And man is so foolish that if everybody else is also as much poor as you are you feel more at ease; you don’t feel jealous. The whole idea of socialism has arisen out of jealousy. It has nothing to do with understanding man, his psychology, his growth, his ultimate flowering; it is rooted in jealousy. Few people become rich; those few people are targets of everybody else’s jealousy – they have to be pulled down. Not that you will become richer by pulling them down; you may become even more poor than before because those few people know how to create money. If they are destroyed you will lose all capacity to create richness.
That’s what has happened in Russia: the rich people have disappeared, but that has not made the whole society rich; everybody has become equally poor. Of course people feel happier in that way because there is nobody who is richer than them. Everybody is equally poor, all are beggars; it feels good. Somebody rising higher than you, and your ego is hurt.
People talk about equality, but something fundamental has to be understood: men are not psychologically equal. What can be done about it? Albert Einstein is not equal to any Tom, Harry, dick – he is not! You can sooner or later start equalizing people as far as intelligence is concerned; Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley are not equal to other people; they have a dimension of their own.
One thing I agree: that there should be freedom for everybody, and equal freedom for everybody, to be himself To put it more precisely: freedom means that everybody is free to be unequal! Equality and freedom cannot go together, they cannot coexist. If you choose equality, freedom has to be sacrificed and with freedom all is sacrificed. Religion is sacrificed; genius, the very possibility of genius, is sacrificed; man’s higher qualities are sacrificed. Everybody has to fit with the lowest denominator, only then you can be equal.
It is like you are going to climb a mountain – if all have to be equal, then the person who is the laziest will become the criterion; everybody has to move according to the laziest. The first will not be the criterion but the last. This will be a great calamity. If the last becomes the decisive factor, then what about those who are like Everest?
And my observation is that every individual is born with some specific talent, some specific genius to himself He may not be a poet like Shelley or Rabindranath, he may not be a painter like Picasso or Nandlal, he may not be a musician Like Beethoven or Ravi Shankar, but he must have something. That something has to be discovered. He has to be helped that he can discover what he has brought to the world as a gift from God.
Nobody comes without a gift; everybody brings a certain potential. But the idea of equality is dangerous, because the rose has to be the rose and the marigold has to be the marigold and the lotus has to be the lotus. If you start trying to make them equal then you will destroy all; the roses, the lotuses, the marigolds, all will be destroyed. You can succeed in creating plastic flowers which will be exactly equal to each other, but they will be dead.