There is an unforgettable scene near the end of Roman Polanki’s extraordinary film Chinatown, when Jake Gittis (played by Jack Nicholson) finally confronts the all-powerful and daughter raping Noah Cross (John Huston) with evidence of the murder of his one time partner and Los Angeles’ Water Department Head the ethical Hollis Mulwray. The issue is water and Los Angeles cannot grow without it. Cross has his partner murdered because he was standing in the way of Cross’ plan to divert water from the relatively small coastal city of Los Angeles to its vast and rural Valley. Rather than bring water to LA, he intends to bring LA to the water and, in the process, control and own its development.
Confronted with evidence of his crime Jake asks:
Jake: How much are you worth?
Noah: I’ve no idea. How much you want? (great wealth will always want to buy off dangers and threats).
Jake: I just want to know what you’re worth. Over ten million?
Noah: Oh my yes! (with amazement at the smallness of Jake’s estimate – the film takes place in the 1920s).
Jake: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can’t already afford?
Noah: The future Mr. Gittis – the future.
You can see the whole scene here:
but I strongly recommend that you watch the whole film.
This briefest of conversations tell the whole story of the deficient self. We might loathe Noah Cross (and please note his name!), but he is no different from you and me.
His sense of self is defined by his fear. And how does he address this fear? He addresses it through force. He uses force with the intent of controlling his world.
It is this NOW that life is unacceptable. The deficient self is always looking to the future, whether it be the next moment of the next year. It must reject this NOW because it is in this NOW that the deficiency is directly experienced (you might need to read that sentence several times to allow the message to fully sink in).
Noah Cross might have one advantage over you and I, because he has lots of money and he can use that money as his tool to force control. Most of us are left with the unnerving problem of worrying and trying to figure out our personal future. We might consult the I Ching or tarot cards or whatever, because we are too untrusting of life to place our faith in it. The promise of great wealth is that it gives us the illusion that we can actually put into motion what we believe must happen to assure our safety and power in a world that is dangerous and unpredictable.
But this future that we create, no matter how compelling it might appear, is simply the reflection of the central fear that governs our illusory existence. The future is something we construct from our own imagination and our imagination is a function of our fear. This self-constructed future is the place where all bad things can potentially happen. We could lose everything, even our own life, but usually are fears are considerably more modest than simple life and death. They tend to organize around money, relationships, or our families.
It is perfectly reasonable to care about the quality of our lives and want good things to happen for everything that enters our life, but it is quite another to be paralyzed by fear and need to seek ways to control it that are nurtured by our fears. When this happens, our sense of power is externalized. It is given to the body of fear that our deficient self defines for itself.
This is the very life of division – of being split in two, where on one side is our powerless selves and on the other is an always dangerous and all-powerful universe. Threats to our well-being are everywhere. We become convinced that we are uniquely prone to having bad luck and that the foundation of our lives is built on sands that will shift in our disfavor.
This is also the life of distrust – that projects a very personal universe. Strangely, this vast universe will revolve directly around our fears. This is the very territory of the deficient self, that made-up psychological entity that can darkly rule our life.
This is the fantasy that needs to be undone. It is the false authority. It is the usurper. But most importantly, it is the psychological force that constructs the Fear-Self – the false entity we believe ourselves to be. The Fear-Self is a complex and multi-dimensional entity. You are invited to read about it detail in my book, Liberation from the Lie. This book can be the key to your own liberation from the fears that are likely the power center of your current life.
He who has this belief is also false! Know that both the belief and the believer are false. It is the insane drama of our made-up lives.
Liberation from fear means seeing through the core illusion. Let it rage. Let it show you its wealth of hard evidence. Let it scare you. The storm will rage and pound … but it will also, in time, like all storms, dissipate and disperse. Yes, it will return, perhaps even stronger, but always know that the real power comes from simple seeing amid the storm. The projected future is the false tiger, the empty promise, the cardboard dictator of our lives.