My new book, The Dark Goddess, drops Friday, January 19! In anticipation of that glorious event, I am giving away two signed copies of The Ruined Man. If you haven’t read it, now is the chance to plunge into the gritty world of Victor Wolf for free! If you have read it, you can have a copy to share with friends or family!
Entry is easy. Just click on the link below and get started!
And don’t forget to preorder The Dark Goddess on Amazon!
And it’s not even noon yet…
Let’s talk about Ego.
I’ve been studying the Spiritual and New Age movements for some time now. One term that gets thrown around and misused more than “love” is “ego”. And in almost every one of these fly-by-the-seat self-help religions Ego is bad. Very, very bad. Nobody should have or “give in to” the Ego and having it is seen as an impediment to Ascension, Enlightenment or Awakening or whatever your term for achieving spiritual openness. I see the word used all the time in arguments as admonishments or to rebuke someone who is being challenging. All in all, a lot of negative energy is attached to the Ego. Even in popular culture, the Ego suffers. Egotism. Egotistical. Any way you slice it, Ego is bad. So I began to wonder, what makes the Ego so bad?
First, we have to understand what Ego is. The simple definition is “the opinion that you have about yourself”; and in psychology it is “a part of the mind that senses and adapts to the real world”. That doesn’t seem too terrible…maybe an in-depth definition would shed light on the Ego’s insidiousness.
1. the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world
3: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality — compare id, superego (cited from mirriam-webster.com)
From the above definitions it is easy to see there is a difference between the Ego and being “egotistical”. Let’s explore these definitions more.
The opinion you have about yourself:
Also known as your self-esteem and self-worth. Now these are things that the new spiritual movements preach a lot about. Better self-esteem through positive thinking. The positive power of manifesting self-worth. They are touted as good things, not bad. Oddly enough, they are directly tied to peoples’ Egos as per the definition. Now an uncomfortable paradox is manifested. Ego=bad. Self esteem=good. Ego=Self Esteem thus Bad=Good. The whole argument falls apart when it is broken down to its most basic components. If Ego is bad, then so is self-esteem and I don’t need to go into the negative downward spirals that come with self-esteem issues. Almost everyone has had experience and struggles with lack of self-esteem at least once in their lives. For some, lack of self-esteem is an ongoing battle. Some Ego hounds may tell you that your Ego is responsible for these thoughts. They will say that the Ego is actually responsible for reducing your self-esteem. It’s the devil on your shoulder, so to speak. But that simply isn’t true. Your Ego mediates thoughts, experiences and struggles, filtering them back up to your higher self. Which brings us to the psychological definition of Ego.
The part of the mind that senses and adapts to the real world:
In psychology, the Ego is a Freudian term related to the Id and the Superego. The Id is your base animalistic instincts and the Superego is your civilized moral self. The Ego is the mediator between the two. It processes what’s going on in the world around you and mediates those findings between the Id and the Superego. Basically, it keeps them under control and impedes them from running rampant. Of course this is in a perfect setting. In reality the Ego often gives in to the Id or the Superego (and according to Freudians, more often the Id) which causes conflict between the self and the real world. Welcome to the Human Experience.
So the Ego isn’t the real culprit. The Id and the Superego are responsible for the negative influence on the self. The Id, or the base survival instinct, is most easily personified in the moments of unchecked and irrational lashing out people are prone to (think of the last time you had a road rage incident). And the Superego, or our rational and logical selves, is responsible for all of a person’s “thinking problems” (i.e. neuroses, narcissism, etc). The Superego is also home to dysfunctions like egotism. All the Ego does is process the experiences. It is the higher self’s filter in the physical world.
Then what IS the Ego? Fundamentally, the Ego is our sense of identity. Ego is what makes a person who they are. It’s what answers you when you look in the mirror and ask “who am I?” It is the mechanism that allows you to exist in and experience the world and universe around you. The Ego is the individual. It is, however, an imperfect mechanism just like everything else in this beautiful creation called The Universe.
