Fact about fear
J. Krishnamurthy on the idea of fear
Among the classic clippings or podcasts on the Net, some of them bring Jiddu Krishnamurthy to us. There is a fascinating one in six parts in conversation with Iris Murdoch. It is a philosophers' banter and the first episode of nine minutes does not get much beyond understanding the word experience.
Two independent series of talks are on fear. One of them is a 12-minute excerpt in two parts from an interview by Mary Zimblast. In this one, J. Krishnamurthy begins by asking whether fear is an idea or an actuality? Krishnamurthy spans out a beautiful distinction between fact and idea...which by itself is an idea but nevertheless opens doors not just in understanding fear, but many things about ourselves.
“…the actuality of fear and its abstraction of the idea of fear. We have to be clear what we are talking about,” says the philosopher. “Why do we see something and turn it into an idea. Is it because an idea is easier to pursue or is it our conditioning or we are educated to ideas or in ideas. Not educated to deal with facts… Why is it that human beings throughout the world deal with abstractions? What should be, what must be and so on....? Ideas separate man, they bring wars… why does the brain of human beings operate these things? Is it because they cannot deal with facts directly and so escape, subtly, into ideation…ideas are very divisible factor...they bring friction. They divide communities, nations, sects, religions and so on…All that is based on thought.”
The crucial sentence is one which says, “The fact of actual fear and to remain with that fact which requires a great deal of inward discipline.” He likens it to, “It is like holding a jewel an extraordinary one… you are watching it looking at and the mind which made it. The feeling of beauty, the intricate pattern…deal with the fact of fear and look at it that way…not escape …just remain with that fear. Fear becomes an actual fact. ..Then you can ask very carefully and hesitantly can ask, “What is this fear…Is it something like a surgeon be operated upon and removed, like a disease; which means there is an entity that can operate upon it, but that very entity is an abstraction…that entity is unreal. What is factual is fear. And that requires very careful attention, not to be caught in the abstraction of one who wants to control or observe fear.”
Factor of disorder
Just as one seems to be nearing an understanding, the video ends and there is no third part. There is, however, another excerpt from a talk on the origins of fear recorded in the May of 1982.
Here, Krishnamurthy says, “Fear is one of the factors of disorder... Most human beings have fear either physical or psychological…complicated fears of not fulfilling, of not becoming, in their relationships, of not having jobs, of darkness, of death, of the very act of living... Naturally as one observes fear, the state of fear as one goes into it one can see how fear creates disorder, of being secure and not being secure, of the present, past and future…most of us have experienced some kind of fear urgently very deeply or superficially. When one is afraid the whole psychological state becomes tight, strained and where there is fear there is darkness and escape from that darkness then the escape becomes far more important that the fear itself… No outside agency, however elevated, can ever possibly solve this problem of human fear. You must find out…you yourself go deeply into the question.” Suggests the philosopher that we have so accepted the pattern of fear that we do not want to move away from it and goes on to describe the contributory factors to fear and says one of the contributory factors to fear may be comparison. “Comparing myself with somebody else psychologically...can one live a life without comparing? When you compare yourself with another, there is this striving to become that, a desire to become that and the fear that we may not be able to fulfil. Where there is comparison there must be fear. Never compare…”
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