The ostrich argument
A LITTLE WHILE AGO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT REFUSED YOUR ADMISSION TO ENGLAND, EVEN FOR AN OVERNIGHT STAY, ON THE BASIS THAT YOUR EXCLUSION FROM THE COUNTRY WAS "CONDUCIVE TO THE PUBLIC GOOD."
JUST A FEW WEEKS LATER, THE HEAD OF THAT SAME GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZED THE USE OF MILITARY BASES BY AMERICAN BOMBERS FOR THE RECENT ATTACK ON LIBYA. THE PRIME MINISTER JUSTIFIED THE DECISION TO ASSIST AMERICA'S BOMBING OF MIDDLE EASTERN CITIES SAYING THAT IT WAS HER DUTY TO "PREVENT THE EVILS OF TERRORISM."
THE NOTIONS OF GOOD AND EVIL EXPRESSED BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT ARE SIMPLY MIND-BOGGLING.
One has to understand that everything is relative, not ultimate; hence what appears to be good to one person may look evil to another. And there is no contradiction: both may be right.
What is good depends on your preconceived ideas; so does evil.
The British government thinks my entry even for an overnight stay in England, is not conducive to the public good. The same government is ready to allow American bombers, missiles, to use their bases, to destroy a small country like Libya, and to the government this seems to be conducive to public good.
There is no inconsistency. In their eyes their society, their culture, their religion, their country has to be saved at any cost, because they think they stand for good -- although the British government has tortured humanity more than any other government in the world.
For three hundred years it has been the greatest terrorist possible; it killed millions of people around the world, to create the greatest empire of history. This government is absolutely in tune with the American imperialistic ideology.
Out of necessity it has been compelled to give freedom to the countries of its empire, but not willingly and joyously. Those countries had to fight for almost one century, without any arms. They were butchered, without any consideration of human values.
I am reminded... In India there happened an incident which can be considered one of the most inhuman in history. In Amritsar, the holy place of the Sikhs, they have a beautiful public garden, a vast area that can contain at least one million people for any gathering, meeting, discourse. And it has been used for that purpose. It has a very high wall so that no traffic noise comes in and it has only one door, so small that only one person can come out or go in; two persons together cannot pass through the door.
They were having a silent meeting of almost one million people -- children, women, old men. The prayer was, "The British government should change its heart and should leave our country." Now, it is not terrorism; they were simply praying for a change of heart.
But Colonel Dyer, who was in charge of the area, went there with his troops, fixed machine guns on the people, and started firing -- because it is revolution against the empire, this prayer that the government should change its heart!
There was only one door, and from that door they were shooting bullets at random, with no discrimination -- children, women, old men. And nobody could escape from there because of the high wall. Dyer killed the whole crowd; not a single human being came alive out of that door. Now, it was their country; the British had been terrorists, had been ruling their country, exploiting their country.
India has been rich, known for thousands of years as "a golden bird" -- that's how Pythagoras describes it, that's how Alexander the Great describes it. So many invaders...
but still India seemed to be inexhaustibly rich. People would come, invade the country, take away their treasures, take over their beautiful women...
This had been going on for thousands of years; the Britishers were the last. For three hundred years they squeezed every richness, the last drop of it, from Indian soil. And people were not even allowed to pray for a change of heart -- this became an act against the empire. And there was no need for any magistrate, for any judge; there was no need for any trial. Just... a colonel simply kills all those people!
The British government has been one of the ugliest phenomena that we know of. It created the biggest empire -- it was said that in the British empire the sun never set. And it was true, because the empire was all around the earth. The sun may have set in one part, but it was rising in another part; there was not any gap. The sun was always rising somewhere in the British empire.
These imperialists have a deep sympathy, friendship, with America. Naturally, it is for the public good to allow American troops, to allow America a base to destroy a small country.
And why destroy Libya? Because the man who is leading Libya now is one of the most outspoken politicians in the whole world. Just a few days ago, Kaddafi said that Ronald Reagan is "Adolf Hitler Number Two." And I, commenting on it, say that Kaddafi is wrong. And he will agree with me when he understands the reason why I am saying he is wrong: Adolf Hitler himself is now Number Two. Ronald Reagan is Adolf Hitler Number One, because what power did Adolf Hitler have? Reagan has a million times more power.
Adolf Hitler could not have destroyed the world; Reagan can do that.
To allow Reagan a base in England seems, to the British government, to be for the public good. Both are imperialists, both are agreed on exploiting people, both are agreed that nothing like communism should happen in the world, both are agreed that Christianity should be imposed on people who are not Christian: naturally Ronald Reagan is a friend, although he is going to do something inhuman which may trigger the third world war.
And I understand Kaddafi. He is not a man to sit back. And he is not sitting back. He has a small country but he is not just a politician, he is a warrior. He would rather the country die than to allow the country to be enslaved. And I praise him for being a pioneer. He has responded well. Now he is bombing American bases all over Europe. He has bombed in Spain; in other countries he is going to bomb -- in Greece... wherever in Europe American bases exist, he is going to bomb them. And he will have the sympathy of all the downtrodden countries. He will rise as a world leader.
Ronald Reagan may have the power, but he will not have any sympathy.
This imperialist government of Britain feels afraid of me. Just my overnight stay at the airport -- I was not asking to enter their country -- and against their own laws they refused me. They said it was not good for their public; my overnight stay would have destroyed their morality, their religion, all their cherished values!
There is something to understand clearly: I am against imperialism. I am against exploiting man, other human beings. I am against torturing people just so that you can have power. Perhaps they were afraid that overnight my sannyasins from all over England may gather... just one night may be enough to give them a fresh insight, a new life to go against all traditional values.
And it is a conspiracy. Not only Britain is responsible for it. All those who are living and thriving on traditional values are really afraid -- of a man who has no power except that he can show people that their misery is caused by their own wrong ideas, and that those wrong ideas are being emphasized by their government, by their church.
There is a conspiracy.
All the European governments are agreeing on the point that I cannot land at their airports. They do not understand that this is defeatism, that they have already accepted defeat. They are showing that they have no arguments to save their religion, their morality, their politics, it is all rotten.
And they are afraid that their youth will be on my side, not on their side. I can give an open challenge to any country: Let me speak to your young people, and you speak to the same young people, and let it be decided by those young people who are going to own the future. These governments know perfectly well they cannot defend anything that they believe.
These efforts to prevent me are good signs; they are good news. It means they have accepted their defeat; otherwise, what was the fear? -- they could have allowed me to talk to people. And they have their archbishops and popes and priests who could have demolished my arguments; that would have been a cultured way, a human way.
I am alone -- they have millions of priests. But they don't have a single argument for anything that they think is the basis of their society.
Yes, it is not conducive to their rotten society. It may ring the death bell. But they cannot prevent me. It is not me who is going to destroy the rottenness; it is the time itself which is not in favor of them. If not me, then somebody else will have to do it.
It is impossible to protect those societies, those governments, those churches. They have lost all roots. And they are aware of it, that just a push and they will fall down. They cannot even resist -- even that much power is not left. You can make a corpse stand, but if you push it, it cannot retaliate; it is bound to fall down.
All these countries are corpses.
And they don't want their youth to come in contact with anybody who can show them that the old is dead and you have to find a new way of life.
This is not a question of one country; it is a question of the whole human past. Just a deep attachment, a deep conditioning...
There is a beautiful story in India. Shiva is one of the Hindu trinity of gods. It is not called a trinity, it is called trimurti -- three faces of one God. Shiva is one. He fell in love with a beautiful woman, Parvarti, and he loved her so much that when she died he would not accept that she was dead.
Nobody could dare to tell him that she was dead and now it was time to take her to the crematorium. Instead, he carried the corpse of Parvarti on his shoulder all over India, in search of some physician, some healer, who could bring her back to life. You cannot carry a corpse... It took twelve years for him to move around the country -- it was a big country. Wherever he heard that there was some physician, he would go there.
