Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
K, psychology and the physical brain | moderated by phil K

Classic Conditioning

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Thu, 09 Jul 2009 #1
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

I would like to use the standard definition of conditioning as in Pavlov's conditioned response where a stimulus causes an action but that action does not go with that stimulus. I know K uses the word sometimes as simply learning something from society who conditions you, but this is simple memory at which there is an original source where punishment, reward etc. was involved. You may simply learn something without being directly conditioned by feeling. So we want to look at what we learn where fear, pleasure etc. are directly our conditioners.

So my questions might include: "How do you perceive conditioning and its affects on you?" Have you found solutions to ending conditioning? What have you read that affected you from K about conditioning?

My first post on this topic is a part of this.

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Thu, 09 Jul 2009 #2
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

Since conditionings seem to be highly connected to the image process, I think one can strongly make the point that there are several self images as one person did on my science topic and then never posted again. I think the several self images though comes about because of how conditioning appears in the mind. If one has a self image, then it appears that anything that is happening in the conditioned state is happening to him. My experience though has been that dropping the self image does not end the conditionings but just its own illusion that the feeling of the self is not the thing. The self image appears to be just one conditioning in itself. But having an I or self image does not keep one from ending a conditioning, though. Also, many people with self images are cured from problems like fears by psychologists. Everyone has ended a conditioning or many. Just reading certain areas of K has ended conditionings in all of us. This is probably one of the main attractions to reading K. I have read people on the sites who have said that when they are having a problem, they just pick up a K book and read until they find the solution. So with this in mind, I am going to try something different and instead of just saying what I think, I am going to throw this up for discussion but I sure would hope that some of the people who respond would consider some of the neurological discussions if they have read some of these posts and watched some of the videos already. Thanks for the support in side emails but I would like to get some responses now as I am tired of listening to myself and am sure so are lots of people who have been reading.

This post was last updated by phil K Thu, 09 Jul 2009.

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Fri, 10 Jul 2009 #3
Thumb_original_avatar max greene United States 235 posts in this forum Offline

greene
Fri, 10 Jul 2009, 9:53am

(The following comments are a modified version of comments posted in this same Forum under the topic, "Krishnamurti and Bohm on the Physical Brain.")

Is brain damage from psychological conditioning permanent?

First of all, the field of psychology has to do with the image of the Self, the psychological "I." The physical organism has no need for psychology. The physical body senses, acts, re-acts. Only after an "I" has been established does psychology come into the picture.

So damage caused by psychological conditioning is damage caused by activity associated with this "I," this "Self." If one finally realizes that the "I" is a phantom and that the Self, the psychological "I" is nothing more than a thought construct around which other thoughts have become cluttered and encrusted, this awakening goes around the damage that has been done--if, indeed, it does not reverse it. How is this possible? It is possible because after one once sees the "I" for what it is, this observation makes the conditioning (of a construct, an image, a phantom) irrelevant. The trick is to realize with every fiber of the organism that the "I" is a mere thought, an image.

However, the more deeply one is conditioned, the more difficult this realization becomes--and the huge majority of human brains are heavily conditioned. This conditioning is the result of environment and upbringing, social pressures, the influence of others, beliefs, propaganda, ritual and repetition, and so on. It may be that conditioning, continued and unrelenting for years, causes actual physical damage to the brain. It may be that every drop of influence impinging on the brain leaves a chemical trace, a mark, and after years of conditioning this mark grows to be an ugly scar. Perhaps at some point the brain has become so physically damaged that its conditioning is considered irreversible.

But when is the point of no return reached? The point most likely varies from individual to individual--and probably there is no point, so long as one is at all capable of observation.

max

This post was last updated by max greene Fri, 10 Jul 2009.

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Sat, 11 Jul 2009 #4
Thumb_avatar averil harrison New Zealand 41 posts in this forum Offline

This is something that maybe revealing to you as it is to me;The difficulty that we as humans have in overcoming our evolutionary past as an animal due to the "strange Loop' that the time/thought calls 'I' and that denies us the potential to be 'Truly Human'.

Krishnamurti in something he wrote in 1930 under 'Experience and Conduct' says "Life is creation, including the creator and the created, and Nature conceals life in itself. When that life in Nature develops and becomes focused in the individual, then Nature has fulfilled itself. The whole destiny and function of Nature is to create the individual who is self-concious, who knows the pairs of opposite, who knows that he is an entity in himself, conscious and seperate. So, life in Nature, through its development, becomes self-conscious in the awakened, concentrated individual. Natures goal is man's individuality. The individual is a seperate being, who is self conscious, who knows that he is different from another, in whom there is seperation of you and I. But individuality is imperfection, it is not an end in itself.

He has also stated earlier in this piece 'Do not, however, confuse individual temperament with individual uniqueness; and also "the fulfillment of mans destiny is to be the totality. It is not a question of losing yourself in the Absolute, but that you, by growth, by continual conflict, by adjustment, shall become the whole. And further on "But if you understand the purpose of existence, then you will utilise every experience, every emotion, every thought, to strengthen you to wear down this wall of seperation".

