Wholeness of Life
Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm
The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 6 6th Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 20th May, 1976
KRISHNAMURTI: Dr Bohm, as you are a well-known physicist, I would like to ask you, after these five dialogues we have had, what will change man? What will bring about a radical transformation in the total consciousness of human beings?
Dr Bohm: Well, I don't know that the scientific background is very relevant to that question.
K: No, probably not, but after having talked together at length, not only now but in previous years, what is the energy - I am using energy not in any scientific sense but in the just ordinary sense - the vitality, the energy, the drive - which seems to be lacking? If I were listening to the three of us, if I were a viewer, I would say, "Yes, it is all very well for these philosophers, these scientists, these experts, but it is outside my field. It is too far away. Bring it nearer. Bring it much closer so that I can deal with my life."
B: Well, I think at the end of the last discussion we were touching on one point of that nature, because we were discussing images.
K: Images, yes.
B: And the self-image. And questioning whether we have to have images at all.
K: Of course, we went into that. But, you see, as a viewer, totally outside, listening to you for the first time, the three of you, I would say, "How does it touch my life? It is all so vague and uncertain and it needs a great deal of thinking, which I am unwilling to do. So please tell me in a few words, or at length, what am I to do with my life. Where am I to touch it? Where am I to break it down? From where am I to look at it? I have hardly any time. I go to the office. I go to the factory. I have got so many things to do - children, a nagging wife, poverty - the whole structure of misery, and you sit there, you three, and talk about something which doesn't touch me in the least. So could we bring it down to brass tacks, as it were, where I can grapple with it as an ordinary being?
B: Well, could we consider problems arising in daily relationship as the starting point?
K: That is the essence, isn't it? I was going to begin with that. You see, my relationship with human beings is in the office, in the factory, on a golf-course.
B: Or at home.
K: Or at home. And at home there is routine, sex, children (if I have children, if I want children), and the constant battle, battle, battle all my life. Insulted, wounded, hurt - everything is going on in me and around me.
B: Yes, there is continual disappointment.
K: Continual disappointment, continual hope, desire to be more successful, to have more money - more, more, more of everything. Now how am I to change my relationship? What is the raison d'etre, the source of my relationship? If we could tackle that a little bit this morning, and then go on to what we were discussing, which was really much more - which is really very important - which is not to have an image at all.
B: Yes. But it seems, as we were discussing yesterday, that we tend to be related almost always through the image.
K: Through the image. That's right.
B: You see I have an image of myself and of you as you should be in relation to me.
B: And then that gets disappointed and hurt and so on.
K: But how am I to change that image? How am I to break it down? I see very well that I have got an image and that it has been put together, constructed, through generations. I am fairly intelligent, I am fairly aware of myself, and I see I have got it. But how am I to break it down?
B: Well, as I see it, I have got to be aware of that image, watch it as it moves.
K: So I am to watch it? Am I to watch it in the office?
B: Yes. K: In the factory, at home, on the golf-course? - because my relationships are in all these areas.
B: Yes, I would say I have to watch it in all those places.
K: I have to watch it all the time in fact.
K: Now am I capable of it? Have I got the energy? I go through all kinds of miseries, and at the end of the day I crawl into bed. And you say I must have energy. So I must realize that relationship is of the greatest importance.
K: Therefore I am willing to give up certain wastages of energy.
B: What kind of wastage?
K: Drinking, smoking, useless chatter. Endless crawling from pub to pub.
B: That would be the beginning, anyway.
K: That would be the beginning. But you see I want all those, plus more - you follow?
B: But if I can see that everything depends on this...
K: Of course.
B: ...then I won't go to the pub, if I see it interferes.
K: So I must, as an ordinary human being, realize that the greatest importance is to have right relationship.
B: Yes. It would be good if we could say what happens when we don't have it.
K: Oh, when I don't have it, of course...
B: Everything goes to pieces.
K: Not only everything goes to pieces but I create such havoc around me. So can I, by putting aside smoke, drink, and endless chatter about this or that - can I gather that energy? Will I gather that energy which will help me to face the picture which I have, the image which I have?
