happiness

All posts tagged happiness

Nihilium: “Now what?”

Gornok: “Huh?”

Nihilium: “What’s your problem?”

Gornok: “No problem. Why?”

Nihilium: “Just looking at the title, thinking you’re about to rant about something…so obviously something’s wrong.”

Gornok: “Nope. Doing well. Satisfied, content, fulfilled, for now. Just been thinking.”

Nihilium: “About…?”

Gornok: “Life.”

Nihilium: “No kidding? What about life?”

Gornok: “Why? That’s what about life.”

Nihilium: “Awww…you depressed or something, pal?”

Gornok: “No. I just said everything’s great. I just don’t understand life.”

Nihilium: “What’s to understand. Life is life.”

Gornok: “Maybe, but why?”

Nihilium: “Why what?”

Gornok: “Why does life exist?”

Nihilium: “Sounds like your questioning life because you’re really questioning your life…”

Gornok: “Why is that when people question something, other people have to search for ulterior motives or attack the person on some psychological grounds?”

Nihilium: “I dunno. So, get to your point…”

Gornok: “I’m not questioning being alive compared to being dead, I’m questioning being organic matter compared to being inorganic matter!”

Nihilium: “Come again?”

Gornok: “Why be a tree or a mouse when you can be a cloud, or a mountain?”

Nihilium: “Ugh, I’m not sure. It’s just the way it is.”

Gornok: “That’s no answer.”

Nihilium: “Well. What do you want me to say? I never thought about this shit before. Life is life, non-life is non-life.”

Gornok: “Life just seems to be a useless dumb mess. Think about it. Life is a sloppy, stinking, slimy, goopy, sticky, disgusting mess. A greasy, noisy, smelly, cold, chunky, mushy, invasive fucking mess. A futile, screaming, scraping, clawing, slithering, shambling, lumbering, bloody, oozing, horrifically painful mess without any meaningful point whatsoever.”

Nihilium: “Enduring and getting stronger is the object—”

Gornok: “To what end? Just to die?”

Nihilium: “Okay…well, I still don’t get it.”

Gornok: “Every day is an absurd ritual of stuffing crap in one hole, squeezing out crap through another. What’s the point?”

Nihilium: “The point of Life is to eat itself, fuck itself, in order to give birth to itself. It’s all designed to make more Life.”

Gornok: “That’s my point. Why? Why make more? Why go through all this trouble, this revolting and detestable effort? Why not make less? Why not…don’t make any at all?”

Nihilium: “But then life would go extinct!”

Gornok: “So? Why would that be so terrible? No more creatures have to tear each other apart, risk their own lives finding a mate and fighting for the right to breed, suffer through falling meteors and earthquakes and drought and disease and hurricanes and bitterly cold winters…all to generate little versions of themselves who will repeat the process. It’s boring, monotonous, and—I think—fucking insane. The only point of life it seems is to be a pig and strive to replicate yourself. That’s it. No other reason.”

Nihilium: “What about evolution?”

Gornok: “What about it? All that means is adapting to an environment so you can be a better pig and make even more of yourself. Gosh, what a high ideal life has…”

Nihilium: “So, you think a mountain or a puddle of water has a better ideal?”

Gornok: “No. Inanimate stuff has no ideals at all. Maybe that’s better…”

Nihilium: “You’re crazy!”

Gornok: “I don’t think so. Crazy is a limited existence in which your level of success is determined by how much stuff you can shove into your face and turn into feces, to keep going and find another of your kind with a hole so you can stick your rod in it repeatedly until you squirt goo into the hole, which eventually creates a small version of you, which grows up stuffing junk into its face and turning it into feces, so it can keep going, find another of its kind, and so on, to create more of itself and perpetuate this senseless pattern. That’s fucking crazy.”

Nihilium: “Hmm. Since you put it that way, it does seem sort of silly, overall. But that’s not all that life is about; it’s about improving your species through your offspring.”

Gornok: “Improving them how? So they can be better pigs? So they can excrete more, pick more boogers, fart stinkier farts, piss stronger streams of urine, drool more saliva, take bigger shits, spew larger piles of vomit, bleed more blood, kill greater numbers of other life forms and shove them all into a toothy hole to be ground up and broken down with better acid? Just to do this all over again the next day? The next month, year, century? All so these better pigs can fuck more holes and create more little piglets and expand to more areas of the planet? What exactly does ‘better’ mean anyway? Seems to me it means ‘more piggish’ and that’s all.”

Nihilium: “Well…I don’t know what to say. Life is full of wonder and joy and other things you’re not talking about…”

Gornok: “Like what? Love? Oh, right. Slavery to another of your species and periodic bursts of chemically-induced ‘pleasure’ in your brain? Wonder—the moment of ignorance being shattered by chemicals in your grey matter. Joy—getting high off chemicals in your brain. What most of us think makes life worth living is in fact all about addiction and drugs—the drugs we produce inside our heads. These chemicals are produced biologically to keep us stoned and smiling, to reward us for doing the same things over and over, year after year, millennium after millennium. Why do you think sex feels good? Or eating? Or learning new things? We’re all druggies kept in a perpetual rut by biology, our built in drug dealer…Life…is nothing but a cruel junkie and a monstrous pig.”

Nihilium: “Wow. You are cynical.”

Gornok: “Don’t judge or dismiss me, just because you can’t allow yourself to think about this stuff. I thought you were a free-thinker…”

Nihilium: “I’m not. I’m a practical, rational thinker. A skeptic, and I had thought I was a cynic until I met you. But you got me beat. So you find nothing about life worth living?”

Gornok: “I do find life worth living, but only because I’m being manipulated and enslaved by Life itself, by nature, and by my own biology. Same as all of us—and by all of us, I mean every single living creature in the universe. I’m being fucked with and jerked around and made to do disgusting things every day. Every fucking day I need to generate energy, stop or prevent pain, take care of this part of me, wash that part, exercise the other part. And if I can’t generate enough energy to accomplish these mindless tasks, I degenerate, deteriorate, and suffer as a result.”

Nihilium: “It seems a little over-simplified.”

Gornok: “Perhaps, but that doesn’t make it incorrect. The next time you brush your teeth, think about how many hours, days, weeks, months, total, you’ve spent rubbing plastic inside your mouth…and tell me it makes perfect sense. And it’s all worth it. In twenty years, you’ll probably be dead…”

Nihilium: “Jesus. You’re dark…”

Gornok: “Dark, maybe, but honest. Maybe I’m light and not dark at all. Maybe God went insane from being alone for eternity—can you imagine the sheer terror of living forever in a nonstop, inescapable consciousness, neverending, watching the universe explode and contract and explode and contract and explode a zillion times, enduring perpetual boredom, suffering with the power to do anything amid the fact that everything means nothing, and there are no new things to do or know or see or hear or sense or taste or feel or create or destroy except the Totality of what has already been done a nonillion times, knowing All and screaming a deranged molten sorrow into the void of space because there is just no finality to this until the end of time, which does not exist?—entered into psychosis, and that’s what we are. What life is—a madman’s delusion. God’s nightmare. Right now God is gibbering and gnashing his teeth.”

