Dead K Society

BOOM! The grandest of ironies! Made un-free by listening to a man whose goal was to set man unconditionally free! It’s happened to most of us I reckon, continues (more subtly) to happen.

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Thing is : 10 days of constant doubt provoked some amazing insights and experiences - which is the reason I still meditate to this day - though, zazen has been 20 odd years of normal, totally unspectacular humm.
I went back to the Goenka retreats hoping to re-live the spectacular stuff - which was of course hopeful confusion on my part.

For sure. I don’t think there is anything wrong with experimenting with anything once or twice (or a few times even!). But anything that becomes habit becomes habit, right? I’ve met people who have done months of vipassana retreats, and it is more or less a habit for them now. They have internalised the method, and seem to have lost the freshness of seeing things anew.

Not so dear Rick! - If someone warns you that neglecting to put sun lotion on during 35 C midday heat may result in you getting burned, does this make you “unfree”? If you only go out into the midday sun for short periods of time (without sun lotion), everything will be fine. But if you want to stay in the midday sun for long periods of time without any sun lotion, you are still free to get burned by the sun if you really want. Only, it is in your mind that you may get burned - that’s all.

Similarly with K’s warning about meditation teachers who promote a simple method for silencing or calming or liberating the mind - the warning is that such methods may make the mind mechanical. One is still free to experiment with these methods, as this is unlikely to cause any lasting problems. But one is at least aware of the possible dangers attendant on becoming a long-term practitioner of a method.

Freedom doesn’t mean wilful blindness.

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Another difficulty with thought - alongside the factors already mentioned (in post 107) - and which is related to the danger of not seeing that our thoughts are the creation of our thinking (i.e. are not objectively real contents in themselves), is that thinking projects forward into the future and reflects backwards into the past, creating psychological time.

That is, thought tricks the inattentive brain into believing that this psychological time is as real as chronological time.

So, as K explains it, the distance between where I am physically and New York is one form of time - i.e. the time it takes to get to New York from London.

The time it will take for a seed to grow into a plant is another form of time.

Or the time it takes to learn a skill.

But psychological time is the time it takes to get from where I am psychologically - the ‘what is’ - to where I want to be psychologically - the ‘what should be’.

K says that unlike chronological time, this psychological form of time is fictitious; unreal.

Last Talks at Saanen 1985

Talk 3

What do you consider is time? By the clock, sunrise, sunset, the evening star, the new moon with the full moon coming a fortnight later? What is time to you? Time to learn a skill? Time to learn a language? Time to write a letter? Time to go to your house from here? All that is time as distance—right? I have to go from here to there. That is a distance covered by time.

But time is also inward, psychological: I am this, I must become that. Becoming that is called evolution…

So we live by time—not only going to the office every day from nine to five, God forbid, but also time to become something.

Talk 2

You have to understand what time is. Not the time of the rising and the setting of the sun, not the time of the new moon, not the time of day from morning until evening…

Time is necessary to evolve from the little seed to the big tree, from the little baby to the grown-up man. There is physical time and also psychological time: I am this, but I will be that. To become that I need time.

You are following all this? So, the brain lives in time…

Time is also the continuity of our consciousness - the continuity of what is, slightly modified by present experience.

Talk 3

I remember something I have done, of which I am shy, or nervous, or apprehensive, or fearful; I remember all that and it continues to the future. I have been angry, jealous, envious—that is the past. I am still envious, slightly modified; I am fairly generous about things but envy goes on. This whole process is time, isn’t it? You understand?

This modification of consciousness takes place in the present, because the present is where the psychological past and future are gathered. To truly recognise or realise this presentness of the psychological past - and the psychological future generated from the meeting of the psychological past with the present - is to see that all time is now.

And so any true psychological change or transformation can only take place in the ‘now’ present - a ‘now’ in which the psychological future (and past) comes to an end.

