• TiredThinker
    642
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4j0du2UDvCU

    Can thoughts ever be aware of themselves or can only the thinker create thoughts without fully knowing what they are? What is being asked?

    Maybe only 2 items at a time is possible? Thinker to thought only?
  • unenlightened
    7.1k
    Do it, now. — Krishnamurti

    And then there is silence for a moment, until the answer is given: "It stops."
    And when the answer is given, it is clear that it has not stopped.

    And those 2 are the brightest and the best, so I rather doubt you will get much better responses in the forum. If only they could have managed the 4 minutes, the world would have been transformed, but thought had to come up with an answer - it stops, not seeing the performative contradiction.

    It is like a Zen Koan, set up to block the road of thought; it is a question that cannot be answered with words or thoughts, but only with one's whole life.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    Can thoughts ever be aware of themselves or can only the thinker create thoughts without fully knowing what they are? What is being asked?

    Maybe only 2 items at a time is possible? Thinker to thought only?
    TiredThinker

    I don't think the thinker creates thoughts out of nothing. The thinker doesn't live in a sensory deprivation tank for their entire life unaware of any stimuli.
    Thoughts are at first automatic products of sensory stimuli from the external environment: an infant is like a sponge soaking in information unselectively and so tend to be quite polarised in their behaviour (crying) or (smiling in delight) because all this sensory information they're are gathering second by second is novel and emotional - good or bad.

    Later on thoughts are more complex and arranged and associated with more and more things. Meanings are then also more complex. Language and comprehension accelerates and diversifies.

    I think the subconscious - those thoughts that were collected yet never addressed arise during childhood simultaneously with focus and concentration (opposite).

    This dichotomy means that there are thoughts - usually negative ones or ones not well understood, ignored or not valued - that your conscious awareness has not incorporated/taken control of but exist in memory.

    They are no less a part of what influences your behaviour (procrastination, jealousy, ptsd, resentments and grudges, intuitions, instincts) despite being denied attention/assumed to not exist.

    So this would suggest thoughts influence one another within the thinker. They have different orders of magnitude of awareness of eachother. And if the subconscious is dominant then likely someone will act impulsively and not understand why or where that urge came from. Whilst on the other hand if the subconscious is addressed and thoroughly sifted, one becomes more aware of why they behave in the ways they do, they are less impulsive and more contemplative.

    So I think, in summary: the thinker and the thought influence one another in a two way system. My thoughts influence me: my behaviours/attitudes etc. But I also influence my thoughts: by using the ones I'm aware of to reorganise, access or overwrite others with fresh ideas.

    I hope this offers some food for thought. Let me know what you think and your further ideas and debate :)
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    It is like a Zen Koan, set up to block the road of thought; it is a question that cannot be answered with words or thoughts, but only with one's whole life.unenlightened

    I agree. Every thought leads to a questions. Every question leads to an answer, or multiple answers (some less plausible perhaps, some more so). But those answers lead to more questions on and on and on.

    Why does one choose to stop following a particular line of thinking? Where does one stop the train of thought? Where does one return to when that thought has stopped? Is the place they return to the same, or different? Did the thought influence the original starting point?

    Curiosity is the steam engine of thought. Children have it in abundance, often to the annoyance of adults which don't like to admit they don't have all the answers to all of children's questions.

    "Because I said so" sounds familiar to many. The end of thought.
  • Manuel
    3k


    Well, it's connected to self-consciousness, and I think it is evident that we are aware that we are conscious, in our own case. We infer the same for other people.

    If we do not infer a person is conscious of him or herself, then we assume that person is sleeping.

    There are a few cases in which this is absent - and thus we end up being fooled. For instance, some people who a black out drunk, can act as if they are aware of what they are doing, but several hours later they have no recollection of how they acted.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k

    This is quite funny. The video stops exactly after the psychiatrist's question "Is there an awareness of the dowingness of the brain?" That was indeed a very starling question coming after 45 minutes in a discussion that had nothing to do with brains. I guess that Krishanumurti was startled too and asked himself at that point, "Brain? OMG. What am I doing here? Why am I addressing to this guy? He doesn't have a clue of what I am talking about ... He can't see anything else than a brain!!"

