9th December is the birthday of the Russian “anarcho-communist” philosopher Peter Kropotkin. He advocated a state-less decentralised communist society based on voluntary associations of self-governing communities. In his book, The Conquest of Bread (1892) he proposed a system of economics based on exchanges under mutual-cooperation with eventual abolition of money. He argued that in a socially, culturally and industrially developed society; the ‘competitive’ tendencies in humans give way to ‘mutual aid’.
Expectedly, Kropotkin’s revolutionary ideas did not go down well with Czarist Russia and he was imprisoned. He managed to escape 2 years later and spent 41 years in exile lecturing on communism.
Kropotkin also advocated self-sufficiency; that a country should manufacture its own goods and grow its own food, lessening dependence on imports. An idea whose merit has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic!
Osho said Kropotkin’s idea of anarchism: no state-no government is a beautiful dream but with this criminal humanity, with this stupid mass, if there is no government and no court and no police there will be simply chaos, not anarchism. Man has not come to the point where governments can be dissolved. I want to raise the consciousness of human beings to the point where government becomes futile, courts remain empty, nobody is murdered, raped, tortured or harassed. I am an anarchist from a very different dimension. Do you see the difference? Kropotkin’s emphasis is: dissolve the governments. My emphasis is: raise the consciousness of human beings and governments will disappear on their own accord.
They are also not right when they say I am an anarchist, because anarchists like Prince Kropotkin and others are beautiful people but their philosophy is naive. They want there to be no government, no police, no law. They are too naive, too simple, too innocent, too childlike. They don’t understand man – that he is full of animality, barbarism, cruelty, violence, murder, rape.
If all order and discipline is removed, the society will be in a chaos. Right now, it is in a chaos, but the chaos is in a certain order. There is a certain system, a certain method, but with Prince Kropotkin and their colleagues the chaos will explode into a state that man has never seen.
I am an anarchist in a very different way. I don’t say there should be no government. I always work from the roots; I never prune the leaves. I don’t say there should be no discipline, I don’t say there should be no courts and no law – that would be simply idiotic.
What I say is that the individual should drop the personality, be authentic, be honest; that the individual should drop ambitions, desires, and start rejoicing with whatsoever is available. He always goes on hankering for the moon; the earth is available but he cannot dance here, he will dance on the moon.
My effort is to make man so immensely blissful, peaceful, silent, meditative, that the need for government disappears, that the need for the politician disappears, that sooner or later the courts have to be closed because nobody comes there or they have to be changed into meditation centres, that jails become useless. I teach man to be expressive. In the jails are the people who were taught to be repressive and could not repress and went against society; and now society is taking revenge.
I teach you to be expressive and to accept all your nature with pride – it is your inheritance from nature. Living naturally without inhibition, things like rape will disappear. Living silently and meditatively, violence is not possible. Compassion will be just a natural phenomenon. Governments, politicians, parliaments, assemblies, should become useless. If I meet Prince Kropotkin somewhere, I think he will understand what I am saying.
Anarchism cannot be imposed from above, it can only be grown through each individual, from below. And as individuality becomes stronger, integrated, all these things are bound to disappear.
It is just like somebody is against medicines, and he wants all medicines to be destroyed. The idea is not bad. In a really healthy society, there should be no medicines, but he is starting from the wrong end. First the society has to be healthy, so that medicines become useless, physicians become useless, and health becomes such a natural thing that sickness becomes something that used to happen in the past; it is part of history. Then automatically medicines will disappear. Medical colleges will close, you need not close them.
I am a far more dangerous anarchist than Prince Kropotkin. I don’t talk about it; I am preparing for it. Prince Kropotkin was only talking about it. But Prince Kropotkin could not create it, because he had no idea that the individual has to be completely changed. Only then can there be a society which does not need any order: everybody is so responsible that the policeman is not needed on the street; neither is God needed in heaven to punish anybody.
Strangely the politician and the priest will disappear together. They have a certain contract. The courts and the temples will disappear together, because the courts live on crime and the temples live on sin.
You have to understand what the difference is between the two. A crime is a sin that has been caught. And a sin is a crime that you managed – you befooled the whole system and nobody could catch you. So, for the criminal there is – the court, the police, the law; and for the sinner there is – the priest, the bishop, the pope, the God. They need hell as their jail, they need heaven as their reward. But they are together, and they both will disappear together.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Uruguay in May 1986.
The Path of the Mystic
Chapter title: More dangerous than nuclear weapons
20 May 1986 pm in Punta Del Este, Uruguay
Osho has spoken on notable philosophers Aristotle, Bakunin, Berkeley, Bukharin, Camus, Carlyle, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Fichte, Friedrich Schelling, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Kropotkin, Marcel, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Russell, Sartre, Schiller, Socrates, Voltaire, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: