Yikes! If seeking is noise, we’re toast!
Yes, we’re toast and our discussions are of course mere entertainment (unless you are a professional philosopher, in which case its work) - as is listening to K most of the time.
Can’t say I agree with such a blanket assessment.
We can only begin at the beginning, where we are so to speak, with our conditioned brain. And as K himself said, it takes a good brain to inquire into the nature of human consciousness. Intellectual inquiry has its place. It might be a matter of taking the investigation to a logical end, discovering for oneself the frontier beyond which the brain cannot go.
Standing at the actual precipice of understanding that thought is limited must have a much different impact on the brain than merely positing that is the case, I would imagine.
The issue isn’t seeking. It is seeking what cannot be sought.
In a way we are hoping that thought may think itself into a corner? That thinking might help put an end to thought?
Yes in seeing that it somewhere along the road took a wrong turn? With intelligence it may see that? There’s not a “we hoping” but a realization, that it is necessary to ‘right’ the wrong? To change direction. To save itself from what it is headed for. It has to see that itself. Will it? Who knows?
Someone has pointed out the nonsense in my thinking. Do I see the fact for myself? Look at the fact. There is no need to work through my thinking, logic, and all that. The worst case is I am turning over my thoughts about the concept, about the abstract, and wanting to discuss it for my interpretation, and that is not looking at the fact. The fact is not thought. The factual inquiry is not a verbal exercise. Verbal, intellectual, discussion is a step away from the fact. Inquiry with the fact is using the tools of inquiry, language etc. Not using inquiry to find the fact.
Has this ever happened ? As far as I know thought only leads to conclusions, or to 100 page scholarly theses. Both of which are brandished as the basis for more thought. We are hoping that increasing the content of the known, might free us from the known.
Here’s a thought : if we keep doing the same thing and keep getting the same results, maybe its time to give up hoping for a different result.
Here’s another : maybe thousands of years of thought is not enough, maybe we are nearly there, we just need to wait a little bit more for someone to arrive at the right conclusion and share it with us.
Yes, intellectual inquiry has its place and we can only start from “where we are”, as you say. “Where we are” is on an endless merry-go-round of compulsion, fear, chattering of the mind, conflict, contradiction, pleasure, hope, despair, and so on, isn’t it. To see this inner fact non-verbally is effortless awareness, which is the first and last step, as K said. Non-verbal self-observation is the facing of mankind’s suffering, confusion, fear, conflict. And awareness gives rise to understanding the nature of the “me” who suffers and yearns for an end to suffering.
But, as I see it, there is “so-called” observation which is in fact not observation at all but mere verbalization which is rooted in memory, thought, knowledge, the past. This so-called observation is actually the movement of the intellect/thought as it is analyzing, seeking, comparing, measuring, concluding, and so on. We are all surely familiar with these intellectual efforts, just as we all know what K means by “the noisy, everlasting chattering of the mind”. Would we be here otherwise?.
But ACTUAL observation is not THAT, is it. Actual observation is a non-verbal movement of the mind, a movement in which memory plays no part, a movement where the intellect is still - as it is also for insight, understanding, love, beauty, intelligence, and so on - as I see it. Like “the quality of mercy”, these non-verbal movements are not “strained”. They fall effortlessly like “the gentle rain from heaven” :o)
K is also pointing out that it is difficult to COMMUNICATE such “non-verbalization of the mind”. It is difficult for a speaker to convey THROUGH words what is BEYOND words - in the present instance the words “non-verbalization of the mind”. And it is also difficult for a listener to PERCEIVE directly for himself the actual thing that is meant by the words. So both the giving and the receiving of such communication is difficult. But neither the observation nor the communication are the noise of the self-centred mind.
As things now stand, the intellect - that part of the mind which has the ability to remember, verbalize, imagine, think, reason, analyze, believe, conclude, compare, and so on - has been molded to believe that it is the whole of the mind, hasn’t it? As self, it thinks that IT understands, IT observes, IT loves, IT is intelligent (or stupid), and so on. To understand that the “me” is in fact nothing else than the intellect molded in the pattern of a separate entity, and to understand that the intellect is merely a PART of the total mind — is not a small thing. When it is seen that no amount of intellectual effort can bring about understanding, intelligence, awareness, love, and so on; when it is seen that these qualities are non-verbal; that they are not produced or controlled by the intellect, then what happens to the “me”?
