Radical Methods for a World Gone Mad


I have come across a statement by R. D. Laing that madness is not breakdown, it is breakthrough. Our meditations are seen as a breakdown, even by psychiatrists. Is it justified and ethical for patients with depression to be given OSHO Dynamic Meditation? Please advise. I am merely a surgeon.


“R.D. Laing is bringing a radical change into the world of therapy. He is not an ordinary psychiatrist, he is a revolutionary psychiatrist. He understands me and what I am doing here. He goes on sending his books to me. He reads what is happening here, what I am saying, what I am teaching. He has been meeting with sannyasins in London, he is immensely interested. But he is a revolutionary and his insight is great, and I agree with him in toto. He is right: madness is not a breakdown, it is a breakthrough.

“But one thing I would like to say: not all madnesses are breakthroughs. There are madnesses which are breakdowns and there are madnesses which are breakthroughs.

But every madness can be transformed into a breakthrough – and that should be the work of the therapist.

“Even if the madness is a breakdown, the function of the therapist is to help the breakdown to be transformed into a breakthrough. Otherwise, what is your purpose? What are you doing?

“Up to now, the function of the therapist has been to normalize the person, to bring him back to his old self. And what was his old self in the first place? It is his old self that has brought this state of madness. If you bring him back to the old self you are simply postponing the same thing happening again. Sooner or later he will become mad again. Maybe you are helping him find temporary relief. Unless his breakdown becomes a breakthrough you have not been a real help to him.

“My methods of meditation are methods for future psychotherapy. The orthodox, the ordinary psychiatrists will be against my methods, because they cling to the old idea. They are afraid of the breakdown – I am not afraid of the breakdown. Breakdown simply means the change has started. Breakdown simply means all the old strategies, all the old securities, have failed.

Breakdown simply means that your old personality is of no use anymore. You need a new being, a new birth.

“When the child is born out of the womb he must be thinking – if he can think – that this is a breakdown, because his whole world is disappearing. The womb, its coziness, its warmth, its safety, security, no worry, no responsibility, all that is disappearing. And the child has to pass such a narrow passage, he must be feeling that he is dying. And then he has to learn a new way of life from ABC. It takes twenty-five years for us to educate him to function rightly in the society.

But our society is abnormal, our society is neurotic. It has been dominated by neurotic politicians, neurotic priests, for centuries.

“So we convert each child into a neurotic – Hindu neurotics, Mohammedan neurotics, Christian neurotics. We change every child into a fanatic, and the more fanatic he is the more we praise him. The more he says, ‘Hinduism is the only religion, the only right religion, the only true religion,’ Hindus will praise him….

Down the centuries, fanatics have been praised.

“If somebody says, ‘India is the greatest country in the world, the most religious, the most sacred land,’ people will praise him. They will say, ‘Look how devoted he is to the country.’ He is simply mad – he needs therapy!

“Because we have praised these kinds of neurotic attitudes, approaches, and we have condemned others – if somebody does not praise Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Christianity, we think he is a traitor. If somebody is not a great nationalist we think he is a traitor. We have condemned the sane people and we have praised the insane. Naturally, the crowd has remained insane.

“The whole world needs a breakdown. But just a breakdown is not going to help. Before the world goes through that breakdown – and the day is coming closer every day – methods and devices have to be invented, innovated, which can transform the breakdown into a breakthrough.

That’s what my meditation techniques are: a preparation for the future, a preparation, an absolutely necessary preparation, for something which is going to happen. Humanity is on the verge of a breakdown – we have come to the very end of the tether.

“Now there is no more, we cannot go on any longer in this way. The old patterns have been outlived; they are all outdated.

“Your psychiatrists and your psychoanalysts will be against me, because they serve the past and I have no love for the past, not at all. I love the present, and through the present I prepare for the future. The past is so ugly, it is not even worth looking at. In a better future we will stop teaching people about past history, about Alexanders, Genghis Khans, Nadirshahs, Tamerlanes, because even to mention them to the children is wrong. Even to give them an idea that such people have existed, that man can fall into such degradation, is poisoning their minds.

Your psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, are in the service of the past; hence they will be against my methods.

“Their whole effort is somehow to patch up people. If some hole appears they simply patch it up, if some wound appears they cover it up. They keep you functioning efficiently as a clerk in an office, as a deputy collector, as a police inspector, as a stationmaster, etcetera. They are not interested in your humanity. Their interest is only that you should remain a functioning member of society, mechanically useful, that’s all.

“My purpose is totally different: I want you to be a human being. I want you not only to be a human being but to rise toward being divine.

“You ask me… He is a surgeon, a doctor; naturally this question has arisen in his mind. You ask me, ‘Is it justified and ethical for patients of depression to be given Dynamic Meditation?’ What else can be more justified and more ethical – because to be a sufferer of depression simply means he has repressed too much.

Depression is nothing but repression.

He is depressed so much because he has not been allowed to express himself.

Dynamic Meditation is expression. In expressing himself, in catharting all that has been repressed in his unconscious, he will be unburdened, he will become saner, healthier.

“Two robbers broke into a bank in a small town.
‘Alright,’ said the bigger man. ‘Line up! We are gonna rob all the men and rape all the women!’
‘Wait a second!’ snapped his partner. ‘Let us just grab the dough and beat it!’
‘Shut up and mind your own business,” said the spinster from behind the counter. “The big fella knows what he is doing!”

“We have made everybody repressed, pushing down all kinds of things. They are boiling within.

“Before she left a friend’s house Aunt Emma was warned that a sex maniac was loose in the neighborhood. That evening when she returned to her apartment, she cautiously looked under her bed, in her closet and behind the draperies.
“Then Emma switched on the light. ‘Well, he is not here.’ she sighed. ‘Damn it!’

Everybody who has been brought up in our societies needs some methods to vomit anger, sex, greed, jealousy, envy. You are sitting on a volcano, and the volcano can erupt at any moment.

“If catharsis is allowed – and that’s what Dynamic Meditation is all about – the volcano will disappear. You will become saner.

“I am not saying you will become more normal, but I am saying you will become more sane. Now, the two may not coincide; in fact they cannot, because by the normal we really don’t mean the normal but we mean the average. It is a wrong use of the word. Normal should mean one who lives according to the norm, one who lives according to the natural, spontaneous – he is normal. But people are not allowed to live naturally and spontaneously. They are forced to live an average life, as others are living, and the average is thought to be normal.

“That’s why I say I make people saner. They will be normal really, but they may not coincide with your idea of the normal. They will not be average, certainly – they will be higher than the average. They will have more insight into life, more joy in their lives, more freedom in their lives, more rebellion too – more freedom and more rebellion. And the society and church are against freedom. They don’t want you to be free, they want you to be slaves. Their whole vested interest is in your being always a slave.

“Hence they are all against me. I can understand, I am not at all surprised by their anger against me.

Their anger is natural, because whatsoever I am doing here is going to sabotage their whole structure, and sometimes just a hole in the boat is enough to sink it. And my effort is to make as many holes as possible!”


Abridged from Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 07, Talk #4 – Man Is Not Predictable

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