3) Ego and enquiry|
Learning about how to control the ego leads to a state of permanent enquiry, a mature state of benefit to all pathtivists.
But first we need to understand conditioning and how this builds up ego (discussed in Ch22 of the Treatise). There are political aspects of our conditioning, and words we might use to describe this type of conditioning might be indoctrination, manipulation propaganda etc. For most political activists these are the only forms of conditioning, and as a result they fail to see the conditioning of their own egos because they only respond to indoctrination which they are averse to.
Conditioning is a natural process that we all go through in our education and upbringing, and it is far broader than any political description. In his books (The Four Agreements and The Fifth Agreement) – App A, Don Miguel Riaz describes this conditioning as agreements – a far gentler term. We go through our education and upbringing until eventually we agree with what society and our parents want us to agree with. I prefer to call this process “conditioning” because, although as children we choose to agree, as adults we have not made a mature choice and yet these agreements are still part of most of us as adults. In the process of maturing to become an adult we eschew the agreements that were part of our upbringing, and choose enquiry – proactive choice is a characteristic of the mature.
How does conditioning or this process of “making agreements” work? Let us go back right to the beginning – as babies. Nature gives us instinct so babies know to get milk from the mother without having to be told, this is instinct. Instinct is beneficial because it helps us survive even when we don’t have the faculties to decide how to survive. We develop an emotional bond with our parents where we learn behaviours that please our parents getting an emotional reward or getting negative attention (a different emotional reward) by less pleasing behaviour. As we get older there are other instincts – most notably the sexual instinct which nature takes us to. So our youthful conditioning comes from instinct; is there another way of learning?
What actually occurs within the child during this conditioning? There is an event such as the need for milk. The baby feels the emotional warmth of the mother as well as the milk so the baby desires these feelings – the baby attaches to these feelings and to a certain extent becomes this attachment to these feelings; this attachment is the beginning of ego. As a young child learning of what gets a response from parents occurs. The child feels the emotional response, attaches to those feelings and what produces them leading to more learned behaviour for the ego. In school we get an emotional reward from the teacher or ourselves as to success or failure, we attach to those emotions and this also becomes part of our ego – and is the basis of our “learning” process at school. This is how we reach agreements at school, or, a more emotional description, this is how we are conditioned at school. Broadly our egos are formed as attachments to emotions we gain as we grow up, our egos are this collection of attachments based on response to emotions in different circumstances.
There can be different levels of emotion that cause the attachments that build up the ego. An event can happen producing minimal emotion but the ego recognises it, reinforces the power of the event and the event is attached to the ego accordingly. As children our egos are conditioned as responses to events that happen to us, we build up egos as response to emotions.
Please note here that as teenagers we function as these egos, egos which have responded to emotions coming from family, education and society. But because our egos come from emotional responses to external events it is very easy to affect the development of these egos.
So far I have mostly considered emotions we like as a means of developing the ego, but of course our egos can be formed as a response to events we dislike. Dislike is often used by parents as a corrective measure in upbringing - in the formation of ego. As children grow older this dislike is more strongly recognisable. Teenagers are renowned for their rebellion. In the way I have been discussing the ego it could be seen as the ego rejecting the agreements – not accepting the conditioning. The word I will use for these “not-liking” responses is aversion. But the important characteristic of this aversion is that it is still a response to events. The ego is averse to the conditioning it is given, it is averse to the expected agreements.
This aversion continues into politics and we can be averse to the political system but at this stage this political aversion is still a response; it is still egoic. This would be typified by statements that you will soon grow out of it. And it is exemplified by those who do grow out of it, agree to follow a lifestyle that society has conditioned the ego for. Typical of this aversion phase would be those who intellectually accept this aversion and reject the political system, yet as they grow older they take on family, need a job, buy a home, and then vote Tory/Republican because the people in their background have been conditioned into believing that this traditional vote will provide a more stable economy. Despite their younger aversion they have accepted the conditioning of their upbringing in accepting the connection between job, home and stability and a particular way of voting, conditioning which their parents got from their parents. This type of traditional vote is more based in conditioning and ego than in any reasoning.
