Obedience takes away the very base of growth, it simply orders you. You can see it happening in the army: the very psychology of obedience in its complete picture. The soldiers are for years trained for absolutely meaningless things…Turn to the left…there is no reason. Turn to the right…there is no reason. Go backwards, come forwards…there is no reason. For hours…It is an exercise in destroying their intelligence.
I have heard of a professor in the second world war. When everybody was needed for the army, he was also recruited. And he was stating continuously, “You don’t understand. I am a professor of philosophy. I will not be able to become a soldier because I cannot even take a single step without deciding why.”
But nobody listened to him, and the first day on the parade ground when the commander ordered “Turn to the left,” everybody turned except the professor.
The commander was informed beforehand, “He is a little eccentric; he is a professor of philosophy, so be patient with him.” He didn’t say anything.
Then the people were ordered to turn to the right, go backwards, come forwards, but the professor remained in his position. When everybody had come back to the same position, the commander asked the professor, “Why were you not following the orders?”
He said, “It is so stupid…because if finally everybody has to come to this stage where I am already standing, then what was all that, ‘Come back, go forward, go right, go left’? If this was going to be the final order, then I am already there. What more do you want? And I want to ask, Why have these people been turned like machines?” – it was impossible!
There is no why; it is a strategy to destroy intelligence. When a person just follows orders for years, morning and evening, he forgets completely that he has his own decisiveness. The order becomes his decision.
The commander reported to the higher authorities, “That man is impossible, he argues.”
In the army no argument is allowed. They said, “You give him some small job in the mess, where there is no question of ordering.”
So he was brought into the mess, given a pile of peas…And he was told, “Within one hour you have to sort out the bigger peas on one side and the smaller peas on the other side.”
He listened. After one hour, when the commander came, he was sitting silently and the pile was also sitting silently exactly as it was left. The commander said, “Now what is the problem?”
He said, “The problem is this: unless I figure out everything beforehand in detail, I never move. There are peas which are big, there are peas which are small, but there are peas which are in the middle. Where am I put to the peas which are in the middle? Rather than doing something wrong, it is better not to do anything. And this hour was beautiful. I meditated, the peas meditated, and everything was silent. No left turn, right turn…I love this job.” And he had not done anything.