Psychological Evolution

James : "This notion is based on physical evolution where clearly it is valid: gradually reducing weight and becoming physically fit, gradually emptying a bucket of water drop by drop, and so on.

Psychological evolution, or psychological time, is essentially the idea, carried over from the physical world, that one can gradually become free of the contents of consciousness, of the ego, the self."

Inquiry: So if I want to change radically from what I am to what I think I should be, I can work on myself (as they say) to reduce the severity of my condition to something less severe, but I can’t change what i actually am over time through modification because what I am must be uprooted, and I, the rooted, can’t uproot myself anymore than I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?

I have family commitments at the moment but I’ll respond properly soon. :+1:

If only it were possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and also a little way beyond the outer stretches of our divining . . . but that isn’t possible, or is it?

0 can never become 1.

In the physical world, a baby can be born from the ‘nothingness’ of the womb; but this is only a relative nothingness, because the origin of a baby goes back to the fusion of a sperm and an ovum.

But 0 can never become 1. It can’t evolve into 1, or gradually dissolve into 1, or empty itself piece by piece of being 0. It is what it is.

So 0 has to know itself completely as 0. If it realises that it can never be anything other than 0, then perhaps it no longer projects itself into the future as hope and desire. Then, according to Krishnamurti, 1 becomes possible.

Time is the illusion of 0 gradually evolving into 1.

(0 and 1 here are merely being used as an analogy - I am not attaching particular significance to them as numbers).

Is this the same as saying that thought must realize/recognize itself for what it is before there is sustained awareness of what is beyond thought?

Or to put it another way, is it the same as a fish realizing that it swims in water, whereas it never gave a thought to what it was doing apart from thinking?

Yes. Knowledge can never go beyond itself as knowledge, because thought and knowledge is always from the known to the known. The known can never become the unknown, even in a million years of evolution. So it must cease, it must be in abeyance, it must be still, if the unknown is to be possible.

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I would like to propose this contemplation.

I agree that thought /knowledge can’t break its own limits. It can’t know freedom, it can’t evolve.
Yet, inside its limited space, thought can express or point to truth or to a of truer reality that remains unknowable to thought.

For instance, I could say:

  1. My mind/brain is conditioned


  1. My mind/brain is not conditioned.

The above two statements are pointing to two different realities. One is truer and aligned with actuality.

So, there is a possibility to have inside the limited space of thought a kind of pseudo-order which has huge value in my life.

I think K would call it : put thought in its right place.

Personally I am ok to call this “right place” ( or pseudo order) a form of “psychological evolution” which I think it is absolutely essential to find what is beyond thought.

If self-knowledge is thought learning about itself, finding out how limited it is, it can’t find out what is beyond itself until/unless (as we’ve been told) it has ceased its quest and is completely quiet and empty.

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“The highest gesture that thought can offer to the unknown, is to keep quiet …:face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Why do you call this “psychological evolution” Crina?

The quotation you share here is clearly poetic: thought has no relationship to the unknown, so it cannot “gesture” towards it. All it can do (perhaps) is to cease to act with regard psychological matters.

Thought is mechanical, a tool the brain has evolved for purposes of communication and memory (practical knowledge). That’s it. If it tries to do anything more than this then it goes wrong.

So what is the entity that is evolving in what you are calling here “psychological evolution”?

I’m assuming that the first statement is the correct one? I don’t quite follow though the point you are wanting to make?

So are you saying that if thought ceases to act in psychological matters this is “psychological evolution”?

Can thought cease to act in psychological matters, or is this an assumption based on hearsay and one’s own limited personal experience? (That is to say, one may have had the experience of thought occasionally ceasing to act in the psychological area, but it still acts in other moments psychologically - so it is still acting psychologically, despite one’s assumption that it can cease to act).

Right. So the question for us is not whether the mind can “evolve”, become better, more enlightened, etc; but whether the mind can be in a state of negation, having seen that knowledge can never go beyond itself as knowledge?

That is, can the mind be in a state of quiet, stillness, silence, emptiness - no knowledge, no thought, no memory of experience, no belief?

Years back I lived a mechanical life without knowing it. But after finding K, I started to have some partial insights into the nature of thought. My life continues to be mechanical but there is awareness of it.

To use and extend K’s metaphor of prison, I say this: in the prison I lived there is now a little mirror that thought can use to see it self.

I (the conditioned Crina) can see pretty fast how my actions, moods, emotions spring from and stay in thought. This to me it is important, cause when I act I know that thought is involved and I know that the result of my actions is limited.
Thought finally admits: I am never going to be free of this prison.
This, I proposed or suggested it is “a form of psychological evolution”, inside the prison.

You know how the majority of old people rarely admit they are old, and only late in life, finally admit it and regret they never did it sooner.

Thought finally admitting “I am old” is a form of evolution.

Is it evolution though, or simply a continuation of the same thing just with a bit more space inside the prison?

Do we see the danger of mistaking this little bit of spatial expansion within the prison, with being actually free?

So I wonder how deep this realisation that thought is limited goes? :

If thought has admitted this completely - which means the mind realises that every movement it makes inside the prison is still part of the prison, whatever it does, however much it may expand or contract - would it say it is evolving or has evolved? Or would it just stay silent, in abeyance?

Isn’t it only when it is in abeyance that evolution - evolution being something completely new - can happen? This is how I understand it.

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I know what you mean
I know K discards the partial , the incomplete

But personally I find that my life was changed drastically by these partial and incomplete insights. If we don’t want to call it evolution I am fine with it, I called it a form of evolution.

Maybe K by psychological evolution meant psychological revolution. It would have been a better word !! :grinning:
K says: there is no such thing as psychological (re)volution for thought. And I agree.

Sorry, I know we get caught in words.

Yes. This is the word (‘revolution’) K used when talking about insight. Or ‘mutation’. Something totally new.

The danger with accepting partial insights as though they were truly revolutionary is that it creates the idea of spiritual progress, with its shadow: spiritual authority.

You can see this happening on Kinfonet. People have some partial insight, which they feel to be revolutionary, who then get attached to what this means. They refuse to dialogue about it any more. If you question them they avoid you, because they want to keep hold of the little bit of advancement, progress, this partial insight has given them. If they are oblivious to the danger of doing this, they may even reinvent themselves as spiritual authorities, and will only talk to other people who believe that they are making spiritual progress too.

But a prison is a prison. One may feel as though one is making progress, but so long as it is the mind - mind being thought, memory, measure - making progress, it is not real progress. Krishnamurti sometimes said that ‘progress’ is entering into enemy territory fully armed! (this is a play on its etymological meaning). In other words, it is not what we think it is.

There is this danger that the partial insight is hijacked by the ego, unless one sees it is a partial insight,

In other words, after a partial insight I can become an authority or I become one that follows another authority.

As K would say (paraphrasing): the guru corrupts the discipline and the disciple corrupts the guru.

Authority corrupts.
But some are aware of this danger, as you are. Partially aware, of course !!

I would say that all I see it is partial.
So I guess the danger is always present, in disguise.

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Maybe I come across as being too extreme about this, but I just see the danger of spiritual authority and its abuses everywhere.

In the secular world this is the Trump phenomenon. Because Trump has a little bit of charisma (apparently he does, according to those who admire him!), a little bit of expanded freedom to share his corrupt mind, the wealth and power to project his stream of consciousness opinions on everything, he is worshipped by half of Americans. It’s crazy, but true.

You see this with so many of the spiritual gurus. They have a following, and as you say the disciples corrupt the teacher as much as he/she corrupts them. They have a little bit of expansive freedom, and they think they are ‘on their way’, making spiritual progress.

And I see this on Kinfonet with some people too. They seem to feel that a little insight, a little freedom, gives them spiritual authority over other people. If you question them directly they disappear! They refuse to put aside their pride and just admit that they are not transformed. Why? - Because making spiritual progress is part of the culture, and if one isn’t making spiritual progress after years of endeavour then one is perceived to be a failure, and one cannot accept being a failure. So one has to believe that one’s little insights approximate to the whole, are getting closer and closer to the whole. But the mind is still limited. One’s insights remain partial.

To move from partial insight to partial insight is fine. One can let go of yesterday’s insights, to be open to today’s insights. This is healthy, natural, honest.

But to deceive oneself that one is making spiritual progress is unnecessary. Thought cannot evolve. It can (perhaps) be quiet. And out of that quiet there maybe something new. This new thing is also yours, if your mind can be quiet for a few seconds. So there is spiritual equality, not progress or spiritual authority. We share the same ground always. This is what I am trying to say.

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Another aspect of this is that truth, as I understand it, is discovered moment by moment. So if I am basing my spiritual progress on what I have discovered in the past, I am basing it on something that doesn’t exist anymore.

So when I say that I am making spiritual progress, is the statement being made by the freedom my mind has momentarily touched, or by my memory of previous moments of having momentarily touched freedom?

I don’t think freedom says ‘I am expanding, I am growing, I am making spiritual progress.’ So it can only be one’s memory that is projecting its own idea of spiritual progress from past experiences - past experiences which no longer exist.

Spirituality as I understand it means constantly dying to one’s previous insights, being open to the new, and not placing oneself on a timeline that ends in a projected future attainment assumed to be more ‘evolved’ than what exists to be discovered in this present moment.

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