So this aversion is still an egoic reaction and is not the type of growing-up reaction that will make a political activist. Young people, becoming activists, are told they will grow out of it, there is much truth in this because of conditioning. People who are activists through a deep meaningful choice, mature activists who have moved beyond this conditioning of aversion do not “grow out of it” as compassion is the mature choice.
Suppose we grow up in a compassionate home, we might not experience any aversion. The agreements in that home would be compassionate, and whilst there will be some aversion to the aspects of the system that are not compassionate, within the home and within education these are likely to be met with agreement. These are people I classify as Liberals, and whilst they tend to say the same as pathtivists they have a significant weakness that I hope to make clear in this book.
So far I have described a process of conditioning that creates ego, this ego can be seen as a significant aspect of our personalities but it is based on responding to events that condition either favourably or aversely to whatever degree. Conditioning produces an ego through response. But creative acts are not responsive, creative acts come from who you are inside. Acts that are creative have gone beyond the conditioning, they are not a response that agrees, they are not averse actions. Creative acts take us beyond ego, and because this creativity is individual it has a strength that is far beyond the fragility of ego.
It is important to see the position of creativity within the development process as I have described. Nature provides us with instincts, and we learn instinctively either favourably or aversely. But as we mature these instinctive reactions are designed by nature to fall away and be replaced by a personal creative maturity; this is an aspect of the path. What is also important to note is that the ego created by this instinctive development is naturally fragile and is intended to fall away.
But sadly in our society this ego does not fall away. Rather than encouraging the ego to break, fall away and be replaced by a creative maturity, in our society the ego is continually reinforced. This is an important aspect of the 1%-satrapy. Our consumer spending is oriented towards this indulgent egotistical lifestyle that is competitive, materialistic, fashion-oriented, sexually-indulgent; it is egotistical. I would also describe it as adolescent and immature because these are not the attributes of a lifestyle that I associate with creative maturity.
Many of the people whose egos are averse to the system agreements are also averse to the indulgent adolescent consumer-oriented egotism I have just described. Initially their response as teenagers and young adults is averse. As they grow older does their aversion change? Sometimes. For a pathtivist that aversion changes to a creative mature understanding of life and the 1%-satrapy that is part of that life. Sometimes that aversion is continually reinforced throughout life, and this reinforced aversion is sufficient to hold some people to activism. If the activism remains based on averse ego it could well burn out as the ego is weak, and the pressures of family become more demanding of that ego. A mature person would balance out their life, fulfil their family commitments whilst carrying out their natural duty of struggle.
The liberals I described above can still be conditioned egos as adults. It is again quite conceivable that as with the averse ego their liberal ego might continually be reinforced throughout their life and therefore their egoic response would remain a constant.
Here is an example to illustrate a distinction between a mature anti-racist who has made a creative decision to be anti-racist and the white liberal whose life has always been surrounded by a certain degree of compassion based on liberal values. Now suppose this person was mugged by a black person. These two people might well react very differently. The anti-racist will be angry that they have been mugged, will complain that we live in a system in which such muggings occur, and demand action from the police. The white liberal has had their values confronted for the first time, they might well respond to the race of the mugger, and allow the liberal values to change. The anti-racist has made a deep creative decision, will be angry at what happened but will not react emotionally to the experience by altering her/his anti-racism because they have moved beyond ego. For the white liberal ego the response to a black mugger might well be to break their fragile ego, and turn to a different egoic response such as some form of racism or white nationalism.
What I want this example to illustrate is the fragility of ego. Egos are responsive, require continuous reinforcement; by its very nature an ego is vulnerable. The deep commitment of a pathtivist is not phased by adversity, it is expected. The strength of the person who has made a creative mature decision about the activism (or whatever they choose) comes not from a reinforced response but from the mature conviction itself coming from the creative understanding they develop as a mature person. Whilst the power of this inner strength can be intensely felt, it is not easy to observe any difference between the conviction of the pathtivist and the ego of the liberal; in addition repeated reinforcement can give the delusion of this inner strength. But it is this inner strength that I am advocating for the activist. The change of emphasis in political education that I am proposing is to focus on the developing of this creativity and inner strength in the activist as opposed to repeated reinforcement of the narrative.
