The Future of Humanity
The Future of Humanity Chapter 2 2nd Conversation with David Bohm Brockwood Park 20th June 1983
J. KRISHNAMURTI: Are all the psychologists, as far as we can understand, really concerned with the future of humanity? Or are they concerned with the human being conforming to the present society? Or going beyond that?
DAVID BOHM: I think that most psychologists evidently want the human being to conform to this society, but I think some are thinking of going beyond that, to transform the consciousness of mankind.
JK: Can the consciousness of mankind be changed through time? That is one of the questions we should discuss.
DB: Yes. We have discussed it already and I think what came out was that with regard to consciousness time is not relevant, that it is a kind of illusion. We discussed the illusion of becoming.
JK: We are saying, aren't we, that the evolution of consciousness is a fallacy.
DB: As through time, yes. Though physical evolution is not.
JK: Can we put it this way, much more simply? There is no psychological evolution, or evolution of the psyche?
DB: Yes. And, since the future of humanity depends on the psyche, it seems then that the future of humanity is not going to be determined through actions in time. And then that leaves us the question: what will we do? JK: Now let's proceed from there. Shouldn't we first distinguish between the brain and the mind?
DB: Well that distinction has been made, and it is not clear. Now of course there are several views. One that the mind is just a function of the brain - that is the materialists' view. There is another view which says mind and brain are two different things.
JK: Yes, I think they are two different things.
DB: But there must be...
JK: ...a contact between the two.
JK: A relationship between the two.
DB: We don't necessarily imply any separation of the two.
JK: No. First let's see the brain. I am really not an expert on the structure of the brain and all that kind of thing. But one can see within one, one can observe from one's own activity of the brain, that it is really like a computer which has been programmed, and remembers.
DB: Certainly a large part of the activity is that way, but one is not certain that all of it is that way.
JK: No. And it is conditioned.
JK: Conditioned by past generations, by the society, by the newspapers, by the magazines, by all the activities and pressures from the outside. It is conditioned.
DB: Now what do you mean by this conditioning?
JK: The brain is programmed; it is made to conform to a certain pattern; it lives entirely on the past, modifying itself with the present and going on.
DB: We have agreed that some of this conditioning is useful and necessary.
JK: Of course.
DB: But the conditioning which determines the self, you know, which determines the...
JK: ...the psyche. Let's call it for the moment the psyche. The self.
DB: The self, the psyche, that conditioning is what you are talking about. That may not only be unnecessary but harmful.
JK: Yes. The emphasis on the psyche, on giving importance to the self, is creating great damage in the world, because it is separative and therefore it is constantly in conflict, not only within itself but with the society, with the family, and so on.
DB: Yes. And it is also in conflict with nature.
JK: With nature, with the whole universe.
DB: We have said that the conflict arose because...
JK: ...of division....
DB: The division arising because thought is limited. Being based on this conditioning, on knowledge and memory, it is limited.
JK: Yes. And experience is limited, therefore knowledge is limited; memory and thought. And the very structure and nature of the psyche is the movement of thought.
JK: In time.
DB: Yes. Now I would like to ask a question. You discussed the movement of thought but it doesn't seem clear to me what is moving. You see, if I discuss the movement of my hand, that is a real movement. It is clear what is meant. But now, when we discuss the movement of thought, it seems to me we are discussing something which is a kind of illusion, because you have said that becoming is the movement of thought.
JK: That is what I mean, the movement is becoming.
DB: But you are saying that movement is in some way illusory, aren't you?
JK: Yes, of course.
DB: It is rather like the movement on the screen which is projected from the camera. We say that there are no objects moving across the screen, but the only real movement is the turning of the projector. Now can we say that there is a real movement in the brain which is projecting all this, which is the conditioning?
JK: That is what we want to find out. Let's discuss that a bit. We both agree, or see, that the brain is conditioned.
DB: We mean that really it has been impressed physically, and chemically....
JK: And genetically, as well as psychologically.
DB: What is the difference between physically and psychologically?
JK: Psychologically the brain is centred in the self - right?
DB: Yes. JK: And the constant assertion of the self is the movement, the conditioning, an illusion.
DB: But there is some real movement happening inside. The brain, for example, is doing something. It has been conditioned physically and chemically. And something is happening physically and chemically when we are thinking of the self.
JK: Are you asking whether the brain and the self are two different things?
DB: No, I am saying that the self is the result of conditioning the brain.
JK: Yes. The self is conditioning the brain.
DB: But does the self exist?
