HomeArticleFrom Ego To Empire, All Our Problems Stem From The Impulse To Control

From Ego To Empire, All Our Problems Stem From The Impulse To Control

The human organism arrives in this world squishy, defenseless and easily startled, which it turns out is really starting things off on the wrong foot.

Because of the size of our newly-evolved brains relative to the birth canal, humans have to give birth to what are essentially fetuses, far more helpless for a much longer time than the offspring of our animal cousins. While we are slowly completing our post-natal gestation and learning to move and walk as most mammals can do right out of the womb, we are in a very frightening stage of helplessness which inevitably leaves us scarred with psychological trauma.

Our formative impressions of the world are that it’s an unpredictable land of giants who make unexpected loud noises and sudden movements, where we have to scream our heads off to get what we need and where we’re incapable of articulating any desires we might have that are more complex than hunger or changing.

We’re just flung into this scary environment that we do not understand and cannot control. So it’s not surprising that we start forming strategies to exert some degree of control in order to feel safe and secure.

As our little heads get fuller and we begin to use language, we discover that one way we can exert control over this scary world of giants is with a conceptual framework known as “me”.

When we were newborns we did not experience a “me”, we just experienced raw sensory input and simple being. As our capacity for language and thought develops we learn that it’s useful to move thoughts around an imaginary conceptual construct called “me” in order to exert control over our environment using thoughts and words like “Mine!”, “I want that,” “Stay with me mommy,” “Don’t do that to me,” etc.

In reality there is no hard, solid thing that could be called a “me”, either scientifically or experientially. Scientifically the human organism is a loosely collaborative cellular process with no defining boundaries and no real separation from the ecosystem which forms and sustains it, and experientially there’s just thoughts, feelings and sense impressions with no hard “me” at the center if you really look closely. But because it’s useful for exerting control, the mental story of “me” gets energetically imbued with the power of belief in the organism.

This is what various spiritual traditions are pointing to when they employ the English word “ego”. Not to any hard, solid thing, but to a behavioral tendency to energetically contract around an imaginary “me” construct. It’s where nearly all of our suffering comes from, and it’s why the world is messed up in the way it is.

This impulse to control begins with egoic contraction, and depending on how forceful that contraction is it can lead to the impulse to control loved ones, communities, the environment, and every human being on this planet.

Someone whose egoic impulse to control spills over onto others can become abusive: beating their children, manipulating their family members, terrorizing their significant others, doing whatever it takes to give themselves the feeling of security they get when the people around them are brought under control. There’s no respect for the self-sovereignty of those people, because granting them self-sovereignty would be placing them out of your control.

Someone whose egoic impulse to control spills over into their communities might become a bully at school, a tyrant at the office, a malicious gossip, a domineering preacher or cult leader. Again it’s all about bringing the people around them under control so that they can feel safe and secure, with no regard for the self-sovereignty of others.

Someone whose egoic impulse to control spills out indiscriminately might try to amass as much control over as much wealth as possible so they’ll be able to influence vast collectives of people. They might climb the political or media ladder to gain power in the form of governmental or narrative control. They’ll do anything they can to exert as much control as they can over anything that makes them feel insecure, to force a paradigm that ensures they’ll always get everything they want and none of it will ever be taken away from them.

And that’s why we’ve got these oligarchs now doing everything they can to amass as much wealth for themselves as possible while keeping it out of the hands of everyone else.

It’s why vast fortunes are poured into manipulating the political/media class to control what people think, how they act and how they vote.

It’s why we’ve got wars and regime change operations around the world brutalizing any nation that tries to insist on its own self-sovereignty.

It’s why we’re destroying the ecosystem in which we evolved by beating it into submission rather than learning to collaborate with it.

It’s why we consent to a system of competition against each other as rivals instead of collaboration with one another as comrades.

It’s why egocentric dominators are endangering us all by waving armageddon weapons at anyone who doesn’t move exactly the way they like.

All ultimately because of our big heads and their relation to the size of the birth canal.

People whose impulse to control is especially pernicious seem to labor under the delusion that if they could just control every single atom in the universe, everything would be fine. That anything that goes wrong is due to the fact that they weren’t in control of it. So they spend their lives doing everything they can to exert control over as much of the world as possible. This is of course insane, and stems from the early impression they got of the world that bad things happen because the world is out of control.

But the world is always out of control. Necessarily. Even if one particularly powerful ego managed to enslave the whole human race and bend it to its will, an asteroid could hit the earth and end it all in an instant. The path toward peace is not toward control, it’s toward allowing it to be forever out of control.

The path out of this mess is the path away from domination and control and toward respect for self-sovereignty. We can begin walking this path ourselves, on our own, away from our own impulse to control and our own egoic contraction.

In the Monterey Bay Aquarium there’s a huge circular tank built into the ceiling of one of the rooms where sardines swim around in a circle all day. This creates a whirlpool effect which carries the school with its momentum, but if you watch the linked video you’ll notice that there are always a few little fish swimming against the tide. It would be easier for them to swim in the same direction all the other fish are swimming, but for whatever reason a few of them are saying “Screw this, I’m going the other way.”

If you think about it, those fish are doing two things with the path they have chosen. First, they are reducing the momentum of the whirlpool by the energy of one fish, simply by not participating in it. Secondly, they are actively pushing the energy of the whirlpool in the opposite direction by the energy of one fish, just by swimming the other way.

That’s really the best course of action we ourselves can take in a sardine tank that is spinning in the direction of domination and egoic contraction. We can uproot in ourselves all impulses to bend the world to our will and bring consciousness to the various ways that self-sovereignty is not being respected in our world. We can do deep inner work and pierce through the illusion of self and separation and see through to the nondual reality which exists already here and now beneath the mirage of the labeling, dividing mind.

We do these things as our part in slowing down the egoic whirlpool that is spinning us toward extinction. We do this because maybe other sardines will turn around and join us. But primarily we do this because it is right, and because it is true. Because a life that is devoted to truth is the only kind of life that will truly satisfy.

Let’s be the dissenting sardine. Let’s turn around from the egoic momentum of our species and each extricate our unique corner of humanity from the energetic contractions of selfing. Free the world from our delusions so we can know true peace. If that does open the door for true peace to pervade our world, then so much the better.