If we are going to move forward in this emphasis on promoting inner strength, then we have to begin to recognise what the attributes of ego are so that we can promote inner strength by taking away any emphasis on the ego. To do this I am going to start in the spiritual realm of Buddhism. Be clear, whilst I am promoting a marriage of the spiritual with activism I am not proselytising. Because of the lack of recognition of ego in many aspects of activism (opportunists aside as most activists are aware of these users), it is necessary to develop an understanding of ego. However it is not only an understanding that is required, but an ability to move beyond the ego; spiritual approaches offer this. The decisions to involve the spiritual is a pragmatic activist decision.
Buddhism describes the mind as having 5 attributes (khandhas) rupa – body, vedana – feelings, sanna – perception and memory, sankhara – mental processes, and vinnana – consciousness. In Buddhism they often refer to the Pali names (or Sanskrit names) to denote the special Buddhist meanings of these, if you wished to study further the names are there for help. It is not my desire to direct you to study further. At this stage I want you to understand the role of ego in dividing political activity. A good activist knows the importance of Unity, so logically will investigate ego.
Let’s examine the formation of ego I have already described but now in terms of the 5 khandhas. And I will start with a very divisive form of ego in politics. There is an idea, a mental process – sankhara. Because we like this idea or set of ideals, for example Marxism, consciousness attaches to these ideals forming an ego. Some of you will say, isn’t this what we want? For the activist to believe in Marxism. And I answer only in part. The ideas of Marx are only a shell, an egoic shell, I will be describing this specific type of egoic shell as a sankhara shell, attaching to a set of ideas that are reinforced. What we want of activists is not this sankhara shell, but that activists have a deep understanding of Marxism. Activists need to grapple with the ideals so that they understand how to apply them – especially as they were written more than 150 years ago. The activist doesn’t want to sell a set of ideals but wants people in the movement to understand Marxism and work together using Marxist understanding to help each other – to help the movement. When an activist is discussing with those who are not active, it is not the prayer book of Marxism that they want others to believe, they don’t want belief in a sankhara shell but they want an engaged understanding of what is happening in our societies. Marx’s writings help with that understanding, belief in the prayer book doesn’t.
I don’t know whether some in the movement would disagree with what I have just said. Back in the 80s versions of Marxism divided the movement, and there was a rivalry between Trots and Commies as to how to apply Marxism within the movement. In my view this rivalry was very destructive. I suspect although I don’t know for sure that this division exists to this day.
Whilst Trots and Commies regard their differences as important ideologically, I claim this ideological difference is an ego which by its nature is divisive. What matters is the movement, working together against the exploitation by the 1% as described in the Zandtao narrative:-
Please note that I am using this narrative as a simple illustration and it is not set in stone – that would be egoic. It is my intention that for the purposes of this pathtivism manual such a narrative would be something that the movement could get behind without division. I would hope we could get behind such a narrative without difficulty once we recognise that divisions are based in a conditioned ego, the words and details are for comrades to decide without proliferation.
In egoic terms what happens in the movement is that small groups within the movement come together in their groups and agree a set of ideals – what I called above a sankhara shell. Another group will decide on their own sankhara shell, and we have disagreement. Much time within the movement is spent on attempting to reach agreements over different sankhara shells, and the purpose of the movement – fighting the exploitation by the 1% - fades.
If organisations kept in mind that they are working together in a movement their ideals would not proliferate. Many people with good heart spend a long time defining in detail the mission of their group, and this mission becomes a trap in negotiations with other groups. Point 6.3 of your statement conflicts with 7.2 of ours.
Why are the details precise? Because particularly in trade union negotiation they have been required to do so by the 1%. The NUT has a professional code of conduct (now called professional ethics (pdf)). This was a defensive response because employers would use all kinds of excuses to dismiss, and in a number of cases these dismissal situations were based on personal conflict, and not because the teacher was incompetent. Yet on other occasions teachers were allowed to continue despite not following such a conduct. Common sense, appropriate discussion and a mature conclusion would have resolved such matters. But head teachers have egos, teachers have egos, common sense does not prevail, there is conflict, and endless administration as codes of conduct are drafted and agreed upon.
