[Well, it’s time I finished clearing my chest (of these last bits of nasty phlegm) and be rid of these subjects once and for all.]
The Cult Of ‘Love’ (continued)
In her book, The Polygamous Sex, Esther Vilar delves into the nearly taboo subject of love—that is, the subject of love as a state in which it exists between social mammals (and probably other types of life forms that care for offspring); the stronger caring for and protecting the weaker, as well as the mere act and drive of reproduction to continue the species.
I need post a big chunk of it here, because she nails it right on the head.
How is it possible that an experience every adult must have had at least once in his life, a phenomenon thoroughly explored by generations of psychoanalysts, the favorite age-old theme of writers, composers, artists, can still be the subject of so much misunderstanding?
What is love?
THE PROTÉGÉ AND THE SEX PARTNER
If we are going to speak of love, we must begin at the beginning: that we live and find ourselves surrounded by life must be based on certain principles. Where there is life, in other words, on this or any other planet, there must be some process that tends to create life out of dead matter. Now if we mean, by life, the general principle of change — what Darwin calls variation and selection — then death, or destruction, must be part of the process, or else we would quickly run out of the stuff upon which change subsists. A living being must, accordingly, fulfill at least three ‘basic principles’ of life:
sustain its own life (self-preservation)
pass on its own life to another organism before death, so that life can go on (reproduction)
preserve the life of its offspring until it becomes capable of taking care of itself (nurture of the young)
A human being’s life depends as much as any other upon these principles of self-preservation, reproduction, and nurture of its young. Without them it could not exist.
The instinct of self-preservation is asocial, in that it is concerned only with the self. Reproduction and nature, on the other hand, are social mechanisms. Reproduction — sweetened by the sex drive, perhaps because it is not a sufficiently powerful motive in its own right — cannot be accomplished without a partner. And the breeding or nurturing instinct is also directed outward, towards others.
Those others, whom we need to satisfy our social instincts, are — depending on which of these two drives they serve — our sex partners or our dependents, objects of our protection, protégés, wards, whichever.
Clearly these two social instincts are the biological basis of love, since their most intense and lasting manifestation — the attachment to a sex partner or to one’s own child — is love. To have a lover or a beloved is happiness. The lover seeks out the beloved for the satisfaction of his sexual needs as frequently as possible, and says, ‘I love you.’ When the relationship breaks up, he-she suffers pangs of ‘unrequited love.’ This condition lasts until a ‘new love object’ is found.
When the love object is one’s child, natural or adopted, one protects it. The protector will risk his life for his dependent, will want only the best for him-her, will assure him-her of his love. To lose the ‘child’ means great unhappiness. It means to have lost ‘the thing I loved most in all the world.’
No matter which we are referring to — dependent or sex partner — we use the same word for what we feel: love. And yet the same word designates two radically different kinds of bond. To arouse the protective instinct, the dependent must fulfill certain conditions greatly at variance with the conditions that make the sex partner attractive, and vice versa. The specific characteristics of the other person determine the nature of our biological response. Ultimately they determine the kind of love we shall feel for that person.
Ultimately, “love” cannot be possible for the protectees, only the protector.
(By the way, check out her book, The Polygamous Sex, sometime.)
The protector only feels it because he needs a reward for all his hard work (protecting and providing for a family). Praise does cause chemical reactions in the brain that result in a type of pleasure—and the absence of shame is a form of relief from pain—but neither of these would last for long.
Similar to the pleasure center of the brain making us “feel good” when we have sex—as a reward for procreating, even if we have no intention of multiplying—the protector and provider gets a headful of yummy cvhemicals to keep him doing what he’s doing. Essentially, he’s getting high.
There are all kinds of chemical (the synaptic connections within our brains) reactions going on, from the first wiff of one’s pheromones, to neurotransmitters and Dopamine, Endorphins, Serotonin, et cetera. It seems that men and women receive different chemical rewards for what they do.
For females, the chemical that keeps them involved is oxytocin.
In February, 2009, PBS did an article called…
Young, a researcher at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta, studies the neurobiology that underlies pair bonds — what nonscientists might call love.
In an essay in the journal Nature last month, he laid out evidence that scientists may soon be able to tie the emotion “love” to a biochemical chain of events, and might someday even be able to develop drugs that enhance social bonding — in much the same way that pharmaceuticals today can help regulate emotions like anxiety and depression.
