Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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James Turner's Forum Activity | 7 posts in 2 forums


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Forum: Serious Debate Tue, 28 Jul 2009
Topic: Are We Conditioned ? If So Why?

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.

Forum: K, psychology and the physical brain Fri, 18 Sep 2009
Topic: Classic Conditioning

Consciousness is a word used in different ways. The two main ways I've come across are:

1) Consciousness is thought. I think K used it this way when he said "Consciousness is its content", and then went on to speak of emptying consiousness of its content, and "going beyond". Consiousness here is to do with the "I" or self.

2) Any kind of awareness or feeling or perception in the brain, that happens when awake or dreaming, including thought, any kind of experience or contact with anything inside or outside the mind, brain, emotions, any image or hallucination or seeing/hearing/touch/smell, etc, as it happens, in the present moment, whether clear or confused, involving the "I" or self, or not involving the "I" or self. Theories of consiousness that try to explain it in terms of neurology or quantum mechanics or matter and energy, usually mean this way. But there are confusions!

Self is another word used with different meanings. The main two:

1) I think K used "self" to mean pretty much the same thing as "the me" or "I". The thing that has ideas and images about itself, has been hurt and still gets hurt. The thing that is conditioned, shaped by experience, rewards and punishments. You could think of it as one self, or a nexus of selves, it is of little importance. There is an assemblage of fragments, of different ages, some frequently in action, others seldom, some just die and drop out of use. All kinds of change and modifications. Variations from individual to individual. Etc.

2) Self can also simply mean "this person", myself, condioned or not conditioned.

Discussions in this area can get incredibly confusing if it isn't clear which meaning we mean.

James Turner

Forum: K, psychology and the physical brain Mon, 21 Sep 2009
Topic: Classic Conditioning

Max,

max greene wrote: What I'm saying is that there is a state before conditioning, and that is the state of living. Consciousness prevents us from realizing this state.

The only state is the state one is in, the truth of what one is. Thinking of states we want means thinking of an idea of a better state. But the only real state is this, the one that I'm actually in. So I have to explore that. Any change can only come out of my exploration of what I am, or what is. And I don't know in advance what that change is going to be. It will happen spontaneously, if it happens at all. One is conditioned from birth to think, I must become something better, because what I am is not really much good. The christians used to think that nothing less than the reward and punishment twins of eternal bliss and eternal torture would be enough to make us better human beings. Pavlov didn't invent conditioning! The very desire to realize a state is itself a piece of conditioned consciousness. I don't think you can bypass conditioning if you are conditioned. You can only BE conditioned, and observe it with great care and without any judgement or labelling it as good or bad.

James

Forum: K, psychology and the physical brain Wed, 23 Sep 2009
Topic: Classic Conditioning

Prasanna P wrote: 'I' has 2 natural states, and another state is added due to damage or fragmentation. Generally, the 'I' in all of us is talking as though it is in one state and also always, whereas it is constantly changing.

The "I" or self - isn't it an illusion? How can an illusion have different states? An illusion is something that if we really look at it, then it drops away, vanishes, or at least we can see it is an illusion and we'll act accordingly, or the very seeing that it is an illusion is action. This is a little bit difficult to say but in essence it is very simple.

Being caught in the net of illusion is something, it would probably show up on a brain scan if we knew what to look for. It makes a difference. So there may be different states within the illusion. But I think it is more important actually to look around oneself and see what is happening, to look within and without, the thoughts and feelings and so on, responses to stimuli (seeing this is under a conditioning topic), than to list states and analyse them. There may be "milage" in that, but that's all. Just milage. Nothing at the end of it but more lists, more analysis, more miles of words! What do you say?

Forum: K, psychology and the physical brain Wed, 23 Sep 2009
Topic: Classic Conditioning

Can I say something that is not a response to a recent post, but is close to the topic of this forum, which is classic conditioning? Pavlov is famous for his experiments on dogs, investigating the phenomenon of the conditioned reflex. They were rather strange, these experiments, the whole concept, one wonders why he went to so much trouble grooming the dogs for the lab, being so careful to exclude all extraneous noise so the dog is only responding to the stimulus presented to it by the experimenter. Surely this is not how a dog normally learns? I think this is a case of Physics-envy, an attempt to introduce the scientific rigor of physics into psychology. For Pavlov it was the first step towards understanding human consciousness, which he suspected was a system of reflexes.

One is reminded of what K often said about concentration in the classroom, telling the pupil not to look out of the window, but forcing his/her mind on to the topic or the piece of mathematics or whatever. Being in harness in the lab was even more "unnatural" for the dog than being in class is for the child - even more of an imposition, a cruelty. One dog that Pavlov wrote about began to shake and bark just when it was put in the harness in the lab to accustom it (grooming). Instead of gradually getting used to its new surroundings and becoming ready to be experimented upon, like the other dogs, this dog got more and more shakey and noisy, till finally it had to be abandonded as a possible experimental subject. Pavlov called this behaviour "the freedom reflex". What do you think of that? The freedom reflex. That dog had more sense than the famous Nobel Prize winner, I reckon. If dear old Pavlov had a bit of freedom reflex left in him, none of those dogs would have had to endure the torture his team inflicted upon them.

Forum: K, psychology and the physical brain Thu, 24 Sep 2009
Topic: Classic Conditioning

phil K wrote: So after rereading just now what you said let me sum up: observing, thinking, perceiving, intelligence, intentionality, awareness, etc. are not functions of the selves but processes of the human animal.

Phil, it seems to me that thinking is not separate from the self. The self is thought, a bundle of thoughts, bundles of bundles of thoughts. We learn about the self by watching thoughts. Thinking is also a process of the human animal. I think someone in the forum has already said that thinking can be attached to emotion or not. Thinking can be just neutral with regard to desire and ambition and wanting. Thinking is clearly necessary and part of being human. Speech and language are part of thinking. There is no self apart from its thoughts.

There is nothing wrong with the self or with emotion or with thought. The point is to find out about it factually, by direct observation of oneself, without trying to get rid of any of it, or going after or holding onto or grabbing at any other parts of it. Then it starts to get interesting.

I don't think it is too important to try to define words like self or "I". It is usually becomes clear from the context what is being meant by these words. The urge to define can lead to analysis without end and complexity without end. Philosophers earn their livings at this kind of stuff. It has a certain interest. Bits of it I find fascinating at times, in certain moods. But most of it is circular, and red herrings, and blind alleys, great areas of complex fog, words upon words upon words. I want to be learning from life.

Forum: K, psychology and the physical brain Wed, 30 Sep 2009
Topic: Classic Conditioning

Phil

phil K wrote: It will be my spe that the left brain conditionings are the hardest to end. It will be my speculation that K never got this all across because he didn't quite understand all of it as he was not very favorable of the left brain/thought world. It's funny though as he had to use the left brain for all his speeches and this should be a part of the discussion if we go on. So do we end this forum here or do we start to go beyond what K tried and look, using language, at this subconscious and maybe the unknown turning some of it into the known so we can end it. I think this will be unchartered territory.

K did discuss all this many many times, in extraordinary detail if you take all of his talks and writings, only he didn't use the same terminology. He used the word control. He used the word self. He said "you can't do anything" to achieve enlightenment, or wholeness, or whatever. It is all there, althought not expressed in the neurological right-brain left-brain jargon. Personally I find that jargon unhelpful. I'd rather talk always directly in terms of the characteristics of whatever half-brain - language, control, intuition, direct contact, learning with the body, etc. K said "the body has its own intelligence". That to me says everything we need to know about the right brain and more.

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