The way of the fool has to be understood because only if you understand it you can go beyond it

The unintelligent person seeks security and safety with the crowd. He cannot be an individual. He is always hankering to become part of a crowd (…)

An intelligent person will not go to the church in search of God, or to the temple. An intelligent person will go within. He will not go to Kaaba or to Kashi, because if God is not here he cannot be anywhere else – and if he is ANYWHERE else, why not here? If God is not in me, he cannot be anywhere else; and if he is anywhere else, he is bound to be in me too.

The intelligent person is an individual; he is not part of a crowd, mob psychology. He is not a sheep, he is a man. And all the vested interests are against the individual – against the man. They want machines. They don’t like people who are intelligent, who decide on their own. They want people who depend on others, on authoritative figures – on the leaders, on the priests, on the saints, but always on others, never on themselves.

The society has lived up to now in a very destructive way. It destroys the very possibility of your ever being a buddha or a christ. It has always been against the wise; it respects the fool. The fool fits with the society perfectly. The fool is cut out to fit with the society.

No child is born foolish, and every child, sooner or later, turns out to be idiotic. The powers are so big, so great, that it is almost impossible for the child to resist. The child cannot survive if he resists too much. It is really a miracle that a few people have escaped from being machines. These few people are the salt of the earth; they are the only flowers. Because of them, humanity has a little perfume, a little fragrance; otherwise, all others are walking dead, corpses, somehow dragging towards the grave.

The way of the fool has to be understood because only if you understand it you can go beyond it. The fool also has a way of life. His way of life is the way of the crowd.

Whatsoever others say, he repeats. The way others live, he imitates. He is always looking around for clues how to be, how to behave, what is right, what is wrong. He has no insight into anything. He depends on commandments from others. For thousands of years he goes on following commandments that were given in different situations, to a different kind of people, for different purposes, but he goes on following.

He is never spontaneous; that is the first thing to be remembered about the fool. He is repetitive: he repeats the past, but he is never spontaneous. He is never responsible – he never responds to the situation. He has ready-made answers. He never listens to the question; he is not concerned with the question at all. The question simply triggers in him a process of memory, and a ready-made answer comes up. He is like a computer.

To be responsible means to be aware. Unless you are aware you will not be able to see the situation that is confronting you. And the situation is changing every moment, it is never the same – not even for two consecutive moments is it the same. Hence one has to be very aware, then only can one respond to reality. And to respond to reality is to commune with God.

The fool knows nothing of God; he never comes across anything divine. He remains part of the stupid collectivity. Remember, the society, the collective has no soul; the soul belongs to the individual. Hence, those who belong to the collective are destroying every possibility of being souls.

George Gurdjieff used to say that it is very rare to find a person who has a soul – and he was right. To have a soul means to have awareness, to have individuality, to have freedom, to be able to respond – and to be able to respond on your own accord, not following dictums from others, directions from others.

The fool is never spontaneous; that is the first thing to be understood about the fool. If you become spontaneous you start becoming intelligent. The fool never learns; he is very stubborn about learning. He thinks he already knows.

The fool is not necessarily the ignorant person, mind you. The fool may be a great scholar; the fool may be a famous pundit; the fool may be a well-known professor; the fool may have a Ph.D., a D.Litt. In fact, who else bothers about Ph.D.s? The fool can be very well-informed, but that makes no difference to his foolishness.

Information does not transform you. Transformation is a totally different phenomenon than information. Transformation comes through awareness, through being open: open to life, open to people, open to everything possible. The fool lives in a closed world; he is dumb and deaf.

That’s exactly the meaning of the English word ‘idiot’: closed. He lives in his own private world. He knows nothing of the reality. He lives in his own dreams – and he thinks that’s what reality is. He lives in beliefs. He lives what tradition, what convention has taught him – whatsoever he has been conditioned for.

