Spiritual Materialism, Ego, And Self-Deception

buddha

There is nothing in this world that the ego can not co-opt for its own glorification. Even the act of killing your ego can become ego fulfilling.

“Ego is constantly attempting to acquire and apply the teachings of spirituality for its own benefit.”
~Chogyam Trungpa

The Spiritual Materialist uses every conquest in meditation to feel more spiritual than those around them just as some MGTOWs brag that their method is the best form of Going Their Own Way. The only benefit to making such claims is to feed the “Three Lords of Materialism“: the “Lord of Form,” the “Lord of Speech,” and the “Lord of Mind.”

As master Kudi, The Mystical Rodent Activist, said “I’m aware that there is plenty of controversy within the Men’s Rights Movement, especially when it comes to minor details, but I’ve also noticed there is a modest consensus emerging at the heart of the Men’s Rights Movement.”

The consensus is the Middle Way.

Discussing MGTOW approaches to relationships, recent articles on AVfM have presented sex vs attachment, as Tawil’s study of basic human needs and the importance of understanding attachment, and “elective de-attachment”, as August Løvenskiolds’ rebuttal. What makes AVfM so great is that they encourage such debate.

Non attachment has a surface appeal that makes it sound easy. Some MGTOWs will advise you to “just say no” and your independence will become some sort of magicalBodhi tree under which you can sit until you become enlightened. Perhaps watching a few youtube videos while you wait.

A few years ago I emailed the office of the Dalai Llama with some questions about non attachment and why they can’t detach from the land of Tibet. The non reply that I got was a brief message saying I should read up on how mean the Chinese are. If the Dalai Lama can’t answer questions about non attachment honestly how can MGTOWs?

August calls his isolation prescription “elective de-attachment” but is that different from non attachment? He offers you religious figures as examples so I think he is just giving it a new name that means the same thing. Does August understand it better than the Dalai Lama? Probably not.

Freedom from attachment is not the veto power of saying “I reject this.” That path of suffering is called asceticism and it usually involves self mortification. It isn’t pretty and hasn’t produced a single icon. In spiritual terms, the only way to truly avoid attachment need is to stop seeing yourself as a separate entity. You become one with everything and everyone so there is no means of attaching because it is you. You give up your personality and all sense of self. You can’t separate yourself from that screaming feminist because she is also a part of you and you love her as you love yourself. Still sounding like a good idea?

MGTOWs are, generally, not doing this.

Most MGTOWs are separating themselves quite distinctly and focusing on setting boundaries between themselves and the world around them. They seek to assess other people skeptically based on lessons from their past and/or observations of their present environment. They increase the value placed on defining themselves in their own way and those definitions have strong boundaries. That MGTOWs are doing the opposite of spiritual non attachment doesn’t make it bad unless you’re also a Buddhist trying to become enlightened, but if you’re just a human being trying to create a sustainable environment it’s a perfectly acceptable and supportable step on the road.

Feeling safe is an important part of mental health and MGTOWs have recognized that traditional relationships are not safe.

Tawil’s article on sexuality and attachment raises a very important consideration for those of us who do not fashion ourselves to be religious icons ready to face a life of asceticism. He asks people to consider what their human emotional needs are so that they do not neglect those needs in the same way so many of us refuse to see a doctor when we are ill. Not all of us have the same social needs. There is no right way to be, but you can certainly do it wrong by neglecting yourself. Those are the folks that die young.

Do you need physical contact?

I am not big on hugging and kissing. I went for about two years without letting another human physically touch me in any way. I didn’t even know I was doing it until a friend put his hand on my arm to ask me a question and it literally shocked me. Human contact is powerful. It is an exchange.

That contact is important doesn’t mean I have to go around fucking everyone I meet. “All things in moderation” is the saying, and moderation is the key: self moderation. Maybe you don’t need to get laid, you just need a good massage, or a game of rugby, or a pet, but you do need physical contact or your body will suffer.

I sometimes look around and am awed by the reality that every single person surrounding me in a crowd woke up that morning filled with a completely different subjective world view that sometimes aligns us and sometimes pits us against each other. We share the same world with so many people yet rarely feel that anyone will ever truly know us but strive every day to express ourselves in a way that will attain that one thing we want so badly: to connect with someone else in a meaningful way.

Humans are social animals. The evidence that we need each other is in our cities and our inventions, like the internet, that let us reach out and connect with each other despite the fact that we are trained to be in direct competition with each other in every aspect of our lives. This competition both invigorates us and tears us apart. It inspires us to create and it inspires us to destroy.

While you don’t need someone to complete you, you do need someone to confirm that you have value. You can’t do that by yourself. Men don’t need women but they do need human contact and validation. When I read Tawil’s article about attachment it resonated with my own concerns that the amount of time it might take to fix the social injustices may be longer than some men can endure. Not everyone is cut out for isolation and men already have a high suicide rate. Those of you who can be happy in isolation shouldn’t assume that everyone can.

Admitting that most people have attachment needs isn’t an issue of shaming, it’s an issue of survival. You can lie to yourself all the way up to pulling the trigger.

Insinuations that MGTOW happens in levels of which all should strive for some apex is not only like a shady pyramid scheme, it is a destructive and dangerous form of Spiritual Materialism. There is no God of the MGTOWs and attempts for anyone to fashion themselves as such is sheer egotism that might liberate some but will drive others to suicide. All religious comparisons fall flat and should stir suspicion.

Buddha ate his own feces for a good many years. At the time, Buddha thought he was likely to be enlightened at any moment.

Moses never achieved enlightenment, he actually spent a lot of time complaining to God that he was a poor choice of spokesperson. Jesus let himself be crucified because he only lived to serve. In fact, all iconic religious figures weren’t “going their own way,” they always served God. They were willing to sacrifice their own needs to serve something more powerful than them and were never on their own because they believed they were the servants of God.

Then there are those of us that live in the real world. The one where, like it or not, you have feelings and needs.

You can fool your mind but you can’t fool your soul.

Honesty is a tricky thing. So many people are being honest with you but not with themselves. So it’s true with MGTOW as well. I’m not MGTOW, I’m a WGHOW who rejects lies. I’m tougher on myself than anyone else and I expect the same vigilance from others.

We count on our friends to tell us when we’re being self destructive or chasing some dragon down a rabbit hole and we owe it to each other to help keep each other on the Middle Path.

You can’t save the world but you can save yourself. If you do it well you can share your technique with others so they might benefit, but anyone claiming to know how to fix everyone else is a person who needs to assess whether or not they’ve got their ego under control.

Men don’t need to marry women and they don’t even need sex but they do have needs that should be taken seriously. It could be a long time before relationships are redefined in a way that makes attachment safe. Women have been taught to manipulate the human need for attachment like they’re holding a winning lottery ticket just by being female and most haven’t read the fine print that says “all winnings will be paid with your future happiness.”

While we wait for the rest of the world to catch up, the important thing is to survive going your own way long enough to see the day when feminism falls into its own fetid footprint. Men aren’t actually alone in this fight. You may need to stand alone in your battle position to keep your strength but you aren’t actually alone.

Also posted on A Voice For Men

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