“Listen, what’s with you guys?” he complained to his sergeant. “Here I come halfway around the world to help you out and I’m practically ignored. What must an American do to get accepted in this army?”
The sergeant eyed the muscular young giant, glanced around somewhat furtively so that he might not be overheard, and then, in a voice that was almost a whisper, he said, “Confidentially and off the record, if you really want to be one of us, there are three things you must do.”
“Name them,” said Rabinowitz.
“First,” explained the sergeant, “You must drink down a whole quart of our strongest Mount Carmel wine without stopping for a breath. Second, you must kill an Arab army officer. Third, you must make love to an Israeli beauty.”
So Howard Rabinowitz chug-a-lugged a whole quart of Mount Carmel wine without stopping.
“Now,” he demanded, “where can I find an Arab officer?”
“Right across the Suez Canal,” said the sergeant. “I’m afraid you’ll have to swim both ways – that is, if you’re still alive.”
“I’ll be alive,” promised the American as he lurched off. “Hell, I was the roughest, toughest, biggest guy on the East Side. What’s a little adventure like this?”
A few hours later he returned, soaking wet from his return swim, his clothes torn and his face scratched and bloody.
“Okay, I took care of that Arab officer,” he roared. “Now, where’s that Israeli beauty you want killed?”
That’s exactly the situation of humanity. You don’t know who you are, you don’t know what you are doing, you don’t know why you are doing it in the first place. You don’t know, even if you succeed, what is the point of it all. But still you go on doing something. It keeps you engaged and keeps you unaware of your unawareness.
All your occupations are basically nothing but an effort to remain unaware of your unawareness – because it hurts. It hurts to know that “I am a zombie,” it hurts to know that “I am a slave.” So you go on bragging about your slavery as if it is something very precious and valuable. You go on bragging about your being Indian or Pakistani or Israeli or German or American. You go on bragging about your being Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jaina – and you don’t know you are bragging about your prisons!
It is as if two prisoners are talking: “My prison is better than your prison. Look at the flag! My prison has the best flag in the world, the highest pole. And never say a word against my prison; otherwise you will suffer for it, you will have to pay for it.”