Wholeness or Fragmentation and Chaos?
Toxic Psyche Toxic World
Something much deeper than thought and imagination is needed, a completely new approach.
We are faced with a breakdown of general social order and human values that threatens stability throughout the world. Existing knowledge cannot meet this challenge. Something much deeper is needed, a completely new approach. I am suggesting that the very means by which we try to solve our problems is the problem. The source of our problems is within the structure of thought itself.
This may seem strange because our culture prides itself on thought being its highest achievement. Almost everything we see in the world was created by thought, all the cities, the buildings, science, technology, and even most of what we call nature. Farmland was created by thought, so were factories, airplanes, nations, and governments. Thought is very powerful and has created many good things, but if we don't notice how it works, it can become very destructive, as with the present danger of nuclear war, pollution, and mass destruction of natural resources. Therefore, it is necessary to look at the structure of thought and knowledge, to see what the problems are and to explore the question of insight, which is required to bring knowledge to order.
Knowledge and Insight
What we call thought, with its knowledge, information, data, belief, ideology, concept, and so much more, is an effervescent stream of abstractions, symbolic and metaphoric bubbles that float, burst, and quickly disappear in the human brain. These apparitions appear in the theater of the mind like shooting stars, one illuminating the stage in a flash, and then another, and another. Some flashes may, more or less, accurately represent something ‘real,’ like fire, sound, taste, pleasure, pain, or the sky. But most do not. Most are just ideas, make-believe.
Generally, we do not experience these flashes for what they really are, abstract mental images. Like a magician, we trick ourselves into believing that the flashing, bursting bubbles are really real, not an effervescent image, rather something concrete, something independent of the process that produces them. We call the bubble machine that produces these flashing images - thought and imagination.
The strange thing is that we don’t experience our thoughts and beliefs as imagination, but clearly, that is what it is. So enchanting is this theater that we fall in love with our images. We become jealous, resentful, and envious, hopeful, depressed, and even hate, murder, incite others to hate and murder, even women and children. We create armies that fight endless wars, create weapons of mass horror that destroy every living thing. I recently read, for the second time, Cleopatra, A Life by Stacy Schiff, the last queen of the Macedonian dynasty 69 BCE—30 BCE. Cleopatra’s life was filled with the same horrors. Not much has changed. Information and knowledge are expanding exponentially. More data, better technology, but the human psyche remains the same.
There seems to be little question. The sixth great extinction is unfolding more rapidly than all the rest, and the rest extinguished ninety-percent of life forms on the planet. The difference this time is human thought, imagination and knowledge, now compounding exponentially by machines, and by a counterfeit reality created by technology in which the mind of humanity is now drowning. The ‘something’ much deeper than thought and imagination that David Bohm is proposing, a completely new approach, will not be found in this counterfeit virtual reality. More of the same will simply bury us faster.
J. Krishnamurti raised a poignant challenge; “It's the responsibility of each human being to bring about his own transformation, which is not dependent on knowledge or time.”
K: Sir, as you know, I have been all over the world. I have talked to and seen thousands and thousands of people. I have been doing this for fifty years and more. Human beings wherever they live are more or less the same. They have their problems of sorrow, problems of fear, problems of livelihood, problems of personal relationship, problems of survival, overpopulation, and the enormous problem of death--it is a common problem to all of us. And human beings are all caught in this trap.
So are we asking; what place has knowledge in the transformation of man, outward or inner? The outward is the inner. The inner is the outward. They are totally related. So, when we talk about change, we mean not the mere bloody, physical revolution, but rather the revolution in the makeup of the mind of each human being. The way he thinks, the way he behaves, the way he conducts himself, the way he operates, the whole of that. What place has knowledge in that?
By change we mean at the root, a change in the psyche, in the very structure and nature of his thought. And therefore, when there is this [deep, fundamental] change he will naturally bring about a change in society. It isn't society first. It is the human change that will transform the society. They are not two separate things.
Sir, man has collected such enormous information, knowledge. Has that knowledge changed him into goodness? It has not. Therefore, knowledge has no meaning [in the transformation of the human psyche, no place in the completely new approach David Bohm described].
Krishnamurti with Dr. Allen W. Anderson (abridged)
Knowledge has no place or meaning in the transformation of the human mind. This fact must be understood viscerally, directly, not simply as another nice idea or theory. The COVID crime against humanity, not the alleged predator, rather the 1,400 vaccine and other coronavirus patents that were applied for prior to 2020, the government lockdowns, global surveillance and tracing, face recognition, digital crypto-currency linked to implants, 5G as the necessary infrastructure to activate these and other devices, what is generally called The Great Reset, all of these focus on the role technology represents in reshaping life on the planet.
Human consciousness is so drenched in information and digital technology, there is zero space remaining to experience anything other. Add to this the political strategy of confusion, fake news, a profusion of tobacco science masquerading as truth, systemic corruption at the highest levels, manipulated social media, intensifying polarization, all designed by 21st-century Robber Barons, driven, empowered by digital technologies - is it any wonder that the Mad Hatters Tea Party has become the new norm? I feel it and I’m sure you do too. This confusion we feel is no mistake. It is not a surprise, not a spontaneous unintended consequence. What might have been left of a rudder or true compass in the human psyche has been shredded, leaving us glued to our phones.