Ego has a tendency to attach to ideas, not only does ego accept ideas unquestioningly it emotionally attaches to ideas, an egoic shell - sometimes when they are not appropriate. Marxism is a sound basis for understanding the inequities of neoliberal economics but because it is appealing to ego it fails to stress the most important weakness of our economic system, and that is the system is destroying Gaia. It is an egoic weakness that people in the mass movement including myself have not seen this as a priority. Through our trade unions we demand a fairer share of the cake without recognising that the productive forces that makes that cake are destroying Mother Earth. Marx was an academic, his economics was based on ownership of the means of production, he is mot reknowned for connecting this production to resource exploitation of Gaia. Like many in our culture he was never born with a connection to Gaia, and this is evident in his studies. This limitation of Marxism has to be known and understood, and this cannot happen if we allow our egos to accept a set of ideas. As activists we need enquiry.
What is known from Marx, typically the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, does not promote indigenous wisdom. Some argue that Marx's Ethnological Notebooks might indicate such a direction, we can never know. What we can know is that what we have received from Marx does not bring with it a respect for indigenous wisdom, and that a connection with Gaia does not provide inspiration for the movement in general; this I will investigate in Ch 6 Being Dispossessed. As such the movement's egos are contributing to the destruction of Gaia whilst we fight for justice in the division of the cake.
Moving on, there is a specific type of ego that is becoming so prominent that it needs addressing. I am calling this ego, the apartheid ego. A good example of this are Trump supporters. At some point their ego concluded they should become Trump supporters, and now nothing can convince them otherwise. Their ego is attracted to the package, and at present no amount of discourse can change this. Look at how the ego has separated itself. They support Trump. Anything that Trump says is true, anything that is in the news that disagrees with Trump is fake news. Trump blames the problems on snowflakes so anything the snowflakes and MSM say are fake news. And are summarily dismissed. There is no compassionate or rational support for Trump, it is emotional, separate and completely egoic. This Trump ego is entrenched but it is not invulnerable. At some point the 1% will end support for Trump because he is so divisive. At present Trump-puppet provides for deregulation enabling exploitation of the environment despite this latest warning (Oct 2018), he continues with war, and new wage slaves are paid less than before. But the 1% still needs our consuming so at some point they will withdraw funding for this puppet – buffoon.
But within Trump supporters there are the white supremacists. They take succour from Trump-puppet but he does not go far enoughfor them. Their egos are completely entrenched – apartheid egos. They live completely different lives, their worlds are completely different, and the news they accept is equally different. For these people when Trump goes they will still continue, for most their egos are so entrenched that their egos are an apartheid system that keeps anything else from coming in.
In the last half of the 20th century South Africa had an apartheid system. This was a system segregated on racial grounds but it survived for so long not for any rational reason but because the white people in South Africa did not believe anything that was said that was contrary to their system; they of course benefitted financially from the system as south Africa is a beautiful country with many resources. They were so arrogant that no matter what the world said they were right. This arrogance was essential to apartheid South Africa, they believed their system was the best and no-one could tell them any different. As soon as the system ended these people realised their mistake, “Truth and Reconciliation” occurred and some attempt at a non-racial future was started. But the political system was based on controlling the personal ego, it was not only an apartheid system but also an apartheid ego. And this ego was based on arrogance (black people inferior), emotion and self-interest, and it was upheld by a political system and the apartheid fake news that all other news about South Africa was ignorant or lies. Because of these characteristics some people describe Israel as apartheid. Arabs are inferior to Israelis, the news apartheid Israelis accept supports the politics of the Israeli government, many Israeli people do not accept territorial expansion into Palestine as true, and believe that all including the UN are out to get them. These Israelis (note – not all Israelis and not all Jews) have apartheid egos, their whole world is different from the world that most people know, their news is just fake – propaganda.
