Reactionaries vs. Revolutionaries – How Could Humanity Have Gotten It So Wrong?

Reactionaries & Revolutionaries

Revolutionaries have always claimed that it is society’s repressive instruments of control that deform humanity and produce the ugly behavior of man.
The reactionaries have claimed the opposite: that human nature is inherently ugly, and that it is only the instruments of control that limit this ugliness and allow what little civilization there is. They say that without such control, this ugly behavior would rapidly reduce us to barbarity.
It seems that, as always, your approach is completely different and totally unique. Would you talk about this centuries-old controversy?

“The truth is, the whole controversy is absolutely wrong. It is based on prejudices, not on an experience of human nature.

“I speak from the experience of my own humanity, that the deeper you go the more cultured you are; the deeper you go the more graceful you are. The deeper you reach the more human you become. So I can say with absolute certainty and guarantee that man is not by nature ugly.

Man by nature is born absolutely innocent, neither ugly nor cultured, just a tabula rasa. Whatever you want to write on him he will become.

“If you are alert and aware, you will not write anything; you will leave the child alone. You will help him to be stronger, you will help him to be well-nourished, you will help him to be more healthy, you will take every care, in the way a gardener takes care of a rosebush. You will not force anything on the rosebush – roses will come in their own time, they are hidden; you have just to take care.

“Every child has roses, lotuses, buddhas hidden in him, in his innocence. Help him to remain innocent. Don’t force so-called culture, society, in the fear that ‘if we don’t force, he will become a barbarian.’

“Without any experimentation, this controversy has been going on for centuries. I know; I have been fighting in my university with my professors, because the same thing comes up again and again in every psychological and social effort to understand what to do with the child. And my standpoint from the very beginning has been not to do anything with the child; you simply protect.

Your function is to nourish the child, to make him healthy, to keep him intelligent. Let him be himself, his innocence intact – he will find meditativeness very easy.

“If you want, if your temptation to teach is too much, teach meditation. That will make him more innocent. Don’t teach knowledge, culture, civilization. That becomes the burden, that becomes the false personality, that becomes the hypocrisy.

We are living in a hypocrite world, not a cultured world. It is not really a cultured or civilized world. H.G. Wells was right.…He was writing a world history and he had almost completed it – it is one of the greatest histories ever written, by a man of a very clear insight into things. A friend asked, ‘You know about the whole of world history. What is your idea about civilization?’ H.G. Wells said, ‘It is a good idea, but it has to happen. It has not happened yet. Somebody has to bring it to humanity. Humanity is still barbaric.’

“Just look at your armies, just look at your arms, just look at your nuclear weapons.

Even barbarians are not that barbaric; even animals are not that animalistic. Have you seen any animal killing his own species?

“A dog will never kill another dog. Sometimes you can see them fighting, but watch closely. Be a witness, and you will be surprised to discover…because I have been watching. I have not only been watching human beings, I have been watching all kinds of beings. I have never missed any opportunity to watch, to figure out what is happening.

“When two dogs are fighting, you can see they are not really hitting each other, they are just barking. Everybody is showing his power and both are watching each other: ‘Who is more powerful?’ This is arithmetic! Once it is decided, both understand clearly that one is weaker, then the weaker one simply puts his tail underneath his legs. Just a symbol, that ‘There is no point. I am weaker, you are stronger. Finished.’ And they stop barking, and the stronger does not take advantage of the weaker. That will be too un-dogly.

“Once the weaker has accepted that he is weaker, then the stronger simply moves away; there is no point in fighting. In fact, they may become friends – most often they become friends. Once things are settled, that one is weaker and one is stronger, what is the point of fighting, unnecessary killing?

And there is no humiliation in accepting your weakness. If you are weak, what can you do? You are weak, you are simply accepting the truth. There is no insult, there is no humiliation.

