But the way is not back. Just as science overcame its purely atomistic and mechanical view of the world through more science, the ego-trick must be overcome through intensified self-consciousness. For there is no way of getting rid of the feeling of separateness by a so-called “act of will,” by trying to forget yourself, or by getting absorbed in some other interest. This is why moralistic preaching is such a failure: it breeds only cunning hypocrites—people sermonized into shame, guilt, or fear, who thereupon force themselves to behave as if they actually loved others, so that their “virtues” are often more destructive, and arouse more resentment, than their “vices.” A British social service project, run by earnest and rather formidable ladies, called the Charity Organization Society—C.O.S. for short—used to be known among the poor as “Cringe or Starve.” The Taoist philosopher Chuang-tzu described such efforts to be ego-less as “beating a drum in search of a fugitive,” or, as we would put it, driving to a police raid with sirens on. Or, as the Hindus say, it is like trying not to think of a monkey while taking medicine, on the basis of the popular superstition that thinking of a monkey will make the medicine ineffective.

« But the way is not... »

A quote saved on Dec. 30, 2015.


Top related keywords - double-click to view: