We have lived under many kinds of governments – aristocracy, monarchy, city democracies – and now we have seen the whole world getting addicted to the idea of democracy.
But democracy has not solved any problems; it has increased the problems.
Democracy cannot be the highest possibility man can attain. It is better than dictatorial regimes, it is better than monarchies.
It is good in comparison to other forms of government that have preceded it, but not something that can succeed it.
Democracy means government by the people, of the people, for the people – but it is only in words.
They have to delegate the power to somebody.
So it is not the people who rule, but the people who are chosen by them.
What are your grounds for choosing? How do you manage to choose? And are you capable of choosing the right people? Have you been trained, educated for a democratic life? No, nothing has been done.
What we have at the moment is mobocracy; it is certainly not democracy.
One thing – we have to drop the idea that every man, just because he is twenty one, is capable of choosing who is the right person to decide the fate of nations. Age cannot be a decisive factor. We have to change the decisive factor, that is changing the very foundation.
My suggestion is that only a person who is at least a matriculate, a high school graduate, will be able to vote.
In this way mobocracy is destroyed.
Then just because your are twenty one it does not mean you are capable of choosing the government. Choosing the government should be very skillful, intelligent job. Just by being twenty one you may be able to reproduce children, it needs no skill, no education, biology sends you well prepared. But to choose the government, to choose people who are going to have all the powers over you and everybody, and who are going to decide the destiny of the country and the world, just to be twenty one is certainly not enough . . . the way we have been choosing them is simply idiotic.
You are giving so much power to power-hungry people; with your own hands you are helping them to hang you!
In the name of democracy these people have been exploiting the masses.
But I have another idea that goes far ahead of democracy.
My vision is different.
It is that the politician can be prevented from ruining the human societies of the world if he is prevented from directly controlling the government and the administration of the state.
A new kind of system is needed, based on merit.
I call that meritocracy.
I want a government by the people of merit.
And merit is a very rare quality.
As the situation is, all the geniuses of the world are outside governments. It is hilarious: those geniuses are needed in the government because they can give the best world to humanity, but they are servants of the retarded politicians. Now the scientists who are making nuclear weapons are in the service of such people. What merit have they got? What intelligence have they got? What is their contribution to the world? But they will make the decision, and the geniuses will never be known; they will work almost anonymously.
The situation may be a little bit different in different countries, but the basic thing is the same: the people of merit are not the people who rule. The people who rule are always mediocre. Democracy, rightly translated, is mediocracy. I cannot support mediocracy. I would like people of merit, geniuses, to manage the world – and things would be totally different.
And remember, geniuses are never destructive; they are always creative. In fact, with geniuses ruling all over the world, the day will not be far off when they will decide that it is better to make one world rather than divide it into nations, because that solves problems more easily.
It is simple… a world government can look at the whole world as one humanity. Problems are not so much as they appear. And if there is one world, then there is no need for seventy-five percent of every nation’s wealth to be wasted on nuclear weapons, on armies, on other kinds of war materials. Seventy-five percent! Humanity is living only on twenty-five percent. If there are no longer any nations, the question of war does not arise. A hundred percent of all energy, money, income becomes available to the whole world.
Up to now, whatever has happened has been accidental. Our history up to now is nothing but a history of accidents.
We have to stop this. Now we have to decide that the future is not going to be accidental. It will be created by us.
And the time is running short. Once we decide that the voting power is not the birthright of every human being but is a right which you will have to earn by your intelligence . . . You have to see the distinction: Everybody is given the opportunity to earn it, there is equal opportunity for all to earn it, but it is nothing birth-given; you have to prove it.
This would be the first of its kind because never has the whole intelligentsia of the world come together to decide the fate of humanity.
They should write the first constitution of the world. It will not be American, it will not be Indian, it will not be Chinese – it is going to be simply the constitution of the whole of humanity. There is no need for different kinds of laws.
There is no need – all human beings need the same kind of laws. And a world constitution will be a declaration that nations are no longer significant. They can exist as functional units but they are no longer independent powers. And if the whole intelligentsia of the world is behind this convention it will not be very difficult to convince the generals of the world to move away from the politicians.
And what power do politicians have? All the power that they have we have given to them. We can take it back. It is not their power, it is our power. We just have to find a way to take it back – because giving is very easy, taking is a little difficult. They will not be so simple and innocent when you take the power back as they were when they were asking it from you. It is our power, but they will go on having it if the mob remains there to give it to them.
Now, as things are, the profession of the politician is the only profession which needs no qualification. Even if you want to be a plumber, some kind of qualification will be needed, some training in plumbing, some certificate. But if you want to be the president of America, no certificate is needed. It seems strange: plumbing is more important than the presidency of America! If you want to be a senator, no qualification is needed. If you want to be a teacher in a kindergarten school, qualifications are needed…
All this can be changed by people of genius coming to the top. And the simple way is, make categories so universities become your centers of power, not governments; universities create your governors, your presidents, your vice-presidents, your senators.
I would like all the universities – within each state – to call a convention of all the Vice chancellors and the eminent professors; of the eminent intelligentsia who may not be part of the university: painters, artists, poets, writers, novelists, dancers, actors, musicians. It would include all dimensions of talents, all kinds of people who have shown their caliber – excluding politicians completely.
All the Nobel Prize winners should be invited – excluding the politicians again, because within these past few years a few politicians have been given Nobel Prizes, and this has degraded the value of the Nobel Prize.
Once we move the power from the mob into the hands of intelligent people, people who know what they are doing, we can create something beautiful…
I am not against the people. In fact, in the hands of these politicians, the people are against themselves. I am all for the people, and what I am saying can be said to be exactly what has been said about democracy: for the people, by the people, of the people – just “by the people”. I will have to change. This intelligentsia will be for the people, of the people. It will be serving the masses.
It is so simple a thing.
I am calling my system “meritocracy.” But merit for what? The merit is to serve and share. And once you have decided to shift the power from the politicians to the intelligentsia, everything is possible – everything becomes simple.
Meritocracy is a whole program of transforming the structure of society, the structure of the government, the structure of education.
It is a difficult job, arduous but not impossible – particularly in such a situation when death is the only alternative.
That is why I place this idea of meritocracy before you. Meritocracy is not opposed to democracy; meritocracy is a concept of working through democracy. And sooner or later, with the growth of understanding, the specialist is going to be significant in the whole world. Maybe, sooner or later, everything will be in the hands of the expert, the knowledgeable.
excerpts from Osho on Meritocracy:
Beware of Socialism # 4
Sermon in Stones # 29
From Bondage to Freedom # 31