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Wholeness of Life

Longer, Unedited Versions

6th Conversation with Dr Bohm & Dr Shainberg Brockwood Park 20th May 1976 'Transformation of Man'

Krishnamurti: As you are such a well known physicist and scientist, practically every schoolboy knows about you throughout the world, I would like to ask after all these four, five dialogues that we have had, what will change man?

Bohm: Well. (Laughter)

K: What will bring about a radical transformation in the total consciousness of human beings?

B: Well, I don't know that the scientific background is going to be very relevant to that question.

K: No, probably not, but after we have talked considerably at length, not only now but in the previous years, what is the energy - I am using energy not in any scientific sense, just an ordinary sense, the vitality, the energy, the drive - which seems to be lacking? I mean after all if I listen to you as a viewer, to the three of us, I would say, "Yes, it is all very well for these philosophers, or 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 I want, as a viewer, totally outside, listening to you for the first time, the three of you, I would say, "Look 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". You follow? "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, wife nagging, poverty". You follow? "The whole structure of misery and you sit there, you three, and talk about something which "c'est ne me touche pas" - it 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 human 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 it is pretty, you know, 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, more money, more, more, more of everything. Now how am I to alter, change my relationship? What is the raison d'etre, the source of my relationship? If we could tackle that a little bit this morning, a little bit and go on to what we were discussing, which is really very important, which is not to have an image at all.

B: Yes. But I mean it seems as we were discussing yesterday, 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.

K: Yes.

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 know after you have talked to me as an ordinary human being, I see very well I have got an image and it has been put together, constructed through generations. And I have got it. I am fairly intelligent, I am fairly aware of myself and I see I have got it. How am I to break it down?

B: Well the point, as I see it, is that I have got to be aware of that image, to watch it as it moves, you see.

K: So am I to watch it - I am taking the opposite - am I to watch it in the office?

B: Yes.

K: In the factory, at home, at the golf club, because in all these areas are my relationships.

B: Yes. I would say I have to watch it on all those places, and also when I am not there.

K: When I am not there. So I have to watch it all the time, in fact.

B: Yes.

K: Now am I capable of it? Have I got the energy because my wife wants sex, I don't want it, or I enjoy sex, 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 relationship is the greatest importance.

B: Yes.

K: Therefore I am willing to give up certain wastages of energy.

B: What kind of wastage?

K: Drink.

B: Drink, yes.

K: Smoke, useless chatter.

B: Yes.

K: 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 that that interferes.

K: So I must, as an ordinary human being, I must realize 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, if I don't have it, of course.

B: Everything goes to pieces.

K: Everything goes to pieces; not only everything goes to pieces, I create such havoc around me. So can I by putting aside smoke, drink, pubs and you know the endless chatter about this or that, will I gather that energy?

B: Well, that is the beginning.

K: That I am asking: will I gather that energy which will help me to face the picture which I have, the image which I have?

B: Yes. That means also must go ambition and many other things.

K: Of course. You see I begin by obvious things, like smoke, drink, pubs and all the rest.

Shainberg: Well, let me just stop you here. Suppose my image is that you are going to do it for me, and my real image is 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 see I can't do it for myself, so I create the condition, several things come from my going to the pub: one is I am in despair because I can't do it for myself, so I am going to obliterate myself through drink, so I no longer feel this pain.

B: At least for the moment.

S: That's right. And also too I am proving to myself that my image that I can't do it for myself is right. Look at me: I am on the ground, in the gutter. You going to deny that? Second of all, by treating myself in such a way I am going to prove to you I can't do it for myself. May be you can 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, I don't think we realize - with nature also - a relationship which is easy quiet, full, rich, happy, the beauty of it, the harmony of it. We don't realize that. 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, you are 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.

K: Yes.

S: Right. You never take me anywhere.

K: So how are you, who realize the importance of relationship, to deal with me? How are you to deal with me? We have got this problem in life.

