K: We agreed, all of you I think, that comparison is a form of violence. But you have to compare - right? Between two pieces of cloth, between two poems, between two carpets - right? And so on. Better washing machine than the old one. You have to compare .
But psychologically, inwardly, why do you compare ? - Brockwood June 1985
**What is the nature of psychological comparison? Is it intelligent to compare one human being with another human being? Or, to compare a human with some ideal of how they should be? Is it intelligent to expect any human to be other than they are?
Are we “choosing” to compare, or simply acting out of a cultural programming to compare? Do we see the incoherence of this activity?
Would we expect one tree to be like another tree? Would we expect one dog to be like another dog? Why do we apparently think it’s ‘sane’ to compare one human with another human, or to compare anyone with some thought-ideal?
Is it because we erroneously think there is a ‘me’ inside the head that “knows better” and this fictional ‘I’ is “choosing” to “behave badly?”
Do we see that it’s violence to expect anyone to be other than they are? Expecting them to be like someone they aren’t? Do we see that it’s also violence to expect ourselves to be other than we are at any given moment?
When I compare, psychologically, we are not together. Probably I think I am reading/talking about something or other, and I think this or that is me, or you. I might wonder, about some impression I got, or some reaction, was that me or was it him/her? But no. Talking together, it is learning about it all, and it is a shared condition. So can I doubt the whole self center, and the impression of separate selves, and realise togetherness, and actually have open thinking free from limitations, free from guidance?
Comparison is unavoidable. It can’t be helped. If the mind didn’t compare, it would be crippled and dysfunctional. The kind of comparison Krishnamurti spoke of, however, is for the purpose of seeing one’s self-esteem and social status relative to another’s, and this kind of comparison is erroneous because self-esteem and social status are matters of opinion, not matters of fact.
Real things can be compared. Imaginary things cannot be compared because they have no actual existence. Just as there is no comparison between facts and faith, there is no comparison between action taken on the basis of facts and action taken on the basis of conspiracy theories. The difference between the two is not comparable because they’re not based on the same premises. They are not just different but disparate, composed of incongruous elements and therefore incomparable.
“Erroneous” yes and also violent and hurtful when done to the young child. At home and in school as well as with other children. Other’s ‘compare’ us and we learn to compare ourselves to others as well as to ideals and standards we learn. You seem much smarter than me and I suffer with that comparison…but if that is the fact that you are smarter, more articulate than me, why should I suffer when that is simply the fact?
**Sounds very “reasonable” to the analytical mind. But clearly, given how ubiquitous psychological comparison appears to be, humanity in general doesn’t think they are comparing “imaginary things.” So that raises the question, “What reveals that psychological comparison is imaginary?” Or perhaps, “In what way is it imaginary?”
An analytical mind that is in the habit of doing page long analytical tl;dr analysis of various things, including but not limited to the analysis of other analysis’s, is a violent mind that is comparing “analytical” with “un-analytical” , not on the actual issue of analysis, but between a person doing such analysis and itself, while subtly disparaging analysis, assuming that itself is free form this defect, that it so vehemently keeps pointing out in others. How such a violent mind can see it’s own violence/games to which it’s oblivious, seems to be the real question.
Edit: Not seeking a response.
The self-image is like a sort of filter or gauge. It measures and classifies and judges the input from ‘others’ along a scale. What ‘deflates’ the ego is considered ‘bad’, hurtful, threatening, etc. What ‘inflates’ the ego is considered as ‘good’, desirable…We stay away from situations, people, that are potentially deflating and seek those that support and even increase the ‘size’ of these "hot-air pies’ that we all walk around with, holding aloft with different degrees of modesty.
I suffer when it’s clear that I’m living a lie (what-should-be) because I don’t know how to live with what-is. This condition is like being in prison and escaping through fantasies of freedom. Most of the time it’s manageable. But when reality rears its ugly head and my foolishness is revealed, sorrow and despair take over.
As I’ve said many times, the self-image is nothing but an image. It can’t do anything. The egoic mind is what’s measuring and classifying for the sake of the image because it’s enslaved to the image and does not see what it’s doing. Thus, the illusion of the image as the doer.
