Wholeness of Life
Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm
The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 3 3rd Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 18th May, 1976
Krishnamurti: Shall we start where we left off? We were asking, weren't we, why do human beings live this way?
Dr Shainberg: What is the root?
K: The turmoil, the confusion, the sorrow behind it all, the conflict, the violence. And so many people offer different ways of solving the problems - the gurus, the priests all over the world, the thousands of books, everybody offering a new solution, a new method, a new way of solving the problems. And I am sure this has been going on for a million years. "Do this and you will be all right. Do that and you will be all right." But nothing seems to have succeeded in making man live in order, happily, intelligently, without this chaotic activity going on. Why do we human beings live this way - in this appalling misery? Why?
S: Well, I have often said they do it because the very sorrow, the very turmoil, the very problems themselves, give them a sense of security.
Dr Bohm: I don't really think so. I think people just get used to it, Whatever happens you get used to it and you come to miss it after a while just because you are used to it. But that doesn't explain why it is there.
K: I was reading the other day that in 5,000 years there have been 5,000 wars - and we are still going on.
S: That's right. A guy said to me once that he wanted to go to Vietnam to fight because otherwise his life was every night at the bar.
K: I know, but that isn't the reason. Is it that we like it?
S: It is not that we like it; it is almost that we like not liking it.
K: Have we all become neurotic? S: Yes. The whole thing is neurotic.
K: Are you saying that?
S: Yes. The whole of society is neurotic.
K: Which means that entire humanity is neurotic?
S: I think so. This is the argument we have all the time: Is society sick? And then if you say society is sick, what is the value you are using for comparison?
K: Yourself, who is neurotic.
K: So when you are faced with this, that human beings live this way and have accepted it for millennia, you say, "Well they are all half crazy - demented, corrupt from top to bottom", and then I come along and ask why?
S: Why do we keep it up? Why are we crazy? I see it with my children. They spend 50 hours a week in front of the television box. That is their whole life. My children laugh at me, all their friends are doing it.
K: No, moving beyond that - why?
S: Why? Without it - what?
K: No: not without it, what.
S: That is what we run into.
B: No that is very secondary. You see, as we were saying this morning, I think we get to depend on it to occupy us, and war would seem some release from the boredom of the pub, or whatever, but that is secondary.
K: And also when I go to fight a war, all responsibility is taken away from me. Somebody else becomes responsible - the general....
B: In the old days people used to think that war would be a glorious thing. When the first world war started in England everybody was in a state of high elation.
K: So looking at this panorama of horror - I feel this very strongly because I travel all over the place and I see this extraordinary phenomenon going on everywhere - I say why do people live this way, accept these things? We have become cynical. B: Nobody believes anything can be done about it.
S: That's it.
K: Is it that we feel that we cannot do anything about it?
S: That's for sure.
B: That's been an old story. People say human nature...
K: ...can never be altered.
B: Yes. That is not new at all.
K: Not new.
S: But it's certainly true that people feel - let's not say people - we feel, like I said this morning, that this is the way it is, this is the way we live.
K: I know, but why don't you change it? You see your son looking at the television for 50 hours; you see your son going off to war, killed, maimed, blinded - for what?
B: Many people have said that they don't accept that human nature is this way, that they will try to change it, and it hasn't worked. The Communists tried it; others tried it. There has been so much bad experience, which all adds up to the idea that human nature doesn't change.
S: You know when Freud came along, he made history: he never said psychoanalysis is to change people. He said we can only study people.
K: I am not interested in that. I know that. I don't have to read Freud, or Jung, or you, or anybody, it is there in front of me.
S: Right. So let's say we know this fact about people, they don't try to change.
K: So what is preventing them?
B: People have tried to change in many cases, but...
S: OK. But now let's say that they don't try to change.
K: They do. In a dozen ways they try to change.
K: But essentially they are the same.
B: You see, I think people cannot find out how to change human nature.
K: Is that it? B: Well, whatever methods have been tried are entirely...
S: is that it? Or is it the fact that the very nature of the way they want to change is part of the process itself
K: That's what he is saying.
B: No, but I am saying both. I say the first part is that whatever people have tried has not been guided by a correct understanding of human nature.
S: So it is guided by this very process itself. Right? By the incorrectness?
B: Yes, let's take the Marxists who say that human nature can be improved, but only when the whole economical and political structure has been altered.
K: They have tried to alter it but human nature...
B: They can't alter it, you see, because human nature is such that they can't really alter it.
S: They make a mechanical change.
K: Look at it, sir: take yourself - sorry to be personal - but if you don't mind, you be the victim.
S: Pig in the middle.
K: Right. Why don't you change?