______________________

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Latest comments

  • Peter Mann’s utter failure to freezeTank his flapdoodle and come to terms with cosmic Seethroughs has impaired his grasp of large-scale Social Isolation context modifiers and, obviously, his ability to deconstruct insightful guageGraspers.

    Looking at the Big Picture, it becomes clear that Mann’s grimDistress is an uneasy alliance of mergeConflict and grossPlating, which stands as a towering, yet quaking, freePass to troubleDoubling.

    • When JohnHoward has nothing to say, he doesn”t stop and reconsider.
      Gibberish will do when contemptuous innuendo fails to wound his target.
      Anything, even wordSalad, to maintain his denial of the mental bankruptcy which characterises mudShadow syndrome.
      `
      His inability to admit defeat is characteristic of the terminal stages.

      • When PeterMann has nothing to say, he doesn’t stop and reconsider.
        Gibberish will do when contemptuous innuendo fails to wound his target.
        Anything, even wordSalad, to maintain his denial of the mental bankruptcy which characterises imaginary language syndrome.

        His inability to admit defeat is characteristic of the terminal stages of chronic psychobabble strategy.

        • Mimicry and twisted plagiarism is not the same as independent thinking, yet JohnHoward persists in denying the difference. The pathology of relentlessly & dishonestly attacking the messenger is a crude imitation of intelligence.

  • Very true, but strange coming from you, Caitlin. You love Socialism, which is the ultimate in one group of people controlling others. Ripping them off of their honestly acquired earnings so someone “in need” can get the dough (once the people in control deduct for their own lifestyles, of course!).

    Get back to me when you realize Socialism will never work.

    • Is that right?….please enlighten and explain precisely how this takes place, instead of parroting nonsensical erroneous propaganda.

      • David Dieni quotes JdL: ” Ripping them off of their honestly acquired earnings so someone “in need” can get the dough (once the people in control deduct for their own lifestyles, of course!)”

        Then asks, “Is that right?….please enlighten and explain precisely how this takes place,…”

        Let me explain that for you, David:

        A gang of parasites calling themselves “government” runs a massive extortion racket called “taxation” and a massive counterfeiting racket called “monetary policy” to steal massive amounts of wealth from those who produced it, keeping most on the edge of poverty and unable to defend themselves. They also like to disarm their victims when possible.

        They have a brainwashing racket called “public education” to turn children into obedient “tax payers” and a slavery racket called “selective service” in case they need to distract their victims with an unnecessary war and kill off large numbers of potentially troublesome young males.

        It all works very well as long as religions continue to convince everyone that self-sacrifice is a virtue and self-interest is a sin.

    • “Caitlin. You love Socialism”
      Seeing socialism as an alternative to the cruelty of Koch’s agenda is not “love”.
      `
      Abusing the meaning of love (love = understanding) to accuse Caitlin of strangeness is characteristic of the vicious nihilism that has poisoned the opinions of incompetent thinkers.
      `
      This nihilising of dissent is so pervasive and obnoxious that it begs for an explanation ; why attack Caitlin’s meaning after conceding that her writing is “very true”. ?
      `
      A mind which produces such self-contradiction is an artefact, as distinct from an ability honed to trustWorthiness by the dynamics of evolution and naturalSelection.
      `
      An artefact with the sole function of making mankind stupid and hurtful … surely must be outside interference.
      `
      Such interference corresponds with mythology of Earth being ruled by an evil being, but any materialist will tell us that we are protected from evil by believing such things cannot exist without material proof.

  • When Caitlin backs off the anti-Capitalism/pro-democratic-socialism ideology, she can be quite exceptional.

  • Woah, you missed the mark on this one, Caitlin. Your rationalizations are far too simplistic. Normal people don’t have an excessive need to control others rooted in being born helpless. It is sociopathic people who have an excessive need to control others rooted in being born sociopaths. Ego is not the problem; psychology is. It is more a function of genetics than development. But your explanations have a certain allure because they sound feasible on the surface despite being wrong. I see this kind of rationalization quite often concerning certain censored subjects. That’s why I appreciate this particular article. Yes, the excessive desire for control is central to humanity’s problems, but it’s not coming from normal people with empathy. They understand the limits to control, precisely because they can feel empathy for the controlled. But that understanding does not exist for the sociopaths, because they have no empathy. Thus their pursuit of power and control is totally out of control.

    • “But your explanations have a certain allure because they sound feasible on the surface despite being wrong.”
      `
      This is not the first time the anonymous ‘Chico’ has attacked Caitlin’s self-respect and credibility.
      Characteristic of characterAssassins attacking the authors of forbiddenKnowledge, this vile creature offers nothing more than inuendo and contradiction (both worthless as elements of reasoning.)
      `

      No attempt to provide a correction : this post is pureAttack …
      of the unKindest and mostCruel type.
      `
      As a thinker and writer, i know how much preparative work goes into thinking at the level which Caitlin so elegantly, colourfully and concisely delivers … in essay after essay.
      `
      You become what you do, Sunshine.
      Poetic Justice is an inescapable accountability ;
      a core dynamic of awareness.
      Murderers of self-Respect become increasingly demonic.
      `
      This dynamic of Destiny applies to all sentient beings.
      Spokesfolk of the mudShadow agenda.
      A pox is upon the soul of ‘Chico’ and all his loathesome clones.
      `
      `

  • Excellent and Brilliant approach Caitlin !!!

    Loved your metaphors and straight forward honesty as you see it.

    I agree.

    Too many egos and not enough intelligence (and spiritual heart chakra) being utilized on this planet.

    As Phil Collins sang,..
    I can feel it coming in the air tonight,
    And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life,
    Can you feel it coming in the air tonight?

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot, CharlieJoliet-you going full Daoist? If so, EvaWong at LimitlessGate is the one. Until then, the necessary hazard that bridges the wondrous curiosity of childlike emotion(s) and the incomparable power of a godlike mind needs a hard fast spin on regular basis so as to separate the mass from the meaningless.

