Jan Cox Talk 3170

Hey—You Don’t Have to Listen to Yourself


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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Notes by TK

Something to help keep focused consciously: realize, you don’t have to listen to yourself! The inner ‘partner’ that is aware of the memory trace of your utterances, and compares/critiques them to some standard, is useless. Be aware that all mental operations are simply the cerebral cortex in action.

A method: continually monitor the poor quality of your hearing (of yourself) in your ordinary state, and compare it to the intensity of the willful conscious listening you know you can bring on. This is to realize: ordinary listening is unnecessary because so ineffectual and meaningless. (38:44) #3170

Notes by DR

Jan Cox 3170   Another curiosity: the partnership as in “I think, here’s what I think” as if something is talking and something hears it talk. Psychology describes consciousness as awareness of self. But there is a distinct thing that they are not aware. You don’t have to listen to yourself talk or think. You can look back and remember yourself for 30-40 seconds and you’ve got those few seconds to latch onto what was going on, and you can see you weren’t really listening. But if you ask any sane person on the planet “Do you listen to yourself talk?”, they would say “Yes, certainly”. They don’t plan what they’re saying and they don’t really listen. (In a sense they can rewind it for a minute or so.) And all you have to do is make yourself willfully consciousness, which has been described for thousands of years. What that represents is that consciousness is not fully operative-it spends part of its time talking and part of its time listening.

If you unify the partnership into a one man operation with the intensity/clarity which consciousness can listen, and then compare, ordinary consciousness doesn’t listen. It’s just a vague awareness that you’re talking. “A nervous system rebel dropped his score but kept on playing and discovered it didn’t make any difference”.


07-07-2004   #3170
Edited by S.A.

There is a feature related to consciousness which I haven’t yet mentioned, and which is curious in two ways. First, the phenomenon is something you’ve lived with for your entire life, yet I’ll guarantee that you never noticed. Second, you can use this feature to help keep you conscious.

With regard to curious aspect number one, a benefit of not being what I would call conscious—of not being individually conscious—is that you don’t have to listen to yourself. I was going to call this benefit underappreciated, but the benefit is not even noticed. I have no doubt that if people did know about this benefit, they would certainly be appreciative.

You may remember that I used to talk and write a great deal about the partnership in our brains. People say, “Here’s what I think,” as though something is talking in their heads, and then something else in their heads listens to the first something. Nobody really thinks about that. The closest that they come is when psychology or neurology describes consciousness, or “the mind,” as self-awareness, and states that self-awareness is what other creatures lack. They say that when other creatures are shown a reflection of themselves in a mirror, then if they pay any attention at all, they’ll try to attack their reflection, because they are not self-aware. To those psychologists, consciousness is self-awareness, period. As a fellow psychologist, to that I say poofadoodle.

There is a distinct manifestation of what men call consciousness of which those psychologists and neurologists are not truly aware—that in your ordinary state of consciousness, you don’t have to listen to yourself. Suppose that I ask an ordinary person, “When you’re talking, do you listen to yourself?” No doubt he would respond, “Of course I do,” but I guarantee you that he does not, because he wasn’t conscious in the sense that I use the word. He was in his normal state. He was speaking in relatively coherent sentences, but he didn’t plan what he is now saying, and he’s not really listening to what he says.

People ordinarily do not listen to themselves. Neither do we in our ordinary state. For people like us, it’s fairly easy to see this. If you try a couple of times, you should discover the way in which you can listen to yourself. You make yourself willfully conscious, and even though it’s after the fact, you can hear what you were saying for the last few seconds before you became willfully conscious. You will realize that compared to right now, what you were doing before was not listening.

By the way, there is an expanded version which states that one of the benefits of being of an ordinary state of consciousness is that you do not have to listen to yourself talk or think. The difference is not important, but I want to be technically inclusive, assuming that you can make the conscious operation that goes on in your brain aware of this.

Try and think about what I’m talking about tonight. You have to piece this together. You know how that goes. First, you try to pursue a certain line of investigation. Then you forget what you were doing and go back into your ordinary consciousness. Then you suddenly remember what you were trying to investigate. At that point, you’ve got a second or so, a window of opportunity, to be aware of what was just going on in the ordinary running of your consciousness. You’ve got to do it immediately, or it’s gone.

If you try, you can get to the point where you can remember more than just the last couple of seconds of what it was you were talking or thinking about. I hate to put figures on this, because I’ve never actually tried to time it, but I can now catch the main scene that my consciousness was showing, and the words that were passing through. Without stopping and going through my memory, I’m now aware of more than the last several seconds. I think it’s based on the fact that you find out that there are major scenes that replay over and over in your head. Therefore, you can catch no more than thirty or forty seconds, and you will grasp what’s going on.

