How the Ego Went Bankrupt: The Double Debt Drive

Updated: Feb 17

In this powerful retreat seminar from Shunyamurti, learn how the ego went bankrupt and the Double Debt Drive

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I thought this morning it would be useful to bring down the register of the discourse a few notches, to understand from the level of ordinary reality. Not that that exists, but that is the common delusion of the delusionary ego—why it’s impossible to have any kind of revolution other than a spiritual revolution, and what exactly is the nature of the impasse that the world is in, that makes a spiritual revolution seem impossible. And, in fact, it is impossible—it is inevitable, but it is impossible. So, we need to confront that. So, without grasping, I think, the full parameters of the problem from the ego level, we cannot understand the path to the Real beyond the ego.

We are crucified by the fact that we are torn apart by a “double debt drive”. There is a lower debt drive and an upper debt drive. And this is to put into economic terms the idea of the death drive. Death and debt are very closely related.

So, let’s see if we can understand the difference and how they affect us. So, the first thing to understand, I think, is that the capitalist system is not an accident. It is a perfect reflection of the nature of the ego and of the ego’s tendency toward narcissistic withdrawal from the other as a means of solving its inability to relate in an authentic sense. And so, the fiction of money was created in order to enable us to bypass the need to have relationships with one another, because you can usually buy what you want. These days, of course, it’s been taken to an even more extreme realm because men don’t even have to pay for prostitutes anymore. They don’t need an actual woman. You can get a sexbot and purely relate to an imaginary other that has no ability to talk back, except if you program it to say what you want to hear. But it’s usually—I doubt that too many people are interested in the verbal level of a relationship with a sexbot. But in any case, I have no idea except from speculation about that, but I imagine that because I see more and more articles about this, and more brothels seem to be opening up in many parts of the Western world, and it’s simply an extension of the fact that human beings have lost our ability to relate to one another in an ever more extreme way since the invention of the internet, that it’s an inevitability that people would adopt such a measure, to avoid having to actually make a connection between people at a true level of consideration, and interest, and ability to listen.

We are even, very rapidly, in danger of losing our capacity for language. You know that since we passed through what McLuhan used to call “The Gutenberg Galaxy”, we’ve traded in words for images. And that’s mainly what we’re influenced by—that’s most of the input we get—are images on the internet. You don’t even read stories, you just get the image and a few key signifiers, and you go on, and usually the stories aren’t worth reading anyway. And even in people’s emails they’ re no longer really writing actual prose with one another. We’re no longer writing and speaking beings, we are emoticon-emitting beings.

And we’re gradually losing our capacity, literally, for holding a conversation with one another. And so this is creating more of a desire to abuse money to buy what you need, and who you need, for whatever utilitarian purposes without having to create a true connection—and I think that’s one of the diseases that we’re dealing with.

So, the lower debt drive will drive us to go into debt, financial debt, in order to be able to get to the amenities, the jouissance, that we want without having to relate to others or create karmic debt. But we’re already in karmic debt to the social system because it provides the fiction of money that we are accomplices in believing has any value. And the ego, because of its stunted emotional growth, because it never goes through a rite of passage to true adulthood, remains in a kind of infinite debt to its parents and to the family and to the social system for providing the security, the social security web—not that it really exists in all that wonderful form—but people depend on that. And they are, because of that dependency, less likely to develop their own internal initiatives, and the debt to the system causes them, also, then to be indebted to the fantasies of the other.

People can no longer create their own fantasies. They have to go watch movies in order to get it. They don’t read books anymore—at least in the old days you’d read a novel and you’d have to create the images in your own mind, and you’d have to create a virtual reality from the marks on paper. But now it’s all given to you, a pre-packaged fantasy created by George Lucas or Spielberg, or whoever. But you are no longer even able to fully use your own imagination—it has atrophied because of the dependence on Hollywood and on all the other sources of infotainment.

So the lower debt drive has gradually brought us into a very fixated and primitive ego-level of consciousness in which we are continually battling with images in our own minds of parental voices talking to us and reprimanding us for not doing this or that, or other kinds of images of lost opportunities or events for which we feel some guilt and owe some debt for and, therefore, feel bad about. And the mind is constantly throwing these images at us. If you sit and meditate, I’m sure most of you are being forced to witness images coming across your mind, many of which are unpleasant, which is why a lot of people prefer to fall asleep in meditation; because who wants to have to be a witness to those kinds of ideations that you can’t control, that are basically attacking you.

So, once you fall into the ego level, you become subject to the whole panoply of animalistic drives that go along with the debt drive that put you in further debt to the society that feeds those lower drives. And there’s guilt then for becoming dependent on the other. It’s, of course, the usual: the sex drive and the money/greed drive and the gluttony drive and all of the other addictions and hatreds that are there to mask one’s terror of one’s own neediness and helplessness in a world in which one really has no control, and in which one’s money does not have a fixed value—and, because of inflation, is going down and will soon have no value. And so, the ego does feel guilt for this fall into its own degradation, but it represses the guilt by rationalizing its behavior as being socially adapted and it’s approved of by the family system and the internal demonic superego.

We have two kinds of superego. One says: “Do what I say and not what I do.” And the other says: “Do as I do.” OK? So, usually people will follow that one because that’s the easiest one to be able to follow when you remember the hypocrisy of your parents punishing you for things they themselves were doing—or a lot worse things—then one is very easily able to justify that behavior. But that doesn’t stop the other superego from then coming back and attacking you for it. So, you are sliced in half by these two different kinds of superego voices.

The worst guilt today—I think unlike in Freud’s day or even back in the 50s when people felt guilt for sexual activity—now I think the real guilt is for food lust. And because you have to not be overweight and you have a certain look, everyone really has to be semi-anorexic. So, the lower debt drive means that we have a desire to overeat but then in order to compensate we have go into a state of ketosis. So, there’s this whole fad of intermittent fasting these days which I think is extremely significant in representing this double activity of: you overeat and then you skip a few meals, and you’ve absolved yourself of the guilt. And as long as you’re in ketosis, you feel like, you know, you are being smiled upon by the higher powers.

Now, in the upper debt drive it’s not ketosis but kenosis that is what you want to strive for, which is the emptying out of the ego so that one can be filled with God-consciousness. But, here [in the lower debt drive], you just want to make sure you’re not filled with too much caloric intake. And so, what happens is that even sex has become a secondary kind of jouissance. Food lust is the primary way of getting satisfaction and of using your mouth, through eating. And only when you have nothing to eat, or you’re in the ketosis mode, then you are forced to use your mouth for other things. And because people are no longer able to carry on a conversation, what they tend to do, instead, is to choose to have sex with each other. So, sex operates using the mouth to suck on sexual objects—is a kind of use of it as a transitional object because you can’t make it all the way into the capacity to have a rational relationship based on concepts and on insights into reality at a symbolic level, then those lower two aspects are what tend to get acted out. And because everyone these days is at least semi-anorexic, most people can’t even enjoy a feast with each other too often, and so having sex becomes the way out of the impasse of not being able to relate. But it’s, otherwise, not an end in itself. It’s just a way to keep the mouth busy.

So, I think that it’s this complete loss of the capacity to connect verbally and symbolically with one another that has so impoverished us that we have lost our ability to get out of the debt that we are in to jouissance because we have no other options left within the ego. It’s been too impoverished of ideas. People don’t have anything to share with each other any longer. And so they will tend to either just grope each other or go to a snack bar, but the capacity for relating has been dumbed down to such an extent—and the social system makes it so easy to drop out of a relationship rather than to deal with problems that arise in a relationship that the fallback position is simply to disappear. And this, of course, creates more of a karmic debt that we build up toward one another.

The upper debt drive is mostly repressed, and we use money to keep it repressed and we use all these other activities that have become relatively meaningless in order to forget the fact that we are indebted with our lives to a supreme power that is no longer socially recognized—in fact, is ridiculed: those people who believe in the reality of such a power or anything outside of materialism are generally, at least in terms of the mainstream paradigm, are considered somewhat wacko. So, the guilt for having gone along with that materialistic mode of being, if one has—or if one has broken away from it in order to have a life more in new age circles, but still is not actually transcending the ego but using spirituality as a come on and as a gimmick and as a way to justify taking drugs and that kind of thing creates more of a kind of a debt to the Source that is, in a way, allowing you to get away with dabbling in and playing with powers that are far too powerful to mess around with and so there is a lingering fear that one will take “one toke over the line”, as it were, one trip too many, and one won’t be able to come back because one has abused the various altered states of consciousness through such means rather than taking the strait gate to the internal realms of luminosity in the way we’re designed to do it, which is through an ascetic letting go of body-consciousness and of the animalistic enjoyments.