B: That means going into ambition also and many other things.
K: Of course. You see I begin by obvious things, like smoking, drinking, the pub... Dr Shainberg: Let me just stop you here. Suppose my real image is that you are going to do it for me, that I can't do it for myself.
K: That is one of our favourite conditionings - that I can't do it myself, therefore I must go to somebody to help me.
S: Or I go to the pub because I am in despair because I can't do it for myself and want to obliterate myself through drink, so that I no longer feel the pain of it.
B: At least for the moment.
S: That's right. And also I am proving to myself that my image that I can't do it for myself is right. By treating myself in such a way
I am going to prove to you that I can't do it for myself, so maybe you will do it for me.
K: No, no. I think we don't realize, any of us, the utter and absolute importance of right relationship. I don't think we realize it.
S: I agree with you. We don't.
K: With my wife, with my neighbour, with the office, wherever I am - and also with nature - I don't think we realize a relationship which is easy, quiet, full, rich, happy - the beauty of it, the harmony of it. Now can we tell the ordinary viewer, the listener, the great importance of that?
S: Let's try. How can we communicate to somebody the value of a right relationship? You are my wife. You are whining, nagging me - right? You think I should be doing something for you when I am tired and don't feel like doing anything for you.
K: I know. Go to a party.
S: That's right. "Let's go to a party. You never take me out. You never take me anywhere."
K: So how are you, who realize the importance of relationship, to deal with me? How? We have got this problem in life.
B: I think it should be very clear that nobody can do it for me. Whatever somebody else does won't affect my relationship.
S: How are you going to make that clear?
B: But isn't it clear?
S: It is not obvious. I, as the viewer, feel very strongly that you ought to be doing it for me. My mother never did it for me, somebody has got to do it for me. B: But isn't it obvious that it can't be done? It is just a delusion because whatever you do I will be in the same relationship as before. Suppose you live a perfect life. I can't imitate it, so I'll just go on as before, won't I? So I have to do something for myself. Isn't that clear?
S: But I don't feel able to do anything for myself.
B: But can't you see that if you don't do anything for yourself it is inevitable that it must go on? Any idea that it will ever get better is a delusion.
S: Can we say then that right relationship begins with the realization that I have to do something for myself?
K: And the utter importance of it.
S: Right. The utter importance. The responsibility I have for myself.
K: Because you are the world. And the world is you. You can't shirk that.
B: Perhaps we could discuss that a bit because it may seem strange to the viewer to hear someone say "You are the world".
K: After all, you are the result of the culture, the climate, the food, the environment, the economic conditions, your grandparents - you are the result of all that - all your thinking is the result of that.
S: I think you can see that. B: That's right. That's what you mean by saying you are the world.
K: Of course, of course.
S: Well I think you can see that in what I have been saying about the person who feels he is entitled to be taken care of by the world - the world is in fact moving in that direction...
K: No, sir. This is a fact. You go to India, you see the same suffering, the same anxiety - and you come to Europe, to America, and in essence it is the same.
B: Each person has the same basic structure of suffering and confusion and deception. Therefore if I say I am the world, I mean that there is a universal structure and it is part of me and I am part of that. K: Part of that, quite. So now let's proceed from there. The first thing you have to tell me as an ordinary human being, living in this mad rat race, is, "Look, realize that the greatest, most important thing in life is relationship. You cannot have relationship if you have an image about yourself. Any form of image you have about another, or about yourself, prevents the beauty of relationship.
B: Yes. The image that I am secure in such and such a relation, for example, and not secure in a different situation, prevents relationship.
K: That's right.
B: Because I will demand of the other person that he put me in the situation that I think is secure, you see?
B: But he may not want to.
S: Right. So that if I have the image of a pleasurable relationship, I have what I call claims on the other person; in other words I expect him to act in such a way that he acknowledges that image.
B: Yes. Or I may say that I have the image of what is just and right. S: In order to complete my image?
B: Yes. For example, the wife says, "Husbands should take their wives out to parties frequently" - that is part of the image. Husbands have corresponding images and then those images get hurt.
S: I think we have to be very specific about this. Each little piece of this is with fury.
B: With energy.
S: Energy and fury and the necessity to complete this image in relationship; therefore relationship gets forced into a mould.
K: Sir, I understand all that. But you see most of us are not serious. We want an easy life. You come along and tell me: relationship is the greatest thing. I say, of course, quite right. And I carry on in the old way. What I am trying to get at is this: What will make a human being listen to this seriously even for two minutes? He won't listen to it. If you went to one of the great experts on psychology, or whatever it is, he wouldn't take time to listen to it. The experts have all got their own plans, their pictures, their images - they are surrounded by all this. So to whom are we talking?
B: To whoever can listen.
S: We are talking to ourselves.
K: No. Not only that. To whom are we talking?
B: Well, whoever is able to listen.
K: That means somebody who is somewhat serious.
B: Yes. And I think we may even form an image of ourselves as not capable of being serious.
K: That's right.
B: In other words that it is too hard.
K: Too hard, yes.
B: There is an image to say I want it easy, which comes from the image that this is beyond my capacity.
K: Quite. So let's move from there. We say that as long as you have an image, pleasant or unpleasant, created, put together by thought, there is no right relationship. That is an obvious fact. Right?
B: Yes, and life ceases to have any value without right relationship.
K: Yes, life ceases to have any value without right relationship. Now my consciousness is filled with these images. Right? And the images make my consciousness.
S: That is right.
K: Now you are asking me to have no images at all. That means no consciousness, as I know it now. Right, sir?
B: Yes, well could we say that the major part of consciousness is the self-image? There may be some other parts but...
K: We will come to that.
B: We come to that later. But for now, we are mostly occupied with the self-image.
K: Yes. That is right. S: What about the self-image? And the whole way it generates itself?
B: We discussed that before. It gets caught on thinking of the self as real. That is always implicit. Say, for example, the image may be that I am suffering in a certain way, and I must get rid of this suffering. There is always the implicit meaning in that, that I am real, and therefore I must keep on thinking about this reality. And it gets caught in that feedback we were talking about - the thought feeds back and builds up.
S: Builds up more images.
B: More images, yes.
S: So that is the consciousness...
K: Wait. The content of my consciousness is a vast series of images, inter-related - not separated, but interrelated.
B: But they are all centred on the self.
K: On the self, of course. The self is the centre.
B: The self is regarded as all important.
B: That gives it tremendous energy.
K: Now what I am getting at is this: you are asking me, who am fairly serious, fairly intelligent, asking me as an ordinary human being to empty that consciousness.
S: Right. I am asking you to stop this image-making.
K: Not only the image-making. You are asking me to be free of the self, which is the maker of images.
K: And I say please tell me how to do it. And you tell me that the moment you ask me how to do it, you are already building an image, a system, a method.
B: Yes, when you ask how am I to do it - you have already put `I' in the middle. The same image as before with a slightly different content.
K: So you tell me, never to ask how to do it because the "how" involves the me doing it. Therefore I am creating another picture.
B: That shows the way you slip into it. When you ask how to do it, the word "me" is not there but it is there implicitly. K: Implicitly, yes.
B: And therefore you slip in.
K: So now you stop me and say proceed from there. What is the action that will free consciousness, even a corner of it, a limited part of it? I want to discuss it with you. Don't tell me how to do it. I have understood that and I will never again ask how to do it. The how, as Dr Bohm explained, conveys implicitly the me wanting to do it, and the me is the factor of the image-maker.
K: I have understood that very clearly. So then I say to you, I realize this - what am I to do?
S: Do you realize it?
K: Yes, sir. I know it. I know I am making images all the time. I am very well aware of it. Because I have discussed with you. I have gone into it. I have realized right from the beginning during these talks that relationship is the most important thing in life. Without that life is chaos.
S: Got it.
K: That has been driven into me. I see that every flattery and every insult is registered in the brain, and that thought then takes it over as memory and creates an image, and the image gets hurt.
B: So the image is the hurt...
K: ...is the hurt.
S: That's right.
K: So, Dr Bohm, what is one to do? What am I to do? There are two things involved in it - one is to prevent further hurts and the other is to be free of all the hurts that I have had.
B: But they are both the same principle.
K: I think there are two principles involved.
B: Are there?
K: One to prevent it, the other to wipe away the hurts I have.
S: It is not just that I want to prevent the further hurt. It seems to me that you must first say how I am to be aware of how in fact I take flattery. I want you to see that if I flatter you, you get a big inner gush; then you get a fantasy about yourself. So now you have
107 got an image of yourself as this wonderful person who fits the flattery.
K: No, you have told me very clearly that it is two sides of the same coin. Pleasure and pain are the same.
S: The same, exactly the same.
K: You have told me that.
S: That's right. I am telling you that.
K: I have understood it.
B: They are both images.
K: Both images, right. So please - you are not answering my question. How am I, realizing all this, I am a fairly intelligent man, I have read a great deal, an ordinary man - I personally don't read so it is an ordinary man I am talking about - I have discussed this and I see how extraordinarily important all this is - and I ask, how am I to end it? Not the method. Don't tell me what to do. I won't accept it because it means nothing to me - right, sirs?
B: Well, we were discussing whether there is a difference between the stored-up hurts and the ones which are to come.
K: That's right. It is the first thing I have to understand. Tell me.
B: Well, it seems to me that fundamentally they work on the same principle.
B: Well, if you take the hurt that is to come my brain is already disposed to respond with an image.
K: I don't understand it. Make it much simpler.
B: Well, there is no distinction really between the past hurts and the present one because they all come from the past, I mean come from the reaction of the past.
K: So you are telling me, don't divide the past hurt from the future hurt because the image is the same. B: Yes. The process is the same. I may just be reminded of the past hurt, and that is the same as somebody else insulting me.
K: Yes, yes. So you are saying to me, don't divide the past from the future hurt. There is only hurt. Therefore look at the image, not in terms of past hurts or future hurts but just look at that image which is both the past and the future.
B: But we are saying look at the image, not at its particular content but its general structure.
K: Yes, yes, that's right. Now then my next question is: How am I to look at it? Because I have already an image with which I am going to look. You promise me by your words, not promise exactly, but give me hope that if I have right relationship I will live a life that will be extraordinarily beautiful, I will know what love is - therefore I am already excited by this idea.
B: Then I have to be aware of an image of that kind too.
K: Yes, yes. Therefore, how am I - that is my point - how am I to look at this image? I know I have an image, not only one image but several images, but the centre of that image is me, the I - I know all that. Now how am I to look at it? May we proceed now? Right. Is the observer different from that which he is observing? That is the real question.
B: That is the question, yes. You could say that that is the root of the power of the image.
K: Yes, yes. You see, sir, what happens? If there is a difference between the observer and the observed there is that interval of time in which other activities go on.
B: Well, yes, in which the brain eases itself into something more pleasant.
K: Yes. And where there is a division there is conflict. So you are telling me to learn the art of observing, which is: that the observer is the observed.
B: Yes, but I think we could look first at our whole conditioning, which tells us that the observer is different from the observed.
K: Different. Of course.
B: We should perhaps look at that, because that is what everybody feels.
K: That the observer is different. B: Ordinarily, when I am thinking of myself, that self is a reality, which is independent of thought, do you see?
K: Yes, we think that it is independent of thought.
B: And that the self is the observer who is a reality.
K: Quite right.
B: Who is independent of thought and who is thinking, who is producing thought.
K: But it is the product of thought.
B: Yes. That is the confusion.
K: Are you telling me, sir, that the observer is the result of the past?
B: Yes. One can see that.
K: My memories, my experiences - it is all the past.
B: Yes, but I think the viewer may find it a little hard to follow that, if he hasn't gone into it.
S: Very hard, I think.
