Chapter 29: Power Corrupts People
Because in England, just hundred years before, every thief was hanged in the main square of the city, naked, and beaten. And a crowd of thousands will gather to look at him. This was thought to be a teaching lesson to the people, that if they do stealing, this will be the result. But finally they had to stop it because they found that people became so interested in looking that other people were cutting their pockets. What teaching? You are teaching by beating a thief and thieves are having a great day because all the crowd was so much interested in the kill, the punishment, they forget all about their pockets. Only when they looked afterwards their pockets were gone. So it was not only one pocket that was stolen, many pockets were stolen. So many people were doing stealing exactly on the spot. That’s why the practice was stopped.
And my feeling is all our legal punishments are of the same kind. They don’t stop anybody, they don’t change the person, in fact they make the person more criminal. If you send a person for five years to jail there he finds more expert criminals. You are sending him to a university of crime. And after five years when he comes out, he is more clever, more cunning, and it will be more difficult to catch hold of him.
My approach is, a crime is something wrong with the psychology of the man. He should be treated just like any sick person. And unless you feel that he is healthy he should be kept isolated from the society, but no disrespect to his personality. It has to be made clear to him that, “Your act is just because of something is wrong with your mind and we are trying to change it.”
So these people come here. I am perfectly available. They will not get their posts back, but they can be part of the commune. But the commune is not going to protect them against law. On the contrary, the commune is going to help the law against them. But we will plead to the courts that, “These people are mentally sick and punishment is not enough; it does not change anybody. Send them to psychiatric institutions, treat them.”
So it is a little bit complex, but life is complex.
Associated Press, Portland.
I’m on kind of a tight deadline if you could give me a fairly brief answer I would appreciate it. I’m wondering whether the heavy security can end now, if you can disarm Rajneeshpuram?
You want a small answers? Then just no!
That’s it? Thank you.