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On the Right and Left

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February 2008
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In the U.S. we are awash in politics. In such a presidential election year as this, the mass media cannot talk about anything except political debates. The debates are not very good. The participants mostly use them for repeating slogans and “talking points” instead of actually thinking and demonstrating their ability to reason and their command of the facts on important matters. Some important matters are completely avoided — like, “Senator, if you were president, what would you do about global warming and climate change.”

What occurs to me in watching these so-called “debates” (dog and pony shows might be a better description) is how polarized our ideological thinking is. Partly this is a result of the unfortunate terminology that we have adopted: the Right and the Left. As long as political ideologies are named “Right” and “Left” they are going to be considered polar opposites, unreconcilable extremes on a spectrum. The politicians use rhetoric to manipulate their audience into various definitions of the party’s location on this imaginary spectrum of ideas. John McCain uses rhetoric to paint Mit Romney as a “liberal” and even a “Democrat” while critics of Hilary Clinton insist that she is just a “corportate conservative.” There is a widespread belief in the United States that Democrats and Republicans are basically the same because they both tend to support big corporations and “free trade” rather than “fair trade.”

While there is some truth to this perception, I feel it misses the fundamental philosophical problem. We the people are too ignorant of what ideologies are and how they work. Indeed, for a long time in America the word “ideology” was applied only to communists — those people labeled our “enemies.” Ideology was bad and un-American because it meant that you believed in a creed, a set of ideas, zealously rather than thinking for yourself. It was implied that the American Way is to think for yourself and not embrace a herd mentality. It was implied that having a two-party system rather than a single-party system (as in the Soviet Union or China) permits the citizens to think for themselves and be free of ideology.

Unfortunately this is not the case. Human beings, on the whole, do not like to think for themselves. Many do not have enough factual knowledge to make intelligent decisions about their beliefs. Not only have they never questioned the beliefs of their parents, but they do not even know where the ideology of their parents came from. Ideology is simply a set or system of beliefs. Like a religion, an ideology may be based on myths, legends, or scientific data. It may be based on economic theories, such as Marxism or the Capitalism of Adam Smith, or broader theories of economics such as Environmentalism which insists on taking into account the full range of consequences upon Nature (our “natural resources”) and health in any economic activity, whether agriculture or industrial manufacture.

Religions are a type of ideology, a collection of ideas and images, stories and beliefs, that are based particularly on stories about gods and spirits and our moral ideals of behavior, such feelings as love, compassion, forgiveness, devotion, duty, contentment, obedience. These abstract ideas based upon human feelings and behavior choices are the stuff of religious ideology. We do well to remember that religion is ideology because that will help us to recognize that ideology is not intrisically bad, but like most human systems is something which can be used for good or for mischief.

But our political systems (ideologies) have been rhetorically disconnnected from both religion and economics. Oh, yes, politicians allude to religion and economics, but they seldom question the premises or myths of the particular religion or economic ideology to which they allude. That is, for example, if a politician alludes to religion, it is most often implicitly Christianity because it is still the dominant religious ideology among our citizens, and certainly the oldest, riches, and best organized of the religions. Judaism runs it a close second and that is probably one of the causes of anti-semitism: the two religions are ideological competitors.

But the Republican Party (so-called) and the Democratic Party define themselves as occuping the “Right” and the “Left.” I didn’t understand this imagery myself until I studied the French Revolution in graduate school. The terms come from the Assembly of the People in France before the revolution in which the delegates were elected from the commoners, from the Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy, and from the nobiity. Three parties, so to speak, though they were not thought of as “parties”. They were three classes of people, subjects of the French crown, not “citizens.” These interests were polarized into the commons versus the nobles. The nobles included the king, the titled land holders, and the princes of the Church, the bishops and other high officials. The ordinary parish priests and other ancillary religious men, like the friars, sided with the common people. The bourgeoisie, which is the French word for “burgers” or townspeople, also tended to side with the lower classes. Farmers and laborers, shopkeepers, servants, craftsmen, and even the wealthy merchants and traders formed an alliance and in the Assembly they sat on the left side of the chamber over which presided the king and his representatives. On the right side of the chamber (“across the aisle” as we say in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives) sat the delegates of the lords and the bishops.

