The Ending of Time
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 4th Conversation with David Bohm 10th April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'
J Krishnamurti: Would it be all right if we start, you and I, and later on they can join in?
I would like to ask a question which may lead us to something: what will make man, a human being, change, deeply, fundamentally, radically? He has had crisis after crisis, he has had a great many shocks, he has been through every kind of misfortune, every kind of war, personal sorrow, and so on, a little affection, a little joy, but all this doesn't seem to change him. What will make a human being leave the way he is going and move in a totally different direction? I think that is one of our great problems, don't you?
Dr Bohm: Yes. What you say is true.
K: Why? If you were concerned, as one must be, if one is concerned with humanity, with human beings, with all the things that are going on, what would be the right action that would move him out of one direction to another? Is this question valid? Has it any significance?
B: Well unless we can see this action it won't have much significance.
K: Has the question any significance?
B: Well what it means is, really indirectly, to ask what is holding people.
K: Yes, same thing.
B: The same question. If we could find out what is holding people in their present direction.
K: Is it the basic conditioning of man, the basic being this tremendous sense of egotistic attitude and action, which won't yield to anything?
B: Well if you say it won't yield to anything...
K: Apparently it doesn't seem to yield at all. It appears to change, it appears to yield, it appears sometimes to say yes, but the centre remains the same. Perhaps this may not be in the line of our dialogue for the last two or three days, two or three times, but I thought we might start with that. If that is of no value, if that doesn't lead anywhere...
B: Well have you some notion of what is holding people? Something that would really change them?
K: I think so.
B: What is it then?
K: I mean this has been the question of serious human beings: what is it that is blocking? Do we approach it through environmental conditioning, from the outer to the inner and discover from the outer his activities, the inner? And then discover that the outer is the inner, the same movement, and then go beyond it to see what it is? Could we do that?
K: I wonder if I am making myself clear?
B: When you say outward, what do you mean? Do you mean the social conditions?
K: The social conditioning, the religious conditioning, education, poverty, riches, climate, food, the outer. Which may condition the mind in a certain direction, but as one examines it a little more the psychological conditioning is also from the outer, somewhat.
B: Well it is true that the way a person thinks is going to be affected by his whole set of relationships. But that doesn't explain why it is so rigid, why does it hold?
K: That is what I am asking too.
B: Yes. If it were merely outward conditioning one would expect it to be more easily changed.
K: Easily changed.
B: For example you could put some other outward condition.
K: They have tried all that.
B: They have tried it, the whole belief of Communism was that would - with a new society there would be a new man.
K: New society, new man, yes. But there have been none!
B: Well I think that there is something fundamentally in the nature of the inward that holds, which resists change.
K: What is it? Will this question lead us anywhere?
B: Unless we actually uncover it, it will lead nowhere.
K: I think one could find out if one applied one's mind. I think one can. I am just asking: is this question worthwhile and is it related to what we have been talking about the last two or three times that we met? Or shall we take up something else in relation to what we have been talking about?
B: Well I think that we have been talking about bringing about an ending to time, ending to becoming. And we said that to come into contact with the ground and through complete rationality. But now we could say that the mind is not rational.
K: Yes, we said man is basically irrational.
B: This is perhaps part of the block. If you were completely rational then we would of necessity come to this ground. Right? Would that be fair?
K: Yes. You were not here the other day but we were having a dialogue about the ending of time. Both the scientists through investigation of matter want to find out that point, and also the so-called religious people, not only verbally but they have endeavoured to find out if time can stop. We went into that quite a bit and we say it is possible for a human being, who will listen, to find out through insight the ending of time. Because insight is not memory. Memory is time, memory as experience, knowledge stored up in the brain and so on, as long as that is in operation there is no possibility of having insight into anything. Total insight, not partial insight. The artist has a partial insight, the scientist, the musicians and so on, they all have partial insights and therefore they are still time-bound. Is it possible to have a total insight? It is only possible - we went into that step by step - which is the ending of the 'me', because the 'me' is put together by thought, thought is time, 'me' is time - me and my ego, my resistance, my hurts, all that. Can that 'me' end? It is only when that ends there is total insight. Right? That is what we discovered. Right?
