we go into the question of fear much more deeply. You have to understand it completely, because when you leave this hall you must be free of it so that you can live, enjoy and look at the world with different eyes; so that you can have your relationships no longer burdened with fear, with jealousy, with despair; so that you become a human being, not a violent, destructive animal.
So the analyser is the analysed, and in the separation between the analyser and the analysed is the whole process of conflict. And analysis involves time: by the time you have analysed everything, you are ready for the grave and you have not lived at all. (Laughter.) No, do not laugh; this is not an entertainment, it is dreadfully serious. It is only the earnest, serious person who knows what life is, what living is - not the man who seeks amusement. Therefore this demands a great deal of earnest inquiry. The mind must be completely free of the idea of analysis, because it has no meaning. You must see this not because the speaker says so, but by seeing the truth of the whole process of analysis. And the truth will bring understanding; truth is understanding - of the falseness of analysis. Therefore when you see what is false, you can put it aside completely. It is only when we do not see, that we are confused.
Now can we look into fear as a whole - not into the multitudinous psychological fears, but into fear? - there is only one fear. Though there may be different causes of fear, brought about through various reactions and influences, there is only fear. And fear does not exist by itself, it exists in relation to something, which is fairly simple and obvious. One is afraid of something - of the future, of the past, of not being able to fulfil, afraid of not being loved, of living a lonely, miserable life, of old age and death.
So there is fear, both recognizable and hidden. What we are enquiring into is not any particular form of fear but the totality of it, the conscious as well as the hidden. How does it happen? In asking that question you also have to ask: what is pleasure? Because fear and pleasure go together. You cannot discard fear without understanding pleasure; they are the two sides of one coin. So in understanding the truth about fear, you also understand the truth about pleasure. To want only pleasure and have no fear, is an impossible demand. Whereas if you understood both, you would have quite a different appreciation, a different understanding of them. Which means that we have to learn about the structure and the nature of fear as well as of pleasure. You cannot be free of one and hold on to the other.
So what is fear and what is pleasure? As you can observe in yourself, you want to get rid of fear. All life is an escape from fear. Your gods, your churches, your moralities are based on fear, and to understand that you have to understand how this fear comes about. You have done something in the past and you do not want another to find out; that is one form of fear. You are afraid of the future because you have no job, or you are frightened of something else. So you are afraid of the past, and you are afraid of the future. Fear comes when thought looks back to things that have happened in the past, or to events that may happen in the future. Thought is responsible for this. You have very carefully avoided - especially in America - thinking about death; but it is always there. You do not want to think about it, because the moment you do, you are afraid. And because you are afraid, you have theories about it; you believe in resurrection, in re-incarnation - you have dozens of beliefs - all because you are afraid and all of which arise from thought. Thought creates and sustains the fear of yesterday and of tomorrow, and thought also sustains pleasure. You have seen a beautiful sunset; at that moment there is great joy, the beauty of the light on the water and the movement of the trees; there is great delight. Then thought comes along and says, `How I wish I could have it again'. You begin to think about it and you go to that place again tomorrow and you do not see it. You have sexual pleasure and you think about it, you chew on it, you build images, pictures; and thought sustains that. There is thought sustaining pleasure and thought sustaining fear. So thought is responsible. This is not a formula for you to learn, but an actuality to understand together; therefore there is no agreement or disagreement.
So, what is thought? Thought is obviously the response of memory. If you had no memory there would be no thought. If you had no memory of the road to your house, you would not get home. So thought not only breeds and sustains fear and pleasure, but thought is also necessary to function, to act, efficiently. See how difficult it becomes: thought must be employed completely, objectively, when you function technologically, when you do anything, and thought also breeds fear and pleasure and therefore pain.
So one asks oneself the question: what place has thought? Where is the border-line between where thought must be employed completely and where it must not interfere - as when you see the most beautiful sunset and live it at the moment and forget it at that moment. The whole process of thinking is never free because it has its roots in the past; thought is never new. There is no question of freedom in choice because thought is in operation when you choose. So we have a very subtle problem, which is: one sees the danger of thought which brings about fear - fear destroys, perverts, makes the mind live in darkness, in misery - yet one sees that thought must be used efficiently, objectively, without emotion. What is the state of your mind - as you observe this fact?
Look, sirs, it is most important to understand this very clearly, because it is no good your sitting there listening to a lot of words that have no meaning, when at the end of it, you are still afraid. When you leave there must be no fear, not because you hypnotize yourself that there is no fear, but because you have understood actually, psychologically, inwardly, the whole structure of fear.
That is why it is very important to learn, to look. What we are doing is to observe very closely how fear comes into being. When you think about death, or about losing your job, when you think about a dozen things, either of the past or of the future, there is the inevitability of fear. When the mind sees the fact that thought must function and also sees the danger of thought, what is the quality of the mind that is seeing this. You have to find out, not wait for me to tell you.
