I went to the vice-chancellor and I told him the whole thing. I said, “This is sheer dishonesty, because first he criticized those who have really written books. And seeing his attitude – that he criticizes everybody, I suspected that he had not read them, but was just trying to show that he is so well-read, so wise, so intelligent. So I tried a few fictitious names and he criticized them also. He said: ‘There is nothing in those books. Those writers know nothing.’” And I said, “Those writers don’t exist. Those books don’t exist!”
The vice-chancellor said, “This is strange. I used to think that man was a responsible man.”
I said, “Call him in sometime, and I will drop in casually, by the way.” I wrote down three or four names of books which don’t exist, have never existed and will never exist, with writers who are just fictitious. I gave those names to the vice-chancellor and I told him, “I will come when he is here and we will talk, and just by the way you bring up these names and see what his reaction is.”
And he brought up those names and the professor immediately said, “Don’t waste time. Those are all ordinary, mediocre writers, and the books they have written have nothing original in them.”
The vice-chancellor could not believe his eyes. He said, “Do you know that these four books do not exist at all? Neither have these four men ever existed. Why are you criticizing them?”
And before the vice-chancellor, he became afraid. He said, “Never existed? How did I get the idea that…”
I said, “Don’t try to befool anybody, because I have been asking you about other books which have not existed. This was only proof. I wanted to show the vice-chancellor that a professor should at least be sincere enough to acknowledge that he has not read a particular book.”
I said to the vice-chancellor, “What kind of respect does this man want from us? My feeling is that he has not read anything; he has simply read Turgenev’s story, The Fool.”
I had brought the book, and I read the story to the vice-chancellor. And I said, “This man is the idiot from this story. You should make him alert that if it happens again in the class, we are going to boycott him completely. Either he will have to find the book and prove…he never even goes to the library!”
I had looked into all the records before I went to the vice-chancellor. The professor had never been to the library. Under his name – and he had been in the university for ten years – not a single book was issued. And this man was ready to criticize anybody.
I said, “A wise man, an intelligent man is always humble.”
Your question about why we are so ready to criticize, to complain is very simple. The psychology behind it is that this is the simplest way, the cheapest way to prove that you are somebody special, that you know more. But in fact you are simply proving that you are the idiot of Turgenev and nobody else.