S: Well, the immediate feel of it is that there is still... I guess I shall have to say there is some sort of false security - the fragmentation, the immediate pleasures that are got from the fragmentation. In other words there is still that movement of fragmentation. That's how come there is not the change. It is not seeing the whole thing.
K: Are you saying that political action, religious action, social action, are all fighting each other? And we are that.
K: Is that what you are saying?
S: Yes, I am saying that. My immediate response is: Why don't I change? What is it that keeps me from seeing the total? I don't know. I keep coming up with a kind of feeling that I am getting something from not changing. K: Is it the entity that wishes to change - which sets the pattern or change, and therefore the pattern is always the same under a different colour? I don't know if I am making myself clear?
S: Could you say it another way?
K: I want to change, and I plan what to change, how to bring about this change.
K: The planner is always the same.
S: That's right.
K: But the patterns change.
S: That's right. Yes. I have an image of what I want.
K: So the patterns change, but I, who want to change, create the patterns of change.
S: That's right.
K: So I am the old and the patterns are the new but the old is always conquering the new.
B: But when I do that I don't feel that I am the old...
K: ...of course.
B: I really don't feel I am involved in that old stuff I want to change.
K: It has been said a hundred million times. Do this and you will be transformed. You try to do it but the centre is always the same.
B: And each person who does it feels that it has never happened before.
K: Never before. Yes. My experience through reading some book is entirely different, but the experiencer is the same...
B: The same old thing, right.
K: I think that is one of the root causes of it.
S: Yes, yes.
B: It is a kind of sleight-of-hand trick whereby the thing which is causing the trouble is put into the position of the thing that is tryng to make the change. It is a deception.
K: I am deceiving myself all the time by saying I am going to change that, become that. You read some book and say, "Yes how true that is, I am going to live according to that." But the me who is going to live according to that is the same old me.
S: Right, yes. That's right. We run into this with patients. For instance, the patient will say, the doctor is going to be the one who is going to help me. But when I see that that doctor is...
K: ...is like me.
S: ...is like me, he is not going to be able to help. Then the patient goes to someone else - most of them go to another therapy.
K: Another guru. After all they are all men too. A new guru, or an old guru - it is all the same old stuff.
S: You are really getting at the issue, that the root is this belief that something, someone, can help you.
K: No, the root remains the same - and we trim the branches.
B: I think the root is something we don't see because we put it in the position of the one who is supposed to be seeing.
S: Say that another way.
B: It is a sort of a conjuring trick. We don't see the root because the root is put into the position of somebody who is looking for the root. I don't know if you see it.
K: Yes. The root says I am looking for the root.
B: It is like the man who says he is looking for his glasses, and he has got them on.
S: Or like that Sufi story - you know the story? - a guy is looking for a key he has lost. The Sufi comes along and sees the guy crawling around under the lamppost, and he says, "What are you doing?" "I am looking for my key." "Did you lose it here?" "No, I lost it over there but there's more light over here."
B: We throw the light on the other part.
K: Yes, sir. So if I want to change I don't follow anybody because they are all like the rest of the gang. I don't accept any authority in all this. Authority arises only when I am confused. When I am in disorder. S: That's right.
K: So I say, can I completely change at the very root?
B: Let's look at that: there seems confusion in the language because you say "I".
K: Confusion in the language, I know.
B: You say I am going to change and it is not clear what you mean by I.
K: The I is the root.
B: The I is the root, so how can I change?
K: That is the whole point.
B: You see the language is confusing because you say I have got to change at the root, but I am the root. So what is going to happen?
S: What is going to happen, yes?
K: No, no. How am I not to be I?
B: Well, what do you mean by that?
S: How am I not to be I? Let's roll it back a second. You state you are not going to accept any authority.
K: Who is my authority? Who? They have all told me, "Do this, do that, do the other. Read this book and you will change. Follow this system, you will change. Identify yourself with god, you will change." But I remain exactly as I was before - in sorrow, in misery, in confusion, looking for help, and I choose the help which suits me most. Umpteen different ways have been tried to change man. Rewarding him, punishing him, promising him. Nothing has brought about this miraculous change. And it is a miraculous change.
S: It would be, yes, yes.
K: It is so. So, seeing this, I reject all authority. It is a reasonable, sane rejection. Now how do I proceed? I have got 50 years to live. What is the correct action?
S: What is the correct action to live properly?
K: If everybody said, "I can't help you, you have to do it yourself, look at yourself", then the whole thing would begin to act. Here is a man who says, "I am neurotic and I won't go to any other kind of neurotic to make me sane". What does he do? He doesn't accept authority, because he has created the authority out of his disorder, B: Well, that is merely the hope that somebody knows what to do.
