I have this concern about what is happening in the world. If we take nonduality really seriously, it seems like we are not concerned about the exterior. So, my question is, what makes us human? Is there something like a contribution to evolution? Is there a responsibility?
You have no choice. Either you feel you must engage in the fight of the world and you become a revolutionary or a dictator or whatever, or you feel you have something else to do. This isn’t a choice, it depends on your family, your education—on what you read, etc. Either you feel that duty is important and you become a fascist, or you feel that rights are important and you become a leftist or a communist. It is not something you decide. People who are fascist cannot help it. People who are communist cannot help it either. It is something that comes to you. It is not like you make a decision and you act according to that decision.
If you want to become a monk and move to a monastery, again it is not a decision. It is something that comes to you. There’s never room for any decision. Life will bring you to use your capacities in political or military matters—or not. I don’t see that there are any rules. In Islam, there are many saints who fought. Arslan fought in Damascus, and Abd-El-Kader, who was a great saint, fought and killed many French people in the war. So, you can kill French people and be a great saint, or you can be a very romantic, non-violent, vegetarian, stupid yoga teacher and be totally out of line.
So there is no rule. Life brings you to the situation, depending on the society you’re in, and you may feel that it is very proper to fight—or not. What matters is that you don’t feel that you fight against something, you feel that you fight for something, and that you don’t pretend to know what is right. I don’t know what is right, because right and wrong depend on where you are. In some parts of the world, depending on which side of the border you were born, right or wrong, victory or defeat, are very different.
It is absurd to try to find an absolute right. When the lion eats a zebra, it is certain that the zebra family sees it as a defeat and the lion family as a victory. If the lion misses the zebra, the lion family, which may die of hunger, will see it as a defeat and the zebra family will see it as a victory. But if you are not a zebra or a lion, you don’t need to pretend to know what is right or wrong. It all depends on circumstances. At certain times, obviously, you fight—like if a snake falls on your foot you may kill the snake. If a mosquito wants to bite, you kill the mosquito. If a dog attacks your daughter perhaps you kill the dog. If a man attacks your blah blah blah, then yes sometimes you fight, and if a so-called enemy invades your country, why not…
But you will not fight against. Which means that if you kill the snake, it’s not a bad snake for you, and the soldier who invades your country is not bad as such; he does what he has to do. People who join different armies always do it for liberty. People always fight for liberty. People kill for liberty. And sometimes a new revolutionary party comes to power and twenty years later the revolutionary power seems like a dictatorship. There are several examples on this continent.
So, what is right and what is wrong? I have no opinion. I have no problem with fighting, I have no problem with violence. It all depends on your circumstances. And the more you are free from ideology, the less you will fight for a cause; you just fight because there is something you cannot put up with.
It doesn’t mean that you are right. If a dog wants to eat my daughter, I have no idea that the dog should not eat my daughter. I don’t think it is a bad dog because it wants to eat my daughter. I just know that if it wants to eat my daughter, there is a very big chance that I will kill the dog. I don’t make it a bad dog. I have no ideology. I’m not against dogs. It is just functional. And maybe my daughter will become a new Hitler and maybe the world would be better off if the dog did eat my daughter. But I don’t know that my daughter should or should not become Hitler. I don’t know if it’s right to have a new Hitler or not. I don’t know if the dog is right to eat my daughter. I don’t know if it’s a bad thing to eat my daughter. I don’t know. In this not-knowing, action happens, one way or another. And I don’t need to know, because it will be pretentious.
You know, in France we are a bit like your country; we have very strong political stances. We identify with the right or the left and so on. But I think it is a lack of clarity to take a stance. To fight is unavoidable sometimes, but I don’t need to subscribe to any ideology to fight. It is just functional. So you can join the fight in any direction. Just don’t believe in the ideology of your fight, because that’s a joke. In the end you’re going to see that the people who come to power will do exactly as the ones they replaced. Why? Because they are egoic people. Egoic people think of themselves first, and usually they only think of themselves. Whether they are far-right of far-left, it’s exactly the same. Their strategies are the same.
So, at some point, you get disillusioned. And it’s good, because when you have no more illusions, you can act clearly. You may fight for a cause but you are not stupid. Be aware that the people who are going to take power will use power for themselves first, even if, when they are in the revolutionary stage, they themselves don’t know that. They may think they are fighting for freedom, but then, when they are in power, they favor their family and friends over others. Why? Because, as long as the ego is in charge, as long as a person is in charge, the ego values itself more than its surroundings.
The real revolution is to get free from the ego. But as long as there is an ego in power, a right-wing ego or a left-wing ego, there are egoic politics. Always. So, at some point you no longer support the ego, but you can fight. If a revolution happens, you fight for one side or the other, but you don’t fight for an ego. The ego always wants the power.
Generally, open people have better things to do than take part in a revolution. Maybe there are some cases where action is needed, but without romanticism. Otherwise, twenty years, sixty years, later, you’ll say, “Why so much blood, why so much killing? For what result?” So you can fight but you don’t need the ideology. You come from the heart, you come from the moment. I do what I do. I don’t pretend it is right. I don’t pretend it is good, but I cannot help doing it. This much I know.
This dialog is from a recent SAND webinar series with Eric Baret.
A further 3-part Live Webinar Series with Eric Baret is scheduled for May 4, 12, and 19, 2019. Find out more here.
And SAND is delighted to announce that Eric Baret will be offering an evening talk and two-day workshop on Kashmiri Tantra Yoga in Amsterdam this June. More details here.