Cosmos Café [1/15] “The Roots of Psychological Conflict” from The Ending of Time, a series of dialogues between David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti

[1/15] “The Roots of Psychological Conflict” from The Ending of Time, a series of dialogues between David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti

pre-recording chat/Cafe logistics

A discussion based upon reading from The Ending of Time, Chapter 1 “The Roots of Psychological Conflict”. The book is an edited transcript of the slow time dialogue between Bohm and Krishnamurti. The group takes their time covering the limits of Krishnamurti’s perspective; the (limits of) individual and collective relation to time, psychological and cosmic time; benefits and hold-ups of being “grounded” and having ones head in the clouds.

Doug Duff
Michael Stumpf
Ed Mahood
Mark Jabbour
Marco V Morelli

Recorded: 15 Jan 2019

“If our age were not replete with insecurity, anxiety, confusion, despair, and resignation such an attempt as this one would not have been necessary. But the complexity of our situation has required a correspondingly complex examination…”

Jean Gebser | Ever Present Origin (1985), 277

Reading / Watching / Listening:

We read from The Ending of Time, Chapter 1 “The Roots of Psychological Conflict” (click on link to access the chapter). The book is an edited transcript of the slow time dialogue between Bohm and Krishnamurti. The recording of their first conversation in the series, “The Roots of Psychological Conflict,” is available below. Do take note that the experience of reading is much different than listening to this conversation. Listening demands a certain “third ear” level of attention as they dig deep into the roots of the problem.

Recording of the dialogue:

Seed Questions

  • Is there a part of the brain which is not of time? Can the brain, dominated by time, not be subservient to it?
  • If the universe is not of time, can the mind which has been entangled in time, unravel itself and so be the universe?
  • What is the mind or the brain without psychological knowledge to organize itself?
  • What have they left out of this dialogue? What are their blind spots?

Context, Backstory, and Related topics

Agenda items

  • Talk about the weather
  • Talk about time
  • End time
  • Meet each other on the other side



I’ll be there, for sure, unless I die first.


'Tis my intention to be there as well.


This is a thumbs down review of this dialogue. I hope I convey a positive intention for the group in my negative review. I like most of our choices but not this one.

The New York Times reported that a fifth of the coral reefs died in the last three years. I wonder what would happen if we brought our collective attentions to current tensions and stresses? The distinguished gentlemen, in this dialogue, are focused on their own concerns and they seem caught in their own strange loops. This is the kind of loose talk I avoid.

I am going to skip this Cafe because I find this dialogue is very frustrating. Krishnamurti is a brilliant anti-guru guru. He already has made up his mind and is fabricating the dialogue in a dogmatic manner, shutting down his partner. Bohm does his best to make sense of this lecture. I don’ think eighter of them hold my attention as it gets a bit constipated. I am moving in a different direction, dialogues with lots of fiber.

I also hear Krishnamurti has a labored breathing pattern. He is not an agile speaker. Bohm isn’t eighter. One died of cancer, the other of heart failure. I can sense the depression is pretty thick this dialogue. They are not, in my opinion, at their best in this dialogue. Lot of inferences without much evidence.

I think we could articulate what carries across between Cafes by having a brief reflection upon what we learned in the last Cafe. Ed mentioned that he had learned a lot. He was not asked what that was. What Ed learned in the last Cafe is more important to me than what Krishnamurti thinks. That to me is very important. We tend to jump into the next event without carrying much across from Cafe to Cafe. Maybe those of us who participated in the previous Cafe could make a brief summary of that learning. Perhaps they learned nothing. That is a learning as well. Much that is in the written part in the forum gets lost as we take the leap across. I hope we can make a brief interlude at the start of each cafe to bring ourselves into a coordinated rhythm. Just a suggestion. I am trying to bring my attention to potential audiences.

Of course, others are already, doing this event and I don’t want to spoil their fun. I have already voiced my concern previously and my feedback was ignored. That’s fine. I am just letting others know that I am not attending because I am indifferent to the group dynamic. I am very interested in that dynamic. I am, however, expressing my lack of interest in the assignment. How we spend our time , Cosmic or otherwise, is vital!

Having said that, good luck, and I look forward to a future Cafe that whets my appetite! This dialogue has given me a bad case of indigestion. We all have our food allergies. Usually, I try to go with the flow but this time I can’t follow. Maybe better luck next time?

What I learned from the last Cafe? When I speak into the air, I need to have both feet on the ground.


