Jan Cox Talk 3141

The Answer to Everything is Understanding the Nature of Talk


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, transcripts are being made and will be posted.

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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Edited Transcript = See Below
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Notes by TK

Talk is what keeps men asleep. Anything w/ physical reality to it can be taught w/o words. Not so all non-physical pursuits of man. Cultural experts are driven to continually invoke and refer to previous authority. Intangible-realm experts must advertise their expertise: not so physically-based expertise.

Man would have no ontological questions w/o talk. Man would not be asleep w/o talk. The answer to everything is understanding the nature of talk. (25:35) #3141

Notes by DR

Jan Cox Talk 3141       Anything physical can be taught with no talk, such as farmers and cabinetmakers. But everything that makes up man’s unique world such as the social sciences and religion can’t be taught without words. These are two completely different categories. If men did not talk they would have no questions.


04-30-2004  # 3141 

To use the old mystical terms, we are all born asleep in consciousness. Have you ever considered what keeps us in that state? So-called mystical systems throughout the ages have offered explanations such as man’s greed, his false personality, or his love of suffering. All of that sounds fairly spiritual, fairly metaphysical—but what keeps you asleep is talk—the good old Adam and Eve story.

I propose a slight variation that perhaps may have been the original version, wherein God, which is the conscious part of the brain, first speaks to Adam. The story needs to be tweaked to explain that God/consciousness arose in the first man’s brain, and consciousness spoke. The story might say, “God looked around, and decided he wanted to speak to Adam. God called out to Adam, but Adam didn’t answer.” What I propose to you in this tweaked version is that Adam realized what was about to happen, and he tried his best not to answer, because he knew that as soon as he answered, talk would start.

I’m really stretching the physiology of what goes on in our brains, but my version is a very telling metaphor, because without talk, what sort of life would we have? Without talk, there would be no conversation, no social chit-chat. More to the point, were it not for talk, men would have no questions.

There is something very striking that I’ve waited thirty or forty years to mention, and that is that, with regard to anything that has to do with physical knowledge, a physical skill, you don’t need talk. Anything that has a physical reality to it can be taught by one man to another, and nothing need be said. You can teach carpentry, swimming, farming, fishing and fire-building, and never say a word.

On the other hand, in man’s non-physical reality—the spiritual and intellectual world—virtually nothing can be taught without talk. Everything that makes up man’s unique world—the social sciences, religion, politics, and all the rest, can’t be taught without words. That is another one of those little realizations that, if you felt its full impact, would change your view of life so that you would understand everything.

To recap, there are things that make up a sizable part of man’s life that can be taught, and never one word said. A fifty-year-old farmer could, while never saying a word, teach a fifteen-year-old kid everything that the farmer knows about farming, yet the world’s most brilliant psychologist can’t teach a student one thing about psychology without words. A priest or a rabbi can’t teach the most interested student, or any student, one thing about religion without talk.

There is an intriguing corollary that no one ever seems to notice. People who excel at some physical skill—say, a cabinetmaker, a sculptor, a basketball player—no matter how much they may talk about their skill, rarely mention a teacher, and quite often the notion that they might have had a teacher never comes up. On the other hand, if you listen to the talk, or read the articles and books, of recognized experts in every area other than those that are physically based, they incessantly refer to their teacher, or to several teachers who went before them. If a world-famous contemporary psychiatrist gives a speech or writes an article, a large part of what he says will be quotes and references to either some professor he had, or else to some of the stalwarts in the field, such as Freud or Jung.

We accept that if a man is talking about a subject in which he may be recognized as an expert, he will name experts who went before him. This is not some sort of polite formality. The psychiatrist, sociologist, political commentator, theologian, archaeologist, or historian, if they’re giving a speech, writing an article, or doing an interview, will mention a predecessor every two or three sentences. Although it is the case that academics cite other academics so that they can incorporate relevant research by those others without plagiarizing, they are also driven to name their predecessors. A reporter says, “Doctor So-and-so, you’re considered an expert in the field of aggression. What do you have to say about the latest FBI figures that show that murder in our country increased fifteen percent last year?” It’s a fifty-fifty bet that the first thing out of the expert’s mouth will be a reference to somebody else. He’ll say, “As Dr. So-and-so wrote ten years ago in his famous work, blah-de-blah.” If a well-known so-called mystic is asked a question, he might respond, “Well, as Buddha once said, blah-de-blah blah.”

Life arranges itself so that we have teachers and experts, and in the past, my dramatic jokes about this suggested that people who quote others simply do not themselves know anything, but the issue is broader than that. At issue is the fact that when you’re in an area that has no tangible reality to it, that is not farming, not brick-laying, not javelin-throwing—in any of the so-called spiritual or purely intellectual subjects, such as religion, sociology, and psychology—as important as they seem to be to humanity, even recognized experts in those areas are driven to continually refer to predecessors. They most enjoy referring if they have had only one teacher. If some mystical teacher considers himself to be part of the Buddhist tradition, then he will refer to what Buddha said over and over and over. Christians name the writers of the New Testament, Jews name the characters of the Old Testament, and Muslims name Muhammad and Allah. They are driven to do this.

