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Wholeness of Life

Longer, Unedited Versions

1st Conversation with Dr Bohm & Dr Shainberg Brockwood Park 17th May 1976 'Transformation of Man'


Questioner: Sir, we would like to know as much as we can about you before we start these dialogues. Would you please tell us where we are and who you are, and how you came to participate with Mr Krishnamurti in his teachings.

Dr Bohm: We are here in Brockwood Park in Hampshire in England. And I am David Bohm, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of London. Now as to how I came here to participate: I think it best to begin by saying a little about my work, that in my studies in theoretical physics I have always been interested in what you'd call the deeper questions, the nature of time and space and matter, causality and what is behind it all, what is universal. And in general I found that very few physicists shared this interest, and I pursued it as best I could. But when we arrived in Bristol in 1957 there was a very good public library there, and my wife and I used to go there, and we became interested in books on philosophy and religion and we picked up a book by Mr Krishnamurti called FIRST AND LAST FREEDOM, and I read that and found it extremely interesting, especially because it discussed the observer and the observed. That is a question which is very significant in theoretical physics and the quantum theory: Heisenberg has brought it out with the effect of the observer on the particle which is observed. Also many other questions were raised there and I felt the whole thing very interesting.

I read as many books as I could find by Mr Krishnamurti; then I wrote a letter to the publishers to ask where he was and finally I was put in contact with the Krishnamurti Foundation in England, and they said he was coming to talk. This was around 1960 or '61, I forget which. And so I arranged to come. Then while listening to the talks I sent another letter to the Foundation asking if I could talk personally with Mr Krishnamurti and they arranged a time. So we met and we talked. I think at that time I told him about my ideas in physics - he appreciated the spirit. And then every time after that, every year when Krishnamurti came to London we arranged to meet, once or twice, until later I began to go to Saanen in Switzerland and there we met more often.

And finally, around '66 or '67, there was a plan to make a school in which Krishnamurti asked me to take part and gradually the school was organized here at Brockwood Park and I have been coming regularly. You know I am a member, a Trustee of the Foundation which is responsible for this school and also I come down to discuss with people and take part generally. And we have gone on discussing the questions which you will see arising. That essentially explains how I got here.

Q: And you, Dr Shainberg? We would like to know about you.

Dr Shainberg: Well, I am a practising psychiatrist in New York City. I first came to read and think about what Krishnamurti said as early as 1949, or '48, when I was about, let's see how old was I, I was about 18 or 19 then. And through the influence of several concatenations of events, I suppose the main one was my father, who was involved at that time with reading Krishnamurti. It seemed to me at that time even then that there was something there that was of interest in the question that the observer is the observed. How, and what the meaning, or the feeling of it was, I can say was only in a kind of intuitive awareness that this seemed to be the direction in which I wanted to move.

Then I went to college, I went to medical school, I trained as a psychiatrist, I trained as a neurologist, I trained as a psychol-analyst. I had many different experiences. And all along I was reading Mr Krishnamurti, and still thinking about it, still trying to understand the difference between what he was saying and what western psychiatry, or western psychology was communicating. But it's only been in the last, I would say five to six years that I have really begun to feel that I have begun to understand how I can use it in my work. And most of that stimulus has come from meeting Dr Bohm, who has moved my thinking along and I have come to feel that specifically there is something about the way we think in psychiatry, which is, that all the theories deal with fragmentation and the relationships between fragmentation, and most of them do not have any understanding of the holistic action, the holism that gives birth to this fragmentation. So that very often it seemed to me, and it has seemed to me that most of the theories that we have analyse and break things down and break things into pieces which collaborate with the very problems that our patients present us with.

And again I feel, very similar to what Dr Bohm said, that we have never really got in, in psychiatry, and Mr Krishnamurti's work has begun to help me to understand that the relationship between the observer and the observed in the very patient/doctor situation is very important, and that the very theories that we create are part of our very problem, that the fragmented people that we are, the fragmented theorists represent fragmentation and then call that the thing that we have to treat. There seems to be a basic problem here that I feel will come out in these dialogues, and I have talked with Mr Krishnamurti many times and they point the way as to how we can get through this problem of the fragmentation.

