No special guests—I figured I’d just do this myself. Alternative title: How Not To Be A Slave.
This very likely could be one of the most avoided subjects in humanity history. It probably has a lot to due with the fact that it contains one of most misunderstood concepts in human history. It’s just not something most people care about, and it’s meant to be that way.
(But what the fuck? Something most people avoid must be something to which I ought to pay careful attention…)
The ego is the primary tool with which others can manipulate and control you—others: businesses and their myriad forms of advertisements, governments, society, families, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, et cetera.
How? Shame, guilt, praise and pride.
Always remember: whenever you feel bad, inside, that’s your ego; and it’s only your ego.
Another word for ego is “self-esteem.” It’s the New Age word for it. What is called “low self-esteem” is a state in which the ego is depressed, in a way, during shame or guilt. Or loss. Anything to do with the “self” has to do with ego. What we’re told to do when we have “low self-esteem” is to bullshit ourselves and-or manipulate situations that will make us feel good. We’re told to accept compliments, smile at ourselves in the mirror and-or tell ourselves flattering garbage that we don’t really believe (we’re told to lie to ourselves in a “positive” way until we believe it’s true; self-indoctrination), do things that make us feel good, spoil ourselves, take pride in things we do, et cetera.
(What we’re told to do merely puts weight on one side of the teeter-totter of ego: we just set ourselves up through praise and pride for another plummet down into shame, or “low self-esteem.” Much like a sugar high, or any other drug, you always crash. And then you need another fix.)
It can be done in many ways—but every way involves the same ritual: stimulating the pleasure center in your brain in order to get high. This is commonly known as “happiness.”
Of course, it doesn’t last, and you find yourself “unhappy.” Building “self-esteem” and “finding happiness” and “feeling good” are virtually identical, and none of them work. It’s like eating a donut when you’re hungry; you get a rush, your stomach stops aching for a little while. But it doesn’t last, and it’s not good for you anyway.
I repeat: this is a cheap and quick fix that doesn’t work. Talking about your childhood with a shrink won’t work either—it is the same ritual. Validation and sympathy and affirmations (with perhaps a new meme entering your head and triggering another dose of chemical rewards) all just feed your ego and make you high for a little while.
You’d be better off going on a quest without any material goods, walking for a month to see a spiritual guru. Because I’d be willing to bet you have no psychiatric or psychological problems; I would bet that your problem is spiritual, and so then the solution must be spiritual. A more natural way of life might be the answer—but that would preclude the need for spiritual help. An active non-material way of life is a spiritual way of life.
Remember, “spiritual” has nothing to do with the physical or the mental. Probably 99% of what we here about spirituality has in fact nothing to do with it. Instead, it’s about the mind—the fucking ego again.
“How do I feel today?”
This is a question of the ego.
Anyway, when you’re unhappy, psychology can address this, too. Or so it claims.
(I’m not going to get into medications for depression. It seems that some people do need them. Whether other things could have helped or not is rarely explored; and by the time you’re on meds for some time, it just might be too late—these pills re-wire your brain to such a degree that you will need to keep taking them. After a few years, your brain just will not function properly without them. I learned this in detox, and all the addiction programs I attended last year; obviously they weren’t talking about prescription drugs, but my research has indicated that these drugs are far worse than street drugs because they have been engineered for this exact reason: changing your brain chemistry. Illegal drugs only do this incidentally; they’re just used to get high, not studied in labs for years all for the sole purpose of dramatically changing the way the brain operates.
Anyroad, I doubt most people need pills from the start—a severe shift in how they live would probably cure them—but I’m just not getting into all that today.)
Let’s explore this concept for a moment…
According to this site, there are some “facts” of which you should be aware.
If you suffer from low self esteem (or have been told you do), or treat people with low self esteem (or think you do), please read on. There are a fair few self esteem myths that can block your progress when trying to lift self esteem..
Low self esteem has been scientifically studied and the findings of this research helped inform the facts you’ll find here.
[How anyone can, with a straight face, speak of “facts” regarding psychology in general and especially “self-esteem” is beyond me. It is pretty funny. Such a new and amorphous concept such as self-esteem can hardly be studied scientifically. That’s like saying one can scientifically study the spirit or soul. Something in the mind cannot be measured in any known way; something which cannot be measured cannot be tested. There is no evidence for “the spirit” or for “self-esteem,” or for ego itself in you want to get right into it. It is something you believe, or not. But, then, as I’ve always maintained, psychology is just another religion. Let’s continue!]
Mark Tyrrell, co-author of the Self Confidence Trainer, completed a UK tours in 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005 teaching thousands of health professionals the facts about self esteem and how to treat low self esteem in their patients. He has also co-authored a book on self esteem for Axis Publishing called The Giant Within – Maximise Your Self Esteem.In addition, Mark has created:
11 downloads on improving self esteem on our main site Hypnosis Downloads.
As you can imagine, Mark did a lot of research for his seminar ‘How to Lift Low Self Esteem’. He has listed his 10 most important ‘Tips’ for you here.
1) Low Self Esteem Not To Blame for being bad!
Firstly people with genuinely low self-esteem, a poor self image and low confidence, have been insensitively lumped together with bullies, narcissists, criminals and child abusers. No, really!
