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Wholeness of Life

Longer, Unedited Versions

2nd Conversation with Dr Bohm & Dr Shainberg Brockwood Park 18th May 1976 'Transformation of Man'

Krishnamurti: Do we go on where we left off yesterday? Or would you like to start something new?

Dr Bohm: I felt there was a point that wasn't entirely clear that we were discussing yesterday. Which is that we rather accepted that security, psychological security was wrong, was, you know, illusion; but in general I don't thank we made it very clear why we think it is a delusion. You see most people feel that psychological security is a real thing and quite necessary and when it is disturbed, or when a person is frightened, or sorrowful, or even so disturbed that he might be psychologically disturbed and require treatment, he feels that psychological security is necessary before he can even begin to do anything.

K: Yes, right.

B: And I think that it isn't at all clear why one should say that it is not really as important as physical security.

K: Yes. No, I think we have made it fairly clear, but let's go into it.

B: Yes.

K: Is there really psychological security at all?

B: I don't think we discussed that fully last time.

K: Of course. Nobody accepts that. But we are enquiring into it, going into the problem of it.

Dr Shainberg: But we said something even deeper I think yesterday. And that is that - at least as I was summarising for myself - and that is that we felt - correct me if you think I am wrong here - that conditioning sets the stage that is the importance of psychological security, and that in turn creates insecurity. And it is the conditioning that creates the psychological security as a focus? Would you agree that?

K: I think that we two mean something different.

S: What do you mean?

K: First of all, sir, we take it for granted that there is psychological security.

S: OK. Well, we think that we can get it.

K: We feel that there is.

S: Right. That's right.

B: Yes, I think that if you told somebody who was feeling very disturbed mentally that there is no psychological security he would just feel worse.

K: Collapse. Of course.

S: Right.

K: We are talking of fairly sane, rational people.

S: OK.

K: We are questioning whether there is any psychological security at all; permanency, stability, a sense of well-founded, deep-rooted existence psychologically.

S: Maybe if we could say more then, what would be psychological security?

K: After all I believe. I believe in something.

S: And that gives me...

K: It may be the most foolish belief...

S: Right.

K: ...a neurotic belief. I believe in it.

S: Right.

K: And then that gives you a tremendous sense of existence, living, vitality, and stability.

B: I think you could think of two examples: one is that if I could really believe that after dying I would go to heaven, and be quite sure of it, then I could be very secure anywhere, not matter what happens.

S: That would make you feel good.

B: Well, I'd say, I don't really have to worry, because it is all a temporary trouble and then I am pretty sure that in time it is all going to be very good. Do you see?

K: Right. That is the whole Asiatic attitude, more or less.

S: Right.

B: Or if I think I am a Communist, then I say, in time Communism is going to solve everything and we are going through a lot of troubles now but you know it is all going to be worthwhile and it will work out, and in the end it will be all right.

S: Right.

B: If I could be sure of that then I would say I feel very secure inside, even if conditions are hard.

S: OK. All right.

K: So we are questioning, though one has these strong beliefs which gives them a sense of security, permanency, whether there is such in reality, actuality...

S: It is not possible.

K: Wait!

S: The question is: is it possible?

K: Is it possible.

S: Right.

K: I may believe in god and that gives me a tremendous sense of...

S: Right.

K: ...impermanency of this world, but at least there is permanency somewhere else.

S: Yes, yes. But I want to ask David something. Do you think that, for instance take a scientist, a guy who is going to his laboratory everyday, or take a doctor, he is getting security. He takes security from the very 'routinization' of his life.

K: His knowledge.

S: Yes, from his knowledge if he keeps doing this, In the scientist, where does he get security?

B: Well, he makes belief he is learning the permanent laws of Nature, really getting something that means something.

S: Yes.

B: And also getting a position in society and being sure, being well known and respected and financially secure.

S: He believes that these things will give him the thing. The mother believes that the child will give her security.

K: Don't you psychologically have security?

S: Yes, OK. Right. I get a security out of my knowledge, out of my routine, out of my patients, out of seeing my patients, out of my position.

B: But there is conflict in that because if I think it over a little bit, I doubt it, I question it. I say, it doesn't look all that secure, anything may happen. I mean I say there may be a war, there may be a depression, there may be a flood.

S: Right.

K: There may be sane people all of a sudden in the world! (Laughter)

S: Do you think there is a chance?

B: So I say there is conflict and confusion in my security because I am not sure about it.

S: You are not sure about it.

B: But if I had an absolute belief in god and heaven.

K: This is so obvious!

S: It is obvious. I agree with you it is obvious, but I think it has to be - in other words, it has to be really felt through.

K: But, sir, you, Dr Shainberg, you are the victim.

S: I'll be the victim.

K: For the moment. Don't you have strong belief?

S: Right. Well, I wouldn't say strong.

K: Don't you have a sense of permanency somewhere inside you?

S: I think I do.

K: Psychologically?

S: Yes, I do. I mean I have a sense of permanency about my intention.

K: Intention?

S: I mean my work.

K: Your knowledge.

S: My knowledge, my...

K: ...status.

S: ...my status, the continuity of my interest. You know what I mean.

K: Yes.

S: There is a sense of security in the feeling that I can help someone.

K: Yes.

S: And I can do my work. OK.

K: That gives you security, psychological security.

S: There is something about it that is secure. What am I saying when I say 'security'? I am saying that I won't be lonely.

K: No, no. Feeling secure that you have something that is impenetrable.

S: Which means - no, I don't feel it that way. I feel it more in the sense of what is going to happen in time, am I going to have to depend, what is my time going to be, am I going to be lonely, is it going to be empty?

K: No, sir.

S: Isn't that security?

K: As Dr Bohm pointed out, if one has a strong belief in reincarnation, as the whole Asiatic world has, then it doesn't matter what happens, then in the next life you have a better chance. You might be miserable this life but next life you will be happier. So that gives you a great sense of "this is unimportant, but that is important".

S: Right, right.

K: And that gives me a sense of great comfort, great - as though this is a transient world anyhow and eventually I will get there, to something permanent. This is human...

S: This is in the Asiatic world; but I think in the western world you don't have that.

K: Oh, yes you have it.

S: With a different focus.

K: Of course.

B: It is different but we have always had the search for security.

S: Right, right. But what do you think security is? I mean for instance if you became a scientist, you went to the laboratory, you picked up the books all the time. Right? You may not go to the laboratory, but you have had your own laboratory. What the hell do you call security?

K: Security.

S: Yes, but what does he call his security?

K: Having something...

S: Knowledge?

K: ...to which you can cling to and which is not perishable. It may perish eventually but at the time, for the time being it is there to hold on to.

B: You can feel that it is permanent. Like somebody in the past, people used to accumulate gold because gold is the symbol of the imperishable.

S: We still have people who accumulate gold - we have business men, they have got money.

B: You feel it is really there.

K: There.

B: It will never corrode, it will never vanish and you can count on it, you know.

S: So it is something that I can count on.

K: Count on, hold on to, cling to, be attached to.

S: The 'me'.

K: Exactly.

S: I know that I am a doctor. I can depend on that.

K: Knowledge, experience.

S: Experience.

K: On the other hand, tradition.

S: Tradition. I know that if I do this with a patient that I will get this result. I might not get any good results but I'll get this result.

K: So I think that is fairly clear.

B: Yes it is clear enough that we have that, it is part of our society.

K: Part of our conditioning.

B: Conditioning, that we want something secure and permanent. At least we think we do.

S: I think you see that Krishnaji's point about the Eastern world, there is I think a feeling in the West of wanting immortality.

K: That's the same.

S: Same thing.

B: Wouldn't you say that in so far as thought can project time, that it wants to be able to project everything all right in the future as far as possible.

S: That is what I meant when I said loneliness: if I don't have to have my loneliness...

B: In other words the anticipation of what is coming is already the present feeling. You see if you can anticipate that something bad may come, you already feel bad.

K: That's right.

B: Therefore you would like to get rid of that.

S: So you anticipate that it won't happen.

B: That it will all be good.

S: Right.

B: I would say that security would be the anticipation that everything will be good in the future.

K: Good.

S: It will continue.

B: It will become better, if it is not so good now it will become better with certainty.

S: So then security is becoming.

K: Yes, becoming, perfecting, becoming.

S: I was thinking what you were saying the other day about the Brahmin. Anybody can become a Brahmin, then that gives him security.

K: That is, a projected belief, a projected idea, a comforting satisfying concept.

S: Right. You see I see patients all the time. Their projected belief is I will become - I will find somebody to love me. I see patients who say, "I will become the chief of the department", "I will become the most famous doctor", "I will become..." and his whole life goes like that. Because it is also focussed on being the best tennis player, the best.

K: Of course, of course.

B: Well it seems it is all focussed on anticipating that life is going to be good, when you say that.

K: Yes, life is going to be good.

B: But it seems to me you wouldn't raise the question unless you had a lot of experience that life is not so good, I mean. In other words, it is a reaction to having had to much experience of disappointment, of suffering.

K: Would you say that we are not conscious of the whole movement of thought?

B: No, but I mean think to most people they would say that is only very natural, I have had a lot of experience of suffering and disappointment and danger, and that is unpleasant and I would like to be able to anticipate that everything is going to be good.

S: Yes.

K: Yes.

B: At first sight it would seem that that is really quite natural. But you are saying it is not now, there is something wrong with it.

K: We are saying there is no such thing as psychological security. We have defined what we mean by security.

