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Move over Id, Ego and Superego. It’s the era of the I.

29/04/2011

Are we alone?

Since man learnt to smash two rocks together to create fire, he has been battling with this question. But of course before he could really ask if he was alone, he needed to know who he was and where in the scheme of things he belonged.

Meditation begot spirituality and science.  Spirituality begot religion. Science had to wait till Religion moved aside a little before it could begot much of anything. When it’s time came, or rather came again having enjoyed a place of honour amongst ancient and classical civilisations but then got displaced by first multi god religions and then the more common one god stops we are familiar with today, Science reached deep and pulled out as many plums as it could get a hold of.

Basically as man delved into science, he realised that god had to be more important than a specialist. He had to be all encompassing. That is as man discovered methods that made him more god like, god himself had to get more god like.

When science returned and slowly began to explain who we are, biologically speaking, and where we belonged on the evolutionary tree, the original reaction was to spurn such hypothesis. Man once monkey like? Ridiculous! The bible clearly says how old the planet really is right? So what’s this millions of years rubbish!

But as science and invention bettered our lives we realised that there was a gap between the physical concept of man and the spiritual one. And so was born the study of the psyche. Again.

See it was all done before. Back in that age before Religion displaced science.

That’s why Sigmund Freud used terms such as Id, Ego and Superego and made reference to classical Greek gods. Freud argued that the answer to who man was could be answered by what man does and why. That is the Id feeds of primitive urges, the Ego ensures behaviour that promotes not only survival or needs but wants as well, and the Superego, the Jimny Cricket to the Ego.

So to know you, you had to face your demons (primitive urges) so to speak. Very soon, the science of the mind became a religion.

Self help books had already begun to mark their mark. I blame Dale Carnegie for Anthony Robbins. Him and the Human Potential Movement.

Anyway all things old is new again and once more meditation began to call us all back. You remember. To that original question right up the top there.

Science did not see the danger it was in.

You see, there is so much making god more god-like that you can do. Now you centralised god into one all seeing all powerful being, you cant really make him more seeing or more powerful now can you? The last time science and the concept of self via religion had an argy bargy, science came off worse for wear, and religion politically declared that science weighed more than a duck and therefore a witch. Gods became one almighty god, and all was good in the world, and man stopped asking himself that annoying who am I question.

It took a long while for science to claw itself out of that predicament.

Now though, religion was the first loser this time. And science did not have to do anything more then what it was doing. This time as man began to get more god like, god had no room to move. We began to close the gap. Until one day, we created our own life.

Religion had no where to go. So it did what it always does when challenged by science. Attack each other. The idealism of the Crusades was to wrench the Christian speaking god fearing nations of the world to make a stand for religion when it was right at that time that the world of science was booming again. At least in the Islamic world. That just was not going to do.

I should have started with this but stream of conscious writing is hard to think out ahead so forgive. Buddha came out of his rip van wrinkle period with a fundamental concept on life.

  • Anicca (Sanskrit: anitya): That all things that come to be have an end.
  • Dukkha (Sanskrit: duḥkha): That nothing which comes to be is ultimately satisfying.
  • Anattā (Sanskrit: anātman): That nothing in the realm of experience can really be said to be “I” or “mine”.
  • Nibbāna (Sanskrit: Nirvāna): It is possible for sentient beings to realize a dimension of awareness which is totally unconstructed and peaceful, and end all suffering due to the mind’s interaction with the conditioned world.

Harry Chapin put it more succintly in a song about circles.

Basically what the Bud was trying to say is nothing that does not begin can have an end. And since we(god) have always been we can not end. Further what begins and ends is shared by all. Therefore we can begin a new universe together where we all live happily and birds sing etc.

Okay that was a little ramble, but basically what I wanted to get to was the concept of the circle of life. Planets revolve around suns. Moons around planets. Suns around other suns galaxies around galaxies etc. You get my point.

So it shouldn’t shock people to look through history and see repetitions of events. It happens all the time. Napoleon, the Nazis and Russia for example. You would think someone would learn. But often we do not and we repeat our history.

Likewise (back to the story) as religion felt itself being edged out of the picture, it did what it did in the days of the crusades and start feuding. Now I am not going to point any fingers on which religion started what when, all I am saying is it started again.

And as I pointed out, the last time the shit hit the fan, science became a victim. The reason why science did not notice or care really was it was having a good old time nursing its latest offspring, invention. That and religion needed science this time. It needed science because of that newly reborn child invention.

Once again man was becoming more god like. But now he wanted to not see the seams of the machines that powered his world. He adopted invention (again) and it took care of man. Science this time took credit for invention. So if religion took out science, it would have to stop invention and quite frankly, that would suck.

So a new marriage was born. Invention the son of science with a marriage of religious convenience. And so was born the iPod.

11077233-apple-ipod-touch-4th-generation

Who begot the iPhone. Who begot the iPad. More and more people are hiding in this world of self induced pleasure that tantalises the primitive Id and confounds the Ego and shuts off communication form the Superego.

This fascination to physically disconnect so we can spiritually connect socially is the new religion. This interleaved connections of lives and loves and hates and hungers and urges living in one non existent but created Buddha like universe where we try to live happily ever after. 

The question ‘Are we alone?’ takes on a whole new meaning.

While all this seems a little bit like a pointless blog that condemns apple products, its not. You see there is another battle now between science and its own spawn.

The science that spawned the invention that created the industrial age is now fighting with its own mother. And the same thing is happening. One side is pushing the other side into a corner and a confrontation will happen. Is happening.

The culture that gave us inventions to help our lives was replaced by a ‘I’-culture that gives us inventions that control our lives.  

Science tells us that the climate is changing. But the spawn of science wants to shift the subject away. It does not want us to think of the we so much as the I. How much extra will “I” have to pay. What will it do for “ME”.

In our desire to learn who we are so we can love who we are and presumably others, we have been distracted by the love of self. 

From the need to discover self meaning, we created tools that are self demeaning.

We have gone from self meditation to self medication.

We avoid self help and seek instead self illusion. Life makes way for Second Life.

State of the art begins to blur with state of the mind.

And the Superego, the thing that guides us in our decisions, is left lying in a gutter somewhere having been anaesthetised with the toys we cling to.

Don’t get me wrong! I am not saying technology is bad! Just want to remind people why we created it in the first place. All I ask is for people to stop and remember that first question.

Are we alone?

Or do we want to be alone?

….

A. Ghebranious  2010  (All Rights Reserved)


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2 Comments
  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    WOW! great post Ash.

  2. Harri Benson permalink

    What an interesting post! It’s a great mix of amusing, confronting, yet profound observations.

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