← Back to Kinfonet

Is there an I without thought?

What is unnecessary thought? Thoughts are the product of I and I is the oroduct of thought.Who is going to end all thoughts?

Hi Shankar

No one can end the existence of thought. If thought ended, we do not have this conversation.

“What is unnecessary thought?”

I think, there is no such classification.

Please share your view :slight_smile:

Unnecessary thought sustains the unnecessary
Necessary thought sustains the necessary.

1 Like

I is a product of thought.


That makes sense to me.

So, what IS necessary for the human being’s survival, what is UNnecessary and, if thought sustains both the necessary and the unnecessary, what is the proper place of thought?

There are the obvious necessary things: air, water, food, perhaps shelter, clothing, et al. The ability to move (or to be moved) physically is also necessary — the small, subtle movements, as well as the gross, exertive movements.

So if I’m physically lost, trapped or sick, hungry, and so on, memory/knowledge/reason is necessary, isn’t it. We understand that there is no security or guarantee of anything in life but we also realize that, without knowledge/thought (which doesn’t mean any or all knowledge), the necessary CANNOT be sustained, as you said. Therefore knowledge itself — which includes logic and the ability to reason — is necessary for survival. The ability to reason is connected to knowledge/thought since, it seems to me, that one can’t reason WITHOUT it.

There are also obvious things which are UNnecessary for survival. Greed, jealousy, deceit, hate, psychological time, psychological fear, and so on — are not necessary for survival, are they. They are “necessary” for domination, privilege, power, and so on, but not for survival.

I’m only listing some of the necessary and unnecessary things (as I see them) so that no misunderstanding arises between all of us as to what we’re talking about. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list and it’s not meant to be “right or wrong”. Also, I see no point in the brain tiring itself out by putting together all-inclusive lists :o)

So knowledge is necessary for physical survival, isn’t it. But Man hungers for more than survival. Man hungers for truth, meaning, beauty, love, and so on. It seems to me that these are all facets or expressions of the same yearning. Man also yearns for success, recognition, acclaim, power, privilege, domination and so on.

It is clear, isn’t it, that whatever changes knowledge CAN bring about CANNOT fundamentally transform the SOURCE of action, which is the fragmented self. That is, knowledge does not have the ability to fundamentally transform the QUALITY of action and relationship — relationship with oneself, with others, with the Earth, with eternity, with flora and fauna. Therefore relationship can only be divisive and conflictual, as I see it. Is all this perception or is it delusion? Is it seen or is it imagined? To me, it is seen and yet there is the possibility that I am mistaken. Still, there is NO CHOICE about looking into all this. There is no choice about questioning and observing.

Hi Hugette. Hope you don’t mind if I weigh in on this?

Psychological thinking/feeling is not needed for survival in the same way as the thinking needed for finding food, water, shelter. But it might be equally important.

The human world is grounded in the psychological, for better or worse. It’s a huge part of what motivates individuals and groups to believe what they believe, do what they do. Psychological intelligence might be every bit as powerful a quality-of-life tool, or even survival tool as bodily necessities.


You are speaking for yourself, I assume, because very few people are choicelessly attentive to what the mind (thought) is doing from moment to moment.


As long as thought operates, there will be enquiry; so there will be choice - even when one is unaware of the presence of choice underlying any statement that one makes. Hence, K’s statement that choice leads to confusion, i.e. the feeling of being lost and confused.

"If you are clear – as clear as in the knowledge that a cobra is poisonous – that thought can never under any circumstances reach intelligence, you wipe away all enquiry.
K, The Way of Intelligence, Ch. 6, Part 3, Seminar, Rishi Valley, 30th Dec. 1980

Charley died to Charley’s analytical tendency prior to having all those insights. Putting away thought completely is intelligence, and insight is impossible without intelligence. Without insight, there is no mutation; so any other change is just a modified continuity (a kind of becoming) - more of the same, with just a different mask. As one has observed on this site, enquiry just seems to make one become so incredibly articulate. The problem is that becoming is an illusion.

"Ah, wait, wait, there it is! When there is the realisation the activity has always been from the centre, and the centre cannot possibly reach the other goal, the other side, other dimension, whatever you like to call it, across the river, it says, ‘All right,’ finished. I don’t think…
“So I have come to that point when I realise completely, when the mind realises completely there is nothing you can do.”
K, Seminar 6 Brockwood Park, England, 18 Sept. 1979

After that insight, seeing the false in the false, Charley understood that all becoming is false, an illusion. There is nothing one can do - no observation tied with questioning - because all of that implies choice and the operation of thought.

So many people all over the world are caught in becoming, in self-improvement, in self-betterment, personal growth - improving the quality of their life (greed) and none of that is real. Witness the popularity of Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming”.

Hello nobody,
I don’t understand what you mean by psychological intelligence.

I agree that, as things presently stand, the human world is grounded in the psychological. To me, this means that, as you say, the self plays a “huge part” in determining what action to take, what to do in relationship. As I see it, where relationship is driven by the psyche, psychological thought may in fact be the entire motivation; so that action in such relationship is driven by fear (not actual physical danger), by greed, jealousy, and such.

The actions of the self (the psyche) are determined by the brain’s store of emotions. Emotions are connected to the contents of memory (knowledge, belief, experience, time, and so on), aren’t they? So yes, the psyche is a powerful motivator. But is it intelligent? Is psychological intelligence the same intelligence as — intelligence? Is psychological intelligence personal? Is intelligence a quality of the psyche (the self)? Is THAT what intelligence is, the cogitations of the psyche?

