Every child is born with an innate search for truth. It is not something learned or adopted later on in life. Truth simply means, “I am, but I do not know who I am.” And the question is natural – “I must know the reality of my being.” It is not a curiosity.
Man is capable by birth to inquire who he is. So it is not a question of learning, cultivation, education; you bring the quest with yourself. You are the quest.
Your society destroys you. It has very sophisticated ways and means to destroy your quest, to remove the question from your being, or at least cover it up. And the method it uses is this; before the child has even asked who he is, the answer is given. And any answer that has been given before the question has been asked is futile; it is going to be just a burden.
He is told that he is a soul, that he is a spirit, that he is not a body, that he is not material. Or, in communist countries, he is told that he is a body, just material, and that only in the old days, out of fear and ignorance, did people believe that they have souls – that that is just a superstition. But in both cases, the child is being given an answer for which he has not asked. And his mind is delicate, pure… and he trusts his mother, his father – there is no reason for him not to trust.
He starts a journey of belief, and belief kills the quest. He becomes more and more knowledgeable. Then education is there, religious education is there, and there is no end to collecting knowledge. But all this knowledge is futile – not only futile, but poisonous, because the first step has gone wrong. The question was not asked, and the answer has been implanted in his mind, and since then he has been collecting more and more answers. He has completely forgotten, that any answer that is not the finding of a question, is meaningless.
So the only quality of a seeker of truth is that he does not believe, that he is not a believer, that he is ready to be ignorant rather than to be knowledgeable, because ignorance is at least natural, simple, innocent. And out of ignorance there is a possibility, almost a certainty, that the question will arise, that the journey will begin. But through knowledge you are lost in a jungle of words, theories, doctrines, dogmas. And there are so many, and they are so contradictory to each other, that soon you will find yourself, more and more knowledgeable, more and more confused.
As far as I am concerned the basic quality of a seeker of truth is to cut himself away from all belief systems, from all borrowed knowledge – in other words, to have the courage to be ignorant rather than to have borrowed knowledge. Ignorance has a beauty; it is at least yours, authentic, sincere.
It has come with you. It is your blood, it is in your bones, it is your marrow.
Knowledgeability is ugly, absolute rubbish. It has been poured upon you by others, and you are carrying the load of it. And the load is such that it will not give you any opportunity to inquire on your own what truth is. Your collection of knowledge will answer immediately that this is truth.
If you are filled with The Holy Bible, then the question will be answered by The Holy Bible. If you are filled with the Vedas, then the question will come out of the Vedas. But it will come from some source outside yourself; it will not be your discovery. And that which is not your discovery is not yours.
Truth brings freedom because it is your discovery. It makes you fully into a man; otherwise you remain on the level of the animals; you are, but you don’t know who you are. The search for truth is really the search for the reality of your being.
Once you have entered your being, you have entered into the being of the whole, because we are different on the periphery but at the center we meet – we are one. You can draw many lines from the periphery of a circle towards the center; those lines on the periphery have a certain distance from each other. But as they come closer to the center, the distance goes on becoming less. And when they reach to the center the distance disappears.
At the center we are one.
At the periphery of existence we appear to be separate.
And to know the truth of your being is to know the truth of the whole.
There is just one quality, one courage – not to be afraid of being ignorant. On that point there can be no compromise, no cheap borrowed knowledge to decorate yourself with as a wise man. That’s enough! Just be pure and natural, and out of that purity, naturalness, ignorance, the quest is bound to born.
Every human being would be a seeker of truth if the society were not interfering with children.
The class of children is the most harmed, oppressed, exploited, distorted class of all classes – and the most helpless. And you are taking advantage of the helplessness of small children. But you are also not responsible. The same has been done to you. It is difficult to find out who was responsible in the beginning. But as long as we can look back, this has been the situation: every generation corrupts the new generation, and anybody who wants to prevent this corruption is condemned as corrupting the youth.
Socrates was condemned for corrupting the youth. and all that he was doing was the simple process of removing borrowed knowledge and helping his disciples to be themselves and then ‘to know thyself’. If anybody has served truth the most sincerely it was Socrates. But he was condemned by the court, by the law, by the people who were in power, for corruption, for corrupting young minds.
Why are they afraid? They know perfectly well that they have no foundation. So if anybody shows the young people that there knowledge is unfounded, that all their answers are bogus because they don’t even have questions, that they are only repeating things parrot – like, but they don’t have any understanding of what they are saying… then anybody who has a little intelligence will be able to understand it immediately.
Is this corruption of the youth?
To bring people to the quest of the the truth – is this corruption?
It seems it is the greatest crime in the world in which – unfortunately – we are living…
Osho: Beyond Psychology