The Ending of Time
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 3rd Conversation with David Bohm 8th April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'
Krishnamurti: What shall we talk about?
Dr Bohm: Did you have something?
K: I haven't thought about it.
B: One point relating to what we said before on the other days: I was reading somewhere that a leading physicist said that the more we understand the universe the more pointless it seems, the less meaning it has.
K: Yes, yes.
B: And it occurred to me that in science maybe an attempt to make the material universe the ground of our existence, and then it may have meaning physically but it does not have meaning...
K:... any other meaning, quite.
B: And the question that we might discuss is this ground which we were talking about the other day. Is it any different to mankind, as the physical universe appears to be?
K: A good question. Let's get the question clear. I have understood it but explain it a little bit more.
B: Well if we go into the background that we were discussing at lunch. Not only physicists but geneticists, biologists, have tried to reduce everything to the behaviour of matter - atoms, genes, you know, DNA. And the more they study it then the more they feel it has no meaning, it is just going on. Though it has meaning physically in the sense that we can understand it scientifically, it has no deeper meaning than that.
K: I understand that.
B: And that, of course, perhaps that notion has penetrated because in the past people felt the religious people were more religious and felt that the ground of our existence is in something beyond matter - in god, or whatever they wished to call it. And that gave them a sense of deep meaning to the whole of our existence, which meanwhile has gone away. That is one of the difficulties of modern life, the sense that it doesn't mean anything.
K: So have the religious people invented something which has a meaning?
B: They may well have done so. You see, feeling that life has no meaning, they may have invented something beyond the ordinary.
B: Something which is eternal...
K:... timeless, nameless.
B:... and independent, absolute.
K: Seeing the way we live genetically and all the rest of it, has no meaning, and so some clever erudite people said, 'We will give it a meaning'.
B: Well I think it happened before that. In the past people somehow gave meaning to life long before science had been very much developed in the form of religion. And science came along and began to deny this religion.
K: Quite. I understand that.
B: And people no longer believe in the religious meaning. Perhaps they never were able to believe in it entirely anyway.
K: So, how does one find out if life has a meaning beyond this? How does one find out? They have tried meditation: they have tried every form of self torture, isolation, becoming a monk, a sannyasi and so on and so on. But they may also be deceiving themselves thoroughly.
B: Yes. And that is in fact why the scientists have denied it all because the story told by the religious people is not plausible, you see.
K: Quite, quite. So how does one find out if there is something more than the mere physical? How would one set about it?
B: Yes, well what I was thinking was that we had been discussing the past two days the notion of some ground which is beyond, matter beyond the emptiness.
K: Yes, but suppose you say it is so and I say that is another illusion.
B: Yes but the first point is, perhaps we could clear this up: would this ground possibly - you see if this ground is indifferent to human beings then it would be the same as scientists' ground in matter.
K: Yes. What is the question? Is the ground different...
B: Indifferent to mankind, then you see the universe appears to be totally indifferent to mankind. It goes in immense vastness, it pays no attention, it may produce earthquakes and catastrophes, it might wipe us out, it essentially is not interested in mankind.
K: I see what you mean, yes.
B: It does not care whether man survives or does not survive - if you want to put it that way.
K: Right. I get the question.
B: Now I think that people felt that god was a ground who was not indifferent to mankind. You see they may have invented it but that is what they believed. And that is what gave them possibly...
K:... tremendous energy, quite.
B: Now I think the point would be: would this ground be indifferent to mankind?
K: Quite. How would you find out? What is the relationship of this ground to man? What is its relationship with man and man's relationship to it?
B: Yes, that is the question. Does man have some significance to it? And does it have significance to man?
K: By Jove, quite, quite.
B: If I may add one more point: that I was discussing once with somebody who was familiar with the Middle Eastern traditions of mysticism and he said that in their they not only say that what we call this ground, this infinite, you know, has some significance. Remember they feel that what man does has ultimately some significance.
K: Quite, quite. Join us somebody!
Suppose one says it has, otherwise life has no meaning, nothing has any meaning, how would one, not prove, how would one find out? Suppose you say this ground exists, as the other day I said it. Suppose somebody, you say it, and then the next question is: what relationship has that to man? And man's relationship to it, how would you find out? How would one discover, or find out, or touch it, if the ground exists at all? If it doesn't exist then really man has no meaning at all. I mean I die and you die and we all die and what is the point of being virtuous, what is the point of being happy or unhappy, just carry on. How would you show the ground exists? In scientific terms as well as the feeling of it, the non verbal communication of it?
B: Yes, well you say scientific you mean rational?
B: So something that we can actually touch.
K: Yes. Not touch, sense - better than touch, sense. Scientifically, we mean by that, rational, logical, sane, many can come to it.
B: Yes, it is public.
K: Yes. And it isn't just one man's assertion.
B: Yes, I think that is fair.
K: That would be scientific. I think that can be shown. Because we said from the very beginning that if half a dozen of us actually freed ourselves, etc., etc., etc. - I think it can be shown but with all things one must do it, not just verbally talk about it. Can I - or you say the ground exists and the ground has certain demands: which are, there must be absolute silence, absolute emptiness, which means no sense of egotism in any form. Right? Would you tell me that. Am I willing to let go all my egotism because I want to prove it, I want to show it, I want to find out if what you are saying is actually true, so am I willing - all of us, ten of us - willing to say, 'Look, complete eradication of the self'?
