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The Future of Humanity

The Future of Humanity Foreword By David Bohm

The two dialogues which appear in this book took place three years after a series of thirteen similar dialogues between Krishnamurti and myself, which appeared in the book "The Ending of Time." [Harper & Row, 1985.] Therefore they were inevitably profoundly affected by what had been done in these earlier dialogues. In a certain sense, therefore, the two books deal with closely related questions. Of course, "The Ending of Time" can, because of its much greater length, go into these questions in a more thorough and extensive way. Nevertheless, the present book stands by itself; it approaches the problems of human life in its own way, and provides important additional insights into these problems. Moreover, I feel that it is an easier book to follow, and may therefore usefully serve as an introduction to "The Ending of Time."

The starting point for our discussions was the question: "What is the future of humanity?" This question is by now of vital concern to everyone, because modern science and technology are clearly seen to have opened up immense possibilities of destruction. It soon became clear as we talked together that the ultimate origin of this situation is in the generally confused mentality of mankind, which has not changed basically in this respect throughout the whole of recorded history and probably for much longer than this. Evidently, it was essential to inquire deeply into the root of this difficulty if there is ever to be a possibility that humanity will be diverted from its present very dangerous course.

These dialogues constitute a serious inquiry into this problem, and as they proceeded, many of the basic points of Krishnamurti's teachings emerged. Thus, the question of the future of humanity seems, at first sight, to imply that a solution must involve time in a fundamental way. Yet, as Krishnamurti points out, psychological time, or "becoming," is the very source of the destructive current that is putting the future of humanity at risk. To question time in this way, however, is to question the adequacy of knowledge and thought, as a means of dealing with this problem. But if knowledge and thought are not adequate, what is it that is actually required? This led in turn to the question of whether mind is limited by the brain of mankind, with all the knowledge that it has accumulated over the ages. This knowledge, which now conditions us deeply, has produced what is, in effect, an irrational and self-destructive programme in which the brain seems to be helplessly caught up.

If mind is limited by such a state of the brain, then the future of humanity must be very grim indeed. Krishnamurti does not, however, regard these limitations as inevitable. Rather, he emphasizes that mind is essentially free of the distorting bias that is inherent in the conditioning of the brain, and that, through insight arising in proper undirected attention without a centre, it can change the cells of the brain and remove the destructive conditioning. If this is so, then it is crucially important that there be this kind of attention, and that we give to this question the same intensity of energy that we generally give to other activities of life that are really of vital interest to us.

At this point, it is worth remarking that modern research into the brain and nervous system actually gives considerable support to Krishnamurti's statement that insight may change the brain cells. Thus, for example, it is now well known that there are important substances in the body, the hormones and the neurotransmitters, that fundamentally affect the entire functioning of the brain and nervous system. These substances respond, from moment to moment, to what a person knows, to what he thinks, and to what all this means to him. it is by now fairly well established that in this way the brain cells and their functioning are profoundly affected by knowledge and thought, especially when these give rise to strong feelings and passions. it is thus quite plausible that insight, which must arise in a state of great mental energy and passion, could change the brain cells in an even more profound way.

What has been said here necessarily gives only a brief outline of what is in the dialogues, and cannot show the full scope and depth of the inquiry that takes place within them into the nature of human consciousness and of the problems that have arisen in this consciousness. Indeed, I would say that the result has been a concise and easily readable book, which contains the essential spirit of the whole of Krishnamurti's teachings, and throws an important further light on them.

David Bohm.

The Future of Humanity

The Future of Humanity Foreword By David Bohm

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