But, Young says, it’s not a love potion. “The holy grail is a drug that might be able to enhance the social abilities of people with social disorders like autism.”
In his lab at Yerkes, Young studies rodents called prairie voles. Unlike 95 percent of mammals, prairie voles mate for life.
“They form a lifelong bond,” Young said. “They nest together, they raise a family together, they have another litter. So they have this really intense bond between them.”
In a series of studies, Young found that the hormones that produce that bond are the same ones that promote parent-child bonding in many other species.
For females, that hormone is oxytocin.
“We can take a prairie vole female, inject her with oxytocin, and she’ll bond with whatever male is around,” Young said.
I think the same thing occurs in human females, say, at a bar…after a few drinks, a toke, and a few moments of much laughter (which produces pleasurable sensations in the brain the same as any drug or mound of chocolate or sex act, just in slightly different ways and levels).
One concept that gets a lot of flak is hate. It is, evidently, “negative,” but can anyone prove that? If it leads to things that are negative, maybe I can see it then—but “love” leads to as much negativity, pain and “heart-ache.”
If “love” is just another drug, then what is “hate?” Something that makes you feel bad? If “love” is chocolate, then “hate” is nasty and strong whiskey…that does not get you drunk at all? Can you get high on hate? Motivated perhaps, like anger, but I see no evidence that hate can get you high. Perhaps through adrenaline levels, but that’d be it. It is hardly a high like morphine…
Well, whatever “hate” is, it is not the opposite of “love.”
The Value of Hate
No, I am not “pro-hate.” When I speak of “hate,” I’m not talking about racism, or the kind of popular notions of hate that suggest that it is a strong dislike for one group of something.
If I nearly drown as a child, I might a have a fear and strong dislike for being in the water—it doesn’t mean I’d hate all water. I’d still take showers or have a bath, and I’d still drink water…but I might sneer when gazing at the ocean.
If I am stung by wasps, I might grow to hate wasps. That “hate” is simply strong dislike based upon fear—fear of being hurt or injured, obviously stemming from a previous experience.
In that sense, this type of “hate” is helpful—due to it, I will avoid all waps and situations in which wasps may sting me again; thus, I am protecting myself from future injury by hating that which has caused me harm or pain.
Pain is, after all, just a simple mechanism the body employs to notify you of injury—the secondary feeling of anger is meant to motivate you to stop the pain and-or prevent it from happening again. “Hate” is therefore just an intense, extreme version of anger or mixture of anger and fear, though it appears to be a different and more complex species altogether. If anger is just a reaction to pain and fear, a motivating element to an organsim, causing it to act to preserve itself or others, then hate must be similar.
When I see a logging crew cutting down a forest, I do feel hate—not at the loggers…I understand their ignorance and denial regarding what they think they’re doing; they feel they need money, and they do it for a pay check. No logger goes off in the woods in his spare time to cut down trees for no reason and no currency. He only does it for a bit of money. So I can’t blame and hate him for trying to make his living, as misguided and destructive as I reckon it is. He is merely a tool being used by a larger, more sinister beast.
No, I hate the corporation that ultimately profits and cares not in the slightest about the carnage and its after-effects; and I hate the governments that authorize the corporation to castrate Nature for only greed, since governments profit as well; and, finally, I hate the greed, since that is the underlying motivation for all this destruction for profit.
To me, it is murder—wrongful killing—and unnecessary; the lumber is not needed. There is enough wood in the world right now that we never need to log again if we use and reuse what’s lying around. Moreso, there are other building materials we can utilize that are not as destructive to world ecosystems and devastating to the planet in general.
It is no different than killing a baby to sell its body parts to someone, and I would hate those who took part in this murder, and the greed behind it.
So? Does this hate have value?
Well, that depends—probably not so much on its own, as it is, but if it leads to constructive, positive, or destructive (to the evil forces at work that seek to wipe out Nature in order to get richer), then of course, yes, it does have value.
If, due to this hate, I join a radical group that interrupts the activities of loggers, saving several acres of frontier forest somewhere, and-or help fight evil, raptorial corporations who restlessly and ruthlessly exploit the world’s “natural resources,” then of course hate has value.
(What something does or does not do is the only determining factor as to whether a thing is “good” or “bad.” Not many things are “good” or “bad” simply as they are, doing nothing… As it has been argued—correctly—a gun is not “bad.” According to our laws and general social norms, of course, killing someone with that gun, not defending oneself or others, is “bad.”)
