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Wholeness of Life

Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm

The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 1 1st Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 17th May, 1976

KRISHNAMURTI: Can we talk about the wholeness of life? Can one be aware of that wholeness if the mind is fragmented? You can't be aware of the whole if you are only looking through a small hole.

Dr Shainberg: Right. But on the other hand in actuality you are the whole.

K: Ah! That is theory.

S: Is it?

Dr Bohm: A supposition, of course it is.

K: Of course, when you are fragmented how can you assume that you are the whole?

S: How am I to know I am fragmented?

K: When there is conflict.

S: That's right.

K: When opposing desires, opposing wishes, opposing thoughts bring conflict. Then you have pain, then you become conscious of your fragmentation.

S: Right. But at those moments it often happens that you don't want to let go of the conflict.

K: That is a different matter. What we are asking is: Can the fragment dissolve itself, for then only it is possible to see the whole.

S: All you really know is your fragmentation.

K: That is all we know.

B: That is right.

K: Therefore let's stick to that.

B: The supposition that there is a whole may be reasonable but as long as you are fragmented you could never see it. It would be just an assumption. K: Of course, right.

S: Right.

B: You may think you have experienced it once, but that is also an assumption.

K: Absolutely. Quite right.

S: You know, I wonder if there is not a tremendous pain or something that goes on when I am aware of my fragmentation - a loneliness somehow.

K: Look, sir: Can you be aware of your fragment? That you are an American, that I am a Hindu, Jew, Communist or whatever - you just live in that state. You don't say, "Well I know I am a Hindu" - it is only when you are challenged, it is only when it is said, "What are you?" that you say, "I am an Indian, or a Hindu, or an Arab".

B: When the country is challenged then you have got to worry.

K: Of course.

S: So you are saying that I am living totally reactively?

K: No, you are living totally in a kind of miasma, confusion.

S: From one piece to the next, from one reaction to the next reaction.

K: So can we be aware, actually, of the various fragments? That I am a Hindu, that I am a Jew, that I am an Arab, that I am a Communist, that I am a Catholic, that I am a businessman, that I am married, that I have responsibilities; I am an artist, I am a scientist - you follow? All this sociological fragmentation.

S: Right.

K: As well as psychological fragmentation.

S. Right right. That is exactly what I started with. This feeling that I am a fragment.

K: Which you call the individual.

S: That I call important, not just the individual.

K: You call that important.

S: Right. That I have to work.

K: Quite.

S: It is significant. K: So can we now, in talking together, be aware that I am that? I am a fragment and therefore creating more fragments, more conflict, more misery, more confusion, more sorrow, because when there is conflict it affects everything.

S: Right.

K: Can you be aware of it as we are discussing?

S: I can be aware a little as we are discussing.

K: Not a little.

S: That's the trouble. Why can't I be aware of it?

K: Look, sir. You are only aware of it when there is conflict. It is not a conflict in you now.

B: But is it possible to be aware of it without conflict?

K: That is the next thing, yes. That requires quite a different approach.

B: But I was thinking of looking at one point - that the importance of these fragments is that when I identify myself and say "I am this", "I am that", I mean the whole of me. The whole of me is rich or poor, or American, or whatever, and therefore it seems all-important. I think the trouble is that the fragment claims it is the whole, and makes itself very important.

S: Takes up the whole life.

B: Then comes a contradiction, and then comes another fragment saying it is the whole.

K: You know this whole world is broken up that way, outside and inside.

S: Me and you.

K: Yes, me and you, we and they...

B: But if we say "I am wholly this", then we also say "I am wholly that".

S; This movement into fragmentation almost seems to be caused by something. It seems to be...

K: Is this what you are asking? What is the cause of this fragmentation?

S: Yes. What is the cause of the fragmentation? What breeds it? What sucks us into it? K: We are asking something very important, which is: What is the cause of this fragmentation?

S: That is what I was getting into. There is some cause... I have got to hold on to something.

K: No. Just look at it, sir. Why are you fragmented?

S: Well, my immediate response is the need to hold on to something.

K: No, much deeper than that. Much deeper. Look at it. Look at it. Let's go slowly into it.

S: OK.

