on Notable People — 06 May 2015

Democritus (460 BCE 370 BCE) was a Greek philosopher.

He was known for his influence on modern science more than any other pre-Socratic philosopher. He was also known as the ‘Laughing Philosopher’, for his tendency to mock fellow citizens for their follies.


His father was wealthy and received Xerxes as he travelled through Abdera. Xerxes in turn, left behind some of his magi and it is said that Democritus had the good graces to have learned from them. After his father’s death Democritus took off travelling in search of experience and wisdom. He travelled to Babylon, Egypt, Ethiopia and perhaps India as well, using up his inheritance.

Democritus is said to not have any care for wealth and preferred to put everything into his studies, investigations and explorations. He is said to have remarked that he would rather discover a new cause of nature than be King of Persia. In his travels he may have met Anazagoras, been friends with Hippocrates, possibly visited Athens where Socrates and Plato would have been present if he had been there. He was a disciple of little-known Leucippus and carried his atomist thought further developing it rather extensively.


In the moment of illumination, mind disappears. Mind means division; whether you divide it into conscious and unconscious or you divide it into conscious and superconscious docs not make a difference. Mind means division. Individuality means undividedness. That is the meaning of the word ‘individual’: indivisible. Mind is bound to be a crowd; mind cannot be one – by its very nature it has to be many. And when the mind disappears, the one is found. Then you have come home. That is individuation.

only talks,
modern physics

[…] There are parallels in human history. For example, Democritus, the Greek thinker, stumbled upon the idea of the atom without any experimentation. There was no possibility to experiment in his days; no modern sophisticated techniques were available. He could not have divided the atom, he could not have come to the atomic structure of matter, but he speculated. He must have been a great thinker – but only a thinker. He stumbled upon the idea of atomism.

Then there is Albert Einstein and modern physics. Both talk about the atomic structure but the difference is tremendous: Democritus only talks, modern physics knows.

In the East also there has been talk about atomism. Kanad, one of the great thinkers of India, has talked about atomism, and in a very subtle, refined way. But it is all talk. In fact, it is because he talked so much about atoms – his whole philosophy is based on the hypothesis of atoms – that his name became Kanad. KAN means atom. Kanad means one who continuously talks about atoms. But still, it was philosophy, there was no real experimentation; it was not based on any scientific exploration. He must have been a great thinker. Almost three thousand years before Albert Einstein, he stumbled – and I say ‘stumbled’ – upon the truth of atomism. But it was an unproved hypothesis.

There are many parallels like that.

The same is the case with Carl Gustav Jung and the process we are talking about: the process given by The Secret of the Golden Flower.

The Secret of the Golden Flower IS an alchemical treatise. It knows; and if you follow the method, you will come to know. It is absolutely certain. And when I say this, I am saying it because I know – because I have gone through the process. Yes, the Golden Flower blooms in you. You come to a point where the many disappear, the multitude disappears, the fragments of the mind disappear, and you are left all alone. That is the meaning of the word ‘alone’: all alone, all one.

If you think about it, the thinking is bound to take you to a certain line. If you think about it, then you will ask how to come to the One, how to make these fragments of the mind join together, how to glue them together. But that will not be real unity. Glued or unglued, they will remain separate. A crowd can be transformed into an army – that means that now it is glued together, it is no more a mob – but the many are still many, although maybe with a certain discipline. It is as if there is a pile of flowers and you make a garland out of those flowers: a thread runs through all the flowers and gives them a certain kind of unity.

That’s what Jung was trying to do: to bring these fragments together, to glue them together. That is his whole process of individuation.

The real experience of individuation is totally different. You don’t glue these fragments together, you simply let them disappear. You drop them, and then, when all the fragments of the mind have disappeared, receded farther and farther away from you, suddenly you find the One. In the absence of the mind it is found – not by joining the mind together in a certain discipline, not by putting mind together into a certain kind of union. Union is not unity, union is only an order imposed on chaos.

This can be done, and then you will have a false kind of individuation. You will feel better than before, because now you will not be a crowd, a mob. Many noises will not be there, they will have fallen into a certain kind of harmony; a certain adjustment will have arisen in you. Your conscious mind will be friendly with the unconscious, not antagonistic. Your unconscious will be friendly with the collective unconscious, not antagonistic. There will be a thread running through the flowers, you will be more like a garland than a pile.

But still, individuation in the sense I am talking about here has not happened. Individuation is not the unity of mind but the disappearance of the mind. When you are utterly empty of the mind, you are one. To be a no-mind is the process of real individuation.

Jung was groping in the dark, coming very very close – just as Democritus was coming closer to the atomic structure of matter – but he was as far away from real individuation as Democritus was far away from real, modern physics. Modern physics is not a speculation, it is a proven phenomenon.

Osho, The Secrets of Secrets Vol. 1, Ch 16, Q 1 (excerpt)