B: Yes, I think that I can say that perhaps in some sense one is willing but there may be another sense in which the willingness is not subject to your conscious effort or determination.
K: No, wait. So we go through all that.
B: We have to see that...
K: It is not will, it is not desire, it is not effort.
B: Yes but when you say willingness it contains the word 'will' for example.
K: Willingness in the sense go through that door. Or am I or are we willing to go through that particular door to find that the ground exists? You ask me that. I say, agreed, I will. I will in the sense of not exercising will and all that - what are the facets or the qualities or the nature of the self? So we go into that. You point it out to me and I say, 'Right' - Can ten of us do it? Not be attached, not have fear, not have - you follow? - the whole business of it. Have no belief, absolute rational - you know - observation. I think if ten people do it any scientist will accept it. But there are no ten people. So one man's assertion becomes...
B: I see. We have to have the thing done together publicly...
K:... that's it.
B:... so that it becomes a real fact.
K: A real fact. A real fact in the sense that people accept it. Not based on illusion, Jesus, belief and all the rest of that.
B: Yes, well a fact. what is actually done.
K: Now, who will do this sir? The scientists want to say that the thing is all illusory, nonsense, and there are others, 'X' says 'It is not nonsense, there is a ground.' And 'X' says, 'If you do these things it will be there.'
B: Yes. Now I think that some of the things that you say may not entirely in the beginning make sense to the person you talk with. You see.
K: Yes, quite, because he isn't even willing to listen.
B: Yes, but also his whole background is against it.
K: Of course, of course.
B: You see the background gives you the notion of what makes sense and what doesn't. Now if you say for example, one of the steps is not to bring in time, you see.
K: Ah, that's much more difficult.
B: Yes but that is fairly crucial.
K: But wait. I wouldn't begin with time, I would begin at the schoolboy level.
B: Yes. But you are going eventually reach those more difficult points.
K: Yes. Begin at the schoolboy level and say, look, do these things.
B: Well what are they? Let's go over them.
K: No belief.
B: A person may not be able to control what he believes, he may not know what he believes.
K: No, don't control anything. Observe.
K: That you have belief, you cling to that belief, belief gives you a sense of security and so on and so on. And that belief is an illusion, it has no reality.
B: Yes. You see I think if we were to talk to a scientist like that he might say, 'I am not sure about that', because he says 'I believe in the existence of the material world.'
K: Yes, you don't believe the sun rises and sets. It is a fact.
B: Yes, but he believes - you see there have been long arguments about this, there is no way to prove that it exists outside my mind but I believe it anyway. This is one of the questions which arises. You see scientists actually have beliefs. One will believe that this theory is right, and the other believes in that one.
K: No. I have no theories. I don't have any theories. I start at the schoolboy level by saying, Look, don't accept theories, conclusions, don't cling to your prejudices and so on and so on.' That is the starting point.
B: Yes, well perhaps we had better say don't hold to your theories you see because somebody might question you if you say you have no theories, they would immediately doubt that.
K: I have no theories. Why should I have theories.
Q: You see Krishnaji if I am a scientist I would also say I don't have theories. I don't see that the world which I construct for my scientific theories is also theoretical. I would call it fact.
K: So we have to discuss what are facts? Right? What are facts? I would say what are facts, is that which is happening. Actually happening. Would you agree to that?
K: Would the scientists agree to that?
B: Yes. Well I think that the scientists would say that what is happening is understood through theories. You see in science you do not understand what is happening except with the aid of instruments and theories.
K: Now, wait, wait, wait. What is happening out there, what is happening here.
B: All right, but let's go slowly. First what is happening out there. The instruments and theories are needed to even....
K: No, I am not - no.
B: To have the fact about what is out there...
K: What are the facts out there?
B:... you cannot do it without some kind of theory.
K: The facts there are conflict, why should I have a theory about it?
B: I wasn't discussing that. I was discussing the facts about matter, you see, which the scientist is concerned with.
K: Yes. All right.
B: He cannot establish that fact without a certain minor theory.
K: Perhaps. I wouldn't know that.
B: You see, because the theory organizes the fact for him. Without that it would really fall into...
K: Yes. I understand that. That may be a fact. You may have theories about that.
B: Yes. About gravitation, atoms - all those things depend on theories in order to produce the right facts.
K: The right facts. So you start with a theory.
B: A mixture of theory and fact. It is always a combination of theory and fact.
K: Yes, all right. A combination of theory and fact.
B: Now if you say we are going to have an area where there isn't any such combination...
K: That's it. Which is psychologically I have no theory about myself, about the universe, about my relationship with another. I have no theory. Why should I have? The only fact is mankind suffers, miserable, confused, in conflict. That is a fact. Why should I have a theory about it?
B: You must go slowly. You see if you are intending to bring in the scientists, this is to be scientific...
K: I will go very slowly.
B:... so that we don't leave the scientists behind!
K: Quite. Or, leave me behind.
B: Well let's accept 'part company' - right?
The scientists might say yes, psychology is the science with which we try to look inwardly, to investigate the mind. And they say biased people have had theories such as Freud, and Jung and other people - I don't know all of them. Now we have to make it clear why it has no point to make these theories.
K: Because theory prevents the observation of what is actually taking place.
