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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


Question: Does not thought originate as a defence against pain? The infant begins to think in order to separate itself from physical pain. Is thought - which is psychological knowledge - the result of pain, or is pain the result of thought? How does one go beyond the defences developed in childhood?

Put a pin into a leg and there is pain; then there is anxiety that the pain should end. That is the momentum of thinking, the nervous reaction; then comes identification with that reaction and one says: "I hope it will end and I must not have it in the future". All that is part of the momentum of thinking. Fear is part of pain; is there fear without thought?

Have you ever experimented with dissociating thought from pain? Sit in a dentist's chair for some time and watch the things going on; your mind observing without identifying. You can do this. I sat in the dentist's chair for four hours; never a single thought came into my mind.

How does one go beyond the defences cultivated in childhood? Would one go to a psychoanalyst? One may think that is the easiest way and one may think that he will cure all the problems arising from one's childhood. He cannot. He may slightly modify them. So what will one do? There is nobody one can go to. Will one face that? There is nobody. Has one ever faced that fact that there is nobody one can go to? If one has cancer one can go to a doctor, that is different from the psychological knowledge that one has developed during childhood which causes one to become neurotic; and most people are neurotic.

So, what is one to do? How is one to know, in a world that is somewhat neurotic, in which all one's friends and relations are slightly unbalanced, that one is also unbalanced? One cannot go to anybody; so what is taking place in one's mind now that one no longer depends on others, on books, on psychologists, on authority? What has happened to one's mind if one actually realizes that one cannot possibly go to anybody? Neuroticism is the result of dependence. One depends on one's wife, on the doctor; one depends on God or on the psychologists. One has established a series of dependences around one, hoping that in those dependences one will be secure. And when one discovers that one cannot depend on anybody, what happens? One is bringing about a tremendous psychological revolution; one is usually unwilling to face it. One depends on one's wife; she encourages one to be dependent on her; and vice versa. That is part of one's neurosis. One does not throw it out, one examines it. Can one be free of it, not depending on one's wife - psychologically, of course? One will not do it because one is frightened; one wants something from her, sex or this or that. Or she encourages one with one's ideas, helps one to dominate, to be ambitious, or says one is a marvellous philosopher.

But see that the very state of dependence on another may be the cause of the deep psychological neurosis. When one breaks that pattern, what happens? One is sane! One must have such sanity to find out what truth is. Dependence has been from childhood, it has been a factor against pain and hurt, a factor for comfort, for emotional sustenance and encouragement - all that has been built into one, one is part of that. This conditioned mind can never find out what truth is. Not to depend on anything means one is alone; all one, whole - that is sanity, that sanity breeds rationality, clarity, integrity.