K: Not immediate responses. What brings this conflict which indicates I am fragmented, and then I ask the question: What brings this fragmentation? What is the cause of it?

B: Right. That is important.

K: Yes. Why are you and I and the majority of the world fragmented? What is the cause of it?

B: It seems we won't find the cause by going back in time to a certain...

S: I am not looking for genetics, I am looking for right this second...

K: Sir, just look at it. Put it on the table and look at it objectively. what brings about this fragmentation?

S: Fear.

K: No, no, much more.

B: Maybe the fragmentation causes fear.

K: Yes, that's it. Why am I a Hindu? - if I am, I am not a Hindu, I am not an Indian, I have no nationality. But suppose I call myself a Hindu. What makes me a Hindu?

S: Well, conditioning makes you a Hindu.

K: What is the background, what is it that makes me say "I am a

Hindu"? Which is a fragmentation, obviously.

S: Right, right.

K: What makes it? My father, my grandfather - generations and generations before me, 10,000 or 5,000 years, they have been saying you are a Brahmin. S: You don't say or write I am a Brahmin, you are a Brahmin. Right? That is quite different. You say I am a Brahmin because...

K: It is like you saying I am a Christian. Which is what?

S: Tradition, conditioning, sociology, history, culture, family, everything.

K: But behind that, what is behind that?

S: Behind that is man's...

K: No, no. Don't theorize. Look at it in yourself.

S: Well, it gives me a place, an identity; I know who I am then, I have my little niche.

K: Who made that niche?

S: Well, I made it and they helped me make it. I am co-operating in this very...

K: You are not co-operating. You are it.

S: I am it. Right. That's right. The whole thing is moving towards... putting me in a hole.

K: So what made you? The great-great-grandparent created this environment, this culture, this whole structure of human existence, with all its misery, all its conflict - which is the fragmentation.

S: The same action that makes man right now.

K: Exactly. The Babylonians, the Egyptians, we are exactly the same now.

B: Yes.

S: This is all giving me my secondhand existence.

K: Yes. Proceed. Let's go into it. Let's find out why man has brought about this state. Which we accept - you follow? Gladly or unwillingly, we are of it. I am willing to kill somebody because he is a Communist or a Fascist, an Arab or a Jew, a Protestant or a Catholic or whatever it is.

S: Well, everywhere, the doctors, lawyers...

K: Of course, of course. The same problem. Is it the desire for security? Biological as well as psychological security?

S: You could say yes. K: If I belong to something to some organization, to some group, to some sect to some ideological community I am safe there.

B: That is not clear: you may feel safe.

K: I feel safe then. But it may not be safety.

B: Yes, But why don't I see that I am not really safe?

K: Go into it.

S: I don't see it.

K: Just look. I join a community...

S: Right. I am a doctor.

K: Yes, you are a doctor.

S: I get all these ideas....

K: Because you are a doctor you have a special position in society.

S: Right. I have a lot of ideas of how things work.

K: You are in a special position in society and therefore you are completely safe.

S: Right.

K: You can malpractice, but you are very protected by other doctors, other organizations - you follow?

S: Right.

K: You feel secure.

B: it is essential that I shouldn't enquire too far to feel secure, isn't it? In other words I must stop my enquiry at a certain point. If I start to ask too many questions...

K: ...then you are out! If I begin to ask questions about my community and my relation to that community, my relationship to the world, my relation to my neighbour, I am finished. I am out of the community. I am lost.

S: That's right.

K: So to feel safe, secure, protected, I belong.

S: I depend.

K: I depend.

B: I depend wholly in one sense that if I don't have that, then I feel the whole thing is sunk. S: You see, not only do I depend but every problem I now have is with reference to this dependency. I don't know about the patient, I only know how the patient doesn't fit into my system.

K: Quite, quite.

S: Because that is my conflict.

K: He is your victim.

S: That's right, my victim.

B: You see, as long as I don't ask questions I can feel comfortable. But I feel uncomfortable when I do ask questions, very deeply uncomfortable. Because the whole of my situation is challenged. But then if I look at it more broadly I see the whole thing has no foundation - it is all dangerous. This community itself is in a mess, it may collapse. Even if the whole of it doesn't collapse, you can't count on the academic profession any more, they may not give money for universities. Everything is changing so fast that you don't know where you are. So why should I go on with not asking questions?

K: Why don't I ask questions? - Because of fear.

B: Yes, but that fear is from fragmentations.

K: Of course. So is that the beginning of this fragmentation? Does fragmentation take place when one is seeking security?

S: But why..?

K: Both biologically as well as psychologically. Primarily psychologically, then biologically.

S: Right.

K: Physically.

B: But isn't the tendency to seek physical security built into the organism?

K: Yes, that's right. It is. I must have food, clothes, shelter. It is absolutely necessary.

S: Right.

K: And when that is threatened - if I questioned the Communist system altogether, living in Russia, I am a non person.

S: But let's go a little bit slower here. You are suggesting that in my need for security, biologically, I must have some fragmentation. K: No, sir. Biologically, fragmentation takes place, the insecurity takes place, when psychologically I want security.

S: OK.

K: I don't know if I am making myself clear. Wait a minute. That is: if I don't psychologically belong to a group, then I am out of that group.

S: Then I am insecure.

K: I am insecure, and because the group gives me security, physical security, I accept everything they give me.

S: Right.

K: But the moment I object psychologically to the structure of the society and the community I am lost. This is an obvious fact.

S: Right.

B: Yes.

S: Were you suggesting then that the basic insecurity we live in is being conditioned, and the response to this - the answer to this - is a conditioned fragmentation?

K: Partly.

S: And that the movement of fragmentation is the conditioning?

K: Sir, look: if there were no fragmentation, historically, geographically, nationally, we would live perfectly safely. We would all be protected, we would all have food, all have houses. There would be no wars, we'd be all one. He is my brother, I am him. He is me.

But this fragmentation prevents that taking place.

S: Right. So you are suggesting even more there - you are suggesting that we would help each other?

K: I would help, obviously.

B: We are going round in a circle because...

K: Yes, sir, I want to get back to something, which is: if there were no nationalities, no ideological groups, and so on, we would have everything we want. That is prevented because I am a Hindu, you are an Arab, he is a Russian - you follow? We are asking : Why does this fragmentation take place? What is the source of it? Is it knowledge?

S: It is knowledge, you say. K: Is it knowledge? I am sure it is but I am putting it as a question.

S: It certainly seems to be.

K: No, no. Look into it. Let's find out.

S: What do you mean by knowledge, what are you talking about there?

K: The word to know. Do I know you? Or have I known you? I can never say I know you, I mean actually; it would be an abomination to say "I know you". I have known you. But you in the meantime are changing - there is a great deal of movement going on in you.

S: Right.

K: To say I know you means I am acquainted or intimate with that movement which is going on in you. It would be impudence on my part to say I know you.

S: That's right.

K: So knowing - to know - is the past. Would you say that?

B: Yes, I mean what we know is the past.

K: Knowledge is the past.

B: The danger is that we call it the present. The danger is that we call knowledge the present.

K: That is just it.

B: In other words, if we said the past is the past, then wouldn't you say it needn't fragment?

K: What is that, sir?

B: If we said - if we recognized, acknowledged, that the past is the past, that it is gone, and therefore what we know is the past, then it would not introduce fragmentation.

K: No, it wouldn't, quite right.

B: But if we say what we know is what is present now, then we are introducing fragmentation.

K: Quite right.

B: Because we are imposing this partial knowledge on the whole.

K: Sir, would you say knowledge is one of the factors of fragmentation? It is a large pill to swallow! B: And also there are plenty of other factors.

K: Yes. But that may be the only factor!

B: I think we should look at it this way, that people hope through knowledge to overcome fragmentation.

K: Of course.

B: To produce a system of knowledge that will put it all together.

K: Is that not one of the major factors, or perhaps the factor of fragmentation? My experience tells me I am a Hindu: my experience tells me that I know what god is.

B: Wouldn't we better say that confusion about the whole of knowledge is because of fragmentation?

K: That is what we were saying the other day - art is putting things in their right place. So I will put knowledge in its right place.

B: Yes, so that we are not confused about it.

K: Of course.

S: You know I was just going to read you this rather interesting example of a patient of mine who was teaching me something the other day. She said, "I have the feeling that the way you doctors operate is that you have certain kinds of patients, and if you do `x' to them you will get a certain kind of effect. You are not talking to me, you are doing this to me hoping you will get this result."

K: Quite.

S: That is what you are saying.

K: No, a little more, sir, than that. We are saying, both Dr Bohm and I, we are saying that knowledge has its place.

S: Let's go into that.

K: Like driving a car, learning a language and so on.

B: If we drive a car using knowledge, that is not fragmentation.

K: No, but when knowledge is used psychologically...

B: One should see more clearly what the difference is. The car itself - as I see it - is a part, a limited part, that can be handled by knowledge.

S: It is a limited part of life. B: Of life, yes. When we say, I am so and so, I mean the whole of me. And therefore I am applying the part to the whole. I am trying to take in the whole by the part.

K: When knowledge assumes it understands the whole...

B: But it is often very tricky because I am not explicitly spelling out that I understand the whole, but it is implicit by saying I, or everything, is this way.

K: Quite, quite.

B: It implies that the whole is this way, you see. The whole of me, the whole of life, the whole of the world.

S: As Krishnaji was saying about never knowing a person - that is how we deal with ourselves. We say I know this and that about myself rather than being open to the new man. Or even being aware of the fragmentation.

B: If I am talking about you then I shouldn't say I know all because you are not a limited part like a machine. You see, the machine is fairly limited and you can know all that is relevant about it, or most of it anyway, Sometimes it breaks down.

K: Quite. Quite.

B: But when it comes to another person, that is immensely beyond what you could really know. The past experience doesn't tell you the essence.

K: Are you saying, Dr Bohm, that when knowledge spills over into the psychological field..?

B: Well, also in another field which I call the whole in general. Sometimes it spills over into the philosophical field and then tries to make it metaphysical, the whole universe.

K: That is purely theoretical and has no meaning for me personally.

B: I mean that some people feel that when they are discussing metaphysics of the whole universe it is not psychological. It probably is, but some people may feel that they are making a theory of the universe, not discussing psychology. It is just a matter of language.

K: Language, quite.

S: Well you see what you are saying can be extended to what people are. They have a metaphysics about other people. I know all other people are not to be trusted.

K: Of course.

B: You have a metaphysics about yourself, saying I am such and such a person.

S: Right. I have a metaphysics that life is hopeless and I must depend on these things.

K: No, all that you can see is that we are fragmented. That is a fact. And I am aware of those fragmentations; there is an awareness of the fragmented mind because of conflict.

S: That's right.

B: You were saying before that we have got to have an approach where we are not aware of the fragmented mind just because of conflict.

K: Yes. That's right.

B: Are we coming to that?

K: Coming, yes. I said: What is the source of this conflict? The source is fragmentation, obviously. What brings about fragmentation? What is the cause of it? What is behind it? We said perhaps knowledge.

S: Knowledge.

K: Knowledge. Psychologically I use knowledge; I think I know myself, when I really don't, because I am changing, moving. Or I use knowledge for my own satisfaction - for my position, for my success, for becoming a great man in the world. I am a great scholar, say. I have read a million books. This gives me position, prestige, a status. So is that it - that fragmentation takes place when there is a desire for security, psychological security, which prevents biological security?

S: Right.

K: You say right. Therefore security may be one of the factors. Security in knowledge, used wrongly.

B: Or could you say that some sort of mistake has been made, that man feels insecure biologically, and he thinks, what shall I do, and he makes a mistake in the sense that he tries to obtain a psychological sense of security - by knowledge? K: By knowledge, yes.

S: By knowing, yes. By repeating himself by depending on all these structures.

K: One feels secure by having an ideal.

S: Right. That is so true.

B: But somewhere one asks why the person makes this mistake. In other words if thought - if the mind had been absolutely clear, it would never have done that.

S: If the mind had been absolutely clear - but we have just said that there is biological insecurity. That is a fact.

B: But that doesn't imply that you have to delude yourself.

K: Quite right. Go on further.

S: There's that biological fact of my constant uncertainty. The biological fact of constant change.

K: That is created through psychological fragmentation.

S: My biological uncertainty?

K: Of course. I may lose my job, I may have no money tomorrow.

