Wholeness of Life
Wholeness of Life
By J. Krishnamurti
E-Text Source: www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net
Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg and David Bohm, Brockwood Park
1st Conversation - Transformation Of Man - 17th May 1976
2nd Conversation - Transformation Of Man - 18th May 1976
3rd Conversation - Transformation Of Man - 18th May 1976
4th Conversation - Transformation Of Man - 19th May 1976
5th Conversation - Transformation Of Man - 19th May 1976
6th Conversation - Transformation Of Man - 20th May 1976
7th Conversation - Transformation Of Man - 20th May 1976
Part 2, Public Talks and Dialogue
Chapter 1 - 6th Public Talk Ojai California - 17th April 1977 - Meditation Is the Emptying of The Content of Consciousness
Chapter 2 - 2nd Public Talk Saanen - 12th July 1977 - The Ending of Conflict Is the Gathering of Supreme Energy Which Is a Form of Intelligence
Chapter 3 - 5th Public Talk Ojai California - 16th April 1977 - Out of Negation Comes the Positive Called Love
Chapter 4 - 5th Public Talk Ojai California - 16th April 1977 - Death--a Great Act of Purgation
Chapter 5 - 1st Public Talk Brockwood Park - 27th August 1977 - Action Which Is Skilful and Which Does Not Perpetuate the Self
Chapter 6 - 1st Public Talk Saanen - 10th July 1977 - Reason and Logic Alone Will Not Discover Truth
Chapter 7 - 1st Public Talk Ojai California - 2nd April 1977 - Intelligence, in Which There Is Complete Security
Chapter 8 - 4th Public Talk Saanen - 17th July 1977 - In Negation the Positive Is Born
Chapter 9 - 7th Public Talk Saanen - 24th July 1977 - Because There Is Space, There Is Emptiness and Total Silence
Chapter 10 - 5th Public Talk Saanen - 19th July 1977 - The State of The Mind That Has Insight Is Completely Empty
Chapter 11 - 5th Public Talk Saanen - 19th July 1977 - Where There Is Suffering You Cannot Possibly Love
Chapter 12 - 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park - 3rd September 1977 - Sorrow Is the Outcome of Time and Thought
Chapter 13 - 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park - 3rd September 1977 - What Is Death?
Chapter 14 - 4th Public Talk Brockwood Park - 4th September 1977 - That Emptiness Is the Summation of All Energy
Chapter 15 - 2nd Public Talk Brockwood Park - 28th August 1977 - When the Me Is Not, Then Compassion Comes Into Being
Chapter 16 - 2nd Public Talk Ojai California - 3rd April 1977 - The Division Between the Observer and The Observed Is the Source of Conflict
Chapter 17 - 6th Public Talk Saanen - 21st July 1977 - When There Is an Ending to Consciousness with Its Content There Is Something Entirely Different
Chapter 18 - 3rd Public Talk Saanen - 14th July 1977 - Without Clarity, Skill Becomes a Most Dangerous Thing
Chapter 19 - 2nd Public Dialogue Brockwood Park - 1st September 1977 - How Is One to Know Oneself?
Part 3, Ojai 1977
Chapter 1 - Small Group Dialogue Ojai California - 22nd March 1977
Chapter 2 - Small Group Dialogue Ojai California - 24th March 1977
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1st Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm
17th May, 1976
KRISHNAMURTI: Can we talk about the wholeness of life? Can one be aware of that wholeness if the mind is fragmented? You can't be aware of the whole if you are only looking through a small hole.
Dr Shainberg: Right. But on the other hand in actuality you are the whole.
K: Ah! That is theory.
S: Is it?
Dr Bohm: A supposition, of course it is.
K: Of course, when you are fragmented how can you assume that you are the whole?
S: How am I to know I am fragmented?
K: When there is conflict.
S: That's right.
K: When opposing desires, opposing wishes, opposing thoughts bring conflict. Then you have pain, then you become conscious of your fragmentation.
S: Right. But at those moments it often happens that you don't want to let go of the conflict.
K: That is a different matter. What we are asking is: Can the fragment dissolve itself, for then only it is possible to see the whole.
S: All you really know is your fragmentation.
K: That is all we know.
B: That is right.
K: Therefore let's stick to that.
B: The supposition that there is a whole may be reasonable but as long as you are fragmented you could never see it. It would be just an assumption.
K: Of course, right.
B: You may think you have experienced it once, but that is also an assumption.
K: Absolutely. Quite right.
S: You know, I wonder if there is not a tremendous pain or something that goes on when I am aware of my fragmentation - a loneliness somehow.
K: Look, sir: Can you be aware of your fragment? That you are an American, that I am a Hindu, Jew, Communist or whatever - you just live in that state. You don't say, "Well I know I am a Hindu" - it is only when you are challenged, it is only when it is said, "What are you?" that you say, "I am an Indian, or a Hindu, or an Arab".
B: When the country is challenged then you have got to worry.
K: Of course.
S: So you are saying that I am living totally reactively?
K: No, you are living totally in a kind of miasma, confusion.
S: From one piece to the next, from one reaction to the next reaction.
K: So can we be aware, actually, of the various fragments? That I am a Hindu, that I am a Jew, that I am an Arab, that I am a Communist, that I am a Catholic, that I am a businessman, that I am married, that I have responsibilities; I am an artist, I am a scientist - you follow? All this sociological fragmentation.
K: As well as psychological fragmentation.
S. Right right. That is exactly what I started with. This feeling that I am a fragment.
K: Which you call the individual.
S: That I call important, not just the individual.
K: You call that important.
S: Right. That I have to work.
S: It is significant.
K: So can we now, in talking together, be aware that I am that? I am a fragment and therefore creating more fragments, more conflict, more misery, more confusion, more sorrow, because when there is conflict it affects everything.
K: Can you be aware of it as we are discussing?
S: I can be aware a little as we are discussing.
K: Not a little.
S: That's the trouble. Why can't I be aware of it?
K: Look, sir. You are only aware of it when there is conflict. It is not a conflict in you now.
B: But is it possible to be aware of it without conflict?
K: That is the next thing, yes. That requires quite a different approach.
B: But I was thinking of looking at one point - that the importance of these fragments is that when I identify myself and say "I am this", "I am that", I mean the whole of me. The whole of me is rich or poor, or American, or whatever, and therefore it seems all-important. I think the trouble is that the fragment claims it is the whole, and makes itself very important.
S: Takes up the whole life.
B: Then comes a contradiction, and then comes another fragment saying it is the whole.
K: You know this whole world is broken up that way, outside and inside.
S: Me and you.
K: Yes, me and you, we and they...
B: But if we say "I am wholly this", then we also say "I am wholly that".
S; This movement into fragmentation almost seems to be caused by something. It seems to be...
K: Is this what you are asking? What is the cause of this fragmentation?
S: Yes. What is the cause of the fragmentation? What breeds it? What sucks us into it?
K: We are asking something very important, which is: What is the cause of this fragmentation?
S: That is what I was getting into. There is some cause... I have got to hold on to something.
K: No. Just look at it, sir. Why are you fragmented?
S: Well, my immediate response is the need to hold on to something.
K: No, much deeper than that. Much deeper. Look at it. Look at it. Let's go slowly into it.
K: Not immediate responses. What brings this conflict which indicates I am fragmented, and then I ask the question: What brings this fragmentation? What is the cause of it?
B: Right. That is important.
K: Yes. Why are you and I and the majority of the world fragmented? What is the cause of it?
B: It seems we won't find the cause by going back in time to a certain...
S: I am not looking for genetics, I am looking for right this second...
K: Sir, just look at it. Put it on the table and look at it objectively. what brings about this fragmentation?
K: No, no, much more.
B: Maybe the fragmentation causes fear.
K: Yes, that's it. Why am I a Hindu? - if I am, I am not a Hindu, I am not an Indian, I have no nationality. But suppose I call myself a Hindu. What makes me a Hindu?
S: Well, conditioning makes you a Hindu.
K: What is the background, what is it that makes me say "I am a Hindu"? Which is a fragmentation, obviously.
S: Right, right.
K: What makes it? My father, my grandfather - generations and generations before me, 10,000 or 5,000 years, they have been saying you are a Brahmin.
S: You don't say or write I am a Brahmin, you are a Brahmin. Right? That is quite different. You say I am a Brahmin because...
K: It is like you saying I am a Christian. Which is what?
S: Tradition, conditioning, sociology, history, culture, family, everything.
K: But behind that, what is behind that?
S: Behind that is man's...
K: No, no. Don't theorize. Look at it in yourself.
