Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ego, conscious individuals, and conscious society

To see the ego (or whatever we choose to call the aspects of the self seen as less true) as any kind of obstacle or obstruction needing to be let go of is only true up to a certain point of development. Beyond that, struggling with the ego or working on the ego is not the best place to focus one's energy and attention. That struggle itself can even become the primary obstruction. It is better for the focus to shift toward the larger, the truer. That might mean a truer self that is still individuated or it might be something that is beyond all individuality or perhaps both. (It might also be a collective true self that is beyond individual but is also a smaller part of some other larger universal.)
I think a lot of people see the desirability of such a shift in attention. There are many ways to phrase this and many different ways to understand it.
In order to aid that shift in attention, I have found it helpful to conceive of the ego as an approximation that is one step in the process of the arrival of that which the ego is approximating. In other words, the ego is a natural phase in the development of conscious individuals. It is just that until now in human history, almost everyone stopped at that level (if they even fully reached it) instead of continuing on.
Furthermore, this social pattern in which most everyone stops at or before the level of ego development is itself a natural phase in the evolution of conscious society. I believe that we are arriving at the next phase in social development as well. The society that is trying to emerge now will come to see growth beyond ego as natural, just as we see it as natural to grow beyond adolescence into adulthood. Of course, natural is not the same as automatic or easy.
For myself, I examine all teachings about development beyond ego in light of this broader possibility.

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