Chapter 22: Here Everyone Is the Best
The vested interests don’t want individuals, because an individual, just by the very definition, is a rebel. He does not belong to any crowd, any religion, any nation, any race; he simply is himself. It is very difficult to exploit a world which consists of individuals. It is very difficult to create unnecessary wars, destruction, if the world consists of individuals. Because the world consists of miserable people, you can force them to do anything. They are always looking upwards, for somebody to order them.
In the army it comes to the extreme point. All the trainings in all the armies of the world are basically the same. The structure is how to destroy the individual, but in such a way that you will never think that it is destroying the individual. They call it discipline, they call it obedience, they call it courage. They call it many beautiful names. And what is the training?
In the second world war when there was a shortage of people in the army, a professor in England had to be compulsorily enrolled. He resisted. He said, “Listen, I am a professor of philosophy. I cannot do anything without thinking about it. I cannot even shoot without first contemplating about the consequences.” But they did not listen. They thought, “We will manage.” They had their training.
The first day he was standing in the line in the morning for parade and the commander said, “Left turn.” Everybody turned except the professor. He was thinking, “I don’t see any point, why I should turn left. There is no reason at all. I am perfectly good as I am.”
The commander looked very angrily at him, but remained silent, thinking that he would take him to task afterwards. Then he ordered everybody to turn to the left, to the right; to go backwards, to go forwards; and then finally to stand in the same place from where they had started the whole exercise. And then he came to the professor who was standing, and asked him, “Why don’t you move?”
He said, “Why should I move? And what have all these people gained by moving? These are all idiots! For no reason: move left, move right, go forward, go backward. I am not an idiot.”
The commander said, “This is a strange fellow. Nobody ever has raised the question.” He said to the general, “This man is absolutely uncontrollable. Whatever you say, he asks why. If you say, ‘Your shoes are not shining as they should be shining,’ he says, ‘I am perfectly happy with them as they are. And what has it to do with the training and the discipline?’ If you say, ‘Your clothes are not perfectly well ironed,’ he says, ‘It is not your problem. I like loose clothes.’”
Finally he went to the general and he said, “You take this man over. He may spoil the others, because the others laugh. And others have also started thinking, ‘Perhaps the professor is right. What is wrong in loose clothes, if he likes loose clothes? What is wrong if the shoes are not shining? In what way are shining shoes going to win the war?’”
“He raises such questions,” the commander said, “that I cannot manage. You take him away.”