The Ending of Time
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 1st Conversation with David Bohm 1st April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'
JK: Sir, how shall we start this?
DB: I understand you have something to say.
JK: On lots of things but I do not know how to start it.
JK: Sir, I would like to ask if humanity has taken a wrong turn.
DB: A wrong turn? Well it must have done so, a long time ago, I think.
K: That is what I feel. A long time ago mankind must have turned.
K: I am just enquiring.
DB: It appears that way.
K: It appears that way - why? You see, as I look at it, mankind has always tried to become something - the becoming.
DB: Well possibly. You see I think I was struck by something I read a long time ago about a man going wrong when he began to be able to plunder and take slaves about five or six thousand years ago. And then after that his main purpose of existence was to just exploit and plunder and take slaves.
K: Yes, but the sense of inward becoming.
DB: Well yes, we should make it clear how this is connected. What kind of becoming was involved in doing that? Instead of being constructive and discovering new techniques, and metals, and so on, they found it easier to plunder their neighbours and take slaves at a certain point.
K: Yes, yes, all that.
DB: Now what did they want to become?
K: That is, conflict has been the root of all this.
DB: What was the conflict? You see if we could put ourselves in the place of the people a long time ago, how would you see that conflict?
K: What is the root of conflict, not only outwardly, but also this tremendous inward conflict of humanity? What is the root of it?
DB: Well, it seems it would be contradictory desires.
K: No. Is it that we are all trying, in all religions it has been that you must become something? You must reach.
DB: Yes, well what made people want to do that? Why weren't they satisfied to be whatever they were? You see the religion would not have caught on unless people felt that there was some attraction to becoming something more.
K: Isn't it an avoidance or rather, not being able to face the fact and change the fact, but rather move to something else, more and more and more.
DB: Yes. Well what would you say was the fact that people couldn't stay with?
K: What is the fact that people could not stay with? The Christians said, the original sin.
DB: Yes, well that is already a long time - it happened long before that.
K: Long before that. I am just saying. Long before that. The Hindus have this idea of Karma. What is the origin of all this?
DB: Well we have said that there is a fact that people couldn't stay with. But whatever it was they wanted to imagine something better.
K: Yes, something better. Becoming more and more and more.
DB: Yes. And you could say that technologically they began to make techniques to make things better which made sense, and then they extended this, without knowing it, and said 'I too must become better, all of us must'.
K: Yes, inside becoming better.
DB: All of us together must become better.
K: That's right. What is the root of all this?
DB: Well I should thing it is natural in thought to project this goal of becoming better, that it is intrinsic in the structure of thought.
K: Is it becoming better outwardly - the principle of becoming better outwardly, move to the inside, trying to become better.
DB: Yes, well that's clear that man didn't know any reason why he shouldn't do that.
K: I know, of course.
DB: He say, if it is good to become better outwardly then why shouldn't I become better inwardly.
K: Is that the cause of it?
DB: Well, that is getting towards it. It's coming nearer.
K: It is coming nearer? Is time the factor? Time as 'I need knowledge in order to do - it doesn't matter, whatever it is - I need time for that'. The same principle applied inwardly.
DB: It is the same general idea to say that we project something better outwardly which requires time and therefore the same must be done inwardly.
K: Is time the factor?
DB: Well time by itself I can't see is the only factor.
K: No, no. Time, becoming which implies time.
DB: Yes, but one would have to ask a question here: time by itself - we don't see how it is going to cause trouble. We have to say time applied outwardly causes no difficulty.
K: It causes a certain amount, but inwardly the idea of time.
DB: Yes, so we have to see why is time so destructive inwardly.
K: Because I am trying to become something.
DB: Yes but if I could say that most people would say that is only natural. We have to say what is it about becoming that is wrong.
K: In that there is conflict.
DB: Yes. O.K. So we see that then.
K: Obviously in that when I am trying to become something it is a constant battle.
DB: Yes. Can we go into that: why it is a constant battle.
K: Oh, that is fairly simple.
DB: It is not a battle if I try to improve my position outwardly.
K: Outwardly, no.
DB: It is not obvious. Yes, but it would be good to bring it out very much in the open why it is a battle when we are trying to do something inwardly.
K: Are we asking why it is that it is more or less all right outwardly, but inwardly when that same principle is applied it brings about a contradiction.
DB: Yes. And the contradiction is?
K: Between 'what is' and the 'becoming what should be'.
DB: Yes, but then outwardly it would appear there is a contradiction too because we have a certain situation here and we try to make it into something else. Now that seems all right.
K: That seems normal.
DB: The difficulty is why is it a contradiction inwardly and not outwardly, or the other way round?
K: Inwardly it builds up, doesn't it, a centre, an egotistic centre.
DB: Yes, but if we could find some reason why it should do that. Does it do it when we do it outwardly? It seems it needn't do.
K: It needn't do.
DB: Yes. Now when we are doing it inwardly then we are trying to force ourselves to be something that we are not. Right?
DB: And that is a fight. That is clear.
K: That is a fact.
DB: But it seems outwardly it needn't be a fight. Because matter will allow itself to be shaped - you know, from what is to what it should be.
K: Is it one's brain is so accustomed to conflict that one rejects any other form of living?
DB: Well that must have come later.
K: I understand that, I understand that.
DB: After a while people come to the conclusion that conflict is inevitable and necessary?
K: But the origin of conflict, we are going into it. What's the origin of conflict?
DB: I think we touched on it by saying we are trying to force ourselves, on the one hand I think when we are a certain thing that is what we want to be, and then we also want to be something else, which is different and therefore we want two different things at the same time. Would that seem right?
K: I understand that. But I am trying to find out the origin of all this misery, confusion, conflict, struggle - what is the beginning of it? That's why I asked at the beginning: has mankind taken a wrong turn? Is the origin 'I am not I'?
DB: Well, that might be getting closer. I think that is getting closer to separation between 'I am not I'.
K: Yes, that's it. And the 'I' - why has mankind created this 'I', which must inevitably cause conflict? 'I' and you, and me better and so on and so on and so on.
DB: I think that was a mistake made a long time ago, or as you call it a wrong turn, that again having introduced separation between various things outwardly we then, not knowing better, kept on doing. Not out of ill will but simply not knowing better.
K: Quite, quite, quite.
DB: Not seeing what they are doing.
K: Is that the origin of all this?
DB: Well it is close. I am not sure that it is the origin. What do you feel?
K: I am inclined to observe that the origin is that, the ego, the 'me', the 'I'.
K: If there is no ego there is no problem, there is no conflict, there is no time - time in the sense of becoming, not becoming, being or not being.
DB: But it might be that we would still slip into whatever it was that made us make the ego in the first place.
K: Is it - wait a minute, wait a minute - is it energy being so vast, limitless, has been condensed or narrowed down in the mind, and the brain itself has become narrowed down because it couldn't contain all this enormous energy - you are following what I am saying?
K: And therefore gradually narrowed down to me, to the 'I'.
DB: I don't quite follow that. I understand that that is what happened but I don't quite see all the steps. If you say energy was very broad, very big, and the brain you say can't handle it, or it decided it couldn't handle it?
K: It couldn't handle it.
DB: But if it can't handle it, it seems as if there is no way out them?
K: No, no, Just a minute. Wait, wait, wait. Slowly. I just want to enquire, push into it a little bit.
Why has the brain, with all thought and so on, created this sense of 'me', 'I'? Why? Outwardly, the family, you follow, outwardly it had to be that way.
DB: Well we needed a certain sense of identity to function.
K: Yes, to function. To function, to have a trade, function.
DB: To know where you belong.
K: Yes, and so on. And is that the movement that has brought that in? The movement of the outer, where I had to identify - the family, the house and so on gradually became the me?
DB: Yes, well I think that this energy that you are talking about also entered into it.
K: Yes, I want to lead up to it slowly. I have got an idea inside I'll show you a little later.
DB: Somehow - you see certainly what you say is right that in some way this gradually strengthened but by itself that wouldn't explain the tremendous strength that the ego has. It would only be a habit then. The ego becoming completely dominant required that it become the focus of the highest energy, you know, the greatest energy, of all the energy?
K: Is that it? That the brain cannot hold this vast energy?
DB: Well let's say the brain is trying to control this, to bring it to order.
K: Energy has no order.
DB: You see if the brain feels it can't control something that is going on inside, it will try to establish order.
K: Sir, could we say that the brain, your brain, his brain, her brain, is not just born, it is very, very old?
DB: Well, I would have to see what that means anyway. In what sense?
K: In the sense it has evolved.
DB: Evolved, yes, from the animal.
K: From the animal and so on.
DB: And the animal has evolved and so let's say that in the sense that this whole evolution is somehow contained in the brain.
K: I want to question evolution. I understand say, from the bullock cart to the jet - I understand that, that evolution.
DB: Yes. But before you question we have to consider that there is evidence of the development of a series of steps, man developing through a series of stages - you can't question that, can you?
K: No, of course not, of course not.
DB: I mean physically it is clear that evolution has occurred in some way.
K: Physically, yes.
DB: And the brain has got larger.
DB: More complex. You may question whether mentally evolution has any meaning. I understand that.
K: You see sir, I want to avoid time.
DB: Right. Go ahead.
K: Psychologically, you understand?
DB: Yes, I understand.
K: To me that is the enemy.
DB: Yes, I understand that very well.
K: You understand that?
K: Well that is something! And is that the cause of it?
DB: I don't know what we mean by cause but it is one point.
K: No, the origin of man's misery?
DB: Well this use of time certainly. Man had to use time for a certain purpose and he misused it.
K: I understand that. I mean if I had to learn a language I must have time.
DB: But the misuse of time by extending it inwardly.
K: Inwardly, that is what I am talking about.
DB: Yes. To the essence.
K: Is that the cause of this - man's confusion - introducing time as a means of becoming, and becoming more and more perfect, more and more evolved, more and more loving? You follow what I mean?
DB: Well, yes I understand. Certainly if we didn't do that the whole structure would collapse.
K: Collapse, that's it.
DB: But whether there is not some other cause still, I don't know.
K: Just a minute. I want to go into that a little bit. If I - no, I am not talking theoretically, personally. To me the idea of tomorrow doesn't exist psychologically.
K: That is, time is a movement either inwardly or outwardly. Right?
DB: You mean psychological time?
K: Yes psychological time and time outwardly.
DB: Yes. And certain relation between those two.
K: Now if the psychological time doesn't exist then there is no conflict, there is no me, there is no 'I' which is the origin of conflict. Do you understand sir what I am trying to get at? Outwardly we moved, evolved - this microphone and so on.
DB: And also in the inward physical structure.
K: The structure, everything. But psychologically we have also moved outwardly.
DB: Yes, we have focused our life on the outward. Is that what you are saying?
DB: We have turned our attention to the outward.
K: No. I have extended my capacities outwardly.
DB: Yes we have developed outwardly.
K: And inwardly it is the same movement outwardly.
DB: Yes, whatever we do outwardly we do inwardly.
K: Yes. I don't know whether I am conveying this.
DB: I understand that in order to develop outwardly in a certain way through time and mechanism we have to adopt that inward structure.
K: Yes, now if there is no inward movement as time, moving, becoming more and more, then what takes place? You understand what I am trying to convey?
DB: Yes. Well then if we say this whole movement of time ceases - whatever that means - the word 'ceases' is wrong because that is time.
K: Time ends.
DB: Without the movement of time that the energy is...
K: You see the outer movement is the same as the inward movement.
DB: Yes. Whatever you do outwardly you must do inwardly. That seems correct.
K: And it is the same movement.
DB: Yes. It is going around and around.
K: Yes, yes, involving time.
K: If that movement ceases then what takes place? I wonder if I am conveying anything. Are we talking nonsense? I don't think I am talking nonsense.
Sir, could we put it this way: we have never touched any other movement than the outer movement.
DB: Yes, well generally anyway. We put most of our energy into the outward movements.
K: Outward, and psychologically is also outward.
DB: Well it is the reflection of the outward movement.
K: We think it is inward but it is actually outward - right?
K: Now if that movement ends, as it must, then is there a really inward movement - movement not in terms of time?
DB: You want to say: is there another kind of movement?
DB: It still moves but not in terms of time.
K: That's right.
DB: We have to go into that. Could you go further.
K: You see that word movement means time.
DB: Well it means to change place from one place to another really. But anyway still you have some notion which is not static. By denying time you don't want to return to something static, which still is time.
K: You see one's brain has been trained, accustomed, for centuries to go North, let's say for instance. And it suddenly realizes going North is everlasting conflict. As it realizes it moves East. In that movement the brain itself is changing. Right?
DB: Well something changes, yes.
K: The quality of the brain changes.
DB: All right. Well I can see it will wake up in some way to a different movement.
K: Yes, different. A different movement again - you see.
DB: Is the word flow any better?
K: If I am not going North, and I have been going North all my life, and there is a stoppage from going North, but it is not going East, or South or West, then conflict ceases. Right? Because it is not moving in any direction.
DB: All right. So that is the key point - the direction of movement. When the movement is fixed in direction, inwardly it will come to conflict. Outwardly we need a fixed direction.
K: Of course we do. That's understood.
DB: Yes. So if we say it has no fixed direction then what is it doing? Is it moving in all directions?
K: I am hesitant to talk about this a little bit. Could one say when one really comes to that state, that is the source of all energy?
DB: Yes, as you go deeper, more inwardly.
K: This is the real inwardness, not the outward movement becoming the inner movement but when there is no outer and inner movement.
DB: Yes, we can deny both the outward and the inner, so that it would seem to stop movement.
K: Would that be the source of all energy?
DB: Yes, well perhaps we could say that.
K: May I talk about myself a little bit?
K: It sounds so ridiculous.
DB: No, it doesn't actually. It seems to make sense so far.
K: First of all conscious meditation is no meditation. Right?
DB: What do you mean by conscious meditation?
K: That is deliberate meditation, practice and deliberate, which is really premeditated meditation. Right? Is there a meditation which is not premeditated? Which is not the ego trying to become something, or the ego not trying to negate negatively or positively.
DB: Yes. Now before we go ahead could we suggest somewhat what meditation should be. Is it an observation of the mind observing?
K: No, no, no. It has gone beyond all that.
DB: Yes. So...
DB: You used the word meditation.
K: I am using meditation in the sense in which there is not a particle of endeavour, a particle of any sense of trying to become, consciously reach a level and so on.
DB: The mind is simply with itself, silent.
K: That is what I want to get at.
DB: Not looking for anything.
K: You don't mind, we two are talking. You see I don't meditate in the normal sense of the word. What happens with me is - I am not talking personally, please: I wake up meditating.
DB: In that state.
K: And one morning, one night in Rishi Valley I woke up - a series of incidents had taken place, meditation for some days - I woke up one night, in the middle of the night, it was really a quarter past twelve, I looked at the watch. And I hesitate to say this because it sounds extravagant and rather childish: that the source of all energy had been reached. And that had an extraordinary effect on the brain, and also physically. Sorry to talk about myself but you understand. Wait a minute, I don't mind now I am in it.
And literally any sense of the world and me and that - you follow? - there was no division at all only this sense of tremendous source of energy. I don't know if I am conveying it.
DB: So the brain was in contact with this source of energy?
K: Yes. Now, coming down to earth, as I have been talking for sixty years, I'd like to, not help, I'd like another to reach this - no, not reach it - you understand what I am saying? Because all our problems are resolved, political, religious, every problem is resolved because it is pure energy from the very beginning of time. Now how am I - not I, you understand - how is one to - not teach, not help, not push, pressure - how is one to say, 'This way leads to a complete sense of peace, love and all that'? I am sorry to use all these words. Sir, you have it sir, suppose you have come to that point and your brain itself is throbbing with it, how would you help me? You understand? Not words, how would you help me to come to that? You understand what I am trying to say?
K: My brain, brain, not mine, the brain has evolved. Evolution implies time and it can only think, live in time. Now for it to deny time is a tremendous activity of having no problems. Any problem that arises, any question is immediately solved. It has no duration, of a problem.
DB: Well is this sustained? Is this situation sustained or is it for that period?
K: It is sustained, obviously, otherwise there is no point in it. It is not sporadic, intermittent and all that. Now how are you to open the door, shut, however, how are you to help me to say, 'Look, we have been going in the wrong direction, there is only another non-movement, and if that takes place, you follow, everything will be correct.' It sounds silly all this.
DB: Well yes. I think I can't know if everything is going to be correct. It is hard to know beforehand if everything is going to be correct. But the movement would have value anyway. Certainly it should make a big difference.
K: Sir, let's go back to what we began with. That is, has mankind taken a wrong turn, psychologically, not physically?
DB: Yes, we went into that - the turn in various ways.
