Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Why we list. An expert explains...

I am currently reading a book by Eckhart Tolle. He specialises in writing what are best described as 'self-help' manuals. The following passage is from a chapter dealing with the human ego. Read it, and at the same time think 'listing'...

'The ego identifies with having, but its identification in having is a relatively shallow and short-lived one. Concealed within it remains a deep-seated sense of dissatisfaction, of incompleteness, of  "not enough". "I don't have enough yet", by which the ego really means, "I am not enough yet". As we have seen, having - the concept of ownership - is a fiction created by the ego to give itself solidity and permanency and make itself stand out, make itself special. Since you cannot find yourself through having, however, there is another more powerful drive underneath it that pertains to the structure of the ego: the need for more, which we could also call "wanting". No ego can last for long without the need for more. Therefore, wanting keeps the ego alive much more than having. The ego wants to want more than it wants to have. And so the shallow satisfaction of having is always replaced by more wanting. This is the psychological need for more, that is to say, more things to identify with. It is an addictive need, not and authentic one."

So there you go. We cannot help it, this listing, as it is part of the programmed mindset that most of us humans have exhibited for thousands of years. We can replace our need for birds/plants/moths with others obsessions with cars, sex and money. It is a mind-set that the author explains can be by-passed, but it takes time to master. And effort. I suspect that most of us would rather put the effort into seeing a Rufous-tailed Robin rather than trying to dismantle the mind-set that makes us want to do things that impact on our jobs and relationships.

That's enough soul-searching from me. I'm off to count up my pan-species list again. I want more...

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