Q: Mr Krishnamurti, how can the viewer best share in these dialogues? How can he gain the most from this experience?

Krishnamurti: I think it all depends how serious you are. How serious in the sense of how deeply you want to go into these questions, which is after all your life. We are not discussing theoretically some abstract hypothesis, but we are dealing with actual daily life of every human being, whether he lives in India, or here, or in America, or anywhere else. We are dealing with the actual facts of fear, pleasure, sorrow, death and if there is anything sacred in life. Because if we don't find something real, something that is true life has very little meaning.

So if you are really serious to go into this matter very carefully and with care, with attention, then you can share a great deal. But you have to be serious, really serious. And if you listen to it, listen with care, with attention, with a sense of affection, not agreeing or disagreeing, that anybody can do, but if you really care to find out how to live properly, what is right relationship between human beings, then you will share completely, I think, with all that we discuss or have a dialogue about during the next few days.


Krishnamurti: What shall we talk about? What do you think is the most important thing that we three can talk about?

Dr. Shainberg: Well, the one thing I had an idea lately, you know, there has been one thing on my mind, and I have been getting it from - when we had talked before, and that is the feeling you have been conveying that life comes first and not thought or work, something like that, in other words, I find in myself, and find - I think most people are cought up in the fact that - it seems, I can't - you know you said once we live second hand lives. If we could talk about that. I think then there is second handness of our lives.

K: What do you say?

Dr. Bohm: Well, in relation to that perhaps I would like to talk about the question of wholeness.

K: Shall we talk about that first?

B: Which first?

K: And then include yours.

S: Sure. I mean, I think this is part of that. I see that second handedness is not wholeness.

K: Quite. I wonder how we can approach this question knowing that most people are fragmented broken up and not whole. How do we tackle or approach this question?

S: Through direct awareness of the fragmentation.

K: No. I would like to - I am just asking because - are we discussing it theoretically, verbally?

S: No.

K: Or taking ourselves - you, we three - taking ourselves as we are and examining what we mean by fragmented. And then work from there to what is the whole, not theoretically or verbally? Then I think that has vitality, that has some meaning.

S: Right, right. Well, if we see the fragmentation, wholeness is there.

K: I know. No, don't assume anything. Then we are after theory.

B: That's too fast.

S: Alright, right.

K: You know, we have been talking to lots of students here - this question. Dr. Bohm was there too. And whether we can ever be aware of ourselves at all. Or we are only aware of patches, not the totality of fragmentations. I do not know if I am conveying this.

S: Well you can. Go ahead.

K: Can one be aware, conscious, know the various fragments, examining one by one by one by one? And who is the examiner? Is he not also a fragment who has assumed an authority? So when we talk about being aware of fragments, socially, morally, ethically, religiously - business, art, you know, the whole activity is fragmented. Can one, is one aware of the movement of these fragments or do you take one fragment and examine it or say yes, I am aware of that and not the many. Do you follow what I am saying?

S: Yes, I am following. I think you are mostly aware - I think, when I think of what you are saying, I seem to be aware of that kind of many fragments.

K: Are you?

S: Well, not. One at a time, you know, like a machine-gun.

K: So you are really aware one by one.

S: Right. And cought up by the movement of the fragments.

K: One by one. Is that so? Are you sure that it is so?

S: Yes. I think, I mean it seems to be that - but then sometimes you can take a step back, or you seem to take a step back or I seem to take a step back when I am aware of these many.

K: When Dr. Bohm asked, can't we talk over together, this question of wholeness which implies holiness, health, sanity and all that, I wonder from what source he is asking that question.

S: Yes. You mean whether he is coming from a fragmented position or he is coming from a whole position?

K: No. If he is asking from the whole position, there is no question.

S: Right.

K: Sir, I would like to, if one may ask, are we aware of the fragments as a whole, take a collection of fragments or are we aware of one fragment at each time? What do you say?