Popular assumption was that people did bad things to other people because they, themselves have low self esteem. But if you have ever asked yourself: “Do I have low self esteem” fear not. All the evidence points to the conclusion that low self esteem is a distinct condition, so if you do have self esteem you don’t have to feel that you are in the same group as bullies or abusers.
Research has found that people with genuine low self esteem tend to treat themselves badly not other people. Stopping people being bullies by trying to lift their self esteem may be like trying to get an obese person to lose weight by feeding them lots more cake.
In the 1980’s there was a movement to raise self esteem in schools in the belief that this would stop bullies bullying and prevent future crime in society. But peer reviewed research has shown schools trying to raise self esteem don’t prevent bullies bullying (2) (because low self esteem wasn’t causing them to bully).
Artificially and ineffectively focusing on lifting self esteem doesn’t raise academic performance either (3) As you’ll see in fact 4 the methods schools attempted to raise self esteem may have even damaged the sense of self worth in those suffering genuine low self esteem.
Low self esteem is not to blame for nearly as many problems as has traditionally been thought. It was also assumed that self esteem could never be too high.
The trouble here is that there is confusion between “low self-esteem” and “confidence” and “self-hatred.” None of these three things are the same. Confidence is just knowing what you can do. Like bravery, it can’t be taught and can’t be prepared for; you only gain courage when you’ve faced fear. That is how it works. Same thing with confidence, which is directly linked to courage: you gain it when you’ve done something. It is wisdom, which can only be experienced.
Self-hatred has all kinds of causes, none of them having much to do with ego. Unless it’s shame-induced, in which case it is about shame and not hatred. However, I won’t get into all that today.
Let’s get something straight right now: what is commonly called “low self-esteem” is merely shame. Shame has been considered, by some, to be the most wide-spread illness among the world’s populations. Shame is when you feel bad about things that you cannot change, or things you find very difficult to change. Guilt is different: feeling guilty is about knowing you did something wrong and feeling bad about it.
Guilt is about what you did or do, and it is subject to a moral code as much as it is to conscience—shame is about what you are, what you have.
If you were called “stupid” or “ugly” as a kid, for example, there is a good chance that you have been plagued with shame since then.
2) Too high Self Esteem Linked to Criminality
It is now clear that too high self esteem or ‘High Self Esteem Disorder’ is often more of a problem. (This is NOT merely a ‘disguised’ form of low self-esteem, as commonly thought). So, if you are the victim of a bully then you can rest assured you don’t have to feel sorry for them.
Hundreds of pieces of reliable research now show that bullies and many criminals are much more likely to suffer from unrealistically high self esteem and impulse control problems than low self esteem. An exaggerated sense of entitlement – expecting much from many situations – is more likely to lead to frustration and aggressive, antisocial, or even criminal behaviour. If self esteem can be too low it can also be too high. It was a crazy and unwarranted assumption that all human behaviour could be explained a way by low self esteem.
“It is now clear?”—“High Self Esteem Disorder?”—“Hundreds of pieces of reliable research?”
Fuck, I love how assholes make this shit up, without any proof or evidence, no testable data whatsoever, stating something as a scientific fact, all because it must sound reasonable within the limited context and definitions, the language and jargon, of those involved with the religion of psychology.
As long as an “Expert” has said so, hell, it must be worthy of being carved into stone…I mean, it’s gotta be the New Fucking Gospel, right? What do the masses say to that? Here:
“I’m a perpetual child who knows nothing at all and has no sense of anything, so, yes, almighty Authority, tell me what to think and what to believe and what to do. I am incapable of figuring this out on my own and fully trust that you know exactly what you’re saying and doing, and that you want only what’s best for me…”
This laughable “High Self Esteem Disorder” is called pride, shithead. Pride. That’s all. You are allowed to simplify this shit, folks, it’s not that difficult to think. You start by questioning everything these fucking cunts tell us, and go from there…
And so it’s not a disorder, and it’s nothing new. Pride is a bloated ego; if shame is an ego too far in the “negative,” then pride is an ego way to far in the “positive.” One might think that this can’t be a bad thing—how can a “positive” anything be bad?
Too much of anything can be harmful or destructive. The trick with the ego is balance, and that is the rarest thing I think in the world today. I’m not talking mediocrity—something of which there is grossly too much—I’m talking moderation. It’s uncommon because this is an ego-driven world, and the ego despises moderation. It wants everything now! Gimme gimme fucking gimme!
This why it is believed that patience is a form of suffering—something as frantically greedy as the ego also despises being made to wait. This is why it’s so difficult to teach kids patience: kids are more full of ego than we (some proper adults) are.
Any kind of suffering that isn’t physical is about the ego. Buddhists says that desire is the source of all suffering. And they’re right—desire and want are the same.
Too much ego and you feel superior and above reproach (look at how Royalty behave—the pure child’s ego never starved, only fed), you get arrogant, prideful, vain, greedy, self-absorbed or self-obsessed. Nothing takes you out of yourself, nothing humbles you either. More on that later…
Ego-driven people care only about themselves; you, to them, are merely something they use towards some desire they have. You’re a means and nothing more. You’re a resource, a thing they want, or just money.
