Chapter 15: The Logic of the Ostrich
He said, “That is my only hope, and I don’t want to get disillusioned so soon. If it is not in that pocket, then it is not anywhere, so I am saving that pocket; I am not going to look in it.”
People become closed. Perhaps they are afraid that there may be better philosophies - the world is big - and there are; there may be sweeter languages, and there are; there may be better literature, and there is. It is better to keep your eyes closed so you can remain self-satisfied that you have the best in the world.
This is called the logic of the ostrich: seeing the enemy the ostrich immediately puts his head deep into the sand. He cannot see the enemy anywhere because in the sand his eyes are closed. Naturally, if there is no enemy.
I feel that the French people are ostriches. Somebody needs to pull their heads out of the sand and tell them that the world is big: “Jean-Paul Sartre is not the only philosopher, your painters are not the only painters, and your musicians are not the only musicians!”
The world is one and we should not keep apart. We should not create citadels around us; they are dangerous. They give you strange egoistic feelings and don’t allow you to mix with the human beings around you.
I have heard that a Frenchman, even if he understands English, will pretend that he does not understand. Even if he can speak English, he will speak French; he will not speak English.
This is something inhuman. It does not show the superiority of your language; it simply shows your egoistic idea.
Your language may be superior, but speak it, spread it, exchange it with people. Let others also enjoy your literature, your music, your language, your philosophy. But that is possible only if you start enjoying other people’s literature, and other people’s philosophies. They all have their own dimensions, and life is so vast that nobody can be exhaustive.
There is something which only Chuang Tzu has, but he is Chinese.
There is something which only Dostoevsky has, but he is Russian.
There is something which only Jean-Paul Sartre has, but he is French.
There is something only Nagarjuna has, but he is Indian.
And there is something which only Basho has, but he is Japanese.
They all are unique, incomparable.
All languages have their own different qualities, and all people have contributed to life.
But the French have lived in isolation. That isolation should be broken; it will be helpful for the whole world, and it will be helpful for the French people too. I am coming to try my best.
What do you think of socialism in France and of the president, Mitterand?