The Future of Humanity
The Future of Humanity Chapter 1 1st Conversation with David Bohm Brockwood Park 11th June 1983
DAVID BOHM: There are several problems that we might discuss. One is, when a person is just starting out he has to make a living. There are very few opportunities now, and most of these are in jobs which are extremely limited.
J. KRISHNAMURTI: And there is unemployment throughout the world. I wonder what he would do, knowing that the future is grim, very depressing, dangerous, and so uncertain. Where would you begin?
DB: Well I think one would have to stand back from all the particular problems of one's own needs and the needs of people around one.
JK: Are you saying one should really forget oneself for the time being?
JK: Even if I did forget myself, when I look at this world in which I am going to live, and have some kind of career or profession, what would I do? This is a problem that I think most young people are facing.
DB: Yes. That's clear. Well, have you something that you would suggest?
JK: You see I don't think in terms of evolution.
DB: I understand that. That's the point I was expecting we would discuss. JK: I don't think there is psychological evolution at all.
DB: We have discussed this quite often so I think I understand to some extent what you mean. But I think that people who are new to this are not going to understand.
JK: Yes, we will discuss this whole question, if you will. Why are we concerned about the future? Surely the whole future is now.
DB: In a sense the whole future is now, but we have to make that clear. It goes very much against the whole way of thinking, of the tradition of mankind....
JK: I know. Mankind thinks in terms of evolution, continuance, and so on.
DB: Perhaps we could approach it in another way? That is, evolution seems in the present era to be the most natural way to think. So I would like to ask you what objections you have to thinking in terms of evolution. Could I explain a point? This word evolution has many meanings.
JK: Of course. We are talking psychologically.
DB: Now the first point is, let's dispose of it physically.
JK: An acorn will grow into an oak.
DB: Also the species have evolved: for example, from the plants to the animals and to man.
JK: Yes, we have taken a million years to be what we are.
DB: You have no question that that has happened? JK: No, that has happened.
DB: It may continue to happen.
JK: That is evolution.
DB: That is a valid process.
JK: Of course.
DB: It takes place in time. And, therefore, in that region the past, present, and future are important.
JK: Yes obviously. I don't know a certain language, I need time to learn it.
DB: Also it takes time to improve the brain. You see, if the brain started out small, and then it got bigger and bigger, that took a million years.
JK: And it becomes much more complex, and so on. All that needs time. All that is movement in space and time.
DB: Yes. So you will admit physical time and neurophysiological time.
JK: Neurophysiological time, absolutely. Of course. Any sane man would.
DB: Now most people also admit psychological time, what they call mental time.
JK: Yes, that is what we are talking about. Whether there is such a thing as psychological tomorrow, psychological evolution.
DB: Or yesterday. Now at first sight I am afraid this will sound strange. It seems I can remember yesterday. And there is tomorrow; I can anticipate. And it has happened many times, you know days have succeeded each other. So I do have the experience of time, from yesterday to today to tomorrow. JK: Of course. That is simple enough.
DB: Now what is it that you are denying?
JK: I deny that I will be something, become better.
DB: I can change... but now there are two ways of looking at that. One approach is, will I intentionally become better because I am trying? Or is evolution a natural, inevitable process, in which we are being swept along as if in a current, and perhaps becoming better, or worse, or finding that something is happening to us.
DB: Psychologically, which takes time, which may not be the result of my trying to become better. It may or may not be. Some people think one way, some another. But are you denying also that there is a kind of natural psychological evolution as there was a natural biological evolution?
JK: I am denying that, yes.
DB: Now why do you deny it?
JK: Because, first of all, what is the psyche, the me, the ego, and so on? What is it?
DB: The word psyche has many meanings. It may mean the mind, for example. Do you mean that the ego is the same thing?
JK: The ego. I am talking of the ego, the me.
DB: Yes. Now some people think there will be an evolution in which the me is transcended, that it will rise to a higher level.
JK: Yes, will the transition need time?
DB: A transcendence, a transition.
JK: Yes. That is my whole question. DB: So there are two questions: one is, will the me ever improve? And the other is, even if we suppose we want to get beyond the me, can that be done in time?
JK: That cannot be done in time.
DB: Now we have to make it clear why not.
JK: Yes. I will. We will go into it. What is the me? If the psyche has such different meanings, the me is the whole movement which thought has brought about.
DB: Why do you say that?
JK: The me is the consciousness, my consciousness: the me is my name, form, and all the experiences, remembrances, and so on that I have had. The whole structure of the me is put together by thought.
DB: That again would be something which some people might find it hard to accept.
JK: Of course. We are discussing it.
DB: Now the first experience, the first feeling I have about the me is that it is there independently and that the me is thinking.
JK: Is the me independent of my thinking?
DB: Well my own first feeling is that the me is there independent of my thinking. And that it is the me that is thinking, you see.
DB: Just as I am here, and I could move; I could move my arm, I could think, or I could move my head. Now is that an illusion?
JK: No. DB: Why?
JK: Because when I move my arm there is the intention to grasp something, to take something, which is first the movement of thought. That makes the arm move, and so on. My contention is - and I am ready to accept it as false or true - that thought is the basis of all this.