Ego-driven people can dish out insults, but they can’t take them. Ego-driven people want a lot of stuff all the time (and are so arrogant they feel they deserve it all, because they’re so great), like a kid at Christmas time, and are never satisfied. Ego-driven people feel entitled to anything—they must get it first, before you, because you are not them, and they are great. Their egos help them rationalize anything to keep up the pretense that they are divine or advanced or intelligent or superior in some way (or in every way), and so they are entitled to everything—first and now!
This is why we are encouraged to be ego-driven children; we make people a lot of money and are easily manipulated psychologically.
Psychology has been around for less than a couple hundred years, is not even based upon any kind of real science, and it is the absolute zenith of human arrogance: it proposes the notion that it knows what makes the human mind tick and discounts, ignores, or discredits any other viewpoint (since any other viewpoint is obviously the result of some mental affliction, disorder, or syndrome); all of human history and especially pre-history is ignored. Any competing point of view is attacked, mocked, and ridiculed into silence.
Psychology, in a way, is quite a dictator.
Of course any other point of view is ignored, because it is a religion (first; business second) based upon pro-civilization and pro-feminine values and attitudes. Any and all truly masculine behaviour has been deemed some sort of illness; anything that boys and men have done for the 50,000 years before agriculture has been neatly categorized and demonized as some type of mental disability, criminal behaviour, or mental illness. All without any evidence or “scientific study” whatsoever.
Now, I’m not saying that many people are not fucked up in some way; and I’m not saying there is no such thing as insanity. I’m just saying that psychology is not the answer for this. It never will be.
Psychology treats the symptoms of a social disease caused by civilization itself—it cures nothing. It might sew up gashes here and there, but it does nothing about the knife that keeps slashing away at the person, who will bleed to death, sooner or later.
I believe this disease is civilization itself. What psychology claims to be treating are just the side-effects of the actual disease…but this is another story.
That said, this subject is not about psychology, so I’ll move on here…
So what are the symptoms of real low self esteem?
3) Characteristics of Genuinely Low Self Esteem
Anxiety and emotional turmoil
Lack of social skills and self confidence. Depression and/or bouts of sadness
Less social conformity
Inability to accept compliments
An Inability to see yourself ‘squarely’ – to be fair to yourself
Accentuating the negative
Exaggerated concern over what you imagine other people think
Treating yourself badly but NOT other people
Worrying whether you have treated others badly
Reluctance to take on challenges
Reluctance to put yourself first or anywhere.
Reluctance to trust your own opinion
Expecting little out of life for yourself
So what is likely to cause very low self esteem? Tale a look at how to build self esteem. But one major factor is history.
Let’s stop it right here. This is something I’ve encountered so often through my life: the psychological-religious belief that if you are different from the public blob, you are ill. If you don’t want to play all the reindeer games, you are ill. If you don’t want to join the rat-race, you are ill. If you don’t want to work and buy a lot of shit and be like everyone else, you are ill. Want to travel in space? No, you are trying to escape from your problems here on earth. Want to fight? No, you are experiencing a form of aggression caused by anger at your father from events in your childhood. Think every one of your girlfriends was a fucking bitch? No, you are projecting your _____ ____ Disorder, or else you have issues with your mother. Want to overthrow the state? Well, it’s more likely that you were never accepted as a kid in school, and now you’re neurotic and enraged to the point of sociopathy.
Psychology is a religion whose sole purpose is to normalize you and keep you afloat as you drift downstream with all the other citizen and corporate logs. It’s taken the place of the old religions that kept you working and fighting in wars and dying for the various schemes of the rich, the rulers.
It also promotes very sweeping generalizations about what human existence is (and apparently always has been), what it should be, what its normal state is. And that normal state always means serving the State, being compliant and obedient.
This is the exact type of manipulation I was talking about at the beginning: an indirect form of shame. Its intent is to ultimately get you back in line, and be a good little citizen.
Social withdrawal. If you don’t fit into modern society, if you feel alienated, or if you sense that society is evil, cruel, sick, fucked up, or insane…well, you are the one with the problem. Modern society, civilization, is perfect. Desiring to be away from it, for whatever reason, is a mental illness.
Anxiety and emotional turmoil. The utter lunacy of a lifestyle focusing on status and popularity, as well as such a lifestyle emphasizing the collection of money and material goods can cause a lot of problems.
No. I’m not continuing this—I was going to go through all those in the list—I have no need to debunk psychology or what it smugly and flippantly proposes, backing up its ascertains and theories with nothing, just stating it all as fact.
No, that’s the trap. Once you start arguing with them, you’ve lost. Once you start using their terms, their definitions, and trying to fight them in their own building, you’ve lost. And you just end up appearing as exactly what they’ll label you: mentally ill in some way.
It’s like being in a court of law trying to charge the entire legal system of being inherently flawed and inept. You cannot take on the court while you’re in the court.