B: Yes, but outside it seemed the theory was helping that observation. Why the difference here?
K: Yes. The difference? You can do that, it is simple.
B: Well let's spell it out. Because if you want to bring in scientists you must answer this question.
K: Yes sir. We will answer it. The question is: why should - what is the question?
B: Why is it that theories are both necessary and useful in organizing facts about matter, outwardly and yet inwardly, psychologically they are in the way, they are no use at all.
K: Yes. What is theory?
B: Yes. Well...
K: The meaning of the word, theory.
B: Theory means to see, to view, a kind of insight.
K: To view? That's it.
B: A view, a way of looking.
K: A way of looking.
B: And the theory helps you to look at the outside matter.
K: Well, can you - theory means to observe.
B: It is a way of observing.
K: A way of observing. Can you observe psychologically what is going on, observe?
B: Yes, now let's say that when we look at matter outwardly to a certain extent we fix the observing.
K: That is the observer is different.
B: Not only different but their relationship is fixed, relatively at least, for some time.
K: Yes, that's right. We can move now, a little. Move.
B: This appears to be necessary to study matter. Matter does not change so fast and it can be separated to some extent, and we can then make it a fairly constant way of looking at changes but not immediately, it can be held constant for a while.
B: And we call that theory.
K: As you said, theory means, the actual meaning of the word, is a way of observing.
B: It has the same root as theatre in Greek, you see.
K: Theatre, yes, that's right. It is a way of looking. Now what is - now where do we start? A common way of looking, an ordinary way of looking, the way of looking depending on each person - the housewife, the husband, the money-maker - what do you mean the way of looking?
B: Well the same problem arose in the development of science. We began with what was called common sense...
K:... common sense
B:... a common way of looking. Then scientists discovered that this was inadequate.
K: The moved away from it.
B: The moved away, they gave up some parts of it.
K: That is what I am coming to. The common way of looking is full of prejudice.
B: Yes, it is arbitrary.
B: Depends on your background.
K: Yes, all that. So can I be free of my background, my prejudice?
K: I think one can.
B: You could say that when it comes to looking inwardly - you see the question is whether a theory of psychology would be any help in doing this. The danger is that the theory itself might be a prejudice. If you tried to make a theory...
K: That is what I am saying. That would become a prejudice.
B: That would become a prejudice because we have nothing - we have not yet observed anything to found it on.
K: So the common factor is that man suffers. Right? That is a common factor. And the way of observing matters.
B: I wonder whether scientists would accept that as the most fundamental factor of man.
K: All right. Conflict?
B: Well they have argued about it.
K: Take anything, it doesn't matter. Attachment, pleasure, fear.
B: I think some people might object saying we should find something more positive.
K: Which is what?
B: Simply, for example some people might have said that rationality is a common factor.
K: No, no, no. I won't call rationality a common factor. If they were rational they wouldn't be fighting each other.
B: We have to make this clear. You see let's say in the past somebody like Aristotle might have said rationality is the common factor of man. Now your argument against it is that men are not generally rational.
K: No, they are not.
B: Though they might be they are not.
K: That's it.
B: So you are saying that is not a fact.
K: That's right.
Q: I think commonly scientists would say that the common factor for mankind is, that there are many different human beings and that they are all striving for happiness.
K: Is that the common factor? No. I won't accept that. Many human beings are striving for happiness.
Q: No. Human beings are all different.
K: Agreed. Stay there.
Q: That is what I am saying. That there is the common theory which people believe to be a fact.
K: That is, each person thinks he is totally different from others.
Q: Yes. And they are all independently striving for happiness.
K: They are all seeking some kind of gratification. Right? Would you agree to that.
B: Yes that is one. But the reason I brought up rationality was that the very existence of science is based on the notion that rationality is common to man.
K: I know, but that is why I didn't want you to bring that in. Each person seeking his own individuality.
B: But you see science would be impossible if that were entirely true, you see.
B: Well because everybody would not be interested in the truth, you see. The very possibility of doing science depends on people feeling that this common goal of people finding the truth is beyond personal satisfaction because even if your theory is wrong you must accept that it is wrong though it is not gratifying. That is, it becomes very disappointing for people but they accept it, and say, 'Well, that is wrong'.
K: I am not seeking gratification. I am a common man.
Q: Well it is something, for example, which is written into many Constitutions of many countries, and that is why I brought it up. It seems to be a common belief.
K: No, I think what Dr Bohm has brought up, which is, scientists take for granted human beings are rational.
B: When they do science.
B: They may agree that they are not very rational in private life, but they say that at least they are capable of being rational when they do scientific work. Otherwise it would be impossible to begin.
K: So outwardly in dealing with matter they are all rational.
B: At least they try to be and they are to some extent.
K: They try to be. They become irrational in their relationship with other human beings.
B: Yes. They cannot maintain it.
K: So that is the common factor.
B: Yes. O.K. It is important to bring out this point: that rationality is limited and that you say the fundamental fact is more generally they cannot be rational. They may succeed in some limited area.
K: That's right. That's right. Now can I - that is a common factor. That is a fact.
B: That is a fact though we don't say it is inevitable or that it can't be changed.
K: No. It is a fact.
B: It is a fact that it has been.
K: That is happening.
B: Yes, it has happened. It is happening.
