Krishnamurti on Dependence

Episode Notes

‘Seeing the whole structure and nature of dependence and how it makes the mind stupid, dull, and inactive, seeing of the totality of it, frees the mind.’

This week’s episode on Dependence has five sections.

The first extract (2:46) is from Krishnamurti’s second talk in Saanen 1967, titled ‘We all depend on something.’

The second extract (27:40) is from the second question and answer meeting in Saanen 1980, titled ‘Dependence in relationship.’

The third extract (44:58) is from the second question and answer meeting at Brockwood Park in 1985, titled ‘Where do we draw the line of dependency?’

The fourth extract (53:56) is from the second question and answer meeting at Brockwood Park in 1980, titled ‘Depending on others to understand.’

The final extract (59:59) in this episode is from the second question and answer meeting in Madras 1985, titled ‘Independence is necessary.’

Part 1

We All Depend on Something

It is important to be completely free from the psychological structure of society, that is, to be completely out of society. To understand the problems of the social structure of which we are part and also to be free from them, we need considerable energy, vigour and vitality.

The more one sees how complex society is, the more it becomes obvious how complex the individual that lives in society is. The individual is part of the society he has created; his psychological structure is essentially of that society. To understand the problems which each one of us has is to understand the problems of relationship within society – for we have only one problem really and that is the problem of relationship in this social, psychological structure. To understand and to be free of the problem of relationship, one needs a great deal of energy, not only physical and intellectual energy but an energy that is not motivated or dependent on any psychological stimulation or on any drugs. To have this energy one must first understand how one dissipates energy.

We shall go into it step by step, and please realise that the speaker is only a mirror; he is voicing what he hopes is the problem of each one of us. In this way, one is not just hearing a series of words and ideas but actually listening to and observing oneself, not in terms of what the speaker or another formulates, but rather one is observing the actual state of one’s own confusion, one’s own lack of energy, misery, the sense of utter hopelessness, and so on.

If one is dependent on any stimulation, for the energy which one needs, then that very stimulation makes the mind dull, insensitive, not acute. One may take the drug LSD, or other forms of drugs, and one may temporarily find enough energy to see things very clearly, but one reverts to one’s former state and becomes dependent on that drug more and more. All stimulation, whether of the church, of the drink or drug, or the speaker, will inevitably bring about a dependence, and that dependence prevents one from having the vital energy to see clearly for oneself. Any form of dependence on any stimulation lessens the quickness and vitality of the mind. We all depend, unfortunately, on something, it may be dependence on a relationship or on the reading of an intellectual book, or on certain ideas and ideologies we have formulated, or we depend on solitude, isolation, denial, resistance. These obviously distort and dissipate energy.

One has to become aware of what it is that one is dependent upon. One has to find out why one depends on anything at all, psychologically. I don’t mean technologically, or depending on the milkman, but psychologically why do we depend? What is involved in dependence? This question is essential in investigating the dissipation, deterioration and distortion of energy, the energy we need so vitally to understand the many problems.

What is it on which we so depend? Is it a person, a book, a church, a priest, an ideology, a drink or a drug? What are the various supports each one of us has, subtly or very obviously? Why do we depend, and does discovering the cause of a dependence free the mind from that dependence?

We are taking the journey together – you are not waiting for me to tell you the causes of your dependency, but rather, in inquiring together, we will both discover them. That discovery will be yours, and being yours it will give you vitality.

One discovers for oneself that one depends upon something – upon, say, an audience which will stimulate one. Therefore one needs that audience. One may derive, from addressing a large group of people, a kind of energy; one depends upon that audience for that energy, whether it agrees or disagrees. The more it disagrees, the more there is a battle, and the more vitality one has. But if the audience agrees then one does not derive that energy.

One depends. Why? And one asks oneself if in discovering the cause of one’s dependence one will free oneself of that dependence. Go into it slowly with me, please. One discovers that one needs an audience because it is a very stimulating thing to address people. Why does one need that stimulus? Because in oneself one is shallow, in oneself one has nothing, no source of energy which is always full, rich, vital, which is moving, living. In oneself, one is enormously poor. One has discovered that, the cause of one’s dependence. Does the discovery of the cause free one from being dependent, or is the discovery of the cause merely intellectual, merely the discovery of a formula? If it is an intellectual investigation, and the intellect has found the cause of the mind’s dependence, through rationalisation, through analysis, then does that free the mind from being dependent? Obviously, it doesn’t. The mere intellectual discovery of the cause does not free the mind from its dependence on something which gives it stimulation, no more than a merely intellectual acceptance of an idea, or an emotional acquiescence in an ideology will.

