Chapter 63: Start Creating Yourself
This will not happen to animals: in the right moment they will start functioning. They will become sexual; they will move towards the opposite sex - that is instinctive, mechanical. With man nothing is mechanical. If you don’t teach a human child language, he will not learn it. If you don’t teach it, he is not going to have it. It is not natural; there is no instinct for it. Whatsoever you are is because of your learning. Man is less nature and more culture. Animals are simply nature.
Man is less natural and more cultural, but one dimension, the basic and the most foundational, remains uncultured - that is the dimension of being alive. You take it as if you already have it; it is taken for granted - that is wrong. You don’t know how to live, because just to breathe is not synonymous with living. Just to eat and sleep and just carry on the bodily affairs is not synonymous with living. You are existing, that’s right, but you re not alive.
A buddha is alive, not simply existing. That aliveness can come only if you learn it, if you become aware of it, and if you search for it and if you create situations in which it can evolve. Remember this: for man, mechanical evolution is not. Conscious evolution has taken place, and now you cannot do anything about it - you have to move into conscious evolution. You cannot fall back. You can stick where you are - then you will get bored.
That’s what is happening. You are not moving. You go on accumulating physical things, so things are moving, not you. Your riches go on accumulating, they are growing - your bank balance is growing, not you. You are not increasing at all. On the contrary, you may be shrinking, decreasing, but you are not increasing. Unless you do something consciously, you are lost. A conscious effort is needed. It is not asked from the animals because they are not responsible. So you have to understand one very basic thing: with freedom comes responsibility. And you can be free only if you are responsible.
Animals are not responsible, but they are also not free. They are not free; they have to follow a particular pattern. They are happy because nothing can go wrong. They are following a predetermined course: they are following a pattern which has been worked out in millennia, in centuries of evolution. It has been worked out and found correct. They are following that. There is no possibility of going wrong.
There is every possibility for you to go wrong, because there is no plan, there is no map, there is no pattern. Your life ahead is not charted. You are free. But then a great responsibility falls on you, and that responsibility is to choose rightly, to work rightly, and to create your future through your effort. Really, the human being has to create himself through his own effort.
What existentialists in the west say is true. They say man is born without an essence, or you can say without a soul. Sartre, Marcel, Heidegger, they say that man is born without an essence. He is born as an existence, and then through his own effort he creates the essence. He is born only as a possibility, and then through his own effort he creates the soul. He is born only as a form, and then through his own conscious effort he creates the substance.