Nihilium: “Hmmm. I don’t believe in God. Sorry.”

Gornok: “Speaking of teeth…most of this energy I generate I have to put towards finding other forms of organic matter and grinding it up with those teeth and make more energy out of it. What’s the point being a slave? No form of life has any manner of freedom whatsoever. It’s all an illusion.”

Nihilium: “Freedom compared to what?”

Gornok: “If I were a cloud, I could just drift about. No one and nothing pulling my strings, utterly free. Within chaos. Nothing to do but piss down rain or snow or hail, or simply blow away, with no consciousness, no will, no ego, no desires, nothing. But no—every day I see or hear a member of the opposite sex and my chain gets yanked again, whether I like it or not. I’m manipulated by biology to be attracted to a certain type of my own kind and be driven utterly mad by it. It takes over my thinking, controls my life, and starts a burning desire in me that only gets stronger and stronger until I am wholly consumed in every way…driving me insane until it’s released through sexual stimulation. And the next day I have to go through this again. Why do we put up with this fucking meaningless, empty, senseless daily horror?”

Nihilium: “I dunno. I guess, like you say, we’re addicted. What you would say: we’re addicted to ‘happiness’. What choice do we have anyway?”

Gornok: “That’s just it. Slaves always have next to no choices.”

Nihilium: “Oh dear. Well, it’s been a slice. A headache-inducing, depressing slice…”

Gornok: “Why are you depressed?”

Nihilium: “I’m not—this topic is fucking depressing.”

Gornok: “The truth is a real bitch, eh?”

Nihilium: “Truth of what?”

Gornok: “Of fucking life, you git! You’ve had enough of truth and want to go back to your delusions, inject some more chemicals and pretend everything is alright. But, you know something, my friend: you are going to die.”

Nihilium: “Oiy. Yes, I know that. What matters is the time we have left—”

Gornok: “Time. Pfft. Gimme a break, dude. Time is how we measure motion, the progression from one event to another. All of these events are futile, and pointless. Life itself is pointless!”

Nihilium: “Maybe if you were living your life, you would not be thinking about life. Eh? Huh? Ever have a thought like that worms its way through your brain?”

Gornok: “Everything lives its life. So what? I’m asking why. Or do you mean, what if I were pursuing my career, and plastering the internet with photos of myself, feeding my vanity and trying desperately to fit in, to belong, to be accepted, to be loved, to be a little kid again? Then I’d be a superficial self-absorbed twat like every other human, wouldn’t I? Aww, poor little guy. No, I’m cool! I’m so sweet! Am I not beautiful, and funny, and nice, and productive? Marry me, Betty, we can multiply, go forth and then fucking die. Where’s my flag! I wanna wave it around and hoot some!”

Nihilium: “Jesus, calm down, Gore.”

Gornok: “I will not. I asked you a question—why?”

Nihilium: “I don’t know!”

Gornok: “Yes, you do. Why are you alive?”

Nihilium: “Ugh, because I am? I had no choice in it, it just happened!”

Gornok: “Why?”

Nihilium: “Because my dad and mom fucked and out her hole I fell—”

Gornok: “Why?”

Nihilium: “Because their parents fucked, and on and on back—evidently—and back to the first two cells somewhere who got it on.”

Gornok: “Why did they get it on?”

Nihilium: “No idea! Random matter combined—”

Gornok: “No, that’s not it. Why? What was the point?”

Nihilium: “Does it matter?”

Gornok: “Matter is all that matters. I despise matter. I loathe it. If it was those two cells forming and fucking, then that has got to be the worst mistake in the history of time, in this universe and all others, in any dimension of realm of existence or non-existence. Christ, there is just no such thing as freedom….It’s merely species of slavery, on all levels, everywhere, in all things.”

Nihilium: “Then go be a flash of light!”

Gornok: “If only…but I’d still be a slave to forces, wouldn’t I? Physics, rules and laws that govern matter and energy. Still, at least I’d be out of this disgusting, revolting muck of life.”

Nihilium: “Yeah, the grass is greener on the other side of quantum reality, pal . . . Look, it is what it is. Accept what is or just kill yourself. Or go on driving yourself into deep dark holes of thought, and suffering without answers. I mean, I don’t have the answers you want, or seem to need—nobody does. We’re all…just…in this shit, here, now, and there is no fucking reason behind it all. Unless you believe—”

Gornok: “That some all-powerful being snapped its fingers and invented all this—all so we can learn and grow and obey, so we can suffer and die and follow orders and squeeze brown paste out of our asses and devour life forms alive, enslave them and cut their heads off and drink their blood and lay eggs in their faces, all to make more of ourselves, so we can suffer and die and suffer and die, until one day we get fucking judged for it all? By the very cunt who set it all up and cursed us for not being perfect enough slaves!? What the fuck! You’ve got to be fucking joking. And if we pass this barbaric, cruel, obscene, horrible test, we get to go to heaven and feel chemical rewards forever…is that about the size of this little scheme of twaddle? The smiling sensations of a Holy Drug Addict for ever and ever, amen?”

Nihilium: “Ummm. I guess. If you believe that. Frankly, neither point of view seems particularly meaningful, neither state is really appealing…I dunno, man. Can’t we change the subject…?”

Gornok: “Aye. Presently. Sort of… Well, sometimes I’d like to be some other form of matter—or maybe not matter at all. Can you envision existence as a lightning bolt?”

Nihilium: “No, not really. ‘Twould be a short life…”

Gornok: “All the lifespans of all life are so short anyway that everything might as well not live at all. What’s the difference? Who cares if everything dies tomorrow, or fifty trillion years from now? If a meteor comes and obliterates the entire globe, killing everything…what matter? What was it all for? It makes no difference at all, and it makes no sense whatsoever.”

Nihilium: “What if we’re meant to leave this planet and colonize—”

Gornok: “Yeah, yeah, ‘evolve’ and all that rubbish. You know, evolution is a crock of shit. Creationism is a crock of shit. So, okay, we leave the planet, and eventually our sun here blows up and destroys all the solar system. But we’re out there, hopping from planet to planet, solar system to solar system, on and on, exploding stars behind us. Then what?”

Nihilium: “We develop into—”

Gornok: “And after that?”

Nihilium: “We keep going.”

Gornok: “Until all the stars explode, and the black holes combine to swallow everything, and we all die. Again, what was it all for? What was the point?”

Nihilium: “Wait for the next Big Bang—”

Gornok: “So we can do it all over again? To what end? To whose benefit and what purpose in which function of what role of whose dementia are we doing this repetitive shit?”

Nihilium: “Jesus fucking Christ! So negative!”

Gornok: “Maybe…”

Nihilium: “Hey, maybe when we die we figure it all out?”

Gornok: “How? We’re dead! And you don’t believe that anyway…when we’re dead, we’re gone—you’ve said that before. And even if we aren’t, there is nothing to figure out! Knowledge of life would be wasted on the dead!”

