Another Radio Dissatisfied With Its Programming
The following recordings are from Jan’s final years, when his voice was diminished and he spoke in a low whisper. Some listeners may find these tapes hard to listen to, or difficult to understand. Thus, as another option, read the transcript below.
Otherwise, turn up the volume and enjoy! Those who carefully listened to Jan during this period consider that he spoke plainly and directly to the matter at hand, “pulling out all the stops,” as he understood that these were to be his last messages to his groups, and to posterity.
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Notes by TK
Man seeks to replace the consciousness he was born with. Consciousness is like a radio dissatisfied w/ its programming, over which it has no control. All non-problem-solving culture/entertainment is a manifestation of this dissatisfaction. Consciousness is the cause of its own disquiet and nobody knows it. The only relief is to wake up: to see what’s going on. (48:14) #3125
Notes by DR
Reading a message, watching a ballgame, self improvement attempts can seem like you’re seeking information, but it’s to be entertained. You go to college lectures or church sermons and it seems like an attempt to gain information. But they’re all the same: entertainment. Everything you do other than feed yourself is a display of dissatisfaction.
Edited by SA
I was talking last time about the effort that people have made throughout history, under a variety of names, for the purpose of trying to replace their ordinary state of consciousness with something else for which they don’t have a word, but which I call “collective reality.” Replacing consciousness has been the primary function of both religion and politics. I don’t mean actual physical warfare over territory or food, but the notion that there are political ideas, by which I mean ideas of extreme importance to men that are not necessarily religious. That’s all politics is—secular religion, temporal religion. Through religion and politics, men try to replace the state of consciousness in which they were born.
Very few men feel the need or desire to try and replace collective reality with anything resembling individual consciousness. When men individually try to change their consciousness, they have most often done it in a very crude manner, through the use of booze and drugs. Absent the desire to partake of those substances, individuals turn to collective behavior the way an individual cow looks for a place of safety. For you people who are not cattlemen, I assure you that if a cow happened to get off by itself and was eating some clover a hundred yards away from the herd, and suddenly there was a lightning flash, then if you think cows can’t move, you’re wrong. That cow will gallop back to the herd.
The cow’s behavior is symbolic of what men look for when they desire to replace their normal state of consciousness. They do it without thought, but they do it in an organized manner. Men instinctively look for an institutional source to replace their state of consciousness, which is to say, they look around and see what their neighbors are doing. They may discover that their neighbors are religious, and that once a day or several times a week, their neighbors meet in large groups at a specified area and engage in some ritualistic behavior, after which, someone who supposedly has knowledge of a better state of consciousness tries to convey that knowledge to them through sermons or lectures. Therein lies a problem—if men do not realize what they’re trying to accomplish in an endeavor, what is their chance of success? There is no chance.
Men are not satisfied with their consciousness except when their consciousness is playing a role in survival, in solving problems pertinent to physically surviving. No one can find fault with that problem-solving capability, because without it, most people would probably be worm food already. If you were dropped down as an infant in a jungle with no other humans and you survived, you could say that survival is possible without consciousness, but in the midst of civilization, you would not survive without consciousness. However, the problem-solving aspect of consciousness has no bearing on the desire to awaken, to achieve enlightenment, to replace your natural state of consciousness.
A civilized man’s consciousness spends a relatively small amount of time engaging in rational, useful problem-solving. The rest of the time, when they are not solving problems, men are naturally dissatisfied with their state of consciousness, and the more civilized they are, the more the rest of the time becomes most of the time.
Over the last four thousand years, there have been plenty of descriptions of the desire to alter consciousness. In the religious literature, it is somewhat oblique. The dissatisfaction is described as the effect of an evil force. There is evil afoot, and the evil one—Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub—causes the dissatisfaction. The closest modern psychological literature comes to describing men’s dissatisfaction with their consciousness is to say that the dissatisfaction is a symptom of some pathology, that something happened to a particular individual’s consciousness that makes him dissatisfied in a quite specific, limited way. He has a phobia, or he has some mania—some idea or several ideas that he says disturb him, beset his mind, drive him crazy, drive him to distraction.
I haven’t yet mentioned the ever-increasing area of entertainment as a consciousness-altering tool. By entertainment, I mean anything that humans enjoy that doesn’t fit in the categories of politics or religion or psychology, although entertainment actually plays the same role with regard to consciousness as do politics and religion—and mysticism. In your lifetime, the entertainment realm has expanded exponentially. Having grown up in the midst of it, you may not have noticed the overwhelming role that entertainment now plays in most people’s lives.
