Category Archives: Philosophy


Since the book has been published I no longer own it, except for the self within myself. Bloggers are now assessing , labeling , acquiring it within their idiosyncratic perceptions; and what they have written makes sense here and there, but it is all rather ineffable. It is as if I, the artist, no longer can claim his provenance. What I have written is only an approximation of what I felt because my very language and  skills are often in insurrection against what I intend. As I read and reread the book, I see where I had choices to make in terms of making this or that sentence clearer, of condensing the sentence to make it more terse, or of having a more felicitous way of expressing the thought or feeling.  An odd and temporary kind of ruefulness but one that makes one wag one’s head rather than become despairing or depressed. I can only do so much and do it so well or not.

I feel at moments a little distressed when, in one instance, the book and I are fused and I am assessed as being cynical. I have often heard this throughout my life and perhaps there is a measure of that in myself; if so, I can see the roots of that, but I also feel that part of this cynicism, if you will, is grounded in reality, and that (and here I hope this is not a rationalization) what I have to say or write which reads “cynically,” may in reality be what is, rather than a splash of my own characterological faults. An old quotation that I walk about with is: “Cynicism is the last refuge of an idealist.” I believe that is so. The cynic wishes that it were better, and since he often cannot change it to better, he falls back on sniping with his embitterment or venom.

Apparently a protective device from further hurt and disappointment — much like the fox and the grapes, I subscribe to that, feeling that I have done so in the past and in the present. However, no man and no woman can be easily summed up into a word, the “art” form of media and this culture. When I am called a cynic, part of me gently withers, as if to say that it is so and it is not so and how come you cannot see what I see.  Aren’t I more than my cynicism?  I feel I have been wounded since a child and it is a childlike self that says that. The feeling is very ancient in me.

A very close friend who had read the book, or I hope most of it, for he is on in years and ailing, tried to sum up my effort in a therapeutic way, as a kind of “defensive suffering.” He viewed it through his eyes and for that he cannot be faulted. But I bridled, for I dislike being summed up, assessed, or therapeutically “analyzed.” He did not do that, but in his own loving way it was his “picture” of who I am, his “truth.” Perhaps I should put everything in this little essay in quotation marks, as if to say it is all suspect. As I know, as I have written, we don’t know ourselves at all, much less others, for the blind cannot see the blind. We are forces controlled beyond the unconscious of Freud; for now evolutionary psychology has shown us that genes rule our roost and most of what we do as individuals and as cultures are driven by genes trying to survive or replicate better aspects of themselves — and what is maddeningly to grasp is that the genes themselves are just evolution doing its number, like an orbiting planet.

I just finished reading The Moral Animal  by Robert Wright which is a discussion of Darwinism  in present day science and how more advanced it has become. I walked away from the book, which I found disturbing and difficult to read (resistance?) because it confirms a natural and deterministic fact. In short, we are sacks of fats, fluids, bone and tissue, completely, totally gene driven.  We are collections of genes and that which is the whipped cream and cherry on top, our consciousness, our supposed awareness, our free will and nature, all the philosophical doodads is a monstrous deception we sustain. It is below and nether that we are controlled and truly inhabited by molecular bits and bytes. Humorously, I can see myself becoming even more cynical.

And even more humorous is the complete irrelevancy of God and myth. I see that as just living mold on the human mind. I have no more to say, ran out of gas.

Well Now.

Coming to terms with Krishnamurti is coming to terms with yourself, always will be so. The Stockholm Syndrome has been roughly defined as the unconscious need or  willingness to identify with your aggressor, another one of man’s psychological quirks. When reading about K’s education and rearing as a Theosophist and his breaking that bond forever, striking out on his own for decades after, defining who he was as a thinker and man, he still gathered about him an entourage, highly educated spiritual groupies. Ironically K spoke and write about the misfortunes of identification with a cause,  brand,  religion or a spiritual thinker, or himself. Constantly in his writings he cautions the reader to forget him and to focus on his own self. The teacher was not important essentially. The more he shunned disciples and condemned the very concept of acolytes K was enmeshed and surrounded by disciples, if you will, who managed his expenses, saw to his needs, facilitated his talks and meetings to individuals and thousands across the globe, here in Ojai, California and in India. You know, if your body is covered with honey, it is hard to shoo away the gnats. Granted, he was no administrator, but on certain levels I believe he brought this about. For all of his life he had evinced and expressed a need to have women, or “mothers” about him. His personal history with the Theosphists is replete with examples of at least two women being present with the “messiah” at all times.