K: Be fairly simple.
S: What do you mean?
K: Don't you live in the past? Your life is the past.
K: You are living in the past. Right?
S: That's right, yes.
K: Past memories, past experiences.
S: Yes, past memories, past becomings.
K: And from the past you project the future.
K: You hope that you will be good, that you will be different in future. It's always from the past to the future.
S: That's right. That's how it is lived.
K: Now that past is the me, of course.
B: But it does look as if it is something independent...
K: Is it independent?
B: It isn't, but... K: I know, that is what we are asking. Is the me independent of the past?
B: It looks as if the me is here looking at the past.
K: The me is the product of the past.
S: Right. I can see that.
K: How do you see it?
S: I see it intellectually.
K: Then you don't see it.
S: Right. That is what I am coming to.
K: You are playing tricks.
S: I see it as an intellectual - that's right, that's right. I see it intellectually.
K: Do you see this table intellectually?
S: There is an immediacy of perception there.
K: Why isn't there an immediacy of perception of a truth, which is that you are the past?
S: Because time comes in. I imagine that I have gone through time.
K: What do you mean imagine?
S: I have an image of myself at three, I have an image of myself at ten and I have an image of myself at seventeen, and I say that they followed in sequence in time. I see myself having developed over that time. I am different now from what I was five years ago.
K: Are you?
S: I am telling you that that is how I have got that image. That image of a developmental sequence.
K: I understand all that, sir.
S: And I exist as a storehouse of memories, of accumulated incidents.
K: That is, time has produced that.
S: Right. I see that, right. K: What is time?
S: I have just described it to you. Time is a movement... I have moved from the time I was three.
K: From the past, it is a movement.
S: That's right. From three to ten, to seventeen.
K: Yes, I understand. Now, is that movement an actuality?
S: What do you mean by actuality?
B: Or is it an image? Is it an image, or is it an actuality? I mean, if I have an image of myself as saying "I need this", it may not be an actual fact - right? It is just...
K: An image is not a fact.
S: Right. But I feel...
K: No, what you feel is like saying "my experience'.
S: No, I am describing an actual...
B: But that is the whole point about the image, that it imitates an actual fact, you get the feeling that it is real. In other words I feel that I am really there - an actual fact looking at the past, at how I have developed.
B: But is it a fact that I am doing that?
S: What do you mean? It is an actual fact that I get the feeling that I am looking.
B: Yes, but is it an actual fact that that is the way it all is and was?
S: No, it is not. I can see the incorrectness of my memory which constructs me in time. I mean, obviously I was much more at three than I can remember; I was more at ten than I can remember, and obviously there was much more going on at seventeen than I have in my memory.
B: Yes, but the me who is here now is looking at all that.
S: That's right.
B: But is he really there and is he looking? That is the question.
S: Is the me that is looking..?
K: ...an actuality. As this table is.
S: Well, let's... K: Stick to it, stick to it.
S: That is what I am going to do. What is an actuality is this development, this image of a developmental sequence.
B: And the me who is looking at it?
S: And the me who is looking at it, that's right.
B: But it may be, in fact it is, that the me who is looking at it is also an image as is the developmental sequence.
S: You are saying then that this image of me is...
K: ...is not reality.
B: It is not a reality independent of thinking.
K: So we must go back to find out what is reality.
K: Reality, we said, is everything that thought has put together. The table, the illusion, the churches, the nations - everything that thought has contrived is reality. But nature is not this sort of reality. It is not put together by thought, though it is nevertheless a reality.
B: It is a reality independent of thought. But is the me who is looking, a reality independent of thought, like nature?
K: That is the whole point. Have you understood?
S: Yes. I am beginning to see.
K: Sir, just let's be simple. We said we have images; I know I have images and you tell me to look at them, to be aware of them, to perceive the image. Is the perceiver different from the perceived? That is all my question is.
S: I know. I know.
K: Because if he is different then the whole process will go on indefinitely - right? But if there is no division, if the observer is the observed, then the whole problem changes. S: Right.
