For years you have talked to us of simplicity: simplicity in love, the simplicity of enlightenment, and now the simple solution to the power game between the United States and Russia. Why has man developed such complexity, and why does he show such mistrust and disbelief in the simple?
The simple is not a challenge to man’s ego; the difficult is a challenge; the impossible is really a great challenge. How big an ego you want can be known by the challenge that you have accepted, by your ambition; it is measurable. But the simple is unattractive to the ego. The simple is the death of the ego.
And man has chosen complexities even in places where there was no need of complexity at all, for the simple reason that with complexity he can go on growing and strengthening his ego. He goes on becoming more and more important in politics, in religion, in society – everywhere.
The whole of psychology is geared to make the ego stronger. Even those fools, the psychologists, stress the point that a man needs a strong ego. So education is a program to give you ambition by punishment and reward, to drive you in a certain direction. Your parents from the very beginning are hoping for too much from you. They think perhaps Alexander the Great has been born to them, or their daughter is nobody but the reincarnation of Cleopatra. Parents condition you from the very beginning that unless you prove yourself, you are good for nothing. The simple man is thought to be a simpleton.
The simple man has not been the goal of human society until now. And the simple man cannot be the goal, because you are born simple! Every child is simple, just a clean slate. Then the parents start writing on his slate – what he has to become. Then the teachers, the priests, the leaders – they all go on emphasizing that you have to become somebody; otherwise, you have wasted your life. Just the opposite is the case.
You are a being. You need not become anybody else. That is the meaning of simplicity: remaining at ease with one’s being, and not going on any track of becoming – which is unending.
There is no place where you will feel, “Now my journey is over. I have come to the highest peak that I had desired.” Nobody in the whole history of humanity has been able to do that, for the simple reason that man is moving in a circle. So somebody is always ahead of you in something or other.
You may become the president of America, but before Muhammad Ali the Great you feel inferior. You don’t have that animal strength. Muhammad Ali can give a good punch on the nose of Ronald Reagan, and Ronald Reagan will be flat on the ground. And you can go on counting one, two, three – Ronald Reagan is not going to get up again to get another punch. He is simply waiting for number ten, so that he can get up and go to the hospital.
You may become prime minister of a country, but encountering Albert Einstein you will look like a pygmy – not a prime minister, but a pygmy.