Is freedom essential?

Yea….”the do nothing” opens the prison - or maybe not !! Maybe it only illuminates the prison !

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Obviously we neither know nor can know infinity. Dittto equanimity. Ditto freedom.

How then can we say something like freedom is essential while being utterly incapable of knowing what freedom is in the first place?

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K said it, and some of us repeat what K said (that’s me ), others refuse to repeat what K said.

I don’t know if we need refuse to repeat what (enlightened?) people have said. It is important though to see that our resultant intellectual understanding is of limited value. They are describing in words what for them may have been a real experience but by the time they give it form in words … well, we know the drill.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be looking at any of these questions if I hadn’t been made aware of something (by K for instance) that I can confirm first hand - namely, that I am not free. But it is also firsthand to realize that we are making an idea - a positive one - out of freedom. Also to see that we cannot bring about total indifference. Or experience infinity. Firsthand is all that matters if we are interested in what is the truth. Problem is we seem to mix up what is actually firsthand and what isn’t. So belief and supposition creep in unconsciously leaving us lost in confusion.

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I hear K speaking.
I see that my mind is not meeting K’s mind.
Is the seeing of this separation enough to show me that I am in my own prison ? Regardless where K’s mind is, I see where I am, by (un)relating to K’s mind or anyone else’s mind.

And “the do nothing” (mentioned above by Inquiry) is this seeing…

But as you say Dev, we get intellectual. The above is too simple for the mind.

If I could do nothing, it would be nothing new…just more of the same. The fact is that I cannot do nothing; I can’t be silent, empty, do or be nothing. I can only do what I do, repeatedly, persistently, regardless of how I feel about it, because it’s what I do; it’s what I is.

But when there’s attentive awareness of the movement of thought and the accompanying emotions, something is revealed. But what comes of revelation - seeing - remains to be seen.

Freedom is a fascinating philosophical concept, we can get caught up in exploring it endlessly, but that would be to miss the point.

A superior understanding of the concept of Freedom is not the goal. Neither is the goal to acquire Freedom itself as a thing, nor to experience the feeling of pure freedom. (whatever any of that might mean)

When an animal is set free from its cage, does it experience freedom? Or does it only experience being able to exit the cage? (answers not necessary)

If I am able to state clearly that “I am not free” - then I have enough of a practical knowledge of the word Freedom to participate in the inquiry. As @Dev suggests : if we focus on where we are, we might be able to see the situation with less confusion.

If we are confused by our ideas about Freedom, maybe we can turn the question around?

Instead of “Is freedom essential?”, maybe we can phrase it thusly : “Do we instinctively shy away from the movement of self?” or “Is there a natural revulsion to the movement of suffering?”. In other words : does awareness liberate us from the experience in progress?

In this inquiry, when we speak of Freedom, we are looking at our dependence on the Known, our dependence on Self and Suffering.

If self knowledge without motive, judgement, condemnation etc is essential then the ‘freedom’ to see oneself in that way is also essential. And if one can’t see oneself in that simple direct way and perceives the importance of seeing in that way, what happens? We TRY to see ourselves in this suggested way… I don’t try to look at the fallen leaves around my feet, or the birds or the clouds…I just look. I have the freedom to look at them without motive. Why not myself?

in the interest of taking a Socratic approach then and beginning simply, at the beginning, what do we mean when we say, “I am not free”?

Personally, I would say that I am not free to think, feel, judge, etc. other than I do at any given moment. However, this does not feel like ‘prison’ as I am free to change what I think in the next moment. The driving force is self-interest sure, but as long as I am able to act on what I perceive to be better, all is well.

My usual concern then, as an ordinary human being, is not to be free from the known per se but rather to be free to correct what I know. And that freedom, I feel I have. For example, I have the freedom to “try, try to not try” if I see benefit in so doing or conversely, see the folly of such an attempt.

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We are being asked to look at ourselves in the same way we look at a flower.The suggestion in this way of seeing myself is not as a ‘corrector’ ; I don’t try to correct or change the leaves or the clouds etc so what is it about the relationship with the body, thoughts, sensations, memories… that keeps one from “wandering freely” in these areas? Is it the sense of ‘ownership’ that separates me from the rest of the world? Yet actually there is no separation…the feeling of separation (mine) is psychological. The ‘center’ with its circumference can’t be analyzed away.

Exploring the concept of freedom may be “fascinating” for some, but what point is there to miss when I’ve never been free, and by definition, I am the antithesis of freedom?

“Do we instinctively shy away from the movement of self?” or “Is there a natural revulsion to the movement of suffering?”. In other words : does awareness liberate us from the experience in progress?

Awareness doesn’t liberate - it illuminates.

