Ending of Time
18th September 1980
Conversation with Prof. David Bohm
The Ending of `psychological' Knowledge
KRISHNAMURTI: What makes the mind always follow a certain pattern? Always seeking? If it lets go of one pattern it picks up another; it keeps on functioning all the time like that. One can give explanations why it does so - for protection, for safety, from indifference, certain amount of callousness, a disregard of one's own flowering, etc.
But it is really very important to explore deeply why our minds are always operating in a certain direction.
We said that one comes, after going through travail, investigation, and insight, to a blank wall. And that blank wall can only wither away, or be broken down, when there is love and intelligence. Before we go into that, I would like to ask why human beings, however intelligent, however learned, however philosophical and religious, always fall into this groove of pattern seeking.
DAVID BOHM: Well, I think the groove is inherent in the nature of the accumulated knowledge.
K: Are you saying then that knowledge must invariably create a groove?
DB: Perhaps it is not inevitable but it seems to develop this way in mankind, if we are referring to psychological knowledge, that is to say...
K: Obviously we are talking of that. But why does the mind not become aware of it - see the danger of this mechanical repetition, and the fact that there is nothing new in it? See how we keep on doing it?
DB: It seems to me that the groove, or the accumulated knowledge, seems to have a significance far beyond what its significance is. If we say that we have knowledge of some object, like the microphone, that has some limited significance. But knowledge about the nation to which you belong seems to have immense significance.
K: Yes. So is this attribution of significance the cause of the narrowing down of the mind?
DB: Because this knowledge seems to have a tremendous value beyond all other values, it makes the mind stick to that. It seems the most important thing in the world.
K: In India, there is this philosophy that knowledge must end - you know it, of course, the Vedanta. But apparently very, very, few people do end knowledge and talk from freedom.
DB: You see, knowledge generally seems to be extremely important, even when a person may say verbally that it should end...
K: You mean I am so stupid that I don't see that this psychological knowledge has very little significance, and so my mind clings to it?
DB: I wouldn't quite put it that a person is that stupid, but rather say that his knowledge stupefies the brain.
K: Stupefied, all right. But the brain doesn't seem to extricate itself.
DB: It is already so stupefied that it can't see what it is doing.
K: So what shall it do? I have been watching for many years people attempting to become free from certain things. This is the root of it, you understand? This psychological accumulation which becomes psychological knowledge. And so it divides, and all kinds of things happen around it and within it. And yet the mind refuses to let go.
K: Why? Is that because there is safety or security in it?
DB: That is part of it, but I think in some way that knowledge has taken on the significance of the absolute, instead of being relative.
K: I understand all that, but you are not answering my question. I am an ordinary man, I realize all this, and the limited significance of knowledge at different levels, but deeper down inside one, this accumulated knowledge is very destructive.
DB: The knowledge deceives the mind, so that the person is not normally aware that it is destructive. Once this process gets started, the mind is not in a state where it is able to look at it because it is avoiding the question. There is a tremendous defensive mechanism or escape from looking at the whole issue.
DB: Because it seems that something extremely precious might be at stake.
K: One is strangely intelligent, capable or skilled in other directions but here, where the root is of all this trouble, why don't we comprehend what is happening? What prevents the mind from doing this?
DB: Once importance has been given to knowledge, there is a mechanical process that resists intelligence.
K: So what shall I do? I realize I must let go the accumulated, psychological knowledge - which is divisive, destructive and petty - but I can't. Is this because of lack of energy?
DB: Not primarily, though the energy is being dissipated by the process.
K: Having dissipated a great deal of energy, I haven't the energy to grapple with this?
DB: The energy would come back quickly if we could understand this. I don't think that is the main point.
K: No. So what shall I do, realizing that this knowledge is inevitably forming a groove in which I live? How am I to break it down?
DB: Well, I am not sure that it is generally clear to people that this knowledge does all that; or that the knowledge is knowledge. You see, it may seem to be some `being', the `self', and `me'. This knowledge creates the `me', and the `me' is the experience as an entity, which seems not to be knowledge but some real being.
K: Are you saying that this `being' is different from knowledge?
DB: It appears to be; it feigns a difference.
K: But is it?
DB: It isn't, but the illusion has great power.
K: That has been our conditioning.
DB: Yes. Now the question is, how do we get through that to break down the groove, because it creates the imitation, or a pretension, of a state of being?
K: That is the real point, you see. This is man's central movement. It seems so utterly hopeless. And realizing the hopelessness I sit down and say I can't do anything. But if I apply my mind to it, the question arises, is it possible to function without psychological knowledge in this world? I am rather concerned about it; it seems the basic issue that man must resolve, all over the world.
DB: That is right. But you may discuss with somebody, who thinks it seems reasonable. But perhaps his status is threatened, and we have to say that that is psychological knowledge. It doesn't seem to him that it is knowledge, but something more. And he doesn't see that his knowledge of his status is behind the trouble. At first sight knowledge seems to be something passive, which you could use if you wanted to, and which you could just put aside if you wished, which is the way it should be.
K: I understand all that.
DB: But then the moment comes when knowledge no longer appears to be knowledge.
K: The politicians and the people in power wouldn't listen to this. And neither would the so-called religious people. It is only the people who are discontented, who feel they have lost everything, who will listen. But they don't always listen so that it is a real burning thing.
How does one go about this? Say, for instance, I have left Catholicism and protestantism, and all that. Also I have a career and I know that it is necessary to have knowledge there. Now I see how important it is not to be caught in the process of psychological knowledge, and yet I can't let it go. It is always dodging me; I am playing tricks with it. It is like hide and seek. All right! We said that is the wall I have to break down. No, not I - that is the wall that has to be broken down. And we have said that this wall can be broken down through love and intelligence. Aren't we asking something enormously difficult?
DB: It is difficult.
K: I am on this side of the wall, and you are asking me to have that love and intelligence which will destroy it. But I don't know what that love is, what that intelligence is, because I am caught in this, on this other side of the wall. I realize logically, sanely, that what you are saying is accurate, true, logical, and I see the importance of it, but the wall is so strong and dominant and powerful that I can't get beyond it. We said the other day that the wall could be broken down through insight - if insight does not become translated into an idea.
K: When insight is discussed, there is the danger of our making an abstraction of it; which means we move away from the fact, and the abstraction becomes all important. Which means, again, knowledge.
DB: Yes, the activity of knowledge.
K: So we are back again!
DB: I think the general difficulty is that knowledge is not just sitting there as a form of information, but is extremely active, meeting and shaping every moment according to past knowledge. So even when we raise this issue, knowledge is all the time waiting, and then acting. Our whole tradition is that knowledge is not active but passive. But it is really active, although people don't generally think of it that way. They think it is just sitting there.
K: It is waiting.
DB: Waiting to act, you see. And whatever we try to do about it, knowledge is already acting. By the time we realize that this is the problem, it has already acted.
K: Yes. But do I realize it as a problem, or as an idea which I must carry out? You see the difference?
DB: Knowledge automatically turns everything into an idea, which we must carry out. That is the whole way it is built.
K: The whole way we have lived.
DB: Knowledge can't do anything else.
K: How are we to break that, even for a second?
DB: It seems to me that if you could see, observe, be aware - if knowledge could be aware of itself at work... The point is that knowledge seems to work unawares, simply waiting, and then acting, by which time it has disrupted the order of the brain.
K: I am very concerned about this because wherever I go this is what is happening. It is something that has to be resolved. Would you say the capacity to listen is far more important than any of this, than any explanations, or logic?
DB: It comes to the same problem.