S: Yes.

K: We don't have to beat it over and over.

S: No, I think we have got that.

B: Yes, but is it clear now that these hopes are really vain hopes, that should be obvious, shouldn't it?

S: That is a good question. You mean is it - you see, Krishnaji he is raising a good question, it is this whole business of you saying, is it meaningful to look for security. Is there such a thing?

K: Sir, there is death at the end of everything.

B: Yes.

K: You want to be secure for the next ten years, that is all, or fifty years. Afterwards doesn't matter. Or it does matter then you believe in something. That there is god, you will sit next to god on his right hand, or whatever it is you believe. So I am trying to find out, not only that there is no permanency psychologically, which means no tomorrow psychologically.

B: That hasn't yet come out.

K: Of course, of course.

B: We can say empirically that we know these hopes for security are false because first of all you say there is death, secondly you can't count on anything, no matter, materially everything changes.

K: Everything is in flux.

B: Mentally everything in your head is changing all the time. You can't count on your feelings, you can't count on enjoying a certain thing that you enjoy now, or you can't count on being healthy, you can't count on money.

K: You can't rely on your wife, you can rely on nothing.

S: Right.

B: So that is a fact. But I am saying that you are suggesting something deeper.

K: Yes, sir.

B: But we don't base ourselves only on that observation.

K: That is very superficial.

S: Yes, I am with you there.

K: So is there then, if there is no real security, basic deep, then is there a tomorrow, psychologically? And then you take away all hope. If there is no tomorrow you take away all hope.

B: What you mean by tomorrow, is the tomorrow in which things will get better, I mean.

K: Better, greater success, greater understanding, greater...

B: More love.

K: ...more love, you know the whole business.

S: I think that is a little quick. I think that there is a jump there because as I hear you, I hear you saying there is no security.

K: But it is so.

S: It is so. But for me to say, to really say, "Look, I know there is no security".

K: Why don't you say that?

S: That is what I am getting at. Why don't I say that?

B: Well, isn't it a fact, isn't it first of all a fact that, just an observed fact, that there isn't anything you can count on psychologically?

S: Right. But you see I think there is an action there. Krishnaji is saying, why don't you.

B: Why don't you what?

S: Why don't you say there is no security? Why don't I?

K: Can I? Do you rationalize what we are saying about security? As an idea? Or actually so?

S: I actually say so, but I say, I'll keep doing it, I'll keep doing it.

K: No. We are asking, do you when you hear there is no security, is it an abstracted idea? Or an actual fact, like that table, like your hand there, or those flowers?

S: I think it mostly becomes an idea.

K: That is just it.

B: Why should it become an idea?

K: That is it.

S: That I think is the question. Why does it become an idea?

K: Is it part of your training?

S: Part, yes. Part of my conditioning.

K: Part of a real objection to see things as they are.

S: That's right. Because it moves. It feels like it moves there. Do you feel that?

B: It seems that if you see that there is no security, then it seems first of all let us try to put it that there is something which seems to be there which is trying to protect itself, namely let us say that it seems to be a fact that the self is there. Do you see what I am driving at?

K: Of course.

B: And if the self is there it requires security and therefore this creates a resistance to accepting that as a fact and puts it as an idea only. If you see what I mean. It seems that the factuality of the self being there has not been denied. The apparent factuality.

S: Right. But hasn't it? Why do you think it hasn't been? What happens?

K: Is it that you refuse to see things as they are? Is it that one refuses to see that one is stupid? - Not you, I mean one is stupid. To acknowledge that one is stupid is already - you follow?

S: Yes. It is like you say to me you refuse to acknowledge that you are stupid - let us say it is me - that means then I have got to do something, it feels like.

K: No.

S: Something happens to me.

K: Not yet. Action comes through perception, not through ideation.

S: I am glad you are getting into this.

B: Doesn't it seem that as long as there is the sense of self, the self must say that it is perfect, and so on. Do you see?

K: Of course, of course.

S: What do you think it is? What makes it so hard to say? Is this what you mean when you talk about the destruction in creation? In other words, is there something here about the destruction that I am not.

K: You must destroy that.

S: I must destroy that. Now what makes it hard for me to destroy? I mean destroy this need for security, why can't I do it?

K: No, no. It is not how you can do it. You see you are already entering into the realm of action.

S: That I think is the crucial point.

K; But I am not. I say first see it. And from that perception action is inevitable.

S: Yes. All right. Now to see insecurity. Do you see insecurity? Do you actually see it?

K: What?

S: Insecurity.

K: No, no, no. Do you actually see...

S: ...there is no security.

K: No. That you are clinging to something, belief and all the rest of it, which gives you security.

S: OK.

K: I cling to this house. I am safe. It gives me a sense of my house, my father, it gives me pride, it gives me a sense of possession, it gives me a sense of physical and therefore psychological security.

