Question: Attachment is the stuff of which we are made. How can we be free from attachment?
Krishnamurti: Surely, attachment is not the problem, is it? Why are you attached, and why do you want to be detached? Why is there this constant strife between attachment and detachment? You know what is meant by attachment - the desire to possess a person, to possess things. Sir, why are you attached? What would happen if you were not attached? Surely, attachment becomes a problem only when there is the pursuit of detachment, only when that which is attached is not understood. Now, take an example. If you examine yourself, why are you attached to your wife, to your husband, to your money, to your house, to your property, to your ideas? Why? Because, without that person, you are lost, you are empty; without property, without a name, you are nothing; and without your bank account, without your ideas, what are you? An empty shell, arn't you? So, because you are afraid of being nothing, you are attached to something; and being attached - with all its problems, with its fears, with its cruelties, with its anxieties and frustrations - , you try to become detached, you try to renounce property, renounce your family, renounce your ideas. But you have not really solved the problem, which is the fear of being nothing - and that is why you are attached. After all, you are nothing. Strip yourself of your titles, of your M.A.'s, of your professions and little qualities, of your houses and properties, of your few jewels, and all the rest of it - and what are you? Knowing inwardly that there is an extraordinary emptiness, a void, a nothingness, and being afraid of it, you depend, you are attached, you possess; and in that possession, there is appalling cruelty. You are not concerned about another, you are only concerned about yourself - and that you call love. So, because you are afraid, because there is fear of that emptiness, you are willing to kill another, to destroy mankind. Now, why not accept the obvious, which is that you are nothing - not that you should be nothing, but that you are actually nothing? Sir, when you do accept it, there is no renunciation, neither attachment nor detachment. You simply don't possess - and then there is a beauty, then there is a richness, a blessing that you cannot possibly, understand as long as you are afraid of emptiness. Then life is full of significance, then life becomes really a miracle. But a man who is afraid of emptiness, of being nothing, is attached; and with attachment there arises the conflict of detachment, the conflict of renunciation, and all the appalling misery and cruelty that comes with attachment and dependence. A man who is nothing knows love, for love is nothing.
Public Talk 28th March, 1948