Friday, May 27, 2016

The Politics of the Big Lie

There is almost no better story on the lies of the ego than the story of Ucle Laban in Genesis, the story of false promises is the story that 'makes the world go round.' False promises galore everywhere. It is the bedrock of the twelve tribes of Israel, man's life in the ego's world of time and space. In modern literature there is Goethe's story of Faust, and of selling one's soul to the devil. And, infamously, there is Hitler's notion of the Big Lie, which Wikipedia sums up as follows: "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." In the end it became most famous because of Goebbels' use of it, as expressed in this quote: "The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." (see Wikipedia article).
Later on it was to get worked out in literary form to its logical extreme by George Orwell, in the form of Newspeak, with terms like "truth ministry."

All of these are merely reflections of the central feature of the ego thought system, the phenomenon the Buddhists call "monkey mind," and as describe in the Course, when it speaks about how our mind is split in duality between ego and Holy Spirit, between wrong and right mind:
Remember the Kingdom always, and remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost. The Mind that was in me [is] in you, for God creates with perfect fairness. Let the Holy Spirit remind you always of His fairness, and let me teach you how to share it with your brothers. How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you? The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first.  Alternate interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was made.
The ego speaks in judgment, and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision, much as a higher court has the power to reverse a lower court's decisions in this world. The ego's decisions are always wrong, because they are based on the error they were made to uphold. Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. (ACIM:T-5.VI.3:1-4.4)
In other words the strategy of the separation thought (ego) in the mind is simply to control the press, as is always done by dictatorial regimes. The ego's illusion is that there are different truths for different people and we can make truth what we want it to be. This is why there is no hope unless and until we come to the realization that something is not working, and eventually nothing is working, and we end up looking for "another way."

One lie or many lies?

The bottom line is that there is really only one lie at the foundation of the ego thought system, and that is that we are not as God created us, or, to put it differently, that ideas do leave their source - two different ways this issue is expressed in the Course. To that extent then, the level confusion of thinking we're the dream figure, and not the dreamer of the dream is the fundamental lie our ego is constantly trying to cover up, by keeping us 'entertained' with our bodily adventures in this world of time and space. And to the extent that the decision to identify with the ego is buried in our unconscious, the adventures of our life serve to keep the decision for the ego deeply buried, and keep us busy moving the deckchairs on the titanic. The constant mind chatter serves no other purpose than maintaining the ego's temper tantrum in all of its high-pitched intensity, so our mind should stay engrossed in the dream, for there's simply too much to do and worry about. Clearly Plato's allegory of the cave, which is implicitly referenced in the Course is one of the clearest cultural myths: we are glued in the seats of the theater of the world, fixated on the screen, and totally identified with the adventures of our hero on the stage - our false identity and bodily self - incapable of even turning our head around to see the light, and to realize that the images on the wall are mere shadows cast by the light outside, and figments of our imagination. Not only that, we'll muffle or kill off anyone who would attempt to tell us otherwise.

Since in the ego thought system the refraction of light ensures that what was one appears as many, the one lie takes on many forms, and we can spend the rest of our lives fighting the lies of the world, like Don Quijote and Sancho Panza, fighting the windmills. We will be totally preoccupied with fighting the evil in the world ("out there"), and never have to wake up to the fact that all the lies of the world are just a cover over the one lie our ego does not want us to see, our choice of "selling our soul to the devil," to put it in Faustian terms. Or, in abstract philosophical terms our choice for duality instead of oneness. In oneness, truth is true and everything else is a lie, and in duality truth is different for everyone, and hence it is always a Darwinian battle of one or the other.

My favorite saying to describe this condition is the old latin adage:
Mundus vult decipi, decipiatur ergo. (Eng.: The world wants to be fooled and therefore she will be. Cited in St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, and often ascribed to Petronius.)
And the reason we want to be deceived, is because we are projecting out the deception we accuse ourselves of, where we shattered the peace of Heaven, and launched our own substitute reality, but we won't accept responsibility for our actions and project it on others instead, leaving us in the victim role, proclaiming our innocence. In other words, the ego's addiction to victim scripts (including being deceived) is sustained in the Freudian sense by the secondary gain of obfuscating our self-accusation of being a guilty sinner who has shattered the peace of Heaven. The corollary to that is that the world loves helping helpless victims because again it covers up our self-accusation of similarly being guilty sinners who shattered the peace of Heaven.

Original 'sin' and originality, or lack thereof...