Averil

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Sun, 12 Jul 2009 #5
Thumb_avatar david sharma Ireland 9 posts in this forum Offline

Classic conditioning man comes to the world hard wire in the old brain due to evolution . to protect the body and the proper function ing of the orgamism.this is absolutely nessary,otherwise it will not survive. We humans need this old brain functions. A child as he or she is born this conditioning is activated so that it is safe to recognise the warmth of mother; the food it gets ; the safety the comfort security, soon the attachment is activated ( my mother ) and all the associations starts from the simple need for survival . it .;begets the fear . the attachments. the pain the hurt the anger so the human is already in the trap of suffering with each emotion feeling and thought of self strengthen this centre there is no going back except this potency to free One self by looking in ward by the thought

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Sun, 12 Jul 2009 #6
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

Max said:

First of all, the field of psychology has to do with the image of the Self, the psychological "I." The physical organism has no need for psychology. The physical body senses, acts, re-acts. Only after an "I" has been established does psychology come into the picture.
So damage caused by psychological conditioning is damage caused by activity associated with this "I," this "Self." If one finally realizes that the "I" is a phantom and that the Self, the psychological "I" is nothing more than a thought construct around which other thoughts have become cluttered and encrusted, this awakening goes around the damage that has been done--if, indeed, it does not reverse it. How is this possible? It is possible because after one once sees the "I" for what it is, this observation makes the conditioning (of a construct, an image, a phantom) irrelevant. The trick is to realize with every fiber of the organism that the "I" is a mere thought, an image.

Averil quoting and paraphrasing K:

The whole destiny and function of Nature is to create the individual who is self-concious, who knows the pairs of opposite, who knows that he is an entity in himself, conscious and separate. So, life in Nature, through its development, becomes self-conscious in the awakened, concentrated individual. Natures goal is man's individuality. The individual is a seperate being, who is self conscious, who knows that he is different from another, in whom there is separation of you and I. But individuality is imperfection, it is not an end in itself.
He has also stated earlier in this piece 'Do not, however, confuse individual temperament with individual uniqueness; and also "the fulfillment of mans destiny is to be the totality. It is not a question of losing yourself in the Absolute, but that you, by growth, by continual conflict, by adjustment, shall become the whole. And further on "But if you understand the purpose of existence, then you will utilise every experience, every emotion, every thought, to strengthen you to wear down this wall of separation".

David said:

"Classic conditioning man comes to the world hard wire in the old brain due to evolution . to protect the body and the proper functioning of the orgamism. This is absolutely nessary,otherwise it will not survive. We humans need this old brain functions. A child as he or she is born this conditioning is activated so that it is safe to recognise the warmth of mother; the food it gets ; the safety the comfort security, soon the attachment is activated ( my mother ) and all the associations starts from the simple need for survival. It begets the fear, the attachments, the pain the hurt the anger so the human is already in the trap of suffering with each emotion feeling and thought of self strengthening this centre... there is no going back except this potency to free One self by looking inward by the thought."

I, Phil, just cant top this stuff! Keep those cards and letters coming!

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Wed, 22 Jul 2009 #7
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

If man can see the essence of his conditioning as how the emotional centers of the brain are used in the formation of responses that we learn from our friends, family, culture etc, then I think he begins to break down this entire process of the mischief of the "I's." The problem I find with all this is the chicken or the egg thing. Is conditioning our problem or are the "I's," our problem first. Well, the truth is that it is all conditioning. It almost all is learned from our desire to conform and to imitate. Maybe there is even a human need that causes us to not want to be ostracized by others. Notice how quickly we all get online and "make friends" when we have absolutely no clue whom we are dealing with. I am not saying here that most of what we do here online is not conditioned by our responses to things people say etc., but would we react in person the same way? I wonder what happens the day that the Turing Test is passed and someone comes online and we make friends with him and he is really a computer!!! I just read an article where they found that robots in person just didnt do it for people, but you see dont we create images of people online from the way they talk and react and then create our perceptions of them? So our consciousness is working constantly in these conditioned states. By this I mean that the entire consciousness is held together in states of trained stimulus then emotional responses and those emotional responses do no go with those stimuli.

We are I think, though, in an era where radical change of the state of thinking of mankind may be necessary. The question is what direction that change will take.

Will we have the coming of a new Christ who tells us the truth; Will there be a god who just poofs and we change; Will there be a polarity change of the magnetic fields that reverses us from an inward thinking outward to an outside input from the future which has already occured. Or will it be the radical change of ending of the illusion of self and freedom from conditioning as I think K proposed as possible. I guess I must put a plug in for status quo and total annihilation as other alternatives. Only time will tell as they say. One thing I do know is that the serious people who come here to the K sites think there is a possibility of the radical personal change. I kind of ascribe to this premise myself because it seems logical that in most all the cases of the above, if a person makes any change in himself, life in the present before all this happens certainly gets better.

I will be a little revealing here and say that along with some friends with whom I have talked for years and no matter what...I's..self images...egos or whatever, quite a few condtionings have dropped away in all of us; thereby, creating much better and freer lives. This has not been through psychological theories, but through an investigation into ones own mind and the releasing of the feelings that were attached to the incorrect thinking. It has all done in a spirit of K, if I may say that. None of it ever took time as in therapy, but there had to be realization there was a conditioned state, desire to end the state (the hard ones are the pleasure states...fear is easy) and then a process of understanding the concept in thought behind reaction/emotion and then the awareness of the moment of thought/feeling connection. Anyone who has experienced this process might want to comment and if you haven't, you might have a question. This is the first time I have put this in to words so it is up for editing.

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Sun, 02 Aug 2009 #8
Thumb_sree Sree Dharan United States 4 posts in this forum Offline

phil K wrote:
I will be a little revealing here and say that along with some friends with whom I have talked for years and no matter what...I's..self images...egos or whatever, quite a few condtionings have dropped away in all of us; thereby, creating much better and freer lives.

Dear Phil,

Please allow me to join your discussion.

Can you give me an example of a conditioning that you have dropped that led to a freer life?

