The Identity Principle
Everyone in the world is suffering from an identity crisis. Something of ourselves is always leaving us and going into others and something of them is always coming into us. And strange as it may seem, this exchange process has something to do with our despair and our dying.
In our present state of mind, everyone is becoming us and we are becoming everyone else. The very coming together of two people sets in motion a strange process. Immediately one begins to lead; in the course of time, that leadership expresses itself in an increasing irritability that leads to tyranny and finally, to cruel domination.
Soon the tyrant personality begins to suffer feelings of guilt and anxiety for the demon role he feels obliged to play, while his hapless slave feels guilty for his weakness and his growing inferiority. Then, by adding resentment to his fear, the coward is compelled to go on giving power to the bully, thus enabling him to go on being more of a beast.
Sensing deep down that the way in which the victim is responding to him is largely responsible for the agonizing pain of his own power trip, the bully soon develops contempt for the sniveling coward. The underdog, not seeing his part in the creation of the evil that is lording it over him, simply dodges all responsibility for the situation and clings instead to the booby prize of judgment. So they continue to respond to each other in a deepening hypnotist-subject, vampire-zombie relationship.
In this Hell-on-earth feudal system we have brought upon ourselves through our compulsive emotional responses, we are driven to hurt, torture, and even kill one another. If they survive their exploitation, the demoralized downtrodden will often revolt and murder their masters. Surely we are all familiar with the "upmanship" tug-of-war being waged in our personal relationships. Multiply this by masses and governments, and you can see the underlying nature, the modus operandi of war and human suffering as it has existed from the beginning.
But let us leave aside the planetary effects of mass suffering and war for the moment, and turn our attention to the personal agony in the lives of the billions of people who make up the critical mass of fodder for the next holocaust, the one that is sure to come if we fail to learn our lesson and change the direction we have taken in our moral development. Think of the marriage relationships, business partnerships, heartless industrial feudal systems, the sly betrayals at the hands of neighbors, friends, brothers, and sisters. Let us look at the billions of willing slaves who are hopelessly caught up in weird religious cults. Wherever we look, we will see the same basic pattern at work.
This book is about the stress that kills, not the ordinary healthful stress that we face in sports, play, and physical labor, but a very special and deadly strain of stress that developes mysteriously into a living Hell, just from our coming together with one another in daily life.