07th November is the birthday of the revolutionary French philosopher Albert Camus. Winning the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44, Camus became the second youngest awardee in history after Rudyard Kipling who won at the age of 41. His brilliant life was cut short by a road accident at the age of 46.
Camus’s greatest contribution is his exposition of the theory of Absurdism contained in his work The Myth of Sisyphus. Deeply influenced by Nietzsche, Camus’s work focused on existential questions like the absurdity of life, inevitability of death and the problem of suicide. Camus famously wrote – There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. He opined that suicide is a rejection of human values and freedom. Camus said that man should embrace the fact that life is void of meaning or that man is unable to know that meaning.
Osho has spoken extensively on Camus and Absurdism in His discourses. OSHO says Albert Camus has said: “What counts is not the best living, but the MOST living.” To two men living the same number of years, the world always provides the same sum of experiences. It is up to us to be conscious of them. Being aware of one’s life, one’s revolt, one’s freedom; and aware to the maximum – is living to the maximum. Become free of your so-called life; this life that you have lived up to now. Don’t commit suicide! Let your past commit suicide. Start living afresh, moment to moment. Don’t live in desires, but live in a kind of desireless-ness. You have lived a life of strain and struggle. Now start living a life of relaxation, calm and quiet. And you will be surprised – you have been missing life, not because life is worthless; you have been missing life because you have been taught to live a worthless kind of life!
My vision of a total man is that of a scientist, plus a poet, plus a mystic. But the mystic remains the Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas. Here, please don’t try to reduce everything to so-called clear understanding. We are talking about things which are essentially unclear, we are talking about things which exist in twilight. We are talking about things which are not things at all; but essences. And listening to me and being here with me, being a part of this communion, it is natural, Sophia, that life will start looking like a dream.
EVERYTHING SEEMS SO UNREAL, you say, LIKE A DREAM. TO ME YOU SEEM TO BE SO UNREAL, FLOATING IN AND OUT OF DISCOURSE EACH DAY. Yes, in a certain sense I am unreal. I am just the fragrance…. And unless you are ready to be full of this unknowable fragrance, I will look unreal, like a dream. But something is happening.
You say: I DO FEEL SOMETHING DEEP INSIDE HAPPENING IN YOUR PRESENCE, AND MORE EACH MOMENT BEING HERE WITH YOU, BUT I CANNOT SEEM TO FEEL A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING. You may not be able to grasp my presence, but you can see something is synchronizing in you, something is triggered in you. The fragrance has reached your nostrils – you may not be able to grasp it in your hands, but it has reached your nostrils. Your heart is already moved. That’s why, Sophia, you have become a sannyasin.
You will never be able to feel a clear understanding. I cannot promise clear understanding. I can promise you only more and more mystery. The farther you go with me, the more and more the mysterious is waiting for you.
But who cares for clear understanding? It is a much lower stage of mind where clear understanding is needed. At the highest peaks, where mountains move into the clouds, where mountains whisper with the stars, it is a totally different world. It is not the world of the ordinary, it is the world of the sacred.
You will have to come with me. Your mind will pull you backwards, your mind will tell you, “Where are you going? Are you going crazy?” And infact what I am making available here is only for the crazy –
for those who are sane enough to drop the so-called sanity,
for those who are courageous enough to move beyond the logical boundaries,
for those who are ready to go into a tremendous insecurity, dropping all safety, security, familiarity, knowledge.
It is jumping into a totally different dimension: the dimension of the essences.
This is a mystery school. You should not ask about clear understanding. Ask for the experience of the mysterious and the miraculous. And it is happening.
If you help it, cooperate with it, Sophia, soon you will be transported into another world. Look at what has happened in the West, and the same is happening in the East now: the more people are becoming scientific, knowledgeable, educated, the more and more they are feeling a kind of meaninglessness. Their life is becoming more and more insignificant; it is losing all dignity; it is becoming ugly.
Camus says that the only important philosophical problem is suicide. Why? Because the modern man feels the pointlessness of living – what is the point of going on living every day? If there is nothing mysterious, there is no point in living. Then only those who are cowards go on living; because they cannot gather courage to disappear, to commit suicide, they go on living.
But then life cannot have joy. It will be only a long drawn, dragging affair. And deep down you will be waiting for death to come and release you from all this nonsense, from all this meaningless turmoil – this tale told by an idiot, full of fury and noise, signifying nothing.
If science succeeds in destroying the mysterious totally from the world, man is bound to commit suicide sooner or later. One can only live joyously and with a dance when poetry surrounds you, and one can live with immense rejoicing when God is felt. But these things are not for clear understanding. Those who insist on clear understanding, they are asking for mathematics, not for music, and certainly not for mysticism. You have to learn how to drop this insane desire to reduce everything to clarity.
What are you going to do then with clarity? You will be stuck with it. Ask for those things which are essentially unclear – essentially, I say. That means they can never be clear. Then you open up to love, then you open up to beauty, then you open up to God.
And life blooms only when it is rooted in the mysterious. I teach you the mystery of life, not a clear-cut understanding of it. I lead you deeper and deeper into the world where you can also enjoy being muddy like Lao Tzu.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Gautam Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune, India.
Philosophia Perennis, Vol 2
Chapter title: Don’t Spit on the Ceiling!
2 January 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on notable philosophers Aristotle, Berkeley, Bukharin, Camus, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Schiller, Socrates, Voltaire, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Rebel
- The Secret
- The Empty Boat
- The Osho Upanishad
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself
- One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green
- The Wild Geese and The Water
- What Is, Is, What Ain’t, Ain’t
- Sufis: People on the Path Vol.1-2
- The Sun Rises in the Evening
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Beyond Psychology