Chapter 2: The Time Has Come to Be Free
But to forget one’s emptiness is to forget one’s real self. To forget one’s emptiness is to forget the way to God. To forget one’s emptiness is the most stupid act in the world that a man is capable of.
But why do people want to forget? We are carrying an idea given to us by others that emptiness is death. It is not. It is a false notion perpetuated by the society. Society has a deep investment in the idea, because if people are not greedy this society cannot exist. If people are not greedy then who is going to be mad after money, after power? Then the whole structure of this power-oriented society will collapse. If people are not greedy, who is going to call Alexander “the Great”? Alexander will be called “the ridiculous” not “the Great,” “the stupid,” not “the Great.” Then who is going to call the people who go on and on possessing things “respectable”? Who is going to give them respect? They will be the laughingstock. They are mad, they are wasting their lives. Then who is going to pay respects to the prime ministers and the presidents of the countries? Then people will think that they are neurotic.
And the world will be really beautiful when Adolf Hitler and Mussolini and Churchill and people like these are thought to be neurotic, when nobody pays any attention to them. The whole structure of politics will fall, because the politician is there only to get more and more attention. The politician is a child, he has not grown up. He wants everybody to be at his disposal, he wants everybody to look up to him, he wants everybody to go on being attentive, to pay attention to him.
Attention gives one intoxication; it is the greatest drug in the world. Just think of yourself passing through the whole town and nobody paying any attention, not even a dog barking at you; everybody ignoring you, even dogs; nobody taking any note, everybody thinking you are not. How will you feel? You will feel very bad - nobody saying “Hi.” “Hello.” “Good morning.” “Where are you going?” “How are you?” - people simply not looking at you. If you become invisible and you walk around and nobody looks at you because nobody can see you, and nobody says “Hello,” nobody pays any attention, how are you going to feel? You will feel like a nonentity, a nobody, reduced to nothingness. It will look like death.
Hence people are in search of more and more attention. If you cannot get attention by being famous, then at least you can get attention by becoming notorious. If you cannot get attention by being a saint, you can get attention by being a murderer.
And psychologists say that basically many murderers commit murder not for any reason other than to get attention. When they murder their photos are on the front pages of newspapers, with their names in block letters. They are on the TV, on the radio, everywhere; they become somebody. At least for a few days they can enjoy that they are also famous; the whole world knows about them, they are not nonentities any more.