America has been likened to Rome prior to its fall. Is it appropriate to see the fall of these two powers as being connected to the predominance of Christianity at the time?
History has moved, up to now, in circles. That is what is meant when it is said that history repeats itself. It need not be so, it should not be so, but unfortunately it has been so up to now.
There is a certain law behind this phenomenon of history moving in circles. I call it the law of mediocrity, because anybody who has any intelligence could have seen that we have been making the same kind of mistakes again and again and again. The mistakes are the same, the situations are the same. It is unbelievable how mediocre the human mind is.
First let me explain to you the law of mediocrity. I have said to you that religion comes into existence only when a society reaches the peaks of luxury.
Religion is the ultimate expression of all luxuries.
It is simple to understand and obvious. There are physical needs which should be fulfilled first, because without the body the soul may melt and merge into the cosmos, but it cannot live on the earth.
Jesus says man cannot live by bread alone. This is only half of the truth – and remember, half-truths are more dangerous than complete lies. At least they are complete, and because they are lies, sooner or later they will be found out. But the half-truth is dangerous because in the first place it is half, and truth cannot be half, just as a circle cannot be half.
You cannot say, “This is a half-circle.” Circle means complete. If it is half then it is only an arc, not a circle; it is just part of a circle. It will only be a circle when it is complete. The half-truth is dangerous in the first place because the truth can only be when it is total, whole, it cannot be half. But because it pretends to be the truth, you will not be able to detect it as a lie either.
The half-truth has some fragment, it may be an arc only, but still it is part of the circle. It is not a circle but it is part of a circle. In some way it is a fragment of truth. That fragmentariness is very deceptive. You can go on believing in it for centuries.
Jesus says, man cannot live by bread alone. It is a half-truth. It will be whole only when the other half is also added to it. Yes, it is true man cannot live by bread alone, but it is even more true that man cannot live without bread either. In fact, man may be able to live without music, art, religion, literature, science, but man cannot live without bread. Bread is a basic necessity.