Ego vs. Eco - Male Energy vs. Female Energy - Eagle Shaman
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Ego vs. Eco – Male Energy vs. Female Energy

Ego vs. Eco

Something that indigenous cultures from around the world have understood for many years is the delicate interconnectedness of all things. Aided by their spiritual and shamanic practices some cultures have even come to regard earth as a sentient organism in which humans, animals and plants are merely cells serving a larger purpose. Unfortunately, it seems that some cells have forgotten their place in the world and are thus disturbing the planetary balance.

“Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten” – Native American Proverb

Even though Westerners may consider this proverb as “beaten to death”, its message still needs to be heard. This is because unfortunately, the destruction of the planet is not just proverbial, but frighteningly real:

“[…]we are losing upwards of 80,000 acres of tropical rainforest daily, and significantly degrading another 80,000 acres every day on top of that. Along with this loss and degradation, we are losing some 135 plant, animal and insect species every day—or some 50,000 species a year—as the forests fall.”Scientific American

“Researchers estimate that 5.4 million people died from 1955 to 2002 as a result of wars in 13 countries. These deaths range from 7,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 3.8 million in Vietnam.”ABC News

“Nearly half of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day).”DoSomething.org

What the Native American proverb exposes are the marks of a consciousness that is overly concerned with the self; or ego. Especially in Western cultures, things like competition, achievements and attainment of wealth are deemed far more desirable than consideration for others and for the environment as a whole. Ironically, if nothing changes, it will be ego’s very measures of “success” that will bring mankind down to its knees.

Ego vs. Ecoimage: EGO – Burning Man 2012 by Bexx Brown-Spinelli Attribution-ShareAlike License

Ego – Male Energy – Left Brain

If one looks up the word “ego” in a dictionary, one is left with the following definition:

“Ego, in psychoanalytic theory, that portion of the human personality which is experienced as the “self” or “I” and is in contact with the external world through perception. It is said to be the part that remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world […]” – Encyclopedia Britannica

Merely going by its definition, one can already see where ego’s main problem lies: it is the distinction between self and the “external world”.Since ego distinguishes between “self” and the “external world”, it believes that we’re faced with a vast number of random forces that threaten to destroy us at any minute. In order to cope, ego came up with a strategy: domination. Domination of humans, domination of animals and domination of nature. As long as it can prevail, ego does not care how it is achieved. Its main tactics for doing so are: analytical thought, logic and coercion; qualities that are regarded as “male” or “left-brain”. Interestingly, especially Western societies cherish these characteristics.

It is no secret that the Western school system encourages competition and getting ahead through reason. This ethic then naturally carries over into work life, where it creates brilliant technological advancements; unfortunately, often at the expense of nature and rivaling cultures.

Eco – Female Energy – Right Brain

So what about female qualities then? Shamanic traditions from around the world have long recognized the Mother – the Earth – or Pachamama as an integral part of reality. This is because they understand that female energy is crucial in counterbalancing the dominant ways of the men. Rather than seeing things as separate, female energy sees things as wholes. It realizes that we as humans are only part of a larger system that is both fragile and highly interdependent at the same time. In other words, eco is more important to it than ego.

Logically and in contrast to the male approach, female energy’s main strategy for dealing with the world is cooperation. It’s tactics for achieving cooperation are, compassion, intuition and creativity; characteristics that are mostly associated with the right hemisphere of the brain.

Unfortunately, in the Western societies of today female qualities are not encouraged anymore. Quite to the contrary: many regard them as weak and irrational. If the female way of doing things was like the male, it would naturally demand proper recognition by its male counterpart. However, with its focus being on cooperation, it has allowed itself to be suppressed by male energy.

Re-Balancing Male and Female

Looking at the world today, we see that the male way of doing things clearly has the upper hand at the moment. Our constant need for superiority has led us into a world where profit is more important than the sustainability of resources and of relationships. Wars, environmental disasters and poverty for the majority of humans are the result.

Luckily for us, re-balancing the male and the female is inevitable. If we want to survive as a human species we have to understand that our actions are not without consequences. Even if the abovementioned problems seem far away from us in the West, they will eventually have an effect on us.

What teacher plants like Ayahuasca and Iboga have shown to many of their students is that all things are interconnected in ways that the human mind cannot even begin to understand. In this interconnected system hurting nature and hurting other beings in order to “get ahead” is foolish, as we are effectively only hurting ourselves.

The only way to escape the impending global disaster brought about by human hands is the remarriage of male and female energy. If male logic and thought can be employed in the spirit of female compassion and cooperation, the human race will have a glorious future ahead of it.

P.S.: Please note that I do not view the male and female qualities I describe in this article as exclusive to either men or women. I realize that every human has both male and female characteristics within her or himself. However, the tendencies I describe above are usually more dominant in the corresponding gender. I also want to point out that I do not regard male energy as necessarily a bad thing. In fact mankind’s finest achievements may not have come to pass, if it hadn’t been for the “male” way of doing things. What lacks is the proper balancing with female energy.

Do you agree that the male way of doing things is destroying the planet? Please let me know your views in the comments below!

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