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Chapter 5: On the Danger of Overweening Success

A small chicken was sitting in the hen house, absolutely Buddha-like, not a single worry in the world. Then suddenly appeared a man. She became afraid; she ran away. When she came back the man had gone but there was some corn just before the hen house. She started brooding, thinking. A scientific curiosity came to her mind. From where had this corn come?

Then again the next day the man appeared. She again ran away, came back. The man had gone, but again the corn was there. Certainly there was some relationship between the man and the corn. But it was too early for a scientific thinker to come to a conclusion. She didn’t want to commit to a theory so soon, in such a haste. So she waited - she must have been really a scientist. She waited and waited and waited and every day it happened.

Then by and by the theory became materialized in her small mind that there was a cause-and-effect relationship: whenever the man appeared the corn appeared. Nine hundred and ninety-nine times she watched. Now it was absolutely certain - there was a cause-effect relationship. When the man appeared, the corn appeared. The man was the cause, the corn was the effect.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine times was enough. She concluded now that there was a necessary relationship. And enough she had waited and experimented, watched and observed - now she could say that without exception it happened. So it must be a law. She was very happy and waited for the man. He appeared for the thousandth time.

The chicken went to the man to thank him for his kindness - and had her head wrung.

Life is like that. It has no cause-effect relationship. Even if something appears for nine hundred ninety-nine times don’t conclude; the thousandth time may be the exception.

And this is not only a story. Now in scientific circles a philosophy of uncertainty is arising and gaining hold. After Heisenberg, science is not as certain as it used to be before. Now they say everything is uncertain, and certainty is just approximately certain - not absolutely certain. Nine hundred and ninety-nine times, okay - but then comes the exception. Even science is shaken. It has to be shaken because it also deals with life. Life cannot be reduced to a scientific cause-and-effect relationship. Life remains mysterious.

To remain in the middle, if you stick to the middle you will miss. This is the mystery of life. To remain in the middle you have to be constantly moving toward the left and right. Only then can you remain, because the middle is not a fixed point. The middle in fact is nothing outside you. The middle is something inside you: a balance, a music, a harmony.

Lao Tzu says: Beware of the extreme. Don’t go to the extreme, otherwise you will fall. Everything on the extreme changes to its opposite.

If you are in love and twenty-four hours a day you are after your lover, and you move to the extreme as lovers do, everything will be destroyed. You will destroy love yourself, because it is too much. It becomes unbearable.

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