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Freedom and responsibility: neither less nor more

Beloved Osho,

On the one hand you are giving ultimate freedom to do whatsoever we want to do, and on the other hand you are giving responsibility. With responsibility, I cannot use the word “freedom” as I want, hence I have to wait for the right meaning of freedom. The moment I get it, I get it with responsibility. Osho, when I understand I feel “thank you”. Otherwise, I would like to use, and I have used it as a license.

It is one of the perennial questions of humanity: the question of freedom and responsibility. If you are free, you interpret it as if now there is no responsibility. When I say to you that you are free, I mean that you are responsible. You cannot throw responsibility on anybody else, you are alone. And whatsoever you do, it is your doing. You cannot say that somebody else forced you to do it – because you are free; nobody can force you! Because you are free, it is your decision to do something or not to do something. With freedom comes responsibility. Freedom is responsibility. But the mind is very cunning, the mind interprets in its own way: it always goes on listening to that which it wants to listen to. It goes on interpreting things in its own way. The mind never tries to understand what really is the truth. It has taken that decision already.

People go on talking about freedom, but they don’t want freedom exactly, they want irresponsibility. They ask for freedom, but deep down, unconsciously, they ask for irresponsibility, license.
Freedom is maturity; license is very childish. Freedom is possible only when you are so integrated that you can take the responsibility of being free. The world is not free because people are not mature. Revolutionaries have been doing many things down through the centuries, but everything fails. Utopians have been continuously thinking of how to make man free, but nobody bothers – because man cannot be free unless he is integrated. Only a Buddha can be free, a Mahavira can be free, a Crist, a Mohammed can be free, a Zarathustra can be free, because freedom means the man now is aware. If you are not aware then the state is needed, the government is needed, the police is needed, the court is needed. Then freedom exists only in name; in fact it doesn’t exist. How can freedom exist when governments exist? – it is impossible. But what to do?

If governments disappear, there will be simply anarchy. Freedom will not come in if the government disappears, there will simply be anarchy. It will be a worse state than it is now. It will be sheer madness. The police are needed because you are not alert. Otherwise, what is the point of having a policeman standing on the crossroad? If people are alert, the policeman can be removed, because it is unnecessary. But people are not conscious.

So when I say ‘freedom’, I mean be responsible. The more responsible you become, the more free you become; or, the more free you become, the more responsibility comes on you. Tnen you have to be very alert to what you are doing, what you are saying. Even about your small unconscious gestures you have to be very alert – because there is nobody else to control you, it is only you. When I say to you that you are free, I mean that you are a God. It is not a license, it is tremendous discipline.

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