philosophia: reflections on krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti states, “There is no relationship where there is not contact.”  He refers to contact very literally.  He observes that we do not engage with the facts of our existence so much as we do with the ideas that stem from them and the images that they leave in our minds.  Often, our perception comes secondarily to our interpretation, not in sequence, but in consciousness.  This ordering is not inherently problematic, nor is it realistic to pursue pure perception.  Conflict does arise, however, when we mistake our interpretations for perceptions.  When we fail to meditate on the fact of our existence, when we transition from the act of observation to the analysis of the observer, When this occurs, experience is fragmented by thought.

Images are of the mind; they are abstractions from the perceived object.  What happens when we consider the image as both object and abstraction?  If the image is both object and abstraction, are we better able now to vacillate between the two, to see, perhaps, oneself as both object and image or idea simultaneously?  Do we forget our corporeality?  Do we understand the difference between perception and interpretation, and do we even believe any longer that there is a notable difference?  Or are all of these questions abstract abstractions, removed further still from the object in question?  Consider your body.  Are you aware of your body as an image more so than as a fact of your existence?  Do you observe yourself?  And the bodies of others, are they more than images to you?  I am not referring to your opinions of other people, but your experience of them as they exist in the present moment, as you relate to them.  Is there a difference?  And insofar as we are images unto ourselves, do we exist as abstractions when we come into contact?

Krishnamurti asks, "How can one image relate to another?"  He asks the question rhetorically.  There is no contact between images, so there is no relationship.  Consider our relationship, the relationship between you and I.  I am, in this moment, an image in your mind, and you, an image in mine.  How can one image relate to another?  Right now, are we relating?  Or are you and I surrendering to the images of ourselves, perhaps?  Will these images be resolved when we next meet?  Or will our interpretations of one another supercede our perceptions?  The “conflict” that Krishnamurti refers to is one that exists in consciousness.  It originates in consciousness and is then transferred or projected onto the world of experience.  Generally speaking, he refers to the effect of thought upon action and the effect of interpretation upon perception.  The “conflict” is the dissonance between what you remember (past) or imagine (future) and what you experience (present).  Does it have to be conflicting?


  1. as an artist, the question i always seem to be asking of others, of myself, is whether the image or the thing itself is worth more. which one is most authentic, and which one is to be most liked? which one says it best, and which one knows itself?

    if we take into account that each has merit, the reality and the reflection, then what? is art forever a watermark, or is there a line, once crossed, where the reflection transcends the experience itself? the watermark cuts out the muddle -- it's distilled. sometimes i want proper, clean whiskey, but i don't know if it will ever compare to the risk of drinking moonshine.

  2. You're absolutely right on. I wonder about your question of which one knows itself - does either the image OR the thing know itself?? For that matter, I'm not sure that anything or anyone knows itself. I'm just going to bug out on that idea until I fall asleep tonight. Your question of authenticity and of "which says it best" attract my attention more. I wonder if there even needs to be a line between reality and reflection? I like to think of reality as a spectrum, stretching from fact to fantasy. Considering that many things that we now accept as real were once merely ideas or came about spontaneously by accident, I don't think this is too far-fetched. So, in a sense, I like to think of the reflection (or art) as the other end of the spectrum, no less real than the reality that we have grown accustomed to. The main difference (to me) is that one is more pervasive than the other.

    I HAVE NEVER HAD MOONSHINE, but I think that I understand the analogy anyway. One is processed (mentally) while the other is seemingly unmarked by us, exists independent of our own existence, right? Is this what you mean by distillation? I like that you want to drink it up either way.

  3. yeah, so when you make moonshine at an illegal still, it gets gritty, opaque, clouded with god-knows-what, which is why it's dangerous. it's different every time. i should've made my meaning clearer when i said "reality". i was thinking in a really physical way about reality, things you can see feel and touch, and the way one experiences the world through one's own eyes. physical reality. i absolutely agree that mental reality and the reality of experiencing art don't need to be parsed. and maybe the distinction i'm making is false -- i tend to think of visual reality as mental, but it's not, is it? the differentiation between my mind's eyes and my body's isn't too clear.

    i'm going to get descartesque here for a minute -- knowing oneself is physical for me, too -- and like old st. thomas, i need to put my hand in the wound to believe. and yet, when i am in the throes of creation i tend to explain myself into being (trying to say it best) instead of touching and seeing what is already there (knowing myself well enough to say, yes, this is here, this is me, this is the real thing).

    also, i must say as i re-read that i don't believe finding the most authentic thing is the only way to find the real thing. authenticity: the fallacy of the hipster.