And we went into the question; is it possible for a human being to end totally this whole structure of the 'me'. We said yes, and went into it. And very few people will listen to this because it is perhaps too frightening. And the question then arises: if the 'me' ends what is there? Just emptiness? There is no interest in that. But if one is investigating without any sense of reward or punishment, then there is something. We say that something is total emptiness, which is energy and silence. Well, you say that is very nice, it sounds nice but it has no meaning to an ordinary man who is serious and wants to go beyond it, beyond himself. And we pushed it further: is there something beyond all this. Right sir?
K: And we said there is.
B: The ground.
K: The ground. You were perhaps here at the beginning. And the last thing, if I remember rightly, will people listen to this? Is it the beginning of this enquiry is to listen. That is, I think, where we left off it I remember rightly.
So - I had forgotten all that, I have just remembered it! So I started with this question, the question which I just began. Let's forget that question. We will come back to it perhaps a little later.
Will I, as a human being, give up my egocentric activity completely? What will make me move away from that? Not me, that is only a way of talking. What will make a human being move away from this destructive, self-centred activity? It comes to the same thing. If he will move away through reward then that is just another - with it goes punishment. So discard that. Then what will make you, a human being - if I may use the word 'renounce' without reward - renounce it completely? Right sir?
You see man has tried everything in this direction - fasting, self torture in various forms, abnegating himself through belief, denying himself through identification with something greater, with - so on and so on. All the religious people have tried it but it is still there.
B: Yes. I think it becomes clear that the whole activity has no meaning, it has no sense, but somehow this does not become evident, you see. People will move away from something which has no meaning, and makes no sense, ordinarily speaking.
B: But it seems that the perception of this fact is rejected by the mind, you see the mind is resisting it.
K: The mind is resisting this constant conflict, it is moving away from this conflict.
B: Yes. It is moving away from the fact that this conflict has no meaning.
K: They don't see that.
B: Not only that but the mind is set up purposely to avoid seeing it.
K: The mind is avoiding it.
B: It is avoiding it almost on purpose but not quite consciously. You said sometimes, for example, that it avoids it consciously like the people of India who say they are going to retire to the Himalayas because nothing can be done.
K: Oh, that is hopeless. You mean to say, sir, that the mind having lived so long in conflict refuses to move away from it?
B: It is not clear why it refuses. It refuses to give it up, right.
K: The same thing, refuses to give it up.
B: It is not clear why the mind does not wish to see the full meaninglessness of the conflict. The mind is deceiving itself, it is continually covering up.
K: The philosophers and the so-called religious people have emphasized struggle, emphasized the sense of striving - control, make effort. Is that one of the causes why human beings refuse to let go of their way of life?
B: Well that may be. They hope by fighting or struggling they will achieve a better result. Not to give up what we have but to improve it by struggle.
K: You can see man has lived for two million years, what has he achieved? More wars, more destruction.
B: What I am trying to say is that there is a tendency to resist seeing this, but to continually go back to hope - to hope that the struggle will finally produce something better.
K: I am not quite sure if we have cleared this point: that the intellectuals of the world - I am using the word respectfully - the intellectuals of the world have emphasized this, this factor of struggle.
B: Well I don't know if all of them have. Many of them have I suppose.
K: Most of them.
B: Karl Marx.
K: Yes Marx and even Bronowsky who says through acquiring more and more knowledge, more and more struggle. Is it that they have had such extraordinary influence on our minds?
B: Well I think people do that without any encouragement from intellectuals. You see struggle has been emphasized everywhere.
K: That is what I mean. Everywhere. Why?
B: Well in the beginning people thought it would be necessary, they had to struggle against nature to live.
K: So struggling against nature has been transferred to the other?
B: Yes, that is part of it. To become brave. You see you must be a brave hunter, you must struggle against your own weakness to be a brave hunter.