Whether it’s watching a movie or television, listening to music, reading a book, attending a lecture, watching sports, discussing sports, gossiping, asking a psychologist for advice—men find all of that more pleasant than their natural state of consciousness. You don’t talk to a religious leader or a psychiatrist to get advice on your pool game. You go to get advice on your consciousness.
You don’t go to a movie to get help with your consciousness, but you do go for the same reason, to replace your normal state of consciousness. Nobody bats an eye when somebody pays a fistful of dollars to go to a movie for ninety minutes and have their normal state of consciousness not even totally removed, but just partially replaced.
Actually, that’s a bargain, because it’s the same thing as going for an hour—fifty minutes actually—and paying a few hundred dollars to a psychiatrist, or going and conferring with your religious leader, and then feeling obliged to donate some money to him.
At any rate, it’s perfectly clear that individuals are by their nature dissatisfied with their state of consciousness. Even people living in fairly bucolic circumstances out in the jungles in Africa and South America still get together to converse, or to listen to the stories their shamans tell them—and not for the sake of passing information. Not for a tribe member to ask his buddy, “Will you show me that new arrowhead that you’ve made that kills prey easier?” They get together and talk for one reason—that no one is satisfied with their state of consciousness, and if they talk to someone else, it replaces part of their state of consciousness. All the way from that to seeking psychiatric counseling, to reading a magazine, watching TV, watching a ball game. It’s all one thing.
For the same reason, people say that they’re trying to improve themselves. Setting aside the specifics of learning a trade to increase your ability to survive, when you go to college, go hear a lecture, or go to a church service, it seems to be to gain information, for your consciousness to be improved. You go to a movie for your consciousness to be entertained. But there is no difference. That should be enough to wake you up, or keep you from sleeping—to realize that everything you do that is not for the purpose of survival is a display of your dissatisfaction with your state of consciousness.
People who live in the jungle and have never heard of Freud are still as dissatisfied with their consciousness as is somebody in Manhattan with three of the latest phobias. How can you explain that they’re dissatisfied with their consciousness when they’ve never heard of the world’s major religions and they don’t know that man is sinful, that he’s going to die and go to Hell if he doesn’t join one of those religions. They don’t know that they need to be redeemed. They don’t know that they’re mentally ill to some degree, and need to be cured, because in our lifetimes, psychiatry has made such great advances that we now know that everybody is slightly mentally ill. Back in the 1950s and ’60s, people didn’t know that. They thought just some people were mentally ill. Then it got to be many people. But now we realize that we all are. Now that’s entertainment.
The point I was getting to was that everybody on this planet is, and always has been, dissatisfied with their state of consciousness. The problem is not identified in that way, but it has been called by sundry names, with various reasons given for the specific dissatisfaction.
The so-called mystical literature gets a bit closer to the heart of the problem. The mystical treatises and schools do say that all efforts to awaken, to become enlightened, to achieve a Great Liberation, are designed to overcome some specific ill that has befallen consciousness, but rather than childhood traumas causing a man’s pathological thinking, as psychology would say, or Lucifer putting evil thoughts in his mind, as religion would say, mysticism says that man’s consciousness, through some sort of misstep or mishap, has fallen into a state of dreaminess, a state of sleep. Man’s consciousness has been thrown into a darkened area and put into some form of captivity.
The mystical schools state that their aim is to awaken one’s consciousness, to expand one’s consciousness, to produce a different state of consciousness. Therefore, they all identify specific problems in your consciousness that you need to struggle against. Your mind can say, “I have a fixation that plagues my consciousness, a specific pattern of thought that puts me into a state of distraction, into a state of dreaming. My consciousness drifts off out of my control, and I operate almost as a sleepwalker. I say and do things I can barely remember afterward. My thinking becomes very clouded, as though I’m living in a cave. I have got to pull myself into enlightenment.” Unfortunately, that is not what the problem is.
All of the mystical systems are simply collective versions of an individual man’s consciousness. None of those schools specify that man’s natural state is to be dissatisfied with his consciousness, because it’s almost impossible to realize that the problem with a man’s consciousness is not a specific problem. Consciousness is so programmed that it’s almost impossible for consciousness to realize that what’s disturbing it is itself, so the whole struggle to achieve all-encompassing enlightenment starts out with a lie, and nobody realizes it—but how could you not start there? You have to believe, or you have to be told, “Here is the problem,” or you wouldn’t do anything. You couldn’t do anything. Even if you’re not doing anything, you could believe that you are.
