Fear, thought and love
The shared consciousness of humanity
3rd Public Talk, New Delhi
November 12, 1983
May we go on with what we were talking about last Monday? We were trying to go into the question of fear, which is a very complex problem. But before we go into it rather deeply, if one may remind you this is not a lecture as is commonly understood, to inform and to instruct, but rather it is a conversation between us, conversation between two friends who are concerned with the problem of existence, with all its complexity and intricacies, and they are not to convince each other of anything, they are not persuading each other, they are not doing propaganda at all. What they are trying to do together is to think of the various issues that contain in our daily life. Only in our daily life, not theories, not speculations, not philosophical or intellectual assumptions and conclusions, but rather enquire, think together. And to think together one must listen to each other. There is an art of listening which is to listen not only with the ear but the hearing of the ear, much deeper, more attentive, more concerned, affectionate, not translating what is being said into your own terminology, into your own particular conditioning, but rather to listen to each other. And as it is not possible with a large audience like this, nor can we have a dialogue, which is a conversation between two people, we will assume that there are only one person here, and talking to each other.
We were saying the other day, weren't we, that relationship is of enormous importance, because all life is based on relationship. If in that relationship there is conflict of any kind then that relationship brings about a division, all the rest of the confusion that lies in our relationship whether it is intimate or not. We said too that as long as there is an image-forming mechanism about each other then communication is not possible, or relationship, deep relationship, is not possible. We went into that very carefully. And so, please, we are thinking together if that is possible, because most of us are so obstinate, so definite in our opinions, in our convictions, in our conclusions, in our ideals, in our own importance, so we hardly listen to each other, or think together. Perhaps it may be possible this evening to think together, not about something - that is fairly easy. If you are a businessman you would think together about doing somebody in the eye and so on, or gaining money, planning for it, then you co-operate. But here thinking together means not about something, the capacity, the urge to co-operate in thinking.
So we are going to think together about fear, what fear is, how it arises, what is its cause, where it leads - to violence, to various forms of neuroticism, psychosis, and how it darkness our lives, how fear, both biologically as well as psychologically, shrinks one. And we were saying also when we briefly talked about it the other day, thought and time are one of the major factors of fear. We went into the question of thought; thought being limited because all experience is limited, all knowledge whether in the past or in the future, knowledge will ever be limited, always continuously limited, and from that experience, knowledge stored in the brain as memory and from that memory springs thought. And so thought is always limited whether you invent god, which is the invention of thought, and all the paraphernalia that goes in the various temples, churches and mosques is invented by thought which is always limited. Thought can imagine the illimitable, the timeless, the immeasurable, but it is still the movement of thought. And thought is a material process so there is nothing sacred about thought. I hope We are meeting each other? We are walking along the same road together? Not that we are trying to persuade you, but that is obvious fact. You may not be willing to look at the facts because one may be superstitious, ideological, afraid to look at facts, and so we like to live in illusions. That is our lot, we have lived for millions of years in illusion.
One of the illusions, major illusions, as we pointed out the other day, our consciousness with all its reactions, with all its content - fear, belief, faith, anxiety, remorse, guilt, you know, pleasure, pain, suffering - all that is our consciousness. And that consciousness is not individual, it is shared by all human beings, whether West, East or whatever country belong to, that consciousness is shared by all human beings. We talked about that considerably. So, when one realises that sharing of this consciousness by all humanity, you then are humanity, therefore you are no longer individual. I know this is a statement you won't accept but it is a fact. Look at it carefully, logically, sanely, with a sense of questioning, with a quality of a brain that doubts, questions authority. And when you begin to investigate, not others, but enquire into your own thoughts, actions and responses, your fears, your anxieties, then you will discover for yourself that all human beings whether they are in the totalitarian governments, or in the so-called democratic governments, broken up by religions, you all share the same anxiety, uncertainty, insecurity, searching for security. So we are we share this enormous burden.
And one of the major burdens of our consciousness is fear. Why human beings, however sophisticated, however learned, however devoutly worshipping some idol made by the hand or by the mind, there is always fear - fear of death, fear of tomorrow, fear of that which has happened weeks ago and so on. We are discussing not a particular form of fear but the cause of fear, whether that cause can be totally, completely eliminated. So we must begin with the structure of the psyche - right? - not how to get rid of fear outwardly, but psychologically, inwardly, inside the skin as it were. When there is fear inwardly, unspoken about, not enquired into, then that very fear creates externally, in the outward world, a great deal of confusion - which is obvious. You can see that.
