I notice that Osho News on 21st May published an Osho quote on the subject of cancer
running under the header : “Cancer can exist only in a certain neurotic state of mind”.
Osho says, controversially perhaps:
“When the mind becomes very tense, so tense that it is intolerable, it starts affecting the body tissues. That’s why cancer exists only when civilization becomes very, very sophisticated.
Cancer is basically a psychological disease; it is basically a disease of the mind, not a physical one. When the mind becomes very tense, so tense that it is intolerable, it starts affecting the body tissues. That’s why cancer exists only when civilization becomes very, very sophisticated. In primitive societies you cannot find cancer. People are not so sophisticated. The higher – by ‘higher’ I mean complicated – the more sophisticated, the more complex a society is, the more cancer will happen. […]
Cancer has to disappear. Cancer can exist only in a certain neurotic state of mind. If the mind relaxes, sooner or later the body will follow and will relax.
It is because of this fact that scientific investigation has not yet been able to find a cure for cancer.”
Osho, Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2, Ch 14
Surely this flies in the face of scientific discovery?
For example, much cancer is caused by exposure to the sun (skin cancer)
Various bacteria and viruses cause it. This includes human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical and other cancers; Epstein-Barr virus, which causes some types of lymphoma; and Helicobacter pylori, which grows in gone-off food and causes stomach cancer.
Radon, a naturally occurring gas accounts for a consistent percentage of cancer worldwide
Aflatoxin – produced by a mould that grows on peanuts and grains – is a potent cause of cancer. It’s a significant cause of liver cancer in parts of Africa and Asia.
The list goes on.
Very few people these days argue against the idea that relaxation, improvement of diet, having a positive attitude etc. can be helpful in treatment of cancer (or other illnesses), although they used to back when Osho gave this talk.
Also, it is possible to assert that being tense or having a bad attitude can increase your vulnerability to disease, but this is still highly debatable
However, to posit neurosis/civilisation/mental tension as a sole cause?
I would be interested in what people think of this.