Nihilium: “I suppose. So what then? I don’t know how else to look at all this…”

Gornok: “Well. Maybe we’re looking at it in our very tiny, narrow, detained life-form point of view. Maybe I am not complex—or simple—enough to really see what this is all about…but I doubt it. I’d still rather be energy. Lightning would be cool, now that I think of it. Maybe you come into existence every time there’s a storm. You’re immortal, intangible, but never alive at all. I think that would be cool. Its not death that bothers me, or even the needless, pointless suffering inbetween—it’s the inanity of life…eat, shit, breed, die, just to have your offspring be better at eating, shitting, breeding, dying, and on and on ad nauseum ad non compos mentis ad infinitum. It’s…fucking horror. Pure, indisputable pristine horror…”

Nihilium: “Evil?”

Gornok: “Indeed. Well…I just don’t see many people thinking about this sort of stuff…or discussing it.”

Nihilium: “There’s a reason for that.”

Gornok: “Yeah. Maybe.”

Nihilium: “Listen, man. Life itself might not have any purpose when you look at it the way you’re doing. All we have to do is figure out what has meaning for us; meaning—and purpose—for you. Just you. Meaning is invented by individuals, I think. Maybe it takes faith to do this. Belief in something that defies belief. Otherwise we all might as well grab an armful of rocks and jump head-first into the sea. It’s good to question shit, but when you get too deep into stuff like this, it can really drag you down and fuck you up.”

Gornok: “I guess. I’m too drained to think any more. So, that’s it then. I’m all finished here.”

Nihilium: “Okay. Chill, man. Think of something else—better still, just do something. Later, bro.”

Gornok: “Later.”

No special guests—I figured I’d just do this myself. Alternative title: How Not To Be A Slave.

This very likely could be one of the most avoided subjects in humanity history. It probably has a lot to due with the fact that it contains one of most misunderstood concepts in human history. It’s just not something most people care about, and it’s meant to be that way.

(But what the fuck? Something most people avoid must be something to which I ought to pay careful attention…)

The ego is the primary tool with which others can manipulate and control you—others: businesses and their myriad forms of advertisements, governments, society, families, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, et cetera.

How? Shame, guilt, praise and pride.

Always remember: whenever you feel bad, inside, that’s your ego; and it’s only your ego.

Another word for ego is “self-esteem.” It’s the New Age word for it. What is called “low self-esteem” is a state in which the ego is depressed, in a way, during shame or guilt. Or loss. Anything to do with the “self” has to do with ego. What we’re told to do when we have “low self-esteem” is to bullshit ourselves and-or manipulate situations that will make us feel good. We’re told to accept compliments, smile at ourselves in the mirror and-or tell ourselves flattering garbage that we don’t really believe (we’re told to lie to ourselves in a “positive” way until we believe it’s true; self-indoctrination), do things that make us feel good, spoil ourselves, take pride in things we do, et cetera.

(What we’re told to do merely puts weight on one side of the teeter-totter of ego: we just set ourselves up through praise and pride for another plummet down into shame, or “low self-esteem.” Much like a sugar high, or any other drug, you always crash. And then you need another fix.)

It can be done in many ways—but every way involves the same ritual: stimulating the pleasure center in your brain in order to get high. This is commonly known as “happiness.”

Of course, it doesn’t last, and you find yourself “unhappy.” Building “self-esteem” and “finding happiness” and “feeling good” are virtually identical, and none of them work. It’s like eating a donut when you’re hungry; you get a rush, your stomach stops aching for a little while. But it doesn’t last, and it’s not good for you anyway.

I repeat: this is a cheap and quick fix that doesn’t work. Talking about your childhood with a shrink won’t work either—it is the same ritual. Validation and sympathy and affirmations (with perhaps a new meme entering your head and triggering another dose of chemical rewards) all just feed your ego and make you high for a little while.

You’d be better off going on a quest without any material goods, walking for a month to see a spiritual guru. Because I’d be willing to bet you have no psychiatric or psychological problems; I would bet that your problem is spiritual, and so then the solution must be spiritual. A more natural way of life might be the answer—but that would preclude the need for spiritual help. An active non-material way of life is a spiritual way of life.

Remember, “spiritual” has nothing to do with the physical or the mental. Probably 99% of what we here about spirituality has in fact nothing to do with it. Instead, it’s about the mind—the fucking ego again.

“How do I feel today?”

This is a question of the ego.

Anyway, when you’re unhappy, psychology can address this, too. Or so it claims.

(I’m not going to get into medications for depression. It seems that some people do need them. Whether other things could have helped or not is rarely explored; and by the time you’re on meds for some time, it just might be too late—these pills re-wire your brain to such a degree that you will need to keep taking them. After a few years, your brain just will not function properly without them. I learned this in detox, and all the addiction programs I attended last year; obviously they weren’t talking about prescription drugs, but my research has indicated that these drugs are far worse than street drugs because they have been engineered for this exact reason: changing your brain chemistry. Illegal drugs only do this incidentally; they’re just used to get high, not studied in labs for years all for the sole purpose of dramatically changing the way the brain operates.

Anyroad, I doubt most people need pills from the start—a severe shift in how they live would probably cure them—but I’m just not getting into all that today.)

Let’s explore this concept for a moment…

According to this site, there are some “facts” of which you should be aware.

If you suffer from low self esteem (or have been told you do), or treat people with low self esteem (or think you do), please read on. There are a fair few self esteem myths that can block your progress when trying to lift self esteem..

Low self esteem has been scientifically studied and the findings of this research helped inform the facts you’ll find here.

[How anyone can, with a straight face, speak of “facts” regarding psychology in general and especially “self-esteem” is beyond me. It is pretty funny. Such a new and amorphous concept such as self-esteem can hardly be studied scientifically. That’s like saying one can scientifically study the spirit or soul. Something in the mind cannot be measured in any known way; something which cannot be measured cannot be tested. There is no evidence for “the spirit” or for “self-esteem,” or for ego itself in you want to get right into it. It is something you believe, or not. But, then, as I’ve always maintained, psychology is just another religion. Let’s continue!]

Mark Tyrrell, co-author of the Self Confidence Trainer, completed a UK tours in 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005 teaching thousands of health professionals the facts about self esteem and how to treat low self esteem in their patients. He has also co-authored a book on self esteem for Axis Publishing called The Giant Within – Maximise Your Self Esteem.In addition, Mark has created:
11 downloads on improving self esteem on our main site Hypnosis Downloads.

As you can imagine, Mark did a lot of research for his seminar ‘How to Lift Low Self Esteem’. He has listed his 10 most important ‘Tips’ for you here.

1) Low Self Esteem Not To Blame for being bad!

Firstly people with genuinely low self-esteem, a poor self image and low confidence, have been insensitively lumped together with bullies, narcissists, criminals and child abusers. No, really!

Popular assumption was that people did bad things to other people because they, themselves have low self esteem. But if you have ever asked yourself: “Do I have low self esteem” fear not. All the evidence points to the conclusion that low self esteem is a distinct condition, so if you do have self esteem you don’t have to feel that you are in the same group as bullies or abusers.

Research has found that people with genuine low self esteem tend to treat themselves badly not other people. Stopping people being bullies by trying to lift their self esteem may be like trying to get an obese person to lose weight by feeding them lots more cake.

In the 1980’s there was a movement to raise self esteem in schools in the belief that this would stop bullies bullying and prevent future crime in society. But peer reviewed research has shown schools trying to raise self esteem don’t prevent bullies bullying (2) (because low self esteem wasn’t causing them to bully).

