The core of the teaching

Probably. The ‘self’ is the poisonous snake in the corner. Once free of it , it still has to be watched.

It occurred to me this morning that the self is a combination of fear and hatred…and having wrapped itself in this or that religious belief system, this or that nationality, it can go off and murder the ‘other’ with a sense of pride.

I think by physical they mean natural, because body is physical, it is part of nature, unlike thought.
Psychological thought is considered unnatural, as it is not truth but illusion. It is not something you are born with but conditioning, illusion cultivated from outside. Sense of me being illusion. Truth being non-division or absence of self.
The word practical is tricky. Every Army General might think that particular course of action is practical but they are caught in division which is basically unnatural, an illusion of the mind.
Perception being natural as you are born with it. You are however not born with thought. That is cultivated.

You are talking about the murderous actions of those who have been desensitised to the humanity of others because of their religious and social conditioning - what is going on in Israel and Gaza right now. As you say, the terrible violence there is the concentration of ordinary human fear and hatred.

But before it becomes fear and hatred, isn’t what call ‘self’ the simple accumulation of psychological thoughts and experiences over time?

The brain didn’t know what it was doing as it accumulated this thought-made identity - it lacked proprioception of its own thinking - and so didn’t the danger of becoming identified with thought.

It isn’t the way I saw it in myself and it came as something of a shock. It may have a benign beginning in the child but very quickly it has all the potential cruelty, violence, destruction given the right circumstances…the ‘poisonous snake’ is an apt analogy. We have been civilized but we are deadly!

I don’t think thought and non-thought exist at same time. Thought and absence or non-operation of thought not existing at same time. Either thought operates or doesn’t operate. Either there is listening or interpretation. K I feel spoke to the listening mind. The listening mind sees there is no division, that division is illusion or creation of thought. Once thought is seen as illusion, it is not used. Silence can act, can use so called practical or physical thought. There is no division in it. Mind sees division is illusion and the illusion of division is bred by thought.

I don’t think this is so Adeen. While it’s true that young children begin to ‘think’ through physical movement and their perception of environment (the development of sensorimotor skills), all children are born with a neo-cortex which makes thinking possible.

Animals are capable of thinking too (many animals also have a neo-cortex - only it is vastly less developed in them than in humans).

Thinking is a natural biological phenomenon. This is why K never says that one can be rid of what he called practical thought. He constantly says that thought has its right place. What he was concerned with was psychological thought.

I remember him also saying that babies are not born tabula rasa - that psychological conditioning is already operating from birth.

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What is natural happens on its own, like blood flowing through the veins, heart beating. As it is part of nature, it happens on its own.

But is reaction of thought natural. A person like K is an example it isn’t. He didn’t react to hate with hate. He didn’t react to division with division. Look at media, they create division. Russian Vs. American. Israeli Vs. Palestinian. Basically all are human beings, for a doctor it doesn’t matter whether patient is Russian or American, Catholic or Hindu as human body is natural. It points that there is no division, but thought functions in division. Either division is truth or illusion. If division is illusion, then that which creates division is illusion. What is illusion is not truth. Truth being nature.

Yes - this is why K directed our attention towards examining it. But it is essentially the movement of thinking isn’t it?

At the beginning of the Ending of Time dialogues they were talking about a ‘wrong turn’ - that humanity has taken a ‘wrong turn’ due to the extension of the desire for physical security into the realm of psychological becoming. Psychological becoming being the movement of thought.

For K there may not have been a becoming of this kind (if we take his statements about the ‘vacant mind’ of the young boy Krishnamurti seriously) - he says, “I never wanted to become anything.”

But for most of us this psychological becoming has already taken root - so our challenge (as I understand it) is to become aware of this movement in ourselves.

Are we certain that behind our condemnation of thought, our labelling of ego as ‘evil’, etc, there is not some subtle psychological wish to ‘become’ (e.g. to become free of ego)? Isn’t this part of what it means to pay attention to the snake? (if you see what I mean)?

Look Adeen, cognition is as natural as blood circulating or the heart beating. The brain has literally evolved to enable hominids to more successfully cognise their environment. There is no reason to dispute this. K didn’t deny this. You wouldn’t be able to talk or use a computer if ordinary cognitive abilities - possessed by every human being - were not operating right now. You wouldn’t be able recognise words or reply to this comment.