DB: Yes. Your contention is that the whole sense of the me and what it is doing is coming out of thought. Now what you mean by thought is not merely intellectual?
JK: No, of course not. Thought is the movement of experience, knowledge, and memory. It is this whole movement.
DB: It sounds to me as if you mean the consciousness as a whole.
JK: As a whole, that's right.
DB: And you are saying that that movement is the me?
JK: The whole content of that consciousness is the me. That me is not different from my consciousness.
DB: Yes. I think one could say that I am my consciousness, for if I am not conscious I am not here.
JK: Of course.
DB: Now is consciousness nothing but what you have just described, which includes thought, feeling, intention?..
JK: ...intention, aspirations...
DB: ...memories... JK: ...memories, beliefs, dogmas, the rituals that are performed. The whole, like the computer that has been programmed.
DB: Yes. Now that certainly is in consciousness. Everybody would agree, but many people would feel that there is more to it than that; that consciousness may go beyond that.
JK: Let's go into it. The content of our consciousness makes up the consciousness.
DB: Yes, I think that requires some understanding. The ordinary use of the word content is quite different. If you say that the content of a glass is water, the glass is one thing and the water is another.
JK: Consciousness is made up of all that it has remembered: beliefs, dogmas, rituals, fears, pleasures, sorrow.
DB: Yes. Now if all that were absent, would there be no consciousness?
JK: Not as we know it.
DB: But there would still be a kind of consciousness? JK: A totally different kind. But consciousness, as we know it, is all that.
DB: As we generally know it.
JK: Yes. And that is the result of multiple activities of thought. Thought has put all this together, which is my consciousness - the reactions, the responses, the memories - extraordinary, complex intricacies and subtleties. All that makes up consciousness. DB: As we know it.
JK: But does that consciousness have a future?
DB: Yes. Does it have a past?
JK: Of course. Remembrance.
DB: Remembrance, yes. Why do you say it has no future then?
JK: If it has a future it will be exactly the same kind of thing, moving. The same activities, the same thoughts, modified, but the pattern will be repeated over and over again.
DB: Are you saying that thought can only repeat?
DB: But there is a feeling, for example, that thought can develop new ideas.
JK: But thought is limited because knowledge is limited.
DB: Well, yes, that might require some discussion.
JK: Yes, we must discuss it.
DB: Why do you say knowledge is always limited?
JK: Because you, as a scientist, are experimenting, adding, searching. And after you some other person will add more. So knowledge, which is born of experience, is limited.
DB: But some people have said it isn't. They would hope to obtain perfect, or absolute, knowledge of the laws of nature.
JK: The laws of nature are not the laws of human beings.
DB: Well, do you want to restrict the discussion then to knowledge about the human being? JK: Of course, that's all we can talk about.
DB: Even there, it is a question of whether that knowledge of nature is possible too.
JK: Yes. We are talking about the future of humanity.
DB: So are we saying that man cannot obtain unlimited knowledge of the psyche?
JK: That's right.
DB: There is always more that is unknown.
JK: Yes. There is always more and more unknown. So if once we admit that knowledge is limited, then thought is limited.
DB: Yes, thought depends on knowledge, and the knowledge does not cover everything. Therefore thought will not be able to handle everything that happens.
JK: That's right. But that is what the politicians and all the other people are doing. They think thought can solve every problem.
DB: Yes. You can see in the case of politicians that knowledge is very limited, in fact it is almost nonexistent! And, therefore, when you lack adequate knowledge of what you are dealing with, you create confusion.
JK: Yes. So then as thought is limited, our consciousness, which has been put together by thought, is limited. DB: Now can you make that clear? That means we can only stay in the same circle.
JK: The same circle.
DB: You see, one of the ideas might be, if you compare with science, that people might think, although their knowledge is limited they are constantly discovering,
JK: What you discover is added to, but is still limited.
DB: It is still limited. That's the point. I can keep on; I think one of the ideas behind a scientific approach is that, though knowledge is limited, I can discover and keep up with the actuality.
JK: But that is also limited.
DB: My discoveries are limited. And there is always the unknown which I have not discovered.
JK: That is what I am saying. The unknown, the limitless, cannot be captured by thought.
JK: Because thought in itself is limited, You and I agree to that; we not only agree but it is a fact.
DB: Perhaps we could bring it out still more. That is, thought is limited, even though we might intellectually consider that thought is not limited. There is a very strong predisposition, tendency, to feel that way - that thought can do anything.
JK: Anything. It can't. See what it has done in the world.
DB: Well, I agree that it has done some terrible things, but that doesn't prove that it is always wrong. You see, perhaps you could blame it on the people who have used it wrongly.
JK: I know, that is a good old trick! But thought in itself is limited, therefore whatever it does is limited.
DB: Yes, and you are saying that it is limited in a very serious way.
JK: That's right. Of course in a very, very serious way.
DB: Could we bring that out? Say what that way is?
JK: That way is what is happening in the world.
DB: All right, let's look at that.
JK: The totalitarian ideals are the invention of thought.
