What is the cause of conflict, and can conflict in ourselves end?

Can we dissolve or end conflict - both between each other in our dialogues on Kinfonet, and in ourselves? What is the cause of our conflicts? And at what level, at what depth, is this conflict to be dealt with? Can we look at this question, share our thinking about it, our reactions towards it?

If it can shed some light on the matter, here is Krishnamurti’s approach to this question:

In our relationship with each other… conflict exists… [So] we have to see whether conflict in ourselves can end…

It is necessary to… find out for ourselves the cause of conflict, because where you can find a cause that cause can be ended

There are many causes, but there is essentially one cause: each one of us is essentially egocentric

Man has always quarrelled with another man, always lived in conflict. In some of the old ancient monuments in caves and other places you will see man fighting man, or fighting animals, which is the same thing, symbolically, perpetual conflict…

The speaker is saying… that the human condition can be radically changed. That is, if he has the intention, if he observes very clearly without any prejudice, without any direction… without any motive, what he is…

In [the] mirror of relationship you see yourself as you are… In that relationship you see your reactions, physical as well as psychological… You start very near to go very far…

And in that relationship which is based on image-building, you have an image about her and she has an image about you… The root of conflict is there

Thought is responsible for the image that you have about yourself and you have about another… So thought, thinking, is the root of conflict

Isn’t thinking limited? … Experience is limited… because it is limited, knowledge is always limited… Knowledge is carried by the brain as memory. Memory then responds as thought, so thought is always limited. And that which is limited [in the psychological domain] must invariably create conflict

When you are thinking about yourself, you are very limited… And that limitation has been brought about by thought…

Thought is limited. When you really perceive this as an actuality… then you are bound to ask if there is another instrument than thought.

(Talk 1, New Delhi, 1983)

So Krishnamurti’s suggestion is that the very limited nature of thought is the root cause of why our images of ourselves and each other creates conflict.

What do people feel about this?

So, for instance, it feels to me that currently there is some conflict - or friction or tension or misunderstanding or suspicion or hurt or unhappiness or upset - in the online relationship between myself and @macdougdoug and @danmcderm .

Is this conflict (or misunderstanding, upset, suspicion, etc), first of all, a fact? Are we simply imagining a conflict where there is none, or is there a factual tension (or misunderstanding or upset, etc) that has taken place in our online relationship with each other?

If it is a fact that there is such a thing going on, that has taken place, then what is the cause?

Is it that words have been spoken/written that have been hurtful or disrespectful? Is it some misunderstanding has taken place? Is it an angry response, an irritated response? Is it that our thoughts and ideas are in conflict with each other? Is it the image we each have about the other? What has created this stand-off, this tension, this non-responsive or reactive attitude?

And what can be done about it? Will apologies suffice? Or should we explore more deeply than that? Is each party slightly responsible, or is only one party responsible? If we feel offended or upset about what has taken place is there any way to address this upset constructively without apportioning blame (unless such blame is truly deserved)? Can we use this conflict in our relationship to probe a little further into the mechanics of conflict, to find out if conflict is inevitable or can be dissolved, put aside, ended?

What do you guys feel about all this (if you are open to talking about it here)?

I’ll be checking in to what is going on but I won’t be posting for a while.

Ok Dan. I hope you can feel free to share your own thinking-feeling about this topic in your own time, or when you feel it is appropriate to do so :pray:

If it feels too personal to touch on our own difficulties in dialogue on Kinfonet, maybe we can explore the challenges we face in general in dialogue (whether on Kinfonet or elsewhere)?

For example, I often find myself getting irritated with someone if I feel I have explained something sufficiently and yet that person still does not to seem to reflect back to me the understanding I would have expected of them.

These expectations belong to my background, my own subjective assessment of what constitutes sufficient verbal explanation, as well as subjectively how much energy and time one is willing to give to the communication. Issues like these.

But another, quite distinct challenge in dialogue takes place when both parties have opposing ideas about something.

For instance, if I feel or think that the self is essentially an error, a mistake of one’s conditioning, or a major cause of human unhappiness, and the other person in the dialogue feels and thinks that the self is basically good, necessary, healthy, and is capable of love, compassion, etc, then it is clear that these ideas about the self are in conflict with each other. There is either a misunderstanding taking place in language, or one or both sets of ideas are confused.

If, in addition to this, one is identified with these ideas about the self, then this will be a further source of conflict. And probably this is the main reason why we get into conflicts with each other during dialogue.

How can we break into these difficulties of communication and break them down or dissolve them? Is it possible to explore an area of life - of our existence or psychology - without basing our exploration on ideas at all?

Is there a way of talking about, for example, what we mean by the self, without basing our exploration on our ideas about it, but rather on what we directly observe first-hand?

And if we need to resort to words and concepts - which we have to do somewhat for the purposes of communication - can we do so with sensitivity to the fact that our words and concepts are not the actual thing they are pointing to?

These are some of the reflections that occur to me.

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Self-centeredness and wanting to control seem to be roots of conflict. With love, people can resolve the differences and get along. See yourself between the lines of text, as others have. Writing is therapeutic and can be helpful to others, as well. Writing can contain micro-aggressions to incite conflict. Some people thrive on conflict. They love the adrenaline rush, more than the oxytocin provided by relationship.

If I would want to share my understanding about time, thought, attention, awareness, the world, etc., if I would only want to share, not to correct, not to instruct, not to teach—just to share—what language would be the most appropriate, what words could I best put together in any attempt to coherently describe or explain that which can only be comprehended through direct perception, that is, in actual living? How can the sharing be precisely articulated in the awareness that what has been directly perceived is still an illusion of the senses no matter what, in the awareness that any verbalization of that perception renders the sharing itself useless? What is it that makes sharing virtually impossible? If it is a fact that “the word is not the thing”, that “the description is not the described”, then any description or explanation about anything is only an approximation, a very bad approximation. To share implies precluding no one from taking part in that which is being shared, like sharing the atmosphere we all participate of, and for that to happen there must be common understanding. When whatever has been put forth for sharing is met with prejudice sharing is voided, or is it that prejudice is precisely the thing being shared?

I suppose this also applies if I want to explore or enquire into “time, thought, attention, awareness, the world, etc” (or conflict for that matter)?

We share our understanding not in order teach, correct, instruct, etc, but so as to deepen an enquiry - and we do so in relationship to what each of us has understood and shared, right? In this way our sharing can be a dialogue, a quickening of our non-verbal understanding, rather than an instructing of or preaching to others.

Is it true that

Maybe it depends on what perception is being verbalised. I feel that conflict in relationship is something quite concrete that most of us have experienced at one time or another, and its causes may be verbalisable and shared through words. Of course, the perceiving for oneself of the causes of conflict cannot be done through words. Is this what you are meaning?

Agreed. The word is not the thing. The description of my conflict with another is not the actual conflict taking place.

Yes, there must be some shared common ground to start a shared investigation. There may be things you see very quickly that I don’t yet see at all, and so we have to begin from some common understanding of at least the topic at hand, the words being used, and some shared notion of what is involved in the thing being explored. For instance, we all have a sense of what conflict is.

As the enquiry begins we may be confronted by certain resistances in ourselves, by certain prejudices or assumptions, by images we have of each other. Can these be perceived and investigated as part of the enquiry? Or else, as you say, we will end up only sharing our prejudices and not contact something objective, something true.

This is certainly part of it, yes.

Yes. Although, as you know, the word ‘love’ may have different meanings to different people.

Which is intelligence, right? In this context I suppose we are talking about self-awareness, emotional intelligence, right?

When we share our understanding or questions on Kinfonet we are of course writing. Sometimes this sharing of our thoughts and feelings may be therapeutic, sometimes it may lead to conflict, sometimes it may disturb our minds or confront our minds with challenging reflections. Our sharing may also express micro-aggressions, irritations, passive aggressiveness, etc. We have to do our best to be clear and open about our motives in writing/sharing (as much as possible).

Yes. Is there a way of exploring into these questions - including the question of conflict - without feeding into the energy of conflict? - but also not shying away from the meaning of conflict, its energy, its reality in our lives (if it is there)?

Is thought the root of conflict? Not as an idea, a concept, but a fact.

In and of itself, the mechanism of thought is not the problem.

The problem is that the psychologically conditioned brain is limited to thought, and thought can be used to create, support, and sustain illusions, falsehoods, fictions, and fantasies. Thus, we have the illusion of the thinker, I, and its image of itself. All of which is a matter of belief and wishful thinking.

It would take more discussion from the group to bring this out, but I think what Krishnamurti is saying is that it is the limited nature of thought itself that causes conflict.

The way Krishnamurti explains this in the extract is by tracing the origins of thought to memory, which is based on knowledge (which is limited), which is based on experience (which is limited) - and so, by deduction, because each segment of the chain of causes partakes of the limitations of its parent cause (beginning with experience), thought is logically limited.

An example of how this limitation of thought can cause conflict is the example of national or racial or religious identifications (in thought). Such (mental) identifications naturally divide people and create conflict.

How is this limitation of thought to perceived factually, and not merely logically? In what manner can we perceive that thought is limited?

I don’t know the complete answer to this. What I can say is that it is perfectly possible to perceive that one’s image of another person is not who or what that person is (in themselves). This shows that one’s ideas or thoughts about another person are limited.

Yes, K said this and we know that thought is limited. But as far as I can tell from my own experience, thought never stops…even when it is randomly babbling just to prevent the clarity of silence from breaking its spell.

Can thought be used to find out if thought is, in fact, the root of conflict? Is it an insight, which is outside of thought, that sees the fact?

Do we know this because we’ve heard someone else say this? Or do we know this because we have seen for ourselves that thought is limited?

Maybe. But are you suggesting that there’s no point in enquiring into how thought is limited?

Isn’t one way in which thought is limited revealed by the fact that we have images about each other in relationship, and we can see how these images of the other are limited?

My image of my neighbour is clearly not who or what my neighbour is in their fullness, in their actuality. Can this not be perceived directly?

Thought can pose the question that leads to the insight “that sees the fact”, but it may be that an insight can spring out of the blue, apparently without anything leading up to it.

What I can perceive directly about my neighbor is that my image of them is an obstacle to perceiving directly who my neighbor is.

[quote=“James, post:15, topic:2705”]
But are you suggesting that there’s no point in enquiring into how thought is limited?

If we can enquire without using thought. Thought, by using it to explore, only stays within the confines of thought but appears to be limitless as we can go on and on and on ad infinitum. Yet, other than some changes to the continuity, no transformation. No ending therefore no possibility of a new beginning.

You are suggesting that thought has no place in the observation of thought.

So we can observe ourselves in our relationship to other people. And in our relationship one becomes aware that we have created images about each other which interfere in our relationship.

Or define our relationship. Once I’ve made up my mind about someone because of something they said or did, my relationship is with my image of them.