Can You Have a Thought That Is Not a “Re-action”?
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
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Notes by TK
Sleep is the result of the conscious part of the brain being nothing more than an automatic reaction device. It can initiate nothing! The conscious part of the brain in every person has a feeling that there is something superior to it, a higher functioning it is possible to aspire to. Consciousness is aware of only one thing: how dumb it is. This is the basis of the feeling of a higher reality.
Human consciousness can save, thru technology, the body/organism: it is smarter than the body in that sense. But it is nonetheless powerless, and knows that it is powerless to operate directly via the non-conscious parts of itself (i.e., to force the immune system to attack cancerous cells, for instance).
Equivalently, the frustration for the Few is that the occasional awake spell doesn’t last—that the smarter function can’t prevail. The prime question for the Few: can you have a thought that is not a re-action? If ‘you’ are thinking, you’re asleep! (46:01) #3154
Edited by S.A.
It is very clear and simple what being asleep is about, but to explain it, I almost have to go in the opposite direction and definitely have to speak in metaphors. There is a way to see exactly what all of this is about that is literally impossible to describe, because if you tell somebody what “waking up” is, that puts them to sleep. That is a fact. You can even put yourself to sleep that way. Therefore, when I start talking, even if you think, “Oh, that’s great! He’s really on to something,” that puts you to sleep.
I’m going to try again to find a way around this. I’m going to tell you what being asleep is. In man’s ordinary state, the conscious part of the brain is nothing but an automatic reaction device. That is all being asleep is. That is the beginning and the end of everything.
If you are anything like me in your head, then what annoys you—and by you, remember that we’re talking about the conscious part of your brain, because there is no “you”. There is no “me”. Me talking about the brain right now is my brain talking about the brain. A known, specific part of my brain is doing this, and the part that you’re listening with is that same known physical area of your brain. What people like us call being asleep, being unenlightened, being captive—the conscious part of the brain is saying those words. Being asleep is the conscious part of the brain being mad, angry, upset, bothered, not satisfied with the fact that consciousness can only react. Consciousness can initiate nothing. That is why somebody’s brain came up with the idea that we are deluded, living in a dream, living in the dark. All of that is the conscious part of the brain being upset.
If you don’t have a temper, you could look at this as the conscious part of your brain not being satisfied but in my case, the feeling is closer to anger. I am privately angry, for the most part, and I hope you are too, because it doesn’t do any good to let the anger show. Nobody can help you. On the contrary, they might want to join in and be angry along with you, which would just put both of you deeper into sleep.
Remember, all of this is based on the conscious part of the brain not being able to originate anything. That is the cut-off point that makes it impossible to be told what being asleep is without the explanation putting you to sleep. From one view, the fastest way to ever see what is going on is to strive to see for yourself that everything consciousness does, which ordinary people would say is everything you think, is a reaction to something you just read, heard, or thought.
That is stunning, is it not? To say that you “think” is laughable. To say that you “had a thought” is ridiculous. Being asleep is nothing but an endless reactive operation of the “thinking” part of your brain. All of the methods that people have proposed to stop the automatic reaction—trying to count your breaths, remember a word, remember yourself—I used to describe as attempts to interfere with the mechanical flow of consciousness. Now, I see this much more precisely. All of those methods try to momentarily stop consciousness from instantly and automatically reacting to what it just heard, read, or thought. If you can see that, then for that moment, it will completely remove the illusion that there’s a “you” thinking—that there’s a “you” in you. You would have the answer, and in addition, you would no longer be in any way dissatisfied.
Consciousness has created a third-party illusion called “you”. Technically, that is a second-party illusion, but as you seem to talk to yourself, the illusion is as if you and consciousness are talking about a third party—except the curious thing is that the third party is you. The conscious part of the brain made up a fictional figure and called it “you”, made up a ventriloquist’s dummy and then started talking as though consciousness were the dummy and “you” were in charge of the dummy.
The conscious part of the brain in every normal person has a notion that there is something superior to it, most commonly a supernatural figure, a god. As long as men have left written records, they have believed in gods. People who say they don’t believe in a god may have the idea that there is a superior person—a guru, a spiritual master, an awakened person, an enlightened person. People, including those who consider themselves mystical, who don’t believe in superior people might say that they believe in a more evolved, superior state of consciousness—in other words, the possibility of waking up, of achieving enlightenment. They say, or rather, the conscious part of their brain says, that they believe there is a higher level of inner spirituality or consciousness possible for men—that men could be better, more humane, more forgiving, more tolerant, more compassionate. That is not correct, but it doesn’t happen to be as handily wrong as to be exactly opposite what is correct. I bring that issue up because what I describe in this next part will sound as if I’m saying that people’s notion about something superior is backward, but it’s not that simple.