So we are going to think together, enquire together what is the root of fear, whether that root can be totally rooted out. Fear takes many forms. Fear is part of violence. Violence is a very complex affair. Aggression, both physical and psychological, is part of fear. And we have never understood or be free from all violence. In this country you have talked a great deal about non-violence. That is one of our favourite slogans, clichs, that we are all attempting to be non-violent. These two words are used politically and by ordinary people. Non-violence is not a fact. It is an idea. What is a fact is violence. Right? We never deal with the fact, but we rather run away from the fact into a concept called non-violence. And that concept is created by thought and we pursue that and sow violence in the pursuit of non-violence. Right? Are you following all this? Are you all interested in all this or it's just a lot of I speaking to somebody or to myself in my room, or writing a book about it all. Are we together in this? I hope so, otherwise I don't know why you should sit here. It is a waste of your time.
So what is the root of fear? Violence, aggression, and when one is uncertain, not clear, that confusion brings about a state of anxiety, and where there is anxiety there is also fear. And where there is fear there is the desire to hurt people, and so on. We are not talking therefore of a particular fear - please understand - not your particular fear - you may be afraid of your wife, or your husband, or your government, or the boss above you - but fear as a whole thing. Is that clear, that we are not thinking together about a particular form of fear, but rather enquire why human beings for thousands of years have carried this burden, why, however intellectual, learned they are, sophisticated or technologically advanced, this fear continues.
So if we can this evening think together and see if it is possible to totally eliminate psychological fears. Not how to be free from fear. When you ask how to be free, then you want a system, a method, a practice, and that very system, method, practice, brings about more fear - whether you are doing it rightly, whether you are - you follow? - fear is sustained. Are we together in this? I am afraid not. Some of you, some of us, are so trained to systems, methods, so conditioned, 'Tell me what to do, tell me how to get rid of fear, I will practice it. Then your brain becomes mechanical. Right? If you practise over and over and over again it is like a gramophone record playing the same old tune. But whereas you want to if both of us want to go into this question very deeply and enquire not 'how', enquire so that we find out the root of it. When you go to a doctor he not only deals with the symptom but he wants to find out the cause. And in diagnosis he finds the cause and says, 'Don't eat so much', or take this or that, so eliminates the cause - at least one hopes so. But in the same way we are enquiring into the very causation of fear. Right? What is the cause? We are thinking together. I may put into words. I may, one may describe it, one may, by putting into words the speaker is not helping you to understand fear. You are doing it yourself. Right? You are doing it for yourself, though the speaker may talk about it. Right?
What is the cause of fear? Please, if you find it act. Don't carry on with fear. What is the cause of it? Is it thought? Is it time? Thought - I have had certain anxiety, fear last year or last week and I hope it will not occur again. You follow? Fear has a continuity. Right? Clear? Fear has a continuity, duration, and that continuity implies time. So thought, time, is the root of fear. Right? You can't get round that fact. Thought itself creates the fear. I have a job, I am quite happy at the moment, but I may lose it. So thought projects into the future a condition which I may live in, and that creates fear. Or I have had certain pain, physical pain, the remembering it and hoping it will not happen again. So it is both; thought and time are the root of fear. Now, you have listened to it - what can be done? You understand? You have listened to the fact that thought and time basically, fundamentally, is the cause of fear.
The next question naturally arises: how am I to put aside thought? Right? Or how am I to stop thought? You are following this? If I could stop thought and the continuity of a movement as time, is that possible? I hope you are asking this question yourself. I am not putting this question to you. You are asking this question of yourself. One sees the truth that thought, time, are the essence of fear. Now, how do you observe this fact, that thought and time are the causation of fear? How do you look at it or receive it or approach the question? You understand? How do you - I must repeat this - how do you, when you listen to this fact, what is your response to it? Actual response, not calculated response. You naturally say you are stuck. Right? You are stuck in that position. And if you ask 'how', again the reply is mechanical. So you are also stuck there. You are blocked. Right? Are you? Being held by a fact. Right? I wonder if you see this. You are held down by an actuality, and you have no response to that. Right? If you are quite honest with oneself you see this truth and you know you can't do anything. Right? That is, for the first time in your life you have said, I can't do anything. Right? Before, you have always done something. I wonder if you... You always acted on fear - I must control it, I must suppress it, I must there is rationalization of fear, and so on. There was always you took action about it. Now you can't. Right?
