When Anger Runs Out of Road
| M2 Essays |
: curated Mashups of a Micro nature :
Ego Will Not Stop Serenading the Soul
We belong together / And you know that I am right / Why do you play with my heart? / Why do you play with my mind?
— Boyz II Men, "End of the Road" (1991)
With the Philadelphia Eagles soaring to their first NFL championship in the Super Bowl era, it seems only fitting to allow Boyz II Men, a group of Philly boys, some 2018 shine. In doing so, I'm re-appropriating lyrics that open their iconic pop ballad to serve as another sort of modern love song.
In this new and discordant love song, Ego, always the center of the story, faces the very real possibility of a break-up that's about to go final. Ego's relationship with Soul is not merely on the rocks; it has come to the proverbial end of the road. Yet there stands Ego, trotting out all the lines, telling Soul: Still I can't let go / It's unnatural / You belong to me / I belong to you.
Ego's Revolution Will Not Be Televised
If Soul is to break-up with Ego, undoubtedly there will be serious consequences. And this is exactly what a young Prince Philip learns by way of his headmaster at Gordonstoun School in Scotland, as depicted in "The Crown," a Netflix-original television series. (The headmaster's poignant speech to Philip occurs about 20 minutes into Season 2, Episode 9.)
In context, Philip has had a kind of physical explosion, violently retaliating on the heels of an experienced injustice at school. The headmaster tells him:
I understand your anger. But on its current path [a trajectory to World War II] the world will fill with anger and soon be destroyed. The world needs...young men who have put fury behind them, who embrace the pain and the struggle.
All men must step into the unknown. There—only there—in the annihilation of hate and anger and ego is our salvation.
Sure, the patriarchal ethos is thick; it is certainly of its time. But what I appreciate about this speech is that saving the Soul of the world is viewed, irreducibly, as a community venture. Of course, men and women of all ages must take up this internal revolution against the tyrannical Ego and its fierce loyalists, Hate and Anger.
Ego Will Not Survive a Meeting with our Truest Self
Perhaps against the odds, then, there is still hope for Soul. The spiritual writer Richard Rohr says:
The ego defines itself by negation and by contraction: "I'm not that. I am not like her. I am not a communist. I am not a heretic." When we have not met our True Self, or what we are, we are content with what we are not.
What we are not demands nothing of us whatsoever except putting someone else down, which is supposed to pull us up! The sad thing is that it works, and so people keep doing it. I think history will continue to do it until, and unless, we find a place to stand.
Until we find the totally secure True Self, the false self will always need to win, be right, and, if possible, to defeat the other.
So where can we find our true selves?