Consciousness is aware, not of how much better it could be, but of how dumb it is. That is what your dreams are about. Consciousness knows more than it can do. In one sense, therefore, consciousness is acutely aware not of some superior state or person, but of a lesser state. Consciousness bemoans and agonizes over the fact that it is as lowly a thing as it is. The conscious part of the brain is smarter than anything we are aware of in this universe, but consciousness is not even close to being able to use its superior knowledge to manipulate the non-conscious parts of the brain or body in order to fix problems of which consciousness is aware.
Being awake is being cognizant of that failure of consciousness to a degree that does not afflict ordinary people. For several talks, I used the extreme example of someone whose consciousness was aware that they had a malignant tumor and that the body had the innate capacity to routinely destroy abnormal cells, but that now parts of the body, even those parts directly wired to the brain, were failing in their job of destroying the malignant cells. I said that even though it had superior knowledge, consciousness could not fix the body’s problems.
In the sense that we define intelligence, the conscious part of the brain is more intelligent than any other part of the brain. Consciousness has taught our hands how to manufacture anesthesia, use it to render other humans unconscious, and cut them open, which would normally put them in physical shock and kill them. Consciousness has taught our hands how to cut out malignant growths and then sew the body back up. Human hands could not have done any of that without consciousness alone having figured it out.
The rest of the brain does everything that is necessary to keep you alive, but compared to what the tiny, conscious part of the brain knows, the rest of the brain is a dolt, an imbecile. Consciousness can save the life of the rest of your body. If not your consciousness specifically, then human consciousness in the form of surgeons and anesthesiologists, can save the life of your organism. People don’t think this way, which is why at this point my example may appear weak, but I shall continue.
Consciousness is aware that it is smarter than the rest of the body. Surely there’s been a human somewhere who has been diagnosed with some disease, maybe diabetes, and whose consciousness thought, “My body should not have let this happen. My brain should not have let this happen.” It would be a bit spooky to get upset at other body parts, like your hands or your feet. It would even be tacky to pick on a bodily organ that contains a cancerous growth. “My kidney, my liver, my lung should not have let this happen!” Nevertheless, isn’t the conscious part of the brain within its intellectual rights to pick on its immediate neighbor, the non-conscious part of the brain, the part that the conscious part has grown on top of, like moss on a basketball? Surely, consciousness should be able to tell the rest of the brain, “You have a direct channel to the immune system, and I do not. Therefore, I order you to make the immune system do its job.”
Something within a few people like us responds positively when they are told that man is asleep, and therefore not as conscious as he could be. The part that responds is the conscious part of the brain trying to bring the rest of the brain up to its level, while also trying to give itself the abilities that other parts of the brain already have. That makes a strange loop, which is why consciousness has made up the idea of supernatural beings, of gods. Consciousness prays to a god or gods, “Heal me of this. You have the power. In our Holy Book that I, consciousness, wrote, it says that you are all-powerful. In the snap of a finger, you could cure me. I’m begging you, please do that for me.”
Consciousness goes through all of that because of a simple and extremely frustrating situation, which is that consciousness can describe in words and diagrams how the immune system is able to destroy unruly cellular activity. Consciousness also knows that the immune system has direct channels into the brain. Yet consciousness can’t reach down to those parts of the brain and give orders in words, which is the only tool that consciousness deals in.
If consciousness didn’t have words, but managed to figure out surgery, anesthesia, and all the rest of medical science, what good would that knowledge have done? Without words, consciousness would have had no way of communicating the knowledge to others. With words, consciousness was able to tell another person, “Make me unconscious through this method I figured out. First, you make some anesthesia. Here’s the chemical formula. Then, release the anesthesia into my bloodstream. That will make me lose consciousness. You’ll know that I’m unconscious when you can punch me and I don’t budge. While I’m like that, you can cut me open and cut out this lump of cells that would otherwise kill me. After that, you can sew me back up and stop giving me anesthesia. In a while, I’ll come back to consciousness, and I’ll live.”
With words, consciousness can teach other people to do all that. Words are all that consciousness has, but words are enough to make consciousness the smartest thing in the universe, as far as we can tell. Despite all that, consciousness can’t reach out to the non-conscious parts of the brain and say, “Boost the immune system. Make it create more killer T-cells. the things you send out when you’re fighting an infection. Cure me!”