“You are simply giving the signal to the other person that ‘I am weak, and if you want to kill me you can kill.’ But that will not be fair, and that will not be just, and the stronger person immediately understands that ‘this poor fellow needs protection rather than attack.’ They become friends.

“No animal species kills its own people except man. And no animals have weapons, so the fight is face to face, it is an encounter, direct. It has a dignity in it. It is only man who has invented weapons. And what is the purpose of the weapons? To shoot the enemy from far away, so you don’t have encounter him face to face, eye to eye.

“First, man invented arrows and the bow to kill faraway animals, faraway birds. You don’t know…you cannot fight even with a strong dog. You cannot fight with a monkey, although Charles Darwin says you are the evolution of monkeys. But your retarded brothers are far stronger than you.

“Even a man like Vivekananda, who was really fat, big, and an arch-egoist…. He was passing somewhere in the Himalayas and one monkey started threatening him. And Vivekananda started running, forgot all about God, forgot all about spiritual powers. The monkey looked very strong – they are strong, you cannot compete with them. From tree to tree they go, from house to house they jump. You cannot do that.

As far as monkeys are concerned, my feeling is they must be thinking that human beings are a fallen race, not evolved, because you have fallen from the trees onto the ground.

“They are still higher than you! They must be laughing at Charles Darwin’s one-sided judgment. Nobody has asked a monkey – it is a one-sided judgment. Man is deciding on his own that he is the evolution of apes, of gorillas, of chimpanzees.

“Have you seen chimpanzees and gorillas and apes? Just one chimpanzee is enough for five men! Within minutes you will be finished.

“Man started with arrows, but the idea was to be able to kill from a distance. This was a cowardly idea, so that the animal cannot attack you; the animal is far away. Then came gunpowder, even more powerful. And your so-called great hunters sit up in a tree where the lion cannot reach. To deceive the lion they put a goat underneath the tree, so the lion smells the goat, and he comes to catch the goat. And when he is killing the goat, you – from the top of the tree where he cannot reach – shoot him. And you are a great hunter!

“I have heard about a hunter. His wife was always asking him, ‘Sometimes you should take me also.’ This time she was adamant. She said, ‘Either I come, or you don’t go. And not only I am coming, my mother is also coming.’

“The hunter thought for a moment, and he said, ‘If your mother is also coming, then come.’

“They put the old woman in a cave to watch the scene and they both sat in the tree, the husband and wife. The wife suddenly nudged the husband and told him, ‘Look! One lion has entered into the cave where my mother is!’

“The hunter said, ‘It is the lion’s own fault. I cannot help. Why has that idiot entered there? Now he will suffer as I am suffering.’

Now there are missiles, which are the ultimate: you can kill somebody in America from here, and you don’t have to see the enemy at all.

“Missiles are computerized – you simply tell the computer, you press a button. And you don’t know where the missile is. It may be somewhere in the ocean on a warship, but the computer knows where it is and the computer knows where it has to go. You can sit inside your house and destroy the whole of America, or the whole of the Soviet Union, or the whole of India, just by pressing buttons on the computer – it is exactly like a typewriter. This is the remotest way of killing millions of people, not encountering them.

“Now there are airplanes without pilots; the computer manages the plane. It will go to any city, it will drop the hydrogen bombs, or atom bombs, whatever you want the computer to do. The computer manages the flight, and the airplane will drop the bombs at the right place and turn back and come home. And there is no need for any human being to be inside the plane, because that is dangerous.

This is the latest development of the arrow. The arrow was the beginning of remote killing. The highest development of the arrow are the missiles controlled by computers.

Man is the most barbarious animal, and he kills man.

“And just now it had been discovered…perhaps it has been discovered before but was kept secret for a right time to release it. Hirohito, the emperor of Japan, has died, and immediately America released the news that after the second world war when Japan was defeated, there were many Japanese on small islands, in the forests – guerrillas, fighting. Because Japan was defeated, Germany was defeated, these people were left in the jungles of Burma. Having no food, they started eating the dead bodies of the British soldiers in the jungles of Burma. They have released that news just now, when Hirohito’s funeral was about to take place. That has created a great problem. The Prince of Wales was going to attend, but he refused. Then Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, was asked to go to the funeral of the emperor of Japan. He said, ‘I can go, but I belong to a special club that has been created by Mountbatten.’

