Conflict: Natural Friction Between Levels of Civilizing
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.
Summary = See below
Edited Transcript = See Below
Condensed News = See below
Key Words =
Notes by TK
Related to the fiction of popular music is the fiction of ‘cultural differences’ motivating physical conflicts such as the Arab/American clash. It is not devotion to Allah or any ideology that drives this conflict; it is the effective lack of equivalent civilization on the part of one of the cultures! Yet Life will not allow it to be so characterized by man.
Instead, men must act as apologists for it: attribute it to misunderstandings of cultural differences or insufficient depth of empathy and appreciation for them. This illusion is worldwide in scope: does Life disallow men to say so or is it just that people cannot notice reality?
The reality: the less civilized vs. the more civilized—whereas lip service states that to understand such conflict we must give credence to the cultural differences behind it. The actual dynamic is ignored and/or explained away. (45:03) #3143
Notes by DR
Jan Cox Talk 3143 If you know you were dying, how could you not think about it constantly? Wait-I’m asleep all the time, which is as bad as a death judgment to people like us. Then how could you be asleep and not think of it constantly? Why does the mind say a culture is less civilized, instead they say it’s a culture clash. They’re less civilized: that’s the explanation. Civilization is increasing yet the life will not allow it be said that the less civilized are less civilized. This is a world wide fiction. Why is it forbidden to be said? It has to do with consciousness.
05-05-2004 # 3143
Edited by S.A.
I wrote a new story that you should find highly disturbing, and yet quite subtle, with a certain bouquet. A man is watching a medical show on TV about research that’s being done to cure a fatal illness. They interview a patient who has the illness, and who’s been through every treatment currently available. He looks healthy enough, but the medical people say that the symptoms are obvious to them, and that he is a walking dead man who will die very soon. The interviewer says to the patient, “I guess that’s hell for you, mentally.” The man replies, “Yes, it is hell. All I can do is try not to think about it.” The man watching TV thinks, “If you knew that you were dying, how could you not constantly think about it?” Instantly, he adds, “How can you be asleep and not constantly think about it?”
There are some stories that I’m happier I wrote than others. That punchline is a stand-alone wake-up system. The first part makes sense, doesn’t it? If a doctor told you that you were dying, and that nothing else could be done, how could you not constantly think about it? If you were a prisoner and knew that you were to be executed next month, how could you not constantly think about it? It seems like a given. The TV-watcher in my story, who is interested in our kind of stuff, was then struck by the thought, “I’m asleep all the time,” which to somebody like us is as bad as an imminent death sentence. The unsaid part is that you don’t think constantly about being asleep, and the subtle, highly annoying part is, what would it be like if you did think constantly about being asleep?
I assume that if you are listening to me, you are interested in having your consciousness wake up from a certain kind of illusion, a certain kind of dream. I hope, when I offer these little examples, that at some point you will understand and suddenly wake up. Don’t let your ordinary state of mind hijack your consciousness when it hears my words, because what I’m talking about has nothing to do with the words.
That was the appetizer. Now for the main course. Last time, I talked about our modern consciousness being immersed in popular music. I noted that close to a hundred percent of the words in popular poetry for the past five thousand years, and in virtually all of today’s popular music, is either about lost loves, or about how the singer’s wonderful love affair is all they think about, and the woman they’re in love with is the most important thing in the world. I said that what the singer claims is absolute fiction, and yet nobody questions the claim. Nobody. That’s spelled, in case you want to write this down, n-o-b-o-d-y.
I suggested last time that you consider why Life allows the sort of fiction I just described to exist. It’s as if as long as consciousness fulfills certain life-preserving functions, Life doesn’t care that consciousness spends the rest of its time weaving not just silly little personal dreams and delusions, but world-wide, species-wide fictions. “Fiction” isn’t a strong-enough word for this, because if it were just fiction, some people might realize that they shouldn’t take it seriously. Nobody takes fairy tales seriously. But there are other absolute, undoubted fictions that no one questions—that no one even notices—so it’s problematic to call them fictions.
There’s another example of this sort of fiction that we happen to be living in the midst of. The situation is not new, but the current version is a bit different. This talk is being recorded in the middle of 2004, and, to use the terms that are used by humanity in general, our country and other Western countries are engaged in conflict with another culture. Beyond our little war, there is now a renewed and nearly world-wide conflict between two major religions, two major cultures.
From some views, this conflict is considered a culture clash between Islam and Christianity. Others take a wider perspective, and point out that this is actually a renewed conflict between Arab culture and Western culture. If you are listening to this decades after I recorded it, I will assume that you are intellectually sophisticated enough to know your history, and to know what went on during this period.
I’ll keep this example simple, and focused on the Arabs, but the same could be said about the current conflict between non-Arab Muslims and Hindus in Kashmir, or similar conflicts between other religious or cultural groups in other places. Please remember that in this example the specific participants, the identifiable factions—Christians, Muslims, Arab culture, Western culture—are absolutely irrelevant. This is not an attack on Islam, on Arabs, on anybody. If an ordinary mind were listening to this, that person would no doubt interpret what I say to be all about putting down the Arabs. I repeat, I am not denigrating Arabs. I am not advocating for Christians, for Americans, or for the Western world. I am not commenting on culture or religion. What I am commenting on is consciousness.
The Arab culture is one hundred percent Muslim, a different religion from what is usually practiced in the West, but let’s just refer to Arab culture. On TV every day, you see in many Arab countries people out in the streets, attacking Western people and storming Western embassies. At other times, the people on the TV are engaged in cultural practices that include beating themselves with whips until the blood flies, chanting for hours, and looking dazed.
Western commentators who try to explain what we’re seeing continually remind Western viewers of the differences between our cultures. There are voice-over reminders as we watch men stripped to the waist, and en masse, in rhythm, beating on their chest with one hand and cutting themselves with knives and whips with the other hand. When they’re done, the men rush out and throw burning Molotov cocktails at Western embassies.
Assuming you are an ordinary, educated person of routine Western consciousness, you accept the talk about the differences between Arab and Western cultures. You accept the commentary in the same way that you accept that ninety-eight percent of the popular songs in the world are about a broken love affair and the permanently devastating impact it has on the singer—which is not true of anybody unless they’re insane.
Imagine that every Western person, all two billion of them, were sitting together watching tonight’s news, seeing those Arab men behave as I described, and hearing the commentator say, “Sometimes it’s difficult for us to understand a culture that has values as different from ours as these Arab Muslims do in their fidelity to their local Imam, and to the idea that Western civilization is the work of the devil.” If you watch the news, you hear this sort of commentary every night.
The more civilized you are as an American, the more you have an apologetic view of these people, in the literary sense of apologetics. Most national commentators are apologists. Even our president continually points out that our dispute is not with the Arab culture but with specific groups of terrorists. No one ever points out that what this is really about is that the people engaged in that scenario are less civilized than the maximum standard norm that exists in the world at this particular time. The people engaged in that scenario are simply less civilized than we are.
What’s going on is nothing new. As far back as history goes, less civilized groups have attacked more civilized groups. “Barbarian” was the Greek word for people who were less civilized. The Greeks and the Romans had to put up with those uncivilized Visigoths and Huns. Now, in 2004, we see people on the streets in downtown Cairo, Egypt or Riad, Saudi Arabia or Iman, Jordan. We see modern buildings. We see Mercedes parked in the street. We also see men with their shirts stripped off, beating themselves with whips, slashing themselves with knives, and holding up pictures of some Imam, some spiritual guru. They’re shouting and jumping up and down in unison, screaming curses at America, burning the American flag, and spitting on Christian crosses.
The apologists tell us, “Yes, it hurts and offends us to see this, but we must remember that this is a foreign culture, completely different from ours.” Not one single person says, “The people doing this are not as civilized as we are,” yet that is an absolute fact. That is the explanation. You can say, “It’s a culture clash. It’s a clash between two completely different religions.” Those explanations will fit, but they tell us nothing. What tells us something is that those people are not as civilized as the contemporary maximum standard, an exemplar of which happens to be the Western world.
