Galileo asked to apologize for his statement

1001 Tales Discourses

“Truth is not decided by voting. It is not a question of how many people believe in it,” confirms Osho.

Painting Galieo Galilei Roman Inquisition

This is the situation of the so-called normal man – he is not normal at all. Buddha is normal, Pythagoras is normal, because they are natural, hence they are normal. But the word ‘normal’ has another meaning too: it comes from ‘norm’ – average. Normal in ordinary language means the average. Then Buddha is abnormal; then he’s not normal, he is not the norm. Then Pythagoras is abnormal. And the millions who are known as normal are not normal at all, because they are not natural. They are in the majority, true, but truth needs no votes; it does not depend on votes.

Galileo was alone when he said that the earth moves around the sun, not vice versa. The whole world had believed for millennia that the sun moves around the earth. Still in language the old habit persists: we say ‘sunset’, ‘sunrise’ – still. And I think this is going to persist. The sun never rises and never sets, it is simply there; only we go on round and round around it.

When Galileo said it for the first time, of course, the church and the state were offended. He was forced to go into court and he was asked by the priests to apologize, because “How can you dare? Millions of people forever and ever have believed. How can so many people be wrong and you alone right? Have you gone mad? What kind of egoist are you?”

Galileo must have been a tremendously beautiful man, not at all pathological. He said, “Okay, then I apologize. But my apology won’t make much difference – the earth will still go on round and round the sun. My apology will not make any difference. I can apologize. I can say, ‘Yes, the sun goes round the earth,’ but let me remind you, this won’t make any difference at all. Things will remain as they are.”

He was told, “How can so many people be wrong?”

But truth is not decided by voting. It is not a question of how many people believe in it. It has always been an individual experience. Pythagoras knows it – he has experienced it. The knowing depends on his experiencing, not on your votes. Truth cannot be decided democratically. Truth still remains aristocratic, because it is based, rooted in individual experience; it is not of the mob and the herd.

Osho, Philosophia Perennis – Discourses on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, Vol 2, Ch 11 (excerpt)


Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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