DB: But the conditioning of the brain, as I see it, is the involvement with an illusion which we call the self.
JK: That's right. Can that conditioning be dissipated? That's the whole question.
DB: It really has to be dissipated in some physical and chemical and neurophysiological sense.
DB: Now the first reaction of any scientific person would be that it looks unlikely that we could dissipate it by the sort of thing we are doing. You see, some scientists might feel that maybe we will discover drugs or new genetic changes or deep knowledge of the structure of the brain. In that way we could perhaps help to do something. I think that idea might be current among some people.
JK: Will that change human behaviour? DB: Why not? I think some people believe it might.
JK: Wait a minute. That is the whole point. It might, which means in the future.
DB: Yes, it would take time to discover all this.
JK: In the meantime man is going to destroy himself.
DB: They might hope that he will manage to discover it in time. They could also criticize what we are doing, saying what good can it do? You see, it doesn't seem to affect anybody, and certainly not in time to make a big difference.
JK: We two are very clear about it. In what way does it affect humanity?
DB: Will it really affect mankind in time to save...
JK: Obviously not.
DB: Then why should we be doing it?
JK: Because this is the right thing to do. Independently. It has nothing to do with reward and punishment,
DB: Nor with goals. We do the right thing even though we don't know what the outcome will be?
JK: That's right.
DB: Are you saying there is no other way?
JK: We are saying there is no other way; that's right.
DB: Well we should make that clear. For example, some psychologists would feel that, by enquiring into this sort of thing, we could bring about an evolutionary transformation of consciousness.
JK: We come back to the point that through time we hope to change consciousness. We question that.
DB: We have questioned that, and are saying that through time, inevitably we are all caught in becoming and illusion, and we will not know what we are doing.
JK: That's right.
DB: Now could we say that the same thing would hold even for those scientists who are trying to do it physically and chemically or structurally; that they themselves are still caught in this, and through time they are caught in trying to become better?
JK: Yes. The experimentalists and the psychologists and ourselves are all trying to become something.
DB: Yes, though it may not seem obvious at first. It may seem that the scientists are really just disinterested, unbiased observers, working on the problem. But underneath one feels there is the desire to become better on the part of the person who is enquiring in that way.
JK: To become. Of course.
DB: He is not free of that.
JK: That is just it.
DB: And that desire will give rise to self-deception and illusion, and so on.
JK: So where are we now? Any form of becoming is an illusion, and becoming implies time, time for the psyche to change. But we are saying that time is not necessary.
DB: Now that ties up with the other question of the mind and the brain. The brain is an activity in time, as a physical, chemical, complex process.
JK: I think the mind is separate from the brain.
DB: What does separate mean? Are they in contact?
JK: Separate in the sense that the brain is conditioned and the mind is not.
DB: Let's say the mind has a certain independence of the brain. Even if the brain is conditioned...
JK: ...the other is not.
DB: It need not be...
DB: On what basis do you say that?
JK: Let's not begin on what basis I say that.
DB: Well, what makes you say it?
JK: As long as the brain is conditioned, it is not free.
JK: And the mind is free.
DB: Yes, that is what you are saying. But you see, the brain not being free means that it is not free to enquire in an unbiased way.
JK: I will go into it. Let's enquire what is freedom? Freedom to enquire, freedom to investigate. It is only in freedom that there is deep insight.
DB: Yes, that's clear, because if you are not free to enquire, or if you are biased, then you are limited, in an arbitrary way.
JK: So as long as the brain is conditioned its relationship to the mind is limited.
DB: We have the relationship of the brain to the mind, and also the other way round.
JK: Yes. But the mind being free has a relationship to the brain.
DB: Yes. Now we say the mind is free, in some sense, not subject to the conditioning of the brain.
DB: What is the nature of the mind? Is the mind located inside the body, or is it in the brain?
JK: No, it is nothing to do with the body or the brain.
DB: Has it to do with space or time?
JK: Space - now wait a minute! It has to do with space and silence. These are the two factors of the..,
DB: But not time?
JK: Not time. Time belongs to the brain.
DB: You say space and silence; now what kind of space? It is not the space in which we see life moving.
JK: Space. Let's look round at it the other way. Thought can invent space.
DB: In addition, we have the space that we see. But thought can invent all kinds of space.
JK: And space from here to there.
DB: Yes, the space through which we move is that way.
JK: Space also between two noises, two sounds.
DB: They call that the interval, the interval between two sounds.
JK: Yes, the interval between two noises. Two thoughts. Two notes.
DB: Yes. JK: Space between two people.