The mind is freed from dependence in seeing the totality of this whole structure of stimulation and dependence, and in seeing that the mere intellectual discovery of the cause of dependence does not free the mind from dependence. Seeing the whole structure and nature of stimulation and dependence, and how that dependence makes the mind stupid, dull, inactive, the seeing of the totality of it, alone, frees the mind.

Does one see the whole picture, or does one see only a part of the picture, a detail? This is a very important question to ask oneself because one sees things in fragments and thinks in fragments. All one’s thinking is in fragments. So one must inquire into what it means to see totally. One asks if one’s mind can see the whole, even though it has always functioned fragmentarily, as a nationalist, as an individualist, as the collective, as a Catholic, German, Russian, French, or as an individual caught in a technological society, functioning in a specialised activity, and so on – everything broken up into fragments with good opposed to evil, hate and love, anxiety and freedom. One’s mind is always thinking in duality, in comparison, in competition, and such a mind functioning in fragments cannot see the whole. If one is a Hindu, if one looks at the world from one’s little window as the Hindu, believing in certain dogmas, rituals, traditions, brought up in a certain culture and so on, obviously one does not see the whole of mankind.

So to see something totally, whether it is a tree or a relationship, or any activity that one has, the mind must be free from all fragmentation. And the very nature of fragmentation is the centre from which one is looking. The background, the culture, as Catholic, as Protestant, as communist, as socialist, as my family, is the centre from which one is looking. So as long as one is looking at life from a particular point of view, or from a particular experience one has cherished, which is one’s background, which is the ‘me’, one cannot see the totality. Thus it is not a question of how one is to get rid of fragmentation. One’s invariable question would be, ‘How am I, who functions in fragments, not to function in fragments?’ But that is a wrong question.

One sees that one is dependent psychologically on so many things, and one has discovered intellectually, verbally and through analysis, the cause of that dependence. The discovery is itself fragmentary because it is an intellectual, verbal, analytical process, which means that whatever thought investigates must inevitably be fragmentary. One can see the totality of something only when thought doesn’t interfere. Then one sees not verbally, not intellectually, but factually, as I see the fact of this microphone, without any like or dislike – there it is. Then one sees the actuality that one is dependent and one does not want to get rid of that dependence or to be free of its cause. One observes, and one observes without any centre, without any structure of the nature of thinking. When there is observation of that kind, one sees the whole picture, not just a fragment of that picture. When the mind sees the whole picture, there is freedom.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1962, Talk 2

Part 2

Dependence in Relationship

What is our present relationship with another? Not romantic, imaginative, flowery and all that superficial thing, that disappears in a few minutes, but actually what is our relationship with another? What is your relationship with a particular person, perhaps intimate? It involves sex, it involves dependence on each other, comforting each other, encouraging each other, possessing each other, and therefore jealousy, antagonism, all the rest of it. And the man or the woman goes off to the office, or to some kind of physical work and are ambitious, greedy, competitive, aggressive to succeed, and comes back home and becomes a tame, friendly, perhaps affectionate husband or wife and so on. That is the actual daily relationship. Nobody can deny that. And we are asking: is that right relationship? We say no, certainly not, it would be absurd to say that is right relationship. We say that but continue in our old way. We say this is wrong, it is absurd to live that way, but we don’t seem to be able to understand what is relationship. We accept the pattern set by society, by us, by ourselves.

So we are going to find out for ourselves what is right relationship. Is there such a thing? We may want it, we may wish it, we may long for it, but longing, wishing doesn’t bring it about. So what one has to do is to go into it seriously to find out.

Relationship is generally sensory, sensuous. Begin with that. Then from sensuality there is a companionship, a sense of dependence on each other, which means creating a family which is dependent on each other. And when there is uncertainty in that dependence, the pot boils over. So we are saying to find out what is right relationship one has to inquire into the great dependence on each other.

Why do we depend on each other? We depend on the postman, the railway and so on – we are not talking about that. Psychologically in our relationship with each other, why we are so dependent? Is it that we are desperately lonely? Is it that we don’t trust anybody, even one’s own husband or wife? So we hope to trust somebody, maybe my wife, my husband, but even that is rather suspicious. And also dependence gives a sense of security, a protection against this vast world of terror. Also we say, ‘I love you.’ In that love, there is always the sense of being possessed and to possess. And when there is that situation, then arises all the conflict. Now that is our present relationship with each other, intimate or otherwise. We create an image of each other and cling to that image.

