The Not-So-Fascinating Life Of The Egoic Identity
We live within the confines of a terribly dull environment, an environment which is not interesting ‘in itself’, for what it actually is, but only because of what it is slyly referencing. What it is ‘slyly referencing’ is the egoic identity having a wonderfully fabulous time. That’s all our old environment ever references – the marvellous good times that potentially lie in store for the egoic identity, if it plays the game astutely enough.
The egoic identity doesn’t care about much else but it does care about is itself having a good time! It also cares about possessing kudos of course but the neat thing about this is that kudos immediately attaches to the EI that is having fabulously / marvellously good time; this is a hook like no other – we all want to know about that (for strictly self-interested reasons, of course). This is something that we actually worship – the image of the egoic identity having a truly fabulous time, the idea of the egoic identity having a truly fabulous time. This is of course what advertising shows us all the time and although we may not focus on the fact we live in a world that is made up of advertising. This endlessly recycled image constitutes our staple diet.
The reason we worship this image or idea is obvious enough – we want to believe that it is possible. More than just want, we need to believe that it is possible. If the EI can’t believe that this possibility exists for it then straight away it is on the way out; it’s a dead duck in this case. The egoic identity’s actual existence – such as it is, in plain or unvarnished terms, without any glamour attached to it – is too tedious, too dry, too hollow to sustain our interest. The EI lives via its glamour-filled dreams, they are what give it the boost get up in the morning, they are what gives it the impetus to keep on determinedly treading the hamster wheel of its drab mechanical existence. Take away our projections of ‘glamour’ on the world (which equals ‘the carrot’) and we are left marooned on a sandbank with all our mechanical motivation dried up and when this happens – as it does from time to time – then we are said to be ‘depressed’. Pharmaceutical products and psychological therapies such as CBT are needed in this case to help bring us around…
If there is one need that we have (in existence as the egoic identity) it is the need to believe that we can have wonderfully good time if we play the game adroitly enough, or if – perhaps – we are lucky enough. Our attachment to the idea of luck is possibly more fundamental, more important even than our belief in our own cleverness, our own self-efficacy; if we are in anyway realistic he will realise that it is probably not enough just to play the game well, and do all the things that we are supposed to do. We all know people who ‘do all the right things’ and yet still get nowhere. Something more is needed – some special ingredient – and that special ingredient is luck. We revere luck more than anything else and if we hear of someone who has ‘made it’ then we may acknowledge that talent, hard work and determination went into this success story, but more than anything else we will suspect that a fair-sized streak of luck was involved.
Ultimately, luck is the name of the game, we suspect and that is why we have such a universal tendency to fetishize luck. That is our chance of breaking free from the tedium and sterility of our conditioned (or rule-based) existence into something that we have no familiarity with and cannot really imagine, but which we nevertheless place all our faith in. We might call this ‘success’ and be glib enough about it in this way, but what we’re really hoping for is redemption from our conditioned or ruled-based existence into the state of freedom, even though we don’t (and can’t) spell it out to ourselves in this way. The dullness of the environment which we have created for ourselves (which is dull, as we have said, because all it contains are the egoic identity’s dreams and hopes reflected back at itself) is the very same thing as the dullness of the egoic identity – the dullness of the one is the dullness of the other.
The irony here of course is that we hope to escape the crushing tedium of our environment (which is the sterility of the conditioned or positive world) via activities that are prescribed for us by that very environment, by that very conditioned world. Or to put this the other way, the irony is that we hope to escape the egoic identity (which is to say the deadness, restrictiveness, humourlessness and hollowness which is the hallmark of the EI) whilst firmly and unshakeably believing that we are that EI. We hope to transcend the game by playing the game; we wish to transcend the drudgery of egoic identity on the basis of that egoic identity, on behalf of that egoic identity…
This thing that we have created for ourselves (this tacky old thing which is sometimes called ‘the consumer culture’) depends on our absolute lack of awareness regarding this irony. This lack of awareness is what our way of life feeds on – it is fuelled by our obliviousness to this Great Irony. The never-ending brash clamour of our way of life (which we are so inordinately proud of) is nothing either then ‘the clamour of the egoic identity trying to escape itself and yet hold onto itself at the same time’! All the luck in the world won’t help us here, however. All the hard work and perseverance in the world won’t help us – the only thing that will help us is awareness and that (naturally enough) is the one thing that our culture makes sure to suppress at every turn….