Conceptuality and Actuality

I know actuality is the ground, the fundament of everything thought is an attempt to address, name, explain, describe, etc., and I know that the word, the image, the concept, is not the thing itself. But how do I know it if I am not communing with the ground? I am awareness fundamentally, but I am more inclined to identify with thought, the conceptualization of awareness, so I know virtually nothing of actuality, the ground of being, since I always defer to thought, the word, the explanation, the concept.

I can’t help but defer to thought because that’s my conditioning, my addiction, the only reality I know. To be silent, empty, is to be grounded…or so it seems to me, because I don’t/can’t do that. And it isn’t because I don’t want to do that, but because reacting as thought is really all I know. It’s as if the ground of being is the ocean, which means sink or swim. and since I can’t swim, tread water, or just float, I can’t help but drown.

Can thought learn to swim, float, be at ease in the ocean? Or must the brain learn how to be more attentive and more aware than thoughtful to be “grounded” in the ocean of actuality?

What is actuality, Inquiry?

For me, actuality - which I would distinguish from absolute truth or the ‘ground’ that Krishnamurti talked about with David Bohm - is simply what is actually happening. So actuality is defined by common sense.

Common sense says (for example): there is a brutal, bloody conflict taking place in Gaza. This is part of actuality.

There are people who will argue that the war in Gaza is not actual because the external world is just a projection of our own minds. One cannot reason with such people, because they have lost all common sense.

And on a personal level actuality is whatever is happening psychologically and physically for a person: boredom, interest, pleasure, pain, mental preoccupation, moments of awareness. All of that.

So one doesn’t have to be a spiritual genius to apprehend or come into contact with actuality. One simply has to be interested or open to what is actually happening, both inwardly in oneself and outwardly in the world.

It does not need to be anymore complicated than this.

You make it sound so simple, as if you always know what is happening “inward in oneself”, as well as outwardly in the world.

Are you not confused and conflicted? Do you always know and understand exactly what’s going on inwardly? Are you never mistaken about it?

If your inward activity is clear to you, why do you find yourself regretting and apologizing for the outward behavior in incites?

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I was merely distinguishing between actuality and truth or the ‘ground’, which you mentioned in the OP. Just in case this was confusing.

Something actual doesn’t mean it is easy to face or deal with. On the contrary, actualities ar what we spend our days running from!

Yes. I don’t know why my post made you think I am removing myself from the human world?

What are you referring to here? Are you speaking in general or about recent events?

I am like anyone else. I get annoyed, upset, regret, etc.

Thanks for clarifying that actuality is not the ground, and that few, if any of us, can always face actuality; that most or all of us are denying or distorting actuality at some time.

What confused me was the difference between “reality” (one’s version of actuality), and “actuality”, (what actually happened).

We don’t always acknowledge actuality because we can’t always face it, so we’re more rooted in our reality than actuality.

As far as I’m aware, the words “common sense” don’t seem to be used much in our discussions about K’s teachings. I do feel there is a tremendous amount of common sense in a lot of what K said. I also get a bit lost in our discussions about reality and actuality. Does anybody really think that there is not a bloody conflict going on in Gaza?

From what I gather, the problem is that Israeli media is more right-wing than liberal, and Israelis are astonished that the rest of the world is more upset by what Israelis are doing to Gazza than what Hamass did to the Israelis.

I understand that there may be greatly differing interpretations about the conflict. But nobody is disputing that Gaza actually exists and that there is a bloody conflict going on there, are they?

Nobody is disputing that Gaza exists and that there is a bloody conflict going on there.

Just in the last week a couple of people said that the world outside is a projection.

It’s absurd, but this kind of thing gets said a lot, based on a perverted understanding of aspects of Advaita, Buddhism, or neuroscience. Some people seem to be drawn to this way of thinking.

This is why I always try to stand up for common sense - but perhaps I make the error of trying to discuss this rationally with people who object to common sense, which makes it sound more complicated than it actually is.

The business of reality and actuality can be summed up by instead using the words ‘thought-created reality’, and ‘reality independent of thought’.