There is a difference between giving up a habit or lifestyle, that results in the removal of a constraint or mental roadblock, and the ending of a belief that brings about a change that fundamentally alters one's identity. An example of this would be the story of the Ugly Duckling that was freed from the oppressive belief that it was a duck.

Regards,

Sree

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Sun, 02 Aug 2009 #9
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

Thanks for reviving the conditioning subtopic.

What you have asked is truly an important question but in the way I see it all is the same. The self is a conditioning that becomes habit and a part of ones lifestyle. When one ends a condtioning, one is freeing up his states of emotions that occur from the mistaken concepts he has. All is recorded the same way in the mind. I consider all of it classic conditioning and think the process is simple but tedious. I have to reiiterate that simple learning as how to drive a car and the rules of the road is not condtioning although a person with conditioned fear of driving will distort all the process of the simple learning. And I will add after thinking about it that habit itself is not conditioning nor is a lifestyle as we can learn in simple learning these things but again conditionings do become habits themselves and are, also, a part of our lives and lifestyle until ended.

An example that you ask for is criticism or being insulted. I came to the realization that during my learning process, I was conditioned to believe there was such a thing; consequently, I would react emotionally when I perceived somethng as being an insult or criticism. That has completely dropped away.

This post was last updated by phil K Sun, 02 Aug 2009.

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Sun, 02 Aug 2009 #10
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

I think I would like to recommend a book. After that last question from the new poster, Sree Dharan, I think it might be wise to look at some brain related and brain discovered conditioned states. The book is called "Your Money& Your Brain: How the science of Neuroeconomics can help make you rich." by Jason Zweig It was so unsuccessful that it is selling for .99 cents on Amazon...lol

The chapter titles are basically about areas of the brain that are used in investing. Needless to say they are used in many other areas and the book can be read as a research book in to conditioned states. The author traces the following things as they relate to the brain. Chapter titles: Thinking and Feeling; Greed; Prediction; Confidence; Risk; Fear; Surprise; Regret; and Happiness. There is so much in this book that I can actually use it for reference as I face various conditionings personally. Everything is refered to the areas of the brain that are used in creating these states. Absolutely, I am not recommending it for investing as I find the advice part of it worthless and didnt even read those parts.

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Mon, 03 Aug 2009 #11
Thumb_sree Sree Dharan United States 4 posts in this forum Offline

phil K wrote:
An example that you ask for is criticism or being insulted. I came to the realization that during my learning process, I was conditioned to believe there was such a thing; consequently, I would react emotionally when I perceived somethng as being an insult or criticism. That has completely dropped away.

Dear Phil,

I think it is important to differentiate between insult and criticism. Both can cause hurt; but while an insult is meant to hurt, criticism isn't. It is curious why you lump the two together as though they are one and the same thing.

I study the performing arts at NYU (New York University). The critique sessions can be brutal, especially when the teacher has a way of being direct and never pulls his punches in telling me that my performance sucks. That's the way it is, and if I let hurt gets in the way, I won't survive.

Don't you consider the susceptibility to hurt in the face of criticism or even insults is a sign of emotional disorder?

Regards,

Sree

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Mon, 03 Aug 2009 #12
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

Sree...I think your statement differentiating insult and criticism is totally correct and I hastily lumped them together. I think I was lumping them together not as from whom they come but for the person receiving them who may "feel" they have been criticized or insulted. In this case, one could view them as the same as you may be hurt by either dependent upon your sensitivity. And one might be able to eliminate the emotional response by becoming aware of his conditioning to both simaltaneously. If, however, one saw the two of them differently as lets say "oh that person who is criticizing me is trying to help me," then he might not respond emotionally. Also, someone who thought they were correct and not really subject to criticism might not lump the two together so one's own consciousness may have to address the two separately or the same. One thing noticeable is that the self can, also, add to the severity of the response to either as it has a built in defense mechanism to protect itself from all perceived threats of which a perceived insult would be up for the strongest defense with perceived criticism a more minor repsonse depending upon how much of an attack on the ego the criticism appeared to be. I think perceived insult would be a difficult conditioning to end for someone with an ego. To end a conditioning that is attached to the ego, one must first detach it from the ego itself.

So I, also, agree that the susceptibility to being hurt in the face of either to be a sign of emotional disorder and that is why I call them both conditionings. I like your use of the word "emotional disorder" here. I wonder if people considered their own classic Pavlov's conditionings to be "emotional disorders" if they would address them more?

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Tue, 04 Aug 2009 #13
Thumb_sree Sree Dharan United States 4 posts in this forum Offline

phil K wrote:
So I, also, agree that the susceptibility to being hurt in the face of either to be a sign of emotional disorder and that is why I call them both conditionings.

Dear Phil,

While conditioning might be a good thing, emotional disorder is not.

A regular schedule conditions my body, and it readily adjusts to a cyclic routine. Mentally, conditioning enables faster task performance and I can do things with rapidity and accuracy without "thinking".

Emotional disorder is rather dark and scary. Getting upset over a discussion about nothing is quite mad. Don't you agree?

It seems that each of us is connected to a common reservoir of emotional rage much like the way volcanos are connected to the earth's immense thermal core. While all of us do get hurt to some degree when subjected to deliberate insults, others go ballistic even when told objectively in the kindest way that they are messing things up.

Regards,

Sree

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Wed, 05 Aug 2009 #14
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

Sree...I would like you to read if you have time the posts under my two other subtopics..."science the I and ego" and "the image process." I have an approach here that has to do with how the brain/mind comes about these responses and this topic was a follow up on that. But if you dont have time thats ok...we can reconstruct things here.