Essentially egos are fragile but they can be reinforced and reinforced so that they are impenetrable like the apartheid ego. But there is hope. Derek Black was a renowned white nationalist, and is now an activist for change. His story brings hope told in the book “Rising out of Hatred” by Eli Saslow, I have discussed his situation in detail here and will refer to it elsewhere in the manual.
But we have to know that politically people are now seeking solutions on the right. These people I call MAWPs (Male Arrogant White and Privileged). In our 1%-satrapies the 1% are taking more and more money leaving less for the rest of us. Basically we are in conflict for less money because of this increasing 1%-accumulation. Following the second world war, white people in NATO countries have become more and more affluent, yet over time the 1% have become more and more greedy. Typical of this was the global crash in 2008 when many white people (and non-whites) lost their homes yet the bankers claimed bonuses from the taxpayers, and the rich-poor gap since 2008 is wider than ever. So whilst white people (note - my point here concerns MAWPs and not people in general) were losing their property and standard of living, the 1% were increasing their accumulation. The enemy is evidentially these accumulators, this became more and more obvious, so they invested heavily in propaganda leading to many MAWPs scapegoating race. This move is evidential across the white world of the US, Europe and Australasia.
The community I was born in was primarily white, with many MAWPs. Based on their fear following the second world war, their rationales were to provide a better life for their children. They were afraid of confrontation because of the war, and tacitly trusted the government to provide for them. It was at this time that neoliberalism really took hold and there was the beginning of the 1%-satrapy that controls today. So whilst most white people just worked trusting the governments, the 1% were developing political control of the puppets, controlling government machinery such as through the British Civil Service, and ensuring the continuation of neoliberalism through the Deep State.
My middle-class background community had false reasons to trust the government because they were able to work, provide for their families, and enable their children to become more affluent – my generation. This process continued on in my generation although slightly differently. Whilst we had inherited some fear from our parents our fear was not as deep – we did not experience the war. We kicked out against Victorianism as exemplified by the Hippies, but it appears most of my generation then reverted back to conditioning and have accepted the traditional way from their parents – jobs, homes and voting. Look at voting patterns, old people (my age) voting for Brexit, middle-classes $50,000 - $99000 voting for Trump. It is the grandchildren who are now inheriting the move to the right.
It is this MAWP background whose egos it is worth considering. These people are not uneducated. They have heard the rationales about compassion and liberalism, yet emotionally they are attracted right. There is no reason, it is ego. They have had privilege, they want to continue having privilege. Who do they see has that privilege now? Non-whites and their protagonists, snowflakes. These men have grown up the kings of their castles, and now they are suffering. Not as much as others but their measure of suffering is only about themselves. These men were taught that they were special in their society, educated or otherwise, and this specialness makes them arrogant. Often small businessmen or middle management these MAWPs feel they deserve wealth for all their hard work, they deserve wealth they have always had. They have been conditioned into thinking that their abilities earned them their wealth, and are drawn into the conditioning that non-whites are given favours by their systems. They conveniently choose to ignore the reality of their systems whose wealth is based on appropriating from other countries through neocolonialism or war. The wealth that has enabled their countries has been taken from colonies or through war, and now these people have followed their wealth and resources back to the metropole where white males are now threatened. They still want to believe they are special – arrogance, so they seek explanations that fit their arrogance and the current economic situation. These MAWPs are ripe for racism.
Quite rightly these MAWPs distrust the system because the 1% have increasingly controlled it from the second world war - neoliberalism. They seek an alternative that says they, the MAWPs, are special. Compassion does not say MAWPs are special, compassion says freedom from suffering for all. This is the distinction that the 1% misuse in conditioning these MAWPs to the right. A MAWP is arrogant so believes they cannot be conditioned. The MAWP is special so the system is unfair to them. And so the 1% conditions the MAWP to move to the right.
When MSM gives them compassion they reject it because they are special. When MSM warns them about the right they reject it because MSM are on the surface snowflakes; MSM is owned by the 1% so ultimately any compassion from them is only a veneer, a way to engender profits and maintain the satrapy. When MSM argues against the people who say MAWPs are best - against Trump or Brexit when they say this, they don’t listen because of their arrogance. When snowflakes complain about injustice they don’t listen because snowflakes have been targetted as weak and so are recognised by MAWPs as the problem. MAWPs have the beginnings of entrenched egos.
