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Laughter and Tears -- a Cleansing of the Heart
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OSHO : YAA-HOO! The Mystic Rose, Chapter 30

Doesn't a child have as much right to privacy and freedom from parental conditioning as the parents themselves expect?

D. M. Silvera,

It is one of the most fundamental problems facing humanity today. The future depends on how we solve this problem. It has never been encountered before.

For the first time man has come of age, a certain maturity has happened -- and as you become mature you have to face new problems. Slowly slowly, as man progressed, he became aware of many kinds of slavery....

Only recently in the West have we become aware that the greatest slavery is that of the child. It was never thought of before, it is not mentioned in any scripture of the world. Who could have thought... a child and a slave? A slave to his own parents, who love him, who sacrifice themselves for the child? It would have looked ridiculous, utter nonsense!

But now, as psychological insight has deepened into human mind and its functionings, it has become absolutely clear that the child is the most exploited person; nobody has been exploited more than the child.

And of course he is being exploited behind a facade of love. I don't say that the parents are aware that they are exploiting the child, that they are imposing a slavery on the child, that they are destroying the child, that they are making him stupid, unintelligent, that their whole effort of conditioning the child as a Hindu, as a Mohammedan, as a Christian, as a Jaina, as a Buddhist, is inhuman; they are not aware of it, but that does not make any difference as far as the facts are concerned.

The child is being conditioned by the parents in ugly ways, and of course the child is helpless: he depends on the parents. He cannot rebel, he cannot escape, he cannot protect himself. He is absolutely vulnerable, hence he can be easily exploited.

Parental conditioning is the greatest slavery in the world.

It has to be completely uprooted, only then will man for the first time be able to be really free, truly free, authentically free, because the child is the father of the man. If the child is brought up in a wrong way then the whole of humanity goes wrong. The child is the seed: if the seed itself is poisoned and corrupted by well-intentioned people, well-wishing people, then there is no hope for a free human individual, then that dream can never be fulfilled.

What you think you have is not individuality, it is only personality. It is something cultivated in you, in your nature, by your parents, the society, the priest, the politician, the educators.

The educator, from the kindergarten to the university, is in the service of the vested interests, is in the service of the establishment. His whole purpose is to destroy every child in such a way, to cripple every child in such a way, that he adjusts to the established society. There is a fear. The fear is that if the child is left unconditioned from the very beginning he will be so intelligent, he will be so alert, aware, that his whole life style will be of rebellion. And nobody wants rebels; everybody wants obedient people.

Parents love the obedient child. And remember, the obedient child is almost always the most stupid child. The rebellious child is the intelligent one, but he is not respected or loved. The teachers don't love him, the society does not give him respect; he is condemned. Either he has to compromise with the society or he has to live in a kind of self-guilt. Naturally, he feels that he has not been good to his parents, he has not made them happy.

Remember perfectly well, the parents of Jesus were not happy with Jesus....

The parents of Gautam the Buddha were not happy with Gautam the Buddha. These people were so intelligent, so rebellious, how could their parents be happy with them? And each child is born with such great possibilities and potential that if he is allowed and helped to develop his individuality without any hindrance from others we will have a beautiful world, we will have many Buddhas and many Socrateses and many Jesuses, we will have a tremendous variety of geniuses.

The genius happens very rarely not because the genius is rarely born, no; the genius rarely happens because it is very difficult to escape from the conditioning process of the society. Only once in a while does a child somehow manage to escape from its clutches.

Just the other day I was saying to one visitor, "Please open your envelope." Ajit Saraswati has sent me a note about it. He says, "Osho, I found that the word 'develop' means exactly the same thing: that is, 'opening the envelope.' 'Velop' means a veil, a cover; 'de-velop' means removing the veil, un-covering it; 'en-velope' means putting the veil on, covering it."

Every child is being enveloped by the parents, by the society, by the teachers, by the priests, by all the vested interests -- enveloped in many layers of conditioning. He is given a certain religious ideology: he is forced to become a Jew or a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. It is not his choice. And whenever somebody is forced with no choice of his own you are crippling the person, you are destroying his intelligence; you are not giving him a chance to choose, you are not allowing him to function intelligently; you are managing it in such a way that he will function only mechanically. He will be a Christian, but he is not Christian by choice.

