Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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A quick look at several of K's paradoxical statements


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Fri, 11 Aug 2017 #1
Thumb_photo_reduite John Raica Canada 672 posts in this forum Offline

This thread is dedicated to a critical examination of the truth or falseness of several of K's paradoxical statements such as 'Truth is a Pathless Land' or 'Freedom should be at the very beginning and not at the end ', etc...
Now, such absolute statements are frontally challenging some of our traditional root assumptions based on thinking in terms of time. The 'paradoxical' aspect being that most of such K statements (aka:'total insights') seem totally true in the experiential context of a serious meditation, but rather 'relative' in the context of our everyday thinking

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Fri, 11 Aug 2017 #2
Thumb_photo_reduite John Raica Canada 672 posts in this forum Offline

We might as well start with one of K's most paradoxical statements: 'Freedom is at the very beginning ( of our inner enquiry) and not at the end'. Well, what exactly is this 'freedom' ? We know most of K's free for all generic examples : freedom from ( cultural & racial ) 'prejudice', freedom from 'belief', freedom from 'the word', from 'images', and going still deeper, all the way down to the freedom from 'fear' and 'time'.

We can see a certain 'vertical' or 'holistic' logic here- if your final psychological or spiritual goal is freedom then you'd better start your inner inquiry in the key of freedom, with a 'freedom-friendly' attitude. Again, the most perfect rationale. Except that... to use one of Dr. Bohm 'new-science' terms there are a few 'hidden variables' compounded in the evolutionary structure of human thinking. I would name just a very basic 'fact': our common, everyday thinking is taking place almost exclusively in the memory field of the (what was previously) 'known'.

Now if we consider the subliminal impact of this 'hidden variable' on our everyday 'knowledgeable' attitude to life, this can also explain many of the misunderstandings and confusions created by K's 'paradoxical' ('total insight'-type ?) statements: his 'simple' statements are examined by the 'knowledgeable' listener in the light of the 'previously known' and...they don't seem to convey any practical significance since functioning within the 'known' is a major root assumption of our evolutionary brain.

We should perhaps add here the rather obvious fact that within the field of 'what was previously known' our 'thinking brain' is organising all its inner & outer activity in a temporal sequencing (along a time-line) . K's generic example here is 'from the bullock cart to...the jet engine' - a 'holistic' example which, for many highly trained thinkers sounds pretty much as a mere kindergarden 'platitude'. So, basically the sophisticated intellectual mind does not see anything new or even stimulating in it and is therefore not motivated to consider the 'inwardness' ( namely the 'psychological residues' ?) of this evolutionary thinking process.

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Fri, 11 Aug 2017 #3
Thumb_de4 Dan McDermott United States 150 posts in this forum Offline

John Raica wrote:
K. 'Freedom is at the very beginning ( of our inner enquiry) and not at the end'.

I see it John,that this is K.'s way of throwing 'cold water' in the face of the 'self'. It is a 'shock'. The self (I) was attracted to the words he wrote and spoke of a vision of the world that was 'whole', un-fragmented, 'holy'. I wanted to also have this vision or understanding which I felt would 'free' me from pain and suffering and make life 'blissful'.etc., etc...So a search began, subtle or gross doesn't matter, it was in any case a search...and at the end of the search, sooner or later would come the 'prize': "Freedom from the self-created bondage". But the paradox is that it is the self, (the self-centered thought, 'I') that IS the bondage and the paradox is that IT is searching for a way to be free from itself without realizing what it is doing. There is no 'bondage', there is no 'self', there is no 'separation'...the struggle to be 'free', the effort, the methods, the 'teachers', all that is a 'distorted', limited', self-centered overlay of 'reality'. The 'freedom', 'truth', 'love' (he says), is already there. Always has been and always will be. But the self can never attain the sense of freedom and love and truth that it 'imagines' is out there because 'they' are not'imagination' they are not words. They are not 'out there'. There is no 'time/future' etc. It is all beyond the reach of thought, because it is right here in the "holy" what is. 'Paradox' was K.'s way of pointing this out.