“Hate” gets a bad rep, and is consequently underappreciated as a strong motivating force.
As much as “love” exists as a chemical reward for procreation and the rearing of offspring, “hate” exists for a reason.
It has a function. It is also just as necessary therefore.
In conclusion, “love,” in my opinion, is merely another form of control and another species of slavery—like an addiction. Being “enslaved by a drug” is basically no different than being enslaved by a mate; in which you “miss” the mate when they’re gone, in which you keep returning to the mate because of the “feelings” involved, even if you don’t particularly “like” the person (on an intellectual level or for whatever reason).
At the heart of any cult is a series of chemical reactions in the brain that keep it all going; it’s a slave’s reward for remaining a slave…
But at any rate, I am wrapping up this subject, since this is the perfect theme and segway into…
Happiness is not a cult. It is not a religion, although those who “believe” in it can behave very much like religious zealots. It is simply a drug. A state of being high.
Last year I spent months in treatment for drug addiction, and I learned a lot. One of things I learned—on my own—was that those wanting you to get along in your life free of drugs essentially encourage you to replace your chemical dependency with another, more ‘natural’ one. The literature I read seemed to want me to do things to produce the necessary chemical reactions rather than applying them myself, directly. So: manipulating events and circumstances (and in some cases, people) so that I can “get high” without drugs or alcohol.
“Happiness” was brought up a lot. But I’m never been a believer in happiness; like any drug encounter, there are predictable patterns, same as happiness. In short, what goes up must come down.
In long, the drugged out feeling of joy (euphoria) is pleasurable of course, but without exception it is followed by a crash. What is a “crash?” Picture an airplane spiralling towards the earth and hitting the ground.
(The “crash” of “happiness” is known well as “unhappiness.”)
Better yet, if you’re not a visual person and not a drug user, go buy the biggest slurpie/slushie you can find, and drink it all. You’ll be buzzed for a while…then, eventually, you will crash. Your ‘mood’ will plummet, your energy level will drop, among other slightly less noticeable effects.
(Apparently, glucose in the blood stream causes the pancreas to release insulin, which is a hormone helping the body’s cells to absorb sugar from the blood. Tryptophan (is the reason you get sleepy after eating too much turkey, and) is produced during the absorption, and it’s transformed into serotonin. And we all know what this it. Too much sugar and you’ll get a “happy rush,” followed by the sugar low or crash, which seems to be the onset of hypoglycemia. And this will cause you to be tired, lacking energy, and it will depress your mood.)
But everyone knows what such a crash is like. Everyone has experienced a high (the stimulation of the pleasure center of the brain by whatever factor), which we call “happiness,” followed—sooner or later—by the rapid downward slope of this feeling.
Thus I began to view that which I was reading as…inhernetly flawed. Or at least simply not completely honest. What? The Government wasn’t being truthful?
Well, from a governmental perspective, no, they don’t want you to use drugs—you can drink, as long as it isn’t too much; consumers are better when they do not have brain damage and are thus unable to work and pay taxes and bills; plus there are asocial side effects of too much alcohol, not to mention a burden on the health care system—since they do not profit from that. They want you to be “high on life.” Which means “high on a lifestyle.” Very few of the highs they wish you to experience come from things that do not make someone somewhere some amount of money…
So, if you’re feeling good due to an object (a new car!—a chocolate bar!—the latest iPhone!), social situation (fun time with friends at a movie!—sex with your lucky lady!), or series of events (water-skiing, rollercoaster ride, et cetera), chances are that someone is profitting from your “happiness.”
What? How can someone be profitting from having sex with Cupcake? Well, what things need to be in place before that happens? Unless you’re a smelly, hairy hippy (and so is she), start naming all the products you buy each month—your clothes, shaving devices, stinking liquid and deodorants and hair-care stuff, including haricuts, skin care products, from showering gel to nail clippers. And there’s more, but that’s just you.
What about your apartment, or house? What’s in it that was not there when you were single and playing World of Warcraft alone? What’s changed since you got a girlfriend? What did you buy to make yourself and your dwelling appealing or just acceptable?
Many men like to maintain the illusion that nothing changes when they get a chick, for a while, or that they don’t take great care and exert massive effort in trying to get a girlfriend in the first place, but the fact is that almost all of them spend a lot more money—because chances of getting laid only improve with the material state of him, his appearance, his grooming and hygiene, and the type and value-status of his automobile, and (very important) the type and status of his nest (where he lives).
In many cases his clothes and shoes, for example, need a vast upgrade to be acceptable to the female. And I’m not even getting into money spent on flowers and others gifts—the bribes they demand—or money soent on dates, dinners, occasions, movies, trips, and all the gas burned taking her here and there for this and other stuff…
Mind you, I can’t blame women for this wanton materialism, shallowness, and greed…it’s just the way they are. Remember, women account for 80% of every material thing purchased on this planet. Which means the shelf space in stores are devoted much more to women—an 8 to 2 ratio with men—because 8 out of every 10 objects bought in the world are purchased by women or for women.
Nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine times out of a thousand, he’s just thinking of getting some pussy—but she’s thinking of a lot more, and everything about him (more than what he does: what he has or can get (for her)) is on her mind. He’s being measured and gauged as a provider as well as a protector. He’ll go off with his friends and maybe tell them what a nice ass she has, but she’ll go off with her friends and discuss if he’s going to be making enough money in a few years to support a family and buy a house, and an SUV.
Anywhat, it’s a no-brainer that guys wanting to get laid will spend a truckoad of money if they need to, and that couples spend a lot more money than singles who are unattached to anyone. Married folks spend the most money—this is (one reason) why large corporations have often been so overtly conversative—yet I think this has been changing over the last little while.
There are not many things you can do (that make you feel good) that do not profit somebody.
they appeared to me grave and almost sad even in their pleasures
“In America I saw the freest and most enlightened men placed in the happiest condition that exists in the world; it seemed to me that a sort of cloud habitually covered their features; they appeared to me grave and almost sad even in their pleasures.”
–Alexis de Tocqueville, from Democracy In America.
I read that book in my early twenties. Perhaps it influenced me more than I was ever aware. That’s probably a good thing—the book was a masterpiece.
It is a strange thing to see with what sort of feverish ardor Americans pursue well-being and how they show themselves constantly tormented by a vague fear of not having chosen the shortest route that can lead to it.
The inhabitant of the United States attaches himself to the goods of this world as if he were assured of not dying, and he rushes so precipitately to grasp those that pass within his reach that one would say he fears at each instant he will cease to live before he has enjoyed them. He grasps them all but without clutching them, and he soon allows them to escape from his hands so as to run after new enjoyments.
In the United States, a man carefully builds a dwelling in which to pass his declining years, and he sells it while the roof is being laid; he plants a garden and he rents it out just as he was going to taste its fruits; he clears a field and he leaves to others the care of harvesting its crops. He embraces a profession and quits it. He settles in a place from which he departs soon after so as to take his changing desires elsewhere. Should his private affairs give him some respite, he immediately plunges into the whirlwind of politics. And when toward the end of a year filled with work some leisure still remains to him, he carries his restive curiosity here and there within the vast limits of the United States. He will thus go five hundred leagues in a few days in order better to distract himself from his happiness.
This was written in the early 1800s. Savagely amazing.
Death finally comes, and it stops him before he has grown weary of this useless pursuit of a complete felicity that always flees from him.
One is at first astonished to contemplate the singular agitation displayed by so many happy men in the very midst of their abundance. This spectacle is, however, as old as the world; what is new is to see a whole people show it.
The taste for material enjoyments must be considered as the first source of this secret restiveness revealed in the actions of Americans and of the inconstancy of which they give daily examples.
He who has confined his heart solely to the search for the goods of this world is always in a hurry, for he has only a limited time to find them, take hold of them, and enjoy them. His remembrance of the brevity of life constantly spurs him. In addition to the goods that he possesses, at each instant he imagines a thousand others that death will prevent him from enjoying if he does not hasten. This thought fills him with troubles, fears, and regrets, and keeps his soul in a sort of unceasing trepidation that brings him to change his designs and his place at every moment.
Since his observations, it does not seem that much has changed—except that perhaps it is so much worse.
One last big quote…
If a social state in which law or custom no longer keeps anyone in his place is joined to the taste for material well-being, this too greatly excites further restiveness of spirit: one will then see men change course continuously for fear of missing the shortest road that would lead them to happiness.
Besides, it is easy to conceive that if men who passionately search for material enjoyments desire keenly, they will be easily discouraged; the final object being to enjoy, the means of arriving at it must be prompt and easy, without which the trouble of acquiring the enjoyment would surpass the enjoyment. Most souls are, therefore, at once ardent and soft, violent and enervated. Often one dreads death less than continuing efforts toward the same goal.
