Symbols of the world's religions

               

THE IDEA OF EQUALITY

Meher Baba

 
As long as there is ego, there is an implicit background of duality, the mental operations of comparison and contrast cannot be effectively stilled forever. Therefore even when a person seems to feel a sense of equality with another, this feeling is not securely established. It marks a point of transition between the two attitudes of the ego rather than permanent freedom from the distinction between the "I" and the "you."

This pseudo-sense of equality, where it exists, may be stated in the formula, "I am not in any way inferior or superior to the other." This will at once be seen to be a negative assertion of the ego. The balance between the "I" and the "you" is constantly disturbed by the predominance of a superiority or inferiority complex. The idea of equality arises to restore this lost balance.

The negative assertion of the ego in the form of equality is, however, utterly different from the sense of unity which is characteristic of the life of spiritual freedom. Although the sense of equality is made the basis of many social and political ideals, the real conditions of rich co-operative life are fulfilled only when the bare idea of equality is replaced by the realisation of the unity of all life.

The feelings of superiority and inferiority are reactions to each other, and the artificially induced feeling of equality might be regarded as a reaction to both. In all these three modes the ego succeeds in asserting its separateness. The superiority complex and the inferiority complex for the most part remain disconnected from each other. They both seek separate and alternate expression through suitable objects, as when a person dominates those whom he regards as his inferiors and submits to those whom he looks upon as his superiors. But such alternative expression through contrasting behaviour only accentuates these opposite complexes instead of leading to their dissolution.

The superiority complex is stirred when a person meets one who is in some way remarkably inferior to him in mundane possessions. In spite of its many possessions the ego is constantly confronted with the spectacle of its intrinsic emptiness. Therefore it clings to the comforting delusion of its worthwhileness by demonstrating the greatness of its possessions. This contrast is not confined to theoretical comparison, but often exhibits itself in an actual clash with others. Thus aggressiveness is a natural outcome of the need to compensate for the poverty of the ego-life.

 

DISCOURSES, 6th ed, Vol 2, pp. 76-77
1967 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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