Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Sanctity of the Ego


This begins the strategies part of my essay on the Game of Life. The first strategy is to protect and reinforce the ego. This short essay could be the beginning of an Introvert’s Manifesto. After this section, I talk about hiding the inner ego, and then we are on to strategies for creativity. This section and the next regard Intellectual Independence.


Take care, Caretakers!


dAniel Christopher June




1. The Sanctity of the Ego


Benczúr Gyula - Narcissus.jpg

            Eternity is for everyone and for everyone it’s bliss. Anything beyond this is vile sectarianism, which to believe would diminish the shine of our apotheosis, for everything we hate is an image of the self. Allism acknowledges the necessity of all things, allows the passing of some and the advancing of others. Nothing is damned, not even damning, but each is set in its place. The proper place of the Self of Needs and the Mind of Freedom is at the very center:  “Nothing is at last sacred except the integrity of your own mind.” My intellectual independence is the one ultimate virtue which I would last sacrifice, long after all the others. The freedom of my mind constitutes its worth as a mind. Let my fingers be chopped off one by one, let my limbs be severed, let my ribs be plucked out like pickets of a fence, let my skin be flayed away, let me walk through a gallery of Picasso’s paintings. I can afford all that. I am still myself. But lacking the I of Freedom and the Self of Needs, it would be better had I never been born. My justification for this life and all its joys and sufferings, for every life I will yet attempt, is that I am utterly myself, that my mind is free and self-owned. The very reason I frame the tedium of life and its daily demands as a sort of game is to distance circumstance from my inner heart. Whatever happens out there, let it be. I am I. The one temptation in life is to lie to yourself; the one unforgiveable compromise, to let another think for you. If I give into the group, then my soul becomes the group soul, and I am no longer autonomous, but we are. Groups resurrect as individuals. If I justify my hope for godhood, it is always and only as an expansion of the integrity of my own mind. Have you the power to torture me with duties and debts? Very well, do your worst. Take what is takable. But what I ultimately am I will not give up, threaten what hell you wish. This at last is sacred.

            The Game of life does not accept the full ego as sacred. Around the pristine I there is the temporal Me. Me in relation to you, in relation to the world, in relation to the group, Me in relation to myself. That persona, that strategy, grows hard and tough when I need to be hard and tough, or grows soft and easy where I need it to be soft and easy. But ultimately, in the adventure of life and the romance of philosophy, I must permit myself mental breakdowns, where all those defenses fall apart, and my naked I stands visible, where the Me melts away and makes room for a stronger Me. This happens again and again in life. Mythologically we call it “ressurection” or “reincarnation.” The lived experience justifies the myth: the Me dies and rises. But whatever can die is not it, and whatever resurrects is not it, but what was in before the corpse and out after the resurrection, what always was, is the only true miracle, and truly a miracle because it asks not for faith in itself, offers no proof, is its own proof, is felt in the solemn certainty that in all that was, is, and is to come, I am I. Let me therefore play the dangerous game of self overcoming. Let my needs quell and swell and push against the outer walls of the ego-me. Let me burst my limits and molt. For whatever it is that scourge-mad chance brings against my infant innocence, my soul has already called the trauma forth. I invite random pain, having special ordered it. The layers of my soul act in perfect coincidence, so that what appears to be miraculous on one level, appears to be causal on another.

            I’ll work what I need to work, I’ll make a living. Whatever I do, so long as I do it as myself, is justified, expresses me. Insofar as I conform and do merely what is expected, than I am not myself, but an extension of my employer. If the dollar is a unit of pain, if wealth is created ex nihilo from the very exhaustion of effort into matter, then I will make a game of pain as well, work hard, learn with the Puritans to take pride in my labor, to regard my job as “my calling” – but never too seriously. I can drop it again. I do not commit my seriousness to this. I work, but as if I could be fired. I work, but as if I do not belong at the job. If anything, the job belongs to me, I take it over, I make my impression, I change it to fit my schemes and fantasies. All my reality is layered over with fantasy. Let me play through all these halls my own melody, for melody is the dance of the will, the selection of focus, the flitting of my attention from this to that; I will always insist on expressing myself through my work, and never seek to be a “good employee” but to be “myself employed.” Being good would be bad.

            My conception was my first self-overcoming, when freedom divorced from necessity. The suffering of divorce is necessary for the security of marriage. Without that possibility, how could I live freely? No longer are needs fulfilled autonomously, now that I live. Now my mind needs to create a world to negotiate with the universe. I will grow wider and wider, till I am past the galaxy, my high flowing mind will distance that center until I’ve devoured worlds and internalized the farthest realities. Conception is a wound. It begins when the circuit of self is upset through the orgasm of my beginning, when my soul becomes into a dialogue between freedom and necessity, when what we want no longer equals what we have, when what we seek is no longer fulfilled through mere wishing. The perpetual wound of the soul pushes us to grow. Because I do not fill myself up with fantasies too soon, with religions and philosophies, I keep that void within me fertile, which like a sliding-gap puzzle, allows me to toggle around my experiences until I have gained greater things, and with them the need for greater things still. I am fulfilled today because I will need more tomorrow; this cycles infinitely; someday I will know the Mother face to face.

            We enter into an already spinning world. We fit into roles long established, wear masks we are expected to dutifully assume, but if this denies freedom, we can yet swerve even the tightest of chains to fit our own style. Every man is his own star. What if my full being were simultaneously active in a million bodies in a million galaxies, with one star to center us all? I am not contained between my boots and my hat. I feel worlds brooding within my being. What can we dare to imagine? What they believe because tradition and custom empower them, we believe as projections of our innermost adamantium. The very stability they gain through language, routine, and ritual, is ours as well as theirs: we make our own routines, we make our own rituals, we speak our own language.

            Intellectual independence as the central virtue means knowing your own philosophy, knowing how to translate all terms into your own terms, knowing how to read all readings as commentary on your own life. All books are mirrors and your life is the eternal rose. The world may hurt but the inner’s bliss.









No comments: