Krishnamurti on Security
‘Is there security at all? There is when there is intelligence. Intelligence is the most positive force of security’.
This week’s episode on Security has four sections.
The first extract (2:24) is from the second question and answer meeting at Brockwood Park in 1982, titled ‘Is there any security?’
The second extract (17:26) is from Krishnamurti’s sixth talk in Saanen 1974, titled ‘Our physical security is being threatened’.
The third extract (34:51) is from the first talk in Saanen 1977, titled ‘Can thought provide security?’
The final extract this week (49:27) is from Krishnamurti’s second talk in New York 1974, titled ‘Total security’.
Is There Any Security?
We are insecure. I am seeking security but the actual fact is I am insecure, uncertain, confused, waffling about, moving from one thing to another, one family to another, one woman to another, one man to another, one guru to another. I am seeking security and I think there is security in a nation, in a community, in a family, or if I am fairly intelligent, I say, ‘No, there is no security, but there is security in God, in obeying, in following, in accepting.’ But the fact remains all the time that there is this feeling of deep insecurity. So can we put away the search for security psychologically and inquire into what insecurity is? Then I can deal with it. But if I am all the time seeking security – and I see very well I can’t find it in churches, in priests, in books, in people, in gurus, in ideas – there is none of it. I see that. So I come back and say now, I am insecure – why?
What is insecurity? I am talking first psychologically, not first secure outwardly then secure inwardly. First psychologically I am inquiring into insecurity. Please see the importance of this. The communists, socialists and various other groups have tried to find, bring about security for man outwardly, and they have all failed. The communists started out – you know, I won’t go into all that – all kinds of propositions, ideals, and then ended up in totalitarianism. So unless we tackle, grasp the inward structure of human behaviour and the human mind, psychologically, merely the outward coating will have no effect. One doesn’t realise this. So first we are seeking together, trying to find out why we live psychologically in insecurity, why we feel insecure – not the other. Why?
When I am insecure and I know I am insecure, is there a subtle urge, a subtle intimation that there is security? I am insecure. I am married and all the rest of it, but I feel insecure. There may be also deep down in me the feeling that somewhere there is security, and I am pursuing that unconsciously though I am trying to investigate insecurity. I wonder if you see this. I must be very clear that I am not surreptitiously under the table seeking security, though I profess I am insecure. So we must be clear right through our being that one lives in insecurity. Why? Then we can ask the real question. But if you are half-and-half – you know, half-and-half of anything, you become mediocre. That is a good subject, mediocrity, but we won’t go into that. The word ‘mediocrity’ means going up the mountain half way. A person who goes half way is mediocre, who doesn’t go right to the top of it. Not in profession, not in some particular subject, but psychologically he doesn’t go right to the top of it. Such a person is mediocre. I am not saying you are!
So what is insecurity? Can there be security at all? Don’t be depressed, don’t feel anxious; we are investigating. Can there be, though I am seeking, wanting, searching, longing for security, realising I am insecure, I am also asking: is there really security at all? My search for security may be wrong. What I am seeking is not security but a quality of mind, brain, that will meet everything rightly.
I feel insecure, and I see life is insecure. There is death always, there is always an accident, there is always something happening, shaking my foundations. I realise that and I say to myself: is there security at all? Wait, wait, don’t deny it; I am questioning it, going into it because security is necessary. The brain can only function effectively, vitally, fully with all its extraordinary capacity when it is secure – like a child or baby must be secure. So the brain must feel that it is completely secure, not be shaken. It must be immovable in its security, then the brain is flowering.
So let’s find out if there is security at all. And if there is no security, the brain cannot possibly function properly. So we are asking: what is security and insecurity? We are going to find out first what is insecurity, why we live perpetually in insecurity. In that very inquiry, why we live in this state – confusion, all the rest of it. The very awareness of it is the beginning of intelligence.
Are you following this? Now let’s begin again.
I am insecure. I have searched for security, which is, run away from my insecurity, which is, I have created the opposite, and I am in conflict with it: knowing insecurity and wanting security. So there is a struggle going on. So I see how stupid that is. The very recognition of this is the beginning of intelligence.
