In order to successfully rule over something we much first depersonalize it. We acknowledge these items as "ours." Our wives, our husbands, our family, house, car, body Ė just more stuff we own. It may seem minute and very unimportant, but the hidden depersonalization behind this implied ownership is the basis for the greed and envy rampant in society today.
This depersonalization began with humans depersonalizing nature. With personal gods controlling streams and forests, these resources and lands could not be strip mined or clear cut, nor have a hydraulic power plant built upon. When it was believed that personal god did control such resources, prayers had to be offered in order to simply walk upon the sacred grounds, let alone to simply build condos upon. Quickly humans developed a desire to expand and nature stood in the way of this expansion. So we depersonalized with all due speed. Now these trees and waters were no longer living and watched over, protected by a super-human entity, they were dead matter to be used or destroyed for whatever reason we human (of all things) could ponder up.
Christianity played a surprisingly large roll in the depersonalization of nature. The church banished all "pagan" gods (Celtic, Methuzian, etc) of the woods, mountains, and waters. They checked these personal gods in for a hovering, mysteriously aloof entity that must be feared in order to be loved. This god was totally separate from itís creation. And so nature lost nearly every personal and sacred appeal. In fact, in Christianity everything but human life (usually only certain races of human life) had little significance unless it can benefit the humanís pocket books. Humans alone possess eternal souls and the res of the life on earth exists for the humanís pleasure.
So now this intricate creation could finally be called an object. A mere thing to be examined under a microscope and generally exploited for the said benefit of science and technological advancement.
For awhile, humans stood out as unique and sperate from the rest of creation. But not too much later, some began to wonder why this was so. They decided that humans were animals too. More matter to be studied and used for whatever reason. And God? Well, God (now usually referred to as "god") was already seen by Christians as impersonal and secluded from this creation (which all along wasnít even his). So obscure and so huge that we could have no possible conception of a relationship with a supreme being. Thus God became irrelevant.
Everything is now matter that we can freely rule over. "Since god is dead, Iíll be god!" And now, with this new found strength from our depersonalized consciousness we set forth to dominate. But we are brought quickly to our knees when met with another person desiring even more to lord over everything. However, after his short reign, he is taken down as well. This cycle is seeming endless. When we depersonalized our environment, we depersonalized ourselves, thinking we are but machines chewing up life and spiting out the useless bits and chunks. We have assumed the very position of God, forgetting we destroyed even that long ago. So we ourselves are left lifeless along a roadside campaigned by the innumerable others we deadened on our discursion. We have sucked the life blood from our environment and ourselves, transforming each into dead, easy-to-manipulate matter. As it is increasingly more clear, this depersonalization is our bridge to unconsciousness, our death. This cycle of unconsciousness does not lay to rest as we do.
A progressive human life is a life of hardships and struggles, set up to avoid at all costs the unconsciousness. Unfortunately this progressive nature is next to impossible to find, must less acquire. Cue to this difficulty, often we fall back into this cycle of unconsciousness. This cycle is constructed of the unconsciousness, the very characteristic of the dead. The enlightening of our consciousness is a victory over death. This cycle is the staple of the downfall of civilization. We have already been reduced in consciousness by this cycle. The depersonalization of nature, and then God, were the necessary steps towards our own depersonalization.
We must understand the root of this depersonalization before we lay siege to it. We use our depersonalization of others so that we may gain enjoyment from them. If we would view a person to be fully equal to ourselves, there may be a chance for a relationship based on mutual respect where at friendship could flourish. That may mean letting go of some emotion or, at worst, caring. But when we set our lives to dominate, that friend becomes an implement to fulfill our own desires. The friend is no longer a person, but an object. The consciousness of the person has been dealt the fatal blow, the person is dead.
Our lustful appetites cause this depersonalization and unconsciousness. As said before, the would-be god, the enjoyer, becomes controlled by another would-be god, and loses every chance to enhance his own consciousness through true personal relationships, the certain origin of happiness.
The idea that this depersonalization and unconsciousness can only be eliminated by not seeing others as objects of enjoyment will be the catalyst for bona fide equality to arise. Our stead, but rapid, decline of consciousness is not at all stifled by whimsical ordinances of state and nation. We must ourselves, abandon this cycle of unconsciousness. But that can only come to pass when we finally look upon others as equals, and no longer desire to exploit them as textiles.
The principle text that people of this tradition study is the Bhagavad-gita. This ancient Vedic writing teaches us not that living beings have consciousness (a soul), but that we are consciousness (again, a soul). One who understands these teachings realizes that there is practically no spiritual difference between the self and other living selves. This remains fixed throughout all species of life. That is not to say, however, that we are a grand amalgam of equality. Each soul, each consciousness, have individuality and personal identity, but we are each of identical value. Holding full knowledge of this, one would not think of exploiting any living being, no matter the purpose. But much of the worldís thought is not of this, the thought is mostly mechanical, scientific. They point out that there is no evidence for the soul, thus no evidence for God, that is how they depersonalize.
The Bhagavad-gita explains that this desire to depersonalize and dominate is not natural. Desire, in its purest form, is natural, but in its original, purest states, desire was the desire to love God, the Supreme Person, Krishna. Through this Supreme Person comes personalization and the desire to love all souls as they all emanate from this Supreme soul. But in our unconscious state we have depersonalized nature, God, and ourselves. We have forgotten the true object of our love and transformed it into the lust to exploit. And of course, the cycle of unconsciousness becomes prevalent once again.
The out look of the human condition appears dark and unchangeable. We are all simultaneously the victims and the guilty of this depersonalization and desire to exploit. Perhaps we should set our sites not on changing the world, but set them more, at least at first, towards the personal. We do not have to exploit or even desire to exploit. We do not have to be the victims or the guilty. We can leave this world of unconsciousness and become the world of the living.