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What is Insight?

“We often associate insight with the “a-ha!” moment of having suddenly grasped the significance of some puzzle or problem. Bohm’s notion of insight includes such particular instances, but extends to a much more general, and generative, level of application. He sees insight as an active energy, a subtle level of intelligence in the universe at large. of a different order from that which we commonly experience in the mind/matter domain. He suggests that such insight has the capacity to directly affect the structure of the brain, dispelling the “electrochemical fog” generated by accumulated reflexes.”

from Lee Nicol’s forward to “Thought as a System”, by David Bohm

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very simple. Sightseeing outside and insightseeing inwards.

What is insight? Last weekend we discussed about this, and it is difficult to put into words. Insight is not of the mind, and thus it cannot be described with language in a meaningful/holistic way.

Insight is not a conclusion. Insight is alive movement of “what is”, and in our description of the word we attempt to share an observation of “what is” - actually.

I can appreciate the use of words like intelligence and energy by Bohm, because I am sure he had insight. On the other hand, generalizing a conclusion or “fact” that insight is energy or intelligence would be misleading in the general talk.

This leads to another inquiry; what can be said about insight between people who do not have insight?

What do we mean by “not of the mind”? Could you expand a little?

Is this due to a problem inherent in language? Or with our understanding of the concept? If something is clearly understood, why can it not be clearly expressed?

If we see that mind is time, memory, fragmented and limited, then “not of the mind” is timeless and whole.

Yes, language has great inherent limitations in expressing what is. Happy to go into it and discuss this in detail, if it is not obvious.

Concept by definition is an abstract idea, so it is of mind and limited. Any concept can be explained and described fully with language, because it is merely a question of agreeing on definitions.

Insight - as used above by Bohm - is not an idea or a concept. Insight is not put together by mind, hence the language (created by mind) becomes very cumbersome and clumsy in conveying “what Insight is”. Verbalizing actuality converts something alive into a dead idea/concept, unless the conversation is done in a serious inquiry together.

What is your view on Insight?

You and Paul Dimmock seem to be saying that “verbalizing actuality” can only be “alive” when in “serious inquiry together”. Do you feel this way because you can’t verbalize actuality by yourself, but you can with another? Must verbalizing actuality be a collaborative exercise because it cannot be done alone, or does it just seem that way for you?

Is insight timeless and whole ? in what way is insight timeless and whole?

Can I understand something but not be able to express it? What is limiting my description ?

Great questions :slight_smile:

Firstly it is not a feeling, but an insight to the nature of language. There is no necessity to verbalize facts or insights to yourself. The necessity of language arises only when one turns an insight into an experience or an idea or a concept.

Secondly, I love that you bring up collaboration. This is something I am currently investigating for myself; what to do with insight. There is a very strong conditioning and urge to textualize, conceptualize, and share insight with someone. It is a desire to be acknowledged and validated externally. And obviously that is a trap of the mind. When we see that, what to do with insight becomes utterly important, and also action without interference of the mind.

Verbalizing (or symbolizing) actuality is only needed for technological advancement. When verbalizing actuality for any psychological conditioning or urge, there is a great danger in becoming mesmerized unless one is vigilant and has the energy to pay attention. The more people take part in this activity, the more difficult and dangerous it becomes. This is why inquiry is such a central teaching of K.

Can we investigate first what is insight? What would you say?

My intuition says yes, and there are probably several reasons why we would not be able to express what we perceive or sense.

Sorry to raise another question, but “understand” is such a colloquial word with a multitude of definitions. What do we mean by understand, or could we look at your question differently?

Insight is what we call a moment of clarity/understanding that suddenly illuminates some confusion/questioning that we have been involved in.
We may refer to an insight as being time independant because it does not seem to be a conclusion to some process of analysis - thus seemingly not conditioned by knowledge (aka the past)
A really good insight is of course whole in that it totally liberates the questioner/question rather than offering some conclusion that immediately leads to further questions.

Would the main reason be that we have not really seen it clearly?
For example - E=MC2 is probably a simple expression of something clearly understood - whether I can assimilate the simple statement is another question (spoiler : not really - hats off to Albert)

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Thank you.

