The longing for a better life, for a utopia, has been constantly in man’s mind since he became aware of his consciousness. On the other hand, he became more and more afraid of all his irrational powers. Can you please comment?
“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 has developed from the animals. Even if Charles Darwin is not right…. His theory of evolution – that man has developed out of the apes – does look a little childish, because for thousands of years these apes have been there, but none of them have developed into human beings. So it is strange that only a few apes developed into human beings, and the remaining ones still are apes; and there seems to be no sign that they are going to change into human beings….
“Secondly, he could not find a link between man and the ape, because whenever things develop there are always steps, not jumps. The ape cannot simply jump and become a human being. There must be a process of evolution; there must be a few in between stages, and those stages are missing. Charles Darwin worked his whole life to find the missing link, but he could not find anything.
“But according to Eastern mysticism, in a very different way, man is evolved from the animals – not as far as his body is concerned, but as far as his being is concerned. And that seems to be more relevant. Charles Darwin has almost lost his ground in scientific fields. Now the anti-Darwinians are winning, and Charles Darwin is almost out of date. It was only a fiction.
“But Eastern mysticism has the same theory – not that the ape’s body develops into a human body, but that an ape’s soul or an elephant’s soul, or a lion’s soul, can develop into a human being. First the soul develops, and then, according to the soul’s need, nature provides the body. So there is no bodily evolution, but there is a spiritual connection.
This is profoundly supported by modern psychoanalysis, particularly Carl Gustav Jung’s school, because in the collective unconscious of man there are memories which belong to animalhood.
“If man is taken deep into hypnosis, first he enters the unconscious mind, which is just the repressed part of this life. If he is hypnotized even more deeply, then he enters into the collective unconscious, which has memories of being animals. People start screaming – in that stage they cannot speak a language. They start moaning or crying, but language is impossible; they can shout, but in an animal way. And in the collective unconscious state, if they are allowed to move or they are told to move, they move on all fours – they don’t stand up.
“In the collective unconscious there are certainly remnants that suggest that they have been sometime in some animal body. And different people come from different animal bodies. That may be the cause of such a difference in individuals. And sometimes you can see a similarity – somebody behaves like a dog, somebody behaves like a fox, somebody behaves like a lion.
“And there is great support in folklore, in ancient parables like Aesop’s Fables, or Panchtantra in India – which is the most ancient – in which all the stories are about animals, but are very significant for human beings and represent certain human types.
“Charles Darwin may have failed because he was only looking for a link between bodies, physical bodies; and there may not be any link between physical bodies. But Eastern mysticism may be right that man has evolved spiritually from animalhood.
“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 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, in seventy years, the communist revolution in Soviet Russia was not 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.
“In the beginning they tried… because Karl Marx’s idea was that there should be no marriage in communism. And he was very factual about it: that marriage was born because of individual property. His logic was correct. There was a time when there was no marriage. People lived in tribes, and just as animals make love, people made love.
“The problem started only when a few people who were more cunning, more clever, more powerful, had managed some property. Now they wanted that their property, after their death, should go to their own children. It is a natural desire that if a person works his whole life and gathers property, land, or creates a kingdom, it should go to his children.
“In a subtle way, through the children, because they are his blood, he will be still ruling, he will be still possessing. It is a way to find some substitute for immortality, because the continuity will be there: ‘I will not be there, but my child will be there – who will represent me, who will be my blood and my bones and my marrow. And then his child will be there and there will be a continuity. So in a subtle sense, I will have immortality. I cannot live forever, so this is a substitute way.’
That’s why marriage was created.
“Otherwise it was easier for man not to have any marriage, because marriage was simply a responsibility – of children, of a wife. When the woman is pregnant, then you have to feed her…. And there was no need to take all that responsibility. The woman was taking the whole responsibility.
“But the man wanted some immortality, and that his property should be possessed by his own blood. And the woman wanted some protection – she was vulnerable. While she was pregnant, she could not work, she could not go hunting; she had to depend on somebody.
“So it was in the interest of both to have a contract that they would remain together, would not betray in any sense, because the whole thing was to keep the blood pure.
“So Marx’s idea was that when communism comes, and property becomes collective, marriage becomes meaningless because its basic reason is removed – now you don’t have any private property. Your son will not have anything as an inheritance.
“In fact, just as you cannot have private property, you cannot have a private woman; that too is property. And you cannot have a private son or daughter, because that too is private property.
So with the disappearance of private property, marriage will disappear.
“So after the revolution, for two or three years, in Russia they tried it, but it was impossible. Private property had disappeared, but people were not ready to drop marriage. And even the government found that if marriage disappears, the whole responsibility falls on the government – of the children, of the woman…. So why take an unnecessary responsibility? – and it is not a small thing. It is better to let marriage continue.
“So they reversed the policy; they forgot all about Karl Marx, because just within three years they found that this was going to create difficulty.
“People were not willing to drop private property either – it was forcibly taken away from them. Almost one million people were killed – for small private properties. Somebody had a small piece of land, a few acres, and because everything was going to be nationalized….
Although the people were poor, still they wanted to cling to their property.
At least they had something; and now even that was going to be taken out of their hands. They were hoping to get something more – that’s why they had had the revolution, and fought for it. Now what they had was going to be taken out of their hands. It was going to become government property, it was going to be nationalized….
“And for small things – somebody may have had just a few hens, or a cow, and he was not willing… because that was all that he had. A small house… and he was not willing for it to be nationalized.
“These poor people – one million people were killed to make the whole country aware that nationalization had to happen. Even if you had only a cow and you didn’t give it to the government, you were finished.
“And the government was thinking that people would be willing to separate… but this is how the merely theoretical and logical people have always failed to understand man. They have never looked into his psychology.
“This was true, that marriage was created after private property came into being – marriage followed it. Logically, as private property is dissolved, marriage should disappear. But they don’t understand the human mind. As property was taken away, people became even more possessive of each other because nothing was left. Their land has gone, their animals have gone, their houses have gone. Now they don’t want to lose their wife or their husband or their children. This is too much.
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. When everything was taken away people were clinging to each other more, more than before, because now that was their only possession: a woman, a husband, children. And it was such a gap in their life; their whole property had gone and now their wife was also to be nationalized. They could not conceive the idea because their mind and their tradition said, ‘That is prostitution.’ Their children had to be nationalized – they had not fought the revolution for this.
“So finally the government had to reverse the policy; otherwise in their constitution…. In the first constitution they had declared that now there shall be no marriage; and the question of divorce did not arise. Just within three years they had to change it.
And in Russia then marriage was stricter than anywhere else.
“Divorce was more difficult than anywhere else, because the government did not want unnecessary changes. That creates paperwork and more bureaucracy. So the government wants people to remain together, not to unnecessarily change partners. And divorce creates law cases about the children – who should have them, the father or mother; it is unnecessary.
“The government thinks of efficiency – less bureaucracy, less paperwork – and people are creating unnecessary paperwork, so it is very difficult to get a divorce.
“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.
“It is very difficult to become a member, to obtain membership of the communist party in Russia, because that is entering into the power elite. The communist party has made many other groups – first you have to be a member of those groups, and you have to be checked in every way. When they find that you are really reliable, absolutely reliable, trustworthy, then you may enter into the communist party. And the party is not increasing its membership because that means dividing power.
“The party wants to remain as small as possible so that the power is in a few hands. There is now a powerful class. For seventy years the same group were ruling the country, and the whole country was powerless.
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 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 strictest society with static classes.
It is almost a repetition of Hinduism.
“What Manu did five thousand years ago, communists did in Russia. 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.
“Hindus were not a converting religion, because the great question was, if you convert somebody, in what class are you going to put the person? Christianity is a converting religion because it has no classification; you simply become a Christian. If Catholics convert you, you become a Catholic; if Protestants convert you, you become a Protestant.
“But in Hinduism you cannot be converted, for the simple reason: Where will you be put? Brahmins won’t allow you, and you would not like to be put with the sudras, the untouchables. So then what is the point of coming to a religion where you will not be even touched? Even your shadow will be untouchable. And a brahmin has to take a bath if the shadow of a sudra falls on him.
The sudra has not touched him, but his shadow is also untouchable.
“Being the ancientmost religion, still Hinduism has not been spreading; it has been shrinking. Buddhism spread all over Asia, and it is only twenty-five centuries old. Hinduism is at least ten thousand years old, or more, but it could not spread, for the simple reason that birth is decisive. You can be a Hindu only by birth, just as you can be a Jew only by birth – and these are the two most ancient religions. These are really the two basic religions.
“Christianity and Mohammedanism are offshoots of Judaism; and Jainism and Buddhism are offshoots of Hinduism.
“Jainism and Buddhism are both the rebellion of the second class – the chhatriyas, the warriors – because they had the powers. They were the kings, they were the soldiers, they had the power – and yet the brahmin was on top of them. So naturally, sooner or later they were going to revolt, and finally they did revolt. Gautam Buddha and Mahavira are both from the second class. They wanted to be first class, they had the power, and the brahmins had nothing: Why should they be the highest class? So it was a rebellion.
