Chapter 29: Rebel or Robot?
Only one man in the whole history of America has my respect, and that man is Walt Whitman. I don’t consider any other American to be of much worth. But Walt Whitman belongs to the giants of world history.
He is reported to have said one thing which is also true of life, existence. Just the way I have been told again and again that “your statements are contradictory,” he was told again and again that “your statements are contradictory.”
In response he said, “Yes, I am contradictory because I am vast enough to contain contradictions. You are little, you cannot contain contradictions; that’s why you are so much troubled. I am not troubled; I am vast enough, contradictions can coexist in me.”
What Walt Whitman is saying is exactly the case with existence. It is so vast, so infinite, that contradictions lose their contradictoriness, they become complementaries.
Take this question: you can look at it as a paradox; then it is exactly another form of Bertrand Russell’s paradox. If you rebel you are wrong, because you become orthodox; if you don’t rebel you are wrong because you have become orthodox already. But this is only in the mind. Put the mind aside and look into reality.
This commune is not an organization in the sense in which organizations exist. It is not a Catholic church, it is not a communist party. Organizations have a certain structure, a bureaucracy, a hierarchy.
Here you listen to me, who is nobody.
I am not even part of your commune, I am just a tourist, not even a resident. This house is not my residence, just a guest-house. I don’t have any status in your commune. I am not the head of your commune, the chief I am nobody; even my name is not part. I would have loved to be in red robes, but I have simply avoided it just to make it clear that I am not in any way part of you.
Still you have listened to me who has no power. I cannot enforce anything on you, I cannot order you, I cannot give you commandments. My talks are just exactly that, only talks. I am grateful to you, that you listen to me; to accept what I say or not to accept it is your business. To listen to it, or not to listen to it, is your decision. Your individuality is in no way interfered with.
So the first thing in the organization is missing: the head is missing. And that is the most important thing; when the head is missing you won’t even call somebody alive. This organization has a totally different meaning. It is more literally concerned with the origin of the word: it comes from organ.
Your hand is your organ, your eyes are your organs, your legs are your organs; your whole body consists of millions of organs. Millions of cells are in the small skull, each a living organism. Who is controlling your body? Your body is an organization - who is controlling your body? Nobody. There is no one whose order is the law. It functions perfectly well; even when you are asleep it continues to function.