K: Yes, that's it, that's it.
B: Otherwise you can't do it.
K: So is it that our minds are conditioned, or shaped, or held, in this pattern?
B: Well that is certainly true but it doesn't explain why it is so extraordinarily hard to change it.
K: Because I am used to it. I am in a prison. I am used to it.
B: Yes, but I think that there is a tremendous resistance to moving away from that.
K: Why? Why does a human being resist this? If you come along and point out the fallacy of this, the irrationality of this, and you show the whole cause and effect and examples, data, everything else.
B: That is what I said that if people were capable of complete rationality they would drop it, but I think that there is something more to it.
K: More to it?
B: To the problem. You see you may expose the irrationality of it and for one thing people may say well what happens is that there is something more in the sense that people are not fully aware of this whole pattern of thought. Having had it exposed at a certain level it still continues at levels that people are not aware of.
K: Yes, but what would make them aware?
B: Well that is what we have to find. I think that people have to become aware that they have this tendency to go on with the conditioning; it might be mere habit, or it might be the result of many past conclusions, all operating now without people knowing it. There are so many different things that keep people in this pattern, so abstractly you might convince somebody that the pattern makes no sense but when it comes to the actual affairs of life he has a thousand different ways of proceeding which imply that pattern.
K: Quite. Then what?
B: Well I think that a person would have to be extremely interested in this to break all that down.
K: Then what will bring a human being to be extremely interested? You see they have offered heaven as a reward if you do this. Various religions have done this, but that becomes too childish.
B: Well that is part of the pattern, reward. You see somebody might say, 'I follow my self-enclosed pattern except when some great thing comes up.' You see people do that thing in a real emergency, they drop the self-enclosed pattern.
K: You can see that.
B: Ordinarily the rule is that I follow the self-enclosed pattern except when something really big comes up.
K: A crisis.
B: Or reward is to be obtained.
K: Of course.
B: Something special is needed to get out of it, and then you fall back in when that special thing is passed.
K: Now why? Why?
B: Well that is a pattern of thinking. I think that people must in some way think that it has value, people believe - you see if everybody were able to work together and suddenly you were able to produce harmony, then everybody would say fine, I would give up myself, but saying that in the absence of that I had better hold on to what I have. That is the sort of thinking.
K: Hold on to what is known.
B: I don't have much but I had better hold on to it because if everybody was suddenly to become harmonious then maybe I could leave it.
K: Yes. So are you saying if everybody does this I will do it?
B: That is the common way of thinking. Because as soon as people begin to start to cooperate in an emergency then a great many people go along.
K: So they form communes. But all those have failed.
B: Because after a while this special thing goes away and they fall back to the old pattern.
K: The old pattern. So I am asking what will make a human being break through this pattern? Go on sirs.
Q: Isn't it related to the question we dealt with last time again - time and no time. You see when there is conflict...
K: But I know nothing about time, I know nothing about all that, it is just a theory to me. But the fact is I am caught in this pattern and I can't let it go. The analysts have tried it, the religious people have tried it, everybody has tried to make human beings - the intelligent people - let this go but they apparently have not succeeded.
Q: But they don't see that the very attempt at letting it go, or to end the conflict, is still strengthening the conflict.
K: No, that is just a theory.
Q: No, you can explain that to them.
K: You can explain. As we said there are a dozen explanations, very rational. At the end of it I fall back to this.
Q: Well you only fall back to that if you have not really understood it.
K: Have you understood it when you say that? Why haven't I or you, or Moody, said finished? You can give me a thousand explanations and all probably a bit irrational and I say yes, very nice, have you done it, or what?
Q: I don't even understand the question. When you ask me, have you done it?
K: No, I am not being personal. Have you, when you have given an explanation why human beings can't move away from this pattern, or break through it, you give me some explanation.
Q: No, I give you more than the explanation.
K: What do you give me?
Q: If I observe something to be correct, then the explanation of the observation is more then just an explanation.
K: Yes. I have accepted this. I can't observe this clearly.
