We are the world?

I’m not sure we are communicating about exactly the same issue Dan.

I wasn’t saying that the contents are “different”, but rather that the contents are similar.

My question is really, how does this perception of a shared similarity (i.e. everyone suffers, everyone gets lonely sometimes, etc) turn into the perception that my consciousness is essentially the same as another person’s consciousness?

So when you say “You can’t be you and be the world”, this is (at one level at least) precisely the opposite of what I understand Krishnamurti to be saying.

So, for example, Krishnamurti says:

Sir, is the world separate from us? Are we not, each one of us, in disorder, confused.

(Talk 2, Stanford University, 1969)

So K is here pointing out that the (egoistic) confusion of the world is the same as one’s own (egoistic) confusion. Or, to put it differently, the egoism of oneself is the egoism of the world.

Do you see the point I am making?

Krishnamurti makes this inference time and again in his talks:

You are related to the whole of mankind, because you are like the rest of mankind… the rest of [humanity], wherever he may live, because he suffers, you suffer, and all the rest of it. Psychologically you are the world and the world is you.

(Talk 2, Colombo, 1980)

Now what I am drawing people’s attention to is where K says - as in the extract just shared - ‘You are the rest of the world because you are ‘like’ the rest of the world’. Do you see this inference that K draws?

Now, it is certainly the case that K doesn’t just stop there with egoistic consciousness - he also points towards a true unity of consciousness that lies beyond our egotism. One can see this in the way he develops the matter in the following extract:

Every human being in the world, everyone from the most primitive, from the most uneducated, to the most highly sophisticated, educated, they go through all this—faith, fear, longing, depression, anxiety, sorrow, pain—every human being in the world goes through it, whether he/she is a Communist, Socialist, Capitalist, or Democrat, or doesn’t belong to any group.

So this consciousness is shared by all human beings…

You are the rest of mankind, you are humanity. And when you separate yourself then all the problems begin…

Then one begins to realise the nature of love. Though you may love another, but that love is not restricted to one because you are the entire humanity. You are the world, and the world is you.

(Talk 2, Brockwood Park, 1984)

One can see that Krishnamurti moves from showing how the contents of our consciousness are similar, to then saying they are essentially shared, i.e. the same. And then explains that this perception flowers in a sense of impersonal love, love for the whole of humanity.

The step I am missing (by which I mean a step in my own comprehension, understanding or perception) is the transition from similar to same.


  1. ‘I am similar to all other people’, or ‘My consciousness is like all other people’s consciousness’.


  1. ‘I am the world’; ‘My consciousness is the consciousness of humanity’.

Perhaps the point that you and Douglas are making is that the very fact of being conscious, together with the very fact of one’s being a human being = the fact that one’s consciousness is the consciousness of humanity?

Is this what you and @macdougdoug are saying?

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To my understanding, there is a strong rooted belief powerful enough that “Without Individuality, One cannot survive and have great pleasures, A Male cannot be recognised as a Male which a Female seeks and vice versa, would become a ‘punch bag’ and dominated by others, One cannot possess great powers like becoming a Businessmen, Politician, etc., more possibility of death than living in a sect/group with an individual recognition, etc.”.

I won’t say these are the exact reasons, but that strong belief within never that easy to meet face to face, and really acts as a strong block to feel common kinship.

We probably weren’t - I reacted too quickly; on the subject of compassion, seeing the me in you.

But now I’m thinking you may be looking for important hidden meaning that might not be there - when the obvious simple fact is powerful enough if seen to be true.
We are all staring out of human brains. And forced to live the life of scared, thinking animals - or increasingly in the 1st world : spoilt, selfish thinking animals.

Before being free from myself, we are all victims/robots. Compassion is the only response. (and responsibility)

The contents of consciousness IS consciousness, that they are similar (or dissimilar) doesn’t change that. We have to go back to the need for a silent, empty, still brain if our unity is to be realized? As it is now we are all ‘individuals’ with the ‘contents’ of our consciousness separating us: me from you. It’s an illusory separation/division. You are your ‘contents’, I am mine…when they are dissolved as ‘ego’ , the unity is there?

Ok, let’s look at this for a minute.

K has said that ‘consciousness is its contents’. It is a definitional statement. There is no implication that we ourselves have had a perception of the whole of consciousness. All we are saying by using this phrase is that consciousness as a whole cannot be separated from its contents. Right?

The contents being

pleasure and pain, fear and desire, joy and sorrow, conflict, violence, anger, envy, jealousy, love/affection, hate, selfishness, generosity, boredom, creativity, grief, death, hope, belief, identification with ideas and images, relationship, loneliness, occasional insights into things, feelings, thoughts, sensation, the feeling of a separate ‘me’ apart from you, the thinker, the observer, etc.