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Sat, 12 Aug 2017 #4
Thumb_photo_reduite John Raica Canada 672 posts in this forum Offline

Here's another K 'paradoxical' statement: 'What are you ? You are nothing but a bunch of memories'

As a 'sales pitch' for a new Teaching it is definitely sounding pretty lame. Yet K reiterated it in many occasions from the 50's until his last months of life - strangely enough not in the presence of Dr Bohm or other 'celebrity' visitors.
It sounds pretty much like the young child's cry from Andersen's story 'The Emperor is naked'. Now, if this is an actual psychological 'truth' and we accept to consider it, it could be a very destabilising one...or we may choose to simply ignore it and carry on with our 'known' life as usual.

But let's try to play safe and take this statement as a working hypothesis that can be proven or...disproven on the 'test bench' of our meditation: for me personally it is a 'face value' kind of truth- and if you walk through a crowd or watch some TV talk show , the apparent truth of it is plainly visible with the naked (mind's ) eye. But then again, when we are watching ourselves or some close friends, the truth of it is becoming more 'relative'. Of course, the dispassionate observer could say that in this second case we are not totally objective, that there is a certain 'empathy factor' that makes us reject the face value 'absoluteness' of such a statement.

The subject is of course left open for a more leisurely 'deliberation' and its ultimate validation (or invalidation) is a strictly intimate matter; but on the overall it seems quite clear that as a 'world teacher' K lost or at best, 'left behind' quite a few followers and/or potential students. And...what happened to them later ? Back to the traditional belief systems or simply trading them for the more trendy avenues of commercialism and hedonistic materialism ?

This post was last updated by John Raica Sat, 12 Aug 2017.

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Sat, 12 Aug 2017 #5
Thumb_de4 Dan McDermott United States 150 posts in this forum Offline

John Raica wrote:
K.- 'What are you ? You are nothing but a bunch of memories'

This one I'd say John is a real 'poison seed'. I recall swallowing it easily, even eagerly when I first heard it..."Ah yes I'm just a "bundle of memories", so if I see the truth of that, I will be 'free'" or something like that. But if that 'seed' germinates, and it seemingly wont without a lot of "pondering", it would be the death of the 'self'. The 'self', the 'I' considers itself as the 'bundler' and controller that is 'outside', separate, and apart from that 'bundle of memories', and very 'real', not just an 'amalgam' or 'image' created and sustained by it.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sat, 12 Aug 2017.

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Sun, 13 Aug 2017 #6
Thumb_beautiful-nature-wallpaper pavani rao India 6 posts in this forum Offline

Hi John

Well first reading of the title and the opening comments of the first passage appear a bit unpalatable to an ardent student of K and the teaching .... But then when one remembers often spoken k emphasis on going through each word of his thoroughly , dissect , and then arrive at certain understanding ... One feels less objectionable to the views expressed . but anyhow it feels 'encrypted ' is a better word in place of ' paradoxical ' according to me ...

If the objective of writing this blog is in endless discussion of ' theory ' and ' speculation ' of ' what is ' and ' what should be ' of ' truth ' versus ' false ' according to each ones opinions , then one feels it's going to be useless endeavor . but if one is interested in sharing ones experiences of how and what one ' sees , understands ' in all these years of being one with k teaching in honesty and in simplicity ... may be that's what is the need of the hour . in the sense as most of us have passed ' primes ' and in ' sun set ' years of ones life ( assuming to be some what true ) I feel it's a good way of sharing , consolidating , assimilating of ones life times gathering of great insights , wisdom of this extraordinary man and the teaching that emanated from him and one considers that s the biggest fortune that happened in ones life ...

Well John I think that's all for the time being . but will come back soon as the points expressed in your 2,4 paragraphs go very well with me in terms of the understanding of the ' crux ' of K teaching .

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Sun, 13 Aug 2017 #7
Thumb_photo_reduite John Raica Canada 672 posts in this forum Offline

Let's now consider another famous K statement dating from the late 20's : 'Truth is a Pathless Land'. A beautiful poetical & metaphoric expression of what is supposed to be a major experiential insight.