If this is understood non-verbally, then the word “me” has a totally different meaning, doesn’t it. It is understood to be merely a habit. Then “me” can be used as strictly a utilitarian or functional term. It no longer denotes an entity separate from memory-thought-knowledge. It no longer denotes an entity who wants to or has the moral obligation to control its own destiny, an entity who is intelligent or stupid, a winner or a loser, superior or inferior, a hero or a coward. Where there is such non-verbal understanding, the efforts to conform to the self-image end. There is no one who must make the right choices to be successful, who must try to overcome adversity, who must become a better person, no one who bases his or her actions on the past and the future.
Where awareness is not obstructed by thought’s desires, then awareness, understanding, intelligence itself acts. Is this so?
As I see it, this again raises the issue of non-verbalization raised by K and discussed above with Emile. Is all thought necessarily the mere verbalization of ideas, conclusions, opinions, and so on? Is it the case that all thought arises from memory/knowledge? For example, if I run into a room and say, “There’s a man dying outside on the sidewalk!” - is that merely the verbalization of an idea with no relationship or connection to perception (to non-verbalization)? Aren’t such words rooted in perception, not merely ideation? So that in such instances, perception is verbalized not for the sake of chit chat but out of an urgency which is also non-verbalization, isn’t it.
Isn’t there an actual distinction between thought which is rooted in the past and thought which is an expression of non-verbalization?
Thought can start out non-verbal - In vervet monkeys for example “ouuahhhghiii!!” is a “verbalisation”? of an idea to do with danger from the sky, hawks, fear and hiding in bushes.
In humans we can have vague non-verbalised feelings/ideas that can be translated into words.
Humans may have insights that are at odds with habitual perception (and thus language) - these can be transposed into habitual (temporal, subject/object, cause/effect etc) understanding and added to our memory banks (getting further away from the insight at each step) and further translated into words etc…
But this I’m sure you know - so whats the actual question?
My question might be : can the known lead to freedom from the known? Can the word free us from dependance on ideas?
If anyone has examples of “psychological death” due to something someone said, or a thought they had - I’d love to hear it. (I heard a story of some long time seeker who had an “awakening” due to hearing a sound - but there must have been something else going on)
No - thought is always dependant on the past. Words doubly so.
Both are expressions of our conditioning.
As far as I can see, the intellect is always dependant on recognition - otherwise there is confusion. Which the intellect refuses.
Perception too is always linked to interpretation, which is the past…
What then is your understanding of the words “non-verbalization of the mind” which K uses in the full quote referred to by Emile in his opening post above? I had meant to include the whole quote above. For ease of reference, here below is the full quote:
You know, in the case of most of us, the mind is noisy, everlastingly chattering to itself, soliloquizing or chattering about something, or trying to talk to itself, to convince itself of something; it is always moving, noisy. And from that noise, we act. Any action born of noise produces more noise, more confusion. But if you have observed and learnt what it means to communicate, the difficulty of communication, the non-verbalization of the mind - that is, that communicates and receives communication - , then, as life is a movement, you will, in your action, move on naturally, freely, easily, without any effort, to that state of communion. And in that state of communion, if you enquire more deeply, you will find that you are not only in communion with nature, with the world, with everything about you, but also in communion with yourself.
@Huguette, Thank you for the thoughtful, considered reply.
That is the rub, isn’t it? Do we actually listen to one another? Do we communicate? Or do we just speak over each other?
When hackles go up at the mere mention of intellectual inquiry, is it not likely that we are accessing conclusive memory rather than discovering the truth of the affair anew? It is ironic that this very flailing against the intellectual is itself intellectual.
As you put it, the seeing of this inner fact (of verbal understanding) non-verbally is a consequence of effortless awareness.
The practical question is seeing how rooted we are in the intellect, what would precipitate the action of effortless awareness? In times of crisis or when encountering something entirely unfamiliar, it seems some form of heightened awareness comes about naturally. Is something similar required for passive awareness to be invoked? Or can the mind just trigger effortless awareness, in less dramatic fashion - once it is clear to the brain what that means - just for the fun of it, out of interest or even simple curiosity?
