Coherence

by Antonio Dias

I’ve recently come upon Peter Kajtar‘s work and then I had a wonderful opportunity to talk to him over Skype.

His site, The Order of Thought, covers his work in progress, a book by that same name on the work of David Bohm and J. Krishnamurti. It cannot be a surprise to anyone who’s read more than one post here, that this would be fascinating to me. I’m glad to say that both in reading his site and in talking with him that I’ve discovered an incredible source and someone I look forward to developing a relationship with.

The clarity he brings to illuminating the potential within B & K’s work and to laying out the flesh upon which this potential for action is built is there to be seen in everything from the layout of his site to each bit of his writing on the subject.

Just a few examples:

On his opening page:

It has become some­what fash­ion­able in recent years to begin dis­cus­sion of just about any topic by stat­ing that we are liv­ing in revolu­tion­ary times. …

…I will argue that the source of the revolu­tion tak­ing place in the fab­ric of human real­ity is to be found much “deeper”, …

Put simply,
the revolu­tion of our time is the revolu­tion in thought*.

Or this:

When Michel Faraday first demon­strated the phe­nomenon of elec­tri­city…, a mem­ber of his audi­ence …respon­ded: ‘It’s all very inter­est­ing Mr. Faraday, but what’s the use of it?’ Faraday’s reply was witty, yet ambigu­ous : ‘Madam, what is the use of a baby?’

…Faraday could not have fore­seen the exact way his dis­cov­ery would even­tu­ally revo­lu­tion­ize human lives …. The “dis­cov­ery” of elec­tri­city had to come first, before its real and rad­ical power would be unleashed.

…We might … regard … J.Krishnamurti’s insight of his­toric ori­gin­al­ity into thought and the human con­di­tion.… Krishnamurti’s leg­acy might … incor­por­ate a com­plete revolu­tion in the map­ping of the human mind.

I urge you all to give his site some time and attention. While I’ve mumbled-on and muttered-about concerning the significance of B & K’s work, Peter has actually laid out its significance with clarity and concision! Beyond this,

…essentially, the book sets out to rekindle the inquiry into thought. This book is not so much about reminiscing, but about looking ahead. After all, the time Bohm and Krishnamurti might well have been ahead of is our time. … I feel that in places I take various lines of inquiry that Bohm touched upon further (e.g. on proprioception) than he had the opportunity (time) to do, and I do mean that I am setting out to continue where he left off….

There is exciting promise in this!

Besides urging you to follow his work, I bring him up because there was a theme running throughout our conversation, the topic of coherence, and this follows directly on my last post.

There are two aspects to coherence. The universe coheres. As we looked at it in the last post, through Art we work to find what is fitting, what coheres. In this, we are rhyming with the coherence of the world. There is also the tendency of our organism, and its particularities of perception and meaning finding/making, to not only look for coherence, to identify it, but to make it. Any random set will soon take on coherence in our minds. We will impose coherence with or without justification.

These two aspects are linked, actually, they are inseparable. This is one of our paradoxes. This is not anything which can be solved. But to enter into and remain “within the question,” as I paraphrase Krishnamurti, we need to have a working sense of how these aspects interact and what they entail.

One entry point during our conversation was my introduction of the language of conspiracy, used as a short-hand to describe various traps we find ourselves in. In a way this is a contemporary form of mythylogically allegorical language. Just as a Classic Roman writer would wax rhapsodic about the Olympian Gods, without actually believing in what was already by then an old, outmoded series of superstitions; I tend to use conspiracy in the same way, as a personification of forces at work on us from a myriad of directions that manifest themselves in ways that many want to read as organized conspiracy.

Peter quickly challenged this usage – after all we had just “met.” He had no way of knowing what this “nut” might be getting on about! He said, again with a simple clarity, that, “(It)…is a reflection of the structure and dynamics of human consciousness.”

So, if seeing conspiracies is a form of projection and a significant aspect of that act of projection fulfills our appetite for coherence, then, what does this mean? Are we trapped permanently in a dead-end where any attempt to discover coherence is destined to be derailed by this yearning we have, this striving after, coherence?

As Peter spoke of the ways in which coherence is implied within David Bohm’s Implicate Order of the Universe, it came to me that there is a distinction that can be made between coherence found and coherence willed. It is possible to tell the two apart, although it is not easy, and it does not “free” us to chasing after ends by whatever means we might discover.