    Those whirling dervishes remind me of American square dancing in some respects, but I still go with eight trigram palm. Turn, turn, turn with the seasons of the soul and life

    All facetiousness aside, your stuff is ALWAYS worth a read, and I almost envy your audience.

  • If there’s no such thing as ‘Me’ then there’s a whole lot of “none-Me’s” running around telling my “none-self” to shut up and do as they say…. or else!

  • I don’t buy any of this “ego is the problem” psychobabble. Nor to I buy that “me” is not very, very real.

    The problem is much simpler. It does not begin with a desire to control. It begins with a desire to steal. It is simple parasitism that drives all the complex rhetoric designed to control the victims of stealing by convincing them that the predator is not an enemy. Predators need to control their prey for the same reason that the farmer needs to control his livestock. His sheep are his livelihood, not his neighbors.

    So it is with the human parasite. His ego is not the problem. It is the lack of ego in his victims that needs correcting. The religious values of faith and self-sacrifice are not virtues – they are weaknesses designed to turn humans into a humble, easily robbed flock. Ego is the cure, not the cause of the moral rot that is wrecking the world.

    • John Howard insults Caitlin by calling her thinking psychobabble. He then goes on to insult everybody and the spirit of mankind by declaring that we are all parasites, as if becoming a parasite is our only option.
      `
      Reminds me of a Prime Minister who used to embarrass me because Australia had nobody better to be Prime Monister.
      `
      How does a person with more than a kiligram of brain come to broadcast so toxic a message ? Clearly John Howard hates mankind, and Caitlin in particular … but where does such venom come from.?.
      `
      Not from within mankind, because John Howard denies the possibility of our evolving into the sons and daughters of the originalAwareness, even though each one of us has an adequate amount of awareness to aspire to generosity and wisdom.
      `
      That so many fail the courage test when choosing how to play out our opportunities reflects our upbringing in a deathCult religion, whether we subscribe to biblical doctrine oR disregard it as nonSense and mistake themselves for atheists while believing some other inadequate ideology.
      `
      I have observed a dismaying proportion who prefer denial to facing their horizons with fortitude and self-confidence. This is not our innate nature, but a learnedStupidity.
      `
      The origin of MassStupidity has been an investigative priority since my earliest memories of socialisation and its disastrous effects. And along comes John Howard … boldly proposing to make it worse by telling us we are nothing more than parasites.
      `
      Given that Freud’s principle of projection is verified and accurate, we can conclude that John Howard speaks on behalf of a parasite which intends us to have the worst possible belief about ourSelf : that we are worthless and incapable of being better than a sneakThief … like JohnHoward’s parasitic puppetMaster.
      `
      As to the nature and agenda of the sneakThief, our best description is provided to us under the name mudShadows, thanks to the courage and diligence of a much-maligned fieldAnthropologist.

      • The rhetorical wreckage of Peter Mann’s response to my comment rest’s entirely on a large lie about what I wrote, which he repeats in several of his paragraphs – so it appears that he really means it. I not only did not say that everyone is a parasite, I specifically wrote about parasites and their victims. I do not insult our author or hate her by referring to “psychobabble”. I criticize a particular notion.

        It is my opinion that psychology is – and never can be – a science and that it should be left entirely out of all political and moral discussions. It is precisely this bad habit of psychobabble that leads Peter Mann to tell us all about what I think and who I hate, in utter disregard for what I actually wrote.

        • Above, I should have written, “It is my opinion that psychology is NOT – and never can be a science.”

    • I have to go with John Howard on this.

      Peter Mann completely misunderstands and then mischaracterizes his argument (also known as “strawman”).

      John was clearly not calling all humans “parasites.”

      The “parasites” are that narrow class of predators – the “1%” if you will. This is clearly differentiated from “his victims” in John’s statement. Therefore there was no intention to apply the term “parasite” to all humans.

      Nor does he assign blame to Caitlin for the “psychobabble.” The “psychobabble” is already there (I commented upon its origins elsewhere here). Caitlin is merely bringing this phenomenon up to our attention, as it fits. Ego is a huge problem in those who lose control of it.

      It fits, but does not present a complete solution, because the weakness of the “ego is bad” argument is almost never challenged.

      It needs to be challenged.

      • Scott Gordon does no more than contradict my interpretation of JohnHoward. Zero reasoning, zero new information. The last line is the only clue to Scott’s patronising dissent : he thinks i need to be challenged.
        Contradiction without proposing an error of reasoning or fact … is not a challenge, merely wishfull thinking with a nasty taste. Disgusting.

    • John Howard,….you ” don’t buy any of this “ego is the problem” psychobabble”,…

      because it your Ego itself that is responding.

      You don’t recognize it becase you are in it up to your neck.

      Your EGO thinks it’s right all the time. Sad thing is,…you listen to it’s musings to often it appears.

      When will you begin catch on and start to realize that the ego, and yours it appears to have you in it’s grasp with Pythagorean accuracy,…the ego is the nemesis of your mind.

      The only comments that were psychobabble have been your reply.

      WOW !,…its right in front of your face and you can’t see your blight.

      • Now read back what you just wrote and note that you are telling a stranger all about what goes on in his mind. I have not done that at all. You are mistaken to claim that I have.

        As an advocate of Ego, even I would not be so egotistically presumptuous as to pretend that I can read the minds of strangers based on a small sampling of their rhetoric. That’s your game, Sigmund, not mine.

    • In a case of supreme irony, ego-driven responses – rather than reason in itself as Objective Truth – drives attacks on those who dare to question the sacred cow that we all must get rid of our egos.

      Ego is simply a sense of self and individuality, that can become distorted – mainly from engaging in wrong action.

      But the ultimate act of Ego is to declare that there is no such thing as right and wrong (moral relativism) and to join the predators in blindly adopting pathological egos and actually becoming quite perfect victims.

      Such is the state of civilization – steeped in moral relativism and suffering toxic egos, at least in part because healthy development of egos never happened.

      Adopting a pathological, toxic ego is the ultimate substitute for sacrificing personal integrity and strength to moral relativism.

      Again, this is highly ironic. But people steeped in their egos are blind to this due to pathologically-shaped egos becoming immune to perceiving irony and hypocrisy.

      • “Ego is simply a sense of self and individuality…”

        I agree with that and would stop there. We do not need to delve into the psychology of evil since we have no ability to delve into psychology at all. Psychology is nothing more than guesses pretending to be observations.

        What is needed is moral philosophy. That is where we refute the rhetoric of those promoting theft as a way of life. That rhetoric is essentially designed to convince the victims of theft that self-defense is a sin so they do not resist being robbed.

        • We do not need to delve into the psychology of evil since we have no ability to delve into psychology at all. Psychology is nothing more than guesses pretending to be observations.
          `
          What a silly & contemptuous argument for ignoring the meaning and dynamics of evil !
          John Howard advocates having a blindSpot in our realityMap, based on misrepresenting the meaning of ‘psychology’ … as if the entire concept of of studying behaviour is futile.
          `
          A crucial blindSpot which leaves us ignorant and unProtected against a force that all of our preRennaissance (ie preMaterialism) ancestors took with the utmost seriousness, regardless of cultural lineage.
          `
          Who benefits from such attrocious advice ?
          Certainly not those who follow it.
          But a thief of goodness stands to benefit from remaining ignored by individuals who believe that abstract features of the self cannot be raped noR stolen … merely because JohnHoward says so.

          • Word-gaming from “psychology” (unknowable) to “behavior” (very knowable), Peter Mann now tells the lie that I am advising against studying behavior – just the opposite of what I am advising since I advise we study stealing and the rhetoric supporting it rather than pretending to read the minds of those who steal.

            He further attributes to me the position that “abstract features of the self cannot be raped noR stolen”, a view that I can’t even understand and have certainly never expressed in any form.

            And I have certainly never suggested that anyone agree with something merely because I said it. Quite the opposite: I oppose the very notion of faith.

            It appears that Peter Mann’s main debate strategy is making up lies about his opponent’s position. That, of course, is the essence of psychobabble.

            • At least this reply is on topic, which is more than i expected from so vitriolic an opinioneer.
              As usual, John Howard presumes that i am stupid, and that all of my meanings are absurd and worthless, the standard demeaning mudShadow attitude to dissent.
              `
              John Howard has presumed that i am a debater, a typical projection.
              On the contrary i am a thinker who values truth above winning petty contests.
              `
              So engaging John is futile, because his concept of debate is defeating all dissenting points {an exercise in nihilisingFutility, a pastTime for which i have neither use noR respect.}

              • Peter Mann – you keep digging yourself a deeper hole. I was first to point out that you misread and then misrepresented John Howard completely.

                So now you’re simply digging in a defending your wrong action – the perfect picture of ego gone awry. that’s how it happens. It begins with justifying self at times where justifications are merely excuses for self and have no bearing on reality for others.

                • Scott Gordon says i am in a hole which i dug, but provides neither description of the hole noR how i dug it.
                  My alleged “wrong action” is unspecified.
                  His post is pure innuendo with zero verifiable content and zero reference points.

                  `
                  Scott’s intent, however is perfectly plain ; he has the sameAgenda as JohnKoward and other detractors, and the same method of pejorative commentary with no substance other than hatred and contempt, disguised with a veneer of fake debate.
                  `
                  This consistency of agenda and method is evidence that these daft trolls are coordinated by a single origin, rather than holding opinions derived independently from diverse backgrounds (which would be innately different.) But these fonts of derision are in accord with Khatika and worldView in both intent and method.
                  `
                  Proving the existence of the mudShadows as a verifiable phenomenon is done by collating oddThings which defy probability … like synchronised opinions. I have been collecting evidence since i first realised that my fellow humans are untrustworthy ; to the detriment of all concerned.
                  `
                  Reading The Active Side of Infinity merely brought 50 years of observations into a coherent picture ; the description of the mudShadows matched what i had been actively investigating for ten years, and a subsequent ten years has cosolidated the correspondence of the toltec disclosures with observableReality.
                  `
                  The point of drawing this to the reader’s attention … is to encourage others to make similar observations, fitting individual experience and reportage from reliable witnesses into the modus operandi of a parasite feeding on distress … because distress is intense and easily provoked in a culture steered into self-obsession by religiousBelief.
                  `
                  Looking at the bigPicture is far more interesting and sobering than what Caitlin calls Ego (which i call self-importance, because i use self-explanatory terminology.)
                  `
                  Tearing our attention away from the internal dialogue and developing purposeful scholarship is a larger and moreFulfilling method of living out our allocation of time. Doing so makes us into somebody we can like and trust … which makes happiness our normal baseline.
                  `
                  There is opposition to my livingOut & advocating this improvement of lifeSkills ; opposition typified by the vacuously undefined venom delivered here in English prose by Scott Gordon.

  • BRILLIANT, CAITLIN!!!

  • Dear Caitlin, thank you for zeroing in so well on a practical answer to the question, “What is to be done?” I am truly amazed at how well your insights match some of the conclusions which I have drawn from study of the Gospel of Thomas. For example, your description of “the fall” (which will occur when, as early Genesis expresses the matter mythologically (Genesis 3:7-11), the child seven days old will acquire a sense of worldly self-consciousness) relates very well to Saying 4 of the Gospel of Thomas, which begins:
    .
    The person old in days won’t hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.
    .
    You speak of “the imaginary me construct.” Excellent. But consider the the entire real world, with “me” stuck in it, is but a larger construct. I ask you to consider the possibility that the essential problem with the “ego structure” is that it posits the existence of “oneself” as an element of the real world. And I ask you to consider that it is logically impossible to be an element of what is a product of one’s own intellect, and this is precisely why the “ego” is an illusion. (To understand this, in the language of Saying 97, is to understand that the jar is empty.)
    .
    It is the illusion of a worldly identity which must be shaken off (by those who are the subject of Saying 23) in order for humankind to be worthy of salvation.

    • Associating “salvation’ with “worthiness” … Are you sure about that one?

      • Victor, if the last part of my last sentence troubles you then you may ignore it. The reference therein to “worthiness” is of relatively minor importance.