And if these MAWPs investigate further they can get sucked into the world of White Nationalism (WN) simply by being attracted to the manosphere or some such grouping. And because the 1% can see they are not being blamed within internet places like the manosphere or alt-right in general – the blame is scapegoated on racism, feminism, identity politics, PC-Authoritarianism, etc., the 1% fund these right-wingers through the Dark Money Network.
False facts are integral to controlling the MAWPs. MAWPs are special so they are easily manipulated. Give them false facts, tell them the snowflakes are fools and too ignorant to know these false facts. These false facts are easily verifiable by observation but we can’t all observe, the MAWPs believe alt-right sources, and so these MAWPs are controlled by their egos.
So we have liberals loosely controlled by their liberal upbringings, unless there is much reinforcement in their lives. We have MAWPs whose egos are targetted by the alt-right of the 1%-satrapy, and a few people who recognise all this as conditioning. It is how these few people recognised this conditioning that is at the basis of pathtivism, and one methodology for reaching that understanding is enquiry, total enquiry.
But before we investigate enquiry, there is one very important aspect of ego that is manipulated to maintain control of us. Ego wants power, opportunists lie for power, but we in the movement also want power. We claim it as our right when we talk of democracy, for the people and by the people. However democracy is an illusion, we have never had democracy, what we have had is tribes with leaders and followers. Only now we have followers who are given a vote, are misled by propaganda, and follow puppet-leaders that most don’t want because they were voted for – thus blaming the people not the manipulated system nor the leaders themselves. The once-recognisable leaders with their pomp and luxurious exploitation have been replaced by 1%-suits most of whom seek anonymity whilst they exploit the world. I see this as intended deflection, fundamentally people who don’t mind having others killed in wars or otherwise but don’t want to be targets themselves.
In recent history there has been an illusion of democracy, and the leaders within cultures that favour this illusion have used this sankharic illusion as an excuse for further colonial exploitation. But what we have to understand is that there has never been a democracy – government for and by the people. When have the leaders (monarchy or 1%) ever let go of power? When have the people ever taken power from them? In current terminology when have the 99% ever been united in their own interests to take power from the 1%?
In truth most people are struggling with their lives, and have never had the time or inclination to take power. Most people accept whatever system the leaders make them a part of. Currently in terms of power and economy that system of exploitation is known as neoliberalism, a system based on profit, accumulation and destructive exploitation of Gaia’s resources. The profits accumulate to the 1%, some people are more favoured, and the rest are given a diet of propaganda to vote in a bipartisan system that represent different shades of the same leadership. Most people involved in the struggle against capitalism hope there will be a mass uprising. Of course there cannot be such an uprising because the 99% will never be united. Some suggest that when the failings of capitalism start to hit home, the people will rise up. But by then the system would have screwed everything up anyway. Either there will be such resource depletion Gaia would be dieing or the people will have no money to consume so the system will die through lack of financial food. The Marxist activists are struggling for a pipedream that is resource dependent and not humanely possible, and the 1% continue through their addiction which is killing Gaia. Meanwhile most people are struggling to live ignoring the power of the vote they have, and quite simply they would never have been given that power if the leadership did not know they could control it.
But let’s be clear it is not simply the political system that creates this struggle although to be clear the system reinforces the need for most people’s struggle; the political adds to the natural struggle. Life as a struggle is much worse if we all try to accumulate more and more yet that is what we are encouraged to do. If we lived sustainably in harmony with Gaia our struggles would be far less. Yet most people do not seek this harmony because they have been educated to accumulate – consume more. In fact for most people their whole history, their whole ancestry, has been a history of living in accumulating cultures. For most of the world’s cultures their leaders accumulate, most people follow whether they live in a democracy or not.
