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Chapter 4: The Taste of Peace

I received - I could never have conceived it - I received a letter from the American Nazi party. Can you think that in America there is a Nazi party? I got the letter from the president of the party, and he was very angry, “Because,” he said, “you have been continually speaking against Adolf Hitler; and it hurts our religious feelings.” Even I was excited! This is really great: “religious feelings”?

And later on his letter said, “Perhaps you do not know that he was the reincarnation of the Old Testament prophet, Elijah. Soon he will come to deliver humanity from all misery and suffering.”

I can understand this man, his party. Their lives have become flat, they are ready even to make Adolf Hitler a religious prophet. They are ready to do anything, but excitement is needed. After each ten or fifteen years the flatness becomes so thick in everybody’s mind that a war becomes a certainty. Any excuse will do.

Forty years have passed since the second world war. This is the longest period. The credit does not go to you, the credit goes to the nuclear weapons, because both the parties which are capable of fighting, the Soviet Union and America, are afraid. They know perfectly well nobody is going to win, that everybody is going to be finished forever. The whole of life on the earth is going to disappear.

It does not matter who starts the war, the other party will start only ten minutes later. So anybody can start, it does not matter. The other party will be only ten minutes late, and in ten minutes you cannot be victorious. You can destroy a few cities, but you cannot be victorious. Your missiles are aiming at Moscow; their missiles are aiming at New York, Washington, San Francisco - just a push-button game.

They are frozen out of fear, that’s why forty years have passed. And I know that unless the war begins accidentally, the third world war is almost impossible. It is very close, any moment it can happen, but it will be just an accident: some technological defect, some scientist getting nagged too much by his wife, some politician losing his power, his grip, some country wanting to have the attention of the whole world, some crackpot somewhere. There are so many crackpots, and most of them are in politics.

Pots without cracks don’t go into politics; they have other, useful things to do. A crackpot is of no use. That’s why politics is the only profession in the world where no qualification is needed. Everybody is perfectly qualified.

Now there is so much power in the hands of the politicians that they themselves are afraid. They would like to win the war, but it is impossible; both the parties are equally balanced. And the war is not going to be between two countries; nuclear weapons will spread it all over the world. Perhaps within twenty-four hours all life on earth will disappear. This is frightening. That’s why the war has not happened, and perhaps may not happen. But it is always very close; anything can go wrong.

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