Chapter 4: The Taste of Peace
People are carrying their transistors glued to their ears not to miss a single bit of information. Life is no longer flat, there is excitement, because every moment something new is happening - victory or defeat, something is happening. You can look forward to some news. When there is no war, then tomorrow’s newspaper will be carrying exactly the same as today’s news.
I used to live in a place.just in front of my house lived the family of a doctor. The doctor was thought to be a little crazy; still, he was a good doctor. People used to come to him, knowing perfectly well that he was a little crazy - but as far as his profession was concerned he was perfectly sane. He used to come every day in the early morning to my house, to read all the newspapers and magazines available there. He would come and ask for the latest newspaper.
One day I gave him a newspaper of the same date but from the year before. And he enjoyed it, he loved it. He said he had never expected these things to happen, because they didn’t seem to be connected with yesterday’s newspaper.
I said, “Now that I know that, every day you will be excited.”
He said, “But how did you do it?”
I said, “This newspaper is one year old.”
He said, “My God! If reading old newspapers makes you so excited, why have you been keeping it a secret from me? Sometimes I used to wonder why you go on collecting old newspapers, magazines. Now I know! Now I don’t care whether today’s newspaper comes or not. There are so many piled up in your room. I can pull one out from anywhere, and it will be exciting.”
People are excited with something that is unexpected. Politicians rule over you because they provide excitement. Wars have been condemned for centuries but nobody listens, because everybody knows that a long peace will be so flat - people will start committing suicide, there is nothing happening.
Just think of one year.no news happens. You just go on waiting and waiting and waiting. Then finally you decide to create news yourself: you commit suicide or you murder somebody. Something has to be done to break this peace.
In one of the dramas of an existentialist philosopher, a man is brought before the court because he has killed a stranger, someone whom he had never known before. He had not even seen the man’s face. The man was sitting on the beach looking at the sea, and this fellow came from behind with a big dagger and pushed it into his back.
He had never seen that man before; he did not even see him while he was murdering him. What could be the cause? - because that stranger was absolutely innocent.
The man was, of course, caught and presented before a court. The judge was also puzzled. He inquired of a few witnesses, “Is this man mad?”
They said, “No. In our neighborhood, this is the most rational and sane man.” The judge was trying to find out something in his past which could make some sense of this act which he had done.