Osho – Remember, the foolish person may have a certain character. It is easy for the fool to create a certain character because he is stubborn. Stupidity is always stubborn. If some idea gets into his head he may be able to practice it more consistently than the intelligent person because he is stubborn, he cannot be flexible. He is not dynamic, he is stagnant.
That helps many foolish people to become respectable — because they can do stupid things nobody else will be able to do, but they do them with such perseverance, with such patience, with such strength, that they succeed in doing them. They can create great characters, they can be great moralists, they can be very pious, and they can impress you.
Remember, character is not of much value. What is valuable is consciousness — not conscience but consciousness. Conscience is created by the society. The more foolish you are, the more the society is able to create a conscience in you. It gives you an idea how to live your life. It manipulates you in a very subtle way. It hypnotizes you and conditions you. And the conditioning is so long that you forget completely that these are not your ideas.
For example, if you are born in a vegetarian family you will be a vegetarian, thinking that you have renounced all meat-eating, etcetera, that you are great — you are a vegetarian. But if you were born in a nonvegetarian family you would have been a nonvegetarian. It depends on the conditioning; you are not doing it consciously. You are allowing other people to dominate you, to decide for you.
The intelligent person is rebellious. He does not allow others to decide for him; he keeps the right to himself. Hence, stupid people become saints very easily because they allow the society to condition them. At least in that particular society they will be very much respected. To others they will look very stupid, to others they will look insane, but to that particular society which has conditioned them they will be great saints.
Just a few days before in Bombay, a naked Jaina saint has come — Acharya Vidyananda. He lives naked. To the Jainas he seems to be a great saint; to others he seems to be a little bit crazy, eccentric. And if you look at his face he looks stupid, although he talks on great scriptures. But his face shows simply stupidity, no radiance. His body seems ugly. If there is going to be a competition, a world competition in ugliness for Mr. Universe, then he may succeed. But to his set, to his followers he looks so great — that he has transcended his body. And all that he is doing is unnecessarily torturing his body.
If you torture the body it becomes ugly. It is a gift of God — make it beautiful. It is your home, you have to live in it — make it beautiful. But once you are in a certain conditioning, that is your whole universe. You think in terms which others have told you. Unless by some accident you come across a new idea….
Old maid Sarah possessed several million dollars, a pedigree female cat, and some very Victorian ideas on the subject of sex. In fact, her feelings about sex were such that for five years she had never allowed her cat to go out of the house for fear of “contamination.”
Deciding to take a vacation in Hawaii, Sarah instructed her housekeeper, “Now be sure you don’t let the cat out. I repeat, do not, under any circumstances, let the cat out.” After Sarah had been gone about a week, the housekeeper received a telegram, “Having a wonderful time. Met the nicest young man. Let the cat out!”
People are living in small ponds of their own ideology and it is very rare that they will come across something new that will go through their thick layer of conditioning and will make them aware what they are doing to themselves. These are the people you worship, you respect, whom for centuries you have worshipped and respected. And because of this worship and respect the whole humanity has remained tethered to the lowest possibility of intelligence. You could have reached to the Everest of intelligence, but we have not allowed our intelligence to soar high, higher than the collective mind wants it to.
Source: from Osho Book “Dhammapada Vol 9”