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

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…?!


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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.


I listened to Krishnamurti & David Bohm’s dialogue last night, as well as reviewed (sleepily) the text. Very interesting how much the aural feeling tone of the exchange makes a difference! If I was only reading the text, I would hear mostly the mental arguments back and forth. But there was something more going between the two speakers.

I agree with @johnnydavis54 that there was much to be desired in this exchange from the perspective of “dialogue.” Nonetheless, I was fascinated by dynamics of the attempted communication. I don’t think Krishnamurti was very interested in dialogue (which I believe would require more listening and reciprocity), but rather “conveying” or “waking up the brain” (of the mostly mental Bohm) to his experience of pure conscious energy / time-freedom—which he believes is THE answer to man’s every ill.

Krishnamurti is embarrassed at times by how little regard he has for the external world! He wants to obliterate time. He feels silly and like a child. He struggles for the language, the strategy, the path in his pathless land to wake David Bohm the fuck up! Bohm, however, can only offer logical objections, clarifications, and nuances. He is an intuitive scientist, not a full-blow mystic. Bohm is in time and Krishnamurti is not—and Krishnamurti is like, What’s wrong with all you people? What made you go wrong and fuck everything up so bad?

Meanwhile, Bohm’s like, well, evolutionarily speaking, the brain… blah blah blah. But evolution requires time, division, perpetual conflict, say K. (There is apparently nothing beautiful in becoming for K.) I think he is very frustrated that he cannot get his point across. He keeps getting the same mental responses.

Perhaps in the Café we can talk about this communication problem more broadly, or in relation to contemporary concerns? Along with the focus on Cosmic time and time-freedom, isn’t there a ‘waking up the brain’ needed on behalf of Gaia? This is what I hear John saying.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to stay for the entire Café, due to work that’s come up that I need to get done. (Money still = Time for me, sadly.) Needless to say, Cosmic Time is a long-term project, so I trust the conversation will continue and look forward to hearing what you’ll have to say.


A thoughtful response, Marco, and thanks. I, too, have to sing for my supper today but hopefully will have a chance to participate more fully at another time. As I live in the fast lane, ( it is the only lane available to me) I have learned that others do not respond to the urgency i feel.

My mother, who has an elegant, southern drawl, once told a busy New Yorker," I might talk slow, but I dont think slow." The busy New Yorker was startled by my Mama’s sly move.

So, we learn to think slow and talk fast, talk fast and think slow. The affective zones are very, very fast, and out of our awareness, most of the time, and for very good reasons. But this would be a topic for a Time that is not our time. Feedback and feed-forward at the same time. Are we there yet?

Krishnamurti was not, nor was Bohm. Bon Voyage, good people, catch you next time.


Hi fellas~ I enjoyed the rest of the talk. Thanks for the in-depth exploration. This was a lot richer in ideas and perspectives than Krishnamurti and Bohm’s rather single-minded talk. Rather than focus merely on the cessation experience, you brought up multiple scales and contexts of time’s manifestation. I think you also got closer to the “root conflict” in your discussion of death, even including a functional phenomenology (Erg is there; Erg is not there).

The remarks toward the end on the relation between time, movement, and stillness—and on different ways of dealing with boredom—especially resonated (thoughts of David Wallace’s last/unfinished novel probably co-arose w/ Mark). I believe there is time on the other side of timelessness; movement in the heart of stillness (through the waveform of breath); and a way to stay grounded with your feet in the air. I also noted Doug’s reflection on meditation as a form of deeper thinking, which I think is true. In my definition, “contemplation” serves this semantic role. I also agree that capitalism produces certain forms of time experience which are…let’s just say, bad for us.

But here we are, where we are, when we are—and what are we going to do about it? After the ending of time, then what? Cosmic minds want to know…


And is there a relationship between Cosmic Time and the Coral Reef, a fifth of which has died in the last three years? I wonder how much the Oceans cost?


Gellasenheit, “letting beings be,” I believe could be a functional principle of Cosmic Time. We would be gardeners of being, more so than dominators of it, or merchants of its stolen beauty.

Life in Cosmic time would be neither detached, nor time-bound, nor even necessarily integrated, as conceptual parts to a conceptual whole, but alive with the dance of conscious force and sensitive to the varying temporal orders of things. So we are in a time of chaotic dissolution. How do we stop the death spiral? Is it possible? Is there an alternative spiral, a life spiral we need to catch, before it’s too late?

I think Heraclitus was probably a Cosmic time thinker. I wonder what he would think we should do about the coral reefs—if he were alive today, that is.


Well…if you so desire @madrush, subject yourself to another ten plus rounds of Bohm/Krishnamurti dialogues, in which they perform more slow burns, moving beyond the ending of time into the realm of becoming, into thoughts of then what, into the cultural realm (for example, their dialogue “Can Insight Be Awakened in Another?” …a question I continually ask myself, a question exploring the how of the Achronic (sp?) “thinking” for myself and others…I’d like to put that “achronic” in my time-freedom pipe and pass the diaphaneity on the left hand side…). I do not recommend watching any more of the linked videos, though I personally appreciate thier explorations, even if the paving they are doing is not at the speed of our intentions/attention spans.

Great, @Mark_Jabbour! I am loving the line “it could be that natural selection in all its “wisdom”, or good intention, created (evolved) with the consciousness of modern man the bane to mankind’s existence, i.e. the road to hell.” This idea (as also quoted above in Aurobindo/Banerji) is a deep reflection, one that goes down to the roots. I think the beginning of the year, though an arbitrary form of time in relation to Cosmic time-thought, is a great time to begin again at the roots. We have explored the roots of communication (and communication break-down), the roots of psychological conflict and will go into the roots of our contemporary anger and rage this week with our exploration into your book’s themes.

I am finding this “work,” this process of thought, the ending of time, deep contemplation, “hibernative” thought (which does not pollute with emissions, only produces and introduces missions into this world, from the ecologically friendly consumption of mind-thought energy; a slow and steady Constant garderner of being), to be a great form of play. It brings me a sense of satisfaction, a completion of sorts.

These “good intentions” are paving the way towards what, though? Alternative spirals? My paving company does not utilize the resources of the earth, only natural human energy. If I am to exist in the world, I am to carry a proactive mind even in the thought that I am but a speck of dust blowing in the wind. I am to carry on as the wayward son, the wanderer with his shadow, finding peace in this swarm of others, forming around similar simple/complex e-missions (yes, this techno-realm holds its own as a promising medium for world change…)

We are on a mission. Our vocation is the education of the Earth.
– Novalis