Discourses Smart with a Phone — 04 March 2017

Osho speaks on the impact of television and computers in modern life, asserting that computers can destroy people’s memory systems.

You say, “But moments of no thoughts are few and far between.”

It is a great achievement, because people don’t know even a single gap. Their thoughts are always in a rush hour, thoughts upon thoughts, bumper-to-bumper, the line continues, whether you are awake or asleep. What you call your dreams are nothing but thoughts in the form of pictures… because the unconscious mind does not know alphabetical languages. There is no school, no training institute which teaches the unconscious language.

Osho Reading

The unconscious is very primitive, it is just like a small child. Have you looked at the books of your small children? If you want to teach the child, you have to make a big picture first. So you will see, in children’s books, pictures, colorful pictures with very little writing. The child is more interested in the pictures. He is primitive, he understands the language of pictures.

Slowly slowly you make the pictures and the language associated – whenever he sees the mango he knows, “It is a mango.” And he starts learning that underneath the picture of the mango there is a certain word describing it. His interest is in the mango, but the word ‘mango’ slowly becomes associated. As the child grows, pictures will become smaller and language will become more. By the time he enters the university, pictures will have disappeared from the book; only language will remain.

can destroy
memory systems

By the way, it reminds me to tell you that television has taken humanity back into a primitive stage, because people are again looking at pictures. There is a danger in the future – it is already apparent that people have stopped reading great literature. Who bothers to read, when you can see the film on the TV? This is a dangerous phenomenon, because there are things which cannot be reproduced in pictures. Great literature can be only partially reproduced in pictures. The danger is that people will start forgetting the language and its beauty and its magic, and they will again become primitives, watching the television.

Now the average American is watching television for seven and a half hours every day. This is going to destroy something which we have achieved with great difficulty. Now, this man who is watching television for seven and half hours per day… you cannot expect him to read Shakespeare, Kalidas, Rabindranath Tagore, Herman Hesse or Martin Buber or Jean Paul Sartre. The greater the literature, the less is the possibility of putting it into pictures.

Pictures are colorful, exciting, easy, but they are no comparison to language. The future has to be protected from many things. Computers can destroy people’s memory systems, because there will be no need – you can keep a small computer the size of a cigarette packet in your pocket. It contains everything that you will ever need to know. Now there is no need to have your own memory; just push a button and the computer is ready to give you any information you need.

Osho, Satyam Shivam Sundram, Ch 7, Q1 (Excerpt)