Q: In what way do you envisage democracy playing a part in your communes?
The question is a little complex. Democracy is not the highest goal. It is better than dictatorial regimes, it is better than monarchies, but it is not the end of the journey – because democracy basically means government by the people, of the people, for the people, but the people are retarded. So let us say: government by the retarded, for the retarded, of the retarded.
Democracy cannot be the highest possibility man can attain. It is good in comparison to other forms of government that have preceded it, but not something that can succeed it. I call that meritocracy.
I want a government by the people of merit.
And merit is a very rare quality.
As the situation is, all the geniuses of the world are outside governments. It is hilarious: those geniuses are needed in the government because they can give the best world to humanity, but they are servants of the retarded politicians. Now the scientists who are making nuclear weapons are in the service of people like Ronald Reagan. What merit has he got? What intelligence has he got? What is his contribution to the world? – those third-grade Hollywood cowboy films? But he will make the decision, and the geniuses will never be known; they will work almost anonymously.
The same is the situation in Soviet Russia, and everywhere else in the world. The Russian government does not allow its scientists, poets, or other geniuses to receive the Nobel Prize, for the simple reason that by receiving the Nobel Prize they become world famous. And a genius has no business becoming world famous; he should do his work.
The greatest physicist today is in imprisonment in Soviet Russia. The greatest physicist perhaps of all the ages, who has gone deeper than Albert Einstein – Sakharov – is serving a life sentence in Siberia. His only crime was that he refused to obey the Soviet government, and accepted the Nobel Prize.
Now, the people who are ruling the Soviet Union are just third rate. None of them has shown any genius – Sakharov alone has as much as the whole stupid lot – but they have power. And the best physicist, who can contribute to the world immensely, is simply rotting in Siberia.
The situation may be a little bit different in different countries, but the basic thing is the same: the people of merit are not the people who rule. The people who rule are always mediocre. Democracy, rightly translated, is mediocracy. I cannot support mediocracy. I would like people of merit, geniuses, to manage the world – and things would be totally different.
For example, instead…. Anybody who is born in America, after a certain age becomes adult, is able to vote. Why this limitation of a certain age? What is so great about it? And if you can make a limitation that at twenty-one years – any age limit – you are able to vote, why can’t you make it a point that unless you have a master’s degree, a first-class master’s degree in any subject, you cannot vote for the federal government?
You can make it a point that you have to have a first class bachelor’s degree if you want to vote in the state government. You have to have a doctorate if you want to stand for any position in the federal government – a Ph.D. is absolutely necessary. If you want to become the president of the country, then you must have at least a D.Litt. or D.Sc. Without having these qualifications you cannot stand, you cannot run for the post.
So we should require merits for each post – the highest merits. And we should make grades of voters: for the federal government, the highest degree; for the state government, a lower degree; for the county, a little lower degree.
But meritocracy has to take the place of democracy. Then perhaps you will see Sakharov not suffering in Siberia, but being the prime minister of the Soviet Union. Then you will see Yehudi Menuhin perhaps being the president of America. And there are thousands of geniuses around the world….
And remember, geniuses are never destructive; they are always creative. With a genius president in America, and a genius president in the Soviet Union, a third world war becomes impossible. In fact, with geniuses ruling all over the world, the day will not be far off when they will decide that it is better to make one world rather than divide it into nations, because that solves problems more easily.
There are thirty million Americans who are dieting because of too much eating. Now, these people should be transported to Nigeria, Ethiopia, India– there is no need for any dieting, just being in Ethiopia will bring them to their senses! Just leave them in Ethiopia. They will not die – they have at least enough fat to last for ninety days. And for ninety days, bring thirty million Ethiopians to America. Those people will really enjoy your fridges!
It is simple… a world government can look at the whole world as one humanity. Problems are not so much as they appear. At one time, in Soviet Russia, they had a bumper crop of wheat. Rather than giving it to the countries who were dying without food, they started burning wheat in their railway trains instead of coal. Now, those poor countries where people were dying have enough coal: if the world is one, the coal can be given to Soviet Russia, the wheat can move to the poor country.
And if there is one world, then there is no need for seventy-five percent of every nation’s wealth to be wasted on nuclear weapons, on armies, on other kinds of war materials. Seventy-five percent! Humanity is living only on twenty-five percent. If there are no longer any nations, the question of war does not arise. A hundred percent of all energy, money, income becomes available to the whole world.
There are countries – for example, I know India– where labor is so cheap…. In America, things are almost ten times more costly, for the simple reason that labor is so costly. It is simply stupid. Why not make industries in India, produce any item in India, ship it to any country where it is needed? It will be cheaper, it will be available to more people.
The Soviet Union has one-sixth of the land of the whole earth, and the population is only two hundred million. India’s population today is eight hundred million, and by the end of the century it will be one billion. For the first time in history, India will be going ahead of China. Up to now China has been ahead. China will be number two, India will be number one. But it is not a great joy to be number one. India can manage very easily four hundred million people; more than that is impossible. The land is not there, the soil has been exploited too much for centuries. One billion people – simply the idea…! India will become a thousandfold bigger Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia one thousand people have been dying every day. In India millions of people will die every day. But there is no need. Just by the side is the Soviet Union, with vast lands spreading from one corner of Europe to the other corner of Asia, covering two continents. It is such a simple matter: over-populated areas should be shifted, people should be shifted to under-populated areas.
In Switzerland they have dropped birth control policies. They are encouraging people to produce children, because for the last two years their population has been going down. We are living in an insane world. There are countries where it is so hard to teach people to use birth control methods so that their population does not rise, and there are countries where the government is giving every encouragement and rewards for people to produce children; otherwise the country will disappear. But what is the need to produce children when so many children are there, dying? Just shift them to Switzerland. Adopt them; that will be more humane.
And the same is the situation about everything. All this can be changed by people of genius coming to the top. And the simple way is, make categories so universities become your centers of power, not governments; universities create your governors, your presidents, your vice-presidents, your senators. And that should be the right thing to do.
Now, as things are, the profession of the politician is the only profession which needs no qualification. Even if you want to be a plumber, some kind of qualification will be needed, some training in plumbing, some certificate. But if you want to be the president of America, no certificate is needed. It seems strange: plumbing is more important than the presidency of America! If you want to be a senator, no qualification is needed. If you want to be a teacher in a kindergarten school, qualifications are needed.
Democracy is not succeeding; it has failed. It was better than its predecessors, but now we have to find a new alternative, because democracy has failed. It has not been of any help.
I call it meritocracy.
The future belongs to meritocracy.
Osho, From Bondage to Freedom, Ch 31, Q 2