The West has chosen the outside world and has to deny the inner world. Man is only a body. Physiology, biology, chemistry, but not a consciousness, not a soul; the soul is only an epiphenomenon. And because only the outside is considered to be real, it was possible for science to develop in the West. Technology, thousands of gadgets – possibilities to land on the moon, and the vast universe that surrounds you. But knowing all this, there has been a deep emptiness in the Western mind: something is missing.
It is difficult for the Western logic to pinpoint what is missing, but it is absolutely certain that something is missing. The house is full of guests but the host is missing. You have all the things of the world, but you are not. A tremendous misery is the outcome. You have all the pleasures, all the money, all that man has ever dreamt of and in the end of centuries of effort, suddenly you find you don’t exist. Your inside is hollow, there is nobody.
The East has also faced its own misery. Thinking that the outside is unreal, there is no possibility of scientific progress. Science has to be objective – but if objects are only appearances, illusions, there is no point in dissecting illusions and trying to find out the secrets of nature. Hence the East had to remain poor, had to remain hungry, had to remain under all kinds of slaveries for centuries.
These two thousand years of slavery are not just an accident. The East was prepared for it. It has accepted it – what does it matter, in a dream, whether you are a master or a slave? What does it matter if in dream you are being served with delicious food or you are hungry? The moment you wake up, both dreams will prove invalid. The East has consented to remain starved, hungry, enslaved, and the reason is that it has chosen a different gestalt: the real is the inner.
The East has learned ways to be silent, to be peaceful, to enjoy the bliss that arises as you drown deeper into your interiority. But you cannot share it with anybody else; it is absolutely individual. At the most you can talk about it. So the whole East for thousands of years has been talking about spirituality, consciousness, enlightenment, meditation, and on the outside has remained a beggar, sick, hungry, enslaved.
Who is going to listen to these slaves and their great philosophies? The West has simply laughed. But the laughter has not been only on one side. The East has also laughed, seeing that people are accumulating things and losing themselves.
We have lived in a very strange, schizophrenic state of mind for thousands of years.
You are saying, “In the West, celebration is associated with the American idea of having a good time.” That brings me to another implication. Only a miserable man needs a good time. Just as a sick man needs medicine, a miserable man needs a good time; it is a very cunning strategy to avoid your misery.
The misery is not avoided; you only forget for the time being that you are miserable. Under the influence of drugs or under the influence of sex or under the influence of your so-called having a good time, what are you actually doing? You are escaping from your inner emptiness. You are getting involved in any kind of thing. One thing you are afraid of is your own self.