B: I think it should be very clear that nobody can do it for me. You see whatever somebody else does it won't affect my relationship.

S: How are you going to make that clear?

B: But isn't it obvious?

S: It is not obvious. I feel very strongly, I am the viewer, I 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 I mean, isn't it obvious that it can't be done? I mean, I am saying that that is just a delusion because whatever you do I will be in the same relationship as before. I mean suppose you live a perfect life. I mean I can't imitate it so I'll just go on as before, won't I? So I have to do something myself. Isn't that clear?

S: But I don't feel able to do anything myself.

B: But then can 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: Do you want to say that? Or can we say 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.

S: Right.

K: 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 someone to say, "You are the world".

K: After all, all that you are thinking, 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.

S: Well, you can see that. 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 just what I have been laying out here about the person who feels that he's entitled to be taken care of by the world: the world is in fact moving in that direction of all the pleasure and the technological...

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, it, in essence, is the same.

B: Each person has the same basic structure of suffering and confusion, and deception and so on. 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 that. The first thing you have to tell me as an ordinary human being, living in this mad rat race, you have to tell me, "Look, realize the utter, greatest important thing in life is relationship". You cannot have relationship if you have an image about yourself, or if you create a pleasurable image and stick to that.

S: Or the image that you are entitled to, it comes before...

K: Any form of image you have about another, or about yourself prevents the beauty of relationship.

S: Right.

B: Yes. You see the image that I am secure in such and such a situation, for example, and not secure in a different situation, that prevents relationship.

K: That's right.

B: Because I will say that I demand of the other person that he put me in the situation that I think is secure, you see.

S: Right.

B: And then he may not want it.

S: Right. So that my relationship if I have the image of the pleasurable relationship, then all my actions are with reference to this other person, that I try to force him to move me into doing that, so that I have, a) I say to him, you should be this way because that would complete my image: b) 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. So in other words it is not that it is personally so but I would say that would be the right way for everybody to behave.

S: Right. In order to complete my image.

B: Yes. So for example the wife would say, "Husbands ought to take their wives out to parties frequently", that is part of the image.

S: Right.

B: Husbands have corresponding images and therefore that image gets hurt. Do you see?

S: Right. Now: but 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 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: look, relationship is the greatest thing. I say, quite right. And I carry on the old way. What I am trying to get at is: what will make a human being listen to this, even seriously for two minutes? They won't listen to it.

S: Right.

K: If you went to one of the big experts on psychology, or whatever it is, they won't take time to listen to it. They have got their plans, their pictures, their images, you follow, they are surrounded by all this. So to whom are we talking to?

B: Well to whoever can listen.

S: We are talking to ourselves.

K: No, not only that. Whom are we talking to?

B: Well, whoever is able to listen.

K: That means somebody who is somewhat serious.

B: Yes. And I think you see that we may even form an image of ourselves of not being capable of being serious, and so on.

K: That's right.

B: In other words, that it is too hard.

K: Too hard, yes.

B: That is an image to say, I want it easy, which means it comes from the image that this is beyond my capacity.

K: Quite. So let's move from there. We say as long as you have an image, pleasant or unpleasant, created, etc., etc., put together by thought and so on, there is no right relationship. That is an obvious fact. Right?

S: 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.

S: Right.

K: 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 anyway that the major part of consciousness is the self image? Is that what you are saying? There may be some other parts, but...

K: We will come to that.

B: We come to that later. But most of it, for now - well, 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, what do you think?

B: Well, I think we discussed that before, that it gets caught on thinking of the self as real, and that is always implicit, you know, to say that for example the image may be that I am suffering in a certain way, and you see I must get rid of this suffering. You see there is always the implicit meaning in that that I am there, real, and therefore I must keep on thinking about this reality. And it gets caught in that feedback we were talking about. You see 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...

S: ...is all images.

K: ...is a vast series of images, interrelated, not separated, interrelated.

