Black Friday has arrived! A day to hunt for deals and spend, spend, spend. Except for the occasional death or bone-breaking stampede, the day will pass by for most of us in a sea of seeming insignificance. Perhaps we’ll find a deal. Perhaps not. But look below the surface, and Black Friday is a symptom of something much, much darker — a culture dictated by the human ego.
Hypercapitalism is the product of this ego epidemic. Society is agonisingly disjointed from spirit, capitalism is the new God. As the headline suggests, I believe the epidemic of ego has primed hypercapitalism, paved the way for Trump and Brexit, and left us painfully disconnected from our true essence, our soul. I define ego as the illusion we are merely individual, material beings, existing in a dead, material universe.
I’ll argue hypercapitalism functions because it promises happiness, the most powerful drive of human nature. I’ll present two opposing “Tripartites” of happiness. This is reference to the Tripartite Agreement of 1936, where the US, UK and France entered an agreement to stabilize each other’s national currency. It’s also reference to three fundamental points in each model of happiness.
The Tripartite of Hypercapitalism frames happiness from an ego perspective. As is the nature of ego, it is fuelled by false promise of a future where happiness exists. On the contrary, the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment is a blueprint for finding lasting contentment in uncovering our true nature, where abundance, peace and contentment reside.
Conflict between the two Tripartites is causing a spiritual crisis. I argue the further we travel from our spiritual nature, towards hypercapitalism, the more suffering, confusion and disorientation we will endure. Admittedly, it’s an ambitious argument. But hear me out… And get used to the word Tripartite. I’ll use it frequently.
The Epidemic Of Ego Consumption
“We have made ego a cultural value.” Terence McKenna
Egoism frames the Earth as an external entity we happen to inhabit, like visitors passing through. This sense of separation negates our true nature as Mother Earth’s offspring, inseparable from the planet and the wider cosmos. Individuality breeds competition and consumption. We view the Earth as something to consume — look no further than fracking, deforestation or global warming for evidence of this ego-driven, warped sense of reality.
Capitalism isn’t inherently bad. It’s only a system. But our culture of consumption has created hypercapitalism, a term used to describe a society where commercial or business interests “penetrate every aspect of human experience.” Black Friday is a stark reminder the human experience is now deeply entrenched in consumption. Worse still, as individuals, we are encouraged to compete for our share of resources.
Human Nature Limited To Sensory Pleasure
Operating purely on the material plane, we severely limit happiness to sensory pleasures. When we rely on the senses for meaning, we require compliance from the external. And the ego is greedy. We have to consume incessantly. To compensate culturally, our senses are bombarded with information. Louder, faster, tastier, brighter, bigger. There’s nothing wrong with sensory pleasure, but relying on its rewards for happiness is a vicious cycle. We crave, consume, enjoy fleeting rewards, and crave some more. We are never satisfied.
The deepest depths of the human psyche thirsts for connection. It’s our nature to realise ourselves as part of a greater whole, to transcend individuality and connect with ourselves and the unity of our experience. Uncovering such connection is a meaningful endeavor. But when our true nature is seen restricted to egoic individualism, our thirst for connection leads to worshipping the very system promising reward from the external. Hypercapitalism is born.
The Tripartites Of Happiness
We all want to be happy. The beating heart of hypercapitalism is the promise of happiness. Crucially, it can only ever be a promise, it can never deliver lasting happiness. It requires our belief in the promise to function and keep the cogs turning. I refer to this as the Tripartite Of Hypercapitalism. Its three points are Quick Fixes, Comfort, and False Promises. Its centre is the human ego, which is attracted to the Tripartite like moth to a flame.
In opposition, our true essence and source of contentment can be summarised by the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment. Its three points are Resilience, Challenge, Truth. At its centre is the human spirit. These traits are primed for the heart, which is attracted to the Tripartite in a pull of knowing.
Worshipping The New Religion
In many ways, the Tripartite of Hypercapitalism functions like institutionalised religion. It is a belief system. Why? Because it promises happiness if you play by its rules. It does not encourage empowerment of the individual; it requires compliance. Even when we play by its rules, and feel happiness lacking, we conform through fear.
In contrast, the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment functions by encouraging individuals to try for themselves through direct experience. It is not a belief system and does not make promises. It provides guidance, not rules. Momentum along its path is encouraged by the positive results of experimentation, practice, and resilience.
