Capitalism: A Natural Growth
Birthday of John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time and the richest person in modern history.
Rockefeller is largely remembered simply for the raw size of his wealth. In 1902, an audit showed Rockefeller was worth about $200 million—compared to the total national GDP of $24 billion then. Inspite of being so wealthy, in his 50s Rockefeller suffered from moderate depression and digestive troubles and other health issues like alopecia.
Osho says, “Happiness has nothing to do with these things. Happiness is not an achievement. It is your nature. Animals are happy without any money. They are not Rockefellers. And no Rockefeller is as happy as a deer or a dog. Animals have no political power — they are not prime ministers and presidents — but they are happy. The trees are happy; otherwise they would have stopped blooming. They still bloom; the spring still comes. They still dance, they still sing, they still pour their being into the feet of the divine. Their prayer is continuous, their worship is always happening. And they don’t go to any church; there is no need. God comes to them. In the wind, in the rain, in the sun, God comes to them.”
EVERY TIME I HEAR YOU PRAISING CAPITALISM I GET ANGRY. YOU SAY SANNYAS MEANS TO GET RID OF ALL CONDITIONING AND TO ESCAPE OUT OF EVERY CAGE WHETHER IT IS RELIGIOUS, PHILOSOPHICAL OR POLITICAL. BUT ISN’T CAPITALISM A CAGE TOO? WHY CAN’T WE LIVE A CREATIVE LIFE IN WEALTH AND FREEDOM WITHOUT ANY “ISMS”?
Swami Prem Vardan,
capitalism is not an “ism” at all; just don’t get too obsessed by the word. Sometimes words become too important to us and we tend to forget the reality. Capitalism is not an ideology; it is not imposed on the society, it is a natural growth. It is not like communism, or fascism, or socialism — these are ideologies; they have to be imposed. Capitalism has come on its own. In fact, the word “capitalism” has been given by the anticapitalist thinkers: the communists, the socialists and others. Capitalism is a state of freedom; that’s exactly why I am in support of it. It allows you all kinds of freedoms. Communism will not allow you all kinds of freedoms; communism will give you only one ideology to believe in — there is no question of choice.
I am reminded of Henry Ford….
When he made his first model, those cars were only made in one color — black. And he himself used to take the customers round his showroom; he would go around with them and show them the cars. He used to say to people, “You are free to choose any color, provided it is black!”
That’s exactly the attitude of communism: you are free to choose any ideology, any philosophy, any religion, provided it is communism. In a communist society there is no hope for a multidimensional humanity to grow; it can allow only a certain type to grow: it is linear. You cannot conceive that in a communist pattern even Karl Marx would be possible; he would not be allowed. You cannot conceive a Jesus, a Buddha, a Krishna, or a Lao Tzu being born in a communist society; they would be destroyed at the very beginning.
Before the Russian revolution, Russia produced the greatest novelists in the world. Before the revolution, Russia passed through an immense period of creativity; it was almost an explosion. Nowhere else, in no other time, were so many great artists born together: Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Turgenev, and many more. What happened to all that creativity after the Russian revolution? Not a single Tolstoy, not a single Dostoevsky, not a single Maxim Gorky has appeared. It is impossible, because the government directs you about what to write, what not to write. The bureaucracy dictates everything. You cannot paint according to your own heart, you cannot sing the song that you want to sing; you have to dance to the tune that the government plays. Naturally, only mediocre people have been happy in Russia. Untalented people will find it very good, but talented people, who are the salt of the earth, will be retarded…
Communism is an “ism”; capitalism is not an “ism.” Capitalism is simply a natural phenomenon that has come on its own. There are no capitalist philosophers, there is no capitalist party, there is no capitalist economy which has been enforced on people; it is a growth. But you seem, Vardan, to be too attached to the word. Rather than looking at the reality you have become distracted by the word “capitalism.” It simply means a state of LAISSEZ-FAIRE, a state of freedom where one is allowed to be himself. Capitalism is not an “ism” but a natural state of society which is capable of producing capital, which is capable of producing wealth.
Now for sixty years or more communism has existed in Russia. Still, communism existing in Russia has not been able to make it a rich society; it is a poor country. Of course they go on competing as far as war technology is concerned, but the people are poor. America is far richer; in fact, it is the richest society that has ever existed on the earth. Even the poorest man in America is in a far better situation than any Russian, for the simple reason that people are allowed to produce wealth if they choose to. If they choose not to produce wealth, if they want to be painters, poets, they are allowed — that is their freedom, that is their birthright. In communism you don’t have any birthright.
