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Kinfonet’s Continued Interpretation of K

When you understand it you can be free from it. If you don't understand it you're bound by it.  (RG)

This time it’s around the subject of Insight & Understanding. And as stated in previous publications (e.g. what makes such interpretations even more dangerous is that they seem to be related to a powerful organization (powerful both financially and politically). Kinfonet site indicates “Since its inception in 1998, Kinfonet has been continuously supported by the KLI”.

In their July 2010 newsletter, Kinfonet published a commentary called “Of Time and Timelessness”.

As usual, they speak for “we” which in itself implies authority because they do not state a fact but merely an abstraction and generalization that we are this way, that this is how it is. In certain cases such statements may have merit, but in the context they often use, it is just a projection of how they see the world, and declaring it as how it is. In this case, they somehow have come to the conclusion that insight and understanding are very different, unrelated things. They’re free to hold and publish their opinions and interpretations but given the amount of energy K spent warning against interpretations and distortions, isn’t what they’re doing alarming?

Those who argue that K’s teachings are protected by some kind of mystical (not just technological) force should ask themselves, if that is the case, why did K emphasize the matter so much, over so many years, in so many talks? Were other teachings of the past also protected? If so, why did they get distorted? (also see article: “The misconception that K’s teachings are incorruptible”:

There is no question of one or more persons protecting this work – it’s about carefulness. K put it very simply: steer away from interpretations. You can say what it means to you, how you understand it, how it touches your life, but to say K meant it like this and not like this, and doing so from a platform, and doing so inaccurately, is just reckless.

I continue to believe that in this regards, less is more. People might be looking for work to do, but they should look elsewhere than to write distorted interpretations of K’s works.

Kinfonet: “Yet this concept of immediate change … is usually put on the back burner as we inquire into the more accessible aspects of his teaching.”

How can they talk for “we” – I’ve traveled a lot and met a lot of people. If you think concentration vs. attention is accessible, it’s not for some. Some view observer & observed as inaccessible, but I’ve met newcomers who grasp these concepts like a breeze. The point is, why make such generalizations, why set yourself up as spokesman for “we”?

Kinfonet: “Assuming that by transformation Krishnamurti means terminating the abstract world created by memory and thought, then it follows that this transformation cannot be the result of an understanding. This is because as we have seen understanding itself is the source of thinking, the building block of the abstract world. Krishnamurti introduces the concept of insight - a phenomenon that has no precursor and which therefore precludes understanding or experience. Unlike understanding, insight has no purpose and therefore no will to effect change. Like life, it just is.”

There are a number of technical difficulties with this argument. Their definition of transformation is interesting. I would be careful about making statements about what K means by something specially when it’s used to make a conclusion which does not seem sensible. Transformation is not based on thought, that’s clear. And thought seems to be sourced in the past (and not in just understanding as Kinfonet argues). This can be seen in daily life, and K also spoke about it a gazillion times.

They go on to interpret K that he meant insight precludes understanding, and continue to contrast insight vs. understanding. If by understanding they mean superficial or verbal understanding, fine, but they do not say that and do not make that clear. They’re writing from the platform of a organization that is almost as official as any K Foundation (what I call The Fifth Foundation (which indeed does a lot of good work, no doubt), and very much within the context of K’s work (“Kinfonet” = Krishnamurti information network),

Anyway, K spoke about understanding at great length and used this term throughout the decades. When he referred to superficial or verbal understanding he said it as such. Otherwise, he pretty much over the course of several decades seemed to give a great weight to this concept. Here are some examples where he pretty much seem to consider understanding at same “level” as insight, sometimes even as a synonym, sometimes indeed as a precursor and not as such an antithesis which our Kinfonet friends interpret him as. Why interpret?! I don’t get paid to write but if someone does, it must be possible to write without interpreting, or at least taking on a humbler position of “this is my understanding of the subject”. Perhaps that would not be as impressive :)

Some K quotes on the subject from 1940’s through 1980’s which show how wrong Kinfonet’s interpretation is:

the understanding which brings about an insight

deep understanding, having an insight, or coming upon that truth.

the flash of understanding, that extraordinary rapidity of insight

Creation implies an understanding not intellectually, but deeply having an insight, into this whole question of not only suffering, but the feeling of great intensity.

When there is an incident that demands understanding and insight

In the understanding of these activities, the daily responses, the conflicts, we will have an insight into the nature and structure of our own consciousness.

rather to have a quick perception into things, to have an insight, an immediate understanding, immediate contact with actually 'what is'.

But the very understanding of its limitation is to have insight into the whole movement of knowledge.

insight, that immediate perception, immediate understanding

Therefore understanding implies, does it not, a mind, or a brain, the whole structure of the mind listens not only to the word but goes beyond the word and sees the deep meaning of that particular statement, and then there is an insight and then you say, 'I understand it', 'I have got it'. So insight implies a mind that is quiet

So meditation implies a sense of deep understanding of that very word, and the very understanding, the perception, the insight into that word is the action which is to end measurement, psychological measurement.

That is why, in educating a child, deep insight and understanding are necessary.

the understanding of what you are brings great peace and contentment, great insight, great love..

Any here’s a great one from 19 February 1969, 3rd Public Talk at the beautiful campus of UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz):

Krishnamurti: Do you mean by "insight" understanding?  To see something very clearly, to have no confusion, no choice?  I want to understand in what way you are using that word "insight".  Is that correct, Sir?

Questioner: Yes.

... The question was: What is the difference between thought and insight which, we agreed, was the same as understanding, seeing things very clearly, without any confusion…

Clarity, insight or understanding are only possible when thought is in abeyance, when the mind is still. 


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