Questions from “The International Yearbook”, Switzerland
Switzerland is a rich and beautiful country, but there are so many people suffering for many reasons, and they even enjoy this. Why can’t they use their freedom and prosperity to be happy?
Humanity can be divided into two parts: the first is sadist, the second is masochist. The sadist enjoys torturing others; the masochist enjoys torturing himself.
This is a very ugly situation, but for centuries we have been cultivating this split. The people who are masochists have become great saints. Their only quality, their only genius, was that they tortured themselves. It was thought and propagated by the religions of the world that to torture oneself is the way to God. There is no logic in it because why, if there is any God, would he like his children to torture themselves? – unless he himself is a sadist and enjoys people being tortured by others or by themselves.
These philosophies of masochism have been predominant. The people who had no other talents, no other creative possibilities, easily chose to torture themselves – fast, beat yourself, find out new ways of torturing, sleep on a bed of thorns, renounce everything that is pleasant, remain naked when it is too cold, cover yourself with a blanket when it is too hot. Certainly these people were very inventive, but because it was associated with spirituality by a certain fake logic…the person who tortures himself in this world is passing through a fire test of his trust in God.
Jesus belongs to these masochists. Mahavira in India belongs to these masochists. And thousands of saints were only famous because there was no competing with them; they were far ahead in torturing themselves in every possible way. People were cutting their genitals, women were cutting their breasts – and religions were supporting it. Naturally these people were miserable, but misery became now a kind of investment. You be miserable here and all the pleasures of paradise will be yours forever. The misery is only for one life; the reward is for eternity.
The others who worshipped these masochists were sadists; they enjoyed people torturing themselves. They worshipped a person more if he tortured more; if he fasted for months, he became a great saint. If he became just a skeleton, millions came to worship him, but their psychological joy was seeing somebody torture himself. And, of course, they fitted together perfectly.
The sadists became disciples, followers; and the masochists became prophets, messiahs, saviors – and they were complementary to each other. And nobody thought that this is a very sick psychology.