The Only True Passion of the Mind Is Curiosity
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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Transcript = See Below
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Notes by TK
All useless speech/thought is successful to the extent it is stimulative of consciousness. Biology drives psychology. Hormones drive neurons. Temperament drives thinking. Passionate thought arises from the body. The only true passion of the mind is curiosity. The body is not curious. All technology derives from the mind’s curiosity. (34:41) #3128
Notes by DR
Talk: all words act as a stimulus. Life has kept consciousness alive, a movie is a speech/consciousness stimulus. What is the greater stimulus to consciousness than speech? You people don’t enjoy consciousness enough. It’s like you’re living inside Bozo the clown but being totally in there you miss out. Humans will never find that biology determines psychology as long as psychology announces the finding. It’s feeling fueling thinking. The brain has no passion of its own except curiosity. Look what the hell it does with it off duty-one passion-and look what the hell it does with it.
03/31/04 # 3128
Edited by SA
Before we move on to another subject, I’d like to consider a bit more regarding the previous topic, that almost everything men say that is not pertinent to the physical world—all spiritual, social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual conversation—serves one purpose. That is so, no matter how useless a particular conversation appears to be. Is it an exaggeration to say that useless conversations, useless words, compose almost the entirety of man’s non-informative speech? That is the case even though at any particular moment, someone may be enjoying the conversation. We never discount the enjoyment, but it is not anything that needs to be studied.
The reason I’m bringing this topic back up is that it is so simple and obvious that perhaps last time I spent thirty minutes too long talking about it, which may have misdirected you away from its blatant meaninglessness. You’re driving, and on your car radio is a country song with the lyric, “Yesterday you told me you didn’t love me, and it made me write this song.” You say, “What a lousy song!” The person in the car with you says, “Well, I kind of like it.” Conversations like that are endless and go nowhere, yet those hollow words serve a purpose.
I want to try one more time to explain the simplicity of that purpose. All non-survival-related comments serve to stimulate in others perhaps equally useless comments, and all of this serves the larger purpose of keeping Life’s most vital internal working—human consciousness—alive and active. Speech is a stimulus, or more accurately, a catalyst. The things that one person says, as meaningless as they are, stimulate a change in somebody else, but that doesn’t change what the first speaker said, because what he said was hollow to begin with. That is the nature of a catalyst. A catalyst stimulates a change outside itself, but the catalyst itself doesn’t change. That is what is going on.
I picked out speech, because that’s the most obvious stimulus-inducer, but that is also what is happening in man’s entire intangible spiritual/artistic/intellectual/entertainment world. All of those things act as stimuli to you. Life has kept consciousness alive, because whether you agree or disagree with a political or religious statement you hear, or whether or not you find a novel you just read entertaining, if it spurred you to argue with the political comment, if it motivated you to mention to someone that the novel was terrible, conversation has succeeded—the effect has succeeded.
A bit more subtle is when you look into your own brain and realize that the same thing that’s going on in other people’s brains is happening in your brain, whether or not you are engaged in conversation with other people, and even if you go for long periods of time without speaking to anyone. People when alone will pick up a book or a newspaper, turn on the radio or the television, or put in a DVD. You don’t turn on a radio at home to get the news. You don’t turn on some talk show because you enjoy listening to the commentator who runs the show. You don’t turn on television for the pleasure of it. You might enjoy it, but that’s not why you do it. You do it to have something to stimulate your internal monologue and turn it into a dialog. You might say it’s a faux dialog, but you turn on the radio or the news, and somebody that they’re interviewing makes a comment about something, and that spurs you to say to yourself, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” in response. That’s the purpose it serves.
I don’t know whether you appreciate how far removed this is from what everyone’s ordinary mind, including your ordinary mind, perceives speech to be, which is what makes it so hard to see. If you do see this, it almost brings you to your knees to realize that, for example, everyone in the whole world would basically have common answers if you asked them, “What is religion? What’s the purpose of history? What’s the purpose of psychology?” The whole world, or at least those with some interest in or knowledge of those subjects, would provide a nearly identical definition. They would have a common answer about art, about literature, about the social sciences. And they’re all wrong.
Especially with regard to more mundane topics, such as movies, if you ask people, “What are movies?” then all over the world, you would have no trouble getting a very short reply. You could get six billion responses and melt them down into a single brief description—a description that is not correct. It’s not exactly incorrect, but it’s certainly not definitive, because a movie is simply a speech stimulus. At a slightly deeper level, it’s a consciousness stimulus.
There is no greater stimulus to consciousness than speech, or if there is a greater stimulus, you can’t think what it is. If you’re not thinking about some tangible, material problem that deserves your attention—your body, your car, your house, the weather—then whatever intangible matter you’re thinking about, no matter what appears to be the subject, one thought stimulates another thought, which stimulates yet another thought. There seems to be no magic number involved regarding how many iterations this has, but you suddenly look up and you see a road sign, and that starts you off on another line of six, eight, ten, thoughts that you can directly trace back to the sign you just read. You turn on the car radio, and what you hear starts a new line of thoughts that runs until it changes by itself.
