We Are The Problem
A very revealing incident occurred recently. In the wake of the so-called “giant step for mankind,” when the first astronaut set foot on the moon, the Americans have continued their space exploration, now with the reusable shuttle.
Suddenly, a little while ago, this 2.3-billion-dollar spacecraft blew up in the sky, killing all seven passengers.
It created an enormous reaction in the US — sorrow, anger, hurt national pride, etc. It turned out that behind the tragedy lay the usual human forces: egotism, prejudice, dishonesty, competition, arrogance, fear, ambition, and so on.
An official investigation concentrated on “flawed management procedures,” and “reorganizing the chain of command,” but nowhere felt it relevant to investigate egotism, prejudice, dishonesty, and all the rest.
Isn’t the real “giant step for mankind” yet to come — the realization that it is man himself who lies at the root of his own catastrophe?
“It is man himself who lies at the root of all the catastrophes, but the trouble is, it goes against man’s ego to accept it.
“The way of the ego is very simple: always throw responsibility on somebody else. It is always the other who is hell. One never looks at oneself. The other cannot be hell for me, unless I in some way support the other to create the hell for me. It must be somewhere in the unconscious, my own need.
“Just today I came to know, that all over the world man wastes enough energy, money, technological power and human genius in three days to support the whole earth for a year with food, clothing, shelter, everything that a human being needs to survive. And this figure is five years old, so I guess that now man must be wasting perhaps every day as much energy as is needed to support the whole of mankind for one year.
“And who is at the root of it, who is forcing you to do all this nonsense? All this is being done to prepare more efficiently for war, to kill more, to destroy more.
“It seems man is insane.
“Everywhere you can see his insanity, and if it were only a few people who were insane, it would be easy to do something for them, but if the whole humanity is functioning in an insane way, then a tremendous effort is needed to stop this idiotic behavior.
“The people who are responsible for the basic catastrophe — that is, the insanity of humanity — are the people who are in power. They want more and more power. The desire for more and more is unending, and everybody is competing without thinking of the whole humanity — that all this competition for destructiveness is suicidal.
“The rocket that was carrying seven passengers was not a big catastrophe, but this earth which is carrying six billion people is in the same danger. And there seems to be no thinking about what is needed first. If you have more than enough, then it is worthwhile to explore space.
“But right now even America does not have more than enough. Millions of people are on the streets: no food, no clothes, no shelter.
“But Ronald Reagan is not interested in those millions of people, he is interested in the national ego, “We are the first to take passengers into space.”
“It is hilarious. As far as is known, no planet around the earth is habitable. In this solar system, except for the earth, no planet is habitable — all efforts are useless, because there is no oxygen, no water, and life cannot exist. Perhaps in other solar systems, there may be planets where life can exist, but to reach to those planets is an impossible job right now. They are too far away.
“We don’t have the energy, and we don’t have the money, and we don’t have the expertise — and right now it is not a problem at all, they are not disturbing you.
“Our problems are simple, which we are capable of solving for the first time in man’s history. For the first time it is possible — there is no need for poverty; no need for people to die without medicine, without proper care; no need for millions of people to remain uneducated, never knowing great literature, great paintings, great music.
“Up to now man has simply been fighting. Except for fighting he has not done anything else. One war after another war. What we call times of peace are nothing to do with peace, they are really preparations for the next war. There are only two periods in history: war and the preparation period for another war; we have not known peace at all.
“Our problems are so simple. Seeing our developed technology, it is absurd that in Ethiopia one thousand people continue to die every day and nobody bothers. Every day one thousand people… from hunger. And death from hunger is not easy, it is the worst death, because it takes almost ninety days for a person to die. Ninety days he has to suffer in starvation. It is really cruel, and nobody seems to be interested.
“These toys — rockets for space — are absolutely unnecessary. It is not the time for them. Something else is needed that can educate every human individual, that can make every individual live long, be healthy, be capable of understanding all the great treasures of art, literature, music, sculpture, that for centuries human genius has created, and give an opportunity to everyone.
“Who knows how many Beethovens, how many Leonardo da Vincis, how many van Goghs, simply die uneducated, without any opportunity to express themselves, their talents?
“There is no way to know how many Gautam Buddhas we have missed, and by missing them how much human consciousness has suffered, human evolution has suffered.
“And now that science has brought us to a point where everybody can be given equal opportunity to grow, to express his talents, the idiots who are in power are not allowing scientific progress to help humanity to reach to a higher status of evolution, but are trying to divert all scientific progress towards a global suicide — and in the name of beautiful words: democracy, communism, freedom, individuality. And there is no freedom anywhere. There is no freedom of speech, there is no democracy anywhere.
“And we are forcing the whole world to die for these empty words, which contain no meaning. And this has been going on…. First we were fighting for God. Now nobody is fighting for God, because we have found out that there is nobody behind the word, it is simply a word. We have been fighting for love, for truth, for peace… just words.
“Rather than fighting with each other, we should fight together, against the ugly past of humanity, so that we can get rid of it; and our love is freed, our freedom is in our hands, our individuality is given to us.
“There is only one fight which can be justified, and that is against the past, because the past has been simply destructive of all human values.
“If we can only disconnect ourselves from the past, there is hope for humanity, not only to survive, but survive blissfully; not just to drag on somehow, but to be creative. And unless a man reaches to the fulfillment of his potential, he is never blissful.
“And the discontented man is the cause of all our catastrophes. Bring contentment to man. Give him simple things — survival and opportunity to express himself — and this very planet will become far more beautiful than the farthest star. There is no need to go anywhere.
“Restore to every individual his self-respect, which religions have destroyed — people are living like zombies. So many millions of people and just a few politicians and a few religious leaders go on creating all kind of nuisance, and nobody even raises his voice. We have been so suppressed, so humiliated.
“My only suggestion is: everybody has to take it into his own hands, the dignity of man, and everybody has to be assertive, and everybody has to be questioning about all the rules that the past has forced upon you. And any discipline that is unreasonable, is irrational, is unintelligent, should be dropped without a second thought.
“If my people can do this much, become purely individuals, freed from all kinds of dark shadows from the past; declare themselves — we are the new man, we are not Christians, we are not Hindus, we are not Mohammedans, we are not Americans, and we are not Russians — we are simply the new man. And we want to live from the very scratch, from ABC, not according to any discipline laid down by the ancient, centuries-old scriptures, which had no idea of what is going to happen in the future.
“We are facing a time that no scripture has had any idea of. All those holy scriptures have to be reduced to ordinary books. That’s what they are: there is nothing holy in them.
“Just free yourself from the rotten, from the junk, and free yourself for some creative expression of your life, and you will be laying down the foundation of a new humanity; otherwise more and more catastrophes are going to happen. We are sitting on volcanoes created by our own great leaders, blessed by our great religious saints.
“Once and for all we have to understand the conspiracy of religions and politics against man. And man has to be freed from politics and religion, both, because both have been exploiting him, destroying him, not allowing him to be individual, completely free and natural, without guilt, enjoying like an innocent child.”
Osho, The Transmission of the Lamp, Talk #19 — Don’t Miss the Head