Table of Contents
1. What It Is
2. What It Does
4. Related Posts
1. What It Is
The ‘ego’ is a ghost. It’s an internal demon.
It’s like an invisible virus. A spiritual virus. It doesn’t have a shape/colour/sound/etc.; it’s nowhere and everywhere1you certainly can’t find it on the map of a human brain.
What I know, about the ‘ego’, is its nature…
…and that, you’re not your ego.
(‘Ego’ is typically referred to as “self-concept”2self-image, and the attachment to the self-image. Here, it’s separated; it’s ‘ego’ in a more literal sense.)
What matters to the ego? Status. Why? I don’t know.3The most likely reason is evolution. In the human mating market, status is king.
The ego wants status to matter to you. It wants you to play the status game4keep upping your rank in whatever hierarchy you’re inat all times.
How does it make you?
It already has; remember that the ego has deluded you into thinking that it’s your true-self.5I’d say, extremely successfully.And, if you’re your ego, what matters to you is what matters to the ego.
Hence, the ego is concerned about keeping you this way.
How does it keep you?
By attaching you to the self-image, and growing the self-image.6Particularly, the parts of the self-image relevant to status.
2. What It Does
The ego is constantly looking for signs (of status).
Every status-indicating event becomes an identity–added to the self-image.
Gets an A on a writing assignment: High status
Can’t kick a soccer ball properly: Low status
Gets hired by a top law firm: High status
Stutters words talking to the waiter: Low status
Gets a lot of upvotes on Reddit: High status
The ego keeps adding attachments; the “sense of self”7how attached you are to your self-imagekeeps getting stronger.
Attachments create desires. Lots of attachments? Lots of desires.8You care about your looks(because it indicates status). So, you want to buy nice shoes/watches/pants/etc. You want to get fit. You want to…Lots of desires? Lots of delight & suffering.9Every time something indicates “low status”, you feel a sting. E.g. Somebody tells you, “you’re stupid”, it hurts. Somebody tells you, “you’re attractive”, it feels good.
Big Self-Image ≈ Emotional Turmoil
Not only do you have many moments of delight & suffering10by having many desires, the moments are (emotionally) intense11by having a strong attachment to the self-image; the moments mean too much.
You get overwhelmed. Then you play status games…for peace.
By the way, the ego is never satisfied.
The ego will always have infinite desires. There will always be more status to gain. You’ll be consumed by self-hatred…without escaping from the ego.
The ego will always be anxious, constantly worrying about losing status. You’ll suffer endlessly in the imagination…without escaping from the ego.
You can never attain peace by appeasing the ego.
Marks of Ego
Status is zero-sum; it’s relative. That means: to determine status, you have to make comparisons.
Hence, we’re addicted to making comparisons: “She’s short, his car is slow, their house is old…”
A convenient way to gain status: put other people down.
The trick is to portray yourself as a “good person”.12In the modern world, the most infamous version is “cancelling” people. If you call out “evil”, you’re “good”.
Status is solely based on what other people think of you; keeping status needs constant external affirmations.
So you care about “what other people think”…because that’s what you value.13“Don’t care about what other people think” is terrible advice. (You know something is bad advice when the givers don’t have the results themselves.) It’s no different than saying, “be happy”…there’s no understanding.
Not knowing what you want + Ego -> Constantly “justifying” your decisions. (Plus asking others for confirmation).
In other words, you make decisions based on status.14“Respectability”15You always make decisions based on what matters to you.You feel relieved when other people tell you, “wow, that’s (insert high status)”.
No wonder why everyone’s trying to become lawyers & doctors.
- Status is mostly bounded by the particular society; your status is unique to the society you’re in.
- The more a society matters, the more your status in that society matters.
- The more you associate with a society, the more it matters.
∴ People tend to compare themselves more to those who are similar to them.16E.g. You don’t compare yourself with an elephant. Even if you do, there’s no emotional reaction.16
(This brings parity, as people constantly try to one-up each other instead of maximizing their own potential.17Everybody wants to be in the “top 1%”. Regardless of what it means. Despite the limitless nature of human beings.)
The true-self must break free from the ego–that’s the ‘escape’.
Escaping the ego is necessary for ‘independence’…then ‘ownership’.
When you no longer have to please the ego; when you no longer have to play status games, you’re internally independent. With ‘deconditioning’, you become fully ‘independent’ of influences.
You just have to notice. Notice your emotions, your behaviours; others’ emotions, others’ behaviours. Reject the ego. Renounce the ego. Cancel the ego.
It’ll take some time.18You have no idea (at least, I had no idea)–everything is ego–if feels like that, when you realize. So many behaviours can be explained.But after enough “this is ego, that is ego”, you’ll finally reach 0…
…and damn is it worth it.
High-status is a double-edged sword.
- Gets you through the doors
- More attention
- Forced to places
- Being watched
The most attractive part of high-status (in my opinion) is that you don’t have to prove yourself all the time. All the people who care about status19which, most dobow down to you.20Unless your status is *slightly above* the person. In that case, you’re competed against.
The price you pay is fame. Mind you, people never forget.
What’s certain: status doesn’t give you happiness. There are plenty of examples.
4. Related Posts
Questions & comments are welcome!
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