Now a man who has lived there for seventy years must be nearabout a hundred years old. His whole life experience is confined to a small cave. He cannot come out of it; he is chained and tethered to the cave wall. He cannot even move out of the cave just to see the sky or the stars or the moon. Naturally, such a person will be afraid to go back into the world after seventy years.
Almost everybody he used to know must either be dead by now, or where is he going to find these people he used to know? Their names have faded away, their faces have faded away: a faraway seventy long years…. And who knows if they will recognize him? If he cannot remember them, who is going to recognize him? – a man condemned to be in prison for life. And what will he do? From where will he get his food and his clothes, and where will he sleep? He will need a shelter too.
And now to work, to earn is almost a forgotten language…and at this age – old, sick, tattered – who is going to give him work or employment? Anyway, even ordinary prisoners who have been in prison for a few months don’t easily get any employment. Who is going to trust a man who has been seventy years in jail? It is too risky.
Here everything is comfortable. It may look uncomfortable to an outsider, but for a man who has lived in the cave for seventy years, it may have been uncomfortable in the beginning for a few days, a few months, but man has a tremendous capacity of adaptability. In any situation, if you force him, he will start adapting to the situation.
And seventy years or fifty years is a long time: half a century. And now that he has started feeling perfectly cozy, comfortable: no worry about bread, no worry about tomorrow, no worry about anything…. He has forgotten the names of his children, he has forgotten who used to be his wife, and what happened to all those people. No, he does not want to go out.
The revolutionaries could not believe it. “We are giving you freedom and you are as scared as if we are going to kill you.”
And those prisoners said, “That’s exactly what we are feeling: that you are going to kill us. We are perfectly happy here. Just excuse us. We cannot fulfill your expectations. It is too late.”
But revolutionaries are stubborn people. They did not listen to the prisoners. They cut their chains, they cut their handcuffs, they forced them out with the same violence with which they had one day been forced in. Against their will they had been brought in; against their will they were brought out.
Many of them could not even open their eyes because the light was too much. Their eyes had become too weak, too delicate. Living in darkness, their eyes were no longer capable of opening in the sunlight. Many of them had forgotten how to walk. But the revolutionaries were adamant: they did not listen to their cries. They had tears, but revolutionaries are revolutionaries. They forced them, almost three thousand prisoners, out of the Bastille.