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The Ending of Time

Longer, Unedited Versions

Brockwood Park 15th Conversation with David Bohm 27th September 1980 `the Ending of Time'

Krishnamurti: Sir, I would like to discuss, have a dialogue about something which we were talking about the other day. We have cultivated a mind that can solve almost any technological problem. And apparently human problems have never been solved. Human beings are drowned by their problems: the problems of communication, the problems of knowledge, problems of relationship, problems of heaven and hell - you know, the whole human existence has become a vast complex problem. And apparently throughout history it has been like this. And man in spite of his knowledge, in spite of his centuries of evolution, he has never been free of problems.

Bohm: Yes, well really of insoluble problems. I would add insoluble problems.

K: I question if human problems are insoluble.

B: Well I mean as they are put now.

K: As they are, of course, now these problems have become so complex, and so incredibly insoluble, as things are. No politician, or scientist, or philosopher is going to solve them except through wars and so on. So why has the mind of human beings throughout the world, why have they not been able to resolve human daily problems of life? What are the things that prevent the solution of these problems, completely? Is it that we have never turned our minds to it? Because we spend all our days and probably half the night in thinking about technological problems that we have no time for the other?

B: Well that is only partly so. Many people feel that the other should take care of itself. I think many people don't give a lot of attention to these problems.

K: Why, why? I am rather concerned about this because in a school like this, or with all the people we talk to, the human problems remain constant. And I am questioning, asking, in this dialogue, whether it is possible to have no problems at all - human problems, apart from technological problems, that can be solved. But human problems seem insoluble - why? Is it our education? Is it our deep rooted tradition that we accept things as they are?

B: Yes, well that is certainly part of it. These problems accumulate as civilization gets older, people keep on accepting things which make problems. For example there are now far more nations in the world than there used to be and each one creates new problems.

K: Of course.

B: If you go back to a certain period of time...

K: Every potty little tribe becomes a nation.

B: And then they must fight their neighbour.

K: Of course, of course. They have this marvellous technology to kill each other. But we are talking about human problems, human problems of relationship, human problems of lack of freedom. This sense of constant uncertainty, fear and all that, you know, the human struggle and working for a livelihood for the rest of your life. It all seems so extraordinarily wrong, the whole thing.

B: Yes, well I think people have lost sight of that. Generally speaking they sort of, as you say, accept the situation in which they find themselves and try to make the best of it, like trying to solve some little problems to alleviate their situation. They wouldn't even look at this whole big situation very seriously.

K: But the religious people have created a tremendous problem for man.

B: Yes. They are trying to solve problems too. I mean everybody is often his own little fragment solving whatever he thinks he can solve, and it all adds up to chaos.

K: Chaos, that's what I am saying. We live as human beings in chaos. I want to find out if I can live without a single problem for the rest of my life. Is that possible?

B: Well I wonder if we should even call these things problems. A problem would be something that would be reasonably solvable. If you put a problem of how to achieve a certain result then that presupposes that you could reasonably find a way to do it, technologically. I don't think, psychologically, the problem can be looked at that way. To propose a result you have to achieve and then find a way to do it.

K: What is the root of all this? What is the cause of all this human chaos?

B: We have been discussing this for a long time.

K: I am trying to come to it from a different angle: whether there is an ending to problems. You see personally I refuse to have problems.

B: Well somebody might argue with you about that saying that maybe you are challenged with something.

K: It is not a problem. I was challenged the other day about something very, very serious.

B: It is a matter of clarification then. Part of the difficulty is clarification of the language.

K: Clarification. Not only language, it is a question of relationship and action. A certain problem arose the other day which involved lots of people and so on, and a certain action had to be taken. Personally to me it was not a problem.

B: Well, we have to make it clear what you mean because I don't know without an example.

K: I mean by problem something that has to be resolved, something you worry about, something you are endlessly concerned and questioning, answering, doubt, uncertain, and take some kind of action at the end which you will regret.

B: Let's begin with the technical problem where the idea first arose. Saying you have a challenge, something which needs to be done, and you say that is a problem.

K: Yes, that is generally called a problem.

B: Now the word problem is based on the idea of putting forth something, a possible solution and then trying to achieve it.

K: Or, not. I have a problem but I don't know how to deal with it.

B: Then if you have a problem and you have no idea of how to deal with it, then...

K: So I go round asking people, getting more and more confused.

B: That would already be a change from the simple idea of a technical problem where you usually have some notion of what to do.

K: I wonder if we do.

B: What?

K: Technical problems are fairly simple.

B: They often bring challenges requiring you to go very deeply and change your ideas.

K: That is what I am trying to get at.

B: Even a technical problem may do that. But now you say - if it were anything like a technical problem, either you would say, 'Well I can see generally what I have to do to solve this' - if you say there is lack of food, generally what you have got to do is produce more and more food, find ways and means of doing it.

K: We can do that.

B: And also we could discover entirely new ideas and so on. Now we have a psychological problem, can we do the same?

K: Yes, that is the point. How do we deal with this thing?

B: Well what kind of problem shall we discuss?

K: Human problems.

B: Human - what sort?

K: Any problem that arises in human relationships.

B: Well let's say people cannot agree, they fight each other constantly.

K: Yes, let's take that for a very simple thing. In our discussions here with a group of people, it seems to be almost impossible to think together, to have the same outlook, the same attitude, not copying each other, but an attitude which seems so normal, healthy. And each person puts his opinion forward and he is contradicted by another. And so this goes on all the time in the world, and here.

B: All right. Now we say our problem is to work together, to think together.

K: Yes, work together, think together, to co-operate together without a monetary issue involved in it.

B: Yes, well that is another question that people will work together if they are paid highly.

K: Yes, of course, you can see that happening.

B: But given a situation where this is not what we want then we have a problem.

K: Yes, that is right. Now how do we solve such a problem? I offer my opinion, you offer, and he and so on, all of us are offering an opinion and so we don't meet each other at all. So what shall we do? It seems almost impossible to give up one's opinions.

B: Yes, that is one of the difficulties. I don't think - if you say it is my problem to give up my opinions, it doesn't make sense. That is what I was trying to say, I am not sure you can regard it as a problem, saying what shall I do to give up my opinions.

K: No, of course. But that is a fact. So observing that and seeing the necessity that we should all come together, and when this is put forward to the others it becomes a problem to them.

B: That is because people find it hard to give up opinions.

K: That's it. Opinions, frequency of their ideas, their own experiences, their conclusions, their ideals, you know all that.

B: Even it may not seem like an opinion at that point, they feel it is true.

K: They call it fact.

B: Fact or truth.

K: So, what shall we do? If you see that it is important that human beings work together, not for some ideal, for some belief, or for some god, or for some principle, but the importance of working, the necessity of working together. I mean, in the United Nations they are not working together. In India they are not working together. No people in any country feel or work together.

B: Yes, well some people might say that we have got not only opinions, but self-interest.

K: Self-interest.

B: Which is very similar and so on.

K: All that, and it becomes a problem.

B: Well it is called a problem. If two people have self-interest which is different, then there is no way in my view that they can, as long as they maintain that, that they can work together.

K: Agreed. Suppose in a place like this, we are a group of people, and it is important that we all work together. Even in a small village, small country, whatever it is, we all must work together. And apparently that becomes almost incredibly difficult.

B: Yes, now how do you break into this?

K: That is what I want to discuss.

B: Let's discuss it.

K: If you point that out to me, that we must work together, and show to me the importance of it, and I also see it is important but I can't do it.

B: That's the point, that it is not enough even to see it is important and have the intention to do it. Ordinarily when we say 'I see the importance and I have the intention to do it' - I go and do it. So there is a new factor coming in here that a person sees something is important, he intends to do it and he can't do it.

K: That's it, and that creates a problem to him.

B: To everybody.

K: Yes, to everybody.

