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

What is the ‘self’?


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Sat, 12 Jan 2019 #31
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1108 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
But I still do not understand how disorder can be contained in order.

Humanity was given a freedom not shared by the animals and plant life: the freedom to be "disorderly" and it took it (as Bohm said) because it could. We can see the effects of our 'wrong turn' in ourselves and in the terrible plight of so much of humanity.

The whole setup here is revealing the 'disorder' of so-called sovereign countries with borders. (Extensions of the walls we have built around ourselves...?)

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sun, 13 Jan 2019.

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Sun, 13 Jan 2019 #32
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1108 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
How about the answer by Carl Sagon?:

"We are a way for the cosmos to know itself"

There may be something to this Clive...nothing else can 'see' the myriad 'creation' here, catalogue it, appreciate it, study it etc., the way we can. can they? From the depths of the oceans to the highest peaks, to the remotest areas...Even some 'outer' space views processed through our human eyes and brains.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sun, 13 Jan 2019.

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Tue, 15 Jan 2019 #33
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
Humanity was given a freedom not shared by the animals and plant life: the freedom to be "disorderly" and it took it (as Bohm said) because it could. We can see the effects of our 'wrong turn' in ourselves and in the terrible plight of so much of humanity.

We can indeed. And one of the strangest things is that we have "got used to it"

The first question which comes to me is: "given" by whom or what?

I guess it happened with the development of the frontal cortex and thought. But "freedom to be disorderly" is a strange phrase. Where is the freedom in disorder? Disorder means we are pulled all over the place, does it not, torn in different directions, by conflicting desires?

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Tue, 15 Jan 2019 #34
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
There may be something to this Clive...nothing else can 'see' the myriad 'creation' here, catalogue it, appreciate it, study it etc., the way we can. can they? From the depths of the oceans to the highest peaks, to the remotest areas...Even some 'outer' space views processed through our human eyes and brains.

This 'idea', or rather this perspective, is intensely moving.

And indeed it should 'move' us, should give us a sense of responsibility for our function in the Universe.

It may be deeper than "knowing"; it may be that the human brain is the Universe's way of being conscious of itself. But this sounds too fantastic.

Does anyone know if K ever said anything remotely like this statement by Carl Sagon?

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Tue, 15 Jan 2019 #35
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

With reference to your original question, Tom, "What is the self":

"May not the `me' be an illusion, though a reality in the sense that it is operative in action?"

from Ojai 1955 talk 7, in response to second question

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Thu, 07 Feb 2019 #36
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

Dear friends,

I suggest that sentience is of a dimension beyond time/space/matter/energy...beyond the four dimensional field.

Persons are matter, material bodies and brains. Thought is matter.

This you that you take yourselves to be is matter. You are not that.

You are sentience. The same here as there. We are that... which is one, not divided as this one and that one.

Study everything that is in the field of space time matter energy, from physics to biology. You will not find sentience. In all of that there is order. Evolution has produced the animals including humans, in struggle, but every atom and electron is exactly where it ought to be including in human brains.

Yet somehow in humans sentience, something of a dimension beyond time space has manifested. We, you and I not seperate, are sentience that oneness without attributes.

This post was last updated by Peter Kesting Thu, 07 Feb 2019.

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Thu, 07 Feb 2019 #37
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

We have no idea what that other, not matter, is capable of

This post was last updated by Peter Kesting Thu, 07 Feb 2019.

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Fri, 08 Feb 2019 #38
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1108 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
"May not the `me' be an illusion, though a reality in the sense that it is operative in action?"

from Ojai 1955 talk 7,

I'd say I'm definitely a "reality" to myself, aren't you? His point as I read it is that the self is an illusion, but that somehow it has been pierced in his case...He doesn't know how (maybe a "freak" occurrence?) but he seems certainly to have felt that we could benefit, in terms of piercing our 'own' 'illusion' of self, by listening to what he has said for 60 years about it, 'learning' about ourself, and through meditation (without the meditator, etc.) So what's 'missing'? What stops the 'flowering'? The 'illusion' trying to look at itself as an 'illusion'? That just pushes back the perimeter of the illusion... "Hope springs eternal", is that the 'obstacle'?

