This video brilliantly illustrates everything I have been obsessing about with my emphasis on “distinction-drawing” and actually everything I’ve been trying to say for the past five years on this blog. If we live our life in the tyranny of the narrowly defined world our ego has carved out for us, individually and collectively, we will always have conflict for there is no end to the need to draw distinctions between “us” and “them.” Here again we see here the curse of religion…all religions…the ego always tends to take the spiritual wisdom provided there and turn it into a weapon under the name of whatever god we worship. And, of course, there is the temptation to make this point accusatorily, “You do this but I do not” but the luxury of this self-deception is no longer mine. Losing that “luxury” is relevant to something said this morning in The Guardian about Donald Trump’s narcissism, “Trump does not have an interior life. He ‘had aspired to and achieved the ultimate luxury…an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.’” This “rumbling” is what my spiritual tradition calls “the Spirit of God” and if there is no “rumbling” there is only ego-ridden certainty which is devoid of any Spirit.
And when the ego’s tyranny metastasizes to a certain point, there will always be violence. For the ego’s need to know that we are “right” can reach the point where we will to express with action the repressed experience of being “wrong,” a feeling that cannot help but arise when we are introduced to a world which is based on the tyranny of labels. I do think that religion often offers the opportunity to dive into the depths of our heart and acknowledge this feeling of “wrongness” but it entails the willingness to face the pain of disillusionment, in Christian doctrine described as “being lost.” This is why Aeschylus described the grace of god as “awful” centuries ago for he knew the agony of being disillusioned of the unquestioned certainties of our ego-constructed world.
“And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” Aeschylus