And, what would be its actual impact ? First question would be- beyond its 'holistic fragrance' - is it something 'true' or 'applicable' in terms of my spiritual life ? Yes, if we are sincere 'truth seekers', and 'no' or not really if my life objectives are purely material (although... we may pretend otherwise)

So, in the first case only, such a holistic (global) spiritual statement may rise two very essential questions that mankind has always asked: 'what is truth ?' and if there is such a thing, how - or by what means- are we supposed to 'reach' it ?

Here the issue is left open for our own inner 'contemplation' and/or 'meditation' - something which can also be very paradoxical in itself- since it is so intimately 'subjective' but if some spiritual 'light' is thrown upon, it can become totally 'non-personal' .

However, from here I can only express what such an insight is conveying to me if taken as an experiential 'working hypothesis':

a) For starters we can sincerely assume that we do have some general idea of what 'truth' is supposed to be in the context of our particular culture ...or that whatever other 'wise men' - no matter how authoritative- have concluded has very little or no experiential value for my individual search. Or, if one is deeply honest that 'I really don't know' what Truth is (beyond the sphere of our culturally shared materialistic experience)

(b) If we are at all inwardly honest, Truth is not where we 'are' (within our temporal consciousness) , so obviously it must be 'somewhere else'

(c) In which case we are in a 'double blind' context where our sophisticated highly knowledgeable thinking is not of any practical or experiential help

(d) So, if the true answer is not in the sphere of our 'previously known' , therefore a different inner quality (of integrated holistic ?) inquiry should be awakened or 'worked out' experientially in the context of our ( 'as is') meditation.

(e) Now, just for a quick look backwards : is there a traceable 'path' necessary to get to the 'waiting room of Meditation' ? Perhaps yes, 'vertically speaking' , but this 'vertical' path is not directional since we do not know where exactly where or what we want to get to . It is certainly a 'higher' state of awakened consciousness, but then... where is the suspended 'ladder' ? ( So, it's a 'pathless' thing - QED)

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Sun, 13 Aug 2017 #8
Thumb_de4 Dan McDermott United States 150 posts in this forum Offline

John Raica wrote:

Regarding, There is no path to the truth

JR if the true answer is not in the sphere of our 'previously known' , therefore a different inner quality (of integrated holistic ?) inquiry should be awakened or 'worked out' experientially in the context of our ( 'as is') meditation.

When this is missing, without this element of questioning regarding any part of K.'s vision that he has related, it all just becomes a 'belief', another doctrine, and it dies. It has to be 'validated' in ourself, and if we can't do that, it remains his vision not ours and as such is 'valueless'. Personal salvation is not the point of his teaching, which he said was "silly" (the 'self' trying to save itself, 'adorn' itself? ) but it all is to do with human consciousness in general, the hate, the violence, the confusion, the fear, the greed, the sorrow , getting to the brink of nuclear and biological disaster, etc. He saw that it was possible for humanity to be free, not only 'from' all that but to be 'free'. So he set out to do that. But his vision is not mine. I gather that he is looking at a very different world than I am. I don't know what that is, so I listen to how he describes it, how he describes 'us'. How he tries to describe his relationship to nature. How he points out that our 'search' can only lead to illusion because there is no "path to the truth". That "life and death are one". That we struggle out of one pattern of thinking only to fall into a more pleasant, 'calming' one. That this 'thinker' who believes himself to be separate from 'his' thoughts is really just an illusion and has turned out for mankind to be a very dangerous one. That the 'individual self' however 'righteous' it may consider itself to be, is "evil". (which to me personally at this point means, it is 'evil' because it blocks the light of Truth and Love.)

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Sun, 13 Aug 2017 #9
Thumb_de4 Dan McDermott United States 150 posts in this forum Offline

John Raica wrote:
So, Dan, we'd better get to work ASAP and...validate it- as in K's 'final' statement ' If you are not certain, find out why and be certain'.

No other way is there, it must be seen as true or false.

I have a story too:

A village priest is loosing his sheep to a wolf...he decides the only way he can stop it is to reform the wolf. So he starts preaching to the wolf every day, day after day and after a while his sheep are no longer disappearing. Then one day while he is continuing to preach, the wolf is looking out the church window at the priest's flock of sheep, grazing in the field. The priest drones on and on and the wolf thinks to himself, "Dammit priest, get on with it, or I shall miss my dinner!"

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Mon, 14 Aug 2017.

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Mon, 14 Aug 2017 #10
Thumb_beautiful-nature-wallpaper pavani rao India 6 posts in this forum Offline

As mentioned the other day John , your understanding of k teaching in the representation of the fundamentals ( so to say ) " FREEDOM IS AT THE VERY BEGINNING AND NOT AT THE END " ( #2 ) and then in ( # 4 ) " HUMAN BEING IS NOTHING BUT A BUNDLE OS MEMORIES " ....

Well John one resonates , relates very well at the grasping / arrival of the main precepts of this ' magnum opus ' work of six decades of K teaching .

Well to go into the first issue that being ' freedom at the beginning ' which in itself is a very vast and exhaustive one , I feel like sharing my views on the second one .... and I would say ' human being is nothing ' .... well isn't that the very way / approach one needs to adopt when exploring into the totality of human consciousness ? ... with a clean slate ? After all what are we ? the human beings in this vast Universe and in this creation ? Any amount of neither will , wish and desire can make one determine / predict the arrival and departure of oneself from this world ... that transient and extremely unpredictable is our existence and our duration of existence in this world , isn't it ? Whatever one is / every thing is given and gifted to the being when one comes into this world .

' HOLISTIC ' is another fundamental key word one needs to bear in mind while going about ' inquiry ' ... How can one miss it ? as almost all k talks and videos either long ones or short ones , are never complete without the recurring reference of ' holistic ' approach to life / inquiry . Unfortunately / sadly this word is completely lost its existence from the so called ' inquiring ' minds of people who write in here . Except in your posts John . Yes very often I have read your stressing on ' holistic ' nature / approach towards all the issues concerning human consciousness ....

All these years of listening / reading K books and in ones trying to grasp the root of K teaching , one thing became very clear ...that is setting of inquiry and in remaining in inquiry is another fundamental precept which keeps one in a listening / learning mode ... Which is inexhaustible , endless and continues till the last breadth of ones life ...

On a lighter note ; both the stories shared by you and Dan are nice / good ones :)

last but not least point for today ; wonder John if you can restrain a while from deleting your posts so diligently on a regular basis from your thread . It becomes easy to refer back to the content while framing ones posts .

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Tue, 15 Aug 2017 #11
Thumb_photo_reduite John Raica Canada 672 posts in this forum Offline

And here's another often used K paradox: 'There is no psychological security' - an exceedingly 'stern' statement that can be potentially misleading or even creating an aditional inner confusion. The 'culprit' here seems to be the 'holistic' ( one word tells all) signification assigned by K to the word 'psychological' -since for many of us this commonly used word has a strong conotation of 'subjective', depending on one's particular experience or education.
Basically, anything that we 'feel' has a personal or...'psychological' coloration. So, when we feel safe at home, with our ( loving ?) family, or enjoying pleasant meal or a walk in nature, etc, we have the basic feeling that everything is safe and orderly in our life . So, when someone to whom we have cofered ( still psychologically !) a higher 'spiritual' authority is telling us that there's no such 'psychological security' - the ( psychological ...) impact of such a statement can be rather destabilising.

Fortunately, our thinking brain ( oka: 'thought') senses the 'critical' aspect of such a frontal challenge and...is trying to 'fix' or go around the problem: So, we either totally reject this statement as 'nonsense' and return to our 'steady state' of an overall sense of security , or we 'accept' it at its face value and try to reorganise our inner life in a 'non-security' context ( the ancient Hindus had this very 'colourful' metaphor of living in the same room with a poisonous snake)... Now, both these alternative have their own ( psychological) results - we either return to our good old psychological stability ( both in the present moment and projected into a never ending 'future') or we begin to seriously question the inner validity of a 'psychologically safe' way of life.