DB: The very word totalitarian means that people wanted to cover the totality, but they couldn't.
JK: They couldn't.
DB: The thing collapsed.
JK: It is collapsing.
DB: But then there are those who say they are not totalitarians.
JK: But the democrats, the republicans, the idealists, and so on, all their thinking is limited.
DB: Yes, and it is limited in a way that is...
JK: ...very destructive.
DB: Now, could we bring that out? You see I could say, "All right my thought is limited, but it may not be all that serious." Why is this so important?
JK: That is fairly simple: because whatever action is born of limited thought must inevitably breed conflict.
JK: Like dividing humanity religiously, or into nationalities, and so on, has created havoc in the world.
DB: Yes, now let's connect that with the limitation thought. My knowledge is limited: how does that lead me to divide the world into...
JK: Aren't we seeking security?
JK: And we thought there was security in the family, in the tribe, in nationalism. So we thought there was security in division.
DB: Yes. Now it has come out. Take the tribe, for example: one may feel insecure, and one then says "With the tribe I am secure." That is a conclusion. And I think I know enough to be sure that is so - but I don't. Other things happen that I don't know, which make that very insecure. Other tribes come along.
JK: No, no! The very division creates insecurity.
DB: Yes, it helps to create it, but I am trying to say that I don't know enough to know that. I don't see that.
JK: But one doesn't see it because one has not thought about anything, not looked at the world, as a whole.
DB: Well the thought which aims at security attempts to know everything important. As soon as it knows everything important it says, "This will bring security." But there are a lot of things it still doesn't know, and one is that this very thought itself is divisive.
JK: Yes. In itself it is limited. Anything that is limited must inevitably create conflict. If I say I am an individual, that is limited.
JK: I am concerned with myself, that is very limited.
DB: We have to make this clear. If I say this is a table which is limited, it creates no conflict.
JK: No, there is no conflict there.
DB: But when I say, this is "me," that creates conflict.
JK: The "me" is a divisive entity.
DB: Let us see more clearly why.
JK: Because it is separative; it is concerned with itself. The "me" identifying with the greater nation is still divisive.
DB: I define myself in the interest of security so that I know what I am as opposed to what you are, and I protect myself. Now this creates a division between me and you.
JK: We and they, and so on.
DB: Now that comes from my limited thought, because I don't understand that we are really closely related and connected.
JK: We are human beings, and all human beings have more or less the same problems.
DB: No, I haven't understood that. My knowledge is limited; I think that we can make a distinction and protect ourselves, and me, and not the others.
JK: Yes, that's right.
DB: But in the very act of doing that I create instability.
JK: That's right, insecurity. So if not merely intellectually or verbally but actually, we feel that we are the rest of humanity, then the responsibility becomes immense. DB: Well, how can you do anything about that responsibility?
JK: Then I either contribute to the whole mess, or keep out of it.
DB: I think we have touched upon an important point. We say the whole of humanity, of mankind, is one, and therefore to create division is...
DB: Yes. Whereas to create division between me and the table is not dangerous, because in some sense we are not one.
JK: Of course.
DB: That is, only in some very general sense are we at one. Now mankind doesn't realize that it is all one.
DB: Let's go into it. This is a crucial point. There are so many divisions, not only between nations and religions but between one person and another.
JK: Why is there this division?
DB: The feeling is, at least in the modern era, that every human being is an individual. This may not have been so strong in the past.
JK: That is what I question. I question altogether whether we are individuals.
DB: That is a big question....
JK: Of course. We said just now that the consciousness which is me is similar to the rest of mankind. They all suffer, all have fears, are insecure; they have their own particular gods and rituals, all put together by thought. DB: I think there are two questions here. One is, not everybody feels that he is similar to others. Most people feel they have some unique distinction....
JK: What do you mean by "unique distinction"? Distinction in doing something?
DB: There may be many things. For example, one nation may feel that it is able to do certain things better than another; one person has some special things he does, or a particular quality....
JK: Of course. Somebody else is better in this or that.
DB: He may take pride in his own special abilities, or advantages.
JK: But when you put away that, basically we are the same.
DB: You are saying these things which you have just described are...
DB: Yes. Now what are the things that are basic?
JK: Fear, sorrow, pain, anxiety, loneliness, and all the human travail.
DB: But many people might feel that the basic things are the highest achievements of man. For one thing, people may feel proud of man's achievement in science and art and culture and technology.
JK: We have achieved in all those directions, certainly. In technology, communication, travel, medicine, surgery, we have advanced tremendously. DB: Yes, it is really remarkable in many ways.
JK: There is no question about it. But what have we psychologically achieved?
DB: None of this has affected us psychologically.
JK: Yes, that's right.
DB: And the psychological question is more important than any of the others, because if the psychological question is not cleared up the rest is dangerous.
JK: Yes. If we are psychologically limited, then whatever we do will be limited, and the technology will the be used by our limited...
DB: ...yes, the master is this limited psyche, and not the rational structure of technology. And in fact technology then becomes a dangerous instrument. So that is one point, that the psyche is at the core of it all, and if the psyche is not in order then the rest is useless. Then, although we are saying there are certain basic disorders in the psyche common to us all, we may all have a potential for something else. The next point is are we all one really? Even though we are all similar that doesn't mean we are all the same, that we are one.
