By Paul Sempé

During two weeks of the summer l988, I have had many
discussions with U.G.

I was at that time interested in some aspects of the
evolution of man. Although what U.G. says has to do with the
mechanism of thought, self-consciousness, space, time and logic,
he insists on the fact that what happened to him is only
physiological and not psychological. Since "physiological", in
that case, has obviously nothing to do with exercises such as
yoga, it seemed to me it could be linked to what I was studying
about evolution.

Here is the outline of my reasoning:

The initial events that open the way to evolution
are microscopic and fortuitous. But once inscribed in the DNA,
the accident is faithfully replicated and the organisms built
according to this new plan are subject to the laws of
natural selection (see J. MONOD : "Le hasard et la nécessité").
There may have been a day where some Australopithecus used for
the first time an articulated symbol to represent a concept.
It is easy to see the fantastic superiority this capacity gave
to this hominid and his descendants: better communication,
accumulation of knowledge, etc....Such might have been the
beginning of thought : an utilitarian feat. The same could be
said of self-consciousness born out of thought.

From self-consciousness as a center, the outer
world is seen through the coordinates of space and time. Konrad
LORENZ shows how space and time, as well as the laws of
"pure reason," depend on structures of the central nervous system
that developed just as any other organ, according to the laws
of the natural selection, during the millenniums of evolution.
(see K.LORENZ: "La doctrine Kantienne de l'"a priori" a la
lumière de la biologie contemporaine", in "L'homme dans le fleuve
du vivant
"). In the same way, Professor LWOFF says that the rules
of logic  -- as well as the words -- are inscribed within our neurons.

We are considering here thought, self-consciousness
space, time and logic (in that sequence) as produced by evolution.
Many people in our culture think that they have a divine origin
(as did KANT). They certainly have a right to do so. What I want
to show here is that looking at things from the evolutionary
point of view gives a new approach to what may have happened
to U.G.

If the mechanism thought, self-consciousness, space
time and logic has been built through evolution, and is inscribed
in the DNA and the central nervous system, there may be a
line of human beings coming from the first ages, in which the l
inscription is unstable and may disintegrate partly or totally.
What could then remain is what U.G. calls the "natural state"
where the body lives its own life in accordance with the laws
of nature. There are many reasons why these beings are small in
number: they are less competitive; their reproduction
is limited, since sex disappears (says U.G.) in that state; they
can probably survive only in countries where the religious
dogmas are not too rigid, what may be the case of India.
Now, let us consider again the sequence: thought
self-consciousness, space, time and logic. If we look within
ourselves we see the sequence in the reverse orderr. We see it
rather in the same way as the Bible does: first there was
space (the earth), then time (day and night), man and finally
thought (the names man gives to things). We feel at ease in that
biblical and Newtonian world: a three-dimensional space
(corresponding to the three semi-circular canals we have in

the ears), a clock hanging somewhere (preferably in Greenwich), "
and a book of history to which we can refer to measure time,
and human beings strolling about inside of that receptacle
thinking things preferably in a logical way. And since logic has
become a necessity, we put God on top of the whole thing as
the Creator and the President of the circus that develops
inside the receptacle.

Now, let us take again each item in the classical sequence. ‘

Space. What is space for U.G? If you ask him how»
he sees an object moving in the surroundings, he will probably
tell you that the object is moving inside of him. What does he
mean? When we, "normal" people, see the object, the perception
[splits in two: one part is "I" who observes, and the other
is the image of the object that we project in the three
dimensional space and, so, appears to be at a distance. ("distance"
here, has nothing to do with the "distance" between the imaginary
and the supposed "real" object in the old philosophical
problem that has no solution). In U.G., it seems that there is no
split, no projection and no distance. So the object is in him
so to speak, and he has no knowledge about it, unless the
necessity commands it, as he says, in which case memory dictates
mechanically the necessary reactions. That seemed obvious to
me, one day, while I was looking at  him looking at a photo of
himself. I thought he had a strange look. "Well I told myself;
after all, it is the only moment where he "is" U.G.".

Time. Besides the clock, we measure the flow of
time on a scale admitted by all human beings: that is the
history of humanity. It is probably the projection on that
collective scale of what happens inside of us that gives us
the feeling that the flow of time is regular.

In fact, the flow is not regular if we loose the mental '
contact with the scale; its velocity changes with age, boredom
etc. Very important distortions appear in dreams, particular
states of consciousness and probably the moment when we die.
That reminds me of a conversation with U.G. He was ending some
rather obscure (to me) demonstration with the strong statement: "
"So, death doesn't exist." Then I woke up and asked: "Please U.G.,
can you say that again, U.G.?" "Yesm the body cannot die, it
only changes form; as for the entity that you suppose is thinking
cannot die either, since there has never been life in it."
I said hopefully: "So death doesn't exist!" U.G. replied: "Death doesn't exist
for me; but that is not so for you, Paul." That "not for you, Paul"
reminded me, later, of something I read, 1ong ago, in the
"Tibetan Book of the dead where what was lived as an eternity filled with
horrors by the dying man was lived as a short time by the
assistant in a "normal "state. And the assistant kept saying
something like: "Don't bother, old chap, all that is nothing but
an illusion." From that point of view, eternity, hell and paradise
do exist and also the last judgment with the worst of all
judges: yourself; until the mechanism disintegrates. Because,
after all, we also shall have our disintegration. Only it
won't be partial.