And what does it mean to be a Christian if it is not your choice? The few people who followed Jesus, who went with him, were courageous people. They were the only Christians: they risked their lives, they went against the current, they lived dangerously; they were ready to die, but they were not ready to compromise. The few people who went with Gautam Buddha were real Buddhists, but now there are millions of Christians around the world and millions of Buddhists around the world and they are all bogus, they are pseudo. They are bound to be pseudo -- it is forced on them.

They are enveloped in a certain religious ideology then they are enveloped in a certain political ideology -- they are told that they are Indians, that they are Iranians, that they are Chinese, that they are Germans -- a certain nationality is imposed on them.

And humanity is one, the earth is one.

But the politicians wouldn't like it to be one because if the earth is one then the politicians with all their politics have to disappear. Then where will all these presidents and prime ministers go? They can exist only if the world remains divided. Religion is one, but then what will happen to the Polack Pope, to all the stupid shankaracharyas? What will happen to all these people? They can exist only if there are many religions many churches, many cults, many creeds.

There are three hundred religions on the earth and at least three thousand sects of these religions. Then of course there is a possibility for many priests, bishops, archbishops, high priests, shankaracharyas to exist. This possibility will disappear.

And I tell you, religiousness is one! It has nothing to do with any Bible, any Veda, any Gita. It has something to do with a loving heart, with an intelligent being. It has something to do with awareness, meditativeness. But all the vested interests will suffer.

Hence parents who belong to a certain establishment, a certain nation, a certain church, a certain denomination, are bound to force their ideas on the children. And the strange thing is that the children are always more intelligent than the parents, because the parents belong to the past and the children belong to the future. The parents are already conditioned, en-veloped, covered. Their mirrors are covered with so much dust that they don't reflect anything; they are blind.

Only a blind man can be a Hindu or a Jaina or a Christian. A man with eyes is simply religious. He does not go to the church or to the temple or to the mosque; he will not worship all kinds of stupid images.

There are people in India who are worshipping the monkey god, Hanuman. Men worshipping monkeys! No monkey worships a man! Even monkeys laugh about it: 'What has happened to these people?' And these people think that they have evolved from monkeys. Monkeys think just the opposite: they think it is these people who have fallen. Of course they have fallen from the trees -- they have literally fallen! And still worshipping monkey gods! All kinds of gods, all kinds of superstitions! Parents carry all these.

When a child is born he is a clean slate, a tabula rasa; nothing is written on him.

That's his beauty: the mirror is without any dust. He can see more clearly.

Mom: "Jimmy, did you fall over with your new trousers on?"
Jimmy: "Yes, Mom, there wasn't time to take them off."

The first-grade teacher was talking to her class about nature and she called it "The World Around You." She asked little Helen in the first row, "Now, Helen, tell everyone in the class. Are you vegetable, animal or mineral?"
"I'm not any of those," she replied promptly. "I'm a real live girl!"

A little fellow who was fishing off the end of a pier lost his balance while trying to land a fish and fell in the lake. Several men who also were fishing nearby rushed to his aid and pulled him out.
"How did you come to fall in?" one of the men asked him.
"I didn't come to fall in," the kid said. "I came to fish!"

A large family was finally able to move into a more spacious home. Some time later an uncle asked his nephew, "How do you like your new house?"
"Just fine," replied the lad. "My brother and I have our own rooms and so do my sisters. But poor Mom, she's still stuck in the same room with Dad!"

A woman was almost panic-stricken as she called her long-time friend on the telephone, but the friend was in the bathroom and her young daughter took up the phone. "Oh dear," she said, "I just have to talk to someone! I just found this note on my kitchen table. My husband has run off with another woman. Gone, gone, gone forever! I am so full of pent-up emotion I don't know what to do. I am sure that any minute I'll just let go."
"That's the thing to do," the daughter said. "Just give in to your emotions. Let yourself go. Nothing will do you any more good right now than a good laugh!"

