I recently completed watching a Korean series on Netflix called Sky Castle. It was an incredibly eye-opening glimpse into the culture of the Korean family and educational system.
But I’m not writing about that aspect today but the more universal glimpse it provided into the what I’ll refer to as the fixed ego complex at the root of human suffering and the source of most if not every current global crisis.
Mirror of the Bigger Problem
What Sky Castle did so brilliantly (aside from being well-written) was present a very painful reflection of how our unquestioned beliefs, those most likely handed down through the generations or upheld by the greater society, hold the power to not only destroy us but those we love and everything we hold dear.
While I suspect most people would watch this program and not necessarily equate it with their own lives, that would be a grave mistake and a potentially enlightening lesson wasted: how rigid the mind can be! How twisted it can become. How easily it can justify our actions to ourselves and others. And like a deadly virus, how easily these poisons can spread from one person to the next and from one generation to another.
A Family Moves In
The family that moves to Sky Castle brings the fresh air and perspective the community needs so desperately in order to wake up. They are a disturbing force. We all need the occasional disturbing force to come into our lives and shake us out of our complacency. But often, we see such forces as, at best, inconveniences and at worst, as threats to our existence…which they are in a way. They threaten everything we’ve become so attached to, so identified with, that the very question of them is indeed threatening, not to our lives but to our sense of self.
Not surprisingly, this family became a target of the community for that very reason. Here were sane people suddenly introduced into a community of the completely insane pretending to be sane. The contrast was just too much to bear. And the extents to which members of this community would go to fight against this disturbing force, in order to remain “dug in” to their cherished ideas and ways of doing things, became criminal.
It may help to take a moment to address the definition of sanity. For my purposes, to be sane is to accept what is real. The be insane is to believe a lie (and often merely to assume). And within my definition is a pre-acknowledgment that our soul knows the difference, even if the mind can convince us otherwise. This is what creates illness and the dystopia of sick societies.
Does it remind you of anything? Anything at all? It reminds me of several things…for example, how hated prophets or other figures are who preach love over fear, or how reviled authentic whistleblowers are for making difficult truths public, or how persecuted and silenced anyone is today who questions the establishment (and by that, friends, I mean not just “the” establishment, but my establishment and your establishment!). My question for you, dear reader, is which one are you: the sane person daring to declare truth or the insane person caught in the trap of the fixed ego complex? We may be sure of our answer and yet, how on earth can we tell, especially if we have become cut off from our inner knowing by that very cunning and downright ruthless fixed ego complex?
Sky Castle is about the path of facing ourselves and our deepest unresolved wounding, the very thing that fixes and then feeds and strengthens the ego complex in place. In the story, the evolution of the characters is driven by their suffering, often painfully slowly until it becomes so great that it can no longer be denied.
We are given that choice ourselves by life – to continue living in the sickness of separation or to heal and become whole. Will we take the gentler route and accept reality now or do we need the greater dose of suffering to break the hold of the illusions that have captured us? It seems the world is at a tipping point to decide that question now.
A Test of Sanity
We are not exactly the best measure of our own sanity and yet we are also the only measure of it in a twisted and corrupted society. How can we determine for ourselves if we are deluded, if we have fallen prey to generational conditioning, or if we’re being driven by our traumas and fear into believing falsehoods?
I think the number one indicator that something within us is off balance is defensiveness. How quick are we to rush in and shut someone up if their perspective runs counter to our own? To what extent are we willing to let go of our freedoms and volunteer up the liberties of others to alleviate our anxieties?
A more difficult-to-see indicator is how often we project our own weaknesses or guilt onto others. Of course, we have to be willing to see this in order to acknowledge it. It starts by accepting the fact that we do this…we all do this. Willingness is enough to draw back the veil and begin to catch the ways we separate ourselves from others through judgments of better or worse, good or evil and blame. See those three fingers pointing back at you when you find yourself pointing at another.
And finally, how often do we seek confirmation of our own biases to feel more secure in our identity? How often do we turn to friends we know will agree with us, or watch programs or read books that align with the thoughts we already have? How big is your echo chamber? Do we seek to understand and connect or do we seek to merely distract and entertain ourselves and then compare ourselves to others in order to solidify our sense of self?
There are other ways to affirm our sanity, through meditation and contemplation for example, or through the studies of ancient wisdoms written at a time when man was more connected to the Earth and to Spirit. It doesn’t matter how we get there; what matters is that we acknowledge our collective sickness and strive to heal.