London 5th Public Talk 11th May 1961
We were talking the last time about fear and whether it is at all possible for the mind to be totally free of it; not partially, not gradually, but to throw it out entirely. I would like to go into it further this evening.
Our minds are influenced in every direction - by the books we read, by the food we eat, by climate, by tradition, and by innumerable challenges and responses. All these impressions make up the conditioning of the mind. We are the result of influences: the so-called good and the so-called bad, the superficial and the deep, unthought, unrecognized, unknown influences. And most of us are unaware of this fact. When I use the expression `unknown influences', I do not mean anything mysterious. Actually, we are not aware, when riding in a bus or in the underground, of the noises, of the advertisements, of the propaganda in the newspapers and in the speeches of the politicians, of all that is going on. And yet we are shaped by these things; and when one begins to be aware of it all, it is rather terrifying, rather disturbing.
So the question is whether the mind is capable of ever being really free of influence, the unconscious as well as the conscious influences. We all know that they have been trying, in America I think, a method of advertising in the cinemas, on the radio and elsewhere, by saying things so fast that the conscious mind cannot take it in, but the unconscious does; the imprint is left. It was called subliminal advertising, and fortunately the government stopped it. But unfortunately, even though one form of it has been stopped, we are all slaves to this unconscious, subliminal propaganda. We pass it on to our children from generation to generation, and we are held in the framework of influence.
We are not doing propaganda here: let us be very clear about this. For me, every form of influence is destructive of what is true. If the mind is ever to be free to discover the unknowable, the thing that cannot be measured, that is not put together by the mind of man, then one must penetrate through all these influences. Fear has its roots in the imprint of time; and goodness cannot flower in the field of time. So can one enquire into influence - the influence of the word, the word `communist', the word `belief', and the word `non-belief' - and find out for oneself whether the mind can free itself from the word, the symbol?
I think it is important to enquire into this, and I wonder what we mean by `enquiry'. How do we enquire? How does one penetrate into things? What does enquiry imply? Do you consciously look into fear, into the various forms of influence, into the hypnotic effect of the word - do you consciously, deliberately look? And when you do so look, does it reveal anything? Or, is there another form of seeing, looking, enquiring? Through the exercise of the will, through the urge, the desire, the compulsion to enquire, to search out, will you find out about fear? Will you uncover all the implications of it? Will you gather information about it little by little, page by page, chapter by chapter? Or will you understand the whole thing at once, totally? Surely, there are the two ways of enquiry, are there not? I do not know if you have thought about it at all. There is the so-called positive process of deliberately setting about to investigate every form of fear, by watching every step, every word, being aware of every movement of thought. And it is an extraordinarily destructive process, is it not?, this constant tearing of oneself to pieces in order to find out. It is the analytical, the introspective process.
Is there another way of enquiry? Please, I am not trying to make you think in a certain direction - which is what the propagandist does. But can we see for ourselves what is true and what is false without any influence, without any verbal directive? Can we see the truth in the false, and what is true, as true? The question is: will the analytical process of enquiry free the mind from every form of fear? And is it possible at all to be free of fear? There is the self-protective fear, physically, when you come across a snake, or a mad dog, or an onrushing bus. That form of self-protective fear is sanity, surely. But every other form of protective reaction is based on fear. And can the mind, through this positive process of enquiry, unravel all the knots, the ways, the means of fear?
I think we ought to be very clear before we go further that this is not a question of your accepting or not accepting what is being said. We are not enquiring in terms of argumentation, but trying to see what is the actual fact. If one sees a fact, one does not need to argue about it or be convinced.
So the question is: through introspective examination, through the will, through effort, can the mind free itself unravel the causes of fear, and step out of it?
You have tried, I am sure, to discipline yourself against fear or to rationalize it - fear of darkness, fear of what people may say, fear of dozens of things. We have all tried discipline, and yet fear is still there. Resistance will not wipe it away. So, if the positive process - if I may use that word because `analytical' is not a sufficient description - if the positive process is not effective for the freeing of the mind, then is there another way?
I am not using the word `way' in the sense of a gradual movement leading somewhere, implying a distance from here to there. It is in the so-called positive way that there is gradualness, the space of postponement, the `in the meantime', the `eventually I will arrive', and `it has to be conquered sooner or later', and so on. In that process there is always an interval between the fact of what is and the idea of what should be. For me, that will not free the mind at all because it implies time, and time becomes all-important. For me, time implies fear. If there were no such thing as tomorrow or yesterday, and all the influences of yesterday leading through today to tomorrow - which implies not only chronological time but also psychological time, which is the will to achieve, to arrive, to conquer - then there would be no fear, because then there is only the living moment, the gap in which time is not.