Every child is born intelligent, clear, clean, but we start heaping rubbish on him.

Silvera, you ask me: Does a child not have as much right to privacy and freedom from parental conditioning as the parents themselves expect?

He has much more right than the parents because he is beginning his life. The parents are already burdened, they are already crippled, they are already depending on crutches.

He has more right to be his own self. He needs privacy, but parents don't allow him any privacy; they are very afraid of the child's privacy. They are continuously poking their noses into the child's affairs; they want to have their say about everything.

The child needs privacy because all that is beautiful grows in privacy.

Remember it: it is one of the most fundamental laws of life. The roots grow underground; if you take them out of the ground they start dying. They need privacy, absolute privacy. The child grows in the mother's womb in darkness, in privacy. If you bring the child into the light, among the public, he will die. He needs nine months of absolute privacy.

Everything that needs growth needs privacy. A grown-up person does not need as much privacy because he is already grown-up, but a child needs much more privacy. But he is not left alone at all. Parents are very worried whenever they see that the child is missing or is alone; they immediately become concerned. They are afraid, because if the child is alone he will start developing his individuality. He always has to be kept within limits so that the parents can go on watching, because their very watching does not allow his individuality to grow; their watching covers him, envelops him with a personality.

Personality is nothing but an envelope. It comes from a beautiful word, persona; persona means a mask. In Greek dramas the actors used masks. Sona means sound, per means through. They used to speak through the mask; you could not see their real faces, you could only hear their voices. Hence the mask was called a persona because the sound was heard through it, and out of persona comes the word 'personality'.

The child has to be continuously on guard because he is being watched. You can see it yourself: if you are taking a bath you are a totally different person -- in your bathroom you can put aside your mask. Even grown-up people who are very serious start singing, humming. Even grown-up people start making faces in the mirror! You are in private -- you are perfectly aware that you have locked the door -- but if you suddenly become aware that somebody is watching through the keyhole, an immediate change will happen to you. You will again become serious, the song will disappear, you will not be making faces in the mirror; you will start behaving as you are supposed to behave. This is the personality -- you are back in the envelope.

A child needs immense privacy, as much as possible, a maximum of privacy, so that he can develop his individuality uninterfered with. But we are trespassing on the child, continuously trespassing. The parents are continuously asking, 'What are you doing? What are you thinking?' Even thinking! They even have to look in your mind.

There are a few tribes in the Far East where each child has to tell his dreams every morning to the parents, because even in the dreams he cannot be left alone. He may be dreaming wrong dreams, he may be thinking of things which he should not think, the parents have to be reported to. The early morning ritual is that first thing before breakfast he has to relate his dreams -- what he has seen in the night. Psychoanalysis is a very late development in the West, but in the East, in these Far Eastern tribes, psychoanalysis has been practised by the parents for thousands of years. And of course the poor child does not know the symbology so he simply relates the dream as it is. He does not know what it means; only the parents know.

But this is going too far. It is encroaching upon him, it is inhuman; it is overlapping on somebody's space. Just because the child is dependent on you for food, for clothes, for shelter, do you think you have the right to do it? -- because if the child says that he has seen that he was flying in his dream, the parents immediately know that that is a sexual dream. Now they will curb his behavior more, they will discipline him more. They will give him an early-morning cold bath! They will teach him more about celibacy and they will teach him that "If you are not celibate things will go wrong. If you think about sexuality you will lose an intelligence, you will go blind," and all kinds of nonsense.

A child needs immense privacy. The parents should come in only to help him, not to interfere. He should be allowed to do things or not to do things. Parents should only be alert that he does not do any harm to himself or to somebody else -- that's enough. More than that is ugly.

A tourist drove into a small town and spoke to a boy who was sitting on a bench in front of the post office. "How long have you lived here?" the tourist asked.
"About twelve years," the boy replied.
"It sure is an out-of-the-way place, isn't it?" the tourist asked.
"It sure is," the boy said.
"There isn't much going on," the tourist said. "I don't see anything here to keep you busy."
"Neither do I," the boy said. "That's why I like it."

