"Thus, in a dialogue each person does not attempt to make common certain ideas or items of information that are already known to him. Rather, it can be said that collectively they are making something in common"
... we have not perceived the whole truth unless we have also perceived that the truth must operate. If we think it is the "Ego" or the "I" that operates, we are confused. (For example, that we follow truth because we are "honest," so that the Ego makes a "choice" ---as if the Ego could with meaning and sense choose to be "dishonest" and thus follow a falsehood.) In reality, it is the truth that operates, outside of the preferences of the Ego. And indeed, the truth can even operate on the Ego, by perceiving and understanding its motivations deeply. So what happens is that the basic principle of the individual ceases to be the Ego and is truth instead.
Now, at present, this happens in a restricted domain, such as science or art. But to see the basic principle of truth itself, it would be necessary for the individual to allow truth to operate unhindered in every field. A basic part of the whole truth is to perceive the falsity of every operative idea that is really false. This is extraordinarily difficult, as our motivations are confused and twisted in a very complicated way. Many of our false ideas operate subliminally, or even subconsciously. The problem is far more difficult to understand, than for example the theory of relativity, so that it requires a sustained and serious effort. Yet many people expect to understand truth in five minutes.
Another aspect of the whole truth must be the perception that there is no fundamental difference of "inner" and "outer." One must see that human feelings, aches, desires, ambitions, fears, etc., are no more important in a fundamental sense than are those of other people, and that all of these "inner" workings are just "going on" in the same way that it rains and the sun shines. This is also very hard, but if one doesn't see it, then one is confused, and can only perceive truth in its fragmentary form, and not as a totality.
I have tried working at the latter problem, and after some work, I occasionally got a "glimpse" in which one felt that reality is in a different dimension (as two veiw of an object in a stereoscope fuse on to three dimensions). In this new set of dimensions, one saw that the inner and the outer are basically one. However, this glimpse lasted for only a moment. I think that I saw why it didn't last. In this state of unity of "inner" and "outer," the new truth starts to operate. But this operation implies a totally different kind of action---an "openness" that is at variance with all the norms of common life. It also makes one very vulnerable, as nothing can be kept for oneself or concealed. To continue in such a state would require a kind of love that does not exist in me, and that probably exists in very few people. So fundamentally, our understanding is limited by the absence of love. This is what I indicated in an earlier letter. Understanding without love is impossible, as is also love without understanding.
If you think something is impossible to do, you are bringing in necessity by saying that it necessarily can't be done. Therefore, you can't do it and you will not try. So the assumption that something is impossible may well trap you into making it impossible. On the other hand, you may assume something is possible which is not, and just batter your head on a stone wall.
So it's worth pondering that this whole system, which we are calling 'thought', works as a system of reflexes. The question is: can you become aware of the reflex character of thought--that it is a reflex, that it is a whole system of reflexes which is constantly capable of being modified, added to, changed? And we could say that as long as the reflexes are free to change then there must be some kind of intelligence or perception, something a bit beyond the reflex, which would be able to see whether it's coherent or not. But when it gets conditioned too strongly it may resist that perception; it may not allow it.
Thought reflexes get conditioned very strongly, and they are very hard to change. And the also interfere. A reflex may connect to the endorphins and produce an impulse to hold that whole pattern forther. In other words, it produces a defensive reflex. Not merely is it stuck because it's chemically so well built up, but also there is a defensive reflex which defends against evidence which might weaken it. Thus it all happens, one reflex after another after another. It's just a vast system of reflexes. And they form a 'structure' as they get more rigid.
From the point of view of the species, death is part of this whole process. You could say that species have evolved in such a way that individual members last a certain time. Perhaps a certain kind of species would be better able to survive if the individuals didn't last too long. Other kinds could last longer.
There may be a potential beyond the system. If it's true inquiry, then perhaps it is beyond the system. But don't assume it, because then it will be part of the system. Every assumption goes into the system.
It's useful to look at [thought] as a system of reflexes. A reflex just operates, as we've seen in the case of the knee-jerk. However, we don't usually think that thought is like the knee-jerk reflex. We think we are controlling thought and producing thought. That way of thinking is part of our whole background. But I'm suggesting that it's not generally so--that a vast part of our thought just comes out from the reflex system. You only find out what the thought is after it comes out. Now, this really overturns a great deal of the way we look at the mind or the personality or our entire cultural background.