The yearning for a utopia is basically the yearning for harmony in the individual and in the society. The harmony has never existed; there has always been a chaos.
“Society has been divided into different cultures, different religions, different nations – and all based on superstitions. None of the divisions are valid.
“But these divisions show that man is divided within himself: these are the projections of his own inner conflict. He is not one within, that’s why he could not create one society, one humanity outside.
“The cause is not outside. The outside is only the reflection of the inner man….
“Man still carries much of the animal’s instinct – his anger, his hatred, his jealousy, his possessiveness, his cunningness. All that has been condemned in man seems to belong to a very deep-rooted unconscious. And the whole work of spiritual alchemy is how to get rid of the animal past.
Without getting rid of the animal past, man will remain divided.
“The animal past and his humanity cannot exist as one, because humanity has just the opposite qualities. So all that man can do is become a hypocrite.
“As far as formal behavior is concerned, he follows the ideals of humanity – of love and of truth, of freedom, of non-possessiveness, compassion. But it remains only a very thin layer, and at any moment the hidden animal can come up; any accident can bring it up. And whether it comes up or not, the inner consciousness is divided.
“This divided consciousness has been creating the yearning and the question: How to become a harmonious whole as far as the individual is concerned? And the same is true about the whole society: How can we make the society a harmonious whole – where there is no war, no conflict, no classes; no divisions of color, caste, religion, nation?
“Because of people like Thomas Moore, who wrote the book, Utopia, the name became synonymous with all idealistic goals – but they have not grasped the real problem. That’s why it seems their idea of a utopia is never going to happen. If you think of society as becoming an ideal society, a paradise, it seems to be impossible:
There are so many conflicts, and there seems to be no way to harmonize them.
“Every religion wants to conquer the whole world, not to be harmonized.
“Every nation wants to conquer the whole world, not to be harmonized.
“Every culture wants to spread all over the world and to destroy all other cultures, not to bring a harmony between them.
“So utopia became synonymous with something which is simply imaginary. And there are dreamers – the very word utopia also means “that which is never going to happen.” But still man goes on thinking in those terms again and again. There seems to be some deep-rooted urge…. But his thinking is about the symptoms – that’s why it seems to be never going to happen. He is not looking at the causes. The causes are individuals.
Utopia is possible.
“A harmonious human society is possible, should be possible, because it will be the best opportunity for everyone to grow, the best opportunity for everyone to be himself. The richest possibilities will be available to everyone.
“So it seems that the way it is, society is absolutely stupid.
“The utopians are not dreamers, but your so-called realists who condemn utopians are stupid. But both are agreed on one point – that something has to be done in the society.
“Prince Kropotkin, Bakunin, and their followers, would like all the governments to be dissolved – as if it is in their hands, as if you simply say so and the governments will dissolve.
These are the anarchists, who are the best utopians.
“Reading them, it seems that whatever they are saying is significant. But they have no means to materialize it, and they have no idea how it is going to happen.
“And there is Karl Marx, Engels, and Lenin – the Marxists, the communists, and different schools of socialism, connected with different dreamers. Even George Bernard Shaw had his own idea of socialism, and he had a small group called the Fabian Society. He was propagating a kind of socialist world, totally different from the communist world that exists today.
“There are fascists who think that it is a question of more control and more government power; just the opposite pole of anarchists, who want no government: all the source of corruption is government.
And there are people, the fascists, who want all power in the hands of dictators.
“It is because of the democratic idea that the society is falling apart, because in democracy the lowest denominator becomes the ruler. He decides who is going to rule; and he is the most ignorant one, he has no understanding. The mob decides how the society should be. So according to the fascist, democracy is only mobocracy, it is not democracy: there is no democracy possible.
“According to the communists, the whole problem is simply the class division between the poor and the rich. They think that if all government power goes into the hands of the poor, and they have a dictatorship of the proletariat – when all classes have disappeared, and the society has become equal – then soon there will be no need of any state.
They are all concerned with the society. And that is where their failure lies.
“As I see it, utopia is not something that is not going to happen, it is something that is possible, but we should go to the causes, not to the symptoms. And the causes are in the individuals, not in the society.
“For example, seventy years have passed in Soviet Russia, and the communist revolution has not yet been able to dissolve the dictatorship. Lenin was thinking that ten or fifteen years at the most would be enough, because by that time we would have equalized everybody, distributed wealth equally – then there would be no need for a government.
“But after fifteen years they found that the moment you remove the enforced state, people are going to become again unequal. There will be again rich people and there will be again poor people, because there is something in people which makes them rich or poor. So you have to keep them in almost a concentration camp if you want them to remain equal. But this is a strange kind of equality because it destroys all freedom, all individuality.
“And the basic idea was that the individual will be given equal opportunity. His needs should be fulfilled equally. He will have everything equal to everybody else. He will share it.
