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6 Ways to Humiliate the False Self

“The Spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of small humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound.” ~Jung


What is the false self? It’s that part of you that wishes to remain fixed despite a changing universe. It’s that part of you that is trapped, stuck, and confined by fear. It’s that naïve and pacified part of you propped up like a puppet by culture, politics, and religion. It’s that tiny part of you that takes up all the room by causing you to fall victim to cognitive dissonance despite open-mindedness.


The false self is behind the curve. Stuck in its own certainty. Trapped in what it thinks it knows. Confined by the prison bars of its own comfort zone. Floating in a sea of its own narcissism, it is lost to curiosity, inquiry, and courage. It is that part of you that is so afraid to fail that it creates the greatest failure of all: never taking a risk, never taking a leap of courage, never surrendering to the unknown.


You must continuously humiliate the false self in order to stay ahead of the curve. As Baal Shem Tov said, “Let me fall if I must fall. The one I am becoming will catch me.”


1.) Humiliate your culturally conditioned self:

“True states of realization occur when you throw away all the teachings. All of the teachings, absolutely. Everything. Then you are Investigation itself finding out what you are.” ~A. H. Almaas


To get out of your own way, you must be capable of reconditioning your cultural conditioning. This is perhaps the most important task of a truth seeker. If you cannot humiliate your cultural conditioning, you will forever remain a puppet to it. You’ll forever be trapped in the tiny comfort zone of Mother Culture. You’ll forever remain afraid of the unknown and “the other.”


Culture is a false God. It’s a comforting mask. It was forced upon you at birth. It was hardwired into your brain as you grew. It has systematically been brainwashing you into just being another cog in the cultural clockwork.


Your truth lies somewhere beneath that mask. Your freedom lies in reconditioning the conditioning. Doing so may be one of the most difficult tasks you will ever participate in. There will be landmines of cognitive dissonance to navigate. There will be mass amounts of cultural pressure from family, jobs, authority figures. There will be many hard truths you will have to swallow, while asking yourself, “would I rather be kissed with lies or slapped with the truth?”


But as Nietzsche said, “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”    


2.) Humiliate your religious self:

“A sense of humor is superior to any religion so far devised.” ~Tom Robbins


Your religious self is one of the most blinding cultural conditioning masks there is. Overcoming it may be more difficult than overcoming cultural conditioning itself, because it is conditioning on top of conditioning. It is an abstraction of an abstraction. The smoke and mirrors of “truth” may be hard to penetrate for the weak-minded. And the fear of sacrilege will be a Goliath of an opponent.


The key to humiliating your religious self is to get out ahead of it with the greater power of spirituality. Spirituality is driven by curiosity, whereas religion is driven by certainty. Spirituality is flexible and cosmic, whereas religion is rigid and dogmatic. Spirituality is liberating (courage-based), whereas religion is authoritative (fear-based). Spirituality is interdependent, whereas religion is codependent. Spirituality is vulnerable intimacy with the Infinite, whereas religion is veiled invulnerability pretending to be intimate. Spirituality speaks a language older than words, whereas religion speaks a language limited by words.


When you choose spirituality over religion you’re choosing healthy nonattachment over unhealthy attachment. You get ahead of the existential game. The journey is allowed to be the thing. The Truth Quest is never forsaken for the “truth.”


3.) Humiliate your political self:

“As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.” ~Wendell Berry


When you’re outflanked by people who can’t think outside the box of their political beliefs, you must be capable of being the bigger person and detach yourself from the box of your own political beliefs. Better yet, humiliate your political self. Otherwise, you remain just another run-of-the-mill, close-minded, political sycophant.


There is perhaps nothing more vital to our world right now than someone with this ability. It takes a leap of courage. It takes audacity and moxie. It takes insouciance and outside-the-box thinking.


You’ll begin to see how the partisan propaganda and the political claptrap clapping back and forth is nothing more than a culturally conditioned song and dance. You see the two-headed hydra of partisan politics playing itself out. You see how each side’s attempt to cut off the other’s head just leads to more heads. You see how it just leads to further sycophancy and deeper political blindness.


You see how the lib-tards are blinded by oversensitivity, identity politics, and political correctness. You see how the Trump-tards are blinded by showmanship, glamour, and the belief that they need a savior.


Better not to feed into either side. Better to go Meta, politically speaking. Better to practice detachment and to have a flexible political notion rather than a political fixation; better to have a political sense of humor; best, to entertain a political thought without accepting it and then move on smartly into the sunrise of a flourishing democracy.


