Chapter 9: Be Yourself
Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Be yourself. These two words are enough to transform the whole of humanity; they can give birth to a New Man. They are immensely pregnant with meaning. The past of humanity has been a constant effort not to be yourself; hitherto we have been told by the priests and the politicians and the pedagogues to be somebody else. “Be a Christ,” they say, and the people who are trying to be a Christ are the Christians. “Be a Buddha,” they say, and the people who are trying to be a Buddha are the Buddhists. No other Christ has yet happened, neither has a Buddha, and it is not going to happen ever. It is not in the nature of things.
History repeats, existence never repeats. History repeats itself because history is constituted by the unconscious humanity. Existence never repeats itself because existence is nothing but godliness, creativity. Creativity is non-repetitive, consciousness is non-repetitive. Unconsciousness is bound to repeat, it moves in a circle: it goes round and round in the same circle, it becomes more and more efficient in doing the same thing again and again. And the more efficient it becomes, the more difficult it is to go beyond the known.
The creative person is always leaving the known behind and moving into the unknown. To repeat somebody else is nothing but pretending, cheating, deceiving. It is beautiful to know Christ, it is beautiful to love Buddha, it is beautiful to understand Lao Tzu, but it is ugly, humiliating to repeat them, to be imitators.
But for centuries man has been conditioned to be somebody else. There are vested interests against you being yourself. The vested interests want you never to be yourself because they are afraid of anything new; everything new seems to be a danger to them. They are at ease with the old, hence they say, “All that is old is gold.” The older it is, the better.
Hindus say, “Our scriptures are the oldest, hence the best.” They go on trying to prove that their scriptures, their Vedas are far older than the historians recognize. The scientific historian concludes that they are not more than five thousand years old, but the Hindu chauvinist believes they are at least ninety thousand years old. That is at least; it is possible they may be older than that.
Why this effort to prove that “our religion is so old?”.Because the old is more valuable, has been more valuable in the past. The new has been condemned because the new cannot be absorbed by the establishment.
Jesus is dangerous to the Jews because they lived a certain pattern of life, following Moses, repeating Moses, trying to be carbon copies of the prophets of the Old Testament. And here comes this man Jesus who starts saying things which go against the tradition, convention.