Become a Deep Activist — Want to change the world? Spend more time in your armchair!
07 May 2016
Unless we embrace deep activism, we will never bring about positive global change. This is because activists who do not first remove their own pathologies unconsciously recreate societal pathologies. Without deep activism we only maintain the status quo.
WE LIVE IN INSANE TIMES, because we ourselves are insane. We live in times of the erosion of liberty and free speech, because we ourselves are not psychologically or energetically free. We live in times of social disharmony and wars, because we ourselves are not at peace and feel separate to others. And we live in times of environmental destruction and biological compromise, because we ourselves have have toxic selves and closed hearts. The world is a mirror of our collective consciousness.
This connection between the inner and outer worlds is not new for those who are more holistically minded. Most of us are aware that there is some correlation… but generally we have seen this link at best as synchronistic or psychological… something more of fleeting interest than of practical use or direct consequences.
But just suppose that this connection is more than just a synchronistic correlation. Suppose it is a direct link because the outer and inner worlds are one and the same, just as an object and its reflection are one and the same. In other words, what goes on in the world IS what is going on inside of us, and vice versa.
What links the inner and outer worlds is consciousness, which actually means that even the so called "outer world" is in fact inside us as well. Everything is inside consciousness. Perhaps a better definition of the outer world is "shared dreams" because it is indistinguishable from our inner world except for the fact that "others" seem to share it too. (And of course, "others" is also a contrivance for seeming different perspectives that we don't usually identify with.)
Most importantly, this direct correlation between the inner and outer worlds provides us with a powerful means to change the world. It is the ultimate activism: some might call it Deep Activism to reflect the central role of consciousness in bringing about change. But it is an activism anathema to the hypocrisy of traditional activism because it requires us to identify and accept our own intimate role in the chaos and destruction that we are witnessing in the world today, whereas in traditional activism that role is denied leading us to act in a contradictory manner.
So let us look in more detail at a few of the big issues we are collectively facing. These include:
- loss of happiness
- loss of liberty
- wars and conflict
- degenerative diseases
- environmental destruction
- societal chaos and insanity
And let us see how these issues correlate with inner states, which in turn will give us the most effective means to heal these issues both in ourselves and in the world at large. You will notice that they are all actually different facets of the same issue, and the solutions outlined are similar.
1) Loss of Happiness
External World: Humans are generally unhappy. Whether we are fixated on consumerism or survival, it would seem that societies everywhere are living in increasing fear and anger. Politicians, bankers and corporate elite are taking us in directions that are not in the interests of society at large, implementing large-scale social engineering programs in order to consolidate their power, wealth and control — turning the 99% into their servants. And the main tool used to sow seeds of unhappiness is the mainstream media, which programs fear, rage, greed, narcissism, superficiality and powerlessness into our hearts and minds.
Internal Reflection: From an inner perspective what we are seeing is the unrestricted growth of the pathological ego or pathego, and this is fractally reflected at every level of society. Indeed, the emotions of fear, anger, greed, powerlessness etc. are classic pathego indicators. So the 1% elite who are taking this world to the brink are actually just a reflection of our own pathego, nothing more and nothing less. And our own pathegos are being fed by the mainstream media, social media (which is mostly ego veneration) and keeping company with other pathego driven individuals. So the greatest act of rebellion is actually to move from a pathego to a healthy ego, for only then will society be truly transformed, and only then will we find happiness.
Finding Real Happiness: How do we change the pathego into a healthy ego? If we are not distracted by survival needs, we actually spend most of our time in pathego self-reinforcement. This takes place at the mental level which is constantly injecting excessive identity into our experience and activities, so that we become lost in the "story of I". To unravel that story — to counter this constant fixation on the ego — we need to be able to sit for periods with silent minds (silent minds are minds that have learned to stop constantly spinning out virtual realities involving identity. Some call this meditation, some call it prayer, some call it quiet contemplation and some call it just sitting still… but at their core they are all actually the same thing: disengagement from life's official scripts.
2) Loss of Liberty
External World: When we look at the world we see many issues regarding the loss of liberty in supposedly free democratic countries. Our freedoms are being rapidly eroded by governments, corporations and other private organisations who do not want the democratic process censoring or interfering with plans and agendas that are not in the public interest. Centralisation of power, something anathema to democracy, is either being justified using false flag events and the spectre of manufactured fear and terrorism, or is being sneaked through without public awareness with the collusion of an imbecilic and superficial mass media.
