All influence limits the mind

QOTD: Why than talking about issues for 60 year,?

"There is contradiction in each one of us, is there not? I hate, and I want to love; I am stupid, and I want to be clever. We are all so familiar with contradiction in ourselves, we live with it day and night. And how is it to be understood - understood, not transcended, suppressed, or sublimated? You know, to understand something, you must have love in your heart. To understand the beauty of a tree-trunk, or of a curving branch, or of the sunlight through the leaves, you must look, you must feel, you must love. In the same way, there must be the state of affection, of sympathy, of love, if one is to understand this inner contradiction. And to go deeply into the problem of what creates contradiction, there must be infinite patience. Do you understand, sirs?

I want to know myself, the entirety of myself; I want to know the shallowness, the pettiness of every thought, every feeling; I want to delve deeply into my own consciousness so that I begin to understand its whole process. But to do that, there must be love, there must be patience, there must be a sense of insistency which is not a product of the will, but a spontaneous movement in everyday living. So, with love and patience, and with this sense of insistency, let us try to find out what consciousness is.

Consciousness, surely, is based on contradiction; it is a process of relationship and association. If there is no relationship, there is no consciousness. The relationship of ideas, the association of experiences that one has gathered, of memories that one has consciously or unconsciously stored up, the racial instincts, the traditions that one has inherited, the innumerable influences to which one is subject - all this makes up what we call consciousness. After all, in considering yourself a Hindu, a Parsi, a Buddhist, or a Christian, you are merely the result of certain influences. We are not talking about good or bad influences. All influence limits the mind. And a mind that is limited, narrowed down by influence, is a very effective tool - which is what the organized religions want.

So consciousness, surely, is that state of contradiction, with its ceaseless effort, which lays down the boundaries of the mind; it is the way of thought which creates a centre and a circumference.

Bombay 2nd Public Talk 27th December 1959

1 Like

By seeking or being “influenced” along certain lines, the mind sacrifices its freedom (emptiness, openness, no-thingness) for a “center and a circumference”, a limit, a boundary?

All influences limit the mind because they close the door to other possibilities?

Influence is what’s taking place, isn’t it?

We are ‘under’ the influence of the idea since childhood that we are ‘individuals’. Wasn’t that the initial central influence that set us in a certain direction? To ‘build upon’ and enhance that self image? Which we carry with us into all our experiences barely, if ever, aware of its presence?

Is there any doubt that we are individuals? Are you suggesting that all human brains are identical?

Pretty much the same. Like the other human organs spleen, kidneys, heart, lungs, etc. Even our thinking is the same, syntax, association. Our bodies are like transformers of the environment and we procreate in the same way. The notion of our being ‘individuals’ happened somewhere along the line and has been pretty deleterious to our species and the others around us…we all suffer.
The painful contradiction is that I’m nothing but ‘think’ that I’m something?

1 Like

Yes, the brain operates the same for everyone, but some brains can influence millions of brains. Most brains are seduced and enthralled by individual brains because typical brains know they are lost and confused and aspire to individuality.

A good example is this discussion forum. If we weren’t lost, our only problems would be practical. But our problem is psychological: we can believe anything and do anything we choose to do or believe. We are not grounded, rooted in actuality. We’re floating around, touching base.

As far as we can tell, this free-floating, base-touching mode of being is freedom. But the evidence is that it’s actually slavish dependence on individual brains. We pine for individuality, a brain that is not confused or incoherent.