As society’s hold on people’s minds begins to disintegrate, in times of social crisis such as now there seems to be a tendency for an increasing number of people to fall below the mind into madness. Also, is it true that this is paralleled by a tendency for people to look at the possibility of going beyond the mind into enlightenment?
Times of crisis are both dangerous and immensely important – dangerous for those who have no courage to explore new dimensions of life. They are bound to disintegrate into different kinds of madness, because their mind was made by the society. Now the society is disintegrating, the mind cannot remain; its roots are in the society. It is constantly nourished by the society – now that nourishment is disappearing.
Because the society is disintegrating, a great suspicion, a doubt that was never there before, is bound to arise in the individuals. And if they were just obedient people who have never gone beyond any limit that society has decided, who have always been respected, honorable citizens – in other words, just mediocre – they will immediately go mad.
They will start committing suicide, they will start jumping from high buildings…or even if they live, now they don’t have a mind which can help them to figure out the situation for their life. They will become retarded, stupid, idiotic, may become schizophrenic, split into two persons – or perhaps a crowd.
In times of crisis, the danger is for those who have enjoyed the times when the society was settled, when there was no problem, everything was at ease, they were honored, respected. These were the people who had enjoyed the obedience of the mind, and these are going to be the sufferers. It is a simple arithmetic. They will go psychotic, they will go neurotic – and these words don’t make much difference.
I have heard a definition. One psychoanalyst was asked, “What is the difference between psychosis and neurosis?”
The psychoanalyst said, “The psychotic person believes that two and two are five. And the neurotic person knows that two and two are four, but is not at ease with the fact that two and two are four.” So the difference is very fine. Both are in trouble.
But times of crisis are of tremendous significance for those daring souls who have never bothered about society’s respectability, its honors; who have never bothered about what others think about them, but have done only that which they felt right to do; who have in a certain way always been rebellious, individualistic. For these people the times of crisis are just golden, because the society is disintegrating. Now it cannot condemn anybody – it is itself condemned, cursed. It cannot say to others that they are wrong. It is itself proving wrong; its whole wisdom is proving just foolish, superstitious.
The daring individual can use this opportunity to go beyond mind, because now the society cannot prevent him, cannot hinder him. Now he is free.