There is no thinker, only thought

There is no thinker, only thought. Is this a bizarre thought or what? This is an upcoming online program at KFA. “What exactly is thought? And what is it capable of? Is it capable of creating a seemingly permanent identity through which all other thoughts seem to flow and through which we experience the physical body?” So many strange ideas evolving out of K’s teachings since he died. Or am I just not “seeing” it?



Can we get a sense of what you think is bizarre about the idea?
Is it something along the lines of : “obviously I am the thinker of thought. I’m right here, I exist”. Or : “thoughts are created by my brain, therefore my brain is the thinker of the thoughts”.

Is that why we feel that the idea of there being no thinker, sounds weird?

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We think thought is internal. Thought is external. You have information outside and thought is shaped by it, it is conditioned by it. You are told what to think by religion, politics, media, propaganda especially in this information age where direct experience is low and acquired information is high. People parrot what is told to them. Where is the thinker separate here from thought? There is only thought. Thought is conditioned. Is there something else that is not conditioned but a direct experience?

It is conspicuously unconventional to say, "…there is only thought’, as most of humanity know they are the thinkers of their thoughts. Krishnamurti was a trained circuit speaker. He had to give something new to his audiences to keep them returning. He stimulated their thinking about their cognitive processes, introducing them to metacognition. But all that thinking has spun some yarns with no apparent base in reality. It sometimes seems like a viral dementia spawned from what K stimulated in others.

Not so sure about that, Adeen.

Every organ in our body has a function. The brain has several and one of those is to produce thoughts. Nothing bizarre about that. And not pernicious either, it’s actually what seems to have made man evolve. The problem arises with self centered thought, the illusion of a self (which self would produce thought) and all the pletora of lies that self centered thought comes up with and tells itself to protect itself. That, according to K, is where all the mess begins.


If we are to believe K, he didn’t want them returning.

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If you hear some bad news (or good news), your entire outlook changes, so thought is external. We believe external information does not affect us, it does. So it is not internal separate from external. Not thinker separate from thought but one process which is mechanism of thought. Thought triggering thought. Both are same, which is thought, not thinker independent of or separate from thought

This is a separate claim known as “hard Idealism”.
Idealism is a respected philosophy (and very difficult to refute) which states that experience is fundamentally dependant on mind ie that materialism is deduced from a primary mental interface.
Hard Idealism concludes (unreasonably as far as I can make out) that mind is all that exists.

Yes - this is the main (and only reasonable) argument against the proposition - it feels very much as if I am an independant thinking/choosing agent.

To refute the idea one only need demonstate that thought (and choice) is a mechanical process that cannot allow for agency or free will.

The philosophy of Determinism and the Buddhist doctrine of “non-self” and “emptiness” - both address the issue of there being no thinker/choice, and pre date K.

They are both excellent entries into the subject. I’m game if anyone else is.

There’s no trick to how thought is “capable of creating a seemingly permanent identity”. It does it by the brute force of determination.

If/when thought stops for as long as it takes the brain to realize that incessant, unrelenting thought is a bad habit, the brain can put thought in its place.

Thought divides so gives feeling of separation. It feels there is a thinker separate from thought as by itself thought is separative and not whole. Subject separate from object, me separate from you. All that is thought which in itself is separative. It is not subject separate from object, but only thought creating this separation, otherwise there is only undivided space which is not thought

Yes, but this illusion of separation is sustained by the unceasing, unrelenting movement of thought. Sixty seconds of silence would break the spell cast by thought by making it obvious that thought’s constant movement is what sustains illusion.

It feels there is a thinker separate from thought as by itself thought is separative and not whole.

Thought doesn’t feel anything. It’s just a mechanical process that does what it is conditioned to do.

It is not subject separate from object, but only thought creating this separation, otherwise there is only undivided space which is not thought

Thought doesn’t create anything, it just serves the brain that utilizes it, and when the brain’s purpose is to be selectively aware rather than choicelessly aware, thought carries out that purpose by never yielding to silence, thereby enabling confusion and incoherent thought to prevail.

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Once it is seen that there is no separation, what happens to thought?

I don’t know first-hand, but I would think that thought takes its proper practical place.

re: “Thought doesn’t create anything”

Thought creates the thinker.

re: “We think thought is internal. Thought is external”

It’s born of the registration of sensation resulting from sense/object contact, but as the Buddha pointed out: “The shoot springs from the seed; the seed is not the shoot; both are not one and the same, but successive phases in a continuous growth. Such is the birth of animated life.”

The thinker is an illusion made possible by the fact that thought never stops, so thought doesn’t directly create the illusion of the thinker, but creates the condition that enables and sustains illusion.

The “me” is as illusory as the “thinker”.

When thought never stops, everything that isn’t self-evidently true is an illusion.

Or to be accurate, we know nothing but our ideas about truth because incessant thought makes it difficult - if not impossible - to know.

Whatever truth is, without silence we may never know.

Non-separation is silence. Krishnamurti’s statement ‘thinker is the thought’ is that silence, non-separation.

When thinker is the thought, there is no conflict, there is unseparated flow without division.
Thought arising in undivided silence do there is no separative thought as thinker. Movement or flow in space. It is ending or absence of psychological ego. There is no me vs. you in it.

If we understand there is no separation, we don’t need to struggle. It is natural expression in non-division. Nature is undivided. All feelings of separation are illusion.