Chapter 15: I Am Not a Prophet
I see you use the word coexistence. It has become political, indeed, but you are saying that you coexist in the sense that you have to live with these people, so you tolerate it; and you’re saying that you would rather enjoy living with these people. Do I interpret you correctly?
Tolerance is an ugly word. To tolerate means you have already humiliated the other person, you are already higher, holier, more understanding. The people who talk about tolerance are the most intolerant people. I never tolerate; either I accept, or I simply forget all about the person. Why should I tolerate? He has the right to be himself, I have the right to be myself: there is no need for any tolerance. And they are hostile, we are not hostile. So we enjoy their hostility; that is the only entertainment in this desert.
But it’s no longer a desert, as we have seen.
We will change it into an oasis ( are changing.
But don’t you think that a lot of people would misunderstand what you’ve said about tolerance, who haven’t the benefit of sitting here and thinking it over, and discussing it and exploring the idea? They see it in print, and they have been taught all their lives in democracies, that tolerance is a good thing, that one should tolerate because otherwise the alternative is hostility, possibly leading to violence.
No, that is not the only alternative, they are wrong. Just listen to the sound of the word tolerance: there is hostility in it. Already you have accepted that there is no possibility of friendship, there is no possibility of being together lovingly. Tolerance simply means somehow to live and let them live. It is not a beautiful word, it is certainly ugly. There is no need for tolerance if there is no hostility, it is simply to cover up hostility. We don’t tolerate anybody, because we are not hostile in the first place. For example, Jesus says, “Love your enemies,” but that means first you have to create enemies; otherwise, how are you going to love your enemies?