Chapter 16: Life Is on the Razor’s Edge
One man in America, Robert Ripley, in the beginning of the century, became world-famous in three days - and he did nothing. He just walked backwards in New York, keeping a mirror in front of him in both hands so he could see behind him, and he moved backwards. Naturally he attracted attention. Everywhere a crowd gathered; all the newspapers published his photo. He became headline news - he was the first man who had traveled the whole of New York City backwards. It became such a famous act.
Finally he traveled the whole of America backwards, creating great news everywhere. People were welcoming him like a saint, and all that he was doing was carrying a mirror. It is good for a circus, but it is not going to help to bring any new values in life, any new colors, any new flowers, any new blessings to people.
It is good that you have understood it - but don’t forget it. And it is significant that the same night you had a dream where “I saw myself being persecuted for living rebelliously.”
You have been a nonconformist but you have never had any dream of being persecuted, because the nonconformist at the most becomes an entertainment, a laughingstock. Who cares to persecute him? Who has time to persecute him? But just the idea, the change in your mind that real rebellion is a totally different thing, immediately brought a dream. This is significant. Your unconscious immediately warned you to be careful!
To be a nonconformist is simply an old accepted thing. It is part of the establishment and the old rotten society. Nonconformists have always existed, nobody has crucified them. They are not a danger to the society or the vested interests.
It was a warning from your unconscious that you saw yourself being persecuted in a dream. “.and I became afraid. Waking up, I realized that what I used to think of as rebellion was actually a safe game for me, well within acceptable limits. Now I see that the rebellious spirit you are talking about is something very scary, and yet something I tremendously long for. Is feeling this insecurity part of becoming a rebel?”
First, it is certainly risky, dangerous. It is only for those who have the lion’s heart, who have guts and who have the dignity of human beings. It is not for all.
Only a few rebels are needed to create a rebellious society; the others will follow suit, but they will not, on their own, be rebellious. If the rebellious people create a society, the crowds - just as today they are part of the society - will become part of the rebellious society. But they cannot do anything on their own, for the simple reason that it is scary.