B: But why is it that we cannot carry out our intentions? We see the importance, knowing we want to do it and yet we can't do it. It seems puzzling.

K: One can give many reasons for that but those causes and reasons and explanations don't solve the problem, don't solve the issue. What will - we come back to the same thing - what will make a human mind change? Seeing it is necessary and yet incapable or unwilling to change. What factor is necessary in this? Some new factor is necessary.

B: Well I feel it is a perception of the ability to observe this whatever it is that is holding the person, preventing him from changing.

K: So is the new factor attention?

B: Yes, that is what I meant, attention but then if you are going to break into this in a group of people, what kind of attention do you mean?

K: We can discuss that. What is attention, we can discuss that.

B: It may have many meanings, to different people.

K: Of course, that is obvious as usual - as usual so many opinions about attention.

Could we, you and I, see what attention is? I feel as somebody wrote this morning, a letter came, in which the person says: where there is attention there is no problem; where there is inattention everything arises. Now without making attention into a problem, what do we mean by that? So that I understand it, not verbally, not intellectually but deeply, in my blood I understand the nature of attention in which no problem can ever exist. Obviously it is not concentration.

B: Yes, we went into that.

K: We have gone into that. Obviously it is not an endeavour, an experience, a struggle to be attentive. But you show me the nature of attention which is, when there is attention there is no centre from which I attend.

B: Yes, but that is a difficult thing.

K: Don't let's make a problem of it.

B: I meant that I have been trying that for a long time. I think that there is first of all some difficulty by what is meant by attention because the content of thought itself when the person is looking at it he may think he is attending.

K: No, in that state of attention there is no thought.

B: But how do you stop thought then? You see while thinking is going on there is an impression of attention which is not attention. That is one thinks, one supposes that one is paying attention.

K: No, no. When one supposes one is paying attention, that is not attention.

B: But that is what often happens. So how do we communicate what is the true meaning of attention?

K: Or would you say: to find out what is attention could we discuss what is inattention?

B: Yes.

K: Through negation come to the positive. When I am inattentive, what takes place? When I am inattentive?

B: All sorts of things take place.

K: No, but much more than that. In my inattentiveness - if there is such a word as inattentiveness - I feel lonely, desperate, depressed, anxious and so on.

B: The mind begins to break up and go into confusion.

K: Fragmentation takes place. Or in my lack of attention I identify myself with so many other things.

B: Yes, and it may also be pleasant.

K: Of course. It is always pleasant.

B: But it may be painful too.

K: I find later on that that which was pleasing becomes pain.

B: Pain, yes.

K: So all that is a movement in which there is no attention. Right? Are we getting anywhere?

B: I don't know.

K: I think - I feel that attention is the real solution to all this. A mind that is really attentive, which has understood the nature of inattention and moves away from it.

B: Yes, now what is the nature of inattention?

K: The nature of inattention? Indolence, negligence, this self-concern, the self contradiction, all that, is the nature of inattention.

B: Yes. A person who has self-concern may feel that he is attending to the concerns of himself. He feels he has got problems, then paying attention to them.

K: Ah, I see you are using it, quite, quite. If there is self-contradiction in me, and then I pay attention to it in order not to be self-contradictory, that is not attention.

B: But can you make it clear because ordinarily one might think that that is attention.

K: No, that is not, it is merely a process of thought, which says, 'I am this, I must not be that'.

B: Then you are saying this attempt to become is not attention.

K: Yes, that is right.

B: Because it is not based on...

K: The psychological becoming breeds inattention.

B: Yes, and the person may thing he is attending to something but he is not, when he is engaged in this process.

K: Isn't it very difficult sir, to be free of not becoming? That is the root of it. To end becoming.

B: Yes.

K: Does this convey anything? Are we getting anywhere, sir? Or are we going round and round in circles? You see most human beings have problems of one kind or another. Apart from technological problems which can be solved, apparently human problems are not soluble. And I say, why?

B: Well we have just answered it: because they are not really paying attention to them.