K: Yes. I, as a common human being, have been irrational. And my life has been totally contradictory and so on and so on, which is irrational. Now can I as a human being change that?
B: Yes. Let's see how we could proceed from the scientific approach. Now this would raise the question, why is everybody irrational?
K: Because we have been conditioned that way. Our education, our religion, our everything.
B: Well that won't get us anywhere because it leads to more questions: how did we get conditioned and so on.
K: We can go into all that.
B: Yes, but I meant that following that line is not going to answer.
K: Quite. Why are we conditioned that way?
B: For example we were saying the other day that perhaps man took a wrong turning.
B: That established the wrong conditioning.
K: The wrong conditioning right from the beginning. Or seeking security - security for myself, for my family, for my group, for my tribe, has brought about this division.
B: Yes, but even then you have to ask why man sought this security in the wrong way. You see if there had been any intelligence it would have been clear that the whole thing has no meaning.
K: Of course you are going back to taking the wrong turn. How will you show me we have taken a wrong turning?
B: Yes. You are saying we want to demonstrate this scientifically, is that what you are saying? You want to continue this demonstration?
K: Yes. I think the wrong turn was taken when thought became all important.
B: Yes, and what made it all important?
K: Now let's think it out. What made thought - what made human beings enthrone thought as the only means of operation? Why have they enthroned thought? Right?
B: Yes. Also it would have to be made clear why, if thought is so important, it causes all the difficulties. These are the two questions.
K: That is fairly simple.
B: Well we have gone over that but I am saying that if we are presenting it to somebody else we have to go into that.
K: That is fairly simple. So thought has been made king, supreme. And that may be the wrong turn of human beings.
B: Yes, you see I think that thought became the equivalent of truth. You see people took thought to give truth, to give what is always true. At a certain stage that when there may be the notion that we have knowledge, which may hold in certain cases for some time, but men generalize because knowledge is always generalizing and when they got to the notion that it would be always so this gave the thought of what is true, you see. This would give thought this supreme importance.
K: Why has man given - you are asking, aren't you - why has man given thought such importance? Is that it?
B: I think he has slipped into it.
B: Because he did not see what he was doing. You see, in the beginning he did not see the danger.
Q: Just before you said that the common ground for man is reason so...
K: Scientists say that.
Q: Yes. So if you can prove something to be true it is even more important than you have happiness.
K: I don't quite follow.
Q: If you can show to a person that something is true...
K: Show it to me. It is true I am irrational. That is a fact, that is true.
Q: Yes, but for that you don't need reason, observation is sufficient to do that.
K: No. I am irrational. I go and fight. I talk about peace. I am irrational.
Q: That is all irrational. So why do I say that the reason is so important when I am not reasonable?
K: No. What Bohm is pointing out is: scientists say man is rational. The fact of everyday life is irrational. Now we are saying - he is asking: show me why it is irrational, scientifically. That is, show me in what way I have slipped into this irrationality, why human beings have accepted this. We can say it is habit, tradition, religion; and the scientists also, they are very rational there, in the scientific field, but very irrational in their lives.
Q: And you suggested that making thought the king is the main irrationality.
K: Yes. That is right. We have reached that point. I want to be clear.
B: Yes, but then how did we slip into making thought so important?
K: Why has man given importance to thought as the supreme thing? Why? I think that is fairly easy. Because that was the only thing he knew.
B: It doesn't follow that he would give it supreme importance.
K: Because the thing I know is more important than the things I don't know - the things thought has created, the images, all the rest of it.
B: But you see if man were - if intelligence were operating he would not come to that conclusion. It is not rational to say that all that I know is all that is important.
K: That is why he is irrational.
B: Yes. It slipped into irrationality to say 'All that I know is all that is important.' But why should man have made that mistake?
K: Would you say that that mistake is made because he clings to the known and objects to anything unknown?
B: Well that is a fact but it is not clear why he should.
K: Because that is the only thing that I have.
B: Well you see I am asking why he was not intelligent enough to see that this...
K: Because we are irrational.
B: Well we are going around in circles.
K: I don't think we are going in circles.
B: Look: every one of these reasons you give is merely another form of irrationality.
K: That is all I am saying. We are basically irrational. And that is irrationality has arisen because we have given thought supreme importance.
Q: But the step before that, isn't that thought has built up the idea that I exist?
K: Ah, that comes a little later. I don't want to enter into that because he says you have to go step by step.
Q: Well I felt that that step really comes before because - can I?
K: Yes sir. You say what you like, we are in America.
Q: It is for the 'me', for the 'me' it is the only thing that exists is thought.
K: Would the scientists accept that?
B: No, scientists feel they are investigating the real nature of matter, you know, independent of thought, independent ultimately anyway. He wants to know the way the universe is. He may be fooling himself but he feels that otherwise it wouldn't be worth doing unless he believed that he was finding an objective fact.
K: So would you say through matter, through the investigation of matter he is trying to find something, he is trying to find the ground.
B: That's exactly it.
K: Wait, wait. Is that it?
B: Precisely, yes.
K: Now the religious man, like 'X', the religious man Mr 'X', he says you can find it by becoming terribly rational in your life. Right? Which is, etc., I needn't go into it. He says, 'I don't accept I am rational' - the religious man starts. 'I am irrational, I contradict' and so on and so on. So I will have to clear up that first, step by step, clear up. Or I can do the whole thing at one blow. Right? I accept I am irrational.