So thought has its natural place. Human and animal cognition have their place.

What K questioned and proposed is that psychological thought, psychological conditioning, may not be necessary. He proposed that there can be an ending to thought (psychological thought) and an unconditioning of the mind. And he was an example of that.

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You are born natural but as you become more and more conditioned through thought you become unnatural. Children are not yet conditioned to see divisions of religion, nation or whatever

Does action come from thought? I think this can be explored. I feel action does not come from thought. If you see something you immediately act. Thinking seems to be inaction, a paralysis.

Here we call it “practical thought”.

Practical thought is a mechanical process that serves a necessary purpose. It is no more an illusion than the letters you type on your computer. Psychological thought, which is just as mechanical, is not practical because it supports and sustains illusions, such as the illusion of self.

The mechanism of thought can be used for good, necessary, reasons as well as deceitful, harmful reasons. As it stands, the human brain can’t always discern the difference.

I don’t know a great deal about infant cognition, but because my mother taught early childhood development I’ve picked up bits and pieces of information here and there by accident.

Apparently young babies are not capable of holding mental representations in their minds, so in the first year or two of their lives their ‘thinking’ - such as it is - is based mostly on sensorimotor learning. That is, they explore their environment through inherited reflexes - e.g. sucking and grasping (as with apes). They are able to recognise the sound of their mother’s voice from very early on (probably while they are still in the womb), and recognise their mother’s face after the first few weeks. They are motivated by feelings of pleasure and pain, have preferences for certain tastes, and are anxious when the mother is absent. They can also detect whether another person is regarded by the mother as a friend or non friend.

In the second year of their life young infants begin to proactively play, and engage with more actively with their environment (experimenting with putting objects inside other objects, as well as in their mouths!), and learn social behaviour through watching and listening to their parents. Young infants quickly develop a sense of me and mine, and will become possessive of toys and parental attention. - So while at this early stage children are not yet strongly conditioned by society, it has already implicitly begun.

Of course, by the time children are slightly older they have absorbed much more from their society, in terms of beliefs, views, attitudes and prejudices - so most children are already conditioned to a significant degree by the time they are 5 or 6 (although the degree varies from child to child).

I should add that this is not just theoretical - I have watched my sisters’ children grow from infants, and have seen all this occur.

For us, who are no longer children, the question is whether we can be aware of our own conditioning and begin to put it aside.


Agreed - but the (unintentional) trick in my question is with the word “disturbed” - as in confused and agitated. My theory is that Buddhas are not confused and agitated by any thoughts that might arise in a human brain.

Isn’t the basic expression and purpose of self : “me want”?
And isn’t the dictat of “me want” necessarily violent? As in the action of fear and desire?

I don’t understand any of this. Why does physical mean natural? Why is thought unnatural? How are you differentiating between natural and unnatural?

The trickiness might be due to confused thinking. How to win a fight is a practical consideration for an army general - just like how to initiate peace negotiations could be a practical effort for a diplomat.
Whether we think they are acting as they should or not is besides the point.

I’m not clear how what you are saying here relates to the comment I made to Dan?

All animals have an instinctive drive for self-preservation that can take the form of aggression, territorial behaviour, fight or flight responses, violence.

The difference between animals and humans is that people can build up wholly abstract reasons for hatred and violence - such as belonging to separate ideological or religious groups, having historical grudges that go back centuries, etc. - All of this is maintained by our psychological thinking.

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Yes - and is this human brain the one that might be able to transcend this mechanical process?
Our imagination and mental creativity obviously implies psychological consequences. Is this an unsurmountable bug that must continue to accelerate towards destruction, or is it also a feature, our only hope?

Sorry. If you think to bomb, kill, maim or murder human beings is practical, our discussion stops here. Bye

I’m not sure what you mean by imagination and mental activity being our “only hope”?

For sure, the power of thought has created a great many things that we depend on and need in the physical world - we need that to go on. But this same power of thought has also brought about great divisions between people, and is accelerating humanity towards destruction.

So what is needed first of all is for human beings to become aware of the power of thought in creating destructive and unnecessary outcomes (in the ‘outside world’).

Then to go inside, to the ‘inner’, and see how this same power of thought is responsible for maintaining psychological fear, psychological suffering, violence, greed, envy, etc.

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