Introduction to ‘The transformation of man’ series
The transformation of man
Small Group Discussion, Brockwood Park
May 21, 1976
Questioner: Sir, we would like to know as much as we can about you before we start these dialogues. Would you please tell us where we are and who you are, and how you came to participate with Mr Krishnamurti in his teachings.
Dr Bohm: We are here in Brockwood Park in Hampshire in England, and I am David Bohm, a professor of theoretical physics in the University of London. Now, as to how I came here to participate, I think it best to begin by saying a little about my work, that in my studies in theoretical physics I have always been interested in what, they are called the deeper questions, the nature of time and space and matter, causality, what is behind it all, what is universal. And in general I found that very few physicists shared this interest, although I pursued it as best I could. Now, when we arrived in Bristol in 1957 there was a very good public library there, and my wife and I used to go, and we became interested in books on philosophy and religion, and we picked up a book by Mr Krishnamurti called First and Last Freedom, and I read that. I found it extremely interesting, especially because it discussed the observer and the observed. That is a question which is very significant in theoretical physics and quantum theory - Heisenberg has brought it out with the effect of the observer on the particle that is observed. Also many other questions were raised there and I found the whole thing very interesting. I read as many books as I could find by Mr Krishnamurti, then I wrote a letter to the publishers to ask where he is and finally I was put in contact with the Krishnamurti Foundation in England, and they said he was coming to talk - it was around 1960 or '61 I think it was, I forget which, and so I arranged to come. Then while listening to the talks I sent another letter to the Foundation asking if I could talk personally with Mr Krishnamurti and they arranged a time. So we met and we talked. I think at that time I told him about my ideas in physics which he appreciated the spirit. And then every time after that, every year when Krishnamurti came to London we arranged to meet, once or twice, until later I began to go to Saanen in Switzerland and there we met more often. And finally, around '66 or '67 there was a plan to make a school in which Krishnamurti asked me to take part and gradually the school was organised here at Brockwood Park and I have been coming regularly. You know I am a member, a Trustee of the Foundation which is responsible for the school and also come down to discuss with people and take part generally. And we have gone on discussing the questions which you will see arising. So, that essentially explains how I got here.
Q: And you, Dr Shainberg. We would like to know about you.
Dr Shainberg: Well, I am a practising psychiatrist in New York City. I first came to read and think about what Krishnamurti said as early as 1949, '48, when I was about - let's see how old was I? - I was about 18 or 19 then. And through the influence of several concatenations of events, one, I suppose the main one was my father, who was involved at that time with reading Mr Krishnamurti. Then there was the fact that I was very interested in Karen Horney's psychoanalytic theories and then in Harold Kelman's theories which had all been developing along the same lines. It seemed to me at that time even, that there was something there that was of interest in the question that the observer is the observed. How, what the meaning of it, or the feeling of it I can say was only in a kind of intuitive awareness that this seemed to be the direction in which I wanted to move.
Then I went to college, I went to medical school, I trained as a psychiatrist, I trained as a neurologist, I trained as a psychoanalyst. I had many different experiences. And all along I was reading Mr Krishnamurti, and still thinking about it, still trying to understand the difference between what he was saying and what western psychiatry, or western psychology was communicating. But it's only been in the last, I would say five to six years that I have really begun to feel that I have begun to understand how I can use it in my work. And most of that stimulus has come from meeting Dr Bohm, who has moved my thinking along and I have come to feel that specifically there is something about the way we think in psychiatry, which is, that all the theories deal with fragmentation and the relationships between fragmentation, and most of them do not have any understanding of the holistic action, or the holism that gives birth to this fragmentation. So that very often it seemed to me, and it has seemed to me that most of the theories that we have analyse and break things down and break things into pieces which collaborates with the very problems that our patients present us with. And again I feel very similar to what Dr Bohm said, that we have never really gotten in, in psychiatry, and Mr Krishnamurti's work has begun to help me to understand it, that the relationship between the observer and the observed in the very patient-doctor situation is very important, and that the very theories that we create are part of our very problem, that the fragmented people that we are, the fragmented theories represent fragmentation and then call that the thing that we have to treat. There seems to be a basic problem here that I feel will come out in these dialogues, since I have talked with Mr Krishnamurti many times, and that point the way to how we can get through this problem of the fragmentation.
Q: Mr Krishnamurti, how can the viewer best share in these dialogues? How can he gain the most from the experience?
Krishnamurti: I think it all depends how serious you are. How serious in the sense, how deeply you want to go into these questions, which is after all your life. We are not discussing theoretically some abstract hypotheses, but we are dealing with actual daily life of every human being, whether he lives in India, or here, or in America, or anywhere else. We are dealing with the actual facts of fear, pleasure, sorrow, death and if there is anything sacred in life. Because if we don't find something real, something that is true, life has very little meaning. So if you are really serious to go into this matter very carefully and with care, with attention, then you can share a great deal. But you have to be serious, really serious. And if you're then if you listen to it, listen with care, with attention, with a sense of affection, not agreeing or disagreeing - that anybody can do - but if you really care to find out how to live properly, what is right relationship between human beings, then you would share completely, I think, with all that we have discussed or have a dialogue about these things in the last five days.