If you strip people of their uniforms, their feathers and their grand-sounding names, they will be like the people anybody else, nobodies. It is the same everywhere: the name, the position, the prestige are what matter.
The writer, the artist, the musician, the director, the head of a big company, strip them of their outward show and their small status, and what is left.
There are these two things, function and status. Function is exploited to achieve status. Confusion arises when we give status to function, and yet they are always overlapping.
The cook is looked down upon, and the man in uniform is respected. In this procession, we are all caught, disrespect for the one and respect for the other.
One wonders if one stripped oneself of the status, the glamour of titles, the furniture, the dead memories, what actually would be left.
If one has capacity, that can not be minimised. However, if such capacity is used to achieve position, power, status, then the mischief begins.
Capacity is exploited for money, position, status. If one has no capacity, one may even then have status through money, family, hereditary or social circumstances.
All this is vulgarity. You are part of it. What makes us so vulgar, so common and cheap. This ugliness is directly proportionate to the amount of status.
Everyone gaping at this endless procession is us. The onlooker who gapes creates the status which he admires, so does the queen in the golden carriage. Both are equally vulgar.
Why are you caught in this stream? Why do you take part in this? The audience is as much responsible for the spectacle as the people strutting on the stage.
You are the actor and the audience.
When you object to the show of status, it is not that you repudiate status but rather that you attach importance to it; you would like to be there on the stage yourself.
You read all this and perhaps smile ironically or bitterly, reflecting on the vanity of the spectacle, but you watch the procession. Why can’t you, when you look at it, really laugh and throw it all aside?
To throw it all aside, you must throw it all aside within ourself, not only outside.
That is why one leaves the world and become a monk or sannyasi. But there too there is peculiar status, position and illusion. The Society makes the sannyasi, and the sannyasi is the reaction to Society.
There too is the vulgarity and the parade. Would there be a monk if there were no recognition of the monk.
Is this accolade of recognition any different from the recognition of the generals. We are all in this game, and why are we playing it?
Is it the utter inward poverty, the total insufficiency in ourselves, which neither book nor priests nor gods nor any audience can ever fill. Neither your friend nor your wife can fill it. Is it that we are afraid of living with the past, with death.
How you waste your life.
In the procession or out of the procession you are always of it, as long as this aching void remains. This is what makes you vulgar, frightened, and so you become attached and depend. And the whole strife of the procession goes on whether you are in it or admiring from the grandstand.
To leave it all is to be free of this emptiness.
If you try to leave it or determine to leave it, you can not, for it is yourself. You are of it, so you can not do anything about it.
The negation of this vulgarity which is yourself, is freedom from this emptiness. This negation is the act of complete inaction with regard to emptiness.