B: Well yes. There is a difficulty: if you accept you are irrational, you stop because you say how are you going to begin. Right?
K: If I accept I am irrational - wait a minute - completely, I am rational!
B: Yes, well you will have to...
K: You understand of course.
B: You will have to make that more clear. You see I think you could say that man has been deluding himself into believing that he is already rational.
K: I don't accept that.
B: Yes. Now if you don't accept this delusion then you are saying that rationality will be there.
K: No, I don't accept it. The fact is I am irrational.
K: And to find the ground I must become terribly rational in my life. That's all I start with. And irrationality has been brought about by thought creating this idea of me as separate from everybody else, etc., etc. So can I, being irrational, find the cause of irrationality and wipe it out? If I can't do that I cannot reach the ground which is the most rational.
Would a scientist who is investigating matter, to come upon the ground, he may not accept the ground exists at all.
B: Well tacitly he is assuming that it does.
K: It does. Mr 'X' comes along and says it does exist. And you, the scientist, says, 'Show it.' Mr 'X' says 'I will show it to you. First become rational in your life'. Not there, don't as a scientist meeting with another scientist, experimenting and all the rest of the be rational there, and irrational in your life. Begin there rather than there. What would you say to all that?
B: Right. Well...
K: This must be done without effort, without desire, without will, without any sense of persuasion, otherwise you are back in the game.
Q: Krishnaji are you supposing, or are you saying that the scientist can be rational here?
K: He says they are.
B: They are to some extent.
K: Of course. He says that. Sir when scientists meet about something they are very rational.
Q: To some extent.
K: To some extent, yes.
B: Well eventually their personal relations come in and so on.
K: That's is. They become irrational because of their jealousies and ambitions.
B: Well also because they are attached to their theories and so on.
Q: Also the basic irrationality of them is that they think what they discover is the truth.
K: No, he doesn't say that. Through the investigation of matter they hope to come upon the ground.
B: They may be wrong but that is what they hope for.
K: They must otherwise what is the point of investigating matter?
Q: Maybe there is no point.
B: In addition of course it is important for practical purposes and so on.
K: Practical purposes, yes for inventing guns and all the rest of it, submarines and super missiles.
B: Well also new energy sources and so on.
K: Of course, of course, that is only part of it.
B: That is part of it but in addition it may have an interest in itself but we have to say that - let's try to put it like this: even in science you could not pursue the science fully unless you were rational.
K: Yes, somewhat rational.
B: Somewhat rational, but in fact eventually the failure of rationality blocks science anyway. Scientists alter their theories and they become jealous and so on.
K: That's it. Or the irrationality overcomes them.
B: They cannot keep the irrationality out.
K: That's it.
B: So then you could say you might as well look at the source of the whole irrationality.
K: That's it. That is what I am saying.
B: That is the only possibility.
B: But now you have to make it clear that it really can be done, you see.
K: Oh yes, I am showing it to you. I say first recognize, see, observe, be aware - or whatever word - that you are totally irrational.
B: Well the word 'totally' will cause trouble because if you were totally irrational you couldn't even begin to talk, you see.
K: No, that is my question. I say you are totally irrational. First recognize it. Watch it. If the moment that you admit there is some part of you which is rational - right - who wants to wipe away the irrationality...
B: It is not that but there must be sufficient rationality to understand what you are talking about.
K: Yes, of course.
B: Essentially I would rather put it that you are dominated by your irrationality, that irrationality dominates even though there is enough rationality to discuss the question.
K: I question that.
B: You see otherwise we couldn't even begin to talk.
K: No, but listen. Just a minute, just a minute. We begin to talk, you, a few of us begin to talk because we are willing to listen to each other, we are willing to say 'I'll set aside any conclusion I have', and so on, we are willing to listen to each other.
B: That is part of rationality.
K: No, with us, but the vast majority are not willing to listen to us because we are concerned, serious enough to find out if the ground exists. Right? That gives us rationality to listen to each other.
B: Yes. Well listening is essential for rationality.
B: Listening is necessary for rationality.
K: Of course. Are we saying the same thing?
K: Because as the scientist - wait a minute - as the scientist through the examination of matter, the investigation of matter hopes to reach the ground, we, 'X', 'Y', 'Z', say let us become rational in our life. Which means you and I and 'X', 'Y', 'Z' are willing to listen to each other. That's all. The very listening is the beginning of rationality. Mr Carter, Mr K, they won't even listen to us, not even the Pope, or anybody. So can we, who are listening, be rational somewhat and begin? That's all my point. This is all being terribly logical, isn't it? So can we proceed from there?
Why has man brought about this irrationality in his life, and a few of us can apparently throw off some part of irrationality and become somewhat rational, 'X', 'Y', 'Z', and those rational people say, 'Now, let's start.' Right? Let us start to find out why man lives this way, both the scientists and me, because he is a man, he is not just a scientist. Now what is the dominant factor in his life, the common, dominant factor in all human beings' lives, apart from 'X', 'Y', 'Z' who are rational, including them, what is the dominant current in his life? Obviously thought.
B: Yes, that is so. Of course many people would, might deny that and say that it is feeling or something else is the major...
K: Many people might say that but thought is part of feeling.
B: Right. That is not commonly understood.