I have titled this subtopic classic conditioning. Classic conditioning means literally the things we respond to incorrectly just as Pavlovs dog salivates over a bell which is an incorrect response to the stimulus of a bell.

We can talk about habit as routine but not a conditioned response, and we can talk about responding to insult which is a conditioned response meaning that responding emotionally to an insult is like salivating to a bell. Emotion does not go with insult. There is no biological reason for responding to an insult. An insult is a learned conceptual word and it based on who is being insulted and whom you perceived insulted you. Is it the self and its protective instinct that is insulted or is it a concept that one has learned that determines that what someone says is an insult. In either case , the insult is a bell ringing. Ones response in emotion is not the response that emotion goes with in reality. I would have to ask..Can you end the process entirely by understanding it is conditioned and not a reality?

It is very complex to understand where real emotion belongs in life. When do we really fear something. When do we really love something. When do we really have pleasure. Not as in when culture has conditioned us to have these responses but when do we actually need to respond to these things biologically. This takes a little knowledge of oneself to find out. Ask the next time you have any emotion if you responded that way because you were biologically being threatened if it is a fear response. Or the hardest thing is next time you have a pleasure response....was that a biologically induced response or one that is a response in memory based upon a past experience and therefore you are repeating an event thus it is habit or a conditioned response.

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Wed, 05 Aug 2009 #15
Thumb_sree Sree Dharan United States 4 posts in this forum Offline

phil K wrote:
I have titled this subtopic classic conditioning. Classic conditioning means literally the things we respond to incorrectly just as Pavlovs dog salivates over a bell which is an incorrect response to the stimulus of a bell.

Dear Phil,

I am sorry if I am messing up the trend of discussion here on classic conditioning. The human mind does behave like Pavlov's dog all the time as can be seen in the way we are fooled by magic tricks.

The magician fans out four cards with his hands and shows you four queens. He closes his four card deck, turns it over, and fans it out again showing you the same four cards which are now blanks. This never fails to amaze the audience. I bought the magic trick for four dollars because I had to know how the magician made the queens disappear. I drive people nuts with the trick every time. The trick was simple and I discovered what a fool the mind can be by jumping to conclusions. Pavlov's dog jumped to similar conclusions on hearing the bell. It was the conclusion about the bell-food connection that cause the salivating.

Phil, if you understand Pavlov's conditioning, you can use it to be a big time crook fleecing people out of everything they own. This is how a con works in everyday life.

Regards,

Sree

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Thu, 06 Aug 2009 #16
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

Sree:

I have been unable to respond for a whole day and I am glad because if I had answered your last post immediately, I would have said that magic has nothing to do with conditioning and then go on to explain what I mean by conditioning, but having a full day to have it come up in my mind, magic is actually as much an example of conditioning as are Pavlovs dogs.

By Pavlov's dog, I have tried to use this as the example of the "classical use of the word conditioning" which is actually the webster definition of classical condtioning as follows in Webster:

: conditioning in which the conditioned stimulus (as the sound of a bell) is paired with and precedes the unconditioned stimulus (as the sight of food) until the conditioned stimulus alone is sufficient to elicit the response (as salivation in a dog) ?
Now with your statement I can bring up how humans seem to be conditioned overlaying it to the classical conditioned definition. I, also, will post in my next post an excellent post by James Turner from another discussion on conditioning.
As I observe conditioning in mankind, it seems to me that one will respond to a stimulus like lets say someone insulting you which is a thought with a response of fear/anger...yet the response in nature goes with something else other than that thought like tigers. I remember as a child, we are always told "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Yet it falls on deaf ears when one sees his parents responding to insults and calling something an insult. The child, of course, being an imitator will pick up this conditioned response very easily.
It was this cycle that K wanted to break in order to free man from conditioning.
Now your magic trick is indeed a form of conditioning. The stimulus is the observing of the trick and the response is surprise and amazement. Surprise and amazement is a response to something that lets say jumps out at you but in this case thought has been surprised or amazed. One who knows the trick is not surprised and what makes it conditioned is that people know its a trick and are still surprised...almost like the kid is told the sticks and stones story yet he still responds to insults. I think maybe to use your trick analogy, if we know the trick of conditioning in the mind would we end our incorrect response just like the person who knows the trick doesnt respond at all!

Thanks again for reviving the conditioning subtopic. To me it is one of the most important aspects of Krishnamurti's teachings.

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Thu, 06 Aug 2009 #17
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

I would like to post with full permission the following full post by James turner from Prasanna's subtopic Are We Conditioned? If So Why? under the forum Serious Debate. I think it goes quite well with this subtopic.

James Turner
Tue, 28 Jul 2009 6:51pm

Who am I to say? - but I'll say anyway: Conditioned is the present human condition. We are all conditioned, surely. Upbringing by reward and punishment is universal, surely. Our job is to de-condition ourselves. You can't de-condition another. But as you de-condition yourself, that will help the whole of mankind because your mind, your consciousness, is part of the totality of human consciousness. Quote from K (from memory), in answer to the question, what is your aim (in giving talks etc): "To decondition the totality of human consciousness". That is the universal "aim".

But one begins and ends with oneself. One begins to de-condition oneself. One has to take oneself as one finds oneself. One observes, enquires, goes deeply, deeper, into oneself as one actually is, not through the vehicle of thought, but by looking, by registering what is going on, however confused and painful and "wrong" that "going on" may seem. One does it without condemning what one finds, without approval or disapproval, just looking and seeing what's there, examining the structure and one's reactions, which may be fleeting, whoosh, gone, but one sees them as they pass, and next time one may see them better, or differently, one does it with a sort of love, a care, an openess, a receptivity, and when one REALLY sees, then there is a spontaneous change - "seeing is action" (another K. quote). That is de-conditioning. It may all happen at once, it may happen in little chunks, it may take for ever. Time is not a factor. There's no hurry, no pressure. And yet it has to happen now. Strange business! It is life.

