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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Essay 3. The Ego

Sigmund Freud identified the "id, ego, and superego" as the operating systems of the mind. For practical purposes, we will focus on the ego. The ego, as you will see, is the biggest shadow in Plato's cave. Unmasking the ego, recognizing that false sense of self that we all acquire is absolutely key to emotional freedom.

The ego as described here is simply a false sense of self. You acquire and build your ego as you acquire and agree to your beliefs. We accept the existence of the ego as we have acquired beliefs that contributed to the construction of that ego.

We accept one premise. Opinions, and thus beliefs, are often wrong.

Because we accept that beliefs are simply opinions, both good and bad, we recognize that beliefs are the building blocks of the ego. Thus your ego is a combination of opinions and beliefs, true and untrue, good, bad, and indifferent.

We also accept that the ego is the root cause of all that is bad on this planet as humans interact. Individually or collectively, the ego is the root cause of the insanity of the planet and our inability to treat others humanely. Once you achieve awareness of your ego, you may be humbled by how foolish you have been. It's ok. You will also begin to notice just how insane this planet, specifically, humanity has become.

As you were accepting beliefs, an ego began to emerge and form. The manifestations and combinations of that ego are infinite. But one thing is certain. You will acquire an ego. Whether you recognize it and mitigate it is completely up to you. If in fact you want to achieve real emotional freedom then recognition and mitigation are absolutely essential. Let's take a look at some of those unconscious souls.

The other day, I was perusing a very popular political blog site. The writers on this site are completely ego identified with the Republican party. They have a belief system that says, "we are right" and they work very hard to discredit the Democrat party. As they attack, various anonymous commenters launch counterattacks. They viciously attack one another, in a very personal way in an attempt to discredit and one up each other. Often their comments are so malicious, they are done to anger people and I suppose gain some amount of glee from that.
Their egos have complete control of them. These people are unconscious. Trying to gain control and influence others and in the process- diminishing them. Extracting whatever glee they get and in return feeling diminished as they suffer a counter attack.

I have a friend who is a very successful attorney. He is an excellent orator. He has an opinion on every subject and renders those opinions freely. He believes he is smarter than all adversaries and his ego works very hard at proving this in and out of the courtroom. Winning is everything to this man even if he damages others in the process. He is dominant and controlling, so much so that his wife of 30+years is simply a wallflower. She believes she is inferior and her ego lacks any sense of self esteem, undoubtedly as a result of the belief systems and ego she has acquired. Both individuals survive in this marriage as those two types of egos can tolerate one another. Both of them have expressed unhappiness to me. They are unconscious and unaware that their belief systems and ego have taken them hostage. They are unable to free themselves and achieve happiness.

I have a friend who was rejected by her mother as ugly. Told she was unattractive. Unconsciously she believed this to be true. Agreed to it as a child. She has spent a lifetime receiving botox treatments, breast implants, dating every man available. Trying to prove her mothers statements as incorrect. Other women hate her and view her as a threat and a narcissist. They simply don't know why she behaves the way that she does and they attack. Unfortunately, she has spent a lifetime trying to unconsciously undo an acquired belief she received from her mother and thus prove her wrong. Other women simply see shadows on a cave wall, never really knowing what created them. Each side imposing their beliefs, all of them unconscious.

The Middle East is a wonderful example of collective beliefs and egos run awry. Countries and religious factions declaring war and killing each other, trying to impose their belief systems and collective egos on others. Trying to gain control. The United States, unable to control those countries' and fearful, invades and kills soldiers and civilians alike. Israel threatens to nuke it's numerous enemies in a one up survival mode which is a collective ego and belief of their own. All of this is based on belief systems. Opinions. These people all BELIEVE they are right. Willing to impose those beliefs and kill people in the process. The collective insanity of the world. Make no mistake about it, killing people is always insane.

So we've taken a brief view of our insane and ego driven world. Whether it's bloggers, lawyers, women and men, or warring countries, insanity is all around you. We can't control any of that, so we're not even going to try. We are here to work on ourselves. Let's take a look at the shadow your ego casts on the wall, let's examine the only thing any of us can control. Ourselves.

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