K: No, but then paying attention becomes a problem.

B: I know it does. But I am saying there is no attention and that is why these problems are there.

K: Yes. And then you point that out and it becomes a problem.

B: Yes. That is the question, to stop it. The difficulty is that the mind plays tricks and in trying to deal with this it does the very same thing again.

K: Of course, of course. So let's come back. Is the mind, which is so full of knowledge, self-importance, self-contradiction, and all the rest of it, that mind, the human mind, has come to a point where it finds itself psychologically that it can't move.

B: There is nowhere for it to move, yes.

K: So what? What would I say to a person who has come to that point? I wonder if I am moving along, or are we not?

B: Well I think it is beginning to focus the question.

K: I come to you. I am full of this confusion, anxiety, and sense of despair, not only facing what the world is, but also in myself. I come to that point and I want to break through it. So it becomes a problem to me.

B: Well then we are back, there is an attempt to become again.

K: Yes. That is what I want to get at. So is that the root of all this, this desire to become?

B: Yes, well it must be close to the root, it keeps on coming in without notice. The inattention is such that you would say that I am looking at my problem and my problem is always becoming, so I say I want to stop becoming, which again is inattention.

K: Which again becomes a problem. So how do I regard, or look, without the movement of becoming, at this whole complex issue of myself?

B: Well it seems that one has to look at the whole, we did not look at the whole of becoming, when you said, how can I pay attention. Part of it seemed to slip out and became the observer. Right?

K: Sir, look, becoming has become the curse - psychologically - the curse of this. A poor man wants to be rich and a rich man wants to be richer, and it is this movement all the time of becoming, becoming, both outwardly and inwardly. And though it brings a great deal of pain and sometimes pleasure, this sense of becoming, fulfilling, achieving psychologically, has made my life into all that it is. Now I realize that but I can't stop it.

B: Yes, but one thing is, why can't I stop it?

K: Let's go into that a little bit. You see partly it is because I am always concerned in becoming that there is a reward at the end of it and I am always avoiding pain, punishment. And in that cycle I am caught. That is probably one of the reasons why the mind keeps on trying to become something. And the other perhaps is deep rooted anxiety, fear if I don't become, be something I am lost, and I am uncertain, insecure. So the mind has accepted these illusions and says I cannot end that.

B: Then why doesn't the mind end it? Also we have to go into the question into saying that there is no meaning to these illusions.

K: How do you convince me that I am caught in an illusion? You can't, unless I see it myself. I cannot see it because my illusion is so strong. That illusion has been nurtured, cultivated by religion, by family and so on and so on, it is so deeply rooted that I refuse to let that go.

B: Well then it seems impossible.

K: That is what is happening. That is what is taking place with a large number of people. They say, 'I want to do this but I cannot'. Now given that situation, what is one to do? Is it explanations, logic, all the various contradictions, and logic and so on, will that help him? Obviously not.

B: Because it all gets absorbed into the structure.

K: Obviously not. So what is the next thing?

B: Well I would question, if he says, 'I want to change', there is also the wish not to change.

K: Of course. The man who says, 'I want to change' has also at the back of his mind 'Really, why should I change?' They go together.

B: So we get a contradiction.

K: That is what I mean, a contradiction. I have lived in this contradiction, I have accepted this contradiction.

B: So why should I have accepted it.

K: Because it is a habit.

B: But I meant, when the mind is healthy it will not accept a contradiction.

K: But our mind isn't healthy. Our minds are so diseased, so corrupt, so confused, that even though you point out all the dangers of this, it refuses to see it.

So how do we, suppose I am a man in that position, how do we help him to see clearly the danger of becoming? Let's put it that way. Psychologically becoming, which implies identification with a nation, with all that business.

B: Yes, holding to opinions.

K: Opinions, beliefs, I have had an experience, it gives me tremendous satisfaction, I am going to hold on to it. I have had knowledge - all that. How do you help me, such a person, to be free of all that? Your words, you explanations, your logic, everything says, quite right, but I can't move out of that.

I wonder if there is another factor, another way of communication, which isn't based on words, knowledge, explanations and reward and punishment. You follow? Is there another way of communicating, which we were talking about at table for a brief moment? You see in that too, there is a danger. I think there is, I am sure there is, a way of communicating which is not verbal, which is not analytical, logical, which doesn't mean lack of sanity, but I am sure there is another way.

B: Perhaps there is.

K: Now how do you communicate with me, who is caught in this trap, non-verbally, so that I grasp it deeply, that breaks away everything else? You follow? Is there such a communication? My mind has always communicated with another with words, with explanations, with logic, with analysis, either compulsive, or with suggestion and so on. My mind has been caught in all that. There must be another element which breaks through all that, otherwise it is impossible.

B: It will break through the inability to listen.

K: Yes, the inability to listen, the inability to observe, to hear and so on. There must be a different method. You see, I met a man once, obviously many men, who have been to a place with a certain saint and in his company they say all our problems are resolved. Just a minute. And when they go back to their life, back to the old game.

B: Yes, well there was no intelligence in it.

K: You see the danger. That man, that saint, being quiet, non-verbal, in his very presence, they feel quiet. You follow what I am saying? And they feel their problems are resolved.

B: But it is still from the outside.

K: Of course. Still it is like, of course it is, like going to church. And in a good ancient church, or a cathedral, you feel extraordinarily quiet. It is the atmosphere, it is the structure, you know, all that, the very atmosphere makes you be quiet.

B: Yes, well it communicates what is meant by quietness, I think, but it gets across the communication which is non-verbal.

K: No, that is nothing. It is like incense.

B: It is superficial.

K: Utterly superficial, like incense, it evaporates! So we push all that aside, then what have we left? Not an outside agency, a god, or some saviour, push all that aside, and what have I left? What is there that can be communicated, which will break through the wall which human beings have built for themselves?

As we said sir, at the lunch table a couple of hours ago, is it love? Of course that word is corrupted, loaded, become dirty; but cleansing that word, is that the factor that will break through all this clever analytical approach, is that the element that is lacking?

B: Well we have to discuss it, you see maybe people are somewhat chary of this word.

K: I am chary beyond words!

B: And therefore as people resist listening, they will resist love too.

K: Of course. That is why I said it is rather a risky word.

B: We were saying the other day also that love contains intelligence.

K: Of course.

B: Which is care as well and if we meant by love that energy which also contains intelligence and caring, all that.

K: That we went through the other day. Now wait a minute, you have that quality and I am caught in my misery, my anxiety and so on, and you are trying to penetrate with that intelligence, this mass of darkness. How will you do it? Will that act? If not we human beings are lost. You follow sir? Therefore they have invented Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, they bring love, you follow? Which has become so utterly meaningless, superficial and nonsensical.

So what shall I do? I think that is the factor sir. Attention, perception, intelligence and love. You bring it to me and I am incapable of receiving it. And I say, 'It sounds nice, I feel it but I can't hold it,' - I can't hold it because the moment I go outside this room I am lost.

B: Well that really is the problem.

K: Yes sir. That is the real problem. Is love something outside? You understand what I am saying? Like a saviour is outside, and heaven is outside and all that stuff. But is love something - I am using that word very carefully - something outside of me, which you bring to me, which you awaken in me, which you give me as a gift; or it is in my darkness, in my illusion, suffering, is there that quality? Obviously not, there can't be.

B: Then where is it?

K: That's just it. It must be there - now wait a minute; love is not yours or mine, it is not personal, it is not something that belongs to a person, and doesn't to the other; love is that.

B: This is an important point. Like in one of the discussions you were saying, that isolation does not belong to any one person, it is something that everybody can look at, and whereas we tend to think of isolation as my personal problem.

K: No, no, of course not. It is common ground for all of us.

B: But it may be a clue because if somebody is looking for love and he is saying, this must be my love, you have got it and I haven't - that is his way of thinking.