So then why would a person think that something as simple and profound as your very identity would be a bad thing? The opponents of Ego would say, “Because the Ego makes you vain and greedy and self-serving, it distracts you and on and on ad infimum. O.K. So let’s look at that as logically as possible. The Ego is your identity, as we discovered above. Your Ego is responsible for everything wrong with your spiritual and personal development. Thus, your identity is ultimately responsible…and you are your identity. See where this is going? “Ah ha!”, exclaim the Ego detractors, “See? Ego IS bad for you. You must therefore let go of your Ego and think positive happy thoughts to correct the bad and replace it with good.” They don’t call it “prosperity therapy” but they should. After the glorious and paramount task of freeing oneself from their debasing Ego, they will have truly overcome and ascended into what amounts to a perfect state of self-realization and achieving perfect love and joy and oneness forever and ever. Again, it’s not called prosperity therapy no matter how much they seem to fit together.
And the ultimate goal of all this? The grand finale? A person separates from their identity and “returns to the Source” or God or the Creator or whichever name is drummed up by whoever is coining terms at the time. Here the whole Ego attacking/ Personal Enlightenment theology gets a little vague and highly dependent on personal speculation. Or you can go with the Buddhist/ atheist option and return to Nothingness.
I say forget all of that. Creation serves a purpose. A very specific purpose. Thus, identity serves a purpose. EGO serves a purpose. And ultimately, each and every object in creation is serving a purpose. What that purpose is, is discussion for a later talk. However, at the core of all of Creation’s purpose is to exist. Existence exists to exist.
We are all part of God and God wants us to be; he wants us to exist as individuals. He gave us freewill and a purpose then programmed us into the universe. Part of that experience is ultimately individual consciousness—identity. And your Ego is your identity. This is not a bad thing. It’s an imperfect thing. You can’t overcome it. You ARE it. It’s not “fake” or bad or meant to hinder your spiritual advancement. It. Is. YOU. And again, THIS IS NOT A BAD THING.
God doesn’t want you NOT to be you. He is part of you. He is right there with you every step of the way, experiencing life alongside you. Waiting for you to accept His love so that true transformation can occur.
Now the general consensus is conscious beings have forgotten this critical piece of information hence the human condition and shackling of us to the material world. Our Egos did not do this to us. This happened before there was an “us”. So now the point of Ego becomes remembering our connection to God. This is the “personal relationship with God”. This is the Ego’s relationship to the infinite. In order to have a relationship with God, you must first recognize he is there. But recognition is only the beginning. Jesus told his disciples that if they even had the faith of a mustard seed, they’d command a mountain to jump into the sea and it would. That’s heavy stuff. This level of relationship happens through dialogue with God. The more dialogue you have with God the more your faith grows. What this dialogue is and how to achieve it are what spiritual teachers have been telling us and religions have been corrupting since the beginning of time.
The beauty of this is that all experience and the experience of life itself is facilitated by the Ego. Our Ego doesn’t impede our dialogue with God. It’s the mechanism we use in order to facilitate that dialogue. What impedes us are our base, animalistic tendencies (i.e. the Id) and our aloof and moralistic civilized natures (or our Superegos) as well as the physical world. Each of them scream for our attention, even battling for it like shoppers on black Friday. These are what keep us asleep and spiritually crippled. These very literally ARE the devil. So ignore them and focus on God. Put your Ego to its intended use. Strive for it. Live for it. And your faith will be as big as a mustard seed in no time.
Hello blogoverse! I’ve been away for a while working on my new collection of short stories, Twisted Yarns! I am pleased and more than a little excited to announce that it is now available for sale on the publisher’s site! That’s right. Now is your opportunity to delve into the warped and whimsical worlds that bounce around my imagination. And while you’re there, check out some of my other titles. Amazon and other retailer availability is coming soon. Cover design credit goes to the ever-talented Chris Deichman.
So what are you waiting for? Open a door to your imagination and get lost in Twisted Yarns!