K: Can that turn be completely reversed? Or stopped? Say, my brain is so accustomed to this evolutionary idea that I will become something, I will gain something, I must have more knowledge and so on and so on, can that brain realize suddenly there is no such thing as time? You understand what I am trying to say?
K: I was listening the other day to Darwin on the television, his voyage, and what he achieved and so on and so on, his whole evolution.
DB: Oh, Darwin, yes.
K: It seems to me that is a wrong thing psychologically. Totally untrue.
DB: Once again it seems that he has given evidence that these species have changed in time. Now why is that untrue?
K: Of course it was obvious.
DB: Yes it is true in that regard. I think it would be untrue to say the mind evolved in time.
K: Of course.
DB: But physically it seems clear there has been a process of evolution and this has increased the capacity of the brain to do certain things. But for example we couldn't be discussing this if the brain had not grown larger.
K: Of course sir, I understand all that.
DB: But I think you are implying that the mind is not originating in the brain. Is that so? The brain is perhaps an instrument for it, of the mind?
K: The mind. And the mind is not time.
DB: The mind is not time.
K: Just see what it means. We are getting nearer.
DB: It does not evolve with the brain.
K: Sounds odd, doesn't it?
DB: It would sound odd to persons not used to it, In the past people used to accept this idea quite easily.
K: The mind not being of time, and the brain being of time - is that the origin of conflict?
DB: That may be an important point.
K: You understand sir what that means? The Hindus say the Atman, the highest Principle is in man, which is the mind. I may be translating wrongly, interpreting it wrongly. And the brain is of time. I am putting it, they may not put it that way. So is that the origin of conflict?
DB: Well we have to see why that produces conflict. It is not clear to say even that the brain is of time, but rather it has developed in such a way that time is in it.
K: Yes, that is what I meant.
DB: But not necessarily so.
K: It has evolved.
DB: It has evolved so it has time within it.
K: Yes as it has evolved, time is part of it.
DB: It has become part of its very structure.
DB: And that was necessary. And now however the mind operates without time, the brain therefore is not able to.
K: No. You see that means god is in man and god can only operate if the brain is quiet, if the brain is not caught in time.
DB: Well, I wasn't meaning that. I was saying that the brain having a structure of time is not able to respond properly to mind. That's really what seems to be involved there.
K: Can the brain itself see that it is caught in time and as long as it is moving in that direction conflict is eternal, endless? You follow what I am saying?
DB: Yes. Now does the brain see?
K: Yes, has the brain the capacity to see that what it is doing now, caught in time, in that process there is no end to conflict.
DB: Yes. Wouldn't you say the brain is not totally caught in time it can awaken to another, to see.
K: That means, is there a part of the brain which is not of time.
DB: Not caught in time. Some function.
K: Can one say that?
DB: I don't know.
K: That means - we come back to the same thing in different words - that the brain, not being conditioned by time completely, so there is a part of the brain...
DB: Well not a part but rather the brain functions dominated by time but that doesn't necessarily mean that it couldn't shift. The general tendency is for time to dominate the brain.
K: Yes. That is, can the brain dominated by time not be subservient to it?
DB: That's right. In that moment it comes out of time. And it is dominated only - I think I can see this - it is dominated only when you give it time, you see thought which takes time is dominated but anything fast is not dominated.
K: Yes, that's right. When the brain which has been used to time, can it see that in that process there is no end to conflict, can it see this? See in the sense can it realize it? Will it realize it under pressure? Certainly not. Will it realize it under coercion and a reward, punishment or any of that kind? It will not. It will either resist or escape and all the rest of it. Right? So what is the factor that will make the brain see the way it has gone is not correct - let's use the word for the moment. And what will make it suddenly realize that it is totally mischievous? You follow what I am saying? What will make it? Drugs?
DB: Well it's clear that won't work.
K: Certainly not drugs. Some kind of chemical?
DB: None of these, these are all outward things.
K: Sir, I want to be clear. These are all outward pressures. Then what will make the brain realize this?
DB: What do you mean by realize?
K: Realize in the sense, that path which it has been going on will always be the path of conflict.
DB: Yes, well I think this raises the question that the brain is resisting such a realization.
K: Of course, of course. Because it is used to that, for centuries. How will you make the brain realize this fact? You understand sir? If you could do that it is finished.
You see they have tried, you must have talked to many people, they have tried fasting, no sex, austerity, poverty, chastity in the real sense, purity, having a mind that is absolutely correct; they have tried going away by themselves; they have tried everything practically that man has invented, but none of them have succeeded.
DB: Well what do you say? It is clear that these are all outward goals, they are still becoming.
K: Yes, but they never realize it is outward.
DB: Everyone of those is an attempt to break the process of becoming.
K: Yes, that's right. So it means denying completely all that.
DB: You see to go further I think one has to deny the very notion of time in the sense of looking forward to the future, and all the past.
K: That's just it sir, that's just it.
DB: That is the whole of time and always.
K: Time is the enemy. Meet it and go beyond it.
DB: To deny that that is an independent existence. You see I think we have the impression that time exists independently of us. We are in the stream of time and therefore it would seem absurd for us to deny it because that is what we are, you see.
K: Yes, quite, quite. So it means really moving away - again words - from everything that man has put together as a means of timelessness.
DB: Yes, well we can say that none of the methods that man uses outwardly are going to.
K: Absolutely not.
DB: Every method implies time.
K: Of course, of course. It is so simple, clear.
DB: You start out immediately by setting up the whole structure of time, the entire notion of time is presupposed before you start.
K: Yes, quite.
How will you convey this to me? How will you or 'X' to a man who is caught in time and will resist it, fight it, he says, there is no other way, and so on, how will you convey this to him?
DB: I think that you can only - I mean even though time is not the point - unless somebody has looked at this, you know, and gone into it, you are not likely to convey it at all to somebody you just pick up off the street.
K: So, then what are we doing? As that cannot be conveyed through words, then what is a man to do?
DB: I think that both the word and beyond the word, you know, is part of the communication, conveyance.
K: Would you say sir, to resolve a problem immediately as it arises - one has to go into that because you can resolve it immediately, you may do the most foolish thing.
DB: Well you may think you are resolving it.
K: Yes, yes, I am saying that. You may do the most foolish thing or think you have resolved it.
DB: Because you can get the sense of the immediate from time, from thought because thought gives the sense of now.
K: Not allow time. Suppose I have a problem, any problem, it doesn't matter, a psychological problem: can the mind realize, resolve it immediately? Not deceive myself, not resist it - you understand, all that. To face it and end it.
DB: Well a psychological problem, that is the only way.
K: I am talking about a psychological problem.
DB: Otherwise we would be caught in the very source of the problem.
K: Of course, of course, of course. Would that activity end time, psychological time we are talking about.
DB: If we could bring this immediate action to bear on what you call the problem, which is the self.
K: Sir, one is greedy, or envious, to end it immediately - greed, attachment, and so on, there are a dozen things. Sir what I am trying to convey is: will that not give a clue to the ending of time?
DB: Yes, because any action which is not immediate has already brought in time.
K: Yes, yes. I know that.
DB: The ending of time is immediate - right?
K: Immediate, of course. Would that point out the wrong turn that mankind has taken?
DB: Yes, to bring in time and thought to mediate psychologically.
K: Yes, we are talking psychologically, keep to that.
DB: If man feels something is out of order psychologically then he then brings in the notion of time and the thought of becoming, and that creates endless problems.
K: Would that open the door - it's a phrase - would that open the door to this sense of, time has no place inwardly? You see, which means sir, doesn't it, thought has no place except outwardly.
DB: If you are going to say thought is a process which is involved in time...
K: Of course it is.
DB: Yes, I mean not everybody has used that idea, used it that way.
K: Wouldn't you say thought is the process of time? Because thought is based on experience, knowledge, memory and response, which is the whole of time.
DB: Yes, but still we have often discussed a kind of thought that would be a response to intelligence. But thought as we have generally known it - let's try to put it that thought as we have generally known it is in time.
K: Thought as we know it now is of time.
DB: Yes. Well possibly people may have known it a little differently from time to time. But I would say generally speaking.
K: Generally speaking as of now, thought is time.
DB: Yes, it is based on the notion of time, time is first.
K: Yes, all right. To me itself is time.
DB: Thought itself creates time, right.
K: Does it mean when there is no time there is no thought?
DB: Well, no thought of that kind.
K: No, there is no thought - I want to just go slow, slow.