@JeffreyQ1 has done lots of work, in his theory of emergence, of demonstrating that time doesn’t really move from past, to present, to future, but from potential, to actual, to formal.

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Time, perhaps, is more like a wadded up handkerchief, than it is like a flow chart, with straight lines ending up in boxes.

Pardon the lengthy response; i have been doing a little thinking on this subject :nerd_face:

Coming off of our previous discussion based around John Durham Peters’ Speaking into the Air (whose book concludes that dissemination is the more natural form of communication, a more effective means of “broadcast” than dreaming about and working towards perfect communication), we will now move into a conversation between Jiddu Krishnamurti and David Bohm, which utilizes a Bohmian-style dialogue, a method that, though outside of our typical day-to-day discussions and debates, provides a certain grounding for taking conversations into new directions. This type of discourse can be utilized as a special method for reaching beyond our human givenness, our miscommunications; And yes, it goes against Peters conclusion in Speaking into the Air. There is a deep listening, a lingering with the issue rather than letting it go; remaining with the thoughts that arise and searching all around it for a well-bodied response.

Peters noted frequently that we tend to focus upon this or that miscommunication, attempting to reconcile our differences. The dialogue “The Roots of Psychological Conflict” between Bohm and Krishnamurti attempts to identify a core miscommunication of humanity, that of our human nature and its miscommunication with our “true” nature. I would argue that they are really having a metalogue as described by Gregory Bateson:

A metalogue is a conversation about some problematic subject. This conversation should be such that not only do the participants discuss the problem but the structure of the conversation as a whole is also relevant to the same subject.

Bohm and Krishnamurti are discussing the roots of psychological conflict and the ending of (psychological) time. They identify that the conflict’s root is that our human nature exists within time, within our need to “become,” within our need to seek answers, within our need to have more experience…yet as they discuss this, they are in the midst of time, they often speak over one another, needing to speak their point before they forget what to say, or are not heard. Yet despite all of this, as they stick with their thoughts, they reach some perennial insights from asking a few perennial questions. Through this “metalogue” they reach a point in which they come to the core of religious thought, or for the non-religious, the core of our issues (often viewed as some level of conflict) as we exist as human beings. The core is something along the lines of humans/humanity has taken a wrong turn.

We have explored Gebser and Aurobindo in our Readers Underground conversations. Aurobindo and Gebser, along with many others over the course of human thought, have discovered this need or desire or aspiration for correcting our wrong turn. The wrong turn, boiled down, left on the eyelet til the water is but a drop in the kettle, is that we, as humans, have evolved without a say in the matter; or evolution (Darwinian), though a real evolution, does not (seem to) define our true (or truest) nature.

On page 48 in Seven Quartets of Becoming, Debashish Banerji quotes Aurobindo from Synthesis of Yoga (p. 645) to diagnose the two “roots” of our conflict (bold highlights mine):

We have not to doctor symptoms of impurity, or that only secondarily, as a minor help,— but to strike at its roots after a deeper diagnosis. We then find that there are two forms of impurity which are at the root of the whole confusion. One is a defect born of the nature of our past evolution, which has been a nature of separative ignorance; this defect is a radically wrong and ignorant form given to the proper action of each part of our instrumental being.

Debashish rephrases Aurobindo on page 48 of Seven Quartets:

In other words, as human beings, we are born with a psychological constitution which is marked by error. And its defect lies in the fact that there has been a past to it, an evolutionary past with its root in a sense of separation and a blind wish to survive and enlarge one’s separate reality. This evolutionary past has introduced distortions to the working of our instrumental parts, which we are unconscious of and take for granted. Sri Aurobindo sees this as the first root of impurity in human nature.

Banerji states This leads to the second form of impurity:

Moreover, evolution of consciousness among living things has been a progression through ad hoc steps, which have been added on to previous steps without sufficient integration.

Sri Aurobindo describes this second impurity or “defect” as:

… born of the successive process of an evolution, where life emerges in and depends on body, mind emerges in and depends on life in the body, supermind emerges in and lends itself to instead of governing mind, soul itself is apparent only as a circumstance of the bodily life of the mental being and veils up the spirit in the lower imperfections. This second defect of our nature is caused by this dependence of the higher on the lower parts; it is an immixture of functions by which the impure working of the lower instrument gets into the characteristic action of the higher function and gives to it an added imperfection of embarrassment, wrong direction and confusion.

