Jan Cox Talk 3131

What is Stupidity?


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:

Real stupidity is the taking of your thoughts and conclusions to be of your own creation. Stupidity is not merely being incorrect, i.e., non-factual. All speech about intangibles is the expression of opinion/feeling. To call that expression ‘stupid’ is absolutely meaningless. No one knows what true stupidity is. Everybody is ignorant of something factual and thereby judged merely incorrect, not stupid.

Only opinions about intangibles are branded stupid but there is absolutely no basis for such judgment. The only things people are regularly passionate about are the non-material, mental realities. Nobody has to be taught what is ‘stupid’, only what is incorrect and non-conforming to physical fact must be taught (46:30) #3131.

Notes by DR:

Jan Cox Talk 3131       Stupidity: taking the thoughts that appear in your head to be what you think and understand. Calling something about an intangible matter “stupid” has no meaning. To realize that everything that I know that I didn’t learn, I don’t know and nobody does.


04-07-2004   #3131
Edited by SA

Our ordinary minds, and ordinary people, constantly refer to remarks made by somebody else as “stupid.” A man says, “The president’s speech today was the biggest load of garbage I’ve ever heard in my life.” Another man replies, “You’re stupid. That’s the stupidest comment I’ve ever heard!” From the view of someone trying to awaken, what is stupidity? There are three or four very interesting aspects to the concept of stupidity, if you turn your attention to the subject in a very specific way.

As always, I am discounting material matters, physical phenomena, all of science and technology, because with regard to such tangible things, “stupidity” can mean that what someone says is demonstrably incorrect. If we disregard material reality, then men spend most of their verbal lives in non-technical chit-chat, and regarding such speech, your own mind makes judgments with what appears to be deep conviction. You read something, you hear something on television, a neighbor says something to you, and even if you never utter the words out loud, you can hear your mind saying, “How stupid!”

Everyone believes that they know what the word “stupid” means, and everyone believes that they understand what they themselves mean when they say, “That’s stupid,” but stop and consider what it means to call someone’s comments about an intangible matter “stupid.” That remark literally has no meaning.

What would an ordinary mind do with the information that calling something “stupid” has no meaning? Surely, for a split second at least, an ordinary, sane mind would grasp that when someone makes a statement about a matter that no one can measure in any way, to call the person’s comment “stupid” is itself devoid of any meaning. No matter how you “feel” about the president, about politics, about a political party, any statement about an intangible matter can’t be anything other than opinion. How could an ordinary mind not realize the undeniable validity of that?

Don’t look at other people and think, “Most of the world’s stupid anyway.” It is congenital, it is inborn, for your own natural-born mind to label things “stupid.” No one ever told you what is stupid. Not your parents. Not your peers. Not your educators. You’ve been told what is incorrect and what is forbidden. When you took an exam in school and wrote down the wrong formula for table salt, you were told, “That’s wrong, that’s incorrect.” When you took the name of your god in vain, you were told, “That’s forbidden.” Some of these things you probably learned on your own, the way you learned that it was incorrect to pour boiling water into a cup and immediately drink it.

Think about how often in ordinary people’s non-technical conversations, they remark that someone else’s statements about religion, social behavior, morality, or politics are “stupid.” They very seldom say that those statements are “wrong” or “incorrect,” because there can be no such thing as a “wrong” or “incorrect” opinion. The only type of comment that you can express about an intangible matter is an opinion, or if you want to appear poetic, a feeling. Anything you say about any phenomenon in man’s second reality, man’s spiritual, cultural and artistic reality, is all opinion.  So to call someone’s opinion stupid compounds the stupidity—yet you have done it. Everyone has done it.

If you say that someone else’s comment is stupid, how is your comment wrong? If you say, “I believe that the president’s speech today is the worst example of political mumbo-jumbo I’ve ever heard,” then no matter how many people say your comment is stupid, no one can say that your comment is wrong. An ordinary person might say, “At least people have the intellectual insight not to call someone else’s opinion wrong, but just to call it stupid. That shows that people have some insight into the workings of consciousness.” I’m sure you would respond, “No, they’ve simply made the situation worse.” You’re right.

Let’s say you heard somebody on television say, “Eventually Islam will be seen to be the world’s true religion, and within a decade after that, the whole world will be Muslim.” In your mind, you responded, with great passion, “What stupidity!” Analyze that for a minute. On what basis were you so inordinately sure that you were correct?

Now imagine that someone is describing how to set the points on a car when you do a tune-up, and you realize that he’s wrong. If he is materially incorrect, and you want to help him, you might take him aside and quietly say, “By the way…” In other words, about factual matters, you would drain your critique of passion. You wouldn’t shout, “You’re an idiot!” You would be neutral. Now picture a man saying, “Christianity is a far better religion than Islam,” or, “The Democrats will ruin our country.” Another man might say, with vehemence, “Boy, is that stupid!” Do you ever hear that kind of passion used when something is factually incorrect? No. Who speaks with as much passion about automotive mechanics as they do about religion? Nobody but an automotive fanatic, if there is such a thing. Nobody but a nut job.

The only time we become passionate about what someone else says is when we denounce their opinion, not when we correct their incorrect knowledge about the material world. You’d be unusual if you were not passionate when you challenge an opinion. I’m trying to keep your mind from arguing this away. If you’re in a dispute over something real—if, for example, a man is sneaking into your cornfield and stealing your corn, and you find out, you might tell him, “I know what you did. If you come over here again, I’ll shoot you.” If that corn was all that you and your family had to eat, you might even shoot him without any warning. In either case, you wouldn’t be all that passionate—not in the sense that you might attack another man’s religion, or what he believes politically, or what he believes to be proper moral behavior. People only have that kind of passionate conviction about matters that have no material reality.

Summing up, the only time you hear passion is when people are denouncing what they call stupidity, and what people call stupidity is the expression of opinion, not the statement of fact—not even the incorrect conveyance of a supposed fact. We will not become passionate about correcting flawed or incorrect information. What we label as stupidity and become passionate about is that which doesn’t exist. If something exists, we can’t express an opinion about it.

To be absolutely accurate, we can express an opinion about a fact, but the person expressing such an opinion will point that out. If two men are talking about how you set the points on a car, one of them may say, “I’ve never done it, but my brother explained it to me. I’ll tell you what I remember.” In other words, when people give an opinion about a factual matter, they label it as such by saying something like, “I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’m guessing it has something to do with blah, blah, blah.” The rest of the time, if someone is expressing an opinion, it’s about something that can’t be proven. There is no way to prove a man’s opinion that the president’s speech today was the worst political speech ever made in the history of man, yet someone will react to that opinion by saying, “Wow, was that stupid!” Please note that if the first opinion was stupid, calling that first opinion stupid is double-stupid. You’re compounding an intellectual felony.

Everything that I have pointed out, you can easily hear going on in life. People constantly make statements that carry the passion of conviction when they’re commenting on non-factual, non-material matters about which there can be no conviction. How many fistfights do you think there have ever been over passionate feelings about chemistry? If there actually was such a fistfight, then it was not among normal people, and therefore the fight did not break out over chemistry. The fight was about at least one of the parties being nuts!

Here’s another issue regarding passion and stupidity: let’s say you’re in a bar, and several people don’t like the t-shirt you’ve got on. Maybe the t-shirt advertises the wrong sports team. Words become heated. A man says, “You can’t come in here wearing that thing! I ain’t gonna put up with that! I’m gonna tear that rag right off you!” You can almost bet money that he will not touch you. If anybody’s going to hit you, it’s going to be somebody who didn’t say anything to you. He might tell the loudmouth, “Get out of my way.” He’s the man who’s about to hit you.

Inside our nervous systems, the part of our being that deals with material reality is the non-conscious part, the part that doesn’t speak, like the man in the bar who’s going to hit you without saying anything. The non-conscious part of your being does not passionately warn you. Any warning you get will come from consciousness, and will come about through non-material means, through man’s second reality. The warning might come in the form of people around you saying, “You shouldn’t smoke,” or, “It says in the Bible that God doesn’t want you to drink alcohol.” If you’re drinking too much alcohol, if you’re smoking too many cigarettes, the non-conscious part of you doesn’t say, “Stop doing that!” If that part of you has something to communicate, it will hit you. You’ll start feeling pain, or break out in a rash.

Consciousness can deal with two worlds, two realities. We must conclude that dealing with the physical world, which is all of science and technology, is the primary function of consciousness, because that function is related to our survival. Consciousness also deals with another realm, and the more free you are from the need to struggle for physical survival, the more does your consciousness live in that realm—the realm of non-material phenomena, the realm of ideas, the realm of talk. For the most part, those of you hearing me don’t worry about physical survival from day to day, so your consciousness is primarily engaged in thinking and talking about matters that have no material presence.

In your consciousness, which is the only vocal place in your nervous system, you hear the comment that things you have thought, things you have said, are stupid. In your consciousness, you hear that you’re stupid to say what you just said. If that is tricky for you to see, you can always reflect that you are continually hearing your natural-born mind make negative comments about other people’s ideas and words.

Perhaps what you hear in your head is that Religion X is stupid. All practitioners of any religion, without being taught, know that all other religions are stupid. You don’t have to study the other religions. You just need to hear that “those other people” have beliefs that are different from yours. That’s enough when you’re ten, twelve, or fifteen, for you to say to yourself, “That other religion is stupid.” Did anybody have to tell you that? No. Did you have to be taught? No. We know stupidity. We don’t know incorrectness. We must be told what’s incorrect. You don’t carry around the formula for table salt in your head. You have to be taught the correct formula. If you’re in chemistry class and you write down the wrong formula on a test, the teacher has to correct you, but you know what’s stupid when you hear it.

By the way, it’s not wrong for you to believe that Christianity is stupid compared to Islam, or vice-versa. Neither one is wrong—but they’re both stupid. There is simply no way to know which religion or political belief is correct. For you to think that only one of them is stupid puts you in a stupid light. Of course, you’re safe, because no such light shines on this planet. You’re never going to be saying to yourself, “Those people are stupid,” when suddenly a light beams down on you and paints a holograph across your chest that says, “He’s stupid.” All that will happen is that other stupid people will accuse your idea of being stupid. You could argue with them until the cows came home, but they will always know that you were wrong.

If we simply understood that everything we hear that we can’t touch is stupid and means nothing, then the original mystical Adam wouldn’t have had to come up with the idea of sleep. People like us wouldn’t have to say, “I guess I was asleep. I guess we’re all asleep at times. I guess humanity at the ordinary level is asleep.” We wouldn’t have to pussyfoot around and say, “That’s stupid.”

Being asleep is being stupid—except that being asleep is being normal. Life wants everyone to believe that opinions which have no meaning, no validity, which are not black or white, not fat or thin, not up or down, not right or left—Life wants us to believe that those opinions are not meaningless. That’s how serious the issue of what’s stupid seems to be.

Remember, nobody ever taught you which ideas are stupid ideas, but you sure do know a stupid idea when you hear one. Everybody does. We are not taught what are wrong opinions. We are born knowing what are wrong opinions. We may not know the formula for a quadratic equation, but we know when some mathematician is worshiping a false god, which ordinary people would probably think is the superior form of knowledge. We’re not being ignorant. There’s a difference. Everybody has areas of ignorance. You may not be well-learned in physics, mathematics, or automobile mechanics, so those are subjects where you’ll admit that you’re ignorant. After all, Einstein was ignorant of dairy farming. Not many people know that.

If someone comments about what is the only proper sexual morality, that comment has no reality, no ingredients. There is no chemical formula to that comment. There is no mathematical formula. The subject is not like mathematics, which is a symbolic representation of something real. That comment is nothing, and any comment about that comment, pro or con, is nothing. To be asleep is to listen to the comments that you find in your head about non-existent matters, about religion or politics, about someone else’s opinion, about something with no physical presence, and to take those comments as being what you think, as what you know, because for you to know something, that thing has got to have some reality. The point is, stupidity has nothing to do with education or sophistication. Stupidity is taking the thoughts that appear in your head to be what you think and understand.

You may know something about carpentry and chemistry, but regarding all of the world’s mighty spiritual and cultural matters, the matters that make your life matter, you realize that what you thought you knew, you don’t know, and that nobody does. You’re ignorant of those issues, although to be sociable, when other people are discussing the president’s speech, you nod, as if to say, “How true. Oh, yes.” It’s a good thing that you don’t have rattles in your brain, or when you nod your head in agreement about intangible matters, the rest of the world would hear that your head is hollow. You’re just nodding along to be polite.

If you see this for yourself, you realize that your memory is full of things that you’ve known all your life, and that you know with conviction, yet a large part of what you know is wild boar feces. Being asleep is defending this meaningless drivel as if it were valuable information that you know as the result of some sort of learning experience. That’s all that being asleep is.

Once you grasp this, you know everything. There is nothing else. Once you realize that anything you know that you didn’t learn, anything that is not a fact about material existence, you actually do not know, then you know everything there is to be known. You are awake. There is no additional enlightenment. There is nothing else to know. That’s the secret. That’s the great awakening. Just realize, “Everything I know that I didn’t learn, I don’t know, and neither does anybody else.”

Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Annals Of The Versey Viced
APRIL 7, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX

This Is Not About What A Man Should Or Should Not Think,
But Rather: What He Can Do WITH Thinking

First his liver exploded;
then his lungs collapsed;
his kidneys sprang a leak, and shortly after that his heart began skipping;
taking all of this in his frontal lobes said to themselves (as only they can do):
“We should get out of this place!” — see: they’re unique in man’s anatomy:
livers and hearts can’t sense themselves as entities separate from the whole,
and thus have no thoughts regarding their condition.
“Question: does sensing yourself apart from the whole give you such thoughts,
or does having such thoughts cause the sensation of being separate therefrom?”
Just as the leading cause of death is a cessation of life;
the grossest interference to living a comfortable, irritated mental life
is not being satisfied with it — like you’re s’posed to, dammit!
Graffito on a city building: “Stay on the beaten path — better yet! — BE a beaten path.”
How Mind Can Still Prime Itself Even When Nothing Else Is Going Right.
One music lover has started signing his name: Gary Guitar Mandelbaum —
even though his name isn’t Gary and he doesn’t play the mandelbaum.
(Don’t forget the name of the main tune, maestro fleet fingers: The Beaten Path.)
Just as real men don’t fall in love;
and real warriors don’t stay down when felled,
so too, real people won’t stay in the ditch in which everyone’s consciousness is born.
To seem hip, prisoners commonly like to have a personal Theme Song,
one that someone else wrote and sings:
this is what they choose as their individual calling card — what could be more fitting.
And one man changed his name to: Ha Ha Farrentino for the simple reason that
he found nothing funny about life and sensed that it was killing him.

Here in a musical context are the possibilities of what a man can
mentally look forward to:
Either the expectation of hearing what you expect (from classical to pop),
or of that which you don’t (exemplified by jazz);
as soon as the first prepared notes are recognized: one of them immediately brings
the mind joy and allows it to slide down deep in its familiar comfy chair,
(like the appearance of an old aural friend),
while the other, as soon as its improvisational nature is realized,
puts the mind on edge: alertly awaiting to see how goes the real time attempt to compose even as you play.
Both have a place in the affairs of ordinary men,
(though they could get by with but one) while on the other hand:
only one of them is necessary listening for the uncommon affairs of the real-deal-man.

The reason that religion, mysticism and philosophy are in the shape they’re in today
is because when humans don’t understand a piece of humor,
they will take what it says seriously.

If you’re going to be ordinary — somewhere in life you’ll punk out.

A man told a young boy at a bus stop that the most important thing to success in life
is to stare as much as possible. (He says the lad looked like he had a sense of humor.)

“Other than when seeking directions: all talk and thought is: talking to yourself.”
“With thought, I don’t think that it’s me talking to me.”
“Okay then it’s something talking to yourself.”
“…….Yeah-h-h……I can go with that.”

After putting in his quarter, a man asked the Sage Machine:
“What’s the sense in discovering what is going on if you can’t tell anybody?”
and the apparatus replied: “I can’t give you the answer to that;
when you do discover what is going on, you will then have the answer to
your question.” (And the man tried to get the store clerk to give him his quarter back.)

Another curio in the life of man which seems un-destined for ordinary ones to ever see is that it is only those who do not understand what is going on
who want to help other people.
(This is an alternate model of: Those who want to help-others
do so because they don’t know how to cure themselves.)

The mental responsibility of ordinary minds is to resist other minds — that’s all:
no original thinking on their own — just the resisting of other people’s thinking.
(“Neat job, huh?!”)

Is there anything interesting, normally overlooked in this commonly played picture:
A Nobel prize winner in Mathematics, in his mind, sneers at the fame of
a fashion super model: “All she/he did was be born looking the way they do:
some achievement!”
Is there anything particularly revealing in this scene —
something which even the most intelligent of men are made to ignore?
As the walnut said to its shell: “What the hell you call yourself doing?!”
And in the background, the woody choir softly began to sing:
“Just like a tree that’s planted by the water —
I shall not be dry.”

All so close that eyes improperly focused can never see it.

When you hear an artist explaining his work,
you’re hearing a dog trying to explain his fleas.

Medical News.
If you don’t know the difference between being deranged and being awake,
you are definitely not one of the two.
As the green pecans hanging on the limb say:

“So seemingly far away —
yet so dangerously close.”

* * *

Then There’s This Guy: (Part 2).
The Oh So Human Side Of Ordinary Humans As Reflected In Both Their Behavior
And Clichés About Themselves And Their Propensities,
(For Your Amusement If Not Edification).

Then there’s this guy:
The very sight of whom causes no one to swoon.
With a big heart — small everything else, but — a big heart.
Whose reputation preceded him (but not by much).
Who (as he puts it): “Offers advice to all — assistance to none.”
Whose memory and truss often slips.
Who once declined an offer.
With no redeeming features — hell! — with hardly any features at all.
Whose bark is worse than his smell.
Who has damned many a torpedo.
On whom the mantle does periodically: rest lightly.
With a mission! — a foolish one, but — a mission nonetheless.
Who would admit to being anything in particular in only the most general of terms.
To whom fame meant nothing (which in his case was felicitous).
Who once: dared to be great! — but just once mind you.
Who left in a lurch.
Who never thought twice — but: that’s all right.
Who’s just about had it.
Who rushes in where angles fear to shop.
Who took tumbling lessons — then moved into a closet.
Whose face is nobody’s fortune.
To whom laughing at adversity is his aspired norm.
Who put on a: one man show — for which only one man showed.
Whose entire repertoire consists of — whistling Dixie.
To whom life is cheap, but a cheap suit, even cheaper.
With more tongues than ears.
Who, when he leaves home — REALLY leaves home.
To whom words are just words — and thoughts, merely thoughts.


And someone seemed to ask: “Where precisely would I find this guy?”
(And some say humor is dead.)