S: Right, and a place to go.

K: A place to go. But I may walk out and be killed and I have lost everything. There might be an earthquake and everything gone. Do you actually see it?

S: I actually...

K: Sir, go to a poor man. He says, of course I have no security, but he wants it. His security is, give me a good job, beer, and constant work and a house, and a good wife and children; that's my security.

S: Right.

K: When there is a strike, he feels lost. But he has got the Union behind him.

S: Right. But he thinks he is secure.

K: Secure. And that movement of security enters into the psychological field. My wife, I believe in god, I don't believe in god. If I am a good communist I will have a good paper. The whole thing. Do you see it?

You see, the seeing, or the perception of that is total action with regard to security.

S: I can see that that is the total action.

K: No, that is an idea still.

S: Yes, you're right. I begin to see that this belief, this whole structure begins to be the whole way that I see everything in the world. Right? I begin to see her, the wife, or I begin to see these people, they fit into that structure.

K: You see them, your wife, through the image you have about them.

S: Right. And to the function they are serving.

B: Their relation to me, yes.

K: Yes.

S: That is right. That's the function they serve.

K: The picture, the image, the conclusion is the security.

S: That's right.

B: Yes, but you see why does it present itself as so real? You see I see that there is a thought, a process which is driving on, continually.

K: Are you asking why has this image, this conclusion, this all the rest of it, becomes so fantastically real?

B: Yes. It seems to be standing there real, and everything is referred to it.

K: More real than the marbles, than the hills.

B: Than anything, yes.

S: More real than anything.

K: Why?

S: I think it is hard to say why, except it would give me security.

K: No. We are much further than that.

B: Because, suppose abstractly and ideally you can see the whole thing as no security at all, I mean, just looking at it professionally and abstractly.

S: That is putting the cart before the horse.

B: No, I am just saying that if it were some simple matter, giving that much proof you would have already accepted it, you see.

S: Right.

B: But when it comes to this, no proof seems to work.

S: Right. Nothing seems to work.

B: You say all that but here I am presented with the solid reality of myself and my security, which seems to deny - there is a sort of reaction which seems to say, well, that may be possible but it really is only words. The real thing is me. Do you see?

S: But there is more than that. Why it has such potency. I mean why it seems to take on such importance.

B: Well may be. But I am saying it seems that the real thing is me, which is all important.

S: There is no question about it. Me, me, me, is important.

K: Which is an idea.

B: But it doesn't... we can say abstractly it is just an idea. The question is, how do you break into this process?

K: No. I think we can break into it, or break through it, or get beyond it, only through perception.

B: Yes.

S: Yes.

B: Yes, because otherwise every thought is involved in that therefore...

S: Because I am going to get through it because it will make me feel good, better.

B: The trouble is that all that we have been talking about is in the form of ideas. They may be correct ideas but they won't break into this.

S: Right.

B: Because this dominates the whole of thought.

S: That is right. I mean you could even ask why are we here. We are here because we want to...

K: No, sir. Look: if I feel my security lies in some image I have, a picture, a symbol, a conclusion, an ideal and so on, I would put it not as an abstraction but bring it down. You see it is so. I believe in something. Actually. Now I say, why do I believe.

B: Well, have you actually done that?

K: No, I haven't because I have no beliefs. I have no picture, I don't go in for all those kind of games. I said, if.

S: If, right.

K: Then I would bring the abstracted thing into a perceptive reality.

S: To see my belief, is that it?

K: See it.

S: To see my belief. Right. To see that me in operation.

K: Yes, if you like to put it that way. Sir, wait a minute. Take a simple thing: have you a conclusion about something? Conclusion, a concept?

S: Yes.

K: Eh?

S: Yes, I think I do.

K: Now wait a bit. How is that brought about?

S: Well, through...

K: Take a simple thing, not complicated, take a simple thing. A concept that I am an Englishman.

B: The trouble is that we probably don't feel attached to those concepts.

K: All right.

S: Let's take one that is real for me: take the one about me being a doctor.

K: A concept.

S: That is a concept. That is a conclusion based on training, based on experience, based on the enjoyment of the work.

K: Which means what? A doctor means, the conclusion, means he is capable of certain activities.

S: Right, OK. Let's take it, concretely.

K: Work at it.

S: So now I have got the fact that there is a concrete fact that I have had this training, that I get this pleasure from the work, I get a kind of feed back, I get a whole community of feed in.

K: Yes, sir.

S: Books I've written, papers, positions.

K: Move.

S: All right. All that. Now that is my belief. That belief that I am a doctor is based on all that, that concept.

K: Yes.

S: OK. Now I continually act to continue that.

K: Yes, sir, that is understood.

S: OK.

K: Therefore you have a conclusion.

S: A conclusion.

K: You have a concept that you are a doctor.

