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Thinking and Thought

“It is worth repeating what I’ve said the last few years—that in our language we have a distinction between ‘thinking’ and ‘thought’. ‘Thinking’ implies the present tense—some activity going on which may include critical sensitivity to what can go wrong. Also there may be new ideas, and perhaps occasionally perception of some kind inside. ‘Thought’ is the past participle of that. We have the idea that after we have been thinking something, it just evaporates. But thinking doesn’t disappear. It goes somehow into the brain and leaves something—a trace—which becomes thought. And thought then acts automatically.”
― David Bohm, Thought as a System

As Bohm explained here, it’s important to be aware of thought as it arises because once it becomes thought, it acts automatically. If we’re not mindful of what we’re thinking, all we’re left with is thought, which may not retain the most salient features.

I don’t accept Bohm’s observation. Thinking does disappear. It doesn’t go into the brain to become thought similar to the way our words are captured and stored in the hard-drive of the computer.

Does this mean you deny psychological conditioning? Or “Karma” as I sometimes like to call it (although I obviously shouldn’t as its probably too loaded and confusing a word)

Yes, “karma” is a term from India culture. Westerners need to treat this idea with caution. We don’t really know what it means.

I don’t deny that psychological conditioning exists. It is insidious. If you are not alive and aware, conditioning takes over.

Then when you say that “Thinking dissapears” you cannot mean that thinking dissapears without leaving a trace? That it just dissapears without any effects on our Psyche? (Unless you are describing some awakened chap?)

I think you are really confused here. First, thinking and thought are the same thing. Thinking is the verb and is the process of having thoughts, thought is a noun. All thought comes from the brain. If we didn’t have memory there would be no thought. And, of course, thought stays in the brain that’s what conditioning is. Instead of immediately agreeing or disagreeing with what K or Dr Bohm says why not try to understand it? Otherwise all you are doing is comparing what you read with what you already think you know. You’re not learning anything if you immediately agree or disagree. Also, read the three books I suggested on another topic. You may learn something about thought and the brain or the mind.

Thinking is an ongoing process taking place in the present when I am thinking this and that. It goes on all the time. When “this” disappears, “that” arises and it goes on and on. There is no “psyche” similar to the Cloud where all the records of thinking are captured and get impacted or conditioned, as you call it.

That is the way it seems here, a more or less steady stream. Why Bohm should say that every one of those thoughts is registered “somewhere” in the brain,… I don’t know how or why he came to that.

Wow, you are really full of yourself. But that’s ok. You have a bunch of conclusions that you want to pit against all comers. This is good as long as you are willing to face opposing views without taking offense.

Thinking and thought are not the same thing. One (thinking) is in the living present and the other (thought) doesn’t exist. Thought is like a dead person, a non-existent idea of the living person. To say that thought stays in the brain is akin to saying that the dead person is in Heaven (or Hell).

One word we use sometimes is memory, another is personality, another is belief, another is knowledge. Are these the non-existant Clouds you are referring To?

That is conventional thinking. We are conditioned to believe that thinking is a brain process, that the neurons are firing off thoughts the way a gun shoot bullets. Krishnamuti wasn’t helping when he used “the brain” and “brain cells” in his attempts to explain what he wanted to say.

By the way, that (no there there) insight of yours is a profound perception of reality not to be dismissed. Insights can be regarded as “glimpses” of the truth. Krishnamurti’s “nothingness” has something to do with “no there there”.

Is your Hypothesis that thought is not dependant on a brain?

What makes you say that?

First of all, “The Hard Problem of Consciousness” is being debated on in the scientific community. Since there is no scientifically proven connection between the brain and consciousness, I am not obligated to accept that I am a product of brain activity. This allows me to inquire sanely into the confounding things that Krishnamurti experienced as objectively real. I have no interest in spirituality.

So you are saying that thought is not dependant on a brain.

And the reason you give is that Science is exploring Consciousness.
And you seem to be saying that Thought is Consciousness. That they are the same.

I still don’t see what these conclusions are based on.

What conclusions are you referring to? Nobody understands what consciousness is and how it arises. So, we are groping in the dark here. We don’t really know a thing. In this state of not knowing, or “freedom from the known”, as Krishnamurti framed it, we can inquire freely without kicking each other for being stupid.

As long as no one is affirming (for no obvious reasons) that “thought is not dependant on a brain” or “Thought is Consciousness”. No problemo.

I totally disagree with this statement. Why don’t you actually read what K has said about thought and thinking. Why not read the books I suggested. They are all about thought.

Of course there is thought. It was thought and thinking about what you were going to write that allows you, all of us, to write things on this forum. There is psychological thought that causes so many problems and then there is practical thought. We use thought to drive a car. Well, at least most of us do. We use thought to do all those countless tasks everyday; go to work, mow the lawn, hold conversations with each other. We also think about things that have passed; good times and bad and things that are going to happen or that we want to happen. We basically are using thought all during our waking hours and if we dream we are thinking while asleep.

Of course we know what consciousness is and how it arises. Here are a couple quotes from K on consciousness. I can provide you with a couple of dozen more if you want:

The content of consciousness is consciousness. Your consciousness, or another’s consciousness, is its content. If it is born in India, then all the traditions, superstitions, hopes, fears, sorrows, anxieties, violence, sexual demands, aggression, the beliefs, dogmas and creeds of that country are the content of its consciousness. Yet the content of consciousness is extraordinarily similar, whether of one born in the East or in the West.
J. Krishnamurti Talks in Saanen 1974 1st Public Talk 14th July 1974

What is the past? It is one’s racial inheritance, one’s conditioning as Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Catholic, American and so on. It is the education one has received the hurts the delights, as remembrances. That is the past. That is one’s consciousness. Can that consciousness, with all its content of belief, dogma, hope, fear, longing and illusion, come to an end? For example, can one end, this morning, completely, one’s dependence on another? Dependence is part of one’s consciousness. The moment that ends, something new begins, obviously. But one never ends anything completely and that non-ending is one’s hope. Can one see and end dependence and its consequences, psychologically, inwardly? See what it means to depend and the immediate action taking place of ending it.

Now is the content of one’s consciousness to be got rid of bit by bit? That is, get rid of anger, then get rid of jealousy, bit by bit. That would too long. Or, can the whole thing be done instantly, immediately? for taking the contents of one’s consciousness and ending them one by one, will take many years, all one’s life perhaps. Is it possible to see the whole and end it - which is fairly simple, if one does it? But one’s mind is so conditioned that we allow time as a factor in change.

J. Krishnamurti Questions and Answers 12th Question Ojai, California 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 8th May 1980 `Living’

Question: What does it mean to see the totality of something? Is it ever possible to perceive the totality of something which is moving?

Can one see the totality of our consciousness completely? Of course one can. One’s consciousness is made up of all its content; one’s jealousy, nationality, beliefs, experiences and so on; they are the content of this thing called consciousness and the core of that is `me’, the self. Right? To see this thing entirely means giving complete attention to it. But one rarely gives complete attention to anything. If one gives complete attention at the very core, the self, one sees the whole.

J. Krishnamurti Questions and Answers 1st Question Brockwood Park 1st Question & Answer Meeting 28th August 1979 `The Self’

Why are you looking through Krishnamurti’s eye glasses? Can you not see for yourself? Tell me, in your own words, what thinking is. Let the old man go.

You did say that thought and thinking are the same thing - an ongoing activity in the present. I agree with this.