Beyond it being about men or women, subjective or external reality, we need to consider that fictitious entity reinforced by society and fiercely upheld by all of us: the ego. Ensconced in the cornerstone of social belief, creatively forged upon the pretence of individuality, it cultivates the illusion of privacy and grandeur in the empire of self. Ego is a business.
A conversation with an American style coach, whose background is in economy and who specialised in transformational structures within the business model, revealed that, no matter what country in the world we may be in, there is a common language and method that describes all humans and their yearnings in commercial terms. Traditional psychology at its best or worst persists in presenting a standard worldview that spreads malignantly into our innermost aspiration under the guise of “growth” and results.
Following Maslow and other modern psychotherapy techniques (always “techniques”), most coaches and world leaders are advocates of reorganisational philosophies that centre on an idea that is then coated with various sales pitches. The core being sold is “the need for change”. Obviously we all would like to “change” even if details and motivation vary – a whole lot, I might add.
Perhaps we should better use the term “variety” because most often the change in question implies social continuity. New terminology and catch phrases, altered structures, and snappy promises surrounding “leadership” and elements that invigorate the ego in a competitive world dress it up with enticements. “Competitiveness” is never questioned. (Maslow Pyramid)
Defended rationally, everything is possible through formulas that go from a to z where “doing it yourself” is fundamental. Progress is conceived as stages of reorganisation. This resembles the popular children’s game “Lego”; instead of plastic blocks we have thoughts. All the while the “self”, that insidious and highly recalcitrant child the “I”, suffers assorted identities and levels that parallel transformations in our material world. The fact that the human being is not equivalent to the matter that composes his body is overlooked. Everything revolves around a fixed point of observation, the physically defined identity of the personal “I”. For all the wording, there is no vision beyond the immediate sensory world. (Success Pyramid)
“Realisation” is seen as the ultimate stage of a magical ownership obtained through commercial codes, merit based on effort. We may rise and fall in our quest and even participate in various levels simultaneously. The process of self-awareness is based on “doing” and centres around some form or another of protagonism.
There are at least twelve concepts around which ego thrives. Curiously, the list parallels elements reinforced by modern social and professional ethics.
- Protagonism: The self is postulated as an observer, centre or origin of whatever is being perceived. A certain idealism is upheld that somehow justifies being the centre of one’s world and interests.
- Privacy: It refers to things and people and, defined in physical and mental terms, is considered a “need”. In truth it is an artifice for exclusivity and defends a value system that preserves demarcations and separation. Categorisation and secularism set the base for a skilled and covert form of deceit.
- Separation: There is an emotional experience of isolation, a certainty that you and the world are separate phenomena. First “me” and “mine”, and then the rest. It reinforces categorisation and polarisation, and the labelling process that appears in material as well as spiritual identification/evaluation.
- Fragmentation and Disassociation: Allows for specialisation, minimalism, and strategies of defence or attack. Analysis of a situation occurs by disassociating one sector from the whole and constructing “reality” around it. It paves the way for mechanisation and automatism.
- Justification: The entire rational, analytical, logical machinery unrolls to assure self-identify and process.
- Control: You must exert dominance over something, yourself or another. Personal power is projected as a desperate need to “be right”, “win”, “succeed”, and “self-realize” -or-bust.
- Usefulness: People as well as things are seen in the light of self benefit and practicality. It guarantees the process of mechanisation and manipulation that programs human beings to surrender to a system for the sake of good manners, charity, and “the greater good”.
- Linearity: A sense of fixed and preconceived continuity is assured. Past and future blend in a prolonged survival of the status quo. “Purpose” as goal-oriented activity is raised to the level of ideal.
- Self: Different strategies arise that assure the growth, expansion and perpetuation of basic protagonism. Nothing is ever enough.
- Seriousness and Rigidity: It is a matter of taking things seriously, tantamount to “respect” and “tradition”. There is zero sense of humour or of the absurd. In fact humour becomes darker and blacker and revolves around radicalisation in one form or another.
- Obsession and Preoccupation: There is always something to defend or care for. Busy-ness. Perennial cyclical activity as constant thinking and the pressure to “do” or “improve” (even sexual performance) wards off the imminent shadow of boredom or the upsurge of pent up human feelings.
- Disconnection from the Physical Body: It’s called “professionalism” and prevails in body building and sexual practices that separate sensation and performance from ethical and feeling processes that illustrate a fragmented state of mind. The proverbial modern “stress factor”, justified in myriad ways.
To conceive of something different would require a radical change in perspective. As it stands today, people who are supposedly successful tend to be programmed like computers, dress in corporate-blue and speak like walking charts.
In a better world, rather than aiming at fixed categories, spontaneous sentient awareness would be evoked. Instead of imposing a control over reality, we would recognise this phenomenon as a constant flow, and learn to obey natural rhythms and shapes. Instead of imposing an artificial order, we would recognise that a natural order exists that is far more just than our own myopic perspective. We would recognise that we can’t own anything or anyone. Most of all we would recognise that there is something much more important and that is “consciousness”.
Intelligence relates to matter but Consciousness is the hallmark of the human presence with commensurate values and ethics. Spiritual reality would be transposed into our material world and the problems created by personal power and money would yield infinitely greater types of creativity.
The elements and skills developed by the ego in its construction and maintenance of self, its defence and occultation, now define a Self enhanced by the experience of Consciousness. A state of being oneself, without having to prove anything, is a purpose in itself.
Spontaneity, humour, and delight are its natural result. The power of fullness does not involve anyone or anything else. There is no business or technique in the world that can forge it.