K: No, no. It doesn't. I want to see if there is a possibility that when I listen completely to what you are saying, the wall has broken down. You understand? Is there - I am trying to find out, Sir - I am an ordinary man and you are telling me all this, and I realize what you are saying is so. I am really deeply involved in what you are saying, but somehow the flame isn't lit; all the fuel is there, but the fire is not. So what shall I do? This is my everlasting cry!
DB: The brain has the capacity to listen; we have to question whether the ordinary man is so full of opinions that he can't listen.
K: You can't listen with opinions; you might just as well be dead.
DB: I think knowledge has all sorts of defences. Is it possible for, say, the ordinary man to have this perception? That is really what you are asking, isn't it?
K: Yes. But there must be a communication between you and that man, something so strong that the very act of his listening to you, and you communicating with him, operates.
DB: Yes, then you have to break through his opinions, through the whole structure.
K: Of course. That is why this man has come here - for that. He has finished with all the churches and doctrines. He realizes that what has been said here is true. When you communicate with him, your communication is strong and real, because you are not speaking from knowledge or opinions. A free human being is trying to communicate with this ordinary man. Now can he listen with that intensity which you, the communicator, are giving him? He wants to listen to somebody who is telling the truth, and in the very telling of it, something is taking place in him. Because he is so ardently listening, this happens.
It is rather like you as a scientist, telling one of your students something. You are telling him about something which must be enormously important, because you have given your life to it. And has given up much just to come here. Is it the fault of the communicator that the listener does not receive it instantly? Or is the listener incapable of hearing it?
DB: Well, if he is incapable of listening, then nothing can be done. But let's say there is somebody who comes along who has got through some of these defences, although there are others that he is not aware of - that is something less simple than what you have described.
K: I feel it is dreadfully simple somehow. If one could listen with all one's being, the brain would not be caught in the groove. You see, generally, in communication, you are telling me something and I am absorbing it, but there is an interval between you telling and my absorbing.
K: And that interval is the danger. If I don't absolutely absorb, listen with all my being, it is finished. Is listening difficult because in this there is no shadow of pleasure? You are not offering any pleasure, any gratification. You are saying this is so; take it. But my mind is so involved in pleasure that it won't listen to anything that is not completely satisfactory or pleasurable.
I realize too the danger of that. Of seeking satisfaction and pleasure, so I put that aside too. There is no pleasure, no reward, no punishment. In listening, there is only pure observation.
So we come to the point, is pure observation, which is actually listening, love? I think it is.
Again, if you state this, then my mind says `Give it to me. Tell me what to do.' But when I ask you to tell me what to do,I am back in the field of knowledge. It is so instantaneous. So I refuse to ask you what to do. Then where am I? You have referred to perception without any motive or direction. Pure perception is love. And in that perception love is intelligence. They are not three separate things, they are all one thing. You pointed all this out very carefully, step by step, and I have come to that point that I have a feeling for it. But it goes away so quickly. Then the question begins, `How am I to get it back?' Again, the remembrance of it, which is knowledge, blocks.
DB: What you are saying is that every time there is a communication, knowledge begins to work in many different forms.
K: So you see it is enormously difficult to be free of knowledge.
DB: We could ask, why doesn't knowledge wait until it is needed?
K: That means to be psychologically free of knowledge, but, when the need arises, to act from freedom, not from knowledge.
DB: But knowledge comes in to inform your action, although it is not the source.
K: That is freedom from knowledge. And being free, it is from freedom and not from knowledge that one communicates. That is, from emptiness there is communication. When we use words, they are the outcome of knowledge, but they are from that state of complete freedom. Now, suppose I, as an ordinary human being, have come to that point where there is this freedom, and from it communication takes place - will you, as an eminent scientist, communicate with me without any barrier? You follow what I am saying?
DB: Yes. There is this freedom from knowledge when knowledge is seen to be information. But ordinarily it seems more than information, and knowledge itself does not see that knowledge is not free.
K: It is never free. And if I am going to understand myself, I must be free to look.
How will you communicate with me, who have come to a certain point where I am burning to receive what you are saying, so completely that psychological knowledge is finished? Or am I fooling myself about being in that state?
DB: Well, that is the question: knowledge is constantly deceiving itself.
K: So is my mind always deceiving itself? Then what shall I do? Let's come back to that.
DB: Again I think the answer is to listen.
K: Why don't we listen? Why don't we immediately understand this thing? One can give all the superficial reasons why - old age, conditioning, laziness, and so on.
DB: But is it possible to give the deep reason for it?
K: I think it is that the knowledge which is the `me' is so tremendously strong as an idea.
DB: Yes, that is why I tried to say that the idea has tremendous significance and meaning. For example, suppose you have the idea of God; this takes on a tremendous power.
K: Or if I have the idea that I am British, or French, it gives me great energy.
DB: And so it creates a state of the body which seems the very being of the self. Now the person doesn't experience it as mere knowledge...
K: Yes, but are we going round and round and round? It seems like it.
DB: Well, I was wondering if there is anything that could be communicated about that overwhelming power that seems to come with knowledge...
K: ...and with identification.
DB: That seems to be something that would be worth looking into.
K: Now what is the root meaning of `identification'?
DB: Always the same.
K: Always the same, that's right. That's right! There is nothing new under the sun.
DB: You say the self is always the same. It tries to be always the same in essence, if not in detail.
K: Yes, yes.
DB: I think this is the thing that goes wrong with knowledge. It attempts to be involved with what is always the same, so it sticks, you see. Knowledge itself tries to find what is permanent and perfect. I mean, even independent of any of us. It is like building it into the cells.
K: From this arises the question, is it possible to attend diligently? I am using `diligence' in the sense of being accurate.
DB: Actually it means to take pains.
K: Of course. To take pains, take the whole of it. There must be some other way round all this intellectual business. We have exercised a great deal of it and that intellectual capacity has led to the blank wall. I approach it from every direction, but eventually the wall is there, which is the `me', with my knowledge, my prejudice, and all the rest of it. And the `me' then says, `I must do something about it. Which is still the `me'.
DB: The `me' wants always to be constant, but at the same time it tries to change.
K: To put on a different coat. It is always the same. So the mind which is functioning with the `me' is always the same mind. Good Lord, you see, we are back again!
We have tried everything - fasting, every kind of discipline - to get rid of the `me' with all its knowledge and illusions. One tries to identify with something else, which is the same thing. One then comes back to the fundamental question, what will make the blank wall totally disappear? I think this is only possible when the man who is blocked can give total attention to what the free man is saying. There is no other means to break down the wall - not the intellect, not the emotions, nor anything else. When somebody who has gone beyond the wall, who has broken it down, says, `Listen, for God's sake listen,' and I listen to him with my mind empty, then it is finished. You know what I am saying? I have no sense of hoping for anything to happen, or anything to come back, or concern with the future. The mind is empty, and therefore listening. It is finished.
For a scientist to discover something new, he must have a certain emptiness from which there will be a different perception.
DB: Yes, but only in the sense that usually the question is limited, and so the mind may be empty with regard to that particular question, allowing the discovery of an insight in that area. But we are not questioning this particular area. We are questioning the whole of knowledge.
K: It is most extraordinary when you go into it.
DB: And you were saying the end of knowledge is the Vedanta.
K: That is the real answer.
DB: But generally people feel they must keep knowledge in one area to be able to question it in another. You see it might worry people to ask, with what knowledge do I question the whole of knowledge?
K: Yes. With what knowledge do I question my knowledge? Quite.
DB: In a way, we do have knowledge, because we have seen that this whole structure of psychological knowledge makes no sense, that it is inconsistent and has no meaning.
K: From that emptiness that we were talking of, is there a ground or a source from which all things begin? Matter, human beings, their capacities, their idiocies - does the whole movement start from there?