DB: Space between the walls.
JK: And so on. But that kind of space is not the space of the mind.
DB: You say it is not limited?
JK: That's right. But I didn't want to use the word limited.
DB: But it is implied. That kind of space is not in the nature of being bounded by something.
JK: No, it is not bounded by the psyche,
DB: But is it bounded by anything?
JK: No. So can the brain, with all its cells conditioned, can those cells radically change?
DB: We have often discussed this. It is not certain that all the cells are conditioned. For example, some people think that only some or a small part of the cells are being used, and that the others are just inactive, dormant.
JK: Hardly used at all, or just touched occasionally.
DB: Just touched occasionally. But those cells that are conditioned, whatever they may be, evidently dominate consciousness now.
JK: Yes. Can those cells be changed?
JK: We are saying that they can, through insight; insight being out of time, not the result of remembrance, not an intuition, nor desire, nor hope. It is nothing to do with any time and thought.
DB: Yes. Now is insight of the mind? Is it of the nature of mind? An activity of mind? JK: Yes.
DB: Therefore you are saying that mind can act in the matter of the brain.
JK: Yes, we said that earlier.
DB: But, you see, this point, how mind is able to act in matter, is difficult.
JK: It is able to act on the brain. For instance, take any crisis, or problem. The root meaning of problem is, as you know, "something thrown at you." And we meet it with all the remembrance of the past, with a bias and so on. And therefore the problem multiplies itself. You may solve one problem, but in the very solution of one particular problem, other problems arise, as happens in politics, and so on. Now to approach the problem, or to have perception of it without any past memories and thoughts interfering or projecting...
DB: That implies that perception also is of the mind....
JK: Yes, that's right.
DB: Are you saying that the brain is a kind of instrument of the mind?
JK: An instrument of the mind when the brain is not self-centred.
DB: All the conditioning may be thought of as the brain exciting itself, and keeping itself going just from the programme. This occupies all of its capacities.
JK: All our days, yes.
DB: The brain is rather like a radio receiver which can generate its own noise, but would not pick up a signal.
JK: Not quite. Let's go into this a little. Experience is always limited. I may blow up that experience into something fantastic, and then set up a shop to sell my experience, but that experience is limited. And so knowledge is always limited. And this knowledge is operating in the brain. This knowledge is the brain. And thought is also part of the brain, and thought is limited. So the brain is operating in a very, very small area.
DB: Yes. What prevents it from operating in a broader area? In an unlimited area?
DB: But it seems to me the brain is running on its own, from its own programme.
JK: Yes, like a computer.
DB: Essentially, what you are asking is that the brain should really be responding to the mind.
JK: It can only respond if it is free from the limited; from thought, which is limited.
DB: So the programme does not then dominate it. You see we are still going to need that programme.
JK: Of course. We need it for...
DB: ...for many things. But is intelligence from the mind?
JK: Yes, intelligence is the mind.
DB: Is the mind.
JK: We must go into something else. Because compassion is related to intelligence, there is no intelligence without compassion. And compassion can only be, when there is love which is completely free from all remembrances, personal jealousies, and so on.
DB: Is all that compassion, love, also of the mind?
JK: Of the mind. You cannot be compassionate if you are attached to any particular experience, or any particular ideal.
DB: Yes, that is again the programme.
JK: Yes. For instance, there are those people who go out to various poverty-ridden countries and work, work, work. And they call that compassion. But they are attached, or tied to a particular form of religious belief, and therefore their action is merely pity or sympathy. It is not compassion.
DB: Yes, I understand that we have here two things which can be somewhat independent. There is the brain and the mind, though they make contact. Then we say that intelligence and compassion come from beyond the brain. Now I would like to go into the question of how they are making contact.
JK: Ah! Contact can only exist between the mind and the brain when the brain is quiet.
DB: Yes, that is the requirement for making it. The brain has got to be quiet.
JK: Quiet is not a trained quietness. Not a self-conscious, meditative, desire for silence. It is a natural outcome of understanding one's own conditioning.
DB: And one can see that if the brain is quiet it could listen to something deeper?
JK: That's right. Then if it is quiet it is related to the mind. Then the mind can function through the brain.
DB: I think that it would help if we could see with regard to the brain whether it has any activity which is beyond thought. You see, for example, one could ask, is awareness part of the function of the brain?
JK: As long as it is awareness in which there is no choice.
DB: I think that may cause difficulty. What is wrong with choice?
JK: Choice means confusion.
DB: That is not obvious....
JK: After all, you have to choose between two things.