Q: Well what is the problem.
K: So help me to see it clearly.
Q: For that there must be an interest.
K: Don't say there must. I haven't got an interest. I am interested, as he pointed out just now, when there is a tremendous crisis such as war, I forget myself. In fact I am glad to forget myself, I give the responsibility to the Generals, to the politicians. Under a crisis, I forget but the moment the crisis goes away I am back to my pattern. That is happening all the time. Now I say to myself what will make me relinquish this, the pattern, or break through it?
Q: Isn't it that one must see the falseness.
K: Show it to me sir.
Q: I can't because I have not seen it.
K: Then what shall I do as a human being? You have explained to me ten thousand times how ugly it is, how destructive it is and so on and so on. And you have pointed out in a crisis, etc., etc., but I fall back to this pattern all the time. Right? Help me or show me how to break the pattern. You understand my question?
Q: Well then you are interested.
K: All right. Now what will make me interested? Pain?
Q: I don't know. Usually it doesn't. Sometimes it does for a moment but it goes away.
K: So what will make me as a human being so alert, so aware, so intense that I will break through this thing?
Q: Sir you state the question in terms of an action, breaking through, relinquishing. Isn't it a matter of seeing?
K: Yes. Show me, help me to see, because I am resisting you. My pattern, so deeply engrained in me, is holding back. Right? I want proof, I want to be convinced. Right?
Q: I am convinced but I don't see.
Q: We have to go into this question: why do I want to have proof? Why do I want to be convinced?
K: Because you say to me this is a stupid, irrational way of living. And you show me all the effects of it, the cause of it and I say yes but I can't let go.
B: Well as a matter of fact I feel that it may well be that all this is irrational but since I am there this doesn't change anything. You see you may say that is the very nature of me, that I must fulfil my needs no matter how irrational they are.
K: Sir, sir, that is what I am saying.
B: So irrationality eventually cannot prevail because you see first I must take care of my own needs and then I can try to be rational.
K: What are my needs then?
B: Some of the needs are real and some are imaginary, but...
K: Yes, that's it. The imaginary, the illusory needs sway the other needs.
B: But you see I may need to believe I am good and right and know that I will be always there.
K: Help me to break that, sir.
B: I think I have to see that this is an illusion. You see if it seems real then I can say, what can I do, because if I am really there I need all this, and it is foolish to talk of being rational if I am going to vanish, break down or something. You see you have proposed to me that there is another state of being where I am not there. Right? And when I am there this doesn't make any sense!
K: Yes, quite. But I am not there. Suppose as a human being, heaven is perfect, but I am not there, please help me to get there.
B: No, no, it is something different.
K: I know what you are saying.
Q: You see can one see the illusory nature of that very demand that I want to go to heaven? That very question - or I want to be enlightened, or I want to be this, I want to be that - but this very question, this very demand is...
K: My demand is based on becoming.
K: The more.
Q: That is illusory.
K: No. You say that.
B: You haven't demonstrated it to me you see.
K: That is an idea to you. It is just a theory. Show me.
Q: Well are you willing to really explore into this question?
K: I am willing on one condition. I lay my condition actually because I want to find at the end of it something. See how the human mind works.
Q: That's just it.
K: I will climb the highest mountain if I can get something out of it.
Q: Can the mind see that this is the problem?
K: Yes, but it can't let go.
Q: Well if it sees...
K: No, no, you are going round and round in circles.
B: It sees the problem abstractly. That is it sees it...
K: That is it. Now why do I see it abstractly?
B: Well, first of all it is a lot easier.
K: Don't go back to that. Why does my mind make an abstraction of everything?
B: Let's begin by saying that to a certain extent that is the function of thought to make abstractions outwardly, then we carry them inwardly. It is the same sort of thing as before.
K: Yes. So is there a way - I am just asking - is there something else that we are missing in this altogether? That is we are still thinking, if I may point out, still thinking the same old patterns. Right?
B: Well I think the question itself contains that pattern doesn't it?
K: Yes. But the pattern - the pursuit of the pattern is traditional.
