Inspiration For The Word Is Not The Thing

The Word Is Not The Thing is a video game inspired by J. Krishnamurti’s message:

“where there is fear there is no love. The problem is to comprehend fear, not how to get rid of fear. If you merely want to get rid of fear, then take a pill which will tranquilize you, and go to sleep. There are innumerable forms of escape from fear; but if you escape, run away, fear will follow you everlastingly. To be fundamentally free of fear, you must understand this process of naming, and realize that the word is never the thing. The mind must be capable of separating the word from the feeling, and must not let the word interfere with direct perception of the feeling, which is the fact. When you have gone so far, penetrated so deeply, you will discover there is buried in the unconscious the fundamental cause of fear. And again, if you avoid it. if you escape from it, saying it is too fearful, if you do not go into it without giving it a name, you will never go beyond it. The mind has to come face to face with the fact of complete inward loneliness, and not allow itself to do anything about that fact. That extraordinary thing called fear is the very essence of the self, the ‘me’, with its web of words in which the mind is caught. Only when the mind is capable of going beyond that ultimate loneliness, is there freedom – the absolute freedom from fear. And only then will you find out for yourself what is reality, that immeasurable energy which has no beginning and no end.”

J. Krishnamurti was a 20th century philosopher, speaker and writer. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about a radical change in society. He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such a revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.

The Word Is Not The Thing Questions

Here’s some questions I think are worth answering in relation to The Word Is Not The Thing.

Aren’t you using words to explain all this?
You’re not rejecting the word. You’re only seeing its effect. You’re seeing if the word gets in the way of directly feeling.

What’s the point to be free of fear? Isn’t ‘being free of fear’ just a trick of the mind? Isn’t the fear still there?
I don’t know. Go into it. Find out for yourself if it is. Is there something to fear if you don’t fear it at all? If you understand how you escape, not try to be free of fear by doing something, but by seeing how you yourself operate and the effect of the word on that fear, seeing that and not doing something about it, is freedom.

What’s the point of removing the word?
You’re not just removing the word, you are understanding that the word is never the thing. What’s the point of that? If you understand, truly understand, with your heart and your mind, then you are free of whatever the word binds you to and can feel freely. And if you are willing to go into things, if you are free to feel, then you can move past that feeling and let it run its course. And then you can be free of this fear. Then something new, fresh, can come about.

Aren’t video games an escape?
Instead of explaining or getting into that, just ask yourself if they are an escape for you. Are you using video games to escape? Find out. Go into it. When you play games your actions are choices. Games can be useful as a mirror to reflect the functioning of your own mind. It’s not an escape when you feel all the emotions.

What about the symbol/image not being the thing?
If we remove the word ‘enlightenment,’ what’s left? The symbol. If we remove that, what’s left if we remove the image? It’s implied. The word, for the sake of this game, is what we’re using to go into this.

What does any of this have to do with awakening intelligence?
It’s not that you press a button and awaken intelligence. It’s not just a matter of saying you get it. It’s when you actually take the action of separating the word from the feeling, allowing yourself to discover what happens when you don’t let the word interfere with the direct perception of the feeling. Not rejecting the word, or suppressing it, but seeing its effect. Not running away with explanations, or with another set of words. Seeing that escape. And doing nothing about it. It’s only then that intelligence begins to awaken. When you actually do that, intelligence sees and that same intelligence is what can deal with the emotion. That intelligence is freedom in action, not all this talk about awakening intelligence.

The Word Is Not The Thing: Update 2

A quick update for The Word Is Not The Thing. I’ve completed the home and train areas and am moving toward building out the first trailer. Things are moving along well.

Some design notes include trying to understand what happens when I play through just the first area. It’s quite an interesting thing indeed. I think as long as you go in with the understanding that we are not rejecting the word, but seeing its effect, we can directly experience the feeling that remains when we remove the word. And if we do indeed keep observing, that feeling gets dealt with. I’ve spent a little bit of time trying to understand that myself. Intelligence sees, and in seeing the word’s effect we are left with the feeling. What happens if we don’t escape from the feeling with another word is up to you to find out. I think this excerpt from a J. Krishnamurti book sort of relates: “Intelligence sees the falseness of what is going on. When thought is free of this falseness it is different. Then it begins to be a parallel to intelligence.”

At any rate, I’ve also noted that each player will have a different response to any given word. So, in essence, somewhere along playing the game, there will be a word that a player has a stronger emotional connection to than others. The words and narrative are designed to build up from environmental words to the stronger emotional words we might just not feel comfortable with.

Check out the train area for now.

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