Cocaine, heroine, crystal meth, alcohol, tobacco, barbiturates, etc., these are usually cited as some of the deadliest drugs in the world because of their addictive power and the effect on human body. Cocaine claimed 14,556 deaths in the US alone in 2017. Heroine claimed 15,000 in the same year. Similar statistics exist for other drugs in the US and outside. But these are nothing compared to the drugs we are going to discuss today: Ego and hormones
Ego: it is the persona, the personality we wear everyday inside and outside of our house, around our family members and others and even when we stand in front of the mirror. It is what we see and what we understand ourselves to be. It is the image we have of ourselves.
What does ego comprise of: it consists of all the information our mind has about ourself. This information mainly consists of two parts:
(i) one is the information we are born with, the hereditary information contained in our genes. It comes from our parents. Every cell of our body (and each one of us has trillions of cells) contains this information. This information controls human birth, reproduction and death;
(ii) the other is the acquired information; everything we see, touch, hear, smell, learn and assimilate everyday, every bit of information we absorb from our daily life, all this informs us about ourselves and about the world around us.
Our mind combines these two sets of information to come up with a view of ourselves, which is the ego, and about the world we live in with which the ego has to interact.
The great creator of this universe, call it Life or God or Nature or The All or whatever, has designed animal / human life in such a way that from the moment we are born we are protected by our environment so that we can stay alive and grow with the sole aim that one day we can reproduce and create new life, just like our parents did. And this is the only objective purpose of life, if there is any. Procreation.
We are designed to fall in love with ourselves, so that we can protect ourselves from outside dangers. Narcissism is inherent. We love ourselves. And in fact we are the only person we ever love. Everyone else we just use to enhance our life and fulfil our individual objectives.
Hormones: mother nature also does something else: it gives us the gift of hormones, the gift of pleasure. As we grow up, we arrive at puberty which is life’s way of preparing us for reproduction. This process includes hormonal development. The body becomes capable of releasing hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. This gift, together with the gift of ego, ensures that we are going to indulge in all the worldly pleasures and that we have no other option but to procreate.
In the corporate world, they use the abbreviation, ‘COB’, which stands for Continuity of Business. Policies need to be put into place to ensure that the business continues even in the face of great challenges.
Ego and hormones, together, ensure the Continuity of Business for mother nature.
I call them the deadliest drugs because they afflict everyone in the world and their effects are the most destructive. They are like a slow poisoning over 50-60 years. Under their effect we become zombies and brain-dead people living in a deep slumber from which we never wake up.
As we discussed in the earlier post, ‘Human Desires, Needs And Ultimate Redundancy’, once we give birth to new life, once we have kids, then, from nature’s point of view the only thing left for us to do is to protect and nurture this life, so that these kids can grow up and reproduce. We hand over the baton to them. And once we have done that, we become redundant.
But by the time that passing of the baton happens, we have become so addicted to the ego and to the play of hormones and we have fallen so much in love with ourselves that we spend the next 50, 60 or whatever number of years we are going to live in trying to perpetuate the existence of our redundant self. Whole industries have sprung up to cater to the ageing generations.
The love of the ego and inner storms created by the hormones and the pain and anguish of unfulfilled love and emotions, this is the life most of us have after we have played our part successfully and brought new life to maturation. And professionals who help us in dealing with these effects grow rich. Good for them!
Is it possible to have more control over our lives? Is it possible to get out of the control of these deadly drugs, i.e., ego and hormones? Or do we need to wait for extreme old age and death for their effects to diminish?
It is possible. And that is what wisdom teachers have been trying to tell us over the years. We never listen or, even if we listen, we ignore them because the addiction is too strong. Its like telling a smoker not to smoke. If you’ve never done that, try it and find out how they respond. That’s how we respond to these great teachers too.
The first step is the most important. If we can even get just a glimpse of our psychological and physical nature and see how we are governed by these forces that I call the deadliest drugs, then we have taken the first step. Just that brief moment of observing these drugs can set you on the path of recovery. The addiction starts in the mind and the recovery also starts in the mind. Change the information in the mind and the mind will work differently.
Allow the mind to be quiet. Find some alone, quiet time every now and then and just observe yourself, observe this slavery and addiction to the ego and the hormones. Just one brief moment of stillness of the mind can stop this addiction in its tracks and put you on another track, the track that takes you back home to your original, un-addicted, eternal, universal self.