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Chapter 2: Abandon Hope All Those Who Enter Here

You have often used the word “existentialism,” and you have referred to yourself as an existentialist. Please define these words.

There has been a contemporary school of philosophy in Europe called existentialism. I have nothing to do with it. That is only a philosophy, a mind game. These people were talking about existence, but they knew nothing of what it means to be existential. I also use the word “existentialist” for myself, but the difference between Jean-Paul Sartre, Jaspers, Marcel, and me is vast, unbridgeable.

When I say I am an existentialist, I am not saying that I believe in the philosophy of existentialism.

Existence needs no philosophy. Birds don’t need philosophy, flowers don’t need philosophy, rivers and oceans don’t need philosophy - but they are all existential; they exist, and they exist with totality and intensity.

I am not a philosopher. To be a philosopher is just to be a “foolosopher.” It is a sheer waste of time. Down the centuries philosophers have been struggling intellectually to find the truth. Not a single one of them has found it, for the simple reason that intellect and its way goes round and round, about and about, but it never penetrates to the center.

To love, you do not have to be a philosopher of love. Love needs no philosophy; love is an existential experience.

I call myself an existentialist. I call you existentialists. But it has nothing to do with those dodos in France. It is not a philosophy but a way of life - not according to any dogma, cult, doctrine, discipline, no! - just living without any idea of how to live. The moment the “how” enters, it opens the door for all the philosophies to come in, all the theologies to come in.

I want you to live like the trees, like the birds, like the clouds. Without man, do you think existence will disappear? Without man, after the third world war, do you think the sun will not rise? And the nights will not rejoice in millions of stars?

My insistence is: live spontaneously without any discipline. Live in freedom and live in totality, because one never knows the next moment. I may not be here, you may not be here. The next moment is meaningless. As far as existence is concerned, it knows only one tense, and that is the present tense. The past is no more, the future is not yet.

Only idiots bother about the past; they are gravediggers. And only idiots are concerned about the future, for the simple reason that they have lost contact with existence now. They are hoping perhaps tomorrow the miracle will happen, perhaps tomorrow the messiah, Jesus Christ, will come down and give you salvation, liberation, paradise.

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