The Child Is the Mother of Humanity – So Listen Carefully

The Child Is the Mother of Humanity

As we have described in “Why Are We Rushing toward Oblivion?” the business of contemporary people is busyness. It is the disease of modern humans.

As Osho puts it so succinctly:

I am dealing with the contemporary man, who is the most restless being that has ever evolved on the earth.” 1

Why is this issue significant? Because most people are so busy “doing,” that their whole life swirls past them in a flash and they haven’t stopped and even savored the joy of just being alive, of living, of enjoying a morning walk, or a sunrise…. 

More significantly, if you have children to take care of, your busyness is multiplied…. Not only do you never stop, the kids get short-changed in the process. 

Today’s kids create tomorrow’s world, so we better take care. 

Already the number of people who grow up to be wounded adults suggests we are on a dangerous trajectory! 

Reflecting on the rising rate of suicides in young people, Shekhar Saxena, Harvard Professor of Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health explains, “Many young people decide that dying is easier than struggling through for many years, which is very sad. It reflects the society that we live in where a young person does not feel that life is worth living.” 2

It turns out that there are many reasons that are propelling contemporary people towards all this restless “doing.”

The most obvious cause of this busyness is our beliefs. 

What does that mean? It means all those ideas that we are indoctrinated with during childhood. When we are told something is “true”– when the adults are only guessing, pretending they know. 

One of the most obvious examples driving this busyness is the belief in the business of stuff. We are persuaded to believe that it is a good idea to chase after things we don’t need and don’t even really want. To pay for those things, we naturally have to compete furiously with each other for the money to be able to buy those things…. 

An endless sorry-go-round of unfulfilled dreams. It is never enough.

When we look over our shoulders, we can see how some people are simply discarded by society, no matter how hard they peddle. They are sleeping on the streets of all the civilized cities of the world…. With nothing. Meanwhile, others have literally billions, even hundreds of billions! The ones who own those businesses of course!

We are all so busy, that we hardly notice this insanity. If we do by chance, we are told this is just human nature or some such fatuous rationalization. If we object, we are soon cast out. Who wants to hear that they have spent their whole life chasing their own tail? 

No one wants to be reminded that they have wasted this precious life in a pointless exercise of competing for approval and respectability and money – just to come first equal in the race to the grave. 

They will turn on you viciously for even raising such questions. In this way, the system is brilliantly self-policing, while the ones who need to answer those questions are laughing all the way to Davos . Hey, If you don’t like it, you can leave, or go somewhere else, we are told threateningly! But there is nowhere else to go. It is pretty much wall-to-wall McCivilization.

Surely this is so transparently corrupt that no one would buy into such nonsense. 

You are right. But there is a deeper seam of deception, one that hardly anyone recognizes because it is all done unconsciously and happens before we even notice it. 

It goes like this. 

You are born into this world after an amazing nine months of 24/7 womb service. Kind of feeling pretty welcome, appreciated, and taken care of. Birth is a bit of a shock, but soon, there you are on the outside and the 24/7 service just keeps humming right along. Maybe.

Before, the tap was always on. Whatever you wanted was there whenever you wanted it. Now, someone else has their hands on the tap. 

To put it bluntly, you are hopelessly dependent on other people for your survival.

quality time with your children

Now these “other people” have themselves gone through this exact same process. Without even noticing, they have been “socialized” as the psychologists politely put it – so now, they will unconsciously do the same to you. If you want to survive, you will need your mother’s milk. If your mother is British, it is bound to come with the flavor of God Save the King. You have no idea who God is – or the King – and you may be happy they are taking care of each other… but you need the milk.

There is nothing you can do about it. You have to swallow whatever comes with that milk.

Unconsciously, and sometimes consciously, they are determined to mold you into someone who can be successful in the world they have bought you into. They assume that this is their duty as good parents. 

No one ever told them that you do not belong to them. That they are simply the courier service! As far as they are concerned, you are their children.

So, now they want to make sure that you grow up to be successful. Success being defined as doing well in that competition for the money and the resources you need to be able to surround yourself with all those things you don’t really want, but which show how successful you are. The sorry-go-round passes from one generation to the next. 

To be able to ensure that all the babies born of German parents consider themselves German is a system of persuasion that must have every advertising executive watering at the mouth. Imagine getting such a similar, almost universal agreement by people to drink Coca-Cola! To fight for Coca-Cola. To even die for Coca-Cola. 

So, don’t underestimate the power of this process.

How is this done? The key is the vulnerability of small children. They are totally dependent on the older people to survive. They also need to be touched, held, loved, and appreciated…. Without it they will wither away. It is that crucial. 

The basic trick is to make sure that those small children realize that they are not ok as they are. 

Some will even go as far as to tell these children that they were born in sin! However sinful and imperfect we make them feel, the critical part of the game is to ensure that they know that love and appreciation are all available – but only if they do the right thing. 

