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Wakeful ego?

Can the ego evolve spiritually, become kinder, peacefuller, more intelligent, loving, honest. Wakeful, a milder form of awakened/enlightened.

Can the ego grow up, become a Mensch?! What does this even mean given that the ego is a kind of mirage held together by thought and memory? What grows up, the mirage? That which presides over the mirage? Something else?

From what Ive gleaned from JK and some others is that the self / ego is, fatally flawed. “Evil” as K called it. There are very good people among us and very terrible ones but ‘enlightenment’ I’d say is the ‘absence’ of self. The self is ‘greed’. Greed to become this or that, saint or sinner. If K is right, that what we are is “nothing” then the ego or self image stands in the way of that discovery. Stands in the way by trying to ‘become’ something, whatever it is.

All but “peacefuller”.

It’s a valid English word, I looked it up. :wink:

(I took ‘enlightened’ out of the thread title, it’s just too loaded, even if I only meant in tongue in cheek.)

Let’s say what you say is true. It doesn’t mean that egos can’t grow spiritually, right? That egos can mature, become more intelligent, sensitive, able to see what’s what. Wakeful egos, as awake as an ego can get.

If you’re going to set yourself a goal in this life, having/being a wakeful ego might seem like a modest one. And perhaps it is. But … and it’s a big BUT … it’s a goal that you can achieve … in this lifetime.

Maybe nature helps here, the observation of it…this ‘ego’, self-image is an illusion, a deadly one, a dangerous one. We see the effects we have on each other, on nature, the animals, etc. Just because we are unable to ‘break through’ the illusion, doesn’t mean that it’s not an illusion. ‘Self-improvement’ is just a continuation, ‘lipstick on the pig’…It may be that the only good ego is a dead ego.

Monks? They have the biggest ‘egos’. “Look at me I’m a holy man!” Just a variation on "Look at me, I’m rich, famous, talented, humble, charitable, spiritual, beautiful, interesting, clever, caring, sensitive, etc, etc …

Do you know any monks? You’d need to know a few, from different traditions, to get a good cross section. If you do, do they all have big egos?

I’ve gotten to know several monks. Some might be in it for the ego-stoking glory. But others are ‘the real thing’ … devoted students of truth who are very aware of the potential danger of reifying ego.

BEING a monk IS ego-stroking.

Isn’t it, that being part of any religious tradition divides?

I understand what you mean. My guess is that an X-ist monk (Buddhist, Advaitin, Christian, whatever) remains forever identified with X, and in this identification, forever divided from non-X. The identification and division might be gross or very very subtle, but I’d reckon it rarely goes 100% away. And identification and division are both province of the ego.

But you know the thorn metaphor right: Use a thorn to remove a thorn in your finger, and then throw both thorns out. Similarly, use ego to dismantle ego, then toss 'em onna back burner. Or so the theory goes … :wink:

That’s where we are, aren’t we? The ego / self is about ‘attachment ‘, subtle or gross. Of course there are fine people involved in these traditions, I just want to be clear about the realm of the self. K makes it clear, I think, about the dangers to oneself and others of identification with…anything. We have seen and felt the truth of that. So when he said, what you are is “nothing (not-a-thing)”, it struck me that ‘my’ thinking about that incredible statement, was a ‘thing’! The thinking is a “material process” and being matter could not grasp ‘nothingness’…ever. Does that sound right?

What do you mean by ‘thing’ in “I am not-a-thing?”

That what ‘I’ am is not material, not matter, nothing.

The ego is a ‘thing’, Thought is a ‘thing’.

Could a thought or an ego be considered a mental, rather than material, thing?

I don’t know , I just took K and DB’s word for it. It was a surprising statement but somehow made sense and I have no knowledge of such things.

I suppose technically that it has to do with the synapses , cells in the brain. Energy?

Aha, thanks.

I tend to look at it in subject/object terms:

I am not an object, I am a subject. I cannot be seen, because I am the seer. And so on.

Extending this viewpoint towards what you wrote:

I am not-a-thing, I am that which awares things.

Make any sense to you?

It does. I was just reading a Voyager post about relationships and seeing myself and others as ego or selfs, if that is our situation, then all relationships are interactions by a sort of false ‘material’ structure. It doesn’t really exist. There are attractions and repulsions but no real relationship because the parties involved are not ‘real’. The ego/self is the result of the past. If all that is so and what we actually are is “nothing” then it is in that nothingness that our relationship to each other is. As has been said , I think by Peter, we can accommodate, and compromise …even co-operate.


“You know the word ‘thing’ comes from Latin res, which is ‘thought’… And thing is the movement of thought…”
K, Saanen, 3rd Question & Answer Meeting, 25th July 1980
“Thing is the movement of thought… So, when there is not a thing – you understand? – it means the movement of thought has come to an end.”
K, Saanen, 7th Public Talk, 20th July 1980

I have posted something to that effect at: how the word thought means thing

Of course, thought is a also a material process. Even scientists agree on that point. Thinking is a material process. E=mc². Anyone who studies science in school - physics - learns that fact. The energy of thought is equivalent to the movement of matter.

Any “I” is material, matter. The movement of thought (thinking) is a material process. Even thinking together is a material process.

Cool, I see that … We are nothingness, we dwell in nothingness, out actions are nothingness.

It seems to me that awareness is different. That it is not ‘material ‘. It imbues living ‘things’, surrounds them but is a ‘finer’ energy. When he says we are “nothing “, is that what ‘we’ are, awareness. That is what Terrance Stamp in his memoir said K. said to him, that “what you are is awareness”.


Because we human beings have not created nature, obviously, nature itself is not a product of thought. When one removes thought from the equation, all that remains is awareness: observing, listening, touching. So, has one removed thought from one’s life? Because when one does, then and only then can one say that one is ‘nothing’, right?