All that being said, life does seem to be simpler.

I just had an unexpected and definitely uncalled for 'sermon' from a person/preacher/stranger about what I should do to be 'saved': read the bible, come to his pentecostal church, learn about Jesus, the Devil etc...After that was over I had an insight as to why there are so many different 'religious' denominations in the world: because there is one for every level of 'crazy'...?

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Fri, 08 Feb 2019.

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Fri, 08 Feb 2019 #39
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

Hello Dan,

Dan McDermott wrote:
The 'illusion' trying to look at itself as an 'illusion'? That just pushes back the perimeter of the illusion..

Is sentience an illusion?

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Fri, 08 Feb 2019 #40
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
After that was over I had an insight as to why there are so many different 'religious' denominations in the world: because there is one for every level of 'crazy'...?

I smile, but it is hardly funny. Many of those crazies are in positions of great power, like the US president and vice-president. The craziness of their stated ideas beggars desription, but they can, and they might, do incalcuable damage - pretty much destroy the planet.

Whereas my craziness is more limited in its effect! But it is there, and it has done damage to those in contact with me, and to nature. Whether it will continue to do so - well, we will see, but at least one SEES, to some extent maybe, the craziness of the mind.

But I question whether it is "my" craziness. Is it not the craziness of the collective, of the stream of human consciousness? It certainly feels that way, although that collective carries the illusion of separate individuals.

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Fri, 08 Feb 2019.

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Fri, 08 Feb 2019 #41
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Peter Kesting wrote:
but every atom and electron is exactly where it ought to be including in human brains.

Can you say on what basis you say that, Peter?

I can see from the perspective of the laws of physics that this is so - or rather the particles are where they MUST be. I don't know about "ought" to be.

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Fri, 08 Feb 2019.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #42
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2437 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Peter Kesting wrote:

but every atom and electron is exactly where it ought to be including in human brains.

Can you say on what basis you say that, Peter?

Yes, that 'ought' is very questionable. Peter, are you implying there is no 'wrong turn', as K called it? No sin or human disorder. Or that disorder (violence, hate, war, the slave trade, alcohol and drug addiction and suicides, depression) is actually order? You can't be saying that, can you? I'm probably misunderstanding.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sat, 09 Feb 2019.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #43
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 799 posts in this forum Offline

Peter Kesting wrote:
We have no idea what that other, not matter, is capable of

possibly is this matter here to create order where there isn't,
that's a huge responsibility for everyone, we don't know, do we ??

Truth will unfold itself for those who enquire their own actions and only to them and for them and to or for no one else.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #44
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

My ought here has the same meaning as your must. Neptune was discovered when telescopes were turned to where the mathematics said there ought to be another planet.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #45
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

Yes no wrong turn.

When a giant wave kills thousands is that a wrong turn?

No wrong turn, only perhaps the failure to make use of a new possibility.

This post was last updated by Peter Kesting Sat, 09 Feb 2019.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #46
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

I watched a documentary recently about wolves in the Artic. Packs defending territory. Killing wolves from competing packs. Wrong turn?

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #47
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2437 posts in this forum Offline

Peter Kesting wrote:
I watched a documentary recently about wolves in the Artic. Packs defending territory. Killing wolves from competing packs. Wrong turn?

So a few wolves were killed instinctively by other wolves, not the 10's of millions of human beings killed by a Hitler or a Pol Pot or Hiroshima or the slave trade. We've invented killing machines that are infinitely more capable than the teeth in the wolf. Not to mention our technology is creating enough pollution to potentially one day destroy even more millions of human lives not to mention the devastation of cancer created by chemical pollutants. OK....'wrong' is a value judgement. We DO value human life, and being capable of compassion we feel it's wrong to exterminate millions of innocents in gas chambers or with atomic weapons and to create infinite pain and suffering on the planet. We love our children and can't bear to watch them suffer. When they suffer, we suffer. Life then becomes a living hell. The wolf isn't capable of compassion. He watches another wolf in pain and most likely feels nothing. So K called this kind of violence and cruelty in humans a 'wrong turn', which implies obviously that there is a 'right turn'....another potential. The earth quake, perhaps we can't protect against, but our own behavior....can it change? I don't know. K said he was born free of conflict. Well not in those words perhaps. He did say he never had a speck of conflict. And he said it was possible to be free of violence. We who love our children and want a better world for them want to find out if there is another way of living....a 'right turn' if you will....salvation for mankind. "How far are you willing to go sirs, to be free of violence?" K. (a paraphrase from a group discussion).

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sat, 09 Feb 2019.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #48
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1108 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
We who love our children and want a better world for them want to find out if there is another way of living....a 'right turn' if you will....salvation for mankind. "How far are you willing to go sirs, to be free of violence?" K. (a paraphrase from a group discussion).

This is the crux of it isn't it? Can I be free of violence/conflict? Can I understand the violence/conflict in myself and go beyond it? Understand the causes of it...? Because if I can't, I can't expect anyone else to. I can complain about the brutality around me but unless my own brutality, my lack of compassion, is seen through and ended, it's hollow...there's no 'teacher' for this. I have to start from a state of 'not-knowing' not with a theory no matter how brilliant. Seeing myself through the structure of a theory is not seeing myself, but seeing the structure. Isn't part of our conditioning or training, that we don't see ourselves as violent but only the other. (Even a Hitler or Pol Pot probably didn't see themselves as the monsters they were.)

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sun, 10 Feb 2019.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2019 #49
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Peter Kesting wrote:
My ought here has the same meaning as your must. Neptune was discovered when telescopes were turned to where the mathematics said there ought to be another planet.

I know you have a strong interest in scientific questions, and metaphysical issues, Peter. So I will put some questions to you that have been with me a long time.

Why are the laws of physics like they are? Do they HAVE TO BE that way? Do they reflect some fundamental structure of the Universe/ space/ time? Could there be a different set of laws - which seems to imply a different sort of Universe? Like an inverse cube law rather than inverse square?

Why are they laws of physics at all? Are they some sort of limit on the Universe? A necessary limit, perhaps, otherwise there would be no order in matter, and the development of the brain as it is would not be possible?

Many other questions come, but let us see how this goes.

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Sun, 10 Feb 2019 #50
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1108 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Many other questions come, but let us see how this goes.

Pardon for interjecting here but earlier I once again looked up the definition of 'sentience' and online found my way on to You Tube where many folks were talking about sentience, consciousness, Ted talks,etc. One very distinguished looking guy was answering questions about the universe and stating quite assuredly that prayer is faster than the speed of light and black holes were this and that and that crystal balls were different than quartz but that with the right wizardry it was no surprise that one could predict future events...etc. And at a Ted talk in Portugal the subject was the 'secret of consciousness' which the speaker after much self-aggrandizement told the audience that there was no secret at all...ha-ha...I realized that I actually don't know anything at all about all this but these people were putting forth these theories and beliefs and probably attracting followers and that's all that they were doing, using scientific 'buzz words' like quantum and qualia and holograms....

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Sun, 10 Feb 2019 #51
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

These are all tremendous questions.

Tom, remembering way back, there was what was perhaps a deciding something, that happened in this one, about the good. What it was that was the good. That although there were terrible things going on, that although I was suffering, that in spite of way things seemed to be, the universe knew where it was going. There is a deepest good. That good was not what it was in what I wanted in my narrow vision. Not where I wanted things to go but where the whole of the universe wanted things to go, ultimately. Perhaps that is just a belief. I seem to trust it absolutely.

Something else...K talked sometimes about the what is and the what should be. To put away the what should be which has in it only inner conflict, but to see first clearly the what is. If you have a What should be you cannot clearly see the what is.

