“Desire is contradiction,” claims J. Krishnamurti. And a self-contradiction at that! When I want (anything), I want to change from the state that I am in to a state that I am not. The problem is that I am the state that I am in and to want (anything) is to desire to not be (in the state that I am which is what I am). Thus, to want (anything) is to desire to cease to be the self that one is at any given moment in time (which is the only time and, thus, the only real self). To desire is to wish to end the state that I am in – as such, all desire is phenomenological suicide; all desire is a desire for self-cessation.
The fact that we don’t see this is another layer of self-contradiction. In our fundamentally self-serving modus operandi we, nevertheless, continuously serve that other (self) that we are yet to become. By wanting this or that, by anticipating our future states we reject the selves that we are in favor of the selves that we are not even yet. As such, all desire is teleological teleportation in which we existentially kill ourselves in this here-and-now so that we are replicated in a presumably improved there-and-then point of time.
Teleportation – spatial or temporal – is a journey without a traveler. As the Star Trek (hypothetical ) transporter “dematerializes” a human body into an energy pattern, it kills. What is “beamed” to another coordinate of space is not the person that died but that person’s information to be “rematerialized” into an identical replica of the body that died (save for any “transporter accident”). Spatial teleportation creates an existential discontinuity: a real person dies (here) while a brand new one is assembled (there). The precision of the clone – a useful illusion of continuity for the survivors – is a moot point for the person that voluntarily dies (only to appear to have travelled from a point A to a point B).
Desire, in principle, is a temporal transportation (of a teleological kind: a desire to travel in time, so to say, from the present to the future, a desire for a short-cut through time from a moment the current moment that we don’t like to a moment in the future that we think will be better). By wishing to change from one state to another, we fail to acknowledge that we (our minds) are the very state that we are in and by failing to accept the moment of time that we are (in), we are creating an existential discontinuity. As soon as we begin to yearn and long for that next, better moment, we are committing a phenomenological suicide.
What are we to do? How are we to avoid this self-contradiction of desire?
We are to walk – mindfully - the distance (of space and time) from the temporal-spatial here to the temporal-spatial there.
J. Krishnamurti: “Haven’t you experienced total action – an action involving your mind and your heart as well as your body, the totality of your whole being?”
We are to walk in desire, not out of it – thus removing the self-contradiction: while being “aware of desire, without naming it, without rejecting or accepting it,” not pursuing, or reaching, or clinging to the destination of our spatial-temporal journey, not craving for the short-cut through time or space, in a state of non-contradictory kinhin*.
*kinhin – in Zen Buddhism, walking meditation practiced between zazen (zazen: a sitting meditation)
J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living, 3d series, p. 264
Pavel Somov, Ph.D.