Greed knows no limit

Fri, 16 March 1988 00:00:00 GMT
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Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
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pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
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Question 1:






Dr. Amrito, the question of humanity's struggle for the freedom of the individual is very complicated.

It does not start with the tribe. Thousands of years before tribes formed, there were small groups which cannot be called tribal. They had no commitment to each other nor were they families, because they were not born out of marriage or any kind of relationship.

Those groups really don't have any name. They had gathered together because of fear. I am talking of the times when there was no fire even. Humanity was really Gandhian - not even a spinning wheel. The fear of darkness, because the night was dangerous, still carries its imprint in our unconscious.

Why do you become afraid in a dark night? This is your collective unconscious, still carrying the memory of days which have passed thousands of years before. Why do you become afraid when you are alone? Perhaps you have never thought about it in this perspective. Why do you want to be with someone?

Loneliness makes people sad. They do anything stupid just to avoid loneliness. They play chess knowing perfectly that everything is bogus. Neither the king is king nor the queen is queen. The queen is as valuable as the queen of England. But just look at chess players... so intent, pouring their whole consciousness... And it is not only chess, there are thousands of ways to avoid your loneliness. It comes from those days when to be lonely was really dangerous. Wild animals were all around, and every animal is stronger than man. The days I am talking about are called the days of the mammoths - animals which were ten times bigger than our elephants.

There is no problem. Why should you not feel afraid being alone? In the nights, you had to hide yourself in caves or climb the trees - and it was very natural to make a kind of Lions Club or Rotary Club. Those were only out of fear. They joined together and whoever was powerful, naturally became the leader.

And since that day the story continues.

Even today whoever is powerful is the leader. He himself is the law.

That's what Napoleon used to say: "I am the law. Whatever I say becomes the law. No law is above me." Certainly there are differences of physical strength, differences of intelligence. Since those days women have been tortured by men, just because their bodies are more delicate and are not muscular; more soft, more warm, more loving - but not strong enough to become wrestlers or boxers.

So the person who was the leader sorted out the most beautiful women. They were his property.

And the remaining members of the Rotary Club were left with the leftovers. Basically, that has not changed at all; still the poor man gets the leftovers. The kings and the prime ministers and the presidents choose whatever is the best.

Just fifty years ago one man alone, the Nizam of Hyderabad, had five hundred wives. He was the richest man in the world, just by chance, because in his state is the mine where all the great diamonds have been found, from Kohinoor to many others. It still yields diamonds of tremendous value.

Naturally, first the Nizam would take whatever he liked and the leftovers were sold to the world.

This was going on for almost one thousand years. He had accumulated so many diamonds that it had become impossible to count them. So in the Nizam's palace vast basements were filled with diamonds, not counted but weighed, one kilo, two kilos... It had never happened in the world; diamonds are not weighed in kilos. Even he was not aware how much his wealth was.

Any beautiful woman born within his state was his first choice. If he rejected her then anybody else could have her. Then other members of the Rotary Club... This was not only the case with Nizam, it has been the case with many kings down the ages - and I am talking about those days. Those small groups used to clash with each other. The only treasure they had was the woman. There was no currency and there was no gold and there were no precious stones. The only one thing was the woman. So those small groups were continuously fighting and snatching away women from other groups.

This must have continued for thousands of years. Finally, it dawned on people's minds - the mind of man is very slow growing - that this was not the right way: "We should create bigger tribes with power and strength." Small groups could not survive, either they had to die or they had to become part of the bigger tribe. Tribes had no families. The same rule continued. The women were allotted according to power. The woman has been a commodity for millions of years, and at one time, she was the only commodity.

But soon a new phenomenon started happening because all these tribes were living off hunting. A hunting tribe cannot live in one place for long, because sooner or later, it has hunted all the animals or the remaining ones have escaped. The tribe has to move. You will be surprised to know that it was from central Mongolia that the whole population of today's civilized world has arisen. Tribes had to move in different directions. The same tribe which reached Iran, the same tribe - a different section, a different faction - reached to Germany, to India...