B: Because I feel this chaos is too much for me and I just assume that somebody else can tell me what to do. But that comes out of this confusion.
S: Yes the disorder creates the authority.
K: In the school here I have been saying: If you behave properly there is no authority. The behaviour we have all agreed to - punctuality, cleanliness, this or that: if you really see it you have no authority.
S: Yes, I see that. That I think is a key point. That the disorder itself creates the need for authority.
B: It doesn't actually create a need for it. It creates among people the impression that they need authority to correct the disorder. That would be more exact.
K: So let's start from there. In the rejection of authority I am beginning to become sane. I say that now I know I am neurotic what shall I do? What is correct action in my life? Can I ever find it - being neurotic?
K: I can't. So I won't ask what is the right action - I will now say: Can I free my mind from being neurotic? Is it possible? I won't go to jerusalem, I won't go to Rome, I won't go to any doctors. Because I am very serious now. I am deadly serious because this is my life.
B: You have to be so serious because of the immense pressure to escape...
K: I won't.
B: ...you won't, but I am saying that one will feel at this juncture that there will probably be an intense pressure towards escape, saying this is too much.
K: No. No, sir. You see what happens...
S: What happens?
K: ...when I reject authority I have much more energy.
B: Yes, if you reject authority. K: Because I am now concentrated to find out for myself. I am not looking to anybody.
S: That's right. In other words, I then have to be really open to "what is", that is all I have got.
K: So what shall I do?
S: When I am really open to "what is"?
K: Not open. Here I am, here is a human being, caught in all this, what shall he do? - rejecting all authority, knowing that social discipline is immoral...
S: Then there is intense alertness...
K: No. Tell me. Tell me - you are a doctor, tell me what I am to do. I reject you.
K: Because you are not my doctor, you are not my authority.
K: You can't tell me what to do, because you are confused yourself
K: So you have no right to tell me what to do. So I come to you as a friend, and say let's find out. Because you are serious and I am serious. Let's see how...
S: ...we can work together.
K: No, no, be careful. I am not working together.
S: You are not going to work together?
K: No. We are investigating together. Working together means co-operation.
K: I am not co-operating. I say you are like me. What are we going to co-operate with?
S: In order to co-operatively investigate.
K: No. Because you are like me, confused, miserable, unhappy, neurotic.
S: Right, right.
K: So I say, how can we co-operate? We can only co-operate in neuroticism. S: That's right. So what are we going to do?
K: So can we investigate together?
S: How can we investigate together if we are both neurotic?
K: I say look, I am going first to see in what ways I am neurotic.
S: OK. Let's look at it.
K: Yes, look at it. In what way am I neurotic - a human being, who comes from New York, or Tokyo, or Delhi, or Moscow, or wherever it is? He says, I know I am neurotic, the leaders of the world are neurotic and I am part of it - I am the world and the world is me - so I can't look to anybody. Do you see what that does?
S: It puts you straight up there in front.
K: It gives you a tremendous sense of integrity.
S: Right. You have to fall on your hands and run with it.
K: Now can I - I being a human being - can I look at my neuroticism? Is it possible to see my neuroticism? What is neuroticism? What makes me neurotic? All the things that have been put into me, which make the me. Can my consciousness empty all that?
S: Your consciousness is that thought.
K: Of course.
B: Is it only that?
K: For the moment I am limiting it to that.
B: That is my consciousness. That proliferation of my fragmentation, my thought, is my neuroticism. Isn't that right?
K: Of course. It is a tremendous question, you follow? Can I, can the consciousness of man, which began five, ten million years ago, with all the things that have been put into it, generation after generation, generation after generation, from the beginning until now - can you take the whole of it and look at it?
S: Can you take the whole of it - that's not clear. How can you take the whole of it and look at it?
B: It seems there's a language problem there: You say you are that, how can you look at it?
K: I'll show you in a minute. We'll go into it.
B: I mean there is a difficulty in stating it. K: I know, stating it. The words are wrong.
B: Yes, the words are wrong. So we shouldn't take these words too literally.
K: Not too literally, of course.
B: Could we say that the words can be used flexibly?
K: No, the word is not the thing.
B: But we are using words and the question is how are we to understand them? You see they are in some way an...
K: ...an impediment and...
B: ...in some way a clue to what we are talking about. It seems to me that one trouble with words is the way we take them. We take them to mean something very fixed.
K: Now, can you look at it without the word? Is that possible? The word is not the thing. The word is a thought. And as a human being I realize I am neurotic - neurotic in the sense that I believe, I live in conclusions, in memories, which are neurotic processes.
S: In words.