So, that’s enough of that. I’m just going to add my own emphasis as we go…
4) Child Abuse Increases Likelihood of Low Self Esteem
People who were abused as children (physical beating or sexual abuse) are more likely to suffer low self esteem [shame] as adults (6) They have learned [from who?] that they are of little value in themselves or just an object to be used. They have been ‘brain washed’ by constant criticism or abuse that they are a certain way. When a person begins to question this former conditioning or brainwashing then a healthier and more accurate sense of self can begin to emerge. This happens in a similar way to how people may break away from the brainwashing of a cult. There are other forms of abuse and certainly a history of being heavily criticized or unfavorably compared to others can lead to low self esteem (“why can’t you be more like your brother!”).
Former abuse may lead to post traumatic stress disorder which maintains the sense of “damage” and low self worth. Once traumatic memories are dealt with effectively the mind becomes clearer to form a better self esteem. So what else does the low self esteem sufferer need?
So past conditioning (often but not always from childhood) can produce low self esteem in adults. But why didn’t the drive to raise self esteem in school kids (starting in California with a legislature to raise self esteem) prevent childhood depression and low self esteem from rising?
The only way to deal with “past conditioning” is by entering into new conditioning, which is what psychotherapy is all about. With psychiatry, you are convinced you’re fucked up, and so you end up a slave to medication. That’s big business. So is psychotherapy. You are an emotional cripple for life. I’ve been in groups, I’ve seen it. Nobody gets “well.” They are stuck with a set of crutches (the group) and never get rid of them, because their ego needs the “support” of the group and therapists, constantly. And this keeps a lot of people employed in the growing field of “making everyone believe they are sick.”
Now, I have some very strong feelings regarding psychology—I think it is the biggest farce in human history, the biggest pseudo-science-based religion ever—but it was not my goal to get into all this stuff. I got suckered into it due to those strong feelings. So, I’m going to (1) address that last question in the quote, and (2) an interesting list further along in the article, and then be done with this.
But why didn’t the drive to raise self esteem in school kids (starting in California with a legislature to raise self esteem) prevent childhood depression and low self esteem from rising?
1. It’s because the framework of the modern concept “low self-esteem” is build on faulty information, assumptions, generalizations, and theories. It’s that simple. First of all, psychology takes a mostly feminine stand-point and declares that all normal behaviour is based on this standpoint—in other words, anyone who does not do what women do is defective and needs helps.
Second of all, fuck self-esteem. This is and always has been about ego. Thirdly, fuck depression—that is what happens when you are unconcerned with your survival. It is what happens when a human being is in captivity and is living a life which comes into conflict with its instincts, its conscience, when it’s forced to exist in a way that contradicts its actual nature. The result is alienation, an “empty” feeling, and an overwhelming sense of being unfulfilled as a life form.
This is useful list of basic human needs:
a. The need to give and receive attention
b. The need to look after your body.
c. The need for meaning, purpose and goals.
d. The need for a connection to something greater than ourselves
e. The need for creativity and stimulation
f. The need for intimacy and connection to others.
g. The need for a sense of control
h. The need for a sense of status and recognition from others.
i. The need for a sense of safety and security
Now, here are some things with which I actually do agree…somewhat. Again, however, men and women have different brains, different bodies, and different needs and priorities. We are different. Humans are different sexually and humans are different culturally—psychology never takes different types of humans in consideration any more than it takes different sexes. How fucking stupid is it to lump everything as “human?”
Very fucking short-sightedly, biasedly, and absurdly stupid. They want one single white anglo-saxon female definition for what normal human behaviour is, and that is rubbish.
I’ve lettered them and will comment in order, but I will use my own terms, thank you very much.
A. We are social beings, and, yes, we need social contact. Only a child needs so much attention. Adults only need a little.
B. We have to take care of ourselves—every organism in the world must do this to survive.
C. Fuck “goals.” Corporate fucking NewSpeak. We do, however, need a purpose in life; something that fulfills us and, in the process, we sense the meaning of it.
D. Yes, for sure—“a connection to something greater than ourselves.” More on that later.
E. Creativity seems more like a guy thing. Very few women I’ve met have any interest in doing things that are truly creative. And I am not sure what is meant by “stimulation.” Living in a sterile, dull box…well, I can see how that would become a “need.”
F. Well—“intimacy and connection to others” is part of ‘A.’ Plus, intimacy means different things to men and women. To men it means physical contact, and to women it means talking.
G. Need for control? No, I don’t think so. Here is primarily female “goal.” I don’t need control; I only need to control myself in order to carry something out. If I’m sawing wood, I need control of my arm. The only need I have in this regard is to not be controlled by others. In other words, I need freedom. Funny how a major male “goal” concerning life is missing from this list?
H. “The need for a sense of status and recognition from others?” Are you fucking kidding me? Children might need this as they find their way to their teenage years, to help build their character, but adult men do not need status or recognition. This has nothing to do with need—it is about want. And it is about praise and approval from others—ego stuff.
What is status? Something to indicate who I am or that I am better than you in some way? Or to impress others? A title, an expensive car? I know who I am and do not need a badge declaring it. What humble, ascetic spiritual man would care about such things? Did Jesus care about this shit? Did Buddha?
Fuck off with that shit.
I. “A sense of safety and security?” Again, this means different things for men and women. If I have a spear, clothing, and a shelter, I have all the security I need. If I have the ability to defend myself, I don’t need to build fences to keep the bad things away. I don’t need an army, a stack of gold bars, and a castle; I’m a man.
