Chapter 19: A Technique for the Intellectual and a Technique for the Feeling Type
An Einstein or a Van Gogh or an Ezra Pound - poets, painters, scientists, mystics - they are mad, but their madness is allowed for two reasons: either their madness is harmless or their madness is utilitarian. Through their madness they contribute something which normal minds cannot contribute. Because they are mad they have moved to one extreme, and they can see certain things that the normal mind cannot see. So we can allow these madmen - and we even make them Nobel laureates. But they are ill.
If normality is the criterion and the standard of health, then everyone who is not normal is ill. Geoffrey says that a day will come when we will treat scientists and poets in the same way we treat madmen: we will make them readjust to the average mind. This attitude is because of a particular hypothesis that mind is the end and there is no beyond.
Just opposite to this attitude is the Eastern approach. We say here that mind itself is the disease. So whether normal or abnormal, we will make only the distinction of “normally ill” and “abnormally ill.” A normal men is normally ill. He is not so much ill that you can detect it, he is just average. Because everyone else is like him, his illness cannot be detected. Even the person, the psychoanalyst who treats him, is himself a normally ill person. Mind itself is the disease for us.
Why? Why call mind itself the disease? We will have to approach it from a different dimension, then it will be easy. For us, the body is death; for the Eastern approach, the body is death. So you cannot create a perfectly healthy body; otherwise it will not die. You can create a certain balance, but the body as such, because it is going to die, is prone to be ill. So health can only be a relative thing. The body cannot be perfectly healthy - it cannot be.
That is why medical science has no standard and no definition of what health is. They can define diseases, they can define a particular disease, but they cannot define what health is. Or at the most they can only define negatively that when a person is not ill, not particularly ill, he is healthy. But to define health in a negative way looks absurd, because then disease becomes the primary thing by which you define health. But health cannot be defined, because really, the body can never be really healthy. Every moment the body is only in a relative balance, because death is progressing with life; you are dying also. You are not simply alive, you are dying simultaneously.
Death and life are not two ends far away from each other. They are like two legs simultaneously walking - and they both belong to you. This very moment you are alive and dying both. Something is dying within you every moment. Within a span of seventy years, death will reach the goal. Every moment you will go on dying and dying and dying, and then you will die.
The day you were born you started dying. The birthday is also the death-day. If you are dying continuously - and death is not something which will come from without, but something which will grow within - then the body can never be really healthy. How can it be? When it is dying every moment, how can it be really healthy? It can only be relatively healthy. So if you are normally healthy, it is enough.