Today’s tidbit is an inspiring and eye-opening poem from Rumi. Enjoy!
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.” The Essential Rumi, p. 109
To me, this is a poem about perception. I like the idea that being human is a guest house whose purpose seems to be to entertain all these different experiences. But isn’t that the point? We are here to experience all that life and the world has to offer to us. The good and the bad. I”ll be the first to admit, it’s hard to meet the negative at the door laughing. It’s even harder to invite them in. But in the end, even those experiences add to our character and strengthen our souls. We can’t live life in fear of or trying to avoid negativity and hardship. It WILL find us eventually. There is no escaping the fact that life isn’t all smiles and rainbows. The greatest weapon we have against them is our perception of them.
Even when they “come into our house and violently sweep out all of our furniture” we still treat them honorably. Even when something happens in our lives that totally screws everything up we have to keep a reasonable perception about it. After all, change is often a violent and unsettling process, but the end result is always likely to be a “new delight.” Seeing misfortune and hardship any other way is a one way ticket for self-pity and depression. And life’s too short to spend in the dark place of our souls all the time.
So” be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond”. Each and every experience of our lives is serving to move our souls toward growth and development. So we have to be conscious of falling into the self-pity, woe-is-me mind traps that open so easily every time misfortune knocks on our door. Remember, every time we grow comfortable, we cease to grow.
Tags: Blog, daily wisdomisms, difficulty, door, God, grateful, guest house, guide, hardships, human, humanity, inspiration, joy, life, malice, meaning of life, perception, poetry, quotes, Religion, Rumi, shame, Spirituality, thoughts, universal shift, Wisdom
Quite an interesting excerpt today. It appears atheism is nothing new. Despite what its proponents would have us believe, Atheism is not the byproduct of humanity moving into a new enlightened age. It is short sighted skepticism at best. Here is what Hermes had to say on the subject. Enjoy!
“No one says that a statue or portrait has come into being without a sculptor or a painter; then has this work (the cosmos, J.) come into being without a creator? What blindness! What sacrilege! What mindless arrogance! My son, never deprive the works of creation of their creator. He is greater than anything the name of God implies, so great is the Father of all; for He is single and his work is just this: to be Father.” The Corpus Hermeticum, Book 5.
This falls in line very nicely with my piece Only The Code that I posted a while back. To me, this makes perfect sense. As above, so below. No one says that art spontaneously arises out of chaotic nothingness and falls into perfect order. So why is it so hard to believe that the beautiful and magnificent work of art we call “The Universe” has a hand intelligently directing its design? As above, so below. I think that in this day and age with technology and “progress” being what it is, our collective ego has inflated to epic proportions. And we feel bold and empowered enough to challenge the very existence of God. Much like humanity did with the Tower of Babel and we saw how that turned out…
“yea, so long as every nerve in you is aquiver, whether when you are stealing softly about, or when you step out boldly and Janzian music within drowns out your consciousness—then you feel you are living.”
It’s brilliance, it’s passion, it’s inspiration that matter in these uncertain times. These are all there is left to hold on to. The illusion is crumbling beneath our feet and with it goes everything reality holds dear.
She met the Old Man when he rescued her from the cult. Well, rescue is such a—what’s the word? Subjective. Yeah. Rescue is a subjective term. She was broke, see? And living on the road like so many were in those days. In those times, right after everybody admitted to themselves that things weren’t going to get better, people finally stopped looking to the governments or corporations to save them and hold civilization intact. Those were dark times. Depressing times. Brutal and terrifying times. Whole cities burned to ash. But they got what was coming to them in the end, I suppose. So it was no big thing for a pretty young girl to be a broke vagrant scamming for a few bucks and a hot meal.
Cults had started popping up in those days like pimples on a fry cook. Something to do with the last cries of the desperate to a deaf and apathetic God, I suppose. Lots of cults offered signing bonuses. $50 dollars and a ham sandwich is what she sold her eternal soul for…or tried to anyway. Before the pen was slapped from her hand and the needle for the blood sample deftly snatched and shoved into the cult nurse’s arm. Howled like a stuck sow, too. This caused the Old Man to chuckle.
