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Article by Ralph Miller
When we experience a big loss of control it makes us feel insecure and vulnerable. There is a letdown and perhaps we experience ourselves as being a little more genuinely human. Our collective ideas about ourselves form an assembly of self-importance or ego. This letdown is the collapse of those ideas. We are humbled. We become willing to learn in another way. We notice others who are also open and vulnerable, and we feel a camaraderie or empathy.
Very traumatic experiences for individuals such as accidents or illnesses can deeply affect those lucky enough to survive. When we experience a trauma, we experience loss of control and our illusion of self importance falls. This collapse of ego becomes a gift that can wake us up. It can propel us from a continuum of ego delusion to profound new meaning in our life.
When loss of control happens on a global scale to entire cultures, we then as a group begin to experience our group ego crashing. We seek answers when we even think about questions like, “What’s going to happen to mankind?” or “How will anything ever change for us?” When large groups of people begin to experience this collapse of ego, they are moving as a group to a place of great change and transformation. In shedding individual and group egos, they are granting themselves an evolution beyond anything they could have conceived of.
The illusion of our personality and ego arose out of growing contradiction in our thoughts as to our sense of “self.” This is the internal dialogue we experience that relates to who we know we are as compared to who we think we are, or who we think we would like to be. The illusion of self along with its auto-mechanism for dealing with these chronic contradictions IS our ego/personality.
From this view then, ego/personality is only illusion. It is a construct to facilitate our survival, especially when we encounter only a world full of “other egos.” Our individual ego along with all the others, form a global consensus-ego that is held as a standard of “what is consciousness” that permeates the species. It is our idea of consensual consciousness because it is the experience we all have. It is the idea of consciousness that we consent to.
The physicist David Bohm describes the illusory process of ego in a fascinating dialogue with his brother-in-law.
“So one has to see the ego process is always engaged in setting up the illusion of “what should be,” dressing it up in alluring colors, and pushing away “what is,” hiding it in a frightening and ugly disguises. But nothing can be done without our understanding what is, in its totality, at least as far as we are experiencing it. As soon as we push aside a certain part of what is in our experiencing, in favor of the illusion of what should be, we are in a state of contradiction, which leads immediately to an internal conflict. We then try to escape the conflict because it is very unpleasant, seeking to cover it up by introducing confused ideas and feelings, and by distracting our attention, drawing it to something else instead. But then our escapes, being confused, lead to even more and more conflicts, which in turn must be escaped. Thus, the whole process tangles up, in a sort of cancerous growth of contradiction, conflict, escape, and confusion, until it fills the whole mind.”
David Bohm, Letters to brother-in-law Yitzhak Woolfson, 1958-1967
When our societies and cultures experience crisis there is a wave of culture shock that washes through us. We are reoriented to a group perspective that is less egocentric. We experience the same thing as individuals. The process of the illusions of ego falling is happening now much more frequently. The process is accelerating.
We are potentially at the very end of an age or epoch where we maybe still will fail to recognize what is just around the corner; what is happening for us next. That is actually a good thing, because anything that we could imagine with our ego based point of reference, could not possibly describe what great change is coming.
It gives us hope to realize that the world will change and evolve. This hope is rooted in the possibility that right now we can grant ourselves an evolution beyond illusion.
© Ralph Miller 2007
(Webmaster's Note: The word 'emanant' means to radiate forward as in a ripple effect into one's life and is not a misuse of the word 'imminent', meaning likely to occur at any moment or impending.