S: Well, it gives me a place, an identity; I know who I am then, I have my little niche.
K: Who made that niche?
S: Well, I made it and they helped me make it. I am co-operating in this very...
K: You are not co-operating. You are it.
S: I am it. Right. That's right. The whole thing is moving towards... putting me in a hole.
K: So what made you? The great-great-grandparent created this environment, this culture, this whole structure of human existence, with all its misery, all its conflict - which is the fragmentation.
S: The same action that makes man right now.
K: Exactly. The Babylonians, the Egyptians, we are exactly the same now.
S: This is all giving me my secondhand existence.
K: Yes. Proceed. Let's go into it. Let's find out why man has brought about this state. Which we accept - you follow? Gladly or unwillingly, we are of it. I am willing to kill somebody because he is a Communist or a Fascist, an Arab or a Jew, a Protestant or a Catholic or whatever it is.
S: Well, everywhere, the doctors, lawyers...
K: Of course, of course. The same problem. Is it the desire for security? Biological as well as psychological security?
S: You could say yes.
K: If I belong to something to some organization, to some group, to some sect to some ideological community I am safe there.
B: That is not clear: you may feel safe.
K: I feel safe then. But it may not be safety.
B: Yes, But why don't I see that I am not really safe?
K: Go into it.
S: I don't see it.
K: Just look. I join a community...
S: Right. I am a doctor.
K: Yes, you are a doctor.
S: I get all these ideas....
K: Because you are a doctor you have a special position in society.
S: Right. I have a lot of ideas of how things work.
K: You are in a special position in society and therefore you are completely safe.
K: You can malpractice, but you are very protected by other doctors, other organizations - you follow?
K: You feel secure.
B: it is essential that I shouldn't enquire too far to feel secure, isn't it? In other words I must stop my enquiry at a certain point. If I start to ask too many questions...
K: ...then you are out! If I begin to ask questions about my community and my relation to that community, my relationship to the world, my relation to my neighbour, I am finished. I am out of the community. I am lost.
S: That's right.
K: So to feel safe, secure, protected, I belong.
S: I depend.
K: I depend.
B: I depend wholly in one sense that if I don't have that, then I feel the whole thing is sunk.
S: You see, not only do I depend but every problem I now have is with reference to this dependency. I don't know about the patient, I only know how the patient doesn't fit into my system.
K: Quite, quite.
S: Because that is my conflict.
K: He is your victim.
S: That's right, my victim.
B: You see, as long as I don't ask questions I can feel comfortable. But I feel uncomfortable when I do ask questions, very deeply uncomfortable. Because the whole of my situation is challenged. But then if I look at it more broadly I see the whole thing has no foundation - it is all dangerous. This community itself is in a mess, it may collapse. Even if the whole of it doesn't collapse, you can't count on the academic profession any more, they may not give money for universities. Everything is changing so fast that you don't know where you are. So why should I go on with not asking questions?
K: Why don't I ask questions? - Because of fear.
B: Yes, but that fear is from fragmentations.
K: Of course. So is that the beginning of this fragmentation? Does fragmentation take place when one is seeking security?
S: But why..?
K: Both biologically as well as psychologically. Primarily psychologically, then biologically.
B: But isn't the tendency to seek physical security built into the organism?
K: Yes, that's right. It is. I must have food, clothes, shelter. It is absolutely necessary.
K: And when that is threatened - if I questioned the Communist system altogether, living in Russia, I am a non person.
S: But let's go a little bit slower here. You are suggesting that in my need for security, biologically, I must have some fragmentation.
K: No, sir. Biologically, fragmentation takes place, the insecurity takes place, when psychologically I want security.
K: I don't know if I am making myself clear. Wait a minute. That is: if I don't psychologically belong to a group, then I am out of that group.
S: Then I am insecure.
K: I am insecure, and because the group gives me security, physical security, I accept everything they give me.
K: But the moment I object psychologically to the structure of the society and the community I am lost. This is an obvious fact.
S: Were you suggesting then that the basic insecurity we live in is being conditioned, and the response to this - the answer to this - is a conditioned fragmentation?
S: And that the movement of fragmentation is the conditioning?
K: Sir, look: if there were no fragmentation, historically, geographically, nationally, we would live perfectly safely. We would all be protected, we would all have food, all have houses. There would be no wars, we'd be all one. He is my brother, I am him. He is me.
But this fragmentation prevents that taking place.
S: Right. So you are suggesting even more there - you are suggesting that we would help each other?
K: I would help, obviously.
B: We are going round in a circle because...
K: Yes, sir, I want to get back to something, which is: if there were no nationalities, no ideological groups, and so on, we would have everything we want. That is prevented because I am a Hindu, you are an Arab, he is a Russian - you follow? We are asking: Why does this fragmentation take place? What is the source of it? Is it knowledge?
S: It is knowledge, you say.
K: Is it knowledge? I am sure it is but I am putting it as a question.
S: It certainly seems to be.
K: No, no. Look into it. Let's find out.
S: What do you mean by knowledge, what are you talking about there?
K: The word to know. Do I know you? Or have I known you? I can never say I know you, I mean actually; it would be an abomination to say "I know you". I have known you. But you in the meantime are changing - there is a great deal of movement going on in you.
K: To say I know you means I am acquainted or intimate with that movement which is going on in you. It would be impudence on my part to say I know you.
S: That's right.
K: So knowing - to know - is the past. Would you say that?
B: Yes, I mean what we know is the past.
K: Knowledge is the past.
B: The danger is that we call it the present. The danger is that we call knowledge the present.
K: That is just it.
B: In other words, if we said the past is the past, then wouldn't you say it needn't fragment?
K: What is that, sir?
B: If we said - if we recognized, acknowledged, that the past is the past, that it is gone, and therefore what we know is the past, then it would not introduce fragmentation.
K: No, it wouldn't, quite right.
B: But if we say what we know is what is present now, then we are introducing fragmentation.
K: Quite right.
B: Because we are imposing this partial knowledge on the whole.
K: Sir, would you say knowledge is one of the factors of fragmentation? It is a large pill to swallow!
B: And also there are plenty of other factors.
K: Yes. But that may be the only factor!
B: I think we should look at it this way, that people hope through knowledge to overcome fragmentation.
K: Of course.
B: To produce a system of knowledge that will put it all together.
K: Is that not one of the major factors, or perhaps the factor of fragmentation? My experience tells me I am a Hindu: my experience tells me that I know what god is.
B: Wouldn't we better say that confusion about the whole of knowledge is because of fragmentation?
K: That is what we were saying the other day - art is putting things in their right place. So I will put knowledge in its right place.
B: Yes, so that we are not confused about it.
K: Of course.
S: You know I was just going to read you this rather interesting example of a patient of mine who was teaching me something the other day. She said, "I have the feeling that the way you doctors operate is that you have certain kinds of patients, and if you do `x' to them you will get a certain kind of effect. You are not talking to me, you are doing this to me hoping you will get this result."
S: That is what you are saying.
K: No, a little more, sir, than that. We are saying, both Dr Bohm and I, we are saying that knowledge has its place.
S: Let's go into that.
K: Like driving a car, learning a language and so on.
B: If we drive a car using knowledge, that is not fragmentation.
K: No, but when knowledge is used psychologically...
B: One should see more clearly what the difference is. The car itself - as I see it - is a part, a limited part, that can be handled by knowledge.
S: It is a limited part of life.
B: Of life, yes. When we say, I am so and so, I mean the whole of me. And therefore I am applying the part to the whole. I am trying to take in the whole by the part.
K: When knowledge assumes it understands the whole...
B: But it is often very tricky because I am not explicitly spelling out that I understand the whole, but it is implicit by saying I, or everything, is this way.
K: Quite, quite.
B: It implies that the whole is this way, you see. The whole of me, the whole of life, the whole of the world.
S: As Krishnaji was saying about never knowing a person - that is how we deal with ourselves. We say I know this and that about myself rather than being open to the new man. Or even being aware of the fragmentation.
B: If I am talking about you then I shouldn't say I know all because you are not a limited part like a machine. You see, the machine is fairly limited and you can know all that is relevant about it, or most of it anyway, Sometimes it breaks down.
K: Quite. Quite.
B: But when it comes to another person, that is immensely beyond what you could really know. The past experience doesn't tell you the essence.
K: Are you saying, Dr Bohm, that when knowledge spills over into the psychological field..?
B: Well, also in another field which I call the whole in general. Sometimes it spills over into the philosophical field and then tries to make it metaphysical, the whole universe.
K: That is purely theoretical and has no meaning for me personally.