This is what goes on in your head without the need for interacting with another person. This is what passes for thinking throughout the whole world, with intellectuals and everyday people alike. Not only that, but everyone continually finds fault with much of this kind of conversation. They ridicule it. They say that it is bringing down the intellectual level of humanity. People do not see that this hollow conversation is the noise of civilization, the noise of consciousness at rest without anything to do. This conversation is the noise of Life’s most vital inner organ—human consciousness.
Biology drives our psychology. Our hormones drive the thinking part of our consciousness. Hormones drive our neurons to create our feelings, and our feelings fuel our thinking, but people will never find that biology determines psychology as long as psychology announces the finding. Other than feelings that are aroused in an immediate defense of the body, as when you’re physically attacked and you strike back, the passions—the feelings—that reach consciousness are hormone-driven, and thus not native to the brain. The conscious part of the brain, the part that’s putting out thoughts, has no native passion, no feelings.
Realizing that you can narrow down something about which everyone talks and thinks all the time, and you can frame some aspect of it in a quite stark manner, such as, “The brain itself has no passion,” should give you something new to pursue—the struggle to determine whether I’m correct. One interesting note about the brain having no passion—that is also symbolically curious, if not metaphorically curious, because the brain also has no physical feeling. They do surgery on the brain, and once they get the skull open, and slice through the outer tissue, they can cut right into the brain, scoop huge tumors out of it, and there is no pain, no physical feeling at all.
When you look at the passionate thoughts that go through your mind—like being so angry about something that your hair is almost on fire—then it may strike you that mentally, neither you nor anyone else cares at all about what religion you practice, or whether the Republicans are superior to the Democrats, or whether what’s wrong with the whole world now is due to political ideas from the 1800s.
It either hits you or it doesn’t that mentally, no one cares. Your mind, yours and everyone else’s, has no interest in that subject. No one’s brain, no one’s thoughts, no one’s ability to solve problems—the so-called ability for rational thought—none of that has any interest to anyone. At some point, it should strike you, then, that the mind, the thinking process in man, has no passion. The brain is a passionless organ that produces an activity sans emotion.
Whenever you have one of these stark realizations that explains a whole lot, then after some time passes, you should review that realization. You should revisit the absolute statement that came to you about some quite ordinary activity in life—in this case, that the mind has no passion. If you dig deep enough, something’s a little fishy, because if the mind has no passion, there are a few things that the mind does that are really inexplicable. It should hit you that your brain, your consciousness, your mind does have a single feeling, a single passion—curiosity—and that realization should open up a whole new ball field packed with curious-looking spectators.
Most of what humans have accomplished is due to the fact that the brain is curious, the mind is curious. Speaking artificially, as though psychology and biology are separate, then when your mind is excluded, the rest of your body is not curious—anything but. Your body has found a town it likes, and after that, a house or apartment it likes. Then your body has found a chair it likes, and when you are not forced to work in that salt-mine of a job, when you’ve got nothing else to do, when you plop down into that favorite chair, what does your body feel? Not curiosity.
Look at the animal kingdom. Sometimes people say that animals exhibit curiosity, but they’re wrong. Animals may sniff around something they’ve never seen to determine if it’s a danger or not, but animals are not curious in the same way that our bodies are not curious. Your mind may search for new places to dine—an intangible activity—but you don’t search for new foods to eat. You don’t search for a new waterhole if you’ve got one at home—you already have a sink, and you know how to get the water out of its faucets. If you were a hippo out in the Serengeti, you’d have one waterhole that you always go to. Another hippo wouldn’t come by and say, “You know, there’s another waterhole only ten miles from here.” Even if that did happen, the first hippo wouldn’t answer, “Oh, I’d love to see it. I’ll get up and walk ten miles.”
Finally, regarding all that men have accomplished—if we were sans consciousness and had only our bodies, then we would have no civilization, no technology. Our bodies would never have created medicine. Animals get cut, and they’ll lick the wound, but if it starts festering and developing gangrene which will eventually kill them, what do animals do? They just keep going. They’re not curious about it. They don’t try to treat it. An injured wolf doesn’t walk over to another wolf, show his wound, and say, “Do you know how to fix this?” Animals have no curiosity.
There’s only one source of curiosity—the human mind. When the mind needs to solve survival-related problems, it unleashes its curiosity to create beneficial science and medicine and technology, but since very little of modern life is involved with that type of problem-solving, let’s consider how the mind uses its curiosity the rest of the time. Once the mind is off-duty, once it’s done solving survival-related problems, it still retains its single passion, curiosity. And when it’s not solving the problems of basic living, what does the mind do with its curiosity? The mind does phhhht! (Some cheap dramatics here at the end to illustrate my point.)
Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)
THE MANY NEVER SEIZE THE MOMENT –
NOT GRASPING THE NATURE OF
THE SEIZURE MECHANISM
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hands-On-The-Levers Lay Outs For The Few
MARCH 3l, 2004 ©2004: JAN COX
Sci-Fi (Via A Conversation).
“You ever considered that when two men converse it is life talking to itself?”
“Better still: when you think — it is life thinking.”
“Yeah-h-h, but if you start down that road….well…..
it kinda gives you the willies, wouldn’t you admit.”
“As a matter of fact: no — it gives life the willies,”
and upon these words entering his brain, the first man had a special sort of
mental seizure (a favorable one).
A father asked a son:
“Have you ever considered that every time you think of something that is true,
you also think of something that is false?”
“O stop it pa pa! — you know that sort of thing gives me headache.
(Praise be to Odin-in-an-overcoat).”
A man pondered:
“How can you (being born asleep) ever manage to make yourself wake up?!”
and the real-deal area of his consciousness injected:
“How is a man with no sense of smell yet aroused by the aroma of sex?”
Two Guys Game Play.
“How do you tell that men are thinking?”
“How do you know that fish are pissing in the ocean?”
“Pa pa: which should I prefer: to Achieve Enlightenment, or: to merge?”
“Didn’t you mean to say: or become hip to the mergence.”
Only after he died would one man admit that anything was wrong,
and his brother, only after waking up, would admit he was asleep.
(P.S. If you get this one — you ain’t in a terminal snooze.)
In the city context: everyone’s personal story sucks — yet everyone must tell theirs,
or all of man’s cultural structures would collapse.
Whenever you say what kind of person you are,
a little piece of what you really are dies.
Ordinary men find ordinary events funny — the certain man, something else entirely.
“The most important thing in life is to have some pills to take when you’re sick.”
“And things to think about when you’re starting to drift and doze.”
Curiously, a boy noted to an older relative:
“It seems like the less I care whether other people are impressed by me,
the more I like me?!”
“Aw! — It’s just your imagination.”
Ordinary men find words to be a most serious matter —
the real-deal-man knows better.
One chap decided that he would only buy a mattress that was made by men asleep,
and his cousin held a similar view concerning from whom he would take
(“Yes, yes! — I understand that everything is connected,
but this is taking the matter way too far!”)
Cows never find a man insightful who does not, bovines assail.
(“If that wasn’t so highly annoying on its face,
I could probably find some metaphorical significance in that.”)
The best thing about sports is they offer men the collectively acceptable impression that they don’t know what’s going to happen next.
One man’s view: “If you ain’t laughing — it ain’t culture.”
How Hormones Work When Neurons Aren’t Sufficiently Vigilant.
When asked why he took up rhinoceros raising a man replied: “To meet women.”
The world’s most smartest writer (that’s what he calls himself) says:
“People write for one reason: so they can complain;
and they write fiction so they can hide the fact that it is them complaining.”
The Fame Is Not Entirely Out Of Reach Society notes that even an average person can be: “an anonymous donor.” (The Humility Foundation had no comment.)
_ _ _
Recently parts of a list were printed here which consisted of names
apparently once considered for the certain uncommon activity reported on here daily
(and labeled at sundry times and locales as : The Struggle To Awaken;
To Achieve Enlightenment; To Accomplish The Great Liberation, et. al.);
below is the remainder of that list, a deep consideration of which might afford the
alert and anxious to get on with it person, practical hints how to proceed.
The Home Of Nitro Info.
The Cure For Glue.
The Struggle To Change In Spite Of The Fact That Life Says You Can’t
(Or At Least, Shouldn’t….okay: Don’t Have To).
The Unacknowledged Silliness Of It All.
Dandruff Shampoo For The Mind.
Be More Specific.
Robbing Peter To Teach Peter A Lesson.
The Direct Experience Of Knowing.
The Compadres Of Consciousness.
The Fresh Clue.
Church Of The Rare Duo: Enthusiasm AND Accuracy.
The Place Of Fissionable Data.
The Re-Adjustment Of Thought.
The Dirge Scourge.
The Loyal Opposition To The Laws Of Physics.
Strip It Some More!
For The Difficult To Mentally Entertain.
Forever Be: More Specific.
We Know A Secret.
The Re-Awakening Of Language.
The Intellectual Insubordination.
Be Thee Not Pissed.
Making Alligators Out Of Handbags.
The Big Charge With No Purpose.
The Unthinkable Made Possible.
There Are Two Types Of People: Those Who Take Life Seriously; Those Who Don’t, And Us.
Okay: Drop ‘Em And Bend!
Insouciance As An Exact Science.
If It Ain’t Broke — Break It!
Don’t Laugh: You’re Next.