There are many causes for which I am willing to die; but none for which I am willing to kill.
Preamble: The following article is based on the notion of there being two modes of consciousness available to us, to wit: egoic consciousness, and its opposite, non-egoic consciousness.
Ego is such a cosmic pain in humankind’s nether region. Ego is not motivated to understand, or to know; it is motivated to control, plain and simple. The great muses, Knowledge and Understanding, play second fiddle to Control in the ego’s pantheon – to ego, they are simply a means to an end. Ego does not care to understand or work with that which it did not create, unless the effort produces immediate satisfaction. Rather it desires to replace these things with creations of its own.
That might not be too big a problem were it not for ego being so limited in its knowledge and understanding – go figure! Since it is reactionary by nature, what it wants, it wants now –and without having to exert too much effort thinking about it; or paying beyond its point of convenience to get it. And so, rather than learn how things work, or are best done, so as to gain the optimum balance between personal and social advantage, ego will persist in trying to ram a square peg through a round hole.[i]
Remember the baby toy? Babies learn. Ego doesn’t. Ego seeks to remake the world the way it imagines is good for it, rather than reconcile itself into being good for the world; a world created and recreated by God. Ego does not seek to know God as God is, but rather to know God as it wants God to be. Control and faith are mutually exclusive mindsets ; faith implies a lack of control (the belief that a higher consciousness accounts for all things), and ego wants none of that.
As a child, I recall reading a graffiti that said: “…and man made God in his image.” I knew from Miss Purser, my grade one teacher, that this guy had it backwards; that it was man who was made in God’s image. But as I grew up, and learned of the violence man has done in God’s name, I began to wonder if the graffiti artist didn’t have it right after all.
I mean, what kind of God would make such a beautiful and botanically diverse world, populate it with all kinds of animals, cap off His creative surge with a variety of humans, and then sit back and enjoy watching them taking sides and destroying one another, along with the world He created [ii] – each side believing He is on their side – to boot?
Richard Harris, in his portrayal of England’s erstwhile Lord Protector and regicide, Oliver Cromwell, encounters this dubious belief early on in the reel. His response: “Every man who wages war believes God is on his side. I’ll warrant God should often wonder, who is on His?”[iii] Ego alone accounts for the human capability to rationalize the violence they do to one another, to the Earth Mother who sustains them, to children, and to their future prospects, and even to think ‘God wants it so…’ God does not want it so. Not for any reason. Ever.
My teacher can be forgiven, however, for an innocent mistake: she was telling her young charges how things were meant to work, and should work. What she taught made perfect sense to me; as an adult, I came to realize that most people, the poor and the wealthy, the leaders of the world, and those who are led, were often soft in the values we were taught by Miss Purser.
Instead, we’ve made war in God’s name; destroyed or transformed much of the world God made(and upon which we wholly rely for survival). Are we frackin’ crazy? We allow poverty to persist, long after discovering (and then ignoring) the egregious human tragedy and social pathologies poverty engenders and abets. If we were behaving true to God’s image, we would be doing none of these things, and none of these things would exist. Ever. We have only our egoic perspective to blame.
We allow ego consciousness to inform the majority of our interactions and perceptions. Is it any wonder, then, that humankind has placed itself, and the world it relies on for survival, in such a precarious state – environmentally, geopolitically, population-wise – you name it – while we ignore the warnings that are in plain sight? Is it any wonder that we would entertain the dubious dream of colonizing Mars, a planet that has no active core and is, therefore, dead, while we are killing the very planet that both engendered and nurtures us? How is it we are prepared to invest billions (trillions?) of dollars in a dubious attempt to resurrect and colonize a dead planet, when this money would serve ours and future generations incomparably better were it invested in the healing of our own planet?
We continue to plunder our dear Mother Earth, a planet which is alive, but sick – sick largely because of what we have done to Her- rather than invest in healing Her. We simply must let go of the notion that mother will continue to provide for our every want, as she always did when we were children. We can’t keep taking from mother indefinitely; mother got older, we grew up, and now it is time for us to take care of Her.[v] It is the gift of past generations of Canadians that we enjoy the safety, comfort, and opportunities we have today. Shall we leave none of these things to future generations? Do we seriously think we can go on plundering the life force out of our dear Earth Mother without jeopardizing her ability to support us?
If our behaviour isn’t making any sense, why are we choosing to act like this? It is only because the more our views and interactions with the world are framed in ego, the more ego-centric/ego-conscious we are, the more we will want to acquire for ourselves, and the less we will want to think about the real costs to ourselves, especially over the long term. When we allow our egos to rule us, the gains are invariably short term; the payment, invariably long term -and with more interest than our egos would ever permit us to imagine.