Equality leads men by a still more direct path to several of the effects that I have just described.
When all the prerogatives of birth and fortune are destroyed, when all professions are open to all, and when one can reach the summit of each of them by oneself, an immense and easy course seems to open before the ambition of men, and they willingly fancy that they have been called to great destinies. But that is an erroneous view corrected by experience every day. The same equality that permits each citizen to conceive vast hopes renders all citizens individually weak. It limits their strength in all regards at the same time that it permits their desires to expand.
Not only are they impotent by themselves, but at each step they find immense obstacles that they had not at first perceived.
They have destroyed the annoying privileges of some of those like them; they come up against the competition of all. The barrier has changed form rather than place. When men are nearly alike and follow the same route, it is difficult indeed for any one of them to advance quickly and to penetrate the uniform crowd that surrounds him and presses against him.
The constant opposition reigning between the instincts that equality gives birth to and the means that it furnishes to satisfy them is tormenting and fatiguing to souls.
One can conceive of men having arrived at a certain degree of freedom that satisfies them entirely. They then enjoy their independence without restiveness and without ardor. But men will never found an equality that is enough for them.
Whatever a people’s efforts, it will not succeed in making conditions perfectly equal within itself; and if it had the misfortune to reach this absolute and complete leveling, the inequality of intellects would still remain, which, coming directly from God, will always escape the laws.
However democratic the social state and political constitution of a people may be, one can therefore count on the fact that each of its citizens will always perceive near to him several positions in which he is dominated, and one can foresee that he will obstinately keep looking at this side alone. When inequality is the common law of a society, the strongest inequalities do not strike the eye; when everything is nearly on a level, the least of them wound it. That is why the desire for equality always becomes more insatiable as equality is greater.
In democratic peoples, men easily obtain a certain equality; they cannot attain the equality they desire. It retreats before them daily but without ever evading their regard, and, when it withdraws, it attracts them in pursuit. They constantly believe they are going to seize it, and it constantly escapes their grasp. They see it from near enough to know its charms, they do not approach it close enough to enjoy it, and they die before having fully savored its sweetness.
It is to these causes that one must attribute the singular melancholy that the inhabitants of democratic lands often display amid their abundance, and the disgust with life that sometimes seizes them in the midst of an easy and tranquil existence.
In France one complains that the number of suicides is increasing; in America suicide is rare, but one is sure that madness is more common than everywhere else.
Those are different symptoms of the same malady.
Americans do not kill themselves, however agitated they may be, because religion forbids them from doing so, and because materialism so to speak does not exist among them, although the passion for material well-being is general.
Their will resists, but often their reason gives way.
In democratic times, enjoyment is keener than in aristocratic centuries, and above all the number of those who taste it is infinitely greater; but on the other hand, one must recognize that hopes and desires are more often disappointed, souls more aroused and more restive, and cares more burning.
Tocqueville was especially boggled by this (North) American concept: “the pursuit of happiness.”
He saw that the people here, just like today, engaged in the futile striving for prosperity, another name for which is “happiness.”
Forgive the long quotes, but this is another dimension of the concept of “happiness” beyond pure chemical joy.
When someone asks you, “Are you happy?” the person is not interested in knowing how many opiates are flooding your brain, such as what happens when “fun” is encountered; the person is more interested, for whatever reason, in your general station in life and how you feel about your lifestyle overall. Perhaps it is asked so that the asker can gain some insight into his-or-her own level of contentment within his-or-her own lifestyle. Perhaps the asker actually only desires to talk about his-or-her own lifestyle…which will create more chemical reactions in his-or-her brain.
(Often people will ask a question not for want of any answer but rather for an opportunity to speak about themselves.)
I think Tocqueville understood that “happiness”—a state of contentment with one’s life, in general—can only occur when it arrives…meaning that pursuing it, chasing it, gathering material goods to facilitate its appearance…is ultimately impossible.
But I would never use this silly, simplistic and childish word to describe something so elusive and so profound as a general state of feeling meaning in one’s life.
I would use “purpose.” The “sense” of accomplishment and satisfaction in doing what you do is not a chemical reaction…it is not physical, not physiological, not material at all. It comes from somewhere deeper. I hesitate to say “spiritual,” yet what other word works? Intangible, profound, deep, and immaterial. You pick the word then.
Whatever it’s called, true contentment is something not many of us have actually witnessed. We have heard rumours of it among Tibetan monks or whoever living in a hermitage on top of a mountain or wherever, but it’s all vague and tangled up in such lofty and impossible religious terms such as “enlightenment” and we don’t understand it. And we don’t really want to—it’s too hard and complicated and we wouldn’t want to bother even if we understood a fraction of it. We don’t see it, we don’t experience it, we don’t know what it means. There are no examples around for us to run into. It’s a myth. All we know is what the TV and the Internet tells us—material this and tasty that, and whatever’s “hot” and sexy for the other. It’s a tidal wave of bullshit that smashes right into the Ego, and the Ego loves it and wants more. So that’s what we do: serve the Ego.
And so we go back to our old habits, and go back to work, and set up another date with “Jennifer,” and go to another movie, and pull out our wallets, hoping to purchase another fleeting, barely satisfying feeling—“they appeared to me grave and almost sad even in their pleasures.” And we feel empty afterwards, and there is a pain somewhere, when we begin to crash.
A state of non-happiness is obviously the answer to the horrible cycle of the drug addict. But how possible it is to refrain from feeling good in any way? Who would even want to try?
Chasing The Dragon
It is not possible—chemical reactions exist for a reason, they are inherent and cannot be controlled or removed and should not be.
The point is that gearing your life towards obtaining some “state of happiness” is exactly the same as what is called, “chasing the dragon.”
The first high you receive from your brain, however it’s achieved, is the best and can never be repeated or duplicated—this is the curse of “the first time.” The first drug, the first set of parted thighs and the feeling involved with all of that experience, the first of anything that produce pleasure—it’s all the same action in your head. It’s the first high.
And the striving to regain that feeling is what they call chasing the dragon—because dragons do not exist and you cannot catch the tail of something that does not exist. You run after an illusion, a mirage, and never, ever, reach it.
The first high is what happens in your brain—I forget all the technical jargon, but essentially it just means that your brain is altered after that high, and no other high will feel the same.
In Vancouver, I witnessed crackheads chasing the dragon—not to get the first high (ever); but the first high of the day. Like I probably said (or will say), time away from the drug seems to reset the brain a little bit. Eight hours’ sleep and by early evening, the crackhead can get a decent high, the first one of the day. The next one is not so good, and it’s really all downhill after that. But he tries and keeps trying, until he’s out of crack and crawling on the floor looking for the fabled white lump that must have fallen somewhere…
(Now, I’ve never tried crack; I’ve only cocained it up for a few months as a youth, and have observed crackheads now and then. So, I don’t pretend to be an expert here. Yet I have been addicted to codeine for 18 years, and I do know a few things for sure.)
The more you get high, the more your brain changes. You also build up tolerances and it takes more and more to feel as you once did.
Ever have a lot of sex? I have. More than once a day, every day? Same thing…it gets boring, the feelings get dulled. More will not help. All that will help is staying sex-free for a while. Some people try getting into kinky stuff; however, it is a form of extremism that ultimately does not work. You can only get so extreme, then what? Boredom is back. Stopping is the only answer…but addicts have trouble stopping.
Ever snort a lot of coke? I have. After a while, your tolerance level increases, and it takes more and more white powder to get you high. All that can restore some of that glorious high you used to feel is to quit it for a while.
Ever smoke a lot of weed? I have. You will build up a tolerance. I smoked so much last year that I needed a few bong-hoots just to achieve the high I had gotten from a tiny bong-hoot. I needed two joints, chain-smoked, to achieve the same high I got from half a joint. The only thing that helps is to lay off weed for a month or, better, two or three.
Your brain chemistry begins to return to normal. The same thing actually occurs with drugs that are legal—including anti-depressants. You become a pharmaceutical junkie, and you brain gets re-wired.
Such is “happiness.”
Some, including myself, no longer seek these chemical reactions, no longer manipulate circumstances or people, no longer seek out the events that get us high, and of course no longer directly cause these chemical reactions (using drugs).
When these chemical reactions happen, they happen. Enjoy them, but let them leave and learn to not miss them (withdrawal). It requires ego-work, since the ego is all about what feels good, especially material goods that bring about chemical reactions in the brain.
