The Enemy of Enlightenment
by Harry Palmer
Let me introduce you to the enemy of an enlightened civilization. This enemy has been around since the beginnings of our subsentient culture. It has contrived and conspired to ruin every socially constructive effort of humankind, and thus far it has succeeded.
This enemy has a chameleonesque, shape-shifter quality that renders it all but invisible. Its clever machinations have even led humankind to believe that it is, in some inconceivable way, its own enemy – destined to destroy itself. This is the shrewd subterfuge that tricks neighbor into fighting neighbor.
Who am I?
This enemy targets hope and trust as its first victims. It does not arrive with a blare of trumpets or thunder of cannons; it arrives across the lips of young mothers, hides among the words of lovers, sneaks by in a daydream.
Who am I?
The apparent truth is that we fight amongst ourselves, but this is the wolf disguised in sheepskin. Look closer. Find the wolf. Discard your armor of answers. Look closer. What do you see? Your neighbor? Your reflection? Me? Look much closer, even closer than distinguishing the wolf. Look for a quality in the wolf.
Who am I?
Do you see? Here is the enemy clearly before you, and still you are deceived by this enemy's camouflage. Is it your urgency to have an answer that makes you such easy prey? Look carefully once more.
Who am I?
Well, I told you this was a clever enemy. It is like a virus, only it infects consciousness and is protected by its own obviousness. Four times it has beguiled you. Now, once more. Are you ready?
Who am I?
• • • • •
"The tragic flaw," "the fatal error," "the hole in the dike," "the straw that broke the camel's back," etc. These refer to an archetypal concept that every human culture expresses in some fashion: the misstep, the wrong turn, THE MISTAKE that leads to suffering.
In nature, mistakes lead to extinction. So goes the one-winged bird and the finless fish.
"Who am I?" is a mistake. Now we understand; the Greek admonition to know thyself is the mental equivalent of a Trojan horse. It is born out of the intention to deceive. "Who am I?" leads down a destructive path of lies. At the end is the questioner, bloodied, his answer bowl empty.
"Who am I?" is the wolf in sheepskin. The question itself is the culprit. It is a perversion of conscious inquiry, and its answers are the enemy of an enlightened civilization.
The statement, "I know who I am," is preparation for battle. It's a line drawn in the sand. It's a challenge issued. An assertion. It's also a bold-faced lie.
How do you define your I-ness? What are the qualities of that I-ness? What is the social status of that I-ness? What do you own that is characteristically reflective of that I-ness? What are the goals and desires of that I-ness? What other-ness or they-ness does defining that I-ness create or invalidate?
Who are you being responsible for? How do you imagine that others imagine you? What is your intelligence quotient? What do you guard as private? What behaviors, attitudes, and abilities do you characterize as yours? As not yours?
Be honest. Are any of these things really you?
No. They are just definitions. Points and ranges on the scales of possibility. Exaggerated events from your life. Struggles that your memory and imagination have fashioned into a "self" so that you may have an answer to, "Who am I?"
Identifying with definitions is the process of assuming an identity. This is the edge of indoctrinated sleep. Beyond is the land of the ego and the misery and suffering that attend the last days of nature's mistakes. The ego is fundamentally concerned with calculating its own imagined advantage. It is a parasite that kills its host, with the resulting consequence of its own demise.
Many people spend the better part of their lives working to support, enhance, and to display to maximum advantage the definitions concocted in response to the question, "Who am I?"
Others work just as hard to hide their answers.
Identities motivate actions. "This is who I am; this is what I do," followed shortly by, "This is who you are, this is what you should do." Then the hackles begin to rise. The disharmony within civilization is the result of the friction between identities and collections of identities, all of which are totally spurious answers to a question that cannot be truthfully answered.
This particular path is a dead end for humankind.
• • • • •
What does enlightenment mean? It means that you stop thinking of yourself as a limited, defined individual. It means that your self- interest becomes so broad that it contains all facets and all viewpoints of life.
Avatar is one of the first technologies capable of deliberately accelerating the conscious process of enlightenment. It is a path to truth that doesn't begin with a lie. The Avatar adaptation of the "Who am I?" question is, "What is the purpose of who/what I create myself to be?" or "How did I come to believe this?"
With Avatar everyone wins. Every person who becomes an Avatar shifts the collective consciousness toward greater tolerance and understanding. Helping oneself with Avatar helps everyone else at the same time.