Consequences of the Pleasure Seeking Motive

by Michael Colantoni

When pleasure becomes the dominant interest

All over the world human beings are degenerating to a greater or lesser extent. When pleasure, personal or collective, becomes the dominant interest in life—the pleasure of sex, the pleasure of asserting one’s own will, the pleasure of excitement, the pleasure of self-interest, the pleasure of power and status, the insistent demand to have one’s own pleasure fulfilled—there is degeneration. When human relationships become casual, based on pleasure, there is degeneration. When responsibility has lost its total meaning, when there is no care for another, or for the earth and the things of the sea, this disregard of heaven and earth is another form of degeneration. When there is hypocrisy in high places, when there is dishonesty in commerce, when lies are part of everyday speech, when there is the tyranny of the few, when only things predominate—there is the betrayal of all life. Then killing becomes the only language of life. When love is taken as pleasure, then man cuts himself off from beauty and the sacredness of life.

– Krishnamurti, Letters to the Schools vol I, p 83

Pleasure is the structure of society

Most of us are pursuing, outwardly and inwardly, pleasure, and pleasure is the structure of society. I think it is important to find this out, because from childhood till death, deeply, surreptitiously, cunningly and also obviously, we are pursuing pleasure, whether it be in the name of God, in the name of society, or in the name of our own demands and urgencies. And if we are pursuing pleasure, which most of us are, which we can observe very simply, what is implied in that pursuit? I may want pleasure, I may want the fulfilment of that pleasure, through ambition, through hate, through jealousy, and so on—if I know, or observe, for myself, the nature and structure of pleasure then in the understanding of it I can either pursue it logically, ruthlessly, acting with fully open eyes though it involves a great deal of fear and pain—or come upon a state in which I can live in peace.

– Krishnamurti, Talks and Dialogues Saanen 1967, p 48

Relationship between pleasure and fear

Questioner: What is the relationship between pleasure and fear? Krishnamurti: Don’t you know it, do you want an explanation of that? When I can’t get my pleasure what happens? Have you not noticed it? I want something which is going to give me tremendous pleasure—what takes place when I am thwarted, denied it? There is antagonism, there is violence, there is a sense of frustration, all of which is a form of fear.

– Krishnamurti, Talks and Dialogues Saanen 1967, p 53