I sense that being close to him, beneath his spiritual umbrella if you will, followers aspired to be transformed by him. Personally, and in part by reading K, I abhor following anybody. I don’t need a leader. Do You? And what  does that imply if you need the other to direct you? Role models, in short, are for empty selves. And I suspect as I dimly and inarticulately experienced when I first read him, how admirable and wondrous it might be if I, too, could be like him. What more delectable prospect would it be to attain a spiritual realization that gave me insight into my  self and others, that allowed me to make subtly astute prognostications about human relationships, that might imbue me with the clarity of language so often revealed in spirtitual masters. Ah, the temptation to lose oneself to another; perhaps this is why we say people fall in love rather than stand in it. I will not be swooned.

This enthrallment of the other, especially if gifted, or divine, really is a kind of corrupt emptying of self, allowing who you are to flow into the other with the crazed expectation that you will be enhanced, given some vital blood serum  that the other has so as to make you ultimately one with the other. According to Greek mythology, the gods did not have blood in their veins. Rather, it i was ichor, a kind of ethereal fluid.   It is a kind of psychological magic which individuals are often dimly aware of as they kiss the “divine” one’s ass. This need to leave oneself and to become in some fashion the other is fascinating to observe and to reflect about. All religions use merger as an engine to power their systems. I believe it is the core of collective behavior and if perverted to its extreme end becomes totalitarianism. And I write this because I think when you go about reading K, it is healthful to take him in, to incorporate him, if you will, like we did with our parents and so established in our unconscious minds templates to follow, to obey. And with our parents we have had to separate out if we are to attain maturity. The classic twins are attachment and separation. I experienced an early and powerful attachment to K, ballyhooed his existence to my self and to others and serendiptiously and surreptitiously separated out from him. I think he says as much in his writings, learn from me, now get lost. Unfortunately I see those very close to him never really defined themselves nor  separated out from their self-imposed rapture. K was someone very special. I can see how his burnished spiritual and charming patina was forever fabulous.

As I  look back over the decades with my eastern buddy, I see patterns in myself in relationship to him, some of which I have explored here. I have no need to  make peace with K, because we are not at war. What I always want to sustain in our relationship is my capacity to differentiate myself out from his testimonies. I think that is critical in reading him. For decades he has always addressed the reader not to just read but to take what he is reading and apply it immediately to his present state of mind. He believes change can be instantaneous, a far cry from the therapist’s mind. K can cloud your mind with wonderful wisdoms, shoot you full of amazing realizations about school and society, for example. Yet one has to filter out the brilliance and settle in on what is good for your own regimen. I will try to say it better. If you become in any way intimidated by what you read with K, you will become lost. Indeed, that is the first battle, I think, you have to have with him. If you don’t know yourself, a major part of his teachings is to help you arrive at that insight, you will fall prey to self-delusion, of inordinate respect if not awe for the “master.” The real task is to become spirtually scintillating yourself and to leave K behind. It takes a long time as I am testifying to here. In short, do not exalt him because all along as you read him, or study his works, it is my feeling that you experience in relationship to him jealousy, envy, spiritual greed, comparison, anger and annoyance, a need to belittle him, to find fault in the man, all those human aspects when we come up against the unusual, the different, the splendid and creative. In a wild association I just had, I imagined early man, having learned to throw a rock as a missile, aimed at his first target, another man’s cave painting.