Truth is not learned. It what remains after the learning, the beliefs, the bright lights of Black Friday sales fade. It’s what remains when everything we think we are has dissolved.
Cogs In A Soulless Machine
“There is an agony in the world that comes from the disequilibrium of and the lack of justice and the lack of responsible use of resources. That agony is going to keep manifesting in different ways. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. That to me is our humanness rising up to say: we’ve gotta be counted!” — Ram Dass
We’re minuscule cogs in a soulless, economic machine, a machine devoid of meaning. Intuitively, we know this. But inertia creeps. Ego-dictated culture is sleepwalking us into a consensus trance of crippling limitations. We’re brainwashed to believe consumption and materialism is the Holy Grail — if we acquire what we crave, we’ll be happy.
What encourages people to choose the challenging terrain of the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment? Without psychological crisis or impending physical death, the Tripartite of Hypercapitalism usually wins because it’s the path of least resistance; it provides comfort and encourages inertia. There’s no end destination — it’s a treadmill of False Promise.
Salvation in hypercapitalism is entering Paradise, commonly known as the 1%. This promise is a shrewd way to encourage the masses to buy into a system of equality, despite obvious signs such a system benefits only the smallest minority. We’re told that once you’re in, you’re in. Nothing is quite like being in. But 99% are out.
Dissonance Causing A Spiritual Crisis
Dissonance between both Tripartites causes a crisis of spirit. The farther we drift from our innate spiritual nature, the more more piercing the gut wrenching distance from the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment. But human nature knows Truth. We can try to deceive ourselves, but Truth has a way of seeping into our conscious minds, of reminding us of where we’re at.
Greed is killing the planet, and it’s killing us. Both physically — through cancer or diabetes or heart disease — and mentally, evidenced by the current and continually growing crisis of mental health, with the World Health Organization highlighting depression as the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.
Our hearts don’t comply with False Promises
I believe in our hearts we know there’s more. We feel beyond superficiality, distraction and comfort. Our hearts don’t comply with False Promises. Our guts don’t really believe in Quick Fixes. Dissonance may seep through in the sense of subtle discontent, low-level restlessness or the distant feeling “something” isn’t right.
For some, it bursts from the subconscious as depression or panic attacks, leading to breakdown. Disoriented and gasping for breath, these moments can be a breakthrough in noticing the dissonance between both Tripartites.
A psychological crisis makes us question the existential. This gifts us the opportunity to question the source of our suffering. Consequently, it may become clear the Tripartite of Hypercapitalism leads away from our innate nature. The profundity of this realisation is life changing. Suddenly, moving towards the challenging terrain of the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment, rejecting cultural values to unlearn and discover the values residing within, is essential.
The Responsibility of Happiness
Pay close attention to how you respond to this statement: you are completely responsible for your happiness. How does it feel? Chances are there’s a subtle knowing, perhaps detectable as an excitable murmur from distant awareness. Chances are, to some extent it’s obscured by fear. Taking responsibility for our own happiness means embracing the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment. That’s because we have zero control over the external.
The Tripartite of Hypercapitalism is enticing because it places responsibility for happiness outside of ourselves. Our worth and and well being dependends on what we consume, our status, power, material success, or how we compare to other individuals. Factor in Quick Fixes, Comfort and False Promises, and you can why the majority are pawns in this futile pursuit.
Not only does the Tripartite of Hypercapitalism make the False Promise of happiness. It promises immortality.
The Ultimate False Promise
“We do not realize that our so-called love and concern for the individual is simply the other face of our own fear of death or rejection.” — Alan Watts.
The Tripartite of Hypercapitalism is shiny. Pristine. Perfect. It’s iPhone augmented reality, Kim Kardashian’s photoshopped Instagram selfie. It’s the unspoken implication of the Fountain of Youth. Immortality is vital for hypercapitalism, because we cannot exchange currency from beyond the grave. It’s Alan Watts’ insight on the ego and fear of death applied to the cultural ego epidemic.
When we buy into immortality and bite Apple’s forbidden fruit — whether in money exchange or mentally complying with its ideology — we cut ourselves off from the nature of the soul. Death is inevitable. Yet the Tripartite of Hypercapitalism promises the undeliverable: follow its ideology, play the game, and you’ll escape death.
