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Ruby Wax

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I was always an observer. I would observe rather than partake, and I don't think that is too hip a thing to do when you're fifteen.

 
Ruby Wax

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Do you decide to observe? Or do you merely observe? Do you decide and say, "I am going to observe and learn"? For then there is the question: "Who is deciding?" Is it will that says, "I must"? And when it fails, it chastises itself further and says, "I must, must, must"; in that there is conflict; therefore the state of mind that has decided to observe is not observation at all. You are walking down the road, somebody passes you by, you observe and you may say to yourself, "How ugly he is; how he smells; I wish he would not do this or that". You are aware of your responses to that passer-by, you are aware that you are judging, condemning or justifying; you are observing. You do not say, "I must not judge, I must not justify". In being aware of your responses, there is no decision at all. You see somebody who insulted you yesterday. Immediately all your hackles are up, you become nervous or anxious, you begin to dislike; be aware of your dislike, be aware of all that, do not "decide" to be aware. Observe, and in that observation there is neither the "observer" nor the "observed" — there is only observation taking place. The "observer" exists only when you accumulate in the observation; when you say, "He is my friend because he has flattered me", or, "He is not my friend, because he has said something ugly about me, or something true which I do not like." That is accumulation through observation and that accumulation is the observer. When you observe without accumulation, then there is no judgement.

 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
 

Now, one sees all that by observing, by being aware, watching, one is aware of all this. Then out of that awareness you see there is no division between the observer and the observed. It is a trick of thought which demands security. Please don't madam, please. And by being aware it sees the observer is the observed, that violence is the observer, violence is not different from the observer. Now how is the observer to end himself and not be violent? Have you understood my question so far? I think so. Right? The observer is the observed, there is no division and therefore no conflict. And is the observer then, knowing all the intricacies of naming, linguistically caught in the image of violence, what happens to that violence? If the observer is violent, can the observer end, otherwise violence will go on? Can the observer end himself, because he is violent? Or what reality has theobserver? Right sir? Is he merely put together by words, by experience, by knowledge? So is he put together by the past? So is he the past? Right? Which means the mind is living in the past. Right? obviously. You are living in the past. Right? No? As long as there is an observer there must be living in the past, obviously. And all our life is based on the past, memories, knowledge, images, according to which you react, which is your conditioning, is the past. And living has become the living of the past in the present, modified in the future. That's all, as long as the observer is living. Now does the mind see this as a truth, as a reality, that all my life is living in the past? I may paint most abstract pictures, write the most modern poems, invent the most extraordinary machinery, but I am still living in the past.

 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
 

Reflections of this type made it clear to me as long ago as shortly after 1900, i.e., shortly after Planck's trailblazing work, that neither mechanics nor electrodynamics could (except in limiting cases) claim exact validity. By and by I despaired of the possibility of discovering the true laws by means of constructive efforts based on known facts. The longer and the more despairingly I tried, the more I came to the conviction that only the discovery of a universal formal principle could lead us to assured results. . . . How, then, could such a universal principle be found? After ten years of reflection such a principle resulted from a paradox upon which I had already hit at the age of sixteen: If I pursue a beam of light with the velocity c (velocity of light in a vacuum), I should observe such a beam as a spatially oscillatory electromagnetic field at rest. However, there seems to be no such thing, whether on the bases of experience or according to Maxwell's equations. From the very beginning it appeared to me intuitively clear that, judged from the stand-point of such an observer, everything would have to happen according to the same laws as for an observer who, relative to the earth, was at rest.

 
Albert Einstein
 

There is such a thing as a worldly spirit, and there is such a thing as an unworldly spirit — and according as we partake of the one or the other, the savor of the sacrifice of our lives is ordinary, common-place, poor, and base; or elevating, invigorating, useful, noble, and holy.

 
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley
 

To remove these one had to account for an “observer” (that is at least for one subject):
(i) Observations are not absolute but relative to an observer’s point of view (i.e., his coordinate system: Einstein);
(ii) Observations affect the observed so as to obliterate the observer’s hope for prediction (i.e., his uncertainty is absolute: Heisenberg).
After this, we are now in the possession of the truism that a description (of the universe) implies one who describes it (observes it).

 
Heinz von Foerster
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