Importance is Not Significance
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.
Summary = See below
Transcript = See Below
Condensed News = See below
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Notes by TK
Large-scale human conflict based on religious/political differences is necessary to Life in the same way speech between individual men is necessary. (48:15) #3127
Notes by DR
Once there’s a reasonable supply of food man becomes filled with intangible activities that make up man’s minds. It’s life keeping its innards vital. This is the primary food of civilized consciousness. It keeps it active and without that there could not be a technical scientific pursuit.
03/29/04 # 3127
Edited by SA
Last time, I asked you to consider how little of conversation between people, and within your own head, leads to any practical end. I suggested that human comments serve as Life’s stimuli, that Life’s most vital innard is human consciousness, and that meaningless conversation is Life’s way of keeping its innards active and viable. I want to expand upon that topic.
Conversation is so necessary to Life that you hold a conversation in your head even when you’re asleep in bed, yet all conversation is meaningless, in the true sense of the word. The statement that Man X just made may appear to have been quite passionate, but most of it is meaningless and signifies nothing. Man X might as well have been barking. What is relevant is that Man X’s statement will stimulate the person who heard it to say something, even though that person has no real interest either. That person may even turn to a third person and say, “Did you hear what he said?” and say something to him. The third person also has no interest, but he may say, “What! He said that?”
Conversation in your head and between people is such a normal part of human existence that I don’t believe my statement about its meaninglessness would have any effect on an ordinary mind. It’s like making some unusual comment about the air you breathe. I could say that oxygen causes hallucinations, and you might even agree, but what could you do with that knowledge? You’ve got to breathe. Doesn’t conversation between people, or in your own head, seem to have almost the same importance in human life as breathing? However, importance is not significance. Conversation is everywhere, unstoppable and inescapable, yet it seems to have absolutely no significance.
Look at yourself as quickly as you can, because when you look, the conversation quits. My words make you respond—overtly, if you say something back to me, but at the very least, you’re listening. Your ordinary mind can’t help that. It’s not just what I say, but also your own consciousness that stimulates you. That is what the ordinary state of consciousness, and man’s useless talk, do.
Look at everyone else around you. We live in one of the best parts of the world to observe everything. Here, people are not starving, and even poor people have televisions and go to the movies. Even the very poorest can afford to gossip, which is the poor man’s entertainment. When a man’s consciousness is off duty and not working to survive, it is dissatisfied with itself, and it seeks to replace itself with someone else’s consciousness through a movie, a book, a conversation. This replacement works on the basis that everyone’s speech—let me exaggerate to make it clear—everyone’s speech is serving as an irritant to everyone else’s consciousness. An irritant.
A more precise term is stimulant. An irritant is a stimulant. Not all stimulation is irritating, but if you look at man’s stimulation in the secondary reality, notice how much of it is irritating, as opposed to pleasing. Remember, we are not talking about informative speech, which is survival-related. We are talking about meaningless, rambling conversation, the form of consciousness against which people like us have been struggling for five thousand years.
I’ve been focusing on idle chit-chat between people, and that which goes on privately in each person’s mind, but now I want to consider widespread human activity that’s reported as news and recorded in history books. There are two distinct classes of widespread group activity. One class has happened throughout history, is still happening today, and its cause is obvious. A petty tyrant, a small-time madman, raises a band of guerrillas and attempts to conquer large numbers of people for wealth and power. Nobody questions the tyrant’s reasoning. Political writers do not look at the man and ask, “What philosophical forces are driving this man’s behavior?” Everyone knows that he’s simply a petty thief writ a bit larger. The Alexander the Greats of the world, the Genghis Khans—they’re in this class. Their behavior befuddles nobody. Everybody understands a bully.
The second broad class of group behavior includes conflicts over religious ideas and conflicts over political philosophies. Two groups of people follow two different religions or two different political philosophies—say, democracy and socialism. The group that follows philosophy X declares war on its neighboring group, which follows philosophy Y. The ensuing conflict can involve thousands or hundreds of thousands of people—even whole nations. This class of mass behavior is what fills history books, political commentaries, essays, the op-ed pages of newspapers.
