Are desire and time responsible for fear?
What love is not
5th Public Talk Saanen
July 17, 1979
Before we go on to talk over what we have been talking the last four talks, one has been wondering, and you must also have been asking yourself, why we, who have gathered here, who have listened for so many years: why don't we change? What is the root cause of it? Is there one cause, or many causes? We know what the world has become outwardly, more and more fragmented, more and more violent, more insane, one group fighting another group, where one cannot share all the energy of the world for all people - you know what is happening. And what is our relationship to that, to the world and to oneself? Are we separate from all that? If we are, which I question, if we are, are we so very radically different from the world about us? The competing gurus, the competing religions, the contradictory opposing ideas and so on, what shall we do together to change ourselves? I am asking this in all seriousness: why we lead our lives as we live, our petty little ideals, vanities, and all the stupidities that we have accumulated, why is it we go on this way?
Is it we are frightened to change? Is it we have no desire or intention or urge to find a different way of living? Please ask yourself these questions. I am asking these questions for you, I am not asking for myself. Why? What is the essence of this deterioration of the human mind, and therefore the disintegration in action? You understand? Why is there this mind that has become so small, inclusive, not bringing everything and operating from the whole, but living in a small little courtyard? What is the root of it? Go on sirs, think it, let us talk it over a little bit.
The other day you were asking: why is it that I have heard you for fifty two or forty years and I have not changed at all? There have been little changes, modifications, perhaps I am no longer a nationalist, no longer belong to any particular organised group of religious thinking, don't superficially belong to any sect or to any guru - to all that circus that goes on. But deeply one remains more or less the same. Perhaps more refined, the self-centredness is a little less active, less aggressive, more refined, more yielding, a little more considerate, but the root remains. Have you noticed this? Why? We are talking about the eradication of that root, not the peripheral frills and the peripheral clipping. We are talking about the very root of one's active, conscious or unconscious egocentricism.
Is it because we need time? Please go into it. Time, that is, give me time. Man has existed for millions and millions of years, that root has not been uprooted and put aside. Time has not solved it. Right? Please give your mind to this. Evolution, which is the movement of time, has not solved this. We have better bathrooms, better communications and so on, so on, but man, the human being is essentially what he has been a million years ago. It is a tragic thing if one realises it. And if one is serious, not just while you are here in this tent, serious right through your lie, your daily life, don't you ever ask: can this self-centred activity with all its problems, can it ever end? If you asked it seriously, and if one realises time, thought - we went into it the other day - time and thought are similar, they are the same movement, and thought and time have not solved this problem. And that is the only instrument we have. And we never seem to realise that instrument, which is the movement of thought, however limited, that movement cannot solve the problems. And yet we hold on to that. We hold on to the old instrument. Right?
Thought has created all these problems. Right? That is obvious. The problems of nationality, problems which war creates, problems of religions, all that is the movement of thought which is limited. And that very thought has created this centre. Right? Obviously. And yet we don't seem to be able to find a new instrument. Right? We don't find a new instrument but as we cannot let go the old instrument, and holding on to it we hope to find the new. You follow? You must let go something to find the new. Right? If you see a path leading up to the top of the mountain and it doesn't lead you up there, you investigate. You don't stick to that path. So one asks: what is it, why is it that human beings are so incredibly stupid? They have wars, they have this fragmentation of nationalities, of religions, all the rest of it, and yet they live in this, miserable, unhappy, quarrelling, conflicts, strife - you follow?
Now what will make a human being let go the old instrument and look for the new? You understand? Look for the new. Is it that we are lazy? Is it that we are frightened? Is it, if I let go this will you guarantee the other? You understand? Which means one has lived with this limited thought and one thinks one has found security in there, and is afraid to let that go, and it is only when there is abandonment of the old you can find the new. Obviously.
So is it, we are asking, is it fear? Because you observe the multiplication of gurus all over the world guaranteeing security - 'Do this, follow this, practise this, and you will have something at the end of it'. That is, reward. The promise of a reward has a certain fascination and the hope you will find in that security. But when you examine it a little more closely and are not so gullible, not swallow the whole thing the other fellow says, then you find very clearly that the reward is the reaction of punishment, you understand? Because we are trained to the idea of reward and punishment. Right? This is obvious. So to escape from punishment, which means pain, grief and all that, we search for a reward and hope thereby in that to find some kind of security, some kind of peace, some kind of happiness. But when you go into it you don't find it. The gurus and the priests may promise it, but they are just words. Right?
