What is the Nature of our Behaviour


I am interested in whether we actually see memory in consciousness or just speculate its existence.

[These are not just odd questions but one moving enquiry]

Do we actually see memory in consciousness right now, or do we just see the expressions of it as thought and emotion?

Thought and emotion are the expressions of memory, but do we see this ‘place’ (memory) out of which these thoughts and emotions are born?

Is thought and emotion born out of this sense of the observer? And is that sense of the observer actually memory . . . sitting there . . . watching conscious sensation?

If it is, is this where all our action is based?

That means all our action (as it is now) is based on memory.

See -> Memory -> Action

You may disagree, I don’t know . . .

But, if one sees very clearly that there is this living action that is memory (which is the observer), sitting there, and that all our action (our behaviour) is born out of it, then one sees that one’s action must be biased as a result of what one knows. This naturally brings about an interest in the possibility of an observation that is not biased, prejudiced or distorted and from this the following question arises:

Is it possible to observe without memory?

That is not an intellectually stimulating concept; it means . . . is there a state of observation in which the observer (memory) is absent?

That is what I am driving at because I feel that when one does not see the actuality of memory sitting there in consciousness, then one’s action can only ever be based upon it. Now, memory can be told ‘there is an action that is free and not based on memory’, but if consciousness does not see the living thing that this word ‘memory’ represents, then that living memory will create a division in itself, a division which says ‘this part of me is conditioned’ and ‘this part of me is free’.

You will only know whether you are doing this if the question of the observer and memory confuses you. Otherwise, when you actually see memory sitting there, you can explore (in the present moment with real energy) whether there is a state of observation in which the observer is not present (a state of observation in which that feeling of memory is totally absent and, therefore, a state in which the action carried out is not based upon it).

Prior to all this, why is this question of the observer and memory necessary at all?

Is it because action based on memory is totally practical in some instances but totally impractical in others?

The purpose of the observer is to act based on memory and this has a certain relevance in life: it allows me to find my way home, perform my job skilfully, enables me to walk, to respond to thirst by taking a drink, and so on.

So, this sense of the observer (memory) has a necessary place in response to one’s physical demands . . . memory works efficiently here, otherwise you cannot function.

So, next comes the question:

Is memory practical in response to one’s psychological demands, or is it totally impractical?

To put it another way:

When memory observes one’s psychological activity (thought, emotion, etc.), does its very existence corrupt the state of relationship necessary to facilitate adequate action?

Is our action (behaviour) confused because we do not clearly distinguish between the physical and the psychological?

Is the expression of this confusion shown to us through the process of our making the physical into something psychological (e.g., from ‘The House’ we invent ‘My House’ and begin to consider the house as mine, as a part of myself, as an extension of myself)?

This process of identifying ourselves with something (‘my house’) is the factor that creates a grey area between the black and white fields which are the physical and the psychological.

The distinction is, thus:

  • Psychological – action from memory (thought, emotion, etc.)
  • Physical – action not from memory.

Through this process of false identification we invent a false reality. The consequence of believing in this false reality is that we act from it and this means that our action must be inadequate, irresponsible, and in conflict with reality itself. There is an immense danger in this conflict.

When one understands the danger of inventing something psychological out of something physical, then one’s natural intelligence causes that behaviour to stop. Once this is understood, all that is required from that point is that one observes when one is doing it, then intelligence comes in and dissolves the process and its imprint on memory.

This allows the distinction between the physical and psychological to become prevalent. This clearly reveals memory’s total practicality in a physical regard and total impracticality in a psychological regard. Now, one can explore the question:

What is an adequate response to psychological activity?

The psychological field (thought, emotion, etc.) is sourced from memory. When the observed (which is memory) acts upon that thought and emotion (which is also memory) in an attempt to change it (self-control), then conflict ensues.

This conflict happens because the initial thought and emotion manifested from a certain desire. Memory then responds to that appearance of thought and emotion with a contradictory desire in an attempt to stop it or at least slow it down. In consciousness there are now two competing desires waging war. That is inner conflict.

So, we come back to the question: What is an adequate response to psychological activity?

Is it possible to observe thought and emotion without memory?

That implies:

  • No sense of conflict.
  • A sense of the observer being absent.
  • No desire to change the observed for one’s own convenience.
  • A real interest in what the thing observed actually is (penetration).
  • No desire to run away.
  • Allowing the movement observed to reveal itself.
  • No intention to bring something (a correction or an answer) to the observed.

This requires a great deal of careful examination and, while examining this possibility, the following questions arise.

Is memory a shallow perception and does our conditioning prevent us observing psychological activity at great depth?

Does the absence of memory allow a penetration into the observed that is so deep that it reveals the structure and implications of that psychological activity immediately? If so, what are the implications of this quality of observation for our behaviour?

Could it be that our action would be the result of an insight into that psychological movement rather than an action resulting from memory?

– Response by a friend –


Would judgement, evaluation, preference and aversion be an indication that memory is posing as the present? 

If we are attentive to these, can we see memory in action?

Can there be no judgement of this either, just a seeing of it? 

What is left then?


Let us take these one at a time.


Would judgement, evaluation, preference and aversion be an indication that memory is posing as the present? 

When memory is observing, there exists a measurement that is based on knowledge (knowledge is the past, all the perceptions that have been recorded in the brain). When this process is active, a division is experienced between that which is being observed and the entity (memory) that is observing. In this state, there is an implied demand for a response: that memory (the observer) is put under pressure to act upon that which has been seen. This response arises as thought (emotion and intellect) in an attempt to alter what is observed for one’s own convenience. This demand to change the thing observed denies an interest in understanding the thing itself.

Memory is never the present. It is the past relating to the present. The appearance of thought in consciousness is a representation of what is actually real (i.e., the distinction between ‘the real me’ and ‘a thought you may have about me’). That representation (thought) can be considered by the mind to be the real thing, but that only occurs in a mind that cannot perceptively distinguish the source of thought as memory. This is a form of self-deception.

If we are attentive to these, can we see memory in action?

To observe thought acting in this way reveals a theatrical display of the ensuing disorder caused by the existence of the observer in relation to psychological phenomena. It is not enough merely to see it and hope that this observation will dissolve those thoughts, because they will just arise again the following day.

What is necessary is that one sees the danger of this process sufficiently deeply so that it inspires an enquiry that challenges the very fundamentals of the process itself – the necessity and implications of memory existing in a psychological regard.

Can there be no judgement of this either, just a seeing of it? 

Here, we must be careful. Is it memory that says ‘do not judge it, just watch it’ (which is still a form of judgement, thought telling itself how it should respond), or is memory totally absent and, thus, there is no judgement?

What is left then?

When memory is not acting in relation to what is observed, there is a totally different relationship to conscious content. In this state, the energy of the brain is not dissipated as thought. In this totally different relationship, a penetration into the thing itself exists and a resulting exposition of the subtleties of it takes place. This exposition is insight. That insight determines what action takes place, not memory.

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