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Wholeness of Life

Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm

The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 4 4th Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 19th May, 1976

KRISHNAMURTI: I don't think that yesterday we answered the question: Why do human beings live the way they are living? I don't think we went into it sufficiently deeply. Did we answer it?

Dr Shainberg: We got the point - but we never answered that question.

K: I was thinking about it this morning and it struck me that we hadn't answered it fully. We went into the question: Can thought observe itself?

S: Right.

Dr Bohm: Right. Yes.

K: But I think we ought to answer that other question.

B: But I think that what we said was on the way to answering it. I mean it was relevant to the answer.

K: Yes, relevant. But it is not complete.

S: No, it's not complete, it doesn't really get hold of that issue: Why do people live the way they do, and why don't they change?

K: Yes. Could we go into that a little bit before we go on?

S: Well, you know my immediate answer to that question was that they like it. We came up against that and then pulled away.

K: I think it is much deeper than that, don`t you? Because if one actually transformed one's conditioning, the way one lives, one might find oneself economically in a very difficult position.

S: Right.

K: It would be going against the current, completely against the current.

B: Are you saying that it might lead to a certain objective insecurity?

K: Objective insecurity. B: It is not merely a matter of the imagination.

K: No, no, actual insecurity.

B: Yes, because a lot of the things we are discussing are to do with some illusion of security or insecurity. In addition there is some genuine...

K: ...genuine insecurity. And also doesn't it imply that you have to stand alone?

S: Definitely you would be in a totally different position.

K: Because it is being completely out of the stream. And that means you have to be alone, psychologically alone. And we ask whether human beings can stand that.

S: Well, certainly this other is to be completely together.

K: It is the herd instinct. Be together, with people, don't be alone.

S: Be like them, be with them - it is all based on competition in some way. I am better than you...

K: Of course, of course. It is all that.

B: Well, it is unclear because in some sense we should be together, but society, it seems to me, is giving us some false sense of togetherness which is really fragmentation.

K: Quite right. So would you say that one of the main reasons why human beings don't want to transform themselves radically, is that they are frightened of not belonging to a group, to a herd, to something definite - of standing completely alone? I think you can only co-operate from that aloneness, not the other way round.

S: People don't like to be different, that we know.

K: I once talked to an FBI man - he came to see me and he said, "Why is it that you walk alone all the time? Why are you so much alone? I see you among the hills walking alone. Why?" He thought it was very disturbing.

B: Well, I think anthropologists find that in primitive peoples the sense of belonging to the tribe is even stronger; their entire psychological structure depends on being in a tribe.

K: You would rather cling to the misery you already know than come into another kind of misery you don't know.

S: That's right. Being with others...

K: ...you are safe. B: You will be taken care of, as your mother may have taken care of you; you are gently supported. You feel that fundamentally everything will he all right because the group is large, it is wise, it knows what to do. I think there is a feeling like that, rather deep. The Church may give that feeling.

K: Yes. You have seen those animal pictures? They are always in herds.

B: Aren't people seeking from the group a sense that they have some support from the whole?

K: Of course.

B: Now isn't it possible that you are discussing an aloneness in which you have a certain security? People are seeking in the group a kind of security; well, it seems to me, that that can arise actually in aloneness.

K: Yes, that is right. In aloneness you can be completely secure.

B: I wonder if we could discuss that because it seems there is an illusion there: people feel they should have a sense of security.

K: Quite right.

B: And they are looking for it in a group, the group being representative of something universal.

K: The group is not the universal.

B: It isn't, but it is the way we think of it.

K: Of course.

B: The little child thinks the tribe is the whole world.

K: A human being, if he transforms himself, becomes alone, but that aloneness is not isolation - it is a form of supreme intelligence.

B: Yes, but could you go into that a little further about it not being isolation, because at first when you say alone - the feeling that I am entirely apart...

K: It is not apart.

S: All people seem to gravitate together; they have to be like other people. What would change that? Why should anybody change from that? What would such people experience when they are alone? They experience isolation.

K: I thought we had already dealt with that fairly thoroughly. When one realizes the appalling state of the world, and of oneself, the disorder, the confusion and the misery, and when one says there must be a total change, a total transformation, one has already begun to move away from all that.

S: Right. But here one is, being together...

K: Being together, what does it really mean?

S: I mean being in this group...

K: Yes, what does it really mean? Identifying oneself with the group, remaining with the group - what does it mean? What is involved in it? The group is me. I am the group.

S: Right.

K: Therefore it is like co-operating with myself.

B: Perhaps you could say as Descartes said, "I think, therefore I I am" - meaning that I think implies that I am there. One says, "I am in the group, therefore I am". You see, if I am not in a group where am I? In other words I have no being at all. That is really the condition of the primitive tribe, for most of the members anyway.

And there is something deep there because I feel that my very existence, my being, psychologically, is implied in being in the group. The group has made me, everything about me has come from the group. I am nothing without the group.

K: Yes, quite right. I am the group in fact.

B: And therefore if I am out of the group I feel everything is collapsing. I don't know where I am. I have no orientation, to life or to anything.

S: Right.

B: And therefore, you see, that might be the greatest punishment the group could inflict, to banish me.

K: Yes, look what is happening in Russia: when there is a dissenter he is banished.

B: Such banishment sort of robs him of his being. It is almost like killing him.

K: Quite. I think that is what it is, the fear of being alone. Alone is translated as being isolated from all this.

B: Could we say from the universal?

K: Yes, from the universal. B: It seems to me you are implying that if you are really alone, genuinely alone, then you are not isolated from the universe.

K: Absolutely. On the contrary.

B: Therefore we first have to be free of this false universal.

S: This false identification with the group.

B: Identification with the group as the universal. Treating the group as if it were the universal support of my being.

S: Right, right. Now there is something more to that. What is being said is that when that localized identification with the group, that false security, is dropped, one is opened up to the participation in...

K: No, there is no question of participation - you are the universe.

S: You are that.

B: As a child I felt that the town I was in was the whole universe; then I found another town further away which felt almost beyond the universe, which must be the ultimate limits of all reality. So the idea of going beyond that would not have occurred to me. And I think that is how the group is treated. We know abstractly that it is not so, but the feeling you have is like that of a little child.

K: Is it then that human beings love, or hold on to, their own misery and confusion because they don't know anything else?

B: Yes.

K: The known is so far, then the unknown.

S: Right. Yes.

K: Now to be alone implies, doesn't it, to step out of the stream?

S: Of the known.

K: Step out of the stream of this utter confusion, disorder, sorrow, despair, hope and travail - to step out of all that.

S: Right.

K: And if you want to go much deeper into this, to be alone implies, doesn't it, not to carry the burden of tradition with you at all?

B: Tradition being the group, then.

K: The group. Tradition also being knowledge.

B: Knowledge, but it comes basically from the group. Knowledge is basically collective. It is collected by everybody.

K: So to be alone implies total freedom. And when there is that great freedom it is the universe. B: Could we go into that further because to a person who hasn't seen this, it doesn't look obvious?

S: I think David is right there. To a person, to most people, I think - and I have tested this out recently - the idea, or even the deep feeling, that you are the universe, seems to be so...

K: Ah, sir, that is a most dangerous thing to say. How can you say you are the universe when you are in total confusion? When you are unhappy, miserable, anxious, jealous, envious how can you say you are the universe? Universe implies total order.

B: Yes, the cosmos in Greek meant order.

K: Order, of course.

B: And chaos was the opposite.

K: Yes.

S: But I...

K: No, listen. Universe, cosmos, means order.

S: Right.

K: And chaos is what we live with.

S: That's right.