B: Yes, but I mean that even in framing this question the pattern has continued.
K: Yes, so can we move away altogether from this, and look at it differently - can we? That is we are still saying, listen to me, you must be interested, don't ask - you follow? Move away from that altogether. Can I move away from all that? Can the human mind say, all right, we have tried all this - Marx, Buddha, you follow? Everybody has pointed out something or other, we have tried, after a million years, obviously. And we are still somehow caught in that pattern, saying you must be interested, you must listen, you must do this and so on.
B: That is still time.
K: Yes. Leave all that. Then what happens if I leave all that, actually leave it? I won't even think in terms of it. I wonder if I am making myself clear?
Q: Is the action of leaving all that...
K: Not action. I know you have told me all that, I know all that. The religious people have said it, Marxists, you follow, everybody, and you add some more explanations, a new twist but it is the same old twist. So I say let's leave that area completely and look at the problem differently.
Q: The problem which is?
K: Which is: why do I always live in this centre of me, me, me? Well sirs?
Would it be, I am a serious man, a serious human being, I have listened to all this, after sixty years, or fifty years. All the explanations I know, what I should, should not do and so on and so on, can I say, all right, I will discard all that. That means I stand completely alone. Does that lead anywhere?
B: Possibly, yes. I say possibly.
K: I think it does lead somewhere.
B: It seems to me that basically you are saying, leave all this knowledge of mankind behind. Right?
K: That is what I am saying.
B: Apparently it is out of its place.
K: Yes. Leave all the knowledge and experience and explanations, causes that man has created as human beings, discard all that.
Q: But you are still left with the same mind.
K: Ah! I have not such a mind. It is not the same mind.
Q: Well then it is not clear what you are saying.
K: Oh yes. When I discard all this my mind has changed. My mind is this.
Q: No, isn't the mind also the basic set-up?
K: Which I have discarded.
Q: But you can't discard that.
K: Oh yes.
Q: I mean this is an organism.
K: Now wait a minute. My organism has been shaped by the knowledge, by experience. Right?
Q: To some extent.
K: Yes. And more knowledge which I have acquired, as I have evolved, as I have grown, as I have experienced, gathered more and more, it has strengthened me, and I have been walking on that path for millennia. And I say, perhaps I may have to look at this problem totally differently. Which is not to walk on that path at all. Discard all knowledge I have acquired. Sorry.
B: In this area, in this psychological place.
K: Psychologically, of course.
B: At the core, at the source, knowledge is irrelevant.
K: Yes sir.
B: Further down the line it becomes relevant.
K: Of course. That is understood.
Q: But I have one question. The mind at the beginning of its evolution, or at the beginning, was in that same position. The mind at the beginning of whatever you call man was in that position, it didn't have any knowledge.
K: No. I don't accept that. Why do you say that? The moment it comes into being it is already formed in that. It is already caught in knowledge.
Q: I don't quite understand.
K: Would you say that.
B: Well I think it is implicit in the structure of thought.
K: Yes sir, that is just it.
B: First of all to have knowledge about the outward, and then to come inward and therefore without understanding that it was going to be caught in it. It was good enough, developed enough to think about the inward, then it would extend that knowledge outward to the inward into the area of psychological becoming.
Q: Well you see, if the mind could start anew, it would go through the same mistake again.
K: No. No. Certainly not.
Q: Unless it has learnt.
K: No. I don't want to learn. You are still pursuing the same old path. That is what I am objecting to.
Q: I think I just have the problem of choosing the right words.
K: I don't want to learn - no sir, please just let me go into this a little bit.
B: We should clear this up because on other occasions you have said it is important to learn, even about observing yourself.
K: Of course, of course.
B: Now you are saying something quite different. It should be clear that if it is different, why? Why is it that you have given up the notion of learning at this stage?
K: At this stage because I am still gathering memory.
B: Yes, but there was a state when it was important to learn about the mind.