So how do we, human beings, go into this question together whether it is possible to eradicate totally this poisonous self-interest, self-centred activity? Right? I do not know if you have ever asked even that question. When you do ask that question you have already begun to be a little more intelligent. Naturally. So we are going this morning, together, to think this problem over, together. Thinking together, not I tell you and you accept, or reject, but together find out if this movement of the ego, the self, can ever end. Right? Are you interested in this? No, no, don't say it's nod your heads. This is a very serious problem. You may be stimulated while you are in the tent by the speaker - and I hope you are not. But you may be stimulated and therefore rather excited and say, 'Yes, I agree with you. We must do this,' - and when you leave the tent you forget all about it and carry on in your old ways. So together, you putting aside your particular prejudice, your particular gurus, your particular conclusions, together we are going to investigate this question.
To investigate you must be free. Right? It is obvious, isn't it? You must be free to examine, you must be free from those blocks which impede your examination. The impediments are your prejudice, your experience, your own knowledge, or other people's knowledge, all those act as impediments and then you cannot possibly have the capacity to examine or think together. Right? At least intellectually see this. The speaker has none of these problems: he has no prejudice, no belief either. Finished. Only then we can meet together if you are also in that same position.
So let us examine, think over, think together. To think together over this question why human beings, right throughout the world, have remained self-centred, knowing all the problems it entails, knowing all the confusion, misery, sorrow it involves, they hold on to it. Right? Now we are asking: is it desire? You know what desire is. We are asking is it, the root of this self-centred activity, desire? What is desire? We all desire so many things: desire for enlightenment, desire for happiness, desire for good looks, desire for what - a world that will be peaceful, desire to fulfil and avoid frustration - you understand? - desire, by which all human beings are driven. Do you follow this? We are asking, is that one of the root causes of this self-centred existence with all its confusion and misery?
And religions throughout the world have said you must suppress desire. Right? You must become a monk, in the service of god, and to attain that supreme thing you must have no desire. You understand? This has been the constant repetition of all the so-called religious people in the world. And without understanding what is the structure and nature of desire, they have had this ideal that to serve the highest principle, Brahman, in India, god or Christ in this world, in the Christian world, or other forms of religious sectarian nonsense, suppress, control, dominate desire. Right?
Now we together are going to look into what is desire. Now when you examine what is desire - please listen carefully - when you examine what is desire or analyse, you are using thought as a means of analysis. That is, going into the past. You are following this? And so you are using the old instrument, which is limited thought, and looking into the past, step by step, which is the whole psychoanalytical process. You are following all this? But to examine desire you must see the actuality of it, not step it back. You understand what I am saying? Please, come with me a little bit. You must be very clear on this point. The psychoanalytical introspective self examination process is, going backwards, and thereby hoping to find the cause. Right? To do that you employ thought. Right? And thought is limited, the old instrument, and you are using the old instrument to find the root of desire.
Now we are saying something entirely different. Please give a little attention to this. We are saying analysis by oneself, or by the professional, doesn't lead anywhere, unless you are slightly neurotic and all the rest of it, that may be a little helpful. Perhaps we are all slightly neurotic! We are saying: observe the nature of desire. Don't analyse, just observe. You understand the difference? Is this clear? I am going to show it to you. You see must everything be explained, which is too bad. You don't jump to it and say, 'Yes, I have got it!'. All that you say is, 'Explain, and I will get it. Explain the whole movement of desire, employ the words, correct words, describe it precisely and I'll get it'. What you get is the clarity of explanation, clarity of words, but that doesn't give you the total observation of the movement of desire. You have got this?
So can you stop analysing but just observe? You understand? Have you got it? Are we meeting each other? One can describe the beauty of the mountain, the white snow, the blue sky, the marvellous dignity and the glory of it, the valleys, the rivers, the streams, the flowers, and most of us are satisfied with the explanations. We don't say, 'I'll go, get up, climb and find out'.
We are going into this question of desire very carefully, not the movement of tracing it back and thereby hoping to find the nature of desire. You understand? But actively together look at it. What is desire? Look at it yourself. Together we are doing it. What is desire? You desire a dress, which you see in the window, and there is the response. You like the colour, the shape, the fashion, and desire says, 'Let me go and buy it'. So what has taken place actually at that moment? Which is not analysis, but actually observing the reaction to the seeing of that dress in the window, and the response to that. You are following this? Yes? You are following this? Don't go to sleep please! You see that dress, you like the colour, you like the fashion - what has taken place there? You observe, there is the sensation. Right? There is contact, you touch it, then desire arises through the image which thought has built: you putting on that dress. Right? You understand this? Seeing, sensation, contact, then thought imagining that dress on you, and then desire. You follow this? No, not follow me, the fact of it. I have only given an explanation, the words, but the actual response, we are talking of the actual response; the seeing, contact, sensation, thought imagining that dress on you and desire is born. You understand? Have you got this? No, no, yours, not mine.
