Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fear and the Unknown

"Why should one be afraid of the unknown, when you know nothing about it?"- J. Krishnamurti

The western world has instilled in us the desire to be at the forefront of civilization. A part of that is the notion of 'conquering nature' through science and religion. It was the yearn to explain what they did not understand that placed 'religion' at the helm of 'progress' in the mind of the western world. After it's limitations were revealed it was replaced by science. Still, western man's 'manifest destiny' against nature was perpetuated by the continual development of technology and it's usage as a means to control any and everything.

The carving up of Mother Earth was not enough- lines drawn in sand and soil, imaginary boundaries projected across bodies of water and planes of atmosphere. Divide and conquer has been and continues to be the motto of 'modern man'. Some will say that it is the desire to 'know' that drives man to the edges of space and into deep canyons in the oceans in search of information and understanding. Others will attempt to justify this obession with Biblical references claiming that man was given dominion over the birds, bees and trees by a mysterious omnipotent figure tucked away in a spiritual Never Never Land. While I personally think that these two view points are valid and both contribute to the planetary maylay taking place, another factor so often ommitted seems to be a more predominant factor- fear.

Fear of the 'known' is what drives the western mindstate to 'know'. Fear nurtures insecurity. It is a kind of restlessness within the self. Many human beings feel very insecure about their place in the cosmos and on this beautiful planet. Our ego's have become so comfortable with the luxury our of higher degree of intelligence, that they would be crushed at the thought of stepping down from the pedestal of greatness we've exhalted ourselves to. We our great, no doubt, yet it is our fear and ignorance that fosters the need to prove such at the expense of other forms of life and matter. So now we trek across the planet looking for life to poke, prod, classify and label within the narrow scope of the western understanding of the universe. We are quite frankly afraid to 'not know' as if this would in anyway reduce us to a menial existance or relinquish our status as ' best knowers'. We fail to realize that the 'best knower' is he or she who knows when they know not- and not he or she who thinks they know best and really knows nothing. As human beings, we are the only creatures who wear our emotions and our ego's on our sleeves.

"Not knowing" shouldn't be despised or feared. The 'unknown' should be embraced. It should be a motivating factor to learn more and appreciate more of the universe and ourselves. It shouldn't be used as a mental construct and scapegoat to conquer and control what we don't understand. We have this sickening perspective of ourselves as either the 'greatest' thing in the universe or the smallest and most meaningless creature in the cosmos, a product of polar thinking and ultimately the prison house of the self. There needs to be a balance, an appreciable degree of equality in our understanding of our relationship with all things. This is the wisdom of the culture or way of life of our ancestors, as they sought to be in harmony with nature and the universe, and not at odds with them.

Western thought has pushed us into a race to preserve our state of comfort and luxury, that which was fostered from technology. It has searched the planet and cosmos to attempt to understand it's form and functions, only to then attempt to deconstruct and manipulate it for man's own selfish benefit, that is, to preserve this self assumed position of dominance and to prolong this rule by prolonging both civilizations existance on a whole, and our individual existances'. Yet, all things physical have a beginning and an ending. This self assumed dominance has become familiar to us and to such a degree that it is all that we 'know', since it is all that we have witnessed since the dawn of the 'west'. So we have come to accept it and expect it. Any perspective of humanity outside of this narrow vision is foreign and 'unknown', and makes us feel insecure.

Fear, as insecurity, breeds insides of us because we have become resistant to 'change', to the fluidity of life and the mathematics of the universe. We become hardwired into social conditions which influence our perspective of the world. This stunted perspective affects our ability to appreciate what we are able to receive from the unknown, the information we collect, as it is so often only used to protect our current state of existance and buffer any threats to our emotional and psychological stability. Of course, these social conditions are what allows us to find comfort in our economic and cultural status within a society and has become what is most important us and ultimately what is the most worth preserving. Not life itself, but life as we 'want' to experience it. For the average person, there becomes no interest in 'knowing' anything outside of these conditions which creates distances between oneself and the world around them, distances which are likes gaps that become filled in with fear.

We have to shed our fear of not knowing and strive to understanding that all things are capable of being known, once we know ourselves. We can travel the cosmos and learn about everything we come across, still not knowing anything about who we are.

"People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar."- Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Science of Self

"Your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life."- J. Krishnamurti

It is our disenchantment with our lives and our misunderstanding of the universe which produces this mental construct of an omniscent personality distinct and distant from ourselves. Human beings continue to frolick in the playground of the imagination when we fail to grow up and grow into a deeper and clearer understanding of ourselves. The notion of a 'higher being' implies that we as intelligent beings are still 'lower' on the proverbial totem pole of life. It is a notion that perpetuates an image of ourselves as the bumbling idiots of the cosmos. We must recognize that it is also a notion that was fostered as a means to 'separate' us from the web of life, the sacred hoop, as if we were existing in isolation from everything in the universe, a notion that ultimately implies a need for human beings to seek guidance and control from someone or something other than and outside of ourselves. Only children need guidance, and from their parents, only to the degree where we are endowed with the same ability as our parents, as parents. Their goal is not to eternally enslave us to their whim and desire, but to kindle our potential as human beings and prepare us to manage life on our own and through our own mental, emotional and physical capabilities. Yet as adults we continue to imagine ourselves as children within the universal scheme. And we have become citizens in a society which no longer kindles our potential for greatness, but rather, stifles it with the intent of keeping us subservient to an idea that we will never become our own 'parents'.

While the idea of religion comes to us through the scientific disciplines as merely the result of primitive man's yearn to explain the explainable, the scientific disciplines have not moved upon the idea of abolishing this hinderance from civilization, but rather furthering it through their own assertions of human beings as young and futile evolutionary creatures. Assertions that could only lead a person of intellect to question whether or not 'science' and 'religion' are really at odds, and actually 'bed mates', laying side by side in the comfort of their influence over our lives. Much like the illusionary relationship between opposing political parties, gracing the stage of life with theatrics only to entertain it's audience. Science, and in particular, 'Western science', views life and human beings very objectionably. It provides no understanding of the interconnectedness and interrelationship of all life and matter. It claims to attempt to fill the void left by religion but only to create it's own voids, at the interest of those who 'manage' each scientific discipline field. It has produced many things beneficial to us, at the cost of us 'not looking a gift horse in the mouth' or questioning the validity of other claims made in it's various branches of study and practice. Religion and science are in many ways a dichotomy fueled by a manufactured mindset of Zoroastrianist polarity, perpetuated by those in 'power' corrupted by 'power'. We have been indoctrinated with a concept of individualism as a result of these religious and scientific notions of cosmic isolation. Yet, at the same time, encouraged to accept our togetherness with the whole of society. This has created a schizophrenia in human beings, especially in the "West", as we struggle to 'be'- both individuals and part of a collective, and struggle through life at the mercy of this externally imposed conflict. The relief, the solution, is to turn inwards.

Question: why is your teaching so purely psychological? There is no cosmology, no theology, no ethics, no aesthetics, no sociology, no political science, not even hygiene. Why do you concentrate only on the mind and its workings?

Krishnamurti: For a very simple reason, Sir. If the thinker can understand himself, then the whole problem is solved. Then he is creation, he is reality; and then what he does will not be antisocial. Virtue is not an end in itself; virtue brings freedom, and there can be freedom only when the thinker, which is the mind, ceases. That is why one has to understand the process of the mind, the ‘I’, the bundle of desires that create the ‘I’, my property, my wife, my ideas, my God. Surely it is because the thinker is so confused that his actions are confused; it is because the thinker is confused that he seeks reality, order, peace.

Because the thinker is confused, ignorant, he wants knowledge; and because the thinker is in contradiction, in conflict, he pursues ethics to control, to guide, to support him. So, if I can understand myself, the thinker, then the whole problem is solved, is it not?

(from- Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti, Vol IV. 1948 6th Public Talk, Bombay)

The only true 'science' is the 'science of the self', as it reveals all things. The true reality is that 'all is one' and has a relationship to another, even with something's undeniable uniqueness and distinctness in the kaliedoscope of life. This is a truth that has been taught for ages amongst many of the traditional people's of the world, yet in this day and time it is labeled as 'New Age'. To understand that you as a person are the same on the sub-atomic level as all life and matter, and that you are composed of the same material as the Sun, Moon and stars, only arranged in a different and unique melody, is liberation, from the shackles of society's burdens. To understand oneself as the essence of what we think, free's us from the limits of what other's think and think about us. To understand that the same force that spins planets is the same force that animates your physical body and to align yourself- mental, emotionally and physically- with that, is the meaning of 'life'. To know 'God' is to achieve a higher awareness of your own 'self', which brings your potential into full view and enables one to talk and walk in this consciousness, bringing about continual growth and development. To achieve 'oneness', of mind and of being, and take ones place in the Universal Continuum of the Mind is the greatest of blessings, that only 'we' can bestow upon ourselves.

Whether we chose to call it, soul, spirit, chi, ki, electromagnetism, intelligence or 'mind', we must recognize the dynamics and fluidity of 'that' which becomes and causes all things to 'be'. We must recognize that it is 'You'.

“Every person is a God in embryo. Its only desire is to be born.”- Deepak Chopra