What is the connection between evolution, freedom, and consciousness?
Sartre says man is condemned to be free – condemned to be free. The whole of nature is at ease because there is no freedom. Freedom is a great burden.
“That’s why we don’t even like freedom; however we may talk about it, no one likes freedom, everyone fears freedom. Freedom is a dangerous thing. In nature there is no freedom. That’s why there is so much silence. You can never say to a dog, ‘You are an imperfect dog.’ Every dog is perfect.
“You can say to a man, ‘You are not a perfect man.’ It is meaningful, but to say to a dog, ‘You are not a perfect dog,’ is absurd. Every dog is perfect because a dog is not free to be. He is goaded by evolution; he is made, he is not a self-creator.
“A rose is a rose. However beautiful, it is not free, it is just a slave. Look at a rose: beautiful, but just a slave, goaded. There is no freedom to flower or not to flower. There is no problem, there is no choice: a flower is to flower. The flower cannot say, ‘I don’t like flowering,’ or, ‘I refuse.’ It has no say, no freedom.
“That’s why nature is so silent, a slave. It cannot err, it cannot go wrong. And if you cannot go wrong, if you are always right, and if your ‘right’ is not in your hands, then it is just goaded by eternal forces.
Nature is a deep slavery. With man, for the first time freedom enters.
“Man is free to be or not to be. Then there is anguish, fear whether ‘I may be capable….’ whether ‘I may be or may not be. What is going to happen?’ There is a deep trembling. Every moment is a suspended moment. Nothing is fixed and certain, nothing is predictable with man. Everything is unpredictable.
“We talk about freedom, but no one likes freedom. So we go on talking about freedom and creating slavery. We talk about freedom and then create a new slavery. Our every freedom is just a change of slavery. We go on changing from one slavery to another, from one bondage to another.
“No one likes freedom because freedom creates fear. Then you have to decide and choose.
We ask, we want that someone should tell us what to do – the society, the guru, the scripture, the tradition, the parents.
“Someone should say what to do, someone should show the path. Then we can follow, but we cannot move by ourselves. There is freedom and there is fear.
“That’s why there are so many religions. So many religions – they are not because of Jesus and Buddha and Krishna; they are because of a deep-rooted fear of freedom. You cannot be just a man. You have to be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian. Just by being a Christian you lose your freedom, by being a Hindu you are no longer a man because now you say, ‘I will follow a tradition. I will not move in the uncharted, in the unknown. I will move on a well-trodden path. I will move behind someone. I will not move alone.’
“’I am a Hindu’ means ‘I will move in a crowd. I will not move as an individual because if I move as an individual alone, there is freedom.
‘Every moment I have to decide, every moment I have to give birth to myself, every moment I am creating my soul.
“‘And no one else will be responsible. Only I will be responsible, ultimately.’
“Nietzsche has said: ‘Now God is dead and man is totally free.’ If God is really dead, then man is totally free. Man is not so afraid of God’s death; he is much more afraid of his own freedom. If there is a God, then everything is okay with you. If there is no God, then you are left totally free, condemned to be free. Now do whatever you like and suffer the consequences. No one else will be responsible.
“Erich Fromm has written a book, The Fear of Freedom. You fall in love and you begin to think of marriage. Love is freedom, marriage is slavery. But it is difficult to find a person who falls in love and will not think of marriage immediately.
Because love is freedom, there is fear.
“Marriage is a fixed thing, there is no fear. Marriage is an institution, dead. Love is an event, alive. It moves, it may change. Marriage never moves, it never changes. Because of this, marriage has certainty, security. Love has no certainty, no security.
“Love is insecure; any moment it may disappear into the blue as it has appeared from the blue. Any moment it may disappear. It is very unearthly, there are no roots in the earth. It is unpredictable. ‘So better get into marriage. Then roots are there. Now this marriage cannot evaporate into the blue. It is an institution.’
Everywhere – just as in love – everywhere, when we find freedom, we transform it into slavery the sooner the better.
“Then we are at ease. So every story ends with marriage. ‘They were married, and after that they were always happy.’ No one is happy, but it is good to end the story there because then begins hell. So every story ends with the most beautiful moment. And what is that moment? Freedom turning into slavery.
“And this is not only so with love but with everything. Marriage is an ugly thing; it is bound to be. Every institution is going to be ugly because it is just a dead corpse of something that was alive.
“But with anything alive, uncertainty is bound to be there. Alive means it can move, it can change, it can be different. I love you; the next moment I may not love you. But if I am your husband or I am your wife, you can be certain: the next moment I will also be your husband, your wife. It is an institution. Dead things are very permanent. Alive things are momentary, changing, in a flux.
Man is afraid of freedom, and freedom is the only thing that makes you man.
“So we are suicidal, destroying our freedom, and with that destruction, destroying our whole possibility of being. Then having is good because having means accumulating dead things. You can go on accumulating, there is no end to it. And the more you accumulate, the more secured you are.
“When I say now man has to move consciously, I mean this: you have to be aware of your freedom and also aware of your fear of freedom.
“How to use this freedom? Religiousness is nothing but an effort toward conscious evolution, an effort to use this freedom. Your volitional efforts are significant. Whatever you are doing nonvolitionally is just part of the past. Your future depends on your volitional acts.
A very simple act done with awareness, volitionally, gives you a certain growth – even an ordinary act.
“You can go on a fast. Not because you have no food – you have food, you can eat it; you have hunger, you can eat – you can go on a fast because it is a volitional act, a conscious act. No animal can perform this. An animal will sometimes go on a fast when there is no hunger. An animal will have to fast when there is no food.
“But only man can fast when there is both hunger and food. This is a volitional act, you use your freedom. The hunger cannot goad you; the hunger cannot push you and the food cannot pull you.
“If there is no food, it is not a fast. If there is no hunger, it is naturopathy; it is not a fast. Hunger is there, food is there, and you are on a fast. This fasting is a volitional act, a conscious act. This will give you much awareness. You will feel a subtle freedom, freedom from food, freedom from hunger – really, deep down, freedom from the body, and still more deep down, freedom from nature.
And as your freedom grows, your consciousness grows. As your consciousness grows, your freedom grows. They are interrelated.
“Be more free and you will be more conscious; be more conscious and you will be more free. They are interdependent.
“But we can deceive ourselves. A son, a daughter, can say, ‘I will rebel against my father so I may be more free.’ Hippies are doing that. But rebellion is not freedom because it is just natural at a particular age to rebel against parents. It is not freedom; it is just natural. A child who is just coming out of the womb of his mother cannot say, ‘I am leaving the womb.’ It is natural.
“When someone is sexually mature, it is a second birth. Now he must fight his parents because only if he fights with his parents will he move further away from them. And unless he moves further away from them, he cannot create a new family nucleus.
So every child will go against his parents. This is natural. And if a child is not going against his parents, it is a growth because then he is fighting nature.
“For example, you get married. Your mother and your wife are going to be in a conflict, which is natural – which is natural I say because for the mother it is a great shock. You have moved to another woman. Up to now you were wholly and solely your mother’s. And it makes no difference because deep down no one is a mother and no one is a wife. Deep down everyone is a woman.
“Suddenly you have moved to another woman. The woman in your mother will suffer, will become jealous; fight and conflict is natural. But if a mother can still love you, it is a growth. And if your mother can love you more than she ever loved you – now that you have moved to a new woman – it is growth, it is conscious growth. She is going above natural instincts.
When you are a child, you love your parents. That is natural – just a bargain.
“You are helpless and they are doing everything for you. You love them and you give them respect. When your parents have become old and they cannot do anything for you, if you still respect and love them, that is a growth. Anywhere that natural instinct is transcended, you grow. You have taken a volitional decision. Your being will grow and you will attain essence.
“The old Indian culture tried in every way to make life such that everything becomes a growth. It is natural for a small child to respect his father. It is unnatural when your father has become just old, dying. He cannot do anything for you, is just a burden to you, then to respect him is unnatural. No animal can do that; the natural bond has broken.
Only man can do that. And if it is done, you grow.
“It is volitional – any volitional act, simple or complex….
“So any act, simple or complex, that you decide on your part without any instinctive goading behind, without any natural force forcing you to decide – if it is your decision, through that decision you are created. Every decision is decisive for your birth. You grow in a different dimension.
“Use every act, very ordinary acts. You are sitting. Decide ‘Now I will not move my body for ten minutes.’ You will be surprised that the body was not moving before, but now the body forces you to move. You begin to feel many subtle movements in the body that you were not even aware of.
Now the body will revolt, millennia of past habit.
“The body will say, ‘I will move.’ The body will begin to tremble and there will be subtle movements, and you will feel many temptations to move. The legs will go to sleep, they will go dead, and you will feel somewhere to scratch, and many things. And you were sitting without any movement previously, but now you cannot sit. But if you can sit even for ten minutes without moving, you will not need any other meditation….
“The moment you decide, you will be tempted, and to transcend temptation is growth. To transcend temptation is growth. It is not suppression, remember. It is not suppression, it is transcendence. The temptation is there. Don’t fight it, acknowledge it: ‘Okay, you are there, but I have decided.’ Try it for your meditation….
This conscious effort to decide, to act, to be, is now going to be the evolution for man.
“A buddha is different from you because of this effort and nothing else. Potentially there is no difference; only this conscious effort makes the difference. Between man and man, the real difference is only of conscious effort. All else is just superficial – just your clothes are different, so to speak.
“But when you have something conscious in you, a growth, an inward growth that is not natural but goes beyond, then you have a distinct individuality….
This is transcendence. Something natural has been transcended.
Reaction is natural, action is growth. We all react; we have no actions, only reactions. Someone appreciates you and you feel good, someone abuses you and you feel bad, someone will do this and this will happen…. You are predictable. A husband returning to his house knows what his wife is going to ask. Not only that, he prepares the answer.
“He has not reached yet, but he prepares the answer and he knows that his wife is not going to believe it. The wife knows what she is going to ask and what her husband is going to answer – everything predictable. Every day this will happen and it will continue for the whole life.
“The same questions, the same answers, the same suspicions, the same doubts, the same tricks, the same games – and people go on playing. These are just reactions….
“If someone behaves unpredictably, it surprises us. We are so predictable; everyone knows what one is going to do. You do this, and this will follow. It is a mechanical response. Go beyond mechanical responses, transcend natural forces. Create a will.
That is the path beyond human evolution. Below human there is a natural growth, but that is not for man now.”
An abridged excerpt from: Osho, The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 2, Talk #4 – With Man, Evolution Ends and Conscious Growth Begins
To read the full series on evolution:
An introductory summary:
The Origin of the Species – A Revolutionary New Understanding
Links to excerpts from Osho on different aspects of evolution:
From Unconscious Evolution to a Revolution in Consciousness
Evolution and Consciousness – The Ultimate Journey
What Is the Evolution of a Seeker on the Journey to Consciousness?
From Natural Selection to Conscious Evolution to Total Consciousness
Evolution and Consciousness – From Existence to Essence
From Instinct to Boredom – Have Human Beings Stopped Evolving?
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