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Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 6

Perhaps we can approach the problem of fear from still another angle. Fear does extraordinary things to most of us. It creates all kinds of illusions and problems. Until we go into it very deeply and really understand it, fear will always distort our actions. Fear twists our ideas and makes crooked the way of our life; it creates barriers between people, and it certainly destroys love. So the more we go into fear, the more we understand and are really free of it, the greater will be our contact with all that is around us. At present our vital contacts with life are very few, are they not? But if we can free ourselves of fear we shall have wide contacts, deep understanding, real sympathy, loving consideration, and great will be the extension of our horizon. So let us see if we can talk about fear from a different point of view.

I wonder if you have noticed that most of us want some kind of psychological safety. We want security, somebody on whom to lean. As a small child holds on to the mother's hand, so we want something to cling to; we want somebody to love us. Without a sense of security, without a mental safeguard, we feel lost, do we not? We are used to leaning on others, looking to others to guide and help us, and without this support we feel confused, afraid, we do not know what to think, how to act. The moment we are left to ourselves, we feel lonely, insecure, uncertain. From this arises fear, does it not?

So we want something to give us a sense of certainty and we have safeguards of many different kinds. We have inward as well as outward protection. When we close the windows and doors of our house and stay inside, we feel very secure, we feel safe, unmolested. But life is not like that. Life is constantly knocking at our door, trying to push open our windows so that we may see more; and if out of fear we lock the doors, bolt all the windows, the knocking only grows louder. The closer we cling to security in any form, the more life comes and pushes us. The more we are afraid and enclose ourselves, the greater is our suffering, because life won't leave us alone. We want to be secure but life says we cannot be; and so our struggle begins. We seek security in society, in tradition, in our relationship with our fathers and mothers, with our wives or husbands; but life always breaks through the walls of our security.

We also seek security or comfort in ideas, do we not? Have you observed how ideas come into being and how the mind clings to them? You have an idea of something beautiful you saw when you were out for a walk, and your mind goes back to that idea, that memory. You read a book and you get an idea to which you cling. So you must see how ideas arise, and how they become a means of inward comfort, security, something to which the mind clings.

Have you ever thought about this question of ideas? If you have an idea and I have an idea, and each of us thinks that his own idea is better than the other's, we struggle, don't we? I try to convince you, and you try to convince me. The whole world is built on ideas and the conflict between them; and if you go into it, you will find that merely clinging to an idea has no meaning. But have you noticed how your father, your mother, your teachers, your aunts and uncles all cling hard to what they think?

Now, how does an idea come into being? How do you get an idea? When you have the idea of going out for a walk, for example, how does it arise? It is very interesting to find out. If you observe you will see how an idea of that kind arises, and how your mind clings to it, pushing everything else aside. The idea of going out for a walk is a response to a sensation, is it not? You have gone out for a walk before and it has left a pleasurable feeling or sensation; you want to do it again, so the idea is created and then put into action. When you see a beautiful car, there is a sensation, is there not? The sensation comes from the very looking at the car. The seeing creates the sensation. From the sensation there is born the idea, "I want that car, it is my car", and the idea then becomes very dominant.

We seek security in outward possessions and relationships, and also in inward ideas or beliefs. I believe in God, in rituals, I believe that I should be married in a certain way, I believe in reincarnation, in life after death, and so on. These beliefs are all created by my desires, by my prejudices, and to these beliefs I cling. I have external securities, outside the skin as it were, and also inward securities; remove or question them, and I am afraid; I will push you away, I will battle with you if you threaten my security.

Now, is there any such thing as security? Do you understand? We have ideas about security. We may feel safe with our parents, or in a particular job. The way we think, the way of our life, the way we look at things - with all this we may feel satisfied. Most of us are very content to be enclosed in safe ideas. But can we ever be safe, can we ever be secure, however many outward or inward safeguards we may have? Outwardly, one's bank may fail tomorrow, one's father or mother may die, there may be a revolution. But is there any safety in ideas? We like to think we are safe in our ideas, in our beliefs, in our prejudices; but are we? They are walls which are not real; they are merely our conceptions, our sensations. We like to believe there is a God who is looking after us, or that we are going to be reborn richer, more noble than we are now. That may be, or it may not be. So we can see for ourselves, if we look into both the outward and the inward securities, that there is no safety in life at all.

If you ask the refugees from Pakistan or from Eastern Europe, they will certainly tell you that there is no outward security. But they feel there is security inwardly, and they cling to that idea. You may lose your outward security, but you are then all the more eager to build your security inwardly, and you do not want to let it go. This implies greater fear.

