Betrayal is a horrible feeling. It hits us in the most primal areas of our psyche. One person says to another, “I will be there for you,” and then they leave, and you find yourself alone with nothing to stand on. Your home, your sense of self, your means of support – all vanish overnight. Everything you thought you knew is suddenly questionable. It is like being stripped of your clothing and thrown out of the city gates in the dead of winter.
Personal abandonment is the first of all fears – it is built into us at birth, the bare wire that stretches between the heart and the pit of the stomach. We carry it with us our entire lives, and we learn to substitute the need for parent with the need to belong, whether to another person, our family, a group of friends, or to a society. The larger and more over-arching the projection, the closer it resembles the original dependency – the mother, the father. Ideologies, governments, and social contracts take the parental position in our sense of the world. We make them our providers, our protectors, our comforters, our teachers. And with every attachment we forge, we plug ourselves that much more into the world.
Human beings have the longest period of post-natal dependency of any other species on Earth. Scientists say that this enables us to develop our prefrontal cortex (the reasoning, decision-making part of the brain) further and more exquisitely than any other animal. All of the energies that would have gone into raw survival skills have been re-channeled into growing a better computer. The nurturance/dependency bond between mother and infant also has to be extended in order to serve this longer time in the nest. But while the brain is developing, so is the ego. The weeds grow alongside the grain. What would have been curtailed in order to serve the exigencies of survival in a world full of immediate danger has been allowed to develop far beyond the natural balance of self and other.
Spiritual development is designed to weed out the false dependencies that grew up alongside the deeper, more reflective self. The cosmo-conception that required a more finely-tuned vehicle for its self-expression foresaw the problem and thus put in place a way for a course correction. One had to compensate for the other. In order for gains to be made on the one side, other less desirable traits had to run loose for a time. The I AM became the Me. But it was known from the beginning that the Me had to die. The Me knew something was wrong, and it knew that the plot laid against it ran all the way to the top. So it developed all manner of counter-measures to buy itself more time. Based on its self-conception, the Me built up institutions, towers of reasoning within which it could hide. The more elaborate its fortifications became, the more confidence it had in its own ability to manufacture truth. Finally, that confidence turned into arrogance. And now the end is being hastened, if for no other reason than to alleviate unnecessary suffering.
It is time to stand in the Holy Place. The problems of the world cannot be solved in the world, because those problems are spiritual, not physical. Scrutinizing the cracks in the foundation stones of our institutions will not bring about change. We have to look up. We have to re-energize our spiritual life and place our dependency where it belongs. Unplug from the 24 hour news cycle and spend that time in prayer and meditation. Counteract greed by giving more of yourself. Fight the “system” by denying its demands, especially the ones that have lodged themselves in your cells.
The day the flesh shapes, the flesh the day shapes.
– the dying thoughts of Duke Leto, Dune