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Chapter 17: Movement and Rest

Why can’t you live without society? There is the rub! Even in the Himalayas you will wait for somebody: you may be sitting under a tree and you will wait for someone, a traveler, a hunter, who passes by on the road. And if somebody enters, you will feel a little happiness coming to you. Alone, you become sad, and if a hunter comes you will gossip, you will ask, “What is happening in the world? Have you got the latest newspaper?” Or, “Give me news! I am hungry and thirsty for it.” Why? The roots have to be brought up to the light so that you can understand.

One thing: you need to be needed, you have a deep need to be needed. If nobody needs you, you feel useless, meaningless; if somebody needs you, he gives you significance, you feel important. You go on saying, “I have to look after the wife and the children,” as if you are carrying them as a burden. You are wrong. You talk as if it is a great responsibility and you are just fulfilling a duty. You are wrong! Just think, if the wife is not there and the children have disappeared, what will you do? Suddenly you will feel your life has become meaningless, because they needed you. Small children waited for you, they gave you significance, you were important. Now that nobody needs you, you will shrink, because when nobody needs you nobody pays attention to you: whether you are or not makes no difference.

I have heard:

One mental patient was psychoanalyzed, but the psychoanalyst was a very eccentric man as they almost always are. After two or three years of analysis the man told his friend, “This man is in even more trouble than I am, because I go on talking and he never says anything - not even a yes or no has he said for these three years - he simply sits there. And now I am worried: what to do? I go on talking and talking and talking, he listens, and this has been going on for three years. What to do?”

The friend said, “Then why don’t you stop?” But the man could not stop either.

And then a second trouble happened: the psychoanalyst died. Again he said to the friend, “Now another problem has arisen. First it was this, that this man never said anything, yes or no. I never knew whether he rejected me or accepted me, or whether I was wrong or right. I simply talked and talked and talked, and he listened. Now he is dead, so a second problem has arisen. What to do now?”

The friend said, “If he never talked to you, what is the difference? Go on talking!”

But the man said, “No, but he listened!”

The whole of psychoanalysis and its business depends on listening. There is nothing much, there is really nothing much in psychoanalysis, and the whole thing around it is almost complete hocus-pocus. But why.? A man pays you so much attention - and not an ordinary man, a famous psychiatrist, well known, who has written many books; many well-known people have been treated by him - so you feel good. Nobody else listens to you, not even your wife. Nobody listens to you, nobody pays any attention to you; you move in the world as a nonentity, a nobody.

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