If tomorrow, or in a few years time, your parents tell you whom they want you to marry, will you be frightened? Of course not, because you have been brought up to do exactly as you are told; you have been taught by your parents, by the guru, by the priest to think along certain lines, to act in a certain manner, to hold certain beliefs. But if you were asked to decide for yourself, would you not be completely at a loss? If your parents told you to marry whom you like, you would shiver, wouldn't you? Having been thoroughly conditioned by tradition, by fears, you don't want to be left to decide things for yourself. In being left alone there is danger, and you never want to be left alone. You never want to think out anything for yourself. You never want to go out for a walk by yourself. You all want to be doing something like active ants. You are afraid to think out any problem, to face any of life's demands; and being frightened, you do chaotic and absurd things. Like a man with a begging bowl, you thoughtlessly accept whatever is offered.

Seeing all this, a really thoughtful person begins to free himself from every kind of security, inward or outward. This is extremely difficult, because it means that you are alone - alone in the sense that you are not dependent. The moment you depend, there is fear; and where there is fear, there is no love. When you love, you are not lonely. The sense of loneliness arises only when you are frightened of being alone and of not knowing what to do. When you are controlled by ideas, isolated by beliefs, then fear is inevitable; and when you are afraid, you are completely blind.

So, the teachers and the parents together have to solve this problem of fear. But unfortunately your parents are afraid of what you might do if you don't get married, or if you don't get a job. They are afraid of your going wrong, or of what people might say, and because of this fear they want to make you do certain things. Their fear is clothed in what they call love. They want to look after you, therefore you must do this or that. But if you go behind the wall of their so-called affection and consideration, you will find there is fear for your safety, for your respectability; and you also are afraid because you have depended on other people for so long.

That is why it is very important that you should, from the tenderest age, begin to question and break down these feelings of fear so that you are not isolated by them, and are not enclosed in ideas, in traditions, in habits, but are a free human being with creative vitality.

Questioner: Why are we afraid, even though we know that God protects us?

Krishnamurti: That is what you have been told. Your father, your mother, your older brother have all told you that God protects you; it is an idea, to which you cling, and still there is fear. Though you have this idea, this thought, this feeling that God protects you, the fact is that you are afraid. Your fear is the real thing, not your idea that you are going to be protected by God because your parents and your tradition assert that you will be.

Now, what is actually happening? Are you being protected? Look at the millions of people who are not protected, who are starving. Look at the villagers who carry heavy burdens, who are hungry, dirty, with torn clothes. Are they protected by God? Because you have more money than others, because you have a certain social position, because your father is an official, or a collector, or a merchant who has cleverly cheated somebody, should you be protected while millions in the world are going without sufficient food, without proper clothing and shelter. You hope that the poor and the starving are going to be protected by the State, by their employers, by society, by God; but they are not going to be protected. Really there is no protection, even though you like to feel that God will protect you. It is just a nice idea to pacify your fear; so you do not question anything, but just believe in God. To start with the idea that you are going to be protected by God, has no meaning. But if you really go into this whole problem of fear, then you will find out whether God will protect you or not.

When there is the feeling of affection, there is no fear, no exploitation, and then there is no problem.

Questioner: What is society?

Krishnamurti: What is society? And what is the family? Let us find out, step by step, how society is created, how it comes into being.

What is the family? When you say, "This is my family", what do you mean? Your father, your mother, your brother and sister, the sense of closeness, the fact that you are living together in the same house, the feeling that your parents are going to protect you, the ownership of certain property, of jewels, saris, clothes - all this is the basis of the family. There are other families like yours living in other houses, feeling exactly the same things you feel, having the sense of `my wife', `my husband', `my children', `my house', `my clothes', `my car; there are many such families living on the same piece of earth, and they come to have the feeling that they must not be invaded by still other families. So they begin to make laws. The powerful families build themselves into high positions, they acquire big properties, they have more money, more clothes, more cars; they get together and frame the laws, they tell the rest of us what to do. So gradually there comes into being a society, with laws, regulations, police- men, with an army and a navy. Ultimately the whole earth becomes populated by societies of various kinds. Then people get antagonistic ideas and want to overthrow those who are established in high positions, who have all the means of power. They break down that particular society and form another.

Society is the relationship between people - the relationship between one person and another, between one family and another, between one group and another, and between the individual and the group. Human relationship is society, the relationship between you and me. If I am very greedy, very cunning, if I have great power and authority, I am going to push you out; and you will try to do the same to me. So we make laws. But others come and break our laws, establishing another set of laws, and this goes on all the time. In society, which is human relationship, there is constant conflict. This is the simple basis of society, which becomes more and more complex as human beings themselves become more and more complex in their ideas, in their wants, in their institutions and their industries.