Linguists have found that all these sophisticated and cultured countries of the world have only one mother tongue and that is Sanskrit. The German language has thirty percent of its words originating from Sanskrit. So is the case with English and so is the case with Dutch. The whole of Europe...

these are all brothers and sisters. Their forefathers one day were living in central Mongolia. But a hunting tribe has to move and has to move in different directions. A small portion of people moves in one direction, the other in another direction - wherever there is a possibility to find food.

But the day soon came - and that day came because of women... The credit of a stable society with cities, houses, a stability in life, the whole credit goes to the woman because she was not going hunting. She was mostly pregnant, taking care of small children. And one child after another child, her whole life was just like an assembly line producing all kinds of idiots. Taking care of them, she had neither time nor strength. Naturally, her insistence was, "We should live on fruits, not on meat.

Trees are available." And soon man had to listen to her because animals were disappearing.

But you cannot depend on fruits unless you start cultivation. And the woman, watching the growth of the trees and the fruits, and then the fruits ripening and falling back on the earth bringing new sprouts, started asking for cultivation. The nomads were continuously going from here to there, and in a certain sense man still remains a nomad. Deep in his mind, something is always hunting - hunting this woman, hunting that woman, going to see the Taj Mahal... for what?

The woman is more interested in the house, in decorating it, in making it beautiful, in making it warmer, in making it welcoming to strangers. The whole credit of the cities goes to the woman. Man is not the creator of the cities. If man is allowed freedom, he would like to have a really good Arabian horse and just go hunting, just to go to places - a strange desire to be somewhere else always.

Look at the tourists... All kinds of cameras and the latest lenses hanging on both of the shoulders.

They are running from Ajanta to Ellora, from Khajuraho to Katmandu, and all that they do is photography. That is absolutely stupid because all those photographs are available in every city, and better, because they have been taken by professionals. These amateurs take so much trouble and finally find the film is blank. And they have been from Kabul to Kathmandu.

And their desire is that "back home we will see in the album all the beautiful places." And when they are looking at the beautiful places, they don't have time to see. They are looking through their cameras: the right angle, a meter in the other hand, watching the light... And not one, but dozens of idiots doing the same kind of thing. Just one idiot could do it and distribute copies to other idiot fans. It seems strange, but the reality is that the nomad in man is still alive. It has gone deep into his unconscious, but it erupts in different ways.

In America, surveys show that every man changes his house every three years. The same is the average... every man changes his wife after three years. The same is the average that every man changes his job after three years. Three years seems to be the limit one can tolerate, the maximum limit one can remain bored. And then comes the ultimate quantum leap... He changes the car, he changes the house, he changes the wife, he changes his clothes...!

People are even changing their faces by plastic surgery! Just a little longer nose... what will you get? People are getting face-lifts so that they can look a little younger. But new, younger people have arrived on the scene - who is going to take care? Secondhand young people.

But change! Don't sit silently, do something! The woman has been the cause of great cities developing. Because of the children the woman insisted on marriage, because without marriage who is going to take the burden of the children? It is under compulsion that man agreed to marry.

That's why if you look at married people's faces, they really need a face-lift. It is all under compulsion, otherwise the society, the government, and the woman herself are not going to have any contact with you; hence virginity is so much praised. It is to force man: "First get married, then come close; otherwise, I am going to scream."

The tribe finally became the foundation of marriages, because the tribe is a big thing and it became bigger every day. And it was certainly a move for individual freedom, because in a tribe you don't have any individual freedom. In a tribe, you are simply a part. If you don't function according to the tribal orders, the tribe simply boycotts you.

In Indian villages I have seen with my own eyes... In India you cannot marry a widow. It is really the same logic because if people start marrying widows then who cares about virginity? In a strange way widows look more beautiful. Perhaps they have to look more beautiful, otherwise who is going to be interested in them? Virgins are inexperienced, look childish; widows are experienced, well polished, more attractive. But in an Indian village, if you marry a widow, the whole village - which is still a tribe - boycotts you, and the boycott is total. You cannot take water from the village well, you cannot purchase anything from any village shop; nobody will welcome you into his home.

The village will simply forget about you as if you don't exist. You cannot live; it is impossible. If you cannot purchase anything and nobody speaks to you, if you cannot even get water from the well, life has become impossible. What kind of freedom...? In a tribal structure there is no freedom. It is the desire to create freedom that caused the tribe to slowly, slowly divide into individual units, small units called families.