Yes, I am bound by my beliefs, biases, prejudices, snap judgments and reactions, but only as tightly bound as I choose to be. My binding may be loose enough that I can’t take myself too seriously because I know how mistaken I can be, and I am skeptical of my every thought and response.

That my binding is not as tight and limiting as it could be doesn’t mean I’m free - it means that I’m not convinced of anything, skeptical of everything, and interested in why I’m bound at all.

There’s no “wandering freely” for that which is not free. Krishnamurti would have you look at the tree, the flower, freely, but you can’t do that for longer than it takes for your conditioned response to take over, so the only thing to look at, to see, is your conditioned response.

This is the reason JK gives for not being able to “wander freely within oneself”

JK: one cannot wander freely within oneself because one is always thinking in terms of change, of self-improvement. One is tied to the post of self-improvement, which is a projection of one’s own narrow, petty mind.

The reason “One is tied to the post of self-improvement” is that one is guilty of following one’s guide instead of being a light to oneself, and is trying to feel less guilty by being less selfish.

I can take a lifetime to steadily, incrementally, feel less guilty by making improvements in myself (becoming) and by so doing, fight the good fight and feel good about myself when dying. If I live the life of acknowledging my every error and correcting it, I am choosing to live with less guilt rather than choosing to feel no guilt, and that makes me less guilty than those who feel no guilt.

Is guilt dead weight, or is it the innate sense of doing something carelessly, heedlessly, inconsiderately, etc. Every decision, every choice I make can be a mistake, something regrettable, so why should I be decisive? I can’t avoid making decisions, choosing, but I can be more mindful about my every decision, my every choice, before executing it, pulling the trigger, so to speak.

I don’t feel guilty about living to feel less guilt because I can’t imagine a better way to live. But I know my imagination is too limited to be my guide, so I do feel guilty about that.

Isn’t freedom, the ultimate(essential?) “object” that the mind longs for ?
Which means that: the quest for freedom begins OR ends at the level of first step.
But the mind believes that it can conquer freedom, and goes beyond first step, runing the marathon for freedom.

No. The mind longs for the knowledge and information it needs to survive and succeed. As long as it has (or believes it has) access to this knowledge and information, it will acquire and accrue it and make progress until death.

“Freedom” for the mind is freedom to choose and decide; having no obstacle blocking the pursuit of greater knowledge and understanding.

the quest for freedom begins OR ends at the level of first step.

What do you or I know of “the first step”? All I know is that K talked about it because it was real for him. To me, it’s just a metaphor.

But the mind believes that it can conquer freedom, and goes beyond first step, running the marathon for freedom.

The mind has already “conquered freedom” by making it preferable to be full of knowledge instead of free of the known. If there is a “first step” that can be side-stepped, leaped over, or conquered by running a marathon, I don’t know. Do you?

Inquiry, we are both free to belive our own ideas, correct ?
So, I welcome with indiference your “No” while remaining firm to what I said earlier, which is: mind’s ultimate desire is finding freedom"
PS: I hope my words don’t sound like I am rejecting your comments…Smile !!:slight_smile:

THE MIND - a claw machine

  • the mind = the content
  • the observer (outside) & the “I” (inside) = the claw

claw machine

I think it depends what you mean by “freedom”, @crina. If you mean the ordinary sense of freedom - as in freedom from something getting in the way of self-expression, then yes we all would long for that, and rightly so. If however, you are using the word freedom in the spiritual sense that K sometimes uses it - as synonymous with death, beauty, love and even religion in some instances - then I would wager that is something that beckons very few. Understandably, since this is an interest in everything rather than in something in particular and as such is of no benefit to the me-center.

By everything I mean an interest in the entirety of ‘what is’ happening in the present . In other words, an interest in the truth This could be viewed as a scientific interest or a religious one depending on your leaning. Such an interest has no object as that would entail resistance, exclusion, preference, fragmentation, separation, etc. for it is concerned with the whole of perception, not just the part carved out by self-interest.

My sense is that if we have any idea - even a vague one - of the desired outcome, we employ thought exclusively and interest becomes selective. On the other hand, if we want to learn about something about which we have absolutely no handle on, we have to go blank, no? Becoming silent to simply look and listen is the requisite precondition. The only time freedom is essential - in the sense of freedom from perspective - is when we want to learn about something that we have never encountered before, have not the slightest clue about. As would be the case if we wanted to learn about the ‘what is’ of any given moment, in its entirety, for its own sake, not out of self-interest, not because it will end our suffering, or satisfy our real or imagined longings. Such an undertaking may have no effect on the “me” and my reliance of conditioned thought at all. This lack of perceived benefit is perhaps why the brain has evolved to treat the “what is” as background noise and why we have so little ‘longing’ for it, and perhaps why our experiments at observing/meditating in this non-directed manner are so short-lived.

Speaking of having no agenda save illuminating the what is:

K: You cannot brush the past aside. It is there.