Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
A Quiet Space | moderated by Clive Elwell

On the inherent blindness of the self


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Fri, 01 Sep 2017 #31
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3816 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
The self doesn't see anything does it? It thinks. The brain sees the tree or the spouse or child. The self immediately reacts with thinking....he/she is good or bad, right or wrong, etc. No seeing at all is involved in that reacting. So I'd say that the self doesn't see anything...including itself. It's blind!

This seems to be so, Tom. The self is reaction, and reaction is automatic, mechanical, it is not a response of seeing. However, we cannot entirely divorce the brain from the self, can we?

I'm not quite sure about the last point, the self not seeing itself. Does there not have to be a certain amount of perception for the self to react to itself? or is merely a matter of a chain of association, created by conditioning? But perhaps these are not vital questions.

"Why does the self persist" DOES still seem a vital question. Not a theoretical question, but an actual challenge to be met.

Perhaps it can only be met in silence.

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Fri, 01 Sep 2017 #32
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
'm not quite sure about the last point, the self not seeing itself. Does there not have to be a certain amount of perception for the self to react to itself?

Right...there is a perception of an emotional reaction...anger for instance. Then the self reacts and labels it good or bad. But the original perception of the emotion has nothing to do with the self seeing itself I don't think. The anger is originally seen/felt but not by the self. As you said, perhaps not a vital issue.

Let it Be

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Fri, 01 Sep 2017 #33
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
"Why does the self persist" DOES still seem a vital question.

I don't share that view...not saying it's wrong. But the 'self' is a fact, and as K said, 'a good business man deals with facts'. What is important is to understand the fact, imo, not wonder why it persists. Just my very limited view of the matter. Just returned to add that one of the factors involved in the self's persistence is pleasure. I'm in conflict all day at work and when I clock out at the end of my shift there's the bar or pub with the football game on and my friends to talk sports with. All that takes my mind off my daily conflicts. At home there's TV, movies, music, etc. As long as I can escape to satisfying pleasures and fantasies and daydreams there's little interest in facing my problems. So the 'self' persists.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sat, 02 Sep 2017.

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Sat, 02 Sep 2017 #34
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3816 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
As long as I can escape to satisfying pleasures and fantasies and daydreams there's little interest in facing my problems.

I am sure that you are right, Tom, pleasure is a great distorting factor. It is very enticing. As long as it is available, of course. When it is not, then we tend to "become serious".

But I don't understand you when you say:

Tom Paine wrote:
What is important is to understand the fact, imo, not wonder why it persists.

Why are the two in opposition? It seems to me to inquire into why the self persists in its action is a part of understanding it. No?

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Sat, 02 Sep 2017 #35
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
It seems to me to inquire into why the self persists in its action is a part of understanding it. No?

Not sure about that Clive....it may be just intellectual inquiry. I surely am no authority on what is the proper way to learn. I feel there IS no proper way. We just plunge into the pool and learn to swim as best we can....perhaps using K as a 'life preserver' if we fear we'll go under. Often life teaches us without our doing anything to try to learn. Will come back to this later as I have to make dinner.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sat, 02 Sep 2017.

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Sun, 03 Sep 2017 #36
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3816 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Not sure about that Clive...

No, I am not sure about it either. How can thought be sure, certain, non-contradictory, fragmented as it is?

Tom Paine wrote:
..perhaps using K as a 'life preserver' if we fear we'll go under.

I don't find that works, Tom. At times there is nothing to hang on to, inclusing K's words. And it may be that we have to "go under", psychologically, which may be the same as giving one's whole heart, mind, etc, as Juan said.

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Sun, 03 Sep 2017 #37
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Tom Paine wrote:

..perhaps using K as a 'life preserver' if we fear we'll go under.
I don't find that works, Tom. At times there is nothing to hang on to, inclusing K's words. And it may be that we have to "go under", psychologically

What my metaphor was describing was my own experience of being totally confused and conflicted about some issue of vital importance and feeling it was absolutely necessary that I act. However I was lost and felt blocked in my acting on all sides....so I'd pick up one of K's books and open to a random page, and almost invariably he'd talk directly to the issue I was struggling with. At times it really felt like his books were a life preserver.....when faced with fear of becoming homeless for instance....and other extremely difficult real world challenges which left me feeling totally lost and 'in the dark'.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sun, 03 Sep 2017.

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Sun, 03 Sep 2017 #38
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3816 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
so I'd pick up one of K's books and open to a random page, and almost invariably he'd talk directly to the issue I was struggling with.

Yes, probably most of us here have experienced this. I can remember feeling that K had somehow been in my pocket, travelling with me, observing me, and understanding completely the human problems I had been going through.

He has, can we say, a complete "sense of perspective"?

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Mon, 04 Sep 2017 #39
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3816 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
At times there is nothing to hang on to, inclusing K's words. And it may be that we have to "go under", psychologically, which may be the same as giving one's whole heart, mind, etc, as Juan said.