If we tie this into Bohm and Krishnamurti, essentially humanity has taken a wrong turn because, at the root of psychological conflict lies this randomly selected biological evolution which has “produced” a brain, which some would say is also the campsite of the mind (a temporary residence), with all of this happening within time or stages.

I personally do not wish for us to attempt a Bohmian-style dialogue. As @johnnydavis54 notes, things can get a bit stale. And I too have noted my own desire, which all others nodded along with this too, to carry the conversation from the past into the present conversation. I believe we naturally do this no matter what the topic may be…so all are invited, even if the subject/reading selection is shit-in-your-mind. With our @ccafe crew…we wouldn’t be able to stay on topic for more than a few minutes anyways! We are living proof of John Durham Peters conclusion that dissemination is more true to life than dreams of a perfect discussion.

I do have dreams or hopes, personally, to take this in the direction of achronon, Gebser’s term for the timelessness which Bohm and Krishnamurti are (I believe) hinting at, of which I continually am attempting to grasp, or “agrasp”…perhaps the guy who goes by the name @achronon could provide insight into Gebserian concepts where I left off with Aurobindo above. I also expect that @Mark_Jabbour will have a thing or two to say about all this as a fella who prefers the Darwinian evolutionary thought. And I do wish to applaud @Michael_Stumpf for saying more than I can articulate with only the two images above (and now below)…perhaps we should just leave it at that!

And I am not forgetting about my proposal to tie this into Cosmic Time a la @madrush…but who has time to discuss such grand topics…?!


grief%20%26%20tear%20drop Anais%20Nin2


You go dude! Your readings are very impressive. “the roots of psychological conflict” - I love that. I argue in my latest book that that has propelled the human species to dominate the biosphere, which some @madrush and others think irrelevant?


As mentioned I have read your book and have much to say…I hope to leave a review for you soon. My thoughts are all over the place, like usual, so it may take a few weeks to piece it all together. I think our 1/22 conversation on “Anger” will help to piece things together. Perhaps we can try to meet up before the talk and we can do some form of a conversation/interview?


Let me just say this much about that: the significant difference between timelessness and the achronon is four mutations of consciousness. I’m sure our friend Jean would agree that it is to timelessness that we seek or strive for, regardless of how our friends Krisnamurti and Bohm so clumsily describe it, rather what Gebser speaks of is time-freedom: to be undetermined by time, to be aware, unlike our timeless-experiencing forebears, of time in a variety of senses, but yet to not be bound, restricted, defined or determined by any of them. Timelessness as “achronic” would be understanding the prefix “a-” as an alpha negativum; Gebser repeatedly stresses it should be understood as an alpha privitivum. The difference is subtle, but I believe crucial. But that’s just my take on it.

This is not a critique of any of the statements made by anyone, but is rather are a fine-tuning … in a disseminative sense … of what I think our clip’s discussants are wrestling with. While I agree with John’s assessment that the discussion is at times “frustrating”, that’s not off-putting for me. (Every session we had in the Sloterdijk Spheres round was excruciatingly frustrating to me, but – as I often ask of others – so what? Nothing manifests without resistance, including one’s own insights.

Having said that, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s session. Marco requested it originally; I’m sure he had something in mind. The clip was selected as input; I’m sure it relates to the request as much as it relates to however frustrated I might feel about it. I already find the plethora of reactions, enticing; I’m sure they reflect the diversity of this CCafé crew, which has, in other contexts, been referred to as a motley crew. And that’s why I’m sure tomorrow will be anything but a waste of time.


You got it. Just give me 24 hours so as I can be sober.


Well, that’s mighty Puritan of you … :wink:.

‘See’ you tomorrow, buddy. Cheers.

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At the risk of repeating myself, the coral reef is dying rapidly. I hope we can fork these conversations into some more strategic kind of thinking that could draw upon a wider range of theories than Gebser and Sri Aurobindo. I have a long list of contemporary thinkers who are alive and active. We can spend a little time in the future thinking about the Anthropocene which is well underway. I think there is a balance between navel gazing and activism. I can do both at the same time. It what made queer activists so effective in mobilizing unlikely coalitions in the 80s and 90s. Can we resonate with multidimensional realities and pluralistic potentialities? We must do it soon.

I know both Krishnamurti and Bohm really well. And it is fun to visit the museum once in awhile. I think both of them are Modernist thinkers and embodied some good trends. I just dont get that they are very insightful, now, when the seas are getting so warm so fast. I’m sure Bohm would agree. He was, at his best, a very ecological guy.

