Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Krishnamurti and revolution of consciousness as the only possible revolution

I found Jiddu Krishnamurti for about two decades ago as I tried to understand my own "Great Experience". A couple of days ago, after realization that the writing hours are over for this particular day, I went to Youtube. It occurred to me that I could try to find some material about Krishnamurti and indeed found some videos and looked them through. Krishnamurti is a representative of a long tradition in Eastern philosophy and there are also many other thinkers and gurus representing similar vision about what is good life (see for instance this) but it somehow seems that Krishnamurti has been able to catch the attention of westeners especially well.

I have experienced Krishnamurti's strange charisma through written texts translated also into Finnish. As a matter fact, I do not know of any other writer who would be so concretely present through his texts. His charisma is equally powerful in these videos. He talks slowly with eyes directed to the distance, there is no hurry to anywhere, no need to impress anyone, he just allows the thoughts to articulate themselves. What a difference to the raging Hitler or a slippery politician. In one video Krishamurti talks about attention, about what a totally devoted listening is, and manages to get his listeners to this state: audience indeed seems to become a part of Krishnamurti just as he told to happen in full attentiveness. Something about his charisma tells the fact that he has been offered the honor of being declared to be a God! Also something about Krishamurti tells his refusal from the honor.

What is so special in Krishnamurti that he refused to take the role of a religious leader or a guru or a philosopher. No doubt he was and still is one of the most influental spiritual leaders and thinkers but regards all systems, be they religions, political ideologies, or scientific or philosophical dogmas only as forms of spiritual, psychological, or intellectual violence and thus sources of suffering. His view about good life could perhaps be called loving anarchism.

For Krishnamurti philosophy is not a library of thick dusty books containing academic articles written with boring jargon with long lists of references at the end. For Krishnamurti philosophy is very simple and concrete. Not longwindy ontologizing or epistemologizing but talk about the importance of inner harmony, about why this harmony is lost, and about how this harmony could be achieved again.

Changing the external world does not help

All of use have a lot of problems and the key message of Krishnamurti is that fear is our basic problem. Do I get a job? Do I lose my job? Do I suffer burnout? Does this happen to some of my beloved ones? There are myriads of fears about social humiliations. Perhaps I am not so good as my competitor in this or that respect and I will be rejected. Or perhaps some of these small and not always so small lies that me and everyone find so difficult to avoid in our social games become to the daylight in some unhappy situation and I lose my face totally.

We try get get rid of our inner problems basically created by these fears by projecting them to the external world and by manipulating it to find the solution. We have created magnificent technology, we have developed a lot of well-fare and safety, we have developed political ideologies providing recipes for achieving a better world. We are however not happy. We are unable to live in this moment enjoying it, a skill that every five year old has.

Mechanical thinking as the source of problems

Why this failure? Why are we still afraid and suffering. And what is the source of all these fears? What creates them? The answer is simple: thinking!

This is a statement that certainly induces protests in scientist who are so proud of the thinking abilities. But what thinking - as Krishnamurti defines it - is? Thinking means for Krishnamurti a mechanical simulation, using memories of the past as rules allowing to build predictive and deterministic models or reality. Thinking is based on the belief that if A implied B in the past it does so also in the future. Mechanistic thinking - trying to force something which is inherently non-deterministic to be deterministic - is the quintessence of all violence and violence always creates unhappiness.

Comparison, a decision that this is better than that, is second basic element of thought. This comparison aspect is already built in the sensory perception and at the level of emotions leads to this endless comparison of what I have to what others have.

Division of the world into internal and external is third basic aspect of the state of consciousness that we call thinking. The external world is by definition something which we can manipulate at will at least if it is "dead". This is a practical conceptual division the reality of which we rarely challenge.

To avoid misunderstandings, it must be said that Krishnamurti distinguishes carefully between thinking and intelligence (understanding, insight, intuition, a direct perception of truth: as you wish). The latter is a creative process of discovery rather than an application of a mere mechanical deduction based on rules deduced by making the wrong assumtion that the world is deterministic machine. Somewhat like discovering a new mathematical truth not deducible from the axioms of an existing mathematical system.

Fear is created when you start to live in an imagined deterministic model reality constructed from this memory stuff and performing these endless comparisons between the real outcome and the prediction simulation and finding that they do not fit. Fear is fear of non-determinism. Fear is created when your attention is not in now, but in the deterministic simulation: either in the past which is also a simulation of the world created by our brain or in the imagined future constructed from the memories. Ironically, when you are in a real danger, you are not afraid at all: you are fully attentive and alert and you act instead of thinking mechanically!

Controlling the external world

To get rid of these fears that mechanical thinking creates, we invent the idea of controlling and manipulating the external world to make it predictable.

At the social level the only manner to achieve predictability is power but you cannot gain it without some violence since you are not the only one who discovered this magic substance. Everywhere a merciless fight for this social resource is raging behind the facade of polite manners. Someone manages to steal it more than others but knows that he can lose it any time and competitors do not hesitate at the moment of revenge. The winner meets his old friend fear again: at this time this old friend threatens to make him a hallucinating paranoid unable to trust even his closest friends.

A more refined manner to control external world is to become a guru: religious leader, a founder of some ism in arts, or a scientist creating a new paradigm. The idea is ingenious: if you get the mind of the followers into your control by brainwashing them, they assimilate the survival of the belief system with their own survival. No need for a direct control anymore. System becomes self sustaining! You can even avoid death since you thoughts continue to control the brains of the followers. But again! There is this merciless competition and debunking into heretics and crackpots, and there is no guarantee that the leading figure of today is tomorrow's crackpot. Theories can turn out to be wrong and isms are replaced with new isms.

We can also try to gain a control over the external physical world instead of humans around us. This sounds much more innocent, rational, and also ethical. We have indeed developed a refined technology - all kinds of refined technologies - to make the world safer and more predictable place to live. Now we are trying to transform the entire society to an enormous computer program in order to achieve the optimal predictability. Unfortunately, the environment does not seem to like at all of this predictability: species are suffering extinction, there is a huge environmental crisis, our natural resources are coming to an end, climate is warming,...: the list is long.

Why this? Somehow the sad outcome must relate to the fact that predictability means less information, less variation, mono-culture. At more profound level the explanation is that this environent, this external world, is not actually dead matter, it lives, and our engineering activities are doing violence for it and it is suffering. Even more: in some hidden sense it seems that we ourselves are the environment: we are suffering!

Indeed, despite all this top technology and all these environmental sacrifices very many of us agree that our life has become miserable. Never have human beings been so desperately lonely as in this post-modern western society. Never have they seen so much ugliness. The life as a part of computer program is predictable but extremely boring. But again technology promises a cure. For instance, in a form of program formats (predictability!). We can replace our life with virtual life through TV programs and through "Reality TV", versions of Wonderful Nature programs with animals replaced by individuals of our species behaving as vulgar Darwinistic animals are expected to behave.

These programs actually give a school example about how fear transforms to a sadistic misuse of power. We want to participate coffee table discussions since we are afraid that otherwise we would experience the same fate as those kicked out from the survival series of reality TV. To participate we must know something about the stuff that went in TV last evening. This knowledge has become a social currency. So valuable a currency that we are ready to devote our attention evening after evening to a totally disgusting trash. Not only all these silly TV series telling about ego-centered idiots behaving like monsters towards each other but also these "reality TV" series, where people are humiliated in all manners that a totally insane psychopath can invent. Those who are responsible for this have long time ago realized that they have quite impressive power over people: they can force us to eat shit just because we want to belong to the group.

The revolution

The above represents essentially Krishnamurti's diagnosis of what is wrong with our consciousness. The crisis of our civilization is a crisis of consciousness and can be solved only by a profound revolution in the qualitative character of consciousness. What could be this transformation?

Everyone has had moments when fear and worries about tomorrow are absent: when we are laughing in a good company we are not conscious of our worries and fears. Those laughing friendly people around me have replaced my worrying ego, I am conscious but conscious about something else. It is not this dull ego who invents a brilliant joke but this happy group of people which talks and laughs through me and others. Get rid of ego who tries to force the universe to be a deterministic machine and let go; find the real me, the creator, masked by this ego; discover the forgotten connection with the world so that it ceases to be external. Accept as a fact that the universe is constantly recreating itself. This is the crux of the revolution.

The new way to see the world

This revolution of consciousness means many things and every ego interprets it in this own manner. So do I and what follows contains my own ideas and beliefs and is far not being so pure and crystallized as the vision of Krishnamurti.

Certainly the revolution means realizing that I am in a deeper spiritual sense absolutely unique: there are no copies about me. There can be no external authorities able to tell how I should live and think and feel and there are no measures allowing to tell how valuable this particular me is.

There is also the mystic experience for which many names have been given, Brahman=Atman is only one of them. Physicist would talk about hologram. The division intop external world and me disappears. This real me is or represents or experiences in some profound sense the entire Universe. Since there is nothing exterior to me to threat me, there can be no fear. And there is no need to give lectures in ethics to a person experiencing the world as part of himself and able to feel directly the pain that he produces to another human beings by acting unethically.

