Chapter 4: Thought and Vision
And this is mankind’s basic mistake. This outward search negates any possibility for him to draw any real conclusions. Because of his inner poverty a man hankers for outer riches, and this creates a disharmony in him that is tremendously disruptive. It is also completely futile. Outer prosperity can never eradicate inner poverty. There is no relation between the two whatsoever. The poverty is inner, and if we want prosperity we must look within for that as well. Only knowledge that comes from within can dispel ignorance.
Do you want wealth, or do you just want to appear wealthy? Do you want knowledge, or do you just want to hide your ignorance? All outer wrappings are deceptive, yet you cannot really deceive yourself in this way. As soon as you realize the truth of what you are doing to yourself a basic and radical change in your outlook takes place. If you see the reality of your ignorance, don’t run away from it. What will you achieve by this attempt to escape? What is the point of all this hiding behind doctrines and scriptures? What purpose will you serve by trying to cloud your self in a haze of borrowed ideas? This is no remedy. All it does, under the pretense of treatment, is worsen the disease. A quack doctor can be more dangerous than the illness he diagnoses, and the medicines he prescribes can set off a whole new chain of diseases. Wanting to stuff yourself with a whole lot of ideas just for the sake of knowledge is like falling prey to the promises of some cure-all medicine. And being bound to the scriptures for the sake of freeing yourself from your ignorance will only lead to greater bondage. Truth does not exist in words; truth is inherent in the self.
To attain truth it is necessary to free yourself from all doctrines, from all formal structures. The realization of truth only happens when one is totally free. Attachment is a sign of dependence; it indicates a lack of confidence in oneself. Faith in others and none in oneself is a form of slavery. Only the man who is free from faith in others is really free. Faith in priests, in sects or in scriptures means you are dependent; faith in words or in creeds is dependence too. I tell you, only real freedom leads to truth. You have to discard all thoughts and all beliefs you have acquired from others, no matter from whom.
It is part of a man’s natural growth for him to come to realize his ignorance. And once he realizes it, he must never forget it. This tendency to forget is self-deception; it is an attempt to brighten the dark emptiness, and those who suffer from a sense of inferiority hanker after status, strength and power. They are like lame men longing to accomplish great feats of physical prowess.
Hitler was a concrete example of this age-old truth; the greater a man’s fear of death, the greater is the violence that develops in him. By killing others, he feels he has risen above death. Exploitation and war only exist because people with disturbed minds are trying to escape from the madness in themselves, and society is stagnating because we are not even able to see the magnitude of our mental unrest.
This race after power and possessions is a fatal disease. The illness is not external, but internal, and so man cannot escape from it. His ignorance of it simply makes him run all the faster. But this cancer is within. And running away from it only intensifies it. This course ultimately leads to madness. Insanity is the natural result of any attempt to accomplish the impossible.