Beyond the Thrall of Ego
by Antonio Dias
We are raised to be Egotists and then resented for it. This is the means of our alienation.
Our organism knows what to do and how to act. It has been functioning in this way since before we were born.
Through the accidents and consequences of what we know as thought, and the pernicious illusion of an “I” this phenomenon projects, we have forced another layer control atop our functioning organism. This amounts to saddling up a monkey onto its back.
The effects of this are threefold.
Confusion. Functions that worked fine on their own are now caught-up in an echo-chamber of reverberating commands superimposed upon a smoothly flowing functional process. This leads to error, miscommunication, and a shutting down of processes that had been well-functioning and finely-tuned before.
The introduction of delusion. The “I” is self-perpetuating. This is its only function, to project a semblance of existence, to defend itself. In this it projects conflict outward. It alleges conflict to be external, between our organism and our world while obscuring that it is truly between Ego and its host organism. Under the guise of acting in “our” best interest, Ego strives to hold onto its power at any cost.
This can only be recognized clearly when we are aware of the Ego’s dilemma. It cannot exist without a host organism, but – beyond the organism’s continued existence measured in the most limited fashion, merely as a viable host – the Ego has no reason to concern itself with our organism’s health or well-being. Beyond that, if the risk is high that the organism will throw out its parasitic Ego, the Ego has nothing to lose if it takes the organism to the brink of annihilation. This is the cause of suicide. Suicide is the Ego facing extinction and deciding to take the rest of “us” down with it.
This means that the monkey ultimately has no concern over whether it’s shenanigans are beneficial to its mount. There is no mechanism within the Ego’s view to correct for error, miscommunication, or even fatal breakdown. Delusion is decoupled from self-interest. The deceit of Ego, that its interests are our own, allow it to trap us within delusions that only benefit its continued domination over us.
And thirdly. The Ego projects all these conflicts, its violence against its host, onto the world. By holding the organism hostage and forcing it to act in ways that are damaging to its own interests, the Ego not only works destructively within the body and mind, but out in the world. The enslaved organism, carrying out the demands of Ego, wreaks havoc and commits violence against everything that is. All in the name of maintaining Ego’s parasitic mastery.
In this way, it is clear, that “fighting injustice,” or any of Ego’s crimes, out there; in no way eliminates their cause, but only perpetuates our infatuation with Ego’s intoxicating effects.
Ego is a parasite on our attention. Attention is all we have. Awareness, consciousness, are all we have. The organism knows this. It is an embodiment of attention with a legacy reaching back throughout the entire evolution of life on earth, if not longer.
Ego hijacks the organism’s attention. It is good at it. It has many tools at its disposal. They all have one culminating purpose, to focus our attention onto Ego itself. This is Ego’s one and only need. Its single purpose. Its mode of existence. Just as we say of the cranky 3-year-old, that budding victim of an infection of Ego, any attention is considered good attention. Attention is existence. To the Ego it is the quantity of attention, not its quality, that matters.
So, any time Ego can get us to attend to its need by accepting its rationales, by believing in its projections, by acting according to its desires; it has succeeded.
This model, taking Ego as an invading parasitic agent, like all models, is incomplete and verging on a lie. Ego exists. It is a part of us, however it came to be, whatever its role has been. It is. Just as with diseases, the notion that we can eradicate them, or isolate ourselves from their effects completely in some bubble of disinfectant, is a dangerous, partial truth. These strategies weaken us in the long term. They maintain us in a delusion in which our wish after escape or salvation can hide. We cannot cut away the Ego, or drug it away, or force it into submission. We can only strengthen our organism and re-establish its capacities to take care of itself.
It is ready and willing! At whatever first small step we take it responds with joy and vigor! Whatever is to be found on the other side of our domination by Ego will arise on the organism’s – and our community of organisms’ – own terms. It will not be anything we are accustomed to from within the thrall of Ego.