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Chapter 3: Being Is Intrinsically Valuable

The second question:

I feel negative about myself. How do you see me?

It is not only your problem - it is the problem of almost everybody. All the cultures and all the religions have been conditioning you to feel negative about yourself. Nobody is loved, appreciated, for just being himself or herself. You are asked to prove whether you are of any worth: “Bring gold medals from the university! Achieve success, money, power, prestige, respectability! Prove!” Your worth is not intrinsic; that’s what has been taught to you. Your worth has to be proved.

Hence a deep antagonism towards oneself arises, a deep feeling that “I am worthless as I am - unless proved otherwise.” And very few people can succeed in this competitive world. Millions and millions of people are competing. How many people can succeed? How many people can become presidents and prime ministers? In a country of millions, only one person will become the president; and deep down everybody is hankering for it. Millions will feel that they are unworthy.

How many people can become great poets? A Shakespeare, a Milton, a Shelley, a Rabindranath - how many people can become great poets? And everybody has something of the poetic in his being; everybody has some poetry to give to the world. But when it becomes an ambition.ambition in itself is anti-poetic. How many people can become great painters like Picasso or Dali? And everybody has something to create.

The idea of success is torturing you. It is the greatest calamity that has happened to humanity - the idea of success, that you have to succeed. And success means you have to compete, you have to fight, by fair or foul means - it doesn’t matter. Once you succeed everything is okay. The question is of success. Even if by foul means you succeed, once you are successful whatsoever you have done is okay. Success changes the quality of all your acts. Success changes evil means into good means. So the only question is: How to succeed? How to reach to the top? And naturally, very few people can reach to the top. If everybody is trying to reach Everest, how many people can stand there? There is not much space there; only one person can stand there at ease. Then the millions who were also striving will feel failure, a great despair will settle in their souls. They will start feeling negative.

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