Artificially and ineffectively focusing on lifting self esteem doesn’t raise academic performance either (3) As you’ll see in fact 4 the methods schools attempted to raise self esteem may have even damaged the sense of self worth in those suffering genuine low self esteem.

Low self esteem is not to blame for nearly as many problems as has traditionally been thought. It was also assumed that self esteem could never be too high.

The trouble here is that there is confusion between “low self-esteem” and “confidence” and “self-hatred.” None of these three things are the same. Confidence is just knowing what you can do. Like bravery, it can’t be taught and can’t be prepared for; you only gain courage when you’ve faced fear. That is how it works. Same thing with confidence, which is directly linked to courage: you gain it when you’ve done something. It is wisdom, which can only be experienced.

Self-hatred has all kinds of causes, none of them having much to do with ego. Unless it’s shame-induced, in which case it is about shame and not hatred. However, I won’t get into all that today.

Let’s get something straight right now: what is commonly called “low self-esteem” is merely shame. Shame has been considered, by some, to be the most wide-spread illness among the world’s populations. Shame is when you feel bad about things that you cannot change, or things you find very difficult to change. Guilt is different: feeling guilty is about knowing you did something wrong and feeling bad about it.

Guilt is about what you did or do, and it is subject to a moral code as much as it is to conscience—shame is about what you are, what you have.

If you were called “stupid” or “ugly” as a kid, for example, there is a good chance that you have been plagued with shame since then.

2) Too high Self Esteem Linked to Criminality

It is now clear that too high self esteem or ‘High Self Esteem Disorder’ is often more of a problem. (This is NOT merely a ‘disguised’ form of low self-esteem, as commonly thought). So, if you are the victim of a bully then you can rest assured you don’t have to feel sorry for them.

Hundreds of pieces of reliable research now show that bullies and many criminals are much more likely to suffer from unrealistically high self esteem and impulse control problems than low self esteem. An exaggerated sense of entitlement – expecting much from many situations – is more likely to lead to frustration and aggressive, antisocial, or even criminal behaviour. If self esteem can be too low it can also be too high. It was a crazy and unwarranted assumption that all human behaviour could be explained a way by low self esteem.

“It is now clear?”—“High Self Esteem Disorder?”—“Hundreds of pieces of reliable research?”

Fuck, I love how assholes make this shit up, without any proof or evidence, no testable data whatsoever, stating something as a scientific fact, all because it must sound reasonable within the limited context and definitions, the language and jargon, of those involved with the religion of psychology.

As long as an “Expert” has said so, hell, it must be worthy of being carved into stone…I mean, it’s gotta be the New Fucking Gospel, right? What do the masses say to that? Here:

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“I’m a perpetual child who knows nothing at all and has no sense of anything, so, yes, almighty Authority, tell me what to think and what to believe and what to do. I am incapable of figuring this out on my own and fully trust that you know exactly what you’re saying and doing, and that you want only what’s best for me…”

Jesus…fucking…christ.

This laughable “High Self Esteem Disorder” is called pride, shithead. Pride. That’s all. You are allowed to simplify this shit, folks, it’s not that difficult to think. You start by questioning everything these fucking cunts tell us, and go from there…

And so it’s not a disorder, and it’s nothing new. Pride is a bloated ego; if shame is an ego too far in the “negative,” then pride is an ego way to far in the “positive.” One might think that this can’t be a bad thing—how can a “positive” anything be bad?

Too much of anything can be harmful or destructive. The trick with the ego is balance, and that is the rarest thing I think in the world today. I’m not talking mediocrity—something of which there is grossly too much—I’m talking moderation. It’s uncommon because this is an ego-driven world, and the ego despises moderation. It wants everything now! Gimme gimme fucking gimme!

This why it is believed that patience is a form of suffering—something as frantically greedy as the ego also despises being made to wait. This is why it’s so difficult to teach kids patience: kids are more full of ego than we (some proper adults) are.

Any kind of suffering that isn’t physical is about the ego. Buddhists says that desire is the source of all suffering. And they’re right—desire and want are the same.

Too much ego and you feel superior and above reproach (look at how Royalty behave—the pure child’s ego never starved, only fed), you get arrogant, prideful, vain, greedy, self-absorbed or self-obsessed. Nothing takes you out of yourself, nothing humbles you either. More on that later…

Ego-driven people care only about themselves; you, to them, are merely something they use towards some desire they have. You’re a means and nothing more. You’re a resource, a thing they want, or just money.

Ego-driven people can dish out insults, but they can’t take them. Ego-driven people want a lot of stuff all the time (and are so arrogant they feel they deserve it all, because they’re so great), like a kid at Christmas time, and are never satisfied. Ego-driven people feel entitled to anything—they must get it first, before you, because you are not them, and they are great. Their egos help them rationalize anything to keep up the pretense that they are divine or advanced or intelligent or superior in some way (or in every way), and so they are entitled to everything—first and now!

This is why we are encouraged to be ego-driven children; we make people a lot of money and are easily manipulated psychologically.

Psychology has been around for less than a couple hundred years, is not even based upon any kind of real science, and it is the absolute zenith of human arrogance: it proposes the notion that it knows what makes the human mind tick and discounts, ignores, or discredits any other viewpoint (since any other viewpoint is obviously the result of some mental affliction, disorder, or syndrome); all of human history and especially pre-history is ignored. Any competing point of view is attacked, mocked, and ridiculed into silence.

Psychology, in a way, is quite a dictator.

Of course any other point of view is ignored, because it is a religion (first; business second) based upon pro-civilization and pro-feminine values and attitudes. Any and all truly masculine behaviour has been deemed some sort of illness; anything that boys and men have done for the 50,000 years before agriculture has been neatly categorized and demonized as some type of mental disability, criminal behaviour, or mental illness. All without any evidence or “scientific study” whatsoever.

Now, I’m not saying that many people are not fucked up in some way; and I’m not saying there is no such thing as insanity. I’m just saying that psychology is not the answer for this. It never will be.

Psychology treats the symptoms of a social disease caused by civilization itself—it cures nothing. It might sew up gashes here and there, but it does nothing about the knife that keeps slashing away at the person, who will bleed to death, sooner or later.

I believe this disease is civilization itself. What psychology claims to be treating are just the side-effects of the actual disease…but this is another story.

That said, this subject is not about psychology, so I’ll move on here…

So what are the symptoms of real low self esteem?
3) Characteristics of Genuinely Low Self Esteem

Social withdrawal
Anxiety and emotional turmoil
Lack of social skills and self confidence. Depression and/or bouts of sadness
Less social conformity
Eating disorders
Inability to accept compliments
An Inability to see yourself ‘squarely’ – to be fair to yourself
Accentuating the negative
Exaggerated concern over what you imagine other people think
Self neglect
Treating yourself badly but NOT other people
Worrying whether you have treated others badly
Reluctance to take on challenges
Reluctance to put yourself first or anywhere.
Reluctance to trust your own opinion
Expecting little out of life for yourself

So what is likely to cause very low self esteem? Tale a look at how to build self esteem. But one major factor is history.

