Jan Cox Talk 3171

When Consciousness Listens to Unscripted Music


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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Summary = See below
Edited Transcript = See Below
Condensed News = See below
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Notes by TK

The desire for enlightenment and the playing of improvised music derive from the same source. In a sense one has “dropped the score” but continues to play the music, withal. It’s not funny to be alive; it’s funny to be conscious that you are. One cannot be in the space of playing unscripted music (asleep) and be aware of it at the same time. This is not true of any other activity (e.g., dancing, painting, reading, etc.) for all normal physical/emotional activity cannot take place w/o being aware of it.

Ergo: the singular, defining feature of humanity—consciousness—operates w/o any attention or control! Awareness comes only after the fact, via memory, invoking an illusory ‘me’ or ‘I’ to disguise the agency of its arising. Consciousness does not dictate or script what it does. There is only one thing that consciousness can be certain of: it is not in control! Why does it say otherwise?

All that’s required to highlight this reality is the question: ‘what are you going to think (or say) next?’. How is it possible that men don’t realize this? (37:43) #3171

Notes by DR

Jan Cox Talk 3171       It’s not just funny to be alive, it’s that you’re conscious that you are. As long as you are in the spot, in the place, where the unscripted music is being played, you can never be aware of it. If your consciousness is in the midst of itself, it’s not possible to realize what’s going on. There’s nothing else like this. Can you be in the midst of dancing and not know you’re dancing, sculpting, painting a picture? Can you be in the midst of emotions that can be described and not know it? Consciousness, our singular feature, operates without any attention or control. You interfere with it and you become conscious. Consciousness made up the idea of a ‘you’ in you so that consciousness could talk about you not paying attention to consciousness.


07-09-2004 #3171
Edited by S.A.

I want to give more attention to the news story that I reported last time, which was that the origins of improvisational music and the desire to awaken have a common source. In that news story, a musician dropped his music, kept on playing, and discovered that not having a script or a score made no difference. The funniest thing about this is that it’s not funny. For years, I thought just being alive was funny, though I also thought that statement was not quite accurate. What I should have said is that it’s funny to be conscious that you are alive.

I’ve been not-conscious before, and in that circumstance, life wasn’t funny. Life is only funny when you’re conscious of life, and of consciousness. As long as you’re in the place where the unscripted music is being played, you can never be aware of any of this, even after you know what’s going on. That, to me, is also quite funny. That is the difference between being asleep and waking up from a dream.

By the way, when I say that your consciousness is in a particular place, I’m not referring to a physical place, but to an internal place. If your consciousness is in the place where the unscripted music is being played, you’re not aware of that, which is the reality of being asleep. You’re obviously not lying down snoozing. You seem to be attentive to the environment. But in your head, you’re in a place where music is being played, and to use my metaphor, you have dropped the score, yet you continue to play, and it makes no difference. You’re aware of none of this. Not only did you not write the music, but you’re not even playing the music from a score. The music plays, and you think that you are playing. You’re not aware that the music is unscripted, and you’re not aware that that fact makes no difference.

Most people, if they were pushed about how the flow of thought works, would at least say, “I may not be the author of everything I say. I may not be the composer of all the music that comes from my lips, but at least I am the interpreter. I am relaying that which I have learned through listening to others, heeding my teachers in school, and reading books on subjects that interest me. I have learned, I have analyzed, and I have interpreted. If all I speak is not totally original, at least I am playing back my own version of the music of Aristotle, of Buddha, Moses, Zarathustra, Goethe, or Dante.”

They are doing no such thing. As long as they are at the spot where unscripted and unscored music is playing, it is not possible for them to be aware that they are not the authors of the music. Let’s assume that an ordinary person was asked, “Were those comments you just made original with you?” Most of the time, people will answer in the affirmative, especially if the questioner shows no sign of knowing otherwise. Perhaps that ordinary person realizes that what he just said sounded like something he had read in Shakespeare. Then you, with a bland expression on your face, say, “That’s very impressive. Was that your original idea?” If the other person has no feeling that you might know better, he will probably say, “Yes, that was my original idea.”

You might try to get them to consider the matter, by saying, “Do you remember what you just said?” As I have noted, people do not really listen to themselves, although when challenged, sometimes they can go back thirty or forty seconds and recall a bit of what they said, which is damn near miraculous. Then you might say, “I’m not trying to challenge you, but I’m doing a psychological study. Are you really sure that what you said originated with you?” What will people respond?

Consider your own ordinary consciousness, which doesn’t normally analyze what it’s doing. Ask anyone’s normal consciousness, “Think about the ideas that you express day in and day out. Are those ideas yours? Are those words yours?” An ordinary person wouldn’t think of his response as coming from consciousness, but from himself. Ordinary consciousness will respond, “Yes, this is me speaking. I’m not reading a script. No one is prompting me. I didn’t memorize this. This comes from me.” I know that if you were to respond to that question, you would be aware of this. You would say, “I’m responding from the conscious part of my brain. There is no me in here. There is certainly no me apart from consciousness. Consciousness answered that question. Consciousness made those comments.”

If someone’s consciousness is in the midst of unscripted playing, it is not possible for that consciousness to ever realize what’s going on. Is there anything else in life equal to this? Can you be in the midst of dancing and not know you’re dancing? Can you be in the midst of running, or painting a picture, sculpting a statue, playing an instrument, and not know it? Can you physically be doing anything and not be aware of what you’re doing? Can you even be in the midst of feeling strong emotions and not be aware of what you’re feeling? Could you feel anger, for example, and not be aware of what you feel?

Let’s drop the metaphor of playing music without a score and consciousness being unaware. I feel it necessary to hold up a finger and say, “Consciousness, the epitome of what it is to be human—consciousness, our singular feature—operates with absolutely no attention or control.” We’re not speaking of some momentary anomaly. It’s not that consciousness can be in the midst of this unscripted playing, and suddenly, just for a moment, not be aware of it. We are talking about a lifetime routine condition.

I assume that you know from your own self-observation that what I just said is fact. You suddenly become conscious, which means that consciousness becomes aware of what it is doing. You have no doubt that when consciousness was operating previously, even though it might have involved discussing astrophysics, philosophy, or politics, conscious was not paying a bit of attention to itself.

Ordinary people would expect me to say that you weren’t paying any attention. Recently, I highlighted this, and I pointed out that life makes consciousness in men produce a second party—that is, the idea of there being a “you” in you. When your consciousness is stopped and stable, it has got to know by now that the rest of the time, consciousness does not script its own behavior and has no influence at all on its own behavior. That idea of the second party, of “you”, protects consciousness from having to pay attention to what’s going on. Consciousness can then talk about “you” not paying attention to consciousness, which lets consciousness off the hook. “How come you ain’t paying more attention? Sometimes I may get out of control, but that’s because you’re not doing your job.” That way, consciousness can look like a harmless angel, and you’ll agree. “I’ve got to pay more attention. I’ll never enlighten my consciousness if I don’t continually stay alert.”

There are not many things in life of which consciousness can be absolutely certain. In fact, there is only one thing consciousness can be certain of. Observe this for yourself. See how many things your consciousness is absolutely certain of. There is one thing about which consciousness can be absolutely certain, yet if there is one thing that ordinary man’s consciousness is not aware of, it’s that same thing. How can that be?

If you ask any normal human on this planet if they are responsible not only for what they say,  but also for what goes on in their consciousness, they will respond with a resounding “Yes!”, as though any other answer would be insane, and as though your inquiry is verging on insane. Still, you can ask an ordinary person, “If you are responsible for what goes on in your consciousness—for what you think—then tell me, what are you going to think next?” Consciousness does not know. Yet when you try to know—to look—the operations of ordinary consciousness stop.

How can an ordinary man not be aware that he doesn’t know what he’s going to think next? Once you see that you don’t know what you’re going to think next, then a split second later, you realize, “I never know what I’m going to think.” That is immediately followed by, “What I think, what happens in my consciousness, is totally out of my control.” Not a little bit out of your control. Not sometimes out of your control. Not out of your control under certain specific conditions. Never is consciousness under its own control. How can men not realize this? How can you forget this? I already told you the answer—if you are where the music is playing, it is not possible to be aware of what’s going on. You prove that every time your consciousness remembers, “I’m where the music is playing.”

Bingo—the music just stopped. Your consciousness is not now where that music was playing, because when that music is playing, it fills up every cubic millimeter in the symphony hall of that area of your brain devoted to consciousness. When consciousness is in that symphony hall, then life furnishes the music that consciousness hears. The thoughts are just there, like music. You walk into that symphony hall, or that nightclub. As soon as you get through the door, the music is playing. You don’t know where the music comes from, or who wrote it. The music fills up the room, and your consciousness is taken over by it, swept away by it. As long as you are in that room, as long as your consciousness consists of nothing but the thoughts that appear there, you can not be aware of what’s going on. You don’t have the score. You believe that you’re playing the music, but as long as you believe that, consciousness can’t be aware that it is not playing the music, much less that it didn’t compose the music.

No doubt it has been years since you first heard the idea that man believes he is awake and conscious, but he is actually living in a dream. You heard that if he makes great efforts, a man may be able to awaken. I will speak for all of us and say that after you started on this path, no matter what method you began with, for years and years your most honest sensation was, “Oh, man! How difficult can one human undertaking be? How hard it is to wake up from this dream!”

Now, decades down that road, you surely think, “How dumb, how crazy, how unbelievable is it that I ever go back into that state and take it seriously!” I don’t mean to put the onus on you for going back into that state. I don’t mean to imply that I don’t still do so. Nevertheless, if you continue to fall back into that state for long periods of time, then you haven’t fully seen the operations of consciousness in the way I’m describing. You may have seen this to the degree that you fully agree with me, but you haven’t fully experienced this, or else you couldn’t really nap for more than a very short period.

