Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Napa Valley, California, USA

September 21, 2005
Reposted August 14, 2020

"Ego is the functioning of one's point of view in the attempt to cause that point of view to survive. The verb 'to ego'  means 'to perpetuate one's own point of view'." ... 
"I seem to be a verb." ... Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller
This essay, Ego, is the companion piece to It was conceived at the same time as Getting Better.

Books and books and books have been written about ego. Almost all of what's been written and said about ego has catered to and for academia and for professional psychologists and psychiatrists, and for the therapeutic and spiritual / mystical community. For the most part, what's been written and said about ego isn't easily accessible. And even if it were easily accessible, the material isn't in a palatable, pragmatic format that can quickly and easily be gotten and applied to make a profound difference in a person's life, leaving them with new power and freedom to be and act, and with new possibilities for their future.

Of the multitudes of distinctions and definitions Werner has articulated and spoken into being (that is, into the listening of human being, and into the very culture of being human on the planet today), arguably none is as succinct, as terse, and as useful as what he's said about the nature of ego ie about what ego really  is.

For starters, unlike the way ego shows up in academic, psychological, psychiatric, and therapeutic and spiritual / mystical conversations as a noun, when Werner distinguishes ego it's clearly a verb. To ego  (as languaged in Werner's work) is to survive by perpetuating one's own point of view.

When I distinguish ego and watch it in this no-nonsense way, I get it - and it's completely refreshing, pragmatic, and useful.

Secondarily it lets me observe myself ego-ing  (yes, try it on as a verb) and how it runs me. Once I'm willing to observe myself ego-ing, I can choose to go on ego-ing (that is to say I can choose to continue being run by ego) or I can choose to generate a new possibility for being for myself and my life: I can choose to not be run by ego-ing ie I can choose to get off it. Even though at first it may seem otherwise, even though at first it may seem like I don't have a choice, if I tell the truth about it, I really do have a choice. And it's actually a simple, straight-forward choice for which therapy isn't required (Werner's work isn't, and doesn't require, therapy).

Primarily it allows me to notice and to observe and to be with the space in which ego occurs  - in other words, to recognize the being I am for whom ego-ing shows up. I start noticing the being I am, is really distinct from ego. By watching ego in this way, I distinguish who I am ... and  ... I allow ego to be. Both. That's powerful!

The formative purpose of mind is to protect the being. Look: mind will do anything  to protect the being. To that end, the tyrant mind will eventually unsurp its own purpose, and function only to protect itself. When mind functions to protect itself rather than the being it's supposed to protect, it's ego-ing. When it does (which is to say when you notice it does), you can choose to thank the tyrant, to demote it, and to re-assign its original purpose (it's not hard to do, once the distinction is seen).

From time to time, ego will reign supreme anyway regardless of any attempts to demote its tyranny. When you're lit up by ego like a hundred watt lightbulb, just don't deny it. Tell the truth about it. Be authentic about it. As soon as you tell the truth about ego, you've reinstated the being  in charge, rather than ego being in charge. The oft touted mystical notion that ego should be destroyed or purged or even fixed  is simply evidence of being unclear on the concept. Ego is as much a critical, essential, natural component of our human structure as an arm or a leg. The appropriate relationship to have with ego is to own it and to be responsible for it.

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