K. How can I think I have universal order in me? That is the good old trick of the mind which says disorder is there, but inside you there is perfect order. That is an illusion. It is a concept which thought has put there and it gives me a certain hope, but it is an illusion, it has no reality. What has actual reality is the confusion.

S: Right.

K: My chaos. And I can imagine, I can project a cosmos but that. is equally illusory. So I must start with the fact of what I am, which is that I am in chaos.

S: I belong to a group.

K: Chaos, chaos is the group. So to move away from that into cosmos, which is total order, means that I am alone. There is a total order which is not associated with disorder, chaos. That is alone.

B: Yes, can we go into that? Suppose several people are in that state, moving into cosmos, into order out of the chaos of society - are they all alone?

K: No, they don't feel alone there. There is only order.

B: Are they different people? K: Sir, would you say - suppose - no, I can't suppose - we three are in cosmos, there is only cosmos, not you, Dr Bohm, Dr Shainberg and me.

B: Therefore we are still alone.

K: That is, order is alone.

B: I looked up the word "alone" in the dictionary; basically it is all one.

K: All one. Yes.

B: In other words there is no fragmentation.

K: Therefore there is no three - we three. And that is marvellous, sir.

S: But you jumped away there. We have got chaos and confusion. That is what we have got.

K: So as we said, to move away from that, which is to have total order, most people are afraid. Alone, as he pointed out, is all one. Therefore there is no fragmentation, then there is cosmos.

S: Right. But most people are in confusion and chaos. That is all they know.

K: So how do you move away from that? That is the whole question.

S: That is the question. Here we are in chaos and confusion, we are not over there.

K: No, because you may be frightened of that. Frightened of an idea of being alone.

S: How can you be frightened of an idea?

B: That is easy.

K: Aren't you frightened of tomorrow? Which is an idea.

S: OK. That is an idea.

K: So they are frightened of an idea which they have projected, which says, "My God, I am alone", which means I have nobody to rely on.

S: Right, but that is an idea.

B: Well, let's go slowly. We have said that to a certain extent it is genuinely so. You are not being supported by society. You do have a certain genuine danger because you have withdrawn from the hub of society. S: I think we are confused here. I really do because I think if we have got confusion, if we have got chaos...

K: Not if - it is so.

S: It is so, OK I go with you. We have got chaos and confusion, that is what we have got. Now if you have an idea about being alone while in chaos and confusion, that is just another idea, another thought, another part of the chaos. Is that right?

K: That's right.

S: OK. Now that is all we have got, chaos and confusion.

K: And in moving away from that we have the feeling we will be alone.

B: In the sense of isolated.

K: Isolated.

S: Right. That's what I am getting at.

K: We will be lonely.

S: That's right.

K: Of that we are frightened.

S: Not frightened, in terror.

K: Yes. Therefore we say, "I would rather stay where I am in my little pond than face isolation." And that may be one of the reasons why human beings don't radically change.

S: That's right.

B: That's like this primitive tribe - the worst punishment is to be banished.

S: You don't have to go to a primitive tribe. I see people and talk to people all the time; patients come to me and say, "Look, Saturday came, I couldn't stand being alone, I called up 50 people looking for somebody to be with."

B: Yes, that is much the same.

K: So that may be one of the reasons why human beings don't change.

S: Right. K: The other is that we are so heavily conditioned to accept things as they are. We don't say to ourselves, "Why should I live this way?" S: That is certainly true. We don,t.

B: We have to get away from this conviction, that the way things are is all that can be.

K: Yes, that's right. You see, the religions have pointed this out by saying there is another world, aspire to that. This is a transient world, it doesn't matter, live as best as you can in your sorrow, and then you will be perfectly happy in the next world.

S: Right.

K: And the Communists say there is no next-world, so make the best of this world.

B: I think they would say that there is happiness in the future in this world.

K: Yes, yes. Sacrifice your children for the future, which is exactly the same thing.

B: But it seems it is a sort of transformation of the same thing: we say we want to give up this society as it is, but we invent something similar.

K: Yes, quite.

S: It has to be similar if we are inventing it.

B: Yes, but it seems it is an important point, that there is a subtle way of not being alone.

K: Quite right.

S: You mean we go ahead and make it out of the old ideas?

B: Yes. To make heaven for the future.

K: So what will make human beings change? Radically.

S: I don't know. Even the idea you are suggesting here is that it can't be different, or that it is all the same: that is part of the system itself.

K: Agreed. Now wait a minute. May I ask you a question? Why don't you change? What is preventing you?

S: I would say that it is - oh, it's a tough question. I suppose the answer would be that - I don't have any answer.

K: Because you have never asked yourself that question. Right?

S: Not radically.

K: We are asking basic questions. S: Right. I don't really know the answer to the question.

K: Now, sir, move away from that, sir. Is it that our structure, our whole society, all religions, all culture is based on thought, and thought says, "I can't do this. Therefore an outside agency is necessary to change me."

S: Right.

K: Whether the outside agency is the environment, the leader, or God. God is your own projection of yourself, obviously. And you believe in God, you believe in some leader; you believe, but you are still the same.

S: That's right.

K: You may identify with the State and so on, but the good old me is still operating. So is it that thought doesn't see its own limit? Doesn't know, realize, that it cannot change itself?

B: Well, I think thought loses track of something; it doesn't see that it itself is behind all this.

K: Of course. We said that. Thought has produced all this chaos.

B: But thought doesn't really see this exactly.

S: What thought does in fact is to communicate through gradual change.

K: That is all the invention of thought.

S: Yes, but that is where I think the hook is.

K: No, sir, please, sir, just listen.

S: Sure.

K: Thought has put this world together. Technologically as well as psychologically. The technological world is all right, leave it all alone, we won't even discuss that. It would be too absurd. But psychologically, thought has built all this world in me and outside me. And does thought realize that it has made this mess, this chaos?

B: I would say that it doesn't. It tends to look on this chaos as independently existent.

K: But it is its baby!

B: It is, but it is very hard for thought to see that. That is really what we were discussing yesterday.

K: Yes, we are coming back to that. B: To this question of how thought gives a sense of reality. We were saying that technology deals with something that thought made, but it is actually an independent reality once it is made.

K: Like the table, like those cameras.

B: But you could say that thought also creates a reality which it calls independent, but isn't.

K: Yes, yes. So, does thought realize, is it aware, that it has created this chaos?

S: No.

K: Why not? But you, sir. Do you realize it?

S: I realize that...

K: Not you - does thought - you see! I have asked you a different question: Does thought, which is you, your thinking - does your thinking realize the chaos it has created?

B: Thought tends to attribute that chaos to something else, either to something outside, or to me who is inside.

K: Thought has created me.

B: But also thought has said that me is not thought, although in reality it is. Thought is treating me as a different reality.

K: Of course, of course.

B: And thought is saying that it is coming from me and therefore it doesn't take credit for what it does.

K: To me thought has created the me.

S: That's right.

K: And so "me" is not separate from thought. It is the structure of thought, the nature of thought that has made me.

S; Right.

K: Now: Does your thinking, or does your thought realize this?

S: In flashes it does.

K: No, not in flashes. You don't see that table in flashes; it is always there. We asked a question yesterday, and we stopped there: Does thought see itself in movement?

S: Right.

K: The movement has created the me, created the chaos, created the division, created the conflict, jealousy, anxiety, fear... S: Right. Now what I am asking is another question. Yesterday we came to a moment where we said thought stops.

K: No. That is much later. Please just stick to one thing.

S: OK. What I am trying to get at is what is the actuality of thought seeing itself?

K: You want me to describe it?

S: No, no, I don't want you to describe it - what I am trying to get at is what is the actuality that thought sees? We get into the problem of language here - but it seems that thought sees and forgets.