So, a spiritual revolutionary would be one who has shed all those lower lusts and who is able to speak and think, but has also been able to take consciousness beyond thought, to that inconceivable power that transcends the ego-mind entirely. And along with the disappearance of desire, there’s a disappearance of karma and of ignorance. So the spiritual revolutionary is one who is post-desire and even post-thought, but one who has attained at least mastery of the symbolic realm and the capacity to communicate and to compassionately perceive the feeling-states in the hearts of others and be able to relate to those feelings in an empathic way in which the other can truly feel met and resonated with rather than projected upon.

So, does that make sense? I think that unless we get out of this situation of the ego’s confinement in a very small, imaginary register of consciousness, we’re not going to be able to make the rest of the journey. So, the other side of it is that the ego wants to be in denial of how bad the world situation is and wants to believe, “Oh, we’ll muddle through somehow. Trump will figure something out.” And people want to believe, “Don’t worry, there’s no rush. When I retire, I can devote myself to spiritual quests, but right now I want to earn more money”—that kind of an attitude. But it’s true that the world is not in a political crisis. We’re past the crisis. A crisis is when you realize there’s a problem: it’s a danger and an opportunity and you do what is necessary to resolve the problem. We didn’t. We passed the point of crisis. The world is already the walking dead.

Our ecosystem on a planetary-wide basis has already lost its capacity for sustainability. The web of life has been cut, too badly, and I don’t need to go through all of the species that have gone extinct in the last few decades—there are literally hundreds of thousands of them. And we’re losing the bees, we’re losing the frogs, and we’re losing so many species. The birds are dying off. We’re losing too many species to be able to maintain the symbiotic relationships between life forms that require one another. If you don’t have bees, you’re not going to have almonds and other kinds of fruits because they won’t be fertilized because there won’t be any beings left able to accomplish that. And so, we are losing the plant kingdom as well as the animal kingdom. And we’re destroying the soil, the air, the water. Fukushima alone is putting tons of radiated water into the Pacific that’s traveling around. It’s already reached the US and, of course, Asia and other parts of the world, and it just keeps circulating. The seas are dying, and the sea levels are rising. Climate change can’t be stopped. The increase in the seismic and volcanic activity is exponentially accelerating. There’s no way to control these things. Human powers are dwarfed by events that are happening at a geophysical level that were created by the malfeasance of the ego, but now that Frankenstein cannot be controlled.

And so, all of these problems are adding up to a perfect storm of an apocalyptic doom that we are going to have to be able to face. And to confront it successfully will require a much higher level of intelligence and attunement to the nature of what reality really is in order to be able to survive and have a continuity of consciousness through the singularity of the omega point that we are rapidly hurdling toward.

So, nothing is going to be done on a political level: the system is way too corrupt, it’s too controlled by powers that you don’t vote for and have any influence on. And you don’t even know who they are or what planet they come from. And so, the situation is of such a nature that there is no adequate way of responding politically to it and, as you know, the powers (at least are the figureheads of societies), mostly, don’t have the ability to communicate, other than sending out tweets. And, again, there is no statesmanship. There is no diplomacy. There are threats and there are bombings and there are assassinations and there are those kinds of things—cyberwar activity—all of that. But no failsafe method of people trying to solve international problems. The few that do, I think Putin and maybe Xi in China, are not being met by anyone in the West capable of having an intelligent conversation on how to solve these problems nor is there any will to do so. So, these issues of a collapsing global political situation, in which the empire of the West itself is now coming apart because of factional splits within the ruling class—which is what all of that impeachment nonsense that’s going on in the US is all about. And because we have created—or those powers have created—such a dumbed-down educational system and created such passivity in the population and interest only in trivial trips to Disneyland and consumer shopping mall retail therapy raids, that kind of thing, people no longer have what it takes to create a movement of any kind that would be effective. And those that have been attempted—you’ve seen the grassroots efforts like the Arab Spring and the Indignados and the Occupy-whatever and the Gilets Jaunes in France and they make no dent at all in the system. So, once we understand that nothing is possible to be changed at that level, the only hope is of a spiritual revolution. And so, it’s very important that we understand that there’s no help coming from the phenomenal plane. The only source of power is going to come from an expanded consciousness that becomes multi-dimensional and can draw from a source of intelligence that can overcome these kinds of problems that from any scientific perspective are already impossible to solve.

And the worst thing is that the society is not in a static place but every day it’s falling further and further into degradation. Traditional morality has been overcome. The gender roles have been overcome. The sense of ethics itself has been destroyed, other than one’s demand to be loyal to political correctness. And along with this has been a corruption in all of the religious institutions. So, people have, rightly, become rather cynical about religion and they’ve generalized that to a cynicism about the object of religious intention, meaning God. And that has become also something that is in most levels of society not allowed to be expressed.

So, because we have fallen into a level of masturbatory jouissance with robots and porn and pills of various kinds to try to keep our emotional balance—and yet none of that works: the fragility of the human ego complex has reached a point where everyone is very close to breakdown, even on an ordinary level, a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t take much to cause one to have a meltdown because the stress levels are already so high to begin with. One person, you know, not smiling at you the way you want, can ruin your whole day. And things, of course, are much worse than that. So, the kinds of stresses and conflicts that people are feeling, without any means of resolving the stress, and the strain on the organism, has caused a massive epidemic of suicide and opioid addiction and violence and crime. And because the good aspects of religion have been lost, it’s now in the hands of fundamentalist fanatics who are very happy to kill for Christ or Allah or whoever, but the main objective is killing and terrorism.

And so, we are living in a world where humans have become inhuman to each other, and even to themselves, and unrecognizable as beings of divine nature and capable of love and generosity and openness and goodness. We are far too defended and withdrawn and alienated and cynical to be able even to reveal how much love we actually have in our hearts that we try to save maybe for one or two people in our world. If you have a child, you’ll try to give all your love to that one so that at least somebody thinks you’re a good person. You know? But there is no ability to live in a loving world, a loving community out there. It’s gone. It’s extinct.

And because there are no voices of a broader kind of reason and of intelligence in the social scene, there are no more role models of the kind of moral heroism that we used to take for granted that would be present in a field of social relations. There is no longer any opportunity for people to grow up having such an ideal that they can strive for in their own lives, and instead what they’re seeing is people selling out and going for the easy fix and the easy celebrity that they can achieve through usually things that are very negative or very trivial or just by getting naked in front of a camera or that sort of a thing. So, people’s lives have been defiled by their own willingness to go along with this kind of a situation.

It’s made more cynical by the fact that there have been serious attempts at revolution. Ever since the French Revolution and the Paris Commune, you know, at the end of the 1800s, and of course the Bolshevik Revolution—but they’ve all failed. And communism was the great hope for many, many people throughout the great part of the 20th century until Stalinism and the hopelessness of the international hope for a unity among the working classes. The proletariat would rise up against the oppressive bourgeoisie and all of that. It never happened because the working classes of different countries did not have a sense of unity. People’s identifications were with a particular country or religion or ethnic or racial or other kind of signifier, but not to that of an economic class. And the whole idea of communism, of course, was based on a belief in equality. And there’s no such thing as equality within the field of the ego.

The ego is about differentness and specialness and hierarchy, and it wants to be on top and the alpha male or the alpha female these days. But equality is not of interest to the ego. So, you can create a system that gives it lip service in the same way that religions of other types give lip service to it, but it’s not going to work. And we’ve seen that.

So, for many people who were invested in that ideal as the great hope, that has been destroyed and no alternative vision has arisen that has taken hold among the population. And that’s why when there are movements today, they don’t have leaders because there is no vision that can actually unify people. And there’s no capacity to get together and have consensus. The ego isn’t able to do that. And because there’s an anti-hierarchical distrust and a mode of thinking that says anarchy is the only way out of this, that anarchy leads to the dissipation of all of the revolutionary energy.

Now, when capitalism first began, it began in a sattvic mode. You know, there are the three gunas that are talked about in Indian philosophy. The sattvic guna is the very clear, pure, idealistic level. And then the rajasic [guna] is the productive activity level but you’re really running away from yourself and spinning your wheels. And then the tamasic level is just inertia, and you’re too lazy to do anything, and the whole process degrades and collapses.

Well, when capitalism began, it began as a very idealistic movement within Protestantism. And there’s a famous book by Max Weber called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, and it was about developing your ingenuity, your capacity for innovation, for excellence, for efficiency, and that you would gain heaven through work, not through faith. So, this Calvinist idea was really what brought the capitalist idea to such a, let’s say, universal interest. It wasn’t just about colonialism and beating up on people who didn’t have the same kind of guns as you had, but it quickly fell into that kind of a modality. But in the beginning, your excellence is what would bring you the money that would then bring you freedom. That was the idea. And, nowadays, because no one’s really capable of excellence any more, the way you make money is by offering some form of jouissance or fulfilling someone else’s demand or becoming dependent or doing some scheme that’s unethical—if not criminal—and so the money is not used for freedom because you’re not even capable of that, but simply to act out more perverse desires and larger criminal enterprises. And so, the system has basically now created an antisocial society in which society—for the first time in history—is destroying culture.