JK: We said, in our consciousness basically we all have the same ground on which we stand.
DB: Yes, from the fact that the human body is similar, but that doesn't prove they are all the same.
JK: Of course not. Your body is different from mine. DB: Yes, we are in different places, we are different entities, and so on. But I think you are saying that the consciousness is not an entity which is individual....
JK: That's right.
DB: The body is an entity which has a certain individuality.
JK: That all seems so clear. Your body is different from mine. I have a different name from you.
DB: Yes, we are different. Though of similar material we are different. We can't exchange because the proteins in one body may not agree with those in the other. Now many people feel that way about the mind, saying that there is a chemistry between people which may agree or disagree.
JK: Yes but actually if you go deeper into the question, consciousness is shared by all human beings.
DB: Now the feeling is that the consciousness is individual and that it is communicated....
JK: I think that is an illusion, because we are sticking to something that is not true.
DB: Do you want to say that there is one consciousness of mankind?
JK: It is all one.
DB: That is important, because whether it is many or one is a crucial question.
DB: It could be many, which are then communicating and building up the larger unit. Or are you saying that from the very beginning it is all one?
JK: From the very beginning it is all one.
DB: And the sense of separateness is an illusion? JK: That is what I am saying, over and over again. That seems so logical, sane. The other is insanity.
DB: Yes, but people don't feel, at least not immediately, that the notion of separate existence is insane, because one extrapolates from the body to the mind. One says, it is quite sensible to say my body is separate from yours, and inside my body is my mind. Now are you saying that the mind is not inside the body?
JK: That is quite a different question. Let's finish with the other first. Each one of us thinks that we are separate individuals psychically.... What we have done in the world is a colossal mess.
DB: Well if we think we are separate when we are not separate, then it will clearly be a colossal mess.
JK: That is what is happening. Each one thinks he has to do what he wants to do; fulfil himself. So he is struggling in his separateness to achieve peace, to achieve security, and that security and peace are totally denied.
DB: The reason they are denied is because there is no separation. You see, if there were really separation it would be a rational thing to try to do. But if we are trying to separate what is inseparable the result will be chaos.
JK: That's right.
DB: Now that is clear, but I think that it will not be clear to people immediately that the consciousness of mankind is one inseparable whole.
JK: Yes, an inseparable whole.
DB: Many questions will arise if we consider the notion, but I don't know if we have gone far enough into this yet. One question is, why do we think we are separate?
JK: Why do I think I am separate? That is my conditioning.
DB: Yes, but how did we ever adopt such a foolish conditioning?
JK: From childhood, it is mine, my toy, not yours.
DB: But the first feeling I get of "it is mine" is because I feel I am separate. It isn't clear how the mind, which was one, came to this illusion that it is all broken up into many pieces.
JK: I think it is again the activity of thought. Thought in its very nature is divisive, fragmentary, and therefore I am a fragment.
DB: Thought will create a sense of fragments. You could see, for example, that once we decide to set up a nation we will think we are separate from other nations, and all sorts of consequences follow which make the whole thing seem independently real, We have separate language, a separate flag, and we set up a boundary. And after a while we see so much evidence of separation that we forget how it started, and say it was there always, and that we are merely proceeding from what was there always.
JK: Of course. That's why I feel that if once we grasp the nature and structure of thought, how thought operates, what is the source of thought - and therefore it is always limited - if we really see that, then...
DB: Now the source of thought is what? Is it memory?
JK: Memory. The remembrance of things past, which is knowledge, and knowledge is the outcome of experience, and experience is always limited.
DB: Thought also includes, of course, the attempt to go forward, to use logic, to take into account discoveries and insights.
JK: As we were saying some time ago, thought is time.
DB: All right. Thought is time. That requires more discussion too, because the first response is to say time is there first, and thought is taking place in time.
JK: Ah, no.
DB: For example, if movement is taking place, if the body is moving, this requires time.
JK: To go from here to there needs time. To learn a language needs time.
DB: Yes. To grow a plant needs time.
JK: To paint a picture takes time.
DB: We also say that to think takes time.
JK: So we think in terms of time.
DB: Yes, the first point that one would tend to look at is whether just as everything takes time, to think takes time? Are you saying something else, which is that thought is time?
JK: Thought is time.
DB: That is psychologically speaking.
JK: Psychologically, of course.
DB: Now how do we understand that?
JK: How do we understand what? DB: Thought is time. You see it is not obvious.
JK: Oh yes. Would you say thought is movement, and time is movement?
DB: That's movement. You see, time is a mysterious thing: people have argued about it. We could say that time requires movement. I could understand that we cannot have time without movement.
JK: Time is movement. Time is not separate from movement.
DB: I don't say it is separate from movement.... You see, if we said time and movement are one...
JK: Yes, we are saying that.
DB: They cannot be separated?
DB: That seems fairly clear. Now there is physical movement, which means physical time.
JK: Physical time, hot and cold, and also dark and light...
DB: ...the seasons...
JK: ...sunset and sunrise. All that.
DB: Yes. Now then we have the movement of thought. That brings in the question of the nature of thought. Is thought nothing but a movement in the nervous system, in the brain? Would you say that?
DB: Some people have said it includes the movement of the nervous system, but there might be something beyond.
JK: What is time, actually? Time is hope. DB: Psychologically.
JK: Psychologically. I am talking entirely psychologically for the moment. Hope is time. Becoming is time. Achieving is time. Now take the question of becoming: I want to become something, psychologically. I want to become nonviolent. Take that, for example. That is altogether a fallacy.
DB: We understand it is a fallacy, but the reason it is a fallacy is that there is no time of that kind, is that it?
JK: No. Human beings are violent.
JK: And they have been talking a great deal - Tolstoy, and in India - of nonviolence. The fact is we are violent. And the nonviolence is not real. But we want to become that.
DB: But it is again an extension of the kind of thought that we have with regard to material things. If you see a desert, the desert is real and you say the garden is not real, but in your mind is the garden which will come when you put the water there. So we say we can plan for the future when the desert will become fertile. Now we have to be careful, we say we are violent but we cannot by similar planning become nonviolent.
DB: Why is that?
JK: Why? Because the nonviolent state cannot exist when there is violence. That's just an ideal.
DB: One has to make this more clear, in the same sense the fertile state and the desert don't exist together either. I think you are saying that in the case of the mind, when you are violent, nonviolence has no meaning.
JK: Violence is the only state.
DB: That is all there is.
JK: Yes, not the other.
DB: The movement towards the other is illusory.
JK: So all ideals are illusory, psychologically. The ideal of building a marvellous bridge is not illusory. You can plan it, but to have psychological ideals...
DB: Yes, if you are violent and you continue to be
violent while you are trying to be nonviolent, it has no meaning.
JK: No meaning, and yet that has become such an important thing. The becoming, which is either becoming "what is" or becoming away from "what is."
DB: Yes. "What should be." If you say there can be no sense to becoming in the way of self-improvement, that's...
JK: Oh, self-improvement is something so utterly ugly. We are saying that the source of all this is a movement of thought as time. When once we have made time, psychologically, all the other ideals, nonviolence, achieving some super state, and so on, become utterly illusory.
DB: Yes. When you talk of the movement of thought as time, it seems to me that that time which comes from the movement of thought is illusory.
JK: Yes. DB: We sense it as time, but it is not a real kind of time.
JK: That is why we asked, what is time?
JK: I need time to go from here to there. I need time if I want to learn engineering. I must study it; it takes time. That same movement is carried over into the psyche. We say, I need time to be good. I need time to be enlightened.
DB: Yes, that will always create a conflict. One part of you and another. So that movement in which you say, I need time, also creates a division in the psyche. Between the observer and the observed.
JK: Yes, we are saying the observer is the observed.
DB: And therefore there is no time, psychologically.
JK: That's right. The experiencer, the thinker, is the thought. There is no thinker separate from thought.
DB: All that you are saying seems very reasonable, but I think that it goes so strongly against the tradition we are used to that it will be extraordinarily hard for people, generally speaking, really to understand.
JK: Most people just want a comfortable way of living: "Let me carry on as I am, for God's sake, leave me alone!"
DB: But that is the result of so much conflict, that people are warned off by it, I think. JK: But conflict exists, whether we like it or not. So, that is the whole point, is it possible to live a life without conflict?
DB: Yes, that is all implicit in what has been said. The source of conflict is thought, or knowledge, or the past.
JK: So then one asks: is it possible to transcend thought?
JK: Or is it possible to end knowledge? I am putting it psychologically....
DB: Yes. We say that knowledge of material objects and things like that, knowledge of science, will continue.
JK: Absolutely. That must continue.
DB: But what you call self-knowledge is what you are asking to end, isn't it?
DB: On the other hand people have said - even you have said - that self-knowledge is very important.
JK: Self-knowledge is important, but if I take time to understand myself, I will understand myself eventually by examination, analysis, by watching my whole relationship with others and so on - all that involves time. And I say there is another way of looking at the whole thing without time. Which is, when the observer is the observed.
JK: In that observation there is no time.
DB: Could we go into that further? I mean, for example, if you say there is no time, but still you feel that you can remember an hour ago you were someone else. Now in what sense can we say that there is no time?
JK: Time is division. As thought is division. That is why thought is time.
DB: Time is a series of divisions of past, present, future.
JK: Thought is divisive. So time is thought. Or thought is time.
DB: It doesn't exactly follow from what you said....
JK: Let's go into it.
DB: Yes. You see, at first sight one would think that thought makes divisions of all kinds, with the ruler and with all kinds of things, and also divides up intervals of time: past, present and future. Now it doesn't follow, from just that, that thought is time.
JK: Look, we said time is movement.
JK: Thought is also a series of movements. So both are movements.
DB: Thought is a movement, we suppose, of the nervous system and...
JK: You see, it is a movement of becoming. I am talking psychologically.