I propose to you that the reason so-called experts are driven to name predecessors is simply that, regarding the intangible areas, everyone knows that they do not know anything. Any theologian, any priest or rabbi, assuming he’s relatively sane, as sane as a bricklayer, knows that he doesn’t know a single thing about what he’s talking about. He may be a so-called expert, but he doesn’t know any more about a capital-G-God than anybody listening to him knows. He doesn’t know any more about what happens when you die than anybody else knows.

Something else you might notice is that experts in physical fields don’t have to advertise themselves as experts. If somebody is an expert furniture-maker, then people who are interested in becoming furniture-makers will find him. If a man was an expert swordsman two thousand years ago, other would-be warriors would have found him. If he is an Olympic-level pole vaulter, people who want to learn to pole vault will find him. He doesn’t ever have to say, “I’m an expert.”

You can watch a swordsman and imitate him, and given enough time, learn everything there is to know about swordsmanship. The swordsman’s talking to you is not necessary. You can watch a man build furniture, and he doesn’t have to say a word to you. You can go from furniture shop to furniture shop, and if the man in the shop is not an expert, you will see the furniture he’s built, and realize, “I can do that. He’s no better than I am.” You know to keep looking, without ever saying a word. You finally get to a shop where you see the finest furniture you’ve ever seen. You still don’t need to say a word. You can point to a piece of furniture, then point to the man, and to yourself, make a few gestures to indicate him showing you how, and if he nods “yes,” you can start learning from him.

On the other hand, if you decide you want to be a priest, a psychiatrist, a sociologist, or a political commentator, you’ve got to find an expert to teach you. There is only one way to ever recognize an expert in any intellectual or spiritual field. Somebody, probably the man himself, has got to say he’s an expert.

If we lived in a better universe, that would wake you up—to realize that without words, there’s no way to recognize an expert in any non-physical field, and that in our civilized environment, those who work with their minds, with talk, are considered to be more important than those who work with their bodies. Ask an ordinary person, “Who’s the most important person in society—a farmer, a fisherman, or a psychiatrist, a priest?” If that person really thought about it, they would have to realize that a farmer is actually more important than a psychiatrist, but in our civilized world, the psychiatrist is looked on as having greater prestige. Civilized people hold a psychiatrist, a historian, even a poet, in greater esteem than they do a carpenter or a farmer, yet the intangible realm is so strange that the only way you can find an expert to teach you psychiatry or religion is for the expert to tell you, “I’m an expert.”

There is no way that you, as a novice in the expert’s non-tangible field, can look at the expert or his work, and recognize whether or not he is an expert. The expert has to talk to you. You have to talk to him. You have to say, “Are you a psychiatrist?” and he has to answer in the affirmative, because you could sit and look at him forever and never know what work he did. You can recognize a carpenter or a farmer by watching him work, but how would you recognize a psychiatrist? You could follow him around and see him enter an office and sit down at a desk. Somebody else might come in and sit down in a chair, and the two of them sit there for an hour just looking at each other. Remember, we’re not allowing any talk, so you’ve just got to look at what’s going on. Would you have any idea what the man behind the desk is doing?

The situation would be the same with a priest or an historian. You could watch them forever and not know what type of work they did. To discover that, you would have to talk to them. You would have to say, “Are you a priest?” If the man said he was a priest, you could ask him questions to determine his level of expertise. You might say, “Do you have a degree in theology from a recognized institution? Do you have other documentation that you are well-respected by your peers?” If all of his answers are positive, you might then say, “May I study with you?”

The entire intangible realm, in civilized circumstances, is considered to be of more importance than the physical realm, and yet that whole area depends, not just a little bit, but absolutely, on talk. Think again about all of the so-called important questions—the metaphysical, spiritual questions that men rhapsodize about. Who is God? Why is there evil? Why does all this bad luck fall upon me? Why am I not appreciated? Why do we die? Where do we go when we die? Now, consider that if men did not talk, men would have no questions. You would have no questions.

The real questions, the important questions—if you want to call them questions—could be handled even without talk. Perhaps you are going hungry because the berries you’ve been eating are all gone, and the berry bushes have died. You wander a few miles away, and you come upon a stranger who has planted fields of food crops. You’ve been a wanderer all your life, eating fruit and seeds off the trees and bushes. You never saw anyone farming before. In your mind, you’ve got a question now, something on the order of, “How do you do that?” You can point to his crops and through gestures, indicate that you want to learn farming. If he agrees, he can teach you to do whatever he did, with not a word ever spoken.

In everything else, in all of the important intangible areas, without talk, men would have no questions. Therefore, men would not be disturbed in any way. If it weren’t for talk, men would have no questions about life. To put it in mystical terms, men would not be asleep if they didn’t talk. The follow-up to that sentence, and the answer to everything, is to understand the nature of talk. The crude way of putting this is that the greatest foe to realizing what’s going on is talking. The biggest enemy to waking up is talk-spoken.