But it was a strange thing that although these two religions got out of the Hindu fold, only Buddhism could spread all over Asia.
“Jainism could not spread out of India. Buddhism managed to spread out of India: from India it disappeared, but it took over the whole of Asia. And the reason was that it was through Gautam Buddha’s very compassionate mind that he allowed anybody to enter into Buddhism.
“Jainas, although they had also rebelled against the brahmins, remained of the same mind – that they are higher than the other two classes. They wanted to be higher than brahmins too, but they never started converting anybody, because who would they convert? Brahmins will not be ready to be converted – they are already higher than everybody. Only sudras can be converted because they will be raised on the evaluation scale. But Jainas – Mahavira and his group – were not so compassionate as to take them in.
So Jainism is not a complete culture – it has to depend on Hinduism for everything.
“it has remained only a philosophy. No Jaina can make shoes – some Hindu sudra has to make the shoes. No Jaina can clean the toilets – some sudra has to do that work.
“Although they rebelled against brahmins, their rebellion was just against the superiority of the brahmins, and they wanted themselves to be higher than the brahmins. But they were also not in favor of the lower classes being taken higher.
“And the ultimate result was that Jainas have remained a very small religion, confined in numbers. And because they left Hinduism, rather than rising higher than brahmins, they even fell from the second category. Because they left Hinduism, they were no longer chhatriyas. They were no longer considered to be warriors, and they could not be because of their nonviolence. They had to drop the idea of fighting, so the only way was to become business people.
“Lower you can go – nobody prevents you – so they had to go from the second class to the third class, and they all became business people.
So the rebellion failed very badly.
“Jainas wanted to become higher than the first class; the outcome of their revolution was that they went from the second class to the third class.
“And they are absolutely dependent on Hindus. For their manual work they need workers – they cannot work. And because they became business people, slowly, slowly the Hindu vaishyas, the Hindu business people, and the Jaina business people came closer. Even marriages started happening between them.
“By and by they even had to ask brahmins to do their worshop work – and they had money to pay for it. So brahmins worshipped for the Jainas – who are against brahminism, against Hinduism; but they had to use Hindus for everything.
“Their shoes are made by the sudras; their toilets are cleaned by the sudras. Their properties have to be protected by the chhatriyas, because they cannot take the sword in their hands. They cannot kill, so they cannot fight, they cannot go to war; they have their security force in the warrior race. And finally their priests – the brahmins came in from the back door as their priests.
“Manu tried this immobile society – which is still the same – five thousand years ago. That too was a kind of utopia, because he was thinking in terms of there being no class struggle this way.
The class struggle can be dropped in two ways.
“Either there should be no classes; then there will be no class struggle. That’s what communism is doing, but it has failed because a new class has appeared. The other way is that the classes should be so stratified that there is no question of one person moving into another class. No struggle will be there, so there will be no competition.
“The brahmin will remain a brahmin. He will remain on the top, whether he is poor or rich does not matter. The businessman will remain a businessman. Just because he is rich he cannot become a brahmin, he cannot purchase the caste. He cannot rise; he will remain third class, however rich he is. The sudras will remain sudras: they have to do all the dirty work and they cannot move from there.
This was also a utopia. The idea was that if the classes are completely static, there is not going to be any struggle, competition.
“In a way Manu succeeded more than Marx, because for five thousand years his idea has remained in practice, and in India the Hindu society has never been in a class struggle. The poor are there, the rich are there, but that is not the real problem for the Hindu. His real problem is those four classes, which are absolutely static. But that is very dangerous because you prevent people from moving in a direction where they can find their potential fulfilled. A sudra may prove to be a great warrior, but he will never be allowed. A brahmin may prove a great industrialist, but he cannot lower himself.
“So it saved the society from class struggle, but it destroyed the individual and his potential completely. The genius was ruined. In just the same way it is happening in communism: the individual is destroyed, his genius is ruined. He cannot move upwards even if he has the capacity.
There have been attempts all over the world to make a harmonious human society, but all have failed for the simple reason that nobody has bothered why it is not naturally harmonious.
“It is not harmonious because each individual inside is divided, and his divisions are projected onto the society.
“And unless we dissolve the individual’s inner divisions, there is no possibility of really realizing a utopia and creating a harmonious society in the world.”
From Osho, Light on the Path, Talk #30 – Utopia is Possible
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