B: Now let's look at that. I may have no money tomorrow. You see, that may be an actual fact, but now the question is: What would a man say if his mind were clear, what would be his response?

K: He would never be put in that position.

S: He wouldn't ask that question.

B: But suppose he finds himself without money?

K: He would do something.

B: His mind won't just go to pieces.

S: He won't have to have all the money he thinks he has to have.

B: Besides that, he won't go into this well of confusion. K: No, absolutely.

S: The problem 99 per cent of the time, I certainly agree, is that we all think we need more than this ideal of what we should have.

K: No, sir. We are trying to stick to one point. What is the cause of this fragmentation? S: Right.

K: We said knowledge spilling over into the field where it should not enter.

B: But why does it do so?

K: Why does it do so? That is fairly simple.

S: My sense of it from what we have been saying is that it does so in the illusion of security. Thought creates the illusion that there is security.

B: Yes, but why doesn't intelligence show that there is no security?

S: Why doesn't intelligence show it?

K: Can a fragmented mind be intelligent?

S: No.

B: Well, it resists intelligence.

K: It can pretend to be intelligent.

B: Yes. But are you saying that once the mind fragments then intelligence is gone?

K: Yes.

B: But now you are querying this problem. You are also saying that there can be an end to fragmentation.

K: That's right.

B: That would seem to be a contradiction.

K: It looks like that but it is not.

S: All I know is fragmentation.

K: Therefore...

S: That is what I have got.

K: Let's stick to it and prove it can end. Go through it.

B: But if you say intelligence cannot operate when the mind is fragmented...

K: Is psychological security more important than biological security?

S: That is an interesting question.

K: Go on.

S: One thing we have condensed... K: No, I am asking. Don't move away from the question. I am asking: Is psychological security more important than biological security, physical security?

S: It isn't but it sounds like it is.

K: No, don't move away from it. I am asking. Stick to it. Is it to you?

S: I would say yes, psychological seems...

B: What is actually true?

S: Actually true, no. Biological security is more important.

K: Biological? Are you sure?

S: No. I think psychological security is what I actually worry about most.

K: Psychological security.

S: That is what I worry about most.

K: Which prevents biological security.

S: Right. I've figured that one out now.

K: No, no. Because I am seeking psychological security in ideas, in knowledge, in images, in confusions, this prevents me from having biological, physical security - for myself, for my children, for my brothers. I can't have it. Because psychological security says I am a Hindu, a blasted somebody in a little corner.

S: No question. I do feel that psychological...

K: So can we be free of the desire to be psychologically secure?

S: That's right. That is the question.

K: Of course it is.

S: That's the nub of it, right.

K: Last night I was listening to some people arguing on television - the chairman of this, the something of that, talking about

Ireland, and various other things. Each man was completely convinced of what he was saying.

S: That's right. I am sitting on meetings every week. Each man thinks his category is the most important. K: So man has given more importance to psychological security than to biological, physical security.

B: But it is not clear why he should delude himself in this way.

K: He has deluded himself because - why, why?

S: Images, power.

K: No, sir, it is much deeper than that. Why has he given importance to psychological security?

S: We seem to think that that is where security is.

K: No. Look more into it. The me is the most important thing.

S: Right. That is the same thing.

K: No, me. My position, my happiness, my money, my house, my wife - me.

B: Me. Yes. And isn't it that each person feels he is the essence of the whole? The me is the very essence of the whole. I would feel if the me were gone that the rest wouldn't mean anything.

K: That is the whole point. The me gives me complete security, psychologically.

B: It seems all-important. Of course.

S: All-important.

B: Yes, people say if I am sad then the whole world has no meaning - right?

S: It is not only that; I am sad if the me is all-important.

K: No. We are saying that in the me is the greatest security.

S: Right. That is what we think. K: No. Not we think. It is so.

B: What do you mean it is so?

K: In the world that is what is happening.

B: That is what is happening. But it is a delusion.

K: We will come to that later.

S: I think that is a good point. That it is so; that the me - I like that way of getting at it - the me is what is important. That is all it is. K: Psychologically.

S: Psychologically.

K. Me my country, my god, my house.

S: We have got your point.

Wholeness of Life

Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm

The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 1 1st Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 17th May, 1976

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