It is worth noting that bishops and high church officials were often of noble birth, the sinecures of office in the Church having been given to the younger sons of lords for many centuries. Since in France primogeniture was the rule and law, only the eldest son could inherit the father’s estate. This meant that younger sons had to be provided with careers and incomes elsewhere and the hierarchy of the Roman Church had developed historically to fill this need as much as to provide spiritual leadership.

So, here is the root meaning of Left and Right politically. In the French Revolution (which followed the American Revolution chronologically), the Right supported the old regime, the organization of society into a wealthy upper class of landowners who ruled over a lower class of laborers. This upper class of lords was a privileged class. They were accountable to the king and to their peers, and to the Pope, but not to the People. The lower classes — townsfolk, farmers, traders, and craftsmen — were all subjects to the lords and could be abused, taxed, and manipulated by those lords just as if they were chattels, which is to say as if they were mere property, human resources to be disposed of and exploited for the noble and glorious purposes of the elite.

The Left was made up of these exploited peoples, including the comparatively rich burghers (the bourgeoisie). In the Russian Revolution, a century or more later, the bourgeoisie was seen to be extremely rich. In Russia the class system was even more acute than in 18th century France. The bourgeoisie of Russia was enormously wealthy and lived in luxury, and indeed derived their income from rents and land ownership as often as not. The Middle Class, as we call it in the United States, had become landlords, owning real estate that they rented out to others for profit. They also, in Russia, owned serfs. Serfs were workers who were practically slaves; they were tied to the land and treated like chattels. The nobles who owned the vast estates in Russia in the late 19th century were part of a complex hierarchy that was considered a service elite, nearly everyone occupying some role in the government, serving the Tsar who was an absolute monarch and head of the Church to boot.

So, we see that the Left has, for over 200 years represented the People, the “masses” as Marx called them. These are people who are, for the most part, unorganized. They are so exploited as laborers that they haven’t much time to get an education, let alone organize into political parties. Marx’s economic ideas led to the formation of trade union, or labor unions as they are called in the United States. This Left is led by intellectuals who are almost always of bourgeoise birth but who are rebelling against the upper class dominance. The Bourgoisie — which we might see today as the inhabitants of our skyscrapers and office cubicles — are fundamentally divided. They are not part of the ruling class, the lords of Church and State, but they sometimes are so wealthy that they enjoy comparable luxuries and actually aspire to become a member of the ruling elite.

Some of the Middle Class, in other words, is very well off with investments and real estate and full bank accounts and limitless credit. The petty-bourgoisie (petit-bourgoisie in French, which just means “little townsfolk”) are the shop keepers and folks who are not very rich but nevertheless distinguish themselves from common laborers and farmers, especially serfs. In America, these distinctions played out differntly. Partly this is because our revolution and our Republic pre-dates the work of Karl Marx. So, in the United States, the upper class broke away radically from the British monarchy and established itself not so much as a separate class, an elite, but as the top of a pyramid of landholders. From the owners of giant plantations and ranches to the homesteader with his family farm, the American cultural-economic system was considered a continuum. It was only after the industrial revolution and the abolition of slavery that the role of citizen was redefined. We are still in the process of that redefinition.

We were a country of landholders (men) who were citizens of a Republic and had the right to vote and hold office, and own slaves and keep women. There was a large serving class besides the slaves and there was, at the bottom of this hierarchy, the small landowners who didn’t do very well financially. In the cities there was a bourgoisie too, but these at first were seen as people who provided services for the landowners, and they owned land themselves if they could afford to do so. In the United States this citizenry produced by the Revolutionary War deliberately modeled itself upon the citizens of the Roman Republic and the ancient Athenian democracy. Demos (the people) and kratos (rule). Democracy was conceived as a political ideology in contrast to aristocracy (from aristos “the best” or as we might say in English “the people of quality”).

The revolutionaries in America, France, and later in Russia, all were rebelling against monarchy, especially the absolutism that had become the norm in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those monarchs who survived this cultural awakening of the bourgeoisie and the agrarian Left are the ones who reformed into constitutional monarchies, monarchies limited by the authority of the people expressed through their constituent assemblies, such as the British Parliament or the German Reichstag. In the United States, we didn’t have a king during this transition, and that put us in a unique position. We were the first post-colonial republic in the world and so identified with Republicanism. However, this Repbulicanism has nothing to do with the Grand Old Party, the so-called “Republican Party” that was founded in the time of Abraham Lincoln, who was that party’s first president.