Here is a private posting, verbatim, to me from John Perkins:

John Perkins:
Elwell says: "...it may be that we have to "go under", psychologically,..."

This is correct. Reference K's statement:

"...when there is complete nakedness, utter hopelessness, then in that moment of vital insecurity there is born the flame of supreme intelligence,..."

Elwell continues: "...which may be the same as giving one's whole heart, mind, etc, as Juan said."

It is indeed, as you suppose, the same as 'giving one's whole heart' etc. For ears that can hear it it also echoes the first and greatest of the Christian Commandments (the term 'God' does not represent what Christendom supposes it to).

The problem is that the 'I' can't do it. It is not possible for it to do it. Thus you and your merry clique, sadly, or as far from this 'grail' as you ever were. And just as you have all done historically, you throw out any who might truly help.

The truth is that you listen to K on the basis of his authority and nothing more; which means of course that you can't hear him.

Clive: The quote is valid.

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Mon, 04 Sep 2017 #40
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2040 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Quoting John Perkins:

And just as you have all done historically, you throw out any who might truly help.

Beware the one who says he can help you! There's something in it for HIM.

K. "We are are going to find out, together. You are not learning from the speaker, the speaker is not your teacher, is not your authority. We are going to learn together. Therefore, you as a human being, are your own teacher, your own disciple; therefore, there is no outside authority beyond your own intelligence. It is your own intelligence, your own understanding, that is going to bring about a radical revolution. Please, do not listen, accepting a thing. We are learning together."

"Q: But aren't you teaching?

K: But aren't you teaching - am I? He says, look, from the beginning he has said there is no teacher and no disciple. Probably this is the first time, or first few years, he has been, you have heard this. He has been saying this for forty-five years, not out of foolishness or as a reaction but one has perceived the truth that nobody can teach enlightenment to another, through no system, through no meditation, through no discipline, one sees that, one saw that forty-five years ago. And you ask whether you are a teacher or not - I've shown it to you. Teacher implies one who has accumulated knowledge and transmits to another; who is a professor, professor and the student. We are not in that relationship here at all. We are learning together, we have made that very, very clear - all communication means learning together, creating together, watching together, learning together. If that's understood then our communication is entirely different."

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Mon, 04 Sep 2017.

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Tue, 05 Sep 2017 #41
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3816 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
I was lost and felt blocked in my acting on all sides....so I'd pick up one of K's books and open to a random page, and almost invariably he'd talk directly to the issue I was struggling with. At times it really felt like his books were a life preserver.....when faced with fear of becoming homeless for instance....and other extremely difficult real world challenges which left me feeling totally lost and 'in the dark'.

An interesting quote from K in this respect:

“The fact is there is nothing that you can trust; and that is a terrible fact, whether you like it or not. Psychologically there is nothing in the world, that you can put your faith, your trust, or your belief in. Neither your gods, nor your science can save you, can bring you psychological certainty; and you have to accept that you can trust in absolutely nothing.”

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Thu, 07 Sep 2017 #42
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 406 posts in this forum Offline

re 12:

Huguette: So don’t we see at a glance that the psychological world put together by thought - not the physical Earth but the world of the totality of relationship made up by the totality of man’s actions and endeavours - is in chaos? And that the root of that chaos is in the brain?

Clive Elwell wrote:

I would say that that IS seen. And yet ….. well, this is why I raised the issue about the self being blind. It seems that it simply cannot see itself for what it is. As it arises it does not realise that it is chaos, and is only a fragment – instead it is apparently based on the notion that it is somehow truth, somehow an absolute reality.

re 22:

Clive Elwell wrote:
Yes, I am also puzzled.

Would you say that all we can communicate are descriptions? We observe ourselves, the world, and if we wish to communicate what we see, we have to use the medium of thought, no? That is one of the purposes of thought. So the communication is a description, and descriptions are part of thought, and so subject to the same limitations as thought is. They are fragmented. Being fragmented means one part of the mind may say things in contradiction to other parts of the mind. “Mind” here may be seen as an individual mind, or the common human mind.

Putting it simply, our perceptions are limited, and so may be contradictory.

What do you say, Huguette, about the statement “the self is intrinsically blind”? No, I will rephrase that - “the self has elements, or an element, that are/is intrinsically blind”?

But Clive, YOU speaking are that self - “you” and “me” being the content of consciousness held in memory, in the brain. So if YOU say “that this IS seen” (we had been talking about seeing at a glance “that the psychological world put together by thought [...] is in chaos and that the root of that chaos is in the brain?”], doesn’t that statement mean that YOU see it … not ANOTHER self separate from YOU the speaker sees it? If not, what does "this IS seen" mean?