B: I mean that some people feel that when they are discussing metaphysics of the whole universe it is not psychological. It probably is, but some people may feel that they are making a theory of the universe, not discussing psychology. It is just a matter of language.
K: Language, quite.
S: Well you see what you are saying can be extended to what people are. They have a metaphysics about other people. I know all other people are not to be trusted.
K: Of course.
B: You have a metaphysics about yourself, saying I am such and such a person.
S: Right. I have a metaphysics that life is hopeless and I must depend on these things.
K: No, all that you can see is that we are fragmented. That is a fact. And I am aware of those fragmentations; there is an awareness of the fragmented mind because of conflict.
S: That's right.
B: You were saying before that we have got to have an approach where we are not aware of the fragmented mind just because of conflict.
K: Yes. That's right.
B: Are we coming to that?
K: Coming, yes. I said: What is the source of this conflict? The source is fragmentation, obviously. What brings about fragmentation? What is the cause of it? What is behind it? We said perhaps knowledge.
K: Knowledge. Psychologically I use knowledge; I think I know myself, when I really don't, because I am changing, moving. Or I use knowledge for my own satisfaction - for my position, for my success, for becoming a great man in the world. I am a great scholar, say. I have read a million books. This gives me position, prestige, a status. So is that it - that fragmentation takes place when there is a desire for security, psychological security, which prevents biological security?
K: You say right. Therefore security may be one of the factors. Security in knowledge, used wrongly.
B: Or could you say that some sort of mistake has been made, that man feels insecure biologically, and he thinks, what shall I do, and he makes a mistake in the sense that he tries to obtain a psychological sense of security - by knowledge?
K: By knowledge, yes.
S: By knowing, yes. By repeating himself by depending on all these structures.
K: One feels secure by having an ideal.
S: Right. That is so true.
B: But somewhere one asks why the person makes this mistake. In other words if thought - if the mind had been absolutely clear, it would never have done that.
S: If the mind had been absolutely clear - but we have just said that there is biological insecurity. That is a fact.
B: But that doesn't imply that you have to delude yourself.
K: Quite right. Go on further.
S: There's that biological fact of my constant uncertainty. The biological fact of constant change.
K: That is created through psychological fragmentation.
S: My biological uncertainty?
K: Of course. I may lose my job, I may have no money tomorrow.
B: Now let's look at that. I may have no money tomorrow. You see, that may be an actual fact, but now the question is: What would a man say if his mind were clear, what would be his response?
K: He would never be put in that position.
S: He wouldn't ask that question.
B: But suppose he finds himself without money?
K: He would do something.
B: His mind won't just go to pieces.
S: He won't have to have all the money he thinks he has to have.
B: Besides that, he won't go into this well of confusion.
K: No, absolutely.
S: The problem 99 per cent of the time, I certainly agree, is that we all think we need more than this ideal of what we should have.
K: No, sir. We are trying to stick to one point. What is the cause of this fragmentation?
K: We said knowledge spilling over into the field where it should not enter.
B: But why does it do so?
K: Why does it do so? That is fairly simple.
S: My sense of it from what we have been saying is that it does so in the illusion of security. Thought creates the illusion that there is security.
B: Yes, but why doesn't intelligence show that there is no security?
S: Why doesn't intelligence show it?
K: Can a fragmented mind be intelligent?
B: Well, it resists intelligence.
K: It can pretend to be intelligent.
B: Yes. But are you saying that once the mind fragments then intelligence is gone?
B: But now you are querying this problem. You are also saying that there can be an end to fragmentation.
K: That's right.
B: That would seem to be a contradiction.
K: It looks like that but it is not.
S: All I know is fragmentation.
S: That is what I have got.
K: Let's stick to it and prove it can end. Go through it.
B: But if you say intelligence cannot operate when the mind is fragmented...
K: Is psychological security more important than biological security?
S: That is an interesting question.
K: Go on.
S: One thing we have condensed...
K: No, I am asking. Don't move away from the question. I am asking: Is psychological security more important than biological security, physical security?
S: It isn't but it sounds like it is.
K: No, don't move away from it. I am asking. Stick to it. Is it to you?
S: I would say yes, psychological seems...
B: What is actually true?
S: Actually true, no. Biological security is more important.
K: Biological? Are you sure?
S: No. I think psychological security is what I actually worry about most.
K: Psychological security.
S: That is what I worry about most.
K: Which prevents biological security.
S: Right. I've figured that one out now.
K: No, no. Because I am seeking psychological security in ideas, in knowledge, in images, in confusions, this prevents me from having biological, physical security - for myself, for my children, for my brothers. I can't have it. Because psychological security says I am a Hindu, a blasted somebody in a little corner.
S: No question. I do feel that psychological...
K: So can we be free of the desire to be psychologically secure?
S: That's right. That is the question.
K: Of course it is.
S: That's the nub of it, right.
K: Last night I was listening to some people arguing on television - the chairman of this, the something of that, talking about
Ireland, and various other things. Each man was completely convinced of what he was saying.
S: That's right. I am sitting on meetings every week. Each man thinks his category is the most important.
K: So man has given more importance to psychological security than to biological, physical security.
B: But it is not clear why he should delude himself in this way.
K: He has deluded himself because - why, why?
S: Images, power.
K: No, sir, it is much deeper than that. Why has he given importance to psychological security?
S: We seem to think that that is where security is.
K: No. Look more into it. The me is the most important thing.
S: Right. That is the same thing.
K: No, me. My position, my happiness, my money, my house, my wife - me.
B: Me. Yes. And isn't it that each person feels he is the essence of the whole? The me is the very essence of the whole. I would feel if the me were gone that the rest wouldn't mean anything.
K: That is the whole point. The me gives me complete security, psychologically.
B: It seems all-important. Of course.
B: Yes, people say if I am sad then the whole world has no meaning - right?
S: It is not only that; I am sad if the me is all-important.
K: No. We are saying that in the me is the greatest security.
S: Right. That is what we think.
K: No. Not we think. It is so.
B: What do you mean it is so?
K: In the world that is what is happening.
B: That is what is happening. But it is a delusion.
K: We will come to that later.
S: I think that is a good point. That it is so; that the me - I like that way of getting at it - the me is what is important. That is all it is.
K. Me my country, my god, my house.
S: We have got your point.
2nd Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm
18th May, 1976
KRISHNAMURTI: May we go on where we left off yesterday? Or would you like to start something new?
Dr Bohm: I thought there was a point that wasn't entirely clear about what we were discussing yesterday. We rather accepted that security, psychological security, was wrong, was a delusion, but in general I don't think we made it very clear why we think it is a delusion. You see, most people feel that psychological security is a good thing and quite necessary, and that when it is disturbed, when a person is frightened, or sorrowful even - so disturbed that he might require treatment - he feels that psychological security is necessary before he can even begin to do anything.
K: Yes, right.
B: I don't think it's at all clear why one should say it is not really as important as physical security.
K: I think we have made it fairly clear but let's go into it. Is there really psychological security at all?
B: I don't think we discussed that fully yesterday.
K: Of course. Nobody accepts that. But we are enquiring into it, going into the problem of it.
B: I think that if you told somebody who was feeling very disturbed mentally that there is no psychological security he would just feel worse.
K: Collapse. Of course.
Dr Shainberg: Right.
K: We are talking of fairly sane, rational people.
K: We are questioning whether there is any psychological security at aIl. Permanency, stability, a sense of well-founded, deep-rooted existence, psychologically... I believe in something...
S: ...and that gives me...
K: It may be the most foolish belief...
K: ...a neurotic belief. I believe in it.
K: And that gives me a tremendous sense of vitality and stability.
B: I can think of two examples: one is that if I could really believe that after dying I would go to heaven, make quite sure of it, then I could be very secure anywhere, no matter what happens.
S: That would make you feel good.
B: Well, I wouldn't really have to worry; it would all be a temporary trouble; I would be pretty sure that in time it was all going to be very good. Do you see?
K: Right. That is the whole Asiatic attitude, more or less.
B: Or if I am a Communist, I think that in time Communism is going to solve everything; we are going through a lot of troubles now but it is all going to be worthwhile, and in the end everything will be all right. If I could be sure of that then I would feel very secure inside, even if conditions are hard now.
S: OK. All right.
K: So although one may have these strong beliefs which give one a sense of security, of permanency, we are questioning whether there is such a thing in reality, in actuality...
S: Yes, yes. But I want to ask David something. Take a scientist, a guy who is going to his laboratory every day, or take a doctor - is he getting security from the very routinization of his life?
K: His knowledge.
S: Yes, from his knowledge.