So one realises the moment you are tied to another person, tied to an idea, tied to a concept, corruption has begun. That is the thing to realise, and we don’t want to realise that. If I am tied to you, an audience, friends and so on, I am then dependent on you to give me encouragement, to fulfil myself talking to you, thereby encouraging vanity and all that follows, which is corruption. So can we live together without being tied, without being dependent on each other psychologically? Unless you find this out you will always live in conflict because life is relationship. So can we objectively, without any motive, observe the consequences of attachment and let it go immediately?

Attachment is not the opposite of detachment. Please give your mind to it, let your brain work! I am attached and I struggle to be detached, and therefore I create the opposite. But there is no opposite. There is only what I have, which is attachment. The moment I have created the opposite, conflict comes into being. But there is only the fact of attachment, not pursuing detachment – only the fact that I am attached, and I see the whole consequences of that attachment in which actually there is no love. And can that attachment end? Not pursue detachment.

So please follow this further. The mind has been trained, educated to create the opposite. The brain has been conditioned, educated, trained to observe ‘what is’ and to create its opposite. ‘I am violent, but I must not be violent’ – and therefore there is conflict. But when I observe only violence, the nature of it, how it arises and so on, observe, not analyse, observe, then there is only that and not the other. So you totally eliminate conflict of the opposite.

We are talking about living a life without conflict. We are pointing out how it can be done, and should be done – and must if one wants to live that way. Only deal with ‘what is’ – everything else is not. Don’t say, ‘I should not be’ – remain, understand the nature of anger, the nature of greed, and so on, so on. So you eliminate totally the quarrel, the struggle between the opposites. And when one lives that way – and it is possible to live that way, so completely remain with ‘what is’, not try to suppress it, go beyond it, escape from it, then ‘what is’ withers away. Experiment with it.

Look, my son is dead. My son is dead. I am attached to that son. I have put all my hope in that son. I want to fulfil through the son. And unfortunately, some accident takes place; he is gone. I shed tears, loneliness, despair, the shock of it, then I run away from it. I go to a church, read, escape. But whereas if I remain completely with the fact that he is gone – and I am lonely because I have depended on him, I have never understood this sense of isolation; I have escaped from it all my life – so when I remain with ‘what is’, then I can go into it fully, completely and go beyond it.

Do you understand what I am saying? Please do it!

As we said the other day, this is a serious talk, a serious gathering, not for casual visitors, casual curiosity, casual criticism. But one must criticise, one must doubt, not what the speaker is saying but begin to doubt all that you are clinging to. And then doubt what the speaker is saying. Don’t begin by doubting what the speaker says. What he is saying is pointing out to yourself.

So when there is the freedom in relationship – which doesn’t mean to do what you like; that is obviously what everybody is doing. If I don’t like the present woman, I change, go off with another – and the agony of divorce and all that business. Whereas if I really understood the nature of relationship, which can only exist when there is no attachment, when there is no image about each other, then there is real communion with each other.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1982, Question and Answer Meeting 2

Part 3

Where Do We Draw the Line of Dependency?

When you are with a close friend or relative, psychologically, inwardly, there is pressure going on between the two. You know all this, I don’t have to tell you – always trying to do something about the other, attacking subtly, physically or through innuendo, or through subtle words and gestures – you are always trying to push the other into a certain pattern. This is common to you, isn’t it? Now the questioner says, what is one to do? I am living with you in the same house, and you are bombarding me, I am bombarding you, not only with words and gestures but even a look, a feeling of irritation and so on. How will you… what will you do not to be wounded, not to be pushed around psychologically? You may depend on that person financially. You may depend on that person for various psychological reasons. And the moment you depend, you become a slave. The moment you are attached, then you are a goner!

Don’t look, if I may suggest, at somebody else, but let’s look at ourselves. If I am attached to you as the audience, then I’m lost. Then I depend on you for my satisfaction, comfort, reputation; for my physical wellbeing too. But if I don’t depend on you, I have to find out why I don’t depend on you. That means not only on you – I don’t depend on anything. I want to find out if it’s true. I may not show it to my close relative. I want to find out for myself whether it is possible living in the same room, same house, husband, wife, relative and so on, to be totally impregnable – not build a wall around oneself; that is fairly simple. I can build a wall around myself and say sorry, and be polite about it, soft about it, and very affectionate, but it is still a wall. That means limitation.