But do question anything I say.

with only affection,

Peter

This post was last updated by Peter Kesting Sun, 10 Feb 2019.

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Sun, 10 Feb 2019 #52
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

Clive,

I can't answer your questions but I will add one:

Why is there any thing at all rather than nothing?

Well here"s another: Are we, is our beingness tiny, insignificant, Or are we, is our beingness something immense, immeasurable

This post was last updated by Peter Kesting Sun, 10 Feb 2019.

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Sun, 10 Feb 2019 #53
Thumb_avatar Peter Kesting United States 629 posts in this forum Offline

Dan,

As long as you are looking from a part of the self at the rest of your self there is only confusion. One needs to look from nonself, from emptyness, at what is seen here as the false self. Seeing that "self" without identification, as being outside. That seeing only can bring about the real change that K talks about. And there is this that i call sentience, which has no you in it, in everyone even in animals.

As seen here.

Question everything.

This post was last updated by Peter Kesting Sun, 10 Feb 2019.

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Sun, 10 Feb 2019 #54
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
(Even a Hitler or Pol Pot probably didn't see themselves as the monsters they were.)

That's right. Thought can justify ANYTHING, and that is one of the great dangers of it.

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Sun, 10 Feb 2019 #55
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
One very distinguished looking guy was answering questions about the universe and stating quite assuredly that prayer is faster than the speed of light and black holes were this and that and that crystal balls were different than quartz

........

but these people were putting forth these theories and beliefs and probably attracting followers and that's all that they were doing, using scientific 'buzz words' like quantum and qualia and holograms....

Yes, there is all sorts of stuff on Youtube (I read that 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute), I have watched some of the stuff you refer to. But it is not all nonsense. The universe DOES present great mystery, it is fundamentally unexplained, and probably unexplainable. When I watch presentations on, especially, quantum theory - and I am referring to scientific fact, based only on observation/measurement - I feel profoundly I am part of a great mystery. And perhaps my life has a significance that mere thought cannot comprehend.

Not drawing any conclusions.

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Sun, 10 Feb 2019 #56
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Peter Kesting wrote:
Why is there any thing at all rather than nothing?

It is not possible that there is nothing, that there ever has been nothing, or that there ever will be nothing. I cannot justify these statements, but I feel them mostly profoundly. the concept of nothing is something. As I child I often had a feeling for nothingness, but nothingness is not nothing, is it?

Peter Kesting wrote:
Are we, is our beingness tiny, insignificant, Or are we,is our beingness something immense, immeasurable

A somewhat curious answer arises to this question.

You will be familiar, in quantum theory, of "the collapse of the wave function" due to human measurement, observation. This still remains, I believe, a great mystery to scientists - but it is a fact, and is the basis of a great deal of modern technology. It seems to be a very profound thing indeed - indeed it comes to me that this might be the creation of reality itself. (or the selection of particular reality from a myriad possibilities of reality). If I, as an observer, have this effect on the Universe, then I cannot consider my self- I mean my being-ness, not my ego - as insignificant!

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Sun, 10 Feb 2019.

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Mon, 11 Feb 2019 #57
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2437 posts in this forum Offline

Something else...K talked sometimes about the what is and the what should be. To put away the what should be which has in it only inner conflict, but to see first clearly the what is. If you have a What should be you cannot clearly see the what is.

Yes, Peter....important point. And if one actually observes ugliness, unthinkable cruelty, child abuse, and such horrific human behavior without the ‘should be’, it moves one to the core. It penetrates one’s whole being with the horror....the immense ugliness. It is seen for what it actually is....no thought in mind that it should be different.....just the direct perception of human cruelty and human suffering. This is why K spoke of a ‘wrong turn’ in my view. He perceived the ugliness....the horror....for what it is, free of any should be.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Mon, 11 Feb 2019.

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Mon, 11 Feb 2019 #58
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1108 posts in this forum Offline

Peter Kesting wrote:
Question everything.

Some thoughts about what you and Tom have posted. (I can’t participate in the ‘quantum’ discussing, I took a course but I don’t have the brain for it) It makes sense to say as you did that a “fragment” of the ‘self’ looking at the other fragments results in “confusion”. That ‘integration’ of the fragments is necessary…But isn’t the point here, how that integration comes about, if it does? What is the difference between integration and ‘escape’? The state of confusion is inevitable for someone who is questioning everything, isn’t it? Because there is no ‘answer’, no teacher to show us the way out of our confusion, no drug, etc. But the brain abhors confusion, it wants, needs, certainty, security, etc. So it escapes the confusion in any way it can, through belief, through following some guru/teacher, through imagination, through fantasy. A child who is abused can create an imaginary ‘friend’ that it can take some comfort with. If the pain is great enough it can create different ‘personalities’ in itself as a defense against what it is suffering. The more ordinary escape though is imagining a ‘hereafter’ to answer the uncertainty and confusion and fear as to what will happen to ‘me’ when this body is buried or turned to ash… where do ‘I’ go? So what I take from K. in all this is that the ‘confusion’ is inevitable, necessary even, but the ‘escape’ is not. The escape no matter how clever, or strongly believed cannot bring about an end to the conflict we feel, because it doesn’t get at the root of the cause of the confusion/conflict. The confusion must be “stayed with” not run from. Then the ‘energy’ there, is not dissipated through any escape mechanism and may have a different action.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Mon, 11 Feb 2019.

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Mon, 11 Feb 2019 #59
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4831 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
It makes sense to say as you did that a “fragment” of the ‘self’ looking at the other fragments results in “confusion”. That ‘integration’ of the fragments is necessary…

The issue of confusion has been brought up, and some reflection arose about that. It is indeed a fact that the thought is confused – vastly confused. Overwhelmingly confused. When I ask why, I see two factors at work.

One is that the mind, and its extension, society, pretends that there is ‘one thing’, only. That there is, or should be, one idea, one feelings, one opinion, one truth. And that one thing is ultimately the self. The self thinks it is one thing. It acts, tries to act, as if it is one thing. But actually the self is many things. It is a great succession of thoughts and feelings, of desires and fears. What does it mean to say it is one thing? The fact is, fragmentation.

And these many things are in conflict with each other. Actually I pause when I say that – does the conflict come about because there are many things, or because the self is trying to integrate those many things into one thing? Is it the denial of our multitudunous nature that is the source of conflict, rather than the multitudinous nature itself? The efforts of the self to overcome fragmentation?

The second factor I see at work in confusion is the mind’s strong tendency (that is too weak a word) to accumulate. To accumulate material things, obviously, but more importantly psychological/spititual accumulation. Actually the mind is the RESULT of accumulation, it IS accumulation, is it not? And it has accumulated many contradictory drives, desires, fears, through its fragmented experiences. “Contradictory” means confusion.

It is most obvous, perhaps, with our desires. Various pleasurable expereinces have been recorded, and we are torn between them, confused about which one may truly satisfy us. “What do you want?”, we may be asked. The answer is “many things”.

What to do about confusion? I think it goes without saying there is NOTHING to be done about confusion. The mind is confused, or rather the mind is confusion itself, and any action it tries to take is from that confusion, and can only perpetuate confusion.

The mind that sees this clearly, is it then confused? Is the mind that has seen the ubiquitous nature of confusion, and so has ceased to try to clear up the confusion, still confused?

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Mon, 11 Feb 2019 #60
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1108 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
The mind that sees this clearly, is it then confused?

When it is seen that there is nothing to be done, that doing, changing, substituting, etc. only continues the confusion and conflict...that is the state of 'not-knowing' isn't it? I don't know what to do to get out of this mess and I won't accept some panacea like a guru, a speculation, a religious explanation, a theory, a method, etc. "I don't know"...that is the fact.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Tue, 12 Feb 2019.

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