Regarding your short naps, I am taking into account a situation in which perhaps a doctor tells you that you’re dying, or your girlfriend says, “I’m leaving you.” This is an important matter to you, and you fall back into sleep, swept up in the normal, frantic running of your ordinary consciousness. Still, when you really experience what I’m describing, then the more serious your personal situation seems when you’re back in a state of ordinary consciousness, the greater its tendency to snap you right back out of that state. You suddenly feel that your consciousness is seriously wasting time over something that you can’t do anything to change, and the situation that you were so concerned about loses any significance.

All you’ve got to know—all consciousness has to realize—is that it was back doing that same old dance. Consciousness was back in the midst of that unscripted music, back in the old ballroom, listening to all that jazz.

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

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Secrets Of The Hostage-Whisperer
JULY 9, 2004 © 2004: JAN COX

How Consciousness Works, Vis A Vis What Is Going On,
Even When Its Assessment Thereof Is Incorrect.
Even if the persisting insistence by some that a secret group of men actually control human affairs on this planet is not correct, is it not interesting how such a theory
fits all the facts and would answer many, if not all of the questions that so
bewilder man about the dynamics of mortal existence.
(How fascinating that something so improbable can sound so plausible.)
“Pa pa: what should this be telling me about what is going on all around me
which I do not aright see?”

Stepping out on his front porch to fetch the morning paper, a man found a note stuck
in the screen door which said: “Cheer up! – it’s going to be a miserable day anyway,” and he knew from the tone of voice that it was definitely from him.

Men whining and complaining are life’s ongoing public service announcements
which are intended to cause men to make life better.
“So you’re saying that I do work for a charitable activity — boy! — is that a laugh!”

The nervous-system-rebel has no interest in solving prison problems.
(If you aspire to be one: consider this deeply.)

If you stray too far from prevailing bovine paradigms, your mooing will go unheard.
(This refers to the aural form: it is just the opposite for the certain man’s inner cranial communiqués to himself.)

Proclaimed a park speaker to passers by:
“Consciousness can do more than one thing at a time;
consciousness can do more than two things at a time;
consciousness can do more than three things at a time,
and for all you know — even that may not be the end of it.”
(Prison officials quickly grabbed the chap and at least brought an end to him and his comments.)

As his final moments were approaching, a dying monarch declared:
“History will exonerate me!” and history muttered:
“You better bring plenty of changes of underwear.”

If you feel the need to apologize for telling the truth (as you see it)
you either: Apologize too freely – or (well, no need to go there, you know what the other possibility is).

The Difference Described Again (This Time, Differently).
Although everyone is in partnership with life –
everyone (save the certain man) is also under its complete domination.
“I once worked for an enterprise which paid quite poorly but made up for it by
continually hinting that I was its very favorite employee with great things in store.”
“What was the name of this enterprise?”
“Are you just pretending to be a dunce!”
“Hey!” injected the world’s adult population, “What a coincidence:
we work for that same outfit.” (In your dreams they said that.)
One king instructed his guillotinists to always compliment the condemned on the appearance of their hair.
(“So! — not all rulers are complete dolts.”
Indeed! – none are.)
“Wait up! – are you suggesting that even when life seems to stumble
(at least from humans’ view) that it’s not really doing so?! –
if that be true, then there IS a gigantic conspiracy — and oh my gawd! –
just look who’s behind it!”
(Publisher’s Note: That last man’s outburst of insight was not an actual news story,
but rather, a bit of fiction.)

Sighed hormones: “We may be depressed, but at least we’re dressed nicely.”
In prison: looks are everything:
in the thinking of the restless therein: looks mean nothing.
Tigers and water holes are attractive;
priests and doctrines – forget about it!
(Unless of course you are a dedicated prisoner – then they are much needed.)
Not by poets in the inner chambers of wealthy sponsors are myths writ –
nay, eternally do they subtly embrace, like an unseen fog, the mental herd that is man.
You do not have to search for stories to explain and excuse your captivity –
they come with the condition.
(Only he-who-knows is free of man’s natural taste for fiction.)

There was once a man who wanted to catch the world’s largest fish,
and he made up so many stories about how you might do it,
that he never got around to any actual angling.
(The preceding was either: Depressing Tale Of The Week,
or: Joke For The Day, or: Inspirational Thought For Those Not Easily Hooked.)

Once foes and fears are fully recognized,
apparently opposing forces can salute and smile at one another as they pass.
The tensions and collisions inherent in life’s activities necessary for it to remain viable in this universe, function not unlike caterers’ bolstering camaraderie in
Roller Derby’s locker room.
The real-deal-man doesn’t mind dying – or being knocked around the track –
as long as it’s not alleged to be for some metaphysical purpose.

Even though all thoughts are ultimately fungible –
it is still good for the rebel to make his own as biodegradable as possible.

“Jeeze! – I fer sure don’t wanna be stuck forever with THIS stuff all over my head!”