So consciousness (as we know it, according to K) is all this.

It is not compassion, intelligence, insight, total attention, etc. (all these exist only when the contents of consciousness have been completely emptied, according to K).

So these contents are similar in all human beings. This is what K says again and again.

The dissimilarities are relatively superficial: these being the degree of happiness and sadness (some people appear to be very happy, while others appear to be very sad), the manner in which happiness and sadness are expressed (some people show their joy and grief openly, while others hide it away quietly), and the formal circumstances in which happiness and sadness arise (happiness and sadness can have a great many different causes).

In addition people are tall and short, male and female, white skinned or pink skinned or brown skinned or black skinned, etc. But all of these differences are ‘skin deep’.

So the similarities outweigh the differences. Would you agree with this?

And these similar contents make up the consciousness of every human being on earth :earth_africa:. I don’t think any reasonable person will deny this.

So all we are saying so far is that similar contents make up (human) consciousness. Right?


I am asking, What is the step to then saying:

  • human consciousness =

  • the same, one, unitary, undivided shared consciousness?

Have we answered this question yet?

I haven’t, but I appreciate you admitting to not understanding why We are the World because I don’t understand it any more than I understand The Observer is the Observed.

Until/unless it is obvious, perfectly clear, why we are the world, we’re just parroting K when we repeat those words.

Why can’t we understand how what distinguishes us from each other can be what makes us all the same?

Yes, We are the world :earth_africa: is related to the Observer is the observed :microscope:

But when you say

I’m not sure that this is what I am saying.

If you see my last reply to Douglas and Dan I make this more clear:

The dissimilarities (i.e. what distinguishes us) are relatively superficial, while the similarities (in content) are clear and obvious.

But neither @danmcderm nor @macdougdoug, as far as I have understood them, have explained how one goes from similar to same (which is what the statement ‘We are the world’ implies).

“consciousness is its content” can mean that they arise simultaneously, cannot exist separately. That consciousness is consciousness of.
Sharing the same consciousness can mean that the fear, loneliness etc (the contents) that I feel is not somethiing different from the fear that you feel.
Sharing the same consciousness can mean that consciousness is a projection of the human brain, that this is the same process for all humans.

James’ question is whether by “same” we mean “exactly similar” or “one shared thing” - whether we are functioning with the same mass produced tools (by evolution) or whether we are using one mysterious quantum non-local tool (?).

I’m wondering whether the correct answer will determine whether love arises or not.

You are saying here that consciousness is one thing, and content is another (because you say “they arise simultaneously”, which implies two distinct things).

Is this what ‘consciousness is its content’ means?

Or does it mean that whatever is in consciousness - e.g. fear, desire, envy, suffering - makes up what consciousness is itself made of, what it is in itself?

But K also says that the contents of consciousness can be emptied. Is the resulting consciousness “consciousness of”? I’m not sure it is.

This is what we have been saying. All you are really saying here is that my suffering and your suffering are both forms of suffering, so our experiences of suffering are similar.

But it takes another step to say that the suffering you are experiencing is my suffering. Do you see the difference?

Ditto. The process of consciousness is similar in all human beings, but is it exactly the same?

The shared tools provided by evolution are similar brains and the fact that all human brains think-feel (producing similar contents such as fear, pleasure, sorrow, etc).

I don’t see non-locality as a tool, but this could be secondary evidence for the sameness of consciousness (if this sameness proves to be a fact).

Yes. The correct answer may help us to understand or feel or see that our consciousness is genuinely undivided, shared, unitary. As K says in one of the extracts I shared with Dan, this perception is impersonal love, according to K.

Perhaps if the wrong turn had not been taken, we would not be discussing this but how best to govern humanity to maximize our potential for ourselves, the wildlife, nature, etc?

Hey Dan, I have done my best to explain to you what my question is. Maybe you do not understand it. That’s ok. Maybe it doesn’t interest you. I doubt it would interest most people. Or maybe you just don’t have any clear answer. Which is also ok. Neither have I.

But it is a question I nevertheless feel is worth asking, and which I have taken the time to elucidate as comprehensively as I can.

So please don’t create a completely hypothetical situation in which we are all perfectly in communion and love, to then contrast that with where we currently are.

Maybe the answer to the question that has been posed may unlock, as Doug suggests, the possibility of impersonal love - something that humanity, the world, nature, the planet all obviously need.

Just to be clear, I would rather be in a state of impersonal love, maximising the potential of humanity, stopping wars and saving the planet - than discussing how ‘similar’ becomes ‘same’ on Kinfonet!

But we are where we are (or rather, I am where I am) :slightly_smiling_face:

That may be the thing that you’re missing: that there is no ‘you’. ‘You’ don’t exist. There is no ‘my’ suffering?


Consciousness and it’s contents.

To my understanding, I see that the mind tends to identify the “contents” experienced by myself as “me”, and so differentiate the other “contents” of consciousness experienced not by me as “others/you/them”.

Other than Identification out of belief, is there any real difference? Not that to say similar, but there is no difference at all but only the identification creates an illusionized differentiation.

Say, one is suffering and other one don’t. If other one is Identified with his own contents, then will remain totally different from the sufferings. But, if not identified to any of the contents experienced by him/her, then can see the sufferings of one as his own, as there is no identification creating any difference.

This is my understanding, but please feel free to question it to deepen the learning.

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If we need to feel that I am you, for there to be love, this is not impersonal love.

This is more akin to self-love.

However, if we are compassionate towards quasi-necessary suffering (which is the same process happening in most human brains - something we can experience and understand) this can still be considered love.

When consciousness is empty, we are not conscious of (obviously), consciousness is absent, it comes and goes with the content.

I feel we are talking past each other? I’m not sure that either of you are responding to the content of my question, and seem to be suggesting solutions we have already looked at?

This was your first response to my question yesterday Dan, and we looked at it briefly. My feeling is that if this is all Krishnamurti had wanted to communicate about the matter then I’m not sure he would have talked about consciousness in the way he did.

As has already been touched on previously, the context for Krishnamurti’s teaching ‘We are the world’ is where the contents of consciousness - fear, suffering, pleasure, etc - exist. The ‘me’, one’s self-image, one’s self-interest, is one of the contents of consciousness. So long as the contents of consciousness are present, self-centredness is present.

That is, when Krishnamurti talks about this matter he starts from the fact, the ‘what is’, that the contents of consciousness presently exist, and that they are similar. He then proceeds to talk about how consciousness is shared, that it is not my consciousness as opposed to someone else’s consciousness, but just one common consciousness.

This is the point under discussion.

Again, I don’t feel that this is what is being discussed Douglas. It is not a need to “feel that I am you”, but a question of whether the contents of my consciousness are not merely similar to the contents of your consciousness, but are the same. To put it in Krishnamurti’s words, “Sorrow is not my personal sorrow, it is the sorrow of all humanity.” My sorrow is not merely similar to another person’s sorrow, it is the part of the same stream of universal sorrow. Probably it requires a perception to see this movement of consciousness as a whole.

This is what is being enquired into.

I feel that if I respond, that we will merely be covering the same old ground. That you either disagree with or find lacking/does not address the issue in the correct manner.

Knowing what must be perceived is already conformity to conditioning.
I already see this movement as a whole, but only according to my interpretation. (The whole evolutionary stream/development of the process of animal consciousness - which is in no way mine - except via trivial locality)

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I’m not sure how helpful this is Douglas? - seeing as K constantly implied that a shift in perception is necessary to have a sense of the wholeness of human consciousness.

Yes. For us it is more theoretical than actual. But I feel we can probe a little more into the question.

Probably the question I have been asking only exists for a few people who are interested in this aspect of K’s teaching; though funnily enough, Rick - who as we know is not particularly enthused by this general area! - has had some useful things to say about it.

Rick: You’re looking at what lies between a felt-sense of shared content of consciousness, and shared basis of consciousness? We all have the former, few have the latter…

What lies between these perceptions (to use the term loosely) is, I don’t know, a shift in seeing, understanding, feeling-sensing? An expanded (unlimited?) sense of what-is? A loosening from the grip of consensus reality?

I think this is worth exploring a bit more - don’t you feel?

A loosening from the grip of consensus reality is useless if it is accompanied by the tightening of another reality.

I’m only saying this to you because it appears essential (from my point of view)

Exploration, questioning is essential too, just that undemonstrable, incomprehensible models cannot be considered to be candidate explanations.
Describing how our consensus model makes no sense on the other hand seems necessary.

Douglas, you seem to me to be throwing the question out without properly giving it your time and consideration. I think Rick’s suggestion may be useful to look at a little, don’t you?

Rick says:

You’re looking at what lies between a felt-sense of shared content of consciousness, and shared basis of consciousness? We all have the former, few have the latter…

I think we can probe into this a little bit before throwing it out.

For example, it is clear that we have a felt-sense of shared content of consciousness - your fear is not very different from my fear, your happiness is not very different from my happiness, etc.

The thing that we don’t see clearly is that we share the same basis of consciousness. We have no felt-sense of this. This is what Rick is suggesting.

Btw, Rick goes onto say,

(I’d argue we don’t even know, for sure, that there is a shared basis to feel-sense, but that’s for another talk.)