The Pursuit of Power


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This morning’s New York Times features an article to do with the current president’s “frustration over not getting enough credit for winning the nation’s highest office,” that he “expected to be celebrated for it, and that has not happened.” Why does the pursuit of power attract such people?

“People are so unconscious that they can do anything to keep their power, their respectability – even if it means blowing up the whole world. They can risk anything to save their ego. And these are the people who naturally reach to the positions of power, because they are the only seekers of power.

“No creative, intelligent person seeks power. No intelligent person is interested in dominating others. His first interest is to know himself. So the people with the highest quality of intelligence go towards mysticism, and the most mediocre go after power. That power can be worldly, political; it can be of money, it can be of holding spiritual domination over millions of people, but the basic urge is to dominate more and more people.

“This urge arises because you don’t know yourself, and you don’t want to know that you don’t know yourself. You are so afraid of becoming aware of the ignorance that prevails in the very center of your being. You escape from this darkness through these methods – lust for money, lust for power, lust for respectability, honor. And a man who has darkness within himself can do anything destructive.

“Creativity is impossible from such a person, because creativity comes from your being conscious, a little alert… light, love. Creativity is not at all interested in dominating anyone – for what? The other is the other; neither you want to dominate anyone, nor you want to be dominated by anyone. Freedom is the very taste of being just a little alert.

“But these people are completely asleep. In their sleep they are making atomic bombs, nuclear weapons, not knowing what they are doing. Only one thing keeps them moving, and that is: more power, more power. And whoever comes in their way has to be destroyed. They don’t know anything else. They are barbarians who have not evolved into human beings. Yes, they can destroy the whole world; they are already prepared to do so.

“They are all against me because I am exposing them.

“And I am surprised: in this big world nobody else is there to join hands with me, because people are afraid of the powerful ones – they can destroy them. One is fearless only when he knows that he is indestructible; you can kill him but you cannot destroy his being. But such people have slowly disappeared from the earth. We have not nourished them. We kill them and then worship them.

“This also has to be understood, why all the people that we have killed – for example, Jesus, Socrates, Al-Hillaj Mansoor, Sarmad – are immensely respectable after they have been killed. When they were alive they were condemned by everybody, not only by those who were in power but even by those who were not in power. Those who were not in power condemned them to show to the powerful, ‘We are with you.’ And the powerful condemned them because these people were bringing a vision. If it succeeds, then there will be no domination in the world; then there will be human beings – everybody unique, flowering in his own way.

“But all these people are worshipped when they are dead. That comes out of guilt. First people kill them… It is the powerful who kill them, and it is the powerless, the dominated, who support them – unwillingly, but very fanatically, because they want to show to everybody, ‘We are more against them than you are, and we are more in favor of the powerful than you are.’

“But once the man is killed, crucified, poisoned, these are the people who start feeling guilty, because from the very beginning they were not ready to kill the man. They had no problem with the man; he was not destroying any of their vested interests. They simply supported the powerful because they were afraid that if they didn’t support, if they remained silent, they would be suspected of supporting the person who has been killed.

“A disciple of Jesus was in the crowd when Jesus was crucified, and he was asked – because he looked different from others, was not from the same place, was a foreigner, and nobody recognized him – he was being asked again and again, ‘Who are you? Do you know this man who is being crucified?’ And he said, ‘No, I have never heard about him. Just seeing that so many people are going this way, just to see what is happening, I have come.’ Even he cannot admit that he is a follower of Jesus, because he knows the result will be another cross.

“So finally, when these people are crucified, the people who had supported it unwillingly start feeling very guilty, ‘What have we done against an innocent man, who has done no harm to anybody? And whatever he was saying, he was right.’ They can understand that these people in power are exploiting everybody.

“It is a strange world. You know people now as kings and queens, and if you follow their ancestors, in the beginning, they were robbers. From where did they get their kingdom?

“They are great robbers who have killed many people, accumulated money, land, declared themselves as lords of the land, and now they have royal blood. They are in the lineage of criminals – and not ordinary criminals, big criminals. But they have power, they have money – naturally their blood is special.

“The ordinary people have known all along that they are being crushed, murdered slowly.

“They labor hard and they cannot manage even one meal a day. They produce – but all that goes to those people who are in power. So when they support these people, it is unwillingly. That unwillingness, when the man is dead, turns into guilt; they start feeling that they have been participants in a criminal act. They have not done anything, but they were participants in a way; they were showing that they are in support of the powerful people.”

Osho, Beyond Psychology, Talk #38

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