In those twelve years the parts of the woman he was carrying started falling off -- the hand fell, the leg fell, the head fell. But he was not worried about that; he was not even looking at her, because he was afraid to look.
Note that point:
He was afraid to look at her, because deep down he also knew that she was dead. But his mind did not want to believe it; he wanted to believe she was alive. Now she was not even whole. The head had fallen somewhere, the legs had fallen somewhere else, the hands had fallen somewhere else.
India is a country of stories, signifying tremendous meanings. Now there are twelve pilgrimage temples which are made at points where one part of Parvarti fell, to give the story a feeling of reality. Twelve temples exist all over the country representing...
because some part of Parvarti had fallen there, they have become sacred.
But Shiva remained completely blind, knowingly blind. And this is the situation of the world. The societies are rotten, the religions are dead; the politicians are only promising, knowing perfectly well they cannot fulfill any promise.
The future is dark, but nobody wants to see it -- the past is dead, and if you go on clinging to the past the future is going to become darker and darker.
I will be avoided by every country.
I will be persecuted by every power, for the simple reason that I want them to see the reality. They are keeping their eyes closed.
In logic it is called the "ostrich argument." The ostrich has a tendency: whenever he comes against an enemy and knows that death is certain, he simply puts his head into the sand. He lives in the desert, eyes closed, head in the sand. He is perfectly happy because he cannot see any enemy anywhere.
But this does not eliminate the enemy; in fact it makes the enemy more powerful. Now this ostrich is not going to do anything to escape, to fight, to negotiate, to do something.
Now there is no question: he is simply available as food. And ostriches are eaten by their predators without any fight, because the ostrich is living with the idea that, "I don't see any enemy here."
This "ostrich argument" is widespread today around the world. Nobody wants to see the reality -- that you are sinking, that all your values are false, that all your civilization is hypocrisy, that all your smiles are just exercises of lips, and there is no heart in it; that you have forgotten to live, to love, to laugh, that you don't know what life means at all.
And you go on clinging because there is nothing else, there is no alternative -- and I am being prevented because I can give you the alternative.
I can show you that this is not the only way a society can exist, this is not the only way that a marriage can exist, this is not the only way that children can be brought up, this is not the only way that governments should function. There are alternative ways.
But even to hear of the alternative, they are afraid. The message should not reach to the young -- because the young are bound to be affected by the news that there is an alternative, that you need not remain in this misery, continuously fighting, killing human beings unnecessarily.
Now Libya is destroying American bases. America cannot remain silent: it will start destroying Libya -- not only its military bases but its civilians. It is a small country, but Libya knows that if America starts to destroy the civilians, the whole East -- particularly the Middle East -- will be on its side. And behind the scenes will be the Soviet Union.
So if America has guts, it is not going to start a fight between America and Libya -- which is very unbalanced: Libya has nothing with which to fight against one of the greatest nuclear powers. But Libya has the assurance of the Soviet Union: "Don't be worried, Libya is just a facade, just a front." And once these two powers start fighting, they cannot resist using nuclear weapons; it is impossible.
But the government of England is not afraid of this. The government of England should have prevented America: "This is not a right beginning; this is not conducive to the public good. This will lead more and more into war. Don't take the first step; otherwise the last step will not be far away." But they would prefer to have a third world war rather than change the human mind.
Why? -- because to change the human mind means that for millions of years you have been behaving stupidly, that all your great ancestors have been simply fools and nothing else. They knew nothing about human consciousness; they were unconscious, they were blind. And blind people have been leading other blind people towards the goal of light. It seems it is difficult to accept that our whole past has been wrong. It is better to destroy the whole future but remain stubborn that our past has been right: Let man die, but save your ego.
That will give you a clue why I am a danger, just for an overnight stay, and American nuclear missiles are not dangerous. They think alike; their mathematics is the same.
To them I am a dangerous person because I have no pride in the past. I am a dangerous person because I do not consider that for thousands of years man has lived intelligently; otherwise why so much misery, why so much anxiety, why so much anguish? The fruit shows the quality of the tree. And the fruit that we have shows that the whole human past went somewhere wrong, and just out of ego went on pushing in a wrong direction.
