I was thinking about this and could not come up with anything that is worth writing, while I have read people’s ideas on the so called ‘Essence’ of K’s teachings and they all sounded important and well decorated. Yet, each left me rather unsatisfied.
I have to ask what does Essence mean here? Because as per the definition I captured on the internet, I don’t see a difference between Essence and Core Intention.
With respect to the essence of Krishnamurti’s teachings, what would you think about the following statement:
The river of human consciousness is made up of time and thought. With the ending of time and thought there is an ending of consciousness as we know it, and the awakening of intelligence and love.
Does this sound right to you - or would you add something or take something away, or put it differently?
The purpose of the original question is not to demand a “right” answer - it is simply an opportunity for us to attempt to capture what we ourselves take to be the essence of K’s teaching or thinking. It’s an opportunity for us to explore what we think it is, by putting it in our own words - that’s all.
Ok. That’s interesting. Yes - I can see why you could say that. There is a sense in which it is “all or nothing” with K: either one has insight, and is out of the stream of time (as it were), or one is in the stream and there is no path, no way, no method to get out. - It sounds like a paradox or a trick, right?
Not really. I meant that I literally captured nothing. Maybe it means that whatever I do capture is whatever is already captured and in that sense is not necessary to be shared as it is not different from what is captured in you.
I’m not sure you’ve captured nothing Ayham! That’s why I still think it is an interesting question to ask ourselves:
What, for me (by which I mean, for each one if us), is the essence of K’s teaching as I have understood it?
The little that we can say is an opportunity to discover, to find out, what we have actually captured, what is of value to us in what we have understood. - It is not intended that there should be a “correct” answer that we compare with each other.
So, for instance, I might say that - for me - the essence of K’s teaching is something to do with the problems that thought creates in our lives. I know that he also talks about love, truth, the sacred, but those are outside of my personal experience (I might say): so for me, right now, today, K’s teaching is about understanding the power of thought and thinking in human life.
Do you see what I mean? - And so you could say something quite different: maybe for you K’s teaching might be about the disorder or chaos in society, or about the ending of suffering, or about the discovery of compassion, etc. There are no right answers.
So is the intention behind the question to learn from each others insights, if any, into K’s teachings? Or, is it to learn from what each has captured as memory of what one, now believes, is the essence of K’s teachings?
On another note, one person comes along and say I’ve captured nothing. I’ve realized that whatever can be verbalised is not it. If one did actually see that, would there be value in sharing that which is perceived to be Mediocre?
Well, often times it seems we use this word “same” to mean identical to. But, if we are identical in an absolute sense, then there would be no encounter. The shock is always of the encounter. So, in this instance, here and now, the encounter is you and I. If you recall the analogy of the car collision that you introduced some weeks back, when we collide we might say that we have been immobilized. But that is a manner of speaking. In actuality, this immobilization is the occasion of a new movement that is now opening up.
“Stillness” never meant no movement. And likewise, “sameness” never meant identical.
That’s the point. In encountering the teachings, I am encountering a mirror. However hard I look to see the other person who is behind the mirror, I am seeing only myself. The mirror exists as long as I exist. And I exist primarily as this notion of continuity through self-improvement, which is a material process. Then you come along, talk to me, and I am again encountering the mirror. So I see images of K, images of you and images of myself, all reflected in this one mirror of relationship. And self-improvement is only possible through images. None of these images has any truth in them, but the perception of the images as images does something to alter the whole nature of our relationship. It is suddenly no longer a material process. So what is it?
Well, what you’re speaking of, to me, is not the mirror of relationship, but a hall (constructed after the encounter) that is composed of mirrors. We can place ourselves and live inside a hall of mirrors, but that hall is only possible becuase I have always-already been contacted by you. That solipsistic nightmare that you speak of is only possible, paradoxically, because some other exists and has already made contact. For example, the self deception that occurs when we refuse the responsibility for being involved in a car accident might be likened to a hall of mirrors where our reflections only reassure us that we are blameless. So its more like an isolation chamber constructed to assure our safety; not a mirror of relationship.
The language starts to deceive us when we extend our metaphors too far and treat them as literal. You and I, are not like the mirrors we find next to our medicine cabinets and above our sinks. We are persons who through our mutual reflectivity are composing each other and I affect you as you affect me. I affect as I am affected. So there is a dynamism here that escapes the metaphor of the mirror.
That feeling that we have when we say “this is me here now,” is only possible because in fact you exist and have already touched me.
Of course image is involved. But, in terms of what composes us in relationship, reducing “us” to mere projection of image doesn’t say enough about the actuality of what constitutes our composure in relation to one another. Image itself is a metaphor from visual sight. The word is a metaphor borrowed from one of our senses (which is ‘to see.’) We sometimes say, “I see what you mean” or “that seems clear to me.” Even the word “insight” utilizes a visual metaphor. And just like the word “mirror,” (mentioned above) extending this metaphor and treating it as literal, starts to deceive us. This becomes more “apparent” (<–another visual deception) when we cease to over-privilege what can be seen and think in terms of what can be heard.
