The Soul Eaters--A Family Business

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We moved lock, stock and barrel yesterday. Today I woke up one sore puppy and, for some reason, thinking about the Clintons and their media-saturated daughter, which made me feel even worse. However, I often get inspiration for writing in the hazy moments between sleeping and waking, so I knew not to resist this, no matter how unpleasant such thoughts were.

Politicians are the very picture of the worst aspects of humanity. I know that they weren't born that way. I believe we all come into being as energy, 'pure potentiality' as Deepak Chopra would say. How does a being go from heaven to hell in one lifetime? As our old friend Bender of Futurama would say, 'It is by making a hypothetical deal with the devil.' By 'devil' I mean d'ego, and 'by hypothetical, I mean get your coat.'

I've spent many, many hours, days, weeks and years of my life observing children. There is something so pure and magical about a newborn baby! It is beyond comparison. They are simply 'beingness' and I expend a lot of time and effort working at consciously trying to return to their unique brand of innocence, purity and freedom.

It's true that almost no one is as dependent on others as an infant is in every way. One could say that the elderly, the infirm and prisoners are equally so dependent. However, dear reader, we've discussed before that freedom is an inside job. It is independent, so to speak, of circumstance. An infant is a perfect example.

They recognize voices and sounds and types of movement. They identify human faces and are drawn to them. They recognize other symmetrical objects, but do not become attached to or identify with anything or anyone until they learn to do so.

I believe that the experience of life at birth is 'clean,' in that there is no egoic residue or agenda. When they are safe, warm and fed, babies are in bliss and cannot distinguish themselves from any 'other.'

If you observe a baby carefully, you'll see that their awareness is like a window on the world. Things come across their radar to be explored, tasted, and sensed. They have no preconceived notions or irrational beliefs until they have an unpleasant experience. They don't even know something as basic as the law of gravity until they observe that things almost always fall down rather than up. At first they don't even know what their thumb is or how they got it to their mouth. They are simply the most impartial of observers of this amazing, constantly changing place in which they find themselves.

The Problem

Eventually, though, these guileless beings are told stories which they believe to be true: 'you're lazy,' 'touching yourself is dirty,' 'you're stupid,' or 'you're just like your father--no good.' Children who are told such stories are, for all practical purposes, cursed, even when the stories are not as horrifying as these, because stories almost always attempt to divide life.

'You are white.' 'You are an American,' and when they are older, 'you are a brave patriot, here's a gun, now go and kill people who seem different from you.' Children love stories and they quickly learn to ignore the plain truth--that those they kill are in fact not their enemy. The real enemy is the one who tells a story to a child about him being separate and better than some other, or simply that there is some 'other.'

Such story telling develops an ego. Ego development is very natural in a child. Rich Chakrin tells me that a new being is like sugar dissolved in water; eventually the sugar (or ego) solidifies into a cube. Maturation is then the dissolution of the cube over time, back into the natural state--boundlessness. From what I've seen, most people so strongly identify with their ego fixations that they do not relinquish it until the Grim Reaper pries it from their cold, dead fingers.

It's clear that politicians are told stories about themselves early on, with which they strongly identify because they are cast in the lead. 'You're not ordinary, you are a Rhodes Scholar.' 'You are a Kennedy, a Clinton, a Romney or a Rockefeller' - the best of the best of the best, don't you know? Who could walk away from an ego fixation that makes you king, especially when you see your parents living the lie?

It's one thing to screw up your own life with ego attachment to beliefs. It's entirely another when, in order to keep the lie going, one must run what James Redfield calls 'control dramas' on others. Politics is the ultimate control drama and it's easy to see why the 'kings of the hill' enjoy the fun. I believe it resonates with and is perpetuated by those under the heel of the political kingpins, simply because most people are walking egos who are as fixated on the stories they were told as much as any prince is. It's why people can take pride in being 'bad' for its own sake. It makes them distinguishable, the primary quality of ego.

A cemented ego, even one based on a story of superior birth, becomes a personality casualty, a breeding ground for addiction, neurosis and mental illness. It contains the potential for unlimited suffering. The ego views itself as central and alone in its drama. Over time it becomes easier and easier to do more and more outrageous things in an effort to keep the ego story going, including murder, even mass murder (war). Once again, what began as a beautiful, perfect, free, limitless soul becomes a killer without a conscience because of belief in a fairy tale. The problem is that, even though this horror happens every day in every corner of the globe, no one finds this transformation remarkable. In fact, it is usually encouraged.

Even though the mental illness that is politics is a major cause of human suffering--torture, starvation, poverty, up to and including mass murder--you won't find it listed in the DSM IV and it's not that difficult to get into this official tome of psychological diseases. The giant pharmaceuticals create medicines for people who are unhappy about the use of force for political advantage, while making a handsome profit. Defense contractors constantly create new and better ways to track dissenters and subdue them, while making a handsome profit. Homeland Security creates domestic spy agencies to profile and track them because they are afraid that dissenters will become violent and threaten their monopoly on suffering! (All at a handsome profit ' are you getting the picture?)

Far from being considered problematic, politicians are treated anywhere from a necessary nuisance, to a spoiled child being overindulged, to a demigod. The rituals of politics are embedded in our 'advanced' culture. We export them abroad whether others want them or not, and politics itself is considered a career choice!

What kind of pervert would encourage their child to live a lie and sell their soul for 30 pieces of silver? My answer is this--only someone with a cemented ego fixation of his own, who is looking for further gratification. This is going to solve humanity's problems? How sick and pathetically ignorant can you get?

The Solution

The only venue left for us in this discussion is: just because people are not dying and I'm not getting rich, am I any less ego driven than a politician? If there is suffering in your life, if either you or someone in relationship to you is suffering, then you can be sure there is an untamed ego at work, and it's probably not the other fellow. There is no freedom without responsibility, so asking this question and answering it honestly is the responsibility we must undertake to truly find freedom in this un-free world. Remember--it's an inside job.

We all have things that frighten us. The question becomes am I attempting to avoid my own fears by running control dramas on others? If so, you will easily fall prey to manipulation by more powerful people with control dramas of their own. This reminds me of a line from Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour: 'round and round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows.' Without a conscious effort to the contrary, almost everyone participates in this endless, power game of the ego to the demise of the human race.

Growing up with flawed humans, no matter how well meaning they may have been, makes it almost impossible to avoid the internalization of illusion. Allegory can be useful to children for learning, but stories of limitation of our capacity for love and affinity are not useful. They cement the ego, which is useful for survival when one is truly in danger, but it is not useful for the kind of world we wish to create. If we would be free, we can no longer afford to believe in fairy tales about who we really are, which serve only to divide life and perpetuate tyranny.

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Retta Fontana's picture
Columns on STR: 53

Retta Fontana is an atheist, anarchist, baker, potter and parenting teacher.  Children are her favorite people.