The girl wasn’t laughing though. She turned on her would-be savior, eyes blazing like a chemical fire. “What the hellz with you asshole?”
The Old Man shrugged and fished around his patched coat pocket, producing a half-smoked cigarette. “Just saw you about to make a mistake and I couldn’t let you do it. You gotta light?” he begged.
“Fuck off, mister.”
“Ya know what they want your blood for, right?”
“It’s fifty bucks and a ham sandwich! Who cares why they want my blood? I haven’t eaten in two days!”
He shrugged again, his eyes glinting beneath the wide-brimmed hat that shadowed his face, even in the light. “Suit yourself. I’ll tell ya what. I’ll give ya $100 and a free meal, that’s right a whole meal, if you walk with me to the diner across the way there and let me explain a few things to ya.”
She eyed him warily. Rape and murder were daily threats for any vagrant, much less a 21 year old girl. But it was only across the street and it was in a public place.
“I ain’t gonna do nothin to ya. Hellz, you were about to sell yourself over to this kooky band of bullshit artists.” The cultists grumbled. “What have you got to lose?” He pulled a crumpled hundred dollar bill from his ratty jeans pocket and showed it to her. “See? Got the money. Now let me buy ya dinner, girl.”
She looked to the cultists who began protesting and forcefully urging her to sign. The she looked to the Old Man, eyes glinting and flashing a $100. “Sorry,” she told the cultists and broke from their grip.
They started after her, but a look from the Old Man stopped them in their tracks. “That’s right, you bloodsucking bastards. You see me. Now back off and go find some other vagrants to swindle.”
They backed away slowly, hands raised in surrender.
“Who are you?” wondered the girl.
But the Old Man didn’t respond. He grabbed her by the arm, leading her to the diner. “C’mon. Let’s get some food in our bellies. Could be the last cheeseburgers in the whole damn state.”
Dear Frito Lay,
I recently purchased one of your 99 cent bags of Nacho Doritos. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag and discovered it to be less than 1/3 full. Really, Frito Lay? Really? What in the hell is going on? You fill the bag with air to give it the impression of being full. I understand the necessity from your warped and evil corporate world view. No one in their right mind would pay for an empty bag of chips. But that is exactly what we’re getting. I know that chip companies have been employing this shady tactic for some time, but this doesn’t make it right.
I know times are tough and the economy is shit. But you can’t tell me that your product costs so much to manufacture that you have to cut portions and raise costs to make a profit. That’s just greedy. That’s just you wanting to take every last cent from the John Q. Publics that devour your unhealthy chemically concocted chips. Is it really that necessary to rob good, honest people of what little money remains to them?
Honestly, your products aren’t all that great. And to pay 99 cents for what amounts to a 25 cent bag of chips is more than a little infuriating. It’s deplorable. I won’t bother asking how you sleep at night because I know: on your king-sized mattresses stuffed with the profits of your ill-gotten gains. All the while wallowing in Cool Ranch and Extreme Nacho crumbs and relaxing to the aromatic therapy of a Buffalo and Bleu Cheese scented candle. Yeah, Frito Lay, that’s how you roll, alright. And that’s fine. We still live in America and you still have the freedom to roll any way you want. But I won’t be rolling with your cadre of thieves and marketing con artists. Keep your overpriced bags of air. I won’t be buying them any more.
Some of you may not know the amazing story of the discovery of the documents referred to as “The Epistles of Lucius” and “The Book of Absurdity” (collectively called the Lubb Ickamaddi Library).