Consciousness can’t do that. It’s an inch away from the rest of the brain, has all the knowledge it needs to solve the problem, and still can’t do that. I don’t know what’s holding consciousness up, but it has figured out what it’s been trying to do. What they’re now doing in oncology—cancer research—is cutting into cancers and removing some of the malignant cells, then, using those cells, trying to make a vaccine. They’ve known how to make vaccines for well over a hundred years. You take out some smallpox virus and place it in a Petri dish. You let it create its own antivirus, and then you inject the antivirus into a person. After the injection, the person’s immune system can recognize the virus, and overcome it.
They’re trying now to boost a patient’s own cancer cells and put them back into his body to force the immune system to attack the cancer. If you look at the immune system’s killer T-cells as gunslingers, the process is rather like loading a gun. The conscious part of the brain puts bullets made out of the person’s cancer into the guns that the T-cells shoot. Then the immune system would function properly, and the T-cells would more readily kill the cancer. Consciousness created that system, which shows how clever consciousness is. The theory works, although at this point, doctors can’t make it work in every type of cancer.
What annoys the conscious part of the brain in people like us is that in most ways, consciousness is smarter than the rest of our brains and bodies, yet consciousness can’t seem to make itself known, except momentarily. You’re awake for that moment, but then you go back to your ordinary state, and you walk into a door, drop a glass, or stick your own finger in your eye. No matter how mundane the experience, all that matters to you is that you’ve gone back to sleep, back to what some would describe as being a dolt, a dunderhead, an idiot. That must be why our forefathers somewhere came up with the idea of being asleep. You might call yourself an idiot or a fool if you lack a piece of information. You had the capitals of North and South Dakota reversed, and you tell yourself, “I’m an idiot!” That is not what people like us mean when we say we are asleep. The real definition of being asleep is that consciousness, the conscious part of the brain, can’t get the rest of the brain to stop being nothing but an automatic reaction device that only thinks by coming up against another thought that’s already spinning and makes the new thought spin. That is not being conscious. That is not thinking.
That is thinking to everybody else in the world, and to your own ordinary brain. All you’ve got is a split second every now and then to realize what I just described, because then consciousness will immediately start you thinking about what you’ve just done, and you’ll be back asleep. The sad truth is that if you’re thinking, you’re asleep. I wouldn’t tell somebody that nowadays. If I did, it would only be to get their attention, but then there is no way to straighten out the meaning. The best I could say is, “I don’t mean that literally,” and then let them nod, as if to say, “I assumed that.” If you then said, “Actually, I do mean that literally, but it just doesn’t sound right,” by then usually people are sick of listening to you. They’re telling themselves, “Either he’s crazy, or he’s just trying to be enigmatic.”
If you are thinking, you are asleep. If you are thinking, you are an idiot, in the mystical sense of the word. That is heartbreaking. I’m sorry—I misspoke. I meant to say that is heart-thriving. Once you realize that, you have pared down the problem in a sense, because you don’t have any thought, any concern about what was on your mind just then. You don’t have to wonder, “Is that thought a little bit awake? Am I thinking more awake thoughts?” If you’re thinking, you’re asleep, period. Can you have a thought that is not a reaction? The key, the trick, is that if you keep looking, that will either wake you up, or it will rub off where your consciousness meets thought, like something rubbing against a grindstone. If looking doesn’t wake you up, at least it will push the conscious part of your brain so far away from the rest of your brain that you won’t know whether you’re asleep or not.
Whatever thought you just heard, your consciousness will be spun by it, like one wheel rubbing up against another, and you will have gone back to sleep. That can’t be more obvious. If you can look at what’s going on in your head and not see that, there’s no hope for you. That one simple fact, that you hear something and it spins your consciousness and starts a thought, or you read something—whether you like it or disagree with it, whether it’s spiritual or pornography or the latest sports scores—unless you’re making some extraordinary effort at that moment, then all your consciousness amounts to is a wheel that is spun by another wheel.
If you want to wake up, try see this, because this is what bothers people like us: your consciousness, the conscious part of your brain, is an instant, automatic, reaction machine. That’s all consciousness is. Check this out for yourself, because I could be wrong. It’s one thing for me to talk about this, and something else entirely when you see it yourself. If somebody had ever told me what consciousness is without me first seeing this for myself, I can’t imagine that I would have gotten anything out of their explanation. Nevertheless, here it is: “Are you thinking? If you are, then you’re asleep.”
I should warn you. Once you see this, then for the rest of your life you will be trying to balance on a never-ending string of firecrackers about to go off, and you will have to jump from one foot to the other. If you don’t want to be faced with that, you shouldn’t pursue this. If you see this for yourself, I warn you, there will be nothing to think or talk about, because you will know what this is all about. Know directly. Not metaphorically. Not symbolically. And you can’t ever think your way out of this.
Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)
THERE’S ALWAYS TIME TO BE ORDINARY
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tracking The Temporal Space Secretly Available
MAY 31, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX
Man’s physical life is composed of a half dozen significant, re-doable things;
his intangible life is made up of a lot of little meaningless things which
he also reuses incessantly.
(“Isn’t that precious — the infinite recycling of the irrelevant.”)
Life submits to the Universe and man submits to Life;
the nervous-system-rebel however (in a manner indescribable)
resists some of Life’s routine demands of man:
doing so is his special rebellion and source of his singular reward.
In one land, their health plan is:
If you can catch it — you qualify.
(“That somehow sounds strangely familiar?!?”)
“Pa pa: how can the familiar be strange?”
If you don’t pay much attention to what you’re doing, you can do more —
not do better, or necessarily do more enjoyably,
but just do more of man’s routine, mindless stuff.
In the asylum (strapped snugly in the canvas coat with the long sleeves that
wrap all around) a chap mused:
“Well, better my arms in a straight jacket than my mind,”
(the Chief Of Staff leaned over and whispered: “We made him say that.”)
And as you were leaving the patient began singing:
“Oh I wish I was in the land of irony,
old times there could be forgotten,
look away! — what’d I say,
lost the thought — what’d I say.”
“Dear Father: is being-awake forgetting more or remembering more?”
“Your approach is promising, but you have to take into account what you might be
specifically referring to when you ponder such a question.”
There was once a duck who held warm memories of his childhood,
but had released those concerning al’Oranging. (“It’s my life: I can do that,” said the quacker.)
After experiencing yet more unexpected actions and outcomes in his life,
one man took a full breath survey of himself and said:
“I am proving to be the kind of person I never warned me about.”
(“Precious pater: might being-enlightened be knowing beforehand what you are,
and if that be so then — what the fuck is going on?!
A person struggles mightily for many years and the pay off is that! Yikes!”
“Nice one, but ‘Yikes!’ would be a sentiment expressed only by those who’ve never
had the experience and seen things [including man] as they are,
[although its significance is that of goose piss].
Going to Googieville doesn’t mean anything — except to someone who goes there.”
“And most people have no interest in going there, huh?!”
“I started to reply: ‘You tell me,’ but what a superfluous comment that would be.”
In one place: Things speak for themselves;
fact: They do every where — but in some places, well….let’s just say that
in some places the inhabitants suffer a certain hearing problem.)
On one world: things got all confused! — but no one ever noticed! — in fact:
it was an out of towner who had to make up the word: confused for them.
(“Look here my good man: write me out a ticket to that place — and there will be a
nice tip in it for you if you do not inquire into my reasons for wanting to go there.”)
Then to seal the deal and finalize the transaction, he handed the travel agent
his Amygdalan Distress Card: the one with the slogan:
“Takes You Everywhere You Don’t Want To Go”)
“Profound Progenitor: Could it be said that being-liberated is the
finalization of all intangible transactions?”
“If that doesn’t describe Googieville — nothing will.”
Regarding Royal Responsibilities.
The king is charged with controlling competition — particularly in the ideas market.
No ruler worthy his title aids in his own overthrow:
if life were deposed — who would replace it?
If your natural born thoughts can be replaced — who would so avail their self
(speaking of course, to the rebellious few).
The independent minded have a certain advantage —
about which ordinary men have no knowledge — nor interest.
(“It’s sort of fun-silly, having access to a super delicious duck dish
that appears on no one’s menu, but which I found just laying out here by the pond,
completely in the open,” said a chap with dopamine sauce dripping down his chin.)
To awaken and emerge from man’s common, collective dreamy state
requires you to have a totally new and different view:
one that is available only at the rim of yours and everyone else’s
presently perceived reality:
it requires a walking up to the very edge of a great, unbounded black abyss
that starts where all you presently know ends:
it is a facing of the apparent infinity of man’s inner universe:
a place ordinary men have no desire to go, and in fact are made to feign ignorance of.
(At the brink of one such immense abyss someone hung a banner:
“If This Is Not The Funniest Sight You’ve Ever Seen — What Are You Doing Here.”)
You can sit in your cell and ignore your captivity;
you can sit in your cell and curse it;
you can sit in your cell and dream of escape,
or you can try something else.
One man ‘s mind erected a monument to itself that it then called him —
and which (him being an uncommon man) he ignored..
There is only one thing memorable to the man who has waked up to what is really going on.