B: Generally, thing presents itself first as primarily one fragment with a background of all the other fragments perhaps dimly present in it. I mean, in the beginning one fragment seems to take emphasis pre-eminence in awareness.

S: Isn't that one fragment fragments out quickly into many little fragments. I have an idea and then that idea is in contrast to another idea and so I am immediately cought up into two fragments there. And then I have another idea which is the repeatition of that first idea. So I am cought up in a movement of fragments rather than - I mean, my identity is fragmented, my relationship is fragmented, my very substance of movement is a feeling of fragmentation. I don't have any centre when I am fragmented. I am not...

K: I am not sure about that.

S: That is the question, yes.

B: No, no.

K: I am not at all sure that there is no centre when you are fragmented.

B: Right, then definitely there is a centre.

K: There is.

B: That is the major fragment that one is aware of.

K: That's right.

S: Let us go into that more.

B: Well, I just think that there is a centre which you may sense anywhere, say here, and that seems to be the centre of everything, everything that is connected to everything.

S: I see what you are saying, but I feel that when the fragmentation is going on it is like the centre is looking for itself, it feels like it has a centre.

K: Are you aware of the fragmentation? Not, fragmentation is going on.

S: No, you know, I am not.

K: Then what are we aware of?

S: I think - that is a terrific question - because when there is fragmentation what we are aware of is like being sucked into more fragments. In other words there is a kind of movement of more fragmentation, more fragmentation, which is what we are aware of. It is what you have talked about in terms of pleasure. It is like pleasure is pulling us forward into more fragments: this would give me pleasure, that would give me pleasure, that would give me pleasure. And it is that feeling of pieces.

K: Before we go into the question of pleasure...

S: Yes.

K: ...are we aware actually, from a centre, which says, "I am fragmented"? That is the question, isn't it?

B: Yes.

S: Right. That is the question.

B: We are both aware of a centre, and from a centre, you see.

K: That's it.

B: And this centre seems to be, as you say, the fragment that is dominating, or attempting to dominate.

K: That centre is the dominating factor.

B: Yes. In other words...

K: Which is in itself a fragment.

B: Yes, I mean, well it seems to be the centre of your being, or as it were the centre of the ego, or the self, which one might think is the whole.

K: Quite, quite.

B: Because it is in contact with everything, you see.

K: Would you say having a centre is the very cause of fragmentation?

B: Yes, I would say that although at first sight it seems different.

S: At first sight - I think that is important. The difference between - at first sight it doesn't seem that way.

B: At first sight it seems that the centre is what is organizing everything into a whole.

S: Right.

K: Yes.

B: In other words one feels one wants a centre to bring everything to a whole, to stop the fragmentation.

K: Yes, try to bring about integration, try to bring a wholeness, and all that.

S: Right. If you see, if you feel the fragmentation, then you centre here and say, "I can see all the fragmentations" - but that is still centre.

K: No, but I am asking whether when there is a centre doesn't it make for fragments?

S: That I see. I see what you are saying. But I am trying to take it from what is the experience when there is fragmentation. There doesn't seem to be a centre.

K: Contradiction. Contradiction.

S: Right. But it doesn't feel like a centre.

K: No. Contradiction. Sir, when there are fragments, I am aware of the fragments because of contradiction.

S: Right.

K: Because of opposing factors.

S: Yes.

B: You mean by contradiction also conflict.

K: Conflict. Out of contradiction there is conflict. Then I am aware that there are fragments. I am working in an area of fragments.

S: Right. But then - yes, I am not aware of the fact that I have in fact got a centre. That is the self deception, right there.

K: No, sir - don't you think, if I may suggest, that where there is conflict then only you are aware of a conflict of contradiction. That is, one is aware only when there is conflict. Right? And then the next awareness, the next movement is conflict arises out of fragmentation; opposing elements, opposing desires, opposing wishes, opposing thoughts.

B: But are you saying that these oppose first before one is aware; and then suddenly you are aware through the unpleasantness or the pain of the opposition that the conflict is unpleasant?

