While he ponders on this, the tight-rope walker begins his act – walking across a rope suspended high above the people in the market square, between two towers.
When he reaches the midpoint, suddenly a figure dressed as a buffoon appears from one of the towers and proceeds to follow the tight-rope walker, shouting out and abusing him. He makes to jump over the tight-rope walker, who loses his balance and falls, landing quite close to where Zarathustra is standing.
Zarathustra stays with the dying man long after evening has come and the crowd disappeared. Later in the night the man dies, and Zarathustra determines to leave the town, and bury the body with his own hands. He meets with the buffoon, who tells him he is hated in the town; that it is good that he is leaving; and with some gravediggers, who make fun of his carrying a corpse.
He has done no harm to the people; but to tell the truth has always been an invitation for people to hate you. Nobody wants to know the truth, because it shatters their lies – and their whole life consists of lies; it is based on lies.
Every child is fed all kinds of lies with the mother’s milk. Naturally the man of truth is going to be hated. He is a disturber. You are feeling very comfortable with your lies, and suddenly he comes and creates doubts in you, disturbs your faith. You lose the old confidence – it is natural that you will hate this man.
P. D. Ouspensky, one of George Gurdjieff’s best disciples, who made Gurdjieff known all over the world, otherwise Gurdjieff would have died absolutely unknown…perhaps known to a few people. He wrote a book, In Search of the Miraculous, and dedicated the book to George Gurdjieff. The dedication is beautiful. The book is about Gurdjieff’s teachings; its subtitle is Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. In the dedication he says, “To George Gurdjieff, the disturber of my sleep.”
But it is very difficult not to hate these kind of people, who disturb your sleep, your comfortable lies, your convenient lies, your consolations.
The buffoon and a few gravediggers laugh at him. They have always laughed. Whatever they cannot understand…they cannot even accept the fact that they have not understood it, because that will show their ignorance. By laughing, they are pretending that they understand everything. You are simply being stupid, talking of things which go against the tradition, against the orthodoxy, against conventions. You are simply being stupid, telling people things which are going to disturb their comfortable life.
Is it a comfortable life?, or a comfortable death? Is it sleep that these people like Zarathustra disturb?, or is it your death? – because sleep is a miniature death. The man of truth wants you not only to be disturbed in your sleep, but to be disturbed in your death. Only disturbance may wake you up.
But people love convenience. Who cares about truth or lies? Very few people are interested in knowing the truth, at the cost of losing their old comfort. And you cannot blame them either, because they don’t know that comfort is not blissfulness, that convenience is not ecstasy, that somehow just to drag yourself from the cradle to the grave is not life.