“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed” – C.S.Lewis
Have you ever felt positive feelings for someone but on another occasion you felt a strong irritation or anger towards him or her? Did you yesterday imagine a person to be your friend but today you are unsure about your relationship with him?
If this happens frequently you could be a victim; within you, there’s a criminal trio on prowl-the members of this vicious mafia are the Ego, Mind and the Intelligence. What is their nexus, and how do they operate?
The Ego is the boss; he pronounces a diktat- ‘I am the enjoyer’ or ‘I am the greatest’ or ‘I deserve all respect and honor’. The mind is a dutiful servant and a body guard of the ego. He does only two things- ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject’.
An example to illustrate this: An educated man with a degree from the Harvard University and with thirty years of experience in the corporate world comes along and complements you for being a thoughtful and an intelligent person. What then happens inside you is this. The ‘boss’ –ego- is happy; ‘My estimation of myself being the greatest or deserving all respect is confirmed by this man’. The satisfaction of the Ego is immediately noticed by the devoted security guard- the mind- who then straightaway ‘accepts’ this person as a friend. So far so good! But the next day you discover that this stranger turned friend thinks you are a smart aleck or worse a phony. What happens then?
There’s a whole world inside of you, parallel to the outside realm – something like the famed Wizard world of Harry Potter- and there are laws and people and even mafia in there. The Ego –boss of this syndicate- is now livid at being criticized; he’s been attacked, and the servant, Mr. Mind jumps to protect the master by instantly ‘Rejecting’ the attacker and dismissing his scathing remarks.
This servant is rich in feelings but not strong enough; he could only exult to admit the praise giver into the Ego’s inner circle or wailingly dismiss the critic as an enemy. But Mind needs help to protect his master; he draws strength from his dutiful partner, Mr. Intelligence.
Intelligence acts swiftly; he provides plans, arguments, and ‘logical’ reasoning to confirm what the Mind has accepted or rejected.
In this case, intelligence declares about your friend on the first day, “He’s got a degree from Harvard and has over thirty five years of experience, naturally he’s right in his views and he’s definitely good and surely a loveable person” The next day however after the Mind’s inarticulate bawls and disapproval, the intelligence quickly reasons, “Harvard makes you proud; three decades of experience breeds arrogance. He’s senile; should have retired long ago”
Mind and intelligence vibe well; their existence is a fast, intertwined dance; you wouldn’t know when these two security guards have leapt to embrace the flatterer or crushed the enemy in a deathly, albeit rhythmic dance. The duo’s presence seems innocuous in our inside world, but little do we realize we are slaves to these two demons. Far from using our mind and intelligence, we are being used by them. And that’s because we have lost our identity; ‘I’ am now the contaminated consciousness or the ‘False’ ego. American self-help author, late Hugh Prather said it succinctly, “No matter what we talk about, we are talking about ourselves”
To be continued…