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Humanity’s Forgotten Reflection
by S. A. Ward
Chapter 3 – The Ego’s Lies
Contradiction of ego, reincarnation or afterlife, and memory. If an individual’s brain is damaged, develops Alzheimer’s or dementia they can potentially lose memory and their sense of personality, which in some cases never returns to them. That is the fragility of the human experience, so now we’re able to ask, was this subject ever anyone in particular to begin with? The ego is not a static mechanism and is rather fluid. The common idea of reincarnation or afterlife implies that the ego is static and persists through death when it is just a societal defense mechanism to meld within a societal group. The ego is a reflection of an organism’s environmental exposure throughout its lifetime. Reincarnation is often thought of as physically being rebirthed as a different living creature after we die. It is a wishy-washy notion that delves into the realm of fantasy. The common idea of reincarnation is false and doesn’t align with the conceptualization of it found in Zen Buddhism or Hinduism. What true reincarnation is, is more so like this. The past and future don’t actually exist, there is only this singular infinite present. The past and future are ideations of our minds. The mind is a malleable focal point of conscious awareness and yes to an extent reflects its past experiences, but our memory of the past is a primary survival mechanism that has enabled us to thrive, adapt to danger, and at times can be highly skewed by our way of thinking. We’re ever changing, never stagnant and are perpetually morphing into a different individual being continuously reborn anew. Enduring a temporary cycle of rebirth and growth, which is what reincarnation truly is, rebirth and growth. Our names are arbitrary and were given to us by our parents. Our achievements, material possessions, and age isn’t what ultimately defines us. It is not who or what we really are. Who would we be if our parents hadn’t made macaroni noises in that suitable place for the business leading to our mother’s forcing us out of their snatch? Would we still be who we believe we are? To a degree we would, we are only somebody by being someone or, Quote, “We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self: an accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody when in fact everybody is nobody.” True Detective. OR if we are all nobody, we can be anybody, our mask is malleable. The social construct for identity depends entirely upon an organism having the mental capacity for an ego. Identity is more so just a cog in a societal mechanism. It doesn’t have fundamental relevance and its purpose is to substantiate a distinct level of uniformity for greater functionality. Making the system more cohesive. It brings forth order such as organization, categorization, relations, utility & purposes, history & and origin. An individual’s identity is just another factor of character armor or a chain in our psychological prison. It is totally alien from what we were at birth. Quote, “All you have is your mind, it’s all you’ve ever had and it’s all you have to offer other people.”, said by Sam Harris. Identity can limit the human potential due to perpetuating some type of persona and resisting to go beyond it. Should we just throw out our individuality and become mindless hive mind mentality drones? Hell no, we shouldn’t entirely throw it away, but instead that we must acknowledge what it really is so we could gain a greater understanding of ourselves and how we as humans operate.
Another of the 4 archetypes in Jungian psychology is the Persona. The following is a quoted segment from Britannica, “Persona, in psychology, the personality that an individual projects to others, as differentiated from the authentic self. The term, coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, is derived from the Latin persona, referring to the masks worn by Etruscan mimes. One of the Jungian archetypes, the persona enables an individual to interrelate with the surrounding environment by reflecting the role in life that the individual is playing. In this way one can arrive at a compromise between one’s innate psychological constitution and society. Thus, the persona enables the individual to adapt to society’s demands.”
The third archetype in Jungian psychology is the shadow. The following defines it and can be found at Carl Jung dot net, “The shadow is simply the dark side of someone’s personality and what is dark is always known only indirectly through projection. That is, one discovers his dark side as something belonging to others: friends, relatives, fictitious characters, etc. This is why the meeting with the personal shadow is considered to be a moral effort. The difficulty of integrating the shadow is huge, if we have to face this powerful figure alone. The dark side/shadow feature may be also equaled with the Freudian personal unconscious. It comprises everything one repressed because is rejected by the superego. Freud linked these repressed contents mainly with the sexual drives. Indeed, the shadow has almost always a sexual component. In dreams, the shadow appears endowed with those sexual and aggressive aspects that arouse our criticism or envy. An unscrupulous man, an alcoholic and debauched man, a humble and obedient official, etc. they can be shadow figures. Also, a warrior, fearless guy, a hero, etc. The black shadow may appear as an archetype too. The devil’s images and the demonic features (symbols) are very common to men’s dreams. Also, the devil-like characters – who compensate for the luminous figure of the Saviors – share the shadow realm. The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge, and it therefore, as a rule, meets with considerable resistance. Indeed, self-knowledge as a psychotherapeutic measure frequently requires much painstaking work extending over a long period.”
The handbook of Jungian psychology, 127-143, 2012 goes into the 4th Jungian archetype, Anima-Animus. “The theory of the individuation process is the key concept of Jungian therapy. The goal of individuation is to become more and more who we really are, distinct from others and yet in relationship to others. This process is a series of confrontational dialogues between us and the world, the human beings to whom we are related and bound and the inner world of the complexes and the archetypes. An essential part of this process, according to Jung, is that a man becomes conscious of his anima, and a woman of her animus, in order to differentiate him or herself from it, and not be dominated by it. The relationship with the anima ± which in Jung’s oeuvre is given more attention than the animus ± gives vitality, creativity and flexibility.”
