Why does man continue to live the way he lives – in misery, in agony, in suffering?
Man lives under a great hypnosis. Man lives under deep conditionings: the society has conditioned you, the state has conditioned you, the priest, the politician, the culture, the religion, the church – all their investments are there in your deep sleep. They don’t want you to be awake. Once humanity is awake, there can be no politician possible. Once humanity is awake, there can be no priest possible. Once humanity is awake, temples, churches, religions, will disappear from the earth. This whole exploitation is possible because man lives in sleep. The exploitation is possible because man is miserable – only a miserable humanity can be exploited.
It is a vicious circle: only a miserable man can be exploited, and when you exploit him he becomes more miserable. When he is more miserable you can exploit him even more – and so on and so forth.
A happy man is a rebellious man. Happiness is tremendous rebellion. No society has yet been capable of allowing people to be happy – it is dangerous, too dangerous. How can you send people to war if they are happy? How can you teach them foolish things like Nazism, communism, fascism, nationalism? If people are happy they will laugh at your foolishness, at all your ideologies – they will take them as jokes, they won’t take them seriously. They will laugh at the very idea that somebody can be a Christian, somebody can be a Hindu and somebody can be a Mohammedan, and that then they can fight for centuries and kill each other.
Gurdjieff used to love a parable. It is of tremendous significance. Meditate over the parable.
There was a rich magician who had a great many sheep. He did not want to hire shepherds, nor did he want to erect a fence about the pasture where his sheep were grazing – he was very miserly and very mean. The sheep consequently often wandered into the forest, fell into ravines, and so on; and above all, they ran away – for they knew that the magician wanted their flesh and skins, and this they did not like.