B: But they are all centred on the self.

K: On the self, of course. The self is the centre.

B: Yes, because they are all aimed at, or they are all for the self in order to make the self right, you know, correct. And the self is regarded as all important.

K: Yes.

B: That gives it tremendous energy.

K: Now what I am getting at is: you are asking me, who am fairly serious, fairly intelligent, as an ordinary human being, you are asking me to empty that consciousness.

S: Right. I am asking you to stop this image making.

K: Not only the image making, the images that I have, and prevent further image making.

S: Right, right.

K: Both are involved.

S: Yes, I am asking you to look at the machinery of consciousness.

K: Yes. Wait a minute. I want to get at that. This is very important because...

S: OK. Let's go!

K: You are asking me, and I want to understand you because I really want to live a different way of living because I see it is necessary. I don't play with words. I don't want to be high faluting. I want to deal with this thing. You are asking me to be free of the self, which is the maker of images, and to prevent further image making.

S: Right.

K: And I say, please tell me what to do, how to do it. And you tell me, the moment when you ask me how to do it, you have already built an image, the system, the method.

B: Yes, I mean one could say, you see when you say, how am I to do it, so you have already put 'I' in the middle.

K: In the middle.

B: The same image as before with a slightly different content.

K: So you tell me, don't ever ask how to do it, because the 'how' involves the me doing it.

S: Right, right.

K: Therefore I am creating another picture.

B: So that shows the way you slip into it, because you say 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: How am I to do it - of course.

B: Yes. It usually slips in because it is there implicitly and not explicitly. That is the trick, I mean.

K: Explicit, yes, yes.

S: Right.

K: So now you stop me and say, proceed from there. How am I to free this consciousness, even a corner of it, a limited part of it, what is the action that will do it? I want to discuss it with you. Don't tell me how to do it. I have understood. I have understood, I will never again ask, how to do it. The 'how', as he explained, implies implicitly the me wanting to do it, and therefore the me is the factor of the image maker.

S: Right.

K: I have understood that very clearly. Then I say to you, I realize this, what am I to do?

S: Do you realize it?

K: Yes. I know it. I know I am making images all the time. I am very well aware.

S: Yes, but...

K: Wait, wait. Let me finish. I am very well aware of it. My wife calls me an idiot; already registered in the brain, thought takes it over, it becomes the image which I have about myself and is hurt.

S: Yes.

K: Right?

S: Yes.

K: So this process I know, I am very well aware of this.

S: Right.

K: Because I have discussed with you. I have gone into it. I see because I have realized right from the beginning during these talks and dialogues that relationship is the greatest importance in life; without that life is chaos.

S: Yes.

K: That has been driven into me. And I see every flattery, and every insult is registered in the brain. And thought then takes it over as memory and creates an image, and the image gets hurt.

S: That is right.

B: So the image is the hurt because the image is the pleasure and with the new content, you know, of insult, when the content is flattery the image is pleasure, and when the content is insult the image is 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 to prevent further hurts and to be free of all the hurts that I have had.

B: But they are both the same principle.

K: I think - you explain to me - I think there are two principles involved.

B: Are there?

K: One to prevent it, the other to wipe away the hurts I have.

B: Yes.

S: I want to put it a little bit of another way. It is not just that you want to prevent the further hurt, but it seems to me that you must first say, how am I to be aware of the fact that I take flattery. How are you going to get aware? I want you to see that if I flatter you, you get a big inner gush, you start feeling big inside your belly, and then you get a fantasy about, well if you are so wonderful this way, then you will be twice as wonderful. So now you have got an image of yourself as this wonderful person who fits this flattery. Now I want you to see yourself eat my candy.

K: No, you have told me very clearly it is two sides of the same coin.

S: Right.

K: 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, yes.