DB: Psychologically. But, whenever you think, something is also moving in the blood, in the nerves, and so on. Now when you talk of a psychological movement, do you mean just a change of content? JK: Change of content?
DB: Well what is the movement? What is moving?
JK: Look, I am this, and I am attempting to become something else psychologically.
DB: So that movement is in the content of your thought?
DB: If you say "I am this and I am attempting to become that," then I am in movement. At least, I feel I am in movement.
JK: Say, for instance, that I am greedy. Greed is a movement.
DB: What kind of a movement is it?
JK: To get what I want, to get more. It is a movement.
DB: All right.
JK: And I find that movement painful. Then I try not to be greedy.
JK: The attempt not to be greedy is a movement of time, is becoming.
DB: Yes, but even the greed was becoming.
JK: Of course. So, is the real question, is it possible not to become, psychologically?
DB: It seems that would require that you should not be anything psychologically. As soon as you define yourself in any way, then...
JK: No, we will define it in a minute or two.
DB: I meant, if I define myself as greedy, say that I am greedy, or I am this, or I am that, then either I will want to become something else or to remain what I am.
JK: Now can I remain what I am? Can I remain not with non-greed but with greed? Greed is not different from me; greed is me.
DB: The ordinary way of thinking is that I am here, and I could either be greedy or not greedy.
JK: Of course.
DB: As these are attributes which I may or may not have.
JK: But the attributes are me.
DB: Now that again goes very much against our common language and experience.
JK: All the qualities, the attributes, the virtues, the judgments, the conclusions, and opinions are me.
DB: It seems to me that this would have to be perceived immediately....
JK: That is the whole question. To perceive the totality of this whole movement, instantly. Then we come to the point - it sounds a little odd, and perhaps a little crazy, but it is not - is it possible to perceive without all the movement of memory? To perceive something directly without the word, without the reaction, without the memories entering into perception.
DB: That is a very big question, because memory has constantly entered perception. It would raise the question of what is going to stop memory from entering perception?
JK: Nothing can stop it. But if we see the reason, the rationality of the activity of memory which is limited - in the very perception that it is limited, we have moved out of it into another dimension.
DB: It seems to me that you have to perceive the whole of the limitation of memory.
JK: Yes, not one part.
DB: You can see in general that memory is limited, but there are many ways in which this is not obvious. For example, many of our reactions that are not obvious may be memory, but we don't experience them as memory. Suppose I am becoming: I experience greed, and I have the urge to become less greedy. I can remember that I am greedy but think that this `'me" is the one who remembers, not the other way around, not that memory creates "me" - right?
JK: All this really comes down to whether humanity can live without conflict. It basically comes to that. Can we have peace on this earth? The activities of thought never bring it about.
DB: It seems clear from what has been said that the activity of thought cannot bring about peace: it inherently brings about conflict.
JK: Yes, if we once really see that, our whole activity would be totally different.
DB: But are you saying then that there is an activity which is not thought? Which is beyond thought?
DB: And which is not only beyond thought but which does not require the cooperation of thought? That it is possible for this to go on when thought is absent?
JK: That is the real point. We have often discussed this, whether there is anything beyond thought. Not something holy, sacred - we are not talking of that. We are asking, is there an activity which is not touched by thought? We are saying there is, and that that activity is the highest form of intelligence.
DB: Yes, now we have brought in intelligence.
JK: I know, I purposively brought it in! So intelligence is not the activity of cunning thought. There is intelligence to build a cable....
DB: Well, intelligence can use thought, as you have often said. That is, thought can be the action of intelligence - would you put it that way?
DB: Or it could be the action of memory?
JK: That's it. Either it is the action born of memory and memory being limited, therefore thought is limited, and it has its own activity which then brings about conflict....
DB: I think this would connect with what people are saying about computers. Every computer must eventually depend on some kind of memory which is put in, programmed. And that must be limited.
JK: Of course.
DB: Therefore when we operate from memory we are not very different from a computer; the other way around perhaps, the computer is not very different from us. JK: I would say a Hindu has been programmed for the last five thousand years to be a Hindu; or, in this country, you have been programmed as British, or as a Catholic or a Protestant. So we are all programmed to a certain extent.
DB: Yes, but you are bringing in the notion of an intelligence which is free of the program, which is creative, perhaps....
JK: Yes. That intelligence has nothing to do with memory and knowledge.
DB: It may act in memory and knowledge but it is has nothing to do with it....
JK: That's right. I mean, how do you find out whether it has any reality and is not just imagination and romantic nonsense? To come to that, one has to go into the whole question of suffering, whether there is an end to suffering. And as long as suffering and fear and the pursuit of pleasure exist there cannot be love.
DB: There are many questions there. Suffering, pleasure, fear, anger, violence, and greed - all of those are the response of memory.
DB: They are nothing to do with intelligence.
JK: They are all part of thought and memory.
DB: And as long as they are going on it seems that intelligence cannot operate in thought, or through thought.
JK: That's right. So there must be freedom from suffering.
DB: Well that is a very key point. JK: That is really a very serious and deep question. Whether it is possible to end suffering, which is the ending of me.
DB: Yes, it may seem repetitious but the feeling is that I am there, and I either suffer or don't suffer. I either enjoy things or suffer. Now I think you are saying that suffering arises from thought; it is thought.
JK: Identification. Attachment.
DB: So what is it that suffers? Memory may produce pleasure and then when it doesn't work it produces the opposite of the feeling of pleasure - pain and suffering.
JK: Not only that. Suffering is much more complex, isn't it?
JK: What is suffering? The meaning of the word is to have pain, to have grief, to feel utterly lost, lonely.
DB: It seems to me that it is not only pain, but a kind of total, very pervasive pain....
JK: But suffering is the loss of someone.
DB: Or the loss of something very important.
JK: Yes, of course. Loss of my wife, my son, brother, or whatever it is, and the desperate sense of loneliness.
DB: Or else just simply the fact that the whole world is going into such a state.
JK: Of course.... All the wars.
DB: It makes everything meaningless, you see.
JK: What a lot of suffering wars have created. And wars have been going on for thousands of years. That is why I am saying we are carrying on with the same pattern of the last five thousand years or more....
DB: One can easily see that the violence and hatred in wars will interfere with intelligence.
DB: But some people have felt that by going through suffering they become...
DB: ...Purified, like going through the crucible.
JK: I know. That through suffering you learn. That through suffering your ego is vanished, dissolved.
DB: Yes, dissolved, refined.
JK: It is not. People have suffered immensely, how many wars, how many tears, and the destructive nature of governments? And unemployment, ignorance...
DB:...ignorance of disease, pain, everything. But what is suffering really? Why does it destroy intelligence, or prevent it? What is going on?
JK: Suffering is a shock; I suffer, I have pain, it is the essence of the "me."
DB: The difficulty with suffering is that it is the me that is there that is suffering.
DB: And this me is really being sorry for itself in some way.
JK: My suffering is different from your suffering.
DB: Yes, it isolates itself. It creates an illusion of some kind.
JK: We don't see that suffering is shared by all humanity.
DB: Yes, but suppose we do see it is shared by all humanity?
JK: Then I begin to question what suffering is. It is not my suffering.
DB: That is important. In order to understand the nature of suffering I have to get out of this idea that it is my suffering because as long as I believe it is my suffering I have an illusory notion of the whole thing.
JK: And I can never end it.
DB: If you are dealing with an illusion you can do nothing with it. You see why - we have to come back. Why is suffering the suffering of many? At first it seems that I feel pain in the tooth, or else I have a loss, or something has happened to me, and the other person seems perfectly happy.
JK: Happy, yes. But also he is suffering in his own way.
DB: Yes. At the moment he doesn't see it, but he has his problems too.
JK: Suffering is common to all humanity.
DB: But the fact that it is common is not enough to make it all one.
JK: It is actual.
DB: Are you saying that the suffering of mankind is all one, inseparable?
JK: Yes, that is what I have been saying.
DB: As is the consciousness of man? JK: Yes, that's right.
DB: That when anybody suffers, the whole of mankind is suffering.
JK: The whole point is, we have suffered from the beginning of time, and we haven't solved it. We haven't ended suffering.
DB: But I think you have said that the reason we haven't solved it is because we are treating it as personal, or as in a small group... and that is an illusion.
DB: Now any attempt to deal with an illusion cannot solve anything.
JK: Thought cannot solve anything psychologically.
DB: Because you can say that thought itself divides. Thought is limited and is unable to see that this suffering is all one. And in that way divides it up as mine and yours.
JK: That's right.
DB: And that creates illusion, which can only multiply suffering. Now it seems to me that the statement that the suffering of mankind is one is inseparable from the statement that the consciousness of mankind is one.
JK: Suffering is part of our consciousness.
DB: But one doesn't get the feeling immediately that this suffering belongs to the whole of mankind, you see.
JK: The world is me: I am the world. But we have divided it up into the British earth, and the French earth, and all the rest of it!
DB: Do you mean by the world, the physical world, or the world of society?
JK: The world of society, primarily the psychological world.
DB: So we say the world of society, of human beings, is one, and when I say I am that world, what does it mean?
JK: The world is not different from me.
DB: The world and I are one. We are inseparable.
JK: Yes. And that is real meditation; you must feel this, not just as a verbal statement: it is an actuality. I am my brother's keeper.
DB: Many religions have said that.
JK: That is just a verbal statement and they don't keep it; they don't do it in their hearts.
DB: Perhaps some have done it, but in general it is not being done?
JK: I don't know if anybody has done it. We human beings haven't done it. Our religions actually have prevented it.
DB: Because of division? Every religion has its own beliefs and its own organization.
JK: Of course. Its own gods and its own saviours.
JK: So from that, is that intelligence actual? You understand my question? Or is it some kind of fanciful projection, hoping that it will solve our problems? It is not to me. It is an actuality. Because the ending of suffering means love.
DB: Before we go on, let's clear up a point about "me". You see you said it is not to me. Now in some sense it seems that you are still defining an individual. Is that right?
JK: Yes. I am using the word "I" as a means of com- communication.
