The Way Out
Three Old Men
- Truth is what Work
A great King,
Alexander & Diogenes
Thread becomes Bridge
Giver should be thankful
Lao Tzu and His
The scorpion & the Sage
Donkey's Common Sense
Jalauddin Rumi & Students
Meditation transform Anger
Goddess of Beauty
Story - Truth is what Works
Have I told you the story of Thomas Alva Edison?
He had gone for a holiday to a resort village. The village had a small high
school, and they were having their annual function. The students from
different departments had made things as an exhibition for all the villagers
to come and see. The art students had made paintings, toys. The science
students had made a few electrical things which amazed the villagers.
For example, you put your hand underneath the tap and the water immediately
comes out. Without touching any button or anything; just the presence of
your hand is enough to trigger it and the water comes. As you take your hand
away, the water stops. They had made railway trains, small trains running
round and round on tracks. And they had made many other things.
Thomas Alva Edison, just wandering around the village, enjoying the open air
and the trees and the sun and the sea air, crisp and salty, came across the
school, and he saw a great crowd going there. He said, ”What is the matter?”
They said, ”It is the annual function and our students have made many
beautiful things. We are going to see. Would you like to come?” He had the
time, so he joined the crowd. He went directly to the electrical section;
that was his lifelong work. He was the first man to see the electric bulb
light up, in the whole history of man. Three years it took for him .... You
just push the button, you don’t know how hard people have worked just to
create a button for you.
Three years.... Twenty colleagues started, and by and by everybody left,
because this man seemed to be mad:
”Nothing is working, everything fails, electricity does not come!”
They told him, ”Drop it, you will simply waste your life. You have many
other things to do.”
He said, ”When I put my hand to one thing, unless I finish it or I get
finished there is no way to distract me. If you are tired, frustrated ...
you don’t understand scientific research.”
They said, ”What do you mean, we don’t understand scientific research? We
are all scientists!”
He said, ”You may be scientists, but you don’t understand the fundamentals.
One fundamental is that every failure brings you closer to success. If there
are three hundred possibilities and I have failed two hundred and
ninety-nine times, now is the time. One never knows. Yes, three years have
passed. You are frustrated but I am rejoicing that so many things are cut
out. Now very few alternatives remain. The day is not far away ....” And
within three months he managed it.
One night he was working hard – it must have been past three o’clock, it was
already morning – when suddenly for the first time in the whole history of
man, he saw the light bulb radiating light. He was almost hypnotized. He
just looked and looked at the beauty of it. He could not believe that he had
succeeded. And at that time Mrs. Thomas Alva Edison screamed, ”Put that
light out and come to bed!” She had no idea that this was no ordinary light.
But Edison went in and said, ”You don’t know .... It is not any old light
that you know, it is the result of my three years and three months’
continuous work. Twenty people started with me and all have left, some after
one year, some after the second year, some after the third year. Electricity
has been caught. You come and see.” The wife was amazed. She never believed
in Thomas Alva Edison – no wife believes in her husband – that this fellow
was going to succeed. ”Forget all about it. He is simply mad.”
So when he went into the school, he saw the trains running, he saw the water
coming from the tap just by the presence of the hand underneath it. He asked
a student – who was very happy to show him because he knew that this was not
a man from the village; just by his dress and everything he looked like a
visitor. The student was very interested to show him everything, and Thomas
Alva Edison took great interest in everything that the students had made.
Then he asked a question: ”How are these things working?”
The boy said, ”Electricity.”
Edison asked, ”What is electricity?”
The boy said, ”What is electricity? That I don’t know. I know how it works.
But I will call my science teacher, he is a graduate, a B.Sc. first class;
he will certainly know.”
So he called his science teacher, who also said, ”Forgive me, sir. We know
how to use it, but we don’t know what it is. But perhaps our principal, who
has a Ph. D. – he must know what electricity is.”
So they took the principal aside, and the principal said, ”Forgive me, sir.
I know how it works, but what it is, I am sorry to say I don’t know.”
Edison laughed. He said to them, ”Don’t feel embarrassed. I am Thomas Alva
Edison, and I also don’t know what electricity is. All that I know is how it
Science will accept Buddha’s statement, ”Truth is what works.” Don’t ask
what it is. Another great philosopher, G.E. Moore, has written a book on
ethics, and the only subject in two hundred and fifty pages is ”What is
‘good’?” Without knowing good, how can you manage ethics, morality, and all
kinds of things? First you should define exactly what ‘good’ is. And after
two hundred and fifty pages of very dense argumentation, finally he comes to
the conclusion, ”Good is indefinable.”
It is just as if somebody asks you, ”What is yellow?” You can say, ”Yellow
is yellow,” but what is it? We are living in a mysterious world where
nothing is known. All that we know is how to use things. If we go to the
root of knowing, we will be confronted with an immense mystery which has not
been, solved even in ordinary matters. What is yellow? What is good?
Source: " Yakusan: Straight to the Point of Enlightenment " - Osho