K: Both images. 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 an ordinary man I am talking about - I have read a great deal, I have discussed this and I see how extraordinarily important all this is. And I say, I realize that the two sides are the same coin. The brain registers and the whole thing begins. Now how am I to end that? Not the 'how', 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, I mean we were discussing whether there is a difference between the stored up hurts and the ones which are to come.

K: That's right. That's the first thing I have to understand. Tell me.

B: Well, it seems to me that fundamentally they also work on the same principle.

K: How?

B: Well, if you take the hurt that is to come, my brain is already disposed to set up in order to respond with an image.

K: I don't understand it. Make it much simpler.

S: Well it seems to me...

K: Ah, I am asking him. You are an expert at it. You have dozens of victims, he has only one victim here.

B: Well, you see 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, that is right. You are telling me, don't divide the past hurt or the future because the image is the same.

B: Yes. The process is the same.

K: The process, therefore the image is receiving. Right?

B: Yes. It really doesn't matter because I may just be reminded of the past hurt, that is the same as somebody else insulting me.

K: Yes, yes. So you are saying to me, don't divide the past or the future hurt; there is only hurt; there is only pleasure: so look at that. Look at the image, not in terms of the past hurts and the future hurts, but just look at that image which is both the past and the future.

B: Yes.

K: Right?

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. That I must suppress it, you promise to 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 and all the rest of it, therefore I am already excited by this idea.

B: But then I have to be aware of the 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?

B: Yes, well, that is...

K: That is the real question.

B: ...that is the question, yes. You could say 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 sort of eases itself into something more pleasant.

K: Yes, yes.

B: Yes, that is all right.

K: And where there is a division there is conflict. So you are telling me to observe in a different way, 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 tradition, our whole conditioning, which is the observer is different from the observed.

K: Different, of course.

B: We should perhaps look at that for a while.

K: Yes.

B: Because that is what everybody feels.

K: That the observer is different.

B: Yes. And I think it ties up with what I was saying yesterday about reality, saying everything we think is reality of some kind, you see, because at least it is thought, real thought. But we make a distinction in reality between that reality which is self reference, self sustaining, it stands independent of thought and the reality which is sustained by thought.

K: Yes, reality sustained by thought.

B: The reality which may have been made by man but it stands by itself, like the table, or else like nature which...

K: ...is different.

B: ...is different.

K: Yes, that we went through the other day.

B: And now the observer, ordinarily we think that when I am thinking of myself, that self is a reality which is independent of thought. Do you see?

K: Yes, we think that is independent of thought.

B: And that that self is the observer who is a reality.

K: Quite.

B: Who is independent of thought and who is thinking, who is producing thought.

K: But it is the product of thought.

B: Yes, but that is the confusion.

K: Yes, quite, quite, quite. Are you telling me, sir, as an outsider, that the observer is the result of the past?

B: Yes, one can see that.

K: My memories, my experiences, all the rest of it, the past.

B: Yes, but I think if we think of the viewer, he might find it a little hard to follow that, if he hasn't gone into it.

S: Very hard, I think, how to communicate it.

K: It's fairly simple.

S: What do you mean?

K: Don't you live in the past?

S: Right.

K: Wait, no, no. Your life is the past.

S: Right.

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.

S: Right.

K: Hope, hope it will be better, hope that I will be good, I will be different. It's always from the past to the future.

S: That's right. That's how it is lived.

K: Now I want to see, that past is the me, of course.

B: But it does look as if it is something independent, just that you are looking at.

K: Is it independent?

B: It isn't but to see that may be...

K: I know, that is all we are asking. Is it, is the me independent from the past?

B: It looks as if the me is here looking at the past.

K: Yes, of course, quite. The me is in a jar.

B: Right.

S: That's right.

K: But the me is the product of the past.

S: Right. You can see that but what is that jump that we go through where we say the me - I can say to you that I can see that I am the product of the past. I can see that.

K: How do you see it?

B: Intellectually.

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 intellectually?

S: No.

K: Why?

S: There is an immediacy of perception there.