    • Salvation is a dubious concept ; it infantalises believers with the idea that somebodyElse will clean up after our mistakes … an idea that i find as pernicious to morality and self-Respect as “forgiveness”.
      `
      Both of these toxic ideas nihilise the consequences of stupidity and selfishness, which is an unWholesome moral dynamic.
      `
      I appreciate your innovative reading of the Gospel of Thomas, which was rejected when Constantine’s committee assembled the New Testament, but many of the fundamentals of Christianity are treacherously duplicitous, like freeForgiveness from a creature that craves our obedience and belief.
      Sorry about that, Chief … as agent86 would say.

      • There is no need to be sorry. I am not a defender of traditional Christianity. Its “authorities” were hostile to the Gospel of Thomas long before the First Council of Nicaea. And this attitude was anticipated by the author of the gospel. Consider Saying 66:
        .
        Jesus said, “Show me the stone which the builders rejected: that is the cornerstone.”
        .
        When we learn a little bit about how to read the gospel we can interpret this as:
        .
        Jesus said, “Show me the gospel which the builders of traditional Christianity rejected: that is the cornerstone of new Christianity.”
        .
        Those who tend to the view that there is nothing new under the sun will be surprised to read and consider this interpretation together with:
        .
        Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
        —Isaiah 28:16
        .
        along with the context (including the reference to “the report” in Is 28:19).

        • Your reply suggests disagreement, but what you mean by citing weird verses does not come through.
          It is more respectable to present your opinion in your own words so that the meaning is clear and unAmbiguous. Plagiarising other writers allows pretentiousness to flourish.

  • There’s nothing wrong with the impulse to control provided its directed first at self control, then consideration for others.

    Those who never really learn that, are too externally motivated by the need to control others; there’s no moral anchor from within to set practical limits except what can be gotten away with.

    From birth, we learn to control our environment through others, starting with attentive parents. Whom, if they are smart, immediately guide the kid towards cooperation and self-realiance.

  • “From Ego To Empire, All Our Problems Stem From The Impulse To Control”
    .
    The Impulse to Control comes from… Self-Deification. Making one’s own self a god.
    .
    “In reality there is no hard, solid thing that could be called a ‘me’, either scientifically or experientially.”
    .
    Thanks to cutting-edge quantum physics, we now know there is no solid thing of any kind AT ALL. Most of world goes on thinking we live in a world of physically substantial things because we can touch a tabletop. In reality, there is nothing solid there and we are sensing opposing energy fields giving things the illusion of solidity.
    .
    “People whose impulse to control is especially pernicious seem to labor under the delusion that if they could just control every single atom in the universe, everything would be fine.”
    .
    People who think this way prove they cannot even control themselves. They do not even know who and what they are.
    .
    “Free the world from our delusions so we can know true peace. If that does open the door for true peace to pervade our world, then so much the better.”
    .
    If we are fortunate, we can achieve true peace for our self. But we can never give that to another person… even those most close to us. They must find their own way out of their own cave.

  • Question: WHAT accounts for the difference between the “everyday” behavior of humans born 10,000 years ago and those that have been born, say, during the last 70 years?
     
    Answer: The “environment” (AKA Matrix) into which they were born.
     
    Darwin explained how, over a long period of time, “natural selection” takes place at a genetic level — a species “evolves”. A similar process of BEHAVIORAL selection, but infinitely more rapid, takes place starting at the moment of a human’s birth, by the infant’s parents. For example, not long after a human’s birth, certain behavior of that individual is “positively reinforced” with food, love, warmth, hugging and kissing, etc., and certain behavior is “negatively reinforced” by their removal, or “punished”.
     
    A human being named B. F. Skinner studied animal and human behavior and how their living environment controlled that behavior.
    https://www.bfskinner.org/archives/biographical-information/
    IMO, one of Skinner’s greatest books was “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” and another was “Walden II”. In 1967 the latter inspired the creation of a real, living community in Louisa, Virginia named “Twin Oaks Community”. It still exists to this day and, IMO, should be THE example of an way of living that is a, as Caitlin and Tim would likely put it, “healthy” alternative to the one that exists in the US, outside of that community.
    https://www.twinoaks.org/
    In the late 1970s, Skinner visited Twin Oaks and part of the visit was recorded and made into an episode of PBS’s “NOVA”. Altough Twin Oaks has evolved over the decades since its birth, and there are many recently produced Youtube videos that show its members’ lifestyle, I think watching that NOVA episode is well worth it, especially because you get to see Skinner and his daughter interacting with the members of a community that his book inspired.

  • “Egoic contraction,” “egoic impulse” – Caitlin’s euphemisms for psychopathy, a word she finds difficult, if not impossible, to use. Psychopaths are born with neither empathy nor conscience; a brain abnormality neither curable nor treatable. Their signature distinction is their overwhelming lust for control, power, prestige, and wealth. They are particularly attracted to politics, law, military, law enforcement, the church. Easiest way to find them? Visit the swamp: Washington, DC. It’s overflowing with them.

    • Egoic contraction makes sense in terms of the model proposed by Thaddeus Golas in The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment, as distinct from being a euphemism for the fashionably meaningless blanket term of psychopath.
      `
      Lou Cassavi is not familiar with Caitlin’s writing, or he would not accuse her of being so mentally crippled as unable to use his preferred term. Nor is Lou aware that using hackneyed terms is less effective than writing so that the reader is obliged to get off the tramtracks of routine cliche in interpreting a fresh meaning.
      `
      There is zero empirical evidence to support Lou’s assertion that the denial and absence of empathy of those whose behaviour is subHuman is due to “a brain abnormality”. I have a very different explanation which fits observable patterns of sociopathic behaviour far better than labelling it a “a brain abnormality” birth defect.
      `
      To me, Lou Cassavi looks and acts like an armchairExpert, a type of psychopath who gives a bad name to thinkers who put in the diligent work of becoming knowledgeable and accomplished … as distinct from collecting self-flattering opinions.

  • Some of “we” have familial or other access to wealth that facilitate manipulation of social institutions to manifest control. Most of “we” have no such access, and “our” attempts to control are restricted to abuse of self and others. As we “do deep inner work and pierce through the illusion of self and separation”, let’s also work to organize the institutionalization of public control of public resources to shatter that illusion.

  • https://www.johndayblog.com/2020/09/covid-goes-to-college.html
    How much money is “just right” to permit optimum “happiness” before more money starts making stress worse again?
    (I wish they would note that it’s not just the amount of money that leads to satisfaction, but the kinds of work that give industrious people that size-range of paychecks. Jenny and I seem to be in the optimum range. We work hard and do our best, and work way over what is contracted, because we believe in what we are doing for people.)
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/02/26/does-money-equal-happiness-does-until-you-earn-much/374119002/

    Will wonders never cease?
    Physicist: The Entire Universe Might Be a Neural Network
    https://futurism.com/physicist-entire-universe-neural-network
    Not only am “I” “not a robot”. I don’t exist in the way that “I” feel that “I exist”. 🙂

  • Thank you.

  • I love this so much. The aquarium metaphor is perfect. Now I want a T-shirt with the swirl, all but one or two swimming in the same direction. #SardineSovereignty

  • The Saudi leader pictured with Trump has been dead for sometime and one of his more vicious relatives has seized power and cleaned house ? Since the new leadership routinely makes Trump look foolish, this picture is grossly misleading.

    • Still, the way they have their slimy hands on the Palantir says it all …

  • Fantastic column today! You’re the only journalist I know of who is smart/brave enough to relate our out of control society to our own personal lack of healing. Thanks!

  • All of this independece of self is really quite recent overall in the history of man. Before this it was a life of submission. Wives were submissive to husbands. Husbands were submissive to king and God. Lots of people today think that was horrible and personal freedom and equality is the proper norm. However what you describe is a lot worse in many ways.

  • The recognition of self, or “me” is conducive to survival. When that desire for control exceeds one’s personal boundary is when tragedy strikes. Empathy, the awareness of how what you do may affect others is the driving force of morality. Psychopaths have no such awareness, and so are devoid of morality. They are the one’s who seek to control all, and become oligarchs and/or politictians.

    • Yes, that’s the same understanding I have. Well stated.

      • Empathy, the awareness of how what you do may affect others is the driving force of morality.
        `
        Empathy is indeed a driving force in morality, but it is not the intellectual procedure proposed by JWK.
        One is either an empath or not, because empathy is a function of awareness (a faculty which is active in some, while being dormant in fools, and repressed&denied in psychopaths.)
        `
        Without a clear understanding of fundamental concepts like empathy, thinking is inclined to end in absurdities like Trump being President.

  • Ken Wilber points out that the great spiritual guides of mankind all had very strong egos. It is just that their egos were determined to live according to Love and Truth instead of the lower motivations of ego. Our goal should be to be better egos, not centerless and powerless non-egos.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Mike. Every evening, I feed a group of raccoons, who constantly squabble with one another, even with their own children, to make sure they get their fill. If raccoons have these kinds of egos and attachments, then certainly do we. I always have to smile at the westernized form of Buddhism embraced by many of Hollywood’s “beautiful people,” who treasure their serene meditation shines in the backyards of their mansions.

      • I’ve recently acquired a fair number of chickens. They do not have to fear the pot and roam freely. They have plenty of food.
        As I’ve observed them, I’ve discovered that everything I’ve been taught about chickens is wrong. Wrong.
        Why not experiment with giving the raccoons all they can eat? If they continue to squabble, you can write them off as egoists (unfortunately (?), all living things are “attached” to food).
        In the worst case, your place will become Raccoon City once the word gets out. The experiment could become quite costly in terms of raccoon food …
        Cheers and thanks for feeding them!

  • There are so many metaphysical explanations regarding the function of the ego.
    Here’s an account of an event that occurred in Ireland in 1989 & which involved my youngest son Cael who was born in May, 1989. Recently, the memory of this event has been surfacing regularly & it seems relevant to this latest post.
    At the age of three months, Cael developed chronic eczema which affected about 70% of his body. His older brother Alan, born in 1980, was also afflicted with chronic eczema at the age of three months. He was successfully treated by homeopathy.
    When Cael’s eczema presented, the doctor who had treated Alan had retired. Friends gave us the name of another homeopath & we duly made an appointment.
    The appointment was for a Monday early in September 1989.
    I carried Cael into the consulting room & my inner voice told me that the man we were about to see would not be able to help.
    When a person who is suffering from eczema is given the correct homeopathic remedy, their condition gets worse for 3-4 days & then disappears. It then returns within a few months in a less severe form, is treated again, gets worse for a few days & then disappears. This process usually takes about 18 months until the eczema does not return.
    The remedy given to Cael had no effect.
    On the Wednesday following our unsuccessful visit to the doctor, I had an appointment in Dublin with a lady called Ann Brophy who was a gifted psychic/channel.
    I told her about Cael & she said that ‘all newborn babies are essentially gigantic egos who believe that they have created the world into which they have arrived’.
    She also told me that newborn babies completely understand the emotional interaction between their parents & siblings.
    She said that Cael could clearly perceive the disharmony between his mother & me and because he believed that he had created his new environment, he felt responsible for this lack of harmony.
    She also said that his eczema was the physical manifestation of his feelings of distress.
    She told me that when I went home I was to sit on the floor beside Cael’s cot & to speak to him in a gentle voice.
    She told me to thank Cael for his concern, to tell him that his parent’s relationship was not his responsibility & to let go of the eczema.
    I did this on Wednesday & Thursday night. On Friday morning Cael was free of eczema!

    • Thanks for sharing this interesting case history, Ciaran. The method you used makes sense, and is validated by the outcome. Something worth remembering.

  • Down south we call this absolute need to control others, Yankeeism.

  • Thanks Caitlin for explaining where the need to control comes from. As you point out, need for control takes people in some bizarre directions, including domestic violence, police violence, war, and hoarding wealth. I wrote about it at http://davidsperorn.com/blog/?p=632

  • i spent 3 years soul-searching in Mexico, alone, with just a backpack. during that process, i discovered who i am. when i returned to Philly last year, i noticed most men are emotionally immature & needy. a man who knows himself has his own style, walks alone, does not brag, show off, or belittle others. the world needs more introspection, not projection. love ya ladies 🙂

  • ‘The human organism arrives in this world squishy, defenseless and easily startled, which it turns out is really starting things off on the wrong foot’
    True to a point Caitlin.
    We also arrive as beings of Love and awareness. But as time passes that Love and awareness is covered up by ignorance.
    No one is to blame, that’s just how it is. We have to learn to cope with the harsh realities of the world.
    The ego is only a problem when we identify with it, and become defensive of it.
    Our true centre is Love and awareness. That never goes away, not even when our body is gone.
    How could it?
    It is Life itself.
    And science, despite it’s cleverness and ingenuity, cannot and never will, pinpoint Life, because it is formless and eternal.
    Can anyone remember when they weren’t?

