Is the small family the main cause of neurosis in this society? Is the total dependence of the child on the parents, and vice versa, the cause of hypocrisy, fixations and all kinds of neurosis, fear and anxiety?
“The family is certainly the cause of all kinds of neurosis, psychosis, schizophrenia. The whole sickness of man’s mind is created by the family.
The family is the basic unit of the old society; unless the family disappears the old society will continue, because its basic unit is intact.
“In my own way, without my saying anything, my communes are helping make the family disappear. A commune means the disappearance of family ties. You may be here, your wife may be here, your child may be here, but you are no longer a separate unit competing against every other separate unit. In a commune you are not competing, but on the contrary, you are pooling all your energies together. The child will not get fixated – which is one of the most significant things to be understood.
“Scientists have discovered in animals a certain fact – the first impression…and very strange conclusions they have come to. When the egg opens and the bird comes out of it, whatever the bird sees first – his first impression – becomes his lifelong thing. That will almost decide his whole life. And it is a very crazy thing…. Ordinarily the bird comes out of the egg and finds his mother or father close by, but once in a while…
“It happened when a scientist was working on this fact of the first impression. He was moving around while one egg opened, and a bird came out. His first impression was of the shoe of the scientist, that was the first thing the bird saw. And you cannot think what pathology that created.
“He would not take any note of his mother or father, but the moment he would see the shoe…. He would play with the shoe, go inside it and have much fun. But how long can you have much fun with a shoe? You will be surprised: when the bird became young, sexually mature, he started making love to the shoe! He was not interested in females of his species, not at all; his love object was the shoe.
Now it is an established fact that the early impressions go on forever in your unconscious.
“The early impressions should be wider, richer. For example, a boy is born. While he is coming out of his mother’s womb, many women should be there, rejoicing, singing, dancing. He should know not only his mother as the woman, he should know many women just as he knows his mother. He will get a very vague idea what a woman is, not a very accurate picture from the mother.
“Psychologists have become aware that no couple in the world is happy, for the simple reason that the woman is searching for her father in the husband. This is something unconscious that she does not know. Now, the husband has not married her to become her father. He has no idea at all that that is what is expected of him. And if he does not behave like her father, then the woman is frustrated.
“And vice versa: he himself is looking for his mother. And you cannot find your mother again. Existence never creates similar people; its creativity is original. You will find millions of women, but you will not find your mother anywhere. Perhaps a few things may be similar: the color of the hair, the color of the eyes, the way the woman walks, the way she laughs, the sound of her voice-something similar, and you will fall in love.
“But this is only a part of the woman. After marriage you will have come to know one hundred percent of the woman; and what you had fallen in love with may have been only five percent. And the same is true from the side of the woman: five percent of you is somehow similar to her father, and ninety-five percent is a stranger.
Now, there is no possibility of these two people living peacefully, lovingly – almost impossible.
“Five percent against ninety-five percent from both sides? There is bound to be continuous quarreling, fighting, arguing; never a moment of peace.
“I have heard about a clerk who used to sit in the office after everybody had left, at the time to close the office. The peon who used to close the office also used to sit long. The clerk thought, ‘Perhaps he sits for me. Unless I leave, how can he close the office?’ So he inquired of the peon, ‘Please forgive me. I am unnecessarily preventing you from going home.’
“The peon said, ‘I am not sitting here for you.’
“The clerk said, ‘Then why are you sitting here?’
“The peon said, ‘I am sitting here to avoid my wife. As long as I can sit here, I sit. And don’t feel guilty that I am sitting for you; in fact, I feel happy that there is some excuse for me to tell the boss, “Because one clerk was working overtime, I had to sit.”‘
“’But,’ the peon asked, ‘why do you go on sitting? I don’t see you working, there is no overtime.’
“The clerk said, ‘Because I am a bachelor. I don’t have a wife, so what is the point of going home? I am killing time.’
“One is killing time because he has no wife, so what is the point of going home? – nobody is waiting there. The other is sitting there because he has a wife who is really waiting just in front of the house on the steps, to grab him and to put him right into his place.
Strange world! But the cause is the small family unit – for many reasons.
It destroys your whole life as far as the relationships between men and women are concerned.
“Every girl should have the impressions of many men – loving, friendly. Every boy should have the impressions of many women – loving, friendly. It is possible only in a commune.
“Here, there are five thousand people. Every child has thousands of uncles and thousands of aunts. And he gets loving care from all these people. He will not have a certain fixed idea of a woman. He will have a vague, very vague, cloudy idea of what womanhood consists of. This cloud is capable of helping to create a communion with any woman, because this cloud carries the impressions of thousands of women.
“So thousands of women are capable of becoming beautiful partners in life. And the girl also carries…in the same way the girl carries the impression of thousands of men. It is difficult for her to draw a picture of the man she would like. She knows only vaguely, and only qualities, not personalities. And she has learned that every man has unique qualities, and all these qualities don’t create the impression of a shoe.
There is a possibility that people will be more in love with their life partners. The words “intimate enemies” will disappear, but “intimate friends” will take their place.
“And there are other dimensions in which the family creates neurotic trends. For example, you are born in a Christian family; then the whole of Christianity will be loaded upon you. You will not be given freedom to choose your path, your inquiry. Before you have even asked any questions about God, the answers have already been imprinted on you. So there are Hindus, there are Mohammedans, there are Christians. In fact, this is one of the greatest crimes that have been perpetually committed against man.
“A child should be just an inquirer.
“That is not possible with the small family unit, because the family is Christian, is Jewish; the family goes to the synagogue or to the church. And children are imitative, even if you don’t say anything, they would like to come where you are going.
