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Why Are We So Idiotic?

20/10/2016 5:53 AM IST | Updated 23/10/2016 9:35 AM IST
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Imagine if suddenly the astronomers discover a planet, within reaching distance, just like Earth. How excited everyone would be. Let's say it has oceans and lakes, has a good temperature for humans, has mountains and valleys, with plants and wonderful wild animals like lions and elephants. The only thing missing are humans. Wow! Think of the headlines around the world! How can we get there would be everyone's question.

But we are already here! And totally trashing this planet. Polluting those oceans and lakes, destroying the plants and killing those wonderful wild animals. Killing ourselves, or slaughtering each other in barbaric ways for idiotic reasons: like for the different amounts of the pigment melanin in our skin cells, or for our different genders, or over man-made lines on the map, or in our heads between ideologies or hypotheses about reality that no-one can prove, or... or... or...!

No wonder Osho describes this as an "idiotic world." Which raises the question, just who are all these idiots? Where do they come from? Are they born or trained?

Osho explains:

"It is a complicated question. Almost ninety percent of idiots are trained. Ten percent are born. And the ten percent are born because of those ninety percent who have been trained.

"Man from his very beginning has lived a very weird life—weird in the sense that somehow he needs idiots. If you don't have idiots you will not have the so-called wise men. If you don't have idiots, you will not have the giants of intellect. It becomes almost a necessity that the category of idiots should remain.

"Nobody has looked into the deeper layers of how society has functioned up to now. But the way it has functioned can only be described as utterly criminal. Society needs categories, hierarchies. It has always been a competitive society, and the very idea of competition is dangerous to human beings. You call one man an idiot only in comparison—in comparison to someone who seems to be intelligent.

"A small boy told me... I was a guest in his house; I was sitting in the garden in the evening and he was the only child of the family. He was not more than six years old. I asked him, 'What is your name?'

The idiots have been an absolute necessity for a few people to proclaim their egos, for a few people to rise high and become Nobel Prize winners.

"He said, 'Up to now I used to think that my name was "Don't!" Now I have started going to school, and there I discovered that it is not my name.'

"He is saying something tremendously important. Whatever a child is doing, the adults are there to say, "Don't do it!" Nobody is allowed to blossom according to his own intrinsic nature. And that is the fundamental cause of creating so many idiots in the world. But they do serve a certain purpose. If people were allowed to blossom according to their nature without any comparison and without any ideals and without enforced discipline, do you think anybody in the whole world would have accepted Adolf Hitler as a leader? Just look at your leaders!

"In America, the average American is sitting glued to his chair in front of the television set. The television has become his whole life. Now television can be used in a dangerous way, and it is being used. Ronald Reagan would not have been able to become the President of America if there were no television. The television has changed the whole structure of the American mind. Now, the leader need not be wise, but he has to be photogenic. Now what has being photogenic to do with being a President? He has to be a good showman, an actor....

"The people who are continuously watching television...and seven and a half hours average per day is not a small amount of time, it is one third of your life. You are being imposed on by ideas, by personalities, continuously repeated.

"The idiots have been an absolute necessity for a few people to proclaim their egos, for a few people to rise high and become Nobel Prize winners. Just think for a moment—if everybody were living according to their own nature, not trying to be somebody else, a tremendous intelligence would explode within them. It is the fundamental law of life and existence.

"It is good that flowers don't listen to your teachers and your leaders and your politicians. Otherwise they would say to the roses, 'What are you doing? Become a lotus!' Roses are not so foolish. But if, just for argument's sake, roses did start trying to become lotuses, what would happen? Two things are certain: there would be no roses, because their whole energy would be involved in becoming lotuses, and the second thing, a rosebush cannot produce a lotus. It is not in the inbuilt program of its seed.

[E]verybody is trying to make you somebody else, whom you cannot become. You can only become yourself, or you can miss becoming yourself, and be just an idiot.

"Have you ever come across a tree that you can say is an idiot? Or that it is very intelligent, a great giant, deserves a Nobel Prize? Man has been distracted. Everybody from your parents to your teachers, the school, the college, the university, your religion, your preachers, your neighbours— everybody is trying to make you somebody else, whom you cannot become. You can only become yourself, or you can miss becoming yourself, and be just an idiot.

"I call this whole history of mankind a long, unjustified crime against every human individual. It has served the vested interests: the people who are in power, the people who are scholars, which is another kind of power, the people who are rich, which is another kind of power. They would not like everybody to be centred in himself, because a man centred in himself cannot be exploited, cannot be enslaved, cannot be humiliated, cannot be forced to grow a cancerous sense of guilt. These are the reasons humanity has not been allowed its growth.

"From childhood, everybody is condemned—whatever he says, whatever he does, it is never right. Naturally, he becomes afraid of saying anything, of doing anything on his own. He is appreciated if he is obedient, he is appreciated if he follows the rules and the regulations made by others... everybody appreciates him. This is the strategy: condemn the man if he is trying to stand on his own feet and appreciate the man if he is just an imitator. Naturally his inner seed, his potentiality, will never have a chance to grow.

"It is very difficult to find human beings in society who will allow you the freedom to be yourself. That has created a retardedness all over the world."

***

In the second part of this article—"The Solution to the Idiocracy"—Osho explains exactly why this continues and what is required to end the disastrous direction we are taking.

Excerpted from Osho, Om Mani Padme Hum . This talk was originally published in the OSHO Times

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