When U.G. Krishnamurti said to his questioner, “So freedom exists not in finding answers, but in the dissolution of all questions,” he was really speaking about the dissolution of the ontological question, for example, who am I?, or is there an extra-physical factor to my biological life? By the “dissolution of all questions” Krishnamurti obviously didn’t mean such questions as, where did I put my car keys? or, where is your brother (a toddler)? Practical questions are okay—ontological questions are bad since Krishnamurti believes there is nothing to understand, fundamentally.
We can put questions into various categories. There are psychological questions such as, why am I always so angry? or why do I envy this person so much? There are ethical questions too, for example, is the drive for profits by pharmaceutical companies actually hurting the health of people? There are other questions such as, do particles actual exist since they are field dependent? And of course there are the practical questions, should we use a condom? or, what time is it?
Let’s face it, the ontological question is not a popular question. Academia hates it. In biology, for example, the place of an ontological “mind” (noun) is not included in biological questioning. Mind is too abstract and too mystical to be biologically useful. On the other hand, mind seems to have thrust itself into what can be termed as the mystical side of physics otherwise called quantum measurement. Bohr, Schrödinger, Eddington, Bohm, Wheeler, Winger, Stapp and others are interested in the noun, mind. Perhaps they realized that measurement while being physical, necessitates a non-physical observer which is to say, the observer mind/measurer is not observable in any physical sense. The mathematician and physicist John von Neumann put it this way:
[W]e must always divide the world into two parts, the one being the observed system, the other the observer. In the former we can follow up all physical processes (in principle at least) arbitrarily precisely. In the latter this is meaningless.
The boundary between the two is not a spatial boundary either but, instead, a spiritual boundary that distinguishes the unbounded observer from the finite observed (water-element and waves is a good analogy). From this we can jump to the truth that the observing self is ontological and all ontology really concerns the observer which is more fundamental than even the psychological self comprising the subjective domain related to our biological body.
Krishnamurti fails to see why ontological questioning can be so frustrating so that he feels compelled to dump it altogether. Let’s be honest. We are always trying to measure the observing self as if it were something determinate, hence, measurable. The question, who am I? really asks if the observing self is observable. The answer to this question is, rightly, a big no! It is not observable. The ontological question, in order to be answered, must take a different route by which to meet with the observing self. The accepted way we go about answering questions is utterly meaningless if we wish gnosis of the observer. (I have laid this out in previous blogs when I explain the importance of antithesis in self-realization.)