In a Catholic country he will be a Catholic. In a communist country he will be a communist – the same person; there is no difference at all. (…)

He remains utterly closed. He is afraid of opening his windows, his doors. He is afraid to be open to the wind, to the sun, to the rain, because who knows? – if he opens to life, his ready-made answers may not be adequate. He is very much afraid to lose his ready- made answers; he depends on them. They may be right or wrong, that is not important for him. As long as he believes they are right, they are right for him.

Hence the second characteristic of the foolish man: he is dumb and deaf. He is unlearning. He never listens. He may be able to hear, but he is not able to listen.

Hearing is a physiological phenomenon; listening is something deeper. You hear through the ears; when your heart is also joined with your ears, listening happens. And the fool’s heart is never joined with his ears. He is not able to see; he goes on seeing whatsoever HE wants to see. He never allows the reality to be reflected in him; he is incapable of reflection. He is not a mirror. (…)

The fool lives in a totally closed world. Neither is he available to reality, nor is he capable of expressing anything. He is uncreative because he cannot express.

Hence the third characteristic: the fool is uncreative. Imitative he is, but absolutely uncreative. He may be able to compose a few things, he may be able to put a few things together, but it is never creativity. Never is a new thing born through his being – he himself is still unborn. He can become a great technician, but he is never a great artist.

He can know how to paint – and he can know perfectly well how to paint – but he will not be able to paint anything genuinely new, authentically novel, original. He is absolutely unoriginal. He lives like a robot; he has been reduced to a machine.

If man is reduced to his lowest, he becomes a machine; if he is raised to his highest, he becomes a god. Man is a ladder: at the lowest rung, he is a machine; at the highest rung, he is a god. Either you can be a machine or you can be a god. If you remain unintelligent, unaware, you will remain a machine.

Conscience cannot change you. You have been told, “This is right and that is wrong,” but that has not changed you. Nobody can change you from the outside. Any change from the outside is going to be only superficial; deep down you will remain the same – and you will persist in your foolishness.

I have seen sinners who are foolish, I have seen saints who are foolish in the same way.

There is a great difference between the sinner and the saint from the outside, but both may be fools. The sinner may have fallen in a wrong company, that’s all, and the saint has fallen in a right company; that is the only difference. The sinner is following the wrong crowd; it is accidental. And the saint is following the right crowd, but that too is accidental. Deep down, both are the same.

Foolishness has a quality of persisting. It persists because for lives together you have lived through it, you have remained identified with it. It has been safe to be a fool. It has been safe to pretend that you know without knowing, because you know perfectly well that the world has not behaved well with the knowers. It has not poisoned any fool, but it has poisoned Socrates – one of the most wise men ever born. It has not crucified any fool, but it has crucified Jesus.

To be a fool is safer. To be a Jesus is dangerous. To be a buddha is to live in insecurity. It is going against the crowd, and the crowd is vast; it is going against the current. Hence your experience of centuries tells you, “Remain a fool. Pretend that you are not foolish.”

That is part of foolishness. The moment a person stops pretending, he starts becoming wise.

The beginning of wisdom is to know that you are a fool – and then you are not a fool at all; you have stopped being a fool. It is very rare to accept the fact that “I am a fool.”

They say that if a madman knows that he is mad, he is no longer mad; sanity has come back. But no madman ever agrees that he is mad; he thinks he is the sanest man in the world. Everybody else may be mad, HE is not. That is also part of remaining foolish.

The foolish person pretends in every possible way. He will pretend that he knows what he knows not. He will pretend he is somebody he is not. His life becomes an acting. His life becomes a superficial show. He is always in a kind of exhibition; he becomes a showcase. He has many faces. He wears masks and he forgets his original face completely.

Hence, the Zen Buddhists say: Unless you discover your original face you will not know who you are and you will not know what this reality is all about, and you will not know the blessing and the benediction of being alive.

Discover the original face. Your original face is lost in so many masks. You have been pretending to others and, slowly slowly, you have become convinced of your own pretensions.(…)

You will find these pretenders everywhere. You will find these pretenders inside you, outside you. You are living with them – you are one of them. Recognize that “I am a pretender,” and that is a great beginning.

