Conversations at the End of Time…

Flow

We’re still in “beta mode.” Not quite ready to take our conversations on-line. More on that soon….

In the mean-time we’ve had weekly sessions among our core group with whoever shows-up on a given Sunday. At the end of last week’s conversation Declan asked me to take another look at Krishnamurti & Bohm‘s final session in a series, The Ending of Time. I haven’t had a chance to share my response with him yet.

This week Declan and Emily and I arrived at the topic of time from another direction. Declan mentioned that many of those who have expressed interest in this project temper their enthusiasm by voicing frustration over a lack of time to get involved.

In their video Krishnamurti and Bohm are two elderly men. Both, most likely, already terminally ill, reaching an apogee on the trajectory of their conversations. There is an air of… well of a lack of air in the last fifteen minutes. A sense they have reached a point, out there…. And they are about to fall to earth. Just shy of recognizing where it all might lead. A striving tone, flickers just at the edge of their words. A striving they would repudiate under any other circumstance. A boyish, awkward, shy, final probing. A latent egocentricity flirting, with a tacit, innocent selfishness as they ask if there might be “more to it….”

More to “life?”

All their conversations are genuine, inhabiting a space where; serious purpose, a lack of external agenda, and a surrender to whatever comes to mind; come together. This redeems even their most awkward moments in this final session from any charge of hypocrisy. They are human. And, they are wrapping-up the consequences of two long lives of inquiry, taking it as far as they could go. And, in the end – not the end-versus-means sort, just the this-comes-after-that kind – they run out of air.

Watching this time – the last was maybe a year ago or longer – what struck me most, beyond that direct human connection I always feel with them, was a glimmer that we might find a way to stand on their shoulders. Not get left behind or stopped at the point where they left-off. I was struck by a visceral sense of calling as Krishnamurti laid out a role to bring compassion to bear, “to work to find a way to penetrate the darkness.” There seems to be more than enough in this to attend without needing “something more.”

I was also left with a sense that they may have carried an urge to transcend one cycle too far….

Years ago, one of my artistic mentors described what I was attempting as trying to transcend transcendence. I do know the feeling.

In the end – that same kind of end as before – the purpose of transcending incoherence is to just live. To simply be, without suffering through striving and layers of misunderstanding that can keep us insulated from what-is. I can forgive two old men forgetting that for a moment – or perhaps just letting their guard down long enough to allow such a misunderstanding of their life’s work’s meaning to make that impression on me.

Having not quite reached such an “ultimate” stage, it may be easier for me to be enthusiastic in the face of the great promise of such a calling.

This touches on our growing pains here with this project. How do we respond to this common reaction?

“I don’t have time…”

K & B dove into what it means to discover the end of time. Psychological time, that sense of time responsible for urgency. Not physical time which – at least in the scales we normally inhabit – plays-out in a linear and constant fashion taking us around the sun and around the galaxy and so on. Psychological time is an aspect of living within an illusion of Ego. Urgency, one of Ego’s strongest holds on us, keeps us in its thrall, propping up its pseudo-existence.

Psychological time and suffering come hand in hand. Psychological time compounds suffering while displacing our attention from anything that might end it.

Suffering is not pain. Pain has a physical existence. Suffering is an additional layer of misfortune we force on our selves and each other as we react to fear and pain. Confusing the two is easy. This ease binds us to Ego-dominance, condemning us to prolong and promote further suffering.

In their series of talks, building on all their previous work, they bring insight to the question of suffering and the traps of psychological time.

Please, take some time – the old fashioned physical time – and make yourself aware of their work.

What all this comes back to, comes down to, is what always comes to mind when I hear, “I don’t have time for this!”

I can’t see that any of us has much time for anything else!

We are dealing with the collapse of all the old ways of filling time. Unemployment is no longer a rare mishap. Collapse shows signs of doing many of us in prematurely.

We can blindly ride this wave of destruction, or we can say, “Enough!” And use whatever time we have to live our lives. Mindful that this is an existential condition that has, and will always be, true for anyone at any time. We are mortal.

When we claim, “I don’t have time!” Do we mean “I don’t know what to do!”

Scary. Not an accusation. Not a put-down. I’ve spent decades in a similar state. We are never far from the slippery slope of panic.

Except…

Except when we enter into a conversation like the ones we’re after here. There is nothing like relying on each other and opening our vulnerability to each other and reaching for a mind… out there, between us. Not flailing, locked within islands of competing, negotiating, isolated selves. At such times a virtuous cycle develops. We find ourselves beyond psychological time. Urgency drops away. Insight arrives. As a gift found in the spaces between our individual viewpoints.

Urgency signals our desperation when, at some level, we understand – tacitly – that it binds us to repeat the same mistakes. In our frustration we press harder. Even as we become aware of our futility.

Creativity relies on an easing of this constriction. Creativity cannot function unless we release the grip of urgency. As with so many of the misunderstandings we pass-off as unintended consequences in an incoherent approach we call causation, it appears counter-intuitive to relax our urgency. Until we have experienced this for ourselves.

***

These thoughts connect with a large subject, one I hope we’ll delve into more deeply over time.

Art and Craft engage with creativity. Each with its own center of gravity.

Art is a locus where we engage questions of meaning. Making and sharing constructions – outside of the grip of necessity – these labors center us within a framework of meaning.

Craft is where we bring our convictions to bear on the material world. We confront necessity from within the framework of our relationship with meaning discovered through art. This is very different from our common view that technology acts as an escape from necessity by focusing some external power on our situation.

Craft holds us centered. Aware of our inability to force matter to conform to our wishes. In Craft we meet material reality from a position of humility. From this humility we labor to develop our strengths. The results have been, over the deca-millennia of human existence, moments of transcendent mastery in which objects of utility have come forth out of deep meaning as they celebrate life and an awareness of its mysteries.

Today, caught in mountains of junk, we fear we don’t have time….

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