  • because [me] is useful for exerting control, the mental story of “me”
    gets energetically imbued with the power of Belief in the organism.


    I would expand upon the idea of “me” and the “power of belief” with a digression :
    Stupidity is the only power which belief exerts, a power over what we permit ourselves to think.
    Belief is a counterfeit of perception, it fills our thinking with repetition … rather than newness.
    Belief pretends to be knowledge, whereas pure perception sees things as they are without engaging language or memory. Memory is useful for correlating patterns and reassembling machinery, but is limiting for dealing with endless novelty, a characteristic noted by those intrepid few who, as with Caitlin’s recently-stated values, direct our attention beyond fixations on status and revenge.

    All use of belief is either illusion oR delusion.
    The difference between an illusion-of-knowledge versus a delusion-of-ideological-certainty is that … illusion is involuntarily accepting a wrong perspective, whereas delusion is voluntarily insisting upon a wrong perspective.
    Rupert Sheldrake demonstrates that this applies even to our highly educated scientists in his landmark book The Science Delusion, in which he scientifically demolishes the shared beliefs of institutionalised scientists, one by one. It’s somewhat tedious in places, but that goes with proving anything … and this debunking of fake debunkers is crucially important to disciplines such as biology and medicine.

    Generally speaking, it is easier to rid ourSelf of illusion than delusion, because we invest our identity
    (a mirroring bubble of self-reflection) into self-defining delusions (like believing Jesus loves and protects me from evil – a muchExhorted belief which attributes a flattering importance to the unflinchingZealot, while wounding the identity of the many with self-doubt, and with their worthless apologies over failures of obedience to “divineCommandments”.)

    It is for this reason that the toltec celebrate and practice irReverance … as a tool of sobriety, for breaking the hypnotic spell of conformism. As Caitlin illustrates with sardines, Conformism is a deadly trap on the trail to Freedom.

  • Ah, the conceit of the ‘healthy’ ego! The ego-I is nothing more than a self-perpetuating feedback loop, triggered moment to moment by self-imagining its own existence. This is an observable reality, not just an idea. Caitlin is correct.

    The ego-I is a ‘thing’ in the same sense that a whirlpool is a thing. It is a superficial distortion in the ocean of Divine Consciousness in which it appears.

  • Is memory real, or is it all made up, as Oprah Winfrey’s parents claim? How would we know? Because my memory goes back to before I was born; as many others have also claimed, and, at least in my case if it’s real I had a sense of me and the evidence seems to indicate that even individual atoms have a sense of, ‘me’, as well. In the grand scheme of the universe I would tend to believe that control freaks are primarily very insecure individuals in the same sort of way that self hatrers often go on to become mass murderers.

  • So the solution is that our egotistic leaders let go of their egos, so we’ll pretend we don’t have any?

    The old Eastern imported idea that ego is “illusion” – strictly illusion.

    So we should let go of the idea that we are selves – individuals.

    That will make them let go? I think not.

    And I think that is why the CIA was so enthusiastic to import the old hippy zen motorcycle books and books of Eastern wisdom translated THEIR way (carefully omitting what was really said about Evil – footnote in the Tao te Ching said just that – poetic license taken to alter the hell out of it).

    Everyone (but we your leaders) let go of that ego. It’s an illusion!

    No. I don’t think so. The ego is a natural construct of spiritual energy intended to construct something. In many of our cases for us – we, the little people who care – ego remains sadly deficient. We’re not supposed to ever amount to anything. That is what we are told.

    Why don’t we say the truth? Ego management requires morality. Morality is bigger than ego. It is Objective, and violation of its principles brings about consequences.

    We need strong, healthy egos to get along in this world and to make our presence felt.

    It is obvious that violating moral principles brings about an unhealthy ego. Look at the psychopaths who pretend to rule us.

    But I don’t think the solution is to become smaller and hope that our psychopath rulers follow suit. I really don’t.

    They could actually use some competition – yes – healthy competition.

    I also think Eastern masters weren’t saying what we are told they were saying. They had something to clarify about what self and ego really is, and it looks like something important got lost in the translation.

    EGO is something to master – not something to get rid of. It is just as much “illusion” as most everything else in our psyches – but it’s not automatically or inevitably any bad thing. It is a force to be reckoned with and mastered – not to be pushed away and pretended not to exist.

    You know what Carl Jung said about pretending (repressing) things don’t exist when they do. They come back out to haunt us in strange, horrible ways. That’s where the psychopaths are. They tell themselves they are doing “public service.” But you and I see a very unhealthy ego.

    Let’s not follow their examples, please.

    • The self — a coherent consciousness — is something most people experience directly, so they might as well deal with it, probably not by pretending it doesn’t exist. If there is anything we know to exist, it’s the self we are. If there is any knowledge, it begins with the self. ‘I think, therefore something must be doing the thinking — I’ll call it Me.’

      This is somewhat different from what is usually called the ego, which is an objectification of the self, the self’s regard of itself. One might be able to do without it — I suppose a mouse or a lizard doesn’t have much ego. Life might be less interesting, though. For instance, if you can’t objectify your self, you probably can’t objectify the diverse phenomena around you into other selves, and thus enter upon the astounding idea that there are other selves, other minds Out There. That seems like a necessary first step in coming to terms with Otherness. A lot of people seem to have trouble with that one.

      There remains, then, just this question: Does a dog have Buddha nature?

      Incidentally, fish swim in schools because by doing so they confuse predators and thus prolong their lives, maybe long enough to reproduce their school-swimming genes. The wise-ass minnow that’s too cool for school is the minnow that doesn’t get to do this.