K: Right? So is the observer different from the observed? Obviously not. So can I look at that image without the observer? And is there an image when there is no observer? Because the observer makes the image, the observer is the movement of thought. B: We shouldn't call it the observer then because it is not looking. I think the language is confusing.
K: The language is, yes.
B: Because if you say it is an observer that implies that something is looking.
K: Yes, quite.
B: What you really mean is that thought is moving and creating an image as if it were looking, but nothing is being seen.
B: Therefore there is no observer.
K: That is right. But put it round the other way: Is there a thinker without thought?
K: Exactly. There you are. If there is no experiencer is there an experience? So you have asked me to look at my images, which is a very serious and very penetrating demand. You say look at them without the observer, because the observer is the image-maker, and if there is no observer, if there is no thinker, there is no thought - right? So there is no image. You have shown me something enormously significant.
S: As you said the question changes completely.
K: Completely. I have no image.
S: It feels completely different. It's as if there is a silence.
K: So I am saying, my consciousness is the consciousness of the world, because, in essence, it is filled with the things of thought - sorrow, fear, pleasure, despair, anxiety, attachment, hope;-it is a turmoil of confusion; a sense of deep agony is involved in it all. And in that state I cannot have any relationship with any human being.
K: So you say to me: To have the greatest and most responsible relationship is to have no image. You have pointed out to me that to be free of images, the maker of the image must be absent. The maker of the image is the past, is the observer who says "I like this", "I don't like this", who says "my wife, my husband, my house" - the me who is in essence the image. I have understood this. Now the next question is: Are the images hidden so that I can't grapple with them, can't get hold of them? All you experts have told me that there are dozens of underground images - and I say, "By Jove, they must know, they know much more than I do, so I must accept what they say." But how am I to unearth them, expose them? You see, you have put me, the ordinary man, into a terrible position.
S: You don't have to unearth them once it is clear to you that the observer is the observed.
K: Therefore you are saying there is no unconscious.
K: You, the expert! You, who talk endlessly about the unconscious with your patients.
S: I don't.
K: You say there is no unconscious.
K: I agree with you. I say it is so. The moment you see that the observer is the observed, that the observer is the maker of images, it is finished.
S: Finished. Right.
K: Right through.
S: If you really see that.
K: That's it. So the consciousness which I know, in which I have lived, has undergone a tremendous transformation. Has it? Has it for you? And if I may ask Dr Bohm also - both of you, all of us - realizing that the observer is the observed, and that therefore the image-maker is no longer in existence, and so the content of consciousness, which makes up consciousness, is not as we know it - what then?
S: I don't know how you say it...
K: I am asking this question because it involves meditation. I am asking this question because all religious people, the really serious ones who have gone into this question, see that as long as we live our daily lives within the area of this consciousness - with all its images, and the image-maker - whatever we do will still be in that area. Right? One year I may become a Zen-Buddhist, and another year I may follow some guru, and so on and so on, but it is always within that area.
K: So what happens when there is no movement of thought, which is the image-making - what then takes place? You understand my question? When time, which is the movement of thought, ends, what is there? Because you have led me up to this point. I understand it very well. I have tried Zen meditation, I have tried Hindu meditation, I have tried all the kinds of other miserable practices and then I hear you, and I say, "By Jove, this is something extraordinary these people are saying. They say that the moment there is no image-maker, the content of consciousness undergoes a radical transformation and thought comes to an end, except in its right place." Thought comes to an end, time has a stop. What then? Is that death?
S: It is the death of the self.
K: No, no.
S: It is self-destruction.
K: No, no, sir. It is much more than that.
S: It is the end of something.
K: No, no. Just listen to it. When thought stops, when there is no image-maker, there is a complete transformation in consciousness because there is no anxiety, there is no fear, there is no pursuit of pleasure, there are none of the things that create turmoil and division. Then what comes into being, what happens? Not as an experience because that is out. What takes place? I have to find out, for you may be leading me up the wrong path!
Wholeness of Life
Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm
The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 6 6th Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 20th May, 1976
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