K: Don't go back. Just a minute. I am just starting. I have lived for sixty years or eighty years, or a hundred years. And I have listened to all this - the preachers in India, the teachers in India, the Christians, the Muslims, I have listened to all the explanations, psychological explanations, the cause, Freud, Marxist, everybody.
B: I think we should go a bit further. That is all the negative stuff but in addition perhaps I have observed myself and learned about myself.
K: Myself, yes, add that.
B: Add that too, right.
Q: Add K.
K: All that. And at the end of it I say perhaps this is a wrong way of looking at it. Right?
B: Right. Having explored that way we finally are able to see it might be wrong.
B: Well I would say that in some sense perhaps it was necessary to explore that way.
K: Or not necessary.
B: It may not have been but given the whole set of conditions it was bound to happen
K: Of course. So now I have come to a point when I say all that knowledge - we will put in that word - discard it. Because that hasn't lead me anywhere - lead me in the sense that I am not free of my egocentricism.
B: Well that alone isn't enough because if you say it hasn't worked you can always hope that it may, suppose it may. But in fact you could see that it can't work.
K: It can't work. Oh, I am definite on that.
B: It is not enough to say it hasn't worked but actually it cannot work.
K: It cannot work.
Q: I am not definite on that. Isn't that just the difficulty?
K: It cannot work because it is based on time and knowledge, which is thought. And these explanations are based on thought - acquire knowledge and so on and so on. Would you say that?
B: Well as far as we have gone we have based it on knowledge and thought and not only thought but also the habitual patterns of skill, all that which is an extension of thought.
K: So when I put those aside, not casually, not with an interest in the future, but I see the same pattern being repeated, repeated, repeated, different colours, different phrases, different pictures, different images - I discard all that totally. Instead of going North, as I have been going for millennia, I have stopped and am going East, which means my mind has changed.
Q: Has the structure of the 'me' gone?
Q: Without insight into it?
K: No. I won't bring in insight for the moment.
B: But there was insight to do that. I mean to say that to consider doing it was an insight. The insight was the whole thing that worked.
K: I won't bring in that word.
B: When you said it, that the whole thing cannot work, well I think that is an insight.
K: For me. I see it cannot work. But you see then we go back to that again: how do I acquire insight and all that.
B: But leaving all that aside and just saying that it was an insight, but the question of how to acquire it is not the point.
K: It is an insight that says, out.
Q: Out to the pattern.
K: No, finished with this constant becoming through experience, knowledge - you follow - patterns, finished.
Q: Well would you say that that kind of thinking afterwards is a totally different kind of thinking? Evidently you must still think.
K: I am not sure.
Q: Well you may call it something else.
K: Ah, I won't call it anything else. Please I am just fishing around. Which is after having lived a hundred years and I see everybody pointing out the way to end the self, and that way is based on thought, time, knowledge. And I say sorry, I know all that, I have an insight - I'll use that - I have an insight into that, therefore it falls away. And therefore the mind has broken the pattern completely.
Now, all right. Dr Bohm has achieved this - not achieved - has got this insight and broken away the pattern. Please help another human being to come to that. Don't say you must be interested, you must listen, you must - then you fall back - you follow? How will - no, not 'how'. What is your communication with another human being so that he hasn't got to go through all this mess? You follow my question? How will you - not 'how' - what will make me absorb so completely what you have said, so that it is in my blood, in my brain, in my way, everything, so that I see this thing, what will you do? Or there is nothing to do? You follow me? Because if you have the insight it is a passion, it is not just a clever insight, now sit back and be comfortable, it is a passion, and this passion won't let you sit still, you must move, give whatever it is. What will you do? You have that passion. Exercise that passion of this immense insight. And that passion must, like a river with a great volume of water flows over the banks, in the same way that passion must move.
Now, I am a human being, ordinary, fairly intelligent, read, experienced, tried this, that and the other thing, and I meet this 'X' and I say - and he is full of this - why won't I listen to him?
Q: I think you do listen.
Q: But that is the old question Krishnaji.
Q: Krishnaji I listen.
K: Do you?