Here’s tonight’s point: you realize, “Oh no! I’m back in my ordinary state of consciousness!” Simply remembering that takes you out of your ordinary state, and then you’ve got a couple of seconds to latch on to what was going on and compare that to the state that you have willfully produced right now. You will then notice that in your previous state, you weren’t really listening.

I need to amend that last statement. In a sense, you were listening in your previous state, or you couldn’t now be aware of any of the last few seconds. Just ask an ordinary person, “When you’re talking, do you listen to what you’re saying?” People will look at you as if you’re an idiot. They’ll say, “Of course I do!” Nevertheless, they are not really listening. That is pretty easy to spot. It doesn’t take much special metaphysical effort. You’ve listened to people chatting in the grocery store line, or to celebrities such as presidents, prime ministers, or experts in some field. If they’re not reading from a script, they continually misspeak, such that what they say can be the literal opposite of what they clearly meant—and they don’t even  hear what they misspoke. If they did, they would stop and correct themselves.

It’s hard at first to accept that people do not listen to themselves talk. Nobody naturally hears themselves talk, because our ordinary state of consciousness does not require this, but people are unaware of this. Ask any sane person on this planet, “Do you listen to yourself talk?” Every one of them would respond, “l certainly do listen to myself talk. Are you nuts?”

If you asked them even this—wait! I don’t know why I said “even,” but now I can show you that I hear myself when I talk. “Even” was unnecessary in this sentence. I was going to say that the word doesn’t add anything, but listening beforehand to what I was going to say, and seeing that “even” wasn’t necessary, I realized that it’s not necessary for me to say anything else, such as, “It doesn’t add anything to the sentence.” Saying that “even” was unnecessary covered that.

Okay, back to where we were. What if I asked somebody, “You say that you listen to yourself when you talk. Do you also listen to yourself when you’re not talking? That is, do you listen to yourself think?” Would not everybody cut their eyes up into their head for a second, which is a movement that I personally love. Then they’d say, “Yes, of course I listen to myself think.” The more they thought about this, talked about this, the more adamant they would become, even though they’d never thought about any of this before I posed my question. By the way, cutting your eyes up into your head does help, doesn’t it? Makes you feel so much more alert.

People never think about whether they listen to themselves think. If they do think about this, I guarantee you, every sane person on this planet would insist that they do listen, and not without reason, because, to return to my opening gambit, in a sense people in the ordinary state of consciousness do listen to themselves talk, but not to the degree that they could. If you haven’t already realized all of this, you ought to check it out after we get through tonight, because what is striking is the minimal degree of the listening that people do.

Say that somebody is holding forth about something. Yammer, yammer, yammer. They finish their statement, and the person they’re talking to says, “No! You claimed that the president said such and such, but he actually said blah blah blah.” The first person will say, “No, I did not say that. What I said was bippity bippity bop.” When challenged, that person can listen to what he had just said. It is not uncommon for a person who is obviously in an ordinary state of consciousness to reach back in memory to as much as a minute ago. You do this too, in your ordinary state of consciousness, when you’re challenged. You should check this for yourself. On the other hand, I’ve seen it go otherwise, such that a person’s memory, even within thirty seconds, is faulty. To put that another way, that person seriously wasn’t listening, even up to the ordinary level.

Let’s say that the first person said something a minute ago. That a man is challenged and is then able to rewind what he said as far back as a minute ago, is really something for a man’s ordinary state of consciousness. With authority, then, that man can tell the other person, “No, no! You are wrong! I know what I said. I said bippity bop, not yada, yada, yada.” People can do that—and yet people do not listen to themselves in spite of that. To see this, all you have to do is make yourself willfully conscious. Maybe you can do so already, but if not, try a few times, and you’ll become aware of this in a way that no one could ever describe to you.

Metaphorically, symbolically, for thousands of years, a few men have been trying to describe to other men their version of this. That is from whence come such comparative terms as “being asleep in consciousness”, or “not being awake”, or “being in the dark”, as opposed to having an enlightened consciousness. Those are very dramatic symbols. People might be amazed to hear a mystic say that once they open their eyes in the morning, men believe that they’re awake, but they are not really awake, that they are still asleep compared to how they could be. I agree that those are beautiful allegories and metaphors. I cherished them for years and years. I don’t know how any of us would ever get started without them—but you don’t need those terms anymore. You can still enjoy them, but this is much better.