DB: Because otherwise we may contradict some other things, you see.
K: I know all that.
DB: Could we say there is a kind of thought which has been dominated by time - you know - which we have lived in. Right?
K: Yes. It has come to an end.
DB: There may be another kind of thought which is not dominated by time, you know, because you were saying you could still use thought to do things.
K: Of course sir, that's so.
DB: We have to be careful not to say that thought is necessarily dominated by time.
K: No. I have to go from here to there, to my house, that needs time, thinking, all the rest of it. I am not talking of that kind of time.
DB: So let's make it clear that you are thinking of thought which is aimed at the mind, whose content is the order of the mind.
K: Yes, yes.
DB: And we will say that that thought clearly is time.
K: Yes. Would you say knowledge is time?
DB: Yes, well knowledge...
K: All knowledge is time.
DB: Well in so far as has been known and may project into the future and so on.
K: Of course, the future, past. Knowledge is time. Through time it has acquired knowledge - science, mathematics, whatever it is, philosophy. I read philosophy, I read this or that. So the whole movement of knowledge is involved in time. Right? See what that means.
DB: You see, I think again we...
K: Understood that knowledge is how to make a chair...
DB: Well not only that but I think you say that man has taken a wrong turn and got caught in this kind of knowledge, which is dominated by time because it is psychological knowledge.
K: Yes. So he lives in time.
DB: He lives in time because he has attempted to produce knowledge of the nature of the mind. Now you saying that the mind has no real knowledge of the mind. Would you put it that way? There is no knowledge of the mind, would you put it that way?
K: The moment you use the word 'knowledge', it implies time.
DB: Yes, you are saying the mind is not of time.
K: No. When you end time, in the sense we are talking about there is no knowledge as experience.
DB: We have to see what the word 'experience' means.
K: Experience, memory, experience.
DB: Well people say, 'I learn by experience, I go through something.'
K: Which is becoming.
DB: Well let's get it clear. You see there is a kind of experience you get in your job, which becomes skill and perception.
K: Of course, that is quite different sir.
DB: We are saying there is no point in having experience of the mind, of psychological experience.
K: Yes, let's put it that way. That is, psychological experience is in time.
DB: Yes, and it has no point because you cannot say, 'As I become skilled in my job, I will become skilled in my mind'.
DB: In a certain way you do become skilled in thinking but not become skilled fundamentally.
K: Yes. So you understand, sir, where this is leading to? Suppose I realize knowledge is time, the brain realizes it, and sees the importance of time in a certain direction, and no value of time at all in another direction, it is not a contradiction. Right?
DB: Yes, well right, O.K. I would put it that the value of time is limited to a certain direction or area and beyond that it has no value.
K: Yes. So what is the mind or the brain without knowledge? You understand?
DB: Without knowledge, psychological knowledge?
K: Yes, I am talking psychologically.
DB: Yes, it is not so much that it is time but without psychological knowledge to organize itself.
DB: So we are saying the brain field must organize itself by knowing psychologically all about itself.
K: Is then the mind, the brain disorder? Certainly not.
DB: No. But I think people might feel, being faced with this, that there would be disorder.
K: Of course.
DB: You see, I think that what you are saying is the notion of controlling yourself psychologically has no meaning.
K: So knowledge of the 'me' is time.
DB: Yes, well the knowledge...
K: The psychological knowledge.
DB: Yes, I understand that, that knowledge of 'me', is the whole totality of knowledge, is 'me', is time.
K: Yes. So then what is existence without this?
K: You understand?
DB: Yes. O.K.
K: There is no time, there is no knowledge in the psychological sense, no sense of 'me', then what is there? To come to that point most people would say, 'What a horror this is.'
DB: Yes, well it seems there would be nothing.
DB: It would be rather dull! It is either frightening or it is all right.
K: But if one has come to that point what is there? Again it sounds rather trite and sloganish but it is not. Would you say because there is nothing it is everything?
DB: Yes, I would accept that. I know that. That is true, it has all.
K: No, it is nothing, that's right.
DB: No thing.
K: No thing, that's right.
DB: So far as a thing is limited and this is not a thing because there are no limits. I mean at least it has everything in potential.
K: Wait sir. If it is nothing and so everything, so everything is energy.
DB: Yes. The ground of everything is energy.