Children like very much to be left alone; spaciousness is needed for their growth.

Yes, parents have to be alert, cautious, so that no harm happens to the child, but this is a negative kind of cautiousness -- they are not to interfere positively.

They have to give the child a great longing to inquire about truth, but they have not to give him an ideology that gives him the idea of truth. They should not teach him about truth, they should teach him how to inquire about truth. Inquiry should be taught, investigation should be taught, adventure should be taught. The children should be helped so that they can ask questions and the parents should not answer those questions unless they really know. And even if they know they should say it as Buddha used to say it to his disciples: "Don't believe in what I say! This is my experience, but the moment I say it to you it be-comes false because for you it is not an experience. Listen to me, but don't believe. Experiment, inquire, search. Unless you yourself know, your knowledge is of no use; it is dangerous. A knowledge which is borrowed is a hindrance." But that's what parents go on doing: they go on conditioning the child.

Silvera, the children need privacy, they need freedom -- they need the freedom to be. But every parent is trying to make the child into something other than he is. They are telling the child to become a Jesus Christ or to become a Gautam Buddha or to become a Mahavira or a Zarathustra. And this is such an ignoble project because nobody can become a Buddha again, nobody can become a Jesus again. Existence is so creative it never repeats itself. Two thousand years have passed since Jesus -- has anybody become a Jesus again? That is not possible, that is not allowed, and it is good that it is not possible. Twenty-five centuries have passed since Buddha and millions of people have tried and imitated in order to be Buddhas, but nobody has succeeded.

It is good that nobody succeeds, because everybody has his own uniqueness. Imitation is to destroy yourself, it is suicidal! But all the parents are teaching the children some suicidal thing: "Become somebody, somebody else. Become anybody, but don't become yourself." The child is condemned, rejected in every possible way, told directly, indirectly that "Whatsoever you are is not right, whatsoever you are doing is not right." You have to be following some example, some ideal. "Unless you behave like a Buddha or Mahavira, Confucius or Moses, you are not right" -- and the child starts imitating.

This world is full of imitators, that's why there is so much misery.

That's why there is so much uncreativity and so much insensitivity, so much ugliness. It is like telling the roses to become marigolds and telling the marigolds to become lotuses. Neither the rose can become a marigold nor the marigold can become a lotus. Only one thing is possible: if the lotus gets the idea of becoming a rose and the rose gets the idea of becoming a marigold and the marigold is conditioned to become a lotus, there will be no more lotuses, no more marigolds, no more roses, because the whole energy of the rose will be wasted on becoming a marigold, which the rose cannot become, which is not possible. And because it cannot become a marigold its energy is wasted -- the same energy which would have blossomed as a rose.

No conditioning is needed for the children, no direction has to be given to them. They have to be helped to be themselves they have to be supported, nourished, strengthened.

A real father, a real mother, real parents will be a blessing to the child. The child will feel helped by them so that he becomes more rooted in his nature, more grounded, more centered, so that he starts loving himself rather than feeling guilty about himself, so that he respects himself.

Remember, unless a person loves himself he cannot love anybody else in the world, unless a child respects himself he cannot respect anybody else. That's why all your love is bogus and all your respect is pseudo, phony. You don't respect yourself, how can you respect anybody else?

Unless love for yourself is born within your being it will not radiate to others. First you have to become a light unto yourself, then your light will spread, will reach others.

It was examination day at school and a bad-tempered teacher was questioning a small boy about his knowledge of plants and flowers. The boy was unable to answer any question correctly. In frustration, the teacher turned to his assistant and shouted, "Go and bring me a handful of hay!"
As the assistant turned to go out, the small boy cried, "And for me, just a small coffee, please!"

