Let’s attempt something ridiculous here: summing up the human ego in a 1500-word essay.
Not possible, you say?
Perhaps, but I rarely shy away from a personal challenge. I even decided to waste 32.5 words writing this short intro, because my ego doesn’t “believe” in failure.
Hm. Our perfect place to start…
What is belief?
An amazing thing. It’s a word bandied about as carelessly as “love.”
I love my wife, I love beer. I love my kids, I love my car.
I believe in God, I believe in science. I believe in aliens, I believe we’re alone in the Universe. I believe in monogamy before marriage, I believe hand-jobs in high school make you popular.
I believe, I believe, I believe…
Jesus, I fucking hate that word. When someone starts a sentence with “I believe,” you can pretty much guarantee open-mindedness won’t be part of the forthcoming conversation.
Why is that?
Because beliefs are egoic definitions. If you rag on someone’s belief, you attack the very nature of who they think they are. And, no surprise, that pisses ‘em off.
True debates between humans don’t really happen anymore. Not in a typical Western setting, anyway. You ever shut your mouth, sit back, and listen to two people talk? It’s fucking punishing. All they do is take turns babbling about themselves, waiting for the other to trail off so they can begin again, not listening to a fucking word the other is saying unless it relates to a story about themselves, which they grab hold of and twist into their own relevant tale.
If you haven’t noticed by now, people are really, really into themselves. Listening is a dead art. The name of the game is me, me, me. And in order to define me, me, me — the ego — it’s necessary to continuously expound the components that comprise me, me, me — beliefs.
Without making this too much of a semantics game, let’s point out the inherent problem with the word belief — at its simplest level, it means “I don’t really know for sure, but the model serves my current understanding of reality.”
That would be fine and dandy if people recognized this. But they don’t. Despite learning new information that makes a belief obsolete, humans will choose to desperately cling to their “models” as long as possible, only kicking it to the curb when a direct experience gives them no choice but to admit their understanding was erroneous.
Why is this so?
Because beliefs are integral to their ego-personality. To redefine a belief means redefining self, which most people are terrified to do. It’s an admission of fallibility. It’s an admission of being stupid. It’s an admission: “All the shit I’ve been spouting the last 20 years is fucking wrong, so what does that say about my worth on this planet?”
The ego doesn’t like that.
Direct experience trumps a belief.
Have you ever heard a human utter any of the following phrases?
I believe in gravity.
I believe in the sun.
I believe in rain.
I believe jamming a hot poker up my ass might cause irritation.
Of course not.
Because we’ve all experienced those things first hand. Well, maybe not the hot poker thing, that was just stupid comedy. But how many of us have met God face to face? How many of us have walked on the moon or been to space? How many people lived 65 million years ago to know a comet wiped out the dinosaurs? How many of us have carbon-dated soil to corroborate any of the asinine theories our loving scientists dictate to us as fact?
Pretty much fucking none I know, myself included.
But that doesn’t stop people from saying, “I believe in God. I believe in global warming. I believe a statistically irrelevant virus is killing humans all over the planet, so I’ll put on a surgical mask, rubber gloves, and stand six feet away from my loved ones for the rest of my days, while following ludicrous one-way stickers until the media tells me I no longer have to.”
Not having direct experience to prove or disprove information proffered is of no consequence in these situations, because the ideas are integral to defining one’s ego.
Unless you’ve experienced a thing first-hand, your “belief” is nothing more than theory. Ego-defining theory.
Why is that so difficult to understand?
Because of fucking science.
Science is supposed to be our unbiased tool to help us understand the reality we live in. It’s supposed to be dispassionate in observation, encompassing all things existential. The scientific method is simple and logical: create an hypothesis, run an experiment, examine the results. Do the results jive with the hypothesis? If yes, run more experiments to validate. If no, develop a new hypothesis, and always stay vigilant that your next observation may make your theory obsolete. Simple.
But if you haven’t been paying attention for the last 300 years, science ain’t about impartiality. Science doesn’t like discarding theories when a shitload of money is at stake. Science has become our new global religion.
The junk theories that are bandied about as “fact” are truly insulting to our species. Well, insulting to people who can still manage a critical thought once in a while. There are enough people out there who question shit in the comfort of their home, saying, “Hmm, something about this doesn’t quite add up,” but will never introduce the dialogue in public, for the basic fear of “holocaust denier syndrome.” That’s a media-driven condition that boils down to: “If you don’t accept the official narrative, you may be a radical, extremist, conspiracy-nutjob, or terrorist. We may even put you in jail, or delete your precious Facebook account.”
Most people won’t question a Fox News story declaring “stress” to be a leading cause of physical ailments. Why? Because the public can relate to “scientifically proven” findings through their own direct experience — overthinking mundane shit you feel the need to impossibly control tends to leave you tired, withered, and ill.
If they can make that simple connection, then why isn’t the corollary feasible? If science admits negative thoughts make you sick, why don’t they acknowledge positive ones can heal?
Scientists will concede the “placebo effect” is worthy of consideration, but will quickly run away from their tenured roundtables before expounding the implications of their findings.
If 30-75 percent of a control group is healed taking sugar pills as readily as the ones taking toxic drugs, shouldn’t that spark an incentive to throw a billion dollars toward a government-funded think-tank to understand why the effect is consistent?
You won’t see too many Fox News stories about healing cancer through laughter. Why? Because it’s absurd. Everyone knows that cancer can only be treated effectively by running repeated doses of poison through the body, in hopes the tumours die before a human’s will to live. It seems insane to write those words, but that’s the protocol of “advanced” medical treatment. We laugh at leech therapy, but let our loved ones go bald while being intravenously fed with toxic shit that would kill a puppy in one session.
What was that line from the Hippocratic Oath? Oh yeah:
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect…
….unless I’ve been trained by the most advanced Western medical school on the planet to write prescriptions for toxins in lieu of making the effort to uncover what’s causing their illness. The 3-hour nutritional course I was forced to endure during my 10-year training to become a doctor has made me an expert in everything the body needs to be healthy.
If you ever consider opening a healing clinic, claiming cancer could be remedied through detoxification protocols or dietary change, I can probably guarantee a team of soldiers in flak-jackets will someday pound on your door with a warrant to shut down your quackery business, no matter how many testimonials you’ve amassed from people who are now cancer-free. If you want to operate a healing centre, it might be time to brush up on your Spanish.
I’m outta words, so let’s end this chapter.
What is belief?
What is ego?
A made-up story.
What is “reality?”
Belief and Ego.
You can spend the rest our your days on this planet conforming to rules and regulations that you’ve been taught, or you can imagine new ways to explore the Universe.
Fuck the enlightened new-age asshole who tells you about becoming one with everything. Fuck the guru who charges 2 grand to attend their seminar. Fuck the self-help assholes who have all the answers. Fuck me as well.
You wanna evolve the creature you call self?
Just who the fuck do you think you are?