Uniqueness, Specialness, and the Difference between Them


What is the difference between being special and being unique?

“Being unique is everybody’s nature; being special is relative. When you start feeling that you are special you are comparing yourself with somebody. Special is in comparison to somebody; unique, there is no comparison.

“Unique means you are alone as you are – how can you be compared?

“You cannot compare a car with an elephant. They are so different, how can you compare them? Each individual is so different from any other individual that there is no possibility of comparison.

“Uniqueness is everybody’s nature, but specialness is comparative. Uniqueness is religious, specialness is political. When you claim that you are special you are claiming that you are higher, superior to others; that others are lower, inferior to you. You bring the other in when you use the word special and this is violent. To compare yourself with somebody in any way is violent because he is he and you are you, and you are both so different. The very idea of comparing is stupid.

“Through comparison misery arises: either you feel you are inferior, then there is misery, or you start feeling you are superior, then too there is misery. If you feel superior, ego arises – and ego hurts. If you feel inferior, ego is wounded – and those wounds hurt. You may feel superior to one person but what about others? You may one day or other come across somebody to whom you feel inferior. With one person you may feel intelligent, with another you may look like a pygmy. With one you may feel beautiful, with another you may start feeling ugly.

“When you carry the idea of comparison you are carrying seeds of illness which will create misery and nothing else. Comparison creates hell. Heaven is an inner space where you live an uncompared life. You simply live yourself; it is your life, you are you. Just think of the beauty of it, the tremendous purity of it. You are simply you. Then you are beautiful. Are you ugly? Are you intelligent, or unintelligent?

“If you are simply you, and there is no comparison, how can you say you are this or that? Then both disappear. There arises neti-neti, neither this nor that. Then you are simply there.

“Just think: the whole world disappears and you alone are left. God takes away the whole world and only you are left, nobody else. Then what will you be – strong, weak, intelligent, unintelligent, beautiful, ugly? Then who will you be? All comparisons will disappear, you will simply be yourself. That is the way to be.

“Right now, be that! Don’t create unnecessary misery for yourself and for others. Start living your unique life.…

“This is what is happening in life. You are pulling others down, others are pulling you down, and your whole life is wasted in this unnecessary struggle. Just be yourself and you are unique; that uniqueness is nonviolent.

“Never try to be special. The very idea of being special comes from feeling inferior. Having the very idea of being superior to somebody or inferior to somebody, you have lost contact with yourself, with your uniqueness. In that very idea you become your own enemy. Now your life will be in trouble, you will create more and more misery for yourself and for others; you will create ripples of misery all around you.

“A man who simply relaxes into his uniqueness is a man who creates ripples of bliss around him.

“He lives in bliss and he creates pulsations of bliss for others. If you are around such a person you will suddenly be showered with great peace and love and silence and happiness because he is happy. The moment you accept your uniqueness, your individuality, how can you be unhappy?”

Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol. 2, Talk #6

Suggested reading: OSHO: Life, Love, Laughter: Celebrating Your Existence

Life, Love, Laughter