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Chapter 6: To Be or Not to Be

The first question:

Osho,
What is the difference between being an individual and just being stubborn?

The difference is immense - it is absolutely unbridgeable. Two things will have to be understood: one is personality and the second is individuality.

We ordinarily don’t have individuality at all. That’s what Gurdjieff means when he says it is very rare to find a person who has a soul. He is the first enlightened master who has said it so clearly. Otherwise, Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna, Christ, they have all given the impression at least that everybody has a soul. Everybody has a self but not a soul, and the self is a barrier not a bridge to the soul.

Personality is your circumference, not your center. The word personality comes from a Latin root persona. In Greek theater the actors used to wear masks; they would speak through the mask. Sona means sound, persona means sound coming through the mask. You cannot see the real person, you cannot see his original face. You only see a facade, something pseudo, something made-up, invented. The word personality comes from persona.

When the child is born we start giving him personality - by educating him, by giving him a certain religious attitude, by imparting some philosophy, some political ideology. Slowly slowly, brick by brick, we create a structure around him in which he becomes imprisoned, so much so that he starts feeling identified with the edifice created by others around him. He does not feel imprisoned.

To feel imprisoned is a great insight, because from that moment one starts making efforts to be free. Whatsoever you are, you are a creation of others. You have been pushed and pulled from all directions, you have been given a certain shape. It is not your originality; it is something imposed, painted. But you have known it from your very beginning. You have known it for so long that you don’t remember that you can be anybody else. And you are somebody else - you are not this personality.

This confusion prevails all over the world. Just a few days ago, Sarjano wrote to me saying, “Osho, it seems I have a strong individuality and I cannot surrender to the commune. I cannot possibly become part of the commune. I want to cook in my own way.” Now he thinks he has a strong individuality; in fact, he has no individuality at all - not yet.

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