I hope we will do more with planetary futures and an investigation of the dangers of Neo-Liberalism and Human Exceptionalism. Any way, have fun.

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I think we can get much more explicit about this. Bohm had much to say about this. It’s good to point out dynamic reference points as they can easily get lost in the maze of cyberspace. Keep up the good work, Doug, as you are having to coordinate these feedbacks and feed-forwards!

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I would appreciate this topic. I would also appreciate some concrete proposals, my dear @johnnydavis54. You have mentioned a few: second order culture, Davor Loeffler, Guiseppe Longo, and continued exploration of our own “museum” of past Cafe orders. In the framing proposal for Cosmos Cafe, Year 2019, or more specifically in my “Framing Attempt” listed in bold in the first post of that thread (along with our pre-discussion in last week’s communication Cafe), I state that I would greatly appreciate the help. Besides @Eduardo_Rocha’s “The Circle” recommendation and @Mark_Jabbour’s request to discuss a chapter of his book, there have been only loose references that I have gleaned from the past couple of months. So this, again, goes out to any one and everyone…“do what you must to get your (Cafe) ideas out onto the page!”


Thanks, Doug, for your invitation and your leadership. I prefer to be a critic as I have often been a dreamer and got shot at!

I do not expect that I will speak for everyone. The’ we’ that I try to connect with is illusive. I continue to have huge doubts about groups that try to monitor themselves with technology rather than face to face contact. These obvious difficulties we have encountered before. In the old days, gays and queers had to hide in enclaves in urban centers, at night, to create a culture that was strong enough to come out into the iight of day. In those days, we had to speak through a straight press that was hostile to our existence. That is a great constraint but we learned how to do it. Today, we have our own platforms and can speak to each other directly.

‘We’ were rich and poor, working class truck drivers, English professors, black, white, Asian, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Aethiest, and Aesthete. We joined forces and faced the oppositions we were blessed and cursed with. "We’ paid a high price for what others, who lived by day, took utterly for granted.

" We " broke the law and “we” changed the law. We are now in a battlefield of another kind of war. I would like to turn the war into a dance but that appears unlikely. Neo Liberalism is insidious and pervasive and utterly ruthless in it’s nihilistic force.

‘We’ are a bunch of diverse drives that are going nowhere fast, unless the group takes some charge of itself and makes arrangements. So we try to stabilize in an environment that is unstable. Mixed messages are the norm. Snark and rude behavior is common. Here at the Cafe we have had to face up to these hard wired competitive behaviors in our social worlds, which are swirling with discontent and disconnect. It is a difficult task to balance tasks with relationships. The Cafe has been a good testing ground and I hope that will continue.

And reading a group from different places and time zones is an organizing nightmare. I have recruited prospects for corporate seminars, ( 2 meetings a week, with over a hundred participants each) and got paid really well doing so. I know the tricks of the trade, I know how to market and follow through, AND that what we are doing here is different though related. I am sure this is not so uncommon. As many of us honed skills in the market place, and developed theories about our social lives while living them, we are in uncharted waters, now, where the coral reefs are dying due to warming waters and the wasteful ways we live. I concluded, that the ways we were living needed to be changed, and I changed conditions which have reduced my income, and reduced my carbon imprint. I ride a bike and I have never owned a car. And I never gave birth to children I couldnt care for.

So, the ‘we’ that I hope to address is a crazy crew of madcaps and drifters, professionals and deadbeats. I am turning my attention to the Bateson conversation and that is probably where the most critical thinking will happen for me. However, I will try my best, to bring to the Cafe some of what I learn, and move it here, if I feel, the mood and the timing is right. The environment is a background that can hurt you or support you. We act upon that background through our entangled human lives. I tried really hared, in the last Cafe, to share some insights into double messages and forked tongues. I tried really hard, and I am getting tired. The coral reefs are getting tired, too.

It is all in the timing. Momentum is more important for me than easy answers to the pop quizz. I expect others are tired of easy answers, too. Have a great Cafe and I will get back to you on new ideas that may arise from broken dreams and dodged beer bottles.


This is my feeling tone response to Your very articulate response John,because I do have similar Feelings/Thoughts & yet a different internal approach."No tree,it is said,can grow to heaven unless its roots reach into hell"Carl Jung;"Bottom Line:if you want success of any kind,you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable."Tim S.Grover.I Respect each Individual “Forks” that differently than this Individual Human Being.All this to Express my Riff on Your Song.