K is a spiritual wizard, and when you deal with wizardry you had better understand to have your wits about you or you will be blown away. He is intellectually astounding, no ifs and buts. Whatever happened under that pepper tree decades ago profoundly altered this man’s brain for the rest of his life. And if you imagine yourself under some tree or shrub trying to replicate his example, you are forever lost in the pit of identification. We all want special and magical powers, fairy tales are swollen with that; growing up as children our make-believe games and fantasies are equally saturated. Our science fiction literature, all literature, has a magical element. Ancient magic has continued to this day, religions practicing it, so-called “primitives” acting it out in their rituals, from the silly salt thrown over the shoulder to cannibals who devour their enemies’s brain so as to incorporate their powers — and that makes sense on one level of thinking. The world and civilization are swollen with magic and thank god for scientists who empirically stab at it like harpoons into a whale. One of the seductions of reading K is to allow oneself to be swallowed by the whale. Reading Luytens book I sensed she is so enmeshed in the man and his enlightenment that she is out of focus, her writing about him doesn’t allow a goodly dose of of objective thinking come in. She relates his life as if he were a kind of saint, whereas Vernon’s book brings in the pepper of dissent and presents K warts and all, although Vernon does find him and his teachings remarkable.

Dear K, the future acolyte says, I want to be just like you. That temptation has to be restrained if not rejected. When you read K, take the apple from the tree and that’s about it.

Midway Reflections

Ducks and Drakes with Krishnaji is about half done. I have no idea how many pages it will be. I’ll know when it is about to end. While preparing for this effort I’ve been reading two books about K. One is by a fairly impartial biographer and is a recent book about K that came out in 2000, Star in the East by Roland Vernon. The other one is by Mary Lutyens, friend, colleague of K for decades and it is called The Years of Awakening. a hagiographic biography which presents little disagreement or objective sifting of evidence about the World Leader. What is appalling in her story about the Theosophists, Annie Besant and Charles Leadbetter especially, is the grotesque adherence to what is essentially occult bullshit. One reads about astral travel, clairvoyance and clairvoyant messages idiosyncratically interpreted to serve conscious and unconscious purposes, delusional thinking creating more delusions among others, the servile pampering and coddling of two Hindu boys, K and his brother Nitya, the upper crust of English society donating and giving this house, this mansion, and this castle and its estate to the new messiah, expensive cars and free apartments, staying at top-notch hotels, across Europe, Australia and India for the comfort of the all-seeing, all-knowing elite is sickening. Into this goulash K and Nitya are cast and indoctrinated thoroughly until K has a transformative experience under the famed pepper tree in Ojai, California.

At no time does Lutyens pull back and make some observations of how splendid dinners, volleyball and tennis matches, skiing, riding in limousines and all the other appurtenances of the rich are all part of the cult ethos that they alone are in “possession” of a messiah — by the by, how does one rear a messiah? At least Jesus knew carpentry; K until his late twenties beginning at 14 or so, learned how to tie a cravat, polish his own shoes and that was about it. In sevral letters he curses and damns the environment that has him tied to Theosophy’s silken strings. Annie Besant, the grand doyenne, he calls “mother,” and he is so enmeshed in her and his love for her that the word merger comes to mind, big time. He is saturated with her fats. Leadbetter, who was his tutor, is most likely a pederast who often escapes punishment by stonewalling accusations. Luytens goes so far as to say he is an “enigma” to her. Really? Imagine Miss Besant, an occult true believer, as a deranged Miss Havisham and you have only a taste. Imagine, you have a messiah to raise!

K is a before and after act. Before his transformative experience, there is much to dislike about him, for he gathered a kind of hauteur to himself. What is to be expected? Brainwashed and I use that word carefully, indoctrinated and conditioned by the Theosophists with  the very utensils of mind control that K in his after act tore into had made him something of a dandy, whipped cream on a charlotte russe. What he accomplished as a spiritual thinker later in life as he freed himself of this occult drivel and movement overshadows the bleak early years. He was a true and committed believer in what he had been  taught.  He came to believe in it thoroughly, he used it, he maligned it as well, for he felt he was trapped in a bell jar environment which he was. K could not breathe as a young adult in this insidious environment that awarded badges, had priests clothed in silken robes, put people on probation as inititates so that they could rise to a high spirtual plane and the needy, competitive lust for that, created jealousy and envy among the acolytes, shared mystical lunacies that any outsider would see through immediately. Give Houdini ten minutes with these “Magi,” espcially their fondness and reliance on messages from this Hindu deity and that one, direct lines to the eternal powers, Ouija board par excellence.