Now wait, follow this carefully. The moment thought creates the image, from that image desire is born. Right? You understand this? Please understand this. Oh, I am tired. I am bored with explanations! I will stick to that dress, or the shirt. You see there is perception of that in the window, the seeing, the visual optic response, then go inside, touch the material, then thought says, 'How nice it would be if I had it'. And imagine that you are wearing it. That is the moment of desire. Right? Do you see this, actually, not my explanation and through the explanations you see? Is that clear, that you yourself observe the happening?
Now the question is - please go into it carefully - why does thought create the image, you having that shirt, that dress, and then pursuing it? Watch it. Think it out. Go into it. Exercise your brains. One sees a blue shirt. Then you see it, go and touch it, feel the material, then thought comes and says, 'How nice'. Now, the question is: can thought abstain itself from creating the image? You understand my question? I will explain, take time, I will go into it.
We are examining the whole movement of desire because we are asking: is desire the very root of this self-centred, egotistic existence? And from that we are asking: is it desire? And then we say: what is desire? And the speaker is totally opposed to suppression because that doesn't solve the problem. Totally he says don't run away from it into a monastery, into taking vows and all kinds of things - that is merely avoidance. But what we are saying is: examine it, look at it, not analytically but as it is taking place, observe. The observation shows, the optic response to the blue dress, blue shirt, the contact, inside, going into the shop, touching the material, then thought creates the image and desire is born. It is only when thought creates the image, desire comes into being. Otherwise it does not. Are you now together in this? Right?
So desire comes into being and flowers the moment you create the image, thought creates the image. You have had a pleasant experience, sexual or whatever you have. And it has created an image, a picture and you pursue it. One is a form of pleasure, the other is the movement of contradictory desires. Right? You desire that dress - or desire great success and so on and on and on. Now can you observe this fact that the moment when thought creates the image, desire is born? Are you aware of this? Do you see actually as it happens how thought creates through its imagination the desire to pursue the very end. Right? Do you actually now sitting there, observe this fact for yourself? Obviously, it is very simple. Right?
The question arises then: can thought not create the image? That is the whole point. You understand? Am I making this terribly difficult?
Questioner: May I suggest that the new instrument is the object?
Krishnamurti: Just a minute sir, let me finish and then we can carry on. May I finish? May I finish what I am saying? And then you can ask questions if there is time, and we have five discussions after the talks are over. Then you can bully me! (Laughter) So till then have patience.
We have come to the point when you yourself observe the springing of desire. Right? Perception, seeing, contact, sensation. Up to there there is no desire. It is just a reaction. You follow? But the moment thought creates the image the whole cycle begins. Do you see this? If you see it clearly then the question arises: why does thought always create this image? You understand my question? Why? You see a shirt, red, blue, white, whatever it is, instantly like and dislike, which is, thought has its previous experiences, liking and so on. So can you observe the blue shirt, dress in the window, and realise the nature of thought and see that the moment when thought comes in the problem begins? Not only the blue shirt or dress, your sex, your sexual experiences, the image, the pictures, the thinking over. Or the image that you have of a position, a status, a function. Do you follow? So desire is that. So can you observe without the inflaming desire coming into being? You understand my question? Go into it, you will see it. You can do it. That is the new instrument, which is to observe.
Then does desire for security - follow - same thing, security in terms of big house, little house, bank account which may be necessary, and also security desire has created about oneself, the image that you have about yourself, and the fulfilment of that image in action, in that is involved many kinds of frustrations and in spite of the frustrations, in spite of conflicts, misery, desire pursues, because thought is always creating the image where there is sensation involved. Right? I wonder if you see this!
So we are asking then, the next question is: is desire responsible for fear? We have sought security through desire and the fulfilment of that desire, in god, psychologically - I don't want to go on and on about this beastly stuff - and unconsciously, deeply one may be aware that the things in which you have invested, desire has invested have no value at all. And having no value, you are frightened. You understand? Are you following this? Because again we are not analysing fear. That is a stupid old game. We are observing the actual fact of fear. And as it arises, to observe, ask, what is the root of it? Not analytically discover the root of it, but in the very observation of it you discover the root. You get it? Are you following all this? You seem rather doubtful. I am going to go into this.