I am ready and willing to change my ideas if somebody can show me that they are wrong, that they will not lead to the good of the people. But nobody is ready to do that; they simply accept it. No argument is needed, no discussion is needed.
The government of Spain was wondering for one month continuously whether to allow me into Spain or not. They have nuclear bases for the American army; they are members of NATO, and the man who is the prime minister became prime minister by promising the people of Spain that he would pull Spain out of NATO, and that he would order the American bases to be removed from Spain. And the people of Spain don't want... because they have seen Franco, who ruled for forty years with absolute dictatorship; he destroyed all freedom of thinking and killed anybody who said anything against him. After forty years of this experience, this nightmare, they don't want to get into another nightmare again.
They voted in this man on a single point -- that he was promising that he would pull out of NATO and force the Americans to leave Spain. Two years have passed and the people have been asking, "What happened? You are not pulling out of NATO, and neither are the American bases moving out of Spain."
In these two years, the man... when he had come to power he was not a politician, but these two years have turned him into a politician. He said, "My experience of two years in power makes me change my idea: we are going to remain in NATO, and American bases are going to remain in Spain."
It was such a betrayal that the people demanded a vote on the point, a referendum. But the prime minister, the whole bureaucracy, the whole government, is now FOR American military bases and membership in NATO. Still, they do not have a big majority. The young people of Spain have still voted against them: forty-five percent of the people have voted against NATO. But the government with all their powers... certainly they managed to get just a little bit bigger number of votes in favor.
If this man had any sense of dignity he would have resigned, because he was chosen for a simple program. He was not chosen -- the program was chosen, and because he has dropped the program he should resign immediately. But these politicians seem to be so shameless, with no dignity, with no honor, with no self-respect.
He wanted me to stay in Spain, but the problem was the American pressure. For one month he went on postponing. He informed me that I should not leak the news that Spain had invited me, because the royal family of Spain, the prime minister, the president, the cabinet -- they would all be at the airport to receive me. I was going to be their invited guest, so they would proclaim the date and time, and they would inform me.
But slowly, slowly he saw that if forty-five percent of the people can vote against him, then to bring a man like me into the country is dangerous because these young people are bound to be influenced by me.
The parliament decided that I should be welcomed, the cabinet decided that I should be welcomed, but finally the prime minister informed me that it would not be possible; politically it would be difficult.
I know the difficulty; the difficulty came after the referendum. And I have been telling John every day that if any decision has to be taken, it should be taken before the referendum. After the referendum I don't see any hope, because once the prime minister sees how many people can vote against him, he will not be courageous enough to invite a person who can influence his people.
This is the fear, and the fear is now almost all over the world, in every country -- strange fears. In this small, beautiful country, I was told that we should not mention that we have one million sannyasins around the world and three million sympathizers, because that may become a fear -- this country has only three million people, and they would not like such a powerful man in the country, who has four million people around the world who love him.
The country should be proud to have someone... and I am not a political person, I am not going to have any political contest with anybody; but still, fear is fear. All these powerful people are deep down very inferior and very fearful.
They go on thinking... the only thing in their minds is power, what can enhance their power and what can destroy their power. And they put conditions....
The president of Greece was willing for me to have a commune in Greece, and in fact he wanted it. His reasons were different -- that it would bring thousands of tourists and that it would boost the economy. In fact he was the cause that I was allowed a four-week visa for Greece.
But then the condition came in -- that if I wanted to stay there and make a commune, I should remember a few things: "The Greek Orthodox church is respected by our constitution; you cannot criticize it. The family is our foundation; you cannot criticize it.
Our code of morality; you cannot criticize it. We believe in virginity; you cannot criticize it."
They certainly believe in virginity, but it is difficult to find a single virgin in the whole of Greece. That's okay -- but you should not criticize it. You can see the political mind: the reality can be tolerated but it should not be exposed.
I cannot accept anybody's conditions.
Whatever happens to me, whatever the consequences... but to accept conditions, and that too for a little piece of land...