B: Well, he makes believe he is learning the permanent laws of nature, really getting something that means something.
B: And also getting a position in society - being well known and respected and financially secure.
S: He believes that these things will give him security. The mother believes that a child will give her security.
K: Don't you have security psychologically?
S: Yes. I get a security out of my knowledge, out of my routine, out of my patients, out of seeing my patients, out of my position...
B: But there is conflict in that because if I think it over a little bit I doubt it, I question it. I say it doesn't look all that secure, anything may happen. There may be a war, there may be a depression, there may be a flood.
K: There may be sane people all of a sudden in the world!
B: So I say there is conflict and confusion in my security because I am not sure about it. But if I had an absolute belief in god and heaven...
K: This is so obvious!
S: It is obvious. I agree with you it is obvious but I think it has to be really felt.
K: But, sir, you, Dr Shainberg, you are the victim.
S: I'll be the victim.
K: For the moment. Don't you have strong belief
K: Don't you have a sense of permanency somewhere inside you?
S: I think I do.
S: Yes, I do. I mean I have a sense of permanency about my intention.
S: I mean my work.
K: Your knowledge?
S: ...my knowledge, my...
S: ...my status, the continuity of my interest. You know what I mean?
S: There is a sense of security and the feeling that I can help someone.
S: And that I can do my work.
K: That gives you security, psychological security.
S: There is something about it that is secure. What am I saying when I say "security"? I am saying that I won't be lonely.
K: No, no. Feeling secure. That you have something that is imperishable.
S: Which means - no I don't feel it that way. I feel it more in the sense of what is going to happen in time. What am I going to have to depend on? - what is my time going to be? - am I going to be lonely, is it going to be empty?
K: No, sir.
S: Isn't that security?
K: As Dr Bohm pointed out, if one has a strong belief in reincarnation, as the whole Asiatic world has, then it doesn't matter what happens. You may be miserable this life but next life you will be happier. So that gives you a great sense of "this is unimportant, but that is important".
S: Right, right.
K: And that gives me a sense of great comfort, for this is a transient world anyhow and eventually I will get to something permanent.
S: That is in the Asiatic world; but I think in the Western world you don't have that...
K: Oh, yes, you have it.
S: ...with a different focus.
K: Of course.
B: It is different but we have always had the search for security.
S: Right, right. But what do you think security is? I mean, for instance, you became a scientist, you have your own laboratory, you pick up books all the time - right? What the hell do you call security?
K: Having something...
K: Something which you can cling to and which is not perishable. it may perish eventually but for the time being, it is there to hold on to.
B: You feel that it is permanent. Like people in the past who used to accumulate gold because gold is the symbol of the imperishable.
S: We still have people who accumulate gold... we have business men, they have got money.
B: You feel it is really there. It will never corrode, it will never vanish and you can count on it.
S: So it is something that I can count on.
K: Count on, hold on to, cling to, be attached to.
S: The me.
S: I know that I am a doctor. I can depend on that.
K: Experience. And on the other hand, tradition.
S: Tradition. I know that if I do this with a patient I will get a certain result - I may not get any good results but I'll get this result.
K: So I think that is fairly clear.
B: Yes, it is clear enough that this is part of our society.
K: Part of our conditioning.
B: Conditioning, that we want something secure and permanent. At least we think so.
S: I think there is a feeling in the West of wanting immortality.
K: That's the same thing.
B: Wouldn't you say that in so far as thought can project time, that it wants to be able to project everything as far as possible into the future? In other words the anticipation of what is coming is already the present feeling. If you anticipate that something bad may come you already feel bad.
K: That's right.
B: Therefore you would want to get rid of that.
S: So you anticipate that it won't happen.
B: That it will all be good.
B: I would say that security would be the anticipation that everything will be good in the future...
S: It will continue.
B: It will become better; if it is not so good now it will certainly become better.
S: So then security is becoming?
K: Yes, becoming, perfecting, becoming.
S: I see patients all the time. Their projected belief is, I will become - I will find somebody to love me; I see patients who say, "I will become the chief of the department", "I will become the most famous doctor", "I will become the best tennis player". The best.
K: Of course, of course.
B: Well, it seems it is all focused on anticipating that life is going to be good, when you say that.
K: Yes, life is going to be good.
B: But it seems to me you wouldn't raise the question unless you had a lot of experience that life is not so good. In other words it is a reaction to having had so much experience of disappointment, of suffering...
K: Would you say that we are not conscious of the whole movement of thought?
B: It is only natural to feel I have had a lot of experience of suffering and disappointment and danger, and now I would like to be able to anticipate that everything is going to be good. At first sight it would seem that that is quite natural. But now you are saying it is not.
K: We are saying there is no such thing as psychological security. We have defined what we mean by security. We don't have to beat it over and over.
S: No, I think we have got that.
B: Yes, but is it clear now that these hopes are really vain hopes. That should be obvious, should it?
K: Sir, there is death at the end of everything.
K: You want to be secure for the next ten years, that is all, or fifty years. Afterwards it doesn't matter. Or if it does matter you believe in something that there is god, that you will sit on his right hand or whatever it is you believe. So I am trying to find out, not only that there is no permanency psychologically, but that there is no tomorrow psychologically.
B: That hasn't yet come out.
K: Of course, of course.
B: When we say empirically that we know these hopes for security are false because first of all you say there is death, secondly you can't count on anything; materially everything changes.
K: Everything is in flux.
B: Mentally everything in your head is changing all the time. You can't count on your own feelings, you can't count on enjoying a certain thing that you enjoy now, you can't count on being healthy, you can't count on money.
K: You can't rely on your wife, you can't rely - on anything.
B: So that is a fact. But I am saying that you are suggesting something deeper.
K: Yes, sir.
B: But we don't base ourselves only on that observation.
K: No, that is very superficial.
S: Yes, I am with you there.
K: So, if there is no real security, basic, deep, then is there a tomorrow, psychologically? Then you take away all hope. If there is no tomorrow you take away all hope.
B: What you mean by tomorrow is the tomorrow in which things will get better?
K: Better, more - greater success, greater understanding, greater...
B:.... more love.
K:.... more love, always that.
S: I think that is a little quick. I think that there is a jump there because as I hear you, I hear you saying there is no security.
K: But it is so.
S: But for me to say - to really say, "I know there is no security"...
K: Why don't you say that?
S: That is what I am getting at. Why don't I say that?
B: Well isn't it a fact - just an observed fact that there isn't anything you can count on psychologically?
S: Right. But you see I think there is an action there. Krishnaji is asking, "Why don't you say there is no security?" Why don't I?
K: Do you, when you hear there is no security, see it as an abstracted idea or as an actual fact? Like that table, like your hand here, or those flowers?
S: I think it mostly becomes an idea.
K: That is just it.
B: Why should it become an idea?
S: That, I think, is the question. Why does it become an idea?
K: Is it part of your training?
Part - yes. Part of my conditioning.
S: Part of a real objection to seeing things as they are.
S: That's right.
B: If you try to see that there is no security, something seems to be there which is trying to protect itself - let us say that it seems to be a fact that the self is there. Do you see what I am driving at?
K: Of course.
B: And if the self is there it requires security, and this creates a resistance to accepting as a fact that there is no security, and puts it as an idea only. It seems that the factuality of the self being there has not been denied. The apparent factuality.
K: Is it that you refuse to see things as they are? Is it that one refuses to see that one is stupid? - not you - I mean one is stupid. To acknowledge that one is stupid is already...
S: Yes. You say to me, "You refuse to acknowledge that you are stupid" - let us say it is me - that means then that I have got to do something...
K: No. Not yet. Action comes through perception, not through ideation.
S: I am glad you are getting into this.
B: Doesn't it seem that as long as there is the sense of self, the self must say that it is perfect?
K: Of course, of course.
S: Now what makes it so hard for me to destroy this need for security? Why can't I do it?
K: No, no. It is not how you can do it. You see you are already entering into the realm of action.
S: That I think is the crucial point.
K: I say first see it. And from that perception action is inevitable.
S: All right. Now to see insecurity. Do you see insecurity? Do you actually see it?
K: No. No. No. Do you actually see that you are clinging to something, some belief which gives you security?
K: I cling to this house. I am safe. It gives me a sense of pride, a sense of possession; it gives me a sense of physical and therefore psychological security.
S: Right, and a place to go.
K: A place to go. But I may walk out and be killed and I have lost everything. There might be an earthquake and everything gone. Do you actually see it? The seeing, the perception, of that is total action with regard to security.
S: I can see that that is the total action.
K: No, that is an idea, still.
S: Yes, you're right. I begin to see that this whole structure is the way I see everything in the world - right? I begin to see her, the wife, I begin to see these people - they fit into that structure.
K: You see them, and your wife, through the image you have about them.
S: Right. And through the function they are seeing.
B: Their relation to you, yes.
S: That is right. That's the function they serve.
K: The picture, the image, the conclusion is the security.
S: That's right.
B: Yes, but why does it present itself as so real? I see that there is a thought, a process which is driving on, continually...
K: Are you asking why has this image, this conclusion, become so fantastically real?
B: Yes. It seems to be standing there real, and everything is referred to it.
K: More real than the marbles, than the hills.
B: Than anything, yes.
S: More real than anything.
S: It is hard to say why. Because it would give me security.
K: No. We are much further than that.
B: Because, suppose abstractly and ideally you can see the whole thing as no security at all. I mean just looking at it professionally and abstractly.
S: That is putting the cart before the horse.
B: No, I am just saying that if it were some simple matter, with that much proof you would have already accepted it.
B: But when it comes to this, no proof seems to work.
S: Right. Nothing seems to work.
B: You say all that, but here I am presented with the solid reality of myself and my security and there is a sort of reaction which seems to say, well that may be possible but it is really only words. The real thing is me.
S: But there is more than that. Why has it such potency? I mean, it seems to take on such importance.
B: Well, maybe. But I am saying that the real thing is me, which is all important.
S: There is no question about it. Me, me - me is important.
K: Which is an idea.
B: We can see abstractly that it is just an idea. The question is how do you break into this process?
K: I think we can break into it, or break through it, or get beyond it only through perception.
B: The trouble is that all that we have been talking about is in the form of ideas. They may be correct ideas but they won't break into this.
B: Because this dominates the whole of thought.
S: That is right. I mean you could even ask why are we here. We are here because we want to...
K: No, sir. Look: If I feel my security lies in some image I have, a picture, a symbol, a conclusion or an ideal, I would put it not as an abstraction but bring it down. You see it is so. I believe in something. Actually. Now I say, why do I believe?
B: Well have you actually done that?
K: No, I haven't because I have no beliefs. I have no picture, I don't go in for all those kinds of games. I said `if'.
S: If, right.
K: Then I would bring the abstracted thing into a perceptive reality.
S: To see my belief, is that it?
K: See it.
S: To see my belief. Right. To see that `me' in operation.
K: Yes, if you like to put it that way. Sir, wait a minute. Take a simple thing. Have you a conclusion about something? A concept?
K: Now wait a bit. How is that brought about? Take a simple thing - a concept that I am an Englishman.
B: The trouble is that we probably don't feel attached to such concepts.
K: All right.
S: Let's take one that is real for me. Take the one about me being a doctor.
K: A concept.
S: That is a concept. That is a conclusion based on training, based on experience, based on the enjoyment of the work.
K: Which means what? A doctor means - the conclusion means he is capable of certain activities.
S: Right, OK. Let's take it. Concretely.
K: Work at it.
S: So now I have got this concrete fact that I have had this training, that I get this pleasure from the work, I get a kind of feedback...
K: Yes, sir. Move.
S: All right. Now that is my belief. That belief that I am a doctor is based on all that, that concept.
S: OK. Now I continually act to continue that.
K: Yes, sir, that is understood. Therefore you have a conclusion. You have a concept that you are a doctor.
K: Based on knowledge, experience, everyday activity.
K: Pleasure and all the rest of it.
K: So what is real in that? What is true in that? Real, meaning actual.
S: Well that is a good question. What is actual?
K: Wait. What is actual in that? Your training.
K: Your knowledge.
K: Your daily operation.
K: That's all. The rest is a conclusion.
B: But what is the rest?
K: The rest: I am very much better than somebody else.
B: Or else this thing is going to keep me occupied in a good way.
K: In a good way. I will never be lonely.
B: But isn't there also a certain fear that if I don't have this then things will be pretty bad?
K: Of course.
S: Right, OK.
B: And that fear seems to spur me on...
K: Of course. And if the patients don't turn up...
B: Then I have no money, fear.
S: No activity.
K: So loneliness. So be occupied.
S: Be occupied doing this, completing this concept. OK. Do you realize how important that is to all people, to be occupied?
K: Of course, sir.
S: Do you get the mean of that?
K: Of course.
S: How important it is to people to be occupied. I can see them running around.
K: Sir, a housewife is occupied. Remove that occupation and she says: Please...
B: "What shall I do?"
S: We know that as a fact. Since we put electrical equipment into the houses the women are going crazy, they have nothing to do with their time.
K: The result of this is the effect on the children - don't talk to me about it.
S: Right, OK. Let's go on. Now we have got this fact.
K: Now is this occupation an abstraction? Or actuality?
S: Now this is an actuality. I am actually occupied.
B: What is it?
K: You are actually occupied - eh?
B: Well what do you really mean by occupied?
S: What do you mean?
B: Well, I can say I am actually engaged in all these occupations - that is clear. I mean I am seeing patients as the doctor.
S: You are doing your thing.
B: I am doing my thing, getting my reward and so on. Being occupied seems to me to have a psychological meaning. There was something I once saw on television about a woman who was highly disturbed; it showed on the electro-encephalograph, but when she was occupied doing arithmetical sums the electro-encephalograph went beautifully smooth. She stopped doing the sums and it went all over the place. Therefore she had to keep on doing something to keep the brain working right.
K: Which means what?
B: Well what does it mean?
K: A mechanical process.
S: That's right.
B: It seems the brain starts jumping all over the place unless it has this thing.
K: A constant...
K: So you have reduced yourself to a machine.
S: Don't say it! No,it's not fair. But it is true. I have, I mean I feel there is a mechanical...
S: Oh, yes - commitment.
K: Of course.
B: But why does the brain begin to go so wild when it is not occupied? That seems to be a common experience.
K: Because in occupation there is security.
B: There is order.
S: In occupation there is a kind of mechanical order.
B: Right. So we feel our security really means we want order, is that right?
K: That's it.
B: We want order inside the brain. We want to be able to project order into the future, for ever.
S: That's right. But would you say that you can get it by mechanical order?
B: Then you get dissatisfied with it; you say, "I am getting sick of this mechanical life, I want something more interesting."
K: That is where the gurus come in!
B: Then the thing goes wild again. The mechanical order won't satisfy it. It works only for a little while.
S: I don't like the way something is slipping in there. We are going right from one thing to another. I am working for satisfaction.
B: I am looking for some regular order which is good, do you see? And I think that by my job as a doctor I am getting it.
B: But after a while I begin to feel it is too repetitious. I am getting bored.
S: OK. But suppose that doesn't happen? Suppose some people remain satisfied with their jobs?
B: Well they don't really. I mean then they become dull.
K: Quite. Mechanical. And you stop that mechanism and the brain goes wild.
S: That's right.
B: Right. So they may feel they are a bit dull and they would like some entertainment, or something more interesting and exciting. And therefore there is a contradiction, there is conflict and confusion.
K: Sir, Dr Shainberg is asking what is disturbing him. He feels he hasn't got his teeth into it.
S: You are right.
K: What is disturbing you?
S: Well, it is this feeling that people will say that...
K: No, you say, you.
S: Let's say I can get this order from occupying myself with something I like.
K: Go on. Proceed.
S: I do something I like and it gets boring, let's say, or it might get repetitious, but then I will find new parts of it. And then I'll do that some more because that gives me pleasure, you see. I mean I get a satisfaction out of it.
S: So I keep doing more of that.
K: You move from one mechanical process, get bored with it, and move to another mechanical process.
S: That's right.
K: Get bored with it and keep going.
S: That's right. That's it.
K: And you call that living.
S: That is what I call living.
B: I see that the trouble is that I now try to be sure that I can keep on doing this, because I can always anticipate a future when I won't be able to do it. I will be a bit too old for it, or else I'll fail. I'll lose the job or something. So I still have insecurity in that order.
K: Essentially it is mechanical disorder.
S: Masking itself as order.
K: Now, wait a minute. Do you see this? Or is it still an abstraction? Because you know, as Dr Bohm will tell you, idea means observation, the original meaning is observation. Do you observe this?
S: I see that, yes.
B: Then the point is, are you driven to this because you are frightened of the instability of the brain? If you are doing something because you are trying to run away from the instability of the brain, that is already disorder.
S: Yes, yes.
B: In other words that will be merely masking disorder.
S: Yes. Well then you are suggesting that this is the natural disorder of the brain?
B: No, I am saying that the brain without occupation tends to go into disorder.
K: In a mechanical process the brain feels secure, and when that mechanical process is disturbed it becomes insecure and disordered.
S: Then gets caught up again in the mechanical process.
K: Again and again and again and again.
S: It never stays with that insecurity.
K: No. When it perceives this process it is still mechanical. And therefore there is disorder.
B: The question is why does the brain get caught in mechanism?
K: Because it is the safest, the most secure way of living.
B: Well, it appears that way, but it is actually very...
K: Not appears, it is so for the time being.
B: For the time being, but in the long run it is not.
S: Are you saying we are time-bound, conditioned to be time-bound?
K: No. Conditioned by our tradition, by our education, by the culture we live in, to operate mechanically.
S: We take the easy way.
K: The easy way.
B: At the beginning the brain makes a mistake, let's say, and says "This is safer" - but somehow it fails to be able to see that it has made a mistake; it holds to this mistake. In the beginning you might call it an innocent mistake; it says, "This looks safer and I will follow it" and it continues in this mechanical process rather than seeing that it is wrong.
K: You are asking: Why doesn't it see that this mechanical process is essentially disorder?
B: That it is essentially disorder and dangerous.
B: It is totally delusory.
S: Why isn't there some sort of feedback? In other words I do something and it comes out wrong. At some point I ought to realize that. Why haven't I seen that my life is mechanical?
K: Now wait. You see it?
S: But I don't.
K: Wait. Why is it mechanical?
S: Well, it is mechanical because it is all action and reaction.
K: Why is it mechanical?
S: It is repetitious.
K: It is mechanical.
S: It is mechanical. I want it to be easy. I feel that it gives me the most security to keep it mechanical. I get a boundary. It is mechanical because it is repetitious...
K: You haven't answered my question.
S: I know I haven't! I am not sure what your question is.
K: Why has it become mechanical?
B: Why does it remain mechanical?
K: Why does it become and remain mechanical?
S: I think it remains mechanical... it is the thing we began with.
K: No. Pursue it. Why does it remain mechanical?
S: What has caused us to accept this mechanical way of living? I am not sure I can answer that.
K: Look. Wouldn't you be frightened?
S: I would see the uncertainty.
K: No, no. If the mechanical life one lives suddenly stopped, wouldn't you be frightened?
B: Wouldn't there be some danger?
K: That, of course. There is a danger that things might...
S: ...go to pieces.
K: ...go to pieces.
S: It is deeper than that.
K: Wait. Find out. Come on.
S: It is not just that there is a genuine danger, that I would be frightened. It feels like things take on a terribly, moment-by moment effect.
K: No, sir. Total order would give complete security, wouldn't it?
K: The brain wants total order.
K: Otherwise it can't function properly. Therefore it accepts the mechanical, hoping it won't lead to disaster. Hoping it will find order in that.
B: Could you say that perhaps in the beginning the brain accepted this not knowing that this mechanicalism would bring disorder - that it just went into it in an innocent state?
B: And now it is caught in a trap, and somehow it maintains this disorder, it doesn't want to get out of it.
K: Because it is frightened of greater disorder.
B: Yes. It says all that I've built up may go to pieces. In other words I am not in the same situation as when I first went into the trap because now I have built up a great structure. I'm afraid that structure will go to pieces.
K: Yes, but what I am trying to get at is that the brain needs this order, otherwise it can't function. It finds order in the mechanical process because it is trained from childhood - do as you are told, etc. There is a conditioning going on right from the start to live a mechanical life.
B: And at the same time the fear of giving up this mechanism.
K: Of course, of course.
B: In other words you are thinking all the time that without this mechanism everything will go to pieces, especially the brain.
K: Which means the brain must have order. And finds order in a mechanical way. Now do you see that actually the mechanical way of living leads to disorder? Which is tradition. If I live entirely in the past, which I think is very orderly, what takes place? I am already dead and I can't meet anything.
S: I am repeating myself always, right?
K: So I say, "Please don't disturb my tradition!" Every human being says, "I have found something which gives me order, a belief, a hope, this, or that, so leave me alone."
K: And life isn't going to leave him alone. So then he gets frightened and establishes another mechanical habit. Now do you see this whole thing? And therefore an instant action clearing it all away, and therefore order. The brain says at last I have an order, which is absolutely indestructible.
B: That doesn't follow logically.
K: It would follow logically if you go into it.
B: Go into it. Can we reach a point where it really follows necessarily?
K: I think we can only go into it if you perceive the mechanical structure which the brain has developed, attached and cultivated.
S: Can I share with you something I see as you are talking? I see it like this. Don't get impatient with me too quickly. I see it this way. Flashing through my mind are various kinds of interchange between people. The way they talk, the way I talk to them at a party. It is all about what happened before. You find them telling you who they are, in terms of their past. I can see what they will be. Like one guy who said, "I have just published my thirteenth book." It is very important to him that I get that information, see. And I see this. And I see this elaborate structure. This guy has got it into his head that I am going to think this about him, and then he is going to go to his university and they will think that about him. He is always living like that and the whole structure is elaborate - right?
K: Are you doing that?
S: When did you stop beating your wife! Of course I am doing it. I am doing it right now. And seeing the structure right now in all of us.
K: But do you see that fragmentary action is mechanical action?
S: That's right. It is there, Krishnaji. That is the way we are.
K: And therefore political action can never solve any human problems. Nor can the scientist - he is another fragment.
S: But do you realize what you are saying? Let us really look at what you are saying. This is the way it is. This is the way life is.
K: That's right.
S: Right? This is the way it is. Years and years and years...
K: Therefore why don't you change it?
S: But this is the way it is. We live in terms of our structures. We live in terms of history. We live in terms of our mechanics. We live in terms of our form. This is the way we live.
K: It means that when the past meets the present and ends there, a totally different thing takes place.
S: Yes. But the past doesn't meet the present so often. I mean...
K: I mean it is taking place now.
S: Now. Right now. Right. We are saying it now.
K: Therefore can you stop there?
S: We must see it totally.
K: No. The fact. The simple fact. The past meets the present. That is a fact.
B: Let us say how does the past meet the present? Let us go into that.
S: How does the past meet the present?
B: Well,just briefly, I think that when the past meets the present the past stops acting. What it means is that thought stops acting so that order comes about.
S: Do you think the past meets the present, or the present meets the past?
K: How do you meet me?
S: I meet you in the present.
K: No. How do you meet me? With all the memories, all the images, the reputation, the words, the pictures, the symbols - with all that, which is the past, you meet me now.
S: That's right. That's right. I come to you with a...
K: The past is meeting the present.
S: And then?
K: Ends there. Does not move forward.
S: Can it stop? What is the past meeting present? What is that action?
K: I will show it to you. I meet you with the past, my memories, but you might have changed in the meantime. So I never meet you.
I meet you with the past.
S: Right. That is a fact.
K: That is a fact. Now if I don't have that movement going on...
S: But I do.
K: Of course you do. But I say that that is disorder. I can't meet you then.
S: Right. How do you know that?
K: I don't know it. I only know the fact that when the past meets the present and continues, it is one of the factors of time, movement, bondage, fear, and so on. If, when the past meets the present, one sees this, one is fully aware of this, completely aware of this movement, then it stops. Then I meet you as though for the first time, then there is something fresh. It is like a new flower coming out.
K: I think we will go on this afternoon. We haven't really tackled the root of all this. The root, the cause, of all this disturbance, this turmoil, travail and anxiety.
B: Why should the brain be in this wild disorder?
K: I know, wild. You, Dr Shainberg, who are a doctor, an analyst, you have to ask that fundamental question - Why? Why do human beings live this way?
3rd Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm
18th May, 1976
Krishnamurti: Shall we start where we left off? We were asking, weren't we, why do human beings live this way?
Dr Shainberg: What is the root?
K: The turmoil, the confusion, the sorrow behind it all, the conflict, the violence. And so many people offer different ways of solving the problems - the gurus, the priests all over the world, the thousands of books, everybody offering a new solution, a new method, a new way of solving the problems. And I am sure this has been going on for a million years. "Do this and you will be all right. Do that and you will be all right." But nothing seems to have succeeded in making man live in order, happily, intelligently, without this chaotic activity going on. Why do we human beings live this way - in this appalling misery? Why?
S: Well, I have often said they do it because the very sorrow, the very turmoil, the very problems themselves, give them a sense of security.
Dr Bohm: I don't really think so. I think people just get used to it, Whatever happens you get used to it and you come to miss it after a while just because you are used to it. But that doesn't explain why it is there.
K: I was reading the other day that in 5,000 years there have been 5,000 wars - and we are still going on.
