Question: Even after they have passed beyond the need of organized authority, most people are troubled with the inner conflict of choice between desire and fear. Can you explain how to distinguish, or what you consider true desire?
Krishnamurti: Is there such a thing as true desire? The essential desire and the unessential desire? One day you want a hat, another day a car, and so on, satisfying your cravings. Yet another day you want to attain the highest truth or God. You pass through a whole series of desires. What is the essential in all this? Things are essential; love is essential; the understanding of truth is essential. So why separate desire into false and true, important and unimportant? Can't you look at it differently, meet desire intelligently? Your minds are so crippled with contradictory values that you cannot discern truly.
I wonder if I am explaining this. Suppose you are possessive. Don't say to yourself, "Well, I have heard this afternoon that I mustn't be possessive, so I will get rid of that desire." Don't develop a contradictory resistance. If you are possessive, be completely and wholly aware of it; then you will see what happens. The mind must free itself from this contradictory desire, the comparative desire which is really a self-protective reaction against suffering; then you will discern the whole significance of acquisitiveness. You can only understand acquisitiveness, or any other problem, in its isolation, not by bringing it into comparison, into opposition. When there is no contradictory or opposite desire, then only is there the discernment of the true significance of desire. The continual contradiction in desire creates fear, and where there is fear, there must be escape. And so there ensues a ceaseless battle between desire, reason, the urge for fulfillment, and their opposites.
In this battle, intelligence, true fulfillment, is wholly lost. As long as mind is caught up in the conflict of opposites, there can be only an escape, a substitution as the essential and the unessential, the false and the true. In this there is no creative happiness.
New York City
3rd Public Talk 15th March, 1935