The Patholgies of Ego

The Spectacle keeps us contributing to “The Future.”

“Stay and be entertained!” It cajoles.

“Leave and be fearful!” It threatens.

This cycle of abusive domination is evident in politics and throughout media-dominated culture. If we turn away we feel a loss. If we miss the latest developments we are afraid.

Just as there is a field of Mind that we access, there is a field in which Ego finds its reflection. That field is Spectacle. Spectacle is Ego writ large.

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Mind is infinite.

Attention is finite.

Spectacle is very large. It is capable of absorbing all our attention. This is how it holds us to Ego.

Unless attention can be freed from habitual intoxication to Spectacle we cannot access Mind. We are trapped in the finite.

Ego is enthralled by Spectacle. Challenged and thrilled by Spectacle.

Encountering my college library and getting a sense of a fraction of what it held led my Ego to throw its zeal into attempting to absorb it all. This is only one form this hubris can take.

Hubris, not a “sin,” but a sign of blindness to implication. In an implicate universe this is as profound an error as we can fall into.

Fighting challenges and reveling in intoxications we are too busy to notice what is at risk. We expect incoherence to be unstable. We expect what is unstable to lack resilience and be frail.

But instability has its own momentum. Especially when it is untied from the self-preservation of its constituent parts.

We think of Ego as selfish. Selfishness as an aspect of self-preservation. But, as with all the rest of Ego, this is incoherent. It is a story told to explain and support an illusion. It is no more consistent than a tale of Leprechauns and Rainbows….

An illusory story to maintain itself. Ego asks us to leap to the assumption that its needs are our needs. If we accept that, we abandon self-preservation and follow Ego in its desperate attempts to escape from illusion into actuality. It cannot, no more than a rainbow could, so the result is failure, a failure we have tied our selves to.

But so long as there are plenty of others eager to try, this process continues. Attrition does not stop an effect until it has run its course. Even any relics who remain may continue to firmly believe that they were right all along,

“The South Will Rise Again!”

“The Boys in Brazil!”

Incoherence is stable enough to carry us into deep collapse and persistent enough to pick-up where it left off.

But incoherence cannot be resisted. To attempt resistance is to surrender to the internal logic of incoherence.

Incoherence can be absorbed into an integration, into an acceptance and embodied understanding of implication and holographic continuity.

We can not defeat or destroy Ego. We may see it for what it is. An illusion seen through has no power to continue to delude.

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Civilization is Ego manifest in Spectacle.

To go another way is not to un-civilize. Such a task undertaken without an understanding of what got us here and holds us here does nothing to address Ego. We remain in a morass of Ego’s “choices;” unable to avoid Ego’s incoherence; chasing fragments of apparent coherence in endless cycles that always return us to confusion, a fertile ground for our continued delusion.

If civilization is the accumulation of incoherence held together by will and bolstered by violent power then seeing it for what it is – Spectacle as Ego writ large – is a precondition for abandoning incoherence.

When this step leads us to be disillusioned of Spectacle’s intoxications we have integrated ourselves, and incoherence – at least this type – dissolves.

There is a process of ongoing disillusionment. A joyful process, once we pass through the inevitable crises of detoxification.

Sobriety is frightening to the addicted and this fear condemns us to continual intoxication: the absorption of toxins, in-toxication.

Seen from the other side, this is but a moment’s discomfort which pales in relation to what is at stake, what is available to be gained.

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Knowledge is limited.

Understanding is not knowledge.

It is neither as precise nor as limited as knowledge.

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Technology is knowledge.

Craft involves understanding.

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Civilization took advantage of residual Craft to build it. Its insistence that only knowledge and technique are of value has eroded Craft to the random remnants we have left.

The same with Art and its relationship with meaning. Art’s power to find meaning has been atrophied as Art became a branch of Glamor, the exploitation of envy, the commodification of envy.

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Civilization kills its parents and eats its children; the pathologies of Ego.

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4 thoughts on “The Patholgies of Ego

  1. Looking at Debord lately?

    Although your post could as well be a comment on this: http://gigaom.com/2012/09/02/when-did-addiction-become-a-good-thing/ I tried to comment (and failed), intending to say all of this spectacle is just another method to separate wheat from chaff. All who can be kept happy or at least powerless with addictions will be preyed upon. Should we be appalled? “Save” those poor people who can’t help themselves? It seems the behavior designer writing the article is starting to see that the lovely woman he bought at the market as Aphrodite is starting to look ugly, skin turning black and the necklace doesn’t look nice either. Not really willing to admit it is Kali he brought home, he’s trying to find angles from which she would look less ugly. Maybe he can figure out a story which makes it all look good again (regressive restoration of the ego, that’s what Jung calls it).

    I don’t think ego is such an enemy it is sometimes made to be. It is just that it is not the true center of self (to continue in Jungian terminology). Ego has its rightful place, not at the center, but as one of the rightful members of the herd forming me.

    • A while back I wrote of my disgust at finding that “addictive user experience.”

      The clever are adept at providing what this culture wants of them.

      On “Ego,” I use the term even though it is fraught – what isn’t? I don’t mean it in a narrow Freudian sense, or particularly in any given psychological definition. It is most probably true that we gain some actual benefit from having an illusion of an “I.” It’s just that I see the point for its dangers and pitfalls to be more in need of illumination!

      I do like your sense of there being a herd inside… or wherever it is that mental forms reside!

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