DB: But what does it mean? In some way, let's say there may be two people, let's say "A," who is the way you see, and "B" who is not eh?
DB: So "A" says it is not - that seems to create a division between "A" and "B."
JK: That's right. But "B" creates the division.
JK: What is the relationship between the two?
DB: "B" is creating the division by saying, "I am a separate person" but it may confuse "B" further when "A" says "It's not that way to me" - right?
JK: That is the whole point, isn't it, in relationship? You feel that you are not separate, and that you really have this sense of love and compassion, and I haven't got it. I haven't even perceived or gone into this question. What is your relationship to me? You have a relationship with me but I haven't any relationship with you.
DB: Well I think one could say that the person who hasn't seen is almost living a world of dreams, psychologically, and therefore the world of dreams is not related to the world of being awake.
JK: That's right.
DB: But the fellow who is awake can at least perhaps awaken the other fellow.
JK: You are awake; I am not. Then your relationship with me is very clear. But I have no relationship with you; I cannot have one. I insist on division, and you don't. DB: Yes, we have to say that in some way the consciousness of mankind has divided itself, it is all one but it has divided itself by thought. And that is why we are in this situation.
JK: That is why. All the problems that humanity has now, psychologically, as well in other ways, are the result of thought. And we are pursuing the same pattern of thought, and thought will never solve any of these problems. So there is another kind of instrument, which is intelligence.
DB: Well that opens up an entirely different subject. And you mentioned love as well. And compassion.
JK: Without love and compassion there is no intelligence. And you cannot be compassionate if you are attached to some religion, if you are tied to a post like an animal....
DB: Yes as soon as the self is threatened, then it cannot....
JK: You see, self hides behind...
DB: ...other things. I mean, noble ideals.
JK: Yes, it has immense capacity to hide itself. So what is the future of humanity? From what one observes it is leading to destruction.
DB: That is the way it seems to be going.
JK: Very gloomy, grim, and dangerous. If one has children, what is their future? To enter into all this? And go through the misery of it all. So education becomes extraordinarily important. But now education is merely the accumulation of knowledge. DB: Every instrument that man has invented, discovered, or developed has been turned toward destruction.
JK: Absolutely. They are destroying nature; there are very few tigers now.
DB: They are destroying forests and agricultural land.
JK: Nobody seems to care.
DB: Well, most people are just immersed in their plans to save themselves, but others have plans to save humanity. I think also there is a tendency toward despair, implicit in what is happening now, in that people don't think anything can be done.
JK: Yes. And if they think something can be done they form little groups and little theories.
DB: There are those who are very confident in what they are doing....
JK: Most Prime Ministers are very confident. They don't know what they are doing really!
DB: Yes but then most people haven't much confidence in what they are doing themselves.
JK: I know. And if someone has tremendous confidence I accept that confidence and go with them. What is the future of mankind, the future of humanity? I wonder if anybody is concerned with it? Or whether each person, each group, is only concerned with its own survival?
DB: I think the first concern almost always has been with survival in either the individual or the group. That has been the history of mankind.
JK: Therefore, perpetual wars, perpetual inse- curity.
DB: Yes, but this, as you said, is the result of thought, which makes the mistake on the basis of being incomplete of identifying the self with the group, and so on.
JK: You happen to listen to all this. You agree to all this, you see the truth of all this. Those in power will not even listen to you.
JK: They are creating more and more misery, the world is becoming more and more dangerous. What is the point of our seeing something to be true, and what effect has it?
DB: It seems to me that if we think in terms of the effects we are bringing in the very thing which is behind the trouble - time! Then the response would be to get in quickly and do something to change the course of events.
JK: And therefore form a society, foundation, organization, and all the rest of it.
DB: But you see our mistake is to feel that we must think about something, although that thought is incomplete. We don't really know what is going on, and people have made theories about it, but they don't know.
JK: If that is the wrong question, then as a human being, who is mankind, what is my responsibility, apart from effect, and all the rest of it?
DB: Yes, we can't look toward effects. But it is the same as with "A" and "B," that "A" sees, and "B" does not. JK: Yes.
DB: Now suppose "A" sees something and most of the rest of mankind does not. Then, it seems, one could say mankind is in a sense dreaming, asleep.
JK: It is caught in illusion.
DB: Illusion. And the point is that, if somebody sees something, his responsibility is to help awaken the others out of the illusions.
JK: That is just it. This has been the problem. That is why the Buddhists have projected the idea of the Bodhisattva, who is the essence of all compassion, and is waiting to save humanity. It sounds nice. It is a happy feeling that there is somebody doing this. But in actuality we won't do anything that is not comfortable, satisfying, secure, both psychologically and physically.
DB: That is basically the source of the illusion.
JK: How does one make others see all this? They haven't time, they haven't the energy, they haven't even the inclination. They want to be amused. How does one make "X" see this whole thing so clearly that he says, "All right, I have got it, I will work. And I see I am responsible," and all the rest of it. I think that is the tragedy of those who see and those who don't.
The Future of Humanity
The Future of Humanity Chapter 1 1st Conversation with David Bohm Brockwood Park 11th June 1983
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