Nature is an actuality which is independent of what we think about it. Our thoughts can impact nature, by destroying it, polluting it, or turning it into a resource. But nature itself - the tiger, the deer, the oceans and forests - exists independently of our thinking.

But a religion, such as Christianity or Islam, does not exist independently of our thinking.

This is simple enough, isn’t it?

It gets more complex when we turn our gaze inwardly to deal with our psyche. Because while thought has created my feelings of hurt, the feelings - once they are there - have their own actuality independent of what I may think about it. So even though hurt is self-created by thought, the feeling of hurt cannot be dissolved through my thinking about my hurt.

Instead, the hurt has to be faced as ‘what is’: what is is actual. The observer of hurt is hurt itself. So one has to observe hurt without the observer being separate. - This is part of what hurt means, what hurt is.

So this is the way I understand these terms.

What do you make of it?

Krishnamurti talks about it very briefly here:

When I first heard K speaking in the interview with Bernard Levin in the 1970s, the thing that really stuck me was how incredibly sane his message was.

In our everyday lives, we can observe crazy things happening all the time. On a global level, the way wealth is distributed or the way we are destroying the planet obviously make no sense. I suppose we become used to madness and accept it as normal. It’s very unusual to meet someone who can see clearly and remain highly sane in the middle of all this chaos. We surely need as many sane voices as possible in our lives. Is this not so? Standing up for common sense seems like a very good idea to me.


Beyond both! (see the OP of the ‘Now is the meeting point for truth’ thread).

Although Krishnamurti doesn’t articulate it especially clearly or straightforwardly here, as a result of the clarifying contributions of Mary Zimbalist and Scott Forbes it becomes clear that K is saying that: there is a difference between reality (anything put together by thought), actuality (which stands by itself, like nature, and whatever is happening now) and truth (which is completely beyond reality, i.e. beyond thought and anything thought has created or touched):

In this context Krishnamurti suggests that war is both a ‘reality’ (created by thought), as well as an ‘actuality’ (something that, having been created by our thinking, stands independently of it as something which is actually happening in the world). If one provisionally enters into his way of using these words, I think the meaning is clear enough.

Human beings (Hamas and Netanyahu’s government) have created the war in Gaza first through thinking (i.e. separating Palestinians from Israelis, Israelis from Palestinians, making the Israelis or the Palestinians “the enemy” - through memory, propaganda, repetition and prejudice). And then, once the war started, it became an actual force (of emotionally blind action and reaction, fear and outrage, grief and revenge) independent of anyone’s personal thinking: an actuality of human conflict that is still happening now.

If all the thought and emotion (‘reality’) could somehow be sucked out of what is happening, the war would end today. But the actual energy of thought and feeling which fuels the war has a certain independence of any individual interest, and so will tragically continue until both sides are completely exhausted, or the outside world forcibly intervenes (through persuasion, sanctions, reward or punishment).

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I can’t remember now where he said it, but I remember Krishnamurti saying - I think in one of his talks - “reality, actuality, and beyond that is the truth”.

By truth (although one has to go by context, because often K meant by the word truth facts, actualities, etc) Krishnamurti (sometimes) meant a dimension of reality - with Bohm he called it the ‘ground’ - which is completely beyond the world of thought-created reality. Sometimes he calls it the sacred, sometimes he called it “total nothingness”. It is beyond all thought, all time, all becoming - beyond even matter and nature and the universe.

Does such truth exist?

With Buddhist scholars K said that for the word truth to have any reality, the mind must be in a state of complete attention.

With Bohm during the Ending of Time dialogues, K said that the foundation for the perception of truth is a mind in which psychological thought and time - by which he meant the self, the ‘I’ - has come completely to an end.

So this is the only way to “prove” the existence (or non-existence) of truth.

I make no claims to having had total insight, or to having had a direct perception of truth. All I know is reality and actuality (in K’s and Bohm’s sense of those words).

Maybe we can take an example?

In one sense a “chair” is both an actuality (which exists as wood or metal, etc), and a ‘reality’ (which has been invented by human thinking), so in that sense one could call it both real and actual at the same time (using K’s specific meaning of the word ‘reality’). It is ‘real’ because the chair as a human invention has a meaning for human thought.