So is it possible for me to live vulnerably? Go on, think it out. And yet not be wounded. Highly sensitive, not be in any way responding according to my attachment. Go on, think it out. And if one is dependent on another financially, that becomes rather dangerous. Most of us are in this position. Do you want me to go on with this?

If I am dependent financially on you – God forbid, I am not – but if I am dependent on you, what happens between us? You then have the whip in your hand. Not only financially, but go further into it – is it possible to live with another on whom I am financially dependent; and know I am dependent because I can’t do anything else? I can’t start a new career. If I am quite young I could probably do it, but if I am sixty, fifty, or even seventy or ninety, then you can’t start a new career. So then what shall I do? What will you do?

So where do I draw the line of dependency? Psychologically, I won’t depend. For myself, I won’t depend on anybody or on anything, or on any past experience and all the rest of that rubbish. There is no dependence. But if one is dependent financially, where do I draw the line, so that being rather oldish, I say, ‘Sorry I have to put up with it.’ I have to put up with it; I can’t start a new game. So how far, how deep is that line? Is it just superficial, or has the line great depth? Obviously, very superficial: ‘Oh, I don’t mind.’ So what is important in this question is, if one understands it rightly, freedom. Freedom is absolutely necessary. But I depend on the milkman, on the supermarket, the postman and so on: otherwise, psychologically I don’t depend. I must be very clear on this. So I draw the line very, very superficially, without any depth.

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1985, Question and Answer Meeting 2

Part 4

Depending on Others To Understand

Question: I have been a member of a Gurdjieff group. I think this is right – I find it has given me a background to better understand what you are saying. Should I continue with such a group to possibly help others, as I was helped, or does such a group make for fragmentation?

Krishnamurti: It is an extraordinary idea, helping others. As though you have got extraordinary comprehension, beauty, love and truth, and the whole world of order, and that great immense sense of wholeness. If you have that, you don’t talk about helping others.

First of all, why do we want to belong to something? Belong to some sect, some group, some religious body – why? Is it because it gives us strength? It gives one great strength if you are British living in this country, to feel that you are in Britain – the same in Russia or China or India. Is it that we cannot stand alone? The word ‘alone’ means all one. Is it that we need encouragement, somebody to tell us this is the right way? And the questioner asks: as I belong to certain groups, they have helped me to understand you – understand what? Me? Do please look at it. Understand what we are talking about? Do we need interpreters to understand what we are talking about? To be kind, to love, to have no sense of nationality – does it need anybody to tell you?

Why do we depend on others, whether the others are the images in a church or temple or mosque, or the preacher, or the psychologist, or anybody – why do we depend on others? If we do depend on others psychologically, we become second-hand people, which we are. The whole history of mankind is in us; the whole story of mankind is not in books – there is, in outward things – but the whole history is here. And we don’t know how to read that. And if we could read it – and to read it you are not the reader. You understand what I am saying? You are the book. But when you read the book as a reader, it has no meaning. But if you are the book and the book is showing you, telling you the story, and you are not telling the story, but the book is telling, then you will not depend on a single person. Then one will be a light to oneself. But we are all waiting for the match of another, the fire of another – and perhaps that is why you are all here. And that is where the tragedy lies because we cannot see clearly for ourselves. And before we help others, we have to see clearly, otherwise it is like then the blind leading the blind.

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1980, Question and Answer Meeting 2

Part 5

Independence Is Necessary

The speaker, K, has no close circles. That is the first thing to establish very clearly. He has no close circle around him: disciples, which is a horror to the speaker, to have disciples, because generally disciples destroy the teacher. (Laughter) You may laugh at it, but it is a fact. So there is no closed circle. I would walk out of it tomorrow if there was such a thing, and I really mean it. Because independence is necessary. And it is only through independence there can be cooperation.

Cooperation is immensely important in life. We either cooperate for our own profit, for our own self-interest, or we cooperate around a person because we all worship him – then it becomes personal idolatry, which is an abomination. And cooperation, which is to work together, do things together, cannot take place unless each one is completely independent. I know this goes contrary to everything.

You cooperate with the government, you cooperate with the guru, you cooperate with the policeman, you cooperate with your governor, chief minister, and all the bosses and so on – and they all destroy your independence. It is only when you are really independent I can work with you, and you can work with me. That means we must both be free to cooperate. You are not my boss; I am not your boss. You understand all this? Oh Lord! All right, it’s up to you.

Krishnamurti in Madras 1985, Question and Answer Meeting 2

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