Chapter 26: Innocence: The Natural Outlaw
The children are in a way bound to continue, in the future too, to be corrupted. But that corruption can be dropped in a single moment because it is not your nature, and you have not brought it with you. It is imposed on you, it is a heavy burden on you. You can drop it, you can put it aside. You will just have to be ready for a few things, ready to be disrespectful. But what is respect? If you don’t have your self, what is respect?
There is only one respect - that is self-respect.
And you don’t have your self.
You can’t have any respect; you don’t have respect even in your own eyes.
The whole world may pretend to respect you because there is a certain bargain: you do what the society wants and the society will respect you. It is a simple business - and you are the loser because the respect is just hot air. And what you are giving in return is your solid being.
You are committing suicide for respectability.
And it has to be a single moment’s decision. It is not something that you have to think about for years, whether to drop the respect and just be your own self.It is not a question of years. If you are going to think for years, you are going to think for lives, and then too it will be the same problem.
It is a single moment of understanding, of seeing how you have been deceived. And as you see it, put aside all respectability. Say to the whole world: “I am ready to be disrespected by the whole world but I am not ready to be disrespected by myself. I am going to start a new life of self-respect.”
And to me this is the beginning of a religious man.