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Objective vs Subjective Memory

Curious as to what others make of this line from the quote of the day here on Kinfonet:

This liberation of action does not mean that you cannot remember incidents, but those past incidents will no longer control action.

It seems to be saying the past exists as fact, but in freedom, not have psychological influence.

I would question the use of the words, liberation of action, and inquire further. Freedom as k talks about is something different. The word action implies there is an actor. The actor is not free. I suppose people worry about being able to get along in their day to day affairs, and think there needs to remain a level of choice. The natural watching and listening free from thought is not understood, and free from thought is seen as a threat to acting, and we can only come up with a compromise.
Memory is recollection. Is that different from taking notice of the labels, names, words we attach to things etc.? The words come from memory, yes, but awareness is seeing this process, seeing its limitations, and its distraction. Seeing the whole beauty, it is neither memory, nor any kind of passive acknowledgement.

This is what normally takes place. But K. posed the question whether there could be an action not produced or (prompted) by thought and so no actor. Such as action comes about when intelligence and love are leading.

It is not an action in the way we usually think of action. It is all an unfolding unknown with no motivation. Choiceless awareness is awareness of no choosing.

Sorry to insist but one cannot live without action. Everyday life requires actions and those can be produced by love instead than profit. K. was a man like any other and the only difference was that his actions were decided by intelligence and love. No choosing does not mean you don’t do anything a stay in bed the whole day. Even getting up from bed and doing some exercise or a walk is action and one can do it out of habit or because one feels it’s the right thing to do in that moment. Same thing with daily chores and all the relationships one may have. When one see clearly there is no choosing between two possibilities because one sees the only intelligent one that can be done.

I’ve studied and practised body movements, motory patterns and senso-motory awareness. Men can perform a movement in various ways, usually according to a pattern we have learnt in childwood. But that does not mean it’s a functional way to do it. For instance a lot of people walk in a very unfunctional and so destructive way (for bones, joints and muscles). Once you discover the functional way of walking (through awareness of what happens in the skeleton, joints, etc.) then one has no choice but to adopt the way nature meant for human walk, which is the only functional and so intelligent way.

This is a practical example of an action not caused by memory or conscious effort, but by intelligence operating in us. Similarly intelligence and love will see what’s more appropriate in all the interactions our relationships require.

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What we are looking into is an action free from motivation. To live the way we do is a motivated action, even if we make it better, more sensible, or modify it for some reason. We may become informed or advised and change the way we live, we may find a new rationale, but I ask a question; Is this way of life with its division and conflict, actually living?

An action without a motive means simply an action not prompted by selfish motives or intentions. A motive is something linked with our ego and so with the past, with memory. I don’t know the whole text of the quotation but to me this explains well why K. used the expression “liberation of action” (to which you objected). I still can’t understand the reason of this objection.

Of course K. talked also of a “special” kind of action when he explained that “the seeing is the doing”, implying an instant action taking place in the mind, i. e. the liberation from a psychological conditioning, like the ending of an attachment. I don’t know whether the above quotation referred to this kind of action but anyway the action taking place in the mind and the action being done in the material world don’t exclude each other and can be bothe the outcome of intelligence.

I was questioning the use of the words, and suggested further inquiry. This is not an objection. Objection is the attachment to words and things. The attachment forms the idea there is an agent of change.

It all really comes down to this sort of “action” that is “without any motive”, doesn’t it? First, to me the original quote actually brings in what Voyager mentioned about Intelligence and love being an “action not born of thought”. But, it seems that K was referring to something more “comprehensive”. “…but those incidents will no longer control action” not only means that one won’t act based on the past alone, but that memory itself no longer holds sole “ownership” over action.

Referring to Voyager’s insight on walking, the very conditioning of the brain/body can be seen through intelligence, and that insight is the change itself.

What comes after that “insight” is an idea. I am also an idea. We spend so much time collecting and “perfecting” ideas, that we never seem to actually look at how ideas affect our actions.

This brings me to the quote from Peter. Isn’t conflict really when there is conflicting ideas? Knowledge itself isn’t “good” nor “bad”, the “problem” seems to be when ideas regarding knowledge are conflicting. So, to “end the movement of ideas” is also an idea. The “self”, as it is operating from memory, cannot use an idea to “bring about an end to conflict”. Actually living can’t be an idea, otherwise there would be no real, physical sensation or movement.

I agree, well said! An action not from “the self”, must not rely on any idea. Not of time, stillness, nor any idea of truth. And with that, the “self” looses its “momentum”. Words, and trying to find the right words, then actually limits perception. There is no agent of change, only the “actual change” and the “idea of change”.

It is the common habit to look at a word and think the alternative to what this word refers, or another feature to what the word refers, is what is being asked. This fails to realize this is still working conceptually. All the words verbally point to something, and to point to the absence of what is associated with this matter, takes a bit of care and insight. So there is action, non-action, inactive, passive, or a different kind of action, but all are an action. What we might not get is that there is the ongoing flow of the living world, where the actor is the whole world.

Yes, it’s far too easy to try and find the “ultimate answer”, or to become someone who “knows the true nature of life”. All that really means nothing in the face of relationship. In relating to people and to the natural world.

