We are nourishing the ego in many ways, and before we condemn or encourage, we must understand its significance, must we not? We use religion and philosophy as a means of self-expansion; our social structure is based on the aggrandizement of the self: the clerk will become the manager and later the owner, the pupil will become the Master and so on. In this process there is ever conflict, antagonism, sorrow. Is this an intelligent and inevitable process?
Reflections on the Self
How do we nourish the ego? I find that with a little attention, I can observe this process going on in both subtle and obvious ways. The movies that play in my mind are generally about nourishing the ego. Here I am, reading an improving book, when all of a sudden my mind flips to the sexy woman I saw on the street. No matter how banal or how repetitive the daydream, it always provides a glow of satisfaction which is quite delicious! Or here I am, blogging away earnestly, when suddenly I am dreaming of winning some Ultimate Blogging Award. Silly, really. Or is it?
Daydreams are one thing, but when nourishing the ego gets tied in with social structures and one’s own place in them, we jump to another level altogether. Generally I notice that such nourishing takes place at the level of status and power, and this gives us a visceral rush of satisfaction. A job well done and appreciated creates a hunger for applause and recognition. And we look for such opportunities and feed them assiduously.
What’s the harm? Absolutely none, if we see these movements and let them alone. But these affirmations are the pivots of our security and insecurity, and these moments of nourishment are the roots of our emotional energies. And they can lead us, both individually and societally, down some very dark paths, because self expansion is intrinsically an unstable business. Insecure at its core. When we have gained confidence, a mere pin prick is enough to deflate our balloons. Our social structure is based on the aggrandizement of the self. Insecurity follows in its wake.
I think it is possible to be light hearted and humourous about the dramas of self aggrandizement that play out in our minds. It is possible, but it requires us to be cheerful, vigilant and watchful of all our mental currents.