Let’s stop it right here. This is something I’ve encountered so often through my life: the psychological-religious belief that if you are different from the public blob, you are ill. If you don’t want to play all the reindeer games, you are ill. If you don’t want to join the rat-race, you are ill. If you don’t want to work and buy a lot of shit and be like everyone else, you are ill. Want to travel in space? No, you are trying to escape from your problems here on earth. Want to fight? No, you are experiencing a form of aggression caused by anger at your father from events in your childhood. Think every one of your girlfriends was a fucking bitch? No, you are projecting your _____ ____ Disorder, or else you have issues with your mother. Want to overthrow the state? Well, it’s more likely that you were never accepted as a kid in school, and now you’re neurotic and enraged to the point of sociopathy.

Psychology is a religion whose sole purpose is to normalize you and keep you afloat as you drift downstream with all the other citizen and corporate logs. It’s taken the place of the old religions that kept you working and fighting in wars and dying for the various schemes of the rich, the rulers.

It also promotes very sweeping generalizations about what human existence is (and apparently always has been), what it should be, what its normal state is. And that normal state always means serving the State, being compliant and obedient.

This is the exact type of manipulation I was talking about at the beginning: an indirect form of shame. Its intent is to ultimately get you back in line, and be a good little citizen.

Social withdrawal. If you don’t fit into modern society, if you feel alienated, or if you sense that society is evil, cruel, sick, fucked up, or insane…well, you are the one with the problem. Modern society, civilization, is perfect. Desiring to be away from it, for whatever reason, is a mental illness.

Anxiety and emotional turmoil. The utter lunacy of a lifestyle focusing on status and popularity, as well as such a lifestyle emphasizing the collection of money and material goods can cause a lot of problems.

No. I’m not continuing this—I was going to go through all those in the list—I have no need to debunk psychology or what it smugly and flippantly proposes, backing up its ascertains and theories with nothing, just stating it all as fact.

No, that’s the trap. Once you start arguing with them, you’ve lost. Once you start using their terms, their definitions, and trying to fight them in their own building, you’ve lost. And you just end up appearing as exactly what they’ll label you: mentally ill in some way.

It’s like being in a court of law trying to charge the entire legal system of being inherently flawed and inept. You cannot take on the court while you’re in the court.

So, that’s enough of that. I’m just going to add my own emphasis as we go…

4) Child Abuse Increases Likelihood of Low Self Esteem

People who were abused as children (physical beating or sexual abuse) are more likely to suffer low self esteem [shame] as adults (6) They have learned [from who?] that they are of little value in themselves or just an object to be used. They have been ‘brain washed’ by constant criticism or abuse that they are a certain way. When a person begins to question this former conditioning or brainwashing then a healthier and more accurate sense of self can begin to emerge. This happens in a similar way to how people may break away from the brainwashing of a cult. There are other forms of abuse and certainly a history of being heavily criticized or unfavorably compared to others can lead to low self esteem (“why can’t you be more like your brother!”).

Former abuse may lead to post traumatic stress disorder which maintains the sense of “damage” and low self worth. Once traumatic memories are dealt with effectively the mind becomes clearer to form a better self esteem. So what else does the low self esteem sufferer need?

So past conditioning (often but not always from childhood) can produce low self esteem in adults. But why didn’t the drive to raise self esteem in school kids (starting in California with a legislature to raise self esteem) prevent childhood depression and low self esteem from rising?

The only way to deal with “past conditioning” is by entering into new conditioning, which is what psychotherapy is all about. With psychiatry, you are convinced you’re fucked up, and so you end up a slave to medication. That’s big business. So is psychotherapy. You are an emotional cripple for life. I’ve been in groups, I’ve seen it. Nobody gets “well.” They are stuck with a set of crutches (the group) and never get rid of them, because their ego needs the “support” of the group and therapists, constantly. And this keeps a lot of people employed in the growing field of “making everyone believe they are sick.”

Now, I have some very strong feelings regarding psychology—I think it is the biggest farce in human history, the biggest pseudo-science-based religion ever—but it was not my goal to get into all this stuff. I got suckered into it due to those strong feelings. So, I’m going to (1) address that last question in the quote, and (2) an interesting list further along in the article, and then be done with this.

But why didn’t the drive to raise self esteem in school kids (starting in California with a legislature to raise self esteem) prevent childhood depression and low self esteem from rising?

1. It’s because the framework of the modern concept “low self-esteem” is build on faulty information, assumptions, generalizations, and theories. It’s that simple. First of all, psychology takes a mostly feminine stand-point and declares that all normal behaviour is based on this standpoint—in other words, anyone who does not do what women do is defective and needs helps.

Second of all, fuck self-esteem. This is and always has been about ego. Thirdly, fuck depression—that is what happens when you are unconcerned with your survival. It is what happens when a human being is in captivity and is living a life which comes into conflict with its instincts, its conscience, when it’s forced to exist in a way that contradicts its actual nature. The result is alienation, an “empty” feeling, and an overwhelming sense of being unfulfilled as a life form.

2.

This is useful list of basic human needs:

a. The need to give and receive attention
b. The need to look after your body.
c. The need for meaning, purpose and goals.
d. The need for a connection to something greater than ourselves
e. The need for creativity and stimulation
f. The need for intimacy and connection to others.
g. The need for a sense of control
h. The need for a sense of status and recognition from others.
i. The need for a sense of safety and security

Now, here are some things with which I actually do agree…somewhat. Again, however, men and women have different brains, different bodies, and different needs and priorities. We are different. Humans are different sexually and humans are different culturally—psychology never takes different types of humans in consideration any more than it takes different sexes. How fucking stupid is it to lump everything as “human?”

Very fucking short-sightedly, biasedly, and absurdly stupid. They want one single white anglo-saxon female definition for what normal human behaviour is, and that is rubbish.

I’ve lettered them and will comment in order, but I will use my own terms, thank you very much.

A. We are social beings, and, yes, we need social contact. Only a child needs so much attention. Adults only need a little.

B. We have to take care of ourselves—every organism in the world must do this to survive.

C. Fuck “goals.” Corporate fucking NewSpeak. We do, however, need a purpose in life; something that fulfills us and, in the process, we sense the meaning of it.

D. Yes, for sure—“a connection to something greater than ourselves.” More on that later.

E. Creativity seems more like a guy thing. Very few women I’ve met have any interest in doing things that are truly creative. And I am not sure what is meant by “stimulation.” Living in a sterile, dull box…well, I can see how that would become a “need.”

F. Well—“intimacy and connection to others” is part of ‘A.’ Plus, intimacy means different things to men and women. To men it means physical contact, and to women it means talking.

G. Need for control? No, I don’t think so. Here is primarily female “goal.” I don’t need control; I only need to control myself in order to carry something out. If I’m sawing wood, I need control of my arm. The only need I have in this regard is to not be controlled by others. In other words, I need freedom. Funny how a major male “goal” concerning life is missing from this list?

H. “The need for a sense of status and recognition from others?” Are you fucking kidding me? Children might need this as they find their way to their teenage years, to help build their character, but adult men do not need status or recognition. This has nothing to do with need—it is about want. And it is about praise and approval from others—ego stuff.

