|"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'." ...|
|"What you resist persists." ...|
On Mondays after school we'd run (not walk) to the local CNA (Central News Agency) news vendor, eagerly anticipating buying the latest Lion comic (Amalgamated Press / Fleetway Publications) for sixpence. It came to South Africa from England via the Union Castle fleet of "mailships" like the Edinburgh Castle. Lion's front page featured Paddy Payne: Warrior of the Skies, a fighter pilot in the RAF (Royal Air Force). Paddy was our hero. Back then it wasn't clear what hero-izing war stories spoke to. It's clear now. I say it's a quirk in our genetic code. It's futile, costly, and dark ... and yet exasperatingly, it persists.
Other than recontextualizing (I love that word) war as what's so (which I've examined in depth elsewhere in this body of work), war is also an expression of a colossal ego, individual or national, run amok. But wait: ego (as used here) is a verb not a noun. The verb "to ego" says Werner "means 'to perpetuate one's own point of view'". The noun "ego" says Werner "is the functioning of one's point of view in the attempt to cause that point of view to survive" (here I tip my hat to Sigmund Freud).
The quality of experience when ego-ing is between individuals, is almost predictable. Some clues that ego-ing is occurring are:
• being right / making others wrong
• dominating / avoiding being dominated
• winning at any cost / ensuring others lose
We're familiar with the costs of this trifecta when ego-ing is between individuals. And when ego-ing is between nations, the impacts can be terrible, unspeakable yet all too familiar, ensuring the possibility of the world working for everyone, stays dim.
There's a certain je ne sais quois, a certain intentionality if you will, that's called for if we are to distinguish the unworkability brought on by the ego in our individual lives and our national lives, and its cost and impacts on both. Be careful. There's an inherent trap here: it's ego-ing which keeps ego in place. That's its nature. So how do we break its hold? Some of us will break ego-ing's hold simply by distinguishing ego. Others may have an even better shot at doing so by evaluating the cost of ego-ing to our personal lives and to the planet in our national lives (they're painfully obvious) then re-prioritizing accordingly.
What's worth noting here is the pitfall inherent in any of those old mystical notions of "getting rid of" ego - or worse, of "destroying" ego. They're both fundamentally flawed: the act of attempting to get rid of ego, is ultimate ego; the act of attempting to destroy ego, is ultimate ego. Rather, the way to handle ego is by taking responsibility for ego-ing. You let ego be ... and it lets you be. Attempting to get rid of ego / attempting to destroy ego when it produces unworkability is as futile as attempting to get rid of / attempting to destroy your nose when there's a bad odor in the kitchen. Your nose is just doing its job. It's working exactly as it's meant to.
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