4.) Humiliate your notion of Self:

“The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth.” ~Scott Adams


Definition of Self: Masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. Masks and delusions reinforce the illusion of a truth. Neither of which are true.


The only Truth is ungraspable. The only way to grasp this truth is to let go of it. The only way to feel it is to sacrifice yourself to it. The only way to employ it is to always keep the Truth Quest ahead of the “truth.”


You do this by staying one step ahead of your own cognitive dissonance through ruthless self-interrogation, and “entertaining a thought without accepting it (Aristotle).”


Incorporate the spirit of a boxer. Bob and weave. Dip and jab. Zig and zag. “Dream of a language whose words, like fists, would fracture jaws (Emil Cioran).” Then fearlessly fracture the jaw of any so-called “truth” that comes your way. Give the devil a black eye. Leave God with a broken nose. Kill the Buddha on the path. Leave the ring a champion of the Truth Quest rather than a victim of a so-called “truth.”


Have no hangups. You are a delusional creature caught up in an indifferent and absurd universe. You either learn how to transcend it or it will smother your truth-seeking spirit. It’s already swallowed you whole, so the only way to become whole is to subsume it. Incorporate it—mind, body, and soul. Integrate the absurd. Be the paradox. Let go of the need to hold on. Burn the effigy of the self. Let the Phoenix of nonattachment rise out of the ashes.


5.) Humiliate your perception of fear:

“Create an environment where you’re free to express what you’re afraid to express.” ~Rick Rubin


Between courage and curiosity is everything you need to become fearless. Fearlessness is not the rejection of fear, it is curious intimacy with fear. It’s in the intimacy where transformation takes place.


When you become curious about your fear you transform it into a whetstone. Then you can use it to sharpen your mettle. Use it to test your soul. Use it to forge a character so antifragile that God itself shatters against it.


Take the lasso of your comfort zone and toss it around the horizon of your fear. Pull it toward you. Get your fear behind you where it can push you further rather than ahead of you where it will only hold you back.


Use that deep curiosity to integrate your shadow. The undisciplined mind (unintegrated shadow) looks at death like a beast it should fear. The disciplined mind (integrated shadow) looks at death like a beast it must ride into fearlessness.


Fear is not an obstacle; it is a doorway. Have the courage to open the door into your inner most self. Into your darkest depths. Have the nerve of a gambler. Have the audacity to challenge any and all threshold guardians. The treasure you seek is on the other side of your fear.


Then tear the doors off the Ivory Tower and tell the oracles that they have failed. No fear. Ride like lightning, crash like thunder. Live dangerously. Live on purpose, with purpose. As Courage Wolf said, “Climb the highest mountain and punch the face of God.”


6.) Humiliate your concept of God:

““Reality” is just a word, and you shouldn't use it without quotation marks around it anyway.” ~Joseph Campbell


Your concept of God is probably more akin to a religious hangup than an infinite interconnectedness of all things. As a truth seeker, this must be remedied—stat! Lest you remain a victim to the outdated notions of your forefathers, you must be able to humiliate your notion of God.


The best way to do this is to simply redefine God. Use the same strategy you used to recondition your cultural conditioning and apply it to your concept of God. Upset your settled mind. Reimagine imagination. Reinvent God.


Step one: Stop pretending you’re not God. Understand that everything is connected to everything else. You are the perceptual pivot of this interconnection. You are the universe becoming aware of itself. And you have a responsibility to it.


You were always God in disguise. You are Infinity pigeonholed into a finite construct. You are the finite integration of an infinite expression.


You are God playing peek-a-boo with itself. As Alan Watts said, “You are something that the whole universe is doing, in the same way that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing.”


Just as the Truth is not a fixed thing, neither is God. It’s a moving, transforming, unfixed vibration, with which you have an integral connection. Move with it. Transform with it. Remain unfixed, unconvinced, undaunted, undeceived. As Bruce Lee said, “All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”


This is why it is your responsibility alone to break the fixed pattern of yourself (your cultural/religious/political conditioning). The truth will always be outside the fixed pattern of yourself.


You were always God in hiding. Discovering the God within yourself is merely the parting of the veil. It’s the cutting away of delusion. It’s the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of all the religious pretense that came before. It’s the complete eradication of everything you were culturally conditioned to believe.


After all, “God” is just a word, and you shouldn’t use it without quotation marks around it anyway.

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About the Author:

Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.


This article (6 Ways to Humiliate the False Self) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.


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