K: We will explain it. Senses, feeling, if there was no thought behind it you wouldn't be able to recognize those senses.
B: Yes. I think this is a major difficulty in communication with some people.
K: Yes, so we begin. Leave the some people, I want the three 'X', 'Y', 'Z' to see this and 'X', 'Y', 'Z', because they listen to each other, because they have become somewhat rational, therefore they are listening to each other, can say thought is the main source of this current.
B: Yes, well we have to say what is thought.
K: I think that is fairly simple.
B: Well, what is it?
K: Thought brings about irrationality.
B: Yes, but what is it? How do you know you are thinking? What do you mean by thinking?
K: Thinking is the movement of memory, memory which is experience, knowledge stored up in the brain. Which you and I - we know all this.
Q: You see Krishnaji at this moment we are also thinking partly but nevertheless it seems that this kind of thinking is not just memory.
K: Oh yes, it is memory, sorry. No, no, I don't go further, I stop just here.
B: Suppose we want to have rationality which includes rational thought.
K: That is just it.
B: But rationality must include rational thought.
K: Of course.
B: Is rational thought only memory?
K: Rational thought if it is - now wait a minute, careful!
B: Yes. Right.
K: Wait a minute. If we are completely rational there is total insight. That insight uses thought and then it is rational.
B: Then it is rational.
K: My god, yes.
B: Then thought is not only memory?
K: No, no.
B: Well, I mean since it is being used by insight.
K: No, insight uses thought.
B: Yes, but what thought does is not just due to memory now.
K: Wait a minute.
B: You see, I see it this way.
K: Quite right.
B: Ordinarily thought runs on its own, it runs like a machine on its own, it is not rational.
K: Quite right.
B: But when thought is the instrument of insight then you see it would be the difference between...
K: Agreed, agreed. Then thought is not memory.
B: It is not based on memory.
K: No, not based on memory.
B: Memory is used, but it is not based on memory.
K: That's right. Then what? 'X', 'Y', 'Z', who are fairly rational, who have seen this point that thought being limited, divisive, incomplete, can never be rational.
B: Without insight.
K: That's right. Now how is 'X', 'Y', 'Z', to have insight? Which is total rationality. Not the rationality of thought.
B: It is rationality of perception, I should say. I should call it rationality of perception.
B: To perceive rational order.
K: Yes, rationality of perception.
B: Then thought becomes the instrument of that, so it has the same order.
K: Now how am I to have that insight? That is the next question, isn't it? What am I to do? Or not do, to have this instant insight, immediate insight, which is not of time, which is not of memory, which has no cause - right - which is not based on reward or punishment, it is free of all that. Now how do I in discussing with 'X', 'Y', 'Z', who want to come upon the ground, how do I, how does the mind have this insight? When I say, 'I have the insight', that is wrong. Obviously. So how is it possible for a mind, which has been irrational, and has somewhat become rational, 'X', 'Y', 'Z', and that 'X','Y' 'Z', asks is it possible to have that insight? Yes it is possible to have that insight if your mind is free from time.
B: Right. Let's go slowly, because you see, let me say, that if we go back to the scientific point of view, even common sense, I think that implicitly time is taken as the ground of everything in scientific work.
B: And common sense. In fact even in ancient Greek mythology you see Chronus the god of time produces his children and swallows them. That is exactly what we said about the ground, everything comes from the ground and dies to the ground. So in a way mankind began to take time already as the ground.
B: Long ago, right.
K: Yes, that is right. And you come along and say time is not the ground.
B: That's right. So up until now even scientists have been looking for the ground somewhere in time, and everybody else too.
K: Yes sir, that is the whole point.
B: Now you say time is not the ground.
K: Go on, this is very interesting.
B: This of course somebody might say is nonsense but we say OK, we will stay open to that. Right?
K: No, we, 'X', 'Y', 'Z', are open to it.
B: We are going to be open to it but I am saying some people might easily dismiss it right away.
K: Of course. Science fiction writers may accept it!
B: Well they may, some of them, yes.
K: I was only joking.
B: Now if you say time is not the ground, this seems to leave us, well, let us say we don't know where we are.
K: I know where I am. We will go into it.
Q: Is time the same movement as this thought which we described first?
K: Yes, time is that. Time is thought.
B: Yes, well, let's go slowly again on that because there is, as we have often said, chronological time.
K: Of course, that is simple.
B: Yes but in addition we are thinking. You see thinking takes time chronologically but in addition it projects a kind of imaginary time...
K:... which is the future
B:... which is the future, the past as we experience it.
K: Yes, that is right.
B: That time which is imagined, which is also a kind of real process of thinking.
K: Which is a fact.
B: It is a fact. It is taking time physically, to think, but we also have the time we can imagine the whole past and future.
K: Yes, which are facts.
B: So let's say that this time is not the ground, perhaps not even physically.
K: We are going to find out. We are going to find out.
B: Yes. But we feel it to be the ground because we feel that we, as the self, I as the self, exist in time. Without time there could be no me.
K: That's it.
B: I must exist in time.
K: Of course, of course.
B: Eternally being something or becoming something.
K: Becoming and being are in the field of time. Now can the mind, which has evolved through time...
Q: That is a strange statement.
Q: What do you mean by mind then?
K: Mind - the brain, my senses, my feeling all that is the mind.
B: The particular mind, you mean?
