According to the world-renowned American scientist David Bohm, “Every instrument that man has invented, discovered, or developed has been turned toward destruction.”
While there is some truth to this statement, I can’t help but let my optimism sway me to think, that can’t be entirely true. I got to thinking about the countless non-profit organizations and recent technological advancements that were created to make our lives easier and more efficient. However, in the context of a famous conversation that took place between Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti — it seems more likely.
This is the background on the Indian philosopher, if you don’t know much about him (according to Krishnamurti.org): “[Jiddu] Krishnamurti is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time. He did not expound any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its violence and corruption, of the individual’s search for security and happiness, and the need for mankind to free itself from inner burdens of fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow. He explained with great precision the subtle workings of the human mind, and pointed to the need for bringing to our daily life a deeply meditative and spiritual quality.”
Wikipedia says this about Jiddu Krishnamurti: “His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.”
David Bohm is also quite interesting.
BrainPickings says this about a series of dialogues the two had: “By the time the two met, Krishnamurti was eighty-five and Bohm sixty-three. Their dialogues, eventually published as The Ending of Time: Where Philosophy and Physics Meet, are among the most intensely intelligent and illuminating packets of human thought ever produced.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti was a very highly respected and influential spiritual teacher of the 20th century who held the belief that in order to make peace in the world, we have to make peace with ourselves. Very insightful. Bohm also said: “Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one” as well as: “The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.”
Krishnamurti explains how the destruction and war that humanity imposes on one another and our environment are, in actuality, our misplaced attachments to a sense of ego that ultimately leads to the conflict, greed, and aggression that are widespread today. Krishnamurti refreshingly felt and taught others that once we realize that we are all connected—we can begin to cooperate as one.
Bohm’s respect for Krishnamurti’s insights can be seen in this: “We probed into the nature of space and time, and of the universal, both with regard to external nature and with regard to mind. But then, we went on to consider the general disorder and confusion that pervades the consciousness of mankind. It is here that I encountered what I feel to be Krishnamurti’s major discovery. What he was seriously proposing is that all this disorder, which is the root cause of such widespread sorrow and misery, and which prevents human beings from properly working together, has its root in the fact that we are ignorant of the general nature of our own processes of thought. Or to put it differently, it may be said that we do not see what is actually happening when we are engaged in the activity of thinking.”
Here is a statement from Bohm that is indicative of his unique level of insight for a Princeton physicist: “The notion that all these fragments are separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion. Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who live in it. Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it.”
Larry Dossey says this about Bohm: “David Bohm was one of the most distinguished physicists of the 20th century. He was known for fearlessly challenging scientific orthodoxy, and his interests spilled into many areas such as philosophy, psychology, religion, biology, and the nature of consciousness through the rigorous path of modern physics, as well as his personal experiences. His dialogues with the spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti inspired thousands and are still available.”
The reason I agree with much both philosophers say is because, despite all the positive efforts and advancements we make for humans and even animals, we are still leaving an environmental footprint. This is primarily due to the fact we are still using and abusing resources. We are hamstringing ourselves with overpopulation and greed. I believe America uses 25% of the world’s resources, but only constitutes 4% of its population.
To be so ignorant or complacent when it comes to sustainability is self-serving to humans, rather than the planet as a whole. It is still destructive despite our well intentions, and there is no solid reason to think that we are not capable of making the planet uninhabitable with our industry, consumption, and pollution.
Krishnamurti is right in his thinking—once we realize we are all connected and are one, we can finally be able to move towards real peace. Until then, our true selves will suffer and we will continually be playing second fiddle to our egos.
Bohm’s contemporary, Albert Einstein, is famous for some quotes about insight, vision, and metaphysics that are pretty intriguing: “We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.”
I think that some of these imaginative, iconoclastic, esoteric, deeply philosophical, mystical, and speculative approaches to the world are questionable. For example, this is what Larry Dossey said in his book about “one mind”: “The dominant view in science is that the brain somehow makes consciousness, like the liver makes bile. But this is an unproven assumption that has never been explained, can hardly be imagined, and has never been directly observed. The status of this belief is neuromythology, not science.” It’s not really on solid scientific ground. But, when one thinks about some of the stuff Einstein said, you do realize that just because an idea seems “out there” or “like woo” doesn’t mean it is false.
I acknowledge, there have been some experiments in physics that seem remarkable and revolutionary – if not astounding. We just have to be careful proceeding… Sometimes we use a limited or ambigious scientific finding to merely support our prejudiced and wishful opinion. In fact, Bohm himself is famous for the quote: “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” Pound for pound, that is one of the 25 best quotations on reason, science, belief, or fact I have ever read.
Here are a few more Bohm and Krishnamurti quotes you might like:
“Learning is the very essence of humility; learn from everything and from everybody. There is no hierarchy in learning.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“We often find that we cannot easily give up the tendency to hold rigidly to patterns of thought built up over a long time. We are then caught up in what may be called absolute necessity. This kind of thought leaves no room at all intellectually for any other possibility, while emotionally and physically, it means we take a stance in our feelings, in our bodies, and indeed, in our whole culture, of holding back or resisting. This stance implies that under no circumstances whatsoever can we allow ourselves to give up certain things or change them.” ~ David Bohm
“The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love, and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“The question of whether or not there is a God or truth or reality, or whatever you like to call it, can never be answered by books, by priests, philosophers, or saviors. Nobody and nothing can answer the question but you yourself and that is why you must know yourself. Immaturity lies only in total ignorance of self. To understand yourself is the beginning of wisdom.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“A key difference between a dialogue and an ordinary discussion is that, within the latter people usually hold relatively fixed positions and argue in favor of their views as they try to convince others to change. At best this may produce agreement or compromise, but it does not give rise to anything creative.” ~ David Bohm
And a few bonus Einstein quotes!
“I have never felt I was wasting time. Science is a process of trial and error. The only sure way to avoid making mistakes is to have no ideas.”
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
“All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”
“The more I study physics, the more I am drawn to metaphysics.”
“Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth. What humanity own to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements the inquiring constructive mind.”
Click here for more Einstein quotes. There are also a number of Bohm and Krishnamurti quotes in the Wisdom Archive as well.