Anima is the subconscious perception of objective femininity that dwells within the male psyche. Animus is the subconscious perception of objective masculinity that dwells with the female psyche. The conceptual and cognitive structure of a man’s anima is structured by distinct female qualities and traits. The conceptual and cognitive structure of a woman’s animus is structured by distinct male qualities and traits. They are easily observable characteristics and behaviors. The two complement one another remarkably and are each other’s missing half.
The following text can be found on Carl Jung dot net.
“Animus is the archetype of reason and spirit in women. This is the male aspect of the female psyche, as the anima is the female aspect of male psyche. This archetype is projected in various male images and characters like great artists, heroes, warriors, sportsmen, philosophers, and so forth. When identified with the animus (animus-inflated), women develop an excessive rational drive which may end up in excessive criticism and stubbornness.
In animus-inflated women with strong interest in intellectual matters we find the need to impose and maintain a rigorous and schematic list of values judged the most important. There’s no reflection regarding the little substance and significance of these values, nor any aim at discussing them. Only the urge to impose them on others.
A simple source of a man’s anima is his mother and for a woman’s animus, her father.
Next, we’ll be touching more on the cognition and function of human memory. Our memory is not tuned for accurate recollection of past occurrences, but moreover on the notion of survival and procreation. A relevant statement from Springer Link, Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning, Quote, “The concept of adaptive memory and learning has two defining assumptions: First, the capacity to preserve and recover information over time is adaptive, meaning that the systems that enable memory and learning are goal-directed and functionally designed. Rather than domain-general, operating the same regardless of input and domain, species’ retention systems are “tuned” to solve particular problems (such as remembering the locations of food sources or predators). Second, as products of natural selection, these systems likely bear the specific imprint of nature’s criterion – the enhancement of fitness (survival en route to differential reproduction). As a result, the ability to learn and remember will likely be influenced by the fitness relevance of the information and tasks involved.” Here is a common aspect of human memory that many of us have had the delight of experiencing and postulates its accuracy in a nutshell. Many of us often experience that upon going into a room to grab something we instantaneously forget what it is we went in there for. Just about all humans are subjected to this. It just abruptly disappears from our train of thought, and we have to go back to where we just were then it suddenly arises again. That is the dependability of human memory. We are more likely to recollect places that have good food. What stores have better produce or that carry both quality products for an affordable price and ultimately enhance our survival prospects, which can be generalized for just about all services in a free market economy. Can’t forget about the hot spots for social gatherings, which many utilize as an opportunity to find an intimate partner. We also tend to be biased towards what we define as the good or what would serve our personal motives for future events and that’s due to ego.
I’d like to make a brief note of why we long for adulthood or to grow up when we are children. This is due to us concluding or being conditioned to believe that when we become adults, we’ll obtain the freedom we’ve always dreamed of, no longer shackled by the will of our parents, but instead we soon realize our chains just take on a different form when we enter adulthood.
Too much love and supervision can lead to coddling and sheltering leaving an individual with a fragile ego. This is highly prominent in the US where many are the age of an adult but have the mentality of a child. They need safe spaces from ideological friction, which is absurd and sets them up for failure. There needs to be a balance between letting the child experience the world on their own account, letting them experience disappointment, pain, loss, defeat, love, compassion etc. so they don’t take their life for granted and think life is going to hand them everything they want. Quote, “If I were to have sheltered my child from adversity, I would have failed them as a parent.” author of quote unknown. Coddling someone promotes entitlement and sets that person up for failure, because the moment things get hard, they’ll give up or throw a tantrum. It is foolish to try and shelter a developing human from the harsh truths of existence. These individuals will run from criticism and failure, which are two major proponents for growth. Quite often they’ll search after confirmation bias or pseudo wisdom to feed their ego. Diverting entirely from the reality of life. Like already mentioned, it had a lot to do with raising individuals to where they are left with a fragile ego. Their egos can’t handle the truth of human existence, so they run or hide from it, which doesn’t actually address the core of their issue. It is vital to make note that the common idea of ego death during the 1960s to early 21st century in the psychedelic community is a terrible thing and an inflated ego can be equally as terrible. The ego serves its purpose for us organisms in matters of social functionality and yes, it is important to keep it in check. However, this form of ego death is the destruction of cognitive awareness and personality can be torn away. It can drastically hinder the cognitive faculties and can obstruct someone from reaching a state of functionality. It often leads to neurosis, critical thinking skills become greatly diminished leading to being gullible, easily manipulated, and brainwashed by deceitful, but compelling and mystical ideologies. Ego death is often glorified as to be deeply sought after and obtained in the psychedelic community. Claiming that is when someone is truly awakened or enlightened. Many sought after it relentlessly and often became a wook who fried their brain from elongated and overuse of drugs. Arguments from them are heavily based on emotion and wishy-washy dreams of a utopic society that are without any practical reform paths to achieve them.
For a biological creature that has the mental capacity for an ego, this anomaly is both a gift and a curse, because it leads to self-awareness. Self-awareness makes us aware of our own actions and can amplify the experience of suffering. However, it gives rise to an unfathomable number of unique characters and aesthetics. Even those subjectively consumed by ego are just another thread to the characteristic dynamics of sentient existence. Should we keep our ego in check? That’s a matter of opinion and the will of life does have a habit of stomping out pride.
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