K: No, no. Intelligence is not personal.

B: But again it goes contrary to the whole of our thinking.

K: I know.

B: Everybody says this person is intelligent and that one is not. And saying that if I have like intelligence, I must declare it for myself.

K: Of course.

B: So this may be one of the barriers to the whole thing, that people behind the ordinary everyday thought there is deeper thought of mankind, which is that these qualities, that we are all divided and these various qualities either belong to us or they don't belong to us.

K: Quite, quite. It is the fragmentary mind that invents all this.

B: It has all been invented, we have picked it up verbally and non-verbally from childhood and by implication, therefore it pervades, it is the ground of our thoughts, of all our perceptions. So this has to be questioned.

K: We have questioned it, we have questioned that grief is not my grief, grief is human.

B: But how are people to see that because a person who is caught in grief feels that it is his grief. Doesn't that seem right?

K: Yes. I think it is partly because of our education, partly our society, tradition.

B: But it is also implicit in our whole way of thinking.

K: Yes, quite right. So we come back.

B: Then we have to jump out of that.

K: Yes. But 'jump out of that' becomes a problem and then what am I to do?

B: But perhaps we can see that love is not personal, love does not belong to anybody any more than any other quality.

K: Earth is not English earth or French earth, earth is earth.

B: I was thinking of an example in physics: if the scientist or chemist is studying an element such as sodium, he does not say it is his sodium and somebody else studies theirs and they somehow compare notes.

K: Quite. Sodium is sodium.

B: Sodium is sodium universally. So we have to say love is love universally.

K: Yes. But you see my mind refuses to see that because I am so terribly personal, terribly 'me and my problems' and all that. I refuse to let that go. When you say sodium is sodium, it is very simple, I can see that. But when you say to me, grief is common to all of us - sodium is grief!

B: But this can't be done with time, but it took quite a while for mankind to realize that sodium is sodium.

K: That is what I want to find out sir: is love something that is common to all of us?

B: Well in so far as it exists it has to be common.

K: Of course, of course.

B: It many not exist but if it does it has to be common.

K: I am not sure it does exist.

B: Yes, right.

K: Like, compassion is not 'I am compassionate' - compassion is there, it is something not me, compassion.

B: Well if we say compassion is the same as sodium, it is universal.

K: Universal.

B: Then every person's compassion is the same.

K: And compassion, love, and intelligence. You can't be compassion without intelligence.

B: So we say intelligence is universal too.

K: Obviously.

B: But we have methods of testing intelligence in particular people.

K: Oh, no!

B: But that is all part of the thing that is getting in the way, yes?

K: Part of this divisive, fragmentary way of thinking. And thinking is fragmentary.

B: Well, there may be holistic thinking, we are not yet in it.

K: Yes. Then holistic thinking is not thinking, it is some other factor.

B: Some other factor that we haven't gone into yet.

K: So if love is common to all of us, why am I blind to it?

B: Well, I think partly the mind boggles, it just refuses to consider such a fantastic change of concept in a way of looking.

K: But you said just now that sodium is sodium.

B: But people feel uneasy about transferring - you have got a lot of evidence for that in all sorts of experiments.

K: Salt is salt, whether it is English salt or...

B: But that was built up through a lot of work and experience, now we can't do that here with love.

K: Oh no. Love isn't knowledge.

B: You can't go into a laboratory and prove that love is love.

K: Why does one's mind refuse to accept a very obvious factor, why? Is it the fear of letting my old values, standards, opinions, all that, to let go? Again you follow?

B: I think it is probably something deeper. It is hard to pin down but it isn't a simple thing. I mean that is a partial explanation.

K: That is a superficial explanation. I know that. Is, sir, is it the deep rooted anxiety, or the longing to be totally secure?

B: But that again is based on fragmentation.

K: Of course, of course.

B: If we accept that we are fragmented we will inevitably want to be totally secure. Right? Because being fragmented you are always in danger.

K: Is that the root of it? This urge, this demand, this longing to be totally secure in my relationship with everything, to be certain?