There is an ocean of sound around us. It cannot be closed off or shut down in the same way our sight can as there is no such thing as ear lids. An image is complete, like a painting on the wall. It is there to be appreciated at once as if it exists out of time. It exists as something that is finished. But sound, and specifically the sound of voice is ever-arriving, unfinished when being spoken, and is only complete when it no longer exists. Like a symphony, it needs a temporal movement in order to be experienced. And like a symphony, what we have to say is only finished when the sound of our voice has ceased; when sound “vanishes.” It cannot be “glimpsed” all at once like a great masterwork in an art studio. We need only ask ourselves, what is the essence of word and language? What is its mode of conveyance? Does it travel, reach out and touch us as image? Or as sound? I think it’s “clear” that voice, primarily, is sound and not image.
When we say that we have an image of each other, all we mean is that we have become too rigid and inflexible in each other’s presence. But image can shift, flicker and transfigure, just as hearing the sound of voice can deepen and widen or become pinched and narrow. Then image is another way that I touch you and you touch me. Another way that we are reachable by one another. What “projects away from,” can also “extend into.” Krishnamurti studies, if made formal and literal, trains us to regard image as a wastage of energy. But, we needn’t abandon the image absolutely because it “consumes” energy. For that which consumes is also that which produces. Okay, so what does that mean more clearly. How can consumption be production, right?
Lets use an analogy. Consider a common iridescent lightbulb. In this case, the bulb actually produces illumination by virtue of the filaments failure or inability to accommodate energy. The filament simply fails to conduct electricity efficiently and light is its byproduct. It is by virtue of this failure and “wastage” of energy that illumination is now possible. That which was felt to be lost and consumed now produces and finds. For behold!, a region can now be filled with light.
“a change in meaning is a change in being.” --David Bohm
We needn’t erase the image, but perhaps we need to take the risk of giving them a full showing to one another. Invite each other in and appreciate their worth.
Krishnamurti always taught that there is a “right place” for thought - for instance, the memory of a person’s face (which is an image) so that when I meet that person again I recognise them.
What K rejected was the centrality of psychological images. Why? Obviously because a psychological image I form about another person is the creation of my own subjective imagination - the image is not who they are. The image I have in my mind will never be who they are. So by treating the other person as though that image I have of them is them, I endanger my relationship to them.
The images can change, but they are still just images. A transfigured image is still just an image. It is merely another manifestation of a material process. You reaching out to me is a material process. Our relationship at the moment is a material process because thought has put this whole thing together and called it relationship. Something different is being asked here. While the self exists, it will always be operating in terms of self-improvement; and we’ll meet and have a relationship from that background. Can the ‘self’ come to an end even before we think of meeting?
And it comes to an end quite naturally when it realises the fact that there is no such thing as self-improvement. So there is nothing to be attended to, which was your earlier point. The ‘self’ coming to an end is not part of a material process of psychological improvement.
Calling our relationship merely material is an intellectual reduction to metaphysics. It’s an analysis that impoverishes the both of us (why doesn’t that irony ever find you?). You can certainly continue that course and in fact, physicists have already done so and found that what is material further reduces to energy, and that energy at every point then extends into infinity. All of which to me seems to state, like another sign post on our road to discovery, “wrong way,” or perhaps, “try another door.” What Krishnamurti is denouncing when he rejects the material is the manner of acquisitiveness. Things like gluttony, greed, sloth, (basically the seven deadlies). What he’s concerned about is your moral behavior. Not the metaphysical status of what a “substance” is. Certainly, many of us here remember the anecdote of K becoming overwhelmed with disgust at dinner one evening as he watched a guest a few seats down from him unceremoniously shovel huge spoonfuls of food into his mouth.
You and I are not like a couple of blocks that just simply run into each other. What exists between our material bodies at once exceeds the material.
Paul, this is the absolute language of Krishnamurti. A lot of this I’ve already addressed in many, many previous posts here and on other sites. K’s language does serve a purpose and has it’s merit. In retrospect, it serves the purposes of the world teacher’s role in bringing us to a crisis point, which he does most aptly. But, we should remember that he is the world teacher and we are not.
Again, the ending of the self is only a manner of speaking. In actuality, I only exist of and with (if not ‘as’) our meeting her and now. Asking if I can end the self before the self even exists is nonsensical.
If I am so completely conditioned through and through by knowledge (as you advocate) then I would be incapable of hearing anything from outside that field. Yet what brings me to clarity must first start from what is most near. It must start from the field of knowledge. And if that is the case, then the field of knowledge is already the house of the unknown and therefore I must already stand radically open to its call. I realize you’ve already stated you don’t care what Bohm has to say, but apologies as I quote him again anyway:
“As I have already pointed out, the content of knowledge (which is necessarily of the past) cannot catch up with the immediate and actual present, which is always the unknown. Since the activity of the past is actually taking place in the present, this too is inherently unknown.”
Upon reflection, that actually leads to an infinite regress not unlike the old fashioned homunculus fallacy. I cannot have my own self-sufficient subjectivity (even as illusion) of which I author and “form images about another person” on my own (all by myself) without there already being another subjective entity installed, which is also somehow invested with self-sufficiency and the ability to self author, etc.
I author as I am already authored. Affect as I am already affected and when I touch, I am the touched.
(I hope what is not coming next is a work up of subjectivity out of biology and the senses, which will just lead to a circular argument and beg the question.)