Man has accepted and lived with fear, both outwardly and inwardly: fear of violence, fear of physically getting hurt and so on, outwardly. Psychologically, fear of not conforming to a pattern, fear of public opinion, fear of not achieving, not fulfilling and so on, you know, psychologically. We are asking - which is a fact - can you observe that fact without the analytical mind operating on the fact and observe the whole movement of fear as it exists? You understand?
Are you getting tired? Ten minutes more. Bear up with it! Because you see it is possible to be absolutely psychologically free of fear, absolutely. Don't accept my word for it, it is your life, it's not mine, it is yours, you have to find this out.
So you have to ask: what is fear? Has it its roots in desire? Go into it slowly, don't say no. Go into it. Desire being what we have said: thought creating the image and then pursuing that image and might fulfil, might not. You follow? If it fulfils there is no fear, or at least there are other calamities involved in it. But when there is no fulfilment there is frustration and the fear of not being able to fulfil. You understand? I mean this whole complex sexual fulfilment, which apparently the world is now just discovering it, and making a lot of noise about it - promiscuous and all the rest of it. So we are asking: is fear the product of desire? Desire being the image-formation and the fulfilment of that image in action. Right? Or is fear - please follow this carefully - part of time? You understand? Is fear the movement of time? So are desire and time responsible for fear? You understand? Oh, my Lord! I will explain, I will explain. Go slowly.
Desire is the movement of thought with its imagery. That is, the movement of thought creating the image and the movement of that image, which is time - right? No? Not chronological time, psychological time. And we are asking: is time responsible also for fear? The time of desire - ah, I am getting it! You get it? The time which desire creates and thought, which has created the desire, and thought being also time, so thought and desire are responsible for fear. You see that? I am afraid what you might do to me. I am afraid you might hurt me psychologically. I am afraid that dog will bite me. But at the moment of biting (laughs), time has come to an end. You understand? It is only: the dog might bite me. I have created the image, thought has created the image, that dog biting, which is time, in the future. You are following all this? So desire has its future and time is naturally future - the past, present and future.
So the question is: can thought realise its own movement creating fear? You understand - thought realising its own nature. When it realises its own nature, as the active principle in fear, what takes place? There is only then what is actually happening. I wonder if you see that. Do please, come! Because it would be worthwhile if we could think together about this matter. Then you will leave the tent having understood the movement of fear and realising the nature of desire and the nature of limited thought creating time, which is fear. You understand? Do you realise it? Or have you merely accepted the words? You understand? If you realise it the thing is over. There are no gurus, no god, all that nonsense.
Q: My thought does not stop. I have been listening
K: No, no, thought, it is not a question of thought stopping. No, no, don't say thought - we will discuss that a little later when we talk about meditation, if you are interested. But that is not the point. I am saying: does thought itself realise what it is doing? That it has created the desire, and the fulfilment of that desire is time. And in that is involved fear. And also thought has created what might happen. There has been pain, I hope there won't be pain again, which is in the future. So thought has created the future. Right? And the future is the very nature of fear. I wonder if you get it!
Look sir: if I die instantly there is no fear. If I have an immediate heart attack - phht (laughter), gone, there is no fear. But, my heart is weak, I might die, which is the future. The future is the movement of fear. Get it? See the truth of it, not your conclusion, not your saying, 'Yes, I see it'. - the truth of it.
Then that very truth operates. You don't have to do a thing. If you see that truth and that truth being a fact, then thought says, 'All right, I have finished'. Thought cannot operate on a fact. It can operate on something which is non-fact. So can you after having listened to this verbiage (laughs), have you realised the nature of fear? See the truth of it. If you really see the truth of it, fear has gone. It is not that you control thought. You are the thought. You understand? This is one of our peculiar conditioning that you are different from thought, and therefore you say, 'I will control thought'.
Q: If we are different from thought.
K: But when you realise that thought itself is the 'me' and that thought has created this future, which is fear, and see the truth of it, not intellectually see the truth, you can't see the truth intellectually. You can see intellectually the clear, verbal explanation, but that is not the truth. The truth is the fact that the future, the whole movement of the future is giving birth to fear.
Now you have listened to this, perhaps in different ways, and different explanations on different occasions, and you are gathered here again, and you have listened this morning to a very clear explanation, which is not analysis, and are you free of fear? That is the test. If you are still carrying on, you say, 'I am afraid of...' - you know, all the rest of that business, then you haven't really listened.
May we continue with this on Thursday, the day after tomorrow morning? May we?