Is Happiness an End in Itself?

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE URGENCY OF CHANGE

Questioner: What is happiness? I have always tried to find it but somehow it hasn’t come my way. I see people enjoying themselves in so many different ways and many of the things they do seem so immature and childish. I suppose they are happy in their own way, but I want a different kind of happiness. I have had rare intimations that it might be possible to get it, but somehow it has always eluded me. I wonder what I can do to feel really completely happy?

Krishnamurti: Do you think happiness is an end in itself? Or does it come as a secondary thing in living intelligently?

Q: I think it is an end in itself because if there is happiness then whatever you do will be harmonious; then you will do things effortlessly, easily, without any friction. I am sure that whatever you do out of this happiness will be right.

K: But is this so? Is happiness an end in itself? Virtue is not an end in itself. If it is, then it becomes a very small affair. Can you seek happiness? If you do then probably you will find an imitation of it in all sorts of distractions and indulgences. This is pleasure. What is the relationship between pleasure and happiness?

Q: I have never asked myself.

K: Pleasure which we pursue is mistakenly called happiness, but can you pursue happiness, as you pursue pleasure? Surely we must be very clear as to whether pleasure is happiness. Pleasure is gratification, satisfaction, indulgence, entertainment, stimulation. Most of us think pleasure is happiness, and the greatest pleasure we consider to be the greatest happiness. And is happiness the opposite of unhappiness? Are you trying to be happy because you are unhappy and dissatisfied? Has happiness got an opposite at all? Has love got an opposite? Is your question about happiness the result of being unhappy?

Q: I am unhappy like the rest of the world and naturally I don’t want to be, and that is what is driving me to seek happiness.

K: So happiness to you is the opposite of unhappiness. If you were happy you wouldn’t seek it. So what is important is not happiness but whether unhappiness can end. That is the real problem, isn’t it? You are asking about happiness because you are unhappy and you ask this question without finding out whether happiness is the opposite of unhappiness.

Q: If you put it that way, I accept it. So my concern is how to be free from the misery I am in.

K: Which is more important – to understand unhappiness or to pursue happiness? If you pursue happiness it becomes an escape from unhappiness and therefore it will always remain, covered over perhaps, hidden, but always there, festering inside. So what is your question now?

Q: My question now is why am I miserable? You have very neatly pointed out to me my real state, rather than given me the answer I want, so now I am faced with this question, how am I to get rid of the misery I am in?

K: Can an outside agency help you to get rid of your own misery, whether that outside agency be God, a master, a drug or a saviour? Or can one have the intelligence to understand the nature of unhappiness and deal with it immediately?

Q: I have come to you because I thought you might help me, so you could call yourself an outside agency. I want help and I don’t care who gives it to me.

K: In accepting or giving help several things are involved. If you accept it blindly you will be caught in the trap of one authority or another, which brings with it various other problems, such as obedience and fear. So if you start off wanting help, not only do you not get help – because nobody can help you anyway – but in addition you get a whole series of new problems; you are deeper in the mire than ever before.

Q: I think I understand and accept that. I have never thought it out clearly before. How then can I develop the intelligence to deal with unhappiness on my own, and immediately? If I had this intelligence surely I wouldn’t be here now, I wouldn’t be asking you to help me. So my question now is, can I get this intelligence in order to solve the problem of unhappiness and thereby attain happiness?

K: You are saying that this intelligence is separate from its action. The action of this intelligence is the seeing and the understanding of the problem itself. The two are not separate and successive; you don’t first get intelligence and then use it on the problem like a tool. it is one of the sicknesses of thinking to say that one should have the capacity first and then use it, the idea or the principle first and then apply it. This itself is the very absence of intelligence and the origin of problems. This is fragmentation. We live this way and so we speak of happiness and unhappiness, hate and love, and so on.

Q: Perhaps this is inherent in the structure of language.

K: Perhaps it is but let’s not make too much fuss about it here and wander away from the issue. We are saying that intelligence, and the action of that intelligence – which is seeing the problem of unhappiness – are one indivisibly. Also that this is not separate from ending unhappiness or getting happiness.

Q: How am I to get that intelligence?

K: Have you understood what we have been saying?

Q: Yes.

K: But if you have understood you have seen that this seeing is intelligence. The only thing you can do is to see; you cannot cultivate intelligence in order to see. Seeing is not the cultivation of intelligence. Seeing is more important than intelligence, or happiness, or unhappiness. There is only seeing or not seeing. All the rest – happiness, unhappiness and intelligence – are just words.

Q: What is it, then, to see? Krishnamurti: To see means to understand how thought creates the opposites. What thought creates is not real. To see means to understand the nature of thought, memory, conflict, ideas; to see all this as a total process is to understand. This is intelligence; seeing totally is intelligence; seeing fragmentarily is the lack of intelligence. Questioner: I am a bit bewildered. I think I understand, but it is rather tenuous; I must go slowly. What you are saying is, see and listen completely. You say this attention is intelligence and you say that it must be immediate. One can only see now. I wonder if I really see now, or am I going home to think over what you have said, hoping to see later?

K: Then you will never see; in thinking about it you will never see it because thinking prevents seeing. Both of us have understood what it means to see. This seeing is not an essence or an abstraction or an idea. You cannot see if there is nothing to see. Now you have a problem of unhappiness. See it completely, including your wanting to be happy and how thought creates the opposite. See the search for happiness and the seeking help in order to get happiness. See disappointment, hope, fear. All of this must be seen completely, as a whole, not separately. See all this now, give your whole attention to it.

Q: I am still bewildered. I don’t know whether I have got the essence of it, the whole point. I want to close my eyes and go into myself to see if I have really understood this thing. If I have then I have solved my problem.