So the so-called positive approach, positive enquiry, activity, is essentially a prolongation of fear. I do not know if we really comprehend that - not just the words I am saying, which are not important, but the actual fact.
Now, if the positive process is not the releasing factor, then what is? But first we must understand that the enquiry into what is the releasing factor is not merely a reaction to the positive process. This must be very clearly seen. Please wait, wait just a minute and look at it. I am thinking aloud. I have not thought all this out beforehand. We must give each other time to really look at it.
We can see that the enquiry which we have called the positive process does not free the mind from fear, for it maintains time - time as tomorrow, which is shaped by the influences of the past acting through the present. Please do not just accept this: see it. If you see the truth or the falseness of it, then your further enquiry is not just a reaction to the positive process.
You know what I mean by `reaction.' I do not like Christianity, for a dozen reasons, so I become a Buddhist. I do not like the capitalistic system because I cannot acquire immense riches, or whatever the reason is; so, as a reaction I become a Fascist, a Communist, or something else. Being afraid, I try to develop courage; but it is still a reaction and therefore still within the same field of time.
So, a fact emerges from this: which is that when you see something as false, which is not a reaction, then a new process comes into being - not a process; a new seed is born.
I do not know if I am making myself clear. First of all, to see something as false or to see something as true, a very alert mind is needed: a mind that is completely free of any motive.
Now we understand what we mean by the analytical process; and if one sees the falseness of it, or the truth of it, or sees the truth in the false, then how will you tackle fear? If that is not the way, then you have to turn your back on it wholly, have you not? The turning of your back on it is not a reaction; it has no motive; it is just that you have seen it as false and therefore turned away from it. Please, I do not know if you understand all this. I think it is very important to comprehend it, because then you cut at the very roots of effort and will.
Now, what is the state of the mind which has turned away from the analytical process, with all its implications? Please do not just listen to my words, but look at your own mind.
Question: The mind is completely uncertain.
Krishnamurti: Sirs, please do not answer! please do not give verbal expression to it yet. Wait, please. Do not express it, even to yourselves, because it is something entirely new; you follow? And therefore you have no words for it yet. If you already have the words, you are still not actually looking.
You see, that state is the revolution, is it not?, the revolt which is not a reaction, the revolt from the whole tradition of how to be free, how to achieve, how to arrive. I do not know if you capture this. Let us change a little bit; let that simmer for a little while.
You know, most of us know what it is to feel anxious, to feel guilty - to put on clean clothes when millions in the East have no clothes at all; to have a good meal when millions are hungry. Perhaps, living in a prosperous country where you are safe from the womb to the tomb, you do not know what that feeling is. There is not only the collective guilt of the race, there is the guilt of the family, the name, the big name and the little name, the guilt of the V.I.P.'s and of the nobodies, and the guilt of the individual, the things we have done wrong, the things we have said and thought, the despair of it all. I am sure you all know it. And out of this despair we do the most extraordinary things. We rush around, joining this and that, becoming this and denying that, all the time hoping to wipe away the inward despair. And despair, again, has its roots in fear. And despair breeds many philosophies; and through it one goes through many deaths. I am not being dramatic or romantic. This is the ordinary state that everybody goes through, either intensely or very superficially. When it is superficial, one turns on the radio, picks up a book, goes to a cinema, goes to a church, or watches a parade. When it is very deep, one goes off the deep-end and becomes a neurotic or joins one of the new, fashionable movements of the intellect.
This is what is happening throughout the world. We have denied God, the churches have lost their meaning, the authority of the priest is washed out. The more one thinks, the more one cleanses the mind of all these absurdities.
So, you have got to tackle fear, you have got to understand fear. You follow? You have got to find out. Because there is not only the fear of death, the fear of the things that you have done and the things that you have not done, but there is the despair, anxiety and guilt born of fear. These are all the expressions of fear. So if the mind is not to go to pieces or deteriorate, if it is to be alive, active, rich, it has got to wipe away fear. Until we do that I do not think we can know what it means to love and what it means to have peace - not political peace and all the rest of that, but a real sense of inward quietness, untouched by time, incorruptible; it has no relation to that thing called peace which is put together by the mind of man.
So it is imperative for the mind to be free of fear, because it is only the free mind that can discover if there is something beyond. You can call it truth, God, or what you will: it is that which man has been seeking for centuries, for millennia.
May 11, 1961
London 5th Public Talk 11th May 1961
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