For five thousand years, the people who write the history books have looked upon this second class of behavior and said, “We understand Alexander’s going through that territory with armies, taking their women, cleaning out their storehouses, confiscating their gold. We understand Caesar leaving his troops there to collect taxes, to drain the people dry. But we don’t understand what’s happening when one group rides into another country and says, ‘We’re here because you’re worshiping the wrong god. You’re following a religion or a political theory that is so grievously in error that we’re going to whip up on you, stab you, kill you until you see the light.’”
Throughout history, outside observers have looked upon mass activity based on such intangibles as inexplicable. If you don’t have a dog in that fight, if you don’t have relatives in the country that’s being invaded, or some other reason to take a personal interest in it, then you are a true outside observer. Your ordinary mind looks at the struggle and says, “This makes no sense. I fear for humanity’s sanity.”
The recent conflict in Ireland is a good example of this second class of behavior, because it’s a combination of two intangibles—politics and religion. Each side claims that the other side is aligned with the wrong political theory and worshiping in the wrong way. Your mind says, “This is the 21st century, and over there in that supposedly civilized country, people with college educations, business suits and decent haircuts are killing each other every day for no sensible reason.” You are wrong—what they’re doing makes all the sense in the world.
If you’re in an ordinary state of mind, and somebody says, “You want me to tell you why you’re worshiping the wrong god?” it’s a foregone conclusion that whether or not you agree to listen, inside your mind, you are going to listen and respond. Whatever they say, be assured that their words are going to stimulate you, or in this case, irritate you. Life obviously needs large numbers of these interactions. Life needs the Irish involved with the Troubles. The Irish situation has been simmering now for some seventy years. Occasionally, conflict breaks out, but every day something is going on.
All over the world, there are other groups, many thousands or millions of people, behaving similarly. Their leader declares war because of a myth, because of story-telling, not because of land or natural resources. They announce, “We’re going to kill you,” because of a story, because of the way the other people worship, or run their government, or select their leaders.
What do these conflicts accomplish? One reason it’s tricky to see is because when there is conflict, what your consciousness latches on to is the physical harm people do to one another. When blood gets shed, people’s consciousnesses are drawn to that, and it’s almost impossible to pull the ordinary mind away from the bloodshed. Think of how people behave when there’s a car wreck. If traffic slows down and you see an ambulance, consciousness will make ordinary people turn their heads to stare at wherever they think the blood is. By the way, if you look up ahead of you and there’s somebody sitting in a car who doesn’t stare at the carnage, and then you see him having coffee at the next Waffle House, you might speak to him. He might not be completely asleep.
With regard to a mass conflict, people’s minds focus on the violence. Up until then, reports may refer to it as a religious dispute, but once blood starts being shed, the mind forgets that, and is drawn to the actual physical mayhem. Humans have always been blood-thirsty, but the commentators ignore that fact when they try to explain these wars. They forget that what brought on the war was an intangible matter, a piece of story-telling, a piece of the narrative in this group’s mind. “Our god tells us to come over and force you to convert, force you to see the light.” Seeing this, outside observers say, “What’s happened to humans? It’s inexplicable.”
There’s nothing inexplicable about it. Those battles keep Life’s consciousness alive in man. If that is not yet plain to you, let me try another example. Throughout history, once consciousness and civilization reach a certain point of complexity, without fail the people overthrow their tyrants and turn into some form of a republic. They establish a parliament or a congress wherein large numbers of elected officials meet to debate issues of concern to the whole community, the whole tribe, the whole nation. They may have relapses, but they’ll keep returning to the idea of a republic. You can view this as a parallel to the development of consciousness.
People still living in starvation conditions—fairly uncivilized conditions on this planet—do not engage in battles. They are the ones being controlled by tyrants. They may be starving because the tyrant drove them from their farms, from their land, but they don’t begin fighting among themselves or with anybody else. If they’re starving, they’re not engaged in political hostilities or religious conflict. If they’re starving, they’re not even engaged in religious ritual.