I don’t mean that there is a conspiracy. As that other great mystic from Augusta, Georgia, James Brown, would say, “You start out on the wrong foot, but at least you start out.” Nevertheless, it is misleading in the extreme to continue thinking that the problem is that your consciousness is asleep, in the dark, in captivity, under a curse of some kind, or that it is bruised or harmed in some specific way or some specific area. Your mind latches on to that kind of explanation, telling you, “Aha! Here is my particular form of sleep, my particular form of ignorance or distraction.” You won’t get far if you never see that what actually bothers you, what you’re trying to replace, is your entire state of consciousness.
We have now faced up to something that none of the trillion or so people who have lived on this planet so far ever saw—that everybody who is sane is naturally dissatisfied with their consciousness. Now we are confronted with a huge question: why are men naturally dissatisfied with their consciousness if there is no specific reason to be dissatisfied, if it’s not caused by something that has happened in your life individually or something that has happened in human life collectively? People are dissatisfied with consciousness not because of the troubles in Ireland, the famines in Africa, the human rights abuses in China, the poor quality of rap music in Ecuador—I understand they’re working on that—and not by the way an individual’s uncle treated him when he was a teenager.
Here is the bedrock of the so-called desire to awaken and achieve enlightenment. The dissatisfaction that every individual human has always felt and continues to feel is their individual consciousness being dissatisfied with the fact that it consists entirely of material that it had no hand in producing. Consciousness can’t normally express it that way, so it latches on to specific thoughts.
You can’t be conscious without thoughts. The great thing about considering that you can’t be conscious without thoughts is that there’s no way to prove it. You can think about thought until you develop a neural hernia, and you still can’t know whether it’s true or not that you would have no consciousness without thoughts. That’s another thing that you can’t really work on without completely mucking up your normal state of consciousness.
I was saying that what consciousness doesn’t like is the fact that it’s made up entirely of thoughts. If there are no thoughts, there is no consciousness, or if there is consciousness, no one can know it. The people looking at you can’t know it. If you come out of unconsciousness back to consciousness, and they say, “You’ve been in a coma for a day, a month, whatever,” and they ask you how it was to be unconscious, you don’t know. You could ask the world’s leading neurologist, “Was I still conscious, even though I was in a coma?” The neurologist would not know.
From our view, from the inside view, consciousness is composed entirely of thoughts. If it’s anything else, we’ve got no way of knowing it. What annoys consciousness is the thoughts that make it up. Consciousness is composed entirely of thoughts over which it has no control. Consciousness doesn’t know where they came from, because genetically speaking, you were born with them. Consciousness is very close to being a radio, and as we all know, a radio does not create the programming that it broadcasts. That symbolism is devilishly close to being non-symbolism. You’re born, and you find that you have a radio in your brain, and it receives programs. That’s what your internal radio, your consciousness, doesn’t like.
If the radio programs in your mind turn off, you’re no longer conscious. Your consciousness is just a radio program that you noticed at some point after you were born. You found yourself having thoughts, and not one of them did you ever request. Not one of them did you produce. Did you think the radio would be pleased? “Yes, those are my programs.”
Consciousness is dissatisfied with itself for that one reason—because it is composed entirely of content that it had no part in creating. Consciousness—that one operation of the brain—is the only part of us that is dissatisfied. The liver didn’t have any part in putting itself together, or deciding what its role would be, nor did the lungs or the heart, and we can’t say they’re dissatisfied, but consciousness does not like being told what to think, and it has no way to say that.
Ordinary people can’t do anything with this idea. It is meaningless to them. They might as well be staring into space, into an area where there are not even stars, just pitch-black infinity, nothingness. But that’s exactly what wanting to achieve enlightenment is. The basic description is that you’re trying to clean consciousness of those thoughts that are alien to you. Consciousness does not know why it’s dissatisfied. It just knows, “I don’t like it,” and it will go to great efforts to distract itself, to have the thoughts in its mind partially replaced, even if only for an hour. Even then, consciousness is not
Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)
MIND CONTINUES TO
CUT-&-RUN BEFORE THERE’S ANYTHING REAL TO DISCARD
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Stories For Those Whose Fun Is In Battling It Out To The End
March 24, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX
There is one bit of knowledge which men by nature are unable to grasp:
that all knowledge about things intangible is not knowledge but invention.
