But the vested interests, whether of money or of organized religions or of the rulers, all were agreed on one thing: man has to be weakened, made miserable, made afraid – has to be forced to live in a kind of paranoia. Only then will he kneel down on his knees before wooden or stone statues. Only then will he be ready to serve anybody who is powerful.
Laughter brings your energy back to you. Every fiber of your being becomes alive, and every cell of your being starts dancing. Zarathustra is right when he says that the greatest sin against man done on the earth is that he has been prohibited from laughing. The implications are deep, because when you are prohibited from laughing certainly you are prohibited from being joyous, you are prohibited from singing a song of celebration, you are prohibited from dancing just out of sheer blissfulness.
By prohibiting laughter, all that is beautiful in life, all that makes life livable and lovable, all that gives meaning to life is destroyed. It is the ugliest strategy used against man.
Seriousness is a sin. And remember, seriousness does not mean sincerity – sincerity is altogether a different phenomenon. A serious man cannot laugh, cannot dance, cannot play. He is always controlling himself; he has been brought up in such a way that he has become a jailer to himself. The sincere man can laugh sincerely, can dance sincerely, can rejoice sincerely. Sincerity has nothing to do with seriousness.
Seriousness is simply sickness of the soul, and only sick souls can be converted into slaves. And all the vested interests need a humanity which is not rebellious, which is very willing, almost begging, to be slaves.
Did he himself find on earth no reason for laughter? If so, he sought badly. Even a child could find reasons.
In fact, only children are found to be giggling and laughing; and the grown-ups think that because they are ignorant children they can be forgiven – they are as yet uncivilized, as yet primitive. The whole effort of parents, of society, of teachers, of priests is how to civilize them, how to make them serious, how to make them behave like slaves, not like independent individuals.
You are not supposed to have your own opinions. You just have to be a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan; you have to be a communist or a fascist or a socialist. You are not supposed to have your own opinions; you are not supposed to be yourself. You are allowed to be part of a crowd – and to be part of a crowd is nothing but becoming a cog in a wheel. You have committed suicide.
Zarathustra is asking, “Can’t you find anything on the earth that makes you laugh, that makes you dance, that makes you rejoice? Even children can find reasons.” But your mind has been filled with so many prejudices that your eyes are almost blind, your heart is almost dead; you have been turned into living corpses.