B: Yes, but even so you could say that in some way you have often said that that could be reasonable in the sense that you say the search for security - the real security is found in nothingness, is what you have said.

K: Of course, in nothingness there is complete security.

B: It is not the demand for security which is wrong but the demand that the fragment be secure. The fragment cannot possibly be secure.

K: That is right. Like each country trying to be secure it is not secure.

B: But complete security could be achieved if all the countries got together.

K: Of course, of course, no tribulation, of course there would be.

B: So the way you have put it sounds as if we should live eternally in insecurity.

K: No, no. We have made that very clear.

B: It makes sense to ask for security but we are going about it the wrong way.

K: Yes, that's right. How do you convey that love is universal, not personal, to a man who has lived completely in the narrow groove of personal achievement?

B: Well it seems the first point is, will he question his narrow, his unique personality?

K: They question it - I have discussed this so much - they question it, they see the logic of it, they see the illogic of all this, and yet. You see curiously people who have been very serious in these matters, have tried to find the wholeness of life through starvation, through torture, through - you know every kind of way. The haven't, they imagine they have.

B: That is again...

K: You can't apprehend or perceive or be the whole through torture. Torture includes discipline, you know, all the rest of it. So what shall we do?

I have a brother who refuses to see all this. And as I like him, as I have lived with him, I have a great affection for him, I want him to move out of it. And I have tried to communicate with him verbally and sometimes non-verbally, by a gesture, by a look, but all this is still from the outside. And perhaps that is the reason why he resists. Being my brother, for whom I have a great affection, if I can help my brother for whom I have a great affection - I won't use the word 'help' - if I can point out that in himself this flame can be awakened, which means he must listen to me.

B: Yes, well.

K: Back again. But my brother refuses to listen.

B: It seems that there are some actions which are not possible. If a person is caught in a certain thought such as fragmentation then he can't change it because there are a lot of other thoughts behind it.

K: Of course, of course.

B: Ones he doesn't know. He is not actually free to take an action there because of the whole structure of thought that holds him. So we have to find some place where he is free to act, to move, which is not controlled by the conditioning.

K: So how do I - I use the word 'help' with great caution - help my brother? He knows my affection for him, he is aware of my - and all the rest of it. What is the root of all this? We said becoming aware - all that is verbal, all that can be explained in ten different ways - the cause, the effect and all the rest of it. After explaining all this he says, 'You have left me where I am'. And my intelligence, my affection, love says 'I can't let him go'. You follow? I can't say, 'Well, go to hell' and move off. I can't let him go. Which means, am I putting pressure on him? I am not putting any kind of pressure, any kind of reward, none of that. I can't. My responsibility is that I can't let another human being go. It is not the responsibility of duty and all that kind of filthy stuff. But it is the responsibility of intelligence which says all that.

B: Well that is clear that the whole thing would have no meaning if you would let him go.

K: No.

B: Then it would be going back into fragmentation.

K: Sir, there is a tradition in India, and probably in Tibet, there is one called the Maitreya Buddha who took a vow that he would not become the ultimate Buddha until he has liberated human beings too.

B: Altogether?

K: Yes. You see the tradition hasn't changed anything.

How can I - how can one, if he has that intelligence, that compassion, that love, which is not of a country, or person or ideal, saviour and all that nonsense, but has that purity of that - can that be transmitted to another? Or living with him, talking to him - you see it all becomes mechanical.

B: Well would you say this has never really been solved, this question?

K: I should think so sir. But we must solve it. You follow? It has not been solved but our intelligence says, solve it. No, I think intelligence doesn't say, solve it, intelligence says, these are the facts and perhaps some will capture it.

B: Well it seems to me that there are really two factors: one is the preparation by reason to show that it all makes sense; but from there possibly some will capture it.

