Chapter 9: Your Children Are Not Your Children
If you ask a great philosopher like Martin Heidegger or Jean-Paul Sartre or Emmanuel Kant about children, they will laugh. They will say, “We are philosophers and we are not interested in trivia. Children? - is this a philosophical question? Marriage? - is this a philosophical question?” Just look in the contents of the great philosophical treatises of the world and you will not find love, marriage, children, there.
But I say to you, all those great treatises are just escapes from the realities of life. Emmanuel Kant is interested in the existence of God but is unable to love anyone. He was not a friend to anyone. These are small things, and these people are great philosophers. But I repeat again: they are cowards.
A woman asked Emmanuel Kant. She had waited long, because it is not the way of the woman’s heart to take the initiative, it looks ungraceful. But life is short. You cannot wait too long. And youth is even shorter, and beauty is just a flower that blossoms in the morning and is withered by the evening. Finally the woman - against feminine nature, against herself - said to Emmanuel Kant: “I love you. Do you love me? Just a small yes and I can wait for my whole life.”
But Emmanuel Kant could not say yes. He said, “First I have to think about it.” It took him three years to consult all the books of different races, countries, of different centuries, to collect data about marriage - for and against. And he was very puzzled because they were all balanced. There were reasons in favor of marriage and there were reasons against marriage and their weight was equal.
His servant - he lived his whole life with a servant - had been watching those three years. He said, “Listen to me: I am not a philosopher, I am a poor man, your servant, and it is none of my business, but there is a limit. I have been repressing my temptation to say something to you and today I have decided to say it.
“When you went to university, I looked into your notes for and against marriage. They are equal; hence you cannot take any decision. Just one thing I want to say to you: that is, that you have not experienced love. And all these arguments are impotent, they cannot give you any experience. My humble suggestion is, when both sides are equally weighty and decision is difficult, always decide for yes because that is opening a door to experience. No will close the door to experience.”
Emmanuel Kant could not believe that this thought had never occurred to him. He rushed, knocked on the woman’s door. An old man came out. He introduced himself: “I am Emmanuel Kant and perhaps you are the father of the woman. I have come to say yes.”
The old man said, “It is too late. She is already married and she has two children. Go and knock on some other door.”