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What does the ego's fourth law of chaos mean?

  • By Paul West
  • In Ego, Illusion, Law
  • 3360 Words
  • 16 minutes 48 seconds
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What does the ego's fourth law of chaos mean?

Claudia asked:

"Would you throw some light for me about the 4th law of chaos: what I understood till now is that what I have is what I take and my brother or sister has something like a treasure that he, she is hiding from me, this thing hidden in the body; and for me to get it I must kill him or her . All this is a bit foggy for me, thank you in advance for your answer."


The 4th law of chaos follows on from the other three, so as a quick summary, here is a basic version of the laws:

1. The truth is different for everyone, so everyone has their own idea of what's valuable and real.

2. Each different person must sin by attacking the differences of others, and therefore deserves attack and death.

3. Even God believes in your sinfulness so there is no way to undo it or avoid punishment.

4. Believing God cannot save you, you try to take something from others to save yourself.

5. You come to believe there is a substitute for love - specialness, which you are willing to destroy others to obtain.

I would say that in general, in this section of the Course, Jesus is attempting to encapsulate the entire human psyche in one description, so far-reaching and inclusive of every possible condition of the mind that it describes what everyone with an ego is doing. He quite artfully articulates this in explaining how these various beliefs lead on to the next and eventually would result in death and murder, as an act of madness.

In the fourth law, Jesus talks about our belief that our brother has stolen the specialness from us, kept it hidden and protected, inside his own body. Why would Jesus say this? Well, first of all think about what the body is and what its purpose is.

Think about how this entire physical universe is happening inside the mind of the Son of God, in His entirety. All of it is really just imagination, a thought of separation. A daydream. Within this dream, there are symbols. Separation is an attempt to create division, to keep something external away from something internal.

In the dream, "forms" become that symbol, whereby the form or shape or appearance of an illusion acts to separate inner from outer, or to cut off the Son of God from the whole, in a symbolic sense. All forms - objects, matter - can be considered "bodies". But also this includes the human body.

Your body is symbolically, in the mind, the condensing of the idea of separation into a focused point in space. It is your attempt to withdraw away from the whole, away from Oneness, towards a finite, limited experience. It is how you have made yourself "little".

When you believe the body is not an illusion of separation, but is real, you will cling to it, attach yourself to it, hold it tightly, and attempt to "hide within it". You use is as a device for separation. But in addition to this, you attempt to identify with it - to change your identity away from being Christ to being "just a body".

When, for example, you are exposed to the Truth, your ego will attempt to defend itself against it, and will put up "defenses". Its way of defending is to shrink and withdraw away from truth, and try to hide in the body, to go into darkness, to put up a blockage to keep the truth away from it. It shifts your sense of identity away from a large expansive abstract self, into a tiny little limited self.

Additionally, this effort to get away from the whole is sickness, and that sickness (in the mind) can often manifest as symptoms in the body. The body is then "made sick" on purpose, so that it will heavily distract the mind away from the whole, to focus on the suffering. Pain for example is extremely effective at keeping your attention on the body, and also pleasure can serve the same purpose. Therefore a "sick body", symptomatic of a mind that believes in separation, attempts to suck the Son of God into it and associate with it as closely as possible, making it as "real" as possible, so that you avoid the truth.

So the body, in this dream world, is symbolic of withdrawal away from God, away from Truth, away from the whole. Sort of like being sucked into a black hole. So whatever it is that you most value as "the opposite of God", it is placed in, stored in, and shows up within the body. The body is your protection and defense against being One with everything, so it's like a treasure box that you keep your most valued stuff in.

Now, I need to talk a bit about "seek and do not find" because that will help you to see why specialness is so valuable and why people store it in the body.

You already are Love, already perfect, holy, valuable, worthwhile etc. All real value and real meaning is in you because God put it there. But after the separation, you attempted to come between yourself and yourself, in addition to coming between you and God. You claimed and denied that your Self, where you are, within you, is the place where you will find love, perfection, value, truth, reality, etc. You said, "I am empty of God", i.e. you are pretending not to be Christ.

Because of that, this sets up a premise whereby you now believe you do not have what God is, do not have what your Real Self has, you are "empty" and lacking and in great need for the first time. Believing that the separation is real, and that you really did do it (sin), you now accept that the only place you can go is everywhere other than within. So you start to seek externally for something to assuage the sense of emptiness, sin and guilt.

This begins the ego's outward seeking, which is sickness. But there really is nothing of value outside of you. There is no meaningfulness outside of you. God is real meaning, real heart-felt meaning, and something that you can genuinely want and have. But in your belief that you cannot have it anymore, you have to "make" a substitute. And bear in mind this substitute will in no way match up to what God is offering, it will be like scraps of garbage in comparison. But you seek to spin stories and illusions to convince yourself that this garbage is valuable to you - something that you really want.