K: We have done that sir. You started telling me - you laid the map out very clearly and I have seen it very clearly, all the rivers, the conflicts, the misery, the confusion, the insecurity, the becoming, all that is very, very, very clear. At the end of the chapter I am back at the beginning. Or I have got a glimpse of it and that becomes my craving to capture that glimpse and hold on to it and not lose it. Then that becomes a memory. You follow? And all the nightmare begins.

In your showing me the map very clearly you have also pointed out to me something much deeper than that, which is love. And by your person, by your reasoning, by your logic, I am groping, seeking after that. But the weight of my body, my brain, my tradition, all that draws me back. So it is a constant battle. You follow sir? And I think the whole thing is so wrong.

B: What is wrong?

K: The way we are living, the whole thing is so wrong.

B: Well I think many people must see that by now. At least a fair number.

K: I remember we were talking once in Ojai whether man has taken a wrong turning, entered into a valley where there is no escape. That can't be sir, that is too depressing, too appalling.

B: At least I think some people might object to that. The very fact it is appalling does not make it untrue. I think you would have to say some stronger reason why you feel that to be untrue.

K: Oh yes.

B: Do you perceive in human nature some possibility of a real change?

K: Of course sir, otherwise it would be meaningless, we'd be monkeys, machines. You see, and that faculty to a radical change is attributed to some outside agency and therefore we look to that and get lost in that. If we don't look to anybody and be completely free from all that, that solitude is common to all of us. I don't know if I am making myself clear?

B: Yes.

K: It is not an isolation, it is an obvious fact that when you see all this and say, this is so ugly, unreal, so stupid, you are naturally alone. And that sense of aloneness is common.

B: Yes. Of course the ordinary sense of loneliness is in the sense that each person feels it is his own loneliness.

K: Loneliness is not solitude, not aloneness, good Lord!

B: I think one could say that all the fundamental things are universal and therefore you are saying that when the mind goes deep it comes into something universal.

K: Universal, that's right.

B: Whether you call it absolute.

K: And that is the problem: to make the mind go very, very deeply into itself.

B: Yes, there is one thing that occurred to me. When we start with our particular problem it is very shallow, then we go to something more general - the word general has the same root as to generate.

K: To generate, of course.

B: The genus is the coming generation, so as you go to something more general you go to the deep, the depth of what is generated.

K: That's right, sir.

B: And going from that, still further, the general is still limited because it is thought.

K: Thought, quite right. But sir, to go so profoundly it requires tremendous, not only courage, but the sense of constant pursuing the same stream.

B: Yes, well that is not quite diligence, that is still too limited, right?

K: Yes, diligence is too limited - that goes with a religious mind in the sense that it is diligent in its action, in its thoughts, in its activities and so on, but that is still limited. I think that is right sir. If the mind can go from the particular to the general and from the general...

B:... to the absolute, to the universal.

K: Move away from that.

B: Well you see many people would say that is all very abstract and has nothing to do with daily life.

K: I know. It is the most practical thing. Not that it is an abstraction.

B: In fact it is the particular that is the abstraction.

K: Absolutely. The particular is the most dangerous.

B: It is also the most abstract because you only get to the particular by abstracting.

K: Of course, of course.

B: But I think that may be part of it, you see people feel they want something that really affects us in daily life, we don't just want to get ourselves lost in talking. Therefore they say all these vapid generalities don't interest us.

K: These are abstractions.

B: Instead of getting into the real solid concrete realities of daily life. Now I mean it is true that it must work in daily life, but daily life does not contain the solution of its problems.

K: No. The daily life is the general life.

B: The general and the particular.

K: And the particular.

B: The problems which arise in daily life cannot be solved there, as the human problems.

K: From the particular move to the general, from the general move away still deeper, and there perhaps is this purity of that thing called compassion, love and intelligence. But that means giving your mind to this, your heart, your mind, your whole being must be involved in this.

We had better stop. Sorry. We have gone on for a long time. Have we reached somewhere?

B: Possibly so.

K: I think so.

The Ending of Time

Longer, Unedited Versions

Brockwood Park 15th Conversation with David Bohm 27th September 1980 `the Ending of Time'

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