15th October is the birthday of the famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. A man of extraordinary intellect, Nietzsche’s work as a philosopher has had a phenomenal impact on modern intellectual history. In his short life of 55 years, he produced revolutionary pieces of work that influenced generations of philosophers to come notably Camus, Heidegger, Jung, Sartre, Weber and Yeats. Whilst his provocative ideas courted much controversy, his concept of Übermensch (Over Man) was misrepresented by his sister to fit with her German nationalistic ideology and came to be usurped by the Nazis. Nietzsche is wrongly criticised as a predecessor to Nazism since he has infact criticized anti-Semitism and pan-Germanism.
“God is Dead” is Nietzsche’s best-known remarks. Osho has spoken extensively on Nietzsche in His discourses. Osho says Friedrich Nietzsche, according to me, is one of the greatest seers of the Western world; his eyes really go penetrating to the very root of a problem. But because others could not see it — their eyes were not so penetrating, nor was their intelligence so sharp – Nietzsche lived alone, abandoned, isolated, unloved, unrespected. Osho explains Nietzsche’s famous quote “Man is just a bridge between two eternities, the eternity of nature and the eternity of God.” Osho says Nietzsche has many insights to reveal. His statement is very significant. He is saying that man is a bridge, a means to go beyond. Man is in the middle – half nature and half God – tense like a rope stretched between two eternities. Man is divided – sometimes moving towards nature, sometimes moving towards God – a constant trembling and wavering. Become settled. And either way will do. Chuang Tzu is in favour of moving backwards and being settled again in nature. Buddha is in favour of moving ahead, becoming settled in God. Either go back, or go to the very end, but don’t stay on the bridge.
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most misunderstood giants of mankind. And nobody can feel for him more than I feel, because I am also in the same category — even more misunderstood a man than Friedrich Nietzsche. When I say I hate poverty, people think I hate the poor people. I hate poverty because I want to destroy poverty completely! There will be no poor people when the poverty is destroyed.
The same was the situation with Nietzsche. When he said, “I hate weaklings, and I proclaim the coming of the superman,” people misunderstood. They thought, “This man is in favor only of the powerful, superior people, and he is against the ordinary, average humanity.” That was not the case. Emma Goldman is right. She is one of the few women of history who has had a very clear-cut intellectual understanding. Very few women think about great problems, their world is very limited — the neighborhood, who has got a new sari…. A woman rushed into the house and said to her husband, “You have to do either one thing or the other.”
He said, “What?” The woman said, “The neighbor has purchased a new car. Either you purchase a new car, or change neighborhoods. We will move into some other house, we cannot live in this house. I cannot stand to see a new car in his garage, when in our garage is an old Ford. So you be quick! Either find a new house — we
move out of this house — or bring home a new Cadillac!”
The woman’s world has been very limited. It has been made limited by man, but the woman is also responsible; she accepted it. When somebody enslaves you, of course that person is responsible — but don’t think that you are not responsible. You are also responsible: you could have died instead of becoming a slave; then how could he have made you a slave? So whenever there is such a phenomenon, people only think with compassion and pity about the victim, but they don’t think that the victim somehow agrees with the status quo. Otherwise, if all the women just go on a one-day strike all over the world, men will be massaging their feet: “You are not only equal, you are superior! Just come back to the kitchen.”
I know about myself… I cannot even make a cup of tea. I have tried and burned myself. Just once was enough, then I said, “It is not my thing.”
Have you ever thought, if you have to sleep with your little baby what is going to happen in the night? Either you will throw the baby out of the window… because these small babies are such rascals, you won’t believe. They will sleep the whole day and they will stay awake the whole night. And every moment they want this, and they want that; and if nothing else, they want to go to the bathroom! They will drive you crazy just within one night. Either you will shoot yourself, or throw out the baby and have a peaceful night. The woman is immensely patient. She has no problems about what will happen when third world war happens. Who cares? Right now, the question is that the husband has not come home. Where is he? With which woman? She is just going down the list of all the women she knows….
And when the husband comes back in the middle of the night, she immediately inquires, “Where have you been?” And he says, “I was with my friend such-and-such.” And the wife has all the information. She has phoned all the friends. “That friend is not at home, so where have you been? Be truthful and honest! I have inquired, I have your diary, all the phone numbers. That fellow is not at home! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”
Now you are caught red-handed! Nobody can escape a wife’s scrutiny. I have never heard of a single man who has escaped the scrutiny of a wife. They are such great detectives that sometimes I think they should all enroll in the CIA, the FBI, the CID — they will do far greater work! Their concern is so limited, so their whole concentration…. Very few women, like Emma Goldman, have ever thought about such problems as anarchism. She was really a rare woman. No husband could tolerate her, she was too intellectual. Every husband will feel inferior to her.
She is perfectly right about Friedrich Nietzsche, that when he talked about superman and he said, “I hate the weaklings” — people have missed the point. They think he is a hater of the average humanity and only wants the superman, a superior quality, intellectual giants. That is not the case.
His conception of the superman and the society that will come with the superman is that such a society will not allow weaklings to be born. That’s exactly my conception too. And I am being criticized all around the world because I have been saying that man should not be allowed anymore to give birth to accidental children. Up to now the whole humanity has been accidental. Now we have every means to choose the right child. We can create a humanity in which everybody will be a superman.
Nietzsche was only an intellectual — a great intellectual, perhaps the greatest. I have left intellect far behind. I use it just for you. In my vision we don’t have to wait for biological engineering to create the superman. It will go against all the masses, all the societies. All the religions will become hindrances, they won’t allow it. Because I have proposed it, I am being criticized. I have received from all over the world criticism of my book, *THE GREATEST CHALLENGE, THE GOLDEN FUTURE, saying that I am a fascist just like Friedrich Nietzsche was a fascist. But they don’t understand me. Neither have they understood Friedrich Nietzsche.
And they will misunderstand me even more because I am not going to wait for biological engineering. I am going to create the superman by a very different methodology. My methodology is meditation. I can change the ordinary, average human being into a buddha. There is no need right now to go into changing the ordinary structure of reproduction. Finally it has to be done, because that will be the easiest way. And if I have supermen to work with, then meditation will be so easy, immediately understood. But Friedrich Nietzsche had no idea about meditation.
I can change, through meditation, the very ordinary and average person into a superman. The moment you enter into your being — centered, silent, the whole sky within has no clouds of thought — you are turning into a superman. I call that superman the buddha.
Maneesha, you are right — because I am looking at man from every angle: from his body, from his mind, from his soul. I am looking at man as a totality. So many half-circles are going to be complete in me.
Buddha was looking only at the spiritual; Marx was looking only at the material; Sigmund Freud was looking only at the psychological. My approach is total, from all dimensions and directions. And I have gone through all these people as deeply as possible, and I know where they stand, where they have stopped. Nietzsche has stopped with intellectual analysis, Sigmund Freud has stopped with psychoanalysis, Marx has stopped with an economic analysis of the society. But man is not partial. Don’t deal with man part by part. You can deal with a machine in a partial way — you can change one part if it is not functioning well — but man is an organic unity; you cannot do that with man. You have to take the whole man into your vision. My vision is for the whole man.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse name: Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
Chapter title: Socialism is a judas
3 February 1989 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘childrens, parents, parenting, gratitude, love’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Transmission of the Lamp
- A Bird on the Wing
- A Sudden Clash of Thunder
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1
- The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 2
- The Divine Melody
- From Bondage to Freedom