Republicanism was originally the ideology of anti-monarchialism. It held forth the idea that a State could be run without a king, that a president could head the executive authority of the State and be elected by the People for a limited term of office. Now, this idea was not new. The Roman republic had its elected consuls, two officials who served as the heads of State as a team. Consuls were elected for a term of one year and so they did not hold extensive power.

Our choice of models was Greece or Rome and to a large extent we’ve been tacitly arguing over the choice ever since 1776.  The Roman Republic was ruled by an elite of landed nobles, the class of patricians and the class of equites, or knights.  The rest of the people, including slaves, might be represented but the power did not rest in them.  In ancient Athens, the ideal espoused was that all the people participated in democracy.  In practice this still excluded women and slaves and minors.  But Athenian democracy was less oligarchical than the Roman model.  The American model has always struggled between the power of the president and the power of the Congress.   Either these two branches of the government are in cahoots or at loggerheads, it seems.

But what about those other two political terms — Liberal and Conservative.

Republicans paint themselves as “conservatives” which in my mind is simply bogus.  There is nothing conservative about the Republican party.  The only things they seem interested in conserving are private wealth and personal privilege.  In this sense they are right-wing.  If they could bring back aristocracy overtly they probably would.  But a presumptive aristocracy of the rich (plutocracy) and concentration of power into the hands of a few families (oligarchy) are close enough.  The ridiculous absurdity of the G.O.P. (Grand Old Party) is that they are not even “republicans”.  They would happily destroy the republic in order to more firmly establish the “freedom” of the wealthy patricians in the United States.

Many among the bourgeoisie support this party because they keep hold of the dream of becoming members of the country club.  Their goal in life is to amass personal wealth and so they side with those who place the preservation of personal and family wealth above everything else.  They will even support this party when it goes against their interests.  For example, when the G.O.P. opposes universal health care or social security.

The party has also been shrewd in co-oping certain hot-button emotional issues such as the anti-abortion stance and anti-gay stance which appeals to citizens whose beliefs do not extend beyond the traditional doctrines of various intolerant sects of Christianity.  The G.O.P. uses fear to draw in these voter to support their power.  The working class folk of rural America have nothing to gain from the G.O.P. holding power except lip service to so-called “Christian” attitudes about traditonal patriarchal values and customs.  Hatred of homosexuality, hatred of anyone who is different, hatred of imagination or logic or critical thinking or diversity of opinion.  As often as not, such voters also hold racist, anti-semite, and other such ideas about “enemies”.  The G.O.P. has capitalized (literally) on this mentality of fear by exploiting the bogeyman of “international terror”.  It could be a phrase taken directly and deliberately from the antisemitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.   Indeed, the G.O.P. seems to be using that document along with Orwell’s novel Nineteen-Eighty-Four as their master strategic plans.

Hold up the bogeyman of terrorism and fear and conspiracy theories the “Liberals” are trying to turn your sons gay, and you can mobilize quite a few votes in America.  It is a sad commentary on the American citizenry.

So, what about Liberal?  Right-wing rhetoric uses the word more often than the Left and demonizes it in bizarre ways.  Liberalism is actually a centrist ideology.  It is founded in the simple idea that it is in the interests of the affluent citizens to help out their poorer compatriots.  If for no other reason than because it averts rebellion and revolution.  Liberalism was developed as a political ideology in order to prevent more radical movements such as communism and fascism to gain a hold on the minds of the oppressed and exploited classes.  So, we hear complaints from the “far left” in America that the Democratic Party is not substantially different from the G.O.P. because its politicians tend to support the interests of corporations and employers.  This is a distortion when it comes from the Left or the Right.  You can identify a centrist ideology because it will be attacked by both extremes.

The Right calls Liberals “fascists” which is a complete abuse of the term.  Fascists are ultra-right-wing.  There is nothing “liberal” about them.  What the Right-wing pundits mean to imply is that Liberals approach the ideas espoused by socialists in wanting government involvement in some key services — such as utilities and healthcare.  They want the government to be used as a democratic body to curb the excesses of private industry and private privilege.  The Right-wing elitists call this “fascism” mainly to evote a knee-jerk emotional response in the ignorant, but also because they think that any government that interferes with their private wealth and property or aims to regulate or restrict commerce in any way is tantamount to totalitarianism or dictatorship.  The claim is manifestly preposterous and logically unsupportable, but then the Right seldom appeals to reason.