Like the feelings, as waves from the sea, that come and go; they don’t need to be named and studied. Or talked about. Feel them, unidentified and mysterious, and enjoy them, no matter what they are, and let them go. The “bad” ones will go away on their own; they require no management or “help”—if they rarely leave, then it’s your life that probably needs a radical alteration, since something is obviously not right. And 99% of the time it has to do with your physical state, trying to adapt to your environment, or the deeper sense of purpose and meaning to your entire life in that environment.
We live with a lot of contradictions and falsehoods—and one of the biggest is that your environment is fine…the problem is you. The truth is the environment is synthetic, abnormal, and polluted and diseased and utterly toxic to your soul or “spirit.” It is a poison cage wtih pretty decorations and lots of toys. Whatever troubles you are having will almost always be due to where you are and what you are doing.
But that’s just my opinion. So, carry on…
And the “good” feelings? When they go, don’t mourn their passing. They’ll be back.
That is the trick. Seek nothing. What comes to you will come to you. Sometimes you need to be quite patient, but it always comes. Like I learned regarding weather: do not wish or hope for a certain type of weather, simply be patient, and endure what’s there, and whatever you want will eventually arrive. In its own good time. Your ego will hate this—and that’s a good thing. What your ego hates is good for you and your overall state of health.
Your ego is just the infant in you that never grew up or went away; it is the selfish, self-preserving, self-absorbed, self-serving, want-need confusing, greedy “me! me! I want! gimme-gimme!” little brat within your mind. It wants stuff, and when you get stuff, it wants more stuff. New stuff. Stuff like that other kids has… And everything it believes is yours. Like an infant—it’s all mine, mine, mine, and so I stuff it all into my mouth.
Surrendering your ego is denying your ego, and it is a form of suffering. Hence the wise saying: when you’re hurting inside, the only thing in there that’s in pain is your ego.
Once your ego has been obliterated, there is no more internal pain, no “heartache,” no misery, no agony of the soul. You will even stop “missing” things and people to a large extent. And when you lose something, there might be a momentary feeling, but it fades quickly and “oh well” will be the signal to move on and let it go.
Ego loves being attached to objects—denying it that means reducing the amount of objects (material goods) you possess, and overall not being preoccupied with them. Loss is often reported to be a defining moment in adulthood, and loss is about ridding us of attachments or having them stripped from us. Ego loves tasty food that’s bad for you—and it loves getting flattered and praised and complimented. Ego loves attention. Ego loves comfort and security, and warm fuzzy faces smiling in a friendly (accepting, inviting) way.
I think the ego is the worst enemy a human being can have or will ever have. Long ago, we were initiated and moved into an adult world as hunter-gatherers, a world that did not revolve around that which feeds the ego but rather that which starves the ego—the big baby within. The big baby wants a plump tit to suck on and wants to be covered in soft blankets, stroked and soothed, and wants to just feel good…and it screams when anything interrupts its hedonistic lifestyle…growing up means getting along in the world without a pathological need for comfort, security, pleasure, things that taste yummy, things that makes us feel good. Growing up means battling our egos and giving up on the shallow, hopeless pursuit of fun and happiness. It is the stuff of infants.
Seeking out things to make us feel good = feeding the ego = the commencement of addiction, not adulthood. Pride is ego; self-esteem is ego.
We are memetically infused with bullshit that does not profit us in terms of our health and sanity, our minds and souls; it all profits others, but we have been conditioned through memes to believe anything they tell us—and of course judge and dismiss shit like what I’m saying, or what many others have talked about…
(Yes, I’m quite aware maybe a handful of people on the planet will read this and not think it’s bullshit, either because they already knew it or because they’re minds are more open and less infected with memes. But that’s okay. The truth is frequently unpopular and hard to accept.)
I think we are still children. What once happened to make us into adult beings has been severed somewhere back among the ages, and now we’re simply large brats, oversized infants, pretending as best we can to be ‘grown-ups,’ while the powers that be, the evil rulers and the rich custodians of all systems, laugh at us and make a killing from our blind misery and endless labour.
But that’s just me. Back to the subject before I end this…
People often comment that “good things” come to those who wait. It’s true. They always tend to say that they get something awesome when they’re not looking for it. And that is the point, that’s it in a nutshell.
I suppose, it takes, in addition to patience, a bit of faith; some belief that all will work out, be in balance, and that forcing it won’t work. Trying to control it won’t work—trying to control how you feel is how addiction begins.
Hence, surrender your ego.