What is status? Something to indicate who I am or that I am better than you in some way? Or to impress others? A title, an expensive car? I know who I am and do not need a badge declaring it. What humble, ascetic spiritual man would care about such things? Did Jesus care about this shit? Did Buddha?

Fuck off with that shit.

I. “A sense of safety and security?” Again, this means different things for men and women. If I have a spear, clothing, and a shelter, I have all the security I need. If I have the ability to defend myself, I don’t need to build fences to keep the bad things away. I don’t need an army, a stack of gold bars, and a castle; I’m a man.

What about a need to hunt? What about a need to fight? To settle things directly and honestly, physically? What about a need to defend oneself, one’s family, without having to go to the police? What about the need to be left alone? What about the need for truth? What about the need for silence, and peaceful contemplation, without someone’s needling bullshit filling your ear? Creativity is a right-brained activity and it requires the absence or drama and chatter, you know?

Okay, point made, done there. Moving on…

What is the ego?

The ego is a natural part of human beings. We’re born with it, and its purpose is it keep us alive, to make sure we get what we need to live. A newborn infant has the biggest ego of all, because it is most in need of things to keep it alive and yet has utterly no ability to get what it needs.

We are biologically tricked to give that baby what it needs—the very appearance of the infant, its shape, its sounds, and size of its eyes, et cetera, all gear us towards helping that baby get what it needs. Women are most susceptible—that is why so many girls and women are suckers for that which makes them go, “Awww…how cute,” or “Aww, that’s so sweet.”

It’s why women have great difficulty being hunters—not many girls or women will have it in them to kill a cutesy little bunny rabbit. It wasn’t always this bad, though.

I think this is what leads most women into an over-protective role, which actually serves to keep a child, well, childlike. Most men seem to know instinctively that the child must take risks, learn on its own, and suffer some scrapes, bumps, and bruises in the process.

(They’re biologically designed to care for small cute things, babies, to give the baby what it needs. This is how our species survives.

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Men are, too, for the most part. We are steadfast in protecting our families, and providing for them, but this seems to be a little different from women, who have never had any instinct to protect men, nor should they. Women seem to have great difficulty letting go of their children and letting them live their lives separate from them. We’re told that this is “love”—I say it has more to do with control, which has a lot to do with ego. Simply because if you really care about someone, you let them be and learn things and live on their own.

But as hunters, our biology (and brains) developed a little differently; without meat and fat humans could not survive (it’s not just about getting protein in our diet; it’s about being physically able to breed and have children), and that meant hunting and killing furry critters. So men had to develop a ‘hardened heart’ towards killing cutesy things. It’s why we can be “so mean!” sometimes. It’s probably what makes us easily converted from hunters to warriors and soldiers—an ability to disconnect emotion from a task that must be carried out. If we weren’t able to do this, humans would have gone extinct a long, long time ago. A bunch of blubbering men, too reluctant to kill a wittle bunny rabbit for dinner, would have been the end of us.)

An infant is the whole world—everything is “mine” and gets stuffed into its face. A baby is the epitome of selfish, or greedy. It has to be, its life depends on it—it is a squirming, squealing mass of want and need because without that ego, it would die.

From age two to perhaps thirteen, nearly the entire effort of parents is focused upon trying to stop their greedy, self-absorbed brat from being such a greedy, self-absorbed brat. The kid still thinks everything revolves her, that everything belongs to her. She must be taught to share, she must be taught that she is not the most important person to have ever existed, she must be taught to wait and have patience, she must be taught that all these things surrounding her are not hers. And her material lusts must be curbed. (If she is not taught these things, she literally becomes a little spoiled-rotten princess—for this is how Royalty think and behave, because from day one they were indulged and told they are divine.)

Child Ego

In a world in which material objects are all important, this makes it a lot harder for parents.

(When I go into a store or whichever, and see how parents interact with their kids, it always blows me away. If she’s not screaming at the kid, she’s playing mind games (if a kid’s “acting out,” and not listening, she tries distraction; if that fails, she starts manipulating—offering a reward for good behaviour, threatening to with-hold something the child wants if the kid doesn’t stop). I hear about “time-outs” and shit.

There were no time-outs for us as kids. We got spanked, and we smartened up because of that. A little physical discomfort is worse than mind games and manipulations and other horseshit? That stuff messes with your head for the rest of your life—a red swollen ass is as good as new the next day. How did we buy into this “spanking is abuse” bullcrap? Who claimed to be an authority on this? Why did anyone pay attention?

And I hear parents ask their kids what they want. “Do you want orange juice or apple juice, honey?”

Wow. My parents never asked me questions like that—I got what I was given and if I whined about it, I got nothing. If I bitched too much I got a smack.

Geez, maybe my parents were better than I thought they were, because I never ended up spoiled. I never became picky or indecisive either.)

The thing is, for most of human history the family was not any sort of “primary unit.” A man, woman, and a few kids alone in the wilderness would not survive. Everything was tribe-based. The tribe raised the children.

And a large part of raising the child involved the “destruction” of the ego, which is like an organ in the body which serves a purpose yet only for so long—if it is not “destroyed,” the child grows up (figuratively speaking) with the same selfishness it had in its younger days, and that it is not beneficial for a tribe-based system which has to share its resources for the good of all.

What used to happen, with a boy anywhere from age 10 to 15 (and sometimes younger), was that the tribe removed it from its parents (especially from its over-protective worrying mother) and put the child through an ordeal—called an “initiation”—which tested the child, caused actual pain, and symbolized the death of the child ego. Cultures all across the globe used to do this.

Sometimes the boy was removed for up to a year and lived in another region. Sometimes when the boy returned, he had a new name. In every case the boy was now considered a man. He stopped doing childish things, he stopped playing with toys, and he joined the men on hunts and was considered an adult.

Yeah, imagine a thirteen-year-old male doing what the other men did, helping the tribe. Today, kids are in school until they’re 25. During that time they’re an enormous drain on resources and are basically useless, doing nothing for their “tribe.”

Today, we drink milk (baby food) well into adulthood, have virtually the same ego we’d had as toddlers, play until we’re old and grey, and refer to one another intimately as “baby.”

“Yo, baby, come check out my crib…”

In every way that matters, we are still children.

I know what you’re thinking:

Yeah, you always say that—so what can be done about it?

I’m very glad you asked that.

How do we manage our egos?

There is no tribe anymore, no elders who are going to take us from our parents and show us how to live as adults. We’re orphans in a community which does everything it can to keep us acting and thinking like little kids. We’re easily manipulated, easily insulted; we’re kept in positions we hate just because we get praised for it. We get duped by someone willing to smile and flatter us.

And if you have ever gotten into anything regarding a healthy non-material life, a spiritual (and I do not mean religious) existence, you’ve likely come across the phrase, “Annihilate your ego.” Or “destroy” your ego, or “dump” your ego.

Well, it’s not accurate, of course, not literally. Ego is a part of us and cannot be removed or destroyed—the meaning is to manage it. I don’t mean “manage” in terms of control—I mean to keep the fucker in check, to lessen it, to keep it small, to subdue it so it can’t fuck us up.

