Wednesday, July 22, 2009

EGO DYNAMICS: Fear and Greed in an Age of Desperation

Recently I came across an interesting stock market report by CNN (“the most trusted name in news”), entitled “Make Fear and Greed Work for You.”

“Those are the emotions that rule the markets, and changes in stock prices simply reflect the swing of the pendulum between the two extremes.”

Actually, those are the emotions that rule the world, as long as the world embraces acquisition and loss as defining it. Therefore, those who experience the 'world' will be taught to define themselves by those standards. My gain is your loss and, in a world of limits, there must always be winners and losers.

Capitalist markets and monetary-value systems are egoic inventions manufactured to define the ego-self through fear and greed or loss and acquisition. Both states of mind accentuate “you” as existing and without them, the ‘self’ could not exist and you could not know your ‘self’ as "you" now do.

Many wish to extricate themselves from this dynamic by refusing to play. But who has not experienced fear or greed and conducted their life accordingly? In fact, your daily functioning is solely based on acquisition and defending against loss. These are the games of the ego and we generally refer to our participation as "life."

Unfortunately, most spiritual ideologies are unsuccessful in defining the self through "love," because they, too, embrace the egoic desire for acquisition. Seeking to acquire a "spiritual goal" (awakening, enlightenment, non-duality) that perpetuates disengagement from the world is a problem, because it has always been true that if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

Postmodern ego exists, or self-actualizes, through what it acquires. Loss is equivalent to psychological death (recall the actual suicides in the market collapse of last year). We grieve loss, because it is a psychological dying of the self, bit by bit. It’s not the death of a loved one the ego grieves, but the loss of the love object to the ‘self.’

Ego’s do not like to lose and, because of loss, may experience a living-death. Deprivation or loss defines the self as rigidly as does acquisition or 'getting.'

Fear and greed don't just the fuel capitalist markets, but are components of the ego-self or that package of beliefs you define as “you.” Greed demands competitive acquisition and fear demands defending, or protecting, what you have acquired. Whether cooking the books to hide huge bank losses or “keep your dog off my property!” You will do what it takes to defend what you have acquired simply because you believe it defines you.

‘Life’ is defined as protecting what you have acquired believing it defines “you” and the U.S. constitution was based more on protecting property rights, than in upholding “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Property rights, or monetary value, is the measure through which your "happiness" is determined. Without those standards defining your ‘self,’ you would become desperate because the beliefs that defined you would now negate you as less than 'alive.'

As a collective consciousness, we are beginning to experience an Age of Desperation (and it may not be "quiet").

When the foundation of your self-defining belief-system is suddenly pulled out from under you, you will experience a free-fall into doubt and fear. This is why your defining foundation must not be built on the shifting sands of a self-definition extracted from what the world teaches, because the world teaches greed and fear.

Become an infinite player in the games the ego devises. With no expectation of outcome, you will experience no loss. Expect rewards and you will experience deprivation and define your 'self' through absence as opposed to presence, lack as opposed to fulfillment and bondage as opposed to freedom. When you have nothing to gain, because you have nothing to lose, fear and greed can no longer limit "you."


  1. I suppose barter, trade, and money came into being just to help people get their necessities and a few extras - like salt, spices, and nice textiles. Perhaps the story of greed and loss is just the story of living, honed to a more sophisticated level as people use whatever is available to be creative.

  2. Yes, we have been very creative with greed and fear. No doubt about it!


  3. Perhaps this is "the age of muddling along as best we can, as ever".

  4. Perhaps.

    Or perhaps we can improve our "muddling along" better than "as ever."


  5. Well, improvement is the goal, after all.