Osho on Personality and Individuality

QuestionBeloved Osho, Is It really worth putting any energy into improving my personality?

Osho – Anand Tarika, have you ever heard me? I have been constantly telling you that the personality has to be dropped so that your individuality can be discovered. I have been insisting that the personality is not you; it is a mask people have put over you. It is not your authentic reality, it is not your original face. And you are asking me, “Is it really worth putting any energy into improving my personality?”

Put your energy into destroying your personality. Put your energy into discovering your individuality. And make the distinction very clear: individuality is that which you have brought from your very birth. Individuality is your essential being, and personality is what the society has made of you, what they wanted to make of you.

No society up to now has been able to give freedom to their children to be themselves. It seems risky. They may prove rebellious. They may not follow the religion of their forefathers; they may not think the great politicians are really great; they may not trust in your moral values. They will find their own morality, and they will find their own lifestyle. They will not be replicas, they will not repeat the past; they will be beings of the future.

This has created fear that they may go astray. Before they go astray, every society tries to give them a certain direction how to live, a certain ideology of what is good and what is evil, a certain religion, a certain holy scripture. These are ways to create the personality, and the personality functions like an imprisonment. You are asking me, Tarika, that you want to improve this personality. Are you your own enemy?

But this is not only you. Millions of people in the world know only their personality; they don’t know that there is anything more than personality. They have completely forgotten themselves, and they have forgotten even the way to reach themselves. They have all become actors, hypocrites. They have become puppets in the hands of the priests, of the
politicians, of the parents; they are doing things which they never want to do and they are not doing things which they are hankering to do.

Their life is split in such a diametrically opposite way that they can never be at peace. Their nature will assert itself again and again, will not leave them at peace. And their so called personality will go on repressing it, forcing it deeper into the unconscious. This conflict divides you and your energy — and a house divided cannot stand long. This is the
whole misery of human beings — why there is not much dance, much song, much joyfulness.

People are so much engaged in warfare with themselves. They don’t have energy, and they don’t have time to do anything else except fight with themselves. Their sensuality they have to fight, their sexuality they have to fight, their individuality they have to fight, their originality they have to fight. And they have to fight for something which they don’t
want to be, which is not part of their nature, which is not their destiny. So they can pretend to be false for a time — again the real asserts.

Their whole life goes on, up and down, and they cannot figure out who really they are: the repressor or the repressed? the oppressor or the oppressed? And whatever they do, they cannot destroy their nature. They can certainly poison it; they can certainly destroy its joy, they can destroy its dance, they can destroy its love. They can make their life a mess, but they cannot destroy their nature completely. And they cannot throw away their personality, because their personality carries their forefathers, their parents, their teachers, their priests, their whole past. It is their heritage; they cling to it.

My whole teaching is, don’t cling to personality. It is not yours, and it is never going to be yours. Allow your nature full freedom. And respect yourself, be proud of being yourself, whatever you are. Have some dignity! Don’t be destroyed by the dead.

People who have been dead for thousands of years are sitting on your head. They are your personality — and you want to improve on them? So call a few more dead! Graves have to be searched for… bring out more skeletons, surround yourself with all kinds of skeletons. You will be respected by the society. You will be honored, rewarded; you will have great prestige, you will be thought to be a saint. But living with the dead, surrounded by the dead, you will not be able to laugh — it will be so out of place — you will not be able to dance, you will not be able to sing, you will not be able to love.

Personality is a dead thing. Drop it! — in a single blow, not in fragments, not slowly, today a little bit and then tomorrow a little bit, because life is short and tomorrow is not certain. The false is false. Discard it totally! Every real human being has to be a rebel… rebel against whom? — against his own personality.

The Japanese-American was a long-time customer at this Greek restaurant, because he had discovered that they made specially tasty fried rice. Each evening he would come in the restaurant, and he would order “flied lice.” This always caused the Greek restaurant owner to nearly roll on the floor with laughter. Sometimes he would have two or three friends stand nearby just to hear the Japanese customer order his “flied lice.”

Eventually the customer’s pride was so hurt that he took a special diction lesson just to be
able to say “fried rice” correctly. The next time he went to the restaurant he said very
plainly, “Fried rice, please.”
Unable to believe his ears, the Greek restaurant owner said, “Sir, would you repeat that?”
The Japanese-American replied, “You heard what I said, you flucking Gleek!”
How long can you go on pretending? The reality is going to come up some day or other,
and it is better that it comes sooner.

There is no need, Tarika, to improve your diction! Just drop that whole personality thing. Just be yourself. Howsoever raw and howsoever wild it appears to be in the beginning, soon it starts having its own grace, its own beauty. And the personality… you can go on polishing it, but it is just polishing a dead thing which is going to destroy not only your time, your energy, your life, but also the people who are around you.

We are all affecting each other. When everybody is doing something, you also start doing it. Life is very contagious; everybody is improving his personality — that’s why the idea has arisen in your mind. But my people are not doing that. My people are not a herd, not a mob. They are respectful of themselves, and they are respectful of others. They are proud of their freedom and they want everybody else to be free, because their freedom has given them so much love and so much grace. They would like everybody else in the world to be free, loving and graceful.

This is possible only if you are original — not something put together, not something false, but something that grows within you, which has roots in your being, which brings flowers in its time. And to have one’s own flowers is the only destiny, is the only significant way of life.

But the personality has no roots; it is plastic, it is phony. Dropping it is not difficult; it needs just a little courage. And my feeling of thousands of people is that everybody has that much courage, just people are not using it. Once you start using your courage, sources which are dormant become active, and you become capable of having more courage, of more rebelliousness. You become a revolution in yourself. A man who is a revolution unto himself is a joy to see, because he has fulfilled his destiny. He has transcended the ordinary mob, the sleeping crowd.

Source – Osho Book “The Golden Future”

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