How? Here are some things that help:

1. Praise.

Avoid being praised. Being praised means being controlled.

Do not accept compliments. Do not think about them, do not even say, “Thank you.” Ignore them and force yourself to think about something else. Flattery must not be acknowledged or considered in any way.

“Wow, you’re really good at this!”

“Uh huh” should be the retort—if there is any retort at all. Smile and then change the subject. This is best. For example, when I make supper for someone, and they thank me and tell me it’s good, I’ll usually say nothing at all. Obviously, to remain in social settings with others, it can’t work both ways and maybe it shouldn’t: I do thank others for things. I simply don’t let any of this influence my ego in any direction. If I genuinely appreciate someone’s efforts, I will thank them—and I require no “you’re welcome” or anything in return.

We’re far too hung up on these absurd social “graces”—manners and politeness. Most of it serves to feed or egos and should thus be avoided.

But giving thanks is a little bit humbling, so it’s still good.

After a while it gets easier, and in time you can develop a sense of loathing for all forms of flattery, so that the very mention of a compliment is met with a slight snarl and goes right past you, like a foul scent. I feel for flattery the same as I feel for lies or charm—it’s all in the same pile of deception and I detest it.

2. Humility

—this is key. Remaining humble is one sure way to help keep your ego in check. Don’t take credit for anything and don’t take pride in anything. When you “do a good job,” so what? You’re not a dog that requires a pat on the head. The trick is to avoid judgement—do your best and don’t linger on the results. You did what you set out to do, nod your head and move on.

Humility also helps you see others points of view—an ego-driven person is not apt to listen very much. “I’m right and you’re wrong” is the normal state of things in an ego-driven person’s mind. They won’t even consider any other person’s opinion, unless it in some way mirrors some aspect of their own.

Ego-driven people rarely ever admit when they’re wrong, too. They might do it when they’re caught, so as not to damage a resource (a “friendship”) or so they’re not viewed unfavorably. People like this are very worried that their image, status, reputation is unstained. They will lie a thousand times rather than admit to the lie which someone another has just discovered. They want to be admired and loved, and they don’t want people angry with them.

Blaming others is a great way to boost your ego (or “self-esteem”). “See? They’re wrong, they fucked up, and I’m immaculate.”

Don’t do it. Don’t blame anyone for anything. Take responsibility when you fuck up yet do not point your fingers at others, like a little brat would, when they fuck up. Accept that fucking up is a normal process of learning. There’s nothing wrong with it.

3. Pride.

Avoid in particular the pride of “success.” Dismiss it. It should be no more remarkable than standing up and walking. No big deal. Don’t make it a big deal and don’t let anyone else make it a big deal, because it’s not.

If you create something, don’t seek applause or praise for it. Better still, destroy it without anyone seeing it. Try it and see how fucking hard this is. Remember, you’re not a little kid anymore, needing a smile from Mommy to make your day. It’s time to grow up.

Help another person somehow and don’t take credit for it. Do so anonymously and don’t let anyone know. Drawing attention to your “good deeds” is just another ego trip.

So is accepting awards for shit…

4. Shame and guilt

—especially in failure. To avoid the shame or guilt of failure, remember that to fail is to be human—it is how we learn, it is absolutely necessary and there’s nothing wrong with it. We learn many things when we fail, or lose—what do we learn when we win? Nothing. So, be okay with being a “loser.”

[Remember, the ego wants to win all the time; wants the glory and praise and wants to gloat about it, to make others feel bad and to make itself feel even better through the process. There is no limit to what the ego wants or how good it wants to feel, no endgame, just more, more and more—go ask an addict if you doubt me. That’s a junkie’s favourite word: More. The most hated word is No. Same with your ego, telling your ego–your self—“no” is what this is all about.]

If you make a mistake, so what? Learn and move on, figure out what went wrong and don’t dwell or kick yourself for it. It is a natural fucking way to learn.

5. Self-denial.

Ego-denial. Deny yourself things you like. Tell yourself “no.” Focus on your needs, not desires, wants or cravings. I know, this is hard and takes a while. This might be as simple as avoiding tasty foods you like.

6. Insults.

Question others. Question everything about those who may insult and ridicule you. Who the fuck are they? Why does their opinion matter to you? Are they any better than you? Why? What the hell do they know? Why take that shit personally? Everyone’s entitled to their small opinions…they are no different than you are.

7. Humble yourself.

On purpose.

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In the army, being insulted and humbled at the same time is a tactic used to “initiate” the young men; the object is to rip down their defenses and squash their huge egos, so they can be part of a team. It’s a perversion of what happened in the hunter societies, sure, but the boot-camp drill-master section still does the job wonderfully. Watch the movie, 300, for a better (yet extreme and, again, perverted) idea of what it was like during an initiation. Watch the movie, Fight Club, for an idea of what lengths an uninitiated, shamed male will go to in order to become an adult. He self-initiates and beats the piss out of his ego through underground boxing, denying his wants, rejecting material possessions, and doing things like giving up control (surrendering to something outside himself, outside his control, letting go) and allowing himself to lose and be humbled.

Being humbled is another key. Set yourself up to be humbled—not humiliated. Humiliation is another word for shame. Being humbled is to be shown the reality of a situation—it is not to be made to feel bad.

Being humbled has nothing to do with feeling bad; it’s about feeling small, insignificant. It’s about realizing that you don’t know everything, or seeing that you cannot do all that you thought you could. It is about losing, too, and not feeling bad about it.

For me, all I have to do is spend some time in the wilderness, and I am humbled. Something greater than me is all around me. Not just the trees or whatever, but the force of life that radiates from it all, connects it all, and stimulates it all to change and grow. There is a force active, even if it can be only be called “energy.” But I don’t call it anything. I acknowledge it only as a great mystery, and give it no name. It is not a he or a she, and it’s not a being or a thing. I don’t even think about it. I just let myself be humbled by it.

There are greater humblings, but these can’t really be set up. They are awesome when they happen.

8. Symbols and objects.

Ego loves shiny things, symbols, objects. A symbol is something representing something else, a thing in place of another thing, or an idea.

Instead of living strictly to certain principles, many Americans now hold their hands to the hearts while hearing their anthem, or gazing at their flag, or admiring some sort of eagle art work. Afterwards, they go back to behaving contrary to their Constitution.

What happened?

An object, a symbol, took over somehow. The idea of America can be carried around now in the form of coloured cloth (stars and stripes) and placed on a pole over their house.

An idea has been symbolized. Something became an object, and the meaning was lost.

Is there a symbol for spirituality? No, there is not. There never was, isn’t now, and never will be. Why? Because you cannot represent something that is not material. Any attempt to do only proves that the intent of those trying have material goals, not spiritual goals. And they must be ignored completely.

The trouble with symbols is that they affect our minds in powerful ways (archetypes; memes); historically, they tend to take over something and replace what they sought to represent. Don’t believe me? Go look at a cross on a church. Take a look at the Catholic Church, the Mother Church, and the clean, bejeweled, dress-wearing Pope.

Jesus was not clean, well-groomed saint wearing pristine clothing, garnishing himself with gold and jewels, shaving his body hair and making sure he smelled pretty. He was a smelly, hairy, wandering guru, who was a fuck up at almost everything he tried to do.