It used to be that society was the sub-structure upon which culture is based. And then culture, of course, its gem is religion and people reach that highest state. But that’s no longer even part of the structural intentionality of the system.

And so, what money has done is impoverished us by enabling us to atrophy all of these higher cultural ideals and destroy them. And humans have done that very rapidly in the 20th century. So, this is the situation in a political sense. There’s more I could say, but I don’t want to bore you with all of this.

Some of these ideas about the debt drive and the degradation of capitalism, I want to give credit to a current thinker named Aaron Schuster, who actually wrote a paper about the debt drive. But he didn’t have the upper debt drive. He only knew about the lower one. And that’s the problem with psychoanalysis, which is, kind of, the leading model of social criticism and analysis has no upper end to it. It stops with the ego, and anything beyond the ego is a fantasy. And so once you buy into that, you are stuck trying to live a life of drudgery and make do with the kinds of traditional values to whatever extent they remain of raising children and hoping that they will have a better life and all of that sort of thing. But we know that life is getting worse and worse, and it’s no longer a blessing to bring a child into the world.

And all of this was very clearly laid out by the great thinkers of the 20th Century and they should get a lot of credit—whether it’s Foucault or Lacan or Gilles Deleuze or Baudrillard—the understanding of the nature of the horror of our situation has been very clearly laid out by very brilliant minds, but they haven’t figured out a way out of the trap, and that’s what we have to understand now.

One of the ways, I think, we can do it is to recognize that human consciousness is within a number of sheaths. The sheath is called a kosha in Sanskrit. And the physical body, the chemical and physical organism at the level of matter is called the annamayakosha. “Anna” means “food”, so it’s the “food body”, or sheath. That body is basically inert on its own. If it is not covered by the other koshas, it’s a cadaver. It, in itself, has no intentionality, although it is made up of trillions of cells, and those cells have their own individual consciousness, but they are not, in any unified sense, a whole. They are not an individual. And when the higher sheaths depart, or dissipate, the body decomposes. The cells do not continue to maintain an organism.

That organism requires the second one, the pranamayakosha. Prana is bioelectromagnetic energy. And this is the energy that actually gives life to the cells. If you don’t have a flow of prana in your body, I don’t care how good your diet is or how good the air you breath, you won’t survive. And this has been known by the traditional Chinese medical practitioners who talk about the meridians. It’s not the nervous system. In yogic psychology they call them nadis, or rivers of energy that flow through and feed all of the cells with electric energy—literally—and enable them to communicate and cooperate, and for all of the organs to be synchronized with each other, etc. etc. The pranic flow is extremely important, but for various reasons the prana can be cut off from different areas of the body, and then you’ll begin to have symptoms within the organs that are not receiving enough prana. Or, in some cases, some will receive too much prana, and they’ll be accelerated and no longer synchronized with the actions of the body.

So, what enabled the prana flow and what manages it is the manomayakosha. Mano comes from manas which means “mind”, and so we can say it’s the mental sheath. Now, the mental sheath is actually what we can also refer to as the ego. It’s the level of the operating system of the body within the phenomenal plane.

But, in a well working organism, the manomayakosha takes its orders from the vigyanamayakosha. Vigyana means “wisdom”, and that’s the soul sheath. And so, the ego is supposed to be subordinate to, and serving, the soul. And following commands that the soul itself receives from a higher sheath which is called the anandamayakosha. Ananda means “bliss”, but it’s the bliss of the supernal Light that comes through it, that recharges the whole energy system every night when you’re in deep sleep. When you’re in deep sleep, and dreamless sleep, you touch into that light source that is the atman. And that, in turn, recharges the batteries of your soul which then gives your mind ability to think coherently when you wake up in the morning and to be able to meditate without falling asleep and things like that. But if you’re not connected, if there isn’t a complete attunement and connectivity between all of these koshas, eventually you’re going to have symptoms in the physical body. You’re going to have chronic cuts and glitches and you’re going to have disturbance in the mind. OK? And the mind will also end up being cut off from higher kinds of inspirations, ideas, creativity—the higher intelligence of the vigyanamayakosha.

