The Grand Finale

SUBHEAD: The window of opportunity to gracefully shift to the sustainable Post Ego Era is rapidly closing.

By Arius Hopman on 18 July 2013 for Island Breath -

Image above: A graph of the history and near future of "wisdom". By Arius Hopman from (

Say goodbye to the rotten old Ego Era, And Welcome…

…To the Post Ego Era of human species maturity, sustainability and balance: “sobriety, equanimity, forbearance, temperance, ruthlessness and sweetness” (these are Toltec traits of the spiritual warrior, the one who does the Inner Work. They are also the traits of the Post-Ego mature adult).

A common denominator of all living species (except humans) is innocence. Nature depends on innocence to operate optimally, which the biosphere has done since the beginning of life, some three billion years ago. Because of innocence, all wild ecosystems are in dynamic balance, effortlessly self-adjusting as one or more species goes out of balance.

This is a system that requires no regulation. William McDunough (Cradle to Grave) says: “a system that requires regulation is not designed correctly”. Nature is a self-designed system that needs no regulation. Nature effortlessly recycles all biomass, it self-diversifies/experiments, self-cleans, self-expands to new unfilled niches, self-regulates all populations, self-controls genetic health, effortlessly self-heals after disasters and much more.

Consider the after-effects of Hurricane Iniki on Kauai: humans had over $2.4 billion in damage to their artificial environments that required years of work and expense to fix up (the environment always pays the price), while nature simply re-clothed itself with new leaves and thousands of seeds used the opportunity to sprout.

Nature is a miracle in effortless life-affirmation, and is the only system known that reverses entropy. That the universe, in which entropy is the law, could develop a system that reverses entropy must be considered a miracle. We have much to learn, since humans merely accelerate entropy.

Humans and their prided “consciousness” seem to defy almost every principle of nature. We arrogantly defy the natural order and presume to be able to "improve" on it. After 10,000 years of “progress”, look at the disaster we have created! The more “progress” we make, the faster we destroy nature. Note that technological advances can not be considered biological improvements. Ever since we left the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that nature adapted us for, we have been degenerating our gene pool and accelerating unsustainability.

In spite of all the evidence that we are accelerating down a dead-end road, we keep stepping on the gas. Half of the destruction of nature to date has occurred in the last 80 years. The first half started with the control of fire and accelerated 10,000 years ago with the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution, which has been called “humanities greatest mistake”.

Among dozens of degenerative changes, agriculture brought about possession of the land, exploitation and disrespect of nature, accumulation of possessions, male dominance (possession of women by men), dominance hierarchy and servitude, fixed enclosed residences, surpluses and population growth, indentured servants, standing armies and war, disease in dense populations, overuse of local “natural resources” (nature becomes a “resource” as well as a dumping ground) etc. We now see the logical extreme of that trajectory. Land, oceans and the atmosphere are now our sewer and our primary capital resource.

We pride ourselves for our wealth, but look closely and our wealth is extractive of the entire natural world. We have consumed/drawn down the natural capital of the planet to fill our empty emotional hole that can never be satisfied through material consumption. This is an evolutionary vicious cycle and a trap. The theme song for the Ego Era is: “can’t get nooo… satisfaction, but I try, and I try, and I try!” Our own emotional indulgence/addiction will eventually break the cycle when we reach the limits of a finite planet.

By definition, what is unsustainable will not last. We are now at that Flashpoint where we have to radically re-balance every aspect of our lives to re-establish sustainability. Since we seem to be incapable of doing so intentionally, it will be done by default: we have reached the limits. We are now at the bottleneck. Not everyone will want to become thrifty and agile enough to get through this very small door.

Our so-called “consciousness” is antithetical to the effortless, innocent order of nature. Look at the facts: whether it be a mono-crop in a fenced-in field where all intruding nature is killed with poisons, or our houses that displace nature and are built from living trees, our roads, cities, our consumer lifestyles that exploit “natural resources”, our concept-driven education that further alienates us from nature, on and on: are all contrary to natural order… and obviously unsustainable in the long run.

We will try to deny these facts until they nip us where it hurts. This is the end of the long run… What is unsustainable cannot last. Simple math, its now time to get it right.

To put it bluntly: our so-called “consciousness” is not what it is trumped-up to be. Nature is the final arbiter, and to nature, our “consciousness” has been a compounding disaster.

If we are honest, we must admit that our human intelligence (that we are so proud of) that presumably puts us on top of the evolutionary pile, does not, in the long run, favor survival: We have been around for only a few hundred millennia. But look at the real marathon survivors: blue-green algae: 2-3 billion years, sponges: one billion years, most fish families: ½ billion years+, insects: hundreds of millions of years etc.

By the time we get up to the more intelligent mammals, the species survival rate drops to only a few million years average. Clearly, as we look around at our unsustainable “civilization”, the success of the human species and it’s survivability are in question… unless we break through to the Post-Ego Era (see below).

Humans evolved “consciousness” on a planet of tens of millions of innocent species. One of the most basic signs of life for both plants and animals is the “stimulus-response” effect. From amoebas to dolphins a direct stimulus elicits a direct and spontaneous (innocent) response.

Humans are critically different; we go: stimulus> ego-mind> response (ie. not spontaneous, but mentally controlled). We have short-circuited direct response and put ego-mind as the judge of an appropriate response! Herein lies the glitch: We are living not in direct Here-Now experience, but rather in an interpreted/conceptual simulated reality that we call “conscious”.

The consequences are disastrous. We no longer eat the soul food of direct Now experience. Instead, we insist on eating the menu. The result is great suffering, anxiety, stress, urgency, discontent, frustration, denial, anger, despair, depression. We insist on choking down the MENU even as our collective symptoms are getting worse by the day. This trend is obviously unsustainable for us as well as for the biosphere that always takes the brunt of our insanity.

The Post-Ego Era
From the above synopsis, it should be clear that the Ego Era is seriously off track for survival. The good news is that it is only a juvenile evolutionary phase that Helena Norberg Hodges (Ancient Futures) calls “the boy culture”. The ego, that has been directing the show, is a “fa├žade”, a pretense, make believe, the veil and the fallen state. Ego, that has been appropriately called “ego-mind” is the complex simulated-reality (concept) ego program that we identify ourselves with.

Simulated reality is the conceptual menu/blueprint we live by, that can never nourish our souls. We act “as if” we were fully mature, but harbor a deep inner yearning for authenticity, freedom, sovereignty. Our very recent evolution of simulated reality also introduced the ability for fantasy, exaggeration, lies and pretenses: we progressively became less authentic as cultural ego was passed on to successive generations. Our actions originate from this muddy soup of concepts. Result: this disastrous, ugly, exploitative culture we see around us now.

We have been displaced from our authentic True Selves by (on average) 500,000 corrections in our childhoods (Duke University study) and then throughout our lives we self-monitor and self-correct according to what others expect of us, and what we expect of ourselves. Thus we live narrow, controlled, contrived lives that cannot possibly be satisfying. “Can’t get nooo…”. In short, the ego is a very recent and contrived cultural artifact that displaces who we really are.

This did not always used to be so. For billions of years of evolution our ancestors evolved in innocence and in balance with nature: the Pre-Ego Era. Like the rest of nature, we were authentic in our actions and relationships. Essentially all of hominid evolution, from Australopithecus, to Erectus, Habilis, and Neanderthal took place in the Pre-Ego Era of innocence.

The early glimmerings of self-interpretation were not yet a dominant feature, as they became with homo sapiens, only some 70,000 years ago. The rapid development of the neo-cortex and resulting conceptualization was made possible by the new Homo sapiens ability of voluntary recall of memory/concept, including concept of self and the rise of ego: self-concept.

This shift is encapsulated in the term “sapiens”: knowing, concept, simulated reality.

The many compounding side-effects are documented in the website and touched on above. The overarching result of this shift was the displacement from our original pre-ego authentic and innocent Self, including our original, sustainable lifestyle and our original habitat: nature. The Ego Era began an artificial ego-contrived environment with its artificial, concept-driven lifestyle we call “culture” and “civilization”.

For centuries we have denied that the ego lifestyle is unsustainable. The good news is that we can now no longer deny that fact. Finally, this gives us the clear directive and motivation to seek the exit and re-discover our authenticity and a balanced lifestyle that works for the triple bottom line (Planet, People, Profit). The ego party (more of a purgatory, actually) is over. It is time to pay the piper and clean up the mess. This time, luckily, we have no choice and no excuses.

Our task is to launch the Post Ego Era. At first we may see no way to exit. Like the pupae in the strict confines of the chrysalis we seem to have little wiggle room and no place to turn. Becoming a butterfly seems like a complete impossibility. A re-birth is unimaginable. Letting go of the familiar (no matter how odious) seems catastrophic. But like the chrysalis, a crack in the cosmic egg begins to appear. …A little relief from the dysfunctional Ego Era. New possibilities are opening up.

As the Chinese proverb goes: “confusion is a high state, because in confusion all the options are open”. It is also a critical time. We have dawdled for so long that the window of opportunity to make a graceful shift to the sustainable Post Ego Era is rapidly closing. We can no longer depend on authority to make the choices for us. That is also good news, because circumstance is asking all of us to become self-responsible. Freedom is an individual choice.

Like love, respect and trust, it is earned, not given. The times are full of potential. Who will seize it? Let it be YOU.

See also:

• Born in 1940 in Kashmir, Arius Hopman is the son of a Dutch-English couple who motored from Amsterdam to India in a Ford Model A in 1935. His adventurous parents were following J. Krishnamurti, escaping the growing tension in Europe and seeking the Light from the East. In 1959, Hopman was an exchange student in the United States. He graduated cum laude in 1964 with degrees in geology, paleontology and evolution. Arius is He is a reknowned painter and photographer , He moved to Hawaii in 1985 from Taos, New Mexico, and lives in Hanapepe, Kauai, where he opened a gallery in June of 1997.


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