K: Yes, conflict is unpleasant and therefore one is aware that...

B: ...that something is wrong.

K: Wrong. Yes.

B: Yes, that something is wrong, not just simply wrong but wrong with the whole thing.

K: The whole thing, of course.

Sir, after all self consciousness, when you are aware of yourself only when there is pain, or intense pleasure. Otherwise you are not aware of yourself. So fragmentation with its conflict brings this sense of, I am aware I am in conflict - otherwise there is no awareness. I wonder if I am.?

S: Yes. Go ahead. You are saying that the very fragmentation itself breeds the centre.

K: Breeds the centre.

S: And the centre has bred the fragmentation, so it is like a...

K: Yes, back and forth.

B: Then would you say that thought in itself before there is a centre breeds conflict? Or is there thought before a centre?

K: Is there thought before the centre.

B: I mean one view is to say that the centre and thought are always co-existent and that one breeds the other.

K: One breeds the other, quite.

B: And the other view is to say that there might be thought first and that produces conflict and then that produces a centre.

K: Let's go into that a little bit.

B: Yes.

S: That's a good one.

K: Does thought exist before conflict?

B: Before a centre.

K: Before the centre. One is aware of the centre only when there is conflict.

B: Yes, because that comes in apparently to try to bring about wholeness again, to take charge of everything.

K: The centre tries to take charge, or tries to create wholeness.

B: Yes, to bring all the factors together.

K: Yes, but the centre itself is a fragment.

B: Yes, but it doesn't know that.

K: Of course, it doesn't know but it thinks it can bring all the fragments together and make it a whole. So Dr Bohm is asking the question, which is: did thought exist before the centre, or the centre existed before the thought.

B: Or are the two together?

K: Or the two together.

S: Right, right. Or he is also asking: does thought create the centre?

K: Thought creates the centre.

S: That would be the action, the very creation, a sort of after effect of the thought. In other words is the organism - is the production of thought the very cause of a centre? That I think carries...

K: Yes, let's be clear on this. Are we asking: did thought create the centre?

B: And yes, was there a kind of thought before a centre?

K: Yes. Thought before the centre. That's it.

B: Which came into contradiction.

K: Yes, thought created the centre, or the centre existed before the thought.

B: Or else the centre - I mean that is a view which is common. I mean people think the centre is me who was first.

K: Me is the first.

B: And then I began to think! Right.

K: Yes. I think thought exists before the centre.

S: Yes, then we have to ask the question - I don't know if we want to get into it at this minute - but we have to ask the question of why is there thought, what is thought?

K: Oh, that is a different matter. We will go into that.

B: That might be a long story.

S: Yes. That's not for now. But we have to get at that.

K: No.

S: Let's stay with what we started with.

K: We started out asking: can we talk about the wholeness of life. How can one be aware of that wholeness if one is fragmented? That is the next question. You can't be aware of the whole if I am only looking through a small hole.

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

K: Ah! That is a theory.

S: Is it?

B: A supposition, yes.

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

S: Well that is wonderful. I mean that is an issue because how am I to know I am fragmented?

K: That is what we are asking.

S: Yes.

K: When are you aware that you are fragmented? Only when there is conflict.

S: That's right.

K: When the two opposing desires, opposing elements of movement, then there is conflict, then you have pain, or whatever it is, and then you become conscious.

S: Right. But at those moments it often happens that you don't want to let go of the conflict. It is like you feel your fragmentation...

K: No, that is a different matter. That is a different matter.

S: Right.

K: What we are asking is: can the fragment dissolve itself, and then only it is possible to see the whole. You cannot be fragmented and then wish for the whole.

S: Right.

K: Then it is merely...

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 and not beat round the bush and say, let's talk about the whole and all the rest of it.

S: Right.

B: And 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, that is gone.

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. That is the loneliness somehow.

K: Look sir: can you be aware of your fragments? That you are an American, that I am a Hindu, you are a Jew or whatever, Communist - 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?", then 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 totally living in a kind of, what? A miasma, confusion.