S: Right.

K: Because it is based on knowledge, experience, everyday activity.

S: Right.

K: Pleasure and all the rest of it.

S: Right.

K: So what is real in that? What is true in that? Real meaning actual, actual.

S: Well, that is a good question. What is actual?

K: Wait! What is actual in that? Your training.

S: Right.

K: Your knowledge.

S: Right.

K: Your daily operation.

S: Right.

K: That's all. The rest is a conclusion.

B: But what is the rest?

K: The rest: I am very much better than somebody else.

B: Or else this thing is going to keep me occupied in a good way.

K: A good way. I will never be lonely.

S: Right. I know what is going to facts because I have this knowledge.

K: Yes. So?

B: Well, that is part of it.

K: Of course, much more.

S: Yes, go ahead. I want to hear what you have to say.

B: But isn't there also a certain fear that if I don't have this then things will be pretty bad?

K: Of course.

S: Right. OK.

B: And that fear seems to spur on...

K: Of course. And if the patients don't turn up?

B: Then I have no money; fear.

K: Fear.

S: No activity.

K: So loneliness. Back.

S: Back again. Right.

K: So be occupied.

S: Be occupied doing this, completing this concept. OK.

K: Be occupied.

S: Right.

K: Now:

S: It is very important. Do you realize how important that is to all people, to be occupied?

K: Of course, sir.

S: Do you get the meat of that?

K: Of course.

S: How important it is to people to be occupied. I can see them running around.

K: Sir, a housewife is occupied. Remove that occupation, she says, please...

B: ...what shall I do?

S: We know that as a fact. Since we put electrical equipment into the houses the women are going crazy, they have nothing to do with their time.

K: But, no. The result of this, neglect of their children. Don't talk to me about it.

S: Right. OK. Let's go on. Now we have got this fact, occupied.

K: Occupied. Now is this occupation an abstraction, or actuality?

S: Now this is an actuality.

K: Which?

S: Actuality. I am actually occupied.

K: No.

B: What is it?

K: You are actually occupied?

S: Yes.

K: Daily.

S: Daily.

B: Well, what do you really mean by occupied? Do you see.

S: What do you mean?

B: Well, I can say I am actually doing all the operations. That is clear. I mean I am seeing patients as the doctor.

S: You are going to do your thing.

B: I am doing my thing, getting my reward and so on. And occupied it seems to me has a psychological meaning, further than that, that my mind is in that thing in a relatively harmonious way. There was something I saw on television once of a woman who was highly disturbed, it showed on the graph, but when you was occupied doing her mathematics, the graph went beautifully smooth. She stopped doing the sums and it went all over the place. Do you, therefore, she had to keep on doing something to keep the brain working right.

K: Which means what?

S: Go ahead.

B: Well, what does it mean?

K: A mechanical process.

S: That's right.

B: It seems the brain starts jumping all over the place unless it has this thing.

K: A constant...

B: ...content.

K: So you have reduced yourself to a machine.

S: Don't say it! (Laughter) No, it's not fair. But it is true. I have, I mean, I feel there is a mechanical...

K: Responses.

S: Oh yes, commitment.

K: Of course.

B: But why does the brain begin to go so wild when it is not occupied?

S: That's right.

B: The brain begins to jump around wildly when it is not occupied, you see. That seems to be a common experience.

K: Because in occupation there is security.

B: There is order.

K: Order.

S: In occupation there is a kind of mechanical order.

K: Mechanical order.

B: Right. So we feel our security really means we want order. Is that right?

K: That's it.

B: We want order inside the brain.

S: That's right.

B: We want to be able to project order into the future, for ever.

S: That's right. But would you say that you can get it by mechanical order?

B: Then we get dissatisfied with it, you see, you say, "I am getting sick, bored with it, I am sick of this mechanical life, I want something more interesting".

K: That is where the gurus come in! (Laughter)

B: Then the thing goes wild again. Do you see the mechanical order won't satisfy it because it works for a little while.

S: I don't like the way something is slipping in there. You say that we are going like from one thing to another. I am looking for satisfaction and then I am not satisfied.

B: I am looking for some regular order which is good, do you see. And I think that by my job as a doctor I am getting it.

S: Yes.

B: But after a while I begin to feel it is too repetitious, do you see. I am getting bored.

S: OK. But suppose that doesn't happen. Suppose some people become satisfied with their job?

B: Well, they don't really. I mean then they become dull, you see.

K: Quite. Mechanical; so mechanical: and you stop that mechanism, the brain goes wild.

S: That's right.

B: Right. So they feel they are a bit dull and they would like some entertainment, or something more interesting and exciting. And therefore there is a contradiction, there is conflict and confusion in the whole thing. Well, take this woman who could always get everything right by doing arithmetical sums, but we can't keep on doing arithmetical sums! (Laughter) I mean somewhere she has got to stop doing these arithmetical sums.

S: Right.

B: Then her brain will go wild again.

K: Sir, he is asking what is disturbing him. He feels he hasn't put his teeth into it. What is disturbing him?

S: You are right.

K: What is disturbing you?

S: Well, it is this feeling that you see people will say that...

K: No, you say, you.

S: I will say, let's say I can get this order, I can get this mechanical order, and I can't.

K: Yes, you can.

S: From occupying myself in something I like.

K: Go on. Proceed.

S: I can do it. I mean I can do it, I can do something I like and it gets boring, let's say, or it might get repetitious, but then I will find new parts of it. And then I'll do that some more because that gives me a pleasure, you see. I mean I get a satisfaction out of it.

B: Right.

S: So I keep doing more of that. It is like an accumulative process.

K: No, you move from one mechanical process...

S: Right, right.

K: ...get bored with it, and move to another mechanical process...

S: That's right.

K: ...get bored with it and keep going.

S: That's right. That's it.

K: And you call that living.

S: That is what I call living.

B: I see that the trouble in it, even if I accept all that, the trouble is that I now try to be sure that I can keep on doing this, because I can always anticipate a future when I won't be able to do it. You see? I will be a bit too old for the job, or else I'll fail. I'll lose the job, or something. In other words, I still have insecurity in that order.

K: Essentially, essentially it is mechanical disorder.

S: Masking itself as order.

K: Order. Now, wait a minute. Do you see this? Or is it still an abstraction? Because you know as Dr Bohm will tell you, idea means observation, the original meaning, the root meaning, observation. Do you observe this?

S: I see that, yes. I feel that, I think. I see what I see actually is I see this, a movement that goes on doing this, and then question, very much like Piaget's (?) theory. Right? In other words, there is assimilation, an accommodation and then there is seeing what doesn't fit and going on with it. And then there is more assimilation, and accommodation, and then going on with it. The psychologist, Piaget (?), the French psychologist, describes this as the enormity of human brains.

K: Yes, yes.

S: You know this.

K: I don't have to read Piaget, I can observe it.

B: Right. Then the point is, are you driven to this because you are frightened of the instability of the brain. Do you see? That would mean being occupied with this. And it seems then that is disorder. If you are doing something because you are trying to run away from instability of the brain, that is already disorder.

S: Yes, yes.

B: In other words, that will merely be masking disorder.

S: Yes. Well, then you are suggesting that this is being the natural disorder of the brain. Are you suggesting a natural disorder?

B: No, I am saying that the brain seems to be disordered. This seems to be a fact. Right? That the brain without occupation goes, tends to go, into disorder.

S: Without the mechanics we get this. That is what we know, without the mechanics.

K: So that is frightened of it.

S: Frightened.

B: Well, it is dangerous actually because one feels it is dangerous if it keeps doing this because of what is going to happen.

K: Of course, it is dangerous.

B: I mean it may do all sorts of crazy things.

K: Yes. All the neurotics, you know all that business.

B: In other words, I feel that the main danger comes from within, you see.

K: Absolutely. Now, if, when you see it, observe it, there is action which is not fragmented.

B: You see, I see one can feel that you do not know whether this disorder can stop. In other words if you were sure that it could stop, that religion, that god will take care of it, or something, then you will have security.

K: Quite.

B: That god will give you eternal bliss.

S: Then you don't feel that you can depend on anything.

B: Nothing can control that disorder. You see that this really seems to be the thing that there is nothing that can control that disorder. You may take pills, or do various things, but it is always there in the background.

S: Right.

K: Quite right.

B: I don't know whether we should say, one question is, why do we have this disorder? Do you see. If it were built into the structure of the brain, seeing this is human nature, then there would be no way out.

K: No, sir. I think the disorder arises, doesn't it, first when there are mechanical processes going on. And in that mechanical process the brain feels secure, and when the mechanical process is disturbed it becomes insecure.

S: Then it does it again.

K: Again, and again, and again, and again.

S: It never stays with that insecurity.

K: No, no. When it perceives this process it is still mechanical, and therefore disorder.

B: The question is, why does the brain get caught in mechanism? Do you see. In other words, it seems in the situation the brain gets caught in mechanical process.

K: Because it is the safest, the most secure way of living.

B: Well, it appears that way. But it is actually very...

K: Not, appears. It is so for the time being.

B: For the time being, but in the long run it is not.

S: Are you saying we are time bound, conditioned to be time bound?

K: No. Conditioned to be time bound. Conditioned by our tradition, by our education, by the culture we live in and so on and so on, to operate mechanically.

S: We take the easy way.

K: The easy way.

