← Back to Kinfonet

Loneliness and Death

“You are that loneliness, the ashes that had once been fire. This is complete loneliness, irremediable, beyond all action. The brain can no longer devise ways and means of escape; it is the creator of this loneliness, through its incessant activities of self-isolation, of defence and aggression. When it is aware of this, negatively, without any choice, then it is willing to die, to be utterly still.”

Krishnamurti’s Notebook (Paris, 23rd)

I am loneliness, but unless or until I am complete loneliness, I can “devise ways and means of escape”. I, this loneliness, am not willing to die until I realize I am only ashes.

It is only upon total surrender that pain and fear dissapear - the veil of fear dissapears with the death of identity.
Of course, this cannot be willed. It seems to arise naturally when it is seen clearly that any action from the center will only make things worse.

This is what our K-conditioning tells us, but I found it interesting that here, K said of the brain that when it is aware of its “incessant activities of self-isolation”, “it is willing to die”, to be utterly still".

Perhaps every conscious decision of the brain is an act of will, whether it be to continue or to cease and desist.

It can also be demonstrated using simple logic: desire/will is the opposite of surrender.
A cannot be not A.

Surrender/psychological death cannot be something that one consciously decides to do. Death is something that happens to you. Anything else is violence; is the movement of self (desire/aversion aka suffering)

The brain is willing to operate dysfunctionally when it can’t see what its doing. But when it sees what it’s doing, it quits. Or as K put it, it is “willing to die, to be utterly still”. Don’t take it literately. He was being poetic.

I see from my emails that there is some questioning about the word “willing to” - it means “able to”. “I’m willing to accept A or I’m willing to do B” just means “I’m OK with whatever”

We do get caught up and confused by words a lot (out of 4 respondants to my posts here recently, 3 are caught up in word games) - I suppose reasons could be : not a native speaker, traumatised by etymology, thinking too much, or just grasping at whatever is available in our self-centred confusion?

Wouldn’t it be more correct to say : The brain cannot help but function dysfunctionally when it cannot see what it is doing?

Of course this presumes we know how the brain is supposed to function (lol!) - some say for example that in order to function properly the left hemisphere (of the brain) necessarily does not know what the right hemisphere is up to.

Major among these is the cult of ‘individualism’. This sense of being apart, distinct from the ‘other’ can be seen in nature in watching animals go about their business. They protect their own space but nothing ever seems to go beyond a certain point. The human brain has made it possible to go beyond the brief squabbles of the animals and bring all sorts of embellishments such as torture, revenge, war, etc. Is our sense of being an ‘individual ‘ delusional? I have never detected any signs of ‘loneliness ‘ in any animal I have seen. Finding a way out of this illusion of being separate and alone seems to me to be absolutely necessary if we are to escape the destructive path we are on.

Yes, that seems to be a better way to put it, which is why I found it interesting that K used “willing”.

Nature is not sentimental. If an animal is beset with loneliness, most likely it will be abandoned and eaten, There’s no room in the natural world for the kind of suffering civilized people practice.

This might apply to some extent (not 100%) to ‘wild’ animals, but domesticated animals and pets definitely seem to experience loneliness. Just ask Google. :slight_smile:

Yes, because we’ve domesticated them; made them so dependent on someone that they suffer when he/she is gone.

I used to mind my parent’s dog (35-50 years ago), when they went south for a month during the winter months. The dog cried so much, that when I took the dog to the vet, he said the dog had laryngitis.

I saw a documentary of a wild dog in Mexico that was rescued off the streets - picked up and adopted by some people in North America (Canada or U.S., I don’t recall). The dog seemed “unhappy”… so, they did research and discovered that this particular dog hung around with another wild dog in Mexico. So, they managed to find and locate the wild dog, and they captured it and flew it back to join the other dog that they had adopted. So, now two happy dogs!

Elephants will mourn the loss of their baby…
So will primates - scientists seeing them carrying their dead baby around with them - they feel grief, and if they feel grief, they feel loneliness. Of course, animals feel. Incredible that some can’t get that.

I no longer suffer, don’t feel lonely at all. But then again, I’m not into attachment, to people, ideas, beliefs. It was a lot of work.

The building manager of the building I live in has been off work now since March. I kept asking why and got fed up with mgmt. not giving me a straight answer, so I googled and sure enough, there was this notice in another province about how someone with the manager’s name appeared in an obit saying how his best friend and son died (peacefully). It must be something, to have a child and see that child die so young. The building manager is about my age, and I doubt he will ever get over it. He’s too old, and his only resource are his beliefs. I can’t talk to him about meditation, about K - too attached to his beliefs, his memories.

Not all wild animals have the luxury of grieving. Nature is hierarchical. A predator has the leisure to feel its loss of companionship, but its prey has too little leisure to form unforgettable bonds.

Domestication is surely an important factor in animals feeling emotions, but I’ve read (and believe) that wild animals also feel emotions, loneliness included. But they feel them in their own idiosyncratic way: What is it like to be a lonely wolf?

One obvious reason that animals don’t have a lingering loneliness, is they don’t have the ‘luxury’. They are constantly searching for their next meal. They can’t just saunter over to the fridge for a snack, like some mammals we know.:grinning:

And loneliness has a lot to do with memory which I don’t think many animals have to a great degree , having to pretty much be in the moment , not only to find food but be alert for predators. (Also like some mammals we know!)