DB: We could consider that. But let's try to clarify it a little. We have the emptiness.
K: Yes, emptiness in which there is no movement of thought as psychological knowledge. And therefore no psychological time.
DB: Though we still have the time of the watch...
K: Yes, but we have gone beyond that; don't let's go back to it. There is no psychological time, no movement of thought. And is that emptiness the beginning of all movement?
DB: Well, would you say the emptiness is the ground?
K: That is what I am asking. Let's go slowly into this.
DB: Earlier on, we were saying that there is the emptiness, and beyond that is the ground.
K: I know, I know. Let's discuss this further.
20th September 1980
Conversation with Prof. David Bohm
The Mind in The Universe
KRISHNAMURTI: We talked the other day about a mind that is entirely free from all movement, from all the things that thought has put there, the past, and the future, and so on. But before we go into that I would like to discuss man's being caught in materialistic attitudes and values, and to ask, what is the nature of materialism?
DAVID BOHM: Well, first of all materialism is the name of a certain philosophical...
K: I don't mean that. I want to explore this.
DB: Matter is all there is, you see.
K: That is, nature and all human beings, react physically. This reaction is sustained by thought. And thought is a material process. So reaction in nature is a materialistic response.
DB: I think the word `materialistic' is not quite right. It is the response of matter.
K: The response of matter; let's put it that way. That is better. We are talking about having an empty mind, and we have come to that point when the wall has been broken down. This emptiness and what lies beyond it, or through it - we will come to that, but before doing so, I am asking, is all reaction matter?
DB: Matter in movement. You could say that there is evidence in favour of that, that science has found a tremendous number of reactions which are due to the nerves.
K: So would you say that matter and movement are the reactions which exist in all organic matter?
DB: Yes, all matter as we know it goes by the law of action and reaction, you see. Every action has a corresponding reaction.
K: So action and reaction are a material process, as is thought. Now, to go beyond it is the issue.
DB: But before we say that, some people might feel that there is no meaning in going beyond it. That would be the philosophy of materialism.
K: But if one is merely living in that area it is very, very shallow. Right? It has really no meaning at all.
DB: Perhaps one should refer to one thing that people have said - that matter is not merely action and reaction, but may have a creative movement. You see, matter may create new forms.
K: But it is still in that area.
DB: Yes. Let's try to make it clear. We have to see that there are very subtle forms of materialism which might be difficult to pin down.
K: Let's begin. Would you consider that thought is a material process?
DB: Yes. Well, some people might argue that it is both material, and something beyond material.
K: I know. I have discussed this. But it is not.
DB: How can we say that simply, to make it clear?
K: Because any movement of thought is a material process.
DB: Well, we have to amplify this so that it is not a matter of authority. As an observation, one sees that thought is a material process. Now how are you going to see that?
K: How could one be aware that thought is a material process? I think that is fairly clear. There is an experience, an incident which is recorded, which becomes knowledge. And from that knowledge, thought arises and action takes place.
DB: Yes. So we say that thought is that. It is still coming from the background. So are you saying that something new coming into being is not part of this process?
K: Yes, if there is to be something new, thought, as a material process, must end. Obviously.
DB: And then it may take it up later.
K: Later, yes. Wait, see what happens later. So we say all action, reaction and action from that reaction is movement of matter.
DB: Yes, very subtle movement of matter.
K: So as long as one's mind is within that area, it must be a movement of matter. So is it possible for the mind to go beyond reaction? That is the next step. As we said earlier one gets irritated, and that is the first reaction. Then the reaction to that, the second reaction, is `I must not be'. Then the third reaction is, `I must control or justify'. So it is constantly action and reaction. Can one see that this is a continuous movement without an ending?
DB: Yes. The reaction is continuous, but it seems at a certain moment to have ended, and the next moment appears to be a new movement.
K: But it is still reaction.
DB: It is still the same but it presents itself differently.
K: It is exactly the same always...
DB: But it presents itself as always different, always new.
K: Of course. That's just it. You say something, I get irritated, but that irritation is a reaction.
DB: Yes, it seems to be something suddenly new.
K: But it is not.
DB: But one has to be aware of that, you see. Generally the mind tends not to be aware of it.
K: We are sensitive to it, alert to the question. So there is an ending to reaction if one is watchful, attentive; if one understands not only logically, but having an insight into this reacting process, it can of course come to an end. That is why it is very important to understand this, before we discuss what is an empty mind, and if there is something beyond this, or whether in that very emptying of the mind there is some other quality.
So is that empty mind a reaction? A reaction to the problems of pain and pleasure and suffering? An attempt to escape from all this into some state of nothingness?
DB: Yes, the mind can always do that.
K: It can invent. Now we have come to the point of asking whether this quality of emptiness is not a reaction. Right, Sir? Before we go further, is it possible to have a mind that is really completely empty of all the things that thought has put together?
DB: So that thought ceases to act.
K: That's it.
DB: On the one hand, perhaps you could say that reaction is due to the nature of matter, which is continually reacting and moving. But then is matter affected by this insight?
K: I don't quite follow. Ah, I understand! Does insight affect the cells of the brain which contain the memory?
DB: Yes. The memory is continually reacting, moving, as does the air and the water, and everything around us.
K: After all, if I don't react physically I am paralysed. But to be reacting continuously is also a form of paralysis.
DB: Well, the wrong kind of reaction! Reaction around the psychological structure. But assuming that the reaction around the psychological structure has begun in mankind, why should it ever stop? Because reaction makes another and another, and one would expect it to go on for ever, and that nothing would stop it.
K: Only insight into the nature of reaction ends psychological reaction.
DB: Then you are saying that matter is affected by insight which is beyond matter.
K: Yes, beyond matter. So is this emptiness within the brain itself? Or is it something that thought has conceived as being empty? One must be very clear.
DB: Yes. But whatever we discuss, no matter what the question is, thought begins to want to do something about it, because thought feels it can always make a contribution.
DB: Thought in the past did not understand that it has no useful contribution to make, but it has kept on in the habit of trying to say that emptiness is very good. Therefore thought says, I will try to bring about the emptiness.
K: Of course.
DB: Thought is trying to be helpful!
K: We have been through all that. We have seen the nature of thought, and its movement, time, and all that. But I want to find out whether this emptiness is within the mind itself, or beyond it.
DB: What do you mean by the mind?
K: The mind is the whole - emotions, thought, consciousness, the brain - the whole of that is the mind.
DB: The word `mind' has been used in many ways. Now you are using it in a certain way, that it represents thought, feeling, desire and will - the whole material process.
K: Yes, the whole material process.
DB: Which people have called non-material!
K: Quite. But the mind is the whole material process.
DB: Which is going on in the brain and the nerves.
K: The whole structure. One can see that this materialistic reaction can end. And the next question I am asking is whether that emptiness is within or without. (Without, in the sense of being elsewhere.)
DB: Where would it be?
K: I don't think it would be elsewhere, but I am just putting the question...
DB: Well, any such thing is a material process.
K: It is in the mind itself. Not outside it. Right?
K: Now what is the next step? Does that emptiness contain nothing? Not a thing?
DB: Not a thing, by which we mean anything that has form, structure, stability.
K: Yes. All that, form, structure, reaction, stability, capacity. Then what is it? Is it then total energy?
DB: Yes, movement of energy.
K: Movement of energy. It is not movement of reaction.
DB: It is not movement of things reacting to each other. The world can be regarded as made up of a number of things which react to each other and that is one kind of movement: but we are saying it is a different kind of movement.
K: Entirely different.
DB: There is no thing in it.
