Can one be fully human without experiencing tragedy? The only tragedy there is in the world is ignorance; all evil comes from that. The only tragedy there is in the world is unwakefulness and unawareness. From them comes fear, and from fear comes everything else, but death is not a tragedy at all. Dying is wonderful; it’s only horrible to people who have never understood life. It’s only when you’re afraid of life that you fear death. It’s only dead people who fear death. But people who are alive have no fear of death. The end of the world for a caterpillar is a butterfly for the master.

Death is resurrection. We’re talking not about some resurrection that will happen but about one that is happening right now. If you would die to the past, if you would die to every minute, you would be the person who is fully alive, because a fully alive person is one who is full of death. We’re always dying to things. We’re always shedding everything in order to be fully alive and to be resurrected at every moment. The mystics, saints, and others make great efforts to wake people up. If they don’t wake up, they’re always going to have these other minor ills like hunger, wars, and violence. The greatest evil is sleeping people, ignorant people. A Jesuit once wrote a note to his superior general, asking him about the relative value of communism, socialism, and capitalism. His superior gave him a lovely reply. He said, “A system is about as good or as bad as the people who use it.” People with golden hearts would make capitalism or communism or socialism work beautifully.