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

Reflections on the Covid-19 viral pandemic


Displaying all 23 posts
Page 1 of 1
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5778 posts in this forum Offline

There has already been some mention, naturally enough, of the Covid-19 viral pandemic, which is probably affecting us all, in one way or another. So I thought I would start a thread to see if people have reflections and questions to share. Here in NZ we are just starting today a 4 week “lockdown” period, which is really stringent.

I start off the thread with an excerpt from a mail from a friend:

Do you remember, how I have sometimes felt that the only things to really learn is how to die? I don't know how may of us will come out of this unscathed....but I very much hope that we will all perhaps become more aware of the utter triviality of our existence. Perhaps the enforced lockdowns will slow everything to a point where awareness will increase. 

Maybe the best thing to come out of it all is that the air quality has improved dramatically here....can actually breathe clean air for a change. One has to live with small pleasures in these times.

It is indeed interesting to see the many improvements to society that the virus seems to bring. What sort of effect will it have on human consciousness, if any?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Fri, 27 Mar 2020 #2
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
What sort of effect will it have on human consciousness, if any?

So far I'm only seeing more of the same - the usual confirmation bias. Humans will be humans.

Personally, confinement in France, has meant a more regular exercise and meditation schedule - and I have also started to watch videos of AI robots playing chess. This despite the fact that I don't play chess, nor want to.

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Fri, 27 Mar 2020 #3
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 107 posts in this forum Offline

There are always silver linings. For example, here in Los Angeles, where traffic has been dramatically reduced, the air quality is probably the best it's been in decades. I am enjoying breathing deeply and having clear lungs.

But the truth is that many will die from coronavirus, hospitals will be overwhelmed, and we likely have induced a worldwide economic recession, or possibly even a depression.

Krishnamurti:
We have a crisis in the world. A tremendous crisis.

Indeed so.

This post was last updated by idiot ? Fri, 27 Mar 2020.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Sat, 28 Mar 2020 #4
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5778 posts in this forum Offline

I have been listening to the news on the radio here in NZ quite a lot. News and discussions. I think I can detect some different movements in society. There seems to be a much greater willingness to co-operate, to work together, to put aside the things that were previously dividing people. Perhaps this is only a manifestation of that well-known phenomena of uniting against a common enemy, a common threat. But it is interesting to watch.

I think in part this movement towards working together is a result of a certain confidence and respect for the NZ Prime Minister. Her decisions, her action, seem a reasonable response to the challenge. The opposition party is no longer automatically opposing all that the government does, but instead supporting; not playing party politics.

I don't want to paint an idealised picture, but I have never before heard a political leader use words like “kind” and “compassion”. Of course there is still a certain of panic buying and hoarding going on. But I am not aware of individuals and businesses using the situation to exploit others.

Given that the pandemic challenge has produced indications of 'a better society', a more rational, equal society, one naturally asks why this did not come about before? Given that at the moment society is working on only essential services, one asks why was such an enormous amount of energy previously spent on the inessential?

I have often thought how odd it is that we have apparently created the sort of society that no one likes very much.

Based on the very very small and unrepresentative sample of a few of my friends and acquaintances, I would say that people are actually appreciating, enjoying even, the new situation of living in 'lock-down'. They have leisure, the roads are almost free of traffic, sky seems clearer, air is better, there is an extended quietness in which the birds and the cicadas can be clearly heard.

Of course no one here has died of the virus as yet, and the medical system is not vastly over-stretched as it is in other countries.

Anyway, it will be interesting, if/when this all blows over, to see if any permanent change for the better has been produced (assuming that I am around to see it!). According to my understanding of K, it will not be, as a fundamentally different society can only be a result of a different human consciousness, and that new consciousness could not be a result of pressure, of influence.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
2 days ago #5
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

Society/culture is always undergoing change - violence towards minorities is no longer considered to be a good thing, war between sovereign states has been illegal since the 1950's, bodily mutilation of children is less prevalent, etc etc...
The change is even more dramatic during and after a catastrophy.

For example, one could say that this is the first time in history that a persons right to live is considered to be more important than the collective GDP.

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
2 days ago #6
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3319 posts in this forum Offline

We no longer have slavery in the US and the Nazis no longer rule Germany, yet the roots of all that remain. So on the surface there are definitely improvements, yet a monster like Trump can still get the overwhelming support of his party.