DB: I could choose whether I will buy one thing or another.
JK: Yes, I can choose between this table and that table.
DB: I choose the colours when I buy the table. That need not be confused. If I choose which colour I want, I don't see why that has to be confused.
JK: There is nothing wrong. There is no confusion there.
DB: But it seems to me that the choice about the psyche is where the confusion is.
JK: That's all; we are talking of the psyche that chooses.
DB: That chooses to become.
JK: Yes. Chooses to become. And choice exists where there is confusion. DB: Are you saying that out of confusion the psyche makes a choice to become one thing or another? Being confused, it tries to become something better?
JK: And choice implies a duality.
DB: But it seems at first sight that we have another duality which you have introduced, which is the mind and the brain.
JK: No, that is not a duality.
DB: What is the difference?
JK: Let's take a very simple example. Human beings are violent, and nonviolence has been projected by thought. That is the duality - the fact, and the non-fact.
DB: You are saying there is a duality between a fact, and some mere projection which the mind makes.
JK: The ideal and the fact.
DB: The ideal is non-real, and the fact is real.
JK: That's it. The ideal is not actual.
DB: Yes. Now then you say the division of those is duality. Why do you give it that name?
JK: Because they are divided.
DB: Well at least they appear to be divided.
JK: Divided, and we are struggling. For instance, all the totalitarian communist ideals, and the democratic ideals, are the outcome of thought which is limited, and this is creating havoc in the world.
DB: So there is a division which has been brought in. But I think we were discussing in terms of dividing something which cannot be divided. Of trying to divide the psyche.
JK: That's right. Violence cannot be divided into non-violence.
DB: And the psyche cannot be divided into violence and nonviolence. Right?
JK: It is what it is.
DB: It is what it is; so, if it is violent, it can't be divided into a violent and a nonviolent part.
JK: So can we remain with "what is," not with "what should be," "what must be," not invent ideals, and so on?
DB: Yes, but could we return to the question of the mind and the brain? Now we are saying that is not a division.
JK: Oh no, that is not a division.
DB: They are in contact, is that right?
JK: We said, there is contact between the mind and the brain when the brain is silent and has space.
DB: So we are saying that although they are in contact and not divided at all, the mind can still have a certain independence of the conditioning of the brain.
JK: Now let's be careful! Suppose my brain is conditioned, for example, programmed as a Hindu, and my whole life and action are conditioned by the idea that I am a Hindu. Mind obviously has no relationship with that conditioning. DB: You are using the word mind; not "my" mind.
JK: Mind. It is not 'mine'.
DB: It is universal or general. JK: Yes. And it is not 'my' brain either.
DB: No, but there is a particular brain, this brain or that brain. Would you say that there is a particular mind?
DB: That is an important difference. You are saying mind is really universal.
JK: Mind is universal - if you can use that ugly word.
DB: Unlimited and undivided.
JK: It is unpolluted; not polluted by thought.
DB: But I think for most people there will be difficulty in saying how we know anything about this mind. We only know that my mind is the first feeling - right?
JK: You cannot call it your mind. You only have your brain, which is conditioned. You can't say, 'It is my mind.'
DB: But whatever is going on inside I feel is mine, and it is very different from what is going on inside somebody else.
JK: No, I question whether it is different.
DB: At least it seems different.
JK: Yes. I question whether it is different, what is going on inside me as a human being, and you as another human being. We both go through all kinds of problems: suffering, fear, anxiety, loneliness, and so on. We have our dogmas, beliefs, superstitions. And everybody has this.
DB: We can say it is all very similar, but it seems as if each one of us is isolated from the other. JK: By thought. My thought has created the belief that I am different from you, because my body is different from yours, my face is different from yours. We extend that same thing into the psychological area.
DB: But now if we said that division is an illusion, perhaps?
JK: No, not perhaps! It is.
DB: It is an illusion. All right. Although it is not obvious when a person first looks at it.
JK: Of course.
DB: In reality even brain is not divided, because we are saying that we are all not only basically similar but really connected. And then we say beyond all that is mind, which has no division at all.
JK: It is unconditioned.
DB: Yes, it would almost seem to imply, then, that in so far as a person feels he is a separate being he has very little contact with mind.
JK: Quite right. That is what we said.
DB: No mind.
JK: That is why it is very important to understand not the mind but our conditioning. And whether our conditioning, human conditioning, can ever be dissolved. That is the real issue.
DB: Yes. I think we still want to understand the meaning of what is being said. You see, we have a mind that is universal; that is in some kind of space, you say, or is it its own space?
