Creativity and Discipline


Osho speaks on creativity being the greatest rebellion

Osho, In the past all famous artists have been well-known for their bohemian side of life. Osho, please can you say something about creativity and discipline?

Santosh Sneh, the bohemian life is the only life worth living! All other kinds of lives are only lukewarm; they are more ways of committing slow suicide than ways of living life passionately and intensely. In the past it was inevitable that the artist had to live in rebellion, because creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence. If you want to create you have to get rid of all conditionings, otherwise your creativity will be nothing but copying, it will be just a carbon copy. You can be creative only if you are an individual, you cannot create as a part of the mob psychology. The mob psychology is uncreative; it lives a life of drag, it knows no dance, no song, no joy; it is mechanical.


Of course, there are a few things you will get from the society only if you are mechanical: respectability you will get, honors you will get. Universities will confer D.Litts on you, countries will give you gold medals, you may finally become a Nobel laureate, but this whole thing is ugly.

A real man of genius will discard all this nonsense, because this is bribery. Giving the Nobel Prize to a person simply means that your services to the establishment are respected, that you are honored because you have been a good slave, obedient, that you have not gone astray, that you have followed the well-trodden path.

The creator cannot follow the well-trodden path, he has to search out his own way, he has to inquire in the jungles of life, he has to go alone, he has to be a dropout from the mob mind, from the collective psychology. The collective mind is the lowest mind in the world; even the so-called idiots are a little more superior than the collective idiocy. But the collectivity has its own bribes: it respects people, honors people, if they go on insisting that the way of the collective mind is the only right way.

It was out of sheer necessity that in the past, creators of all kinds – the painters, the dancers, the musicians, the poets, the sculptors – had to renounce respectability. They had to live a kind of bohemian life, the life of a vagabond; that was the only possibility for them to be creative. This need not be so in the future. If you understand me, if you feel what I am saying has truth in it, then in the future everybody should live individually and there will be no need for a bohemian life. The bohemian life is the by-product of a fixed, orthodox, conventional, respectable life.

My effort is to destroy the collective mind and to make each individual free to be himself or herself. Then there is no problem; then you can live as you want to live. In fact, humanity will really only be born the day the individual is respected in his rebellion. Humanity has still not been born; it is still in the womb. What you see as humanity is only a very hocus-pocus phenomenon. Unless we give individual freedom to each person, absolute freedom to each person to be himself, to exist in his own way…. And, of course, he has not to interfere with anybody – that is part of freedom. Nobody should interfere with anybody.

But in the past everybody has been poking his nose into everybody else’s affairs – even into things which are absolutely private, which have nothing to do with the society. For example, you fall in love with a woman – what has that got to do with the society? It is purely a personal phenomenon, it is not of the marketplace. If two persons are agreeing to commune in love, the society should not come into it, but the society comes into it with all its paraphernalia, in direct ways, in indirect ways. The policeman will stand between the lovers; the magistrate will stand between the lovers; and if that is not enough then the societies have created a super-policeman, God, who will take care of you.

The idea of God is that of a peeping Tom who does not even allow you privacy in your bathroom, who goes on looking through the keyhole, watching what you are doing. This is ugly. All the religions of the world say God continuously watches you – this is ugly. What kind of God is this? Has he got no other business but to watch everybody, follow everybody? Seems to be the supreme-most detective!

Humanity needs a new soil – the soil of freedom. Bohemianism was a reaction, a necessary reaction, but if my vision succeeds then there will be no bohemianism because there will be no so-called collective mind trying to dominate people. Then everybody will be at ease with himself. Of course, you have not to interfere with anybody, but as far as your life is concerned you have to live it on your own terms. Then only is there creativity. Creativity is the fragrance of individual freedom.

You ask me, Sneh:

Osho, please can you say something about creativity and discipline?

“Discipline” is a beautiful word, but it has been misused as all other beautiful words have been misused in the past. The word “discipline” comes from the same root as the word “disciple”; the root meaning of the word is “a process of learning.” One who is ready to learn is a disciple, and the process of being ready to learn is discipline.

The knowledgeable person is never ready to learn, because he already thinks he knows; he is very centered in his so-called knowledge. His knowledge is nothing but a nourishment for his ego. He cannot be a disciple, he cannot be in true discipline.

