Ego and Politics

After the inspiration of Eckhart Tolle from The Power of Now and A New Earth, I have come to believe that the greatest pandemic of our world is the proliferation of ego mind-identification.

Ego is the condition of conscious humanity where life revolves around endless striving, competition, and a sense of separation. Mind-identification refers to our obsession with thinking in terms of the past and future rather than being present in the moment. Ego mind-identification is a common state for all humanity; only those who have experienced a kind of spiritual ‘awakening’ have transcended the condition and live in a state of oneness with all of life, a perpetual bliss. This teaching lies behind both Eastern and Western religious traditions, but is more obscure than clear; as such, most of religion has become bogged down in ego-mind ritual and thinking.

Now that I have introduced my terminology, I’ll get into my take on the political front. In Australia we are in the midst of an election campaign, and in the media sphere we see ego in its most glorified state. All sides battle to win the ‘ego-minds’ of the public with rhetoric designed to engage with the common opinion. In fact, it is highly likely that within each party are contained ‘marketing’ departments, much like you will find in any large company, designed to hook into the market sentiment. The ego loves drama, and that is exactly what is delivered in a political campaign, with numerous character assaults launched from all directions. It is an insane power play that works wonders to secure voter confidence.

My take on each party is this: every single politician has positive merits that should not be overlooked. It is unwise to label and judge any person based on a number of set performance criteria. I choose to make the assumption that each politician has chosen their profession to serve the common good. I would even go so far to say that even those decisions that are seen to be completely unwise are done for some kind of positive end.

Recently I read that our Industry Minister dismissed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth when it was first released, condemning it as pseudoscience and commenting on how the ramifications could have a serious impact on industry. Given that he is the industry minister, it is his duty to defend those whom he feels could be threatened by what he perceives as ill-informed decisions. He considers the loss of jobs and revenue to be unacceptable, and so goes on the defensive. I initially viewed his comments as intolerable; now I see that he was simply speaking from his ego with positive intent. I disagree with his statements, but I can empathize with his sentiment.

This attitude can be taken across the board, so that I can view John Howard and Peter Costello even in admirable terms. God forbid, I can even do the same with George W. Bush! Rather than judging the men, I witness the ego which drives them and acknowledge it as the same presence that causes me to act in innumerable negative ways. I then assume that these men are positively intentioned in all of their many acts and decisions, rather than taking an ego-based conspiratorial view. The ego loves to hide behind conspiracy theory, from the more common assumption that ‘politicians are only in it for the money’, to the storytelling of secret meetings where real policy is designed and initiated. That’s not to say that these things do not happen; such a thought would be ignorant. Rather, I would suggest it would be the exception rather than the norm.

I would love to see politics on the basis of conscious communication rather than ego, but I dare say this will not happen within my lifetime. Whatever the ‘New Heaven’ and ‘New Earth’ mean, I would hope that there is a future where humanity surrenders the ego, and derives its sense of self from God, the ground and source of all Being.

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