So you observe without reaction. You watch the fact, and the fact is not different from you. Right? The fact is you. Is that clear too? Fear brought about by thought and time is you. Like anger is you, greed is you, your ambition is you, your name, your form, your way of thinking is you. So you are stuck with yourself. There is nobody to help you. Have you understood? No. Nobody to help you to be free of fear, because the guru himself is afraid. He wants to reach some other state, and you know, all the rest of the nonsense. So you are for the first time in a position, in a situation where there is nobody can help you - no god, no angels, no government, no saviour. Then what happens to your whole being? You are understanding all this?
Then if you can look at it totally without any reaction, because you are that, then you will see, because you have brought all the energy which you have been wasting in searching for an escape, in trying to suppress fear, trying to worship gods to save you from fear, all that wasted energy is now brought together as complete energy, and that energy dissolves totally fear. Right? Do it, sirs, do it as you are sitting here listening now, not when you go home, then it is too late. That is mere postponement, avoidance. Whereas if you can face the fact, then you will always be dealing with facts. Facts are that which has happened in the past and that which is happening now. Facts do not exist in the future. Right? Fact that there has been an accident. That's a fact. I was caught last year in a car accident - I was not, but suppose I am - and that is a fact. And it is a fact now that I am sitting here talking, and so on. So to always live with facts, not with opinions, not with conclusions, not with ideals, but actually that you are angry, that you are greedy, that you are ambitious, you are violent. That very act of living with the fact of fear, because that fact demands your total attention, and where there is total attention, which is bringing all your energy, it is like throwing bright light on an object, then you see things clearly and therefore totally free from fear. To the speaker this is a fact, psychologically. You may not believe it, I don't care. But the fact is when there is freedom from this fear then only there is love.
We will go into that presently, into the quality and the nature of love, compassion and intelligence. But one cannot come to it where fear exists. And also we should consider why human beings throughout the world are pursuing everlastingly pleasure. Aren't you? Sexual pleasure, pleasure of achieving, pleasure of power, pleasure of position, pleasure of being somebody. Right? This has been the pursuit of man. Power, money, success - why? What is pleasure? Go into it, please, we are thinking together. I am not, the speaker is not lecturing about it. What is pleasure? To achieve a to become successful, not only in this ugly world - the world is very beautiful but we have made it ugly - not only be successful in this world but also to be successful in the other world. It is the same movement, they are not two different things. Understand? We have divided this. That is one of our peculiarities of thought, to divide. To divide the world, materialistic world and the so-called spiritual world. In a spiritual world - if I may use that timeworn word 'spiritual'. If I may use that; I don't personally, the speaker doesn't like that word but we will use it. In the spiritual world there is tremendous pleasure in achieving. I am this today but I will be tomorrow that. And in the physical world it is fairly obvious.
So one asks why. Why this, not only this division but why this search for pleasure, the repetition of it, the mechanical content of it? You understand all this? Whether it is sexual or otherwise, it becomes mechanical, habitual. Which means what? Our brains - I mustn't go too much into this - our brains are so have so become have become so mechanical. Right? You go to school, college, university, knowledge - right? - and you function in that for the rest of your life, either skilfully or not. You have set the pattern, the tradition, and you follow it. Right? Face the fact, sir, don't be... You are going to do exactly what you want to do. Right? You may listen to all this very politely, perhaps a little respectfully, and perhaps even less affectionately, but after having listened very carefully for an hour you are going to do exactly what you want to do. That is your pleasure. And why have human beings who are so extraordinarily clever, inventive, open, in one direction, technological world, and why they are so caught in this narrow pleasure, the routine of it? Is it still thought? Is it still time? So, thought is both the creator of fear and the continuity of pleasure. Right? I wonder if you see this. That's all facts.
So we ask, next question: is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is love the instrument of thought? Please, we are asking you are asking this question not me, not the speaker. Or we are only concerned with pleasure and desire. So we have to enquire, if you are not too tired, into what is desire. We have enquired into fear, and facing the fact and not moving away from the fact we see what thought has done; time and thought have brought about fear, brought the continuity and demand for pleasure, and we are asking, is love part of thought? Is love a continuity of time? Right? So we are going to find out together if it is possible to understand - not intellectually or sentimentally, emotionally, because emotion is very limited, narrow, restricted, like sentimentality. Sentimentality and romanticism breed violence. Right? I won't go into all that now, there is no time.
So what is love? Do you love your wife? Do you love your husband? Do you love your children? Love. If you loved your children, really loved them with your heart, there would be no wars. Right? You would educate them differently. You would see the causes of war, nationalism and so on, which we went into. If you really loved, that perfume, that beauty, that quality of depth and strength then there'd not only be no wars, then religions won't divide people - Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, you know all that kind of intellectual divisions that have no reality at all. So together let us find out. Not find out intellectually, you will never find out through words, through intellectual gambits. You have to delve into it, find out very deeply. So we have to ask, is desire love? And then what is desire? Why human beings throughout the ages are slave to desire. They suppress it, they dedicate their desire to god, they become monks, sannyasis, so as to suppress - don't look at a woman, or if you are a nun, don't look at man. Right? So, desire has been trampled upon, controlled, suppressed, rationalised, transmuted to some higher purpose, to service of mankind, to social service, all that bilge - sorry to use that word - all that nonsense, because they have not understood the depth of that word 'desire'. So together, please, let us enquire, think together, the cause of why human beings have become slaves to desire. We are not against desire. We are not saying suppress it, do something with it. We are enquiring into the nature of desire, the structure of it, the origin of it. Right?
Are you tired? Of course you will say no, because the speaker is doing all the work. (Laughter) If you actually applied your brain to find out, then you find you would have more energy, vitality to go much further into it. But if you merely say, 'Yes, I agree with you, this is so, this is a fact', and go home and continue in your own old way, then it is meaningless. So please let us think together what is desire. Not how to suppress it or act upon desire but what is the origin of it, what is the beginning of it? Shall we do that?
Have you ever observed the new moon or the rising moon with all your senses? Or only you say, 'How beautiful that is', or never look at it. Have you ever seen something with all your senses awakened? Perhaps not, but if you have, in that activity when all the senses are fully in action there is no centre as the me. Right? Oh, you don't understand all this. So, senses are important. Right? Unless you are totally paralysed - I hope you are not - your senses are in action. When you eat, when you drink, when you have sex, all your senses are functioning. But they are never functioning as a whole - right? - they are functioning partially. So the sensory responses are very important. Unless you are partially paralysed, as most of us are - by fear, by anxiety, by all kinds of things - our senses are limited, controlled. So, the senses respond. Right? The sense of seeing a car, a woman, a mountain, a tree - there is a response, there is sensation - right? - there is contact. The seeing, contact, sensation - right? - that's normal. Right? We agree? Are we together in that? You see a nice shirt in the window. You go into the shop, touch the material, and you have a sensation. Right? Then what happens? This is important to find out. I enter the shop, see a good coat, touch the material, which is a natural, normal sensation. Then thought comes along and says how nice I would look in that coat. Right? Then thought creates the image of me in that coat. At that moment desire is born. You understand? That is, seeing a nice car with new beautiful lines, highly polished - not the Indian cars (laughter), forgive me - highly polished, the latest model, can go very fast and control, safety and all the rest of it - you see it, you put your hand on it, see how highly polished it is, metallic polish, and thought comes and says, by Jove, how nice it would be to get into that car and drive. When thought uses sensation with its image, at that moment desire is born. Clear? No, clear in the sense, see it for yourself, not the explanation the speaker is making. Right? So the origin of desire begins when thought creates the image. Right? This is important, please, if you will kindly listen, this is important.
Now, we discipline desire, we control it, we shape it: this is right desire, this is wrong desire; this is a noble desire, holy desire, and this is a worldly desire, ignoble desire; righteous desire and unrighteous desire. But desire is desire. Right? Whether you call it unholy or holy, it is still desire. So unless one understands the beginning of desire, then all the problem of control, suppression, what to do with desire, and so on arises. Right? Whereas - if you will kindly listen to this - whereas if there is an interval between the seeing, contact, sensation, an interval when thought doesn't interfere - you understand? - when thought doesn't say how nice it would be if I could get into that car and drive - an interval - you understand? - a gap between sensation and the activity of thought interfering with that sensation. Got it? If you can extend that gap. You understand what I am saying? Don't look surprised. I'll go into it again. Gosh, must one explain all these things? Can't you capture it instantly, without innumerable words, intellectual explanations? Apparently you can't so we will have to go into it.
