Who is corrupt

Who is corrupt?

Lao Tzu waited for a moment and then said, "Both of you, you and the man whose house you have been stealing from, are criminals."
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It happened to Lao Tzu, the source of Taoism, that he was made the chief justice of the Supreme Court of China. He begged the emperor, “You are committing a mistake; I’m not the right man. You will repent.”

But the emperor knew that he was the wisest man alive, and he was, there was no doubt about it. He said, “Why should I repent? You are the wisest man.”

Lao Tzu said, “That is the problem. My judgement will come from my wisdom. And your judgements will never be adjustable with my judgements.”

But the emperor was stubborn; he said, “Let us see.”

So the first case came: a thief was caught red-handed in the richest man’s house. Lao Tzu listened to the whole story.

The thief himself confessed that, “In front of you, I cannot lie. If there was another judge, it would be a different matter, but I have always respected you and loved you. So I say there is no need for any witnesses. I have been stealing, not only this time but from this same man’s house, I have stolen many times. This time I have been caught. Whatever judgement you feel right, I will not complain.”

Lao Tzu waited for a moment and then said, “Both of you, you and the man whose house you have been stealing from, are criminals.”

“Both?” the rich man asked. “Are you in your senses?”

Lao Tzu said, “You have collected so much money, that almost fifty percent of the wealth of the city is in your hands, with the other fifty percent in the whole city’s hands. This situation creates the possibility of stealing. This man is a victim; in fact, you are the criminal. But I will be very equal: six months’ jail for both.”

The rich man said, “My God! I have never heard that when somebody steals from your house you are jailed!” He said, “I want first to see the emperor! Even the emperor owes money to me. Whenever he wants, I have been giving money to him.”

And he went to the emperor and said what had happened. “And I have come to remind you that soon you will be in jail also! If this man is going to remain the supreme judge of the empire, you cannot remain out of jail long. We are small criminals according to him. You are the biggest criminal.”

The emperor said, “Perhaps he was right that I would repent. Don’t be worried, I will release him from the service immediately.”

He called Lao Tzu and said, “This is a very strange judgement.”

Lao Tzu said, “It is not. If people were living in harmony with nature if people were compassionate to each other if they felt a certain brotherhood with each other, then how could there be rich people and poor people? There should only be people. And there is enough.” At least in those times, it was perfectly true, there was enough for everybody to live comfortably.

In those days when the country had only two million people, nature was abundant. There was no need for anybody to be rich or poor. Things could be easily, comfortably enjoyed by all. But it was not the case, neither in India nor in China nor anywhere else. Now it has become absolutely impossible.

But Lao Tzu was right when he said, “A man who collects so much wealth that thousands of people become undernourished—they don’t have houses, they don’t have jobs, they don’t have enough to eat… What do you want? Should they steal or not? Their stealing is not a crime; this rich man is the criminal. What is the point of collecting all this wealth? Your wealth is simply the blood of the people. You should be happy that I’m sending you to jail only for six months. In fact, if I’m to be just, that man could go for six months, but you would have to go for your whole life! Less than that would not be justified.”

The emperor said, “I understand. I release you. You were right that I would repent; you are a dangerous fellow.”

The convenience of the emperor, the convenience of the vested interest, the richest, the super-rich, their convenience is the problem. Everything is right that fits with their convenience, and everything is wrong that does not fit with their convenience.

All our moralities are decided by the exploiting classes, the oppressors. The very people who are the cause of immorality in society are the decisive factors of morality.

Excerpted from Nansen: The Point of Departure by Osho

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