Internal Reflection: We enslave those who we do not trust to be free. And we do not trust those people we have no connection with. Therefore, the enslavement of humanity currently taking place rides on the back of our lack of connection to others, and that further rides on the lack of connection we have to ourselves. It is separation — us and them — that is causing enslavement, and at a deeper level, a distance between us and our innermost sense of existence. This enslavement is self-imposed as well as we psychologically enslave ourselves. So the 1% is actually as enslaved as we are.
Finding Real Freedom: It has to start with a fundamental trust in our innermost being. And that trust will never arise as long as we are over-identified with our physical bodies. For we cannot trust when we are identified with the very symbol of separation. We loosen that over-identification with the body by practises that reconnect us to the deeper parts of our being so that we become whole again. Such practises include meditation, prayer, isolation, silence, stillness, psychedelics, fasting, dance, tantra and introspection. It doesn't actually matter the path we take so long as we journey into consciousness itself, so that our awareness becomes whole rather than fragmentally identified with our separate bodies. This is the only way to find real freedom, and when we do, nothing can enslave us.
3) Wars and Conflict
External World: War and conflict seem to unfortunately be almost defining qualities of human civilisation. Even in the 21st Century, our leaders are repeatedly prepared to wage offensive wars and invasions that murder millions of people, including children. As the years roll on, our governments pour more and more money into killing and traumatising technologies so that, as a species, we get deadlier and deadlier… ever more efficient at mass-murder and population traumatisation. And we call this "civilisation"!
Internal Reflection: If you have ever been to a peace rally, you will have experienced the anger and hatred expressed by anti-war activists, which ironically is exactly the same anger and hatred that foment wars and conflicts. The rage of the activist might appear to be "justified", but it still adds conflict and separation to the world. It reinforces the "us-and-them" perspective that triggers every increasing cycles of anger and hatred, and these push us into conflict, whether we are on the "good" or "bad" side. (How sides are labelled often depends on which side we are on.) We feel justified supporting conflict with other nations and other groups of people in our own nation murdering others because we believe they represent a threat to our existence or way of life, a believe constantly being reinforced by the media.
Finding Real Peace: The solution is not to fight for peace, for fighting for anything only gets us grooved into fighting — practised in anger. If we truly want peace, we need to realise peace in ourselves. And that will usually necessitate a practice of "non-action" and open acceptance until the peace is able to pervade our actions as well. So finding real peace must start with stillness and silence… not out in the world but in our own hearts. Paradoxically, we need to be able to unconditionally accept reality in order to realise authentic peace, even the reality of war and conflict. Only in the soil of unconditionality can we grow into peaceful beings whose actions carry real hope for global peace. Until then, we will continue to play the game of "raging peace" and voting for governments and politicians that vicariously murder and torture in the name of "freedom, democracy and peace".
4) Degenerative Diseases
External World: As most of us live longer than our forebears (although this is now changing), our extended lives are increasingly blighted by the pain and suffering of degenerative diseases such as heart and vascular diseases, cancer and dementia/Alzheimer's. Indeed, cancer alone will soon be affecting 1 in 2 of us at some point in our lives, just as vascular diseases already do. From a physical perspective, the official reason for this increase in degenerative diseases is the fact that we are living longer, although it is much more likely that the primary cause is the hugely toxic environment we are now living in and our unhealthy modern diets.
Internal Reflection: We are frightened of physical degeneration because we regard it as a degeneration of who and what we are because we are so identified with our bodies. So any degeneration of the body is taken very personally by the self. So the real question is: why are creating selves that we are unable to maintain and that need to go into a downward spiral of degeneration? The fact is that we live in an age where, not just the environment, but the self is getting more and more toxic… more and more narcissistic. And in that milieu, we live in the age of degeneration of self.
Finding Real Wholeness: To stop the need for degeneration of body we need to realise and maintain a healthy self. And that can only happen when we stop following practices that reinforce our narcissism and self-obsession, and open ourselves up to growth and change. This necessarily involves cutting away from the mainstream media (and some of the alternative media), as well as cutting back our obsession with social media ego-grooming websites. Indeed, the selfie now ubiquitous with social media should carry a health warning! As long as we are addicted to self aggrandisement, which limits real growth, we degenerate. It is the presence of the pathego that is causing so much disease. But the solution is not to deny the ego altogether, which is a common in some spiritual circles. A pathological ego pretending to be no-ego also leads down the road to degeneration.