We are talking about self-observation, about observing "self" in movement. When I am angry, I am not blind to that anger, am I? It is not the description of the anger I am seeing then but the actual anger itself, constituted of thoughts, feelings, emotions. I can pretend I’m not angry, I can try to hide my anger with words and effort, but the fact is I’m angry and honest self-observation without a shadow of pretense or escape reveals it. Self IS fragmented but in the moment of anger, I can clearly observe my anger. It’s not that one part of the mind says “I'm angry” and other parts of the mind say "maybe you're not really angry".

If one CANNOT observe oneself in the moment - if the mind CANNOT observe itself whatever THIS moment contains, what is the point of talking about self-observation and self-understanding at all? This is what puzzles me. We’re not talking about self-analysis according to Dr. Freud, where I may say one thing while unaware of the deeper contents of consciousness. We’re talking about self-observation, what is actually SEEN - as words, as vague barely-perceptible fears, as memories, images, as conclusions, beliefs, and so on.

Where there is no self-understanding, the brain/mind is blind to the nature and processes of self, to the limitations of thought, and so on, isn't it? But "self" is not blind. Self as an actual entity does not exist, does it? So how can "it" be blind? The brain/mind can still say “I” and “me”, “you” and “them” in communicating, without it being reflective of fragmentation, can’t it?

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Fri, 08 Sep 2017 #43
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 3816 posts in this forum Offline

Huguette . wrote:
But Clive, YOU speaking are that self

Clive; That is exactly right, Huguette. And ME thinking is that self. Always. So essential to see that.

But – just exporing this out for the first time – it is not the whole of consciousness that sees it. It is 'me' that sees it, and that me is a fragment. So there exists other fragments that can and do act, in their ignorance of the whole.

Each of those fragments has its ignorance, its blindness.

H: - “you” and “me” being the content of consciousness held in memory, in the brain. So if YOU say “that this IS seen” (we had been talking about seeing at a glance “that the psychological world put together by thought [...] is in chaos and that the root of that chaos is in the brain?”], doesn’t that statement mean that YOU see it … not ANOTHER self separate from YOU the speaker sees it? If not, what does "this IS seen" mean?
We are talking about self-observation, about observing "self" in movement. When I am angry, I am not blind to that anger, am I?

C: But Huguette, the way you are using the term “I” above is not the same as we have used it elsewhere, is it? This is not the I put together by thought, not the I which arises in the mind as a reaction to what is perceived. You yourself have said, I think, (or maybe it was Dan) that the “I” cannot see.

H: It is not the description of the anger I am seeing then but the actual anger itself, constituted of thoughts, feelings, emotions. I can pretend I’m not angry, I can try to hide my anger with words and effort, but the fact is I’m angry and honest self-observation without a shadow of pretense or escape reveals it. Self IS fragmented but in the moment of anger, I can clearly observe my anger. It’s not that one part of the mind says “I'm angry” and other parts of the mind say "maybe you're not really angry".

C: There is the observation, the perception of anger, and there are thoughts about anger – different as chalk and cheese.

H: If one CANNOT observe oneself in the moment - if the mind CANNOT observe itself whatever THIS moment contains, what is the point of talking about self-observation and self-understanding at all?

C: The point seems to be to share perceptions, tentatively, to put up for public scrutiny things one comes across in the course of self learning, as an opportunity for others to question, to doubt, to point out possible fallacies. But in the end there may be no point.

But of course it is this observation that you talk of that is the starting point – no, not the starting point, the very basis – of our enquiry.

H: This is what puzzles me. We’re not talking about self-analysis according to Dr. Freud, where I may say one thing while unaware of the deeper contents of consciousness. We’re talking about self-observation, what is actually SEEN - as words, as vague barely-perceptible fears, as memories, images, as conclusions, beliefs, and so on.

C: But – I seem to be using the word “but” a lot – if we are to communicate, thought has to somehow grasp, translate that observation into words, and in that there is much scope for confusion, is there not?

H: Where there is no self-understanding, the brain/mind is blind to the nature and processes of self, to the limitations of thought, and so on, isn't it?

C: Yes. It is then that the mind, thought, takes on the quality of absoluteness. That is, the illusion of truth.

H: But "self" is not blind.

C: If the self is not blind, how can it carry on in its folly, in its violence, in its destructive ways?

But: I did move on somewhat from that statement and say:

“What do you say, Huguette, about the statement “the self is intrinsically blind”? No, I will rephrase that - “the self has elements, or an element, that are/is intrinsically blind”?”

H: Self as an actual entity does not exist, does it? So how can "it" be blind?

C: How can it be all the things that it is, given that it does not exist? How can it be greedy, possessive, fearful, grasping, confused, and all the rest? How can it be the very centre of my world, being non-existent? The brain itself deals in non-reality, does it not?

H: The brain/mind can still say “I” and “me”, “you” and “them” in communicating, without it being reflective of fragmentation, can’t it?

C: it seems a necessary convenience.

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