Chapter 5: Carnival
But respectability is not life. Respectability is very poisonous. A really alive man does not bother about respectability. He lives; he lives authentically. What others think is not a consideration at all. Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, “Don’t consider. Remember, never consider others, because it is out of consideration for the others that the ego arises in you. It has to be cut, root and all.”
Once the child starts getting fixed he has a self. This self is a manufactured thing. It is a social by-product. You don’t really have it, you only believe it. It is a belief, and the most dangerous belief of all. In reality there is no self, in reality it cannot happen - because we are not separate from existence, we are joined together into one universe. That is the meaning of the word universe - it is one. It is not a multiverse, it is a universe. It is all one; in death, in life, in birth, in love, in hate, we are all one. We pulsate together.
The breath that I am taking in has come from you. Just a moment ago it was your breath, now it is my breath. A moment later it will not be mine again, it will be somebody else’s. You cannot even claim your breath - that this is mine. It moves.
We live in a sea of life. We live into each other. What belongs to you can belong to me, what belongs to me can belong to you. Just a moment before I started speaking, something was in me; now I am pouring it into you and it will become yours. It will become your consciousness, it will become your memory, it will become your mind, it will be completely yours. Once a thought has been heard, understood, it is yours. Then it is no longer mine. We are interlinked.
So the self is a false entity created by the society for its own purposes. If you understand the purposes you can go on playing the role but you will not be befooled by it. The purpose is that everybody needs an identity card otherwise things will become very difficult. Everybody needs a name, everybody needs a certain address, everybody needs an identity card, a passport, otherwise things will become very difficult. How to call somebody? How to address somebody? These are utilitarian things - they are needed, certainly needed, but they have no truth in them. They are arrangements.
We call a certain flower “rose.” That is not its name - it has no name - but we have to call it that otherwise it will be difficult to make a distinction between a rose and a lotus. And if you want a rose it will be difficult to say what you want.
These are necessities. Yes, you need a certain name, a certain label, but you are not the label or the name. This awareness has to arise in you - that you are not your name, that you are not your form, that you are neither a Hindu nor a Christian nor an Indian nor Chinese, that you don’t belong to anybody, to any sect, to any organization, that the whole belongs to you and you belong to the whole. Nothing less can be true. With this understanding your ego starts becoming looser and looser and looser and one day you know that you can use it but you are not used by it.