People whose food sources are insecure never have any form of a parliament, or if they do, it’s just a sham. This is also reflected in the people’s consciousness. One is the reflection of the other. The people have a very simplistic view, a very unsophisticated consciousness, led by an internal dictator. Those are the only people who will put up with being led by a tyrant. You can see it throughout history. They can overthrow a tyrant, then have a relapse and go back to a certain kind of savagery, a certain kind of feral consciousness, and succumb to being led by a tyrant again.
However, once men have a reasonably steady supply of food, then their life fills up more and more with the second reality, the cultural/spiritual world, all of the intangible activities that fill up men’s mental time, the primary foods of civilized man’s consciousness. Once men can count on having full stomachs, then a look at history shows that they are prone to get into what the old sages used to call “mischief.”
Many commentators today bemoan the foolishness they see on the chamber floors in our Senate and House of Representatives. We are in one of the most educated, sophisticated countries in the world. Our representatives have the highest levels of wealth and education. Yet turn on C-Span, and it’s like an ongoing course in inanity, insipidness, and banality. You think, “My tax money is paying these clowns to stand up there ten hours a day and babble. It’s meaningless. It’s going nowhere. What the guy’s proposing, even if his bill passes, so what?” Then somebody else gets up and says, “I’d like to respond to that.” You think, “Respond to what? The only response, you idiot, is to get up and say, ‘Phhhht!’ ”
If that’s what you think, you’ve missed it. I view that type of speech as behaving like an invisible tank with tracks that form endless loops. A man says something and his speech—his tank—rushes up to somebody else’s tank. His tank’s tracks slam against their tank’s tracks and set them spinning. Those politicians on C-Span are aiming their tanks at one another, tanks running on hot air. Their tanks bump together, and one of them gets the other one going. Then the second politician gets through with his meaningless speech, and a third one goes, “I’ve got to respond!” Somehow, from that, things get done, and even people of ordinary consciousness will point that out. A political writer will say, “I listen to those senators discuss things all day, and I think, what a bunch of clowns. It’s going nowhere. Most of what they say is self-serving, or they’re putting in a good word for some lobbyist who contributes to their campaign. But in spite of all that, at the end of every session of Congress, they pass new laws improving our health system, our schools, our police.”
In other words, in spite of how meaningless most of human consciousness and speech seems to be, it appears to function. The meaningless lip-flapping going on between individuals, and between large groups of people, keeps Life’s most vital innard—human consciousness—active. You can’t generally see this, because your ordinary mind is part of it, but the sense of it couldn’t be more obvious. The only thing you can try to do is what the mystics do—wake up to what’s going on. Life needs what seems to be a large amount of useless thought and useless talk. You say something useless that prods another person to say something useless, which will make a third person say something useless. For all you know, you might start a war just with your one useless comment. And if Life had a hand, I’m sure it would pat you on the head and say, “Good boy.”
You think, “Good for what? These two guys got in an argument. These two guys got in a fight. These two religions got in a fight. These two countries got in a fight. They’re fighting over things that do not exist. They might as well be fighting over fairy tales. It serves no purpose.”
Wrong. It serves every purpose in the world, or how would ordinary people stay conscious? If all you had was your ordinary mind, you could not stay conscious without all the useless chatter. What does your ordinary mind think about? Useless drivel. Take the drivel away and what have you got? Nothing. By any definition humans can come up with, without that yammering, there would be no progress of any sort. There would not even be the technical and scientific progress that contributes to survival.
Only somebody who’s awake, who has an active part of his brain that is not the part used by ordinary human consciousness, can be conscious without the meaningless chatter that even irritates him. That is what the desire to wake up is in people like us. Life irritates everybody else just enough to make them talk about how irritated they are, or to go write a novel or a movie script. In people like us, it’s as if Life set our irritant threshold too low. Because we are conscious, our minds are as irritated as everybody else’s minds, but rather than just passing that irritation along, we strive to never actually focus on our irritants, to never have the mind’s babble fully occupy our consciousness at every moment, because if the babble is in charge, we’re helpless.