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

K: Reward and punishment in that movement. So can we be aware, actually now, now, 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, I am married, I have responsibilities, I am an artist, I am a scientist. You follow? All this various sociological fragmentation.

S: Right.

K: As well as psychological fragmentation.

S: Right, right. That is exactly what I started with. Right. This feeling that I am a fragment, this feeling that that is where I get absorbed, being 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 over 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 as we are discussing it a little.

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.

S: Yes.

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: How will we consider this different approach?

K: 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. In other words the whole of me is rich or poor, or American, or whatever, and therefore it is all important because it is the whole. I think it seems that the trouble is that the fragment claims that it is the whole, and makes itself very important.

S: Takes up the whole life. This is life.

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

K: Look what is happening in Northern Ireland; in the Arab world, the Middle Eastern world, the Muslim and the Hindu; 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, and all the rest of it.

B: But I mean that is the difference between saying we have a lot of different objects in the room which are separate and so on, which we can handle.

K: That is a different thing.

B: There is no problem there. But if we say, "I am this, I am wholly this", then I also say, "I am wholly that".

S: You are bringing in something different here. That is exactly how it is that we come to believe in these fragments. Because we look at objects and we say they are separate things, therefore I am a separate thing.

K: I question that sir. Say for instance, the Arab and the Israeli - are they aware that I am an Arab, I want to fight that somebody else who is not? Or I have an idea - you follow - an idea.

B: What do you mean? An idea that I am an Arab.

K: Yes.

B: But the idea is that that is very important, or rather I am totally in error. It is all important, that is one of the ideas. And now somebody else has the idea I am a Jew, that is all important and therefore they must destroy each other.

K: Impossible. Quite. And I think the politicians, the religious people are encouraging all this.

B: But they are also running by fragments.

K: Because they are fragmented themselves. You see that is the whole point. People who are in power, being fragmented, sustain the fragmentation.

S: Right. It is the only way to get into power, to be fragmented.

K: Of course.

B: Well he says, it is all important that I should be a politician, successful and so on.

K: Of course.

S: This movement into fragmentation, almost it 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. Right. What is the cause of the fragmentation? What breeds it? What sucks us into it?

K: Look: what brings about fragmentation?

S: Now, you know what brings it about. When the mother and child - when the child separates from the mother. Right?

K: Biologically.

S: No, psychologically. The child starts able to walk, and the child can walk away, then he runs back and then he runs back and he looks back, he says, is she still there. Gradually moves away. Now the mother that is not able to let go says, "Come back here".

K: Quite.

S: Then scares the child to death because the child thinks I can't do it, if she says I can't do it, I can't do it.

K: Quite. 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 there and it begins there, I have got to hold on to something.

K: No. Just look at it sir. What has brought fragmentation in you?

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

K: No, much deeper than that. Much more deep. Look at it. Look at it. Let's go slowly at 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: Are you saying there is a conflict and there something happens that causes fragmentation in the conflict?

S: No, he is saying the fragmentation causes the conflict.

B: Then what is the cause of the fragmentation? Right. That is important.

K: That's right sir. 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 to come upon a, to put it in these worlds, it seems to do that, there is a focussing or a holding on to something inside my movements.

K: Sir, look at it as though not from Dr Shainberg's point of view, 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 have, I call myself a Hindu. What makes me a Hindu?

S: Well, conditioning makes you a Hindu.

K: What is the background, what is the feeling or 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 after ten thousand or five thousand years, they have said, you are a Brahmin. And I see all that. I am 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.

S: Right.

K: Which is what?

S: That is tradition, conditioning, sociology, history, culture, family, everything.

K: But behind that, what is that?

S: Behind that is man's...

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

S: Well that gives me a place, an identity, I know who I am then, I am. 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 made, created this environment, this culture, this whole structure of human existence, with all its misery and with all the mess it is in, what has brought it about? Which is the fragmentation, all the conflict.

S: The same action then is there.

K: That is all I am asking.

S: The same action that makes man right now.

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

S: Right.

B: Yes.

S: This is what I was getting at in the beginning. This is all giving me my secondhand existence.

K: Yes. Proceed. Let's go into it. Let's find out why man has bred, or brought about this state, and 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 socialist or whatever it is. That is exactly what is going on in Northern Ireland, in the Middle East.

S: Well, everywhere, the doctors, lawyers.

K: Of course, of course. The same problem.

S: My sense of it is that it stops me, it closes me off, it keeps the movement - it's like the tree doesn't get in. If I know who I am then I don't look at the tree.

K: Yes, sir. You are not answering my question. 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: Because I am so - what? 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: 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 there you are completely safe.

S: Right.

K: You can malpractice and all the rest of it, but you are very protected by other doctors, the other organizations, a group of doctors. 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.

K: I am a doctor - finished.

B: I don't ask many questions but if I start to ask questions...

K: ...Then you are out!

B: If I say, don't ask questions, that's all right.

K: 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: Depend.

B: I depend wholly in one sense that if I don't have that then I feel the whole thing is sunk.

S: This is good. You see not only do I depend but every problem that I now have is with reference to this dependency. I don't know from nothing about the patient, I only know about how the patient doesn't fit into my system.

K: Quite, quite.

S: So that is my conflict.

K: He is your victim.

S: That's right, my victim.

B: It is still not clear why I should go on with it. You see in other words 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. In other words 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 anymore, 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 it the beginning of this fragmentation takes place when one is seeking security?

S: But why?

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

S: Right.

K: Physically.

B: But isn't the tendency to seek security physically 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 there 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.

S: Right.

K: And because the group gives me security, physical security, I accept everything they give me, say to me.

S: Right.

K: But the moment I object psychologically to the structure of the society or the community I am lost.

S: Right.

K: This is an obvious fact.

S: Right.

B: Yes.

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

K: Partly.

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

K: Sir, look, look: if there was no fragmentation, both historically, geographically, nationally, no nations, we would live perfectly safely. We would all be protected, you would all have food - you follow - all have houses. There would be no wars, you'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 even suggesting something more there - you are suggesting that we would help each other.

K: I would help, obviously.

B: We are going around in a circle still.

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

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 I have known you? I can never say, I know you - actually. It would be an abomination to say, 'I know you'. I have known you. Because you in the meantime are changing, you have all your - you follow - 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. Because not only that, it would be denying your effect on me which is causing a change from knowing you, and so being with you.

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: I mean 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, acknowledge that the past is the past, it is gone, therefore what we know is the past, then that 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, quite.

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

K: Sir, would you say knowledge is one of the factors of fragmentation? Sir, that is saying an awful - you follow? It is a large pill to swallow!

B: And also there are plenty of other factors.

K: Yes. And that may be the only factor.

B: But 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: Like in Bronowsky's Ascent of Man through knowledge, emphasizing knowledge. 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 I know what god is.

B: Wouldn't it be better to say that confusion about the whole of knowledge is because of fragmentation? In other words knowledge itself. You say, knowledge is always the cause.

K: No, I said, we began by asking...

B: That's my question.

K: Of course, of course. Sir, that is what we said yesterday in our talk; art is putting things in its right place. So I will put knowledge in its right place.

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

K: Of course.

S: You know I was just going to bring in this rather interesting example of a patient of mine who was teaching me something the other day. She said, I have the feeling that as a doctor the way you operate is, she said, there is a group of doctors who have seen certain kinds of patients, and if they do 'X' to them they 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. (Laughter)

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, knowledge has its place.

S: Let's go into that.

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

B: One could say: why is that not fragmentation? We have to make it clear. In other words 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 and therefore it 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 cover the whole by the part.

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

B: Yes.

S: Yes.

K: ...then begins the mischief.

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, or I am 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: Krishnaji was saying, I mean like, "I know you", that is how we deal with ourselves. We say, I know this and that about me, rather than being open to the new. Or even being aware of the fragmentation.

B: If I am saying about you then I shouldn't say I know all because you are not a limited part like a machine is. You see the machine is fairly limited and we 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. You see sometimes it spills over into the philosophical field and man tries to make it metaphysical, the whole universe.