5) Environmental Destruction
External World: We are teetering on the edge of environmental collapse and our species' suicide as we destroy ever more of this beautiful life support system called Earth. Every year, 46 to 58 thousand square miles of forest are lost, forest systems that are not only the lungs of the world but home to countless species of animals and plants. Forests are cleared for their wood and to make room for the animal agriculture industry. Indeed, in the tropical belt it is estimated that each pound of beef produced, 200 square feet of rainforest needed to be destroyed. So just an "innocent" visit to a burger outlet is actually an orgy in environmental destruction.
Internal Reflection: We are disconnected from the consequences of our choices, not just in the external world but in the internal world too. And that disconnection means that the immediacy of our suicidal behaviour is not actually apparent to us. We "act out" dysfunctional addictions and other destructive behaviours without regard to their consequences because we are fixated with ourselves and our own interests. By closing off to our empathy, compassion and connection, we develop a toxic self that unconsciously destroys all that it touches. The world is toxic because we are toxic. The world is dying because we are dying. The pathego is insane and will destroy even its own life-support-system if given half a chance.
Finding Real Ecology: To be respectful of our external environment we have to be respectful of our internal environment. This requires us to step out of pathego-fixation, again by avoiding practices that support the pathego and moving towards practices that open us up to empathy and connection. As long as we are fixated on "self" we are undertaking an internal slash and burn policy reflective of what is going on in the external world. The toxicity of the contrived self is programmed into us by society and the media because toxic selves buy more things; narcissists make the best consumers. But these toxic selves are also eco-bombs that play out hugely dysfunctional and destructive behaviour. So again everything comes back to countering our pathego tendencies that will allow us to make more responsible choices.
6) Societal Insanity and Chaos
External World: Every day, it seems, we face increasing cruelty, irrationality, hatred, vacuity and narcissism, which have become the new norm. The increasing centralisation of power in modern society brings ever increasing opportunities for those with psychopathic tendencies to gravitate to positions of authority and control, giving deadly expression to their pathology and encouraging the rest of society to express the same pathology. And so our governments sow seeds of chaos and discontent with policies that rarely seem in the public interest, and as our leaders become more callous and cruel, we become more callous and cruel.
Internal Reflection: It is easy to blame governments for insane social policies, but those policies are rooted in each of us. Put most ordinary people into positions of power and sadly you soon find similar choices and behaviours. Society is insane because the pathego is insane. And power gives the pathego free expression. Fortunately we have a semblance of democracy and so power is somewhat dispersed amongst the people. But this dispersal of power is rapidly changing as the elite push forward programs that are undemocratically concentrating power into the hands of the corporate elite that now control the whole democratic process. And so the insanity we see in our communities today is the expression of the pathological ego that once again has the opportunity to create a collective living hell.
Finding Real Sanity: If you want a sane society you need to be sane yourself. But most of us are not even aware of our own insanity because we mistakenly believe it is normal to be infatuated with with the pathego. Fame, beauty, fashion and consumerism (desire fulfilment) — which are natural expressions of the pathego — are becoming society's chief focus as the pathego tightens its grip. So once again, countering ego-fixation is the central component in healing ourselves and our society. The pathego must be challenged if we want collective sanity, and that will require some level of discipline. (Indeed, a lack of discipline is a characteristic of the pathego which follows only its momentary desires.) Again, it is vital to disengage from the mainstream media and spend regular periods of time looking inwards in silence so that we have a chance to realise and then heal our own insanity.
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There are many that will dismiss the absolute importance of this sort of inner work because they will see it as navel-gazing or New Age passivity. Nobody wants to be labelled an armchair activist! But, paradoxically, it is only by spending time in our armchairs doing nothing that we have any chance of changing the world. Because unless we change inside, unless we become whole, all the sound and fury of traditional activism amounts to nothing. And that requires deep and quiet introspection. All true activism must grow out of fundamental passivity.
We mistakenly believe that the world has moved forward through angry protest... through aggressive resistance. But that is a misconception because we are so blinded by our pathegos. The world actually moves forward only when certain realized individuals have quietly opened the doors for the rest of humanity to follow. And those individuals have had to spend time in the forge of intense introspection. Otherwise, the pathego sneaks an agenda of ego recognition in all that we do, so that when pathego is present our actions are unconsciously motivated by identity-recognition rather than finding the actual situation at hand. This makes us poor activists: our actions may at first seem to align with what is needed, but in the long-term, we unconsciously steer off course into destructive decisions and behaviours — the hallmark of pathego identification.
This is why even the most idealistic and Utopian communities eventually and inevitably breakdown into chaos and animosity, bearing witness to hidden pathego agendas. You cannot build peaceful and harmonious communities on a foundation of pathego, no matter how principled, determined, loving, moral, wise, spiritual, enlightened or kind the members think they are. If the real work hasn't been done on the inside… forget it!