Talk 2

You may remember your childhood, you may remember your life twenty years ago or ten days ago, which is the past. That past is the present, slightly changed, slightly modified by present circumstances…

All that has happened from a thousand yesterdays becomes slightly polished, slightly modified and goes to the future—right? The past modifying itself through the present becomes the future. So the future is now. I wonder if you see this? …

So you ask: what is the future? Is what you are now your future, modified, but still the future?

There is a continuity from the past, slightly changing, to the future—right?

We have lived on this earth as human beings, homo sapiens, for millions of years. We were savages then and we still are savages, but with clean clothes, shaved, washed, polished; but inwardly we hate each other, we kill each other, we are tribalists, and all the rest of it. We haven’t changed very much.

So the future is now, because what I have been I still am, modified, and I will go on like that.

So the future is now; and unless I break the cycle, the future will always be the now. I wonder if you understand this?

So looking at myself as one of these “cycles, the ‘excercises’ to follow what I think, how I see, etc interfere with the normal flow. They don’t ‘break’ the cycle. Something else may do that…I don’t know what that is.

Douglas said that he was conditioned by Krishnamurti’s teachings. I said what an irony for him to be conditioned by listening to someone whose goal was to uncondition. ?

Without wishing to preempt the ‘next step’ in this exploration, the logical ‘next step’ is obviously to see, to observe, that this is what is going on for us psychologically - i.e. thought, the movement of thought as time, together with the contents of consciousness that this whole movement has put together.

You might say, “observation is not enough, something more is needed” - and you may be right. But at this point in the thread-exploration (as I understand it) we have not yet taken it for granted that observation is taking place.

To summarise where we are (in the thread inquiry):

K has pointed out that our consciousness - which is common to the whole of humanity - has been put together by thought (as memory), and so thought is limited.

He has also pointed out that what thought has created isn’t fundamentally real, actual.

And he has shown how thought also creates psychological time - the distance between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’.

So first of all, we need to be aware that this is what is going on all the time inwardly: the psychological past (which is thought) is being constantly modified in the present, and continuing on to the future.

So the only way of becoming aware of this movement (of the past, modifying in the present and becoming the future) is to be present as it is occurring. So to observe we need to be present, we need to be aware in the present moment to what is happening psychologically.

The next step is to inquire into what it means to observe (something which is of course being discussed on other threads, but not yet here - although this is the ‘next step’).


Isn’t any man advocating emptiness a “vacuum salesman”?

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I is always modifying what I is to what I should be because I is progress, the progression from past to present to future.

Good one! (although in Theravada they don’t really talk about emptiness that much - sunyata is more of a Mahayana discourse).

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An example of the difference between American and British English?

If I’m not mistaken, we still call them “vacuum cleaners”, and you call them “vacuums”… though don’t you call vacuuming “hoovering”?

So, in this thread-inquiry so far, which began by touching on the common consciousness that we all share, together with the causes that have put it together - the causes being thought and time - we are perhaps now ready to look at the outward effects and the possibility of meeting these consequences (through observation) as they arise…

So, firstly, to briefly touch on the results or consequences (or effects) of thought and time in the world of society: these are primarily conflict brought about through psychological division and self-interest.

Last Talks at Saanen 1985

Talk 3

Have you ever noticed that we build a fence round ourselves: a fence of self-protection, a fence to ward off any hurts, a barrier between you and the other, between you and the family, and so on? … And this self-interest must inevitably bring about fragmentation, to break up.

Nationally, you can see the barrier—on one side England and the other side all Europe, and beyond it. There is this constant division, and where there is division there must be conflict, that is inevitable.

Whether you have a very deep intimate relationship with your wife or husband, a girl or boy, and so on, where there is division there must be fragmentation, there must be conflict. That is a law—right? Whether you like it or not that is a law.

So the result of this division (created through thought) is conflict:

[a] constant opposition, not only within ourselves but also within the society in which we live…

This has been the way of our life, not only at the present period but also probably for the last two and a half million years. And we are still going on with this in the same pattern, the same mould—wars, more destructive than ever, division among nationalities, which is tribalism, religious divisions, family divisions, sectarian fragmentation and so on.

