In the Jewish tradition, we are invited to keep a piece of paper in each pocket. On one piece we are write, “for me was the world created.” On the other, “I am dust.”
I want to say a little about the nature and function of a healthy ego.
Ego simply means “I.” In one sense, ego is simple a cursor on the computer screen of life. It is a vantage point a point of view, our point of view within the larger field of reality.
It is REALLY important to remember that our ego and the higher cortical brain out of which our ego arises, is ongoingly a byproduct of creation and the creative Intelligence that permeates life. It, we, are not the source of ourselves.
Our egoic mind, our subjectivity, is a byproduct of evolution, and it allows something quite wonderful to happen. Through this evolutionary achievement that is the higher cortical brain and through the subjectivity that has grown out of this material substrate, creation and Creator enjoy a peculiar relationship with themselves. Our eyes, are the eyes of creation and the Creator. Through these eyes, and the specific subjective location of these eyes, creation enjoys many particular vantage points upon itself.
Far from being only a mote in the vast emptiness of the universe, our ego, is, within this larger art project that is creation, also, a kind of pivot point that allows creation to look upon itself. Our mind, our eyes, our limbs are the mind, eyes, and limbs of earth, creation, and Creator.
The ego is a marvelous evolutionary achievement AND it is merely creation’s and the Creator’s butler.
In our culture we have come to think of ourselves as truly separate subjectivities with no access to the minds of other human beings or the minds or our natural world. We then reduce that subjectivity further and speak of it as a biologistic epiphenomenon.
When we forget from whence our subjectivity arises – and in our culture, this forgetfulness is a dominant mode of being and knowing – , we will view the world through a disconnected egoic vantage point. Disconnected from Source, or dwelling in forgetfulness, all ego can do is perform autopsies upon life. We perform autopsies, take things apart, and then maybe try and put them together. Or, we may copy what we have found, creating marvelous machines that are a quaint and dangerously simplified version of the original. Then we clap our hands and pat each other on the back and believe that we have created something or that Now we understand the workings of some sliver of reality.
Our vaunted intelligence, the intelligence of our egoic mind, has no basis within itself to create anything.
However, when ego remembers, is, through it’s screaming emptiness called to remember the Source of itself, then is it initiated into it’s primary function as God’s or creation’s butler. Then can we participate in, be co-creative participants in creation.