What about a need to hunt? What about a need to fight? To settle things directly and honestly, physically? What about a need to defend oneself, one’s family, without having to go to the police? What about the need to be left alone? What about the need for truth? What about the need for silence, and peaceful contemplation, without someone’s needling bullshit filling your ear? Creativity is a right-brained activity and it requires the absence or drama and chatter, you know?
Okay, point made, done there. Moving on…
What is the ego?
The ego is a natural part of human beings. We’re born with it, and its purpose is it keep us alive, to make sure we get what we need to live. A newborn infant has the biggest ego of all, because it is most in need of things to keep it alive and yet has utterly no ability to get what it needs.
We are biologically tricked to give that baby what it needs—the very appearance of the infant, its shape, its sounds, and size of its eyes, et cetera, all gear us towards helping that baby get what it needs. Women are most susceptible—that is why so many girls and women are suckers for that which makes them go, “Awww…how cute,” or “Aww, that’s so sweet.”
It’s why women have great difficulty being hunters—not many girls or women will have it in them to kill a cutesy little bunny rabbit. It wasn’t always this bad, though.
I think this is what leads most women into an over-protective role, which actually serves to keep a child, well, childlike. Most men seem to know instinctively that the child must take risks, learn on its own, and suffer some scrapes, bumps, and bruises in the process.
(They’re biologically designed to care for small cute things, babies, to give the baby what it needs. This is how our species survives.
Men are, too, for the most part. We are steadfast in protecting our families, and providing for them, but this seems to be a little different from women, who have never had any instinct to protect men, nor should they. Women seem to have great difficulty letting go of their children and letting them live their lives separate from them. We’re told that this is “love”—I say it has more to do with control, which has a lot to do with ego. Simply because if you really care about someone, you let them be and learn things and live on their own.
But as hunters, our biology (and brains) developed a little differently; without meat and fat humans could not survive (it’s not just about getting protein in our diet; it’s about being physically able to breed and have children), and that meant hunting and killing furry critters. So men had to develop a ‘hardened heart’ towards killing cutesy things. It’s why we can be “so mean!” sometimes. It’s probably what makes us easily converted from hunters to warriors and soldiers—an ability to disconnect emotion from a task that must be carried out. If we weren’t able to do this, humans would have gone extinct a long, long time ago. A bunch of blubbering men, too reluctant to kill a wittle bunny rabbit for dinner, would have been the end of us.)
An infant is the whole world—everything is “mine” and gets stuffed into its face. A baby is the epitome of selfish, or greedy. It has to be, its life depends on it—it is a squirming, squealing mass of want and need because without that ego, it would die.
From age two to perhaps thirteen, nearly the entire effort of parents is focused upon trying to stop their greedy, self-absorbed brat from being such a greedy, self-absorbed brat. The kid still thinks everything revolves her, that everything belongs to her. She must be taught to share, she must be taught that she is not the most important person to have ever existed, she must be taught to wait and have patience, she must be taught that all these things surrounding her are not hers. And her material lusts must be curbed. (If she is not taught these things, she literally becomes a little spoiled-rotten princess—for this is how Royalty think and behave, because from day one they were indulged and told they are divine.)
In a world in which material objects are all important, this makes it a lot harder for parents.
(When I go into a store or whichever, and see how parents interact with their kids, it always blows me away. If she’s not screaming at the kid, she’s playing mind games (if a kid’s “acting out,” and not listening, she tries distraction; if that fails, she starts manipulating—offering a reward for good behaviour, threatening to with-hold something the child wants if the kid doesn’t stop). I hear about “time-outs” and shit.
There were no time-outs for us as kids. We got spanked, and we smartened up because of that. A little physical discomfort is worse than mind games and manipulations and other horseshit? That stuff messes with your head for the rest of your life—a red swollen ass is as good as new the next day. How did we buy into this “spanking is abuse” bullcrap? Who claimed to be an authority on this? Why did anyone pay attention?
And I hear parents ask their kids what they want. “Do you want orange juice or apple juice, honey?”
Wow. My parents never asked me questions like that—I got what I was given and if I whined about it, I got nothing. If I bitched too much I got a smack.
Geez, maybe my parents were better than I thought they were, because I never ended up spoiled. I never became picky or indecisive either.)
The thing is, for most of human history the family was not any sort of “primary unit.” A man, woman, and a few kids alone in the wilderness would not survive. Everything was tribe-based. The tribe raised the children.
And a large part of raising the child involved the “destruction” of the ego, which is like an organ in the body which serves a purpose yet only for so long—if it is not “destroyed,” the child grows up (figuratively speaking) with the same selfishness it had in its younger days, and that it is not beneficial for a tribe-based system which has to share its resources for the good of all.
What used to happen, with a boy anywhere from age 10 to 15 (and sometimes younger), was that the tribe removed it from its parents (especially from its over-protective worrying mother) and put the child through an ordeal—called an “initiation”—which tested the child, caused actual pain, and symbolized the death of the child ego. Cultures all across the globe used to do this.
Sometimes the boy was removed for up to a year and lived in another region. Sometimes when the boy returned, he had a new name. In every case the boy was now considered a man. He stopped doing childish things, he stopped playing with toys, and he joined the men on hunts and was considered an adult.
