← Back to Kinfonet

What is the Essence of K's Teaching?

Then perhaps we have not felt the same shock.

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.

Let’s throw away the mirrors. How are you composing me? You are using images, aren’t you?

1 Like

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.

[quote=“PaulDimmock, post:40, topic:840, full:true”]

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.

Essential Bohm, p.257

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.)

Have you listened to the question? It is not about me or you ending the self, which is an absurd notion. If the self does not exist until we meet, why are we meeting? Why are we here?

Oh my, lol

Paul…have you listened to mine? Because you’re asking me:

…which is basically the same question I asked from three days ago when I posted:

It might help to scroll up in order to follow the thread leading to how we got here now.

Well, all humor aside, what do you say, Paul? Why are we meeting? Why are we here? What is the significance that calls forward the “I” into attendance? :wink:

You have responded to the first part of the sentence I wrote - i.e., that the “image I form about another person is the creation of my own subjective imagination” - but have completely ignored the context of the whole sentence, which originally continues

which is immediately followed by the more succinct clarifying sentence (summing up the point being made):

The image I have in my mind will never be who they are.

What does the notion of a homunculus (an imaginary microscopic humanoid figure) have to do with anything? An image of you (in my brain) is not you. Is that not clear? I cannot capture, in my imagination, the wholeness - the infinite, fine grained detail - of your actual moment by moment reality. This is obvious.

As far as the rest of your reply is concerned,

it is just gibberish to me. Are you saying that when you touch an object that you are simultaneously “touched” by the object? Your rejection of basic biology and common sense only speaks to your own unwillingness to step outside your linguistic ego - or is that my inner homunculus speaking?

Why are you adding this other part to the question?

Once upon a time (4 days ago), I said that the “I” occurs when we meet and then asked what is the significance (or the “why”) of our (or “we”) showing up as you and I in this meeting. Then later (yesterday) you asked, “If the self does not exist until we meet, why are we meeting? Why are we here?”

Which does seem to be the same question.

Why are we here? Let’s find an answer to this question that doesn’t involve the self at all.

I’ll try to respond adequately, but…and I hope I’m not scaring anyone, I just received my second vaccination earlier today just after noon PST. It’s 9:30 pm now and I gotta say, I’m not feeling very good. Bad headache, tired and fatigued…and I feel “swimmy” or “cloudy,” if that makes any sense, like I’m coming down with something that’s…uh…not good. lol. Another odd thing that happened is my arm hurt for about 3 full days on my first dose, which has never occurred before. I’m having that same pain again.

I didn’t “completely ignore,” the context, sentence or your meaning at all. Instead those are the precise issues that this mutual constitution of self (affect as affected, author as authored etc) addresses. I don’t leave it out, I paint a bold target on it. All you’ve done is restate your premises again as if they are to be accepted without question. That’s all.

Now James, you do realize that subjectivity is intimately tied to the question of consciousness, right? Consciousness would be the ground on which the subject is erected, right? No consciousness, no subjectivity. And I would think with your higher education you would be aware of the ongoing difficulties in attempting to explain away consciousness as merely a biological phenomenon? Neuroscience can only produce a correlative narrative but never a causal one. This is commonly referenced as the irreducibility of consciousness. You could do a quick google search and that should provide you plenty of results, but also if you permit me, (even though I speak gibberish), I could provide you plenty of references to this end, and I suspect quite a few are names you’ll be familiar with already. Now surely you may disagree with them, just as you disagree with Bohm on some matters but agree with him on others, but to respond as if they are just nonsense or not worthy of consideration and utterly absurd for even suggesting that consciousness is more than biology is wrong, in fact it might be considered just rude and arrogant. It often seems to me that people that respond is such swift and broad sweeping dismissals are often just frightened and disturbed by their fuller implications. So, they just say it must be stupid. Which is what you habitually do. I mean you don’t use that language, but… There seems to be several instances between you and I already where you summarily dismiss some notion (for example performative vs constative speech acts) as nonsense and then only after much elaboration do you admit that, well perhaps you do understand, but it’s all academic and you side with Schelling anyway and Bohm is wrong so who cares, lets move on. hahahaha. And that isn’t very fair, or open, or kindhearted in what ostensibly is supposed to be friendly dialogue.

Is that what that is? Here I thought it was a breakfast cereal. Every morning I’ve been pouring myself a hearty bowl of Homunculus Flakes.

James, I’m familiar with this line of reasoning and we’ve been through this in different forms already. The word apple is not an actual apple, right? You said this after accepting that statements of universal limitation overturn as paradox when applied to themselves. But to you, that is that. With nothing more to see or to understand, while completely ignoring the actual act of speaking “apple” itself. As its own instance, the word apple is the word apple and when I speak “apple” something enters and alters this world in a way that did not exist prior to that utterance. Now this doesn’t need to be just apples. It could be bananas. Like I say, “Can you bring me a banana for my Homunculus Flakes?” But then lets say you don’t bring me that banana. Instead you ask why you should do anything for me at all ever since you caught me flirting with your sister Vanessa. And I say, "but honey, your sister has crohn’s disease. How could I possibly be attracted to a woman that needs to visit the toilet that much? And you look at me with horror at how irreverent I am towards your sister and her bowels and consider divorce to be a possible option. Being affected by this, I stand and announce that I’m going to Kelsey’s Bar and I’ll be back sometime…later.

Uh oh, here it comes.

Yes, that’s closer to it. Although, you and I are not objects like tables or billiard balls or even syringes full of a crippled and impaired corona virus. Even speech could be said to be a touching and affecting. When I call out to you, you’re changed and altered and recomposed and likewise I am composed irrecusably in answer. Objects do not regard you the way you regard them. They can’t love. Or at least, not like the love we get from Paul who constantly tells us that he loves us, but only when we disappear completely.

Ouch! My “linguistic ego,” eh? Are we two friends strolling down a beach discussing the problems of the world and living; do I need to jump into Krishnamurti’s fishbowl and pretend its the world? Gosh, I really don’t want to be seen as an egotist. What would change that impression you have of me? What can I do to make myself more available to you?

Well, I need to hit the sack. I feel like I’ve spent hours riding the tilt-a-whirl and just got off of it and the room is sorta slanted…3 degrees to starboard. I need to make repairs. Nite.

You want to find out why I’m here, and so the first move is to remove myself entirely???

If I want to find out what drunkenness is, do I decide that I must first preserve sobriety?

1 Like

No, you can’t remove yourself. Therefore where does the answer come from?

I honestly don’t follow your thinking Philip. You have some fixed view - whatever it is! - that apparently brings you contentment; and you are unwilling to explore any other view (certainly not K’s).

Just so you know, the topic of this thread is what people think is the essence of K’s teaching, and - as far as I can make out from your rambling prose - you are quite off-topic as far as that is concerned.