JK: It is not in me or in my brain.
DB: But it has a space. JK: It is, it lives in space and silence.
DB: It lives in a space and silence, but it is the space of the mind. It is not a space like this space?
JK: No. That is why we said space is not invented by thought.
DB: Yes, now is it possible then to perceive this space when the mind is silent, to be in contact with it?
JK: Not perceive. Let's see. You are asking whether the mind can be perceived by the brain.
DB: Or at least the brain somehow be aware... an awareness, a sense.
JK: We are saying, yes; through meditation. You may not like to use that word.
DB: I don't mind.
JK: You see, the difficulty is that when you use the word "meditation" it is generally understood that there is always a meditator meditating. Real meditation is an unconscious process, not a conscious process.
DB: How then are you able to say that meditation takes place if it is unconscious?
JK: It is taking place when the brain is quiet.
DB: You mean by consciousness all the movement of thought? Feeling, desire, will, and all that goes with it?
DB: There is a kind of awareness still, isn't there?
JK: Oh yes. It depends what you call awareness. Awareness of what?
DB: Possibly awareness of something deeper, I don't know.
JK: Again, when you use the word 'deeper,' it is a measurement. I wouldn't use that.
DB: Well, let's not use that. But, you see, there is a kind of unconsciousness which we are simply not aware of at all. A person may be unconscious of some of his problems, conflicts.
JK: Let's go at it a bit more. If I do something consciously, it is the activity of thought.
DB: Yes, it is thought reflecting on itself.
JK: Right, it is the activity of thought. Now if I consciously meditate, practise, do all that, which I call nonsense, then I am making the brain conform to another series of patterns.
DB: Yes, it is more becoming.
JK: More becoming, that's right.
DB: You are trying to become better.
JK: There is no illumination by becoming. One can't be illumined, if I can use that word, by saying that one is going to be some sort of guru.
DB: But it seems very difficult to communicate something which is not conscious.
JK: That's it. That's the difficulty.
DB: It is not just being knocked out. If a person is unconscious, he is knocked out, but you don't mean that.
JK: Of course not!
DB: Or under anesthetic or...
JK: No, let's put it this way: conscious meditation, conscious activity to control thought, to free oneself from conditioning, is not freedom. DB: Yes, I think that is clear, but it becomes very unclear how to communicate something else. JK: Wait a minute. You want to discuss what lies beyond thought.
DB: Or when thought is silent.
JK: Quite, silent. What words would you use?
DB: Well, I suggested the word awareness. What about the word attention?
JK: Attention for me is better. Would you say, in attention there is no centre as the me?
DB: Well, not in the kind of attention you are discussing. There is the usual kind, where we pay attention because of what interests us.
JK: Attention is not concentration.
DB: We are discussing a kind of attention without this 'me' present, which is not the activity of the conditioning.
JK: Not the activity of thought. In attention, thought has no place.
DB: Yes, but could we say more? What do you mean by attention? Now would the derivation of the word be of any use? It means stretching the mind - would that help?
JK: No. Would it help if we say concentration is not attention? Effort is not attention. When I make an effort to attend it is not attention. Attention can only come into being when the self is not.
DB: Yes, but that is going to get us in a circle, because usually we are starting when the self is.
JK: No, I used the word carefully. Meditation means measure. DB: Yes.
JK: As long as there is measurement, which is becoming, there is no meditation. Let's put it that way.
DB: Yes. We can discuss when there is not meditation.
JK: That's right. Through negation the other is.
DB: Because if we succeed in negating the whole activity of what is not meditation, the meditation will be there.
JK: That's right.
DB: That which is not meditation, but which we think is meditation.
JK: Yes, that is very clear. As long as there is measurement, which is the becoming, which is the process of thought, meditation or silence cannot be.
DB: Is this undirected attention mind?
JK: Attention is of the mind.
DB: Well, it contacts the brain, doesn't it?
JK: Yes. As long as the brain is silent, the other has contact.
DB: That is, this true attention has contact with the brain, when the brain is silent.
JK: Silent, and has space.
DB: What is space?
JK: The brain has no space now, because it is concerned with itself, it is programmed, it is self-centred and it is limited.
DB: Yes. The mind is in its space; now does the brain have its space too? Limited space?
JK: Of course. Thought has a limited space. DB: But when thought is absent, does the brain have its space?
JK: Yes. The brain has space.
JK: No. It is only mind that has unlimited space. My brain can be quiet over a problem which I have thought about, and I suddenly say, 'Well I won't think anymore about it,' and there is a certain amount of space. In that space you solve the problem.
DB: Now if the brain is silent, if it is not thinking of a problem, then still the space is limited, but it is open to...
JK: ...to the other.
DB: ...to the attention. Would you say that, through attention, or in attention, the mind is contacting the brain?
JK: When the brain is not inattentive.
DB: So what happens to the brain?
JK: What happens to the brain which is to act? Let's get it clear. We said intelligence is born out of compassion and love. That intelligence operates when the brain is quiet.
DB: Yes. Does it operate through attention?
JK: Of course.
DB: So attention seems to be the contact.
JK: Naturally. We said too that attention can only be, when the self is not.
DB: Now you say that love and compassion are the ground, and out of this comes the intelligence, through attention. JK: Yes, it functions through the brain.
DB: So there are two questions: one is the nature of this intelligence, and the second is, what does it do to the brain?
JK: Yes, let's see. We must again approach it negatively. Love is not jealousy, and all that. Love is not personal, but it can be personal.
DB: Then it is not what you are talking about.
JK: Love is not my country, your country, or 'I love my god.' It is not that.
DB: If it is from universal mind....
JK: That is why I say love has no relationship to thought.
DB: And it does not start in the particular brain, does not originate in the particular brain.
JK: When there is that love, out of it there is compassion and there is intelligence.
DB: Is this intelligence able to understand deeply?
JK: No, not 'understand.'
DB: What does it do? Does it perceive?
JK: Through perception it acts.
DB: Perception of what?
JK: Now let's discuss perception. There can be perception only when it is not tinged by thought. When there is no interference from the movement of thought, there is perception, which is direct insight into a problem, or into human complexities.
DB: Now this perception originates in the mind?
JK: Does the perception originate in the mind? Yes. When the brain is quiet.
DB: But we use the words perception and intelligence, now how are they related, or what is their difference?
JK: The difference between perception and intelligence?
DB: So we can say intelligence is perception.
JK: Yes, that's right.
DB: Intelligence is perception of 'what is'? And through attention there is contact.
JK: Let's take a problem, then it is easier to understand. Take the problem of suffering. Human beings have suffered endlessly, through wars, through physical disease, and through wrong relationship with each other. Now can that end?
DB: I would say the difficulty of ending that is that it is on the programme. We are conditioned to this whole thing.
JK: Yes. Now that has been going on for centuries.
DB: So it is very deep.
JK: Very, very deep. Now can that suffering end?
DB: It cannot end by an action of the brain.
JK: By thought.
DB: Because the brain is caught in suffering, and it cannot take an action to end its own suffering.
JK: Of course it cannot. That is why thought cannot end it. Thought has created it.
DB: Yes, thought has created it, and anyway it is unable to get hold of it.
JK: Thought has created the wars, the misery, the confusion. And thought has become prominent in human relationship.
DB: Yes, but I think people might agree with that and still think that just as thought can do bad things, it can do good things.
JK: No, thought cannot do good or bad. It is thought, limited.
DB: Thought cannot get hold of this suffering. That is, this suffering being in the physical and chemical conditioning of the brain, thought has no way of even knowing what it is.
JK: I mean, I lose my son and I am....
DB: Yes, but by thinking, I don't know what is going on inside me. I can't change the suffering inside because thinking will not show me what it is. Now you are saying intelligence is perception.
JK: But we are asking, can suffering end? That is the problem.
DB: Yes, and it is clear that thinking cannot end it.
JK: Thought cannot do it. That is the point. If I have an insight into it...
DB: Now this insight will be through the action of the mind; through intelligence and attention.
JK: When there is that insight, intelligence wipes away suffering.
DB: You are saying, therefore, that there is a contact from mind to matter which removes the whole physical, chemical structure that keeps us going on with suffering.
JK: That's right. In that ending there is a mutation in the brain cells.
DB: Yes, and that mutation just wipes out the whole structure that makes you suffer.
JK: That's right. Therefore it is as if I have been going along a certain tradition; I suddenly change that tradition and there is a change in the whole brain, which has been going North. Now it goes East.
DB: Of course this is a radical notion from the point of view of traditional ideas in science, because, if we accept that mind is different from matter, then people would find it hard to say that mind would actually,..
JK: Would you put it that mind is pure energy?
DB: Well, we could put it that way, but matter is energy too.
JK: But matter is limited; thought is limited.
DB: But we are saying that the pure energy of mind is able to reach into the limited energy of matter?
JK: Yes, that's right. And change the limitation. DB: Remove some of the limitation.
