Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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The brain only wants to feel better, and so it deludes itself


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Wed, 07 Dec 2016 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

A week or two ago I planted a shelter hedge of trees for a friend, on her new property. There were 22 trees, the soil had to be well prepared and fertilised, and so it was a considerable amount of work, taking over a week I think. Yesterday I noticed some of the trees were suffering from a sort of die back on some of the some leaves and stems.

Obviously, in the normal course of things, this would represent considerable disappointment to the mind. And that disappointment would bring pain. And also uncertainty, fear, about whether the condition would worsen, whether all the trees would die, in fact. All this was realised in a moment.

And then the mind did a remarkable thing. There was no mistaking it. It tried to pretend that the disease wasn't there. It tried to suppress all knowledge of what had been actually observed. It wanted to carry on, undisturbed. To do this, it was willing to distort actuality.

It actually was not able to do this because its movement had been observed. And I was able to reflect one what had been seen.

When the brain is faced with a challenge, that challenge may be disturbing. Perhaps it always is. The brain does not like to be disturbed (except perhaps by pleasure). It interprets disturbance as painful, as insecurity, And so it needs to meet the challenge, to try to remove the disturbance, the pain. This sounds reasonable, if it acts logically, sanely, to solve the problem that is causing the disturbance. Like, for example, if the body is in need of food, the brain organises eating.

But in actual fact what the brain (usually or often?) does is simply find the easiest way to remove the discomfort that it is feeling. This might be to ignore the problem altogether, as I described above, to pretend that it does not exist! Probably we have all noticed this movement in ourselves. This method rarely works, in fact, as the actual problem may get worse and worse, and eventually 'explode' in some way.

If the brain cannot simply ignore/supress the disturbance, it has another trick. It deludes itself. To come back to my original personal story, the brain says “It is not a disease, it is merely a touch of sunburn, and can be ignored. I need not think about it further”. But for the brain to enter illusion in order to feel better has immense consequences, far greater than this hedge example. Seems to me it is this movement that is now responsible for the terrible consequences of climate change.

So the brain does not act intelligently. It is concerned purely with 'feeling good', and it acts in a terribly limited way so that it can continue to 'feel good' Until some sort of collapse occurs, something blows up.

And I would say that it is not just the individual brain that does this. The collective mind acts in a similar way - governments, etc. But I am feeling tired of writing for the moment, perhaps someone else will take this up.

Unsure whether to start a new thread on this. Maybe I will.

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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 #2
Thumb_040820112917 mohit barguja India 1 post in this forum Offline

Happens with me all the time.

let it go

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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 #3
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
So the brain does not act intelligently. It is concerned purely with 'feeling good', and it acts in a terribly limited way so that it can continue to 'feel good' Until some sort of collapse occurs, something blows up.

This sounds to me like a description of the 'wrong turning'. Where the brain created a psychological image of a 'self', itself? Thought centered around this image and created the 'individual' me and mine. It isolated itself with this 'I' process and went forth in ignorance of what we truly are, "the world". The result is our bloody history.

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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 #4
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

mohit barguja wrote:
Happens with me all the time.

Hi Mohit. Gosh, you must have done some searching through the archives to come up with this one! But yes, it still seems true to me.

(But first let me bring people up to date about the hedge; turns out it was frost damage. It got worse through the winter, but recovered in the Summer and is growing away nicely. Shortly, I suspect, to be damaged again as Winter starts here in NZ) :-)

It's a bit of a frightening thing, that the mind will put aside what is actual, a real situation, by deceiving itself in order to feel better, to serve itself. We have a good example in the current president of the USA, and him with a finger on the nuclear war button. Am I deceiving myself in thinking there used to be statesmen, who could at least put aside their own ego when making decisions which affected the world?

In your own case, Mohit, you say it happens with you all the time. I believe you are an Engineer? Do you find yourself putting aside the laws of physics when, say, building a bridge, because the consequences don't please the ego?

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Tue, 05 Jun 2018 #5
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

When the mind acts, as we have described, to make itself feel good, or better, or try to stop itself feeling bad – or really acts ‘on its own program’ in any way, it is clear that it is not acting from intelligence. It is not acting according to what is truly necessary, what is appropriate. Appropriate for the good of others, for the good of the environment, even for the good of one’s own body. Or the mind as a whole.

This is what passes for ‘self interest’. Which is a curious phrase, as it is in nobody’s interest really. It just serves immediate pleasure or relief, but it sooner or later – generally sooner - brings about frustration, and only creates more problems

And this is the human situation, and such action brings about great disorder. Personally and socially. I think this is clear.

So one comes to the fundamental question: why does the brain act this way? Why is it so blind? Why does it not see what is happening, as I have described above, and drop this self-centred action? This seems to have been a question – why mankind does not change – that Krishnamurti asked over and over again, throughout his life. The question is still there.

(Interesting, is it not, what the observation of some bushes, and, more so, the observation of a small reaction of thought, can lead to?)

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