On Love & Loneliness: Jiddu Krishnamurti on Love & Relationship

On Love & Loneliness is a series of musings by Jiddu Krishnamurti, where he draws out the existential confusion leading us to associate possessiveness, jealousy and insecurity with love, all the while canvassing a different noetic quality of relationships.

For Krishnamurti, the right answer can only come about from the right question. However, we are confused about love and cannot think about it clearly. Therefore, the question ‘what is love?’ produces so many contradictory and disordered answers; because the very question ‘what is love’ is the wrong question.

Krishnamurti notes, we confuse the facts of love with love itself. That is, we mistake actions such as hugging, kissing and holding hands with love. As a result, we want relationships to conform to images in our mind; we demand the reality of our love to conform to expectations we have about what love should be. We have become conditioned to think that love means holding hands or kissing, or other certain acts (such as being monogamous) and a breach of these codes is nothing short of saying the love is not real. That is, the love which exists in reality is seen as insufficient if it does not abide by what love is imagined to be.

We often confuse loneliness, possessiveness, jealousy, envy, and insecurity for love. We think the partner who must know where their significant other is every day does it because they love them; but this is not love, this is control. The partner who gets irritated when their significant other talks to strangers at a party does not get irritated out of love, but out of jealousy. The partner who becomes rude when their significant other does not text back is not rude out of love but because they are insecure they are not being loved back.

Is love jealousy? Is love possessiveness? Is love domination, attachment?

Then what is love? Obviously, it can only happen when there are no longer all the things that are not love, like ambition, competition, wanting to become somebody.

‘Love is what’s left’. Once we remove all that is not love, what we are left with is love. ‘What is love?’ is the wrong question, what we should ask instead is, ‘what is love not?’.

To deny, to negate everything that is not love, is love. So we completely negate jealousy, totally negate attachment, negate every form of possessiveness. Out of that total negation comes love.

Mirroring Taoist philosophy, Krishnamurti understands that love cannot be pinned down, reduced to a mere ‘thing’ without being love. Love can never be turned into a noun because it is a verb, an active, living process.

Through negation you come to the positive. And the most positive thing is love.

To love requires renouncing pre-conceived notions, beliefs and ideas about what love is, or what it should be. Such a mindset only produces conflict, as the other will only ever be satisfactory insofar as they conform to expectations. Such an attitude cannot appropriately be called love.

Krishnamurti implores us to look within, to pay attention to our own possessiveness, jealousy, desires, and insecurities. In doing so, we begin to free ourselves from the unconscious conflict they create; and it is within this negative space of freedom that love can flourish.

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