Chapter 8: The Turtle
That is why if you go to your so-called saints you will find more neurotic people there than anywhere. And this is something to be observed, that wherever there are many saints there are many more madmen. Madness exists less in the East, it exists more in the West. But if you simply do ordinary arithmetic you will be surprised: in the East many mad people are worshipped as saints, so they are not in madhouses. In the West, the same people who should be in the madhouses are on the couch of the psychiatrist; they are not thought to be mad, but they are, because ego is mad.
Look at your saints. They have such subtle egos - refined of course, polished, very cultivated, decorated, but they are there. If you fight with somebody else you cannot have a very subtle ego, because with the other the possibility of being defeated always exists. Even if you have won, the other is there; any day there is every chance that he will gather strength and you may be defeated. The victory cannot be absolute and you can never be certain; the enemy is there. And there is not only one enemy outside, there are millions of enemies, because with whomsoever you compete, he is your enemy. You will always be shaking and wavering, your ego cannot be on solid ground; you have made your house on sand. But if you are fighting with yourself, then you are working on solid ground, you can be certain; you can be a more subtle egoist.
To have the “I” you have to kill nature, because in nature no ego exists. Trees are there, but they don’t know the “I”; animals are there, but they don’t know the ego - they live unconsciously. They simply live without any fight or struggle. When they are hungry they search for food; when they are satisfied they go to sleep. They make love, they eat, they sleep - they just exist; they don’t say, “We are.” They are just waves in the vast ocean of life, they come and go without leaving any trace. They have no history, no autobiography; they come and go as if they had never been there.
Lions have existed, elephants have existed, but they don’t have any history, they don’t have any autobiography. A lion comes like a vast big wave and then disappears; no trace is left behind. Ego leaves traces, footprints. If the ego wants not to die, autobiographies are written, history is created. And then comes the whole foolishness - neurosis. To create the ego, man has created a conflict, and this conflict has two aspects. One aspect is with outer nature - that is how science is created. Science is a fight with nature outside, nature without. That is why even a person like Bertrand Russell goes on talking in terms of conquering nature. How can you conquer nature? How can a wave conquer the ocean? It is patent foolishness! A part cannot conquer the whole; and if the part tries, the part will go mad. The whole will not lose anything, the part will lose everything, because the part exists with the whole, never against it. Science has become destructive because of this conquering attitude.
And there is another aspect of conflict: that aspect you call religion. One aspect is to fight nature outside; science is created, it is destructive. The ultimate goal can never be anything other than Hiroshima, and it will be reached - the whole earth will become a Hiroshima. Fighting leads to death, conflict ultimately leads to ultimate death; science is leading towards that.