Osho’s Shadow over Covid-19
It is now six months or so since the first case of the novel coronavirus infected a human being. It has turned out to be a kind of “stress test” for both individuals and the societies we have created.
Anyone familiar with Osho’s views on what is crippling the contemporary world of humans, and the beliefs they share, will see his early warnings everywhere in this pandemic.
Perhaps the most obvious lesson is the price we are paying for ignoring his simple guidance about nature:
“Religion’s crimes are many, innumerable, but the worst crime is that it has placed man at the center of existence. It has given the idea to the whole of humanity that the whole existence is for your use: you are God’s greatest creation.
“A man-oriented vision of existence is bound to create catastrophes in nature, it is bound to destroy the ecological balance, it is bound to give man the strange idea of an ego….
“This man-centered view begins with Genesis, in the Bible. In Genesis it says:
“‘Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’” 1
Dominion? Seems the coronavirus didn’t get the memo!
Much is inevitable from this terrible starting point. We trash out the planet and fill it with people whom we are too greedy or incompetent and too unconscious to even feed or house. By necessity or habit, we kill anything and everything we can catch, and eat it! This is civilization?
Eventually, the bugs discover that they don’t have to put up with living with just a few bats or whatever else is still left out there when there are zillions of humans to feed on instead. Exactly like in 1918: between the birds and the pigs, no one is quite sure which, suddenly the bug in the food on its way to dinner started eating us! Tens of millions of dead bodies later… and we learned nothing.
Everyone knew another “big one” was coming. More Avian Flu, SARS, and MERS were obvious warnings…. Even The New York Times concludes about the Covid-19 pandemic: “We Made the Coronavirus Epidemic — It may have started with a bat in a cave, but human activity set it loose.”
That raises perhaps the most important question:
Who exactly is running the show?
On a superficial level, it is the politicians. As Osho often points out, it is the one job for which you need absolutely no qualifications. Even a modest plumber or electrician needs a certificate. By contrast, Donald Trump, Jair Bolsanaro, and Boris Johnson are the epitome of bumbling, un-scientific ignorance and ineptitude, whose country’s Covid-19 stats confirm Osho’s view exactly.
Contrast these people with Taiwan’s vice-president, Chen Chien-jen. He is a trained epidemiologist who naturally learned all the lessons from SARS and MERS. 23 million people, right next to China, with 441 Covid-19 cases and 19 deaths so far and without much of a lockdown. It has about 80% of the per capita wealth of the USA.
Allowing for the difference in population size, Taiwan’s figures would translate into about 6,300 cases in the USA instead of 175,000 and about 272 deaths instead of over 100,000… and still counting. The capital, Taipei has about twice the population density of New York City and a fraction of the cases and deaths.
You couldn’t ask for a better example of why Osho explains again and again about the danger of politicians:
“It is a basic truth that only people who are suffering from an inferiority complex go into politics.
“It is the inferiority complex that leads them into politics — so that they can prove to themselves and to the world that they are not inferior, they have power.
“A real superior man never goes to politics. It is below him. It is always the inferior who go to politics. And these inferior people have all the power of the armies, of atomic energies, of nuclear weapons. It is a very strange world.” 2
Occasionally by some good fortune, a non-politician ends up in power. Someone like Chen Chien-jen who is not interested in power or dominating others. He confirms that he cannot wait to get back to his research on epidemiology.
Another interesting lesson from the pandemic is that when people in power are not the kind of egoistic, machismoids like our three brothers above, but instead are open and receptive to listening to expert advice, that has produced some of the best outcomes.
Foreign Policy magazine of May 26, 2020, for example, noted exactly this lesson from the pandemic:
“By now, just about everyone may be aware that countries led by women have handled the pandemic far better than countries led by men.
“That is not to say that some male leaders haven’t done very well, but it is striking that New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Finland’s Sanna Marin, and Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen have outperformed the vast majority of their male counterparts.
“And the contrast couldn’t be clearer: By far the worst responses have come from chief executives such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Britain’s Boris Johnson, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and America’s Donald Trump, each one a poster child for macho male posturing.”
They could have included Dr. Bonnie Henry who kept the disease in check in British Columbia without harsh enforcement methods, or “Shailaja Teacher” as she is affectionately known, a former secondary school science teacher, who steered the state of Kerala safely through Covid-19.
With a GDP per capita about 20% of the UK’s, and a population of nearly 35 million she has managed to keep the number of cases down to 690 with four deaths. While her male counterparts in the nation’s capital muddle through a catastrophe of poor management and a pathetically low health care investment. Men who only recently were applauding themselves for crash landing a bus on the other side of the Moon.
“The message from the government is clear,” said Harjit Singh Bhatti, a general physician, and president of the Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum, a non-government group of medical experts. “Protect yourself if you can. The government has washed its hands of the crisis.”
A stark contrast to Shailaja’s Kerala. Allowing for the difference in that states’ population, the Kerala figures would translate into about 1300 cases in the UK, instead of 287,000 and 8 deaths instead of 40,000. And about 6500 cases in the US instead of 2 million, and 40 deaths instead of more than 113,000!
As the editor of The Lancet explains to The Guardian, “The UK response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation” which he characterizes as “missed opportunities and appalling misjudgments” in the UK and abroad that has led “the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of citizens”.
The New York Times makes the same point in “What the Pandemic Reveals About the Male Ego.” They write, “Virtually every country that has experienced coronavirus mortality at a rate of more than 150 per million inhabitants is male-led.” And, “If the United States had the coronavirus death rate of the average female-led country, 102,000 American lives would have been saved out of the 114,000 lost.”
Incompetence is one thing, we all make mistakes, but this is starting to look like genocide!
