This was put out today on the CAC meditations. It does give food for thought:
The Egoic Operating System
Monday, March 17, 2014
Dualistic thinking, or the egoic operating system, as Cynthia Bourgeault calls it, is our way of reading reality from the position of my private ego. “What’s in it for me?” “How will I look if I do this?” This is our preferred way of seeing reality. It has become the “hardware” of almost all Western people, even those who think of themselves as Christians, because the language of institutional religion is largely dualistic itself. It is a way of teaching that has totally taken over in the last five hundred years. It has confused information with enlightenment, mind with soul, and thinking with experiencing. But they are two very different paths.
The dualistic mind is essentially binary. It is either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, by opposition, by differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, intelligent/stupid, not realizing there may be 55 or 155 degrees between the two ends of each spectrum. It works well for the sake of simplification and conversation, but not for the sake of truth or even honest experience.
Actually, you need your dualistic mind to function in everyday life: to do your job as a teacher, a doctor, or an engineer. It is great stuff as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. The dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, death, or love. When it comes to unconditional love, the dualistic mind can’t even begin to understand it. It pulls everything down into some kind of tit-for-tat system of worthiness and achievement, which is largely what “fast food religion” teaches, usually without even knowing it.
Adapted from A New Way of Seeing, A New Way of Being: Jesus and Paul
To me, I really don’t see dualistic thinking as “a way of thinking that has totally taken over”. Nor do I see it as a “very different path”. To me, it makes more sense to go back to the language of conscience.
Doesn’t our conscience designate what is good and what is bad, and that very conscience acts as a guide to our behavior until empathy is more developed?
If that is the case, dualism is more than just a “way of thinking”; dualistic thinking is the result of an innate mechanism within the human psyche itself, a natural phenomenon. Look at the universal appeal of “Star Wars”! So even Manichaeism has its natural underpinnings, and rather than be condemned, the mindset of Manichaeism could be accepted as part of a spiritual journey.
I am not saying that Fr. Rohr is not accepting the dualistic mindset, indeed he shows a place for it in the world. I agree with him that it does have its limitations though.