The key has to do, as we talked about it, with the place of attention and intention.

This has also been a key point of inquiry for me. It was a continual joy to discover so many parallels in our thinking!

Somewhere from out of the tangle of what he said, and what I said, and what lingers in my memory – even, quite possibly, what I have projected onto our conversation! – has to do with how we relate attention and intention.

Intention, as it is commonly understood, is how we aim our will at things. We intend an outcome and therefore we take certain actions. What this does not account for is the trap of confusing willful action and its “unintended consequences.” Seeing the desires of the self – which Bohm explained, and Peter Kajtar covers in his book, as being akin to a rainbow. No such “thing”as a rainbow exists. We are taken-in by a persistent illusion because of the way our perception places what is merely an artifact of perception “out there” as a rainbow, or “in here” as an “I.” Following from this original confusion, this insistence that there is an “I” to have desires, we follow this up with a second error in insisting that our wills will achieve our ends – it is only a matter of choosing the most efficient means. The persistence of this delusion is astounding! We greet evidence of it in our “enemies” with derision and anger, yet we continually fall into it ourselves every time we chase after a “sure thing!”

Most will say, So? That’s the “way of the world!”

As Peter conveyed it, – and I paraphrase: “There are often thought to be two sorts of people. Those who see human nature as immutable and those who strive after change.” In either case we misunderstand the true situation. Life is an engine of change. No “nature” is immutable. But also, change striven after is no change at all. As Krishnamurti said, “Why do I have to go through all of that before I change? Why don’t I simply change now!”

Here’s a fuller look at this question as Peter has provided,

All consciousness, surely, whether it is of the past, the present or the future, is within the field of thought; and any change within that field, which sets the boundaries of the mind, is no real change. A radical change can take place only outside of the field of thought, not within it, and the mind can leave the field only when it sees the confines, the boundaries of the field, and realizes that any change within the field is no change at all.  (The Book of Life, entry: 27th October)

For any of us who have lived through a significant change in outlook, we know from our own experience the gulf between striving after change “someday,” and the way actual change strikes us in a moment, “out of the blue.”

So, either of these categories of “types” condemns us to defending illusions over engagement with what is.

This whole approach to the meaning of intention keeps us trapped.

There is another way to look at intention. What if we see intention as the way in which our organism’s vigor maintains contact with what is by gently returning our attention to what is and gently setting aside whatever is merely a projection emanating from the illusion of a self?

This is the process I’ve likened to a laudable hygiene. It is a process of acting on our conditioning by exerting pressure on our habits and, not molding them to our wills, but letting our interactions with our own organism’s sincerity as it engages with the world bring to our awareness aspects of that implicate order.

As difficult as this may be to explain or to understand when laid out in words this way, it is something that we can experience and which builds up a momentum, when we give it a chance.

What I’ve taken as a guiding measure is to sensitize myself to the ways of violence and then to focus awareness on anything which lessens violence’s hold. Where violence, whether explicit or hidden, is destructive and brings forth dis-ease, whatever moves us in this other direction opens up the fonts of creativity and fosters integration and connection. Tapping away with this stick in the dark we can actually navigate quite well!

Two asides here:

This is not advocating “non-violence!” Krishnamurti covers this well when he says that instead of tying ourselves to an ideology and then striving towards its attainment, we dedicate ourselves to remaining with the question of violence, with looking at how it is and how it affects everything it touches. The first keeps us in the illusion of “becoming.” The second holds us within Being.

This also goes against the grain of every system intended to “toughen us up” and make us capable of “taking on the world!” These are all, in one way or another, strategies to deaden us to the consequences of violence and provide justifications for accepting the need for violence as a means to meet some end that we find worthy. This throws us back into our paradox in which we rely on will to order our existence when all it is capable of is increasing our incoherence!

To return to our conversation, this distinction between chasing after a desire for cohesion amounts to spreading glue on whatever we find projected on the screen of the self. We are back to collage, which in fact means spreading glue. This expects that coherence, seen as a quality of the universe, is something that can be made.

…instead of a fragmentary action from the “little corner” of ‘I’ (“my” will, etc.), coherence acts. So it isn’t that “I” find coherence and make use of it — in that coherence there is no longer a separation of “actor” and “action”. P. K.

It is in this way that, among others, the insights of Bohm and Krishnamurti revolutionize our abilities to perceive, navigate, and interact with our world.

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