And this is another big difference between Liberal and Conservative.  The so-called Conservative wishes to keep everything the same, or return it to the 19th century or earlier when business was unregulated.  Child labor, even slavery would be consistent with such an ideology of undisturbed capitalism.  But they can hardly use those as selling points, so instead they build their public political platform upon obfuscation and tricks, appealing to emotions.  If you vote Liberal you vote for killing babies, letting gays get married, and undermining religion, they will say.  We must conserve the American Way of Life against its Enemies!!

Liberals seldom stoop to such emotional tactics, which is one of their problems as a political force.  Arguably the more extreme liberals even help the Conservatives of the Right by raising complicated issues and moral questions that go beyond conventional religious dogmas, and so drive the frightened fish into the nets of the Right Wing.

It is no wonder that Americans are utterly confused about their politics.  The Democratic Party stands for Liberalism and the rule of the people through their representative government, the Congress.  The G.O.P. disguises its own desire for absolute power by calling itself “Republican” even though it has nothing to do with protecting a republican form of government.  Indeed the word has been almost entirely divested of its original meaning and co-opted by the Right so that rather than being radical and revolutionary, republicanism now is thought to mean “conservative.”

Conservative is a positive term.  We do well to conserve those customs and ideals which make our nation noble.  But we also do well to let go of things that were mistakes or have outlived their utility.  Things like slavery and racism, sexism, antisemitism.  These were not good ideals, even though they have been part of the American Way for centuries.  Bigotry, chauvinism, jingoism — also not things I would wish to conserve.  But do the so-called “conservatives” in America every talk about conserving our virtues and our political diversity and liberty as a society?  No, they pretty much just want to preserve their own liberty at the expense of everyone else’s.

Alas, my brother!

Well, we can hope for a change in the wind.




  1. rspiggott says:

    All of this raises some interesting questions. Do ideals and the labels that embody ideals inevitably lead to division, conflict, and violence? And can mankind find a way to live that does not involve the pursuit of ideals, without the need to identify with something greater than himself, especially if that greater thing is based on selfish desire (such as the desire to contain, control, accumulate and possess)?

  2. alferian says:

    Hmmm. I do not think it is the fault of ideals or words that lead to conflicts. It is their misuse and the selfish passions that too often shape our words. The pursuit of ideals does not need to be polarized, but oppositions are built into out language. We think of everything in terms of “on the one hand, and on the other hand” (left and right) partly because we happen to have two hands on opposite sides of our bodies.

    But the state of the right hand fighting against the left hand is not natural or even normal. We have two hands, two eyes, two nostrils, etc. so that they can work together. Two hands allow us to engage in all the crafts and arts we humans have ever produced. Two feet as well, since we freed up our hands by learning to balance on our two feet.

    The mind and values that shape its construction are the problem. Liberality and conservatism, as values, are not diametrically opposed. Because being liberal can be self-serving as well as help others; and likewise being conservative can help the whole community as well as helping ones own narrow interests. For the most part members of the right and the left believe their ideology is the one that will preserve, protect, and help other people, the whole nation. They are not entirely wrong in thinking so. The problem is in supposing that the “opposite” ideology is against them and wrong. In each case, right or left, the citizen must break out of the oppositional thinking and look for balance. Underlying these ideologies and political parties, are values and the values of each group are good ones. The problem is in how to bring those values to expression in a free society without becoming a dictatorship. For that we need civil debate, polite conversation, and tolerance of other people’s opinions, which means we must stop hating our political adversaries and practice empathy and compassion. We must learn to listen.

  3. rspiggott says:

    Hello Alferian, and thanks for your comment.

    Yes, absolutely, we must learn to listen, to understand, and develop greater patience and tolerance. It is essential that we dialogue, discuss, resolve conflict. And if we do so we will certainly soften the demarcation and disagreement between our ideals and between men. But will this ever eliminate the fundamental cause of divisions and conflict between people and nations? As long as ideals exist, can there ever be real, lasting peace that requires no effort?