Some Parting Shots at Ego:
- Cancer cells begin life as normal cells, but have undergone change at the DNA level; scrambling their programming. Cancer cells will multiply; drawing ever more nutrition from their environment, to the point where they kill the host they rely on for life. They do not participate in the maintenance of the body; they only take from it.As the cancer proliferates, there are fewer healthy cells left to maintain the body. Eventually, the healthy cells are not able to keep up with the body’s needs, and the entire body crashes. All of the body’s cells, healthy and cancerous alike, perish. With ego in the driver’s seat, humankind will relate to Mother Earth in much the same way cancers do to their human hosts -and humankind will meet the same end.The difference is, after we are gone, the Earth Mother will heal itself and many new wonderful species of Life will proliferate. It will be the Garden returned; but we may not be around to enjoy it. Therefore, we must choose one way or the other: to behave like a cancer, or to behave as the Creator hoped we would: as stewards of the Earth Mother; behaving the way the healthy cells in our bodies do. We must choose one of two options; but only one of them leads to a wonderful future, and the fulfilment of God’s dream for humankind and the Earth Mother: the choice to cultivate our non-egoic consciousness. We must decide soon. Humankind has proliferated and reinvented Nature beyond the point of Nature’s capacity to provide it nutrition and absorb its waste. It’s up to us.
- Whenever something new comes along with the potential to overturn the status quo, it is normally met with a strongly adverse reaction.[vi] This is because of ego. Ego abhors change, because change entails the loss of ego’s control. The great souls – Jesus, Gandhi, John Lennon, Martin Luther, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) – and many others encountered violence in response to challenging the status quo of their times. Each of these great souls was motivated by Agape.[vii]; but the majority response to their goodness (and willingness to die for, rather than kill for, God), was a mixture of fear, lies, and persecution.[viii]
Ego attacks what it doesn’t understand.[ix] In ‘The Three Worlds of Gulliver,’ the hero of the story is attacked because no one can believe he is doing all the good things he does purely out of the goodness of his heart. No thought of payback. They cannot believe he is that good. Unable to find any fault in Gulliver, they manufacture ulterior motives for him, and then accuse him of having them. They unfairly besmirch him, because they cannot accept the truth about him. He makes them feel that they should change .[x] But they don’t want to change. Why? Because if they did, they would have to admit they were, in the past, wrong about which is the proper way to open an egg, and therefore, not as perfect as their ego permitted them to imagine.
At the end of the movie, Gulliver and girlfriend recap the problem and provide the solution. I cried; it was so right. I won’t give it away though. Watch the movie. The library may have it; it is also on YouTube. It may still be available for purchase at Amazon.ca.
3. Ego has some of us saying that only certain people are saved, along with the criteria upon which God decides. Imagine that. Who among us can seriously claim to be able to judge and speak for God, exclusively? In the extreme, ego can block us from having any sense of God at all. No single person is able to contain the totality of God’s Knowledge, anymore than my back pocket can, the city of Toronto. It is precisely the accumulation of the spiritual wisdom in humankind’s possession that brings us closer to knowing God; much closer than any one person can. This is why we must share our beliefs, rather than coerce others into believing as we do. I think that is why God had to communicate through different people at different times, and to different cultures. Ego just won’t get this; for as long as ego has our attention, it follows, we won’t either. But as soon as we do, all wars of religion (and the egregious sin of doing violence in ‘God’s name,’ will end.
Please read the blog post by Benoit Voyer, Je rêve de paix. You can find it on the Quebec version of the Huffington Post:
…there is a wonderful story appearing on msn Canada. I cannot think of a finer, or more noble human quality, than that which these muslims are fully in possession of. The gift they provide us is the key which opens the door to a wonderful future for everyone.
You can read it here:
the Vatican has now officially recognized the State of Palestine. You can read about it here:
http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/01/03/le-vatican-reconnait-letat-palestinien_n_8907028.html en Français or
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/13/vatican-recognizes-state-of-palestine_n_7274096.html to read the article in English.
[i] The attempt is as dubious and ill-fated as sovereign nations making war upon one another, in order to achieve their goals; but whereas the baby toy results only in frustration and perhaps some bruised knuckles, war kills the innocent.
[ii] I use the gender pronoun only for convenience. In my personal view, the Universe and all it contains is the Body of God; and God therefore incorporates the feminine as well as the masculine.
[iii] For this and other gems taken from film, visit http://www.reellifewisdom.com/20_best_movie_quotes_about_war
[iv] The resurrection prophesied by the Christian, and perhaps other Faiths, would be a minor miracle in comparison to this one!
[v] The children’s book Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. There is an important life lesson therein: the mother raises the child, becomes elderly, then the son takes care of his mom with the same love and dedication that his mother gave him when he was a baby and could not look after himself. Beautiful.
[vi] DOS users even poo-pooed Windows when it first came out.
[vii] Agape is the kind of love which God has for people and everything else created by God. Love is the force which drives all creative endeavours.
[viii] If you can, watch Mohammed, starring Anthony Quinn. You will be impressed with the courage and faith of the first followers of Mohammed as they suffered persecution for their beliefs and for their outreach to the peoples living in the region. They endured persecution for following Mohammed, just as the early Christians had, for following Jesus. There is a scene early on in the movie that invariably brings tears to my eyes – a slave is being tortured by his former master….but I do not want to give away the story. Also, read Gandhi’s biography.
[ix] This simple observation accounts for the wars among religions: ego cannot understand that if its group is worshipping the One God, how can anyone else worship the One God in a way different from theirs, or refer to the One God by a different name, or render God in ‘graven images’? However, when go beyond our ego, we become aware that the One God motivated different good souls, of different times and cultures, to speak to their own.
[x] In the fabulous western, High Plains Drifter, the character played by Clint Eastwood is told, You’re the sort of person who makes people afraid. His reply: It’s what they know about themselves inside which makes ‘em afraid. This sage of the West was talking about the ego.