“Danger: real probability of the awakening of terror and dread, from which there will be no turning back.” ~ Ernest Becker
“Nothing that a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu can experience –self-transcendence, ecstasy, bliss, inner-light– constitutes evidence in support of their traditional beliefs, because their beliefs are logically incompatible with each other. A Deeper principle must be at work.” ~ Sam Harris
Quis custodiet ipsos custodies, is a Latin phrase attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires, which literally translates to “Who will guard the guards themselves?” The answer: we will. We must. If we are to have a humane world of loving tolerance and open-hearted compassion instead of blind ignorance and apathetic indifference, we must be the guards who guard the guards.
This requires questioning authority, which requires a leap of faith into non-faith, similar to thinking above mind with no-mind. Ironic, isn’t it? We need an out-of-faith experience, an above-faith experience, of healthy detachment in order to establish a platform for questioning authority.
The main culprit of our confusion seems to be our inability to separate religion from spirituality. What’s needed is a breach of our certainty, a tearing apart of the flag of our blind faith, an existential stretching of our all-too-parochial comfort zone, a way of untangling spiritual liberty from the tyranny of religion. Cracking the cosmic egg is a shattering of our secure foundations, a smashing of our rigid dogmas. Allow me to take you on a creed-crushing, faith-twisting journey through the so-called forces of good and evil, wherein I will reveal to you how to get power of pseudo-power. Let the sacred breach commence.
Ego & Soul
“Birds are not better than the eggs from which they have broken. Indeed, it could be said that a bird is one egg’s way of becoming other eggs. Egg is ego, and bird is the liberated Self.” ~ Alan Watts
Here you are: this tiny egg, a little bag of ego in an otherwise astonishing universe. But what you probably neglect to realize is that you are just as astonishing a universe yourself. It’s not so much that you have a self that looks out on a world, as much as it is that you have a plethora of selves, each with a multitude of sub-selves, that each look out upon a world through a finite-bias laden perspective.
From this disadvantageous perspective you attempt to pigeonhole truth. You vainly attempt to put all your eggs into particular baskets, even though, deep-down inside, you know that there is no knowing other than not knowing. There is no certainty other than uncertainty.
There is no kernel-truth other than the truth of constant change. This is equal parts a crippling concept as well as a liberating one. It cripples the ego, but it liberates the soul. The Ego wants the egg to stay intact, fearful of the unknown. The Soul wants to crack the egg wide open so that it can merge with everything else. It is courageous to discover new horizons.
“When you put all your eggs in one basket you must clutch that basket for dear life.” ~ Ernest Becker.
Inside this astonishing universe you are surrounded by many other astonished onlookers, billions of other little bags of ego, each with their own menagerie of sub-selves, each with their own idea of who they are. They too carry around baskets which they vainly attempt to put all their eggs into. They too are confused by their own pigeonholing of truth. And you begin to see how all of human history it has been the same thing over and over again; the same ego vanity, just with different egos; the same vain basket-filling, just with different baskets. Some baskets get overfilled. Eggs get thrown at people’s heads even.
Many bad rules, that aren’t based upon the rules of the cosmos, are created. Some are called laws, and they are bad laws. Many eggs get broken. Much confusion is had, and you see that it has been happening throughout the history of the human leitmotif. You realize that some revelation is at hand, but still you cling to your ego, like you cling to your basket full of eggs, out of abject fear of the unknown. But your Soul comes to you as your liberator, and the crack down the side of your precious egg is authentic and true, and it can no longer be ignored.
Good & Evil
“There is nothing either good or evil, but thinking makes it so.” –Shakespeare
Imagine becoming aware of the egg of your ego for the first time. The egg is a metaphor that represents everything you think you know. You become aware of it, and boom, it strikes you, there must be something more. But whatever it is, it’s unknown and possibly even unknowable.
It’s scary and adventurous all at once. That’s when the crack appears. That’s when your tiny Ego becomes liberated by your giant Soul. But that’s also when other people with their own egos and their own fears come in to take your liberated soul down a notch.
Their fear not only blinds them from testing the boundaries of their own precious egg, it compounds your fears about directly testing your own boundaries. So they sling words at you like “evil” and “sin” and “that religion is bad.” And they placate you with words like “good” and “righteous” and “this religion is virtuous.” But these words are more like fences than words, more like walls than good advice. And before you know it, you’re going along with it. You go through the motions of being a scared human being in a scary universe. Best to stay safe within the boundaries of the fence, you think to yourself. Best to remain secure behind the walls of human limitation, you reason.
