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Summary by DC
Jan Cox Talk # 2537 - June 12, 2000
Suggested title: Blaming the Patient
00:26 A couple of things...that happened to come to my sorry attention from the routine world.
[A world leader has died and people there are in hysterics. Leader was a despot.]
Now, this is in case any of you have any doubt as to the supremacy of animalistic, physical emotion over the intellect, over the part of the brain that thinks...what gets us, people like us, is that we still believe in the supremacy of consciousness...You're an idiot to believe that. Because your streets, internally -- just look down below the brain stem. Look down below in downtown Damascus...and you have got the streets full of weeping men and women...being driven by the same animalistic forces that drive baboon packs, wolf packs, collections of humans, in civilized society. It would appear, by any intelligent description, that the sign of intelligence would be a man who is thoughtful [when asked a question or challenged]...for a man to reflect upon what he is about to say, for a man to hesitate...that's the whole point, is it not, to being mindful...to be watchful of your own consciousness? I say to you that there is another view that that is moronic. It's a dream. It's foolishness. Because it is eventually your animalistic, physical emotions that are going to answer, that are going to respond. Why dilly dally? Why fuck around like, "Well, I'll think about this and I'll be deliberate and measured in my response." Because to people like us it's not just a matter of being more intelligent or appearing insightful. It is right at the core of struggling to be more conscious, to be enlightened; is it not?
09:01 I ask you again...why has there been this idea that spontaneity is the secret?...or that spontaneity is the sign of a truly enlightened man...I guess somebody could be so enlightened...that they instantly know the answer to everything...they're so far above us that all their intelligence, all the needed insight is right at the tip of their tongue and brain and consciousness, so that they can just immediately respond. Maybe yes, maybe no. What if it's not all that complicated?
10:22 What is there to reflect about?
10:30 Lest you think that I've completely lost my mind...well, you've waited a hell of a long time to worry about that...for the last two nights I have, more or less, ended up each night asking you to consider the fact that if you look at it in a certain way, I don't know how anyone could deny that the primary purpose of consciousness is to be conscious of your environment...consciousness is a CPU. But of what? What's the purpose? What's the purpose of the senses?
12:24 Consciousness, from one quite genuine view -- I don't know how anyone can dispute it -- that consciousness must have as its primary...purpose, perhaps its sole purpose -- is a higher level of monitoring...and we can remember. That's one thing our brains can do by having language. But its primary purpose without any doubt is to be conscious of the outside world...the senses are not there to be sensitive to themselves...they're there to be sensitive to the world outside of you, to help keep you alive. And all consciousness does, from one view...all it seems constructed to do is...a higher level of the commingling, sorting information, being able to retrieve in its memory information that's physically not available...
14:29 What possible purpose is served by being conscious of your internal world? Now, I know what the answer should be for people like us:..."It's to awaken." Really? Are you sure? Now, don't hesitate just because you've spent your whole life trying to awaken.
15:06 No matter what you believe to be absolutely certain...you've got to remember that the opposite can be true. I don't care what it is; it can certainly be so.
15:39 My impression is I should do little doses of this at a time. I could be wrong. No, I couldn't. How can you be wrong when you're making up something?
17:10 Another from the ordinary world...[book review of guide to Kabbalah] "This book will take the interested student by the hand and lead them more safely into the depths and complexity of the Kabbalah" (or Sufism, or Zen). And it sounds so fine. But as though there is such a thing as "Zen", or Kabbalistic studies, or Sufism. There's this thing here and it's very deep. It's very complex. And a novice needs the help of an experienced person to lead them through the complexities, to help them plumb the depths. What fucking depths?? Humans made it up! A human mind made the whole damn thing up and now another human mind is speaking to another human mind saying, "Come. My only desire is to help you because I understand how complex this is." The author is obviously presenting himself as an "expert"...
18:43 And yet you know that's the way we all start out. Sad to say, that's the way most mystics take their last breath. Still with that idea that "If I had just a little bit longer to study..."
21:10 [A drippy condensation]: "The purpose of studying [a system] is to turn your mind away from the physical world and into the inner one."...that is where every damn one of us start...if you're my archetypical mystic...you've already engaged in some of the religious ritualistic practices available to you; you've already looked externally. You've already decided that being a football hero, a scholastic hero...you've decided that that's not really it. That what you're looking for is an inner journey.
22:34 I'm telling you it could be just the opposite. Why couldn't it be? It's to turn your attention, to turn your mind totally away from your inner world and totally on the physical world. I'm not playing games. If you think that won't work you're wrong.
23:08 I was hoping that would maybe get some of you going better than things I said before that I never did -- that I was never satisfied with; me saying that rather than the idea if you could be eternally mindful you would certainly soon wake up...but then I would also...point out in the past that if you could be totally unmindful...if you could forget yourself constantly [you would be awake]. That doesn't sound right, or I've never thought that any of you seem to get much out of it. Verbally, it doesn't even sound right to me, even though I know what I'm talking about. It's just sort of an attention-catcher, I guess, the first time.
