Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Me Mine

I got to go to my very first sneak peek of a movie the other night.  I had seen previews for Real Steel at a few other movies.  The story line appealed to the underdog/hero fan in me.  Of course the action and special effects of 9' tall boxing robots didn't seem too shabby either. (Really)  I was surprised while standing in line to see two men with wands searching people before letting them into the theater.  I had to wonder aloud what was going on.  Ah.  Looking for video equipment.  Huh.  Then sitting in the theater it was announced that the light of a cell phone wound mean automatic expulsion for the person with the phone.  Wow. That seemed pretty hard core.  It happened to be the last night of the baseball season and my team's fate came down to the last night of the season.  I almost asked for permission to check scores once in a while but thought better of it.  

I know I've mentioned this some where else in this blog but, I'll say it again; I can be an absolute sucker for movies.  I can laugh and cry with the best of 'em.  I can get emotional while watching a trailer on TV if it moves me in the right way.  Real Steel was an absolute roller coaster ride for me.  It's kinda funny.  I'm not sure what demographic Disney was shooting for exactly.  It's probably meant to be a movie for the whole family.  I mean it's definitely a movie for kids; one of the main characters is a kid after all.  There's a love story element for moms I guess.  There's the washed up boxer story for dad.  And of course the 9' tall robots for everybody.    

In the post I'm a Believer I talked about how a director sometimes hits you over the head in order for you to get a message.  I think director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Date Night) was a little more subtle. I think.  I say I think because the same message kept hitting me over and over.  I don't know.  It's probably just me. 

The overriding theme for me was all about ego.  All about letting go of ego.  Ego vs. true self.  I sat there in the theater saying to myself over and over. "It's all about ego".   Every single character had to overcome ego in some way or other.

But what is the ego?  Is it good or bad?  Seems as though the ego mostly always gets a bum wrap.  And that's where it gets hazy for me.  I don't really know enough I guess.  Let's do a little studying. 


e-go  (eeg-oh) 
the "I" or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.

Psycholanalysis; the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primative drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.

So, we all have egos.  As a baby we don't really have an ego though.  All of our experiences are outward.  We have no real sense of self.  Only over time do we become aware of self.  The problem is is that before we can know our true self a reflected awareness of our selves takes over.  It's not our true selves.  It is ego.  It's us filtered through how others see us.  If mommy loves you and cares for you in the right ways then it's all good.  A good ego is born.  If you are not cared for or loved or appreciated then all you're stuck with is an ill ego.  So we have two centers really.  That center which is your true self and the center that is reflected ego. 

In many ways the ego is a good thing. Right?  One needs a strong sense of self and a feeling of confidence to succeed in many a situation.  I guess it's when an ill ego starts taking over every thing that problems start.

The ego take over?  How's that?  Aren't we in control at all times?  Well, sorry. no.  Most of us aren't really in control all the time.  I wish I was.  I try most of the time to think about what I'm doing.  To consider others feelings.  To remember we're all in this together.  When I fail it's almost always ego at the heart of the matter.  When I am feeling unworthy or unlovable or sabotage a relationship, it's the ego that is doing the hard work for me.  All I have to do is stand by and watch.       
You might be familiar battling an ego that clings to old ways and old beliefs.  An ego that  will cling to those things that it knows. Those things that give it power. Those things that keep you from realizing your true self. Your true power.

Someone you love or respect dares to hint that you might be mistaken about something?   Even if you know in your heart that they're right the ego snaps to attention like a soldier.  The ego will mostly defend itself against all suspicion against all doubt.  I mean jeez, you don't want that person to think of you that way do you?  Ego to the rescue! 

Want to ask that person across the room out for a date?  What's the worst that could happen?  Oooo they might say no!  That would feel bad for a minute.  Ego can help with that.  Soon you will convince yourself that it's probably not even worth the effort.

See the ego is all about I, me, mine.  I, me, mine.  It craves atte

All right.  So what?  What's the big deal?

Are you really willing to be satisfied not knowing your true self? 

Taking power away from ego is scary.  It makes you feel confused and chaotic at first.  Ego will fight long and hard to stay in power.  Our battle need not be so fierce though.  All you really need is to be mindful.  You have to keep watch of ego.  If we are mindful ego will fall away of its own accord.    

And without ego?  That real center is the soul, the self, the god, the truth, or whatsoever you want to call it.

I'm pullin' for ya.


1 comment:

  1. Your post raised a few thoughts. The curious thing is that since we are born without a sense of who we are, then who we are - our self - is entirely a product of our interactions with our environment - resulting in what we call our egos. Which raises the question, "Do we even have a true self aside from our egos?"

    I think what Freud called our ego is really us, to a degree. Problem is, layers of complex feelings and motivations are piled up on one another, often obscuring a deeper, truer essence - "the real me." But I don't see this as separate from "ego." I think it's one in the same. Maybe it's just a matter of semantics.

    We betray our "selves" because of all the ways we have to conform and stop being that needy, selfish baby. We bury feelings for the benefit of others (our boss, our spouse), and anything buried is another step away from authenticity and towards "ego" (or our false self, if you will). We end up denying our own feelings and who we really are in order to fit in. The crazy thing is that, almost always, our authentic self is more appealing than our false self. Anyone who has undergone intense psychotherapy and met their true self will tell you this. However, this state is so precious that we are very protective of it. It is easily hurt in a world that doesn't really value it, so we keep it hidden. Paul Laurence Dunbar addressed this eloquently in his poem "We Wear the Mask:"

    We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be overwise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
    We wear the mask.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
    We wear the mask!

    Wearing the mask is not always a bad thing. Often, it is necessary either for self-protection or expediency. The problem is when we forget to take it off and end up thinking it is us.