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Chapter 5: The Vital Balance

Whenever it happens that a scientist turns to poetry, or a poet turns to mathematics, or a businessman turns to painting, or a painter becomes a sannyasin, then something new is born. And to give birth to something new is blissful; otherwise your daily work becomes dull and boring. Man cannot work like a machine - he cannot go on just producing the same things mechanically, repeating the same routine endlessly. If he goes on doing this, he will be completely dead long before he dies. He will only know that he has been alive when death comes.

If you are just functioning mechanically as a human machine, there is every danger that you will be replaced by a humanlike machine, and you can never be at ease, because whatever you can do can be done more efficiently by a mechanical device.

Society does not need individuality, it needs efficiency. So the more human a person becomes the less useful he is to society - and the more dangerous. The whole pattern of our civilization and, in fact, of all the civilizations that have existed in the world, is to turn the human being into an automaton. Then he is obedient, efficient and not dangerous. Otherwise a mind that is inventive, inquiring, seeking and searching for the new and always trying to give birth to something unknown, is bound to create disturbances. The establishment cannot be at ease with him.

Society begins to kill individuality as soon as a child is born. Before he is seven, his individuality is killed completely. Only if by chance the establishment is not successful in doing this can a person become an individual. But this is rare.

Every type of social institution is a means of killing the individual and converting him into a machine. All our universities are factories to kill the spontaneous, to kill the spark, to kill the spirit and change man into a machine. Then the society feels at ease with him. He can be relied upon. The society knows what he can do, what he will do - he can be predicted. We can predict a husband, a wife, a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist. We know who they are and how they will react; we can be at ease with them. But it is impossible to be at ease with a person who is alive, spontaneous, because we don’t know what he will do - he is unpredictable.

Unpredictability is always a source of insecurity. A wife cannot be at ease with a husband who is unpredictable. The moment he is unpredictable, he is unmanageable; he cannot be manipulated. No one is at ease with an unpredictable person - not even a father with an unpredictable son.

But only the unpredictable man can feel happiness, can feel like no one else. Life itself is unpredictable, unmanageable. Life as such always moves from moment to moment toward the unknown. It is an opening into the unknown - nothing more, nothing less.

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