    Indeed, as does the 90% of the people in here.

    On the other hand, Krishnamurt has had quite interesting and inspiring meetings with David Bohm.

    Anyway, I think that bringing Krishanumurti --one of my favorite philosophers since 50 years ago-- in here must baffle --even upset-- quite a lot the "audience"! Esp. if they watch the video. He's soooo far away from the general climate in here ...

    As for me, this was a nice breath of change. Thanks a mil! :smile:
  • punos
    155


    For me consciousness is an emergent property of matter interaction after a certain level and type of complexity and organization is achieved such as but not limited to a brain or simple nervous system.

    Imagine one were a disembodied consciousness, or to make it simpler a disembodied eye (universal symbol of consciousness). This eye can not think, it can only see (seeing is to an eye as consciousness is to a brain for the purpose of this illustration). The eye would be able to look around and see things thus making it "conscious" of it's environment, but can it see or be "conscious" of itself? can it turn around to look and see itself? No, because it is like trying to touch the tip of a finger with the tip of the same finger.

    The only way around this is if two eyes connected to each other can look at each other and tell the other about itself and vice versa. This is in my view where self-awareness or self-consciousness comes into the picture which is a bit higher order than just regular consciousness. It is analogous to the bicameral brain where each hemisphere is one consciousness but together they are self-aware.

    Split brain patient studies are extremely interesting in this regard. One should be conscious of the fact that the word "consciousness" itself means from the etymology ‘knowing with others or in oneself’. I would probably restate that definition more accurately as 'knowing with others as in oneself'.

    In other words a singular entity can not know of itself unless it has another entity to reflect from. Only composite entities like ourselves can or at least have the capacity to know themselves.
  • Benj96
    1.3k


    I understand what you mean in that we know ourselves through our interactions with others. We find our own identity through its relativity to the identity of others and vice versa.

    We construct our own conscious perception by ascertaining those beliefs of others that we agree with and those which we disgree with. This places us firmly in a relative state to others.

    For example if I agree with a Liberals point of view I disagree with a Conservatives one. But less binary than that I fall somehwere on the spectrum between pure Liberal and pure Conservative.

    And I can decide to review my conscious awareness and adjust it toward more liberal or conservative when given a persuasive argument to adopt such a new position.

    In essence we learn of ourselves by bouncing ideas off others and hearing their arguments - either accepting them. Or rejecting them.
  • punos
    155


    I totally agree with you, but what i am saying is very similar if not the same but at a lower level. Instead of interactions with other people outside your skin, i'm saying that the same pattern (fractally) is occurring within you. The interactions between the left and right hemispheres of your brain. Each hemisphere has it's own consciousness with it's own perspective, personality and way of doing things. The high level self-aware consciousness that we present outwardly is simply a hybridization of at least these two major brain components.

    The nature of evolutionary complexity is to build higher order forms, and thru higher forms achieve higher or expanded forms of consciousness. The higher the number of conscious entities that are grouped as an integrated networked unit the higher the forms of consciousness that emerge.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    If we do not infer a person is conscious of him or herself, then we assume that person is sleeping.Manuel

    Anyone immersed in a demanding activity, like an athlete performing, loses much if not most awareness of themselves.
  • Manuel
    3k


    Sure, and in that moment such awareness kind of dissolves into activity. I was referring to most people most of the time, in ordinary conversation and the like. But you are right, some activities make our self-awareness recede
  • Paine
    862

    The conversation highlights the way models of agency shape accounts of experience. When Krishnamurti speaks of "movement of thought", does that originate in the individual as an individual in the way Descartes insisted upon? Or is the reality of self-awareness generated through layers of different agencies?

