Ego – it’s not a dirty word

At the outset I want to say that I am misinterpreted, misrepresented, and misunderstood by some people on an almost constant basis … they’re convinced they couldn’t possibly have interpreted anything even slightly incorrectly, convinced there’s nothing I could possibly say that would be valid or add any significant change to their interpretation of events, and convinced that the values and methods by which they’ve interpreted the situation are unassailable.

These people – despite the obvious hypocrisy and irony of such a statement – will then accuse me of acting out of ego, just because I dare to have a different interpretation of events – EVEN IF they were not present at the event they are judging, even if I was, and even if I have both evidence and logic to support my claims, yet all they have are opinions and the bias of their own values as the basis of their judgement.

… and yes, all of this can be very upsetting at times.

Extremely upsetting other times … even unbearably painful where there’s consequences attached to their determination.

Mind you also, the kind of people who tend to do this are ( I have found ) the very kind of people who will claim they don’t judge, and that they don’t act out of ego. I hope you can see how obviously delusional that is.

The same people will totally fail to understand that the approach I take means that I don’t have to make such a claim as they do in the first place … because I’m not claiming to be not acting out of ego, I’m not claiming to not be acting out of judgement, these things are irrelevancies to me, as I do not hold the same belief as they do, that such things are always automatically negative … what I’m claiming is that the judgement I have made is reasonable, fair, and balanced, that it’s based on evidence, and that ego ( or not ) is irrelevant to the conversation ( so I’m not the one bringing it up in the first place ).

As many of you know, I am neither anti ego nor anti judgement … all I see is that an ego is natural and necessary, so try to keep it healthy and balanced, and that the consequences of our actions ( based on our judgements ), can be an injustice if we are incorrect or biased in our assessment, or imbalanced in our response – therefore we should err on the side of caution, and moderate our judgements with the humility of acknowledging that we may be wrong, and that being wrong but acting anyway might constitute an injustice to an innocent party.

Even if a person is not entirely innocent, we should not be unfair in our response.

The following thoughts arose today as I was replying to a friend’s comments online, so thought I’d make a post about this for the benefit of others.

The situation he had originally posted about was where he was upset that others had ( from his perspective ) unduly criticised him and his work – which he is quite clearly and laudably passionate about.

He had made the additional comment on his own original post, that it was more conducive to people listening if you approach with tact and diplomacy, offering suggestion for improvement rather than critique of mistakes … and the following are my thoughts that arose.

Note: I was not ( or at least he didn’t say I was ) the person he was referring to whom had made the criticism … and when I asked what the criticism was, it didn’t ring a bell as something I’d said, but I’ve made a lot of critiques of people, their motivations, and their work … so I might be mistaken, and perhaps he just didn’t want to say that it was me … he is certainly a very polite person, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case ( if not with him, with someone else who feels similarly about the critiques I offer people ).

First of all, critique of flaws, mistakes, and omissions IS offering constructive criticism for improvement. You’re being told what to improve by being told what to get rid of. Whether you agree with the advice or not is immaterial, the reality is that removal of flaws IS constructive improvement.

With respect to expecting people to be always kind, diplomatic, and gentle, and being upset when they’re not: this is always going to leave you disappointed – and for your benefit, what is most advantageous to you, is growing a thicker skin where you don’t need people to approach you politely and gently in order to learn from their advice.

It has served me greatly in life to ( within reason ) expect less courtesy up front, and unless people are actually being extremely aggravating … I first just pay attention to what is actually being said, and ask:

“is this ( or could this be ) in ANY way valid”

ONLY THEN will I concern myself with the manner of their communication; because if they’re behaving in an unjustified manner, that’s their problem not mine.

If I can advise them on a better approach to me, that’s great, but I want to get value for myself first, before I concern myself with value for them.

It’s entirely possible that if you upset them in return ( by offering unwanted advice on their behaviour – regardless of how valid ), before extracting value for yourself, then you’ll miss the opportunity of that value … and quite frankly, the minimum scenario I can accept is where I win and they lose or where we both win … what I don’t want is where they win but I lose, or where we both lose, that is unacceptable … so my ego can go fuck itself for 5 minutes while I extract some value.