Yeah, imagine a thirteen-year-old male doing what the other men did, helping the tribe. Today, kids are in school until they’re 25. During that time they’re an enormous drain on resources and are basically useless, doing nothing for their “tribe.”
Today, we drink milk (baby food) well into adulthood, have virtually the same ego we’d had as toddlers, play until we’re old and grey, and refer to one another intimately as “baby.”
“Yo, baby, come check out my crib…”
In every way that matters, we are still children.
I know what you’re thinking:
Yeah, you always say that—so what can be done about it?
I’m very glad you asked that.
How do we manage our egos?
There is no tribe anymore, no elders who are going to take us from our parents and show us how to live as adults. We’re orphans in a community which does everything it can to keep us acting and thinking like little kids. We’re easily manipulated, easily insulted; we’re kept in positions we hate just because we get praised for it. We get duped by someone willing to smile and flatter us.
And if you have ever gotten into anything regarding a healthy non-material life, a spiritual (and I do not mean religious) existence, you’ve likely come across the phrase, “Annihilate your ego.” Or “destroy” your ego, or “dump” your ego.
Well, it’s not accurate, of course, not literally. Ego is a part of us and cannot be removed or destroyed—the meaning is to manage it. I don’t mean “manage” in terms of control—I mean to keep the fucker in check, to lessen it, to keep it small, to subdue it so it can’t fuck us up.
How? Here are some things that help:
Avoid being praised. Being praised means being controlled.
Do not accept compliments. Do not think about them, do not even say, “Thank you.” Ignore them and force yourself to think about something else. Flattery must not be acknowledged or considered in any way.
“Wow, you’re really good at this!”
“Uh huh” should be the retort—if there is any retort at all. Smile and then change the subject. This is best. For example, when I make supper for someone, and they thank me and tell me it’s good, I’ll usually say nothing at all. Obviously, to remain in social settings with others, it can’t work both ways and maybe it shouldn’t: I do thank others for things. I simply don’t let any of this influence my ego in any direction. If I genuinely appreciate someone’s efforts, I will thank them—and I require no “you’re welcome” or anything in return.
We’re far too hung up on these absurd social “graces”—manners and politeness. Most of it serves to feed or egos and should thus be avoided.
But giving thanks is a little bit humbling, so it’s still good.
After a while it gets easier, and in time you can develop a sense of loathing for all forms of flattery, so that the very mention of a compliment is met with a slight snarl and goes right past you, like a foul scent. I feel for flattery the same as I feel for lies or charm—it’s all in the same pile of deception and I detest it.
—this is key. Remaining humble is one sure way to help keep your ego in check. Don’t take credit for anything and don’t take pride in anything. When you “do a good job,” so what? You’re not a dog that requires a pat on the head. The trick is to avoid judgement—do your best and don’t linger on the results. You did what you set out to do, nod your head and move on.
Humility also helps you see others points of view—an ego-driven person is not apt to listen very much. “I’m right and you’re wrong” is the normal state of things in an ego-driven person’s mind. They won’t even consider any other person’s opinion, unless it in some way mirrors some aspect of their own.
Ego-driven people rarely ever admit when they’re wrong, too. They might do it when they’re caught, so as not to damage a resource (a “friendship”) or so they’re not viewed unfavorably. People like this are very worried that their image, status, reputation is unstained. They will lie a thousand times rather than admit to the lie which someone another has just discovered. They want to be admired and loved, and they don’t want people angry with them.
Blaming others is a great way to boost your ego (or “self-esteem”). “See? They’re wrong, they fucked up, and I’m immaculate.”
Don’t do it. Don’t blame anyone for anything. Take responsibility when you fuck up yet do not point your fingers at others, like a little brat would, when they fuck up. Accept that fucking up is a normal process of learning. There’s nothing wrong with it.
Avoid in particular the pride of “success.” Dismiss it. It should be no more remarkable than standing up and walking. No big deal. Don’t make it a big deal and don’t let anyone else make it a big deal, because it’s not.
If you create something, don’t seek applause or praise for it. Better still, destroy it without anyone seeing it. Try it and see how fucking hard this is. Remember, you’re not a little kid anymore, needing a smile from Mommy to make your day. It’s time to grow up.
Help another person somehow and don’t take credit for it. Do so anonymously and don’t let anyone know. Drawing attention to your “good deeds” is just another ego trip.
So is accepting awards for shit…
4. Shame and guilt
—especially in failure. To avoid the shame or guilt of failure, remember that to fail is to be human—it is how we learn, it is absolutely necessary and there’s nothing wrong with it. We learn many things when we fail, or lose—what do we learn when we win? Nothing. So, be okay with being a “loser.”
[Remember, the ego wants to win all the time; wants the glory and praise and wants to gloat about it, to make others feel bad and to make itself feel even better through the process. There is no limit to what the ego wants or how good it wants to feel, no endgame, just more, more and more—go ask an addict if you doubt me. That’s a junkie’s favourite word: More. The most hated word is No. Same with your ego, telling your ego–your self—“no” is what this is all about.]
If you make a mistake, so what? Learn and move on, figure out what went wrong and don’t dwell or kick yourself for it. It is a natural fucking way to learn.