**Hello Dan - What I was really asking, which wasn’t clear, was, “What do we ‘see’ that reveals that the psychological comparison is imaginary?” K defined inquiry as ‘observation’, so it’s odd how rare it seems that the responses I get don’t seem to be describing something being seen. Sometimes the responses I get appear to be reactions to certain words, a reaction full of psychological assumptions, while completely ignoring the question being asked, like this reaction:
The point I was making with my reference to the analytical mind is that ‘descriptions’ often sound “reasonable” to the analytical mind, giving the false impression that we’ve really ‘seen’ it. This reference wasn’t a judgment of the person offering the description.
So, here’s how I might describe it: "Observing psychological comparison appears to reveal that it’s two ‘thought-images’ being compared, not two actualities. For example, to compare two people, what’s actually occurring is a comparison of the images we have of each person, which is the imagination, how we imagine them.
A question for you or anyone: Where do you ‘see’ a self-image classifying or judging? How does an image judge anything?
When we talk about images we are pointing to one thing, the part, real or conceptual, not the whole. When we talk about comparison, one image and another, or one concept and another, this is the division of the see-er and the seen, real or conceptual. The mind has a collection of the parts, of the images, and makes the comparison internally, with words and ideas. The words and ideas are all comparative, because of the fragmented nature of thought. Thinking there is an inner mind operating to look at the external, is the basis of the division. Thought needs to think one part, such as the thing called mind, is valid, or at least feasible, otherwise it can’t operate.
**Yes, without giving a sense of validity it would be basically useless. And thought does give this sense of validity with regard to ‘practical thought’. But, generally speaking, the psychological thought reflects a confusing of the conceptual for the real.
Posting a 2 paragraph response and asking a question, after being informed that no response is needed is quite a reaction, albeit expected. Let’s look at the reactive assumptions in that response.
The above is a good example of an “image” created by pre-“jugement”, which “assumes” that when others “describe” something they are merely describing it analytically/intellectually without having "really ‘seen’ it" and giving a “false impression”. While truth of the matter is that there is no way to know what anyone else has seen except by inference and deduction, an assumption, which still requires remarkable expertise, acumen, and rigour, not to mention a humble conservative attitude.
In any case, after making this sweeping assumption and accusation, the violent mind then tries to sell it’s own image and description which starts off:
Hopefully the two responses from this one has broken down your responses enough for easier comprehension, and will serve as a mirror for your “observational inquiry”, wherein you will be able to identify the facts pertaining to your mechanical responses, which are laced with images and assumptions, used to judge others, presumably to play this game back and forth. Again, no response is needed .
Edit: Though, it’s expected you will need to have the last word, so go for it.
**Is there a subtle form of comparison occurring anytime assertions are made about someone personally? Does a statement like, “You are analyzing,” reflect the expectation that “they shouldn’t be analyzing?” Is this a common subtle pattern of comparison when we imply that someone is doing something they shouldn’t be doing? Isn’t that comparing the person’s actions to an “ideal” of not analyzing? Is there an awareness of thought doing this?
Is there a difference between saying, “You are analyzing,” and “that looks like analysis?” Does the belief that the suggestions we offer are “my” views lead to taking a statement like, “that looks like analysis” as a “personal attack?”
Is there an awareness of the subtle ways conditioned thought is operating in this incoherent manner?
**Yes, I wanted to thank you for providing a sample of the subtle form of comparison I just addressed. When an assertion is made like, wherein you will be able to identify the facts pertaining to your mechanical responses, this assertion contains a subtle expectation that the person “should be other than they are assumed to be.” It’s thought, judging someone personally, as needing to behave according to thoughts expectations of right behavior. Which generally contains the false assumption that there’s a “chooser” inside the head “choosing” the behavior, versus the actuality, that the behavior simply reflects the current understanding of each human being. This false assumption that commonly occurs in human relationship reflects a central incoherence in thought. The belief that this “centre” created by thought is an actual entity in the head choosing the response.
Thought is fundamentally comparative, and working in a field of thought. Any of the words, such as real and conceptual, are comparative, neither being anything but words. Just as we think there is something like a soul, mind, or psyche, we think there is the real, and at what point are we going to realise it is all thought?
**Is it fundamentally comparative, or fundamentally relational? Are we looking together at psychological thought, or practical thought? We can see that for practical situations that comparing reflects intelligence. Like looking to see which person might have the expertise to do the work we need done. But is it inevitable that thought must ‘fundamentally compare’ psychologically? Are you suggesting that ‘fundamentally’ thought has to compare psychologically? Compare one person to another?