Osho: This is not a personal problem, it is a philosophical question. Our lives are both predestined and they are not. Both yes and no. And both answers are true for all questions about life. In a way, everything is predetermined. Whatever is physical in you, material, whatever is mental, is predetermined. But something in you constantly remains undetermined, unpredictable. That something is your consciousness.
If you are identified with your body and your material existence, in the same proportion you are determined by cause and effect. Then you are a machine. But if you are not identified with your material existence, with either body or mind – if you can feel yourself as something separate, different, above and transcendent to body-mind – then that transcending consciousness is not predetermined. It is spontaneous, free.
Consciousness means freedom; matter means slavery. So it depends on how you define yourself. If you say, ”I am only the body,” then everything about you is completely determined. A person who says that man is only the body cannot say that man is not predetermined. Ordinarily, persons who do not believe in such a thing as consciousness also do not believe in predetermination.
Persons who are religious and believe in consciousness ordinarily believe in predetermination. So what I am saying may look very contradictory. But still, it is the case. A person who has known consciousness has known freedom. So only a spiritual person can say there is no determination at all. That realization comes only when you are completely unidentified with the body. If you feel that you are just a material existence, then no freedom is possible.
With matter, no freedom is possible. Matter means that which cannot be free. It must flow in the chain of cause and effect. Once someone has achieved consciousness, enlightenment, he is completely out of the realm of cause and effect. He becomes absolutely unpredictable. You cannot say anything about him. He begins to live each moment; his existence becomes atomic.
Your existence is a river-like chain in which every step is determined by the past. Your future is not really future; it is just a by-product of the past. It is only the past determining, shaping, formulating and conditioning your future. That is why your future is predictable.
Skinner says that man is as predictable as anything else. The only difficulty is that we have not yet devised the means to know his total past. The moment we can know his past, we can predict everything about him. Based upon the people he has worked with, Skinner is right, because they are all ultimately predictable. He has experimented with hundreds of people and he has found that they are all mechanical beings, that nothing exists within them that can be called freedom.
But his study is limited. No Buddha has come to his laboratory to be experimented upon. If even one person is free, if even one person is not mechanical, not predictable, Skinner’s whole theory falls. If one person in the whole history of mankind is free and unpredictable, then man is potentially free and unpredictable. The whole possibility of freedom depends on whether you emphasize your body or your consciousness.
If you are just an outward flow of life, then everything is determined. Or are you something inner also? Do not give any preformulated answer. Do not say, ”I am the soul.” If you feel
there is nothing inside you, then be honest about it. This honesty will be the first step toward the inner freedom of consciousness. If you go deeply inside, you will feel that everything is just part of the outside. Your body has come from without, your thoughts have come from without, even your self has been given to you by others.
That is why you are so fearful of the opinion of others – because they are completely in control of your self. They can change their opinion of you at any moment. Your self, your body, your thoughts are given to you by others, so what is inside? You are layers and layers of outside accumulation. If you are identified with this personality of yours that comes from others, then everything is determined.
Become aware of everything that comes from the outside and become non-identified with it. Then a moment will come when the outside falls completely. You will be in a vacuum. This vacuum is the passage between the outside and the inside, the door. We are so afraid of the vacuum, so afraid of being empty that we cling to the outside accumulation. One has to be courageous enough to disidentify with the accumulation and to remain in the vacuum. If you are not courageous enough, you will go out and cling to something, and be filled with it.
But this moment of being in the vacuum is meditation. If you are courageous enough, if you can remain in this moment, soon your whole being will automatically turn inward. When there is nothing to be attached to from the outside, your being turns inward.
Then you know for the first time that you are something that transcends everything you have been thinking yourself to be. Now you are something different from becoming; you are being. This being is free; nothing can determine it. It is absolute freedom. No chain of cause and effect is possible.
Osho - Your actions are related to past actions. A created a situation for B to become possible; B creates a situation in which C flowers. Your acts are connected to past acts and this goes back to the beginningless beginning and on to the endless end. Not only do your own acts determine you, but your father’s and mother’s acts also have a continuity with yours. Your society, your history, all that has happened before, is somehow related to your present act. The whole history has come to flower in you.
Everything that has ever happened is connected with your act, so your act is obviously determined. It is such a minute part of the whole picture. History is such a vital living force and your individual act is such a small part of it. Marx said, ”It is not consciousness that determines the conditions of society. It is society and its conditions that determines consciousness. It is not that great men create great societies.
It is great societies that create great men.” And he is right in a way, because you are not the originator of your actions. The whole history has determined them. You are just carrying them out. The whole evolutionary process has gone into the making of your biological cells. These cells in you can then become part of another person. You may think that you are the father, but you have just been a stage on which the whole biological evolution has acted and has forced you to act. The act of procreation is so forceful because it is beyond you; it is the whole evolutionary process working through you.
This is one way in which acts happen in relation to other past acts. But when a person becomes enlightened, a new phenomenon begins to happen. Acts are no longer connected with past acts. Any act, now, is connected only with his consciousness. It comes from his consciousness not from the past. That is why an enlightened person cannot be predicted.
Skinner says that we can determine what you will do if your past acts are known. He says that the old proverb, ”You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” is wrong. You can force him to. You can create an atmosphere so that the horse will have to drink. The horse can be forced, and you also can be forced, because your actions are created by situations, by circumstances. But even though you can bring a buddha to the river, you cannot force him to drink. The more you force him, the more impossible it will be.
No heat will make him do it. Even if a thousand suns shine on him it will not help. A Buddha has a different origin of action. It is not concerned with other acts; it is connected with consciousness. That is why I emphasize that you act consciously. Then, every moment you act, it is not a question of a continuation of other acts. You are free. Now you begin to act, and no one can say how you will act.