So , up to here this check-point, K's Paradox has a definite educational purpose, since it may trigger an irreversible process of inner awakening ( although, not a very reassuring one ?) Which, as any correctly prescribed medicine, 'it's good for us' -inspite its bitter taste or temporary side effects . So, from this point of view, ...high marks for World Teacher K .

But on a more intricate level we can also notice that this holistic term of 'psychological safety' was predominantly refering to the projection in time of our instinctive need for safety at all levels of our existence , and that it does subliminally create a psychological dependency (conditioning) on constantly thinking about our life in terms of its safe continuity in time ( as in: I am feeling perfectly safe now, but what about tomorrow, or next month, or the coming years ?)

We can see at this point that thinking in terms of time about the material safety of our own life, or of our family, tribe, country, etc, takes an undisputed ( psychological ) priority since it is directly related to material facts. But once this time-line of physical continuity is less or more assured, the same process of 'thinking in terms of time' begins to 'fragment itself' into many personal 'psychologically charged' goals- as in 'I want to be rich & happy', ( and/or... the undisputed leader of the free world ?) etc, etc...all the way down the ladder to having a decent meal and place to sleep just for tonight. Now it seems to me that this thinking in terms of one's personal safety could be what K meant when referring to ' Everyone thinks, from the highly placed person to the poorest peasant' ( it is a notorious fact that every human being 'thinks', but the hidden variable behind the personal 'ego-centric' thinking is the imponderable ignorance of our cultural inheritance)

Now, to K's educational merit he has -sometimes- given the experiential alternative to the traditional 'psychological security' - a very dynamic and flexible state of inner stability, self- energised by 'attention' . The point here is that any human brain needs a profound sense of inner order & harmony - which at this point of our spiritual evolution is not provided or supported by the existing ego-centric & materialistic culture

This post was last updated by John Raica Wed, 16 Aug 2017.

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Wed, 16 Aug 2017 #12
Thumb_beautiful-nature-wallpaper pavani rao India 6 posts in this forum Offline

I was reading in your posting of ' commentaries on living ' series John , in conversation with some ' serious inquires ' who came to meet him , K saying that if one can figure out , understand two or three issues of ' oneself ' / ' life ' .... as basically that's what the teaching is about and most of our problems / queries revolve around that .... one starts figuring out other issues as well ... First of all having a good grasp of what's the teaching about and then going diligently on what ever he pointed out .... Well that is the fundamental path / key , if any serious inquirer finds in oneself the passion , grit and determination to go into the depth of what he is pointing out ... One wonders that's the reason why lot of people who used to participate in the forums left ... may be whatever the initial ' clarity ' needed in going about inquiry , might have been arrived at .... and rest of ' silent work ' of understanding / watching oneself and ones actions need to be done in oneself and in life's interaction / relationship ...

There are certain talks / dialogues of him which started with the question : " what is important to you ? " find out first what is important to you and then by asking / answering the same question as to why that is important ... in asking / answering the two questions one finds out answers for oneself ... Well the teaching is for somewhat ' intelligent ' and ' sensitive ' people who can understand the few basics of ' spirituality ' at least and in whom there already is an ' awakening ' or call it ' thirst ' or deep ' yearning ' to go into all the ' serious ' issues he talks of in his life time ... That's my understanding so far ....

In the last I would like to mention about a certain poster , after reading his / her recent post felt appreciative of that person's ' unwavering ' passion of K and the understanding arrived at ... which is so firm ... There is neither problem in saying ' I do not know ' and nor unnecessarily participating in spreading illusions .... Of course other than you John who very deli gently doing good 'educational/ research work to this extraordinary body of work which it deserves ...

This post was last updated by pavani rao Wed, 16 Aug 2017.