Self-consciousness: Self-consciousness reminds of Descartes.
He is my most favorite philosopher. I see him with his beard and
moustache, his wig, lace around the neck, lace around the wrists,
sitting at his table ( Louis XIII style), the quill pen up. He
is asking himself: "Is there anybody sitting here?" And the
answer: "Since there is that thought, then there is somebody who thinks --
'Cogito ergo sum.'" That is so much better than "I thinkm therefore
I am." That is real tabula rasa. And then, having made sure that
he exists. he proceeds with his philosophy.

So it was a real shock to me when U.G. told me one day: "Descartes
made a profound statement, but it was all wrong". I can still see the
place where I got the shock. "What??!! What do you mean U.G.?"
U.G. replied: "The fact that there is a thought does not mean that there
is a thinker who exists before the thought. It works the
other way around: the thinker is produced by the thought, and,
since it wants to survive, it fills the gap between two thoughts
with another thought and the whole mechanism gives you the
illusion that there is a continuous entity thinking thoughts
and you call that "I".

I went back home very upset, feeling myself as a
deduction more hypothetical than ever. As soon as possible I
went through the books written by Descartes to see if I could
find a trace of such an unusual interpretation. I did not. Well,
I told myself that such a thing cannot possibly have escaped him; but
he didn't say it because they would have burnt him in these days.
Poor chap. Besides, for all practical purposes, his formula is as
good as ever. You can, and even you must, extend it: "I command,
therefore I am". "I fight, therefore I am". "I grumble, therefore
I am". "I pester, therefore I am", There is no limit. Descartes is

Thought. I should say that thought is U.G.'s specialty.
In the West, we have been heavily conditioned by Greek
philosophy, and specially Plato. In Plato, and particularly in
the "Phedo", you learn to believe in thought and you read, page
after page, how thought and reasoning are the sure path to Truth
and Reality while you have to beware of the body and its
sensations. Furthermore, that view of things has been enhanced
by Christianity. So, if you are a normal representative of the
West, you can expect problems with U.G. Now, let us look at the
East. At about the same time when Socrates, through Plato, was
upholding thought, the Buddha was claiming exactly the
contrary, saying that thought was the origin of all sufferings.
Did it make any difference, as far as misery and sufferings are
concerned? Certainly not.

Now, what is the approach of U.G. on that subject?
It seems rather similar to what you get if you consider thought ~
as a product of evolution. From that point of view, thought is
utilitarian and it does not change its nature when it is extended
to the so called spiritual or moral fields. On the contrary,
in these fields, thought remains interested and adds hypocrisy.
Such thoughts as goodness, generosity or whatever have no
content at all. It is not cynicism, it is mechanics.

The fact remains that in order to live in society we have
to make the difference between a "good" thought and a "bad"
thought. From this point of view, each thought refers to a
cultural system. It is like in Relativity. In Relativity, each
observer uses his own measure of space and time, and to pass from
one set of measures to another, you have to use the transformations
of Lorentz, since classical mechanics are not valid any more.
No more Newtonian receptacle. With thoughts, to pass from one
system to another, we use the transformation called brainwashing.
No more absolute morals. That is why Descartes invented
"provisional morals". Here I may be bit too much in favor of
Descartes. That type of morality has had many inventors.

Logic: You'll never score points off U.G. by using logic. Not
because he is a good logician. He is anyway. But, besides that,
he might say one thing now and something appears to be contrary a
moment later. After all, life has been flowing between the two
moments and circumstances are not the same.

The fact is that you cannot depend totally on logic. Sometimes
it works and sometimes it doesn't. All philosophers have noticed that,
and ever since Aristotle each one of them has written his own
laws and notes on the use of logic. It is not a story of success.
Even before I met U.G., my Descartes never convinced me that
I was a solid entity because of my thinking. And I am not going
to lose my sleep because I need to know what comes first,
the egg or the hen, the thinker or the thought; the answer will
be no good anyway.

It may be with logic as it was with thought: it was born to work
in a very simple material way, in a very limited field, to help our
far gone ancestors to survive; the extension of that capacity to
unlimited fields may not be valid.

In spite of that, it seems that pretending to
renounce thought and logic is the silliest thing man can do.
He has no other instrument. He could perhaps have a better
look on his long evolution to understand what has happened.
In that perspective, men like U.G. may be living witnesses who
should be considered seriously.

[Editor's Note:  Paul Sampé was dear friend of mine as well of UG. 
He was a retired tug-boat captain in Marsailles and was for sometime
ardent follower of Gandhian way of thought.  He used to attend
J. Krishnamurti's talks in Saanen, Switzerland for a number of years
before he met U.G.  He had a keen interest in Philosophy as well as in
the Sciences.

Every summer, he came all the way from Marseilles
to Gstaad to spend time with him and drive him and his friends around.
I first met him in 1986 at the Berne railway station where he and UG came
to receive me and my daughter, Shyamala.  That year and several other
I had many interesting discussions with him and we became close friends.
The last I saw him was a little before the year 2000.  Soon after that, he met
with an accident in the Bergerie near Marseille where he used live like a
hermit in rather primitive conditions.  He was found dead washed away by a
flowing river.  His big smile, friendly manner and intelligent philosophical
discussions are memorable. 

He sent this article  to me some time before he passed away and it has been
shelved until recently when I discovered it when I was going through my
papers.  I thought it would be of interest not only to those who knew him,
but also to UG readers in general.  The article is written from a Philosophical
and Scientific points of view.  It has been lightly edited.  And as far as I know,
it has never been previously published.

                                                                             Narayana Moorty]