Remember the old cartoon where the hero was confronted with a difficult choice, often some sort of temptation, and two little characters appear on either shoulder-one being the devil, the other the saint. The devil representing our lower nature, while the saints our higher reasoning mind. The immediate implications are the following:
1. Our innate tendencies are not to be trusted.
2. Our reasoning is informed by the good, the just, the divine.
3. God and the saints sit in judgment over we little devils
So far, we’ve merely stated the obvious. Now let’s see where this leads. If we’re not to be trusted, neither are those around us. This distrust is reflected in our attitudes and behaviors –and as those around us experience our wariness they will in turn distrust, and dislike us. As this process continues our isolation only grows with time and with it our alienation.
Finding ourselves in this alien world we need some sort of buffer to protect us, this is where the angel comes in. Where should we look but to moral authority to protect us. What signifies this moral authority – the church in the past, the nation state in our present time. But when we distill these two abstractions, what are we left with but the Law. We look to this all-seeing, all-knowing Law to protect us. Not only from others, but from ourselves, subordinating our own innate sense of right and wrong to its matrix of code designed to accommodate each and every eventuality.
Now the snare is complete- for what is the Law, but a purposefully complex labyrinth of rules and regulations that cocoons us from reality, while maintaining us in state of perpetual anxiety and confusion. Inside this cocoon, as time passes we become as house pets- docile, sleepy and compliant. Over time we’re so domesticated that we cannot even imagine survival in the wild. In the meantime, our collective sense of alienation only grows, and with it our fearfulness, as well as our narcissism.
This narcissistic compensation, the need to see ourselves as strong, autonomous, masters of our domain when in reality we are much more the opposite – weak, dependent, short-sighted, is the great hook with which the Game holds us all. Never has the every man been so outwardly confidant and boastful. This only affirms the stranglehold of the Game upon us, its encroachment into our lives, its warping of our every thought and emotion.