So, what has happened, because the society today has basically indoctrinated people to live from the manomayakosha and to cut off the vigyanamayakosha, the mind has become less and less coherent. It doesn’t receive the energies from these higher koshas, and it becomes kind of a kosha nostra: the mind becomes a kind of a mafia that begins to operate as an independent, cancerous mechanism within the entirety of the organism. And this mafia that’s made up of the ego’s self-images and the superego images and all the various other fragments of mind that become sub-personalities, they are all in conflict with one another but they all want to get certain kinds of enjoyments by abusing the annamayakosha.

So, that’s basically what’s going on, and there’s an incoherent animal party going on at the annamayakosha level that has usurped your body and is using it for its enjoyment. And, therefore, rather than being productive and innovative and excellent any more, we have fallen into a state of tamasic inertia, and we would rather invest our time in video games rather than writing a great novel or downloading a scientific theorem or creating some new world from a higher level of consciousness.

And so, we are spending and exhausting our resources because we have trivialized our own being because we’re not connected to our being higher than the manomayakosha. And as long as there’s a cut between that and the higher sheaths and the ultimate source of consciousness at the atman or Paramatman levels, we will not have the energy or the intelligence or the will to be able to escape the situation that we’re in.

And the exhaustion level of our dead batteries because they’re not getting replenished—even at night because people don’t sleep well anymore. And most of the sleep time is taken up with bad dreams—which are actually messages that are trying to get through to you to help you change your life but, in fact, don’t have that effect. They simply cause you to want to take more anti-anxiety pills or whatever and not to analyze the dreams but to try and forget about them. So, people wake up not refreshed, not filled with new life energy and new inspirations that they’ve had in deep sleep, but, instead, wake up groggy and without any new life force. And because of that, we’re getting weaker and weaker. And we’re aging faster. And our capacity for hope and creativity is dissipating into nonexistence.

So basically, that’s the state of the union—or disunion. To sum it up: the postmodern ego structure suffers from two contradictory and yet coefficient traits. It’s both infantile in its attitude towards life, way over simplistic and naïve and wanting everything now, and being demanding and having temper tantrums if it doesn’t get its way. It has a very childish approach to life. And, on the other hand, it’s totally senile: it’s rigid, it thinks it knows everything—but it doesn’t know anything, and it just wants to die. It doesn’t really have any life spark left. And so, you have this infantile/senile complex going on that has no actual capacity to live in the present, and because of that kind of a complex, people haven’t any ability to function anymore.

To get out of that, we have to get out of the ego. There isn’t any halfway measures that will do it. But as long as the ego prefers the potency that money gives it—which is a false potency rather than the potency of consciousness which is available to us if we would only explore what consciousness is possible to achieve if we would only access it at a higher level than the ego. But that’s hard. That takes work. That takes meditation. Whereas, you can use your money and buy an immediate gratification. You don’t have to do any of that. So, people are choosing that, and that, of course, is bringing money to having less and less value.

So, because the ego is split in this infantile/senility, it can’t really make any commitments to itself, to life, to other people. It can’t sustain love relationships. It can’t make a commitment, even, usually to being in a community. It can’t make a commitment to a job, a profession, to anything because it never knows how it’s going to feel in the next moment because it’s so emotionally unstable and fragmented into these different aspects that are totally contradictory to one another.

So, people, generally, will choose either a life of immediate enjoyment—those who can do it will pick a life of social success or some kind of minor achievement—whether it’s in rock music or being a model or a porn star—but some kind of limited success and they will tend to have a belief in limitation, in scientism, and materialism and won’t be able to think in a larger possible paradigm of what reality really is. And even though people have broken away from their families geographically and psychologically—at an external level—people are very tied to the internal family system that they carry with them in the form of the superego voices that do not allow them to change. There’s an internal resistance and attack upon you if you were to try to make a commitment to a spiritual life, for example, to taking seriously the idea of being a spiritual revolutionary. The resistance that you would feel internally would, usually, be overwhelming.

And so, those who can’t do that will try to settle for some kind of maybe political or social activism or intellectualism, or they will just take a lot of powerful drugs and forget the whole thing. But there is no way from within the ego to get out of the ego’s stuckness and incoherence. It can’t be done from within the ego itself. So, there’s a catch-22, for although you know you’re trapped, and you want to want to get out of the trap, you can’t actually want to get out of the trap.



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