There’s Nothing More Important Than The “I”
Why is that politics, power, racism, and xenophobia all trump the immediate needs dictated by the fact of the present moments experience?
Human history is replete with examples of prominent, powerful, political, religious, dictatorial leaders who let the bodies pile as high as necessary in order not to loose control or power, and unfortunately now is no different.
“Why?” you say.
Why would human beings sacrifice one another, and anything really…, the planet and all life on it, to hold on to power and control??
Why have we not yet understood ourselves sufficiently enough to overcome this clearly destructive behavior? Why, as a species, do we continue to struggle with this ugly, viscous, malignant, repugnant, and brutal behavior?
In order to understand the answer to this question, to coin a phrase of Peter Gabriel’s, we need to go digging in the dirt. We need to get down into the roots.
More specifically, we need to get down to the root.
The root of the problem lying in our misunderstanding, and resultant misuse of thought.
We don’t see that, any thought or concept which exists must consist not only of itself, but also an inverse or negative, as each is defined in terms of the other and so one can never exist without the other.
“OK”, you might say, but what exactly does this mean?
To see what the author is driving at, it might be helpful to use a very teeny, tiny bit of a graph theory here for illustration purposes only.
Imagine, if you would… a black dot on a white background.
Next, imagine another black dot on the same white background, just a short distance from the first.
Let’s label each point, point “A”, and point “B” just for reference sake.
Now, we draw a single black line from point “A” to point “B”.
Next, we’re going to close in specifically on the “motion” aspect of drawing that line from point “A” to point “B”. So the “act” of the movement of the line from one point to another.
We now can basically look at any thought/concept as exactly this structure of the two dots with the line moving from one point to another.
Let’s take an example. Let’s use the thought “I’m not good enough” because this, or some variation thereof, is a fairly common thought that most people have at one time or another in their lives.
So now let’s look at the thought “I’m not good enough” as point “A”. Now, also implied within this statement is its opposite, as the idea or notion of “good enough”. Let’s look at this opposite notion as point “B”. And so it would follow that the motion from point “A” to point “B” would be the act of “becoming good enough”, or getting to point “good enough”.
Now we would like to hone in on the motion once again. That motion from point “A-not good enough” to point “B-good enough” because it’s this motion that we’re continually trapped in, that is continuously occurring.
During the process of going through this movement several things happen. Firstly, as previously mentioned, an internal conflict is created and experienced within us as we are presently in some place or state we do not wish to be. By projecting a “good enough” point somewhere out there in the distance as a place where we’d rather be, we immediately start out having sown the seeds of discontent with the present moments circumstances by denying the present moment. This denial of the present moment, then intern has drastic consequences.
This scenario then sets up the impetus for the mental motion required to get to that better mental state. Now, these two points imply a distance of some sort, but only this distance is being traversed entirely in the mental sphere. And as we also know from elementary physics, any distance implies a space, and any space implies time. Therefore, this mental distance implies, and creates, these two “mental opposite” states or poles which then gives rise to our mental movement through psychological space, intern creating psychological time consisting of “past” and “future”. It is this sense of psychological time that we are caught in.
Furthermore, this division of opposing poles is made possible through the use of memory as we recall a more desirable state. It is these “mental poles” that we then wind up continuously oscillating between which has the act of the constantly maintaining a mental “I” via the forming, reforming, remembering, recreating of the thought form “I want”.
Therefore by psychologically negatively “polarizing” the present moment’s circumstances with mental constructs of the thought form “I do not want this…”, or “I do not want what is currently being experienced in this present moment…”, a projection of a psychologically positive point “B-good enough” appears in the distance as a point of salvation. It promises fulfillment, joy, happiness, pleasure, etc.. So we move everlastingly towards it.
Now, the crux of the problem with this activity is thus:
If we circle back for just a moment to the dots and line analogy one more time, specifically to the point where we’re moving from point “A” to point “B”, this movement creates a direction, and the movement in any direction also creates an opposite direction. Circling round again to our thought example, this opposite direction being created means the simultaneous continual re-creation of the exact undesired present moments circumstances that we‘re trying to escape from in the first place.
Therefore the mere act of moving in any one direction will produce its opposite, which again reproduces the undesired experience. This phenomenon is what may be termed as a vicious cycle of a quagmire.
Now, one may be saying, “OK, but how does this relate to the title of this article? How does the ‘I’ come into all this?”
Well, how the “I” comes into this is that it too is just another thought concept, and so therefore, when asserted/used will also create two points, “I” with an inverse as “not I”.
The “not I” that is incidentally created along with the thought concept “I” creates two major things:
- It creates “not I” as “the other”, or “other than I”. Which gives rise to the desire to possess other, and the fear of other.
- It creates “not I” as “I not here anymore”, so it creates death, or gives rise to the desire to continue living, and the fear of death.
When we adhere to the thought concept “I” it is very powerful. It basically becomes the center of everything. The seat of power as it where. And so because of this, becomes all important and all powerful. It‘s also coincidentally extremely insecure due to the inherent instability of the nature and properties of thought, conceptuality, and duality outlined above. It must constantly be defended and strengthened against the constant superficial dual threats of “the other” and “death”.
If we now again circle back to our “not good enough” example and examine just the structure of that thought, we should see that implied within it is an “I”. Or in other words, it requires the existence of an “I”. So this means that the thought of “I’m not good enough” must first be preceded by the thought “I” because it is the subject, and every subject requires an opposite object.
Once the “I” thought/concept structure is in place, now it’s possible to experience “desire” and “fear”. When we either “desire” or “fear” something, what’s really implied in this statement is “something else”, meaning something “other than…”, something “outside of…”, or external to me, or the “I”. And if we look even more closely, we should see that what gives rise to the emotions of “desire” and “fear” are some form/variation of the thought constructs “I want…”. It could also be “I do not want…”. Those two constructs lie at the root of “desire” and “fear”. However both are still a want, both are desire. How fear is also desire is that to “not want” something is still a want, but in the negative.
Therefore, by continuing to engage in the re-creation of the “I” concept through the experiences of desire and fear, the “I” concept is maintained and perpetuated. The “I” is continually re-created/re-believed and thus re-enforced by this unrelenting and unmerciful oscillation between these two opposing poles of desire and fear. The momentum for this motion resides in the desire for continued pleasure sought after in an effort to alleviate the pain and fear created by the opposing pole. And again since everything affirmed contains its own opposite, and effort to overcome strengthens that opposite, we wind up continually re-creating the negative undesired pole in the present moment resulting in a never-ending struggle to get away from that negative pole and move towards, and remain with the positive pole. And this is how we are caught in a viscous never-ending cycle of pain and the struggle to overcome it.
And since we do not see this we continue to cling to the thought concept “I” in order to escape the pain we’re in, again, not seeing that it is the thought concept “I” that is creating the pain in the first place.
But cling we do, and cling we must, at any and all costs because its the only thing we “know” how to do.
Is any of this true?
This is not another “idea” or “concept”. What is being attempted here is to point something immense out that occurs within us all which is the way thought is actually functioning in right now in this very moment. This can be directly experienced first hand by the reader if they observe it for themselves by observing their own thought. When this is done a tremendous inner transformation has the opportunity of occurring which is alive and living in every moment, and is not dead and static and needing to be “remembered”, or potentially “forgotten” like some thought concept or idea. There is no “remembering” required as one is living in constant interaction with it in every moment. It is a “seeing” that constantly occurs just like one would “see” with their own eyes.
Therefore, please examine this for yourself without any motive, for if you have a motive it will dictate the answer.
J. Krishnamurti — How does one negate the ‘I’ without suppression?