This strangeness about oneself, this ignorance about oneself, if felt deeply creates in existentialist terms a nausea. One starts feeling nauseous. One is here, one is going somewhere, one is coming from somewhere…there seems to be no meaning in all this. And there are so many worries, so much suffering, so much anguish to go through for what?
Existentialism is a negative philosophy. But the modern man needs it, just as a shock. Existentialist ideas cannot be fulfilling; they cannot remove the nausea, they can only deepen it. They cannot destroy your alienation, they can only make it sharper. They cannot take away meaninglessness from your life, they can only write it in bold letters. They can surround you with a feeling of sickness. If death is the end, then life is nothing but sickness – sickness unto death. But existentialism can help intelligent people not to be satisfied with nausea, but to inquire.
There have been people who have found themselves. Their serenity is a proof of it, their fragrance is evidence of it, their rejoicing is an argument which cannot be refuted. A Gautam Buddha, a Zarathustra, a Chuang Tzu, a Bodhidharma – nobody can deny their grace. Nobody can deny that these people have gone beyond worries, beyond anxiety.
These people have found something which fills their life with songs of joy. They have found some treasure which is inexhaustible and makes them dance in utter gratitude. Their very presence has convinced millions of people that life need not be a sickness unto death; on the contrary life can become such a dance that death becomes the ultimate culmination of the dance. Life can be transformed so deeply that even death disappears as darkness and becomes a dawn, that even death is no more an end but a new beginning.
Existentialism has paralyzed immensely, terribly, the intelligentsia of the Western world. The impact of the existentialists has been great. And the conclusion of their philosophy is nothing but suicide, which can relieve you from all nausea, all alienation, all meaninglessness, all anguish, all suffering.
There has never been such a negative philosophy in the whole history of man. There have been atheists, who denied God, but they denied God to support life. They denied God so man can be absolutely free, without anybody dominating him and dictating to him and giving him commandments. Atheists were humanitarians; they raised man as the highest value. To the theists they looked negative because they were negating God, but nobody has seen that they were affirming life.
In fact, compared to atheists the theists are negative, because they deny life, they negate life, they teach people to renounce life for a fictitious god, for a hypothetical god for which they don’t have any proof, any argument. But theists have been thought of as positive thinkers, and atheists as negative thinkers. This evaluation is totally wrong, according to me. Atheists are very positive; theists are absolutely negative.