JK: When there is a deep issue, problem, or challenge which you are facing.
DB: We could also add that all the traditional ways of trying to do this cannot work....
JK: They haven't worked.
DB: Well, that is not enough. We have to say, because people still might hope it could, that it cannot, actually.
JK: It cannot. DB: Because thought cannot get at its own physical, chemical basis in the cells, and do anything about those cells.
JK: Yes. Thought cannot bring about a change in itself.
DB: And yet practically everything that mankind has been trying to do is based on thought. There is a limited area, of course, where that is all right, but we cannot do anything about the future of humanity from that usual approach.
JK: When one listens to the politicians, who are so very active in the world, they are creating problem after problem, and to them thought, ideals are the most important things.
DB: Generally speaking nobody knows of anything else.
JK: Exactly. We are saying that the old instrument which is thought is worn out, except in certain areas.
DB: It never was adequate, except in those areas.
JK: Of course.
DB: And, as far as history goes, man has always been in trouble.
JK: Man has always been in trouble, in turmoil, in fear. And facing all the confusion of the world, can there be a solution to all this?
DB: That comes back to the question I would like to repeat. It seems there are a few people who are talking about it, and think perhaps they know, or perhaps they meditate, and so on. But how is that going to affect this vast current of mankind?
JK: Probably very little. But why will it affect this? It might, or it might not. But then one puts that question: what is the use of it?
DB: Yes, that's the point. I think there is an instinctive feeling that makes one put the question.
JK: But I think that is the wrong question.
DB: You see, the first instinct is to say, 'What can we do to stop this tremendous catastrophe'?
JK: Yes. But if each one of us, whoever listens, sees the truth that thought, in its activity both externally and inwardly, has created a terrible mess, great suffering, then one must inevitably ask is there an ending to all this? If thought cannot end it, what will?
JK: What is the new instrument that will put an end to all this misery? You see, there is a new instrument which is the mind, which is intelligence. But the difficulty is also that people won't listen to all this. Both the scientists and the ordinary laymen like us, have come to definite conclusions, and they won't listen.
DB: Yes, well, that is what I had in mind when I said that a few people don't seem to have much effect.
JK: Of course. I think, after all, few people have changed the world, whether good or bad - but that is not the point. Hitler; and also the communists have changed it, but they have gone to the same pattern again. Physical revolution has never psychologically changed the human state.
DB: Do you think it is possible that a certain number of brains coming in contact with mind in this way will be able to have an effect on mankind, which is beyond just the immediate, obvious effect of their communication?
JK: Yes, that's right. But how do you convey this subtle and very complex issue to a person who is steeped in tradition, who is conditioned, and won't even take time to listen, to consider?
DB: Well, that is the question. You see, you could say that this conditioning cannot be absolute; cannot be an absolute block, or else there would be no way out at all. But the conditioning may be thought to have some sort of permeability.
JK: I mean, after all, the Pope won't listen to us, but the Pope has tremendous influence.
DB: Is it possible that every person has something he can listen to, if it could be found?
JK: If he has a little patience. Who will listen? The politicians won't listen. The idealists won't listen. The totalitarians won't listen. The deeply steeped religious people won't listen. So perhaps a so-called ignorant person, not highly educated or conditioned in his professional career, or by money, the poor man who says, 'I am suffering, please let's end that.'...
DB: But he doesn't listen either, you see. He wants to get a job.
JK: Of course. He says, 'Feed me first', We have been through all this for the last sixty years. The poor man won't listen, the rich man won't listen, the learned won't listen, and the deeply dogmatic religious believers don't listen. So perhaps it is like a wave in the world; it might catch somebody. I think it is a wrong question to say, does it affect?
DB: Yes, all right. We will say that that brings in time, and that is becoming. It brings in the psyche in the process of becoming again.
JK: Yes. But if you say... it must affect mankind...
DB: Are you proposing that it affects mankind through the mind directly, rather than through...
JK: Yes. It may not show immediately in action.
DB: You said that the mind is universal, and is not located in our ordinary space, is not separate....
JK: Yes, but there is a danger in saying this, that the mind is universal. That is what some people say of the mind, and it has become a tradition.
DB: One can turn it into an idea, of course.
JK: That is just the danger of it; that is what I am saying.
DB: Yes. But really the question is, we have to come directly in contact with this to make it real, Right?
JK: That's it. We can only come into contact with it when the self is not. To put it very simply, when the self is not, there is beauty, silence, space; then that intelligence, which is born of compassion, operates through the brain. It is very simple.