Electoral democracy gives people the illusion that they are part of power. This is why it is essential to understand that democracy was never won, but given to us step-by-step when those leaders realised they could control the power. Primarily the purpose of this democratic illusion is to enable the leadership to expand and exploit under a mandate that is supposedly taken from the people. Whilst our leaders kill for profit the people can be blamed for voting for them, yet that voting only occurred after they were sure the voting could be controlled, that the people were sufficiently conditioned.
Our egos pull us into this illusion because our egos want power. We know that electoral democracy is not working, we know that electoral democracy was granted by the powerful when they knew they could control us but our egos still hope that power can be gained through the vote. Look at all the work activists put into the glimpse of power that is offered by the 1% electral democracy. Focussing on the vote is playing their game, being active around the vote in order to obtain that fraction of power that is offered is part of the illusion. Activists, what better work could be done in the community, helping, educating, making people aware of who they are. This activism has positive benefits in the community, and from that can spring genuine democracy, not this token electoralism offered and controlled by the 1%. By working with the community ee can help them remove their own conditioning, end their own attachment to ego, and begin their own enquiry into what is. When enough people know what is, we can know what to do.
So let's examine these enquirers who have moved beyond conditioning. How do they see through the conditioning that we all receive? These enquirers do not believe anything. They do not believe what they were told by their parents who are conditioned. They do not believe what they learnt at school because their teachers are conditioned. They do not believe what they see on the media because media is MSM and controlled by the 1%. They do not believe what they see on the internet because the internet is manipulated by the Dark Money Network, for sure, .... and others, maybe even Soros .
An enquirer believes only one thing, what they have experienced. The only knowledge an enquirer has is what they know with 100% certainty. They are analytical based on what they observe. What can be observed? Suffering, all around there is suffering. Start from there. That means that whatever gubernatorial or judicial systems are in place they are not working. Who benefits from these systems? Financially the people who are benefitting the most are the 1%. The most fundamentally important entity is Gaia – encompassing all life, to make their profits the 1% have to exploit Gaia. Common sense would observe that government of, for and by the people would look after Gaia then its peoples, so effectively government is not in control. Who benefits? The 1% - financially.
Start with any suffering in your community. Who benefits from racism? The 1%, financially, because black and Hispanic peoples are scapegoats. Who benefits from exploiting women? 1% men, sexually, 1%, financially. And abusing and exploiting women divides the 99% benefitting the 1%. Who benefits from exploiting the indigenous peoples and ignoring their wisdom? The 1% financially. Who benefits from wage-slavery? The 1%, financially; the 99% get a little, the 1% a lot. Who benefits from war? People suffer in war whilst the MIC makes huge profits benefitting the 1% financially.
Through enquiry we can observe. We live within a system in which people suffer, we live within a system in which the 1% benefit financially. This is observable. What stops us from seeing the world in this way? Our conditioning. In our minds, as we ask these fundamental questions, different answers come up. But we are fighting for democracy, we are fighting for the rights of women, we are defending our country. All of these “buts” come to mind because that is the way we have been brought up and taught. But forget that conditioning. Forget the “facts” our mainstream education has taught us, forget the facts that the alt-right has designed to manipulate our egos esp MAWP egos. Forget all facts. Just enquire, then enquire more, then enquire more.
Don’t listen to idealists. Does Marx make sense? Don’t listen to the Marxists, they might be conditioned. Ask your own questions. Study him and answer for yourself. Don’t study him so that you can quote “redistribution of wealth’, “religion is the opiate of the masses”, study what he writes and see if it fits in with your observation. Be your own judge.
Don’t read Marx to impress your lover, comrade, organisation, read Marx to understand.
I have no idea what books the alt-right asks you to read, but the approach is the same. Suppose it is Breitbart. Don’t believe it. Ask the same questions as I asked above – enquire. If you are encouraged to watch Steve Bannon's “Generation Zero”, ignore the “Leni Riefenstahl”-style emotionalism. Ask the questions, don’t believe. Is it all a consequence of hippies? Learn about hippies, what did they represent? What did they talk about? Don’t read someone else’s opinions about the hippies, study the hippies themselves, study what they said and judge for yourself. Are the people in power hippies? Look at the hippies, what they said, does that match up to what the people in power do? Don’t believe Bannon, don’t believe Marx, study for yourself. Believe only yourself.
