Chapter 5: Watch This! Stranger than Fiction
The first question:
You talked yesterday of children asserting their egos and rebelling against their parents, of being able to say no. And thus creating a spine, an individuality, a freedom. Osho, do we now come to you and say yes. so that we can drop that ego? By doing so, what will happen to our individuality, freedom and spine?
Nitin, The ego is like a ladder: you have to use it but you cannot build your house on it. Or, the ego is like a boat: you can use it to go to the other shore but then you need not carry it on your head for your whole life. It has something essential to do, but it should not become a burden forever; when its purpose is fulfilled it has to be dropped.
Just as a child needs to say no, the mature person one day needs to say yes. If the child cannot say no to the parents, to the authorities, to the teachers, if the child is unable to disobey, he will not attain to any individuality; he will not have any form, shape. He will be just part of the mob mind, the crowd. He will be impotent, he will not be able to stand on his own. He will not have any self-respect. He will remain hotchpotch, an ugly mess. He will not really be born; he will remain in a psychological womb his whole life, ungrown up. He has to learn how to disobey. And the wise parents will help him to disobey in such a way that disobeying does not distort him. They will give him opportunities to disobey, they will give him opportunities to say no.
That’s exactly the meaning of the biblical parable. God said to Adam, “Don’t eat the fruit of this tree, the Tree of Knowledge. If you eat the fruit of this tree you will be expelled from paradise.” It is a great temptation. It is giving Adam an opportunity to disobey.
And God also said to Adam, “If you eat the fruit of this tree you will become a mortal; right now you are immortal. Secondly, if you eat the fruit of this tree you will become like gods, all-knowing.” You see the temptation, the multi-dimensional temptation? First: “You will be able to become like gods, all-knowing.” Who would not like to become like gods, all-knowing? And the second, the danger, the risk: “If you eat from this tree you will become mortal; death will start happening to you.” Now it is a challenge. Danger always attracts, and death is the greatest danger.