B: But it is also a kind of mistake to say in the beginning the mechanical way shows signs of being safer, and at the beginning the brain makes a mistake let's say, and says, "This is safer", but somehow it fails to be able to see that it has made a mistake, it holds to this mistake. Like in the beginning you might call it an innocent mistake to say, "This look safer and I will follow it". But then after a while you are getting evidence that it is not so safe, the brain begins to reject it, keep away from it.

S: Well, I think you could raise the issue whether there are certain given facts in child rearing. I mean when the mother feels the baby is crying and jams a nipple in its mouth, that is teaching the baby that you shut up and take the easy way out.

K: No, poor baby.

B: Well there is a lot of conditioning.

K: Well that is only the mothers who don't want babies when they jam in the nipples. Don't, no don't say that.

B: Well I meant that is part of the conditioning that explains how it is propagated. But you see it still doesn't explain why the brain doesn't see at some stage that it is wrong.

S: Why doesn't it see that at some stage it is wrong?

B: In other words, it continues in this mechanical process rather than seeing that it is wrong.

K: You are asking: why doesn't it see that this mechanical process is essentially disorder.

B: It is essentially disorder and dangerous.

K: Dangerous.

B: It is totally delusory.

S: Why isn't there some sort of feedback? In other words, I do something and it comes out wrong. At some point I ought to realize that. Why don't I? For instance, I have seen my life is mechanical.

K: Now wait. You see it?

S: But I don't.

K: Wait. Why is it mechanical?

S: Well, it is mechanical because it goes like this: it is all action and reaction.

K: Why is it mechanical?

S: It is repetitious.

K: Which is mechanical.

S: Which is mechanical. I want it to be easy. That is also mechanical. I want it to be easy. I feel that that gives me the most security, to keep it mechanical. I get a boundary. It is like you say I have the house, I have got my mechanical life, that gives me security, it is mechanical because it is repetitious.

K: You haven't answered my question.

S: I know I haven't! It is mechanical. I am not sure what your question is. Your question is why...

K: ...has it become mechanical.

S: Why.

B: Why does it remain mechanical?

K: Why does it become and remain mechanical?

S: I think it remains mechanical, it is the thing we began with.

K: No, pursue it. Why does it remain mechanical?

S: I don't see it is mechanical.

K: What has caused us to accept this mechanical process, way of living?

S: I am not sure I can answer that. The feel of it is that I would see the insecurity, I would see.

K: No, look: wouldn't you be frightened?

S: I would see the uncertainty.

K: No, no. If the mechanical process of life that one lives suddenly stopped, wouldn't you be frightened?

S: Yes.

B: Wouldn't there be some genuine danger?

K: That, of course. There is a danger that things might...

B: ...go to pieces.

K: ...go to pieces.

S: It is deeper than that.

K: Wait! Find out, come on.

S: It is not just that there is a genuine danger that I would be frightened. It feels like that things take on a terribly moment-by moment effect.

K: No, sir. Look: would total order give it complete security? Wouldn't it? Total order.

S: Yes.

K: The brain wants total order.

S: Right.

K: Otherwise it can't function properly. Therefore it accepts the mechanical, and hoping it won't lead to disaster.

S: Right.

K: Hoping it will find order in that.

B: Could you say that perhaps in the beginning that the brain accepted this just simply not knowing that this mechanism would bring disorder and it just went into it in an innocent state?

K: Yes.

B: Yes, but it is caught in a trap, you see. And somehow it maintains this disorder, it doesn't want to get out of it.

K: Because it is frightened of greater disorder.

B: Yes. It says, all that I've built up may go to pieces. In other words, I am not in the same situation as when I first went in the trap because now I have built up a great structure. I think that structure will go to pieces.

S: That's right. I heard one man - I nearly jumped out of my seat - I heard one may say to another, to one of his colleagues, he says, "I have just published my thirteenth book". He said it just like that! (Laughter) The way he said it!

K: Yes, but what I am trying to get it is, the brain needs this order, otherwise it can't function. It finds order in mechanical process because it is trained from childhood; do as you are told, etc., etc., etc. There is a conditioning going on right away: to live a mechanical life.

S: Right.

B: Also the fear induced of giving up this mechanism at the same time.

K: Of course, of course.

B: I mean that in other words you are thinking all the time that without this everything will go to pieces, including especially the brain.

K: Yes, so they break from this mechanical business and join communities, you know, all the process, which is still mechanical.

S: Right, right.

K: Which means the brain must have order. And finds order in a mechanical way. Now, do I see, do you see actually mechanical ways. Now do I see, do you see actually the mechanical way of living leads to disorder? Which is, tradition. If I live entirely in the past, which is very orderly, I think it is very orderly, and what takes place? I am already dead and I can't meet anything.

S: I am repeating myself always, right.

K: So please don't disturb my tradition! The communists say that, the Catholics say that, you follow, the same thing. And every human being says, "Please, I have found something which gives me order; a belief, a hope, this, or that; and leave me alone."