Habits are mechanical; they repeat themselves. The more you repeat something, the more efficient you become. Efficiency means that now consciousness is no longer needed. If a person is an efficient typist it means that no effort is needed; typing can be done unconsciously. Even if he is thinking about something else the typing continues. The body is typing; the man is not needed. Efficiency means that the thing is so certain that no effort is possible.
With freedom, effort is always possible. A machine cannot make errors. To err, one has to be conscious. So your acts have a chain relationship with your previous acts. They are determined. Your childhood determines your youth; your youth determines your old age. Your birth determines your death; everything is determined. Buddha used to say, ”Provide the cause, and the effect will be there.” This is the world of cause and effect in which everything is determined.
If you act with total consciousness, an altogether different situation exists. Then everything is moment to moment. Consciousness is a flow; it is not static. It is life itself, so it changes. It is alive. It goes on expanding; it goes on becoming new, fresh, young. Then, your acts will be spontaneous.
I am reminded of a Zen story.... A Zen master asked his disciple a particular question. The question was answered exactly as it should be answered. The next day the master asked exactly the same question. The disciple said, ”But I answered this question yesterday.”
The master said, ”Now I am asking you again.” The disciple repeated the same answer. The master said, ”You do not know!”
The disciple said, ”But yesterday I answered in the same way and you nodded your head. So I
interpreted that the answer was right. Why have you changed your mind now?”
The master said, ”Anything that can be repeated is not coming from you. The answer has come from your memory, not from your consciousness. If you had really known, the answer would be different because so much has changed. I am not the same man who asked you this question yesterday. The whole situation is different. You also are different, but the answer is the same. I had to ask the question again just to see if you would repeat the answer. Nothing can be repeated.”
The more alive you are, the less repetitive. Only a dead man can be consistent. Living is
inconsistency; life is freedom. Freedom cannot be consistent. Consistent with what? You can
be consistent only with the past. An enlightened person is consistent only in his consciousness; he is never consistent with his past. He is totally in the act. Nothing is left behind; nothing is left out. The next moment the act is finished and his consciousness is fresh again. Consciousness will be there whenever any situation arises, but each act will be made in complete freedom, as if it is the first time that this man has been in this particular situation.
That is why I answered both yes and no to your question. It depends on you, whether you are consciousness, or whether you are an accumulation, a bodily existence. Religion gives freedom because religion gives consciousness. The more science knows about matter, the more the world will be enslaved. The whole phenomenon of matter is of cause and effect: if you know that given this, that happens – then everything can be determined.
Before this century ends, we will see the whole course of humanity being determined in many ways. The greatest calamity that is possible is not nuclear warfare. It can only destroy. The real calamity will come from the psychological sciences. They will learn how a human being can be completely controlled. Because we are not conscious, we can be made to behave in predetermined ways.
As we are, everything about us is determined. Someone is Hindu; someone else is Mohammedan. This is predetermination, not freedom. Parents have decided; society is deciding. Someone is a doctor and someone else is an engineer. Now his behavior is determined. We are already being controlled constantly, and our methods are still very primitive. Newer techniques will be able to determine our behavior to such an extent that no one will be able to say that there is a soul.
If your every response is determined, then what is the meaning of the soul? Your responses can be determined through body chemistry. If alcohol is given to you, you behave differently. Your body chemistry is different so you behave differently. At one time, the ultimate tantra technique was to take intoxicants and remain conscious. If a person remained conscious
when everything indicated that he should be unconscious, only then would tantra say the man was enlightened, otherwise not.
If body chemistry can change your consciousness, then what is the meaning of consciousness? If an injection can make you unconscious, then what is the meaning? Then the chemical drug in the injection is more powerful than your own consciousness. Tantra says it is possible to transcend every intoxicant and remain conscious. The stimulus has been given, but the response is not there.
Sex is a chemical phenomenon. A particular quantity of a particular hormone creates sexual desire. You become the desire. You may repent when your body chemistry has returned to its normal level, but the repentance is meaningless. When the hormones are there again, you will act in the same way. So tantra has also experimented with sex. If you feel no sexual desire in a situation that is totally sexual, then you are free. Your body chemistry has been left far behind. The body is there, but you are not in the body.
Anger is also just chemistry. Biochemists will soon be able to make you anger-proof, or sex-proof. But you will not be a buddha. Buddha was not incapable of anger. He was capable of it, but the effect of feeling anger was not there. If your body chemistry is controlled, you will be incapable of being angry. The chemical condition that makes you feel angry is not there, so the effect of anger is not there.
Or if your sex hormones are eliminated from your body, you will not be sexual. But the real thing is not whether you are sexual or not, or angry or not. The real thing is how to be aware in a situation that requires your unawareness, how to be conscious in a situation that happens only in unconsciousness.
Whenever such a situation is there, meditate on it. You have been given a great opportunity. If you feel jealous, meditate on it. This is the right moment. Your body chemistry is working within you. It will make you unconscious; it will make you behave as if you are mad. Now, be conscious. Let there be jealousy, do not suppress it, but be conscious; be a witness to it.
If there is anger, be a witness to it; if there is sex, be a witness to it. Let whatever is happening inside you happen, and begin to meditate on the whole situation. By and by, the more your awareness deepens, the less possibility there is of your behavior being determined for you. You become free. Moksha, freedom, doesn’t mean anything else. It only means a consciousness that is so free that now nothing can determine it.
Source : from Osho Book "The Psychology of the Esoteric"