K: Particular mind, of course, I am talking not the mind which is - I am talking of 'X', 'Y', 'Z',s' mind. That mind has evolved through time. Right?
B: Well even its particularity depends on time.
K: Time, of course and all the rest of it. Now we are asking: can that mind be free of time to have an insight which is totally rational, which then can operate on thought, which will be rational? That thought is not based on memory. Right?
K: Now how am I - 'X' - 'X' says how am I to be free of time? I know I need time to go from here to there, to learn a lesson, a technique and so on. I understand that very clearly, so I am not talking about that time. I am talking about the time as becoming.
B: Or as being.
K: Of course, becoming is being. I start from being to become.
B: And being something in myself, you see.
K: Right sir.
B: Being better, being happier.
K: Yes, the whole thing - the more.
B: The more.
K: Now can I, can my brain investigating to find out if the ground exists, can my brain, can I, can my whole mind be free of time? Yes. We have now separated time. The time which is necessary, and the time which is not necessary. That is, can my brain not function as it has always in time as thought? Right? Which means can thought come to an end? Right? Would you accept that?
B: Yes, well could you make that more clear. You see we could see that the first question is, that can my brain not be dominated by the function of thought?
K: Yes, which is time.
B: Time. And then if you say thought comes to an end...
K: No, can time as thought come to a stop?
B: Psychological time comes to a stop.
K: Yes, I am talking of that.
B: But we will still have the rational thought.
K: Of course. That is understand. We have said that. We are leaving that.
B: We are discussing the thought of conscious experience.
Q: Of becoming and being.
B: Of becoming and being.
K: And the retention of memory, you know, the past, as knowledge. Oh, yes, that can be done.
B: You really mean the memory of experiences?
K: The memory of experiences, hurts, attachments, the whole of it. Now can that come to an end? Of course it can. Now this is the point: it can come to an end when the very perception asks, what is it, hurt?
K: Damaged psychologically, the perception of it is the ending of it. Not carrying it over, which is the time. The very ending of it is the ending of time. Is that? I think that is clear. Or not clear?
All right, I am hurt. 'X' is hurt, wounded from childhood, for various reasons, you know all that. And he, by listening, talking, discussing with you, realizes that the continuation of the hurt is time. Right? And to find out the ground, time must end. So he says can my hurt end instantly, immediately.
B: Yes, I think there are some steps in that. You say he finds that hurt is time but the immediate experience of it is that it exists on its own.
K: I know, of course, of course. We can go into that.
B: That simply is something on its own.
K: Which is, I have created an image about myself and the image is hurt but not me.
B: What do you mean by that?
K: All right. In the becoming, which is time, I have created an image about myself. Right?
B: Well thought has created that image.
K: Thought has created an image through experience, through education, through conditioning, that this image is separate from me. Wait a minute, I will explain it. This image is actually me.
K: But we have separated the image and the me, which is irrational.
K: So in realizing that the image is me, I have become somewhat rational.
B: Yes, well you see I think that that will not be clear because if a person is hurt he feels the image is me.
K: The image is you.
B: The person who is hurt feels that way.
K: All right. But the moment you operate on it you separate yourself.
B: That's the point. Now the first feeling is the image is me, and the second feeling is I draw back from the image in order to operate on it.
K: Which is irrationality.
B: Because it is not correct, eh?
K: That's right. Right?
B: And that brings in time because I say it will take time to do that.
K: Quite right. So by becoming, by seeing that I become rational and in the act, the act is to be free of it immediately.
B: Yes, well let's go into that. You see, we say we have drawn back - the first thing is that there has been a hurt. Right? That is the image but at first I don't separate it. I feel identified with it.
K: I am that.
B: I am that. But then I draw back and say that I think there must be a me who can do something.
K: Yes, can operate on it.
B: Right. Now that takes time.
K: That is time.
B: That is time, but I mean I am thinking it takes time. Now if I don't do that, now you see I have to go slowly. That hurt cannot exist.
K: That's right.
B: But it is not obvious in the experience itself that this is so.
K: First, let's go slowly into it. I am hurt. That is a fact. Then I separate myself, there is a separation saying 'I will do something about it'.
B: The 'me' who will do something is different.
K: Is different. Of course.
B: And he thinks about what he should do.
K: The 'me' is different because it is becoming. I don't want to complicate it.
B: Well, yes, it projects into the future a different state.
K: Yes. I am hurt. There is a separation, a division. The 'me', which is always pursuing the becoming, says, 'I must control it. I must wipe it. I must act upon it, or I will be vengeful, hurtful' - and all the rest of it. So this movement of separation is time.
B: Yes, we can see that now. Now the point is - there is something here that is not obvious. A person is thinking the hurt exists independently of me and I must do something about it. I project into the future the better state and what I will do. You see, let's try to make it very clear because you are saying that there is no separation.
K: My rationality discovers there is no separation.
B: There is no separation but the illusion that there is a separation helps to maintain the hurt.
K: That's right. Because the illusion is 'I am becoming'.
B: Yes. I an this and I will become that.
B: So I am hurt and I will become non hurt. Now that very thought maintains the hurt.
K: That's right.
Q: But isn't that feeling of separation there when I become conscious and say, 'I am hurt'?
K: I am hurt. Then I say, 'I am going to hit you because you have hurt me. Or I say, 'I must suppress it', I create fear and so on.
