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    What is Rebellion?

    What is Rebellion?

    What is Rebellion?


    31 March 1970 pm in Jabalpur University, Jabalpur, India

    The students here wish me to say something on the hippies. The first thing that comes to my mind
    in this connection is the book MAXIMS FOR A REVOLUTIONARY by George Bernard Shaw, as it
    enumerates some golden rules, the first of which is indeed wonderful. In a way it can be said that
    the whole thing has finished with the first rule. He writes: ”The first golden rule is that there are no
    golden rules.” The very first thing that I would like to point out about the hippies is that the hippie
    movement is not an ’ism.’ It is the negation of all ’isms.’ It will be appropriate if we first probe into the nature of ’ism’ before going into the problem of the hippies.

    Of all the maladies afflicting humanity during the past five thousand years, the worst is that of ’isms’
    – be is Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism or Gandhiism. Isms have
    generated much trouble and anxiety for humanity. Almost all the wars fought in human history and
    all its blood baths centered around one ’ism’ or the other. Isms have been changing, but new isms
    have been taking the place of the old malignant isms, and yet man stands where he was without
    making an inch of progress. In 1917 the old ism collapsed in Russia. The old gods and goddesses
    were thrown out, but new ones reared up their heads; a new sort of religion came into being. The
    Kremlin is now in no way less than a Mecca and a Macedonia. It has become, so to say, a new
    centre of pilgrimage where Communists from all over the world assemble to pay their homage. No
    doubt, the old idols have been removed, Christian churches have been closed, but the dead body of
    Lenin has been placed in the Kremlin Square; it is virtually being worshipped there.

    A particular ’ism’ may change, but it yields place to another ’ism.’ The hippies rebel against any and
    all ’isms.’ Those youngsters who are today known as hippies sincerely believe that man can very
    well live without any ism. There is no need of a religion or of any scriptures, doctrines or ideologies,
    because according to their understanding if one becomes involved in ideologies, the capacity to live
    fully decreases proportionately. I would like to mention here that I also share this view, in commonwith the hippies. As far as their real significance is concerned, they are greatly symbolic and provide an inkling of the future.

    The humanity which will inhabit this globe a hundred years hence will, without any doubt, become
    free from the cramping influence of all ’isms.’ What, after all, is the reason behind this strong
    opposition of ’isms?’ What is that which is working in the minds of hippies and all other youngsters
    who have raised the banner of revolt against all isms, all temples, all churches and all canons of
    established society? The cause, is not far off. It can be found in their continuous unhappy experience
    during this long period since the dawn of humanity. That experience is comprised of the fact that the
    more ’ism’ is imposed upon a person, the less and less sensitive and the more deadened his or her
    soul becomes, so to speak. The more elaborate the structure of any ’ism,’ the greater the degree of
    inner freedom that is lost.

    An ’ism-gripped’ personality is, so to say, a dead personality. So it can be said that many from
    amongst us die quite early in life though they may actually be buried much later. Someone may die
    at the age of thirty although he may await actual burial until age seventy. The day any rigid ideology
    takes hold of us, that very day our freedom, our individuality and our soul takes leave of us. The iron
    bars or the stony walls of a prison-house are obvious to the eyes, but quite unseen are the shackles
    of thought which chain us, and the less obvious these are in reality, the more dangerous they are.

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