Thursday, March 30, 2006

Taboo: Trump Card of Ego-Obfuscation

In the first paragraphs of "The Laws of Chaos," (ACIM:T-23.II) the Course discusses the ego's strategy of obfuscation, in establishing a "hierarchy of illusions," in which "some are more valuable and therefore true." It is important to understand here that to the ego both the good and the bad are valuable, for anything that denies the oneness of spirit serves the ego's purposes.

As much as Religion in the true sense is the process of the sonship gathering itself unto itself, and re-uniting through forgiveness, so Religions are the worldly substitute that seek to enact the laws of chaos, make them sacrosanct, and to establish both sin and virtue in the world. In that sense moral codes of society are but an outflow of the same thought process, just leaving God out of it, which is simply the next step in the logical evolution of the ego thought system.

Taboos are enacted by the ego, and usually dressed up in religious overtones, in order to criminalize - literally or morally - certain behaviors, and thereby to establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that behavior is important and that behavior makes us sinful, thus serving to deny the fact that "sin" is merely a judgment, which can be reversed on appeal by bringing it to a Higher Court, the court of the right mind, or the Holy Spirit as the Course expresses it in Chapter 5, as follows:

- Quote
Being afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgment would also be against you.
Unquote (ACIM:T-5.VI.4:7)

- Quote
You need not fear the Higher Court will condemn you. It will merely dismiss the case against you. There can be no case against a child of God, and every witness to guilt in God's creation is bearing false witness to God Himself. Appeal everything you believe gladly to God's Own Higher Court, because it speaks for Him and therefore speaks truly. It will dismiss the case against you, however carefully you have built it up. The case may be fool-proof, but it is not God-proof. The Holy Spirit will not hear it, because He can only witness truly. His verdict will always be "thine is the Kingdom," because He was given to you to remind you of what you are.
Unquote (ACIM:T-5.VI.10:passim)

In other words the fear ("being afraid" in the first quote), which keeps the guilt intact is the fear that the Holy Spirit is right, and that we would be sinless indeed, for if so, the ego did not happen, and that is the last thing the ego wants us to hear. So rather than appeal the case, which would mean to choose the miracle, we refrain from doing so, preferring the devil we know (guilt, the ego), over the Holy Spirit we don't want to know as children of the ego.

The method of this obfuscation is always to criminalize, ostracise, or declare taboo certain extreme forms of the ego's acting out, and thereby to support the notion that only these extreme forms of the behavior are problematic, and implicitly to establish the overall ego behavior as normal and socially acceptable. The truth however, which the Course would have us see is that these extreme forms are merely that - extreme forms of a consistent behavior pattern, which IS the problem. And thus the outlawing of only certain forms of the behavior "help" us in seeing the problem outside ourselves, and never to recognize it within. So much for the logic of the ego system. Evidently this is what is meant by the observation that it is foolproof, not God-proof, for only a fool would believe the ego for very long.

It could be helpful to look at just a few examples of this behavior in practice. In the end it is really hilarious how the ego methodology is so simple and repetitive and easy to see through, if we allow ourselves to do so with the help of the Holy Spirit (otherwise we'd feel more guilty, not less). The purpose is always separation, and merely leaving heaven is not enough, for that keeps the memory still close, so then the belief in differences in the world becomes the next distraction, in order to keep us completely wrapped-up in the hierarchy of illusions. The obfuscation serves always that one purpose: to firmly fix the attention on a problem outside of ourselves, outside of our mind, where it can not be solved.

Thus MURDER and the taboo against it serves to distract the attention from the fact that the ego thought is itself a thought of murder, the murder of the oneness of Heaven, the murder of God.

And the taboo agains ADULTERY serves to hide the fact that the entire ego thought system is adulterous in the spiritual sense, for it betrays who we are (our true Self as Spirit), and has us seek outside ourselves for salvation - and it makes no difference if the paths we pursue are sinful or virtuous in the eyes of the world. In fact the virtuous paths often make for an even better disguise.

The taboo against PROSTITUTION seeks to disguise that the ego system in its entirety rests on our willingness to prostitute who we are, to who we are not (the ego), and taking as our reward the phenomenon we call our "life," our ability to live as a seeming individual separate from our Source.

The taboo against GAMBLING in that light is nothing but obfuscation of the ego's proclivity to tempting faith, as it reveals in the temptations in the garden, challenging Jesus that if you are God's son, why don't you jump from the top of the temple and see what happens. The ego always chooses an uncertain faith over the certain peace of who and what we are in truth.

The taboo against STEALING is again nothing but a veil over the fact that the very ego thought that we could steal a piece of the the sonship and have it to ourself (the false, ego-self, that is).

The taboo against WAR (excepting of course "just wars," which we relish) is again nothing but an easily recognized attempt to throw a veil over the ego's war against God, which is the very basis of its existence.

The taboo against SLAVERY serves as a veil over the fact that the entire ego system rests on our own enslavement to a false master (the ego), who keeps us firmly enchained in the thought system of sin, guilt and fear.

The taboo against ADDICTIONS, merely another form of slavery is the same, for the very basis of the ego system is seeking salvation outside of ourselves, in the form of something we think we do not have, ignoring the fact that this perception rests solely upon our willingness to identify with the ego's thought system that we are a separate self, outside of the wholeness of the sonship.

BLASPHEMY is another interesting example because of course only the ego's projected angry God would even mind anything we say at all, while the true God who created us as spirit and does not even know that in our deluded mind we think we are here and separated from him, and he would only love us since he would not even hear words at all.

MAGIC is yet another taboo, which merely obfuscates the fact that the entire ego thought system is nothing but magic, since it rests in its entirety on the reversal of cause and effect, and on our willingness to believe in the ego's upside-down hypothesis that we can change the cause by meddling with the effect.

The taboo agains SUICIDE in particular is interesting since it protects the foundation of the ego thought system, namely the ego IS the thought of killing off the whole, the Self we truly are so we could exist as an individual. Declaring suicide a taboo is again a wonderful way of denying altogether that this is where the ego system has its origin.

Another interesting taboo is S&M, which is a clear manifestation of another ego defense strategy, which is then treated as a taboo, and a problem, but secretly cherished and protected, to wit:

Sin shifts from pain to pleasure, and again to pain. 2 For either witness is the same, and carries but one message: "You are here, within this body, and you can be hurt. 3 You can have pleasure, too, but only at the cost of pain." 4 These witnesses are joined by many more. 5 Each one seems different because it has a different name, and so it seems to answer to a different sound. 6 Except for this, the witnesses of sin are all alike. 7 Call pleasure pain, and it will hurt. 8 Call pain a pleasure, and the pain behind the pleasure will be felt no more. 9 Sin's witnesses but shift from name to name, as one steps forward and another back. 10 Yet which is foremost makes no difference. 11 Sin's witnesses hear but the call of death.
" (ACIM:T-27.VI.2)

Once we begin seeing these connections, the spiritual origins of much Biblical symbolism also becomes much clearer. The original meanings of all these taboos are about our spiritual being, the behavior in our mind, which we CAN change, and not about the world of time and space, where we inevitably cannot change the past, only reinforce it, by keeping the guilt alive (doing justice and other virtuous ego-endeavors!). The world then reinterprets these spiritual principles and turns them on their head to apply them to the world of time and space and to bodies and behavior in that world, which is now our subtitute reality for Heaven, and in doing so these concepts become reinforcers of guilt, and guardians of the ego's thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, instead of guidelines showing us that we can change our mind about the world, as the Course would have us do.

As a corollary to all this we would have to say that taboos do not protect the sacred but rather protect the profane, and thus turn all of religious scholarship on its ear. That is perhaps the true April foolsday insight hidden in this material. Properly understood from the psychological insights of the Course it is totally clear that all of these taboos serve only the function of hiding from view what the ego system is upto. The are the guardians of the egos obfuscation of the substitution of truth which it represents.

It is at this point in the conversation that we should always be mindful that none of these reflections are intended to suggest that in the world we should not abide by the rules of engagement, and enforce them if that is our role. What this is about is not taking that too seriously either way.

Copyright, © 2006 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.