(Ensure that you’ve read “The Divide” post before putting much weight behind this one).
One of the things that I seem to find myself butting my head against more often than not is the notion of “hierarchy”. At least that’s what a cursory understanding may imply, but digging deeper to try and express what I’m aiming at seems to lead to a notion of the following. The idea that no matter what, a person, or individual is embedded within a larger social context. We are after all social creatures, but we seldom maintain one “level” of status consistently.
To some, if not most, people a person encounters in their waking life. They are an individual of low worth, or indeterminate worth. You’re still recognized as human for the most part, but other than that you may as well be a stereotype, or a 2-dimensional stock character, a trope. This is what equality leads to, a sort of dehumanization of the human element in some sense. A King, a President, a serf, or a slave…all have to use the same/similar “throne” (toilet) at some point during the day. And yet, the majority of us don’t think of it that way. We defer to those with “Authority” which in itself has it’s own perks, and cons.
The point I’m attempting to hone in upon is a notion that for as lauded as some people may appear to be, their shit still stinks as with our own, and until they come up with android bodies where we don’t need to use the “Facilities”. It likely won’t change. Regardless of this, we clamor, and use whatever slight of mind to discern, and advance ourselves above some sort of “Other”. An “Other” being something, or someone that is simply not a part of “Us”.
We (the “royal we”), claim to be (insert age) Souls, or whatever level of spiritual/intellectual/cognitive development where we attempt to set ourselves up as some sort of “Status” icon. At least to ourselves, and at most to those around us. Thus it starts to boil down to a game of “monkey chain”. Those who play the best end up at the “top”, but everyone else is beneath them holding on for dear life. Whereas the one at the bottom has no other burden other than themselves, but they get all sort of “messages” from above.
If one were to construe this as a “moral message”, it would be along the lines of, “abase oneself of their own inflated worth”. You aren’t special, if simply because until you realize that you aren’t so. You have no sense of specialty.
To illustrate what I mean by this. Consider that your entire identity, and sense of “Self” was concocted outside of your own sense of “Self”. Your Name, given to you by your parents. Your friends, determined mostly by your social status/grouping. Your Nation, just a larger group. It all boils down from above with the notion of “social identification”. You are “granted/given” a #Number# at birth, and registered with the local official body (for the most part). And yet, how much of your identity is tied up within these constructs? Lose said #Number#, or have it “Stolen” and you’ve lost your “Identity”.
Once a person truly realizes this, and integrates it into their consciousness. There’s no going back. Your identity is a construct, you aren’t being “Authentic” despite whatever showy actions one takes until this realization is made (or so I think). At the base you are just another object given a name. A hunk of carbon, water, and other various chemical compounds that moves, and acts “Human”. Yet in some sense is still missing a “Soul”. You have an “Identity”, so much as it is recognized by “Others”. And yet, this seems really hollow. You had no say over it as an individual, it just happened.
You are a “Nothing” playing at being “Something”, (this whole post is building off of the last post where Sartre’s Authenticity was mentioned. That sense of True Self). A person isn’t truly an individual until they’ve cast aside whatever constructs they have used to precipice their “Identity”. This is why “Individuation” is so hard, and ego shattering. It is because that is exactly what one is doing. Destroying, and allowing their Ego to be destroyed. Only because they’ve realized that their Ego is, and was completely fabricated by another outside Entity. Ie; Not their-selves.
It is a Hellish experience to go through, but it is one of the most rewarding ones that a person can experience in their entire lives (as it feels to me). To realize that you are an animal, that you can be trained “Pavlov Style” (Classical Psychological Conditioning https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_conditioning ). As my personal thesis, I think that a person can gain control of themselves, but they first need to be “mastered” by another. A different person, who may, or may not have their newly found servants best interest at heart. This is to be so because, one is essentially being shown how they’ve been “Domesticated” by society, or whatever culture.
Taking another step from this, One once being mastered, (broken like a wild horse, for analogy) is presented with an option. To be the eternal servant/slave of “God”, or to struggle/fight for Freedom (become a Prince in Hell). A person can’t faithfully serve two masters, that should be easily understood. One Master is external, and are the ones who originally “broke/domesticated you” (say they potty trained you). The other True, and Honest Master is the one that resides within. Your True sense of Self, and let me say this, “You’ll always have to live with yourself.”
Thus having been “Socially built” (broken by the external master), and forcibly re-broken/rebuilt by the Internal Master. One may achieve their sense of Self, and become a True Unique Individual. After all, if you personally know what it takes to break you, and destroy you. What is there to fear except yourself, but you are your own Master at that point. Thus there is no fear, no remorse, no guilt, not one single ounce of internal conflict.
Realizing all of this may be mental gymnastics though, but I wouldn’t be surprised if veterans could relate to this. The metaphorical “Hump” in Boot-Camp. The point where one wants to give up upon themselves, and just quit. To washout. Pushing through that, and “breaking oneself” once again allows one to remold themselves completely. Simply because as an analogy the Sergeants have “broken you down at that point”. One must simply do it to themselves now. They (The External Master) have demonstrated all the skills needed to do so.
As a quip…., “Spiritualism calls for Ego-Death, but doesn’t that imply something is actively killing or has killed the Ego?”.