Loose Change

Reaction to Osho’s Quote on Love and Aloneness

Posted in Musings, Osho, Spirituality by Neeraj on 07/28/2010

I came across this quote on the Osho International Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/osho.international):

No-Thought for the Day : But the real love is not an escape from loneliness, the real love is an overflowing aloneness. One is so happy in being alone that one would like to share — happiness always wants to share. It is too much, it cannot be contained; like the flower cannot contain its fragrance, it has to be released. OSHO

My reaction:

Not to flog semantics but Osho should perhaps have used the word ‘compassion’ instead of ‘love’ in this quote. The reason being that most of us (especially if you don’t know much about Osho) associate the word ‘love’ in daily usage with romantic love. However, in truth, romantic love is a very specialized, insular form of compassion — it is compassion that you only feel for one person. The ‘love’ that Osho is talking about is much broader and all-encompassing.

Also, Osho should have mentioned: even if you are overflowing with happiness because you have reached your core, it cannot be shared with just about anyone: you would be ready to give it, but the other person wouldn’t be ready to receive it. The happiness that arises from this kind of ‘love’ can only be appreciated by another who has also experienced his/her aloneness. At best, sharing this happiness can only inspire someone who is ready to make this journey; however, only after they have discovered their own aloneness can they truly appreciate the quality of this happiness. On the other hand, normal people who go into relationships from a need of dependence wouldn’t even understand this kind of ‘love’. They’d perceive it as ‘aloofness’ at best or ‘selfishness’ at worst.

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‘Intelligence’ and our Future

Posted in Musings by Neeraj on 07/23/2010

I was standing at the window listening to the rain as it fell on the tarp of the garage below. The trees swayed gently in the slight breeze and the sweet smell of newly-moistened soil wafted up through the damp air. It was hard not to think of how beautiful the Earth was.

That reminded me — I was watching an old Russian science-fiction movie called Solaris last night and I remembered a scene in the movie where the scientists, aboard a research station on a distant planet, hang strips of paper on the air-conditioning vents because the rustling of the paper reminded them of leaves rustling in the wind back on Earth. It’s funny how much we don’t appreciate the things that we take so much for granted. Looking at all the bits and pieces of plastic and rubbish strewn about below the window where I stood, only served to reinforce the thought. We are a remarkably gifted and, at the same time, a surprisingly obtuse species.

Perhaps it has to do with the way our brains have evolved. We can think intuitively only on a local or a small scale, and even then we are mostly apathetic about things that don’t directly concern us or our immediate circle of loved ones. For instance, how many of us can conceive of a light year in the same way as we can think of a yard? How many of us can think of a million years the same way as of a lifetime? How many of us can think about the environment in the same way as we think of our home? It seems that our brains are just not built to function on grandiose scales. This makes sense because all through evolution, we have been struggling with problems that are limited in scope: how to jump to the next branch, where to find the best prey, when to plant the crops, how to fight the neighboring tribe, how to woo the girl next door — all local problems that we have solved with great aplomb. The only problem is that the problems that we now face — war, pollution, disease etc — are ones that cannot be solved (or even understood) at local scales. It’s as if mankind’s growth has been very unidimensional, very unbalanced. We have learned enough to make changes at a planetary scale but we have not learned what those changes imply. It’s as if we’ve learned how to shoot a gun but we don’t know what putting a bullet in someone will do. How do we make the transition from a parochial to a global outlook? Do we even have the time to make it?

Judging from the past, I think that given sufficient time, humanity can make this transition. One good reason is that intelligence is bootstrapping by nature. For instance, why are we the only intelligent (in the everyday sense of the word) species in the world? So many animals and insects have lifetimes that are a fraction of ours. One human generation could see thousand upon thousands of insect generations. They’ve had so many more chances to make that quantum  leap to sentience. Why didn’t they? The simple answer is that they didn’t need to. Given an environment, evolution only strives for reproductive success. It does not measure ‘progress’ or ‘advancement’ in human terms. But if humans were not gifted with a special environment withheld from other organisms, why were we the only species to make the jump? The answer lies in what intelligence enables us to do. It allows us to change our environment, in turn presenting us with new problems to solve: a powerful incentive for further cerebral development. So, intelligence begets intelligence.

This is the path that we have followed, and we are now standing at a critical crossroads in our evolutionary journey. The problems that we now face may be a blessing in disguise — our chance to progress to the next level of consciousness, to a more sublime level of intelligence, a deeper understanding of our place. The commensurate trade-off could be that we may not have as much time to crack this particular nut as we had to tackle problems in the past. Will we make the right choices? Only time will tell…

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