K: No, no, please. I am asking a very simple question. Don't complicate it. Does thought see the chaos it has created? That's all. Which means: Is thought aware of itself as a movement? Not I am aware of thought as a movement - the I has been created by thought.

S: Right.

B: I think a question that is relevant is: Why does thought keep on going? How does it sustain itself? Because as long as it sustains itself it produces something like an independent reality, an illusion of reality.

S: What is my relationship to thought?

K: You are thought. There is no you related to thought.

S: Right. But look, look. The question is: I say to you, "What is my relationship to thought" - and you say to me " You are thought". in some way what you say is clear, but that is still the way thought is moving for me, to say it is my relationship to thought.

B: Well, that's the point. Can this very thought stop right now?

K: Yes.

B: What is sustaining this whole thing? - at this very moment? - was the question I was trying to get at.

S: Yes, that's the question.

B: In other words, say we have a certain insight but nevertheless something happens to sustain the old process right now.

K: That's right.

S: Right now thought keeps moving. K: No, Dr Bohm asked a very good question which we haven't answered. He said, Why does thought move?

B: When it is irrelevant to move.

K: Why is it always moving? What is movement? Movement is time - right?

S: That's too quick. Movement is time.

K: Obviously, of course. Physically, from here to London, from here to New York. And also psychologically from here to there.

S: Right.

K: I am this, I must be that.

S: Right. But if a thought is not necessarily all that...

K: Thought is the new movement. We are examining movement, which is thought. Look: if thought stopped there is no movement.

S: Yes, I know. I am trying - this has to be made very clear.

B: I think there is a step that might help: to ask myself what it is that makes me go on thinking or talking. I can often watch people and see they are in a hole just because they keep on talking. If they would stop talking the whole problem would vanish. I mean it is just this flow of words that comes out as if it were reality, and then they say that is my problem, it is real and I have got to think some more. There is a kind of a feedback saying, "I have got a problem, I am suffering."

S: You have got an `I' thought.

B: Yes, I think that; therefore I have a sense that I am real. I am thinking of my suffering, and in that it is implicit that it is I who am there, that the suffering is real because I am real.

S: Right.

B: And then comes the next thought, which is: Since that is real I must think some more.

S: It feeds on itself.

B: Yes. And one of the things I must think is that I am suffering. And I am compelled to keep on thinking that thought all the time. Maintaining myself in existence. Do you see what I am driving at? That there is a feedback.

K: Which means that if thought is movement, which is time, and there is no movement I am dead! I am dead. B: Yes, if that movement stops, then the sense that I am there being real must go, because the sense that I am real is the result of thinking.

K: Do you see this is extraordinary?

S: Of course it is.

K: No, no, actually. In actuality, not in theory. One realizes thought is movement - right?

S: Right.

B: And in this movement it creates an image of...

K: ...of me...

B: ...that is supposed to be moving.

K: Yes, yes. Now, when that movement stops there is no me. The me is time, put together by time, which is thought.

S: Right.

K: So do you, listening to this, realize the truth of it? Not the verbal, logical statement, but the truth of such an amazing thing? Therefore there is an entirely different action. The action of thought as movement brings about a fragmentary action, a contradictory action. When the movement as thought comes to an end there is total action.

B: Can you say then that whatever technical thought brings about has an order?

K: Of course.

B: In other words it doesn't mean that thought is permanently gone.

K: No, no.

S: It can still be a movement in its proper place, in its fitting order?

K: Of course. So is a human being afraid of all this? Unconsciously, deeply, he must realize the ending of me. Do you understand? And that is really a most frightening thing. My knowledge, my books, my wife - the whole thing which thought has put together. And you are asking me to end all that.

B: Can't you say it is the ending of everything? Because everything that I know is there.

K: Absolutely. So you see, really I am frightened; a human being is frightened of death. Not the biological death... S: To die now.

K: This coming to an end. And therefore he believes in God, reincarnation, and a dozen other comforting things, but in actuality, when thought realizes itself as movement and sees that movement has created the me, the divisions, the quarrels, the whole structure of this chaotic world - when thought realizes this, sees the truth of it, it ends. Then there is cosmos. You listen to this: how do you receive it?

S: Do you want me to answer?

K: I offer you something. How do you receive it? This is very important.

S: Yes. Thought sees its movement...

K: No, no. How do you receive it? How does the public, who listens to all this, receive it? They ask, "What is he trying to tell me?"

S: What?

K: He says I am not telling you anything. He says listen to what I am saying and find out for yourself whether thought as movement has created all this, both the technological world which is useful, which is necessary, and this chaotic world.

S: Right.

K: How do you receive t, listen to it? What takes place in you when you listen to it?

S: Panic.

K: No. Is it?

S: Yes. There is a panic about the death. There is a sense of seeing, and then there is a fear of that death.

K: Which means you have listened to the words; the words have awakened the fear.

S: Right.

K: But not the actuality of the fact.

S: I wouldn't say that. I think that is a little unfair. They awaken the...

K: I am asking you.

S: ...they awaken the actuality of the fact and then there seems to be a silence, a moment of great clarity that gives way to a kind of feeling in the pit of the stomach where things are dropping out, and then there is a kind of...

K: Withholding.

S: ...withholding, right. I think there is a whole movement there.

K: So you are describing humanity?

S: No I am describing me.

K: You are humanity.

B: You are the same.

S: Right.

K: You are the viewer, the people who are listening.

S: That's right. So there is a sense of what will happen tomorrow?

K: No, no. That is not the point. No. When thought realizes itself as a movement, and realizes that that movement has created all this chaos, total chaos, complete disorder - when it realizes that, what takes place? Actually? You are not frightened, there is no fear. Listen to it carefully. There is no fear. Fear is the idea brought about by an abstraction. You understand? You have made a picture of ending and are frightened of that ending.

S: You are right. You are right.

K: There is no fear.

S: No fear and then there is...

K: There is no fear when the actuality takes place.

S: That's right. When the actuality takes place there is silence.

K: With the fact there is no fear.

B: But as soon as thought comes in...

K: That's right.

S: That's right. Now wait a minute; no, don't go away. When thought comes in...

K: Then it is no longer a fact. You haven't remained with the fact.

B: Well, that is the same as saying you keep on thinking.

K: Keep on moving.

B: Yes. Well, as soon as you bring thought in, it is not a fact; it is an imagination or a fantasy which is thought to be real, but it is not so. Therefore you are not with the fact any longer. K: We have discovered something extraordinary, that with fact there is no fear.

S: Right.

B: So all fear is thought, is that it?

K: That's right.

S: We have got a big mouthful here.

K: No. All thought is fear, all thought is sorrow.

B: That goes both ways, that all fear is thought, and all thought is fear.

K: Of course.

B: Except the kind of thought that arises with the fact alone.

S: I want to interject something right here: it seems to me we have discovered something quite important right here, which is that at the actual seeing, the instant of attention is at its peak.

K: No. Something new takes place, sir. Something totally new that you have never looked at. It has never been understood or experienced, whatever it is. A totally different thing happens.

B: But isn't it important that we acknowledge this in our thought, I mean in our language?

K: Yes.

B: As we are doing now. In other words, if it happened and we didn't acknowledge it, then we are liable to fall back.

K: Of course, of course.

S: I don't get you.

B: Well, we have to see it not only when it happens but we have to say that it happens.

S: Then are we creating a place to localize this, or not?

K: No, no. What he is saying is very simple. He is saying, does this fact, this actuality take place? And can you remain with it, can thought not move but remain only with that fact? Sir, it is like saying: Remain totally with sorrow. Do not move away, do not say it should be or shouldn't be, or how am I to get over it - just totally remain with that thing. With the fact. Then you have an energy which is extraordinary.

Wholeness of Life

Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm

The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 4 4th Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 19th May, 1976

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