“As I see it, mankind has lost all sense of direction,” states Osho.
…And this has happened because man has chosen investigation of the physical world over exploration of his own inner being. Nothing should be more important to a man than himself. His first and fundamental inquiry should be into himself.
Unless a man knows himself all his knowledge lacks authenticity. In the hands of an ignorant man nothing can be creative, but even ignorance can become a creative tool in the hands of a knowledgeable one. If a man can understand himself, can master himself, only then will his other achievements have real merit. Unless this happens he is simply digging his own grave.
That’s what we are doing. We are digging our own graves. Previous civilizations were destroyed by external attack; ours is threatened by a great internal danger. If the civilization of the twentieth century is annihilated, it will be by suicide. This is what we will have to call it, if there is anyone left to call it anything. It is possible this final war may never be written into human history. It will take place outside history’s ken, because it will destroy all of humanity. Those who came before us made history, we are preparing to unmake it.
We are in control of infinite material power, but we know nothing of the depths of the human heart, we know nothing of the poison and the nectar that lies hidden there, side by side. We know the atomic structure of matter but nothing of the atomic structure of the soul. And this is our great misfortune. We have achieved power, but no peace, no enlightenment.
A new man can be born; a new life can begin.
There is great power in the hands of the unenlightened, of the unawakened. But these are the people who should not be allowed to possess power; if it is misused, power can wreak great evil. Our whole search has been for power. And this is man’s mistake. He is in danger from his own achievements, from his own successes. The world’s great thinkers and scientists should be made aware of the pitfalls of this preoccupation with the question of power. It is just this sort of blind, thoughtless investigation that has brought us to the brink of the present crisis. The aim should be peace, not power. And if the aim becomes peace, then the focus will be on the mystery of man himself, not into the secrets of nature. There has been much research and exploration into unconscious matter, but the time has come when we must concentrate on man himself, on his mind.
The science of the future will be the science of man, not the science of matter. This change musts occur before it is too late. Those scientists who are committed to the investigation of the inanimate are orthodox men, with minds bound by tradition and convention. Men of awareness must come forth to alter the direction of scientific research. Science must strive for knowledge of man himself.
In the human mind there are latent powers and infinite possibilities as yet undeveloped.
In their efforts to master the material world modern scientists have attained results unprecedented in human history; there is no reason they cannot be equally successful in achieving the same insight into man. Man can be known. He can be mastered; he can be transformed. I see no reason to be discouraged. We can come to know ourselves, and on this knowledge we can build a totally new consciousness.
A new man can be born; a new life can begin. This has been attempted by various religions in the past, but to see it through, to perfect it, a scientific approach is needed. What religion has begun, science can complete.
In relation to the world of matter, the attitudes of conventional science and orthodox religion have always been dissimilar. In fact, religion has not been concerned with matter at all. In this area, science reigns supreme. But this does not mean religion has nothing of value to contribute. Traditional science must be abandoned and science and religion must join forces. Only this kind of marriage can save mankind. What we have acquired through our knowledge of matter is nothing compared to what we will gain by knowledge of the self. In the past, religion has only made it possible for this knowledge to be possessed by a very select few; with a scientific approach, this knowledge can be available to all.
In the human mind there are latent powers and infinite possibilities as yet undeveloped. And the reason mankind is so miserable is because of the confused state of these untapped energies. When the mind of a man is in chaos, his individual confusion automatically multiplies by the time it merges with the collective consciousness, by the time it mixes with the universal mind. Society is much more than the sum-total of its individuals – it is its individuals, multiplied; it is the expanded effect of our personal interrelations. You must remember that whatever happens in each individual will be reflected in society in a greatly magnified form. The cause of all war, the roots of all social degeneration are within the individual human minds. If we are to change society we have to change the men who exist within it; if there is to be a new base for society we have to offer a new kind of life to the individual.
I said earlier that both poison and nectar exist within the hearts of men. The confusion of energy is the poison; the control of energy is the nectar. And the way in which a man’s life can be transformed into harmony and bliss is through yoga.
Man must become the center of both science and religion.
The ideas and actions that go against this inner harmony are sin; those that help create it, that help nourish it, are virtues. When a man is out of tune with life he lives in a state of anarchy, and a mind that knows no harmony is in hell. When this harmony is sublime a man is in heaven. And when an individual becomes one with the harmony within him, his outer actions reflect his accord with the universe. Whatever is within us is what flows from us; it is what we give out. It is also what we receive.
We must create a science that can fill the inner world of man with glowing health and celestial music – not for any future kingdom of heaven, but for this world, for life on this planet. If this life is bountiful, why worry about any other! One’s imagination is only fired by visions of another world as an escape from this one. Authentic religion has nothing to do with other worlds, with other lives. But that is what has happened to this world. Religion’s concern for the other world has been detrimental to mankind because it has taken his attention away from this one.
Religion, philosophy and the scriptures have not been concerned with the physical world at all, not as science has been. Matter has been conquered, but the man for whom this has been done has been completely ignored. Man must come first. Man must become the center of both science and religion.
Science must disengage itself from matter; religion, from the other world. This rejection of their individual attachments will be their point of meeting. This will give birth to the greatest event in human history; this will give birth to a great creative energy. This union alone will save mankind. There is no other way.
From this joining, from this coupling, the science of man will come into being for the very first time. The life, the future of mankind depends on this. On this alone.
Osho, The Long, the Short and the All, Ch 2 (translation from Hindi, excerpt)