Essentially, they need to understand that, as they are, they are not worthy at all. 

This sense of unworthiness is the critical element in this manipulation. 

The children also need to understand that we are only letting them know that they are worth so little because we love them. We want to help them become worthy, respectable, successful….

Osho is more blunt:

You have been conditioned to hate yourself, to condemn yourself, to reject yourself. So from the outset, rejection.” 3

Not possible, I hear you say. I know my mum loves me and would never do anything to harm me. I know. Mine too. It is just they didn’t realize what they were doing. They just repeated what was done to them by their loving parents. It has been going on forever, which is why it is so hard to see. Talk about “normalizing” a bad habit!

These parents and caregivers are not doing this consciously. They do want us to be successful. They have spent their life chasing their tails, so in all sincerity, the best they can wish for us is to grow up to become champion tail chasers.

There is a terrible side effect to this catastrophic misunderstanding about what is best for children. 

If you are brought up to realize that you are not lovable as you are, then you naturally don’t like yourself. 

When you don’t like yourself, then firstly you don’t much want to spend time with someone so unlovable as yourself. And secondly, you search everywhere to find other people who will love you, or at least appreciate you… ok, at least who don’t hate you!

Now you are set on a path where you spend your whole life running away from yourself. You are the last person you want to spend time with. While at the same time wanting other people to spend time with you. Not a great sales pitch!

The real tragedy here is that by avoiding yourself, you never know who you are. You accept this view of yourself as in some way, damaged goods, and never appreciate that you are invited here by existence! 

A beautiful creature who needs no one else’s approval to fulfill your own potential, to be whatever existence supports you to be. 

So, you spend your whole life chasing this illusory approval of others. 

Of course, they are playing exactly the same game, which no one acknowledges. You are now dependent on the opinion of others about you for the futile attempt to cover the real wound of the belief in your own unworthiness. Even though you know the people whose good opinions you crave have no idea even who they are. Let alone have anything reliable to say about you!

Not knowing who we are is the real nightmare of our unconscious existence. Not knowing that we don’t know, just compounds the suffering. 

So, the first problem is that we identify with all those beliefs that we are indoctrinated with by our loving parents, the most violent of which is that we are unworthy as we are. We are also persuaded to accept an endless stream of beliefs that fill that void. That we belong to this religion or that, to this nation or that, to this group or that…. And so on. 

This process could be called brainwashing, or as at least some sociologists acknowledge, “child abuse.” 4

We become convinced that these peripheral associations are who we are – which just helps to conceal the truth that we have no idea who we really are.

All of this combines to then create the fear of being alone. 

As Osho puts it:

That is the ultimate fear of being left alone, that you will not know who you are.” 5

We don’t want to be alone otherwise we have to face that ugly unworthy person we have been persuaded to accept is who we are. 

How can I let go of this pseudo façade that society has given to me – after investing my whole life into this pretense? I may be a slave to other people’s opinions, but at least I now have respectability.

There is more to fear. 

If I am alone then I am responsible for myself and I cannot put that responsibility on anyone else. 

Wow! Scary. Then I will never be sure that I am on the right track. At the same time, I also lose all that security of the crowd, and of my father figure in the sky.

Without realizing it, I decide to do anything but face myself. 

I spend my whole life, engaging with others. 

In fact, all my relationships, good or bad, are part of this avoidance of being alone. 

Even my constant habit of thinking is just another way to keep me occupied, rather than being on my own.

This is all compounded by our fear of the unknown. What will we find if we face ourselves and spend time alone rather than compulsively seeking the attention of others?

In the end, we choose the pain of the known over the fear of the unknown. And suffer. 

See how far away from the natural we have now moved. We were taken by the hand by those who said they loved us and cared for us, on a journey away from ourselves into a totally false reality of a learned personality. Our own individuality was never given the space to emerge. Now we are lost.

I am in a constant anxious search for the validation of others, and if there are no others to provide those false assurances, I sink into loneliness. 

Hey, thanks, mum and dad. That is one hell of a package. 

Osho puts it all in a nutshell:

“These are the two things to be remembered. When you know yourself via others, it is your personality, just a thin layer of opinions. When you know yourself directly, you know your individuality. And once you have known your individuality, the fear of being left alone disappears. There is no other way.” 

And

“First one has to learn how to be blissful alone, then one can be blissful with others. If you will be unhappy alone you will be more unhappy in your togetherness, because two unhappy persons joining together in a relationship not only double the misery, they multiply it.”6

And Osho concludes:

My experience is that the only bliss in life is to be alone, not taking any notice whatever the world says.” 7

So, now I realize what I am doing to my own children, is there anything I can do besides giving them “friendly robots” for them “never to feel alone again”? 