Q: But isn't that feeling of separation there from the moment I say, 'I am hurt'?
K: That is irrationality.
Q: That is irrational already?
K: Already. When you say does not the separation exist already when I say 'I am hurt'.
B: Well it does, but I think that before that happens you get a kind of shock. The first thing that happens is a kind of shock, a pain or whatever which you identify with that shock and then you explain it by saying 'I am hurt' or whatever and that immediately implies the separation to do something.
K: Of course. Of course. If I am not hurt I don't know anything about separation or not separation.
Q: Well something might happen to me.
K: Yes, he has said a shock, any kind of shock.
Q: But at the moment I say I am hurt, then in that moment I have already separated myself from that fact which...
K: No, no, no. I don't - all that I know is that I am hurt. Right? I don't say I have already separated myself.
Q: No, I am not saying that. Isn't that implied?
K: No. I am just hurt. I am irrational as long as I maintain that hurt and do something about it, which is to become. Then irrationality comes in. I think that is right.
B: Now if you don't maintain it, what happens? Suppose you say, 'OK, I won't go on with this becoming.'
K: Ah, that is quite a different matter. Which means I am no longer observing using time as an observation.
B: You could say that is not your way of looking.
B: It is not your theory anymore.
K: That's right.
B: Because you could say time is a theory which everybody adopts for psychological purposes.
K: That's right. That is a common factor, time is the common factor of man. And we are pointing out time is an illusion.
B: Psychological time.
K: Of course, that is understood.
B: Are you saying that when we no longer approach this through time then the hurt does not continue?
K: Does not continue, it ends.
B: It ends.
K: Because you are not becoming anything.
B: In becoming you are always continuing what you are.
K: That's right. Continuing what you are, modified and...
B: That is why you struggle to become.
K: And all the rest of it. We are talking about insight. That is, insight has no time. Insight is not the product of time, time being memory, remembrance and so on and so on. So there is insight. That insight being free of time acts upon memory, acts upon thought which is rational. That is, insight makes thought rational. Right?
K: Not thought which is based on memory. Then what the devil is that thought?
Q: That is the question.
K: No. Wait a minute sir. I don't think thought comes in at all. We said insight comes into being when there is no time. Thought which is based on memory, experience, knowledge, that is the movement of time as becoming. We are talking psychologically, not the other. We are saying to be free of time implies insight. Insight being free of time, it has no thought.
B: We said that it may use thought.
K: Wait, wait. I am not sure. Just go slowly.
B: You are changing, yes.
K: It may use thought to explain but it acts. Before action was based on thought, now when there is insight there is only action. Why do you want thought? Because insight is rational therefore action is rational. Action becomes irrational when it is acting from thought. So insight doesn't use thought.
B: Well we have to make it clear because in a certain area it has to use thought. You see if for example you want to construct something you would use the thought which is available as to how to do it.
K: But that is not insight.
B: Yes, but even so you may have to have insight in that area.
K: Partial. We said the other day when we were discussing that the scientists, the painters, the architects, the doctors, the artists and so on, they have partial insight. We are talking of 'X', 'Y', 'Z', who are seeking the ground, they are becoming more - not more - they are becoming rational and we are saying insight is without time and therefore without thoughts, and that insight is action. Because that insight is rational action is rational.
Q: Could this action be thought?
K: No. Sir, just a minute. Forgive me I am not making myself into an example, I am talking in all humility. That boy, that young man in 1929 dissolved the Order. There was no thought. People said 'Do this, don't do that', 'Keep it', 'Don't keep it'. He had an insight, finished. I dissolved it. Why do we need thought?
Q: You don't need thought.
K: Ah! We do, we employed thought to do something.
B: But then you used some thought in dissolving the Order. Say, when to do it, how to do it.
K: That is merely for convenience, for other people and so on.
B: But still some thought was needed.
K: The decision acts.
B: I didn't say about the decision. The primary action did not require thought, only that which follows.
K: That is nothing. It is like moving a cushion from there to there.
B: Yes, I understand that. The primary source of action does not involve thought.
K: That is all I wanted.
B: But it sort of filters through into...
K: It is like a wave.
Q: Does not all thought undergo a transformation in this process? Before it was...
K: Yes, of course, of course. Because insight is without time therefore the brain itself has undergone a change.
B: Yes, now could we talk about what you mean by that?
K: What time is it?
B: Yes, you see we must refer to time! It is twenty five past five.
K: I think we will have to stop for a bit here.
B: Perhaps another day.
K: My head is buzzing.
B: Next time.
K: I think this is good. So does it mean, sir, every human response must be viewed, or must enter into insight? I will tell you what I mean. I am jealous. Is there an insight which will cover the whole field of jealousy, so end that - envy, greed, and all that is involved in jealousy. You follow? We irrational people say, step by step, get rid of jealousy, get rid of attachment, get rid of anger, get rid of this, that and the other. Which is a constant process of becoming. Right? And the insight, which is totally rational, wipes all that away. Right?
K: Is that a fact? Fact in the sense 'X', 'Y', 'Z', will never again be jealous, never.
B: Yes, well we have to discuss that because it is not clear how you could guarantee that.
K: Oh yes, I will guarantee it! We had better stop. Isn't your head aching too?
The Ending of Time
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 3rd Conversation with David Bohm 8th April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.