K: That is of course. I mean that is purely theoretical and that has no meaning to me personally.

B: But I mean that is one of the ways in which it does that, you see. It goes wrong. Some people feel that when they are discussing metaphysics of the whole universe that is not psychological, it probably is but the motives behind it are psychological but some people may feel that they are making a theory of the universe, not discussing psychology. I think it is a matter of getting the language.

K: Language, quite.

S: Well, you see this, what you are saying, can be extended to the way 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 say is that we are fragmented. That is a fact. And I am aware of those fragmentations, fragmented mind, 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 just because of that.

K: Yes. That's right.

B: Are we coming to that?

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

S: Knowledge.

K: Knowledge: psychologically I use knowledge, I know myself, when I really don't know, 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. I have read a million books and I can tell you all about it. It gives me the position, a 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. And 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 of these structures.

K: One feels secure in having an ideal.

S: Right. That is so true.

B: But somewhere one asks why a person makes this mistake. You see in other words if thought, if the mind had been absolutely clear, let's say, 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.

S: But that implies that the organism - no, that's right. But it implies that that has to be met.

B: Yes, but the delusion doesn't meet it.

S: Right. That's the nub of the issue.

K: Go on further.

S: I mean 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 happens. You see what would you say if the man were clear, what would be his response?

K: You would never be put in that position.

S: He wouldn't ask that question.

B: But suppose he finds himself without money, you see.

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: I mean the problem 99% 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, you see.

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

B: Why?

K: It is fairly simple.

S: My sense of it is from what we have been saying is, it does it in a delusion of security. It thinks, thought creates the illusion that there is security there.

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

S: Why doesn't intelligence show it?

B: Yes, in other words...

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 that...

S: Yes.

B: But now you are creating a serious problem, because you are also saying that there can be an end to fragmentation.

K: That's right.

B: You see at first sight that would seem to be a contradiction. Is that clear?

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 see if it can end. Go through it.

S: Yes.

B: But if you say the fragmented mind cannot, intelligence cannot operate there.

S: I feel like one answer to your question is that, you know we talked about it in terms of conditioning. I feel like I am a victim, or I am caught by this offering. You offer me, you tell me, look old boy, I think this can help you, here is a fragment, come along. And I feel like thought does that, you know, "Come" my mother or my father says, "Look, it is good to be a doctor", or it is good to do this.

K: Is psychological security more important than biological security?

S: That is an interesting question.

K: Go on. We have got five minutes.

S: One thing we have condensed...

K: No, I am asking. Don't move away from the question. I am asking, is psychological security much more important than biological security, physical security, biological 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. To you?

B: What is the fact?

K: What is the fact.

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

K: Not 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 forget about the other.

K: No, no. Because I am seeking psychological security, in ideas, in knowledge, in pictures, in images, in conclusions, and all the rest of it, which prevents me from having biological, physical security for me, for my son, for my children, for my brothers. I can't have it. Because psychological security says I am a Hindu, a blasted little 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: And last night I was listening to some people - the chairman, or whatever it was - and they were all talking about Ireland, and various things. Each man was completely convinced, you know.

S: That's right. I sit in on meetings every week. Each man thinks his territory is the most important.

K: So we have given - 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: That is, he has deluded himself because - why, why? Look, there is the answer. Why? We have got two minutes more. We will have to stop.

S: Images, power.

K: No, sir, they are much deeper. Why has he given importance?

S: He - we, not he, we seem to think 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 that if the 'me' were gone the rest wouldn't mean anything.

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

B: But it seems all important.

K: Of course.

S: All important.

B: Yes, because 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 not important.

K: No. We are saying the 'me' - 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 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, me, my god, my house, and so on.

S: It is very important to let that in, you know.

K: So it is twelve o'clock, we had better stop.

S: We have got your point.

Wholeness of Life

Longer, Unedited Versions

1st Conversation with Dr Bohm & Dr Shainberg Brockwood Park 17th May 1976 'Transformation of Man'

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