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The observer is NOT the observed

Throughout his life Krishnamurti pointed out the fact as he saw it that the observer is the observed: that is the observer is not separate from what is observed, is not different to it, but in fact is it. Ordinarily it is the case that the human brain exhibits behaviour in line with the notion that what is observed is separate from the observer who is observing or experiencing it. This by and large is where the brain of humankind is to be found.

Two factors appear to govern this as a reality. One is the sense that this experience is immediate, and the second is that it is utterly compelling in nature, and so is never questioned or doubted. That is, there is no sense of anything existing which may be driving this state of affairs into being each moment, creating a self with content it considers itself separate from, as a curator of it.

The statement, the observer is the observed, casts doubt on this as a reality, and as such carries profound implications and ramifications for the so-called individual and its worldview. It has the potential to shatter any certainty the brain is reliant upon, which can in turn arouse great fear and anxiety. There is a reason the brain struggles with the actuality of the observer is the observed, since there is much at stake for the self.

It may be helpful to consider in the first instance what is involved in making this sense of separation as observer and observed so immediate and compelling, as well as what there is invested in this worldview.

Divide and Conquer.

Its all about a self centred need to use reality for one’s own goal of power and security.

Two questions need to be answered before assuming we know what we are talking about.
Is reality made out of separate independantly existing objects?
Is my interpretation of reality purely subjective?

I think that this separation simply is a functional one, i.e. it allows us to interact of all the other “not-me” things we find in the world and so to manipulate them. I see a stone on the ground, I pick it up and throw it away. This action implies that I’m separate from the stone. Or I am outside and it starts to rain, so I look for a shelter not to get drenched. It’s obvious that both the rain and the shelter are not me, and I can avoid the first and use the second for my needs.

So this is the logic or mental attitude which allows me to live and survive. I am this, I’m not that.

What K. spoke about is at a completely different level of attention and also of existence.
When I perceive something, my mind is filled with that perception, even if for a very short while, and I am that perception. I am every content of my mind, or I am that particular functioning of the mind which is taking place at a given moment, be that perception or image. So when I see that stone I can focus on my mind and see it fills it and there is nothing else. So the observer is the observed. But then when I pick it up and throw it away the focus is on the external world and I feel I’m separate from it.

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Is the stone considered to be outside of the brain? That is the stone has something called an objective existence, unmodified by an observer, which two observers who are also outside of one another’s brains can in turn agree upon objectively?

There is an interesting Zen story about this point. A monk ask to another monk: is that rock inside or outside your mind? The other monk replies: it’s inside the mind. And the first monk then replies: So your head must be really very heavy!

So when you ask: “Is the stone considered toi be outside the brain” Where do you want to get at?

I’d like to start here. Is it a form of emptiness? Vast space determined by potential energy? Or is it a concept that I can point to : look see this, its a stone.

I am concerned to establish what is involved in generating the strong notion of an observer separate from what is observed. I am not talking here of a rudimentary observer separate from what is observed for the purpose of carrying out a technical measurement. You introduced the example of a stone and seemed to indicate that both the observer is the observed, and the observer separate from what is observed are a matter of a different focus, but I see Krishnamurti as pointing to something more profound than a focus the brain is. Moreover a stone is not the experience of conflict a self is when confronted by what it holds to be other than itself, and the notion of what objectivity, if any, is in play with regards to both these phenomena is key here. And science is saying the observer affects the thing it observes, and is beginning seriously to question the validity of an objective reality which two supposed observers can see.

Well obviously the brain is matter in a material universe which is considered to have an atomic and a subatomic dimension which appears contradictory or at least beyond the scope of language, ending in paradox. At issue is the deeply conditioned brain and whether it is ever in contact with anything outside of itself through the senses. If the experience of the material world was as straightforward as the brain likes to think, then the illusions grafted on to it by the psyche, would be easier to see, yet they appear resilient to being seen, and the notion that the observer is the observed is being met with resistance.


When K. says “the observer is the observed” he is talking about the content of the mind, i. e. thoughts, feelings, images, and so internal conflicts, fears, desires, etc. , everything which disturbs us just because we think it’s something separate from us. But K. says: you are fear, you are your desires, and the moment we see this, then we stop trying to control or escape our fears. Fear is strenghtened by our reaction to run away from it or to try to control it. So K. is speaking of a different approach to our inner or psychological problems.

So when you ask:

“Is the stone considered to be outside of the brain? That is the stone has something called an objective existence, unmodified by an observer, which two observers who are also outside of one another’s brains can in turn agree upon objectively?”

You are necessarily talking of “a rudimentary observer separate from what is observed for the purpose of carrying out a technical measurement.”

I can’t see any other use of an external object apart from technical use.
K. was very clear about this point, when talking about total attention (to a inner phenomenon) he made the example of a tree as something easier to do. When you observe with total attention a tree, there is only observation, and not you observing the tree, but that does not mean you are the tree.

Ok, so what is tree when there is an observer separate from what is observed?

Ugly or some judgement based on like or dislike? Not of much importance with a ‘tree’ but with something inner like ‘anger’ the observer tries to act on what is. That psychological duality is the source of conflict. No separate observer, no conflict.

Yes, or I may cut it down just because it is in my way, and trash the rest of nature while I am at it. As I see it, at issue here is actual, and what is actually about the psyche is what is actual about tree, or about stone, which is why the brain dominated as it is by the psyche has as much trouble with a material world as it does a psychological one, and why the observer is the observed is revolutionary, and cannot be mistaken for anything else. The ramifications of it for so called objective reality are as profound as for the self. If this was not so, all this would have been sorted out by now.

Yes. The inquiry into why this ‘observer is the observed’ is so difficult to realize other than intellectually, seems to me at this point very important. The ending of conflict for the brain could free up the energy necessary for self knowledge…and lead us in an entirely new direction.

This is why I elected to start the thread with the situation as it is for humankind, which is the brain convinced of the separation of the observed from the observer. In fact, none but a select few, even have cognisance of a notion observer separate from the observed, as the standard model is simply regarded as what is, and is unquestionable.

What is perception? Where does it occur?
First there is the movement of the senses. The feelings on your skin, the movement in your ear drums, the impulses on your optic nerves etc. Then the impulses are received by your brain that compares,recognises, interprets, reacts to its interpretation, and finally paints a picture for its conscious self. None of which has anything to do with the “thing” (lorry for example) out there, which may or may not correlate to the “thing” in here (thunder, or lorry)

In the case above there is no separation, for there is only the observer (that creates the concept of the separation between subject and object, observed and observer)
In the case of an awakened one there is no separation either, for awareness is not about dissection.

K was saying in regard to this that “no one will listen”, He said the Pope won’t listen and he has “tremendous influence”. The politicians wont listen. He speculated that perhaps it had (the not listening) to due with being highly educated and that maybe a so-called ignorant, poor person could just because he/she wanted to end the conflict and suffering. But he agreed with Bohm they have there own prioroties…they want to eat! So is it that the greater the conditioning we have been through, the more difficult it is to have this explosive realization of this false duality? The realization that we are “nothing”?

Separate that, Cabron! :rofl:

And yet that is the ultimate ‘security’ for the brain. Being nothing means not a lot can go ‘wrong’. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

The ultimate impossible goal! First one there may plant (float?) his flag. And carve his initials on the ether.

Not at all. It seems strange that its been over looked all these thousands of years

I should correct that. There have always been those who have seen.

But not that the “observer is the observed”.

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