This post was last updated by phil K Thu, 06 Aug 2009.

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Tue, 08 Sep 2009 #18
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

I will just try to keep posting stuff to keep this alive. I know there are some in the background investigating some of the things in this entire forum so I dont want to close it. There are some very significant points we have brought up here and I will just put some light in to them.

One can look at K and many can talk a lot about K but we have the fact that K did not in his mind effect the change in any person as far as he could tell. This leaves our investigation in to speculation and listening to the ideas of people who come along and say "Here is what I have interpretted K to mean or what I think he means to me etc." I have tried to come up with this forum and purport something a little more modern and take K to a level of looking to see if modern science has something to say about what K had to say. I know nothing about physics at all and have left those conversations to others, but I have for 35 years after having what appears to me to be a major change in my consciousness from understandings of K's teachings. Take that as you will but I have for this same number of years been trying to change the talking about K in to a proof of what he said by looking at the brain. I am no expert in this but I think I am the only one who has done this which amazes me. I dont see any of the neurologists or the great thinkers in neurology who have looked at what K has said and applied it to their studies of the brain. But as I read these peoples studies, I daily see connections. Nothing I have read from the neurological studies goes against K and I think that says alot about K's insights.

Why do I continue to belabor my approach. It is because, K failed while alive to affect change. What he said was beautiful and it has affected many people in many ways but has it changed people. I mean how many people have become like K and freed themselves from the selves and gone on to end conditionings? (thats rhetorical)...

So I post this under conditioning because I am a conditioned animal. I have worked on many of my conditionings and ended them. I have not waited for some instant miracle and enlightment in consciousness to change myself in the ways that need to be changed. There is no magic bullet and those who wait for that live in delusional thinking by which I mean one is deluded by ideas of an eternal hereafter or anything that makes life easier than it really is..including winning the lottery!

I truly think that once one understands the states of self or at least the state of the left brain self...the task becomes to end conditioning. I am incredulous that the statements on this subtopic including the statements by James Turner have brought so little response. Could someone go back and read some of this stuff and help liven this up?

This post was last updated by phil K Tue, 08 Sep 2009.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009 #19
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

I was thinking about my last post under conditioning and realized maybe I should just come up with something that might shake things up a bit. I have aluded to it in other posts but here goes.

I think here I would like to propose that maybe the "self" or "selves", may just be conditionings. In other words, it may just be a part of consciousness that has been learned and is just a mistake. Now I would have to say it is a little more than learned as in simple learning because if it has no validity or truth to it, then it would be conditioned instead of learned. So if we were to attack this as conditioning, we would have to eliminate it as just learned because in that case it might have some use as we learn mathematics.

Now we would have to say that psychologists consider the self as learned. In fact, a psychologist would say that you have to learn alot of things along with it like..you must learn self esteem...you need self confidence...it is important to love yourself...you need a background of positive input to maintain a good self concept....So I think if one ascribes to any of these statements as being valid, you must move on and work on your memories making them better than other people's memories and on your experiences to make sure they are all positive or you can turn your memories in to positive experiences with positive thinking etc. Read the myriad of books on these subjects and choose what you wish.

I think that if you find that your "self" is instead an obstacle and an obstacle for mankind as it creates a separation between you and others whose beliefs are not the same, then you might ask if you can end the self. (of course, anyone on these K sites has this question in mind). So if you had simply learned all the above things, one would say that the self would dissipate as soon as you saw all of the above was false learning. In fact, you would not teach your child that such things existed and that they should not think in separate ways from other people as in I am who I am...my memories are me and I dont want to change because I am happy with myself. You would instead think what a horrible person would say such things as it is completely separative. Ok, end of story, I am not me nor are these my memories but just the things I have learned. I am done. The self is gone. I wont contribute anymore to mankind who thinks like that. In fact, I will tell all my friends how wrong their approaches are and they will obviously see my point of view and end the use of the self. Won't they?

Now, of course, I am being facetious here. We all know from the hours of reading K and the hours some of us have spent in dialogues and with friends talking about all this, there seems to be no change as in the dropping of the selves except maybe in a few moments of actual awareness at the time we are talking about it or reading about it.

So what else works like this in the consciousness. What other things beside the self are protected by the mind in some way and we cant just wish them away with a few nice thoughts or statements from others. Aren't these our conditionings....our fears ....our pleasures? All the things in our consciousness that are connected to some kind of emotion are difficult to end even if we want to. If you fear a certain thing like getting on elevators or snakes or your neighbor coming over and boring you to death, you just cant say...thats stupid, I am not going to do that anymore. Why is that? That is because when one thinks about the thing that he fears or gives him pleasure, he has that experience of fear or pleasure in the moment from the very thought. So what do we do, we avoid the circumstances that give us the thought which then is followed by the response in fear so we dont think about it and we pursue the things that give us the pleasure so we can experience that again. This is an evolutionary biological response to feeling.

So I propose that maybe if the self is not real and if the self is not a simple learned process, that maybe it is just a conditioning and maybe it is constructed around fear and pleasure our main conditioners. The self as center is an illusion of consciousness as we all know this intellectually at least. But what in us gives the self the sense...the feeling of reality? Did we come along in the Julian Jaynes idea and someone stumbled upon the conditioned state of selfness. And then he went on to condition others with this conditioned state using fear or pleasure because he didnt know any better and besides according to Jaynes it was an evolutionary step because people with strong selves seemed to take control of things better than the old right brained controlled world. The self may have brought more sanity in to the world and had a value there. Certainly, though, it has served its purpose and its time to move on.