Or is it sui-genocide, where we are also complicit? Firstly, we are the ones who vote for these politicians — even though “none of the above,” the non-voters, actually win most elections. Secondly, it is we who accept this biblically inspired egotism that Osho refers to above, making us, and particularly the WASP societies, just too proud to bow down to this “mere virus” and so fail to take the simplest of precautions — like wearing masks?
Foreign Policy concludes:
“Just maybe, COVID-19 will teach people — and especially Americans — that a greater role for women in our public life would be both fair and smart. Plenty of other countries have figured this out already, and if COVID-19 convinces Americans to discard their antiquated bias against women in politics, it would be a step forward for equality and more effective leadership.”
As Osho has been explaining to anyone who can listen: “Feminine qualities belong to the Future.”
The pandemic has exposed much else that is ugly in our societies. The fundamental inequalities in our societies have become life and death issues. Franz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth,” the marginalized masses, whether because of poverty, gender, race, skin color, caste, age, the state of their bodies, geography or whatever — or all of the above — are simply left out to dry, or more precisely, left out to die.
Lockdown! An opportunity to spend time at home with our families, right? Home sweet home and all that. Again, the pandemic exposes another major ugliness in our society, the insistence on that core institution “The nuclear family.”
One pandemic exposes another with reports of dramatically increased levels of violence against women in the home. The New York Times reports a worldwide increase. They write that “domestic abuse is acting like an opportunistic infection flourishing in the conditions created by the pandemic.” They add, “Domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together, such as the Christmas and summer vacations.” What they call, “Intimate terrorism” which, “As quarantines take effect around the world… is flourishing.”
“It is a pattern playing out around the world,” they report. They particularly mention the US, China, France, Spain, Italy, and the UK… you know the advanced countries. For example, the UK reported a 24% increase in London.
India has a particularly savage record of violence against women.
In “Coronavirus: domestic violence comes to a head in locked-down India,” Raksha Kumar reports, “According to Indian government figures, at least 30 percent of all Indian women are or have been victims of domestic violence. Importantly, in 90 percent of rape cases, the perpetrators are known to the victims.”
Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association explains that “domestic violence is normalized.” And “The impact of this lockdown will be fully felt after it is over.” said Kapoor. “The aftermath will tell us how bad the storm was,” she said. She fears for single mothers, widows, and other women without family support.”
Which makes that first question so urgent? Who exactly is running the show? Which raises a deeper question: who is voting for these ducks? Or perhaps in fairness to even the most discriminating voter, how is it decided which ducks we get to vote for?
America has been selling the world on democracy forever. Trump is not the greatest asset in this promotion.
Are Trump and Biden really the two smartest managers of the USA? Out of 330 million? It is absurd.
If you were sick, and the doctor tells you that your leg has to be amputated. You will probably get a second opinion! If they both agreed, ok. It seems like the amputation can’t be avoided. If they disagreed, then you would get a third opinion. Something like that.
The one thing you would not do is to put the question up for a vote in the hospital. So, now the neurologists, and radiologists, and nurses, and ambulance drivers, the porters and the cleaners — who know nothing about legs or your leg condition — would get to decide whether or not you lost your leg?
If that is so obvious for the care of our individual health, how were we ever persuaded to take care of a sick planet any differently? We need to be able to select, and deselect, the smartest, most informed people in each of the many critical areas that make up the world we live in. Just imagine how many Chen Chien-jen’s there must be out there, who might agree to give up what they love, in his case his epidemiology, and serve for a limited period in the interests of us all.
It is not just the fault of people like our three blind Christian mice we mentioned earlier. They too are programed by the underlying message we are all drowned in during childhood, as Osho explains:
“All the scriptures of all the religions have given man a strange licentiousness over nature, over animals and birds. That has culminated in destroying many species of animals, birds. It has destroyed millions of trees for no reason. “Every second that passes, one football ground is cleaned of all greenery, all trees….
“This is the ultimate crime that has made man violent against nature, given him the freedom to conquer innocent animals, to destroy them. It has made man barbarous….
“Now we are suffering because all those trees have been destroyed and more are being destroyed continuously. There is a certain balance in existence. “These trees are your brothers and your sisters, there is no question of dominion. You exhale carbon dioxide, they inhale it. They exhale oxygen, you inhale it. Such a deep relationship…You cannot exist without trees, nor can trees exist without you; your existence is so deeply rooted in each other….
“Man has killed so many beautiful species of animals just for his food, has killed so many birds — whole species have disappeared….
“Religion seems to give a certain stupidity to people who were born intelligent….” 1
It is absolutely critical that anyone who cares about the world they live in needs to stop listening to whoever is responsible for brainwashing us into accepting that this dumb idea of democracy is for our benefit. Whether it is big money, who buy the election of their chosen political puppets — or their partners in the brainwashing crime, the priests — or the media, the educational system, the lawyers, or our parents…!
Those in power will never voluntarily change the status quo. We have been marching up and down with our placards forever — getting our heads bashed, and much worse, by those frontline troops in the defense of the establishment, the police. Ban the Bomb? Save the Planet? End State Violence? End Racism, End Sexism…. The result? Look around and decide for yourself.
In case you don’t like what you see, you might consider some of Osho suggestions, both in terms of cleaning up the dumb system we have today of “choosing” politicians and the steps we need to take to ensure that anyone in power is wise enough to handle that power.
To read this complete talk and see all the available formats:
1 Osho, One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green, Talk #3 — Zen: A Tremendous Rebellion
2 Osho, The Last Testament, Vol. 5, Talk #4
You might also enjoy, “A Way to End the Coronavirus Catastrophe.”