“Mountbatten was the viceroy in Burma for almost his whole life; only in the last part of his life he came to India. He created a special club of all the royal princes and old royalties of the world. So Prince Philip is a member of that Burma Club.

“I had never heard about the club, because it was a secret club. Just now Prince Philip has said, ‘If I go, then I will be immediately expelled from the Burma Club. So I don’t think it is right for me to go.’

“Just to prevent every important person around the world from participating in Hirohito’s funeral, that news release was waiting.

“Now, it is…The second world war ended in 1945. For what reason has this release been kept back? Just to insult emperor Hirohito in his death! This is ugly behavior. And my feeling is that even Prince Philip, in the position of those Japanese soldiers who had been hungry for months, would have eaten the corpses. He should just think for a moment, ‘If I was in their position, what would I do?’

“I know about the famous famine in Bengal – even mothers ate their own children. There is a limit…man is very frail. A woman who has been hungry for one month, and the breast is no longer bringing any milk, the child is hungry…it is a double problem. She is suffering from hunger so she cannot give milk. There is no milk, she has become a skeleton, and the child is dying without milk. Just put yourself in that situation….

“So the women ate their own children, or those who were a little more conscientious sold their children, so others ate them and they got the money to purchase something to eat. But it is the same, just a little roundabout.

“And there are cannibals, you know, in Africa.

All the missionaries know – missionaries are the only people who get caught by the cannibals, because nobody else goes into their forests.

“They used to be three thousand in the beginning of this century; now they are only three hundred. They have eaten their own people – what to do?

“Once in a while a missionary comes. Then there is great rejoicing, drums are beaten, the whole tribe gathers, and the missionary thinks that they are gathering to listen his sermon. And sometimes, if the missionary is thin and not worth boiling at this point, they keep him, feeding him fruits, whatever is possible, and the missionary thinks these are very good people: ‘Unnecessarily they have been called cannibals, and they are serving me!’ And when he becomes really fat, then the drums beat again….

“I have heard about one missionary. When he was put in a big pot in boiling water, he could not think what to say to these people.

He said, ‘Just wait a little. You can kill me later on – first let me give you a little taste of Christianity.’

“They said, ‘Wait! That’s what we are trying. When we drink the soup, we will have a taste of Christianity! You just wait, don’t be in a hurry – and anyway you cannot escape.’

“Man is the ugliest animal in the sense that the people who think they have civilized him, they have cultured him, are absolutely wrong. All their culture and civilization only goes skin-deep. Just scratch, and immediately comes the barbarian.

The only thing to make man really and authentically cultured is to bring up children in their innocence, and help their bodies to be healthy and their innocence to be meditative.

“The child can reach his center very easily because he has nothing to obstruct him, no ideas, no thoughts, no prejudices. He is not Catholic, he is not Hindu; he knows nothing. So when you say, ‘Go in,’ he simply goes in. And the road is clean, because no Bibles, no Korans, no Bhagavadgitas are standing like a China Wall preventing him. Children can learn meditation more easily than anybody else.

“So my suggestion in response to your question is that every child is born innocent. Neither barbaric nor a very cultured and religious person – just innocent. And all that the child needs from the parents and the society is not knowledge, but a deepening of innocence.

Meditation is the only way of deepening innocence, and if a child grows with his center blossoming you will have for the first time a society which is cultured, a society of the buddhas, the awakened ones.

“That’s my whole effort here.”


Excerpted from: Osho, Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind, Talk #6 – Wolves in a Sheep’s Skin

To read this complete talk and see all the available media formats, click here.



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