Neither Man nor Woman

Osho on Mathematician and a Philosopher Rene Descartes

René Descartes (1596–1650) was a creative mathematician of the first order, an important scientific thinker, and an original metaphysician. During the course of his life, he was a mathematician first, a natural scientist or “natural philosopher” second, and a metaphysician third. Descartes’s influence in mathematics was great; the Cartesian coordinate system was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytic geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry—used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis.

Descartes has often been called the father of modern philosophy, and is largely seen as responsible for the increased attention given to epistemology. Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments.  It was the 17th-century arch-rationalists like Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz who have given the “Age of Reason” its name and place in history. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well-versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution.

Osho talks about Descartes and says “Descartes’ whole philosophy is based on the single statement, “I think, therefore I am.” But it is obviously very childish because you are not thinking constantly, still you are; you are not thinking while you are asleep, still you are; you may be in a coma, you are not thinking, still you are. “I think I am, therefore I am.” Thinking seems to be the most significant part. It is a conclusion of thinking that “I am,” but when you are not thinking, what happens? In meditation there will be no thinking…When all thoughts have disappeared and you are sitting silently doing nothing, the East says, “For the first time you know you are — because now there is no object to distract your consciousness. Your whole consciousness is settled at the center, in the heart.” And it is not a conclusion; it is not “therefore…” What Descartes is saying is “my existence is a logical conclusion: I think, therefore I am.” It is not an existential experience, it is a logical conclusion. The East says, “When there is no thought, you experience that you are.” There is no question of “therefore…” Descartes can be refuted because it is only a logical conclusion. It is so simple to refute him, and he has become the father figure of Western philosophy! It is so simple to refute him because when you are asleep, you are — and you are not thinking. Even when you are just going for a walk, you are not thinking. If Descartes is right, then a person will be in a continuous trouble; he will have to think continuously, “I am thinking,” to keep himself alive. The moment he forgets thinking, he is finished. It would be rather more mature to say, “I am, therefore I think. I am, therefore I dream. I am, therefore I meditate.” Then every possibility is open. Then you can do many things, everything: “I am, therefore I am silent.”


Listen to the question. “I know I am a woman” — that too has become knowledge: “I know.” Can’t it be said simply that you are a woman? Has it to go through knowledge? It is as if somebody says, “I think fire is hot.” Can’t you say simply, “Fire is hot?” Has it to go through your thinking first? You say, “I THINK that fire is hot.” Fire is simply hot; your thinking is not needed. Either you are a woman or a man. What is the point of saying, “I know I am a woman?” Why does everything have to go through the door of knowledge? Why can’t facts simply be facts? Even the question shows… everything shows your mind; even the formulation of the question shows it…

“I know I am a woman” — please stop knowing, start feeling. FEEL you are a woman. Feeling is from a different center; it is from the heart. Knowing is from a different center; it is from the head. Knowing is dead, feeling is alive. People come to me and they say, “I think I have fallen in love.” Can’t you simply fall in love? Has the head to interfere everywhere? Has the head to always be between you and your relationships, in any relationship, in every relationship? Can’t you put your head aside a little?

There is a famous dictum of a western philosopher, Rene Descartes: COGITO ERGO SUM — I think, therefore I am. This is absurd: I THINK therefore I am? It shows that thinking is primary and being is secondary — I think, therefore I am. Thinking is secondary. being is first. First you are, then you think. If you are not, then who is going to think? Thinking cannot exist in a vacuum. If somebody says, “I am, therefore I think,” it is right. But to say “I think, therefore I am” is simply absurd. But still there is a meaning to it: Descartes is the father of western philosophy, and the whole western mind has been influenced by two persons — Aristotle and Descartes. So in the west everything goes through thinking; EVEN BEING GOES THROUGH THINKING. Even being is not a simple fact; you have to think about it first, then you are — as if it is a logical conclusion. It is existential, it is not logical.

So first stop thinking that you are a man or woman. Just know it. Knowing is direct. Somebody else can be in suspicion, but you should not be in suspicion. Somebody else can think about whether you are a man or a woman — and if you live in hippie style, sometimes it can be very difficult… If others are in suspicion as to whether you are a he or a she, it is okay. But you yourself? — then the doubt has entered very deep and has become a disease. Drop that.

But the question is very significant: “I know I am a woman but at times I display traits that seem to be very masculine. Are there such things as innately female or male characteristics?”

Each individual is both — because each individual is born out of both, a mother and a father. A part of you comes from your father, a part of you comes from your mother, so you cannot be absolutely a man or absolutely a woman. In fact, everybody is unisex; the difference is only of degrees, quantity. A man is more man than woman, that’s all; a woman is more woman than man, that’s all. The difference is of degree. That’s why there is a possibility of change of sex. If hormones can be injected and your inner balance can be changed, a man can become a woman, a woman can become a man. And by the end of this century people will be changing sexes in large numbers, because it is natural. One gets fed-up with being a man, always a man, always a man; one gets fed-up with being a woman, and one wants to change places. By the end of this century changes of sex will become a very common thing. And it is good. A person can have three or four lives in one life: for a few years you remain a woman, then you become a man, and then you become a woman again. And it can be done now. It is scientifically feasible and better processes will be available soon. It can be done, because each is both.