Let’s separate for the sake of clarity “insight the word” and “insight the fact” (what the word is intending to describe).

Insight the word is clearly explained by you above.

Insight the fact is:

Insight the fact is timeless and whole, because it is not in the field of thought/mind. In your fantastic Einsteinian example

  • Energy (E) is the actuality
  • The equation is insight the fact which builds a bridge between two seemingly disparate domains; it is timeless and whole

What do you make of this? It’s getting late so I will stop here for now :sleeping:

The fact seems to be that insight is something that happens to humans (humans having no choice in the matter)

If we look closely it would seem that this is actually someone’s interpretation of someone else’s theory about insight.

Good night - may we all awake refreshed and frisky

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"As I said, knowledge is not just an accumulation of information waiting passively. It is an active and often dominant process that controls the general operation of the mind, without our being conscious of it. And it takes a high level of mental energy to be aware of this activity. Otherwise, it takes over, which is what it has done.

“I propose that the essence of insight is this mental energy which perceives these subtle and powerful forces of knowledge, the emotional, social, intellectual, and still others that are beyond description, which make us very reluctant to give up fixed beliefs. When this energy is present we could say that the mind is free of certain blocks that are inherent in knowledge. I want to emphasize that the general action of insight is in dissolving blocks and barriers, which allows the ordinary faculties of the mind, such as reason, to give rise to new ideas and approaches.”

David Bohm, Knowledge and Insight

Let’s remember that this is a theory. David Bohm was not infallible. (Ask physicists!) It might be right, might be wrong, or as I suspect have elements of rightness and wrongness.

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Personally, I use attention to describe this “mental energy”. Would that be how others see it as well?

Knowledge is always theory, abstract, an idea because it is put together by thought. No quote or conclusion by yourself or anyone else can be fact or actuality (psychologically). No knowledge can bring insight, which is timeless and whole.

Then the question arises, why do we quote other people, and share their theories? Is it an easy escape for us to avoid inquiring the questions ourselves? We identify with an idea or theory or author we like, and for the sake of social feedback we put forward their position so that we do not need to take responsibility of our own position, of our own inquiry, of our own loneliness?

I see this in a similar manner, just would put the words a little bit differently while maintaining the same quality:

Insight is available to humans whether they pay attention to it or not.

Knowledge ‘sets the stage’ for insight.

That’s one possible reason. Also:

A quote establishes authority.
A quote presents the original (i.e. uninterpreted/untranslated).
A quote addresses something that the quoter has not experienced.

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Because our theories are worn out and we haven’t a clue as how to proceed further.

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I take responsibility for my “position” by acknowledging that it’s where I am in my inquiry, whether I publish it or not. If I publish someone else’s position, it’s because I find it interesting.

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Could we look into this a bit more?

Would a quote really be something original (authentic, genuine, actual, true, real)? What do we mean by quote? Isn’t it by definition a repetition or a copy of something? Where do we land if we regard such an idea original?

Words are not real, they are ideas created by the mind. Their meaning and value is solely based on agreement or convention of the past. For this reason quotes (repeated words written or spoken) can never be actual or give a holistic view of what it is intending to describe. Factually, a quote is always of the mind, and thus fragmented and limited.

If we go even further, all thinking is - at best - a quote (interpretation/translation) of our collective observation and sensing. By regarding a quote different from common thought, we are creating a sort of authority, a system of comparing thoughts with each other, and elevating a certain form above the rest. Such a trap is inherent to the mind.

I love this one as well, and would like to question if being interested in something is a “justifiable” reason to put forward an authority and strengthen someone else’s thoughts or ideas.

The action from seeing the thought process and danger of the mind is to question everything the mind does (psychologically). Building an authority at any level, implies movement away from oneself and resigning from one’s response-ability.

Then, are there reasons or situations to create an authority (psychologically)? Such reasons would be justified if they are non-destructive? We can see the role of authority clearly in technological knowledge, and how it is helpful and useful for the humanity to progress technologically. Psychologically, is there any role for an authority, ever?