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Wed, 16 Aug 2017 #13
Thumb_screen_shot_2017-04-11_at_14 Paul David son Brazil 22 posts in this forum Offline

John Raica wrote:
We might as well start with one of K's most paradoxical statements: 'Freedom is at the very beginning and not at the end'

Hi John. I wonder why you find the statement paradoxical. In the context in which he explained it here it doesn't seem paradoxical to me. He was explaining how our thought is the legacy of the whole history of humankind, not some personal affair that starts one moment and ends the next. He explains a fundamental problem of thought, that it perpetuates feeling states of hurt and fear, thus creating needless suffering. Then, he said, we cannot use this same thought to end our suffering, which would imply a process of time during which thought is employed as the tool to end suffering. The suffering is caused by thought and therefore only ends with the ending of thought, which in this context would not be a process of time/thought.

to the notion of: Begin - thought - end suffering

K proposes: End thought/end suffering

Well, that would be a revolution!

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Wed, 16 Aug 2017 #14
Thumb_screen_shot_2017-04-11_at_14 Paul David son Brazil 22 posts in this forum Offline

John Raica wrote:
Well, Paul, the paradoxical aspect is far more obvious in the experiential field

That's fine John. How do you find it paradoxical in the experiential field? Is it that something that has been accepted in logic and theory still cannot bear fruit in practice? Is that the paradox for you? Or is it something else?

I guess people who believe that prayer can answer one's problem may find it a paradox that their fervent belief leads to nothing.

I was reading about Wayne Dyer the other day. This new age prophet advocated that positive thought can keep illness at bay. When he was diagnosed with leukemia aged 71 he had to explain that to himself and as he had always been a positive thinker his explanation became that the cancer must be a positive thing after all, a way the body chose to heal itself, he said. Still, he didn't get much better so eventually he went to a Brazilian healer called John of God who did a long-distance surgery on him and a week later he did a long-distant suture removal while Dyer slept. How one does surgery on a leukemia heaven only knows and in this case heaven came through. Dyer declared himself miraculously cured on the Oprah show. He died of leukemia the next year. Now there's a paradox, if you like!

But maybe the surgery killed the canver and it was the sutures that got him . . . suit your self :-)

(that was a pun)

This post was last updated by Paul David son Wed, 16 Aug 2017.

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Fri, 18 Aug 2017 #15
Thumb_photo_reduite John Raica Canada 672 posts in this forum Offline

Being ( inwardly) 'as nothing' is not necessarily perceived as a paradox by any knowledgeable mind but perhaps as a psychological excentricity . Of course, we can meditatively simulate an inner state of 'non-being'...but then, for what purpose ? There is no worldly prize for being inwardly a very humble person - although it may be an asset for any 'religion' related jobs (since Jesus or Buddha, or even K, said...) So what usually happens in any 'religious' communities is that people 'renounce' ( sincerely or not) to the sense of their independent 'individuality' in favour of working together for a 'collective' ideal. This happened not only with the early Christians, but is still happening in any 'spiritual' community -and the 'K places' are no exception (didn't K speak very passionately of the imperious need to 'think together' and to 'work together' ?) .

Now, this 'psychological' trend can be easily traced back all the way to the tribal behaviour - the as is human being is still a 'social animal'- where both tendencies are available : 'being something' (defining oneself as something or as someone who is useful to the group) or 'keeping a low profile' when the needs of the collective are predominant. Inwardly it comes down to creating a 'self-image' or of a whole kit of 'images' which could come very handy in our everyday relationships ( the professional actors are simply more 'natural' in artistically swapping such self-images for a living )

So 'being' something or pretending 'not to be ' something else has become a widely spread 'survival' trick, while 'being nothing' is often a 'negative' image associated to 'exclusion' or to 'death'. And there even seems to be a no-man's land between them, since the image making is a process taking place within the 'known' sphere of human experience, while ' being as nothing' is definitely a totally 'outlandish' experience .

To conclude, I would just add that creating and swapping self-images has become practically our second nature, as it has been fully integrated in our 'auto-pilot' ( ego-centric) survival kit. And conditioning-wise, 'surviving in the autopilot mode ' is probably the oldest human conditionings .

This post was last updated by John Raica Fri, 18 Aug 2017.

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