Is renouncing the world and society part of a rebellious spirit?
The whole past of man is full of those people who have renounced the world and society. Renunciation has become part of almost all religions, a foundational principle.
The rebel is renouncing the past. He is not going to repeat the past; he is bringing something new into the world. Those who have escaped from the world and society are escapists. They have really renounced responsibilities, but without understanding that the moment you renounce responsibilities you also renounce freedom. These are the complexities of life: freedom and responsibilities go away together or remain together.
The more you are a lover of freedom, the more you will be ready to accept responsibilities. But outside the world, outside the society, there is no possibility of any responsibility. And it has to be remembered that all that we learn, we learn through being responsible.
The past has destroyed the beauty of the word responsibility. They have made it almost equivalent to duty; it is not really so. A duty is something done reluctantly, as part of your spiritual slavery. Duty to your elders, duty to your husband, duty to your children – they are not responsibilities. To understand the word responsibility is very significant. You have to break it in two: response and ability.
You can act in two ways – one is reaction, another is response. Reaction comes out of your past conditionings; it is mechanical. Response comes out of your presence, awareness, consciousness; it is non-mechanical. And the ability to respond is one of the greatest principles of growth. You are not following any order, any commandment, you are simply following your awareness. You are functioning like a mirror, reflecting the situation and responding to it – not out of your memory, from past experiences of similar situations; not repeating your reactions but acting fresh, new, in this very moment. Neither is the situation old, nor is your response – both are new. This ability is one of the qualities of the rebel.
Renouncing the world, escaping to the forest and the mountains, you are simply escaping from a learning situation. In a cave in the Himalayas you won’t have any responsibility, but remember, without responsibility you cannot grow; your consciousness will remain stuck. For growth it needs to face, to encounter, to accept the challenges of responsibilities.