The Misallocation of Resources As An Expression of Adolescent Consciousness
Real wisdom comes to us only when we finally accept the laws and parameters of reality, the reality which pertains specifically to embodied human life on planet earth. This reality tells us that resources are limited, meaning they are not in infinite supply. Resources can run out when they are over-used or mismanaged and then we must re-manage them and replenish them so that they can be used again. This is the case with all resources, both material and immaterial. We know about material resources: water, food, housing, trees, money, but what is meant by immaterial resources?
To my mind, the most precious resource any of us have is our psychological energy — what Sigmund Freud called libido, by which he meant purely sexual energy, while C. G. Jung believed it encompassed all the energy of life in general — libido is the psychic energy needed to get us out of bed each morning, it is that bit of extra energy needed to look forward to the day and all its demands, to maintain an alert and engaged attitude throughout the spectrum of experiences that come at us all day long, and even that extra energy required to show a lighthearted, dare I say happy, face to the world and our life in it. Like water and money and food, this resource is limited and its vitality depends upon the maintenance of a sustainable system that continually replenishes itself. Just like other types of resources, when psychic energy is misused, abused, or misallocated, it becomes scarce and when it becomes scarce, the psychological ecosystem it is meant to feed becomes ill. This is essentially the definition of neurosis. Your psychic energy has run out and it can no longer properly feed the ecosystem of your psyche so your psyche becomes sick. Suddenly your psyche is the space of floods and wildfires, all the happy wild animals that usually inhabit your psychic landscape run away or are killed by the many diseases that now cover every inch of your psychic forest.
Each day, we wake up and start spending our psychic energy like currency. Where we put our attention, where we focus our attention for lengthy periods, that location is the “shop,” you could say, where we spend our psychic money. If this shop is our unbalanced and dysfunctional relationship with a spouse or love interest, then we waste a lot of psychic energy there and are left depleted and even more unbalanced afterward. If our shop is a job that we hate but we go to every day anyway because we are so attached to our life of material goods and have convinced ourselves that this is what life is, then we waste all our psychic energy there and are reduced to nursing our neurotic and sickened psyches with binge-watching inanities and consuming sugary-fatty-high-calorie poisons like iced cream and chocolate. Juggling multiple addictions is a natural response to a sickened and weakened psyche devoid of vital resources. In this psychological landscape, there is no energy for discipline and awakened perspectives. There is no energy for withstanding the daily onslaught of advertising and mind-control techniques aimed at us like well-positioned missiles of war. There is no energy to get up and decide to make a positive change. There is only the energy of depletion and lack, which leads to a downward spiral of escalating doom — and each second the clock is ticking.
When I was younger, I was always losing my wallet, locking the keys in the car, and getting parking tickets. I grew up with a first-generation immigrant single mom who worked two jobs to pay the bills so we didn’t have extra money for parking tickets and tow trucks and locksmiths and my immoderate behavior placed a great deal of unwanted pressure on our lives. I was always in this chaotic and unbalanced state which meant I couldn’t stop and think about what I was doing. It was like I was drawn forward into my life by an energy that was beyond my control. Unfortunately, this is the state that many adults find themselves in today, especially in America, and I think this is an expression of an adolescent consciousness that has not yet accepted reality.
This kind of consciousness — the mad, scurrying one that’s always in a hurry and always bedeviled by one unrecognized complex or another — is a style of consciousness that has not yet put two and two together and discovered that it is simply misusing and misallocating its precious resources. In this type of situation, things are constantly going wrong. Things are constantly unpleasant — we never have enough money, or we never have enough satisfaction, or we never have enough clothes, or we never feel safe or secure, the list goes on and on but in one way or another there is never enough peace, never enough of anything and we are constantly struggling in one way or another, always reaching for that next thing that will finally supply our heart’s desire and silence the grieving voices that clamor and cling to our every breath.
There is another way to do things. But this other way requires maturity, and the development and cultivation of maturity require a lot of sustained effort. This other way cannot be achieved in a hurry, it is the longer road, the one less traveled, where things get quieter and where there are fewer distractions. You could compare this other way of living to walking away from everything and entering a wood all by yourself and living in there for several years, perhaps running into an old wizard who teaches you the ways of deep wisdom. You don’t literally go into the woods and meet a wizard, of course, but you do the same thing, metaphorically. You forego your attachments to material goods and replace them with a healthy desire for true wisdom. You let go of your childish ideas about gaining wealth and approval and turn your focus instead to studying all the systems that bring real self-knowledge. You stop focusing on yourself as the be-all and end-all of all things important and make being in service to others and the divine your highest priority. When this style of consciousness replaces the other one, psychic energy never gets depleted again because real maturity has come to roost in the center of the soul and this maturity understands that there can be no action without a reaction. Reality means a world of cause and effect, it means resources must be replenished. The soul needs real love, real beauty, and real engagement with stories and myths. If the soul is not replenished with these things in a systematic way, it will become sick and we see around us so many of these sickened soul-zombies sucking away all day and all night on their pacifiers of social media and binge-watching and mass consumption.
It is easy to manipulate children and adolescents since they haven’t been around the block yet. The trouble is that although walking and talking in the bodies of adults, most of us still have the consciousness of adolescents — and we are so easily manipulated (like taking candy from a kid). Adolescents don’t want to be responsible for the realities of their lives. They want mom and dad to do everything while they run around and have fun and screw around. Many people in this country are just like this: they only go to work so they can go to coffee shops and dinner parties and bars and so they can shop and use their iPhones and watch porn. Or they want to harangue others with their false virtues and their social causes while we all collectively pay the social and psychological bills that accrue due to the enormous immaturity of the masses. Did you know, for example, that eleven-year-olds are committing suicide because they aren’t getting enough likes on their social media posts? Who will pay that karmic bill when it comes due, I wonder?
As you can see, when we misallocate our limited psychic resources and use this currency to feed the darkness and hysteria around us we infect not just our own lives with the frequencies of chaos and disharmony, but we also sustain the unsustainable on a broader collective level. So what are we supposed to do? I would suggest stopping as a good place to begin. I recommend leaving your life for a week or two and going somewhere quiet, preferably with a group of like-minded people and a wise teacher. There are many retreats of this kind that can help you break the monolithic hold of your dysfunctional life and help you develop enough inner strength and confidence to finally make a big change. Of all the sectors that need major revisioning, I would say the corporate sector in this country needs it the most. People who work for corporations are the worker bees that keep the entire system of economic and psychological slavery in place. What would happen if all corporate workers coordinated together and walked out one day? That kind of unity, that kind of power only comes with serious awakening, which is another way to say that we reclaim true personal power when we finally grow up and accept the laws and parameters of reality.