Chapter 8: Collecting Seashells
Psychologists say that up to the age of four the child remains absolutely fresh and absolutely intelligent. Every child is intelligent up to the age of four. There is no stupid child; it doesn’t happen. Every healthy child is intelligent, and up to the age of four, a child learns the most. Fifty percent of his whole life’s learning is finished by the age of four.
By the age of eight, the child is no longer a child. He has become part of society, he has learned tricks, gimmicks. Now he is no longer a person; he is a mechanism. And by the age of eight, learning stops. Then accumulation continues - he goes on accumulating knowledge - but learning stops, freshness disappears.
Watch small children below the age of four, and you will find them bubbling with fresh energy. Just watch them, look at their response to things, and you will always find them original, open, fresh, unique. Each child is a genius, but the society cannot allow so many geniuses, and the society cannot allow so many open people. They will create chaos.
An original man is a danger. Only rarely does somebody escape from the imprisonment of the society. A little quota of original people the society can tolerate. Somewhere here and there a Buddha, an Einstein, can be tolerated. But a very small quantity of genuine intelligence.and sometimes even that becomes too much. Then a Jesus has to be crucified, a Socrates has to be poisoned.
These people remain children. They remain fresh, they remain young. They remain original. They remain unique and open.
Look! Don’t call adults people; they are not. They are machines. Only small children are people. Adults are already dead. Adults have utility. As I have been watching, if some adult comes to me, either he is a doctor or a professor or an engineer, but not a man or a woman. He has some utility, some function in the society. He is not a person any more.
When small children come, they are simply people. Nobody is a doctor, nobody is an engineer, nobody is a scientist - they are simply people.open-ended, fresh, with no accumulation.
Look into the eyes of children - such infinite silence, and yet not dead; vibrant with life. Look at children - so resilient, so flexible, so responsive. As they grow, they start taking a mode, a fixed mode, a fixed structure. Then they function only through that structure.
When somebody comes and says, “I am a doctor,” I immediately understand it to mean that I cannot meet the person, I can only meet the doctor. The doctor will be in between. When somebody comes and says that he is a professor, then I know well that I can shake hands, but I will not find the hands; they are hidden under the gloves - the gloves of a professor, the gloves of a doctor. The man is not available; he is hiding behind a utility.
What does being a doctor mean? - that he is functioning in a certain way in the society. He is of a certain utility to the society. To become a utility is to become a commodity. To become a utility is to become a thing.