Aldous Huxley - Knowledge and Understanding (1955) (Lecture)


Knowledge and Understanding is a 1955 recording of Aldous Huxley giving a lecture at the Vedanta Society.

Read authors Sri Aurobindo, Lewis Mumford, Aldous Huxley, Jacques Ellul, Eric Fromm, Marshall McLuhan, and Neil Postman and try to get less involved in everything - education system, sensual desire (sex), government affairs, economy, songs, movies, sports, media, newspaper, etc. Be aware of your senses, how they are interacting with the outside world and how it is affecting your thoughts and actions. Read books that ask fundamental questions of human existence, to have a line of partial truth in your head to judge everything of what is going on. Read Books about History of Rise and fall of Civilizations(Edwards Gibbon), History of Education (Graeco- Roman(Paideia), Indian( Sanatana Dharma)), Culture, Philosophy, Language and Philology, Poetry, Metaphysics, Technological effects on Panchtatva(five elements of nature), Technology related to mind control (genetic, robotic, cybernetics, biochemistry, A.I, biotech, nanotechnology, etc ) and Awareness of Media and Women occult effects on the mind of man/ vice - versa. Everything has a reason and history of why it exists but not everything can be understood in the external world. Change and educate your psyche first. Rest is up to you.

Always remember words are not what they describe. What they describe are sensorial and mind perceptions which are independent of language. Words are just pointers, not the actuality.
For example, if we take a tangible thing, say apple, you are denoting that object with the sound 'apple', what your eyes are perceiving. Eye sense is activated by sun rays. It is the sun which lets you see. The white color sun ray has seven colors in it and the shade of these colors give other colors. Can you see reality without color or without sunrays(darkness)? See what is happening in your brain when you read a sentence at the same time try to be aware of the actuality without the word. You can perfectly observe with no words without me telling you. Also notice your angry behavior because of words? Ask this, how do words or some sound make you angry? Enquire this. You are denoting that part of human nature with the word 'angry'. But the actuality is not the word, but the subtle thing that is in you, which is wordless and can only be observed or felt. It is of utmost importance for everyone to understand the role of 'word' in human society for us to not get lost in verbal booby traps(motivational speakers, most ted-talks, modern debates, etc). That is why silent observation is important, as every word fracture reality from the totality of sensorial perception. Understanding happens without the language. But language is necessary for the transmission of words to the higher mind ideas or knowledge by a good teacher (purpose of education). Listen to the vocabulary you use, from where do you get it? Knowledge also gets lost, corrupted overtime by translation and bad teachers. So, you cannot rely completely on knowledge, a more accurate version of knowledge is experiential knowledge or knowledge which is verified by human experience. It is important to understand ourselves first in relation to the outside world. We can only understand ourselves in 'relation' to the world of people, nature, things and ideas.

"That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking' - F. Nietzsche

Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know - Lao Tzu

There is a difference between the name of the thing and what goes on.... I am trying to inspire the teacher at the bottom to have some hope and some self-confidence in common sense and natural intelligence. The experts who are leading you may be wrong. I have probably ruined the system, and the students that are coming into Caltech no longer will be any good. I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television--words, books, and so on--are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of true science. Finally, with regard to time-binding, a man cannot live beyond the grave. Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the [human] race-- now that it is aware of the disease to which it is liable--does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom, plus the wisdom that it may not be wisdom. - Richard Feynman

In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm
-T.S. Eliot

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