We see this conflict all around us in society, in politics, in war, in relationships with others, here on Kinfonet, and within ourselves.

And then secondly, the question is: what - apart from thought - does the human brain have access to in order to meet both the cause and the effects of our self-interest in the world?

The answer K points to is simple seeing or observation (or awareness).

So we are asking: can we see exactly what we are without taking sides about it, not agreeing and disagreeing… assessing, evaluating, judging, but just observing as you observe the sky of an evening full of stars, and those mountains, majestic against the blue sky?

Can we in the same way observe ourselves and our relationship to the world, and the world’s relationship to us? …

What does it mean to see? What does it mean to observe?

I am observing myself—right? I am watching what I am, my recreations, my prejudices, my convictions, my idiosyncrasies, the traditions in which I have been brought up, the reputation, all that rubbish. I am watching…

So can we see exactly what we are without any distortion? What are we—psychologically, not biologically? …

Psychologically, from the beginning of man, there has been violence, hate, jealousy, aggression, trying always to become something more, more, more, and much more than what we are…

[When we say] 'I shouldn’t be like this, I must be like that’ - that is an idea. When I see exactly what I am, that is a fact… I am angry. That is a fact. But if I say, ‘I must not be angry’, then it becomes an idea. Are we together in this? …

So, when you observe, your brain is caught in a whole network of words, words, words.

Can you look at yourself without the word? Oh, come on, sirs, play the game with me, will you? The ball is in your court.

That is, can you look at your wife, at your husband, at your children, or your girlfriend, or whatever it is, without the word?

We have been discussing this very thing (what it means to observe) on another thread recently, so I hope all this ties in with that.

I don’t see why division must result in conflict. I see that it can go that way, but not that is has to. I’ve experienced harmonious separateness. Not X vs. Y, but X and Y, distinct but amiable.

What was the cause of the harmony and friendliness? In those experiences you mention, for example.

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Earlier on up-thread I think we said that there is a distinction between difference and division - right?

There is nothing wrong with differences: different cultures, different music, different food, different bodies, different clothes, different personalities, etc. Differences can be celebrated and enjoyed.

But divisions occur when those differences become psychologically central to us, so much so that I can no longer relate to another except through that difference: for example, my identification with my nation, or with my religion, with my belief, with my class, with my race, with my wealth or capacity, with my status. Even one’s identification with one’s own past experiences can become grounds for division. One’s self-interest - if held to blindly - is an obvious cause for division. Our identification with our species can be a cause of division (i.e. the feeling of being separate from nature, from the planet earth, from other animals and forms of life - which leads to exploitation, etc).

All these identifications (with differences) are divisive because they come into conflict with other people’s identifications (with their differences), and so then we are at war (psychologically or physically) with each other.

The evidence for this is all around us. The most divisive people (religious fundamentalists, populist authoritarians, out-and-out racists, etc) are the most identified with their ‘difference’ - a divisiveness that has been created by their thinking.

If a person genuinely feels separate, and holds to this feeling of separateness for psychological reasons (of fear, hurt, security, comfort), it is only a matter of time before this feeling (or inward disposition) expresses itself outwardly as estrangement or conflict in their relationship with others.

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Sorry, I must have missed that. (So many words! :wink: )

But divisions occur when those differences become psychologically central to us, so much so that I can no longer relate to another except through that difference: for example, my identification with my nation, or with my religion, with my belief, with my class, with my race, with my wealth or capacity, with my status. Even one’s identification with one’s own past experiences can become grounds for division.

Aha. That makes sense, the deeper the psychological division, the more likely the relationship will involve some degree of conflict. But there might be exceptions, people who feel psychologically different from others, but live in harmony with them.

All these identifications (with differences) are divisive because they come into conflict with other people’s identifications (with their differences), and so then we are at war (psychologically or physically) with each other.