    What are ideals and where do they come from? From where do they get their energy, their inertia? I can only think of two possible sources of ideals: ourselves and divine intervention. The latter I’d prefer to stay away from as it is too metaphysical, too speculative. So let’s say, then, just for discussion, that ideals are the dreams, the aspirations that originate from the individual. Would this not mean, then, that ideals originate from the self, which is inherently self-centered, isolated, and primarily concerned with self-preservation? Is it possible that ideologies, as noble and altruistic as they can appear, originate from the self-centered ego? Is it possible, then, that ideals and the systems that fall out of them, are inherently flawed as they are merely fabrications, expressions of the striving, self-centered ego?

    If we feel that our ideals will preserve, protect, and help others, we should look at this very carefully, for this desire, as altruistic as it may appear, could possibly be the ego’s desire for ego security, and for the gain of power and control over others. It may be very subtle, and may seem very innocent, but is it possible this could be? I’m not saying we should not help others or not strive to eliminate poverty and so on, but we have to be very careful not to be pressing our beliefs upon others. We have to be sure that our self interests are not the seeds of our actions.

    I hear what you are saying, Alferian, but I can’t help wonder if the very intrinsic nature of ideals isn’t at the root of the problem of conflict in this world, rather than the selfish misuse of them. If ideals are born from the self, then ideals are the expression of the pursuit of self gain. How could they not be? Ideals are, by definition, polarizations of thought, of desire, regardless of their extent. When we believe ourselves to be insufficient or incomplete, perhaps not good enough in some way, we devise a plan, a vision, an ideal of what we should become. Or perhaps we are reacting to another ideal that is being forced upon us. But in doing so, are we not then actualizing, perpetuating the division that the self sees within itself and between itself and others, thus fueling difference and conflict? If ideals are projections of the self, then how could ideals not be divisive in nature?

    Can we envision a world without ideals and ideology? Is such as world possible? Is such as world desirable? But I feel that such a world, if it were desirable, would not be possible as long as the world is comprised of ego and ego-desire.

    In the true spirit of lively, engaging, and truth-seeking discussion, I stop here and allow you to continue, if you wish.

  4. rspiggott says:

    And one other very, very interesting thing I forgot to mention. The vision of no ideals is an ideal in itself, which puts us into a rather fascinating conundrum!

  5. alferian says:

    Well, deep waters. But I would ask you why you assume that ideals “are born from the self”? One could probably just as easily argue that the Self is born of the ideals one is exposed to in ones lives. I do not deny the central importance in the human psyche to the instinct for self-preservation, which is, to my mind the root of “selfishness” and “egotism.” I turn to Carl Jung for my model of the psyche, and Jung distinguishes, as yo may know, between “Self” and “ego” as two different complexes within the whole psyche. “Self” is the center of the whole psyche (conscious and unconscious) while ego is the complex that forms the center of consciousness, the speaking, linguistic part of the psyche formed within language which says “I”.

    I do not think that ideals themselves are necessarily polarized. It is our language that tends to make things seem polarized because English (at least) is constructed around oppositional thinking. Children are taught the language using oppositions such as big/little left/right boy/girl up/down light/dark, etc. A quick glance at these ideas should show that they are not, in fact, “opposites” except within a culture that says they are. One could just as easily think of them as simply relational. One term is defined in relation to another. There is no need to polarize them as if they were enemies or mutually exclusive. But we are raised and conditioned to think that they are indeed mutually exclusive.

    The two primary devils in these sets of ideas (or words) are man/woman and good/evil. What happens in our culture through our use of language is that these pairs are claimed to be “opposites” and then are also related to each other so that we come up with Man=good ; Woman=evil. Or Light=good=man=spirit; Dark=evil=woman=body.

    Thus the construction of opposites becomes the construction of oppositional complexes of ideas. “Masculinity” or “Femininity” become reified by our culural handling of these complexes — i.e., their promotion by powerful individuals and groups — until everyone simply assumes they are in fact “things” that exist independently of our having constructed them.

    In a sense they do come to exist independently of each individual’s psyche because they enter into the collective psyche and so appear to be universals. Our culture (that complex of related and opposed ideas and the very habit of opposing one thing to another) is like the air we breath or water to a fish. We do not notice it and almost cannot see it because it is all around us and we are, in a sense, made up out of that substance.

