The line between ego and self

Dear Self,

I have given you a hard time over the years. You never seem to quite measure up. You needed to remember to stay in your place. You had too much to say and your emotions were annoying. You looked at the world through these jaded eyes I provided you with, looking at a body that I gave you and resented you for. It was never thin enough. My face was always a little too masculine, my thighs were always too fat. I blamed everyone else for my inadequacies, I feel like this because of society. Society has made me hate myself. I convinced myself that it wasn’t my responsibility to deal with how I felt. I wasn’t responsible for the way things were for me, it was because of the man, fuck the man. The man made the media and the man made me feel inadequate and the man destroyed the world.

But I am the man. We are the man. We are powerless because we believe we are. The man told us we were powerless and we believed him. We bought into it because it was easier that way, it gave us someone to blame for all the uncomfortable bits of ourselves. It gave us someone to be responsible for waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, for looking at ourselves in the mirror and feeling empty, like surely we were something more. It gave us a reason not to be something more. I can’t. I have a mortgage/children/to work/to be responsible. They are tricking us, we say, look at their lies, we say in conspiracy forums. Look at their omissions we say. Look at how they treated the indigenous of our various nations, we say as we buy our Nike shoes, as we get cheap clothes made in sweat shops, as we buy meat farmed in factory farms. While we make choices that we justify by seeing something else’s rights as less than our own, or worse as justifying our actions through suggesting we’re helping these people or animals. It sounds pretty similar to the way that white people justified their actions in colonisation.

We don’t have a choice we say, while using our money to vote for not having a choice… in our capitalist economy where money is your vote. But we don’t have a choice. I have to buy cheap meat, clothes, milk, because how will I feed/clothe/hydrate myself? We give them back the power everyday because it makes us uncomfortable to ask questions that don’t suit us. We’re happy to question authority, but we still want to look cool doing it. We still want our ipads and cars. We just don’t like someone else telling us what to do… like telling us what masculinity and femininity look like for example, or what attractiveness is as a concept… oh wait, we are told that. We will judge anyone we can find who doesn’t fit socially constructed versions of “normal,” because it makes us feel less vulnerable, for a second. But fuck the man for controlling my life. I can see you, ego, in all of this blame, I can see you thinking you’re protecting me while at the same time distracting me. I can see you offering me this path of ease, this path of not my faults. I like you ego, but you are not who I am.

Dear ego, you still see the world as filled with resources. And somewhere in the depths of me I know this is inaccurate. I know that the word resource has restricted English speaking human kind for centuries. It has stopped us from seeing the pattern we exist in, the infinite loops of reciprocity that we could be part of. But we end the loop. We label things resources, stuff to be used. Stuff to be turned into something else useful and then abandoned as waste. There is no return to the cycle. There is only use. According to google:

resource
noun
noun: resource; plural noun: resources
  1. 1.
    a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.
    “local authorities complained that they lacked resources”
    synonyms: assets, funds, wealth, money, riches, capital, deep pockets;

And ego, I hear you ask: what about renewable resources? That just means stuff we can use again more quickly than non-renewable stuff which we can’t use again. The whole resource based economy and linguistic system is based on how we can use bits of the world, it has no reflection of what we can give back to the world. What we can give.  This might sound like silly altruism. It isn’t. If we’re giving back to the system that supports us, it will continue to support us. We benefit ourselves more.

So who is the man? Someone outside of me? When you were growing up- did your parents tell you why you weren’t allowed to swear? Did they tell you the real reason? Do you even know what the real reason is? Did you do it around your friends BECAUSE they told you not to? I did. Did they tell you why they were in charge? Did they tell you the real reason? Do you know what the real reason is? Did they tell you why you needed to do your homework? Why you needed to be kind to other people? Why you couldn’t eat lollies all the time? Why not to talk to strangers?

Dear ego… were your parents trying to protect you? Did you need to just be told things, that weren’t all of the information, because you probably wouldn’t understand all the information yet? Or because they didn’t really know why either? Or because they were just doing what they were told too? Did your parents always make the best decisions? Did they never ever make mistakes? Did they never get drunk or take drugs or forget to pick you up from school? Did they sometimes lie to you? To protect you from some fear that only they could see? Or to make you behave? Like: if you don’t behave the bogey man will get you? Or don’t talk to strangers because they are bad people? These examples may not exactly fit your life. They may not be exactly what happened to you, maybe you didn’t even have parents, what do I know?

Dear ego, you can say the man hid information from you, lied to you, hurt things, manipulated truth, made terrible decisions, is responsible for all your pain and suffering… but in the end you don’t sound that different from a petulant teenager filled with angst. The man does terrible things, but you give the man power to do terrible things. The man is like a parent on super mega steroids, drunk with the power or control that you relinquished. Hey ego, did you really want to know why the man invaded Iraq? Did you want to know why he covered up information “lied” to you? Did you really want to know? Did you stop driving your car? Did you stop using electricity? Did you stop consuming? Did you stop buying McDonald’s, did you start only buying organic, free range meat? Did you stop buying sweat shop clothes? Did you stop dressing according to fashion, did you stop finding particular kinds of men/women attractive, did you stop going on facebook? I know I didn’t. I know my ego smoothed it all out for me, told me it was all okay (I could have my cake and eat it too): I didn’t like the repercussions of our knowing the answers. It’s the same as when we were children and became adults, because knowing the answers meant we were responsible for ourselves. We could finally see why we needed to take responsibility. Ego, if you want to question the man, do so, the man needs questioning, take your power back… but realise that the man is the God of all of the systems that raised you, every ideology you hold to be true… like power being good (but powerful people are bad), like emotions being bad, like hippies being naïve, like normality being defined in the way it does, like resources being resources, like tribes being “primitive,” like owning the computer you’re reading this on, like buying food from supermarket chains, like the mentally ill being mentally ill, like your version of the world being the only one possible, like you being right and this/that/her/him being wrong. Like everything you know without even knowing you know it. Like every definition you ever learnt, like every word that exists. Like all the stuff you ignore because it makes you uncomfortable…

Like everything. EVERYTHING. Questioning the man is not just about asking why marijuana isn’t legal because you want to smoke it. It’s about asking why you want to smoke it in the first place. You are the man. Be the powerful force you were born to be. Dear ego, calm down. Relax. Everything is going to be okay. Walk the walk before you talk the talk.

Dear self. You are as powerful as you choose to be. One soul filling a body with organs that perform miracles everyday, turning one kind of energy into other kinds of energy… collecting data from a perceived outside world which may or may not look anything like what that guy perceives or Hitler perceived or Ghandi perceived or Jesus Christ perceived or that homeless guy perceives.

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