K: No thing in it, and therefore it is not of time. Is that possible? Or are we just indulging in imagination? In some kind of romantic, hopeful, pleasurable sensation? I don't think that we are, because we have been through all that, step by step, right up to this point. So we are not deceiving ourselves. Now we say that emptiness has no centre, as the `me', and all the reactions. In that emptiness there is a movement of timeless energy.
DB: When you refer to timeless energy, we could repeat what we have already said about time and thought being the same.
K: Yes, of course.
DB: Then you were saying that time can only come into a material process?
K: That's right.
DB: Now if we have energy that is timeless but nevertheless moving...
K: Yes, not static...
DB: Then what is the movement?
K: What is movement from here to here?
DB: That is one form.
K: One form. Or from yesterday to today, and from today to tomorrow.
DB: There are various kinds of movement.
K: So what is movement? Is there a movement which is not a movement? You understand? Is there a movement which has no beginning and no end? Unlike thought which has a beginning and an end.
DB: Except you could say that the movement of matter might have a beginning and no ending; the reactive movement. You are not speaking of that?
K: No, I am not talking of that. Thought has a beginning and thought has an ending. There is a movement of matter as reaction, and the ending of that reaction.
DB: In the brain.
K: Yes. But there are various kinds of movements. That is all we know. And someone comes along and says there is a totally different kind of movement. But to understand that, we must be free of the movement of thought, and the movement of time, to understand a movement that is not...
DB: Well there are two things about this movement. It has no beginning and no end, but also it is not determined as a series of successions from the past.
K: Of course. No causation.
DB: But you see, matter can be looked at as a series of causes; it may not be adequate. But now you are saying that this movement has no beginning and no ending; it is not the result of a series of causes following one another.
K: So I want to understand verbally a movement that is not a movement. I don't know if I am making it clear?
DB: Then why is it called a movement if it is not a movement?
K: Because it is not still, it is active.
DB: It is energy.
K: It has tremendous energy; therefore it can never be still. But in that energy it has stillness.
DB: I think we have to say that the ordinary language does not convey this properly, but the energy itself is still, and also moving.
K: But in that movement is a movement of stillness. Does it sound crazy?
DB: The movement can be said to emerge from stillness.
K: That's right. You see, that is what it is. We said that this emptiness is in the mind. It has no cause and no effect. It is not a movement of thought, of time. It is not a movement of material reactions. None of that. Which means, is the mind capable of that extraordinary stillness without any movement? When it is so completely still, there is a movement out of it.
DB: I think I mentioned before that some people, like Aristotle, had this notion in the past; we discussed it. He talked about the unmoved mover, when trying to describe God, you see.
K: Ah, God, no. I don't want to do that!
DB: You don't want to describe God, but some sort of notion similar to this has been held in the past by various people. Since then it has gone out of fashion, I think.
K: Let's bring it into fashion, shall we?
DB: I am not saying that Aristotle had the right idea. It is merely that he was considering something somewhat similar, though probably different in many respects.
K: Was it an intellectual concept or an actuality?
DB: This is very hard to tell because so little is known.
K: Therefore we don't have to bring in Aristotle.
DB: I merely wanted to point out that the concept of a movement of stillness wasn't crazy, because other very respectable people had had something similar.
K: I am glad! I am glad to be assured that I am not crazy! And is that movement out of stillness the movement of creation? We are not talking of what the poets, writers and painters call creation. To me, that is not creation; just capacity, skill, memory and knowledge operating. Here I think this creation is not expressed in form.
DB: It is important to differentiate. Usually we think creation is expressed in form, or as structure.
K: Yes, structure. We have gone beyond being crazy, so we can go on! Would you say that this movement, not being of time, is eternally new?
DB: Yes. It is eternally new in the sense that the creation is eternally new. Right?
K: Creation is eternally new. You see that newness is what the artists are trying to discover. Therefore they indulge in all kinds of absurdities, but few come to that point where the mind is absolutely silent, and out of that silence there is this movement which is always new. The moment when that movement is expressed...
DB: ...the first expression is in thought?
K: That is just it.
DB: And that may be useful, but then it gets fixed, and becomes a barrier.
K: I was told once by an Indian scholar that before people began to sculpt the head of a god, or whatever, they had to go into deep meditation. At the right moment they took up the hammer and the chisel.
DB: Then it came out of the emptiness. There is another point, you see. The Australian aborigines draw figures in the sand, so that they don't have permanency.
K: That is right.
DB: Perhaps thought could be looked at that way. You see, marble is too static, and remains for thousands of years. So although the original sculptor may have understood, the people who follow see it as a fixed form.
K: What relationship has all this to my daily life? In what way does it act through my actions, through my ordinary physical responses, to noise, to pain, various forms of disturbance? What relationship has the physical to that silent movement?
DB: Well, in so far as the mind is silent, the thought is orderly.
K: We are getting on to something. Would you say that the silent movement, with its unending newness, is total order of the universe?
DB: We could consider that the order of the universe emerges from this silence and emptiness.
K: So what is the relationship of this mind to the universe?
DB: The particular mind?
K: No; mind.
DB: Mind in general?
K: Mind. We went through the general and the particular, and beyond that there is the mind.
DB: Would you say that is universal?
K: I don't like to use the word universal.
DB: Universal in the sense of that which is beyond the particular. But perhaps that word is difficult.
K: Can we find another word? Not global. A mind that is beyond the particular?
DB: Well you could say it is the source, the essence. It has been called the absolute.
K: I don't want to use the word `absolute', either.
DB: The absolute means literally that which is free of all limitations, of all dependence.
K: All right, if you agree that `absolute' means freedom from all dependence and limitation.
DB: From all relationships.
K: Then we will use that word.
DB: It has unfortunate connotations.
K: Of course. But let's use it for the moment just for convenience in our dialogue. There is this absolute stillness, and in or from that stillness there is a movement, and that movement is everlastingly new. What is the relationship of that mind to the universe?
DB: To the universe of matter?
K: To the whole universe: matter, trees, nature, man, the heavens.
DB: That is an interesting question.
K: The universe is in order; whether it is destructive or constructive, it is still order.
DB: You see, the order has the character of being absolutely necessary; in a sense it cannot be otherwise. The order that we usually know is not absolutely necessary. It could be changed; it could depend on something else.
K: The eruption of a volcano is order.
DB: It is order of the whole universe.
K: Quite. Now in the universe there is order, and this mind which is still is completely in order.
DB: The deep mind, the absolute.
K: The absolute mind. So, is this mind the universe?
DB: In what sense is that the universe? We have to understand what it means to say that, you see.
K: It means, is there a division, or a barrier, between this absolute mind and the universe? Or are both the same?
DB: Both are the same.
K: That is what I want to get at.
DB: We have either duality of mind and matter, or they are both the same.
K: That's it. Is that presumptuous?
DB: Not necessarily. I mean that these are just two possibilities.
K: I want to be quite sure that we are not treading upon something which really needs a very subtle approach - which needs great care. You know what I mean?
DB: Yes. Let's go back to the body. We have said that the mind which is of the body - thought, feeling, desire, the general and the particular mind - is part of the material process.
DB: And not different from the body.
K: That's right. All the reactions are material processes.
DB: And therefore what we usually call the mind is not different from what we call the body.
DB: Now you are making this much greater in saying, consider the whole universe. And we ask if what we call the mind in the universe is different from what we call the universe itself?
K: That's right. You see why I feel that in our daily life there must be order, but not the order of thought.
DB: Well, thought is a limited order, it is relative.
K: That's it. So there must be an order that is...
DB: ...free of limitation.
K: Yes. In our daily life we have to have that - which means no conflict, no contradiction whatsoever.
