Check it out! A smallish group of Americans and I think Canadians and Native North Americans is walking this summer, in protest and with an educational goal, along the northern part of the route of the Tar Sands Pipeline. I’m posting the route here, but be sure to go to the web site of the Compassionate Earth Walk at:
I had a dream last night about human ego, whatever that is, I will not try to define. In the dream, some guy was driving the bus and I was picking up the pieces. Literally, I mean, I was picking the pieces of newspaper and trash, old egg shells, gum and plastic wrappings — out from under the gas pedal — as they kept rolling back in there — while two other people sat behind, telling me what I was doing wrong, and the trash kept piling higher and deeper.
You will never guess what this dream was trying to tell me, because I didn’t until I started to write it down, and immediately came to mind my persistent question: “Why did The Creator give us our ego in the first place?” The thing causes so much pain and suffering to us and our communities, convincing us that our own belief system, our own need to be more right, is more real than reality. It isn’t, you know. Nobody is “right,” because nobody understands everything. And if we believe that our mind, emotions, intellect (reference), or our world view (reference), are more powerful than the biological reality. Well, that’s a pretty good definition of pain and suffering, now or later.
Pain is life enhancing. It guides our choice of behaviors so that we avoid drowning in the river when its currents are swirling in flood, or burning our little hands on the stove. Because we were formed within the biological community – our response to pain is biologically life enhancing.
To understand why we were given an ego is more difficult. What good is the blasted thing, if the use of it causes us emotional pain and suffering, but it doesn’t tell us what the danger is? Well, of course, that’s one function of community – to help us avoid emotional suffering by passing down the wisdom teachings of the ages. The harm caused by our ego-trips is well and often explained in all the wisdom teachings, and better behaviors described.
Maybe that’s what the ego is meant to do. Maybe our ego suffering is meant to enhance the welfare of the community by passing on some wisdom from now to benefit the future. I hope so, because our age is growing new problems faster than any before, and with these new problems, we must learn new lessons (or apply the old ones) about what not to do if we don’t want to suffer.
Our origins designed us genetically and behaviorally to live in a biosystem that functions to support life, but our human culture now has grown an artificial corposystem that functions to make money. And the power of this corposystem seems to lie mostly in our human ego needs.
So many people so filled with the fear of not being better than other people. Is that our ego? Why do we feel that we must be better than someone else? We can’t discuss the important issues, because someone might go into a one-up or one-down tizzy, or just turn their backs and walk away for fear that we might know something they don’t know. But isn’t that the point of discussion, that everyone knows more than only one? Don’t we WANT to deal with the problems? We keep saying that we do, and then the next thing you know we are debating irrelevant questions for no better reason than to satisfy our never-ending need to win. Even though the floods of climate change (climate change series Bare Bones Biology 092 through 100) are already tickling our toes – even though everyone really does know the end result of these ego trips, in our modern times, will be disaster.
So now my question is: how can we be aware of our ego, and all the negative, painful behaviors that it generates — how can we use that knowledge to grow a more positive, life-supporting human community?
Photos by Lynn
This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at
Recommended Action/Question for Discussion: I’m tempted to suggest that you start an argument and consider what methods you use to win. And what are the results. But in fact I doubt that you need to know more about how to argue. So instead I suggest you find a person with whom to discuss an issue and see how long you can keep it going without either of you having an obvious emotional reaction (because this will be a serious subject.) Maybe you could try this one – http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/26/why_birth_control_is_still_a_big_idea
“In the United States, especially this year, any occasion when contraceptives and public policy overlap seems to be an excuse to fight about other issues.”
Bitsy Elizabeth misses those dog parks we visited all last summer. Even though she loves riding in the car and otherwise hanging out with me, there is nothing more fun for a holiday bash than meeting new dogs. Especially those dogs who are about her size and like to play.
This is the week of the insurance. Bitsy’s daily routine, usually, is to jump in the car, drive to the Peach Clubhouse at whatever time in the morning I manage to wake up, which always is by 4 am, which used to be 5 am, a time established by our old cat, Buttermilk Pie. I guess it is her memorial, at 5, now 4, Bitsy’s tail begins to thwack the mattress. Today I grabbed it to keep it quiet, and she took that as an invitation to 50 pounds of active playtime, so we were up and had to go to work. Then usually, early afternoon, work finished, we come back and she plays outside for the rest of the day.
But this is the week of the insurance, so we piled back in the car each afternoon, and went to all the various insurance carriers to get everything straight for the coming year. What a load off. I really don’t like these responsibilities, but I’m thankful that my contacts are local, accessible, not some machine in Utah or some place, and they do what they say they will do. Next will be the month of the greeting cards and book !!, Outside the Circle, twelve years in the making will be finished before the year-end holidays. After that the month of the taxes and then we will be off again. Meantime, Bitsy is bored sitting in the car every afternoon, and even bored in her own yard with no trips to the dog park and nobody to play with. Well, except that this morning she called my attention to a dead possum in the neighbor’s yard that I tossed in their trash can. She enjoyed that. Now — bored again.
But if you would like to read about Bitsy’s adventures last summer, in Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary, you can buy the cute little stocking-stuffer book that contains world-class photos on each of 20 pages, for only $15 from me or $15 plus tax and shipping from BLURB. It’s a nice small guest-gift for people who like dogs. Would be an excellent small gift, for example, at the BACH christmas party. Maybe next time I’ll make a horse book.
Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary is posted on BLURB, with the option to look at a few internal pages. At
My test copies have arrived if you want to see one at the clubhouse. They are excellent. Small goof, two cover pictures, but hey, you can tear one off and give it to a friend. Or maybe I’ll fix that. The concern was color management and layout and all that kind of thing that needs to be moved from InDesign to a pdf to BLURB and then to the book. They did a great job on this little book, and affordable too. An excellent stocking gift if you order the soft cover.
Finally found my long chain by the oldest method in the book. I bought a new one. It still took me about an hour to drag out that teeny weeny (about 600 pound) round bale, as my system involves also the availability of comealongs, both of which have also disappeared. But I guess it’s progress, or I hope the horses think it is. No pictures. Too busy trying to load the dryer into the pickup.
Finished the Bitsy book (see her below, that’s on the title page), and I’ve started a page for her, listed in the upper left corner, but there’s nothing much on it yet. You could help if you find her book on BLurb and send me the link. BLURB seems to send my computer somewhere else.