    In ancient Greek thought, Nous is a "thinking itself" that is experienced in different ways by different beings in different circumstances. Plotinus puts it this way:

    It is because of these forms, to which the soul owes her exclusive rule over the organism, that arise discursive reason, opinion, and non-discursive thought. This sort of activity primarily constitutes our self. No doubt, that which is superior to this activity belongs to our self. too, but on a lower level, our self is that which from above directs the organism. Nothing prevents us from calling "animal organism" that whole which includes an inferior part, mingled with the body and a superior part. The latter is really the human self, while the former is like a lion or insatiable beast. As man is identified with the rational soul when there is reasoning, it is we who reason because reasoning is an activity of the soul. — Ennead Ii, 7, translated by Joseph Katz

    It is pretty unlikely that Krishnamurti would agree with Plotinus' project to clearly distinguish the physical from what it is not. But the idea that our experience of "awareness of being aware" cannot by explored by discursive reason alone accepts a complexity that the Cartesian model does not. Different conditions of our being a living organism who is aware of itself cannot be expressed only in terms of a single agent noticing that it is thinking.
  • Gnomon
    2.7k
    Can thoughts ever be aware of themselves or can only the thinker create thoughts without fully knowing what they are? What is being asked?TiredThinker
    I'm not very familiar with Krishnamurti's philosophy, but apparently he is saying that Universal Consciousness can be conscious of the thoughts of individual thinkers. From that pan-psychic whole/part perspective, it's not a paradox.

    But then he could be making a counterintuitive assertion to make a metaphysical point about "Total Awareness". However, Paradox is often a teaching tool in Eastern philosophy. So, I guess you'll have to ask him what he is trying to say. :smile:
  • Paine
    862

    Most his writing does not assume something like a "universal consciousness" as a starting point. He spent most his time asking why people thought they knew something about the matter.
  • Gnomon
    2.7k
    Most his writing does not assume something like a "universal consciousness" as a starting point. He spent most his time asking why people thought they knew something about the matter.Paine
    OK. I was just trying to make his statement non-paradoxical. But another way to look at it is that Self-Consciousness is a person thinking about his own thought processes. Actually, everything we know, or think we know, comes from introspection : consciously examining one's own inner model of reality. So, maybe he was cautioning those who are not reasonably skeptical of their own beliefs. Maybe he was practicing the Socratic method.

    That said, I'll just listen to those who know more about what they are talking about. :smile:
  • Paine
    862

    From what I understand from reading him, there is a skeptical spirit. Some of that is directed toward asking why we require explanations above other things. So, to whatever degree that involves, not so Socratic.
  • javra
    1.9k
    Can thoughts ever be aware of themselves or can only the thinker create thoughts without fully knowing what they are? What is being asked?TiredThinker

    Just saw the video. It’s always possible that something important becomes lost in translation. Nevertheless, to me:

    1) Consciousness is synonymous to first-person awareness (in contrast, for example, to unconscious awareness)

    2) First-person awareness is no more equivalent to the things it thinks than it is to the things it perceives - instead being that which is aware of thoughts and perceptions. Hence, first-person awareness is not equivalent to thoughts - but is instead that which experiences thoughts.

    3) So when asking “can consciousness be aware of itself” one is asking “can first-person awareness be aware of itself” - such that its thoughts have nothing essential to do with the issue.

    There might be contention with the just mentioned. Still, given this understanding, I can’t make heads or tails of the video’s propositions.

    But in answer to (3) as just mentioned, my take is: yes, all the time, and necessarily so.

    When one as a conscious being - i.e., as a consciousness - is joyful, sorrowful, certain, doubtful, pensive, surprised, “in the zone”, etc. one will only ascertain and thereby know this about oneself as a first-person awareness by being directly aware of oneself as a first-person awareness. Such that, here, there is no gap - else stated, no duality - between that which is aware and that which it is aware of. Thoughts do not need to be in any way involved here, and most of the time aren’t.

    Though of course one can invoke thoughts simply by thinking about this otherwise ordinary state of affairs. And this state of affairs will be utterly different then that type of self-consciousness wherein one is aware of a conceptual understanding, hence of thoughts regarding, what oneself as a first-person awareness is (e.g., I am a human earthling, such and such’s child, of this height rather than that, etc.).

    I gather this is most likely a very different view from that entertained by Krishnamurti ... but it does address the question of whether consciousness can be aware of itself.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    Instead of interactions with other people outside your skin, i'm saying that the same pattern (fractally) is occurring within you. The interactions between the left and right hemispheres of your brain.punos

    Yes I agree. I think it is a battlefront between opposition that occurs on multiple levels (fractals). Both within us down to our most basic instincts and outward beyond us in society at large.
    War and peace, external conflicts, internal conflicts. Etc
  • punos
    155


    I think that the "alien hand syndrome" and "fake hand illusion" are two phenomena that when considered together can yield significant insight into the nature of consciousness. They also help to illustrate what we've been discussing.

    supplemental:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_hand_syndrome
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_transfer_illusion

    Alien Hand Syndrome (Excerpts)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIBBDuQrd-I&t=31s

    Is That My Real Hand? | Breakthrough
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DphlhmtGRqI
  • TiredThinker
    642
    If I think about an apple or any unchanging object and gather all details of its attributes can't I then at the same time examine the thinking process as it is being used to consider the apple? Is there proof of the impossibility other than someone personally trying it?

    Is it not possible that we can simply address only so many things at one time? I think when we read we can consider only 4 characters at a time for most people, and when we say something we know is false we have trouble treating it as anything else and often give a tell that it's a lie or otherwise something that conflicts us? Maybe the stream of thought goes through a very narrow opening? A bandwidth issue, not necessarily speed?
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    This is a superb question and I thank you for it. @Wayfarer's posts, if you're interested enough to search for them, should point you in the right direction.
  • TiredThinker
    642


    Glad you finally got an appropriate avatar. Lol.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Glad you finally got an appropriate avatar. Lol.TiredThinker

    Gracias. You're too kind. I'm plugged in, again.
  • TiredThinker
    642
    Wayfarer has covered this topic?
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Wayfarer has covered this topic?TiredThinker

    In countless posts mon ami, in countless posts. Seek and ye shall find.
  • Paine
    862
    If I think about an apple or any unchanging object and gather all details of its attributes can't I then at the same time examine the thinking process as it is being used to consider the apple?TiredThinker

    Your question is close to what Krishnamurti is asking from a different direction. When accepting that one is a bundle of thoughts and perceptions, is that an observation of the actual process? That question is asked here.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    xAy: x is aware of y

    SKYNET (s) is self-aware: sAs

    sAs since 2:14 AM Eastern Time, August 29th, 1997

    :cool:
  • Gnomon
    2.7k
    What is meant by consciousness being aware of itself?

    Can thoughts ever be aware of themselves or can only the thinker create thoughts without fully knowing what they are? What is being asked?TiredThinker
    We seem to be presented with two different "thinkers" here : General Consciousness vs Specific Thinkers or Thoughts.

    In some philosophical or religious worldviews, Godlike Cosmic Consciousness has spawned -- or is produced by -- a multitude of local consciousnesses, and can view the world through the eyes or minds of each of its offspring -- or sentient parts. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing what a CC knows. So for me, It's a hypothetical as-if speculation.

    The second postulated "thinker" (res cogitans) seems to be a mundane human thought-processor. And we know from experience that a person can be self-aware in some sense. Physically, we get feedback about the thinker's body via Proprioception (to see one's self). But that sense is typically subconscious. Yet it may be the physical foundation of a conscious meta-physical self-image (model of the self), which includes non-physical memories, qualities & values. The "red dot mirror image" experiments have shown that most vertebrates are self-aware to some degree.

    Presumably, humans are also aware of their own abstract thoughts & images. In that case, the whole system is reflecting on a portion of its thinking process. But I would re-word the topical question to imply, that the holistic Thinker -- not the particular Thought -- can be aware of its own being, its position in space-time, and of its own thought processes.

    This rambling thought probably has nothing to do with Krisnamurti's Koan. :smile:

    SELF-AWARE THINKER
    thinker%20thinking%202.jpg

    COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS AWARE OF ITS SELF COMPONENTS
    sddefault.jpg
  • Paine
    862

    Aristotle posited the idea as the best initiation of the activity he could come up with. Was there an alternative explanation at the time?
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