The Embattled Ego

The pursuit of security as we have come to conventionally understand it can serve to create a barrier that interferes with rediscovering deeper meaning in our life. We seem to dance from one thing to another in our modern world, looking for a brekthrough, often relying on a magical thinking to helps us create opportunity where there might not be any. That search sometimes encourages extremes in efforts to make ourselves more interesting, striving to live more successfully and extraordinarily and sometimes in embracing fantasy filled lives.

Kurt Anderson in his book “Fantasyland” about America gone haywire writes ” we are becoming so financially delirious that we are heedless of our delirium. Politics has become extremely focused on economics. Often with our focus on financial security we don’t take the time to investigate, in any depth, who we really are and how it is that we are connected to others and to the universe. We settled for a reliance on handed down understanding and fantastical wishfulness.

It seems that most of us are quite confused about what brings security in western life, not realizing that what we strive for often serves to take us away from what is innately good and natural of us. We embrace unproven ideals, reliance on reductionistic notions and the dogma of others. In his book, A Public Service Announcement to the Dark Side & Other Essays, Joe Blow suggests that this all contributes to an “embattled ego” which serves as a barrier to love and truth. He further suggests that there is the possibility that our conscious thinking self can in fact become secure enough to go wide-eyed and naked in the world. I question wether or not we can know ourselves without inner reflection. Joan Chittisters reminds us that something unique and more creative is worth consideration if we are to ” find our fit ” the standards that are supported in this way are ancient and unproven, hostile and exclusive, unfriendly but determinative. What has “always been” takes on the aura of truth and requires us to commit ourselves to maintaining the system that spawned them”

.Becoming more aware of the distractions and diversions that arise in our search for security can be an initiation into further reflection and insight into our nature and to our being and of the relevance of learning to live with insecurity. An intensified sensitivity and increased awareness and acceptance of the mystery of ourself and our life, our limitations as humans living that mystery and the possibilities that emerge from that is part of the wisdom of insecurity. However ineffable that experience is, it allows for a life more fully lived.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious…. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed…. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.

Albert Einstein

2 thoughts on “The Embattled Ego

  1. Wouldn’t you know that, when I fall behind in reading your posts, I discover that you’ve mentioned my writing and I look unappreciative for not having thanked you right away. So a belated thank you for mentioning my (unfairly) least popular ebook.

    I think you are right that inner reflection is essential for knowing ourselves. The state I describe as “wide-eyed and naked” is that of engaging with others or with the world around us in an unselfconscious way. Of course when we sit down and reflect on our inner self we are by definition self-conscious. Maybe the better we know ourselves the more easily we can forget ourselves when it is appropriate to do so.


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