Let it Be

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
2 days ago #7
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1764 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
yet a monster like Trump

Is he any different than you or me. Are there only 'quantitative' differences between these 'centers' or 'selfs'? Isn't the structure basically the same, with the wants and desires, the will varying in each case? One wants to be a 'saint' and one wants to be a 'ruler'? But the 'center', the desire to be 'someone' is the same? 'Time' is seen as real? 'Attachment' is felt as necessary...isn't this in us, the 'blockage' to whatever that state is that K. points to as the "immensity"? We can't 'investigate' this possibility in anyone other than ourself, can we?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
2 days ago #8
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

One could say that Nietzche and fascism are still alive and well in Trump and his advisors, especially in the Republican mantra regarding Covid 19 : "The treatment should not be worse than the disease"; in other words : no shutdown because of the effects on the economy, or GDP is more important than saving lives, or Make America great again at the expense of the fragile and the elderly.

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
2 days ago #9
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

On the other hand, the USA's advanced tech in AI is proving to be a great help in research on Covid medical treatment.

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
2 days ago #10
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

The miracle would seem to be that despite human stupidity, humanity continues to head in the right direction (namely in the direction suggested by reason and humanism)

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
2 days ago #11
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1764 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
The miracle would seem to be that despite human stupidity, humanity continues to head in the right direction (namely in the direction suggested by reason and humanism)

I think that there is something to that, that the barbarism has lessened to a degree...but it still exists and a drastic environmental change could plunge us back into a 'dog eat dog' dystopian situation...My point is that if there is to be a fundamental change, not incremental (though that's better than none at all) it has to be addressed in our 'self'. This 'center' or whatever name we give it, has to be seen in its totality? Without that totality of seeing, the patterns or 'personalities' change but the structure stays in place as it has for a million years. There is, it seems, this 'energy' to be 'somebody' that is 'relentless'.Why? Is it because there is no 'value' that is imaginable in 'being nothing'? No 'pleasure' imagined in being nothing? Yet intellectually we can grasp the idea, can't we? That to be nothing is to be everything? That there is no psychological security? That somewhere in time we have already died so why not dissolve this 'center' now rather than a frantic, futile attempt when there is the possibility and distraction of great physical pain? To 'step out' in the only time there is... Now...?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
1 day ago #12
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

Improvements in wellbeing aside, the illusion of the self and how it interacts with its environment, has of course not evolved over the last few hundred years.

I still observe, interpret, judge and analyse as if I had some choice in the matter.

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
1 day ago #13
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1764 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
the illusion of the self and how it interacts with its environment, has of course not evolved over the last few hundred years.

I still observe, interpret, judge and analyse as if I had some choice in the matter.

That seems to be it. The past meeting and obscuring the (feared?) unknown present? So there can't be any "evolution" can there, since this 'self' is basically a dead thing, an accumulation that adds to and subtracts from itself...but is never actually alive in the sense that the senses are. There is experience, pleasure, suffering but all is the activity of the 'thinker', the 'me' reacting from the past...Seeing this is meditation, do you think?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
1 day ago #14
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 107 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
Is he any different than you or me.

Yes. Trump is a narcissistic psychopath. He is definitely different than you or me. Brain scans would be different.

Sign in to recommend  This post has been recommended by 1 reader
Back to Top
1 day ago #15
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

Dear Dan,
There may not be such thing as a thing - as in an independantly existing thing - therefore there may be no such thing as a dead thing.

Consciousness exists, there is intelligence, and thus the possibility of insight.

Meditation is not the seeing of anything in particular - meditation is the absence of a point of view, via the realisation that I am this point of view.

What you are calling meditation may be an intellectual understanding that all is not as it seems: of the delusion of the self in space and time. This is necessary in order to instill the curiosity, innocence and helplessness needed in order to accept and identify the subtle I am. Which once fully identified may allow for the awareness and silence. Which in turn will allow for clarity and freedom.

Meditation is essential. The difficulty for us as K adepts is that he has explained the joke of the self trying to meditate so well that some of us find ourselves turning away from the essential.

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
1 day ago #16
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1764 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
some of us find ourselves turning away from the essential.

What is the "essential" you are referring to?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
1 day ago #17
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1764 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
There may not be such thing as a thing - as in an independantly existing thing - therefore there may be no such thing as a dead thing.