In everything else, in all of the important intangible areas, without talk, men would have no questions. Therefore, men would not be disturbed in any way. If it weren’t for talk, men would have no questions about life. To put it in mystical terms, men would not be asleep if they didn’t talk. The follow-up to that sentence, and the answer to everything, is to understand the nature of talk. The crude way of putting this is that the greatest foe to realizing what’s going on is talking. The biggest enemy to waking up is talk.

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

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Rebel’s Guide To Standing Up In The Stream
APRIL 30, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX

One man proffers this advice:
“When conversing: say you’re fine even if you’re not.”
“To whom?”
“To whomever insists on asking.”
“Does this include your own brain?”
“Does the weather include rain.”
Moral: Ain’t that just like life!
(And life responds: “Hey, ease up, remember: you didn’t pay to get in here.”)

The Prison’s Hold.
Don’t fret the possibility of being tortured into confessing:
you settling for your prisoner status is all the concession they seek.
Sub-message: If you will be of ordinary consciousness
life will cut you down no sooner than your time.

Whist chatting one chap said:
“Once you realize how things work spatially (three dimensions; two magnetic directions)
you can move on to more complex and satisfying matters.”
“Such as?”
“Those that take up no physical space.”
“Why do you call them: more complex and satisfying?”
“Okay: matters simpler and less meaningful.”

One man began seriously considering the notion of marrying himself…..
’til one day he suddenly took full notice of how ugly he was…..
then deeply regretted having made such an unseemly observation.
Moral: There are definite limits to everything man does.
Correction: Not so: there are limits to the physical things he does (which are built in),
but none to non spatial ones.
The reason the ordinary mind cannot defeat its demons is that they are vaporous clouds, forever filling its skies — which it attempts to drive away,
employing the same energy it used in putting them there.
Leopards don’t have clouds and problems due to a missing piece in their brain.
(“Pa pa: when I grow up can I be a missing piece?”)

The good feature of having your own son is that he does not try to analyze you.
Stones should keep their opinions of elephants to themselves,
(that is: if they ever expect to achieve enlightenment.)

Previous Penal Story Update.
Viewed from a different perspective:
If you will respond to any of their questions — you have confessed.

The Mental Evolution Of Man.
“Anything I don’t understand doesn’t exist” — to:
“Anything I don’t understand is evil” — then:
“Anything I don’t understand is incorrect” — and finally:
“Anything I don’t understand doesn’t exist.”

What some for centuries have described as the: hunger for transcendence:
the drive for enlightenment, et al,
are a few cells in a man’s nervous system wanting to get out of the herd,
the part of neural town in which they were born.

The bad news is:
Dead heroes are not honored by the size of their bullet holes.
If you admire others — you despise others.
Which came first: the chicken — or the egg in the face?

The idea of attributing individual-characteristics to men
was indeed a most clever ploy.
(The original, full text version of this story was:
The idea of attributing individual-characteristics to cows, I mean men, I mean prisoners, was indeed a clever ploy.)

To back up his demands: the king of one state threatened his neighboring principality with an age bomb which, when dropped would make everyone there get older:
the monarch so threatened pondered this — then declared the danger manageable,
and dismissed the warning,
whereupon the first ruler then claimed to have a new-&-improved version of his device that would not only cause all who suffered its fallout to become older,
but would moreover make them talk about it incessantly.
(Capitulation was almost instantaneous.)

There was once a man in prison who would make a mess just so
he wouldn’t clean it up.

A mind that cannot answer its own questions either has rotten questions,
or is a rotten mind.
(The priest of one urban area injects:
“There is no need for such bluntness amongst civilized men.”
No need indeed, but when the nervous system rebel tries to live off of just
what is needed — his lawn soon becomes highly over weeded.
Life allowed men to compose the song: “Don’t Fence Me In,” as a substitute for letting them out of their cells into the yard every day for exercise.
“Yes! — I may be easily fooled but thank god it doesn’t take much to do it!”)
Moral: Who wants to be beat up more than is absolutely necessary?

In Times Of Troubles.
The Hormel Brothers point out that if you don’t squeal! –
it’s difficult to distinguish pigs from cows.

The king mentioned to some of his more vociferous supporters:
“I have no interest in falling on my sword, but I have no objection to you doing so.”

The Ways Of The City.
Custom is logic to the dense — habit, safety to cattle.
(Perhaps that headline should have read: The Ways Of The City Stockyards.)
“Stating the obvious is not always necessary.”
You’re obviously not from around here.

You can have fun playing with your body,
and also by playing with your mind,
the latter drives some men crazy,
while the former just makes them blind.

Said a father to a son:
“If a plot is not subversive — it’s not much of a plot.
Life may be many things, but: ‘it’s-not-much-of’ is not one of them;
there is nothing more: more-of than that living entity life, in which we all exist.
In some normally unseen fashion:
human consciousness is the key subversive element in the great earthly plot.”
(The lad felt driven even further underground — to his great delight!)
None but the jet propelled goose understands the life of: The Jet Propelled Goose.

Whenever he had trouble clearing his consciousness,
one man would jar himself back to necessary reality by saying to himself: “Moo-o-o!”

One battle hardened rebel says that the best part to having problems
is not having any help available.
A man who finally understands this — is well on his way.


Note: It costs no more to be flabbergasted than it does to be just gasted.