DB: Yes. Would it be worth discussing the self, since the self is widely active?
JK: I know. That is our long tradition of many, many centuries. DB: Is there some aspect of meditation which can be helpful here when the self is acting? You see, suppose a person says, 'all right, I am caught in the self, but I want to get out. But I want to know what I shall do?'
DB: I won't use the words 'what shall I do?' But what do you say?
JK: That is very simple. Is the observer different from the observed?
DB: Well, suppose we say, 'Yes, it appears to be different; then what?
JK: Is that an idea or an actuality?
DB: What do you mean?
JK: Actuality is when there is no division between the thinker and the thought.
DB: But suppose I say, ordinarily one feels that the observer is different from the observed. We begin there.
JK: We begin there. I'll show you. Look at it. Are you different from your anger, from your envy, from your suffering? You are not.
DB: At first sight it appears that I am, that I might try to control it.
JK: You are that.
DB: Yes, but how will I see that I am that?
JK: You are your name. You are your form, your body. You are the reactions and actions. You are the belief, the fear, the suffering and pleasure. You are all that.
DB: But the first experience is that I am here first, and that those are properties of me; they are my qualities which I can either have or not have. I might be angry, or not angry, I might have this belief, or that belief.
JK: Contradictory. You are all that.
DB: But you see, it is not obvious. When you say I am that, do you mean that I am that, and cannot be otherwise?
JK: No. At present you are that. It can be totally otherwise.
DB: All right. So I am all that. You are telling me that this unbiased observer is the same as the anger he is looking at?
JK: Of course. Just as I analyze myself, and the analyzer is the analyzed.
DB: Yes. He is biased by what he analyzes.
DB: So, if I watch anger for a while, I can see that I am very biased by the anger, so at some stage I say that I am one with that anger?
JK: No, not 'I am one with it; I am it.
DB: That anger and I are the same?
JK: Yes. The observer is the observed. And when that actuality exists you have really eliminated altogether conflict. Conflict exists when I am separate from my quality.
DB: Yes, that is because if I believe myself to be separate, then I can try to change it, but since I am that, it is trying to change itself and remain itself at the same time.
JK: Yes, that's right. But when the quality is me, the division has ended. Right?
DB: When I see that the quality is me, then there is no point in trying to change.
JK: No. When there is division and the quality is not me, in that there is conflict, either suppression or escape, and so on, which is a wastage of energy. When that quality is me, all that energy which has been wasted is there to look, to observe.
DB: But why does it make such a difference to have that quality being me?
JK: It makes a difference when there is no division between the quality and me.
DB: Well then there is no perception of a difference....
JK: That's right. Put it round differently.
DB: ...the mind does not try to fight itself.
JK: Yes, yes. It is so.
DB: If there is an illusion of a difference, the mind must be compelled to fight against itself.
JK: The brain.
DB: The brain fights against itself.
JK: That's right.
DB: On the other hand, when there is no illusion of a difference, the brain just stops fighting.
JK: And therefore you have tremendous energy.
DB: The brain's natural energy is released?
JK: Yes. And energy means attention.
DB: The energy of the brain allows for attention....
JK: For that thing to dissolve.
DB: Yes, but wait a minute. We said before that attention was a contact of the mind and the brain. JK: Yes.
DB: The brain must be in a state of high energy to allow that contact.
JK: That's right.
DB: I mean, a brain which is low energy cannot allow that contact.
JK: Of course not. But most of us are low energy because we are so conditioned.
DB: Well essentially you are saying that this is the way to start.
JK: Yes, start simply. Start with 'what is,' what I am. Self-knowledge is so important. It is not an accumulated process of knowledge, which one then looks at; it is a constant learning about oneself.
DB: If you call it self-knowledge, then it is not knowledge of the kind we talked about before, which is conditioning.
JK: That's right. Knowledge conditions.
DB: But you are saying that self-knowledge of this kind is not conditioning. But why do you call it knowledge? Is it a different kind of knowledge?
JK: Yes. Knowledge conditions.
DB: Yes, but now you have this self-knowledge.
JK: Which is to know and to comprehend oneself. To understand oneself is such a subtle, complex thing. It is living.
DB: Essentially knowing yourself in the very moment in which things are happening.
JK: Yes, to know what is happening.
DB: Rather than store it up in memory.
JK: Of course. Through reactions, I begin to discover what I am.
The Future of Humanity
The Future of Humanity Chapter 2 2nd Conversation with David Bohm Brockwood Park 20th June 1983
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