From Egoic Identity to an Integrated Self
Cultures have always maintained a duality between its members and outsiders. The present dominant culture has blurred this distinction. But not in the way we might assume. It has not become more inclusive. It has created a new class of predatory identity. It celebrates those with no allegiance beyond their own narrow and shallow self-interest. It nurtures, perversely, a Narcissistic self-identity that considers everything and everyone outside this alienated identity to be nothing more than a means to a selfish end. This Winners Mentality is an aspect of the defended identity of all who consider themselves a part of the dominant, dominating culture irrespective of whether that individual benefits directly and materially from this belief. This method blocks any other than an alienated and alienating cultural identity from taking root.
Through its overwhelming size, power, and the ubiquity of its cultural symbolism this civilization we suffer under has destroyed what had been refugia where other forms of identity could take hold. Where distinct cultures, each considering the rest to be other, allowed room, however unintentionally, for those others to hold and develop forms of identity clear of the power of any one culture to erase them.
This civilization, as it has done to every other form of life on Earth, has fragmented and destroyed cultural refugia. Anywhere electronic media and fossil fuel hyper-energy has reached has become fatally compromised as a potential refuge. The cultural winds, ultimately powered by these hypertrophied fuels, erode and destroy any other forms of self-identity other than the one that perpetuates the culture itself dominated by this wildly unbalanced access to power. This culture is tied to this power and both promotes it and cannot live without it. Since everyone’s self-identity is dominated by the cultural values that built and support this imbalance it becomes almost impossible for anyone to see their own existence outside of this narrow and destructive form of self-identity. In this way any challenge to the way the culture operates cannot help but be seen as an existential threat to the individual selves trapped in this form of identity.
This self-regulating feed-back loop is of a piece with every other aspect of this culture of death. What is significant here is that this particular arrangement of a society has been able to block any viable alternative identities from establishing themselves or finding ways to nourish or maintain their existence inside or outside of its bounds. Bounds that now know no bounds.
In return for this tight lock on identity this civilization has also, just as it could not help doing, turned on its own.
Insanity, as opposed to innocuous self-deception, is a virulent form of delusion that disconnects its victims from reality in ways that make them a danger to themselves and to others. The dominant self-identity, one that cannot recognize any value outside of its predatory selfishness, is insane. This obsession forces those who believe in it to destroy the basis of their own continued existence while keeping them blinded to the causes of their growing unease as precarity spreads and overwhelms the means by which this same self-identity maintains itself. As their coping mechanisms, of projection and displacement, increasingly fail to protect them from themselves an even more dangerous condition arises. As it becomes unavoidably visible that the current self-identity is not viable and that there is no visible means of changing one’s identity to one that might be better suited, more integrated, whole, panic sets in. The only available course anyone can imagine is self-destruction.
All the foment around what is termed Identity Politics on all sides of all the so-called issues are still-born attempts at dealing with an untenable situation brought about by the precarity of self-identity. What makes it clear that these attempts cannot bring any remedy to the underling anxiety that brought them about is that all of them are defined by those they exclude. This shows that these attempts are only reiterations of the dominant, divisive, and destructive self-identity and they do nothing to further an integration of the self beyond the norms of identity this culture gives us and enforces. These iterations of identity are allowed to exist because they do not ultimately threaten the culture’s acceptable range of self-identities. Integrated selves, on the other hand, cannot expect to be given any viable space in which to exist.
This does not signal the impossibility of integration.
It makes integration possible.
At the current level of dysfunction this culture’s lessons of futility become more visible and harder to ignore. It is harder and harder to accept any doubt that every one of our culture’s values is totally corrupt. This frees an enormous internal energy that in the past was absorbed by incredulity.
When a labyrinth presents itself as having no exit there are two available responses: despair and clarity. Despair overwhelms and is an invariable sign that one suffers under a toxic identity. Clarity, however fleeting or partial, opens a window onto the possibility of integration. Despair only increases constraint. Clarity illuminates the possibility of movement. Despair keeps us bound. Clarity can be built upon. It presents itself as self-evident in ways that are markedly different from the mechanisms of delusion. Its pursuit leads towards increased integration and generates meaningful contact with reality and all that this increased engagement implies: sanity, effectiveness, energy, strength. It takes the closing of the door to any and all superficial roles and forms of self-identification for one to be able and ready to commit to integration.
Self integration is instantaneous and it also takes time to be embodied. It can never come to be within psychological time as an identity keeps giving itself time to turn whatever insight might threaten it back into a concept the Ego can use to continue to maintain itself.
Insight is not seduced into the illusion of providing a God’s eye view.
Whatever appears to provide a position outside and beyond the moment is an artifact of an Ego attempting to enlarge itself.
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