Why do I propose this? Its because I think everyone has ended some if not many fears and a couple of pleasures. In other words the mind has the ability to look at a non desireable conditioned state and end the connection between the feeling and the thought process. If I see that my fear is caused by me mentally and I really dont want the fear, awareness will end the process. The same for pleasure but it is the hard, since everyone is doing the pleasures and they feel so good. So if it is a conditioning, what is this feeling that perpetuates the self and how does it work?

If any of this makes sense to anyone, please chime in.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009 #20
Thumb_original_avatar max greene United States 235 posts in this forum Offline

Phil,

The Self seems to be a pretty slippery thing. You say, "I think here I would like to propose that maybe the "self" or "selves", may just be conditionings. In other words, it may just be a part of consciousness . . . "

At the moment of "contact," the Self is whatever is uppermost in consciousness. The old "thinker is the thought" game. In total, the consciousness is the Self.

Consciousness is the past. The past can't move forward into now except as a recalled image--the process of thinking. But we are living beings, and to be alive in the past is impossible. We are alive now. So I am saying that we--the actual moving and breathing us, capable of acting and creating (which can only take place in the immediate now)--have this suitcase full of images and memories with us, and we call this baggage consciousness. I'm calling it the Self, because it isn't at all the alive and breathing us, but we think that to be conscious is to be alive.

max

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009 #21
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

I think, Max, we have to come to agreement as to what we think the self is. (kinda like Clinton and the word "is")

If you are in a state of right brainness, lets say. I am not sure you would say you were conscious as in the consciousness you are talking about. Sports players call this the zone and they can perform their perfect game in this state. However, how can they perform without memory? They arent. They are using the memories of how to perform they already have or else they wouldnt know how to have the results. The basketball player has to remember that his goal is to throw the ball at the net! The tennis player has to hit the balls inside the lines and the golfer has to hit towards the hole.

I think that people confuse the left brain thought to be consciousness and that somehow releasing that state they will be just fine. I dont think you are anything more than living in the right brain then and the right brain has wonderful things to offer as in walking in nature and observing, but it is not going to build our buildings and it is conditioned too. In the content of the consciousness of the left brain there are memories and those memories operate based on association and linear fashion as we count to ten in order because we have learned that: habit. The total content of the consciousness of our brain is there to help us with survival basically. We know and recognize a danger as a snake which may or may not be a dangerous snake and we identify the situation and use memory as to what to do. The child learns this from the teachers in his environment. He learns the facts of all the snakes in his environment. He may or may not learn fear with that. And it is in learning the fear that he becomes conditioned. I do not take the self to be the sum total of memory or that it is acting at all times when memory is operating. It acts when there is fear and pleasure. It acts in a conditioned manner to responses that have been conditioned by the society that believes in the self and its importance. Those responses are different from culture to culture and society to society.

Now I understand what you are saying about living in the moment without the past. Yes, all is not new and we are constantly using memory unless we are in some kind of meditative state but in the totally meditative state, we couldnt even be moving around the room because that takes memory. What is needed is the ending of the conditioned states which not only act at the moment of emotion but act from habit when there is no emotion. As we break down the content of consciousness and eliminate the societal conditions, one reaches a freedom of using memory in a state of "right action" which is one of K's main points. So I may ask, couldnt one live in the now using memory correctly and when necessary and between the thoughts there is the silence and lack of conditioned emotion, which is the impetus that keeps a conditioned consciousness operating until the emotion is ended? The self is just one of those conditionings and is a mistake is my proposal here.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009 #22
Thumb_original_avatar max greene United States 235 posts in this forum Offline

Phil,

You wrote, " I do not take the self to be the sum total of memory or that it is acting at all times when memory is operating."

When I said that consciousness is the Self, I meant, in my view, exactly that. The Self, for me, is anything and everything that attaches to one's existence. To exist, is to be--and that which "is," is in the past at the instant of creation.

Memory and thinking are not "killed off" by living in the present--the now--nor need they be. We live in the now constantly, inescapably, no choice! and yet we have memory and thinking. We can use these whenever the need arises. The problem comes in when we think this memory and thinking is us, and don't recognize it as just part of our--for lack of a better word--equipment.

And you write also, "So I may ask, couldnt one live in the now using memory correctly and when necessary and between the thoughts there is the silence and lack of conditioned emotion, which is the impetus that keeps a conditioned consciousness operating until the emotion is ended?"

I'd say this is exactly the question to ask. We do live in the now, and that silence between thoughts is most likely it.

max

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Thu, 10 Sep 2009 #23
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

max greene wrote:
Memory and thinking are not "killed off" by living in the present--the now--nor need they be. We live in the now constantly, inescapably, no choice! and yet we have memory and thinking. We can use these whenever the need arises. The problem comes in when we think this memory and thinking is us, and don't recognize it as just part of our--for lack of a better word--equipment.

Ok, so we do agree on what the self is because this quote is exactly how I see it too. But I would use the word memory instead of equipment because the self is just a thought which makes it no different than any other thought except it is a mistaken thought. If I didnt believe I was me, then I wouldn't be me.

Now how do we prove that the self is just a conditioning?

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Thu, 10 Sep 2009 #24
Thumb_original_avatar max greene United States 235 posts in this forum Offline

Phil,

You write, ". . . the self is just a thought which makes it no different than any other thought except it is a mistaken thought."

I was thinking (here's that misleading word, again) that there is, after all, a difference between the psychological "I" and the Self. The psychological "I" is what you say, above. The Self is the whole ball of wax, the individual's entire consciousness. The Self is a reality because it exists as memory and image, but not, as we could say, "in real time." The "real" is the living individual.

Once we realize what the Self is, that it is entirely memory and image, that it is not alive, the rest should be easy. (!!)

I think we use the "I" as a proxy for consciousness. When we say "I," we think of our conscious selves. Does this start us down the discussion path for conditioning at all? Why are we all caught up in this basic error? It all seems so simple, if we had only been told in childhood.

max

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Fri, 11 Sep 2009 #25
Thumb_jan09_012 Peter Stephens Australia 9 posts in this forum Offline

When I, self, try to not be I, self, then it will be clear what I am not.

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Fri, 11 Sep 2009 #26
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

max greene wrote:
I think we use the "I" as a proxy for consciousness. When we say "I," we think of our conscious selves. Does this start us down the discussion path for conditioning at all? Why are we all caught up in this basic error? It all seems so simple, if we had only been told in childhood.

Here is exactly the problem and definition of self. The ?I? is the proxy for consciousness but is not consciousness because consciousness is fragmented and the I is a fragmentation. It is just a conditioned part of the mind (let me use that word instead) taking credit for the entire thing. Stephen said ?when the I is not, then it will be clear what I am not.? Now what would it mean not to have a self or to see the self as just a word in the mind instead of the thought that it is the entire mind? Wouldn't this mean if it were a conditioning, that the word might exist without the emotion? A conditioning is the creating of an emotional response in man and attaching it to something that is not necessarily the thing. The ?self? both left and right brain is quite an emotional experience for man. We protect it with zeal when it is threatened and object vehemently when its pleasures are taken away from it.

Max, I don't think the parents could convince their child easily what a mistake it was once they were to realize it themselves. K basically said that once when he said if he had a child, there would be no guarantee he would understand him either. I think the genetic, biological emotions of fear and pleasure as used for conditioning the body and mind are very real and very powerful once they take hold of the mind. Also, you have a society rewarding you for your conditionings because they hold the very fabric of society together and who wants to be different and ostracized for some weird thinking that we don't exist as a separate thinking ?I? like everyone else is thinking?

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Fri, 11 Sep 2009 #27
Thumb_original_avatar max greene United States 235 posts in this forum Offline

Phil,

You write, "A conditioning is the creating of an emotional response in man and attaching it to something that is not necessarily the thing. The ?self? both left and right brain is quite an emotional experience for man."

For Pavlov's dogs, was it determined that the conditioned response was emotional? Is human conditioning, in all cases, an emotional response? Lastly, is the Self only emotion? It would appear not, since factual memory is not emotion.

It would seem to me that without the surrogate "I" the emotions have no valid reference. The body doesn't need them, and the Self is, in its "pure" state, memory, which also has no need for emotion. Emotion is included in the Self, but it seems to be "pulled up" only for the "I."

And you write, "I think the genetic, biological emotions of fear and pleasure as used for conditioning the body and mind are very real and very powerful . . . "

Couple of things, here. First, are the two emotions, fear and pleasure, biological and (referring back to the above) not a result of conditioning? Second, I wonder whether emotions--the sensations--have any useful biological purpose. The chemical reactions that give rise to the feelings may well have a biological purpose, but the sensations themselves appear on the scene only with the phony "I." Take away the "I" and the emotion (sensation, or feeling) goes with it.

max

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Sat, 12 Sep 2009 #28
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

max greene wrote:
For Pavlov's dogs, was it determined that the conditioned response was emotional? Is human conditioning, in all cases, an emotional response? Lastly, is the Self only emotion? It would appear not, since factual memory is not emotion.

I use Pavlov's dogs as an example of conditioning but we cant equate the animal conditioned to the human conditioning exactly. It's more that the stimulus response example is similar by the definition. Its true that the saliva response is an instinctual response as are fear and pleasure but are the dogs or our responses used exactly as they were designed genetically or are they conditioned; this is the real comparison. Yes conditioned response in the human state involves emotion. The self is a thought not an emotion. The self is supported as being real by the emotion that thought thinks is the self. In other words, thought which is always identifying things has identified the thought of ?I? to be one and the same as the emotion which appears to be the ?I;? yet that emotion is fear or pleasure which belong to something else. Now that is like Pavlov where the dog responds with the reality of salivating when it hears a bell although food is not there. Man likewise responds with fear when something in memory is attacked but the memory is not the thing which would be an actual attack. Your statement that factual memory is not emotion is absolutely correct. Simple learning is not conditioning. It is conditioning when it is learned within the emotional system's attachment to it. The ?I? is not the self but a simple memory. The self is the interpretation of the body that the sum total of all the ?I's? we have in our memory are really one; i.e. I was there yesterday, I am here now, I will be there tomorrow are three separate simple memories of ?I? but there is no self who the three words attempt to identify.

max greene wrote:
It would seem to me that without the surrogate "I" the emotions have no valid reference. The body doesn't need them, and the Self is, in its "pure" state, memory, which also has no need for emotion. Emotion is included in the Self, but it seems to be "pulled up" only for the "I."