K: In words. Words, pictures and reality. I believe in something. My belief is very real; it may be illusory - all beliefs are illusory but because I believe so strongly they are real to me.
K: So can I look at the nature of the belief, how it arose - look at it?
Can you look at that fact that you have a belief. Whatever it is, god, the State, or whatever.
S: But I believe it is true.
K: No, no. Can you look at that belief.
S: There is a belief and not a fact.
K: Ah, no. It is a reality to you when you believe in it.
S: Right, but how am I going to look at it if I really believe it? I say there is a god. Now you are telling me to look at my belief in the god.
K: Why do you believe? Who asked you to believe? What is the necessity of god? Not that I am an atheist, but I am asking you.
S: God is there for me, if I believe.
K: Then there is no investigation, it has stopped, you have blocked yourself; you have shut the door. S: That's right. But you see we have got such beliefs. How can we get at this? Because I think we have loads of these unconscious beliefs that we don't really shake. Like the belief in the me.
B: I think a deeper question is how the mind sets up reality. I mean, if I look at things I may think they are real. That may be an illusion but when it comes it seems real. Even with objects, you can say a word and it becomes real when you describe it that way. And therefore in some way the word sets up in the brain a construction of reality. Then everything is referred to that construction of reality.
S: How are we to investigate that?
K: What created that reality? Would you say that everything thought has created is a reality - except nature?
B: Thought didn't create nature.
K: No, of course not.
B: Can't we put it that thought can describe nature.
K: Yes, thought can describe nature - in poetry...
B: And also in imagination.
K: Imagination. Can we say that whatever thought has put together is reality? The chair, the table, all these electric lights, nature - thought hasn't created nature but it can describe it.
B: And also make theories about it.
K: Make theories, yes. And also the illusion thought has created is the reality.
B: But doesn't this construction of reality have its place, because...
K: Of course, of course.
B: ...this table is real although the brain has constructed it. But at some stage we construct realities that are not there. We can see this sometimes in the shadows on a dark night constructing realities that are not there.
K: That there is a man there.
B: Yes. And also tricks and illusions are possible by conjurers. But then it goes further and we say that mentally we construct a logical reality, which seems intensely real, very strong. But it seems to me the question is: What is it that thought does to give that sense of reality, to construct reality? Can we watch that? K: What does thought do to bring about, to create, that reality?
S: You mean like if you talk to someone who believes in God, he says to you that is real. And if you talk to somebody who really believes in the self. I talk to many people, to many psychotherapists - they say the self is real, that it exists, it is a thing. You heard a psychotherapist once say to Krishnaji, "We know the ego exists."
B: Well, it is not only that. I think what happens is that the illusion builds up very fast once you construct the reality. It builds up a tremendous structure, a cloud of support around it.
K: So let's come to it. What are we doing now?
S: We are moving.
K: We are trying to find out what is the correct action in life. I can only find that out if there is order in me - right? Me is the disorder.
S: Right. That's right.
K: However real that me is, that is the source of disorder.
K: Because that separates, that divides - me and you, we and they, my nation, my god - me.
K: Me with its consciousness.
K: Can that consciousness be aware of itself? Aware, like thought thinking.
B: Thinking about itself?
K: Put it very simply: can thought be aware of its own movement?
S: That's the question.
B: That's the question. It could be thought understanding its own structure.
S: And its own movement. But is it thought that is aware of itself? Or is it something else?
K: Try it. Try it. Do it now.
K: Do it now. Can your thought be aware of itself? Of its movement? B: It stops.
K: What does that mean?
S: It means what it says: it stops. The observation of thought, stops thought.
K: No, don't put it that way.
S: How would you put it?
K: It is undergoing a radical change.
B: So the word "thought" is not a fixed thing.
B: The word "thought" does not mean a fixed thing. It can change - eh?
K: That's right.
B: In perception.
K: You have told me, and other scientists have told me, that in the observation of an object through a microscope, the object undergoes a change.
B: In the quantum theory the object cannot be fixed apart from the fact of observation.
S: This is true with patients during psychoanalysis. They change automatically.
K: Forget the patient, you are the patient!
S: I am the patient, right.
K: What takes place when thought is aware of itself? You know, sir, this is an extraordinarily important thing.
K: That is, can the doer be aware of his doing? I can move this vase from here to there and be aware of that moving. That is very simple. I stretch out my arm... But can thought be aware of itself, its movement, its activity, its structure, its nature, what it has created, what it has done in the world?
S: I want to save that question for tomorrow.
Wholeness of Life
Part 1, Conversation With David Shainberg And David Bohm
The Wholeness of Life Part I Dialogue 3 3rd Conversation with Dr. David Shainberg and Prof. David Bohm Brockwood Park 18th May, 1976
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