Consider once again how little of conversation, or of mass human activity, has any significance whatsoever, yet it goes on non-stop. Together, those two pieces of information should give you a double-barreled hint. Thinking about them is one way to start seeing how Life is alive, which has got to
Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)
MIND NARRATES LIFE IN CODE
AND MOST MEN ARE OBLIVIOUS
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Outlier’s Key
MARCH 29, 2004 ©2004: JAN COX
One day a father talked to a son about it:
“Everybody knows about it, and everyone knows it’s true —
people don’t talk about it directly, but it is always in their mind,
and permeating every cranny of their life.
There is nothing similar to it
(which is why it needs only the short, but fully distinctive name);
it is the earliest thing in every person’s memory (though in undercover guise)
and it is what everyone senses being forever over the next horizon.
Ordinary humans by their nature are unable to look at it face on,
or to think and speak of it candidly,
and not being aware of this they are of course, unaware that they do not;
they instead have a collection of pseudonyms available by which to refer to it:
one suitable for every taste and need.
From this perspective, the discrete difference between standard humanity and the likes of us is that we for some reason are born with the capacity to see it directly —
with no disguises, misdirections, or noms de plume.
Most people will tolerate hearing it talked about —
as long as it’s done indirectly and not rubbed in their face,
while the few, early in life, lose interest in such;
sensing (even before they understand what is going on) that some unspoken
form exists of the thing men publicly speak of (namely) it.
Seeing its pristine version becomes their great quest.
When they begin, no one knows what it is,
but these few instinctively know what it is not;
thus they discard the chaff in the words and ideas of their peers;
finally finding them all to be husks;
having winnowed their field of inquiry down to zero,
whatever they then discover must be — will be it.
Since all the normal, public tellings of it are superficial and fraudulent,
no one actually knows what it is in advance to seeing it their self;
ergo anyone’s ostensible pointing to it is of no use to you — and indeed squanders your time should you heed them (a fact which itself takes quite some time to grasp).
So inner anomalies like us are in a position of feeling at our very cellular level that there is some unknown it we must find, which we also are instinctively certain will
tell us everything we have always wanted to know
(and which everyone else says they do — but clearly do not).
We (consisting of some extremely small number) are each thus — alone;
as far back as you can remember you have been looking for it;
even after you found that your own family, friends and adult advisers
claimed they didn’t know what you were talking about when you sought information
from them about it — you still could not shake your hunger for it.
Ordinary men’s consciousness is of a standard size,
regardless of all social, cultural or intellectual factors,
and it has clear boundaries: seen by routine men as a positive,
for such defines truth from falsehood; good from evil, and reality from imagination — from the standard perspective —
but for the needs of the few: natural born consciousness is too constricted,
and the more constricted be a man’s consciousness the more must he think and speak of it indirectly and in disguised form;
indeed, if presented with talk/pictures of it in a non ambiguous form,
ordinary men are forced to denounce the descriptions, and if pushed far enough:
even deny its existence.
Literally my boy: the common size/scope of human consciousness is physically
too restricted to grasp in a single, direct gulp — it;
that is how things are, and no amount of palaver to the contrary matters.
It exists or we would not by nature be seeking it,
nor everyone else dreaming of it;
there is nothing like it;
there is no substitute for it;
there is no describing it to others;
there is no way to prove that it exists;
but for one in a billion men there is only one important thing in life — and that’s IT.”
_ _ _
The most important things in conveying great metaphysical truth are:
a sincere tone of voice and good hand gestures.
A strong hint that a man may know something is if he doesn’t get more serious,
the older he gets.
Every time you criticize something — a brain cell dies.
Cows get disturbed; sheep get frightened;
a real deal man gets understanding.
Ordinary consciousness can’t operate in real time:
this is one of its prime, though overlooked features.
Queries one man: “What could be more fun than being sick:
you can feel bad without feeling bad about it.”
One man always wanted to live where philosophers are more important than athletes;
he finally got there and starved to death. (Or maybe he died for lack of medical care?!?)
The more sheepish you are the more you enjoy being part of mass movements.
“Are you speaking mentally, or just physically?”
Any way you like it.
In the real deal GreatQuest,
there is no such creature as a fully civilized knight;
sheep cannot find the grail, nor cows, it;
only the natural born it-people can turn internally in a certain way;
focus their eyes/I’s just so — and see it.