Ego Death And Denial
From anti-aging creams to portrayals of bodily perfection, the fear of decay scares us into investing. How many of us, if we knew we would die on Saturday, would care about Black Friday’s mega discounts? Faced with death we’d seek Truth. The greater intelligence within would give no option — our gaze would divert from the screen.
I’ve witnessed friends cry through dismay at the aging process on 21st birthdays. While that’s extreme, most of us deny death to some degree. This widespread delusion is romanticised by celebrity culture. The so-called 27 Club can be viewed through hypercapitalism as a promise of eternal youth. Those who’ve passed have become immortaly trapped within Spotify libraries, Netflix catalogues, passages read in Kindle’s dim backlight.
Viewed through the ego epidemic, this is not surprise. A common spiritual inscription is to “die before you die” to reach enlightenment. This isn’t a physical death — it’s the death of what the spiritual seeker saw themselves to be. When attachments die, freedom follows. But denial of life’s impermanence comes from fear. It enslaves us.
A Metaphor For The Totality Of The Earth
Let’s expand our awareness to the totality of Earth. Viewing the Earth as one organism, one being, it’s safe to say the Earth is sick. This sickness is the ego epidemic. Viewed on a global scale, Trump’s election fits this epidemic. He is a caricature of the ego’s fragility, fear, self-preservation and sense of destructive individuality. Brexit is another indication of the ego epidemic, driven by fear, pride and an extreme sense of isolation.
We are cells, with the ability to heal
When we gain clarity and ditch the junk we’ve been conditioned to believe, we realise working together isn’t a choice — it’s the only way of being. We are all part of one organism, the Earth. We can view this scaled down to the human organism. When we are wounded, our cells work together to heal us. To keep us alive, our heart doesn’t see itself better than our arteries and refuse to pump blood. An intelligence greater than the component parts is at work. The same goes for the world. We are cells, with the ability to heal.
The Innate Quality Of Human Experience
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” — T. S. Eliot
The Tripartite of Genuine Contentment gives us so, so much more. But, paradoxically, “more” is really “less.” One of the perplexities of the culture of hypercapitalism is how we are encouraged to seek qualities in the external that naturally reside within. Instead of consuming more and more, we need is to strip away the junk. We need to connect to our spiritual core, which contains an endless, vibrant supply of all the qualities we seek.
We cannot embrace both Tripartites at once. Embracing one means rejecting the other. Of course, we may oscillate between the two on our journey. But if we turn our attention to the Tripartite of Genuine Contentment, we’re rejecting the Tripartite of Hypercapitalism. Not only are we turning towards a path requiring time, effort, change and challenge, we’re actively rejecting Quick Fixes, Comfort and False Promises.
We reject culture. We reject everything we think we know. We embrace the uncertainty of challenge. We refuse to conform. In today’s world, this is a courageous move indeed. But it is essential to fully realise our potential to experience joy and deep contentment. It is essential to actualise our true human nature, to destroy invisible shackles. It is essential for the sake of the planet. And it is essential to be free.
Who Looks Outside Dreams, Who Looks Inside Awakes
One of the biggest rebellions of hypercapitalism is to look within for Truth. “Who looks outside dreams,” said Carl Jung. “Who looks inside awakes.” The world is a reflection of perception. Reality is a consensus perception, a shared agreement. Currently this agreement is filtered through ego. But once awakened, hypercapitalism loses its grip. Reality changes. The illusion is exposed. But then what? What lies beyond the illusion?
We need a bigger yes to shake us from apathy. We have to explore the richness of the human experience and feel it for ourselves. What happens when more of us awaken? What happens when masses find stillness within, spread compassion, love, joy, peace, harmony? What world can we create, what consensus reality can we manifest, if the collective perception sees the Earth as sacred?
Awakening to Truth is not an elusive mystery. Unlike capital or power, it cannot be saved for the 1%. We have the blueprint. We’ve had it for thousands of years. With the rise of technology, the blueprint is more accessible than ever.
When we experience our true nature as human beings as part of one organism, working together isn’t a choice — it’s the only option. Collectively transcending the ego epidemic and rejecting hypercapitalism isn’t just a nice ideology, it’s a crucial leap required in our evolution of consciousness.
If this switch is possible for one, it’s possible for all. And if it’s possible for all, the world can change.