And remember, equality is a very unpsychological idea. People are not equal. Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, Gautam Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Ghalib — can you consider that these people are equal? The society consists of thousands of types; it is beautiful because of the variety. Communism destroys variety. It makes people in a certain pattern, it gives them a certain structure. The whole society becomes like an army: everybody is regimented, everybody is following a certain ideal. Don’t be too obsessed with the simple word “capitalism.” But we live in words…the very word, the mention of the word, can create anger in you. That simply shows anger is there. And it is a natural phenomenon, particularly when you are the disciple of a master — deep down you are angry at him. There are reasons for it, because surrendering is going against your ego, and the ego is always ready to take revenge — any excuse will do.
Judas betrayed Jesus. Do you think he simply betrayed Jesus because of thirty silver coins? That is not the case. Judas would not have betrayed him for only thirty silver coins. He had lived for a long time with Jesus, had loved him, worshipped him, was surrendered to him. Then what came over him? And he felt immensely guilty: the day Jesus was crucified…within twenty-four hours Judas committed suicide out of sheer guilt. What had he done? He could not survive, he could not live — the guilt was too heavy. But nobody has looked into the psychology of Judas. So many people have researched deeply into the psychology of Jesus, but nobody has bothered to look into the psychology of Judas, which is worth studying because masters are few and disciples are many, and their psychology should be understood. And it is not the first case….
Gautam Buddha was betrayed by his own cousin-brother who was a disciple; Devadatta was his name. Mahavira was betrayed by his own son-in-law who was his disciple. It is almost an inevitable phenomenon that each master has been betrayed by somebody who was very close. Why? There must be some hidden reason. Don’t just condemn Judas; Judas is only one of the examples. To surrender to a master creates anger. Unwillingly you have to surrender, finding no other way. You have tried every possible way to be on your own, but the more efforts you have made, the deeper you have gone into the mess. So ultimately, as a last resort, you surrender. But the unwillingness is there. You would have been far more happy if there had been no need to surrender. But because there is nothing else to do — you have done everything and it has all failed — you need somebody’s help and support, you need somebody’s guidance. And in spiritual matters, guidance is possible only if you trust, if you surrender, if you put your ego aside. So you put it aside, but very unwillingly, reluctantly, and it waits for its own time to take revenge. So any small excuse becomes a very big thing.
Now the word “capitalism” is torturing you. If you understand me, what you are saying is exactly what I mean by capitalism.
You say: “Why can’t we live a creative life in wealth and freedom without any `isms’?”
That’s exactly what capitalism is! Drop the word “ism,” find something else. I am not much concerned with words. I am not a linguist, not a grammarian.
Noah Webster, the lexicographer, was in his office making love to his secretary, when Mrs. Webster walked in.
“Noah!” she gasped. “I am surprised!”
Quickly pulling his trousers up, he replied, “Not so, my dear. You are shocked, I am surprised!”
The grammarian, the lexicographer, the linguist, is continuously thinking of words. He is right! He says, “No, you are shocked — you are using the wrong word — I am surprised!” But it is not a question of words at all. Don’t get too obsessed with words; otherwise you will be getting angry again and again. If you want to be angry, that’s another matter; then you can find any excuse. And you will find a thousand and one — I can provide you with as many excuses as possible!
“You say sannyas means to get rid of all conditioning….” Yes, and it includes the obsession with words too. And you say, “to escape out of every cage….” True.
Capitalism is the only state where you are not forced to live in a cage, you are free. But capitalism is in a very dangerous state, for the simple reason that there are only a few people who are capable of creating wealth, and they create great jealousy in others. Those who cannot create wealth become jealous — and there are more of them. Just think: if society were ruled by poets, people would be angry at poetry, because only a few people are capable of creating poetry — a Shakespeare, a Milton, a Kalidas, a Rabindranath…. Only very few people are able to create poetry, and they would be the rulers. What about the ninety-nine point nine percent of people who are absolutely unpoetic? They would become very angry. Or if the society were ruled by musicians, then what about those who cannot produce music, who are not creative in that dimension? Then Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner…a few people would be able to dominate; they would be at the top. And what about the others? The millions would feel angry. The same is true with capitalism: very few people are capable of creating wealth; it is a dimension of creativity. Not everybody is a Ford or a Morgan or a Rockefeller. This is bound to be so.
