The dark side

Maybe if we each of us - or anyone else on the thread - gave an example of what we consider to be something ‘dark’ that directly concerns us?

I suggested above a few things already - fear, envy, jealousy. These trouble :smiling_imp: my mind.

What are the things that trouble* :smiling_imp: your mind?


(I think we need an abbreviation for nontrivially: nt. There’s a story behind why I love the term, but it’s way too light for this frighteningly dark thread. :wink: )

You mean you are troubled by fear, envy, jealousy arising in your mind? Rather than by the nature of these qualities independently of you.

There are qualities of my mind that would probably be considered dark/negative, but that aren’t ‘troubling’ for me. Demons I’ve befriended, am fond of, accept and perhaps even celebrate.

But what truly gives me concern about me? Leaps to mind: On a nt level, to a nt extent, I can be pretty darn oblivious to moral issues that adult humans are supposed to care about. Good spin: amoral. Dark spin: immoral.

Just exploring this with you here - are you maybe referring to a perceived lack of compassion, lack of empathy, for people, for humanity, animals, etc?

For example, when you say

what kind of issues might you mean?

E.g. Poverty? Wars that are taking place? Environmental concerns?

Right ballpark, though the details are off.

I brought this up a while ago, the thought-feeling that suffering can be a good teacher, and it might be appropriate to have a kind of Prime Directive view of suffering: Let it be, don’t intrude. (That goes for self as well as others.)

Sorry, I have no response (besides this), got nothin’!

It’s not immediately clear though why this is a moral issue that ‘adult humans are supposed to care about’?

I think Nietzsche said something along the lines of “if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger”. Is this the kind of view you are talking about?

Physical pain is something that we can alleviate with drugs and pain killers. Are you suggesting that we ought to avoid taking medication for physical pain?

What kind of suffering are you talking about I wonder? Psychological suffering?

K said that we ought not avoid psychological suffering, but face it head on (he also talked about sometimes bearing physical pain too, up to a point; that sometimes it is valuable to delay taking palliatives immediately, and bear with the pain in order to observe it).

Aren’t humans morally expected to help, when possible, to relieve the suffering of others and themselves? I’m not talking about saints or bodhisattvas dedicating their lives to lessening suffering. Rather: sons, daughters, siblings, parents, friends, neighbors, random passersby. If your best friend is suffering, aren’t you expected to help relieve their suffering?

Doesn’t this depend on the specific situation? Some forms of suffering benefit naturally from the help others can provide. But other forms of suffering cannot be substituted by another. They must be borne by the person themselves, no matter what one may wish to do about it.

Is there anyway you can be a little bit more specific about what kind of situation you are talking about?

For example, if I have been hurt by my friend, I may not feel like helping him even though he is suffering and I can do something about it.

Or if I see someone who is homeless on the street I may not help him personally because I assume the state will provide for him, or because I don’t have the time or resources to help every homeless person I see, or because my political view is that everyone needs to be self-sufficient, etc.

There is also the fact that we are all neurodivergent. Some brains just find empathy for other people difficult. If we are on the autistic spectrum, for example, our brains :brain: may not be able to mirror the suffering of other people easily, which leads us to apparently neglect them.

Sorry for doing this, but I’m going to abandon the last few postings and go off on a slightly new heading. I haven’t done much work with my dark side, I’m feeling my way through, fumbling.

Letting others suffer because of a Prime Directive-ish sense that they need to (will benefit from) working through their suffering on their own is not a shameful dark thing for me. On the contrary, I think it’s more of a moral virtue than an immoral vice.

What is dark (or at least darkish) for me is that I care about myself way more than I do about other individuals, groups, and the planet as a whole. “I am the world” is almost completely theory for me, I rarely feel it and/or act on it. I’m un-woke and selfish, part of the problem.

This is probably true for most of us, isn’t it? This is part of our common social conditioning, to build a wall around ourselves and see other people, society, the planet, as something separate, apart. You may just be being more honest or forward about it than most people would feel comfortable with.

