It is the nature of the ego to twist the truth into pretzels well salted to cause more pain to those already wounded. The ego produces both heroes upon whom to heap praise regardless of its unwarranted nature and scapegoats upon whom to heap blame regardless of its irrational nature. To make sure that an ego-based culture appears to be balanced, the ego assigns some members roles of heroes and other members roles of scapegoats or anti-heroes. In this way, the culture is divided between two opposing forces who play out their competing roles before audiences populated by the ego-culture’s majority of members who prefer to avoid being noticed as their best way to avoid taking the risk of being praised as a hero or critically judged and later blamed as a scapegoat.
The masses cower in fear of being singled out for the ego’s heartless judgment – to be praised or scorned – because they have noticed how routinely praise turns into scorn as heroes fall under the overwhelmingly unreasonable and unhealthy expectations placed on them by the masses. Heroes desperate to please the masses overtax themselves to perpetually warrant praise and avoid scorn. When heroes fail to live up to the expectations of the masses, the masses turn on them to convert them into scapegoats. The feeding frenzy is brutal as hero-worshippers fall upon their wounded former heroes to tear from them every shred of human dignity. From the perspective of the masses, it’s better to never ascend to the heights of public praise than to descend into the status of publicly scorned fallen hero.
Students of birth order identify the first born as predisposed to compete for the roles of heroes or standard bearers of an ego-culture’s most rewarded and idealized values – even when those values are myths honored more in the exception than in the rule. Heroes are taught the value of keeping up their image to remain objects of praise as false idols regardless of the declining substance behind their image. To cultivate and maintain their images as heroes, initially first born or otherwise born, the heroes must climb over others to ascend ladders of success they identify as theirs to top in order to tower over others by comparison. Inflicting pain on their competitors is necessary to ascend most rapidly because pain causes competitors to be at least reluctant to challenge them if not crippled in capacity to challenge. Thus heroes need wounded competitors to prevail as heroes. What would be the significance of praise if it were not contrasted with scorn? All the ego’s world is colored by such comparisons between winners and losers by whatever criteria winning and losing is measured. In obedience to the ego’s rule, we heap praise upon winners, heap scorn upon losers and do all possible to distinguish one from the other! Such is the fundamental order of the ego’s culture.
Those who are born into circumstances rich with opportunities to earn praise seek to preserve the culture into which they were born. Those born into circumstances deficient in opportunities to earn praise naturally feel screwed by what seems like “fate” and suffer within the circumstances they did not cause. The injustice of such suffering is apparent and yet prevails so long as the ego’s culture remains the status quo. Changes that only change how circumstances favor one group over another group merely change how injustice is distributed and who is encouraged to become heroes most readily and who is encouraged to become scapegoats to keep the ego’s culture in balance. The ego will always demand the existence of heroes/winners and scapegoats/losers. Which members of society take up which roles is a matter of indifference to the ego so long as the clear distinction between the two is preserved. Cycles of hero-worship and scapegoat-blaming will continue until the ego’s system is entirely replaced by an alternative that is based not on fear but on love – love as defined by Love’s Divine Source.
A sure-fire way to disrupt the ego’s system is available. All we need do is to no longer allow sleeping gods to lie. Every person who survives in society by masquerading as an ego is in truth a sleeping god. While asleep every god who adopts the ego’s roles as his or her means of survival is lying. He or she is participating in twisting the truth into well-salted pretzels by twisting the truth of his or her genuine, divine nature into a false image of a human being who values social approval over authenticity and personal integrity. All of us hunger for the freedom to be and express authentically who we are as children of God. That’s what being a “god” means. So long as we remain too afraid to explore and express our authentic nature as God’s children amid the ego’s pressures to conform or be scorned, we will suffer (often in silence but suffer nevertheless). When we dare to be true to ourselves as God created us, we will cease to suffer. We will still feel pain as inflicted by those who inflict pain on others as their means of climbing ladders of social success as rewarded by the ego. But we will need no longer endure the chronic suffering of one who has betrayed himself or herself out of fear of the ego’s methods of enforcing conformity upon the masses.
Our choice is not to avoid pain. It is to embrace the pain of standing out among the ego-conformists to be neither hero or scapegoat and no longer value “winning” or “losing” on ego’s terms. The ego-enslaved will characterize us as “losers” but little do they know because they have yet to discover the relief of release from fear’s pretzeling social pressures. Being twisted by our own lies causes our own suffering. We have the choice to awaken as God’s children and rise beyond ego’s enslaving twisted definitions of happiness and success to explore, embrace and enjoy freedom to be ourselves. No longer hero, scapegoat or cowering member of the masses, we are free to envision the alternative to the ego’s fear-based culture and flock together as birds of a feather – as eagles who soar where the sky is no limit.
Let’s stop blaming the screwed for the ills of our society or holding heroes accountable for “fixing” those ills we are helping to produce and maintain. Let’s instead no longer be sleeping gods and awaken to our true nature as God’s children. Let’s move forward together as co-creators of a culture rooted in the soil of God’s unconditional love for all humanity, rising up relentlessly beyond ego’s hard-heartedness and branching out in all directions to welcome all who would take up our common cause – the call of our hearts to end the interpersonal violence and planetary exploitation that distresses us all. No matter how much praise we offer to heap, no hero can do for us what we must do for ourselves. No matter how much scorn we offer to heap, no scapegoat can be blamed for not substituting for the responsibilities only we have the power to carry as we contribute to our society’s freedom from fear.