A Polack was driving along a country road when his car broke down. While he was fixing it, a small boy approached and asked, "What is that?"
"It's a jack," said the Polack."
"My father has two of those," said the boy.
Then a minute later he asked again, "And what is that?"
"That's a torch."
"Oh, my father has two of those too. And over there? Is that a spanner?"
"Yes," said the man, irritably. "My father has two of those."
The conversation went on in this vein for some time. Finally the repair was finished and the Polack got up and went to piss at the side of the road. As he was pissing he pointed to his reproductive machinery and asked, 'Does your father have two of these too?'
"Of course not!" said the boy. "But he has one that is twice as long!"

Children are immensely intelligent, they just need a chance!

They need opportunities to grow, the right climate.

Every child is born with the potential of enlightenment, with the potential of becoming awakened, but we destroy it. This has been the greatest calamity in the whole history of man. No other slavery has been as bad as the slavery of the child and no other slavery has taken as much juice out of humanity as the slavery of the child, and this is also going to be the most difficult task for humanity: to get rid of it. Unless we arrange the whole society in a totally different way, unless a radical change happens and the family disappears and gives place to a commune, it will not be possible.

The parental institution has become so deep-rooted in its structure that unless the whole pattern is destroyed and replaced by a totally new phenomenon which I call the commune... A commune is where many people live together collectively, not in single-family units. For example, this commune... Now, nearabout three thousand sannyasins are living here, fifteen hundred sannyasins are working in the commune. There are many children; these children are being loved by everybody. They are not just focused on their parents, they are enjoying immense freedom. They go and they visit other sannyasins, they remain with other sannyasins for days together. They have many uncles, many aunts.

Little Siddhartha has so many friends, from small children through grown-up people to very old people -- all ages, all kinds of friends. His mother, Neerja, has changed lovers many times, but every lover becomes an uncle to Siddhartha. It is a gain for him, because each time Neerja changes her lover Siddhartha gains one more uncle!

Neerja's love affairs may come and go, but Siddhartha's love affairs remain. Even ex-boyfriends of Neerja are still friends with Siddhartha -- he goes on asking them... whenever he needs money he goes to them. And he gets money from everywhere -- he is the richest person in the commune! He comes to Sattva every day and Sattva has to give him five rupees -- that's the fixed amount!

One day Sattva had no money, so Sattva said, "I'm sorry, Siddhartha, today I have no money."

He said, "Why didn't you ask me?" And after ten minutes he came with five rupees and gave it to Sattva! He said, "I have so many friends! Whenever you need money you can ask me -- I can find it anywhere!"

In a commune a child will not be obsessed with his parents.

He will have more freedom, more liquidity. He will be more open to many people, many varieties. He will learn more. He will become multi-dimensional, he will become multi-lingual. And the most important thing will be that he will not be conditioned by anybody, because when there are so many people with so many different backgrounds he will be able to learn this: that "My mother's or my father's religion is not the only religion," that 'My mother's country is not the only country," that My mother's language is not the only language," that "There are many languages and they are all beautiful, and there are many religions and they are all beautiful, and there are many countries and they are an beautiful." He will have a more universal approach towards things. He will remain liquid, flowing, he win not become fixated.

And psychologists say that each child becomes fixated: if the child is a boy he becomes fixated on the mother figure; if the child is a girl the child becomes fixated on the father figure And this is one of the problems in life, because once a boy has become fixated on the mother figure, his whole life he will be searching for a woman who exactly fits his mother figure. He will be expecting his mother's qualities from his beloved, which is not possible. Where can he find his mother? Each woman will have her own way, and the woman will not be there to be his mother. And the strange thing is, the woman will be searching for her father. The man is searching for the mother and the woman is searching for the father -- and both are pretending to be lovers!

Hence all marriages fail, hence no love affair succeeds for a simple reason: because of these obsessions. There is a criterion of how a really good woman should be or how a really good man should be.

If a child moves with many people he will not have a fixed figure of a woman or a man. He will not have an imprint -- that's what psychologists call it -- and without any imprint he will just have a vague idea of a woman. He will more or less have the idea of womanhood, not of a woman, and she will have the idea of manhood, not of a particular man. And then life can have a totally different flavor. Then you are not searching for the mother, not searching for the father. Then love affairs can bring immense joy; right now they only bring miseries and nightmares.

And if we can make children liquid, flowing, then countries can disappear sooner or later.

The family is the basic unit of the nation, of the state, of the church, hence the church, the state and the nation, will all defend the family. They are not concerned about the misery of humanity.

I am against the nation, against the church, against the state, hence I am in favor of the commune not in favor of the family. Once this old pattern of family disappears into a more multi-dimensional set-up, humanity can have a new birth. A new man is needed and the new man will bring the very paradise that in the past we were hoping for in some other life.

Paradise can be herenow, but we have to bring about a new child. My sannyasins at least have to understand it very clearly. If you can be helpful in bringing the child to his uniqueness you win be helping humanity immensely. You will become the harbingers of a new dawn, of a new sunrise.

Back to Osho Meditation Talks

The last question:

What do you say about modern art?


I don't know much about modern art, and I don't want to know much about it either. It is not much of an art. In the past art had a totally different quality: it was beautiful. Modern art is ugly. It is very rare to find something beautiful in modern art, and I can see the reason. The modern mind is boiling with repressed sexuality, anger, hatred, violence. Centuries of repressions have become accumulated; it has come to a crescendo and it is erupting. The volcano is erupting!

Modern art is more like a catharsis, more like vomiting. It is not art. One just wants to get rid of all kinds of poisons that have become accumulated. The same is true about all dimensions of art; music, poetry, painting, sculpture -- they all have become ugly.

Modern man is suffering, is in immense misery and hell and that shows in modern art. Modern art is a reflection. Art is always a reflection, it is a mirror, because the artist is the most sensitive person in the society, hence he is first to become aware of what is happening; others take a longer time to become aware.

The poet is the most prophetic because he becomes aware of things which are going to happen, he becomes aware a little ahead of time, hence he is never understood.

Modern art is psychotic -- it reflects humanity. It shows that something has gone wrong, very wrong: man is falling apart. And modern art is representative art. In a way it is very realistic; it is not creating a dream world, a fantasy. But it has lost the artistic touch.

Amrita, just as modern man needs a new birth, modern art also needs a new birth. But that is a secondary phenomenon. Unless a new man arrives on the earth a new art cannot arrive, a new poetry cannot be born.

Modern art is becoming more and more ridiculous. Just the other day I was reading this story:

Jake Mazeltov was walking along Fifth Avenue when he bumped into an old friend whom he had not seen for twenty years. "Joe Pasternak! My God, you haven't changed a bit! Am I glad to see you! Tell me, what are you doing?"
"Well," smiled Joe, "I'm an artist. As a matter of fact, I've done very well. I've got a picture hanging in the Modern Museum, right here off Fifth Avenue."
"You don't say!" exclaimed Jake. "Gee, that's marvellous! Say, we're not far from there. Could you take me over and show the picture to me?"
"With pleasure," said Joe, and they strolled over to the Modern Museum.
There on the wall, Joe pointed to his picture. It was brown all over, almost a solid monochrome, with only a deep patch of darker brown in the lower right-hand corner. Jake looked at it quizzically for a few minutes but got nothing out of it. He turned to his pal Joe and said, "What is this picture supposed to represent?"
"Well," said Joe, "it's modern art. The name of the picture is 'A Cow in a Field.'"
"'A Cow in a Field'! My God, Joe, what d'ya mean, a cow in a field? I don't see any field there. A field is green. Where's the green?"
Joe explained patiently. '"Well, you see, in modern art, it doesn't go quite that way. The cow walked into the field and she ate up the grass, so now the grass is all gone; there's no more green, there's only brown."
"Okay," said Jake, "So where's the cow?"
"Well, the cow, she ate up the grass already, so, of course, she just went on, that's all."
"Oh," said Jake, "now I understand. There's no green because there is no grass, there is no cow because the cow went away. But there's a big patch of brown in the right-hand corner, now what's that?"
"Oh well, you've gotta understand, this is modern art," said Joe. "A cow eats up a whole field of grass and she walks on, but on the way out what d'ya think she does?"

That's what the modern art is!

OSHO : Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing, Discourse 14

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