Why should you bother about recognition? Bothering about recognition has meaning only if you don’t love your work; then it is meaningful, then it seems to substitute. You hate the work, you don’t like it, but you are doing it because there will be recognition; you will be appreciated, accepted. Rather than thinking about recognition, reconsider your work. Do you love it? – then that is the end. If you do not love it – then change it!
The parents, the teachers are always reinforcing that you should be recognized, you should be accepted. This is a very cunning strategy to keep people under control.
I was told again and again in my university, “You should stop doing these things…you go on asking questions which you know perfectly well cannot be answered, and which put the professor in an embarrassing situation. You have to stop it; otherwise these people will take revenge. They have power – they can fail you.”
I said, “I don’t bother about it. I am enjoying right now asking questions and making them feel ignorant. They are not courageous enough simply to say, ‘I do not know.’ Then there would be no embarrassment. But they want to pretend that they know everything. I am enjoying it; my intelligence is being sharpened. Who cares about examinations? They can fail me only when I appear in the examinations – who is going to appear? If they have that idea that they can fail me, I will not enter the examinations, and I will remain in the same class. They will have to pass me just out of fear that again for one year they will have to face me!”
And they all passed me, and helped me to pass, because they wanted to get rid of me. In their eyes I was also destroying other students, because other students started questioning things which have been accepted for centuries without any question.
While I was teaching in the university, the same thing came about from a different angle. Now I was asking the students questions to bring to their attention that all the knowledge that they have gathered is borrowed, and they know nothing. I told them that I don’t care about their degrees, I care about their authentic experience – and they don’t have any. They are simply repeating books which are out of date; long ago they have been proved wrong. Now the authorities of the university were threatening me, “If you continue in this way, harassing students, you will be thrown out of the university.”
I said, “This is strange – I was a student and I could not ask questions to the professors; now I am a professor and I cannot ask questions to the students! So what function is this university fulfilling? It should be a place where questions are asked, quests begin. Answers have to be found not in the books, but in life and in existence.”
I said, “You can throw me out of the university, but remember, these same students, because of whom you are throwing me out, will burn down the whole university.” I told the vice-chancellor, “You should come and see my class.”
He could not believe it – in my class there were at least two hundred students…and there were no spaces, so they were sitting anywhere they could find – on the windows, on the floor. He said, “What is happening, because you have only ten students?”