In the article ‘Philosophy without Boundaries’on pg. 12 of this Link, the writerdescribes an instance where K was asked a question but did not give an answer.He instead spoke of the quality of a mind that would be capable of going into thequestion. I guess, the teachings as a whole can be seen in this way: no answersare given, there is no content as such; rather, there is an exploration into thenature of thought and into an awareness and perception without choice. It is anexploration into ‘what is’, from moment to moment, in the real, daily situations of our lives.If this sounds appealing, I suspect we should ask ourselves, nevertheless,ifit is really what we are interested in: to be where we are. Too often, ‘what is’does not ‘speak’to us, is not stimulating, is not fun. It may bring a sense of emptiness, boredom, confusion, perhaps even pain. Not wanting these feelings,we try to avoid them through learned strategies such as being occupied withproblems and their resolutions, with great ideas and goals. But to be where weare is not that.Enquiries into ‘what is’lead necessarily to questions about
we are. Inourprevious issue, we published a summary of a thesis concerned with self-con-ceptualisation. The letter on pg. 8 of the current issue was written in responsetoit, and the book review on pg. 18 explores the theme from yet another angle.Investigations into the existence or non-existence of the self are, finally, aboutthe question: Is there something that is separate from and independent of therest of existence? Because this is our central notion regarding the self: that adoer exists who is somehow separate not only from the world but also from ourbody and even the mental processes in our brain. And even if we say that the self is actually just the brain’s mental processes, we may simply be ‘rehousing’theself, keeping the notion of a separate entity intact.Do mental processes need a doer behind or above them? Does thinking needa thinker? If we could seriously contemplate that they do not – as is attempted inseveral of the articles here – it would seem we are in for a shattering, humblingexperience.