      • Nice and interesting clarification of some pertinent points. Thanks.

      • MU!

    • Hi Scott,
      the paradox of ego is better understood by using a more well-defined term than ego.
      The toltec make erasing self-importance a task of the greatest importance to the attainment of sanity, yet draw a distinction between 2 types of self-importance.
      Nurturing oneself with truthfulness and the absence of unHappiness … is an important part of mental & spiritual hygeine.
      `
      Ego is indeed something to master,
      and denial of reality is the weapon of every unconscionable petty tyrant.

      • More has come to mind about the positive form of self-importance‭ ‬:‭ when harnessed, it provides a steady‬ motivation and focus which comes of‭ ‬having a purpose beyond self-gratification.‭
        `
        For Caitlin and i at this time,‭ ‬the compelling purpose is restoring mankind to its senses,‭ ‬waking us from a dreadful thrall,‭ from ‬a behavioural aberration entirely hostile to the true nature and potential of mankind.‭
        `
        When we are in circumstances which demand radical change‭ t‬here is extra reason for living courageously ‭; approaching disaster‬ presents a need that brings real persons to the brink‭ of innovation ‬…‭
        `
        Persistence in this form of brinkmanship unfolds abilities we were never told about.‭
        ‭Abilities long prohibited by religions of dubious origin.
        `
        As an amateur writer,‭ ‬i can use abrasive delivery of an unwelcome idea,‭ ‬a freedom to be memorable which the professional usually sacrifices in seeking acceptable turns of phrase to soften or blur the meaning of disgraceful bastardry.‭
        `
        So it means something to me‭ ‬…‭ ‬when Caitlin renounces this endemic journalistic cowardice.‭
        Caitlin’s public declaration,‭ ‬nailing her colours to the mast‭ ‬…‭ ‬is the gesture of someOne who has transended fear‭
        by choosing to spend Her time in an occupation‭ ‬which sparks resentment in the worst of mankind.‭ [ie ‬investigative journalism‭]
        `
        Trump was being frank when he called journalists the enemy … of his entitlement to dominate and swindle.‭
        Trump is happy to squeeze the poor because to a predator‭ ‬.‭ ‬.‭ ‬.‭ squeezing i‬s what the poor are there for.
        Lives mean only profit & loss to such minds.‭
        `
        Knowing that death may strike at any twist of time becomes a tempering of our spirit, while proving the merit of values,‭ ‬like the weeks of folding and hammering locked into the toughened steel of a Japanese sword.‭
        Years of poignant notKnowing and adversity strengthens alertness, perceptiveness, and innovation in the individual‭ ‬who insists on self-Respect in all their dealings with man and Nature.‭
        `
        I‭ ‬carefully‭ ‬maintain my my self-Respect (a form of self-importance) by invariably intending‭ ‬to contribute improvement‭ ; ‬this way,‭ ‬there are never grounds for regret about a bad decision leading to failure.‭ ‬My failures occur despite making the best of decisions … this discipline makes a worthwhile difference to who i am becoming.‭
        `
        Decisions which serve a higher purpose create an individual path to eventual success,‭ leading ‬to a destiny worthy of a lifetime of (in my case) voluntary War against Stupidity. (stupidity being currently mankind’s worst-defended vulnerability.)‭
        `

        • Awesome Peter – Thanks!

        • Translation: I am smart and altruistic and most are dumb and selfish and they are lucky to have me telling them what’s up.

          Sincerely,
          Peter

          • Translation: I am smart and altruistic and most are dumb and selfish and they are lucky to have me telling them what’s up. Sincerely, Peter
            `
            Signing his post with my name is a perverse way of denying that there is any merit in what i say.
            `
            John Howard is shit out of luck when it comes to learning from his betters ; a poetic justice in the context of Caitlin having explained that empires of misery are a consequence of mistaking self-importance for self.

            John Howard sets an example of obsession with the psychopathic belief that he can be an emperor … by throwing mud at those who offer a better understanding than his venomous conceits can simulate or tolerate.
            `
            Such behaviour towards knowledge is beyond Stupid ; destructive commentary (John’s specialty) is a deliberate resort to evil … he is so irritated by his self-made inferiority that the object of unfavourable comparison must be obliterated. He cannot stop venting his hatred towards me.
            `
            Fortunately, he doesn’t know where i live, for this vindictive animosity is the stuff that fuels murder.
            `
            It’s not my superiority which bothers him, but his preference for

            • Peter Mann sets an example of obsession with the psychopathic belief that he can read minds and motives … by throwing psychobabble mud at those who offer a better understanding than his venomous conceits can simulate or tolerate.

              Such behavior towards knowledge is beyond Stupid ; destructive commentary (Peter’s specialty) is a deliberate resort to evil … he is so irritated by his self-made inferiority that the object of unfavorable comparison must be obliterated. He cannot stop telling his pseudo-psychology lies and venting his hatred towards anyone who has an opinion differing from his.
              `
              Fortunately, he doesn’t know what country we all live in; such raging vindictive animosity is the stuff that fuels nuclear war and perhaps even planetary annihilation.
              `
              His deep inferiority has obviously driven him off the edge of whatever lingering sanity he may have once had. Homeland security should be notified at once. We are watching the disintegration of his soul in cosmicDeepDrowning.

  • Excellent piece. Swimming against the tide is a nice analogy. Nice visual depiction in the video of the school of fish in the tank.

  • Great commentary on the nature of the ego/separation Caitlin. However the amt. of verification picture hoops one sometimes has to jump through is rediculous,makes me not want to comment.

  • I live in Monterey, 2 miles from the Aquarium. They have been shut down since mid March.
    A letter has been sent out to yearly members for additional contributions from loss of thousands in entrance fees that pay for food for the animals and fish there.
    This lockdown has not only hurt people, but the animals preserved in zoos and aquariums around the world.
    Michelle

  • Isn’t this the same group that is so well known for, ‘helicopter moms’? If so; then is it really all that surprising? In fact if we look at the long histories of many religions, nationalities, etcetera; don’t they all breed various forms of mental health or illness?

  • What is the ideal zen practice?

    ~ ~ what ordeal?~ ~

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