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The Roots of Psychological Conflict
Krishnamurti: How shall we start? I would like to ask if humanity has taken a wrong turn.
David Bohm: A wrong turn? Well it must have done so, a long time ago, I think.
K: That is what I feel. A long time ago...It appears that way why? You see, as I look at it, mankind has always tried to become something.
DB: Well possibly. I was struck by something I once read about man going wrong about five or six thousand years ago, when he began to be able to plunder and take slaves. After that, his main purpose of existence was just to exploit and plunder.
K: Yes, but there is the sense of inward becoming.
DB: Well, we should make it clear how this is connected. What kind of becoming was involved in doing that? Instead of being constructive, and discovering new techniques and tools and so on, man at a certain time found it easier to plunder his neighbours. Now what did they want to become?
K: Conflict has been the root of all this.
DB: What was the conflict? If we could put ourselves in the place of those people of long ago, how would you see that conflict?
K: What is the root of conflict? Not only outwardly, but also this tremendous inward conflict of humanity? What is the root of it?
DB: Well, it seems that it is contradictory desires.
DB: Then what made people want to do that? Why weren't they satisfied to be whatever they were? You see, the religion would not have caught on unless people felt that there was some attraction in becoming something more.
K: Isn't it an avoidance, not being able to face the fact, and therefore moving to something else to more and more and more?
DB: What would you say was the fact that people couldn't stay with?
K: The Christians have said, Original Sin.
DB: But the wrong turn happened long before that.
K: Yes, long before that. Long before that, the Hindus had this idea of Karma. What is the origin of all this?
DB: We have said that there was the fact that people couldn't stay with. Whatever it was, they wanted to imagine something better.
K: Yes, something better. Becoming,
DB: And you could say that they began to make things technologically better, then they extended this, and said, 'I too must become better.'
K: Yes, inwardly become better.
DB: All of us together must become better.
K: That's right. What is the root of all this?
DB: Well, I should think it is natural in thought to project this goal of becoming better. That is, it is intrinsic in the structure of thought.
K: Is it that the principle of becoming better outwardly has moved to becoming better inwardly?
DB: If it is good to become better outwardly, then why shouldn't I become better inwardly?
K: Is that the cause of the conflict?
DB: That is getting towards it. It's coming nearer.
K: Is it coming nearer? Is time the factor? Time as 'I need knowledge in order to do this or that'? The same principle applied inwardly? Is time the factor?
DB: I can't see that time by itself can be the only factor.
K: No, no. Time. Becoming which implies time.
DB: Yes, but we don't see how time is going to cause trouble. We have to say that time applied outwardly doesn't cause any difficulty.
K: It causes a certain amount but we are discussing the idea of time, inwardly.
DB: So we have to see why time is so destructive inwardly.
K: Because I am trying to become something.
DB: Yes, but most people would say that this is only natural. You have to explain what it is that is wrong about becoming.
K: Obviously, there is conflict, in that when I am trying to become something, it is a constant battle.
DB: Yes, Can we go into that: why is it a constant battle? It is not a battle if I try to improve my position outwardly.
K: Outwardly, no. It is more or less all right outwardly, but when that same principle is applied inwardly it brings about a contradiction.
DB: And the contradiction is...?
K: Between 'what is' and 'becoming what should be'.
DB: The difficulty is, why is it a contradiction inwardly and not outwardly?
K: Inwardly it builds up a centre, doesn't it, an egotistic centre?
DB: Yes, but can we find some reason why it should do so? Does it build up when we do it outwardly? It seems it need not.
K: It need not.
DB: But when we are doing it inwardly, then we are trying to force ourselves to be something that we are not.
K: Yes. That is a fact. Is it that one's brain is so accustomed to conflict that one rejects any other form of living?
DB: But why have people come to the conclusion that conflict is inevitable and necessary?
K: What is the origin of conflict?
DB: I think we touched on that by saying that we are trying to force ourselves. When we are a certain thing that we want to be, we also want to be something else, which is different; and therefore we want two different things at the same time. Would that seem right?
K: I understand that. But I am trying to find out the origin of all this misery, confusion, conflict, struggle what is the beginning of it? That's why I asked at the beginning: has mankind taken a wrong turn? Is the origin, 'I am not I'...?
DB: I think that is getting closer.
K: Yes, that's it. And the 'I' why has mankind created this 'I', which must...