The family has a certain freedom. And particularly as vehicles like cars have become available...

One cannot conceive how this existence works. Nobody could have conceived that cars could bring some freedom into the world. Now you can go ten miles away from your wife with your girlfriend - and the wife will never know. Boys and girls who are not married can meet. Cars have created a revolution. But the search is for freedom. Still, the family tries to hinder in every way and not to go beyond the limits. It is a question of prestige.

I am teaching you something final: the world cannot be free unless families also disappear. With the families disappearing, nations will disappear - the family is the unit, the very bricks of the nation - churches and religions will disappear.

We need a world of individuals. Certainly it means tremendous responsibility. But all that is needed is available. You need not be worried about what will happen if two unmarried people without the bondage of law and society, and the tribe, and the family, and the country produce children - what will happen to those poor children?

There is no need for those children. Their only function is to help Mother Teresa; otherwise, they are not needed at all. Now three kinds of birth pills are available. The first pill was a great revolution, but it was not one hundred percent foolproof. You have to take it continuously, and one day you don't take and, strange world, the boyfriend suddenly appears... The human mind always thinks in this way: "Don't be worried. Making love every time does not produce children. Just once in a while a child is produced. Take a chance!" - and it does not look right to reject the boyfriend.

That pill was greatly helpful to reduce the number of children, but once in a while a virgin girl would become pregnant. That's what I think: Mary must have forgotten to take the pill. Christians and Jews should take great pride that they are the people who invented the pill. The proof is Jesus Christ.

The second pill is very significant. You can take it after. You can make love and then you can take the pill. There is no need to take it continuously. And the third pill makes men and women equal.

There is no necessity for the woman to take a pill; the man takes it. But certainly the man has to take it before making love. After making love... he may take the whole box of pills, it is not going to help. Children have continuously been a problem... how can people be freed from all the bondage of possessiveness? But now there is no need; people can live as individuals.

There are no wild animals; you don't need a continuous togetherness. There are no wild animals; even in dark nights you can be alone without any fear.

The function of the family is finished.

It freed you from the tribe; now, you have to be free from marriage and the family too. It does not mean that it is compulsory, because that will again be a slavery. It does not mean that you have to, it simply means it is optional to live together with the woman you love - or not to live together - to love a woman for your whole life or to go on changing in the American way. Nothing is wrong in it.

Anything that makes you happy is perfectly good.

Amrito, you are worried... it is certainly something to be concerned about.

In the second world war, Germany and Japan and Italy were friends, allies, against America and the whole world. For five years continuously they went on winning. It was the foolishness of Adolf Hitler - which seems to be natural: if you go on winning for five years and great nations simply give way in one day... You become so arrogant that you start forgetting that a thousand and one things can change the situation. He could have won in the West - and Japan was winning. Even Calcutta was being vacated because Japanese forces had reached Rangoon and their bombs were hitting Calcutta.

The combination of the Japanese and the Germans was a strange combination. I am also always wondering that most of my sannyasins are either from Japan or from Germany. But because Adolf Hitler attacked the Soviet Union... he had a treaty with them that they would never be enemies, they would be friends. But seeing that he is winning, he broke the treaty. He had almost won the whole of Europe. And Japan, his colleague was all over the East... Hitler completely forgot that to defeat the Soviet Union is a very difficult task. He forgot that in history many attempts have been made to defeat the Soviet Union, but its geography and its climate are such that nobody has ever been able to win it.

The same point arises: nine months in a year thick snow is falling all over the Soviet Union. And the Soviet Union is so vast that it is spread over two continents. One side ends in the East, another side in the West; it is two continents together. It has enough soldiers to prevent anybody from defeating it for three months. And after three months it does not bother, then the climate takes care. In that thick snow, the armies of the enemy start losing their way, forgetting where they have come from and why they have come. Food does not reach, all communication with their original country is broken...

In the whole history of the Soviet Union, always at the same point it has remained invincible. Adolf Hitler thought perhaps he could manage. Certainly he did manage, but after those three months he had to surrender. Because he surrendered in the West, his colleague Japan had to surrender in the East. They were together either to be victorious or to be defeated.

But the miracle is that America was victorious over Germany and Japan and Italy - Italy I don't count because they are nice people. They never bothered whether they were defeated or victorious. They were so deep into their spaghetti that by the time they came out, they saw that the whole scene had changed. Back they went into their spaghetti.

Only Italy remained the same before the war as after the war - but they are very loving people. That is the only country which is fighting for me continuously for two years. And now, the Radical Party has asked me for blessings, "Should we start a movement that the Vatican should be dissolved into mainland Italy, and that the pope should not be both the head of a religion and the head of a state?"

I have sent them my blessings: "Fight! The very existence of the Vatican is very disrespectful. What has a religious head got to do with being a sovereign?"

In fact a religious person should not have anything to do with politics. But you know, Italians are Italians; they will fight, but their fight is going to be lousy. They will make much noise - radical noise, but if nobody is listening why bother? The piesta is being prepared - the revolution can happen later on...

But Japan and Germany proved to be a miracle. They are both more powerful than they were before the world war. Their defeat has not destroyed them, but strengthened them. Now Germany is more powerful than it was in the hands of Adolf Hitler - and Japan has proved even better.

Economically, Japan is now a far superior force to America. The greatest American rich man has only four billion dollars, and the greatest Japanese counterpart has twenty-two million dollars. For the first time the Japanese currency is at the top in the whole world. The dollar has fallen. It is going down the drain with Ronald Reagan.

Amrito's question is that Japan is a very tribal country, perhaps the most tribal country in the world, very traditional, very orthodox...

Here, my group leaders inquired of me what we have to do with these Japanese. The group leaders are trained in the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud and other schools of therapy of the West where it is assumed as a scientific fact - and perhaps it is a scientific fact to those people whom Sigmund Freud studied - that every girl hates her mother, every boy falls in love with his mother, every boy wants to kill the father because he is the obstacle and every girl somehow wants to destroy the mother because she is taking away her love affair with the father. These assumptions in the West have almost become scientific facts - and they have a truth in them.

But if you tell a Japanese, "In your unconscious you are thinking to kill your father..." The father is so much respected that even the idea - and the Japanese will kill the therapist: "How do you dare to say such a thing to me?" Say to a Japanese: "You are in love with your mother," and he will give you such karate hands that you will forget all your psychoanalysis.

For many years I had to prevent the Japanese from doing the groups saying, "These groups are not for you." Their whole tradition is too heavy and they have grown from a different branch. They do not come from Mongolia. Japanese, Chinese, Burmese, Negroes - they have different origins.

Their languages are different. They don't have any relationship with Sanskrit, and they don't have the same type of culture, education, history.

You will be surprised to know that they believe in proper behavior and mannerisms to such a point that it is almost something sacred and religious.

I am reminded of a man...

A great warrior who was also a great master of swordsmanship had gone to see the emperor. He forgot to bow down properly - just a small thing - but he felt so much guilt that he immediately committed hara-kiri then and there. That is the only way to get rid of the guilt. No apology that, "I am sorry, sir" - this won't do. Only one thing shows that you are really sorry: "I am finished."

He pushed his sword into his center of life, his hara, and died then and there. When his students heard - and he had three hundred disciples who were learning swordsmanship under him - they all committed suicide because their master misbehaved. Their Master - how could they live with this burden their whole life; it is better to be finished. The whole school of the warrior was finished because of just a small gesture.

Now, these are a different kind of people. Sigmund Freud won't do.

Amrito's question is that these tribal people have been so successful in teamwork, they don't ask individuality, they ask integrity. They want to lose themselves in the name of religion or in the name of nation.

There have been so many hilarious cases...

One man was found just thirteen years after the second world war, alone in the jungles of Burma, fighting, killing people. Whoever would come he would kill - the second world war was still on. He had not heard that thirteen years had passed... It was so difficult to catch hold of him. He was caught and brought to Japan and saw with his own eyes that his country had been defeated. The people who caught him forgot that he was Japanese... he immediately committed hara-kiri. Defeat of the country? How can you live with such a wound? Thirteen years he had been fighting alone, against the whole world. Anybody who happened to pass in the forest, he would kill - the war was on.

This was not an isolated case. Three other cases were found also in other places. They wouldn't believe... and once they believed they committed hara-kiri.

Now this is a different culture and a different society. These people's integrity, even being defeated...

Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed completely...

Yesterday I was just asking one Japanese scientist who loves me... For twenty years he has been working on radiation in Hiroshima.

I asked him, "What is the situation? Is the land still barren, unpopulated?"

He looked at me; he could not believe me. Finally, he understood. He said, "No, now Nagasaki is a far bigger city than New York. Hiroshima is a bigger city than Tokyo."

These are a different kind of people. They have produced everything and they are competitors in the world. And in that competition, America seems to be very much at a loss what to do, because the Japanese yen is rising higher in value and the American dollar is dropping.

It is true that if a community can be conditioned the way the Japanese are conditioned, and on a smaller scale the way the Germans are conditioned, that they are the superior race... The Japanese believe that they are the direct sons of the sun, they are a divine race.

That's what Adolf Hitler was trying to convince Germans: "You are pure nordic Aryans. Your very existence is to rule over the world." And he killed six million Jews because they were claiming that they are the chosen people of God. Adolf Hitler had to kill them to prove, "Look who is the chosen?

Are you the chosen or are we the chosen?" By killing six million Jews he convinced the remaining Germans that, "Certainly, we are the chosen."

These people are conditioned and a conditioned mind can work better. The unconditioned, a meditative mind, a silent relaxed mind, is not a workaholic; he enjoys life, he loves life. Work is only secondary; it is needed so he does it. But he is not for the work, the work is for him. These values change.

Certainly in a country which has utterly independent individuals, the production rate will fall down, but its blissfulness will increase. Its currency will not start reaching the stars, but its ecstasy will certainly reach the stars. There will be a totally different kind of atmosphere not bothered about winning over anybody, non-competitive. Victory will no longer be of any value; in fact, it will be ugly.

To defeat somebody is not a value which can be called human. Victory is part of our animal past.

So certainly it is true that if people become more and more independent from family and tradition and moralities, many things which today seem to be significant will disappear. But many new things will appear which have not appeared even in your wildest dreams.

Just to be a silent and joyous being, healthy enough to produce food and clothes for yourself and for those you love; non-competitive, non-political, but immensely religious in the sense that you are grateful to existence for giving a life of so much splendor, so much joy, so much uncontainable blissfulness... If it happens in even one country, it is going to spread like a wildfire in which the Japanese or German conditionings, however old, will disappear.

It is not a surprise that the German politicians and the German parliament are so much afraid of me. It may not be apparent ordinarily, but I know perfectly well I am dangerous, and their fear is true. But any act arising out of fear is not going to succeed. They will have to face the reality that my sannyasins going back to Germany are bound to create. They are creating a stir: "Why are you afraid?"

Is it not strange that Germany allowed the terrorists to have their international conference in Germany? At the same time they passed a law in the parliament that I could not enter or land at any of their airports. They are not worried about the terrorists. And the conference was of world terrorists, terrorists from all over the world - they are not a danger!

I am a danger, because what can the terrorists do? The German army can face them, but what I can do no German politician is capable of facing it. Even if Adolf Hitler somehow gets resurrected, I am going to put him right. He was a crackpot. My sannyasins will catch hold of him and immediately register him for groups.

A Japanese scientist was here and he is a friend of the emperor of Japan. He said, "I would have liked to invite you to Japan. Even the emperor is my friend. He knows you, he reads you, but unfortunately he has no power at all, he is only a formal head. He has to sign everything that the parliament passes. And I am worried that if I mention your name, the parliament may not accept you even as a tourist."

These people's fears are understandable. Amrito's question is exactly right. I don't want a world producing more and more arms, producing more and more unnecessary things. For example, producing so much butter in Europe that mountains of butter have to be drowned in the ocean...

And the same is being done in America: every six months, billions of dollars worth of foodstuff has to be drowned in the ocean. But they will not tell people, "Relax, don't produce so much." We need not have buildings like New York skyscrapers, and we don't need a thousand and one things which have become almost necessary just because advertisements go on forcing you - and then your mind starts clicking.

Now in this whole world, there is only one thing that is international: Coca Cola. Even in the Soviet Union...! Even I have to drink Coca Cola. That is the only international brotherhood, The Coca Cola Brotherhood.

There are thousands of things which are not necessary, but they are being produced because people are greedy to earn more money, people are greedy and their greed knows no limit.

