Monday, 4 February 2008

Crack-Cocaine To The Ego

So we're all on this grand mission to save the world. We're all prepared to lay down our shit to do it. We're prepared to do what it takes.

We're prepared to walk through fire. We're prepared to take the pain. We're prepared to get industrial about ourselves - about connecting to our true nature, and to the true power of our very humanity.

We're prepared to let go of every attachment and every piece of who we are, to throw ourselves into the teeth of this thing - and jack our species out of the fictional world it has created for itself... a world that is fast destroying everything.

And that's great, and I applaud it.


There is a danger here.

The danger is this. Your 'identity' will build itself out of whatever materials it has. It forms the most powerful and compelling story that it can from the raw materials it has in front of it.

The problem with actually and seriously confronting the task of 'saving the world' is that the idea of 'being the saviour of the world' is like crack-cocaine to the ego.

Except far, far more addictive, and far, far more destructive.

We are each of us severed creatures. We have been severed from the reality of who we are, and exist as phantoms. We are all of us phantoms, ghosts. We inhabit reality, but we are not of it because we are fictional and it is not.

As such, we crave reality. We hunger for it and cry for it. We would kill to feel real. We would die to feel real.

The hunger to feel real transcends all physical, animal and "natural" drives, and it unique to the human animal.

That is because self-deception is unique to the human animal and we are, all of us, ghosts formed by self-deception.

That is our identity, what Eckhart Tolle refers to as the 'ego', and what you know in popular culture as your personality.

Self-help is masturbation. This is about self-destruction.

The big, blaring danger with trying to save the world is that your mind rapidly constructs an artificial 'picture of you' with you in centre stage playing the role of saviour.

And as long as you're playing that role, you're still locked in self-delusion. You're just locked in self-delusion's most potent and visceral trap: thinking you are, basically, the second coming.

I hope you can see how this is the logical route of insanity. Following this line of reasoning - as I did - results inevitably (and I'm not fucking around with that word) into a spiral of grandiose visions which push your mind beyond it's limits and drive you insane.

And once you're insane, once you've lost your shit... you're useless. When you're insane you can't save shit.

So be warned. This is the crucial pitfall - indulging the whirling helter-skelter of messianic thoughts that course through your mind.

You're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

So what if this is you? What if you've indulged it, and now you're locked in this vortex of epiphany?

Firstly, slow yourself down.

Slow down your breathing.

Slow down your mind.

Just slow....

Slow it down....

Good. Slow. Good.

Now look, the problem you're facing is one that I struggled with for years.

Frankly, I would go as far as to say if you're struggling with this problem that's actually a massively good thing. Why? Because it means that although you're coasting on the edge of a cliff, you do at least appreciate the full scale and intensity of the possibilities that lie in front of all of us.

Any one of us could save this world. And it's not hard, and it's not going to require huge amounts of physical suffering. You could actually do it while having a blast and making a huge pile of cash.

But again, once you see that such a thing is extremely possible, you start to think "hey, cool - I could do that. I'd be the king of the world!"

And then you're fucked.

Pride, they say, is the Cardinal Sin.

Now, I don't see 'sin' as a moral concept. I don't think Christianity, or Buddhism, or Islam, or Judaism or Sikhism or Hinduism - I don't think that these are 'moral' religions.

I don't think that the advice of the foundational figures of these religions had anything to do with morality at all. I think that they're about power. I think that they're about forging a hardcore, broadband link to the source of all power itself - a source that is, incidentally, also the source of all goodness itself.

I call this source reality. It has had other names.

Look, pride is not bad in some vague 'moral' sense.

Pride is bad because it will completely destroy you, extremely quickly, given half a chance.

Anything it touches, it destroys.

It is like ebola.

Be aware of this.

And what do I mean by Pride? Simple. When you draw that sense of worth, value, importance (and reality) from some conceptual structure.

And saving the world is a conceptual structure with an incredibly powerful emotional charge.

A charge of frantic nervous energy.

Can you feel it? 'Saving the world' - it sounds like a myth, a legend... a fairy-tale.

You get to be the fairy tale hero. You get to be the shining knight, the legend. You see the dreams of glory, the nobel prize, the applause, the adulation.

Getting sucked into that will not just distract you. It will fill you with a frantic kind of arrogance which will repulse the very people you need to attract.

And something that's even more insidious than the feeling of coolness you get while daydreaming, is the feeling that your life has purpose.

It's a strange one - you might be surprised that I'm talking about it as a trap.

But it is a trap.

It's the biggest trap going.

When you walk through life and you draw meaning from the idea that you're on this grand quest to save the world, you can put up with all sorts of shit, knowing that it's all in the service of something so great that everything it touches becomes meaningful and cool.

This is so subtle, and so potent. It's one of the greatest weapons in the Devil's arsenal, and you need to constantly watch yourself for it, constantly expose it for what it is beneath the veil of delusion it uses to hide from you.

Can you see it? Can you feel it?

If you can, worry. If you can't, worry.

You see, we get closer to our power when we discard things.

One big example of that would be when you discard judgment between good and evil, and discover that extremely rapidly you connect to a deeper experience of true goodness that rises naturally from within you, and is many, many times more powerful than anything you've ever experienced before.

Conversely, you'll know people who are stuck fast in conceptual ways of thinking about good and evil, and somehow manage to be total dicks.

I know from my past that all the times I was certain I was 'right' were in retrospect the times when I was the most destructive of others... and of my own life and happiness.

It's almost like you could draw a graph - that how 'right' you feel you are is directly proportional to how much of a dick you're actually being.


For years I looked at 'saving the world' in a 'heroic' way. I felt heroic when I thought about it, and that buoyed me up during the hard times, which were extreme and nasty as fuck.

But those bad times only happened BECAUSE I looked at 'saving the world' in a 'heroic' way.

I took it personally. I drew my sense of self from my 'mission'.

And all the shit that befell me wasn't even the worst of it.

The worst of it was that I was totally paralyzed when it came to actually thinking clearly about exactly how to do that.

So nothing got saved, not even me.

The ego is a crafty motherfucker - and it's much cleverer than you are. By miles.

This is perhaps the biggest single obstacle to doing anything to actually save the world - getting lost in the myth of the thing. Getting lost in fiction. Getting lost in thought. Getting lost in pride. Getting lost in your head.

Remember - it is only once we have discarded everything that we are free to do anything.

You must discard the fiction of being the saviour. You must discard the fantasy of being Neo, or being Morpheus, or being any motherfucker - even you.

It is being itself which you must cultivate if you are going to genuinely contribute to this planet's redemption.

So be aware. And of course, be.

But don't just 'be'. BE. BE to the motherfucking HILT motherfuckers. Damage your fictions. Obliterate your moral judgments and connect to the reality of what you really are.

Destroy your personality. Destroy your desire to be 'the saviour'. Destroy it each and every day for the rest of your life.

Only then do you actually stand a chance of changing the world.

But then of course, on the bright side, once you do it you'll find that changing the world is nowhere near as difficult or as complex as you think.


Fullcrum said...

This is awesome.

I'm curious, maybe you can post on this: where are you at right now? what are some more practical ideas you have about saving the world?

Eckhart is totally still probably almost 100% of the time, and the world isn't "saved" yet.

What could we do?

Anonymous said...

Mass stillness

Anonymous said...

This got me thinking..

The world can't "save" you, with its flashy consumerism and materialism, ultimately because it's external to you.

By virtue of that can't save "the world", or, another person, because you are external to -that thing-.

You must allow the space for -that thing- to literally, save (or do what it will) with itself.

J "SoAtomik"