K: Of course. Everything is energy. And what is the source of this thing? Or is there no source at all of energy? There is only energy.
DB: Energy just is. Energy is 'what is'. There is no need for a source. That is one approach.
K: No. If there is nothing and therefore there is everything, and everything is energy - we must be very careful because here the Hindus have this idea too, which is Brahman is everything. You understand sir? That becomes an idea, a principle and then carried out and all that. But the fact of it is, if there is nothing therefore there is everything and all that is cosmic energy. But what started this energy?
DB: Is that a meaningful question?
K: No. What began?
DB: But we are not talking of time.
K: I know we are not talking of time but you see the Christians would say, 'God is energy and He is the source of all energy.' No?
K: And his son came to help the world, all bla. Now is that...
DB: Well the Christians have an idea of what they call the Godhead, which is the very source of God too.
K: And also the Hindus have this. I mean the Arabic world and the Jewish world also have this. Are we going against all that?
DB: It sounds similar in some ways.
K: And yet not similar. We must be awfully careful.
DB: Many things like this have been said over the ages. It is a familiar notion, yes.
K: Then is one just walking in emptiness? One is living in emptiness?
DB: Well that is not clear.
K: There is nothing and everything is energy. What is this?
DB: Well this is a form within the energy.
K: So this is not different from energy? This.
DB: The body, yes.
K: But the thing that is inside says, 'I am different from that'.
DB: You must make that clearer.
K: The 'I' says, 'I am totally different from all this'.
DB: The 'I' encloses itself and says, 'I am different, I am eternal.'
K: Why has it done this?
DB: Well we went into that because it began, this notion of separation.
K: Why has the separation arisen, is it because outwardly I identify with a house and so on and that has moved inwardly?
DB: Yes. And the second point was that once we established a notion of something inward then it became necessary to protect that.
K: To protect that and all the rest of it.
DB: And therefore that built up the separation.
K: Of course.
DB: The inward was obviously the most precious thing and it would have to be protected with all your energy.
K: I understand sir. Does it then mean there is only the organism living, which is a part of energy? There is no K at all, except the Passport, the name and form, otherwise nothing. And therefore everything and therefore all energy. You follow sir?
DB: Yes, the form has no independent existence.
K: No, no. There is only the form, that's all.
DB: There is also the energy, you say.
K: That is part of energy.
K: So there is only this, the outward shape.
DB: There is the outward form in the energy.
K: Do you realize what we have said sir? Is this the end of the journey?
DB: No, I should think not.
K: Has mankind journeyed through millennia to come to this: that I am nothing and therefore I am everything and all energy?
DB: Well it can't be the end in the sense that it might be the beginning.
K: Wait, wait, that is all I am saying. That is what I wanted you to begin with. That is the only - the ending then is the beginning. Right? Now, I want to go into that a little bit. You see the ending of all this, the ending of time we will call it briefly, is that there is a new beginning. What is that? Because this seems so utterly futile for a moment.
K: I am all energy and just the shell exists, and time has ended. I am just taking that. It seems so...
DB: I understand that if you stop there...
K: That's all.
DB: I think that really is clearing the ground of all the debris, of all the confusion.
K: Yes. So the ending is a beginning. What is that? Beginning implies time also.
DB: Not necessarily. I think that we said there could be a movement which had no time.
K: That is why I want to make it clear.
DB: Yes but it is hard to express. It is not a question of static, of being static but in some sense the movement has not the order of time. I think we would have to say that now.
K: Yes. So we will use the word 'beginning' and deprive it of time.
DB: Yes, because ending and beginning are no special time. In fact they can be any time or no time.
K: No time.
DB: That's right, no time.
K: What takes place? What happens? What is then happening? Not to me, not to my brain. What is happening?
DB: You mean to energy?
K: Sir, we have said when one denies time there is nothing. After this long talk - nothing means everything. Everything is energy. And we stopped there. But that isn't the end. Right?
K: No. That is all. That is not the end. Then what is going on? Sir, can we carry on tomorrow. I think we had better stop. I want to go on with it but we had better stop.
K: Is that creation?
DB: Yes, something like.
K: Not the art of creating, writing.
DB: Yes, well if we discuss what we mean by creation.
K: We will do it tomorrow.
The Ending of Time
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 1st Conversation with David Bohm 1st April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'
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