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Intellect is the instrument for the ignorant

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Intellect is the system for thinking, the instrument of thinking, the mechanism for thinking. But only the ignorant needs to think. One who does not know, thinks. One who knows, why should he think? So, intellect is an instrument for the ignorant, not for the wise. The knower is one without intellect. The very meaning of the word intellect is that there is something that you don’t know and that you have to think about it. The process of thinking in you is called intellect. Through thinking, one seeks to know.

Understand it in this way: a blind man gropes with his cane because he is blind, so he keeps his cane with him and gropes with it. He can even open a door with it. Intellect is like a cane in the hand of the ignorant: he gropes for the door with it. Where the door is, he does not know, so he gropes, he bumps into things, he makes mistakes. Hence, the very methodology of the intellect is learning through trial and error. You try, you make mistakes and you learn. That is exactly what the blind man does: he gropes, he finds that this is a wall and not a door, he hurts his head against it so he gropes at another place and then yet another. He searches in dozens of places and then, somewhere in the process, he stumbles on the door, opens it and goes out.

It is true that all kinds of knowledge about the world happen through the intellect, but no experience of the beyond happens through the intellect.


Once you know something, slowly, slowly, you stop using your intellect for it. You don’t use your intellect for something that you do every day. For example, when someone learns to drive, in the beginning, he has to use his intellect. Then, as his experience grows more and more, he completely stops using his intellect. Then he can sing a song, smoke a cigarette, listen to the radio, have a conversation, and still go on driving the car.

Intellect is an instrument for the limited and the ignorant. As long as you are limited and ignorant, you will need it, and as long as you support the need for intellect, you will remain limited and ignorant. If you have the courage to let go of the intellect, then, perhaps, you can take a jump into the divine, which is without intellect.

Do you think that enlightenment happens through the intellect? It is true that all kinds of knowledge about the world happen through the intellect, but no experience of the beyond happens through the intellect. Here, intellect is helpful; there, intellect is the obstacle. Here, intellect is the path; there, intellect is a wall. If you are focused on this world, then go on nourishing your intellect. Here, it is badly needed—like a cane for a blind man, because this is a world of the blind. Here, the more learned, the more efficient your cane is, the more success you will achieve. But if you are moving towards the divine, then drop this cane, because there, the blind cannot enter. Nobody can get there by groping with a cane. You will get there only when you have let go of this cane. Groping is needed only for going outward—what need is there for groping if you are going in? You are already there. All canes and supports have to be dropped. When all journeys stop, one is instantly there.

Excerpted from Flight of the Alone to the Alone by Osho

Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.

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