"Dead" in the sense of the bark of a tree which once was 'living'...Memory is like that, it has ceased to be living. what is 'living in the tree as far as I understand it is a small amount of cells in the center. So the 'self' is like the bark?

Sign in to recommend  This post has been recommended by 1 reader
Back to Top
1 day ago #18
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1764 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
This is necessary in order to instill the curiosity, innocence and helplessness needed in order to accept and identify the subtle I am. Which once fully identified may allow for the awareness and silence. Which in turn will allow for clarity and freedom.

Is this a process that takes place in time? A series of steps?...Is this another trap?

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott 1 day ago.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
1 day ago #19
Thumb_stringio Huguette . Canada 843 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
Trump is a narcissistic psychopath. He is definitely different than you or me. Brain scans would be different.

Part of the personality traits attributed by psychologists to narcissists is that they have fragile egos. What is a fragile ego? Doesn’t it mean fear and anger? Isn’t a fragile ego the result of conditioning? We’re not all narcissists, but we all know fear, anger, and so on. We are all conditioned - damaged - to some extent. We are all slaves to it, aren’t we?

What do the brain scans really tell us? What causes the difference? What does it mean? Is it irreversible?

Is it possible that conditioning leaves its mark on the brain, as personality disorder, depression, and so on? If I - who am not a narcissist - cannot be truly free of my compulsions, fears, conceits, arrogance, greed, psychological habits, and so on, am I fundamentally different from "them"? As long as I am not free, my psychological habits shape my relationships and so, the world, the network of relationships.

Others in the political establishment may be less abrasive, arrogant or combative than Trump, they may be more polished, more likable. But they also sacrifice lives for their benefit, don’t they? They also lie - but not as obviously. They also accept as inevitable that the masses are not entitled to a living wage - that it’s just not good for “the economy”. The smooth talking pundits give all kinds of reasons for keeping the status quo of gross income inequality, injustice, pollution, global warming, profiteering, and so on. And some of the working poor keep buying lottery tickets. What would “our” brain scans reveal about all of us?

http://jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/flight-of-the-...:

We are trying to find out what is the truth of this question of fear so completely that the mind is never afraid, therefore free of all dependence on another, inwardly, psychologically. The beauty of freedom is that you do not leave a mark. The eagle in its flight does not leave a mark; the scientist does. Inquiring into this question of freedom there must be, not only the scientific observation, but also the flight of the eagle that does not leave a mark at all; both are required; there must be both the verbal explanation and the nonverbal perception - for the description is never the actuality that is described; the explanation is obviously never the thing that is explained; the word is never the thing.

Sign in to recommend  This post has been recommended by 1 reader
Back to Top
1 day ago #20
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5778 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote #11:
Yet intellectually we can grasp the idea, can't we? That to be nothing is to be everything?

I don't know that I do grasp this intellectually, Dan, although i have heard K and Bohm discussing it. I don't think that I have ever experienced such a state - experience is probably the wrong word. better say I have never perceived that to be nothing is to be everything.

When one considers it, in fact, there seems to be a huge contradiction in the concept of 'being nothing'

Dan McDermott wrote:
There is, it seems, this 'energy' to be 'somebody' that is 'relentless'.Why? Is it because there is no 'value' that is imaginable in 'being nothing'? No 'pleasure' imagined in being nothing? Yet intellectually we can grasp the idea, can't we? That to be nothing is to be everything? That there is no psychological security? That somewhere in time we have already died so why not dissolve this 'center' now rather than a frantic, futile attempt when there is the possibility and distraction of great physical pain? To 'step out' in the only time there is... Now...?

It sure is a crucial question.

Thought has convinced itself of the existence of the self, as some sort of permanent entity, as you described in a recent post, Dan. If that self was actual, would it need any action to keep it going? Yet somehow it does feel that it has to make an effort, struggle, to keep going, or to improve itself, perfect itself, doesn't it?

Or is it that there is a deep dissatisfaction of the self with what it is? Because "what it is " is always a fragment, always partial, always incomplete? So we have something that is intrinsically incomplete striving to be complete. Why? Why does thought not see itself for what it is , and accept that, not strive to become other than it is? Clearly we are conditioned from childhood to do this striving, this becoming, and it is incredibly strong, persistent, but that is not a complete answer - why has this conditioning been formed in the first place?