The fate of this biological body of mine is an endless source of worries and fears. The revolution of consciousness means getting rid of the attention directed only to this biological body and its worries masking the experience of the unity with the surrounding world which is actually always at the background. This revolution of consciousness brings also the discovery that there is no real death. After all, biological body is only one particular mental image and biological death is just directing attention to something more interesting. Could it be simpler and more obvious!

Thinking and fears relate closely to our common mis-understandings about time. Also the view about time changes. One can experience the paradoxical identification of single moment as eternity repeating itself in poetry: nothing but the temporal counterpart for Brahman = Atman. The recent linguistic reportoare of science is still far from being able to transform this paradox to an apparent one.

Also the view about relation of death to time changes. It is hard to articulate this linguistically and the following is only my own atttempt. Any physical object has boundary in space and there is nothing dramatic in this. Any physical object has also boundary in time direction and there is nothing dramatic in this either: biological death becomes only a boundary of the sensory me in time direction. Visiting the boundary does not mean that what exists behind me disappears: it is still there -also in temporal sense- and biological death becomes an exotic experience, not the end point of bodily humiliations followed by a final loss of the tortured consciousness.

One root of sorrow is the belief that what is done cannot be undone. Many scientists still work hard to believe that we live in a clockwork universe where everything is predetermined so that we are powerless victims of our fate. The discovery that the basic aspect of consciousness is to re-create the universe again and again allows to get rid of this source of sorrow: in this infinitely creative existence it is never too late and everything is possible.

How to achieve the revolution and why it is so difficult?

Krishnamurti does not promise any miracle healings. The revolution of consciousness does not mean central committers nor local committees nor politruks. It requires only hard work to become conscious of all these fears, to admit and accept them, to see them in action as a healer rather than a patient, and finally to realize that the fears have disappeared. Certainly this happens at the moment of biological death when the worries about the future of this biological body dissolve. But why should we wait so long: we can study and at the same time engineer - or rather heal - our own consciousness just like we can study and engineer as healers the world which we once regarded as external.

Simple! Isn't it! But I know from my personal experience that for a scientist it is especially difficult to achieve this goal. All this bitterness and hatred due to these continual humiliations that scientists are so cleverly doing to each other behind polite protocols: this is an extremely heavy and painful load which manages again and again to suck you you to the cycles of mechanical thought. And many scientists regard ideal thinking as something extremely valuable and regard insights and visions as something which should but unfortunately cannot be totally avoided!

The basic dogma of the materialistic science is a declaration of war against reality: the universe is deterministic: to think otherwise is non-scientific. Quite a many neuro scientist tries to see brain as a deterministic machine and develops extremely complex arguments in an attempt to understand free will and consciousness as an illusion (think carefully what this concept might mean!). Biologists in turn make their best to believe on genetic determinism.

We have also heavy religious backgrounds. Christian religion is based on supreme external authority: the Bible. And Christianity is a religion of violence. Christian God is a merciless psychopath. He teased Job like a cat teases mouse after having made a bet with Devil! He tortured and killed his own Son. And what was his motivation? What would you do if someone would come and say "You have done many bad things to me. I should punish you but I murdered my own family so that your sins are forgiven! Be happy!".

Luther took this idea to extreme. The God of Luther was Stalin: he gives you a mercy or not and it has absolutely nothing to do with what you are or what you do. Around the age of nine I experienced a kind of religious awaking (fortunately rather short-lasting!) due to the Lutherian brainwashing in school: I prayed every evening that this Mad Man would not decide to kill my family and my relatives during the night and would save also others. But not because of me! This I had learned to add so that this Psychopath would not get a reason to kill someone for my selfishness.

Our religous leaders are images of our God as sons of their father. Luther gave his blessing for a mass murder of peasants who had been inspired by Luther's own rebel against authorities. The former Pope did not allow abort for a ten year old girl raped by his father. Pope had quite different attitude towards pedophilia of homosexual priests: fortunately the situation is changing now.

We have our backgrounds and it takes long time time to get rid of them. Christianity shares a lot of good with other forms of spirituality and it has also created wonderful art but insanity is insanity and we should get rid of insanity.


At 9:31 AM, Anonymous D. said...

Consoling to open his heart and his spirit liberty freely can travel you return him a fitting homage

At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written. It made a complete sense of Krishnamurti's
writings. Very simple to understand.nfgzhi

At 1:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good text.


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