Q: Yes, I think so.
K: Just go very, very slowly. Do you so completely listen that there is no resistance, no saying why, what is the cause, why should I - you follow what I mean? We have been all through all that. We have walked the area endlessly, back and forth from corner to corner, North, South, East, we have walked all over the area. And 'X' comes along and says, 'Look, there is a different way of living, different, something totally new' - which means, please listen, will you so completely that you - you know.
Q: If there is a resistance one does not see the resistance.
K: Don't go back to school. I am not being rude.
Q: What do you mean?
K: Begin again all over again - explain why you resist.
Q: But one doesn't see the resistance.
K: Then I will show you your resistance, by talking - you know. But yet you go back.
Q: Krishnaji, did not your initial question go beyond this, when you asked, let's leave the listening, the rationality, the thought.
K: Yes sir, but that is just an idea - will you do it? 'X' comes along and says 'Look, eat this.'
Q: I would eat it if I could see it.
K: Oh yes, you can see it, very clearly you can see it.
Q: The 'me'...
K: That's what I am preventing - he said don't go back to the pattern. See it. Then you say: 'How am I to see?' - which is the old pattern. Just see! 'X' refuses to enter that pattern.
Q: The pattern of explanation?
K: Knowledge, all that. He says come over, don't go back.
Q: Krishnaji, to talk about a normal situation in the world. You have quite a number of people who ask you with similar words to see, put thought aside, if you would really look at this thing you will see it. I mean that is what the priests tell you. So what is the difference?
K: No, no, no. I am not a priest. 'X' isn't a priest. 'K' says, I have left all that. I have left the church, the gods, Jesus, the Buddhas, the Krishnas, I have left all that, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, all the analysts, all the pundits, everybody. You see you haven't done that. 'X' says, do that. Ah, you say, no, I can't do it until you show me there is something else beyond all that. And 'X' says, 'Sorry.' Has that any meaning sir?
B: Yes. You see I think that if you say leave all the knowledge behind, but knowledge takes many subtle forms which you don't see. Right? You see even...
K: Of course. You are full of this insight and you have discarded all knowledge because of that. And I keep on puddling over the pool of knowledge. And you say, leave it. The moment you enter into explanations we are back into the game. And you refuse to explain. It's rather good. Yes sir.
You see explanations have been the boat on which to cross to the other shore. And the man on the other shore says there is no boat. Cross! Now 'X' says that. He is asking me something impossible. Right?
B: If it doesn't happen right away then it is impossible.
K: Absolutely. He is asking me something impossible for me to do. (Noise of bees buzzing)
B: The bees are very active, it's so warm.
K: I am meeting 'X' who is immovable. Either I have to go round him, avoid him, or go over him. I can't do any of that. But 'X' absolutely refuses to enter into the game of words. Then what am I, who have played games with words, what am I to do? 'X' won't leave me alone. Right sir? Leave me alone in the sense he may leave personally, but in the sense that I have met something immovable. And it is there might and day with me. I can't battle with it because there is nothing I can get hold of.
So what happens to me? Go on sirs: what happens to me when I meet something that is completely solid, immovable, absolutely true, what happens to me? Is that the problem, that we have never met - sorry, I am just putting that - never met something like that? You may climb the Himalayas but Everest is always there. In the same way perhaps human beings have never met something irrevocable, something absolutely immovable. Either I am terribly puzzled by it, or I say, well I can't do anything about it. Walk away from it. Or it is something that I must investigate. You follow? I must capture it. Right? Which is it?
Q: But then we are back in the old pattern.
K: No, no. No.
Q: I want to investigate.
K: Here is a solid thing. I am confronted by it. As I said, I might run away from it, which I generally do. Or worship it. Or try to understand what it is. When I do all those things I am back into the old pattern. So I discard that. When meeting 'X' who is immovable I see what the nature of it is. I wonder if I am? I am movable, as a human being, but 'X' is immovable. The contact with it does something, it must. It is not some mystic, it is not some occult stuff and all that kind of thing, but it is simple, isn't it?