Since I’m using the term, “Not hearing yourself in your ordinary state of consciousness,” that sounds like I’m talking about a sound, but that is not correct. What’s different is not volume, and not really clarity. I am talking about something you feel, even though the brain, by all accounts, has no physical ability to feel. Nevertheless, you feel this.

I’m tempted to say that this feels as if I were down in a canyon and my consciousness was hundreds of yards away in that canyon. That represents consciousness that is not fully operative. Consciousness is spending part of its energy talking and part listening. If you unify that partnership into a one-man operation—that is, if you make yourself willfully conscious—you will feel as though you’ve pulled cotton out of your ears. The older description, thousands of years old, is that you feel as though scales have been removed from your eyes. Hence, the terms, “enlightenment”, and “waking up from a dream.”

I have found this activity highly enjoyable and useful, or I wouldn’t be recommending it. You can practice this while you’re sitting around waiting for your name to be called at the car repair shop or at the dentist’s office. This is better than any magazine you could read, or any conversation you could have. You’ll chuckle. It’s as if your whole consciousness, the inside of your head, has changed from a two-dollar transistor radio to a great stereo system. Everything brightens up. Best of all, the static in your head stops, and you can hear in three hundred and sixty degree stereo. You now have magnificent sound reproduction in your head—and there is nothing to reproduce. Then you chuckle for real, but man, is your hearing good!

Make it your new endeavor to monitor the poor quality of your hearing when you’re in your ordinary state of consciousness. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe in your ordinary state of consciousness, you are continually and alertly listening to everything you say, and when you’re quiet, you’re just as attentively listening to what you’re thinking. Nevertheless, take it as a new area of specific investigation to see if you can grasp that compared to the intensity and clarity with which conscious consciousness can listen, your ordinary consciousness doesn’t listen, except in the very vague way of which I gave an example. If you experience this for yourself, I have no doubt you’ll agree that ordinary consciousness’s vague awareness that you are talking doesn’t deserve to be called listening.

If you’re keeping a list, then “You don’t really listen” should be about item number eight hundred and twenty that you might work on. That alone should wake you up, to realize that people never really listen to themselves talk. After that, you can realize, “Wait! That means I don’t have to listen. That means I can spend all the years of my whole entire life talking, and never listen to myself, and it doesn’t matter.”

I guess I’m going to have to make that a news item for the website. “A nervous system rebel dropped his score but kept on playing, and discovered that not having a score didn’t make a bit of difference.” That’s it!

You could point all this out to an ordinary person. You could probably get an ordinary person to agree that they don’t listen to every single word they say. You could challenge what they just said when you said, “Do you listen to yourself when you talk?” When they say that they do, you could get them started talking, and then stop them at some point and say, “All right, what did you just say?” In other words, you could make most people finally agree that they actually don’t listen to every single word they say. Shouldn’t that stagger somebody, especially if you said, “You don’t find that spooky that you can talk and not listen to yourself talk? In other words, that you’re not paying any attention, and yet you still talk?” At that point, they should either wake up, or their head should explode. Of course, that doesn’t happen. Chuckle, chuckle.

Take it upon yourself to observe your ordinary state. To observe, first, if indeed you do actually listen to yourself. Then see what you think of the quality of your listening. Before you get to the end of your observations, something drastic is going to happen to you. Hair on fire. Exploded head.

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

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Supplying Style For The Escapee’s Neural Apparel
JULY 7, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX

“Question: When not engaged in material problem solving:
What is consciousness for? – what does it consistently do in its free time? –
(and one response is): acts as Date Book and Accounts Ledger.
“That’s IT?!”
“I’m wrong?!”

Being informed is the establishing of new synaptic connections,
while being entertained is the activation of ones already in place
which you would probably not be activating otherwise.

In the drama that is his life, one man says he now sees his aim as being
to turn his congenital self into a marginal figure.
(And the Rhode island red choir began to sing:
“There ain’t nobody here but us egg shells,
ain’t nobody hardly at all…”)
Another chap cringes severely whenever he hears a certain popular line uttered in movies which he fears could become his natural mind’s trademark:
“You ain’t heard the last of me!”

The more civilized becomes an everyday man the less concern he will display
over whether his heroes share this condition.
Once rhinos have full time talking parrots on their back,
the birds begin to envy the beasts’ prior life without them.
(“Makes sense to me – I don’t understand it – but it makes sense.”)