Questioner: Can you be free while living in this society?

Krishnamurti: If I depend on society for my satisfaction, for my comfort, can I ever be free? If I depend on my father for affection, for money, for the initiative to do things, or if I depend in some way on a guru, I am not free, am I? So, is it possible to be free as long as I am psychologically dependent? Surely, freedom is possible only when I have capacity, initiative, when I can think independently, when I am not afraid of what anyone says, when I really want to find out what is true and am not greedy, envious, jealous. As long as I am envious, greedy, I am psychologically depending on society; and as long as I depend on society in that way, I am not free. But if I cease to be greedy, I am free.

Questioner: Why do people want to live in society when they can live alone?

Krishnamurti: Can you live alone? Questioner: I live in society because my father and mother live in society.

Krishnamurti: To get a job, to earn a livelihood, have you not to live in society? Can you live alone? For your food, clothing and shelter you depend on somebody. You cannot live in isolation. No entity is completely alone. It is only in death that you are alone. In living you are always related - related to your father, to your brother, to the beggar, to the road-mender, to the merchant, to the collector. You are always related; and because you do not understand that relationship, there is conflict. But if you understand the relationship between yourself and another, there is no conflict, and then the question of living alone does not arise.

Questioner: Since we are always related to one another, is it not true that we can never be absolutely free?

Krishnamurti: We don't understand what relationship is, right relationship. Suppose I depend on you for my gratification, for my comfort, for my sense of security; how can I ever be free? But if I do not depend in that way, I am still related to you, am I not? I depend on you for some kind of emotional, physical or intellectual comfort, therefore I am not free. I cling to my parents because I want some kind of safety, which means that my relationship to them is one of dependence and is based on fear. How then can I have any relationship which is free? There is freedom in relationship only when there is no fear. So, to have right relationship, I must set about freeing myself from this psychological dependency which breeds fear.

Questioner: How can we be free when our parents depend on us in their old age.

Krishnamurti: Because they are old, they depend on you to support them. So what happens? They expect you to earn a livelihood that will enable you to clothe and feed them; and if what you want to do is to become a carpenter or an artist, even though you may earn no money at all, they will say that you must not do it because you have to support them. Just think about this. I am not saying it is good or bad. By saying it is good or bad we put an end to thinking. Your parents demand that you should provide for them prevents you from living your own life, and living your own life is considered selfish; so you become the slave of your parents.

You may say that the State should look after old people through old age pensions and various other means of security. But in a country where there is overpopulation, insufficiency of national income, lack of productivity and so on, the State cannot look after old people. So elderly parents depend on the young, and the young always fit into the groove of tradition and are destroyed. But this is not a problem to be discussed by me. You all have to think about it and work it out.

I naturally want to support my parents within reasonable limits. But suppose I also want to do something which pays very little. Suppose I want to become a religious person and live my life to finding out what God is, what truth is. That way of living may not bring me any money, and if I pursue it I may have to give up my family - which means they will probably starve, like millions of other people. What am I to do? As long as I am afraid of what people will say - that I am not a dutiful son, that I am an unworthy son - I shall never be a creative human being. To be a happy, creative human being, I must have a great deal of initiative.

Questioner: Would it be good on our part to allow our parents to starve?

Krishnamurti: You are not putting it in the right way. Suppose I really want to become an artist, a painter, and I know painting will bring me very little money. What am I to do? Sacrifice my deep urge to paint and become a clerk? That is what generally happens, is it not? I become a clerk, and for the rest of my life I am in great conflict, I am in misery; and because I am suffering, frustrated, I make life miserable for my wife and children. But if, as a young artist, I see the significance of all this, I say to my parents, "I want to paint and I will give you what I can from the little I have; that is all I can do".

You have asked certain questions, and I have answered them. But if you do not really think about these questions, if you do not go into them for yourself more and more deeply and approach them from different angles, look at them in different ways, then you will only say, "This is good and that is bad; this is duty and that is not duty; this is right and that is wrong" - and this will not lead you any further. Whereas, if you and I think about all these questions together, and if you and your parents and teachers discuss them, go into them, then your intelligence will be awakened, and when these problems arise in your daily life you will be able to meet them. But you will not be able to meet them if you merely accept what I am saying. My answers to your questions are only intended to awaken your intelligence, so that you will think out these problems for yourself and thus be capable of meeting life rightly.

Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 6

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