How much land does a man require? I might like to live without a country -- a wanderer in the true sense. There have been wanderers but they had a home base. I will be really a wanderer without any home base -- being rejected from one country to another country.
But their rejection of me is simply an acceptance of their defeat, their impotency. Sooner or later they will have to pay for it, pay highly for it, because in every country there are intelligent people. How long can these intelligent people tolerate this? Sooner or later it will become a revolution. Without my entering those lands, I will find my friends there.
I cannot lose hope, because I cannot see that intelligence is dead. It is repressed, but it is alive. It has become an undercurrent, but my rejection is going to provoke it to come to the surface. Soon there will be protests in every country which is denying me entry.
In Italy they have been postponing for almost three months, just for a three-week tourist visa. And the president and the prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs, all are saying, "We are going to give it to him -- just tomorrow...." And sannyasins are going every day; they are sitting there in their offices, saying, "Whenever you want we are ready. But when will your tomorrow come?" And after three months they got so frustrated, because the pope is holding them back. They cannot say no to the sannyasins because they have no reason to say no.
And they know my impact in Italy. Just a few days ago, a television interview of one and a half hours was seen by thirty-four million people -- unprecedented. The director informed me, "We could not believe that so many people would be interested in you. You have never come to this country." No other program in his whole life, had attracted so many people. And not only the show -- the show was finished in one and a half hours -- but people are discussing each and every point in the marketplace, in the university -- everywhere. Somebody is for, somebody is against, but everybody is intensely involved.
So the government could not say no because that might create trouble. And the pope is insisting that I should not be allowed into Italy. So they go on postponing. Finally the sannyasins got so frustrated that they started making a protest, and one of the most famous Italian film directors, Fellini, has signed their petition first. They have thirty-six other world-known people who have signed the protest, and they are collecting more names -- and I have never been there.
But one thing is certain, whether you agree with me or not: I cannot be prevented from presenting my views, my perspective, to the people. And what is happening there, will happen in Germany, will happen in Greece, will happen in England, will happen in Spain, is going to happen everywhere. Sannyasins have to create a worldwide chain of protests, signed by all the important creative artists, novelists, musicians, sculptors, dancers, actors, directors -- people of all dimensions who have made an impact on the world.
Collect their names for the protest first, in every country, and then send a final protest to the U.N., with all the protests of all the countries together -- because now it is not a question of one country; if the European parliament decides that I cannot even land my plane at their airports, you cannot now take me just as an individual.
I have become representative of a worldwide intelligence of creative, talented people.
That is my country.
And my sannyasins have to go to the U.N., because this is simply ugly.
But as I said in the beginning, it is something relative.
To me it is ugly. And to all those who can understand, it will be ugly. But to those who believe in the ostrich logic, it is good, it is "for the public good." But we will show to the world what is good for the public and what is bad for the public!
I WAS ONE OF THOSE WHO WAS TAKEN FOR A RIDE WHEN THE LIST OF ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE WAS ANNOUNCED, BECAUSE I THOUGHT, "IF OSHO SAYS I'M ENLIGHTENED, WHY NOT TRY IT OUT?"
I ENJOYED IT: I THREW A PARTY FOR A HUNDRED OR SO FRIENDS, AND FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS -- UNTIL I BECAME ENDARKENED AGAIN -- TRIED TO USE WHAT I SAW AS A REALLY POTENTIAL SITUATION.
THE MAIN THING I SAW WAS THAT I REALLY AM OKAY. AM I KIDDING MYSELF ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE?
No, if you can understand it you cannot be kidding.
First let me explain a few other things.
After I declared a few people enlightened -- Santosh was also one of them. He wrote me a letter saying, "Your declaration of my enlightenment gives me no excitement, but my being accepted as a member of the committee of the enlightened ones makes me feel very great."
I sent him the message, "Why does your being enlightened not make you feel excited?
The reason is that you think that you are already enlightened -- and that is not true. That's why your becoming a member of the committee of the enlightened ones makes you feel great -- at last your enlightenment has been recognized. It is not a declaration for you but a recognition that you have been enlightened long before.