S: That's right. A guy said to me once that he wanted to go to Vietnam to fight because otherwise his life was every night at the bar.
K: I know, but that isn't the reason. Is it that we like it?
S: It is not that we like it; it is almost that we like not liking it.
K: Have we all become neurotic?
S: Yes. The whole thing is neurotic.
K: Are you saying that?
S: Yes. The whole of society is neurotic.
K: Which means that entire humanity is neurotic?
S: I think so. This is the argument we have all the time: Is society sick? And then if you say society is sick, what is the value you are using for comparison?
K: Yourself, who is neurotic.
K: So when you are faced with this, that human beings live this way and have accepted it for millennia, you say, "Well they are all half crazy - demented, corrupt from top to bottom", and then I come along and ask why?
S: Why do we keep it up? Why are we crazy? I see it with my children. They spend 50 hours a week in front of the television box. That is their whole life. My children laugh at me, all their friends are doing it.
K: No, moving beyond that - why?
S: Why? Without it - what?
K: No: not without it, what.
S: That is what we run into.
B: No that is very secondary. You see, as we were saying this morning, I think we get to depend on it to occupy us, and war would seem some release from the boredom of the pub, or whatever, but that is secondary.
K: And also when I go to fight a war, all responsibility is taken away from me. Somebody else becomes responsible - the general....
B: In the old days people used to think that war would be a glorious thing. When the first world war started in England everybody was in a state of high elation.
K: So looking at this panorama of horror - I feel this very strongly because I travel all over the place and I see this extraordinary phenomenon going on everywhere - I say why do people live this way, accept these things? We have become cynical.
B: Nobody believes anything can be done about it.
S: That's it.
K: Is it that we feel that we cannot do anything about it?
S: That's for sure.
B: That's been an old story. People say human nature...
K: ...can never be altered.
B: Yes. That is not new at all.
K: Not new.
S: But it's certainly true that people feel - let's not say people - we feel, like I said this morning, that this is the way it is, this is the way we live.
K: I know, but why don't you change it? You see your son looking at the television for 50 hours; you see your son going off to war, killed, maimed, blinded - for what?
B: Many people have said that they don't accept that human nature is this way, that they will try to change it, and it hasn't worked. The Communists tried it; others tried it. There has been so much bad experience, which all adds up to the idea that human nature doesn't change.
S: You know when Freud came along, he made history: he never said psychoanalysis is to change people. He said we can only study people.
K: I am not interested in that. I know that. I don't have to read Freud, or Jung, or you, or anybody, it is there in front of me.
S: Right. So let's say we know this fact about people, they don't try to change.
K: So what is preventing them?
B: People have tried to change in many cases, but...
S: OK. But now let's say that they don't try to change.
K: They do. In a dozen ways they try to change.
K: But essentially they are the same.
B: You see, I think people cannot find out how to change human nature.
K: Is that it?
B: Well, whatever methods have been tried are entirely...
S: Is that it? Or is it the fact that the very nature of the way they want to change is part of the process itself
K: That's what he is saying.
B: No, but I am saying both. I say the first part is that whatever people have tried has not been guided by a correct understanding of human nature.
S: So it is guided by this very process itself. Right? By the incorrectness?
B: Yes, let's take the Marxists who say that human nature can be improved, but only when the whole economical and political structure has been altered.
K: They have tried to alter it but human nature...
B: They can't alter it, you see, because human nature is such that they can't really alter it.
S: They make a mechanical change.
K: Look at it, sir: take yourself - sorry to be personal - but if you don't mind, you be the victim.
S: Pig in the middle.
K: Right. Why don't you change?
S: Well, the immediate feel of it is that there is still... I guess I shall have to say there is some sort of false security - the fragmentation, the immediate pleasures that are got from the fragmentation. In other words there is still that movement of fragmentation. That's how come there is not the change. It is not seeing the whole thing.
K: Are you saying that political action, religious action, social action, are all fighting each other? And we are that.
K: Is that what you are saying?
S: Yes, I am saying that. My immediate response is: Why don't I change? What is it that keeps me from seeing the total? I don't know. I keep coming up with a kind of feeling that I am getting something from not changing.
K: Is it the entity that wishes to change - which sets the pattern or change, and therefore the pattern is always the same under a different colour? I don't know if I am making myself clear?
S: Could you say it another way?
K: I want to change, and I plan what to change, how to bring about this change.
K: The planner is always the same.
S: That's right.
K: But the patterns change.
S: That's right. Yes. I have an image of what I want.
K: So the patterns change, but I, who want to change, create the patterns of change.
S: That's right.
K: So I am the old and the patterns are the new but the old is always conquering the new.
B: But when I do that I don't feel that I am the old...
K: ...of course.
B: I really don't feel I am involved in that old stuff I want to change.
K: It has been said a hundred million times. Do this and you will be transformed. You try to do it but the centre is always the same.
B: And each person who does it feels that it has never happened before.
K: Never before. Yes. My experience through reading some book is entirely different, but the experiencer is the same...
B: The same old thing, right.
K: I think that is one of the root causes of it.
S: Yes, yes.
B: It is a kind of sleight-of-hand trick whereby the thing which is causing the trouble is put into the position of the thing that is tryng to make the change. It is a deception.
K: I am deceiving myself all the time by saying I am going to change that, become that. You read some book and say, "Yes how true that is, I am going to live according to that." But the me who is going to live according to that is the same old me.
S: Right, yes. That's right. We run into this with patients. For instance, the patient will say, the doctor is going to be the one who is going to help me. But when I see that that doctor is...
K: ...is like me.
S: ...is like me, he is not going to be able to help. Then the patient goes to someone else - most of them go to another therapy.
K: Another guru. After all they are all men too. A new guru, or an old guru - it is all the same old stuff.
S: You are really getting at the issue, that the root is this belief that something, someone, can help you.
K: No, the root remains the same - and we trim the branches.
B: I think the root is something we don't see because we put it in the position of the one who is supposed to be seeing.
S: Say that another way.
B: It is a sort of a conjuring trick. We don't see the root because the root is put into the position of somebody who is looking for the root. I don't know if you see it.
K: Yes. The root says I am looking for the root.
B: It is like the man who says he is looking for his glasses, and he has got them on.
S: Or like that Sufi story - you know the story? - a guy is looking for a key he has lost. The Sufi comes along and sees the guy crawling around under the lamppost, and he says, "What are you doing?" "I am looking for my key." "Did you lose it here?" "No, I lost it over there but there's more light over here."
B: We throw the light on the other part.
K: Yes, sir. So if I want to change I don't follow anybody because they are all like the rest of the gang. I don't accept any authority in all this. Authority arises only when I am confused. When I am in disorder.
S: That's right.
K: So I say, can I completely change at the very root?
B: Let's look at that: there seems confusion in the language because you say "I".
K: Confusion in the language, I know.
B: You say I am going to change and it is not clear what you mean by I.
K: The I is the root.
B: The I is the root, so how can I change?
K: That is the whole point.
B: You see the language is confusing because you say I have got to change at the root, but I am the root. So what is going to happen?
S: What is going to happen, yes?
K: No, no. How am I not to be I?
B: Well, what do you mean by that?
S: How am I not to be I? Let's roll it back a second. You state you are not going to accept any authority.
K: Who is my authority? Who? They have all told me, "Do this, do that, do the other. Read this book and you will change. Follow this system, you will change. Identify yourself with god, you will change." But I remain exactly as I was before - in sorrow, in misery, in confusion, looking for help, and I choose the help which suits me most. Umpteen different ways have been tried to change man. Rewarding him, punishing him, promising him. Nothing has brought about this miraculous change. And it is a miraculous change.
S: It would be, yes, yes.
K: It is so. So, seeing this, I reject all authority. It is a reasonable, sane rejection. Now how do I proceed? I have got 50 years to live. What is the correct action?
S: What is the correct action to live properly?
K: If everybody said, "I can't help you, you have to do it yourself, look at yourself", then the whole thing would begin to act. Here is a man who says, "I am neurotic and I won't go to any other kind of neurotic to make me sane". What does he do? He doesn't accept authority, because he has created the authority out of his disorder,
B: Well, that is merely the hope that somebody knows what to do.
B: Because I feel this chaos is too much for me and I just assume that somebody else can tell me what to do. But that comes out of this confusion.
S: Yes the disorder creates the authority.
K: In the school here I have been saying: If you behave properly there is no authority. The behaviour we have all agreed to - punctuality, cleanliness, this or that: if you really see it you have no authority.
S: Yes, I see that. That I think is a key point. That the disorder itself creates the need for authority.