If you are a man then the conscious part of your brain is man and the unconscious part is woman. If you are a woman, then the conscious part is a woman and the unconscious part is a man. And many times there are reversals also. For example: as a man becomes older, he starts becoming more feminine, and when women become older they start becoming more masculine. Old women start growing moustaches, their voices become more like a male’s, they become more quarrelsome, fighting, angry, irritated. As a man becomes old he becomes more docile, more obedient, more henpecked…By and by the man becomes docile, and by and by the woman becomes more dominating. And there are changes every day also. If a woman becomes very angry, she loses her conscious part and the unconscious becomes very predominant. An angry woman is more dangerous than an angry man. An enraged woman is more dangerous than an enraged man. Because the woman’s unconscious part is very fresh, it is rarely used, so when it is used she can become very dangerous. If a woman loves you, she loves you tremendously; if she hates you, then she hates you tremendously.

When a man is loving, his love is very deep, deeper than a woman’s, because his unconscious part is unused. In love, man goes very deep, deeper than woman — because for a woman to love is very ordinary. It is her usual way; she is loving. But for a man to fall in love is very difficult. It is not his usual way, it rarely happens. But when it happens then his love is so deep that no woman can compete with him. This is my observation: if a woman loves — and all women love — love is just natural. It is part of the feminine mind. Ordinarily a man never loves so much. Ordinarily love is just one of the many things that they do, one of the many things, and may not even be the most important. Sometimes business is more important, and love is just a recreation, just a relaxation from business, secondary to business. If they have to choose, they will choose business…

There are people for whom politics is more important than love — money, respectability, morality; a thousand things are there for a man. But a woman loves. She loves totally — that is her one thing. It is not one thing in many. When a man loves, he loves for a few minutes in a day. When a woman loves, she loves for twenty-four hours. This is natural. But if sometimes a man loves, then no woman be compared to him — because then his inner woman erupts. Then there arises a Majnu, or a Farhad; a great lover is born. Have you watched this fact? that Majnu and Farhad and this type of man has existed, but no woman has existed in the stories to compare to them? Why? Nobody has loved so madly; no woman has loved so madly as Majnu, no woman has loved so madly as Farhad — because when a man really goes into love, then he is no longer a man. Then his inner unconscious explodes and takes total possession of him.

When a woman becomes angry, aggressive, then she can be very dangerous. Never provoke a woman. If you provoke a man he will follow some rules and regulations of fight and war; a woman does not follow these. She simply will jump upon you and tear you, bite you, kill you — she will not follow any rules. She does not know them. Her man is not trained at all: when he explodes, he simply explodes. Both of these are together in you.

What does the seeker have to do, what does a disciple have to do? He has to become aware of both, and he has to drop being identified with either. A true seeker has to drop identities. He has to learn that he is neither a man nor a woman; he is the witness. Then you go beyond biology. Then only do you go beyond body — because man and woman exist in the body. At the most, their reflections exist in the mind. But the soul is neither man nor woman. You have to go beyond both. So watch… and remain distant, aloof. Remain aware. When the woman is there functioning, watch; when the man is there functioning, watch — but remain alert that you are neither.

That’s why real awareness always leads you beyond sex, and celibacy happens on its own accord. Because to be in sex you have either to be identified with the male or identified with the female. A real celibate is one who has gone beyond, who is neither. But I am not talking about repression. I am not saying that you should repress. I am not saying that you should repress your woman or repress your man. I am against all repression. I am saying: express your womanhood, express your manhood, but remain alert. Because if you repress then it will come in some way or other…And repression can create a change, but not a real change. You will move from one extreme to the other. Only awareness can take you beyond the duality. Let me tell you one more anecdote.

On a long train ride in the hot afternoon, one of the passengers kept repeating aloud, “God, I am thirsty! God, I am thirsty! God, I am thirsty!” Annoyed by such mantric repetitions, the traveller sitting in front of him brought the thirsty man a large bottle of cold soda at the coming station. With eyes beaming in gratitude, the thirsty man stood up, grabbed the bottle, and drank it at once. For a split moment he seemed happy, satisfied, content. Then he sat down again and started repeating aloud, “God, I was thirsty! God, I was thirsty! God, I was so thirsty!”… but the mantra continues.

You can move from one extreme to the other; the change will be just on the surface. Deep down you will remain the same, and the change has to happen in depth. Only awareness goes into depth. Repression is just whitewashing; it does not change your roots, it is not radical.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse series: The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol. 4 Chapter #4

Chapter title: Let go of the branch

3 November 1976 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assaguoli, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in many of His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The New Dawn
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Light on The Path
  8. The Dhammapada
  9. From Bondage to Freedom
  10. From Darkness to Light
  11. From Ignorance to Innocence
  12. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  13. From Personality to Individuality
  14. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  15. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
  16. From Unconciousness to Consciousness
  17. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
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