We have divided the world into nationalities, and nationalities are one of the major causes of war. One of the causes – the economic and so on, so on, but one of the causes is this feeling that we are separate from that person. Nationalities. Now, to recognise that and to be free of it is to be intelligent. No? Or would you want to be unintelligent? This is important, please – to recognise, to see that which is false and to abandon it is intelligence.
Now, I see, after investigating, which we have done, there is no security in belief because belief changes all the time. It can be argued down, it can be broken down. Faith, belief, ideals: bring doubt to it and it begins to disappear. So there is no security in that. Therefore my brain has seen that which is illusory, which it has considered before as giving me security. It has abandoned it, so it has become alive, intelligent, and it says: is there security at all? There is when there is intelligence. Intelligence is the most positive force of security. To abandon psychologically everything that is false, to perceive it, to see it very clearly, is intelligence. Where there is intelligence, you don’t even ask whether you are secure or insecure.
So, can we then together see the nature of security and insecurity, and in that very examination, observation, probing, discover for ourselves, not because anybody says, but discover for ourselves that there is supreme security where there is intelligence?
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1982, Question and Answer Meeting 2
Our Physical Security Is Being Threatened
We need to have physical security – food, clothes and shelter. That is an absolute necessity. But that necessity is becoming more and more impossible because of ideological reasons – the ideological reasons being nationalities, class divisions, economic, national divisions and the concept of superior and inferior. Physical necessity, and the mind can only survive physically when it is assured of food clothes and shelter. That we see is an absolute necessity, not only for the Western world but for the whole of mankind. The unity of mankind is the political responsibility, but the politicians are not going to bring it about because they survive on national divisions. And this physical security is denied not only for political reasons but for a much deeper issue, which is, we have built a conceptual world, a world based on ideas, a world based on a philosophy, which is essentially material.
We said thought – please listen to it although I have repeated it a hundred times – thought is essentially material because thought is the response of memory. Memory is experience, knowledge that is held in the brain cells, in the tissues of the brain, which is matter. And we have built a world on a concept, on an idea of self-importance, self-survival at any price, identified with the nation, with a religious group. See it in yourself, please.
So as the world is becoming more and more overpopulated, physical security is becoming more and more rare, more and more difficult. And a man who feels totally responsible for all human beings, not only for himself, this flame of responsibility makes each one of us non-ideological, non-national, and he does not belong to any religion in the accepted form of that word. He is neither a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Muslim because they are the factors of dividing people and therefore bringing about insecurity. Yet the mind must have security, otherwise it can’t function.
Are we communicating with each other? Do, please. This is really quite important, if you will give your attention to it.
The brain – and I think the brain specialists and everybody agrees – must have security. Like a child, it must have security. And when there is no security in the real deep sense of that word, it creates security in a formula, in a concept, in a belief. Belief, a concept, a dogma, an ideal become the neurotic activity of a mind that is seeking security. Watch yourselves. Are you doing this? Not that you agree or disagree with me but are you doing this? Are you seeking security in a concept – communist, socialist, capitalist, all the religions, or a concept that you have yourself found out? And if you have a concept and are acting according to that concept, you are acting neurotically because in a concept there is no security. And yet the brain, the mind, the physical body need complete security.
See what we are doing. Physically we want security, not only for ourselves but for the whole of humanity: that is love, that is compassion, but that compassion, that love is denied totally when you seek security in neurotic concepts. And all concepts are neurotic, obviously, because a concept is an idea, a thing formulated by thought, a thing formulated by a materialistic attitude. When you have an action based on a concept, which is totally material, then division must inevitably take place, and there are battles, quarrels, divisions, agony.
So that is one side of it. Another is: is there security at all? The mind has sought security in things, physical things, property and so on, in name, in property, in a characteristic, in activity. It has sought security in concepts, ideals, formulas, systems – all that. And when one looks at all that very closely, objectively, non-sentimentally, non-personally, then you will see that whole set-up brings insecurity for everybody. And yet the mind, the brain must have security to function. So I am asking you and myself if there is this thing called security at all? Now that is what we are going to investigate. That is what we are going to find out. Not I find out and I tell you; then we shall not be sharing, but together we are going to find out.
That means you see the truth of the necessity of physical security, which is totally denied by conceptual attitude. And yet the mind is always pursuing in different forms security – security being something permanent – a permanent relationship, a permanent house, a permanent idea. Now is there such a thing as permanency? I may want it because I see everything around me fading away, withering, in a flux, and the mind says there must be security, permanency. So there is no permanency in an idea, in a concept, no permanency in things because they rot – for various reasons. And then I seek permanency in my relationship – in my wife, in my children and so on. And is there a permanent security in relationship? You ask yourself. When you want permanency in relationship the whole problem of attachment arises. Please do watch this – for your own sake, do watch it. And when you are attached, the whole problem of fear, loss, suspicion, hate, jealousy, anxiety, fear, all that enters into that problem, into that desire to have permanent relationship.
One has found there is no permanency in a concept, though the Catholics, the Protestants, the communists have indoctrinated the mind, and the mind has accepted that philosophy as permanent. But you can see it is disappearing, it is fading away; they are questioning everything. And also one sees there is no permanency in any physical thing. So the mind says, ‘I must have personal relationship.’ And then you see the implications of that relationship, a relationship based on an image of you and of the other, each one having an image about each other, which is impermanent, and yet seeking permanency in that relationship.
So one asks, is there anything permanent? It is a very difficult question to ask, if you are at all serious, and a very difficult thing to find out what happens to a mind that has found the truth that there is nothing permanent. Will it go off, become insane? Please listen to this. Will it take a drug, commit suicide? Will it again fall into the trap of another ideology, another desire which will project a permanent thing?
One has discovered by looking, not analysing but by just observing our daily, everyday life, that the mind has sought security in all these things. And thought says there is no security, there is nothing permanent, and it begins to seek something more permanent. It has not found something permanent here, therefore it is seeking a permanency in another area, in another consciousness. But thought itself is impermanent. But it has never questioned that it itself is impermanent.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1974, Talk 6
Can Thought Provide Security?
Practically the whole of humanity clings, is attached to some form of an idea, to some form of thought which has created a belief, to some form of an experience. This is a reaction to ‘what is’ and we cling to that. So, generally, throughout the world, this is the phenomena. If you are deeply convinced of communism, or rather Marxism and Leninism, then you are stuck in a groove, you won’t investigate anything else – and so on and on and on. Does that give security? Does thought, which has created all these beliefs, dogmas, experiences, divisions, give security? You function with thought. All your activity is based on thought, horizontal or vertical – if you are aspiring to great heights, it is still the movement of thought vertically, or if you are merely satisfied to bring about a social revolution, and so on, so on, so on, you are still the horizontal movement of thought. So does thought fundamentally, basically, give security psychologically?
I can go to my guru – I haven’t got any, thank God – but I may go to a guru. The action of going to a guru is based on thought, thought hoping that he will give me some kind of security in this uncertain world; he will lead me to some kind of happiness, to some kind of enlightenment. All that is the movement of thought. And I am asking: does thought give security psychologically? And yet thought has its place. But when thought assumes that it can bring about psychological security, it is living in illusion. If you believe in Jesus and all the rest of it, it is the movement of thought, and thought can create every kind of romantic illusion. And when the mind psychologically seeks, in the dogma of the church, or non-church, or whatever it is, it is the structure of thought. And thought is essentially the movement of the past, through the present, modified. Thought is the response of memory. Memory is the result of experience, stored up as knowledge, which is all the past. So thought, which is the response of memory, knowledge, experience, stored up in the brain as knowledge, memory, that response is always moving from the past. Now, is there security in the past?
Are you following? Please use your reason, logic, all your energy to find out. Is there security in the past, which is tradition? Tradition may be one day old or ten thousand years old; it is still tradition, which is the past, and any activity of thought, which is the essence of the past, can that give security? Go into it, think it out.
Our religions are based on the past – organised religions, their rituals, dogmas and all the circus that goes on with it, meaningless, is essentially a tradition, which is the past. And the thought is seeking security in the thing it has created itself. Mankind has created through thought the idea: God. I am not discussing whether there is God or not God; we will go into that much later. Thought wanting ultimate security has created a thing called God, and humanity clings to that idea.
The other day, the speaker tried to get a passport for a certain country, a part of a certain country, and one of the questions asked was: Do you believe in God? That is respectable, safe. Then you belong to the gang!