Again, exceptions to this might exist. People who identify strongly with a set of values, but still manage to live peacefully with those who identify strongly with different values.

The thing about exceptions is they should not imo be discounted! After all, Krishnamurti’s truly free man is the rarest of exceptions to the rule of conventional (samsaric) living. It might take plenty of work and time, but the exception might be able to be attained and cultivated.

If a person genuinely feels separate, and holds to this feeling of separateness for psychological reasons (of fear, hurt, security, comfort), it is only a matter of time before this feeling (or inward disposition) expresses itself outwardly as estrangement or conflict in their relationship with others.

That sounds right. But some might feel separate for other reasons that wouldn’t result in conflict.

Nice convo you two. I couldnt agree more with you Rick. Exceptions should not be discounted!

From my listening to Krishnamurti over the years, he is speaking generally, and when confronted, he will admit there are exceptions, of course. But he says he is speaking generally and for the masses, for the average person, but as he himself has said, Thank God there are exceptions, or else humanity would have destroyed itself by now.

In your post from a week ago (post 64) you agreed with me that the distinction between differences and division was a worthwhile distinction to make. I know a week is a long time in Kinfonet dialogues, but it’s not really ancient history Rick! :wink:

David, I’m not sure that the exceptions you are talking about are the same exceptions that Rick is talking about!

The exceptions that you (David) seem to be referring to are people who have freed themselves from the feeling of psychological division. Right? People like K, the Buddha, maybe Christ, maybe Rumi, etc.

But the ‘exceptions’ (in quotes) that Rick is talking about are people who still continue with this feeling of psychological division, yet who seem not to be in active conflict with other people.

As Rick says:

Rick is pointing to these ‘exceptions’ (in quotes) so as to undermine K’s statement that the feeling of psychological division inevitably leads to conflict.

Rick’s intention in doing this is ambiguous, but it can be reasonably interpreted as defending the legitimacy of the thought-created psychological division that separates people. Do you see the difference David?

Rick repeats the same thing three times.

So Rick is defending the principle of separation, of psychological division between people. The fact that it often leads to war, genocide, racism, the destruction of nature, violence, bloodshed, the eternal tension between classes, nations, religions, individuals, married couples, friends, family members, etc isn’t sufficient evidence for Rick to question the nature of psychological division, because he says that there are some people who feel separate (most ordinary people in fact) who do not actually kill each other, carry out genocidal attacks on other people, engage in active violence against others - for the sake of nationalism, religious affiliation, ethnocentrism, etc. So aren’t these people ‘exceptions’ to what has been discussed? Aren’t these ‘exceptions’ really living in harmony?

The question is, how deep does this supposed ‘harmony’ between psychologically divided people go? Is this ‘harmony’ dependent on certain economic conditions, on owning enough property and land to keep other people at a safe distance, on some shared identification, some shared belief or common interest, on being flattered, on being perceived in a positive light by others, on the absolute conviction that one’s own beliefs are true (and so being able to tolerate others with ‘less true’ beliefs)? Is this ‘harmony’ merely skin deep or as deep as the feeling of compassion?

Does the feeling of psychological division - which is essentially egotism - know what it is like to feel compassion? What does the word “compassion” mean to a person who feels themselves to be completely psychologically walled-off from other people (or from nature, animals, living things)? I don’t think the word (compassion) can have any meaning for such a person, can it?


James methinks we are falling into the cul de sac we seem to periodically fall into. Oi!

Imo we are both getting defensive about what we feel is an attack on the truth and/or things we hold dear.

Should we work through it or let it go, agree to disagree? If the former, maybe it would be best to talk privately so we don’t detour the thread.

Yes I’m talking about people who exist peacefully and compassionately with division.

In general I’m defending the notion that “the good, noble, awakened life” is not reducible to ANY exclusive view, even when that view is nuanced and powerful, like Christian love, Buddhist emptiness, Krishnamurtian intelligence.