I’m actually not a fan at all of all this new age nonsense about having “no ego” ( none, zero ), I think it’s perfectly natural and beneficial to have a healthy and rational ego … I just don’t want it to get in the way of me benefiting from things.

To try to get rid of ego entirely is what they call:

“throwing the baby out with the bathwater”

… the same is true of getting rid of judgement.

The true meaning of the word judgement is just as widely mistaken and misunderstood, as is the true meaning of the words ego and anarchy. These words have effectively been the subject of misinformation campaigns, because it serves a social engineering agenda.

Judgement is merely this:

a conclusion or determination arrived at by analysis of event related information ( factual or otherwise ), with respect to a given set of principles or values

Some people’s judgements are biased, prejudiced, illogical, inaccurate, incorrect, irrational, and/or unreasonable … while others whom are wiser, make balanced, fair, forgiving, informed, impartial, insightful, kind, moderate, neutral, and wise judgements … and everything in between.

However modern culture and contemporary usage of the term has been based on interpretations of the plagiarised words of earlier Greek philosophers ( as recounted in various forms in the Christian Bible and other Abrahamic faiths’ so-called “holy books” that also plagiarised them ):

do unto others as you would have them do unto you

… and …

judge not, and thou shalt not be judged

These ideas have been taken to mean ( with quite clearly only shallow and rudimentary contemplation – if any at all ), that judgement is evil, and that we should always be nice to everyone.

But clearly – if you think about it a little deeper – this is likely neither the intented meaning of those original philosophers, nor good advice to interpret them in that way.

Firstly: being nice to people all the time would be great if that didn’t have negative consequences in some cases, and it’s also an impossible standard to live up to.

If you murdered someone’s baby, would you want them to be nice to you in return? If you do, there’s something wrong with you … what you probably should want ( because you’re not the kind of person whom is going to murder someone’s baby right? ) is for them to put an end to you, because you shouldn’t want to live if you’re the kind of person who goes around murdering babies.

Now you might say: “but that’s not what they’re talking about”, and I’m going to reply to you: “how do you know that?”

Philosophy of life isn’t about dealing with idealised situations that are never consistent, it is about how to deal with every imaginable scenario … and this is why within the annals of history, the truly great philosophers made statements that could be interpreted in many ways and on many levels, such that they were almost ( if not actually ) universally adaptable.

The problem of course is that much of the audience didn’t understand this, even some of the self-proclaimed experts, and thus there’s been a lot of bastardisation, misinterpretation, and over simplification of philosophical thought throughout the ages.

The second phrase we are dealing with “judge not and thou shalt not be judged” is quite clearly NOT saying “judgement is evil”, it’s just saying that if you’re not in the mood to be judged, if you don’t want to listen to people’s views of you, then don’t offer your views of them … it’s not mentioning whether the views are valid, invalid, correct, incorrect, good, or evil … it’s just talking about the probability that – if you really want it to stop – you’re going to have to be the one who stops first.

The problem with stopping of course is that it is only through critique, and only through judgement, that we find what is broken, flawed, and wrong, thus identify what needs improvement. But the philosophical phrase isn’t dealing with this, it’s just offering you advice on how to avert people’s judgement of you. It’s not perfect or infallible advice, just a philosophy of life that tends to work.

conclusion

So what I say to you all is what I say to myself repeatedly:

  • yes judgement can be uncomfortable or hurt
  • yes people can be hypocritical and unfair
  • yes it would be easier if you hide or kill your ego
  • yes it would be easier if you don’t rock the boat

… HOWEVER …

  • its better to did on your feet than live on your knees
  • you’re not necessarily going to die or even be injured
  • people might not like you, but they might not like you anyway
  • as long as some people aren’t going to like you anyway, you might as well be liked by others for being who you really are and saying what you really think
  • youll never learn and evolve if your beliefs and ideas aren’t exposed to critique and judgement
  • the world does not become a better place by us all ceasing thinking and being honest, just because it’s more comfortable

… AND MOST IMPORTANTLY …

  • following “the rules” enables the psychopaths and sociopaths, because that’s how the game is played:

they tell you the rules, they pretend to follow them for public appearances, and the rules make you support them while betraying those whom would oppose them

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