Can you imagine hearing that said on TV? Shocking, isn’t it? Yet, that is the explanation. The reality of this is based upon the known progress of humanity, the ever-increasing civilizing of mankind. Humans becomes less and less dangerous to their fellow creatures. Humans resort less and less to physical violence to settle disputes, particularly intangible disputes—including political disputes, religious disputes, and ideological disputes of all sorts. That is what civilization is. When they are no longer a constant physical threat to one another, humans have the free time to develop technology, medicine, and the arts.
The apologetics that you are hearing from the Western commentators are not the result of a conspiracy. No one decided to do this. I don’t mean that the apologetics are a mistake. There is something else going on in our heads, in consciousness. This is a fiction that is so widespread that it is beyond fiction.
What I am saying is not a judgment but a fact. The same apologists look at the people in African countries who continue to fight back and forth, and they claim the conflict is between the government and some rebel band. A rebel band defeats a government and then calls itself the government. A week later, there’s a new rebel band fighting the brand-new government. This keeps repeating until the two groups destroy each other. Somebody in a Western—that is, a more civilized—milieu will offer the usual apologetics. “Even though they’re now both part of Country X, these two tribes have had cultural conflicts going back for at least two hundred years.” No one ever says, “They’re fighting because they’re less civilized than we are.” There are two possible reasons why this is never said. Either no one has ever seen this, or they have seen it but consciousness will not allow them to say that the people are less civilized.
Here is the point where my example gets really annoying and subtle, and if you can wrap your own consciousness around this, it just might wake you up. The more civilized you are, the less chance there is that you’ll point out that those other people are not civilized.
We appear to be living at a somewhat unusual time. The whole world is becoming more civilized. Within the last twenty years we have seen groups that from our view, were less civilized than the maximum standard on the planet, and that have now become spokesmen for civilization, that now encourage their neighbors who are less civilized to change their ways. Life now has the formerly uncivilized acting as cheerleaders. They’re telling groups that were their uncivilized contemporaries twenty years ago, “Folks, you’ve got to end the battle between you and that other group. You’re destroying each other’s crops. You’re killing off whole generations of each other’s children. You’re dying of diseases that we and your other more civilized neighbors are curing for a dollar a year. You’ve got to stop it. You’ve got to start living like civilized people.”
The impetus is clearly there, and the incremental speed of civilization has increased noticeably in our lifetime. The word, “civilized,” is known world-wide. Even uncivilized people know what the word means. Yet, the word is never spoken. Life will not allow the civilized people to describe the behavior of the uncivilized people in that way. Am I wrong to say that Life will not allow it to be said? It’s either that, or that no one notices. Which is it?
Devotion to Allah is not driving those people. Would a civilized person blow up somebody’s car? Would a civilized person curse or insult or spit on somebody else because of their religion? Would a civilized person beat themselves with a whip? Crawl over glass? Kill themselves for some religious or political leader? Would a civilized person do any of that? Yet a large part of the world will act out that way. They’ll holler, “Let’s all go out in the street and scream, and cut ourselves with knives. And if we see any Christians, or Jews, or Hindus, we’ll kill them.”
That’s not religion. That has nothing to do with politics or with culture. Those people are uncivilized, or at least far less civilized than the current height of civilized behavior. Yet Life will not allow this to be seen that way.
I didn’t say all this just to make some little ironic point. This fiction is a world-wide reality, in the same way that the fiction of love songs is world-wide. Imagine for a moment that I had humanity’s ear, and I said, “Folks, you know the people in the world who are killing other people over their religion or over their politics? Quit looking at the idea that they’re driven to act that way by devotion to their religion or their political ideology. The cause of all that chaos is simply that those people are not yet fully civilized.” Don’t those six billion people have to agree with me? If I said, “Those people are not as civilized as people in Paris and London, not as civilized as the majority of people in Cairo and Riad,” would not every human on this planet have to agree? In that case, why is that statement not said? Why, evidently, can it not be said? Can it not be seen?
This all has to do with consciousness, and as I keep suggesting, consciousness is of supreme importance to Life. Consciousness may be the only thing that’s keeping Life viable in this universe, and it appears that the more civilized someone is, the more he has to offer to Life. This is not a material matter. It’s not that the soil of the North America or Europe in some way seeps up and makes us more conscious. Nevertheless, there are parts of the world that are more fully conscious than others. What that’s really saying is that Life is like a film covering this planet, and parts of Life have progressed further and are more conscious. To use the ordinary term, parts of Life are more civilized and parts are less civilized, but Life will not allow human consciousness to say that.
Life forces intelligent, educated people to call the chaos caused by those uncivilized people a culture clash, or a conflict of religious ideas. That’s like a child who hears a tree limb brushing the roof at night, and calls it the boogeyman. You can call it anything you like. That’s the great thing about consciousness and the mind. If someone tells you, “I believe that when you die, you go to heaven,” and you tell them that’s not true, they might respond, “If it’s not true, then how come I can believe it?” Perhaps a man says, “You know how I know there’s a heaven? It’s because everybody who believes in heaven knows exactly what heaven is like. There’s my proof.”
I don’t know what else to say other than that consciousness is doing this. All of these descriptions that fill our daily news talk about culture clashes, differences of religious views, this or that group being driven by a different political orientation—I can only repeat that none of that is true. These people are simply not civilized to the maximum current standard, which in this case includes the Euro-American standard. These people are not as civilized as we are. Yet world-wide, this view is forbidden, or at least, articulating this view is forbidden. Why?
Remember, again, that this example has to do with consciousness and with why the original Adam of people like us came up with the description of some kind of fuzzy dream, some kind of bizarre curtain between us and reality. In my mind, I see what’s going on in one particular way, and everybody else, including the “everybody else” part of my own mind, sees it a different way. Sometimes those two views are as close together as your first and second finger, and sometimes they’re as far apart as both your hands outstretched to opposite sides. There are things that Life will not let our consciousness see. That is what being asleep is, and seeing that is what being awake is.
Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)
THE SCORE OF THE CITY SONG HAS NO SPACE FOR IMPROVISATION
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Outlier’s Neural Be Bop
MAY 5, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX
(The story of the Narrative began on April 18, 2004.)
More About The Narrative.
You have two things to go on in life: How you feel at the moment,
and the Narrative that goes on continually in your head.
The Narrative is always about things that have happened to you,
and the people involved, but it is never about itself:
the seemingly personal interpretation of these events;
to get free of this captivity and awaken from the daze it causes,
replace the automatic narrative coming from life, through your nervous system,
into the consciousness of your brain with your own real time story.
The Narrative comes from life; your competing story must be from you,
and all it must be is different from the narrative native to your head.
Religions & philosophies appear to provide such stories, but their ideas become
just another impersonal narrative to those who adopt them;
for the ploy noted to work, the story you tell must be original — it must be from you; this in fact is how the certain man produces his needed, non standard you.
The Metaphorical Burlesque Of City Life.
One man says that in the world of Gallagher & Shean he feels himself to be the &.
The only place for the nervous-system-rebel in the everyday scheme of things
is in a spot he pretends to fill.
“But isn’t that the situation of every man?”
Ja, but the rebel is aware of what he’s doing.
The overall events of life no man can control,
but an awakened one can do so the narrative that life broadcasts to his consciousness which purports to explain the events of life to him by willfully telling
his own competing story.
All of the so called methods to achieve enlightenment are based on trying to get the participant’s brain to interfere with the Narrative, but none work so well (if at all)
as what a man comes up with on his own for his mind to do that replaces
(by simply exiting) the ongoing, impersonal and uninformative narrative
which life furnished to all men.
Although doing this is as weighty as trying to push the planet out of orbit,
from another view it is a strangely simplistic situation where (by analogy)
it is like having cancer which you can cure by merely thinking of another,
lesser condition (having dandruff, for instance).