Ego-denial. Deny yourself things you like. Tell yourself “no.” Focus on your needs, not desires, wants or cravings. I know, this is hard and takes a while. This might be as simple as avoiding tasty foods you like.
Question others. Question everything about those who may insult and ridicule you. Who the fuck are they? Why does their opinion matter to you? Are they any better than you? Why? What the hell do they know? Why take that shit personally? Everyone’s entitled to their small opinions…they are no different than you are.
7. Humble yourself.
In the army, being insulted and humbled at the same time is a tactic used to “initiate” the young men; the object is to rip down their defenses and squash their huge egos, so they can be part of a team. It’s a perversion of what happened in the hunter societies, sure, but the boot-camp drill-master section still does the job wonderfully. Watch the movie, 300, for a better (yet extreme and, again, perverted) idea of what it was like during an initiation. Watch the movie, Fight Club, for an idea of what lengths an uninitiated, shamed male will go to in order to become an adult. He self-initiates and beats the piss out of his ego through underground boxing, denying his wants, rejecting material possessions, and doing things like giving up control (surrendering to something outside himself, outside his control, letting go) and allowing himself to lose and be humbled.
Being humbled is another key. Set yourself up to be humbled—not humiliated. Humiliation is another word for shame. Being humbled is to be shown the reality of a situation—it is not to be made to feel bad.
Being humbled has nothing to do with feeling bad; it’s about feeling small, insignificant. It’s about realizing that you don’t know everything, or seeing that you cannot do all that you thought you could. It is about losing, too, and not feeling bad about it.
For me, all I have to do is spend some time in the wilderness, and I am humbled. Something greater than me is all around me. Not just the trees or whatever, but the force of life that radiates from it all, connects it all, and stimulates it all to change and grow. There is a force active, even if it can be only be called “energy.” But I don’t call it anything. I acknowledge it only as a great mystery, and give it no name. It is not a he or a she, and it’s not a being or a thing. I don’t even think about it. I just let myself be humbled by it.
There are greater humblings, but these can’t really be set up. They are awesome when they happen.
8. Symbols and objects.
Ego loves shiny things, symbols, objects. A symbol is something representing something else, a thing in place of another thing, or an idea.
Instead of living strictly to certain principles, many Americans now hold their hands to the hearts while hearing their anthem, or gazing at their flag, or admiring some sort of eagle art work. Afterwards, they go back to behaving contrary to their Constitution.
An object, a symbol, took over somehow. The idea of America can be carried around now in the form of coloured cloth (stars and stripes) and placed on a pole over their house.
An idea has been symbolized. Something became an object, and the meaning was lost.
Is there a symbol for spirituality? No, there is not. There never was, isn’t now, and never will be. Why? Because you cannot represent something that is not material. Any attempt to do only proves that the intent of those trying have material goals, not spiritual goals. And they must be ignored completely.
The trouble with symbols is that they affect our minds in powerful ways (archetypes; memes); historically, they tend to take over something and replace what they sought to represent. Don’t believe me? Go look at a cross on a church. Take a look at the Catholic Church, the Mother Church, and the clean, bejeweled, dress-wearing Pope.
Jesus was not clean, well-groomed saint wearing pristine clothing, garnishing himself with gold and jewels, shaving his body hair and making sure he smelled pretty. He was a smelly, hairy, wandering guru, who was a fuck up at almost everything he tried to do.
What the fuck happened?
Symbols took over. Now people squat before a cross and prey to “Jesus Christ.” Or, of all people, his mom—“Mother Mary.”
Messages got symbolized—don’t believe me? Look at the Buddhists. They chant before a golden statue of fat guy, when the actual Buddha was ascetic. Spartan. A minimalist as far as material things went.
What the fuck happened?
Symbolization; objectification. It is the symbol that has become more important. Because the symbol is merely another object to be coveted by the ego. Rulers know this—they know the people will follow symbols of what they believe, so the rulers use these symbols to control them. The more ego-driven the public is, the easier it is to control them in all things.
It’s hard to do, but try not to cling to objects and symbols, things the ego absolutely adores. Freedom insists that you try…
Another thing that helped one to be humble is to pray. I know, I know, it stinks of some sort of religion. Yet that’s not what I mean. For me, when I’m off in the mountains, and I find a source of water, I give thanks. I’m not religious, and I believe in no deity, but I give thanks all the same—to whatever put that water in front of me. I don’t analyze it, I don’t think about it. I acknowledge something greater than I am, and I thank it for giving me this water.
The first time it was suggested that I pray, I laughed. It was pretty damn funny, for a former atheist. I was told to pray for those I hated, and it didn’t make sense for a long while. Last year I realized that asking *whatever* to give prosperity to your enemy is a road to forgiving them. And through this dumping that negative shit.
It’s still very hard for me to do, so I mainly stick to giving thanks for what I come across that helps me.
This is how alcoholic and addicts help themselves through breaking their slavery to their substance abuse. In AA it’s called a “Higher Power” and it has nothing to do with religious figure or leader or deity; it has nothing to do with religion at all.
But it works. Millions upon millions upon millions upon millions upon millions of cases, it works. Humility works, and prayer works, and no one knows why.
About ego and the founders of AA…
Bill W. and co-founder Dr. Bob S. founded AA, and during the initial stages Bill tried to press the case for mass exposure (for the book and the program) in the media. Dr. Bob saw this for what it was: the ego making another attention grab. Both of these guys were aware that an addict (alcoholic) is a praise junkie, and that addiction was directly related to the ego. That’s why they made the whole thing ANONYMOUS.
On some level they understood that the cycle of addiction could never be broken so long as the ego was fed. Hence a Higher Power. Hence Anonymous. Hence no mass exposure in the media or any marketing attempts with the book.
These two guys understood the ego more than Freud, his counterparts, and all psychologists collectively have since then. Because they went with ancient techniques that worked, and were proven to work, and still work today.
Anyway, if that’s not your style, fair enough. Maybe you can be humbled through some other means. Maybe you can find something (which is not a person) you feel is greater than yourself (your self—your ego) and make it work for you.
When I learned that thousands of years before religion, man knelt with his spear, lowered his head, closed his eyes, and prayed to his prey (that’s where the word came from: prey/pray) for it to feed his tribe with one of their own…well, I started thinking about this differently. Maybe prayer was a healthy, natural thing we did as hunters—before, like almost everything, it was corrupted by city-states and absorbed into whatever religion was around then. We used to pray to Black Elk or the Deer God, some imaginary leader or creator of that species, to help us feed our families.
And this humbled us. It worked. It still works today. I doubt it really matters what we pray to, or if we actually believe in some “Black Elk” figure. It isn’t the point.
Humility is the point.
It wasn’t genuflection—kneeling before a royal person, which eventually became a residual gesture in a marriage proposal—either because it does not involve another person. Just like in AA, your “Higher Power” cannot be another person. It has to go beyond the material, the flesh, the worldly. Genuflection was just another perversion of an ancient ritual men carried in their hunter society.
Do not seek it. I don’t mean be a dull, boring, emotionless robot. I mean do not seek it, do not rearrange your life to point where fun becomes the most important thing. What is fun? Getting high off chemicals in your brain.
Play is necessary for the young for most species—fun is the side-effect, a chemical reward for goofing around and practicing stuff that offspring will need in adult life.
Fun and play were not supposed to continue this way into adulthood; the exceptions seem to be play with a mate before mating, and play with offspring, to challenge them to grow, and what I just mentioned above: preparation.
Accept it when it comes, naturally; like moments of joy. Take it when it comes, and enjoy it. And then let it leave. Don’t chase it; don’t chase that dragon’s tail.
When you want more and start manipulating and controlling things to get more (fun and joy) you are a junkie. And your ego gets fed. And progress towards spiritual growth is lost.
So, these are the things I employ in my life to manage my ego. None of these things have to do with objects (which are the crux of desire for the ego—attachment). And, in addition to all these things, I’d recommend the lessening of material goods you possess.
For me, after all my belongings were stolen from me a few times, it become easier to live without things. Stuff. When I drifted around for a few years, from 2000-2003, I didn’t have much. And I got used to it. Later, when it looked as though another person was going to get all my belongings, I smiled and let it all go.
It meant nothing. Stuff can be replaced, or not. It no longer mattered.
Obviously, everything I’m talking about here is a diametric opposite to what we’ve been told and have come to believe. Everything—including the addiction called happiness—is designed to feed our egos. The bigger our egos are, the easier it is for us to be shamed. It might not make any logical sense, but it is true. The more our egos are fed, the more they want. Like infants, we are obsessed with things that feel good, warm, fuzzy, soft, and things that taste good, and things that stimulate the pleasure centers in our brains.
And due to this large, bloated, poisonous ego, we’ve allowed a dubious religion (and multi-billion-dollar industry which makes more money the sicker we are and are deemed to be) like psychiatry-psychology to swoop in and dictate reality and sanity, classify us, and make us slaves (and perpetual cripples) to medications and therapy and groups.
The more serious work of ego-management is denying your ego, denying your-self, and it is to deny yourself things that cause pleasure, to deny yourself excesses, especially in comfort. Go one day a month in discomfort, some moderate form of suffering. Put yourself through a physical challenge. Put yourself through a mental challenge. Suffer a little misery once in a while.
Actually, this is not so much about Ego-management as it is about self-denial and self-surrender. Denying your ego what it wants, and surrendering your ego to something greater and outside yourself, which is not material in any way.
This is how your spirit grows, and this is how your brain actually flexes its muscles and makes new connections; free-thinking, creative-thinking, through challenges, and through being humbled.
Maybe the answer is what has always worked and still works…
Something to think about.
Anywhat, this is what I do to avoid shame, avoid being made to feel bad, to avoid pride, to avoid being manipulated and being controlled, and to avoid being praised. This is what I’ve been doing for a few years now, and—with a couple of exceptions—it has worked great. It’s still a work in progress, but it always is when we have to figure this shit out for ourselves. This shit used to be common knowledge, but it became forgotten for a long time. Now it is being known again.
One last time: whenever you feel bad, inside, that’s your ego; and it’s only your ego. You have a choice whether to let control it you, or to dump it and be free.
Hopefully you got something out of all this that might help you.