Perhaps the first thing to appreciate is that our own upbringing may be the worst preparation for taking care of children.

As Osho explains: 

“According to me, the function of the parents is not how to help the children grow – they will grow without you. 

Your function is to support, to nourish, to help what is already growing. 

“Don’t give directions and don’t give ideals. Don’t tell them what is right and what is wrong: let them find it by their own experience.

“You can do only one thing and that is share your own life. Tell them that you have been conditioned by your parents, that you have lived within certain limits, according to certain ideals, and because of these limits and ideals you have missed life completely, and you don’t want to destroy your children’s lives. 

You want them to be totally free – free of you, because to them you represent the whole past….

“Love your children, enjoy their freedom. Let them commit mistakes, help them to see where they have committed a mistake. Tell them, “To commit mistakes is not wrong. Commit as many mistakes as possible, because that is the way you will be learning more. But don’t commit the same mistake again and again, because that makes you stupid.

“So it is not going to be a simple answer from me. You will have to figure it out living with your children moment to moment, allowing them every possible freedom.” 7

And about the child:

“It is not that you have to impose an ideology on him. You have just to persuade him towards meditativeness. It has nothing to do with any ideology – Christian, Hindu, Mohammed; they are all irrelevant. 

It is more like love… it is a feeling. And if he can learn something of it, then it starts growing on its own. 

“One day he will be grateful for it – that you helped him. Right now he cannot understand, so the whole responsibility is yours.

“And this is my observation – that if grownups are a little more meditative, children imbibe the spirit very easily. They are so sensitive. They learn whatsoever is there in the atmosphere; they learn the vibe of it. 

They never bother about what you say. What you are – they always respect that. 

“And they have a very deep perceptivity, a clarity, an intuitiveness. You may be smiling but they will immediately know that it is false, because your eyes will be saying something else – and even more than that, your whole body will be saying something else, your gesture will be saying something else – that you are angry, that you are just pretending, that it is just a policy.

“They may not be able to formulate it in so many words, but they immediately feel it. So never be untrue with children because they will immediately know it. 

 “And once a child comes to know that his parents are untrue, his whole trust is lost. That is his first trust in life, his very base, and if that is lost he will become a skeptic. Then he cannot trust anybody. He cannot trust life, he cannot trust God, existence, because those are very far away things. Even the father deceived, even the mother deceived; even they were not reliable, so what to say of anything else now? 

“Once a child learns… and every child is going to learn; it is impossible to deceive a child. There is no method discovered up to now on how to deceive a child. He simply knows where you are, who you are. It is intuitive – it has nothing to do with his intellect. In fact, the more intellectual he will become, the more he will lose this intuitiveness, and he will not be able to see things as they are. Right now a child is immediate. He simply looks through and through. 

He looks at you and you are transparent. So never be deceptive.” 8

And

“So give him freedom to be himself, and be alert not to impose anything. Love him as much as you can, but don’t give your thoughts to him. When you meditate, just persuade him to be with you. Sometimes dance with him.

 “And children can go into meditation very easily – one just has to know how to help them towards it. They cannot be coerced; that’s impossible. Nobody can ever be coerced into meditation, because coercion is violence. How can one coerce meditation? It comes when it comes. But you can persuade.

“You can just invite him with tremendous respect. 

Dance with him, sing with him, sit in silence with him. By and by he will start imbibing it. 

“By and by he will start enjoying the play of it. It cannot be a work for him. It cannot be a serious thing for him – it should not be for anybody. It can only be a play. 

So help him to play meditation… Let it be a game. 

“Make it a game with him, and by and by he will start loving it. He will start asking you ‘When are we going to play meditation?’ And once he starts learning some ways of silence, then meditation has started working on him, and one day you will see that he is deeper in meditation than you had ever expected. So you have to make a meditative atmosphere.” 8

And the result?

“What I am saying is in creating children who have freedom, who have heard “yes” and have rarely heard “no,” the authoritarian society will disappear. We will have a more human society.

“So it is not only a question of the children. 

Those children are going to become tomorrow’s society: the child is the father of man.” 9

END

1.     Osho, The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself, Talk #8 – Inscape – the Ultimate Annihilation

2.     Nature.com – Nature Careers Podcast, 09 February 2024

3.     Osho, The Transmission of the Lamp, Talk #43 – The Monkey Is Dead

4.     Edge.com – Nicholas Humphreys – What Shall We tell the Children?

5.     Osho, The New Dawn, Talk #33 – The New Dawn Is Very Close

6.     Osho, Beyond Psychology, Talk #23 – Trees Grow without Being Taught

7.     Osho, Nansen: The Point of Departure, Talk #8 – You Need Roses, Just Wheat Will Not Do

8.     Osho, The Passion for the Impossible, Talk #20

9.     Osho, Beyond Psychology, Chapter #23 – Trees Grow without Being Taught

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