Thought is a kind of commentary, a translation of what is, based on past knowledge. This commentary is taken to be the basis for what is happening and thus what action needs taking. We perceive and interpret based on our programming and react. The idea may be that in the moment before discrimination we are actually part of what is and can be a less conflictual, less confused, part of the flow of intelligence.
Is this a description of “intellectual inquiry” or something different?
Is effortless awareness a form of intellectual inquiry?
To elaborate. Here is my understanding.
Awareness has nothing to do with memory. It is a faculty of mind.
Passive awareness is free - in the sense it has no investment in outcome or interest in inquiry. It is just a faculty. Awareness of this kind allows the brain to store accurate, uncorrupt memory of incidences. “Seeing the inner fact” involves cognition which is a function of the brain. If you want to equate “cognition” with ‘intellect’ because it involves memory, be my guest.
Thought is mechanical. It is not evil. The quality of thought is directly related to the quality of data the brain is fed. The brain records incidences as memory. Corrupt memory is successive - it corrupts perception which then corrupts memory, which then corrupts perception which then corrupts memory and so on. Non-corrupt memory does not influence perception in any manner - it is used for cognition of stimuli. Non-corrupt memory does not produce a sense of self when accessed. Corrupt memory does. Hence Krishnamurti refers to this type of memory as psychological memory.
If we look at the meaning of conditioning we see it is not simply a condition in the mind for example, it is the interrelationship with the external things, and the external results, a learnt behavior, or reaction. We can’t simply analyze ourselves psychologically, and then think to manage this. There are associations we have in life, and these will be still there in all the disorder.
Sorry Emile, I feel a bit overwhelmed by where our intellectual inquiry has led us - and do not know what to respond. But as the the topic regarding what our seeking actually is and also the movement of thought and memory are of utmost importance, here are a few quotes from Krishnamurti on the subject:
In the various talks the speaker has given he has used the word ‘insight’. That is to see into things, into the whole movement of thought, into the whole movement, for example, of jealousy. It is to perceive the nature of greed, to see the whole content of sorrow. It is not analysis, not the exercise of intellectual capacity, nor is it the result of knowledge.
The more you are interested in something, the more your intention to understand, the more simple, clear, free the mind is. Then verbalization ceases. After all, thought is word, and it is the word that interferes. It is the screen of words, which is memory, that intervenes between the challenge and the response. It is the word that is responding to the challenge, which we call intellection. So, the mind that is chattering, that is verbalizing, cannot understand truth -
When you see a beautiful thing, there is immediate joy; you see a sunset and there is an immediate reaction of joy. That joy, a few moments later, becomes a memory. That memory of the joy, is it a living thing? Is the memory of the sunset a living thing? No, it is a dead thing. So, with that dead imprint of a sunset, through that, you want to find joy. Memory has no joy; it is only the remembrance of something which created the joy. Memory in itself has no joy. There is joy, the immediate reaction to the beauty of a tree; and then memory comes in and destroys that joy. So, if there is constant perception of beauty without the accumulation of memories, then there is the possibility of joy everlasting. But it is not so easy to be free from memory. The moment you see something very pleasurable, you make it immediately into something to which you hold on.
But that which is truly sacred is beyond the measure of time, it is not to be found within the field of the known. The known operates only through thought, which is the response of memory to challenge. If I see that and I want to find out how to end thinking, what am I to do? Surely, I must through self-knowledge be aware of the whole process of my thinking. I must see that every thought, however subtle, however lofty, or however ignoble, stupid, has its roots in the known, in memory. If I see that very clearly, then the mind, when confronted with an immense problem, is capable of saying, `I do not know’,
PS - I have reread your last comment and it now seems that you may not be trying to defend the use of intellectual inquiry (but maybe still indicating that memory can sometimes have no effect on our conditioning)
When, in the usual course of events, reading, talking, working, etc, and it is not known what to do, this is very unacceptable, and the encounter as it is, is ignored, and, as a matter of duty, there is a response with routine nonsense.
I for one was at a loss as to how to continue this discussion - maybe the the best I can do is to agree with Emile that one must not get upset when the term “intellectual inquiry” is mentioned, that thought is not bad, and that both can be very useful in many ways.
As to memory, this is a well documented subject, but maybe we can simply see that the relation between, truth (or “quality data”) and memory is a circular one?