When you mention the word ‘woke’ I’m guessing you know that this has political connotations, so I’m not sure if you want to go down that route? Woke of course means ‘awake’ - awake, that is, to different forms of social injustice. But what we perceive as being social injustice, and how we respond to social injustice, depends to a large extent on our political leanings, our political biases and prejudices. ‘Wokeness’, both in those who actively promote it and those who actively oppose it, has the flavour of ideological contention. So maybe we can put it aside for the time being?

However, being self-centred, walling ourselves off from the sufferings and challenges faced by other people (not to mention nature) is something we can look at because it is a well nigh universal phenomenon. Selfishness is our common curse (or common blessing, depending on how one thinks about it).

If I haven’t relieved myself of the suffering caused by believing I knows who/what I is, can I help anyone?

Nigh onto definitely if you consider the groups we’re in (family, friends, clubs, communities) to be us-extensions.


Strange that the trait of selfishness, a dis-connector, is also a bridge between us. (The same could probably be said of our dark sides, they’re universal for homo sapiens sapiens.)

I’d say the unenlightened can definitely help suffering people to cope with their pain. Maybe that’s all anyone can do?

In this way we are the world - the state of the world is due to the fact that we all tend to be the way we are. We don’t care for the outside world (which paradoxically is essential for my continued existence) - we just worry about me.

Yes, I think this is a key point. The phrase ‘We are the world’, in the way Krishnamurti uses it, doesn’t usually mean that we are all one unity, united in awareness and love. Rather, it generally means that we are all self-centred people, living in darkness!

Our selfishness is a common expression of consciousness, a shared content of consciousness.

So when we say ‘I am the world and the world is me’, we are in fact saying ‘the same consciousness that I see out there in society, full of fears and envies, jealousy and self-centredness - that consciousness is also, at root, my own consciousness; we are not fundamentally all that different’.

This is, of course, the reason why the world :earth_americas: is at it is: fragmented up into sectarian groups of a million varieties, family groups, racial groups, class groups, religious groups, political groups, national groups, etc. All forms of self-centredness projected out onto society. So society is an extension, an expression, of all our ‘me’s.

1 Like

The dark side of the human experience that is being exposed so far on this thread (thanks to Rick and his thirst for cheap titillation,. Thanks Rick - for riding the roller coaster) is confusion and excuses.

Of the sort : someone could think I’m a bad person (due to my lack of courage and empathy, and the momentum of my everyday habits) but I’m actually a really good person (because my world view actually might imply that I am doing whats best for everyone)

The dark side of the human experience is : that we give ourselves medals. Build ourselves up. Whether we act like Mother Theresa or Bernie Madoff.

(Note to the cognoscenti : Thanos thought that he was the hero.)

We do tend to feel just and right in thinking what we think, doing what we do, no matter what we think and do. And if we think/do something that we realize is bad our minds have the miraculous and horrifying ability to alchemically transform the bad into good: “But it was an honest mistake” or “I only wanted to help” or “It’s not my fault!” I doubt Trump goes around thinking what he’s doing is bad. And I get it: From his subjective point of view it’s good, in line with his moral code.

We have our shafts of light:

United are we, in darkness and light, stupidity and intelligence, hatred and love!

That which legitimises our greed, anger and fear/hatred, that which encourages selfish action, is part of the dark side. My beliefs and my pleasures are the motor of my violence.

The parent that legitimises their violence by the fact that its for the greater good. The psychopath that legitimises their violence by the fact that their victims deserve it. etc etc etc
Violence is always (?) inflicted with pride, with pleasure, with righteousness.

Sounds like surrendering to the dark side would be hugely empowering. No wonder the bad movie guys are always impressive sights to behold: charismatic, clever, formidable.

Thought-feeling experiment: What would it be like for me to surrender to my dark side?