Hunger, pain, danger, and so on, also produce action which is not driven by the psyche. And there is also action which is driven neither by fear, greed, desire, etc., nor by danger, pain, hunger, etc. There is also action driven by love and compassion, isn’t there? Spontaneous action.

Hello Inquiry and Charley,

It might be true that few are choicelessly attentive. But I wasn’t talking about inner awareness, observation or attention (not implying that they are different; they are one). I was talking about whether thought can be necessary and whether it can be unnecessary for action, for doing anything. What IS action? What is the source of action? What is choice? Doing something, doing nothing, fighting, laughing, making choices, cheating, praising, comforting, sacrificing, and on and on and on?

Is there choice where there is no contradiction? Where a choice IS made to act, obviously it is made by thought having worked its way through a contradiction, isn’t it? Is choice intelligent action? Choice is a gamble, isn’t it? Time will tell if the right or wrong choice was made.

And what is choiceless action? Isn’t it action which is NOT produced, determined or driven by conflict? And isn’t THAT action the action of awareness, observation or attention? So can I — can the brain ---- be AWARE of ALL this: the action, the contradiction, the fear, the desire, the choice, the source of action, and so on? And can I ---- the brain ---- decide or make the choice NOT to look into all this anymore, give up on looking into action, self, the mind, time, suffering, love, attention, and so on? This is what I mean by there is no choice. Personally, as I live it, the looking, the questioning goes on “without me”. There is no choice. So, as I see it, choice does not “lead” to confusion. Choice indicates or points to the presence of confusion and contradiction.

When I see a child in the middle of a busy street, is choice necessary for me to take action?

When I see a child in the middle of a busy street, is choice necessary for me to take action?

When there’s action without choice, it’s intelligent when the result is unquestionably good, as in saving a child’s life without taking time to think about it. But immediate response like this is conditioned response, and our conditioned responses are the problem - not the solution - because our conditioned response is self-centered reaction, which invariably makes things worse, and is why it’s good to pause and think instead of acting impulsively.

Krishnamurti (and others) used the example of jumping away from a coil of rope after mistaking it for a snake. This is a conditioned response which enables survival, which is good. So there’s conditioned response (forgetting oneself to save a child) that is necessary for survival, if not for my survival, but the survival of a living being. This regard for all living things is the intelligence that Krishnamurti spoke of because it is not limited to me and my particular concerns.

This intelligence isn’t intellectual but visceral because it responds to what threatens the survival of all life on earth - not just my life or a significant other’s life or a particular species, but the whole biosphere. This intelligence is wholistic. It isn’t partial because its primal. Realizing what a threat our species is to our biosphere is choiceless when you realize that you are life, and you are a serious threat to life on earth.

So by “choice”, do we mean questioning our impulsive, reflexive response before following through, or do we mean acting without having anything to question because we see so clearly what we are as a species that our perception is not distorted by a limited, fragmented notion of who we are?

Look at it from the point of understanding the self, self knowledge. You refute, say something I post. My reaction is anger but I have a choice how to respond. I move away from my anger and decide to reply with something different, something that I consider more appropriate…I substitute that for the anger and post something more ‘measured’, more ‘civil’, etc…if you see what I’m getting at.
The option of ‘choices’ lets us deny our original reaction and ‘choose’ one considered to be more suitable. That’s not to say that the choice isn’t appropriate but from the point of self knowledge the ‘anger’ is the truth.

The anger is what’s significant because it reveals something I need to look at…if I’m more interested in self-knowledge than in self-esteem.

Every moment the self reveals itself. The ‘choice’ about what is of ‘value’ to look and be aware of is the decision of the self. That’s where ‘choice’ enters. Intelligence and ‘choice-less awareness’ are one and the same.

There’s no escaping “the self”. If it’s making the choices, so be it. It can’t do anything more than observe its own activity to see what it’s up to.

The self observes itself in the mirror of self-awareness. It chooses what moves to make, and what to make of what it sees reflected. It can’t escape itself or radically change itself, so it learns to watch itself with the infinite patience of dispassionate interest.

I have knowledge about the danger of a poisonous snake, so my response is conditioned or shaped by knowledge. I and anyone who has that knowledge avoids the snake. Is there either selfishness or selflessness in that?

But what is the knowledge that makes one save the child? What is the conditioning that drives one to do that? Does everyone in such a situation take action to save the child or person? Is saving someone in this way an act of selfishness? Is it selfless?

Huguette: I have knowledge about the danger of a poisonous snake, so my response is conditioned or shaped by knowledge. I and anyone who has that knowledge avoids the snake. Is there either selfishness or selflessness in that?

We don’t think of reasonable caution as “selfish”, but neither is it selfless.

But what is the knowledge that makes me save the child?

The knowledge of how perilous it is to be in the paths of automobiles.

Does everyone take action to save the child?

Not usually.

Is saving the child an act of selfishness?

Only if one couldn’t live with themselves for choosing not to…

Is it selfless?

Depends on how you define “self”. If you identify with all living things, you’ll be rescuing them constantly.

This is not the observation from ‘silence’. This is not the observation from a “different dimension”. This is the observation of thought. The duality of the observer and the observed, the thinker and the thought. It is cunning.

It can be. If there is Love then there is no difference between the child and the one who moves to save it.
Where the self is, Love is not. (not an exact quote but close?)

Something like the ability to see, understand, and respond appropriately to psychological matters as they arise in ourselves and others? If that’s still not understandable, let me know.

Perhaps a bit like being in a relationship with a narcissist?

Perhaps it’s a subset of the ‘intelligence’ Krishnamurti spoke of? Krishnamurti had tremendous psychological intelligence, he was able to pierce to the heart of the workings of the psyche.