The Buddhist term "monkey mind" becomes more brilliant the longer you think of it, for the ego, by definition has never had an original thought. The thought of separation is the thought of copying God, and starting to play God on our own, or as the Course puts it, I want it thus! - here is the quote in full:
Dreams are perceptual temper tantrums, in which you literally scream, "I want it thus!" And thus it seems to be. And yet the dream cannot escape its origin. (ACIM:T-18.II.41-3)
With a litttle bit of humor we could say that the ego is the original copy cat, so that, if indeed monkeys like to mimic behavior, the monkey mind does nothing else than 'playing God,' in a substitute reality of its own choosing, which is the dream that serves to forget our reality in Heaven. And, unsurprisingly (for those who've studied Freud a bit), in the dream we then project out the deception and become victim of a thousand deceptions. All of the monkey mind (to use a Course term, "the thoughts you think you think") is nothing but 'Newspeak,' for its very purpose is to obfuscate our reality:
It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. You think you think them, and so you think you see them. This is how your "seeing" was made. This is the function you have given your body's eyes. It is not seeing. It is image making. It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions. (ACIM:W-15.1) 

Some favorite lies and what to do about them

What to do about them is of course to forgive them. It is the only way out, however, that does not mean foregoing the need to get to the bottom of them, except if your mission is forgiveness, what will happen is that in the process of the 'dressing down,' you will uncover ever deeper layers of your own need to be fooled, and all the emotional attachments that keep the ego's amusement park (a.k.a. the world) going. The best ego strategy is the victim role. Nothing is more effective than if you have somebody else (the scapegoat) to blame for all your troubles - the unconscious goal is to absolve yourself of all responsibility, and feeling like an innocent, blameless victim.
In my own life, and in our culture in general, there are always lies aplenty, and they are all useful classrooms, if you put the Holy Spirit in charge, and not the ego, because with the ego all they are is a battlefield on which everybody loses. Some examples:

  • The never ending story of cults, religious, political and business. Steve Hassan and his Freedom of Mind resource center are the go-to resource in this area.
  • The 'healthcare' racket, a.k.a. the medical industrial complex is another cultural lie that is slowly devouring us all. A lot of healthcare spending is really sick care, for there's more money in keeping us sick, at least as long as we can pay the bills... but that's increasingly questionable. The seminal book on this subject is perhaps Ivan Illich's 1976 book, recently re-released under the title Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health. There's a lot afoot in this area, but there seems to be a budding awareness that taking responsibility for ourselves is somehow key to it all, and Jan Willem van Aalst recently summed it up with a wonderful post on The Victim Gland.
  • Currently in the US, there's the battle of pyramid schemes, which are a form of business cults, complete with their own Newspeak. One of the best sites is that of British critic David Brear, MLM, The American Dream Made Nightmare. His own family was devastated by the association of his brother with Amway, and David is performing a real public service by helping to unravel the Newspeak, for in the MLM version of Newspeak, the 'dream stealers' are the people who have figured out that 99.9% of people lose money in pyramid schemes. This industry has gone to incredible lengths to subvert the language in a way that would have done Goebbels proud. The bottom line is that the 'MLM business opportunity,' is simply yet another way for fools to be separated from their money. It is also a festival of victimhood.
  • Another classic of course was the denial of the link of smoking and lung cancer, which is now being repeated on the e-cigarette and hookah front.
  • Still going on is the scam of fluoridation of drinking water. In my native Holland it was introduced in the 1960's, but after the scientific fraud behind it was uncovered in the 70's, the practice was discontinued. When I arrived in the USA in '79, I was surprised to find they had not received the memo yet, and the levels of complication and CYA tactics to cover up how fluoride even ended up in our drinking water are beyond belief.
  • Clearly, all addictions of any kind are forms of 'living the lie,' and the results are devastating. Yet the cover-up is very clever. 80 heroin deaths a day in the US is a national crisis, but 1,600 daily deaths from cardio-vasculare disease are somehow business as usual, and even the government continues to support bad nutritional and agricultural policies and advice. Evidently, the addiction to the Standard American Diet (SAD) is alive and well, and officially endorsed.
Nothing will ever be resolved unless and until we start to recognize that all of these are just so many forms of idolatry, of substituting yet another "Big Lie" for the truth, and... that it takes two to tango, so victims and victimizers need each other to keep the amusement park (kudos to Jed McKenna for that term!) in business.

One day it may dawn on us what Exodus meant in 20:3: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Simply put, truth is one, only truth is true, and anything else is a lie, but we're all slow to give up "other Gods," until we start generalizing and seeing through them wholesale, meaning the differences between all the scams of the world are insignificant, and once the sameness is understood, the magic of Maya is losing its lustre. Eventually, we will give up wanting to be deceived, as we learn, through forgiveness that truth has not changed by our nightmare dreams, and all we need to do is wake up. Hence the Course speaks of:
The world stands like a block before Christ's face. But true perception looks on it as nothing more than just a fragile veil, so easily dispelled that it can last no longer than an instant. It is seen at last for only what it is. And now it cannot fail to disappear, for now there is an empty place made clean and ready. Where destruction was perceived the face of Christ appears, and in that instant is the world forgot, with time forever ended as the world spins into nothingness from where it came. (ACIM:C-4.4) 
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