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Saints, Virgins and Zombies

Updated on July 13, 2014

During my undergraduate...

years my best friend Bob, who was majoring in English, started attending the video-taped presentations of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s public talks and dialogues, which I had already been familiar with from my junior college years, as a supplement to my philosophy degree.

At one point Bob made an interesting, if not flattering, comment on Krishnamurti: He’s illiterate! No doubt an influence from Krishnamurti’s deceptively simple vocabulary: instead of saying things like “The Greeks invented science,” Krishnamurti preferred the simpler child-like version “The Greeks invented measure.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti
Jiddu Krishnamurti | Source

I suspected that Krishnamurti

had his own rhetorical and philosophical reasons for the “elementary-particle” vocabulary that, at that tender age, was beyond me. His analysis of certain internal “operations” of the psyche seemed so simple that one wonders how, and when, we could have missed them.

Take for example his teaching on that great enemy of the human mind: Time.

My paraphrase: “It takes time to go from here to over there…to cover a certain distance…physically…it takes (sidereal) time. But the mind doesn’t stop there. It applies the same assumption to the movement of the self-image. For example, it takes time for myself to go from being a medical student to being a medical doctor and then even more (sidereal) time to buy a yacht.”

The latter movement seems to be as physically real as the former, but actually, Krishnamurti was pointing out that it was not. In the former the recipient of the ‘movement of time’ is the physical body; in the latter the recipient is something imaginary…i.e. the self-image. One was in the field of the externally real, the other in the field of psychological thought (regardless of how ‘real’ our status as a doctor with a real physical yacht might feel from the social feedback we get).

Another example...

from his teaching on fear: “Aren’t you afraid not to climb the social ladder? Not to become somebody?” he would ask to the young students in his schools. “You all want to be president. What’s wrong with being a gardener?” He would add.

This was the anti-thesis of the attitude of most parents who ask their children “what do you want to be when you grow up?” thereby starting the whole movement of the self-image through imaginary time, if not the very conception of the image itself. And this might give us a clue into where Krishnamurti had gone to retrieve his ‘primal’ understanding of the mind.

Part 2: Biologists tell us that we lose half our energy at puberty

Biologists tell us that we lose half our energy not at 60 or 45 years of age, nor even at 32 when most athletes retire, but at puberty. Something extraordinary happens at puberty that we moderns consider only from the reductionist vantage point of ‘a plumbing of sexuality’. From the vantage point of traditional religious thought, a great tragedy occurs at puberty: the loss of virginity and the beginning of mortality. Biologists concur, that the cause of death (and therefore the enemy of life) is sexuality. Genetically, if we could remain in a pre-pubescent stage, we would also remain immortal (accidents and illnesses notwithstanding). This is why, in the deep recesses of consciousness, sexuality got linked with sin. Virginity with holiness.

Concomitant with the virginity of the body is the virginity of the mind devoid of a (an erotically) charged image (Eros and Chronos being intimately linked)[1]. The mind unburdened with becoming is in a body unburdened with ageing. Hence, Krishnamurti went back to the origins of this problem in childhood consciousness, reversing the gears that propelled the original ‘mistake’——and, in a sense, became (as Jesus recommended) a child again.

Another feature of virginity is light. Not created starlight, but the ‘uncreated’ light, as some theologians call it, of consciousness exhibited in the eyes of a newborn child. This light (which God ushered into being before s-he created the stars) is profoundly dimmed at puberty where it starts its great descent towards extinction (and death). I’m sure there exist shamanistic doctors somewhere in the world who can presage a wo-man’s death by the absence of the light in their eyes. Ergo, the opposite condition of the saint sporting a halo which, by the way, shares the same semantic root with the words ‘heal’ and ‘whole’.

In light of the forgotten nature of this understanding in our time, it should come as no surprise that the Zombie has become such a prominent feature of our pop culture; nor should we be surprised by the prevalent use of narcotics to s(t)imulate a life-pulse by our youth who are only too aware of how early they are becoming a “living” corpse.

Another great example from Krishnamurti in his child-like prose: “Have you ever observed the nature of desire…its structure…its origin? You look at a lovely tie…oh, what a lovely colour…you feel the sensuous texture…and then, Contact! ‘I must have that tie!’”


[1] Hence, Zeus castrated ‘Time’ setting it in motion along with ‘sexuality.’

Zeus rebels against Cronos
Zeus rebels against Cronos | Source

To see the primal origin

of desire (also sex) in consciousness one must travel back to the original uncluttered consciousness from which it sprang and relive the sensuous pleasures at their very origins in our childhood. At the point of ‘contact’——Krishnamurti’s word for the original link between desire and its object——a contaminant is created by the movement-of-the-self-through-time-to-possess-its-object, the memory of which, is replayed in a vicious feedback loop to repeatedly stimulate (sexual) desire. There could be no pornography and advertising industries were it not for the abstraction of the self through time and vice versa.

What Krishnamurti and others like him (Siddhartha, Socrates, Jesus) did was the goal of the mystical wing of religions and bodywork ‘sciences’ like yoga and tai chi chuan but without the theological context (theology was simply the ancient word for psychology; psyche literally means a cold place not unlike the ice-pack in which Dante had stuck Satan) they make as little sense as the sacraments of the church.

Part 3: We see it in a self-image that actually ages

The contaminant alluded to above (Krishnamurti’s word for it was conditioning) is real and not imaginary. We see it in a self-image that actually ages: our faces…brought about by the link between desire (which is physical) and the image (which is imaginal), i.e. the feedback loop. Obviously desire is also imaginal and vice versa for there to be a reciprocal effect. Pulling the propellant charge out of the feedback loop de-couples the image from the inner-body and we start ageing, like Krishnamurti, in our late fifties instead of our late twenties, when most of us, especially women, start loosing our ‘virginal fat,’ and start looking like sexualized wo-men instead of children.

It should have come as no surprise then that the appropriate languages for this forgotten psycho-genic history were myth and poetry. Nor does one have far to go to find curriculum for children in these ancient stories that tell children their own personal history and link it up to the origins of their ancestors (who are the race’s childhood). Nor should it come as any surprise that these ancient myths were historical as well as psychological by way of a fused narrative metaphorology impossible to divide into constituent pieces that could be M E A S U R E D !

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