"The Wizard of Oz" As Seen By Adi Da

In the film The Wizard of Oz, three characters come to the wizard to acquire something they lack — a mind, a heart, and vital strength in the world. Even though the wizard turns out to be something of a sham, he gives them each a gift that, in the feeling of the story, seems to be genuine. The scarecrow, for instance, has no brain. So the wizard says to him, “The only thing you lack that all other people who have a brain do not lack is a diploma”. Then the wizard gives the scarecrow a diploma. But the scarecrow has not developed his intelligence. He has never passed through the process of adaptation to the functions of the mind. All he has done is to receive a diploma. The diploma is sheer nonsense, a lie that he now feels or imagines is a truth about himself. In the story however, everyone now accepts him as if he were no longer lacking a brain.

Very superficial changes are the focus of this story, but the same superficial orientation to personal change tends to be the social norm in our time. That moment in The Wizard of Oz is not altogether satirical. It is also meant to be emotionally fulfilling. We are supposed to feel very positive about the scarecrow’s new image. The message is, “To think positively is sufficient for change. You do not need Grace nor do you need real transformation. Just positive thinking, or believing, about yourself is entirely sufficient.” In reality, of course, such “positive thinking” is not sufficient at all.


(……) I am not The Wizard of Oz. I do not accept your false faces as true practice, as genuine conversion. Thus you must not forget the emotional nature of this practice. Your consideration must always be emotional. Never let it degenerate into “let’s pretend” and mere positive affirmation. There must be a real and direct feeling association among devotees and a constant, feeling practice of love-surrender to God, or surrender of the whole bodily being into the Living Principle, the Life-Current, in every moment. You must literally practice this heartfelt surrender at all times, and you must literally oblige one another to this practice.

— Bubba Free John (Adi Da Samraj) 1979
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