What is a free man? 


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.

Just a hundred years ago Friedrich Nietzsche declared, "God is dead, and man is free." And the next sentence he wrote is, "Now you can do whatsoever you want to do. There is no responsibility. God is dead, man is free, and there is no responsibility."

There he was absolutely wrong; when there is no God, there is tremendous responsibility on your shoulders. If there is a God, he can share your responsibility. You can throw your responsibility on Him: you can say, "It is you who have made the world; it is you who have made me in this way; it is you who is finally, ultimately, responsible, not me. How can I be ultimately responsible? I am just a creature, and you are the creator. Why have you put seeds of corruption in me and seeds of sin in me from the beginning? You are responsible. I am free."

In fact, if there is no God, then man is absolutely responsible for his acts, because there is no way to throw responsibility on anybody else. 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.
I have heard....

"I am a respectable man, doctor, but lately life has become intolerable because of my feelings of guilt and self-recrimination." The patient gulped miserably before continuing. "You see, I have recently fallen victim to an uncontrollable urge to pinch and fondle girls in the underground."
"Dearie me," tutted the psychiatrist consolingly, "we must certainly help you to rid yourself of this unfortunate urge. I can quite see how distressing.... "
The patient broke in anxiously, "It is not so much the urge I wanted you get rid of for me, doctor, it is the guilt."

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, licence. Freedom is maturity; licence 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 Christ, 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 has to be cut from everywhere. 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 simply be anarchy. Freedom will not come in if governments disappear, 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, will have to 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. Then 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 licence, it is tremendous discipline.

Osho, The Beloved, volume 2, chapter 10