Reading about the Theosophists is reading about the Jazz Age and Jay Gatsby, and it occurred in about the same time period, the Twenties. A kind of  soft decadence wafts from this group, a moral blindness as well, and a delusional grandiosity that is grotesque. They had a rabid devotional belief in their occult systems and doctrines so as to remind us of  Druids in secret rites at Stonehenge. I feel that to be a member of this group was to enter into a psychotic world, thus bordering on hysteria. I have no doubt that there exists a store that contains relics from K’s earlier life as a Theosophist, a vial of the World Teacher’s urine; a pin cushion made from his pillow’s tickings; a monogrammed handkerchief; one of his gold knobbed malacca canes; his car which was a donation to the great teacher; his turban, a robe perhaps, forever and forever on. In a footnote Luytens mentions that in the 70s or later on a store did open that contained paraphernalia about him. Stifling and stultying and aggravatingly pompous, the milieu of the Theosophy Society was decidedly creepy.  What we have to deal with is K’s second act which is mostly unexplainable.

Luytens cites extensively from a letter by his brother, Nitya, describing the famous experience K underwent at Ojai under the now fully grown pepper tree, much like Buddha under the Bo tree. I cannot account for what it says except to extract what I feel is the mystical scent that the observers of K put into the account, not deceitfully but expectedly from their own conditioned minds. The experience is real and I will deal with that later on; however, it meshes beautifully into what the Theosophists and his close friends expected to emerge from him, although it came sooner than expected. I associate to the discovery of Christ’s tomb as being empty. Any number of  theories other than the biblical account offer possible explanations, but in the environment of that time amid and among his disciples and followers it didn’t take much to say that he had risen. My mind says look for the yeast before you make such claims. In short a self-fulfilling prophesy did come to pass for the Theosophists, a “messiah” who renounced the group itelf, sending the entire society into a spin. K was a fully “realized” Avatar, Buddha, godhead, guru, teacher, pick your synonym. His later teachings are what mostly attract me, but his past as a Theosophist is just weirdly fascinating and outre. Like tinsel at a party, some of that you take home on your person.

K was an imperfect man with flaws like the rest of us. I am so glad to say that, to spit it out, to free myself of any idolatry within my own self. However, there is a special blindness caused by a flashbulb going off in your eyes. Recent accounts of being around K as a friend or even his chef, reveal that this bright light exposure often was self-sustaining and so K was seen through long time distortion. He could drop friends just like that if they no longer seemed attractive to him in terms of their mind or values, much as he did the same with others as a youth under the influence of the Theosophists, a peremptory manner about him. A young woman, Helen Nearing, nee Knothe, appears very early in K’s life and one could say that he was infatuated with or in love with her, perhaps his first sweetheart. The World Teacher had to be celibate so that was the fly in the ointment. Their relationship was strong, and most likely did not involve any sexuality, although intimate. It was so powerful that almost 50 years later Helen, who had married by this time, chose to visit her old friend. What she has to say in her own account is telling.

He meets with her and behaves as if he had never met her before, a kind of detachment as if a complete stranger which she most definitely was not. Helen is perturbed as if she had never existed in his life and says, “He had no more care for me or interest than he had for the fly on the wall.” She goes on to say that he had a greatness to him, no doubt, and as Vernon states, “Krishnamurti lacked ordinary human compassion and kindness; he was intolerant, even contemptous, of those who could not rise to his own high plane.” Helen goes after his belief that he was unconditioned, living a life free of attachments to things or people by remembering their past decades ago. Helen recalls “the Krishnamurti who slept in comfortable beds in costly houses, who got up in the morning, gargled, abluted, combed his hair, and dressed in fine clothes bought in elegant shops . . . He was conditioned and affected every second of his life, just as everyone else was and is.” It is this kind of reasonable slap in the face that is lacking in Luytens work, but Vernon cites this account and he should. Helen Nearing had a remarkable life herself, this was no spurned lover.

As I look over these words, the elephant in the room is K himself after he left Theosophy for all time. I am intrigued by what had occurred in this man to make him so different from what he had been and to imbue him with extraordinary insight and intuition, a remarkable perspicacity. It is more than this. He seems to have been  drastically changed intellectually and psychologically and to attain levels of human erudition which far exceeds the usual intelligence of man or the creative artist. He is much more than a spiritual savant. Lucky is the reader who first comes upon his works for that initial experience is stunning if not baffling, asking the reader to consider, to wonder about who is this man who seems to have such innate wisdom and erudition, who shaves close to the truth, who has the ability for expression of one’s own thinking in a shared and lucid translation of feelings and thoughts. One comes away with a kind of awe. It does take time, a great deal of time, to separate out personal issues of self as they rise against what K is teaching. For me, it has and continues to take years, if not decades.

If you are lucky, if you are mentally brave, you will not be cowed or at best shade your eyes with your hand as you approach his testimonies. I do believe that his practice of kundulini yoga played a significant role in his transformation. I do believe he was “realized” man to a degree not seen for centuries. He was not special, and he was not different — he was sui generis. I do not believe him to be divine and all that rot. I do believe he suffered from physical pain, the “process,” as he called it, all his life. If you read his Notebook (1961), you will absorb the daily phenomenon he had in which in some way he communed with nature and his own consciousness in ways that are not bizarre, but relentless, completely penetrating his mind, offering in ways we can only imagine bursts of acute awareness, as he functioned during the day. The “process” was unique to him. He felt it to be a “benediction.” Since I am unrealized man, I see it as the cost for being so enlightened, which is a good word for how I understand his experience. I think we always have to go to his body of work and extract from that what we can use to further our own spiritual adventure. And in a very real sense, forget about Krishnamurti, which I think he would revel in. If we adore the man beyond a reasonable respect for what he owns and what he can offer, we become servile, fawning, sycophantic and consequently disciples. However his life story is a grand attraction much like Kazantzaks’ life, both knowing suffering, both , in a fashion, transcending.

Ducks and Drakes, 9

As I look back upon the decades of reading Krishnamurti, I’ve sensed that the essential teachings I was attracted to are these: K’s concepts of seeing, choiceless awareness, the observer is the observed, and the understanding of what is. Other ideas came along for the ride: K’s comments and definitions about conditioning, how to look as if for the first time, his thoughts about radical revolution within the individual person, his questioning of all authority, indeed, even of what K had to say; his putting the onus of his dialogues on the listener or questioner; his commentaries on society and religion which I delighted in, subversive that I was. Like preaching to the choir, we often like what we already know at some level of intelligence or understanding, and so it was with me, except he said what I was feeling, more than thinking, so lucidly, so eloquently. I am one of those human beings who feels first, thinks later — Shoot me!

I almost blocked out an association I just had. At my age I go for broke, as my writing has that characteristic to it because I am constructed in this way. I want to stay free as a man and writer. Sometimes I feel, in my younger days, there was an air of servility in me, that is, as a learner I wanted to please, or be the good child or son. It was not a measurable substance at that, but it smacks of pleasing the other so that I would be favored, adored or recognized in some fashion. I see some of that when I went about “acquiring” Krishnamurti into my orbit. I was Jacob, not Esau. Make of this as you will. To return —

