When we are babies, we do not separate ourselves from others; the caregiver is understood to be an extension of the self. Then we develop a self concept. This is viewed as a necessary part of human development. Not only are other people and things outside of ourselves, but their interests may conflict with or own. Competition arises and is encouraged in most cultures.
Life goes on for a while and we feel incomplete; we long for deeper connections to others. We may seek it out through membership in groups or sexual relationships. For some people, none of this is completely satisfying. This can lead to a spiritual path in which we spend the rest of our lives trying to see ourselves in others and others in ourselves, attempting to eliminate distinctions and deeply connect with others.
A truly enlightened person comes full circle, becoming pure being, witnessing the universe as the self. Is this a return to baby consciousness?
I wonder if it would be possible to circumvent the delusion of ego that dominates most of our lives by raising children to see themselves as part of universal consciousness? Conventional wisdom would recoil from this as interfering with the healthy formation of self. But there comes a time when our species grows out of one conventional wisdom in favor of another.
The quest for the shedding of the ego makes me think of other group animals. Let’s think about ants. They appear to all work selflessly for the common good. Are they happy? Blissful? Do they see reality more clearly than we?
Sometimes, I wonder if enlightenment means obtaining the consciousness of a plant – totally in the moment, just being. And would that mean giving up art, science and culture? Perhaps those are just trappings of the ego stage of human evolution, and when we transcend the ego and individual personality, we won’t miss any of it.
As for competition…