You see that new car, an object in front of you. Then you go up to it and touch it. Right? See how it's smooth, how beautifully the chrome is polished, new colour. Now that's one state - right? - seeing, contact, sensation. Then thought comes along, creates the image: you sitting in that car and driving off. Right? At that moment when the thought creates the image you in the - at that second desire is born. Right? See the fact, question the fact, doubt the fact, find out if this is true or not. Desire exists only where there is sensation. Right? And sensation becomes the instrument of thought. Right? Thought uses sensation: in the car - right? - or thought says, I have had that experience which was tremendously pleasurable, I want more of it. Right? So what the speaker is saying is very simple, that's why you find it awfully difficult. What the speaker is saying is: sensation and thought with its imagination - right? Keep them apart for a while. You understand? You look at the car, all the attraction, the sensation, and let there be an interval, a hiatus between thought and sensation - right? - not immediately act; act either physically or act intellectually. You understand? That means a sense of observation in which there is a certain quality of observation in which there is no attachment. You understand? Oh, I can't Put it ten different ways.
So we are asking is desire love? For most of us pleasure, desire, is love. Don't get bored. Don't yawn at this moment (laughs), because it is rather an unpleasant moment for you. Do we love at all? Or love has becomes an exchange: you do this for me, I'll do that for you. Is love reward and punishment? You understand? I am using ordinary English, simple language. That is, you train a dog by rewarding him - right? - and punish him when he doesn't do it. You must have dogs, you must have observed dogs, or you have your own dog; if you are training a dog, you reward, 'To heel', and then you pat him, or you punish him when he doesn't come do what he tells you. So he soon learns how to act according to your instructions, based on reward and punishment. Right? And we are like that too. Right? I will do this if you give me that; that which is more pleasurable, I will do it. If it hurts me I won't do it. It is the same principle. You understand? So I am asking, is love a reward and punishment business? Or love has nothing whatsoever to do with thought. If one has a wife or a husband, or a girlfriend, which is the modern tradition, what place has love? Is love a remembrance? Oh, you don't ask these questions! Is love I give you this, you give me that, exchange, thought, dominance, attachment, possession, is that love? Or has love nothing whatsoever to do with me. You understand that?
In love there is no me. Where there is love the self is not. That means no ambition. Oh, you don't know all this. How can an ambitious man love? How can a man who is pursuing power, either politically, religiously, or the power over a person, how can he love? You understand all this? Don't say no, he cannot - you are caught in that position. You don't see power in any form - political power, religious power, the power of a book, the power of a guru, the power of a leader is ugly, evil, brutal, evil - you don't see that. We worship power. Don't you? That is why the capital exists, where all the politicians flower. We all want power, one form or another. And therefore where there is power, love goes by the window. And that is why the world is in such a fearful mess.
And love has its own intelligence. And where there is love that intelligence acts, which is not the intelligence of thought, not the intelligence of calculation, of remembrances, rewards. Intelligence - which we can't go into this evening, we are coming to time - intelligence is not the instrument of thought. So one has to enquire into what is intelligence. The word means not only to read between the lines but to gather information and use that information intellectually, physically and so on. That is the ordinary meaning of that word 'intelligence', in a dictionary, the root meaning, interlegere is to read between. But we are not talking of that intelligence; that everybody has. We are all very clever, we are all very learned, we know too much, but we are not intelligent. When you know, for example, that one of the causes of war, killing other human beings, is nationalism, tribalism - you know that very well but you are still Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, you know, all the rest of it. So that though you know the cause of war, you are perpetuating war. That is the height of stupidity. And the people who are in power are that, all over the world.
So, my friends, you have heard, and if you have listened carefully to each other, which means to listen to yourself, not to the speaker. If you have listened to yourself, he is only a mirror in which you see yourself as you are. If you see yourself as you are then you can throw away the mirror, break it. The mirror is not important, it has no value. What has value is that you see clearly in that mirror yourself as you are - one's pettiness, one's narrowness, one's brutality, the anxieties, the fears - all the rest of it. Then you begin when you begin to understand yourself then you go profoundly into something that is beyond all measure. But you must take the first step. And to take that first step nobody is going to help you.
Now, you have heard all this - three talks. What are you going to do with it? Just carry on in the same old way, follow the same old pattern - callous, indifferent, unconcerned, except for oneself, and the brutality of the world which we have created, because we are also very brutal people. So please, let us think together, consider together and face the facts, not run away from facts. Then the doors open to clarity. Then you abolish altogether confusion. You think clearly, objectively, and see its limitation. And when you see its limitation then you are asking, looking or trying to discover a new instrument which is not thought - which we will go into tomorrow if there is time. We are going to have to discuss, talk over together the question of death, which is very complex, the question of what is a religious mind, what is religion, what is meditation, if there is something really sacred, holy, which is not touched by thought. We will consider all this if we have time tomorrow.