K: In the same way, why isn't there an immediacy of perception of a truth which is, that you are the past? Not to make it an intellectual affair.

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, and I see myself having developed over time. I am different now than I was five years ago.

K: Are you?

S: I am telling you that is how I have got that image. That image is of a developmental sequence.

K: I understand all that, sir.

S: In time.

B: Yes.

S: And I exist as a storehouse of memories of a bunch accumulated incidents.

K: That is, time has produced that.

S: Right. That is time, right. I see that. Right.

K: What is time?

S: I have just described it to you. Time is a movement in...

K: It is a movement.

S: Right.

K: It is a movement.

S: That's right.

K: Right? The movement from the past.

S: That's right. 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, seventeen.

K: Yes, I understand. It is a movement.

S: Right.

K: Now, is that movement an actuality?

S: What do you mean by actuality?

B: Or is it an image?

K: Eh?

B: Is it an image or is it an actuality?

K: Yes.

B: I mean, you see if I have an image of myself as saying, "I need this", but that may not be an actual fact. Right. It is just...

K: Image is not a fact.

S: Right. But I feel...

K: No. What you feel is like saying my experience. Your experience may be the most absurd experience.

S: No, but that is casting me aside by saying, look, you have got this going on. I am describing an actual...

B: But that is the whole point about the image, that it imitates an actual fact, do you see, 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, how I have developed.

S: Right.

B: But is that 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 at it.

B: Yes, but I mean is it an actual fact that that is the way it all is, and was, and so on, you see, that all the implications of that are correct.

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 there was much more going on obviously in actuality 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 there and is he looking? That is the question.

S: Is the me that is...

K: An actuality.

S: ...an actuality.

K: As this 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: You see, I think that is one of the things we slip up on, because you see we say, there is the developmental sequence objectively so implying me is looking at it like I am looking at the plant.

S: Right.

B: But it may be, in fact it is, that the me who is looking at it is an image as is the developmental sequence.

S: Right. You are saying then that this image of me is...

K: ...is non-reality, is no reality.

B: Well, the only reality is that it is thought. It is not a reality independent of thinking.

K: So we must go back to find out what is reality.

S: Right.

K: Reality, we said, is everything that thought has put together: the table, wait a minute, the illusion, the churches, the nations, everything that thought has contrived, put together, is reality. But nature is not reality.

S: Right.

K: Is not put together by thought, but it is a reality.

B: It is a reality independent of thought. But you see, is the me, who is looking, a reality that is independent of thought like nature?

K: That is the whole point. Have you understood?

S: Yes, I am beginning to see. Let me ask you a question: can you say anything about the difference for you between your - not, that's not fair. I was going to say, is there any difference for you between this perception, perception of this and your perception of the me?

K: This is real: me is not real.

S: Me is not real, but your perception of me?

K: It doesn't exist.

B: Suppose you perceive...

S: What is your perception of the image?

K: I have no image. I see if I have no image where is the me?

S: But I have an image of me.

B: Well, could I put it another way?

S: What is my perception of me?

B: Could I put it another way? Suppose you are watching a conjuring trick and you perceive a woman being sawn in half, you see. And then when you see the trick you say, what is your perception of this woman who is being sawn in half. You see, it isn't because she isn't being sawn in half. You see I am trying to say that as long as you don't see through the trick, what you see is apparently real is somebody being cut in half. But you have missed certain points but when you see the points that you have missed you don't see anybody being cut in half.

S: Right.

B: You just see a trick.

S: Right. So I have missed the essence of it.

K: Sir, just let's be simple. We said we have images; and I know I have images and you tell me to look at it, to be aware of it, 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 of conflict will go on endlessly. Right? But if there is no division 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, because the observer is the movement of thought.

B: Well, we shouldn't call it the observer then because it is not looking. I think the language is confusing.

K: The language, yes.

B: Because if you say it is an observer that implies that something is looking, do you see.

