Today I woke up to the news about a 15-year-old girl that committed suicide because her friend got better marks than her. Yes, you have read that correctly, there are no mistakes and it is way more usual than you think it is.
The story becomes more pity since this happened in India and the exam the news is referring to is 10th grade. As someone that had gone through this, I can tell that the certificate that comes with it doesn’t care about the marks. It for the most part is just used as proof of birth date.
Whatever, let that rest and take a glimpse of what it reflects for the rest of the world events. Almost every chaotic things that have happened in individual, societal, cultural, and national level can be traced to the ego of someone or a group.
The centuries of wars that have been fought to the couples you saw yesterday fighting the park, the lion’s share of their problem lies with ego. Ego is the ultimate component that spurs up racism, nationalism, and worst-case extremism.
What causes ego?
Ego is a sense of oneself. Ego is a natural-born enemy because of its ability to blind you to materialistic needs while ignoring the spiritual demands. When you compare yourself to others on materialistic factors like wealth, physic, looks, or in the above case -marks, the ego starts playing its games.
The question here is really if you should compare others with materialistic factors. Does it make any sense? The answer is a solid no. It only takes a little bit of common sense applied to derive the answer. That maybe the reason why almost all major religions in the world give the same harmonious answer. Whether you are a follower of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, or Christianity, all religions have pretty much similar conclusions.
The problem lies when we see religions through a materialistic view. None of the holy books are written to be seen as a solid physical story that happened sometime in the medieval or ancient human history. They are written as parallels to what should be seen in a spiritual point of view. All these books have war and gruesome depictions of violence. Are they telling us to pick up weapons and establish dominance? Are they telling us that war is inevitable?
Unfortunately for the majority, these are seen as material things. This makes all the difference in the world. The ultimate goal to achieve in all these religions is what can be scientifically classified as “ego death”.
When the Quran and the Bible tell you to convert people to Islam or Christianity, it never meant you to do it by force or offering. To be a follower of Islam or Christianity means to be free from your ego. But people relentlessly compare one religion over another materialistically and come up with bad conclusions. What Quran and Bible said is the same as the idea of “moksha” in Hinduism. A similar idea is there in Buddhism and all of them tell you what we can scientifically classify today as “ego death”.
It is however unfortunate and silly at the same time when we see these religions fighting each other to claim which one is better. This fighting is stemming from the human ego, the very thing these religions tried so hard to destroy. I think now is a very worthy time to the renaissance of the phrase: “You have become what you swore to destroy”. That’s pretty much how religion ended up in the modern world.
What is ego death?
The word sounds something dangerous of a mental condition and that may be true to an extend. Ego death is a temporary state of being that many people have achieved with the help of drugs. That could be one of the reasons you got terrified when you heard it but ego death is not something you are supposed to achieve via drugs. You are just damaging your brain.
Ego death is a state by which you achieve an unbiased perspective of you and the world around you. Everything and everyone around you become equal and nothing bothers your mental state of being. No materialistic factors are weighted in your thought process that helps you achieve the highest levels of unbiasedness. You will stop judging others by their physical or materialistic elements and start judging them by their actions. Now you are free to compare. In such a state of being, there is only room for learning and improvement, not ego -quite literally.
In conclusion, it is rightfully said that one’s greatest enemy is himself. Because the identity of himself is exposed by one’s ego. When there is no such thing, he becomes harmless to himself. Any mental pain that you encounter in your life is a result of constantly thinking of materialistic aspects of your life. When they are neglected, whatever the point you are in your life materially does not matter. You have achieved success regardless of your physical state of being.