B: It doesn't actually create a need for it. It creates among people the impression that they need authority to correct the disorder. That would be more exact.
K: So let's start from there. In the rejection of authority I am beginning to become sane. I say that now I know I am neurotic what shall I do? What is correct action in my life? Can I ever find it - being neurotic?
K: I can't. So I won't ask what is the right action - I will now say: Can I free my mind from being neurotic? Is it possible? I won't go to Jerusalem, I won't go to Rome, I won't go to any doctors. Because I am very serious now. I am deadly serious because this is my life.
B: You have to be so serious because of the immense pressure to escape...
K: I won't.
B: ...you won't, but I am saying that one will feel at this juncture that there will probably be an intense pressure towards escape, saying this is too much.
K: No. No, sir. You see what happens...
S: What happens?
K: ...when I reject authority I have much more energy.
B: Yes, if you reject authority.
K: Because I am now concentrated to find out for myself. I am not looking to anybody.
S: That's right. In other words, I then have to be really open to "what is", that is all I have got.
K: So what shall I do?
S: When I am really open to "what is"?
K: Not open. Here I am, here is a human being, caught in all this, what shall he do? - rejecting all authority, knowing that social discipline is immoral...
S: Then there is intense alertness...
K: No. Tell me. Tell me - you are a doctor, tell me what I am to do. I reject you.
K: Because you are not my doctor, you are not my authority.
K: You can't tell me what to do, because you are confused yourself
K: So you have no right to tell me what to do. So I come to you as a friend, and say let's find out. Because you are serious and I am serious. Let's see how...
S: ...we can work together.
K: No, no, be careful. I am not working together.
S: You are not going to work together?
K: No. We are investigating together. Working together means co-operation.
K: I am not co-operating. I say you are like me. What are we going to co-operate with?
S: In order to co-operatively investigate.
K: No. Because you are like me, confused, miserable, unhappy, neurotic.
S: Right, right.
K: So I say, how can we co-operate? We can only co-operate in neuroticism.
S: That's right. So what are we going to do?
K: So can we investigate together?
S: How can we investigate together if we are both neurotic?
K: I say look, I am going first to see in what ways I am neurotic.
S: OK. Let's look at it.
K: Yes, look at it. In what way am I neurotic - a human being, who comes from New York, or Tokyo, or Delhi, or Moscow, or wherever it is? He says, I know I am neurotic, the leaders of the world are neurotic and I am part of it - I am the world and the world is me - so I can't look to anybody. Do you see what that does?
S: It puts you straight up there in front.
K: It gives you a tremendous sense of integrity.
S: Right. You have to fall on your hands and run with it.
K: Now can I - I being a human being - can I look at my neuroticism? Is it possible to see my neuroticism? What is neuroticism? What makes me neurotic? All the things that have been put into me, which make the me. Can my consciousness empty all that?
S: Your consciousness is that thought.
K: Of course.
B: Is it only that?
K: For the moment I am limiting it to that.
B: That is my consciousness. That proliferation of my fragmentation, my thought, is my neuroticism. Isn't that right?
K: Of course. It is a tremendous question, you follow? Can I, can the consciousness of man, which began five, ten million years ago, with all the things that have been put into it, generation after generation, generation after generation, from the beginning until now - can you take the whole of it and look at it?
S: Can you take the whole of it - that's not clear. How can you take the whole of it and look at it?
B: It seems there's a language problem there: You say you are that, how can you look at it?
K: I'll show you in a minute. We'll go into it.
B: I mean there is a difficulty in stating it.
K: I know, stating it. The words are wrong.
B: Yes, the words are wrong. So we shouldn't take these words too literally.
K: Not too literally, of course.
B: Could we say that the words can be used flexibly?
K: No, the word is not the thing.
B: But we are using words and the question is how are we to understand them? You see they are in some way an...
K: ...an impediment and...
B: ...in some way a clue to what we are talking about. It seems to me that one trouble with words is the way we take them. We take them to mean something very fixed.
K: Now, can you look at it without the word? Is that possible? The word is not the thing. The word is a thought. And as a human being I realize I am neurotic - neurotic in the sense that I believe, I live in conclusions, in memories, which are neurotic processes.
S: In words.
K: In words. Words, pictures and reality. I believe in something. My belief is very real; it may be illusory - all beliefs are illusory but because I believe so strongly they are real to me.
K: So can I look at the nature of the belief, how it arose - look at it?
Can you look at that fact that you have a belief. Whatever it is, god, the State, or whatever.
S: But I believe it is true.
K: No, no. Can you look at that belief.
S: There is a belief and not a fact.
K: Ah, no. It is a reality to you when you believe in it.
S: Right, but how am I going to look at it if I really believe it? I say there is a god. Now you are telling me to look at my belief in the god.
K: Why do you believe? Who asked you to believe? What is the necessity of god? Not that I am an atheist, but I am asking you.
S: God is there for me, if I believe.
K: Then there is no investigation, it has stopped, you have blocked yourself; you have shut the door.
S: That's right. But you see we have got such beliefs. How can we get at this? Because I think we have loads of these unconscious beliefs that we don't really shake. Like the belief in the me.
B: I think a deeper question is how the mind sets up reality. I mean, if I look at things I may think they are real. That may be an illusion but when it comes it seems real. Even with objects, you can say a word and it becomes real when you describe it that way. And therefore in some way the word sets up in the brain a construction of reality. Then everything is referred to that construction of reality.
S: How are we to investigate that?
K: What created that reality? Would you say that everything thought has created is a reality - except nature?
B: Thought didn't create nature.
K: No, of course not.
B: Can't we put it that thought can describe nature.
K: Yes, thought can describe nature - in poetry...
B: And also in imagination.
K: Imagination. Can we say that whatever thought has put together is reality? The chair, the table, all these electric lights, nature - thought hasn't created nature but it can describe it.
B: And also make theories about it.
K: Make theories, yes. And also the illusion thought has created is the reality.
B: But doesn't this construction of reality have its place, because...
K: Of course, of course.
B: ...this table is real although the brain has constructed it. But at some stage we construct realities that are not there. We can see this sometimes in the shadows on a dark night constructing realities that are not there.
K: That there is a man there.
B: Yes. And also tricks and illusions are possible by conjurers. But then it goes further and we say that mentally we construct a logical reality, which seems intensely real, very strong. But it seems to me the question is: What is it that thought does to give that sense of reality, to construct reality? Can we watch that?
K: What does thought do to bring about, to create, that reality?
S: You mean like if you talk to someone who believes in God, he says to you that is real. And if you talk to somebody who really believes in the self. I talk to many people, to many psychotherapists - they say the self is real, that it exists, it is a thing. You heard a psychotherapist once say to Krishnaji, "We know the ego exists."
B: Well, it is not only that. I think what happens is that the illusion builds up very fast once you construct the reality. It builds up a tremendous structure, a cloud of support around it.
K: So let's come to it. What are we doing now?
S: We are moving.
K: We are trying to find out what is the correct action in life. I can only find that out if there is order in me - right? Me is the disorder.
S: Right. That's right.
K: However real that me is, that is the source of disorder.
K: Because that separates, that divides - me and you, we and they, my nation, my god - me.
K: Me with its consciousness.
K: Can that consciousness be aware of itself? Aware, like thought thinking.
B: Thinking about itself?
K: Put it very simply: can thought be aware of its own movement?
S: That's the question.
B: That's the question. It could be thought understanding its own structure.
S: And its own movement. But is it thought that is aware of itself? Or is it something else?
K: Try it. Try it. Do it now.
K: Do it now. Can your thought be aware of itself? Of its movement?
B: It stops.
K: What does that mean?
S: It means what it says: it stops. The observation of thought, stops thought.
K: No, don't put it that way.
S: How would you put it?
K: It is undergoing a radical change.
B: So the word "thought" is not a fixed thing.
B: The word "thought" does not mean a fixed thing. It can change - eh?
K: That's right.
B: In perception.
K: You have told me, and other scientists have told me, that in the observation of an object through a microscope, the object undergoes a change.
B: In the quantum theory the object cannot be fixed apart from the fact of observation.
S: This is true with patients during psychoanalysis. They change automatically.
K: Forget the patient, you are the patient!
S: I am the patient, right.
K: What takes place when thought is aware of itself? You know, sir, this is an extraordinarily important thing.
K: That is, can the doer be aware of his doing? I can move this vase from here to there and be aware of that moving. That is very simple. I stretch out my arm... But can thought be aware of itself, its movement, its activity, its structure, its nature, what it has created, what it has done in the world?
S: I want to save that question for tomorrow.