The fool may try to be good, but he cannot be good because there is nothing like mechanical goodness. Goodness can only be out of consciousness. All that is mechanical is bad. In my definition and in the definition of Gautama the Buddha, to do anything unconsciously is bad, is evil, and to do anything consciously is good, is virtuous. It is not a question of what you are doing, it is not a question about your actions in particular; everything depends on what source it is coming from. If it is coming from your deep awareness, then whatsoever it is….

For example, Mohammed fought in many wars with a sword in his hand, but I will not call his wars evil. No, his wars are not evil because they are coming out of a deep awareness, a deep meditativeness. He is simply responding to the situation. Of course, what he is doing is violence – but violence, too, in the hands of a conscious, alert person, transforms its quality.

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian, but his vegetarianism was not good. His vegetarianism was evil, because it was coming out of a totally unconscious mind. He never smoked, he never drank alcohol, he lived the life of a celibate. He was almost a monk – a Jaina monk. If you look at his life, he lived it in a very disciplined way. He was not in any way an evil person – never gambled, never even played cards. But he was not good, he was not virtuous. All that was coming out of an unconscious mind.

If you find Jesus drinking… yes, he used to drink, he enjoyed drinking. And I don’t think there is anything wrong in drinking if you can drink the way Jesus drank, with absolute awareness; then there is nothing wrong in drinking. Then drinking, too, is good. But you may be a nondrinker like Adolf Hitler, and it is not good. So the question is not WHAT you do, but HOW you do it, from where comes the action. (…)

The fool can be found in the sinners, in the priests, in the saints. The fool is a very subtle phenomenon; it is not so gross as you think. You cannot judge from the outside whether a man is wise or foolish because sometimes their acts may be the same.

Krishna says in the Gita to Arjuna, “Fight, but fight with absolute surrender to God.

Become a vehicle.” Now, to surrender means absolute awareness, otherwise you cannot surrender. Surrender means dropping the ego, and ego IS your unconsciousness.

Krishna says, “Drop the ego and then leave it to God. Then let his will be done. Then whatsoever happens is good.”

Arjuna argues. Again and again he brings new arguments and he says, “But to kill these people – innocent people, they have not done anything wrong – just for the kingdom to kill so many people, so much violence, so much murder, so much bloodshed… how can it be right? Rather than killing these people for the kingdom I would like to renounce and go to the forest and become a monk.”

Now, if you just look from the outside, Arjuna seems to be more religious than Krishna.

Arjuna seems to be more a Gandhian than Krishna. Krishna seems to be very dangerous. He is saying, “Drop all this nonsense of being a monk and escaping to the Himalayan caves. That is not for you. You leave everything to God. You don’t decide, you drop this deciding. You simply relax, be in a let-go, and let him descend in you and let him flow through you. Then, whatsoever happens…. If he wants to become a monk through you, he will become a monk. If he wants to become a warrior through you, he will become a warrior.”

Arjuna seems to be more moralistic, puritanistic. Krishna seems to be totally different.

Krishna is a buddha, an awakened being. He is saying, “Don’t YOU decide. Out of your unconsciousness, whatsoever you decide is going to be wrong, because unconsciousness is wrong.”

And the foolish person lives in unconsciousness. Even if he tries to do good, in fact he succeeds only in doing bad. (…)

If you are unconscious you may go to get forgiven, you may go to confession, but it is not going to help – you will remain the same. Foolishness tends to persist. Beware of these characteristics of foolishness. Foolishness is very egoistic. In fact, the more intelligent you are, the less egoistic you are. When intelligence blooms in perfection, ego disappears. Hence, foolishness is very argumentative; it always tries to defend itself. In a thousand and one ways it will convince you that this is the right course, this is what is to be done.

One has to be very aware of all these deep tendencies; they go on forcing you to go astray, they go on forcing you to go off center. They make you eccentric. Consciousness centers you; unconsciousness takes you off your center.

– Osho from Osho Collection –