"But if enlightenment is not an excitement, then how can it be a great thing to be a member of the party, or the committee, of enlightened people? If enlightenment itself makes no sense to you, then being the member of the committee cannot make any sense, except this: that it fulfills your ego.
"You were enlightened, and nobody was taking note of it. Finally I have recognized it, and now you are part of the committee of enlightened people, so it is sealed. But you are wrong -- because it was all a joke! The committee was a joke, the declaration was a joke.
And it was a device."
Somendra immediately sent a telegram to Teertha, saying, "I have got it -- what about you?" He was continuously in competition -- that was his problem, that he should be higher than Teertha. And this was a good chance.
He has dropped sannyas, he has not been in any contact with us, but my declaration of his enlightenment -- that he accepts. Sannyas he has dropped -- he is no longer part of my family -- but enlightenment... immediately a telegram: "I have got it -- what about you?"
It was a device to see how people would react.
Your response to it was perfectly beautiful.
Your response was, "If Osho says I am enlightened, I must be."
It simply shows trust, love. It has nothing to do with ego. And your throwing a party and rejoicing the moment with your friends was perfectly right.
And when I said it was a joke, you were not angry. You simply took it again the same way: "If Osho says I am not enlightened, and it was a joke, perhaps I am not enlightened and it was really a joke." And the six months that you lived as enlightened, the joy and the peace and the serenity that you felt was not of enlightenment -- it was of trust and love.
It was a good experience for you.
But different experiences happen to different people.
There were only two Indians in the group who were declared enlightened, and they understand traditionally what enlightenment means. One was Vinod Bharti.
He became very nervous, was crying, came to Vivek to give me the message, "Osho, I am not enlightened. And you have created a trouble for me: I cannot say you are wrong, and I know perfectly well myself that I am not enlightened. So what am I supposed to do?
I am just torn apart. You just tell me the truth!"
He knows about enlightenment. He knows that for centuries in India enlightenment has been the ultimate peak of spiritual search. In the West the very idea has never existed. So he cannot conceive of himself as Gautam Buddha, and he cannot deny me because he loves me and trusts me. So I can see his trouble. So I sent him the message, "Don't be worried, it was just a joke. You are not enlightened, relax!"
Until he heard that he was not enlightened, he could not sleep for two days. Then he relaxed -- he is not enlightened; there is no problem.
The other man was Swami Anand Maitreya, who was the only one who understood the joke immediately, because as he left the room he said, "Osho is really a rascal! Saying to me that I am enlightened, proves it!" But he was also an Indian and particularly comes from Bihar where most of the enlightened people happened in India -- Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Parsunatha, Naminatha, Adinatha... a long series of enlightened people. All twenty-four enlightened masters of the Jainas... Gautam Buddha -- they all happened in Bihar. Bihar has the deepest understanding and experience of enlightenment. So naturally he said, "Osho is a rascal." But it was also his love.
He was not disturbed, because once you know that it is a joke, there is no question of any difficulty about it.
A few people simply remained silent: they neither reacted this way or that. That too is good. They were not affected by it; they simply remained themselves, as they were. "If Osho says it is enlightenment, it may be; if he says it is not, it may not be." But it did not make any difference to them; they remained aloof and detached.
And it was a good experience to see how people react to a single idea, with their different minds. Those who were not included in the committee were angry. I received a few letters saying, "If these people have become enlightened, then why have I not become enlightened?" As if it were something..."You have given it to these people. Why have you not given it to me?"
Somebody wrote, "I have been with you longer than these people, and I am not enlightened yet. Have you forgotten me or what?" But it was good to know how people react.
Your reaction was perfectly beautiful on both ends. "If Osho says it is enlightenment, it must be" -- that is a simple trust. "And if He says it is not...." Then you don't feel any contradiction or inconsistency, you simply accept it: "If he says it is not, then it must not be." You have transcended the world of consistencies, inconsistencies.
Love knows no contradiction.
It knows no comparison.
Each moment it is available.