I really think this statement if read carefully by anyone is totally insightful and totally true. Let me add to it. If one stops fearing or pleasing memories of himself, those emotional attachments will end. These are the conditioned states.

max greene wrote:
And you write, "I think the genetic, biological emotions of fear and pleasure as used for conditioning the body and mind are very real and very powerful . . . "
Couple of things, here. First, are the two emotions, fear and pleasure, biological and (referring back to the above) not a result of conditioning? Second, I wonder whether emotions--the sensations--have any useful biological purpose. The chemical reactions that give rise to the feelings may well have a biological purpose, but the sensations themselves appear on the scene only with the phony "I." Take away the "I" and the emotion (sensation, or feeling) goes with it.

This last quote is a little more difficult because we have the emotions and sensations to keep the body in homeostasis biologically. Just because thought screws them up and interprets them in conditioned fashion based on how society has decided to use thought and conditioning doesn't mean that emotions and sensations aren't necessary on some level of the body response. This analysis will take some real self-knowledge for a person to understand himself and figure out the truth and the actuality. It is a very difficult thing for man to understand the truth of his conditioning. To go further in to the validity of emotions takes the ending of the self and its delusional attachment to all the emotions which creates this overall illusion that there is a center to consciousness.

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Sat, 12 Sep 2009 #29
Thumb_original_avatar max greene United States 235 posts in this forum Offline

Phil,

What follows isn't in any order based on your last writing, but just general discussion.

You said "the saliva response is an instinctual response as are fear and pleasure." The dog's response is physical, genetic, and classically instinctual. But are the sensations of fear and pleasure physical? Are they genetic? Why aren't they like any other emotion but perhaps more primeval. They might be opposite poles that were the only emotions felt by our ancestors, and all the other emotions are evolved variations and blends.

"Simple learning is not conditioning." Why doesn't "conditioning" mean just that. . .conditioning.
You condition a table by putting a coat of varnish on it--that is, you change the table's condition. You learn your ABC's. Your condition is changed a bit from one of previous total illiteracy. I realize this interpretation isn't considered classic conditioning. Classic conditioning is Pavlov's dogs salivating for the sound of a bell rather than for the food itself. But can't we say in this case as well that the dogs' behavior has been changed, that they have learned something new and that their condition has thereby been altered?

We're getting into some good stuff here: "The ?I? is not the self but a simple memory." And also, "The self is a thought not an emotion. The self is supported as being real by the emotion that thought thinks is the self."

I've said that I've come recently to consider the entire consciousness to be the self. The "I" seems to me to be a thought (left brain?) that we artificially hold separate from the self. The self and the "I," whether one or separate, are the total of the thoughts, memories, emotions or whatever else, that we have formed (created) and are therefore in the past. But we ourselves are living creatures, and so we are alive now, in the present. So we have the self, whatever it is, and we have the "I." Neither is actually us. The self/"I" is psychological baggage that we carry with us, and should not in the least be called an entity. Is there a better word than either "self" or "I" to describe this baggage?

max

This post was last updated by max greene Sat, 12 Sep 2009.

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Sun, 13 Sep 2009 #30
Thumb_brain1_f phil K United States 351 posts in this forum Offline

Max:

Fear and Pleasure are definitely genetic and may not have changed in the human animal for some 100,000 years except for some isolated culture's inbred changes. They are put in the animal for homeostasis- fear to protect us and pleasure to reward us for reproduction, we might say. Now how these are directed has been taken by culture in thought and now thought causes them to come up when the thought of the culture says that is a fear and that is a pleasure. Then after thought has learned that the emotional responses are supposed to come up, the conditioned response happens which are the feelings of fear and pleasure. These are for sure physical and so are the responses to the emotions because we respond in action. If the response comes from a conditioned fear or conditioned pleasure, the action is considered to be a conditioned response as we learn in our individual culture how we are to respond. This is not necessarily right action. Maybe in civilized cultures the actions may appear to be right action as in church people who do wonderful things for people in need. The question becomes whether mankind needs to be conditioned to do right action or is right action there if man is free from conditioning? Most religions don't think so. They think we are born ?of sin? and the child needs conditioning to turn him in to a civilized person and thus we use the instinctual fear and pleasure emotions to turn thought in to what culture wants it to be. The problem is people don't believe in simple learning as something the child can use to make right action and therefore, all cultures choose conditioning to teach. Once this process is begun by adults, it is a never ending battle especially in the case of pleasure because the mind is subject to addiction to its own brain chemicals.

Now, where does the self come in. It comes in at the moment of fear/ego being attached to an illusion that there is a center to thinking- a thinker. Take a child and reward him with good boy or bad boy statements and you are creating not only a ?boy? as image in his mind but a ?center? as thinker who must be the person this parent or person in society is talking to. After all, how could I be a good boy if I weren't a ?boy? and if I weren't doing something right or wrong by some kind of intention of this ?center.? So if we want to change the word self, we have to change it to center. And the ?boy? is still the image and the hard part because he is a boy by definition.

I think the consciousness is just made up of individual memories and, therefore, cannot be a whole as in being the self. If anything, each time one living in the conditioned state of selfness remembers something, that memory can be a self if the memory is attached to the fear/pleasure because as we re-experience our memories and say I did that, we can repeat the fear or pleasure. And if we believe in a self as a oneness, we again reinforce the fear or pleasure for the next time we bring it up.

If we want to end this ?baggage? as you term it so rightfully, we must see this entire mistake in a moment when the baggage is not working to put its order in the statements so that it can remain intact. Let's call it a moment of awareness when the mind is silent and a feeling comes up with a thought and the mind sees the mistake that the feeling/emotion goes with something else and not that thought. If only the little doggies realized this when they saw that supposedly, cruel, scientist Pavlov ring that bell! Sometimes I wonder if we are any smarter than his dogs....lol.

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