Ego is a tool … and we are all insane …

What is “ego”? The part that thinks of itself as “I”? Ego is basically a tool for existing in this world. Ego is the tool that we create in order to perceive a coherent world and be able to communicate about it with others, who have developed the same tool, in a coherent manner. It is a perception and communication tool.

Now, why do we associate with it? Or, rather, why do we allow ego to take over and associate itself with the totality of our being? This is the same as if I made a hammer, held it up and say “I am hammer!” and the other hammer next to me would go “Hey, nice to meet you! I am a hammer too!” People who associate themselves with various objects and tools usually end up you-know-where for being incoherent with our common agreement that we must associate ourselves with a single universal tool – the ego. The situation is insane. Well, it is perfectly sane from the point of view of the hammer ego but it is insane from the point of view of the human being.

We develop a very complicated and beautiful tool, it is a wonder that allows us to talk about this world, have conversations through other tools of the same kind, enjoy all sorts of things and suffer enormously from the hole deep down that keeps reminding us that we are not the tool. Yes, the tool is wonderful, but it remains a tool. No matter how beautiful the tool is we should be able to put it aside at will. Now that we made the tool, the task is to unlearn it, to make us able to put it down and pick it up when necessary.

Now, how does one disassociate oneself from one’s ego?… -->

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The three pillars of self-importance

The human drama originates in our deep seated conflict between our perception of being the center of the world and the oh-not-so-obvious realization that we are basically nothing. Each human being considers himself to be the most important thing in the world, the center of the universe. Of course, the universe exists within the eye of the beholder, so it is natural to feel that way. If only it was not for our nearly subconscious feeling that we are all, well, less than grains of sand on the shores of time, that we are so inconsequential as to be non-existent for all practical reasons. The conflict between these two leads us to create the three pillars that support our life drama and reinforce our feeling of importance:

  • Perception of wrongness tells us that there is something wrong with the world. Somehow we feel that we are qualified to judge how the world is wrong and what has to be done with it to make it all right.
  • Illusion of separateness deceives us into thinking that we are separate from everything around us, that we somehow can act on that system outside of us and retain our own wholeness.
  • Certainty of free will causes us to swell with self-importance and indulge in our little plays of life while postponing and ignoring the big questions that matter.

If we were but to strike down these three pillars, we would see that there is not really anything left to us. Those three synthetic concepts keep us all righteous and important, protecting us from the world, making sure we cannot see the truth that lies beyond.

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