Skip to main content

Why Ego is bad

I met a person some time back to whom I had gone to advice regarding a career in a bank, he worked in a bank and was about to join the CSS service – the bureaucracy in Pakistan. In the conversation I had with him he mentioned I should take advice from my parents in the matter to which I told him that such an effort would be pointless because banking was an alien domain for my parents.

In the course of events I said that he wasn’t getting it and that we should move on. On his persistence I finally told him: “what the hell is the issue here…my parents won’t be able to help!”.

At this he said: “You don’t know what I can do to you, you should not talk that way to me.” In an intellectual explanation of his statement: his rationale, he said: “You don’t know how much ego I have, you can’t even imagine. It is much more than you can ever have”.

Now that statement caught me and I thought to myself: “how in the hell can ego be a good thing. It is the one thing I have always known is bad, strange guy indeed!”

A couple of years later I heard of a book, one that is so common that some of the people you know will have heard of it too. The name of the book is: “Fountainhead” and the motto of it is: “Man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress”.

Now this was a bigger shocker. Not only was that guy thinking on these lines but a very large part of the reading human world since 1943 –when the book was published – has been reading it. In fact on further reflection I realized that I was thinking on these lines as well, when for example in school in the spirit of competition I wanted to come first and the reason was simply that it was Me we were talking about. How could I not come first?

Now there is a counter argument that many religions including Islam produce. This is of “understanding reality as it is” and doing this by doing things like praying and fasting and other exercises that help you negate yourself with the goal being of bringing yourself in control.

How polar these two ideas are and what I present below is the conclusion in favour of the latter:

Ego while having utility in that it helps motivate a person also in the process “burns” him and is actually not necessary at all and is as unnecessary as melodrama is in our everyday lives. We don’t need that melodrama and we don’t need the ego all that we need to do is to think things through and execute them.

A very powerful example given in the Quran is of God giving two big lessons to man kind at the creation of human kind:
Lesson 1: Adam was the supreme of all creation because of his “knowledge”
Lesson 2: The devil was made the most inferior of all creation because of his “ego”

Knowledge is not dependent on ego but you might be dependent on it if you do not use knowledge to free yourself.

Is he liyae "unparh" log har waqt phadae mein par-ae rehtae hein because un kae liyae har cheez anaa ka masla ban jatee hae.

And herein is the shair of Iqbal when he said: “khud he ko kar buland itna kae har taqdeer sae pehlae khuda tujh sae khud poochae kae teree raza kya hae”. The boland that he was talking about is through knowledge and control of the will not through ego and the fuelling of it.


Popular posts from this blog

Explanation of the movie 'Revolver'

I saw the movie for the umpteenth time last night and I finally got it.

This is what the movie says:

1) In every game and con there is always a victim and there is always an opponent. It's good to know when you are the former so you can become the latter.

2) But the question is how do you prepare yourself for this game?

3) You only get smater by playing a smarter opponent.

4) The smarter the game the smarter the opponent

5) Checkers is an example of such a game. Chess is a better game. Debate is an even better opportunity to learn and so on.

6) But the question is where does the game stop? or one can ask what is the smartest game one can play?

7) The answer according to the movie is: "The game of con you play with yourself".

The text below has been added on 3 Dec 2008 and is based on a comment posted on October 30, 2008, at time 4:12 PM. I have only recently understood what this person meant and it is …

What the journey means to me

My journey so far has been about discovering the meta rules of how the self works. The essence of what I have learnt is that the self can change and in fact does change every time it undergoes an experience. Where any experience is significant because of the meaning it carries for us. It means something to us by the fact: it changes our feelings from state (state a) to another state (state b). Where this movement between states is a process we can call witnessing.  The exercise of witnessing can be powerful and enriching.  In fact if we could communicate what we have witnessed through poetry or through prose, perhaps with the aid of metaphors, we could share these experiences with our family, friends and with the larger community. 
Thus to go in retrospect and search for meaning in the experiences we have had can help us grow mature, become stronger and make us more aware.

My Criteria for my marriage partner

1) She should be a home maker. 10 on a scale of 10
2) I should be able to fall in love with her and her with me … 7 on a scale of 10.

First criteria:

10 on a scale of 1-10 for this criteria because I consider my family my second self. The better my partner will be at making my family the best the better off my second self will be. Who doesn’t want to aim for the best? In accordance with this she should have the best of the characteristics that every home maker should have:

1) Intelligent
2) Practical
3) Ability to take stress and bounce back – agility of mind
4) High level of commitment
5) Principled
6) Caring
7) Want her children to be the best
8) Want to learn how to make her children the best

Of course there is an ideal woman out there who would rank very high in all these areas. But then I have to be practical too. I would want to marry the most ideal woman who is compatible with me. Compatibility is covered in the second criteria.

Second Criteria:

Description of scale:

5: passes the basic crite…