Q: Sir, it functions like a magnet, which is why everyone is in this room. But it doesn't break something.
K: No, because you haven't let go the pattern. It is not his fault, 'X's' fault.
Q: I didn't say it was.
K: No, the implication is that.
K: When you use the word 'magnet', it means that, attraction.
Q: It has that effect.
K: No. Therefore you are back, you are dependent.
Q: What is taking place?
K: I understand. I am saying you, Moody, meet 'X', what happens?
Q: You said effort to understand.
K: Ah, there you are, lost. You are back into the old pattern.
Q: But even the language of meeting suggests that you have..
K: No, no, don't break up the words. Meet, face, you see it, you feel it, you know it, you recognize, it doesn't matter what word you use, it is there.
B: Well can't you say that if 'X' communicates the absolute necessity of not going on with the old pattern because you see it absolutely cannot work.
K: Yes sir, put it in your own words. All right.
B: And that is unalterable, what is immovable - is that what you mean?
K: Yes sir. I am movable: 'X' is immovable.
B: Well what is behind 'X' is immovable. Wouldn't you say that, what is working in 'X'.
K: What is working is something of a shock first, naturally. I have been moving, moving, moving, then I meet something that is immovable. Suddenly something takes place, obviously. Not something, you can see what takes place. 'X' is not becoming and I am becoming. And 'X' has been through explanations and all the rest of it and he shows that becoming is painful. I am putting it quickly, in a few words. And I meet that. So there is the sensitivity - all right, let's put it the other way. The explanations and the discarding of many, many - all the explanations - has made me sensitive, obviously. Much more alert. When I meet something like 'X' naturally there is a response not in terms of explanation or understanding. There is a response to that. No? Bound to be. If I am a musician, I like Beethoven, or Mozart or whatever it is, and I have listened, listened, listened, it makes me sensitive to music. So in the same way explanations have been given over and over and over again. I have listened but it has made me either dull or I begin to see explanations have no value at all. So in this process - I am using the word - in this process I have become extraordinarily sensitive to any word of explanation. I am allergic!
There is a danger in this too because you know people have said when you go to the guru he gives - you know - be silent and you will receive. That's an illusion, you know. Well I have said enough.
B: Could I just say that when you see that this whole process of time and knowledge and so on won't work then it stops, you see. Now then this leaves one more sensitive. Right?
K: Yes sir. The mind has become sharp.
B: Because all this movement is getting in the way.
K: Yes. I think psychological knowledge has made us dull.
B: Yes, it has kept the brain moving in an unnecessary way. It is clear.
Q: All knowledge.
B: Well no. You could say in some sense that knowledge needn't make you dull, I suppose, but if it starts from the clarity of where we don't have this knowledge at the core...
K: Yes sir. You remember we said too in our discussion, the ground is not knowledge.
B: You see the first thing is it creates emptiness.
K: Yes sir, that's it.
B: But not yet the ground. But not immediately the ground.
K: That's right. You see we have discussed all this. I hear it on the tape, it is printed in a book, and I say, yes I get it. By reading it I have explained, you have explained, I have acquired knowledge. Then I say I must have that.
B: Well the danger is it is very difficult to communicate this in a book, you see, because it is too fixed.
K: But that is what generally happens.
B: But I think that the main point, which could communicate it, is to see that knowledge in all its forms, subtle and obvious, cannot solve the psychological problem, it can only make it worse. But then there is another energy which is involved.
K: You see now what is happening? If any trouble arises I go to a psychologist. If any family trouble I go to somebody who will tell me what to do. Everything around me is being organized and making me more and more and more helpless. Right? Which is what is happening.
B: Yes, well that is part of the same trend to organize our lives in more and more detail.
K: What time is it?
B: Twenty past five.
K: Five twenty? I think we had better stop, don't you? Shall we meet again?
B: On Saturday, we suggested.
K: Yes, let's do it Saturday.
B: The same time.
The Ending of Time
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 4th Conversation with David Bohm 10th April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'
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