Just the other day I have told you about the movement in America, The Couch Potato Movement.

Thousands of people have joined it. It is not a joke, because what else can you be...? If seven and a half hours is the average that you sit in your seat and watch television, you are just a potato, you are not even a human being. This is your whole life. When you meet God he will say, "What have you been doing?" And you will say, "Nothing. We were members of the Television Coca Cola Movement.

We are potatoes."

In a simpler society, whatever is needful should be provided, should be produced. But so much is unnecessarily wasted. Man has no time to be himself, to be with himself or to be just silent, playing on the flute. It is true that we don't need that conditioned mind which makes man almost a robot.

The Japanese conditioning is that of a robot and so is the German conditioning of a robot. My own proposition is that we can create robots which can do all kinds of work and man should be freed to enjoy life, to love, to dance, to sing, to find new pleasures, new adventures, new challenges.

There is so much beautiful literature - these potatoes will never know about it. There is such great music, such great poetry - these workaholics will never become aware, they don't have time. And what they are producing is junk.

Amrito, I am in favor of a simpler world where the individuals' basic needs are certainly fulfilled, and basic opportunities for his spiritual growth are given to him, and where individuality becomes the most fundamental value. Nothing is higher than the individual, and his freedom is sacred.

Now after Dr. Amrito's very scholarly and difficult question something simple, something human...

Old Man Finkelstein is brought to court for alleged rape. He pleads guilty by reason of insanity.

"Insanity?" asks the judge. "You look perfectly sane to me."

"Oh, I am," says the old man. "It is sex I'm crazy about."

Zabriski arrives at work one morning with a big smile on his face.

"Why are you so happy?" asks a friend.

"Well," explains Zabriski, "last Thursday I found my wife in bed with the electricity meter reader.

On Friday, she was taking samples from a salesman on the couch. Saturday morning I found her doing business with the milkman on the kitchen table... But I've fixed all of them. I just phoned the Salvation Army and told them to come and take away all that furniture from the house."

Mendel Kravitz is having a little chat with his new mistress. "Tell me, darling," he says, "what would you do if you found yourself pregnant and abandoned?"

"Ah, that would be awful," cries the pretty young girl. "I think I would kill myself."

Mendel replies, "Good girl."

And now this is Italia...

Late on Friday afternoon the foreman tells Enrico that he is going to have to work late. So Enrico asks his friend, Gondolfo, to stop at the house and tell his wife, Lucia.

Gondolfo knocks on the door and Lucia opens it. "Your old man is not coming home till late," says Gondolfo. "How about we go up-a the stairs and make-a screw?"

Lucia is shocked and tries to slam the door.

"I give-a you fifty bucks!" pleads Gondolfo.

"How dare you?" shrieks Lucia.

"A hundred then," says Gondolfo.

"Well," says Lucia, "it would not be right."

"Come on, two hundred dollars," says Gondolfo, "just for half an hour and Enrico will-a never know."

Lucia takes the money and Gondolfo has the time of his life.

When Enrico gets home late, he asks his wife, "Did my friend Gondolfo tell-a you I work-a late?"

"Yes," replies Lucia, "he stop-a here for a minute."

"And I hope-a," says Enrico, "that he give-a you my wages, two hundred dollars."

And the last...

Rajiv Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan are doing a fact-finding tour of India. They are driving through Calcutta when they see a little boy squatting by the side of the road, and decide to talk to him. Gandhi walks over and asks him what he is doing.

"I'm mixing shit and sand," replies the boy.

"And what are you doing that for?" asks Gandhi.

"I'm going to make a statue of Gorbachev," replies the boy. Gandhi goes back to the car and reports what the boy has said. Gorbachev is very impressed, and seeing a potential communist, goes to speak to the boy himself.

"What are you doing, my boy?" he asks.

"I'm mixing shit and sand," replies the boy.

"And what will you do with it?" asks the Soviet premier.

"I'm going to make a statue of Mahatma Gandhi," says the boy. Gorbachev is confused and reports back to the car. So then Reagan walks over to the boy and asks, "What are you doing, my son?"

"I'm mixing shit and sand," replies the boy.

"And I suppose," says Reagan, "that you are going to make a statue of me."

"No," says the boy. "I can't. I have not got enough shit."

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Beloved Master.

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