DB: Let's take the order of thought. When it is rational it is in order. But in contradiction the order of thought has broken down, it has reached its limit. Thought works until it reaches a contradiction, and that's the limit.
K: So if in my daily life there is complete order, in which there is no disturbance, what is the relationship of that order to the never ending order? Can that silent movement of order, of that extraordinary something, affect my daily life, when I have inward psychological order? You understand my question?
DB: Yes. We have said, for example, that the volcano is a manifestation of the whole order of the universe.
K: Absolutely. Or a tiger killing a deer.
DB: The question then is whether a human being in his ordinary life can be similar.
K: That's it. If not, I don't see what is the point of the other - the universal.
DB: Well, it has no point to the human being. You see, some people would say, who cares about the universe. All we care about is our own society, and what we are doing. But then that falls down, because it is full of contradiction.
K: Obviously. It is only thought which says that.
So that universe, which is in total order, does affect my daily life.
DB: Yes. I think that scientists might ask how. You see, one might say, I understand that the universe is constituted of matter, and that the laws of matter affect our daily life. But it is not so clear how it affects the mind; and if there is this absolute mind which affects the daily life.
K: Ah! What is my daily life? Disorderly, and a series of reactions. Right?
DB: Well, it is mostly that.
K: And thought is always struggling to bring order within that. But when it does that, it is still disorder.
DB: Because thought is always limited by its own contradictions.
K: Of course. Thought is always creating disorder, because it is itself limited.
DB: As soon as it tries to go beyond the limit, that is disorderly.
K: Right. I have understood, I have gone into it, I have an insight into it, so I have a certain kind of order in my life. But that order is still limited. I recognize that, and I say that this existence is limited.
DB: Now some people would accept that, and say `Why should you have more?'
K: I am not having more.
DB: But others might say, `We would be happy if we could live in a material life, with real order.'
K: I say, let's do it! It must be done! But in the very doing of it, one has to realize it is limited.
DB: Yes, even the highest order that we can produce is limited.
K: And the mind realizes its limitation and says, let's go beyond it.
DB: Why? Some people would say, why not be happy within those limits, continually extending them, trying to discover new thoughts, new order? The artist will discover new forms of art, the scientists a new kind of science.
K: But all that is always limited.
DB: There is often the feeling that we can go this far, and accept that this is all that is possible.
K: You mean the feeling that we must accept the human condition?
DB: Well, people would say that man could do much better than he is doing.
K: Yes, but all this is still the human condition, a little reformed, a little better.
DB: Some people would say enormously reformed.
K: But it is still limited!
DB: Yes. Let's try to make clear what is wrong with the limitation.
K: In that limitation there is no freedom, only a limited freedom.
DB: Yes. So eventually we come to the boundary of our freedom. Something makes us react, through reaction we fall back into contradiction.
K: Yes, but what happens when I see that I am always moving within a certain area.
DB: Then I am under the control of the forces.
K: The mind inevitably rebels against that.
DB: That is an important point. You see the mind wants freedom. Right?
DB: It says that freedom is the highest value. So do we accept that, and see it just as a fact?
K: That is, I realize that within this limitation I am a prisoner.
DB: Some people get used to it and say, `I accept it.'
K: I won`t accept it! My mind says there must be freedom from prison. I am a prisoner, and the prison is very nice, very cultured and all the rest of it. But it is still limited, although it says, there must be freedom beyond all that.
DB: Which mind says this? Is it the particular mind of the human being?
K: Ah! Who says there must be freedom? Oh, that is very simple. The very pain, the very suffering demands that we go beyond.
DB: This particular mind, even though it accepts limitation, finds it painful.
K: Of course.
DB: And therefore this particular mind feels somehow that it is not right. But it can't avoid it. There seems to be a necessity of freedom.
K: Freedom is necessary, and any hindrance to freedom is retrogression. Right?
DB: That necessity is not an external necessity due to reaction.
K: Freedom is not a reaction.
DB: The necessity of freedom is not a reaction. Some people would say that having been in prison you reacted in this way.
K: So where are we? You see, this means there must be freedom from reaction, freedom from the limitation of thought, freedom from all the movement of time. We know that there must be complete freedom from all that, before we can really understand the empty mind, and the order of the universe, which is then the order of the mind. We are asking a tremendous lot. Are we willing to go that far?
DB: Well, you know that non-freedom has its attractions.
K: Of course, but I am not interested in these attractions.
DB: But you asked the question, are we willing to go that far? So it seems to suggest that there may be something attractive in this limitation.
K: Yes. I have found safety, security, pleasure in non-freedom. I realize that in pleasure or pain there is no freedom. The mind says, not as a reaction, that there must be freedom from all this. To come to that point and to let go without conflict, demands its own discipline, its own insight. That's why I said to those of us who have done a certain amount of investigation into all this, can one go as far as that? Or do the responses of the body - the responsibilities of daily action, for one's wife, children, and all that - prevent this sense of complete freedom? The monks, the saints, and the sannyasis have said, `You must abandon the world.'
DB: We went into that.
K: Yes. That is another form of idiocy, although I'm sorry to put it like that. We have been through all that, so I refuse to enter again into it. Now I say are the universe and the mind that has emptied itself of all this, one?
DB: Are they one?
K: They are not separate, they are one.
DB: So you are saying that the material universe is like the body of the absolute mind.
K: Yes, all right.
DB: It may be a picturesque way of putting it!
K: We must be very careful also not to fall into the trap of thinking that the universal mind is always there.
DB: How would you put it then?
K: Man has said that God is always there; Brahman, or the highest principle, is always present, and all you have to do is to cleanse yourself, and arrive at that. This is also a very dangerous statement, because then you might say, there is the eternal in me.
DB: But I think that is projecting.
K: Of course!
DB: There is a logical difficulty in saying it is always there because `always' implies time, and we are trying to discuss something that has nothing to do with time. So we can't place it as being here, there, now or again!
K: We have come to the point that there is this universal mind, and the human mind can be of that when there is freedom.
27th September 1980
Conversation with Prof. David Bohm
Can Personal Problems Be Solved, and Fragmentation End?
KRISHNAMURTI: We have cultivated a mind that can solve almost any technological problem. But apparently human problems have never been solved. Human beings are drowned by their problems: the problems of communication, knowledge, of relationships, the problems of heaven and hell; the whole human existence, has become a vast, complex problem. And apparently through out history it has been like this. In spite of his knowledge, in spite of his centuries of evolution, man has never been free of problems.
DAVID BOHM: Yes, of insoluble problems.
K: I question if human problems are insoluble.
DB: I mean, as they are put now.
K: As they are now, of course, these problems have become incredibly complex and insoluble. No politician, scientist, or philosopher is going to solve them, even through wars and so on! So why have human beings throughout the world not been able to resolve the daily problems of life? What are the things that prevent the complete solution of these problems? Is it that we have never turned our minds to it? Is it because we spend all our days, and probably half the night, in thinking about technological problems so that we have no time for the other?
DB: That is partly so. Many people feel that the other should take care of itself.
K: But why? I am asking in this dialogue whether it is possible to have no human problems at all - only technological problems, which can be solved. But human problems seem insoluble. Is it because of our education, our deep-rooted traditions, that we accept things as they are?
DB: Well, that is certainly part of it. These problems accumulate as civilization gets older, and people keep on accepting things which make problems. For example, there are now far more nations in the world than there used to be, and each one creates new problems.
K: Of course.
DB: If you go back in time...
K: ...a tribe becomes a nation...
DB: And then the group must fight its neighbour.
K: Men use this marvellous technology to kill each other. But we are talking about problems of relationships, problems of lack of freedom, this sense of constant uncertainty and fear, the struggle to work for a livelihood for the rest of one's life. The whole thing seems so extraordinarily wrong.
DB: I think people have lost sight of that. Generally speaking they accept the situation in which they find themselves, and try to make the best of it, trying to solve some small problems to alleviate their circumstances. They wouldn't even look at this whole situation seriously.
K: But the religious people have created a tremendous problem for man.
DB: Yes. They are trying to solve problems too. I mean everybody is caught up in his own little fragment, solving whatever he thinks he can solve, but it all adds up to chaos.
K: To chaos and wars! That is what we are saying. We live in chaos. But I want to find out if I can live without a single problem for the rest of my life. Is that possible?
DB: Well, I wonder if we should even call these things problems, you see. A problem would be something that is reasonably solvable. If you put the problem of how to achieve a certain result, then that presupposes that you can reasonably find a way to do it technologically. But psychologically, the problem cannot be looked at in that way; to propose a result you have to achieve, and then find a way to do it.
K: What is the root of all this? What is the cause of all this human chaos? I am trying to come to it from a different angle, to discover whether there is an ending to problems. You see, personally, I refuse to have problems.
DB: Somebody might argue with you about that and say that maybe you are not challenged with something.
K: I was challenged the other day about something very, very serious. That is not a problem.
DB: Then it is a matter of clarification. Part of the difficulty is clarification of the language.
K: Clarification, not only of language, but of relationship and action. A problem arose the other day which involved lots of people, and a certain action had to be taken. But to me personally it was not a problem.
DB: We have to make it clear what you mean, because without an example, I don't know.
K: I mean by a problem something that has to be resolved, something you worry about; something you are questioning, and endlessly concerned with. Also doubts and uncertainties, and having to take some kind of action which you will regret at the end.
DB: Let's begin with the technical problem where the idea first arose. You have a challenge, something which needs to be done, and you say that is a problem.
K: Yes, that is generally called a problem.
DB: Now the word problem is based on the idea of putting forth something - a possible solution - and then trying to achieve it.
K: Or, I have a problem but I don't know how to deal with it.
DB: If you have a problem and you have no idea how to deal with it...
K: ...then I go round asking people for advice, and getting more and more confused.
DB: This would already be a change from the simple idea of a technical problem, where you usually have some notion of what to do.
K: I wonder if we do? Surely technical problems are fairly simple.
DB: They often bring challenges requiring us to go very deeply and change our ideas. With a technical problem, we generally know what we have to do to solve it. For example, if there is lack of food, what we have to do is to find ways and means of producing more. But with a psychological problem, can we do the same?
K: That is the point. How do we deal with this thing?
DB: Well, what kind of problem shall we discuss?
K: Any problem which arises in human relationships.
DB: Let's say that people cannot agree; they fight each other constantly.
K: Yes, let's take that for a simple thing. It seems to be almost impossible for a group of people to think together, to have the same outlook and attitude. I don't mean copying each other, of course. But each person puts his opinion forward and is contradicted by another - which goes on all the time, everywhere.
DB: All right. So can we say that our problem is to work together, to think together?
K: Work together, think together, co-operate without the involvement of monetary issues.
DB: That is another question, whether people will work together if they are highly paid.
K: So how do we solve this problem? In a group, all of us are offering different opinions, and we don't meet each other at all. And it seems almost impossible to give up one's opinions.
DB: Yes, that is one of the difficulties, but I am not sure that you can regard it as a problem, and ask, what shall we do to give up opinions.
K: No, of course. But that is a fact. So observing that, and seeing the necessity that we should all come together, people still cannot give up their opinions, their ideas, their own experiences and conclusions.
DB: Often it may not seem to them like an opinion, but the truth.
K: Yes, they would call it fact. But what can man do about these divisions? We see the necessity of working together - not for some ideal, belief, some principle or some god. In various countries throughout the world, and even in the United Nations they are not working together.
DB: Some people might say that we not only have opinions, but self-interest. If two people have conflicting self-interests, there is no way, as long as they maintain their attachment to these, that they can work together. So how do we break into this?
K: If you point out to me that we must work together, and show me the importance of it, then I also see that it is important. But I can't do it!
DB: That's the point. It is not enough even to see that co-operation is important, and to have the intention of achieving this. With this inability there is a new factor coming in. Why is it that we cannot carry out our intentions?
K: One can give many reasons for that, but those causes and reasons and explanations don't solve the problem. We come back to the same thing - what will make a human mind change? We see that change is necessary, and yet are incapable or unwilling to change. What factor - what new factor - is necessary for this?
DB: Well, I feel it is the ability to observe deeply whatever it is that is holding the person and preventing him from changing.
K: So is the new factor attention?
DB: Yes, that is what I meant. But also, we have to consider what kind of attention.
K: First let's discuss what is attention.
DB: It may have many meanings to different people.
K: Of course, as usual, there are so many opinions!
Where there is attention, there is no problem. Where there is inattention, every difficulty arises. Now without making attention itself into a problem, what do we mean by it? Can we understand it, not verbally, not intellectually, but deeply, in our blood? Obviously attention is not concentration. It is not an endeavour, an experience, a struggle to be attentive. You must show me the nature of attention, which is that when there is attention, there is no centre from which `I' attend.
DB: Yes, but that is the difficult thing.
K: Don't let's make a problem of it.
DB: I mean that people have been trying this for a long time. I think that there is first of all some difficulty in understanding what is meant by attention, because of the content of thought itself. When a person is looking at it, he may think he is attending.
K: No, in that state of attention there is no thought.
DB: But how do you stop thought then? You see, while thinking is going on, there is an impression of attention - which is not attention. But one thinks, one supposes that one is paying attention.
K: When one supposes one is paying attention, that is not it.
DB: So how do we communicate the true meaning of attention?
K: Or would you say rather that to find out what is attention, we should discuss what is inattention?
K: And through negation come to the positive. When I am inattentive, what takes place? In my inattentiveness, I feel lonely, depressed, anxious, and so on.
DB: The mind begins to break up and go into confusion.
K: Fragmentation takes place. And in my lack of attention, I identify myself with many other things.
DB: Yes, and it may be pleasant - but it can be painful too.
K: I find, later on, that what was pleasing becomes pain. So all that is a movement in which there is no attention. Right? Are we getting anywhere?
DB: I don't know.
K: I feel that attention is the real solution to all this - a mind which is really attentive, which has understood the nature of inattention and moves away from it!
DB: But first, what is the nature of inattention?
K: Indolence, negligence, self-concern, self-contradiction - all that is the nature of inattention.
DB: Yes. You see, a person who has self-concern may feel that he is attending but he is simply concerned with himself.
K: Yes. If there is self contradiction in me, and I pay attention to it in order not to be self-contradictory, that is not attention.
DB: But can we make this clear, because ordinarily one might think that this is attention.
K: No, it is not. It is merely a process of thought, which says, `I am this, I must not be that'.
DB: So you are saying that this attempt to become, is not attention.
K: Yes, that's right. Because the psychological becoming breeds inattention.
K: Isn't it very difficult, Sir, to be free of becoming? That is the root of it. To end becoming.
DB: Yes. There is no attention, and that is why these problems are there.
K: Yes, and when you point that out, the paying attention also becomes a problem.
DB: The difficulty is that the mind plays tricks, and in trying to deal with this, it does the very same thing again.
K: Of course. Can the mind, which is so full of knowledge, self-importance, self-contradiction, and all the rest of it, come to a point where it finds itself psychologically unable to move?
DB: There is nowhere for it to move.
K: What would I say to a person who has come to that point? I come to you. I am full of this confusion, anxiety, and sense of despair, not only for myself but for the world. I come to that point, and I want to break through it. So it becomes a problem to me.
DB: Then we are back; there is again an attempt to become, you see.
K: Yes. That is what I want to get at. So is that the root of all this? The desire to become?
DB: Well, it must be close to it.
K: So how do I look, without the movement of becoming, at this whole complex issue of myself?
DB: It seems that one hasn't looked at the whole. We did not look at the whole of becoming, when you said, `How can I pay attention?' Part of it seemed to slip out, and became the observer. Right?
K: Psychological becoming has been the curse of all this. A poor man wants to be rich, and a rich man wants to be richer, it is all the time this movement of becoming, both outwardly and inwardly. And though it brings a great deal of pain and sometimes pleasure, this sense of becoming, fulfilling, achieving psychologically, has made my life into all that it is. Now I realize that, but I can't stop it.
DB: Why can't I stop it?
K: Let's go into that. Partly I am concerned in becoming because there is a reward at the end of it; also I am avoiding pain or punishment. And in that cycle I am caught. That is probably one of the reasons why the mind keeps on trying to become something. And the other perhaps is deep rooted anxiety or fear that if I don't become something, I am lost. I am uncertain and insecure, so the mind has accepted these illusions and says, I cannot end that process of becoming.
DB: But why doesn't the mind end it? Also we have to go into the question of being trapped by these illusions.
K: How do you convince me that I am caught in an illusion? You can't, unless I see it myself I cannot see it because my illusion is so strong. That illusion has been nurtured, cultivated by religion, by the family, and so on. It is so deeply rooted that I refuse to let it go. That is what is taking place with a large number of people. They say, `I want to do this but I cannot'. Now given that situation, what are they to do? Will explanations, logic and all the various contradictions, theories, help them? Obviously not.
DB: Because it all gets absorbed into the structure.
K: So what is the next thing?
DB: You see, if they say, `I want to change', there is also the wish not to change.
K: Of course. The man who says, `I want to change', has also at the back of his mind, `Really, why should I change?' They go together.
DB: So we have a contradiction.
K: I have lived in this contradiction, I have accepted it.
DB: But why should I have accepted it?
K: Because it is a habit.
DB: But when the mind is healthy, it will not accept a contradiction.
K: But our mind isn't healthy. The mind is so diseased, so corrupt, so confused, that even though you point out all the dangers of this, it refuses to see them.
So how do we help a man who is caught in this to see clearly the danger of psychological becoming? Let's put it that way. Psychological becoming implies identification with a nation, a group, and all that business.
DB: Yes, holding to opinions.
K: Opinions and beliefs; I have had an experience, it gives me satisfaction, I am going to hold on to it. How do you help me to be free of all this? I hear your words - they seem quite right, but I can't move out of all that.
I wonder if there is another factor, another way of communication, which isn't based on words, knowledge, explanations and reward and punishment. Is there another way of communicating? You see, in that too there is danger. I am sure there is a way which is not verbal, analytical or logical, which doesn't mean lack of sanity.
DB: Perhaps there is.
K: My mind has always communicated with another with words, explanations and logic, or with suggestion. There must be another element which breaks through all that.
DB: It will break through the inability to listen.
K: Yes, the inability to listen, the inability to observe, to hear, and so on. There must be a different method. I have met several men who have been to a certain saint, and in his company they say all problems are resolved. But when they go back to their daily life, they are back in the old game.
DB: There was no intelligence in it, you see.
K: That is the danger. That man, that saint, being quiet and non-verbal in the presence of that saint they feel quiet, and think that their problems are resolved.
DB: But this is still from the outside.
K: Of course. It is like going to church. In an ancient church, or cathedral, you feel extraordinarily quiet. It is the atmosphere, the structure - you know; the very atmosphere makes you feel quiet.
DB: Yes, it communicates what is meant by quietness, non-verbally.
K: That is nothing. It is like incense!
DB: It is superficial.
K: Utterly superficial; like incense, it evaporates! So we push all that aside, and then what have we left? Not an outside agency, a god, or some saviour. What have I left? What is there that can be communicated, which will break through the wall that human beings have built for themselves?
Is it love? That word has become corrupted, loaded, dirty. But cleansing that word, is love the factor that will break through this clever analytical approach? Is love the element that is lacking?
DB: Well, we have to discuss it; perhaps people are somewhat chary of that word.
K: I am chary beyond words!
DB: And, therefore, as people resist listening, they will resist love too.
K: That is why I said it is rather a risky word.
DB: We were saying the other day that love contains intelligence.
K: Of course.
DB: Which is care as well; we mean by love that energy which also contains intelligence and care; all that...
K: Now wait a minute: you have that quality and I am caught in my misery, anxiety, etc., and you are trying to penetrate with that intelligence this mass of darkness. How will you do it? Will that act? If not, we human beings are lost. You follow, Sir? Therefore we have invented Jesus, Buddha, Krishna - images which have become meaningless, superficial and nonsensical.
So what shall I do? I think that is the other factor. Attention, perception, intelligence and love - you bring all this to me, and I am incapable of receiving it. I say, `It sounds nice; I feel it, but I can't hold it'. I can't hold it, because the moment I go outside this room, I am lost!
DB: That really is the problem.
K: Yes, that is the real problem. Is love something outside, as heaven - and all that stuff is outside. Is love something outside, which you bring to me, which you awaken in me, which you give me as a gift - or, in my darkness, illusion and suffering, is there that quality? Obviously not, there can't be.
DB: Then where is it?
K: That's just it. Love is not yours or mine; it is not personal, not something that belongs to anyone; love is not that.
DB: That is an important point. Similarly you were saying that isolation does not belong to any one person, although we tend to think of isolation as a personal problem.
K: Of course. It is common ground for all of us. Also, intelligence is not personal.
DB: But again, that goes contrary to the whole of our thinking, you see.
K: I know.
DB: Everybody says this person is intelligent, and that one is not. So this may be one of the barriers to the whole thing, that behind the ordinary everyday thought there is deeper thought of mankind, but we generally feel divided, and say these various qualities either belong to us, or they don't belong to us.
K: Quite. It is the fragmentary mind that invents all this.
DB: It has been invented, but we have picked it up verbally and non-verbally, by implication, from childhood. Therefore it pervades, it is the ground of our thoughts, of all our perceptions. So this has to be questioned.
K: We have questioned it - that grief is not my grief, grief is human, and so on.
DB: But how are people to see that, because a person who is experiencing grief feels that it is his personal grief?
K: I think it is partly because of our education, partly our society and traditions.
DB: But it is implicit in our whole way of thinking. Then we have to jump out of that, you see.
K: Yes. To jump out of that becomes a problem, and then what am I to do?
DB: Perhaps we can see that love is not personal.
K: Earth is not English earth, or French earth, earth is earth!
DB: I was thinking of an example in physics: if the scientist or chemist is studying an element such as sodium, he does not say it is his sodium, or that somebody else studies his sodium. And of course they compare notes, etc.
K: Quite. Sodium is sodium.
DB: Sodium is sodium, universally. So we have to say that love is love, universally.
K: Yes. But you see my mind refuses to see that, because I am so terribly personal, terribly concerned with `me and my problems'. I refuse to let that go. When you say sodium is sodium, it is very simple; I can see that. But when you say to me that grief is common to all of us, this is difficult.
DB: This can't be done with time, but it took quite a while for mankind to realize that sodium is sodium, you see.
K: Is love something that is common to all of us?
DB: Well, in so far as it exists, it has to be common.
K: Of course.
DB: It may not exist, but if it does, it has to be common.
K: I am not sure it does not exist. Compassion is not `I am compassionate'. Compassion is there, is something that is not `me'.