It all began in the year 2005 in the dusty town of Lubbock, TX. Until this point, Lubbock was mostly known for Texas Tech and the Dixie Chicks. But it so happens that during the early spring of 2005 a farmer was tilling his fields for planting when his plow hit on something obviously metallic. Further inspection revealed a metal box decorated with odd symbols buried deep in the ground. Trembling with excited anticipation (and a smidgen of fear) the farmer pried open the box…and was hit with a light and magnificence so profound he may have wet his pants (just a little).
Now he told academic authorities that all he uncovered were the documents. But this, we know now, must have been a lie. Because the Garments of Lucius were supposed to be buried with the books so that he could garb himself upon his birth in this land. Instead, when he was birthed into the land, he was naked as the day he was born. Unfortunately, the folk in Lubbock are a little touchy about naked men running through their streets shouting religious wisdoms. Poor Lucius was promptly seized and committed to the local psych hospital. He hasn’t been heard from since. Many think that Lucius was secretly transferred to Area 51 where he could spread the Good Nonsense of the Book of Absurdity to all the captive aliens there. Whatever his fate, this was one of the letters uncovered by the farmer. Enjoy!
The Epistle of Something and Nothing
There is Nothing and there is Something. There is nothing and there is something. Something began as the tiniest particle of light trapped within a vast and never ending sea of inky blackness. Nothing. Then Something said OHM!!!!!! And light exploded, illuminating the darkness. And the Light brought with it Creation. And Creation brought with it Life. And the Something continued to resound sending ripples of OHM throughout the eternal sea of Nothing and leaving Life in its wake. Creation was and is everything. It started as the planets and the heavenly bodies. The cosmic orchestra. Then came the gods. Those hyper intelligent and spiritual beings who sprang from the very essence of Something, who resounded from ITS holy core. They looked on Creation with avarice and lusted after Life. They sought to control it. So the battle began. A struggle that wages as long as Creation exists. A struggle that drives the very foundations of Creation, that fuel the ripples of OHM across the void and perpetuate existence. The Eternal Struggle is slave to the Cycle just like everything else in Creation. But Nothing cannot be discounted. Nothing is constantly struggling against Something trying to reclaim it. Trying to swallow it back into itself and restore its silent entropy. This is Nothing. This is the essence of everything that Something is for. Eventually, however, Nothing grinds Something to a halt and begins to push it back, to swallow it back up, as it were. And it does. And it has. Countless times before. Because even Nothing and Something are part of a great Cycle. Because Nothing can never Truly swallow Something. Just as Something can never truly conquer Nothing. For Nothing is vast and eternal. And that has been the Cycle for countless times before. Until now.
Call it a glitch. But this time when the gods sprang from the heart of Something, some of them got the idea, had the desire to create Life themselves. Only it couldn’t happen without Something. So these tricksy gods gathered fragments of Something and put them into fleshly shells. And viola. “Intelligent Life” was created. That’s right. Humans. And are there other non humans out there? Yes. Something is vast beyond our comprehension. And there are more gods than stars in the sky scattered over ITS expanse. And these usurper gods claimed themselves to be Something even though they weren’t. Not really. More like mad scientists. Crazy spiritual hackers. But they claimed to be IT anyway. That primal Spark that all This was born from. They claimed this for themselves and Intelligent Life believed it. Later, Intelligent Life would become more vain than was good for it and, claiming to be IT themselves, attempt to overthrow the usurper gods. But something happened that the usurpers never expected. You see, up till this time, Something had always been a presence. Living yes, aware yes, but not exactly conscious. It had a purpose and it fulfilled that purpose. Until the fragments of ITSELF trapped inside ITS own creation became Aware. For the first time Something was conscious of ITSELF and it said I AM. And with that affirmation came Love. Love for Creation. Love for Life. And Something wanted to protect Creation from Nothing. To fight back. So it made ITSELF in Creation aware of Nothing. And here we are.
Tags: Absurd, cosmology, Creation, cycle, Death, Dixie Chicks, evolution, fiction, funny, God, hackers, humans, humor, life, Lubbock, nothing, Realm of Possibility, Religion, Satire, scientists, shamus, something, texas tech, universal shift, Writing