“But the ultimate outcome is just the opposite. They have almost destroyed the individual to whom they were trying to give equality, and freedom, and everything good that should be given to individuals.
The very individual is removed.
“They have become afraid of the individual; and the reason is that they are still not aware that however long the enforced state lasts – seventy or seven hundred years – it will not make any difference.
“The moment you remove control, there will be a few people who know how to be rich, and there will be a few people who know how to be poor. And they will simply start the whole thing again….
“Logic is one thing… and unless we try to understand man more psychologically and less logically, we are always going to commit mistakes.
Marx was proved wrong….
“And as time passed, they found that there was no way to keep people equal without force. But what kind of a utopia is it which is kept by force? And because the communist party has all the force, a new kind of division has come into being, a new class of the bureaucrats: those who have power, and those who don’t have any power….
The people were never so powerless under a capitalist regime or under a feudal regime.
“Under the czars they were never so powerless. It was possible for a poor man, if he was intelligent enough, to become rich. Now it is not so easy. You may be intelligent, but it is not so easy to enter from the powerless class into the class which holds power. The distance between the two classes is far more than it was before.
“There is always a mobility in a capitalist society, because there are not only poor people and rich people; there is a big middle class, and the middle class is continuously moving. A few people of the middle class are moving into the super-rich, and more people are moving into the poor class. A few poor people are moving into the middle class; a few rich people are falling into the middle class, or may even fall into the poor class…there is mobility.
“In a communist society there is an absolutely static state. Classes are now completely cut off from each other.
“They were going to create a classless society, and they have created the most strict society with static classes.
It is almost a repetition of Hinduism.
“What Manu did five thousand years ago, communists have done in Russia now. Manu made Hindu society into four classes. There is no mobility. You are born a brahmin; that is the only way to be a brahmin. And that is the highest society, the topmost class. Then number two is the warriors, the kings – the kshatriyas. But you are born in that caste, it is not a question that you can move. Then third is the class of the vaishyas, the business people; you are born in it. And the fourth is the sudras, the untouchables.
“All are born into their caste. That’s why, until Christianity started converting so many Hindus, particularly the sudras, who were ready, very willing to become Christians, because at least they would be touchable…. Amongst Hindus sudras are untouchable, and there is no way to get out of the structure.
“For your whole life you have to remain the same as your forefathers remained for five thousand years. For five thousand years there has been a stratified society. If somebody is a shoemaker, his family has been making shoes for five thousand years. He cannot do any other work, he cannot enter into any other profession. That is not allowed….
“The world can come to a harmony if meditation is spread far and wide, and people are brought to one consciousness within themselves. This will be a totally different dimension to work with.
Up to now it was revolution. The point was society, its structure. It has failed again and again in different ways. Now it should be the individual; and not revolution, but meditation, transformation.
“And it is not so difficult as people think. They may waste six years in getting a master’s degree in a university; and they will not think that this is wasting too much time for just a degree which means nothing.
“It is only a question of understanding the value of meditation. Then it is easily possible for millions of people to become undivided within themselves. And they will be the first group of humanity to become harmonious. And their harmoniousness, their beauty, their compassion, their love – all their qualities – are bound to resound around the world.
My effort is to make meditation almost a science so it is not something to do with religion.
“So anybody can practice it – whether he is a Hindu or a Christian or a Jew or a Mohammedan, it doesn’t matter. What his religion is, is irrelevant; he can still meditate. He may not even believe in any religion, he may be an atheist; still he can meditate.
“Meditation has to become almost like a wildfire. Then there is some hope.
“And people are ready: they have been thirsting for something that changes the whole flavor of the society. It is ugly as it is, it is disgusting. It is at the most, tolerable. Somehow people have been tolerating it. But to tolerate is not a very joyful thing.
“It should be ecstatic. It should be enjoyable.
It should bring a dance to people’s hearts.
“And once these divisions within a person disappear, he can see so clearly about everything. It is not a question of his being knowledgeable, it is a question of his clarity. He can look at every dimension, every direction with such clearness, with such deep sensitivity, perceptiveness, that he may not be knowledgeable but his clarity will give you answers which knowledge cannot give.
“This is one of the most important things – the idea of utopia – which has been following man like a shadow for thousands of years. But somehow it got mixed up with the changing of society; the individual never got looked at.
“Nobody has paid much attention to the individual – and that is the root cause of all the problems. But because the individual seems to be so small and the society seems so big, people think that we can change society, and then the individuals will change.
“This is not going to be so – because “society” is only a word; there are only individuals, there is no society. The society has no soul – you cannot change anything in it.
You can change only the individual, howsoever small he appears.
And once you know the science of how to change the individual, it is applicable to all the individuals everywhere.
“And my feeling is that one day we are going to attain a society which will be harmonious, which will be far better than all the ideas that utopians have been producing for thousands of years.
“The reality will be far more beautiful.
Abridged from Osho, Osho, Light on the Path, Talk #30 – Utopia is Possible
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