It is natural for men to criticize – that’s why they have thoughts
(and also speech so that the criticisms can be shared –
which provides a necessary memory bank for man’s technology);
when the criticism moves from the arrangements of materials in the physical environment to intangible matters solely within man,
it produces culture in its divers forms;
in the lives of ordinary people: one of these is helpful, the other entertaining;
the man trying-to-get-to-the-bottom-of-things however,
has a unique take on what is entertaining.

The unsung purpose of quotes is that they allow those with nothing to say
to say something.

In Re: Doing and Thinking.
Question: Is it harder to be a blacksmith – or a mystic? –
or a mystic who is a blacksmith?
And furthermore:
who but a damn fool
with a damn fool porch
painted with damn fool stickum
would worry over damn fool questions like this! – BUT! – the answer is:
It’s harder to be any thing than it is to be no thing
(unless of course – you’re still on the porch –
watching traffic go by – just a’wishin’ you were some body).
“Pa pa: why do you never hear those-who-know speak of whether
knowing makes it easier or harder to be somebody?”
“Talk about damn fool questions!”

On this planet men live in Rock City and The Vatican;
at any moment you can be almost entirely in one or the other,
or you can divide up your time more equitably, but no matter what you
call yourself doing – you’ll be doing it either in Rock City or The Vatican.

Not infrequently on forms where occupation is requested, one man writes:

Overturned Vehicle.

Some mornings one man will stay in bed long after he has physiologically awakened, as a kind of challenge to his congenital mind – to see what it has the nerve to do before he physically arises and strives to hold his consciousness in his own hands.
(Casanova always said the greatest sins were performed in the bed.)
According to legend: about eleven hundred years after men were forced from the paradisiacal garden into verbal consciousness, one group of people tried to UN-culture themselves in an attempt to reduce the useless influences of their thoughts,
but discovered that none among them had the key to accurately defining: useless,
regarding matters that existed only in their mind.
(“Is this why in man’s second reality the watchword seems to be:
‘Let It ALL Hang Out?’”
[“And why not?!” chimed in the proboscis monkey ensemble.])

Another Scene From: The Great Struggle
The people decided to again attack the castle, and being experienced in such activity,
were prepared for a vicious defense and counter attacks,
but on this particular day they were much surprised – MUCH surprised –
to encounter no resistance at all.
(Note: This is either: a fictional scene about The Struggle – or: its final chapter.

Wouldn’t you think?!)

More About The Poetry Of Thought Vs What Happens.
Odes to death are not heard coming from the cemetery.
“Dear Pater: Why are so many previously confusing matters made instantly clear to me by your short, abrupt notations of the obvious?”
“You forgot to add: which the ordinary find impossible to grasp.”
“You’re right, and I also left out: which are impossible for ordinary minds to grasp,
OR to realize that they can’t.
Pa pa: obviousness is the problem, right?!”

All kings know that humor cannot be jailed, fined or put on probation –
it can only be executed — and the sooner the better.

One prison wit considers: nit to be half a word.

In the land of synapse: rate-of-speed can equal control;
ducks neither run marathons nor excel at math.
On one world biology not only determines psychology, but psychology does as well.
“Point of accuracy, Me Lord!”
Okay: psychology causes itself to believe that it does.
“Mister Speaker!”
Oh all right: causes itself to say that it does.
“The back benchers are satisfied……………..for the moment.)”

In the early days of his struggle to come out of the coma,
one man issued to himself hourly updates on his condition;
he later largely abandoned these criticisms-disguised-as-information,
diverting the energy to the struggle itself.
(The health matters attendant to awakening can be tricky indeed.)

The speaker said:
“Man’s chemically based fertilization of earth’s arable lands is the worst single thing
to ever happen to life on this planet – however:
there is the little matter of life having made men do it.”
(Requests for his appearance are few.)

From The Unpublished City Dictionary.
Science: Art for philistines.
Art: Science for the sense.
(Does anyone feel they were left out?)

Incongruity is the soul of discovery – unless you’re a mental city slicker –
but then you’re not going to discover anything anyway so it all works out.
“Hell! – living within the walled confines of a prison – everything works-out —
what kinda big deal is that; no matter how wide the swings in temperature:
where is the mercury in a thermometer going to go?!”

The certain man always mentally has somewhere to go.

Once a year,
on the dot,
on the spot,
one man will call all his natural born children together and announce:
“You are not my children,” which greatly relieves, excites & frees both him & them.

The real-deal-man always has something else to get free of.*


*Corollary: Only those asleep can be bored.