The irony, and profound challenge, is that we have been so deeply marinated in ‘thinking’ that we can’t even conceive of any other solution. Compounding our dilemma, this obsessive preoccupation with abstract thought, symbols, and language, displaced and negated the development of other modes of being in childhood. Here we are, faced with the fact, as Bohm observed; “very means by which we try to solve our problems is the problem. The source of our problems is within the structure of thought itself,” with nowhere else to turn, leaving no option but Silicon Valley’s waiting web.
As computer logic and digital technology outpace the human brain in speed and accuracy, the truth of Einstein’s observation “never memorize something that you can look up,” becomes painfully obvious, and with that, the dominance of information and knowledge in human consciousness will naturally diminish. As environmentalist David Orr observed in Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect, it is not more education that will save us, rather education of a certain kind. And this is where Bohm enters stage left. For Bohm the education of a certain kind implies a state, not content.
Much of what has gone wrong with the world, Orr argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are; overemphasizes success and careers; separates feeling from intellect, the practical from the theoretical and deadens the sense of wonder for the created world.
Even this focus needs to be refined, appreciating that David is an educator. The entire spectrum of child development must balance the symbolic-conceptual realm with direct-experience, to include and integrate the unique qualities that make us human: empathy, compassion, altruism, authentic play as a way of experiencing and understanding the world, and a deep, present, mindful appreciation for the symbiotic entanglement of complex and subtle living forces that define each human being and our fully integrated, interdependent biosphere. None of these qualities or capacities are abstract, informational, data, or concepts. They are lived states of being - in relationship. And it is precisely the absence and failure to develop these core human capacities that have brought us to where we are today.
Some suggest that we need to restore Indigenous wisdom: a close living with the earth and treating all life as sentient; honoring children and their development with an evolved nest; using ritual and ceremony to shape attention, perception and to offer healing; and intentionally cultivating heart wisdom through story and practice.
How can one disagree? But, is this possible staring at an iPhone which is the experience that dominates? If human consciousness is being epigenetically conditioned by experiences and devices that do not recognize and are incapable of resonating states or meaning that are not conceptual, not in the realm called abstract thought, data, and information, to speak of these ‘other dimensions’ to such a conditioned mind is like asking a rapist to experience empathy, a droid to experience compassion, or Harlow’s monkeys to enjoy pleasure.
Indigenous wisdom evolved in relationship with a completely different environment. Ritual, ceremony, and story were infused with lived embodiment of what was being celebrated. Jerry Mander, a pro with media and with a deep, heartfelt connection with native cultures, discovered that squeezing this lived experience through digital screens is not possible. The conversion sucks the life out of the experience, rendering the facsimile dead on arrival. We are back to the model and the environment. But the very experiences that will save us and bring our now intentionally confused cognitive world to a new coherent order, are excluded by technology and the reality it creates. That reality has become what Joseph Chilton Pearce called the new model imperative. For most, what is called indigenous is little more than a petting zoo.
There is a challenge here that demands a fresh response, one that resonates with our contemporary, and very adulterated mind. Krishnamurti, David Bohm, and others recognized that these basic and fundamental lived states; empathy, compassion, altruism, authentic play as a way of experiencing and understanding the world, grounded in a deep, present, mindful appreciation for the symbiotic entanglement of complex and subtle living forces that define each human being and equally our fully integrated, interdependent biosphere, is not perceived when attention is preoccupied with thought and its reflexive anxieties. Imagine what this means to parent, education, our approach to climate, our toxic environment, 5G, economic priorities, and politics in general.
A key to understanding what can and must be done is to appreciate that attention is different from thought. Pure attention takes on the form and content of any object it captures. For most, that is a cup overflowing with mental images and abstract thoughts. Very early we are conditioned to mistake thought for attention. We wake up thinking, drift off to sleep thinking, and dream thoughts while sleeping. We hardly recognize what complete attention feels like, which implies the absence of thought. So full and effervescent is this stream that there is no space or free attention to recognize or attend to the other.
What we are trying in all these discussions and talks here is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind. Not accept things as they are…but to understand it, to go into it, to examine it, give your heart and your mind with everything you have to find out a way of living differently.
When you put that question, because you are serious, because you are intent, then you are aware of the whole process of the observer. Which means that you are totally attentive, completely attentive. And in that attention, there is no border created by the center. And when there is complete attention there is no observer. The observer comes into being only when, in that look, there is inattention which is a distraction.
We have put away the observer and therefore there is attention which may last a second; that is good enough. Don’t be greedy to have more. In that greed to have more, you have already created the center, and then you are caught. In that attention, there is no seeking at all. And therefore there is no effort. And the mind becomes extraordinarily alert, active, silent. Such a mind is the religious mind. And such a mind has an activity totally different, at a different dimension which thought can never possibly reach.
The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti.
PBS Broadcast, Ojai, California, 1966
This dimension that thought can never reach is the something much deeper, a completely new approach David Bohm described. As Krishnamurti shared so often, this silent attention is not the result of will, desire, expectation, practice, or becoming. With each of these, thought is subtly lurking in the shadows. Simple, pure attention then, becomes the open doors of perception that reveals and nurtures these essential, redeeming, embodied relational experiences. With complete attention, thought is naturally silent, without effort, innocent, like a child discovering something completely new. How simple, yet elusive this is.
To not be compulsively addicted to the endless stream called thought, and therefore escape the seductive but suicidal trap technology dangles, demands that we discover for ourselves the limitations of thought and knowledge, how to use thought as a precise tool, rather than being used and controlled by the tool, and how insight brings new order and clarity to the tea party. If you are interested, David Bohm explores these challenges in the attached.