But the word or concept of a chair is not - and never will be - the actual wood, the molecular structure, the bio-physics of the object we call “chair”. The word or concept “chair” is a wholly arbitrary creation of human thinking. A dog will perceive the same object standing there without the word or concept “chair”. It may sit on it or walk around it or ignore it, but it is has no ‘reality’ (in K’s sense) to the dog.

So words and concepts are never the things to which they may point. The actuality of the object we call a “chair” - e.g. its biophysical makeup - will always supersede its humanly designated ‘reality’.

If we are holding ourselves to the distinctions already mentioned (made by K and Bohm) - of reality, actuality, and truth - then there is no need to speak of a “third chair”. Truth cannot be thought or even experienced. It is unknown. It is nothingness.

A chair - whether the chair of our thinking, or the object made out of wood - is not nothingness.

So one doesn’t need to complicate matters. We are not talking about Platonic Ideas of chairs!

The concept of a chair is not the actual object ‘out there’. The concept is for us, for human purposes. It has no more reality than that.

While the actuality of a chair exists independently of our concepts about it - i.e. as wood, matter, molecules and particles, etc.

So, to all intents and purposes, we only need to concern ourselves with ‘reality’ (the concept) and actuality, not with truth.

I mentioned to you when you first asked about ‘truth’ on this thread that I had written about this recently on another thread (titled ‘the Now is the point of contact for truth and actuality’). I will share from there what I said about truth as I think it is relevant to what we are talking about:

Krishnamurti and Bohm sometimes made a distinction between truth, actuality and reality:

  • truth being a perception beyond time and thought
  • actuality being nature, as well as the facts, the lived psychological ‘what is’, of each moment
  • reality being the beliefs, the illusions, the subjective mental constructs that thought has created.

There’s no need for us to hold to this particular usage of the word “reality”, as it becomes confusing to do so the way we often use this word. We also use the word “truth” in a more general way to refer to facts, actualities. Nevertheless, the distinctions between these three different aspects of experience are worth considering and bearing in mind:

  • a timeless, unknowable (through thought), non-manifest perception of truth
  • the actual facts of immediate, present moment experience, immediate perception, including nature
  • the thought-created world of our own ideas, beliefs, projections, imagination, memory, etc.

So truth, in the purest sense of that word, is - for me, and I think for Krishnamurti (from what he has said about it) - completely beyond the mind, beyond thought, beyond knowledge, beyond experience. We can talk about it but our talking about it doesn’t make it actual. As I said above, K said it can only come into existence, or have any meaning, when the self is not, when thought has come to an end, when there is total attention and insight.

But truth in its ordinary sense - such as when we say something is true as opposed to false, or the truth (fact) of a statement, or that we are concerned with the discovery of the truth of things, is something I hope that interests all of us sometimes.

Yes. This is why I said above that

I take it that the distinction K made between nature and truth is that he was saying or implying that nature - trees, rivers, plants, animals, human beings, stars, planets, the whole physical universe - is not all that exists. There is a reality or dimension of truth which goes beyond anything we can see, taste, feel or touch. Beyond matter, beyond the senses, beyond thought and time.

This he called the sacred, the immeasurable, the ground, the timeless, the eternal, the absolute. It is beyond anything we can experience (in the ordinary sense), and so it is not merely physical nature. It is total no-thingness. It may include nature - as the energy of matter incudes the form that matter takes. But it goes beyond nature (according to K). This is why with Bohm he called it the ground. Everything - apart from that ground - (he said) is dying and being reborn.

This is why he makes the distinction.

But, as I said before, unless our mind has actually contacted this absolute truth then it remains only a theory, a concept for us, which we can kick around, agree or disagree with. It has no actuality in our day to day life.

So what matters is our relationship to thought - which is limited, unreal - and to actuality. Actuality being nature, the world, as well as what our thinking has produced in the mind as well as in the world: wars, the divisions in society, as well as in ourselves, our psychological suffering, the fact of death. These are the actualities we have to face.

Truth - I take it - will take care of itself if we are able to meet the actualities of life and resolve them intelligently.

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