Guest writer for Wake Up World
From the standpoint of ordinary consciousness, separateness seems to be a basic part of the human condition. Most human beings experience themselves as egos trapped inside their own mind-space, observing a world which seems to be out there, on the other side of their skulls. As a result, the normal human state is one of aloneness. We’re always onlookers rather than participants. We can communicate with other people by speaking, writing or gesturing, but they will never be able to truly know us, or to share our thoughts and feelings. Our inner being will always be sealed off from them.
Ego-separation also creates a sense of incompleteness. Because we’re separate from the world, we’re like fragments which have broken off from the whole, and so feel a sense of insufficiency. There s a kind of hole inside us which we spend most of our lives trying to fill (but very rarely manage to), like cats who were taken away from their mother at birth and who are always hankering for affection and attention to try to compensate for a sense of lack. Born-again Christians mean something close to this when they say that there is a god-shaped hole inside us although in my view traditional religion can’t fill the hole either, only provide the same (ultimately incomplete) consolation as wealth or success.
As a result of this aloneness and incompleteness, we don’t feel completely at home in the world. We’re not completely rooted here, and so feel somehow adrift, as if we don’t fully belong, like people who have travelled around the world so much that they no longer feel at home anywhere. Whereas traditional indigenous peoples seem to perceive the world as a benign and benevolent place, to us it seems indifferent and even vaguely malevolent.
Recommended reading by Steve Taylor, Ph.D:
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