The reason that the few always interested in the idea of awakening-from-a-dream; coming-out-of-darkness-into-the-light; being-freed-from-captivity find the task
so formidable, is to keep them from actually trying to do it long enough for it to occur.
(“No, no my boy! — I don’t doubt that you are quite fascinated with the idea
of leaving Liverpool and going to La La Land, hell! — who wouldn’t like to?! —
but you see how few make any pointed effort to do so — you know why? —
hell man! — it’s obvious why; your everyday person is not a fool;
they won’t waste their time attempting the impossible.
Now you settle down and go back to reading your occult tomes,
and conferring with your gurus — I have to go away for a while.”)
A father played a game with a son:
“Who has you coming and going?”
“Pediatricians and morticians.”
“Plans and resignation.”
“Water and sewage treatment plants.”
“Hormones and neurons.”
Only a sleeper will squeal when pinched,
(and of course a lion — who’ll also probably eat you for your effort.)
Men commonly either do well with their hands or with their thoughts;
the real-deal-man does his best work handling his thoughts.
Everything that is useful to a man he concludes to be true.
Everyone can joke about death — until they learn they are dying;
not dissimilar is how the few speak seriously about being-asleep
as long as they never realize what it really is.
Thoughts appearing in your brain is not unlike a major organ having
swallowed something, that while specially related, nonetheless contains
distinctly foreign elements.
The Big Game.
Life through man is played on two fields: everyone must compete on one of them;
only a few even suspect the existence of the second.
Life In The City.
It’s not the initial expenses — but the upkeep that kills you.
Anything that has (as ordinary men call it): a redeeming-social-message
has nothing to tell an awake man.
Those who boast of their age — feel at least partially a failure.
A father offered a son some advice for getting along in the everyday world:
“When in Rome, be as dumb as the Romans.”
“But you mean, consciously?!”
“What? — I’m speaking with a lisp!?”
In Awake Land (if there was such a place): pigs can roost in trees — know how? —
‘cause no one there cares whether they do or not —
that’s why it’s called: Awake Land (if there was such a place.)
(And those already leaning toward liquidation began to sing:
“Slay bells ring — are you listing…”)
Feelings of Helplessness, Or: The Apparent Hand of Fate & The Narrative.
If you allow your consciousness to consist of nothing but the Narrative,
and passively trail in its flow,
you will feel helpless regarding the life the Narrative says you are living.
There is nothing more serious to a man who knows he is asleep than waking-up;
there is nothing more dangerous to a man who wants to wake-up than
By its nature the mind prefers to believe or disbelieve, accept or reject
something that someone else has already thought rather than think about it itself.
One man’s complaint with organizations teaching awakening:
“The gild came off on my hands.”
Around this time of year, in tribute to his congenital mind,
one chap celebrates what he calls: Sinkhole de Mayo.
Just to start the day with a chuckle: every morning one man looks at himself in the mirror and says: “You’re a big boy now!”
Everybody misses someone — except the person with full I sight.
Habit cures everything — save one.
How Mind Can Work (Also: Water & Sewage Treatment Plants).
A man who delivered public commentaries on the Waking-up, Enlightenment thing
one day mentioned something to his son that took him by complete surprise:
“Most of the people who listen to my comments regularly,
believe that I am talking about something other than I am (as per their personal fixation they assume I am talking about politics, religion, social struggles and the like.”)
As weird as thinking in the brain is, even stranger is the fact that the thinking can be about things other than the brain! — as if the heart could also produce urine,
or the liver pump blood.
Some of the things the brain does in its conscious area are so astounding that even it, the smartest of all organs, doesn’t normally recognize them.
(The relentless commotion of the Narrative serves to cover up a mess a’stuff.)
Finally falling in line and getting involved in self-improvement,
one man has taken up Comedy Yoga (which he refuses to discuss).*
*It’s rumored he’s also working to develop a prune juice for the mind.