And as you go through the motions of being a scared human being in a scary universe bombarded by scary laws that keep you scared and in line, you also go through the motions of having other scared people tell you what to do. They call themselves “authority,” and although you can see through their façade and see that they are also merely scared human beings going through the motions of being scared in a scary universe, you go along with it. How can you not?
I mean, there are holy commandments, and thou-shalt-nots, and sin, sin, sin! There are devils, and demons, and Satans, and wrathful, vengeful gods. There are scared laws made by scared men that keep you perpetually fearful. Your soul is petrified, a fossilized stone inside you. It must not be freed, because freeing it is somehow… evil? Huh? Like Blaise Pascale said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.”
Or maybe instead of being afraid you decide to dig down deep and discover something more powerful than anything else, something that gives you courage beyond courage, something that de-petrifies your soul and un-fossilizes your heart, a deep, primal energy that has its roots in the primordial soup of cosmic love: a divine sense of humor. Yes! This is your trump card. This is your Soul’s call to adventure. This is your most holy of holies, your divine liberation. And all of a sudden, out of the blue, you are a cosmic force to be reckoned with.
The crack in your cosmic egg is getting wider and wider. Suddenly you’re saying things like, “Jesus Christ can walk on water, but I can walk on Jesus,” or, “Ever mooned the devil under the pale dance lights?” or something crazy-witty like, “In the current zeitgeist the zealot’s zealous zenith zigzags to zero.” And the laughter can be heard rumbling through the halls of the gods. And the fumbling, stumbling, scared shitless social milieu is staring up at you in wide-eyed fearful wonder. But you don’t give a rat’s ass, because you’re free, Goddammit! And nothing can ever take that freedom away from you. Indeed, sometimes you have to wreck your life in order to truly live it.
Power & Pseudo-power
“Only now are you going your way to greatness. Peak and abyss, they are now joined together, for all things are baptized in a well of eternity, and lie beyond good and evil.” –Nietzsche
Just imagine yourself so completely free that even Nietzsche’s Ubermensch is just another stumbling ape going through the motions beneath you. Imagine tearing through hell decapitating demons, trumping devils, and murdering Satan on his pathetic throne. Imagine blitzkrieging through heaven toppling ivory towers, liberating angels of their pompous halos, and stabbing God strait through his self-righteous too-white heart (see: If you ever meet the Buddha on the road, kill him).
Imagine shredding sacred texts and using them as kindling in your lighting of the third fire. Imagine taking all the fear and spiritual trepidation, all the religious anxiety and ingenuous placation, and wrapping it all up in a giant bag of cosmic tomfoolery with the label “the jokes on you” and declaring to the powers-that-be, religious or otherwise, “shove this up your fear-mongering ass!” Then imagine subsuming the whole thing in a giant hug of cosmic appreciation; not in an angry way, filled with rage and vainglory, but in the spirit of high humor, filled with sacred vehemence and divine love.
Do you want to know what true power is? It’s being filled to bursting with sacred humor. It’s being jam-packed with divine love and high humor. It’s what both saints and evildoers alike are afraid of. There is nothing scarier to an already scared shitless human being going through the motions of being scared in a scary universe, than another human being revealing to them that he/she is definitively not crippled by fear.
This sends their doctrine-filled heads to spinning. It causes true believers with the fear of God in their hearts to shout “blasphemy!” It causes evildoers with the fear of love in their hearts to shout “impossible!” It causes angels to weep and demons to cower. It causes gods to bow at the feet of their true maker: us! Yes, we are the creators of gods.
True power is the revelation that only you have the power to let anybody else have power over you. Pseudo-power is the false power of scared men going through the socially programmed scared motions of being scared human beings in a scary universe. And the cosmic egg? Well, it is cracked wide open at this point. If this thing we call “life” is indeed a test, then it must be a test of our sense of humor and our sense of playfulness, because from the inside looking out it is all ridiculously laughable. But that’s also what makes it so devastatingly beautiful. It’s what tears us apart with cosmic joy and earthly jouissance. It’s what has us caught up in the tug-of-war between spirit and flesh, between loving and letting go, between infinity and finitude.
It’s what Ernest Becker realized in his scathing vivisection of modern man, “Primitive man set up his society as a stage, surrounded himself with actors to play different roles, and then invented gods to address the performances to, raising himself to the stars and bringing the stars down into the affairs of men. And to think that when western man first crashed uninvited into these spectacular dramas, he was scornful of what he saw.
That was because western man was already a fallen creature who had forgotten how to play. Western man was being given a brief glimpse of the creations of human genius, and like a petulant imbecile bully who feels discomfort at what he doesn’t understand, he proceeded to smash everything in sight.” Praised be the unbound playful heart and the liberated humorous soul!