24:03 But I'm telling you there is a way to look at your own consciousness --or I challenge you to -- your own mind and while you're doing it is ask yourself, "What is it fit for, turned internally?" Now, you think you've already got the answer, or I would have thought I had if somebody told me this years ago..."What are you accomplishing? Are you actually doing anything?" That's a hard one, to ask the mind, "Are you doing anything?" Because you can ask the mind that...and it takes on that question and so immediately it's doing something. Well, if you confront even that question enough you can't stay asleep; you can't stay muttering to yourself. You can't do it. It may put you into that kind of shock of a thermostat that won't turn on or off; it may shake your machine and it's hard to hold onto that for more than a few brief moments.
25:51 The question: not only what have I accomplished [turning the mind inward], but here's the real one: when I do that am I actually "doing anything"?...Are you sure? What if -- just what if the possibility that not only is the primary purpose, the purpose...of us being able to think, of our brain having consciousness, as we call it, that...the purpose...is for that area of the brain...to be aware of the world outside of us? It is like a super sense, like a super processing center for all of the sensory information that the nervous system is taking in. Not only -- here's what I'm challenging you with -- not only look at and say, "Can you deny that that has got to be the primary purpose?" then look at what you do internally...trying to be mindful, observant...When you turn it internally, are you sure that you're actually doing anything? Forget doing anything profitable. Are you sure that anything's happening?? If you're sure, you're an idiot, by the way. No offense, but....can that be? Well, if it couldn't be, how could I have said it?
28:10 I've got another one from ordinary life...if you had some sort of surgery...and afterwards you go back to the doctor...and you complain of side effects...and it turns out...that he has never heard of this...the end result...he'll end up blaming the patient...Now I say to you that that is not unlike a mystic's attitude toward himself trying to make himself wake up...[when] the unexpected keeps cropping up...He ends up blaming the patient.
32:15 We all know what the accusation that someone's being pretentious means...there's many terms, like "He has just tried to invent himself."...How can somebody pretend to be what they're not?...What is there in a person...if you can get a good dancing grip on that one, and spin around the floor for a few minutes, it'll blow you away...it should get you closer to looking over the edge and realizing what's going on...can it strike your brain somewhere...it's being asleep to believe that...how can somebody pretend to be something else? What is there in somebody?...You mean that old Billy Robinson, that you knew, that he's inside there. Which is foolish enough to start with. You've got to be asleep to still be buying that story. But Billy Robinson is inside there and he didn't like what Billy Robinson was...and so he has willfully...made up this William T. Robinson. He's made it up and there's no William Robinson in there. It's old Billy; he just made up this stuff. If you can believe that, you'll sleep the rest of your life...that's funny enough to start with: how can you 'not like' what you are?...But that's what you are! You're the kind of person that doesn't like what you are. That's it! There's nowhere else to go. And to say, "Well, he just made himself up," well, maybe so, but that's the kind of person he is...but to believe that there's a Billy Robinson in there who's now made up this William Robinson...see, the point is, how can you awaken unless there's two of you in there? How can we be other than we are unless we can be other than we are? And if you can be other than you are I want to talk to you, you know, about flying on your back to Europe...it's just amazing that the way the nervous system and the brain operate that the very things...I'm suggesting to you that one of the problems might be of us trying to do something with consciousness...that it was not intended to do...
42:57 But if you consider that the very thing that you might should be doing is turning your consciousness away, turning your mind away from the inner world and to the physical world, just the opposite of what would seem to be the basis, and properly so...I know of no other way for someone to get started. But I ask you to consider now not only the question of is that profitable to do it, I'm saying, "Are you actually doing anything when you think you're doing that?"
44:20 Why is it so hard, for instance, to self remember? Why is it so hard to be mindful?...Not only -- my question -- is it profitable to turn your attention inward, but are you sure that you're actually doing anything?
45:06 Every now and then some respected...the idea comes up...that the universe is not the size that everyone supposes it is...we could be seeing the reflection of our own part of the solar system...some of what we're looking at...it is mathematically possible...that the universe is a lot smaller than we think...that we could be seeing reflections of our own part of the universe, just bounced back at us...it could be like a house of mirrors...does anybody know why I like that?...
47:31 Until I see you Wednesday, try being eternally unmindful, that is, unmindful of you. What if what we're actually trying to do...every approach known...what if the difficulty doing it is that it can't be done; that consciousness was not intended to do that? Well, there's no doubt that what consciousness is really good at is turning on the external world. And yet the more you get involved in doing stuff like this the more inclined you are is not to do that, at your own peril..."Well, I was thinking about something important."..."I was thinking about something really important just before I ran off the bridge and killed myself."...Don't forget: Blame the patient. "How dare you have symptoms like this. I never heard of such a thing."...Whose fault is it you're not awake? Now we're getting somewhere; right?
49:47 Get a bedpan and go lay down.