So thought has created it and thought seeks in that which it has created security. Follow the sequence of it. That which it has created, in that it seeks security. And that security is in the past because thought is the past, though it may project in the future and say there is the future of God, I am going to attain godhood, but that movement of thought has created it. And thought is the essence of the past. So you are seeking security in the past, in the things that you have created. So one asks: is there security in the past? Go into it step by step and you will find out for yourself. Is there security in the past? Or recognising there is no security in the past, thought then projects an idea, an idealistic state or an idealistic mind, and finds security in that, in the future. It is still the movement of the past. So is there security in the movement of thought at all?
Now I have explained it. You’ve got it? So far, we have reasoned together, and we are asking: is there security in the very things which we hold together as dear, holy, etc., which are all the movements of thought, which is the essence of the past? Is there, in thought, total security? If there is not, then what?
I have throughout my life – suppose a human being throughout his life has depended on thought and the things that thought has put together as being holy, unholy, moral, immoral and all the rest of it, and he holds all that as most essential. You come along and say, ‘Now look, all that is the movement of the past’ – after having reasoned with him logically and so on. And he says, ‘Why not? What is wrong with holding to the past?’ ‘Thought is the past’ – he acknowledges it and says, ‘I’ll hold to it – what is wrong?’ That is, I have had an experience in my relationship with you as a human being, and another human being, I have had an experience with you, and to that experience I cling. Which is memory, which is the past. So what happens to our relationship? I am living in the past. And, obviously, a relationship is only in the present. If I am living in the past, and you are living in the past, where is our relationship?
So some thoughtful people realise this, have gone into this; then their problem is: if thought and all the things, however noble, ignoble, the churches, the temples, the mosques, all that, whatever it has created is the result of the past; and when the human mind lives in the past and holds to the past, then it is incapable of living, or perceiving what is truth.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1977, Talk 1
So freedom from knowledge and operating in the field of knowledge can only take place when there is intelligence. So we are asking: what is intelligence?
That word in the dictionary means ‘intelligere’, which means to read between the lines. To read between the lines, so that what you read between the lines must be accurate, not what you would like to read between the lines. And intelligence comes only when the mind is very sensitive. It becomes sensitive in exploring this problem of fear, freedom and knowledge, which is inquiry into the field of thought, whether there can be freedom at all for a mind that has become mechanical – because knowledge is mechanical. And that knowledge has shaped our mind, which has become mechanical. And where the mind is mechanical – and it must be in a certain area – can such a mind ever find freedom, or must it always function within the field of knowledge and therefore always a slave to knowledge? In ancient India, they tried to escape from that by inventing a super-self which is free to observe apart from the ‘me’ who is the general observer.
So I am saying, as long as thought functions within the field of knowledge – and that is its proper place – there freedom cannot exist. Freedom exists outside the field of knowledge. Look, it is very simple: if you want to find something, something uninvented, unthought of before, you must put aside all that you know, otherwise you can’t find anything new. To find anything new, you can’t carry on with the old. There must be an ending to the old to find something new. And you can only find something new when the mind is not mechanical, not caught in the area of knowledge, when it is free. And when it is free, in that freedom is knowledge, is intelligence, and that intelligence is total security.
So you see we are seeking security not in intelligence but in ideas projected by thought, in beliefs created by thoughts; we are seeking security in relationship of images, which has been put together by thought. So in thought we have sought security, inward security, psychological security, and we have not been able to find it. And that is all our misery. But there is complete security when thought knows its limitation and functions within the field of knowledge effectively, sanely, rationally, and realises its boundary, its limitation. And in that realisation of its limitation, there is freedom. And when there is freedom with knowledge then there is intelligence. And that intelligence operates at every level. In that there is total inward security.
I hope you got your money’s worth! You see, the speaker has worked and I am afraid you have not worked. You haven’t worked upon yourself as we are talking, completely, with absolute seriousness, with great attention. If you have, and I hope you have, then you will be a different human being. That is the operation of religion. That is the only function of it, to bring man, to free him from his idiocies and superstitions so that he can see something totally new, something immeasurable.
Krishnamurti in New York 1974, Talk 2