But to understand your jealousy and to get rid of it is Sannyas. To understand your jealousy will help you tremendously to find your dimension of creativity. Everybody is born with a certain potential, but it is not the same and it is good that it is not the same. If everybody was a Shakespeare, literature would lose all joy. If everybody was a Jesus, carrying his own cross, the whole scene would look very crazy! And those Jesuses would go on carrying their crosses, and who would crucify them? They would not find anyone to crucify them! It would be a very very long and tedious journey to nowhere. They would die natural deaths, carrying their crosses unnecessarily. It is good that everybody is not a Jesus, not a Buddha….
Everybody has to be himself, and capitalism simply gives you the possibility to be yourself. Certainly you will have to prove your mettle, you will have to work; you will have to create, you will have to bring your total energy to a focus. But only then will you be able to shine forth.
Capitalism is basically individualism, it is not a social structure. It is more than that; it is just democracy and freedom. But when you allow everybody to be himself, certainly you will feel very jealous, because you can only be one thing and there will be many people who can be many other things. Somebody will be a poet, somebody will be a sculptor, somebody will be a novelist, somebody will be a musician, a dancer, an architect, a scientist…and maybe you are just a boxer. But there is no need to be worried — you can be the greatest boxer in the world! One has to look within oneself and discover one’s potential. Capitalism gives you the freedom to be yourself; that’s why I support it. My support has reasons behind it. I am not supporting it as an economical phenomenon; there is much more involved in my support. And to my understanding, capitalism will bring a socialism of its own kind as a by-product
because when people have created too much wealth, what are they going to do with it? What will you do with the wealth when you have created it?
Albert Einstein discovers the theory of relativity, the secret of atomic energy; then it becomes part of the whole society, then sooner or later everybody is going to be benefited by it. A few people will create wealth, but they will reveal the secrets of how to create wealth. Sooner or later this whole society will be benefited by it. A real socialism will come out of capitalism as a by-product. When too much wealth is created, people will not be so greedy; the greed arises only because the wealth is very scarce. And you can see it very clearly — you can see it here. The poor person is very greedy, the rich person is not so greedy. The people who are coming from the West are less greedy than the people who are living in India. The Indians TALK about no-greed, greedlessness, but they are the most greedy people in the world. They have to be — they are so poor, they have to cling…
Remember, a society is possible which will not be greedy, but that is possible not through socialism; it is possible only through the growth of capitalism, through the growth of freedom. Talented people have to be given absolute freedom to create whatsoever they can — poetry, wealth, music. Whatsoever they can create let them create, and their creativity will raise the society to higher levels. Capitalism is pure freedom. Of course, everybody is not capable of creating wealth, hence it creates jealousy. But we should not be dominated by jealousy, we should not be dominated by those who are uncreative. If we are dominated by the uncreative, by the jealous, then we will destroy all the talented people. And they are the real people, they are the people who raise humanity to higher levels.
Humanity owes all its growth to very few people, not to the masses — not at all. The masses have been the hindrance; they are like rocks preventing the growth of society. Society has been benefited only by a few scientists, a few mystics, a few creators; the others have been just hindering in every possible way. And these others constitute the majority, and of course they are jealous. But nobody says directly, “I am jealous.” They will talk about equality, socialism, communism…beautiful words to hide something ugly.
Prem Vardan, whenever I say something, meditate over it. Being angry is not going to help. Anger simply shows that something in you is hurt, some wound is there. Maybe you have come believing in socialism, communism, and all that kind of nonsense. There are many sannyasins who have belonged to political ideologies in their past. When they come to me it becomes difficult for them to drop all their rubbish — but you have to drop all your rubbish. It is easy for you when I say, “Don’t be a Christian,” because in fact you are not a Christian at all. When I say, “Don’t be a Mohammedan or a Hindu,” who is a Mohammedan, who is a Hindu? These are only formalities. But when I say, “Don’t be a communist or a socialist,” then it hurts more, because particularly the new generation is very much addicted to the communist ideology. Capitalism is not an ideology at all, that’s why I prefer it.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Come, Come, Yet Again Come
Chapter title: Let Sannyas Happen
31 October 1980 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken extensively on ‘art, music, painting, poetry, dance’ and creative geniuses like Picasso, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Salvador Dali, Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart, Wagner, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Taansen, Byron, Bhavabhuti, Coleridge, Dinkar, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, John Ruskin, Kalidas, Kahlil Gibran, Keats, Milton, Nijinsky, Omar Khayyam, Shelley, Tagore, Yeats and many more in the course of His talks. More on this subject can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles: