Ego

Embarrassment out of place has its source in ego [haughtiness].

Confronted by outstanding merit in another, there is no way of saving one's ego except by love.

Rites and vain repetitions have a legitimate place in religion as aids to recollectedness, reminders of truth momentarily forgotten in the turmoil of worldly distractions. When spoken or performed as a kind of magic, their use is either completely useless or else (and this is worse) it may have ego-enhancing results, which do not in any way contribute to the attainment of man’s final end.

He who attempts to act and do things for others and for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give to others. He will communicate to them only the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, and his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.

The idea of soul, as a pure ego or mental substance, persists tenaciously in philosophy. I have argued that it cannot satisfactorily discharge the various tasks for which it has been recruited. The body, with marginal, speculative and dependent exceptions, is all that is required to individuate experiences and to supply then with an owner. An unobservable mental substance cannot individuate and provides a merely formal, because wholly inscrutable, solution to the problem of ownership. It is equally, and even more obviously, inept as an explanation of the identity of a person through time, which rests, not on the body, but on the complex of a person’s character and memories, related by continuity.

To start from self does not mean to be selfish. It means to start from premises based on human life and the rest of nature, rather than premises that are the artificial products of the Corporate State, such as power or status. It is not an ‘ego trip’ but a radical subjectivity designed to find genuine values in a world whose official values are false and distorted. It is not egocentricity, but honesty, wholeness, genuineness in all things. It starts from self because human life is found as individual units, not as corporations and institutions; its intent is to start from life.

I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive... But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.

Jung said the truth of the matter is that the shadow is ninety percent gold. Whatever has been repressed holds a tremendous amount of energy, with a great positive potential. So the shadow, no matter how troublesome it may be, is not intrinsically evil. The ego, in its refusal of insight and its refusal to accept the entire personality, contributes much more to evil than the shadow.

Reading and what it can contribute to one's life is not something that pertains only to the ego and its conscious mind; it is also deeply rooted in the unconsciousness. Those who retain all through life a deep commitment to the literary harbor in their consciousness some residue of their earlier conviction that reading is an art permitting access to magic worlds, although very few of them are aware that they subconsciously believe this to be so.

What is Zen in the art of helping? It is easier to say what it is not than more positively to describe the essence. It is to avoid the boosting of the ego through ‘good works’. It is to aid oneself and others in the pursuit of the good life; to discover and uncover new vigour and freshness in the art of living; to uncover the primal ability of love. Living in the here and now is a major ingredient.

All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all ego-hood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it never so childish, grotesque, and immoral... Death is psychologically as important as birth... Shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose.

Healing comes only from that which leads the patient beyond himself and beyond his entanglements with ego.

The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche, opening into the cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness may extend.

The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens into the primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was a conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.

The only way to judge an event in life is to look at it from high enough, to see it in the order and dimension of the timeless. When we see pain, suffering and inequalities, we don’t understand or we jump to false conclusions. We see only the broken arc of a complete circle. Instead, life is a field for progress and progressive harmony. Each one of us has a part to play which he alone can execute. This role, based on our real nature - what Hindu scriptures call svabhava - can be discovered. An individual’s aim in life must be to find out the “law of his being” and act according to his svadharma. This discovery is no easy task. Normally, we are aware of our ego, the surface self that is a bundle of contradictory impulses. But we can find the true self, our best self, by a process of standing back and surveying our needs. Abandoning desire and self-assertion, accepting the challenges of life in a state of stable, unwavering peace will result in this supreme revelation. When life’s shocks turn our eyes inward, we rise above contingencies of time and place. Our perspective changes. The greatest sorrows is transformed into a luminous vibration. We see into the life of things. Life itself, a single, immense organism, moves toward a greater and higher harmony as more and more cells become conscious of their uniqueness. Life, then, is not Macbeths’s “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It is a grand orchestra in which discordant notes contribute to the total harmony.

People who lead fulfilling lives generally have found a sense of “home” in what they do. They have a philosophy of life that connects them to a larger vision. They accept that life is a continuing challenge. More often than not, they are able to live according to their own schedules, choosing work that is interesting and complex enough to keep them engaged. They get excited about being effective and about being stretched to learn new things. They have a few good friends who understand their vision and perhaps even share common aspirations. They are not driven by urgency, competition, or the demands of the ego.

The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to at least three-fold: to give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for becoming existence.

A human being is part of the whole called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self [ego]. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.

Basic axiomatic positionalities of the ego: (1) Phenomena are either good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust, fair or unfair. (2) The `bad’ deserve to be punished and the `good’ rewarded. (3) Things happen by accident or else they are the fault of somebody else. (4) the mind is capable of comprehending and recognizing truth from falsehood. (5) The word causes and determines one’s experiences. (6) Life is unfair because the innocent suffer while the wicked go unpunished. (7) People can be different than they are. (8) It is critical and necessary to be right. (9) It is critical and necessary to win. (10) Wrongs must be righted. (11) Righteousness must prevail. (12) Perceptions represent reality.

The evolution of consciousness requires a wide range of opportunities and a playing field that affords almost unlimited options for development. If human life represents a learning process, then society is the ideal school that affords an extremely wide range of options for numerous levels of consciousness to develop, progress, define, identify, and grasp endless subtleties as well as learn more gross lessons. The ego is extremely tenacious and therefore often seems to require extreme conditions before it lets go of a positionality. It often takes the collective experience of millions of people over many centuries to learn even what appears upon examination to be a simple and obvious truth, namely, that peace is better than war or love is better than hate.