A modern thinker, Lewis Yablonsky, has coined the right word for this pathology – he calls it robopathology. The man who suffers from it he calls a robopath. Robo means a machine, an automaton; one who lives a mechanical kind of life, a repetitive kind of life; one who has no adventure; one who simply goes on dragging himself. He fulfills the day-to-day demands, but he never fulfills the eternal demand, the eternal challenge.
He will go to the office, to the factory, he will come home, he will look after the children and the wife, and he will do a thousand and one things – and do them very efficiently – but he will never be alive, you will not find aliveness in him. He will live as if he is already dead.
Robopath is a beautiful word. Sufis have always talked about this pathology – they have called it by many names. For example, they say that man is a machine. Gurdjieff introduced this Sufi idea into the Western consciousness. Sufis say that man is asleep. Sufis say that man is dead. Sufis say that man is not yet. Sufis say that man only believes that he is, but that belief is a kind of dream.
You may remember sometimes, dreaming that you are awake. Yes, it happens in dreams. You can dream yourself awake, you can think you are awake – and when you dream in a dream that you are awake you feel as if you are awake. Only in the morning, when you are really awake, will you be able to compare notes. Then you will laugh at the ridiculousness of it. The dream deceived you.
Sufis say that people are not awake, they only believe they are awake. And their very belief is a hindrance to their awakening. If you already believe that you are awake, then what is the need of doing anything about it? It is pointless. If a man feels he is healthy, then what is the point of going to a physician? Then what is the point of taking any medicine or treatment? Then what is the point of having very, very painful surgery? He believes he is healthy already.
Cowards believe they are healthy because they are afraid of the medicine, of the physician, of the operation, of the surgery. They are afraid of everything. They simply exist in fear, they go on trembling deep inside. They are just protecting themselves. Their whole life is a long story of protection, defending. They don’t have time to live and they don’t have energy to grow.
This robopathology has to be understood. It is one of the fundamentals of Sufism.
A few things…. A robopath is a person whose pathology entails robotlike behavior and existence. He is man only for the name’s sake. He could have been a computer: he may be. A robopath is a human who functions insensitively, mechanically – in short, in a dead way. A robopath is an automaton. His existential state is not even inhuman. He is not human, certainly he is not even inhuman – because to be inhuman first you have to be human. His existential state can only be described as the Sufis describe it – they call it ahuman. It has no human value, neither this way nor that. He is neither human nor inhuman, he is ahuman.