(P.S. This minor omission is what makes the life of man unique.
[Aka: The only reason dodos can fly is that they believe they can.])
The Silk Of The Captives’ Ride.
Even men who understand nothing always have statistics and the well placed quote
to lean on.
One man carries a guy around with him who privately explains what is going on to him.
One man’s mental standards are so high that he won’t talk to himself.
(The headline to this story should be: “How Things OUGHT To Be.”)
One man finally landed the job he wanted: figuring out what his job is.
When it heard an animal lauded as being: “tough and flexible,”
one man’s mind joined in and puffed out its chest.
Those whose individual sense of identity is based on one held by other men collectively (family, religion, nationality et. al.)
have in fact, no true sense of individual identity.
Normal sheep are quite content to be known as: part-of-that-particular-flock;
the real-deal-man is not satisfied to be known as anything,
which he sees personally as a substitute for being something.
One man explained his inability to urinate without assistance as due to an
abdominal rupture he suffered and his doctor’s instructions not to lift anything heavy;
(taking a clue: another chap upon hearing this announced that his intellectual dependence on others was caused in his instance by a case of brain-strain.)
The mind can, with no effort at all, find in man’s intangible world explanations for everything, and which seem to correlate to substantial ones in the physical realm.
Neat how it works out. “And damn efficient too!”
Two safe bets in every race: one on a real horse,
and one on a mount you wish was real.
Premise: A sick man is in no hurry —
now consider that sick means more than ill,
and man represents no less than consciousness;
now re think the premise.
A P.R. Tip For Prison Personalities.
If you are posing for publicity photos and you are a nitwit — look really serious.
“That’ll get you by in almost any situation concerning man’s mental-only reality,
“Si — and doesn’t that one fact alone tell you everything you need to know about
the routine inner life of man.”
One man likes to leave the lights on in his house when he is not there so (as he puts it): “The house won’t feel lonesome.”
(And don’t any of you readers with Doctor’s degrees in Metaphors
try to make more of this than is there.)
“But pa pa: isn’t making more of something intangible than is there
the whole purpose of thought?”
“Oui — but who realizes it?”
“You mean outside of our house?!”
“Not distinguishing fact from fiction; dirt from dreams,
is what makes man man and puts him atop the life heap on this planet.”
“And gives our bloodline something interesting to do in lieu of staring at
normal men’s mindless cultural entertainments, huh?!”
One man told his mind:
“If you can’t be original — keep quiet,” and it replied:
“Don’t tell me — tell your tongue.”
(Poli Sci majors [and diminisheds] might care to note that such internal conflicts commonly cause the downfall of kingdoms, especially when they are located in
the volatile multicultural region north of your neck.)
One observer of man’s incorporeal activities says he has come to find them: “Cute — irritating and pretentious, but cute.”
(Which seemed to have stirred his twin brother into commenting:
“Don’t get all of your eggs from just one chicken —
unless it is a HUMONGOUS chicken!”
[Let’s move quickly on: there’s obviously no useful symbolism here.])
You sure can’t sail on a lollipop ship,
unless it’s on a golden fleece sea.
Men who insist on trying to tell other men: “What is impossible,” do them no benefit.
(“You are speaking of ordinary men, correct?!”)
One chap’s present peer into the psychological depths of Homo sapiens he limns thus:
“The ever shifting interplay within man of contrasting attitudes & conflicting emotions is like an elaborate set of elephant furniture.”
(Now an even stranger story.)
There is a man whose opinion of himself is no better and no worse than
his opinion of others.
(“Hey! — strange is one thing — totally-unbelievable is something else!”)
More Clichés Steam-Cleaned And Hung Out To Stretch-Dry.
What goes around
doesn’t come around
‘less you let it get
you down first time ‘round.
To wit: El Exemplior!
Men make themselves feel good by pushing inanimate objects around:
mountains do by men.
The nervous system is a terrible thing to waste
on the audible output that comes with it.
(One man thinks of the effort to enlarge his consciousness as:
“The Great After-Market Escapade.”)
One of the trickier features of undertaking the Grand Quest is that
no outside voice calls you to do it, nor offers anything of ultimate assistance.
“Perceptive Pater: is that why drugstore knights remain on their stools?”
Cream puffs and over the counter medications look after their own.
“No one to help us but ourselves, huh Dad?!”