Have you observed something of immense value that whenever a poet, a novelist or a scientist gets the Nobel Prize, immediately after that his creativity declines? No Nobel laureate has been able to produce anything valuable compared to the things that he created before he received it. What happens? Now you have attained the goal of the ego, there is no further to go, so there is no more need to adjust to people. Once a book becomes famous the author dies.
That’s what happened with Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. That’s what happened with Rabindranath’s Gitanjali. And that is almost the rule, not the exception. Once you are famous you stop compromising. For what? You are already famous. And when you stop compromising, people start neglecting you, ignoring you. Your whole creativity was rooted in the desire of the ego; now the ego feels at rest, all creativity disappears.
This is the situation in which ninety-nine point nine percent of people live. You know only one kind of witness – the other. And the other is always anxiety-creating.
Jean-Paul Sartre rightly says, “The other is hell.” The other does not allow you to relax. Why do you feel so relaxed in your bathroom, in your bathtub? – because the other is not there. But relaxing in your bathtub, if you suddenly become aware that somebody is looking at you through the keyhole, suddenly all relaxation disappears. Again you are tense. You are being watched.
To create fear in people, down the ages, the priests have been telling you that God is constantly watching you – constantly watching you, day in and day out. You may be asleep; he never sleeps, he goes on sitting by the bed and watching. He not only watches you, he watches your dreams and your thoughts too. You are not only going to be punished for your acts, but for your dreams, for your thoughts, your desires , your feelings.
The priests created great fear in people. Just think of God watching continuously. No moment, not even a single moment, is allowed when you can be yourself. That was a great strategy for reducing people to things.
Why do we hanker for the attention of others? – because as we are, we are hollow. As we are, we are not. As we are, we don’t have a center of being. We are just noise, a crowd, a house full of servants quarreling with each other because the master is absent or fast asleep. We hanker for other people’s attention so that we can create a pseudo-center. If the real is missing, at least we can depend on a pseudo-center. It will give you an appearance of togetherness, it will make you a person. You are not an individual – individuality is the fragrance of a really centered being, one who knows who he is.
But if you are not an individual, then at least you can be a person, you can attain personality. And personality has to be begged for. Individuality is your innermost growth. It is a growth; you need not beg for it from anybody else, and nobody can give it to you. Individuality is your unfoldment. But personality can be begged for, people can give it to you – in fact, only other people can give it to you.