So you start to seek for what you lost - your Self, and God - everywhere other than where those things really are - within you - guaranteeing that you will NOT ever find them there. Hence, seek and do not find. So you'll come up with all these illusory meanings that you will give to what you now see. "I have given this all the meaning it has for me" comes in here.

You thus seek to somehow lend truth, reality, power, meaning, purpose, love, value, worth, importance, authority, salvation, life, etc... TO the illusory world that you now project (as the physical universe and body). You try to animate what is lifeless, you try to give special meaning to some parts of this illusion, at the expense of other parts. And as Jesus say in the first law of chaos, this results in many individuals who all believe and value different things, rejecting others, in order to create an illusion of "specialness".

This condition of mind basically worsens and progresses and evolves into further forms of insanity, as described in the next laws of chaos. So each person now has this idea in their mind that there is some kind of really amazing super-desirable salvation-producing life-altering mega truth, or secret treasure, that is hidden somewhere in the world. Somewhere "out there".

This is the promise of the ego, that you can seek AND find this elusive thing that you lost. You know that you lost something of profound value (Yourself/God/Truth), but you know you can't get it where it is, so you're trying to get it where it is not. This itself is pretty insane and deluded because you try to find it externally/separately from you, even though it is literally impossible (because you ARE what you're seeking, within you).

So the ego has this profound belief, really a giant lie, that if you seek in the world for the truth, you will find it there. It is attempting therefore to make the world contain the truth. That simultaneously means, it is trying to believe that the world is TRUE, i.e. REAL. It's "making real" of the world therefore is its effort to make the world meaningful and valuable and worth having. It's trying to make a substitute for God, in the form of an entire artificial universe.

In doing this, the ego gets into idol worship and artificial value, i.e. making things very special - a spiritualization of the dream, where it is trying to find this "very special something" (or someone), that it believes is out there somewhere, but is really not. It's like a wild goose chase, or a carrot on a stick that you lust after but will never quite reach. It's always a little bit elusive, and always impossible to hold onto, and always slips through your fingers or changes when you don't expect it.

So now you're trying to find this substitute for God's love, externally, in an illusory world that has no meaning, by trying to make parts of it very special. The entire story of special relationships falls into this, trying to find that perfect special person who somehow contains "the specialness", or that "special value" within their person.

It's as though, if they are your idol, you worship them, you worship the ground they walk on, you think they have come to save your entire world, that they are your savior and have a special power to complete you, that you do not have, then this simultaneously does two things.

First of all it sets you up as wanting to practically die for this person, or a cause, or whatever the specialness is. You worship it and sacrifice yourself for it. BUT, at the same time, you absolutely hate it and want it dead, because it has what you do not have. You are secretly insanely jealous of what it is that makes it different from you. Whatever it has that you do not, you see as something you need to "get" in order to make your ego self more whole, and therefore you seek ultimately to take it from them, to steal it.

This specialness then typically ends up within bodies... but perhaps its more useful to generalize this as "all forms". It could be specialness given to a celebrity hero, or specialness given to an exclusive partner, or specialness given to a bar of gold, or specialness given to a favorite location. Somehow you've come to believe it "contains" this substitute for love, that it "does it to you", and that by being closer to it physically you will be able to absorb i.e. take some or all of it.

Simultaneously you adore and admire and worship this special something, which seems to have come to save you from yourself and threatens to give you what you do not have, and therefore need and want, but at the same time you want to take it from them, by force if needed.

The problem is, at some point the specialness is going to wear off, because it is not *really* the truth. It is a fake truth. It is fake reality. Fake value. So it doesn't really "work" in fulfilling your emptiness. This can be for example in the form of a teacher that you followed thinking they are going to be your next savior, only to eventually find out as the honeymoon wears off that they have some flaws and you can't quite trust them anymore. Then you move on to yet another teacher, someone who glows in the dark and seems to promise you finally "THE" truth that you couldn't get anywhere else.

It can also take the form of idol worship of heroes, celebrities, teams, political parties and their leaders, countries, objects, events, places, etc. And sometimes these things will fail to give you the specialness they have, and as you begin to suspect this, you will stop seeing them with special love and your special hate will come out. Without being able to use them as a cover-up for your unconscious guilt, your guilt will come flying out and will attack them, arguing that you are justified in doing so because they have failed to give you what should be yours. Jesus talks about this also in this section of the Course.

So in the ego mind, because it is a conflicting split mind, and is two-faced and self-contradictory, it both wants to value highly what it does not have (what it is seeking), and at the same time hates those things because they have been denied to you and you cannot get them. This is a state of insanity. This is also what leads certain "super fans" of various celebrities to turn into obsessed stalkers.

Another way this expresses is in families and parenting. Children become the special valued property of the parent. The parent sees them as their savior. They put so much value into the child, protecting the child, looking after the child, believing in and lifting up the child, putting the child on a pedestal etc, all things which seem on the surface to be good wishes and of merit - good parenting you might say, but there is an undercurrent of insanity.

Parents can become so blind and in denial of the ways that the child "does wrong" or makes mistakes or is not their savior or secretly hates them behind their back or whatever, they can become so focused on the specialness of the child, that they have no idea of who the child really is or what they are really like.

It's not an honest relationship, and what usually happens is that all kinds of "genuine feelings" are bottled up and then come out explosively some years later and then there will be a huge war to vent and release all of this pent up INSANITY, which if done in order to heal can eventually lead to a sense of equality and real relationship. But usually there is little to no real communication happening. It's all fake and special and false value and idol worship.

And then if you tell such a parent that their child has done wrong or whatever, they will defend them up and down and left and right, as though you are attacking their stash of treasure. How dare you even have an opinion about someone else's offspring or even be so presumptuous as to claim that your view of what is right for the child may override their view, because you are "not their parent". There is a lot of delusion in this, a ton of denial, and it results in some *extremely* dysfunctional relationships that are not at all healthy or mature.

This is all part of the worship of specialness, the attempt to find value and truth in the world or in another, the attempt to sacrifice yourself in order to make someone else extra special, and an effort to deny who you really are. Parents thus get lost in the sense of their identity and who they are and what they want and what is important to them, beyond what becomes a profound dependency on the child, and the child then grows up with this majorly distorted idea of dependency on the parent, completely absent of any sense of equality or sanity.

So this is all part of the 4th and 5th laws of chaos, trying to find special value where there really is none, inventing it, making it up, talking yourself into believing it, to try to assuage what really inside is a great longing for God, a spiritual emptiness and an unconsciousness as to who you really are and what you really want.

And as a result of this, in the dream, the "body" becomes the "hero of the dream", because it is the ego's central symbolic idea, or thought, of the most special part of its entire dream. It cherishes the body and keeps its greatest sense of value in the body. It exalts the body, and Jesus goes into how we decorate the body with bits of fabric and give it special gifts and buy fancy houses for it to live in and to make it comfortable and all this crazy stuff. Just because we believe, deep down, psychologically, that the body is the storehouse of the truth. WE are the truth that is hiding in the body.

So then we try to take from others the truth that is in them, to have it for ourselves, thinking that this is how we will "find" it and acquire it, not realizing that we could in fact find and acquire it another way - but UNDOING our own false belief that we are not already the Truth ourselves.

Remember that originally you were One with everyone, there was one shared mind, one shared being and experience. Everything belonged to everyone. And now after the separation and with the first law of chaos, everything is divided up, meaning that other people have some of the stash that you have been denied. They have some of the lost love, the lost value, trapped in their bodies, being kept apart from you. It is your True Self that you are trying to take back from them.

We think that our own Truth and our own value are now locked up inside "others", having become separate from other parts of our One Mind which we used to share, and so now the value of my own Self is trapped in someone else's body. So to get that value back, we have to take it from them, believing in separation and that the only way to get it is to take it AWAY from the other person, rather than actually SHARE it with them.

The separation belief has produced this notion that something very valuable is hidden in "separate others" - literally the key to your own Self, to your wholeness, to your completion. It's just that, the way you go about trying to reclaim that lost Self, WITHOUT undoing the belief in separation, is extremely insane, because it means that to gain it, other people must lose it. This would then just be a shift of power, and not a sharing of power.

And the more separate you believe you are from others (and thus yourself), the more you will believe they are an enemy who has stolen something very valuable, for which you would fight with them over it. Eventually the fight becomes so intense, with extreme separation, that it turns to war, and then it's a matter of trying to conquer the other in order to "win" back what they supposedly denied you: the missing parts of The One Self.

The truth is already within us, we already have been given it by God, we already have total abundance, all of our needs are already met, we are not lacking anything, and there is no reason to even seek for anything.  But this is what the ego is attempting to deny. And in doing so it leads through stages of insanity all the way from "I am different" to "I am under attack" to "I will steal from my brother even if it kills him to take back what is MINE, because it is my SELF".

The insane would see the destruction of another as a way to "get" what the other has, and this extends all the way into severe expressions of insanity. And that's why Jesus has I think written about it this way, to describe the entire scope of human conditions from mild insanity all the way through to murderous hellish madness.

Fortunately none of this has happened :-)

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