A man who lives like a robot, howsoever efficient and successful, cannot be called a living person, as life and wakefulness are synonymous.
There is so much talk about digital revolution these days. And this has a tremendous appeal. Even small children are getting attracted to all digital things. Also, there is so much talk about artificial intelligence that is going to replace natural intelligence. They say it will prove million times more powerful than natural intelligence. But with all this revolution that is robotic, we cannot be sure whether we are going towards heaven or hell on earth. This could be very unhealthy, specially if it is controlled by pathological people. It is going to be a real menace.
Once Osho talked about sociologist Lewis Yablonsky, who had then coined an interesting word — “robopathology”. Any one who suffers from it is a “robopath”. “Robo” means a machine, an automaton; one who lives a mechanical kind of life, a repetitive kind of life; one who has no adventure; one who simply goes on dragging himself. He fulfils the day-to-day demands but he never fulfils the eternal demand, the eternal challenge. He will go to the office, to the factory, he will come home, he will look after the children and the wife, and he will do a thousand and one things — and do them very efficiently — but he will never be alive. He will live as if he is already dead.
A man who lives like a robot, howsoever efficient and successful, cannot be called a living person, as life and wakefulness are synonymous. Sleep is also a mini death, though a man can dream in the sleep that he is alive. But this aliveness is useless without awareness. A robot will not have such an aliveness that comes with the throbbing of the heart and a joy of awakening. Being fully awake is the real thing.
There is a Sufi parable. There was a tradesman in a small village, who sat on his knees in his little shop, and with his left hand he pulled a strand of wool from the bale which was above his head. He twirled the wool into a thicker strand and passed it to his right hand as it came before his body. The right hand wound the wool around a large spindle. This was a continuous motion on the part of the old man who, each time his right hand spindled the wool, inaudibly said, “La illaha illa’llah.” There could be no uneven movement or the wool would break and he would have to tie a knot and begin again. The old man had to be present every moment or he would break the wool.
This is the real awakening, what Sufis call Zikr — an awareness on a higher plane than that on which we normally live. It is a silsila — a tradition of masters and disciples. Out of such a small phenomenon the tradesman created so much awareness.