Logical Errors

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Tue Aug 19 22:59:07 CDT 1997

 Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> >The author of over 600 books on
> >one basic theme, tat tvam asi, all of them spoken spontaneously in front
> >huge audiences, and many of them available on video where the perfect
> >equanimity of the man is there on view for anyone who does not have the
> >screen blocked with the New York Times, Rajneesh is, albeit, a
> As I said spontaneous etc is no hallmark of GYAna. Hitler was vary
> spontaneous. So are many fake gurus.

Logical error number one:  Select a word out of a sentence that is put
there to support the main point ("the perfect equanimity") and then, having
isolated it from its context, apply a ludicrous comparison.  Will someone
send this man an Osho video, otherwise we
going to be hearing about poor old Adolph forever.

> >"Repression is not the way, cannot be the way.  All that you have
> >is waiting for its opportunity.  It has simply gone into the
> >it can come back any moment.  Any provocation and it will surface.  You
> >not free of it.  Repression is not the way to freedom.  Repression is a
> >worse kind of bondage than indulgence, because through indulgence one
> >becomes tired sooner or later, but through repression one never becomes
> >tired.
> >
> >See the point:  indulgence is _bound_ to tire you and bore you;  sooner
> >later you will start thinking how to get rid of it all.  But repression
> >will keep things alive.  Because you have not _lived_ how can you be
> >You have not lived--how can you be fed up?  Because you have not lived,
> >the charm continues, the hypnosis continues.  Deep down, it waits.
> Ehm, there's no point to see. This kind of reason is totally fallacious.
> Why? The reason is that the number of desires one can have is infinite.
> If there were only a finite number of desires that may be possible.

Logical error number two:  Conflate empirical experience with logical
reasoning.  It is a simple fact of experience that some indulgences can
lead to being "fed up".  Try eating lobster every night for a month.  Let a
three year old have every cookie in the box.
And, need it be said?, monasteries and ashrams are filled with examples of
such fed up former indulgers.
>Anyway, consider the example of desire for women in a
> man:
> 1. It cannot be satisfied by indulging because no one can get all the
> women he wants.

Empirical whopper number one:  Marriage would be a far more exciting
proposition if that were true.

> 2. Even if he did, some woman he is not with right now would be more
> attractive and the process continues.

This is an excellent argument against adultery.  If you are going to cheat
with one woman then every woman has the potential to flame your desire.  If
you say no to adultery, the flame is much lower.  This is my own empirical
observation.  But, logical error number three is called begging the
question:  Does the process for the bachelor (or adulterer) continue
he can have every woman he wants, or because he is continually denied the
pleasure he seeks?

> 3. Since there are about 1/2 a billion women in the world and time is
> limited to about 100 years (max) such a thing is not possible.

Logical error number four:  having made a false observation, come up with
mathematical language to camouflage your oversight.

> 4. Even if the desire for women is completely satisfied, some other
> desire would crop up, after all there are infinite number of desires.

Osho knew all about the infinity of desires as Dennis' quote ably shows.
Here's another:  "Desires are crazy.  They make you sad in two ways.  If
they are not fulfilled you will be sad, frustrated.  If they are fulfilled
you will be sad _and_ frustrated, in fact, more so because when your
desires are fulfilled then you suddenly recognize you have been chasing
shadows, illusions."  His (ehem) point is how does one who is not
enlightened begin to understand the futility of desire, and not just
intellectually?  Perhaps it's because some of us are more acquainted with
his works that we don't confuse a methodology for planting a seed of
understanding with a lifestyle.  As an
aside, there is some interesting research going on concerning indulging
desires via lucid
dreaming.  Here is a quote from the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology:
"Experienced practitioners [of lucid dreaming] report that even the thrill
repetitive wish fulfillment eventually fades, a condition variously known
as divine apathiea (the Desert Fathers, nilibida (Buddhism), or "the
equality of things" (Taoism).  This leaves dreamers longing for something
more meaningful and profound than playing out another sensual fantasy.
These people rediscover the ancient idea that sensory pleasures alone can
never be enduringly satisfying."  (JTP vo. 24)

> What does one do if some desires which cannot be satisfied crop up?
> Suppose a man feels that shooting whoever he feels like is very
> desirable. Is it your proposal that he go about shooting people till he
> is sated? Don't give me reasonings like it cannot occur. It does for
> some people at least and we can see it in the newspapers.

Logical error number five:  affirming the consequent.   If p then q tells
us nothing about q without p.  (Although not q entails not p) In the above
quote Osho says if repression (p) then more desire (q).  It would be nice
for you if he started with q but he doesn't.  You do.  His comments about
indulgence tiring you sooner or later do not have the logical force of his
proposition if repression then an increase in desire.  There are many
indulgences that will not stand the empirical test that, say, sexual
indulgence does, of making the person fed up--alcohol, perhaps, being the
most obvious. (E-mail posting, perhaps another.)  As to your example of a
murderer:  a murderer who represses the desire to murder may well turn into
a mass murderer down the road.  Well, too bad for him.  There are other
considerations than an experiment with repression to stop someone from
murdering the first time around.  Many of the women at Osho's Ashram might
have brought up other considerations as well to his experiments with sexual
indulgence.  Like I said, he's a cautionary tale.


>I have
> thought about this "get rid of desires by indulging in them" nonsense
> quite deeply.

I believe you think you have.  But your language betrays you.

>Don't think that I haven't given any thought to it or that
> my reaction to Osho is that of a conservative Pavlovian dog (you might
> be pleasantly surprised to know that I have even read some books by
> Osho).

Whatever joy I feel is tempered by how little of him you have understood.

Jonathan Bricklin

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