Chapter 39: Your Mind Is Not Yours
Why is it that Western society reacts so strongly to any individual deviating from the norm, particularly as far as his mental state is concerned? It looks on those who have fallen below the mind in such a way as to cast a stigma on them, and regards the possibility of going beyond the mind - enlightenment - with skepticism. It does allow a slight margin of deviation in its creative people and geniuses; hence such people are excused for their “eccentricities.”
It is as if the mind is the touchstone of one’s adjustment to society, and any aberration that might threaten the status quo is regarded with fear. What is that fear? - both of the sick mind and the enlightened no-mind?
The mind is within you, but it is really a projection of the society inside you. It is not yours.
No child is born with a mind. He is born with a brain. The brain is the mechanism; the mind is the ideology. The brain is fed by the society, and every society creates a mind according to its own conditionings. That’s why there are so many minds in the world. The Hindu mind is certainly separate from the Christian mind, and the communist mind is certainly separate from the Buddhist mind.
But a fallacy is created in the individual that the mind is yours, so the individual starts acting according to the society, following the society, but feeling as if he is functioning on his own. This is a very cunning device.
George Gurdjieff used to tell a story:
A magician deep in the mountains had many sheep, and to avoid servants and to avoid looking after the sheep and going in search of them every day when they were lost in the forest, he hypnotized all the sheep, and told each sheep different stories. He gave different minds to each sheep.
To one he told, “You are not a sheep, you are a man, so you need not be afraid that one day you will be killed, sacrificed, like other sheep - they are only sheep. So you need not be worried as far as returning home is concerned.” To some he said, “You are a lion, not a sheep,” and to some, “You are a tiger.” And since that day the magician was at ease: the sheep started behaving according to the mind that was given to them.
He could kill a sheep - every day he used to kill sheep for his own food, his family’s food - and the sheep who believed that they were lions or men or tigers would simply look and giggle, “This is what happens to sheep.” But they were not afraid, not like in the old days.
When he killed a sheep before, all the sheep were trembling, afraid, “Tomorrow is going to be my day. How long can I live?” And that’s why they used to escape in the forest - to avoid the magician. But now nobody was escaping. They were tigers, they were lions.all kinds of minds had been implanted in them.