Fear, Authority, and Craving After Security

I just came across this quote from Krishnamurti’ Life Ahead.

“…you create authority because you are seeking a safe way of conduct, a secure manner of living. The very pursuit of security creates authority, and that is why you become a mere slave, a cog in a machine, living without any capacity to think, to create.”

In his slow and measured speech he has been tracing the connection between fear, authority, and security. Precisely as I’m pondering these questions his book comes to hand and joins Andrew’s piece – another one here is equally apropos.

These examples of Serendipity, I cannot help but see as the way perception and our morphic fields interact bringing elements into view as we are prepared to see them even as the evolution of our awareness and keenness of perception prepare us to see that which has now come into view.

It does not have to be this way. Fear is often the driver when it is not. We either discount any significance that arises out of our actual experiencing or we use such proximate clues to bolster an authority. Here we have the skeptic and the believer. The skeptic discounts what doesn’t fit a predisposition to doubt. The believer searches for any connection that strengthens their bond with authority, “I open scripture and chapter and verse tell me exactly what to do!”

The difference between either of these behaviors and what we are discussing here is a relationship to fear.

“Freedom of mind comes into being when there is no fear, when the mind has no desire to show off and is not intriguing for position or prestige.”

This is how Krishnamurti characterizes it just a few pages prior to the last quote.

I’m pushing the seeming parallels here between what I am doing and what a believer does for a reason. You could say I am quoting chapter and verse here too! I’m setting up an authority. Even if this “authority” spent all his days warning us off from giving him that role, spending his efforts to show us the shortcomings of any authority.

I came to Krishnamurti’s work not as someone looking for a guru. I found, and continue to find, tremendous corroboration and extension from my own insights and experiences in what he had to say, and I find reason to trust his approach. Nothing about what he did smacks of self-promotion, hypocrisy, manipulation.

Still, if I were to become enamored of him and his work to the point of accepting him as an authority – there have been plenty of reluctant “saviors” before – I would betray his teachings and betray my own sense of how truth is arrived at. In this relationship there may be fear, but it is a fear to follow, not a fear not to follow. The believer fears not to follow. To the believer, the entire edifice of security is predicated on an acceptance of authority and a forceful defense of that authority against any competition, whether of another countervailing authority or of “anarchy!” in the caricature of that principle they fear as they consider life outside the umbrella of authority. Every interaction is mediated by that fear, “What if something were to shake my belief?” becomes the overriding concern of the believer. “What is?” becomes a question swept away from any consideration by this urgent imperative.

How does this differ from the skeptic? The skeptic fears to follow also.

But why, and how does the skeptic fear?

The skeptic’s fear is also a fear to change, not a fear of losing track of reality. The skeptic’s pose is cloaked in a mantle of false courage. They challenge the believer’s pieties, but do so to protect their own. The skeptic’s piety grows out of a fear to accept anything that challenges their bargain with belief. Their experience, their habit, is to embrace how they’ve been wounded by belief and they vow to never let that happen again. They defend this vow to the death, including making every effort to block any bit of what is from their awareness.

The skeptic and the believer are both ultimately defending Ego. In one case it is Ego’s right to be affronted by reality. In the other it is Ego’s right to establish images of itself as authorities and therefore to gather worshipers of itself.

Let’s come back to the example of creatures in nature. They have fears, but they cannot afford to be ruled by these fears. What has been discounted as a lack of awareness, “They can’t remember, they have no conception of tomorrow or yesterday…” may in fact be a greater form of awareness than the ones we have been reduced to by the parasitism of fear, anxiety, security, and authority.

They live in direct contact with the fact. We squirm about looking for ways to hide from fact and this weakens and corrupts us.

Fearlessness is not a macho competition to see who can coerce themselves into following a compulsion. It is in the empathic response of compassion to the suffering that underlies all existence.

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