K: Yes, quite.

B: What you are really meaning is that thought is moving and creating an image as if it were looking but nothing is being seen.

K: Yes.

B: Therefore there is no observer.

K: Quite right. But put it round the other way: is there a thinking without thought?

B: What?

K: Is there a thinker without thought?

B: No.

K: Exactly. There you are! If there is no experiencer is there an experience?

So you have asked me to look at my images, and you said, look at it, which is a very serious and very penetrating demand. You say, look at it 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 like then there is a silence.

K: So I am saying, as my consciousness is the consciousness of the world, in essence, because it is filled with the things of thought, sorrow, fear, pleasure, despair, anxiety, attachment, detachment, hope, it is a turmoil of confusion, a sense of deep agony is involved in it all. And in that state you cannot have any relationship with any human being.

S: Right.

K: So you say to me: to have the greatest and the most responsible relationship is to have no image.

S: That is to be responsive to 'what is'.

K: Don't translate it.

S: Well it is. I mean this means to be responsive.

K: Yes.

S: To open it up.

K: So 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", 'my wife, my husband, my house' - you follow - the me who is in essence the image. So you see I have understood this.

Now the next question is: is the image deep, hidden? Are the images hidden which I can't grapple, which I can't get hold of? You follow, sir? Are they in the cave, in the underground, somewhere hidden, which you have told me there are, all you experts have told me, yes, there are dozens of underground images. How am I, because I accept you, I say, "By Jove, they must know, they know much more than I do, therefore they say so, and so I accept it." So I say, "Yes, there are underground images. Now how am I to unearth them, expose them, out?" You see you have put me, the ordinary man, into a terrible position.

S: You don't have to unearth them if this is clear to you there is no...

K: But you have established already in me the poison.

S: You don't exist anymore. Once it is clear to you that the observer is the observed...

K: Therefore you are saying there is no unconscious.

S: Right.

K: Ah! You, the expert has said that!

S: No, I said...

K: You, who talk endlessly about unconscious with your patients.

S: I don't.

K: Therefore you say there is no unconscious?

S: Right.

K: I agree with you! I say it is so.

S: Right.

K: The moment when you see the observer is the observed, 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 we have lived, has undergone a tremendous transformation: has it? Has it to you?

S: Mm.

K: No, sir, I mean has it to you? And if I may ask Dr Bohm, both of you, all of us, realizing that the observer is the observed, and 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. Right? What then?

S: I don't know how you say it.

K: You follow? I am asking this question because it involves meditation. I am asking this question because all religious people, the really serious ones, I am not talking of the gurus and all that, the real serious people who have gone into this question, as long as we live in daily life within the area of this consciousness - anxiety, fear and all the rest of it, with all its images, and the image maker - whatever we do will still be in that area. Right? I may join one year Zen, become a Zen monk, shave my head and do all kinds of stuff; then another year I will become some guru follower and so on and so on, but it is always within that area.

S: Right.

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 then what is there? Because you have led me up to this point. I understand it very well. I have tried Zen Buddhism, I have tried Zen meditation, I have tried Hindu meditation, I have tried all the kinds of miserable practices and all that, and I meet you, I hear you and I say, "By Jove, this is something extraordinary these people are saying. They say the moment when there is no image maker the content of consciousness undergoes a radical transformation and thought comes to an end, except when it absolutely has its place, knowledge and all the rest of it." So thought comes to an end, time has a stop. What then? Do you understand? Is that death?

S: It is the death of the self.

K: No, no. We have got three minutes more, one minute more.

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 is none of the things that create turmoil, division, and what comes into being, or what happens? Not as an experience because that is out. What takes place in that? Because, you follow, I have to find out. You may be leading me up the wrong path!

Wholeness of Life

Longer, Unedited Versions

6th Conversation with Dr Bohm & Dr Shainberg Brockwood Park 20th May 1976 'Transformation of Man'

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