This can be illustrated with a couple of examples: Tom is a working class man and proud of it, and he fights against the elite for the rights and freedoms of the 99%. The only problem is that Tom is actually motivated by pathego rather than genuine altruism. By all appearances, even to Tom himself, he is fighting injustice, elitism and gentrification. But what he is actually motivated by is the regular reinforcement of his working-class identity. So what happens when Tom, by chance, finds himself in a real position of authority, perhaps after an election or even a revolution? Tom's pathego will immediately set about expressing the same abusive behaviour as those of the 1% he so despises. Indeed, in positions of power, unless he has done the inner work, Tom is very likely to become a tyrant because he has spent his life reinforcing his pathego, never thinking that maybe the hatred he felt for the elite and for gentrification was a strong indicator that his ego was/is pathological and that inner work needed to be done. This is not to say that the abuses of the elite should be accepted, only that the first and most fundamental step of addressing these abuses is to examine ourselves.
Another example of the importance of authentic inner work is Mia, a young, beautiful and spiritually-focused woman. Unfortunately, she also confuses divine love with self love so that her spirituality is mostly an expression of her narcissism. In other words, the princess self-image often found in young beautiful women has merely morphed into a goddess self-image — same pathology. Her pathego is feeding on the attention and praise that she receives for embodying the goddess, and she is becoming more and more fixated on her own beautiful divinity and divine beauty. She posts beautiful pictures of herself on social media, usually in spiritual or religious contexts, but she is blind to her own pathego because she believes that she is such a realised spiritual being that she is beyond ego. Mia actually means well and genuinely wants to heal the world, and is often quoting spiritual masters and emphasising the importance of love, but what she cannot fathom, with all her light and love, is why there is so much disharmony and disconnection in those around her. Her personal relationships are difficult and she feels isolated even in groups of friends (most of whom are envious sycophants). This disharmony and disconnection is actually the expression of her pathego, even though it seems to involve other people. The fact is that she has never undertaken serious inner work because she has been so distracted by her exterior and other people's reaction to it. Only when she gets older will she even have an opportunity to begin authentic spiritual development. Whether she takes that opportunity or not is another matter.
You may be wondering what the difference is between the pathego and a normal ego. For many, they are one and the same, and so you have whole spiritual movements which denigrate the ego. Indeed, it can be comical to watch spiritual people pretend to have no ego whilst all the time being excessively egotistical in their non-egoness (like Mia above). The fact is that an ego is a normal part of our psychological structure, and whether we are spiritually awake or asleep, it will always be present in some capacity. We can deny it is there and pretend that all action is happening automatically and without direction, but this is just a mind-game that we can play with ourselves. Egos are still present in awake people; they just take more of a back seat, just as the reptilian brain is still present in modern humans but takes a back seat in our overall brain functioning. Just because we grow past and integrate something does not mean that it ceases to exist.
A pathological ego develops when we either overfeed the normal ego, or try to deny it altogether. In both these situations, identity or non-identity (which is just another identity) becomes the chief focus of our thoughts and actions. This is when the ego no longer serves us; we serve the ego. In fact, ego validation ends up co-opting almost every aspect of our lives. And when that happens, mass reality creation turns toxic. But because we are not usually aware of own psychological toxicity, we do not even have an opportunity to see a correlation between our inner states and the state of the world. Rather, we chose to see ourselves as innocent victims to a pathological environment.
So we will never change the world until we acknowledge our central role in reality creation. The global crisis we are witnessing is in each of us. Right here… inside… right now. And we will never realise our role in what we experience until we stop feeding the pathego. And that can only be done by temporarily withdrawing from the world and facing our inner demons. If we look at the lives of those who really have changed the world for the better, we often see long periods of introspection at some point in their lives, introspection that has healed them from the inside so that they no longer unwittingly sow the seeds of dysfunction whilst doing "good".
Those who would like to see a different world often have a reluctance to withdraw from the world for periods of time because they believe that they might somehow get stuck permanently in passivity and inactivism. But this belief is not borne out in practice. In reality, periods of withdrawal fundamentally change a person so that he or she becomes a far greater catalyst for change… even directly through physical action.
So the next time someone accuses you of being an "armchair activist" remember that that spending time looking inside is a vital part to becoming an effective activist — a deep activist. Call it "navel-gazing" if you want, but whatever you call it, it has to be done regularly if you want to be a real agent for change. Otherwise you have inadvertently left your pathego in the driving seat, and we just have to look around the world today to see where that leads!