Chapter 4: A New Perspective
Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, United States
How are you helping to change the world?
The world does not exist; it is only a word. What exists is the individual. By changing the individual, the world is changed. What has been done in the past with humanity is that people have been deprived of their individuality. That’s how there are crowds, but no individuals; Mohammedans, Christians, Hindus, but no individuals.
It is the same process which has been applied down the ages in the armies. The whole training of an army is a basic effort to destroy the individual completely, and to make him just a number.
If a man dies in the fight, in war, his name does not appear on the notice board. What appears is that “number sixteen” died. Now, number sixteen has no wife, no children, no friends, no old father and mother. Number sixteen is simply a number, and number sixteen is replaceable. Some other person will soon fill the gap and will become number sixteen. And the man who was behind the number sixteen is reduced, by and by, with subtle processes.
The whole training of the army is that the person is made to do things which are irrational. In the beginning, his reason tries to assert. But his reason is punished, his disobedience is punished, his argumentativeness is punished. His obedience is rewarded. Soon, the person can see that he can only allow his reason to function, if he is to remain in continuous misery and punishment. Otherwise, he has just to follow whatever the order is. Even if the order is to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima, the person does it just like a robot, without considering that he is destroying 160,000 people within seconds.
But he is not an individual, he no longer thinks. His thinking has been very scientifically destroyed. For hours in the morning, in the evening, for years he’s been parading: turn right, turn left. He cannot even ask, “What is the point?”
It happened in the Second World War - because soldiers were needed, everybody from every profession was asked to sacrifice himself for the country. A professor in Germany was asked to join the army. He had no more students anyway; for three years nobody had entered into his post-graduate research work. He was sitting unnecessarily; he should go into the army. He said, “There is no problem for me. I can go anywhere, but the army will find difficulties with me.”