While on holiday, I took along several books, but only managed to break open Krishnamurti’s book On Fear. The book is filled with excerpts from talks and Krishnamurti’s journal entries on the topic of fear. It’s a small read, but I still haven’t finished it. But I did want to post some excerpts that I found poignant. Likely there will be a near future post where I take what I’ve read and apply it to my own personal fears, breaking them down to notice the full extent of their nature, though really all fears are just fear regardless of the manifestations they undertake.
So there is in our life this constant state of comparison, competition, and the everlasting struggle to be somebody – or to be nobody, which is the same thing. This, I feel, is the root of all fear, because it breeds envy, jealousy, hatred. Where there is hatred there is obviously no love, and fear is generated more and more.
But a word brings fear or pleasure into being through association and remembrance. We are slaves to words and to exasmine anything fully, to look, we must be free of the word. If I’m a Hindu and a Brahmin, a Catholic, a Protestant, an Anglican, or a Presbyterian, to look I have to be free of that word, with all its associations, and that’s extraordinarily difficult. The difficulty disappears when we are passionately inquiring, examining.
Fear ceases only when there is direct contact…To die means that you have to die every day, not just twenty years from now. You die every day to everything that you know, except technologically. You die to the image of your wife; you die every day to the pleasure you have, to the pains, the memories, the experiences. Otherwise you can’t come into contact with them. If you do die to them all, fear comes to an end and there is a renewal.
You know fear is also used to civilize man. Religions throughout the world have used fear as a means of controlling man. Have they not? They say that if you do not do certain things in this life, you will pay for it in the next life. Though all religions preach love, though they preach brotherhood, though they talk about the unity of man, they all subtly, or very brutally, grossly, maintain this sense of fear.
Most of us are very conservative. You know what that word means, you know what it is to conserve? To hold, to guard. Most of us want to remain respectable and so we want to do the right thing, we want to follow the right conduct, which, if you go into it very deeply, you will see is an indication of fear. Why not make a mistake, why not find out? But the man who is afraid is always thinking ‘I must do the right thing, I must look respectable, I must not let the public think what I am or not’. Such a man is really, fundamentally, basically, afraid.
But the difficulty is: when there is fear, we do not create. A person who is afraid can never find truth or God. Behind all our worships, all our images, all our rituals, there is fear and, therefore, your gods are not gods, they are stones.
Fear and love cannot exist together. In this country there is no love. There is devotion, reverence, but no love. Devotion to your guru, to your gods, to your ideals, is self-worship. It is self-worship because you have created your guru, your ideals, your gods; you have created them, thought has created them, your grandfather has, and you accept this because it satisfies you, it gives you comfort. So what you are devoted to is yourself. Swallow that pill and live with it!
Thought is responsible for fear; also, thought is responsible for pleasure. One has had a happy experience; thought thinks about it and wants it perpetuated. When that is not possible there is a resistance, anger, despair, and fear. So thought is responsible for fear as well as pleasure, isn’t it? This is not a verbal conclusion; this is not a formula for avoiding fear. That is, where there is pleasure there is pain and fear perpetuated by thought; pleasure goes with pain, the two are indivisible.
What brings this division between you, your wife or your husband, and your children? Division is disorder. Muslim and Hindu, Jew and Arab, Communism, totalitarianism, and freedom. These opposites are the essence of disorder. So what brings about disorder in our relationships, with the most intimate and the not so intimate? Have you ever thought about it?
Fear itself, not the various forms of fear. See how we break up fear. That’s part of our tradition, to bring about a fragmentation of fear, and therefore be concerned with only one type of fear. Not with the whole tree of fear, but a particular branch, or a particular leaf of it. The whole nature, the structure, the quality of fear – in observing that very closely, in the very watching there is the revelation of the causation – not you analyzing to find out the cause but the very watching showing the causation, which is time and thought.
So thought and time are the central factors of fear. Thought is not separate from time. They are one. These are the facts. This is the causation of fear. It is a fact – not an idea, not an abstraction – that thought and time is the cause of fear. It is singular.
The self-interest in our life is the cause of fear.