What the fuck happened?

Symbols took over. Now people squat before a cross and prey to “Jesus Christ.” Or, of all people, his mom—“Mother Mary.”

Messages got symbolized—don’t believe me? Look at the Buddhists. They chant before a golden statue of fat guy, when the actual Buddha was ascetic. Spartan. A minimalist as far as material things went.

What the fuck happened?

Symbolization; objectification. It is the symbol that has become more important. Because the symbol is merely another object to be coveted by the ego. Rulers know this—they know the people will follow symbols of what they believe, so the rulers use these symbols to control them. The more ego-driven the public is, the easier it is to control them in all things.

It’s hard to do, but try not to cling to objects and symbols, things the ego absolutely adores. Freedom insists that you try…

9. Prayer.

Another thing that helped one to be humble is to pray. I know, I know, it stinks of some sort of religion. Yet that’s not what I mean. For me, when I’m off in the mountains, and I find a source of water, I give thanks. I’m not religious, and I believe in no deity, but I give thanks all the same—to whatever put that water in front of me. I don’t analyze it, I don’t think about it. I acknowledge something greater than I am, and I thank it for giving me this water.

The first time it was suggested that I pray, I laughed. It was pretty damn funny, for a former atheist. I was told to pray for those I hated, and it didn’t make sense for a long while. Last year I realized that asking *whatever* to give prosperity to your enemy is a road to forgiving them. And through this dumping that negative shit.

It’s still very hard for me to do, so I mainly stick to giving thanks for what I come across that helps me.

This is how alcoholic and addicts help themselves through breaking their slavery to their substance abuse. In AA it’s called a “Higher Power” and it has nothing to do with religious figure or leader or deity; it has nothing to do with religion at all.

But it works. Millions upon millions upon millions upon millions upon millions of cases, it works. Humility works, and prayer works, and no one knows why.

About ego and the founders of AA…

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Bill W. and co-founder Dr. Bob S. founded AA, and during the initial stages Bill tried to press the case for mass exposure (for the book and the program) in the media. Dr. Bob saw this for what it was: the ego making another attention grab. Both of these guys were aware that an addict (alcoholic) is a praise junkie, and that addiction was directly related to the ego. That’s why they made the whole thing ANONYMOUS.

On some level they understood that the cycle of addiction could never be broken so long as the ego was fed. Hence a Higher Power. Hence Anonymous. Hence no mass exposure in the media or any marketing attempts with the book.

These two guys understood the ego more than Freud, his counterparts, and all psychologists collectively have since then. Because they went with ancient techniques that worked, and were proven to work, and still work today.

Anyway, if that’s not your style, fair enough. Maybe you can be humbled through some other means. Maybe you can find something (which is not a person) you feel is greater than yourself (your self—your ego) and make it work for you.

When I learned that thousands of years before religion, man knelt with his spear, lowered his head, closed his eyes, and prayed to his prey (that’s where the word came from: prey/pray) for it to feed his tribe with one of their own…well, I started thinking about this differently. Maybe prayer was a healthy, natural thing we did as hunters—before, like almost everything, it was corrupted by city-states and absorbed into whatever religion was around then. We used to pray to Black Elk or the Deer God, some imaginary leader or creator of that species, to help us feed our families.

And this humbled us. It worked. It still works today. I doubt it really matters what we pray to, or if we actually believe in some “Black Elk” figure. It isn’t the point.

Humility is the point.

It wasn’t genuflection—kneeling before a royal person, which eventually became a residual gesture in a marriage proposal—either because it does not involve another person. Just like in AA, your “Higher Power” cannot be another person. It has to go beyond the material, the flesh, the worldly. Genuflection was just another perversion of an ancient ritual men carried in their hunter society.

10. Fun.

Do not seek it. I don’t mean be a dull, boring, emotionless robot. I mean do not seek it, do not rearrange your life to point where fun becomes the most important thing. What is fun? Getting high off chemicals in your brain.

Play is necessary for the young for most species—fun is the side-effect, a chemical reward for goofing around and practicing stuff that offspring will need in adult life.

Fun and play were not supposed to continue this way into adulthood; the exceptions seem to be play with a mate before mating, and play with offspring, to challenge them to grow, and what I just mentioned above: preparation.

Accept it when it comes, naturally; like moments of joy. Take it when it comes, and enjoy it. And then let it leave. Don’t chase it; don’t chase that dragon’s tail.

When you want more and start manipulating and controlling things to get more (fun and joy) you are a junkie. And your ego gets fed. And progress towards spiritual growth is lost.

So, these are the things I employ in my life to manage my ego. None of these things have to do with objects (which are the crux of desire for the ego—attachment). And, in addition to all these things, I’d recommend the lessening of material goods you possess.

For me, after all my belongings were stolen from me a few times, it become easier to live without things. Stuff. When I drifted around for a few years, from 2000-2003, I didn’t have much. And I got used to it. Later, when it looked as though another person was going to get all my belongings, I smiled and let it all go.

It meant nothing. Stuff can be replaced, or not. It no longer mattered.

Obviously, everything I’m talking about here is a diametric opposite to what we’ve been told and have come to believe. Everything—including the addiction called happiness—is designed to feed our egos. The bigger our egos are, the easier it is for us to be shamed. It might not make any logical sense, but it is true. The more our egos are fed, the more they want. Like infants, we are obsessed with things that feel good, warm, fuzzy, soft, and things that taste good, and things that stimulate the pleasure centers in our brains.

And due to this large, bloated, poisonous ego, we’ve allowed a dubious religion (and multi-billion-dollar industry which makes more money the sicker we are and are deemed to be) like psychiatry-psychology to swoop in and dictate reality and sanity, classify us, and make us slaves (and perpetual cripples) to medications and therapy and groups.

The more serious work of ego-management is denying your ego, denying your-self, and it is to deny yourself things that cause pleasure, to deny yourself excesses, especially in comfort. Go one day a month in discomfort, some moderate form of suffering. Put yourself through a physical challenge. Put yourself through a mental challenge. Suffer a little misery once in a while.

Actually, this is not so much about Ego-management as it is about self-denial and self-surrender. Denying your ego what it wants, and surrendering your ego to something greater and outside yourself, which is not material in any way.

This is how your spirit grows, and this is how your brain actually flexes its muscles and makes new connections; free-thinking, creative-thinking, through challenges, and through being humbled.

Maybe the answer is what has always worked and still works…

Something to think about.

Anywhat, this is what I do to avoid shame, avoid being made to feel bad, to avoid pride, to avoid being manipulated and being controlled, and to avoid being praised. This is what I’ve been doing for a few years now, and—with a couple of exceptions—it has worked great. It’s still a work in progress, but it always is when we have to figure this shit out for ourselves. This shit used to be common knowledge, but it became forgotten for a long time. Now it is being known again.

One last time: whenever you feel bad, inside, that’s your ego; and it’s only your ego. You have a choice whether to let control it you, or to dump it and be free.

Hopefully you got something out of all this that might help you.

Later.

[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.]

Part Two

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…

Love Is a Chemical Reaction

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…

Part Three

Happiness

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.