DB: If we say compassion is the same as sodium, it is universal. Then every person's compassion is the same.
K: Compassion, love, and intelligence. You can't have compassion without intelligence.
DB: So we say intelligence is universal too!
DB: But we have methods of testing intelligence in particular people, you see.
K: Oh, no.
DB: But perhaps that is all part of the thing that is getting in the way?
K: Part of this divisive, fragmentary way of thinking.
DB: Well, there may be holistic thinking, although we are not in it yet.
K: Then holistic thinking is not thinking; it is some other factor.
DB: Some other factor that we haven't gone into yet.
K: If love is common to all of us, why am I blind to it?
DB: I think partly because the mind boggles; it just refuses to consider such a fantastic change of concept in a way of looking.
K: But you said just now that sodium is sodium.
DB: You see, we have a lot of evidence for that in all sorts of experiments, built up through a lot of work and experience. Now we can't do that with love. You can't go into a laboratory and prove that love is love.
K: Oh, no. Love isn't knowledge. Why does one's mind refuse to accept a very obvious factor? Is it the fear of letting go my old values, standards and opinions?
DB: I think it is probably something deeper. It is hard to pin down, but it isn't a simple thing, although what you suggest is a partial explanation.
K: That is a superficial explanation, I know. Is it the deep rooted anxiety, the longing to be totally secure?
DB: But that again is based on fragmentation.
K: Of course.
DB: If we accept that we are fragmented, we will inevitably want to be totally secure, because being fragmented we are always in danger.
K: Is that the root of it? This urge, this demand, this longing to be totally secure in our relationship with everything? To be certain?
Of course, there is complete security only in nothingness!
DB: It is not the demand for security which is wrong, but the fragmentations. The fragment cannot possibly be secure.
K: That is right. Like each country trying to be secure, it is not secure.
DB: But complete security could be achieved if all the countries got together. The way you have put it sounds as if we should live eternally in insecurity, you see.
K: No, we have made that very clear.
DB: It makes sense to ask for security, but we are going about it the wrong way. How do we convey that love is universal, not personal, to a man who has lived completely in the narrow groove of personal achievement? It seems the first point is, will he question his narrow, `unique' personality?
K: People question it; they see the logic of what we are discussing, yet, curiously, people who are very serious in these matters, have tried to find the wholeness of life through starvation, through torture - you know, every kind of way. But you can't apprehend or perceive or be the whole through torture. So what shall we do? Let's say I have a brother who refuses to see all this. And as I have great affection for him, I want him to move out of fragmentation. And I have tried to communicate with him verbally, and sometimes non-verbally, by a gesture or by a look; but all this is still from the outside. And perhaps that is the reason why he resists. Can I point out to my brother that in himself this flame can be awakened? It means he must listen to me, but my brother refuses to listen.
DB: It seems that there are some actions which are not possible. If a person is caught in a certain thought such as fragmentation, then he can't change it, because there are a lot of other thoughts behind it.
K: Of course.
DB: Thoughts he doesn't know. He is not actually free to take this action because of the whole structure of thought that holds him.
K: So how do I help - I use that word with great caution - my brother? What is the root of all this? We talk of his becoming aware - but all that is verbal; it can be explained in different ways - the cause, the effect, and all the rest of it. After I explain all this, he says, `You have left me where I am'. And my intelligence, my affection, says `I can't let him go'. Which means, am I putting pressure on him?
I am not using any kind of pressure, or reward; my responsibility is that I can't let another human being go. It is not the responsibility of duty and all that dreadful stuff. But it is the responsibility of intelligence to say all that to him. There is a tradition in India that one who is called the Maitreya Buddha took a vow that he would not become the ultimate Buddha until he had liberated other human beings too.
K: Yes. You see, the tradition hasn't changed anything. How can one, if one has that intelligence, that compassion, that love, which is not of a country, a person, an ideal or a saviour, transmit that purity to another? By living with him, talking to him? You see it can all become mechanical.
DB: Would you say that this question has never really been solved?
K: I think so. But we must solve it, you follow? It has not been solved, but our intelligence says, solve it. No, I think intelligence doesn't say solve it; intelligence says these are the facts, and perhaps some will capture it.
DB: Well, it seems to me that there are really two factors: one is the preparation by reason to show that it all makes sense; and from there possibly some will capture it.
K: We have done that, Sir. The map has been laid out, and he has seen it very clearly; the conflicts, the misery, the confusion, the insecurity, the becoming. All that is extremely clear. But at the end of the chapter he is back at the beginning. Or perhaps he has a glimpse of it, and his craving to capture that glimpse and hold on to it becomes a memory. You follow? And all the nightmare begins!
In showing him the map very clearly, can we also point out to him something much deeper than that, which is love? He is groping after all this. But the weight of body, brain, tradition - all that draws him back. So it is a constant battle - and I think the whole thing is so wrong.
DB: What is wrong?
K: The way we are living.
DB: Many people must see that by now.
K: We have asked whether man has taken a wrong turning, and entered into a valley where there is no escape. That can't be so; that is too depressing, too appalling.
DB: I think some people might object to that. The very fact that it is appalling does not make it untrue. I think you would have to give some stronger reason why you feel that to be untrue.
K: Oh, yes.
DB: Do you perceive in human nature some possibility of a real change?
K: Of course. Otherwise everything would be meaningless; we'd be monkeys, machines. You see, the faculty for radical change is attributed to some outside agency, and therefore we look to that, and get lost in that. If we don't look to anybody, and are completely free from dependence, then solitude is common to all of us. It is not an isolation. It is an obvious fact that when you see all this - the stupidity and unreality of fragmentation and division - you are naturally alone. That sense of aloneness is common, and not personal.
DB: Yes, but the ordinary sense of loneliness is personal in the sense that each person feels it is his own.
K: Loneliness is not solitude; it is not aloneness.
DB; I think all the fundamental things are universal, and therefore you are saying that when the mind goes deep, it comes into something universal.
K: That's right.
DB: Whether or not you call it absolute.
K: The problem is to make the mind go very, very deeply into itself.
DB: Yes. Now there is something that has occurred to me. When we start with a particular problem our mind is very shallow, then we go to something more general. The word `general' has the same root as `to generate', the genus is the common generation...
K: To generate, of course.
DB: When we go to something more general, a depth is generated. But going on, still further, the general is still limited because it is thought.
K: Quite right. But to go profoundly, requires not only tremendous courage, but the sense of constantly pursuing the same stream.
DB: Well, that is not quite diligence; that is still too limited, right?
K: Yes, diligence is too limited. It goes with a religious mind in a sense that it is diligence in its action, its thoughts and so on, but it is still limited. If the mind can go from the particular to the general and from the general...
DB: ...to the absolute, to the universal. But many people would say that is very abstract, and has nothing to do with daily life.
K: I know. Yet it is the most practical thing, and not an abstraction.
DB: In fact, it is the particular that is the abstraction.
K: Absolutely. The particular is the most dangerous.
DB: It is also the most abstract, because you only get to the particular by abstracting.
K: Of course, of course.
DB: I think that this may be part of the problem. People feel they want something that really affects us in daily life; they don't just want to get themselves lost in talking, therefore, they say, `All these vapid generalities don't interest us'.
It is true that what we are discussing must work in daily life, but daily life does not contain the solution of its problems.
K: No. The daily life is the general and the particular.
DB: The human problems which arise in daily life cannot be solved there.
K: From the particular, it is necessary to move to the general; from the general to move still deeper, and there perhaps is the purity of what is called compassion, love and intelligence. But that means giving your mind, your heart, your whole being to this enquiry.
We have talked now for a long time, I think we have reached somewhere.