K’s writings infiltrated my teaching, practice as a therapist, and  life, to some degree. I wonder, as I reflect, if I wasn’t a parrot, good for a few vocabulary words and that’s all. Once you manage to get  a hang on K you have a ready lexicon to use, much like religion — eucharist, consubstantiation, transsubstantiation, the trinity, et al. And for some years, I imagine, I tried K on for size, working out his thoughts into my own language in a small array of articles, and as you’ve read, a novel. I was searching to apply his constructs, observations and testimonies in my own life and I can say it did not work as I imagined it might. Rather, I sponged his reflections inwardly and they leak out and are applied even to this day; they just dwell within me. I see his thinking reflected in my own personal attitudes often inextricably wound up in my psychoanalytic thinking and perceptions.  I find his idea of societal and religious conditioning monumentally freeing (especially so for me), once you allow yourself to enter, for if anything, you have to enter K as mercury seeking egress beneath a door. You have to come to K, for assuredly he will not come to you, nor should he, as is apparent in his writings. As he wrote, he wanted to set man free everywhere, yet he did not cajole, advise, stir up, appeal, persuade or any other human quirk to convert. He did not need or wanted disciples, but they did flock to him.

So in the human juice each one of us exudes everyday, K is part of my flavor. However, what is healthier now is a more balanced appreciation of the wizard of what is. Call it a good skepticism if you like. I am not capable as an academic philosopher raised in the West to abstract K’s testimonies and make comment, but they are decidedly experiential. I can more clearly view K dispassionately at this point in my life, see his flaws as a man, where before I challenged him, but overlooked “things.” Having read more about him as a man, I realize, as I didn’t before, how much of him was imperfect, not much of an insight. Rather, I’ve come to admire his teachings as one thing, his behavior as another — oh, the split. K has not changed, I have seasoned. I look back not with a jaundiced eye, for his genius was unique. I relent, that is, I am easier on myself for what I cannot grasp in his work, as if I was his doppelganger. He is K, I am me. I extract his presence which was too close, all a consequence of my own behavior, and hold him apart and away in order to see him better and his influence on me which was significant if not dramatic. I was a seeker, still am, have a philophical bent to my mind, quite useless in the land of Palin and Bachmann. He touched that in me, the desire to learn, to change, to better one self in ways other than capitalistic tracks set down for us all by this society.

Characteristically for all my life, I have had atendency to build up the other, over-esteem that person, and then if piqued, irked or hurt, degrade and demean that person. This cyclical behavior is seen by me and there is such an element for K in this writing. I have an appointment next Wednesday at 7.00.

As I write I think of an interaction I had with the next door neighbor, a likable woman in her forties with two youngsters in elementary school. She revealed an incident in which she came across two children in a local park who were left there by the father, the older sister to “watch over” the younger brother, both children under seven in an illogical, stupid and child abusive fashion. Concerned about these children, rightfully so, she called 911. Police arrived and in essence informed her, after speaking to the children, that under Nevada law, they could do so much, and in essence not very much in this instance, aggravating as it is to relate. What the father did was unimaginable, but a reality nevertheless. For my purposes here, in her telling of this incident our neighbor felt guilty in the sense that she called 911, but she did act appropriately — and she knew that. She was just feeling uncomfortable. I listened to her guilt feelings and then she said in passing, “As a Christian mother…” Everything was in all that; in fact she mentioned “Catholic guilt” in the telling. I did not smartass her and query what an atheist mother might feel, although it did cross my mind. What I found sad, if not appalling, was the conditioning in her, the religious lacquer that had polyurethaned her existence. So unnecessary, is it not? I see it, blind elsewhere in my own life, and she does not see it. This Krishnamurti and psychotherapeutic sensibility is always present in me.

What this anecdote just elicited in me was the feeling of being free, free of priests, rabbis and mullahs, of dogma and doctrine, of the deadening imposituion of school “learnings,” of a capitalistic system, in this instance, that defines poverty as a moral defect, and all the rest we imbibe in our mother’s milk. K spoke to that latent feeling in me to be free, free of my own parental and internalized injunctions about sex, of a defense system that camouflaged a child that needed to be felt, that caused me to use symbolically my own extremities to strangle my very self, to make me robotic, a stranger in a strange land, or to put it melodramatically, to never have had a close encounter with myself. To be free overrides the pursuit of happiness which is an insane idea to begin with, another American external we are taught to seek, much like the American dream which is entirely a nightmare, the soma, K might have opined, we give to one another, like Jim Jones ladling out cupfuls of cyanide in his compound.

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