There was once a king who was thirsty. He did not quite know what the difficulty was, but he said, "My throat is dry."
Lackeys at once ran swiftly to find something suitable to alleviate the condition. They came back with lubricating oil. When the king drank it, his throat did not feel dry any more, but he knew that something was not right. The oil produced a curious sensation in his mouth. He croaked, "My tongue feels awful, and there is a curious taste. It is slippery…"
The doctor immediately prescribed pickles and vinegar – which the king ate.
Soon he had stomach-ache and watering eyes to add to his sorrows.
"I think I must be thirsty," he mumbled, for his sufferings had made him do some thinking.
"Thirst never made the eyes water," said the courtiers to one another.
But kings are often capricious, and they ran to fetch rose water, and scented syrupy wines fit for a king.
The king drank it all, but still felt no better – and his digestion was ruined.
A wise man happened along in the middle of this crisis, and he said, "His majesty needs ordinary water."
"A king could never drink common water," shouted the court in unison.
"Of course not," said the king. "and, in fact, I feel quite insulted – both as a king being offered plain water, and also as a patient. After all, it must be impossible that such a dreadful and daily more complicated ailment as mine could have such a simple remedy. Such a concept is contrary to logic, a disgrace to its originator, and an affront to the sick."
That is how the wise man came to be renamed “The Idiot.”
Man is always in crisis. Man is crisis…constant. It is not accidental, it is essential. Man’s very being consists of crisis, hence the anxiety, the tension, the anguish. Man is the only animal who grows, who moves, who becomes. Man is the only animal who is not born complete, who is not born closed, who is not born like a thing; who is born like a process. Man is open. His being consists in becoming. That is the crisis. The more he becomes the more he is.
Man cannot take himself for granted, otherwise one stagnates and vegetates. Life disappears. Life remains only when you are moving from one place to another place. Life is that movement between two places. You can’t be alive at one place – that’s the difference between a dead thing and an alive phenomenon. A dead thing remains in one place; it is static. The alive thing moves – not only moves, leaps, jumps. The dead thing remains always in the known. The alive phenomenon goes on moving from the known towards the unknown, from the familiar towards the unfamiliar. This is the crisis. Man is the most alive.
You have to go on moving. The movement creates problems because the movement means you have to go on dying to that which you know. You have to go on dying to the past, which is familiar, which is comfortable, which is cozy. You have lived it, you have become skillful about it, you have learned much about it; now there is no danger in it. It fits with you, you fit with it. But man has to move, man has to go on the adventure. You are a man only when you go continuously on that adventure – from the known to the unknown.