Socrates says: “I know only one thing, that I know nothing.” That is the beginning of discipline. When you don’t know anything, of course, a great longing to inquire, explore, investigate arises. And the moment you start learning, another factor follows inevitably: whatsoever you have learned has to be dropped continuously, otherwise it will become knowledge and knowledge will prevent further learning.

The real man of discipline never accumulates; each moment he dies to whatsoever he has come to know and again becomes ignorant. That ignorance is really luminous. I agree with Dionysius when he calls ignorance luminous. It is one of the most beautiful experiences in existence to be in a state of luminous not-knowing. When you are in that state of not-knowing you are open, there is no barrier, you are ready to explore. The Hindus cannot do it – they are already knowledgeable. The Mohammedans cannot do it, the Christians cannot do it. My sannyasins CAN do it, for the simple reason that I am not imparting knowledge; on the contrary, I am destroying your knowledge.

Hence it happens every day…. Every day I receive many letters, many questions. One friend has come from the West. He says, for three, four years he has been reading my books and he was so excited, he was in such great love with me, that he wanted to come somehow as quickly as possible. Now he has been able to manage to come, but here he feels frustrated. For four years he was in deep love with me, and now he says, “I cannot say the same because you are so shocking to me. You irritate me, you annoy me; you go on hammering on my cherished ideas.”

It is easy to read a book because the book is in your hands. I am not in your hands! You can interpret the book according to your ideas, you cannot interpret me according to your ideas – I will make so much trouble for you! He was not in love with me, he was in love with his own ideas, and because he was finding support from my books he lived in an illusion.

But with me illusions are bound to be shattered. I am here to shatter all illusions. Yes, it will irritate you, it will annoy you – that’s my way of functioning and working. I will sabotage you from your very roots! Unless you are totally destroyed as a mind, there is no hope for you.

Discipline has been misinterpreted. People have been telling others to discipline their life, to do this, not to do that. Thousands of shoulds and should-nots have been imposed on man, and when a man lives with thousands of shoulds and should-nots he cannot be creative. He is a prisoner; everywhere he will come across a wall.

The creative person has to dissolve all shoulds and should-nots. He needs freedom and space, vast space, he needs the whole sky and all the stars, only then can his innermost spontaneity start growing.

So remember, my meaning of discipline is not that of any Ten Commandments; I am not giving you any discipline; I am simply giving you an insight how to remain learning and never become knowledgeable. Your discipline has to come from your very heart, it has to be YOURS – and there is a great difference. When somebody else gives you the discipline it can never fit you; it will be like wearing somebody else’s clothes. Either they will be too loose or too tight, and you will always feel a little bit silly in them.

Mohammed has given a discipline to the Mohammedans; it may have been good for him, but it cannot be good for anybody else. Buddha has given a discipline to millions of Buddhists; it may have been good for him, but it cannot be good for anybody else. A discipline is an individual phenomenon; whenever you borrow it you start living according to set principles, dead principles. And life is never dead; life is constantly changing each moment. Life is a flux.

Heraclitus is right: you cannot step in the same river twice. In fact, I myself would like to say you cannot step in the same river even once, the river is so fast-moving! One has to be alert to, watchful of, each situation and its nuances, and one has to respond to the situation according to the moment, not according to any readymade answers given by others.

Do you see the stupidity of humanity? Five thousand years ago, Manu gave a discipline to the Hindus and they are still following it. Three thousand years ago Moses gave a discipline to the Jews and they are still following it. Five thousand years ago Adinatha gave his discipline to the Jainas and they are still following it. The whole world is being driven crazy by these disciplines! They are out of date, they should have been buried long long ago. You are carrying corpses and those corpses are stinking. And when you live surrounded by corpses, what kind of life can you have?

I teach you the moment and the freedom of the moment and the responsibility of the moment. One thing may be right this moment and may become wrong the next moment. Don’t try to be consistent, otherwise you will be dead. Only dead people are consistent. Try to be alive, with all its inconsistencies, and live each moment without any reference to the past, without any reference to the future either. Live the moment in the context of the moment, and your response will be total. And that totality has beauty and that totality is creativity. Then whatsoever you do will have a beauty of its own.

Osho, The Goose is Out, Ch 9, Q 2

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