What Is Your Reaction?

When you observe those poor women carrying a heavy load to the market,
or watch the peasant children playing in the mud with very little else
to play with, [children] who will not have the education that you are
getting, who have no proper home, no cleanliness, insufficient clothing,
inadequate food - when you observe all that, what is your reaction? It
is very important to find out for yourself what your reaction is. I
will tell you what mine was.

Those children have no proper place to sleep; the father and the mother
are occupied all day long, with never a holiday; the children never
know what it is to be loved, to be cared for; the parents never sit down
with them and tell them stories about the beauty of the earth and the
heavens. And what kind of society is it that has produced these
circumstances - where there are immensely rich people who have everything on
earth they want, and at the same time there are boys and girls who have
nothing? What kind of society is it, and how has it come into being? You
may revolutionize, break the pattern of this society, but in the very
breaking of it a new one is born, which is again the same thing in
another form - the commissars with their special houses in the country, the
privileges, the uniforms, and so on down the line. This has happened
after every revolution, the French, the Russian and the Chinese. And is
it possible to create a society in which all this corruption and misery
does not exist? It can be created only when you and I as individuals
break away from the collective, when we are free of ambition and know
what it means to love. That was my whole reaction, in a flash.

The Book of Life - November 26
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