Please listen carefully; it is so simple, really. We said analysis is no good, and we explained why. If you saw the truth of it you have understood it. Before, you accepted analysis, as part of your conditioning. Now, when you see the futility, the falseness of analysis, it has dropped away. So what is the state of the mind that has put aside analysis? It is freer, is it not? Therefore it is more alive, more active and therefore much more intelligent, sharper, more sensitive. And when you have seen the fact, as to how fear comes into being, have learnt about it and watched also the process of pleasure, then watch your state of mind, which is becoming much more acute, much clearer, therefore tremendously intelligent. This intelligence has nothing whatsoever to do with knowledge, with experience; you cannot arrive at this intelligence by going to college and learning how to be sensitive. This intelligence comes when you have observed very closely the whole structure of analysis and what is implied in it - the time involved and the stupidity of thinking that one fragment is going to clear up the whole process - and when you have seen the nature of fear and understood what pleasure is.
So when fear - which has become a habit - comes upon you tomorrow, you will know how to meet it and not postpone it. And the very meeting of it is the ending of it at that moment, because intelligence is in operation. That means ending not only the known fears, but also the deep, hidden fears.
You know, one of the most strange things is the ease with which we are influenced. From childhood we are brought up to be Catholic, Protestant, American, or whatever it is. We are the result of repeated propaganda and we keep on repeating it. We are secondhand human beings. Therefore be on your guard not to be influenced by the speaker, because you are dealing with your life, not his life.
Going into the question of pleasure, one also has to understand what real enjoyment is, for it has nothing to do with pleasure. Has pleasure, desire, anything to do with love? To understand all this one has to observe oneself. One is the result of the world; one is a human being who is part of the other human beings, who all have the same problems, perhaps not economic or social, but human problems - all fighting, making tremendous efforts and saying to themselves that life has no meaning whatsoever as it is lived. So one invents formulas for living. All that becomes utterly unnecessary when you understand the structure of yourself, and of fear, pleasure, love, and the meaning of death. Then only can you live as a total human being and never do anything wrong.
So, if you want to, ask questions, bearing in mind that the question and the answer is within yourself.
Questioner: If fear is generated by an unknown and you say that using thought is a wrong way of going about understanding it..?
Krishnamurti: You say you are frightened of the unknown, either of the unknown of tomorrow, or of the real unknown. Is it that you are frightened of something you do not know? Or are you frightened of something you do know, to which you are attached? Therefore are you frightened of leaving the known? Have you understood, sir? When you are frightened of death, are you frightened of the unknown? Or are you frightened of all the things you have known coming to an end, your pleasures, your family, your achievements, your success, your furniture? How can one be frightened of something one does not know? And if you are frightened of it, thought wants to take it into the field of the known, therefore it begins to imagine. Therefore your God is the product of your imagination or your fear. Sir, therefore do not speculate about the unknown. Understand the known and be free of the known.
Questioner: I have read the expression `Father, I believe, help my disbelief'. How can we accomplish anything with this apparent conflict of belief and doubt?
Krishnamurti: Why do you believe anything that you read? It does not matter whether it is in the Bible or in the Gita or in the sacred books of other religions. Do look at it - why do you believe? Do you believe in the sunrise tomorrow? You believe in a sense - you think it will arise. But you believe in heaven, you believe in a Father, you believe in something - why? Because you are afraid, you are unhappy, lonely, because of fear of death, you believe in something that you think is permanent. How can a mind that is burdened with beliefs see clearly? How can it be free to observe? How can such a mind love? You have your belief and another has his belief. In understanding the whole problem of fear, one has no belief whatsoever. The mind then functions happily, without distortion and therefore there is great joy, ecstasy.
Questioner: I have read your books and I listen to you speak and I hear you say beautiful things. I hear you speak of fear and how we should eliminate it; but the nature of the mind is to be full of desire, to be full of thoughts. How are we to experience freedom of mind as long as the mind is constantly active? What is the system?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what is desire? Why does the mind chatter so endlessly?
Krishnamurti: Please do not answer, find out. Look: you want a system, a method, a discipline to quieten the mind, to understand this or that or to put aside desire. The practising of a system means a mechanical routine, doing the same thing over and over again; that is what a system implies. What takes place when the mind does that? It becomes a dull, stupid mind. One has to understand why the mind chatters, why the mind goes from one thing to another.
I do not think I can go into it this evening - are you not tired? (Cries of`no'.) You have had a long day in the office; there it was routine. Here you say you are not tired, which means you have not been working. (Laughter.) You have not been sustaining a serious investigation. That means you are just
being entertained and will go away with your fears. And for God's sake, sirs, what is the point of it?
Beyond Violence Part I Chapter 2 Santa Monica 2nd Public Talk 4th March 1970
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.