Originally born Chandra Mohan Jain, the spiritual guru Osho made a significant impact on the world throughout his lifetime. Unafraid to tackle some of the more challenging and controversial topics, some referred to him as a ‘guru of hedonism,’ with rumors circulating the mass media in regards to his potential drug use and even accusations of crimes that led to his eventual deportation from the United States for ‘violations of immigration law.’
Once believed to be one of the two most famous gurus in the United States, Osho was unafraid to speak up, sharing his views on topics that were frowned upon both in religious circles as well as by influential Americans and politicians. This didn’t stop the charismatic, intelligent and well-spoken man from sharing his beliefs, educating his followers and providing guidance and enlightenment during a somewhat challenging time for Americans. Leaving behind hundreds of books, documents, and videos, Osho’s words and teachings continue to enlighten people to this very day.
One opinion this controversial and influential guru shared related to the state of the United States and those that were in power, and opinion that rings incredibly true in the climate of today’s political landscape.
Osho believed we lived in an idiotic world, one where the ‘idiots,’ as he defines them, are plentiful. When asked to elaborate on what he defined as an idiot in today’s society, and the role that they play in our world, he said:
“Almost ninety percent of idiots are trained. Ten percent are born. And the ten percent are born because of those ninety percent who have been trained.
“Man, from his very beginning, has lived a very weird life – weird in the sense that somehow he needs idiots. If you don’t have idiots, you will not have the so-called wise men. If you don’t have idiots, you will not have the giants of intellect. It becomes almost a necessity that they category of idiots should remain.
“Nobody has looked into the deeper layers of how society has functioned up to now. But the way it has functioned can only be described as utterly criminal. Society needs categories, hierarchies. It has always been a competitive society, and the very idea of competition is a danger to human beings. You call one man an idiot only in comparison – in comparison to someone who seems to be intelligent.”
The idea that idiots are both born as well as trained was a concept that he often discussed. In fact, he would go to lengths to explain that most ‘trained idiots’ began their training as children, being raised by idiot parents to function in our society in the same way. One example he shared was:
“A small boy told me… I was a guest in his house; I was sitting in the garden in the evening and he was the only child of the family. He was not more than six years old. I asked him, ‘What is your name?’
“He said, ‘Up to now I used to think that my name was “Don’t!” Now I have started going to school, and there I discovered that it is not my name.’
“He is saying something tremendously important. Whatever a child is doing, the adults are there to say, ‘Don’t’ do it!’ Nobody is allowed to blossom according to his own intrinsic nature. And that is the fundamental cause of creating so many idiots in the world. But they do serve a certain purpose. If people were allowed to blossom according to their nature without any comparison and without any ideals and without enforced discipline, do you think anybody in the whole world would have accepted Adolf Hitler as a leader? Just look at your leaders!”
Having traveled the world over, witnessing the living situations and cultures of a wealth of different countries, Osho had a unique view of life and the way that the United States measured up in comparison with the rest of the world. He believed heavily that the culture that was created here promoted the presence of idiots, growing their numbers to an alarming amount.
“In America, the average American is sitting glued to his chair in front of the television set. The television has become his whole life. Now television can be used in a dangerous way, and it is being used. Ronald Reagan would not have been able to become the President of America if there were no television. The television has changed the whole structure of the American mind. Now, the leader need not be wise, but he has to be photogenic. Now what has being photogenic to do with being a President? He has to be a good showman, an actor…
“The people who are continuously watching television… and seven and a half hours average per day is not a small amount of time, it is one-third of your life. You are being imposed on by ideas, by personalities, continuously repeated.
“The idiots have been an absolute necessity for a few people to proclaim their egos, for a few people to rise high and become Nobel Prize winners. Just think for a moment – if everybody were living according to their own nature, not trying to be somebody else, a tremendous intelligence would explode within them. It is the fundamental law of life and existence.
“It is good that flowers don’t listen to your teachers and your leaders and your politicians. Otherwise, they would say to the roses, ‘What are you doing? Become a lotus! Roses are not so foolish. But if, just for argument’s sake, roses did start trying to become lotuses, what would happen? Two things are certain: there would be no roses because their whole energy would be involved in becoming lotuses, and the second thing, a rosebush cannot produce a lotus. It is not in the inbuilt program of its seed.”
This concept does start one thinking. Have we allowed the power of the television and the outside influences in our world to begin to control our own thoughts, decisions, and actions? Are we so busy trying to be lotuses that we have forgotten the beauty that would be our lives as roses? A very individual and introspective question, but one that should be considered!
However, Osho didn’t stop there when it came to sharing his view. He went on to elaborate on the history of violence that exists against every individual – a history that built this very country that we live in today. He explains why this history, and the culture that it promotes, further works to hold Americans back from embracing their own individuality, instead of training them to be part of the ‘flock,’ idiots in a world of idiots:
“Have you ever come across a tree that you can say is an idiot? Or that it is very intelligent, a great giant, deserves a Nobel Prize? Man has been distracted. Everybody from your parents to our teachers, the school, the college, the university, your religion, your preachers, your neighbors – everybody is trying to make you somebody else, whom you cannot become. You can only become yourself, or you can miss becoming yourself, and be just an idiot.
“I call this whole history of mankind a long, unjustified crime against every human individual. It has served the vested interests: the people who are in power, the people who are scholars, which is another kind of power, the people who are rich, which is another kind of power. They would not like everybody to be centered in himself because a man centered in himself cannot be exploited, cannot be enslaved, cannot be humiliated, cannot be forced to grow a cancerous sense of guilt. These are the reasons humanity has not been allowed its growth.
“From childhood, everybody is condemned – whatever he says, whatever he does, it is never right. Naturally, he becomes afraid of saying anything, of doing anything on his own. He is appreciated if he is obedient, he is appreciated if he follows the rules and the regulations made by others… everybody appreciates him. This is the strategy: condemn the man if he is trying to stand on his own feet and appreciate the man if he is just an imitator. Naturally, his inner seed, his potentiality, will never have a chance to grow.
“It is very difficult to find human beings in society who will allow you the freedom to be yourself. That has created a retardedness all over the world.”
Originally published in Osho Times, these quotes bring a very interesting topic to the forefront. Is the downfall of America, and the current problems that we find ourselves in, all rooted in the fact that our country is designed to tear down, squash and hold back the individual? Has our need to create a country of like-minded followers come back to haunt us? Or, was Osho missing the mark, his views colored by his own personal spiritual beliefs? This is a question that every American should ask themselves, and reflect upon.