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
23 hours ago #21
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 257 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
"Dead" in the sense of the bark of a tree which once was 'living'...Memory is like that, it has ceased to be living. what is 'living in the tree as far as I understand it is a small amount of cells in the center. So the 'self' is like the bark?

Our analytical intelligence allows us to apprehend the tree as composed of different elements - we may even be able to distinguish a hierarchy. But take away the bark and there will no longer be a tree, only a stump of wood.

Reason can only take us so far - it can provide a conceptual model - the goal being power over the environment. Here is the why of our conditioned self : a means of gaining power over the environment in order for the species to survive and multiply.

The essential antidote to conflict and separation being awareness - awareness being the ending of the self. The ending of the self arising when we are able to discern the totality of the subtle self : namely the observer, the interpreter, the commentator, the judge - the subject/object duality, the process of being 2 where there are none (or one?)

Look, see, let go

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
23 hours ago #22
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 902 posts in this forum Offline

for consideration:

LETTERS TO SCHOOLS VOLUME ONE 1ST NOVEMBER, 1979
In a world where mankind feels threatened by social upheavals, overpopulation, wars, terrifying violence, callousness, each human being is more than ever concerned with his own survival.

Survival has implied living sanely, happily, without great pressure or strain. Each one of us translates survival according to his own particular concept. The idealist projects a way of life which is not the actual; the theoreticians, whether Marxist, religious, or of any other particular persuasion, have laid down patterns for survival; the nationalists consider survival possible only in a particular group or community. These ideologic differences, ideals and faiths are the roots of a division that is preventing human survival.

Men want to survive in a particular way, according to their narrow responses, according to their immediate pleasures, according to some faith, according to some religious saviour, prophet or saint. All these can in no way bring security, in themselves they are divisive, exclusive, limited. To live in the hope of survival according to tradition, however ancient or modern, has no meaning. Partial solutions of any kind - scientific, religious, political, economic - can no longer assure mankind its survival. Man has been concerned with his own individual survival, with his family, with his group, his tribal nation, and because all this is divisive it threatens his actual survival. The modern divisions of nationalities, of colour, of culture,of religion are the causes of man's uncertainty of survival.In the turmoil of today's world uncertainty has made man turn to authority - to the political, religious or economic expert. The specialist is inevitably a danger because his response must always be partial, limited. Man is no longer individual, separate. What affects the few affects all mankind. There is no escape or avoidance of the problem. You can no longer withdraw from the totality of the human predicament.

We have stated the problem, the cause and now we must find the solution. This solution must not depend on any kind of pressure - sociological, religious, economic, political or of any organization. We cannot possibly survive if we are concerned only with our own survival. All human beings the world over are interrelated today. What happens in one country affects the others. Man has considered himself an individual separate from others but psychologically a human being is inseparable from the whole of mankind.

There is no such thing as psychological survival. When there is this desire to survive or to fulfil you are psychologically creating a situation which not only separates but which is totally unreal. Psychologically you cannot be separate from another. And this desire to be separate psychologically is the very source of danger and destruction. Each person asserting himself threatens his own existence.

When the truth of this is seen and understood, man's responsibility undergoes a radical change not only towards his immediate environment but towards all living things. This total responsibility is compassion. This compassion acts through intelligence. This intelligence is not partial, individual, separate. Compassion is never partial. Compassion is the sacredness of all living things.

Truth will unfold itself to those who enquire their own actions.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
11 hours ago #23
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5778 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:
for consideration:

LETTERS TO SCHOOLS VOLUME ONE 1ST NOVEMBER, 1979

Yes, this is certainly completely relevant to the situation of today. And let us remember the human race was in all sorts of crises before Covid-19 appeared.

I remember reading, I think, K addressing students with these words:

And if any of you have ideologies, we need to know about it, because they are the most dangerous things on Earth.

I am not claiming these are his exact words. But this is so obviously true, when one examines the world. And yet I am sure most people, if challenged, would call it utter nonsense. Why? Because they have identified with various ideologies, beliefs.

Sign in to recommend
Back to Top
Displaying all 23 posts
Page 1 of 1
To quote a portion of this post in your reply, first select the text and then click this "Quote" link.

(N.B. Be sure to insert an empty line between the quoted text and your reply.)