Over the July 4th weekend in 1953, Marilyn Sheppard was brutally murdered. Her husband, Sam, a respected doctor, was accused and convicted of the crime. His conviction was overturned because of the enormous amount of negative publicity he received before the trial, particularly from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This case inspired the 1960s TV show and 1990s movie The Fugitive.
What was it that you enjoyed about that TV program? Richard Kimble, a convicted doctor inspired by Sam Sheppard, escapes from custody and wanders the country, sometimes looking for a one-armed man who was the real murderer. He works at menial jobs and lives in humble lodgings, all the while concealing his two secret identities: highly-skilled doctor and convicted murderer.
You enjoyed the drama because it reminded you of what you really are. There is a light in you that you have forgotten. People think that millionaires, movie stars, athletes, and politicians light the world. You understand that they are nothing but fire flies; they glow for a second and then are gone. You wonder why others don’t see you as you are. I will let you into the secret: they do. They sense who you really are and hate you for your light. They see you and fear. You are indeed the fugitive.
What do you think government is all about? People once lived in order, but there were some disagreements and controversies. People invented morality, but that didn’t work. Then they created the law and found that the law was only made things worse. They submitted themselves to a state and crime became rampant. Finally, they all offered themselves to the great god totalitarianism. The results were chaos and universal law-breaking. All this makes sense only if you see it for what it is. They had no other aim in mind but to subjugate you and keep you under control.
Sociology and psychology have one purpose and one purpose only: deceiving you. They want to take away your real name and name you themselves. They call you deviant or well-adjusted. They name you father or lower-middle-class. They can put you in a little box and display you on their shelves when you accept the false name they force upon you. The Navajos have a joke about it. They say that the Navajo family unit consists of 6 members: the mother, the father, the 2 children, the maternal grandmother, and the anthropologist. If you can’t remember your real name, let me suggest one for you: sociopath.
The religions and philosophies of the world all disagree with each other; sometimes their adherents turn to violence and kill each other for the sake of their beliefs. However, they all agree on one point: You are the problem. There is something fundamentally wrong with you. They will tell you that they love you, but they actually hate you. They love what you could become if you would only follow their prescriptions. They tell you that if you could only get rid of those attributes that are particular to you, you could be perfect. If you could only crack open your head like a walnut, put your brain into a blender, and add it to some universal mind, then everyone would approve. They’d call you a virtuous man or a sage, but you refuse to do that: You remain the fugitive. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know that there is something wrong with them.
If you have a drink or smoke or take some other drugs, they’ll call you an addict and intervene on you. If you act like a boy when you’re a boy, they’ll put you on Ritalin. If you worry about all the responsibilities they put on you, they’ll tell you to take Valium. If you find their company depressing, prozac is the answer. They used to allow you coffee and cigarettes because they helped you to work harder, but they thought you might enjoy them. The Old Testament says, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." It's only fair that he should have a little pleasure. Apparently, you don’t deserve the same consideration. Worst of all is a drink or a drug that you may take for no other reason than to please yourself. They will never allow that.
I’ve heard people say that prohibition wasn’t all bad because alcohol consumption decreased. Try to forget their words. Humans have consumed billions of gallons of alcohol. Why did they do that? Why do people do anything? People do what they want to do. Billions of gallons of alcohol have been consumed intentionally by people who wanted to drink them. The thing speaks for itself: alcohol is loved by humankind. And yet, you are willing to believe that there is something inherently wrong with it. A person will drink the amount of alcohol that makes his life happiest. If you don’t understand the way some person drinks (or abstains), well, you are on his outside; he knows best. Only you are on the inside of yourself.
Do you suppose that they want to keep you alive with all their rules and regulations? Die of AIDS. Die because you didn't buckle up. Die from drug abuse. They love your death. You provide a useful object lesson to society. Do you think they want you to obey their laws? Of course not. They want you to break the law so that you will walk about with a vague sense of guilt. Do you believe they want you to be honest and truthful? You are mistaken. They want you to lie. Why does a person lie? He lies because he is afraid; and here's a secret: lying makes you fearful. Above all else, they want you to be afraid.
You must be moderate. You must conserve. Why? When my brother and I were younger, my grandmother said, "If we don’t eat it . . . ," (we can make something else out of it), (freeze it), (give it to the neighbors), (feed it to the birds). I forget. My brother finished her sentence, ". . . , we can throw it out." It was very funny to us, and liberating. People eat out a lot now. It seems wasteful to me, but I don’t have their values. They obviously put a higher value on their time than they do on their money. There’s nothing wrong with them except that they aren’t me. Be immoderate if you please; be wasteful. You have your own values: That’s why they hate you.
They’ve told you what to love and what to hate and you don’t even know it. The Eskimos think frozen fish is a rare treat and people in jungles eat termites and grubs. Why do these foods disgust you? Are your taste buds different from other humans’? Of course not. You’ve been deceived. They cannot bear for you to have a private hate: You must hate what they hate.
You think that girl is beautiful and that other girl is ugly. When you look back 50 years or 500 or 5000 years, you find that no one in the past agreed with your assessment of beauty. See that anorexic girl with dyed hair. If you lived in another time, you might have mistaken her for a concentration camp victim with breast implants, but you think her more attractive than Helen of Troy. They have told you who to love. But it’s worse than that; they’re making fun of you now. They found out what sort of woman was most desirable to homosexuals and then they taught you to desire her. Of course, she looks as much like a boy as possible. If they could make you fall in love with an ape, they’d do it; but you remember enough of yourself to prevent them from trying. Maybe next year you’ll have forgotten that you are even a human and they can really laugh at you.
You tell me that you are free. OK, you’re not in prison yet. They tell you what you may buy and what you may sell. They take half your money. They outline what you may do on your own land. They have a list of what you may put in your body and what you must put in your body. If you try to decide these matters for yourself, you become a criminal. Oh, I forgot. You have one right. They have given you permission to abort your children. But that’s only because they’re afraid that your children may be like you, and they hate and fear you above all else.
If you want to remember, you’ll have to change your way of thinking. You must stop submitting yourself to fear. Turn off the news and don’t let their horrors enter your mind. Stop going to those frightening movies. They only encourage you to look for someone to protect and rule you. Will someone kill you? I don’t know. Remember, though, that in the most powerful country the world has ever known, a group of foreigners who could barely drive killed thousands of people. They can’t protect you. They can’t even protect themselves. Stop pretending that they can make you safe.
Stop joining gangs. Stop joining mobs. If two great mobs clash, you should be like a shadow between two bright lights. Gangs and governments do nothing but steal your life. You have enough of your own enemies without making enemies of strangers. Perhaps someone will kill you, but he will kill you because of who you are, not because of who you know. Make your own friends and your own enemies. Maybe you will kill me when you remember yourself. I don’t know. Once you remember, you will be like Max Stirner, who said, "I may kill you, but I won’t torture you." Neither my pain nor my pleasure is important to the you. My approval or disapproval is of no concern to the real you. You may want what I have, but you won’t envy me. You may love me, but you will never need me.
Stop thinking in their words. All your actions come from inside you. Pretend as much as you like; everything you do is for you. Give up the idea that you can perform a single unselfish act. You can't; everything you do comes from inside you: your self. If it happens to benefit someone else, that’s nice, but you did it for yourself. Everything each of them does is for himself too. Don’t forget that.
You are always alone. You are the meat inside the uncrackable shell. There is no entrance and no exit. You are the final Russian doll, the one that can't be opened to reveal another doll. You will never be born again. You will never enter Nirvana. You will always be alone. You cannot die: "Where you are, there is no death." The Greeks had a word: atom. It comes from a, meaning "not" and tom, meaning "cut." Your name is the same: individual or "uncuttable."
Forget even the name that your parents gave you. You may think that your name is the one thing that is truly yours. But that name of yours only chains you to this man and that woman and those children. It is only a reminder of what you owe others. Perhaps you have a real name. Maybe you will remember it. Once you start remembering, someday we’ll go back to your real home, the one you forgot. Let’s take my car so that no one will know that it’s you. We’ll go some smoky fall evening when clouds are hazy purple in the sunset and all those people are safely inside their houses eating dinner. You’ll see the lights in their windows and their shadows. When I see your house, I’ll point it out to you, and then you’ll know, and then we can drive on. But you’ll remember.