Osho on Rationalization

Question – Osho, What is rationalization? I am asking this question because my husband is a professor of philosophy and whatsoever i say he almost always says it is nothing but a rationalization.

Osho – Malti, RATIONALIZATION IS A TRICK OF THE MIND to deceive not only others but yourself too. Your husband may be practising rationalization himself. Whenever he says to you, “This is a rationalization,” it may be nothing but a rationalization on his part. He wants to avoid, he wants to escape; he does not want to answer directly. He condemns you. And of course he uses a big, very big word: rationalization. And naturally the wife is cowed down — there must be something wrong. And the husband knows, and he is a professor of philosophy, so he is bound to know. He is practising rationalization himself. Rationalization is not true reasoning; it is a strategy, a pretension. It pretends to be rational but it is not.

“Why do you drink?” asked Hogan.
“Booze killed me mother,” answered Kehoe, “and booze killed me father — I am drinking for revenge!”

This is a rationalization. If you want to drink, drink! But this is a very subtle way of deceiving yourself and others.

From a diary of an Italian girl on a Caribbean cruise:
Monday — was invited to dine at the Captain’s table.
Tuesday — spent the day with the Captain.
Wednesday — Captain made ungentlemanly proposals to me.
Thursday — Captain said he would sink the ship if I did not agree to his proposals.
Friday — saved five hundred lives.

This is rationalization. Man is very cunning; man’s cunningness is unlimited. And people go on doing things in the name of reason. Today Acharya Vinoba Bhave is going to start his fast unto death — because he wants a total ban on cow slaughter. He calls it his religious duty. How can this be a religious duty? This is blackmail; this is threatening the country. And from where has he got the idea? He says that his mother appeared in his dream and told him, “This is the work that you have to do.”

Now, for his dream, and a mother of the dream, he is threatening the country: “I will commit suicide if you don’t listen to me.” But rather than saying it directly, “I will commit suicide,” he says he will fast unto death.

And these people are thought to be saintly, and these people are thought to be great preachers of non-violence. That’s exactly what his master, Mahatma Gandhi, did his whole life; now he is perpetuating the rotten tradition. For these thirty years at least, India has suffered from these people — and there seems to be no end to it.

This is called non-violence. If I threaten somebody that “I will kill you if you don’t listen to me,” I will be caught by the police. I will be a criminal against the law. But if I threaten that “I will kill myself if you don’t listen to me,” this is thought to be some holy act.

This is strange that nobody says, “These people should immediately be caught and brought into the court — because they are threatening suicide, and it is a crime against the law.” Any attempt to commit suicide is a crime against the law. But Vinoba Bhave is a saint.

Morarji Desai went to see him to persuade him: “Don’t do it!” because he himself has been doing it, the same thing. That’s how he bas come in power: by threatening to commit suicide. These are subtle ways of coercion, violence. Who is one single person to decide for the whole country? Then somebody can say, “I will fast unto death unless everybody stops smoking — because my mother appeared in the dream and she said, ‘Son, this great work you have to do.'”

Coercion becomes non-violence. A threat to commit suicide becomes a beautiful thing when you call it ‘fast unto death’! And rather than being caught by the police and brought before the court, the prime minister runs, the ministers are running and everybody is trying to persuade him: “Don’t go on your fast unto death.” And nobody is saying that this is a crime!

These are rationalizations. One can do anything if one has a cunning and clever mind to rationalize it. Malti, sometimes you may be rationalizing — watch it. But my own experience of women is that they are not great rationalizers — men are bigger rationalizers, because women live more intuitively, more instinctively, and man lives more through the head, through reason.

Women don’t bother much about logic. Their behaviour is more or less illogical — instinctive, spontaneous. They don’t try to masquerade it in a logical way; they simply jump from one point to another without bothering about the Aristotelian process of logic. They simply jump! Their leaps are quantum, from one point to another. You cannot see what the bridge is, how they manage to get from one point to another. Their ways are totally different from men’s.

Malti, more possibility is that your husband is rationalizing, that this is his way of putting you down. He uses philosophical jargon: rationalization. And, of course, you become afraid — you have done something wrong. I can’t think, Malti, that you can do much of a rationalization; women don’t indulge in it. But it is better to understand, because to be with a husband who is a professor of philosophy it is better to understand what rationalization is. And now, next time, whatsoever your husband says, you simply say, “This is a rationalization,’ and watch what happens.

Just the other day I was reading about a psychiatrist who was mending his car, and his boy was playing with a little girl from the neighbourhood on the balcony on the first story. And down below he was tinkering with his car.

Suddenly the boy pushed the girl from the balcony and she fell down on the ground. The father was, of course, angry. He looked up and before he could say anything, the boy asked, “Dad, can you tell me why I did it? You are supposed to be the psychoanalyst, psychiatrist — tell me why I did it.”

Next time your husband says anything, don’t be worried about it — just say, “This is a rationalization.” He is using a big word; a few people are obsessed with big words. But rationalization is a subtle process; people indulge in it — men more. I have rarely come across a woman who indulges in rationalization; except the lib women nobody indulges in rationalization. They are following all the way the footsteps of men.

But it is good to understand what it is, and if you indulge in it, it is better not to indulge in it. It is a camouflage. It is better to be authentic, true, rather than hiding yourself behind smoke screens.
Now, it will be good if Vinoba Bhave simply says, “I want to impose my will on this country,” that will be simple. “I am ready to die if my will is not accepted.” But that he will not say, “I want to impose my will on this country,” because then he will be exposed: “Who are you to impose your will? This is a democracy. You cannot impose your will. You have a single vote — a single vote equal to everybody else’s vote. Nobody’s vote is more valuable, so who are you?”

But this is how this goes on…. Morarji Desai wants to impose prohibition on the country. Who are you to impose such things? Then where is freedom and where is democracy? Yes, if you are against alcohol, teach, express yourself, argue, persuade… that’s what democracy means. Persuade people! If you are against cow slaughter, go around and persuade people not to eat cow meat. But threatening that you will commit suicide is very totalitarian dictatorial, undemocratic. It is a crime against the people, against the law, against democracy.

But you can hide the fact in religious terminology, you can go on doing something with a mask. And people wear masks: rationalization is one of the ways of wearing masks. Be true. Be authentic. There is no need to be untrue, because the more untrue you become, the farther and farther you will be from God.

I am not worried about your husband — I am worried about your being farther and farther away from God. If you indulge in strategies like rationalization, you will never come closer to your own inner self where God resides. Drop all false faces so that you can find your original face. And to find the original face is the greatest blessing and the greatest benediction in life.

Source – Osho Book “The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty”