The rebel is one who lives according to his own light, moves according to his own intelligence. He creates his path by walking on it, he does not follow the crowd on the superhighway.
His life is dangerous – but a life that is not dangerous is not life at all. He accepts the challenge of the unknown. He does not meet the unknown that is coming in the future, prepared by the past. That creates the whole anguish of humanity; the past prepares you, and the future is never going to be the past. Your yesterday is never going to be your tomorrow.
But up to now this is how man has lived: your yesterdays prepare you for your tomorrows. The very preparation becomes a hindrance. You cannot breathe freely, you cannot love freely, you cannot dance freely – the past has crippled you in every possible way. The burden of the past is so heavy that everybody is crushed under it.
The rebel simply says goodbye to the past.
It is a constant process; hence, to be a rebel means to be continuously in rebellion – because each moment is going to become past; every day is going to become past. It is not that the past is already in the graveyard – you are moving through it every moment. Hence, the rebel has to learn a new art: the art of dying to each moment that has passed, so that he can live freely in the new moment that has come.
A rebel is a continuous process of rebellion; he is not static. And that is where I make a distinction between the revolutionary and the rebel.
The revolutionary is also conditioned by the past. He may not be conditioned by Jesus Christ or Gautam Buddha, but he is conditioned by Karl Marx or Mao Zedong or Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini…it does not matter who conditions him. The revolutionary has his own holy bible – Das Kapital; his holy land – the Soviet Union; his own mecca – in the Kremlin…and just like any other religious person, he is not living according to his own consciousness. He is living according to a conscience created by others.
Hence, the revolutionary is nothing but a reactionary. He may be against a certain society, but he is always for another society. He may be against one culture, but he is immediately ready for another culture. He only goes on moving from one prison into another prison – from Christianity to communism; from one religion to another religion – from Hinduism to Christianity. He changes his prisons.
The rebel simply moves out of the past and never allows the past to dominate him. It is a constant, continuous process. The whole life of the rebel is a fire that burns. To the very last breath he is fresh, he is young. He will not respond to any situation according to his past experience; he will respond to every situation according to his present consciousness.