    I do not disagree with your last statement about a world without ideals. But it is a human world you are talking about, a human world based upon a particular configuration of psyche in which ego is predominant. Personally, I am with Jung in believing that ego is too dominant, too frightened of losing its position of control over the world, and that is the cause of so much of our grief. But I do not think that the “world” is comprised of ego and ego-desire. My idea of the world is much bigger than that and holds more possibilities. At the same time, because I do not share your premise that ideals are inevitably driven by ego or selfishness, I do not think that a world without ideals, ideas, or ideologies (complexes of ideas) would be a good thing — or a bad thing for that matter. The idea that good and bad are polar opposites is part of the problem, and I try to avoid such polarized thinking.

    So, my inability to agree with your statements here or to answer your questions very effectively lies in the fact that I do not share your premise that ideals are “by definition polarizations of thought, of desire.” In the first place, I consider thought and desire to be separate things, separate concepts. Desires can very often arise without the benefit of thought and thoughts may arise from other sources than one’s personal desires. To the extent that “desire” may be thought of as the motive force behind the will as a conscious, active faculty of the psyche, then desires and will are certainly involved in almost any thought or feeling.

    But, again following Jung’s model of psyche, thoughts and feelings are only part of what goes on in the soul. And indeed the will is often very poorly grasped by the ego and is driven by more unconscious forces. The ego, because of the way it is educated to speak, tries to polarize desires and think in terms of “me” and “the Other” in order to avoid having to deal with the complexity of what is really going on. The ego, after all, as the center of consciousness, desires most of all to deny the existence of the unconscious parts of the psyche. It’s fundamental and first act of polarization is to declare that all things outside its range of vision (what we call consciousness) are The Other. So it makes the rest of the soul upon which it floats like a tiny island in the sea, an Enemy, a Devil, or an unreal fantasy.

    Which is to say that in pursuing ideals such as “Conservatism” and “Liberality” these concepts become fuzzier and fuzzier as they are set in opposition to one another and to numerous other ideas. Compassion, for example. The Right has introduced the phrase “compassionate conservatism” into the political discourse. To some, that sounds like a paradox of some sort, almost an oxymoron. But in reality, if we think about it, there is no reason that the desire to conserve what is should necessarily conflict with (or be opposed to) compassion directed at our fellow human beings.

    If we are motivated by the desire to conserve our society’s forms and ideals, its virtues, then compassion for others and a sense of duty in support of all our fellow citizens as equals is entirely consistent. If, on the other hand, what we desire to conserve is our own wealth, power, and position, and those of our family, then compassion for others might interfere in that goal. But still, it might not. For the prestige of an individual citizen and his or her family is raised when he or she or they perform acts of philanthropy and charity. Presumably, true “compassionate conservatism” would do so.

    Alas, however, those who invented the term did so, apparently merely as a smokescreen to dupe the unthinking voter. Their intent was to assert that true compassion lies in forcing people to stand on their own feet, take responsibility for their own poverty, and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Sink or swim compassion, I guess. Not my ideal of compassion, but it certainly is the ideal of compassion for those people who believe it. They honestly think that “tough love” is what poor and distressed brothers and sisters need. And they do not see any conflict between such “compassion” and the firm belief that those who are poor are so because of their own moral failings, a failure to embrace the Protestant work ethic, at the very least.

    I’m sure you could parse these ideas into oppositions and polarities, but I see a more complex web of relational ideas with multiple levels of meaning and many vectors of desire. A good deal of our present age’s political bickering over words comes from the failure to realize that words can bear many interpretations, and if someone interprets “compassion” to mean something different from your own definition, that does not mean they are simply “wrong” or trying to deceive. It means that language doesn’t actually support the strict, simplistic notion of polarized opposites like boy/girl or cat/dog. We only imagine such things to be opposites for ease and convenience and by force of old habits.

    Imagination is the key, not thought, or feelings. Only if the ego-consciousness admits the place and power of imagination in its relationship to the cosmos, can it (the ego) begin to see how reality and language actually work. However, there is quite a good reason why Ego does not open that door very often, and that is that the view on the other side of the door is mind-boggling. The ego prefers things neat and tidy, even if it means incessantly arguing and making war with others — prefers that to being boggled and risking having its foundations completely upset. The ego was created for just that purpose: to give the boggling mind some firm mooring. The risk of admitting that Imagination is Reality is that the Ego will slip away and sink beneath the surface of the sea of the Unconscious, and be lost.

    It is not a problem that is easy of solution.

    — Owl

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