All the different types of “action”, when started with an idea, or a motive… So, how to look at what’s actually going on without any motive or goal? One then has to seriously face the idea of time, and it’s relation to “the self”, the “me”. Not in order to figure anything out, but to just understand the way they are operating, or what exactly is taking place.

As far as I have seen, we constantly operate with ideas based on memory. Those ideas are “put together” and “supported” by thought. K sums it up all together by saying that “The thinker is the thought,” or “The observer is the observed”. It really doesn’t seem to matter how thought, time, ideas, or memory are broken down. The reality seems to be that “I” am part of the movement of ideas.

To link this to a natural example, if we think about a reflection on a lake, how the mountains, clouds, or whatever are reflected by the water… Obviously that reflection is an illusion caused by light and the properties of water, right? So, is it that “I” am also an illusion? Not that there is someone typing, but is the illusion that the one typing is separate from the same process in other people and animals? (having trouble with the wording, so please ask for clarification if needed!)

Here is another interesting tidbit from Krishnamurti on the subject of memory:

K: can the brain stop the activity of memory? Only where it is necessary, and where it is not necessary …

Things I am wondering about:

  1. He says “brain” rather than “I” with regard to stopping memory activity. This indicates that the action of “stopping the activity of memory” is not a matter of will, right?

  2. In the QOTD in the OP, is K allowing that all experience of mind is recorded as memory, but that the nature of that memory can of different orders - either controlling action or not?

  3. What determines if memory “controls” action or not? Is “control” the same as choice, in the sense that voyager used it above? There is no uncertainty in things that one understands completely, therefore no choice. In more abstract memories, there is always some degree of uncertainty, hence some modicum of insecurity will be present at some level.

  4. Is the distinction between these two types of memory the same as what we normally classify as objective memory – say the memory of my name - and subjective memory which has more to do with personal conditioning.

  5. Does stopping the activity of memory refer only to subjective memory - one in which the feeling of an observer is created along with thought? . Does the activity of objective memory produce a sense of self in the same way? When someone asks you your name, and you respond immediately, is there a sense of self in that instant or not? Does complete, non-limited knowledge/memory of that sort produce self-identity or does that only happed with limited, incomplete understandings.

  6. What happens to the subjective memories once an individual becomes “liberated”. Do they disappear or do they just languish? :thinking:

Can you explain objective and subjective memory? I don’t get it.

Not being dependant on what we believe. Not being dependant on fear. Not being dependant on memory. Not suffering the dictats of the self, and thus being an intelligent part of current events. Forgiveness. Innocence. Going with the flow.
Freedom from the known.

This is how I understand the differentiation.

Subjective memory is at play when we “determine” the present through pre-existing knowledge.

Objective memory is what is used to comprehend the “unadulterated” present.

An observer(subject) is present in the movement of subjective memory - along with the observed(object).

Subjective memory is basically conditioning.

Objective memory is representation of fact.

Complex stuff.

I’m wondering whether memory can really give a true representation of the present. But my main question is how does one tell the difference between the two different memories? Which one gives me the true representation and which one gives me the false one - how do I tell which is the objective and which the subjective?

The brain wants the present to be like the past - If I feel that my knowledge/memory is adequate in explaining what is happening now, I am happy, I feel that I understand what is going on.
However, if I feel that the present is not working in the same way as the past (ie. reality is not the same as my knowledge) this creates uncertainty/confusion. I don’t like it when the pattern of my memory cannot be used effectively.
If this confusion continues I go crazy - my vision of the world does not seem to fit reality, thus I have no power over it, I am scared and confused. So I must find new patterns, new effective knowledge, better memories.

Our actions are controlled by past incidents.

I don’t know if I’m taking this in a different direction. The brain wants continuity. It finds that in ‘patterning’. Yet patterning is a process that degenerates. It ‘wears down’. One pattern is changed for a new one and on and on. When the body dies, the brain dies along with it. All of the memories, knowledge, experiences, thoughts, miseries, struggles, fears that make up ‘me’ dies with it. The ‘I’ dies, ends. K tried at times quite forcefully to get this fact across to his listeners; at times begging them to understand this. That thought had created all sorts of life after death possibilities but that they were just all the brain’s denial of its/thought’s ending. But he said it is a fact, you are going to die…so don’t wait, do it now!. Die now to all of it. For me it means dying to whatever pattern appears. That takes energy. Energy to be aware of the pattern as it arises. The description that comes to me of this state is, the state of not-knowing. It is a fact, that I do not know what the next moment will bring, what thought, what feeling, what physical sensations, sights,smells, sounds,etc. I don’t know but I act as if I do. The pattern meets the new moment, each moment …not the ‘creative’ state which is the ‘not-knowing’ state.

So memory is not a simple recording. It is a recording upon which we base our (mis)understanding of reality. My memory tells me who I am and what the world is. And thus dictates our action.

Unfortunately delusion cannot lead to truth. There is no pattern from the past that can lead to clarity in reality.
In order for the self to gain some semblance of sanity, we must be able to give up our habit of dependance on the past - dependance on memory, knowledge, belief.
This is realised through seeing what the self is - and thus through observation without motive, which is silence. Motive being the past trying to become the futur. The desire of the past wanting to become the futur being delusion and conflict.