A Critique of "Kill The Ego"
To talk with any authority about the ego, one must know what an ego is. Therein lies the difficulty.
Discovering the ego for the sake of examination is actually quite impossible. At least to my knowledge, nothing called an ego has ever been witnessed,
and I would wager that no such entity or substance exists to be discovered. Yet, perhaps I am blind, because there is quite the dogma surrounding the
idea that everyone, including myself, is endowed with this entity or substance, and that we should go to great lengths to suppress, and sometimes
kill, this illusive spirit.
What is it that we label “ego”?
The only thing we ever point at in regards to an ego is to ourselves. This can be proven by trying to point out one’s own ego. Even when we think
about our ego, we are really only thinking about ourselves. When we think of a friend’s ego, we really only think of that friend, or at least, the
experiences we’ve had of them. We have yet to behold or perceive anything other than these beings.
The ego has been synonymous with the “self”, which is simply another noun to which we give ourselves at our own leisure, which, like all labels,
changes really nothing of what it is we label. Why we need to reapply labels on ourselves in such ways is unclear, but it is a commonplace occurrence
throughout various cultures. Souls, selves, egos, bodies, spirits, minds, consciousnesses, humans, Homo Erectus, I, me, she, we—there is really only
one entity found beneath these labels at all times. However, what we choose to call this being is entirely up to the one speaking.
The ego is also synonymous with personal identity, which really amounts to no more than how we look, how we talk, how we dress and, sometimes, how we
think. When we are speaking about identity, we are once again only really talking about ourselves, our clothes, our names and whatever other baubles
and fancies we’ve gathered along the course of our lives. Is the ego our clothing? Is the ego our name?
Suppose one wanted to do away with the “ego”, and in doing so changed his name, chose to wore rags, grew a beard and began to wander the earth as
a sage. Has he killed or in any harmed an ego? He hasn’t. He merely grew a beard. His “identity”, his “self”, is not only still alive, but
has taken it upon itself to change its appearance. The sage merely looks different and chooses, by the power of his own faculties, to think of certain
things and act a certain way. If anything, the ego in this instance has triumphed, as only egotism would inspire one to change his appearance.
Imagine Buddha, dressed in rags seated lotus beneath a tree. Then, if you can, imagine him in synthetic shorts playing tennis. Yes, he appears
different, but can we say the man beneath the clothes, beneath the “ego”, is any different? Only superficiality would garner a response.
When one tells me I should check my ego, I get the odd feeling that they don’t like the way I act, and they would rather see that I instead act like
them, as their
"ego" would. When one tells me to kill my ego, they must offend themselves by my very sight, enough so to want to see me remove
my clothes, my name, and my identity, my "ego", so that I may instead, once again, act like them. They therefore must hold themselves in higher regard
than I to state this with such conviction. Well...isn't that a glaring instance of egotism?
Sadly, I cannot find any ego to critique, as end up only critiquing myself, and others.
edit on 4-11-2013 by NiNjABackflip because: (no reason