But believe only yourself when you know it is not conditioning. And that is very difficult because all around is conditioning whether good or bad, compassionate or not. And the assumptions of our conditioning are far harder to unravel. It is a natural instinct for heterosexual men to want sex, and if they don’t get it it is unnatural, unfair and unjust. It is only a small step to then blame women because the only other people to be blamed are ourselves. It is a reasonable assumption in an educated society that we have employment. People work hard, lose their job, lose their standard of life, it is natural to want to blame someone other than yourself. So it is logical to scapegoat racism, feminism, PC-authoritarianism unless we ask ourselves. Unless we ask questions and ask questions and keep asking questions until we reach the source of the problem - the 1%-accumulation and their neoliberalism.
And as liberals we blame the conservatives, Republicans , the WN, because they have the money and power. It is far easier to divide and blame. It is not easy to turn the enquiry onto ourselves because it hurts. Removing our conditioning hurts, it is like a safety blanket of “normality”. As soon as we ask questions of our families, our communities, our lifestyles, we start to stand back, and we are then separate. We do not have the protection of “like-conditioning”.
You are brought up to have a nuclear family - “wife, two kids and a house”, you are brought up to want more. So when the “wife and two kids” want more and you say you want compassion or a spiritual life or the life of an activist so you can’t give them more, you are under pressure. You are under pressure from the conditioning around you. You are under pressure from the partner, from the kids, from your family, from the partner’s family, from people at work, the people in the pub, from everyone. Why? Because you are wrong? Possibly. Because they are conditioned? More than likely.
So where does enquiry leave us? Separated and on our own, but not conditioned. Not governed by ego.
And then we take our questioning further. We examine how much of that conditioning have we internalised? I described a Buddhist egoic system – the 5 Khandhas. How much have we allowed our consciousness to attach to the body, feelings, memories, perceptions, mental processes and mental proliferations? How much have we attached? When we find an attachment we ask the question. Do we accept this attachment, do we accept this ideal, do we accept doing the same thing again because these memories were good, do we accept that we can experience this feeling again if we do the same thing? Not all experiences of body, feelings, memories, perceptions, mental processes and mental proliferations are ego, they are all natural experiences but if we hold to them, if we attach to them then they start to exert egoic control over us. As activists we must be free from conditioning, free from attachment, free to promote following our duty to Gaia, and free to promote activism.
For those on the path, whether just starting or otherwise, the issue of ego is constantly part of their consciousness; this of course is positive. For their teachers, monks or otherwise, activism is not always a priority. To this I raise the question of aversion, an egoic response. As I have clearly stated political activism is dominated by ego, ego is used to divide the movement, ego is used to attract the movement to the chimera of electoral democracy so it is understandable for those trying to follow the path to avoid such an egoic-dominated arena – to be averse.
For those on the path they find compassion, and compassion is something that is done – it is not something that becomes convoluted in sankharic confusion. Compassion is active. Now consider the mass movement and its activism, what is it lacking? It is dominated by ego, primarily greed. Within the movement there are conflicts based on ego, conflicts of sankhara and conflicts of power and leadership. What the movement lacks is spirituality! This obviously is what is happening, in part because of the aversion of those starting on the spiritual path. I would obviously say that the movement is lacking in spiritulaity because this is a pathtivism manual; does that make it any less true? Remember activism is not simply the power-hungry egotism of party politics, compassion within the community does not require 1% or government approval. Yet helping people and helping people find the path is part of the same process. When the spiritual examine their compassion, do they find activism as well as meditation? Following Buddhadasa’s understanding of idappaccayata, activism is our natural duty.
Put simplistically, there are two ways we can act:- ego-conscious or Gaia-conscious (the spiritual path). If you accept the Zandao narrative, then living within this global economic system is destroying Gaia. To be Gaia-conscious (#beingGaia), our compassion must work against this destruction by spiritualising the global economic system. To do that we must follow our own spiritual paths leading to Gaia – one way is pathtivism.