It is impossible for a child to grow in a religious family and not be impressed by the beliefs, superstitions. And by the time he is able to inquire he already has the answers – but they are all borrowed.
“In a commune it is possible, because a commune has no religion – everybody is an inquirer. Nobody is interested in imposing his ideas on the child, because he himself is finished with the ideas of others and is trying to find his own way. He will help the child to become an individual and inquire on his own, because truth is discovered by individual inquiry; it is not to be acquired by communal knowledge.
“The child is going to gain immensely if the family dissolves into a commune. And the family is also going to be benefited immensely because they are no longer burdened with the child; the commune will take care of him.
“There are children here; the commune takes care of their education, and in that education we make them more and more alert, more and more centered. We don’t make them Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans. We don’t give them a holy book. We don’t teach them about God and the belief in God and his prophets.
“Our children are absolutely free of the idea of God, heaven and hell, and they are immensely joyous. And even observers from the outside have noticed the fact that they are far more intelligent than the children in the world. They have to be, because they are coming in contact with so many people.
“Their experiences are rich. Nobody is trying to mold them, their freedom is infinite. Everybody is pouring his love on them.
“Somebody may be Italian, somebody may be German, somebody may be American, somebody may be Indian – they are all pouring their love on a child who may be Brazilian. Now this child will not carry the old ideas of nations and nationalities and responsibilities. Now this child will not become part of Italy or Germany or America or Brazil. This child will know that all are equally human beings, and all are beautiful, and all are loving.
Why create this nonsense of nations?
Why create this nonsense of races, of black and white…?
“In this commune there is no question – nobody takes note whether you are white or black, whether you are Chinese or Russian or Japanese. Your old boundaries start disappearing. But for the new child there will be no boundaries at all. He will belong to the whole earth.
“And the responsibility of parents in a family – it is a burden. They are continuously in anxiety: What is the child going to become? How to raise the child rightly so nothing goes wrong?
“But everything seems to be going wrong. And there are hundreds of books which teach you how to raise a child, how to be a mother, how to be a father. In fact, there should be books on how to give birth to a child and not be a mother! – because that is one of the most hated words in everybody’s unconscious.
“It is not only Jews who are against moms. Everybody is!
“In a communal setting things are totally different.
More than father and mother, uncles and aunts become important.
“And you will be surprised to know that as far as language is concerned, aunt and uncle are older words; mother and father are later additions, because there was a time when there was no family. There were tribes, an ancient form of the commune.
“In the tribe nobody knew who his father was, because there was no question of marriage. People were producing children, people were making love, but there was no question of family. It was a tribe, all were living together. The child grew in a tribal atmosphere. That is the most natural atmosphere for the child to grow up in.
“A commune is the most up-dated tribe. With all the facilities that science has made available, something tremendously revolutionary has become possible.
“For example, there is no need that your child should have something to do with your wife’s egg or with your semen. This is something very stupid. You should think of the child, not of the semen and not of the egg. And how do you know which egg is your wife’s egg…?
“The family want their child because he will inherit their property.
“In a commune, whatever you have is the commune’s, and whatever you will leave behind will be the commune’s. There is no question of inheritance, so you need not be worried that somebody else’s child will inherit your property. In a commune, the property is the commune’s.
“And you need not be worried that if you die or something happens to you, who is going to take care of your child? In a commune the child will not miss you. He will have so many women, more loving and more compassionate because he has lost his mother.
The family is out-dated. The future belongs to the communes….
The small family is the cause of many troubles to humanity; it has to die, it has to disappear, and it has to be replaced by a bigger commune where marriage is a game you can play if you want.
“And you can marry today and tomorrow you can divorce. Or in the morning you can marry, and in the evening you can divorce. It is just your decision.
“There is no need to promise for the future, because the future has to be left open. Only then do people grow. If you promise for the future you have already blocked and destroyed it. No intelligent man can promise for the future.
“Who knows what tomorrow is going to bring? You may meet a beautiful woman and suddenly your whole attention shifts from the wife to the new woman. There is no need for jealousy. You have to say to your wife that this has happened. “I am grateful to you for all those beautiful moments that you have given to me. Perhaps the time has come that we part, and I hope that you will find a better man than me.”
“Naturally, if you have experienced a few people you always find better ones, because your understanding, your experience becomes bigger and bigger. You know whom to avoid – your old husbands!
“It is beautiful to fall in a new ditch; at least it is new, fresh – rather than falling in the old ditch again and again and again. That becomes mechanical, it loses adventure. I am not against falling in ditches, just don’t fall in the same ditch again! Find some other ditch! There are so many ditches all around – why remain poor in your experience? And why keep somebody else remaining poor in her experience?
In a small family the child is the problem. In a commune the child is not a problem.
“The father and mother go on changing partners – that does not matter to the child. The child is being taken care of by the commune. He can go to his old father to see him, to meet him; he can go to his mother. It does not matter that they no longer live together.
“In fact, it is enriching, because he will be meeting a new father, a new mother. When he goes to meet his father, he will introduce him to his new mother. When he goes to meet his mother, she will introduce him to his new father. And this is going to happen so many times that he becomes introduced to the whole commune.
“This is more human. And he is no longer tied to a very small thing, he is flowing in a vast sea of human beings….
“These are going to be the predecessors, the pioneers for the whole humanity in the future. There is no other way.
The old family is finished; it is just dragging on somehow because people can’t see any alternative.”
Abridged from Osho, From Death to Deathlessness, Talk #33 – The Nonsense of Nations