S: Right.

K: And life isn't going to leave them alone. So he gets frightened and establishes another mechanical habit. Now do you see this whole thing? And therefore an instant action breaking it all away and therefore order. The brain says, at last I have an order which is absolutely indestructible.

B: Well, I think you see it doesn't follow from what you said that this would happen. In other words, you are saying this.

K: I am saying this.

B: I mean but it doesn't follow logically.

K: It would follow logically if you go into it.

B: Go into it. You see can we reach a point where it really follows necessarily?

K: I think we can only go into it if you perceive the mechanical structure which the brain has developed, attached and cultivated.

S: Can I share with you something, that as you are talking I find myself, I see it in a certain way though, I see it like this - don't get impatient with me too quickly! But I see it this way: it is like I can see the mechanicalness. Right? And I see that I see, and I was flashing through my mind various kinds of interchanges between people. And the way they talk, they way I talk to them at a party, at a cocktail party, and it is all about what happened before, you can see them telling you who they are, in terms of their past. I can see what they will be. This guy who said, "I have published my thirteenth book", he said it like that. It is very important that I get that information, see. And I see this. And I see this elaborate structure. This guy has got in his head that I am going to think this about him, and then he is going to go to his university and he is going to be thought that. He is always living like that and the whole structure is elaborate. Right?

K: Are you doing that?

S: When did you stop beating your wife! Of course I am doing it. I am doing it right now, I am seeing the structure right now, all of us.

K: But do you see that we were saying yesterday, fragmentary action is mechanical action.

S: That;s right. It is there, Krishnaji. It is there, where we are.

K: And therefore political action can never solve any problems, human problems; or the scientist, he is another fragment.

S: But do you realize what you are saying? Let us really look at what you are saying. This is the way it is. This is the way life is.

K: That's right.

S: Right? This is the way it is. Years and years and years.

K: Therefore, why don't you change it?

S: Change it. That's right. But this is the way it is. We live in terms of our structures. We live in terms of history. We live in terms of our mechanics. We live in terms of our form. This is the way we live.

K: Which means, as we were saying at Ojai, when the past meets the present and ends there, there is a totally different thing takes place.

S: Yes. But the past doesn't meet the present so often.

K: I mean it is taking place now.

S: Right now. Right. We are seeing it now.

K: Therefore can you stop there?

S: We must see it totally.

K: No. The fact, simple fact: the past meets the present. That is a fact.

B: Let us see, how does the past meet the present? Let us go into that.

K: We have got four minutes.

S: How do you say the past meets the present? We have got two minutes now!

B: Well, I think just briefly that the past meeting the present stops, that the past is generally active in the present towards the future. Now when the past meets the present then the past stops acting. And what it means is that thought stops acting so that order comes about.

S: Do you think that the past meets the present, or the present meets the past?

K: No. How do you meet me?

S: I meet you in the present.

K: No. How do you meet me? With all the memories, all the images, the reputation, the words, the pictures, the symbol, all that, with that, which is the past, you meet me now.

S: That's right. That's right. I come to you with a...

K: No, no. The past is meeting the present.

B: Aren't you saying...

S: That's right, go ahead.

B: That the past should stop meeting the present?

S: No. He is not saying that. You can't say that.

K: I am saying something, which is...

S: Let him say it.

K: What I am trying to say is that the past meets the present.

S: And then?

K: End there. Not move forward.

S: Can it? But is that a right question? Or is it, what is the past meeting the present? What is that action?

K: I meet you with a picture.

S: Why should I stop?

K: I will show it to you. I meet you with the past, my memories, but you might have changed all that in the meantime. So I never meet you. I meet you with the past.

S: Right. That is fact.

K: That is a fact. Now if I don't have that movement going on...

S: But I do.

K: Of course you do. But I say that that is disorder. I can't meet you then.

S: Right. How do you know that?

K: I don't know it. I only know the fact that when the past meets the present and continues, it is one of the factors of time, movement, bondage, all the fear, and so on. If, when there is the past meeting the present, one see this, I am fully aware of this, completely aware of this movement, then it stops. Then I meet you as though for the first time, there is something fresh, it is like a new flower coming out.

S: Yes, I understand.

K: I think we will go on tomorrow. We haven't really tackled the root of all this, the root, the cause or the root of all this disturbance, this turmoil, travail, anxiety - you follow.

B: Why should the brain be in this wild disorder?

K: I know, wild. You, who are a doctor, an analyst and all the rest of it, you have to ask that fundamental question - why? Why do human beings live this way?

S: Right. Why do they? I ask that all the time. Why are human beings sick?

Wholeness of Life

Longer, Unedited Versions

2nd Conversation with Dr Bohm & Dr Shainberg Brockwood Park 18th May 1976 'Transformation of Man'

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